Tag Archives: Independent Living

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: Flexibility

When investigating transportation options there are a few things to consider before making a Transportation and the elderlydecision 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.

The best transportation services are ones that are the most flexible. While some needs are predictable, like regular doctor’s appointments or monthly medication pick-ups, other needs arise somewhat spontaneously. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to plan out their days in advance and for the elderly, especially, it can be very helpful to have a service that is flexible enough to accommodate last-minute changes.

  • What is the procedure for setting up a ride?
  • Is there a fee for canceling?
  • How much time is required to schedule a pick-up or drop-off?
  • Does the service offer one-way rides, round-trips, and multiple-destination rides?
  • Are there any limitations on time spent at locations?

What methods of transportation work for you and your loved ones? Let us know on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

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.

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

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.

5 essential tools for caring for yourself as the caregiver

The job of caring for an elderly adult is one of the most important and unfortunately, often one Caregivers for Elderly of the most thankless jobs a person can perform. Whether you are taking on the role of caregiver yourself or observing one of your older adult parents caring for the other, it’s crucial to keep in mind that if a caregiver is exhausted, everyone suffers. Self-care is as important for caregivers as providing care for another.

It is easy for caregivers to lose themselves in the daily work of providing for the health of their patients. Home healthcare often involves difficult physical labor, such as lifting another person into bed or into the bathtub, and stressful medical procedures, such as administering daily injections or time-sensitive medications. Especially in the beginning, having to complete these tasks each day can feel overwhelming. However, working yourself to the point of exhaustion or stress-induced illness is not a sustainable solution.

If you (or a caregiver you love) tend to neglect your own health or are experiencing signs of being overly tired, a gentle reminder about the airplane rule might be in order. Before takeoff, flight attendants always make the following announcement, while going over emergency procedures: put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others around you. It’s not selfish to make your own health a priority.

What are some tools you can use to ensure that you take care of yourself when you are the caregiver?

1. Make time for yourself: It’s easy to believe that when you are primarily responsible for the care of another, you can’t afford to take any time out for yourself. But everyone needs breaks. If you hold yourself responsible 24/7, you will quickly burn out. This is especially true when you are dealing with a stressful situation like caring for an elderly parent who has a serious medical condition. To make sure you are able to provide the best possible care, you need to take personal time off. So, take breaks even when it feels like you can’t. Taking even a few minutes for yourself can make a huge difference. Go for a brisk walk with a friend, read a few chapters of a good book, or simply relax in your favorite chair.

2. Take time to exercise: Staying physically active reduces stress. If the older adult relying on your care is able to get out of the house, make taking a stroll part of your daily routine. Getting out in nature is also a great stress reliever. So even a short walk or ride in the wheelchair around the neighborhood can do wonders to lift everyone’s mood.

3. Eat nutritious foods: One big factor in staying healthy and strong during mentally taxing situations like caring for someone with a chronic health condition is eating well. Avoid foods full of simple sugars, trans fats, and carbohydrates. Although these “comfort foods” might taste delicious and make you feel better for a moment, they can cause a quick spike in energy followed by a crash that can leave you feeling tired and irritable. Eating heart-healthy foods like leafy greens, fruit, and whole grains, gives you more energy, staves off depression, and prevents illness. Because eating well is challenging when you are busy caring for someone, a good healthy eating blog full of quick and easy recipes that work for you can literally be a lifesaver (here is helpful list of healthy eating blogs).

4. Accept help from others: Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to accept offers of help that come your way. There is no reason for you to bear the entire burden of caring for your loved one alone. Often family and friends hesitate to ask whether you need help, especially when you put on a brave face and seem to have everything under control. But it’s always good to have extra help and sometimes all it takes is for you to ask. If you are anxious about letting others help with providing personal or health care, think of other ways in which friends, neighbors, and family members could ease your burden. Here are some examples: providing a healthy meal once a week, doing some light housecleaning, or building an accessibility ramp.

5. Make connections: Finally, as a caregiver, you might need support to help you cope with the emotional, physical, and psychological toll that caregiving can take. There are many online support groups for caregivers. These groups provide a safe space to vent your frustrations as well as being a valuable resource where others can answer your questions and offer advice based on their own experiences. Keep in mind, though, that while online connections are great, they can’t replace real-life interactions. Make it a point to get out of the house at least once a week: go to lunch with a friend; join a book club; or find an exercise class you enjoy. Mark these events on your calendar and treat them like real appointments.

Besides making use of the above tools, caregivers can take care of themselves by taking advantage of technology that is available to keep older adults safe while they age comfortably at home. Wouldn’t you rest easier knowing that if mom gets up out of bed and has a fall in the middle of the night, while the whole family is sleeping, emergency services will be notified immediately? With PBE Help’s Safe at Home service, mom wears a fall detector pendant that is automatically triggered by a fall. This safety device helps you take better care of mom and consequently, yourself.

As caregivers, it’s important to remember that self-care is not selfish. It’s not selfish to make sure you have enough oxygen before assisting others. In fact, caring for yourself is essential to taking the best care of your loved ones who rely on you.

Is self-care a priority in your life?

And for more information on aging with independence, follow me on LinkedIn and Google+.

Tip of the week: Celebrate independence with compassionate caring.

The psychological impact of becoming less independent is often worse than the physical Senior Living Facilities separation of having to make the move to an assisted living facility. To make the transition easier, practice compassionate caring and celebrate the independence your loved one will gain even though it is time to move out of a beloved home.

Assisted living facilities provide the following benefits:

  • Independence from having to worry about indoor and outdoor maintenance of a home.
  • Independence from isolation. There are plenty of opportunities for socialization and entertainment in assisted living communities. Whether it’s a field trip to the city, cocktail hour in the dining hall, or a film screening in the theatre room, soon your loved one will feel like she’s enjoying the good life again.
  • Independence from worrying about getting needed medical assistance during an emergency. Assisted living facilities are staffed with trained professionals ready to help out in an emergency of any kind.

For more information about how to talk to your loved ones about transitioning to an assisted living community, follow me on LinkedIn or Google+.