It’s not easy getting old, as the saying goes, and it can be even harder to watch your parents age. Helping parents transition into the later years of their lives can be a delicate matter, but there are ways to help them ease into an elderly stage and cope better with challenges. For example, consider these tips and ways to aid aging parents.
Aiding Aging Parents
4 tips to help overcome new challenges
(Family Features) It’s not easy getting old, as the saying goes, and it can be even harder to watch your parents age. Helping parents transition into the later years of their lives can be a delicate matter, but there are ways to help them ease into an elderly stage and cope better with challenges.
Carol Lavin Bernick, former executive chairman of Alberto Culver, navigated this type of life transition with her parents. In her book, “Gather As You Go: Lessons Learned Along the Way,”Bernick offers tips to give and get joy while preserving your parents’ dignity in addition to wisdoms on business and leadership, philanthropy, dealing with tough times and being a working mom.
For example, consider these tips and ways to aid aging parents:
Adjust to Physical Changes
Consider the Little Things
Find more tips to assist aging relatives at gatherasyougo.com .
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Gather As You Go
If you have ever thought about exploring your family history, now can be the perfect opportunity to take the next step. To get started, these four simple tips can help you unlock new understanding and make meaningful connections.
Tips for Turning History into Your Story
(Family Features) If you have ever thought about exploring your family history, now can be the perfect opportunity to take the next step. To get started, these four simple tips can help you unlock new understanding and make meaningful connections. You can also consider sharing these tips with loved ones so they can join in on the fun, too.
Call Your Family
Start a Family Tree
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As you get older, the consequences of falls can become more serious, setting up a sequence of events that can have longstanding implications on independence and health. These steps can help prevent falls.
Taking Steps to Prevent Falls
(Family Features) When you’re young, an injury from a fall may sideline you for a few days or weeks, but a full recovery is usually quick. As you get older, the consequences of falls can become more serious, setting up a sequence of events that can have longstanding implications on independence and health.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Although falls typically become more common and can be more serious as you age, falls are not a natural part of getting older. In fact, most falls are preventable. Knowing the factors that put you at greater risk of falling and taking proper steps can help prevent falls.
Risk factors for falls in older people include overall health (chronic diseases and physical conditions), environment (hazards and situations at home) and behaviors, such as rushing around or standing on a chair to reach something.
These steps from the experts at the National Council on Aging can help prevent falls:
For more tips and information, visit acl.gov/fallsprevention.
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Administration for Community Living
While caring for an older family member – whether it be a spouse, parent or grandparent – can be a rewarding experience, it can also be a difficult and overwhelming task. This is especially true if your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses. Being aware of some of the warning signs of burnout can help caregivers properly manage stress and protect themselves.
Caring for Caregivers
How to prevent caregiver burnout
(Family Features) While caring for an older family member – whether it be a spouse, parent or grandparent – can be a rewarding experience, it can also be a difficult and overwhelming task. This is especially true if your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses.
Whether it’s out of love or obligation, caring for a chronically ill or disabled family member (and potentially his or her financial and legal interests) can come at the expense of the caregiver’s quality of life. In addition to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle outside of caregiving responsibilities, it is important for those caring for a loved one to learn ways to avoid health hazards and stay well-informed of any changes in their loved one’s condition. Add work and children to care for to the equation and it’s a formula that can lead to stress, exhaustion and even potential health issues.
The additional duties often required to provide care for a loved one can lead to physical or emotional fatigue, often referred to as “caregiver burnout.” If you’re caring for an older adult, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America recommends these tips to help manage stress before caregiving leads to burnout.
Know the signs of burnout. By the time many caregivers suspect signs of burnout, they’re likely already suffering symptoms related to their responsibilities. Being aware of some of the warning signs can help caregivers properly manage stress and protect themselves. Warning signs include:
Educate yourself about the disease. It’s likely the loved one you care for has several health problems, takes multiple medications and sees multiple health care providers to manage his or her conditions. As a first step in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses, visit alzfdn.org or nia.nih.gov/alzheimers for information. Support groups, educational workshops, community resources and professionals can also help increase your understanding of the disease and what to expect so you can be a better-informed and prepared caregiver.
Be prepared for important decisions. Take care of financial, legal and long-term care planning issues early on to help reduce stress later. Try to involve the individual in decision-making if he or she is capable, and consider personal wishes regarding future care and end-of-life issues.
Build your care skills. Key skills for any caregiver include communication, understanding safety considerations and behaviors, and managing activities of daily living such as bathing, toileting and dressing. Some organizations and local hospitals may even offer classes specific to your loved one’s disease that can aid you in the process.
Develop empathy. Try to understand what it is like to be a person living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Put yourself in the affected person’s shoes while also recognizing your own losses. Manage your expectations of your loved one and remain patient.
Ask for help when you need it. Reach out to medical and mental health professionals as well as family and friends. They can assist you when things get tough. In addition, there are typically programs, agencies and organizations in your community that can help manage the challenges of caring for older parents, grandparents, spouses and other older adults.
Advocate for and connect with your loved one. Take an active role in the individual’s medical care. Get to know the care team, ask questions, express concerns and discuss treatment options. Also remember to connect on a personal level through kindness, humor and creativity, which are essential parts of caregiving and can help reduce stress.
Think positive. Focus on the capabilities and strengths that are still intact and enjoy your relationship with your loved one while you are still together. Look for ways to include him or her in your daily routines and gatherings to make as many memories as possible.
Find more caregiver resources and tips at alzfdn.org.
Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress
Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in mind:
Getting Help with Caregiving
Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:
Adult Day Programs
Family and Friends
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Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
(BPT) - Whether it's for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home can be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.
"Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations," says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living's senior vice president of resident and family engagement. "Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults' varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs."
Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.
The walkways to many homes are cracked or uneven, which is a risk factor for falls. Make sure the pathway is cleared and easy to see, shovel show in the winter and sweep leaves in the fall. Stairs can be tricky to maneuver as well. If possible, add a ramp that leads to your door. If there are stairs, install handrails on each side. Entryways divided by a threshold can be tricky for someone with mobility issues. Eliminate this common tripping hazard when seniors visit.
The easiest thing you can do is remove clutter (especially on the floor) to allow sufficient space for senior guests who may be in a wheelchair to maneuver around rooms. Remove or tape down all cords. Rugs may look nice but they are a leading tripping hazard. Remove all accent rugs from your home, and in areas like the entryway where you must have mats, make sure they are secured with non-slip material.
Seniors need more light than you do in your home, particularly in notoriously dim areas such as entryways, hallways and staircases. Replace existing soft light bulbs with brighter or higher wattage ones and add motion-sensor lights to bathrooms. Adding night lights throughout your home is an easy addition that helps seniors see better, especially at night or on darker winter days.
Ideally, a senior won't have to navigate stairs, but if you have some in your home, you can make the space safer by having railings on both sides. Railings should be at least 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate seniors with limited dexterity and aging grips. What's more, help each stair be more visible by using contrast strips (available at your local hardware store).
Make bathrooms safer by adding well-placed grab bars next to the toilet and in bathing spaces. In the shower or tub, add non-slip strips and a shower seat for comfort and ease of use. For guests who are staying awhile, consider adding a handheld, adjustable-height showerhead. Finally, set the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees as to avoid unintended burns.
Whether your loved one is staying one night, one month or more, selecting the right room will increase their comfort and safety. One-level living is key, so if possible use a room on the main floor with easy access to the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Furniture, including the bed and chairs, should be at a good height (neither too low nor too high) to be easily used. Knobs can be difficult, so consider replacing round door handles with lever handles.
“In addition to these tips, I recommend having a conversation with your loved one before their stay,” says Terry. “Talk to them about what will make them feel at home in your home. What’s most important is enjoying your visit to the fullest and spending valuable time together."
Face Your Financial Fears
Take action to save for retirement
(Family Features) Retirement is supposed to be a reward for decades of hard work, but if you haven’t planned well, the milestone may be a dark cloud on your horizon. In fact, new data shows that nearly 50 percent of Americans are most afraid of outliving their income or the inability to maintain their current lifestyle, and nearly 20 percent are worried about having enough money to cover health care expenses.
The research, released by the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), also found that despite these very real fears, Americans are failing to take action to address them. For example, a quarter of Baby Boomers, the age group closest to retirement, have less than $5,000 saved for retirement and nearly one in five Americans have no idea how much they’ve saved.
The findings indicate that Americans are afraid of the unknown when it comes to managing their money and retirement. While you can budget for leisure and travel, health care expenses and life expectancy are unpredictable.
“Americans are living longer than ever, so it’s no surprise that the No. 1 retirement fear is that they’ll run out of money in their final years,” said Jim Poolman, executive director of the IALC. “Thankfully, there are strategies and products out there that can help you create sufficient retirement income to last throughout your lifetime, which can help with this crippling fear.”
To take control of the uncertainty and create peace of mind when it comes to retirement, here are some simple steps you can follow:
Make a budget.
Balance is key.
Plan to adjust.
Monitor the balance.
Small changes count.
Make it automatic.
Understanding Fixed Indexed Annuities
According to the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council’s research, 45 percent of Americans are interested in retirement products, such as Fixed Indexed Annuities, that offer steady lifetime income and protect your principal even if the stock market goes down.
Find more tips and tools to guide your retirement planning at FIAinsights.org.
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Indexed Annuity Leadership Council
Holidays bring get-togethers filled with music, food and conversation. However, those with hearing loss often end up feeling isolated from the festivities, but there are ways you can make sure they feel comfortable joining the fun. Make the most of the opportunity to share quality conversations with loved ones who have trouble hearing by following these simple tips.
7 Ways to Include Everyone In the Holiday Cheer
(Family Features) Holidays bring get-togethers filled with music, food and conversation. However, for those who experience hearing loss, the season often takes on a whole different sound. Those with hearing loss often end up feeling isolated from the festivities, but there are ways you can make sure they feel comfortable joining the fun.
A survey* by Rayovac, which was conducted online by Harris Poll, found that 56 percent of Americans say talking and catching up with family members is their favorite part of family gatherings, but nearly one out of every five (19 percent) say they have experienced difficulty communicating with someone who is hard of hearing.
If you’ll be escorting a family member with hearing loss to a holiday event, be sure their hearing devices are in good operating condition with batteries that are able to power all of the device’s features, like Rayovac. The hearing aid battery company has also introduced the Gift of Hearing this holiday season, a campaign in which a portion of proceeds from its battery sales benefit the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
This holiday season, make the most of the opportunity to share quality conversations with loved ones who have trouble hearing by following these simple tips from Shari Eberts of livingwithhearingloss.com:
Learn more about The Gift of Hearing campaign, and find hearing aid batteries designed with the latest technology in mind, at Rayovac.com.
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*All References: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Rayovac from Aug. 26-30, 2016 among 2,025 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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