Thursday, December 29, 2011

Managing Incontinence

5 Tips to Help Your Parents Manage Incontinence
As individuals age, incontinence can become a difficult challenge to surmount. Helping your elderly loved one through this difficulty may be overwhelming, as it can be embarrassing for both of you. However, there are ways to manage incontinence and prevent it from running your elderly loved one's life. Below are five different ways to help.
  1. Visit a doctor. If there is an underlying problem causing incontinence it is important that your elderly loved one is treated. Furthermore, a doctor may be able to treat incontinence in and of itself and provide other useful tips to you and your loved one. Before making an appointment, it is important that you and your elderly loved one have an honest conversation about the issue to ensure that the doctor receives all of the information necessary to treat the problem.
  2. Install a raised toilet. If your elderly loved one is able to get to the bathroom but cannot get to the toilet in time, the issue may be that they are having a difficult time sitting down. As individuals age it becomes increasingly harder to sit and stand, which can cause an issue if they must use the restroom. A raised toilet can often solve this problem.
  3. Ensure that the bathroom is accessible. Your elderly loved one may have a difficult time getting to the bathroom because it is in a remote part of the house or there are obstacles, such as furniture, in the way. Remove any items that may be blocking the path to the restroom to allow your elderly loved one to access the room as easily and quickly as possible.
  4. Invest in the supplies necessary to prevent accidents. Incontinence products, including disposable undergarments that absorb liquids, can help prevent noticeable accidents and make dealing with incontinence on a daily basis much less stressful.
  5. Make dietary changes. Incontinence may be exacerbated by certain foods and drinks, such as carbonated or caffeinated beverages, alcohol, acidic ingredients, and more.
Managing incontinence may be overwhelming  at first, but by following these five tips you can help your elderly loved one overcome the challenge.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tips for Keeping Your Mind Sharp

5 Ways to Keep Elderly Minds Sharp
Maintaining a certain level of mental stimulation is important to the elderly, as it allows them to exercise their minds and pursue their interest in particular activities. Although physical limitations may seem to restrict the nature of these activities, there are many ways in which you can help your elderly loved one maintain a sharp mind.
  1. Socialization is one of the best ways to keep your elderly loved one exercising their mind. Participating in a variety of organizations allows elderly individuals the opportunity to interact with other people, think about new ideas, and use their problem solving skills to both address the needs of the social setting and exercise their brains.
  2. Do jigsaw puzzles that have bright colors. This activity is two-fold. First, the bright colors stimulate the brain. Second, the act of putting together a jigsaw puzzle requires individuals to think about the activity. This is a wonderful exercise and jigsaw puzzles come in a variety of sizes, so most elderly individuals will be able to do them.
  3. Create a schedule. Some elderly individuals may find it difficult to leave the house, and others may find that they have no reason to. Make a list of interesting activities that your elderly loved one would like to pursue and schedule time each week to do so. From attending a religious service to attending a book club, any kind of scheduled activity will give your elderly loved one something to look forward to while also stimulating their mind.
  4. Play board games. Puzzles and games provide excellent exercise for the mind. Try dominoes, checkers, chess, Scrabble, or any other games that require strategy.
  5. Play word games. From crossword puzzles to word searches, these games stimulate the minds of elderly individuals. These are also games that can be performed alone, so your elderly loved one can exercise their mind when they are at home or unable to leave the house.
Keeping your elderly loved one's mind sharp is important. These five suggestions will enable your elderly loved one to exercise their mind while also enjoying games, social events, and other activities.

