Are Your Important Documents Safe?

Have you heard of Legacy Lockbox?

This is a unique way to keep all of your important documents safe and easily accessible should something happen to you.

Right now they are offering a Father’s Day special that can’t be beaten!

Save 10% now through June 16th
Use Coupon FD2019
Veterans receive an additional 10%

How to Make a Gift to Dad for Fathers Day:

  • Go to My Legacy Lockbox home page (button below).
  • Go to Get Started button in upper right corner.
  • Complete the membership form with Dad’s name and his email address.
  • Enter password happyFD
  • Use the coupon FD2019. Check YES if veteran for an additional 10%
  • Give Dad the website, sign in name and password for Fathers Day!

That’s all he needs to get started!

Don’t go it alone. The Senior Advocates of Assisted Living Made Simple are here to help. Call us or stop by our office for more information. Our services are always free to the senior and their family.

Protect Yourself from Falls

Did you know falls are the leading cause of death for people 55 and older? According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 3,000 adults over the age of 55 died from falls in 2017.

Here are the facts:

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
  • Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.

What Causes Falls?

  • Weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Difficulties with walking and balance
  • Medications, tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance.
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards

Most falls are caused by a combination of factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling.

Preventing Falls

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy. Include all your medications including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Ask your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements.
  • Do yoga or strength and balance exercises.
  • Have Your Eyes Checked
  • Do a Home Safety Check including getting rid of things that can be tripped over.  Add assistance bars in your bathroom. Be sure you have railings on your stairs.

With some careful preparation and precautions, you do not need to be the victim of a fall.

Happy Mother’s Day

Here are some suggestions to spend quality time with mom this Mother’s day.

If she likes to get out:
1. Share a relaxed meal at their favorite restaurant. 
2. Visit a nearby park to enjoy a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
3. Stroll through a shopping mall. It’s fun to window shop and people watch.
4. Visit a botanical garden to see some beautiful flowers. If the weather is nice, you could also bring a picnic lunch.
5. Art lovers may enjoy visiting a nearby museum. 
6. For someone who is really excited about a hobby, do the activity with them or join in a class they take.
7. Take a sports fan to watch a live game.

If she likes to stay in:
1. Cook their favorite meal or get takeout from their favorite restaurant. 
2. Throw a casual potluck party where everyone brings a dish and spends time relaxing, chatting, and eating together.
3. Bake cookies or cook a favorite dish together. 
4. Enjoy a sparkling non-alcoholic “cocktail” as a way to fancy-up afternoon snack time.
5. Play their favorite music and have a sing-a-long or just sit and enjoy the tunes together.
6. Read aloud from a book of their choice. Some may even enjoy taking a turn at reading!
7. Do a puzzle or play cards or a board game together.
8. Relax together while watching a favorite movie or TV show.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day!

Stand Up and Be Heard

I have been working in the Healthcare industry for the past twelve years.  My concern for our seniors is increasing daily.  Our hospitals are forcing people to discharge before they are ready, and that’s if they’re admitted at all.  The way healthcare is paid now is dictated by the insurance companies; they are dictating our care (without a medical degree). So the hospitals get penalized for re-admissions.  They are paid for bundle services as well, (hospital-owned home health company, rehabs, and hospices). It’s called one payer source; all the money goes to one source. 

People don’t know they have choices, they are told what and where to go. 

The social workers/case manager’s job at the hospital is to plan the patients discharge at the time the patient is admitted. The goal is a safe Discharge!! The case manger is pushed to get the patient out, sending them home or to a rehab under the illusion that it’s a safe discharge. The hospital systems will not allow the services or any community resources to help. They hand the family a list, or if the family is not in area they then send out an email request for a place/facility to take the patient.  

That takes them off the hook for the “Safe Discharge.” In the case manager’s defense, they are just doing what they are told, to keep their job. 

I’m writing this to ask people – doctors, professionals, and all human beings to get mad as hell and stand up for our future healthcare.  Write to your congressman, senator, and governor. Our healthcare is being managed by the insurance companies and lobbyists and it must end. 

Please stand up and be heard!!!!!  

Keep an Eye on Your Caregivers

5 ways to check on your older adult’s in home caregiver

1. Stay in touch by unexpectedly dropping in or calling
The simplest way to check up on your senior’s in home caregiver is to drop by unannounced for brief visits.

It’s wise to make this a habit, not just do it in the first few weeks after they were hired. That sends the message that you’re keeping a close eye on your older adult’s care.

While you’re there, look for signs that tell you how they’ve been spending their time. Is your older adult clean, fed, and in good spirits? Is the caregiver engaging them in conversation or an activity? Or is your older adult asleep in front of the TV with the caregiver focused on their smartphone?

Visiting in person is best, but if you aren’t able to drop by, call your older adult instead. Ask a few questions about what’s been happening to get a feel for how the day is going.

If talking to your older adult isn’t possible, it’s still worthwhile to call and chat with the caregiver.

2. Trust your gut instincts
You’ve probably heard this a million times: trust your gut. If something feels wrong, investigate further. Don’t dismiss your uneasiness as nothing.

