Signs of Elder Abuse in Senior Care Facilities

AbuseIt’s nowhere in writing; however, we have a responsibility to protect our elders. They’ve made our lives comfortable as we know it today. Unfortunately, greed has taken over many that work directly with our elders. Each year, 2 million seniors become victims of abuse or neglect. It’s important for you to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse in senior care facilities because you may be the only voice they ever have.

Why It’s Difficult Determining Elder Abuse

It is easier said than done to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Even when a senior breaks down and tells about their situation, it’s often hard to believe. That could be because it sounds so outrageous, and the senior care facility seems so warm and loving looking from the outside in. Some of the abusive signs may mimic signs of dementia. Hopefully, this article will bring out the awareness you need to keep an open mind and heart.

The Types of Elder Abuse in Senior Care Facilities

The New York Times published an article in October 2000, Congressional Investigators Cite Safety Violations at Nursing Homes. This listed many tragic incidents reported throughout the United States of senior victims. Violations were found such as:

• Restraints found on residents
• No one responding to a resident’s plea for help
• Being bathed with soiled towels
• Ants crawling around the face of an elderly resident
• Residents are physically abused by other residents
• Molestation while bathing residents

There are many other terrible situations. The thought of these heinous actions is a cause for alarm. And, while some manners are nowhere near as serious as these, they are still minimizing our elderly’s dignity, freedom, and quality lifestyle. Below we discuss five common types of elder abuse in senior care facilities and how to recognize their signs.

Recognizing Financial Abuse

One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial abuse. An elder’s money or property is misused or taken from them, including clothing, jewelry, and checks. You’ll notice this happening to your senior loved one if they have many unusual bank withdrawals, property no longer in their name, revisions to their will or trusts, or new credit lines opened.

Recognizing Physical Abuse

Sometimes physical abuse is easily recognized such as bruises on the arms and legs, bedsores, or broken bones. However, other things such as being slapped, pushed, shaken, forced fed, or not fed at all are not as easy to detect. Even when you do see these things, being in a senior care facility, a caregiver can fabricate “reasonable” explanations for it all. Things can be said such as “They fell off the bed, slipped in the tub, or had a bad night and dreamed it all” can be phrased in such a way, it’s believable. Other things to watch out for include sudden weight loss, dehydration, or always heavily sedated.

Recognizing Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, sexual abuse is defined as any form of sexual activity in which one party involved does not give consent. However, being in a care facility, no employee or volunteer should be engaging in this conduct, even with a willing senior. Sexual abuse comes in many forms, including rape, fondling in the bathtub, sexual comments, exposure of genitals, and sexual harassment. A few signs you’ll notice are bleeding or bruises in genital areas, torn underwear, or having a sexually transmitted disease.

Recognizing Emotional Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse inflicts fear and minimizes the feeling of self-worth and dignity in seniors every day. Emotional abuse includes:

• Ignoring a senior
• Calling them names
• Shouting at them
• Threatening
• Humiliating
• Placing them in isolation
• Stripping them of making decisions

Senior victims of elder abuse exhibit signs of depression, often mumbles, are fearful and blame themselves consistently for minor problems.

Recognizing Isolation and Neglect

In senior care facilities that are understaffed and underpaid, isolation and neglect are a common occurrence. Staff may not want to be “bothered” with residents and lock them away in a room, unable to access their crutches or wheelchair. They may strap them down to their beds to prevent them from “hurting” themselves. They have no social interactions with other residents or staff.

Neglect of a senior is when a caregiver does not meet the senior’s needs. They won’t provide them with the food and beverages they need to sustain themselves, won’t properly bathe them, nor provide accurate medicines for pain and stability. You’ll notice signs of isolation and regret in seniors:

• Dressed in soiled clothing
• Living in unsanitary and unsafe living environments
• Appear malnourished
• Given frequent sedatives
• Show marks on their wrists and ankles, indicating they’ve been restrained

It’s hard to believe that any of this could go on inside a senior care facility. After all, they are supposed to be cared for. In these times, no one should be underestimated. For more information on how you can detect and stop elder abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/

Oral Health Tips for Seniors

Home Nurse Takes TemperatureOral health problems pose a big risk for senior citizens. As the aging process occurs, your teeth also age, and caring for them properly is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your oral health is vital to your overall wellbeing, and according to experts, maintaining a healthy smile can even add years onto your life. Some seniors let their teeth go because they don’t think their oral health is that important, but it is actually just as important as ever. By using these oral health tips for seniors, you can maintain a healthy smile, and keep your health at its peak.

