Giving an elderly person, the gift of a pet is a thoughtful act. Consider what kind of pet would suit the older person and any extra work for the caregiver. Helping Seniors With Pets can be beneficial and difficult at the same time.
A pet makes a great companion for a senior. A dog or cat offers comfort for an older adult during times of isolation and loneliness. Pets have therapeutic value for the elderly; in fact, interacting with a beloved pet can lower blood pressure and ease stress.
Buying A Pet For An Elderly Person Means Extra Caregiver Duties
But pets also generate extra work for caregivers, and they’re an added expense in the household. Pets need daily grooming. Some pets need baths and regular visits to the vet. A dog or cat can be costly with food and vaccinations.
An Elderly Person Who Cares for a Pet
The most low-maintenance dog or cat still needs care and attention. An aquarium can provide hours of enjoyment, but fish need to be fed, and the tank needs to be cleaned periodically.
As a loved one grows older, caring for an animal may become an overwhelming task. Forgetting to feed and water a pet is only the beginning for the elder who can’t provide adequate attention to the animal.
There are other points to consider when an older person becomes responsible for a pet. Aging naturally affects hearing and vision in the older pet owner. Small energetic dogs can cause dangerous falls to an older adult who can’t see well. A cat can also cause falls, and cat litter boxes must be kept clean.
Birds may be too difficult for a senior to care for. Bird droppings left to dry can turn to dust and contaminate the air – and could even cause respiratory problems for humans.
Home health aides, visiting social workers, and therapists often make home visits and record information about the elder’s living environment. These professionals are obligated to record and report such problems as foul odors in the home, pet droppings, and unclean animals that appear neglected.
Helping Seniors with Pets Makes Added Work for a Caregiver
Dogs need to be walked, and other animals require at least some maintenance. The caregiver also takes on the chore of scheduling vet visits and providing any specialized care the animal needs.
In contrast, a pet’s safety could be jeopardized if the elderly loved one has behavior issues brought on by age or illness. Elderly persons with dementia can sometimes be combative when provoked. A frightened pet may bite, scratch, or cause injury to both the older adult and the caregiver who tries to intervene. Helping Seniors With Pets is important.
Think Before Choosing a Pet for an Elderly Person
The expense, respiratory problems, possible injuries, and cleanup are just a few issues that have to be taken into account when contemplating the best pet for an aging senior.
A large dog may prevent home break-ins, but such a pet needs a spacious yard for running. At the very least, a large dog would create a significant expense in food. A small dog eats less, but could easily trip the owner and cause serious injury.
While a cat might appear to be the right pet choice for an elderly person, one has to consider vet bills, food, grooming, and daily cleaning of the cat litter box.
Consult with the older adult’s caregiver before deciding on a pet. The senior may have allergies or some medical reason that prevents him or her from direct contact with animals.
Many seniors who live alone are on fixed incomes and cannot afford pet expenses. Still, other elders don’t want to be bothered by the care and upkeep that comes with pet ownership.
An older dog or cat may suit an older person. Kittens and puppies love to play and chew on things – not a very practical pet choice for an older person who doesn’t move fast or can’t see well.
Caged animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs are fun to watch, but these pets are rather high-strung and don’t care to be handled much. Think before making a pet choice for an elderly person. While some pets can provide comfort and companionship, it’s always best to consult with the caregiver or older adult first to make the most appropriate decision.
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Caring for elderly parents or grandparents in a private home setting requires patience, love, and a strong will. Unlike children, though some are like children, adults have a sense of independence, yet are dependent on the caregiver. Once healthy and self-sufficient, they are vulnerable and helpless, in need of care from family members. It causes not only the caregiver grief, but the one being cared for is often confused and can’t accept their condition. Nursing homes may be an option you are considering.
In-home elderly care usually falls on the shoulders of one family member. In the beginning, other family members may assist and give the initial caregiver time off.
Are Nursing Homes A Safe Haven For The Elderly
Still, as time progresses from weeks to months and possibly years, other personal activities tend to override the importance of sharing in the task, often leaving no other choice but putting the loved one in a nursing home. Without family support, it is nearly impossible to spend twenty-four hours, seven days a week meeting the needs required for the elderly person.
Until the early 1900s, people managed to take full responsibility for elderly parents or grandparents. However, many of the caregivers were less fortunate, living in impoverished conditions. Thus, almshouses and poor farms were instituted. Many thought it best to place their loved ones in such a place to get the care they needed.
A Little History Lesson
The almshouses were supported strictly by charity donations and were for those who were no longer productive and needed a place to stay. On the other hand, the poor houses, or at times referred to as poor farms, were at the beginning established to house paupers who were caught stealing.
The poor house is not to be confused with the paupers prison. The farms were supported by taxpayers, similar to the modern-day welfare system. Amongst the residents of such institutions were thieves, the mentally ill, orphans, and the elderly.
