December 12, 2018

Filling the Medicare Gap: Funding Options for Long-Term Care

Filed under: Health Insurance,Long Term Care,Medicaid,Medicare — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 2:31 pm

Courtesy of Janet Campbell

A rapidly-aging population and the ever-increasing cost of care means that a lot of Americans will be forced to figure out how to pay for long-term care. Those who Filling the Medicare Gapdelay preparing and planning could be in for a difficult time and high debt levels: the average cost of a private nursing home room is $75,000 annually, and the median cost of engaging a licensed home health aide is about $152 a day. It is projected that these costs will only continue to climb as the Baby Boomer generation ages, which means that now’s the time to begin structuring a financial plan. The cost of delaying is simply too high. Here are a few options to consider as you look to the future.

Medicare Advantage plans

Seniors are all too aware that the older we get, the more our healthcare costs tend to rise. For that reason, many people 65 and older have a Medicare plan, but unfortunately, it won’t cover all of your medical expenses. That’s a big reason why 1 in 3 Medicare recipients have a Medicare Advantage (or Medicare Part C) plan to help pay for some long-term care costs, like dental and vision care, as well as prescription medications. If you already receive Medicare, it’s worth your while to look into an Advantage plan, especially because some of them offer $0 premiums. If you’re getting close to age 65 or are currently eligible for Medicare, be aware of enrollment dates and requirements so you’re prepared ahead of time; depending on the type of plan you get, your disability status and your employment history, you initial sign-up date will vary.

Long-term care insurance

This is one of the more obvious alternatives, but it’s often considered a cost-prohibitive option by many people. Long-term care insurance does become more expensive the longer you wait to enroll (for example, a yearly premium may cost you approximately $2,000 if you go this route at age 55). Many financial advisers recommend not waiting so long, and that there’s nothing wrong with taking out a policy in your 30s or 40s, especially if it’ll save you hundreds of dollars a year in premiums.

Insurance rider

A life insurance policy rider can give you early access to death benefits to help pay for long-term care. This allows you to access benefits early if you meet certain criteria, such as being diagnosed with a cognitive impairment. Benefits paid out early are deducted from the payout to beneficiaries after the policyholder’s death. Also, be aware that you may be able to sell a life insurance policy to free up cash for long-term care expenses.

Personal savings

A 2015 Department of Health and Human Services study found that most Americans required fewer than two years of long-term care, and that saving $70,000 could be sufficient to meet the need. Setting aside part of your investment earnings or long-term, interest-bearing savings can carry you a long way toward meeting that financial objective, and it’ll keep you from having to come up with an annual or monthly premium payment.

Health savings

If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, you may be eligible for a health savings account (HSA) to help defray the cost of rising long-term health care expenses. HSA contributions roll over from year to year, and withdrawals can be made tax free as long as you use them to pay for healthcare expenses – that includes long-term care insurance payments. Contributions are tax deductible up to $3,450, and nearly double that if you have a family plan.

Medicaid

Medicaid is an alternative to Medicare, which does not pay for long-term care. Medicaid covers long-term care expenses if you’ve gone through all other financial resources, though eligibility differs from state to state. One problem is that you’re limited as to where you can go if you require nursing home care, since not every facility accepts Medicaid.

Long-term care can be prohibitively expensive, but that doesn’t mean it has to put a strain on your financial resources. Preparing early, whether that means buying long-term care insurance or starting a health savings account, is an excellent way to be ready if you or a loved one needs long-term care.

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December 7, 2018

An Incredible Way To Give This Holiday Season – Adopt-A-Senior

Filed under: Seniors,Volunteering — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:54 am

We’re in the throws of the holiday season, everyone is busy planning for company, Help Seniors During The Holidaysshopping, decorating, work obligations, family events, perhaps traveling…and the list goes on.

Sometimes with all that we have brewing during the holidays it’s difficult to make time to give back, but did you know that over 7 million people over the age of 65 fell below the Supplemental Poverty Measure in 2017 and that number is likely to increase this year?

