All posts by Marie Clark

Can You Care for Your Elderly Parent at Home?

Caring for elderly parents can be a full time job. Depending on their health issues, they may need help preparing meals, cleaning, bathing, etc. There are options to have outside care givers come into homes and care for the elderly or to have elderly parents live in care facilities. However, these options can be a financial burden. Furthermore, adult children may wish to care for their aging parents themselves. When choosing the option of caring for elderly parents at home, it is important to know what that might entail, so a balance between family and professional care can be met, if necessary.

Some of the assistance elderly parents may need involves knowledge of tools such as stethoscopes, bedpans and syringes. If an adult child is not trained to use these tools, it is possible to have a visiting nurse handle care needs that require these tools, while still taking on most of a parent’s care. It is important that respiratory and cardiac functions be monitored correctly. Waste also needs to be removed without hurting the elderly parent.

A lot of time goes into helping elderly parents, if their mobility is limited or their cognitive function is compromised. It may be impossible for adult children to keep up with cooking, cleaning, doctor’s appointments, shopping and hazard proofing for their elderly parents while still maintaining Elderly care of their own homes and children. In these cases, it may be prudent to have at least part time home assistance from a professional or to have elderly parents move into their adult children’s homes in order to maintain stability on both fronts.

One of the most difficult issues an adult child can face when caring for an adult parent is help with bathing. This can be necessary for many reasons, such as lack of balance, inability to stand unassisted and cognitive issues. For the elderly parent, it can be embarrassing to have your child bathe you. For adult children, it may be awkward to see parents nude. However, embarrassment should not stand in the way if there is a real danger involved in an elderly parent showering or bathing without assistance. If the embarrassment cannot be overcome, another family member or a visiting professional will need to come to the home and help.

All of these issues and the specific needs of elderly parents must be considered before making the choice to care for them without assistance or with limited assistance from home. Sometimes adult children of elderly parents have to accept that they need help or they have to get the training necessary to do it alone. It is not an easy choice, as watching parents age is not an easy situation. That is why it is so important to weigh all options and speak to medical professionals about the situation before making a decision.

Depression in Senior Citizens

It is not uncommon for senior citizens to become depressed, and there are distinct ways to tell when someone you know is struggling with this condition. Depression can be triggered by a number of things. It is important when first noticing the signs and symptoms to address the issue immediately. Choosing to ignore the signs of depression can result in conditions that are far more serious, and even life-threatening.

Possible Cause: Illness

An elderly person may become depressed as a result of being chronically ill. Consistently not feeling well physically can directly impact one’s mental state.

Possible Cause: Loneliness

Feeling lonely is a major contributor to depression in senior citizens. Having no one to talk to, being alone more often than not, and thinking that no one cares about them or wants to spend time with them are all effective in promoting a depressed and hopeless state of mind. Seniors facing loneliness start to believe that they are insignificant, unloved, and not worth anyone’s time.

Possible Cause: Boredom

Senior citizens who have lost interest in the world around them will likely become depressed. They are no longer stimulated or inspired by what life has to offer. Self-motivation and enthusiasm are no longer present, and the individual suffers from lack of purpose and a sense of uselessness.

Possible Cause: Fear

Elderly individuals who are close to death may be experiencing fear of the unknown. They are aware that their days are numbered, and they are worried and frightened about what, if anything, will happen to them after they die. This consistent fear of what is to come can easily lead to depression in these individuals.

Signs and Symptoms: A Change in Eating Habits

Many seniors make their depression apparent through loss of appetite. They hardly eat, insisting that they are simply not hungry or they don’t like the dish being served to them.

Signs and Symptoms: Preferring to be Alone

Antisocial behavior in seniors is a sign of depression. Depressed seniors will insist that they want to be alone, and not bothered by anyone or anything. They will avoid gatherings and keep to themselves. Their conversations are limited, and their involvement in outside activities is virtually nonexistent.

Signs and Symptoms: Being Unresponsive

Depressed senior citizens may spend a lot of time staring into space and focusing on their own thoughts.
They are unable, or unwilling, to offer an explanation for the sad look on their face or the tears in their eyes. When asked what is wrong, they have no clear answer.

Signs and Symptoms: Irritability

Crankiness, irritability, and a bitter attitude are common signs of depression in seniors. Unable to handle their own distressing feelings and thoughts, they lash out at undeserving victims who are only trying to help.

Ways to Help: Proper Health Care

A senior citizen who is dealing with an illness should be made as comfortable as possible at all times. Even the slightest of ailments and discomforts should be addressed and taken care of. It is crucial that medications and treatments be administered on schedule.

