Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Doesnt My Elderly Parent Trust Doctors

Our elderly loved ones, like everyone, have fears that are not easily expressed.  

They may look to you as their caregiver, all the while being scared of what may potentially happen next.  Your loved one’s doctor might be caught in the mix, only receiving lip service rather than follow-through when it comes to their directions.
It’s kind of like the first time that you brought up the idea of the senior emergency alert system.  Your elderly loved one might have been resistant, primarily because they didn’t feel that it was time for one.  You had to convince them that the senior emergency alert system was a good thing, just like you’re going to have to convince them that their doctor is on their side.
There are a number of reasons why your elderly loved one might not follow through on their doctor’s orders by taking the medicine or following the diet. Here are just a few, though we’d love to see more in the comments.
Lack of Respect
Yes, we know that we’re coming right out of the box with this one, but ageism happens from the other end, too.  You see, your elderly loved one might be expecting someone who’s older than them – after all, when they first started with doctors many years ago, they were all older.  Like their first encounter with the senior emergency alert system, this might be an opportunity to come to terms with being older.
Living in Denial
Your loved one might not want to admit that they need the type of care and treatment that their doctor is suggesting.  The doctors are there to help, of course, but your parent or loved one just might not be listening to them.  That denial is unfortunately usually broken down through harsh reality.   
Simply Stubborn
Your loved one might be one of those stubborn oppositional-defiant types who loves to do whatever is contrary to the best advice that they receive.  That stubbornness, unfortunately, is also overcome by the introduction of declining health or a bad situation coming up. Hopefully, it won’t take a fall before listening to doctors or getting a senior emergency alert system.
We have to trust the fact that our loved one’s primary care doctor and all of the other doctors have our elderly loved one’s best interests at heart.  It’s necessary to believe that all of the training that they received went toward that moment of taking care of the people you hold so very dear.   
That said, the best way that you’re going to get your parents to be on board with their doctors is if they make the revelations about the doctor’s advice on their own.  It’s your job as the caretaker to make sure that there is plenty of reading material and a variety of sources available that would let them learn without being coerced into learning.
Unfortunately, a lot of our loved ones must experience that declining health, the fall, or something worse to take the advice about living situations and doctor’s orders to heart.  Just like you can’t force them to wear a senior emergency alert system bracelet, you can’t force them to go in and see the doctor unless there’s a modicum of trust.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Ways to Revitalize Yourself

One of the toughest parts about being a caregiver is putting your life on hold to care for someone else.

Despite the fact that you love the person you’re caring for, caregiving still takes a toll on your own health and well-being. Long-term caregivers can suffer from high levels of stress that can make them sick.
If you’re a caregiver, we’ve collected some ideas from around the web to help keep you healthy and prevent you from having to use your patient’s medical alarm systems for your own needs.
We understand that your loved one’s sleep schedule might have changed.  Some seem to never sleep at all while others seem to sleep all day.  Coordinate your own sleep schedule with your loved one’s so that you can get between six and eight good hours a night.
Establish Medical Alarm Systems
Having an alarm for medical emergencies gives you a little breathing room.  Train your loved one to push the button in case of emergency, and let them go through a couple of trial runs.  If they become used to the mobile GPS help button, they will be more prone to use it (and give you a little peace of mind in the process).
Exercise provides a well-needed break from your caregiving as well as a chance to work out your frustrations.  One of the best ways that we’ve found to really work it out is to take out the boxing gloves and hit a heavy bag.
Eat Real Food
We understand that eating food from a take-out box might be necessary since there’s little time but cook, but eating good, nutritious food is not only cheaper, but it can help you stay energized and alert in case the medical alarm systems are activated.
Call for Help
You are NOT alone in caregiving and caregiving issues.  While each situation is definitely different, there are still some common threads that run through caregiving relationships.  Your doctor, friends, and family are on your side, but you have to ask for that help.
Many people hold a little piece of the caregiving story close them, and through their stories we can be enriched and enlightened about our own caregiving experience.  We’ve found some solace at the Caregiving CafĂ© and other places to find empathy for what might e going through on a daily basis.
Having a medical alarm system in place is nice, but it’s sometimes necessary to get away from the caregiving experience in some way.  Taking care of yourself is important to the well-being of your loved one just as much as taking care of them. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of others.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ways to Keep the Brain Sharp and Active

Many elderly people are concerned about dementia and losing their senses as they age.  

