senior_thanksgivingThe Holidays tend to be a stressful season for most people, and are often times even more stressful for caregivers. Holiday visits can be a great time to check-up on your loved one and have a positive impact on their care.

One important task is to look out for warning signs that elderly family members may need more help taking care of themselves on a day-to-day basis. Physically, weight loss and a lack of personal hygiene are both signs that a family member may need increased care. It is also beneficial to look out for signs of forgetfulness, such as leaving unopened mail on the kitchen counter or forgetting to refill prescriptions.

If an elderly family member has stopped doing things they previously enjoyed, such as eating lunch with friends or going on a weekly bowling outing, there may be some physical or psychological reason for that change.

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young_and_seniorWhile some people are caregivers by profession, most take on their new role unexpectedly when something happens to a friend or family member. Caregiving is helping another person—usually someone who is ill, disabled, or elderly—with their day-to-day activities. This may involve driving them to different places, delivering food, cleaning their home, or scheduling doctor’s appointments. While helping someone is a gracious act, it can be very stressful for the caregiver, especially when the person being helped is completely dependent on the caregiver or doesn’t openly express his gratitude. It can also be heartbreaking to see a loved one in such a vulnerable state. Read the rest of this entry

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senior_on_phoneLong distance caregiving poses some unique challenges, as it is difficult to physically check-in on your loved one in their own home. Instead, you must rely on periodic visits and the reports of others. However, there are solutions to most concerns.

Concern: Your loved one can no longer leave his home to go grocery shopping or tends to buy unhealthy foods.

Solution: Help your elderly family member set up an online account at a grocery store, so he can order from home and have his groceries delivered. You can even order for him if you’d prefer to choose the food items yourself. If you’d rather order pre-made meals, DineWise.com delivers meals nationwide. They have options for people on special low-calorie, low-fat, or low-sodium diets. This is the perfect solution for diabetics or those with high cholesterol.

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Mature woman with dog.As individuals age, they often need a bit more help with their day-to-day activities. The question then becomes whether or not that individual should continue to live at home or move into an assisted living residence. Home care is a great option for the elderly and has many benefits.

1. Seniors who live at home are able to maintain a level of freedom that would not be possible at an assisted living residence. For many, this freedom is synonymous with maintaining dignity, which is something many individuals fear loosing as they age. Similarly, those who receive homecare can come and go as they please—for whatever reason.They can also choose their own meal times.

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senior_fallenElderly people are more inclined to trip and fall, or otherwise injure themselves at home. Unfortunately, these injuries are harder to recover from at an older age. Luckily, there are many simple precautions that can be taken to greatly reduce the risk of injury.

There are some tasks that can be done in any living area of the home:
• All rugs and loose carpets should be either tacked or taped to the ground. This will prevent seniors from tripping on turned-up corners or scrunched rugs.
• Electric cords should be secured to the wall or placed under rugs so no one trips on them.
• Sharp corners on tables or countertops should be covered to avoid serious injury in the event of a fall.
• Staircases should have railings on both sides that are strong enough to support a person’s full body weight. Ideally these railings should extend beyond the top and bottom steps. Read the rest of this entry

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It can be difficult for seniors to cook healthy, well-balanced meals, as it may be impossible for them to get to the grocery store on their own. Decreased hand-eye coordination can make it tough to operate kitchen appliances safely, and for those with poor vision, cooking becomes a dangerous chore. However, there is an alternative to cooking at home or eating out. Food delivery services offer healthy meals that simply need to be heated in the microwave or oven.

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Medical ID Alert BraceletsIf you have a chronic illness or take prescription medication, you should consider wearing a medical alert bracelet. If an emergency arises, a Medical ID bracelet can help save your life by expediting treatment and avoiding misdiagnosis. Paramedics are also trained to look for a patient’s medical identification bracelet, and more than 95% of them do, so wearing an ID bracelet really is the way to go.

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Think Faster, Focus Better, Remember More
Many seniors aren’t as mentally sharp as they once were. They find it more difficult to remember things and focus. However, brain training programs can help seniors increase their mental fitness and stay on top of their game. Posit Science produces three different brain games. They focus on auditory processing, visual processing, and safer driving. All games can be ordered for a MAC or PC and are easy to use, even for computer novices.

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Many seniors can’t live safely on their own without some daily help. If this is the case for your elderly parent, it may be time to start looking for trustworthy in-home care.

