Archive for Senior Home Service

Christmas Memories Old and New

With Christmas around the corner and the New Year approaching, it’s scary to think that 2013 is already coming to an end. Christmas can be a very stressful time for many people, as of course you are on a time line for purchasing, wrapping, and decorating, as well as planning for family and holiday meals.

For couples with young families, most likely both parents work and are taxi drivers at night to get their children to their after school activities.

As a mother of four grown children, when my kids were little, I would start Christmas shopping midyear so it was not so stressful. The only trouble with that was I would have to hide the purchases for months. Sometimes I would forget what I had bought, then over purchase. So that is when the list of who and what was implemented.

Over the years, you find out by trial and error what works best for you.

For seniors, Christmas is often a season for stress and tears. With the weather change, seniors may be scared to go out shopping for fear they fall, and perhaps they no longer drive. Maybe they have a hard time with the cold. In some cases, their children are deceased and all they have left is memories.

I have been working with a client in her mid-70s for three years. She has never married nor had any children. Her health is slowly deteriorating. She has one older brother, who also has health issues. They live 1.5 hrs away from each other. Unfortunately, they will not be able to spend Christmas together this year, which I am sure will be hard for both of them.

On the upside, today we got all her gifts wrapped, ribboned, and ready to go. Next week we will be decorating the inside of her house to make it festive for Christmas. Like other years, it will take a whole day as she has a lot of homemade decorations which we put out, and she will take the time to reminisce about when she made them at the craft group she used to belong to.

My husband, daughter and I have an annual tradition of dressing up our dogs and taking them into a retirement home to put smiles on faces of dog lovers.

Christmas dogs
If you know anyone that needs help in preparation for the season, please have them call my cell at 905-971-9568.

‘Time or No Time’ Say No to Compromise to the Needs of Your Elderly

old woman readingThere is a common viewpoint that as people, we have become less sensitive to the core morals and ethics which we were taught as we grew up. We all have superfast lives and time management has become increasingly difficult. And taking care of the elderly has become a sensitive issue.

For those who have lost their perspective, and are looking for a reason, a reason to go through all of the pain of the elderly together, we might contemplate why they act the way they do and why are they in need of the care and time. They come across the qualms of memory lapse and forgetfulness, with the growing anxiety of being in unfamiliar surroundings. And then there is the frustration budding due to their dependence on walkers, canes, oxygen supplies or wheelchairs. It is not uncommon for people to not have had a perfect childhood or a pretty ‘messed up’ relationship with their parents. But the smart thing to do is to look forward and not in the past, therein lays the answer. You know that if you could turn back in time, both of you would have done everything in your power to ensure that things were different. However hard it might be, happiness will always be in forgiving and forgetting.

Job is keeping you busy?

Even if you have a job that keeps you busy or you are too busy taking care of your home and children, you can always find time to be there for your elderly, by the little things you do. Being the caretaker of your parents can be hectic. But life is not easy. Give them due time and attention with a stance of love, not compulsion or something you got to do. Spending the traditional holidays by themselves can be the most overwhelming feeling for them. So make it a point to be with them and enjoy some quality time.

Engage Engage Engage!!

Talk about life, work, their life experience and you might be surprised to hear their responses and their happy faces. Play a game or watch a movie over television. Gift them a special comforter or a pashmina or their favourite cookies. Make the holidays what it’s really about- family. Give them a soothing hand or back massage. If you have children, leave them for some time with their grandparents as this is one thing that every elderly craves for.

And when the holidays are not around, it never takes up a whole lot of your time to check up on them once in a while, say every other weekend or visiting them with flowers unannounced on your way back from work and help them make dinner.

Make your elderly feel your presence

Some might be embarrassed of their deteriorating mental and physical functioning, empathize. If they are in a facility, give them a warm hug and smile every time, ask how they feel. Try to spend an afternoon with them during weekends. If suffering from dementia, give them a picture book, which they can comprehend easily and enjoy. And enjoy their peculiarities, embrace them. You might be short of patience at times, but fight back your frustration and echo it to your dignity that they deserve the best.

It is a universally known fact that one day we will be in their shoes and have to go through what they are going through now. But don’t make it the reason to care for them. Do it because you love them, and they were there, wishing all the best things for you all along.

