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.

What Are Seniors Top Fears?

What are Seniors Top Fears

Top 5 Fears of Seniors?

As we age our fears age with us. As teenagers our fears are, will I have a date for prom? Will I pass my driving test?

Small fears now, but big fears back then.

As we progress to the workforce and married life the fears increase. Will I make enough money to provide for my family? Will I be a good mother or father? Will I raise good children? Will my spouse and children respect me? All viable fears that we carry with us through the years.

Then we reach our golden years and the fears seem to intensify.

The top fears for most seniors are loss of independence, running out of money, their health and/or eyesight worsening, losing their spouse, and isolation. The latter seems more prevalent today with the COVID-19 pandemic but has always been a concern for seniors.

So, how do you ease their minds, especially if you live in another state? First, let’s break them down to try and understand them better.

Understanding the Top Fear’s of Senior’s

1. Loss of independence

This is a big fear for many seniors.

Remember the freedom you had when you got your driver’s license?

Well, now think of it being taken away from you!!

Oh my, you can’t go wherever you want any more, you have to depend on others, just like when you were fifteen years old.

Nobody wants that, especially not your mother or father. Be patient with them, this is a catastrophic event for the elderly.

2. Running out of money

What if they didn’t save enough to live to be 100 years old?

A lot of people are living longer these days, and money doesn’t go as far as it used to.

While the cost of living increases, their pensions don’t. Some seniors don’t even receive a pension, so their fear is doubled.

You can’t live on Social Security alone anymore.

3. Health and/or eyesight worsening

They’ve already lost their independence, what if their health or eyesight declines even more?

Who will take care of them? Will they be able to fend for themselves if need be? Will one spouse be able to care for the other? Imagine losing your vision.

How scary would that be for you?

4. Losing their spouse

What will I do without my spouse?

He/she’s been with me forever!! I’ll be all alone, with no one to take care of or talk to anymore.

Just imagine this if you’re a senior and you’ve been married for 30+ years to the same person and all of a sudden they’re gone!

What would you do? You’d be awfully lonely and possibly afraid. What will the future hold for you?

5. Isolation

Everyone fears being isolated, but it’s worse for seniors.

They’re already isolated to a point, especially since COVID came to town.

They have been cooped up with no visitation from family members or friends. A lot of families put the seniors into a community and rarely visit, then throw COVID into the mix, and visitation is not allowed, This makes a good recipe for disaster.

Along with the isolation, they become depressed, those two are not a good combination.

What are Seniors Top Fears

How can you help ease the fears of the senior in your life?

You may still wonder how you can help with their fears.

  • You can be patient with them
  • Call them more often than usual, you can Zoom or Facetime with them at least once a week
  • Make sure their grandchildren contact them and also zoom or facetime with them.
  • If possible, take them outside for a walk, or just to sit on a bench in a park and spend some quality time together.

Our parents are used to taking care of everything, children, house, grandchildren, etc.

Once they are no longer needed, or can no longer do this, they feel unwanted.

Make sure they know you need and want them in your life and your children’s 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.

What NOT to Say to Someone With Dementia

What You Should not Say to Someone with Dementia?

Dementia is a disease of the brain that impairs your memory and judgment.

It interferes with a person’s social skills, and thinking abilities, making it harder for them to function normally. Their brain does not process information like normal.

Speaking to a person with dementia takes patience and the ability to know what not to say.

Here are some things you should never say to someone with Dementia.

Do you remember?

When poised with this question, the person may get frustrated and angry because they can’t remember. This may cause irritation between you and them as you may not understand why they are so upset.

They may try so hard to remember and begin to cry when they just can’t remember the time, place, or person to whom you are referring.

So, please don’t ask an Alzheimer’s or Dementia person do you remember?

⇨ That person died years ago.

A person with dementia has no reality of time passed. To them “Uncle Joe” may have passed six years ago, but to them, Uncle Joe is still alive and kicking.

Sometimes, dementia patients can long for their parents, who have passed away many years ago, the best way to handle this situation is to ask them to tell you about their parents.

Do not tell the patient their parents have passed away, this could cause the patient less stress and anxiety.