Eventually, the government decided that housing those with an array of distinct needs together was inappropriate, and the farms soon became known as “old folks homes.”
Not until 1935 were changes made in favor of the elderly when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill for Social Security benefits. Those who were already housed in one of the facilities, however, were not eligible for the benefits.
The benefits were only for retired individuals and did not include the poor. Soon after the signing of the bill, homes were opened for those who had income, such as Social Security, with the mindset that the home’s proprietors could benefit from the payments.
Government Regulations Taking Effect
In the mid-1950s, the government took a stand against those homes which were taking money from the residents, yet care was rated very poor. The government passed a bill that required all such facilities to be licensed through the government.
In that case, not only did the proprietors make a substantial income, the government would benefit from the cost of licensing a vast number of “old folks homes.”
During the 1960s, the government passed the Moss Amendment after a mass nursing home scandal broke out in New York State. The Moss Amendment was to prohibit below-level standards of care and stop fraudulent activities.
After several years of investigation, Medicare was initiated in 1969, a program established to assist those who were on Social Security, met the low-income standard and were either elderly or handicapped.
Again, in 1971, the government became involved with the nursing homes, which were no longer a welfare system but, due to the licensing process, considered to be part of the health care system, and modeled after a hospital setting.
The care received in nursing homes was supposed to be the same quality that a patient gets in a hospital. However, due to the many scandals that once again took place in the seventies, it seemed that government involvement had not improved the establishments’ bad habits but gave them an even greater opportunity to play a fraudulent game with the resident’s Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Balancing Finances for Care
Today, in modern nursing home facilities, the government has cut Medicare payments to homes, allowing them only a percentage of the patient’s income. The homes are paid according to the Balanced Budget Act.
The patient, by no means, gets the greater part. The residents are permitted to have $1,500.00 in their personal accounts that are in the nursing home banks. Should that amount exceed that which is allowed, the patient’s family must do a “spend-down” to bring the account back to an allotted amount of that mentioned.
It is often difficult to spend a large amount of money on those who are confined to a nursing home. However, if the payment is not spent on the resident, with receipted proof, the state acquires the money at the time of the patient’s death.
7 Ways to Choose a Nursing Home
This can be a very difficult step for both you AND your aging parent. We have a checklist for you to help make the process a little easier.
Over the years, since the poor house syndrome, many things have changed as far as modern daycare, building appearance, and food. However, even though there have been stricter laws applied, the nursing staff does not give much better care in the days past. The rate of nursing home abuse and neglect is astronomical. Most modern-day facilities are understaffed, and lacking in heartfelt compassion.
To many who work as nurses and nurses aides, it is nothing more than an eight-hour job. Constant observation from family members is imperative. Notice any unusual behavior the patient may have. Check their skin for bruises.
It is our responsibility to report unexpected “falls” or bruises that happen too often. Reporting incidents to the nursing home is not always the best option. It may become necessary to report to a local Ombudsman organization if mistreatment is suspected.
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There are so many things to consider when it comes to your parents and their well-being. You want to ensure that everything you do is in their best interest and will not affect them in the long run. As such, many persons have asked the question of whether they can Claim Someone As A Dependent If They Are On Social Security.
Well, claiming social security by itself is not a complicated task. It does not have the potential to affect your ineligibility to be claimed by someone else on their tax return.
Can You Claim Someone As A Dependent If They Are On Social Security?
However, to claim someone as a dependent, they must meet the requirements stipulated by the IRS as well as other conditions. The IRS does mandate that for one to be added as a dependent, they must not earn a certain amount of income (which changes each year) to include assistance from direct sources like an outside job or family and friends.
If the person meets the guide, they will be able to be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return. But how does it work? The IRS takes into consideration multiple sources of earning as an income, and as such, one has to be careful how they approach in applying for someone to become dependent.
If the person is making more than is set, parts of their social security may become taxable. So, as a support, you may want to consider limiting the amounts of funding you give, so it doesn’t affect their overall benefits.
However, one who claims Social Security disability pay may not be exempt from becoming dependent; however, there are specific rules which must be followed.
The answer is both yes and no. You can claim your parents as dependents but only according to the guidelines stipulated by the IRS. If you are going to claim your parents, you have to ensure they are not dependent on another person’s tax returns.
First of all, there must be a dependency relationship between you and your parent in the sense that you cater to a part of their well-being by providing financial support, housing, or other care.
They can naturally be deemed dependent if they rely on someone to help them get by, which means you could benefit from extra returns when you claim. So, once both you and your parent qualify according to the standards, you can start the process to apply for them as a dependent.
But how can your parents qualify for dependency? They should:
Not earn above the threshold set by the IRS in terms of gross annual income. This amount is set by the IRS and may change each year or as they wish. You may find the yearly threshold on their website.
Even though Social Security may not be considered an income, there is still restriction when it comes to earning a certain amount from other sources, which can also be in the form of financial funding from family and friends.
