About Taya Elery

Taya is an MBA graduate of Health Care Administration and a freelance writer for CareCompare.com. Taya has a clear understanding of senior care and delivers that throughout her online endeavors.

5 Tips to Keep Couples Living Together in Assisted Living

Assisted Living Even after a couple have both successfully retired, they still only consider living at home for the remainder of their lives. However, due to financial circumstances or major health concerns, at least one spouse may need more adequate care than the one spouse can provide. In-home care may prove to be expensive. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can make caretaking even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to consider options such as moving into an assisted living community.

Many retirement communities are ensuring they can accommodate couples for assisted living and skilled nursing units. The communities realize that after decades of a couple living together, the emotional disconnect of separating them will cause more harm than the level of care to be provided. With the variety of care options, it’s no longer necessary to do. A couple can live together in assisted living and pay for the care they need.

Assisted living housing is not what many think. Housing options range from studios, one-bedroom, two-bedrooms, and even town homes. There are so many up-scaled amenities, seniors often forget they are in assisted housing. Retirement communities these days make the transition easier when the seniors leave their beloved homes.

1. Ensure They are Financially Prepared

Before your parents get to the stage of moving into a retirement community, it’s best to ensure they are financially prepared. No matter if they end up in an assisted living, nursing, or independent living community, the expenses can feel overwhelming. It’s important to note that Medicaid is not accepted at all assisted living facilities, so seniors should not depend solely on that for their retirement years. For the long term, seniors should prepare for assisted living and skilled nursing care.

2. Decide Together on the Community

Your senior parents may have made most major decisions together. There is no reason to break this cycle now. They should sit down together and make the decision of which assisted living community is right for them. This is the time to compromise, taking into consideration each interest and level of care needed for the other.

3. Ensure Both Undergo a Thorough Assessment

It’s extremely important to ensure the community can provide the appropriate level of care for each senior. Even if a senior feels fine, they should undergo a thorough assessment by their physician. Another should be done 30 days after they’ve moved into the community, to ensure they are adjusting well. A move into an assisted living community is more than a physical move; it’s also a major emotional change that should be closely monitored.

Read: Elderly Care Guide: Finding The Right Care For Your Parents

4. Ensure the Community Charges Appropriately

When one spouse is healthy, and the other needs managed care, you don’t want to pay double the cost for no reason. The community should charge appropriately for the level of care administered. The spouse who does not need care should be responsible for room and board, only. Then, the fee for the administered care should be charged on top of that.

5. Ensure They Can Stay Together During the Next Phase

An assisted living community is not the final stage of care. To keep couples living together, or as close as possible, they should select a community that offers a nearby wing or at least other units of care on the campus. For instance, if one spouse now needs skilled nursing, the other should be allowed to stay in their assisted living unit. Other options include them moving to the same wing their spouse is relocating to, or at least still live on the same campus. They should be allowed to visit as often as they’d like, for their sake and their spouses.

It’s not an easy task keeping couples together in assisted living. They both must distinguish their wants and needs and take into account what will suit each of their wellness interests. However, with the help of family and the community’s staff, they can come together with a comfortable living situation.


How Technology Is Making Seniors Life Easier

TechnologyIf you have other responsibilities, such as work or raising your family, you may strongly be considering placing your senior loved one in a nursing community or day care program. However, technology has come such a long way that it enables seniors to enjoy the comforts of home, safely. Discover how with the following six pieces of technology.

1. Around the Clock Monitoring

As a matter of safety and comfort, having around the clock monitoring can ease many seniors and their family’s mind. Combined with home security systems, many companies integrate sensors throughout the main areas of the home such as the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. These sensors alert if a window, door, cabinet, or refrigerator is opened. There is a list of subscribers who are alerted once the alarm goes off.

2. GPS Enabled Tracking

At the signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, many seniors are forced to move out of their homes and into a relative’s home or nursing home. Seniors want to do the same things they once did, such as walk the neighborhood or drive. However, it’s unsafe because they can forget where they are going or how to get back home. If a senior is not found within a day of wandering off, it’s unlikely they’ll return unharmed. Many are injured or die. Others experience a traumatic event.

A senior may not feel it’s important enough to grab their cell phone when they leave home. Technology has greatly improved past needing a cell phone to track someone. However, old habits die hard, so they will grab their shoes. The Aetrex Navistar GPS Footwear System solves this problem by enabling GPS technology in the heel of the shoe. So if your elderly loved ones do leave home, you’ll always be able to track them.

3. Ensure Medicines Are Taken on Time

It’s not always a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia, but seniors do tend to forget a few things here and there. Forgetting to take their prescriptions or are confused with so many pills is quite common. To ensure they are taking the proper dosage of medications and on time, a medication management system should be in your loved ones home. Some systems light up to remind a senior to take their medications. Others may flash a notice on the display screen or remind the senior verbally.

