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.

The Needs of Caregivers: Family Caregiver Support Month

November is National Family Caregiver Support Month. While being focused on the needs of a family member—elder or otherwise—its easy to become overwhelmed with responsibility and struggle with all that goes with being a caregiver including fatigue, family struggles, and isolation from other relationships. The work of a caregiver is far from glamorous, but certainly it is noble and deserving of recognition.

In order for caregivers to truly be successful, self care must be implemented. Caregivers need to find time for rest, relaxation, and continue to have a focus on personal relationships so that there are opportunities to be restored and recharged. Family members who benefit from the support of their daughters, mothers, sons and fathers will also know when their caregiver is tired and drained—their care will be affected in some way.

There are programs available in most states through the National Respite Network that will help caregivers maintain their footing. Joining support groups or simply just locating others in similar life situations in social media groups can go a long way in helping a caregiver to know they aren’t alone. The opportunity to share about the struggles and joys of family care with those in similar situations is a solid step in the direction of self-care.

If you are a family caregiver or know someone who is, Bridge Care understands what it takes to step up an be that person if strength in what is never an easy situation. We are here to provide resources and to answer your questions as your family member’s needs increase. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing as a caregiver and let us know how we can be of assistance.

10 Ways to Help the Elderly Feel Less Lonely & Isolated

Everyone knows what it’s like to some degree, we’ve all experienced it. Loneliness is a feeling of emptiness, deprivation or even sadness. As our population ages, more and more senior citizens suffer from this dreaded infliction. What’s worse, the sense of isolation is more impactful even though it can also be present on a daily basis.

Loneliness is in a very real sense an emotional matter than can lead to other very serious situations—no matter the age or generation. But for the elderly, loneliness alongside generally poor health can just make matters worse. At any age a person can develop an eating disorder and fail to cope with stress and anxiety—and during the holiday season it only gets worse. This stress and anxiety serves in somewhat of a domino effect and can lead to sleep problems, depression, alcohol abuse, and even suicidal thoughts. All of this stress can cause physical calamities such as serious falls where bones may be broken.

The bottom line is, loneliness is a human problem and we all desire to feel connected. We know it is true about ourselves, so certainly the same is true for the elderly. (more…)

Avoiding the Confusion: Long Term Care & Skilled Care Questions

Facing the prospect of long-term care can be very confusing and even a daunting endeavor. It’s not uncommon for families to struggle with the questions of what facility their loved one will move into and how it will be paid for. I encounter these questions regularly when meeting with clients, so trust me—you aren’t alone if you’re wondering about these issues too.

Recently I was having lunch with a close friend who like me, is also a nurse. Even she struggled to get this kind of information together for her own parents. So we talked about the differences between long term care and skilled care.

As I explained to her, long term care (LTC) facilities will often accept private pay, Medicaid, and some long-term care insurances. Certain types of LTC’s may specialize in dementia care and have a secure unit for those clients who struggle with difficult behaviors and need closer monitoring. These facilities will be the home of your loved one until the end of their days—but you need to ask about the availability of hospice care should it become necessary for your loved one’s final days. (more…)

The Senior Care Industry is Booming…

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND!

There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs.

Let’s talk about Assisted Living/Supportive Living

  • Assisted Living
    • Typically for the resident 65 or older
    • Intermediate step between independent living and skilled (long-term) care
    • Some communities may specialize in Memory Care
    • Residents typically require some assistance with some personal care
      • Bathing, grooming dressing and or eating
      • Medication set up and reminders
      • Assistance to and from dining room
      • Minor medical care
    • 24 hour supervision is provided
    • Housekeeping and laundry typically included
    • Apartment/Studio style living
    • Communal meal dining -3 meals provided per day
    • Ala carte services may include
      • Extra help with beyond what staff can provide
        • Personal supervision
        • Assistance that is required on an hourly basis
      • Transportation services to appointment
    • Monthly fees can range from $2000-5000 per month
  • Supportive Living-
    • An alternative to nursing home care for low-income older persons and persons with disabilities under Medicaid.
    • Provides the same services as Assisted living with the financial support from Medicaid
    • Pre-screening has to be done prior for the future resident to be accepted to the community
    • This housing alternative is available to persons 65 or older and there are also communities that service the disabled adult 22 years and older.

As an Elder Care Consultant and Coach, I am here to assist you and your elder loved one as you navigate the world of Senior Housing. It is my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

What’s the Cost: Independent Living/Retirement Housing In a Nutshell

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND! There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs. Let’s talk about Independent Living/Retirement Housing.

  • Independent Living/Retirement Housing
    • Age 55 or older community
    • Apartment style, town home or small detached home
      • Amenities and Services may include-
        • Optional meal plans
        • Housekeeping
        • Activities
        • Transportation
        • Laundry
        • Library and Computer stations
        • Security
      • May have affiliation with a home care agency to provide personal care services, at the expense of the individual
      • Rates are monthly and typically based on size and location of the unit.
  • The cost-
    • Apartment- style rental units- $1000.00-4000.00 per month
    • Town Home or small detached home-Price is whatever the housing market is in that specific area-usually privately owned, with age requirements (usually 55 or better)
    • Some senior living communities may have allowed government subsidizing –if you qualify based on income and assets.
    • Most all costs can depend on amenities offered in that community

As an Elder Care Consultant and Coach, I am here to assist you and your elder loved one as you navigate the world of Senior Housing. It is my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

Next: Assisted Living and Supportive Living

 

 

In a Nutshell: What’s the Cost?

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND! There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs.

Lets’ talk about: In-Home Services:

  • In-Home- non skilled (also known as Private Duty Care)
    • Hourly services
      • Some agencies may have an hourly minimum
      • Maybe licensed or bonded or NOTL
      • Provide non-skilled services such as home-making, transportation, cooking and assist with bathing
      • Cost approximately $18.00-26.00 per hour
    • Live-in services
      • Provides 24 hour care
      • Perhaps a team of 1-3 different caregivers
      • May be licensed or bonded or NOTL
      • May or may not provide transportation
      • Provides non-skilled services as mentioned above
      • $150.00-250.00 per day
    • If agency is licensed and bonded you should expect the caregivers to be properly trained and screened along with supervised at least, monthly or as needed or requested.

As a Geriatric Care Manager, I know that the search can be overwhelming because of the many, many agencies out there. It is my my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

Let’s Talk About “IT”

Tender conversations are tough, especially with the ones closest to you. As we both know conversations that prepare and plan can be most valuable in the long run. So let’s talk about “it”—what are your senior loved ones’ desires when it comes to staying at home or moving to a senior community?

Aging safely in place is the main goal but it comes at a cost and needs to be planned for. Your loved one may want to adapt the house, have in-home help, or whatever else it might take to stay in their home. With that being said, let’s discuss the cost of in home care, possible stair lifts, ramps outside the home, safety features in the bathroom, etc. (more…)