October 20, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
If you have special needs due to being an older person with one or more disabilities, don’t hesitate to consult local social service agencies. Many now offer household assistance to help maintain safety and security at home. Here are a few types of services that may be available to eligible disabled seniors.
Many agencies provide a wide range of household assistance services that can keep you safe and comfortable at home. Housework assistance may be able to send someone to your residence to help with daily basic chores like cooking, laundry, and housecleaning. This can help to reduce or eliminate the amount of time or effort you will have to spend maintaining a clean, orderly home. Dusting, vacuuming, and other related tasks may also be covered. Find out what you may be eligible for in terms of getting this work done.
While friendly neighbors may be able to help occasionally with mowing the lawn or weeding the flower beds, you might be able to get someone to assist on a regular basis. It is important to keep the yard well cared for to prevent pests and wildlife from burrowing near your home and possibly causing property damage. If they get into your home through the foundation or other entryways, that could present another problem to be addressed.
If you need rides for medical appointments or to do errands like grocery shopping, transportation might be available to accommodate people with disabilities. This may involve private transport with a regular driver or public transportation via bus or taxi. When contacting social service agencies that help older people with disabilities, ask if there is help for getting around town as needed.
Disabled persons often have family members or friends helping out with housework, yardwork, or other needs. However, many of those people have their own responsibilities to handle as well, or something might come up in their lives that will keep them away for a while. Social service agencies that work with disabled clients may be able to offer respite services. This provides a temporary substitute person who is qualified to provide necessary help until your regular caregivers or family members can resume their support.
While it is not easy living with a disability especially when getting older, it is good to know that valuable assistance is available for those in need. Find out about the type of services you may qualify for to make life more comfortable and secure.
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October 7, 2019
By Meghan Belnap
As we age, it becomes harder to be comfortable. Getting a good night’s rest seems impossible. Seniors can be extremely sensitive to things like temperature and light changes. The National Institute of Health says older people get less sleep and the quality of the rest is not as good as for younger individuals. After age 60, nearly half of seniors experience difficulty sleeping. We talk about four ways the elderly can get the most out of a nap or a night’s rest below.
Warm up the feet to stay cozy
Surprisingly, many people find cold extremities keep them awake. If you always have cold feet, then maybe a thick pair of socks, compression hose, or heated stockings can make a difference. Most heat loss comes out of the top of the head, so wearing a cap to sleep may help some people who can tolerate the feeling while slumbering.
Add thermal room darkening curtains to the bedroom
Nothing disrupts a good nap or a night’s sleep than a bright light. When your sleep rhythm is off, it may be necessary to nap during the day. To get the best rest while the sun is up, a set of light-reducing drapes can make a huge difference. Using a brand with thermal linings can reduce any drafts from windows keeping the bedroom temperature more even. Plus, the curtains can help save energy costs by reducing heat transfer.
Splurge for an adjustable mattress
Mattress sales offer the biggest discounts around the holidays and at the end of winter. Early spring works when you need to find a deal on replacing your bed. If your mattress is over eight years old, then it is a good idea to upgrade your bed. Selecting a model with cooling technologies or functions like raising and lowering the head and legs can make getting to sleep easier. Some people say they get a better nights sleep because they can stay asleep longer without achy legs or stiffness in the back and hips.
Use ambient sound makers
Do you have a favorite nighttime noise like crickets or frogs? Maybe the sound of rain on a tin roof or a river babbling over pebbles is soothing. Ambient sound machines are helpful for some seniors who need white noise to drift off to sleep. Sleep apps and playlists on Internet music sites can also help a person drown out the ringing in the ears to get more sleep.
While we lose the refreshing feeling of sleep as we age, there are things we can do to get a better night’s sleep. Making the room and the bed comfortable is an excellent start. Choosing a quiet place and introducing welcome sounds is another way to fall asleep faster. Individuals with dementia and other health issues may not sleep well at night. Creating a comfortable space for napping at any hour may help older individuals get a better quality of rest.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
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October 2, 2019
By Brooke Chaplan
For seniors, maintaining a level of independence can sometimes mean that changes need to be made in their home. The good thing is that there are lots of ways that you can go about taking care of yourself or a family member who is aging. Here are just a few of the things that can be done around your home so that seniors don’t have to sacrifice their independent lifestyle.
