15 Ways to Take Care of Elderly Parents

Few people fully anticipate the task of taking care of elderly parents — but plenty seem to deny that it’s coming. Sooner or later, avoidance can thrust adult children into the caregiver role with a shotgun start. A parent’s slip in the bathroom or a collision caused by a mistake in the driver’s seat can precipitate a deluge of anguished decisions and rapid changes you’re not ready to handle.

care of elderly parents

Care of elderly parents.

Here’s a game plan.

 

Keeping Them Socially Connected

As the losses associated with aging mount, many seniors become isolated and are at risk of suffering from depression. Some ways to make sure they stay engaged with the world:

Get them involved

No longer managing the demands of child rearing or a career, many seniors have—for the first time—the opportunity to contribute the wisdom amassed over decades. Look for ways to get them to ‘give back.’

Find shared meals

Some seniors have difficulty with meal preparation or simply lose interest in food if they’re feeling depressed. So-called congregate meals, which often take place at senior centers and may include transportation, provide a helping of the social interaction everyone needs. Meals on Wheels can be found in their area on www.mealcall.org.

Keep them mobile

Surrendering the car keys—or losing a spouse who did all the driving—can bring about an emotionally devastating loss of independence.

 

Care of elderly parents … Safeguarding Health and Safety 

Health and safety

Health and safety.

It’s now known that regular exercise can protect older people against disease and make them functionally younger by 10 or 15 years. Indeed, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association have recently published exercise guidelines for seniors that call for several workouts a week.

Some additional precautions:

Work with the pharmacy. “Poor medication management is the No. 1 reason for leaving an independent living situation and going into supervised care,” says Elinor Ginzler, coauthor of Caring for Your Parents: The Complete AARP Guide. Most pharmacies can repackage pills that should be taken together in a “calendar card,” an easy-to-use blister pack.

Get help behind the wheel

For parents, the idea of stopping can be daunting and depressing, and it can inspire the most vehement, stubborn refusal. But bodies stiffen, reaction time diminishes, and cognitive abilities may wane. When driving gets dangerously erratic, a serious talk about hanging up the keys becomes necessary.

Draw up the documents

All adults—but especially older ones—are advised to designate a healthcare power of attorney, also known as a health proxy, which is the person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re unable; create a living will, which (unlike a will that designates assets after death) details such things as the circumstances in which you wouldn’t want a feeding tube to keep you alive; and consider talking to a doctor to decide if you want a do-not-resuscitate order, which instructs healthcare providers in the event the heart or lungs stop. A state-specific healthcare proxy and a living will can be downloaded free from www.caringinfo.org.

 

Preparing the Home

The vast majority of senior citizens want to live out their days in their homes—and without being a burden on their kids. Planning ahead greatly raises your odds of making it happen.

Consider hiring a pro

A knowledgeable, neutral professional can assist from the start, even when your parents are still living at home. Locate an expert through the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers to help navigate everything from finding a companion service for Dad to identifying a mediator to help settle family differences over caregiving choices.

Keep track with technology

Helping your parents remain in their home may be realistic but typically requires at least a few adjustments to keep them comfortable and safe. Savvy families are deploying products like QuietCare, which relies on strategically placed motion sensors, to maintain tabs on their elders.

Remove booby traps

The National Association of Home Builders has certified aging-in-place specialists who can consult and make structural changes. Extras that you or a specialist might install, says Meri-K Appy of the Home Safety Council, include anti-scald devices for showers and faucets (like H2O Stop, a new product) that protect older skin, which is quick to sustain severe burns; alternatively, set water heaters to “low” or at 120 degrees.

Carbon monoxide detectors are recommended since elderly people are sensitive to even small concentrations of the deadly gas. Special smoke detectors with strobe lighting or a vibrate feature can wake them up when conventional devices wouldn’t—new research suggests the latter are set at frequencies that many elderly people can’t hear.

Visit frequently

Keep an eye out for subtle changes: Are the plants watered? Is unopened mail piling up? Do they have bruises suggesting they may have fallen? Enlist your family and your parents’ trusted neighbors to check in.

 

Protecting Finances

Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to financial distress once they’re living on a fixed income and experiencing some cognitive decline.

Here’s how you can help:

Discuss the money

The World War II generation tends to guard financial information and independence, driving some proud seniors to foolhardy measures.

