How Caregiving May Change Your Personality

Being a long-term caregiver for someone in your family is bound to change you and make a huge impact on your life. Most of the times, the changes that occur in your personality will be positive and beneficial. Caregivers tend to become more compassionate and caring people, and feel more empathetic to others who are going through health issues. However, caregivers may also experience negative personality changes as well. After working as a caregiver for many months to many years, you may experience the negative consequences of caregiver burnout. Stress, exhaustion and anxiety from caregiver burnout can all impact your personality negatively and put a strain on the other relationships in your life. If you are thinking about becoming a caregiver, then keep reading to learn about all of the personality changes and impacts that you may go through in the next few months to years.

Take Charge Personality

For people who are instinctively leaders, and want to control and take charge of every situation, becoming a caregiver may either turn them into a frustrated person or completely mellow out their personalities. It is easy for these people to fall into either of these personality changes due to their already take charge personality traits. In one instance, people who are overly controlling may experience negative personality consequences because they will be unable to control every situation that they and their loved one must face. These people may become frustrated easily, stressed out, and begin to hate their job. However, on the other end of the spectrum, people who are control freaks may even learn to mellow out and let things happen. Once they realize that they cannot control everything that occurs in their lives and in their loved one’s lives, they may mellow out and step back. In turn, they may experience positive personality changes.

If you have a take charge personality and are starting a new caregiving job soon, then you need to understand your limitations and your personality before you enter the job. By fully understanding yourself and your personality, you can avoid any negative personality changes and learn to enjoy your job. It is helpful to remember that you cannot slip into an overtly parentally role with your elderly loved one. Do not think of your elderly loved ones as your children, and do not treat them as though you are their parents. Instead, constantly remind yourself of the relationships between you and your elderly loved ones. This will allow you to stay in the mindset of caregiving and keep your job separate from your relationship with your elderly loved ones. Doing so will allow you to continue to respect your elderly loved one through their illness. You must continue to respect your elderly loved ones through their illness; otherwise it will be easy to slip into the parental role with them. Also, remember to stay calm. You will not always be able to control everything in their life, and if you try, then they may resist. Stay calm and think of what your loved one would want for themselves as they grow older.

Disorganized Personality

If you have a laid back, disorganized personality, then caregiving may make you become a more organized person. Whether this is a positive or a negative change in your personality will totally depend on you. Being a caregiver is a difficult, tedious job that often involves a lot of organization. Caregivers may have to suddenly take care of their loved one’s entire life, including their medical history, their appointments and their finances. If you are not organized at all, then you may struggle with your job as a caregiver, but with a little bit of organization, you can be great at your job and have a lot less stress in your life.

If you are not organized and do not know where to start, then you may want to implement a folder organization system. Start a folder for each aspect of your loved one’s life. Financial folders, medical folders, and household folders are a few of the folders that you may need to create. Then, place all of the appropriate documents in each of these folders and go through them often in order to purge old documents and ensure you are aware of new documents. This system should help you get into a rhythm and keep your loved one’s life in order.

Timid Personality

Are you a timid person? If so, then caregiving may make you a more assertive and forceful person. Caregiving is a difficult job that may require you to be assertive with a lot of different people. The most important person that you must learn to be more assertive with is the person whom you are caring for. Telling your ailing parent that they must take their medications, use the restroom, or go to the doctor can be a challenge, but if you are assertive, then you may be able to complete this task easier.

Knowing that your loved one needs a certain routine in order to get better may allow you to become more assertive. If you understand that your loved one needs to follow a certain routine each day, then you will not want to deter from that routine that often. Knowing that your loved one is depending on you to be their advocate in the outside world, will give you the motivation you need in order to become more assertive. You will have to learn to cope with medical experts, social workers and financial officers that you may never have had to deal with in your own life. By talking to all of these people, you can learn to be less timid and more assertive.

Caregiving is a difficult, yet rewarding job that allows you to care for someone you love and help them through an illness. The job may require long hours, and be incredibly stressful at times, but it can also be very rewarding. If you are going to start a job as a caregiver, then you may want to be aware of certain personality changes that may occur through your job. These changes may be positive or negative, but they will impact your life. Embrace your newfound personality changes, and they may help you become a better caregiver.

Check the following articles on becoming a caregiver in our home care blog:

 

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When an Elderly Loved One Resists Your Care

Caring for an elderly loved one may be a difficult task, especially if your loved one is resistant to care. As people age, their cognition begins to decline, and they may not be totally in their right mind whenever they need care. This, among other medical and emotional issues, may cause your loved one to be resistant to you or anyone caring for them. If this sounds familiar, then keep reading to learn why your loved one may be resistant, and how to care for them anyway.

What Causes Resistance to Care?

If you love one needs care, then it is likely that they are dealing with some form of loss. Whether they have lost their spouse, have lost some of their mental health or a portion of their physical health, or they have lost their independence, they may not be dealing with their loss appropriately. Accepting care may mean that they must relinquish their privacy and their life. If your loved one has already lost some part of their life, then they may not want to accept your care in case doing so causes them to lose more of their independence and their life. In addition, your loved one may have a stubborn streak that causes them to refuse to accept your help.

How Can You Approach a Loved One About the Need for Care?

If your loved one seems very resistant to care, then you may be hesitant to even bring up the topic of care with them. However, if their health is declining, and it becomes very apparent that they need care, you have to start the conversation with them. Here are a few tips on how to approach your loved one and talk with them about care.

