Category Archives: Elderly Home Care

Senior Safety Tips And Advice

As we age, some individuals can become the target for a financial crime, identity theft, home break-in or some other scam.  Boomers raised in an era where being rude to a solicitor on the phone or door to door can actually put them in a more vulnerable position.  In some cases, those who would perpetrate a crime against the elderly will either rely on charm or bullying tactics to get the information that they seek. While a financial crime is a devastating time for anyone, it can be even worse for the elderly as they may not only question their ability to remain independent but will become fearful of living alone.

As a caregiver, there are steps you can take to protect your elderly loved ones:

  1.  Make sure the home is secure. Check the locks on doors and windows. Install a home alarm system with motion detectors and automatic indoor & outdoor lights. Make sure to post signs alerting vandals to the fact that the home has a security system. Another safety measure is to equip your relatives with a emergency medical device; these medical alert pendants provide a lifeline to outside help and assistance in the time of need.
  2. Trim all bushes around the house to eliminate any potential hiding places for a would-be burglar. Install doors with peepholes and advise them to not open the door to strangers. Never put keys under a door mat or other outdoor hiding spot. These are too easily discovered. Ask a trusted neighbor or friend that lives close to hold onto the extra key.
  3. Make certain the house number is painted in bright colors and large numbers to make it easy to find if emergency responders need to visit.
  4. Make certain additional cash isn’t left lying around the house. Keep enough cash on hand for daily needs, but keep large sums in the bank.
  5. Warn your elderly relatives to never give any personal or financial information over the phone. Make sure they are aware that no one – other than a family member – would ever be calling to solicit financial information. If your relatives are tech savvy and have signed up for online banking, make sure they are knowledgeable about the scams where it looks like their financial institution is asking them to sign in using the provided link. Their bank would never make this request, it is a scam.
  6. Don’t let your relatives make deals with door-to-door sales people. The scams perpetrated on the elderly involve everything from being overcharged for putting a new roof on the home to sealing the driveway to simply letting someone into the house so they can get the “lay of the land” and break in later. If, for example, your relatives need a new vacuum cleaner or a roof or driveway work, they should talk to you to help them get estimates from reputable contractors or take them to the store to make their purchases.
  7. If your relatives are still mobile and drive themselves to their appointments make sure they never carry more cash with them than what they need for that excursion. Also, advise them to not travel into areas with which they aren’t familiar. They should also always lock their car doors each time they get out. In some cases, it’s a good idea to lock the doors when driving along in unfamiliar locations.

These safety tips that will provide both the caregiver and the aging relative with peace of mind as they continue to age in place.

 

Seeking Appreciation As A Caregiver

For some individuals, caring for an aging parent is a rewarding experience and a chance for them to give back to the person who may have played a vital role in their lives. Caring for an aging relative whose cognitive abilities or personality is changing can quickly take its toll on the caregiver and make her feel unappreciated.

It is not uncommon for a caregiver to feel they are being taken advantage of or that the time and effort they put into caring for an aging relative isn’t valued by other family members. These feelings, while not easy to address for the caregiver, are common and should be addressed. There are ways to cope with the feelings of depression and the stress that is inherent with being a caregiver.

Put Your Feelings Into Perspective

Caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease or other illness that diminishes their mental capacity will bring with it personality changes that may be difficult to cope with. Try to keep in mind that their anger or disorientation is a factor of their illness, not an indication of their feelings toward you or the care you’re providing. On the other hand, caring for a relative or senior with full cognitive abilities may simply be frustrated. Don’t internalize your feelings of dismay at the way they behave. Instead, remember the love and attention you share is likely to have great value in the life of the one you are caring for.

Take Care Of Yourself

There will come a time when you simply need to step back and take time away from caregiving. It will likely be a difficult challenge to announce that you need to take care of yourself, but it’s crucial to your physical and mental well-being that you do so. Caregiver burnout is a real side effect of being the sole individual responsible for taking care of an aging relative. This can be even more difficult if you’re not only taking care of aging parents but raising your own family and pursuing your career at the same time. Seek out others who can relieve you for an hour, a day or even a weekend and do something fun for yourself.  Also enlist others to help with daily duties at home so you aren’t so overloaded. You’ll come back a bit more refreshed and ready to handle the tasks at hand.