A wrong feeling is a good enough reason to let someone go or to not hire them. Your older adult’s well-being isn’t worth the risk.

3. Ask for and listen to your senior’s feedback
Your older adult is an important source of information. Have casual conversations about how they feel things are going with the in home caregiver.

Listen openly and without judgement so they’ll be more likely to confide in you.

Even with older adults who might complain because they don’t want to have a caregiver around, you’ll likely be able to tell the difference between regular complaints or signs of problems.

If anything they say sounds odd or suspicious, take it seriously and investigate further.

4. Ask for a daily log
Ask the caregiver to write a daily journal that briefly documents how they spent the day.

This should include notes about your older adult’s mood, appetite, medications, and bathroom visits. They can also make notes of any problems, injuries, or questions for you.

5. Recruit neighbors to help keep an eye on things
If your older adult has kind neighbors that you trust, ask them to keep an eye out for any strange activity.

Or, after introducing them to the caregiver as a trusted friend, ask them to drop in once in a while to see how things are going.

Don’t Wait

This is a guest post by Elder Law Attorney Debra Simms.

Many of us tend to procrastinate about making hard decisions.  Unfortunately, with estate planning and elder care, this can have dire consequences.

Recently, an 80 year old lady came to see me about doing her Will.  She was clear in her mind about who she wanted to leave her money to when she died and who should take care of her finances if she became too ill.  And, she knew what kind of care she wanted if she could no longer live alone.

I was hired to do a basic Estate Plan for her – Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, and Living Will.  I prepared the documents and called her to come in to sign.  No Answer.  Next day, No Answer.

It turns out my client had a stroke and was unlikely to recover.  She had no legal documents in place to authorize any of her children to handle her finances or make decisions regarding health care.  The children could not agree, and a guardianship case was opened in court while my client remained in the hospital unable to communicate.

This is an all too familiar story in my Elder Law practice.

Why do people procrastinate about these important planning tools?  It’s simple:

  • No one wants to think about mental incapacity or death.
  • No one likes to pay attorney fees.
  • No one likes to expose their personal life to another person, even an attorney.
  • No one wants to give a child the authority to “put them in a home”.
  • Sometimes it’s not easy to decide how to divide your estate.

It’s wise to start your estate planning early.  Here are some top reasons:

  • The top reason, of course, is my 80 year old client.  You might lose your ability to sign documents.
  • Like my client, you might lose your ability to communicate your wishes to your family or doctors.
  • Keep harmony among family members – my client’s children could not agree what to do – they went to court!
  • You might need someone to handle your finances if you cannot.

After watching my client and many others like her, I know how important it is to plan ahead.

all the Law Offices of Debra G. Simms at 386.256.4882 to learn more.

This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.

Avoid These Mistakes

Are you in the process of searching for an assisted living for yourself or a loved one?

When families and seniors select an assisted living community, it is life-altering. Making the wrong decision can be devastating to the senior.

Our Guiding Light For Seniors guide outlines what to do and what steps to take when researching senior living, but it is alsohelpful to know what not to do.

Choosing a community to match your tastes instead of your parent’s.

Keep your loved one involved in the decision process. Even if they cannot tour with you, be sure you are considering their personality and interests when choosing their future home.

Doing it alone.

When making a decision this big, it’s usually wise to gather multiple perspectives on your senior living options. Get feedback from as many people as possible: family and friends who have gone through the process, your loved one’s care team, a geriatric care manager and a professioal senior advocate from Assisted Living Made Simple.

Obtaining the services of a senior advocate or advisor to help you navigate this journey will make your search easier and much less stressful. This kind of professional can help save you hours of time and stress by narrowing your choices to the places that meet your specific needs. We help families evaluate issues such as amenity preferences, care requirements as well as finances.

Choosing a Community Based on Price.

Sometimes families assume a community is right for their parent or senior loved one because it has a high price or lots of fancy features, only to later realize that this is not an indicator of quality care.  Luxury senior living does not necessarily mean quality senior care. A beautiful, modern and upscale facility is just as prone to oversights and errors as a community that looks a little dated. Quality of care is not something you can discern just by driving past a community. The professional senior advocates at Assisted Living Made Simple know the communities in their area and can make the best recommendations for your situation.

Making a decision too quickly.

The choice of an assisted living facility is overwhelming. Some families are so overwhelmed with the choice, that they don’t make a decision at all. On the flip side some families do the opposite. They rush to resolve a difficult situation quickly and grab the first thing available.

We recommend that families visit at least multiple communities before making a decision so that you are aware of all the options that are available. Take note of how communities differ from one another and what makes each community unique. Iin order to make a good choice, you need options.

Not reading the fine print.

Assisted living contracts are pretty straightforward, at least compared to other legal documents, but they still can contain confusing legalese or involve fees that aren’t completely apparent. Some families are caught unprepared by price increases that they would have been aware of had they reviewed their contract. Assisted Living Made Simple can help you navigate these sometimes confusing documents.

