As a blogger, I get compensated for some of my posts when I discuss a product and someone purchases it. This is my job and how I get paid. I will not, however, recommend or discuss a product that I don’t feel is of benefit or value to my readers. My thoughts on these products are my own.

For any of my readers who has a family member with a disability or an aging parent, you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your phone rings at an odd hour from your loved one.  The first thing that crosses your mind is “what happened?”  We’re always waiting for the phone call that someone fell, is in the ER or from the police that they were in a car crash.

Someone shared with me an Instagram post of the ultimate caregiver sandwich – where you’re in the middle sandwiched between your kids and your aging parents.  But add in disabilities or chronic illnesses and the daily stress is debilitating.  

 “Caregiving has all the features of a chronic stress experience: It creates physical and psychological strain over extended periods of time, is accompanied by high levels of unpredictability and uncontrollability, has the capacity to create secondary stress in multiple life domains such as work and family relationships.” The American Journal of Nursing

A great deal of this stress comes from the vigilance required to safeguard the person against injury. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for older adults and getting help quickly is critical to preventing additional complications. There is nothing more frustrating for adult children than when their parents insist they don’t need help and, in fact, refuse devices and products that could make life easier.

I remember when my dad first showing signs of Alzheimer’s and would get a bit disoriented. He would go out for his walk every day and I asked my mom if she was worried that he’d get confused as to where he was and wander off. Her response to me was that it was fine, she knew his route. Of course, this only holds up if dad stays on the route. What she didn’t want to accept is that it only takes one minute for him to stray off his normal route and end up lost.

Caring for our aging parents can be exhausting in the best of circumstances but when they put up objections due to pride or embarrassment it takes it to another level.

What most people don’t realize is that there are now products that are functional as well as fashionable and don’t even look like medical devices.

One that I recommend to anyone who has an adult child or spouse with a disability or an aging parent is the Mobile Help Smart Watch.  While it looks like a traditional watch, this is a health tracker, smart device and medical alert system all-in-one.

Unlike the old-school plastic medical alert pendants that no one wants to wear, the Mobile Help Smart Watch has a built-in microphone and speaker, activity tracking, vital sign sensors and health-focused applications such as the ability to measure heart rate, target fitness and diet goals and even view the weather with a built-in weather app.

If there is a medical emergency the person just needs to push the Help button and connect with the Emergency Response Center. Most importantly the built-in GPS location tracking will allow Emergency Responders to find the person quickly even if he/she can’t identify where they are. 

The Mobile Help Smart Watch works with all carriers and the battery lasts for 2 days on one charge.

Having the peace of mind knowing my mom can get help immediately if something happens when she’s out in the community makes me a lot less stressed. 

How the hell did I get to be 50-some-odd years old?! I remember not too long ago where I thought 50 was OLD. And now here I am and….. I don’t feel like how I thought 50-some-odd was supposed to feel.

We’re so hard on ourselves when it comes to aging and, for that matter, a bunch of other stuff.  And it certainly doesn’t help when we have teen-agers pointing out even more deficiencies than we considered ourselves.

Today I’m having a great day – I had a date night with my husband last night, went to a yoga class this morning and had some afternoon delight with said husband (sorry kids but yes, we do indeed have sex!)  But there are other times when I feel exhausted, overwhelmed and emotionally drained from all of the stress and obligations in my life.

And so, while I’m in this good place, I’ve decided to write myself a birthday letter.  I intend to pull it out when I’m 70 and see the advice I gave myself and whether I took it.  I also intend to look at it when I need some reminders about how to be happy and healthy.

Dear Alison,

Another year – time flies.  Hey listen, I know there are times when you don’t think you’ve accomplished enough, don’t look good enough or feel guilty that you haven’t done enough for your kids.  Guess what?  You ARE fabulous not in spite of  being 50 some-odd years-old but because your 50 some-odd years-old.  In case you forget, here are some of the bits of advice you live (or try to live) by:

  • Be passionate about something (or maybe more than one thing.) Advocate for it, fight for it and put your heart and soul into it.
  • Keep dancing whenever you have the chance and hop up on the bar to do it at least once every year.
  • Laugh at people who try to criticize you or bring you down – honestly it will diffuse them immediately.
  • Don’t dwell on friendships that didn’t survive. Take ownership for your part of the demise but then let it go.
  • Exercise your body and mind – A LOT. Learn something new every day.  Don’t be embarrassed to try a new class at the gym (people aren’t really staring at you if you trip.)
  • Consider it a win if you can do something that embarrasses your kids at least once per week.
  • It’s OK to get Botox or Juvederm if you want. If that makes you feel good why not?
  • Make smart healthy food choices but also indulge every now and then. Life is too short not to have a chocolate lava cake.
  • Keep creating your vision boards. You know that you’ve actualized everything you’ve wanted, why stop now?
  • There will be people who don’t like you. It’s OK! Act honorably, respectfully and kind and you’re good.  As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are there’s no one else that you need to impress.
  • Maintain a stable of good friendships – we always need our girlfriends to lift us up. ????
  • Try something new that’s out of your comfort zone as often as you can. Go to dinner by yourself.  Take a swing-dance class.  Make calls on behalf of a political candidate.
  • Don’t regret the past or fear the future. We can’t change the past and the future will never be as we imagine anyway.
  • Have faith that all your kids will find their way in life. Be OK with the evolving relationship you’ll have with them.
  • Be brave enough to be vulnerable to the people who love you.

