Father and daughter

Safety for Frail Seniors Who Come to Your Home

When inviting an elderly or frail senior to your home, it would be worth taking some precautions to ensure they can enjoy the occasion to the fullest without mishaps or fear of safety issues.

Planning to Have Frail Senior Guests in Your Home

When you are hosting events at home, plan for any frail guests. There is a need to consider handicapping conditions and other issues that could cause safety risks.

When a senior is worried about safety and is uncomfortable, it is difficult to have a good time.

By looking at the guest list, it can be determined which older adults may be at risk. This could include balance, the risk of tripping or falling, difficulty standing, and challenges with stairs or step-downs.

Remove throw rugs and work to make walking spaces free of electric cords and other clutter or any short standing objects that could present a fall risk to seniors with a reduced visual field or issues with balance.

It may help to move any statues or other standing items back to allow for more walk-through space.

Do a safety walk-through of the spaces your guests will occupy to be sure their wheelchair, walker, and/or cane friendly. Imagine yourself with a mobility issue coming to the place for the first time.

Take a look at decorative items, inspecting them for danger. Art, which protrudes from the walls, can be a challenge, especially in a dark hallway to the restroom.

Making Your House Safe for Guests at Risk for Tripping

Mark a spot in the driveway for this senior. Keep the parking area free of clutter, which could trip a walker who is unsteady. Move yard waste, which can precipitate a fall.

Be sure there is adequate lighting, both outside the house and inside including hall areas.

Night lights may help in this regard. Use a flashlight to personally escort this guest to and from the house to assure safe access.

Sidewalks need to be maintained in order to be visually available to the guest. If possible, avoid the stairs, but if they are part of your plan, keep them uncluttered and lit.

If your house has any steps either on the porch or by the entry inside, pay close attention to being nearby and giving verbal warnings as the frail guest navigates them.

The same applies to a sunken living room, as this can be a minefield to a person with a limited vision or balance issues.

Due to both allergies and risk of falling, dogs and cats need to be kept in another area as this person may have trouble when a pet runs in or out of their intended path.

Although these transitions may seem easy to you, they can be both frightening and hazardous for certain people.

Providing for the Comfort of Elderly Visitors While They Are in Your Home

Be sure the doorbell is in working order and respond to it promptly. Don’t rely on yelling; “Come on in” as people with reduced hearing may not hear that.

Also, make the doorbell accessible with adequate lighting and not blocking it with plants or objects of art, which can make it hard to reach.

If possible, install a higher toilet seat and/or grab bars to make the bathroom accessible. Thes

e raised toilet seats are affordable and can be found in the local hardware store.

Also, keep some type of light on in the bathroom. A lamp or bold night-light may help here.

In the sitting area, provide some chairs that are not too low to get out of easily and be sure that they have arms to make getting up easier.

If the guests are going to watch a DVD offer English subtitles. Those with a slight hearing loss may be grateful. Also, visual learners benefit from and appreciate the extra visual input.

 

When serving a meal, use a table of standard height with suitable chairs. Many modern tables are bar height with chairs o high that feet can’t touch the floor, and there may be no arms to hold onto while steadying oneself.

In making the menu, provide at least one alternative to spicy food as some older adults have tender digestive systems.

One option is to provide the spicy portion of the meal as a separate and well-marked dip or sauce to add as desired.

It is better to provide extra safety measures than not enough and regret it after an unfortunate incident.

Also, the comfort of seniors in your home can be vital to having a good time. Often they will not tell you they are miserable, but you may not have another opportunity to entertain them if they are uncomfortable.

Since there are so many holiday events, winter is a crucial time to deliver safety along with the punch and cookies!


Grandmother and Granddaughter

Seniors Can Enjoy Thanksgiving

Finding Thankfulness Amid Challenges of Senior Living

Yup, even November can be a challenge for a senior’s body and soul.  So many things happened this year:

  • Friends and/or loved ones have died.
  • Others are experiencing illnesses.
  • Caregiving threatens to drain that last bit of energy.
  • Family members are so busy with their lives they may not notice.
  • Worries about health, finances, or family are affecting sleep quality.

So how in the heck can we be grateful? Maybe it’s time to get back to simple things.  One common denominator we can all appreciate is life —even in all its struggles and blessings.

Spending time remembering good things from your life and people who were there may help. You may want to look through old pictures and relive those times which made you smile.

Caregivers Face Special Hurdles in Giving Thanks

Sometimes I’ve had to sit down for this one. Even though my caregiving duties have continued to grow, I have somehow found there are always reasons to be thankful:

  • for help gained from medical professionals
  • for friends and family who show caring
  • for fine memories of the 33 years my hubby and I have together
  • for resources and services I’ve been lucky enough to tap for assistance
  • for my health—though compromised — I’ve held up pretty well.
  • for each new morning since my late sister once reminded me that “the sun does come up”
  • for moments when I can breathe, think, and even do nothing, and for my growing ability to keep finding those opportunities.
  • for music, nature, and simple things which add a bit of sparkle to my life.
  • AND of course, dark chocolate!