They fear they will lose their memories, and therefore lose some of their identity in the process. They can fear they will become nobodies without legacy.  While having a senior medical alert system can help if they get lost or confused, it would be better to stay sharp in the first place. Here are six ways.
  1. Do Puzzles
The best way to keep the brain active and agile is to give it something to ‘chew’ on, whether it’s a book of logic puzzles, Sudoku, or through other means.  Lumosity is a website where folks can go to train their brain. It’s better to start earlier than later.
  1. Create Instead of Consume
Watching television shows and playing video games is great, but the way to really keep your brain active is by making your own video games, writing your own books, or otherwise indulging your creativity. It takes far more brain power to create than consume.    
  1. Explore
Exploring the world, or just the neighborhood, will help keep their brains active as well as getting in a little bit of necessary exercise.  Your loved one has the senior medical alert system to protect them as they go out and about, so there’s no need to worry about what happens in case they fall.  
  1. Protect the Brain
A nasty fall can cause brain injury. Make sure that they’re protected at all times. While exercise is important, we’ve found that having a senior medical alert system is an excellent tool to use in case there is a fall.
  1. Eat the Best Food
We have all had our share of sodium, bad fats, and sugars by the time we get old.  It’s time to eat a little healthier.  This will help prevent weight gain, but more than that, it will keep the brain fed with what it needs. Eat a moderate diet with nuts and fish to give the brain the good fats it needs.
  1. Stay Social
Social interaction stimulates us in ways we can’t get anyway else. Through social interaction, connections are made, passions are found, and conversations are started.  Just keeping your loved one social is great, as those connections that they make are vital.
A senior medical alert system might not hold the keys to retentive memory, but it does help those seniors who wish to stay living in their own homes.  The key to keeping the brain healthy is to keep doing something.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Should My Loved Ones Go to a Retirement Community

Many elderly people still want to remain fiercely independent.  

They want to keep driving their cars, shop for themselves, and perform normal activities.  As caregivers, we want to make sure that our loved ones stay safe and secure without exposing themselves to undue harm.

Like a medical alert service, a retirement community can provide a transition so that your loved one can feel independent and still have the support they need in case of emergency. 

What is a retirement community?
A retirement community is a housing complex for older adults who are mostly able to care for themselves.  Mobility and other services (like home health care and scheduled activities) are provided to individual residents.   This works well for loved ones who still want to remain independent.
What can you expect in a retirement community?
That’s honestly dependent upon both your personal needs and the services that the community offers.  At the very least, it offers a social outlet for our loved ones to develop friendships with potentially like-minded individuals.  At their best, retirement communities are a full-service system of aging care for our loved ones.
Is a medical alert service needed when living in a retirement community?
Yes.  While nursing homes offer 24/7 coverage in case of emergency, retirement communities offer services which are based on the resident’s needs.  Your loved one isn’t going to have someone around them at all times, and emergencies happen in the blink of an eye.  A medical alert service will be there for you in case of falls, serious injuries, and other emergencies.
How do you choose an independent living retirement community?
Taking the step to go into a retirement community is more complex than choosing which medical alert service that you’re going to use.  It’s still very much like choosing an apartment or a house.  Retirement communities are located all around the US, so there should be one that’s close to where you are.
  • Is this a huge community or is it a more intimate setting?
  • Are there people walking around the community?
  • What kinds of services do they advertise?
  • How about the accessibility?  Is it close to everything or out in the middle of nowhere?
  • Are there doctors and home health care professionals on site?  Do they stop by there regularly?
  • Are the residents encouraged to socialize with each other through activities and other events?
  • Are there green spaces where your loved one can enjoy the ‘great outdoors’ in the protected environment of a retirement community?
  • Is it affordable?  Are there transition plans in place for those with declining health?
Choosing to live in a retirement community is a wonderful step that our loved ones can take to keep living independently.  They not only live independently, but they still have the blanket of protection from having support systems nearby. Consider talking about it with your loved ones to see if it’s right for them.