Enjoy being 50 some-odd years-old – laugh, love and have wild adventures!

Love, Me

 

 

Image: McAlpin, NYdailynews.com

 

An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu or complications of the flu each year, most of these deaths occurring in senior citizens. Because seniors’ immune systems begin to weaken at the age of 65, they are at a much higher risk for contracting the sickness. The CDC estimates that 200,000 people a year will be hospitalized for the flu, and disproportionately it is the elderly who this affects.

There are two options for the vaccine for senior citizens: the traditional vaccine that is administered to anyone who gets it, or — the choice I would recommend as long as given the “okay” by the doctor — is the stronger strain of the vaccination, designated for those over 65 to trigger a stronger immune response to flu.

As mentioned before, many seniors do not just die from the flu alone, but complications of the illness. Those with a history of heart problems, chronic lung disease, diabetes, or renal failure are more likely to have complications with the flu and should take extra precautions against contracting it. The most common complication associated with the flu is pneumonia, which leads to the most deaths and hospitalizations. Arming seniors with the pneumococcal vaccination is the best protection against this, even paired with the flu vaccine, just to be safe.

Not getting the flu shot, which in recent years has been made so convenient and accessible – and it is always covered by MediCare – is a risk too big to take with senior citizens. The vaccine can reduce the risk of illnesses and complications by 60 percent and reduces the incidence of flu deaths by 90 percent in seniors. Most importantly, getting your loved ones vaccinated offers the peace of mind of knowing that they will not suffer or be exposed to an array of illnesses and complications that could  prove fatal this season.

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

macAre you one of those people that will reach for a pint of ice cream when you’re depressed?  Are comfort foods like Mac and Cheese or Meatloaf your go-to solutions for dealing with stress or sadness? You might think these will improve your mood but in reality they will most likely leave you feeling lethargic or crashing from the sugar.  On the other hand, some older people simply stop eating when they’re depressed.  Or, they actually forget to eat if there’s an issue with their medication.kale

Malnutrition is a serious issue for the elderly and making sure they are eating healthy and nutritious meals is important.    A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods will also help you maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders for your energy level

 

 

How To Tell When Your Aging Parents Need Help..and What To Do

 

MiracleMom05

 Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Are you visiting your parents or older relatives this holiday season?  Has it been a while since you’ve last seen them?  You might be surprised at some changes you notice.  Maybe they seem a bit forgetful, or they’ve lost weight or they off-handedly mention that they fell recently.

Whether you live close by or hundreds of miles away, being prepared to help your parents as they age is often difficult.  How can you tell when your older relatives might need a little help?  How do you start having that conversation?

Join me for a very important Twitter Party sponsored by Comfort Keepers®.  We’ll discuss important topics, including:

  • How to find local services for your parents when you live far away
  • Setting up plans now for the future
  • Clues to look for around your parent’s home that could indicate early signs of dementia
  • How to manage difficult conversations with siblings about your parent’s future care
  • Conversation starters with your parents to discuss their issues

Admitting our parents are aging is never easy.  But having plans and resources in place for when they’re needed can make the process much easier.

Who to follow: @safetymom

Where: #AgingInPlace

When: Monday, November 25th at 9:00PM ET

Why: Learn the tell tale signs that your older relatives need assistance

Prizes: THREE $25 Amazon GCs!

