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Tips to Improve Nutrition for the Senior Living Alone

Assisted Living , Senior Care     no comments    

With the risk of malnutrition, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and even cancer common among the elderly, the first step in prevention is proper nutrition, especially for a senior living alone.

Getting the right nutritious and tasty foods into their diet can be a difficult process. However, with these few simple steps, it can become much easier to improve nutrition for the senior living alone.

According to 2010 Dietary Guidelines, individuals between the ages of 60-74 years old should be consuming at least 3 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily, and partaking in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise multiple times throughout the week. The amount of exercise will vary based on a case by case basis, depending on the condition of your senior. A daily stroll in the park for a half hour would be a great way to get exercise into their day, and would be a great way to spend some time with your loved one.

Tangible ways to make a difference:

  • If possible, create a weekly meal plan and go grocery shopping with your loved one; this ensures that you know they are getting the proper nutrients and variety, which can lead to a healthy diet, and it also takes out the possible complication of deciding what meal to make daily. A special bonus is the time you get to spend together in a productive and loving way.

Key vitamins to look for:

  • One easy rule of thumb to make sure they are getting the proper nutrients in their diet is to remind them to have a variety of colors in the fruits and vegetables they are eating. Various colors are related to different vitamins and minerals contained in that particular food, and by eating many different colors you can ensure that they are on their way to a balanced diet through fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Seafood contains bountiful amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Omega-3 minerals, which are known for improving brain health. Try to get your loved ones to eat some type of seafood at least twice a week.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source of many vitamins and minerals, especially fiber. Five servings of fruit and vegetables will provide a stable foundation of a healthy well-being for your senior.
  • With the risk of osteoporosis increasing as we age, the elderly require further amounts of calcium in their diet. However, contrary to popular belief, calcium not only limited to dairy products, but also in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, calcium-enriched cereals and canned fish.Pathways_to_Care_Senior_Care_Food_7
  • If you are thinking of adding supplementary vitamins to your loved ones diet, it is recommended that they take vitamins D, calcium, B12 and B6. B12 vitamins are often found in animal products such as meat, eggs, milk and fish. The combination of these vitamins will guide your elderly relative on the right path towards good health.
  • Instead of unneeded salt, substitute in flavor throughherbs and spices. Excess salt is a key contributor to high blood pressure, so even by making the small step of taking away the salt shaker from their home, you are contributing to their healthier lifestyle.
  • Most importantly, consult your senior’s doctor for the best nutritional advice tailored to them.

What Are The Financial Risks The Elderly Face When Living Alone?

Assisted Living , Senior Care     no comments    

It can be easy to overlook the financial risks the elderly face when living alone, especially when considering the more obvious emotional and physical risks. Don’t forget, the financial risks can be just as serious and shouldn’t be ignored. As their mental and physical abilities decline with age, seniors can become easy targets for financial scams and fraud. They can also lose the ability to responsibly manage their finances.

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Fraud can take place over the phone, through mail, or face-to-face. Some common scams to watch out for involve prizes and sweepstakes, investments, charity contributions, health and life insurance, home repairs and travel packages. Some offenders will use their charisma or false concern for the senior’s well-being to gain trust.  Others may rely on the trusted bond of a financial planner or annuity agent to gain the trust of the elderly, and then they make false representations regarding the senior’s finances and retirement funds. If your loved one mentions winning a prize or any other one of these common scam opportunities, be aware and look into it immediately.

Even if your loved one does not fall victim to a financial scam, they may still need additional assistance if they cannot manage their financial affairs responsibly. These are several red flags you can look for which may mean that your elderly loved one is mishandling their finances.

  • Unopened mail is piling up in their house: If you are noticing large piles of unsorted and unopened mail that appear to be bills and statements from mortgage and credit card companies, it could be a warning sign that your senior is physically or mentally incapable of accomplishing the monthly task of paying bills.
  • They are forgetful about cash: Have you noticed your loved one forgetting how much cash they have and when they go to pay for something they realize they don’t have enough money? You may also find stacks of undeposited checks lying around their house. This could be a sign that they cannot physically make the trips to the bank or ATM to deposit checks and take out cash, or that they cannot mentally keep track of their day to day expenses.
  •  Creditors are calling repeatedly: You can check the phone logs to see if creditors have been making repeated phone calls to your loved one. These calls may be from credit card companies or from household help, and can be a sign that your senior is not paying their bills in a timely fashion.
  • They are making expensive new purchases: While your loved one has the right to splurge occasionally, you should pay attention if they continue to make numerous expensive purchases. This excessive spending can be a sign of impaired judgment or memory loss, which can be an early sign of dementia.
  • They are complaining about not having enough money: If your loved one is constantly bringing up the high cost of living expenses, it may be a sign that they are having difficulty managing their finances on their own. You may observe subtle hints that money is tight, such as declining invitations to go to eat or skipping home repairs.
  • They are physically unable to complete daily financial tasks: Remember that daily tasks that were once simple can become unmanageable for the elderly if their physical state is deteriorating. Vision and mobility challenges can make it difficult for them to go to the bank on a regular basis, while arthritis can make writing checks and addressing envelopes challenging.

