Holidays Are Ideal For Reminiscence Therapy

holidays are ideal for reminiscence therapy

Memory care centers and assisted living facilities are spending more time offering reminiscence therapy to their residents. Studies have shown seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia-related memory loss reap multiple benefits when they spend time in a multisensory space that honors their past – aka “reminiscence therapy.” 

Reminiscence Therapy For Seniors Boosts The Spirit 

Reminiscence therapy works to provide stimulation for every sense. So, it can include things like: 

  • Listening to favorite tunes from the past 
  • Watching old movies 
  • Going through personal photo albums and scrapbooks 
  • Singing songs from a person’s childhood, teens, and young adulthood 
  • Eating favorite family dishes and comfort foods 
  • Dancing to the music they danced to during their dating and early marriage years 

These activities stimulate the brain, encourage human-to-human connections and – most specifically – work to activate the long-term memory channels, which last longer than short-term memory channels in the wake of age- or dementia-related memory loss. 

A recent publication in Frontiers in Psychology discusses the researcher’s findings after a comprehensive meta-analysis of reminiscence therapy and its effects. The researchers found that: 

…reminiscence therapy has a significant effect on relieving depressive symptoms in older adults. Reminiscence therapy benefits older adults with chronic illness and those on antidepressants as well. The effect and cost-effectiveness of group reminiscence therapy were higher than individual reminiscence therapy. 

How To Personalize Reminiscence Therapy This Holiday Season 

You don’t need a clinical setting or a trained set of therapists to do your version of family-friendly reminiscence therapy. However, incorporating some of the basic principles of this successful healing modality is a great way to keep seniors included and energized at family holiday gatherings, rather than feeling as if they’re tucked away in the corner. 

The following are some ideas on being present with loved ones, even if they aren’t always sure who you are. We also recommend visiting, Getting Seniors Involved in Holiday Activities.  

Get out the photo albums & home movies 

By and large, the very best way to hear stories from your family history (especially for more quiet or shy seniors) is to get out their photo albums. Find a quiet space and sit down together. Ask sincere questions about who’s who. If your loved one doesn’t remember a significant person, skim right over that to avoid agitation. Then, when they perk up or seem interested in a particular photo, person, or event, encourage them to share what they remember. 

We understand it can feel frustrating and even hurtful when seniors no longer recognize or forget immediate family members and/or important events. But, always remember, it’s not personal. The best thing you can do is stay present at this moment and connect any way you can so you’re a safe, non-threatening, and loving presence. Read Connecting With & Caring For Those With Dementia for more tips on being with seniors as they are now. 

Play the old standard holiday carols rather than modern stuff 

When senior loved ones are over, skip the holiday playlists populated with contemporary classics. Instead, focus on playlists that include holiday favorites from the 30s – 70s. These are the songs seniors are most familiar with and that are carved into the memory banks. As a result, they are more likely to perk up, tap their toes, sing along, or get excited as they remark, “Oh, I always loved this song,” or, “This was one of Papa’s favorites….” 

Bake and cook together 

Food awakens multiple sensations at once – including smell, taste, and touch. Ask your parents or grandparents to share some of their favorite holiday recipes from their family’s traditions. There are plenty of standard dishes that we just don’t make anymore. If your loved one stalls or can’t find the words (a common symptom of dementia called “aphasia”), consider reviewing lists of vintage dishes that have gone by the wayside. 

To start, read through The Daily Meal’s list of recipes nobody makes any more or Eat This, Not That’s list of 30 forgotten Thanksgiving dishes

Create vintage mocktails (using their favorite drinks as the model) 

A few years back, we posted a list of Holiday Inspired Mocktails & Cocktails. Alcohol is off-limits for seniors with memory issues and those who have medication contraindications or a history of substance abuse. Vintage mocktails are a wonderful way to create the nostalgia of favorite holiday drinks without the addition of alcohol. Ask what your loved one’s favorite drink(s) are, and then search online for a “mocktail” equivalent. 

Dance the night (or afternoon) away 

Dancing was a popular pastime in the era of live bands and far less TV or screentime than we enjoy now. AS long as you have that “Favorite Music Playlist” going, have a dance party for a bit. Even chairbound seniors can enjoy holding hands and tapping or swaying to the beat. They’ll have a blast, as will anyone who participates, and it’s a great way to get normally sedentary seniors active and moving. 

Get creative together 

Holiday crafts are another way to engage the creative areas of the senior’s mind, which may operate via muscle memory if they’re doing something they often did in the past. From crocheting and knitting to making holiday decorations or decorating frames to house this year’s photo of the family holiday gathering, setting up a craft table with materials and snacks encourages family members of all ages to spend time together, to talk, laugh, reminisce, and connect.  

Studies are clear that social engagement is essential for senior health and wellbeing. The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to connect in ways that you haven’t all year long. Do you live far away and want to make sure your loved one is taken care of over the holidays? Does your senior parent or grandparent need transportation to and from some of their favorite holiday events? Contact HomeAide Home Care and learn more about how in-home senior care services can support your family this holiday season. 

Balance Exercises For Seniors

balance exercise for seniors

Keeping seniors healthy, strong, and mobile is one of the best ways to prevent trip and fall accidents that land seniors in hospitals, surgery suites, and post-acute rehabilitation centers. As an article on agingcare.com warns us, “…even minor trauma can require hospitalization, and [seniors] many never regain the level of functionality and confidence they enjoyed before falling. 

Don’t let that happen to your senior loved one. Instead, make sure s/he has access to regular exercise support, as well as good nutrition, social engagement, and regular wellness check-ins. 

7 Balance Exercises You Can Do With Seniors 

Exercise is always more fun when you can do it with a partner or group. Whenever possible, enroll seniors in senior-specific or senior-friendly exercise classes in the community. This can range from water exercise classes to taking senior yoga or pilates at the local senior center. 

Whichever exercise options you choose, make sure that part of their exercise time is dedicated to balancing exercises. Balance exercises specifically work to strengthen core and leg muscles, and also to hone the connection between the eyes, brain, and ears to strengthen an individual’s center of balance. In addition to minimizing a senior’s fall potential, better balance helps seniors recover in a shaky or “almost tripped” moment. 