Adaptive Devices for the Elderlly

Adaptive Devices: What Are They and How Can They Benefit Your Elderly Loved One?
As people age, it can become more and more difficult to perform daily functions. For example, taking a shower, walking, and driving, which were once second nature, may become hard to perform. Many companies have designed equipment, known as adaptive devices, to help make these activities easier to do. When combined with quality home care, these devices may make living independently possible for your elderly loved one.
The adaptive devices that are produced vary in function, effectiveness, and cost. The diversity of the products that are manufactured allows individuals to choose equipment that fits the needs of their elderly loved ones. For example, there are several different kinds of steering wheel knobs that can help your elderly loved one continue driving. Likewise, there are several kinds of handrails that can be installed to ensure that your elderly loved one can use the restroom or walk down the hall safely.
The benefits that these adaptive devices provide to your elderly loved one are many—even if they are not able to drive or travel any longer. Here are a few of the ways that these devices may help elderly individuals.
  • Adaptive devices often provide a higher level of safety. This allows elderly individuals to live at home longer. When combined with home care services, adaptive devices may allow your elderly loved one to enjoy living alone with less fear of injury.
  • This equipment can provide a higher level of independence. With the help of these devices, your elderly loved one may be able to continue to take care of themselves and live an independent lifestyle.
  • Adaptive devices can enrich the quality of life for your elderly loved one. Handrails and other safety equipment will keep them protected, but many adaptive devices also allow elderly individuals to use computers, eat, or walk independently. This higher quality of life is important, as it allows your elderly loved one to continue to stay active and autonomous.
Adaptive devices come in many varieties. The diversity of the equipment available allows elderly individuals to use the devices that are tailored to their own needs. Through these products, your elderly loved one may be able to live a happier, more independent lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is Hospice?

Knowing that your elderly loved one is facing a life-threatening illness can be a scary feeling, but there are several home care options that can alleviate your loved one's discomfort. Hospice, a well-known care philosophy, offers soothing treatment that will allow your loved one to live out the rest of their days comfortably. Always Best Care in Chapel Hill knows that the decision to call in Hospice is a difficult one, but with home care professionals serving Chapel Hill, Orange County, Carrboro, Hope Valley, and Southpoint, the dedicated individuals at Always Best Care can help make this transition easier.
What Is Hospice?
The word "Hospice" is, most often, associated with death. But Hospice is so much more than a program that cares for terminal patients. The very idea behind the Hospice method of treatment is that individuals who are fighting life-threatening diseases are able to experience a higher degree of comfort at the end of their lives. The main goal of Hospice is to ensure that your elderly loved one is kept as comfortable as possible, allowing them to receive personalized services that are tailored to their needs.
Why Depend Upon the Services of Hospice?
The idea of maintaining one's dignity at the end of one's life is important in today's culture. Although medical breakthroughs have done much to treat and cure illnesses, death is a natural and expected part of the life cycle. Hospice professionals understand this and treat the event with the respect that it deserves. By keeping your elderly loved one comfortable and neither postponing nor accelerating death, Hospice care providers can create a calm environment for your elderly loved one to enjoy before passing.
What Can Hospice Do for Your Family?
When a beloved family member dies, it is an event that affects every person who cares about that individual. Hospice understands this, and as such its dedicated care professionals work to ensure that all members of the family are comfortable and understand the process that is taking place. There are different Hospice programs across the country, and you and your elderly loved one can choose the program that best meets the needs of your family.
Hospice care providers will see to it that your elderly loved one is as comfortable as possible, providing the medical attention they need to maintain their quality of life. The exact services will vary, depending upon the needs of your elderly loved one, but they will be compassionate and sensitive to the loss that your family is facing.
Always Best Care in Chapel Hill ( understands the difficulties that you may face in making the decision to call in Hospice care, and its professionals can help your family create a peaceful environment for your elderly loved one.

