Do you have someone you love in need of elderly home care due to their declining well being or health? Many factors come into play with elderly care at home. Some of the first things you may worry about is any physical impairments they struggle with. Read on and learn more about how to care for the elderly in their own home and the benefits from doing so.

Do not forget to discuss the importance of cutting costs for elderly care at home with the family. We are talking about safety devices and senior care products to make life easier for seniors. Follow along as we talk about caring for the elderly in their home. We will also cover how much it costs and the tools and equipment that are must-haves. We will guide you along on the most cost-effective way to get your hands on some of these.

What is Elderly Home Care?

It is a known fact that most of the elderly prefer independent living in their own homes. Eldercare is the fulfillment of any special needs or requirements unique to seniors.

Elderly care covers long term care, home care, hospice care, and assisted living. Now is a good time for family members and caregivers to learn how to provide better care to seniors at home.

There are many challenges with regards to caring for the elderly who chose to live on their own. As they age, their physical abilities stand in the way of living a quality life. This is where the family can show their support by looking for ways to overcome most of these challenges. There is no need for the elderly to give up on their dreams of living at home.

The last thing any elderly person wants is having to move to a senior caring facility. The chances are that their health will decline, and their needs will increase as they age. These challenges can be overcome.

You can make use of modern technology, senior care products and other adaptive devices. Family desires nothing more than for loved ones to experience a quality life. They should remain independent for as long as possible. This is why they need to have discussions among themselves and set goals for caring for their loved ones.

Products for elderly home care  purchased online

Senior Care Products and Adaptive Devices to Aid Elderly Home Care

It sure is rewarding to see a smile of approval on your loved one’s faces. Especially, once they know you helped them with elderly care products. This way, they will experience the comforts of being at home and live a quality life.

Let’s talk about the most helpful senior care products, made to benefit the elderly. This makes life easier on caregivers who may have a part in taking care of their needs in case of any infirmities.

Shower Chair

For an elderly person, showering mustn’t be an activity that requires balancing acts. With the use of a shower chair, they will be less at risk of falling. What’s more, an elderly person can take care of their hygienic needs and other activities of daily living. Medical shower chairs offer extra support and are very lightweight. This makes them perfect for increased stability and prevents tipping.

Safety Bars that are ADA-Compliant

What you want as an extra safety measure is to use safety grab bars. These are excellent for preventing falls in a bathroom. Having these installed will boost the elderly individual’s confidence and independence. So, they will maintain their privacy and dignity for many years to come. As long as you buy ADA-compliant grab bars, to ensure your loved one's safety.

Non-Slip Bath Rugs and Mats

Non-slip bath rugs and mats are worthwhile to have in any bathroom. Having these will prevent slipping accidents when placed over slippery wet floors. Check the non-slip mats you buy to see they feature a layer of plastic or other high-friction material. This will ensure a person's safety.

Medical Alert Systems

The most important senior care product would be FDA approved medical alert systems. You never know when an elderly person may trip or lose their balance, fall and injure themselves. Automatic fall detection tracking by modern-day alert systems give you peace of mind.

Senior care products are things like a toilet seat riser, hand-held shower heads, adjustable beds, etc.

How Much Does Elderly Care Cost?

cost of elderly home care

Everyone needs and wants a place they can call their own, but it should be safe, secure and comfortable. Ensuring the safety of an elderly loved one presents many challenges. One of these is having enough funds to cover elderly care costs. There is no easy way to calculate what you need to pay every month to cover expenses taking care of the elderly.

What we can do is provide guidelines to give you a basic idea of elderly home care costs. Let’s delve right in.

Often a member of the family takes it upon themselves to manage the affairs of their loved ones. They would provide financial support where needed. Take care of the installation of specialized senior care products. This would also include emotional support and healthcare. Something else is to keep tabs on senior mobility by providing transport where required.

At times it may involve using a caregiver once a loved one ages and becomes infirm. They may need special care in their own homes. We love our elderly and want to make life as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot deny the fact that it involved money to make this happen. It sure helps if you know what you are up against.

When you care for someone yourself and make the necessary modifications to an elderly loved one’s home, it would help if you know what you are up against.

You may have to budget for special equipment such as handrails that can amount to $70 or more, depending on your particular preferences. In other cases where senior mobility is jeopardized, you can expect to pay more than $1,200 for stair lifts. Ramps, in case the person is in a wheelchair, can cost you anywhere from $60 upwards.

We will not go into too much detail over here on all you can expect to pay for elderly care. There is an elderly care source that talks about home carer costs and live-in care.

It is best you speak to your local community for tips on how to cut costs on elderly home care costs. Most of them faced similar circumstances.

