Post Labor Day - Seniors What To Do?

Labor Day is the final hurrah of summer. It is easy to find activities and family fun at the end of summer, but what should seniors do when the weather starts changing?

As fall season takes over and temperatures decreases, here is Elder Care Homecare’s recommendations.

1) Don’t listen to everyone that Labor Day means the end of outdoor activities. Seniors should try to squeeze in a few more barbecues and cookouts!

2) Take a small trip to a lake or beach if possible. We have months until these freeze over and sometimes leaves changing and sitting by the water is actually the most beautiful time of the year.

3) Those with elderly parents sometimes struggle to find activities or things to talk about with the loved ones. But music festivals and sports can be a year long activities. Try to commit to a few more outdoor music or sporting events if possible.

Don’t let the weather slow you down!

Cinco De Mayo - Senior Involvment

Cinco De Mayo is always one of the most fun spring events. It is a great excuse for seniors to get festive with their family and friends.

Families and friends should take out their sombreros, shake the maracas and try to have some fun.

If you live in a senior community, enjoy the activities, food and participate in creating some of the decorations. If you are hosting friends or family at your house, you can decorate your house and begin cooking for the event.

Cooking is often correlated as a therapeutic activity for seniors. You can buy the ingredients for tacos and allow family and friends to make their own tacos when they come over. This is a fun way to allow everyone to participate and not cause the host role to be overly burdensome. If you have home care help, the home health aide can help organize all the supplies and assist in the cooking activities.

Any excuse to celebrate joyous occasions should be emphasized. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Spring is Here! - Senior Activities

Spring has finally arrived.

Elder Care Homecare recommends 3 easy activities to get you or your family members up and out of the house. Seniors should stay active. Especially if they have home care, their aides or caregivers should encourage seniors to get up and out of the house.

These activities can have a significant effect physically and emotionally.

1) Look up the Senior Centers in your community. Many hold picnics, outdoor events, outdoor book clubs, festivals and fairs. Some even include yoga, tai chi and other activities that are great for physical exercise flexibility and mental health.

2) Decorate your home with Easter or Passover themes. This can be a great family activity as well as a way to brighten your home with spring colors. Holidays are a great excuse to become festive.

3) Create an indoor or outdoor garden. Sometimes seniors are trouble growing difficult plants and physically can not stay too active. Plants like basil and mint are easy to maintain and can spread amazing scents in your home.

Home care begins with staying proactive. Do not wait until there is an incident and you need to begin physical therapy or occupational therapy to improve your habits.

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

Elder Care - 10 Best Summer Activities for Seniors!

Here are our Elder Care Homecare recommendation for seniors this summer:

1) Outdoor Eating: Make every effort to eat every meal you can outside or attend barbecues. This activities has many secondary benefits for your health

2) Summer Gardening: Whether your elderly loved one already has or wants to cultivate a green thumb, gardening is a great summertime activity

3) Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to stay active and involved in the community. Sometimes seniors feel that everyone is busy helping them. Volunteering is a great way for them to feel like they are giving back and helping others.

4) Swim: If possible go swimming! Swimming can provide a unique way for aerobics and muscle development in a safe environment.

5) Sports/Events: Attend local sporting event, festivals or activities. This is an easy way for families to spend quality time together.

6) Read a Book: Although this is great to do any time of the year, but sitting outside reading a book is always more fun! 

7) Go for a Walk: Staying active is important. Whether you go for a walk around the block or drive to your local nature center and walk the trails, both are great.

8) Senior Centers: Attend some of the local senior center activities. They have wonderful activities planned throughout the summer, so get involved.

9) Visit Family: Take every opportunity to spend time with family. Sunday dinners, graduations, weekend trips. Whatever it is, spend as much quality time as possible.

10) Don't stay inside or say "tomorrow". Get out and have fun today!

SeniorAdvisor Award's Elder Care- Best Home Care in Scarsdale

Senior Advisor Award.PNG

Elder Care Homecare is proud to receive SeniorAdvisor's 2018 Award for best Home Care Agency in Scarsdale.

Our team looks forward to providing the high quality service that every family deserves. 

Elder Abuse: Can Be Self-Inflicted

Elderly patients many times neglect themselves. The NYTimes wrote a fantastic article related to this subject:

"The man was living alone with his two dogs, in a remote area outside San Antonio, when someone called the Texas state hotline to report that a supposed friend was financially exploiting him. So the state adult protective services agency sent a caseworker to the man’s home.

