Category Archives: Aging

Caregiving Decisions Can Often Be as Clear as Mud

By Dr. Mara Karpel

Psychologist, Host of Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and Author of The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  Find her at: DrMaraKarpel.com

 “It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lena Horne

Whether your loved one lives with you, in the same time zone, or thousands of miles away, there are often big decisions that need to be made involving their care, living situation, medical procedures, medications, etc. Often, the right choices are not at all clear. There are many choices, frequently none of which are “perfect,” and you will likely be asked to decide — or to help your loved one decide — which is the best decision that fits for them.

Being responsible for such heavy decision-making about such important issues that can be so unclear can certainly keep any of us up at night and cause plenty of anxiety. Here are some tips for better wading through the muddy waters:

  • Get as much information as possible. Talk to professionals, research on reliable websites, ask other caregivers whom you know might have had experience with similar issues. Talk to your loved-one’s doctors, therapists, paid caregivers, and get second opinions. Read books related to the topics at hand.
  • If you’re still feeling confused and anxious about the decisions, take a break. Take walks, exercise, meditate, get out in nature, to take your thoughts off of the subject for periods of time. This will give your mind a chance to quiet down from the anxious thoughts and allow your inner knowing, your higher wisdom, to process all of the information you’ve been given and to find the answer that best fits for your specific situation. The answer may come to you as a feeling of being shouted out by your inner self, “this is it!,” or it may come as a whisper.
  • If this still doesn’t work, spend time, again, quieting your mind. Sit quietly, close your eyes, take some slow deep breaths.   Then imagine that you’ve made a decision. See and feel what life is like after that particular action has been taken. Now quiet your mind and imagine what it looks like and how it feels after making the opposite decision. This can often give greater insight about the best decision for you and your loved one’s unique situation.
  • Finally, remember that there are no perfect decisions and we only discover mistakes in hindsight. Most of us don’t own a crystal ball and cannot predict with 100% accuracy how it will work out, no matter which way we go. As I wrote about in my blog, Tips for Caregivers – Near and Far -Tip #10 – Forgive Yourself, “We all make mistakes. We’re human.” Don’t be hard on yourself for doing the best you could to figure out the right course of action.

Read similar blogs by Dr. Mara and listen to her internet radio showNow also available on Apple Podcasts.

Be sure to follow her on Facebook for updates on her show and new blogs.

And check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age!

Simple Ways Seniors Can Stick with Self-Care Goals

While we are all getting older every day, it can be exciting to create new self-care goals although it can be hard to stick with them. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways seniors can stay true to their wellness plans without breaking the bank. These tips can help you stick with your wellness goals without all the stress.

Create a Simple Workout Plan

If you want to stick to your fitness plan, simplify your workout routine. Low-intensity workouts can actually help boost self-confidence and establish a healthy daily routine that can continue to grow and develop over time. According to VeryWellFit.com, try dancing to some music for 15-30 minutes. Other options include following a workout online or doing simple bodyweight exercises. There are plenty of free yoga and workout classes on YouTube. You can also save on fitness equipment and women’s shoe deals online at sites like Rakuten. Soon you will see some of the mood-boosting and stress-reducing benefits of exercising. Creating a great routine that you can maintain doesn’t have to be difficult.

Eat Out Less by Cooking More

While eating out is less time-consuming than cooking, it is also much more expensive. Switching from buying takeout to cooking can save you lots of money. While it can be hard to do a 180-degree switch, there are some ways to build up to eating out less. According to MoneyUnder30.com, it’s best to start small and make attainable goals like bringing your lunch to work three times a week and starting to cook dinner a couple times a week as well. When you bring your lunch to work, it’s important to leave the office. In order to cook more, it’s best to have a food plan. GoodCheapEats.com suggests taking some of your favorite takeout meals and trying to recreate them at home. The benefits of cooking at home can include reducing calorie consumption and eating healthier. By cooking more, you can make healthier choices while saving money.

