Stair lifts provide more than just a means of getting from the downstairs floor of a house to the upstairs - they also represent mobility and independence to an ageing generation. As time goes by, it is only natural that we find certain everyday activities, such as climbing the stairs, becoming increasingly difficult. For someone with limited mobility due to injury, disability or chronic diseases such as arthritis and angina installing a stair lift is a low-cost common sense solution. And with today's advanced technology nearly every home can be fitted with a stair lift, even if it has a curved staircase. Before you go ahead and purchase your stair lift make sure you use a professional and approved company with experience in this field. Here is a quick and easy stair lift buying guide: -- If you are unsure about what kind of stair lift is suitable for your home get some independent advice from the Occupational Therapy Department of your local social services. -- Ask questions about the models that a company sells. -- Read sales literature and brochures, find out about the different brands of stair lifts and the models available. -- Get several quotes from different companies, but make sure they are for the same or 'like for like' models before comparing the prices. -- Make sure the quote covers the supply AND fitting of the stair lift. -- If you have a curved staircase, ask the company to assess your staircase and give you a personalised quote. -- Compare also the after sales service. What happens if your stair lift breaks down? Are you covered for repairs and maintenance or do you have to pay out extra for a service contract? -- If you are thinking of purchasing from a non-manufacturer, check that the company is an approved supplier, otherwise they may not be able to obtain spare parts. -- And never buy a stair lift from someone who tries to make you buy that day or is pushing a certain stair lift on you. Salespeople are paid to clench deals and will often discount the price heavily to secure the sale - but the model they want you to buy may not be right for you. If you are considering having a stair lift in your home the website below contains free information and impartial advice on this topic. You will find that installing a stair lift will give you access to the whole of your home with ease, comfort and convenience. It is also a much more cost effective when compared to the cost of converting your existing home having or having to relocate to a single storey accommodation.
“I am a Carer”. There you go, “straight off the bat” as they say, I write this article (the first in a series) in my role as a Primary Carer first and author second. At present I am the primary carer for my elderly mother who is suffering from the advance stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is desperately cruel disease (most are, I know) in that it robs people (by and large) of their dignity and their independence at a stage in life when they need it most. In the United Kingdom, the Alzheimer’s Society claimed in a recent survey that over 750,000 people suffered from Alzheimer’s and related dementia problems. In the United States it is calculated that an estimated 4.5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and that this figure has doubled since 1980. Further alarming statistics highlight the fact that it is possible that in the US alone, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s could more than double to between 11.5 and 13 million sufferers by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is what is described as a progressive disorder of the brain that gradually destroys a persons’ memory, ability to learn, reason, make judgements, communicate and carry out daily activities. As the disease progresses, sufferers may also experience changes in their personality and display such behavioural changes ranging from anxiety, agitation or suspicion right up to and / or including delusions and hallucinations Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, new treatments are on the horizon as a result of accelerating insight into the biology of the disease. Research has also shown that effective care and support can improve quality of life for individuals and their caregivers over the course of the disease from diagnosis to the end of life. Considering the long term implications for Alzheimer’s sufferers, the hidden sociological impact will in reality be born on the shoulders of those who will be caring for the sufferers for it is indeed a bittersweet irony that those who care for the sufferers in reality suffer more than the sufferers do themselves. This fact in itself has been largely responsible for another survey finding recently and that was the fact that Americans are equally afraid of caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s as much as they are of developing the disease themselves. Approximately 1 in 2 American adults are more apprehensive of caring for partner or loved one who has developed Alzheimer’s. Just less than 1 in 5 American adults have indicated that they are more afraid of getting the disease themselves (17%). The real problem from a carer’s perspective is that no two people experience Alzheimer’s disease in the same way. As a result, there's no one approach to care giving. Your care giving responsibilities can range from making financial decisions, managing changes in behaviour, to helping a loved one get dressed in the morning. Handling these duties is hard work. But by learning care giving skills, you can make sure that your loved one feels supported and is living a full life. You can also ensure that you are taking steps to preserve your own well-being. Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or another illness involving dementia can be very difficult, time-consuming, and stressful – (serious understatement here). Here are some more things a care giver can do to help the person with Alzheimer's disease while also reducing the substantial burden that comes with care giving: * Stay Informed - Knowledge equals power. The more you know about Alzheimer's disease or any other signs of dementia, the better you can prepare yourself to deal with problems that may arise. * Share concerns with the person - A person who is mildly to moderately impaired can assist in his/her own care. Memory aides and other strategies can be created by the person with dementia and the caregiver together. This is easier said than done I know but you have to give it a try. But, and this is a big but (no laughs here please) it is essential that you realise that you are probably dealing with a person who if they have any cognisance at all, will be in denial. * Solve problems one at a time - A multitude of problems may occur that may seem insurmountable at the time. Work on one specific problem at a time -- you do not have to solve every problem all at once. As the saying goes “Success by the inch is a cinch, by the yard it’s hard” and in this case this has never been more true. * Use your imagination - One of the keys to handling this disease is your ability to adapt. If something can't be done one way, try another. For example, if the person only uses his or her fingers for eating, do not keep fighting; just serve as many finger foods as possible! * Establish an environment that encourages freedom and activity within limits Try to create a stable, balanced schedule for meals, medication, etc. but also encourage activities that the patient can handle such as taking a walk or visiting an old friend. Remember, the person with AD is not the only one whose needs must be taken into consideration. You as a caregiver have needs and desires that must also be met. First, try and find some time for yourself. Even though this suggestion may seem like an impossibility, find some time during the week where you can have someone else watch the patient -- be it a relative, friend, or neighbour -- and do something for yourself. * Avoid social isolation - Keep up contacts with friends and relatives. It’s easy to get burned out when it seems like you have no one to turn to. Another way to establish contacts is by joining the Alzheimer's Association or other such support groups. Talking with other families who share many of the very same problems can be reassuring as it helps you know you are not alone in your round-the-clock struggles.