Normal Aging Process

The aging process

Why do I have to have the television sound set to 30 when I used to hear it just fine when set to 15?

Why can”t I read that sign unless someone holds it 2 feet away from me?

These are just two examples of the normal aging process; golden years, HA!

You don’t have to let them get you down though, let’s look at some other wonderful things that happen to us as we age gracefully!

At Assisted Living Made Simple we understand firsthand the aging process. For many of our clients, they have progressed in the process where they need that extra special assistance and that is why we are passionate about finding them the perfect assisted living communities.

The aging process

We’ll start with hearing and vision.

Hearing

When you were young did you listen to music loudly, or workaround loud machinery?

These are just two factors that play roles in your hearing declining as you age. However, you may just be susceptible to hearing loss, such as if it’s hereditary.

Music may not sound as “crisp” as it once did, or you may have trouble understanding what people are saying, it may sound to you as if they are mumbling.

Unfortunately, this comes with age and there’s not much we can do about it other than purchase hearing aids.

Eyesight

If you’re one of the lucky ones you won’t understand this one, but you would be one in a million!!

Most people experience some kind of vision loss as we age, whether it be near or farsightedness, changes in the ability to tell colors apart, needing more light to read that paper, or OH NO, reading glasses!!

There are many people who develop what are called “floaters”, tiny black specks that they see moving in front of them.

Bones

Do you ever get up out of bed and feel stiff or everything cracks? I sure do!

It’s because as we age, our bones become less dense and brittle; you can help ease this by taking supplements of vitamin D and Calcium.

Our bodies become depleted of calcium and vitamin d naturally and you need to replenish these into your system to help strengthen your bones.

Muscle

Loss of muscle mass is also normal because as we age our physical activity seems to diminish. Regular exercise is the only way to strengthen your muscle mass. You can exercise no matter your condition, please check out my blog, Senior Friendly Activities, to learn how you can exercise even if you can’t walk.

Exercise is so important, not only for your physical well-being but for your mental well-being as well.

If you are able to walk, please take walks outside, the natural Vitamin D is always the best form for you!

Body Fat

Our body fat tends to increase as we age, partly due to the lack of exercise, but also because we don’t eat as healthy anymore. Too much body fat can lead to worse things like diabetes and no one wants that.

Try to reduce your amount of body fat by not only exercising but eating a healthier diet. Not only will you lose body fat, but you’ll feel better too!

Digestive System

Were you able to eat a big fat bowl of cereal with 100% whole milk when you were a kid? Yeah? Me too!! Not now, it would kill me!!

More and more people are becoming lactose intolerant because the digestive system produces less lactase, the enzyme the body needs to digest milk. This is why we see so many different kinds of milk out there and some of them are pretty darn good.

My mother is 93 and she told me every time she eats her cereal she drinks the milk and feels sick shortly thereafter.

The first thing I asked her was what kind of milk, and she said whole milk. I told her NO!! That is the worst thing! And then to drink the rest of it from the bowl, OH MY!!

The next few times she ate cereal she told me she used very little milk and didn’t drink it and felt so much better. There are things we have to give up as we age; we may not like it, but we have to do it!

Immune System

Our immune systems don’t work like they did when we were young! It seems like if there is something blowing in the wind we catch it, what’s that about? Because this happens, we are less likely to have the internal ability to fight off things like pneumonia, colds, the flu, and cancer.

That’s why immunizations are so important.

Now with COVID never going away, we are so much more susceptible to catching it even with the vaccine. However, if you are NOT vaccinated, PLEASE consider getting the vaccine; think about your family members if not yourself, how will they go on without you?

Now that we know what happens as we get older, do we still want to get older? I’m not sure, but the alternative is not any better so I think I’ll continue to age.

Aging: Expectations vs Reality

Aging: Expectation vs Reality

When we were young, we had these expectations of how our lives would be when we were older.

How did that work out for you?

Not even close in my case!

I was going to have a big, beautiful house with servants, be a full-time writer, have lots of money (without having to work for it), be able to do whatever I want any time I want, have a great husband, and look like a supermodel.

Well, I do have a great husband!

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the things life throws at you, otherwise, you’ll be miserable. You have to remember, things always work out the way they are supposed to, there is a plan for everything.

Remember when we were young and we walked along the curb or ran up or down the stairs?

