Oral and Dental Care Tips for The Elderly

Elderly woman smiling amongst flowers in the garden

Taking proper care of your teeth and maintaining excellent oral hygiene are essential habits at any age, but they become even more important as you start to grow older. Aging can take its toll on your teeth and gums, making seniors more susceptible to tooth decay and other dental issues.

Good senior dental care can prevent common dental problems like toothache, tooth loss, and gum disease, and also help avoid the need for emergency dental care.

Senior Dental Care Tips

It’s never too late to take oral health seriously. We’ve put together a list of dental care tips for seniors to help you get started.

 Brush and floss regularly.

 Let’s start the list off with the most basic and most important form of dental care – brushing and flossing.

Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day is must for people of all ages. However, seniors may have to make a few adjustments in the routine because the condition of their teeth and gums are no longer the same as when they were younger.

The older you get, the more sensitive your gums become because of all the wear and tear they went through over the years. To avoid abrasion of the gums and tooth enamel, brush your teeth gently and, if possible, only use soft-bristled toothbrushes.

Moreover, it’s recommended for seniors to use electric toothbrushes as they’re not only easier to hold and operate, but also better at cleaning hard-to-reach areas in the mouth.

If you’re not yet enjoying the benefits of brushing with an electric toothbrush, you better start now!

 Avoid tobacco.

 It’s no secret that tobacco has negative impacts on health and well-being. It can weaken your immune system and put you in possible risk of developing serious medical conditions.

Seniors who smoke or chew tobacco should seriously consider quitting because aside from its link to cancer, prolonged tobacco use can also lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay, and may even damage your dentures and implants.

If you’re still smoking at old age, you may consult your dentist or primary care physician for smoking cessation techniques to help you quit the habit for good.

Watch out for dry mouth.

 Dry mouth is a condition where your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. This condition is common among seniors primarily because of the medications that they have to take daily. Medicines for asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, and cholesterol regulation are known to cause dry mouth.

Having dry mouth is cumbersome because it can make eating, swallowing, and talking difficult. But aside from these annoyances, it can also endanger your general oral health.

Poor oral lubrication can cause cavities and tooth decay, so it’s important to keep tabs of your medications and inform your dentist if any of them leads to dry mouth. Aside from drinking a lot of water, your dentist can recommend other effective methods to combat dry mouth.

Limit your soda intake.

 You probably already know that alcohol and sodas are not only bad for your health, but for your teeth and gums as well. Soft drinks and processed juices are loaded with sugar. Consuming these sugary beverages regularly will increase the acidity in your mouth, destroy your teeth enamel, and lead to tooth loss.

Opting for water instead of sugary drinks will greatly benefit your physical and dental health. It’s okay to drink soda once in a while, though. Just remember to drink lots of water afterward to rinse the acid from your mouth.

 Care for your dentures.

 Dentures make life a lot more convenient for the elderly but, like natural teeth, they are also prone to plaque and tartar build up. It’s absolutely necessary to clean your dentures daily. If you don’t take care of them properly, you might end up with gum disease.

It’s easy to clean your dentures, you can soak them in a cleaning solution recommended by your dentist to loosen the plaque and then give them a good brushing. Also, don’t forget to have your dentures checked at the dentist at least once a year or whenever issues arise.

 When was the last time you visited the dentist?

Following these tips will help you maintain good dental health even at old age, but just because you brush, floss, and eat healthy all the time does not mean that you can forgo professional dental care altogether. Make it a habit to visit your dentist every six months, and not only when you feel some problems in your mouth.

Get your gums and teeth checked regularly to stay one step ahead of the various dental problems that most seniors face.

About The Author

Dr. Gary Salwin of the Glendale Dental Group in AZDr. Gary Salwin leads the Glendale Dental Group, Arizona. He and his team treat dental emergencies and perform a whole range of dental services. He has been practicing dentistry for more than 36 years.

