Tag Archives: Senior Citizen

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+).

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+).