There are plenty of opportunities to give back to seniors in your community during the holidays, here are a few to consider –

Adopt-A-Senior

Adopt A SeniorFounded in 2014 this New Jersey based non-profit programs’ mission is to provide gifts to as many Seniors living in long-term care facilities as possible. For a annual $50 donation the organization will select a Senior(s) on your behalf and ensure that the individual(s) receive their gifts throughout the year. All gifts will be provided to your Senior in your name by the organization. Gifts include: Holiday Gift, Birthday Gift and 2 other Seasonal Gifts during the year.

If you are in the NY/NJ Tri-State area, you can opt to personally shop and hand deliver your gift as part of their Wish List program.

Adopt-A-Native-Elder

Adopt A Native ElderThe poverty rate for Native Americans continues to rise and many need assistance beyond what the reservation’s elder care programs can address. This program, founded in the 1980’s by Linda Myers, focuses on Elders in the remote portions of the Dine’ (Navajo) reservation.

Donors provide $200 annually, covering the cost of a year’s worth of food for an older adult. The program also provides Navajo elders with medicine, clothing, firewood and other essentials. Once you sign on through this Utah-based nonprofit, you’ll receive a photo of the elder you’re paired with, along with his or her contact information, and you’ll be encouraged to stay in touch.

If you are in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, you can volunteer at their warehouse packing food and supplies or with activities such as a Food Run or The Annual Navajo Rug Show & Sale. If you can’t make a donation or attend an event, you are encouraged to share their mission on your social media outlets to help spread the word.

Be-A-Santa-To-A-Senior

This Home Instead Senior Care program partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. Each senior’s gift requests are written on a Be a Santa to a Senior bulb.

Since the program’s inception in 2003 over 1.2 million gifts have been delivered to deserving seniors.

The program works like this – Find a participating Be a Santa to a Senior location using the search tool on their website. Remove bulb with senior’s gift request from the tree. Purchase the requested gift(s) listed on the bulb. Place bulb and unwrapped gift(s) in the designated box. Volunteers are also needed to collect, wrap and deliver gifts.

There are many ways to touch a senior’s life not only at this time of year, but year round. If at all possible, take time to make someones life just a little brighter this holiday season. It may just be the best gift you’ve ever given.

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November 19, 2018

How best to celebrate Christmas with a person with dementia

Christmas can be a very overwhelming time for someone living with dementia. A sudden influx of friends and family can cause individuals to feel stressed, agitated and confused. Active Minds outline their top tips for supporting your loved one through the overwhelming Christmas period, whilst ensuring you enjoy a magical festive time together.

Planning

This will help the day run as smoothly as possible, ensuring that both you and your loved ones enjoy the festivities without a hitch.

  • Create a schedule, ensure celebrations are planned for earlier in the day to avoid tiredness or agitation.
  • Speak to friends and family in advance about plans, and make sure everyone works together to ensure elderly members feel included and part of conversations.
  • It may be a good idea to familiarise extended family members with any Activities For People With Dementia By Active Mindsbehavioral changes that they may expect to view in the person with dementia.
  • A person with dementia can find large groups intimidating so keep invitations to a minimum.
  • Familiarise you loved one with the guests in preparation for the event, talk about them and show pictures of everyone who will be coming.
  • Have a quiet room set up where your loved one can go if things become a bit too much, with some activities that can help them relax.
  • Plan some simple family activities and games that are inclusive to all generations.

Eating and Drinking

Food and drink plays a big part of Christmas. It’s important to think about eating and dietary requirements for elderly relatives as rather often older party members may have particular needs.

  • Those with dementia may struggle to eat for many of reasons, such as a lack of appetite. So it’s best to avoid overloading their plate with Christmas Dinner, as this can be a daunting prospect.
  • Keep alcohol to a minimum to avoid arguments or accidents that can agitate a person with dementia.
  • Try where possible to serve food that is familiar to your loved one as this will help them feel comfortable and relaxed and may even spark memories and conversation.

