Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Aging Parents: How Long Can They Stay In Their Own Home?

Nobody wants to see the time come when
your aging parent will have to move from
their home because it's for their health and

***Warning Signs To Watch For***

1. Weight loss

Are your parents having unexplained weight loss?
Many diseases cause this such as cancer, depression,
heart failure, dementia and malnutrition.

2. Are they safe in their home?

As you go through their home be on the look-out
for things like the condition of stairs. Is there
proper lighting? Loose scatter mats can be a
menace. Properly installed smoke detectors...

3. How are their spirits?

We all have bad days but signs of depression are
poor hygiene, neglected housework, shutting
themselves off from the outside world.

4. How is their mobility?

Are they unsteady on their feet? Do they need a
cane or walker to make it easier for them to move

5. Hearing & vision

Are they able to hear the doctor and pharmacist?
Can they see to read instructions? Have they
had any recent falls or injuries?

You really do have to be an investigator with aging
parents. They will not always answer your questions
truthfully. Remember, it sucks to get older and more
feeble. Be gentle but firm in your quest for the truth.

Look at things from a new perspective. Like child-
proofing a home, you have to "think in their shoes".

No, of course they don't want to leave their home
but they have to realize there are times when their
health and safety are at risk.

Especially when an aging parent is living alone. Then
you have to be extra diligent in your assessment.
If you live too far away to "investigate", try to arrange
a friend or family member living close by to watch
these things for you.

Be strong and help them stay around as long as

Our Aging Loved Ones: Planning for the Day We Hope Will Never Come -- An in-depth look at eldercare, featuring over 14 hours of information, pratical tips, and advice from today's leading eldercare experts

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aging Parents: How To Help The Caregiver

Being a caregiver is hard work. Are you
a friend or family member of someone who
is the sole caregiver to an elderly parent?

If so, you have probably said many times,
"If there's ever anything I can do to help,
just let me know." Right?

How many times did the caregiver take you
up on that generous offer? I'm guessing not
many. That's because it's hard for so many
people to come right out and ask for help.
They feel they should be doing it all by
themselves. And, that's asking for major

If you really want to help your friend, the
caregiver, you will need to offer concrete

***Tips On Being A Caregiver's Best Friend***

1. If you going to the grocery store, call them
and say, " I'm heading out for groceries. Is
there anything I can pick up for you? "

2. " I have to pick up items and prescriptions at
the pharmacy. Can I pick up anything for you?"

3. " I'm going to the dry-cleaners. Do you need
anything dropped off? "

4. If your friend has pets that maybe aren't getting
their usual TLC, offer to take the dogs for a walk.
Or drop by and give extra attention to the cats.

4. Call up sometime and say, " I have several hours
to spare. Why don't I come over and you take
the time to get out of the house? Go do something
you really want to do."

5. If you've noticed yard work that should be done,
jump in and do it.

6. Offer to take the care receiver out for the afternoon.

These are just a few ideas. By now, you're probably
thinking of many more. I can't begin to express how
happy and grateful your friend will feel when you offer
to do things in this manner.

You may have to go revive them. They may pass out
from sheer gratitude.

Here's to being a good friend,

Friday, September 21, 2007

Elder Care: When Your Parents Have To Leave Their Home

I can still see the pain and tears on my
mother's face when she left the home
she'd lived in since she was a bride.

Even though she was moving in with me
and my then-husband, which was what
she wanted, the sadness was gut-wrenching.

But, she couldn't live alone. We lived too
far away to be there for her everyday. She
had many health issues and wasn't able to
manage on her own. Emotionally, as well,
being alone was not an option.

When the time comes to evaluate if one or
both parents can't manage in their own
home on a day-to-day basis, it won't be easy.

Many of our parents can stay in their own
homes with the help of a home-support worker
dropping by.

They can do housework, laundry and help with

But, when safety becomes an issue, you have
to step in. If our parents have health problems
that cause forgetfulness they have to be helped
to understand the things that can happen that
can lead to dire events.

Whatever the reason they have to leave, please
keep in mind the emotional trauma they will
be going through. Put yourself in their shoes.

Whether they will be moving into an assisted-
living facility or with a son or daughter, life as
they have known it for years is going to change.

It will take kindness and patience to help guide
them through this life milestone.

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Take care of yourself,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How To Be A Patient Advocate

Wouldn't it be nice to know things before
we needed to act? Instead of bumbling through
by trial and error?

One of the things I found out during the hospital
stays my mother experienced is this:

You have to become an ADVOCATE.

It is a fine line you'll be walking. For one,
you don't want to make a nuisance of yourself.
But, you don't want to be a doormat, either.

*****Tips For Being An Advocate*****

1. Get in their faces. Nicely put it means:
Introduce yourself to everyone at the nurse's
station. It goes a long way if you greet the
staff by their name. Be friendly. Most of them
are doing their best!

2. Offering help is greatly appreciated by the
staff. It also makes your parent feel so much
better to have you with them, doing for them.

You can help with feeding, getting them out of
bed to move around if they are able. Helping
with toilet rituals, manicures, pedicures, massages.
The little things that mean a lot to their comfort
and emotional well-being.

3. Be educated on your parent's condition so you
can talk to the medical team without appearing
like a total idiot. This way you can discuss treatment
options and be in on decisions. You'll be treated
with respect and so will your parent.

4. Never be put off if you want to talk to the
doctor. If you can't be there when they make
their rounds, insist on an appointment.

5. Trust your instincts!!! You know your parent
better than strangers in a hospital. If the patient
is being pushed too soon to do something you
know is not in their best interests, speak up.

You know how their color is when they are well.
You know what they can do when they are well.
You can gauge things. The staff can only "go by
the book".

6. Be present. If you or a sibling can't be there,
be sure to phone and keep contact. Designate
one sibling as the "point guard". The staff can't
be answering calls from the whole family. You'll
just undo everything you're trying to do right!

If you're lucky enough to afford it, consider hiring
a private duty nurse or aide to take your place if
it's impossible for you to be there.

Nobody wants to be admitted to a hospital. But,
it's bound to happen at some point for a variety
of reasons. Be prepared.

This is a case of "the squeaky wheel getting greased."

Stay strong,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Elder Care: Signs Of Depression

With so many other concerns to worry about,
sometimes we miss what's right in our face.

We may brush it off. Thinking it's natural for
the elderly to be depressed. Wrong. They need
to see their doctor and discuss their depression
so they can get help.

Who needs to cope with depression, especially
if there are other medical problems?

Symptoms of Depression
(from the US Department of Health and Human Services)

1. Persistent sadness, anxiety or empty mood
2. Loss of interest in ordinary activities, family/friends
3. Decreased energy, fatigue, "slowed down"
4. Sleep problems
5. Eating problems
6. Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
7. Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
8. Thoughts of suicide or death
9. Irritability
10. Excessive crying, sometimes without reason

If you notice some or all of these symptoms in your aging
parent, please get them to their doctor to talk about it.

It didn't dawn on me with my own mother that she was
suffering depression. I was concentrating on her other
health problems. Once she was subscribed anti-depressants,
she began to feel so much better. Yay!

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experts...Click Here!