Earn more than half their yearly income and support from you before they can be added as a dependent. Also, the support you provide must be at least one dollar more than your parents’ base income.
The support can be covered by many different factors, such as housing (how much the market share of the house is).
Also, the cost may be incurred through food provision, utilities, medical, and other living expenses. An additional benefit for you comes in the form of claiming medical expenses if you had covered their medical care cost.
Your parents may also automatically qualify if they are physically or mentally challenged and is unable to provide for themselves. For further clarification on how to Claim Someone As A Dependent If They Are On Social Security, you can check with the IRS website as the requirements and guidelines change.
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People will inevitably get old if life doesn’t decide otherwise before then. As such, certain things will happen as the elderly transition from one phase of their lives to the next. Of course, it is not the easiest thing as many people have lived their lives a certain way and then now have restrictions on what they can do, eat, or even where they can go. While they may not be ready for a nursing home, or have funds available for a senior community, moving them into your own home may be the best option. When Moving in an Aging Parent, there are many things to consider and prepare for.
But, as the days roll in, children are the ones who have to make most of the decisions, and one of these includes having your parents move in with you. Most children prefer if their parents don’t live alone and whether they take them in or put them in a shelter, as long as they have someone to look after them, it is okay.
When Moving in an Aging Parent
However, there are so many things to consider when you plan to move them in with you. You may need to:
* Make Your Home Handicap-proof
Most older adults have to move around with assistance, so having your home altered to suit their needs is the best. There are multiple ways to handicap-proof your home, such as:
Installing stairs or wall rails.
Going up the stairs may be a struggle for them, so adding rails will give them ease of movement and more stability in going up and down. Also, wall rails will help to provide balance as they move around the house.
This tip is, by far, one of the most important features to implement as they tend to be scared to use the shower in fear of falling. The shower grab bars provide some level of security in knowing they have something to hold on to in case they may slip.
Get elevated toilet seats.
Bending can be a major issue for most older adults, and as such, reducing the chances of this is best. Elevated toilet seats will enable them to access bathroom facilities without having any fears easily.
Being careful with throw rugs.
We understand that you want to have the best indoor decor, but bear in mind, you now have an older person living with you. The rugs can be an issue if not careful as they can cause slippage and other dangerous actions. If you must have rugs, it is best to buy non-skid kinds.
* When Moving in an Aging Parent Incorporate their Their Items Where Possible
The best way you can get them to fit in comfortably is to have a few items they own around them like a piece of furniture or some other physical items. When they have access to some of their things around them, they will feel at home even though it is a new environment.
They will be able to settle in quicker and easier as they will sense that level of trust and comfort and knows how to handle what they are used to. Also, you can start by taking their bed (if possible) as well as a few other items like utensils, sheets, or even cushions. At their age, it will not be so easy to adjust to everything new and cause more issues in them not wanting to move in.
* Set Limited Rules, But With Caution
When Moving in an Aging Parent, this can be a tough issue to consider. After all, as their kid, it is hard to take on the role of the parent. You may want to set some rules with limits but ensure you don’t impose too much on your aging parents’ privacy for freedom. Bear in mind, they don’t usually sit well with being treated like children, so you want to consider their feelings as well.
Of course, everyone in the home will have new or adjusted rules to work efficiently with the permanent change now in effect. You can implement rules such as for your parents, such as:
Being able to go out but with supervision.
Friends may be allowed (senior citizen friends from the previous hometown), but some activities may be supervised.
Someone will always be at home with them (even though they would prefer to stay home alone).
No access to anything flammable (cooking not allowed, someone has to light the fireplace if needed, etc.)
Other occupants’ rules may include changing their schedules to accommodate the adjustments. They will be assigned certain roles like taking them out, assisting them with doing their various tasks, and more. Once again, bear in mind never to treat them like a child, they may get negative with such actions.
* When Moving in an Aging Parent Your Life Will Change
Before taking your parents in, you must ensure you do your relevant research and make the necessary preparations to accommodate them. When they come home, your life, in general, will change as your schedule will get altered, and your expenses will increase (rapidly in some cases).
Their diet may be different from yours, so you will have to increase the amount you spend on food each month. Also, the utilities will increase as they will have to use the air conditioning more often, the heater will have to be on as well, and other electrically-used appliances will be added to the monthly bills.
Depending on where you live, they may be further from their medical center, so that means more gas and potentially more medical expenses. To better manage these financial changes, you will have to rearrange your budget and, where possible, include the entire household budget to match the changes.
Consider too that your time will have to be spent more strictly. You may have to put off some of the yearly vacation plans until you settling in with the changes better.
If you are unable to accommodate them and you feel hiring help will be cheaper, you can let them stay home with the live-in assistance and visit while you can. It is no joke as their health and well-being will be completely in your hands, and the plans you make will impact them positively or negatively.
