Tag Archives: Holidays

Tip of the Week: Give the Gift of Safety and Independence.

This month our tip blogs help you complete your holiday shopping list for the special loved ones on your list. Think outside the gift box this year with gifts that carry special meaning.

Seniors (and everyone else, for that matter) highly value safety and independence. Maintaining personal independence creates a sense of achievement, which for older adults especially can foster a sense of self-worth and well-being. Show your loved ones how much you support them this holiday season by giving the gift of safety and independence:

  • For the bathroom – For seniors with mobility issues or difficulty bending down, bathroom accessories, like bathtub grips, can provide a sense of security when using the shower. The best ones are those that lock over the side of the tub. Make sure to offer to help install these handles for your loved ones.
  • For the kitchen – Cooktops and ranges are most frequently implicated in kitchen accidents. Elderly people are more likely to forget to turn burners off after removing pans, leave food unattended on the burner, or lose track of cooking times. Those who have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease can easily spill food and ignite a fire. So, an induction cooktop, which eliminates many of these issues, is another good, practical gift for your elderly loved ones.
  • For the home – PBE Help offers high quality products and services that keep your elderly loved ones safe both in and out of the home. Our Safe at Home service connects your loved ones to emergency services at the touch of a button 24/7. And our Safe Anywhere service uses the same technology as 911 to help your loved ones stay connected anywhere in the US.

Is there anything better than knowing your loved ones are safe everywhere and at all times?

For more eldercare advice and discussion, join the conversation on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the Week: Give the Gift of Connection.

This month our tip blogs help you complete your holiday shopping list for the special loved ones on your list. Think outside the gift box this year with gifts that carry special meaning.

One of the best gifts we can give to our loved ones can’t be bought at any store. Give the gift of connecting with your loved ones and making them feel as special as they truly are during the holiday season. Here are some easy ways to connect:

  • Show an interest in his or her life’s journey – Give your loved one a memory journal, for example. A memory journal is a book that contains all kind of memory-jogging questions about a person’s life, and makes it easy for a senior to write his or her life story by answering those questions right in the book. This is a great way for to record life stories and pass them on to the next generation.
  • Record a message – Another sentimental gift that grandparents will love to receive is a recordable book or card from their grandkids. Encourage a special child to read her favorite story or make up her own while you record it and then send to grandpa or grandma.
  • Breakfast or lunch out with a grandchild – Surprise a senior with a special breakfast or lunch out with her favorite loved ones.

How do you connect with the special seniors in your life?

Keep the discussion going with PBE Help on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the Week: Give the Gift of Health.

This month our tip blogs help you complete your holiday shopping list for the special loved ones on your list. Think outside the gift box this year with gifts that carry special meaning.

Everyone on your list could use help staying healthy in the New Year. There are so many unique options available depending on your loved ones’ needs. Here are some suggestions of our favorites:

  • Healthy food delivery subscription service – There are several different options to choose for having healthy food delivered on a regular basis. Eliminate grocery shopping or just help your loved ones add some variety to their diets with this gift. Or create your own food delivery service by cooking for your loved ones.
  • Sleep Sound Machine – Quality sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. In fact, creating healthy sleeping patterns is just as important as eating right. Unfortunately, some of the most common problems the older generation experience are insomnia and sleep issues. An awesome gift that can help them deal with sleep disorders is a Sleep Sound Machine. Those machines play calming nature sounds that help people fall asleep faster, relax, or just block out distracting noises.
  • Light Therapy Light – These lamps mimic the brightness of the sun, stimulating the body’s production of vitamin D, and thus, boosting mood and well-being. In a way, they work like antidepressants, but without the side effects of medications. They can also help those who suffer from winter blues, which makes them great holiday gifts too.

Let’s make this holiday the healthiest one yet!

Are you following me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+)?

Tip of the Week: Give the Gift of Technology.

This month our tip blogs help you complete your holiday shopping list for the special loved ones on your list. Think outside the gift box this year with gifts that carry special meaning.

