Adult Care

young woman helping senior lady with the housework

 

While Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are still in their earliest stages in seniors, you may find your senior loved one can still function and perform daily tasks independently. Seniors at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may still effectively socialize, carry out their jobs, and drive. This is the stage where your duties of adult care for your affected senior are the least demanding. But it is no less tragic to know that worse phases of the illness are yet to come, and to watch your aging parent’s behavior and trademark personality slowly change as their mental health deteriorates.

 

Alzheimer’s is a very frustrating disease because it is currently unpreventable and incapable of being slowed or stopped in affected seniors. The best thing you as their caregiver can do is to educate yourself as much as possible about their dementia, so that you can know what to expect and how to handle eventual troubling symptoms as they arise in later stages of the disease.

 

“Early stage” Alzheimer’s is characterized by mild obstruction to a senior’s thinking and learning abilities but can still actively participate in conversation and activities, with a few hiccups perhaps. Alzheimer can often go undetected for a while during the early stages, as elders may conscious enough simply dismiss weak symptoms as “brain farts” or having “a senior moment.” The beginning phase of Alzheimer’s disease may last a few years before worsening to more noticeable and tragic effects.

 

Life After An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

 

Once you get confirmation from a doctor that a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, your approach to caring for them may be more of a partnership than extensive caregiving duties. You may be helping them remember where they were in the story they were telling, or reminding them to take their medication, without having to heavily involve yourself in every aspect of their daily routine.

 

Being able to go slow at the early stages of disease gives you a grace period where you can work with your aging parent, spouse, or extended family on planning for the long-term care strategy for a senior in later stages of the disease when the effects of the disease worsen. Not every family is in a position to provide the extensive amount of caregiving, monitoring, and medical attention that an advanced Alzheimer’s senior needs. Careers and education can be obstacles keeping an adult child from providing 24/7 round-the-clock care for a senior. Working with your aging parent in the early stages gives you ample preparation time to plan and get family finances in order for arranging the best-fitting senior care coverage.

 

Ways You Can Be Helpful In Early Alzheimer’s Stages

 

As we mentioned before, a senior at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may only need some light assistance with daily tasks and obligations. Ways you can be a help to a senior with dementia may include:

  • Keeping track of medicines and reminding when to take them
  • Helping to manage their money or pay bills
  • Assisting with organizing events or outings
  • Finding misplaced items around the house
  • Keeping track of important phone numbers for them

 

Your Caregiving Attitude For Early Stage Alzheimer’s

 

Keeping a positive and encouraging attitude for a senior during early stage Alzheimer’s  is key to their peace of mind and reducing their stress during this rough time. You will have to muster up a greater degree of patience and slow pacing for activities than you are used to when handling a senior loved one’s affairs. As a caregiver, it is important that you remain supportive and do not make them feel like a burden. Then again, if you do not feel you are capable of providing the extent of care they need, and do view your new duties as a burden, it may be best to consider placing your senior in the professional hands of a memory care facility.

 

Not everyone is cut out for caregiving, and if you feel you are not capable of doing it with a loving and sincere attitude, it may be better to leave it to skilled nurses who have made a career out of it. Letting guilt make your decision to be a caregiver against your will can lead to an atmosphere of resentment in a home, which is not healthy for anyone in this rough time.

 

Frustration and stress can be avoided by preparing as soon as possible, and not putting off planning for senior care until it suddenly becomes imperative. Evaluating your options for the best care is not a good decision to rush. It takes time and research to get it right. Ask your doctor any questions you have about how Alzheimer’s disease may affect specific aspects of your family’s unique lifestyle, and make the needed adjustments for a smooth caregiving environment with all the family working together as a team.

 

swivel set

How Aging Impacts Men and Women Differently

Maybe you are a senior, and have at some point found yourself bickering with your spouse over who has it worse in this whole “getting old” thing.  Aging often affects men and women in different ways, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  There are pluses and minuses to getting on in years for both sexes; so hold your bickering for a moment, and read on to learn a little about what to expect from aging effects, and how to appreciate the unique experiences that impact older men and women, that it may hopefully bring you and your life partner of all these years closer together.

