Wednesday, November 26, 2014

8 Ways to Fight Depression

Depression is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a sign that something is inherently wrong with your elderly loved one.  

As our nation’s population ages, we’re seeing that there are large proportions of them getting depressed as they get older. Today, we’re looking at some strategies to combat depression in the elderly. 

Like the medical alert button your parents wear, you are there to help your loved ones have the best and most productive life possible. It’s both of your jobs to encourage people to thrive, despite the odds and the other situations around.
Exercise – Our bodies were meant to move.  Object in motion tends to remain in motion, and all of that.  Moreover, getting the blood pumping helps get more blood to the brain and helps break free of that depression.

Volunteering – One of the reasons that our older loved ones are getting depressed is that they don’t feel useful.  Volunteering is a way to give back to the community and instill that usefulness once more.  It tends to return the meaning to life.
Sleep – There are two ways that depression can have an effect on your older loved one.  Sleeping levels is one of those ways – either too much or too little.  When they get the sleep that they need, they will be more awake, alive, and vibrant.  
Taking Care of Animals – A dog, a cat, even a bunny or a hamster can provide great joy.  You are their medipendant, their safety net against all that might cause harm or damage to them.  
Encourage Stories – Your person most likely has a wealth of stories that they’ve never told.  Give them the opportunity to tell stories and feel alive once more by reliving the memories.  
Encourage Skills – You’re never too old to learn, and the learning of anew skill might help in your loved one’s continuing development.  This is like getting a medipendant for the spirit, building on it and growing.
Improve diet – Food plays a huge part in the levels of depression in older people.  Bad diet can increase feelings of depression.
Socialization – Socialization is one of the best and easiest way to avoid using the medipendant.  Encourage your older loved one to hang out with their friends and embrace the wonders of those friendships that have been built up over the years.  There’s nothing that can replace a great friend. Make sure your loved ones have one.
Together, you can beat depression in its forms.  If changing all of these doesn’t make the grade, then going to a doctor might be in order.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

7 Senior Travel Tips

Up Up And Away!

We’re coming up on the holiday season, which means that it’s a great time for getting out and about, traveling to our heart’s content. In many cases, the kids travel to see grandma or grandpa, but sometimes our elderly loved ones go to their children.  How can our older loved ones be safe and still have a great time?
Bring plenty of protective clothing
Older individuals are more sensitive to temperature changes, or they might not be aware of the temperature at all.  In both cases, they need to be protected from the elements, whether hot or cold.  If you know that folks are going to be out and about, don’t forget that the sun still works in the winter – so pack some sunscreen.
Let the medical alert folks know when you get there
GPS equipped medical alert systems work in around 90% of the United States.  When you first arrive, press the button to the medical alert folks and tell them that you’re on vacation.  They’ll be able to temporarily update the information in case an emergency happens.
Be sure accommodations are safe
If grandma or grandpa is using a cane, walker, or wheelchair, it’s necessary that the places where they’re going are going to be able to accommodate him or her.  The kids might not have the best house for this, but there are usually hotels and motels around.  Reframing it, you could make it a vacation for the entire family.
Have the medical issues taken care of
We’re talking about prescriptions, charged medical alert bracelets, blood sugar testing kits, and all of the things which your loved one needs to be safe and happy.  It can be a real drag to try to get prescriptions refilled in a different city outside of the provider network.
Go to the doctor beforehand
Before going on the trip, make sure that your loved one is able to go on the trip by checking with his or her primary care physician.  There might be prescriptions which need to be refilled or other considerations that need to be made for the part of the country that you’re going to.
Create an Itinerary
For some of our elderly loved ones, planning is crucial.  They will plan out events that are going to happen six months in the future.  Create your list of things to do so that they can have something to look forward to and be more at ease with the trip that they’re taking.
Consider Diet
While on vacation during the holidays, it’s bound to happen that there might be some give and take with the diet.  But, that diet will soon be returned to if ‘being bad’ causes pain, heartburn, or other maladies.  Make sure that there’s food that your loved one can eat.
Having a GPS enabled medical alert system is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to traveling.  When you make sure that your loved one is safe, new memories can be created when everyone has a great time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fallproofing Your Stairs

Stairs present a major issue for caregivers and our seniors who have difficulty climbing them.