Now we have to look down at the curb and step up or down ever so carefully and forget about stairs!!

Who would have thought curbs and stairs would be scary?!?!? You can actually throw a hip out just by stepping off a curb!

What the?

I remember when I was a teenager and I thought 70 was so old, HA! Now, when I hear someone passed away at 70 years-old, I think, Oh my, they are so young! Funny how things change over the years.

Aging: Expectation vs Reality

I like what Neil Gaiman said, 

“There are things I miss about being younger - chiefly the ability to pull all-nighters and keep working and working well; and being smiled at by girls I didn’t know who thought I was cute; and I wish I had the eyesight I had even five years ago… but that stuff feels pretty trivial.”

Remember when you were younger and you’d get off work, go out for dinner or eat at home, then go out and do something, go to a club, play golf, walk on the beach, anything?

Or how about traveling? Do you still do that like you did when you were younger?

How long has it been since you started a new hobby? No, not thought about it, actually started it.

We all have good intentions, like starting a new hobby, we think, Oh, I’d love to start doing this or that, but what happens? You eat dinner, clean up, watch the news and are ready for bed at 8:00 p.m. HA! I know I am!

The energy level is gone!!

Also, how about sitting up all night watching tv. Now, it’s too uncomfortable to sit in a chair and watch tv, so you watch it from your bed. How did that work for you? How much of the show or movie did you miss?

I usually pass out within fifteen (15) minutes. Gotta love getting old.

When you were young you never had to write your passwords or phone numbers down, now it’s like you have to have a book for everything!! I have to write down EVERY phone number AND have them stored in my phone.

Passwords, forget about it!! I try to pick the easiest ones I can think of so I can remember them. If you do write down your passwords, PLEASE make sure they are in a safe place!!

There are so many expectations we had when we were young that do not turn out like they were supposed to, but that is life and you have to laugh about it or you will shrivel up and die.

I want to leave you with a couple of closing thoughts.

Not everyone gets the privilege of getting old. Do whatever it takes to enjoy it.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.

Eleanor Roosevelt

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Aging in Place

When is Aging in Place a Good Choice

When is Aging in Place the Best Choice for your Loved One?

When is it time for them to move into an assisted living or memory care community?

Both of these decisions can be very tough, but there are certain things to keep in mind when answering these questions.

One of the biggest drawbacks for people to move into a community is money, but they may not be as expensive as you think once you think about what you WON’T be paying for.

When is Aging in Place a Good Choice

Pros/Cons of an Aging in Place

The monthly cost for an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community includes three (3) meals a day, laundry, utilities, cable TV, transportation, if applicable, and someone with you 24/7, so the cost is really not that much after all.

On top of that, consider the fact that you have no house maintenance or insurance, no vehicle maintenance or insurance, yard maintenance, or if an appliance breaks you don’t have to repair/replace it; there are so many cost savings people don’t really think about.

When is the right time to move your loved one(s) into an assisted living community?

You need to assess how much care they need. Will a home health aide be enough? Most home health care companies have a minimum of four hours a day, some have a maximum of twelve, others will provide twenty-four-hour assistance, but it will be in shifts. You will usually not have the same caregiver from a home health company.

In-home care enables the person to continue living in their own home and caregivers come in to assist with activities of daily living. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of home health.

Pros: senior receives one-on-one caregiving tailored to their specific needs, the senior is able to stay in their home as they age, family is able to choose the caregiver, and if the caregiver is a family member or friend, you have the familiarity on your side as well.

Cons: the cost can be huge depending on the number of hours the senior needs to be cared for, the family must remain engaged to ensure caregivers are doing their job, the family must stay involved in hiring and firing caregivers and creating backup plans should the caregiver not show up, there is a potential for depression as there won’t be much social interaction, the house may need modifications for wheelchair access, etc., and someone has to go out and purchase the groceries and whatever other essentials are needed.

Pros/Cons of an Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities are places where seniors are thriving now. They have their own apartment or a shared room and they offer a wide range of care options. Let’s look at the pros and cons of assisted living.

Pros: the senior has social interaction, less worry about depression or isolation, three meals are prepared and provided by the staff, more affordable way to receive 24/7 care, doctors come to the communities, transportation is available should the senior be able to go out, the family can spend more time with their loved one rather than worrying about caring for them, the level of care can be increased as needed.

