Home Safety Checklist for Seniors

For most families, there comes a time when they must decide whether their aging parents are capable of living alone or if they should be moved into an assisted living facility. First and foremost, the health and functional capabilities of your elder play a large role in this decision. If they are healthy enough to live unassisted, then making sure their house is in top safety conditions is the next step. Here are some things you should check out when it comes to the safety of seniors in their home:

  • Is there enough lighting?
    Each room should be well lit so your elder can easily navigate through the house in the dark. We all know that our night vision gets weaker as we age, so adequate lighting throughout the entire household is a must. Adding nightlights to hallways or frequently visited rooms at night, like the bathroom, is also a good idea.
  • Are there smoke detectors?
    Make sure there are working smoke detectors in the house and follow the recommendation of changing the batteries yearly. You should also make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector as well.
  • Are there handrails along the staircases?
    Wherever there are steps, there should be sturdy railings. Senior citizens often struggle with maintaining their balance, and handrails help to make getting around easier. Make sure they are properly mounted and if it is applicable to have one on both sides of the stairwell, install them both. If necessary, having a stair lift installed is a great safety feature for senior citizens.
  • Is there a bathmat/handrail in the shower?
    Staircases aren’t the only place that require handrails. The shower should have one too. This will help your parent keep their balance while bathing and give them something to hold onto while they enter and exit the bathtub. There should also be a bathmat in the tub to help prevent slips and falls.
  • How are the floors/carpets holding up?
    If there are hardwood floors, are there loose boards? If there are carpets, are there rips and  tears? The floors should be an even, clean surface. You don’t want anyone to trip or stumble over any loose boards or lifted parts of the carpet. This also means that there should not be clutter, cords and other random objects on the floor that can get in someone’s path. Even throw rugs are a potential hazard due to their likelihood to move around. If there are throw rugs, secure them to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Where are items that need to be reached daily located?
    If you are in the kitchen, how high are the cabinets? Where is the medicine kept? If anything is too high up for them to reach without assistance, this could cause problems. Is a stepstool needed? If so, make sure it does not wobble at all because you do not want someone to fall off of it. Try and put items that are frequently used in places that are easy to get to and do not require additional equipment to access.
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in the house?
    Hopefully they will never need to use a fire extinguisher, but accidents happen and there should be one somewhere in the house. Forgetting to blow out a candle or a mishap in the kitchen could cause a small fire and your parent should be prepared to put one out if this is the case. Also, make sure they are aware of how to use the fire extinguisher just in case one of these scenarios arises.
  • Is there a phone or emergency alert system accessible?
    Phones are absolutely necessary when someone is living alone because if there is an accident, they will need to call for help. Getting your parent a cell phone would also be beneficial, if they keep it on them, in case something happens when they are out of reach of the landline. If they are completely phoneless, they need an emergency alert system, no questions asked. An emergency alert system can be the only life saver in a situation where there is no phone available or they cannot get up to even get to the phone.

If your senior citizen has the physical strength and ability to maintain their memory and care for themselves on a daily basis, living alone is a possibility. Take the right steps to avoid even the most minor accident, as it can become more damaging if they are not properly prepared. Use this home safety checklist to make sure your loved one’s home is safe from top to bottom.

About the Author

Ruth Folger Weiss loves writing for Willow Spring Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a sub-acute rehabilitation center in Center Brick, NJ.

15 Tips on Providing In-Home Health Care

Providing in-home health care to someone, especially a loved one can be a stressful and challenging experience.  Preparing ahead and considering these fifteen tips can help to make the transition into in home care less stressful and easier on you and the individual requiring care.

