Valentine’s Day Gifts for Seniors

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. Whether you wish to celebrate your love with your spouse, your children, or your elderly loved ones, Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday for this. Love is a beautiful human emotion that allows people to make connections with one another and draw support from each other. By giving your loved ones Valentine’s Day presents, you can show them how much you care about them and how much you love them. But, you may be at a loss for what to buy your elderly loved ones. If this is true, then keep reading to learn a few gift ideas that your elderly loved ones will absolutely adore.

Seniors-Love

Memory Lane

If your loved one recently lost a spouse, then for Valentine’s Day they may like to take a trip down memory lane. Spend a day with your loved one watching vintage movies and looking at old photos. You can also prepare a few tasty treats to snack on during the movies such as chocolate covered strawberries, popcorn balls, or brownies. Invite some of your loved one’s friends and other family members in order to have a Valentine’s Day celebration and get your loved one’s mind off of their spouse’s passing.

Photos

Photos are a great gift for Valentine’s Day. Give your loved one a framed family photo for Valentine’s Day or make them a scrapbook or a photo book with family photos. They will cherish the photos and will love having them in their home so that they can look at the photos frequently. If you like the idea of giving them photos, you can also teach your loved one to take their own selfies. Encourage them to be a bit goofy and pose with their other family members and friends. After they have taken a few selfies, get your family members to take some as well and then print them all out and send them to your loved one as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Party

If your loved one is a fan of parties, then invite a bunch of family members and friends over to your home for a lovely Valentine’s Day party. Set up a few fancy tables in your home and make fun treats that your loved one adores. Then, add some dance music and watch as your loved ones dance the night away.

Love Coupon Book

Give a love coupon to your elderly loved one as a gift. Cut out some red, pink and white papers to be the same size, then staple the papers together to form a small book. Write on each paper to make quite a few coupons for your loved one. The coupons can be based on things that your loved one enjoys. Examples of great coupons include coupons for hugs, coupons for yard work, coupons for house work, coupons for errands and coupons for visits. To make the coupons easy to tear out, run the coupon book’s binding under a sewing machine that does not have any thread in it. The needle will create small pricks in the paper and make it easier for your loved one to tear the papers out of the coupon book.

Special Outings

To make your loved one’s Valentine’s Day memorable, take them on a special outing. You can take your loved one out to lunch, take them to get a manicure, or take them to a movie. Plan an outing that is based on their interests so that they will have fun during the day.

Prepare Special Treats

If your loved one is a big fan of certain treats such as brownies, donuts or cookies, make or buy a few to surprise them on Valentine’s Day. Bakeries always have Valentine’s Day specials that you can buy and make your loved one’s day. Prepare or buy special treats for them and they will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Skype

If your elderly loved one has family members that live far away, prepare a Skype or a Face Time call between them and your elderly loved one. Skype and Face Time both allow your loved one to see their relatives and talk with them. Seeing their loved ones on Valentine’s Day can really make their Valentine’s Day special. Set up a time to Skype or Face Time with their loved ones and surprise them with the call. They will adore this gift, especially if they have relatives or friends who live very far away.

Cards

If you cannot think of anything to give your loved one, or simply live too far away to give them a special treat or take them on a special outing, then a simple card may suffice. Find a card that is perfect for them at your local card store, then sit down and write them a nice, heartfelt note that tells them just how much you care about them and love them. They will absolutely adore getting a card from you that tells them how much you care. Send them a nice bouquet of flowers or a fruit basket with the card to add a little something special to their gift. They will enjoy the flowers or the fruit basket, and absolutely love the nice, heartfelt note from you.

 Valentine’s Day can be bittersweet for your elderly loved ones, especially if they have lost their spouse or their loved one. Valentine’s Day is designed with lovers in mind, but it has evolved into a holiday in which love itself is celebrated. To show your elderly loved ones how much you love them and care for them, these gift ideas are perfect. Plus, they can help ease your loved one’s pain and grief during Valentine’s Day if they recently lose their spouse. The gifts that you give your elderly loved ones do not have to be extravagant or even materialistic gifts. Instead, focus on giving your elderly loved ones gifts that they will enjoy such as outings, special treats and fun trips down memory lane.

Check other Valentine related posts in our home care blog:

 

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Dealing with Elderly Loved Ones Distorted Sense of Time

As people grow older, their sense of time may diminish slightly. Along with this, comes the inability to figure out time and distinguish the time of day. While this does not occur to every elderly adult, it does happen quite frequently in adults who are experiencing the early stages of dementia or who have already been diagnosed with the degenerative disease. Patients with dementia often forget time schedules and seem to be lost in their own minds when it comes to being places in a timely manner. From showing up too early or too late to an event, to thinking that it is time for bed in the middle of the day, sometimes elderly loved ones simply do not heed time. If one, or both, of your elderly parents have a distorted sense of time, then it may be challenging for you and your family. Often, you may find yourselves wondering if your parent is going to show up someplace or if their distorted view on time is hampering their ability to make it. If they simply cannot seem to get the times of the day correct and fall asleep during the day, while staying up all night, then you may become frustrated and annoyed. Coping with their distorted sense of time can be challenging, but learning the reasoning behind their time distortion may help.

