Tag Archives: Medical Alert Systems

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+).

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: Use technology to help your elderly loved ones gain independence.

Before emergency medical monitoring and automatic fall sensors, independent living meant Elderly Independence having close family members who could invite us into their homes. But with the latest technology, living independently, while staying at home has never been more possible. Today’s seniors are living in the golden age of independent living.

Help your loved ones gain independence using the following technology:

  • Home alert systems can help with everything from medication reminders to automatically contacting medical services in the event of an incapacitating accident.
  • Webcams with motion sensors to help you monitor your loved ones from the next room as they recover from heart surgery, for example.
  • Cell phones and Skype allow seniors to connect with family and friends across the miles.

For more on how technology helps seniors become more independent, read this previous post and follow me on LinkedIn.

Celebrate Mom’s Independence Day

This Fourth of July marked the 240th anniversary of America’s Independence Day. Independence Elderly Independencemeans a lot to Americans. But now that we’ve had our last slice of apple pie and watched the flame extinguish on our last firecracker, it’s a good time to reflect on what independence means for the elderly adults in our lives.

We all value independence and our desire for independence doesn’t diminish with age. If anything, independence becomes more important to us as we age. So the gift of independence is one of the most precious gifts we can give to our older adult loved ones.

Living independently provides several crucial benefits:

  • Higher quality of life: It can be scary to face all of the changes that come with aging. But the security and familiarity that comes with living independently acts as a shield against much of the anxiety.
  • Increased sense of self-worth: Maintaining independence provides a sense of achievement, which in turn promotes a greater sense of self-worth.
  • Increased sense of control: As we age, many aspects of our lives can change rapidly making it seem like we aren’t in control anymore. It can be a welcome relief for seniors to feel in control of their living situations.

Of course, independent living means different things for different people. Staying at home is not always the safest option. Still, as long as you take a compassionate approach, you can celebrate the level of independence that is appropriate for your loved one. 

What level of independence is right for your loved one?

Here are some considerations to get you started:

If you notice:

  • Recent accidents or close calls. Did your loved one take a minor fall or have a medical scare? Who responded and how long did it take? Accidents do happen, but as we age, the odds increase that they will happen again.
  • Minor episodes of forgetfulness. Are you finding stale or expired foods in the pantry or multiples of the exact same variety of TV dinners? This might indicate that your loved one’s memory is not quite as sharp as it once was.

It is time to consider small adjustments that will help your loved one continue her fully independent lifestyle. The good news here is that, with just a little help, it is quite possible for your loved one’s life to go on virtually as usual. Installing an emergency monitoring system, like PBE’s Safe at Home system, makes it possible for your loved one to continue living at home while you rest assured knowing she has emergency services available at the touch of a button should anything go wrong.

If you notice:

  • Your loved one has cut back on social activities. Has your loved one given up a favorite hobby, stopped going to the local library, or started skipping senior exercise class?
  • Signs of lax housekeeping. More than the usual amount of clutter, spills that haven’t been cleaned up, cobwebs in a usually dust-free house, mold growing in the bathroom are all signs to look for.

It is time to consider at least a part-time home health care aide. These signs may indicate physical limitations that make driving more difficult or housekeeping more than just an annoying chore. It might be a good idea to find a family member or other professional, who can visit the home for several hours each day and take your loved one on little outings. Still, moderately independent living is very much within your loved one’s reach.

If you notice:

  • Increasing difficulty managing daily activities. There are certain skills needed to continue living independently at home. If your loved one is having difficulty, dressing, shopping, cooking, managing medications, or taking care of personal hygiene, these are signs that living at home may not be what’s best.
  • More than moderate weight loss. Does dad feel thinner when you hug him? Are his clothes fitting more loosely? Many conditions from depression to tooth decay can cause a lack of appetite and weight loss. A person who is having trouble getting to the grocery store or forgetting to eat can lose weight too.

It is time to consider moving your loved one to an assisted living facility. These more severe signs indicate that it may be time to contact your loved one’s doctor, a social worker, or other geriatric expert to perform a functional assessment. If your loved one is showing signs that living alone is a strain, it may be time to broach the subject of moving to an assisted living facility.

Above all, truly celebrate your loved one’s independence by asking for mom or dad’s input as you are making these decisions. Even if keeping mom at home is not an option in the end, she will feel better about the move having had the chance to voice her feelings.

