Senior Sense

GRIEVING

Yesterday was a tough day. It was my husband’s birthday. I was fine until I got in the car to come into the office, then the tears started. Yes, the day was depressing, but somehow I made it thru until it was time to leave and the feeling came over me again. I got to the car and the tears started again. This will be a tough week or so. My husband died two years and eight days ago from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Surviving the loss of a close family member does not end at the funeral. I know that from experience. I also know that from seeing friends endure the pain for years after. I know that from being a facilitator for GriefShare. People come for help who have lost spouses, parents, children, more distant relatives and even friends. Some of the deaths they have sought counseling for include sudden and long term, accidents, strokes and heart attacks, cancer and Alzheimer’s, even murder and suicide. One thing they have in common is that the memory of that person lingers on and we who survive are left to grieve.

Many of us are fortunate in that we have busy lives working, caring for family members, activities with friends and neighbors. That helps to block out the memory of the recent death. However, for those who live alone, this can be an unbearable experience. And the feeling of loss can last for years.

Many of our caregivers have endured the loss of a loved one. They understand what it is like. If you are using or considering using one of our caregivers, talk to them about your loved one’s needs. Ask them to talk to your loved about their […]

Home Assist Senior Care is in Business to Help Baby Boomers

Richard G. Schneider, MBA, is the owner of Home Assist Senior Care. Began is February 2012, Home Assist Senior Care now employs approximately 40 caretakers. Every potential client receives a personal assessment by Schneider.

Schneider completed his Master thesis on baby boomers and he says, “January 1, 2011 is when the first baby boomers turned 65, so there is this huge demographic that is going to start turning 65. Back when my parents turned 65: medicine wasn’t the same, people died earlier, they didn’t live as healthy and smoking was very popular. Now people are much more educated and medicine has advanced beyond comprehension. People are staying alive much longer; that group of people needs to be served in a particular way.”

Schneider, a paramedic in the 1980s, was determined to develop a way to help seniors who needed care that was outside of the scope of medicine. He recalls too many 911 emergency calls when a senior citizen wanted someone to keep them company, help in paying bills and in contacting family members. He identified a need to assist when people are healthy enough to live on their own but need support.

The private service is affiliated with networks of caregivers in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. Schneider says, “Since my business is a private entity as opposed to a franchise it is not limited to any geographic footprint.” The Network for Aging, New York State Home Care Association and other organizations in the region with the common goal of serving seniors in medical or non-medical capacities share information and resources.

Home Assist Senior Care is a non-medical agency. The types of services caretakers provide include: housekeeping, meal planning, managing mail, medication reminders, running errands and […]

Dealing with Anger—Yours—When Caring for a Senior Loved One

Many family caregivers struggle with strong emotions as they take care of their aging loved one. Feelings of resentment and anger are normal reactions to the stress of seeing a parent, for example, become dependent on his or her children.

Sometimes old feelings from childhood resurface and cause conflict; or a senior loved one may be expressing their own anger and frustration and trying the patience of even the most loving child or relative.

Coupled with the daily stress of life – work, family, health – many caregivers find their nerves worn thin and the emotional stress exhausting.

The solution is two-fold; first, respite care is designed to give family caregivers a much-needed break. Whether during a vacation or for a few hours every day, allowing family caregivers the free time to run their own errands, go to work, or simply take a rest is a good reason to hire a qualified, trained professional caregiver.

Another part of the solution is for the family caregiver to understand and deal with his or her feelings. Many feel ashamed that they are so frustrated and deny the anger building up. This can have disastrous results. It is vital for family caregivers to seek professional counseling if their feelings become so difficult it affects their ability to care for their senior loved one.

Simply talking to your senior loved one’s physician is a good way to start – they can help with suggestions for coping with your senior loved one depending on you. Your own physician can also offer solutions or recommendations based on your health needs.

There are many resources online that offer tips and insight. For more information visit 15 Ways to Care for An Elderly Parent, a helpful blog from […]

By |December 12th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Dealing with Anger—Yours—When Caring for a Senior Loved One|

Seniors and Nutrition

Eating well is not just about choosing healthy foods. Maintaining a healthy diet also depends on the ability to go out and shop for the right foods, store and prepare them.

