Life Force Eldercare Blog Life Force blog offers articles that center around the personal care and lifestyle of the elderly. en-us http://lifeforceeldercare.com/blog_rss.php <![CDATA[Happy Thanksgiving!]]>Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on the things we are thankful for this past year and the year to come. As we reflect on our blessings, Life Force wishes our family, friends, staff, and clients a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It originated as a harvest  festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George WashingtonIt has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Source: Wikipedia

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<![CDATA[Happy Veterans Day!]]>Life Force Eldercare, with sincere appreciation, thanks all veterans for serving and protecting our country. For being willing to sacrifice your life to ensure the freedom of the United States of America.


The History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans - living or dead - but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Veterans Day Facts - Holidays - HISTORY.com

Did You Know

On Veterans Day many establishments offer complimentary services or meals to veterans with an honorable discharge. It is a great way to show gratitude to people who served our great country. The establishment may require proof of service so take along your veterans identification card or DD214.

Google Search: veterans day freebies


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<![CDATA[Planning for the Future: How to Assess Your Long-Term Care Needs]]>For many seniors, planning for retirement and beyond can be difficult, to say the least. It's hard to think about where you might be in five or 10 years and what your needs might be, but it's important to do so in order to prepare as much as possible. Whether you need to think about making changes to your home, your lifestyle, or your health, assessing your needs now will prevent any nasty surprises down the road.

While many seniors want to live at home for as long as possible, health issues or injuries can prevent that or make it much more difficult. Take a look at what your current needs are and whether they are being met by your home. Will there be safety issues if your health declines? What sort of changes can you make to your house to ensure that you and your partner are comfortable both now and in the future? There are also financial issues to consider, especially if you think you might need to downsize your home or pay for long-term care.


Planning for Long-Term Care

Taking a look at your current situation will help you assess where you might be in a few years, which will, in turn, dictate how you prepare for post-retirement. If there are health conditions that run in the family, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about them and look for the best ways to prevent them. Your lifestyle choices can also have an impact on where your health will be in the near-future; smokers, people who work at high-stress jobs, and individuals with a history of drug or substance abuse all face major consequences as they get older. Now is the time to make positive changes in the way you live.

If you plan to age in place, it's imperative that you assess your home and look for places where injury is a risk. These usually include the kitchen, bathrooms, and stairs. Floors should be free of clutter and items like throw-rugs, which can be trip hazards; the bathroom should be fitted with a grab-bar and seat in the shower to help bathing safer. Lighting should be bright in every corner of the house, especially if you have poor vision.

If your home is very large, or if it contains stairs you must climb every day, it's a good idea to consider downsizing to a smaller home that is all one level. This will significantly reduce the risk of falls and injury and will be much easier for you to take care of. Living in a smaller home will also save you money every month on utilities.

You and your spouse may never need long-term care, but it's best to plan for it and be prepared, just in case. Injuries, illness, and disease can occur when you least expect them, making it harder to live independently. Planning now for your own care -- whether it's a home health nurse, an adult daycare, or an aide who comes in to help with household chores -- will help you avoid difficult financial decisions down the road. Click here for more information.

Look at Your Finances

While many people contribute to 401K accounts over the years and put money into savings every month to build a nest egg, it's not always that cut and dry. You may have had some financial setbacks recently, or perhaps you're worried that your finances won't sustain you through retirement. Take a good look at your financial standing with an advisor who can help you calculate exactly what you need for the coming years; this will help you allot money for long-term care should you need it.

Planning for the future can be a scary, stressful undertaking, but it doesn't have to be. Talk to your spouse or partner and work on preparing for the coming years together. Knowing what comes next will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on enjoying your retirement.

Photo via Pixabay by Sylviebliss

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<![CDATA[Benefits of Yoga in Your Golden Years]]>As we age, it is inevitable that we will be unable to perform certain tasks, at least not as quickly and easily as we used to. Your joints might crack and groan when you get out of bed in the morning and you just can't move around as easily. Aging is to blame, but this is not to say that you can't get back a little of that flexibility and feel good doing it. Yoga isn't just for the young – it's for the young at heart, too.


There Are Benefits Galore

Yoga does much more than improve your flexibility. For starters, it can boost your mood. Studies show that practicing yoga has a more positive effect on your mood than other types of exercise, most likely due to the mind/body connection. However, from a scientific standpoint, it increases the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical responsible for regulating mood and feelings of anxiety. In other words, GABA is a mood-boosting antidepressant, so the more you have the better you feel.

Yoga has also been shown to improve balance and mobility in seniors. According to Reuters, which analyzed the results of six yoga trials, "Overall, yoga was linked to a small improvement in balance and a medium improvement in mobility – such as walking speed and how easily a person can get out of a chair." This improved balance and mobility can be linked to a decreased occurrence of falls. Other benefits of yoga include improved bone health, better sleep habits and fewer aches and pains.

Taking the Plunge

Before you give yoga a try, be sure to get the green light from your doctor. Then, start the search for a yoga class. There are likely studios nearby with programs to meet your needs and most will have beginner classes to help you get started. If you'd rather not practice yoga in a group setting, or would just like to be able to exercise from the comfort of home, take advantage of exercise videos and fitness apps that can walk you through a yoga session, in addition to other forms of exercise such as free weights, Pilates, Zumba or meditation. For more ideas on easy ways to exercise from home, click here. You can even set up a space in your home specifically for yoga and meditation. Make sure this room is as relaxing as possible, and keep it away from noisy areas of your home.

For yoga in particular, you might consider taking a class first so that you understand the moves and associated breathing, as well as prevent injury due to a lack of experience and knowledge. A teacher will also be able to show you how to modify poses to meet your abilities, as well as assist you in incorporating helpful props such as blocks, straps, chairs, and walls.

Ease Into It

Yoga isn't all about crazy poses and twisting yourself into a human pretzel. In fact, many types of yoga are actually very gentle. Look for gentle yoga classes such as hatha, restorative, or chair yoga. Hatha yoga is done at a slow pace, making it a great class for beginners to enable you to master the moves without feeling pressured to keep up.

Restorative yoga has slow movements with poses held for a longer period of time so that you can connect with your parasympathetic nervous system and enter a state of deep relaxation. Gentle yoga classes are focused on the movement of your body and breathing awareness, and may include meditation and guided imagery.

Once you take your first class, it will be beneficial for you to continue practicing at home to reap the benefits. Aim for two to three times a week, with a day in between to rest and recover. The key to sticking to it is that you are doing it because it makes you feel good, not because you have to. Find the time of day that works best for you, but understand it is okay to skip a day if you are feeling tired or achy. Yoga teaches you to listen to your body, and this includes knowing when to take a step back.

Yoga is an excellent activity for seniors to try because it's low-impact. Plus, there are plenty of physical and mental health benefits such as increased balance, flexibility and mood. Pick up a yoga mat, head to your local yoga studio and get started.