The experts at Push Button Emergency Help are here to help you determine what works best for your family. If your loved one has opportunities to live a full life with close neighborhood and community connections, and seems to be thriving in most areas of life, it’s best to explore as many in-home care options as possible before pressing for a move from a beloved home. PBE can help by extending your loved one’s independent living options. Take a look at our many products designed to support you in whatever decision you make.

This month, we at PBE hope you will consider giving the gift of independence to an elderly loved one in your life. Contact us TODAY.  Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating Mom’s independence day.

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

Tip of the week: Do you have an Emergency Storm Safety Plan?

At PBE, keeping you and your loved ones safe is our first priority. In our new series, we’ll be Bad Weather Safetyrolling out weekly tips for quick and easy actions you can do TODAY to make your family safer.

Tip #1: Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a weather emergency.

Summer is extreme weather season. With the increase in heat and humidity, dangerous thunderstorms, floods, and tornados can pop up quickly. It’s important to make sure the whole family knows what to do in the event of a summer storm emergency.

Make a plan:

  • Find the safe spots in your home. During a tornado, seek shelter in a lower level or internal room (like a bathroom) without windows.
  • Designate at least one meeting place outside of the home in case family members get separated.
  • Practice the plan with the family by running safety drills.
  • Make an emergency kit with items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, bottled water, non-perishable and easily transportable foods, etc.

Stay tuned for our other weekly safety tips!

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

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month!

Most of us are familiar with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease: memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, decreased or poor judgment, etc. But one serious effect often gets overlooked: how Alzheimer’s impacts caregivers.

Caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is a beautiful, selfless Caregivers and the Elderlyexpression of love. But it can also be a thankless job frustrating on the best day and completely overwhelming on the worst. Yet, studies show that caregivers take on their role with little to no training or additional support. All of this means that caregivers, who are often spouses in susceptible years themselves, are at serious risk for emotional, mental, and physical health problems.

In honor of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, let’s consider the risks to and preventative measures we can take to protect and support those who care for others.

What are the risks to caregivers?

Stress

Being solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of another 24/7 is stressful. Period. But on top of the pressures of being responsible for the care of another person, caregivers can feel frustrated, angry, drained, guilty, or helpless, especially as the health of their loved one declines. Many caregivers report feeling that they cannot handle their caregiving responsibilities. And, somewhat ironically, chronic stress puts caregivers themselves at increased risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Caregivers also have higher levels of depression than their non-caregiving peers. Estimates show that between 40 and 70% of caregivers experience clinically significant symptoms of depression (according to pp. 12-37 of a National Consensus Development Conference report). And those feelings of depression can actually increase when families decide to move a loved one with Alzheimer’s to a fulltime assisted living facility. So the negative effects of caregiving may continue even after the burden has been lifted.

Injury

Another serious concern about caregivers is the increased risk of physical injury. Because many caregivers take on their new roles without much or any training, they may unwittingly attempt tasks that are beyond their physical ability. For example, attempting to lift, bathe, or turn one’s spouse could cause a hernia or other serious injury. Additionally, living alone with an Alzheimer’s patient means that in the event the caregiver becomes incapacitated in some way, he or she may not receive emergency assistance in a timely fashion. PBE’s Safe at Home emergency system reduces this risk. Caregivers can wear a fall detection pendant that automatically triggers a call to emergency services in the event of a fall.

Neglecting their own health

Finally, caregivers are often so busy that they neglect their own health. Caregivers are less likely to keep up with annual preventative check-ups and more likely to miss doctors appointments. They often lack the time and energy to prepare proper meals for themselves or exercise. Sleep can be interrupted as well. Also, chronic stress has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

If you are a caregiver, make sure that you are aware of the risks and that you take time out for self-care. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Keep in mind that if you’re not healthy, you can’t care for your loved one either.

What can we do to support the caregivers in our lives?

Give them a break

If you know someone caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, you can help by offering to give the caregiver a breather. Why not stop by to cook a healthy meal? Or offer to sit with the Alzheimer’s patient while the caregiver goes for a walk or to see a movie? Even a short break can do a lot to lift everyone’s spirits.

