Friday, September 27, 2013

Assisting Seniors with Social Media

Within the field of eldercare, Chapel Hill professionals have seen a rise in the number of seniors who are using social networking websites. Social media is a tool that has helped bridge the geographic gaps that settle between friends and family members, as the Internet allows individuals to connect with one another from virtually anywhere in the world. But while social media is certainly accessible to any senior who has a connection to the World Wide Web, it is also difficult for seniors who are not tech savvy to navigate.

Eldercare professionals and family members who provide senior care can play an integral part in helping elderly individuals to stay connected with friends and family online. Below are a few of the ways in which you can assist your loved one with using social networks to stay actively engaged with the people about whom they care.

  1. Start slowly by getting your senior involved with one social site at a time. Facebook is the most popular, as it appeals to the widest range of users and is the easiest to navigate. As your elderly loved one wants to become involved in new networks go ahead and help them do so, slowly building their ability to use these websites on their own. 
  2. Take the time to set up your loved one’s profile. Once this is up and running it will be easier to explain to them how to use the website. Once the profile is set up, set aside an hour or so to walk your senior through the many features and functions that the site has to offer. For instance, you might coordinate with them to send friend requests to their loved ones on Facebook and then teach them how to send private messages, write on walls, and peruse the pictures that others post. 
  3. If you think it will prove beneficial, schedule a time each week to get online with your loved one. For instance, you might log into your senior’s Facebook account and update them on the activity in which they are interested every Sunday after family dinner, or every Monday after you help them with grocery shopping. 

Home care professionals understand that social media can greatly impact a senior’s life in a positive way. With these tips you can help bring about these benefits.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mourning the Loss of a Spouse

Losing a spouse is a devastating experience, and seniors all mourn in their own way. In fact, there is no one way to heal after such a loss, and it can take weeks to months to even years for individuals to overcome their grief. When your elderly loved one loses their husband or wife, senior care professionals recommend that you give them room to experience their emotions naturally while ensuring that they are safe and secure.

Senior care professionals know that you cannot alleviate the pain that your loved one is feeling, but there are ways in which you can encourage them to work through their grief in a healthy manner. According to the National Institute on Aging, the following are extremely important:1  
  • Urge your senior to seek support. This can come in the form of turning to friends or family members to talk through their experience, speaking with a professional, or joining a support group. All of these are wonderful options, and seniors should be encouraged to choose the one that will best help them heal. 
  • Keep your elderly loved one from making significant changes too quickly. To distract themselves from their loss, seniors might want to move to a new city, sell their home, or make other changes. While these decisions may be in the best interest of your senior, it is important that your loved one is able to make such choices when they are thinking clearly, not when their judgment is clouded by grief. 
  • Make your senior’s health a priority. After the loss of a loved one a senior may not feel as though their health is a concern, but it is important that they keep up with their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing as much as they can. Don’t push too hard, but do make sure that your loved one takes their medications and upholds any medical appointments they may have. After a few days, try to get them outside and encourage them to get some physical exercise into each day—even if it’s just a short walk around the block. 
Losing a spouse is a devastating experience, and it is something that will change an elderly individual forever. But with your assistance, your senior can work through their grief naturally without compromising their health or safety.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Understanding the Important Dynamic Between Grandparents and Grandkids

If you were fortunate enough to grow up with grandparents, you know just how special that dynamic is. Grandparents and their grandchildren share a special connection, because they inspire each other, teach each other new things, and share a genuine love and affection for one another. In fact, a new study finds that the quality of relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren can significantly boost the well-being of both generations.

The two-decade study examined 376 grandparents and 340 grandkids and tracked the mental health of participants from 1985 to 2004. The findings illustrate that grandparents and adult grandchildren who felt close emotional ties to each other had fewer symptoms of depression. The research shows that this generational bond plays an important role in the happiness of everyone involved.