Safety

  • Sometimes people with dementia experience problems with vision. To avoid confusion, place colour-contrasting rugs in front of doors or steps to make sure they are visible (dark coloured rugs may be mistaken for holes).
  • If the house is unfamiliar to your loved one, place labels on doors to help them move around easily.
  • If possible, limit access to places where injury could occur, such as kitchens or staircases.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts nearby.
  • If staying the night, leave lights on in case your loved one gets confused if they get up during the night.

Take time for yourself

Caregivers often struggle trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones, meaning it can be an incredibly stressful time of year, so you must make sure you take some time for yourself.

  • Pace yourself and set realistic goals so you don’t overstretch.
  • Assign another member of the family to also be on hand to ensure that your loved one is ok and comfortable, so the job isn’t entirely your responsibility.
  • You may want to have a respite care plan put in place to begin shortly after the festivities have ended. This would ensure to give yourself a well-deserved break.
  • Be proud of yourself – Christmas can be a tough time for both a person with dementia and their carer.

If you have an elderly relative or friend that’s not spending Christmas with you, regular phone calls can help elderly people not feel isolated or lonely. Although this can be a very busy time of year, try and make time for a visit, even if it’s only brief, as this will be hugely beneficial for them.

Christmas Gifts

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the giving and receiving of gifts. Choosing gifts for people with dementia isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together a few ideas which make the perfect present.

  • A DVD of a classic film or TV series from their past, the film may help to spark memories.
  • There are jigsaw puzzles available which are created especially for someone with dementia, including illustrations which can encourage reminiscence and conversation, perfect as a stimulating gift.
  • Make a memory book or photo album full of special times spent together. Not only will you be creating something that you can enjoy with your loved one, this will be a reminiscent gift, that your family member can pick up and look at any time they want.
  • Giving your loved one a board game to enjoy with everyone is a great gift. Active Minds have developed special dementia friendly games such as Animal Bingo and a specially adapted version of Snakes and Ladders.
  • Colouring books are a relaxing activity to help a person unwind and focus, as well as giving a sense of satisfaction once the colouring is completed.

Activities are one of the most effective ways to keep people with dementia calm and content over the Christmas period, visit Active Minds to take a look at their resources and activities suitable for those with dementia.

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November 15, 2018

Senior Health: Understanding the Holiday Blues

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 12:06 pm

By: Darleen Mahoney

Oh, the holidays! The season where everything is jolly, trees are twinkling, children’s eyes are glistening, and tables are surrounded by family’s laughter and love. This is not necessarily the case for everyone, especially for seniors. As seniors age, they may no longer feel like celebrating the holidays anymore. For them the holidays may take on a different meaning and can make them sad, depressed or feel anxious. A few key seniors health during the holidaysindicators of (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder, may be unusual fatigue or sadness or little interest in the holiday season in general.

There may be different triggers that may cause these feelings of melancholy over the holidays. Digging deep into the heart of the matter with a frank conversation will help you to make sure that your loved one has a more joyous holiday season.

Seniors may reflect on holidays past, struggling to find the joys in the present. It’s okay to treasure those old memories and keep them in a special place in their heart. Its also okay to enjoy the present holiday and find joy in making new memories.

The death of a loved one during the holidays can also be a trigger. Even if the loss occurred many years ago, it brings up memories of the loss itself bringing on feelings of grief and emptiness. There may be guilt if they are having a good time.

Take the time to talk through how your loved one is feeling and let them know that their feelings are normal. Everyone grieves in their own way. Ask them what their wishes are to help them handle it as you acknowledge their feelings together.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Light a candle in memorial
  • Place the person’s picture in a special place
  • Family dinner where everyone shares a special memory

Stress is another factor that can cause depression and/or anxiety among seniors. Pressure from family and friends to attend holiday celebrations the same way or differently than in the past. Keeping a senior occupied with the festivities of the season may very well be therapeutic, but nothing can ruin a holiday occasion faster than having so much to do that that you can’t enjoy the holiday. The idea of baking, decorating, shopping and all the traditions that are enjoyable may become overwhelming if overscheduled. Prioritize what is important and be realistic. Focus on what you and your loved ones need rather than what others expect of you.

