Long Distance Caregiving

Senior Cell Phone

 

Choosing an assisted living facility for a loved one can be a tough time for many aging parents and their grown children alike. Placing a loved one in someone else’s care can be difficult, but sometimes it is the most necessary option for a family. It is wise to hold some kind of family meeting ahead of time, before it becomes a matter of urgency.

 

Sometimes a senior care resident may live a couple hours drive or a plane ride away from the rest of their family; but that doesn’t mean that children still can’t play a role in being a caregiver. As a child living a good distance from your loved one in eldercare, even if you cannot serve as the primary caregiver, you can still keep an eye on them from afar.

 

If you live an hour or more away from your loved one in senior care, then you can be classified as a long distance caregiver. Even if you can’t be around all the time to help with daily tasks, there are still some important roles you can play in their lives. Some tasks of a long-distance caregiver include finance management, making arrangements for in-home care, providing emotional support, or being an emergency contact.

 

You don’t have to merely be the natural child of the senior in order to serve as a long distance caregiver. You can simply be someone dear to them who has a stake in their well-being— regardless of your own age, gender, relation to them, or income.

 

Being a long distance caregiver doesn’t require you to drop everything and come running whenever your senior loved-one has a need, but it puts you in the position to at least be ready to listen to them and set some time aside to prioritize them at some point during your week/month. It can be helpful to establish a routine for having check-ups over the phone, Skype, or visitations over a time period that works for the both of you.

 

Long distance caregivers should have a plan to expect the unexpected. Sometimes a social phone call to check up on them and share family news can turn into a more serious discussion of finances, medical needs, or other dining/living arrangements. Sometimes your senior loved one will ask for help, as certain circumstances or health developments make assistance needed. However, when you love far off, they may feel like they don’t want to burden or concern you. In this case you may have to do some detective work to discover whether they have some un-communicated needs.

 

A simple phone call to their facility may not be enough to tell whether an elder needs better help handling their daily activities. A senior may be having trouble preparing full meals or getting their level of needed attention at their facility. If they aren’t telling you about what they may consider to be burdening problems, it may be up to you to call in and ask some higher-ups about how meals are being prepared for residents or how much attention is being given.

 

If you get the impression that the facility is feeding you an insincere report and that your elder is not communicating their true needs, it may be necessary to come by and have a look for yourself. Visits can be a friendly and social matter, without creating drama. But it is wise to keep your eyes peeled for any odd indications or potential trouble areas in your senior’s living conditions. To avoid overlooking any important issues, it may be smart to draft up a list of potential problem areas to check out while visiting the facility.

 

It is not good to be overly suspicious of mistreatment, as most facilities and staff truly are doing their jobs well and looking out for the best interest of their residents. However, it is important to be attentive to the details and subtle messages being communicated by your senior, just in case. The resident you trust the facility to care for will is most precious, dear, and personally loved by you; so it is up to you as a long distance caregiver to keep a place for them in your schedule and your thoughts, even from afar.

 

Decorating Your Nursing Home Room  

Senior Citizen

Many nursing homes allow for a good amount of freedom regarding your decorating of your room and living area. However, it must be kept in mind that space is often limited in assisted living facilities. Whether you have one room or are situated in a suite, you will have to make some decisions about what to bring with you and what will fit into the living space allotted to you. Nursing homes give you more space to work with than your college dorm room did, but you still won’t be able bring everything with you.

 

Here are some tips for you to tap into your inner interior designer when making the best of what you have to work with and make it feel like home:

 

Find Out What You “Can” Bring

Before you start envisioning what your perfect room arrangement will be, it is important to check in with your senior care facility and ask about its policies regarding how you are allowed to decorate.

 

Ask questions about their policy regarding what you can hang on the walls, whether you can change the window treatments, if they provide their own pillows, what plants or pets are allowed, and what electronics are permitted.

 

Once you have a grasp on how free you are to change things around, then you can gleefully get started on arranging your space the way you like it.

 

 

Ideas For Customization

 

Here are a few suggestions for how you might customize your space. There are certainly probably many more creative things you can think of, but use this list as a way to get the ball rolling.

 

  • Be sure to start with the essentials before moving onto the less important decorative things. There are certain practical items that every room needs, like a clock, calendar, mirror that may be easy to forget when you are focused on bringing in the fun extra things. Establish a place for these basic utilities first, then organize the rest of your room around them.

 

  • Select a theme when decorating your room. As you bring in any special wall paper, photo frames, bedding, rugs, flowers, or furniture, it is nice to have a theme of commonality that ties it all together. Although, a hodgepodge “can” be a theme if you want it to. Be aware of everything’s place and position in respect to each other, and give the room a rich consistent atmosphere.