How Seniors Can Benefit From Music in Their Daily Lives

Senior man playing saxaphone

Image via Pexels

Music has the power to calm our minds, ease pain and discomfort, and improve the quality of our lives. These benefits are even more apparent in seniors. As we grow older, music benefits us physically, emotionally, and cognitively — and it can even help to reduce agitation, stress, anxiety, and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The following article will discuss these benefits in greater detail and share some ideas for incorporating music into the lives of seniors, so keep reading!

Physical and Psychological Wellness

According to Music Education Research International (MERI), music has been shown to benefit us physically, socially, and psychologically as we grow older. In addition to improving the quality of our lives, music leads to improved psychological, social, and physical health; relief from pain and stress; reduced medication usage; and prevents certain age-related diseases. And for those who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, and stress, musical activities like singing, playing an instrument, or listening to music can be a healthy distraction from these types of issues.

Moreover, some of the physical health benefits of music vary by musical activity. According to findings from MERI:

  • Singing boosts respiratory function.
  • Playing the piano reduces stress, boosts cognitive-motor skills, and prevents arthritis in the fingers.
  • Playing in a band boosts aerobic capacity.

Improved Cognition

In addition to improving the physical, social, and psychological health of seniors, musical activities also help to boost cognitive function in older adults. According to a new study on the effects of playing background music while performing cognitive tasks, certain types of classical music may help to improve processing speed, episodic memory, and semantic memory performance in seniors. However, loud music or songs with lyrics may have the opposite effect on memory and processing speed performance.

Furthermore, music may also help seniors with dementia, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, singing songs or listening to music may benefit seniors behaviorally and emotionally — and caregivers may reap these benefits as well. Anderson Music Therapy lists some of the best songs for seniors, so give these a try if you’re not sure where to start.

How Seniors Can Incorporate Music Into Their Lives

If you’re a senior who’s looking to experience the physical, psychological, and cognitive benefits of music, there’s no better time to take music lessons, learn a new style of dance, or sing along to your favorite songs. Due to the pandemic, online music lessons are available to teach you everything from singing and reading music to playing different types of instruments, including the piano, bassoon, stringed instruments, and more.

If you’ll be using technology to stream songs, take music lessons, or learn about music online, you’ll need to ensure your current tablet, laptop, or PC is operating as well as it should. If your devices could use an upgrade, Black Friday is the perfect time to score deals and discounts on laptops and tablets. A quality pair of noise-canceling headphones can also help you to learn music from home, as well as a music stand, metronome, and amplifier.

Second, you’ll need to learn how to protect yourself from identity thieves, viruses, and other types of cyber threats, especially if you’re new to using the internet. The internet can be an excellent place to learn about music, but it’s important to be aware of common online threats and the things you can do to protect yourself and your tech devices.

The Bottom Line

Music has been shown to benefit seniors cognitively, psychologically, and physically, regardless of whether they’re playing an instrument, singing aloud to a song, or listening to the radio. And to experience these benefits, seniors can take online music lessons, listen to music while cleaning the house or getting ready in the morning, and enjoy other types of musical activities such as singing in a choir and dancing to their favorite songs!

Are you a caregiver to a senior loved one? Visit Caregiver Corner to find everything from senior-friendly products to tips and advice for caregivers and their senior loved ones.

Post contributed by Tanya Lee at AbilityVillage.org

Home Modification Solutions for Seniors with Limited Vision

Ergonomic Lever Door Handle

Age-related eye diseases that lead to vision loss are a common health problem among seniors. While vision loss can have a profound impact on your day-to-day life, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your golden years. Low vision seniors can still live safely and independently at home with a few simple home modifications. Caregiver Corner offers plenty of useful resources that can help you cope with health changes like vision loss. Below, we’ve collected just a few home modification ideas to get you started.

Improve the Lighting in Your Home

To help prevent falls and injuries, make sure every room, staircase, and hallway in your home is brightly lit.

Use Contrast and Color to Enhance Accessibility

Mixing light and dark colors around your home can help you detect important objects like stairs, doorways, and furniture.

  • Apply contrast strips to stairs and thresholds.
  • Repaint door knobs in bright colors for greater visibility.
  • Choose high-contrast color schemes for your bedroom.
  • In the kitchen, use brightly colored dishes and high-contrast food preparation tools.

Reduce and Eliminate Fall Hazards

Low-vision seniors are more likely to suffer a fall at home, so take steps to mitigate your fall risk.

  • Remove trip hazards from around your home.
  • Remove area rugs that slide around or bunch up.
  • Install grab-bars and railings throughout your home.
  • Install non-slip flooring in your kitchen and bathroom.

Living with low vision isn’t always easy. As you adjust to this new challenge, make some modifications around your home so you can stay safe and comfortable. Through good lighting, high-contrast design, and a few home safety upgrades, you can live a happy, healthy and independent life!

Post contributed by Tanya Lee at AbilityVillage.org

Common Health and Aging Stressors Seniors Face as They Grow Older

Senior Man holding face

Photo by Pexels

As people grow older, they can face some expected — and unexpected — side effects of aging. These challenges can truly increase stress on a senior. A variety of stressors can arise, such as retirement or being a caregiver for a spouse or even grandchildren. These, as well as worrying about mental and physical health, can take a toll on older adults. Below are common health and aging stressors seniors and their loved ones should be aware of as people grow older.

Caring for Loved Ones

Seniors may take care of a spouse or grandchildren which can cause stress for them as caregivers. As people grow older, they need to pay attention to their own needs. Unfortunately, if they are taking care of a loved one, they can be more focused on others instead of themselves. According to Aging Care, seniors who are caregivers have a 63 percent higher mortality rate than seniors of the same age who are not caregivers. For those who take on kinship care, seniors who raise grandchildren can lose leisure time, traveling opportunities, and other areas of independence in exchange for taking grandchildren to school and sports lessons. Stress from being a caregiver can take the forms of withdrawal, insomnia, and even anger.

Retirement

As people work, many of them dream about the day they get to retire and travel the world with their spouse or buy the houseboat they’ve never been able to stop thinking about. Sadly, retirement is not always as happy-go-lucky as the TV commercials portray. According to Forbes, retirement is one of the most stressful events seniors go through because people retire or are forced to retire as other challenging events are happening, such as the death of a loved one or struggling with declining health. Retirement can also lead to financial concerns as well as relationship challenges, both of which can bring on even more stress. There may also be financial challenges with maintaining their home as well. And while many seniors find it beneficial to downsize, even then there’s the stress of moving and going through all their possessions.

Physical Challenges

As people grow older, it is natural for there to be physical decline, but that doesn’t mean people don’t stress about it. As physical challenges begin to increase, people can have a hard time adjusting. In turn, as seniors stress about their personal physical challenges, stress can spurn on new ones. Stress can result in heart problems, a lowered immune system, and even vision and hearing loss. This circular spiral can only make the concern for physical challenges increase. Some ways to battle stress to help stop this cycle can include practicing deep-breathing meditation and listening to music.

Mental Health Decline

A senior’s mental health is truly challenged as they grow older. This can result in diseases like dementia, but it can also include anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression arise due to battling stress and constantly hearing and talking about the loss of loved ones and friends. Elderly depression can show itself in a variety of ways including consistent sadness, irritability, and changes in eating habits. Anxiety appears in ways such as uncontrollable worry, being tired around the clock, and very tense muscles.

As external stressors can increase mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression, seniors can find help by reaching out to a mental health professional. Medicare Part B can help cover the costs as it offers a range of mental health services including counseling and even a yearly depression screening.

Abuse From Caregivers or Family Members

As seniors face mental and physical decline, they often switch from being a caregiver to needing one. Unfortunately, many seniors face abuse from caregivers and even loved ones. It might just not be exploitation, as seen by the collection of assets and money, but seniors can be abused physically, sexually, and emotionally, as well as face neglect. Being abused — especially by someone the senior truly loves and trusts — can be deeply stressful and lead to anxiety and depression. If elder abuse is suspected, it’s important to reach out to the local adult protective services or law enforcement.

Growing older can be very stressful on people. Hitting a certain age once meant wisdom and living a life of relaxation through retirement, but as seniors face challenges and changes in their lives, it’s important to be aware of how this can impact them mentally and physically.

Post contributed by Kent Elliot at AtHomeAging.info

How to Help Your Patients Manage Their Medicine

Pill Box Container

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

By SingleCare

It’s not uncommon for a patient to be diagnosed with more than one health condition. In fact, two-thirds of older adults in the U.S. are living with multiple chronic illnesses. This can be burdensome on the patient and the caregiver. Treatment options can become overwhelming, as each health condition may require multiple medications. 

As a caregiver, you could be responsible for not just one patient with multiple diagnoses, but several. So, how do you keep track of it all? Refer to this senior’s guide to medication management for helpful strategies that could streamline the process.

  1. Stick to a schedule

The easiest way to remember to take (or administer) medication is to do it at the same time every day. SingleCare has a free medication schedule that you can download and fill out for each of your patients here.

Whether you follow SingleCare’s template or create your own version, you should include the name of each medication, the day and time it should be taken, and how much should be taken at a time. This daily medication schedule should be comprehensive of all medicines including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.

  1.  Be detail-oriented

Understanding prescriptions can be a challenge. There’s a lot of information on those tiny labels. Here are three steps to follow each time you pick up a new prescription for your patient. First, verify that the patient’s name, doctor, and pharmacy information is correct. Next, jot down the drug name, its strength, and administration instructions on that medication schedule we just talked about. Then, ask the pharmacist questions if anything is unclear or confusing to you. We’ll talk about this more in the next section.

  1. Speak up

Remember that you are an important member of your patient’s healthcare team. You should feel empowered to lean in by asking questions and providing feedback. To do so, make sure you take advantage of doctor’s appointments and pharmacy visits. 

One resource that you can benefit from is a medication review from a pharmacist. You can request an appointment with your patient and his or her pharmacist during which you all can sit down, review the patient’s list of medications, and ask questions. Don’t forget to bring that medication schedule we mentioned earlier. It may also be helpful to note the possible side effects of certain drugs, so you and your patient can be prepared. 

Many of us abide by doctor’s orders—no questions asked. And although it’s important to trust your doctor (or your patient’s doctor), you should also be an active participant in healthcare discussions. For example, two questions that seem obvious but are often overlooked are: 

  • How will this drug improve the patient’s health condition or symptom it has been prescribed for?
  • Are there any drugs that are no longer necessary for the patient to take?

The less medication your patient is prescribed, the lower chance there is for a medication mishap. Mistakes in medication management can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. It’s important that caregivers take the time to understand their patient’s treatment plan, get organized, and stay diligent.

Post contributed by Sarah Breckon at SingleCare

Choosing a Carer for Seniors

Caregiver with Senior in Wheelchair

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

If you’ve ever considered hiring someone to take care of an elderly relative, you will have realized that it can be a daunting task. Placing a loved one in a care home may not be the answer you are looking for, so finding someone to take care of them in their own home may be the best thing.

So, where do you start looking?

There are several levels of live-in care options and the type of carer you hire will greatly depend on the needs of your loved one.

Companion carers

This type of care offers only companionship. It does not include any medical assistance. Companion carers are there to offer friendship and company, they will help with light housework and things like shopping and collecting medication.

Personal carers

A personal carer will be able to help with bathing, dressing and toileting. They are always specially trained in administering medication. They will also be trained in using hoists and other equipment.

Home health and skilled nursing

Carers who work at this level have been trained to help with clients who have serious illnesses such as cancer. They also help with clients who are recovering from accidents or surgery. This level of carer often does not include any companion services such as shopping or housekeeping, they are there to ensure that your loved one stays on the road to recovery.

Many people who are looking for a live-in carer for a loved one need a carer who is in the ‘personal’ range of care giving.

What should you look for in a personal carer for your senior person?

Personality

Are they friendly and relatively outgoing? Do they seem easy to get along with? Ideally you should look for a person who seems to get along with most people and is comfortable talking to different people.

Their interests

Do their hobbies and interests have anything in common with your loved one? A suitable carer should be able to adapt a routine to include her client such as going for walks on sunny days rather than sitting in front of the TV.

