Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Some Thoughts for New Year's Resolutions for Seniors

New Year's is typically time for saying goodbye to the past year and welcoming in a new year with hopes for changes for the best. Many people make resolutions or promises to themselves or their loved ones to improve themselves in the new year. The one that comes to mind most often is to lose weight. Another is to quit smoking. These are terrific resolutions, but they often fall by the wayside soon into the new year as life gets busy again.

To change a habit you have to practice new habits or behaviors for at least 3 weeks or 21 days before you'll realistically see or feel a difference. The plan needs to be consistent and you can't skip a day. And then you have to keep it up to make it really work. Because, for instance to lose weight, you must make lifestyle changes. Otherwise as soon as you reach your goal, you'll likely gain it all back if you return to old habits.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the guilt, or feeling like a failure and depression sets in and it's healthier just to let it go. Don't beat yourself up.

Lofty goals may work sometimes, but it's better to make resolutions that are realistic and attainable. Then build on them. Break things down into simpler problems to tackle and give yourself a chance to succeed and become more confident.

I was offered the opportunity to share a blog post from Gary Simmons at A Hand to Hold about resolutions specific to our aging parents and loved ones. There's a lot of good ideas for any age, but these are all things that can make a big difference in the lives of our aging parents as they prepare to face the challenges of life in the 60's, 70's 80's and beyond. It's a great read! Happy New Year!

image: http://www.happynewyear2017images.net/2016/07/happy-new-year-2017-pictures-free-download.html

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Best Tips For Seniors Who Are Making A Move

Guest post by
Caroline James

Whether you are moving into an assisted living facility or simply downsizing a bit, making a move can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you have lived in the same home for many years. A lifetime of memories and collections reside in that house as well, and it can be troubling to think of having to get rid of them. With careful planning, however, you can make sure the move is as smooth as possible and that you can take nearly all of your favorite possessions with you.

Photo by Pixabay
The first thing to do is get organized, and ask for help if you need to. A trusted friend, family member, or caregiver can help you sit down and make a list to get prepared. Here are some of the best ways to start.

Think ahead

It can be helpful to think about everything that needs to happen all the way from putting your house on the market to what you’ll need to handle come moving day. Then, write them down in checklist form in the order they’ll need to be tackled. Do you want to use an agent to sell your home or sell it on your own? And what are the costs associated with either option? Which assisted living facilities or neighborhoods do you prefer for your new home? Will you need to make arrangements for a storage unit or movers? And the list goes on and on. Moving, regardless of age, is a huge task so don’t be shy about asking for help when you’re trying to figure out how to manage the process.

Get an early start

As soon as you make the decision to move, it’s a good idea to start planning. Take your time and focus on accomplishing one or two things a day. If you have a large house or a lot of belongings, begin with one room and take inventory of everything in it. Think about whether you want to take certain things or purchase replacements.

Once you have a good idea of all the items in the room, take different colored Post-It notes and mark them with notes like “Take”, “Donate”, “Trash” and “Sell.” This will make it easier not only for you to see what you have, but for anyone helping you pack things up. Write down the “Take” items on a list. Having a detailed inventory of everything you’re taking will help you stay organized before, during, and after the move.

Plan your packing

It’s never easy to think about parting with cherished belongings, but if you know you won’t have the same amount of room in your new home, sometimes donating items or giving them to family members is the best way to go. Hold on to things that are special to you and think about whether they can be changed in a way that is more accommodating to a smaller space.

For example, large photo albums take up a lot of room and can create heavy boxes for a move, but if you have a computer you may be able to scan them and upload them digitally so you can still look at them. Items that hold a lot of sentimental value, such as a wedding gown, might be given to a grandchild for their future big day. Try to think about some of your less personal belongings objectively; if you have a piece of furniture that has a lot of life left in it but doesn’t get used often, it’s probably perfect for a garage sale or donation.

It’s also important to know what not to pack. For example, you’ll want to put toiletry items that you might need right away in a personal bag, not in one of your moving boxes. You should also avoid boxing up flammable items, perishable items, and any medications you’ll need during the course of moving day.