Choose an Appropriate Time

If the need for care outweighs your loved one’s comfort level, then it is time to talk to your loved one about getting a caregiver. Choose a time in which you and your loved one are relaxed. This will make it easier for your loved one to listen and for you to communicate with them. If they are the most relaxed while they are at home then talk with them at home. If they are more relaxed when eating out, then talk with them during a dinner outing.

Ask Questions about Their Preferences

Whenever you first begin the conversation about caregiving do not assume that your loved one is unable to discuss their preferences about their care. While they may be ill, they probably still do have care preferences in mind and can make decisions regarding their care. If your loved one has issues understanding you, then simplify your explanations and questions in order to help them make a decision that they understand. Make sure that you ask questions about your loved one’s preferences and understand what type of care that they truly want. Does your loved one mind going to a nursing home? Or would they rather stay home and have a caregiver? Asking the right questions are the only way that you will be able to have a productive conversation about your loved one’s care.

Enlist Help from Your Family Members or Health Professionals

If your loved one is resistant to care, then you may need to enlist the help of family members, friends, or even health professionals. Family and friends may be able to help you persuade your loved one to get the care they need. Health professionals may be able to talk to your loved one about the importance of care and persuade them to get the care that they need.

Do not Give up

If your loved one is very resistant to care, then having one conversation with them may not change their mind. If they are still resistant to care after talking with them do not give up. Continue to talk with your loved one about the importance of care and why they should consider getting the care they need. You may also suggest a trial run with a private caregiver in order to allow them to test the waters with a caregiver. Hire a caregiver for one to two weeks in order to help them experience the benefits of assistance.

Pick Your Battles

Focus on the big picture with your loved one. If your loved one is incredibly resistant to care, then avoid fighting with them about getting care. Fighting will only make a stubborn person more resistant to care and will not help in the long run.

Explain How Care May Prolong Their Independence

To really help your loved one become more accepting of care, explain to them how it may prolong their independence. Accepting care as you grow older is not a sign of weakness, and your loved one should not think of it as one. Instead, your loved one may need to be reminded that they can still retain their independence by accepting care. Explain to them that accepting care is not a personal failure, and explain to them that accepting care can help them stay active and independent in their old age. By accepting care from a caregiver, your loved ones can continue to stay active, maintain their relationships, and develop and maintain new interests and hobbies.

Even after talking with your loved one and utilizing all of these tips, your elderly loved one may still be resistant to care. Keep in mind that all of these strategies are not full proof and they may need a bit of tweaking depending on your loved one’s illness. But, if after using these tips, your loved one is still resistance to care, then you may need to reevaluate the situation. Are they a danger to themselves? Can they stay at home by themselves and still stay healthy? If the answers to these questions still beg that they obtain a caregiver or move into an assisted living facility, then you may want to consult a lawyer who specializes in elder care issues.

For more information check the following related articles in our home care blog:

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Alternatives Options to Nursing Homes

As people get older, one of the things that many elderly individuals can agree on is that they do not want to go into a nursing home. Nursing homes can be scary places for your elderly loved one. Suddenly, your loved one has their entire life ripped apart and they must move into a new home. Unless they are not in their right mind they may not necessarily need a nursing home, and placing them in one may be more harmful than good. For various reasons, your elderly loved ones may be firmly against going to a nursing home, and if they are, then you may wish to try alliterative options for them. There are many alternative options to nursing homes and some may even be better fit for your loved one’s needs. Keep reading to learn about a few of the alternatives to nursing homes.

Share Care

As your elderly loved one grows older, they may need in-home care. Ideally, family members could step in and provide the care for your loved one. However, if your family members do not live close, or if they are too busy to help out, then you may need to consider other options. You may discover that one person in your family cannot take on the full responsibility of caring for your loved one, but many family members may actually be able to put their time together to take care of your loved one. If your family members are able to share the role of caregiving, then your elderly loved one may be able to stay out of a nursing home for a few more years. Sharing care can also occur with friends and neighbors. Your elderly loved one may have great neighbors and friends who can also help out whenever your family members are spread too thin.

You may also be able to share care with a paid caregiver and non-paid family members or friends. If you only have to hire a caregiver for a few hours per week, then the cost will not be that high and your loved one can still stay at home.

Move to a Less Expensive Area

If you are relying on in-home care from a caregiver or a nurse for your loved one, and it gets way too expensive, then consider moving your loved one to a less expensive area. The cost of living and the cost of in-home care vary greatly by the area that you live in. For example, urban areas tend to be a lot more expensive than rural areas. If your loved one lives in an expensive area then consider moving your loved one closer to family members. If you move them closer to you and your other family members, then your family may be able to take care of your loved one part time to reduce costs.

Use Adult Daycare

One fantastic way to cut the costs of in-home healthcare and avoid moving to a nursing home is to utilize adult daycare. Through adult daycare services, your loved one can spend a few hours to a full day at an adult daycare center. These centers tend to be far cheaper than private caregivers and can offer your elderly loved ones meals, activities, exercise programs and transportation. Your loved one may absolutely adore their adult daycare center and may not care going there a few times a week in order to cut the costs of an in-home caregiver. At the center they can make new friends, try new activities and get out of the house to avoid isolation and loneliness.

