Helpful Senior Marriage Advice

 

It is often surprising to young people today when they ask a senior married couple how long they have been together and get an answer like 50 years! In our modern society, nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce, it is not uncommon to be remarried several times. Young men and women who want to create a successful marriage for themselves can look to lasting senior marriages to find the key to staying together.

 

Focus group questioning of seniors who had been married for 30, 40, 50 years and above has provided us with their answers for what it takes to maintain a healthy and enduring marriage. This list of senior marriage tips outlines some of the principles and habits that are most been useful and effective for seniors to maintain strong marriages, and can also be applied for seniors looking to find new senior relationships later in life after a loved on has passed.

 

Our senior marriage advice list focuses much on attitude and interaction tips for building an encouraging routine and also warns of potential pitfalls that consume many marriages. There is no such thing as a perfect, effortless marriage. It is a commitment that will always take work and adherence to these principles, regardless of the amount of years you have been together.

 

  • Choose Your Battles Wisely
Not every minor dispute needs to escalate to a big argument. Statistics actually show that fighting is an aspect of a healthy marriage, instead of merely bottling up emotions, opinions, and wants then not communicating. Although, too much bickering can create an atmosphere of resentment in the home. Not every argument has to be heated; there can be room for compromise on issues that aren’t crucially important to you.

 

  • Don’t Be Spiteful or Vengeful
    There will surely come times when your spouse crosses a line, forgets something important, does something selfish, etc. It can be tempting to hold a grudge, seek revenge, or give a cold shoulder to punish them. Spite cripples a relationship dynamic. Communicating your grievances sincerely and accepting apologies when they are earnestly given can be most effective at mending wounds. Make an effort to resolve issues both respectfully and promptly to avoid long-lingering bitterness at home.

 

  • Jealousy and Insecurity are Damaging
    Trust is as critical a factor of importance as love. Many people drive themselves crazy by obsessing over all the friendships and work associates in a spouse’s life, but it is important to stay trusting until you are given a good reasons not to. A little bit of jealousy is healthy—it shows you care. However, obsessive jealously can make life a drudge for both spouses.

 

  • Understand Your Spouse’s Love Language
    Everyone expresses love a little differently. Affection assumes many forms, and there are certain romantic gestures that garner a better response than others. The five primary love languages are listed as, “words of affirmation,” “acts of service,” “receiving gifts,” “spending quality time,” and “physical touch.” To an extent, relationships requires giving and receiving all of these things, but you must find out which love language your spouse responds to the best.

 

  • Prioritize Your Commitment to the Marriage, Not Just Your Kids
A phrase you hear too often is, “we stayed together for the kids,” and while that may seem noble on the surface, it is not a good mantra for a healthy marriage.   Putting your children as the centerpiece of your lives will detract considerable from your prioritizing each other and diminish your quality time together. In addition to meeting your kids’ needs, be sure to arrange for occasions where you can have a life with each other—That’s what baby-sitters are for!

 

  • Kisses May Mend Relationships, As Well As Boo-Boos
Kissing one another saying hello and goodbye serves to build intimacy in the marriage dynamic. The morning routine rush or leftover bad moods from recent argumentative can reduce the motivation to kiss, embrace, or be intimate until it is suddenly out of the routine all together. However, allowing this important personal connection to slip away from the routine will hurt a marriage.

 

  • View Divorce as a Last Resort and Don’t Use it as a Threat
Divorce may sometimes be the only solution to very serious circumstances; but too many couples these days view the first seasons of unhappiness or marital conflict as an excuse to press the divorce-button. When inevitable issues come up, it may be appropriate to take a moment and reflect on why you made your marriage vows in the first place, saying, “Til death do us part.” Divorce doesn’t only wreck a marriage, but also a family, finances, property, lifestyle, etc. It should be considered as a last resort when all else has failed. If two people enter into a marriage agreeing that divorce is no casual option, then those people might have greater commitment to each other and working out problems.

 

 

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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.

