Winter Home Safety Tips For Seniors

The winter season can be one of the most beautiful times of year. But while the season and staying warm and cozy, you might also find yourself in a bit of trouble if you’re one of millions of older people living alone or with limited mobility.

Preparation is key for you, your family and friends to ensure you home is safe. Whether you have home care, a caregiver or a friend to assist you, below are 5 Tips for Seniors to ensure their homes are safe.

1) Shovel and salt your walkways. One of the biggest dangers for seniors is falling. Fall prevention should always be in the back of your mind. Injuries can have serious detriments to long term health. Have a friend or hire a service to come shovel and salt your walk ways.

2) Prepare for power outages. Flashlights, batteries, blankets, food, water and basic necessities should be stored in easy to access places.

3) Buy an Artificial Christmas Tree. Even when the holidays are over, the Christmas tree and lights can help raise your spirits when it is cold outside.

4) Arrange for In-Home Care during Weather Emergencies. Work with agencies to ensure your family member / Senior is safe during storms. It is beneficial to call them before storms. Better safe than sorry.

5) Keep a Fire Extinguisher in Your Home. This tip could mean life or death for you during the winter time (and really any time of the year). Most households have a fire extinguisher, but very few people actually know how to use it. 

As a family member, you should make sure your seniors have everything they need. As we mentioned preparation is key, so make sure your loved one has everything they need to stay safe.


New Year - Start the New Year Off Right!

New Years resolutions are important for everyone. Whether its your own personal priorities or business, we all have areas to improve.

Below are 3 ways to help your loved one improve.

1) Help in the home is critical. Whether its families helping, delivery services, neighbors or home care, it is critical to be prepared. Seniors need companionship and the appropriate risk management. Seniors may not NEED help, but at times it is important to provide support so emergencies do not happen.

People and especially seniors are quick not to be a nuisance to others, so they push themselves too hard rather than ask for help.

2) Make schedules. Staying organized is key to a healthy mind. Not only should you stay organized and schedule time to see your family, it is important to schedule activities, bills and other daily activities to keep your mind organized.

3) Find the right team. Whether its a physician, psychologist, specialists, home care agency, it is important to have the best possible team in place. People do not know, what they do not know. Having people who can ask the right questions and work together is critical to avoid preventable problems.

Make 2019 a time for change and focusing on what is important.

Always prepare!

5 Holiday Activities For Seniors

Holidays are fast approaching and now is the time to think of all the fun family activities to participate in.

1) Decorations: Flowering and center piece arrangements are wonderful to spice up your home. Not only are they a fun activity for your family and friends to perform but also allow you to work on your creative side. It can even be seen as a form of occupational therapy.

2) Homemade Gifts: Take the time to make or build your own presents. Whether its bracelets, decorating ornaments, painting a flower pot, all are fun activities and really nice gifts.

3) Bake a Gingerbread House: This is a crowd favorite. Great to do with grand kids and family. Not only are they fun, but they taste great!

4) Holiday Shows or Movies: Try and get out of the house and go see a holiday show or concert. If traveling to large arenas or shows is difficult, try to get in the holiday spirit and have a movie night.

5) Give Back: The holidays are a time to give. There are a number of ways to volunteer or help, but creating Christmas or holiday cards for soldiers overseas, sick children in the hospital or other greeting cards can be an easy and nice way to help those who are lonely on the holiday.

Now go have fun and enjoy your holiday!

Four Ways to Boost Brain Activity!

Brain Booster #1: Move!

Get moving! An active life style can help clear your brain of a protein fragment called amyloid, which is believed to accumulate in and “gunk up” the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. “There’s no drug available that can lower amyloid,” says Dr. Isaacson. “The only thing we know that can do it is exercise.”

Active people have a 35 percent lower risk of cognitive decline than sedentary ones.

So get moving! Walk; Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes of purposeful activity most days of the week (that’s the stuff that gets your heart rate up a bit) plus two short sessions of resistance training—squats, lunges, and the like—per week.

Brain Booster #2: Challenge your mind

Research continuously shows that to lower your risk of dementia is to challenge your brain so it becomes more flexible. That doesn’t mean solving Sudoku; it means doing new activities to continually work different parts of your brain in order to build connections between them.

When you’re scrambling to remember a name, for instance, and your mind hits a “roadblock” of nonfunctioning nerve cells, you’ll come up with nothing. But if there are available detours, your brain will try them until it finds the name you’re looking for.