So, if you’re looking to make sure that your kids have a close relationship with the seniors in their life, consider these tips:

  • Spend quality time together: Some grandparents worry that if they’re not buying their grandkids toys or taking them on expensive outings, then somehow the time together doesn’t “count.” In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. Kids just want to spend time with their grandparents. Encourage the two to head out on a trip to the zoo or to spend some time playing in the leaves in the backyard. Regardless of the cost of the activity, the time together is ultimately priceless.
  • Share your hobbies: Seniors looking to strengthen the connection with their grandkids should consider sharing their favorite hobbies and pastimes with them. Kids will get a thrill out of cooking, stamp collecting, or gardening, and may end up sharing their grandparent’s passion for the particular hobby. 
  • Make one-on-one time: Many seniors only get to see their grandchildren during major family events like Thanksgiving. However, one-on-one time throughout the year is a necessary part of strengthening a relationship. Even a short weekend visit is enough time to help the children strengthen their bonds with the older generation. Make sure that your kids are getting the time they need with Grandma and Grandpa throughout the year. 

Above all else, a grandparent should make it a point to listen. Children have plenty of stories from summer camp and school to tell, and generally want nothing more than to share these tales with Nana and Pop Pop.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn Activities for Seniors in Chapel Hill

With the first day of autumn, which is September 22, quickly approaching, eldercare professionals are encouraging you to think about seasonal activities that your senior may enjoy. When it comes to eldercare, Chapel Hill is a wonderful location. With such a strong community and beautiful natural environment, you can certainly find some great activities that your senior will love. When providing care for elderly individuals it is always a good idea to get them out and about, allowing them to enjoy social activities and meet new people. To help you meet this goal, below are some of the events that are going to be taking place at the Central Orange Senior Center and the Seymour Center.

  • Wellness special events: These seminars provide elderly individuals with information about important topics, including smoking, diabetes, and podiatric health. Other wellness classes, which are given on a regular basis, including aerobics, balance, yoga, Pilates, pacesetter, NIA, strength training, t'ai chi, walking, and more. 
  • Computer classes: Technology is continually evolving and, to keep from feeling left behind, your loved one may want to take a course on how to use computers. From learning about Google to computer maintenance, there is a wide range of topics to choose from. 
  • Support groups: These groups are wonderful for seniors who have certain illnesses or have been through difficult experiences. Some of the support groups that are offered include those based upon Parkinson's disease, the death of a spouse, stroke, pulmonary hypertension, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, and more.
  • Arts and crafts classes: Art is a wonderful form of self expression, and the community centers provide several different courses dedicated to helping seniors use their creativity. These include oil painting, Chinese brush painting, mixed media, pastels, and watercolors. Crafts, too, such as making bobbin lace, jewelry, quilts, birdhouses, and more, are highly popular. 

In addition to these categories, the community centers in Chapel Hill provide classes on pottery, bridge, dance, music, theater, movies, hiking, and more. With such a diverse list of activities, it is certain that your senior will find something that they can enjoy this fall.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oral Health: How Is It Affected by the Aging Process?

As the body gets older it experiences many changes, particularly in its ability to ward off disease and regenerate as it used to. One of the many impacts that aging has on the body is related to oral health, as dental care for elderly individuals is quite different from that required by younger populations. Elder care professionals explain that there are many different dental problems that seniors might encounter while they age. To help you to care for elderly loved ones, here are a few of the oral health problems that are common among seniors, per an article published by
  • Dark teeth: This issue is often caused by changes in the tissue that lies beneath the enamel of the teeth. Additionally, the accumulation of years of consuming beverages and foods that can cause stains can contribute to a darker color of the teeth. 
  • Less sensitivity to taste: Sensory loss is naturally caused by the aging process; however, dentures, certain diseases, and even specific medications may make the mouth numb to flavor. 
  • Gum disease: Plaque, irregular brushing or flossing, the use of tobacco, a poor diet, certain illnesses, and even improperly fitted dentures and bridges can all lead to gum disease. 
  • Uneven jawbone: This can be caused by the loss of teeth. 
  • Thrush: A fungal infection, this is a condition that can be sparked by diseases or medications that impact the immune system. 
  • Dry mouth: Cancer treatments and certain diseases and medications can slow the production of saliva, causing this uncomfortable condition. 
  • Root decay: If the roots of teeth are exposed they can be affected by acids, leading to their deterioration. 
  • Tooth loss: While gum disease is the number one reason for tooth loss, there are other issues that seniors face that may contribute to this problem. 
  • Stomatitis: This inflammation can be caused by poor dental hygiene, improperly fitting dentures, or thrush. 