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<![CDATA[Happy 4th of July]]>Life Force Caregivers for the Elderly wishes everyone a happy 4th of July!


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<![CDATA[Life Force Walks to End Alzheimer's]]>Life Force Caregivers for the Elderly is participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer's - South Jersey Shore in Atlantic City, NJ on October 07, 2018. Take a few moments to visit our website, alz.lifeforceeldercare.com, to learn more about contributing to a great event. Here are some ways you can help.

  1. Donate to team Life Force Senior Care Corporation online or by mailing your donation to 1060 N. Kings Highway, Suite 314, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
  2. Join our team, Life Force Senior Care Corporation, as a walker to raise money for a great cause.

If you have had a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's, then you understand the importance of searching for a cure. If you have not had any experience with Alzheimer's, it is important to know that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. Your chances of developing Alzheimer's or knowing someone diagnosed with the disease increases each year.

Life Force walks to end Alzheimer's because we see the heartaches that families go through when battling Alzheimer's. In fact we have staff who have or had family members struggle with this debilitating disease. It truly is heartbreaking. Take five minutes to visit our website, alz.lifeforceeldercare.com, to be a part of the solution for Alzheimer's. Just $35.00 goes a long way towards the research necessary to find a cure.  Our website will also list upcoming fundraising events and progress towards our team goal.

Thank you for supporting team Life Force Senior Care Corporation!


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Join the conversation: #endalz  #lifeforcealz

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<![CDATA[Stay Mentally Active With These Hobbies For Seniors]]>The top 15 health concerns for seniors include cancer, arthritis and heart disease, showing the importance of a good diet and exercise as you age. However, included in this list are cognitive impairments including Alzheimer's and depression. To avoid the problems of memory-related conditions as well as mental conditions related to social isolation, seniors should find mentally stimulating hobbies. Engaging in the following activities will keep you sharp well into old age, in order to slow the natural deterioration of cognitive faculties.


Photography

For those living in a care home, photography provides a perfect hobby. You don't need to go anywhere as long as you have your own camera. These days, this doesn't have to be anything beyond a decent smartphone, which is now the case for 40% of seniors. Needless to say, this is the kind of hobby or craft that you can fall in love with in a matter of days.

There are two aspects to photography that make it so great for mental stimulation. Firstly, you will have to learn the technicalities of adjusting the camera settings. Secondly, it will require a level of creativity. Photography therefore trains both the rational left-brain traits, while strengthening the creative right-hand side of the brain.

Musical Instruments

As you enter your golden years, it's the perfect opportunity to do all the things you wished you'd done when you were younger. One thing you can do without leaving the house is learning a new instrument. This is often daunting for beginners, but it shouldn't be. Just learning a few simple guitar chords will have you playing some great classics in no time.

Learning an instrument requires a high level of coordination, so it stimulates parts of the brain that may go unused in everyday life. The nerve connections between the visual-spatial, hearing and movement parts of the brain will be strengthened. This helps keep the brain active well into old age, without requiring anything too physically demanding.

Learn a New Language

Another hobby you can take up from the comfort of your own home is learning a new language. You can either have a tutor come to you or use the increasing range of online learning tools. It can be extremely difficult, but learning even a little will improve your communication skills and provide a sense of achievement.

Learning a new hobby as a senior is extremely important. It will keep your brain functioning at its highest, while giving your life more meaning. The above options are a good start, but do your own research to find the most fun activity for you.

Image via Unsplash

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<![CDATA[Life Force In Search of RN Supervisors for New Jersey (NJ)]]>Life Force's New Jersey location is in search of a few nurse supervisors to provide case monitoring for patients located in throughout the state of New Jersey. The Nurse will provide case supervision for homemaker-home health aides, as indicated by agency policies, state and federal laws/regulations. In-home, admission visits and bi-monthly reassessment visits are part of the RN Supervisor duties, as is the development of the Plan of Care. The RN also prepares paperwork necessary for agency policies and federal/state laws and assists with the training and supervision of Homemaker-Home Health Aides.


The RN Supervisor position is per-diem with mileage reimbursement and reports to the Director of Nursing. The hours worked each week fluctuate based upon the amount of assigned cases. The current weekly average of work is between 5-8 hours a week.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more, please contact Life Force.

 

Contact Life Force


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<![CDATA[Out And About: Helping Seniors With Limited Mobility Make The Most Of Springtime]]>Spring is here, and it's the perfect time to enjoy the mild weather and revel in the beauty of nature. Anyone who wants to improve their health and shake off the winter doldrums should take advantage of the mild weather as the Harvard Health Letter reports that being outdoors allows you to get more exercise, improve focus and concentration, and it can even help to boost happiness. Even seniors who need help with ambulation can benefit from the sunshine and fresh air as being outdoors can improve an elderly person's physical and mental health in different ways.

If you have an aging parent or relative with limited mobility, don't fret. There are lots of ways that your loved one can enjoy the great outdoors while staying safe and comfortable. Here's how you can help your senior loved one make the most of springtime.


Have a picnic in the park

Your elderly parent, relative or friend may not be able to go on a hike in the woods, but there's no reason why he or she can't enjoy a picnic in the park. A picnic in the park is an enjoyable outdoor activity for the mobility challenged as it enables people to enjoy nature close to home. Moreover, as most people tend to lose their appetite as they age, a change of surroundings may encourage your parent or relative to eat healthfully again. Pack a picnic basket with your loved one's favorite foods and include a few new treats for variety. Don't forget the picnic blanket and an umbrella in case the weather turns.

Go fishing

Is there a place near your area where you can fish? Then take your senior loved one fishing. The whole process—casting, waiting, and reeling in the fresh catch of the day—can be incredibly soothing for seniors, and the tranquil setting encourages bonding and conversation. Feasting on freshly caught fish is also a way to ensure that your parent or relative gets enough protein in their diet which is essential for overall health.

Visit a botanical or public garden

The sight of lush greenery and colorful blooms can be an effective mood booster for seniors. If there's a botanical or public garden nearby, then a visit can certainly help older adults with mobility issues make the most of the season's gorgeous weather. Before you go, make sure to do some research on whether the public garden is accessible for wheelchair users and for people who use other mobility aids.

Heading outdoors and enjoying nature's wonders can help seniors with mobility issues become healthier and happier over time. Try any or all of these activities and see which one your loved one likes best. Don't forget to bring water and protective clothing for your parent or relative every time you head outdoors and make sure to enjoy spending time with your loved one as both of you make the most of springtime.

Image via Unsplash

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<![CDATA[How to Assess Your Elderly Parent's Daily Caregiving Needs]]>Hiring a caregiver is a wonderful way to improve your elderly parent's quality of life while also managing caregiving expenses. However, without a clear vision of your parent's needs, a caregiver can't make the best use of her time. As the closest family member, it's up to you to assess and communicate your parent's daily caregiving needs.