  1. Impact on Person Needing Care – the individual needing care will need some time to adjust to the new arrangement.  They may have recently lost a loved one or they may have had an injury or major medical event that has prompted the change.  Any of these changes can cause stress, anxiety or even depression so it’s best to give that person some time to adjust.
  2. Impact on You – As you will be the one giving care, a significant amount of your time will be required.  You will need to consider if this is something you are willing to do and how it will affect your job and family life.
  3. Impact on Your Family – It will be important for you to discuss your decision to provide in home care with your family.  The decision will directly impact them and your way of life.  Carefully consider everyone’s opinions and concerns prior to making a full commitment.
  4. Staying on Top of Appointments – Once you start providing in home care, you will need to stay on top of appointments that will need to be kept such as going to the doctor, physical therapy, etc.
  5. Questions to Ask the Doctor – The more care you provide, the more involved you will be with monitoring the daily activities of the individual.  You will want to ask specific questions of the doctor if you notice any concerning behavior or changes to the health or mental state of the patient.
  6. Medicines – Along with providing in home care, you will need to keep track of any medications, when they need to be administered and any dangerous side effects or interactions with other drugs or specific foods.
  7. Meals – Providing regular and nutritious meals will be a major part of your responsibilities and it will have a major impact on the health of the person requiring care.
  8. Exercise/Physical Therapy – Depending on the mobility of the patient, you may need to ensure that they participate in some type of physical activity to keep them mobile.  This may also involve bringing them to the gym or to physical therapy appointments.
  9. Keeping Minds Active – If the patient is limited in activity or confined in any way, it may be helpful to make sure they keep their mind active in addition to their body.  This can be done by providing them with reading materials, thought-provoking games or puzzles.
  10. Eliminating Dangers in the Home – Keeping pathways clear and removing clutter in the home can help to prevent any accidents or injuries to the patient.
  11. Making Adjustments to the Home – Consider if your home may require adjustments such as ramps, railings, stair lifts or larger access points into and out of the home.  You may also need to make changes to furniture and fixtures such as chairs, beds, or bathtubs.
  12. Additional Cost for Caring – The cost of providing in home care can be significant.  You will want to consider if you need to reduce hours at work or stop working altogether in addition to the cost of additional food, transportation and potential renovations to your home.
  13. Liability Insurance – While most people provide in home care to a loved one, you may want to consider adjusting any liability insurance on your home.  Any additions you make to your home may require additional coverage.
  14. Taking Care of Yourself – One thing that most caregivers neglect while they are providing care is themselves.  Make sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and getting a break from time to time as care giving can be a demanding task even if you are helping a family member or loved one.
  15. Know When to Admit You Need Help – At some point, providing in home care may become so overwhelming or even impossible that you may need to consider getting additional help or stopping in home care altogether.  Having an idea of what your options are under these circumstances will help to ease the transition especially if something changes with the patient unexpectedly.

By taking these tips into account, you can avoid any potential problems or conflicts as you transition into providing in home care.

 About The Author

Catherine Reeson is certified medical assistant, and has worked in various caregiver roles for several years. She aims to write about topics that will help beginner caregivers avoid some of the hurdles she’s faced in her tenure.

Helping Senior Loved Ones With Downsizing

A lifetime of memories – and the possessions to prove it – are preserved in the homes of many senior loved ones. The time eventually comes when they must downsize, but most people will need help and support during this difficult and emotionally trying process.

With our many years of experience helping seniors and their families with eligibility for Medicaid sponsored long-term care and nursing home placement, the downsizing dilemma is nothing new to us and we’d like share some tips on what to expect and how to deal with the situation.

How to Know When It’s Time

It’s usually time to consider downsizing for your loved one when the situation falls into one of the following scenarios:

  1. The amount of possessions has become too much for your loved one to manage as their age advances. Large amounts of possessions may be posing a hazard to their health, the quality of their life, or to the upkeep of their home. In some cases, years of hoarding may be taking it’s toll and it’s time to clear out items for both health and mental health reasons.
  2. Your loved one needs to move into a smaller home. This may be a care facility, a senior living complex, or even a smaller home that is better suited to mobility limitations. The amount of items in the family home, accumulated over a lifetime, is too much to move into the new, smaller dwelling.

Start the Conversation

Broaching the subject with your loved one is often the most difficult part of the entire process. Most seniors know they need to downsize, but decluttering seems overwhelming. It’s not just the physical work of downsizing, but also the emotional stress of parting with a lifetime of memories. This can make your loved one defensive, or even angry, when you bring up the subject.