General daily routine

Brushing and flossing your natural teeth is the most important step for good oral health. While most people brush each day, flossing is often left undone, and can lead to a variety of complications. When skip flossing, you’re allowing bacteria to flourish, and are at risk of developing a variety of gum diseases and even tooth loss.

TIP: Brush your teeth with a soft bristle brush three times each day. Be sure to brush all areas of the tooth in a circular motion. Grip each tooth with floss and clean around the tooth, as well as the gum line. Brush your tongue prior to rinsing, as large amounts of bacteria gather on the tongue.

If you don’t have your natural teeth, brushing is just as important. Bacteria can build inside of your mouth, and lead to a variety of diseases. While the teeth can become damaged, the gums can also be damaged from excess buildup of plaque and bacteria.

TIP: Use a toothbrush that’s designed for gums. You want to brush lightly, and reach all areas of the mouth, including the tongue. Once you have finished brushing, use an alcohol free mouthwash to rinse. By using an alcohol free product, your reducing issues that can occur from the drying effect from alcohol based products.

Soak your dentures or partial

You’ve probably seen it at least once in your life. A family member who wears an oral replacement device removes it at the end of the day, then sits it on their nightstand until morning. While this may be more “convenient”, it is actually the quickest way to develop an infection and allow bacteria to flourish. Similar to your natural teeth, large amounts of bacteria build on the surface of tooth replacement devices, and when they are not soaked within the proper solution, they can multiply quickly.

TIP: Soak your dentures in the proper solution overnight after you brush and rinse your gums and exiting teeth. While some seniors soak their devices in water, this can cause a lot of damage to the piece, making a solution important. You can buy solution in store, or have a special solution provided by your dental professional.

Why Dental Visits Are Just as Important as Medical Visits

Ensure a proper fit

Another very important part of keeping your oral health in check is ensuring your dentures or partial fit properly. When they do not fit snugly, allowing them to move around within your mouth, it can cause damage from the friction. Additionally, pieces that fit too tightly can cause the gum and bone to break down, causing irreversible damage and pain.

TIP: Visit your dentist to have yours checked for size once a year. While they may fit properly at first, your gums and bones change after tooth loss, and you could need them resized. If you experience any pain from your tooth replacement device, visit your dentist promptly to have the issue remedied before it leads to further problems.

Conclusion

By using the senior oral health tips listed in the ladder, you won’t risk causing serious damage to your teeth and gums. The pain, annoyance, and damage that occurs without the proper care makes it crucial for everyone, and only takes a few minutes out of your day to get the job done right- all while adding years onto your life!

Understanding Generational Differences

Generational differencesOne of the biggest issues seen between the different generations is lack of understanding. The times have changed greatly since senior citizens were in their younger years, and each generation has, it is set in stone that they are the ones that are right, and their way of living is the only way to be. The truth is, there’s no right way or wrong way, and in order to live in harmony the most important step each generation can take is to gain an understanding of their differences and how they impact the world around them in today’s society.

What is known as the ‘generational gap’ is the major issue that occurs in people throughout the many different generations. The younger generations and the older generations have experienced much difficulty in filling this gap, and it’s occurred all throughout history. It’s nothing new, and everyone understands that this gap exists, yet there is not much understanding as to why. Only by understanding generational differences can the gap be sealed, and people of all ages can come together as one in order to help society prosper.

Why the generational gap exists

While it’s true that generational differences have occurred throughout history, they are actually attributed to the cultural changes that have occurred overtime. The generations have changed their cultures terms of fashion, politics, music, and technology. According to sociologists, the way each generation rebelled against social norms is the main reason behind the generational gap. It all started in the 60’s when children and young teens began to rebel against politics, but today’s children rebel in many different ways, including against their own peers and parents.