Today’s guest post is contributed by Suzie Hart. She works for a home health agency who try to make people more aware of their rights so that they can lead a more dignified and happy life.

Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Talking to Your Parents about Their Housing Needs

Last month, we shared some tips for talking to your parents when you can see they need help with their activities of daily living.

Although most seniors would ideally like to stay in their own home (sometimes referred to as “aging in place”), sometimes in-home care just isn’t enough.

Today, we hear first hand from someone who went through this with his own mother, in this video from the Family Caregivers’ Network in BC.

Does his situation sound similar to yours? Feel free to share your story in the Comments section below.

If you’d prefer to discuss it privately, we invite you and your parents to take our free questionnaire. We’ll help you evaluate your situation and prepare for the next phase in your lives.

How to Tell Your Parents They Need Senior Care

older mother and daughterAs years pass by, you will notice that the physical vigor of your parents starts to diminish. The used-to-be strong and healthy people would start to exhibit weaknesses and would experience different health related problems. It is very crucial for you to monitor the day to day activities of your parents. Signs of aging start to manifest in a myriad of ways. With ailing health along with physical incapacities, you will start to think of providing senior care for them. Sometimes, this appears unnoticeable where you might think everything is just normal.

But there are certain occurrences that will lead you to think that your parents need proper senior care. You need to monitor them regularly. If this is the case, you need to provide quality care for your parents. How would you tell them that they need senior care?

1. Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

Once your parents are diagnosed with either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition where a patient slowly loses his or her memory, you can expect that this medical condition can lead to serious complications if not handled the right way. Apart from undergoing medications and other treatments, senior care is definitely important. People with this medical condition have a hard time remembering even the most important details in their lives. Some elders do not see the importance of having senior care because they think they are still healthy. But with the prescription and medical advice of a doctor, you can easily talk to them about the matter.

2. Difficulties in Doing the Usual Routines

Due to their old age, you can already start to notice that they are having a hard time walking or moving around the house. There are instances where they can no longer do their basic and usual routines. This is where the importance of senior care comes in. A professional senior care provider can definitely help your parents in their grooming and other hygiene routines. Some elders find it extremely difficult to mobilize and to even move. Most seniors would insist that they do their routines on their own. In this aspect, you need to be really patient and you can just provide the kind of assistance that they need without making them feel like they cannot do anything.

3. Drastic Weight Loss

Not all elders suffer from any illness. There are just some who need proper care and attention. This is actually normal for seniors. Without any assistance, there is a high tendency for most elders to have poor diet and end up experiencing drastic weight loss. Since you want to make sure that they are always healthy, you need to provide the right meals and other supplements. With proper senior care, every aspect of your parent’s daily life will be handled with utmost care. If your parents are hesitant, you can always encourage them to look better and to be more physically active.

4. Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Other Physical Activities

When you get old, the tendency is for you to lose enthusiasm to do the activities that you used to do. If your parents do not suffer from any medical condition, it helps to improve and invigorate their senses whenever they do their usual hobbies. If you notice your parents losing interest in physical activities, there might be something wrong and you might be lacking in physical care and attention for them.

This article was written by Artchee Mendoza exclusively for this site. Artchee also writes for www.signatureseniorcare.com, a Jacksonville Home Nursing Care.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Putting a Smile on Someone’s Face

Christmas, decorationsI have a client, let’s call her Sally.

Sally never married, nor did she have any children. She is a senior.  She lives alone in her home.  All of her relations – brother, nieces, nephew – live afar so she has no one to help her.

Sally has been my ongoing client for 1 ½ years. She books me to work approximately three times a month, sometime even more, for clutter control/organizing, running errands, gardening, and seasonal decorating.

Last Christmas she booked me for three days: one day for decorating her house, one day to help her do wrapping, and one day for undecorating.

As we undecorated, we prepared for next year’s decorating. We used bins, which were numbered and labelled as to what was in them, e.g. tree decorations. While I was placing items in the bins, Sally was making her own detailed lists.

Sally’s decoration are stored in her basement, and due to health limitations, she is unable to carry her bins up or down the stairs, nor does she climbs ladders any more, but my service for seasonal decorating helps my client still get in the festive mood.Christmas dogs

Mascot Marley puts a smile on elderly faces at Christmas time too.

