How to Help Seniors Move Past the Cost of Senior Care

cost of senior care

The cost of senior care at home becomes more palatable when considering its value.

Many of today’s seniors were raised during the Great Depression. They lived through a time when the country was pinching pennies and cutting corners. Frugality was embedded in many very early on and frequently remains firmly in place for life, affecting how they view the cost of senior care.

So what exactly happens when a senior is in need of care at home, has the financial capacity to pay for the care, but will not spend the money required for the cost of senior care?

First, empathize. Understand that the person’s point of view is valid and based on past life experiences. If the senior seems to be resistant to the idea of spending money for the care they need, remind yourself of the emotions behind the behaviors. An additional layer of difficulty might be in simply accepting the need for care altogether, something that is above and beyond mere frugality.

Spend time shopping with the senior. Costs were considerably different years ago than they are today, for everything from a gallon of milk to a new house. If the older adult hasn’t had the opportunity to go shopping lately, go online to show them current pricing for items in general. Or check out this inflation calculator that shows you the value of $100 between one year and another. (For instance, $100 in 1950 is the equivalent of $1,166.59 today!) This will help if a senior is experiencing “sticker shock” at the cost for care services.

Plan ample time for conversations. The commitment to accept home care services is a life-altering one that frequently requires several conversations. Engage in discussions with an older adult concerning the cost-cutting measures they’ve proudly followed over the years. Utilize these strengths to compromise if needed on covering the cost for care needs. For example, it could be that instead of full-time care, the senior would accept a few hours of care each week for help with necessary tasks around the house. After the person is more comfortable with their caregiver and sees what a difference home care makes, they may be more responsive to increasing services.

Additionally, it could be helpful to engage assistance from a third party – a person the senior trusts and respects, for example, their attorney, religious leader, physician, or a close friend. Engaging in a conversation with this particular person about the advantages to be gained through a home care helper might help reduce any doubts about cost.

When a senior is ready to explore home care, get in touch with our home care experts at 954.486.6440. We’ll be pleased to discuss how our Fort Lauderdale senior home care and care throughout the surrounding areas can help and further explain the options/cost of senior care.

How Reminiscence Therapy Can Help Seniors With Alzheimer’s Stay Engaged

eminiscence therapy

To help seniors stay engaged, reminiscence therapy provides a way to walk down memory lane.

Memory loss and dementia may seem synonymous. Yet it is crucial to realize that long-term memory frequently remains intact long into the progression of the disease. Because of this, tapping into those distant memories is an easy strategy to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s stay engaged in current conversations by connecting to the past.

Known as reminiscence therapy, these walks down memory lane help seniors:

  • Minimize some of the adverse effects of Alzheimer’s, for example , restlessness, anger, wandering, and more
  • Decrease negative emotions and stress by shifting the focus to happier times
  • Instill self-confidence by bringing to mind the many accomplishments they have made as well as the lives they’ve impacted
  • Better connect to others through sharing stories

Implementing reminiscence therapy doesn’t need to be elaborate. Start with opening a photo album and simply taking a look at pictures together. Let the person drive the next steps. If a particular photograph sparks a memory and the senior wants to share that, keep the conversation going as long as they would like. If they choose instead to view the photographs silently, you can do the same, while assessing the person’s expression to make sure they are calm and relaxed.

Just as photos can bring enjoyable memories to the surface, they can also remind the senior of friends and family lost, or of a particularly hard time in their life. If the activity invokes anxiety, close the book and move on to something else. It may take a little coaxing to switch gears if the person seems distraught. Moving to a different location, such as outdoors or to the kitchen for a snack, can help. Or try bringing up an alternative memory from a period you know was a positive experience for the older adult.

Other ideas for reminiscing include:

  • Smelling familiar, enjoyable scents which could have meaning for the person: freshly mowed grass, flowers that grew around their family home as a young child, a particular brand of shampoo, bubble bath, or soap they used to bathe the kids when they were little, etc.
  • Making a recipe the older adult especially enjoys and eating it together
  • Engage in an ability-appropriate activity that holds meaning to the past: sorting buttons or nuts and bolts, filing papers, painting, knitting, playing a musical instrument, etc.
  • Listening to favorite music from the past

Let our creative dementia care team help! We provide home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area. We’ve got lots of ideas for effective reminiscence therapy that will help a senior you love live life to the fullest. Contact us at 954.486.6440 to learn more.

