July 16, 2020
Sponsored by: EasyLiving Fl Home Care & Care Management
Do you dread getting on the phone with your elderly parents? Is every visit filled with complaints? Are you left feeling you can do nothing right? Today, our experts will share common complaints from elderly parents and the underlying emotions. Understanding what’s behind the complaints will reveal solutions. We’ll address seven key complaints. And, we’ll offer ideas, resources, and options.
“You’re always in a rush.”
Other related complaints you might hear include: “I never see the grandkids anymore.” Or, “Why don’t you have time for me?”
This and other complaints may have their roots in loneliness. About half of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis. Have your elderly parents cut down on favorite activities? They may be bored and isolated, which leads to them focusing on you.
On the other hand, they might feel rushed during the time you do have together. Maybe rightly so. You likely have a lot of tasks and competing demands. You’re just trying to be helpful and get things done for them. But, it’s easy to become a taskmaster and lose the normal parent-child relationship.
- A senior companion/concierge service can help Mom or Dad continue their favorite activities. Our companions have great success engaging elders and offering them a new lease on life.
- Give yourselves the gift of quality time. Enlist someone to handle certain tasks so you can set aside “us time”. You could hire a care manager to attend doctor’s appointments or organize paperwork, a gardener/lawn service, or a caregiver to do light housekeeping or grocery shopping. There may be community services, friends or family members who can help out too.
- Schedule a regular time together. This might be a weekly dinner or outing. If you live far away, plan to Skype/Facetime once a week to catch up. Put it on your calendar and theirs. Set aside focused time. This may help to cut down on phone calls when you’re distracted by a million things.
- Check out two great books on this topic, with ideas for handling these conversations. How to Say it to Seniors by David Solie and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders by Mary Pipher
“You never help me.”
Some elderly parents don’t say this directly but have a lot of complaints about things that need to be done. Or, the conversational tone will always be “woe is me” or martyrdom. They might complain about how tired they are or list all their tasks. Other parents pointedly talk about all the marvelous things that their neighbor’s son does for him.
Help for you both
You probably do a lot for them. And, you’re probably stretched thin with all your roles. It’s not a cop-out to hire someone to help. You don’t want your elderly parents hurting themselves doing things they shouldn’t. But, the reality is you can’t do it all either…and still be the son/daughter.
Pick out a few key tasks and bring in some help. Explain your boundaries and ask them to give it a try. Enlist help from a sibling or professional if you get resistance. Alternatively, get them to try it for a project or short-term need. You can’t control how they behave, but you’re in control of your boundaries and how you react. However, because we have a long, often complicated, history with our parents this can be tough. If you’re struggling, consider talking this through with a professional.
“You just want to put me in a home.”
This is often accompanied by complaints about other people’s kids or today’s society. “How awful, they just dump their elderly relatives in a home.” They may tell you horror stories of someone’s facility experiences.
Don’t promise something specific that might not be realistic. For example, don’t say “I will NEVER let you go to a facility.” Instead, reassure them that this isn’t your intention and suggest meeting with a professional to make a plan.
You can actually turn this complaint into an opportunity! Get a geriatric care management assessment to make an “aging in place plan”. The care manager will assess the home for possible safety issues. She will suggest resources. (Check out our aging-in-place checklist for some recommended resources.) The plan will prioritize what needs to be done now along with future planning. Clients and families both find this process hugely reassuring.
“You’re always nagging me. Stop telling me what to do. I’m not your child.”
Every nice chat turns into a fight. You are just trying to tell Mom what she needs to do to stay healthy. A genuine concern about Dad’s safety makes him feel like he is being disrespected. The dynamics of eldercare can be quite complicated. After all, these are your parents, not your children.
It’s all in the approach
Get some advice on how to approach the situation. You might just do a phone consult with a care manager to start. Or, you might want the reassurances of that comprehensive assessment.
Here is a small snippet of one family’s success story getting “unstuck” with the help of a care manager:
Julie (care manager) was especially helpful as we all flew in for a “loving intervention”. If it were not for Julie’s one-on-one time with our mother, and the wise counsel and respect she gave to her, I am convinced we would still be stuck…and sick with worry. Instead, Julie empowered Mom to face the next chapter of her life. She also coached us on how to have a loving intervention…
“I’m completely trapped now that I can’t drive.”