Pet Friendly Assisted Living

Pet Friendly Assisted LivingThere was an episode of the Twilight Zone in the 50’s where a senior man refused to walk through the gates of heaven if they wouldn’t let him bring his dog in with him.  Fortunately, they did let him, and it is certain that many senior citizens feel just as strongly about wanting to bring their beloved pets with them while transitioning to their next stage of life— assisted living.  Many communities today have taken into account the benefits that owning pets can provide, such as stress relief, happiness, and feelings of companionship.  Studies have even found medical benefits such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate to be attributed to pet owning.  In response, many senior care facilities are now not only pet friendly, but also offer nurturing, grooming, and pet sitting services for the resident’s four-legged roommates— assisting their living too!

When searching for your ideal assisted living option, make sure to investigate some of the following factors regarding their policies on pets:

• Does the assisted living community allow pets in the first place?
• Is the weight or size of your pet an important factor?
• Does the senior care community make restrictions to certain breeds?~Is more than one pet allowed?  If so, how many?
• Are there exceptions or special cases where a pet-restricted community may allow pets?  Such as comfort animals, or seeing-eye dogs?

Read: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Assisted Living

Once these matters have been addressed, potential assisted living residents can explore what other services, programs, or pet friendly options are available for their domestic animals. Some communities, even provide the services of Pet Coordinators to keep an eye on resident’s pets, safeguarding any registered animals and making sure they are receiving proper medications, food, and physical activity.  Be sure to go over these prospects when consulting your assisted living options, if the idea of living arrangement without your pet does not sound like heaven.

 

Senior Driving Tips That Can Save Your Life

I want to make memories all over theAs seniors fear having cognitive function or blurred vision for their comfort’s sake, another prime reason to fear these issues is that their keen driving abilities have decreased as well. You need to be sharp mentally and physically to hit the road at all times. These two reasons, along with side effects from prescription medications, are the leading three reasons that seniors are in auto accidents.

According to the CDC, “Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80.” So aside from wearing your seatbelt, here we review a few senior driving tips that can save your life and others.

1, Take a Driving Improvement Course

Did you know there were driving improvement courses specifically for seniors? Talk to your insurance agent as they may offer a course or can refer you. These courses are offered online or in a classroom setting. As the technology implemented on cars increases, you’ll learn all the latest driving techniques to handle them. In the end, you may even receive an additional insurance discount. Wouldn’t that be nice?

2. Know What You Are Comfortable Handling

Some seniors feel they always need to prove themselves. It’s either proving to your loved ones that you are in total control or proving to yourself that you are not old as everyone thinks. However, this frame of mind can surely be dangerous.

You should never put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If you know your eyesight is not as well during thunderstorms or snowstorms, you should opt out of driving at that time. Many young adults have difficulty, so there is no shame in doing so. If you are uncomfortable driving fast and keeping up with traffic, avoid highways and find alternative street routes. Leave early enough to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your appointments.

3. Work With an Occupational Therapy Practitioner

As the founding organization of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) knows how to keep seniors safe while on the road. They strongly believe that through occupational therapy, seniors will be able to learn the skills they need to tackle the roads today.

Typically, you’ll find an occupational therapist at a senior’s home, providing rehabilitation services and helping them move around their home safely. The same holds true with the rules of the road. They can help them find out the necessary tools they need to survive, keeping themselves and others safe.

Read: 4 Cell Phone Plans For Seniors

4. Keep Regularly Scheduled Exams

You should have a close relationship with your physician and eye doctor. It’s important to know you are healthy when getting behind the wheel of a car.

Your physician will help gauge if you are healthy enough to drive. Sometimes seniors have too many issues such as diabetes or blood pressure that cause being behind the wheel too dangerous for themselves and others. It can, of course, be controlled with medications, but you’ll never know unless you visit your doctor.

Your eye doctor will help determine any early signs of cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. They can help you with the perfect eyewear, for daytime and nighttime driving. You need to be able to read all highway and street signs as well as determine traffic-light colors. More than your own life depends on your accuracy.

5. Avoid Taking Medications While Driving

Another thing to consider is taking medications and driving. Even if it does not state it will make you drowsy, take a prescription a few times to see how your body reacts to it.

6. Use Your Mirrors and Signals

There is no excuse to not use your vehicles safety features. For one, make sure you realize, it’s not just you on the road. Use your turning signals to let other travelers know your intentions. Before pulling off each time, ensure your rear and side view mirrors are adjusted well. It’s the little things such as a change of coat or different shoes that can change your normal view.