Are You Experiencing a Lack of Caregiver Appreciation?

caregiver appreciation

Lack of caregiver appreciation can lead to burnout or depression.

As soon as you woke up this morning up until the end of an exhausting day, you have given your all to your older family member. You provided assistance with showering and dressing, prepared nutritious meals, cleaned the house, all while making certain a senior loved one was happily involved in enjoyable activities, made it to their 2:00 hair appointment, and picked up groceries and prescriptions afterwards. And while you are not doing any of these things for a pat on the back, a simple “thank you” would be nice – but is almost never offered as a sign of caregiver appreciation.

If you are feeling a lack of caregiver appreciation or completely unappreciated altogether, you’re not alone. This is a frequent occurrence in caregiving for a number of reasons, and if not addressed, can cause caregiver burnout or depression. These strategies can help.

  1. Learn the skill of self-appreciation. The work you are doing is extremely important, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. Choose something each week that you’re going to do for yourself for a job well done. It could be as simple as one hour spent reading on the porch swing or a dessert from your favorite bakery. You can also plan for larger rewards, such as a long weekend getaway, by engaging respite care services from a dependable care partner like Responsive Home Care.
  2. Try to understand their perspective. There are a number of reasons a senior may not be expressing gratitude for the work you are doing. Someone with dementia or another chronic condition could be fully focused on their own struggles or the day-to-day tasks close at hand which are typically now more challenging. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can help you accept that a lack of verbal appreciation doesn’t automatically equate to true ungratefulness.
  3. Start modeling appreciative behavior. Let the senior see by example how good it feels to be appreciated by genuinely thanking them whenever the ability arises, no matter how small. If they fold and hang up the towel after their shower, clean off the table after lunch, or help with putting away groceries – be sure to thank them.

By providing home health care in Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding areas, we are always here to share in your caregiving duties, to alleviate stress and allow you plenty of time for self-care. Regularly scheduled time away is essential, and we’re here for as much or as little as you will need. While you’re taking care of yourself, we will help a senior you love with:

  • Companionship for conversations, games, puzzles, hobbies, exercise, etc.
  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Meals
  • Medication reminders
  • Personal care (showers, baths, getting dressed, etc.)
  • Transportation to fun outings or appointments
  • And much more, according to each person’s unique needs

Reach out to Responsive Home Care for a complimentary in-home consultation and let us know exactly how we can help.

What Are the Symptoms of Chemo Brain, and How Can You Reduce Its Effects?

Could memory and focus problems be the result of chemo brain?

Confusion. Short-term memory problems. Inability to focus. Could it be Alzheimer’s?

Perhaps; however if you are a cancer survivor, there is another likely culprit that could be at play: chemotherapy. Known as chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment (CICI) or “chemo brain,” effects such as these can continue for months and on occasion even years post-treatment. Read more

Is it Time To Consider Guardianship of an Elderly Parent?

Learn when to think about petitioning for guardianship of an elderly parent.

In an ideal world, our family relationships would all be positive and helpful. We would manage transitional times cooperatively, smoothly, and with virtually no disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a seamless process to fulfill their needs today and their needs in the future. Read more

The Key to a Joyful Life for Older Adults May Surprise You

Joyful Life for Older Adults

Close relationships and contentment are the keys to creating a joyful life for older adults.

It has taken nearly 80 years and a slew of scientific studies to come up with the result: a good genetic makeup and wealth really have little to do with our amount of joy. The Harvard Study of Adult Development launched in 1938, delving into the lives of high-profile participants such as Ben Bradlee and John F. Kennedy. Over the years, it is been expanded to add inner-city residents as well as offspring from the original Harvard elite, and the results were unexpected, to say the least. So, what are the keys to a joyful life for older adults?

It was established that the very best predictors of a happy and long life were not IQ, genetics, fame, finances, or social class but simply close relationships. Robert Waldinger, director of the research, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, shares, “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who led the research study between 1972 – 2004, shared in his book Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, the contributing factors that forecast healthy aging:

  • The absence of smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Physical activity
  • Mature strategies to manage challenges in life
  • Sustaining a healthy weight
  • Having a stable marriage

The bottom line is, self-care is crucial to our level of joy – from the perspective of both physical and mental health. Devoting time and effort to making your relationships the very best they can be most certainly falls under that umbrella as well. In fact, subsequent scientific studies have revealed that the level of contentment men and women experience in their relationships is a much more accurate determinant of what their physical health is likely to be later in life than physical factors like cholesterol levels.

