Posts Tagged "safety"

Options for Senior Moves

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Living Arrangements | 0 comments

When aging parents experience health or mobility changes, family discussions can quickly turn to the topic of downsizing or moving to a care home vs. staying at home. Parents may want to keep their “independence”. Adult children may worry about elderly parents’ isolation, safety, or the amount of support they are able to offer.  These are seldom easy discussions. Strong emotions can bring out the worst in families that have poor communication skills and less-than-ideal relationships. Even in families who get along well, discussing such a major life change can be tough to handle. Before you start these discussions, both sides should look at their assumptions and level of knowledge about the options. “You’re not putting me in a nursing home!”  “I wish people knew more about the wide range of living options out there,” says Marilyn Moldowan, a Calgary realtor with 20 years specific experience in helping seniors find their next home. She encounters many people who believe – incorrectly – that it’s a direct, non-stop trip between the family home and a care home.  “We can start de-mystifying the perception of what’s out there, so people aren’t making knee-jerk decisions out of fear,” she says. One example Moldowan gives is condominium ownership. Condos are often equated only with high-rise apartment living. In fact, there are age-restricted condo projects of many types, specifically built for mature buyers. They include no-maintenance options such as villa-style homes, with single attached or detached houses and indoor and outdoor common areas. When the concerns are more about health care than home maintenance, options still abound.  Initially, extra help and support can be brought into the family home, as well as introduced  into other private independent retirement living situations. Private “assisted living” options typically provide an even higher level of care, including meal preparation, medication management, and personal care. “Many people balk at the monthly cost of these options,” says Moldowan, “but when I ask them to look at their current total living costs – including food, utilities, repairs and taxes – it starts to look more reasonable. Plus, someone else is doing the work behind the scenes. That frees up the family to be family again – and allows the elderly person more time and energy for social and leisure opportunities.”  “Ninety- to ninety-five per cent of the senior moves I’m involved in are due to a health crisis,” says Moldowan. That’s why it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. The main thing is to realize that options exist. These can include staying independent while moving to a smaller, newer home (i.e., fewer repairs, smaller yard). It can mean renting in a retirement residence or exploring the many condo ownership options designed for the older demographic. And it means being aware of housing options like assisted living and long term care homes, which offer greater support when it’s needed in the future.  Vol. 5, No. 9, © ElderWise Publishing 2009. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Action for Common Aging Concerns

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Signals, Planning | 0 comments

In previous newsletters, we showed how you can approach sensitive topics during holiday visits with aging parents. During the visit you may have noticed new areas of concern, or old problems that are calling for action. Now, you may feel anxiety or uncertainty about what to do next. Taking that first step, no matter how small, creates momentum towards positive change. Here are some first steps for common concerns: 1. Health Changes in physical or mental health are usually at the root of all other challenges facing your aging parents.  Many factors combine to keep seniors healthy. Among the most important are good medical care, proper exercise and nutrition, and a sense of purpose and belonging. A good first step is to become more informed about your parent’s health. Educate yourself about normal aging, and learn more about their chronic health conditions. With your parents’ permission, talk with their family doctor about your concerns. 2. Hygiene Personal care may slip when a senior’s eyesight, physical energy, or state of mind are affected. First, gently point out some physical evidence (e.g., stained clothing) and share your concern. Encourage your parent to get a physical check-up and/or an eye exam.  3. Housekeeping Loss of strength or mobility can make household chores more difficult. Start a conversation about getting more help – either from other family members, or by hiring someone. Some seniors are reluctant to ask for help or to invite “strangers” into their homes. Suggest that help with household duties may mean that your parents stay in their own home a little longer. 4. Hazards Safety hazards at home increase when health and strength start to fail. Here are some simple adaptations that make life safer: rearrange cupboards to easily reach things, install grab bars in the bathroom, remove loose scatter rugs, and add brighter lighting, especially over stairways. You can also look into personal emergency response systems. Worn on the wrist or as a pendant, they enable your parent to call for emergency help when they cannot reach a telephone. Initiating some of these changes may require a “community” effort. That can mean recruiting help from other family members, friends, neighbours and/or getting outside help – private or public. In larger towns and cities, families can call on their local seniors’ resource centre for more information on support programs. In rural areas, churches and other members of the community traditionally step up to help neighbours. Concerned families can also ask for an assessment of the senior by their local health authority, to see whether their family member (who must consent to the assessment) qualifies for public assistance. Vol. 5, No. 1 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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