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 1.3 million children are entrusted to their grandparents every day. Roles of a grandparent include spoiling and enlightening their grandkids with toys they will enjoy. After all, toys are considered to be treasures of childhood. With this role comes an added responsibility to make sure that grandchildren stay safe and enjoy a toy that is age-appropriate. Grandparents make up a large percentage of toy buyers. Thousands of toys are marketed with the promise to educate and entertain kids. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe for children to play with. What can a grandparent look for when purchasing a toy for the kids that they love? Most pediatricians and child experts believe there are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys that people should be made aware of. Here is a guide that grandparents can use when it comes time to buy a distinctive toy for that special little person: * Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Labels on toy packaging should specify the age group the toy is made for. Consider that children at any age have different maturity levels. You may want to avoid buying a toy that won’t hold the child’s attention. Make sure to buy educational toys that match every child’s age group. This will make the toy effective and fun to play with. * Read and follow all warning labels. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, choking is the most common cause of toy-related deaths. Warning labels are made to alert if a toy poses a choking hazard for younger children, typically under the ages of three. Federal law requires these labels. Make sure toys made for older children are kept out of the reach of younger children. Objects such as balls should not be less than 1.75" in diameter. Avoid toys that have small parts that can potentially be pried off by tiny curious hands. Examples of toys that contain small parts are stuffed teddy bear’s eyes or a wooden car’s wheels. Stuffed and wooden toys are still very popular among children; just think BIG when checking out the “parts” attached to the toy. Toys should be larger than the child’s mouth. Tip: if a toy or toy part can fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, chances are the toy is too small. This would not be a safe toy. If a toy contains small parts, parts should be secured and guaranteed not to come off. * Make sure toys are free from sharp and pointy edges. As an experienced mother or father, you are probably aware, small children have a tendency to put most things in their mouth. It is important toys are free from sharp edges as to avoid cuts and injuries. There may be danger of a child falling on top of a toy while playing. To avoid injuries, make sure pointy edges are buffered or eliminated, * Avoid LOUD toys. Children’s ears are highly sensitive and hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises. In order to find out if a toy is too loud, use your own ears as a tool. If the toy is too loud for you, it’s twice as loud for the child. You can choose to take out batteries of the toy or cover speakers with tape. This method is not preferred since tape can be pulled off and the child can swallow it. * Make sure toys are free of toxic chemicals. Toys such as art supplies, play make-up and crayons have been known to contain toxic chemicals. Before making a purchase, investigate ingredients and contents of the product by looking at the label. The same label should also provide instructions on what to do in case of accidental ingestion of any hazardous substance that the item might contain. It may be wise to consult your local poison control to use as a reference if you need one. * Some toys come with cords or strings. If a cord or string is longer than 12 inches in length, it can pose a strangulation hazard if looped. Never cut an electrical cord! Make sure electrical cords or wires are secured and protected. Make sure to supervise if an electrical toy needs to be plugged into an outlet. Battery-operated toys are preferable to purchase, especially with young children around. However, battery doors need to be checked frequently to make sure they are secured and cannot be opened. If strings have been cut, make sure frayed edges are cut also. When purchasing crib mobiles, make sure the mobile can be safely mounted high on the crib and out of babies’ reach. * If you choose to purchase a toy over the Internet there are a few things that you should be aware of: Internet sold toys may not comply with U. S. Toy regulations. Auction sites may sell toys that have been recalled by the CPSC. This could be due to the fact the toys were hazards to children’s safety. If you happen to come across a recalled toy, or you would like to see what toys have been recalled, there are web sites available to you. CPSC or Recalls. gov provides sites with helpful information. * Supervise and be realistic about your grandchild’s abilities and maturity levels. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the child physically ready for a certain toy? Is the toy too heavy? A heavy toy can cause severe injury if the toy falls on the child. Gauge if the child can physically control a heavy toy. Teach the child the safest way recommended by the manufacturer to use the toy properly. Again, SUPERVISE! * Follow these tips when buying video games: follow age recommendations of each game and observe a game’s ratings. Games rated T for Teen can contain violence, profanity and content not suitable for children under the age of 13. EC for early childhood or E for everyone would be the best choice of rating when buying a video game for younger children. * Remember the days when you would buy toys for your children? How many dollars have we spent to watch our children and now our children’s children go to the kitchen cupboard, pull out all the pots and pans and wooden spoons and bang away and be happy for hours at play? Or grandparents made or bought wooden toy vehicles and wood constructed pull toys that were safe and entertaining. Maybe all the banging of pots and pans is no longer a situation we wish to experience but fun and educational wooden toys are still available. There was a time when toys were put on the market and bought without a lot of regard for safety. Grandparents could buy any toy that surely the grandchildren would enjoy without considering if the toy was age-appropriate. It was assumed that kids were thought to have the automatic knowledge not to pick up monopoly money and put it in their mouth. Slinkys were toys made to “walk” down your closest set of stairs. Who knew kids would start to use the Slinky as a rope from which to hoist their little brothers up to the highest treetop? Times have changed. So many toy accidents have taken place, it is now important to teach kids and grandparents the importance of toy safety. The most exciting thing about being a grandparent is watching grandchildren grow up happy and healthy. By becoming vigilantly aware shoppers, grandparents have the power to protect the grandchildren they love.