Financial pressures can also cause depression for seniors on limited budgets. Not only are they purchasing gifts, but additional holidays meals and their heating expenses tend to increase. This season is an overall expensive time of year.  Reminding your loved one that it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving and here are a few suggestions:

  • Baked Goods
  • Drawing Names
  • Handmade Gifts
  • Passing Down Family Heirlooms

Keep in mind that there is a difference between the holiday blues and depression. If you feel that your loved one is experiencing something more than the blues, seek the advice of a professional.

Perhaps the most effective cure to the holiday blues is a few simple physical gestures of affection such as a hug or holding a loved one’s hand. These simple acts can reduce stress, anxiety, while bringing joy and love to both of you.

As a caregiver or family member of a senior suffering with the holiday blues, make it your mission to get involved. You can make a significant difference and lessen the holiday blues for your loved ones for a more enjoyable holiday season for all.

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November 7, 2018

The Short Version of Veterans Aid and Attendance

By: Darleen Mahoney

This weekend, our Nation will reflect on the sacrifices that our Veterans and War Heroes have made over the years as it became a national holiday in 1938. As their sacrifices have provided safety, security and the freedom our country continues to enjoy, it’s important to know what benefits our Veterans may be eligible. Its important that they be aware and utilize what is available, especially if they find themselves in unexpected need.

According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, “Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans.”

What exactly is Aid and Attendance? Its super simple, the veteran must require help Veterans Benefitswith daily living or activities at home, assisted living, nursing home, or skilled nursing. Their need does not have to be related to any military service.

If you are applying for “Aid and Attendance” and would like benefits based on a housebound status, the Veterans Agency will allow some costs and annualized medical expenses if it’s for medical care. Those aging in place and using Home Health services do not have to be licensed. However, if the beneficiary or Veteran has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s, a physician’s statement must indicate that a protective environment is in place.

If you are seeking Aid and Attendance benefits while living or would like to move to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, the facility will be required to sign a statement verifying the type of care being given or what they are expecting that resident to receive.  You will also be required to submit a “Care Provider Report”.

How do you know if you may qualify? Here are a few simple indictors:

  1. Age: you or surviving spouse must be 65 or older or officially disabled if younger.
  2. Period of Military Service- you must be considered a “wartime veteran”, meaning that you have served a minimum of 90 days with only one of those days during wartime dates. You did not have to serve in combat to qualify.
    1. World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
    2. Korean War: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
    3. Vietnam War: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975
    4. Gulf War: August 2, 1990-Undetermined
  3. Discharge Status: you cannot be dishonorably Discharged

Applying and understanding these benefits can get very complicated, seeking the professional guidance and advice of a licensed, professional Elder Law Attorney is encouraged to help guide you through this process. If you can receive a referral from a family friend or your Trust and Estate Planning Attorney, this may help guide you in the right direction.

If you are needing additional funds to cover the cost of Home Health services, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing for you and your spouse, you may qualify for:

Living Veteran                                                  Monthly Rate

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,340

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,680

Aid and Attendance W/O Dependents:                 $1,830

Aid and Attendance W/ Dependent:                     $2,169

In October 2018, the VA made new rules to fiscally qualify for benefits. The new net worth limits of $123,600 became effective. They will look at the Veteran’s overall net worth in addition to income. There are also other rules that could affect a Veteran from qualifying, seeking professional guidance may be helpful.

If you believe that you or a Veteran loved qualifies for Aid and Attendance, it can always be helpful to speak to the Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility that you are considering, and they may have folks who are trained to assist you through this process as well.

If you find that you or your Veteran qualify, and you begin your process to apply, you are encouraged to get organized, make sure that all your paperwork and forms are completed. Above all, do not get discouraged.

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November 2, 2018

Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living, What’s the Right Choice?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Making the right decisions for an elderly loved can be overwhelming and confusing. Often you may find yourself not really understanding what your options may be or if you even have options when it comes to be the best care of your loved one.  Clearly, you want what is best for them and what is the best facility that can manage their skilled nursing or assisted livingneeds and provide the environment that your loved one requires. Many caretakers ask themselves if they should be choosing an assisted living community or a nursing home/skilled nursing facility?