Technology can be a real blessing for families that are spread near and far. Brighten the lives of loved ones during the holidays and all year round with these helpful technology gifts:

  • Voice-activated home technology – Voice-activated, hands-free technology in the home allows you to do everything from turn on lights, to adjust the thermostat with just the sound of your voice. These devices make great gifts, especially for someone with mobility issues.
  • Electronic grocery and errand list organizer – Sometimes we all forget things, like what we want to buy from the store. This interesting gift option can help. A voice-activated organizer allows you to record items, categorize them, and print out your list when you’re ready to go. Hang it on the wall or keep it handy in your purse or bag.
  • Email printing service – An awesome gift idea for elderly parents who live away from their children, don’t use computers, and have no desire to deal with computers is an email printing service. This reasonably priced subscription service comes with a printer, which works without a computer. All you need to do is set up an account, plug the printer into a phone outlet, and it prints emails and photos from pre-approved senders, without the receiver being online.

Do you have any favorite technology gift suggestions?

Let us know on social media at LinkedIn and Google+).

Make Seniors Feel Special During the Holidays with These 5 Ideas

Coming up with gifts for the older adults in your life can be difficult. Many parents and grandparents already have a home full of family photos, personalized mugs, fuzzy slippers, and Holidays and Senior Citizenshomemade gifts. So, when it comes to material things, there is often little our elderly loved ones want or need.

But everyone wants and needs to feel appreciated, to feel like they belong, to feel understood, and to feel safe. So, this holiday season, instead of taking a trip to the mall or spending hours browsing the Internet for the “perfect gift,” why not focus on making your loved ones feel extra special by spending time doing more for and with them?

This year, give the gift of your time and make an effort to include seniors in your holiday festivities. There are many ways to make the holidays extra special for the seniors in your life. Here are a few suggestions:

Help put up decorations for the holidays.

If your elderly loved one lives alone or has mobility issues, she may feel that it’s too much trouble to put up decorations on her own. Of course, this doesn’t mean she wouldn’t love to see her home dressed up for the holidays. This weekend, gather the family, get a tree and some decorations and help get mom’s home ready for the holidays.

Feeling ambitious? Your loved one may remember homemade decorations from when she was young. Pick up some craft books from the local library or search online to find some easy holiday crafts that you can make together. Remember to take photos to capture the memory.

Have a family game night.

The holidays can be a lonely time of year for everyone, but especially for older adults who may have lost a spouse or friends through the years. Make your loved ones feel included by inviting them into your home for a family evens, like game night.

Family game night might seem simple or mundane to you, but for someone who spends a lot of time at home alone, being around the energy of a family can really lift the spirits. Don’t enjoy playing games as a family? How about singing holiday songs, watching a holiday movie, or telling entertaining stories around the fire with some warm and comforting refreshments?

Go to a holiday concert or pageant. 

There are so many fun concerts, plays, and pageants to attend around your local community this time of year. These events are often free or very inexpensive, so they are great ways to spend an evening with loved ones. Check event listings for local schools and colleges for ideas.

It is easy for those who have no mobility issues to take for granted having the ability to get dressed and rush out to events around town with little preparation or notice. But for many elderly individuals, even if they are looking forward to a fun event, when the big day comes, they may feel too tired, or unwell to get up and head out into wintery weather.

So, offering to pick up and drive an elderly neighbor to a community event is a great kindness. Knowing that a kind neighbor will knock on the door to pick them up at a certain time is a huge relief and good motivation to get out of the house.

Take a drive to see lights or holiday decorations.

Everyone loves seeing the twinkling, colorful lights all around town. Many seniors often miss out on this fun holiday tradition, though, especially if they no longer drive. Invite your loved ones to ride along with you as you drive through your community and neighborhoods. After your holiday light tour, stop off for a hot beverage and sweet treat.

Make sure your loved one’s home is safe.

In order for your loved ones to continue living safely and independently at home, it is imperative that their home is safe. Winter and the holiday season can be an especially dangerous time for elderly people living at home. Put everyone’s mind at ease by checking to make sure that both the interior and exterior of your loved one’s home is as safe as possible.

Inside:

  • Check for loose flooring, carpet, or rugs that could be tripping hazards.
  • Make sure nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms are fully functional.
  • Install secure grab bars in shower or bath areas and around toilets.

Outside:

  • Apply anti-slip strips to all stairs and check railings to make sure they are secure.
  • Make sure that exterior lights on stairways and walkways are in proper working order.
  • Offer to supply and sprinkle ice-melt on any surface where ice and snow accumulates.

