July 16, 2018
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life. In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis. Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.
Sleep. As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle. It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.
For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties. These together can be a slippery slope. With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.
There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality. One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind. Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon. Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights. Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well. For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.
Diet. Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life. As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned. Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories. The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.
The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious. Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads. Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium. The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish. Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.
Exercise. Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors. OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors. Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance. Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain. A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.
Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians. Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement. Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen. Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.
Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.
Better health, better life. Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount. Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program. Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.
July 12, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Home Health Care by definition according to Wikipedia: is, “Home care is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical treatment needs or by professional caregivers
who provide daily assistance.” Home Health Care provides the ability for seniors to age in place and provides other caregivers a break.
Those who might consider Home Health Care may be recovering from a procedure, have a degenerative disorder or in need of general medical care. Home Health is recommended most often by a doctor after a visit or a hospital stay because it is provided by medical professionals.
One of the benefits that Home Health Care provides is that not only is there a medical professional in the home providing the specialized care that is needed, but also provides personal services as well.
Home Health Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:
- Skilled Nursing
- Physical therapy
- Pain management
- Wound care
- Prescription management
- Helping those with Alzheimer’s or dementia
Personal Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:
- Grooming, like dressing and help with bathing
- Medication reminders
- Help with moving around the home
- Cooking meals
Because Home Health Care are in the home, they can work with family members daily to make sure that routines are followed, make recommendations on medications and keep the senior in their home environment longer.
The cost of Home Health Care as an option could come down to who is going to pay for the care. While a family caregiver will not receive any monies from any programs, Medicare has limited coverage for home care. When coverage is provided through Medicare it is only covered through a Medicare-certified home health care agency. Always check with your insurance provider and any other resources that may help with the expense of Home Health Care.
If you would like to age in place and explore different Home Healthcare providers in your area to see what they offer, please visit SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on the state and area of interest. Review each one carefully, weigh the options and what is important to you and your family and then schedule a call to discuss those options.
July 5, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Adult Day Care facilities (ADC) are vastly different than any other community than what we have covered in our Senior Housing “Be in The Senior Housing Know” series. The adult senior does not live at the facility but will spend time during the day. It is a professionally managed environment that typically provides senior adults with dementia, or other mental or physical disabilities care. The benefit of an ADC is the option to allow these senior adults to age in place. The facility provides activities during the day while providing a safe and secure place to go. The aging adult is provided with medical care, daily social interaction, meals, cognitive stimulation and in some instances, transportation to the center. Respite Care, providing caregivers to take a break from responsibilities, is also a service that many Adult Day Care Centers provide. The ratio of staff/senior is reported as 1-6 by the NADSA.
One of the most important aspects that Adult Day Care Centers offers a Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s is cognitive stimulation. According to the National Adult Day Services Association, 75-90 percent offers these types of services to their senior adults.
Different programs may include:
- Card games
- Board games
- Creative projects (quilting/puzzles)
- Memory training
- Educational programs
- Book clubs
- Current event discussion groups
As the efforts of many organizations continue to recognize the importance of helping people to “age in place”, the social aspects that can be achieved in an Adult Day Care environment can be a major piece of that puzzle for these adults who are physically and mentally challenged who would like to remain at home. As Adult Day Care Centers are growing, the certifications and licenses required are different state by state. Here is the breakdown to be considered:
- 26 States require licenses only
- 10 States require certifications only
- 4 States require both licenses and certifications
- 11 States do not require either licenses or certifications
What is a Certification? The adult day program has been approved by the Department of Human Services by the standards set. Licensing varies state by state depending on their requirements and level of care. States without certification or a license, are generally publicly funded and have official agreements with state agencies.
Before choosing any Adult Day Care Service, visit the facility, talk to the adults there and see how they enjoy their day and what they do with their time. It never hurts to ask for references from caregivers that can provide feedback. For an extensive one stop shop to help you choose a ADS right for you or a loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com’s Adult Day Care section, click on your state and area for an extensive selection of different Adult Day Care options in your area, visit their website and their locations before making a final decision.
June 29, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The level of health care and personal care provided varies greatly between a skilled nursing facility and an assisted living facility. An assisted living facility (ALF) is a long term living environment where the resident’s care is customized based on health and personal needs. A skilled nursing facility (SNF) is a temporary facility based on hospitalization or a significant decline in health.