Durable power of attorney

Another document to complete is a durable power of attorney, which names a person who will control Mom’s finances if

Find extra money 

The National Council on Aging’s  benefitscheckup.org can direct people to assistance programs.

Protect against scams

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to telephone solicitations for phony investments, say, and to getting tricked into sharing their Social Security number. This year, officials reported a spate of deceptive sales of Medicare Advantage plans. It’s a good idea to have parents get their credit report checked;  …  issuing agencies—TransUnion is capable.

well being

What You Should Know About BenefitsCheckUp

Have you ever heard of BenefitsCheckUp? Or perhaps the Nation Council on Aging? If not it is time to learn.

National Council on Aging

National Council on Aging.

BenefitsCheckUp is a free service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a nonprofit service and advocacy organization in Arlington, VA.

Many adults over 55 need help to pay for prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other essential needs. There are over 2,500 federal, state and private benefits programs available to help. But many people don’t know these programs exist or how they can apply.

BenefitsCheckUp asks a series of questions to help identify benefits that could save you money and cover the costs of everyday expenses.

After answering the questions, you will get a report created just for you that describes the programs you may get help from. You can apply for many of the programs online, or you can print an application form.

Here are the types of expenses you may get help with:

  • Medications
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Legal
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • In-home services
  • Taxes
  • Transportation
  • Employment Training

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner

benefitscheckup

benefitscheckup

to help older adults meet the challenges of aging. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.

 

keeping seniors engaged

 

Brain Networks that Keep Memory Skills Youthful

Senior adults with above average memory skills for their age—so-called  “super agers”—have distinct differences in brain networks compared to their normal peers. NIA-funded researchers identified two brain network regions that remain robust in super agers and may enable them to perform on memory tests as well as middle-aged people and even young adults.

Brain networks

brain networks

Brain networks.

Brain atrophy, characterized by a loss in cortical thickness, is common with aging. Researchers led by Dr. Brad Dickerson at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, explored these brain volume differences in super agers, in part to discover whether cortical thickness in older people could predict memory performance. Their findings were published in the Sept. 14, 2016, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Study results

In the study, 41 young volunteers (mean age mid-20s) and 40 older participants (mean age mid-to-late 60s) underwent memory testing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs)

functional brain networks

Functional brain networks.

to measure brain volume.  Based on the memory tests, researchers identified 17 super agers. Compared to their peers, the super agers showed little to no loss of cortical volume of brain regions within the default mode and salience networks that are important to memory storage, attention, encoding, and retrieval.  Notably, in some super agers, these regions were so well preserved that they were indistinguishable from the young volunteers. The researchers also found that the hippocampus—a brain region important for learning and memory—was well preserved in the super agers.

Future research

More research is needed to understand better the factors that may lead to resilience against an age-related cognitive decline in people with above average memories as they age. Additional studies could also elucidate whether and how memory and cortical thickness in cognitive super agers change over time.

 

well being

 

Selecting the Best Home Care Provider

Wood Home Care is often asked what you should look for in selecting the best home care provider. That is a very good question. Here are our thoughts.

best home care provider

Looking for the best home care provider?

The first step to finding the right kind of home care agency is determining what level of care is needed. There are two main categories of in-home care services: skilled care, which provides for medical needs, and custodial care.

 

Custodial care may include environmental assistance help with housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation and the like or personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Some agencies only provide one type of care; others may include both types. Different types of home care companies may work together to provide an integrated system of services for a care recipient

 

Once you acquire the names of several providers, you will want to learn more about their services and reputations. Following is a checklist of questions to ask providers and other individuals who may know about the provider’s track record. Their insight will help you determine which provider is best for you or your loved one.

 

  • Does this provider supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many providers furnish patients with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients, and caregivers alike.
  • How does this provider select and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies, benefits packages, and malpractice insurance?
  • Does this provider include the patient and his or her family members in developing the plan of care? Are they involved in making care plan changes?
  • Does this provider assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care patients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can the patient and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? How does the agency follow up on and resolve problems?
  • What are the financial procedures of this provider? Does the provider furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home care?
  • What procedures does this provider have in place to handle emergencies? Are its caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  • How does this provider ensure patient confidentiality?

 

In addition, ask the home care provider to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the provider’s quality of service.

 

Contact each reference and ask:

  • Do you frequently refer clients to this provider?
  • What sort of feedback have you gotten from patients receiving care from this provider, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?

