Making Your Marriage a Priority as You Care for an Aging Parent

Mature couple holding hands

Caregiving for a senior can impact your marriage relationship. Learn tips to keep your marriage intact here.

In marriage, we agree to stick together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness as well as in health – but what does not come up in our vows to each other is the way to preserve marriage while caregiving as our parents age.

Nevertheless, with our life span increasing, it is essential to put together a strategy based on both the needs of our parents as they age, as well as the multitude of day-to-day needs, all while honoring our cherished relationship with a spouse. It is a challenge that is contributing to anxiety and strain for 80% of couples surveyed, leading to detachment and much less quality time together. The following areas in a marital relationship are especially impacted by caregiving for a senior parent:

  • Finances. Still retaining the top spot for the reason cited for divorce, fiscal stress is magnified if the senior has not executed a financial arrangement for long-term care. Truthfully discussing frustrations with one another and working together to examine choices to pay for services can help.
  • Exhaustion. As gratifying as it might be, meeting the needs of an elderly family member calls for a great amount of time and effort – leaving little left over at the end of your day for your spouse. Agree to accept the help of others or hire professional in-home senior care help, so you can be sure to provide for quality time with your significant other.
  • Frustration. Mounting frustration and decreased patience are a couple of frequent side effects of fatigue, and sadly, we tend to lash out at those we love the most when feeling overwhelmed. Allow imperfection, practice understanding, and look for professional assistance if needed.

So how else are you able to try to avoid these issues and keep a strong and healthy marriage? These tips may help:

  • Make sure your spouse is always a high priority. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way towards this end, such as writing a note of love and appreciation, getting up a couple of minutes early to share a cup of coffee together before the day becomes hectic, or setting aside time at the conclusion of the day to talk and unwind.
  • Joining an online support group for family caregivers can allow you the opportunity to share irritations with individuals in similar situations, relieving concerns.
  • Seek out the services of a certified counselor, either for you separately or for the two of you as a couple.

An additional great way to accomplish a healthy life balance is through partnering with an established and trusted in-home care provider, like Generations at Home. We provide customized respite care solutions that allow loved ones to take time away from caregiving, while providing seniors the opportunity for enhanced socialization with a helpful and fully-trained caregiver. Contact us at 727-940-3414 to explore our senior care options today!

Life with an Aging Parent: Are You Becoming a Helicopter Child?

helicopter parents sandwich generation

Are you guilty of hovering too closely over your senior parents when it comes to home healthcare?

We’ve all known helicopter parents, particularly when a son or daughter goes off to college. The fact is, we might be guilty of hovering a tad too closely ourselves. Discovering that appropriate balance between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not very easy.

And now, due to the added number of sandwich generationers providing care for both aging parents and children, we’re at risk of acquiring an additional badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s not uncommon for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal in regard to their senior parents, with the very best of intentions, of course; obviously, we would like to keep our loved ones safe. Nevertheless, this could lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or frustrated at their newfound loss of control.

If you believe you are infringing on your elderly parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here is insight on how to come in for a landing, and resolve to step in only when absolutely necessary.

Discuss expectations. Engage your parent in a conversation about aging expectations, and exactly how she would want you to help with obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to move into an assisted living facility, or stay at home with support? If the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she picture her healing experience? Would she be happy getting assistance with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a skilled caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is jeopardized, it is crucial to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative mind-set. The objective is to ensure that the senior preserves as much self-sufficiency as is feasible. If she’s hesitant to accept assistance or even to make prudent decisions, such as using a walker when needed to avoid a fall, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of her medical doctor or a geriatric care manager to offer suggestions.

Otherwise, step back. If you want to control circumstances that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is far better to let those concerns go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Get in contact with Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for expert senior care assistance which is always geared towards ensuring as much independence as possible for senior loved ones, permitting family caregivers the opportunity to step back and give their parents the independence that they need while remaining safe.

Get Out and Play at Any Age! And Then Reap the Health Benefits

Happy and funny senior couple playing hulahop in park

Learn the senior health benefits of good old fashioned play, in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

Do you recall that feeling as a young child once the school bell rang, signifying the conclusion of science and the start of the best part of the day: recess? There was clearly an immense sensation of freedom bounding out onto the playground, leaving behind the stress of school work for a quick period of unstructured play.

Unfortunately, for the majority of adults, this is nothing but a fond but distant memory. Yet is it feasible, as well as beneficial, to recapture the happiness of playing? Experts like Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, answer with a resounding YES. As he explains, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

The primary advantages of play, no matter a person’s age, include:

  • To be connected: Particularly in our smartphone-driven society today, taking time to engage with others in person is key to our social wellness – whether through sports activities, card clubs, weekly board game competitions, or other shared pastimes and interests.
  • To sharpen your mind: While the jury is still out on the success of memory games in decreasing the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is certainly benefit to be gained in enhancing thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • To improve relationships: The everyday challenges inherent in most of our relationships are eased when a sense of playfulness is included, making it possible for more powerful bonds as well as the capacity to better conquer difficulties should they arise.