Ways to Simplify Your Thanksgiving Celebration

If you cooked a feast for others for years like I did, maybe it’s time to go a little easier on yourself:

  • Eat out — Many places do a superb job of serving a great feast.
  • Order a pre-cooked meal with your favorite choices. It can be delivered or you can pick it up Thanksgiving morning. Go online and be surprised at all the wonderful ideas! Or Google home-delivered Thanksgiving meals. Catering can give you the gift of more time together with those you love.
  • Help friends or family with a potluck. That means you only take one favorite item. Let others enjoy being in charge.
  • Accept an invitation to someone else’s feast and take one item you make or buy.

This may be a good year to accept that there are manageable ways to reduce the workload while keeping cherished experiences which Thanksgiving can bring.

Your celebration doesn’t have to be labor-intensive to be splendid. In fact, a bit of relaxing and enjoying the company of others may be just what the doctor ordered!

In the end, let Thanksgiving be about good times, fine food, and making memories. It can be helpful to have some help.

Papa can provide another set of hands to run errands, keep you company, etc. A college “grandkid for a day” can give a much-needed infusion of youth which we all know is welcome for us seniors.

Wishing you and yours a calm observance of the holidays this year.


Senior with carevgiver and wheelchair

Five Precautions to Take If You Have Elderly at Home

Having an elderly at home can be a bit difficult since you need to take care of them like one takes care of an infant.

Still, as many precautions as you may take to make sure they remain safe and sound are less.

There are specific ways in which you can protect your beloved parent from falling prey to the various calamities older adults tend to suffer from.

Five Precautions to Take If You Have Elderly at Home

1) Arrange Furniture Strategically

In places like living rooms, you should place the furniture in a way that is not confusing or doesn’t cram the space so the elderly can freely move around.

If your elderly uses a wheelchair, keep a space free and designated for their wheelchair and make sure it can be moved around freely.

Also, make sure all the electronic chords are tucked under the rugs or taped to the floors or walls so that they don't get tangled in them and fall.

2) Make the Bathroom Safe

You should keep in mind that a bathroom is a place where seniors tend to fall more because space is slippery and watery.

Install anti-skid matt in the bathtub to prevent falling; you can also have it installed in the shower so that they don't fall.

Install grab-on bars beside the shower so that they have something to hold onto while taking a shower.

Also, consider getting installed those toilet seats with armrests installed so that using the toilet is also safe.

Make sure the bathroom light is always working so that nobody falls.

3) Install Necessary Equipment

Make sure you have all the necessary equipment installed at your home such an alarm, smoke and carbon monoxide detector, etc. installed.

Also, ensure that the electricity system is working fine to prevent a short circuit.

If you work, chances are your parent is going to be alone at home in your absence, so you need to ensure all the systems are up and working just fine.

These precautions will only help you in the long run.

4) Request a Papa Pal

If you’re too worried about your parent’s caregiving for the time when you’re working at the office, you can request a Papa Pal.

A Papa Pal will be better able to take care of your loved one in your absence.

They would be careful about their meals and showing them an amazing social experience. And the best part is, they won’t feel lonely.

5) Keep Their Finances Secure

You ought to make sure that the financial matters of your elderly parent are being taken care of; you can do that by taking their power of attorney and maintain the books for them. This will keep them care-free.

These simple steps will help you take better care of your loved ones and keep them safe and sound.

Author Bio: This article was written by Chris Palmer who regularly shares advice on elderly care.

In particular dementia and supporting your elderly parent. You can find more by Chris on AgeSpace


Senior driving

Helping a Senior Who Should Stop Driving

It's vital to make the decision to stop driving before tragic events occur. Family or caregivers can often see it coming, and need to act kindly then.

The need for an older adult to stop driving may show up as a series of events.

It could be minor accidents, expressions of fear on the senior's part, or observations of family, neighbors, or friends.

Sometimes the senior may limit driving to necessary trips to the store, showing an increased awareness of perceived dangers.

Why a Senior Should Stop Driving

The first and foremost reason a senior should limit or stop driving is a risk to himself and others on the road.

Although age is one of the risk factors, each case must be dealt with individually due to the wide variation in performance.

There is often a precipitating incident which makes it clear that a change is needed in order to maintain safety.

It could be due to any of a number of causes including medications, slower reaction times, depression, and cognitive issues.

Even health-related issues like reduced balance, hearing, vision, loss of neck movement can affect driving safety.

Safety is the main reason for a senior to stop driving. When a person has reached a point in life where it's time to stop driving, it's not about just that person.

It is about the safety of all concerned including others who could be harmed or killed.

Avoiding proactive steps in order to not hurt feelings is of little comfort to people whose lives were at risk in unnecessary accidents.

How to Take Away a Senior's Car Keys

Depending on the situation, the caregiver will seek a method which causes the least pain for all concerned.