For added precaution, PBE Help has easy-to-use products that help make your loved one’s home as safe as possible. Whether at home or out and about, with PBE’s devices your loved one has 24/7 access to emergency services.

This holiday season, forget the material and give special gifts that truly last. Let the elderly individuals in your life know how much you love and appreciate them.

Happy Holidays from your friends at PBE Help!

For more helpful tips for taking care of your elderly loved ones, follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the Week: Say Thanks with the Gift of Self-Care.

November is a great month to be thankful. So this month, as the hustle and bustle of the holidays begin to pick up steam, PBE reminds you to take time out to thank all those who make your life and the life of your elderly loved ones more manageable.

Our tip blogs are all about unique ways to thank those who help us take care of the ones we love.

Caregivers spend so much time giving of themselves to others that it’s nice to remind them to spend time caring for themselves too. Why not give the gift of self-care this holiday season?

  • Express gratitude for your favorite caregiver with a gift card to your local coffee shop, their favorite clothing store, or to the spa for a massage.
  • Another great idea is to bring the spa to them with a bath and beauty gift basket full of fun products. To make the gift even more meaningful, take your loved one to the store to personally choose products for the basket.
  • Show your appreciation for all they do for your loved ones by surprising them with the day or afternoon off.

What special ways do you have for expressing appreciation for the caregivers in your life? Let me know on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

It Takes a Community of Eldercare Professionals to Age in Place

As our loved ones get older, many choose to age in place doing everything they can to stay at home as long as possible. To truly thrive, though, the elderly need help with various
responsibilities like getting to medical appointments, shopping, socializing with friends, Give Thanks - Eldercarepreparing meals, cleaning the house, taking care of pets, etc.

So, during this month of thankfulness, let’s take time out to consider the eldercare community and all that they do for senior adults. After all is there any greater gift than being safe in the knowledge that someone is looking after the people we love?

A Changing Landscape

In the past, when most families lived together in the same communities for their whole lives, everyone was nearby to lend a helping hand. Neighbors dropped by to check on each other. It was common for elderly loved ones to move in with adult children as they aged. Doctors even made house calls.

Today, things are a bit different. We’re more likely to describe a good neighbor as someone who leaves us alone, than someone who chats with us over the fence. Children regularly grow up and move across the country for jobs and start families of their own. And far from making house calls, one in five Americans report that they had trouble getting in to see their regular, primary care physician in the past two years.

What options are available to you and your elderly loved ones?

Fortunately, several services have rushed to fill the gap that once was commonly filled by family members and a close-knit community. Here is a list of available services that might not be on your radar now and how to find these resources in the DC Metro area:

1. Adult Daycare Facilities

Adult daycare service centers are non-residential community-based facilities for elderly people. These centers provide opportunities for social interaction and sometimes health services for adults who need supervised care in a safe place during the day.

This is a good option for your loved one who is in need of supervision, but for whom employing a 24/7 home health care aide will not work. Perhaps mom lives with you, so you are there during the evening and nighttime hours. But while the family is out during the day, mom needs a place where she can be well taken care of and enjoy time with friends.

While services at different locations vary, generally speaking, adult daycare facilities offer social activities, therapeutic services, transportation, personal care, and meals for elderly adults.

For more information: If you are in Maryland, the Maryland Healthcare Commission has a helpful services search page. In Virginia, the Virginia Department of Social Services has a facilities search page and additional resources. Finally, for more information on adult daycare centers in the District, call the Aging & Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC) at (202) 724-5626.

2. Daily Money Management

A daily money manager (DMM) is a trusted, experienced professional who provides personal financial and bookkeeping services to senior citizens and others. These financial advocates can help organize your loved ones bills, budgets, and other paperwork.

Often money managers work through non-profit agencies to provide help at subsidized rates. The goal is to keep clients financially organized and independent. Typical services offered include reviewing mail with clients; deciding what to pay and what to stop paying; preparing bills for electronic payment or payment by check; bank statement balancing; making bank deposits; organizing tax return information; and setting up filing or electronic record-keeping systems. Daily money managers can also coordinate with your loved one’s attorney and investment or tax professionals.

For more information: Contact the American Association of Daily Money Managers to see a list of available professionals in your area.

