Many families struggle to afford the care that their older loved ones need. The alternatives boil down to living at home and having the necessary help come, using the services of nursing homes or moving to an assisted living facility. By any measure, when possible, staying at home has significant advantages, not only cost, but physically and emotionally, too.
We most often hear the acronym PTSD as it relates to those returning from the stresses of battle in a time of war. As a caregiver for an older adult, you may have recognized some similarities in your own emotional response to your situation. They are similar in many ways. While your own life might not be in danger (though in many ways it could), the life of someone for whom you care is very much in the balance.
When caring for a loved one that is exhibiting “different” behavior, it may be helpful to understand the characteristics of dementia as opposed to less serious behaviors that are associated with natural aging. If the older adult in your care exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, it is time to get your loved one examined for the dementia care they may need.
Sadly, seniors are especially vulnerable to fraud. While fraud affects over 25 million people per year if you are older than 60, you are at an increased risk of being a target. Fraud comes in many forms. Some con artists sell fake products and services by email or telephone. With election season right around the corner, electoral fraud is another potential threat. Posing as political volunteers, they try to lure voters into donating money by asking for cash or a credit card number. They may even offer to register you over the phone if you provide your social security number (which is not a legal method of registration in any state).
Many seniors receive therapy at home for various physical, occupational, speech or cognitive issues. Are they ever “done”? How much is “enough”?
The answer to this question clearly varies from person-to-person, but the simplest answer comes from the recipient. If the therapy recipient is not convinced that they are ready to move on without further help, chances are they are not. It is incumbent on the therapist in this situation to advocate on behalf of the patient to continue their therapies at home.
Given a choice, most elders do not want to leave their homes as they age. They understand their “space” and want to stay in it. But, aging in place requires acceptance and accommodation. Sometimes it works out, but it can be challenging.
The challenges of taking care of an ill or disabled loved one can place significant stress on a family caregiver. Unfortunately, dealing with daily stress makes caregivers susceptible to health issues themselves. Caregivers often exhibit signs of stress such as high blood pressure and sleep issues. This stress can even suggest an increased risk of stroke.
While 38 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, of those who are older than 70, only 30 percent have hearing aids. While age is the greatest predictor of hearing loss, the average senior waits seven years to address it. The effects of living with diminished hearing include social isolation which can lead to poorer health consequences. Men are more likely than women to experience hearing loss.
Many seniors feel isolated as they get older. They may have lost close friends or family members and there are fewer opportunities to make new friends as they age. Owning a pet can change that – particularly dogs. Since dogs are pack animals, most welcome social interaction with both people and other dogs. This encourages us to put ourselves out there as well. Pet ownership provides a common experience that becomes an instantaneous icebreaker. People tend to bond over animals. We amuse other people with their antics. We tend to brag about them like they are our children.