Kansas City Home Care Topics

Here are some good tips to help you prepare for your parents elder care.  For more assistance with an aging loved one in your life visit our website at www.kchomecare.com

Baby Boomers and Aging Parents – Six Tips to Prepare For Their Care

By Katie B. Marsh

Although there is some debate over the exact age range of the Baby Boom generation, the US Census Bureau identifies most Boomers as those who were born between the years 1956 to 1965. In any case, whether you were born within that time frame or fairly close to it, chances are you are beginning to deal with end-of-life issues regarding your elderly parents. Your many considerations run the gamut from the practical to the spiritual and everything in between. So, where do you begin?

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91% of Americans surveyed said they would prefer receiving Long Term Care at home.

Indeed, of those needing care only 5% are in Skilled Nursing Facilities.

12% are in Assisted Living Facilities and more than

80% are receiving Home Care

Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that most Long Term Care starts at home with the help of family or friends until the caregiving burden becomes too much of a hardship. The next step might be to hire a paid caregiver to help with care duties in the home. Yet many people can’t afford such a luxury, even if they hire unskilled, unlicensed, unsupervised “grey market” caregivers. As care needs increase, the next care setting of preference is Assisted Living Facilities, as they are more like hotels than the hospital-type setting of a Skilled Nursing Facility. Most people do everything in their power to stay out of nursing homes, which is one reason why the average nursing home stay is only 2.5 years.

While most Americans suspect that they might need long term care “sometime” in the future, many underestimate care costs and falsely assume that Medicare or their health insurance will pay for extended care. They will not. Medicare will only pay for a short time and only under specific, limited circumstances. The only governement agencies that pay for Long Term Care are Medicaid and the Veteran’s Administration. Both are notorious for their lack of care quality and poor quality of life for their residents.

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For more great information and assistance with an aging loved one visit our website at www.kchomecare.com.

Here is a great article that I found and wanted to pass on to you, for more assistance with an aging loved one in your life, visit us at www.kchomecare.com

10 Home Safety Tips for Seniors

People who are 65 and older are at increased risk of a fatal or non-fatal falls in their home.

As people age, they become more susceptible to accidents in the home. Fading eyesight, balance and disorientation problems, and memory loss can all contribute to the possibility of a fall or other home incident.

Here are a few safety tips to keep your loved ones safe in their own home.

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I found this article, and decided to pass it on to you.  It provides extremely helpful information that may help you with your decision to choose home care for an aging loved one in your family.  If you have questions or need help, please visit our website www.kchomecare.com.

30 Reasons Your Loved One May Need a Caregiver

By Rebecca Colmer

There are approximately 37 million people over the age of 65 and 5.3 million people over the age of 85. Each year millions of older people start requiring some sort of assistance to carry out their routine daily activities. Family members (family caregivers) provide most of the help.

It is not always easy to know when to intervene. It may seem like your loved one is in a gray area somewhere between competency and incompetence.

Your loved one can have a behavior that is not life threatening but still very serious. Making an assessment is the very step.

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Keeping Mom and Dad Safe at Home

Generally, elderly parents want to remain living in their own home. However, remaining in the home becomes a concern when children see their parents slowing down, perhaps even having trouble with handling stairs and doing general daily activities. Yet, with parents’ mental and physical health currently not creating problems, there seems to be no imminent need to search out support services or other accommodations for aging parents.

This is now the time to evaluate the home to make it safe and secure for your loved ones — now and in the near future — in anticipation of aging disabilities that may occur. Help and support are available. The nation as a whole is more aware of elderly needs and services and products are becoming available at an outstanding pace.

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Here is a great article I found that I wanted to share. The original article can be found at http://www.alzinfo.org/alzheimers-caregiving.asp#3.  If you have any questions, or need help please visit  www.kchomecare.com.

How can social support ease caregiver stress?

Two important contributors to caregiver stress are lack of social support and the caregiver’s assessment of the behavior of the patient with Alzheimer’s.

Social and family support. Caregivers who lack sufficient or appropriate social support from family and friends are often put under heightened stress. Family conflicts, isolation and loneliness further exacerbate the stress of caregivers. While social support may not affect the primary stress caused by the disease, it can change the caregiver’s response to the illness. Feeling supported by family and friends can improve psychological responses to stress and boost the caregiver’s sense of well-being.

