Category Archives: Elder Care Issues

10 Signs Your Senior May Need In-Home Elder Care

 

in-homeAs your loved one gets older, it may be time to consider some in-home care to help them remain safe in their home. While many people can live in their own home for a long time as they age, there are often signs that it’s time to find help in order to give your loved one the assurance and support they need. If you are wondering whether a loved one needs in-home care or not, it’s time to look for the following signs:

  1. Personal grooming is neglected and your loved one looks more disheveled.
  2. The home is less clean than normal. Basic household chores like laundry and dishes are getting ignored.
  3. Your loved one is losing weight because of a poor diet.
  4. There has been a recent fall or your loved one is afraid to fall while home alone.
  5. You notice that medication is not being taken properly.
  6. Your loved one is no longer active or going out much.
  7. Mail and bills are being ignored and piling up.
  8. You discover that a loved one has become the victim of fraud or has been easily scammed.
  9. It’s become harder to take care of your loved one’s basic needs on your own.
  10. You find your loved one gets confused more easily or appears disoriented.

When you have a loved one who you are concerned about, it’s important to carefully assess their needs. Most people want to stay independent and may try to hide any need for help from family members. Talk with your loved one and begin having the conversation of bringing in a little help to the home. When you have open and honest communication, you’ll have a better chance at keeping your loved one safe. Be reassuring during this conversation about your goals to keep your loved one at home with a little help.

Your loved one needs to feel in control of the situation and may fear being removed from the home if they are honest about their needs. Your loved one can remain at home with significant care, and you need to make sure that this is understood. Keep your loved ones safe by getting them the help they deserve when they are struggling to care for their own needs at home.

Tips for Helping Your Elderly Relative Downsize

downsize

While every situation is different, downsizing one’s living situation can be traumatic for anyone. For the elderly, it often becomes an emotional process. Downsizing might mean moving into a retirement community or moving in with a loved one. Regardless of their physical state, seniors often feel that they are losing some of the autonomy they enjoyed with youth. Downsizing a residence can also be a reminder of the passing years and, in fact, one’s own mortality. These milestones are natural, but that doesn’t make them any less difficult to deal with for some people.

As an adult child or a caregiver, your responsibility can seem immense. Not only do you need to proceed in the best way to protect your relative’s assets, but you also need to handle the situation in a way that’s as emotionally healthy as possible. Downsizing often means going through a lifetime of accumulation; a houseful of cherished memories and just regular, every day, possessions. But the only person who really knows the worth of any given item is the person who owns it. That can make helping the process very difficult.

While downsizing may be more or less taxing, depending on the disposition of the person moving, these tips can help keep you organized and on task.

  • Assess First. Really take some time going through your elderly relatives belongings to see how much physical work might be required. You should also take this opportunity to speak with an elder attorney and help your loved one put their affairs in order to alleviate any financial strain.
  • Make a Plan. Once you know how much work will be needed, set a schedule and make a plan for who will be involved and when things will get done. Depending on your relative’s physical health, they may not be able to help but they’ll still want to direct which things should stay and which should go.
  • Appeal to Their Frugality. If your relative is unhappy about throwing away items, you might appeal to their budget-conscious side. Help them put together a plan for an estate sale or start selling items through an online venue. It can become a fun activity for them once they see the proceeds adding to their savings.
  • Leave Enough Time. Don’t only think about the hours it would take you to do the work. Think about the extra time your relative might need to say goodbye to items and acclimate. Leaving more time is much better than not having enough.
  • Items That Once Belonged to Children. Often the elderly are holding on to items that belonged to their now-adult children or grandchildren. It’s a great idea to have these family members help them go through things to save items they might want or give them permission to give them away or sell them.

Making the decision to move from a long-time primary residence can be traumatic. It can mean leaving behind a well-loved home of many years. While every case is different, it’s important to listen to the wants and needs of your relative and make sure that they are comfortable throughout the process.

For more information on elder estate planning to better prepare for the future, contact us today.

Elder Care Resolutions for the New Year

resolutions

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are raising your own family while providing support for aging parents, the new year can be a great time to reassess. This point in your life will likely be the busiest and most emotionally difficult.

With life pulling you in so many directions as a caregiver and a person, here are a few resolutions you can implement to make the most of the coming year for and your loved one.