Experience Savings by Using Second-Hand Equipment

The need for medical equipment for the elderly is on the rise. It makes sense to save on costs by browsing trusted websites. Over here they provide used home medical equipment. These would includes; power scooters, wheelchairs, lift chairs, walkers, and more. You may want to have a look at what Goodwill Home Medical Equipment has to offer.

Must-Have Elderly Care Tools and Equipment

hand held shower with step improves elderly home care.

There are all kinds of equipment for seniors that claim to make life easier for them. The question is, how do you decide what your elderly loved ones need and what will work best for them?

It will be great to have some guidelines from health care professionals. They have years of experience, knowing which senior tools and equipment are best. Having the right tools will help a great deal to serve the needs of your aging parents.

We thought it best to include a list of must-have tools for elderly home care:

The products listed over here are by no means an extensive list of what you may need. We invite you to head over to places like Avacare Medical to shop for must-have senior products.

Knowing there is so much support out there brings peace of mind. It helps to know there is a way to save on costs when it comes to elderly home care. Many sources offer discounts on mobility products. They also offer advice on the best safety devices and alternative solutions. Besides, it is all about making it easier on family members who care for the elderly in their own homes.

It pays to be kind to an elderly person and make their surrounding areas as user-friendly as possible. Why not go the extra mile and make a difference in your loved one’s life. The way to do so is to buy good quality products to help ease their living circumstances. You get pharmacies such as Burts who do a good job of making a range of medical equipment available. 

After all, taking care of the aging presents numerous challenges to those who are aging in place. It is best to be well prepared in more ways than one. We recommend you read our quick guide to taking care of the elderly

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.


That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. AGE IN PLACE DESIGN GUIDELINES MADE ACHIEVABLE FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. THE NEED FOR CAREGIVER SELF CARE WHEN CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
  3. HOME CARE FOR SENIORS TO HELP THEM LIVE INDEPENDENTLY

Growing older no longer requires an elderly person to be seated in a rocking chair staring at the TV and the occasional bingo game. The modern-day senior's needs demand stimulation such as fun interactive activities with the elderly who reside in their local community.  

This is not always the case with everyone. Take the case of John who was a highly motivated worker as a young man and quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming Executive Director of a major import and export company. He had hundreds of people working under his direction. John was living what the Americans refer to as the "American Dream". He never gave it a second thought that he would long to engage in some form of activities with elderly loved ones who are in a similar situation to him.  

Today, John, as a widower in his 70's sits deep in thought. He is by himself most of the time as his children are busy with their children, work and other responsibilities and he has lost touch with most of his friends. Unfortunately, he is lonely with not much to do.  

Like John, aging people across the world suddenly find themselves in similar situations, wondering where the time has gone, as they find themselves in low-quality social environments. This can lead many of our elderly to fall into deep depression and loneliness.  

Depression and Loneliness in the Elderly 

Band exercises is one of many activities with the elderly.

Loneliness should not be confused with being alone because you can be lonely with hundreds of people around you every day; it's the quality of our social interaction that determines your loneliness. Modern technology has improved to allow for building and renewing relationships from miles away and can help reduce loneliness.

How can early signs of loneliness be detected in elderly ones? How can feelings of loneliness be minimized in the elderly, and what can we as caregivers do to make our patients' twilight years as enjoyable as possible?  

Activities with the Elderly 

What kind of activities can caregivers encourage their loved ones to partake in?  

The need for mental and physical stimulation in children is well known, but it becomes even more necessary as we grow old. The brain, like body muscle loses its capacity if not exercised regularly.  

Can you imagine the excitement when one of the 9 interactive activities with the elderly listed below, brings forward fond memories, and increases playfulness in your loved one? 

  1. Book Club - Reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp. Adding in the fun of sharing thoughts and understanding other's views can be a great way to increase interaction between your loved one and their peers. Encourage them to join one or start their book club.
  2. Crafts - Making jewelry like creating bracelets or necklaces is a fun way to boost creativity among seniors and improve their motor skills. Wood working can also be tailored to many different skill and ability levels.
  3. Live Music – Finding a spot where local artists play a set in a restaurant or coffee shop is a great way activity to discover new music and get out of the house. Observing or participating with Karaoke can also be very stimulating.
  4. Art Classes – Retirement opens a host of opportunities, including the opportunity to experiment with acrylic painting, drawing, or sketching. Local community centers often teach art classes with different mediums.
  5. Life Story exercises – What a meaningful way for seniors to craft their life stories using mementos and photos, then piecing these together to preserve a slice of their history for all to see. 
  6. Walking activities – One of the best ways to form new friendships is by walking around communities with other seniors. Depending on location and ability, walking in a neighborhood, on city sidewalks or on trails in the great outdoors serves many benefits beyond building friendships.
  7. Gardening – There is something soothing and rewarding about tending to plants. A vegetable or herb garden can help improve your loved one's diet as well. Staying active and connected to other senior people proves to be an excellent way to relax and unwind. 
  8. Wii Sports – Who doesn’t know about Nintendo’s Wii console games? What a fun way to move one’s body and enjoy technology in a easy to participate way. 
  9. Weekly Music Group - Listening to familiar music causes our brains trigger particular emotions, memories and thoughts, which leads to positive effects on mental health, easing symptoms of depression.  Find music that was meaningful to your loved one in the past and reminds them of happy times.

