Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Hidden Benefits of Aging

While there are certainly some unappealing components of the aging process, getting older actually presents some unexpected perks. Those who are disheartened about the idea of getting older should keep these benefits in mind in order to embrace this new phase of life:

Less is more when it comes to food

Seniors often have a diminished appetite compared to what they may have experienced in their younger years. While it is important to make sure that this does not lead to poor nutrition, it can also help to keep weight in check. When just a few bites of a delicious dessert satisfy you, it’s easy to avoid overeating. 

Life is more relaxing

For parents who are working and raising children, life moves at a million miles per minute. However, seniors have already raised their children, and many have retired. This means that they’re able to slow down a bit and truly enjoy life. Instead of rushing from the gym to work to the kids’ recital to dinner and to bed, your elderly loved one can take some time to savor quiet, peaceful moments. They can relax with a cup of coffee on the porch, read a good book, or just take a nap. This slower-paced lifestyle is beneficial for senior health.

You’re surrounded by family

Senior care professionals explain that family becomes highly important as a person ages. A person in their 20s and 30s often spends their time seeking out the right partner and trying to advance at work. An elderly individual has typically already married and had children, and may even have grandchildren. Instead of trying to find the right people to surround themselves with, they have them and can enjoy their company. 

Problem solving is easier

While many people think a person’s mental peak is in their 20s, new studies show that people may actually be better at logical reasoning and problem solving as they get older.1 Years of experience allow an older brain to seek out patterns and make connections, thus making it easier to come up with quick solutions to dilemmas. Instead of having to take time to research and analyze, a person can draw upon past experience in order to respond accordingly.

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Essential Wellness Checklist for Elderly Loved Ones

As your parent ages, you want to be able to track their health and their needs while making sure that they have all necessary medications. However, if there are multiple caregivers involved, this process can get confusing. For this reason, home care professionals recommend devising a wellness checklist to protect senior health. This compiles all necessary information about this senior’s health, and also helps to monitor note-worthy changes. The checklist should include things like:

  • Contact information for any doctors or caregivers
  • An assessment of that elderly individual’s current level of wellness, including any medical conditions they are currently facing
  • A list of prescriptions
  • Any changes in mental health, such as poor hygiene, depression, or memory issues
  • Changes in physical health, including weight gain or loss, injuries, abilities, and fatigue levels
  • Changes in relationships with other people like family members, caregivers, and friends
  • An assessment of the senior’s environment
  • Hobbies that the senior currently enjoys

Elder care services professionals explain that when you see your elderly family member every day, you may not notice subtle changes that happen over time. When this information is recorded and well documented, it makes it easy to become aware of these progressions and to then address any issues that may have developed over time. This checklist is particularly important if you share caregiving duties with other family members or an elder care professional, as it helps to prevent any confusion or miscommunication.

As the elderly individual continues to age, it is important to make note of some important questions. Though these conversations are not easy to have, discussing the following questions ensures that everyone is on the same page about how the senior wants to spend their last years:

  • Do you have a living will?
  • How long would you like to stay in your home?
  • Do you have specific wishes about your last days or your funeral?
  • Are there any other loose ends that need to be addressed?

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a draining process, and checklists such as these help to prevent any important details from slipping through the cracks. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Focusing on Common Senior Health Concerns

As your senior ages, their body will continuously go through changes and will become more vulnerable. In order to keep your elderly family member feeling well and healthy, it’s important to understand some of the most common health issues that impact older people. Some common health concerns for seniors include:

Appetite issues

Many seniors find that they simply aren’t as hungry as they used to be, particularly if they live alone. They may no longer get joy out of mealtime like they used to when they were cooking for a spouse and children. They may also have difficulty getting to the grocery store to buy fresh ingredients for meals. Good senior health is very much dependent on proper nutrition, so verify that your elderly family member is getting the essentials they need to stay well. If they struggle to get to the store and cook meals, consider hiring a home care professional to come in and assist several days per week.

Issues with balance

As your loved one ages, they may have a harder time controlling their body. Climbing stairs, moving from the bathroom to the bedroom, and getting up from a chair can become significantly more difficult. Consider installing grab bars in your senior’s bedroom, and placing benches throughout the house so that they can sit and take a rest should the need arise.

Alzheimer’s disease

Different from normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact on the senior and the rest of the family. For elderly individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related conditions, proper dementia care is essential; this may be in an assisted living facility or at home. 