To learn about other signs that may indicate your senior needs more assistance, you can download our free eBook.

6 Ways to Prevent Fall Risks for Seniors Around the Home

Assisted Living , Senior Care     no comments    

There is no doubt that the number of seniors at risk of falling is staggering.  One in three elderly individuals are subject to a fall of some degree annually. These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, especially hip fractures, so how can you care for your loved ones? With these simple alterations you can prevent fall risks for seniors around the home.

  • Clear Pathways
    • It can be easy to trip over a loose object or wire when it’s in your path, and this can become very dangerous for seniors living alone. Unattended, your loved one can find it difficult to get help if they fall. It is important that you make sure that the floor they are walking on is stable and secure. Rugs and loose objects on the floor are an easy fix, by placing an adhesive backing onto rugs and carpeting you can prevent rugs from slipping. It is also important to ensure that all wires are placed next to walls, so the risk of tripping is eliminated.
  • Good Lighting
    • This is another important factor in preventing a fall risk in the home. Proper lighting helps guide individuals and makes any loose objects visible. By installing light fixtures in many places around the home, especially in bedrooms, at the top and bottom of stairs and in bathrooms, it becomes a lot easier for your senior to move around their home safely.
  • Proper Shelving Height
    • Trying to grab objects that are out of reach can be a key contributor to a potential fall. By having step stools readily available throughout the home, installing shelves at an attainable level, and making sure that most items around the home can be reached easily, you can help ensure the safety of your senior.
  • Bathroom
    • A bathroom is potentially a very hazardous area, however with the additions of a few non-slip mats, both within the shower area and next to the shower, you can eliminate some of the fear out of showering for your loved one. An additional tip, install grab bars within the shower and beside the toilet to provide stability.
  • ExercisePathways_to_Care_Senior_Activities_31
    • Exercise can be seen as a potential dangerous activity to a senior, however it is very important and should be encouraged. By exercising regularly, seniors can significantly lessen the risk of falling. Not only does it improve overall well-being and health but it directly targets balance and coordination.

Preventative Measures:

  • The first step would be to have phones and emergency numbers placed in multiple areas of the home to ensure that if your senior has fallen, they could call for help easily. Another option is to purchase an alarm device that can be strapped to the wrist, or is a necklace style pendant’s that can be worn by your loved one, to ensure in the event of a fall they can quickly contact a doctor or paramedic that can attend to them. However, these devices aren’t always fail safe, many times after a fall an individual may become disoriented or may be injured making it impossible for to use the device.  If falls are becoming a regular event, it’s likely now time to have a caregiver either in the home or make the move to a care facility.
Please visit our selection of fall prevention items. If you would like to purchase an item for your loved one or would like a free consultation please contact us at 714-921-2100.
To learn about signs that may indicate your senior needs more assistance, download our free eBook “7 Signs & Symptoms That Your Loved One May Need More Assistance”

Is Your Family Resisting Getting Senior Care?

Assisted Living , blog , daily lfe , Dementia , Senior Care     no comments    

It’s more common then you might think… mom or dad now need senior care but you can’t get it done because your sibling is fiercely resisting all of your efforts.  Probably over 50% of the families we see at Senior Home Advocates are stymied because their family members are fighting with each other.  The adult children usually haven’t communicated in a long time and are suddenly thrown into a stressful situation that takes true cooperation and family conflict resolution.  Many siblings simply can’t accept each other’s ideas…it’s a little bit of “not invented here” syndrome or one sibling is resented because they were the”favored” child or maybe one has been financially mooching off of mom and simply can’t be trusted by the others.

First thing to remember is that nobody is adequately prepared for the challenge of having to arrange for an aging parent’s care. It’s not talked about in our schools, our churches, or our popular media and yet we all have parents!  Take comfort in knowing that you’re not the only family resisting getting senior care or going through this; there are millions of others facing the same challenge as you are right now.

Next, seek out help and don’t try to do this alone.  You need someone in the middle when siblings are at each other’s throats. You can deal with family conflict and have a positive successful result. Professional case managers have lots of experience in dealing with how to defuse these situations.  At Senior Home Advocates we have found that the best technique is to call a family meeting and let the financial facts do the talking.  There’s something about having an outside party with facts and figures that makes everybody willing to lower their defenses and listen.  We use a simple tool that compares each possible care scenario side by side. By seeing how the finances change for each scenario and how certain government financial benefit programs would work under each possible scenario, families have the information they need to make a joint decision…because with the right information, the right answer becomes fairly obvious.

A family meeting with a professional – acting as a third party creates an environment where a decision can be made “then and there” and witnessed by each other.  After that, the case manager plays a critical role in answering questions as the care plan is implemented or the care needs change.  In many cases when a well trained care manager is involved, families can actually experience some positive growth in the relationship they have with each other. At Senior Home Advocates we provide you with an initial consultation that is free of charge and will give the whole family a chance to experience how effective our techniques can be in breaking any log jams they might be experiencing.  You can arrange for an initial consultation by calling us at (714) 793-0527 and we will set an appointment that is convenient for you.

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