Aging in Place: Technology Solutions for Seniors

An elderly woman is using a smartphone. Whether you’re attempting to tune a guitar, study a new language, or just add cats’ ears to a selfie, there is an app for that! And for seniors who elect to age in place, technology may be an essential element in improving safety, comfort, and overall well-being.

Take Amazon’s Alexa, for example. Whereas its current benefits for seniors are many, including the ability to track glucose levels, make doctor appointments, and research information related to a specific medical condition, it is actually positioned to dive even further into the medical care arena – perhaps even detecting heart attacks and helping doctors get precise diagnoses.

The following are some additional ideas for technology for seniors you might like to consider:

  • Home Security: A motion-detecting security system delivers peace of mind pertaining to crime prevention, yet often can perform a lot more; for example, warning when sensing smoke, broken glass, or temperatures in the home that are too high or low, just to name a few. They’re also beneficial for those diagnosed with dementia who can be at risk of wandering, to alert to an older adult’s movements around the home.
  • Telehealth: Save a trip to your physician’s office by making use of one of a variety of apps which allow for remote consultations from board-certified physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists, a lot of whom are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
  • Fall Prevention: One of the top contributors to senior falls is insufficient lighting. Smart lights use motion detection to boost lighting in areas of particular concern, which include between the bedroom and bathroom, or on exterior walkways, when set off by a person’s movement.
  • Fraud Protection: Senior con artists are unrelenting and consistently changing their tactics. Older adults can boost security through apps that keep track of financial activity and neighborhood crime activity, reduce robocalls, identify any use of a person’s Social Security number, and so much more.
  • Health Care: Multiple healthcare needs can now be met without leaving home, including video chats with physicians to avoid a visit to the office, medication ordering, and medication management to ensure meds are used at the proper times as well as in the correct doses.

Contact Responsive Home Care for more suggestions for improving life at home for older adults – whether via technology, our specialized in-home care assistance, or both! We’re always here to help set up and explain technology for seniors, and also to provide you with the tried-and-true, hands-on assistance in the home that enables older adults to live their best lives. Call us now at 954-486-6440 for an in-home consultation to learn more about the best elder care Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas have to offer!

How to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer’s when Wandering Occurs

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Alzheimer’s disease often causes a person to wander, possibly into a dangerous situation. Learn more about how to keep your loved one’s home safe to prevent wandering.

Of the numerous ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most worrying is the person’s tendency for wandering and also the potential dangers that can develop if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Alzheimer’s wandering can occur any time the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Searching for someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to preserve a familiar past routine (for example, going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a simple necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep your loved one safe, as well as to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to try and stop the desire to wander. Try the following safety measures if your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. A variety of alarms can be found, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats which will sound an alarm when stepped on, to GPS products that may be worn, and more. It is also wise to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, positioning short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade those in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for those who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Go through each room of the home and tackle any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles which might be obstructing walkways, installing extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Take a walk with each other outside if weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the added benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

Although often difficult to manage, the dementia care team at Responsive Home Care is specially trained to be equally vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to employ creative approaches to help seniors with dementia stay relaxed and content. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about Alzheimer’s from the best home care company in Fort Lauderdale, FL!

How to Confront Aging Parents About Care Assistance

An adult daughter and her mother spending time together

Learn tips to address aging parent’s safety at home.

The initial signs may be so subtle that most people wouldn’t even notice. Mom is outgoing, friendly, and conversational while visiting friends and family and while running errands. But those closest to her are beginning to pick up on concerns; like forgetting about the soup cooking on the stove, leading to a scorched pan; putting her keys in the cookie jar; or neglecting to pay bills.

As an adult child of a senior in the beginning stages of compromised safety or the ability to make sound decisions, it can be extremely challenging to transition to a higher degree of involvement and care – yet it’s also extremely important to take steps sooner rather than later.

As with broaching any confrontational topic of conversation, talking with your senior loved one about the concerns you’re seeing is likely to be met with resistance and defensiveness at first. However, it’s important to outline the precise reasons for your concern, and the negative consequences if these behaviors continue or worsen.

