Why Call Me?

In the world of being a mid-lifer and anticipating the enjoyment of being an empty-nester, here comes a surprise; my parents are in need of some serious help…. Who, what, where do I go? Call me.

As a geriatric care manager my role is to help guide you through the confusing and overwhelming role of elder health care by providing consultations and referral assistance specific to you and your aging loved ones needs.  All too often families have wasted their time calling the wrong resources and asking the wrong questions.  Regardless of where you live there is an elder care system in place, but you need to know who to call and what to ask.  When you call me, you get you to right place with the resources you need.  My initial assessment with you and your elder loved one gets me the specifics information I need to provide a plan of care that will include individualized recommendations and resources to ensure a safe and secure environment, whether it be in the home or in a senior living community.

The reality of aging may take us by surprise, especially with our loved ones.  As a neutral partner in the equation I can see the picture through a different lens.  I can ask those difficult questions and get to the heart of the matter.  Too often families wait until crisis mode arises to call for help.  When a consultation is done earlier and a plan of care put into place, emotions can be far less heightened and good healthy decisions will be made.  Aging is inevitable, how you can be prepared for the changes in your older parent, by accessing the resources that are the best in your situation, I am here to help—call me.

When to Start Planning for Nursing Home Care

Most elderly prefer to stay in their own homes, especially since the thought to move into a skilled care situation is often associated in their minds with end-of-life care. For many elderly, the move to a nursing home is a better option than remaining in their home for many reasons.

An elder is housebound.

If your elderly loved one is no longer getting around on her own, fulfilling such tasks as buying groceries, seeing the doctor, or visiting friends, it’s possible that her season of independence is coming to a close. Don’t hesitate to evaluate the situation because it is ultimately about the safety of your loved one. (more…)

Personal Belongings in the Nursing Home

It’s unfortunate but it’s the reality of things—personal items often get lost or even stolen in nursing homes. Things go missing over the course of care: clothing items can be misplaced when staff inadvertently supply them to the wrong patient or when patients with dementia-related issues take clothing or personal items from other patients. But there are ways to avoid most of these issues and guard against this particular problem when making the difficult decision to place a family member in a nursing home. (more…)

The Future of Elder Care: Planning for Reality

Long-term care is expensive and many people just don’t want to go into the type of nursing home they can afford…the kind which often features shared rooms, impersonal cafeterias, and overworked-underpaid staff. Everyone wants the ideal they’ve set up in their mind whether it is for themselves or their loved one…this is the facility where living feels like home, the staff all love what they are doing, and money is a concern for no one.

For many people, living at home will never be an option because of the oft needed situation of 24 hour care needs. What is a family to do?

The truth is, Americans are getting older and we as a nation still have not come to terms with it. By the year 2050, one-third of the U.S. population will be 65 or older, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Around 4 percent of the population will be 85 or older at that point, and more than half of them will have difficulty performing some of the basic activities of daily living including include bathing, dressing, eating, walking, transferring out of a bed or chair, and using the toilet. (more…)

Challenges in Senior Care as Americans Live Longer

Today, Americans can expect to live longer than at any other time in history. For example, by the time you reach the age of 65, some research suggests you might live on average another 19 years. This isn’t unheard of, but for our elderly community, staying healthy is what’s important to reach and exceed two or more decades beyond 65.

There are many health challenges that older adults face that are generally unlike the health concerns of younger people. Below are the top 5 health issues that often impact the elderly.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the top conditions if not these top condition people 65 and older often face. Affecting around 50% of men and women over 65, it can lead to pain and lower quality of life for seniors. While the condition makes it difficult to remain active,maintaining health at this stage in live is vitally dependent on activity. (more…)

Creating New Memories

While nursing homes and other long-term care facilities provide for a resident’s basic needs, they are often just that – basic. So when the holiday season comes around, there is an opportunity for churches and members of the community to come alongside families and reach out to nursing home residents. From the first day the holiday season commences in late October to the beginning of the new year several weeks later, any of us can find ourselves coping with loneliness, depression, or a simple case of the ba-humbugs. For those who are more dependent on facility caregivers or infrequent family visits, consider for a moment how the holiday season, especially Christmas, can bring about a sense of emptiness or be an opportunity for them to experience the joy that for some may only be a distant memory of holidays past. (more…)

Nobody Is an Island: Recognizing and Addressing Caregiver Fatigue

The holidays are supposed to be a time for family gatherings, parties, traveling, and opportunities to laugh and relax with the ones you love. For some, though, the holidays have different associations, like stress, anxiety, and isolation.

