Numerous studies have demonstrated the real impact of travel on adults. Men who take vacations once a year are over 30% less likely to die from heart disease. Women who take vacations twice a year are less likely to experience depression and more likely to have lower stress levels. Travel also provides people with the opportunity to expand their horizons and become more open-minded and emotionally stable. For elders, travel also offers numerous low-impact and high-impact ways to get moving and explore a new place.
Unfortunately, some of the potential challenges to senior travel often prevent retirees and elders from exploring the world around them. There are plenty of things that could go wrong, but planning ahead can offset many of them. To prepare for a trip this summer with your loved one:
Source: Ellen Platt, Options in Geriatric Care
The holidays are a time when family and friends often come together. But for families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the holidays can be challenging. Take a deep breath. With some planning and adjusted expectations, your celebrations can still be happy, memorable occasions.
In the early stage, a person with Alzheimer’s may experience minor changes. Some may withdraw and be less comfortable socializing while others may relish seeing family and friends as before. The key is to check in with each other and discuss options. A simple “How are you doing” or “How are you coping with everything?” may be appreciated. Plan the holidays together, focusing on the things that bring happiness and letting go of activities that seem overwhelming or stressful.
For people in the middle or late stages, consider rethinking holiday plans. Everyone is unique and finding a plan that works can involve trial and error.
The holidays are full of emotions, so it can help to let guests know what to expect before they arrive. If the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, relatives and friends might not notice any changes. But the person with dementia may have trouble following conversation or tend to repeat him- or herself. Family can help with communication by being patient, not interrupting or correcting, and giving the person time to finish his or her thoughts. If the person is in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s, there may be significant changes in cognitive abilities since the last time an out-of-town friend or relative has visited. These changes can be hard to accept. Make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person.
>> “I’m writing to let you know how things are going at our house. While we’re looking forward to your visit, we thought it might be helpful if you understood our current situation before you arrive.
>> “You may notice that ___ has changed since you last saw him/her. Among the changes you may notice are ___.
>> “I’ve enclosed a picture so you know how ___ looks now. Because ___ sometimes has problems remembering and thinking clearly, his/her behavior is a little unpredictable.
>> “Please understand that ___ may not remember who you are and may confuse you with someone else. Please don’t feel offended by this. He/she appreciates your being with us and so do we.”
>> “Please treat ___ as you would any person. A warm smile and a gentle touch on ___’s shoulder or hand will be appreciated more than you know.”
>> “We would ask that you call when you’re nearby so we can prepare for your arrival. With your help and support, we can create a holiday memory that we’ll all treasure.”
For more ideas on how to let others know about changes in your loved one, join ALZConnected, our online support community where caregivers like you share tips on what has worked for them.
A holiday is still a holiday whether it is celebrated at home or at a care facility. Here are some ways to celebrate together:
Source: Alzheimer’s Association alz.org/help-support/resources/holidays
At Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. we proudly care for our Veterans, their spouses and surviving spouses every day. Our commitment to their care is just one of the ways we demonstrate appreciation for their service to our country.
These heroes – our fathers, mothers, spouses, and friends, – may be eligible for benefits through the VA. To find out if these funds may be available to help you pay for long-term care, we encourage you to call:
Contact Carroll Dale for a free pre-filing consultation to check eligibility to understand how or if these funds can help pay for long-term care. A married couple can access over $2100/month, single veteran over $1800/month and a surviving spouse over $1200/month. You must have a medical need requiring assistance and a limited net worth.
Visit their website www.veteransbenefitsaidcounsel.com for a chat feature or private online inquiry.
Qualifying dates of service for Pension plus Aid and Attendance:
WWII: 12/7/1941-12/31/1946 Korea: 6/27/1950-1/31/1955
Vietnam: 12/28/1961-8/4/1964 (in country) Vietnam II: 8/5/1964-5/7/1975
90 days consecutive active duty days with 1 day falling in the listed time frames
Mideast Conflicts: 8/02/1990 to date
Two years active duty with 1 day falling in the listed time frame
We also invite you to visit the Family Staffing Solutions’ Veterans Corner
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 44 million Americans aged 50 and older either have or face the threat of developing osteoporosis due to low bone density levels. Projections put this number at more than 60 million by 2020. Across the world, a fracture due to osteoporosis happens about once every three seconds, causing nearly 9 million fractures—just from stress being put on weak bones.