Indoor Activities for Seniors

Tai Chi is one of the indoor activities with the elderly.

As our parents age, they may feel that they have spent their entire life being a useful part of society, contributing to others in meaningful ways. As they out live spouses, friends and family members and find themselves cut off from the greater part of society, it is common for depression to rear its ugly head. 

If your loved one has lost his beautiful and faithful wife of 50 years, his seemingly limitless time allows him mull over all these thoughts of the past leading to deep depression. As he systematically distances himself from activities and those around him, tactfully remind your care that there is absolutely nothing he can do to undo yesterday. Still, there is plenty he can do about tomorrow. Advancing age now brings the challenge of accepting help gracefully and of expressing gratitude sincerely.

Their grown children (part of the sandwich generation) are all married with their own busy lives tending to their jobs, children, and a host of other responsibilities. Without work or meaningful hobbies and activities to fill the day, our loved ones may stew in their loneliness which can cause further depression and bitterness. Encouraging volunteering could give them a chance to meaningfully participate with a cause they care about.

Armed with this information, you as caregiver need to help make life fun again. This can be accomplished through fun indoor activities like gentle yoga or tai-chi. Both of these are stimulating to the mind and help improve mobility and muscle strength.  

Furthermore, Tai-chi or shadow boxing has long been recognized in the East as it reduces stress and anxiety and increases flexibility, balance and agility, which is key for prevention of falling in the elderly.

Caregivers, do not forget the importance of a little warm-up exercising before embarking on a strenuous exercise regimen. These can include arm circling for shoulders, ankle swirling and pelvis swivels for the hips. Walking for a couple minutes is also an effective warm up. This can turn out to be fun and puts your charge in a good mental frame of mind.  

Activities with the Elderly who Struggle with Mobility Issues

Activities with the elderly can be difficult for those with mobility issues.

What about elderly ones with limited mobility due to conditions like stroke, arthritis, or injuries from falls? The CDC estimates that at least one in four seniors fall every year. Yes, there are activities to boost the mood of our less active elderly ones and help them stay engaged.  

Do you have access to a swimming pool in your community? Many people with mobility issues find exercising in water especially beneficial as it aids your body and minimizes the risk of muscle and joint discomfort.  

Printable Activities for Elderly 

Crossword puzzles and reading is suggested as it improves memory and delays cognitive decline. Why not arrange for an in-house book club group as mentioned previously?  

Elderly ones can also be encouraged to get in touch with their creative side, something they may have set on the back burner for years because their hectic lifestyle did not allow for it. Writing might have been something they always thought of doing, and as an elderly person, why not put your colorful past life down in writing for your grandchildren to read about. Memoirs like these can be printed out and shared with loved ones.  

Benefits of Social Activities for the Elderly 

There is an array of other activities like knitting, crochet, painting as this will now help you decrease negative emotions and improve positive ones. Creating something can give them a sense of accomplishment even if it is not perfect. Honing a craft and improving at a task is a powerful positive motivator.

Avoiding watching the news, or if that is not possible, limit news intake. Up to 90% of news articles are negative. This is to keep people reading, watching, clicking. We see what we focus on and if your loved one is constantly consuming negative media, it will negatively effect their demeanor.

At times, their advancing age can be its own source of frustration as their abilities decline do to changes in strength and mobility. They may feel as sense of being a burden. Help your loved one change their focus to think about all the good they can still do.

A patient of mine once told me that even though she was blind and bed ridden, she could still have a positive effect on people by praying for them. Her outlook was great and allowed her to see the good in any situation.

There is a well-known saying, "no man is an island", so encouraging social activities is highly beneficial. Caregivers need to be aware that sometimes, due to limited hearing on the part of a patient, they tend to withdraw from people. 

This can be corrected through a hearing aid as the positive benefits outweigh a bit of embarrassment. If a caregiver finds resistance on the part of a patient not wanting wear the hearing aide, suggest it is just like glasses. We will all need glasses as we age, hearing aides can improve quality of life like glasses.

Conclusion 

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing being enforced has not made life any better for our elderly ones. So the work of our overworked caregivers has taken on all kinds of new dimensions.  

Children not being able to touch or closely interact with their elderly parents in this most crucial part of their lives is devastating. Scenes of elderly ones sadly waving through barriers at their relatives have been sad to observe. Studies are still in their infancy to let us know what kind of effect the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has had on our dear elderly ones.   

Your active participation as a caregiver in the recommended exercise regimen will be as beneficial for your well being as it is for your loved one. So enjoy these fun activities with your loved one and improve every ones quality of life!

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.



That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. THE NEED FOR CAREGIVER SELF CARE WHEN CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. CAREGIVER QUOTES TO INSPIRE CAREGIVERS
  3. HOME CARE FOR SENIORS TO HELP THEM LIVE INDEPENDENTLY

Our aging population deserves to experience the benefit of age in place design. It will allow them to live their remaining years comfortably. Various areas of the home can be modified to accommodate this need.   

Phyllis and her immediate family are putting their money where their mouth is by strategizing how they may modify the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and outside areas of their aging relatives to ensure a safe environment and prevent falling in the process.   

What is the Age in Place concept? 

Phyllis' mother-in-law has been one of the fortunate people that has been able to live, love and raise her children in the same house she has called home for the past 60 years of her life. Her home has been her haven for the major part of her life, knowing every nook and cranny of her house. As an aging parent, it makes her shudder to think of being anywhere else but right here as an 80-year-old widowed person. This is where she has been for the most memorable part of her life, and this is where she would like to remain. This is a good example of the age in place definition.

When should you plan for your parents to age in place?

Many things to consider related to age in place design

Being respectful of her wishes and realizing her elderly parents are fortunate enough not to require constant assistance or specialized aid, Phyllis needs help planning ahead as to the concept and creation of age in place design for her aging parents. There is so much to consider and it can seem overwhelming, but if you take it room by room, you can make small improvements that can begin to help immediately.

Not all items need to be perfect initially, but any improvements will make the home safer. This is making our aging parents' existing home as friendly for aging in place as possible. There are numerous challenges your parent will face when aging in place.

Being aware that we will not be around our aging parents 24/7 due to our own schedule as busy parents, we will want to ensure that our aging parents have all the necessary conveniences within easy reach and at their disposal.   

Where do we start to use design to help with aging at home?  

As a young couple building or purchasing their family home, our parents were unlikely to give much thought to future need to age in place. Also many of the "must haves" in a home when you are raising children are very different than the things which become increasingly important with age.

Some homes are more age in place friendly and require minimal renovation to make them ideal for our loved ones safety and function. Other homes will require extensive renovations to improve the flow and space for aging in place.

Advances in medicine and better health care are extending the lives of our elderly loved ones. According to US census, senior citizens are making up the country's fastest-growing population. Senior citizen population growth is 15.1% vs. 9.7% for the US population as a whole.

This is increasing the need and importance for age in place design.

Age in Place Design and Renovating of the Existing Home?  

Renovating with aging in place in mind starts at the entrance to the home. A covered, step free entrance is ideal and can often be achieved with an ADA compliant ramp. If this is not an option, 2 sturdy rails that can be reached at the same time is the next best solution. Often one will enter the kitchen from the carport or garage.

Kitchen Age in Place Design

The kitchen can be one of the most dangerous places in the home as two-thirds of fires tend to start here, with the most common injuries being burns, fires, and lacerations.  

Enough lighting is especially important here.  

You will want to round those pointed edges around the kitchen and choose to install more pull out drawers over cabinet doors. The door handles need to be easy to grip as many elderly people suffer from joint pain in their hands. Five more areas you will want to take into consideration:

  1. Ensure that floors are slip-resistant.  
  2. Make kitchen cabinet corners easily accessible with corner pull-out drawers.  
  3. Place the microwave at counter height or below.  
  4. Opt for a shallow kitchen sink.  
  5. Keep the sink close to the stove.  

Once out of the kitchen, falling is the most likely cause of injury around the house.

Fall prevention is a key aspect of keeping mom safe at home. The most dangerous room in the house when it comes to fall related injuries is the bathroom. There are many sharp corners and hard surfaces increasing the danger of a slip. Add in the fact that there could be water on the floor and someone urgently needing to get to the restroom and the potential for disaster is high.

About one-third of elderly people living at home fall at least once a year and have become the leading cause of accidental death. Anything that can be done to reduce this risk is money or time well spent.  