As people age, their capacity to judge time accurately diminishes. Coupled with the fact that many older adults have trouble sleeping, and suddenly you have a set of elderly parents whose internal clocks are way out of tune. In these cases, parents may feel the need to sleep whenever they can. Overtime, their sleep patterns become so skewed that they may begin to fall asleep during the day and stay awake all night. After keeping up with this schedule for many weeks to many months, it can be hard to break this pattern, and if your parents do not work or do much outside of their home, they may not wish to break this pattern. For this scenario, if your parents’ skewed time bothers you and other family members, then it may be good to sit down with them and talk to them. Air your own grievances and let them know how their skewed time schedule is affecting the rest of the family. If your parents are constantly missing important events because they are off schedule, then bring that up. Your parents may need to visit their doctors to get a small sample of sleeping medication in order to return to their normal sleeping patterns. With a little bit of work, your parents can probably return to their normal time frames.

If your parents do more than just sleep throughout the day, then they may fall into another group of time-distorted seniors. Many people perceive that time begins to pass quicker in their old age than it did during their younger years. Of course, this is not actually the case, but for many elderly loved ones, it may feel true. This tendency is maximized and over-exaggerated by the early phases of certain forms of dementia. In these cases, many elderly begin to feel like each minute of each day takes hours, and their time schedule goes completely off balance. However, your parent does not have to be diagnosed with dementia in order to feel like this. Many older individuals feel as if time is passing by quickly because they do not want to miss anything in life. They understand that they are living their twilight years, and want to have as many life experiences as they can before they die. For this reason, many elderly loved ones are early birds and get to bed pretty early in the evening as well. This type of behavior may feel awkward to some family members, and may cause your parents to miss a few events throughout the years, but it is not caused by a medical condition. Your parents just simply want to be awake whenever the sun comes up.

Other age-related factors may also contribute to a senior’s sense of time. Deteriorating night vision and poor night driving skills may cause your loved ones to get up early and go to bed early as to avoid being out at night or during high traffic times. The need for frequent bathroom breaks may also contribute to their odd sense of time. If your parents constantly are running for the bathroom, then they may insist on taking pit stops often during driving times. This can lead to them being late for many family events, and can cause some people to think they have a distorted sense of time.

If you are a caregiver to your parents, then your loved one’s odd sense of time may be frustrating. To help, you can do three things:

Determine the Root Cause of Your Loved Ones’ Time Schedule

Sit down with your parents and try to decipher why they have such an odd sense of time. If their odd sense of time is due to something simple like their constant need to go to the restroom, then you can easily fix that by adding pit stops to driving times. Determine the root cause so that you can alleviate the issue.

Set a Schedule for Your Loved Ones

If your loved ones simply cannot follow a time schedule on their own, then set one for them and enforce it. If you are their primary caregiver and their odd sense of time is frustrating you, then make a time schedule for them during times in which they need to be somewhere at exact times and then enforce the schedule. This is best used for days when they have doctor’s appointments or family get together.

Remember That Time Spent with Your Loved Ones is Valuable

Above all, remember that each day you spend with your parents is a gift. Try not to let your frustrations about their distorted sense of time get to you. Instead, think of their time frame as a funny quirk that you just have to cope with.

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How to determine if a Caregiver is doing a Good Job

If you have finally taken the plunge and have decided to hire an in-home caregiver for your elderly loved one, then congratulations. Hiring an in-home caregiver is a big step for both you and your loved one. In-home caregivers allow your loved one to get the help they need in the setting of their own home. It allows your loved one to gain some of their independence back and to have someone to rely on throughout the day while you and other family members may be at work. Hiring an in-home caregiver is a great way to help your elderly loved ones spend their twilight years happy and healthy. But, once you hire an in-home caregiver for them, how do you know if the caregiver is doing a good job? Keep reading to find out how you can determine if your loved one’s caregiver is stepping up to the plate when it truly matters.

Do Not Skimp On Your Research

The first step in obtaining a wonderful caregiver for your loved one occurs long before you even meet the caregiver. The first step is to do your research. Many communities have caregiving or home health care agencies that provide professional caregivers for in-home services. If your loved one’s local community has more than one agency, it is essential that you research all of the agencies and do your homework. It is important that you understand each agency’s insurance policies, the training they provide for caregivers, if they perform background checks on caregivers, etc. Each home health care agency has different policies and rules regarding all of these issues, so it is important that you understand the policies of each agency in your loved one’s city. Then, choose an agency based upon the rules and policies you agree with the most.

Ask Questions

Once you have chosen a home health care agency, contact them to set up an assessment between you, your loved one and a representative from the agency. During the assessment, ask the representative from the home health care agency any questions you may have. Do not be afraid to ask any of your questions. The representative should be able to answer them for you or find the answer through their agency. You want to be able to hire the agency that you know has the best interests of your loved one in mind.

After hiring a caregiver, the best way to evaluate their care is to stop by your loved one’s home periodically unannounced. This will allow you to see the caregiver at work and see how they react to you stopping by. If the caregiver is a good worker, then they will be actively working or interacting with your loved one during your visit. Caregivers who are not good workers may be away from your loved one or not caring for them properly when you show up.

Another great way to evaluate your loved one’s care is to ask their caregiver a set of questions during your occasional drop-ins. The following list of questions is a great starting point that you can build upon during your conversation with them.

Is the care plan being followed?

The caregiver and the home health care agency should have made a care plan for your elderly loved one during the first days or weeks on the job. The care plan is designed to make the household run smoothly for both your loved one and the caregiver. You should ask about whether or not it is being followed and ask if it has been revised at all. It is not uncommon for care plans to be revised as the caregiver learns more about their patient.

Is your elderly loved one’s life being improved?