Alzheimers Assisted living

Certain elements of the changes that age brings generally impact men and women differently.  A survey showed that women are typically perceived as “old” about five years before men.  And women are often more conscious of their fading youthful beauty than men, as women frequently feel under greater pressure to look young.  The decreasing amount of “guys double-taking at the sight of your walking down the sidewalk” can decrease the confidence of aging women, and lead to depression for those who are not yet accepting of the transition into this next era of life.  In fact, a recent study showed that 42% of middle-aged women expressed that they would consider plastic surgery, Botox, and other anti-aging procedures in order to look younger, as opposed to only 18% of middle-aged men.

Here it is important for men to encourage their wives whenever they are troubled with feelings of “looking old.” A wife may benefit emotionally by being reassured that she is still beautiful to the man she loves.  She may do well to know that the experiences you both have shared, as well as the person she has aged into is more at the heart of this relationship than just mere appearances.

Evidenced by people like George Clooney and Robert Downy Jr., men can sometimes pull off the greying hairs and aging face as adding distinction, an intellectual semblance, and charm to their appearance.  But while men may not tend to feel as devastated by the diminishing of their youthful looks, they often struggle with other challenges of aging.  The physical limitations that a weakening body can bring may make a man feel less useful and less independent around his home.  Men can become depressed as their libido starts to wind down and sexual activity becomes less possible or less frequent.  And that stereotypical male reluctance to ask for help or admit to weakness can be detrimental to getting any needed health care, and sometimes lead to cases of Alzheimer’s to not be detected or treated until later stages of the disease.

Here, wives may have an opportunity to provide some consolation to their aging husbands, by assuring them that they by no means have to be a “superman” anymore, and all that matters is getting whatever help is needed, to that they can remain healthily together for more years to come.

It is a well-known health phenomenon that women tend to outlive men by a few years.  This can have psychological implications on seniors of both sexes.  Men can feel uneasy and depressed about leaving their loved ones behind; and studies have shown that mortality rates for widowed spouses rises in the two years after their loved-one’s passing.  Living longer also consequentially makes women more statistically likely to develop age-related disorders.  Approximately 65% of seniors with Alzheimer’s are women, and the residents in memory care facilities are overwhelmingly female.

Alzheimer Assisted Living Care

While there are fewer cases of elderly men with Alzheimer’s and dementia than women, the amount of men with memory-hindering diseases is increasing.  And men are still sometimes faced with the circumstance of being in the minority at memory care and assisted living facilities, where women may in general feel more accommodated.

When overviewing information about aging, like this, it is good for seniors to understand that the changes happening to themselves and their spouses are natural and mostly inevitable.  The best thing that can be done is to appreciate the physical and emotional needs of an aging husband or wife in the later years of a marriage.  No one has it better or worse in this “getting old” thing, as long as they are supported and surrounded by others who care, whether it is a spouse, other relatives, or the friendly staff at an assisted living community.

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/

Activities of Daily Living

As our parents age, we often try not the think about the worst case scenarios. However, the truth is, your parents will age and come to a state where they depend on us to handle their financial, legal, and emotional matters. It’s important for you to know their wishes and how to obtain important documentation. Here are seven questions to ask your aging parents before it’s too late, and things become complicated.

1. Do You Have Someone to Make Health Care Decisions for You?

In most cases, aging parents are expected to make health care decisions for their spouse. However, decisions can be prolonged or go in the opposite direction of what a person wanted. This is because family and close friends are too emotionally attached, thinking of their own wants and needs. Your aging parents can select a health care proxy who will handle all their health care decisions. Before they designate one, they need to be sure this person can carry out their wishes.

2. Do You Have an Idea of the Type of Medical Care You Want?

Having a health care decision maker only works well if they know your medical care wishes. That’s why it’s important to discuss with the decision maker exactly what they want, especially when faced with the end of life decisions. Comfort levels, pain management, life support decisions, these are all important as your parent does have their own views.