Ask For Outside Support

Along the same lines of taking care of yourself is your ability to ask for help. Calling upon medical professionals or family members is necessary not only for your well-being but for the well-being of your relative. Seek out caregiver support groups or groups from which your relatives may benefit such as an Alzheimer’s Support Group. Search out federal, state and local organizations that provide assistance and support for the aging. Don’t be afraid to call on the services of a personal in-home caregiver when the need arises. If you’re dealing with a parent that is healthy mentally but is having other health or balance issues, take time to age proof the house and to install a home medical alert device as a way to support them when you’ve gone home at night.

Caregiving can be a time-consuming and mentally draining task, but the ability to spend quality time with your aging relative could be one that brings with it memories that will last a lifetime.

Seeking Appreciation As A Caregiver

For some individuals, caring for an aging parent is a rewarding experience and a chance for them to give back to the person who may have played a vital role in their lives. Caring for an aging relative whose cognitive abilities or personality is changing can quickly take its toll on the caregiver and make her feel unappreciated.

It is not uncommon for a caregiver to feel they are being taken advantage of or that the time and effort they put into caring for an aging relative isn’t valued by other family members. These feelings, while not easy to address for the caregiver, are common and should be addressed. There are ways to cope with the feelings of depression and the stress that is inherent with being a caregiver.

Put Your Feelings Into Perspective

Caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease or other illness that diminishes their mental capacity will bring with it personality changes that may be difficult to cope with. Try to keep in mind that their anger or disorientation is a factor of their illness, not an indication of their feelings toward you or the care you’re providing. On the other hand, caring for a relative or senior with full cognitive abilities may simply be frustrated. Don’t internalize your feelings of dismay at the way they behave. Instead, remember the love and attention you share is likely to have great value in the life of the one you are caring for.

Take Care Of Yourself

There will come a time when you simply need to step back and take time away from caregiving. It will likely be a difficult challenge to announce that you need to take care of yourself, but it’s crucial to your physical and mental well-being that you do so. Caregiver burnout is a real side effect of being the sole individual responsible for taking care of an aging relative. This can be even more difficult if you’re not only taking care of aging parents but raising your own family and pursuing your career at the same time. Seek out others who can relieve you for an hour, a day or even a weekend and do something fun for yourself.  Also enlist others to help with daily duties at home so you aren’t so overloaded. You’ll come back a bit more refreshed and ready to handle the tasks at hand.

Ask For Outside Support

Along the same lines of taking care of yourself is your ability to ask for help. Calling upon medical professionals or family members is necessary not only for your well-being but for the well-being of your relative. Seek out caregiver support groups or groups from which your relatives may benefit such as an Alzheimer’s Support Group. Search out federal, state and local organizations that provide assistance and support for the aging. Don’t be afraid to call on the services of a personal in-home caregiver when the need arises. If you’re dealing with a parent that is healthy mentally but is having other health or balance issues, take time to age proof the house and to install a home medical alert device as a way to support them when you’ve gone home at night.

Caregiving can be a time-consuming and mentally draining task, but the ability to spend quality time with your aging relative could be one that brings with it memories that will last a lifetime.

Bathroom Safety and Importance of Waterproof vs. Water-resistant Med Alerts

More accidents occur among the elderly in the bathroom than in any other room in the house. The wet surfaces, sharp countertop edges and tight spaces all lend themselves to the possibility of an injury. Seniors who are unsteady on their feet are at an even greater risk of falling in the bathroom. According to the National Safety Council, one person dies from using the bathtub or the shower every day in the United States. With such a startling statistic, it is a good idea to be prepared in the event your loved one experiences a fall.

When it comes to bathroom safety, one of the most effective tools your loved one can possess is a waterproof medical alert button. Seniors who have waterproof medical alert pendants or bracelets should never get in the shower without their device. It is important for seniors to note the difference between “waterproof” and “water resistant.” Waterproof necklaces and pendants, like the ones LifeFone carries, can be worn in the shower and can even be completely submerged in the bathtub. Water-resistant devices, however, cannot withstand the effects of being submerged in water like they would be in the bathtub. Most companies that sell water-resistant devices encourage their users to remove their pendants prior to bathing. Since bathtubs and showers pose one of the greatest threats to seniors, it only makes sense that they have a medical alert bracelet or pendant that is waterproof and can be worn in the shower.