Age in Place Bathroom Design

Age in place design concepts for the bathroom

The bathroom is a part of the house that an elderly person regularly visits. As a result a lot of thought needs to go into designing this small but important room. A wide bathroom door is once again recommended. About 28 inches will allow a wheelchair to pass through. Anything more narrow than 24 inches is not safe when a walker or rollator is required as an assistive device.

Hand rails should be incorporated into strategic places. One area where a rail is an absolute must is next to the toilet. An elevated toilet seat will also reduce the difficulty of sitting on and standing from the commode.

A tub/shower combo that requires your loved one to step over the walls of the tub can be quite dangerous. Soapy water or wet floors inside and outside the tub can lead to significant injury. If this is style of the current setup, consider replacing with a low threshold shower, or a walk in tub. If these options are not in the budget, handrails need to be added that can be reached when stepping into and out of the tub/shower combo. 

This becomes an even more dangerous area for a frail person that may suffer from chronic conditions such as low blood pressure in the elderly that leads to dizziness or heart disease, poor vision and muscle weakness.  

The shower needs to have a sitting area installed in it so that the elderly can easily lift their feet to wash and do the soaping of the head and body in a sitting position to avoid dizziness. If one is not built into the shower or tub, a shower chair or tub transfer bench can be purchased and easily installed for safety. We would recommend a handheld shower head as an age in place bathroom design feature. A sturdy grab rail should be incorporated for rising to their feet. If the floor hasn't got a slip-free surface, you will need to purchase a slip-free shower mat.   

Living room \ Den Area 

Loose rugs in the living room and around the house to be removed. If this is not feasible they need to be securely tacked to the floor. Any rug can become a tripping hazard, but if they are not secured to the floor, the danger is much higher.   

After years spent in your family home, it is easy to understand how furniture and other items collect until there is almost no room for walking. This is a fire hazard as well as a tripping risk. Decluttering is a daunting task and one your loved one is likely to resist. Starting small with opening up walkways and removing some unimportant, non essential items is a good way to begin.

If vision is limited or getting worse, consider replacing TV remote controls with large numbers and lettering. Be sure to keep the remotes within easy reach as well. The chair that is most often sat in can make maneuvering easier or require excess energy to stand from. It is important to have a chair in the 16" to 22" height range to allow for moderate ease of standing.

Avoid providing a lift chair with relatively healthy and active parents as reliance on the chair to stand them up will make their large muscles of the legs weaker in time. This will lead to significantly increased difficulty with getting up from a standard chair or in and out of a vehicle. A lift chair can be highly effective for our frail and elderly loved ones who are no longer able to stand from a standard chair.

Improving visibility will also make the home safer and reduce risk of falls and injury. Along with a yearly eye exam, increasing the wattage of overhead lights and adding functional night lights is high traffic areas will improve visibility.

Be sure that there are no cords or wiring crossing walkways. Use power strips when necessary to keep cords well hidden and out of the way. Remove and donate older electronics that are no longer utilized to reduce the amount of cords in the home.

Bedroom:  

The bedroom is likely the last place you move through at night and the first place in the morning. This means you may be exhausted or not yet awaken when moving through here. Make sure lamp cords and phone chargers are not in danger of being tripped over.

The height of the bed should also be in the 16" to 22" range to allow safely getting in and out. Avoid very tall beds that require "hopping up" or a step stool to access as both they present opportunities for injury.

The color of the bedroom needs to be carefully selected as colors and moods are closely linked, and you will want to create a relaxing atmosphere. Sufficient lighting and a well-secured bed lamp are also important here.  

Advantages of Age in Place Technology  

Technology to help with age in place design

Modern technology with its fast-paced advances might be the one thing that intimidates our aging parents the most. Still, we will want to explore how this can actually make their age in place experience safer with increased independence.  

Age in place technology analyst Laurie Orlov says low-cost technological equipment industry for the elderly is expected to rise by $30 billion in 2021. 

As children, we will want to patiently explain to our aged parents the value of making an effort to get used to modern technology. Start slow and help them work through the challenges and resistance. Set realistic expectations for the learning process as unmet expectations leads to frustration and then resistance. 

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has shown our aging parents the advantages of being tech-savvy as social distancing requires us to communicate with each other in different ways. Many of our aging parents can benefit from the increased virtual access to their friends and family.

Unlike the telephone that our aging parents have grown up with, they have now got the added advantage of video chat, seeing them live on skype or zoom, which makes it worth their effort to learn. The birth of a grandchild, photos of special events, christenings and birthdays, can immediately be sent to parents via social media.  