As our brains age, we're less likely to think as quickly or remember things as well as we used to. Research is now showing how the brain changes and adapts with age. You can use what we've learned and follow a few simple tips to help remember things and avoid scams. Dr. Denise C. Park, director of the Roybal Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Illinois, explains that the knowledge we gain from life experience can sometimes compensate for other changes in our brains as we age. Older professionals can often be better at their jobs than younger ones. "Your memory may be less efficient," Park says, "but your knowledge about how to do it may be better." Researchers can design tests that expose problems in the aging mind by creating tasks in which older adults can't use their experience. These tests reflect real-life situations like getting upsetting medical news or having a crafty scam artist pressure you for an answer. One key to dealing with situations like these, Park says, is not to make rash decisions. Ask for further information and more time to consider. Discuss it with friends or relatives. Perhaps the most common trouble people face as they age is remembering things. Park says it's important to acknowledge that your memory is fallible. "For medicines, driving directions or other things with specific details, don't rely on your memory," she says. "That's good advice for everybody, but especially for older adults." If you need to remember something important, write it down on a pad or use an electronic device like a personal digital assistant (PDA) that lets you store notes and reminders. Another way to remember things is through routines. Take your medicine with a snack or a particular meal, for example. Always keep your keys and wallet in the same place. You can also use your imagination. If you imagine doing something beforehand, Park says, you're much more likely to do it. So, for example, imagine taking your medicine in as much detail as you can, paying attention to where, when and how. Practice can help, too. Rehearse talking to a salesperson. Visit somewhere new in advance. Keeping your brain active with activities that require mental effort, such as reading, may help keep your mind sharp. Staying physically active may help, too.
This is the day you thought would never happen. Your roles in life are reversing. You’re trying to make decisions for yourself and your Aging Parent. What will be best for them without altering your life too drastically. How do you keep up the pace and ultimately please everyone around you? You are not alone in life, you have a family, significant other, a career to think about. You want to balance everything to keep everyone happy and life as normal as possible. Think again! Those once a week visits or daily phone calls aren’t enough anymore. Your parent needs care, the real kind. The care includes making sure they eat, that they take their meds, that their money isn’t being floundered away on TV shopping. You have siblings that think Assisted Living or Nursing Facilities are awful and they don’t want to put Mom or Dad in one even though they also don’t want to help out. How do you cope? How do you deal with this situation without alienating every member of your family? First understand, it’s not about you. What I mean by that statement is that it is not about guilt and what some think is the “Right thing to do”. It’s not about hanging on to someone that they used to be. They are an elderly person in need of constant care and attention. If you need a dose of growing up, this situation will make it happen whether you’re ready or not! Start with their doctor. Have an appointment to discuss the faltering health of your beloved parent. You can also check into the hospital that their health care is associated. Every hospital has an elder care group of some type. The medical coverage will also have affiliations with elder sourcing. Between the doctor and the medical coverage group, you may be able to determine the types of help and living style your parents current status requires. Keep asking until you have the best situation for all concerned. It may be as simple as an Aide visiting once or twice a day to help with showering, dressing, meals and meds. Their health may need more than that and the visiting nurse or doctor’s office is the place to apply the concern. The best word to learn to help an elder parent is the same as if your infant child were being cared for and that is SAFETY. If safety is not at the level necessary, keep pushing until you get the help you need. Keep on insisting the area of SAFETY. It may take you time to uncover everything available to your parent to help with this care process but trust me, it will be worth it in the many years elder care can stretch out to be. It is best to discuss with them all their health and medical, financial and personal situations before that day arrives. When they are older the best thing you can give them is you. Spend quality time instead of stress time. Have them over for a day and dinner instead of needing to pawn them off on someone else. The resentment builds if you do this alone and there are many really good care facilities to take that burden off your shoulders. Safety and honesty is what makes those later years a good memory!
