How to Help Aging Parents Stay Healthy: Elderly Resources for Healthy Living

When we say, “stay healthy,” we do not just mean eating a well balanced diet. Staying healthy can be synonymous with staying protected physically, being mentally happy and emotionally well balanced in this context. As we get older, the importance of this broad meaning increases, along with our decisions to become more health conscious. Fortunately, plenty of resources exist willing to provide help for senior citizens such as yourself or your elderly parents. The sites listed below cost nothing; they are entirely free elderly resources from U.S. Government organizations designed to improve and maintain seniors’ health.

Senior Care Resources for Health & Wellbeing:

National Center on Elder Abuse: If you or someone you love is being abused or neglected, this website is a free anonymous hotline to report the individual to the proper authorities. Not only will you be enabling the victims to receive better care for the elderly, you could be potentially saving a life.

Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs: If an elder makes less than $13,000 alone or $26,000 combined income, they may be eligible for addition help with prescription drug costs in the United States.  This may be a good option to provide elderly parents or yourself with adequate care for seniors and to protect the senior’s health with medication prescribed by a medical doctor.

Eating Healthy: This free guide from the National Institute on Aging provides resources for elders on how to continue eating healthy after age fifty. It focuses on the daily diet and how it can be improved to manage seniors’ health.

 

Communication Tips: for volunteers helping elders

As an elder care service, we stress the importance of communication when caring for seniors. Proper verbal and non-verbal communication can improve the companionship that you provide. We have collected three tips for you today that will improve your relationship with seniors and the non-profit elder care that you provide for them.

Encourage engagement:  When elders respond to questions that you ask them, it lets you know that they understand the message that you are conveying to them. It helps you become a better elderly caregiver when you actively ask open-ended questions and allows the elder to feel better about their own communication methods.

Re-state main points: Many great writers or speakers will include conclusions into their presentations or literature to help readers remember the key points. When serving as a volunteer caregiver for the elderly, you can improve your communication and increase the ideas remembered by simply re-stating them.

Short, Sweet and to the Point: Steven Hawking is a famous physicist and writer, well known for his ability to present complicated material for anyone to understand. Most people prefer short and simple sentences, with the key points easy to understand. We believe that shortening and simplifying your speech will help you to provide better help for the elderly and improve other relationships as well. 

Early Stages of Alzheimer’s: Helping Elderly Parents through Understanding

As you or your elderly relative becomes older, they may experience some indications that could be early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The sooner that you notice these signs,the better help that you can provide help for your aging parents. Alzheimer’s has several levels of severity,however we will be focusing on the actions indicating the disease in general.

Severe memory loss preventing daily living can be one sign that is tricky to distinguish, because some people simply have a poor memory. If the memory loss disrupts the elder’s daily life or general problem solving abilities it may be helpful to investigate further. If the elder is regularly confused for activities that were once routine or elementary, this may be an indication of the disease.

The confusion may be demonstrated in conversation or if the elder misplaces objects frequently. A social withdrawal or change in mood or personality may also be due to other circumstances, so you may be able to notice more than one symptom. If you or the volunteer for the elder notices that he or she has become fearful, depressed or worried frequently or disassociate with normal activities, it may be the result of something else. It is important to focus on several signs and understand that while it is important to know early, it may be easily misunderstood for something else.

How to Help Seniors Avoid Scams: Helping Elders Stay Protected

The internet and technology revolution that seniors have seen within the past few decades has simplified life, but also opened them up to several new forms of scams. When finding help for seniors with finance, legal or general living issues, it is essential that elders stay protected to avoid falling victim to scams.

With scamming, prevention is the key to success. Steps can be taken to prevent elders from begin scammed online or offline that can be much simpler than having to resolve the consequences. As the authorities work to provide new methods to stop seniors from begin scammed, we have complied three resources for elders to help them stay safe and protected:

Be Selective about Disclosing Personal Information

Some scammers may call the senior’s home and request personal information that may be used to commit fraud. Websites or e-mails have also been known to be set up to have an appearance of a legitimate website to ‘trick’ users into entering their personal information. If necessary, ask that the senior speak to a relative or caregiver before they distribute personal information.

Assign a Power of Attorney

Seniors can request to assign a power of attorney, which enables a trusted individual like a family member or financial professional to manage their finances if they become unable. Not only does this protect the senior, but it can also keep trusted relatives with good intentions legally safe.

Order Medicare Discount Drug Cards Directly From Medicare

Discount drug cards are sold by several companies and many can help elders to save on their prescription drug costs, but the card can do more harm than good for the elderly if it is being sold by a scammer. To avoid any Medicare card scams, only order your card from Medicare directly by calling them at: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

3 Tips for Helping the Elderly Use Computers

We have moved quickly from the release of the very large first personal computer, to super advanced machines that are more transportable than a book. How is an elder supposed to keep up with this rate of change? Do not worry, the technology lingo and hype you hear these days is not important to most people. There are still preparations that you can take to ensure that the computer is simple, yet still very beneficial.