She found an 86-year-old Vietnam veteran in a dirty, cluttered house full of empty liquor bottles. His legs swollen by chronic cellulitis, he could barely walk, so he used a scooter.

He missed doctor’s appointments. He had the medications he needed for cellulitis and diabetes, but didn’t take them. Though he had a functioning toilet, he preferred to urinate into plastic gallon jugs. He didn’t clean up after his dogs. He wasn’t eating well.

This behavior pointed to an underrecognized problem called self-neglect. It accounts for more calls to adult protective services agencies nationwide than any other form of elder abuse."

The article continues to show how a patient can deteriorate in a short time. After Adult Protective Services forced him to accept help, things took a turn.

"Grudgingly, he allowed the agency to set up a thorough housecleaning, to start sending a home care aide and to arrange for Meals on Wheels.

But on a follow-up visit a month later, the caseworker found her client markedly deteriorated. His swollen legs now oozed. He’d become personally filthy and was ranting incoherently. She returned with an ambulance and a doctor who determined that the client lacked the capacity to make medical decisions.

Off he went to a San Antonio hospital, under an emergency court order. The caseworker locked up the house and kenneled the dogs.

“Family members get fed up and don’t want to get involved,” said Courtney Reynolds, a research analyst at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland. “They attribute it to a character issue, like stubbornness, instead of a decline in the person’s ability to manage.”

Families are often reluctant to get involved and find their parents or grandparents incredibly stubborn. It is critical for family members to stay involved and push necessary services to ensure the health and safety of family members.

Feel free to read the entire article at the below link:

Elder Abuse: Self-Infliction

Four Tax Breaks To Help Care For Elderly Parent

Millions of people across the U.S. are caring for their elderly parents. Providing that care can be vital as well as expensive: The out-of-pocket expenses can run over $100k on average in families in which an elderly person has long-term care needs.

However, there are a few tax breaks might help. These aren’t the only ones that might be available, but some common ones we have seen.

1) Dependent Exemption

You might be able to claim all or part of an exemption of up to $4,050 if your adjusted gross income was less than $436,300 (for joint filers) or $384,000 (for single filers) in the 2017 tax year.

2) The Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid for someone to take care of your parent so you could work or actively look for work, you might qualify for a credit that generally runs 20% to 35% of up to $3,000 of adult day care and similar costs. Tax credits directly reduce the amount of tax you owe, giving you a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. A tax credit valued at $1,000, for instance, lowers your tax bill by $1,000.

3) Employer’s Dependent Care Benefits

Another tool is: The IRS will exclude up to $5,000 of your pay that you have your employer divert to a dependent care FSA account, which means you avoid paying taxes on that money. 

4) The medical expenses deduction

If you paid for Mom’s hospital stay or footed the bill for expensive medical or dental care and weren’t reimbursed by insurance or other programs, you might be bale to deduct the cost.

In general, you can deduct qualified medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. 

Caring for loved ones can be difficult and put a strain on families expenses. Utilize all the tools at your disposal.

Long Term Care Insurance - Using Your Policy

"Long Term Care" refers to individuals that need help with an illnesses/condition that require daily assistance over an extended period of time. The type of help needed can range from assistance with simple activities (such as bathing, dressing and eating) to skilled care that's provided by nurses, therapists or other professionals.

Employer-based health coverage and Medicare will not pay for daily, extended care services. To help cover potential long-term care expenses, some people choose to buy long-term care insurance.

Qualifying for Benefits

"Benefit triggers" are the conditions that must occur before you start receiving your benefits. Most companies look to your inability to perform certain "activities of daily living" (ADLs) to figure out when you can start to receive benefits. Elder Care Homecare can help ensure patients and families understand these needs.

Generally, benefits begin when you need help with two or three ADLs.  You should be sure your policy includes bathing in the list of benefit triggers because this is often the first task that becomes impossible to do alone.

Pay close attention to what the policy uses as a trigger for paying benefits if you develop a cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer's disease. This is because a person with Alzheimer's may be physically able to perform activities but is no longer capable of doing them without help. There are Mental-function tests are commonly substituted. 

Additionally there are generally qualifying periods. Many policies require families to utilize services prior to policies activation for 30, 60, 90 day periods. This is critical for families to know in advance.

For more information or help utilizing your policy, feel free to reach out to the Elder Care Homecare team.