The main goal of home health care is to improve the life of your loved one. Ask the caregiver if they believe your loved one’s life has been improved and how. If they cannot answer the question or if you do not see how your loved one’s life has been improved then it may be time for a new caregiver.

Has your loved one expressed any concerns?

If you elderly loved one is cognitively aware then they will be able to communicate with you and their caregiver any concerns they may have. Ask the caregiver if your loved one has expressed any concerns about their care or health, then determine how the concerns were addressed. Alternatively, if your loved one has discussed concerns with you, then sit the caregiver down and discuss your loved one’s concerns. You may be able to fix the issue and help your loved one become more comfortable.

Does the agency keep tabs on the caregiver?

Ask the caregiver about the involvement of the home health care agency that they work under. Does the agency stop by unannounced to check on the caregiver? How do they ensure the caregiver is completing his or her job? Ask these questions to determine how well-involved the agency stays with the caregiver.

If your loved one is cognitively aware, then you can also ask them questions about any concerns or issues they may have. Also, look at their overall demeanor and behavior. If they are happy, smiling and generally in a good mood, then it is likely that their caregiver is a loving and caring person. However, if they are withdrawn, angry or have any new medical issues such as bruising or cuts then they may need a new caregiver.

Hiring a caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your loved one’s life. But, it sometimes takes a while to find the perfect caregiver for their needs. If you have recently hired a caregiver for your loved one, then use these tips to determine if the caregiver is doing his or her job properly. But overall, ask your loved one. If they like their new caregiver, then put your own fear or reservations away and let your loved one enjoy their care. If they cannot stand their new caregiver, then start to direct questions to the home health care agency and the caregiver to determine if the caregiver is doing poorly or if your loved one simply does not want a caregiver.

Check the following articles on the topic of caregivers:

 

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Dealing with a Clingy Elder

One of the largest concerns on the minds of most caregivers is their elderly loved one’s behavior. As people grow older, they may resent being alone, and if they have a caregiver, they may not want their caregiver to leave them alone. In fact, many elderly adults never want their caregivers out of their sight. For caregivers, this can be extremely stressful and guilt-inducing, especially if the caregiver is a family member. If you are taking care of your elderly loved ones, then leaving them when they feel clingy can be incredibly hard and challenging. Dealing with a clingy elderly loved can especially be a challenge if you have to work another job, take care of other family members, or just need a bit of time to yourself. In this article we will discuss the ways to help you dissipate your loved one’s behavior and determine if their behavior is truly necessary or if it is a ploy to keep you in their sights.

Most often, if your loved one is clingy, then they truly feel like they need you around. However, sometimes, elderly loved ones may have an issue staying home by themselves and their fears may drag you down. If the latter is true, then by sticking close to them, you may simply be enabling their behavior. To determine if their behavior is fear-induced or if they truly are clingy for some reason, keep reading about the most common situations that arise when an elderly loved one is clingier than normal.

Puppy Situation

The elderly adult in the puppy situation is perfectly safe in their own home. This person typically has no behavioral disorder that causes them to become overly anxious whenever left alone. However, this person still prefers that you, as their primary caregiver, stay with them at all times. This situation is known as a puppy situation, because, like puppies, your elderly loved one clings to only one person. If you are dealing with this type of situation and behavior, then the best technique is to try behavior modification. Start by having a reasonable conversation with your loved one and explain to them why you cannot stay with them every second of every day. If they are not receptive, then begin offering them rewards for their desired behavior. This technique is very simple and has been proven to work. Let your loved one choose from a variety of rewards such as food rewards, trip rewards, and activity rewards in order to coax them into staying with another caregiver or by themselves. After a while, your loved one will learn to modify their behavior and will be able to stop staying right next to you at all times. In the meantime, try not to feel guilty when you leave them alone. If they protest, then just remember to stay strong and overtime their behavior will change.

Nervous Situation

In the nervous situation, your loved one is completely safe at home alone, but may panic and feel overly anxious whenever they are by themselves. Sometimes, this situation arises due to behavioral issues which may or may not be related to their primary medical condition. However, other times, they simply have more anxiety than normal and their nervousness does not stem from their medical condition. If your loved one is overly nervous, talk with them to decide if their nerves are normal or if they could be suffering from an anxiety disorder. You may also need to call your loved ones family doctor in order to have their symptoms evaluated. If they do have an anxiety disorder, then it may be best to seek help from a mental health professional and determine from them how you can help your loved one. If they do not, then you can try to find ways to alleviate your loved one’s anxiety and nerves when you are gone. To do so, try to find ways to make them feel safe whenever you are not at home, but do not except them to change their behavior on their own. You and your other family members may have to take an active role in their life to help them deal with their anxieties and their nerves.

Learned Behavior

Loved ones, who exhibit clingy behavior that is not associated with nerves or a medical condition, may be clingy because of a learned behavior. In this case, your loved one has had a real life bad experience that happened whenever you were not around. They become clingy because they are afraid that the same bad experience may happen again if you leave. For loved ones who have learned clingy behaviors, you have to acknowledge the reality of their fear. If you understand that they are clingy because of a past experience, then you can try to explain to them the reasoning behind their behaviors. If they hear the reasoning from you, then they may be able to relax. Talk with your loved one about their behaviors and create safety nets for them to rely on while you are out of the house. For example, by installing a medical alert system or giving them a cell phone, you can give them a sense of peace when you are out of the house because they will always have a way to contact someone.