⇨ You’re not right.

Dementia patients say things they believe are true, in their heads these things happened. The most important thing is to NOT disagree with them.

Most of the time what they are talking about has happened, but it was so long ago, you may have no idea it really happened.

⇨ Never argue with a dementia patient.

Should someone with dementia become angry and unruly and start arguing with you, do NOT argue back, try to redirect the conversation of the subject onto something pleasant.

The most important thing is to keep the patient calm and relaxed.

⇨ Talk simply.

Never use complex sentences, you will only confuse the person. Use simple, everyday words, as if you are talking to a child. The brain of a dementia patient cannot process or comprehend complex sentences and once again, the anxiety and frustration will become prevalent.

⇨ I told you.

Never point out that they are wrong. As in “you’re not right” the patient feels what they’re talking about really happened and it probably did before your time. Let them have it as long as it’s not hurting anyone.

⇨ Questions about their past.

Don’t ask a dementia patient questions about their past, they will become very anxious because they can’t remember. This leads to high-stress levels and could cause friction between you and them. Instead, ask if they’d like to hear about your past and where you grew up, etc.

What You Should not Say to Someone with Dementia?

How do you have a successful conversation with a dementia patient?

Go somewhere quiet without distractions, speak softly, quietly, and make eye contact. Speak in slow, short sentences, make sure you give them plenty of time to respond, remember, their brain takes longer to process.

BE PATIENT!!

Pay attention to your body language, use facial expressions and gestures to help with your point. Always stay in the present moment and stay positive!

And, above all, BE PATIENT!!!

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.

Creating an End-of-Life Plan

Hospice and End of Life Plan

Creating a Hospice and End-of-Life Plan for Your Dying Loved One

When people think of hospice care, their loved one’s mortality almost immediately comes to mind.

Hospice is typically reserved for those who are nearing the end of their life, and it should be viewed as an opportunity to provide comfort, discuss their final wishes, and to say goodbye.

There is no one-size-fits-all method for creating a hospice care plan, but understanding the process is a good first step.

Here are some things you should know.

Hospice Care Involves Many People

When the time arrives for hospice care, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Your hospice care team will be comprised of many people who are experienced in how to provide compassionate care for the patient and support for the family.

Your loved one’s care team will consist of a physician, hospice nurses, and other support personnel. The nurses will have many tasks, including administering medication and helping to quell anxiety relating to your loved one’s condition and passing away.

One key individual you will get to know throughout the process is a hospice social worker. They are fully qualified to counsel everyone involved in the dying process. They also serve to support and advocate for the patient’s rights and wishes.

Getting to know this individual, as well as their qualifications, will help you and your loved one understand why they are there and in what ways they can help.

End-of-Life Conversations Can’t Wait

Your social worker can also help you open up the conversation with your loved one about how they want their death handled.

Having this conversation can help you be more prepared for the emotional and financial aspects related to your loved one’s passing.

These end-of-life conversations will be emotional. Your loved one may not want to think about their own mortality, and they may be in denial that their health has deteriorated to the point where death is an immediate concern.

If you cannot get them to discuss the emotional aspect of funeral planning, they may be receptive to talking about more practical matters, especially if they previously served as a caregiver for your family.

With the average funeral costing as much as a used car — between $7,000 and $12,000 in most cases — they may be more able to look at funeral planning as one last way they can care for the ones they love by making decisions that will reduce the financial burden.

Your loved one may be eligible for burial insurance; if so, this may be a motivator for them to open up about these decisions.

Hospice Does Not Equal Hopeless

There is no denying that hospice care almost always means death, and often within just a few months. But this does not mean that your loved one has to give up hope; instead, they can redefine their expectations and focus on quality instead of longevity.

Very well Health explains that hospice care will help your loved one live pain-free so that they can do the things they want, such as spending time with their family or taking one last family vacation. Being in hospice care is also no guarantee of death.

Although not the typical outcome, it is not unheard of for hospice care to improve the patient’s condition to the point their life expectancy is extended. Instead of standard hospice care, some people need palliative care.

