Tip of the week: Affordability

When investigating transportation options there are a few things to consider before making a decision about what type of transportation will best keep your loved one connected to all of her activities. In our tip blogs this month, we’ll discuss the more important questions to ask.

Consider whether your loved one can afford the services available in her area. Try to nail-down a monthly transportation budget and if it looks like you can’t afford the services needed, seek out alternative funding sources. Ask the following questions:

  • What is the cost of the service?Transportation and Elderly
  • How are the costs calculated?
  • Is there a membership fee?
  • Are there any discounts available?
  • Can an account be set up in advance with the service?
  • Will my insurance pay for rides by this service provider?
  • Is my loved one’s or my income a factor for using this service?

For more advice and resources about finding affordable transportation options, follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the week: Accessibility

When investigating transportation options there are a few things to consider before making a decision about what type of transportation will best keep your loved one connected to all of her Transportation and Elderlyactivities. In our tip blogs this month, we’ll discuss the more important questions to ask.

Accessibility is one of the biggest factors in solving transportation issues for elderly adults. Often family members are willing to help out, but they may not have a vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair or they may have a vehicle that sits up too high off of the ground requiring a big step to get into the vehicle. When it comes to transportation accessibility consider the following questions:

  • What is the service area?
  • Are vehicles wheelchair accessible?
  • What time does the service operate?
  • Are door-through-door services provided?
  • Is a reservation needed and how far in advance?
  • Are rides provided in the evenings, on weekends, or on holidays?
  • Are rides provided for social as well as medical or shopping appointments?
  • If others will be riding in the same vehicle, what is the maximum length of the ride?

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more information on accessibility and other transportation challenges.

 

Tip of the week: Eligibility

When investigating transportation options there are a few things to consider before making a decision about what type of transportation will best keep your loved one connected to all of her Transportation and Elderlyactivities. In our tip blogs this month, we’ll discuss the more important questions to ask.

Figure out if your loved one is eligible for transportation assistance at a discounted or subsidized rate by researching the following questions:

  • What is required to qualify for the service?
  • Can a family member serve as an escort if needed?
  • Is an evaluation (physical or mental) needed prior to using the service?
  • Are rides provided for wheelchair users or other persons with disabilities?

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more tips and information about finding reliable transportation.

Ticket to Ride: 7 Transportation Resources for Seniors.

Have you ever considered what you would do without access to the transportation you use everyday? How would you keep up with your daily routine? Could you walk to a bus stop? Could you afford to take a taxi or Uber or Lyft on a daily basis? Who would you turn to for help?

While, for many of us, these questions are merely hypothetical, for many seniors, they are an all Transportation and elderlytoo real part of everyday life. For older adults who rely primarily on public transportation, getting to a single doctor’s appointment can take all day. In the icy winter months especially, this means appointments get missed, prescriptions can’t be picked up, and groceries have to stretch further, all because of a lack of access to reliable transportation.

In fact, with 8.4 million seniors currently depending on others for transportation, it is one of the biggest concerns for seniors living alone in the community.

What can you do to help the elderly loved ones in your life gain access to vital transportation?

Fortunately, there are transportation options available in your area. And doing just a little research, can make a big difference in the life of the elderly people you know. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a good place to start your search for transportation resources.

Keep in mind that transportation options will vary depending on where your loved one lives and on her particular physical needs. For example, in Montgomery County there are relatively many options including buses, rail service, vans, taxis, ride-share programs, and even volunteer drivers. But even if you don’t live in an urban center, like the DC Metro area, there are options to explore.

Here is an overview with helpful resources:

  1. Public transit/fixed route service: Public transit systems provide bus and rail services along established routes with set schedules on a non-reservation basis. For older adults and people with disabilities, reduced rate fares and additional transportation services are available. Information about routes, schedules, fares, and special services are available through your public transit agency (in the DC Metro area).
  1. Paratransit Service (sometimes called “Dial-a-Ride”): The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public transit systems provide door-to-door service for those who cannot use regular (“fixed-route”) services. Public transit service organizations, like the Metro, provide door-to-door or curbside transportation using mini-buses or vans (typically for transporting fewer than 25 passengers). Paratransit service often requires reservations, but still offers flexibility in terms of scheduling. These services offer reduced fares for older adults and people with disabilities. Contact your local transit office for more information and to apply for these services.
  1. Travel training: Public transit agencies and local elder care organizations often provide free, hands-on instruction to help older adults learn how to travel safely and independently within the public transit system. Here is a comprehensive guide listing the programs available in Montgomery County, MD. Topics discussed include the best routes to take to reach various destinations, hours of service, the cost of the trip (including available discounts), and how to pay for services (such as fare cards or tokens). Demonstrations on how to ride public buses and trains are provided. Additionally, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center offers trainings and webinars on their website.
  1. Door-through-door (escort) services: Some agencies provide drivers or escorts who offer personal, hands-on assistance by helping passengers inside the doors of their residences and their destinations, as needed. The different levels of assistance range from opening doors and providing verbal guidance to physical support. Contact a local elderly care agency or your state’s affiliate of the Independent Transportation Network of America to find out how to access this service in your area.
  1. Volunteer driver programs (sometimes called “Share-a-Ride” programs): Local faith-based and nonprofit organizations often collect a network of volunteers who offer transportation for shopping, medical appointments, recreational activities, etc. In most cases, one-way, round-trip, and multi-stop rides are available on a reservation basis. These programs are provided free or for a minimal cost, usually by donation or through membership dues. Contact your state’s Medicaid office to find out more.
  1. Private Taxi Service: Traditional taxi services or private companies like Uber provide passengers with a ride between locations of their choice. Trips can be scheduled in advance or on the spot. Note that not all taxis are wheelchair accessible or meet ADA standards; so be sure to inquire with local taxi providers. Fares are charged per mile or per minute on top of a base fee for each trip, and may be payable through a transportation voucher program. These services tend to be the most expensive.
  1. Transportation voucher program: Area agencies on aging, aging and disabilities resources centers, and other social service organizations often provide fare assistance programs that enable qualified people (usually economically disadvantaged older adults or persons with disabilities) to purchase vouchers for transportation services from participating transportation providers, which can include public transportation, volunteer programs, or taxis and other private agencies. Applications for these programs are required. Participants are responsible for reserving and securing the services they need.

