Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers


AdobeStock_207729475-300x200Over the course of our lives, we feel a sense of purpose and pride for a variety of reasons, but most of them have to do with helping others. Whether we are parenting children, caring for aging parents, serving in a professional role, or fulfilling a philanthropic mission, we feel good when we are actively engaged in doing good work out in the world.

As we get older, it can feel like our worlds become a lot smaller. Opportunities to feel productive and useful start to dwindle. Kids move out, parents pass on, and we retire. Piece by piece, whole areas of our life are reshaped in a way that can—if we’re not careful—lead to social isolation and loneliness. 

Older adults who find themselves in this position are often at a much greater risk for a variety of serious mental and physical health issues, including anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. 

AdobeStock_146000120-300x238The holidays are a time for family, but sometimes the chaos of the season overwhelms all our best intentions to create special moments with our loved ones. With so much to do (and so little time to do it), it can feel like the holiday season comes and goes before we’re able to get fully on board. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to get the decorations up and the shopping (barely) done!

But there’s a big difference between merely surviving the holidays and actually enjoying them.

One way to bring the magic back into the season is to develop your own special family traditions. And what better place to start than with your grandchildren. They provide endless inspiration and make excellent accomplices.

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Of all the things we do in taking care of our aging parents, dealing with their household stuff might be the most cumbersome. After all, when the end finally comes, it’s up to us to sort, store, sell, toss, donate, and clean everything until the home is empty.

This is no small task, especially in a time of grief. Where to start?

Here are some options for dealing with your parents’ items that won’t be finding a new home with family members. Remember that the more time you have, the more money you can make for the estate. Continue reading

AdobeStock_57199720-300x300Whether you’re a card-carrying member of an older generation or a younger person looking to buy a new gadget for a parent or grandparent, finding technology solutions that are functionally effective for seniors while also being aesthetically pleasing can be a major challenge.

Despite the fact that Americans in the 60-and-over age bracket are adopting technology at a faster pace than ever before, most tech designers and manufacturers are missing the boat.

Instead of collaborating with members of the target audience to design products and technology solutions that meet the needs (and wants) of this mature demographic, most tech companies fall back on delivering traditional devices and products that are at best simply clunky and at worst downright embarrassing.

AdobeStock_270454973-300x200In the first two parts of this series, we shared organizing tips—to help you get all your documents and plans in place—and strategies for assembling your long-distance caregiving support team and extended network .

Today’s post is all about the day-to-day routines of long-distance caregiving. Each caregiver’s situation will be unique to their loved one’s specific circumstances, medical issues, and location. There are, however, three core pieces of advice that can be applied to help make any situation more manageable and less stressful.

Keep in touch on a regular basis.

AdobeStock_143996409-300x148In the first installment of this series we provided an overview of some key organizing and planning tips to help make long-distance caregiving easier. This week, we’re looking at how to build a strong support team and network to help you care for your loved one. Hopefully, you do not have to care for your loved one all on your own. But even if you have a small family or are the only person available on a regular basis, there are other people and resources you can integrate into your caregiving team.

Family

If you have other family members who will be lending a hand, it’s a good idea to have a family meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s important to decide who will be the primary giver and what each person’s roles and responsibilities will be.

AdobeStock_205385891-300x200Caring for an aging loved one can be a very challenging responsibility, even under the best of circumstances. But, when the caring must be done long distance, you add a whole other layer of complexity and difficulty. Even an hour’s distance can increase hardship exponentially in the context of our always too-busy lives.

In this first part of a 2-part blog post, we’ll give you some steps you can take that will make your new role a bit easier.

According to recent studies, approximately 5 to 7 million caregivers in the U.S. are long-distance caregivers. These people currently represent almost 15% of all caregivers in the U.S., and their numbers are expected to double by 2020. And, as expected, long-distance caregivers tend to have a heavier financial and emotional burden than caregivers who are caring for loved ones who either live with them or live locally.

images-300x168The connection between humans and dogs is one that hearkens back to ancient and even prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence of canine domestication dates back some 15,000 years, and some experts believe our interspecies love affair may stretch as far back as 30,000 years ago.

While there is still some debate about just how long we humans have been vulnerable to the charms of big, sad puppy eyes and fluffy tummies, there is no question that our relationship with these animals has evolved greatly over the ages. In the earliest days, dogs helped with hunting and guarding in exchange for a share of the food and the comforts of life in a mixed-species pack.

Today, dogs are primarily cherished companions—four-legged family members. But there are still many who pull their weight by providing all kinds of valuable services to the humans they love.

AdobeStock_56917751-300x200It’s never too late to explore your artistic side. In fact, many people discover that the second half of life is the perfect time to learn an art or craft.

Whether you decide to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, sit down at a potter’s wheel, or strap on some dancing shoes, the arts offer countless opportunities for enrichment, fulfillment, and joy.

Many of our most beloved artists got their starts later in life. Monet didn’t get serious about painting until he was in his forties. Forty may be young by today’s standards, but in Monet’s day the average life expectancy hovered around the early sixties, making forty almost “venerable.”

AdobeStock_85578442-300x200There is no right way to grieve the loss of a loved one.

There is plenty of advice, but anyone who has first-hand experience will tell you that each of us needs to find our own way. Coming to terms with such loss is a process, and it’s one that can take many forms.

An important part of the process for many is memorializing the deceased in some way. Traditionally, commemoration of an individual’s life takes place over the course of a wake, a funeral, and a burial. These rites and rituals, with deep cultural and sociological roots, often help to give friends and family some closure. At the same time, the grave site provides a physical space where those in mourning can go to grieve, to remember, to converse with the dead.

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