1. It may help to make the screen larger for the elder, if they have trouble seeing it. Simple steps can be taken to increase icon size, window size and the size of the text displayed on the screen. For more information on how to make specific features of your PC larger, click this link.

2. If you are the person setting the computer up in the home or you know the person that is, tell them to just keep it simple. Computers are as complicated as we want them to be, or perceive them to be. To do this, ask the elder what he or she wants to do on the computer and delete all of icons that do not accomplish this task by dragging them into the recycle bin. Do not uninstall the programs unless you are a computer professional, as this may have unintended consequences.

3. Is there virus protection software on the PC and is it up-to-date? Alerts should notify you if there is not, a red or yellow alert button will be located on the bottom of the screen near the start button. If there is a red alert button, stating that your ant-virus is not active or you believe that there is no anti-virus software on your computer, follow the URL below to get Microsoft’s free virus removal software. 

In the summer heat

In the summer heat, it can become a great challenge to heat our homes without skyrocketing the electricity bill. Additionally, many of us may not have a cooling system. These situations can become dangerous for the elderly who demand a safe room temperature, particularly those living alone on the hot summer days. This article presents nine ways that you can help seniors stay cool to beat the heat, without beating the budget.

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight: Investing in drapes or shades for windows to block the sun’s rays can avoid heating the home through direct sunlight. The first step to a cooler and safer home is through the elimination of sunlight, which causes heat to increase through the sun’s warming rays.

2. Windows: Although this may sound contradictory to the first step, use a white or light colored window dressing to reflect the sunlight to have the windows open to let cool air in, without being subject to the sunrays. Additionally, leave cabinets open, as they tend to hold in heat.

3. Turn you fan into an air conditioner: Placing a frozen bowl of ice or milk in front of a fan can make the fan act as an air condition. The ice emits cooling air, which is distributed through the home with the fan.

4. Electronics are hot: Keep in mind that electronics create heat. This heat may be very minor, but if you have many electronics in your home on at the same time it can slightly increase the temperature.

5. Avoid Heat: If you use the oven frequently in the home, consider switching to an alternative such as the microwave. The oven can get over 500 degrees and releases its heat into the surrounding area, which can heat the home.

6. Humidity: A high humidity can increase the feeling of a temperature in a room. Obtaining a dehumidifier may assist, particularly if you live in a humid climate.

7. Landscaping: For a more long term solution, planting trees around the home can give shade, which will cool the home by preventing sun rays from going through your windows or hitting your home.

8. Attic insulation: One of the best ways is to insulate the attic, especially when an attic-ventilating fan is used. This can reduce the temperature from the outdoors and cause hot air to be removed from the home.

9. Light Bulbs: Light bulbs give off small amounts of heat, but having them on can increase the temperature of a room, particularly if several are on at a given time.

 

Elder Helpers’ Standard for Volunteers: The Code for Caregivers

Care about your important volunteer position in order to provide the best help possible. The more that you care about helping the elderly, the more emotionally rewarding and meaningful the experience will be. Demonstrating that you are concerned about providing help for the elderly will show them that they are respected and valued.

Compassion in actions through understanding. The elderly sometimes have difficulty communicating or mobility restraints and it is important to not get frustrated. Remember that it is not their fault; it is just part of the aging process. By reading the Caregivers Guide to Compassion, you can understand what the elderly may be experiencing to provide the best experience for you and them.

Trust must be established with every relationship from the beginning. It should grow and strengthen with time. It is the foundation to all great relationships, your building blocks to success. By maintaining integrity with the elder, you can gain their gratitude and the satisfaction of helping others.

Reliability demonstrated in the relationship by arriving at a previously agreed upon time and consistently. The elderly can become accustomed to a daily routine and interrupting it can cause stress and anxiety. Being reliable in this context means keeping your promises, mainly with scheduling. While your visits may not be the most important activity on your agenda for you, it may be for the elder.

Respect of the beliefs held and lifestyle lived by the elder that you care for.  Our organization operates around the world, honoring all backgrounds and we expect volunteers to do the same. This is for the best interest of you and the elder.  Achieving this may mean some personal subjects like religion; political beliefs or finances are better left unmentioned.

Genuine companionship and care should be provided for the elderly. We believe that this is possible by not accepting money for yourself or our organization. You are very smart because as a volunteer, you understand that there are more satisfying rewards when you provide authentic compassion.