Every Christmas morning, Marley and his friend Ella  put on their outfits and tour our local seniors home. Not all seniors are fortunate enough to be able to visit their families, so Marley and Ella go in to cheer them up.

Merry Christmas from Be Clutter Free

Arthritis in Seniors and How it Affects Your Bone Function

senior health careApproximately one of every four seniors will be affected by arthritis. The most common forms of this degenerative joint disorder diagnosed in seniors are osteoarthritis, caused by injury or excessive joint wear, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. Both cause deterioration in the joints over time and when they affect weight-bearing joints, such as the knees or hips, can lead to disability. However, proper diagnosis and care can slow the progression of arthritis, minimizing damage to cartilage, joints and bones and lessening the odds of needing joint replacement surgery.

Arthritis Basics

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in seniors and is typically caused by gradual wear-and-tear damage to the joint over many years. Other factors, such as previous joint injury or congenital joint defects, can contribute to its development. In osteoarthritis, cartilage that cushions the joints is damaged or worn away, eventually allowing bones to grind together as the joint moves, causing pain, inflammation and stiffness. Over time, that stress and inflammation can lead to bone overgrowth around the joint or the development of bone spurs, which make the joint more painful and can significantly impair movement.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by a malfunctioning immune system that attacks joint linings, causing severe inflammation. Over time, that inflammation causes joint deterioration, damaging the joint lining, cartilage and often causing bone deformity. Affected joints can become red, swollen and warm to the touch, as well as stiff and painful. Stiffness and pain are typically worst for the first hour or two after waking in the morning, improving gradually as the day progresses.

Treatments

Anti-inflammatory medications are used in both forms of arthritis to control inflammation, stiffness and pain. For rheumatoid arthritis, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are used to slow disease progression. Topical ointments, heat packs and ice packs are often used to ease symptoms.

Physical therapy is an integral part of treatment for both conditions. Reduced activity due to pain causes weakening in the muscles that support the hip and knee, as does inflammation. That weakness can increase joint wear, damage, pain and stiffness. Exercise is used to strengthen those muscles, increasing joint support for better joint alignment, stability and function.

Joint replacement surgery is the treatment of last resort, used when arthritis has become disabling and lesser treatments are no longer effective. As with any surgery, there are risks involved with knee or hip replacement. Being well-informed can help minimize those risks.

One aspect that is particularly important for seniors to learn about is implant types, especially in hip replacement. Faulty metal-on-metal implants have been problematic lately. Metallic implant debris has caused metallosis in some patients, a condition that occurs as debris builds up in the soft tissues of the hip, which can cause severe pain and inflammation, as well as tissue and bone death.

Several metal-on-metal implants have been recalled, including the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems, popular products that were used in thousands of patients. Some of them have had to undergo more surgery to replace the faulty implants, a costly and painful procedure, and hundreds of DePuy lawsuits have been filed.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

Get to Know Your Community Care Access Centre

Community Care Access CentreIf you’re a senior, or are caring for a senior parent or other family member, there will probably come a day when you need some extra help. Talk to your doctor, and he or she will make a referral to your local CCAC, or Community Care Access Centre.

The CCAC staff has access to a wide range of community services to help you or your loved one continue living independently or explore other options such as retirement homes, long-term care homes, or supportive housing.

When you contact their office, you’ll be introduced to a case manager, who will talk with you about your needs, conduct a health care assessment, and answer any questions you may have. They’ll then develop a plan that’s customized to meet your specific needs.

That’s where we come in.

If the case manager believes that you can stay in your home, we can assist by making the recommended home modifications and providing or arranging for any additional support services you may require.

If it’s not practical for you to remain at home, we can help you through the entire downsizing process, from deciding what belongings to take with you to coordinating your move to helping you settle into your new residence.

If you’re not ready to contact the CCAC, take our free questionnaire and we’ll be happy to help you evaluate your situation.

Are You Ready for Retirement?

saving for retirementPeople today are living much longer than any previous generation. However, according to a recent article in the Hamilton Spectator, few Canadians are saving enough for their retirement years. This is even more serious in light of the recent federal budget delaying eligibility for Old Age Security to age 67.

Living longer costs more. That’s simple math. So, the sooner you start planning for retirement, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your “golden years.”