Carving time out from a busy schedule to just play can seem impossible. However, with a little assistance from Generations at Home, an even more fulfilling lifestyle can easily become a real possibility. We are available for as much or as little assistance as needed, offering an array of services for older adults, such as:

  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Food shopping, picking up prescription medications, and any other errands
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care assistance such as aiding with bathing and dressing
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and fun outings
  • Companionship to take part in discussions, reminiscing, exercising, games, and enjoyable interests
  • And much more

Maintain a healthy life balance by permitting us to help, while you have some fun. Call us now at 727-940-3414 to learn more!

A Hospital Visit for Thanksgiving? It’s More Common Than You Think for Seniors!

senior man eating in hospital bed

Avoid a hospital visit for seniors this Thanksgiving with these tips.

Even though we might imagine a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving gathering, with the entire family relishing quality time together and Grandma’s classic food, the truth for a lot of families consists of something unanticipated: a visit to the hospital. The fact is, studies illustrate that emergency room visits for older adults jump an astounding 10% – 20% during the holidays.

While pinpointing the actual reasoning behind this increase is challenging, it isn’t surprising that one component could be members of the family who have not spent time with an elderly relative within the months prior to the holiday season, going home and identifying that their loved one’s condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital explains, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in 6 months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

There are lots of proactive steps that family members may take in order to prevent a holiday emergency situation:

  • Record key contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other specialists. Include all prescribed medications by each doctor and any drug allergies or other issues. Calling the correct physician for guidance about your worries is a great first step over an emergency room visit, unless of course the senior is having a genuine emergency.
  • Talk with your loved one about assigning a health care proxy, who’s able to serve as a voice in making health decisions in the event that your senior loved one is not able to do this. Ensure a living will is in place.
  • Check in with the older adult regularly all year. For families who live at a distance, it can be important to enlist the assistance of your loved one’s neighbors or friends to visit the senior regularly and to keep you updated with any irregularities they see.

An established in-home care agency in St. Petersburg FL, like Generations at Home, is the perfect year-round solution to make certain seniors continue to be healthy and well, and that any variations in condition are addressed immediately – making sure the holiday season stays as festive and pleasant as it should be. Just some of the countless ways we are able to help are:

  • Planning and preparing nutritious, delicious meals, in compliance with any dietary limitations
  • Providing accompanied transport to medical appointments and procedures, exercise programs, and fun outings
  • Examining the house for fall hazards and suggesting adjustments to ensure safety
  • Helping with safe ambulation and transfers
  • Personal care such as bathing, showering, and using the restroom
  • And so much more, according to each person’s individual needs

Call us at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home consultation for more information on ways that we can help increase safety and overall well-being for your senior loved one.

Paid Family Leave for Senior Care: The Benefit Employees Really Need

St. Petersburg FL care solutions

Are employers starting to take notice of a need for senior care leave?

Employers have long recognized the necessity for new mothers or fathers to take time away from their career to focus on the various requirements of an infant, but what has been identified much less is the equally important need for adult children to take time away to look after their aging parents. But as our life expectancy continues to expand, and as baby boomers are going into their senior years, the balancing act to take care of professional and family lives is now more prevalent.

Trying to balance a career alongside senior care requirements can be extremely challenging. In fact, providing care alone, without adding in work-related stress, places family caregivers at a higher chance of depression, substance abuse, and a range of physical issues: heart-related illnesses, infections, and cancer, just to mention a few.

And while the Family and Medical Leave Act helps to ensure that employees of larger companies gain access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, only 13% of employees receive paid family leave – a crucial component for several to make sure financial requirements are met. And a full one out of every seven employees who take care of an older parent wind up reducing their time in the office, accepting a lesser-paying position, or leaving the workforce entirely.

One potential solution to keep an eye on is the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, or FAMILY Act, introduced a short time ago to give partial income to family caregivers for up to twelve weeks for providing care for a family member facing a health concern. To date, five states have passed similar policies (New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and California – plus Washington, DC).

Despite the fact that paid leave for caregivers is costly for companies, Maureen Corcoran of Prudential Financial notes, “It is not more costly than losing employees early to disability, to early retirement, to presenteeism (when employees show up for work but don’t get much done).”