3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?

The fact that both of your parents are alive and well does not mean they shouldn’t have a will or living trust established. Typically, when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically receives the assets. However, what should happen if they become incapacitated or pass away soon thereafter? It’s important that both of your aging parents establish a will or living trust so their possessions can be passed on as they wish.

4. Do You Have Your Long-Term Care Plan in Place?

Some parents believe they will stay at home until they pass on. They don’t think about how they will be able to remain at home and be comfortable. There are costs involved, such as an actual caretaker, medications, and supportive equipment. They may, in fact, not be able to remain at home and need to go to a supportive facility such as an assisted living or nursing home.

The costs of these communities are rising so having a long-term care plan in place, especially insurance, is going to be helpful. If they do have long-term care insurance in place, set up an appointment for you, your parents, and the insurance agent to discuss the policy in full. You need to make sure you understand it and the coverage options.

5. Where Can I Find Your Important Documents and Are They Current?

If you are not familiar with where your parents keep their important documents, it’s time to find out. If something were to happen to them, you don’t want to waste time searching their home for insurance documents, medical paperwork, financial statements, or proxy designation forms. Any documents kept in a safe deposit box should have a designated family member assigned a key. Ensure these documents are up to date as well.

6. Do You Have All Your Doctor’s Listed in One Location?

Should an emergency happen, it could be critical for attending physicians to talk to your parent’s primary care physician (PCP). There could have been a recent appointment that uncovered important information about your parent’s medical condition. You should know who their physicians are and how to contact them.

7. What Are Your Current Medications?

As your parents age, you can expect that sooner or later there may be medication management problems. They may get confused regarding what prescriptions they take and why. They may mix up their dosage. Having a clear understanding of their prescriptions could save your parent’s life should they become confused.

If your parents are comfortable and open with you, go over these 35 questions that AARP has compiled together. Sometimes the best way to be there for your aging parents is to ask them the hard and uncomfortable questions.

Discover 10 things you should never say to your aging parents. http://bit.ly/1DsAmGV

5 Ways Baby Boomers are changing Long-Term Care

Long-term careAbout 75 million people born between the year of 1946 and 1964 comprise the baby boomer generation and they would be approaching retirement in the coming ages. With aging of baby boomers there will be an enormous impact on long-term care for the elderly. The growth in the number of seniors will significantly change how health care is provided to this large amount of aging people. Further, with loss in boomer-age providers there will be further pressure on the already stressed health care industry.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, almost 12 million people will need long-term care by the end of 2020. The rising concern is not just about the health care facilities but also about the cost of Medicaid and financial preparedness of the baby boomers. Significantly, there are 5 ways in which baby boomers are changing health care industry and you must know about the same to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the coming years.

1. Baby Boomers Live Longer

The first basic concern of the baby boomer population is that they live longer. This directly impacts the long-term care requirements for the aging population. Although the seniors are aging but they tend to live longer due to advancement in medical technologies. Further, since baby boomers are living long past their retirement age, their need for health care and support is significantly high.

2. Baby Boomers Wish to Live Independent

Most of the baby boomers wish to live independent since they have been working independently. After retirement, most seniors do not want to depend on their children and it is their need for independence that drives them to care centers. Most of the seniors would look for health care centers and residential care centers which will significantly impact the long-term care industry. Sometimes, baby boomers also wish to stay at home and require in-home care and assistance.

3. Lack of Insurance

Most baby boomers have the capability to buy insurance but they are not buying enough insurance that is required for long-term care. The services offered by health caregivers are not usually included in comprehensive health care plans and unless enough insurance is bought by the baby boomers, there can be a huge financial impact on the health industry

4. Increasing Government Aid Options

All baby boomers are not eligible for Medicaid and Medicare facilities but they can seek assistance from several government aided options, such as the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program that is exclusively available for federal employees. Seniors can also seek guidance from long-term care ombudsmen to understand medical care options that would be suitable for them.