Ways to Help: Companionship

Even the most reluctant and unresponsive senior needs companionship. Someone talking to them, reading to them, or just spending time at their side is critical in preserving a healthy mental state. Senior citizens should be encouraged to interact with others, particularly those having similar interests and experiences.

Ways to Help: Finding and Rekindling Interests

All seniors have activities and areas of interest that they enjoyed taking part in when they were younger. It may be a hobby, a game that was fun, or a subject that they loved learning about. By the same token, everyone has something that they always wanted to learn or try their hand at, but never got the chance to for whatever reason. Relatives and caretakers should attempt to either rekindle the individual’s former interests, or assist him or her in developing new ones. It is never too late to expand one’s boundaries, and it is both mentally and physically beneficial to do so. Granted, senior citizens are not physically able to do all of the things they used to do when they were young, but this does not mean that they can’t do anything at all.

Ways to Help: Addressing Fear

Senior citizens who are afraid to die should not be left alone with their anxiety and apprehension. They need to be reassured and comforted that they have nothing to fear. This is where religious beliefs play a significant and necessary role. No one should be left feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and dread as they approach death. All seniors should face their dying days knowing that the best is yet to come.

Depression in seniors, if left untreated, can lead to more serious mental conditions, severe physical ailments, and even suicidal tendencies. A suicidal senior citizen may attempt to end his or her own life through self-inflicted bodily harm or starvation. It is unwise to ignore even the slightest indication that something is wrong. Depression is an infliction that should always be taken very seriously.

Editor’s Note:

Depression is a very serious condition that often goes undiagnosed and treated in the elderly. Many of the symptoms of someone slipping into depression are mistaken for a normal part of getting old.

Also, depression has non-environmental causes.  Brain damage, tumors and chemical imbalances can cause depression. Be aware that some prescription medicines can trigger depression.

Granny Cams: Elder Abuse Caught on Tape

It started when her daughter noticed the bruises, it ended in her mother’s death. What the hidden video revealed will shock you.

Check out Spy Cams that save elderly from caregiver abuse  at Brickhouse Security!

See related videos below of elder care aide abuse cases – and find out which hidden camera systems we recommend to exposing and preventing elder abuse.

Are you worried about how your elderly or disabled loved one is being treated when you’re not around? You’re not alone.  Gloria Diaz was puzzled when she spotted bruises on her 87 year-old mom who lived in a North Bergen, New Jersey nursing home. Since suffering a stroke her mom was unable to move – so where were the bruises coming from?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFj83h8UKKU&feature=related

Granny Cam

After the nursing home failed to come up with a reasonable explanation for the injuries, she contacted Department of Health and Senior Services who sent an investigator who failed to observe signs of abuse.  So, the family did the smart thing and bought a “granny cam.”

A “granny cam” (like these)  is used to keep an eye on who is taking care of your loved one. The can be hidden in stuffed animals, TV’s, radios, clock, tissue boxes, air-freshners and dozens of other clever spots. The Diaz family went online to buy a video camera hidden inside a clock radio and installed it in the patients room.

Most granny cams sold are wireless video systems that can be hidden. They silently record how the caregiver behaves when they believe no one can see them. A number of these devices can be set up to transmit over the internet so you can watch what is going on where ever you are.

There are plenty good systems for protecting your aging loved ones from elder abuse at the hands of a hired aide …protect your elderly loved ones from abuse with a hidden camera from Brickhouse Security – Shop Now!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hHrwm-fDes&feature=related

There are rules and regulations about using hidden cameras to spy on people, even if it is for a good reason.  You should a list check what your state laws are regarding any type of hidden recording device.

We believe that home health care workers should be informed that cameras are used in the house.  You don’t have this tell them where those cameras are just that they are installed.  You can tell them you’ve installed them for other reasons other than the fact that you don’t trust them, I know I might be a little insulted being under a camera while I try to take care of someone but I would be more upset to discover the camera on my own.

If you buy a good quality hidden camera and use it in an ethical and legal way you shouldn’t have any trouble. you can buy these cameras hidden in everything from books, crucifixes, Kleenex dispenser is, clock radios, boom box radios, air fresheners, teddy bears and so many other things.

Every day more and more of these horrifying videos of elder abuse and violence against senior citizens caught on camera are making their way onto the Internet and on to the evening news.   I’d rather use these cameras to prevent abuse rather than to detect it after the fact. Let the people know that there are cameras in the home that are always on to make sure that your loved one is being cared for properly.