Thankfully, there is one other option already available to all family caregivers: partnering with an expert home care agency like Generations at Home. We provide loved ones with the peace of mind needed to focus on the job, confident their senior loved one is receiving the best possible quality of care, customized to each individual’s distinct needs.

Contact us at 727-940-3414 for more information about our quality St. Petersburg, FL in-home care services, to request educational resources specific to the precise challenges your senior loved one is encountering, and to request a free in-home assessment to understand how we’re able to enable you to establish a healthier life balance.

Caring for Senior Loved Ones You Don’t Care For

Senior father and son family issues

How do you overcome childhood hurt when caring for a senior parent? Learn tips in this article.

When it comes to caregiving for a family member, family dynamics can play a big part in the caregiver’s outlook. For people who have been raised by loving parents who provided for all their needs, offering the same level of care may just be second nature. But what if you’ve been negatively affected by childhood experiences, determined to distance yourself from problematic family relations later in life, simply to wind up going back to look after them in a period of need?

AARP offers some helpful tips for family members who would like to do something to overcome old wounds with regard to providing care:

  • Develop emotional boundaries. It’s feasible to offer compassionate caregiving while remaining emotionally detached. Imagine tending to the needs of someone you’d never met, and try to hold that mindset with a difficult family member, attempting to help keep personal feelings and hurts out of the picture while meeting his / her care needs with compassion.
  • Try to separate the past from the present. While your family member may have displayed a pattern of causing you pain in past times, perhaps with furious outbursts or deprecating comments, it’s important to separate that pain from today’s struggles. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may go through a stage of aggressive behavior that is a hallmark struggle associated with the disease, as opposed to a continuation of parenting mistakes.
  • Start to change what you expect. Some members of the family move into a caregiving role with the purpose of changing the course of a relationship, convinced that if only they forget about past hurts and supply the best possible care, the individual may be converted into someone caring, kind and considerate after a lifetime of issues. The stark reality is, story book endings are quite few. Keeping expectations realistic helps reduce potential future disappointments.

First and foremost, recognize that no one needs to feel “stuck” in looking after a difficult family member. The professional home care team at Generations at Home is fully trained, experienced, and equipped to give you the highly skilled and compassionate care that allows family members peace of mind. A number of the various ways we can help include:

  • Personal care assistance, such as with bathing, dressing, and using the restroom
  • Cooking meals
  • Keeping the home environment clean and tidy
  • Running errands
  • Providing transportation to health-related appointments and other outings
  • Companionship
  • And more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home assessment and to discover a Pinellas County senior care solution which will work for your family.

Tips for Aging for Seniors Without Children

Senior woman with laptop

This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging.

Are you a “solo ager“? This is the new term being passed around to describe baby boomers who do not have children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging, chiefly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker in case they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:

  1. Dig through your support system. Typically, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural option for guardianship and also to make critical decisions associated with health care, but it’s important to have a minimum of one and preferably two younger alternative options. Consider siblings and their children, close friends, and neighbors, taking into consideration whether or not each person holds matching values and is also someone you can fully trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes.
  2. Hire a qualified professional guardian. Professional guardians, also referred to as private guardians or professional fiduciaries, have become more popular than ever for solo agers. If thinking about this option, it is vital that you interview several candidates to ensure they will have the required knowledge and experience, and don’t forget to inquire about references. Consult your attorney for recommendations, or perhaps the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
  3. Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager has not yet selected a guardian and is suddenly not able to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to handle his or her affairs.

When you are checking out potential guardians, gather answers to questions such as:

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
  • Have you been bonded and insured?
  • What will be the succession plan if you predecease me?
  • Are background checks performed on all of your employees?
  • What is your understanding of the particular medical conditions I’m facing?
  • Exactly what are your fees, and how often will I be billed?

After your guardian option has been determined, ensure that your attorney updates your existing (or creates a brand new) durable power of attorney or advance medical care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.

If you require any more help and support in planning for long-term care needs, contact the St. Petersburg, FL home care professionals at Generations at Home. We’re able to partner with seniors to generate a plan of care to make sure that needs are fully met now and will keep on being met effectively as needs change in the years in the future, always with respect to each individual’s wishes. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to learn more.

The Alzheimer’s Supplements to Avoid

Senior couple looking at medications

Always obtain your health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

A number of the latest trends in treating the disease, which are outside the FDA’s research and approval and are also centered on individual reviews as opposed to fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining amounts as we grow older. In particular, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have shown no statistical distinction between those taking this plant extract and people taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been shown to supply no substantial health benefits, and those promoting and distributing it as a cure for Alzheimer’s are currently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Promises are that coconut oil may provide an alternative source of energy to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there may be benefit, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a conventional Chinese healing product, huperzine A is a moss extract available as an unregulated dietary supplement. A clinical trial was conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that showed no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that significant side effects might result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant within the body, it has not been researched for its usefulness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and also could result in harm to the older adult if taken in large quantities.