Responsive Home Care recommends the following approach:

  1. Ensure that a durable power of attorney has been assigned.
  2. Confirm with your siblings that the issue needs to be addressed, and discuss together what options are available for the senior’s care as needs continue to progress.
  3. Remain compassionate but firm in your approach. Present the choices you’ve thought through. If your parent balks at the idea of moving to an assisted living facility, which many seniors do, offer an in-home caregiver as an alternative, allowing your loved one to remain independent and safe in the comfort of home.
  4. Understand that it will likely take several conversations before your loved one accepts the need for assistance – which is why it’s essential to begin the process as soon as possible.

At Responsive Home Care, we’re experienced in helping seniors feel comfortable and positive about how our services can help improve safety and overall quality of life and wellbeing. When your family decides the time is right for assistance, we can help with highly customized care that can meet a wide range of needs, including:

  • Companionship
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Housework and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Running errands
  • Highly specialized care for dementia
  • And so much more

Whether the need is for just a few hours each week to enhance safety and socialization, full-time care, or anything in between, partnering with Responsive Home Care improves quality of life for seniors and provides peace of mind for those who love them. Contact us online or call us today at 954-486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to learn how we provide the kind of senior care Fort Lauderdale, FL families recommend most!

How to Maintain a Healthy Marriage While Caring for Aging Parents

Mature couple holding hands

Use these tips to make caring for elderly parents and maintaining your marriage less stressful.

In marriage we agree to stick together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health – but what doesn’t come up in our vows to each other is how to handle the increasing demands of senior care as our parents age.

Yet with our life span increasing, it’s important to have a plan in place to meet both the needs of our parents as they grow older, and the plethora of day-to-day needs, all while honoring our cherished relationship with a spouse. It’s a challenge that’s causing stress and strain for 80% of couples surveyed, resulting in detachment and less quality time together. The following areas in a marriage are particularly impacted by caring for aging parents:

  • Finances. Still holding the top spot for the reason cited for divorce, financial strain is magnified when the older parent has not implemented a financial plan for long-term care. Honestly communicating frustrations with each other and working together to explore options to pay for services can help.
  • Fatigue. As rewarding as it may be, meeting the needs of an elderly loved one requires a great deal of time and energy – leaving little left over at the end of the day for your spouse. Accept opportunities for assistance from others or hire professional in-home senior care help such as Responsive Home Care, so you can be sure to allow for quality time with your spouse.
  • Frustration. Mounting frustration and diminished patience are two common side effects of fatigue, and sadly, we tend to lash out at those we love the most when feeling overwhelmed. Allow imperfection, practice understanding, and seek professional help if needed.

So how else can you avoid these pitfalls and maintain a strong and healthy marriage? These tips can help:

  • Make sure your spouse is always a top priority. Small gestures can go a long way towards this end, such as writing a note of love and appreciation, waking up a few minutes early to share a cup of coffee together before the day becomes hectic, or setting aside time at the end of the day to talk and unwind.
  • Joining an online support group for family caregivers can allow you the opportunity to vent frustrations to those in similar circumstances, alleviating stress.
  • Seek out the services of a professional counselor, either for you individually or for the two of you as a couple.

Another great way to achieve a healthy life balance is through partnering with a trusted in-home care provider, like Responsive Home Care. Our team of Ft. Lauderdale caregivers offers customized respite care solutions that allow family members to take time away from parental care, while offering seniors the opportunity for enhanced socialization with a friendly and fully-trained caregiver. Contact us online or call us at 954-486-6440 to explore our Ft. Lauderdale senior care options today!

Struggling with Osteoarthritis Pain? This New Technique Can Help!

osteoarthritis painIt’s a club no one wants to be a part of; however, as many as 10 million Americans have become members: sharing a diagnosis of osteoarthritis . Due to the wearing away of cartilage over the years, osteoarthritis commonly impacts bigger joints, such as the knees, and may be debilitating to a senior’s quality of life. With three main recommended treatment plans – over-the-counter medications to lessen inflammation, such as ibuprofen, prescription painkillers such as tramadol, or physical therapy – a good number of people with osteoarthritis have resigned themselves to a lifetime of limping, suffering, modified activity levels, and not surprisingly, chronic osteoarthritis pain.