Assessing daily needs isn't complicated, but it does require you to be thorough. You need to observe all of your parent's daily routines so you can identify the tasks she needs help with. The best way to do this is to spend a few days living with your parent and monitoring as she moves through her daily life.


PBS's Checklist of Activities of Daily Living is a helpful resource for starting to assess your parent's needs. It walks you through daily tasks that everyone must accomplish, like dressing, managing medications, and housework. As you approach tasks that your parent needs help with, make a note of how much assistance is required. For some tasks, she may need someone to take over completely. Other tasks may require assistance from another person, while some just need prompting. You can optimize a caregiver's time by encouraging independence where possible. Checklists are a great tool for allowing seniors to maintain independence in tasks where they're mostly competent but have trouble remembering. For example, you can hang a daily schedule of medications or a checklist of monthly bills with information on how to pay them. That way, the caregiver's time can be focused on the tasks where your parent needs more extensive help.

A daily care plan should also address nutritional needs. According to the National Council on Aging, malnutrition is a common problem for older adults, even when they have the resources to afford a healthy diet. If your parent has specific nutritional needs outlined by her doctor or struggles to plan and prepare a nutritionally balanced diet, providing the caregiver with a meal plan may be the answer. By creating a meal plan, you can address your parent's nutritional needs while also taking dietary preferences into consideration.

As you assess needs, consider your parent's physical capabilities. Just because she can complete a task independently doesn't mean that it's safe. Perhaps your mother's arm brushes the stove top when she reaches for the controls, she has to use a stool to reach upper cupboards, or she struggles to maintain balance getting in and out of the shower. Maintaining a safe home environment for aging in place usually requires home modifications. But since seniors are often reluctant to admit waning ability, it's up to their children to step in and make changes.

For most seniors, the bathroom and kitchen are the most dangerous rooms of the house. If you can only afford limited home modifications, these are the rooms to focus on. Grab bars are one of the simplest ways to prevent slips and falls when using the shower and toilet, while new appliances and reorganized cupboards can enable your parent to cook safely despite physical limitations. Improving lighting throughout the house accommodates diminishing vision, and swapping plush carpets and area rugs for low-pile carpeting and hard floors mitigates fall risk in living areas. In addition to interior modifications, make sure your parent can enter and exit the house safely by creating a stepless entry and adding motion lighting to the home's exterior.

Caregiving is an incredible resource for helping seniors age in the place they're most comfortable—their own home. However, a caregiver's effectiveness is limited by the tools at their disposal. By providing a caregiver with a full picture of your parent's daily needs, you can ensure the highest quality of care possible.

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<![CDATA[3 Things You Can Do to Make Sure Your Aging Loved One Has Enough Help]]>One of the hardest parts of having an aging loved one is ensuring she has enough help. While she may say she is handling daily tasks well, you may have your doubts. Hiring a caregiver or becoming a caregiver for your senior loved one is one way to make sure she has the assistance she needs to take care of herself. We offer other suggestions for making sure your aging loved one has enough help here, to put your mind at ease.


1. Provide Companionship

If your senior loved one does not have a caregiver, but you are concerned that she needs more help, consider becoming a family caregiver. You will need to determine how much time you can spend with your loved one and which of her needs you can meet and which you will need support in providing.

Sometimes, adult children share caregiving responsibilities; other times, they hire a caregiver to ensure loved ones have as much help as needed. For tips on hiring a caregiver, check out this guide from AARP.

Beyond helping your loved one with activities of daily living, caregivers provide her with companionship and help stave off depression. Seniors who age in place alone can become very lonely, and the risk of developing depression increases as people age due to health problems, a weakened sense of purpose, loneliness, fear of dying, and loss of loved ones, among other causes. Overall, caregivers provide seniors with much-needed companionship.

2. Assess Your Loved One's Needs

Whether you are providing care for your loved one or have hired someone else to do it, you need to monitor her well-being carefully to make sure she has enough help. For example, your loved one may eat well when the caregiver is present, but she may skip meals when she is lonely. Or, she may not be able to get dressed or complete other activities of daily living without assistance.

To assess her needs, begin by having an honest conversation with her about your concerns. Keep in mind that while she may not be willing to admit that she needs more help, you likely will have enough information from the discussion to determine whether she is struggling. Be observant when you are in her home and look for signs that she needs additional help. A Place for Mom recommends looking for piles of mail, spoiled food, or other things that are out of the ordinary in your loved one's home. Also, talk to other people who are involved in her care, such as medical providers and other caregivers. You may determine that your loved one needs full-time, live-in help.

3. Get Your Loved One a Service Dog

Another way to provide companionship and care for your senior loved one is to get her a service dog. Service dogs help people with a variety of needs, from those who have sight issues, to those who live with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Therapy dogs also are available for people of any age with physical and mental disabilities.

If you think that your senior loved one needs more companionship, especially when a caregiver is not present, talk to her doctor about getting a service or therapy dog. He will help you find local agencies and services to connect you with a service dog. He also will review the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of having a service or therapy dog for your aging loved one, including getting more exercise by playing with the dog, lowering blood pressure and stress by petting the dog, gaining emotional stability during stressful situations and reducing anxiety and depression, and having a renewed sense of purpose to care for the dog.

It is difficult to know exactly how to provide help and care for a senior loved one who is aging in place. Begin by providing companionship and assistance through a caregiver. Then, assess her needs to determine whether she needs live-in help or a service or therapy dog.

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<![CDATA[Making Technology Senior Friendly]]>Technology is our way of "keeping up" with an increasingly hectic world. With it, we have the tools to stay as up-to-date as we can manage; without it, we're left to mainly fend for ourselves. Technology - specifically the internet - is considered the supreme tool of a younger generation, though there's no reason for it to be age-restricted. As it turns out, seniors also want to join in on the fun.

Today, four-in-ten seniors now use smartphones, which is more than double the share observed in 2013. This is a sign that seniors want to get into the tech game - they might just need someone like you to teach them.

Whether you're caring for a senior family member or loved one, or if you've recently begun offering your services as a family caregiver, teaching a senior how to use a new technology offers them a huge lifestyle improvement.

Of course, this path of education should be taken on carefully. After all, seniors come from a time long before the internet. If you're looking for some key teaching points, scroll down and we'll start you off in the right direction.


Use Familiar Concepts

Teaching a senior how to use the internet is like dropping them in a foreign country with no notion of its language or geography. Learning how to navigate online is especially difficult if the senior has no frame of reference. As you begin to educate your senior, think of introducing them to tech-related ideas by using what they're familiar with as a framework. 

For instance, when introducing web addresses, you can compare them to street addresses. Just as we use street addresses to direct us to where we need to go, web addresses also pertain to a certain online area. 

Rather than grasping to understand digital concepts afloat in the abstract, a senior's introduction to modern technology will be much smoother if they compare what they're learning to what they already know.