7. Use Adaptive Equipment When Necessary

There are many changes that affect your body as you age. This in turn can affect your driving skills and mental awareness of your surroundings.

Some impairments can be overcome with a few adaptive equipment pieces. For example, hand controls are available for those who have trouble using the foot pedals. A siren detector is a good tool to have for those whose hearing is not as good as it once was.

This excellent podcast found on the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. website reviews equipment that can make seniors driving safer and more comfortable. Below are a few examples.

• Low effort steering
• Handybar
• OnStar
• Extra or extended mirrors
• Swing-out seat
• Traction control sensors
• Backup camera
• Seat cushions
• Foot pedal extensions

The above seven tips are easy to implement and a great start towards saving your life. Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share?

How to Handle the Death of a Loved One

Don't lose hope. When the sun comesThe death of a loved one is quite possibly one of the most difficult things you will ever experience. Most people find that when a loved one dies, they are met with high levels of grief, and try and find out how to handle the death of a loved one. When you experience the death of a loved one, there’s no easy way to get through the process, but the following tips may help you better cope, allowing the process to be easier on you.

Understanding Grief

One of the first emotions you’ll often experience upon the death of a loved one is grief. According to experts, grief comes in stages, but regardless of the stage you’re in, it’s still just as difficult to cope with. Some people may tell you that you need to move on with your life, or the time has come to let go, but grief can last for many years after the death. In order to go through grief in a healthy way, you need to let your feelings be felt completely. Even if you feel like facing reality will make things harder on you, it will actually benefit you in the long run. You need to feel grief completely, let your emotions take hold, and know that this feeling is completely healthy and natural. The more you allow yourself to feel, the easier it will be for you to move out of the stage of grief and into acceptance. It’d also important to remember that everyone grieves in their one way, and for as long as they need. Don’t try and push yourself through this stage, simply allow it to come naturally.

Connect with others

When you lose someone you love, it’s easy to feel alone, and as if no one in the world understands what you’re going through. However, you’re far from alone. Most people have experienced a death of someone they love in the past, and they can completely relate to your pain. Keeping all of your pain inside will actually cause it to get worse, or possibly suppressed. When your feelings are suppressed, they can come out in different ways, having a negative impact on your life.

You can talk to those close to you, those going through the same loss, or even join support groups that will help you talk to others about your loss in a healthy manner. Each of these routes provides the same benefits.

Read: Hospice Care: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Reduce the physical effects

Grief can lead to high levels of stress, which appear not only in mental ways, but in physical as well. You may feel shaky, have stomach issues, suffer from migraines, and experience similar symptoms as a result of your loss. Using relaxation techniques is the most effective way to cope with the physical effects.

Some people find deep breathing techniques to be effective. You want to take a deep breathe into your nose, hold it for five seconds, and then slowly exhale out of your mouth. This should be done in sets of three to five, and on a daily basis in order to get the best results.

Meditation is another effective technique for ridding your body of stress. Many people think that meditation takes years of practice, but you can actually learn this technique in no time at all. The best way to start is to take deep breathes in a quiet space, and work to clear your mind of all of your thoughts. Whenever you feel a thought some in, recognize it and then let it go.

Taking care of yourself

Because of the feelings that arise when a loved one dies, it’s easy to stop caring for yourself. Many people lose sleep and avoid eating all-together, but these two acts will make it harder for you to recover. It’s important that you try and get as much sleep as possible, and if you’re experiencing difficulty, your doctor may be able to provide you with medication to help you short-term.

Eating healthy is also important. Even if you find eating difficult because of the vast array of feelings you’re going through, snacking throughout the day will provide your body with the nutrition it needs to remain healthy and help you to deal.

Conclusion

While the healing process can be a long one, these tips can make it go smoother for you, and will allow you to eventually move past the loss, and remember your love one with love in your heart.

 

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/

Understanding Generational Differences

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

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

Why the generational gap exists

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

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

10 Life Lessons We Have Learned From Our Grandparents 

Ways to bridge the gap

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

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

Tips for the younger generation

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

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

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

Tips for seniors

• Attend a college class with people from the younger generation

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

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

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.

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