It’s hard to fire up your brain with new things when you’re just trying to get through the same daily rush-rush routine. Make it a priority to try out different activities.

Brain Booster #3: Sleep!

I know everyone is happy to hear this one. Get the much needed sleep your body deserves. Cheat on sleep, and you rob your mind of its potential.

Reframe sleep as a priority and a must-do, not as a weakness. To help yourself snooze, pay attention to what experts call sleep hygiene—in other words, bias your bedroom toward your getting good sleep. And stay off digital screens for at least a half hour to an hour before bed; the blue light they emit keeps you from producing melatonin, a sleepiness hormone that rises in your body at night.

Brain Booster #4: Eat smarter

While there’s no single food that can prevent or cure cognitive impairment, an overall healthy eating pattern can help.

She recommends eating more of these: antioxidant-rich berries, vegetables (especially leafy greens), fish (for its omega-3 fatty acids, which likely make it easier for the brain’s nerve cells to communicate with one another), and whole grains.

The foods to cut down on: those with saturated and trans fats, both of which are believed to damage your cardiovascular system and thus your brain health. That means less red meat, butter, margarine, pastries and other sweets, and fried or fast foods. In Morris’s research, she saw that older people who stuck to this style of eating over five years lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s by 35 to 53 percent. The longer people stayed on the diet, the more their odds improved.

Senior Activities - Halloween!

There are a number of fun holidays to celebrate as a senior, but Halloween can be one of the best. Many of us have fond memories of Halloween as a child, so the nostalgic aspect can be very healthy for seniors. Using Halloween for some holiday-themed activities is always fun. Whether you live at home, an assisted living community or with family, it can give everyone a chance to enjoy some spooky fun.

1. Decorate pumpkins: Many of us love to carve pumpkins. It is one of the best traditional crafts for Halloween time. If you’re not sure about handing all of your seniors sharp implements, you can paint the pumpkin. Either way, this is benefit as almost occupational therapy for many seniors.

2. Homemade pumpkin seeds: If you are considering carving pumpkins or find that process to difficult, scooping the inside and making home made pumpkin seeds is a great activity. Not to mention the health benefits of eating pumpkin seeds! The aroma of cooking and home made food has been proven to have positive impacts on the brain as well.

3. Make decorative spiderwebs: These are fun to put in your house, hang around the community or even give to family members.

4) Make spooky candles: Consider purchasing easy to make kits. These are a fun activity and great to get their apartment or home ready for the holiday.

5) Movie time! Grab some popcorn and watch your favorite scary movie.

6) Homemade costume contests can be a great way to put together a fun outfit. Let the creativity begin!

Don’t forget to prepare for Trick or Treaters as well!

Caregiver Shortage - How To Find Quality Care

How do Families find the best quality of care in an environment where there are limited caregivers.

There is no doubt that everyone knows baby boomers are getting older and the elderly are living longer. But many do not realize that the United States is facing a serious shortage of caregivers.

The Wall Street Journal recently came out with the Caregiver Shortage article that America is running out of family caregivers, just when it needs them most. Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. In 2020, there will be 56 million people 65 and older, up from 40 million in 2010.

The private sector isn’t an option for many older adults. Demand for private home health aides is expected to exceed supply by more than three million in the next decade. 

Vetting caregivers on your own can be difficult. Going by word of mouth can work many times, but even then finding a great caregiver that is available can be difficult. That does not take into account the liability of hiring an employee on your own. If something happens to them on your property, the liability is significant.

Choosing the right Home Care Agency has never been so critical. 

Ensuring an Agency, vets, trains, oversees and ensures the proper care continues is important. Follow Elder Care Homecare's guide to choosing a caregiver/agency.

 

Long Distance Caregiving

What is long distance caregiving?

Long-distance caregiving takes many forms—from helping manage the money to arranging in home care; manage medication or coordination care. Many long-distance caregivers act as information coordinators, helping aging parents understand the confusing maze of home health aides, insurance benefits, and durable medical equipment can be difficult.

Caregiving is often a long-term task. What may start out as an occasional social phone call to share family news can eventually turn into regular phone calls about managing health insurance claims, getting medical information, and arranging respite services. What begins as a monthly trip to check on Mom may turn into a larger project to move her to a nursing facility close to your home.

What You Should Do (or Think About Doing)

1) Seek out help from people in the community: the next door neighbor, an old friend, the doctor. Call them. Tell them what is going on. Make sure they know how to reach you.

2) Take steps to identify options to help the primary caregiver. He or she may not need the help now, but having plans and arrangements in place can make things easier if there is a crisis.