So you're moving to an apartment, what do you do with all your favorite things you can't live without? Are your parents elderly and you're downsizing them? Sure you can't take everything, but you probably can manage your/their most valued pieces. Admit it. We all have items that are precious to us and must be in the interior of our homes to make it home! Lets say Grandmas "chamber pot"..ok....maybe not that. But something. First decide what you're able to afford as far as rent or mortgage. Then do an inventory of all things you wish to keep with you. If your a pack rat...well...nows the time to go Cold Turkey and toss out some stuff...yard sale the good stuff...and save the best stuff for your new domain. Now, try to shop around and see how much space you can get for your buck. The bigger... the more you get to take with you. If you can afford the den or the extra room...take it! Perhaps you can sacrifice indoor space for a small yard to garden or tinker in. Ok, I know you will be taking the major elements with you (like the couch and coffee table, kitchen table and bedroom furnishings). Keep this in mind when looking at your new space. Take measurements with you. Don't assume it will fit. Measure the item length and width, height as well if needed. If your older and need assitance ask one of your children or grandchildren to help you. As you put the major elements into your new space, this is your chance to be a interior decorator yourself. Put the biggest pieces in first and on the biggest walls. Then bring in the small must have items ( coffee and end tables, lamps and so on) Now just because you are used to things a certain way...break out of the box...or cycle, and change it up some. Move things around this way and that way. Which looks better? When accessorizing the room, group things together that match or would normally be seen together. Say you collect old radios and they are here and there. Bring them together in one room...now arrange them to complement each other on a bookcase or shelf. Same with anything that you find collectable...dolls...trains...or if your brave enough glass things! Now for the walls. Perhaps you can turn some loved things into wall decor. Put small things together in a shadowbox. Before hanging anything arrange it on the floor or bed and see if it works together. Play around with it and be sure you want it where you put it. Measure from the ceiling to the desired height of the hanging area. This works great for pictures that need to be even horizontally. Space evenly to keep it uniform. Hope this article was informative and helpful. I have lots of free articles on my site as well. They cover all areas of home improvement tips as well as interior decorating. Gardening and landscaping too! If your bored pull up my site and get busy making some changes in your home or yard.
If you are challenged with buying furniture for an elderly person, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you start your search. First, how is that person’s health and physical condition? Can he or she easily rise from and sit down into a chair? If not, furniture with special options are available. The seats of chairs and recliners rise to a higher level with the push of a button. The elderly person can simply back against it, then lower himself down to a seated position by pushing another button. Furniture technology is great! Another thing to consider when picking out furniture for an elderly person is the fabric or upholstery on the item. If the elderly person tends to slide out of seating easily, a couch with a slick leather upholstery might not be as good a choice as one with a textured fabric. The texture of the fabric can help prevent slipping out of the seating. Make sure the furniture you pick out for an elderly person is easy to clean. If they have other health issues that might mean occasional soiling of the furniture, they will need to be able to clean it quickly and thoroughly. Most important when buying furniture for an elderly person is to remember that even though his or her eyesight might be a little less than it once was, the furniture should still be appealing to his or her taste. If your grandfather hates floral fabric, don’t buy him a room full of furniture with huge magnolia blossoms on it just because you happen to like it. If you are incorporating this furniture into your living quarters, and you and the elderly person who will be sharing your space disagree on furniture tastes, do your best to get the new furniture in a complementary shade or fabric. It doesn’t have to be an exact match. Use a solid blue lift chair to coordinate with your blue, burgundy and green floral sofa and loveseat. Make every effort to respect his or her taste while accommodating any special needs. If you are buying furniture for an elderly or special needs person, ask questions of your furniture rep. Tell them about your special needs and concerns. Furniture sales reps are trained to help you fill your needs. If your local furniture store doesn’t carry what you need, chances are the salesperson can refer you to a website or medical supply store that does. If ordering furniture from a website, be sure you know all the shipping and handling costs up front. Also, find out warranty information. Don’t overlook medical supply stores in your furniture quest. In addition to medical necessities such as oxygen tanks, portable toilets and wheelchairs, many carry furniture items like lift chairs and recliners that can greatly improve comfort and quality of life. If at all possible, take the elderly person you are buying furniture for on your shopping trip. Ask for input. This will insure your furniture purchase is one you’ll be happy with for a long time.