You can begin the search by asking friends and family if they are looking for a job in caregiving. If they are, you may have just saved yourself some time. Most people, however, do not know someone who is both qualified and looking for a job. With on-line databases of caregivers, this isn’t a problem. On Sittercity.com and Care.com providers post profiles and potential employers can look at them.

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Anyone who is charged with the task of caring for an aging parent, particularly the only surviving aging parent, faces a tough decision at some time in the time of their caregiver years. And that decision is whether to have mom or dad move in with you.

When that idea first comes to mind, you can probably think of more negatives than positives. It really goes against your orientation since you moved out of your parent’s home as a youth. Since then your entire goal was to live separately from your parents, not to combine them again.

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Providing care for your adult parent during their retirement years can be a demanding job. And the job continues to become more demanding as your parent gets older and his or her health declines. You will have to make more and more difficult decisions as the end grows closer and many of them you will make without the consultation your elderly parent if his mental abilities have slipped away due to the affects of aging.

If the senior citizen you are caring for is dealing with a terminal illness that lingers, those demands will become virtually overwhelming. When the end is near like this, your need for assistance will become acute. This is no time to try to be stoic. Dealing with a dying senior citizen is something that is usually outside of the abilities of caregiver children.

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There comes a time in the adult lives of children and their parents when it dawns on you that you might have to step in and begin having a more active in your parent’s lives, not as a child but as a caregiver. For every family, that time seems to come as a shock.

It’s strange because we all see reports on television about the transition that we go through when the parent becomes the dependent one and the child becomes the boss in the relationship. And the hardest part of that transition may be the first time you have to step in and “stage an intervention” because there is an area of life that your parent needs to let go of and you know they won’t want to. So what are the signs that its time to step in and suggest or directly take action to make that change in your parents lives?

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The generation born between 1950 and 1970 has often been called The Baby Boomer Generation. There have been some variations on that title including The Me Generation, The Vietnam Generation and even for the sake of a certain comedian, The Al Frankin Generation. But the title that is most appropriate to where we are now, as we become caregivers for our children as well as our aging parents is “The Sandwich Generation”.

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Perhaps the hardest task you will ever be faced with is to help one of your parents cope with the loss of her spouse. Naturally, this is going to be a traumatic time for the whole family because as much as mom lost her husband and the father of her children, you have lost your daddy and you have grief yourself. So how do you help your mom and grandma to your kids get through this very difficult transition?

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Being a caregiver for your aging mom or dad could be compared to a battle. This is even more so if you are caring for a loved one who is terminally ill. That is because the battle you are fighting will ultimately end in the passing of your loved one. But you are committed to their health, happiness and well being and to do all you can to make their golden years as peaceful and enjoyable if you can.

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There is a balance between the jobs of a caregiver and the feelings of a caregiver. If you can detach yourself from the many emotions you feel when you have taken on this hard job, many of the “tasks” are fairly routine. Whether it’s doing your mom and dad’s laundry or grocery shopping or paying the bills or filling out the Medicare paperwork, much of the “stuff” of being a caregiver is pretty humdrum.

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Have you ever heard the phrase, “The 200 pound gorilla in the room”? It’s a phrase that refers to a topic that nobody talks about but it so dominates everybody’s thoughts. Everyone knows the gorilla is there but nobody gets anxious because, after all, you don’t want to upset the gorilla.

There is a 200 pound gorilla in the room in any time being spent with a senior citizen. It is a topic that is blatantly pertinent to anyone in their golden years but it is a topic that nobody talks about either because it’s too upsetting or nobody knows how to talk about it. But it is a topic that weighs on the mind of your senior citizen mom and dad virtually every day. The 200 pound gorilla in the room is death and the end of life issues that are ahead for every senior citizen at some point or another.

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The job of becoming the primary caregiver for your aging parent is universally recognized as one of the most difficult transitions we will go through. To start with, it’s hard to go through the reversal of parent and child. All your life, mom or dad were the strong ones. They were the ones you ran to for help and who were always there to tell you, “It’s ok. Everything will be all right.”

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Sometimes when you and your elderly parent are partnering for their care, it seems like an “us against the world” situation. But since the senior citizen you are caring for has little fight left in them, it seems it’s up to you to make sure that your elderly mom or dad get all they have coming. Just because a person becomes a senior citizen, that doesn’t mean their fundamental rights go away. They deserve and should expect to be treated with respect and for those serving them to live up to expectations.

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