Osteoporosis is treatable, reversible, and can be prevented for longer periods of time with the knowledge of what it is and how to attack it. So let’s dig into osteoporosis to find out what it is, how to notice it, its causes, and what to do once you or a loved one have it.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that causes the loss of bone mass and bone tissue. Over the course of your life, old bone is removed from your body through a process called resorption, and new bone replaces it through formation, according to the National Resource Center for Osteoporosis and Other Bone Diseases.
However, there comes a time when your body can no longer keep up with the amount of bone you are losing. Most humans reach their “peak bone mass” in their early 20s, and then your body slowly (very slowly) starts lose more bone than it creates. This process takes a long time, though, especially when it comes to impacting the strength of your bones. The resource center also says that the process of resorption usually starts to outpace the process of formation by the time you hit 30, whether you’re a man or a woman. In most cases, men develop more bone over the course of their lives than women do, which leaves women more susceptible to suffering from osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis has onset once your bones get to a point where they are brittle, weaker, and easily broken. There are little to no symptoms of the disease, so easily breaking a bone may be the first sign that you have osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a large reason why seniors falling is such a big deal. If bones become easier to break, they also become a lot harder to heal, because not as much bone is being created to heal the fracture. The longer bones take to heal—especially hips and legs—the longer the elderly have to stay in the hospital. Longer hospital stays have been proven to show increased rates of mortality. They’re are related to increased complications while you’re in the hospital, because you’re more likely to develop more issues the longer you stay. You can even reach a point where your bones are no longer able to completely heal themselves, which causes issues with normal daily routines for the rest of your life.
Osteoporosis can develop from a wide range of reasons, some of them medical (like autoimmune diseases, cancer and mental illness), and some of them from medications you take that can have bone loss as a side effect. This is why more than 10 million people have been officially diagnosed with osteoporosis. Let’s take a look at what exactly causes it to develop. Continue reading….
Yes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults age 50 or older be vaccinated. There is a new shingles vaccine on the market that is far superior to the older vaccine, so now is a great time to get vaccinated. Here is what you should know.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a burning, blistering, often excruciating skin rash that affects around one million Americans each year. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. The chickenpox virus that most people get as kids never leaves the body. It hides in the nerve cells near the spinal cord and, for some people, emerges later in the form of shingles.
In the U.S., nearly one out of every three people will develop shingles during their lifetime. While anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, it most commonly occurs in people over age 50 and people who have weakened immune systems. Note that you cannot catch shingles from someone else.
Early signs of the disease include pain, itching or tingling before a blistering rash appears several days later. The rash and symptoms can last up to four weeks. The rash typically occurs on one side of the body, often as a band of blisters that extends from the middle of your back around to the breastbone. It can also appear above an eye or on the side of the face or neck.
In addition to the rash, about 20% to 25% of those who develops shingles go on to develop severe nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN) that can last for months or even years. In rare cases, shingles can also cause strokes, encephalitis, spinal cord damage and vision loss.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new vaccine for shingles called Shingrix, which provides much better protection than the older vaccine, Zostavax. Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Shingrix is 97% effective in preventing shingles in people 50 to 69 years old, and 91% effective in those 70 and older.
By comparison, Zostavax is 70% effective for people in their 50s; 64% effective for those in their 60s; 41% effective for people in their 70s; and 18% effective for those in their 80s.
Shingrix is also better than Zostavax in preventing nerve pain that continues after a shingles rash has cleared — about 90% effective versus 65% effective.
Because of this enhanced protection, the CDC recommends that everyone age 50 and older receive the Shingrix vaccine, which is given in two doses, two to six months apart.
Even if you have already had shingles, you still need these vaccinations because reoccurring cases are possible. The CDC also recommends that anyone previously vaccinated with Zostavax be revaccinated with Shingrix.