If you're caring for an aging parent or facing the challenges of assisting a loved one or friend who is chronically ill, disabled or elderly, you are not alone. You are one of the 22 million Americans who care for an older adult. Caregivers provide 80 percent of in-home care, but unlike nurses and home health aids, they are unpaid for their labor of love. "Caregiving is a difficult job that can take a toll on relationships, jobs and emotional well-being," says Dr. Elizabeth Clark, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. "Those who care for others need to be sure to take care of themselves, as well." Here are some important tips for caregivers: • Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help We tend to wait until we are in crisis before asking for help and consultation. Seek out the help of a licensed clinical social worker or other trained professional. • It's Not Easy to Tell Your Parents What to Do The most difficult thing about caring for a parent is the day you have to tell them they need to have help, they can no longer drive or they may have to move from their home. Discuss long-term care wishes and desires before any decline happens. • Take Care of Your Mental Health It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your parents or children when they refuse your input and help. Seek a referral to a professional who can help you cope with your personal issues and frustrations. • Stay Informed We live in a world of constant change. Medications and treatments are constantly changing and the only way to keep up-to-date is to stay informed with the latest news. Attend local caregiver conferences, participate in support groups, speak with friends and relatives, and talk with professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics. • Take Time Out Caregivers who experience feelings of burnout need to accept that occasionally they may need a break from their loved one in order to provide him or her with the best care. • Laugh Humor and laughter are tremendous healers. • Hire Help If possible, you may want to hire help. The most important thing is to find trustworthy people to provide assistance. Use recommended home care agencies, talk with friends about their experiences and interview professionals before deciding on the one you are going to retain.
: Over 30 million Baby Boomers provide countless hours of assistance to elderly parents at no charge. It is estimated that, using average hourly wages, the total amount of this uncompensated care is comparable to the entire Medicare budget. For the estimated 7 million Boomers who provide long distance care, actual out of pocket expenses amount to almost $5,000 per month. For caregivers who have, or are considering leaving the workforce to care for an ailing parent, the costs are even greater – over $650,000 in forfeited salaries, benefits and pensions. This stark economic reality shows only one dimension of the price caregivers pay for this act of love. Caregivers pay with losses that extend well beyond their bank accounts. They often forego the activities that bring joy and richness to their lives, like meeting friends for dinner, or going out to the movies or taking family vacations. They pay with their time, the loss of professional opportunities and the erosion of personal relationships that result in isolation. Sometimes, otherwise healthy loved ones need a short dose of care as they recover from an acute medical episode like a broken leg. Usually loved ones are on a path of steady decline with cascading assistance needs. Some caregivers sacrifice large chunks of their own lives as they help their parents and other family members and friends peacefully make their transitions. Caregivers can pay with their own health and well-being. In fact, we have evidence that some caregivers pay for their acts of care with their very lives. You can decrease the personal and economic costs of caregiving. This means proactive planning rather than reactive responding. Planning saves money. You know this as you reflect upon your experiences of going to the grocery store with and without a shopping list. Planning also minimizes personal wear and tear and decreases stress. You will feel much better when you know your options and develop back-up plans before you jump into a challenging project. 5 Tips to Decrease the Cost of Caregiving: 1. Begin the conversation today. We have tremendous cultural resistance to the recognition of aging, disability and death. Just as the first few steps uphill are the hardest, so, too, you may meet the greatest resistance simply starting the conversation about their possible need for care. Say today, “Mom and Dad, it would be great if you lived forever, but the discovery for the fountain of youth is nowhere on the horizon. What thoughts and plans do you have about enjoying your golden years?” 2. Create a plan. Talk with your parents about their ideal plan if they are no longer able to care for themselves. Then, start to work toward that proactively.
Investigate long-term care insurance. Draw up the appropriate legal documents. Find out who would make medical choices if they were not able to make them on their own, along with some guiding principles for the choices. You can anticipate and limit parental resistance by saying, “Mom and Dad, I just got back from the lawyer’s office signing my will and durable medical power of attorney.
I’ve asked Mitch to make my medical choices if I cannot make them myself. Just so you know, if I were in vegetative state, I wouldn’t want to be maintained on a machine. You probably already planned ahead too, right?” 3. Use personal and community resources. Make caregiving a family job to which each member contributes.
Even children can make grandma’s life special with drawings and phone calls. Identify services that make your job as a caregiver easier. If you and your parents live in the same community, check with friends and neighbors and local organizations to learn about services and resources that will make your job easier. You say, “Mom has just moved in with us, and she wants to ‘find a card game with the girls.
’ Do you know of any senior centers that have social events? How about transportation?” We’re a mobile society and millions of caregivers live more than an hour away from their parents. Executive William Gillis learned from his own personal experience how challenging it is to identify community resources from afar. As he was carving the path that ultimately led his on-line portfolio management service, he became the caregiver for his father. Talk about mixed emotions! Professionally, he was introducing a service that let millions manage their investments with one click of a computer mouse. Personally, he was investing untold hours just to find one bit of information to help his dad.” As with so many innovators, he used his personal and professional experience to launch Parent Care ( parents-care), a service that he wished would have made his life as a caregiver-at-a-distance easier. 4. Gather cost-savings tips. This might mean something as simple as ordering generic medication or regularly inquiring about senior discounts.