 

Everyone has different family structures and support. In deciding your own options, take a look at your own family structure, culture, and the expectations you and family members might have. You may have already made alternate plans, preferring to keep family as little involved as possible.

 

Perhaps you and your family want to work out a system where caregiving by family is your primary support for staying in the home. Or it could be that work, health issues or location of your family may not make this feasible. Your family could live far away and prefer that you live with them or move close instead, which would mean giving up a local support system.

 

Lots of considerations, aren’t there?

Best Home Care provider

 

Aging Alone or with a Small Family: Questions to Consider

Are you a single person with few (or one) children? Or are you a single child with an aging parent or parents. Aging alone or with a small family creates some tough questions, doesn’t it?

aging alone

Aging alone.

Consider these questions:

Who will help you when you are growing old?

Even if you have enough money, who will help you manage your finances when you are no longer able?

Who can you count on to be a caregiver?

Don’t have an answer to those questions? Doesn’t give you a warm feeling, does it?

You are not alone (pun intended J)

Millions of seniors face a similar situation where they are by themselves or have few relatives to count on. And yes, one day they may need long term care and not inclined to choose leaving their home for a nursing home. They will need someone they can trust to help them manage their care and their money.

small family

Small family.

Consider this report from Kim Painter in USA Today:

— About 20 percent of U.S. women now reach their 50s without having children, up from 10 percent in the 1970s.

— One-third of middle-age adults are heading toward retirement years as singles, after never marrying, divorce or widowhood.

— Women are likely to be single or become single as they age, with more than 80 percent unmarried after age 85.

As Painter writes, “While many may treasure their independence, the problem is that, sooner or later, most people need help with health care and household tasks — help that most often is provided by spouses or grown children.”

A report on caregiving by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that “at least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are providing care and support to an older parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor who needs help because of a limitation in their physical, mental, or cognitive functioning.

well being

Good Senior Diets Start by Managing Sugar Intake

Most people know what a sugar packet looks like and feels like. Most sugar packets contain roughly four grams of sugar, so they are excellent objects to use to help visualize

managing sugar intake

Managing sugar intake.

just how much sugar is in foods that people are exposed to on a daily basis. Managing sugar intake holds the key to good senior diets.

 

Excess sugar is hazardous to a person’s health in various ways. It is known to deplete minerals in bones, stimulate aging and create wrinkles, contributes to obesity, harms dental health, triggers adrenal fatigue, and much more.

 

Experts say we’re basically shoveling sugar into our mouths by the spoonful, but what does that mean when it comes to eating sweet, antioxidant-rich fruits?

 

You know it’s in your soda, your protein bars, and your cereals. Heck, it’s even lurking in your marinara sauces and salad dressings! We’re talking about added sugar, of course. And this little ingredient is making a big impact on your waistline. The pervasiveness of added sweeteners in our diets is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

 

But in the epic rush to avoid sugar, many health-conscious consumers and low-carb dieters are starting to cut back on eating fruit.

Let’s start with this: Naturally occurring sugar is definitely preferable to the added kind. Still, you should have a general idea of how much you’re taking in each time you chow down on a smoothie or a fruit salad.

 

In general, fresh fruits are healthy, nutritious foods that are good sources of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. Further, they are instrumental in maintaining a net alkaline-yielding diet. Olives, dates, figs, and grapes were some of the first fruits to be domesticated, and pits from these fruits initially appear in the archeological record about 6,000 years ago in the Near East.

 

However, the common fruits we eat today bear little resemblance to their wild ancestors. Domesticated fruits are almost always larger, sweeter, and contain less fiber than their wild counterparts. Compare a Golden Delicious apple to a crab apple and you begin to get the picture.

 

Our recommendation to eat fresh fruits as your appetite dictates still holds for most people. However, if you are very much overweight or are insulin resistant, it is important that you initially limit high sugar fruits (grapes, bananas, mangos, sweet cherries, apples, pineapples, pears and kiwi fruit) from your diet until your weight starts to normalize and your health improves. Try to include more vegetables in lieu of the high-sugar fruit.

 

However, the old adage is still true: too much of anything isn’t a good thing. While there are many benefits of eating fruit, we still want to be mindful of how much fruit we’re eating because it does contain sugar.  It’s not “added sugar,” but the sugar in fruit can still have the same blood-sugar-spiking effect if eaten in excess.