Those who are focused on the care of elderly family members should also understand that seniors could face a host of mental problems in addition to physical ailments. Depression is common in people over the age of 65, and requires proper treatment. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is dealing with depression, seek help from a medical professional. 

Understanding the issues that may impact your senior allows you to provide more effective care for this family member, thus preserving both their physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re in need of guidance about how to care for your elderly loved one most effectively, seek help from a medical professional. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Preparing to Welcome Your Senior Home From the Hospital

When your senior is getting ready to come home after a hospital stay, you’ll want to prepare yourself and the house for their arrival. Home care professionals explain that preparation is essential in order to keep your elderly loved one happy as they continue to recover. Take these steps to ensure that this is the case:

Plan ahead

Even if the discharge is still a little while away, it’s still important to make plans about how you’ll proceed when your loved one is released. This is especially true if you’ll need to make special accommodations in your home in order to better assist the elderly individual. You’ll want to have bathroom grab bars and other fixtures installed well before your senior arrives.  You may also need to rearrange the space if a hospital bed, wheelchair, and other similar items become necessary. 

Don’t forget to get rid of unnecessary area rugs in order to reduce your loved one’s chance of slipping in their fragile state. Make sure cords that lie on the ground are secure and not located in high traffic areas. These small details will make that elderly individual’s return a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

Learn about your new responsibilities

When your senior is home, they’re no longer in the care of highly trained doctors and nurses. This means that you and other family members will need to shoulder much of the caretaking burden. For the sake of senior health, you will need to get educated about this process. 

According to professionals who work in home care, Chapel Hill families should spend some time talking with their elderly family member’s doctors and nurses about the caregiving process. This means finding out about administering different medications, changing bandages, and other essential parts of preserving their senior’s wellbeing.

Get assistance if necessary

Caring for an elderly loved one can certainly become a full-time job. For many people, this fact is overwhelming. Never feel ashamed to ask for help in providing your senior with what they need. You may consider having an elder care professional come in several days per week in order to help with bathing, changing, and the distribution of medication. This gives family members a break from the caregiving process, allowing them to feel refreshed and recharged once again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Make Valentine’s Day Special For Your Senior

Regardless of your elderly loved one’s mobility level or living situation, you can make this Valentine’s Day a special and memorable one for them. Depending on the amount of time you have available to spend, there are a number of different ways to enjoy this day with you senior. Some popular ideas include:

Spend some time remembering fond moments with loved ones

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the love you share with your spouse. This Valentine’s Day, take some time to chat with your elderly loved one about some moments in their life when they truly felt love for others. Whether it was the birth of their grandchild, the day they got married, or a fun memory with their best friend, these happy thoughts make the day positive and uplifting.

Watch your favorite romantic movies

Celebrate love by watching some of your favorite romantic movies. You can choose from more contemporary fare like “The Notebook” and then let your loved one pick a film that they enjoyed while growing up. 

Bake cookies

Tasty treats are the perfect way to commemorate the holiday. Purchase or make sugar cookies and then decorate them with red and pink icing and sprinkles. Share them with family members or friends in order to spread the festive feeling.

Make valentines

Share the joy of the holiday with others by making some valentines expressing love and gratitude for the people in your life. These cards are perfect for family members, friends, neighbors, and elder care service providers. Use construction paper, glitter, glue, and markers to make the crafts; no need to spend a significant amount of money on the project. 

Have a small get-together

If your loved one is up for it, home care professionals suggest hosting a small get-together for close friends and family on Valentine’s Day. Have red punch, cookies, and other small snacks, and play festive music. The time together will put everyone in a great mood and make the holiday feel festive. Togetherness around a holiday is important for senior health. 

According to professionals who work in home care, Chapel Hill families have a number of options available to them when it comes to making Valentine’s Day memorable. 


Friday, February 7, 2014

What to Do About the Rising Number of Financial Fraud Cases Involving Seniors

Financial scams involving the elderly are becoming increasingly common. In fact, a survey says that more than seven million older Americans have been the victims of a financial scam.1 This devastating number illustrates how important it is to protect your elderly loved one.

The types of scams that seniors fall victim to

There are a number of different scams that con artists use to trap unsuspecting elderly people. Senior care professionals explain that some of these scams include:

Health care or insurance fraud

Since every senior over the age of 65 qualifies for Medicare, scammers see them as ripe for the picking when it comes to health care fraud. To trick the elderly individual, a scammer will call and claim to be in need of more information in order to process insurance requests or other medical documents. They will then collect all of the details they need to wreak havoc on a person’s bank account. Some people even go so far as to set up makeshift “clinics” where they provide phony services and collect credit card information to pay for these services.