First: Review Some Senior Balance Basics 

Before starting any of these exercises or postures, make sure to review the basics, which include: 

  • Getting approval from a physician or primary healthcare provider 
  • Using good posture throughout the exercise to work all of the core and peripheral muscles at the same time as you focus on specific muscle groups 
  • Start each exercise on the “non-dominant” or “weaker” leg or side, so the other side feels easier 
  • Always perform balance exercises with a sturdy chair, tabletop, counter, or couch back within easy reach so you have stability when you need it 
  • Don’t be afraid to widen your stance or stop and start over if you start to lose your balance 
  • As balance improves, try to hone balance even further by shutting one eye, both eyes, or looking up at the ceiling to give yourself fan extra  

Rock the boat  

(healthline.com

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. 
  • Lift your arms and extend them out to the sides. 
  • Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel toward your bottom. 
  • Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. 
  • Then do the opposite side. 
  • Do each side 3 times 

Walking heel to toe 

(Philips Lifeline

This exercise uses a “concentrated” dose of walking to strengthen legs, which increases overall balance when walking in real life. 

  • Put your right foot in front of your left foot so that the heel of your right foot touches the top of the toes of your left foot.  
  • Move your left foot in front of your right, putting your weight on your heel.  
  • Then, shift your weight to your toes.  
  • Repeat the step with your left foot.  
  • Walk this way for 20 steps. 

Backward leg raises 

(canohealth.com

For this exercise, stand up straight with your feet planted firmly shoulder-width apart, holding the chair in front of you for support. 

  • Slowly lift your right leg out behind you. 
  • Keep your leg straight and avoid bending your knee. You do not need to go far back to feel the benefits of this exercise.  
  • Hold the position to work the muscles in your bottom, your core, and the lower back.  
  • Repeat with the left leg and work up to ten repetitions, perhaps noticing any change in how far back your leg naturally reaches. 

Sit-to-stands 

(silversneakers.com

  • Stand tall with your back facing a sturdy chair and your feet hip-width apart. If needed, hold on to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance.  
  • As you get stronger, perform the move without holding on to anything. 
  • From here, sit back and slowly lower your hips onto the chair as gently as possible. 
  • Pause, and without swinging your torso, push through your heels to stand up.  
  • Perform 10 repetitions. 

Clock reach 

(Philips Lifeline

You’ll need a chair for this exercise. 

Imagine that you are standing in the center of a clock. The number 12 is directly in front of you and the number 6 is directly behind you.  

  • Hold the chair with your left hand, and look straight ahead the whole time. 
  • Lift your right leg and extend your right arm so it’s pointing to the number 12.  
  • Next, point your arm towards the number three, and finally, point it behind you at the number 6.  
  • Bring your arm back to the number three, and then to the number 12.  
  • Repeat this exercise twice per side. 

Do it with a balance exercise video 

Do you prefer to exercise with some visual examples or the voice of an encouraging instructor? There are so many YouTube videos out there, all dedicated to balance exercises and strength training for seniors. Some of our favorites are: 

Take a senior yoga class 

Would you rather take a class? We understand. Taking an exercise class not only optimizes overall health, but they also foster social engagement and connection. If you can’t find a yoga class offered at the local senior center or a senior yoga section isn’t available at a local yoga studio, look for yoga classes advertised for beginners or as “gentle yoga” classes, and the instructor can modify exercises, stretches, and poses as needed. 

Also, read our post, The Benefits of Yoga For Seniors. 

Caregivers Can Get Your Senior Loved One Motivated 

Did you know that companion services offered by home care agencies can be used to support senior exercise routines? Our caregivers love to exercise with our clients because it keeps them fit as well. Plus, seniors and their families benefit from all of the other service benefits that come along with in-home care, such as transportation around town, errand running, meal preparation, personal care, light housekeeping, and more.  

Contact HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how our caregivers can support the overall health and wellbeing of your senior loved ones – including getting some balance into their lives. (510) 247-1200.

Spotting Signs Of Depression In The Elderly

spotting signs of depression in the elderly

Seniors have a much higher risk of experiencing depression, primarily due to social isolation. The combination of mobility issues, inability to drive, or the loss of a spouse and close peers contribute to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression. In addition, medication side effects can compound the problem. 

Signs Of Depression And Social Isolation In Older Adults 

Proactively preventing senior depression by providing a solid social support system is a significant first step. However, depression can “creep up” on anyone. If you live far away from your parent or grandparent, it can be even more difficult to notice their depression or low moods because they can put on a brave face during video chats or phone calls. 

According to the National Insitute on Aging

Everyone needs social connections to survive and thrive. But as people age, they often find themselves spending more time alone. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression 

9 Signs A Senior Is Depressed 

The following are some of the most common signs of depression. Check-in with senior loved ones regularly – using your eyes, ears, and heart – and take note if you register any of the following: 

A persistent worried, sad, or vacant mood 

Some seniors may openly voice how sad they are feeling. Or, they may begin sharing constant worries – a sign of anxiety. These are worth exploring to learn more about what type of support would be best. You may also notice a vacant, absent, or apathetic mood. Those are also signs of senior depression. 

Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless 

For many seniors, aging means relinquishing abilities, hobbies, and activities that make their lives rich and meaningful. In addition, the inability to walk independently, giving up the keys, incontinence issues or diminishing sight and hearing make it difficult to engage in the world around them. As a result, seniors retreat into themselves and begin to feel unwanted, unneeded, and unable to contribute to or participate in the world around them. 

If you notice any of these signs, read Senior Health & Wellbeing Depends on Social Interaction for tips on keeping seniors engaged in their communities. 

Restlessness, irritability, having trouble sitting still 

Does your senior loved one resemble the fidgety youngsters in your life? The core causes may be the same. Without a purpose, something to captivate their interest, and an energetic outlet, seniors get restless, and the lack of inspiration in their lives depresses their mood.  

An excellent place to start is to make sure they’re getting regular daily exercise in a way that fits their physical health and lifestyle. The following posts are good places to start. Once a physical routine is part of the mix, you can branch out to support a depressed senior in other ways. 

Lack of interest in activities, hobbies, or social engagements that used to be pleasurable 

Is your loved one starting to skip activities or engagements that used to bring him/her pleasure? No longer attending religious services or affiliated groups? Avoiding the bunco or men’s club meetings? Letting their beloved garden go limp or to die altogether?  

All are signs of depression. If not depression, it is a sign that something needs to be addressed – vision, transportation, new glasses or hearing aids, mobility support, etc. – so seniors can take part again. If the lack of engagement continues, depression is sure to follow. 

Decreased energy or general fatigue 

Depression affects both mood and energy levels. Unfortunately for depressed seniors, it’s easy for busy family members to assume their lack of energy or general fatigue is linked to aging or medication side effects. However, seniors who are eating well, getting regular exercise, and have regular social interaction are far less likely to experience chronic fatigue unless it is a symptom of a medical diagnosis. 

Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions 

Sometimes, issues around memory, concentration, and decision-making are signs of dementia, so families may assume that’s the case or just laugh off “senior moments.” However, the same apathy, lack of interest in life, and decreased energy mentioned above can lead to cognitive glitches. 

Any signs of memory loss should be noted and attended to by the senior’s healthcare provider ASAP to assess the cause. 

Sleeping issues 

Sleeping issues can vary from insomnia (inability to sleep or stay asleep) to sleeping too much. Sleeping issues are a common senior complaint. Not surprisingly, low daily activity levels and lack of social engagement are huge contributors. The body needs to expend energy in order to sleep well.  

Visit Insomnia & Seniors by The Sleep Foundation to learn more. 

Eating less (or more) than usual 

Signs of unusual weight loss or weight gain is always a sign that seniors may need more support. It can also be a sign of depression or anxiety. A combination of skipped meals, diminished appetite, or binging on junk foods eventually takes its toll, setting the stage for malnourishment. 

Wishing to die or suicide attempts 

Seniors who live alone and become depressed are more prone to suicidal thoughts or to feel their life is no longer worth living. They may make comments along the lines of, “I wish I would die,” “I’m ready to die,” or thoughts along those lines. Take comments like these very seriously. They are a cry for help and indicate that a shift must be made to increase your loved one’s quality of life. 

We Are Here to Provide Support 

Have you considered enlisting the help of an in-home caregiving agency? Senior caregivers can pop in as little or as often as you wish. Depending on the needs of your loved one, we can provide companionship, help with grocery shopping and meals, and we can also transport them to their favorite activities, meetings, or meals with friends.  

Contact HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how our senior care services can prevent or eliminate senior depression. (510) 247-1200. 

Core Exercises For Seniors Stability & Health

core exercises for seniors stability health

Those of us who work in homecare know firsthand what a difference regular physical activity (aka “exercise”) makes in the lives of our clients. The clients who move their bodies more on a daily basis enjoy better moods, remain more engaged with the world around them, are less likely to fall, and sleep better at night. Who doesn’t want that? 

Plus, exercise is necessary to manage existing health conditions and weight goals. 

Add Core Exercises To The Senior Movement Routine 

We recently posted a blog about Safe Summertime Exercises that help seniors get the daily movement they need, even when it’s hot outside. Today, we want to focus on exercises that strengthen the core muscles. 

Core strengthening exercises have a range of benefits. In addition to providing cardio and strength building, core muscles support healthy digestion, strengthen the pelvic floor -reducing or eliminating incontinence, improve balance, and make it easier for seniors to do daily tasks that keep them feeling productive

What Are Core Muscles & What Do They Do? 

Many people equate “core muscles” with “abdominals.” While your abdominal (stomach) muscles are part of the core group, the term refers to a much wider and more complex group of muscles. In addition to abdominal muscles, the core group includes all of the muscles that support and stabilize the spine and the muscles that make up the pelvic floor.  

In other words, it’s a whole lotta different muscles, and they all do essential jobs. When these muscles get weak, things go amock, such as poor posture, less overall strength, pain in the back, shoulders, and neck, and lack of balance. Flacid core muscles also put seniors at risk for incontinence (or make existing incontinence worse) and prevent efficient digestion and waste elimination. 

We feel core exercises for seniors are a must! However, as with any new activity, always speak to your loved one’s physician before adding or changing their exercise routine. 

5 Examples Of Core Exercises 

Here are five examples of core exercises you can do with seniors on a daily or weekly basis. Make any or all of these a regular part of the exercise rotation. 

Bridge pose 

Anyone can do a bridge pose because the beginning posture requires lying flat on your back on the ground (using a yoga mat, sleeping pad, or folded blanket provides extra cushion). Once you are relaxed, bend the knees with the feet still flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Straighten your arms and lay palms flat on the ground. 

Then, slowly lift the hips up and off the ground, focusing on the lower back and stomach muscles, if possible, rather than using the thighs. Make sure the thighs remain parallel (no angling of the bend knees to either side) and hold the hips as high and you comfortably can for a few seconds. Then lower your bum back to the ground.  

Click Here to see what it looks like. Note that the woman in that post has her hands clasped underneath her. That is an advanced version. You can work towards that but, to start, just keep your hands along your sides for better stability, comfort, and balance. 

For some seniors, this is immediately available, and the hips will get a good way off the ground. For others, an inch or two may be all they can do. That’s just fine. Over time, the core will get increasingly stronger, and those hips will rise higher and higher. 

Senior yoga (or pilates) classes 

The bridge pose is a well-known yoga pose, so it makes sense that we segue into #2: Take a Senior Yoga (or Pilates) class. As with the bridge pose described above, a good senior yoga class meets you where you’re at. Trained instructors provide all types of supports and modifications so that even chair-bound, bed-bound, or home-bound adults can participate.  

Read our post, The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors, to learn more about it. There, we share examples as well as video links to get you started. 

Standing or sitting side bends 

This one feels great any time of the morning, afternoon, or evening. Standing and sitting side bends help to get rid of the tension from too much sedentary or screen time and help seniors feel more alert and refreshed since it immediately increases circulation.  

Whether you opt to do the bends standing, seated, or both ways, always hold the tummy in a bit and keep the core muscles activated while bending and straightening for best results. Also, don’t forget to breathe! 

  • Standing: Stand with knees straight (but not locked) and with feet hip-width apart. Raise the arms overhead and clasp hands with fingers interlaced. Make sure the shoulders are lowered, and the chin is parallel to the ground. Slowly and gently bend to the side while keeping the spine facing forwards (bend but don’t twist). Go as far as it is comfortable and hold the stretch for a moment if it feels good to do so. Then slowly raise back to the center position.  
  • Switch the interlace of the fingers (so the other thumb is on top) for an extra brain boost, and then slowly repeat the side bend to the opposite side. Try to do at least five of these repetitions to start, then add more as you like until you reach 10 cycles. 
  • Sitting. Sit cross-legged if you can. If not, feel free to place pillows on each side of your knees so they’re supported or sit with your legs straight out in front of you. This exercise can also be done in a chair, preferably one without arms (just make sure to provide fall protection if needed). Extend the arms up and clasp hands together with interlaced fingers, just as you would if you were standing, and do the bends as written above. 