Encourage relaxation techniques

Your loved one ‘in the trenches’ might not realize how important it is to recharge from time to time. Caregivers take up the mantle of “soldiering on” and sometimes need a gentle reminder that relaxation is as important as keeping up with daily tasks. Encourage mom to set aside some time each day (multiple times a day, if possible) to do something just for her. Reading a good book, sitting to pray or meditate, or engaging in her favorite hobby are all great options.

Encourage them to get moving

Physical movement is one of the best ways to improve your mood and reduce stress. Movement increases blood flow and jumpstarts the metabolism. This is an activity that a caregiver can do together with his patient too. There are many exercises that can be done safely while sitting in a chair. That mobility is difficult is no excuse to become completely sedentary.

Offer a hand

Because caregivers are responsible for the care of another, psychologically, it is difficult to ask for help, even if help is desperately needed. Caregivers may be afraid to impose on others or worried that the request will be rejected or resented. So one of the best ways to offer support is simply by showing a willingness to pitch in. Ask the caregiver if they’d like help and in what way you can be most helpful.

Despite the fact that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on people with Alzheimer’s are so familiar, the effects on family members and especially, caregivers often go unnoticed. This month, let’s make ourselves aware of ALL the risks and take steps to help the caregivers in our lives.

PBE is ready to do our part. Our affordable services make independent living safe for both those being cared for and those providing care. Contact us today.

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

Beyond Candy Crush: How the Internet Can Help Seniors Age in Place

It is tempting to think of the Internet as little more than the land of cat videos, but have you Elderly Using Internetever stopped to think about how important it can be in the lives of seniors wishing to “age in place?”

Studies show that 90% of seniors want to continuing to live at home for the next five to 10 years. However, the risks of leaving an older adult home can be a source of stress for the whole family. Fortunately, today’s technology can provide peace of mind for families and help elderly loved ones age independently.

Here are four ways the Internet can help seniors maintain their independence:

  1. Basic Needs Delivered to the Door: Driving, getting in and out of the car, and standing in line all become more of a challenge as we age. So, being able to fill prescriptions, order groceries, and shop for other needs online in comfort is a huge benefit. Pharmacies send email reminders for prescription refills. Online grocery stores allow you to set up recurring lists for easy reordering and if your loved one is not comfortable using the computer or going online, you can place the order for them.
  1. Maintaining Health: One key factor to extending time living at home is maintaining proper overall health. Many seniors have important daily health regimens including taking certain medications at certain times of the day; checking blood sugar levels; doing regular blood pressure monitoring; etc. There are mobile health tools available to help keep patients on track, such as “smart” pill bottles that know when you’ve taken your medication and sound an alarm when you have missed a pill. (By the way, PBE can provide medication reminders and dispensers.) Loved ones can also have their health questions answered quickly by doctors, pharmacists, and nurses via online chat.
  1. Meaningful Emotional Contact: Another essential element to staying independent, healthy, and happy as we age is keeping in touch with others. Feeling lonely can have a serious negative effect on our health. But having the chance to connect face-to-face by chat video with long distance grandchildren or friends definitely boosts morale. More and more seniors are becoming tech savvy enough to communicate using smartphones, tablets, or computers, but if your loved one needs initial training, help is available. The good people over at TechMoxie provide classes and coaching sessions for over-55 communities. Making visual communication readily available will be well worth the effort.
  1. Help in Emergencies: Caregivers are reasonably concerned about their loved ones falling while home alone. One out of three adults, age 65 and older, falls each year. A fall can be a major threat to independence resulting in serious injury and the need for hospitalization. Personal emergency response systems like the suite of products PBE provides allow users to quickly and easily call for help in an emergency. These personal safety devices connecting users to medical help using the Internet and GPS, provide peace of mind at the touch of a button.

Today’s seniors have many technological options available to help them continue to enjoy their independent and active lifestyles. The future looks bright. Are you ready to take your parents’ safety and independence to a new level? Contact PBE today.

Get Up! Get Out! Get Safe Everywhere!

Can you feel it? Spring is just around the corner! Spring Exercise for Elderly

Here in the DC area, that means the cherry blossoms will be blooming (and earlier than normal, since we had an unusually warm winter); the kids will be rolling the eggs around on the White House Lawn as the Obama family looks on for the last time; and the National Cathedral’s annual Flower Mart will be delighting garden enthusiasts and families as it has done for decades and decades.