When making this decision, its important to consider your loved one’s physical, social, mental, and health needs. These will be indicators on the level of care that each will be able to provide your loved one making them a better fit.

Let’s discuss a few of the differences to better assess what each facility will be able to provide your loved and the long-term goals that you are looking to achieve or financial options available to you.

Assisted Living Communities: Typically, the residents at these communities are still active and maintain their own privacy. They may not require significant medical care or constant monitoring, but still receive 24/7 care support. They will have assistance nearby if they do need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication. Activity programs are provided, keeping residents active and social and thriving. Although, there are different levels of nursing and medical care offered at some Assisted Living Communities which you may want to explore on an individual basis.

PROS:

  • Home Environment
  • More Private
  • Amenities offered at many
  • Lower Cost than Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home
  • Long Term Care Insurance and Veterans Aids and Assistance may help with costs
  • Scheduled Activities
  • Outings/Transportation

CONS:

  • Does not have extensive Medical Care on Premise
  • Many are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Homes: The residents rely on the staff to provide all or most of their daily living such as bathing, dressing, meals, using the bathroom. They are facilities that provide 24/7 skilled, licensed nurses on staff to provide medical care and assistance. Most of the residents have severe health and cognitive issues. They typically do not leave the facility unless they are being transported to a scheduled doctor’s appointment or hospital.

PROS:

  • Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or most of the cost
  • 24/7 Medical Care with licensed nurses and clinical staff

Cons:

  • Limited personal freedom
  • Hospital environment, including shared rooms
  • Less privacy
  • More expensive than any other Senior facility, but offers the most in subsidized funding

If you are just starting your journey in your search for either Assisted Living or a Skilled Nursing Facility for your loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com . Visit each listing, taking notes on which one may offer your loved one what they need most, the costs and what insurance may provide before making an appointment to visit their location.

This may very well be the hardest decision you ever have to make, make sure that you have all the information and options available to you. Talk to your loved one if they are cognitive, know what their wishes would be for their own healthcare.  When visiting these facilities enter armed with as much information as possible and ask as many questions as possible to help you make the right decision on their behalf.

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October 25, 2018

How to Take Control of Your Health and Improve Your Quality of Life

Filed under: Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 10:32 am

Courtesy of Hazel Bridges

Most of us know we could be making healthier choices, and we have some understanding of how these could help us in old age. Now that you are a senior, you may start feeling like you missed your chance. This is not the case, however, and you are never too old to take control of your health habits and start working toward a better quality of life. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

Get Moving

According to the CDC, the benefits of exercise as a senior include improved stamina, bone health, muscle mass, and reduced risk of injury. There is some evidence that it also improves cognitive skills such as remembering words. By regularly working out, you increase your ability to live independently, keep up with grandchildren, and generally make the most of your golden years.

You don’t have to take up a whole new sport or get into anything particularly intense. seniors healthYou can adjust your activity to your level of fitness and to any injuries you have. Some seniors choose to join a class where they can meet new people and have an excuse to get out the house. Learn something new, like tai chi or water aerobics, or join a walking group to socialize with other seniors from the neighborhood.

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, there are also plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you need equipment, a basic set of dumbbells and resistance bands can allow you to do a variety of strength workouts, which are incredibly beneficial in terms of muscle and bone strength. A yoga mat helps you stretch safely and comfortably, which can keep you flexible and improve circulation.  Whatever you choose, consider investing in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, which can help you monitor your progress. Check out iMore’s guide to Fitbits for seniors to choose the best one for you.

Eat Well — and Switch Things Up

It’s incredibly important to eat a healthy diet later in life. You may have heard that your metabolism slowing will have impacted your body’s ability to burn calories, but the truth is that this doesn’t make that big a difference. You should still focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar and processed foods. Any other specific requirements will depend on your body. Talk to your doctor to see if you could use more of a specific nutrient in your diet, such as calcium or iron.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Many of the conversations around old age and mental health revolve around dementia because it tends to occur in older adults. This awareness is important; however, it is also worth remembering that other, more common forms of mental illness also affect seniors.