You should also know that Shingrix can cause some adverse side effects for some people, including muscle pain, fatigue, headache, fever and upset stomach.
Shingrix — which costs around $280 for both doses — is (or will soon be) covered by insurance, including Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Be aware, however, that the shingles vaccines are not always well covered. So before getting vaccinated, call your provider to find out if it is covered and, if so, which pharmacies and doctors in your area you should use to ensure the best coverage.
If you do not have health insurance or are experiencing medical or financial hardship, you might qualify for GlaxoSmithKline’s Patient Assistance Program, which provides free vaccinations to those who are eligible.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of “The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.
Published May 11, 2018
Not only is proper Foot Care* important for Seniors, it can be a nice treat. Family Staffing Solutions discovered Cassie Harrington and Toes on the Go. Cassie brings her services to you!
Consider giving your loved one (and yourself too :-)) a Pedicure (or Manicure) for Mother’s Day or any day and make it part of your personal care routine. Even if your loved one is in Hospice care, Assisted Living or a Nursing Facility, Cassie Harrington with Toes on the Go will come to your location. You may be surprised how much you and your loved one will enjoy this. Contact Cassie at 615-886-8755 to arrange for your foot care. As Cassie says. “self care is a divine responsibility”.
As adults age, taking proper care of their feet can become challenging for a variety of reasons. However, the older we get, the more important foot health becomes. Seniors commonly experience poor circulation, mobility issues and changes to the foot itself, including increased dryness to skin and nails, which leave feet prone to injuries and potential infections. The good news is that most of these conditions can be prevented or treated with simple, proactive care regimens. Below are 3 of the most common foot conditions that plague seniors and tips on how they can be prevented.
1) Ingrown toenails – many seniors suffer from ingrown toenails and infections due to improper nail trimming techniques. The best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to regularly clip and file your nails. Nails should be cut straight across without curving on the edges. The speed of natural nail growth varies, but this routine should typically be completed every 3-4 weeks to lessen the risk of having toenails break, crack or become ingrown.
2) Corns & calluses – these sores are not only painful and unsightly, but they can become dangerous, especially for seniors with diabetes or other circulation issues.
3) Foot ulcers – diabetics who can’t properly take care of their feet due to neuropathy or mobility issues risk serious problems that can lead to amputation if left untreated. Untended cuts, fungus and dry cracked feet can eventually become infected and lead to foot ulcers. Don’t ignore any foot pain or signs of infection. If you are diabetic, schedule routine check-ups annually to ensure you maintain foot health.
The best thing you can do to ensure your feet stay healthy and avoid these three issues is to check them daily. Make sure you wash them every day with warm water but keep them dry throughout the day by wearing soft, absorbent socks. It’s also important to keep your feet moisturized but avoid applying lotion between toes since trapped moisture can increase the risk of fungal infection. If you have a sore or pain that doesn’t go away, promptly contact a medical professional. When it comes to your feet, it’s always better be proactive rather than reactive with care regimens.
*Source: Senior Directory.com
There are dozens of small adjustments and simple modifications to help make your mom’s home safer for little to no cost. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Since falls are the leading cause of home injury among seniors, a good place to start is by arranging or moving your mom’s furniture to create clear walking pathways throughout her home. Position any electrical and phone cords along the wall so they will not be tripping hazards. If she has throw rugs, remove them or use carpet tacks or double-sided tape to secure them. Don’t forget to pick up items on the floor that could cause her to trip, like papers, shoes or clothes.
In the bathroom, buy some non-skid rugs for the floors and a rubber mat or adhesive nonslip strips for the floor of the tub or shower. Also consider hiring a carpenter to install grab bars in and around the tub/shower and near the toilet for support.
Good lighting is a very important safety consideration. As such, make sure to check the wattage ratings on your mom’s lamps and light fixtures and install the brightest bulbs allowed. Purchase some nightlights for bathrooms and hallways that are used after dark. Also consider adding under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen and motion sensor lights outside near her driveway and by the home’s front and back doors.
