Tag Archives: parents

What She Has To Offer

I’m in the kitchen starting the coffee when Mom comes in. “What can I do to help?” she asks before she even clears the door.

It is very important to Mom to feel useful. She doesn’t like others doing things for her. I try to make sure there is always a job she is able to do. Sometimes that is difficult, but this morning I am prepared.

“There’s Windex and paper towels on the table there,” I say. “Can you just wipe the table off for me?” She cleaned it last night, but she won’t remember that.

“K.O., I’ll do it!” she says, tearing off several paper towels with alacrity. “Is this the Windex?” She motions toward the blue spray bottle.

I turn from the coffeemaker. “Yep, that’s it.”

But before she can start, Mom sits abruptly in the large kitchen armchair, wincing. “Oooh,” she murmurs, rubbing her legs, the paper towels still in one hand.

Mom does not show pain often, so I’m alarmed. “What?”

“Well, it’s just …” She pulls both soft cotton pant legs up to her thighs. Her lower legs are puffy above her tight ankle socks and around her knees.

For the full article

Thanks to the NY Post Blog for this article!

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Senior Abuse: An “Invisible and Silent” Crime

I was moved by an article in Saturday’s Boston Globe; Galvin Moves to Protect Elders’ Interests and thought that Patch readers might benefit from knowing more about this invisible, silent crime against elders.

Knowing that Secretary of State William Galvin took a first step towards rectifying the growing financial abuse against seniors by submitting a bill to the Massachusetts Legislature — a bill that would bar people with power of attorney from enriching themselves or otherwise abusing their authority — was satisfying, to say the least.

Better still is knowing that the legislation, filed earlier this year, states that those holding a power of attorney position must act in good faith. More importantly, it establishes that those holding power of attorney have a fiduciary duty to the people they represent — any action by them MUST benefit that person’s best interest.

Read the FULL story

Seniors Driving Safely and Responsibly

An older driver does not necessarily mean an unsafe driver. Many older drivers compensate for declining abilities and continue to educate themselves on driving and traffic issues.

Regardless of age, certain functional abilities must be present in order to drive safely. Chief among these are:
· Cognitive-the mental process of acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning, intuition, or perception
· Visual- basic and complex vision as well as depth perception and night vision
· Physical-being able to coordinate and move the body

As we age, these abilities naturally decline, and a majority of the time, medical issues and/or the medications taken can further decline these abilities. The changes are often subtle and not always recognized by individuals.

Get an evaluation of your loved ones driving skills or suggest they take a refresher course…
AARP Driver Safety Education Class

Medical Power of Attorney and Living Wills

A Medical Power of Attorney gives an individual the ability to make medical decisions for another person when they become unable to do so. This is an extremely important document to have as a parent ages, since their ability to make decisions about complex medical matters may change quickly.

Note that both a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney must be in the format of the state in which the parent lives to be accepted. Most attorneys advise that both documents are not necessarily needed and that there is a possibility they could conflict with each other. A Living Will can be interpreted by any member of the family and remember that most siblings and family members can rarely agree to a single decision, let alone multiple ones.

In Massachusetts the state has no provisions for a Living Will, but does have a Health Care Proxy, which is a simple document, legally valid in Massachusetts, which allows you to name someone (an “agent”) to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions. This Health Care Proxy document, provided free of charge, gives a clear explanation of the responsibilities of a health care agent, and simple directions on how fill out and sign the form. There are also instructions on how to revoke or cancel the document at a later date, if you choose to do so.

In the case of my Dad, he was mentally competent prior to being sent to the hospital one Sunday morning. But he would not sign any documents without at least one of his children present, and he was in Florida and we were all in Massachusetts. Since not one of us had the medical ‘surogate power’ (Florida standards), it was impossible for us to do anything until we arrived in Florida.

I could cite multiple horror stories from people who delayed too long in obtaining this document. The best advice is to find out how your parent’s state of residence treats this document and to talk about it with your parent before it is actually needed and then speak with a trusted attorney about exactly what is needed in your parent’s state of residence.

Mental Exercise!

Remember the good old days when your mind was as sharp as a tack and you could remember the phone numbers of multiple people with no effort at all… when an important date never slipped by you?
Don’t fret … Health experts suggest that the mere fact that we notice our forgetfulness is probably a good indication that we aren’t really in serious trouble. The problem comes not when we misplace a library book, but when we can’t remember how to find the library to return it!

Knowing that occasional lapses in memory are not usually serious, doesn’t help us feel better when we experience them, so what can we do? Just as our bodies need physical exercise to keep us limber, our mental faculties also need exercise to remain sharp. There are countless ways to give your mind a workout; most of them costing nothing but a small investment of time each day. Select several…practice for a few weeks, and see if your ability to remember things, as well as your enthusiasm for life, doesn’t improve dramatically.

1. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and eat well.

2. If you are depressed, talk to your doctor. People who maintain a positive outlook on life are less likely to suffer from lapses of memory.

3. If you smoke, stop. If you drink, do so in moderation.

4. Join a club or organization where you interact with other people. Discussion groups do wonders to stimulate even the most sluggish minds.

5. Get curious. Choose a subject each week and find out everything you can about that subject.

6. Every day…start by writing a short story…just a few paragraphs or so about something interesting you did…or want to do.