And although knee replacement surgery could be helpful for several, not all arthritis sufferers are suitable; or, the potential risks associated with this type of invasive treatment are too great, especially for senior citizens. Now, however, an impressive new procedure has entered the arena, and provides great relief from chronic osteoarthritis pain without the risks or side effects of the other alternatives. Referred to as cooled radio frequency ablation (“Coolief”), the treatment works by “…changing the wiring of the knee…taking away the pain signal and interrupting it,” according to Dr. Amin Sandeep, a pain specialist at Rush University Medical Center. The impressive reduction in soreness, inflammation and stiffness also makes it possible for many patients to reduce their need for prescription medications and then to go back to – or begin – a more active way of life, resulting in better overall health and wellness.

Similar to injections of cortisone, long-lasting but temporary respite from aches and pains is normally achieved for a duration of around six to twelve months. Necessitating only local anesthetic, the procedure is completed on an outpatient basis within as little as 40 minutes. Potential risks and recovery time are minimal; nonetheless, it’s important to bear in mind that the process will not adjust, slow, or stop the progression of osteoarthritis. But for some, quality of everyday life is greatly improved as suffering is lessened significantly.

Are you or a senior loved one faced with osteoarthritis pain? A little help and support goes a long way towards enhancing quality of life for older adults with chronic issues such as osteoarthritis and various other conditions of aging, whether through helping with cleaning and washing, taking care of shopping for groceries and preparing meals, ensuring medications are taken exactly as prescribed, or just offering friendly companionship to brighten up the day. Call Responsive Home Care’s Fort Lauderdale home care team at 954-486-6440 to learn more ways that we can help!

Fort Lauderdale Home Care Tips: Are You Caring or Controlling?

Fort Lauderdale Home Care TipsFeeling safe, protected and cared for is so wonderful. Mothers and fathers thrive on ensuring their children are enveloped in the comfort of knowing their needs will be satisfied, providing the safety net that allows them the self-confidence to explore the world around them. However there comes a stage in all children’s lives when the yearning for freedom exceeds the benefit of protection, and they have to discover what it means to stumble, fall and get up again on their own.

These protective instincts typically trigger once more for adult children towards senior moms and dads. We would like to decrease risks for them, to ensure that they’re safe from harm. Yet at the same time, it’s all too easy to fall into a pattern of overprotectiveness if we’re not really careful, which can lead to feelings of anger and resentment on the part of the elderly parents.

As stated by professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University Steven Zarit, “One of the scariest things to people as they age is that they don’t feel in control anymore. So if you tell your dad not to go out and shovel snow, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing. But his response will be to go out and shovel away … It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back.”

Research recently explored the effect of stubbornness in older adults’ relationships with their adult children. Although the elders were less inclined to rate themselves as appearing stubborn, their younger loved ones more often observed stubbornness being an issue. The important thing for adult children is in understanding their senior parents’ basis for digging in their heels to hold onto their independence and autonomy, and to stay away from quarrelling and producing a mindset of defensiveness. Clear, open and truthful communication among both parties can go a long way towards smoothing the waters and making certain every person is listened to and fully understood.

So what exactly is the best way to care for our elderly family members without trying to control them? A large dosage of patience, respect and empathy can go far. Putting yourself within the older adult’s shoes and knowing the desire for autonomy lets adult children step back, as opposed to stepping in. Give the additional time an older adult needs to accomplish a task, rather than doing it for the individual. Consistently look for opportunities to show the senior you appreciate his or her suggestions and guidance. For further tips on delivering Fort Lauderdale home care that doesn’t cross the line, contact Responsive Home Care.