You can ease the conversation by having a plan. Be willing to help and be present throughout the entire process. Come up with a strategy for dealing with hard-to-part-with items. This could be as simple as donating mindfully to those that would appreciate the items most, to creating photo-documentation of the sentimental items that your loved one can keep in an album after the physical items have moved on.

Help With the Downsizing Process

The most important thing you can do during this difficult time is to be there for your loved one every step of the process. Bring in trusted family members and friends to help, when possible, to help set your loved one’s mind at ease. If you must bring in outside help, make sure you are there to help manage and monitor the process, and step in if you see your loved one becoming upset.

Get on Top of Out-of-Control Clutter

The process is made more difficult if the clutter is out-of-control. Begin by helping your loved one create an inventory of their items. This can be on paper, or you can work room-by-room and lay everything out so it’s visible.

As you list items, separate them into categories – keep, donate, undecided. Get donations and trash items out of the house daily so they don’t accumulate and lead to second guessing. On undecided items, you may need to take a hard line approach and insist that some things must leave. If your loved one is emotionally attached, find a compromise – such as passing the item on to another family member or adding it to the photo book.

Although this can be a difficult time, it shall pass. Your loved one will eventually feel better with less things, and it will be easier to tend to their evolving care and home requirements as they continue to age.

About The Author

Benjamin Lamm is a communication specialist and blogger at Senior Planning Services, a Medicaid planning company guiding seniors and their families through the Medicaid process. Ben enjoys playing the guitar, spending time with family and social networking.

 

10 ways to help older people in the winter

Age UK estimates that as many as 1.7m older people across the UK cannot afford to properly heat their homes and up to a third of those living alone are confined to heating just one room to save money on bills.

This winter the charity group is actively encouraging new volunteers to get involved in their local community and help neighbours and relatives stay warm and stay well. With a few ideas and flexible time commitment, everyone can make a lasting difference to an older person’s life:

1. Set up a local volunteers network

Local charities and church groups can offer regular volunteering services aimed at helping older people and there are many great voluntary services across the UK such as: the Royal Voluntary Service; Volunteering England; and Friends of the Elderly.

If you want to start your own network of volunteers, or know already who you want to help, it is often best to start by hand writing letters to a small selection of people you want to help. Old or young, people can be suspicious of unsolicited mail so be very clear in your communication, introduce yourself and outline exactly how you want to help them and what you want to achieve. Explain very clearly that this is a voluntary exercise to help local people and that there is no cost involved.

Get friends and family involved and explain some of the things you would like to help out with. Obviously do not offer something you cannot provide and also outline very clearly the time involved.

2. Join a handyperson scheme

Handyperson schemes help in a very tangible way to an older person’s well-being by helping people with small DIY projects and everyday tasks. It can also just mean spending time with people who may not get that many regular visitors. It could be something as simple as tidying the garden, painting a room, helping with domestic cleaning etc.

3.  Join a befriending scheme

Particularly important for older people transitioning from hospital, befriending schemes provide companionship for set times each week or month. Time commitments can be low and activities can be as simple as meeting up for a coffee or going for a walk. Most local authorities offer some sort of buddy scheme but many require older people to enrol themselves. Volunteers can be of any age and have an extremely positive impact on the people they help. Independent Age has created a very useful guide to befrienders and helping people stay connected.

4.  Telephone befriending

If you can’t spare the time to join a face-to-face befriending scheme, telephone befriending can be a great alternative. It offers a vital lifeline for many people who may not otherwise receive contact from anyone and in a recent report into loneliness, telephone befriending services were singled out as having great potential for combatting the growing problem.

Services such as Age UK’s Call in Time service or Friends of the Elderly’s Phoning Friends service have seen amazing results, both for older people living on their own. Be aware that they are not all open to the public and many are run through corporate schemes.

5.    Help with keeping their house warm

There are many Government schemes set up to help older people insulate their homes effectively but many are not aware of their entitlement. The ideal temperature for a bedroom is 18°C and 21°C for the living room. You can help an older person by checking their thermostats are set correctly and install a simple thermometer to monitor the temperature. Keeping a home warm cost effectively is also about correct insulation.