There are also a number of scams involving prescription drugs. Con artists will offer medications that your senior needs at an unbeatable price, except these drugs are simply sugar pills. They will then collect money and flee. In more extreme instances, they may even end up taking pills that cause a severe drug interaction.

Funeral scams

Many seniors fall victim to scams involving burial services. For instance, a scammer may hear that an elderly individual has recently lost their spouse. They will then call and explain that this person had a debt that still needs to be settled, and end up collecting thousands from the grieving widow or widower. Some funeral homes have even been known to participate in scams. They will tack on thousands of dollars in extra costs for burial services. They may even explain that it is necessary to purchase a casket if the deceased is being cremated. 

Elder care professionals encourage families to talk with their seniors about such scams. Explain the warning signs and educate them about what to do in the event that a con artist makes contact. This helps to keep their money and their personal information safe. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Understanding Home Care Options for Dementia Patients

If your elderly loved one is suffering from dementia, there are a number of different types of home care services that might benefit them. According to professionals who work in home care, Chapel Hill families should investigate these options in order to find the most effective way to keep their senior comfortable and safe. When it comes to dementia care choices, there are a few main types of services. They include:

  • Companion services: Providing friendship during the day, accompanying that senior on recreational activities, and offering general supervision.
  • Personal care services: Assists with bathing, dressing, using the restroom, eating, and other essential parts of a senior’s daily routine.
  • Homemaker services: Takes care of housekeeping duties, as well as grocery shopping and meal preparation. 
  • Skilled care: Offers wound care, administers shots, and takes care of other health needs. This individual is a licensed home health professional, and is useful if your senior requires more extensive medical treatment on a daily basis.

In order to determine which type of assistance is best for your elderly loved one, there are a number of different resources available to you. This includes:

Your senior’s healthcare provider

The physician who provides care for your senior is a great starting point. Based on their own analysis of the individual’s condition, they can explain which type of care would be most appropriate at this time. 

The local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

There are chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association located throughout the country. The individuals with this group can help a family to determine how to care for their elderly loved one most effectively.

Asking friends and co-workers

Unfortunately, many people have had a firsthand experience with a loved one suffering from dementia. These individuals can become powerful resources as you get ready to make a decision about care for your senior. Consult with them and see what approach they have taken to care for their own family member in the past.  

As you go about seeking care for your elderly loved one, make sure to create a specific list of needs. The provider will need to know about your senior’s strengths and weaknesses, any medications they’re taking, dietary requirements, and other specifications. This enables them to provide the most comprehensive care possible as they tend to your family member’s health.  

Protecting Your Senior From Freezing Winter Weather

Temperatures during the winter can dip and become dangerously low, which means that you’ll want to make sure your senior is protected from whipping winds and subzero wind-chill. In order to keep your elderly loved one safe during this time of year, elder care professionals advise keeping these issues in mind:


When it comes to care for elderly people, a focus on preventing hypothermia is a must. Studies show that each year, half of the Americans who die from hypothermia are at least 65 years old.1 Elderly individuals are especially vulnerable because they have less fat, slower circulation, and slower metabolisms. Make sure that your senior is properly dressed each and every time they set foot outside. This includes wearing a hat, scarf, and gloves too. It doesn’t matter how long they plan to be outside, proper coverage is a must. Keep in mind that hypothermia can set in inside the home too. To prevent this from happening, make sure that the thermostat inside your senior’s house is never set below 65 degrees. 

Falls due to snow and ice

The wintertime greatly increases an elderly individual’s risk of slipping and falling, note home care professionals. Ice can become hard to see, and may cause a senior to fall in their driveway or in a parking lot. Additionally, boots track in snow, which makes floors inside restaurants and doctors’ offices slick. Encourage your senior to wear rubber-soled shoes, and consider investing in a walker or cane for extra stability. 

Ensure that the driveway and walkways leading to your loved one’s home have been cleaned thoroughly. Do not allow them to handle this task on their own, as they can quickly become off balance and fall as they are trying to get rid of snow and ice. Regardless of how warm the day is supposed to be, snow and ice can linger, so attending to this task regularly is a must.

Space heaters

These devices can become essential during the coldest winter months; however, they must be used with care. Leaving a space heater on overnight or when leaving the house can quickly result in a fire. Make sure the heater is only used during short spurts. This will warm up the house without posing a safety risk. Keep the area around the heater clear of clothes, papers, trash, and other items that could quickly ignite.