Hire Free or Low Cost Companion Care

Skilled, in-home caregivers can cost anywhere from $20 to $30 per hour. If you hire an in-home nurse, then they may even charge more for their services. If your loved one needs in-home care, but you are scrambling to find the money to hire a caregiver, then take a long hard look at what type of care your loved one truly needs. Do they need a nurse for medical reasons? Or could they be fine with just a companion? If they fall into the latter category, then you may be able to hire a companion caregiver. These caregivers are not trained and have no medical knowledge, but they can provide your loved one with the companionship they need. These caregivers can also help your loved one with household chores, cooking, errands and more. They often charge only minimum wage and can be found through a caregiving service or by running an ad in the newspaper.

Consider Assisted Living

If your loved one is really against going to a nursing home, then you might want to ask them what they think about assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities vary from region to region, but many offer small apartments or houses for their residents. Your loved one could still live alone or with their spouse, but have the comfort of knowing that a nurse or a skilled caregiver is close by if needed. Assisted living facilities may provide your loved one with the independence they desire, while providing you with the peace of mind that you may long to have. Ask your loved one about assisted living facilities and offer to tour a few of them with them. They may take a tour of a facility and fall in love with it.

Nursing homes sometimes get a bad rap, but in reality, most nursing homes are actually very nice places to live. However, if your loved one has their reasons for not wanting to go to a nursing home, then you need to respect that. These alternatives to nursing homes can help your loved one stay comfortable so that they can enjoy their twilight years in peace. With these alternatives, your loved one may be able to stay in their own home and stay happy as they grow older.

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How to Help an Elderly Loved One Make Dietary Changes

Change is hard, no matter what age you are, and if your elderly loved ones have to endure change in their lives, then it may throw them for a loop. As people age they may have to make dietary changes in order to stay healthy and keep their bodies strong. Many doctors recommend that older individuals eat low sodium diets that are rich in nutrients. This type of diet can reduce your loved one’s risk of developing many chronic diseases, heart disease, or having a stroke. Your loved one may also need to avoid sugar, especially if they have or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If your loved one has to undergo a few dietary changes, no matter what the reason, then utilize these tips to help them change their habits and live a healthier life.

Keep a Record

Before your loved one begins to change their eating habits, they need to understand what they eat and when they eat. Give them a journal and instruct them to write down everything that they eat during the day and have them write down the time that they eat. After a week has passed, collect their journal and look for patterns. Their eating patterns can help you help them adapt their eating habits to better fit their new dietary changes. Plus, by seeing your loved one’s food written out, together, you both may be able to figure out what unhealthy eating habits your loved one has and determine how they can change their habits.

Look For Small Ways to Break Unhealthy Habits

Older individuals are more prone to eating junk food, because as they grow older, their taste buds begin to change. Many older individuals do not taste foods as well as they should, so they tend to grab super sweet or super salty foods that are easy for them to taste and enjoy. However, these foods tend to also be super unhealthy for them and may affect their overall health. If this sounds familiar, then your loved one may be in need of a total diet makeover. A total diet makeover is not going to happen overnight, or even over one week, instead, you need to start slow. Begin your loved one’s dietary changes by finding one or two healthy things that your loved one is willing to eat. For example, your loved one may agree to eat one more fruit or vegetable per day. Start with the one food or food group they agree to change, and move from there. Take their new dietary changes step by step and go slow. Your loved one will be more likely to enjoy the changes in their diet and eat healthier if they change their diet slowly.

Add Extra Treats

If your loved one starts a new diet and does really great, then bring them over a treat that they enjoy. Every healthy diet also has room for treats, and your loved one may deserve a delicious treat if they have stuck with their diet. Ask them what their favorite food or meals are, and bring it to their home as a surprise. Your loved one will love the surprise and will be able to still enjoy some of the foods that they love.

Set Realistic Goals

When it comes to your loved one’s new dietary changes, it is absolutely essential that you and your loved one sit down and set realistic goals. If your loved one only eats fast food and junk food, then they will not suddenly turn into a fruit and veggie eating lovers. Instead, they may do well with eating home cooked meals a few times a week. It is important that you set realistic goals for your loved one, because otherwise they may be being set up to fail. Without realistic goals, your loved one may not be able to stick with their dietary changes, and may actually refuse to continue with them after a few weeks. Instead, set up goals that are doable and start slow.

Be Prepared

Planning ahead is key to helping your loved one stay on their new diet. You must always be able to plan ahead in order to avoid unhealthy eating options. For example, if you and your loved one are going shopping during the day and the only food available will be unhealthy fast food, then pack a healthy lunch. Likewise, if your loved one is going to a party or event that has only unhealthy options, suggest they eat at home before they leave. If you plan ahead, then your loved one will start to plan ahead as well and will learn strategies that can help them stay healthy no matter where they go.

Individualize Their Plan

When helping your loved one change their diet, you must first determine what they want to change about their diet. If they simply want to eat healthier, and do not have any doctor ordered diet changes to make, then take a look at their diet and make small changes. You must individualize their new plan for them because otherwise, they may not be able to stick with their new diet plan. Use their food journal to determine what they need the most help with, and sit down with your loved one in order to make a plan together.

If your loved one is struggling with their diet, then they may come to you for help. Changing their diet may be difficult at first, but it can be done with persistence and a bit of determination. Help your loved one change their diet with these tips, and soon, they will learn to fall in love with healthy eating. It may take time, but after eating healthily for a few months, their habits and tastes will begin to change and they will begin to love the new, healthy foods they eat. Plus, they may even begin to feel better and they may even lose a little weight.