You can help by making sure windows, doors are cat flaps are well-fitted. Using a letter box draught for instance can have a huge benefit on retaining heat.

You can also help ensure the boiler and central heating system is serviced regularly or ask their landlord to do this if it is their responsibility. If their boiler is old, you should help them install audible carbon monoxide detectors, make sure their smoke alarms are working etc.

6. Share a meal

Once a week why not cook a meal with an older person or take them a plate that they can easily re-heat. Projects such as the Casserole Club are great ways to make sure your neighbours are eating well. Age UK’s free guide Healthy eating has a lot of advice on eating well, including a variety of foods that older people should be eating more of to ensure they get all of the nutrients they need. It also gives great advice on things such as stocking basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping.

7. Activity and community engagement

Physical activity and community engagement is absolutely critical to an older person’s well-being and ongoing health. There are strong links between an older person’s level of daily physical activity and the risk of heart disease; Type-2 diabetes; depression and early onset dementia. Introducing an older friend to a new schedule of local activities can have an amazing impact on their outlook and positivity. The websites of local libraries, churches and schools will have a lot of information on activities available in the local area, as will local authority websites.

8.  Funding and awareness

There is always help out there for older people but it is often not fully understood or taken advantage of. You can help an older person by making sure they are fully informed of what help they are already receiving or knowing exactly what grants and other kinds of assistance they are entitled to. The NHS website; Age.uk; Citizens’ Advice and www.gov.uk have a wealth of information on the benefits and available schemes to help older people.

They may also be considering their future options in regard to their care. You can help make sure they are supported as much as possible with all the relevant information they need to make an informed decision.

 Available benefits for older people can include:

  • Pension Credits
  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Travel Concessions
  • Home Heat Helpline
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Free prescriptions
  • Home Assisted Living schemes etc.

9. Create a chatroom with a difference

Lunch Clubs and Afternoon tea meet-up schemes are really simple but can make a big difference to people’s lives. Contact the Elderly runs an amazing scheme where older people are treated to regular afternoon tea parties, giving them the chance to get out, meet up and make friends.

Volunteers can help in three ways: as Drivers, Hosts and Coordinators. For each afternoon session, a volunteer driver picks up the guests and takes them to the host’s home, where they enjoy an afternoon of tea and cakes. The scheme alternates each time, keeping the cost and time commitments on everyone to a minimum.

10.    Organise a fundraising event

Raising money for any charity is both fun and rewarding and there are an increasing number of websites and charity resources online to help organise everything from a cake sale to a fun run.

Events such as Age UK and Innocent Drink’s The Big Knit have been hugely popular and become key events on the national calendar and allow people around the UK to get involved in something much bigger, contributing in a small way to a big appeal.

Many charities provide extensive support to anyone looking to get set up, from organising the day to publicising it around the local community.

Whether it is a fun run, sponsored swim, themed dinner party, fancy dress, cake sale or sky dive, by helping organise a local charity event, you can massively help engage and encourage everyone to come together and help support older people in your community.

If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66 for more ways to help this winter.

About the Author

Sebastian Bos works on behalf of Caring Homes , a UK-based provider of award-winning care services for older people. He is a regular blogger on the key issues that impact elderly people and the charity sector.

Help Your Aging Parents Regain Their Health And Self-Esteem With Home Care Services

These days most people are required to live overseas, far away from their aging mom and dad, or are too packed with their job owing to which they do not have time for looking after their parents at home. This leaves them worried about the senior citizens who stay all alone at home or require an extra hand. In all such cases home care is what they are looking for.

Keep away from this one big mistake

Self esteem is one of the biggest factors for one’s aging parents. Often one gets frustrated and loses their temper due to their parents’ stubbornness and tenacity, not realizing the fact that they are behaving so because of a purpose. At one point of time they were the family head or key decision maker and all of a sudden with the coming of age they have become immobile and incapable to handle their own duties as a result of which they vent out this deeply frustrating feeling. And especially when they are told to leave their own home and get admitted to a nursing home for their treatment their morale is automatically doomed. For them their home is always the biggest source of strength. Although it is age that has made them dependent but it is solely family members’ companionship that can work wonders in helping them fight with their bodily incapability. Often people admit their parents in hospitals thinking that it is here where they will be taken utmost care of but the truth is in 90% cases the after effects are fatal. They give up their urge for living and as a result one tends to lose their loved one for this one big mistake. In this regard in-home care acts as the greatest reprieve.