In addition to ensuring your loved one owns a waterproof medical alert button, there are other precautions that should be taken into account when it comes to bathroom safety. It is important to install grab bars, a hand-held shower, a wall dispenser for soap and a bathing bench or stool for your loved one, but even after all of those installations are made, you are still not in the clear. Despite all of these precautions your loved one could still fall in the tub or shower.

If your loved one were to have an accident in the bathroom, how would you get in to help them? If your loved one locks the door while he or she is in the bathroom you should consider making a spare key to the bathroom door so that you can easily get into the bathroom if you need to. You can also replace the doorknob with one that cannot be locked.

By following the above bathroom safety guidelines you may not be able to ensure that your loved one will not experience a fall, but you can ensure that their risk of falling will be reduced and that help will arrive as soon as possible if they are wearing a waterproof medical alert button.

Winter and Cold Weather Precautions for Seniors

Cold winter temperatures are as harmful as summer heat waves when it comes to the health of senior citizens. As a caregiver, you may worry what will happen to your parents in the event of a winter storm that knocks out electricity and when snow makes the roads impossible to drive on. If your parents or senior loved ones have
their home equipped with a Lifefone medical alarm system, once the power goes out, the battery backup kicks in and customer service is contacted. Having a home medical alarm system offers you and your loved ones peace of mind, regardless of the weather and distance between you.

Here are some items to check at your elderly loved one’s home to make certain they are taking care
of themselves once the frigid winter months kick in.

  • Make certain the thermostat is set to at least 65 degrees to help prevent hypothermia. Many seniors will feel more comfortable with the temperature a bit higher, but it shouldn’t go below 65. Common signs of hypothermia include: drowsiness, slow or slurred speech, memory loss, uncontrolled shivering and sense of exhaustion.
  • If the home is not well-insulated, you may want to consider covering the windows with inexpensive plastic sheeting to keep the wind from blowing in. Also plastic sheets will still allow sun to filter in and keep the home warm.
  • The home should be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be checked monthly to make certain they’re in good working order and batteries should be changed at least twice a year and also as soon as they begin emitting a low battery warning.
  • If the senior adults have access to supplemental heating such as a generator or kerosene heater, make certain they understand exactly how to operate it and that the house must be properly ventilated at all times when it is operation.
  • Unless it is crucial, they should remain indoors when there is a storm brewing or when the temperatures hover at or below the freezing mark.
  • Ensure that your loved ones have cupboards full of food and that their medications are up to date and filled. Additionally, stock up on foods that can be eaten without having to be cooked in the event of a power outage.
  • Make certain your loved ones have access to additional blankets in an easily accessible location so they don’t have to climb to reach them when the temperatures drop.
  • Test their medical alarm system to make certain it is working properly and that they are diligent in wearing the emergency alert bracelet or pendant in the event of a slip or fall.
  • Make arrangements for a neighbor to come and check on your loved ones in the event you live too far away and can’t get to the home in the event of an emergency. Also, make arrangements to have the sidewalk shoveled and the driveway cleared so they don’t have to worry about the feeling of being  “trapped.”

 By following these precautions, using a common sense approach to leaving the house, navigating winter roads and employing the services of a home medical alarm system offers peace of mind for everyone involved.

More Than Tough Love

It is no secret that people tend to be the hardest on the ones they love. Family members often shoulder the burden of their loved ones’ emotional rage, which is only amplified when that family member is also serving as the primary caregiver to their elderly parents. It is hard to discern why elderly parents turn on the child that is trying to take care of them, but often their anger is rooted in their circumstances, not the actual family member.

Our loved ones may realize they are not as mobile or active as they used to be, they may be experiencing a painful illness, they may be embarrassed  of their incontinence, or they may feel their memory waning. Whatever the cause, they often take their frustrations out on the ones they feel most safe and comfortable around. They are not consciously abusing their son or daughter, they are frustrated and take it out on family because they believe no matter how poorly they behave family won’t leave them.

