How Many Medications Are Too Many?

Medicine can be an amazing thing. It often adds years to life and improves comfort. However, when you take medicine for one symptom or illness, and then add a pill for something else — and another doctor adds additional treatments, it can eventually turn into something entirely overwhelming. This can become a big problem for older adults who may struggle to remember when they have taken all their pills or have trouble keeping track of their different prescriptions.

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Making Holiday Traditions Inclusive for Seniors

The holidays are a much-loved respite from everyday life. Gallup’s mood index rates Thanksgiving and Christmas Day as two of the happiest days of the year. As the holiday season arrives, many families have timeless traditions, and newer ones as well, that they want to experience. However, it can be troubling to think about enjoying these holiday joys without including the entire family. As mom and dad age, it can be harder for them to participate in all of these holiday events without getting tired out or overwhelmed.

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6 Simple Ways to Make the Kitchen a Safer Place for Mom or Dad

Did you know that house fires that are started from kitchen equipment kill nearly 500 people every year, and injure thousands? In addition, there are more bacteria in the average kitchen than any other room in the house, meaning that improperly prepared food could be a hazard to families. These are just a few of the reasons why the kitchen is a dangerous room for anyone, but especially a senior with limited mobility. Luckily, a few simple changes and this room can be much safer for everyone! We’ve collected a few tips that you can utilize to make sure the kitchen is a safe place for your mom or dad.

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How to Break a Senior’s Hoarding Habits Without Breaking Their Spirit

Most people have a habit of “collecting” something. Perhaps it’s shoes, stuffed animals, paintings or even family photos. However, there are those people who take that natural desire to gather a little too far. When that occurs, collecting can easily turn into hoarding. Seniors are especially prone to this, mainly because they have had a lifetime to collect treasures so it can be difficult to let these items go. Also, many older Americans experienced deprivation during the Great Depression or World War II, according to Smith College psychologist Randy Frost. He stated: “They save everything, keep broken appliances, won’t part with worthless items — empty cereal boxes, rubber bands, paper bags from the market — and acquire more things regularly at garage sales. Soon, they can’t move freely among their possessions, but still, they are unable to part with any of it.”

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Helping Parents Heal: Working Through the Grieving Process of Losing a Spouse

Death is a natural part of life. However, that does not mean that it is easy to deal with the passing of a loved one. One of the hardest things any person will ever have to do is move on with life when his or her spouse passes away. Grief is the natural reaction to loss, and it is perfectly reasonable for your mom or dad to feel pain afterwards — even after some time has passed. While there is no one right way to work through the grieving process, we have put together a few tips that you can use to help your mom or dad during this time of transition and sadness.

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5 Unique Exercises For Those With Limited Mobility

Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages. In fact, WebMD states that exercise can boost brainpower, melt away stress and improve energy levels. Needless to say, adding exercise to your day would seem to be a must-do for anyone. However, what about those individuals who are not able to get up and move around or walk? Your elderly parent may have trouble getting up and going to the mailbox, so how can you or their assisted living facility encourage him or her to get more exercise and gain those benefits? We have put together a few tips that will show you how anyone can get more exercise—even if mobility is an issue. Hopefully these can help make a big difference in your life!

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Protect Your Parent: Senior Scams You Need to Be Aware Of

It is an unfortunate fact, that today we are living in a time where people need to have their guard up for money scams. Today’s scams are often more complicated and high-tech than ever before, and the scammers do not always look like your average criminal. This means that anyone can be a victim of one of these crimes. However, seniors are particularly prone to falling prey. In fact, a Huffington Post article reports that scams targeting the elderly are costing seniors up to 12 times more than they were previously thought to cost. This is a scary number and we all hope no one we care about will be affected. If you are prepared and aware, you can protect your loved one from some of the most common scams. We’ve put together a list of a few of which you may wish to be aware.

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Creating a Smooth Transition from Home to Assisted Living

If you and your family have decided that assisted living is the right decision for mom or dad, the thought of making the move into the actual facility might be a bit overwhelming. After all, this is more than just a regular move; it is a complete life transition too. While the transition will be a bit different for every person and family, check out this timeline to help you get a better idea of what to expect in the month or so leading up to the big move.

 

One Month Prior to the Move

At this point, you will be focusing on downsizing. Perhaps your mom or dad will want to give some treasured belongings to family members, put some items in storage, or even hold a yard sale. You may even want to call a local charity to have them come out and pick up unwanted items that can be donated. Also, now is the time to have work done to your mom or dad’s home so that it can be put up on the market if it will be sold or ownership otherwise transferred.

This point can be a excellent time to deal with any loose ends regarding legal matters. Make sure your loved one is comfortable with all decisions that are made and that he or she understands why everything is being done. These discussions can help avoid uncomfortable conversations later.

 

One Week Before the Move

At this point, moving day is getting closer. Your mom or dad needs to be preparing for the big day. Needed items must be packed and prepared. Talk to the management at the facility to find out if your parent will need any new items—such as bedding or household items.

Additionally, mom or dad should be getting used to the new routine. Some communities may allow the new resident to stop by and begin participating in activities or join the community for lunch. These visits can be a great way to get used to the new things that will be occurring in the weeks and months ahead.

 

The Day of the Move

Moving day is an important day. If possible, have as many friends and family members present to help. Not only will this make moving the physical items easier, but it will make your mom or dad feel more comfortable with the process.

This way, your parent will know that your entire family stands behind the decision and that someone is always going to be around to help out, if and when it is necessary. On the day of the move, prepare for a very long day.

 

The Days Ahead

Make sure that someone is available to visit mom or dad in the first few days after he or she moves into the assisted living community.

While these facilities are used to new residents and will do everything possible to make the transition smooth and simple, you want your mom or dad to know that you are there to support them.