Touch Screens Are More Intuitive

The elderly experience a much smoother learning curve when using a tablet compared to a traditional computer. Touch screens are much more naturally picked up than the drag-and-click functions of a mouse, not to mention their convenient portability. Seniors also tend to be far less intimidated by the lack of wires. Keep in mind that, even when presented with the conveniences of touch screens, it's important for seniors to be taught the basics of their technology patiently and thoroughly before diving in by themselves.

Relevance Before Detail

If your senior is new to technology, they'll likely be overwhelmed by the specifics of most tasks that you're introducing them to. As you teach them the ropes of the internet, keep in mind that they're turning to technology for practicality or entertainment. Explain the practical value of a gadget, app or website before giving them a run-down of its mechanics. 

For example, if you're giving them a run-down of Facebook, start by taking them through the profiles of their family members. After being shown how easy it is to navigate the website, your senior will have an idea of what they're trying to learn. They'll have more patience to soldier through the technological details, and they'll be much more eager to learn how to use the software themselves.

Get the Lingo Down-Packed

Since the rise of the internet, we're now using a number of terms that, before mass inter-connectivity, were seldom needed. Terms like 'upload', 'URL', 'cookies' and browser are mainstays in internet-speak, though they won't mean much of anything to the uninitiated senior. Don't scare your senior off by asking them to load up the browser and type in a URL. As you begin to help them transition to a more tech-savvy lifestyle, set them on the right track by creating a list of popular internet terms kept close to their computer.

Be Wary of Hidden Costs

Thankfully, most services on the internet are free - daily news, YouTube videos, Facebook, etc. Seniors will be pleased to hear this, coming from a generation used to paying money for a service or piece of content. Still, it's important to urge them to read the fine print if they're unsure whether an online service costs any money.

Battery Life Reminder

Older technologies required constant charging in order to be used. Now, our devices can be loaded to function all day through a simple overnight charge. When introducing your senior to new technologies, it's important for them to understand how their batteries work. 

Ensure that your senior understands how and when to charge their device, and teach them to subsequently monitor its battery life in order to avoid over-charging. Let them know the importance of conserving battery life, but make sure they aren't shutting their devices down between usage, since this will prevent their friends and family from contacting them.

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<![CDATA[Disaster Planning for Live-In Aides And Their Elderly Clients]]>In October 2017 I took an opportunity to travel to Corpus Christi, Texas to offer my assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. What I witnessed was complete devastation, as Hurricane Harvey had no mercy with its path of destruction. I witness people grieving the loss of their homes, belongings, pets and, for some, a loved one. A home is the symbol of our hard work, memories, familiarity and security. It is our safe haven. What took a lifetime to build was leveled in a matter of minutes leaving many asking, "Where do we go from here?"

Going through a disaster like Hurricane Harvey is a life changing experience. We can never predict the next disaster; yet there are ways we can prepare and respond which could save our life or the lives of those we love.


Understand What To Expect

If you experience a major disaster, the odds are it will be a natural disaster. Natural disasters typically result in flooding, damaging winds, freezing temperatures, or fires. We cannot predict disasters, but we should have an educated idea what the potential disasters are for the area we live in. Is your community susceptible to heavy rains, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, or forest fires?

In my previous home I lived within a 10 mile radius of a nuclear power plant. I understood that my family may face a potential nuclear power plant emergency. Understanding the potential disasters in your area is the foundation for preparing an emergency plan that may save lives, including pets.

Create an Emergency Plan

The main objective of an emergency plan should be to save lives - but not necessarily your personal belongings. An emergency plan can potentially reduce damages to a home or valuables, but the priority really must be personal survival.

Many states or counties have an Office of Emergency Management. On the federal government level many of us know it as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Make an effort to either contact your local office or visit their website. Often these offices have resources, pamphlets or booklets available for the community to utilize when creating an emergency plan. Some items to address in your plan are the following:

  • What should be included in a survival kit?
  • How to safely shut-off utilities?
  • What is the local escape routes?
  • How to communicate with family during a disaster?
  • How to reconnect with family after the disaster?
  • How would animals or pets be cared for?
  • Does the local emergency notification system have my correct contact information?

There is much more to prepare - so plan ahead. From my personal understanding, you want to prepare for at least 72 hours of survival. I actually have in my car and at home what is called a bug out bag. This is a bag that has the necessary supplies and emergency signals to survive and be found within 72 hours. I never want to experience such a predicament, but if faced with a major disaster, I want to be prepared.

What is your emergency preparedness plan?

Caring for Elderly in Disaster Planning

Is your elderly loved one or person with special needs able to safely evacuate in response to an emergency? When creating your plan, ensure you include a Senior Emergency Preparedness strategy for elderly or special need family members. I recommend contacting your local fire or police department to register those who might need assistance in an emergency. It is also recommended to contact the state or county Office of Emergency Management to register your elderly parent in case of a state mandated evacuation. For example, in the state of New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy many shore line homes were required to evacuate.

Practice Your Emergency Plan

I had a coach who taught: "Practice does not make perfect. It makes permanent." Practice your emergency plan. You may feel silly or think that it is extreme, but it may be essential for survival. Practice starting the generator, climbing down the fold away fire ladder, starting a fire, driving the escape route, etc. Executing the emergency plan will instill confidence or allow you to see opportunities for improvement. Be flexible and think of several different scenarios. I do not recommend living in a state of paranoia, but in a state of confident readiness.

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<![CDATA[Keeping Your Senior Warm This Winter]]>Winter can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for even the most healthy of us but bear in mind that what is just an annoying level of cold for you could be dangerous for the senior you care about. Elderly people lose body heat faster than when they were younger and are more likely to have health conditions which make being cold more serious. Here are some things to remember to keep the seniors in your life warm this winter.


Check their thermostat

You can get hypothermia without leaving your home, especially if you are old or frail. It is a sad truth that many victims of hypothermia are elderly people with inadequately heated homes.

Check that the heating in your senior's home is functioning adequately and encourage them to keep it at 68F or higher, as recommended by the National Institute for Aging for older adults. You could consider upgrading to a wifi thermostat which has three main advantages: if moving is difficult for your senior, they can turn the heating up without leaving their chair. They can set their heating to coincide with their schedule automatically and, with many systems, you can log in and check how warm their house is from afar and even adjust it for them.

Look for drafts

Even if the heating in your senior's home is up to scratch, the rooms can still get cold due to inadequate insulation. Check for drafts and get the issues seen too. If you have gaps around the windows, you can use weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out. It could be a good idea to place a draft stopper in front of all doors to the outside. Bear in mind that your senior may find it difficult to do some of these tasks themselves or even do the necessary recon to locate the draft, so assistance, whether from yourself or a carer, may be necessary.

Stay in communication with their carer

The winter is a time where it is especially beneficial to hire a live in caregiver to look after your senior. Even if your senior generally manages well unassisted it could be a good idea to hire a carer on a temporary basis to support them in during the winter months. Discuss your concerns regarding winter with the carer and set out your expectations for how warm you would like the building, how many layers you think your senior should wear and so on. 