In this model of care, the patient is treated with the same compassion, but may be much further from end-of-life than someone receiving hospice treatment. Palliative care patients may transition out of care once treatment for a disease or condition has ended and then re-enter hospice care once quality of life needs must be addressed toward the end.

Nobody likes to think about death, and hospice care only brings this possibility that much closer to reality.

Your loved one’s hospice care team can help you and your entire family understand and embrace the process.

Most importantly, hospice can ease your loved one’s suffering. Regardless of the outcome, eliminating pain will help them live their best life until the very end.

Lucille Rosetti

If you need help with Creating a Hospice and End-of-life Plan give us a call at 386-847-2322 or get a copy of our Guiding Light for Seniors that will help guide you through the aging process. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey. 

Alzheimers and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

THE “FORGOTTEN” PATIENT

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many people doing things to keep everyone safe. At Assisted Living Made Simple, we are taking every precaution necessary to protect those we come in contact with.

However, there’s a sector of our vulnerable population that is being forgotten, the Alzheimer’s/Dementia patient!

Every rule has an exception, but what happens to those who don’t/can’t understand/comprehend/remember anymore? Our health care system needs to adjust or modify this rule for those who can no longer think or speak for themselves.

I want to share an experience that happened to one of our clients and his wife who wish to remain anonymous.

As we all know, you cannot enter a doctor’s office, hospital room, or professional office with a loved one, well if that patient has Alzheimer’s it is imperative that someone is in the room with them.

This couple has been dealing with Alzheimer’s for quite a few years now, and the husband has always gone to his wife’s appointments. However, he has not been allowed admittance since the COVID outbreak, she went to the doctor due to problems swallowing and he thought it best to see a physician. He took his wife to her doctor’s visit and waited outside for her.

While in with her physician, he did a biopsy and gave her a prescription for antibiotics. When she left, she forgot all this, so her prescription never got filled. Her husband was never included in this so he had no knowledge of what was wrong with her.

This is an ongoing problem with the healthcare system and the policies and procedures put in place. Procedures need to be put in place to help those with special needs and allow their loved ones to be in on the doctor visits, telehealth visits, and ER visits by providing them with the proper PPE to keep everyone safe.

At Assisted Living Made Simple we specialize in senior placement services. We believe that you should not take this journey of caregiving alone so we are here to help you every step of the way.

Photo by Vladimir Soares 

3 Signs That Aging in Place Isn’t Working Anymore

If your senior parents want to age in place, they’re not alone: Three out of four seniors prefer to stay in their home as long as possible.

However, what an aging parent wants and what they need isn’t necessarily the same thing. How can loved ones recognize when aging in place isn’t working out, and how can you convince a senior who is insistent on staying put that they need to move? If you’re concerned about an aging parent living at home, look out for these three signs that it’s no longer safe to age in place.

1. Getting around the house is becoming dangerous

Does it seem like your elderly parents are testing fate every time they walk through the house? Families have a lot of options for aging-in-place remodeling or downsizing to an age-friendly home, but if you’ve taken these steps and your parent is still struggling with mobility problems, it may be time for a much bigger downsize.

2. Your parent is growing confused and forgetful

Mobility isn’t the only factor that determines a senior’s ability to live at home. Cognitive impairment can also make home a dangerous place. Seniors with dementia may forget about food on a stovetop, fail to pay the heating bill in mid-winter, or wander away from home. While many seniors can continue to live at home in the early stages of cognitive decline, more help is needed as dementia progresses.

3. Your parents need help, but there’s no one to provide it.

This is a common problem for seniors with long-distance loved ones. While millions of seniors rely on unpaid family caregivers for help at home, those who can’t are faced with a hefty bill: Full-time home care costs over $4,000 a month on top of a senior’s other living costs.

How to Talk About Senior Living

Often, families recognize the need for help before a senior does. As a result, it’s up to loved ones to broach the senior living conversation. How can you do it sensitively and productively? These tips can help.

1. Understand the senior living options

It’s important to go into the senior living conversation informed so you can focus on the facts. Understand the types of senior living, including assisted living, independent living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities. While independent living sounds appealing to many seniors, it may not provide enough hands-on care for your loved one. Independent living offers senior-friendly housing and amenities but not the caregiving services found in assisted living. Meanwhile, memory care facilities exclusively serve seniors with dementia, and continuing care communities provide a variety of care levels in one setting.