Conclusion

As modern medicine extends the lifespan of our aging parents, we have to be aware of making their aging in place a pleasant experience by helping them redesign their living space to suit a new phase in their lives. Slips and trips are regarded as the leading causes of injuries or worse in elderly people as they become frail, and so we need to help create a hazard-free and spacious environment for them to thrive. Modern technology to reduce caregiver stress and worry can improve day to day lives of our loved ones if they are willing and able to give it a chance.

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.


That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. CAREGIVER QUOTES TO INSPIRE CAREGIVERS
  2. ELDERLY CARE IN HOME AND ELSEWHERE
  3. WHAT DO THE FACTS REVEAL ON DEATH FROM FALLING AMONG SENIORS?

Discussing the setting up of Advanced Healthcare Directives is not the most comfortable or pleasant conversation to have with your aging loved ones. The conversation can be initiated by discussing your personal decision to get all your affairs in order due to the uncertainty of the times. This can open the conversation to encourage them to do the same.

Assure your loved one that this will be a sure way of having his or her values and beliefs respected. Without heartfelt conversation among family members concerning advanced medical directives, the best-written form in the world will be of little value. The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has made it urgent and easier to approach this sensitive subject. This is just one of the many challenges your parent will face when aging in place.

What Does Advanced Healthcare Directives Mean?

Power of attorney is one of the advanced healthcare directives

Advance Medical Directives fall into three categories:

  1. Living Will
  2. Power of Attorney
  3. Health Care Proxy. 

These are legal documents in which a patient (primary individual) expresses how medical decisions are to be made if they are incapacitated. 

The document (legal instrument) also tells medical staff who have been authorized to speak on behalf of the patient. 

It outlines the kind of treatment the person would want to be administered to them in the case of need if they are unable to speak for themselves . It also describes the type of medical procedures they do not wish to be performed. So it can be thought of as a planning and communication tool. 

The person setting up the advanced healthcare directives needs to make sure that the trusted authorized person or people will accept the responsibility and is willing to carry out the patient's decisions if he/she is incapable of doing so. 

The primary individual will also want to ensure that the person chosen to be their spokesperson has a strong enough personality and can follow through on their wishes. If you do not believe you would be the best person to perform this task, suggest someone who may be a better fit.

The medical directive needs to be properly witnessed by two or more people, dated and signed.  

A copy of the completed medical directive will then be kept on file at your loved one's doctor's office and given to everybody involved. 

You might want to suggest mom keep a miniature copy of her medical directive in her wallet or purse. This will help her indicate that she has an Advance Medical Directive in place. 

What Should Be Included in an Advanced Directive?

This will include decisions as to what the person will expect in the form of where he \ she would like to live during this time, the kind of medical treatment preferred, and in the case of death, whether the body should be cremated or buried, or if the organs should be donated.

The medical directive can authorize more than one person to be the patient's decision-maker. 

Bear in mind that an Advanced Medical Directive can be changed as your feelings and choices evolve, although you will want to make sure that all role players are made aware of changes and given a new copy. 

Medical information is always changing, so you want to make sure that your loved one's wishes are relevant and in line with present medical advances and State regulations.

This can be started with the wording, "If the time comes…, I will not want any measures taken to extend my life and will want to die naturally",  

Advantages of Having an Advanced Medical Directive

Living will is one of the advanced healthcare directives.

Due to the unpredictable nature of illness and injury, it is wise to help mom put this legal document in place now for everybody's peace of mind. 

This takes family members off the hook because arguments among close family members about the best medical treatment can cause deep and lasting divisions, resentment and guilt. 

Though uncomfortable to think about, making sure your elderly loved one has these documents in place will make sure their desires are carried out. This also takes the burden of very difficult decisions off of the family at a time when stress is high and emotional states make sound decision making nearly impossible.

Health care professionals' mandate in the case of an emergency is to keep their patient alive unless advanced directives specify otherwise. Therefore, the medical staff would have to do everything in their power even though at times this might not give the patient a better quality of life. 

Are there Advanced Directives for Mental Health?

In the case of individuals with a new diagnosis of a progressive mental disease such as Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia, it is important to get advanced directives in place quickly. This will allow your loved one to make their own decisions related to their future medical care.

While it is difficult to think and talk about, it really is important. Putting off these difficult decisions is not helpful and may make them more challenging due to the progressive nature of the disease.

These diseases can be identified early if you know what to look for. If you are concerned about your loved one's memory or problem solving, it is a good idea to bring this up as soon a possible with their primary care provider. It may just be normal effects of aging, but it is best to find out.

Our parents will often resist these conversations with the doctor as it is difficult to face the thought of declining cognition. It will likely be helpful to attend the doctor's appointment to be sure of the questions asked and the doctor's response.