Enroll in a water exercise class 

Like yoga, water exercises constantly make the Top 3 list of best senior exercises. The water is very supportive of aching joints or muscles that are out of shape. Also, it provides resistance for muscle strengthening and buoyancy to prevent falls or injuries. Finally, the continual process of remaining afloat and upright in the water constantly utilizes contractions in core muscles. 

So, even if a particular exercise isn’t specific to core muscles, your movements to perform any exercise in the water also support core tone and strength. If you already head to the pool or an exercise class regularly, or you have a hot tub, pool, or jacuzzi at home, begin adding some of these Swim Workouts That Target Your Belly and focus on the core. 

Do a senior core workout at home 

Just as there are videos available for yoga, exercise, dancercise, pilates, and everything else under the sun, high-quality exercise videos focus on senior-friendly core routines that take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.  

Check out: 

Wish your senior loved one had a companion to make daily activities and exercises more fun? Consider hiring a companion through a licensed senior care agency. Contact us at HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how we can support and care for your favorite senior. 

Managing Medications For (Grand)Parents With Dementia

managing medications for grand parents with dementia

Those Day-of-the-Week pill containers and written instructions are insufficient to manage medications for parents or seniors with dementia. Forgetting what date, day, or time it is is a common side effect of memory loss and dementia in seniors, yet essential prescription medications depend on accurate dosages. 

8 Tips For Safe Senior Medication Management 

Your caregiving team’s dedication, combined with some other “tricks of the trade,” ensures your loved one gets the medications s/he needs at the right time and the right doses – regardless of dementia or other age-related memory issues. 

When managing medications maintain an updated medication list 

Recent data show that upwards of 85% of seniors take prescription medications, and 36% of all seniors take five or more different medications. In addition, these prescriptions and physician-recommended over-the-counter (OTC) medications can change regularly, so it’s essential to keep and maintain an updated medication list to avoid confusion.  

This list also helps to ensure you dispose of meds or supplements that are no longer required and refill or renew prescriptions that are soon to run out or expire. A simple Excel or Google spreadsheet is all that you need to print things large and clear. It can be printed and hung in a visible location for all to consult and amend as required. 

This list should include information such as: 

  • Names of each prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, vitamins, and supplements 
  • The symptoms or conditions the medication/supplement targets 
  • What dosage of each item is used 
  • How often each item is taken 
  • The healthcare provider who prescribed each medication, along with their contact information 
  • Any other pertinent details (better taken with food, between meals, etc.) 

Keep all medications and supplements in the same location 

In the past, it might have made sense to have some pills in the bathroom medicine cabinet, others on the nightstand, and supplements in a convenient kitchen location. Now, as different caregivers and helpers work together to provide consistent medication doses, it’s time to gather them together in the same spot.  

Grouping everything together makes it easier for both family and professional caregivers to keep track of what’s what, refill pill organizers, look out for expired prescriptions, etc.  

Store medications as instructed 

Some medications may require storage in a dark place or the refrigerator. However, almost all medicines and supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place. Keep this in mind. Bathrooms (often filled with steamy shower water) and cabinets near the stovetop (which may be more humid due to steam/moisture from cooking) are not the ideal medication storage areas. 

Mark medications clearly 

We talk quite a bit about age-related vision loss in our elderly client lives, but this same vision loss is typical for their caregivers in the 50+ bracket. In addition, prescription medications can have almost impossible-to-read labels, and that leaves increased room for error. 

Use masking tape and clear printing to re-write medication names and dosing instructions as needed on pill bottles. If bottles are too small, empty the contents into securely zip-locked/resealable bags and label those with the masking tape instead. 

Check for contraindications or negative interactions 

Physicians do their best to keep track of their patients’ medication prescriptions to make sure they aren’t prescribing medications that interact negatively with one another. Even so, mistakes are easy to make.  

So, when managing medications, review all of the medications with your favorite pharmacist to double-check s/he doesn’t have additional recommendations or warnings about your parent’s or grandparent’s current medication list. There are online drug interaction tools available for cursory checks, but we feel in-person assessments by a qualified pharmacist are best whenever possible. 

Create a reminder and tracking system 

Your medication list is an excellent place to begin, but we recommend creating a medication reminder and tracking system whenever possible. The good news is that technology is in your favor. The reality is that time can feel loosey-goosey when caregiving, especially when a loved one is on hospice or dealing with a critical illness or medical emergency. It’s easy to lose track, and a tracking/reminding system ensures you don’t miss a beat. 

There is a range of apps for managing medications at your disposal. Some of the top recommendations include: 

  • Medisafe Medication Management. In addition to providing reminders for specific medication doses, you can add Medifriends (aka, other caregiving team members) so everyone is synced together. 
  • CareZone. In addition to syncing medication reminders, including when your device is “asleep,” CareZone also provides PDFs of medication logs (like the type we recommended in #1) that you can print and hang on the fridge or a visible cabinet. 
  • RoundHealth. If your loved one takes almost as many vitamins and supplements as prescription medications, you may prefer RoundHealth. It’s suited for more complicated schedules and dosage instructions and provides an easy-to-read calendar that tracks what has and has not been taken. 

Get to know potential side effects 

Almost every medication has a list of potential side effects. It’s crucial for you to learn the most common of these and keep an eye out.  

For example, many medications used for heart disease cause dry mouth or make seniors more prone to dehydration, so your attention to senior hydration is important for your loved one’s comfort. Others may make them sleepy or decrease appetite, so smaller, nutrient-rich snacks help to fight drowsiness and keep them well-nourished. 

Keep a list of the most common side effects and simple solutions to combat them on hand, so everyone knows the warning signs. 

Take advantage of pharmacy mail or delivery services 

Most pharmacies provide mail or delivery services for free or at a very low cost. It’s worth it to sign up for these services to ensure you never run out. It’s not always easy to run out on a last-minute pharmacy run, especially if you’re caring for a homebound or chairbound senior. Having refills on hand when you need them is essential. 

Need Assistance Managing Medications?

Are you having a hard time finding medication management support for your senior parent or grandparent? Schedule a free, in-home assessment with HomeAide Home Care. Our experienced team of caregivers can provide customized solutions to ensure your loved one takes his/her medications as prescribed.

Safe Summer Exercises For Seniors

safe summer exercises for seniors

Summertime heat and increased sun exposure are no reason to stop exercising. While seniors are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat-related side effects, not to mention dehydration, there are plenty of ways for caregivers to keep seniors healthy and active during the summer months. 

