Sunday, January 30, 2011

Elder Care: Keeping Our Loved Ones Warm In The Winter Season

I hate cold weather. I have 3 speeds. Slow, slower and stored for winter. All kidding aside, cold weather can be worse for the elderly.

They aren't moving around as much in the cold weather. And if they are trying to keep the thermostat down to save money, they'll get chilled. Just the fact of having older bodies is a reason to pay attention. Their circulation can cause problems. If they have arthritis, the cold will bother them more. Any health issue seems to flair up much worse when you feel cold.

My Mom always said she had a chill when she was sitting doing her crocheting or reading. So keep blankets handy. Shawls and bed jackets are cozy alternatives in the cold weather. A warm cup of tea while soaking feet in a foot bath is a real treat. Same for a warm bath. Filled with something for dry skin.

And there's nothing cozier than having warm feet. Microwavable slippers are a godsend. You can wear them to bed to help with insomnia. (there's a link at the top right on this page for heated slippers. Just click on CosySoles)

If your elderly parents live by themselves, make sure they are taking care of keeping warm. If they live with you, it's easier to gauge how they are feeling. And a nice big warm hug is the best thing for all of us!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Your Aging Parent Living With You: Are You Up To The Task?

Not everyone can have an aging parent live with them. There are many reasons for this. A few of them:

** You may not have the space

** They may require more care than you can give them

** Financially, it isn't an option

** Your personalities have always clashed

** You're not cut out to be a caregiver

First, the space issue. Your parent must have their own bedroom. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to build on an extension on their home. Some have an in-law suite. Which is incredible. Your parents have their own independence but do not feel left alone.

But if none of these fits the bill or you can't make it happen, it's not going to be possible to have anyone move in.

Second reason could be the amount of care they require. What are their medical issues? Are they mobile? Mobile with assistance? Do they have dementia or Alzheimer's disease? These are tough questions. You may want your parent with you but be honest. If they require more care than you can give them, it would be cruel to both parties.

Third...finances. If you are working outside of the home, are they able to be alone? Can you have someone check on them? If quitting your job just isn't an option, this arrangement won't work if they need constant monitoring.

Four...and this is a big one! If whenever you're together, you end up bickering, this will not work. Trust me on that. Family dynamics doesn't change just because you want them to. The stress will kill you.

When you and the family talk about it, it can seem completely do-able. But. If your parent has always driven you crazy, what's going to change now? If you cause your parent grief over anything in the past, it will still be there. You will have to work through it if you go ahead with the move. And I mean you should talk to professionals.

Fifth...You just can't become a caregiver to an aging parent. Of course, it depends on the amount of care they need. Also remember, the aging process won't stop. You'll have to be prepared for all kinds of things to come up in the future.

Then again, we never know what we are capable of until we're faced with a situation. I happened to surprise myself many times over. Don't sell yourself short.

Again, it all depends on the care they need. They may need nursing home care. We all hate to think of that when it happens but we need to do what's best for all concerned. So many variables, so little time. Talk to your doctor. Find any services in your area that can help you reach a decision that is best for all.

Even with the squabbles Mom and I endured over the years, I'd give anything to have her beside me again...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aids For Independent Living: How To Help Our Seniors' Quality Of Life

With age and mobility problems comes a variety of issues that can cause daily life to become stressful for our aging parents. Thankfully, there are products we can purchase that can make all the difference in their lives.

Whether they are living in their own home, with you or an assisted living facility, daily activities can become so much more tolerable. If not downright happy!

MedExSupply has everything under the sun possible for aids for independent living. Just click on the banner at the right to view their catalog. Click on Personal Care and then General Living Aids. If you're like me, you'll see some items that will make your own life easier!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking After Your Elderly Parents: Become Senior Friendly

Last month my workplace offered a course on becoming "Senior Friendly". My co-workers knew I'd appreciate us being given the designation as I love my seniors. Having taken care of my Mom until she passed on at 95, I was eager to see what we'd learn.

We were given walkers and with our legs tied together tried to open a heavy door and get outside. We tried to do the same in a wheelchair. None of this was easy at all!

The most heart-touching exercise was wearing glasses to simulate different forms of vision impairment. Mom suffered with macular degeneration. I tried to be empathetic but I know I failed miserably. When I wore those glasses and really understood for the first time how it was for Mom, tears came to my eyes. Now I finally understood and my heart went out to her all over again.

It's hard for younger people not to lose patience. We live in such a hectic, fast-moving time. When we are behind someone in a wheelchair or using a cane or walker, we might begin sighing and fidgeting. Try to be patient!

Nobody asks for any age-related issues to affect their lives. Everyone wants to be vibrant and mobile. And these same things may be affecting us before we know it. Do we want loved ones or strangers becoming angry with us?

I would give anything to have Mom back with me and do things over. With a lot more understanding. But I can't. The best I can do is "pay it forward". So please be patient. And if a "Senior Friendly" course has seminars in your area, think about attending. Have younger people you know consider attending as well.

Life is better for all of us if we could just slow down a little and feel the love toward all people, no matter what their age.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Caring For Aging Parents: What Will The New Year Bring?

We are starting a new year. None of us have a crystal ball. We start each year with a sense of wonderment and hope. Unfortunately, real life takes hold and memories of warm feelings brought on by the holidays are forgotten.

Worries over aging parents never leave us. As we go about our daily lives, doing our jobs, the thought is always in the back of our minds..."Are Mom and Dad okay?" Whether you live close by or a long way apart, the anxiety can consume us.

For me, my Dad passed away while he was living with Mom in the same house they started their marriage in. Although I constantly checked up on them, Mom was able to take care of most of the load. After he passed, my mother never got over her grief. She depended on me more than ever.

To shorten the story, Mom lived with me for many years until she passed at 95. I don't regret it. Even though there were times I thought I'd lose my mind! (smile)

Which is best? I really don't know. Each of us has to deal with the cards given us. Your aging parents may be still in their own home. Maybe an assisted living facility or nursing home. Close by or miles away. Or living right with you in your own home.

Some of you are part of the sandwich generation. You're taking care of teenagers AND aging parents. That has to be the most difficult!

What will the New Year bring? There will be ups and downs. Perhaps their health will deteriorate. Sadly, this may be their last year on earth. We don't know. But, please look for emotional support wherever it's available. For whatever stage in the process you find yourself.

Take time for yourself. Look after yourself with proper rest and nutrition. These must be your priorities. Losing yourself to look after others will benefit nobody.

Live in the moment. Relish the little things. Take comfort in the smiles, hugs and laughter. When the bad stuff happens, know you are strong and you will conquer whatever is thrown your way.

Life's like that. I wish for you a Happy New Year. Filled with health, love, support, understanding and patience. Bless you all!