Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

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Heart in woman hands. Love giving, care, health, protection concept

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.

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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This is the first in a 3-part series about the process and practice of becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In this part one, we talk about how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. 

As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

It’s also not something that anyone should have to do alone, especially when it comes to navigating the exhaustingly complex and sometimes downright intimidating territory of personal healthcare.

AdobeStock_67245954-300x200By Carol Frances

It was a mystery. Every evening around 5 o’clock, my mom would change. She’d become resistant, paranoid and sometimes belligerent. She would even hallucinate – claiming to have watched me from the window as I marched in a parade!

A few hours later, and certainly the next day, she would be back to her happy, easy-going self.

AdobeStock_142240831-300x200Multiple generations living under one roof may seem like a concept from a time gone by or a practice from another part of the world, but it is actually a growing trend here in the states.

Before WWII, approximately 25% of Americans shared their homes with three or more generations. After the war, the percentage of multigenerational households began to decline and bottomed out at a meager 12% in 1980.

Today, however, the numbers of families choosing to combine households across two or more generations is on the rise. Continue reading

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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_51794626-300x196No one should ever have to pretend to be someone they’re not.

This is especially true later in life when a person has, by dint of having years’ worth of life experience, earned the right to live authentically, without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Tragically, however, denying their truth and hiding behind lies is exactly what many senior LGBT people must do to receive quality care in elder care facilities.  Similarly, they are struggling to navigate legal and financial issues related to medical care, insurance, health proxy designations, and inheritance.

 

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We are free-wheeling and in control of our lives. We want to keep moving the ball down the field. We like to solve a problem and then move on to the next.

But our command and control attitude toward decision-making often comes into conflict with our loved one’s way of looking at things. We cajole, we coax, we coerce, but the more we press, the greater the resistance.

Consider some of the typical issues we think of as critical to our loved one’s safety and well-being: Continue reading

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