Lighting Safety Tips For Seniors

senior lighting issuesAs the nights get darker faster and the mornings stay dark longer, lighting is key for your senior’s safety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 Check light levels for daytime and nighttime vision to be sure they are more than adequate in work areas, hallways, frequently used rooms, and pathways outside the home.

 Illuminate edges of stairs.

 Install night lights throughout the home to light the way.

 Install senior light switches. These detect movement and will turn on the lights automatically when you enter a room. The lights also turn off automatically when there is no one in the room.

 Install a remote. This is a device held in your hand that controls a light that is plugged into a receiver that is plugged into a standard outlet.

 Install outdoor security sensor lights for added security.

 Even levels of light throughout the house make it easier for eyes to adapt moving from one area to another. Illuminating the ceiling and the tops of the walls helps the light reflect around the room without glare.

 Use task lights to see more clearly while reading, writing, cooking, and personal care.

Caregiver Tips:

 Seniors can tend to accept a lower level of lighting because they assume that poor eyesight is part of aging. They don’t realize that it is very likely just a lighting issue.

Experiment with your seniors lighting to see if they have improved vision and safety.

Six Common Aging and Eating Issues

Senior Eating IssuesHealthy eating can start to become a serious challenge as we age. Often eating problems are signs of underlying health concerns, some can become very serious. It is important that older adults learn news ways to incorporate healthy eating. Below, we address a few common eating issues that face older adults focusing on helping them get complete nutrition.

Issue One: Chewing food

If you have difficulties chewing you may have trouble eating fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.

What to do: Try different types of the same food

Instead of:
Fresh fruit
Fruit juices; soft canned fruits, like applesauce, peaches and pears
Raw vegetables
Vegetable juices; creamed and mashed cooked vegetables
Ground meat; other high- protein foods, like eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt; and foods made with milk, like pudding and cream soups
Sliced bread
Cooked cereals, rice, bread pudding, and soft cookies

Issue Two: Upset stomach

Stomach problems, like too much gas, may make you stay away from specific foods that you love because you think they are causing the problem. You could be missing out on important nutrients, like vitamins, calcium, fiber and protein.

What to do: Try eating the food in another dish.

Instead of:
Milk foods that may not bother you, like cream soups, pudding, yogurt and cheese
Vegetables like cabbage and broccoli
Other vegetables, like green beans, carrots and potatoes; vegetable juices
Fresh fruit
Fruit juices; soft canned fruits

Note: Be sure to visit your doctor about any stomach problems.

Issue Three: Difficulty Shopping For Themselves

Shopping may have become difficult if you no longer can drive or find it very painful to stand for extende periods of time.

What to do: Have someone help you

  • Ask your local Grocery store to bring food directly to your home. Some stores will deliver for free. However, sometimes there is a small charge that may be worth it for your senior.
  • Let your church or synagogue know you need help and they can request a volunteer who can bring food to you. Or sign up for help with a local senior center.
  • Request that a family member or neighbor do your shopping for you when they go shopping. Or pay someone to shop for you. Some companies let you hire home health aid workers for a few hours a week. These workers may shop for you and run other errands. Look for these companies in the Yellow Pages of the phone book under “Home Health Services.”

Issue Four: They can’t cook for themselves anymore

It is difficult to hold cooking utensils, pots and pans due to arthritis related pain.

What to do: Cook food differently

  • Use a microwave oven to cook healthy TV dinners, frozen foods, and packaged foods made by the grocery store.
  • Take part in group meal plans offered through senior citizen programs. Or, have meals brought to your home.
  • Move to a place where someone else will cook, like a family member’s home or a home for senior citizens.
  • To find out about senior citizen group meals and home-delivered meals, call (1-800) 677- 1116. These meals cost little or no money.

Issue Five: Loss of appetite

Older people who have lived alone sometimes feel very isolated at mealtimes. Loneliness can make you lose your appetite and making eating sad.  Or they may not feel like making meals for themselves, as it is too much work for one person.

Maybe food has lost its flavor or tastes bad now. This could be caused by medicines they are taking.

What to do: Eat with others

  • Schedule time to eat with family and friends.
  • Take part in group meal programs, offered through senior citizen programs. Most of these programs are offered with someone visiting your home while they eat.
  • Ask your doctor if your medicines could be causing appetite or taste problems. If so, ask about changing medicines.
  • Increase the flavor of food by adding spices and herbs. Be careful of adding too much sodiu.

Issue Six: Money concerns

Financial problems may keep your seionr from eating nutritiously.

What to do: There are many ways to save money

  • Buy low-cost foods, like dried beans and peas, rice and pasta. Or buy foods that contain these items, like split pea soup and canned beans and rice.
  • Use coupons for savings on foods you like.
  • Buy foods on sale. Buy store-off brand foods. They often cost less.
  • Find out if your local church or synagogue offers free or low-cost meals.
  • Buy in bulk to lower costs and share the food with your senior.
  • Take part in group meal programs offered through local senior citizen programs. Or, have meals brought to your home.
  • Get food stamps. Call the food stamp office listed under your county government in the blue pages of the telephone book.

Eating well is key to good health. If your elder needs help with their nutrition it should be a priority. Any weight changes are a key sign that you will need to step in and help.

Seniors, Dementia & Research Trends

dementia & Nursing Home CareAlzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and accounts for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases: killing more than 83,000 people annually.