Things in common

For a relationship to work, there needs to be some common ground, even if it is only one area such as reading or cooking. There needs to be something that your loved one and carer can chat about.

Tact and diplomacy

When you interview the potential carer, you should ask one or two questions which will need thoughtful answers. This will give you an idea of how tactful and diplomatic the person is. Senior people often need a person who can tell them something in a kind and pleasant way instead of being harsh and judgmental.

Handling difficult situations

Before you hire a carer for your senior, you have every right to ask them how they would handle certain situations. How would they handle it if your mom fell? What would they do if they could not wake her up? You need to be sure that the carer will not panic and will follow the protocols you have in place.

Sense of humor

Look for a person who can laugh at herself, not make fun of others. She will need an immense amount of patience at times, while still respecting your loved one.

Can she cook?

A personal carer needs to be able to cook meals that your loved one enjoys. She may be a gourmet cook in her own country, but many older people like to eat traditional foods. She should be able to handle this with ease.

Driving

Depending on circumstances you may or may not need a carer who can drive. If you do, she needs to be able to drive on the correct side of the road and possibly use the car you offer, whether it is manual or automatic. You may ask for a valid drivers license, but if she is driving a car you provide, she also needs to be added to your auto insurance policy beforehand.

And now for the ‘official’ questions

The CRB (background check)

The CRB (*available in the UK), must be in-date if you are to hire anyone to care for your loved one. You should be able to check this online to be sure that the potential carer is eligible to work with vulnerable people. Never be tempted to hire someone who does not have this, no matter how nice they seem to be.

Certification

The potential carer should be up to date on her training. Many agencies who place a carer insist that an annual update is done. This is to ensure that the carer is aware of any new developments in the care industry and the regulations that go with it. She will have received certificates showing what subjects were covered such as ‘Moving and Handling’ and ‘Medication’ and should be able to produce them for you.

References

Question the carer about previous employers and then follow up with a call to the past employers. Ask about competence and kindness. Check the reliability and bedside manner. Ask about honesty and trustworthiness. Never feel embarrassed about calling and asking about the carer as it is in your best interest to see how other employers have felt.

Right to work in the UK

Ask to see proof of this right to work. Again, do not be tempted to hire someone who cannot show you this proof.

To sum up

Look for a person who is warm and friendly, comfortable to be with and easy to talk to. Ideally you would like a person who takes his/her job – and all that goes with it – very seriously but can see the funny side of things. The ideal carer will be able to cook healthy and nutritious meals and keep the house neat and tidy. Driving may be an option, although this depends on circumstances.

The ideal carer to look after your senior is the one that you yourself feel at ease with. You should feel safe and assured that she is confident to handle any situation, and you should feel comfortable leaving her to look after your loved one.

Post Contributed by Valerie Holyoak for Live In Care Friends  – a free portal for service users in the UK to find private individual carers that will provide care in their homes. Valerie has been a live-in carer for 11 years. She works in the UK and has extensive knowledge of many medical conditions affecting older people. Before she became a live-in carer, she taught exercise classes and provided personal training for seniors with limited mobility and other disabilities.

Meditation for Caregivers

While in the midst of caring for a loved one, we can often lose our self. Whether it is the day-to-day of physically caring for our aging loved one, managing care logistics, or keeping up with our own needs, we often continue moving so fast, believing we must finish the ultimately never-ending stream of things to deal with, that we burn ourselves out.

It is imperative that each one of us takes time to care for our self. To quiet and replenish from within so that we have what to give to others. If we do not take the time to take care for our self first, we will have nothing to give to others. Often anxiety that begins in our body gets repeated over and over in our minds, leading to increased stress.

This relaxation visualization is designed to help slow you down, release tension and drift off into a deep rest. The rest need not be long, it is the act of letting go, relaxing your body and quieting your mind that helps heal and replenish. I hope you enjoy this and find it of benefit. The more you listen and practice it, the deeper and easier it will be to drop into relaxation and feel replenished.