Winter can be a wonderful time and an opportunity for families to bond together. However the cold weather also brings with it certain risks for older adults. With proper preparation and good communication, you can help keep the special senior in your life safe from the cold this winter.

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<![CDATA[Tips to Prepare Your Home for Taking Care of an Alzheimer's Patient]]>According to Helpguide.org, there are approximately 15 million people in the U.S. caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. There are millions more around the world currently caring for a loved one with this debilitating disease. And the job is far from easy. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's typically leaves you feeling tired and overwhelmed. Assisted living facilities are better equipped to care for an Alzheimer's patient, as these types of facilities feature round-the-clock care provided by multiple staff members. Residents participate in social activities and are kept safe throughout the day and night. In other words, the responsibility doesn't rest on one person's shoulders.


But if you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer's, the hard work and accompanying stress is yours and yours alone. You don't have a one-hour lunch break or a staff of 20 people working together to care for the elderly patient. Being a caregiver in your home is a tough job that's not for the faint of heart. To make matters worse, your home is not usually equipped to successfully care for an Alzheimer's patient. If you've made the decision to care for a relative with Alzheimer's in your home, here are some tips to prepare and improve your house.

Keeping Your Loved One Safe

Alzheimer's patients lack the skills necessary to keep themselves safe. They may wander out the front door and get lost or forget how to use the microwave. For this reason, it's crucial that you take preventative measures in order to ensure the safety of your loved one. Examine all the rooms of your home, evaluating which areas may be potential hazards. Are there any wires or objects that can trip someone? Do you have medications the Alzheimer's patient may try to take even if he or she is not supposed to? Maybe your garage has power tools that need to be placed in a secure location. These are all factors you need to consider before a loved one with Alzheimer's enters your home.

There are many tasks you may need to do in order to protect your elderly relative from harm. For example, install deadbolts on your exterior doors so your loved one can't wander out of the house and get lost. Place the locks high or low so that they are not easily detected. According to the Mayo Clinic, caregivers should "consider removing locks from the bathroom doors to prevent your loved one from accidentally locking himself or herself in."

Install safety features for the shower, including a shower seat and grab bars. Purchase non-skid mats or strips for the bathtub, shower, and bathroom floor. Adding these items will help prevent loved ones from falling when they bathe. 

Of course, extensive renovations will be expensive. Investigate disability grants that might help you pay for remodeling. You can also search for grants to help you afford in-home care such as visiting nurses, nursing assistants, and physical therapists.

Finding Support

If you are preparing to become a caregiver, preventing dangerous situations within the home isn't the only way to make your home ready for your loved one. It's important to build a support network to help you deal with the stress and physical exhaustion that goes along with caring for your aging family member.

You can do this by reading books about caring for an Alzheimer's patient as well as locating workshops you can attend to gain more information about the disease and the challenges you will face. Don't be shy about asking help from friends, family, and community organizations. Whether it's having someone help you with the laundry, cooking dinner, or just sitting with your loved one while you take some time for yourself, reaching out to others for assistance is key to avoiding burnout and declining health.

It isn't easy caring for someone with Alzheimer's. Watching someone you love deal with the gradual loss of memory and independence is painful. If you decide to care for an Alzheimer's patient in your home, it's important to prepare for the task by clearing your home of any potential hazards. Alzheimer's patients that don't receive 24-hour care can easily get hurt, so it's your job to ensure they receive the proper supervision and emotional support. Learning how to be an effective caregiver and finding support from family, friends, and community organizations will provide you with the tools you need to take care of a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer's.

Photo via Pixabay

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<![CDATA[How Pet Ownership Can Make Seniors Live Long and Healthy]]>People love their pets. According to the American Pet Product Association, 68% of U.S. families own a pet, which are about 85 million households in America. As a result, pet owners spend approximately $40 billion a year in pet care and supplies alone. This might seem a bit overwhelming but when you consider the benefits, it will instantly seem like a smart investment for years to come.


One of the best ways to help seniors live comfortably is to carry on life as usual in their own homes. According to studies from the University of Missouri Health, senior adults benefit from the bonds they share with their pet companions. This study only adds to the long-standing evidence that shows how beneficial animals can be to the human health. Here's how pet ownership can make seniors live long and healthy.

Fight Depression

One major sign of depression is the feeling of having a "life with no value."  Pets are proven to help reduce signs of depression and loneliness.  Perhaps it is the unconditional love your pet gives is what strengthens the mood.

Strengthens the Heart

Studies from Harvard University reveal that people who have dogs live longer than those who do not. The assumption has been that pets, especially dogs cause their owners to be more active in their health. Being a pet owner may reduce your risk of heart-related illnesses, such as heart disease. Not only because dog owners take them on walks but also due to frequent stroking – which is found to help lower blood pressure and calm the nerves.

Encourage Fitness and Exercise

Pet owners are reported to exercising more often than others. In fact, dog owners understand the habits of daily walks, which is an underrated exercise that can cut the risk for diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Improve Stress Management and Sleep

While some doctors advise owners to ban co-sleeping with pets, other studies show that it can be beneficial, as pets provide owners with a sense of calm and safety. Subsequently, snuggling with your fur-baby can enhance sleep. Many senior pet owners believe in the sense of security they have with their canine family members. When you have a pet, having them around helps seniors sleep better and feel more relaxed. Even after a bad day at work, taking your dog out for a walk can be, all you need to restore calmness and get better sleep.

Another major benefit seniors can thrive from is socialization. When you combine all the health benefits together, it not only improves your wellness and quality of life but also the happiness you share with your pet.

Photo by Nathália Bariani on Unsplash


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<![CDATA[Giving Your Elderly the Best Care]]>Caring for elderly relatives ought to be rewarding, but can often be stressful as you try to find the best solution. A good Home Care Company can be a possibility but they are not easy to come by and can be costly. Simply finding them a 'helping hand'; someone to pop in and out throughout the day might also work. However, if they want to remain safe and secure in their own home with companionship they may need to find someone to 'live in'. This  kind of care not only supports the elderly with personal care but can also help to maintain the fabric of their home by making sure essential repairs are carried out and utilities are running properly.


Keeping Warm

As we age and become less active, maintaining our core temperature becomes more of an issue. Even in warmer climates a senior may feel chilly when others are warm.

Making sure your senior has the right kind of clothing (preferably layers) as well as a draft free environment are fairly cheap and simple solutions. A companion can also help to keep your senior moving around the house or even in their chair with basic exercises to aid circulation. They should also be ensuring that your elderly relative gets regular nutritious meals and plenty to drink as this all plays a part in keeping them comfortable in their own home.

Review the heating system

Having opted with your relative for care at home now's the time to consider the heating system in their house. Although once adept at managing the furnace and maintaining the boiler, neither your senior nor their caregiver will want the worry now. It's at this stage you may want to check out the pros and cons of tankless water heaters. These water systems can  be used to heat the whole house if radiators or underfloor heating are installed as well and although costly initially, are generally cheaper to run, better for the environment and will add value to your relatives home, which may well be an important consideration.

