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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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.

When Mom Can’t Balance The Checkbook

It can be hard for your parent to admit, but there likely will come a time when help is needed taking care of day-to-day tasks. There are many indicating signs mom or dad needs assistance. The key is spotting these signs so you can get your loved one assistance quickly and gracefully.

The ability, or lack of, to manage one’s finances is one red flag to pay attention to. In fact, studies have shown that up to 29 percent of seniors struggle with managing their money.

Have you noticed your loved one struggling with paying bills? Bigger problems might be at hand. We’ve put together a short guide on how to handle finances for seniors to help identify and deal with this important task.

Signs of Financial Troubles

Consider the following as signs that help may be needed.

Bounced Checks and Overspending

Is mom or dad writing checks they don’t have the funds to support? This is a sign of overspending. Not being able to keep up with balancing the checkbook is a serious problem, and one that needs to be caught and addressed quickly (but delicately.)

Frustration

Maybe your parent is keeping up with the finances—but just barely. Dealing with finances can be frustrating even when one’s capacity isn’t beginning to decline, so watch carefully for signs that indicate your parent is overwhelmed with the burden of keeping things balanced. Becoming frustrated with dealing with finances is a small sign, but an important one.

Inability to Adapt

Obviously, today’s banking and financial picture is much different from the way it was even a few years ago. While your mom doesn’t have to be computer-savvy, it is important that she be willing to adapt to a world that utilizes computers in banking. If not, you may need to step in and help. Remember to be patient. While common, today’s technology is still foreign to many seniors

How to Suggest Mom or Dad Needs Help With Finances

Noticing the signs that warn you that your parents may be struggling to keep up with their finances is the easy part.

Now that you have acknowledged the need to step in, how do you suggest a solution to your parent? You don’t want to make your parent feel helpless, but you want to help.

One option is offering to “streamline” finances by allowing you to help set up online payments. Sympathize with them about the frustration of monthly bills, and share with them the solution you’ve found in setting up automatic withdrawals.

Tips for Keeping Track of Your Loved One’s Finances

Once you have convinced your loved one that you need to help with balancing the checkbook and paying bills, how can you make sure you keep things in order?

Here are a few tips that may make the process easier.

Set Up Auto-Payments and Online Bill Pay

Automatic bill payment options are great solutions for many people. It eliminates late payments, but also alleviates the pressure of remembering to stay on top of everything.

Work Together

Don’t take over and leave mom or dad out of the equation. Let your parent cooperate with you to balance the checkbook and stay on top of things. Explain the options in simple terms, and let them make the final decision.

Keep it Separate

While it can be tempting to combine things in the name of “simplifying,” it will often create more of a mess. If you are taking care of your mother’s bills as well as your own, make sure you keep the payments and accounts separate. You will find it is easier to get things done, and faster when you need to find information when finances are maintained separately.

Consider an Accountant

Working with a professional may be a good solution, especially for complex financial situations. Rather than treating your parent as though you don’t feel that they are capable, treat the situation as though they have simply earned the luxury of letting someone else handle things for them. After all, it’s likely true!

Sometimes the little things, like struggling to balance a checkbook, can be indicators that it is time to consider a change. A senior care advisor can help you understand your situation, evaluate your options, and identify the best way to proceed. Perhaps it’s time to think about assisted living? Or maybe your mom or dad just requires some outside assistance.

Working with a complimentary advisor can help you discover the best solution for your family situation. If you would like to discuss your situation with a CareChoice expert, contact us online at ourcarechoice.com, or reach us by phone, (404) 402-1499, today.

5 Things People Don’t Think About When Becoming Their Parent’s Main Caregiver

As your parents become older, there may come a time that they can no longer take care of themselves in the manner that they once could.

At first, it may be that mom or dad can only drive in the daytime. After that, it could be that you need to help with medications. Before long, those little things add up and become big things.

Becoming a caregiver for your elderly parent is not something many of us plan for; however, it can become a necessity — both in short-term and long-term cases.

If you find yourself moving into this role, it is important to think about how it will affect your entire life. Consider these five things that many people fail to think about when they become the primary caregiver for their parent or parents.

It Changes the Relationship

When you are just stopping in now and then to check up on mom or dad, you maintain that “parent/child relationship.” Once you cross into the caregiver role, the entire relationship changes.

Sometimes, that change goes well. It can be seamless, in fact. On other occasions, it is a difficult pill to swallow for everyone involved.

Your parent may resent the fact that you are taking over, and you may resent the fact that you need to do so. It is vital that you work out these feelings, even if it involves talking with a professional.

It Is a Full-time Job

It cannot be emphasized enough how much work goes into taking care of another person. Even if you are not living with your mom or dad, you will find that you spend nearly as much time at their house as you do your own. If you are working at the same time, your stress level will be high.

If you take time off of work or away from your family to care for your parents, you may develop resentment. The time you must commit is incredible, and it is admirable that you would consider doing so.

There Will Be Added Stress and Worries

Chances are, you will find something new to worry about each and every day. Is your mom getting a well-balanced diet when you aren’t around? Are those handrails you installed strong enough? What would happen if someone came to the door late at night?

The worries pile up–it’s only natural. These concerns can quickly turn into anxiety if not managed and kept in check, which makes caring for your parents more difficult.

We suggest that people pay close attention to the things being worried about; often, anxiety becomes a habit. If they write down their concerns, they can be evaluated in a healthy way once the emotion of a moment has passed.

It is Easy to Lose Yourself

As with any demanding job, those caring for their parents are prone to falling into “caregiver depression.” It’s understandable; when you are putting someone else’s needs before your own and spending so much time focusing on taking care of them, your personal life falls down the priority line. This takes a toll on your emotions, and can manifest in a variety of ways.  

Be aware of potential feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even resentment, as they can turn into depression–which is even less conducive to caring for your loved one the way you want to. Whenever possible, remember to care for yourself; don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do it all.

Flexibility is Key

Caring for your parent is an unpredictable job; it’s impossible to know what tomorrow may bring. Whether an unexpected circumstance in your own life (perhaps your child needs a chaperone for a field trip,) or an incident with your parent (one fall could have a big impact on mobility,) the job description of caring for your parent is ever-changing.

Few people are fortunate enough to have enough flexibility in their lives to roll with the changes without complication, which is why many people look at other options — such as assisted living or care communities — to add stability to the routine.

Being the main caregiver for a parent is incredibly tough, but it doesn’t have to be something you do alone. Even if you don’t have other family members nearby that can pitch in and help, there is assistance available.

Senior Living Advisers are completely free consultants who advise and assist those considering out-of-home care or an in-home care provider. CareChoice is a senior advisory firm that offers this advice and assistance in this complicated, emotional, and confusing situation.

If you are interested in learning about assisted living in Atlanta, give us a call at (404) 402-1499 or visit our website for more information. It is our goal to reduce your worries and make the next steps easier. 

 

 

Bridging the Generation Gap Through Storytelling

Storytelling is an art, for sure—but it is also a vital means of information sharing. Stories about our past shape the people we are today. In the past, stories may have been passed down because there were few alternatives for entertainment or education. However, today many things are competing for our attention, and thus, it becomes more important than ever to make sure those stories are shared and remembered.

As stories are shared, it is important that they are kept for future generations. You can document these on an audio recording, on video or even through handwritten notes. No matter what you choose, the power of the internet allows us to store these documents in a way that they are safe from fire, flood or theft—something never possible before. However, the first step is to make sure the stories are shared. To encourage the sharing of stories, it becomes vital to bridge the gap between generations.

The Stories Keep Us Connected

It can be difficult for the older generation to try to have a conversation with the younger generation. Kids today are spending screen time at home—and working on computers at school too, so it only makes sense that their attention spans might be a bit shorter than in generations past. However, once you get started with the sharing of stories, you will often see that this is an important means of connection for both the storyteller—and those who are listening.

If you’re looking for the best ways to connect with your loved ones through storytelling, here are a few tips that will make it easier and help you both get the most from it.

  • Ask Questions to Improve Engagement – Put together a list of questions ahead of time so you can keep the story on track. Perhaps if you want to know grandma and grandpa’s story, you would ask questions about their time in school, grandpa’s days in the service, how they met, what grandma did for a living before she married grandpa, and other guided questions. When you have some specific questions ready, you can keep the story flowing.
  • Think Sound Bites – While detailed stories are a lot of fun, think about wrapping up your lessons in a quick sound bite too. That way you can impart your lesson on the younger generation without all the fuss. The best part about these short sound bites is that they open the door for a more detailed story later. Think about Aesop’s Fables—they have a short lesson that they impart, but they also have a great story when there is time for that too.
  • Consider a Multimedia Approach – While you might not be interested in going all out and creating your own multimedia empire, it is easier than ever to record video and audio for your loved ones. Consider sharing your stories on Youtube; it is possible to make these videos private where only the family can view them. Another idea is to add digital photography to bring your audio recordings to life. A digital approach to storytelling is much more likely to garner attention in a world where everyone is already plugged in and turned on to digital media most of the time anyway. Plus, when you utilize these methods you can save your stories for future generations too.
  • Get Social – Those social media websites that are so popular are a great place to tell your story or tell your family’s story. Why not share some old family photos on Instagram or post some of your favorite family recipes on Facebook? The more family members that are connected on social media, the better. It may surprise you how active your family group can get—and how quickly the stories will begin to flow. Once again, these can be made private so that only the family can view the content.
  • Include Other Content – Stories aren’t the only way to reach your loved ones. Share a classic recipe or bring out those cherished family heirlooms. You have important things to share, and there are many events that occurred in your life (or in the lives of your ancestors) that will be forgotten if you don’t share them. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

The older generation has something amazing to share, and it is up to all of us to make sure that it doesn’t become lost. Storytelling is a classy form of entertainment and these are great methods of sharing information with future generations. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the most important people in your life—and create something that will make an impact for generations to come.