Preventing Elderly Isolation During the Holidays

Fending Off Isolation During the Holidays: Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Engaged
For many people, the holidays are a time of celebration, of giving thanks, and of making memories with friends and family. For many elderly individuals, though, the holidays can become a time of isolation. This may occur for several reasons, but the home care professionals at Always Best Care in Chapel Hill are dedicated to helping your elderly loved one enjoy the holiday season. Serving Orange County, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hope Valley, and Southpoint, these senior care professionals can help your elderly loved one look forward to the holidays, rather than dread them.
Why Can the Holiday Season Cause Isolation?
For many elderly individuals, the holiday season recalls memories of people and places that are no longer a part of their lives. Nostalgia can be a beautiful thing, but it can also cause individuals to grieve for lost loved ones.
The weather also plays a large part in the isolation that often accompanies the holiday season. Snow, ice, and other harsh elements can make it difficult for elderly loved ones to travel. Both driving and simply venturing out into winter weather can be dangerous, so many elderly individuals opt to stay home.
How Can You Help Your Elderly Loved One Enjoy the Holidays?
The key to helping your elderly loved one have a wonderful holiday season is to show them that you care. By inviting them to holiday parties, extending an invitation to stay with your family, and providing safe transportation, you can show your elderly loved one that they are important to you and the rest of the family.
Although spending time with family is important, your elderly loved one may have other activities that he or she would like to attend. If they are involved in a religious group, in a community organization, or have several friends in the area, ask if there are any parties or activities that they would like be involved in. By helping your elderly loved ones attend these activities, either by providing transportation, encouragement, or even accompanying them, you will help them avoid isolation and enjoy their holiday season.
The home care professionals at Always Best Care in Chapel Hill are also available to help your elderly loved one enjoy the winter season. Companionship is a wonderful way to fend off isolation during the holidays, and home care professionals can provide just that. For more information about senior care options, and how they can benefit your elderly loved one this holiday season, visit

Monday, December 5, 2011

Managing Prescriptions for the Elderly

Managing Prescriptions: Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Safe and Healthy
Modern society turns to prescription medications to keep its population in good health, to maintain a high quality of living, and to address the many illnesses that may otherwise range from nuisances to debilitating conditions. Although modern medicine has certainly created prescriptions that have saved and improved lives, these same medications can turn deadly if they are not managed properly, as we certainly understand here at Always Best Care in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Prescriptions often contain powerful chemicals and other substances, which can interact with one another if taken in the wrong combinations. These interactions can range in severity, causing issues as mild as a rash or slight discomfort and as severe as death. Furthermore, the side effects of certain medications can also be an issue, as most modern prescriptions are accompanied by a long list of potential side effects.
Ensuring that your elderly loved one is on the right combination of the appropriate medications is important in keeping him or her safe and in good health. Managing prescriptions may seem like a big job, but with a little extra effort you can keep your loved one's medication in order. These tips may make the task easier:
  1. Go to the same pharmacy for all of your loved one's prescription needs. Many pharmacies will alert you if a new medication has the potential to interact with current prescriptions. Moreover, by building a relationship with a local pharmacist, you can be sure that your loved one will get the individual attention that they deserve.
  2. Try to see the same doctor. Although this may be difficult if specialists are involved in the care of your loved one, going to the same doctor will minimize the risk of dangerous medication interactions, as the doctor will be well aware of all of the prescriptions that your elderly loved one is taking.
  3. Understand the purpose of each medication. By getting online and doing a bit of research, or by simply asking questions when accompanying your loved one to the doctor, you can educate yourself about the medications that your elderly family member is taking. Being educated will reduce the risk of prescription mismanagement.
For those people who are not a part of the healthcare industry, understanding the different medications and their side effects may seem like a difficult task; however, by following these tips and making sure that you are well aware of the potential side effects and interaction dangers that each medication may present, you can contribute to the prolonged health and wellbeing of your elderly loved one.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winterizing Mom's Home