In addition to the many physical and emotional benefits of exercise, physical exertion is also essential for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and sleep schedule

7 Ideas To Keep Seniors Active With Safe Summer Exercises 

Here are 7 ideas to keep your senior loved ones active and moving this summer. 

Focus on hydration and healthy snacks 

Seniors’ “thirst-meters” can get a bit wonky as the result of age-related changes in the brain as well as medication side effects. Do your best to keep seniors hydrated by providing a fresh supply of cool liquids wherever you go. Packing refreshing and easy-to-eat snacks keeps energy stores up, so consider keeping a lunch tote filled with fresh fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, or baggies of mixed nuts.  

Read our post on 10 Simple Ways to Keep Seniors Hydrated for more ideas. 

Water exercise classes 

Most community pools offer water exercise classes for people of every age, including seniors. Classes are provided by qualified instructors and typically occur in the mornings or evenings when the sun isn’t as intense. Water exercises are healthy for seniors because they support the joints while providing just-right muscle resistance (good for healthy bones) and cardio.  

Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear a hat and glasses. A light, long-sleeved shirt is easy to maneuver in the water or look for a long-sleeved water-specific shell for extra sun protection. Our post Seniors Should Have Fun in the Sun…Safely has more tips and reminders about seniors and sun safety. 

Tai Chi 

Tai Chi is “…an art embracing the mind, body, and spirit – Originating in ancient China, tai chi is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. Although an art with great depth of knowledge and skill, it can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits. For many, it continues as a lifetime journey.” (taichiforhealthinstitute.org). 

Because the movements are slow and fluid, it is a wonderful way for seniors to strengthen balance, flexibility, and range of motion with minimal risk of injury. It is known to support a myriad of senior health conditions, including arthritis. Some Tai Chi groups meet outside in parks or other public spaces in the early morning to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures. Others are offered indoors. Click Here to find a senior Tai Chi group near you. 

Walking or hiking 

Depending on an individual’s physical health and stamina, walking and hiking are two of the best and easiest ways to get out there and move. Walking sticks, canes, or walkers can be used for extra stability, and you can choose the day(s) of the week or time of day based on the weather forecast. Most seniors prefer walking in the mornings when it’s cooler or after their afternoon nap or dinnertime.  

Safe summer exercises like gardening

Most people don’t realize how much physical exertion is required to work in the garden. The body stretches, pulls, grabs, and moves – all of which exercise the body. If you don’t have space in the yard for your garden, contact your local garden supply store or senior center to ask whether or not there is a community garden in your area.  

Our post Gardening For Seniors… shares some of the proven benefits gained by seniors who garden, including a reduction in depression or feelings of loneliness, increased mobility, and memory care support. It also has tips on how to make gardening safer and more accessible for seniors. Plus, growing your veggies, fruits, and herbs supports healthier snacks and meals

Have a dance party 

Exercise classes are great, but they may not be ideal for homebound seniors or those who can’t drive. Putting on some favorite music and having a dance party – either solo or with a favorite caregiver – is a great way to get the blood flowing, enjoy some cardio exercise, and have lots of fun and shared laughter in the meantime. 

Dance parties are also an excellent way for seniors to connect with dance-loving family members and grandchildren online via Zoom or your preferred video platform. 

Throw a ball for a human or a dog 

Playing catch, frisbee, or shooting some hoops are all easy ways to get a workout. If you have friends, neighbors, or local children around, see if they’re up for playing with you. Odds are they’ll say yes, especially those who don’t have their own grandparents living nearby.  

Whether you have a dog or not, throwing a ball for a dog is another great way to get some safe summer exercises. Visit your local dog park with a few extra tennis balls, and you’ll have friends for life. Odds are, some of those dog owners will gratefully make “play dates” with you to make their dog happy. If balance or mobility is an issue, find a safe place to sit down or bring a lawn chair with you.  

Bonus Tip: Exercises from the chair 

Are you a homebound or chair-bound senior? There are still plenty of ways for you to stretch, move, and burn some calories. Read our post on Exercise for Homebound Seniors for more on that topic. 

We Can Help

Are you worried your senior loved one spends too much time alone, or that s/he isn’t getting enough exercise? Perhaps it’s time to consider hiring a senior companion service for just that purpose. Our caregivers enjoy getting senior clients out and about the Bay Area and can happily support a healthy lifestyle with safe summer exercises. Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. to learn more or to schedule a free in-home consultation.

10 Simple Ways To Keep Seniors Hydrated

10 simple ways to keep seniors hydrated

The senior population is more sensitive to hydration during the warmer months. There are several reasons by seniors are more prone to dehydration, including: 

  • Medication side-effects 
  • Age-related reductions in the sensation of being thirsty or the urge to drink 
  • Immobility complications 
  • Not enjoying “plain water” 

Family members and caregivers should make it as easy as possible for seniors to get enough fluids. In addition to causing side effects such as weakness, lethargy, and foggy brains, dehydrated seniors can also experience symptoms of dementia, including memory loss, confusion, agitation, and delusions.  

Keep Seniors Hydrated This Summer  

Feeling thirsty is often the first sign of dehydration. But, since seniors are less apt to experience that as they age, there are other signs you can look out for that indicate a need for fluid intake. These include: 

  • Fuzzy or dry mouth 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Foggy or fuzzy brain 
  • Dizziness 

These signs often go unaddressed because well-meaning family members assume it’s nothing or seniors have become so used to it they don’t realize it’s actually a problem. If you see signs, get your loved one a glass of water or a favorite beverage to see if that helps.  

Further and more advanced symptoms of dehydration include: 

  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Lack of balance or mobility (increasing the risk of falling
  • Confusion or seeming delirium 

If left unaddressed for too long, seniors can wind up hospitalized, when all they needed was to drink more often. Don’t let that happen on your watch! 

10 Ways To Make Hydration Easy For Seniors And Caregivers 

The following 10 tips can help you and your senior loved ones keep hydrated during the warmer months of the year.  

Set water reminders on gadgets 

Seniors and caregivers can install hydration reminders on their smart gadgets with a simple trip to the app store. Programmed to go off at set intervals, these alarms remind you to take a few sips of water from a nearby cup or bottle. A good example is WaterMinder, which is available on both Apple and Android products.  

Is your senior newer to technology? Read our post, How to Support Seniors with Technology. 

Keep water or other favorite (non-alcoholic) beverages close by 

Proximity is everything when it comes to keeping seniors hydrated. If there isn’t water or something to sip nearby, it’s easy for seniors to pass up the urge to take a drink if they are tired, not feeling well, or having a bad day.  