The falls from stairs can be even more traumatic than the ‘simple’ falls that happen from missing footing, as one must deal with the elevation. Also, falling on an uneven surface creates more potential for harm.
Many factors can contribute to a tumble down the stairs, the same factors that can contribute to a general fall:
  • Poor vision
  • Balance issues
  • Loss of coordination
  • Reduced strength
When combined, these factors can make for some nasty spills.  While having a medical alert bracelet can help for the after care, it doesn’t do very much good for preventing the fall itself.
Falling on the stairs in the home, even with the presence of a medical care bracelet or necklace, can have tragic effects like:
  • Longer Hospital Stays
  • Earlier Need For Assisted Living
  • Increased and dramatic fear of falling
  • Broken bones
  • Brain injuries
The easiest way to avoid the issue and the need for stair safety is the complete avoidance of stairs altogether.  Many of our seniors and caregivers have taken the stairs out of the picture and live just as well on the first floor as they did with two.
This particular option, while it does reduce the chances of falling down stairs, is not always feasible for our elders.  In most cases, the way that the house is set up determines the need for stairs.
So, in that light, we have to do everything possible to reduce the chances of falling down those stairs and having to use our emergency alert bracelets.
Other than removing the stairs option altogether, what can make the stairs safer?
Home Stair Lift
One choice is getting a home stair lift.  Home stair lifts can cost thousands of dollars, but they are well worth it if a senior needs the second floor and expects to be in the same place for any length of time.  
Install Handrails
If you have the opportunity, installing handrails on the stairs will not only help with balance, but it will also improve confidence levels when it comes to falling.  The fear of falling and having to use that medical alert bracelet might indeed contribute to shakiness and indeed cause a fall. Handrails should be installed on both sides of the staircase if possible
Put in Good Lighting.
You don’t want the lighting that you’ve got over your stairs to resemble a haunted house! The right lighting at the top and the bottom of the stairs can help those who have poor vision see a little bit better.  Are there switches at both the top and bottom?  Are the bulbs bright enough?
Look at the Carpets
Carpeting can definitely get in the way of people who are trying to go up or down the stairs. A little scuff where the material is slightly up on the stair can cause a great tumble and potentially a need for using the bracelet for a medical emergency.  Make sure that the carpet is tamped down or removed altogether.
The concerns that you have over a loved one climbing up and down the stairs are valid. There might be balance issues at stake, or perhaps something about the vision of your loved one that might make you concerned.  They should always have their emergency bracelets available, but you can also encourage them to use just the lower floor until the stairs are made safer.

What should you do if you fall?

Hopefully, you would have a medical alert pendant with you to summon help, or even one with automatic fall detection in the event you could not speak. In any case, do not attempt to get up too suddenly, until you fully understand where you are and what condition you are in. Only then should you attempt to move and get back on your feet, if you are able to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top 20 Blogs for Caregivers

There are many factors which go into being a good caregiver, starting with making the decision to become a caregiver in the first place.  As you know, there are always options and always possibilities, and making the best choices is difficult when you don’t have enough information. 

We’ve scoured the web to find blogs which have information and provide the support that you need to be the best caregiver that you can be.  Each of these top 20 blogs for caregivers represented here below is exemplary in the information, the storytelling, or the support that it offers its readers.   

Brenda Avadian founded The Caregiver’s Voice Blog in 1988 with the sole intention to provide inspiration, information, and recreation to caregivers who were caring for loved ones with disabilities. As more people of the sandwich generation end up as caregivers, their intention is to build resources and create a valuable library.

Taking care of aging parents or other loved ones can be very difficult. understands this, their mission being to help the helpers.  They offer resources designed to help family caregivers relieve stress, save money, and make better decisions regarding themselves and their loved ones.

eCareDiary makes caregivers’ lives easier by coordinating and developing online tools for caregiving resources.  Founded by people who have been there and watched their own parents decline, eCareDiary creates a safety net of those people who have been there. Their blog offers resources, care, and support to caregivers from around the globe.


Taking care of a parent or loved one, the same people who took care of you as a child, can be difficult.  You might not have asked for the situation, but you’re now in it.  You’re not alone, not by any stretch of the imagination.  The Elder Care ABC Blog builds an online community of caregivers who welcome others to pull on their strength, their experiences, and their practical knowledge.