Oblivious Behavior

People who show oblivious behavior are unaware of their clingy behavior. They probably will not be able to change their behaviors due to being so oblivious to it. Most elderly loved ones who are oblivious to their clingy behavior are so because of a medical condition. For these loved ones, its best to stay close and help them become more comfortable with other caregivers. If they can become close to a few other caregivers, then you can rotate shifts.

Manipulative Behavior

These individuals are very aware of their clingy behavior, and are never at risk for being unsafe in their own home. Instead, they may act like they are unsafe or act like they are super anxious to be left alone. If your loved one is manipulative, then work with them to get to the root of their behaviors. Talk with them directly, and overtime, you can learn to leave them easier and they can learn to stop being manipulative.

If your loved one is clingy, then it may be challenging for you and for them. Decide which type of clinginess your loved one is portraying, and then follow these tips to try to get your loved one to feel safer and more comfortable without you constantly by their side. Overtime, you and your loved one can learn to enjoy time apart.

For more information on dealing with different behaviors, check the following post in our home care blog:

 

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Ways to Be a True Friend to a Family Caregiver

Caregivers often find that many of their friends drift away over time. Being a caregiver is a stressful, tedious job that takes up a lot of time and often has unconventional hours. Due to this, friends tend to fall by the wayside as a caregiver fully commits him or herself to their job. These friends are not bad people, but they simply do not understand how to help their caregiver friend and they may find it easier to hang out with people who have more time. Plus, caregiver’s often lead complicated lives due to the nature of their job. When they lose friends, sometimes it is because their friends do not want know how to deal with the complexities of a caregiver’s life. Does this sound familiar to you, or do you have a friend who is a caregiver? If so, then you do not have to lose your friend, especially if the two of you are incredibly close. Here are a few ways that you can be a true friend to a family caregiver and keep your friendship strong.

Listen Attentively

Being a caregiver is a stressful job, and because of this, your caregiver friend may need to vent every once in a while. To help them lower their stress levels, listen attentively to them. If you simply brush them off when they want to talk, then you will only add to their stress levels and will not be a good and supportive friend. To listen attentively, engage in conversation with your friend and occasionally respond throughout the conversation to ensure them that you are listening to their concerns. By responding with short comments about your friend’s story you can show them that you truly are listening and truly do care about them. Pretending to listen will not fool them, and if you want to be a true friend, then pretending to listen is never a good idea.

Do not Judge

A true friend should never judge a friend for anything that they do, but you should especially never judge your friend for being a caregiver. Often, caregivers must give up a good paying job to care for someone they love. When this happens, do not bring up money issues or finances to your friend. He or she does not need any negative judgment from you or their family members. You are not in their shoes, and may not know the whole story.

Ask Them What You Can Do To Help

Caregivers may experience things in their daily job that you never even have to think about. Whether they have to care for a dying loved one, or they are dealing with a loved one with a degenerative medical condition, their everyday job is extremely stressful. To be a good friend, you may simply need to ask them what you can do to help them. You are not always expected to know what to do to help them, but if you directly ask them, then you can show them that you care for them and are there whenever they need you.

Offer Your Time

If you know what medical condition your caregiver friend’s loved one has, then offer your time. Research their medical condition and then offer to sit with the care receiver to give your friend some free time. Or, if you are not very good around other people or around medical illnesses, then offer to run errands for your friend or their loved one. You can also offer your time by cooking a meal, cleaning your friend’s house, cleaning the care receiver’s home, or driving the care receiver to their appointments. Just do not offer anything that you are not able to deliver in order to be a good friend.

Give Your Friend Space

Sometimes caregivers only want time for themselves. If they work super unconventional hours and have devoted themselves to being a fantastic caregiver to their loved one, then they probably will need some time along. If your friend appears stressed out and overly tired, then give them some space. They may need some time to recharge and then they will be back to their normal selves. Always take your friend’s personality into account. If your friend is always chipper and gregarious, then they may simply come out and tell you they need some space. But, if your friend is a people-pleaser and does not say no often, then you may have to recognize the tell-tale signs of stress and anxiety yourself. But, either way, be aware of true isolation. If your friend begins to isolate themselves from you, their other friends and their family, then something may be wrong. Step in and offer an ear to them to talk, and try to get to the bottom of why they are isolating themselves.

Do not Exclude Your Friend

One of the best things you can do for a caregiver friend is to not exclude them. Caregivers often have very unconventional hours, and they may not always be able to attend every event or hang out session that you invite them to. Do not get discouraged if your friend turns down a few invites, and do not stop inviting them to places. One day, when your friend has a lot less stressful job and more time, they will appreciate you staying in their life and will be able to be a great friend to you.

Caregivers are compassionate, nurturing people who often find themselves in the role of a caregiver suddenly. Often, family members become sick and need a caregiver immediately. When this occurs, certain family members must step up and become primary caregivers to family members. If this happens to your friends, then you may need to work a little bit harder to keep your friendship alive. Caregivers often lose friends while they are working. Their hours are not always that great and they tend to be overly stressed or fatigued often. For these reasons, many friends stop calling them and simply stop coming around. But, if your friend is a caregiver, then you do not have to lose your friendship. Try these tips to keep your friendship alive, and you two are certain to stay friends for a really long time.