Cons: the senior may not enjoy being in a community with other seniors, one-on-one care may not be as personal as it would be at home, the quality of care can vary, there’s always a possibility of having to hire a private duty caregiver if more care than the community can offer is needed.

Both in-home health and assisted living communities have pros and cons. This is really just a personal choice and only you and your family can make this decision.

When you are ready to make a plan, call us at Assisted Living Made Simple at 386-847-2322

We help you make a plan for you or your loved one and our service is always free to you.

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Spring Activities for Seniors

Gardening- Spring Activities for Seniors

It’s time to spring into some activities!

With Spring upon us and the beautiful weather we enjoy here in Florida, I thought I’d share some wonderful activities for seniors to enjoy outside and some to enjoy in a community.

Outside Activities 

We’ll start with the outside activities, because if you’re able to get outside you should, the vitamin D will do wonders for your health inside and out! For more information on this subject, read our blog on Senior Friendly Activities.

Go on a picnic – there’s no need to be elaborate, just pack a couple of sandwiches, some chips, water, or whatever you like to drink. Take a blanket, or chairs, and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. It will do wonders for your soul.

Go for a walk – if you are able to walk, do so!!

Staying active is so important for your health and walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Walking helps boost your energy and can help combat illnesses. A walk in a park is great, but if you can’t walk far, even walking to your mailbox and back can give you the healthy jolt you may need.

Gardening- Spring Activities for Seniors

Plant a garden – this is something I, myself, have done. It’s a great stress reducer, and the plants are the best listeners!

Gardening is also a great idea because you can grow your own food and you know what it’s sprayed with, NO chemicals, please!

Feed the birds – you can make or purchase a bird feeder and sit outside and watch the birds flock to it (pun intended)!

When I was young, I used to hold a piece of bread and the blue jays would land on my hand and eat it right from my hand.

It was fantastic, try it, it will definitely make you smile!

Go to the farmers market – if you don’t plant a garden, your next best thing is a local farmers market. You can find organic fruits and vegetables and also non-chemically sprayed fruits and vegetables from local growers in the area. So, not only are you eating healthier, but you are also supporting your small business owners and local growers.

Those are just some of the activities you can enjoy outside in the beautiful Spring weather Florida has to offer.

Now, let’s move on to the activities you can enjoy if you live in a community.

Community Activities

Have a tea social – utilize the patio area and set it up for a tea social. Have your dining staff prepare tea and tea sandwiches; of course, cookies are always expected.

Ask the ladies to wear hats if they have them and the gentlemen to wear ties. Take plenty of photos and post them throughout the community so residents can look back on them and have something to smile about.

Prepare a butterfly garden – plant flowers that attract butterflies or place butterfly houses around the patio area. Plan an afternoon social for the residents to admire the beautiful butterflies.

If possible, you can show them how to catch butterflies and place them in an indoor butterfly garden.

Take a trip – yes, that’s right.

Transform your activity room into another world, like Cancun, or the Bahamas then have some fun!

Serve tropical drinks with those tiny umbrellas in them and have some Salsa or steel drum music playing, and encourage dancing. Weather permitting, move the party outside and play a game of chair volleyball if residents aren’t able to stand long enough to play regular volleyball. Set up a pinata for residents to break also.

Have a Spring ball – host a ball and have the residents dress up for the occasion. Hire a DJ and have music and dancing. Perhaps schedule the ball right after a special dinner coordinated by the dining staff.

There are many silly, fun holidays coming up in the month of May. One is national two different colored shoes day, this is a fun and easy day to celebrate for the residents. It’s celebrated on Monday, May 3, of course, you can always make up your own days.

It’s Spring, time to be creative!!

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Most Prevalent Scams Targeting The Elderly

Most prevalent scams on the elderly

Learn to spot the scams that are targeting the elderly and how to stop them!

There are so many scams out there targeting the elderly, why, you ask?

Because people think the elderly don’t know any better and are easy targets.

As advocates for the elderly, let’s fix that myth right now.

First, let’s look at the most common scams out there:

1. Medicare and social security are the top two scams right now.

The most important thing for you to know is that Medicare and social security do not call you and ask for sensitive information!!!

These scammers will pose as representatives and ask for your social security number, date of birth, Medicare number, etc. Once they have your pertinent information, they have everything!!

Do NOT fall for this scam!!