3. Geriatric Care Management

Geriatric care managers (GCM) are health and human service specialists trained to help elderly individuals maximize their functional capacities. GCM’s are typically trained in a wide-range of areas including gerontology, nursing, counseling, and social work. This allows them to provide comprehensive advice as you help your loved ones transition smoothly.

A personal care manager will first evaluate your loved one using a care-planning assessment to identify potential problem areas. These care managers have extensive knowledge in the quality, costs, and available geriatric services available in your community, so that they can provide personalized solutions for individuals.

For more information: Search the Geriatric Care Managers Directory for GCM’s in the DC Metro area at AgingCare.com.

4. Interior Design/Home Remodeling

One of the most important factors in independent living for elderly individuals is creating a safe, secure, and easily navigatable space. To remain comfortably at home, hallways must be widened, ramps installed, kitchens remodeled, and bathrooms renovated.

There are contractors and home organizing specialists who are dedicated to helping your loved ones age in place by creating a safer home environment. Government assistance with home remodeling is available for veterans and other groups in need.

For more information: USA.gov has resources to find financial help with remodeling the interior of your home to accommodate your loved ones.

5. Lifestyle Transition Services

As we age, our needs and outlook on life changes. This transition period can be one of the toughest we make during out lifetimes. It’s important that you understand the emotional, physical, and financial needs of your elderly loved ones. It’s even more important that your loved ones understand their own needs so that they can learn to truly enjoy their golden years.

For more information: Contact the National Aging in Place Council for a complete list of services providers in your area.

There is no doubt that a network of professionals working to help you and your older loved ones can ease the stress, especially during the holidays. PBE Help would be honored to be a part of your personal network.

We firmly believe that having the right support system is crucial to the safety and health of your loved ones. Take a look at the products we offer to assist your loved ones in aging in place with safety and independence. This November let’s give thanks for those who make our lives fuller and happier!

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more eldercare advice and additional resources.

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

There’s a good reason so many holiday-themed films and songs mention going home for the Home for the holidaysholidays: home is a symbol for all of the most pleasant experiences in life. If we are fortunate, we can’t even step foot inside our childhood homes without it conjuring up heartwarming memories of our favorite foods, traditions, and sentiments.

Of course, as the years go by, our homes naturally evolve. Children grow-up to be adults; they get married; and they start families of their own. Mom and dad become grandma and grandpa; they retire from their jobs; and they deservedly gain back some of their freedom. Foods, traditions, and sentiments change over time. Some changes are easier to accept than others, however.

If you will be seeing older parents, relatives, and friends for the first time in several months or longer, you are likely to notice certain behavioral variations. Realize that this experience can bring up feelings of distress and grief. Complex emotions can be difficult to deal with, especially during this busy time of year. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be prepared. Prepare yourself and your family as best you can. Discuss with your spouse and children ahead of time what to expect when visiting older relatives. Practice what to say and what not to say. You may need to prepare yourself to take on a new role, as more of a caretaker, with regard to your aging parents. Consider reading a book about dealing with the challenges of watching loved ones age. There are some good suggestions here.
  • Be empathetic. Gently help older adults feel comfortable with the adjustments that need to be made. As striking as these behavioral changes seem to you because you vividly remember how different mom or dad was acting last time you were in town, notice that he or she is experiencing these changes more gradually. Have you ever noticed how there is a huge difference between how old you feel and how old you are? Well, the same is true of older adults. Remember that mom and dad may not realize or may be in denial about the fact that their lifestyles need to change.
  • Be grateful. Acknowledge the help that other family members, friends, and neighbors have provided. If you have relatives who live closer to an aging relative than you do, recognize that they may have a different perspective than you do. Point out what they are doing right and consult with them when it comes to making necessary changes. If everyone can work together to make choices that are in the best interest of older adults, the results will be much better all around.
  • Be respectful. When in doubt, approach everyone involved with respect.

Dealing with the challenges our loved ones face as they age and the challenges we ourselves face as we hold their hands through the process, takes a great deal of courage. It can be tempting, especially during the holiday festivities, to simply ignore the issues we notice. But if we strategize when we are feeling our most calm, cool, and collected, then we can reserve the times at home for creating more happy memories.

For the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home.