But, most cost savings opportunities aren’t as obvious. Mr. Gillis found, for example, that some states will pay for phones for hearing, visually or mobility limited seniors or fund home safety improvements. He said, “We’ve invested heavily to locate time and money saving resources that most would have difficulty finding. I made it a personal mission to help other caregivers avoid some of the costs and frustration I encountered.” You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
Tap into the resources others have collected. 5. Take care of yourself. You will be able to provide the best care as a caregiver when you’re at your best. Get good nutrition, enough sleep and regular exercise. Manage your stress and do a little something every day to nurture your soul.
Understand that you are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, and weakening your immune system. Talk to your doctor if you see worrisome signs such as problems sleeping, changes in appetite or loss of interest in activities you enjoy. Despite the costs, most caregivers say that they received much more than they gave.
Most say they would do it again, and many do. Sometimes the question is not the personal cost of caregiving; it’s the value that you bring to the lives of others that matter at the end. What personal cost are you willing to pay for the privilege of helping those who welcomed you into the world to enjoy their golden years and travel the road of illness with love and dignity?
The majority of the 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease live at home, where family and friends provide most of their care. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that not only affects memory, but gradually destroys a person's ability to learn and carry out daily activities, can be emotionally and physically challenging. As memory loss and other symptoms worsen, the amount of time and energy caregivers and families spend taking care of their loved one increases. The Memories to Treasure program provides people who care for a loved one with Alzheimer's tips on caregiving and information about the disease, while helping them connect with their loved one through the art of scrapbooking. "Alzheimer's caregivers have unique needs; Memories to Treasure offers resources to help facilitate interaction with loved ones," says Gail Hunt, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. "Engaging in meaningful activities, such as scrapbooking, allows time spent together to be more positive and can benefit everyone involved." While people with mild Alzheimer's disease often experience problems with short-term memory, they may recall memories from the distant past. Looking at old photographs and keepsakes may lead to conversations about people and past events, and can be enjoyable for everyone involved. "Activities, such as scrapbooking, can be beneficial for families facing Alzheimer's disease," says Benjamin Seltzer, M. D., director of the Alzheimer's Disease & Memory Disorders Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans. "Engaging in meaningful activities with a loved one is only one facet of caregiving; however, it is also important to know that there are treatments available that can help slow symptoms of the disease." Memories to Treasure can be accessed online at memories totreasure. The Web site offers tips on caregiving, information about Alzheimer's disease and a Memory Checklist to help guide discussion with a physician. Caregivers will also find instructions to create a scrapbook with a loved one facing Alzheimer's disease. When caring for someone with Alzheimer's, keep these tips in mind to help provide the best care possible: • Your loved one may become frustrated while bathing, dressing or eating. Try to be calm and reassuring during such moments. • Keep your loved one involved. Plan an activity, such as scrapbooking, for a time of day when your loved one seems to be at his or her best. • Take time for yourself and build a strong support network. Let your family and friends know what you need and when you need it. • Seek information so that you can make choices about care and treatment for your loved one. Memories to Treasure is brought to the Alzheimer's community by Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc, in partnership with the National Alliance for Caregiving and Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine. Dr. Seltzer's participation in Memories to Treasure has been sponsored by Eisai and Pfizer.
: Joanne’s mother, Betty, had rheumatoid arthritis for years. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Betty was disabled by the pain, fatigue and limited mobility that she had feared since her diagnosis. Joanne convinced her fiercely independent mother that living alone was no longer an option. And Joanne, the eldest of four children, knew that caring for her sick mother fell on her shoulders. Joanne was a legend in the circles of her family, friends and colleagues for her ability to act with grace under pressure. Joanne took two weeks of vacation from her job and cooked and froze meals for her husband and three children. As she flew to her hometown, she wondered how she would coordinate her mother’s care from a distance. Supporting her husband as he built his new business, nurturing her kids and directing a major project at work already made her feel that she was running on empty. You may relate to Joanne’s story. One out of four Americans cares for a friend or relative who is sick, disabled or frail. That’s 46 million Americans who offer unpaid help to a loved one. If they were paid caregivers’ compensation would exceed last year’s Medicare budget! And if you become a caregiver, you, like Joanne, may try to do it alone, shrouded in secrecy. Solo caregiving compromises your ability to nurture yourself and others. Let’s take caregiving out from behind closed doors. For your sake and the sake of those who count on you, please get some help. Caregivers are competent people who feel that they should be able to do this job. Yet, many soon find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to manage the sometimes daunting tasks, such as managing a complex medical regimen or remodeling a house so it’s wheel-chair accessible or even finding someone to stay with their loved ones so they can go out to a movie without worrying their relatives will fall on the way to the fridge. If you are a caregiver, you know that this act of love has its costs. You stand to forfeit up to $650,000 in lost wages, pension and social security. Add to that is the personal cost to your well being, as your new demands leave you less time for your family and friends. You may give up vacations, hobbies and social activities. Finally, caregiving places a burden on your health. Caregivers are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, depressed immune function and even hospitalization. Instead of reaching out, caregivers become isolated. Many who assume the caregiving burden fit the profile of the giving family member, like Joanne, who does not want to trouble others with their problems. Some fear the consequences of disclosing their new demands to coworkers or employers. Caregivers are further challenged by the cultural conspiracy of silence. Our youth-centered society turns a blind eye to the unpleasant and inevitable reality that all of us age and die. This leaves both caregivers and care recipients unprepared. Look no further than the path of Hurricane Katrina to witness the consequences of a lack of planning. What can you do? Start talking about the "what ifs" and make a plan. 1. Start with yourself. What will happen to you and your family if you become disabled or die unexpectedly? Do you have disability insurance? Do you have a will? Do you have a living will, and have you identified the person who will make the medical choices you would make if you are not in the position to do so? 2. Approach healthy family members. Say, "I hope that you live many happy years in which you enjoy all of the pleasures you worked so hard to create." Have you thought about what would happen to you in the event that you cannot live independently any more?
