Why Do Senior Care Costs Rise?

Saving money

 

The need for senior care, assisted living, skilled nursing is not always anticipated and can be thrust upon a family quite suddenly. Budgeting can be very challenging, especially since the costs of senior care typically trend steadily upward over time.

 

To help you and loved ones prepare for and anticipate the factors of rising senior care costs and plan accordingly, we will list the five main reasons why more money is often needed to cover senior care as time passes.

 

  1. More Assistance and Monitoring is Needed

Seniors often prefer to retain as much independence as possible for as long as they can. When a senior’s need for assistance is fairly minimal, he or she may opt to reside in an independent living community. Independent communities are where seniors may still enjoy the freedom of maintain their own schedules, cooking for themselves, and keeping track of their own medical needs with just a small amount of monitoring or checking in from the staff.

However, when a senior’s health condition worsens, the option for independent living becomes diminishes and more assistance with daily tasks such as dressing, getting out of bed, dining, toileting, and administering of medication may be required by nurses. Increased need for assistance may lead to increase cost.

  1. Health or Mobility Declines

As health conditions worsen or become more complicated, new medicines may be added to the daily regiment. And unfortunately add to the cost of senior care as well. Fortunately, many assisted living facilities provide price scales based on the health condition and specified amount of care that is needed. When a senior abruptly transitions into a category of care that is more extensive, then the price for remaining in that same facility can increase. For instance, incontinence assistance may be part of a more extensive care price point than the one a senior is used to when incontinence assistance becomes a new need.

  1. Extensive Memory Care May Arise

Memory care needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be very extensive. Sometimes seniors with memory impairment may require round-the-clock monitoring to ensure their personal safety. At first a memory issue may not be bad, but the condition may worsen over time, and consequentially the amount of paid hours a nurse needs to watch out for a senior loved one. A senior may have to move to a specialized memory care facility, which, depending on the location may be a cost increase for the budget as well.

  1. Average Price of Senior Care is Rising Each Year

Economic factors like the cost of living and inflation may drive the rates up for a senior living community when it performs its year-end cost evaluation. A recent study has shown that the price of senior care has steadily risen every year for the last several years. In the last decade the cost of assisted living has risen almost 5%. However, the price of in-home care has reportedly stayed mostly unchanged. For seniors meticulously budgeting their care plan, it may be wise to consider whether or not senior in-home care is appropriate for their personal needs.

  1. New Medical Needs Emerge

Accidents and emergencies happen. In addition to the possibility of an existing condition worsening, there is always the chance of the unexpected occurring. A sudden fall or new diagnosis may develop, and it is always a smart idea whenever possible to have some funds planned into the budget for unexpected needs that may emerge and increase the cost of senior care.

Home Health Aide Duties

Assisted living

 

As an elder starts to require medical care and assistance with daily activities in order to maintain a life it at home, it can be challenging to understand the difference in the semantics between the semantics of the different kinds of care available.

Home health care is a great option for elders who still want to stay as independent as they can, without moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility to receive the care or medical aide they need.

 

Home Care Vs. Home Health Aide

There are many senior aide services out there, and elder care types can encompass a broad level of care by skilled medical and nonmedical professionals who specialize in serving seniors at home in specific ways.

When looking for care at home, it is important to know the difference between home care and home health aide. Home health aide implied providing medical attention by a registered nurse to some extent to a senior at home. Home health aide goes beyond assisting with daily living tasks or proving necessary monitoring, and may also involve skilled nursing care.   Home health care services can include duties such as physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, wound care and wound dressing, injections, table feeding, diabetic care, and post-stroke monitoring and care.

The duties of a home care provider will be less extensive and less medically focused. Home care offers seniors assistance with less health crucial activities, such as meal preparation, dressing, transportation, and need for monitoring and companionship.

 

Home Health Aide Credentials

Home health agencies need a state license in order to operate to ensure seniors are in medically capable hands when living at home with medical conditions. Background checks and adherence to regulations are needed for home health aide agencies to provide care. When selecting a home health aide agency, it is best to make sure they have the credentials to show they are equipped to meet an elder’s medical.

 

When to Seek Home Health Aide

The best times to seek home health aide may be after concerning health developments or after accidents or surgical procedures that may have temporarily left an elder vulnerable at home and in need of care and company. When a senior has a chronic or terminal illness, is living independently after a major surgery, or is ill enough to require short-term health aide, it may be time to get in touch with a home health aide provider.

 

The best home health aide agencies will work with elders to help determine which type of care is best suited to an elder’s personal, specific medical needs. Home health aide nurses are most effective when they work with the elder in their care to assist them in meeting their goals for what they want to be able to achieve while living at home, and accordingly concoct a fitting routine that works best for the both of them. The relationship of a home health aide caregiver is a bit more medical and professional and less relational and personal than that of a home care caregiver. Companionship is more suited to home care, while medical assistance is more the focus of a home health aide. That is not to say that home health aides cannot be friendly or personally acquainted with an elder, it is just to say that home health aides are more specifically focused on their nursing duties.