Different assisted living communities have different pricing structures. Some communities charge one fee for room and board and a separate fee for care. A community may charge one fee per month for the apartment and the meals, and an additional fee per month for personal care. Other communities charge individually for each service or they may rank the level of care that a resident needs on a scale, with care costs based on the level of care the nursing staff determines is needed. Some communities don’t charge a care fee at all, but instead, provide an all-inclusive pricing model whereby resident’s fees are not dependent on the care needed. If there is anything about the contract that concerns you, review it with an elder attorney.

Don’t go it alone. The Senior Advocates of Assisted Living Made Simple are here to help. Call us or stop by our office for more information. Our services are always free to the senior and their family.

Friendships are Important

Making friends can be challenging at any age, but even more so as we get older. The ways in which you previously met friends–usually at work or your children’s school–most likely have now changed. Many of our friends have moved or retired. As we get older adult we also become more selective about friend, and often older adults just enjoy spending time alone.

Maintaining friendships throughout every stage of life is important, but especially for seniors. Experts say having healthy, fun, and positive connections and social outlets as we age is vital to our emotional and physical health.

Friends may also extend your lifespan. In a 2010 research study (conducted by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Utah) concludes that people with strong social relationships can increase their chance of survival, over a certain time period, by 50 percent. In addition, the study says that being lonely and isolated can be as bad for our health as smoking or being an alcoholic.

So How Can You Make Friends?

  • Go online. The internet can open up a whole new way to meet friends. For example, Meetup is a website which connects people with shared interests to face-to-face Meetup groups in your local area. There are hundreds of group available sure to meet any interest including hiking, creative writing, Sunday brunch, poetry readings, nature photography, and Reiki healing. If you don’t find the group you want, you can start your own. Membership is free. Go to:  https://www.meetup.com.
  • Get a dog. Owning a dog can help alleviate loneliness by creating opportunities for seniors to meet other people and socialize. Whether you are walking a pet in your neighborhood or going to the local park, a dog opens up your social world. The physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership can help keep you both happier and healthier as you age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness.
  • Increase your social interactions & change your situation. The more opportunities for social interaction the more chance you have for making friends. If you are isolated in your home, it may be time to make a change. Consider moving to an apartment complex or independent senior living community to increase your social interactions and connections.

Contact the professional Senior Advocates at Assisted Living Made Simple for information on a variety of senior topics.

Disclaimer

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only about senior living topics. The information provided on this blog is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge but there may be errors, omissions, or mistakes.

Seniors May Need to Avoid These Medications

Stages of

For most adults, prescription and non-prescription medications provide safe and effective treatment and relief for a variety of medical conditions. However, for people over 65 some medications can cause serious reactions.

For example, your older mother pulls a muscle bowling and takes a muscle relaxant to help with pain. The next day she faints, hits her head, and the muscle pain and stiffness hasn’t gone away.

Or your 85-year old dad is having trouble sleeping. He takes an anti-anxiety pill to aid with sleep. Not only did he not get a good night’s sleep but now he is confused.

Unfortunately, seniors can have some bad reactions to certain drugs because their bodies process them differently.

As the body ages, changes in weight, a slower circulation system, and a loss of muscle mass can all  effect how an elderly person metabolizes medications.

In addition, many older adults regularly take several prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) medications which can interact negatively with other drugs.

Concerning side effects in the elderly to certain types of medications include: confusion; dizziness; blurred vision; behavioral problems, sleepiness; weakness; retaining urine or incontinence. In addition, some drugs are less effective in people over 65.

Side effects can lead to falls or serious accidents in our aging loved ones. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adverse drug events cause approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits each year.

About 350,000 patients each year need to be hospitalized for further treatment after emergency visits for adverse drug events. The majority of those admitted to the hospital from drug reactions are seniors.

Medications to Avoid

In 1991, geriatrician Dr. Mark Beers published a list of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs seniors should avoid.

This has become widely known as the Beers List which is now used as a guideline for physicians in treating patients over the age of 65.

For a complete list of medications on the Beers List click on the link above and be sure to talk to your health care provider. In general, older adults should be wary of the following:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Common names are Bayer, Bufferin, Advil, Motrin and Aleve. These may cause stomach bleeding, heartburn, and raise blood pressure increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Do not use for long periods of time or on a regular basis.
  • Other Over-the Counter Medications: Be cautious when taking medications that contain the ingredients antihistamines diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine. These are commonly found in OTC products used for allergies, upper respiratory infections, and in OTC sleep products. Among the many known brand names are Benadryl, AlleChor, Chlor-Trimeton, Unisom, and Nytol. These medications can cause confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, dry mouth, drowsiness, and constipation.
  • Sleeping Pills and Anti-Anxiety Medications: In general, it is wise to avoid these medications since they can lead to confusion and fainting increasing fall risk.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Some common brand names are Soma, Flexeril, and Robaxtin. Muscle relaxants in seniors can cause confusion, fainting, dizziness, cognitive issues, and urinary problems.

Always talk to your medical professional about the OTC and prescribed drugs you are taking.


Disclaimer
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only about senior living topics. The information provided on this blog is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge but there may be errors, omissions, or mistakes. Assisted Living Made Simple makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or information found by following any link on this site. The staff at Assisted Living Made Simple are not medical, psychological, legal, or tax professionals. Seek advice from a professional regarding your specific situation.