Help spread the word! Here’s a sample tweet or just use the tweet button at the bottom of the post:

#ad Join #AgingInPlace Twitter Party 11/25 9pm ET @ComfortKeepers #AmazonGCPrizes

RSVP List

 

 

Accessibility modifications and in-home care provide greater peace of mind for Aging in Place

Jefferson-Exterior

Aging in Place

It probably shocked many people when they read the story about the 87 year-old woman who died at an assisted living facility because a staff member refused to administer CPR despite a 911 operator insisting she do so or find someone who would. The facility, Glenwood Gardens, is an independent living facility and, as such is “not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents.” This clearly however, should not extend to saving a person’s life in an emergency. The facility’s parent company, in fact, said in a statement that the employee wrongly interpreted company policy when she declined to offer aide.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. As recently as last month a lawsuit was filed by 10 families of residents at Agape Village, an assisted living facility in Hazel Green, AL. The lawsuit alleges that 10 elderly former residents suffered from substandard care, abuse and neglect. As recently as this past December the Alabama Department of Public Health released a critical report of Agape Village, listing a number of violations at the facility, including reports of patient bruises and abuse not reported to the state in a timely manner, a staff member abusing four patients, improper staffing levels, nurses not trained according to state rules in dementia care and other violation. This past week a jury in California awarded $23 million to the family of an 82-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who died after staying at a Northern California assisted living facility that was found liable for her death. When she moved into the assisted living facility, she was able to walk in with a walker. Within three months, she couldn’t walk, lost 20 pounds and had multiple deep ulcers. Two months later she was dead. The suit alleged that the facility was understaffed and not trained properly on how to deal with the woman. There were many nights where there was no staff for 17 dementia patients.

The decision to move an aging parent into an assisted living facility – even worse a nursing home – can be gut-wrenching. The cost will undoubtedly consume all of their assets and leaving neighbors and friends they’ve known for years is upsetting. Even the best assisted living facilities are no substitute for their home. In every study conducted, the majority of seniors would prefer to age-in-place. Even when an aging parent needs help with one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL) it is, by far, more cost efficient to hire an in-home caregiver and make modifications to the home that allow for accessibility. If aging-in-place is truly not an option, designing a multi-generational home with a handicap accessible suite is a great solution. Every family wants the peace of mind knowing how their parent is being cared for. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case with assisted living facilities.

Alison Jacobson is the President of Accessible Home Living, which provides accessibility and disability remodeling for seniors and the disabled in Fairfield County, Westchester County and Putnam County. In addition to designing handicap accessible bathrooms, installing wheel chair ramps, stairlifts and widening doorways, we also custom design handicap accessible modular home additions for people who need a caregiver but are looking for an alternative to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Accessible Home Living’s aging in place home designs incorporate universal design for accessibility for seniors and disabled individuals. Our Certified Aging In Place specialists work with families to create beautiful, handicap accessible living environments.

This is a great product for any caregiver!

Aetrex Navistar GPS Shoes

Aetrex Navistar GPS Shoes

Several years ago, during the early stages of my dad’s Alzheimer’s, I remember my frustration when my mom would allow him to go out for walks unsupervised.  When I explained my concern that dad would one day forget how to get home, she breezily answered that “he always walked the same route around the neighborhood” and she could easily find him.  (My mom is the eternal optimist which occasionally translates into denial.)  It never seemed to occur to her that someday he wouldn’t take his usual path and could end up on a train to NYC.  I tried for years to get her to buy the Aetrex Navistar GPS Shoes for him.  Yup – shoes with GPS tracking in them!

They’re specifically designed for seniors and have a cellular and global positioning system (GPS) technology inside of them.  The GPS chip and SIM card is different in every shoe and unique to each wearer.  When the patient is wearing the shoe (which would be almost all of the time) the shoe communicates location coordinates via a wireless data connection to the caregiver by sending them a text message or email.  When the patient wanders outside of the pre-set location chosen by the caregiver, they receive a notice as well.  The shoes allow caregivers to monitor their patient remotely without physically being with them and provide them with peace of mind.  This is especially important since nearly 15% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia are long-distance caregivers.  This GPS tracking system allows patients to maintain their independence while also ensuring their safety.

These shoes are a simple solution to a growing problem, as other products that strive to promote safety for Alzheimer’s and dementia products are often rejected by the patients due to the fact that know they are being monitored.  With the GPS tracking shoe, your loved one can be monitored without feeling smothered and you can have a peace of mind as well.  Visit Aetrex  to learn more.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

As more seniors opt to age in place, the challenge becomes how to keep them connected to family and friends and avoid social isolation, which leads to depression and physical decline.

The first tech item a senior should have is a reliable and easy-to-use smart phone.  Traditional land lines can go down during a storm and, the ability to stay connected where ever they go, makes this a better option than a traditional phone.  Unfortunately many older people shy away from smart phones, assuming they’re too difficult to use.  Enter the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Its 5-inch screen specifically appeals to seniors who have struggling eyesight.  And, what’s even better is that there is an “Easy Mode” on the smart phone that transforms the phone’s display from a tech-savvy device into a very simple device.  The phone keyboard, icons and web browser are larger so that is it easier on the eye.  The applications on the phone also are also designed more simply so that everyone can enjoy them.  The Samsung Galaxy S4 is definitely a smart choice for seniors- keeping them in the loop with family and friends.