Tag Archives: Senior Living

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 a Tip or Bonus.

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.

There are few more universal crowd-pleasing gifts than unexpected cold, hard cash. But while we are used to tipping hairdressers, taxi drivers, and waiters, we don’t always think about tipping our loved ones’ caregivers.

Here’s a handy quick guide for appropriate tips:

  • Housekeeper: A bonus of 50-100% of their usual fee along with a thank-you card or plate of cookies is a lovely gesture.
  • Dog-walker/pet-sitter: If you employ someone to look after your loved one’s dog or cat, show your appreciation for keeping the pet healthy and happy, when the family is unavailable to help out. The average tip falls between $35 and $60.
  • Senior Care Aide employed by agency: Make sure to check with the caregiver’s agency on their holiday tipping policy. If tips are not allowed, consider donating to a charity in your caregiver’s name or even giving directly to the agency itself.
  • Senior Care Aide employed by family: The standard etiquette for a caregiver employed by the family of an elderly person is to give one week’s salary as a holiday bonus. A gift card in that amount would also be appropriate.

Don’t forget to tip the ones who you appreciate the most during the season of thankfulness!

For more great caregiving ideas checkout PBE 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.

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.

 

Brain engagement: The Mental Side of Falls Prevention

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

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

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

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

Did you know…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting the proper functioning of our senses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip of the week: Keep your cool.

Did you know that even a small increase in body temperature could have a big effect on the
health of seniors dealing with chronic medical conditions? Heart patients, stroke victims, and overweight seniors, should take special precautions in the heat.

These tips will help you keep your cool in the late summer heat:

  • Staying active is still recommended, but be safe. If you want to venture outside for a walk, make sure to take a friend and head out early in the morning or in the evening after the sun Summer Heat and Elderlyhas started going down.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning at home, seek out cool public spaces during the hottest times of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Shopping malls, movie theaters, coffee shops, and public libraries are all good options.
  • Check with your local community center. Some communities set up special cooling centers during heat waves.
  • In the DC area, contact the DC Office on Aging to find out about programs available to assist seniors with fewer resources to get air conditioning and other safety services installed in their homes.

What is your favorite way to stay cool during the summer? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on LinkedIn.