For more information on being a family caregivers, please check these articles in our home care blog:

 

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Common Signs Indicating That Being a Caregiver is Not Right for You

Being a caregiver is not the right job for everyone. Each person in this world has their own unique talents and flaws. Some people may have talents that are more suited to the field of caregiving, while others may be better working in an entirely different field. However, being a caregiver often comes abruptly. Family members may get sick or become injured and suddenly need a caregiver. If this happens, then it may fall on you to become their primary caregiver. But, just because you suddenly get swept up into the caregiving life, you do not have to stick with it, and you may not even be good at it. If you are not, then it is nothing to be ashamed about. Being a caregiver is an extremely stressful job that is only appropriate for the right person who has the right talents. If you find that caregiving is not as fulfilling as you would hope, then you may need to hire a professional caregiver for your loved one and return to your original job. Keep reading to learn more about the most common signs being a caregiver is not right for you.

You Lose Your Patience Often

One of the first signs that many people notice when they are not cut out to be a caregiver is that they lose their patience all of the time. They may lose their patience with their elderly loved one while they are on the clock or with their family and friends when they are off the clock. Most people who lose their patience often are secretly frustrated with their life and cannot handle the stress and pressure that they are under in their job. If you lose your patience often, it may be a sign that the stress and pressure of being a caregiver is too much for you. Then, if you begin to notice that you are becoming easily angered with your elderly loved one, it is time to quit. Getting angry with your loved one is not good for you or for them. You would not want your job to ruin the relationship you have with your elderly loved one, so it may be best to quit and hire a professional caregiver.

You Cannot Sleep

Sleep disruption is one of the first signs of being overly stressed. Whenever you are under a great deal of stress, your body will react by changing its sleeping patterns. Most often, people who are stressed out have difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. They begin to lose sleep, which simply exacerbates their stress level. If you begin to lose sleep night after night, then it may begin to impact your overall quality of life and health. If this is the case, then you may want to consider another option for your loved one and quitting. Hiring a professional caregiver from a home care company can help reduce your stress level and bring your sleeping pattern back to normal.

You Constantly Find Excuses

Whenever people do not want to do something, they often try to find excuses to get out of the event. If you find yourself making excuses not to go to your loved one’s home and start your job, or if you simply stop showing up, then you may not be cut out to be a caregiver. Being a caregiver is stressful, but you should enjoy it. If your job is stressing you out to the point where you form a habit of showing up late to your loved one’s home or finding excuses to not even show up, then it is time to switch jobs. When this occurs, take a step back and really think about whether or not you enjoy your job as a caregiver. If the answer is no, then do not be afraid to quit. Finding your loved one a new caregiver is not a sign of defeat. In fact, it can be a sign of strength and can help both you and your loved one feel better.

If you have noticed any of these signs in your own life, then you may not be cut out to be a caregiver. But, does this mean that you are a horrible person? Of course not: just because you are not cut out to be a caregiver does not mean that you have a horrific character flaw. Some people may have the correct talents to provide wonderful care to aging parents or sick family members, but others may have the talents to be their elderly loved ones’ emotional support or their financial support. If you find that you are not cut out to be a caregiver, then it simply means that you do not have the right personality for  a caregiving job. Caregiving is a stressful job that involves a lot more than simply sitting with your loved one. Depending on your loved one’s illness or condition, you may have to take over their personal care routines, their errands, their finances and their housework. All of this extra work requires a certain type of person, and if you are not this person, then you can still provide emotional support to your loved ones. Instead of being your elderly loved one’s primary caregiver, you can visit them and even arrange for them to have competent and loving care. If you find that you are not cut out to be a caregiver, then maybe your best role in your loved one’s life will be to provide them with the arrangements necessary to have wonderful care.

If you are one of these people who just are not cut out to be a caregiver, then do not be upset. Instead, feel proud of yourself for admitting that you simply are not the best person to care for your elderly loved one. Once you can admit this, you can use your talents to find your elderly loved one the best caregiver you can find. Then, you can be reassured that your loved one is getting nurturing and compassionate care, and enjoy your loved one’s presence each time you visit them.

For more information about being a caregiver, read these additional articles in our home care blog:

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How to Handle an Elderly Loved One’s Difficult Behavior (Part 2)

Caring for an elderly loved one can be incredibly rewarding, but if your loved one has begun to exhibit a few bad behaviors, your job may become tedious and exhausting. Part one of this series discussed four bad behaviors that are common in elderly individuals. This section will discuss a few more of the most common bad behaviors and give you tips on how to deal with them.

Paranoia and Hallucinations

Paranoia and hallucinations may take many forms in the elderly populations. Your loved one may accuse a family member of stealing money or goods from their home, or believe that someone is out to get them and become overly frightened. If your loved one suffers from paranoia or hallucinations then your first step is to write down a small summary of each paranoid period or hallucination. Keep track of the time of day it occurred, how long the situation lasted, and what your loved one hallucinated or was paranoid about. Talk with their doctor about their episodes to see if their episodes may be a sign of a larger health issue or a side effect of a medication they may be taking. If your loved one has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or with dementia, then they may experience paranoid episodes or hallucinations often. If this is the case, then the best thing to do is relax and go with the flow. Trying to talk your loved one out of their delusion often is not successful, but if you go along with their delusion then you may be able to correct or fix the problem they are hallucinating about and snap them out of their delusion. For example, if your loved one is hallucinating that someone is breaking into their home, then you can go along with the delusion, but act like you are calling the police or getting the pretend intruder off of the property. Once your loved one feels like the intruder is gone, they may snap out of their delusion. Validation is also a good coping technique for your loved ones. Having delusions may upset your loved one, but if you validate what they see, then it can keep them calm and relaxed as they work through the delusion.