Also, you have to plan ahead of time so you can make the physical changes to accommodate, get public education on their potential illnesses, so you know what measures to take in handling them.
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The mere thought of having your elderly parents live alone is mind-boggling and makes you cringe. They get so vulnerable that you fear for them every step they make. Sure enough, they always want to maintain their pride in living alone, and as humans and adults, we have to respect their decisions. It is hard to find a checklist for elderly living alone that lets us know what warning signs to look for.
However, there will come a time when you have to override their choice and make a choice to have them around longer than you can imagine. As you check in on them daily and ensure everything is up to par, there are sure signs you will realize that will make you take a step forward.
Checklist for Elderly Living Alone
Though living alone gives aging parents the independence they need, these signs are what will allow you to see they no longer can:
* Their home is dirty – Which was never the case
We all know our parents and how timid they get when they see a dirty glass in the sink. They never want to know there is any dirty laundry in the house or a dirty dish nor some dust on the center table in the sitting room. The need to clean is always one of their main priorities, so if you realize the opposite while they live alone, it is time to step in and do something.
A dirty house is a clear signal that they can no longer manage to be on their own as mere cleaning has become a struggle for them. They never allow trash to pile up, yet it is that way now, or the general setting of the house is untidy. You want to focus on their health, and a messy environment will never contribute anything good. It is probably time to consider moving them out, you move back in, or getting a live-in help to get things done around the house.
It also becomes a health hazard as unwanted pests are attracted to a physical mess. If your parent has failing vision? They won’t see the bugs in their box of cereal, or little friends that are all around the couch cushions that they like to snack on. I speak from experience here – sadly.
* Hygiene is Deteriorating
If you notice their hygiene is on a downward spiral, then you should realize it is time to get help for them. Their overall physical person is unclean, they probably smell, they wear dirty clothes, or don’t shower a lot because they are scared they may fall in the shower. These are more than enough signs to get you moving for their assistance.
It is important at their age to maintain proper hygiene as their immune system, and general health is not as strong as it used to be. They may become susceptible to health conditions that will develop into something more serious over time.
* They Have a Fall
This is kind of a “gimme” for your Checklist for Elderly Living Alone. If you are at work and you get a call from the hospital or medical center that your parents were rushed in because they had a fall, you don’t need any other sign. Even on their own, if they have too many cases of reported falls (from emergency records), they will be placed in assisted care to reduce the risk of them hurting themselves further.
Falling from stairs or in the shower is critical, as countless amounts of times we have seen devastating news of older adults were found dead because no one was around. Even things just lying around, or the edges of that area rug can be their nemesis.
At their age, it is not so easy to repair bones and muscles, so you want to eliminate the chances of having to deal with a life-long issue of critical care and attention. Sadly, one bad fall usually spirals into a rapid health decline.
Don’t want until a tragedy as this happens before realizing you need to get them help, move them out, or you probably move in – whichever is easier.
* Weight Fluctuation
This is one of the clearest signs to see that something is wrong, and you need to pay closer attention to your elderly parents. When you notice their weight fluctuates in terms of them becoming too slim, it is either:
they forgot to eat
are not hungry
have no appetite to eat
they don’t want to cook for just themself
they are afraid to tell you they started a small fire when trying to cook
On the flip side, when they gain too much weight, it is also a need for concerns as they may be eating unhealthy foods or possibly overeating. Medical conditions can also be a factor that contributes to their weight inefficiencies. You will have to dedicate some time to get them assessed to see what is going on and know what decisions to take going forward.
* They No Longer See Clearly
Aging comes with a failing vision for most people, and it may not necessarily be associated with any illness or disease. It could be diabetes-related, or macular degeneration even. When they complain of not being able to see the figure clearly on their bills or can no longer read the morning paper, then it is time to get someone else in the home.
Failing to see is a recipe for disaster as not only are their lives are put in danger with not seeing around them, but they may end up taking the wrong medications as well.
Every too often, elderly adults have to be rushed in for medical assessment because they took the wrong medication, or they mixed up their medication. Don’t only consider getting them a daily medication planner because if they can’t see the “days on the kit” clearly, it will still be an issue. Get help for them as they should not be living alone at this stage.
* Multiple Medications
If they reach the stage where they have to take multiple medications in a given day, they should not be living alone. Not only that, they may mix the pills, but with memory loss, they will think they already took it or take it again and overdose.
They should have someone to monitor their taking times and help to organize them efficiently. Medications are complicated, and we all know this, and one error can be dangerous and end terribly.
There are so many other signs you need to look for to determine it is best not to have your parents living alone like:
They wander a lot – If they go out and take longer to reach home because they lost their way (in a familiar town), then you should not let them be alone.
Memory Loss – If they can’t remember simple things easily like recognizing colors, then it is dangerous to have them living alone. Just like failing vision, and fear, memory is also a feature of getting old.