In addition, some communities have mobility managers who can guide you and your elderly loved one through the labyrinth of transportation resources and services that are available. Mobility managers know the community-wide transportation service network and understand how it operates. Their main job is to assist consumers in choosing the best options to meet their individual travel needs. Contact your local elder care organization or public transit agency to determine whether a mobility manager is available in your area.

At PBE Help, we support elderly individuals who want the freedom to age independently at home. Access to reliable transportation obviously plays a huge role in our clients’ ability to maintain their independence. Unfortunately, none of the above transportation options are equipped to help in an emergency situation. That’s why in addition to finding transportation solutions for your elderly loved ones, equipping them with PBE’s Safe At Home or Safe Anywhere emergency safety service will fill-in any gaps.

Both you and your elderly loved ones will sleep easier knowing that everyone’s transportation and emergency safety needs are taken care of. PBE Help has got you covered! Contact us today!

Do you have any transportation tips to share with our community? Let us know in the comments or on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the week: Consider mental dexterity, not just mental effort.

Every September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month at PBE. This September we encourage you to consider the mental side of falls prevention (along with the physical side).

Our weekly tips will be all about ways to keep the brain active because an alert mind is better equipped to keep your body safe.

Truly improving your brain power to become more aware of your body and your physical  Meditation environment requires more than increasing mental exertion, it also requires having mental dexterity. Mental dexterity roughly means having the sharpness of mind to be able to think creatively and to express oneself quickly and easily.

The following activities increase mental dexterity:

  • Meditation: This doesn’t mean anything spooky, like being able to levitate or transcend space and time. It simply means to locate a quiet space where you can clear your mind for 10 minutes or more.
  • Learning a foreign language: Taking up a new language is guaranteed to give your brain a good workout. Children learn languages much more quickly than adults, so learning a new language is kind of like finding the Fountain of Youth for your brain.
  • Drawing, painting, and other crafts: These and other creative activities exercise the right side of your brain, which helps with problem solving. Creativity and intelligence are closely connected.

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more tips and information to support your brain health.

Tip of the week: Read a great book.

Every September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month at PBE. This September we encourage you to consider the mental side of falls prevention (along with the physical side).

Our weekly tips will be all about ways to keep the brain active because an alert mind is better equipped to keep your body safe.

There is nothing like getting lost in a good book. Besides offering high quality entertainment, Falls Prevention - Brain Engaged regular reading offers so many benefits; for example, reading strengthens memory, expands vocabulary, improves analytical thinking skills, and increases focus and concentration.

Here are some easy ways to motivate yourself and your loved ones to spend more time each day reading:

  • Join or start a book club for seniors.
  • Checkout online book reviews, like NPR books or Goodreads.
  • Head to your local library, used bookstore, or thrift shop and browse the shelves.

A good biography can be really informative and transport you to a whole different place and time. Ron Chernow’s biography about Alexander Hamilton tells the story of a Founding Father who “galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.” You won’t be able to put it down!

What book are you reading now? Share with our community in the comments below or on LinkedIn or Google+.

Photo attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ccacnorthlib/4131076475

Tip of the week: Take a free online course.

Every September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month at PBE. This September we encourage you to consider the mental side of falls prevention (along with the physical side).

Our weekly tips will be all about ways to keep the brain active because an alert mind is better Elderly Brain Engagement equipped to keep your body safe.

Did you know that lifelong learning has benefits beyond being able to impress your friends and family with your ability to recite all of the US state capitals? Research shows that staying mentally active helps to prevent cognitive decline. And with all of the resources available on the Internet, it has never been easier for seniors and people of all ages to learn something new.