Strange Obsessions

Saving tissues, worrying about nonsensical things, picking at their skin or clothes, or any other type of obsessive behaviors can greatly disrupt the daily life of your elderly loved one. These obsessions may be harmless, but they may also be related to an addictive personality. If your loved one has had an addictive personality in the past, or has even suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, then their issues may be manifesting themselves in strange obsessive behavior in their twilight years. To help them, do not berate your loved one for their behaviors. These obsessive behaviors are not a character flaw, and are actually a symptom of a larger issue. Secondly, start to observe your loved one whenever they begin and end their behaviors. Often there are triggers that will set your loved one off and cause them to start their behaviors. If you can figure out the triggers, then you can begin to avoid situations in which the triggers would appear. Finally, do not participate in their obsessions. If you can find a way to change their obsessive rituals or routines then do so, especially if their behaviors are greatly affecting their daily life.

Hoarding

Hoarding is a very common problem that affects many elderly individuals. However, if hoarding is a brand new behavior for your elderly loved ones, it may signal that they are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Hoarding is a common trait among many Alzheimer’s or dementia patients because it allows them to keep holding onto physical manifestations of their memories. If your elderly loved one begins to hoard their things, talk to them about their hoarding. If the issue becomes a huge problem and their house begins to get full, then try to coax them into donating some of their lowest priority items to charity. You can also help them create memory boxes to hold their most prized possessions. Memory boxes can help them prioritize their possessions and help them get rid of items they no longer need or use. Finally, if your elderly loved one does not listen to you and continues to hoard, then medication or counseling may be needed.

Over-Spending or Extreme Budgeting

If your elderly loved one spending too much money or not spending enough, then you may feel like you want to pull your hair out. Whether your loved one is a shopaholic, or is downright frugal, your loved one’s money troubles can exhaust you. The ability to keep ahold and handle of one’s money is a sign of power and independence. If your elderly loved one has lost a bit of their independence due to their age or their medical condition, then they may wish to hold onto their money to keep a small sliver of their independence. Spending too much money or spending too little money are both ways in which your loved one can exert power over their money and feel powerful. However, if overspending or underspending is becoming an issue, then it may be necessary to sit down with your loved one and talk about the issue. They may be hesitant at first, but if you talk to them gently about their issue and air your concerns then they may begin to understand the problem. However, do not demand that they turn over their money or bills to you. That would completely strip them of their financial independence and would not be in their best interests or in yours.

Caring for an elderly loved one can be extremely rewarding. But, if your elderly loved one has a few bad behaviors, then your job may go from rewarding to exhausting. The behaviors listed above and in part one of this series are some of the most common behaviors that you may notice. Try these tips first, but if it becomes too much for you to handle always remember that you can take a break from your job or hire professional help to help you with your elderly loved one if necessary. Sometimes, hiring an outside caregiver or counselor can make all of the difference in both your elderly loved ones and your life.

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How to Handle an Elderly Loved one’s Difficult Behavior (Part 1)

Let’s face it, if you are a caregiver for an elderly loved one, then you probably have faced the brunt of a few bad behavior days. As people age and their health diminish, their attitudes about life and their care often change drastically. This can cause your elderly loved ones to start exhibiting pretty bad behavior that may or may not be directed at you. While dealing with your loved one’s difficult behavior can be exhausting, you must remember that they are not being mean or obtuse to personally attack you. Instead, bad behavior often signals that they are not happy with their current position in life. Your loved one may need to talk to someone about their issues, may need a change in routine, or may even need a change in medications if they have Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. Bad behavior can be a signal that something in your loved one’s life is not going so great. Depending on their health issues and their state of mind, bad behavior may be a sign that they are physically hurting and are not tolerating medications well. But, bad behavior could also simply signify that your loved one is upset and tired of being cared for. No matter its cause, you have to deal with the behaviors and try to move forward; otherwise you might go crazy trying to dodge all of the attitude being thrown at you. Keep reading to learn about some of the worst behaviors that elderly loved ones may exhibit, and look for part two of this series in which we discuss a few more bad behaviors.

Rage, Anger or Yelling

Unfortunately, if your elderly loved ones had anger issues as adults, then their inherent anger and irritability may be intensified as elderly individuals. Personality traits such as anger and irritability tend to intensify in very unpleasant ways as people grow older. Irritable adults often morph into rage-filled individuals as they grow older and the caregiver typically takes the brunt of all of their rage-filled demands and fits. To help your sanity and calm down their anger or rage, try to identify the cause of their anger. Most often, elderly individuals who are angry often are very distressed and may have a new health issue or a new symptom of one of their already established health issues. If your loved one’s anger continues for a long time, and it is a new behavior, then talk with their doctor. They may need to change medications or get a physical exam to determine if their behavior is due to a medical condition. Whenever your loved one does become angry, it is best if you do not take the anger personally. They are not trying to personally attack you, no matter how much it seems like they are. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your job and try to ignore the negative, bad behaviors. If the anger becomes too much for you to handle then take a break. You can either hire another caregiver for a few days to a few weeks in order to take a short break, or hire a new, permanent caregiver and relinquish your job. The bad behavior may not become apparent in front of a stranger, and a new caregiver may not feel the same anger that you feel.