 

We usually recommend getting in 2-3 servings daily, and keeping it to a serving at a time—and yes, that goes for smoothies as well. Smoothies can be large whacks of carbs and sugar, especially if there’s no protein or healthy fat that acts similarly to fiber to slow digestion and prevent blood sugar from spiking.

 

commitments

Here Is What You Need To Know about Dementia

Do you have senior parents or friends? If you do, then you need to know about dementia. In this article, we will share what we can.

What is dementia? 

dementia

Dementia.

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thinking, communicating, and memory.

Possible causes of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading cause of dementia
  • brain damage due to injury or stroke
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia

Symptoms of dementia   

Know about dementia

Know about dementia.

If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, don’t immediately conclude that it’s dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.

In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:

  • language
  • communication
  • focus
  • reasoning

Know about dementia … subtle short-term memory changes

Trouble with memory can be an early symptom of dementia. The changes are often subtle and tend to involve short-term memory. An older person may be able to remember events that took place years ago but can’t remember what they had for breakfast.

Other symptoms of changes in short-term memory include forgetting where they left an item, struggling to remember why they entered a particular room or forgetting what they were supposed to do on any given day.

Know about dementia … difficulty finding the right words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Changes in mood

A change in mood is also common with dementia. If you have dementia, it isn’t always easy to recognize this in yourself, but you may notice this change in someone else. Depression, for instance, is typical of early dementia.

Along with mood changes, you might also see a shift in personality. One typical type of personality change seen with dementia is a shift from being shy to outgoing. This is because the condition often affects judgment.

Apathy

Apathy, or listlessness, commonly occurs in early dementia. A person with symptoms could lose interest in hobbies or activities. They may not want to go out anymore or do anything fun. They may lose interest in spending time with friends and family, and they may seem emotionally flat.

Difficulty completing normal tasks

A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.

Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

Confusion

Someone in the early stages of dementia may often become confused. When memory, thinking, or judgment lapses, confusion may arise as they can no longer remember faces, find the right words, or interact with people normally.

Confusion can occur for some reasons and apply to different situations. For example, they may misplace their car keys, forget what comes next in the day, or have difficulty remembering someone they’ve met before.

A failing sense of direction

The sense of direction and spatial orientation commonly starts to deteriorate with the onset of dementia. This can mean not recognizing once-familiar landmarks and forgetting regularly used directions. It also becomes more difficult to follow a series of directions and step-by-step instructions.

Being repetitive

Repetition is common in dementia because of memory loss and general behavioral changes. The person may repeat daily tasks, such as shaving, or they may collect items obsessively.

They also may repeat the same questions in a conversation after they’ve been answered.

When to see a doctor

 Forgetfulness and memory problems don’t automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing some dementia symptoms that aren’t improving, talk with a doctor.

They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved one’s physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:

  • a complete series of memory and mental tests
  • a neurological exam
  • blood tests
  • brain imaging tests

Can you prevent dementia?

You can take steps to improve cognitive health and reduce your seniors’ risk. This includes keeping the mind active with word puzzles, memory games, and reading. Being physically active, getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, and making other healthy lifestyle changes can also lower your risk. Examples of lifestyle changes include stopping smoking if you smoke and eating a diet rich in:

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains

You can also reduce your risk by increasing your intake of vitamin D. According to the Mayo Clinic; some researchers suggest that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

How to Find Seniors’ Safety Sweet Spots

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries among people age 65 and older? We need to pay attention to finding seniors safety sweet spots. Two categories of factors contribute to these falls:

Personal factors, which include muscle weakness, balance problems, limited vision and certain medications

safety_for_seniors

Safety for seniors.

Seniors safety sweet spots

Environmental factors, which include home hazards such as loose rugs, poor lighting (especially on stairs) and a lack of stair railings or grab bars in the bathroom

 

To stay safe, pay attention to these tips and facts:

Many falls happen when you lose your balance. Exercising regularly and rising slowly after eating, sitting or lying down can help avoid dizziness and loss of balance.

 

Improper use and handling of medication can create serious safety concerns. Check medication expiration dates on all prescription and over-the-counter medications – and follow all directions.

 

Store medications in their original containers. If you must transfer medications to different containers, mark the new container clearly – and don’t forget to transfer the expiration date.

 

Make sure that you can open all doors and windows in your home. Locks and pins should open easily from inside. (Note that some apartment and high-rise buildings have windows designed not to open.) If you have security bars on doors or windows, they should have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened easily. These devices won’t compromise your safety, but they will enable you to open the window from inside in the event of a fire.