If some medical event befalls you, who would make your medical choices? 3. Look into community resources that support caregiving. A day program, for example, helps your loved one by providing social connections with peers. Your community may even offer transportation to and from the program. Getting out of the house offers the additional benefit of getting bodies moving.
Socializing and exercise are the two most powerful interventions that help your loved ones stay at their best. 4. Make specific suggestions to friends, family members and neighbors who want to help. You may even want to keep a "help list." When they say, "Let me know what I can do," you have a response: "Could you take Mom to her physical therapy appointment this week?" "When you’re at the store, could you pick up some oranges and blueberries?" "Could you watch the kids for an hour so I can get to the gym?" Your giving friends will appreciate specific ideas about how they can help.
5. Take care of your health. Get good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise to stay in top health. Wash your hands regularly to prevent colds and flu. Manage your stress with laughter, a prayer or even a deep breath. Nourish your soul with a taste of activities that recharge your batteries such as writing in your journal or gardening. Finally, talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.
The best strategies for effective caregiving include preparation, acts of self-care and reaching out for help. That begins with the courage to start talking openly about caregiving.
I often get letters, like the two below, from Baby Boomers who are caring for aging parents and trying to find health care that meets the unique needs of older people. Finding the right kind of care can seem daunting, but a little information and some key resources can help tremendously. Q: My 81-year-old mother recently fell and was rushed to the emergency room. The doctor who saw her suggested that she start seeing a geriatrician. What is a geriatrician and why should she see one? A: A geriatrician is a physician with special training and expertise in caring for older adults, especially those with complex health problems. Like children, older adults have unique health care needs. As we age, our bodies change in many ways that affect our health. Among other things, we're more likely to develop chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, and to need multiple medications (all with potential side effects). About 80 percent of adults 65 or older have at least one chronic health condition and 50 percent have at least two. As we grow older it's also harder for us to recover from illnesses. Q: I've tried to find a geriatrician for my parents but haven't had any luck. Why aren't there more geriatricians? What should I do? A: Today, there are fewer than 7,000 practicing geriatricians in the U. S. That's about one geriatrician for every 5,000 adults over age 65. Finding a geriatrician is likely to become even more difficult over the next 20 years, as the nation's 77 million Baby Boomers reach retirement age. To prepare for this "Aging Boom," we need to support programs that both train geriatricians and better prepare all health care providers to care for older adults. Until recently, the federal government's "Title VII" geriatric health professions program did just that, by supporting geriatric education centers and young medical school faculty who trained medical students, primary care physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other providers to better meet the health care needs of older adults. Unfortunately, Congress eliminated all funding for this program in late 2005. We need to restore this funding--for the sake of all older Americans.
