- Wheelchair Safety
A few years ago, I had a fresh-faced batch of geriatric care management students in my program. For their first training mission they had to spend an entire day in a wheelchair and try to get around town as if it were a regular day. They had to get to my class, make a phone call from a pay phone, get in and out of an elevator, use a public restroom, drink from a water fountain, eat at a restaurant, shop in a convenience store, and so forth. Boy, did that mission awaken them to the realities of a wheelchair-bound life.
- Work Options for Caregivers
Today's business world is full of working singles, working couples, working parents, and now, working caregivers. These working caregivers are often dealing with a dramatic change in personal circumstances, as senior relatives who were once independent now need attention. Caregiving takes time and energy, so it’s important to be flexible so you can meet all of your commitments while you remain employed. You may want to consider the following options:
- Preparing Your Elder for Rain or Shine
No matter what the weather may be, it can still be enjoyable to spend some time outdoors with your elder. Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can try to prepare so that your elder doesn’t have to sit inside all day. Now I’m not advocating going for a walk in 110-degree sunshine or during a violent thunderstorm, but you can take some steps to enjoy the great outdoors most of the time.
- Your Parents Need Protection!
Occasional news stories sadden and disturb me, as elderly, well-meaning people continue to fall victim to clever scams and schemes. About a year ago, I gave my blog readers the following suggestions about protecting our parents and other elderly relatives. Please review these suggestions, and pass this information along to others, so together we can protect our elderly family and friends.
- Understanding Hospice Care
Clients often ask me to explain what hospice care is, as well as when it can be implemented. Hospice is a specialized program of palliative care for patients and/or residents who have less than six months to live. This period can vary from state to state.
- Falling Among Seniors: Studied but Not Solved
Falling among older adults—it's a problem. You would think that with all of the available information and technology, there would simply be fewer falls among older adults each year. But you would be an optimist. According to the CDC, each year 40% of seniors fall (up from 30% ten years ago). I was thinking about this during a few visits to assisted living communities this past week when the tour guide mentioned the personal, carefully designed "chair exercise" program.
- Elderly Drivers: Warning Signs and Safety Tips
I’ve talked a little bit about driving and the elderly before, but this is a topic that has a lot of ground to cover. Here I’ll discuss some specific warning signs that may show it’s time to consider whether or not your elder should be driving. Be sure to keep in mind that not all older drivers experience deterioration in their driving skills. However, the changes that often come with age, including vision and hearing loss as well as slower reaction times, can affect driving ability.
- Getting Help: Part 2
Once you’ve made the decision to hire someone to help take care of your elder and determined what level of help is required, the next step is to interview applicants. Always consider several candidates for the job. It’s the best way to find a good match. When interviewing prospects, ask the following questions:
- Preventing Falls
Preventing falls starts with being proactive. It’s important to get your elder physically stabilized. Most falls occur when they are stressed and tired or if their environment and/or mind are cluttered, so you have to make sure they stay as active as they can. Their mind, muscles, and bone structure all need to be working together.
- To Drive or Not to Drive
More than any other activity, driving is directly linked to senior citizens’ sense of independence. It takes them back to their youth and days of freedom. But the time may come when you, as a caregiver, will have to decide whether your elder should continue driving. Take a hard look. Should your elder still be operating a motor vehicle? If you believe he (or she) is still competent behind the wheel, consider having him retested at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If he passes, you can then try to make it more comfortable for him to drive. Here are 10 easy steps to take: