The call you feared was coming and were thankful every day – until today – that it had not. Mom has fallen and broken a hip. The adult siblings have been talking for several years about the condition of the mid-60’s house she lives in. The “kids” have been helping around when possible, but the conversations more recently have turned to “getting Mom some help”.
There are hundreds of thousands of loving family members whose primary responsibility every day is to take care of those who need them to survive. They are most often elderly parents, but sometimes more extended branches of the family tree. Knowing that meeting the needs of those who cannot care for themselves is rewarding. But it can be exhausting.
Keeping those we love safe is among our highest priorities. And, since falling is the leading cause of injury among the 65+ age category, consider a few of the most common causes of falling and work toward eliminating them.
The discharge procedure at a hospital is an established process. Sometimes, however, the process is so routinized that patients and their families assume that they have been told everything they need to know. On the hospital side, they may assume that patients and their families may know more than they do.
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.