Non Medical Home Care

 

Young attractive woman working in care home

One of the common duties of an in-home care provider for seniors is provision of medication. However, distributing medicine to elders is not the only task offered by home care providers. There are many important uses and needs for in-home care, even when an elder at home requires no medical assistance. Non Medical home care focuses on assisting elders at home with activities of daily living (ADLs) that are needed to be able to keep living comfortably from home.

 

The rent, amenities, and monitoring costs of assisted living can be too expensive of an investment for many seniors who require help with certain daily tasks. Home care services available to seniors span across both professional (senior care agencies) as well as informal (friends and family) networks of support. The goal of non-medical home care is to assist elders in maintaining as much personal independence as possible in their senior years.

 

With in-home care, seniors still have the freedom to rule their own roost in their familiar and comfortable living space. Sometimes nursing homes, adult day care, or assisted living facilities set rules, regulations, and requirements that may not be agreeable to certain lifestyles. Receiving non medical home care helps seniors to avoid ant-pet policies, curfews, standardized dining hours, etc. that may clash with a senior’s preferred living habits by allowing seniors more choice and more say in how to coordinate their daily living activities.

 

Non medical home care is often chosen as an option for families who want to stay close to their elder loved ones, whose schedules don’t allow for their adult children to serve as full-time caregivers. There is a variety of non medical home care options available to seniors; we will go over the specifics here:
Home Based Services – these in-home supportive services have a mission to help seniors with physical and mental limitations in undergoing daily living activities in their homes. Some services may be covered by government care, non-profits, or other specializing businesses, depending on the amount of care needed.

 

Home Care Registry –  these registries keep track of the many home care offerings and their number of years of experience to help clients understand the qualifications and expectations of the services they seek. Professional caregiver services for non medical in home care may include Home Health Aides (HHA) or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

 

Home Health Care Agency – A home health care agency offers a variety of home care, specializing in providing skilled care, physical therapy, and occupational therapy for senior patients at home.

 

Independent Providers – privately hiring a non medical home care provider can place much of the screening, background checking, and hiring in your hands. This can be riskier than using a registry that keeps track of a non medical home care provider’s records, unless you have received a recommendation from a reliable source, or know the non medical home care provider personally.

 

None of these non medical home care options are inherently better than the others; each has their pluses and minuses, and in the end it is up to the family of a senior loved one to determine whether a caregiver is qualified to assisted an elder with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dining, dressing, etc.

 

 

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Care Provider

 

Prevent Alzheimer's

Benefits of Routines

 

Starting your duties as a caregiver for a senior loved one can go smoothly with the proper amount of structuring and time management. Maybe you have found yourself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have to balance as a care provider and don’t know how to accomplish everything you need to do in order for your caregiving and housekeeping to be successful.

 

Creating a caregiving routine and following through with it is the best thing to do in order to make the best of your time. At first it takes some discipline to stick with a schedule, but once you commit to it, you more often actually carry out all the things you need to do. Without a structured schedule, it can be easy to let the duties and errands you have been meaning to get around to accumulate while little gets done.

 

Routines contribute to the piece of mind for everybody in the home, but for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a sound routine is the key to sanity. Creating a sense of organization for seniors with cognitive impairment helps them prepare for the events of daily activities without being confused or shaken by unfamiliar surprises. For many seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, routines are comforting and pleasant rather than boring or monotonous.

 

Work Together In Creating the Schedule

 

You will have to coordinate your routine in congruence with the unique needs of your senior loved one. This organization will help to focus on the matters that are really a priority for your household and the senior in your care. When you both understand the routine, it can help you to motivate each other and keep one another on track regarding daily events.

 

It may not be necessary to concoct an elaborate calendar with a written timeslot for every hour of the day, but it can be very helpful to write out some form of checklist or posted-note reminders for the weekly schedule to assist in making the routine something tangible to follow and monitor progress. Making segmented plans for the day/week can help ensure that the tasks with the highest priority are attended to in their right place.

 

Plan Ahead

 

It is a wise thing to plan ahead when you can. There are sure to be windows where a daughter’s dance recital or an anniversary dinner will require your attention to be called away from your caregiving duties. So be certain to prepare for these special occasions by reaching out and arranging for some trusted help while you can’t be around.

 

Sometimes the unexpected occurs to the caregiving routine, and things happen that aren’t on the schedule. It may be good to insert a little wiggle room in to some parts of the schedule where you may foresee a greater possibility of interruption or delay.