7. When someone calls on the telephone, try to guess who it is before they identify themselves.

8. Read the daily newspaper, and try to share information from one or two of the articles with a friend.

9. After a visit with someone, review the conversation in your head.

10. When you finish a chapter in a book, write a one or two sentence summary of it.

11. Do crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, cards.

12. Memorize a short poem

13. Pick up an old math book and try doing the problems in it. Work your way up to more and more difficult examples.

14. Pick up a book of simple riddles or word games from your bookstore.

15. Read, read, and read some more

You Are Not Alone…No One Told Us These Things

We were NOT told that any home with multiple stories would wreak havoc on the kneecaps or that a steady banister on each side of the stairs would actually be useful.

We were NOT told that anniversaries, holidays and birthdays need to be celebrated with a designated driver. No one wanted to admit that one alcoholic beverage could knock them out or that caffeine would keep them up all night.

We were NOT told to put our house or car keys in the same spot every day so we didn’t have to rely on memory to find them.

No one told us to beware of identity theft or mentioned the invasiveness of security checks at the airport because of terrorism..no one wants to admit that their finances and body just ain’t what it used to be…

We were NOT told about constant maintenance and more maintenance of the mind, body and spirit. We were NOT told about the exhaustion that came with all that constant maintenance as well as a waistline that would continue to bloom regardless of what we did to decrease it.

Finally, We were NOT told our parents were going to NEED us or how we should take care of them. Thankfully…the Baby Boomer generation has made head way in that direction…For information on how to better care for yourself and aging parents…click here.

Issues Surrounding Aging Relatives

One of the most difficult responsibilities families face is taking care of relatives who can no longer take care of themselves. It has been projected that boomers will spend more time taking care of their parents than they did raising their children. During a special week-long series, “Families on the Brink: What to do About Mom & Dad,” Diane Sawyer and several ABC News correspondents will take an in-depth look at the sensitive and serious issues caregivers face. This Special Series on the Issues Surrounding Aging Relatives and Those Who Care for Them began airing on “World News with Diane Sawyer” Monday, January 31st.

If you missed the first episode and want to catch up and follow the rest of the series…click here.

There is help!

“Hi Mom, I’m gonna throw a load in the washer and get the dishwasher started. Have you eaten yet? If not I brought over a plate with some left-overs from our dinner last night. I know I am late… sorry. I only have a couple of minutes until I have to pick up the kids from school. I’ll try to stop by later to switch over the laundry otherwise I’ll stop by tomorrow. Did you take your pills? Mom…how come your still in your PJ’s? Is everything OK…are you feeling alright? Are you sure? OK… Gotta run, see you tomorrow or the next day! Luv ya!”

If you can relate to the above…you are not alone. More than 1 in 5 people who live in the same town as their parents are current caregivers for at least one aging parent. Another 1 in 5 has been a senior caregiver in the past.

Recent surveys show that over 97% of people over the age of 50 say they would prefer to remain at home receiving homecare services, rather than move into an institutional setting.

However, self-care is not always possible and parents then turn to their children (most times daughters) for assistance. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to be there consistently. Trying to run two households can be demanding and downright impossible.

When your parents self-care (with your help) has become difficult or your time is limited or over-burdened to do the volume of work that your parent(s) may need you may want to look for some assistance. Doing so can relieve family members of continuous ‘caregiving’ and makes it possible for them to spend quality time with their aging parents, rather than the just being with their parents for ‘caregiving’ functions.

Click here for more information

Aging Signs to Watch For #1

Our lives have become increasingly hectic and in many cases fraught with stress so we can easily lose site of our parents and what might be called their ‘aging needs.’ This week I’ll focus on the ‘signs’ you may want to look for … indications that your parents may be in need of some additional support.  As our parents age, we need to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.  

#1: Observe your parents’ moods…Have you noticed a change in their personality?  When was the last time you asked them (and actually HEARD the answer) how they were feeling?

Talk WITH your parents about their activities. Are they connecting with friends? Have they maintained an interest in hobbies or other daily activities? Are they involved in social organizations, church related activities or clubs?  Take the time to talk WITH your parents and LISTEN to what they are saying.  It may be that your parents are just looking for a little company and you being there to LISTEN will be just what the doctor ordered!

If you notice drastic  mood swings or that your parents outlook on life has become grim this could be a sign of depression.  Stay on top of it and speak to their Doctor or a trusted advisor.  Don’t ignore what could be warning signs.

You wake up one morning and to your surprise you have suddenly ‘become’ the parent to your parents!  You realize that the upcoming years are going to be challenging and it dawns on you that neither you or your parents have had “that discussion.”  What should you do next…well, first, don’t panic!  Soon your own children will be saying the same about you!  So, with that said, it just might be time to get to “that discussion” with your parents and your own children.  Secondly, realize that you are not alone in this dilemma, so there are many resources popping up all over that will help set you on the best path for your circumstances!   And thirdly, thanks to the huge population of baby boomers there is a flourishing senior care industry!  As this blog progresses I hope you will find the resources and support you are looking for and if not, please send me an email and I’ll do my best to find you the ‘answer.’ We are new to this blogging world and look forward to your thoughts, comments and suggestions.