 

Keep a telephone nearby, along with emergency phone numbers so that you can communicate with emergency personnel if you’re trapped in your room by fire or smoke.

Are medications labeled and stored in their proper containers? Do you have old prescription drugs mixed in with the new? These common practices in homes pose potentially dangerous health hazards.  Whereas some medications still retain their potency after expiration dates, many do not and should be disposed of. Old liquid antibiotics, drugs comprised of organic ingredients and those requiring refrigeration should be safely discarded.

 

Be sure to store medications in a cool, dark, dry place; the bathroom does not fit that category. A better place is an airtight plastic container on a shelf in your closet.

 

Trips and falls are likely to happen when you accumulate too much “stuff.” Reduce the risk by removing unnecessary and obstructive items (including furniture) from your regular walking path and place them in storage. Make maintaining a clear walkway in every room of the house or apartment a top priority.  And either tape carpet edges or throw rugs to the floor or get rid of them entirely.

 

In the kitchen, remove infrequently used appliances off the counter, organize cabinets, create front row spaces for frequently use items, and clear out the refrigerator and pantry of stale food.

 

For seniors with reduced strength or mobility challenges, doing household chores may seem like a monumental task. Never try to move furniture or heavy objects on your own.  Don’t stand on a chair or ladder to clean hard to reach spots or change light bulbs. Use cordless cleaning tools and lightweight equipment which are easier to use.

seniors safety sweet spots

Seniors safety sweet spots.

Prevention safety for senior citizens

Prevent unnecessary falls and improve your safety by making yourself aware of the environmental hazards. Then take action to have them corrected by:

Installing secure handrails and bright lights with switches at the top and bottom of stairways

 

Repairing loose or uneven steps, checking stairs for worn or loose carpeting and installing anti-slip treads

 

Always wearing shoes with traction and making sure throw rugs are placed over rug liners with non-skid backing so that you avoid throughout the house

 

Installing grab bars for the toilet, bathtub, and shower, and using non-slip mats or decals on ceramic surfaces both inside and outside the tub

 

Installing nightlights in areas you frequent at night. Also, consider keeping a flashlight near your bed

 

Storing frequently used items on lower shelves in the kitchen to limit the use of stools or stepladders. If you must use a step stool, use one with a bar to hold onto.

 

keeping seniors engaged

Keeping seniors engaged.

Thinking Healthy for Senior Eating Habits

As we age, senior eating habits can improve mental acuteness, energy levels, and resistance to illness. A healthy diet can also be the key to a positive outlook and stay

senior eating habits

Senior eating habits.

emotionally balanced. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh, tasty food, wholesome ingredients, and eating with friends and family.

 

No matter your age or your previous eating habits, it’s never too late to change your diet and improve the way you think and feel. Improving your diet now can help you:

 

Live longer and stronger – Good nutrition boosts immunity, fights illness-causing toxins, keeps weight in check, and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, and cancer.

 

Sharpen your mind –People who eat fruit, leafy veggies, and fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidant-rich green tea may also enhance memory and mental alertness as you age.

 

Feel better – Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a boost to your mood and self-esteem. It’s all connected—when your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.

 

Here are tips to help you find the best foods for your body and your budget.

Know what a healthy meal looks like

You might remember the food pyramid, but the USDA recently unveiled a simpler way to help people see what they should eat each day. It’s called MyPlate. The simple graphic shows exactly how the five food groups should stack up on your plate. These are the building blocks for a healthy diet.

healthy diets for seniors

Healthy diets for seniors.

Look for important nutrients

Make sure you eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your plate should look like a rainbow—bright, colored foods are always the best choice! A healthy meal should include:

  • Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
  • Fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green, and purple)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
  • Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives)

Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Also, look for Vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.

 

Important vitamin and minerals

Water – As we age, some of us are prone to dehydration because our sense of thirst is may not be as sharp. Remember to sip water regularly to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation, and even confusion.

Vitamin B – After the age of 50, your stomach produces less gastric acid making it difficult to absorb vitamin B-12—needed to help keep blood and nerves healthy. Get the recommended daily intake (2.4 mcg) of B12 from fortified foods or a vitamin supplement.

Vitamin D – With age, our skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D, so consult your doctor about supplementing your diet with fortified foods or a multivitamin, especially if you’re obese or have limited sun exposure.