Winterizing Your Mom's Home: How to Battle the Elements in Homes of the Elderly
Winter can be a beautiful yet harsh time of year, as plummeting temperatures can cause health problems and create hazards for elderly loved ones. At Always Best Care in Chapel Hill, we want your parents to experience the joys of the winter season, not the frustrations of the emergency room. Though it is part of the South, Chapel Hill in Orange County certainly experiences its fair share of winter weather. To keep your elderly loved ones safe this season, follow these tips to properly winterize their homes.
1.       Turn off all exterior water lines. Not only can the pipes burst if the water is left on, but any leak can cause a puddle and, during freezing temperatures, a highly dangerous patch of ice.
2.       Ensure that the home is properly insulated. If the insulation is lacking, even houses with the thermostat set to eighty degrees Fahrenheit will feel drafty. This can cause discomfort and even have ramifications on the health of your elderly loved ones. Check the attic to make sure that the insulation is adequate. Also, take the time to walk through the house and address any drafts that may be coming in through the windows or doors.
3.       Invest in a programmable thermostat. Keeping their home at a consistent and warm enough temperature is important in keeping your parents in good health this winter. A programmable thermostat will ensure that the home stays at the appropriate temperature and will only turn on when necessary. Furthermore, the programmable thermostat can save money in utilities expenses.
4.       Regularly replace air filters. To keep the heating system working as efficiently as possible, the air filters should be changed monthly to avoid buildup of dust and debris. This will also contribute to keeping the air clean and keeping your parents in good health.
5.       Check the electrical outlets before using space heaters. Many elderly individuals like having a space heater to carry around the house, as they may get cold easily. If your parents would like to use a space heater, make sure that there is a safe place for them to put it in each room. Check the electrical outlets to ensure that they are properly covered and that they do not spark when the heater is plugged in.
Keeping your parents warm and safe during the winter season takes a bit of effort, but by following these winterizing tips you can be sure that your elderly loved ones are comfortable in their home. Home care professionals from Always Best Care in Chapel Hill ( can also help by providing quality senior care services.

Fall Prevention for the Elderly

5 Ways to Prevent Your Elderly Loved One from Falling
As we age, it gets more and more difficult to maneuver. You may see your elderly loved one having a difficult time walking through the house, and you may become fearful that they will fall and hurt themselves. Home care can help prevent a fall by having someone assist your elderly loved one, but there are other ways that you can help keep your loved one safe. The following are five ways to prevent falls in the home of an elderly individual:
1.       Keep the home clean. Oftentimes, individuals may trip and fall over clutter, such as shoes left by the door or in front of the furniture. By picking up out of place items and always putting things back where they belong, you can help your loved one avoid a fall.
2.       Use proper safety products. Ramps and handrails may be crucial in keeping elderly individuals from falling down stairs or slipping and hurting themselves in the bathroom. Additionally, non-slip surfaces should be added to bathtubs and any slick flooring.
3.       Ensure the house is properly lit. Even if a home is clutter-free, it can be difficult to walk around without bumping into something if there is not adequate lighting. This is especially important in high-traffic areas, such as hallways, the kitchen, and the living room. Do not forget to light the outside of the house, as well.
4.       Secure rugs to the floor with non-slip materials. Though rugs are an excellent way to cover up slippery floors, such as those made of wood or tile, they themselves can become hazards if they are free to slide. By using non-slip materials beneath rugs, you can prevent them from moving.
5.       Fix uneven surfaces. From broken tiles to jagged seams between the flooring of two different rooms, uneven surfaces can cause elderly individuals to stub their toes, trip, and even fall. To prevent this from happening, be sure that all necessary home repairs are conducted and that all walking surfaces are level.
Keeping your elderly loved ones safe is certainly a major priority, and falls can cause a great deal of pain and even serious injuries. By following these tips, you can help safeguard your loved one's home to prevent falls from occurring.
Reach out to the professionals in elder care in Chapel Hill… 