Knowing what exactly aging parents need is essential

It is very easy in getting irritated with aging parents and grandparents but one should be calm and read their minds and understand what exactly they need and offer them help accordingly.

  • Medical attention- Taking into consideration what illness they are suffering from one should decide the type of medical help. For instance, if they are suffering from a chronic ailment a better option will be to take the help of nursing homes. On the other hand, if they are suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, home care is what they need
  • Daily chores- It is every child’s responsibility to find out the root cause of the problem that their parents are facing. Is it that they need support for their day to day chores such as toileting, bathing, grooming, grocery shopping, washing clothes, making beds or meal preparation? If so, then hiring the services of a home caregiver will be the best choice
  • Security- If one has to work late nights or are leaving the station for a vacation and need a support for looking after their aging family members for a specific period of time, then also opting for in-home care services will be a wise choice

Track every progression of an aging adult with infallible awareness

The trained home caregivers give one-on-one attention and care to the senior citizens that they deserve. Under these professional and safe hands one can be stress-free about the health and care of their aging parents. This indicates that irrespective of the specific impairment or disability in question, their dear ones’ can remain independent within the confines of their own home as far as possible. Being professionals they are adept at observing every small change with respect to the behaviour of the patient and keep a track of their progress with infallible awareness. By viewing these current changes they can help the patient in regaining their health and self-esteem. They are well aware of the job they are doing and are swift at implementing changes. The list of home healthcare facilities that they offer include yet are not restricted to,

  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • Companionship
  • Personal care
  • Shopping and errands
  • Ambulation and transfers
  • Housecleaning
  • Pet care

These in-home services vary from long-term to temporary and can be for 24 hours, twice a week or just a few hours as per one’s needs.

About the Author

Scott Fagan having profound knowledge in the medical industry has highlighted the different vital prospects associated with home care services offered by CommonWealth Caregivers through the medium of this article.

Using Home Health Care to Facilitate Independent Living

When faced with the choice between living in an elderly care facility or aging as independently as possible at home, home health care is almost always the more desirable choice. Still, it’s not always easy to build a feasible support system for aging seniors who wish to retain as much independence and dignity as possible by continuing to live in their own homes.

Understanding the unique needs of an individual patient and the level of care required to help them stay in their own homes doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right assistance in place and a plan of action, it’s very possible to help your loved ones retain some semblance of an independent, healthy lifestyle well into their golden years.

Realistic Evaluation of Need

To create a plan for an extended aging-in-place arrangement, it’s imperative to objectively take stock of your loved one’s needs and requirements. Some seniors will require little more than a few hours a day of supervision, which includes assistance with housekeeping and management of medication or physical therapy. Others may require more intensive services and direct medical care, transportation to and from appointments with physicians or daily living task assistance like bathing and dressing, which will typically require several hours or even round-the-clock care. Whether your loved one falls at one end of the spectrum or the other, or somewhere in between, enabling them to maintain as normal a routine as possible will require you to have a clear understanding of their needs and the necessary level of care.

Benefits of Home Health Care

Data from current research indicates that seniors who are encouraged to maintain a high level of independence through home health care also show higher levels of mobility, bladder control and emotional well-being. These patients are also less likely to require urgent, unplanned care as a result of injuries, falls or accidental medication mismanagement. Transitioning to a residential care facility may often leave your loved one with less independence and less freedom, which has been linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety. In the vast majority of situations, aging in place with home assistance is the most effective and comfortable solution for all involved parties.

Facilitating a successful home health care plan will allow your aging loved one to retain more control over their daily activities, while helping to prevent injuries, medication mishaps and even problems like malnutrition. Living at home, even with a chronic illness, a disability or an age-related reduction in mobility, is often the best possible option for both the physical and emotional health of a senior citizen. Home health care also helps to stave off feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which are relatively common among seniors.