Release Stress by Practicing Meditation

Stress can truly be an uncomfortable burden. However, meditation can assist in releasing your anxiety. According to TheMonkLife.net, it is best to start with a small, attainable goal if you are going to try to incorporate meditation into your daily life. You can spend as little as two minutes a day. Write your goal down on a piece of paper. Learn how to prioritize meditation by setting a time for it and sticking with it. With an easily attainable goal, you’ll be more likely to continue as you progress. As you meditate, breathe in and out and count to ten and then repeat, so you can stop your mind from wandering. If you’d like some guidance, there are a number of free videos available on YouTube. By adding some simple meditation into your routine, your stress levels will plummet, and you will feel happier in no time.

There are plenty of ways seniors can stick with healthy routines. As you slowly build up your consistency with these wellness goals, you will soon be living a healthier, less stressful life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhill is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

The House Has Passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

March 11th, after nearly a year of bipartisan negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal that increases funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity.

This passage reauthorizes the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) through FY 2024. The legislation will now move to the President’s desk for signature.

“This reauthorization supports the needs of unpaid and family caregivers who are playing an increasingly large role in supporting the needs of older adults,” said National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s CEO Sandy Markwood. “It’s especially critical as we grapple with the implications for older adults, family caregivers and the caregiving workforce pertaining to the spread of COVID-19.”

For more information on this passage, please click here.

The Value of a Health Navigator

Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.

Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).

The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.

Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.

Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.

Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Mesothelioma and the Elderly

In almost any explanation of mesothelioma treatment options, there is a clause. The routes available depends on numerous factors, one of which is age. This clause — that age, among other factors, could limit treatment — is usually specific to just one option: surgery.

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggests that age might be the most often-used factor when determining if a patient is eligible for mesothelioma surgery.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there are already limited treatments. Removing the most effective one just because of a person’s age? We at Mesothelioma Guide hope surgeons and doctors consider far more than just that number.

In Review: Mesothelioma Treatment for Elderly Patients

The study involved examining the National Cancer Database for all patients at least 80 years old with recently diagnosed non-metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. In other words, the patients’ disease is in its early stages and hasn’t spread to vital organs — but it could, and likely will, if untreated.

The researchers found 4,526 patients who met the criteria and looked into the treatment approach used for each. According to the study’s results, which was published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Just 2% of the patients had surgery (likely pleurectomy with decortication) plus chemotherapy
  • Around 13% had just surgery
  • 22% had only chemotherapy
  • 63% were “observed,” meaning they didn’t receive any curative treatment

The average age of pleural mesothelioma patients is 72 — the disease is more likely to impact the elderly than many other forms of cancer — and restricting these patients to chemotherapy or nothing is usually an early death sentence. The median survival times were:

  • 4.1 months for those observed
  • 9.5 months for those receiving just chemotherapy
  • 12.2 months for those undergoing surgery and chemotherapy

By comparison, the figures for pleural mesothelioma patients under 80 years old were:

  • 17% only underwent surgery or had surgery and chemotherapy (median survival of 17.7 months)
  • 47% had just chemotherapy (median survival of 12.2 months)
  • 36% were just observed (median survival of 6.6 months)

More to the Story for Mesothelioma Treatment
The argument against elderly patients having surgery — or even chemotherapy — is that their bodies may not be strong enough. Other complications may arise due to surgery. However, not every 81- or 82-year-old patient has the same health. One may have poor nutrition or other health concerns. Another could be a former marathon runner who eats healthy and exercises regularly.

While the study says the 90-day mortality rate for those having mesothelioma surgery was 28.5%, this figure does not consider the quality of patient selection. As author Justin Karush says on the Society of Surgical Oncology website, “When selecting patients with mesothelioma for surgery, it is paramount to consider the ability to offer adjuvant treatment.”

Additionally, a survival time enhanced by 200% — the difference, according to the study, between no curative treatment and surgery plus chemotherapy — could be enough reward to take the risk.

Quality of Life Due to Surgery
For people with peritoneal mesothelioma, the benefits of surgery are just as great — if not greater. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology reviewed the quality of life in 46 patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The median survival of these patients was 3.4 years, and 36.5% lived for at least five years.

By comparison, only 18% of peritoneal patients in general live for at least five years, and the life expectancy of elderly patients with this disease is at most two years. While there are similar risks associated with elderly patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, the increased survival time is relevant.