SOLUTION: If you are unsure about a caller, ask their name and call back number, then call the company they claim to represent and check it out. If they won’t give you their information, BOOM, you have them right there!!

2. Calls acting like Grandchildren

Scammers are becoming more innovative every day, especially since COVID. People have been out of work and have a lot of time on their hands to devise ways to get you to give them your money. Some have even sunk so low as to pretend to be a grandchild of yours and act as if they are in trouble so you will send them money.

This is a very sneaky scam and really plays on the elderly person’s emotions.

  • The caller asks if they know who’s calling and when you say the name of one of your grandchildren, they pretend to be them
  • They tell you they are in financial trouble and need cash fast.
  • They ask you to send it to Western Union and not mention it to anyone.

SOLUTION: If you receive a call like this, ask questions only you and your grandchild would know the answers to.

Not yes or no questions, something like where did we go on your 8th birthday? If the caller doesn’t know the answer, they’re not your grandchild.

3. Clicking on links within Email

Here’s one that happens every day to everyone: the INTERNET!!!!

Do NOT click on any links or emails that ask you for your banking information or any other sensitive data!!! You can’t undo the damage once they have your financial info.

Remember, all these people want is your money!! You worked hard for your money, DON’T let them have it!!

Sometimes they’ll call and tell you you won the lottery, but you need to send them so much money to claim the prize. Don’t send them money!! If you won the lottery, it wouldn’t cost you anything until tax time. They’ll say, you just won the lottery, please send $5,000,000.00 euro to . . . and we will send your winnings right away. Don’t do it!!!

Here’s one email I receive all the time,

dear friend, you have just won the European lottery, reply with your bank account information so we can deposit the money into your account.

Nope! Don’t think so!! Don’t YOU do it either.

Past Due Debt From Deceased Loved One

Here’s another scam where they don’t target you, but your family members.

If you or your spouse passed away, scammers will use the obituary to find out details about the deceased person.

They then contact family members stating they had a past-due debt that needs to be paid immediately. These people know the family members are in a vulnerable state and are most likely to go ahead and pay the debt.

Funeral directors can be shady also, they can try to sell you services you don’t need. Some have tried to sell caskets to people whose loved ones are being cremated.

SOLUTION: Don’t pay it unless you have contacted the company and get it in writing as to what they owe. 

Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is another scam, people pose as IRS representatives and claim you owe back taxes. Sometimes they say you will go to jail if the debt isn’t paid immediately. These are normally done via email as well.

SOLUTION: The IRS sends letters on IRS letterhead, when replying, ALWAYS send it certified and do NOT send cash. Make sure you keep records of everything you send the IRS.

The website, https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds, has a list of numbers where you can report any kind of fraud. Utilize it if you think you are a victim of fraud!!

These people are really good at what they do, but you don’t have to be a victim. If you don’t feel right about it, it’s probably not right!

Ask questions! Knowledge is power!!

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Stress and Disease Among Seniors

Stress and Chronic Disease Among Seniors

The Role Stress Plays in Developing Chronic Disease Among Seniors

What does stress have to do with chronic disease?

You may have asked yourself this very question, but stress plays an extremely important role in developing chronic diseases in people of all ages.

We know that stress can take its toll on all of us, young and old, but let’s take a look at how it affects our seniors particularly.

As we get older, our bodies have already handled many years of stress.

Think about it, most of us have worked for fifty-plus years, raised children, maintained a home, had surgeries/illnesses, lost loved ones, among the many other things that get thrown at us; this is called life, and it can be very stressful.

A huge factor as we age is that our immune system starts faltering and we can’t fend off illnesses like we were once able to do.

Stress can make a person extremely ill, it can cause so many ailments and as seniors, you cannot fight them as easily.

Stress and Chronic Disease Among Seniors

It’s very important to keep your immune system healthy, read our blog about the best foods to eat to live longer and healthier.

Anything can trigger stress when you’re older. Seniors spend much more time alone, which may sound wonderful to someone who is younger and busy with a family, but to a senior, this is a stressor because they have no one to talk to or socialize with and become lonely.

It’s much easier for a senior to become stressed because they have more time to ponder about their situation. Stress can kill anyone, but when they stress about being stressed, it will kill them quicker.

Stressing over stress can lead to respiratory issues, insomnia, sometimes paranoia, and chronic diseases such as renal failure and heart disease.