Consider Clothing Selection
What clothes are available affects independence and a feeling of self-identity. For example, a button-down shirt can be easier to manage than something that has to be put on over one’s head. Selecting clothing that’s easy to put on and remove means that seniors can maintain their independence for a longer period of time. Slip-on shoes are another good option so that people don’t have to bend down to tie the laces.
Install Safety Features
Taking precautions around the house will make it easier for seniors to stay in their own home. For example, installing grab bars in the bathroom will allow the elderly to get ready for the day without assistance. They can also prevent seniors from experiencing a fall and not being able to get back up. Improving the quality of lighting around the house can also work to prevent an accident from occurring. Remove rugs or tape them to the floor to eliminate the chances of slipping.
Use Technology Wisely
There are lots of options when it comes to technology that can help seniors around the house. For example, voice activated assistants can be programed to turn on and off electronic devices or the lights around the house as well as control the locks on your doors. Another good feature to have is an emergency call button. This could be something that your loved one wears or even a motion sensor that you have installed. It could call for help if it didn’t detect movement after a certain period of time, which could be a life-saving tool if someone falls or has a stroke.
Employ Assistance Options
In-home assistance can be a lifesaver when you’re struggling with the day-to-day tasks. For example, housekeeping, lawn maintenance, or grocery shopping services can be utilized so that you have one less thing to worry over. There are also other types of services in which an aide can come to your home and help you with personal hygiene or meal preparation. All of these services are designed to help the elderly stay in their homes for as long as possible.
People don’t have to lose their independence when they become older. Use these ideas to help you think of how you can help an elderly friend or loved one maintain their independence, which will improve their mental health and stability.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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September 25, 2019
By Meghan Belnap
Aging is not a process that you can stop. You can, however, determine where and how you spend your time as you get older. While many like to stay in the home in which they’ve lived for years, others feel the need to move elsewhere as they get older. Below are just a few of the pros and cons of aging in place.
One of the biggest reasons why many choose to age in their own homes is because it’s familiar. It’s nice to be around the places and things that you’ve come to know, even if it might be a little harder to get around than it once was. There’s a lot to be said for being in the place that makes you feel the most comfortable, even if doing so might have some drawbacks. Thankfully, even if it isn’t a perfectly designed facility, there are a lot of ways to alter your home to make it easier for aging.
Con: Access to Care
It can be somewhat more difficult to get the care that you need if you choose to stay in your own home. This is particularly true when it come to high-quality medical machinery that you may need. If your needs are beyond what elderly home care assistance can provide, then staying at home may not be for your. However, if your needs are more basic and don’t require a lot of medical equipment, then having someone care for you in your own home can be a lot more comfortable than living in a specialized facility.
Pro: Access to Family
Being close to the people you love matters. Those who choose to stay in their own homes tend to do so because they can be close to friends and family, and doing so also allows them the chance to visit whenever they like. The thought of being somewhere that makes it less likely for people to visit is one that many people prefer to remain in their own homes rather than go away to an external facility.
Con: Emotional Isolation
Living at home does, however, come with its own isolating drawbacks. Care facilities are full of other aging individuals who are going through the same stage of life as you, and many elderly care homes have activities and access to recreational facilities easily available specifically for these people. At home, however, you may be surrounded by a much younger generation with a very different culture and view of life than you. Therefore, if you do decide to age at home, you’ll want to find ways to network with other senior citizens to avoid that sense of emotional isolation.
Choosing to age in place is, at its heart, a personal decision. While there are certainly pros and cons, how they should be weighed is up to the individual. As you get older, it’s important to take some time to think about the kind of lifestyle that you want to live and what kind of environment will give you the best chance to stay happy and healthy.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.
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September 5, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
When you are responsible for finding home care for a loved one, you will want to find caregivers who you can trust. Fortunately, there are other individuals who have had the same situation, and they offer excellent advice for finding the right type of care for your loved one. Here are five tips that you can use to help you find a great caregiver.
Talk to a Physician
When you have an appointment with the senior’s physician, you can ask about the best way to find a caregiver. A physician can provide information about senior care services for patients with dementia conditions, brain trauma from a stroke or terminal conditions such as cancer. Call each nursing home to learn more about the services, and also, schedule appointments to visit the nursing homes.
Ask Your Friends
Many adults are caring for older relatives, so you can ask your friends about the caregivers that they use. Some cities have senior day care centers where you can take a loved one while you are working. There are also organizations that have volunteers who will assist with senior home care occasionally. Make a list of the different places that are recommended by your friends so that you can contact each place for more information.