While the older generations learned much of their behavior from their parents, today’s actions are determined based upon the school, daycare centers, their parents, and work environments. Seniors are also impacted by their environments, which include retirement homes, nursing homes, and similar senior care facilities. The institutions that each generation spends their time in plays a huge role in how they interact with people of other generations. Experts believe that intervention is key, meaning that by stopping the isolation in each generation based on their environment, unity may occur.

10 Life Lessons We Have Learned From Our Grandparents 

Ways to bridge the gap

Each generation is set in their own ways. This isolation keeps the large bridge, and most of those within different generations are unable to step over this gap because they stay within their own generation and are hesitant to veer off. You may have heard seniors state that the younger generation is out of control. Yet, the younger generation says that seniors simply don’t understand the changes that have occurred in society, and refuse to comply with these changes, as they are set in their own ways. While one or both may be true, the longer this lack of understanding occurs, the bigger the gap will be.

What people don’t understand is that if all generations were to bond together, they could use their positive qualities to help better the world and each generation, rather than focus on the negative qualities. The following tips could be used to bridge the gap, and help each generation come together, rather than use these differences to pull further away from one another.

Tips for the younger generation

• Volunteer at a nursing home. Listen to stories and put yourself in their place to gain an understanding of why they’re enjoying those years.

• Ask your grandparents about their youth and how their generation was different than yours

• Partake in activities that your grandparents or parents had, and understand why they enjoyed these activities.

Tips for seniors

• Attend a college class with people from the younger generation

• Use one new piece of technology and try to understand why this is popular among the younger crowd

• Learn about social media and why the younger generation is so involved. You can even get on social media yourself to gain a better understanding of the process and may even find that you enjoy it.

Why Dental Visits Are Just as Important as Medical Visits

Dentist Explaining X-Ray To Senior CoupleWe hear so much about seniors keeping their medical appointments, but rarely about their dental appointments unless something is wrong. However, there are many dental issues besides uncomfortable dentures or teeth that need to be pulled. Poor dental hygiene can lead to serious health complications.

The Possible Connection between Gum Disease and Health Conditions

Gum disease is not uncommon in seniors over 65 years of age. The best thing for a senior to do is seek regular dental visits to prevent or correct gum disease in its early stage. Below are five health conditions a senior may face due to poor dental hygiene.

Malnourished

Seniors are often found malnourished after being very ill and visiting their doctor. At times, it could be because the senior does not have enough money to provide the adequate foods they need. Other times, it is because the senior is having oral health issues.

Tooth decaying irritates your gums. It makes chewing hurtful. A seniors gums are more sensitive than a young adult, so it is less of a chance they’ll sit and eat through the pain. Seniors with diabetes often will pig out on food items and beverages they should not have. They get full of candies, juices, and sodas, and do not want to eat the foods that would contribute to a balanced meal. These foods are not healthy and lead to tooth decay.

Oral Cancer

Excessive smoking, alcohol use, smokeless tobacco, and viruses all attribute to oral cancer. These are not immediately seen, so a senior could be at risk of developing it anytime. A regular dental checkup could spot this before it is too late for treatment.

Pneumonia

The belief that oral health diseases can be linked to pneumonia has some fact to it. It is believed that people can inhale airborne particles which can grow in the mouth. If a senior does not brush or floss properly, the particles will fester. The saliva can bring these particles down to the lungs.

Diabetes

If you have gum disease, your body’s insulin production levels may be unstable. The extra proteins released from your infection increases the insulin resistance.

Heart Disease

Medical and dental professionals have linked gum disease and heart disease as a direct correlation until recent years. Now, many experts are stating that these two health problems are related somehow, but that gum disease is not the direct cause of heart disease. However, having gum disease, missing teeth, and dry mouth are leading indications a patient will have heart disease.

Causes of Dental Complications

There are numerous causes of gum disease in our senior population. For one, a senior may experience dry mouth or a reduced sense of taste. There are 400 medications alone that can cause dry mouth. Wearing dentures or having a current mouth disease could also be the cause of this. Seniors will not want to eat normal foods. They may develop a sweet tooth so that they can taste their food.  Also, having dry mouth bacteria, fungi, and viruses can easily grow out of control. Saliva protects teeth and prevents the buildup of these organisms.

