Celebrate the Holidays with Aging Parents

Always Best Care Senior Services Plymouth Meeting PAGoing Home for the Holidays to Celebrate with Aging Parents

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s traditionally a time for travel, celebration, and family. It can be exciting for seniors to spend time with family members they may not have the opportunity to see very often. Going home for the holidays is also an opportunity to check in on your aging parent and ensure that they’re doing well and have the support they need.

Here are a few ways to make the most of your trip back home:

Keep your loved one involved. Whether your aging parent has some mobility issues or is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it is still nice to feel a part of things. Modify your planned activities so that they can partake as well, whether you’re cooking, baking, decorating, or going on an outing.

Create healthy meals. Take into consideration any special dietary considerations, such as low sodium, low sugar or soft foods. Plan a meal that is full of flavor, provides balanced nutrition, and doesn’t exclude your senior from enjoying the same delicious offerings as other guests. Pack up healthy leftovers in freezer containers for them to enjoy after the family goes back home.

Carry out family traditions or start new ones. Is there one aspect of the holidays that your loved one has always enjoyed such as going around the table giving thanks or making a special dessert? Keep the tradition going to give them a continued sense of routine and stability. Or, if the holidays are more difficult after a family member’s passing, start a new tradition to honor them and initiate a positive distraction.

Observe your senior at home. Evaluate how well they are able to navigate around their home and care for themselves. Are they showing signs of depression or forgetfulness? Are they having trouble keeping up with housekeeping or mail? You may start considering in-home care so that they can continue age in-place safely and comfortably.  Caregivers provide various opportunities to meet your loved one’s needs, whether it’s a few hours a week or a couple of hours a day.

Be in the present. Most importantly, relish the time you are able to spend together. Put aside work and other distractions and focus on spending quality time with your aging parent. Reminisce about the past, watch a favorite movie together, share delicious treats, and appreciate how much they mean to you. Make it a point to coordinate regular phone calls or visits to keep in touch and see how they are doing, especially if you don’t live nearby.

Celebrate all that the holidays have to offer and time spent with family and friends. If you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being and their ability to meet all of their needs living alone, contact Always Best Care Senior Services to find out how we can help. Call (267) 217-7059 to learn more about the benefits of in-home care and how to customize services aligning with your loved one’s individual needs. Give yourself peace of mind this holiday season by knowing they have the support they need when you’re unable to be there.

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4 Tips For Seniors On Vacation

Travel with SeniorsPlanning a summer vacation can be great way to see new sights, get away, spend time with family, and relax. While many adults can be ready to go on a whim, when traveling with seniors, extra planning is a big help. You will want to ensure that everyone is included and has an enjoyable time.

1. Plan Ahead

This seems like common sense, but there are many items that are easy to overlook or take for granted. For example, if your loved one has issues with incontinence, you’ll want to plan for extra restroom breaks.   Search your itinerary and locate close bathrooms.  If a historic site is in the schedule, the bathrooms may not be easily accessible.  Make sure there is a stop before you get to your destination.
When going to the airport, call ahead about senior assistance. You may be able to get a wheelchair to board the plane early, helping your senior get settled in before other passengers board. Your loved one may also be able to go through a special security screening.

Consider any mobility issues your senior may have when making reservations and booking activities. Are there stairs involved? Will a ramp or elevator be available? Also consider their vision and hearing. Large crowds, too much noise, a lot of stimulation, excessive heat and humidity can be tough to handle and make activities less enjoyable. Try to plan activities that everyone can enjoy and access.

2. Pack Extra Medications

Have enough medication for the trip, plus a few days more. You never know when you’ll get delayed. Bring proper documentation (typically a doctor’s note or prescription) for medication and any health conditions your loved one may have. Make advanced arrangements for refrigerated medications.  If there is a need to go to an urgent care or hospital, you will want to have the necessary insurance information and a list of current medications readily available. If you’re flying, don’t pack medications in checked luggage – always keep it in your carry on in case of delay or lost luggage.

3. Create a Schedule with Down Time

You may want to pack in as many sights and activities as you can, but realistically you may not be able to do so. When traveling with seniors, you will have to slow down your pace and build in more time for breaks and rest. While your loved one enjoys being included,  don’t overwhelm them with too much walking or activities they cannot keep up with.  Include your senior in vacation planning and ask about what they think they can reasonably handle.