Creating a Feasible Alternative to Facility Living

Families committed to helping their aging loved ones to live out their remaining years in dignity and the best possible health may know how important aging in place is to their family member’s emotional and physical health, but not how to execute a feasible plan for facilitating such an arrangement.

After assessing your loved one’s level of need, it’s time to determine the best way of building a support system to meet those needs. Family care can be a far less expensive alternative in some situations, but isn’t always feasible. Unless someone is able to dedicate some time each day to the management of medication and nutrition, along with basic daily needs, it may become necessary to work with a professional care provider. For some families, an ideal arrangement may consist of primarily family-driven care, with supplemental assistance from a professional caregiver or home health care provider. Because every situation is unique, your plan for enabling your loved one to age in place must also be customized to fit the existing level of need. Maintaining an open line of communication with your loved one’s primary care physicians and other medical care providers is one of the best ways to determine the most effective course of action, especially when aging in place is the preferred option.

About the Author

Selwyn St. Louis is the Director and CEO of Better Living Senior Services, located in Tampa Bay, Florida. Since 2009, Selwyn has been on a mission to help those in need with home health care options for the elderly.

Traveling Tips for Seniors

Seeing the wonders of the world and exploring little known hamlets and villages ranks high on most people’s to-do lists. As a senior, you have more time than most, but you will also face a few additional challenges even as you engage in all kinds of fun activities. But there’s no need for these challenges to keep you from your dreams of travel and exploration. Whether you want to travel abroad during the holidays, meet up with family in faraway places or are just stopping in for a visit, these tips can help you make the most of your travel time.

Set Up a Designated Travel Account

Identity theft and pickpocketing are both big problems for travelers, regardless of where you are. You can get special protective plans that will provide you with the coverage that you need as well as a number of helpful monitoring services. The catch to this, though, is that these services are typically on a per card basis, and they can quickly add up. According to USA Today, protection for a single card could cost anywhere $10 – $30 a month, depending on the package that you choose. However, if you use multiple cards, the costs for protecting each one can pile up and the service may become less effective. Instead, make sure that you have a Mastercard or Visa, or another card that will be accepted at most locations. Opt for extra protection on this card, and only carry it when you travel. You should also carry a small amount of cash to help you in an emergency. Just make sure that you carry it in a separate location from your credit card.

Be Prepared

A number of challenges that come from traveling as a senior revolve around increased medical and special needs. Even if you aren’t planning on more than a day trip, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything that you might need, particularly when it’s necessary for your health. For medications, make sure that you carry a full period’s dosage for however long you are going to be gone plus one more. For oxygen tanks, you can purchase a portable oxygen concentrator to allow you greater mobility.

Always Call Ahead

Traveling with a scooter or any other form of mobility assistance adds a few challenges of its own. Increased security, as well as other procedures for getting in and out of secure locations, can easily add hours onto your travel plans. Rather than risk missing the train or plane, find out in advance what security needs from you and what you can do to make it as quick as possible. Also bear in mind that, depending on where you’re traveling, the facilities you are using may not actually have room for scooters, wheelchairs and the like. Since these tickets are often nonrefundable, you need to make sure that they can accommodate you before you hand over your money.

Never Leave Without Travel Insurance

Even when you’re trying to cut costs in other ways, travel insurance is the one thing you don’t want to go without. You will probably have an item or two that you have to take with you and that is quite valuable. Travel insurance policies protect your belongings and even you in your travels. In some cases, you can even obtain travel insurance that will cover medical and health

expenses. Remember that most health insurance policies are often limited to the United States or have significantly longer claims processes for medical emergencies overseas. Travel insurance is designed to provide you with the emergency funds you need as you need them and to get you through.