Post contributed by Aaron L Cohen, who is trained as a psychotherapist and his work and writings draw upon 20+ years in the counseling profession. With a Masters degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University and training in Bio-Energy and Reflexology, Aaron has worked as a counselor and therapist in schools, healthcare facilities, and privately. His personal practice of Buddhist meditation, mindfulness, and Jewish mystical arts has informed his work with individuals, couples, and families. More meditations and articles on living mindfully can be found at www.aaronlcohen.com.

Tips for Caring for Bed-bound Patients

A bed-bound patient is usually an elderly who isn’t able to move or do any daily activities on their own. If they aren’t hospitalized, they may opt for external help due to their complex medical history.

Truth be told, most of the patients would rather be at home than in hospital where they run an every-day risk of being dismissed not yet fully recovered, because of the staff or money shortage. For those who can afford extra help, it is much better to know that they have a bed, and not worry when the state will decide they are “too much”- the high cost of hospital stay has never been a bigger issue!

For care providers, on the other hand, it is essential to know how to do it, especially for bed-bound patients. And not only physically, but emotionally as well. The dignity of those patients is really frail and you need to know how to really be there for them.

FOUR-FOLD CARE

Basically, there are four areas in which you as a caregiver need to excel: hygiene, bedsores and their prevention, moving, lifting and handling a person, and creating general comfort with a lot of patience.

Mind you, if any of these sounds overwhelming or your loved one needs professional care, consider hiring a personal assistant for elderly people or a live-in personal assistant, they know exactly how to care for bed-bound seniors’ particular, sensitive needs.

HYGIENE

Bathing- not only does it fight infections, but it also fosters self-worth and adds a “self-care” feeling to the recovery process. It may sound obvious, but it must feel soothing to know you are fresh and clean.

Moreover, it’s not just eliminating microbes and sweat, it’s also sort of a physical exercise for it activates circulation due to the body massage and toning. Make it a daily routine.

That said, there’s not just one type of bathing a bed-bound patient- it depends on a patient and their level of mobility.

Some are done in the bed a patient lies in- like sponge baths, while patients in wheelchairs may have a regular shower with the help of a bench.

You’ll need warm water and a large container, warm towels- one for soaping the other for rinsing, body wash, lamp (to inspect the skin for rashes, sores, swelling), a razor, comb, toothbrush, basin and their clothes, including incontinence panties.

Make sure you lock the door or drop the curtains around bed to allow some privacy. Don’t undress them all at once, for a) they don’t want that exposure and b) they may catch a cold.

When putting on clothes, be careful to dress the painful side first. When taking them off, the stronger side is the first to go.

Always follow the head-to-toe rule, and when it comes to the peri-care (involving the genitals), it’s front-to-back.

Extra tip: while this might be just another daily routine to a carer, it’s way more than that to the patients- it’s critical. Therefore, be mindful and try to perform it with as much dignity as possible.

BEDSORES

Decubitus, known as a bedsore is a pressure ulcer that starts off as a skin inflammation due to longer lying in the same position or improper lifting and turning because of which the skin tears. Lack of circulation leads to the death of the tissue (necrosis).

The most vulnerable patients are those who cannot feel the pressure and are immobile (due to stroke or paralysis).

It’s widespread and lethal at the same time- bacteria enter the blood system, and aside from exuding odor, it may lead to limb amputation or death. The number of people dying from it is growing.

So, how can you prevent these in bed-bound patients?

Extra-padded foam specialty mattress is the key, together with an adequate diet. Check the back zone and buttocks on a regular basis. Change the patient’s position often (every couple of hours), but make sure to use sheets to avoid friction.

Should a bedsore happen, ensure it’s uninfected, and treat it daily- use saline to clean it, change clothes and move the patient often. An infected tissue must be treated surgically. Don’t bathe too much or too often and don’t wipe the skin. Pat it instead and moisturize often.

Extra tip: take photos of the area to track progress or regress.

MOVING, LIFTING AND HANDLING A PERSON

As you’ve seen, this is utterly important in order to preserve the health and comfort of the elderly.