Making the decision to move from the comfort of your own home into a retirement home is not one to be taken lightly and needs a lot of thought and preparation. So what should be you be looking for? Peace of Mind Whether you are able to live without assistance or need extra care, you want to know that you're going to be getting the best and most secure facilities on offer to fit within your lifestyle. Modern day retirement developments are thought out very carefully with special attention paid to detail, from the style of the property and its natural surroundings, to the distance from local shops, hospitals, transport and social aspects such as meeting clubs and restaurants. Security entrances, 24 hour care lines, smoke alarms and lifts are generally included and designed to make you feel secure and protected. A house manager is also a reassuring presence. Whether you need them or not, from keeping an eye on your apartment to answering any questions you might have, they are there to provide assistance. Independence Special attention isn't just paid to the local amenities and facilities outside your home. In order to live as independently as possible, you need access to everything you'd expect in your own home such as enough space for storage, right down to the types of tap fittings used and the heights of units. These small details mean that you can continue to look after yourself well into your retirement. Assisted living is a great option for those who can maintain a good degree of independence and are well enough not to need a full time care home but need a bit of extra help. Many retirement developments offer assisted living for those that need it while still allowing its residents a high degree of independence. Comfort To be comfortable, you need to feel at home, relaxed and secure. This is mostly achieved by choosing a good quality retirement apartment but extras such as laundry rooms and residents lounges also offer you companionship and conversation when you want it and fully equipped guest suites for when friends or family wish to stay overnight. Cost Cost of living is obviously high on the agenda for many people. While it's usually tempting to go for the cheapest option, that's not always best. Try to find somewhere within your budget with a clear cost structure so there are no hidden costs. Various service charges including garden maintenance, water rates, the use of the care line, the house manager etc can soon add up causing a great deal of stress and worry. You want value for money in a location suitable for you, with the facilities you need and a clear idea of what extra charges you will need to budget for. Energy efficiency should be high on the tick list too because the more efficient a property, the less costly it will be. Location If you are planning to retire it usually makes sense to choose a location where you already have some form of connection. For example, some people might select a location to be near to family whilst others might select a location which is close to their friends. Many choose to retire to a location because of the countryside - or indeed that very popular option, to be near the sea. Many people select a location on the basis that it is the place where they feel comfortable and of course "gut feeling" may well play an important part in that judgment. Finally, whatever grounds you might give for selecting a retirement apartment or flat it really is worth looking around to see what's on offer. One of the best places to start is by going to the largest builder of retirement homes in the UK as they have extensive resources on their website to help the retirement home hunter. Happy searching!
Most people are familiar with prescriptions from a doctor for medications, but not for mobility aids such as wheelchairs or even crutches. The process of choosing the right wheelchair can be especially difficult, because the types of options available are as varied as the types of people in the world and their various lifestyles. Depending on what you do on a daily basis, you may need a chair with a pressure-relieving cushion, brake extensions, or other special options in order to make it effective. Since a wheelchair is designed to either fully provide or significantly add to your mobility, it’s vital that you get the right chair for you. Unlike prescriptions for medications, which are very specific, a doctor’s prescription for a wheelchair often reads “a wheelchair”. This is partly because most General Practitioners are not experts in physical medicine and so they are not really qualified to make a suggestion as to exactly what type of chair you’ll require. When possible, it is a very good idea to go through the selection process with a qualified physiotherapist or occupational therapist who knows what your daily routine and lifestyle look like so that they can help you get the chair that properly suits your needs. Depending on what your requirements are, you may need to have your doctor write a somewhat specific prescription for insurance purposes. If you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in your chair, or if you have particular needs in terms of posture or support, these options can represent a considerable expense above a basic wheelchair system – for many insurers to provide payment, they require that these options be outlined by a physician, which means that you may need to have the prescription re-written by your doctor after an evaluation with a rehabilitation professional. Although evaluations are not yet required by all insurers, most rehabilitation personnel consider them an absolute requirement – people always test-drive a car before buying it, and in the same way you should get to test-drive your wheelchair and have a professional opinion to ensure that it will do what you need it to. Getting a professional evaluation before purchasing your wheelchair is the best way to ensure that you get a chair that will support you in doing what you need to do on a daily basis so that you can live comfortably and do the things that you want and need to do, so even if your insurer doesn’t demand one – insist on it!
If you are looking to purchase a stair lift and are worried about getting one to fit because you have a curved, odd shaped staircase or multiple landings – dont be! Curved stair lifts are just what you need. No matter what the configuration or layout of your staircase, stair lifts can be tailor made to the size and shape of virtually any staircase easily coping with bends, straights and landings. But of course, this extra flexibility comes at a price generally speaking these types of stair lifts are more expensive than their straight counterparts. Depending upon the configuration of your staircase the price will be based upon several factors: the number of bends, the angle of the bends, the length of the actual staircase, cost of labour etc. Another design plus with curved stairlifts is their ability to be installed on either the inside or the outside path of your stairs. Basically, this means the stairlift can run along either side of your stairs and the profile of your stairs will ascertain which would be the most suitable option for you. Although there is a buoyant market for second-hand and used straight stair lifts there is little market for curved stair lifts. And as such they have no real resale value, because they are custom made to fit individual staircases they are not suitable for installing in other properties. In view of this, if you find that after a few years you have to move out of your home, unless you have an identical staircase, it is best to leave your stair lift in situ. Again, because they are individually made, be prepared to pay your supplier a substantial deposit when ordering a curved stair lift. This practice does not generally take place with a normal, straight stair lifts but the one you are ordering will only fit in your house and if you pull out of the deal the supplier will not be able to resell it. If you are considering having a stair lift in your home the website below contains free information and impartial advice on this topic. These are, of course, just a couple of minor considerations you should bear in mind when deciding to buy a curved stairlift… you may decide that the advantages of being able to access all the floors your existing home far out way these points – especially when compared to the stress and expense of converting your house or moving to a single storey residence.