Medication Management

4 Steps to Medication Management: A Modern Challenge for Senior Care
Medications are important components in effective senior care, and they can extend the lives of individuals significantly when properly used. However, when not properly managed, medications can interact with one another, can exacerbate other health conditions, and can become a major challenge for senior care professionals, including doctors, nurses, and even families who take care of their loved ones.
Effectively managing medication can be a bit difficult, especially when you or a loved one are on several different medications or have been prescribed several different doses of the same medication. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, approaching the challenge in an organized fashion is the best way to ensure that your medications, or those of your loved one, are properly managed.
1.       Create a master list of all medications currently in use. Include the medication name, dosage, date prescribed, doctor who prescribed it, and phone number of the doctor. Additionally, include contact information for the pharmacy at which these medications have been filled. This will allow healthcare professionals to know exactly what has been taken and prevent them from prescribing something that may cause an adverse reaction.
2.       To the master list, add as many past medications as possible. Though you may not have all of the information available for these prescriptions, it may help to simply have them noted.
3.       Take notes pertaining to reactions to medications and whether or not they were effective. Doing so may point doctors in the right direction when considering writing a new prescription. These notes can be added to the master list.
4.       Use a weekly pill organizer to sort medications on a set day every week. Doing so will ensure that no pills are skipped or taken twice.
Medication management can be extremely difficult, especially if there are several different prescriptions involved, but by staying organized this challenge can be overcome. Eventually, you will fall into a routine with your medication or the medication of your loved one and will be able to easily maintain the orderly approach that you have adopted. By doing so, you can allow medications to do what they were designed to do: improve life. 
For more information on implementing medication management techniques, contact the professionals at Always Best Care of Chapel Hill-Durham at 919-357-1440 or visit our website at

Home Safety for the Elderly

6 Tips to Keep Your Elderly Loved One's Home Safe
If you have elderly loved ones, then you understand the importance of keeping them safe. Chapel Hill is home to Always Best Care, which provides senior care in Orange County. Deciding whether or not your loved one is safe living on their own can be difficult, but knowing that they are being taken care of by home care professionals can make it easier. To increase your peace of mind, and ensure that your elderly loved one is as safe as possible, you can also follow these six tips to keep their home free of potential hazards.
  1. Tidy cords. Extension cords, wires leading to a desktop computer, and even the cords belonging to lamps, the television, and small kitchen appliances can become dangerous if they are not in proper condition or kept out of the way. Inspect all cords and replace any that may be worn or damaged. If they are strung across a walkway or are in a position that could cause someone to trip and fall, move them.
  2. Check all rugs. Tripping and falling over slippery rugs is a common way in which elderly individuals are hurt. Ensure that all rugs in the house are slip-resistant and that their ends lie flat. If a rug is too worn or poses a threat, replace it.
  3. Regularly check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  4. Make sure that all electrical outlets and switches are working properly and are appropriately covered. Exposed wiring can be dangerous.
  5. Inspect heat sources, be them space heaters, furnaces, or fireplaces. Ensure that space heaters are in a secure location and will not be knocked over. Likewise, fireplaces and wood burning stoves should be properly cleaned and ventilated.
  6. Perform a walkthrough of the house to move any items that may be tripped over or slipped upon. Start in the living room, then inspect the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and any other commonly used space. Look for uneven flooring, obstructed paths, hazardous cords, and dangerous surfaces. Ensure that all areas are properly lit, are slip-resistant, and have adequate hand rails if necessary.
You may be worried about your elderly loved one living at home, but by keeping your loved one's home free from these hazards, and by entrusting Always Best Care in Chapel Hill with the responsibility of providing senior care (, you can have peace of mind and your family member can continue to live in the home they love.

Getting Mom off the Road

Does Your Elderly Loved One Need to Stop Driving? 5 Tips to Convince Them to Give Up Their Keys
Driving is a major concern for individuals whose elderly loved ones are still on the road. Always Best Care, in Chapel Hill, understands that it can be extremely difficult to tell your loved one that it is time to give up their keys; however, keeping the residents of Orange County safe is this organization's primary concern. By following these tips, you can request that your loved one stop driving in a way that is sensitive and kind.
1.       Speak to your loved one in private, as initially addressing your concerns in front of others may embarrass your family members. Clearly explain the situation and speak about the issue. Treat the conversation as a discussion, not an ultimatum.
2.       Highlight the fact that, by continuing to drive, your loved one may be putting others into danger. Knowing that they could cause an accident or injury may be enough to convince your loved one that it is time to stop driving.
3.       Stage an intervention. While this may be overwhelming, it is the next step if your loved one refuses to stop driving after your private conversation. For this method to work, it is important that all participants love and care for your family member and that they only want the best for them. Furthermore, the experience must be a positive one, showing love and support, rather than a negative one that forces the ideas of the group onto your elderly loved one.
4.       Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If a private conversation and an intervention both fail to work, you can report the issue to the DMV. If the issue has become severe enough to make it unlawful for your loved one to drive, the DMV may step in to handle the situation.
5.       Take the keys. If your loved one still insists on driving, and you have exhausted your alternatives, simply take their keys and do not allow them to drive. This may be difficult, emotionally, but if it is done in the best interest of your family then you will be glad you did it.
One of the reasons that many elderly individuals continue to drive is because they do not want to feel isolated in their homes. By assuring your loved one that they will have access to alternative transportation, they may more readily cooperate.
Home care is another way to ease the isolation that one may feel without the ability to drive. At Always Best Care in Chapel Hill,, you will find access to senior care providers who can help. 