You can contact an agency that has a list of trained caregivers available. These individuals have already had criminal background screening, and the office staff at the agency has verified that the caregivers have references. In just a few days, you can have a great caregiver for your loved one who recently had surgery or has dementia. Elderly home care is available each day, or you may need part-time services instead.
It is important to interview the caregivers to find an individual who meets the needs of the senior citizen. Some caregivers excel at caring for individuals with physical problems such as severe arthritis while others are able to cope better with a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease. Finding the right caregiver can make your loved one happier and healthier.
Consult with the Senior Citizen
Your loved one should provide some input into selecting a caregiver. Remember that you probably won’t stay in the home all of the time to observe what is going on, so they should select a caregiver instead. Despite having a dementia condition or physical health issues, it is essential for your loved one to have a good experience with selecting a caregiver.
It is a good idea to maintain communication with a caregiver by making telephone calls occasionally, or alternatively, by stopping by your loved one’s home at different times of the day or the night.
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August 21, 2019
By Meghan Belnap
Aging in Place: Top 4 Qualities in the Ideal House for Retirement
Retirement is a challenging time that can be made less stressful if retirees already live in a home that’s designed to meet their needs. While homeowners can renovate their property to better suit this new stage in their life, it’s often easier to search for a home that is already appropriate for retirement and its unique challenges. Keep the following in mind when shopping for a home perfect for with retirement.
Choose a Home with Wide Hallways
Aging makes it harder for homeowners to get around the house. Furthermore, along with old age comes the need to use the likes of canes and wheelchairs. Homes with wider hallways will make it easier to use these new tools and will also reduce the likelihood of injury.
Find a House with No Stairs
When on the hunt for properties that are better suited for retirement, homeowners should look for properties without stairs. While stairs may make a property more appealing for younger and larger families, homes with stairs and multiple levels aren’t ideal for retiring individuals as they can easily lead to falls and similar accidents. As such, homeowners searching for the best properties for retirees should consult with local real estate services to help them find one-story homes in their area.
Pick a Property with Handrails
Though handrails aren’t always a common find in most homes, buyers that are of retirement age should keep this feature in mind. Having handrails in potentially dangerous areas around the house will make it simpler for homeowners to navigate the property. For example, as older people tend to fall easily when in the shower, it’s ideal to have homes already designed with handrails as their presence will help to eliminate the likelihood of falls.
Buy a Home with Access to Natural Lighting
In addition to being designed with homeowners’ safety in mind, properties that are ideal for retirement also offer health benefits to its inhabitants. Homes built with ample windows will have increased access to natural lighting. This allows homeowners access to vitamin D, an essential nutrient that will help improve one’s mental and emotional state.
The right house will make easing into one’s retirement less of a challenge and more of a transition. These properties help to limit any unnecessary dangers while providing homeowners with benefits that will improve their overall quality of life. Keep this guide in mind as you search for the right home for retirement.
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August 19, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
As we age, a lot of things change. Our hearing and eyesight may not be as sharp, and our mobility could be reduced. Meanwhile, we typically spend more time at home because we’re retired. This combination means that it is more important than ever to be safe at home, and these four tips can help you achieve that.
Keep It Simple
The last thing you probably want is to make your home feel like a fortress, even though you’d like it to be as safe as one. The more things you can add without creating extra effort for yourself, the more effective your safety plan will be.
Choose a home security alarm system that is easy to activate and deactivate. The more codes and buttons you need, the less likely you are to arm it. Get smoke detectors that are hard-wired to reduce battery demands, and think about installing some “smart home” controls to help you improve security when you’re away.
Ramp Up Your Security
With such great technology available today, home security systems can provide you with much better protection. Video systems can capture clear footage of intruders and trespassers. The system can also link to your phone while you’re away.
Think about your lifestyle and what would help your alarm system serve you better, and then add on the features that will benefit you the most.
Increase Security in Unused Spaces
As your kids grow up and move away, some large areas of your home may no longer be used regularly. As a result, these areas may have insufficient security.
If you have bedrooms that are rarely used, make sure not only to lock their windows but also their doors to further complicate a break-in attempt. The basement door that the kids always entered can now be dead bolted, and outdoor lights that once were too bright in the kids’ rooms can now be installed.
Remove Fall Hazards
It seems that we sometimes learn to ignore certain safety hazards that we have worked around for years. Slipping area rugs, dangling power cords, and poorly-lit areas only need to be dangerous one time to cause an injury.
