Monthly Archives: May 2011

Answering The Call

Family caregivers understand the apprehension that often comes with worrying about their senior parents…the anticipation of a midnight phone call can be nerve-racking for anyone. According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) even though seniors represent just over 13 percent of the population, they consume 40 percent of prescription drugs and 35 percent of all over-the-counter drugs…

Most often family caregivers don’t know what their loved ones’ are taking and to add to the confusion, they are in the dark about their parents and financial and legal information. Home Instead Senior Care® surveyed future family caregivers…those individuals who plan on caring for their parents when the need arises to determine their level of knowledge and awareness when it comes to important information about their parents…What we found was that:

While survey participants overall feel informed about their parents’ health situation, there were ‘knowledge gaps’

A significant number of survey participants predict that they will begin caring for their parents within the next three years; nearly one in 10 says he or she could be called into action literally any minute.

Less than one-half of future caregivers say that they are knowledgeable about their parents’ medical histories in case of an emergency.

Even though a majority of future caregivers say their parents are healthier than other people their age, nearly two-thirds of the parents have two or more medical or health conditions, and nearly one-half takes at least three medications.

Nearly one-half of the parents exhibit three or more “risk factors” that could lead to medication-related problems.

Future caregivers have varying degrees of knowledge about their parents’ advisors and service providers; they are most likely to know their parents’ banker, primary care physician and health insurance provider.

Knowledge of important documents runs hot and cold, with nearly one-third of future caregivers reporting that they don’t know where their parents keep their will and testament or don’t know if they have one.

A significant number of future caregivers say they have not tried to ask their parents for information related to their parents’ health histories or their parents’ plans for the future.

As a result of this study, the Home Instead Senior Care network worked with the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) to provide additional information about the relevant topic of medication management. Also, the Home Instead Senior Care network and Humana Points of Caregiving® worked together to develop the Caring for Your Seniors: Senior Emergency Kit; an information management tool and website to help family caregivers track medications and other important financial information regarding a senior loved one’s health. This toolkit includes checklists and worksheets for medications, conditions, allergies, doctors, health advisors and a place to store other vital records.

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Seniors and Social Networking

Social media is ‘booming’ in all markets so when I hear talk about social media use by “seniors”, I would ask what is a ‘senior’. It used to be that people aged 65 and older were automatically classified as seniors because that was the age at which most people retired. Today, not all people over age 65 want to be called seniors…heck most of us cringe when we receive the AARP card at 50! (anyway I did)

According to a Pew Research Center article Older Adults and Social Media, social networking use among people age 50 and older nearly doubled in the last year, up to 42% in 2010.

The point to this article is that recently someone said (to me) that persons in their 50’s (seniors) are not very tech savvy. I was floored, first because I fell into that age category and secondly because I do not think of myself as a senior.

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Home Instead Senior Care Is On Cable!

Finally, we are ON AIR! Just wanted to let our BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK friends and readers know that the Home Instead Senior Care cable show is on! Hope you enjoy watching and hearing from those business’ and people who offer additional support and help to the growing population of seniors. It is my hope that the cable show will offer insight into better managing our families as we all enter into the ‘golden years.’ Here’s the cable station internet, AACS link where you may view the shows that have previously aired. Each week additional shows will be added. Lots more to come…guests are already booked through August. Any ideas for what you may want to know more about, your comments and/or input is always appreciated!

Boomers Turn 65!

In 2011, the baby boomer generation turns 65. So what can the Boomers expect in their retirement years? This week CNN will bring you special coverage of this generation.

What plagues baby boomers?

Sex, drugs and a rocky road, said Jim Bacon, author of “Boomergeddon.”

Boomers are less healthy and heavier than their parents were at their age. And they pop far more pills than the previous generation; an average 50-year-old man takes four prescription medications daily, according to AARP.

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Caregiver Strategies!

Below are some strategies that may help family caregivers turn resistance into assistance! And always feel free to call on us as well for support and resources.

1. Understand where the resistance is coming from. Ask your parent why he or she is resisting. “Mom, I notice that every time I bring up the idea of someone coming in to help, you resist it. Why is that?” Oftentimes older adults don’t realize they are being resistant.

2. Explain your goals. Remind your loved one that you both want the same thing. Explain that a little extra help can keep her at home longer and will help put your mind at ease as well. Have a candid conversation with him about the impact this care is having on your life. Oftentimes seniors don’t understand the time commitment of a caregiver.

3. Bring in outside help. If a relationship with a parent is deteriorating, ask a professional, such as a geriatric care manager, for an assessment. A third-party professional can provide valuable input. If you are having problems getting through to your older adult, consider asking another family member or close friend to intervene. If you’re not making headway, perhaps there’s someone better to talk with your parents.

4. Research your options to find the best resources for your loved one. If you decide outside help is needed, reassure your parents and tell them you have researched caregivers and you are confident you have found the best one you can find to come into the home to help.

5. Respect your parent’s decisions. Sometimes you won’t agree with your parent’s decisions and that’s O.K. As long as your loved one is of sound mind, he or she should have the final say.

Pills and Shots, Health and Heart, Eat or Not to Eat

Clearly article after article has been written advocating for this or that…‘take me’ and you’ll feel better in days, ‘lose weight’ miraculously while gorging on ‘fat’ food; strengthen those aging bones with Boniva…Sally Fields’ does (she also gets paid to be their spokesperson). Suzanne Somers (Three’s Company Fame) takes over 60 vitamins a day…talk about over-load!

Whole families are being deceived by the ‘quick fix’. It doesn’t exist and in our heart of hearts I believe we all know it, which is why so many ‘flip flop’ from product to product…this for that and that for this. Sleeping aids, pills to stay awake, energy additives etc…it’s crazy and it’s NOT healthy (this same excess sent Michael Jackson and Elvis to an early grave).

Look, genetics plays a huge and crucial role in our ‘life’ plans and obviously that has to be considered first and foremost. Have you thought out in detail the ramifications of the ‘synthetic’ effect on your body? Does the ‘pill’ or ‘drink’ offer more than eating balanced will? The many ‘short-cuts’ to good health available on the market today are just a bunch of baloney. I ask you to list all of the persons you know on fad diets, using skin care or anti-aging products, and/or taking synthetic supplements etc. Then ask them what they eat (in real food) and how they exercise. Did you have an AH-HA moment when the culprit to poor health was found out to be none other than ourselves?

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Elder Mediation: Helping Adult Familes Resolve Conflict

The disputes may start quietly, but they can and do brew into hot and heated arguments and believe it or not they have split families apart.

Take for example:

Mom left a pot boiling on the stove again…you are fearful she’ll burn the house down.

Dad is getting forgetful and isn’t paying his monthly bills. You, and your siblings live far away and through neighbors find out that the heat and electricity were turned off.

Dad’s got more scrapes and scratches on his car than the grandkids do on their knees…you want him to STOP driving.

As adult children you are concerned and decide amongst yourselves to take-over…One of you wants to get Dad declared mentally incompetent, so the family can take control of his finances. One of you threatens to take Dad’s car keys. He threatens to write you out of his will. Another one of your siblings wants the house to be sold and Mom to enter assisted living.

Dad is now very angry…Mom thinks you’re over-reacting. Both parents are mortified…Dad because his kids are looking into how much money he has and how his finances are organized and Mom because she feels as though the children are trying to control her life.

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What, The Boomers Are Retiring?

Every now and again when I find another BLOG or column that is relevant or has what I call ‘stuff to think about’ I like to post a copy here. Recently I had an opportunity to speak with Steve Davis, a Certified Financial Planner from Mansfield and he offered up several of his articles. I felt this one was apropos!

The last time I visited my parents in Florida, we were missing one ingredient needed for that night’s dinner. I offered to take a “quick” run to the store to pick it up. Well, if you’ve ever gone grocery shopping there, you’ll know that there is no such thing as a quick run to the store. You see, the people there don’t work anymore and have all the time in the world — I got back just in time for dessert. Okay, I may be exaggerating but you get the point; there are a lot of retirees in Southern Florida. Believe it or not, it won’t be long before the whole country has the same proportion of “seniors” as Florida does today. Can you believe that the first of the baby boomer generation turned 65 years old on January 1 of this year? It’s true. And for the next 19 years, ten thousand boomers a day will reach that milestone. I was born in 1963 and that means that I’m among the last of the Baby Boomers. By the time I reach retirement age it is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the US population will be age 65 or older.

For the remainder of this article (and important subject, click here…)

Living with Alzheimer’s: Who Decides?

It’s imperative that we take responsibility for our senior ‘living situation’. If you don’t want others making this decision for you…be pro-active. With a little advanced planning it is possible to stay in your home even with Alzheimer’s as there are many additional support services available.

Having been regarded as competent, intelligent and able throughout my life I would hate to be relegated to only being allowed to make decisions as to what color to wear, where to place my furniture or where to keep photos and mementos…wouldn’t you?

Adult children should not have to shoulder the burden of ‘a decision’ their parents should have made or at the very least should have acknowledge as the ‘elephant’ in the room. They have lots on their minds these days and may forget to take into consideration that you (who might have some diminished capacity) may want to continue living at home. Although it is true that a balance must be found as to the family’s ability (financially, emotionally and physically) to accommodate ‘aging’ at home the problem is whether you or your family know what ‘aging at home’ means and have you given any consideration (even marginally) to the factors involved.

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