 

  • Have some extra seating available for your guests. Hopefully you will anticipate friends and family from outside and inside the facility to pay you a visit from time to time, so make the room inviting and comfortable by having some extra chairs or sofas around conducive to socialization.

 

  • Keep yourself entertained. Whenever there is not company around or tasks to do, you will have time to yourself. Make sure that you have some items around to keep your brain stimulated. Books are great ways to pass time, and although you can’t carry a whole library with you, it is a good idea to bring some of your favorites to revisit, a religious text, or that novel you always meant to start on. A T.V. can provide some great entertainment for surfing the channels, as well as using a DVD or Blu-ray player to watch some of your favorite films. It might be smart to have some movies around that visiting grandchildren may enjoy watching.

 

  • Displaying mementos can add meaning and fondness to your room. Family photos, heirlooms, cards, and letters will bring an element of nostalgia and homeliness to the environment. Your treasured memories can provide a nice conversation piece to visiting families or residential friends who want to get to know you.

 

Keep these ideas in mind when organizing your living space at your nursing home or senior care facility and you will be on your way to enjoying your stay.

 

Detecting And Preventing Elder Abuse / Neglect

Respite Care

 

Elder abuse or mistreatment includes intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver with harmful effect on a person 60 years of age or older. Although there have been vast improvements to assisted living and senior care facilities over the past decades to ensure senior residents are cared for and accommodated properly, senior abuse is still a problem that some seniors face on a daily basis. All 50 states have laws in place to protect seniors from abuse, and the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force is working to improve the methods in place for screening and inquiring to detect abuse and neglect among seniors.

 

Laws and policies are in place to enforce the rights of seniors and protect them from all the various forms of abuse, including but not limited to:

Physical abuse: Causing pain or injury to a senior.

Emotional abuse: Causing mental pain/distress to a senior by verbal or nonverbal acts.

Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual acts of any sort.

Neglect: Failure to provide food, shelter, or medical attention to a senior.

Abandonment: A caregiver deserting the senior for whom they are responsible.

Self-Neglect: Failure to provide self-care tasks that endangers senior health.

 

Signs of Elder Abuse

 

In circumstances where abuse has occurred, a senior may attempt to keep the abuse a secret due to fear, shame, embarrassment, dependency on their caregiver, or other psychological reasons. The senior may also be incapable of expressing or realizing their abusive situation due to a mental condition that is being taken advantage of. There are however, some basic signs to look out for in order to discover some possible abuse that is taking place. The warning signs of elder abuse can be physical or behavioral.

Physical indications of abuse may include: bruising, burns, dehydration, malnutrition, missing medications, scalp swelling, unexplainable fractures, poor medical condition in spite of proper medical access to medicine, patterned injuries (like slap or bite marks), as well as evidence of sexual abuse.

Emotional indications of abuse may include: frequent arguing or tension between an elder and their caregiver, unaccountable changes to the elder’s mood or personality, depression, or a general state of unease.

 

Preventing/Detecting Abuse

 

In order to prevent elder abuse, it is helpful to review the testimonies and reviews of any prospective assisted living facilities when doing your initial research. Meet with the staff and get a feel for the quality, atmosphere, and community of the facility, as well as what resources are available to senior residents who are experiencing problems.

 

To detect abuse that is already taking place, be sure to listen to your loved one and monitor their behavior when in their presence. Also listen to the caregiver and gauge the vibe you notice from the interaction between the two. Intervene if you suspect that any abuse is taking place. And educate your senior loved one about what they can do if they are experiencing abuse.

Professional resources for handling elder abuse include:

  • The Administration of Aging
  • American Medical Association
  • National Clearing House On Abuse In Elder Life

 

Researching the websites and phone numbers for these facilities will equip you with your options for how to handle any dangerous situations.

 

 

8 Best Discounts For Seniors

Discount wallet

 

Getting older does have its perks and luxuries! Many companies and franchises around the country offer some special privileges and discounts to seniors in order to honor and aid them in their golden years. AARP membership or a simple age requirement is normally all that is needed to utilize most of these benefits. 62 seems to be the magic age number for many places, but there are exceptions, with cutoffs at 65 years old. Take a moment to see which of these senior discounts listed below might be available for you or a loved one to take advantage of.

 

  1. Amtrak

A 15% discount is offered to Amtrak travelers age 62 and older on the majority of Amtrak trains. However, this deal excludes first-class and business-class tickets, as well as weekday Acela Express trains. For train rides crossing the Canadian border, this discount becomes 10% for seniors age 60 and older.