Have someone walk in and around your home, looking for the things that you have gradually tuned out. Let them help you correct hazards. After all, you only have to fix it once to be safer every day.
Home safety is all about getting things in place and allowing them to work while you go about your daily routines. A few simple steps like these will greatly improve your safety as a senior.
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July 19, 2019
By Anica Oaks
You may have heard the saying, “Grow old gracefully,” but there are many changes that occur as you move beyond middle age and into your golden years. Your 60s, 70s and beyond will be filled with various psychological and physical changes and challenges. Asking for help can make you feel weak, but you aren’t. It’s a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize when you can no longer do something on your own.
Understand How Age Changes Things
You were probably taught from an early age that it’s important to be independent. Asking for help can make us feel like we’ve failed somehow, and you may worry that you’ll look weak and be a burden to your loved ones.
Getting older comes with some inevitable changes, and it’s important to accept these facts rather than try to go against them. Your health may decline, or you might have to live with a health condition like arthritis. You may also be dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation now that your children are grown. If you are widowed, then facing the rest of your life by yourself can trigger deep feelings of sadness that may turn into depression.
Recognize What You Need
Are you physically struggling to get around like you used to? Maybe going up the stairs is too painful or strenuous now. Perhaps you have emotional needs that aren’t being met, but you don’t want to bother people by calling them up just to talk.
Maybe you notice some health symptoms that weren’t there before; do you have frequent chest pains, feel dizzy or have become more forgetful than you used to be? It’s natural to want to ignore these things and write them off, but getting help early can make you happier and protect your well-being.
Finding the Right Resources
The last thing you may want to do is move into a care home, but they are not all like hospitals or filled with sick seniors. Instead, there are many retirement villages and facilities that offer round-the-clock assistance while still giving you plenty of space and independence.
For those who do not have any close family or friends they can reach out to, exploring elderly home care options can make you feel empowered and give you the help you need. Make sure that you are vocal about everything that’s bothering you; it’s possible for loneliness, sadness and even fear of the future to make us come off as cold and distant.
Don’t allow yourself to become closed off from the world. As you progress through the next stage of your life, be open to asking for help, receiving love and being in the presence of others as much as you can.
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April 25, 2019
Courtesy of Kara Masterson
Chances are that you know someone who has entered the elderly phase of life. It can seem difficult to watch older members of society struggle to do tasks that younger people take for granted. Fortunately, voice guided technology can help the elderly to function more effectively in their daily lives. Here are three reasons why voice guided technology is involved in servicing the ongoing care of this segment of the population.
When the Elderly Fall
Often, the elderly can experience a major fall when no one else is around. This can be a dangerous situation for many people who live alone. Fortunately, modern advancements in voice guided technology makes it possible for older members of society to reach out for help in these situations. It turns out that a device like Alexa in the home can be a useful tool for aiding a fallen elderly person who needs to call for help in an emergency. Not only is Alexa capable of being voice commanded to do tasks, but it is a very affordable option that even retired persons can take advantage of in their homes as well.
At Home Medical Monitoring
Another area where voice guided technology is beneficial to the elderly arises with the need to monitor and interact with the health needs of these individuals. This is an important area of advancement, because many elderly people cannot easily drive themselves to doctor’s appointments. However, they may still require regular medical care as in the case where a patient uses a Home Kidney Dialysis Machine to perform peritoneal dialysis. Such devices can guide the patient with step by step verbal instructions to ensure the proper outcome.
Voice guided technology is opening up digital access to the elderly. This can be mostly seen in how this technology is helping this segment of the population stay connected with family, friends and access information online. Due to the fact that so many elderly people are blind or visually impaired, voice guided technology can make it possible for these individuals to use modern phones and even successfully navigate and interact on popular social media-based websites. As a result, this provides an elderly person with the ability to access information and communicate with anyone they desire like everyone else. These kinds of barriers have been eliminated by the use of screen reading software that talks to a user and by voice recognition software that gives an elderly user voice command-based control over an Internet ready device.
Growing old is no longer the isolated situation it used to be. Modern devices are using voice guided technology to allow these individuals to live more fulfilling lives. From meeting at home healthcare needs to providing older individuals with a broad range of entertainment and social avenues with which to occupy their time, voice guided technology has truly redefined what it means to enjoy life after retirement.
November 7, 2018
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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 with 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:
- Age: you or surviving spouse must be 65 or older or officially disabled if younger.
- 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.
- World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975
- Gulf War: August 2, 1990-Undetermined
- 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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