If a senior currently has a cavity, they are not prone to brush and floss well. Mouthwashes and denture cleansers could irritate the mouth as well.

Some seniors simply do not brush or floss. This could be because of memory loss where they forget to brush their teeth. A senior could have arthritis, making it difficult to hold their toothbrush and perform the motions of brushing.

So if you know of a senior that may need reminders or assistance getting to the dentist, try to help them get there. If the senior has a caregiver at home, they should help the senior actually brush and floss at least once a day. Then, they can give them a good antibacterial mouthwash at night. The older they get, the more preventive care they will need.

How to Protect Our Elders

how to protect our eldersWe’ve spoken briefly about scams focused on seniors, but there are other dangers that lurk out there. Our seniors are physically and emotionally abused in nursing homes and their own homes. Discover in this article how to protect our elders.

What You Can Do to Protect Our Elders

The most important thing you can do to protect our elders is to know the signs of abuse. Countless times they are being abused by loved ones, senior living communities’ staff, and themselves. We make excuses of their weight loss as it just comes with age. We think that they may not go out as they used to because prescriptions are more costly. Keep your eyes open and watch for any abnormal behaviors.

Signs of Elderly Abuse

There are many signs of elderly abuse that go unnoticed. By reading through below, you’ll begin to recognize them. Sometimes elderly abuse is self-inflicted, intentionally and unintentionally.

• Poor nutrition and dehydration – If your senior loved one is not eating or drinking well, and they are on their own, they may have financial or dental situations. Unfortunately, not every senior can afford their medications and food. They have to make a choice. Sometimes seniors are unable to chew certain foods, leaving them malnourished. These are two of the most common reasons for seniors with poor nutrition.

• Sores and bruises – If your senior loved one lives in a nursing home, one sign of elderly abuse includes bedsores and bruises on their bodies. They may not be moved around as often as they should. Their caretakers could be handling them rough as well. Seniors feel they have no place to go or that no one would believe them. So they often keep quiet about such things.

• Aggressive caregivers – Their caregiver does not have to be physically abusive. They could be verbally abusive, calling them old and good for nothing. Many seniors take this while others speak out against it. However, some family members take it as the senior being unhappy and having trouble adjusting to a new home.

• Financial difficulties or unusual financial behaviors – A senior may not have enough money for food or household bills, yet nothing has changed for them financially. They may start transferring money to relatives or transferring property. Seniors should be well on the watch for those looking to take advantage of them.

Talking to Your Elderly Loved Ones

We can help protect our elders that live at home alone by talking to them about the dangers that lurk. The locks on their doors and windows should be strong and secure. Install a peep hole at their eye level to identify any visitors at their door. Advise them to keep their windows and doors locked whenever they leave home. Installing an alarm system is a good idea as well. They also shouldn’t keep large sums of money in their home. You can join their Neighborhood Watch Program so you can learn who their neighbors and business owners are in the area.

If your loved one is in a nursing home, keep your eyes open for unusual interactions between your loved one and the staff. Pay attention to low staffing as your loved one could not receive the adequate attention they need such as proper bathing or moving about. Let them know there are other living options and they’d not have to take any physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.

Contacting the Authorities

Seniors have many advocates. However, many do not know about them. Each state has a law regarding elder abuse and exploitation. For those seniors in a nursing facility, reach out to the Long Term Care Ombudsman. There are also state elder abuse hotlines, social service departments, state Medicaid units, social service departments, and the local police department you can reach out to. You do not need physical proof of abuse, just a valid concern to make a report.

Remember, our elders sometimes need a voice. Having an advocate on their side may be the only chance of survival they have.

Discover how to be an advocate for your elder parents, here

Retirement: Best Years of Your Life

RetirementAt last, you’ve reached the golden years, and it’s time to make them great! Many seniors from all parts of the world have stated that retirement is an amazing time in their lives because of the vast array of benefits it offers. You’ve put in years of labor and have learned several life lessons during your journey. Many of lives worries change once you reach retirement, and it’s a time when many can breathe and reflect on your life. If you’re wondering how you can make your retirement great, keep on reading and learn about 5 of the best ways to make retirement the best years of your life.