When handling emotional abuse from elders, it is important to understand that your parent is frustrated, they feel as though their independence is slipping away and that death is fast approaching. As we age, we often feel betrayed by our bodies and feel humiliated for the help we require to simply survive each day. While our loved ones are undergoing a difficult time period in their life, it does not justify their negative and hurtful behavior toward their caregivers.

Detach Yourself from Insults

Although their insults may cut deep, it is important that you don’t take every insult personally. It is also important to be able to detach from the situation with love. If you are experiencing a particularly difficult period in your relationship, the best solution may simply be to take a break. If your parent is in a nursing home where you know they are receiving proper care, or you have a sibling that can take over the duties for a day or a week, allow yourself to get some distance. By spending a little time apart both you and your loved one will have time to recharge. As a caregiver, it is important to show your loved one that you will not tolerate being treated in an abusive manner, standing your ground often leads to better behavior on your loved one’s part. Being a caregiver is stressful enough without your care recipient bringing you to tears based on their poor behavior.

If your loved one lives at home with you, it may be a good idea to consider in-home care, finding a little respite will work wonders on your psyche. By detaching yourself from their care for even a short while, you may find that your parents gain a new appreciation for you. When you stand up for yourself, and remain kind, calm and loving, it is easier to get your point across. Your feelings are important, regardless of your loved one’s disposition. Taking a stand and letting them know their behavior is intolerable early on may save you a world of hurt throughout your caregiving journey.

 

 

 

How Can Your Loved One Stay at Home as They Age?

As our loved ones begin to age, they are inevitably faced with this perplexing question: How can they remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own home without jeopardizing their health or safety? Adult-proofing one’s home is an obvious first step, but what exactly does that entail?

  1. The first thing the elderly should invest in is a personal emergency response system. Medical alerts lend themselves well to providing both you and your loved one peace of mind, given the fact that your loved one has an emergency response button located on his or her body in the form of a bracelet or necklace. When emergency strikes, your loved one simply has to press the button and presto! help is on the way. With some medical alerts as low as $24.95 per month like LifeFone, purchasing a personal emergency response system is the perfect first step in insuring your loved one can remain in his or her home. Continue reading

How to Stop Caregiving from Ruining your Relationships

There is little question that today’s sandwich generation aptly fits the definition. With all the pressure caving in around them from their duties caring for their parents on one end and their children on the other, it is little wonder baby boomers feel they have no time to maintain outside relationships. Yet, nurturing relationships outside of caregiving duties are crucial to a baby boomer’s well being, regardless of how little extra time there is in the day.

Adult children live in a much more hectic world than the one that existed even a generation ago. People are living a lot longer today, thanks to medical advances, but the health of these individuals is not always as advanced. Many elders today are stroke survivors, suffering from dementia or diabetes, or have a myriad of other health concerns. While many still maintain a good quality of life, they need help to do so – and that’s where baby boomers come in. Continue reading

Complete Home Safety, Even In The Shower

Feeling safe in your home means feeling safe in every part of your home, even while showering. Many elderly fear when taking a shower because of the awkward bathtubs they have to climb over and the slippery lining of many tub floors. The concern of not being able to reach help while showering is a frightful thought. LifeFone’s personal emergency response system allows peace of mind throughout the users home, even in the shower!

 

Feeling safe in your home is only as good as the medical alarm company a user works with. With easy installation, a football field’s length in response distance and top-notch customer service, LifeFone treats its customers like family! Continue reading

Complete Home Safety, Even In The Shower

Feeling safe in your home means feeling safe in every part of your home, even while showering. Many elderly fear when taking a shower because of the awkward bathtubs they have to climb over and the slippery lining of many tub floors. The concern of not being able to reach help while showering is a frightful thought. LifeFone’s personal emergency response system allows peace of mind throughout the users home, even in the shower!

 

Feeling safe in your home is only as good as the medical alarm company a user works with. With easy installation, a football field’s length in response distance and top-notch customer service, LifeFone treats its customers like family! Continue reading