Check out Spy Cams that save elderly from caregiver abuse  at Brickhouse Security!

Background Check! Caregivers Stealing from Elderly

Don’t let your elderly loved ones get hurt. Get a free background check on the home health aides and check them out before you hire them. You can get a free background check on in-home care workers at Care.com.

In-Home Care Workers

Who is taking care of your loved ones? There are hundreds of cases of in-home care workers stealing from the people they’re hired to protect and care for.   To be sure the overwhelming majority of home health workers are honest and hard-working people who are dedicated to helping senior citizens with disabilities and illnesses.

Home Health Aides

When you’re thinking about hiring local help to care for an aging relative it always makes sense to do a background check. Some agencies charge a fee for a background check but it’s always worth it.  Right now you can get a free background check on a home health worker by visiting Care.com.

After you’ve hired a visiting nurse or a home health aide you need to keep your eyes open.  “Trust but verify,” as Ronald Reagan said. Make sure that you monitor the bank statements and don’t make a secret of it. If a potential thief knows that somebody’s watching their much less likely to steal.

It can be very stressful trying to find somebody to take care of an aging relative and you might be tempted to rush in hire the first person that seems nice and professional.  Regardless of how nice of an impression the person makes you always wanted check credentials and check references as well.

Hire Visiting Nurses & In-Home Caregivers

I like the service over Care.com  because you can check out a potential care worker, read up on what other people have said about them and even do a background check. Even if you have somebody working for you right now you need to have a backup plan in place.  No health worker can be expected to work every single day that you need them – they have family emergencies and get sick just like the rest of us. Care.com makes it pretty easy to have a few potential backup people in place. A lot of these people are right in your neighborhood and are willing to work for less money if you pay them directly in cash rather than going through an agency. The good thing about an agency is that they should be monitoring and doing background checks on all of the people that they’ve sent out but you can never be too sure.  don’t assume that the in-home care agency has done a background check on everyone. Verify that.

A lot of older folks like to leave cash around the house which makes it very tempting for a potential thief. Many times the senior citizen is confused or too weak to keep track of how much cash they have on hand and a dollar here, $10 here and $100 there – your employee may be stealing thousands of dollars over time.

Again, we know that the vast majority of home health workers and people who provide services to senior citizens in home are honest and would never think of stealing from a client, but the sad fact is is that it happens all the time. Go to a reputable service to find a highly qualified individual, get a background check, ask for references and be sure to follow up and speak to every reference.  Don’t be in a rush to find someone take the time to find the right person.

Caring for Your Parents

It can be a big shock when it’s your turn to care for your parents. You’re busy with your life raising children and managing a career when suddenly your mom or dad is no longer able to live independently. Many family caregivers are taken off guard. The video below offer some great tips on how you can be better prepared to take care of an elderly loved one.

Senior Citizen Safety

Caring for your parents takes lots of help.   Don’t try to do it all on your own, there are a number of places in your community that offer excellent home health aides who can relieve you of some of the work and stress involved in caring for parent.  Make sure to look at  how you can make the homes safer for elderly relatives.  Do a review of the house and check that they have safety bars and grips the bathroom, the hallways and stairwells are free of clutter, all the lights in the house work well, have the boiler inspector to make sure it is operating safely and always have a medical alert system in the home of any senior citizen who may need emergency response services.
One suggestion is to have a conversation with your elderly relatives before it’s too late.  You need to understand what they are wishes are.  The job of the caregiver is not to give orders but to help the other person make the best decisions they can. Another idea from this video is to keep your eyes open for problems early on.  One author suggests that by monitoring how well your parents are doing with something like food, you can get a measure as to how well they’re going to do in other parts of their lives.  If you find that they’re not eating right or that they’re not stocking up on the right foods it could indicate a more serious problem. As soon as you receive the problem you need to step in.  Speak to your siblings and have a mature conversation with your parents in a non-threatening way. Nobody wants to give up control of their lives to their children so make it clear that that is not what you’re trying to do.

 

 

Another good point made on this video is that the way you treat your parents or grandparents will influence the way other people will treat them.  When doctors, nurses, home health care attendants  and other geriatric professionals see you treating your parents with respect they’re much more likely to do the same.

Finally, one of the authors makes the point that caring for loved ones is a journey that you go on with them.  If you frame it in your own mind correctly caring for an aging parent can actually be a growing experience.

When it comes to caring for elderly parents safety has to be your major concern.   Make sure that you have a senior alert system installed in their home to provide them with 24 hour protection in the event of a sudden illness or accident.