The bottom line? It is important to watch for the signs so you can stay on top of things. All of these little areas add up to a loved one who needs help to be safe and live out their lives with grace.
I have a FREE Printable Great Checklist for Elderly Living Alone that you can get right here:
As your parents get older, there are so many things you will need to consider in helping them to adjust and cope with the necessary changes. Every too often, they are placed in situations where they get confused, troubled, or uneasy because of the possible overwhelming realities they are faced with. But, when they are adjusting to the new life, there is one crucial concept to consider – downsizing. Here are our Tips for Downsizing for Seniors.
It may seem like a simple task, but when you have to take care of it, it goes far beyond what you had imagined. Downsizing can be an emotional and technical feat as it involves separating them from what they have grown to know and love.
Tips for Downsizing for Seniors
Like the rocking chair in the corner of the living room that no longer works, why is it even there? The rolled-up rug laying against the wall that has a few large holes in it when you open it up to look at it? The frozen canister of donuts that hides in the back of the freezer?
Your aging parents may have gotten attached to those items, and taking them away can hurt them emotionally and psychologically. But, with so much stuff going on around them and all they have to deal with, what are some of the best ways to get through it?
How To Help them Downsize
First of all, your approach cannot be overbearing because they are now vulnerable and don’t fully understand everything that is going on. You have to approach with caution. Here are some effective ways to work through helping them to downsize:
* Treat them with Respect – Remember they are adults
This is perhaps the most important item when looking at Tips for Downsizing for Seniors. They might have become vulnerable, slow, and don’t move as swiftly as they used to but that doesn’t mean you should treat them as less than a person.
Bear in mind they have feelings and experience emotions as well, so how you deal with them says everything. At this critical stage of their lives, they may have trust issues even if they have lived with you for the longest while.
Many psychological diseases affect them as they get older, so don’t underestimate the fact that they may truly not recognize who you are. As such, when you deal with them, ensure respect stands above everything else, and you will see them warming up to you much easier.
They may do some silly things without realizing it, so don’t use this as an avenue to be hard on them. You have first to understand what is going on so you can know how to deal with any situation that presents itself.
* Dealing with them as a Hoarder
This is one of the most critical stages of helping your aging family to downsize, as it will not be easy to separate them from their belongings. You have to help them understand the importance of giving up some stuff and the benefits it will have for them.
Also, being that they rely mostly on younger family members, you have to consider if it is affecting your functionality as well. Storing it is not the answer and will only create more work for future days.
When you rent a storage facility to house excess items, you will realize it costs you time, money, and some extra space you could use for something else. Get rid of the stuff now, if it has to go.
* Have Multiple Discussion Sessions
You will never get all the information and details across to aging family members in one session, and as such, you have to often break it down it into multiple sessions. You may want to focus on one topic per session to help them analyze and understand what is happening.
Take, for instance, when you choose to discuss their finances, ensure no other topics are discussed with it as finance by itself is a critical topic. Sessions should be best described as “bite-size sessions” and be done when they are most comfortable to talk.
* Move Your Stuff to Your own House
This is probably one of the easiest of our Tips for Downsizing for Seniors. If the children or grandchildren have anything hanging around their parents’ home, now would be the best time to take them to their own houses. This will lessen the pressure of having aging parents look over too much stuff that is not theirs.
Think of the sports trophies, beer can collection, high school paraphernalia, even if it is just small documents, it is best to take them away. If you no longer want those items, dispose of them yourself instead of making them part of the larger project.
* Keep Vintage Items
Elderly family members are always happy when their antiques stick around in the family as it gives them a sense of love and devotion. While going through their homes, check for all those items which can be passed on to a family member such as that special crockpot in the cupboard, an old piano, some jewelry, or special childhood books.
I am not talking about splitting up Mom’s jewelry box or taking things dad uses daily, I am referring to that item that always goes on the fireplace mantle at Christmas, or things that aren’t being used.
If it is a case where they prefer to have it around, you can consider leaving so as not to affect them emotionally and psychologically, as they may be connected to it.
* Rid the House of Unwanted Items
Do you ever stop to realize that most older adults never like to throw anything out? It doesn’t mean that they lived through the Great Depression, but they came from an area of reusing and repurposing items. Everything had a future use.
Well, it might surprise you that there are more than 20 plastic cake or fruit domes in the cupboard and not serving any purpose. Throw them out! Also, going around, check to see what other items are of no value and take them out. Create a sense of “lightness” for their environment.
Whether you want to believe it or not, there is countless stuff your aging parents may have stored up that needs to be thrown out. From the extra worn-out newspaper that cannot be used again to that old chair that cannot be repaired – take them out.
You might be surprised when you start digging through this area – we used 1-800-GOT-JUNK to take a huge load away.