2. Don’t force the issue

It’s important to understand the options, but that doesn’t mean you should start the conversation talking about assisted living. Instead, discuss the challenges your senior parents are facing at home and how they can solve them. Use examples of other seniors who have hired help or moved to senior living to demonstrate how people you know are managing the challenges of aging.

3. Hear your loved one’s concerns

Even if a senior recognizes assisted living as the right choice, they may have fears about moving. Listen to their concerns and offer reassurance and solutions. For example, you could help find a pet-friendly community, hire a senior move manager to help downsize, or set up a regular time when the family will visit.

Senior Living Resources

To learn more about senior living, turn to these helpful resources:

Remember that the assisted living conversation may be a long one. It takes time for seniors set on aging in place to come to terms with accepting help. Start the conversation before it’s urgent so your senior parents can get the help they need when they need it.

Image via Unsplash

Don’t Panic Over Coronavirus!

Seniors should take precautions, but not panic.

Coronavirus has been front-page news for a while and we are told it is now starting to spread in the U.S.

Yes, it is a serious situation, it’s extremely important not to panic. It’s equally important to learn the facts and follow the recommended prevention tips to protect yourself and your senior family member.

Quick facts and prevention tips

Today. the risk of getting coronavirus in the U.S. is low. But if the illness does spread, seniors and people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk, just as they are with the flu.

To reduce the spread of disease, CDC recommends using common-sense prevention practices:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick, this may seem to be common sense but for some it is not. A mask does not protect others if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Where Can You Get Updates on Coronavirus?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is monitoring the situation closely and is the best source of information about coronavirus. For the latest information and recommendations, visit the CDC’s Situation Summary page. And check the CDC’s quick tip sheet Share Facts, Not Fear for key coronavirus facts that put a stop to rumors and misinformation.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. In general, human coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).COVID-19 is the name for a new virus that’s been spreading across the globe since late December 2019. It hadn’t previously been seen in humans.

How Does Coronavirus Spread?

Similar to seasonal flu, COVID-19 is passed between people through coughing, sneezing, or close contact like touching or shaking hands. It can also be transmitted by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without washing hands. Hand washing is very important. Just like the flu, the virus spreads very easily, which makes it hard to contain, and easily contracted if exposed. The incubation period is between 2 and 14 days, so it can be spread by people with no symptoms.

Prevention

To protect from coronavirus, the CDC recommends the same methods that you’d use to protect against the flu or other common respiratory diseases.

Preventive measures include:

  • Have you gotten a flu shot
  • Washing hands often with soap, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the event soap and water is not available.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick. stay home.
  • Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then immediately throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces like doorknobs, remote controls, phones, computers, and mobile devices.

CDC recommends considering “social distancing” for those at higher risk
People who are over the age of 60, pregnant, or on medications that weaken the immune system are at higher risk of infection and complications of infection. Someone who’s at higher risk should consider “social distancing

That means if there’s any reported risk of COVID-19 transmission in the local area, avoid large gatherings of people and public transportation (bus, subway, taxi, rideshare). In addition, keep a safe distance from other people.

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Patients with COVID-19 have symptoms that are similar to other respiratory illnesses like colds or flu. Common symptoms include mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that usually begin two to 14 days after exposure. Less comm is sore throat and diarrhea. Many patients with severe complications from the virus develop pneumonia in both lungs, particularly those with already weakened immune systems.

Seniors are at higher risk of complications and death

Seniors are more vulnerable because their immune systems are weaker due to age and may be made worse by frailty or chronic illnesses. This reduces the body’s ability to cope with and recover from illness.

Does the flu shot provide protection against coronavirus?

According to the CDCRespiratory Diseases, there’s no evidence that the flu or the vaccination for pneumonia will provide protection from the coronavirus. In spite of that infectious disease specialists strongly recommend flu vaccination as a way to prepare for coronavirus. For seniors, having both the flu shot and the pneumococcal vaccine can increase the chances of staying healthy.