 

 Study the Nutrition Facts labels

The healthiest foods are whole foods. These are often found on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat, and dairy sections. When you do eat packaged foods, be a smart shopper! Read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.

 

Use recommended servings

To maintain your weight, you must eat the right amount of food for your age and body. The American Heart Association provides recommended daily servings for adults aged 60+.

 

Senior eating habits … stay hydrated

Water is an important nutrient too! Don’t let yourself get dehydrated—drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tea, coffee, and water are your best choices. Keep fluids with sugar and salt to a minimum, unless your doctor has suggested otherwise.

Stretch your food budget

Want to get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you afford healthy food when you need it. Over 4 million older Americans use SNAP to buy food, and the average senior receives $113 each month.

Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org/getSNAP to see if the program can help you.

home care

Planning Quality of Life for your Seniors

For each person, planning quality of life is different and deeply personal. One person may define the quality of life as enjoying the beauty of a sunset. Another person

planning quality of life

                   Planning quality of life.

may describe it as sharing a holiday celebration with family; worshipping at a church, synagogue or mosque; playing a game of bridge; washing a car; listening to music or solving a crossword puzzle. Each person has a unique standard of what has value and what gives quality to life.

Each person’s definition of quality of life may include different factors such as:

  • Social relationships
  • Religious beliefs and spirituality
  • Cultural values
  • The ability to think, make decisions and have control in one’s daily life
  • Physical and mental health
  • Living arrangements
  • A sense of community
  • Financial and economic circumstances.

 

living arrangements

Living arrangements.

 

For those of us who participate in the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias should understand that, despite changes and loss of abilities, individuals with the disease can still find pleasure and experience satisfaction.

Planning quality of life … keeping seniors engaged

There is no doubt that engaged seniors are more alert and happy. Our home aides are

keeping seniors engaged

Keeping seniors engaged.

trained to be good conversationalists and to work on keeping seniors involved in multiple ways consistently.

Our minds, just like our bodies, need exercise to remain flexible and agile. And just as weak muscles increase the risk of falls; an under-exercised brain can lead to confusion, depression and even an increased risk of developing Dementia.

 

Seniors with dementia

Influencing your quality of life:

As the disease progresses, you will lose abilities that you may consider important to the quality of life. Some people think that quality of life is lost once a person is diagnosed with dementia. Others feel that quality of life can be maintained well into the disease process. The disease, however, does not remove your ability to appreciate, respond to and experience feelings such as anger, fear, joy, love or sadness.

While your symptoms are mild to moderate, you will likely know what gives you happiness and contributes to your sense of well-being. You might like to seek help to adapt to changing abilities and participate in meaningful activities. Remember that once you can no longer make choices or decisions, caregivers, family members or health-care providers will need to make decisions for yours, so it is important to talk to them and let them know your wishes.

For family members and caregivers

 

Determining someone else’s quality of life: Determining how another person would define the quality of life is not easy, but it is crucial. Avoid imposing your personal values and interpretation of quality of life on someone else. The abilities and interests of someone with dementia will change over time. However, every effort should be made, especially as the disease progresses, to provide an optimum quality of life for the person. Recognizing her abilities, interests and life-long skills helps to maintain and enhance her quality of life.

Effects of caregiving:

Many caregivers derive a sense of satisfaction and growth from caregiving but may have difficulty balancing their needs and those of the person with the disease. The tasks and responsibilities of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can have powerful and adverse effects on the quality of life of family members and caregivers. The degree to which their quality of life is affected may be influenced by:

  • Nature (parent, spouse, friend, lover) and strength of the relationship between the person with dementia and the caregiver
  • The personalities of the person with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver, and the ability of each to adapt to changes caused by the disease
  • The psychological, physical, spiritual and financial resources of the caregiver
  • Other day-to-day roles and expectations, such as being an employee, parent, business person, volunteer
  • The caregiver’s location and place of residence, about that of the person with Alzheimer’s disease
  • The opinions, views, and demands of people outside the caregiving relationship
  • A health-care system that seems to be placing more responsibilities on caregivers while providing less and less support.

 

Young children in a caregiver’s family may find their quality of life affected, as they may need support and attention that the caregiver is unable to give.

As family members and caregivers, you need to find the balance between your quality of life and the quality of life of the person you are caring for. If you can’t, those close to you should help you recognize this need for balance. If you don’t find the balance, the quality of life of both you and the person with the disease may suffer.

 

well being