If possible, obtain a floor plan of your new home and compare it to your current one. Planning for furniture placement can really be a huge help when you’re ready to make the move.

Prepare for moving day

Preparing for the move can be exhausting, so making sure you know what to expect on moving day is imperative. Keep up communication with any movers or family members who will be helping out and make sure to plan for time to clean after all the boxes and furniture have been moved out.

Once you’re in your new place, make sure to indicate to the movers or helpers where you want furniture to go as they bring it in. It might slow things down a bit, but a smaller space means you need to plan a little first before you bring in boxes and small items. Otherwise, you’ll be tripping over things and more work will be created for later.

Safety First

Once you’re in your new home, take precautions to ensure you’ll be as safe as possible. For example, go through the home with a handyman or helpful loved one who can make any needed repairs or upgrades to remove fall or trip hazards. Do some planning so that you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency. For example, you might want to plan out escape routes for dangerous situations, such as a fire or home invasion. And get to know your neighbors. They can be a valuable resource if you ever need help and will be great people to partner with as you get to know your new community.

Moving, even if you’re heading to your dream retirement location, can be a daunting task for anyone, but as long as you remember to take it slowly and stay organized, you can make a smooth transition to your new home.

Thanks Caroline!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Proofing Your House

Guest Post from Max Gottlieb

Falls can happen to anyone at any age. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), one in three adults aged 65 or older experience a fall each year. This statistic may be under-reported since many falls are not serious enough to warrant a doctor’s visit. Since a fall can mark the beginning of more health complications down the road, reducing the risk should be of utmost importance.

There are many ways a person can prevent falls, such as working on balance, increasing physical activity, and taking supplements like calcium or vitamin D (with your doctor's OK) to avoid strengthen bones. One of the most basic ways to stay safe, however, is making sure your house is fall proof.

Bathroom Dangers
The first area we are going to explore is the bathroom. Obviously, water can accumulate on slick surfaces making this area perfect for a slip or a fall. The good news is that there are some simple preventative measures that can be taken. The first step is to make sure the shower door is tightly sealed. This way, water is not leaking or spraying out of the shower onto the bathroom tiles. Of course, when a person gets out of the shower, it is difficult not to take water with you. For this reason, an anti-slip mat outside the shower is recommended. If you have ever seen a restaurant kitchen or a commercial area that tends to get wet, you will notice they cover the ground in rubber anti-slip mats to prevent slips and falls. Anti-slip mats are a good idea for the kitchen as well, since washing dishes can sometimes lead to unintended puddles on the floor.

Inside the Shower
The next area of focus should be inside the shower. Some showers have traction on the bottom to prevent slips and falls. However, if yours doesn’t, you can purchase a shower mat for use inside the shower that replicates an anti-slip surface. For individuals that are unstable on their feet or have issues standing for a long duration, a shower chair along with an extendable shower head is advisable. Even for the most able bodied senior, getting in and out of the shower can pose a risk so grab bars are recommended.

Beyond wet areas being slippery, another major issue is clutter. Clutter can be too much furniture, haphazard electrical cords, boxes, low coffee tables, nightstands, plant stands, or pretty much anything else that obstructs walking. This is especially important for high traffic areas like hallways or bedrooms. First, make sure that all cords are secured out of the way so they pose no risk in the future. Next, reduce the amount of freestanding objects throughout the house and try to eliminate them in the areas where foot traffic occurs. Maybe there are boxes by the couch, or newspapers by the back door—wherever the clutter may be, it’s time to get rid of it.

Let There Be Light
Lastly, and perhaps most overlooked when it comes to eliminating fall-risks, is light. Make sure the entire house is well lit so there are no dark areas. This means that you should be using at least a 60-watt bulb wherever there is a lamp or light fixture. Check for areas in the house that aren’t lit and install lighting or add a lamp. At night, leave a nightlight on in the bathroom so no one is stumbling around in the dark during a late-night bathroom trip. Just as with other appliances, make sure the exposed cords are tucked away. The lamps and lighting fixtures should always be within reach, but far enough away from the pathways to be out of the way. You’d be surprise how beneficial better visibility can be.