This includes depression and anxiety, which could be caused by a variety of factors associated with old age. Staying active, eating well, and socializing regularly are key to promoting good mental health, with the latter in particular being essential. Seniors who report feeling lonely and isolated have an increased risk of physical and mental decline and dying earlier. If you feel your social circle is not satisfying you, join a class or group that can help you meet people. It is never too late to make new friends.

As you get older, it can be easy to feel like your quality of life is set to inevitably decline. However, it is important to remember that many of the health issues associated with old age are preventable through a few key lifestyle changes. You can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting life in your golden years as long as you commit to taking control of your physical and mental well-being.

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October 18, 2018

Navigating Flu Season for Seniors

Filed under: Caregivers,Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:16 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

As the hot days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change and the weather gets crisp, the season of fall is most welcome. Fall is not the only season that arrives in October, but a most unwelcoming season arrives as well…. flu season. Flu season is most active between October thru May.  As this season is upon us, its important to be proactive in flu prevention, symptoms and treatment. The flu season seniors with the fluis not the only season you want to experience, but the one you want to avoid.

While a flu diagnosis is serious regardless of age, a flu diagnosis in Seniors carries greater risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults 65 and older are at greater risk of complications from the flu because they may have weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in those over the age of 65.

A flu vaccine is the best option in flu prevention. It is recommended that Seniors and their caregivers receive the flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot is October thru November, so mark your calendars! The CDC reports that the flu vaccination may reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. The CDC recommends that even Seniors with weakened immune systems receive the vaccines, the vaccine can still protect against the illness and can weaken the flu strain if the immune suppressed Senior comes in contact with the flu virus.

Other ways to avoid getting the flu:

  • Washing hands and wrists/ Hand sanitizer when more convenient
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat healthy, boost immunity
  • Getting exercise-this could reduce your risk by a third
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-this is how the germs enter the body
  • Sanitize your Mobile devices
  • Adding Vitamin C-Boost your immune system

The onset of flu symptoms can happen very quickly, some people developing symptoms one to four days after exposure to the virus. Seniors may develop the flu and their symptoms look very different than typical flu patients. Therefore, Seniors who have the flu are misdiagnosed or delayed in their diagnosis and therefore can progress into a more serious health problem. Most flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, many Seniors with the flu do not have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.

Symptoms in a Senior may include:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Delirium
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that get better and then worse
  • Swollen mouth/throat

If you’re over the age of 65 and experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician right away to reduce the potential risk of a flu diagnosis. If you see your doctor within the first 48 hours, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medication. When taken at the onset of the flu, this medication can reduce the symptoms and the severity of your illness.

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October 11, 2018

Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

Filed under: Alzheimer's,Caregivers,Dementia — Tags: , , , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 11:07 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

You’ve heard the term Sundowners syndrome. Are you a caregiver or know someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s that has sundowning? It is a neurological phenomenon that exists with those suffering from a form of dementia or delirium. Sundowning understanding sundowningseems to be more frequent in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and mixed dementia.

What causes this syndrome is believed to be caused from the inner “body clock” of the brain that signals when you’re awake and when your asleep, this breaks down in people with Alzheimer’s. There may be specific triggers in your loved one, taking notes to understand these triggers is a good idea.

Factors that may aggravate Sundowners Syndrome:

  • Shadows and low light, causing fear
  • Separating dreams from reality
  • Infection, more commonly a UTI
  • Low Lighting
  • Unfamiliar environment

Sundowning isn’t a disease on its own, but it is a variety of behaviors that typically occur at a later time of day and may go into the night that affect people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those with sundowners are confused, experience anxiety, ignore directions, and potentially show aggression. They may begin to pace or wander.