3) Try to find a directory of senior resources and services by checking with a library or senior center for lists of resources.

4) Become Healthcare  proxy or power of attorney.

5) Get organized with documentations (updated medication lists, doctors names and phone numbers, and other financial information if necessary)

How to Know if Help is Needed

Sometimes it is hard to know when is the right time. Sometimes our loved ones are stubborn and fight us even though we know they need a little extra help. When you live far away, you have to think carefully about possible signs when help is needed. You might want to use holiday trips home to take stock.

Some questions to answer during your visit include:

  • How many stairs are there?
  • Are the stairs manageable or is a ramp needed?
  • Are there any tripping hazards throughout the house? Carpets, floorboards or other impediments?
  • How is their health? Are they attending all their doctors appointments?
  • Are they taking several medications? If so, are they able to manage their medications? Medication management can be extremely difficult.
  • If a walker or wheelchair is needed, can the house be modified?
  • Is there food in the fridge? Are there staples in the cupboards? Do they have a way of getting food delivered?
  • Are bills being paid? Is mail piling up?
  • Is the house clean?
  • If your parents are still driving, should they be? Now might be a time to assess their driving.
  • What about mood: Does either parent seem depressed or anxious?

Long-distance caregivers can help arrange for professional caregivers, hiring home health and nursing aides, or locating assisted living and nursing home care.

Tips

Become knowledgeable. It is recommended recommend that you learn as much as you can about your parent's illness and treatment. Information can help you understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent crises, and assist in disease management. Learn as much as you can about the resources available. Make sure at least one family member has written permission to receive medical and financial information.

Planning your visits is important. When visiting your parent, you may feel that there is just too much to do in the time that you have. You can get more done and feel less stressed by talking to your parent ahead of time and finding out what he or she would like to do.

Remember to actually spend time with your loved one. Life can get in the way, but it is important to spend quality time with your parent. Do not spend the entire time dealing with medical issues and other planning crisis. Spend some time just catching up.

Stay in contact. Don't lose sight how beneficial it is to just check in once a week or more with a loved one. Include them in your life and activities. Update them on their grandchildren etc...

Hiring a Geriatric Care manager navigate this maze can sometimes relieve this burden. These are professionals who can sometimes act as the "daughter with knowledge".

3 Easy Summer Activities for Seniors

It is important to stay active, but depending on where you live, it can be challenging in winter months. When summer arrives make the most of outdoor activities. Here are three easy ways to stay active and have fun!

1) Go for a walk or run outside! Whether it is just a walk around the block or walking to the park or beach, a little bit of fresh air and vitamin D is great. Make sure to wear sunscreen, and ensure you’re able to easily access cool shade by wearing a hat, bringing an umbrella, or sitting beside a tree. The benefits of walking outside are significant (not just from the physical workout). Seniors who lack vitamin D are at greater risk of fractures.

2) If you have access to an outdoor (or even indoor) body of water, summer is a great time to hop in! Because of the buoyancy, swimming is much easier on the joints than many other forms of exercise. This form of excursion is not only great for your muscles but swimming can be a great way to relax the mind as well.

3) Unique summer activity is Berry picking. If you live in the city you might needs to drive for a while, but picking berries can be a fun outdoor activity (with plenty of water and sunscreen). These activities give people more to talk about with friends and family. Also can lead to more activities such as baking a pie later, or hosting friends. Many times seniors can get into a "rut" since their daily activities become boring. Pushing your body physically, mentally and socially is important to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Hybrid LTC Insurance - WSJ Says New Estate Planning Tool

Estate Planning is Critical. Including a Hybrid Long Term Care Insurance Policies may be a great option.

Check out the Wall Street Journal article on including Long Term Care Insurance "Hybrid" policies in your estate plan.

Many people do not realize the significant cost to caring for a loved one or themselves. Home Care is extremely costly and needs the appropriate planning.

If you have or are looking to purchase a Life Insurance Policy, this may be a great option to look into to include a LTC rider or Hybrid policy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/long-term-care-insurance-isnt-dead-its-now-an-estate-planning-tool-1528387201

Bronxville Library - Vitamin Therapy Seminar

Join Elder Care Home Care on July 15th at the Bronxville Library while we discuss daily Vitamin and Nutrition.

Vitamins and mineral needs change over time. More importantly, being aware of changes can reduce the impact and allow seniors to maintain optimal health. Please join while we discuss the various ways to improve our health and quality of life through simple everyday changes.