To avoid the risk of hurting yourself or a patient, up the height of the bed. Always bend your knees. Lift smoothly and only to your shoulder height, with stable feet. Also, the more you keep weight to your body, the easier it is on your back.

Furthermore, National Health Service compiled some practical tips- filed under the “Lifting checklist”. It says: “Before attempting to move someone, ask yourself:

  • do they need help to move?
  • do they require help or supervision?
  • have you told them you’re moving them?
  • how heavy are they?
  • are you healthy and strong enough to move them?
  • is there anyone who could help you?
  • how long will it take?
  • is there enough space around you?
  • are there any obstacles in the way?
  • are you wearing suitable clothing and shoes – for example, if you’re on a slippery or damp surface?”

For another detailed list on how to move a bed-bound patient, check here.

BED-BOUND YET COMFORTABLE

A lot goes into the formula of a human’s outlook, and a lot is out of the carer’s hands. But what you can control in order to offer an elderly bed-bound patient a comfortable and bearable life is a nice, clean environment and a lot of patience and genuine care.

It’s not just about changing catheters and taking care of oxygen machines, hydrating the patients and feeding them balanced diets.

Let the sunshine in. Declutter the room and air it properly. Listen to them. Read to them. Play some music. Or their favorite film. If appropriate, ask some meaningful questions: What do other people not understand about you? What do you worry about? Have you learned anything about yourself or other people amidst this situation?

On top of everything, understand the patient and their situation, empathize with their lack of movement, don’t get frustrated, it translates easily.

They already have a very hard time, try not to make it harder.

Conclusion

  • Being bed-ridden is a predicament.
  • Being bed-ridden in a familiar bed is a little better.
  • Seniors confined to their beds may require 24/7 care for their basic needs. Make sure it’s quality care since their quality of life depends on it.
  • And one more thing: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

 AuthorBio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londonlive-incare.com. She eagerly shares her knowledge with her audience on various blogs. When she isn’t writing or attending wellness conferences, she likes to pack her rucksack and ride her day away on her bike or spend time with her friends.

Helping Your Senior Loved One Through the Financial Impact of Losing a Spouse

Photo via Rawpixel

Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences in life. Unfortunately, we have to handle all kinds of difficult life decisions while we’re dealing with grief. The funeral and burial plans must be arranged, outstanding bills need to be paid, and the estate must be distributed. If your senior loved one just lost a spouse, you can be a great help to them during this rocky period. Here are some essential financial matters that should be tackled sooner rather than later.

Funeral Cost Planning

Planning for funeral costs is one of the most immediate tasks that need to be handled after a death. According to Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage, funeral expenses cost an average of $7,000 to $9,000. Cemeteries often have a separate set of costs for other essentials like a plot and headstone. Unless your loved one’s spouse had some form of life or burial insurance, covering these costs can be very stressful. Help your loved one shop around to avoid overspending on expenses like the casket or transportation. Contact several different funeral homes and compare their prices for services or items, so you can keep the funeral affordable.

Collecting Insurance Benefits

If the spouse had an insurance policy, help your senior loved one collect the payout. Investopedia recommends contacting the life insurance company as soon as possible, so your loved one can use the death benefit to pay for the funeral and any other immediate expenses—most companies will pay within 30 to 60 days of your claim. Keep in mind that your loved one has payout options. They can choose to receive the benefit as a lump-sum payment or as regular installments over time. If they choose installments, they may have to pay tax on any interest.

Transferring Assets

According to FreeAdvice Legal, certain assets aren’t passed on by will. These include real estate, cars, investments, and bank accounts held by more than one person. Most of these assets should automatically pass to your loved one, but they will need to update the title into their name. Make sure your loved one transfers these shared assets by filing the appropriate documents to the right offices and agencies. If your loved one’s name is not on these assets, they will have to go through the probate process to gain ownership.

Paying Debts

If the deceased spouse held debt, your senior loved one may be concerned about their liability. The good news is that most debts are not collected from the surviving spouse. However, your senior loved one will be responsible for making payments on any accounts that their name is on. If your loved one did not hold any joint accounts with their spouse, they may be pressured by collection agents to make a few payments which could make them legally responsible for the debt. Make sure your loved one doesn’t make any payments without talking to a lawyer.