 

 

Flexibility is Okay

 

Creating a routine doesn’t mean making yourself completely subservient to a micromanaged schedule, but should serve as a tool to give you as a caregiver and the senior in your care some relief. Sometimes a plan will need adjustments and flexibility is okay when special moments or unique opportunities arise. However, it is best not to make a habit of veering from the routine and being indulgent, otherwise the schedule loses it its purpose.

 

Make sure that the caregiving routine you create is something that is enjoyable and actually attainable for both of you. Do not simply construct a daunting idealistic schedule that can only work in a perfect world. You will just end up frustrated and exhausted to trying to complete it. Along with meeting the needs of the senior in your care, it is important to schedule time for yourself too and the things that make you happy. This will help you to be in better spirits and carry out your caregiving duties with greater enthusiasm.

How Electric Scooters Keep Seniors Mobile

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Staying Mobile

 

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that as you get older, some body parts just don’t perform as well as they used to anymore. But nowadays there are many ways for elders with impaired mobility to still get around, remain sociable, and perform daily activities.

 

Seniors who are disabled, suffer from poor balance, or are prone to falls, may find a mobility scooter helpful for you moving about easily and safely. Mobility Scooters are electric powered chairs created to assist seniors and handicapped individuals with staying mobile and active.

 

Many associate mobility scooters solely as a tool for the disabled, but these battery-powered scooters are not just for the handicapped. Mobility scooters are also helpful for seniors who are recovering from illness or undergoing rehabilitation following a major surgery. For those who are not comfortable staying on their feet for as long as they would like, scooters can maintain your ability to walk by conserving your energy as you go about your day.

 

Scooters Can Be Stylish and Comfortable

 

Mobility scooters are becoming a more convenient alternative to traditional wheelchairs among seniors. They provide more comfort, speed, and storage than even up-scale electric wheelchairs. These scooters are designed to accommodate people of all weights, heights, and move at varying speeds (4-8 miles per hour) based on the needs of the senior.

 

Seniors riding around enjoy comfortable transportation, as many models feature headrests and armrests, as well as removable baskets to make shopping easier.

 

Using this convenient electronic transportation, seniors can get around more easily at home and in public to help in maintaining their hobbies and social lives.

 

Utility and Security

 

Mobility scooters safely run on electricity rather than gas, allowing seniors to travel up to 30 miles in between battery recharges for some scooter models. Different models and brands of scooters cater to different specific needs.

 

There are scooters for various budgets and applications. Some scooters are best suited to indoor usage, while others are durable for outdoors as well. There are lightweight models, solar powered models for the environmentally conscious, and models that fold up to be compact for increased portability.

 

For security purposes, a special key activates many mobility scooter models in order to avoid theft or the liability of anyone else misusing it.

 

There are some legal limitations to scooter ownership. Those with impaired eyesight, upper body strength, or hearing may not qualify to operate a mobility scooter. So be certain to check with a doctor before investing in a new scooter or buying one from a friend.

 

Mobility Solutions

 

Modern assisted living facilities are aware of the increased use of electric scooters as a mobility solution for seniors, and many elder care communities have been designed with scooter access in mind. Paths and accommodations for scooters are convenient for residents who may not require around-the-clock care, but still have trouble with mobility due to physical conditions or other affects of aging. This scooter accessibility allows these seniors to get around confidently and enjoy their community to the fullest.

 

Electronic scooters are mobility solutions for helping seniors to stay independent for longer, prevent falls, and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital.

 

Pricing

 

The cost of a mobility scooter will depend on the model and features included. Scooter can range from a $500 basic model to a $2,000+ for luxury scooter with all the bells and whistles.
Medicare does cover the cost of a mobility scooter for certain qualifying seniors as well as the disabled, if you prove that you have a legitimate medical need for one.

 

 

Prevent Falls in the Shower and Bathroom

hand holding the handrail

Falls at home are the most common injury among seniors, leading to about 300,000 cases of broken hips and other injuries every year. As your natural resilience to nasty falls becomes weaker with age, a good question is, how to make the most slippery places in your home safe?

The most common slip area in a house is typically the bathroom (80% of senior falls occur there), due to its tendency to combine slick tile flooring with wetness.

Sometimes it’s not enough to just do your best to be careful, the best strategy for staying safe can be to make your environment equipped to prevent falls. Installing some safety features in your bathroom can reduce the likeliness of slipping and falling.

Take a moment to review the following utilities designed to keep your home environment safe for vulnerable elders and prevent falls in the shower and bathroom floors of your home:

Shower Chairs

A shower chair allows an elder who has trouble balancing to shower in a secure and seated position. Rubber tips at the end of the chair legs ensure stability in the wet shower area. These chairs work best when used with a handheld showerhead. Shower chairs may have a back rest, or just provide the utility of a stool, depending on your preference.

