Aging is often considered a hard process. Our bodies can get weaker, our minds can struggle to retain information, and our daily life can become a bit more complex. But much like most complex things, there are shortcuts that one can take to simplify the aging process.

One of the easiest ways to simplify aging? Technology. Though traditionally seniors and technology have had an acrimonious relationship, this new generation of seniors is far more computer literate than in the past. By embracing gadgets and new machines, seniors can stay healthy and stay connected.

These hacks might not turn back the clock, but they can help seniors and the ones that love them simplify the aging process. Here is a list of the best tech products to add to your home.

BeClose. The perfect way for working families to check on elderly loved ones throughout the day. BeClose is a wireless sensor system that can be placed around a senior’s house. Users can log in and see what sensors have been activated during the day. It’s a great system for checking to see if your loved one has opened the medicine cabinet in time for their meds, or even opened the front door to leave their home.

TabSafe. If managing medication is becoming difficult for a loved one, TabSafe could be the cure. A machine that manages the distribution of medications, TabSafe can be programed to give precise doses at precise times. It’s a great way for seniors who have vision or dexterity problems to get accurate and timely doses of their daily medications.

Telikin. A simple touch-screen device that allows you to call, video chat, or email at the tap of a screen. You can connect to your family and friends using this easy to manage tablet. The best part? All the software is installed when it arrives at your home, just plug it in and get connected to your family and friends.

Whether you’re getting to your golden years or simply looking out for a senior, technology is a great asset for aging.

Off-time events can derail a young life*

For many of us, there’s a general expectation that at some point in the future, we will be a caregiver for an elderly parent or even spouse. What we don’t anticipate or expect is for that caregiving to start when we are in our 20s, 30s, or even 40s. Those are the years we expect to take care of ourselves (education, career, family), but many are finding they must put their own lives on hold to become a caregiver, and it can create feelings of anger or sadness in the process. There is help out there and we have put some of these ideas together in the hopes that it can help.

The first suggestion given to many of these young caregivers is to join support groups. We know that support groups work, and that many people feel tremendous relief when sharing problems, thoughts and concerns with like-minded folks. However, with young caregivers, the immediate problem is finding peers in the support groups. Often, there is no one under age 55 in an elder care support group for caregivers, but there are others going through the same thing. Reach out to senior centers in your area, contact an Association that deals with your loved ones main issue such as Alzheimer’s Association or Parkinson’s Association, speak with religious leaders or contact a local “Senior Village” to ask about support groups with younger attendees. These resources will know the families that attend and be able to point you to the group that suits you best.

The second suggestion for young caregivers is to hire outside help so the burdens of care can be shared and the young life a little less ‘derailed’. This is the point that those us of over the age of 40 must pay attention. Although long-term planning can be a hard issue to face, basic planning such as: arranging Power of Attorney for your financial and healthcare needs, preparing a living will spelling out your wishes clearly if you are incapacitated, and maybe even purchasing long term care insurance should be one prong in our retirement planning. Taking these relatively simple steps is a prudent decision that may allow a younger loved one to continue his/her life path without the tremendous burden of caregiving for a parent and/or grandparent.

Finally, reaching out for respite care services may be a great choice for young caregivers. There are many church and community groups that can assist with brief respite care situations. Home care companies also offer respite care services so that the young caregiver can attend a university class, book club, or spend a few hours working out. Being a young caregiver may not be ideal, but with some thought and planning by all parties, there are ways to get through it without completely ‘derailing a young life’ while still feeling good about doing all that you can to help a loved one.

Do you have caregiver plans in place? Do you know how you would handle an unexpected illness requiring home care? Please send us an email or share your experiences on our Facebook page.

*Pressed Into Caregiving Sooner Than Expected. The New York Times

Travel isn’t for the young. You don’t need to be in your 20s to discover the world. As we age, learning new things and exploring new places can actually help our brains stay vital.