New Financial Responsibilities

Many senior couples become accustomed to certain roles in their marriage. If financial matters previously fell on your loved one’s spouse, they may feel overwhelmed and lost by their new responsibilities. Help your loved one organize their financial obligations. Track down all of their bills and consider setting up automatic payments with their bank. You can also help them come up with a new budget to ensure they can maintain their lifestyle without financial help from their spouse. Your loved one may be eager to pay off their mortgage, downsize, or make other large changes to their financial situation. According to U.S. News, overspending and rushing to make financial decisions are common mistakes that people make after losing a spouse. Encourage your loved one to take some time to think before committing to anything major.

Getting life back in order after a loss can take a long time, so be patient and gentle with your senior loved one. Avoid pressuring them to make quick financial decisions. Although you have the best of intentions, your loved one may need time to heal before they can gain a clear understanding of their financial situation.

Post contributed by Lucille Rosetti at The Bereaved

Five Fun Ways To Spend An Afternoon Visiting Assisted Living

Image courtesy of Unsplash

It is not always easy to know what to do with a senior loved one in assisted living. They may not be physically able to go shopping or might have medical needs that you can’t attend if you leave campus. But that does not mean that you can’t enjoy an afternoon spending time with the seniors in your life. From reminiscing over old photos to enjoying a meal together, there are many meaningful activities to share. Here are five.

Create a scrapbook.

If your aging loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, a few hours looking at photographs of their life is an exceptional way to bond. Senior Care Corner explains that people with memory loss might enjoy looking through a photo album. Even better, make copies of photos depicting their most cherished moments and put together a scrapbook together. A few images to consider include their wedding, religious ceremonies, photos of their first home, and pictures of beloved pets.

Gather your materials a few days before your visit. You’ll want a pen and paper to write down their memories relating to each photograph, an album, senior-safe scissors, stickers, and glue dots to secure pictures to each page.

Watch a few faves.

Like looking at photographs, watching TV can bring back fond memories. Many seniors will enjoy a M.A.S.H marathon, reruns of Sanford and Son, or watching Arnold the Pig and his Green Acres antics, so consider bringing a media player to stream their favorites. Choose something simple to set up, and call ahead and verify with the administration that Wifi is available, and ask if they are willing to take a quick look at your loved one’s television to make sure that it has an HDMI port. Chances are, if they have a wall-mounted TV, the device will work just fine.

You might also want to do some research on what types of channels are available for your chosen device. For instance, The Daily Dot notes that Roku’s free channel lineup has a little something for everyone, including any children you might bring along.

Visit the dining hall.

While most people think of a family dinner being between parents and children, the truth is that sharing a meal together with your extended family can also create bonds. The dinner table is a wonderful place to talk about the day and to let go of any stress or strain from school and work. Most senior communities will gladly accommodate groups in the dining hall or, if you are there to celebrate a special occasion, some even offer private party rooms.

Stroll the grounds.

There is a good chance that the assisted living center has outdoor areas designed specifically for seniors. It might be a garden, perhaps, with plenty of benches to rest when needed. A leisurely stroll outside in the fresh air offers health benefits for people of all ages, including improved blood pressure and potentially improved cognitive function.

Play with your pets.

The benefits of being around animals, especially for seniors, can’t be underscored enough. Don’t be shy about bringing your well-behaved furry family member (but do confirm that it is allowed the first). VetStreet explains that even the simple act of petting a dog can lower a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

If you plan to be around for more than just a few hours, consider coordinating with a local pet sitter. They can swing by and retrieve your furry companion so that you can enjoy the rest of your day without the responsibility of walking them or cleaning up after bathroom breaks.

Just because your senior loved one has changed residences does not mean that you can’t visit their new home. Family time is just as crucial now as it was when they were in their prime. Further, loneliness is a serious issue for seniors, and the best way to combat isolation is to simply show up and show your love.

June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.