Comfort and security in our senior years are probably the two most important items. Most people will feel happiest in the home which they have worked hard to take care of over a period of time. Finding a caregiver to live with your relative will be a weight off your mind and making sure they are both warm will afford your senior the dignity they deserve.

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash


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<![CDATA[How to Help Elderly Loved Ones Maintain Good Oral Health]]>The good news for our elderly loved ones is that seniors aged over 65 still have an average of about 18.90 remaining teeth. Only 24% have no remaining teeth at all, meaning that keeping teeth and gums healthy is a vital part of disease prevention. In this post, we discuss the biggest dental risks for mature persons, suggesting measures that carers and loved ones can take to keep seniors healthy and happy.


Common Dental Problems in Seniors

Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging, but it is a common side-effect of many medications, including those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Since those over 65 may be on these medications, it is vital to take protective measures, such as keeping hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, avoiding foods that can irritate the mouth (such as caffeine, soda and alcohol) and using mouthwashes or sprays to maintain moisture.

Gum disease is another risk for the elderly; caused by the buildup of plaque where the teeth meet gums, it results in inflammation and, in serious cases, the formation of pockets between the teeth and gum - which can lead to the loss of teeth and bone. Gum recession also increases the risk of root caries, which affect around 50% of those aged over 75. To keep gums healthy, seniors should brush twice daily, floss after bruising, and use topical fluoride in mouth rinses and toothpaste, and pay attention to their diet, consuming less refined sugars and processed foods and mainly consuming a Mediterranean-style diet, with its focus on healthy proteins and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Keeping Oral Cancer at Bay

It is important for the elderly to visit their dentist regularly, since oral cancer is more prevalent in the older population, than in the young. Symptoms to watch out for include white or red patches in the mouth, numbness, pain in one ear without hearing loss, sores/lumps in the mouth, lips or throat, or a feeling like they have something in their throat. It is important to get these symptoms checked out early, to increase the chances of successful treatment. The elderly can sometimes be reticent to visit the dentist, either out of a sense of fear, or because treatment can be costly. Assure your elderly loved one that private insurance and Medicaid can help reduce or nullify costs. In 30 states, Medicaid covers dental work for specific categories, such as medically necessary dental work, so make sure to inform your loved one of what their coverage includes. Seniors should also be encouraged to maintain a sound dental cleaning routine, since poor oral health has been found to be a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancers.

Seniors are at a greater risk of a number of dental issues, including cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, and oral cancer. Patiently help them establish an oral hygiene routine, give them the tools they need (including electric toothbrushes, mouthwash and floss) and ensure they visit their dentist regularly, so that any signs of oral cancer are spotted as early as possible.

 

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Photo by Peter Kasprzyk on Unsplash

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<![CDATA[Ways to Help Seniors Age Happily At Home]]>Growing old comes with many new challenges, and it is much easier to take on these trials in the comfort of one's home. When confronting changes to one's life, health, and abilities in any capacity, having the familiarity of one's same belongings and regular daily routines can make any situation more manageable. If you are a senior or you have an aging loved one, you may be wondering how to gain access to the right resources to make aging in place a possibility.


According to research by the AARP, 89% of U.S. residents want to stay in their homes as long as they possibly can, and this number increases to 95% for people over the age of 75. What's more, most retirees want to stay close to home, and many tend to stay within 20 miles of their original home in order to remain near family and friends. Knowing these statistics, it is crucial to be aware of the at-home resources and renovations that can be made to encourage aging at home for the benefit of senior happiness.

Aging at Home Resources

While some seniors may choose to buy a senior-friendly home in a designated community, others wish for nothing more than to remain at home. Fortunately, it is entirely possible for seniors to age in place, even if they need assistance from time to time. Hiring an in-house carer or part-time nurse to handle certain medical or hygienic details is one way to make living at home go more smoothly.

In addition to hiring help, another great resource to keep seniors safe while living on their own is to wear a medical alert system. These devices are usually worn on the wrist or around the neck, and they allow seniors to receive emergency medical help with the simple touch of a button. This can be vital in dire circumstances, and it can also give seniors the peace of mind that they can safely carry on life as usual in their own homes.

Renovations to Make A Home More Senior-Friendly

Besides utilizing a carer or a medical alert system, there are certain innovative home renovations that can be made in an effort to make the space be safer for aging seniors. By making the updates, seniors will not have to worry as much about their security or their risks for injury. Some senior-friendly renovation ideas include:

  • Make door widths wider for wheelchair access
  • Remove thresholds
  • Make showers and bathtubs easier to access
  • Remove throw rugs to avoid tripping and falling
  • Incorporate adequate lighting in every room
  • Include sturdy handrails on staircases and near steps

Knowing how reassuring it is to age in the comforts of one's own home, it is important for seniors and their loved ones to make the home as safe and accessible as possible with medical alert systems, part-time aids, and senior-friendly home renovations.


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<![CDATA[How to Help a Beloved Alzheimer's Sufferer Cope with Spousal Death]]>The death of a spouse is an especially difficult life event to experience; this trial poses an even more daunting challenge to sufferers of Alzheimer's, who must now live without their primary caregiver and mate. The dementia sufferer will typically express random bouts of confusion as he or she attempts to process the lost. This further affects already grieving family members who are aching to see their loved one properly grieve the loss of his or her spouse.

However, depending on the severity of the illness, the surviving spouse may not have the sufficient memory bandwidth to process the death.


Alzheimer's Issues

Alzheimer's sufferers have experienced many issues as their condition has progressed – things like losing their ability to drive, play an instrument, partake in creative hobbies, and, most of all, remaining independent as adults. The loss of relationships and memories are a huge blow. Always cognizant of such losses, dementia sufferers and their loved ones experience a lot of stress.

How Alzheimer's patients cope with spousal death is influenced by many things, including: the stage of their condition, how attached they were to their spouse, how often they saw him or her, and their own personal path of grieving.

Processing the Grief

The normal process of accepting the death of a loved one usually entails accepting the reality of the passing, adapting one's life to the loss, and discovering a new "normal." In time, the pain of the loss gives way to occasional (bitter)sweet reminiscing. A person with Alzheimer's, however, can rarely process grief enough to reach a healthy emotional conclusion – complete acceptance without the heart-wrenching pain.

Alzheimer's patients who are in mourning are often restless and agitated. They may perceive that something is missing, something is off. They may believe someone else died. The death might trigger the memory of a loss from their younger years. In such cases, it can be difficult for family members to decide how to treat the topic of spousal death with their loved one. Especially when repeatedly communicating the death to the Alzheimer's sufferer can worsen the grief of his or her family members.