Driving was the main lunchtime topic on a recent visit to my grandfather. He willingly, though reluctantly, gave up driving. His memory is a little muddy as to how that came about at times, but he never forgets the loss. Fortunately, the family made an action plan before even approaching the driving conversation. He has a driver all lined up to help with trips that are not included at his retirement community. He set aside the funds from selling his car to pay for this.
Drive to thrive
If your parent is reliant on you or friends for rides, they will complain. Wouldn’t you? Furthermore, the results may be worse if they don’t complain about it but simply withdraw from activities. A lot of unhappiness and complaining may stem from being lonely and depressed. Make sure to set up a realistic plan so they can thrive without driving. This may include some combination of senior transportation services and a private driver.
Ride services provide a lot of freedom, especially for on-demand rides. Until recently, that required having a smartphone and navigating an app. Not all elderly parents want to (or can) do that. Now, you can request Uber and Lyft from a computer. Or even better, EasyLiving with Lyft Concierge can handle it all for you with just a phone call!
Does Dad constantly talk about what a disappointment your brother is? Or, does Mom pit you against (or compare you to) your siblings? On the other hand, you may find yourself in an ongoing battle with your siblings. Perhaps you are not on the same page regarding what Mom and Dad need. Or, one of you lives nearby and the other far away. The caregiving situation may seem unbalanced.
It may be time to get someone to intervene. A good resource to get started is this article our care management team wrote about dealing with family conflict in eldercare.
“I’m tired of eating TV dinners.”
A lot goes into meal preparation. This can get tough as someone gets older. It’s also difficult cooking for one. Plus, elderly parents’ appetites and nutritional needs often change. And moreover, most people don’t like eating alone. All this adds up to many seniors eating TV dinners or subsisting solely on snacks and sweets.
- Use a grocery delivery service like Shipt to deliver fresh foods. Eliminate the hassle of shopping. The healthier foods in the house, the less likely they’ll turn to canned goods and frozen meals.
- Hire a meal prep caregiver to come in four hours/week. She can do some light housekeeping and prepare healthy meals for the week.
- Plan a Sunday lunch together. Enjoy a weekly meal where you prepare some of Mom or Dad’s favorites. Stash some leftovers for them to eat throughout the week, or provide some extra meals they can reheat. More than the food itself, the focused time together matters (see #1).
- If you live far away or sense your elderly parents hate eating alone, consider hiring someone for both meal prep and companionship. If you already have a caregiver involved, take this into consideration in scheduling. Sometimes we think of tasks Mom needs to be done but forget about this key ingredient. Why not have the caregiver come around lunch or dinner so they can also provide mealtime companionship?
Check out more ideas, including meal delivery services, in our post How To Help Dad with Better Nutrition: Three Delicious Ways.
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April 29, 2020
We can safely say we are in a holding pattern for several more weeks.
Keeping that in mind, you may find yourself in a constant state of working hard to keep things fresh within your communities.
It is now more important than ever to have a plan to engage, entertain and keep your residents and your staff active daily.
Please don’t forget to include the staff, it is more important than ever to keep them motivated and happy on the job.
Setting up a weekly schedule of themes, decorations, activities and engagement will make a difference.
Once again, your SeniorLivingGuide.com team have drafted a few more ideas to share with your Program Directors, Marketers and Admin staff. Get everyone involved. This can really be a fun time!
- Play Dear Abby & Dear Arnold – Get some poster Boards and Big Markers – Pick a Topic, (such as – How do you not get gray hair? What’s the best way to lose weight? Best place to Honeymoon and why? Best advice your mama gave. ) Take pics of residents holding signs with their advice – make a video of all their advice. Send out on Social Media – email to families.
- Cook Off – Each Resident submits their favorite recipe (dessert/salad/veggie/main course) for the Chef to pick from–Or your Chef gets creative and puts out a list to be voted on by the residents for something fun at Lunch every Friday. Everyone votes and the Chef makes. Will help bring diversity to the menu and residents love food.
- Elf on the Shelf re-appears – Who says the elf has to be good all year, dig him out of the Christmas box and let him get into mischief. The night shift is responsible for his next naughty move. Residents will love looking for him each day when they go for a walk.
- Decorate your Door Day – Have your residents get creative – Wrapping Paper, Tin Foil, Pictures or Drawings – Use Butcher Plain Paper and let residents and staff write little notes to each other on the doors.