So is the increased quality of life. The study suggests that patients who underwent surgery experienced improved emotional well-being and social functioning, fewer emotional issues and less pain. The study concluded, “(Quality of life) returned to baseline or improved from baseline between three months and one year following surgery. Despite the risks associated with this operation, patients may tolerate HIPEC well and have good overall (quality of life) postoperatively.”

Unfortunately, many elderly mesothelioma patients will never get the chance to enjoy that improved quality of life since the general assumption is they should stay away from the operating room. That is a discouraging one in the medical industry, and one we at Mesothelioma Guide hope changes going forward.

Note to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Loved Ones
If you’re a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient, we are on your side and will do anything possible to help you through this difficult time. Most importantly, we can help you find the best treatment available.

Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is the No. 1 resource for learning more about mesothelioma. She also can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist with a track record of success in helping patients live long past the average prognosis. Email her jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com to begin your path to recovery.

About the Author, Devin Golden
Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

About Mesothelioma Guide
Mesothelioma Guide provides patients and their loved ones with resources, answers, and information over a wide spectrum of free assistance options.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Seniors and Depression: How Medicare Can Help

Depression can be caused by genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, serious medical conditions, faulty mood regulation in the brain, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other factors. It affects people of all ages, including more than 35 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And unfortunately, depression in seniors is often more severe and has lower remission rates than in younger adults. However, Medicare can cover some types of depression therapy and treatment.

Signs of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults often include ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness, as well as lack of motivation, loss of interest in hobbies, neglect of personal care, decrease in appetite, increase in sleep disturbances, alcohol or drug abuse, fixation on death, and thoughts of suicide. Also, some seniors don’t feel sad at all. In many cases, the predominant symptom of depression in older people is often physical complaints, such as headaches, arthritis pain, and other ailments.

If you or someone in your life is experiencing the signs of depression, professional help is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Mental Health

When choosing Medicare coverage, it’s important to consider current mental health needs, as well as issues that may arise in the future. Begin by finding a mental health provider that accepts Medicare by using the search function on the Medicare website. Inpatient and outpatient mental health services can be covered, depending on your policies.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health treatment and services in a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. However, for psychiatric hospital stays, there is a 190-day lifetime limit. In either instance, you will need to pay your deductible, and then your Medicare coverage would kick in. Examine your policy for details about possible daily hospital coinsurance amounts.

Original Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including an annual depression screening, diagnostic testing, and medication management. Evaluations, counseling, and therapy by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and certain other providers are also covered. As long as a participating Medicare provider that accepts assignment is utilized, Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of these services. Providers who take assignment have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amounts for covered services. Some patients may find it difficult to pay their share, but Medigap insurance can cover those costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same services as Original Medicare; plus, they can provide additional treatment options. For example, some plans have management programs for patients suffering from depression. This program offers counseling, coaching, and support by care management staff to help patients adhere to treatment for depression.

During the Open Enrollment Period each year (October 15 to December 7), you should evaluate your health care needs and figure out if you need to make any changes. During Open Enrollment, seniors can switch over from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Switching to a different Medicare Advantage plan is also possible, and you can also sign up for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) during this time.

Age-related diseases can worsen depression symptoms, and conversely be worsened by depression. If you or someone close to you is dealing with depression or other mental health issues, it’s important to get help in the form of professional counseling, medication, and/or other treatments. If the person in question is a senior, there is proof that they need to get help is even greater. Talk to your family and your healthcare provider to find assistance. It’s possible to secure successful treatment and get back to living a fulfilling life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhilll is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Fighting Aging with Success

Time does not wait for you, but, every once in a while, you can convince it to give you a break. Even though we are not able to stop the process of aging, there are plenty of ways we can slow it down. Being good to your mind and body will assist you in looking and feeling younger, which allow you to better spend your time.

In a lot of cases, fighting the pains of growing older involves abiding by conventional common sense. Eating responsibly, exercising, and getting enough rest each night can do wonders to improving your health and well-being. But what you do not do is just as important as what you do. The choices we make are responsible for making us look and feel older, such as choosing not to wear sunscreen on a sunny day.