Benefits of Home Care

3 Reasons Why Home Care May Be the Best Choice for Seniors
As you get older you will have to make important decisions for yourself and your family. One of the most difficult decisions that people have to make concerns taking care of parents and other elderly loved ones. Senior care is an issue that has generated a great amount of debate over the years, but with increasing home care capabilities, allowing your loved ones to stay in their own homes for as long as possible may be the best option.
Weighing the pros and cons of home care can be overwhelming, but keeping in mind the many benefits of allowing your loved one to stay in their own home is important when making this critical decision. Some of these benefits include:
  1. Home care allows seniors to retain their independence. Though senior care may provide help with certain tasks, individuals who are involved in a home care program are able to maintain the dignity of continuing to take care of themselves while benefitting from the services of trained professionals. These professionals are trained to provide care that is useful, thoughtful, and a value to seniors who are looking to maintain an independent lifestyle.
  2. Through senior care, you can ensure that your loved one is well taken care of without having to cause a significant change in their household or yours. Many family members try to take care of their parents and other loved seniors, but doing so may cause unnecessary stress on all parties. With home care, you will be able to rest assured that your loved one is safe without having to take away from the stability of either of your homes.
  3. Home care can improve the quality of life for seniors. Even seniors who are capable of living alone may benefit from the company and assistance of a senior care provider. The professionals at Always Best Care of Chapel Hill are not just caretakers, they are important parts of their clients' lives. By providing both companionship and non-medical care, they can help seniors stay active, safe, and happy.
When making the decision to invest in home care for your loved one, you are making the decision to allow them to maintain their independence, their dignity, and their home. Though you may feel as though you are not doing enough, personally, to take care of your family member or loved one, remember that, sometimes, allowing someone to lead their own life is the best way to show you love them.
Through professional, attentive services, senior care can provide the assistance that your elderly family member needs to continue to live a life that is both safe and fulfilling. A field that encompasses many different services, you and your loved one can choose the level of care that fits your unique situation's needs. As time goes by, these services can be increased to ensure that your loved one is able to remain independent and well-cared for as long as it is possible for them to stay in their own home.   