Caregivers can often feel stressed during the holiday season. While others are enjoying this time of year, caregivers may feel isolated as they focus on the care of a loved one. Caregivers selflessly provide around-the-clock, unpaid care to seniors and people with disabilities. They are tasked with accompanying their loved one to medical appointments, managing their medications, and handling their financial affairs, all while balancing their own obligations. (more…)

Managing Dementia in Hospice

hospiceWhen a family member moves into a hospice situation that is coupled with the heart-wrenching difficulties of dementia, it is a challenge not only for the caregivers but for the family as well. Its one thing to know that hospice is implemented only at the final stages of life, but it can be exhausting and emotionally trying as loved ones try to engage their family member with dementia while being part of the process that seeks to bring them peace and comfort in their final days.

For many, it is still unclear what hospice is. Hospice care is a specialized care that is designed to provide support for families during an advanced illness. Hospice care generally is focused on comfort and quality of life rather than cure because of advancement or degree of illness. The goal of hospice care is to enable the patient to have an alert, pain-free life and to live each day as fully as possible. It is a life-affirming manner of care and views death as a natural process.

Involved in hospice is the concept of palliative care which focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness. In the case of hospice patients dealing with dementia, this means finding ways to assist them emotionally and intellectually, not just dealing with the physical pain that might require care via medications. (more…)

Are You a Helicopter Child?

The term is generally only applied to parents. To be a ‘helicopter parent” is to be one who is excessively involved in the life of their child; overprotective and hovering, ready to swoop in for the rescue at the first sign of trouble. The term has mostly negative connotations because these parents don’t often give their children a chance to learn how to navigate certain challenges on their own. Some argue that helicopter parenting has led to a generation less apt to see a world beyond themselves—they are defined by their own self-indulgence.

But what does it mean to be a helicopter child? Keeping a close eye on aging parents may become a necessity in many families, but hovering too closely might also cause problems. (more…)

Make the Holidays Meaningful for Elder Friends & Family

turkey 500While the holidays can be filled with stress and be completely overwhelming, people generally have special memories of holidays past whether its the memory of kids opening gifts on Christmas morning or the large family gatherings around a robust turkey at Thanksgiving. Whatever memory it is, as everyone gets older the relationship between parent and child has a tendency to reverse. Elder friends and family, especially around the holidays, need to continue to feel they are a vital part of a family. Take the time to consider how to nurture the elderly during this holiday season and continue to make new memories.

Ways to Include Elders in the Celebration

  • Make plans to decorate with the help of your elder. Play music and offer warm beverages to encourage the festive atmosphere.
  • Make the activities multi-generational as much as possible.
  • Share moments discussing heirloom decorations while placing them on the tree or around the home.
  • Offer to help them write and mail their holiday cards. This can be a great opportunity to share family stories while providing real practical assistance.
  • Look for signs of sadness or a desire for isolation and be prepared to offer alternatives to make your elder friends and family feel relevant.
  • Be the holiday host so that your elder family members can enjoy a celebration without the burden of the work that goes with it. And let them help when they ask–those that desire to be nurturers don’t just shut off that aspect of their character.
  • Offer to shop and wrap gifts they want to present to their friends and family.
  • If your parent or friends live in assisted living or a nursing home, scale down the activities but definitely still do them. Help them to create a home-like atmosphere with some of their very own family treasures.

Reaching out to elder friends and family over the holidays can make a huge difference in how they continue day to day. Make every effort to accommodate their needs and make them feel like a relevant part of your life.