There are steps that you can take to help manage this challenging time of day as it seems the fading light is the trigger, but the symptoms can get worse throughout the night. As a caregiver, this can be frustrating and exhausting for you. The steps you take will help keep your loved one safe, but also help them reduce their Sundowners symptoms.

  • Have a regular daily routine
  • No smoking or alcohol use
  • Limit sweets and caffeine to the morning
  • Smaller meals at night, larger meals at lunchtime
  • Avoid late day naps

When it is time to go to sleep, take extra steps to provide a quiet relaxing environment:

  • Close curtains and blinds, shadows are a huge problem
  • Fix the room temperature to their liking
  • Keep the house quiet, noise can make them paranoid
    • Especially a visible television with the flashing lights and noise
  • Put on relaxing music

You may also consult with your loved one’s physician about Melatonin at night time and any other recommendations that they may have.

You have tried to keep your loved one that is experiencing Sundowners quiet and relaxed, but they are still getting up and they are confused, and you are unsure how to respond.

  • Do not argue with them
  • Tell them everything is OK, be reassuring
  • Let them get up and move around, just stay close to them making sure they are staying away from stairs and anything used to harm themselves
  • Remind them what time it is and that its nighttime or bedtime
  • DO NOT physically try to restrain from walking around
  • Above all….STAY CALM

You may want to consider purchasing a baby monitor to be aware when they are getting up in the middle of the night.

As a caregiver with a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s it’s such an emotional, physical, and time-consuming journey that Sundowner’s is just another piece of a puzzle to this disease that will never truly fit together and make any sense to most caregivers. Taking take to take care of yourself will only make you a better caregiver for your loved one, there is help in the form of support groups in your local areas and The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center offers support as well. Its also important to get away and have time for yourself, its important to have a well trusted Home Health provider that allows you time away to decompress and refocus so that you can be a better caregiver.

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September 28, 2018

Declutter Now! No Time Like the Present!

Filed under: Downsizing,Retirement Planning,Seniors — Tags: , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:06 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

You have a lot of stuff that you have collected over the years! You have a lifetime of beautiful memories and well, just stuff! You have artwork that you saved from your children and grandchildren, collectibles when collectibles were a fad, clothes that are out of style, paperwork that is no longer relevant. You may even have furniture and old holiday decorations in the basement or attic that just need to find new homes.

Decluttering your home of all these things as an active Senior is a labor of love for your family. It will also make it much easier for you to sell your home and make your next move.

seniors decluttering Leaving the cleaning out and decluttering of your home to your loved ones can be an overwhelming task for them. It is an emotional journey and physical labor of love that adult children and family members endure on their own. They may not know the family history of what is important in your home and can cause family friction. If you declutter your home now, you can share in the memories and find common ground in your cherished family keepsakes.

Whether you hope to live out your days in your current home, retire to a smaller home, retirement community, or the possibility of a continuing care retirement community. The reality is eventually your home will likely need to be sold. Decluttering of the past to move toward the future is a gift that you not only give your loved ones, but yourself.

Studies have shown that clutter causes anxiety, depression, stress, and general feeling of being overwhelmed. Cleaning and decluttering can be a stress-reliever.

There are also tax benefits to decluttering. If you donate your unwanted items to a charitable organization, you may be eligible for a tax write-off. You can also get very creative in donating or re-selling vintage items to re-sell shops or donating to schools looking for theatre production costumes.

Does all of this sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be! Get organized and make a plan!

  • Set aside a weekend or specific timeframe
  • Make sure you have supplies: garbage bags, boxes, cleaning products
  • Start with one room, then have a plan to go room by room
  • Go through everything in that room: Label: Keep, Donate, Trash
    • Old Documents, you may want to shred
  • Ask your family members to join you
    • Keep what is important- not to suggest you throw out priceless mementos, most people find out they do not miss “things” that they get rid of after a clean out. Items that do not serve a purpose or cannot be shared with other family members should find new homes.

While the process of decluttering is giving away, throwing away, and passing along to your loved ones is a process that has an element of an emotional journey with things that tie you of your past. Your memories and family legacies are your true history.

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