The research study also upended earlier thinking that our personalities are carved in stone by age 30. Many who encountered difficulties in their early adult years enjoyed happier later years, while others excelled early in life but ran into challenges in later years due to mental health issues and alcoholism.

The study is ongoing, looking into its third and fourth generations, as researchers believe there is still more to understand, such as just how to more effectively manage stress and whether a hard childhood can impact middle age and later years.

Let Responsive Home Care’s knowledgeable caregivers help instill joy in a senior’s life; contact us today! Our caregivers serve as warm and friendly companions to take part in exercise, conversations, and enjoyable activities together, fostering socialization and additional relational connections. You can reach us any time at 954-486-6440 to schedule a free in-home assessment to find out more information about our home care assistance in Plantation, FL and neighboring areas.

Six Simple Steps to Improve the Health and Wellness of Older Adults

Health and Wellness of Older Adults

Simple changes can help improve the health and wellness for older adults.

Many individuals have left their New Year’s resolutions by the wayside by the end of January, but who says resolutions should only be made at the start of the year? There’s no time like the present to start a brand new habit or goal, especially when looking to improve the health and wellness as an older adult.

We have six recommendations you can implement today. Pick one to begin, or jump right into all of them to achieve the most benefit:

  1. Schedule a physical. As opposed to waiting for a sickness or injury to call the doctor, a yearly check-up is an excellent method for older adults to remain on top of their health and potentially prevent problems before they occur.
  2. Get physical. With the physician’s approval and recommendations at hand, kick off a new health and fitness routine – together! Working out with a senior you love enables you to motivate one another and serve as accountability partners. Commit to sticking with it for a minimum of 21 days, after which it should be an ingrained, pleasurable habit you’ll wish to continue.
  3. Stay connected. Help the senior keep up friendships and contact with loved ones to defend against loneliness and isolation – something we’ve all become too familiar with throughout the pandemic. Offer transportation, if necessary, for dinner dates or with setting up technology to stay virtually connected.
  4. Update vaccinations. Along with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccines ought to be up to date. As people age, there is an increased risk for severe effects from these illnesses, so vaccinations become even more crucial.
  5. Don’t forget mental health. A mental health provider will help determine if depression, anxiety, or any other concerns should be addressed, offering both therapeutic tools and medication if needed. Maintaining mental sharpness through brain enrichment activities can also help with the natural cognitive decline that is experienced in aging.
  6. Watch what you eat. If the pantry and fridge are full of fatty or empty-calorie foods, replace them with proteins, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, and low-fat dairy products. An extreme change in diet can be overwhelming and difficult to stick to, so start simple with one replacement at first – carrot sticks instead of potato chips, for instance – and work up to a healthier overall diet.

Responsive Home Care is here with personalized in-home care and companionship to help improve the health and wellness of older adults and to help seniors accomplish any other goals. From accompaniment to medical appointments and exercise classes to prepping and preparing healthy meals, all while giving socialization a much-needed boost, we are empowering seniors to live their best lives every day. Email or call 954-486-6440 for more information on how our caregivers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the surrounding areas can help a senior you love!

How to Help Your Loved One When Alzheimer’s Affects Sleep

If it feels like a senior with Alzheimer’s has completely rewritten the rules on when and how to sleep, you are not dreaming—Alzheimer’s affects sleep. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, a number of people with dementia experience changes to their circadian rhythm, leading to sleepless nights and drowsy days.

The progression of the disease is one contributing factor. Damage to brain cells causes increased weakness, making everyday activities and tasks exhausting. Medication side effects from commonly-prescribed dementia treatments can further exacerbate the issue.

Why a Good Night’s Sleep Is Crucial for a Senior with Dementia

Decreased sleep quality in dementia may lead to an increase in restlessness and delusions and can result in serious safety concerns, including the potential for a senior to wander away and become injured or lost. Not just that, but a senior loved one who is sleepy during the day will also be less likely to engage in healthy activities, such as spending time outdoors and exercising.

And, for a busy family caregiver who also needs rest, it is typically quite a challenge to meet all of the person’s care needs during the day and throughout the night as well.