Create a vision

One things for sure, your retirement isn’t going to be the best without a clear-cut plan. You want to have an idea of where you’d like to start with your retirement, and where you want to end up. Moving forward without a solid plan will make your goals much harder to complete. There’s a two main questions you need to ask.

1. What would you like to do with your time

2. What kind of goals do you have for retirement?

By answering these questions alone, you’ll be able to create a foul-proof plan for your retirement that will make it the best years of your life.

Plan for finances

Good financial stability is essential for a great retirement. When you have enough money for your retirement, you can follow through on your plan, meet all of the goals you set in place, and spend your time efficiently during your retirement. In order to plan financially for your retirement, you need to first determine how much money you think you’ll need to get through it comfortably. When you determine this number, you’ll want to add a few extra thousand dollars in case of emergencies or if you want to take extra trips or attend extra events.

5 Tips for Building Your Retirement Fund  Click Here 

Create an activity list

One of the main reasons why good financial planning is essential is because it allows you to complete all of the activities on your ‘to do’ list. While having enough money is crucial, planning for activities is just as important. The activities you plan will consume most of your time during retirement, and when you don’t plan enough, you can easily become bored and not have the best retirement experience. Many people focus on the financial aspect of retirement, yet they don’t plan for enough activities and end up having nothing to do with all of that money. In all reality, you don’t need money to have a good retirement, but you do need a good plan full of activities. There’s several activities for seniors right in your local area free of cost. By learning more about the activities available within your local area, you can plan accordingly, and have a retirement filled with fun events to take up your time.

Have the right attitude

Attitude is everything, both before retirement and during. Without the right attitude, you’ll find that all the money and activities in the world are not enough to offer you with happiness. Many seniors have planned accordingly, yet their attitude has taken away from their ability to completely enjoy their retirement. You should look at your retirement with an open mind, don’t get caught up in your setbacks, and enjoy this change in life as a positive experience.

Conclusion

The steps listed in the ladder are three essential steps towards creating the best retirement you can have. By following these tips and enjoying this time to the fullest, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing you lived your life to the fullest both before, during, and after retirement. You have the best years of your life waiting for you, so plan ahead and don’t worry about the small things. With the right plan and attitude, you’ll find all of the little things fall into place one by one.

Are you ready for retirement? Read more here, http://www.carecompare.com/blog/are-you-ready-for-retirement/

Alzheimer’s Disease: Could a Baby Doll Be The Best Gift?

Baby DollIt’s hard trying to figure out gifts to buy our loved ones. It’s a more difficult decision when this person is our loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. They may be picky or may not have room for additional items living in a dementia facility. You may think, what more can my senior loved one want as they’ve had everything in life already.

Another common problem with gift buying for an Alzheimer’s patient is that they may not engage in activities they used to enjoy as much. They certainly aren’t out playing sports, driving, cooking, sewing, or playing golf. So what can you get a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease? Well, how about a baby doll?

Doll Therapy’s Use: An Alternative for Therapy Methods

As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. So caretakers and physicians are doing all they can to make Alzheimer’s patients comfortable and cognitive for as long as possible. There are many medications available that help slow the process and ease the pain. However, we never want our loved one to be subject to more medications than they need. There are a few alternative therapy treatments for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. These include:

• Pet therapy
• Music therapy
• Art therapy
• Doll therapy

Of these, doll therapy has received a lot of recognition.

So you may be wondering what in fact Doll Therapy is. Doll Therapy or Cuddle Therapy is the introduction of a doll to a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease. If the patient takes to the doll, he or she will keep the doll safe, cuddle with it, feed it, and clothe it. In essence, they are caring for the doll just as they would a real infant.

Doll therapy proves to be comforting and soothing to Alzheimer’s patients. It can be a difficult concept to grasp of an elderly person carrying around a doll at first, but many families have come to accept it because they know it’s in their loved one’s best interest.