4. Consider Your Options

Look into trips which appeal to people of all ages and offer accommodations for seniors. Cruises and tours are ideal because they are pre-planned and offer many options. You can work out any accessibility needs or special considerations ahead of time and find out if the trip is right for your senior. Ask for testimonials from tour companies so you can request  recommendations in an online format via TripAdvisor.com or another trip/travel related website.  You may also be able to pick and choose from different activities creating a schedule that works for everyone.

Vacationing with your senior can be a lot of fun and create many memorable moments. Take the time to plan ahead to reduce stress, enhance safety, and make the most of your family trip. Even if you are planning to staying close to home or taking day trips, being prepared is key. Make sure your loved one has the support they need to stay active and engaged on your trip. Ensure that they have the level of support and care they need at home as well by contacting Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059 for a free in-home care consultation.

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Alzheimer’s… When Do You Need Assisted Living?

abcstock4Making the decision to move a loved one from living on their own with in-home care to an assisted living facility can be a difficult choice. However, sometimes it’s a necessary one, especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. It can help to keep things consistent and allow them to remain in a familiar setting, but that is not always the safest option.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your aging parent may become disoriented, agitated and forgetful more frequently. This can put them and others at risk. It can be burden for you as a caregiver to try to manage your own family on top of caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Here are some signs your loved one may benefit from assisted living:

  • They get lost. If they have the tendency to wander and lose their way, this can be very dangerous, especially if they are outside or still driving. An assisted living facility is more secure and has round-the-clock monitoring to keep your loved one safe and prevent roaming.
  • They are unsafe by themselves. Has your senior been falling more often? Do they forget to turn the oven off or answer the door to strangers? You can’t be there all of the time. When they are alert, they may be very safe and independent, but you never know when confusion will set in.
  • Their self-care has decreased. Has your loved one been forgetting to drink, eat or take medication? Do they have dirty clothes, unwashed hair or a messier house than usual? If your parent has started to falter on basic activities of daily living and having trouble caring for themselves, assisted living can offer the support they need.
  • They are aggressive or agitated. Changes in mood and behavior can become more common as Alzheimer’s progresses. This can be stressful on you and other family members. Your aging parent may have outbursts and become difficult to deal with. They may need more support and attention than you are able to provide.
  • You’re becoming stressed out. When your aging parent’s needs become more demanding due to their Alzheimer’s, this can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. While you are trying to keep up with your own needs and responsibilities while simultaneously tending to theirs. This can put a strain on your relationship and not allow you to really enjoy the time spent together.

Assisted living can give you peace of mind. You are confident your loved one is safe and  well cared for. Their needs are being met and you don’t have to handle everything on your own. This can allow you to appreciate the time you do spend together and make the most of these opportunities. Your loved one will also have access to more resources and activities that can support a higher quality of living. It can be tough to admit your loved one needs more help, however, it’s usually best for everyone.

Always Best Care can work with you to choose the right assisted living community for your loved one. We have built strong connections within the community and will help you find a placement that best suits your senior’s needs. We offer assisted living services for free to all of our clients as yet another way we can support you and your family. Contact David Baim, at Always Best Care , (267) 217-7059 or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com for more information.

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Caregiver Training Should Be Ongoing

iStock10540746XSmallNursewwomanandwalkerIt can be a major decision to entrust the care of your senior to someone else, even if just for a few hours a day. You want to make sure that they are getting high quality care and that their caregiver is trained how to respond to a wide range of scenarios and issues. When choosing a senior care company to provide in-home care, it is a good idea to ask many questions about their training and certifications. Find out what areas caregivers are trained in and how often training occurs.  Ask about background checks and references.  A reputable agency makes training and quality care top priorities and promotes professional development of its staff.

Training should be ongoing in the following areas:

Safety

In-home caregivers should be looking out for your senior’s safety in all they do. This ranges from assisting them in safely transferring from the bed or a chair to making sure the kitchen is set up in a way to prevent hazards. First aid and CPR certifications can also be very valuable should an emergency arise.