Keep spill-proof water bottles at the bedside, near their favorite chair, at their place at the table, on the bathroom countertop, or anywhere else they are apt to spend time with. Keep them clean and fresh. The minute s/he feels thirst, their instant hydration should be in reach. 

Have popsicles on hand

You can buy healthy, 100% juice (no sugar added) or diabetes-friendly popsicles at any grocery store. These are delicious, fun to eat, and full of water in the frozen ice crystals. You can also purchase popsicle molds online or at your local grocery store to make your own popsicles. Seniors may also appreciate smoothies in popsicle form for added protein and nutrition. 

Make a morning and/or afternoon smoothie ritual 

Speaking of smoothies, they are a great way to boost senior nutrition and hydration. In addition to added liquid intake, the ingredients you select can also boost a senior’s nutrient intake via vitamins, protein, calcium, fiber, and other minerals. Smoothies can also help to nourish seniors who don’t’ have a big appetite or who aren’t feeling well, and you can tailor the ingredients based on their taste preferences.  

Use bottles or lidded cups with straws 

Shaky hands can make it more difficult to drink comfortably for fear of spilling or knocking the cup over. Use bottles or lidded cups that have straws, rather than spouts, for drinking. This is easier for seniors to access and use without the embarrassment or compilation of a spill. 

Stock the fridge with hydrating foods and snacks 

Drinking fluids isn’t the only way to boost hydration. Fruits and vegetables are full of water too. Stock the fridge and pantry with foods that are hydrating. Pre-cutting and preparation make them an easy, go-to snack for seniors. Examples include: 

  • Veggie trays with ranch or hummus dip (carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery, jicama, snap peas) 
  • Watermelon (or any melon) cut into slices or balled 
  • Fruit salad with bite-size pieces of fruit for easy nibbling (stir in some yogurt for added protein and probiotics) 
  • Fruit cocktail (softer fruit can be easier for seniors with dentures) 
  • Grapes 
  • Applesauce 
  • Lettuce (salads are a great way to hydrate) 

Harder vegetables may need to be steamed or boiled to soften them up if seniors have dental issues or their dentures make it difficult to chew.  

Create a (non-alcoholic!) happy hour tradition 

Why not create a tradition of happy hour at a certain time in the late afternoon. This can be a fun way for seniors and their caregivers to connect socially, rather than business-mode, while they enjoy a delicious non-alcoholic drink. Happy Hour can also be a time to invite neighbors, family, or friends over for a social call or patio visit, keeping seniors socially engaged

We put together a list of Holiday Inspired Mocktails a couple of years ago, and that’s a great place to start. If the senior still enoys alcohol, limit it to one drink only as alcohol is actually dehydrating. You’d be amazed at how satisfying something as simple as tonic with lime or soda water with lemon can be without the addition of alcohol. There is also a range of flavored sparkling waters on the market. By a half a dozen different flavors and taste them to find a favorite. 

Infuse water with other flavors 

Some people aren’t fond of drinking plain water, and certain medications can change the palate, so that water tastes a little bitter or stale. Infusing water is a simple solution that avoids added sugar or calories, but makes water more palatable and helps keep seniors hydrated. 

Cutting a slice or two of lemon, lime, or cucumber is delicious. Throw in a sprig of mint while you’re at it. Other delicious infused water options are:  

  • Watermelon 
  • Berries 
  • Ginger 
  • Rosemary 
  • Pineapple 
  • Orange or grapefruit 

If infused water is a hit, consider purchasing a water infusion pitcher so you can make more at once.  

Experiment with beverages at different temperatures 

Sometimes it’s the temperature of a beverage, rather than the flavor, that prevents seniors from drinking enough. Try serving the same beverage at different temperatures. You may prefer hot tea or coffee while seniors prefer it iced. Iced beverages may be too cold for sensitive teeth or gums, so drinks may need to be brought to room temperature or warmed up to taste and feel good.  

Swap sweet liquids for savory alternatives to keep seniors hydrated 

Have a senior who prefers savory foods or is restricted on his/her sweet intake? Try sipping soups or broths from a mug, rather than from a bowl. This can be a comforting way to keep hydrated while also boosting calorie intake and/or nutrition for seniors who aren’t getting enough to eat or don’t have much of an appetite. 

We’re Here To Help

Are you noticing signs that your Bay Area senior loved one is dehydrated, doesn’t have enough food in the house, or may need extra support to remain independently at home? Contact HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how we can help. 

Know The Warning Signs Of Dementia

know the warning signs of dementia

It is easy to miss the first warning signs of dementia, either because we laugh them off as “senior moments,” or because the undeniable red flags feel too scary or sad to address head-on. That said, it is essential to know and honor the first warning signs of dementia or age-related memory loss.  

Doing so ensures you get an accurate diagnosis, can create a customized long-term care plan that includes input from the person while s/he can still speak for him/herself, and gives you time to make lifestyle changes that notably slow down the disease’s progression. 

First and foremost, your care plan should consider whether the goal is to age-in-place with graduated in-home care as needed or whether it is time to transition into an assisted living community. Studies are clear that creating and implementing a care plan immediately, rather than when dementia gets to the mid to later stages improves the quality of life for both the patient and their spouse and family members. 

In addition to knowing and recognizing the warning signs of dementia, we recommend visiting our page on Connecting With and Caring for Those with Dementia, which can help spouses and family members learn new ways to enjoy quality time with loved ones when memory loss moves into the mid to later stages of the disease. 

Dementia: A Broad Term Describing Progressive Memory Loss 

Dementia is defined as a “decline and/or loss of memory, reasoning, judgment, behavior, language and other mental abilities that are not a part of normal aging; it usually progressively worsens over time.” It is a broad term that encompasses many of the other diagnoses that lead to dementia, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia yet, nor can it be reversed in most cases. Some patients who catch it early and make significant lifestyle changes – specifically in regards to diet, supplementation, exercise, and sleep habits – can find their symptoms diminish for a while.  

That said, the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia can notably increase the patient’s quality of life. 

9 Common Warning Signs Of Dementia 

Here are nine common warning signs of dementia. Not everyone experiences the same thing. The main thing is for partners, spouses, and family members to pay attention and consider scheduling an appointment with their senior loved one’s general practitioner (GP) if any of these signs become apparent or are in direct opposition to the senior’s normal way of being. 

