Tag Archives: #seniors

Conflicts in Caregiving: Self-Awareness

Posted by on September 17, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Conflicts in Caregiving Self-Awareness

One of the many conflicts that can arise when caregiving for an older adult is how self-aware they are. How much do they feel they are capable of versus how much they are capable of?

My friend had grandparents who were in their 80s and doing alright for themselves, but definitely not heeding what their bodies were telling them. The grandfather insisted on getting up on the roof and cleaning the gutters – until his children convinced him not to (mostly by doing it themselves). This was part of what led to a larger discussion about whether or not owning a house was still a good idea for them. They had much more space than they needed, but the couple still enjoyed owning a home. This argument continued in the family for months, before the grandfather slipped on the front step while it was covered in ice and broke his hip.

At that point, the grandparents agreed that perhaps it was time to move into an assisted living facility. And they love it. The complex is large and has several different levels of care. They’re in the lowest level of assistance and have complete independence. This complex even has a few guest rooms where family members can stay for free when they visit.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a tragedy to open the eyes of a senior, to help them realize that while they may feel and act young at heart (and they should!) they do need to understand their limits. A time of crises is not when you want to be making life-changing decisions. If possible, gently, and without any specific timelines, speak to your senior about what their plans are when they are not as capable as they currently are. If you approach the topic with love, they may just listen.

Seniors and Hoarding

Posted by on April 30, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Hoarding elderly help

While hoarding is definitely not a problem that solely affects seniors, it can become an issue for elderly adults for several reasons. A lifetime of hanging onto precious items can eventually result in simply having too much stuff. A move to a smaller home can bring about an initial clean-out, but later the person may be used to purchasing or keeping more than the new home can hold. There are also the mental reasons people hoard, which can become more pronounced with the onset of dementia or other diseases. The underlying mental reasons of why people hoard can be varied, but what can be done about the problem?

If there is just some clutter here and there, or it’s more stuff than you feel comfortable with, but the senior is happy – ask yourself if it’s important. If the items give them joy and only make their place feel messy, maybe it’s not worth the anguish of trying to get them to throw things out. But when it becomes a safety issue, either from the amount of dust that’s accumulating (especially if they or consistent visitors are allergic) or from the clutter impeding pathways, it’s time to start talking about the issue. The number one cause of falls for seniors is when they’re on the way to the bathroom, so if the pathway is not clear for any reason, that needs to solved.

When it becomes time to confront the problem, be sure to keep the senior involved as much as possible. Sending them out for the day for them to return to a cleaned out house can be devastating for them. So start slow: make short, accomplishable lists and play music while you clean. If they’re resisting and you have permission to speak to their doctor, don’t hesitate to mention the issue.

There are qualified personal that help people pare down their items to a manageable and safe level. A quick Internet search should give you results and reviews. If you have any suggestions for those types of businesses and individuals, please let us know in the comments below. And good luck!

Three Things You Can Do To Prevent Falls

Posted by on September 29, 2014 under BladderMatters, Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Keep your senior injury-free with these fall prevention tips

September is National Fall Prevention Month, to coincide with the start of the fall/autumn season. Falls are often the reason why seniors end up in the hospital. With so many situations where falls can be prevented, it’s worth the time to check and make sure the seniors you know are safe in their homes, nursing homes or while out and about.

Check on medications
Not only do medications affect each person individually, some medications can affect older people differently from the young. The elderly also tend to take more medications, which can lead to un-intended and sometimes dangerous drug interactions. The side effects of these medications can lead to dizziness, or confusion, both states which can creat a higher risk of falling. Caregivers should be certain to go over, and repeat if necessary, all medications their caree is taking to doctors, nurses and pharmacists. You never know who is going to catch an adverse combination.

Solve any incontinence issues
A common time when seniors fall is when they’re trying to get to the bathroom. The sudden urge to go and a diminished ability to walk can lead to a fall. Not only is it important to make sure that all paths to the restroom in the senior’s home are clear, incontinence problems should be addressed and solutions found. If the senior can wear a pad or a brief, then the need to get to the restroom quickly is mitigated. Additionally, nighttime falls are common, when the light is low and the senior may be disoriented. Sometimes using incontinence supplies only at night can solve this problem.

Help encourage balance
Physical therapy can be one way to help an elderly person regain their balance, especially after an injury or illness. Another way can be to try exercises that encourage balance, such as Tai Chi. Or simple stretches and strengthening exercises to make sure those muscles are there when needed.

To find more information and more ways to prevent falls, you can check out this National Council on Aging Page. And let us know in the comments how you prevent falls for your senior!