Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

AdobeStock_187262416-300x200We may not have flying cars or robot butlers yet, but technology is constantly edging us closer and closer to the world of the future that used to exist only in cartoons like The Jetsons. While many of the latest technology products are marketed primarily as nice-to-have devices that offer entertainment or convenience, there is a whole other application for these items. Wearables and text-to-speech programs and voice-activated devices can be very helpful, but they can be life-changing to someone who is disabled or elderly.

For people with mobility issues, impaired vision, speech disorders, and other challenges, assistive technologies can make all kinds of tasks easier. The ever-growing range of “smart home” devices is an area of particular interest. These primarily voice-activated products offer a novel solution for busy people who feel the need to multitask, but for others they can be a powerful new tool for handling the day-to-day tasks needed to remain independent.

So-called “smart home” technology  refers to devices that connect to, monitor, and control physical objects such as thermostats, blinds, security cameras, lighting, music, computers, and so forth. These smart devices are used to manage a broad range of elements including a home’s environment and energy use, ambiance or atmosphere (lighting, music, etc.), entertainment, and security.

AdobeStock_46432121-300x290Spring is nearly here, and with it the urge to do some spring cleaning. To make your seasonal chores more enjoyable, you might want to consider spicing things up with one of the two latest trends in decluttering and setting things to rights: The KonMari MethodTM or Swedish death cleaning.

Get Joyful and Tidied Up with Marie Kondo

In case you haven’t read her book or caught her Netflix show or read one of her gazillion interviews, let me first introduce you to Marie Kondo, the diminutive organizing enchantress from Japan who is leading the charge on the global tidying movement.

AdobeStock_41168140-300x225By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

AdobeStock_44262084-300x200How do you feel when you’ve had a poor night’s sleep?

I imagine it’s the same for us all. Everything is affected – our mood, our energy, our decision-making. Our entire day!

So it’s no surprise that science has discovered that disrupted sleep does considerable damage to the brain, which suffers from unbalanced thinking and an inability to regulate emotional responses.

iStock_000023479361SmallEveryone yearns for time to relax and refresh during the summer months – especially sun-starved New Englanders. But if you’re a family caregiver, a ‘carefree’ vacation may be hard to come by.

–      If you leave town, who will take your place?

–      If you bring your loved one with you, will your vacation venue be equipped for their special needs?

There’s a lot to think about. But with good planning, you can take a breather from caregiving and give yourself a well-deserved break.

Here are some helpful suggestions: Continue reading

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Dementia, whether caused by Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or some other disease, creates a very particular and emotionally fraught set of challenges for both patients and caregivers. When you’re navigating your way through this heartbreaking landscape of gradual memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes, you need all the support you can get. You may be surprised to learn about one valuable resource that is too often overlooked – hospice.

Our previous post Hospice and Dementia: Not What You Might Assume, explored some specific ways hospice can help. This piece will talk about its benefits and when you should reach out to hospice.

Hospice is often misunderstood

Angels-300x214By Carol Frances, Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri

Hospice care is misunderstood. I want to spread the news to all caregivers of loved ones with dementia, that this support system (provided, in my opinion, by angels) may not be what you assume.

When my mom fell at the dementia unit of a California assisted living facility, her physician ordered hospice care. I was confused why she did this as although my mom was certainly declining – she needed help being fed, which is not uncommon for people with advancing dementia – she wasn’t near dying and could still talk and walk.

AdobeStock_33109325-300x200This is the final installment of our 3-part series on becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In the first part, Being a Healthcare Advocate: How to Get Started, we learned how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. In part two, Being a Healthcare Advocate: 9 Important Tips, we tackled how to manage documentation and record keeping. In this final piece, we address best practices for working effectively with healthcare professionals.

The first time you attend a doctor’s appointment as your parent’s healthcare advocate, you might feel a little awkward. That’s natural. You’re kind of like a third wheel, stepping into what was previously a very private and intimate conversation.

To prepare for this, it’s helpful to establish preferences and expectations with your parent up front. Does your parent want to take the lead and just have you present as an extra set of eyes and ears, or will you be taking a more active role in communicating with the doctor. Talk with your parent in advance so you are both on the same page with your game plan.

Helpful-tips-300x199This is the second installment in our three-part series on becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In the first part, Being Your Parent’s Healthcare Advocate: How to Get Started, we learned how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. In part two, we tackle how to manage documentation and record keeping. In part 3, we explore how to Best Engage with Healthcare Professionals.

As you embark on your journey as a healthcare advocate for a loved one, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got as much information at your fingertips as possible.

Emergency can strike at any time, and you want to be prepared; but even simple routine care can require a high level of organization and knowledge. It’s best if you give yourself time (by starting early) to pull all the information together. Don’t wait until something happens.

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