5. Diverse Health Care Options

Baby boomers will impact the long-term care industry as they would create a lot of opportunities for out-of-home care facilities as well and in-home care services. There will be huge demand for qualified professionals in the coming years and this will significantly boost the healthcare industry.

6 Recent Trends in Nursing Home Care

Nursing HomeThe past stigma that nursing home care is just about providing a place for old people to live out their final years is of course not true. Although, let’s be honest when was the last time you even thought of visiting an old friend living in a nursing home?

Treating our elderly as worthwhile contributors in our society is not only an important part of them maintaining their dignity, but it is also a vital element in our social evolution.

Thankfully, modern nursing home care facilities are starting to adopt strategies that are designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate their clients into a more normal life style.

1. Nursing home care is becoming more rehabilitation orientated

Due to the high cost of skilled nursing, the trend is for nursing facilities to become short-term rehabilitation centers. Typically, over 25% nursing home resident admissions are after hospitalization for a serious injury or acute medical procedure. A growing number of nursing home patients return home fully recovered to live independent life styles.

2. Technology is enhancing our nursing homes.

We are far from the emulation of Star Trek, but technology is becoming a huge part of caring for our seniors. Specialized computers systems are being developed to do tasks that range from keeping track of medications and vital signs to mobile networks that help run smart-homes allowing for independent living.

3. Families oriented living arrangements

The cost of senior care is forcing families to rearrange their housing to accommodate the care their seniors. A well designed multi-generational housing unit is not only a cost saving measure but also a highly manageable way of keep the seniors in the family setting.

4. Senior living cooperatives

A senior living cooperative is a good way of maintaining a degree of independence while sharing some of the expenses with other seniors. The senior lives in an independent home but shares certain expenses and recreational areas. The members of the community setting will typically pay monthly dues to maintain the property and pay for housekeeping and some shared meals

5. Baby boomers prefer eco-friendly

Today’s senior citizen are much better informed and are demanding safer and more eco-friendly conditions to live. They understand that consuming organic and nutrient rich food will keep them healthier. They recognize that using LEED-certified eco-friendly materials and appliances will lead to significant cost savings in the future. They know that they will be more comfortable, happier and healthier living in environmental friendly conditions.

6. The home health care industry is booming

Senior citizens don’t want to be institutionalized.  Today’s senior citizen wants to be independent and at home for as long as possible. Home health care is much more affordable and effective than a nursing care facility due to technology enhancements and civic planning initiatives. The home health care alternative will continue to grow in popularity due to the many advantages it offers over an institutional setting.

There are many consideration to be taken into account when planning for long-term care and it can be quite overwhelming. However there is no reason to fret, visit our Facebook Page for a great place to build relationships and get advice.

 

10 Things to Never Say to your Aging Parents

Aging ParentsfIf you have aging parents who are driving you nuts and giving you a very hard time then you may end up saying something rude to them. However, you must think before reacting to their actions because at their age, they are prone to forgetfulness and stubbornness. Nobody is denying that you love your parents, but often, in times of frustration, a single word, comment or insult tumbling out of your mouth can do irredeemable damage to the well-being of your parents.

Your Dad and your Mom, they are the most important persons in your life and they have brought you up with care and comfort, provided the right education and supported you in times of crisis. With age, they are prone to illness, loss of memory and various other ailments that will affect their cognitive and physical abilities. Your aging parents may commit silly mistakes or grave errors, but you have to cope with such situations.

You have to make certain strong decisions about:

• Whether your parents need help?
• Are they thinking about having any Will?
• What kind of medical attention and intervention do they require?
• Do your parents want to live on their own?

Your aging parents may be slipping away and losing their mind but you need to take control of their life and discuss issues with your parents before arriving at any decision. However, while taking care of your parents or even if you are sending your parents to assisted living homes, you must always keep in mind the following 10 things that you should never say to your parents.

1. Never yell at your parents.

Your parents may lose their memory but you must never yell at them or remind them of their weak memory. You must always be polite and always avoid questioning their memory.