Forgetting names, faces, appointments, and due dates 

Of course, we all forget these things from time to time, but someone in the early stages of dementia forgets more often than usual. This can lead to the moodiness and irritability cited below because s/he feel embarrassed, ashamed, and defensive when these lapses are caught or obvious. Forgetting names and faces can also cause people with early stages of dementia to retreat from their social groups and favorite activities. 

NOTE: This level of forgetfulness also leads to forgetting to take medications, which can make dementia worse and exacerbate underlying medical conditions. Read, Medication Reminders are Lifesavers for Seniors with Dementia to learn more about how you and caregivers can help.  

Easily confused and disoriented in new (and familiar) places 

You may get a call from your loved one that s/he is in a parking lot and can’t remember his/her way home. Or, you may wind up with a knock on the door, only to find a neighbor or police officer returning your senior spouse or family member after s/he was found wandering, lost or confused.  

This easy confusion and disorientation is unnerving and is a major red flag that something needs to be done to keep your loved one safe and secure at all times of the day and night. 

Losing or forgetting their words 

In the beginning, losing a word here or there may seem funny or almost like a joke. Enough repeats of this, though, and both the individual and those closest to him/her will realize it is more than just the occasional glitch. In the beginning, s/he may compensate for word loss by finding a synonym or describing what the word means.  

Over time, word loss will become more common and by the later stages of dementia, the person will experience aphasia, which is the loss of intelligible speech and conversations. 

Difficulty performing familiar tasks 

Cooks may struggle to follow recipes or to make their favorite dishes; avid gardeners might be found repeatedly weeding the same patch or pulling out flowers or plants instead of the weeds. House Cleaning and laundry may be left undone or only partially completed and you may notice that the pantry has 12 cans of beans but nothing else. All of these are signs of potential memory loss and that additional care is required.  

FYI: Difficulty performing familiar tasks may not be related to dementia but are still a sign that your loved one requires additional support. Click Here to read about the most common signs that a senior needs more help around the house. 

Personality changes

Short-term memory loss can result in personality changes that are noticeable pretty early on. This can mean a retreat from favorite activities or groups to moving from a meticulous housekeeper to a hoarder. Moodiness and irritability can also plague typically cheerful people. On the flip side, previously serious or quiet people can become quite giddy, childlike, or silly. 

Mood swings 

The effects of dementia can be devastating for couples or close family members if it goes undiagnosed for too long. All of a sudden, your formerly loving and gentle spouse can become irritable, short-tempered, and even verbally or physically abusive. You may also notice signs of depression or anxiety

Poor judgement

The decline in short-term memory and critical thinking can lead to poor judgment. For example, taking the keys and driving when it has already been determined that s/he shouldn’t be behind the wheel

Paranoia or suspiciousness 

This can be challenging on so many levels. People with dementia may hear voices or see people or things that aren’t there. They may feel they are being recorded or surveilled, or they may accuse family members of caregivers of being thieves, undercover agents, or always under suspicion. 

Working with a licensed caregiving agency is one of the best things you can do to help eliminate your own suspicions. Licensed caregivers perform thorough criminal background checks on all of their employees and are also bonded and insured for your protection. 

Fabrication of memories is another warning sign of dementia

During the early stages, people with dementia are aware of their memory lapses, which can be extremely embarrassing for them. As a result, they will often feign remembering or will even fabricate memories or stories to appear as if they are on top of it. 

Schedule A Free Assessment Today

Have you noticed the warning signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s in your spouse or family member? Contact HomeAide Home Care to schedule a free assessment. We will listen to your story and are happy to provide no-obligation tips on how to move forward with a comprehensive memory care plan. 

Are You Taking Advantage Of Respite Care?

are you taking advantage of respite care

Caregiving takes its toll. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, how much you feel they deserve, or the strength of your conviction that nobody can take care of him/her like you can – caregiver burnout is absolutely inevitable unless you take care of the big picture. 

If you are a caregiver or are planning to take over caregiving duties for an aging parent or senior loved one, make sure to read our post, How to Recognize and Prevent Caregiver Burnout.  

Big Picture Planning: Respite Care Is An Essential Part Of Caregiving

Respite care should automatically be included in any long-term home care plan. Period.  

When you hire a full-time professional caregiving agency, this is automatically taken care of because our employees are only allowed to work a specific number of hours per shift, and per week. In the spouse/immediate caregiver plan – things get murkier. 

What Is Respite Care? 

Respite care is a way to provide a break for primary caregivers while ensuring your loved one has expert and compassionate care in the caregiver’s absence. If your niece or sister offers to come and stay with your parent for a day or overnight, they are offering respite care. Friends or volunteers from your spiritual community may also provide occasional relief from the rigors of caregiving.  

When a care plan includes regular respite care or long-term respite care, it’s a good idea to meet with a licensed caregiving agency – especially if the senior loved one has a progressive condition.  

Professional home care providers are educated, trained, and experienced at providing care for seniors in all stages of the aging process – from those who need a bit of help getting around and preparing meals to seniors who are completely bed-bound, which demands a different level of care and attention. 

While respite care shifts typically have a minimum billing window, typically three to four hours, they can be used as intermittently as you like. Respite care can be used to help caregivers: 

  • Attend their own health and wellness appointments 
  • Resume regular religious/spiritual services and events 
  • Participate in special family events, ceremonies, and gatherings 
  • Take days, weekends, or weeks off for the sake of time off, and not because you’re having to accommodate yours or someone else’s need(s) 
  • Have the freedom to take “sick days” when they or family members are ill or experiencing an emergency and need to “take care of business” 
  • Get together with friends for weekly lunches, self-care, or whatever else you need to fill your cup and nourish your dedicated, hardworking spirit 

In addition to preventing caregiver burnout and supporting caregivers by providing regular breaks, respite care also establishes a rapport between the client and other caregivers. This can come in handy in the event of a sick day or emergency because the client already feels comfortable with the caregiver replacement. 

Make Respite Care Part Of The Plan When… 

Here are some signs that you and your family should take advantage of respite care as part the home care plan from the very start: 

There are only one or two family caregivers 

The reality is that it is impossible for one or two caregivers to provide quality, patient, compassionate, and attentive full-time care, 24/7. You will become depleted and that depletion will take its toll on your ability to care for your loved one, not to mention the negative toll it can take on your health and wellbeing. 

If your loved one requires care around the clock or more than just a few hours each day, you will either need to assemble a team of caregivers to observe regular shifts or you will need to ensure you have adequate respite care each week to give you a break. 