The relentless downward course of Alzheimer’s disease can have devastating effects on the structure and functioning of the family as well. The person with Alzheimer’s gradually relinquishes his or her previous role in the family, and other family members must step in to fill the gaps. In addition, other family members may not recognize that a husband or wife who acts as a primary caregiver has now lost a major source of social support — the spouse on whom they previously relied.

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Are Caregivers Responsible for Their Parents Debt?

I’m sure many adult children of aging parents and caregivers think about this question a lot.  Recently, this article appeared at AgingCare.com, so I thought I would pass it on!  If you have any questions, please visit www.kchomecare.com. 

I was recently asked “Am I responsible for my parent’s debt? What if as a caregiver, I recently discovered that my father has several thousand of dollars of debt. Are parent debts transferable?”

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How to Talk to the Elderly

By Connie Matthiessen

Adult children and their parents often have trouble talking effectively. Small disagreements can be irksome and frustrating; if they simmer and grow, they can poison your last precious months and years together. What causes these misunderstandings? According to David Solie, author of How to Say It to Seniors, they occur in part because the needs and developmental tasks older parents face are starkly different from — and at times even conflict with — those of their middle-aged children.

As a culture, we tend to view our elderly parents as essentially obsolete — like old cars destined for the scrap heap. But Solie and other geriatric experts believe that aging can actually be a period of growth and personal development. Understanding and facilitating the developmental needs of your parents can make this stage of life a deeply rewarding one — for you and for them. But it can be difficult for middle-aged adults to support their elderly parents in this process — in part because they’re focused on their own developmental issues. For most people, midlife is a time of independence and mastery. You’ve gained confidence and a clear sense of what your values are, so this stage of life is focused on consolidating your gains and taking on new responsibilities. At the same time, midlife is a time to nurture and give back, whether by having children or engaging in mentoring or social activism. As an adult in middle age, you move quickly and efficiently through the world, completing tasks and taking care of your many responsibilities, looking ahead to the next mountain to climb. Your elderly parents, in contrast, are letting go of duties and responsibilities as they settle into retirement. As their physical health and independence fail, they try to hold fast to the areas of life they still control. At the same time, they’re looking back and trying to understand the significance of their experience and what they’ll leave behind. It’s these different perspectives that can lead to breakdowns in communication between you and your parents. By understanding the pitfalls, however, you can learn to talk to your elderly parents in a way that helps to close the communication gap.

An examination of a typical interaction between you and your elderly parents illustrates how much can get lost in translation:

Your father has fallen twice over the last few months, but every time you suggest a move from the family home, he changes the subject.

Your experience:

Ever since your mother died last year, “what to do about Dad” has become one of the primary items on your mental To Do list. When you drop in for a visit after a long day at work, your father is unsteady as he makes you a cup of tea and knocks the cup to the floor. As you gather up the broken china, your teenage son calls to remind you he needs a ride to the math tutor’s house in less than an hour. On the way to pick him up, you need to get something for dinner, which gives you about ten minutes with your father for tea and a visit. You’re feeling rushed as you raise the issue, again, of the assisted living facility nearby. Instead of responding, your father wanders off on a well-worn memory about the house, and how he and your mother purchased it just three months after your brother was born. Depleted from your day at work and pressed for time, the last thing you want to do is listen to a story you’ve heard countless times before. You want the matter resolved, so you can cross it off your list and move on. There’s your son’s college applications to think about, after all, and you’re facing several important deadlines at work. You’d love to be able to take a trip this autumn with your husband without worrying about Dad while you’re gone. From your perspective, your father is being stubborn and obtuse. Why can’t he just deal with the issue? Could he be failing mentally, as well as physically? You react by snapping at him, reminding him that you’ve heard the story before. Now it’s time to leave, and you drive away full of remorse as you recall the hurt look on your father’s face. Your father’s experience: For your father, several things are going on at the same time. There are control issues: He has recently lost your mother, and after such a major loss, the thought of giving up his lifelong home is too much to contemplate. At the same time, he dreads the thought of going to a place where he knows no one and will have to follow institutional rules and schedules. If he sells the family home, what will happen to his garden and the trees he and your mother planted to celebrate each of the children’s births? Given all his doubts and fears, your father chooses to avoid the matter altogether by simply changing the subject. Your father is also engaged in building his legacy, whether he’s conscious of it or not. The memory he relates is not a random one; it’s a narrative that expresses the values and accomplishments of a lifetime. It’s the story of his long and happy marriage, his pride at being able to buy a house, and his delight at becoming a father. To help improve communication between you, consider:

  • Time and timing: One of the greatest challenges people in midlife face in their dealings with the elderly is to slow down and find the time to be fully present. It’s a mistake to discuss important issues on the fly, when you’re rushed and preoccupied. If you need to talk about something crucial with your parents, make a conscious effort to put your personal agenda aside — along with your cell phone. And remember, such issues will take time to resolve — and probably require more than one discussion.
  • Listening: Be sure to pay attention to your father’s ideas and to fears he may be expressing indirectly. Even if you’ve already made up your mind that your father should go into an assisted living facility, you should really listen to what he’s saying and be open to other options. If it’s too soon after your mother’s death, could the move be put off for a few months? Could you hire someone to come in and help him for a few hours each day, or could adjustments in the house help prevent another fall?
  • Being respectful: When you tell your father what you think he should do, do so respectfully. Try to avoid a bossy or dismissive tone. If your father becomes angry, drop the subject and return to it another day. If he continues to disagree with you, don’t force the issue. As long as your father is a fully functioning adult, you can’t force him to follow your advice — no matter how “right” you think it is.
  • Participating in your father’s legacy project: You can help your father create his legacy by asking questions and affirming the values he expresses. You can help him record his memories by creating a photo album or by interviewing him for an oral history. Your interest and involvement will not only make the process more meaningful, it will make this life transition less lonely and frightening.

Both your parents are increasingly frail and forgetful, but they refuse to let you help with bills and other practical matters.

Your experience:

You and your older sister, who lives across the country, agree that your parents need more help. You volunteer to take over their finances, since you live closer. But your father insists that he can handle the bills himself. Your mother doesn’t like the housecleaner your sister hired and told her not to come back. Their house is messy and cluttered, and you couldn’t help noticing that your father’s desk, where he pays the bills, is buried in papers and books. Now your sister calls you at work to fret over what should be done. When you visit your parents, which you can only do on the weekends, you miss your routines with your own family and the chance to catch up on your sleep. Your parents seem oblivious to the fact that their disorder is gradually taking over your life, too. During your last visit to your parents’ house, you wanted to leave as soon as you arrived. When you asked about the bills, again, your mother said sweetly, “We’re fine, dear. We really don’t want to be a burden,” and you felt like shouting, “But you are a burden! And you’re ruining my life!” Your parents’ experience: It’s important to see your frustrations in the context of your parents’ broader situation. They’re well aware that their years of independence are numbered: your father is showing signs of early dementia, and your mother is growing weaker by the day. Meanwhile, your father had to give up driving last year because of his cataracts. For your parents, life as they’ve always known it seems to be retreating into memory. Given all the changes they face, your parents are trying to cling to the areas of life they can still manage. They appreciate your concern but also find it a little insulting. Your father likes to take care of the family finances: He’s proud of his capability, punctuality, and ability to pay. Your mother prefers to do her own housekeeping — even if it is a little slapdash. Your parents are also focusing, consciously or unconsciously, on their legacy. They’ve always prided themselves on their hard work and independence. The idea of being a burden to you and your sister is mortifying. They know the day will likely come, but they’re anxious to put it off as long as possible.

Some tips for breaking through this communication impasse:

Be direct:
If you find that interactions with your parents have become a dialogue of the deaf, tell them that you’re frustrated; chances are they feel the same way. Clearing the air may help you find some common ground.

Be receptive to what your parents have to say. If they’re intent on managing on their own, don’t argue. Listen to the messages that may be concealed in the remarks they make, and try to find solutions that work for all of you. If your father has too much pride to turn the bills over to you, for example, or is reluctant to share his financial information, he may agree to see an accountant instead.