More Tips for Fall Prevention
Some final tips are making sure that any furniture, including your bed, tables, couches and chairs, are the proper height. A chair that is too close to the ground and a bed that is too high or too low creates unnecessary risk. Make sure to speak with your primary care provider in regards to what other devices or techniques you can utilize to live a safe, healthier life.

Max Gottlieb works with Senior Planning, giving free assistance to seniors and their families. Senior Planning helps with benefits, senior housing, and organizing any necessary care. 

Thanks Max for a great article!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Medical Alert Systems: Keeping Mom as Independent as Possible

When you can encourage and assist your aging parents and loved ones to remain as independent as possible you keep their minds healthy and their bodies working; albeit slower than ever before. As we all age, tasks become more challenging and our agility is challenged everyday.

While it may seem much safer to place Mom where she can just sit, watch TV or read and be waited on all day, that may not be the best way to keep her strong and vibrant.

Keep them Safe
What is essential is to make the scene as safe as possible.
  • Remove clutter and obstacles such as throw rugs. 
  • Hang grab bars where needed throughout the house. 
  • Place everyday items for cooking, eating, bathing, dressing, etc. within a safe reach may mean some serious "redecorating" and reconsideration. 
  • Purchase reachers and a maybe a couple of walkers
  • The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. Use a bedside commode at night can help avoid falls.  
These can all help to reduce fall risk and improve their ability to remain independent for as long as possible.

Medical Alert Systems
One of the most valuable tools for your own peace of mind is a medical alert system. Reviews.com has complied a great list of possibilities and provides the pros and cons as well as straight out reasons for eliminating some. It's a great resource to have and to share!
alert system.

Arranging for transportation and assistance with the heavier duties such as shopping and attending to medical or other appointments can help them ease into giving up the car without necessitating unnecessary hours of caregiving until they are needed. Laundry and house keeping chores can be piecemealed as well.

Things can and will eventually turn on a dime and you need to have a plan to implement immediately, but until then try to keep them vibrant and as independent as possible. It takes effort, thought and commitment, but after 80 time begins to run out quickly. Cherish those moments and give them your best shot. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Top Resources for Seniors

I recently received this great list of resources from Richard Wright at EldersCorps.org. (Thank you Richard)! I hope you will all find some of these beneficial to your own situations to keep yourselves healthy as caregivers and to help keep your elderly love ones active, safe and healthy too. It's a great list to keep for future needs as well.

And here are a few more:

On 5/24/18 I'm adding these:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Caregivers: Save Time Wherever You Can

My time is much more limited these days. I need to make sure I make things as efficient and easy as I can so that I have some time for myself. Caregiver fatigue is REAL and if you don't fill your cup first, you'll never be able to fill the cup for others.

Elimination (poop and pee) is a private matter and dignity is jeopardized when our loved ones loose control, or are no longer able to make it to the bathroom. Using a bedpan or bedside commode can be disheartening. But alas it is also a necessity as time, illness and age takes its toll. So we have to do the best we can, and try to make as little of it all as we can to save face and dignity for our loved ones.

I recently found an item that helps to diminish the stress and reduce the time consumed in dealing with bedside commodes. It also helps somewhat with dignity issues because the disposal is quick and easy.

Bedside commode liners have become one of my best friends these days. The small plastic bag fits easily over the bucket and the gel insert helps to absorb liquids. The bag has a draw string to secure it shut and whole thing can then be placed in the trash. Clean up time is reduced significantly from having to empty and clean the bucket after each use. It's more sanitary and as I've said, it saves time which is a precious commodity.

The brand I purchased from Amazon.com (shown above) are Medline Industries MDS89664LINER Commode Liners with Absorbent Pads (Pack of 72)

 I have to admit I have some issues with this because I try hard to be a "green" person, but again, I have to look after me too and this makes life easier at this point. So please don't judge me unless you've walked in my shoes for awhile. All any of us can do is try our best to reduce our carbon footprint when and where we can, and I do practice that. Meanwhile I also have to take care of me!

Medical Supply Depot