If your mom has hand arthritis or problems gripping, install lever-style door handles or doorknob lever adapters, which are easier to use than traditional doorknobs. If her kitchen and bathroom faucets have twist knobs, consider replacing them with single lever, touch or sensor-style faucets. Also consider replacing knobs on cabinets and drawers with easier to grip D-shaped handles.
To help make your mom’s kitchen easier to use, organize her cabinets so the things she uses most often are within reach and at eye-level so that she does not need to crouch down or use a step-stool. Also, consider installing pull-out shelves beneath the counter and Lazy Susans in corner cabinets for easier access.
For easier and safer bathing, consider purchasing a shower chair and install a hand-held shower so your mom can bathe from a seated position, if necessary.
If your mom uses a walker or wheelchair, you can modify her house by installing ramps on entrance steps and mini-ramps to go over high thresholds. You can also install “swing-away” or “swing-clear” hinges on her doors to add two inches of width for easier access.
To keep your mom safe, set her hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent scalding water. If she has stairs, put handrails on both sides. Also, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of her house and place a lightweight, easy-to-use ABC-rated fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location in the kitchen.
For more tips, obtain a copy of AARP’s “HomeFit Guide,” which is filled with great recommendations. You can access it at AARP.org/homefit or call 888-687-2277 and request a free copy by mail.
Also note that all the previously mentioned products can be purchased either in local retail stores, home improvement stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores or online.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of “The Savvy Living” book.
For most of us Halloween holds childhood memories of dressing up, carving pumpkins and going door to door for candy and treats. And for many of our Elderly population this memory expands to giving out candy and treats to the costumed children at their door. However for some with Dementia and/or Physical limitations; Halloween may hold negative feelings and fear that can contribute to negative behaviors leading up to and on Halloween itself. In addition the security and safety factor of having strangers coming to the door in the twilight and evening hours is not conducive to a safe environment for elderly living alone. Keeping our elderly population as safe as possible on Halloween while still enjoying the holiday in their own way can be possible with a few considerations and interventions. To continue enjoying life safely is the goal!
My mother was one of those treat givers that the children loved to visit. She enjoyed watching the little faces and would open her door to anyone, even long into the late hours. Without going further you can imagine what real risks there are for an elderly woman alone opening her door up at night to total strangers. For my mother, the joy of giving out candy continued when she live in a secure community where children were invited, safety measures were followed and the doors were locked and staff protected her into the night. She continued to enjoy Halloween without previous risks.
On Halloween there can be an increase of safety and security concerns for elderly who live alone, and especially those with Dementia and/or Physical limitations. Contributing factors may include; decorations, falling leaves, wet pavements, decreased daylight hours, change in weather conditions, and more. Some of these risks can be avoided or minimized by carefully considering what adjustments can be made. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete approach to safety or recommendations, but instead just a few considerations as you prepare for Halloween with an Elderly person.
Halloween Safety Tips for the Elderly
Don’t leave an elderly person with Dementia or physical limitations home alone on Halloween…
Remember Halloween may not be a happy time for elderly with Dementia and may be scary, or create added stimulation from doorbell, knocks, noise outside. Be sensitive to what they can tolerate and do your best to keep them safe and enjoy the evening with you.
By; Pati Rader, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor®
Life Enrichment Specialist
Do you have a senior parent or loved one that lives alone, is independent, but you still worry and want to know that they are doing okay throughout the day?
Can technology give you the peace of mind to know that your loved one is okay while you are away?
While there are daily check-in call service programs available, most are automated and provide no personal communication. They simply assume that if the phone is answered then everything is fine. But, what if it’s not?
It’s only when the phone is not answered that a notification call is sent to you.
There are also many different monitoring devices that are available through today’s technology but they all lack the personal touch of one-on-one contact and communication
With Family Staffing Solutions’ “At Your Service” Phone Visits, we offer personal, not automated, calls to your loved one throughout the day and actually speak with them to find out how they are doing.
We will work with you to develop a schedule for placing the calls and well as establishing an Emergency plan—just in case.
We are dedicated to your active lifestyle and are here to help you care for those you love.
If you are interested in learning more about our Phone Visits, contact your local office today!
For more information on Discharge Planning visit Caregiver.org