2. Never judge your parents.

You must never judge the actions of your aging parents. Your parents may be doing illogical things and running all over your house incessantly. However, you should try to calm your parents within judging their actions. You must never scold your parents for their actions because most often they do not understand what they are doing.

3. Never speak abusively to your parents.

You must never hurl expletives or abuses towards your parents. Manage all situations effectively by trying to help your parents. If you need professional help to complete the daily tasks of your parents then you may also engage professional caregivers. Assisted living is very common these days and can be the best solution for your parents’ needs.

4. Don’t get upset when your parents can’t work technical devices.

You should never yell at your parents if they cannot operate smartphone, television or computer. At old age, understanding technology can be very difficult, especially with failing eyesight and cognition. You must try to keep things simple and teach new features to your parents.

5. Understand elderly are often forgetful.

Try to never question your parents if they constantly jump from one topic of discussion to another. Elderly often lose track of their thought and they will appear confused in their thoughts but you must always be polite to them.

6. Keep their age out of the conversation.

Never tell your parents they are growing old. Nobody likes to hear concerns about their age, so you too should avoid it.

7. Don’t dictate their will.

Do not express your wish to capture your parents’ belongings upon their demise. Further you should not dictate terms while your parent tries to write the Will because the Will should be a testament of your parent’s wish, not yours.

8. Don’t put them down when they don’t remember family or friends.

Your parents may not recognize you or your relatives so do not force old memories upon them.

9. Do not question your parent’s wishes.

If your parents want to live alone then you must respect their decision. You may also contact assisted living facilities to find out what works best for your aging parents.

10. Do not speak resentful words.
Speaking resentful words can cause your parents to become depressed and push you and other loved ones away. Please make sure to speak respectfully when when you’re stressed and upset with your parents.

What is Assisted Living?

Are you facing difficulty in caring for your parents? Do you need help to find the right caregiver who can provide assistance to your parents to lead a healthy and happy life? Well, don’t worry because there are several assisted living facilities that can help your parents live a healthy and fruitful life.

However, before putting your parents under such care it is important to understand what assisted living is all about. It is also referred as an adult care home or residential care facility that provide several services for elderly care. The facilities vary widely in range of assistance and their size may range from small homely environments to large scale corporate facilities with hundreds of residents. The privacy and independence of your parents would be maintained at all times and they can call for assistance at any point throughout the day.

The basic purpose of assisted living facilities is to provide assistance to seniors who need help carrying out their daily activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, cooking food, medication reminders, and more. However, elderly who are too sick and need complex medical services cannot be taken care of at residential care centers. Home care facilities would provide regular checkups to the elderly and may have doctors and nurses visiting occasionally, but they are not alternatives to nursing home facilities.

Assisted living is not only about caregiving and assistance with daily activities, but also about opportunities for companionship and socialization. These centers provide ideal homes where your parents would interact with friendly staff and meet several other elderly people who share their stories and engage in friendly activities. The homes may range from studio apartments to single residence apartments or community centers where the elderly socialize and participate in various events to stay active.

Some of the main objectives of assisted living facilities are:

• Foster independence of each resident
• Treat residents with respect and care
• Allow residents to opt for the kind of care and facilities they require
• Involve family and friends of the residents in care planning
• Provide a safe, homely and residential environment that doesn’t feel like a facility
• Offer cost-effective quality care
• Provide help to carry out daily activities

Typically, all assisted living facilities provide a common dining hall and prepared meals to the seniors. There may be community halls, fitness center, swimming pool and various other recreational facilities available at the facility. Laundry services, natural and artificial lighting, security, transportation and supervision are some of the common features that are provided to the residents at such facilities.

Choosing to move your loved ones to facilities away from home can be a very difficult choice but if you move the elderly to a renowned home care facility then you can be sure about their welfare. However, choosing the right facility may be a difficult task and you need to look out for the above pointers to decide upon the best care possible for your parents and loved ones. You can also visit the facility and notice the cordiality of the staff and elderly assistance available before deciding on sending your parents to such centers.