 

  1. Greyhound

A 5% discount is available upon request to passengers age 62 and older on bus fares within the United States.

 

  1. Verizon (65 Plus Plan)

Verizon accommodates the basic, simple phone needs for seniors who don’t need all the fancy gadgetry and just want a phone for functional purposes.

Verizon offers customers age 65 and above a cell phone plan with fewer minutes than its regular nationwide plans for a lower price. This 65-plus plan provides 200 anytime minutes for just $29.99 on basic functional cell phones. A comparable data plan for a smartphone is a little extra.

 

  1. A Range of Restaurants

A handful of popular restaurant chains offer excellent discount to dining seniors.

Applebee’s offers a 15% discount for customers age 60 and older.

IHOP has a 55-plus menu offering smaller portions at lower prices.

Denny’s takes 20% off the check for all AARP card carriers.

And Dunkin Donuts offers a free donut with the purchase of a large coffee to AARP members.

 

  1. Rental Cars

AARP members are entitled to discounts for up to 25% on car rentals from Alamo, Hertz, National, and Budget, as well as 30% discounts from Avis, and 5% discounts from Enterprise rental cars.

 

  1. Select Hotels

AARP provides seniors with a choice set of discounts at great hotels, including up to 20% off at Sheraton, Weston, and Ramada hotels, and 10% off lodging at Hyatt, Best Western, and Comfort Inn.

 

  1. Teleflora Flowers

AARP members can get a 20% discount on flowers and bouquets at Teleflora Flowers.

 

  1. Movies

AMC provides senior discount tickets for people 60 and older in addition to its child discount tickets.

Cinemark offers a comparable discount on Mondays for seniors 62 and older.

Regal only charges $5.50 for a popcorn and drink to AARP members.

 

Tips That Help Keep Couples Together In Assisted Living

Alzheimers Assisted living

Life expectancy has steadily increased over the recent decades in America, and marriages are lasting and going strong well into couples’ golden later years. As a result, when it comes time to decide upon a needed assisted living arrangement or relocation, fewer seniors have to enter into this next phase of life alone.

Senior couples may have to decide together where to situate themselves in order to live comfortably and get the medical care they need. This can also be tricky as both spouses may have very different health care requirements or varying requirements for assistance. Both spouses will surely want what is best for the other, but sometimes that becomes complicated when one spouse suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and the other has taken it upon his or herself to stay and assume a care taking role.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for couples selecting the most appropriate assisted living option available.

Do Your Research Early

Couples can save a lot of stress by getting ahead of the game by doing a little research before assisted living becomes a pressing issue, talking it out and agreeing on a place. Knowing what you’re getting into and having a secure plan before any sudden accident or unexpected problem forces you to think fast or limits your insurance options can make the idea of assisted living much less scary or confusion, and might even give you something to look forward to as a couple if you find somewhere that seems to meet all of your mutual requirements.

Managing Finances

Having a long-term plan for security is part of being prepared and thinking ahead. This entails planning in advance, maybe setting aside some money, saving, or doing whatever else you can to be in a financially secure position to be ready for any possible future adjustment to assisted living.
Residential couples are often charged for one room, with fee lodging for the second person. The average cost per month for room and board is around $1500, plus charges for any extra care as needed. And many senior care communities allow couples to receive and be charged only for the care they need on an individual basis, instead of charging an overall blanket to cover both spouses. Pricing levels are tiered, with lesser-needed assistance on the lower pricing tier. For those seeking a more high-end lodging experience, private one-bedroom apartments for assisted living go for a median rate of $2,575 a month according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. Two-bedroom apartments and multiple bedroom suites are offered at some more luxurious facilities as well for those with greater space needs who can afford an upcharge.

Prepare For the Changes

Making the transition as a couple, to a new life at a senior care facility will require mental preparation and some lifestyle adjustments to anticipate. Modern assisted living communities aim to preserve a sense of independence for their residents, however there will certainly be some changes to adapt to with new routines and social spheres present in this next phase of life. It is imperative to become versed in the routines, regulations, and rules of the land for your prospective senior care facilities when doing your research. A senior couple may enter a facility knowing no one but each other, so socializing and making friends will be necessary to budding into the community. Most senior care residents are widowed, so couples starting a life in assisted living together are fortunate to have someone to have to talk to from the start. But senior care communities are generally quite friendly and sociable with people entering from all walks of life to share rich stories of life’s well lived.