Additionally, your parent will likely have concerns about their old home.

Don’t leave mom or dad with unneeded worries.

For many people, making the move from home to assisted living is a smart decision, but the actual move is a big job. Don’t feel like you have to guide your mom or dad through all the steps alone. A senior care advisor can be a great resource to help you make decisions and assist you every step of the way.

If you would like some assistance with the process, feel free to contact us at CareChoice. You can contact us by phone at (404) 402-1499 or check out our website at ourcarechoice.com.

The Road to Alzheimer’s: 6 Warning Signs (And What to Do)

Alzheimer’s can be a scary word—in fact; it’s one of the most frightening diagnosis you can get for a loved one. However, it’s a little less scary when you’re informed and prepared. Best of all, when you catch it early, there are many treatments that can reduce symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. The key is that the disease needs to be caught as early as possible. To do this, it is important to monitor your older relatives (and even yourself) vigilantly, to make sure you observe any potential changes and catch the disease as quickly as possible. Here are six potential warning signs you should look for—and contact a doctor if you notice.

  • Memory loss (disrupting daily life) – Everyone forgets things from time to time; there is nothing abnormal there. However, memory loss that disrupts everyday life is something that is concerning. Does your mom or dad forget who you are or fail to remember things that you know that he or she should have no problem recalling? It may be that these are just signs of mental decline, or it could be that these are early signs of Alzheimer’s. It is worth having the memory loss looked into by the family doctor.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks – An everyday task, such as doing dishes, walking the dog or completing a much-loved hobby should be second nature to an older adult. If your parent struggles with a task that used to be simple, it could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.
  • Confusion about place or time – Another worrisome sign is confusion about the current place or time. This confusion can be very scary for you, as well as your loved one. After all, not knowing where you are, or what year it is leads to a person feeling very out of place and can lead to further poor decisions.
  • Poor judgment (out of character) – One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s that many people see in their parents is poor decision-making skills. When an older adult is suddenly giving money to an untrustworthy person or making unwise purchases, it might be time to step in and protect this individual from his or herself. Poor judgment can lead to dangerous situations in the future.
  • Withdrawal from work or social life – When a person has trouble recalling facts or moving as fast as he or she once did, it is only natural that the individual might withdraw from activities that they once loved. This withdrawal can make it harder to notice the actual changes since your mom or dad won’t be engaging in as many challenging activities. If you see mom or dad begin to spend more time alone or not doing the things they once loved, it is worth investigating to find out why.
  • Severe changes in mood or personality – Although it doesn’t always occur this way, some people who are facing memory loss or other changes will respond with anger or depression. If you have noticed changes in the mood or personality of an older loved one, it could be that they are trying to cover up more serious problems. Talking with a doctor, or a psychologist, to find out the root of the problem, is often the best solution.

If you are worried about a loved one, you don’t have to face Alzheimer’s alone. Your doctor is always a great resource. However, sometimes you need a higher level of care—even full-time care. If you are considering assisted living or memory care for your mom or dad, why not reach out to us at CareChoice? We would love to discuss the different options with you and show you that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis doesn’t have to be quite as scary as you might think. Call us at (404) 402-1499 or visit our website at ourcarechoice.com to discover more. We look forward to learning more about you and your family.

Helping Elderly Loved Ones Prepare Their Will

No one likes thinking about the “what ifs” in life—and especially those that have to do with death. However, a will can be a huge help to the family when someone passes away, whether it is expected or unexpected. Helping an elderly family member prepare a will is an enormous job, but taking on this task can help them feel more secure and may make your future jobs easier too. Here are a few tips that can make the process a little easier, and perhaps help you broach the subject with your mom or dad.

Remember to Find State-Specific Information

Each state has different laws when it comes to wills and how they are handled. Make sure the information you are referencing is correct for your particular state so that you don’t wind up in a difficult legal situation in the future. It may surprise you, but a will that is entirely legal in one state could cause a long drawn out problem in another. A little research now could save time and effort later.

Consider Consulting an Expert

While saving money by doing it yourself is always a good thing, certain tasks are too big to accomplish on your own. If you get to a point that you think the job is too big to handle alone, don’t be afraid to contact a probate lawyer. It can be less expensive to have a professional will drawn up than you may think. Doing this can help make certain nothing is overlooked.

Online Tools Are Available

On the other hand, if the will that is being created is simple, creating it online may be a good option. There are a number of online tools that make the will-making process easier than trying to deal with all the details “by hand.” An online tool can often be a happy medium between trying to do it all by yourself and spending the money hiring a professional. Just make sure you are working with a program that is up to date and reputable. Also, don’t rely on a computer program as the “final copy.” Make sure you print out a paper copy and have it notarized, to make certain it will be accepted as a legal document when the time comes to reference it.

Don’t Cross Any Lines

While you want to help your mom, dad or other loved one by setting up a will, make sure you are not crossing any lines—or leaving the appearance of doing so. Because wills are such touchy matters, it may be best to get someone else involved in the process to make certain that nothing is being done that would make anyone feel uncomfortable. Taking a few extra steps can be well worth it to ensure everyone is happy with the results.

Document Everything

With anything involving finances and legal matters, it is vital that you take the time to record as much of the process as you can. By recording, videotaping, and putting in writing as much information as you can, you will protect everyone involved in the process. Documentation is always essential, and this is something that any professional will tell you if he or she is completing the process for you.

While it is not always easy to talk about wills or any wishes about what may happen after death, it is best to make plans so that all requests will be met. Be open about this subject and encourage your loved ones to do the same. It is important to keep the lines of communication about this subject open for everyone involved. Remember that a will can always be changed later, so it is best to get something written down today—just in case the unexpected occurs. The family will be very appreciative of the effort you make.