Skilled nursing facilities include room and board, any necessary physical and/or occupational therapy, social services, medication, speech, audiology, and all care is provided by registered professional nurses. The level of care that they provide may include rehabilitation, tube feedings, intravenous, and rapidly declining health services.
Skilled nursing facilities are also required to meet federal criteria for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for nursing care. Skilled care is covered by Medicare for typically up to 100 days after a hospitalization. Once you use 100 days, your current benefit period must end before you renew your SNF benefits. Custodial care may be needed for an extended period. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides detail on what is covered under each of their plans.
Before choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility, consider the following:
- Make sure you have a recent medical evaluation with a recommendation for a Skilled Nursing Facility vs. another housing option
- If 24/7 medical care is required, a skilled nursing facility is best. If custodial needs are required, consider an Assisted Living Facility.
- Because a Skilled Nursing Facility is temporary, consider the medical needs of the patient and make sure that there may not be an alternate plan. If a family can fill in the gaps in care with adult day care programs, home health care, or respite care there may be alternatives to consider.
If you feel that you or a family member needs a Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation facility, please visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on “Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation”, and your state or area of interest. You will be able to choose from multiple options and review in detail what each one offers and if it meets your needs. Do your research and make the best possible decision for you and your family.
June 22, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
By definition, an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or assisted living community is housing for the elderly or the disabled that provides nursing care, prepared meals, housekeeping, and other services.
What you can expect from an Assisted Living Care Facility is continuing care providing a combination of personal and health care services designed for individual needs. They offer daily activities, coordinate patients health care, supervise and ensure the overall well-being of their residents.
While the facility may assist in arranging the healthcare for their residents, those residents typically choose their own medical and dental care providers.
Please keep in mind that these communities are intended to be the next step for those who can no longer live alone, but do not provide the same level of care that a nursing home would.
These communities can be freestanding communities or part of larger facilities such as skilled nursing homes, hospitals, continuing care retirement homes, or even part of independent housing communities.
The benefits of Assisted Living Facilities:
- Maintain a patient’s independence while providing the help they currently need is the primary goal
- Family relationships and engagement with the community is encouraged
- Patients level of care is based on need, as their needs change, their care changes.
Most patients of Assisted Living Facilities are seniors, this includes those with memory challenges such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
You can rest assured that most states require certifications and licenses in order to register as an ALF.
What can you expect in your actual accommodations? These can vary greatly from one facility to the next. Some might have private rooms, baths, and kitchenettes, others might not. If you would like to see what is available in your area, visit us online at www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on Assisted Living at the top of the page, choose your state and city/area of interest, take your time, and see what they have to offer and what meets your needs.
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June 14, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Independent Senior Housing, Independent Living Communities or Age Restricted Communities are created for Seniors that are typically active, healthy, and do not require medical assistance. The biggest factor is the age restriction that is placed on the residents that move in, typically the age is 55+-62, but can vary. Its not unusual that some new residents are still working and are years away from retirement age. These communities are built in neighborhoods of homes, townhomes, condos, cottages, apartments, or any type of home where the residents can maintain an independent lifestyle. These communities may offer amenities that attract residents like golf courses, pools, community centers, work out centers, and include ground maintenance and security. There is an activity director who plans a calendar of events including group trips, special dances and karaoke nights.
What are the benefits of an Independent Living Community? These communities provide senior specific social environments and activities to residents that appeal to their “senior only” residents.
Residents of an Independent Living Community live alone or as a couple without any type of skilled nursing. If their health declines and they choose to remain in the community, they still have the option to hire home health care providers or private caregivers.
There are many variables on policies as these are set by management. Depending on a public, private, or government managed property the policies may vary greatly. Costs should line up with the market value for similar housing and community in the area. There can be additional community related costs and taxes for landscaping, pool maintenance, etc. There are subsidizes programs through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development for those low-income seniors in need.
If you are an independent, active adult over the age of 55 you have many options to choose from in Independent Senior Living! Visit us on www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on Active Adult/Retirement, then click on your State and Region of Interest and begin researching what each one offers you and your lifestyle! Happy House hunting!
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June 7, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
I have never heard a single person tell me that they thought that moving was fun. It’s exhausting, messy, and can be very complicated. This is very true whether you are boxing everything yourself or you’ve hired professionals. That’s just the actual process of boxing household items to be moved from one place to another. The stress, anxiety, and emotional toll can be even greater for Seniors, as they are most likely downsizing and going through the process of making decisions about what to take with them to the next phase of their lives. What if they are moving to a new area entirely? It may be adventurous, but learning the “lay of the land” without any guidance can be challenging.