Consider Both Partners’ Needs

When researching prospective facilities, a senior might discover one that’s perfect for him—but maybe not his wife so much, or vice-a-versa. Selecting an arrangement (like every other major decision in a marriage) may require some compromises on both parts to accommodate the preferences and comforts of both partners to call a place home. Please be considerate of the personal and shared needs (emotional, physical, privacy, hobbies, relational, sociable) for both spouses. It is also helpful for couple to look into finding activities or things they can do together, like fitness programs or available interest-clubs.

Range of Senior Living Options 

There are several types of senior care options that vary in the degree and extensiveness of care and independence available for residents. Overview these terms when doing your research regarding the sort of assisted living you as a couple are looking for.

  • Independent Senior Living – An option for couples who require little-to-no assistance with daily activities (driving/medicine/food).
  • Assisted Senior Living – An option for couples looking for a maintenance-free life-style, but can see they might need a little help now or in the future. This option is a combination of amenities and hospitality services, along with basic care services such as medication management and personal assistance with daily activities such as dressing or showing, as well as basic nursing and dementia care.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community– allows seniors to live independently in single-family homes, apartment, condos, and then transition into a assisted living centers when it becomes necessary.

 

While it may for the moment be a touchy subject, and a little inconvenient it is best to be prepared and educated on assisted living options for the future. Try not to leave the responsibility of relocating entirely in the hands of your children, so you can have some say in choosing a living arrangement that is better suited to your preferences and level of comfort as a couple.

Luxury Assisted Living

If you have found yourself fortunate enough to enter retirement financially sound enough to start weighing your options for high-end senior living, then take a few moments to investigate some of the benefits and details are included in more luxurious senior care with this article.

A senior, or a senior couple, who has made a good living and grown comfortable being accommodated with the finer things in life, may find it important to know that senior/assisted living doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the finer things behind. There are tiers of senior living options for all financial standings, and toward the upper tiers, there is what is called “luxury” assisted living.

The Investment

For initial payments typically ranging from $300,000-$1,500,000, senior care communities bearing a resort feel are available around the country. These facilities are especially hospitality-oriented, forgoing all semblances of the old stereotypes of senior living as boring and restrictive. Luxury assisted living strives to provide a living experience closer to that of staying at a four-star hotel or a cruise ship by being accommodating and conducive to the wants, needs, comforts, and preferences of its esteemed residents.

The difference adds up as luxury assisted living is comparatively bigger and better, with more offerings and attentive service than more basic, functional offerings. Residents soak in beautiful ambiance as they go about their day among the grounds, utilizing a large variety of provided activities and conveniences. Below we will outline what to expect from a higher-end senior living community, outlining the housing, cuisine, and activity accommodations common to luxury assisted living.

The Difference

Rooms and lodging are characterized by spacious apartments with high ceilings, typically furnished with a full kitchen equipped with marble or granite countertops. This is an upscale contrast to the majority of conventional assisted living facilities, which often offer a quaint kitchenette with little more than a mini-fridge and microwave.
• Many luxury assisted living facilities provide the convenience of concierge services like those of a hotel, available to help senior residents plan flights, hotels, concerts, and other aspects of travel.
• The dining experience at a luxury assisted living facility is a gourmet delight, offering a variety of high quality food options prepared by experienced certified chefs. To further diversify their cuisine offering, some facilities have two or more restaurants additionally available in the senior care community for residents to frequent.
• There is little excuse for boredom at luxury assisted living facilities, where there are numerous programs catering to the wants and needs residents have for activity, entertainment, and education in the community. Atria Kew Gardens in New York schedules over 200 events every month. The Belmont Village facility in Westwood, CA hosts an annual fashion show for residents. Activities and specialties will vary by facility, be sure to investigate what is fun or unique about the facilities in your area or your desired retirement destination. But apart from activities, luxury assisted living offers a variety of classes on a number of subjects as well as training on how to use current technologies to keep residents in touch with the modern outlets for communication and socialization with their friends and families.
• Additionally, luxury facilities often provide more personalized care and assistance in the form of therapy services. Personal therapy, pet therapy, counseling, and other offerings are available for residents to get any personal help that they desire.

Luxury facilities also offer money return and redistribution policies to residents who choose to leave or pass on while under the facility’s care to assure an asset base for the resident’s children or inheritance. After gaining admittance, it may relieve many seniors to know that many such luxury senior living facilities have policies that assure anywhere from 70-90 percent of the initial payment may be returned if the resident chooses to leave, or will be returned to the inheritance upon death, to ensure that the financial wishes of the resident are ensured and satisfied.