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How to Talk to Your Elderly Loved One about Incontinence

If your elderly loved one suffers from incontinence, then it may be impossible to ignore. The odor, the mess and the cleanup can all be glaringly obvious signs that something is wrong. Ironically, the subject seems to be one that is often ignored in households. Many children of elderly parents do not want to bring up the subject because they do not want to embarrass their parents. Talking to an elderly loved one about their incontinence issues could be embarrassing for them and for you. It is also an awkward subject that many people do not want to discuss. However, often, the issue becomes such a big problem that it must be addressed. If this sounds familiar, then keep reading to learn how to talk about this sensitive subject with your loved ones.

Before You Say Anything

Having a successful conversation about incontinence with your loved one begins with careful thinking. The first step in having a successful conversation is to know your role and to understand your final goal. Know the role that you play in your elderly loved one’s life. If you want to help them with their incontinence, then you want to be perceived as a helpful person. For this reason, you do not want to be the person’s adversary. It may be a good idea to bring in a third party to the situation in order to address the issue. This sidesteps the arguments that may occur if only you approach your loved one. Bringing in an outside health professional,  another family member or a close friend your elderly loved one feels comfortable with can help you have a calm conversation with your loved one about their incontinence issue. If you are frustrated about the issue, then it will not be possible for you to sit calmly and be helpful. An outside, third party, can help you achieve the calming, helpful presence that you desire to have. Secondly, understand your final goal in having the conversation. You may have already decided that diapers may be the best option for your loved one, but they may not want to wear diapers. Instead, set a goal to help your loved one fix or correct their issue. The first step in doing that is a visit to their doctor. Sometimes an incontinence issue is a medical issue that can be fixed. If your elderly loved one is suffering from a medical issue, then the right medications may be able to fix that and their incontinence issue may go away. If not, then a doctor may be able to better approach the issue of adult diapers and convince them to wear them.

Set up the Conversation

Before you have the incontinence conversation with your loved one, there are a few things you can do to set up the conversation for success. First, figure out who is going to do all of the talking. If you do decide to bring a third party person into the conversation, then decide if they will be doing all of the talking. If not, then determine if you or someone else in the family is going to start and end the conversation. Secondly, pick a pleasant time for you and your loved one. Potentially awkward conversations tend to go a lot better whenever your loved one is doing an activity that they enjoy. Pleasant walk in the park, engaging in a hobby or playing cards are activities that your loved one may enjoy. Talking about their issues during these activities, can help them feel comfortable and safe during the conversation. Lastly, before having the conversation, rehearse your tone. If you are going to talk at any time during the conversation then you should rehearse what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. If you are frustrated about their incontinence issue, then you may come across as abrasive or mean during the conversation. Practice your tone so that you can come off calm and helpful during the conversation.

The Conversation

Whenever it is time to have the conversation with your loved one about their incontinence issue, you can start it in a variety of ways. The best way is to be gentle and empathetic. This will make your loved one more comfortable and less embarrassed. Next, talk to your loved one honestly and tell them your concerns. Give them honest, detailed observations of what you have seen in their home, and tell them about the frequency and nature of their accidents. If they do not feel embarrassed and feel comfortable with you, then they may agree with you and be receptive to hear more. If not, then at this point in the conversation they may begin to deny their issue. If they deny the issue, then keep going. Talk to them about their symptoms and be sympathetic. Use phrases and terminology that make your loved one feel comfortable. Overall, your goal should be to normalize incontinence. Do not make them feel ashamed or ostracized due to their issue. If you can normalize incontinence, then you can make them feel more comfortable and less ashamed about their issue.

Conclusion

Incontinence is an awkward issue to discuss, for you and your loved one. However, if you follow these tips, then you can easily have a conversation with your loved one about their incontinence issues. First, start with the right thought process. Think about the role you wish to play in your loved one’s issues, and decide if you want to bring a third party into the conversation. If you do, then decide who the third party will be. Health professional, another family member or your elderly loved one’s close friend may be great options for mediators during this tough conversation. Next, decide what your final goal will be in having this conversation, and try not to make your goal biased towards your needs. Then, make your loved one comfortable by doing an activity with them that they enjoy. During this activity, begin the conversation very slowly and very gently. Make them comfortable and empathize with them so that they do not feel ashamed. Finally, try to normalize the issue. If you can normalize their incontinence issue then they will feel less ashamed about their issue. Once they become more receptive to the conversation then you can suggest a variety of options for your loved one. The best option is to visit their doctor first. Their doctor can determine if a medical issue is the underlying reason for their incontinence and offer treatment options for their incontinence. Even if it is not determined to be caused by a medical issue, doctors may be the best people to breach the subject of adult diapers with your loved one.

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Resistance Training For Seniors

As people grow older, their muscles and joints begin to break down. Add to that the fact that seniors have more brittle bones than their younger relatives, and it seems as though you are making a recipe for disaster. Seniors are at an increased risk for falling and becoming injured due to their brittle bones, muscles and joints. However, there is one thing that can help decrease a senior’s risk of falling and keep them healthy. Resistance training is a type of exercise that allows your elderly loved ones to build up their muscles slowly. This type of training can help them regain muscle mass, which in turn, can protect their joints and their bones. As your loved ones get stronger, their chances of falling and getting injured decreases drastically. For this reason, after getting an okay from their doctor, many seniors are choosing to hit the gym and try their hand at resistance training.