Great examples here are things I have dealt with in our own experiences:
A yard work sized bag of plastic cake domes from a grocery store bakers
Said rug I mentioned that wasn’t really usable
Gallon sized Ziploc bags full of blue plastic cutlery from Culver’s visits
11 closets full of clothes
23 boxes of recipes clipped out of newspapers or magazines and whole recipe magazines
122 pairs of shoes
Greeting cards, boxes of them that they had received over 50 years
* Consider Donating
This one can come with tax benefits! When taking over our Tips for Downsizing for Seniors. There are so many items that can be donated, so you may want to consider this option when helping your aging parents to downsize.
Countless charities would do well with a few pieces of clothing, or a piece of furniture like an extra dresser or just about any other stuff. However, before you take any of those items to a charity station, discuss with your parents why you are taking it, and if they can help to choose the charity too, it would be good. Make sure you get a receipt of your donation!
Excellent charities to consider:
Hospice Thrift Store
* KonMarie the Other Items
Do you see any other physical item in the home that does not bring joy or enhance the lives of your aging parents? Then, the best bet is to get them out. This process creates the opportunity for proper organization of your space and makes your space much more enticing and comforting.
They depend on you to help them transition into the next stage of their lives, and downsizing is one of the most critical stages. They depend on you, but that does not mean leaving them out of decision-making. Let them help!
Learn how to financially provide and care for aging parents without facing a monetary hardship or setback. Financial Care For Elderly is a basic necessity that you need to understand.
How To Manage Financial Care For Elderly Parents
Many people are responsible for the care of their aging parents. Whether by circumstance or personal choice, being accountable for the supervision of a parent(s) is a substantial personal and financial responsibility. Here are several tips and words of advice to help those who love and care for aging parents in need.
Parental Care Tips and Advice
One of the most important roles a person can play in the life of an aging parent is knowing when to intervene. When it becomes evident that a parent is no longer able to take care of himself or herself adequately, intervention is vital. Learn how to discuss the situation with the loved one, and let that individual know help is warranted out of love, not contempt.
Understand and know where the parent keeps vital personal information. With all the necessary paperwork and proper knowledge, one can know how to proceed and what actions need to be taken. Does the parent have a will? Does the parent have military records? Those are just some of the critical documents required by the caregiver.
Once the need for medical care has been established, it’s essential to determine and decide what type of care is required. If the parent can live alone, make a point to know if financial and medical needs are being handled.
Are the bills being paid? Are proper prescriptions being filled? Is the house safe in case of an emergency, such as a fall? Is home nursing care needed?
Make sure all the ground is covered, and if any need is not being met, make the proper inquiries. Give your parent peace of mind knowing everything is under control financially, and their safety and medical needs are being handled.
Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care
If the situation requires care that can’t be met at home, the parent may need assisted living to meet specific care needs. Many people can’t afford to have a parent live with them, so assisted living is always an option.
Understand the medical needs of the parent, and place that individual in the level of care that coincides with the demands. Scout various assisted living facilities for the proper atmosphere, care, and social activity setting that best caters to the loved one. Help the parent feel “at home” even though the new surroundings are unfamiliar.
The family needs to understand the cost of assisted living. Medicare does not pay for assisted living, so the financial requirements fall at the feet of the family.
Understand the contract and the obligations that are expected. Never agree or sign the contract without knowing the options and establishing a financial plan to cover the cost of assisted living.
When a parent reaches the stage where more extensive care is needed, a nursing home is an option. As with the assisted living process, it’s vital to scout various nursing homes and understand the cost and options.
Nursing facilities can be costly, so make sure the financial means are there before placing a loved one in a nursing facility. Medicare may cover certain costs, but don’t expect this to cover all medical and personal health needs.
Financial Care For Elderly Ways to Save Money
Before considering any of the above options, make a plan. Understand personal financial obligations, and “tweak” any payment plans on the home, car, etc. By taking advantage of various payment options, money can be saved.
We whipped up a checklist for you – to help make this task a lot easier! Get your FREE Printable here:
Once again, Medicare can help, but it’s essential to make a plan and not entirely rely on government assistance. Parental help is needed when a loved one requires financial and medical care, but it’s important to know when to intervene and when to step aside. Never be afraid to ask for financial assistance from the extended family or friends of the family.
How does depression impact the elderly, and which treatments may help? While some mental health conditions such as anorexia nervosa are far more common in girls and young women, depression may strike a person at any age regardless of gender from childhood or adolescence right through to those well into their retirement years. Elderly and Depression can go hand in hand.
How Does Depression Affect The Elderly
As with childhood depression, a depressive illness may impact those in later life in different ways and may also be triggered by various factors.
Understanding Depression in the Elderly
In old age, men are more prone to developing symptoms of depressive illness. Diagnosing the condition in the elderly is more complicated, as many other forms of illness may involve similar symptoms, including Alzheimer’s Disease, repetitive small strokes, and an underactive thyroid. The latter is a very significant issue, as approximately one in every ten people over the age of 60 will suffer from an abnormal thyroid.