4. Enables Seniors to Take Part in the World

Living at home alone or being alone for the majority of the day is no fun for any senior. If they are homebound, they are easily restless, and the feeling of isolation can overcome them. To keep them involved in the world, the Virtual Senior Center is quite possibly the realist interactions they can get.

This system utilizes a computer, video connections, and Internet technology to create an interactive experience for seniors. They can take live classes, tour museums across the globe, discuss politics, and interact with other seniors regarding common interests. This program instills hope in seniors, reducing their loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

5. Improved Telephone’s with Seniors in Mind

Seniors can get frustrated pretty quickly. However, when you think about it, who can blame them? Talking on the phone they can barely hear through is aggravating when they have to ask the caller constantly to repeat themselves. Trying to dial their loved ones using a small keypad, trying to remember their phone number or programmed memory code is a nightmare as well. It’s a good thing seniors now have access to photo-enhanced phone dialers and captioned telephone systems.

The photo enhanced phone dialers have the phone numbers of family, friends, and physicians programmed in. Instead of remembering a code, they just need to remember your face. With the touch of a picture button, they can have conversations with anyone, anytime.

The captured telephone system enables seniors to talk to anyone and read their responses on a large screen format. It’s in real time, so the conversation can go smoothly.

6. Automatic Stove Shut-Off Systems

CookStop has products to help seniors still remain independent in the kitchen. One is their automatic stove shut off system. Timers and motion sensors are set so that if a senior is away from the stove for too long, it will shut itself off. Your loved one will never need to argue again that they are the best cook around.

The above six technologies should seriously be considered if your senior loved one is home alone. These technologies can not only keep them from being lonely and depressed, but also prevent fatal accidents from occurring.

4 Cell Phone Plans for Senior Citizens

Cell Phone Plans for Senior CitizensSeniors have enough bills on their hands. As it is encouraged for them to have a smart device such as a tablet or smartphone, it should not be too expensive to manage. Luckily, there are cell phone plans for senior citizens available with no contracts to get into nor cancelation fees. The government also has programs available to assist seniors and those who are income qualified to receive free phones and airtime minutes. Below are four excellent cell phone plans for senior citizens.

No-Contract Phones

A great way for seniors to avoid the hassles and become locked into a plan are to select no-contract phones. These make for some of the best cell phone plans for senior citizens. You’ll find these phone plans as prepaid cell phones or pay as you go phones. There are no contracts, no credit checks, no monthly bills, and most importantly, no hidden costs. It’s a refreshing change to a confusing traditional cell phone plan.

The way the plan works is you’ll purchase the phone and then buy a prepaid phone card with a select number of minutes. Sometimes you can update this online. The major carriers offer these, but seniors may find better deals with smaller carriers.

TracFone offers no-contract phones starting at $10.

• T-Mobile has a good plan for seniors. They offer a 30 minute plan for only $10. These minutes are active for 90 days. Seniors can also opt for their 1,000-minute plan for $100. The minutes remain active for one year. However, this plan requires a $35 activation fee.

• Consumer Cellular also offers a senior-friendly phone called the Doro PhoneEasy 618. This offers large buttons that make it easy for seniors to dial out. The phones initial costs is $60; however, the plans start as low as $10 a month.

Free Cell Phones

There are many free cell phone plans that seniors qualify for as well. These are offered through the government. Wireless companies such as Lifeline, Assurance Wireless, and Safelink all operate under free services throughout the nation.

Seniors receiving Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, Social Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps (SNAP), or other government assistance services may be eligible for these subsidized plans. Most plans include a free phone and 250 free minutes a month. Some services allow you to bring in your own phone to activate under this free plan. For a Lifeline provider in your state, visit Free Government Cell Phones and search via your state.

Verizon Wireless Nationwide 65 Plus Plan

A select number of major carriers offer plans especially for seniors. Verizon Wireless has a Nationwide 65 Plus plan for seniors 65 years of age and older. This plan targets seniors who do not talk on the phone much nor text or surf the web often. They have a single plan and a two-line plan, perfect for couples.

An example plan is the 200 anytime minutes at $29.99. The two-lines can be shared for 450 minutes at $59.98. The Nationwide 65 Plus plan includes 500 night and weekend minutes for the single line and 1000 night and weekend minutes for the two-lines. Long distance and unlimited national mobile-to-mobile are included for both. Then, seniors can tailor their plan to their needs such as pay-as-you-go messaging or an unlimited plan. Data plans start at 75MB, or they can opt for pay-as-you-go.