To help your senior avoid as many of these conditions as possible, encourage a healthy oral care plan that includes brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Additionally, make sure that your senior has regularly scheduled dental appointments to monitor their oral health.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Dementia Care: Coping Strategies for Care Providers

Providing care for elderly individuals who have dementia, which is also known as dementia care, is a major responsibility for both professionals and family members. If you offer eldercare to your loved one who suffers from dementia then you are certainly well aware of the unique challenges this form of care can present.

Understanding Dementia
In order to cope with the stresses of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia care, the Alzheimer’s care, Chapel Hill, professionals know that it’s important to really understand what your elderly loved one is going through. Dementia changes seniors because it directly impacts the brain, making it difficult for them to remember certain details, perform certain tasks, and even simply orient themselves. This can make them feel vulnerable, uneasy, and frustrated. As such, seniors may experience a change in personality and they may take out some of their frustrations on those around them, even if they don’t mean to.

By understanding why your elderly loved one is acting this way it can be easier to provide the care that they need. Through your efforts, you can help your senior feel more secure in an environment that may seem unfamiliar to them.

Keeping Yourself Healthy
One of the most important things to remember when providing dementia care is that you cannot take care of your senior if you don’t take care of yourself first. This responsibility is demanding, and though it is just as rewarding as it can be stressful it is important to make sure that you see to your physical and mental wellbeing as you take care of your loved one. Below are a few ways for you to do so.

  1. Take at least one day off per week. If you need to bring in a respite care professional to do so, make it happen. This day will allow you to recharge and rest so that you can keep from burning out. 
  2. Exercise compassion. It is important to not only be patient with your senior but to also try to understand what they are going through in order to best cope with the situation. 
  3. Talk about your experiences. Sharing with friends, family members, or even professionals can prove extremely therapeutic. 

With these coping mechanisms in mind you can better care for your loved one.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to Make Grandparents’ Day Memorable

Grandparents’ Day was first created by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and has since become a favorite holiday among many American families. Just like for mothers on Mother’s Day, and fathers on Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day is all about making seniors feel special. Here are some tips for how your family can show Grandma and Grandpa how much you care on their holiday:

  • Have the grandkids “interview” their grandparents: Children can sit down with Grandma and Grandpa and ask them a number of different questions about their childhood, their career, and their hobbies. Record the audio or use a video camera to create lasting memories. Grandparents may have an entirely different perspective on the world based on how they grew up, and can shed some light on what it was like to grow up during major historical changes that kids have read about in textbooks. The interview will become an important piece of family history that future generations can enjoy.
  • Do a project together: Kids love to get active, and grandparents will enjoy working with their grandchildren on a project to brighten up their home. Whether it is a collage of family pictures or a watercolor painting, these artistic endeavors promote bonding and yield a beautiful piece of art for Grandma or Grandpa’s living space.
  • Plant a garden: Depending on the senior’s ability levels, gardening is a fun way to spend some time in nature on Grandparents’ Day. Kids can pick out the plants they’d like to grow, and then work with their grandparents on planting and watering these seeds. 
  • Cook a meal together: Many families enjoy putting together a Grandparents’ Day meal for their seniors. Children can work alongside Grandma or Grandpa to help make a specific dish for the meal. Grandparents often delight in teaching kids some of their own favorite recipes from childhood, and it is even more special to enjoy these items on a day reserved to honor grandparents. 

No matter how your family spends the day, make sure that grandparents know just how much their children and grandchildren appreciate them. Put a personal spin on the holiday, and incorporate activities that you know your senior will love.