Whether you have plans to take in some of the big events around the area or just take a quick stroll through your neighborhood, fresh air is just what we all need after being cooped up inside for the better part of the past couple of months. The expression “a breath of fresh air” might be something we often say without thinking about it too much, but the benefits of a little outdoor activity are very real. And for seniors, it is especially beneficial to get moving and get outdoors.

Here are just some of the mental and physical benefits for seniors of getting outdoors:

  1. Being outdoors increases your Vitamin D levels: Vitamin D is essential for fighting inflammation, keeping bones healthy, and improving the immune system, all of which are extremely important for keeping older adults in good health. Unfortunately, a large proportion of older Americans have low Vitamin D levels. The good news is spending just 15 minutes a day in the sun can help your body get its daily recommended amount of Vitamin D.
  1. Being outdoors improves your mood: Studies show that spending time outdoors can reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and help you beat the winter blues. Group nature walks have been linked to better mental health and lower levels of stress too. This is especially beneficial for older adults who commonly suffer from anxiety and depression. So regularly spending time in green spaces like parks is an easy way to help seniors feel more relaxed and overall happier.
  1. Being outdoors improves your concentration levels: Viewing nature has effects that are similar to meditation, according to psychologists. Interacting with nature has been shown to improve memory and attention. The theory here is that getting outside gives the brain a break from everyday over-stimulation and has a restorative effect resulting in improved focus. Why not consider taking the older adults in your life on a trip to the countryside this spring?
  1. Being outdoors helps you sleep better: Scientists agree that spending too much time in artificial light (think those fluorescents in hospitals or the light emanating from your computer screen) leads to a less restful sleep. By contrast, natural light helps the body better regulate its internal clock making you more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night. Do you or someone you know regularly use sleeping pills? Why not try a little natural light sleep therapy?

As the temps warm and the sun shines more brightly, it is a good idea for all of us to make it part of our daily routines to get outdoors for at least 30 minutes. For older adults, getting out and about can be challenging. But PBE’s Safe Anywhere service has you and your loved ones covered. So, go confidently into the outdoors this spring. Your body will thank you!

Stay On Top of Monthly Home Maintenance for Safety

The beginning of the year is a great time to start forming new good habits. This is, of course, a Home Maintenance big reason why making New Year’s resolutions is such a popular thing to do. It’s also a good time to plan to do the things you have been putting off during the holidays or perhaps even longer.

Have you been meaning to make an appointment to have your knee checked? Have you been meaning to check your credit report? Have you been neglecting certain things around your home?

There is perhaps no better time to develop a monthly home maintenance and safety plan. Remember that appliances around your home, just like your car or your computer, need regular maintenance. Being aware of the working condition of your appliances can help you avoid major problems down the road.

Also, if you can schedule maintenance for a regular time of the month, you are more likely to follow through. For example, on the third Saturday of each month mark your calendar (or set up your phone) with a reminder to do monthly home maintenance. If you check back with PBE’s blog each month, we’ll remind you too (but not in a nagging way).

Each month during the year, keep the following maintenance checklist in mind:

  1. Test and check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Test the operating condition of any alarm systems or devices. Consider installing an alarm system if you don’t have one already.
    • If you need help installing or testing any PBE products, call us at 800-556-3572 or email info@pbehelp.com.
  3. Make sure you know where you have stashed flashlights for emergencies and check their batteries. Keep back-up batteries close by.
  4. Check, clean, or replace filters where needed. For example, in furnaces or air conditioning units, at return vents, on air purifier machines, etc.
  5. Remove sediment in hot water heater by draining two gallons of water or have a professional check it.
  6. Replace the carbon cartridge on water filters.
  7. Inspect fire extinguishers for proper working condition and check gauge for the charge.
  8. Check fireplaces for creosol buildup and check for damage to the stovepipe if you have one on the chimney.
  9. Check breaker box or have a professional check it, especially if fuses blow or trip often.
  10. Inspect for gas leaks in any gas appliances including furnaces, burners, ovens, etc.

If thinking about tackling the whole list feels a bit overwhelming, plan to do two items each month or every couple of weeks. That’s a great start. We will draw your attention to two items in each of our monthly blog posts throughout the year. So, have you tested the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors lately? Are your alarm system and medical alert devices operating properly? Feel free to contact PBE if we can be of service.

Let’s make 2016 our safest year yet!

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.