What to get for the “chronologically gifted?” The age-friendly ideas below address the special interests or concerns of persons in their later years.
Providing an experience. Don’t add to household clutter—give an activity! This way, you give the fun of anticipation as well as countless hours of enjoyment afterwards, remembering. Ideally, arrange the gift as something your loved one can do with someone—you or a friend. After all, “a joy shared is twice a joy.”
- A gift card for a favorite restaurant.
- A book of movie passes.
- Tickets to a theater or musical performance.
Supporting connection. If your family member has been outrun by the pace of technology, a simple device might be fun. But only if you can be the tech advisor to set it up and maintain it! Or can provide for in-person tech help as part of the gift. Consider:
- Fax-to-email converters. Your relative can write a note and put it in the machine to be emailed out to others. Conversely, a converter fax can receive emails to print out on paper. No computer or Internet required!
- Simplified phones and tablets. These come with a special interface that has large buttons and limited options. Without the whiz-bang features older adults don’t need, these devices let non-techies enjoy the connective opportunities of the Internet.
Honoring cherished memories. Over time, your loved one has doubtless accumulated many fond memories of people and events. Reminiscing is fun, even if your relative has memory problems. Help your loved one savor recollections of beloved people and experiences with:
- A puzzle made from family photos. Another, similar option is to have a blanket printed with photos of your choosing.
- A digital photo frame. Connect a “smart frame” to Wi-Fi and you can even upload new pictures remotely. (Again, be sure to include tech assistance as part of the gift!)
Looking for distinctly practical gifts?
Perhaps your loved one needs help getting around. Or he or she may need a grab bar or other safety device. If you are concerned, give us a call at 949-716-1266. As the Orange County experts in family caregiving, we at Senior Life Management can do an assessment to give you a sense of the most appropriate device or services.
Has your mother fallen recently? She’s not alone! One out of four older adults 65 and over experiences a fall each year. That makes falls the leading cause of injury for older adults.
Falls are serious business. A few statistics: In the U.S. an older adult dies once every 20 minutes as a result of a fall. Disabilities from a fall include injuries that can be life changing: a traumatic brain injury or broken hip. Especially for seniors, falls pose a danger to an independent lifestyle. They often usher in a permanent need for daily assistance.
Who is at risk for falling? Has Mom or Dad fallen twice in the past year? Have you noticed balance or gait problems? Has there recently been a severe fall? These are signs of “high risk.” Other signs involve poor vision, or taking medicines that list dizziness as a side effect.
A fall risk assessment
To be safe, ask your relative’s doctor to do a fall risk assessment. This includes a review of
- underlying medical conditions. Many chronic diseases affect and the ability to get around.
- the home environment. The doctor can write an order for an occupational therapist or other trained professional to do a home assessment. They can identify simple ways to remove hazards and make the home safer.
- medication use. Some types of drugs, or daily use of four or more prescription drugs, increase the risk for falling.
A recent review of numerous studies show that some strategies are better than others. The most effective measures for preventing a fall include:
- Exercise, especially activities that promote balance.
- Getting regular eye exams and following through with corrective procedures.
- Removing hazards around the house.
- Wearing sturdy shoes and slippers. A firm sole is better than a soft cushy one because it’s easier to feel the ground below.
Are you worried about a fall? As the Orange County expert in family caregiving, we at Senior Life Management understand the difficulty of your situation. You can’t be pushy about changes. And at the same time, the consequences can be pretty serious. Put our experience to work for you. Give us a call at 949-716-1266.
Helpful tips for family caregivers
Family caregivers face many decisions with life-altering consequences. In this July issue of our newsletter we explore the financial consequences—and possible remedies—of leaving your job to care for an aging relative. We look at the emotional consequences when an elder is facing the need for help at home. And last, we offer guidance about addiction concerns as a consequence of needing to take pain medications for a serious illness.
When a loved one obviously needs help at home but refuses to allow it, it’s frustrating! Below are two common concerns, with suggestions for ways to problem solve together.
Cost is a very practical barrier. Many older adults feel particularly vulnerable where money is concerned. They don’t want to spend! But the cost of help depends on the type of help needed.
If licensed care providers are what your relative needs—for example, home visits with a physical therapist after a hip surgery—Medicare and supplemental insurance usually cover these costs.
If nonmedical help is needed (cooking, laundry, errands), there may be resources to assist. Maybe your relative has long-term care insurance. Perhaps he or she is eligible for VA benefits. Consulting with an Aging Life Care™ Professional can bring those possibilities to light.
Or it may be that your loved one does not have an accurate picture of his or her financial resources. If you are the person your loved one trusts with money matters, ask if you can review the facts together to better understand his or her concerns.
Retaining control over their life. It’s common for accepting help to symbolize “the end of my independence.” That’s a scary thought. Realistically, though, all of us will need assistance at some point. You might try asking, “Under what circumstances would you see yourself accepting help at home?” This allows your loved one to explore his or her own red flags. Plus, it gives you insight about what life event might make home care acceptable and why.
When hiring help, look for ways your relative can retain as much control as possible:
- Pick the caregiver.
- Choose the days and times for help.
- Decide on the care attendant’s tasks and participate in giving the instructions.
- Clarify if this is a short-term or long-term arrangement.
Get the full guide here.