Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

Grandson and grandfather playing video games together.By Jill Brightman

As the parent of “older” kids – one a tween, and one a teen – I see daily their incremental physical and personality changes that signify to me, they are not babies anymore!

And, I fully expect (and reluctantly accept) that as my kids go headlong into their teenage years that they, as teens tend to do, will choose to spend the bulk of their time with their peers and have less interest in hanging out with mom and dad.

Contemporary retired woman using voice commands to control smart speaker, mature woman talking to the digital virtual assistant at home, asking a question or requesting to switch musicArtificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing industries across the board — from healthcare to transportation, investing to marketing. One perhaps unexpected area where AI shows tremendous promise is in improving the lives of older adults. 

Although emerging technologies are generally associated with the younger generations, the integration of AI technologies is becoming increasingly central in a variety of tools and software that help foster independence and enhance the quality of life for older adults. From assistive technologies to companion robots, AI is reshaping the way older adults live and interact with their environments.

While there are both pros and cons to using AI technologies, the consensus is growing that these innovations have the potential to significantly improve quality of life while giving older adults the independence to age in place.

Nursing home written on a sticky noteCurrently there are more than 1.1 million Americans residing in nursing homes (over 19,000 in Connecticut) and it is estimated that more than 3,000 new nursing homes could need to be built to keep up with demand.

Among the factors leading to the need for increased high-quality nursing home facilities and care are industry-wide staffing shortages, rising costs, and an aging (baby boomer) population.

Consider these expected population trends and the nursing facility numbers in Connecticut and nationwide:

AdobeStock_372942010-300x200This is the fourth and final installment for the empowered caregiver. This is about strategies for engaging in self care, even when that feels impossible.

When you are parenting your own kids, caring for the people who raised you, and also trying to hold down a job or build a career, finding time for yourself feels about as likely as winning the lottery. 

The reality is that caregiving quickly becomes a way of life, especially for caregivers who are part of the sandwich generation. It becomes second nature to put everyone else’s needs first, and after a little while you may stop even considering your own needs just to avoid disappointment. 

AdobeStock_125116470-300x200The third installment of this series is about how to manage some of the family dynamics that come with collaborating on caregiving.

Very few people are lucky enough to be part of a family that exists in perfect harmony, agrees on all decisions, and divides caregiving responsibilities and costs equally. The rest of us have to carefully navigate the challenges of working together for the benefit of an aging loved one.

As you venture into the role of caregiver alongside siblings or other family members, there are a few things you can do to help smooth the way for yourself and your caregiving partners. No matter what your situation, the best approach involves self-knowledge, communication, and flexibility. 

AdobeStock_387670603-300x200In the first post in this series, we covered a few of the most important “big-picture” skills and knowledge that will help you build a strong foundation for your caregiving. This second installment of this 4-part series is about the importance of accepting that you can’t do everything yourself and learning to accept help from others.

Far too many caregivers back themselves into a very stressful corner by assuming that they need to do it all. It’s easy, when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, to overlook opportunities to accept support from family, community, or professional providers. But if you stop and really look at what’s available to you, you might be surprised. Continue reading

AdobeStock_224113424-300x199In this first installment of a 4-part series on caregiving tips and strategies, we’re looking at some important but often overlooked “big-picture” skills and knowledge that are critical to successfully navigating the caregiving journey.

Though becoming the primary caregiver for an aging parent is a responsibility many of us anticipate encountering at some point in our lives, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the physical, mental, and emotional demands of such a role.

And, if you are a member of the “sandwich generation,” you will be in the unenviable position of having to juggle caregiving and parenting responsibilities simultaneously, perhaps while managing your own work or career, and trying to have a life of your own.

It’s February and therefore it’s time to celebrate National Senior Independence Month. Sadly, popular culture has never been kind to older folks.

From the loathly lady of Medieval tales to the aging (and therefore evil) stepmothers and hideous crones and witches of Regency and Victorian fairy tales to countless unflattering contemporary portrayals in films, tv shows, and books, characters of a “certain age” tend to be stereotyped, dehumanized, or completely absent. 

What does this have to do with the myths of aging?

Every so often, life has a way of throwing some curveballs.

Some are more minor in nature – a fender-bender when you are on your way to the store or a washing machine that suddenly stops working.

And, some are more serious such as a health scare or sudden death of a loved one.

AdobeStock_225690704-300x200The parent/child relationship is a complex one, and often becomes more so as the parent ages and the caregiver roles are reversed. It’s not easy to support a parent who is going through this experience. And it’s even harder when they consistently refuse help. 

When trying to persuade an elderly loved one to accept help — either from you or from a professional caregiver — you’ve probably found that navigating personalities, anxiety, shame, frustration, and plain old stubbornness can be exhausting and highly stressful.

However, there are steps you can take to negotiate a care plan that works for both you and your loved one. 

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