- Poker Run- 5 Card Stud – (make sure you know how many rooms/people are playing and how many decks you will need) At Breakfast Everyone gets their first card, Mid-morning a second card is dealt to each resident, Lunch a third, Mid-day a forth and Dinner the fifth card. Top four hands win prizes. If you do not want to spread it out over the day, it can be a hallway activity. (use a unique decorated back deck that no one has, here are some on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YFCH1QM/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_ZPEHEbEYBF7QJ ).
- If you allow Pets – Resident/Pet of the Week – Have residents submit picture and story – let others vote to elect a community “pet of the week” – Get a cute little toy for the Pet of the Week – Post Pics of pet and owner on Social Media with their story and share with others to post.
- Patio Play – With an amplifier or intercom system – Do Patio/Balcony Games – Simon Says is always a fun one, the fall back is Bingo but when you start thinking you can get creative. Have a Balcony/Patio Dance. – Check out what The Talbot on Granby did. https://www.facebook.com/TalbotOnGranby/videos/236927574117784/
- Shooting Range – Outside Time, set up tables (6 ft. apart) a bucket of water and some targets or empty water bottles as targets. Squirt gun competition – who doesn’t love a good squirt gun, always a party favorite.
- Window Paint day – Using the individual small trays of water color and a paint brush (38 sets for $39 on Amazon – Bulk Water Color Paint Party Pack)- Let Residents Paint their window. You can also set up one special window and tape it off to do the Stained Glass Window we have seen on Social Media.
- Show Horses – Its time to have a horse show- decorate brooms – get several employees to participate. Set up a silly obstacle course outside the building that is viewable from room windows. – Have the participating Staff ride the halls on their decorated brooms before the show. Outside have each Horseman weave in and out of lawn chairs, have little signs here and there “stop” “hop 3 times” “spin right spin to the left” “stop and tip your hat” get creative throw in some dance moves. Make it so everyone can enjoy from their window and cheer as the riders go by waving to the residents being silly and fun.
Last but Not Least – “Let’s Dance” – Your Staff need to enjoy the day as well, having your lunch servers break into a simple line dance or skit keeps things light and fun (don’t forget to get the video and post on Social Media)
If you do any of the activities that our SeniorLivingGuide.com staff has recommended, please share pictures or video with us by emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to share your community’s story via social. We will tag your community if you so wish! Our social accounts can be a positive marketing extension of your brand during the Covid-19 pandemic. #weareallinthistogether
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March 26, 2020
By Karen Cassidy
I shake my head when I see that we are using the words “community” “distance” and “social” in one sentence.
This is our new reality, at least for the time being, and it is important to keep seniors engaged and active. One of the biggest challenges is to make sure that we are doing our best to make sure that this crisis does not affect them emotionally as well.
We all know about FaceTime, Skype and other video visits with family, which are imperative. Maybe you are even doing visits through a glass window. Putting aside the family visits through electronics and glass windows, are you able to get creative with games, fun, laughter and interaction in the other times with so much on your plate?
Are you sharing the fun times and activities that you are having on your social media?
Social Media allows you to connect and share your most authentic community experience with your families and future residents.
We know that marketing right now is hard to do the traditional way. In this ever changing environment, we are forced to learn new ways to effectively engage with our audience.
These caregivers and family members are checking out your social media to see what you are doing now. If you are not sharing, are you shortchanging them?
Sharing on your Social media through images, video, and stories will not only connect your current residents’ family with their loved ones, but it will work to benefit your community in the future. Future residents will look at your social media and how you dealt with this pandemic and the activities that took place in your community as part of their decision.
Make it work for you in the future. Our future families will be asking us about how we handled this time.
Do not forget that while we are in very strange days, marketing your community does not stop. How you market just changes.
We have loved seeing all the different ideas from all over the country shared on Social Media, our Team at SeniorLivingGuide.com has a few ideas of our own that we will be sharing with you. We hope that these are great ideas to help get your creative juices flowing and help provide quality content for your social while making happy, healthy, smiling residents!
Ideas or happy, healthy, and smiling Residents and Staff!