The Caregivers blog is the combined effort of four people: Martha Stettinius, Ann Napoletan, Merret Mann, and Dana Larsen.  Each of them gives insight about issues acting the elder care community. They also discuss books, movies, and other media which is important to those in caregiver roles.

Lotsa Helping Hands creates online Communities that provide support and understanding within caregivers’ lives.  Caregivers and volunteers assist one another, offering solace in times of stress and need.  The information-rich articles on the blog go back to 2012,and the stories last a lifetime.

A Place for Mom gives seniors (moms and dads!) an easier way to find senior care.   The well-polished blog handles many aging issues, including how to handle money and difficult situations.  There are volumes of information to be found here, making it one of the foremost blogs in caregiving.

A touching blog which includes the stories of two people who have reconnected with one another through the care of their elderly parents.  The journey has been bittersweet and well fought, lined with humor, practical advice, and wisdom from those who are walking the walk of being caregivers. Dauna and Marky live on opposite sides of he country, and these are their stories.

Caregiver Stress is the blog and home base of Home Instead Senior Care, a champion for in-home non-medical care.  There are some extraordinary resources within this blog, as it doesn’t simply talk about the two ‘hot’ elderly issues of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  You can find out more about arthritis, depression, and diabetes there.

The Family Caregiver Blog brings understanding, dedication, and affection for all of the caregivers who are out there.  There is focus on compassionate caregiving as well as thoughts from the professionals.  The authors of this blog understand the needs of caregiving and seeks to share both the victories and losses of the family caregiver.

StarLIght Caregivers provides a huge range of caregiving services to their community, including companionship care, personal care, and dietitian services.  The blog looks at elderly issues and the state of elder care throughout the nation.  It also devotes some attention to providing tips and tricks for easing the lives of the caregiver.

The Caregiver Space focuses on empowering caregivers and making them feel seen, valued, and important.  A non-profit organization, TCS gives comfort and understanding to those who feel like they’re adrift in the storm.  The blog focuses on advice, ideas, and personal stories from those who have been there.
This site details one GenX’ers journey through caregiving by offering tips, tricks, insights, and other valuable information to the caregiving communities.  The notes inside are personal, poignant, and very much worth the read to those who are just beginning or continuing their caregiver’s journey.

With an emphasis on providing tips and practical knowledge to the caregiving profession, the Caregiving Club is on a mission to improve the health and well-being of those who are in positions of caregiving.  Sheri Snelling, an expert on caregiving and the issues surrounding caregiving, is the founder and CEO of the Caregiving Club.

While many of the blogs in this list are focused on caregiving and the role that the caregiver has in the modern landscape, this one speaks directly to Baby Boomers and elders about technology and staying healthy.  There are also pieces devoted to Boomer blogs, apps, and gadgets that are of interest.

If you’ve got a question about elder care, there’s a distinct possibility that it’s answered in one of the blog posts at Inside Elder Care.  The blog was originally set up to educate and inspire, encouraging others to make the elder care experience a positive one.  Having won awards for several years in a row, this blog tackles issues like aging in place, quality of care, and abuse.

ElderCareLink provides a free service to consumers which matches elder care services to providers.  Simply fill out an assessment, and the people at ElderCareLink will do the legwork to find a provider or group of providers in your geographic area who are suited to your needs.  

The site is chock-full of information about elder care needs and issues.  You can find valuable articles related to assisted living, Alzheimer’s, in-home care, and more.  

NAPGCM, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, strives to advance professional geriatric care management through leadership, collaboration, and education.  Their ever expanding library of resources is designed to assist in both training and the continuing education of geriatric care managers.  

The Alzheimer’s Reading Room has over 4000 articles related to all aspects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  The mission of this blog is to help people cope with and understand dementia, as well as offer others a chance to realize that they are not alone.  

Started as two friends who were trying to make things work with aging parents, the Girlfriends with Aging Parents blog has grown into a mixture of Q&A, narrative, and a serious effort to understand the process of aging and finding the necessary resources to care for those aging loved ones. Written in a poignant style, this blog will touch your heartstrings.

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Top 20 Blogs for Caregivers