Signs of Alzheimers

5 Signs that Your Loved One May Have Alzheimer's Disease
As your loved ones get older, they will start to face new challenges that you may not have predicted. The best way to help them through this time is to educate yourself about the many obstacles they may face as they age. Alzheimer's Disease is a common health problem that can be devastating, but with the right home care your loved one will be able to continue to enjoy a quality lifestyle.
Knowing when to call in help from senior care professionals may be difficult, but if you are aware of these five warning signs that are associated with Alzheimer's Disease, you can make that decision based upon an educated understanding of your loved one's health.
  1. Disruptive Memory Loss: Forgetfulness is certainly not an indicator of a serious illness, as people forget small details every day. But disruptive memory loss is a severe problem that can interrupt your loved one's life. Individuals who have Alzheimer's Disease may first experience a loss of recent memory, but the amount of information that they cannot retrieve grows as the illness progresses. Though forgetting names or dates and remembering them later is a common sign of aging, this more severe memory loss may indicate that it is time to consider home care for your loved one.
  2. Difficulty Solving Problems and Making Plans: Making errors is human nature, but when your loved one starts making consistent mistakes that lead to unpaid bills, or starts having difficulty following recipes or making plans, then you may want to consider speaking to a doctor. Senior care professionals can help your loved one through planning and problem solving tasks, allowing them to be independent but have assistance with activities that may become challenging.
  3. Trouble Finishing Familiar Tasks: If your loved one is having a hard time driving to a location they have visited often, keeping up with their budget, or remembering how to play their favorite game, it may be time to call in home care professionals.
  4. Mistaking Time or Location: When elderly individuals start having a difficult time keeping up with the passing of days, it may be a sign of Alzheimer's Disease. Care professionals may need to be called if your loved one gets the days mixed up and cannot seem to get them straight again, even days later.
  5. Mood and Personality Changes: Because people who have Alzheimer's Disease may feel confused, frustrated, or anxious, they often experience changes in their mood or personality. While senior care cannot reverse these symptoms, proper care can provide a level of stability that can help your loved one cope in a safe environment.
Recognizing the fact that your elderly loved one may have Alzheimer's Disease is difficult, but by getting help early you can improve their quality of life. Home care is a popular choice, as it allows your loved one to stay in their beloved home and maintain their routine while still benefiting from the assistance of a trained care professional. Always Best Care, located in Chapel Hill, provides access to home care programs that can mean the world to your loved one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are You Aware of the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit?

If you are taking care of an elderly loved one who requires home care, then you are surely well aware of the financial difficulties that this care has the potential to cause. Paying for home care can become a burden, but there is a benefit offered by the Veterans Administration that many people are unaware of. It is called the Aid and Attendance benefit.
Considered as part of an "Improved Pension," this benefit allows Veterans and their spouses to receive additional funds if they are in need of senior care assistance. The VA defines this assistance as requiring "the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing, medication dosing, or taking care of the needs of nature." Qualification to receive the benefit requires a physician's statement that a Veteran or their spouse is in need of assistance and cannot function without aid.
This benefit is not only applicable to home care, as it is also available to Veterans and their spouses who are patients in nursing homes, are blind, or are living in an assisted living facility. Furthermore, this benefit is not related to injuries or compensation pertinent to active military activity, it is considered a pension benefit. Currently, Veterans are allowed up to $1,632 per month and their spouses are allowed up to $1,055 per month. Veteran and spousal care is allowed up to $1,949 per month, though these figures are subject to change.
To apply for the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, individuals will need to fill out the proper forms. These include: Form 21-534 (for a surviving spouse), Form 21-526 (for a Veteran), a copy of DD-214, separation papers (if applicable), a medical evaluation, summary of current medical problems, net worth limitations, net income, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Although this may not be enough money to cover monthly senior care expenses, it is certain to be a welcome addition to the budgets of Veterans, their spouses, and their caretakers who were not aware that they are eligible for this benefit. Proper care is certainly worth the expense, but this benefit may make these expenses more manageable.
 For more information about the Aid and Attendance benefit, please visit

Is Socialization Important for the Elderly?

As a means of making connections with other people, maintaining a presence in the community, and building relationships, socialization is an important part of life. As children and teenagers, people experience a high degree of socialization through their schools, extra-curricular organizations, and other activities. But as individuals grow older, their levels of socialization may decline, due in part to a more hectic schedule and more numerous responsibilities. However, it is still important, and it can improve the quality of life for seniors immensely.
Elderly individuals need just as much social stimulation as younger generations, though it may be more difficult to obtain due to health conditions or transportation limitations. Below are a few great ways to help elderly loved ones get the socialization they need.
·         Join community initiatives. Oftentimes, community centers or other organizations will host events, such as dances, game nights, and other activities, for the senior members of the neighborhood. Getting involved in an active community is a wonderful way to continue socializing with people who share common interests.
·         Keep close ties with family. From joining family members for dinner to enjoying an outing in the park or to the mall, spending time with loved ones is a wonderful way to be social and invest in a family that cares.
·         Remain active in religious organizations. For elderly individuals who belong to a religious community, making time to attend services is a wonderful way to get out of the house and interact with others. Additionally, it is a great way to make friends and open the door to other socialization opportunities.
·         Volunteer for local charities. Organizations are often looking for volunteers, and many retired individuals have dedicated a great deal of their time and energy to helping causes they believe in. Additionally, charities can often work around transportation or health issues by allowing individuals to contribute from home or when they are able.
Socialization is an important part of all stages of life, but seniors often experience less social interaction than younger individuals. By maintaining a high level of activity and interacting with people regularly, seniors can continue to enjoy and improve their lives.