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance training, or strength training, is a type of physical activity that allows someone to work their muscles in a very controlled manner. This type of training can work muscle groups and individual muscles through weight lifting, utilizing exercise balls, using exercise bands, or any other objects that produces resistance in your muscles. Cans of soup and gallons of milk are both great objects to utilize during resistance training if your loved one does not have access to a gym or weights. Resistance training can be completed virtually anywhere, and does not take very long at all. To get the most benefits out of resistance training, seniors should aim to train two to three days per week, and do 8 to 12 repetitions of each of their exercises.

Resistance Training Benefits

Resistance training is an important aspect of physical health for all ages. Seniors can especially benefit from resistance training because it allows them to keep their muscles, bones and joints strong. All age groups can benefit from resistance training due to the following benefits:

  • Resistance training can enhance aerobic training, and allow your loved one to gain muscle and lose any extra fat they may have.
  • This type of training allows people to function better throughout their everyday life. Through resistance training they can move groceries easier, gain stamina, and be able to move things around their home.
  • Resistance training promotes strong muscles all over the body, and adds strength to the entire body.
  • This type of training can also improve any aerobic activity you may already partake in. For example, if you are a swimmer, then resistance training can enhance your swimming abilities.
  • Resistance training has also been linked to an enhanced psychological well-being. It allows you to gain a more positive self-image and become more physically fit.

Why Should Seniors Participate in Resistance Training

Seniors should participate in resistance training for a variety of reasons. Various studies have shown that resistance training is healthy for everyone, including your elderly loved ones. Seniors may reap some of the following benefits if they do resistance training a few times per week:

  • People over the age of 80 still have the ability to gain new muscle. By adding resistance training to their weekly routine, they can increase their muscle strength and their muscle endurance.
  • Weight training helps seniors have more endurance, especially when it comes to walking. By training their legs, they can build up their leg strength and muscles, and be able to walk longer distances without getting tired. By walking farther distances, they can also improve their cardiovascular health and their overall health.
  • Women of any age have the ability to increase their bone mass if they participate in regular resistance training sessions. Resistance training can increase a woman’s bone mass in her elderly years and prevent bone breaks and injuries, even if she is post-menopausal.
  • Resistance training improves seniors’ overall quality of life. It allows them to go throw the aging process at a healthy rate and feel good about themselves as they age.
  • Regular resistance training can even reduce the risk of your loved one feeling depressed as they grow older.

Resistance training and aerobic exercise may also reduce your loved one’s risk of having a heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that people who stay sedentary as they grow older are at a higher risk for these illnesses. By exercising regular, your loved one can stay healthy.

How to Get Started With Resistance Training

Resistance training is very easy to begin. Your loved one does not have to hit the gym or buy any weights to start. To begin, they must start slow, especially if their muscles, bones and joints are brittle. The first step in beginning a resistance training program is to talk with their doctor. Your elderly loved ones should have a full physical exam and talk with their doctor to determine if they are strong enough to start a resistance training plan. Their doctor may offer them suggestions on how often to exercise and how to exercise. Next, your loved one may wish to call a professional trainer. A professional trainer can come to their home and teach them how to use items found in their own home to train. Through a few simple sessions, a professional trainer can help your loved one develop their own resistance training exercise routine and give them pointers on how to increase their strength. Finally, they should start their routine. Start slow and always listen to what the professional trainer has to say. Plus, they may wish to incorporate extra stretching before and after their workout in order to keep their muscles flexible. Stretching can help them warm up and cool down before and after a workout, and it allows them to stay healthy during their exercise routine.

Conclusion

Resistance training is a great way to build up strength, especially for seniors. If your elderly loved one needs to build up their muscle mass in order to keep their muscles, joints and bones healthy, then suggest that they start a resistance training program. This type of program can help them stay healthy and strong as they grow older.

Check the following articles in our home care blog about fitness and remaining active:

 

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Good Places for Seniors to Meet and Make New Friends

As people grow older, sometimes they lose friends. Whether their friends and them grow apart, of their friends grow old and pass away, some seniors find themselves becoming very lonely. Loneliness is not healthy for anyone, but it can be especially harmful for seniors. If your elderly loved one does not seem to have many friends and does not know what to do about it, then you can help them by suggesting a few of the places below. All of these places are great places that seniors can go in order to meet new people and make great friends.

Senior centers often offer numerous opportunities for seniors to meet people, but sometimes going to a senior center is not enough. If your loved one does not have access to a senior center, or is not meeting many people there, then the following places may be great for them. Have your loved one try a few of these places, and they may just find a new hang out place that they truly love. Not all of these events or places may be in your loved one’s local community, but if your loved one lives in a larger community or close to one, then they may have access to some of these cool events.

Seniors Ballroom Dancing Event

Going ballroom dancing may be just the thing that your loved one needs to do in order to get back out there and make some new friends. Many senior centers and local community centers put on senior ballroom dancing events that teach seniors how to dance and give them the proper arena to bust a move. No matter what your loved one’s level of mobility is, or their dancing skill level is, they can attend one of these events and have a blast. Plus, they can even make a few new friends.