Stay Safe and Warm this Winter

Although the snow and ice hasn’t started sticking around in most parts of the US just yet, that Cold Weather and Elderlyfamiliar chill is in the air warning us that Old Man Winter will be camping out on our lawns soon enough. It’s time to think about how to protect our loved ones from the dangers of colder weather.

Extreme cold temperatures can pose serious risks to our health, especially as we get older. Our metabolism slows and our bodies produce less heat than when we were young and spry, according to the American Geriatrics Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging. As a result, older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Older people are also more likely to be injured in slip-and-fall accidents.

This winter, as the thermometer dips, let’s take the following steps to prevent cold weather health threats.

Stay warm and cozy

As we get older, our sense of touch deteriorates. In addition, health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, poor circulation, paralysis brought on by a suffering stroke, etc. can cause a lack of feeling, especially in the extremities. This puts seniors at high risk for hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature), symptoms of which include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, and slow, irregular heartbeat. Get emergency help if you see any of these warning signs.

To prevent hypothermia:

  • Keep your home’s thermostat set at 68° F or above and reduce heating costs by making your home more energy efficient.
  • Dress in layers of loose-fitting clothing for warmth.
  • Prepare for weather emergencies by stocking up on food and fresh water. Keep extra batteries, candles, flashlights, and extra blankets on hand at all times.
  • When going outside, make sure to keep your head covered and wear mittens or gloves.

Shield your skin from the elements

Aging skin becomes drier and thinner making it more likely to tear and chap. It is also more prone to frostbite. Symptoms of frostbite include gray, white, or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and a waxy feeling to the skin. If you suspect frostbite has occurred, get immediate medical attention and facilitate warming up the body without rubbing delicate skin.

To protect your skin:

  • When going outside, make sure to wear proper gear to protect skin from wind and cold.
  • While inside, keep air warm and moist. Use a humidifier or put a pan of water near a heat source, such as a radiator. Change the water on a daily basis.
  • Moisturize your skin with lotion and use petroleum jelly on chapped lips or especially dry patches of skin.

Look out for ice

Removing snow and ice from all walkways is essential for preventing falls. If you cannot shovel the areas around your home yourself, consider hiring someone to help. Older adults should consult with their doctors before attempting to shovel or do any hard labor outside in cold weather.

To avoid falls:

  • Carefully shovel all steps, driveways, and walkways to your home.
  • Sprinkle ice-melting salt, which can be purchased at local home improvement stores, on especially slippery spots.
  • Avoid walking on icy or snowing sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Whenever walking outside, wear boots with non-skid soles.
  • If you use a cane, replace the tip before it gets worn smooth or replace the rubber tip with a sharp icepick-like attachment, which can be purchased at medical supply stores

As always, if you have elderly neighbors and loved ones, check on them regularly. Don’t let an emergency situation be the motivation you need to develop a solid communication plan. For additional peace of mind this season, contact Push Button Emergency Help to provide the right device for quickly and easily connecting your loved ones to emergency personnel.

Don’t let anyone be left out in the cold this winter.

Home for the Holidays

Thanksgiving Turkey

“I hadn’t seen them in their natural habitat for a long time.”

In her 2014 graphic novel, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, cartoonist Roz Chast writes about becoming her elderly parents’ primary caregiver. The “moment of truth” comes when Chast travels from her home in Connecticut to visit their Brooklyn apartment for the first time in almost a decade. Although she was accustomed to seeing her parents a few times a year, these visits always took place in Connecticut.

Of this first visit to Brooklyn, Chast writes, “I hadn’t seen them in their natural habitat for a long time.” The visit was a pivotal event for the cartoonist: the apartment showed signs of neglect, and her mother and father were noticeably frailer than she had previously realized. As a friend of Chast’s remarked about this particular phase in the aging process: “Things are okay until they are not.”

Every holiday season many adult children experience a similar pivotal moment as they see their elderly parents in their “natural habitat” after a long absence. It can be a challenge to use such a visit as an opportunity to help older relatives and friends make life-saving adjustments without putting a damper on the festive holiday spirit. Here are some suggestions:

  • Realize that watching your parents age can bring up feelings of distress and grief. Resist the urge to use hyperactivity to stuff your feelings.
  • Be respectful of the ways in which other family members, friends and neighbors may be helping out. Acknowledge what they are doing right.

photo credit