Accepting the Loss

 

  • Speak of the person who died in the past tense. For example, "I loved Mom's chocolate chip cookies."
  • Converse with your loved one about the deceased person and express your sad feelings. For example: "I miss Mom. She always made Christmas so special, didn't she? Remember when she…" Open photo albums together and talk about your mutual memories of the deceased to help your loved one mourn properly.
  • Be open to how often he or she wants to talk about the deceased, which may take place often, not frequently or at all.
  • When the time comes to sort through the belongings of the deceased so as to make decisions on what to keep, what to donate, what to sell, what to give to other family members, etc., have the dementia sufferer hold certain positive nostalgia objects in his or her hands. The idea is to stimulate the tactile and visual memory of the Alzheimer's sufferer so that his or her mind "jumps" to positive memories of the deceased. He or she may then open up and express certain emotions over the person who is gone. This method is recommended for Alzheimer's sufferers who are unusually quiet about the absence of their spouse.

A Final Thought

It takes tremendous patience to support your loved one with Alzheimer's during this trying time. But family members should prioritize being patient with themselves above all during this "open grief" period of vulnerability. Find comfort and solace amongst yourselves to deal with the sad, lonely, frustrating and painful feelings you are all jointly feeling.

Be extra, extra supportive of each other as you try to overcome this loss. In doing so, you will all find the strength and courage to do your best in helping your loved one with Alzheimer's process the reality of the death. Have hope this can be achieved. Your hope will sustain you.


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Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
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<![CDATA[How to Make Any Garden Elderly-Friendly]]>One of the great joys of growing old is finally having the time to do the things you've always wanted—like growing your very own garden. Gardening encourages spending time with nature, allowing people to be more in touch with natural beauty and realize the benefits of being outdoors. Studies in public health show that people in the U.S. spend up to 90% of their time indoors, which can lead to a sedentary, isolated lifestyle, especially for seniors.


This is why it is all more important for older people to find a hobby, like gardening, that allows them to interact with nature regularly and enjoy the great outdoors. Not only is gardening a great way to reduce stress, but it also helps burn calories and strengthens the immune system, thanks to the sun's gift of vitamin D. While many seniors may shy away from gardening due to the potential physical toll, there are actually a variety of gardening tools and techniques that can make the activity easy at any age

Half the Battle is Finding the Space

For seniors living in an assisted living facility or who have a caregiver, it may be challenging to carve out the space for a personal garden. But luckily there are a variety of options for starting a garden, no matter the amount of space you may be working with. For seniors, there are vertical planters specifically designed for small spaces, which can be great for growing herbs and flowers in a limited environment, like an apartment complex.

Many plants and even some vegetables can also be grown indoors if you do not have the outdoor space. This can be helpful for seniors who may struggle to get outdoors or who live in cold environments. By keeping plants along the windowsill in the kitchen or in the bedroom, elderly people can be given a sense of purpose, as they will have something to take care of every single day. Indoor plants will also brighten any room and add to the overall ambience of the space.

Gardening Tools for Seniors

After finding the right space, seniors can also purchase gardening tools that are tailored to ease the chores that come along with growing season. Purchasing a rolling garden scooter can eliminate the need to bend down when gardening outside, and it is also a great storage system for all gardening supplies. Inside, seniors can keep their tools, many of which have been adapted to help people with arthritis and joint issues. Another great way to donate gardening pains is to purchase a kneeling bench, which can be easily transported, elevated, and used in a variety of positions.

By designating a location that is set up for gardening and by gathering the right tools, seniors can enjoy growing their own plants in order to reduce stress levels and get creative with nature.

 

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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<![CDATA[Can Light Therapy Help With Alzheimer's?]]>Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It causes untold emotional pain and difficulty for the loved ones of the five million Americans currently suffering with the disease; but, at present, there is no cure. A recent study on light therapy emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has created promise for a new therapy that might alleviate Alzheimer's suffering.


A Promising Study

The MIT team, led by Dr. Li-Huei Tsai, exposed mice with brain damage similar to Alzheimer's patients to light flickering 40 times per second, which is largely faster than the human eye can detect. This flashing light triggered the mice's brain cells to oscillate together, creating gamma waves, a type of brain activity that is often weaker in people with Alzheimer's.

At the same time, toxic beta amyloid proteins were reduced inside the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory, by as much as 50%. These proteins have long been known to be associated with Alzheimer's, though researchers don't yet understand how these light waves impact them. What's especially promising, however, is that even older mice at later stages of the "disease" responded positively to treatment.

Most treatments aimed at Alzheimer's have so far been targeted at beta amyloids. While many of these drugs have had positive results in trials, they have failed to halt mental deterioration in human trials. The concern is that the actual problem is elsewhere.

Other Light Therapy?

Other studies have shown that light therapy as a treatment for Alzheimer's is proving promising. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that dementia patients who sat in front of a bright light for two hours each morning slept more deeply and for longer. A Dutch study published in 2008 suggested that bright light therapy in combination with melatonin improves symptoms of disturbed cognition, mood, behavior, functional abilities, and sleep.

Shortcomings

These studies are not without shortcomings, however. Mice do not have Alzheimer's; instead, scientists create genetically modified "mouse models" that mimic some (but not all) Alzheimer's symptoms. It's not uncommon for treatments to look promising in mice and yet ultimately fail to impact humans positively; human trials are still necessary.

Ultimately, light therapy and gamma wave stimulation continues to be a promising therapy for people with Alzheimer's. Even if this treatment itself proves unhelpful, this study opens up whole new avenues of research. The hope is that reducing the symptoms will alleviate suffering for the many millions of patients--and their families--who suffer now from the disease.

 

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Photo by Alexandre Debieve on Unsplash

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<![CDATA[How Modern Apps and Services Can Help You Care for a Loved One from Far Away]]>If you live more than an hour or so away from an elderly loved one but are still responsible for their care, you are technically a long-distance caregiver. Unavoidable life circumstances often prevent us from living as close to our loved ones as we wish we could, but even so, we sometimes still have the responsibility of organizing their caretaking. Lucky for us, modern technology is making long-distance caregiving easier than ever. Here's how you can use apps and services to ensure your loved one is safe and happy from afar.


Hire help from afar

You cannot be by your loved one's side all the time - but you can make sure that they have the proper help whenever they need it. There are trusted sites that you can use to search for qualified housekeepers or nurses in your loved one's area. Even if your loved one is mostly independent, they will most likely need the help of a nurse if they suffer from any sort of chronic health problem or mild cognitive impairment. Even independent seniors often require the help of a housekeeper - especially if mobility issues prevent them from spending a lot of time on their feet or from lifting heavy objects.

Apps like Task Rabbit allow you to hire help for everyday tasks from knowledgeable "taskers" looking for work. Let's say your loved one needs to repair a leak, go to the grocery during inclement weather, or put together a new piece of furniture. If you live hours away, it's likely not feasible for you to go help them. Instead, hire someone in their local area to go do the task for them.