Although we do not intend to spend all day soaking up the Sun, UV rays can damage our skin. Stress also has long-lasting impacts on your body, so it is vital to utilize relaxation techniques so your own worst enemy isn’t you.

For other critical do’s and don’ts when it comes to looking and feeling better, see the following checklist below.

Ready to Downsize? What to Look for in Your Next Home

The nest has been empty for some time, and as you get older you have to ask yourself if you are you ready to finally take the plunge on your senior downsize? Most older adults know they will have to disencumber and downsize eventually, but they often put it off since it is such a daunting task. However, moving sooner rather than later gives you the time and flexibility you need to find the right home and settle in.

This post explains what to look for when buying your downsized home and how you can make sure your next home is your “forever home” and one where you can age-in-place.

Finding the Right Home for Senior Living

For seniors, downsizing involves more than shrinking their square footage. When looking for a downsized home, seniors are also searching for a house that offers convenience and accessibility for senior living. That means features such as:

  • Proximity to shopping, healthcare, and public transportation.
  • A safe, walkable community.
  • Level covered parking.
  • No stairs, Single Story.
  • Wide doorways and hallways or an open floor plan.
  • No high-pile carpeting or slick tile floors.
  • Ample lighting, especially natural light.
  • Elevated kitchen and laundry appliances.
  • Two-level kitchen counters.
  • Roll-in showers.

It is hard to find a home that checks every box, so it is critical that older home buyers work with real estate agents who understand their needs and specializes in finding homes that are more appropriate for seniors or near-seniors. An agent who is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is the best choice, but if it is not possible to hire an SRES, interview agents to assess their experience working with senior home buyers.

Preparing Your New Home for Senior Living

The features listed above cover the priority items seniors need for the downsizing plans and in their home, but it is not everything that makes a house safe, secure, and age-friendly. Below are some common changes seniors need to make when moving to a new home.

Accessibility Upgrades

Your goal when buying a home is to avoid properties that need major remodeling, but that does not mean you can escape all home improvements. There are a lot of little changes that improve a senior’s comfort, convenience, and safety at home, with a total remodel such as:

  • Replacing traditional light switches with rocker switches.
  • Replacing door and cabinet knobs with levers and pulls.
  • Installing grab bars in bathrooms (showers / toilets).
  • Installing task lighting / motion lighting
  • Building a parcel bench near the main entrance.
  • Automating home functions like lights and locks with smart technology.

Depending on your health and/or skill level, you may want to complete these improvements before moving in or budget for them one at a time. If you want to tackle renovations before move-in but your home is already sold, book a vacation rental for a short-term housing solution. You can even rent a property near activities you would enjoy and make a “mini staycation” out of it. As Turnkey reminds, Austin (and most cities), have plenty to keep you busy, from the area’s many gorgeous lakes to sporting events at the University of Texas to great restaurants to scenic walkways. What you do is totally up to you.

Landscaping

Time outdoors is great for seniors’ well-being, but most older adults are not up for the routine task of maintaining a lawn and garden. That is not a problem if you are considering an assisted living facility or 55-plus community where the grounds are maintained by staff. However, if have decided to purchase a home, you will most likely want to budget and hire a landscape designer to create an accessible outdoor space where you can sit, stroll, and even garden in raised beds. If you are working with a sloped lawn, consider grading it to improve accessibility. In Austin, you costs run between $1,157 and $2,837 depending on the size and scope of the project.

In-Home Care

Aging-in-place seniors may still need an extra hand at home. Even if you are getting along fine today, you may need assistance with housekeeping or home healthcare in the future. Start thinking about how you pay for the care you need so you’re prepared when the time comes. Depending on your needs, in-home care could cost $150 per day / $750 per week if you decide to you a private duty agency, as their average rate is $27 per hour with usually a 4 hour minimum. If you decide to hire a caregiver yourself and use a service like Well Beyond Care, with no minimums, you could reduce your daily / weekly spend to $30 per and $100 per week. Saving from $10,000 to $30,000 per year in care costs.