Consider a Home Rental Agreement for Your Tour

Staying in hotels can be quite expensive, and that cost can decrease the amount of time that you have to spend with your loved ones. One of the ways that you can help save yourself money is to rent a house during your time. You’ll want to follow the same evaluation on these rental houses as you would on a regular one, even though you’ll only be staying for a week or so at a time. The added benefit of renting a home for your vacation is the fact that you will have greater flexibility and adaptability in your living. You can even store the Christmas presents that you might be bringing for your friends and family in the extra space you’ll have.

Hire a Travel Assistant

Caregivers are best known for assisting people at home, but you can also sometimes hire them to come with you on your travels. In some cases, the ideal person might be a family member or a younger friend. But you may feel more comfortable hiring someone to handle the travel arrangements, help you carry the equipment, and so on. If you have more advanced medical needs, then you will want to hire someone with sufficient medical skills to assist you. Finding such an individual is often best done by contacting your travel insurance agency, and this may even be covered in a senior-specific travel plan. Bear in mind that such coverage will significantly increase the premium, though.

Have a Doctor’s Name for Every Location You Will Be Staying In

You never know when you might need a doctor, and there are few things more terrifying than being in a foreign country or a strange place, getting sick, and not knowing who to call. Before you travel, get a list of names of doctors written down on paper, including phone numbers and addresses. Coordinate these with doctors or hospitals listed on your travel insurance or health insurance if possible. This way, if something happens, you have the information you need.

Traveling is a wonderful way to spend time, whether with family or during the holidays. You’ll want to make sure that you are adequately prepared for the trip. Making the proper preparations is essential for getting the most out of your trip. Just make sure that you’re safe. Few things ruin a vacation or trip abroad more than sickness or injury.

About the Author

Scott Ridl has been with Oxygen Concentrator Store since 2008 and is passionate about topics relating oxygen and oxygen therapy. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about oxygen to help educate patients on the options they have.

Adjusting to Your New Family Dynamic

Your mom and dad are showing signs that they are not acting as sharply as they once were, and you are slowly noticing the change. Dishes are starting to pile up, hygiene is beginning to decline and your parent or elder is starting to forget normal routines, monthly bill payments or their usual doctor appointments. Because you do not live with them, you are concerned the little signs are indications of larger issues. As we age our state of mind and physical condition changes and making adjustments guarantees a safer, more comfortable and happier living condition.

Starting the Conversation

Regardless of the state your senior is in, discussing caregiving options early on and jointly is vital. Your conversation approach should come from a calm, understanding place where you highlight the advantages and specific reasons to why you think additional help is necessary. Outlining and examining what they want compared to the needs you anticipate should bring all pieces to a level playing field. Shift to a more emotional method if your mom or dad becomes hostile. Really explain your worries and if you already act as the family caregiver, tell him or her how the stress is starting to affect your own life. After coming to some form of agreement, it is time to decide on the best caregiving service.

Discussing Options 

The aging population is growing rapidly, and the senior care industry is creating numerous solutions for families in need. Assisted living, nursing homes, in-home care, adult day care and respite care are all options to consider. It can sometimes be difficult to make the smartest choice, but that is why the whole family’s opinion needs to be considered. AARP asked baby boomers about their most desired location as they aged, and 80% of participants stated they wanted to stay in their own home instead of an assisted care facility. Staying at home is usually the most appealing due to the desired need for independence, and your family may prefer this solution. In-home care is the option that most greatly affects the entire family, and having a plan will make the transition go smoothly.

How In-Home Care Affects You

In-home care can come in three forms. The first circumstance is where the senior moves into your home. The second is where you check in on your mom and dad at their home. Finally, the third option includes the first or second option with additional respite care from a third party provider.

Accommodating an additional person in your home affects your family. Rooms can be reassigned or your home may need remodeling for handicap accessibility, an extra room or a new user-friendly bathroom. Safety elements also need to be reviewed in your home’s current state. Emergency response systems, fall sensors and 24-hour monitoring structures are some of the common safety precautions installed in the home.

Financial changes also need to be considered in all three types of in-home care. Home remodels, food, respite care, transportation and many other expenses could be subtracted from your household’s income. However, time is often the most overlooked element to in-home care services. Juggling your own personal life and household against added doctor appointments, mealtimes and errands can be difficult. Two schedules can be stressful on a family caregiver, so making sure the entire family is on board will also reduce the stress by finding the gaps between schedules.