Other apps exist for specialty care, like the care of your loved one's pets. Rover.com, for example, is a service that matches dog lovers looking for work with dog owners looking for help. You can match with people in your area and hire them to come walk the dog, board it for the night, or keep it during the day.

If you want to share caregiving duties with another relative or a private nurse, you may need an app like CareZone. This app allows multiple users to share documents, medication lists, schedules, care journals, to-do lists, contact information, and many more things necessary for elder care. Best of all, it's free.

Check in via video chat

Gone are the days when a phone call was the best way to check up on an aging loved one. There now exists a multitude of applications that allow you to talk face-to-face with your loved one - and most of them are free and easy to use (if your loved one is a bit technologically-challenged). You can video chat for free via Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Viber, Tango, or even straight through your iPhone with FaceTime. The point is that your loved one has plenty of options, and they should be able to get the hang of at least one of them.

In the end, a lot of long-distance care is organizing close care from afar. If your senior loved one is living alone but independently, they are ok with this level of care - so you shouldn't feel guilty. Modern apps and services allow for you to extend a fairly proficient level of care even if you live thousands of miles away. All you need is a phone and an internet connection and you can schedule health care, housekeeping, dog walking, household tasks, and even communicate face-to-face multiple times a day.


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<![CDATA[Guidance for Purchasing a Home as a Senior]]>When you're ready to begin searching for a home, there are certain aspects you should look for as a senior. To avoid making changes after you purchase your home, you can look for one that already has designs that will allow you to age in place. There are also specific financial considerations to make, especially if you're living off of retirement funds or on a fixed income.


What to Look For in Your Home

If you're planning on uprooting to a new city, Forbes recommends renting for at least a year. You want to test the city to ensure you like the new community. Also, make sure you're comfortable with the distance between you and your family.

Once you're ready to begin your search, aim for a home that is one level, as even a single step can be an issue for someone using a walker or a wheelchair or if the person has balance issues. Don't just avoid stairs inside; avoids steps going into the home from all entrances: front door, back door, garage, etc. Also, a garage is a nice feature so you're able to enter and exit the car away from any inclement weather.

Opt for open plans with wide hallways and 36-inch doorways. All of these features are friendly for wheelchairs and walkers. Check the bathroom to ensure it's roomy as well, and take a peak in the shower. You want at least one stand-up shower that is curbless.

Be aware of the heights of the appliances, as you may not always be able to bend down to use the dishwasher or the washer and dryer. You may want lower counters in bathrooms and the kitchen for future wheelchair access. Also, ensure that the microwave and refrigerator have easy access.

Financing Challenges

According to Bankrate, age is not a factor in loan approval, and it's illegal for lenders to discriminate against borrowers on that basis. However, if you're living on a fixed income, it can be harder to get approved for a loan, and even if you meet the lender's guidelines, fixed-income seniors may have more issues making the monthly payments. Furthermore, if you're married, you must consider how you'll cover the mortgage payment if your spouse were to pass or become disabled. Speak to a financial advisor and a mortgage lender before purchasing a home.

Unless you plan on staying in your home for five to 10 years, it's going to cost you more to buy than to rent in the grand scheme of things. Also, buying a new home means you'll need a down payment. If you sell another home for profit before moving, the down payment may not be an issue. However, if you'll need to use your IRAs or other retirement accounts to cover the down payment, you're cutting into the money you'll have for daily living expenses, which could affect your lifestyle.

When you purchase your home, buy less than you can afford. There is no way to know what will happen in the future, regardless of age, but, as U.S. News contributor Teresa Mears notes, "Older people are more likely to experience involuntary unemployment or medical problems." Buying less than you can afford will make it easier to manage any issues that could occur.

When You're Gone

If you're concerned about the remainder of your mortgage affecting your children, a financial adviser or attorney can help them map out an estate plan. This way everyone will be prepared when you pass. Also, if you're not comfortable discussing your mortgage with your children now, a real estate agent can help them determine how much the property is worth and how much is owed when you pass.


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<![CDATA[How Caregivers Can Make a Difference for Seniors with Mesothelioma]]>The symptoms of mesothelioma may make it impossible for a senior to live independently, but with a dedicated and experienced caregiver, a senior can still enjoy a good quality of life.

Mesothelioma can rapidly take away a senior's ability to drive and carry out activities of daily living. A caregiver supports the senior by taking on these tasks and providing emotional support. Because caregiving for a senior with cancer is extremely demanding for untrained relatives with their own responsibilities, the services of a live-in caregiver are highly recommended.


The Effects of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually does not present itself until late in a patient's life. There is currently no cure and the prognosis for mesothelioma is usually unfavorable, with less than 40 percent of patients living longer than one year after diagnosis.

Many seniors have trouble with activities of daily living simply because of old age, and the symptoms of mesothelioma multiply these challenges. Because patients with mesothelioma often experience shortness of breath and muscle weakness, routine tasks, such as shopping and cleaning, may become physically demanding.

Chest pain, body aches, fever and low blood sugar further impair patients' mobility and concentration. At a time when they have to make regular trips to doctors and specialists, patients must come to rely on others for transportation once they can no longer drive themselves.

Patients with mesothelioma also experience loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing, leading to a high risk of weight loss, poor nutrition and dehydration. Depression and anxiety may further compound these issues if patients do not have constant support.

How Caregivers Help

Caregivers step in to assist with household chores, preparing meals, shopping and running errands. Equally important, caregivers provide companionship and emotional support as the seniors come to terms with having a terminal illness.

Many seniors prefer having a dedicated caregiver because this arrangement allows them to remain living in their own homes, rather than being placed in a nursing home. The default choice for a caregiver is usually a close relative such as a spouse or an adult child.

In the interim, having family members double as caregivers is a great way to save money and involve the family in their loved one's care. However, this is a heavy burden to bear for relatives who still have their own lives to look after. For this reason, seniors and their families should consider the services of a professional caregiver.

The Advantages of a Professional

In addition to assisting with daily life, a professional caregiver provides specialized services. A caregiving agency can conduct an assessment of a senior with mesothelioma and then assign a professional familiar with this type of cancer.

This means the caregiver can shop for groceries and prepare meals with the senior's nutritional needs in mind, as well as supervise the senior's medication. A professional will recommend changes to the senior's daily routine and living space that will make the senior safer and more comfortable.

Also bear in mind that a professional caregiver will feel no hesitation or embarrassment over helping a senior with bathing, dressing and toileting. While the consequences of terminal illness may distress family members, a professional will come already equipped to provide both physical and emotional support.

Many professional caregivers work a certain schedule and charge an hourly rate, but live-in caregivers are also available. Live-in caregivers are more affordable than placement in a nursing home, and they provide 24-hour care in the comfort of the senior's own home.


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http://lifeforceeldercare.com/blog/21-how-caregivers-can-make-a-difference-for-seniors-with-mesothelioma/http://lifeforceeldercare.com/blog/21-how-caregivers-can-make-a-difference-for-seniors-with-mesothelioma/Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0000