Back off:
When talking to your parents is consistently difficult, sometimes the best solution is to back off. If you continue to badger your parents, you’ll only alienate them and frustrate yourself. If the worst that can happen is that checks could bounce or late fees accrue, let the matter rest for a while. Keep in touch with your father about how he’s managing, and offer to help again if and when he seems more receptive.

Take care of yourself:
If you find that you’re frequently stressed out and angry, make sure that you’re not neglecting your own needs. Try to make time for yourself and for your other relationships. Take regular breaks and vacations, even if it means hiring someone to stay with your parents. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be there for your parents and your family.

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Visit us at www.kchomecare.com for help with an aging senior in the area.

Snow, cold disproportionately threaten older people

By Kathleen Ewald, www.Move.com

Winter storms bring new health hazards for seniors. Cold-related injuries, from frostbite to falls, are particularly common among older people who are more susceptible to the effects of winter weather than younger people.

The following tips can help seniors get through the icy, cold, wet weather that is winter.

Icy, unshoveled walkways.

Slippery and snowy sidewalks can be difficult, particularly for seniors with balance and stability problems, to navigate.

Solution: Keep sidewalks and driveways well shoveled; apply rock salt or sand to create traction on wet or icy patches. Shoveling is strenuous and shouldn’t be undertaken by older or unfit people. Look to friends and neighbors to help shovel or hire a contractor to plow or shovel after a storm. Sturdy, waterproof boots with rubber soles and treads make walking on slippery surfaces easier and safer.

 Frigid temperatures

Exposure to cold weather can lead to frostbite (white, frozen skin) or hypothermia (lowered body temperature, characterized by shivering, confusion and dizziness). Seniors, with less efficient circulatory systems than younger adults, are at increased risk.

Solution: Check a weather report before leaving home, paying close attention to the wind chill factor, which indicates how cold it feels outside. (A wind chill below -10 degrees F is considered bitterly cold.) Dress in layers to avoid losing body heat. Wearing a hat with earflaps and mittens (which allow the fingers to touch, promoting heat) or insulated gloves thwarts frostbitten ears and fingers. Thick wool or synthetic socks and waterproof, insulated boots will protect feet from frostbite. If you notice signs of frostbite, seek medical attention immediately.

Hypothermia can be life threatening for older adults. If you suspect hypothermia, take the person’s temperature. If it’s below 96 degrees, it won’t register on an oral thermometer, an indicator the person must get to a hospital immediately.

Sun glare

Sunlight reflects off white snow, causing glare that can make it difficult to see.

Solution: Wear sunglasses with ultra violet (UV) filters, suggests Connie Harvey, an American Red Cross health and safety expert. Overexposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts of the eye. In addition, sun is damaging to skin, even in winter. Seniors (and everyone) should apply an SPF 15 sunscreen to their faces before engaging in outdoor activities on a sunny winter day.

Finally, don’t lose contact with others when bad weather hits. “Seniors should always have a network of friends or family who will check in on them,” says the Red Cross’s Harvey.

Visit us at www.kchomecare.com for help with an aging senior in the area.

Here is a great article from agingcare.com for caregivers who are struggling this holiday season.  Visit us at www.kchomecare.com if you need help with a senior loved one in the area. 

Caregivers and Multi-tasking: Holidays Can Push People Caring for Elderly Parents to the Max

Carol Bradley Bursack

If one can believe the old Westerns, frontier women multitasked by rocking a cradle with their foot to quiet a squalling baby, while pounding out bread dough with her fists, bossing a full crew young kids and maybe dodging a few bullets. Oh, yeah, since it was just days before Christmas, she would also be trying to knit a scarf for her husband during odd bits of time.

That scenario sounds like a walk in the park to some modern caregivers, especially those known as the sandwich generation because they are raising children while caring for their parents. At this time of the year, nearly every parent has one, if not several, school holiday programs to attend, plus church or other religious programs they want their children to participate in. Many have a full-time job, which often requires attendance at office functions outside of work hours, not to mention festivities during work time that pretty much require a big smile and a batch of home-made cookies. Is this your story?

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