LifeFone’s Caregiver Holiday Gift Ideas

gift boxWhether you’re a caregiver for your aging relatives or if you’re an adult in the Sandwich Generation who is taking care of both aging relatives and a growing family, chances are probably realize you don’t take good enough care of yourself.

If your family is asking, “What can we get you for the holidays?” here are some ideas that will bring a smile to your face:

  •  Pay for a three, six, nine, or twelve-month house cleaning service. This gift can provide a once monthly housekeeping and deep cleaning that will keep your house neat and tidy and ease your thoughts on your own housekeeping when you’re in the midst of cleaning your loved ones’ home.
  • A gift of a LifeFone Medical Alert System for your aging relatives is a gift of peace of mind for the caregiver. With this system, you can walk away from your duties as caregiver for a few hours or even a weekend and have the peace of mind that your loved ones will not be “alone” as long as they have, and wear, their personal medical device.
  • Do you like to keep in touch with relatives, but sometimes forget the birthday and anniversary dates? If you have friends and relatives to keep in touch with, it also becomes a task you add to your to-do list, but may not get around to – especially if it involves having to go to the store to buy cards. A subscription to a service that will automatically send cards to loved ones lets you keep in touch without the stress of trying to remember every date. Check out: americangreetings.com or sendoutcards.com. This is a handy time-saver that allows your family to keep in touch.
  • Do you have a lot of paperwork and clutter that you need to keep track of, both for yourself and your aging parents now? If that’s the case, you may want to request some organizational tools or bins to help tame the clutter. There are myriad options, ranging from desk organizers, purse organizers, craft bins, plastic totes to store off-season decorations or clothing. If you spend a lot of time in the car driving from your home to theirs, a car organizer might be ideal, especially if it is stocked with items you might need in the event of an emergency or a car breakdown. Check out http://www.thirtyonegifts.com/catalog/utility/ or check Amazon.com and search for car or desk organizers.
  • When you finally make it home after a long day, you might want to grab a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea and indulge and relax. Ask for some essential oils that can lead to a more relaxed state. Relax in a bathtub with some luxurious bubble bath and even a big, fluffy bath sheet or two. Add in some candles and high end lotions and viola you can be whisked away!
  • To truly add to an “indulgence” gift purchase ask for a gift certificate for a massage. Hint: In some parts of the country, you may be able to find a masseuse who will come to your home so you can enjoy that indulgence without having to leave the comfort of the house.
  • Gift certificates to restaurants or a movie theater could be something you’d crave, especially if you never think you have the money to indulge. Chances are, you love nights out on the town, but won’t spend the money without prompting – this thoughtful gift means you have no excuse! Look for certificates from sites like these where the caregiver can choose his or her favorite restaurant.com or http://www.giftcertificates.com.
  • Spend time with family members and gather up photos from the past and put together a photo album or scrap book. You can even do this on a digital photo frame. With that you scan in photos or documents or even tickets from events they’ve enjoyed and they run in rotation on the photo frame.

Never forget, though, that one of the best gifts you can offer your family is the gift of your time, love and the attention you pay to them when they want to share their memories. Those are times and gifts that you simply can’t put a price tag to.

The Importance Of Automatic Fall Detection Systems

Falling is a big concern among seniors. According to the Yale University School of Medicine, 1 out of 3 people over the age of 65 falls at least once a year. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that falling injuries among the elderly are on the rise.

Importance Of Automatic Fall Detection Systems

Seniors, their children or their caregivers may want to consider automatic fall detection as an upgrade to their medical alert system. The Fall Detection pendant contains tiny sensors that can detect changes in motion, as well as changes in the height of the pendant.   These sensors are monitored in real-time to detect tiny changes in motion. Armed with that information, the fall detection algorithm determines if the person wearing the fall detection pendant has experienced a motion pattern that indicates a fall. Since no fall detection system detects 100% of falls, the pendant is also equipped with a standard help button for added security.

If the system detects a fall, an alarm will sound. With LifeFone’s equipment, you have time to cancel the alarm if you haven’t actually experienced a fall. The system waits for 20-30 seconds to check for normal movement before sending an emergency fall message. You then have 20 additional seconds to manually cancel a fall alarm. It’s important to cancel a false alarm if one occurs to prevent the emergency response center from taking appropriate action on your behalf.

Fall detection adds another level of peace of mind to the overall protection provided by a medical alert system in the event a loved one falls and injures themselves.

 

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Have A Stress-free Holiday Season

OverwhelmedCaregiving is stressful. Of that there is no denying and when you add the holiday hustle and bustle into the mix, you have the potential to amp up the stress and reduce the joy you should be experiencing this holiday season. When you take a step back and think about it, the holidays are about friends and family and being together; it’s not about perfection and a clean house!

Here are some tips that you can take to heart to help make certain your holiday is enjoyable and as stress-free as it can be:

  • The holidays are not about perfection: the perfect tree, the perfect meal, the perfectly cleaned home. Keep your decorations low-key, you don’t have to outdo the neighbors with your light display. Decorate with items that have particular meaning to you and your family without going overboard with totes and totes of decorations that need to be unpacked and then re-packed once the holiday has passed.
  • If you’re being invited to visit friends or relatives and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day – with work, caring for aging relatives and your own family – don’t be afraid to set limits. “We would love to come and visit, but can only stay a couple of hours.” Set the expectations up front and stick to your time frame.
  • You don’t have to do it alone. Would your family disown you if you purchased a pie or two rather than making them? Could you get away with bakery cookies? Try it and see how many hours you could free up from not spending all of your time in the kitchen. If you simply can’t give up that part of your family tradition, then start a new tradition and ask for help. Also, don’t be afraid to delegate. If you need to, hire a housecleaning service to come in and do a deep clean on your home before the relatives arrive. Ask guests to bring a dish to pass – start a new tradition by adding your guests’ favorite dishes to your menu!
  • If someone asks you what you’d like for a gift, don’t say, “Oh, I don’t know or I don’t need anything.” Let them treat you if they want to! Ask for a gift certificate for a massage or a restaurant or tickets to a movie or a play you’d been dying to see. Ask them to pay for a trip to your favorite spa or salon!
  • Take time to share family stories. If you’re gathering family stories, make sure someone is recording them – either digitally or on paper – and take photos so you can capture the memories shared and have them as a physical token of your time together.
  • When you send your greeting cards, include a note that reads, “Mom and Dad are doing XYZ… it’s been a great, or a trying year, but we are moving forward.” Keep the note non-accusatory and you just might garner assistance from distant relatives who truly may not know what you’re doing as a caregiver.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” If you truly don’t have the energy to attend another party or make another of your “famous pumpkin pies” then say so. Don’t make excuses, simply say you don’t have time and leave it at that, but thank them for having asked you.
  • Take time to count your blessings. Yes, the role of caregiver can be an exhausting one, but there are rewards. You are spending quality time with your aging loved ones. You are providing them with love and support and helping them to age in place. Even if they are in an assisted living or a nursing home environment, you will still likely be called upon or feel compelled to visit regularly and that can be a strain as well. Make the time you spend there quality time talking, playing games and sharing memories.
  • Ask siblings or other relatives to help chip in for a Medical Alert System. The peace of mind in knowing that your relatives will have immediate access to a trained professional from  if they suffer a medical emergency or a fall while you are not in attendance may allow you to regain some freedom without having the worry of them being alone.

Take time, amidst the rush of the season to care for yourself and to sit back and simply relax!

 

 

Taking Care of Your Skin

AA015010As we age, our skin starts to show fine lines, discoloration, and loss of elasticity yet we seek to have a healthy appearance no matter how old we are.  While some skin-care tactics such as the use of sunscreen and moisturizers are important at every age, our approach to skin care needs to adapt to ensure that skin stays healthy and youthful-looking as long as possible.

Here are a few skin care tips every woman should know.

It’s not about your age – it’s how well you care for your skin.

As we grow older, our skin cells tend to renew more slowly and retain less moisture. Taking care of your skin throughout your life through the use of moisturizer, exfoliation and sunblock can help your skin stay healthier and more youthful.

It’s also never too late to start taking better care of your skin. Look for products that contain firming ingredients that will help stimulate collagen production, antioxidants to help protect against free radical damage, and smoothing ingredients to encourage cell renewal.

Styles change over the years so your skin care products should also change.

The moisturizer you used in your 20’s is not the one you should use in your 50’s. Baby boomers should look for skin care and makeup products specifically designed to address signs of aging such as wrinkles nd fine lines. Daily sunscreen use of 30 SPF or higher will help reduce discoloration.

Update your diet to include the nutrients that your skin needs.

Good nutrition is important throughout your entire life but as we age, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to maintain and improve your skin’s appearance.  Vitamins A, C and D are vital for skin health, and topical applications of A and C are also good for the skin.  Also, be sure to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration and loss of moisture.

Update your makeup routine.

Use natural foundations that reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pores. As skin matures, a “less is more” approach is often more flattering. Visit a make-up counter for a consultation with an expert that can help you achieve a natural, healthy look as too much makeup can amplify the look of wrinkles.