M. Lurie, author of Depression: Your Questions Answered, also indicates that sleeping difficulties can have a significant impact on elderly people who are suffering from depression.
Causes of Depression in Old Age
Causes of depression in old age often relate to loss. They may include the following factors: loss of independence, loss of a partner, loss of mobility, loss of one’s home, difficulty coping with sheltered accommodation, social isolation, dementia, and feeling a burden to others. Some sufferers may wish to be with their loved ones and feel that their time is up.
Another issue is that an older adult may gradually become too unwell to swallow or chew food properly, and this may rob them of one of their remaining pleasures in life.
How Diet Can Affect Depression?
Depression can be affected by many issues. Another aspect you may not be considering is their diet. In fact, there have been studies that show that diet can directly be related to depression in many ways. Here are a few of those ways and what you can do to avoid them in the future.
You may not think about food coloring as an issue, but it can cause major issues with their body. There have been many studies showing that certain food dyes and colorings, even natural ones, can cause ongoing depression-related symptoms.
The artificial and natural food colorings can cause fatigue, slowed circulation, or emotional issues. In fact, there are some research studies that point to food coloring as a contributing factor in sensory processing disorders and other related emotional issues in adults and children.
If they eat a lot of snack food or processed foods, they are ingesting food coloring and it can relate to their depression. Avoid processed foods and try clean eating diets as an alternative.
High Sugar Levels
When one ingests foods that contain a high sugar content, they are running the risk of several depression-related issues. This is primarily due to how sugar works in the body. The immediate issue is when the sugar works through the system.
It can give one a boost of energy, but when it fades from their system they are left feeling sluggish and tired. Long-term effects can lead to obesity or a dependency on the sugar content and the crash that follows.
The crash from the sugar will lead to depression due to the fatigue it may cause. If they need something sweet to combat a craving, consider going with a natural fruit instead.
Reduced Vitamins and Minerals
The leading factor that connects diet and depression is the reduced amount of vitamins and minerals in their system. If one had a poor diet then they are likely to eat foods that have a high amount of dyes or carbs.
They are filling, but they may not contain the vitamins and minerals the body needs to keep functioning. If one has a lack of vitamins and minerals on an ongoing basis, then they will notice that their body is not functioning properly and will lead to health issues that include depression. They can avoid this by having a juice, smoothie, or vitamin-enriched meal each day.
Though they may not want to, or feel the need to, change their entire diet all the time there are some small changes presented here that can help to reduce their depression. Give each one a try, or try them all, to see which ones or combination of diet changes work best for them.
Sometimes it helps to track it all
We have a free printable sheet for you to try and figure out if there is an actual pattern to what is going on.
It is hard enough when you have your own depression, but it can be even more difficult when someone you love has it. This is especially difficult if you don’t personally have much experience with it. The following tips are going to help you help your loved one with depression.
Know What to Say
First of all, it helps to know what is appropriate to say to someone who is dealing with depression. Your words can actually make a large impact, helping them to feel better or for worse. When you know someone with depression, just let them know they are not alone.
Don’t presume to know what they are going through, but be present and offer your help with whatever they need. Tell them they are important to you and that their life is important. This is crucial for someone with severe depression who has suicidal tendencies.
Know What Not to Say
You should also be careful to avoid certain words that can trigger someone with depression. Never assume they don’t feel how they say they feel. Depression is a complicated illness that is very hard for others to understand. Never make assumptions or hint that it is all in their head.
Don’t assume you know what it’s like if you really don’t, and don’t try to tell them just to be positive or see the bright side of things.
Encourage Them to Seek Treatment
This is one of the more difficult things to do because someone with depression might not seek treatment on their own. You should approach them gently without making them feel crazy, but just let them know you are there to help.
If you want your loved ones to get treatment, explain that it could help them feel better and stop feeling so miserable. Help them make an appointment with their doctor, as many people with depression will never take this step on their own. Let them know you will be there with them, even going to each appointment if that is what they need.
Be the Person They Turn to
For someone you are close to who is suffering from depression, what they really need is someone to talk to and lean on. This doesn’t require a lot on your part other than being there for them and never judging how they think or feel.
When to See a Doctor For Depression
Depression is an issue that may have bothered them for several years. They may think that it was something they could handle with methods like journaling, supplements, or diet changes. Though this may work in some cases, there are cases where it does not work and the depression becomes worse.
If this is the case, you may be wondering when it is time to break down and see a doctor for their depression. Here are some points that may be ideal to see a doctor and what you need to know about each one.
Natural is Not Working
When their depression issues first started, you probably hoped that over-the-counter and natural options would work. You may have tried supplements for example. For awhile the supplements may have helped, but over time you may have had to up the dosage or the frequency to get the same amount of help that they first received.