What Your Parent Should Bring with Them to an Emergency Shelter

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Home Care Services Fort Lauderdale FL

September is National Preparedness Month. This is the ideal opportunity for you to evaluate your aging parent’s needs and make meaningful changes to your nhome care plans to ensure that your senior loved one stays as safe and healthy as possible throughout emergencies such as severe weather and other natural disasters. One situation that is important to prepare for is the possibility that your aging parent will need to evacuate their home prior to the storm. Evacuating helps to ensure that your parent gets out of an area that is at risk of serious damage, helping them to stay safer and more secure during the potentially dangerous situation. In very serious situations your parent’s area might be under a mandatory evacuation order. If this happens, your parent must leave their home and either go to another home, such as yours or that of another member of their care team, or to an emergency shelter. It is important that if your parent must go to an emergency shelter that they know what they should bring and what to expect. This will help them to stay safe, healthy, and secure, and avoid complications.

Some things that your parent should be sure to bring along with them to the emergency shelter include:

• Emergency supplies. Having an emergency kit is an important part of preparing for any type of emergency or disaster. This kit should include several days’ worth of non-perishable food and water, as well as a first aid kit, hygiene and toiletry items, and extra clothing. Store all of these items in a secure, watertight container that is easy to transport so that your parent can bring their own supplies with them to the emergency shelter. This will not only ensure that they know they have what they need, but will also ease strain on the resources of the shelter.

• Personal documents. Be sure that your parent has important documents including identification, contact information for you and other members of their home care services team, insurance information, and the deed to their home. These will provide important information in the event that your parent needs to file an insurance claim or seek medical attention after evacuation.

• Pets. If your aging loved one has pets, make sure that they bring them along with them. They should not leave their animals in a home that is at risk of severe damage due to the storm, or that they may not be able to return to soon. Be aware that they may not be able to bring these animals into the shelter, but that alternative arrangements might be available.

As you are putting preparations into place for your parent, it may be the ideal opportunity for you to think about starting home care services for them. An in-home senior care services provider can be with your parent to help them be aware of impending weather emergencies, make proper preparations, and take necessary steps to stay healthy and safe throughout the situation. Knowing that they are there for your loved one can give you peace of mind that they are safer as they age in place.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Fort Lauderdale  FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

GREAT ADVICE FOR EVERY FAMILY CAREGIVER

Caring for a loved one as he or she ages can be a very rewarding experience, but it isn’t without challenges. Millions of Americans have taken on the role of caregiver for an elderly parent in recent years, and while your relationship with your parent may have always been great, constant caregiving and feeling like there’s a role reversal between child and parent can be extremely stressful. It is important for all caregivers to learn how to manage their emotions for their health and the health of their loved ones.

In the article Taking Care of an Elderly Parent―and Not Loving It? How to Turn Resentment Into Patience and Joy, psychologist Dr. Suzanne Gelb encourages caregivers to do three key things in order to manage stress and find peace in their caregiver role:

1. Release your feelings in a positive way, even if you just need to scream into a pillow.
2. Find and talk to someone else who understands your experience. Seek out caregiver support groups in your area or online.
3. Recognize that there are things you cannot control and let those things go.

Read more of Dr. Gelb’s advice for caregivers in this article from the Huffington Post.

Home care Fort Lauderdale provider, Responsive Home Care, can help you with the caregiving of your senior loved one. Contact us to learn more.

SURPRISING WAYS PETS HELP SENIORS’ HEALTH

Everyone knows a pet can help ease loneliness for an older adult, especially if he or she is living alone or has recently suffered the loss of a loved one.  But did you know that a study by the American Geriatrics Society has shown pets can help lower senior’s blood pressure and score higher in their ability to carry out normal activities of daily living?

Responsive Home Care, the in home senior care Fort Lauderdale families trust, knows how important our clients’ pets are to maintaining their health and well-being. Our agency provides Pet Care exclusively for our clients when they need that extra assistance. The unconditional love of a clients’ pet can help them achieve a healthy and a happy heart!

Read more about how pets improve quality of life for senior citizens.

Many shelters offer discounts for seniors who want to adopt a senior pet. Be sure to ask at your local shelter.

For more information about our top-rated in home senior care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area, contact us today!