5 Signs of Short Term Memory Loss

Your elderly loved one has undoubtedly changed over the years, perhaps they are not as active or as healthy as they once were. For many individuals, Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, and Parkinson's disease are major concerns, and these illnesses and others often manifest themselves in the form of short term memory loss.
To help keep your elderly loved one as healthy and happy as possible, it is crucial that you pay close attention and catch short term memory loss right when it begins. The following are five signs that short term memory loss may be present.
  1. Decline in cognitive capabilities. Forgetting recent events or activities can be difficult to pinpoint at first, but this symptom of short term memory loss can quickly escalate and even cause dementia. Individuals with this symptom may have a difficult time planning or organizing, may forget to take their medicine, or may not pay bills on time.
  2. Speech confusion. When elderly individuals have a difficult time finding the right words, or mix up the meaning of common words, this may be a sign of short term memory loss.
  3. Changes in mood or personality. Individuals who suffer from short term memory loss may have the constant feeling that something is... off. This can prompt them to act in a different way than normal, and may cause anxiety or other distress.
  4. Disorientation. Though visiting a new place can be disorienting for anyone, it is something that most people can navigate. For individuals who have short term memory loss, coping with unfamiliar surroundings can be difficult because they may not remember how they arrived in this new place.
  5. Repetitiveness. Elderly individuals who suffer from short term memory loss may ask the same question several times, or repeatedly make the same observation.
Though there really is no cure for memory loss, mild cases can be treated. The key is to address the issue quickly, before it becomes too severe. By watching out for these five signs of memory loss, you may be able to pinpoint short term issues and have them treated quickly. Additionally, paying close attention to the behavior of your elderly loved one will also allow you to better care for their needs.

Healthy Nutrition for Seniors: How to Eat Well As You Age

Maintaining a well-balanced diet is important for good health at any age, but as your body gets older it becomes even more imperative that you give it the vitamins and nutrients it needs. By eating the right foods and sticking to a healthy meal plan, you can live longer, keep your mind sharp, and improve your overall wellbeing.
The key to eating well is knowing your body's needs, and those needs vary depending upon your metabolism, how active your lifestyle is, and the foods that you like to eat. Though you may need to force yourself to try new things while exploring a new, healthier diet, keeping an open mind may allow you to discover a new favorite meal that you never knew you would enjoy.
First and foremost, maintaining a steady caloric intake is important. Eating too many calories can result in weight gain, which can lead to many health issues that you certainly do not want to develop. The amount of calories you should consume depends largely upon your weight, lifestyle, and health goals. To determine how many calories you should eat per day, speak with your doctor.
Once you know how many calories you need to eat, you must choose healthy foods to consume them. Seniors should increase their intake of fiber and calcium, so be sure to include as many fresh veggies and dairy products in your meal plan as possible. Remember that calcium can also be gained from eating non-dairy foods, such as tofu and almonds, so pay close attention to nutrition facts to ensure that you are getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, you can also boost the amount of "good" fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6, that you consume. These fats can help reduce cholesterol levels and are present in some of the most delicious foods, including salmon and avocadoes.
Elderly individuals should also cut down on a few things, such as sodium and simple carbohydrates. Too much salt in your diet can lead to water retention and high blood pressure, while an excess amount of simple carbohydrates can cause an increase in blood sugar and weight gain.
Following a well-balanced diet is a wonderful way to enjoy your golden years. For more information about how to create a healthy diet, visit