Caregivers can also promote better safety by assisting with meal preparation and light cleaning, managing medication, and supporting self-care activities. By having a well-trained caregiver, they will know to alert you with concerns they may have about your loved one’s safety and support your senior with activities they may struggle with on their own.  Read more about home improvement safety for your senior loved one here.

Mental Health

It is not uncommon for seniors to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia as they age. However, these conditions can be difficult to handle without a solid understanding of how they affect seniors and how to cope with the challenges they present. Talk to the caregiver about their training in these areas and their approach to caring for someone with cognitive impairments. You want your loved one to feel comfortable and respected as they face troubles with their memory and you want their caregiver to be sensitive to these issues and know how to effectively respond.  Some examples of how to respond include not arguing with a loved one who has memory loss and pureeing food for an individual who is forgetting to swallow.

Senior Care

Caregivers should also be well-versed in the changing needs of seniors as they age. This means helping them to stay physically and mentally active and engaged, recognizing when they need more support and when they can do things independently, and creating an environment that is conducive to aging in place. This also means being aware of challenges that seniors face, whether it’s changes in their physical or mental health, losing loved ones, or having to transition to a higher level of care. All of these things should be addressed with compassion and sensitivity.  Many online tools are also available for reference to caregivers.  The Alzheimer’s Association has message boards available for both caregivers and loved ones.
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Ongoing training ensures that caregivers are equipped to handle whatever comes their way and are up-to-date on best practices and the latest policies and procedures. Always Best Care ensures that all of its caregivers receive current training that helps them to be more well-rounded and provide exceptional care for clients. Contact Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059 or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com to learn more about our commitment to care and training and how it can benefit your loved one as they age.

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Creating The Perfect Space For Aging In Place

Today’s elderly population is blazing a new trail for seniors in many ways. Aging individuals in our world are living longer, leading more active lives and are participating more in society than any previous generation in their later years. As a result, they are shunning typical lifestyle choices and patterns of the past in favor of new ways to live. For many seniors, this means living and aging at home where they are comfortable and secure. This desire has created a huge demand on family members and other loved ones as they consider their options.

These days, family members aren’t worried about putting Mom or Dad in a nursing home; they are more concerned with how to make sure Mom or Dad’s current house is fit for aging in place safely and comfortably.

If you’re concerned about a family member who insists on aging in place, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure conditions at home are ideal and appropriate for healthy aging.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Make Necessary Changes

The cost to retrofit a home can be scary, but think about this: the cost to make structural modifications to a typical one-story home is about $10,000. However, when you consider the costs associated with occupancy of a nursing home or other facility, which can rise to tens of thousands of dollars a year, the costs of modifications are worth it. At this point, doing what is necessary to make the home safe and secure  will make you feel confident that you made the right choice.

2. Don’t Forget the Small Things

Consider normal, day-to-day activities like opening doors or removing items from kitchen shelves. Are these tasks presenting unnecessary challenges to your loved one? Small changes such as  installing better doorknobs or rearranging items on shelving to a lower level can make a huge difference. It’s also a good idea to evaluate the home’s lighting both inside and out.  New fixtures may be the best solution, but you might be able to make significant improvements simply by installing new bulbs.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

Today’s world benefits from automation in a number of ways, and your senior loved one’s home can take advantage of the same benefits. Programmable “smart” thermostats, self-monitoring alarms and timer-enabled lights can help you ensure that the home is always comfortable, plus it can take responsibilities off of an aging individual’s plate. You can also use technology to communicate with your loved one and ensure that the home is safe and sound, even when you’re thousands of miles away.

More Advice for Aging in Place

Are you caring for a loved one who insists on aging in place? Always Best Care can help you. Call us at (267) 217-7059 for your free consultation.

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Finding the Perfect Caregiver for your Aging Parent

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Untitled design(14)How to Guide: Finding the Perfect Caregiver for your Aging Parent

The difficult decision has been made. Mom or Dad need some help and you’re the one who has to handle the details.
In order to make the best choice for his or her needs, Always Best Care Senior Services of Plymouth Meeting, PA uses the following guidelines when hiring a caregiver for your family member:

  1. Reference Checks

Not only do we check personal references beyond family members, but we also check multiple professional references including previous employment. Our goal is to make sure a caregiver is qualified, professional and reliable.