Safety should be practiced and not dismissed when volunteering for the elderly. This may include taking preparation before engaging in athletic activities, sustaining a healthy diet or ensuring that the home is free of potential hazards.

Honesty should remain among the most important factors in your relationship. It is the quality that binds the code together, allowing the relationship to flourish and your care to be the best available. There are no exceptions to not being honest or compromises for integrity.

Friendship will develop over time when the ethical code is practiced. You may not need to take special measures, just be yourself and the relationship will prosper. This is a result of your compassionate care and companionship over time.

Senior Nutrition: Recommended Calorie Intake

It is important for seniors to stay healthy by eating the ‘right’ diet. This can help them to live a longer and healthier life in which they feel better and can help to alleviate or prevent some aging diseases. Eating healthy is very important at any age, but in seniors it could have serious adverse effects on the body due to the aging diseases that it may cause.

So what is the ‘right diet’ for seniors and how do you know what seniors should eat? The senior’s doctor should give the specific answer to this question, however we will present some general tips and diet information to help them stay healthier and happier for longer.

To begin, it is important to know an estimation of how many calories seniors should be consuming based on varying fitness levels. Too many calories can result in weight gain that could increase the chance of falls with osteoporosis and cause or worsen diabetes that can result in life threatening health problems. Here are the recommended calorie intake levels by the National Institute on Aging:

 A woman over 50 who is:                                                          A man over 50 who is:

Not active: 1600 calories a day                                                       Not active: 2000 calories a day

Somewhat active: 1800 calories a day                                          Somewhat active: 2200-2400 calories a day

Very active: 2000 calories a day                                                     Very active: 2400-2800 calories a day

Cranky Old Man

The context below is imaginary, the poem was written originally by Phyllis McCormack and adapted by Dave Griffith.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.Cranky Old ManWhat do you see nurses?…….     What do you see?
What are you thinking…….   when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man,…….    not very wise,
Uncertain of habit…….    with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food…….    and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice…….    ’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice…….    the things that you do.
And forever is losing…….     A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not…….     lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding…….    The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?…….    Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse…….    you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am…….     as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, …….     as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten…….    with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters…….   who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen…….   with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now…….     a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty…….    my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows…….    that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now…….    I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide…….     And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty…….     My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other…….   With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons…….    have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me…….     to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more,…….    Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children…….    My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me…….     My wife is now dead.
I look at the future…….    I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing…….     young of their own.
And I think of the years…….      And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man…….      and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age…….      look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles…….      grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone…….    where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass…….    A young man still dwells,
And now and again…….    my battered heart swells
I remember the joys…….    I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living…….     life over again.
I think of the years, all too few…….      gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact…….     that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people…….     open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer…   see…….   ME!!Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!

Help Seniors to Prevent Falls

As the elderly age, they become increasingly susceptible to falling and the dangers can be much worse. With aging diseases like osteoporosis decreasing stability and others with symptoms of nausea, fatigue and a decreasing eye sight, we must be alert for potential hazards. A fall or injury that may be considered lightly to a younger adult, can be very harmful to an elder.

So what should you do to keep the elderly safe a protected? The good news is that many falls happen in the senior’s home and could have been prevented if the hazard was removed or precautions were taken. By leaning from previous faults, we can help to create a safe home environment to keep seniors healthy, happy and independent.

To help keep the senior safe, go through each one of these observations in every area of the house and ask yourself the questions. Your response could mean that there are potential hazards in the home that can be resolved, it may only take 5 minutes to be the difference between a safe home and an medical visit.

Once the steps have been taken to create safe home environment, you can also help seniors to prevent falls and stay independent by taking extra steps according to disabilities or aging diseases. Many of these steps can be done both outside the home and inside the home and could have a tremendous benefit on their health and overall wellbeing.

If a senior has osteoporosis, it may help to work on balance exercises in the home. These can be learned at the local senior center and more information can be found in the Elder Helpers’ guide to caring for seniors, the Caregivers Guide to Compassion. They can also use a cane or walking assistant in the home, many are available online or at your local retail stores.

For vision problems, speak with the senior’s eye doctor about solutions that can be taken outside the home. When the elder is at home, you can increase the lighting during the day, leave lights on at night and clear unnecessary objects from the walking paths. The specific assistance depends on the level of severity for a loss of eyesight, if it is much worse, the elder should consider also staying away from driving activities and obtaining a dog trained to help her.

There are many steps that you can take as a caregiver to help seniors to stay healthy by prevention. However, if a fall does occur and they cannot get back up without assistance, they should be able to easily call for help. If a senior owns a cellular phone, make sure that they have it on them at all times in the case of an emergency. It is important they if they need help, they have access to it and if you are not available they can call another person as a backup.