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Having that conversation with your older parents

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Top 10 Things to Discuss With Your Parents

As you were growing up, your parents probably sat you down plenty of times for “a talk.” Is it time to reverse the process?

senior sitting with family memberDiscussing important issues with loved ones who are growing older can be a challenge. Studies show that few Americans have these conversations until a major event occurs—a sudden health crisis, the loss of a spouse, or even a holiday visit by children during which it becomes apparent that Mom or Dad is having some issues with the activities of daily living.

But waiting until a crisis moment isn’t a good planning strategy. Instead, bring up these subjects before a crisis arises. Keep it casual, don’t overwhelm Mom and Dad, let them feel your love and concern. And remember: helping your parents plan is not only important for their well-being as they age, but will make a difference in your own financial, emotional and physical health as well.

Here is a “cheat sheet” of questions to think about and discuss:

Living options—Do your parents want to stay in their current home as long as possible? Or are they considering “downsizing” or moving to a senior living community? Discuss what they would prefer if they were to experience a decline in health and need greater assistance with the activities of daily living. Home care? Assisted living?

Home modifications—Is your parents’ home keeping up with their needs? What repairs and modifications could make their house, apartment or condominium safer and more convenient?

A plan to stay physically active—Study after study shows that regular physical activity is the most important contributor to healthy aging. No matter what a person’s condition, adding exercise is of benefit. Encourage your loved ones to add more exercise to their lifestyle.

A goal to remain socially connected—Meaningful social interaction is vital to the physical, emotional and intellectual health of people of every age. For seniors, spending time with children is richly rewarding—but did you know that recent studies show that seniors who socialize not only with family members but also with other groups have better emotional, intellectual and physical health?

Estate planning—Do your parents have an up-to-date will? If their plan is to pass property to family members, have they talked to a financial advisor about the best way to do that? How can their assets help provide for their own care in case of a decline in health or incapacity?

Advance healthcare planning—Have your parents completed advance directives for healthcare, including a healthcare power of attorney and living will? Have you discussed with them what their wishes are if they were to be incapacitated and unable to make their own healthcare decisions?

Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, retirement—Are your parents taking advantage of all the benefits available to them? Do they have the best supplemental (“Medigap”;) policy? Part D drug plan? Do they know the deadlines to sign up for benefits in order to avoid penalties?

Long-term care insurance—Many people erroneously believe that Medicare pays for a nursing home or home health care services. But in reality, long-term care is not covered by Medicare, and paying for it can quickly deplete financial resources. Investigate whether your parents are good candidates for long-term care insurance. And if they already have a policy, is it from a reputable company?

Fall prevention—Especially if they have already experienced falls, many older adults are reluctant to discuss this topic. But did you know that fall protection is actually an important part of planning for the future? Falls are one of the leading causes of incapacity…and this is one risk factor for incapacity that we can take proactive steps to avoid.

Avoiding crime and fraud—Unfortunately, criminals and con artists often target vulnerable seniors. Scams and unethical sales methods aimed at older people can cause serious financial loss. Seniors who have been victimized are often ashamed to discuss the incident. So bring up the subject and educate yourself and your parents about crooked sweepstakes, identity theft and unscrupulous salespersons.

These topic suggestions are intended to provide a framework for seniors and family members as they talk and plan together. And if the “teamwork” aspect isn’t working as well as you’d like, consider adding outside new members to the team! Your loved one’s healthcare provider, a geriatric care manager, financial planner or eldercare attorney can all provide valuable help and guidance.

Remember that you share a common goal in this planning: that you and your loved ones are able to live life as fully and joyfully as possible.

Keep the elderly warm in these cold temperutres

Posted on January 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Now that winter is upon us, it is important to prepare for the harsh weather conditions when caring for your senior loved one. The cold weather can be extra dangerous for the elderly which is why it is very important to make sure the proper arrangements are made.


Remember, these cold temperatures can be much harsher on our aging loved one then on us. It is important to know the signs and symptoms if their body temperature drops too low. Some potential risk factors for seniors during the winter months include: hypothermia, influenza and the potential to slip and fall in the icy/wet ground.


There are several precautions that you can take to assure your senior loved one will have a safe and secure winter season. First things first, make sure they are dressed warmly (think layers!) Tip: Make sure the layers are light weight. Of course, you want your loved one to be warm, but you do not want to make them uncomfortable. Also, it is important to note that skin tends to become thinner as you age and additionally, certain medications can cause dry skin. These factors combined with cold weather could potentially be very painful for your elderly loved one.


Keeping body heat contained is a great way to make sure your loved one stays warm on cold winter days Tip: Invest in some mittens – not gloves. Fingers act as little heaters which make them the warmer option.

February 25, 2017

Posted on March 12, 2017 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)
10 Signs of Alzheimer???s From the Alzheimer???s Association Signs and Symptoms | Alzheimer's | Dementia Homewatch CareGivers Alzheimer???s is a fatal brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. While some memory loss is a normal part of aging, it could be a sign of Alzheimer???s disease if it disrupts daily life. The Alzheimer???s Association has put together a list of the 10 signs of Alzheimer???s for individuals and their loved ones to determine if they need to see a medical professional for a diagnosis and seek out help for dementia home care. 1. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer???s is when memory loss disrupts daily life. This includes forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates or events, repeatedly asking for the same information, and relying on memory aides. 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems is another sign of the disease. This may appear when trying to follow a simple recipe or keep track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than before. 3. When someone begins to have difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or during leisure activities, it can be a sign of Alzheimer???s. People with Alzheimer???s may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget or work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. 4. Losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time is a classic sign of Alzheimer???s. People may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately or they may forget where they are or how they got there. 5. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer???s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror. 6. People with Alzheimer???s may have trouble following or joining a conversation, or difficulties with writing. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They might also struggle to find the words for things. 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace one???s steps is also a sign of Alzheimer???s disease. People with Alzheimer???s may put things in unusual places, lose things, and sometimes even accuse others of stealing from them. These tendencies may occur more frequently over time. 8. People with Alzheimer???s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers or other scam artists. They might also pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. 9. Someone with Alzheimer???s may begin to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. 10. The mood and personality of people with Alzheimer???s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. The Alzheimer???s Association website,, also provides a comparison chart of Alzheimer???s symptoms and typical age-related behaviors. There is also a ???Brain Tour??? link available on the site to see precisely how Alzheimer???s disease affects the brain. The Alzheimer???s Association encourages early detection of the disease so that people can get the best help possible.

March 1 2017

Posted on March 12, 2017 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (1)
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, each year an estimated 2.5 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from nontraumatic causes. TBIs can affect the functionality of the brain???affecting thinking, reasoning, and memory. Whether the victim is an adult, a child, or an infant, TBIs can have a major impact on individuals and their families. To raise awareness of traumatic brain injury, the Brain Injury Association of America recognizes National Brain Injury Awareness Month every March. The NCTSN offers the following resources on traumatic brain injury for families, medical professionals, and military families.