GreatCall GoPlans

An interesting phone plan offered by GreatCall is through their new Jitterbug5 phone. This intriguing phone has a dedicated 5Star button. It includes large buttons with legible numbers, a backlit keypad, and great speaker connections for maximum call clarity. The battery life on the Jitterbug5 is for 25 days.

The 5Star button allows seniors to connect immediately to a Medical Alert Agent. The service includes MedCoach, which reminds seniors to take their medication and the GreatCall Link which assists caregivers and seniors regarding their health and safety.

GreatCall’s basic plan starts at just $14.99 and includes 50 talk minutes per month. Each GoPlan includes Free Long Distance, Call Waiting, Voice Mail, and Caller ID. There are no contracts or cancelation fees.

This listing is not all inclusive, so contact your carrier and ask them if they have cell phone plans for senior citizens. Depending on the seniors’ needs, this may be just the plan they need to save them major bucks.


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/

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.


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.


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.


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

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.

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.

7 YouTube Videos Every Caregiver Should Watch

As a caregiver, you have many responsibilities. You may have been positioned as a caregiver at the last minute, with no formal training on taking care of your senior loved one. Taking care of the elderly, you should have a visual demonstration of how to handle their needs, for their safety and yours. Here are seven YouTube videos that every caregiver should watch.

1. Understanding and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you may have a limited support system. Family and friends may help out initially, but their support gradually fades away. They are busy supporting their family. Their finances are tied up in their household needs. They don’t understand that even one hour a day provides you with much-needed relief.

You’ll notice signs of caregiver burnout such as having anxiety, restless nights, or are easily frustrated. You may avoid social interactions as well. Second Opinion has a health care team addressing caregiver burnout and what can be done about it. It’s important to address your health and emotional needs before you can assist others.

2 . Feeding a Senior While in Bed

Feeding a senior is not as easy as you would think. There are a lot of concerns, such as if they can sit up properly to swallow food, if they can chew their food, and what foods they can eat. A senior can easily become malnourished due to special dietary concerns of dysphagia. So it’s important that you understand how and what foods to feed your senior loved one. Caregiver Minute presents this video that shows you step by step instructions on feeding a senior while they are in bed.

3. Simple Modifications for Senior Home Safety

85-90% of seniors want to stay at home, and it is recommended they stay home for their mental well-being. Were you aware that the majority of household accidents seniors are involved in occur in the bathroom? Certain accidents such as falling over objects, falling off ladders, or slipping in the bathroom occur often, but can be avoided. Home Instead reviews their Home Safety Checklist. In this video, you will learn simple and inexpensive tips to modify your senior loved ones home for safety.

4. How to Transfer Your Loved One

As your senior loved ones primary caregiver, you are going to need to transition them from a laying down position to a sitting up position. You may need to move them from the bed to a chair. Moving them around often helps prevents bed sores and their muscles from tightening. It also exposes them to other areas of the home so that isolation and loneliness does not set in.

Transferring your loved one around is not easy at all. It is far more difficult than moving a heavy object because you must be careful not to cause physical injuries to yourself or them. Watch this video by Family Caregiver Alliance to learn how to transfer seniors around safely.

5. Managing Medications

A very tough job for caregivers is managing medications. It’s a difficult enough task getting a senior to take just one prescription, but when you have a host of them, it’s confusing as well. Doctors do attempt to prescribe the least amount of medications for a patient. When they are on multiple pills, they then attempt to let the senior take as many as possible together. This is not always safe to do. So in those situations, you, as their caregiver take on the immense responsibility of ensuring they take their medications on time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outstanding video reviewing various tips on proper medication management.

6. How to Monitor Blood Sugar

Your loved one’s blood sugar should be carefully monitored. If it’s too high or too low, the senior could become very sick. Knowing where their blood sugar levels are at is important to treat them immediately if something should occur. It’s also important to track it so your senior loved one’s doctor will know if their diet should be adjusted or prescriptions changed.

Monitoring your blood sugar is not as simple as poking one’s finger. There are precautions and proper procedures that should be followed. Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to monitor your loved one’s blood sugar levels. They also have this important video demonstrating how to administer insulin using an insulin pen.

7. How To Measure Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure levels can alert you to a serious problem in your loved one. Too high or low blood pressure could be an indication of neurological or heart disorders. The symptoms include dizziness, thirst, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. However, it’s not always apparent, especially in seniors with diabetes. As a caregiver, you should monitor your loved one’s blood pressure levels to ensure they are safe. Cal Poly’s PolyFit students give an excellent overview and demonstration of how to measure blood pressure.

These videos will help ease your transition into the role of caregiver for your senior loved one. Best of all, they are always there for you to refer to if you get nervous or forget.