LifeFone Offers Check-in Services

Caregiving is among one of the most important jobs a person takes on during his or her life. It’s a task that takes time and patience and one that most of us are never prepared for. Being a family caregiver takes a lot of time, effort and work. For many, it’s a role that comes on suddenly, without warning or simply evolves.

pIn addition to LifeFone’s Medical Alert Systems with or without a landline, with GPS and with Fall Detection, LifeFone also offers check-in services to help provide peace of mind for care recipients and their families.

LifeFone Activity Assurance

LifeFone’s Activity Assurance Service enables subscribers to check-in with an emergency care agent in the call center each day.   By pressing a button on their base unit, it lets LifeFone know whether or not they are at home and responding to the reminder. This service is available with the at home landline service only.

Each day at a set time chosen by the subscriber, the base unit generates a beeping tone.   The subscriber can stop the beeping tone simply by pressing a button on the console, assuring LifeFone (and the subscriber’s loved ones) that the subscriber is at home and responding. If the subscriber does not respond to the reminder within 15 minutes, an alarm is sent to the alarm center and received by a customer care agent who will then place an outbound call to the home to check on the subscriber. If the subscriber does not answer the phone, we then follow his or her emergency care instructions.

LifeFone Daily Check-in Call

With the daily reminder service, LifeFone care agents will make a daily outbound call to the subscriber. The subscriber customizes the calls to fit your needs.   LifeFone can call simply to find out if the subscriber is ok, provide him or her with a medication reminder, or any type of reminder desired. Each day, the subscriber will hear the warm, friendly voice of a customer care agent who knows him or her by name and is concerned with that subscriber’s well-being.

LifeFone’s check-in services can be a valuable addition to a medical alert system. For more information call LifeFone at 800-228-2280.

‘Convincing’ Your Loved One To Use A Medical Alarm Device

Aging in place is one of the last bastions of independence for many seniors. If your aging loved ones have been determined to hold onto their independence in this way, you know that equipping them with a personal emergency response system can help them achieve this goal. Investing in a personal medical alarm device should be brought up to your loved ones in such a way as to let them know that using one of these devices isn’t taking away any independence, but is actually assisting them with their desire to age in place.

Many individuals will say they don’t want to wear a personal medical device because they believe it will mean they are “unfit” or “not healthy enough” to live alone. If you share with them that these devices are worn as a preventative measure in the event they suffer a medical emergency or a trip or fall (which is a very real and startling statistic for individuals aged 65 and older) they may see the benefit of wearing one.

How can you appeal to the emotional side of this conversation? Here are some tips:

  1. “It’s a fact of life, Mom and Dad, that people over the age of 65 are more likely to experience a trip or fall” as a way to let them know that if they have a personal medical alarm device, a simple push of the button will provide access to medical care and treatment and therefore they have a better chance at recovery.
  2. “We worry about you.” This statement could be especially true if your parent is widowed and lives alone. Even if both parents are still living, each of them can have a personal medical device and this will provide peace of mind for the family.
  3. “It’s for peace of mind.” If you let your aging loved ones know it’s as much for your peace of mind as it is for their health they may agree to the device as a way to not only allow them to remain independent in their own home, but as a way to provide you peace of mind. It’s a win-win.

If your loved ones are more logical than emotional, here are some logical arguments you can share with them for the importance of having a personal medical device in their home (and on their person):

  1. One out of three individuals aged 65 and older will fall in the home. The longer they lie there without receiving medical care, the more serious the medical complications could become. Being able to press a button to gain access to medical assistance could mean the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one from a fall.
  2. A personal medical device will allow you to age in place. These devices offer you the ability to remain independent while providing access to medical care if needed. In the event of a trip or fall or another medical emergency, you may not be able to reach a phone and with one of these devices, you won’t have to.
  3. If your parents do not want to move into an assisted living facility, you should stress to them that one of these devices may mean they won’t have to. A personal medical device can delay that move for years, or perhaps for the duration of their lives.

If you can explain the viability of a personal medical device and equate it to an insurance policy – it’s something you pay for and hope you never need to use, but you are grateful it’s there if the time arises that you need it – your loved ones may see the benefit.

Teens Taking On The Role Of Caregiver

At a time when teens should be active in extra curricular activities, hanging out with friends and working at part time jobs, more and more kids are taking on the task of caregiving.

According to Dr. Julia Belkowitz, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, more than 1.3 million preteens and adolescents spend their free time caring for a family member with a physical or mental illness, or misuse substances.  The daily tasks include helping family members with eating, dressing, toileting, getting around, bathing and other common daily activities.