Other types of dementia include:

  • vascular dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease

Those afflicted with these illnesses are most often in need of an adult child or guardian to advocate for them. Needs arise for home health care, frequent doctor visits, home modification, and 24-hour care to provide safety, managing finances, and the list goes on. Other issues arise when a long-time home and possessions have to be sold and a loved one must move to a sheltered environment like a senior community with memory care.

Possible Early Detection:

It is an understatement to say these are very significant numbers. But researchers are looking for the answers to whether using a yearly screening tool during a Medicare yearly well-visit is useful. Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to an annual wellness visit under the Affordable Care Act: there is no out-of-pocket charge. In addition to routine check-up items like measuring weight blood pressure, and evaluating medication effectiveness, the visit covers an evaluation for cognitive impairment. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that seniors undergo cognitive impairment screening and evaluation with a trained medical professional to establish a baseline for comparison, and then have regular follow-up assessments in subsequent years.

More Research Needs To Be Done!

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of medical experts who have come to the conclusion there is NOT sufficient evidence to screen yearly for dementia. The conclusion is the same from a study performed more than a decade ago, when it last evaluated dementia screening. Experts say the evidence is crystal clear in one respect: More research needs to be done. Those who treat older adults have been tasked to, “use their best judgment.” That can be tough when dementia causes so many emotions.

What is your opinion on this topic?

Beware Of The Grandparent Scam

Senior Lady - Sad NewsMany criminals and crooks prey on our senior citizens. Unfortunately, they see them as easy targets due to their kindness, memory issues and slower brain functions.

One of the latest scams is the Grandparent Scam and incredibly simple and devious because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts. This has actually happened to the grandmother and mother-in-law of a friend of mine. The grandmother fell for it and went immediately to the bank and started to send the money at Walmart where they told her it was a scam. Thank goodness they didn’t let her wire the $2,600 to these criminals.

How The Grandparents Scam Works:

Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the mark picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done a lick of background research.

Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (post bail, buy a plane ticket, overdue rent, payment for car repairs, etc.), to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which doesn’t always require identification to collect.

At the same time, the scam artist will beg the grandparent “please don’t tell my parents, they would kill me.” So they don’t tell anyone what they are doing and the con artist can get away it.

While the sums from such a scam are likely to be in the hundreds if not thousands, the very fact that no research on the senior is needed makes this a scam that can be perpetrated over and over at very little cost to the scammer but at a very high cost to our senior citizen community, who love their grandchildren and would do anything to help them.

This is just one of the many scams where our seniors are preyed upon. Click here to read about them and then be sure discuss this with your senior, so they don’t become a victim of these shady tricks.

4 Easy Ways To Protect Your Senior When Severe Weather Strikes

Weather Corkboard Word ConceptIt is Summer! A time of fun and sun. However, this is also the season for severe weather and storms can strike at any time. Storms can be extremely unnerving to seniors and the elderly. If you provide senior or elder home care, being prepared can make an unexpected storm or weather complication much easier to handle. Increasing safety for yourself and your elder at home during severe thunderstorms, even severe winds, tornadoes, and hurricanes can make outings and time at home more comfortable for you both. To avoid serious repercussions and injuries from unexpected weather conditions, follow some simple safety tips as outlined below.

What Is The Difference Between WATCH & WARNING?

Weather forecasts and early warning systems have saved thousands of lives and merit our attention. Technology today is very sophisticated and forecasters can now predict many of the severe weather patterns that can cause serious injuries.

  • A Severe Weather Watch means that conditions are ideal for a certain weather condition or event to arise.
  • A Severe Weather Warning means that something like a tornado or severe thunderstorm (depending on the warning) has actually occurred been identified.

Many smart phones now are equipped to send out alerts for severe weather. Be sure to set those up in your notifications under settings on your phone. Also, please follow local recommendations regarding hurricane warnings as we are entering hurricane season.  Be sure to have a several-day supply of those vital supplies (food, water and medication) for yourself and your seniors and remember your pets too.

Tips To Protect Yourself & Your Senior:

  1. Identify your safe place to take cover. Having cover is essential during tornado or thunderstorm, or even hurricane (again-follow local recommendations that may include evacuation) Go to the basement or a room in the center of your home without windows. If there is a tornado that has touched down and there is not time to get to proper shelter, under a doorframe, or in a cast iron bathtub. Current bathtubs are not heavy enough to offer much protection from these events, but are better than nothing.
  2. Discuss a meeting point in case you are separated during the chaos of a severe storm. This can be a tree in the side yard or a corner on your street. This way, you aren’t wasting time looking for each other.
  3. Emergency Kits should contain a flashlight with fresh batteries, candles/matches/water, battery operated radio, and/or a hand crank radio to listen for any updates or warnings in the event of power loss. You should check on these supplies every time you change your smoke alarm batteries – at the change of seasons.
  4. A First Aid Kit is a great asset and having what you need handy can prevent serious health emergencies. You may be able to help others and not just the individual for whom you’re providing senior home care. Click here for a recommended list of contents.

If you are responsible for providing care or home care for an elderly person, you’ll want to ensure you and your elderly patient are safe at all times. Thankfully, severe weather does not occur too often, but it is recommended to have plans in place for when severe weather strikes.