The good news is that Senior Move Managers are available for Seniors to help take some of the burden off them while they make this transition. According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), they are available to assist seniors and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of the move. Their Senior Move Managers are available to assist with a variety of tasks based on what you and your loved one’s needs might be as your move progresses.
Senior Move Managers typically offer the following services:
- Stage and prepare current home for sale
- Packing and organizing
- Organizing and securing storage
- Providing/Hiring Cleaning Services that may be required/needed
- Transportation and shopping required for transition into new home
- Hiring and scheduling process with Movers
- Present and overseeing the movers during the packing process
- Transferring utilities and forwarding mail/providing new address to Post Office
- Unpacking and setting up the new home
How can you find these amazing assets to help with your move?
There are several options and companies that are growing throughout the United States, including Caring Transitions and the largest, National Association of Senior Move Managers, which has grown tenfold since 2006 to about 600 companies in the United States and Canada. The Management firm charges $40 to $125 per hour for their services.
Whichever route you choose to go, always weigh your options. Whether you find that it is more financially feasible to hire someone to make this life transition easier or if you take a more hands on approach, always consider the emotional well being of the seniors involved and how this transition will affect them and make that the priority.
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May 31, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the rate of Alzheimer’s Disease increases and we seem to be on the brink of a cure or treatment. It still seems all too futuristic to those in the here and now fighting for loved ones with the disease.
As the idea that there may be a cure around the corner lingers, the disease is still growing in numbers and being aware of the signs at home in order to get treatment as early detection are keys to potentially living more independently longer, subsiding the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes the slow decline of memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Let’s review basic warning signs. These signs may be experienced differently by each person to varying degrees.
- Memory loss – One might forget recent information like dates or events. Asking the same questions over and over. Using things like post it notes, reminder notes, electronic devices, or even family to remember things they used to remember on their own.
- Problem Solving – One might have problems developing and following a plan or working with numbers. They may start forgetting to pay monthly bills, work electronics like phones, stoves, and remotes, etc. that were everyday routine devices.
- Losing Track of Times and Dates – One might start losing track of dates and time. They may start forgetting how they got somewhere or even where they are.
- Visual Changes – Some Alzheimer’s patients have experiences changes in vision with judging distance, color, and depth perception. These are problematic to those who may still be driving.
- Problems with Speech – One might have trouble following or joining a conversation, they may stop in the middle of a conversation or have no idea how to continue, repeating themselves. They struggle with their words and sometimes are unable to find the right words, calling things by the wrong names at times.
- Misplacing Things – One might start putting things in odd places, losing things, and unable to recall steps to find them. Some may accuse others of stealing those things. This may start occurring more frequently as they may appear to be paranoid.
- Poor Judgment – One may start having poor decision-making and changes in their judgment. They may not be able to deal with money, giving large amounts away or handling it improperly. This makes them more vulnerable to people who may want to take advantage. They may start bathing less and not taking care of their hygiene.
- Withdraws from Family, Social, and Work – One might begin removing themselves from their social activities, hobbies, projects, and even their own family. They start avoiding these situations because of the changes that they are experiencing.
- Mood Changes – The mood and the personality of someone with Alzheimer’s changes as they become confused and become experiencing depression, fear, and anxiety in their daily lives. They are no longer able to find a “comfort zone”.
Clearly, many of these signs can be normal in aging adults. Recognizing multiple and ongoing signs in someone you love should not be ignored, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
There is treatment available with early detection, relief of the symptoms and will help them maintain a level of independence longer.
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May 24, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The decision has been made to keep your aging parent at home a little while longer or they are living with you, but you cannot be there 24/7 and need to take a few safety precautions when you cannot be there.
As 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 takes a fall, safety is important. This is typically the primary safety concern along with each senior having their own individual health and mental concerns.
Having a plan and exploring what options fit your family, your senior, and the home is always a great start.
If getting a full evaluation of the homes safety is a goal, you may want to contact a certified aging-in-place specialist, occupational or physical therapist, or a geriatric care manager. They will be able to make safety recommendations.
A few quick and easy solutions:
- Raised Toilet Seat
- Shower Chair
- Textured no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower
- Stair climber
- Waterproof seat in the shower
- Controls and switches near bed and/or wheelchair
- Remove throw rugs
- Add monitors and alarms to the home
- Remove locks from doors inside the home
- Change doors to the outside of the home to levers
- Hallway and stairway lighting is efficient
- Adjust thermostat on hot water heater to avoid water getting too hot
Another option in the form of preventative safety when your aging parent or senior is unable to be alone or alone for long periods of time, consider a home healthcare service. They can provide a range of services including: transportation, cooking, light housekeeping, dispensing medication, and other services. Home Healthcare services vary on their offerings, visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com‘s Home Health tab in your area to find out what specific services that fit your family’s needs.
You have followed all these steps to be proactive with safety, but accidents and emergencies still can happen. What then?
Remember the commercial with the catchphrase, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”? Since this commercial became a pop-culture phenomenon in its 80’s debut, personal response and medical monitoring devices have been the answer to in-home senior safety and security especially as technology has progressed over the years.
Medical Alarm Monitoring such as, Bay Alarm Medical, may be a turn key and inexpensive solution providing you peace of mind. If your senior has an accident, gets frightened, or has a need for any type of medical attention, a touch of a button alerts the company, authorities, and specific contacts easily.
Whatever your home situation is with your aging parent; keeping safety and security top of mind is key. There are many solutions to consider, but there is a magnitude of resources available both online and offline. Make sure that you do your research and utilize what is available.
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May 16, 2018
Older Posts »
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
It’s never too late to become financially literate. Statistics show that 65 percent of Americans do not have a budget, which suggests that many enter their elderly years uninformed about personal finances. Taking good care of your finances at this stage of your life is essential – your financial stability, health and personal happiness are at stake, so consider carefully these tips that financial advisors consider crucial for older adults.
Set a budget
Establishing a budget helps you keep track of where your money is going and makes it considerably easier to plan for the future. Most advisors contend that setting up and sticking to a budget is the most important building block in maintaining one’s financial health. It’s especially important for seniors because it ensures that you’ll have enough money to pay for the things you need and want. If you’ve never lived according to a formal budget, once you’ve got it down and incorporated it into your routine you can predetermine what months you’re likely to be tight on money and when you’ll be in the black. A budget helps you plan for unexpected expenses, those times when life bites you and forces you to dig deep into your funds.
Sidestep the scams
Beware of fast-talking salespeople and telemarketers looking to take advantage of confused and vulnerable elderly people. They’re usually the first ones to be targeted, so watch out for “deals” that involve a lot of complex detail, evasive answers or an unwillingness to answer questions, a lack of documentation (i.e. no paper trail), and pressure to sign a contract right away. This is always a red flag, no matter who’s involved or what stage of life they’re in.
Be skeptical about investments
If you retired with investments, they can give you a real advantage in your senior years but it’s dangerous to rely on them too heavily. A budget can help you forecast but it can’t help you where the market’s concerned. An over-reliance on the returns it can bring is a dangerous way to approach your finances, especially if you’re working with limited funds to begin with. Unscrupulous salespeople are especially dangerous when it comes to stock market investing, which can be arcane and intimidating to someone with limited experience. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, savings, a good budget and careful money management are the building blocks of a solid financial foundation.
Many people nearing or having reached retirement age tend to see Social Security as a nest egg or financial magic bullet. Yes, you can begin drawing on your social security benefits beginning at age 62, but it can be well worth your while to wait a bit. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans start going through their benefits early, which means they’re not maximizing what they could be getting from Social Security. Timing is a big part of doing Social Security right. Put simply, the longer you wait to draw Social Security, the more you’ll get each month. Taking Social Security before official retirement age (between 66 and 67) results in an unnecessary reduction of your benefits, whereas your benefit increases as much as 8 percent a year if you wait until you reach 70.
Follow the basics
The old rule that says you should have three months of expenses ready to go still stands once you reach old age. If you’ve ignored that rule during your working lifetime, make a good stab at it. Set aside what you can in case the unexpected happens when you’re at your most vulnerable. Some people age 65 or older are able to sell their life insurance policy, which may be an option to consider if you can’t afford the premiums or don’t need one anymore. Just be sure to do your research first so you understand the ins and outs of the process.
Keep following the same good financial advice you’ve gotten throughout your life once you reach retirement age. Budget, save, and stay away from “can’t miss” investment offers. Much of what’s served you well all those years won’t go wrong once you hit 67.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
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