Abuse

Stories of mental, physical and emotional abuse run rampant through caregiving websites and forums. Sometimes, elderly loved ones turn on their caregivers and abuse them. This does not occur very often, but when it does, it can be damaging to both the caregiver and the loved one. When elderly loved ones turn on their caregivers, they often are trying to vent frustrations they feel about their life, their illness, and their overall disposition. This does not excuse their behavior though, and as a caregiver, you should handle the abuse the first time it happens. If your loved one abuses you in any way, your first step should be to talk to them. Air your own frustrations to them and tell them how their behavior makes you feel. If that does not work, then continue to talk to them and overtime they may begin to understand. Also, it is a good idea to take a break from your caregiving job if your loved one begins abusing you. By leaving them in the hands of another qualified caregiver, they may begin to realize everything you did for them and want you back. If so, then you can return to their home on the condition that the abuse will stop. However, if the abuse is physical in nature, then you may need to bring the authorities or a counselor into the home to make it stop.

Not Showering

One of the most common bad behaviors that caregivers see is their elderly loved ones refusing to take care of their own personal hygiene. Whether they are refusing to shower, refusing to put on clean clothes, or refusing to brush their teeth, elderly loved ones can throw massive fits of defiance when it comes to personal hygiene routines. Both depression and the feeling of losing control may play a part in your loved one refusing to take care of themselves. As your loved one grows older, they may feel like they are losing control of their health and their lives, and one thing they can often control is their own hygiene. To eradicate the issue, the first step is to determine why they will not take care of their personal hygiene. Ask your loved one directly, and listen carefully to what they answer. If they are afraid of falling in the shower, then offer to buy a shower seat or a non-slip mat. If they are afraid of losing control, then offer them chances in which they can control other aspects of their life, like meal time or bed time. Try to fix their issue and coax them into taking a shower and restarting their personal hygiene routine. At first you may have to compromise and settle for them taking a shower every couple of days, or every other day. But, as time goes on, they should slip back into their normal routine.

Swearing, Offensive Languages or Inappropriate Comments

Growing older is not always fun, and many adults take their anger and their frustrations out on their caregivers by swearing or using offensive language. If this is the case, then an anger issue may be the problem. However, if your loved one is generally affable in nature and their use of offensive language is a new issue, then they may be at the start of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Both diseases cause cognitive decline that can affect your loved one’s ability to process language and act appropriately. They may become far more brazen then usual and have a whole new set of offensive words and phrases to use in everyday conversation. If this sounds familiar, then talk with their doctor about the issue. They may be able to prescribe medications for your loved one, or give you advice on how to deal with their offensive tirades.

In the next article (part 2) we will discuss more about bad behaviors in the elderly population in the second part of this article. Part two will discuss a few more bad behaviors that you may come across when caring for an elderly loved one.

 

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Common Home Care Problems and Solutions

If you are your elderly loved one’s main caregiver, then you may come across a few common problems during their care. If you do have issues caring for them, then it does not mean that you are failing as a caregiver. In fact, the majority of caregivers run into either health or financial issues during their caregiving career. Here are a few common issues that caregivers tend to run into when they begin caring for a loved one or a friend. Keep reading to find out the issues and learn about solutions that will make your life and your loved one’s life a lot easier.

Health Issues

If you are caring for an elderly loved one who has a medical condition, then it may be likely that they may have medical issues at some point. If this occurs under your care, then call their doctor immediately or call an ambulance if the issue is severe. If their health issue is not severe, then sit down and write down all of your observations about your loved one. Ask them their symptoms, their concerns and any questions your loved one may have and then phone their doctor. It is also a good idea to have a list of their medications present when talking with their doctor. Health issues may arise often if you are caring for someone who has a deteriorating disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia so it is essential that you have their doctor’s information handy.

Financial Issues

Providing home health care for a loved one may get extremely expensive, especially if you are hiring outside help during times when you are unable to care for your loved one. To help with financial stresses you should review any financial assistance options for the person whom you are caring for including government help, veteran’s benefits and insurance policies. You also may be able to consult with an elder attorney who specializes in financial planning for seniors to help find ways to pay for your loved one’s care.

Boredom

Boredom is a common feeling for anyone who is sick and under the care of another person. Even if you are your loved one’s main caregiver and you two have a great relationship, they still may grow bored under your care and you might as well. To help your loved one quell their boredom you can suggest a variety of activities such as going to the movies, going out to eat, going shopping or going on a walk. You can also look into senior outreach programs in your community for your senior. Often senior centers or retirement centers have programs that your loved one may partake in. If your loved one enjoys pets, then you may consider getting them a dog or a cat. Pets can help bring up your loved one’s spirits and give them a companion to love during the day.

Problems with a Caregiver

If you are not the only caregiver that your loved one has, then they may have issues with other caregivers. It can be hard for your loved one to suddenly have a stranger come into their home and help them with their everyday routine. If your loved one is not comfortable with their caregiver then issues could arise. If this occurs, then speak with your loved one to pinpoint their issues then gently bring up the subject to their caregiver. If the caregiver is unable to fix the problem and tensions arise, then it may be time to find a new caregiver.

Depression or Low Spirits

Declining health and losing independence can cause many elderly people to feel depressed and anxious. If your loved one is depressed, then you need to sit your loved one down and talk with them. Listen to your loved one carefully and try to hear all of their concerns and feelings. Talking to them about their feelings can help them articulate their feelings and start to work through their depression. If they do not get any better, then talk to their doctor. Their doctor may be able to refer them to a counselor or a psychiatrist who can help them through their depression.

Family Tensions

Home care is a stressful situation for everyone involved. If you and your family are acting as your loved one’s caregiver, then tensions may arise between many of your family members. If this occurs, then you must talk through your issues before they get overblown. If necessary, hold a family meeting to air any grievances that any family member may have, including your elderly loved one. You may also wish to consider hiring a geriatric care manager to help facilitate your family meeting in order to ensure that everyone gets to say their concerns and is heard.