1. Spend Quality Time Together. Once you’ve come to the stage where there are caretaking needs for elderly relatives, it sometimes becomes very difficult to enjoy time together because there are so many new responsibilities. Socializing and spending time together can actually improve your elder relative’s health and it also affords you time to create new memories which you’ll cherish.

2. Assess Your Elderly Loved One’s Home Situation. Whether your relative lives independently, in a care facility, or in your own home, it’s important to assess where they’re living each year. Their health needs may change over time and things that weren’t thought of months ago will be an issue going forward. Take stock of things like their mobility, whether or not they need caregivers at their location, and alternatives for regular support while allowing for as much independence as they are able to have.

3. Review Medical and Dietary Needs. Different aspects of aging can change dietary needs and appetite. Assess whether or not aging relatives are thriving health-wise and determine if they need changes in their care, diet, and hydration. This might include arranging for someone to do the shopping, having Meals on Wheels brought in to assist, or other options. Daily calling services can be arranged to remind elders to drink water, take medication, and move around.

4. Visit an Elder Attorney. Taking care of final affairs can be an emotional process, but it’s important for your elderly relatives to have their legal paperwork in order to better care for their needs and fulfill their wishes. An elder attorney can help you determine what steps to take, depending on the family member’s health and situation. This might include a living trust, power of attorney, or other measures to make sure that there is a family member who can help determine medical and financial decisions in the event that they are no longer able.

5. Take Time for You. With all of the responsibility in caring for your older relatives and your own family, you’re probably not taking as much time as you need to manage your own health. You can’t help anyone else if you’re making yourself sick or wearing yourself down. So take the proper steps to make sure you get the best medical and emotional support you need.

Taking responsibility for the care of elderly family members can be an emotional and exhausting time. For many, it’s also exceptionally rewarding to get to spend the remaining time together.

If you’re interested in more information on elder law to better prepare for the future, contact us today.

Holiday Tips for Elders and Caregivers

holiday tips

Whether you’re decorating a Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or giving to charity, the holiday season can be filled with mixed emotions. For elders, this is particularly true. While it seems that everyone else is rejoicing, many older people can feel isolated, sad, and lonely. Add in the stress of trying to find gifts within a limited budget and with limited mobility or energy and the challenges are plenty.

As a caretaker of an older person, you are in an optimum position to help. Sure, you are contending with your own stresses and challenges. Fortunately, the ways you can help your loved one are also apt to reduce your ever-growing to-do list. Here are four tips to help simplify the season and stave off the depression that can be common this time of year.

Know When to Stop

Be reasonable with your schedule. Everything doesn’t need to be done in one day. When you stretch special events out, not only do you reduce the amount of stress but you also provide something to look forward to. Activities that seem trivial to you can bring joy and serve as a helpful distraction for someone else.

Be Inclusive

If your senior is facing physical or mobility challenges that make it difficult to participate in traditional activities, include them in festivities in alternative ways. Suggest that they supervise the decorating of the tree by letting others know where they’d like certain ornaments. Wen wrapping presents, encourage the older person to choose the wrapping paper. Consider hiring a home health aide to escort your loved one to a family gathering or favorite event.

Listen

Sometimes this is easier said than done. Listen with an open ear, even if it means hearing about sad or angry emotions. Remember that this time of year is often one for reflection. Avoid suggesting that someone snap out of it or quit complaining as they discuss their worries. They can’t. Acknowledge memories with a project or gift to memorialize someone who has passed away. This can be done by creating a scrapbook of old photos or playing music that is mindful of that person. “Leading authorities have observed that memory and ‘life review’ are important parts of the aging process,” explains Barry Lebowitz, Ph.D., deputy director of UCSD’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging.

Stay Connected

Staying socially connected to others is especially important at Christmas time. Loneliness is a major cause of depression and it is particularly common around holidays. Reach out to your loved one. Often, the only holiday cards that older people receive carry notes of recent deaths and tragedies. Send a card with positive messages. Call periodically or stop by for a visit, if possible.

Caring for an older person is difficult no matter what time of year. Combined with the stress of the holidays, it can be especially crucial to find ways to not only ease tension for the senior in your life but for yourself as well. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, keep in mind the importance of staying sensitive and loving.