Your loved one has Alzheimer’s/dementia or other “progressive” diagnosis 

The care required at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s/dementia or other “progressive” medical conditions, like Parkinson’s, is 180-degrees from the constantly increasing levels of care required as the disease progresses. Enlisting the support of respite care providers and building them into the care plan from the beginning, makes it easier to get the support you will need when things get more intense. 

You are working and/or still have children at home 

In the realm of senior care, we refer to you as “The Sandwich Generation” because you are sandwiched in between your children/work and your aging parents. It is absolutely consuming and completely depleting. Respite care is an affordable way to buoy you up as you work to meet everyone’s needs while still fulfilling your work obligations, family fun, children’s extracurricular activities, etc.  

Visit Parents Caregiving for Parents: Support for the Sandwich Generation, to learn more about that topic. 

Your family takes an annual vacation, holiday(s), etc. 

If you have to miss one family vacation or a string of traditional holiday gatherings for a single year, that is one thing. However, a decline from Alzheimer’s or dementia, chronic illnesses, or general aging decline can last for years. 

If your loved one isn’t on hospice or in the last weeks or months of his/her life, you are going to need respite care so you have the ability to balance your life while simultaneously caring for the needs of your loved one. 

You need respite care if you have children living at home 

If you have children living at home you absolutely must find a way to have stand-in caregivers at the ready. Your senior loved one enjoyed a rich, full life and s/he almost undoubtedly wishes the same for you and your family. Childhood is fleeting and so it’s imperative that in the midst of honoring your senior loved one that you also honor your children’s milestones and important events. 

Respite care is the way to make sure you can be at the game, attend the school pageant, volunteer in the classroom, or chaperone field trips.  

Would you like to learn more about how you can take advantage of respite care when creating a long-term senior home care plan? Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. and schedule a free assessment and consultation.

Getting Paid To Take Care Of Elderly Parents

getting paid to take care of elderly parents

Are you losing money in an effort to provide “free” care for elderly parents or family members? In an effort to save money, many children of senior parents wind up losing money as the result of unpaid time off work or having to quit their jobs altogether. 

Fortunately, there are programs available that pay children to take care of their aging parents. The amount varies depending on your situation and rarely replaces a full-time salary. However, the financial boost may be just what you need to make it possible to take time off or minimize work hours to take care of the ones you love. 

Programs That Pay Children To Take Care Of Elderly Parents 

There are no programs out there that will fully compensate you for the countless hours you’ll spend caring for your aging parents. That said, the income derived from the following programs may help ends meet, or alleviate financial stress, along the way. 

MediCal/Medicaid In-Home Support Services (IHSS) 

Medicaid services in all 50 of the United States provide some level of compensation to qualified individuals to manage their own, long-term care plan – as opposed to paying an agency to do so. In California, this can include hiring qualified children to provide care for senior parents.  

In fact, California has one of the more generous versions of this program because it also pays qualifying spouses, siblings, and extended family members. Those who provide care for qualifying individuals can get paid for everything from direct patient care to housekeeping and errand running, depending on the circumstances. 

This program is largely dependent on the income/asset value of the person requiring care. You can contact the MediCal Member Helpline to learn more about qualifications and how to apply. 

Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver 

Have you just received a diagnosis, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, that will require a long-term care plan? If so, now is the time to apply for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers. These are designed for people who get Medicaid but didn’t qualify for IHSS.  

It can allow you to care for a parent at home, rather than having to transfer him/her to an assisted living or another type of care facility if that goes against your parent’s wishes.  

If you’re trying to decide which makes more sense, home care or assisted living facility, we recommend reading, The Cost of Senior Care: Home Care vs Assisted Living, to compare the two. 

Examples of the various waivers, all of which are applied through via MediCal using the link provided above, include: 

  • Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) 
  • Veteran Directed Care (VD-HCBS) – more on veteran’s care below 
  • Multi-Purpose Senior Services Waiver (MSSP) 
  • Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD) 

These programs almost always have waiting lists, which is why time is of the essence. 

Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program 

The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). It was created to support veterans who are struggling to pay for home care services or care costs at other residential facilities. 

In addition to being the recipient of a veteran pension, the basic qualifying criteria for the extra Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension include: 

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or 
  • You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness, or 
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or 
  • Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less) 

You can Click Here to read more about the program and to determine whether or not your parent is eligible. 

Long-Term Care Insurance 

Sometimes, seniors forget about the funds they set aside or planned for when they need it most. Ask your parent whether s/he ever paid for a long-term care insurance plan. If s/he is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s worth a trip through the file cabinet or safe to search for paperwork. We also recommend checking in with his/her estate attorney or reviewing any will or trust to see if a long-term care insurance plan is accounted for in any of their estate documents. 

Paid Family Leave Act 

The state of California offers the Paid Family Leave Act (PFL). This legislature ensures employees have the ability to take paid time off work to care for a family member. It requires certification from your parent’s medical care provider, and you can earn 60% to 70% of your wages to do so. 

The caveat is that the plan is short-term, only allowing up to eight weeks off work. That said, a combination of your siblings, children, or adult grandchildren may make it possible to provide a long-term family home care plan, interspersing shifts with professionals as needed. 

Direct Payment From Family To Care For Elderly Parents 

Many families find that a family payment pool is the best and most affordable way to ensure their senior loved one is cared for by a family member, without causing financial stress or demise for the caregiver.  

If you go this route, it is wise to consult with an attorney or paralegal who specializes in elder care and estate planning to draw up documentation that is professional, thorough, outlines potential scenarios, and that everyone can sign. 

The combination of paying a family member, paying professional caregivers in-between times, and taking advantage of senior care resources in the Bay Area is a wise, comprehensive solution. 

A Reverse Mortgage 

Depending on the situation, your family may decide it’s beneficial to apply for a reverse mortgage. The Bay Area real estate market has only gone up in the past two to four decades, and that equity is far better used to provide high-quality, loving care at home than saved to disperse to beneficiaries after your parent(s) pass on. 

Even a very small equity line of credit, that doesn’t dramatically reduce the home’s total equity, may be exactly enough to pay for family caregivers for the time, energy, and emotional investment required when taking care of elderly parents. 

Always consult with a financial advisor or tax attorney before making any major decisions like this, and having a family meeting to gain a consensus so the decision feels equitable to all. 

Would you like to learn more about how to integrate paid family caregiving that allows you to take care of elderly parents, while also having access to professional home care providers for respite care or to fill in the shift gaps? Contact HomeAid Home Care and schedule a free assessment.