Why Open Communication?

Taking on the responsibility and role of family caregiver is life changing. Resentment, hostility and stress-induced arguments can arise. Keeping the lines of communication open can reduce the negative tension between family members and help manage your new family dynamic. Working efficiently as a family allows things to run smoother and make for a happier home.

For any additional questions, please contact us in the comments below.

About the Author:

Kym Clark, RN, BSN, CLNC, CSA is the Director of Home Care Services and Quality Administration for Comfort Keepers®, a franchise network in the in-home care market for seniors and other adults needing care.

Getting Out, Not Giving In: the Benefits of a Mobility Scooter

At some point in life, it’s time to admit that your body is slowing down. You might not be able to stay on your feet for as long as you’d like and physical exertion may be a little bit more challenging.  If this is the case, there’s no point in marching on as if nothing has changed. It’s time to adapt your lifestyle to suit the needs of your body – without sacrificing anything in the process.

These days, the mobility market is positively teething with possibilities. Rather than consigning yourself to the sofa when your joints are playing up, why not invest in a mobility scooter? Long misrepresented as “old fogy” mobiles, mobility scooters can be incredibly liberating and are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.

Liberating a Generation

In the past 10 years, battery-powered scooters have taken off and transformed the lives of many who would otherwise had trouble getting around.  One such person is Shaun Greenhalgh, 56, who has had difficulty walking since his early 30s. He’s been using a scooter for 24 years and boasts a collection of 4 different models. “Like most scooter users,” Shaun says, “I can walk to some degree, but only with pain and discomfort. Without it, I would have no life.”

Indeed, the benefits are abundant. Instead of extensively planning a trip or organizing lifts into town, a mobility scooter gives you back the spontaneity of youth. Fancy a morning in the park or an evening ride along the pier? Go for it. Unlike static wheelchairs, you don’t need anyone to help you operate your machine. Just take to the seat and you’re away.

Peace of Mind

Unlike other mobility aids, you can travel significant distances without wearing yourself out. This independence is paramount to wellbeing in both a physical and mental capacity. More often than not, those who have mobility issues will suffer from depression through isolation – particularly if they have no way of readily leaving the house.

Whilst your personal circumstances might not be as restrictive, a mobility scooter gives you added peace of mind should you find yourself without transportation.

The Legal Stuff

Before you buy a mobility scooter you need to consider your options carefully. For a start, you can’t legally drive one if you have problems with your sight, hearing or upper-body strength (arms and shoulders), so if the latter is the case, an electric wheelchair might be more suitable.

Secondly, mobility scooter insurance might not be a legal requirement but it sure is sensible. Part of the reason mobility scooters have suffered such a bad reputation in recent years is due to a number of high profile accidents that were not covered by insurance. “It is highly recommended,” writes Chartwell Insurance, “the financial consequences of an accident, theft or breakdown could be huge – not to mention the complications of being without your scooter.”

Travel and Terrain

Aside from insurance, another element to consider is the terrain you’ll be traveling on. Whilst this might sound like a strange question, certain mobility scooters cater for certain conditions so you don’t want to be riding an indoor model through the mud.

If you plan to travel by road, make sure you’re buying a road scooter. The problem with these models is that they’re not portable but they can travel longer distances than most. Therefore, if you’d like to buy a model that replaces your reliance on a car, the outdoor roadster might be for you. Obviously, these cannot be taken on highways so you’ll still need another mode of transport if you’re planning an out of town trip.

However, if your needs will mainly take in pavements and shopping centers then a portable travel scooter would be more suitable. These models fold up or come apart and are ideal for beginners. They’re lightweight, inexpensive and compact – with adjustable seats and handlebars. The one issue is that they need regular charging but you can invest in a solar powered scooter charger on eBay. This will not only save you money in the long run but will aid your environmental credentials. Win win!

By Emily Buchanan, a writer and editor for Chartwell Mobility Insurance. For the latest, follow Emily  on Twitter or check out her blog.