Ways to Help

Try these strategies for a senior whose sleep patterns are disrupted:

  • Talk to the physician, first of all, for a review of medications. Changing the dosage timing every day may be all it will require to make a difference.
  • Maintain a routine like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Limit caffeine, naps, and heavy meals later in the day.
  • Incorporate bedtime activities that are soothing, for example, a warm bath, reading, turning off the television, and playing quiet, calming music.
  • If wandering is a concern, a wireless bed exit pad can notify you as soon as the senior gets up so that you can assist.
  • Try placing a clock that distinguishes between nighttime and daytime near the senior’s bed.

You may want to encourage a senior to try sleeping on their side rather than the back or stomach as well. Recent reports revealed a possible link between side sleeping and much more effective clearing of brain waste, such as excess beta-amyloid. Note that this study was conducted on laboratory animals, and it’s unclear yet whether the results carry over to humans.

Responsive Home Care is available to help as well, with overnight caregivers who are awake and alert, looking after the older adult’s needs throughout the night, so you can get the rest you need. Our care team members are fully trained and experienced in creative, patient approaches to meeting the unique care needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our specialized Fort Lauderdale elderly care offered throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Tips to Help You Become a Champion Caregiver for Elderly Parents

caregiver for elderlyIf someone were providing care services for you, how would you want that caregiver/care receiver relationship to look? What qualities would shift that degree of care from ordinary to extraordinary?

Taking care of an older loved one at home is a noble and selfless commitment. It’s never a responsibility that should be taken lightly, or taken on halfheartedly. These tips make it possible to become not just a fantastic caregiver, but a care champion who empowers an older adult to thrive.

Foster independence. No one wants to feel as if they’re no longer self-sufficient, or that someone is coming in and taking over. Encourage and motivate the senior to do what they are able to do safely and comfortably on their own, providing whatever support is necessary along the way.

Practice empathy. It’s a helpful exercise to routinely put yourself in the senior’s shoes and consider how you would like to be treated if roles were reversed. This may mean setting your own personal feelings aside to better understand those of the other person.

Be creative. Think outside of the box for ideas to brighten every day. For instance, declare Mondays to be “Milkshake Mondays,” experimenting with making and sampling new flavors together. If the senior loves dogs, invite a pet therapist over or spend an afternoon at the local humane society. Have a movie marathon day featuring all of the senior’s favorite films. The ideas are limitless!

Let Responsive Home Care’s trained and experienced care experts assist with additional ideas and help with care needs in the home. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to request a free in-home consultation.

Senior Home Care Tip from the Pros: Create and Follow a Daily Schedule

senior home careLife, especially but not just during the pandemic, can be filled with uncertainty. For seniors who are feeling less in command of particular facets of life, such as losing physical or cognitive functioning, concentrating on what can be controlled is empowering.

A great place to start is by establishing a regular routine, personalized to a senior’s particular interests and needs. Keep in mind that the senior’s routine is certainly not meant to be a strict regimen to be adhered to, but merely the basis for structure and predictability. With the older adult’s direction and input, decide on a preferred framework for every day. A sample daily routine may look like this:

  • Wake up at 7:30 a.m.
  • Take care of personal hygiene needs and get dressed
  • Enjoy breakfast on the back patio while listening to favorite music
  • Engage in light exercise and stretching
  • Work on a puzzle or art project
  • Pack a picnic lunch to take to the nearby park
  • Run an errand
  • Spend some quiet time reading or taking a short nap
  • Make dinner together and tidy up afterwards
  • Take a bath
  • Watch a movie
  • Go to sleep at 10 p.m.

Daily routines are helpful for older adults and their caregivers alike, in many different ways:

  • Routines lower stress and anxiety. Routines are calming and comforting, eliminating the need to wonder and worry about what’s going to occur next, who will be there to assist, and how to ensure that everything is going to be taken care of.
  • Routines create better sleep. Research has shown that sticking with a daily routine aids in sleep quality in addition to the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep.
  • Routines allow for high quality time with friends and family. Older adults and those who care for them can establish routines that incorporate enjoyable time together. Include favorite pastimes, weekly lunch dates at a favorite restaurant, even an end-of-the-day hug.