Unfortunately, there’s a stigma surrounding traveling with seniors.

Many people caring for seniors feel that travel isn’t an option, not considering the option of traveling with their aging loved one or partner. With a little bit of planning, seniors can experience new and wonderful corners of the world together, with their caregivers.

There are three essential steps to traveling with a senior:

  1. Know Limitations. Does your grandmother run marathons or barely get off the couch? Every senior can travel, but knowing the kind of vacation to prepare for is essential. Choose destinations that won’t over exert older travelers beyond their physical limitations, and offer places along the way to sit and relax. If you’re planning a trip that involves strenuous activities or lots of walking, it is best to have any senior travelers get a full health check beforehand.
  2. Plan. Traveling with seniors requires a bit of extra planning. Make sure that medications and essential items are available, even while on the road. Most airlines, trains, and bus companies will work with customers to safely store and provide access to temperature-sensitive medications. If your senior has a mobility issue, like a walker or wheelchair, plan for extra time in security lines, and do your homework regarding the accessibility of any hotels and venues you will be visiting.
  3. Research. Some destinations are naturally senior-friendly. Take a look through a list of destinations that cater to older visitors with your loved one, and choose a trip that you can both enjoy. Also be sure to look for senior discounts that can help make travel easier on your wallet as well.

Whether you want to explore great landmarks, visit museums, or take in some shows, traveling doesn’t have to be an adventure limited to the young.. There is no limit to the possibilities for you or your loved ones as they age, with a little planning; enjoy the chance to explore the world.

 

In Rhode Island, Santa has been getting some extra help. Elves for Elders works with local senior groups to guarantee that every senior in the area has a happy holiday. Founded a decade ago by Maxine Hutchins, Elves for Elders seeks out seniors who are alone and may not receive holiday presents.

Seniors compile wish lists and submit them to Elves for Elders. While your average teen may want a tablet or a hoverboard, most seniors ask for magazines, word-search puzzles, baby dolls, holiday ornaments, blankets, paper, pens, stamps and envelopes, socks, slippers, toiletries, and lotions. Hutchins and her crew work to make all the wishes they can come true. So far this year, the elves have 900 presents ready to deliver.

The real spirit of the holiday isn’t found in the word searches or ornaments; it’s the fact that 900 seniors who are alone this holiday season will know that someone cares for them.

At Capital City Nurses, we know the difference a personal connection can make. We carefully select our homecare staff so that you can be confident that a kind, astute person will be caring for your loved ones. Our philosophy puts an emphasis on making a connection with patients and families. We believe doing this makes us better caregivers.

This year, consider giving your loved ones a gift that will improve their lives. Make a commitment to see them as often as you can, plan outings together, and let Capital City visit when you can’t. Our Daughter Down the Street program is the perfect option for families with independently living seniors who need a little help. Our staff can help your senior run errands, start dinner, or just sit down for a chat. This program is all about the personal touch, and it can be tailored to your loved one’s needs.

This holiday season, consider doing something special for the senior in your life. Grant their holiday wishes as an honorary elf, or let Capital City Nurses’ elves work year-round to make their days bright.

Dealing with mobility issues on a daily basis can be a pain. Joints ache, balance wavers, and a nice, firm chair looks so much more inviting than a walk around the block. But if you want to feel better and reduce your arthritis pain, moving is the key.

A study presented at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals found that low-impact exercise helped seniors suffering with arthritis to improve their balance and decrease pain.

How? It’s all about the moves.

Participants took low-impact classes for an eight-week period, focusing not on sweating, but on movement. By the end of the period, 88% of the seniors could climb stairs more confidently, 66% felt better about carrying their groceries, and 91% felt the classes reduced their fatigue. The best part of the study is this: Ninety-six percent of the seniors who took the classes were then motivated to try other forms of exercise.