Dr. Belkowitz and her colleagues worked with the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) in Palm Beach County, FL to gain an understanding of the experiences of these youth who were an average of 12 years old; 62% were girls & 38% boys. In addition to daily care, the caregivers also indicated that in some cases, they cleaned the house, shopped for groceries, administered medications, provided companionship and emotional support and other tasks that are beyond their experience and training.

While caregiving can be difficult for many adults, these teens are facing challenges and situations that shouldn’t normally be on their radar.  AACY is helping to raise awareness about the issue of youth caregivers and working to develop partnerships to better understand issues and provide the resources and support to this growing population of caregivers.

 

How We Age

Ursula Staudinger, a lifespan psychologist who directs the Columbia Aging Center said, “How old we feel imprints itself on how we act and experience old age. You either want to get into your own old age or you don’t, and it plays out dramatically.”

She continues to explain that instead of obsessing about your own chronological age — a measure that varies widely among individuals — “think about the historical year you were born,” she suggested, “and immediately your associations will change.”

This ability to view your lifespan as a chunk of history does more than help you get over yourself. It draws your attention to what is happening in the world as a result of our longer lives. The age boom, Staudinger pointed out, is unfolding in tandem with what she calls a “fertility revolution.” It means that as we grow older, there are fewer babies being born in our wake.

“It is the combination of longevity and fertility we need to take into account,” she said. “By the year 2070, population growth will come to a halt. We will be shrinking.”

Learn more about Dr. Staudinger and the work of the Columbia Aging Center at http://aging.columbia.edu/.

 

 

 

 

Preparing To Live To Be 100

The longer you live the more money you will have to spend, or conversely, the more money you should start saving now to prepare for living into your 100s. Modern medicine and the fact that many diseases and illnesses are able to be caught and even corrected early means that many of us are living longer, and in many cases, healthier lives.

If you’re hoping to live to be 100, how will you make certain you can afford it? The time is now to look at your finances and prepare for a secure financial life in your Golden Years. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t outlive your money:

  • Take stock of your spending. Scrutinize your spending for the next 30 days. Track where you’re spending and where you might be able to cut back and put that money into a savings account. It may be easier, and paint a more accurate picture, if you analyze three months’ worth of spending and take an average.
  • Talk with your CPA to get a snapshot of the amount of money you may need into retirement. Many individuals believe they will spend less money once they’re retired because they won’t have the expenses for food or commuting and other out of pocket expenses; what they don’t plan for is the money spent on hobbies or travel or leisure, now that you have leisure time. You may also see an increase in your family food budget because you’ll be eating more meals at home than in the past.
  • Save as much money, as often as you can. Check on your investments and, depending on your age, invest either more robustly or conservatively. Your financial adviser is your best point of contact for your investment planning.
  • Take a look at your lifestyle. Are there items you will want to do once you retire that you don’t now? How much will they cost? Are there activities you do now that you won’t once you retire? How much do they cost? If you plan to travel or take up a new hobby you will want to calculate those costs so you can budget for them. You don’t want to look at retirement as “sitting around the house with nothing to do” time you want to enjoy your Golden Years and pursue hobbies and activities you perhaps didn’t have time for while you were working and raising a family.
  • Will you be able to afford to live in your own home? Will you need to downsize or even make arrangements to live in a retirement community? What will that cost? Will it make sense for you to invest in long-term care insurance? Talk with a trusted advisor before you make any decisions on this purchase.
  • Get your paperwork in order. Don’t wait until you need a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy or a will – by the time you need it, it will be too late. Talk with your attorney and your family and get these papers drawn up early so they are in place in the event of a health emergency when you can’t speak for yourself. While it may be a bit morbid, you may want to put your funeral arrangements in writing and even get them planned so that your family won’t have to wonder at what your wishes would have been.
  • Pay off as much of your debt as possible. It’s best to not have to worry about credit card debt or loans with high interest rates, especially when retirement is drawing near and when your income will likely be lower than it was when you were working.

Taking steps to prepare for living to be 100-years-old is best done when you’re younger and in good health!

Caregiving, Dental Care & The Mentally Disabled

This article by Janice Neumann really brings to light how critical good dental care is yet how difficult this simple task is for caregivers who assist those with mental disabilities. Please enjoy the read.

Caregiver training may help mentally disabled adults with dental care

(Reuters Health) – Helping adults with developmental disabilities brush and floss their teeth is often hard for paid and unpaid caregivers, but family members could be in extra need of training, a new study suggests.

Researchers found poor brushing and flossing habits and high rates of dental disease in a survey of disabled adults, and many caretakers lacked confidence in their ability to help their charges with daily dental care.http://caregiversconnections.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

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