It is still a good idea to put plans in place for advanced healthcare directives. A living will, healthcare proxy or power of attorney may be the correct option.

The proxy directive will be the individual chosen by the patient to be her spokesperson but limits invasive medical decisions. Here too, an Advance Directive Medical can be changed if the patient so desires, but you need to bear in mind that this type of directive only remains valid for three years at last count.  

Which Advanced Healthcare Directive is Suitable for Someone Who Cannot Speak for Themselves?

Health care proxy is one of the advanced healthcare directives.
Healthcare Proxy Form

Let's take a look at two options that cover these:

  1. Health Care Proxy: This allows the designated person to make medical decisions if you can't speak for yourself, although it limits the proxies' decision to allow the administration of invasive medication to save the person's life. Without a health care proxy in place, it can take a long-drawn-out court case which takes time and money to direct your health care treatment. An Advanced Medical Directive referred to as a "Living Will" designates invasive measures like artificial life-prolonging care, feeding tubes, CPR, or antibiotics. 
  2. Power of Attorney: Power of Attorney is the authority given to you to act on behalf of another person in all specified or all legal, financial, and medical matters. This will provide the designated person with the legal right to make medical decisions that will impact your life significantly, which is usually given to a living spouse. Here you once again need to be sure that your spouse will be guided by your decisions and will not be overridden by sentiment. 

Where can documents be obtained?

Any drawn-up form is a legal document as long as it has your signature and date on it witnessed by two or more people. 

Advanced Medical Directives can also be found online, but bear in mind these will be planning tools only, yet it is useful for getting started. In addition, forms can be found in your doctor's office, hospitals and senior centers; you need to make sure that your document is State approved. 

If you wish to download a directive, you might want to try Samaritan Healthcare that boasts its form is acceptable in 42 States; it is called "Five Wishes - A Living Will Document". It states its objective as letting your doctors and family know: 

Conclusion 

In summary, the three main reasons for an Advance Medical Directive is to [1] nominate a person, [2] leave specific instructions [3] share your particular values and wishes. 

We have looked at Alternative Directives that might vary in nature due to the type of illness issues the patient might experience. 

Extra care and consideration must be exercised when setting up a Medical Directive for a person with a progressive disease that effects cognition such as Alzheimer's or dementia. 

This relieves family members and friends of guilt, conflict and animosity over medical issues and decisions. It leaves you with the peace of mind that your loved one's wishes concerning values and beliefs will be respected. 

Be aware of each state's differing requirements, and you are off to a peaceful state of mind.

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That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. NEED FOR CAREGIVER SELF CARE WHEN CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. ELDERLY CARE IN HOME AND ELSEWHERE
  3. PREVENTION OF FALLING AT HOME - STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PREVENT FALLING

Advances in medicine today have given people the ability to live longer in recent generations. This has given rise to the need for caregivers for this aging population. Many adult children find themselves as caregivers, regardless of whether or not they wanted the position. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety, depression and burnout among those who find themselves as caregivers. It is hard enough managing your own family, job, errands and appointment. Add in other person or two to care for and you can see an obvious need for caregiver self care.

Qualifications required for someone who wants to pursue caregiving as a career is having a compassionate heart, being unselfish, commitment and flexibility, including a respectful and supportive manner. What if you didn't choose caregiving as a career but find the role thrust upon you? In this situation, taking care of yourself is even more important.

For paid caregivers, it is their job, but for the rest of us, we have our own jobs, family and lives to contend with as well...

What is the Definition of a Caregiver? 

A survey in the British Isles revealed that in their 40s and 50s, one in every two women is a caregiver. Studies show that the emotional turmoil and problems that these caregivers face can be unbearable at times. To put it in a simple terms, a caregiver is anyone who consistently looks after an elderly person, disabled person, or a young child.  

Look for These Caregiver Burnout Signs 

caregiver self care required to avoid burnout

Dr. Fredrick Sherman of the American Geriatrics Society reveals that more than 50% of caregivers experience depression from caregiving during their first year. If you are an elderly caregiver dealing with your own limitations and health issues, this can deepen your depression.  

Caregiver responsibilities vary as no two caregivers experience the same challenges involved in their day to day activities. Each patient is different in their personality and temperament, just as each ailment is not the same.  

The kind of relationship you had with the patient before they required assistance plays a significant part in how your interactions will go as caregiver and person needing care. If you have had a strained relationship with the person in the past and now they are requiring assistance and do not wan't your help, tempers can quickly flare. If this happens, make sure they are safe and then take a few minutes away from them.

Come back when you can be calm and explain what needs to happen. Make sure to listen to their concerns. Show them your are listening by repeating their point of view in your own words and ask if you are correct. Even if y'all do not agree, this strategy will make them more likely to listen to your point of view.