Our care team is skilled at creating customized care plans and schedules in order to make each day the very best it can be for older adults and those who love them through a full range of in-home support services, including:

  • Morning wake-up assistance, including personal hygiene and cooking a nourishing breakfast
  • Engaging companionship throughout the day and evening – whenever needed
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Shopping and other errands
  • Medication reminders
  • Accompaniment to outings, visits with friends and family, medical appointments, etc.
  • And many others, in accordance with each senior’s specific needs

Call us any time at (954) 486-6440 for more information and to request a free in-home consultation.

Tips for Respecting Elders in How you Speak to Them

Watch what occurs at your next family get together when a new mom places her infant in someone’s arms. The individual is likely to transition instantly into baby mode: a high-pitched, sing-song voice, exaggerated facial expressions, and overly-simplified speech. Of course, this is quite normal and actually beneficial to a baby’s growing brain.

Hopefully, however, when that baby’s great-grandfather enters the room, loved ones refrain from reacting similarly and are better at respecting their elders. Yet it happens so frequently, and can be so damaging to the elderly, that there is a term to describe it: elderspeak.

A recent research study by Susan Kemper, a professor specializing in gerontology at the University of Kansas, matched elderly listeners with younger speakers. In spite of the seniors’ instructions just to listen without interrupting while the younger people spoke to them – thus leaving no suggestion to the speakers that they were having any challenges understanding what was being said – in a great majority of cases, the speakers resorted to elderspeak.

It’s worthwhile to note as well that older adults regularly refrain from using elderspeak with each other. Studies have shown that for a great many older adults, elderspeak conveys superiority and a cold attitude.

Why It’s Harmful

Simply put, elderspeak can be considered belittling and patronizing. It conveys beliefs of inferiority and incompetency to older adults, instead of the admiration and respect they deserve. While typically well-meaning and meant to convey endearment, it frequently has the reverse effect.

What to Do Instead

  • Thoughtfully consider how to address the elderly in your life. Many older adults find terms like “young lady,” “honey,” or “dearie” to be offensive.
  • Use caution when modifying how you communicate with an older adult in accordance with individual need. For example, speaking clearly and slowly while facing a senior loved one with hearing loss is helpful. A high-pitched voice, however, can actually further distort the words. An older adult with memory issues can better follow the conversation if it’s broken down into simple, short sentences and yes-or-no questions. This can easily be accomplished without resorting to baby talk.
  • Don’t forget that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as each person has unique preferences and challenges. An open and honest conversation with the person about how precisely they would like to be addressed and spoken to is the ideal path to ensure you’re engaging with them appropriately.

At Responsive Home Care, we place a great emphasis on respectful interactions with each and every senior in our care. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for an in-home consultation to learn how we can help promote independence for older adults with personalized in-home support.

How to Address One of the Leading Caregiver Struggles: Caregiver Dread

One of the most common caregiver struggles is caregiver dread.

What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up in the morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you prefer to crawl back under the covers and remain there? If you are feeling more dread than delight as you think through your caregiving tasks for the day, you are not the only one. In fact, caregiver dread is one of the most common caregiver struggles we help families with each and every day.

Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted feeling of duty. It stems from feelings of overcommitment as well as the need to escape from obligations. While feasible to muscle through and carry out needed tasks in spite of these feelings, there are methods to conquer them instead – and restore the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. To begin with, try these techniques:

  1. Release the guilt. Meeting the care needs of a person can feel unimpactful, mundane, and just downright difficult. It requires selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the daily tasks you’re obligated to do in no way is a reflection of how you feel towards your loved one. Acknowledge to yourself that your role is not easy, and it is okay to wish you could be doing something else.
  2. Deliberately search for joy. The little pleasures each day holds may be diminished by the difficulties. Make the effort every day to find five small things which make you smile. Keep a journal of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the conclusion of every week. Engage all of your senses as you look for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly brewing coffee; the beauty of the sunrise; the sound of your cat purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
  3. Set boundaries. Schedule time daily to spend on things that you enjoy apart from the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving responsibilities begin to weigh you down. An established and trusted care partner is vital to ensure that nothing impedes with the important time of looking after yourself.

Remind yourself that the work you are doing in caring for your senior loved one is extremely important. Yet also keep in mind that no one can do it all, and in order to provide the very best care for the senior and for yourself, frequent breaks from care tasks are essential.

Connect with our experts in elder care in Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas at (954) 486-6440 to arrange for regular respite care services and release the stress of caregiving dread. We’re here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time together with a family member and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well.