“Income is one of the most important health determinants and the basis of an individual’s ability to access appropriate housing and transportation required to maintain independence; nutritious and sufficient food to maintain health; and non-insured medical services and supports such as medication and home support.”  – Planning for Canada’s Aging Population

Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who loves their job and doesn’t plan to retire early, stuff happens. You might become ill or injured, you could be laid off, or you may have to stay home to care for your parent(s) or your spouse.

The earlier you begin investing in your retirement savings, the better off you’ll be!

This online retirement savings calculator will help you figure out how much you’ll need to save, but you should get in touch with a certified financial planner to discuss your situation in detail and figure out the best approach for you.

Proper planning can make a big difference to the housing options that will be open to you in the future!

Photo © Wayne Ruston – PhotoXpress.com

6 Healthy Tips for Caregivers

woman with walkerCaring for an elderly parent can take a lot out of you, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

As a caregiver, you may be more concerned with your parent’s health and well-being than you are of your own. It’s very easy to overlook your health because of the responsibilities you have, whether you’re handling their finances, taking them to appointments, or assisting with their daily personal care. And all of this is on top of everything you do to manage your own household: keeping the house clean, doing laundry, paying bills, and so on.

Please understand that it’s important for you to stay healthy. After all, if you get sick then who is going to get everything done? Below are some tips that you need to follow to ensure your good health.

Tip #1 – Eat

Obviously, you don’t have a lot of time to eat, but this is essential to staying healthy. Most of us know that we need to eat three meals a day, but do you also know that you should be eating at least two snacks a day as well? This will keep your metabolism going and your energy levels up – so don’t skimp on your food. You should be eating healthy foods too. Things like yogurt, fruit, granola bars and nuts are quick, easy and healthy!

Tip #2 – Drink

Water that is. In addition to eating healthy foods, you need to be drinking water throughout your day. We’ve all heard the “8 glasses a day” speech so I’m not going to give it to you again. Just stay properly hydrated. It will keep your energy levels up as well as flush the impurities out of your body and ward off urinary tract infections and much more.

Tip #3 – Exercise

Your body needs exercise each day and it doesn’t care whether you’re a caregiver or not. Although you may find yourself busy during the day and exhausted at night, it’s important that you squeeze in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. There are several ways you can do this. For instance, you can go for a walk after dinner, play Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii games with your family, or enroll in a yoga class at a fitness club.

Tip #4 – Be Happy

We women tend to overload ourselves with work, family and worries. There isn’t much time to focus on being happy. However, this is important too. Studies have shown that, generally, happy people are healthier people. In order to become happier, consider setting aside a little time for yourself every day – or week – to do something you like doing. This time will help you feel refreshed and become happier.

Tip #5 – Sleep

Getting a good night of sleep is critical to your overall health. Sleep is when your body recharges itself. So, naturally, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you aren’t operating on a “full battery,” which means you’ll wear out quicker. It also means your body will too, which depletes your immune system. So, get the sleep you need at night.

Tip #6 – Get Help

There’s no rule that says you have to do it all yourself! If caring for your aging parent is affecting your health, email us or call 905-971-9568 to find out how we can help.

Photo © Joann Cooper – PhotoXpress.com

Helping Seniors to Stay at Home

an older woman at home with her pet dogAccording to Stats Canada, persons over 65 are the fastest growing population in the country. Over a third of Canadians who have lived past the age of 65 are alive today – and the Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1965 have only just begun to enter this age bracket!

Many new retirement residences and long-term care facilities have been built to accommodate the increasing senior population, but some are rather expensive, and someone who is used to living independently may find it difficult to adjust to a major change in living arrangements.

Remaining in your own home may be a viable option, even if you’re among the one-in-four Canadian seniors living with a long-term disability or health issue. Difficult challenges can often be overcome, with the proper support.

Would any of the following make it possible for you (or your parent) to stay at home?

  • Lifeline Medical Alert Service
  • Wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter
  • Walk-in bathtub
  • Ongoing assistance with house and yard work
  • Grocery delivery service

These are just a few of the many products and services available to seniors today.

If you need help deciding whether or not it’s time for you to downsize, fill out our short questionnaire. We’ll be happy review your answers with you.

Photo © Peter Baxter – PhotoXpress.com