- Joke of the Day – When staff clock in, have a clipboard on the wall with Corny/Cheesy jokes – each member of the staff picks a joke a day and crosses it off the list and as they go through their day they share their corny joke of the day with everyone they meet. (check out https://www.quickfunnyjokes.com/cheesy.html)
- Staff Dress Up Days – fun and whimsical for everyone (Residents can vote for their favorite Staff Member “Dress Up”)
- Hat Day for Residents – everyone can decorate their hat/crown – a member of staff goes around and snaps pictures – if you have a closed channel on TV post the pictures here for everyone to enjoy – post to social media (Amazon – Crowns 40 for $15 or Gangsta hats 24 for $15)
- Mustache Day – staff and/or residents wears a stick on mustache (amazon pkgs of 60 are 8.99) – take more pics and social media them. Print up a collage and share with residents.
- Resident Newsletter – If you do not have a Resident Newsletter now is the time to start one. Let the residents share pictures, recipes, stories and other items of interest in a weekly 2-3 page newsletter.
- Balloons – Anything you do with balloons is always fun until they pop. Plastic Fly Swatters from the Dollar Tree and some Balloons make a nice Mock Tennis game and you can maintain social distance – clear a spot in the dining room for a fun game or two. Do you have a helium tank? Do a four-five balloon bouquet and take to each resident’s room. Just having balloons make everyone happy.
- Storyteller… Do you have residents that are great storytellers? Readers? Put them on the intercom let them read a little story, tell a little tale. Set up a sign in sheet for those that want to participate or they can tell a joke.
- 6pm News Broadcast – Have residents put together the weather report for the next day, highlights of daily news inside the community and around the world. Could make it only good news “news” and put them on the intercom or closed circuit TV.
- Mystery Pen Pals – Program Director takes the names of those that want to participate – assign each person a “Game Name” i.e.: Doris Johnson – Game Name is Winnie the Pooh. (use Disney names/star Trek/or old rockers like Elvis) Winnie the Pooh goes into the hat – each person picks a mystery name to write to. Therefore, Winnie the Pooh may pick Donald Duck out of the hat. They cannot share their real name. At the end of the week if you have a close-knit community they can try to guess who they were pen paling with or you can post a page with pictures and their mystery name and real name.
- Outside Fly Time – When residents go outside to enjoy the sunshine have some balsa wood airplanes available – throwing them and retrieving them is great exercise and a lot of fun. (I love amazon – 36 Balsa-Wood Top Gun Glider Model Planes for $44 and you can spray with alcohol to sanitize)
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November 21, 2019
By Anica Oaks
Whether you’re giving care to a loved one or your job is to take care of others, it can get overwhelming by the end of the week. By having a plan of ways to refresh your body and mind, you can return to your loved one or patients ready to tackle anything. Here are four suggestions for how to spend your time away at the end of the week to ensure you’re refreshed to start another week.
Spend Some Time Getting Self-Care at the Massage Parlor
Taking care of a disabled person is both mentally and physically exhausting. At the end of the week, you’re going to need to set aside some time for self-care. A great way to help reduce your stress levels and quiet your mind is to get a massage. The physical touch from the masseur along with the release of tension in the body can be just what you need to refresh yourself to start another week of caring for someone else.
Visit with Friends or Family
Just spending some time with loved ones can be a great way to relax after a long week as a caregiver. Whether you plan to meet friends or family at their home or out for dinner, you should opt for picking a place that you would like. It’s best to always schedule some time at the end of the week to share with others who can take your mind off of matters that you are mentally dealing with through your role as a caregiver.
Spend Time Exercising
One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels and feel good about your body is to workout. You don’t have to schedule a harsh workout that you are dreading. Rather, pick a workout type that you enjoy. For example, you can try weightlifting, crossfit, yoga, or Pilates. Just pick an activity that really interests you so that you have something physical to look forward too at the end of the week.
Take a Day Trip Somewhere Fun
The weekend is a great time to adventure into new territory. Decide to take a day trip to somewhere that interests you. This could be a nature park or a casino. The possibilities are really endless. Just pick something that seems interesting to you and go do it. Just planning a day around what you like is a great way to refresh your mind and soul after a hard week.
Hire Extra Help
Taking care of a loved one throughout the week, while rewarding, is also physically and mentally exhausting. When the end of the week comes a caregiver may be looking for relief that doesn’t come that easily. The weekend can even mean extra work, in some instances with additional activities and errands to do. Hiring extra senior care help can lighten the load a few days a week and give you a chance to regroup before the next week starts.