It can cause other serious ailments to develop as well such as psoriasis, eczema, and hair loss. Gastrointestinal issues can develop also like colitis, IBS, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and GERD.

So, let’s look at what happens to our bodies when we are stressed?

We experience headaches, heartburn, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and many other serious health problems.

Stress has played a major role in heart attacks among young people, let alone our senior population.

For seniors, this can lead to debilitating mental health illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If you think about it, it makes sense that seniors would stress over being alone and develop a chronic illness.

Look at their life-style, especially since COVID-19, what have they done? Where have they gone? How many friends have they visited? How many times have they seen their children or grandchildren? I’ll bet not very many, even without the pandemic, people live busy lives, and sometimes you can’t visit as often.

If you are a caregiver, you may ask, “How can I reduce my seniors stress level?”

It’s extremely important that you do not change their routine. Structure is one thing that will stress them out if it’s changed.

I don’t think any of us like our routine changed, it throws the whole day off when something like you sleep late and don’t have your two cups of coffee and have to rush to where you’re going.

Keep the structure the same.

Make them laugh as often as possible. Laughter is one of the best stress relievers. When we stress, our body tightens up and laughing helps relax those tightened muscles which decreases the stress level.

Watch a silly sitcom, tell some corny jokes, anything to get them laughing. The old saying is true, laughter IS the best medicine!

Try to get them outside for a walk if possible.

The fresh air and sunshine will help alleviate stress levels and improve their mood. If you can’t go for a walk, take them out to lunch or dinner, something to get them out of the house and improve their outlook.

The senior is left alone and all they do is think about how much they miss the interaction with another person, a hug, a kiss, a laugh. What happens?

Depression happens and then stress, then a chronic illness if they’re not able to seek help. Sometimes they need to be placed into an assisted living community for twenty-four-hour care.

This sounds like it isn’t right, but what can we do? We can try to make their life as stress-free as possible. Sounds easy, right?

If you have an elderly loved one living alone, please think about assisted living before it’s too late.

Assisted living has changed a lot over the years, seniors have interaction with others their own age. This aids in stopping their stress and depression all while helping them thrive and live a happier life.

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Best Diet to Help You Live Longer and Healthier

What Type of Diet Helps You Live a Longer, Healthier Life

What’s the Best Diet if You Want to Live a Long, Healthy Life?

There’s a lot of controversy about what type of diet helps you live a longer, healthier life.

Most “specialists” say the Mediterranean Diet is the best, and while it’s full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil, what happens when you can’t eat most of those foods?

Quite a few people can’t eat nuts, seeds, or whole grains, then you have doctors tell you to stay away from carbohydrates, so there go the potatoes and bread from the diet.

So, that leaves you with vegetables, fruits, legumes, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and olive oil.

Then you hear about shrimp being bad for your cholesterol, what does a person do or believe?

After all, if you want to live longer, you want to be healthier, right? Who wants to be sick while living longer? Plus, if you live healthier, you can live independently longer.

The funny thing about diets is that none of them mention chocolate, but yes, DARK chocolate can help you live a healthier, longer life!!!

Cocoa beans are found to be chock full of antioxidants which can lower your risk of heart disease! Just make sure you don’t overdo it, one square of dark chocolate a day is enough, sorry you cannot eat a bag of Hershey bars!! Darn it!!

Another item not mentioned in many diets is coffee.

According to Dr. Joe Vinson, a professor at the University of Scranton found that the flavonoids contained in coffee can prevent heart disease.

He says that “antioxidants are your army to protect you from the toxic free radicals, which come from breathing oxygen and eating sugar, that start chronic diseases”.

They ward off diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it can raise your blood pressure, so you may want to drink decaf.

Garlic is one item that seems to be mentioned in every diet that helps you live longer and healthier!!!

This is the one staple that I can’t live without.

I love garlic and put it on/in everything I make. The way I eat garlic, I should live forever!!

Garlic contains immune-boosting ingredients that fight cancer!!

Red wine is one of the main foods in the Mediterranean Diet.

Can you say yes, please??

Every personal trainer and doctor I spoke to say the same thing, red wine (as opposed to white) is the best alcohol to drink for your health.

Red wine contains a natural plant substance that fights disease. As with everything else, not a bottle of wine a day, one or two glasses a day is the recommended dosage.