How To Prepare Your Home for an Elderly Parent

It is becoming increasingly common for elderly parents to move in with their children rather than a nursing home or assisted living facility.  It’s estimated that at least 34 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for elderly relatives, spending an average 21 hours a week providing care.  This arrangement can be beneficial in numerous ways, but it requires a considerable amount of self-sacrifice and patience. Preparing your home before Mom or Dad moves in is an excellent way to get the arrangement off to the right start.  “Elder-proofing” your home will prevent accidents and make life safer for the senior.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

How to Make Your Home Senior-Friendly

Whether you are sprucing up a spare bedroom or building an addition, specific adjustments will need to be made to accommodate the senior moving in.  You will need to:

  • Lay down anti-slip mats under your throw rugs, or remove all rugs completely.
  • Fit furniture bumpers over sharp corners to soften the edges.
  • Ensure all walkways are well-lit.  Plug night-lights into the bedroom, bathroom, and hallway.
  • Replace door knobs with easy-to-open handles.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Reposition any furniture obstructing walk ways.
  • Install ramps for wheelchairs and widen doorways if necessary.

How to Make Your Home Their Home

Making your elderly parent feel at home is just as important as keeping them safe.  Adjusting to a new home and lifestyle will be difficult, so you’ll want to make it as seamless as possible.  Here are a few tips.

  • Bring in as much of your parent’s furniture as possible.
  • Decorate the senior’s bedroom with their tastes in mind.
  • Try to make room for your relative’s pet (if they have one).
  • Get your parent a cell phone, or at least put a landline in their room.

You may also want to consider having a separate thermostat in your parent’s bedroom.  Older ones often like it warmer than the rest of the family, but they may not speak up if they are uncomfortable.  If a separate thermostat is not an option, purchase a space heater. The lengths you go to determine your parent’s safety and comfort will determine the success (or failure) of the living arrangements.  Remember, your parents did everything they could to care for you as a child; this is your chance to return the favor.

When Your Parent Wants to Go Home

If you have a parent in a care facility, you’ve likely heard the plaintive plea “I want to go home.”  For families with a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, this request is often heard on a daily basis.  So how do you answer the senior when going home is impossible?  And how do you cope if your “refusal to help” turns your parent against you?

When a parent or grandparent is placed in a nursing home or other care facility, their lifestyles change dramatically.  No longer are they in control of when or what they eat, or what time they go to sleep.  Much of their daily life becomes a monotonous routine with precious few variations.  A private person may now be forced to share a small space with a roommate.  A senior who is used to making her own decisions may be at the mercy of an unyielding staff with a strict set of rules.  Whatever the situation may be, it’s certainly understandable why seniors often wish for home sweet home.

Understanding why the senior feels the way she does is the first step in successfully handling her request to go home.  Is there something you can do to make her room more comfortable?  Would it be possible to move her to a single-patient room?  Could you bring in a few familiar mementos to make the facility seem more like home?  While these suggestions may not completely take away the desire to go home, they can certainly help.

For patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, they can get very confused and agitated when told they cannot leave the care facility.  The surroundings are unfamiliar, the staff is made up of strangers – even you, their child, may not be recognized.  Explanations and reasoning won’t work in this case, but distractions just might.  Take your parent to a window or another object of interest.  Many care facilities and nursing homes feature aquariums or bird cages, which can be a source of delight.  The distraction might only last for a few minutes to an hour, but it’s a start.  It may give you a chance to run to the patient’s room to grab a photo album or scrapbook – another excellent distraction.

Talking with your loved one about fond childhood memories is another effective way of turning the conversation away from going home.  Reminiscing calms the senior down and puts him at ease.  Unfortunately, the issue is far from dropped – it’s just temporarily forgotten.  You must arm yourself with understanding and acceptance – especially when the senior becomes upset.  Remember, it’s not you that the senior is angry with; it’s the situation and circumstances that are out of his control.

Hearing “I just want to go home,” will never be easy.  But with advanced preparation and understanding, you can successfully help the senior feel at home – wherever he is.