Your Own Emotions

If you are in charge of your loved one’s care, then you may find yourself getting emotional at times. Caring for someone is very stressful, and your own emotions may play a large role in your ability to provide your loved one appropriate care. Before you get so stressed out that you feel burnt out, learn to take care of yourself. You can confide in a friend, spouse or a professional to air any concerns you may have and get your emotions out. You may also find that pampering yourself with beauty treatments, a massage, a weekend getaway, a round of golf, or even a nap can do wonders for your psyche. Another way to relieve caregiver stress is to hire temporary caregivers to care for your loved one so that you can take a break or a vacation. But most importantly, you must learn to recognize when you are feeling stressed so that you can let out your emotions before you become overly stressed.

Caring for a loved one may be difficult at times. If you are a caregiver for an elderly loved one then you may come across a few of these common issues. With these tips you can learn to recognize the issues and combat them before they become a big deal.

 

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Types of Mechanical Lifts for Homes

Unfortunately, one of the many consequences of growing older is the fact that many seniors lose their mobility. While they may not end up completely in a wheelchair, or bed-bound, many seniors do struggle with walking and getting up and down stairs properly. To combat these mobility issues, mechanical lifts can be installed in homes in order to make uninhabitable areas of their homes more habitable and cozy. With mechanical lifts, seniors can regain fulsome of their mobility and improve their quality of life. If your loved one is having issues maneuvering through their home, then keep reading to learn more about the different types of mechanical lifts that they can have installed to boost their mobility.

Chair Lift

The most common lift that is installed in senior households is the chair lift. This mechanical lift is ideal for homes that have multiple levels. It allows seniors to safely be lifted up and down the stairs so that they will not fall or injure themselves. These lifts attach to the bottom of a stairwell and allow seniors to sit in a cozy chair as they are lifted up or down the stairs. These lifts can be bulky for a narrow stairway, but they are an enormous timesaver and are a tremendous help to caregivers and seniors who have issues go up and down the stairs in their home.

Chair lift in an old peoples home

Wheelchair Stair Lift

A wheelchair stair lift is similar to a common chair lift; the only difference is that a wheelchair stair lift has a platform for a wheelchair instead of a comfortable chair. This stair lift allows a senior to take their wheelchair with them up and down the stairs and provides them with a way to tackle the stairs by themselves. It is great for seniors who are unable to transfer themselves from their wheelchairs to a chair lift and allows caregivers to not have to hall a wheelchair up and down stairs for their loved one.

Personal Elevator

Larger, more expansive homes may need elevators installed into them in order to make them more maneuverable for your loved one. Personal elevators are a good idea for homes that are two or more stories tall and that have a lot of stairs. They are not super expensive to install and can often be installed into already established closets. Elevators can be used by people in wheelchairs or by seniors who have a walker or cane and find it difficult to go up and down the stairs in their home.

Wheelchair Platform Lift

If your loved one enjoys being outside, then a wheelchair platform lift may allow them to enjoy the outdoors and get on and off of their front or back porch. A wheelchair platform lift allows its users to roll onto the platform and then press a button to go up or down to reach the porch or the sidewalk. These lifts are a great addition to any home of an outdoors lover or for someone who simply wants to be able to get their mail each day.

Ceiling Lift

A ceiling lift is designed to help your elderly loved one get in and out of bed. If they have difficulties transferring themselves from their wheelchair to their bed, then a ceiling lift is perfect for them. These lifts are usually fixed in one room most likely the bedroom and designed for patients with limited mobility or little to no weight bearing capabilities.

Portable Hoyer Lift

A portable Hoyer lift is also designed to help seniors transfer themselves from their wheelchairs to their beds, couches, or commodes. These lifts are on wheels and are easily moved from one area of their homes to another.

Pool Lift

If your elderly loved one enjoys swimming and has a swimming pool, then a pool lift is a great addition to their home. A pool lift is similar to a chair lift, but it is made with waterproof material. Your loved one can sit on the chair and be transferred into the pool to swim, or can enjoy the water from the comfort of the chair.

Dumb Waiter

A dumb waiter is a mini manual elevator that allows your loved one to transfer laundry, prepared meals, or other heavy items up and down floors. They are ideal for seniors who are unable to maneuver the stairs easily and who often need items transferred from one floor to another.

Bathtub Lift

Bathtub lifts are simple lifts that allow your loved one to be transferred in and out of a bathtub. They are battery operated and lower all of the way to the floor of the tub before rising back to the tub’s rim. These lifts are also portable so they can be moved when other family members use the bathtub.

Recliner Lift Chair

Recliners are comfy chairs that many seniors love, but they may be hard to get out of once your loved one is comfortable. Recliner lift chairs allow seniors to sit down in their favorite chair and then be helped out of the chair when they wish to get up. These chairs practically stand up to help your loved one out of the chair and onto stable ground.

Wheelchair Lift for Vans

If your loved one is wheelchair bound, then they may require a wheelchair lift for a van to be transported to appointments, errands, or around the town. These lifts typically allow your loved one to roll onto a platform and then they and their chair are lifted into the van. Most often their wheelchairs will be secured in place in the vehicle and your loved one will not have to worry about moving into a car seat.

Mechanical lifts are great additions to anyone’s home that is having difficulties getting around on their own. They are typically easy to install and may be covered by health insurance. If your loved one has trouble moving around their home, then mechanical lifts could increase their quality of life and help them become more mobile and comfortable in their own home.

Check the following posts in our home care for more information on lifting and mobility:

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