 

Shower seat

Shower Mats

For seniors who do not have trouble standing in the shower for extended periods of time, a shower mat may provide the right among of slip-prevention. Many falls occur when getting into or out of the tub/shower. So a secure non-slip mat inside the shower, accompanied with a bathroom floor rug outside of the shower can work together to keep you safe.

 

 

 

Anti Slip Mat

Walk-in Tubs

Sometimes a simple mat may not be enough to provide the security a senior needs to feel safe when climbing into and out of the tub. The balance act of lifting one’s legs over the tub edge can be enough to cause a fall. Walk-in tubs provide a way to enter and exit the tub without the worry of losing your balance.

 

 

Tub Grips

If an elder would rather have a little help climbing into the tub, rather than using the convenience of a walk-in tub, then a simple tub grip may be a good choice. Tub grip is a bar that locks on tight to the tub’s edge and provides a sturdy object to grab as you climb in and out of the tub.

 

Adjustable height toilet seatToilet Seat Risers

Many toilets are not designed with the comfort of elders in mind. Seniors sometimes have trouble lowering themselves to sit down when toilets are too low or small. The act of squatting or rising to stand can require balance or lifting strength that is too much on an elder. Toilet seat rising products reduce the distance a senior has to squat down, and provides more safety and comfort. Some are equipped with handlebars for stability when raising one’s self up to stand again.

Towel Rack

Make sure that towel racks are securely attached in the bathroom. Sometimes a towel rack can be improperly installed, or simply loosen over years of use. If a rack comes unattached while an elder in holding it or removing something from it, a fall may occur.

Floor Tiles vs. Carpet

Wooden floors look nice, but they can be slippery and hazardous to seniors moving around the home with socks or slippers on. Decide whether carpet floors would be a safer choice for your home in order to prevent falls.

Slip Strips

Anti-Slip Strips are thin strips made of mildly abrasive anti-slip material that stick to slippery surfaces like wood stairs. They are a neutral black color, so they don’t awkwardly stand out, but are very helpful.

When it comes to preventing slips and falls in the home, taking every precaution can add up to be expensive. Safety-proof your home one step at a time. Evaluate your living environment and decide which areas could be safety-improved based on the specific needs of you or the elder in your care.

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/

5 Decorating Tips for your New Senior Living Space

senior living spaceWhether you’re making the move yourself to a new senior living home, or helping a loved one move, there’s certain steps you can take to make the change a positive one. As discussed in previous articles, one of the biggest mistakes seniors make when changing their living environment is moving too quickly, without taking the steps needed in order to make their new living space feel like home and safe for occupancy.

By creating a more comfortable environment, you’re offering yourself with the chance to feel more at ease, adjust better, and create an overall better living space for yourself or your loved one. In addition, by following these 5 decorating tips for your new space, you’ll be sure to feel more at home, and love the space you create.

Take your favorite items from home

This is probably the most important decorating tip there is. When you take a few items from your home that are important to you, you’re bringing that “home-like” feel to your new living quarters. Changing your entire world around is hard enough, but when you go without any of your favorite items, you’re going to feel this change a lot more. You can choose simple items to accent your room like a favorite piece of art for hanging or a bedside lamp, or even you’re favorite reading chair, and we guarantee you’ll feel much more comfortable in your new senior living space.

Choose your new furniture pieces wisely

If you decide to spruce up your new living space with new furniture, it’s important that you choose these pieces wisely. While many people can act on impulse and purchase the first piece of furniture that catches their eye, safety should always be a factor while decorating. If mobility is an issue, choose pieces that are rounded at the corners rather than pointed. Also, opt for throw rugs and furnishing that don’t have long cords attached, as these can cause you to become entangled and possibly injured from a fall.

Spruce up your storage

While most senior living facilities offer ample space for storage, you can use that closet for additional items you want instant access to, while also decorating your new space to make it feel more home-like. Two great items for storage that work to accentuate a room include ottomans and trunks. They don’t take up too much space in the environment, but offer a dressy appeal that many enjoy.

Create a space for social gatherings

While it’s important to know that your loved ones will be coming to visit, it can also help you feel more at ease by creating a space within your new home that’s strictly for socializing. Add a few extra chairs to one area of the room, or have a guest couch for your loved ones. They will feel more comfortable once they arrive, and the space will remind you that your family and friends as nearby, and they’ll come enjoy this living space with you soon.

Choose bright colors

Your eyes may not be what they used to, and that’s just one of the reasons why choosing a bright color is ideal for your new senior living space. Colors also play a large role in how you feel, as they can improve your mood and make you feel more at home. Bright shades of yellow, green, and blue offer mood boosting power, and are also easy to see without causing additional strain on the eyes.

Conclusion

You want your new space to be the best it can be for your own unique taste, and to make it feel more comfortable to you. By planning ahead and using the decorating tips found in the ladder, you’ll find you settle in much easier, and will enjoy the days you’ll spend within your new living space.

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