Do face masks protect you?

Surgical masks are a common sight in areas with coronavirus outbreaks. But are they effective in protecting from infection? Experts say that they offer some protection. Currently, the CDC doesn’t recommend that people who are not sick wear a face mask, they should only be worn if a healthcare professional recommends it.

However, face masks should be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19. This helps prevent the spread of the disease to others. They should be worn by people who are taking care of someone who is sick.

Is there a coronavirus treatment?

Currently, there is no cure for coronavirus. Treatments to help patients heal or to relieve symptoms are already in clinical trials. Currently, researchers are focused on testing the existing antiviral drug Remdesivir and a combination of HIV and flu drugs.

The best treatment for coronavirus is prevention.

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. It is not intended to be medical advice.

 

Are You Bored?

Friends and laughter are great ways to destress

One of the biggest complaints we hear from seniors is, I am bored. How to combat boredom as we grow older is a growing challenge. We can only watch so much television. The weather in Florida makes it possible to enjoy many more activities than our neighbors to the north.

Spring holidays bring fun, seniors and their loved ones should make it a point to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Easter and the first day of spring. Whether it’s making a special meal, dressing up or going to festivals or community events, spring offers lots of opportunities for connection and getting out of the house.

Many older adults find gardening or just taking a walk is a perfect spring activity for those that like to be outside. If you are physically able to volunteer with a local organization such as an animal shelter, soup kitchen or boys and girls club, that is a great option.

Taking in a movie, reading or picking up a crafty hobby is also fun and will pass the time. Yesterday we saw a group of ladies playing cards in a local restaurant after they had lunch. Card or game clubs are a great way to meet people and keep the brain sharp!

There are many options for seniors in their community to get involved, stay busy and interact with others! Give the professionals at Assisted Living Made Simple a call if you need some guidance on what is going on in your Florida community!

Do You Have a Backup Plan?

If you are responsible for the day to day care of a friend or family member you know what a challenge it can be. Seeking help with caregiving is not a sign of weakness.  It means you care enough to put together the best care for your loved one.

At some point, everyone needs help, one of the best things you do as a caregiver is to get some help

Many caregivers have a hard time doing this. They feel that getting help means they are not living up to their duties or responsibilities or even promises made. 

As you struggle with these thoughts, it can be helpful to talk about your feelings with other caregivers in a support group or with a counselor.  The other issue which makes seeking outside help difficult is knowing what kind of help you need, where to locate reliable, trustworthy help and how to best use these resources.  

The caregiving journey can be tough and a care team can help. 

Your care team may consist of other family members, medical professionals, professional caregivers, church members and volunteers, neighbors and more.  

Here are some of the common questions (or concerns) we hear from caregivers about bringing professional caregivers into the home or even to visit loved ones in an assisted living facility when we cannot be there. 

How will my loved one adjust to having a stranger coming into their home?

Every individual reacts differently, but time and time again, we find family members are surprised by how well their loved one adjusts and benefits in ways they didn’t anticipate. For example, a new face means new conversations and experiences for them to enjoy!  

I worry that no one can provide the care I do.  I feel it might be more work to deal with problems, it is easier to do it myself.

No one can provide the care you do, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be a successful solution for both you and your loved one.  Ask any home care agency you are considering how they work with you to select appropriate home caregivers and how they prepare the caregivers to help your loved one.  Interview and get to know all potential caregivers so YOU are comfortable.

Things feel almost out of control for me as a caregiver when something unanticipated happens, I get a crisis call, or have to deal with sudden issues in the middle of work or other plans.

The unanticipated can be the most stressful part of caregiving.  A care team does not solve this problem but can provide you some support to ease things.  Having a relationship with a relief caregiver means that when you have emergencies or responsibilities that arise, you have someone to call.  Care team partners can be your backup and help you with conflicts.  A professional caregiver, family members, or community members can help with errands, taking a shift with your loved one at the hospital or visit them in their assisted living or nursing home when you cannot. 

 

Contact the professionals at Assisted Living Made Simple for more resources or more information on assisted living and other senior resources.