Friday, April 28, 2017

3 Ways for Spousal Caregivers to Cope with their Grief and Pain

By Leandro Mueller

Who watches over the watchmen; who cares for the caregivers? In as so much that caregivers (especially spousal caregivers) are essential for the majority of baby boomers entering the retirement phase of their lives, some much-needed care and respect are crucial for these individuals to see the value of their efforts and sacrifices. After all, spousal caregivers tend to give more (and lose more) for their partners – their personal time, work opportunities, and even relationships with friends and family are all at risk.

As such, we’d like to list down several ways on how spousal caregivers can get through the darkest days of their lives. If you are one, take heart and know that there are people who care for everything you’ve done, are doing, and will do in the future. If you know one or are a care recipient, these tips may also help you acknowledge and assist you in allowing your spouse to have a better experience looking after you.

Acknowledge that You Need a Break
According to “Families Caring for an Aging America,” a report published last year by The National Academies Press, spouses make up approximately 21.5% of all caregivers looking after a family member in need of care during the golden years. As primary caregivers, same-generation spouses are also at risk of age-related (physical and cognitive) conditions.

It’s a conundrum – as recipients age and care demands increase, spousal caregivers are also exposed to health and emotional problems that’ll prove to be detrimental to their well-being. And this is why caregivers need to be aware and accept that they need and deserve a break. Caregiver stress is real – and if not addressed properly, may not only lead to lackluster custodial services, but a blow to one’s personal health and well-being as well.

You’re only human, after all. You need that break – please go and grab the chance for some R&R!

Connect with Others
The University of Exeter recently conducted a study on loneliness experienced by spousal caregivers. As determined by the researchers, caregiving can be a rewarding activity, yet mental and physical health is also at risk with of the loss of contact with other people. Additionally, and particularly for same-generation spousal caregivers, social isolation may soon seep into one’s life, which may result in anxiety or depression.

Spousal caregivers, aside from taking a break, also need to keep in touch with friends and families. Having an active emotional connection with peers will not only improve one’s emotional state – support in the form of learning retirement solutions, the latest trends in custodial care, or even self-care tips can be gained from simply talking with friends.

A Worthwhile Hobby will Matter
Additionally, pursuing a hobby will help spousal caregivers get over the pain or frustration that they may feel when accomplishing their custodial tasks. Think of this as a welcome, yet productive, escape from everyday life. For an even more practical hobby, consider gardening, learning a new skill (such as coding/computer literacy/arts & crafts), and even cooking as a way to connect your passion with your care recipient. Who knows, what makes you happy may also be a good opportunity to bond with your loved one!

Aside from these tips, we’d like to point spousal caregivers towards a helpful list of resources compiled by CBS Pittsburgh. The list will assist caregivers with any of their additional concerns on how to both properly stay functional and happy when looking after their loved ones.

Author Bio:
As the Online Content Director of, Leandro Mueller aims to push for awareness and promotion of the many benefits of Medigap insurance plans in the market. He hopes that his work will help boomers and retirement industry experts alike in their lives. He hopes that his work will lead people in applying for the best Medigap plan that will suit their needs and preferences.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Americans are Living Longer

As a general rule, I don't place Infographics, but this one comes from a vetted source, and is full of great information. Enjoy... (It takes a few seconds to load, and you have to do some scrolling side to side as well as up and down.)

The University of Southern California Online

Friday, February 17, 2017

Top Aging Blog Honors

Many thanks to Feedspot for honoring our blog as their pick for one of the Top 60 aging blogs.


Medical Supply Depot

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! 2017

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!! I hope the holidays have been good to you and that you have made some happy memories with family and friends.  The new year brings a renewed excitement for the possibilities. May they be

We have a lot of work to do to ensure our loved one's benefits remain intact such as Social Security and Medicare, as well as the ACA so that out country is not thrust suddenly into chaos because a few decide to dump all of theses things at once with no alternatives in place first.  Remember the elected officials in Washington are unaffected by Social Security and Medicare. They will have their own set of retirement funds and lifetime medical care for their service. They won't feel the ramifications of any of it, except possibly in 2018 and 2020 when they face reelection.

Stand up and be heard. Always advocate for your aging parents and loved ones, for the trickle down effect will be our own situation someday, and that may eb sooner than you think!!!

Do your due diligence and research. There is so much misinformation out there and too many officials actually using it to their advantage. Seek out information from trusted sources and seek from more than one source!

Be well. Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water. Get good sleep and rest when you're tired. Take care of YOU because if you go down, who will take care of the others? Take time for yourself. Schedule it into your busy day!!!

May 2017 bring you peace and happiness!

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!


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!