  1. Department of Motor Vehicles History

Our caregivers are confirmed to have a clean ten (10) year DMV check. This is a powerful way to learn a lot about our potential caregivers. If a red flag unfolds, we know this is not the caregiver for you.

  1. Skill Assessment

By completing a skills assessment test during initial interviews, we are able to determine if a caregiver has the necessary and important expertise to take care of your family member. A skill assessment test is administered by a trained Always Best Care representative to ask questions about items such as how to handle various unique situations, congestive heart failure, diabetes, transferring techniques, strokes, catheters, etc. This gives us a clear read if a candidate has the skill required to move forward for hiring.

  1. Orientation

Ongoing Training is key element of our Caregiver staffing.
A comprehensive 3-hour orientation, created by our national parent company, is required for every Caregiver on our staff. This includes job description, rules and regulations, confidentiality, recognizing changes in the client, handling of emergencies, reporting critical incidents, infection control and so much more.  Another 5 hours of training is required throughout the year, then an additional 8 hours of training per Caregiver is necessary every year thereafter.

  1. Matching

By matching our clients and caregivers based upon disposition, skills and expectations, our goal is to make the transition for your family member as seamless as possible. Every client we help is assessed to help us determine the best fit for their personality and caregiver needs. With a matching program as detailed as this, we anticipate a harmonious relationship with client and caregiver.

You have done your homework and chosen us as a provider. Now it’s our turn to deliver a match based upon all of your loved one’s needs and personal assessment.

Thank you for putting your trust in our care!

David Baim, Owner, Always Best Care Senior Services, Plymouth Meeting, PA
dbaim@abc-seniors.com, (267) 217-7059

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Seniors and the Holidays-5 Timely Tips

Seniors and the Holidays – Five Timely TipsThe holidays are a time of celebration, family bonding, friendship and gratitude for the joys that life brings. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a highly stressful time, particularly for seniors. Depression tends to rear its ugly head during this time of  year, and the chaotic excitement of the season can also lead to confusion among older adults, not to mention the pressures involved in staying socially active and festive when it’s no longer an easy thing to do.

If you are in the care of a senior and you want to make sure they enjoy the positive aspects of the holidays – while avoiding the negative ones – we’ve got five great tips for you. Read on!

  • Preliminary Planning

It’s important to be able to anticipate how your senior will handle the various activities they participate in during the holidays. Are they sensitive to loud noises and chaotic environments? Make sure quiet places are available. Do they tire easily? Plan family visits and other encounters so that your senior can experience full enjoyment without getting fatigued.

  • Remember the Joys of Holidays Past

Sometimes its difficult for seniors to get into the holiday spirit with all of the hustle and bustle that surrounds them. One of the best ways to connect is to encourage them to share memories of past holiday seasons. Remembering family, friends and important events is a terrific way to tap into the delights that the holidays can bring.

  • Safe Environments

Is everybody gathering at Mom’s place this year? Will there be more people than usual at Dad’s during the holidays? While it’s important to make room for everyone, too much rearranging of furniture and other objects in the home can cause confusion and lead to accidents. A safe, familiar environment is the best context for seniors to enjoy the holidays, so remember to keep their comfort paramount in your mind when it comes to preparing the home for visitors.

  • Creating Brand New Memories

Seniors and the Holidays – Five Timely TipsStrolling down memory lane can be a great way to get your senior into the holiday spirit, but you should spend time in the moment creating new memories and engaging in new traditions. Doing this keeps the older individual in your care connected to the family and engaged in the evolution of the holiday celebration. Try to strike a balance between the comfort of familiar activities and the excitement of trying something new.

  • Stay on Schedule with Medications

Our schedules and routines are often thrown off course during the holiday season, and this can have a harmful effect on seniors, especially if they must take certain medications on a regular basis. As a caregiver, it’s up to you to make sure your senior experiences the novelty of the season while maintaining consistency with the administration of meds.

Looking to Learn More?

At Always Best Care, we’re all about making sure seniors live their best possible lives, and we can offer assistance when it comes to ensuring a wonderful time during the holidays. If you’re interested in learning more, give us a call today at 267 217-7059 for your free consultation. We can’t wait to hear from you!

by Mike Lumbrazo

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