The decision to downsize is never an easy one, but for most seniors, it usually the right one. In a smaller, more accessible home, you can enjoy your senior years without being burdened by upkeep or a home you do not feel safe living in. Downsizing can be a lengthy process, however. Between searching for the right home, renovating to make it move-in ready, and packing up the old house, a senior’s downsizing may take a year or more from start to finish. Rather than putting it off, start taking the first steps toward your senior downsize today.

There are more and more companies and individuals out there to to help seniros and families with downsizing. These companies offer plans and checklists to ease the transition from one home to another. Companies like Downsize My Home, offer advice and guidance, as well as resources to make the process of downsizing as smooth and pain-free as possible.
Image via Unsplash

About the Author
Mike Longsdon provides advice to seniors on downsizing and aging in place as a contributor to Elder Freedom.  He is also an expert on topics like tackling home accessibility modifications, how to find a great contractor, and the benefits of aging in place to name a few.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

The Healthy Senior’s Guide to Foot Care (Infographic)

As we age, maintaining good foot health is vital to our well being, comfort and mobility.

For many people aged over 65, keeping up good foot health can be a challenge and one quarter of all seniors are affected by foot pain. Fortunately, many foot ailments are entirely avoidable by taking a few simple precautions. If you are aged 65+ and are interested in discovering more about foot care, we recommend that you read this helpful infographic provided by Walsh Brothers Shoes which lays out some of the most effective ways to keep your feet healthy and happy as we age.

Maintaining good foot hygiene will help keep foot problems at bay and may even cause some of them disappear altogether. Keep feet fresh by wearing clean, dry socks everyday and by switching up your footwear. Wash your feet thoroughly a few times a week and take extra care to dry and moisturize regularly.

Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain good foot health. However, if your feet are hurting chances are the prospect of physical activity does not seem appealing. It is worth bearing in mind that with reduced exercise comes loss of muscle mass and strength; reduced endurance; and higher risk of diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle. Walking is best way to exercise your feet, but if you cannot go outside, there are also many simple stretches that you can try at home.

As we get older, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to our feet as they can indicate a wide range of ailments. Check your feet frequently and arrange to see a doctor or foot specialist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Take a look at this infographic to learn more about foot health and care for senior citizens.  Here is to you good health.

Signs Your Loved One Needs Care

As individuals age, many of the things they used to do with ease sometimes become much more difficult to do.  Acknowledging the need for help and then accepting assistance is not easy for individuals as they get older. Often, the decision and responsibility falls on Aging Motherone or more family members to recognize the signs that your loved one might need support and aide in completing the activities of daily living. Many of these include simple tasks such as bathing, dressing, and cooking.

So, how do you know if it is time for in-home care for your loved one? There are some obvious signs that could signal a red flag that are listed below.  One may not be enough, but when these come in combination you should seriously look to have a caregiver aide in the home.

Reduction in Physical Abilities and/or Mental Status

  • Difficulty keeping track of time / forgetting appointments
  • Sleeping for most of the day / not waking properly
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities or in socializing
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Unexplained bruising or injuries from falls or hitting furniture
  • Forgetfulness, including forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages
  • Consistent use of poor judgment (e.g. falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)

Deterioration in Personal Hygiene

  • Unpleasant body odor due to infrequent showering or bathing
  • A smell of urine in the house or on clothing
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care (e.g. unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, lack of oral care, wearing dirty or stained clothing)

Neglecting Household Responsibilities and Upkeep

  • Inability to independently complete Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food in the fridge
  • Unkept, uncleaned house and/or extreme clutter
  • Unwashed laundry piling up
  • Stains or wet spots on furniture or carpet
  • Spoiled or outdated food that does not get thrown away
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Utilities being turned off due to missed payments

Hiring a Caregiver or Caregiving Service
If many of these indicators are present, it does not mean you have to place mom or dad into an assisted living or a nursing home facility. These are often very expensive and may not be the right choice.  However, these red flags do indicate that some form of daily supportive care is needed. You may have to consider hiring a private duty care agency, or as a much more affordable alternative, hire your own caregiver using a service such as Well Beyond Care.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.