The Changes You See in an Alzheimer’s Patient Under Doll Therapy

Alzheimer’s patients all have different reactions under doll therapy. The most occurrence is the comfort, and soothing doll therapy can bring to an elderly person. These dolls bring out the positive behavior patterns in seniors with Alzheimer’s. Their negative aggression patterns decrease, and they are more predictable.

Some patients with Alzheimer’s who use doll therapy will 100% acknowledge the fact that it’s a doll. When they are well within their right mind, they will tell you why they enjoy the company of the doll.

The baby doll may take them back in time and job their memory of raising their children. They could miss cuddling with their children, when times were so simplistic. This may, in fact, be what soothes their agitation.

Seniors may start interacting more with other residents, caretakers, and family members once introduced to a baby doll. The doll is considered a distraction in life, whenever they may become upset. Alzheimer’s patients are agitated once night fall’s, so having a baby doll can soothe them at night and help them sleep better. They may in fact, just fall asleep themselves just from rocking the doll and telling it everything will be all right.

Baby dolls can also be seen as a way for seniors to get out and exercise. They will dress, change, and feed the doll. Some may even take their dolls for strolls outside in a stroller.

Why Many Feel Doll Therapy is Inappropriate

There are many that feel doll therapy is totally inappropriate behaviors for seniors to engage in, regardless of the positive effects. They feel it’s degrading, and that seniors are no longer left with dignity.

Introducing Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease to a Baby Doll

If you feel that your senior loved one would do well with a baby doll, start by introducing it in a general environment. You want to find one that is very lifelike and not a generic cheap doll.

Since you don’t know how your senior loved one will react, just leave it lying around in the room. See if they pick it up on their own and interact with it. If they start caring for the doll right away, you’ll know it’s the perfect gift.

What to Look Out For

You will have to watch out for your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease becoming overly obsessed with their doll. Some seniors have put their baby doll needs before their own. If they lose their doll, they can also become quite disturbed. They may also get teased by other residents or passers-by who don’t understand what is going on.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease can benefit from your gifting them a baby doll or they may not care for it at all. If you’d like to purchase one, a couple of online options include The Alzheimer’s Store or Reborns. You can also search for a reborn doll maker or store in your area.

Ebola: What Every Senior Needs to Know

Ebola As a senior, you and young children are more susceptible to viruses than healthy young adults. This recent scare of Ebola in the United States, however, should be the least of your worries. Let’s review these few facts of what we do know about Ebola and how it can help ease your mind.

Ebola: Its Causes and Symptoms

Ebola originated from Central and Western Africa. This disease has not presented many cases in the United States. One will catch Ebola if they have close contact with a person or animal with the disease. A person would need to be in direct contact with the infected bodily fluids, blood, or its organs. For example, if your open skin were to touch an infected person’s urine, saliva, blood, semen, or feces, you would be at risk. A puncture with a needle is another example.

Ebola’s most common and known symptom includes a hemorrhagic fever, internal bleeding, and organ failure. A person’s initial symptoms are flu-like, consisting of fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches. Later on a person would have dehydrating, bleeding, and other occurrences.

Understand, There Is Not an Outbreak in the United States

With so much of the commotion of those patients in Texas and Illinois with Ebola or the possibility of having Ebola, seniors should feel confident in knowing it is not an outbreak in the United States. With over 300 million people in America, these few cases do not constitute as an outbreak.

American scientists and medical practitioners are all well aware of what Ebola could bring to the table. They are well aware of the precautions that need to be taken to prevent its spread and how to combat this deadly disease if caught in enough time.

It’s a Difficult Disease to Catch

As mentioned above, catching Ebola means having direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal. So it’s safe to say it’s difficult for a senior to contract. Your biggest danger as a senior is the flu. 90% of flu-related deaths are seniors aged 65 and older. While I don’t mean to scare you, the truth is, your risk of dying from the flu is greater than ever than even catching Ebola.

You Can Reduce Your Chances of Catching It with These Two Simple Steps

If you still don’t feel reserved in knowing you won’t catch Ebola, let’s discuss two important methods you can do to reduce your chances of catching it. They are very simple. Get a flu shot and wash your hands. If you have a caretaker, ask them to do the same.