Many seniors have difficulty keeping their kitchen stocked with healthy foods because they cannot get to the store often enough to purchase perishables like fruits and vegetables, or they are unable to chop, prepare and cook the meals due to physical limitations or mental issues such as Alzheimer’s.

If you are unable to care for your senior loved one on a daily basis, hiring a caregiver to shop, prepare and monitor daily meals can be a critical help in an elderly person’s maintaining a healthy diet.

Counting calories, doing the physical shopping and carrying of groceries, putting them away, monitoring expiration dates and perishable goods, and finally the meal preparation itself are all activities that a trained caregiver can provide.

Some seniors do not like to eat alone, and will forgo a meal rather than prepare one to eat without company. Having a caregiver share a mealtime is also a helpful way to ensure seniors are getting the right nutritional balance, and enjoying the social aspect of mealtime.

Some seniors have special diets like low sodium or diabetic restrictions. A trained caregiver who knows what to shop for and prepare can mean the difference between a healthy diet and one that actually causes harm. Making sure that there is an adequate supply of required foods, especially for diabetics, is critical.

Some seniors do not get enough nutrition, while others need to lose weight for health reasons. Calorie guidelines from the National Institute of Aging suggest the following:

A woman over 50 who is not physically active needs about 1600 calories […]

By |December 7th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Seniors and Nutrition|

Seniors and Smoking

Many seniors are told by their doctors to quit smoking. Yet many refuse, because they either believe it’s too late to reap the benefits of quitting, or it’s too difficult to quit after, in some cases, an entire adult lifetime of smoking cigarettes.

Health experts say however that the benefits of quitting even late in life are worth it.

A 2004 Surgeon General’s report says the benefits of quitting begin just twenty minutes after the last cigarette.

20 minutes after quitting:
• Blood pressure decreases
• Pulse rate drops
• Body temperature of hands and feet increases.

8 hours after quitting:
• Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
• Oxygen level in blood increases to normal

24 hours after quitting:
• Chance of a heart attack decreases

48 hours after quitting:
• Nerve endings begin regrowth
• Ability to smell and taste improves

The benefits increase exponentially as time goes by without cigarettes; the chance of developing coronary disease is reduced by more than 50% after one year without smoking. After 15 years the risk of coronary disease drops to the level of a non-smoker.

For seniors on a fixed income, the financial savings can add up to almost $200 per month for a pack a day smoker.

For tools to help the senior loved on in your life quit smoking, The American Cancer Society offers a Guide to Quitting Smoking:

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002971-pdf.pdf

By |December 5th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Seniors and Smoking|

Holiday Shopping Ideas for Seniors

Having a difficult time holiday shopping for your senior loved one?

Many helpful products have been developed for the senior in your life, from senior-friendly cooking utensils to home safety products.

Several websites offer senior-specialty products, and even products designed for caregivers.

ArthritisSupplies.com offers an array of gift ideas and products designed for people who have arthritic conditions.

From The Buckle-Bopper, which helps arthritic hands unbuckle seatbelt clips:

http://www.arthritissupplies.com/buckle-bopper.html

to the Easi Grip Forked Knife, with a vertical handle designed to be much easier to hold:

http://www.arthritissupplies.com/easi-grip-forked-knife.html

there are hundreds of helpful ideas for seniors.

Another site, CaregiverProducts.com, targets caregivers with such helpful products as the Medcenter Vitamin Organizer:

http://www.caregiverproducts.com/medcenter-vitamin-organizer.html

to the Cravaat Dining Scarf, a discreet bib for dining:

http://www.caregiverproducts.com/cravaat-dining-scarf.html

MobilityAids.com offers Stand-Up Cane Tips:

http://www.mobility-aids.com/juvo-stand-up-cane-tip-78.html

and a swivel seat cushion to aid in transferring to and from the car:

http://www.mobility-aids.com/deluxe-swivel-seat-cushion.html

ARTHRITIS SUPPLIES:
http://www.arthritissupplies.com

CAREGIVER PRODUCTS:
http://www.caregiverproducts.com

MOBILITY AIDS:
http://www.mobility-aids.com

This blog is not an endorsement of any of the products or websites mentioned, but is presented only as possibly helpful information.

By |November 27th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Holiday Shopping Ideas for Seniors|

BEWARE OF SENIOR SCAMS

Seniors can be especially vulnerable to charity donation scams and other “phishing” techniques used by con artists and criminals. With the recent devastation caused in the North East by Hurricane Sandy, many scams involving phony donation schemes are hitting seniors across the country.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that 25 million seniors are victims of consumer fraud every year. According the National Crime Prevention Council, fraudulent telemarketers target between 56 to 80 percent of their calls to seniors.

For many seniors who live alone, receiving a phone call in the evening is a welcome break from loneliness, and a senior may be vulnerable to what the caller has to say simply because it is a friendly voice.

Misrepresenting themselves as trusted institutions is also a common tactic for fraudulent telemarketers, as is the case with many phony Hurricane Sandy disaster relief scams. Seniors may send checks or give money over the phone with credit cards in good faith, unaware that the voice on the other end of the phone is actually a criminal. And even if a senior makes a check out to a legitimate institution like the Red Cross, the criminal has still gained access to a bank account or other personal information.

The NCPC offers these tips on its website, www.ncpc.org to help seniors avoid being a victim:

• Offers too good to be true usually are. Ask to receive the “unbelievable deal” or the “amazing prize offer” in writing so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.

• Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will never ask you for this information over the phone.

• If a caller asks you to pay […]

By |November 13th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on BEWARE OF SENIOR SCAMS|

Seniors and Driving

September 19, 2012

SENIORS AND DRIVING

What does driving mean to you? Many of us take for granted the freedom we enjoy by being able to hop in the car and run to the grocery store, the doctor, the mall, or even to a friend’s house for a visit.

Many seniors are struggling with their ability to drive; declining eyesight and physical ability can seriously impact driving skills.

A recent NBC Nightly News story entitled, “Too Old to Drive?” featured startling statistics: according to the most recent studies, 600 drivers over age 65 are involved in an accident every day in the United States. Nine of those drivers die. And the majority of the accidents occur during the day.

But for many seniors, driving is their lifeline to staying active. How will they continue to participate in social activities and maintain a household if they cannot get around town?

The first step in ensuring your senior loved one’s driving safety is a health exam; checking eyesight, their physical ability to steer and break, and reaction times will provide you with a guideline. The next step is to take a ride—observe their driving ability. Do they have difficulty? Do they hesitate or seem to struggle?

Next, help your senior loved one by working out solutions if they are limited in their driving ability. Can you or a family member provide transportation on certain days?

If not, consider a senior home care service like Home Assist Senior Care. Caregivers can help seniors maintain accessibility to the outside world by taking them to appointments, shopping or visiting. For some seniors who have already lost the ability to drive, this can be a lifesaving service. Study after study has shown the more your senior loved one […]

By |September 19th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Seniors and Driving|

Coping With Loneliness

September 10, 2012

LETHAL LONELINESS

A recent study of more than 1,000 seniors found that loneliness can actually be lethal.

The Archives of Internal Medicine published a report in June, 2012 with startling statistics on senior loneliness: seniors who classified themselves as “lonely” suffered measurable declines in health, and a likelihood of death greater than those who did not classify themselves as lonely.

Lonely seniors also suffered almost twice as much difficulty in the tasks of daily living, and they have a greater tendency to withdraw socially and focus on pains and ailments, rather than trying to stay active.

The solutions are obvious but not always so simple; regular visits by loved ones and family members are the best choice, but work and family commitments can make that very difficult on everyone.

Regular telephone calls are the next best thing to helping a lonely senior maintain a feeling of connectedness. If the senior in your life is computer-savvy, Skyping is a terrific way to visit if distance or schedules make an in-person trip impossible.

Hanging photos of family and friends in their living space can also help stave off lonely feelings, especially if the photos are recent. Digital photo frames that scroll through a slideshow are wonderful gifts for seniors if they are pre-loaded with loved ones’ smiling faces.

With families busier than ever, especially in two-income families, or single-parent households, professional companionship can literally be a life-saver for seniors. Even those who live in assisted living facilities can feel disconnected if they don’t have someone to share their favorite activities with.

Using a service such as Home Assist Senior Care to provide regular visits can also provide a sense of purpose and encourage active engagement in life. Many seniors stop engaging in […]

By |September 10th, 2012|Senior Sense|Comments Off on Coping With Loneliness|