Moderation is the key.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the best for you because the natural pigmentation that gives them their bright colors are what helps fight cancer.

Dark green and yellow are the best, along with sweet potatoes. So, eating your kale and spinach is not just a wives tale, it’s true to help you live longer and healthier.

When you choose what kind of fish to eat, opt for the oily varieties, salmon, mackerel, and trout.

These fish are chock full of vitamin A and D, two of the vitamins many of us lack in our diets. These two vitamins are perfect for our immune system and the omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lowering your risk of heart disease. These fatty acids have also been shown to help combat Alzheimer’s disease.

So, let’s make it a point to eat your fish at least twice a week.

What type of diet helps you live longer and healthier?

Who knows, but if you eat smarter and watch what you eat, you don’t need to follow a specific diet.

Can you cheat once in a while? Yes! If not, why live longer??

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

How to Stop Elderly Parents From Driving

How to stop elderly parents from driving

One of the hardest conversations to have: telling an aging loved one it’s time to stop driving 

First of all, how do you know it’s time for them to stop driving?

Let’s take a look at some of the signs.

Take a few rides with them and observe their mannerisms and reaction times.

  • Are they easily distracted while driving?
  • Are they driving too fast or too slow?
  • Are they cutting corners too sharp?
  • Are they having difficulty changing lanes?
  • Do you notice any new scrapes or dents on the vehicle?

These are some early signs that it may be time for your loved one to quit driving, but how do you tell your mom or dad they can no longer drive?

Yikes!! Here’s the hard part, right?

Just remember, they have been driving for a lifetime and giving it up means losing their independence. It doesn’t have to be so hard, just start out slowly and bring to their attention little details calmly and patiently.

I tell you to take a ride with them because you need to know the facts for yourself, don’t rely on what others tell you, they could be basing their remarks off of one circumstance.

Before you approach the subject, make sure you have an alternative plan. Research other transportation options and show them they can still get around town, to the doctor’s office, etc.

For more information about this, read our blog, Senior Transportation Options.

How to stop elderly parents from driving

There are many delivery services now who will deliver groceries and medications. Maybe one of their neighbors would take them to run errands one day a week. Check into other options before approaching the subject.

Be sympathetic, after all, you’re asking them to give up a large part of their lifestyle. Approach the subject carefully and keep your emotions under control. Your loved one may be angry or act hostile toward you, but remain calm while speaking to them about giving up driving.

They are not going to agree with you the first time you have this conversation. You may have to speak to them several times, and suggest they take a driving test or have their vision checked. Perhaps if a professional tells them they are not able to drive any longer, they will be more apt to listen.

Remind them of the consequences that could happen if they continue to drive, but speak to them calmly. Remind them someone could get seriously hurt and maybe even die if they have an accident. Also, point out that they couldn’t handle the affects of a car accident either. It’s hard enough to recover from a fall; can you imagine a car accident?

Make sure you stay on track with the conversation, don’t go off on another topic, and stick to the point of them not driving. They may try to change the subject because it is something they don’t want to hear, but stick to the subject!

So, how do you tell your aging loved one is time to stop driving? Calmly and with patience, remember you are telling them they can no longer do the one thing that gives them the last bit of freedom they have.

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Seniors and Pets: The Pros and Cons

Seniors and Pets: The Pros and Cons

Seniors and Pets: The Pros & Cons

Do seniors need pets?

Some say yes, others say no. Some believe the seniors can’t take care of themselves so how are they going to take care of a pet?

Others believe the pet gives the senior purpose.

Which side are you on?

Let’s look at some pros and cons of seniors having pets.

Pros of Seniors having a Pet:

  1. A pet can reduce isolation by providing companionship to the senior. So, if you can’t be there, at least they don’t feel as if they’re alone
  2. A pet can give the senior a sense of purpose. They won’t feel as if they don’t matter, they have someone to care for, someone who depends on them and needs them. Your mom or dad took care of you and or siblings for so long and now they have no one to care for anymore.
  3. A pet can be extremely satisfying and make them feel useful again.
  4. A pet can ensure the senior gets regular exercise, especially if they have a dog. They will need to walk the dog routinely and thus give them exercise and get them out into the world. Vitamin D is one vitamin many seniors lack because they tend to stay indoors.
  5. A pet can provide the senior with a routine. They will need to feed the animal at approximately the same time each day, which adds structure to their life.
  6. A dog for the Seniors in Your LifeIf they have a dog, it’s a great way to meet new friends and peak new interests. Dogs are great icebreakers and conversation starters. As far as peaking new interests, the senior might be inclined to clean up the dog walking area, or perhaps take the friendly pet to the senior center or hospital to spread cheer to others.
  7. A dog can provide a sense of protection. Even a small dog barking can deter a burglar.
  8. A pet can help lower stress in seniors. Perhaps because of the companionship, or maybe because they have someone to talk to, love and care for again. Could it be the structure or constancy pets add to the senior’s life? 
  9. Petting a dog or cat can reduce stress. It acts as a relaxing mechanism in our brain and body and while we pet the animal we talk to them as well which helps ease our stress level.
  10. Dogs and cats can help the senior cope, especially after an illness or surgery. They are specifically keen and can pick up on their owner’s discomfort and will be supportive of their comfort needs.

Petting a dog or a cat can reduce stress.

Now, let’s talk about some cons:

If you get a puppy, you may not have the stamina or the energy to “keep up” with the puppy.

Also, if you have a pet that requires a cage cleaning, make sure you are physically able to clean the cage regularly.

Ensure you are able to put everything into pet ownership that comes with it.

Time, money, energy, the daily care, veterinary visits, food, and attention.

If you have a dog, cat, or bird make sure you have a plan for the animal should they outlive you or you move into an assisted living community.

You don’t want the constant stressor of what will happen to your pet if something happens to you.

Seniors and Pets: The Pros and Cons

So, should you get a pet?

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but if you look closely, the pros outweigh the cons. Adopting a pet from a shelter is a great way to get a pet. Not only will the seniors have a companion, but they will also be helping save the life of an animal.

This can provide the senior with an amazing sense of purpose, and because they feel responsible for the animal’s life, they are more likely to take better care of their life.

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

How Do You Help Your Parents When They Don’t Think They Need It?

How to help parents when they don't think they need it

When Your Parents Need Help But They Don’t Think They Do…

Here it is December and the holidays are upon us. You are planning on spending time with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa. You arrive to find things are not what they have always been.

What do you do now?

This is a very common situation we see every day. You talk to them on the phone weekly/daily and you have no idea things are this bad. It’s amazing how they can fool us. It’s not intentional; they believe they are doing just fine.

You could be seeing confusion, lack of short-term memory, sense of being overwhelmed or burdened. Medication could be mismanaged and nutrition and hydration are minimal.

Observe: are they eating properly, taking their medication correctly, drinking water, hydrating?

Are they in a routine? Is one caring for the other?

I see this happening daily in my business; I am a senior advocate. I work with families on this unknown journey. WE take baby steps. First, get eyes in the house. There are many ways you can do that, speak with their PCP (Primary Care Physician).

Request orders for home health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, skilled nursing. It’s covered by their health insurance and it gives you a baseline to start. It helps their doctors see what’s happening as well.

If there is no reason to order home health, there are other things available.

You can start with a baby cam in the kitchen so you can observe what’s happening from that perspective. Are they eating?

I had a client that every time the daughter purchased food and put it in the refrigerator, she waited for her to leave and she cleaned it all out and threw all the food away.

She had early-stage dementia and her OCD was causing her to get rid of clutter. In her case, she had lost substantial weight and that was the first clue.

A new technology that’s available is AI (artificial intelligence). It’s nonevasive, no camera, not wearable. It works with sensors placed in the home to learn the patterns of your loved one. Once it learns their routine it can monitor falling, food intake, reduction in walking speed, wandering during the night, not getting out of bed, increased bathroom activity.

It can also monitor their heart rate in bed. The family can have an app on their phone that can alert them to issues and it can be monitored by a local home health company.

Knowledge is power, if you know the progression of your loved ones aging process you can plan for whatever comes your way. When it’s time to get a specialist involved, call a Neurologist or Cardiologist.

Do they need someone setting up their medications or need an automated dispenser? Should someone be coming in a few days a week to help? Is it time to plan for assisted living?

All these things are now in your hands, it’s terrible but reality.

You’ve become their parent.

Breathe and realize there are people out there to help you.

One word of wisdom I must share, “YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE THE BAD GUY”!

Make the bad guy the doctor, the advocate, motor vehicle division – anyone but YOU, the person they need to know is in their corner.

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.