If this sounds like your situation, then you need to go to a doctor. The reason is that supplements will help mild depression issues, but if there are more deep-rooted issues, they may not offer any help or very little.
You may also be treating a form of depression that is not diagnosed and your treatment is not accurate for your particular form of depression.
Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
One issue that can make depression a dangerous situation for you is when their depression turns to suicidal thoughts. As these thoughts become increasingly longer, more often, and more controlling you end up putting your life at risk.
This is the time that you need to seek a doctor for assistance. They can help you with a treatment plan and counseling option to help curb the thoughts and keep them at bay while working on their depression and anxiety as a whole. If the suicidal thoughts are too drastic, make sure that you seek an emergency clinic or hospital for assistance.
Depression and Self Harm Issues
When you hear about self-harm, you may think about someone cutting themselves. Though this is the most common form of self-harm and depression-related self-harm behavior, it is not the only one.
There are also issues with self-harm that can involve drugs, drinking, and can even go so far as to include ongoing harmful behavior. These issues all fall under self-harm and are generally done to help someone get over the pain and feel a different pain or release.
If they are doing this, and find it is their only source of release, you need to get them to a doctor.
Remember, there are different types of depression and each one has a different type of treatment plan. Be open to the fact that you may have a different form of depression than you thought. Be open to the treatment plans you are offered. This is a learning process and treatment process that needs time to take hold.
Treatment of Depression in the Elderly
Depressive illness in the elderly is often viewed as rather complicated in terms of treatment. Many older people who, in addition, are suffering from dementia, may struggle to cope with a medication regime. Although in nursing homes, the common symptom of sleep difficulties may be addressed through prescribing sleeping tablets.
This age-group is often recognized as being less likely to accept a diagnosis of depression and accept treatment. Perhaps this may be due to a misunderstanding of mental illness, and particularly those who have survived war may find it hard to accept that depression is a severe illness requiring treatment.
Some suggest that ECT actually can be an effective treatment for depression in elderly patients, particularly in cases where other treatments have failed. Specialist psychogeriatric units may also benefit those suffering from depression in addition to other forms of chronic illness.
As highlighted above, depression is recognized as the hardest to both diagnose and treat within the elderly. Therefore it is crucial that those involved in caring for the elderly such as relatives seek medical advice sooner rather than later upon noticing symptoms.
Bathroom Safety for Elderly is important! There are some simple options to create an easy access bathroom, but the key is in the planning and preparation. If we could all build from scratch, it would be easy.
New bathrooms and renovations are very complex. Almost every trade is involved, and as most of their work is behind the walls, you need to have an excellent idea of your final room layout before you start.
Tips on Bathroom Safety for Elderly
Sadly, most of us can’t start from scratch and have to work with what we have. There is usually a budget in mind too, but we want to make the space fo our parents as safe as possible.
Safe bathtubs for seniors
A custom shower enables you to have a level entry. Often this is done by cutting the floor beneath the shower to get a slope towards the drain. There are also flooring systems that can be installed over the existing floor, which gently raise the floor level towards the shower so the water can drain inside the shower.
This will allow a user to slide or roll into the shower. Remember to position the shower mixers lower than usual so they can be accessed from a lower level. The key to getting this right is making sure you have the position of the showerhead and ledge or seat worked out and installed before the water-proofing is done.
Tips on Bathroom Safety for Elderly Bars
Again, if you aren’t blessed enough to build from scratch, then there are other options. Grab bars should be installed, and at several different angles and levels. Think both horizontal and vertical.
While thinking “sturdy”, people often grab the thicker bars. This can be a mistake if they are too big for your parent to grab onto easily and prevent slipping or falling. We like this one on Amazon. Makes sure you have one handy for people to hang on to when they get in and out of the shower.
Bathroom Safety for Elderly: Elevated Toilets
As simple a thing as setting on a toilet is, it is a bit challenging when you get older. That stool can seem lower than they might remember, and it is a little harder to get up and off of it than it used to be. A simple fix is a glorified booster chair. We found that this elevated toilet seat was the best tool for getting the job done, so to speak.
Also, items that are wall-mounted, such as vanities or towel racks, should be anchored in for better support. They often end up being used as a quick stbility support and won’t help much if they come off of the wall.
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Wet feet mean accidents foremost people. Stepping into the shower may be easier with that grab bar, but a good anti-slip shower mat is important too. We like this gem from Amazon that is under twenty bucks.
Let’s not forget an anti-slip bath mat for when they step out of the shower! We don’t want them to fall before they get dried off either! This one comes in three different sizes and a huge range of colors! See it here.
If standing for a while is an issue for your parent, might we suggest getting a shower seat? Once they get in the shower, they can have a seat to get clean. We like this one with a backrest and handles for stability.
Remember, always work to a plan, and consult your builder, plumber, bathroom professional, or home health group for more tips. We want to help them keep their dignity as they age and their body starts to fail them.