Gardening Club

Gardening is a great activity for people of all ages. Many seniors love to garden flowers, vegetables, shrubs and more. Local communities often have gardening clubs that your loved one can join. Through these clubs, your loved one can meet new people and improve their gardening skills. To find out if your loved one’s community has a gardening club, contact their community’s horticulture society.

Seniors Travel Group

If your elderly loved one absolutely adores traveling, then they may love to join a senior travel group. These groups do everything from day trips to long extended trips. Senior travel groups place people together who love to travel, so it is likely that your elderly loved one could find friends who have the same interests as them. They can even choose a travel group that is geared towards single seniors or towards couples in order to cater to their romantic needs.

Seniors Cruise

Much like joining a travel club, many cruise lines offer senior cruises for people above a certain age. Your loved one may enjoy one of these cruises. They would get to see a part of the world they had never seen before, and may get to meet a variety of people. Senior cruises offer food, music, dancing and many more activities that your loved ones can enjoy. Plus, they are a great place to meet new people.

The Golf Course

Many seniors enjoy golfing, so a local golf course or the local club house would be a great place to meet new people. Spending time golfing and at the club house can allow seniors to meet a variety of people who share their interests.

Seniors Fitness Class

Staying fit in their old age should be a priority for seniors. To help stay fit and to meet new friends, seniors could join a senior fitness class at their local gym. These courses are geared towards people above certain ages and geared towards their skill levels. Your loved one does not have to be physically fit to begin a class, but they do have to be motivated to stay fit.

Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful way to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. By teaching your elderly loved ones how to set up a Facebook page, you can help them find groups that are geared towards seniors in their communities. Plus, you can help them find old friends and reconnect with them online.

Local Theater Group

If your loved one is theatrical or simply loves the theater, then they may enjoy joining a local theater group. Through a theater group, your loved one can participate in local plays by acting or by working in the theater. Many seniors enjoy working as ushers, working at the concessions stand, and working at sets. Plus, your loved ones can meet members of the casts and other seniors who are in the group.

Church Groups

Churches are wonderful places to meet new people. Many churches have special groups and Bible studies just for seniors. By joining a senior church group, your loved one can fellowship with other seniors and can make many new friends.

School Reunions

School reunions are a great place to catch up with old friends. Your loved ones may even reconnect with some of their old friends and stay in touch with them.

Book Clubs

If your loved one enjoys reading, then they may enjoy joining a book club. Their community may have book clubs especially for seniors that they can join and meet new people.

Meeting new people as you grow older may be difficult, especially for seniors who are shy. But, the first step to meeting new people is to get out of the house. By getting out of the house and joining in on some of these activities or events, seniors can meet new people and find new activities that they love.

Here are additional related posts in our home care blog:

 

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Self-Defense Tips for Seniors and Elderly

As seniors grow older, it may become necessary for them to learn a bit about self-defense. The concept of self-defense for seniors is completely different from the concept of self-defense for younger adults. For seniors, self-defense is all about not showing fear. Most self-defense tactics taught to seniors do not focus on combat maneuvers, but instead focus on teaching seniors the ability to stay strong and to protect themselves. Through self-defense tactics, seniors can gain the strength they need to protect themselves, learn how to be more aware of their surroundings, learn how to exude a fearless presence and understand their physical and mental capabilities.

Facts on Crimes against Seniors

Each year there are numerous crimes against seniors all around the world. Most often, seniors become the victims of non-violent crimes such as larceny or purse snatching. Theft is most commonly directed at seniors because many criminals believe that seniors are vulnerable and easy targets. For this reason, seniors are at a higher risk of being a victim of vehicle theft or burglary.

Self Defense Recommendations

There are many general tips and recommendations that seniors can follow in order to defend themselves. Many of these tips are meant to prevent seniors from having to defend themselves, and are good, common-sense tips that everyone should be aware of. These tips include:

  • Do not overload your arm with grocery bags or packages. Use a luggage cart if you are at a hotel or make multiple trips to and from your car at a hotel or at your home.
  • Park your car in well-lit areas. By parking underneath a street light or a light in a parking lot, you can find your car easily at night and reduce your chances of getting mugged in a parking lot.
  • Before leaving your car at a store or on the street, observe your surroundings closely. Make note of places you could go to quickly in case someone were to approach you or something would happen.
  • Walk with a purpose; do not look at the ground while you walk. Instead, keep your head up and constantly look at your surroundings.
  • Keep a police whistle and a flashlight on your keychain and hold your keys while walking. The whistle can be used to alert others of any trouble you may be experiencing and the flashlight can come in handy at night.
  • Carry as little cash as you can. You should only ever hold essential items on you or in your purse.
  • Do not slip a purse strap around your neck. Some attackers may use the strap in order to harm you during an attack.
  • If you have a cell phone, understand how to dial emergency services quickly.
  • Visit the bank and the ATM machines during the day. At night, these locations may be dangerous and may be places where criminals lurk in order to steal money.
  • Never open your house or apartment door to a stranger. After looking through a window or a keyhole, if you do not know the person; do not answer the door. If necessary, speak to the person though a door or window. Purse and wallet snatchers expect to grab your purses and wallets and quickly run away. In order to deceive them and protect your valuables follow these easy tricks:

Practice the Art of Deception

  • If you must carry a purse or a wallet with you, then buy a travel wallet. These wallets can be worn under your clothes either around your neck or attached to your waistband. They are virtually impossible to grab and run, and if criminals do not believe you are carrying a purse or a wallet, then they will not bother you.
  • Men may choose to carry a dummy wallet in their pockets along with placing their money elsewhere. This way, if an assailant grabs their wallet, then they are not getting any money or personal information.
  • Women who carry purses can slip their jacket over their purse so that their handbag is covered by their jacket. This will allow them to be safer and less vulnerable to purse snatchers.
  • Carry keys in your pocket or in your hands, instead of in your purse. This way, if someone would take your purse, then you would still have your car keys and house keys.
  • The following tips are for situations in which seniors may be threatened with physical force:
  • Dodge the assailant. If someone starts to try to hit you, then move from side to side in order to avoid the blow. If you are still standing upright, then run as fast as you can from side to side to get away from the assailant. Run to a safe place such as a store or a well-lit area.
  • Do not let anyone back you into a wall or against a large object. If this happens, they will get the upper hand, and it may become difficult to escape.
  • If someone grabs you from behind, then try not to struggle. Instead, lean against the attacker and throw your head back as hard as you can. This will throw your attacker off-balance and cause them to stumble. When they stumble and loosen their arms around you, run away.

Conclusion

Seniors can easily learn to defend themselves with just a little bit of help. Through self-defense classes and these easy tips, your elderly loved ones can be prepared and can gain the knowledge and power they need to avoid crimes. Many seniors may feel the need to carry some form of weapon for self-defense. For these seniors, it is absolutely essential that they understand how and when to use the weapon. It generally is not recommended that people carry guns, knives or taser guns, and in some places it may be illegal. However, if a senior is scared, then they can use items such as keys, umbrellas, canes and pens to inflict harm on an attacker. These items may be readily available to them at all times, and do not pose a danger to anyone else around them or to themselves.

Additionally, the better in shape you are, the better chance you have at getting away from any assailant. It is important for seniors to keep up with a daily or weekly exercise regimen that incorporates strength training. This will allow seniors to stay fit and healthy, and to have a better chance of breaking free from an assailant.

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How to Helps Seniors Avoid Social Isolation

Loneliness and social isolation is never good for anyone, especially seniors. Research into social settings has shown that social interactions are both mentally and physically beneficial for people of any age. Conversely, loneliness and social isolation has been linked to a number of health issues, all of which can be detrimental to your loved one’s overall health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have even linked social isolation in seniors with a shorter lifespan. Unfortunately, social isolation among seniors is incredibly common, and continues to increase in prevalence as the baby boomers grow into their twilight years. Recent research has even shown that nearly 43 percent of seniors who live at home are socially isolated, meaning that these seniors are at risk for numerous health issues. Considering the fact that social isolation can be incredibly detrimental to your loved one’s health and wellness, it is an issue that should be addressed. If your elderly loved ones are socially isolated or seems lonely, then it may be time to step in and help them get out of their social funk. With these tips, you can help your loved one overcome their social isolation and reap the benefits of becoming a regular social butterfly.

Provide Transportation

As seniors grow older, many lose their ability to see properly and thus lose their driver’s license. Some seniors, who do have their licenses, refuse to drive during certain periods of the day when there is high traffic or when it is dark outside. In order to help your loved one become more social, you can offer them transportation to help them get around easier. If your loved one lives in a city, then you can teach them how to utilize public transportation safely. If they live in the country, then you can offer them rides to help them complete their errands or find them a caregiver who can help them get around town. By offering rides to your loved one or by teaching them how to use public transportation, you can help your loved one maintain their social connections and a healthy sense of independence as they grow older.

Promote a Sense of Purpose

Seniors who have a sense of purpose or who have many hobbies are less likely to succumb to social isolation. Besides providing a sense of purpose, many hobbies are also inherently social in nature. Any type of hobby that involves a group can be construed as being socially healthy. Group hobbies that are great for seniors include playing cards, playing sports, volunteering and group knitting. Encouraging seniors to maintain their hobbies or to pick up new hobbies can provide them with a purpose in life and provide them with a social outlet so that they do not become socially isolated.

Encourage Religious Seniors to Maintain Attendance at their Places of Worship

If your elderly loved one attends church or religious ceremonies often, encourage them to continue to do so. Research has shown that seniors who attend regular religious services can socially benefit from the weekly or monthly social connections. Seniors who regularly attend religious services have been exhibited to have lower mortality rates and feel as if they have a bigger purpose in their life.

Give Your Loved One a Pet or a Plant

Many experts agree that giving your loved one a pet or a plant to take care of can greatly benefit their social calendar. The act of nurturing something like a plant or a pet can relieve the feelings of social isolation. Plus, pet owners specifically tend to be more social in nature. Pet owners can take their pets to parks in order to give their pets a social outlet, and in turn, can meet other pet owners. Giving your loved one a pet or a plant to nurture is a great idea to help your loved one relieve their feelings of loneliness.

Notify the Neighbors

Since socially isolated seniors may be vulnerable to a variety of unexpected problems and may have underlying health conditions such as dementia, you should consider informing your loved one’s neighbors about their behaviors. Their neighbors can bring your loved one food every once in a while, or simply check in on them whenever you are out of town. Plus, they can be a good contact for you, if you wish to see how your loved ones are doing.