The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s doctor about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and follow his / her instructions carefully. For additional details on safe and effective Alzheimer’s care, delivered in the convenience of home, get in touch with Generations at Home’s specialized dementia care team. Our care staff is fully trained and experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to maintain the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call today at 727-940-3414 or contact us online for a free in-home assessment to find out more.

Could Your Loved Ones Fall Prey to The Latest Senior Scam?

senior scamsTelephone cons intended for seniors are nothing new, with an astonishing $36 billion lost every year to financial abuse. And the current senior fraud scheme circulating is difficult for most older adults to identify until it is too late. Center for Elder Law and Justice attorney Nicole K. Parshall explains, “There is always a new variation of a phone scam. Scammers are very good at developing new tactics in order to engage with specific types of individuals.”

The latest company to look out for is Utility Savings Expert, which guarantees to cut seniors’ utility, phone, cable, as well as other monthly bills by 50 percent. Seniors are invited just to share account information from the bill they would like to reduce. The organization then actually takes care of the bill in full, with the arrangement that the senior will reimburse half of the cost by wire transfer only – no checks or bank cards accepted.

After the senior’s funds have been received, the organization reverses the charge to the phone or utility company, leaving the senior liable once again for the full amount – in addition to the additional 50% they have paid to the scammers.

The elderly are regular targets of con artists, for many different reasons: expected vulnerability, accrued wealth over a very long time, and a feeling of courtesy and manners which could limit their capability to hang up quickly on a caller. Additionally, recent research from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research revealed a decline of as much as one percent each year after age 60 in decision-making skills, further contributing to the risk of falling for phone scams and fraud.

So just how could you protect your older family members from falling prey to extremely sophisticated, and frequently believable scams such as these? The Federal Trade Commission advises individuals to never engage in a transaction with an unfamiliar business. Another red flag appears when a business asks for a wire transfer as payment. Screening calls and just answering those from known and trusted sources – and hanging up immediately on anyone who calls asking for personal or financial information – is also recommended.

The fact is, many older adults fall victim to fraud simply because they’re lonely and enjoy the chance to talk with someone on the phone. Generations at Home can alleviate senior loneliness and minimize the chance of a senior scam with our professional in-home care companionship and caregiving assistance. Give us a call to learn more about how exactly we can keep your senior loved ones safe and sound.

5 Key Questions to Ask Before Moving Mom in with You

Generations at HomeProbably among the most noble and admirable choices adult children will make is to open up their house to an aging parent. Our parents raised and took care of us when we needed help and support, so it seems like a no-brainer to reciprocate when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are a number of considerations to take into account before taking this step. Generations at Home details a number of the key questions to think about:

Do you have sufficient space? If setting up a room for Mom will result in shuffling the kids’ accommodations, such as doubling up siblings to share a room or necessitating a person to sleep on the couch, it is important to weigh this disruption versus the health benefits to the senior.

Are home modifications necessary? Walk through the house and try to look at it through the perspective of an older adult. Are pathways clear between the senior’s room, bathroom, kitchen, etc.? Are there any trip and fall risks, such as throw rugs? Should you install grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, or other home health-related equipment? Are there any stairs to maneuver? Is the residence wheelchair-accessible?

Will someone be at home during the day? Isolation and the potential risks of being alone will still be an issue in the event that you and your spouse are working outside of the home.

Is everyone completely agreeable with the idea? Although you may be entirely convinced of your aging parent’s new living arrangements, feelings of reluctance or bitterness on the part of your spouse may increase stress and relationship challenges.

Are you in a position to handle increasing care needs? While Dad might need just a little additional assistance now, disease progression and the normal frailties related to aging will change the degree of care needed with time. Think about such possible complications as incontinence, bathing difficulties, wandering, and falls.

Another factor is the impact that giving up status as “head of the household” may be incredibly difficult for some older adults. It takes some prior thoughtful planning to ascertain how to best help the older adult maintain dignity, independence and a sense of control.

If you’re feeling unsure about your capacity to take care of your senior loved one, another alternative may be better suited to both the senior and your family. One option to think about could be the addition of an in-home care provider, like Generations at Home. Our skilled caregivers partner with families to ensure your loved one stays safe and thrives at home – whether that involves just a few hours each week of companionship to encourage socialization, personal care assistance for safe bathing and dressing, help with housework and meal preparation, or full-time, live-in care. We provide a complimentary in-home assessment to find out about your loved one and to suggest a strategy of care to manage all concerns. Contact us to find out more.