Your doctor has possibly recommended you take the flu shot before this Ebola scare hit the airwaves. So why haven’t you by now? Seniors over the age of 65 are all recommended to get a flu shot because our immune systems weaken as they age. This simple shot can prevent so many other complications, you’ll be glad you did.

Washing your hands with warm to hot soapy water is always the best virus fighter. When you aren’t able to do so, using a hand sanitizer option is the next best thing. So keep a small bottle with you in your purse, car, or purchase one with a clip so you can thread through your belt loophole.

There is a Way to Fight Ebola

Are you still alarmed? Well, you can now rest assured knowing that there are ways to fight Ebola. There are protocols to be followed, of course. The main treatment involves the patient receiving plenty of fluids and electrolytes as Ebola can seriously dehydrate and shut down a patient’s organs. One should be admitted immediately to ICU.

So it’s true; Ebola should not be taken lightly. If it were, an outbreak could easily occur. However, as you can see in this White House address regarding Ebola, the United States has been right on top of it. As a senior, your well-being is being considered at all times.

4 Tips for Staying Safe and Warm this Winter

Winter housesThe winter is a beautiful time, as the crisp snow fills the land and the world changes into winters white globe. However, while the winter brings much beauty, it also poses certain safety tips, especially for those within the older generation. Some seniors avoid leaving their home often during the cold weather months, as they’ve heard certain horror stories that make their inside environment much more appealing. While there certainly are times when staying indoors is the best route to take during the cold winter months, when you spend the entire winter indoors, you’re missing out on many of the wonders offered during winter time. By using these 4 tips for staying safe and warm this winter, you can enjoy the cool winter breeze, while letting go of the fear that often comes when the cold weather hits.

Winterize your home

As mentioned, during snow storms or dangerous blizzards, your home is definitely the best place to be. However, many people don’t take the steps needed in order to keep their home nice and safe during the winter months. There’s two main reasons winterizing your home is vital for the cold. First, you prevent the heat inside your home from escaping, and ensure your maintaining a warm indoor environment. Secondly, without the right protection, your home is more susceptible to damage when bad storms occur.

You can have a friend or family member help you winterize your home, or hire a professional company to get the job done for you. Proper winterizing includes;

• Installing storm windows, stripping, and insulation on all windows within your home.
• Using insulation on the exterior wall water lines.
• Repairing any leaks present in your roof.
• Ensure your heating system is working properly.
• Install or test the carbon monoxide detectors within your home.
• Become familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Choose an alternative heating supply in case of a hazard and loss of heat.

Get your vehicle winter ready

• If you drive, it’s important that you prepare your vehicle for the winter. Preparing your vehicle for the winter extends beyond getting snow tires installed. The following steps should be taken for winter vehicle preparation.

• Have your vehicle checked for proper fluid levels, like antifreeze and keep a full tank of gas to prevent freezing during the winter.

• Change your standard windshield washer with a wintertime formula, aimed to remove ice quickly.
• Prepare a winter safety kit to keep in the truck of your vehicle. This should include; blankets, food, water, booster cables, flares, a tire pump, a flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, a compass, map, first-aid kit, plastic bags for sanitation, and a bag of sand or cheap cat litter for traction.
• Prepare for winter emergencies including power outages
• Keep a stock of canned food that doesn’t need cooking or refrigeration.
• Maintain a full cellphone charge or invest in a backup battery.

• Have an up-to-date emergency kit indoors that includes the following; a flashlight, battery operated lamps, battery operated radio, extra batteries, first-aid kit, extra medication, cat litter or sand for icy sidewalks and walkways.

Keep warm outdoors

One of the strangest parts of hypothermia is that people don’t realize they have it, and feel a warm sensation instead. It’s important that you dress properly while spending time outdoors, and use the following tips.

• Choose the appropriate clothing for outdoor weather. Use layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and boots and are waterproof. Even if you don’t think these items are necessary, they are.
• Stay up-to-date with the current weather conditions and know what the wind chill factor is. While the outdoor temperate may seem okay for spending long periods of time in, the wind chill should be used as the determining factor.
• Bring a friend along when spending time outdoors.

Take your cellphone, even if you are planning on going outside for a very short period of time.

Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide kills thousands of people each year, as this colorless, odorless, tasteless gas can creep into your home and cause you to slowly ingest it. People often do not realize they are being poisoned, as the early symptoms mimic the flu without a fever. By following these tips, you can prevent the likelihood of developing CMP.
• Have your furnace checked and serviced one-per-year.
• Only use grills and generators outside of the home. Additionally, keep your generator at least 20 feet from the home.
• Install a CO detector in your home, and go outside for fresh air if it sounds. Call 911 right away.

By using these tips, you can enjoy the winter months, while staying nice and warm, and avoid putting yourself in harm’s way. What winter preparation tips do you use to stay safe and warm all winter long?

How to Be an Advocate for Your Elderly Parents

That LookWe all love our parents and want to avoid conflicts. Unfortunately, there comes a time where you must advocate for your parents, regardless of how they feel about it. It’s a touchy subject because your elderly parents may be very proud individuals. They may feel that you advocating on their behalf is a form of holding their hand – something they certainly do not want you to do. Today we’ll review how you can be an advocate for your elderly parents and keep their dignity intact.

Understanding What an Advocate Is

In general, an advocate is a person who supports a person or cause. We hear of advocating for those without a voice, such as a child. However, as your parents age, they too will have needs that need to be addressed. It will be up to you to think of and voice their concerns.

As their child, you want to look out for your parent’s well-being. This can be difficult as an adult child because you are so used to your parents looking out for your well-being. Your parents are proud, and it will be hard for them to succumb to your advice, even if it’s in their best interest.

Safety Concerns May Hinder Their Freedom

As your elder, your parent is going to look at themselves as being the boss. In wanting their independence, they are not going to acknowledge certain situations that will place them in harm’s way. Your parents want to:

• Arrange their home a certain way
• Eat the foods they want to eat
• Go and come as they please (drive)
• Spend their money, how they see fit

Now you, looking from the outside in, know some of these situations are a safety concern. Your parents may need their furniture rearranged, so they do not trip and fall. They also should not be forced to reach high for objects. They may be diabetic and can’t eat too many sweets. They may have arthritis or failing eyesight and are not able to drive well. They may mismanage their funds, not accounting for future medication coverage and caregiver needs.

The bottom line is, you won’t be as popular with your elderly parent any longer. Try to be as sensitive as possible when addressing your concern, and let them know you are advocating for their best interest.

Sit down with your elderly parent and come up with creative ways around these issues so they don’t feel like all their independence has been stripped. Relocate dangerous items in the home. Give them a choice of safer alternative locations to move the items to. Develop a meal plan that includes your parent favorite food item once a week.

Sign your elderly parents up with a senior transportation company that will get them to their most frequent locations such as the grocery store. You can help them learn to shop and pay bills online versus going out as much. You can get them a prepaid debit card to help them manage their spending habits. Just ensure that for every restriction, you work out a solution to help them maintain their independence.

Ensure They are Protected at Home

So what dangers lurk around the home? Well, your parent’s favorite oriental rug can be a great danger to them. Their shoe could get caught, and they can trip and fall. Another danger in the home is a stove. An elderly parent’s senses will start to fade, and a strong sense of smell is one of them. They may not sense the smell of gas leakage or fire in the home.

Many senior accidents in the home start in the bathroom. If your parent has hip or leg problems, getting in and out of the bathtub could present a very dangerous situation to your elderly parents. It’s best to have an occupational therapist who specializes in senior care to come out to your parent’s home for a home safety inspection.

Attend All Appointments with Them

Advocating on behalf of your elderly parent is about more than speaking to them directly. You also will incur times where you need to speak on their behalf to others. Attending their medical appointments is a great start. Be active in their health care choices such as additional prescriptions, surgeries, and therapy sessions. If you don’t agree with the procedure, speak up.

Your parent may be afraid to talk to their doctor for fear of being placed on more medications. They may honestly forget to mention an ailment that presents itself only once a month. You need to voice your concerns to their primary care physician.

The above three scenarios are all great ways to start advocating for your elderly parents. This list is not all inclusive, so it’s up to you to pay attention and accommodate their needs.