Address Health Issues

Certain health issues may cause your loved one to be socially isolated. If your loved one suddenly loses interest in being social, then they may be having issues with their vision, their hearing or with incontinence. Seniors with these types of health issues may be embarrassed about their shortcomings and may wish to stay in the comforts of their own home. To help them overcome their social isolation, you may need to address their health issues and get them help. Once they have controlled their health issues, they should become social once again.

Give Extra Support to Seniors Who Have Recently Lost a Spouse

If your loved one has recently lost a spouse, then they may be extra vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. For these seniors, it is incredibly important to give them extra support both socially and mentally. Check on them frequently and visit them often. Go the extra mile by spending more time with them the first weeks to months after their spouse’s death. This can make a huge difference in your loved one’s demeanor and well-being and help them grieve for their spouse.

 

Social isolation is an easy phase to enter whenever people grow older. Many seniors do not have a lot of friends in their older years. But, just because they may not have a ton of friends, does not mean they cannot make new friends. If your loved one seems lonely or seems socially isolated, then try these tips to help them make new friends. By making new friends and staying social, your loved one can stay healthy both mentally and physically.

For additional information and ideas on the topic of social life, check the following articles:

 

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Keeping Up and Connecting with the Grandchildren

For many grandparents, relating to their younger grandchildren and family members can be challenging. It may take some time, and a bit of both observation and investigation to determine what your grandkids are interested in, but after a bit of time, grandparents can definitely relate to their grandchildren. If you have grandchildren that you are struggling to connect with, then follow some of the tips below in order to break the ice with your adolescent and teenage grandkids and show them how much you love them.

Play Video Games

Video games are a favorite pastime of many teenagers and adolescents, especially boys. If your grandson or daughter is into video games, then ask them to teach you how to play their favorite game. By learning how to play their video games you can show an interest in their hobby and spend quality time with your grandchild. Plus, video games are great for hand-eye coordination and can help you improve yours.

Teach Your Grandchildren Something New

It is likely that you have a whole different set of hobbies and interests than your grandchildren. If this is true, then why not pass one of your hobbies onto them? By teaching your grandchildren about some of your favorite pastimes you can spend quality time with them and build a bond with them that they will always remember. Plus, if you choose correctly, then they may fall in love with your hobby and want to learn more whenever they see you.

Become Interested in Your Grandchildren’s Activities and Hobbies

If your grandchildren play sports or do any other fun activities such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or academic extracurricular activities, then get involved. Sporting events are often very easy to attend, and if you attend a few of them each season, then you can show your grandkids that you are super interested in what they are doing. If they have other extracurricular activities, then ask them about any important events that family members can attend and try to make it to these events. You will learn more about your grandchildren’s lives this way and will be able to bond with them easier.

Put Together a Family Album

Get creative and put together a family album with your grandchildren. This activity can help you and your grandkids learn more about each other and can give your grandchildren a family memento that they can keep for the rest of their lives.

Learn About Social Media

Virtually every adolescent and teenager is on some sort of social media website. If your grandchildren spend their life online, then learn about social media websites that they are using on a daily basis. Some of the most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Vine. Knowing a bit about each of these social networking websites can help you talk to your grandchildren and understand a bit more about how they communicate with their friends. Plus, you may even enjoy one or two of the websites and wish to create your own profile.

Be Open to Your Grandchildren’s Ideas about the Future

Often, young teenagers tend to have very ostentatious ideas about their future. While their plans may change before they hit college, its vital that you are supportive for all of their career choices. Sit back and listen to the new ideas your grandchildren share with you about how they see their future, and be supportive. It can be enlightening for you to listen to their views on the future, and to see how their views evolve as they grow older.

Create New Beginnings Together

Another great way to bond with your grandchildren is to create new memories together. Do something together that you, nor your grandchildren, have done before. Doing so will help you bond with your grandchildren and will give both of you new memories to cherish.

Get to Know Your Grandchildren’s Friends and What they Like To Do Together

If you live close to your grandchildren, then get to know their friends. You can always be the cool grandparent and take them and their friends out for dinner, a movie or to the mall. Or, you can let your grandkids and their friends hang out at your house. If you do not live close to your grandkids, then ask about their friends and any boyfriends or girlfriends they may have. Talk with them about who they enjoy spending time with and how they spend their time.

Enter Their World

To really bond with your grandchildren, understand everything about their world. Learn about their hobbies, likes and dislikes so that you always have something to talk about with them. If you find that they have similar likes or dislikes that you do, then you can talk with them about your mutual interests. This will help your grandkids bond with you and will give you new topics to discuss.

Watch the Movies and Television Shows They Watch

Ask your grandchildren about their favorite television shows and movies then sit back and try to watch a few of them. You may find that you actually love a few of their shows and movies, and suddenly have a new favorite TV show or movie. Then you can ask your grandkids why they love the show or movie and maybe even watch a few episodes of a TV show together. When you are together you can compare thoughts on the shows or movies and have a wonderful conversation.

With these great tips, you can easily connect with your grandchildren. The best advice to connect with your grandkids is to always keep trying. Sometimes, adolescents and teenagers are hard to crack, but, if you become a constant presence in their life, then they will always love you and know that you support them and love them. Overtime, your grandkids will seek you out for advice, love and support and will begin to connect with you during visits and over the phone. With a little bit of time and a lot of love, you can easily connect with your grandkids.

Here are some more articles in our home care blog about connecting with the Grandchildren:

 

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