Caregiving can take both a physical and psychological toll on anyone. Thus, it is important for caregivers to look for caregiver burnout signs; the problem is that many caregivers are not aware that they are suffering from caregiver burnout until it is too late.  

Signs that a caregiver needs to be on the lookout for include: 

There are a host of other signs that can be looked up under "caregiver burnout". Being burnt out can leave you feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation and beyond caring.  

Caregiver Martyr Syndrome with Caregiver Self Care

Caregiver self care journal

As caregivers, we need to understand the importance of sharing our experiences with others. Finding someone to talk to allows us to unburden ourselves. This will provide the moral support necessary to reduce stress. A listening ear and a shoulder to cry on at times are exactly what is needed. Family and friends rarely realize that the primary caregiver often has to bear the brunt of the patient's limitations and frustrations as he or she is their first line of defense or offense.  

At the same time, a person like Phyllis should not be guilty of caregiver martyr syndrome where she feels she is the only who knows how to properly care for her elderly parents. Most caregivers feel this way at some point.  

The importance of getting some help cannot be over stated. Friends in the community and family members who are able to provide practical help cannot be emphasized enough. Family can lend their support by relieving the caregiver for a few hours, allowing you to attend a religious event or some other activity while they look after the patient. If friends and family is not an option there are respite care for the elderly services which can provide assistance for set periods of time.

Utilizing others to assist with tasks not directly associated with patient care can also reduce our stress and burden of care. Tasks like running errands, mowing the lawn, laundry and shopping can be outsourced to decrease the amount of chores we as caregivers are responsible for.

When you feel like you are at your wit's end, ask for help. Often, we try to put on a brave face and handle the challenges alone. No one can read our minds, so it is critical to let other know when we need help. Making these concerns known is the best way to have support of others. Even with other family states away, there are way they can assist with the burden of care. Contributing financially can allow a paid caregiver to assist for a few hours a week. This may be exactly the break you need.

The book "The 36 hour Day" reveals that it is vitally important that you at times get away from the 24-hour care of the patient. Can a family member take on the responsibility for the day?  

At the same time, do not give in to feelings of guilt when away from the patient. Is there perhaps an adult daycare center in your area that will be able to care for your loved one for the day?  

Tips for caregiver self care 

Keep in mind that the quality of care you are able to give your patient will greatly depend on your own caregiver self-care.  

So do take care of yourself first; this is not a luxury; it's a necessity. This point is illustrated every time you get on an airplane. In the even of a situation and the oxygen masks drop down, you are required to put on your own oxygen mask first before attempting to help others. Self care and caring for others is no different.

Caregiver self care includes getting away from the patient at times.

7 Caregiver self-care tips to help a caregiver cope with the demands placed on them, include: 

Focusing on caregiver self care is the best way to make sure you are able to provide the needed care for your loved one.

At some point, your loved one will require more assistance than you can provide. This is a natural next step. Do not beat yourself up for no longer being able to care for your aging parent. There are many options available from home healthcare, to continuing care retirement communities, to hospice vs palliative care.

This can be a tough decision to make as a caregiver as feelings of guilt may surface. This is not abnormal. 

Acknowledge your feelings, do not push them aside. But know that you have done the best you can for your loved one. Every day they were able to stay at home because of your help, increased their quality of life.

After they transition to the next level of care, share your feeling with close friends or a community of individuals going through the same thing. It is amazing the strength we can draw from each other. You never know what kind of positive impact you experience may have on another caregiver.

Once you are no longer the primary caregiver, it is just as important to focus on self care. You likely have lost contact with friends, family and co-workers while caring for your loved one. Getting back to having a social life is difficult, but worth the effort. It will improve your emotional state and mental health.

Conclusion 

So as caregivers and those that will be taking on the role as caregivers in the time to come, we need to be aware of the need to look after ourselves first and foremost. Do not neglect your own mental, physical and emotional health. Physical exercise is vital, even if it is a walk around your neighborhood block. A healthy diet and sleep will give your body the necessary strength to cope under trying circumstances. 

Do not feel ashamed that you are asking for help when needed, as some might assume that you are handling matters just fine.  

Find trusted resources, and others who have been through this process before. They can help you and be a guide for you. Knowing what to expect can improve your ability to provided the best care possible for your loved one and improve their quality of life. 

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.




That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. AGING IN PLACE DEFINITION
  2. CAREGIVER QUOTES TO INSPIRE CAREGIVERS
  3. HOME CARE FOR SENIORS TO HELP THEM LIVE INDEPENDENTLY