Seek professional help from a physician, counselor or trusted friend who is aware of recent events.

This can provide needed objectivity in looking at all the information available and allow for candid yet caring conversation with the senior driver.

Care should be given when addressing the issue with the older adult.

There may be a discussion about risks and reflection on situations where dangers of injury were obvious.

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There is no doubt that the average senior citizens wish no harm to others, and would find this possibility troubling.

This would help clarify that it is not just about them; it is about the safety of others also.

A statement like this may help: "I love you and I want you to live a long life without guilt or injury."

The reference to guilt can be explained as what could happen to passengers of other cars if they are seriously hurt or killed.

If possible, gently convince the senior to make the choice not to drive.

But sometimes, more assertiveness is needed on the part of the caregiver.

Some family members have been known to make a car malfunction to avoid its being driven, but that is temporary at best, and manipulative and unfriendly at worst.

In that case, a spouse or caregiver may have to do the driving or make arrangements for transportation.

It is vital to make every effort to not reduce the senior's lifestyle, and worth the time invested in seeing that the usual activities of the church, community, etc are still possible.

Many cities have special affordable transportation for such cases. Ft. Lauderdale has Tops Paratransit Services.

Ways to Give Some Control to Seniors Who Have Stopped Driving

If the spouse or another family member is driving, let the non-driving senior navigate without criticism.

This person often has a long-lived experience in driving and may know where to turn to avoid traffic and similar tricks to driving the usual places.

The driver would do well to welcome this input, and not be offended even if the information is not needed on a particular occasion.

It can provide a smoother transition to not driving, and allow the non-driving senior to still feel included in the driving process.

It can also be helpful to seek counseling from the professional who recommended or agreed that it was time to stop driving.

This is especially needed where memory issues are involved.

Friends and family can also reinforce the decision by providing rides on a regular basis

Where possible, show dependence on the senior in another way like spending time together in his or her garden or other interests.

Remind the non-driving senior of contributions to various lives over the years and continue to treat him or her as a cherished person.

It is worth exploring ways to give some control to seniors who stop driving by counting to treat him or her as a cherished person.

Putting kindness and careful thought into handling this touchy event makes life safer and more pleasant for all involved.

Papa can be a great help by providing a ride and an admiring grandkid to drive a senior around.


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How Intergenerational Activities Help Society

The old and the young are two groups with much in common. They may have time on their hands, they are at times under-appreciated, and they have a lot to offer each other.

What is now called intergenerational activities used to be a common part of the culture. As families have moved farther apart, the young and the old hardly know one another. They exist in very separate spheres of life.

Benefits for Older Adults from Intergenerational Activities

  • Reinforces cooperation and sense of community for both young and old.
  • Teaches oral history while letting seniors contribute to the future.
  • Motivates youth to take charge of their life.
  • Exposes young folks to the values and wisdom, and even human frailties of their elders.

In sum, communication across generations encourages cultural exchange and collaboration, expands services, maximizes financial and human resources while stimulating socialization and emotional health of each age group.

Intergenerational Programs Across America

  • Miami Dade Public Schools
  • Habitat Intergenerational Program
  • Universities: Cornell, Temple, Penn State, British Columbia
  • Mentoring by retirees in public and private schools for both academics and the arts
  • Adult or youth service organizations, park and recreation centers, faith-based organizations, retirement communities, and senior centers
  • Hawaii Intergenerational Network
  • Generations United in Maryland, Massachusetts and Florida
  • New York City's West End Intergenerational Residence since 1989 caters to three generations

There is even a Journal of Intergenerational Relationships. Project Shine is a national service-learning program which supports college students in building relationships with elderly immigrants and refugees through language, literacy, and citizenship tutoring. It is involved with 18 colleges around the United States.

Even though there are a number of formal arrangements, across the world intergenerational activities occur informally in churches, families, and communities. However, specific programs keep the vital need before the public eye while assuring increased quantity of relationships across the age spectrum.

Benefits of Cross-Generational Interactions

There are many benefits of cross-generation experiences and a number of programs are already active across the country.

Since the over-65 population is on its way to doubling in the next few years, it seems wise for seniors to participate in intergenerational activities.

It could involve mentoring a child on a computer in a public or private school, cooking with a grandkid or neighbor child, or tutoring a math student about money.

These intergenerational relationships can go both directions. Both the younger and older generations have much to offer each other.

Spending time with young people can lift some of the weightiness of growing older.

Such moments of shared joy go a long way toward making the days better for both generations involved.

When a young person provides companionship or services to a senior, not only is the senior's day brightened and their load lifted, the youth's world has widened.

Papa does just that by pairing up people from the two age groups, providing help for the seniors and delight for all.

Seniors enjoy the attention and assistance they need while the college students gain special experiences of having a grandparent for a day.

Some service providers may even find wisdom which would be hard to find in a book. And of course, they all get extra doses of love and kindness.