So what do these numbers mean for those who are having trouble with their joints? They mean that you don’t have to run a marathon to get fit. Tai chi classes or a simple walk can transform your life as you age. Sedentary seniors don’t need to jump right into intense exercise. Basic movement classes can dramatically transform your pain levels and improve your mental outlook.

At Capital City Nurses, we know it can be hard to move, especially with arthritis. If you need help with motivation, our Daughter Down The Street or Son Stopping By program can help you. An experienced companion can visit you as often as you’d like to inspire you to do simple exercises and encourage you to keep moving.

Seniors can have it tough when it comes to aches and pains, and exercising isn’t always fun. But with a commitment to some low-impact activity, you can greatly reduce your pain and improve your confidence in the physical world. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Caitlin joins the CCN team after serving as a bedside cardiology nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. She received her B.A. in biology from Colgate University in 2003, where she was a four-year member of the Women’s Lacrosse Team. She obtained her Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in 2011 upon completion of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program. Prior to her career change, Caitlin spent five years as a Middle School Science teacher at Gilman School in Baltimore and has written science curriculum for a London-based international school system. Her clinical interests include the psychobiological care of elders, lateral integration of healthcare, and caregiver fatigue.

If you’ve been taking care of your own aging parent or family member, you understand how important the emotional care is to their overall health and happiness. We offer services designed to emotionally and mentally engage your loved one as well as provide practical daily living assistance in the home when needed.

Daughter Down the Street – Enjoy a visit from your surrogate daughter. You could make a trip to the store, go to lunch and a movie or even go to your doctor’s appointment with a companion that we like to say is “socially savvy.” This is our companion care service and requires a 2 hour minimum visit.

  • Friendly conversation
  • Incidental travel
  • Mental stimulation
  • Memory care and socialization

Short and Sweet – Many seniors do not require 4+ hours of care or don’t feel comfortable having someone in their home for that long. The Short and Sweet program is a 90 minute visit from a CNA to help get the day started. Our care giver will assist getting up and dressed, doing things around the house that could be helpful (like a load of laundry or organizing a closet), having breakfast or preparing a snack for later. This is a great way to introduce the idea of home care to clients that have never had it before. The visits are 90 minutes and there is a minimum of two visits per week.

  • Personal care assistance
  • Meal preparation and planning
  • Light housework
  • Medication reminders and safety

We recommend/require skilled nurses (LPN’s) for our post op clients. It may seem unnecessary, but our experience shows that it is better to have a skilled nurse with a post op patient, even if it a simple cosmetic or other procedure.

In the Hospital
Many people believe it is important to have a caregiver with the patient at all times. Whether your parent is uncomfortable and needs attention, or has a sudden turn for the worse, having a caregiver who will immediately get help could have a significant impact on your parent’s recovery.

We can help by providing 24 hour coverage or as few as 4 hours of coverage. Our paid caregivers are available to work within your family’s schedule, to ensure your loved one is never alone during their time of need.

In the Home
We can help ensure post-surgery and discharge instructions are being followed to help prevent readmission by reminding the individual to take medication, among other necessities. After an important surgery or hospitalization, many patients benefit from having someone at home for assistance and support after being discharged. During this initial recovery period, home care can also be an amazing comfort that can help the healing process be more successful.

How quickly can I find a caregiver?
Caregivers are available to begin work within 24 hours. In many situations, we can place a nurse within a few hours.

Can you send someone to check up on my parent? I want to make sure she’s okay.
Yes, we can go to your relative’s home, meet with them, and provide you with a care assessment. Depending on what we find, we can provide information and referrals to trusted eldercare experts in other fields such as law and medicine.

What is the minimum number of hours for a shift?
We have a menu of options, from 90 minutes twice a week to a one time four hour shift.

Do the caregivers drive?
Most do. Our caregivers that drive have safe driving records and are insured. If your loved one needs someone to drive him or her to doctor’s or other personal appointments, let your care coordinator know so we can match the client to an appropriate caregiver.