A caregiver has a lot on their plate. Each day can be both physically and mentally taxing. If you find that you’re in need of a refresh at the end of the week, the above four options are great activities to do.
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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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September 17, 2019
By Anica Oaks
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in a loved one can be a disruptive event. You may have many concerns and questions about managing the condition at present and what will happen in the future. Fortunately, family members have several options to ensure their loved one receives appropriate care for their special needs.
Adult Day Care Centers
Adult day care center are a new concept that provides daytime caregiving for seniors and those with memory problems in a stimulating, social environment with trained personnel who supervise activities. Individuals can participate in a variety of group activities, which helps to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Individuals who choose to provide full-time care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s may occasionally have other obligations that take them away from care. Respite care is a system that provides experienced, compassionate care for the loved one, while you are out of town or are taking a break from the demands of caregiving.
Assisted Living Care
Assisted living centers are facilities that offer separate living quarters for residents, but also a range of services to make every life more manageable for them. The facilities generally offer group dining rooms, housekeeping services, group activities and field trips to local events. Assisted living centers offer a measure of independence and privacy, but with ongoing supervision and medical support. They provide careful building security; which can be important for individuals who tend to wander.
At-Home Senior Care
Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes, and home health care agencies offer a variety of services to help these individuals receive necessary care in the comfort of their own homes. You can choose the level of senior care your loved needs and add more features, when needed. In-home caregivers can often be the best solution for working family members who still need to provide care for elders and are concerned about the disruption of changing the loved one’s living situation.
Nursing Home Care
Nursing home care provides comprehensive, 24-hour care for individuals who may be in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and need full time care. These facilities also have the ability to manage the medical problems that are involved in those who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Each family has their own needs, and the care needs of your loved one may change over time. Careful consideration of your loved one’s current situation, and consultation with the individual’s physician, can help you determine the best option to ensure their safety and health.
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September 12, 2019
By Brooke Chaplan
There are different types of caregivers who can care for elderly or ill individuals. When you are considering hiring a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, think about the specialty areas of this health care career. Understanding the different types of caregivers will help you to choose the best individual for the job. Here are five types of caregivers who you can hire for yourself or an elderly loved one.
Live-in Caregiver Services
A live-in caregiver can provide services on a 24-hour basis seven days a week. This individual will live at and sleep in the home for long-term care or for temporary care. This variety of caregiver may also perform a variety of household duties that include cleaning tasks, laundry chores or shopping for food. Live-in caregivers are especially helpful for those who need constant assistance or care, but they do cost more due to the large time commitment involved.
Physical Therapy Caregiver Services
After someone has a stroke or an accident, the individual may need physical therapy care services to regain the use of the affected limbs or other body parts. A caregiver with an understanding of mobility issues can assist a client with exercises or other types of therapeutic services. A licensed physical therapist may teach the caregiver how to assist a client in his or her own home.
Occasional Caregiver Services
If you are responsible for caring for an elderly spouse or grandparent, then you may require respite services occasionally. This type of caregiver is only hired when you need a break from your daily responsibilities, and hiring one can give you a chance to do something different, including having fun for a day, or alternatively, something vital, including taking care of your own health needs. A respite caregiver may come and assist in the home, but can also come to an adult day care or health care facility, or just aide the family caregiver in providing assistance.
Routine Daily Caregiver Services
Infirm clients may need assistance with daily care tasks that include showering, brushing teeth or getting dressed. A caregiver may prepare nutritious meals, help a client eat and wash the dirty dishes. This is often part-time care that is only required for a few hours each day, and it may include having different caregivers throughout the week. This type of caregiver is often required for senior citizens who do not want to move to an assisted living environment.
Professional Transportation Caregiver Services
When an ill or injured individual requires frequent trips to hospitals, physician’s offices or other medical facilities, a professional transportation caregiver service is vital. This type of caregiver service may include having special vans that are equipped with wheelchair lifts and ramps. Some families are able to afford their own vehicles, but sometimes a professional service will be necessary.
How Do You Choose a Caregiver?
Choosing a caregiver can seem complicated, but if you talk to a physician and a home health care agency, then you can learn more about the process of hiring one. Make sure to think both about your needs as a caregiver and either your or your loved ones needs as a patient. Caregivers will be able to help you or a loved one have the assistance and support needed.
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 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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October 18, 2018
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 is 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:
- General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal Pain
- 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
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 seems 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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