Why not take a free online course about something you’ve always wanted to learn? Senior Planet offers the following free courses (plus, hundreds of others):

  • Elementary French
  • Science & Cooking
  • Cars: Past, Present, and Future
  • An Introduction to Psychology

The courses are taught by instructors, experts, and professors from around the world. What an amazing value!

Let’s keep the discussion going on social media. Follow me on LinkedIn and Google+ for more tips and information to help you keep your elderly loved mentally active. 

Brain engagement: The Mental Side of Falls Prevention

The first day of fall, September 22, 2016 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day. So, let’s talk falls prevention.

We are all aware of the physical harms and financial costs that can result from a fall: scrapes Fall Prevention in Seniorsand bruises; broken bones, especially hips, wrists, and ankles; concussions and other head injuries. All of which can lead to emergency room visits and hospitalization. Of course, the best way to prevent these harms is to prevent falling accidents in the first place.

When it comes to falls prevention, again, we tend to focus on physical solutions. We talk about building balance, strength, and flexibility through exercising the physical body; testing vision and hearing; keeping the home free of tripping hazards, increasing lighting, making stairs safe, and installing grab bars.

There’s no doubt that these physical considerations are important. But it is easy to overlook the mental side of falls prevention. Having an active brain is just one more easy way to prevent falls and help to keep our loved ones safe from spills that can lead to further health complications.

Did you know…?

This means that even if the elderly people in your life are relatively high functioning when it comes to their physical bodies, keeping the mind sharp can enhance fall prevention efforts and ensure that their bodies continue functioning well.

What are the best ways to enlist the mind to help prevent the body from falling?

Make sure your loved one is getting proper nutrition and taking the right medications in the appropriate dosages.

Vitamin deficiencies can cause weakness, difficulties with balance, and cognitive impairments. The brain is also responsible for reaction time and reflexive actions. So it makes sense that if the mind is impaired, reaction times could be slower and reflexes less responsive contributing to injury. So getting the proper nutrients is key to brain health. Following a diet that is rich in Iron, Vitamin D, fatty fish, and anti-oxidants supports strong mental health.

Along with proper nutrition, taking precautions when it comes to your loved one’s medications can help keep the mind sharp and prevent falls. Certain prescription drugs, such as diuretics, anti-depressants, and some medications for treating Parkinson’s disease, especially when given in inappropriate doses, may contribute to falls in the elderly because they decrease alertness, reduce motor functioning, or cause dizziness. Support the proper functioning of complex motor and sensory systems within the brain by reviewing the medications and dosages with your loved one’s physician. The right dose can make all the difference.

Exercise is doubly important for keeping both the body and mind healthy.

Not only is exercise important for keeping muscles strong so that your loved one can catch herself when she starts to stumble, but exercise also keeps the mind healthy. There have been several recent studies showing the benefits of exercise when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention. Science continues to confirm the connection between the mind and exercise. Also, one of the best ways to learn how to control the movements of the body is by exercising on a regular basis and good coordination helps us stay on our feet even on uneven surfaces. So, exercise is doubly important when it comes to the physical and mental components of preventing falls.

Closely connected to exercise is proper hydration. When we exercise, our bodies naturally crave water. Taking in water helps our bodies flush harmful toxins from our kidneys and lymphatic system contributing to the health of our bodies. Hydration is also crucial to keeping the brain functioning well. Did you know the human brain is 75% water? It’s true!

Supporting the proper functioning of our senses.

The senses are important for preventing falls and sensory receptors are dependent on the brain’s functioning properly. Vision and hearing loss are often associated with tripping or a loss of balance. Many cognitive impairments can also impair the senses. For example, strokes can contribute to vision and hearing loss and because of this, having a stroke increases the risk of falls. Keeping the brain healthy is essential to making sure the body and mind are working together in the ways required to maintain proper balance lessening the risk of a fall.

Unfortunately, no matter what we do physically or mentally to prevent our loved ones from falling, sometimes falls happen. In the unfortunate event of a fall, you want your loved one to be as safe and independent as possible. This is where PBE Help comes in. We have products available to keep your loved one Safe At Home and Safe Anywhere she chooses to roam.

Contact us today to discuss how PBE Help is here to catch you and your loved ones when they fall.

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more tips and information to support brain health and prevent falls.

Tip of the week: Medications can increase the risks associated with heat or sun exposure.

Certain medications have negative side effects when combined with excessive heat or sun exposure. Be sure to do your research and read warning labels carefully whenever your loved one starts taking a new medication or the dosage changes. The best plan is always to talk to your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist about the risk factors of the specific medications she is taking.

Here are some general tips about common medications to keep in mind:

  • Selected brands of anti-psychotics, tranquilizers, antidepressants, and over-the-counter Medications and Sun Exposure sleeping pills can inhibit the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or inhibit perspiration.
  • Some topical medications and orally ingested drugs may increase sun sensitivity. Examples include medications used to treat arthritis, diabetes, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Other medications, especially those used to treat depression, hypertension, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, may increase heat sensitivity.

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more tips and information to help you keep your elderly loved ones safe this summer.