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. 

Top 10 Blogs For Seniors

top 10 blogs for seniors

It’s always a challenge to keep homebound seniors socially engaged. And, we also know that social engagement and the human-to-human connection is invaluable to the mental, emotional, and physical health of our senior loved ones. Blogs for seniors are one more piece of the connectivity puzzle. These blogs are mostly by seniors and for seniors, which helps to send the message that, “you are not alone!” 

Bookmark These 10 Blogs For Seniors And Start Reading 

Not only are these blogs helpful (and entertaining) for seniors to read, we also recommend that caregivers and close family members read some of your loved one’s favorite blogs as well.  

Firstly, you may find that reading about another senior’s experiences and insights provides a better picture or more compassionate insight into your parent/grandparent’s day to day life and experiences. Secondly, reading the same blogs is like being part of a book club. The posts can provide mutual conversation ground that is not just about medical issues, ailments, or caregiving.  

To that end, here are 10 senior blogs worth recommending for your senior to bookmark on his/her gadget of choice. Just getting your loved one on board with tech, read How to Support Seniors with Technology. 

Senior Planet 

We’ve intentionally put Senior Planet (seniorplanet.org) towards the top because it is a resource and go-to support for seniors who are using technology to remain connected. Senior Planet is about much more than just the latest gadgets and apps and websites. Those gadgets and apps and websites are just means to an end: enabling older adults and people of all ages to come together and find ways to learn, work, create, and thrive in today’s digital age. 

In addition to that, the website offers all kinds of fun ways for seniors to engage with one another, from joining book clubs and online tech classes to support groups and chat features. 

Elder Chicks 

The Elder Chicks (elderchicks.com) website and blogs were started by senior “chicks,” Dr. Thelma Reese (now 88 years old) and Dr. Barbara Fleisher (age not stated). Click Here to watch their video about their blog and their goal to “master the art of senior life,” which has become the fun, witty, and intelligent theme across their blogging spectrum. One of our favorite aspects of The Elder Chicks’ mission is that they promote the hand-in-hand pairing of senior life/retirement and volunteerism.  

Feisty Side of 50 (geared towards females) 

Tired of all the social and cultural messages that say “aging is bad,” and that our goal should be to remain “forever young?” We are too! Not only is aging inevitable, but it is also a process that can forge ever-deeper and more meaningful connections to our wisdom, inner-strength, heart, soul, and the absolutely essential need for humor and joy. The Feisty Side of 50 is run by Mary Eileen Williams, M.A., N.C.C.C. You can also listen to her Feisty Side of 50 radio show and podcast. 

Her personal mission is to, “…reach as many of my gender and generation as possible to celebrate our remarkable history, our awe-inspiring futures, and just plain hoot and holler as only the menopausal can. We gals have overcome some pretty formidable challenges and we’re not going to let a few wrinkles stop us now. We’re bringing a whole new look and spirited style to the aging process. In fact, our next major revolution will be nothing short of astounding. So, here’s to us, the incredible, incomparable, fabulous, female boomers and to embracing life fully on the feisty side of fifty!” 

Grey Fox 

This senior blog, on the other hand, is geared towards senior men. Did your senior dad or grandfather lead a dashing and dapper life? Then he’ll love reading Grey Fox, which focuses on fashion trends for men 40 years and older, with a penchant for brands that target the older, affluent demographic. Because the website host, David Evans, is from the UK, he targets UK brands.  

Sage (dedicated to the LGBTQ community) 

There is no denying that the senior LGBTQ community is largely ignored – and that’s saying something when you consider our senior home care agency is located in California’s Bay Area! While the LGBTQ community is well-represented in the Millennial realm, LGBTQ seniors can feel very alone, and studies show members of this sociodemographic have a much higher risk of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Read, Inclusive Care for LGBT Seniors, to learn more about how you can help. 

Another boost for your LGBTQ senior loved one’s spirit will be connecting with the Sage USA blog. The blog and organizational mission are to, “…make aging better for LGBT people nationwide. How? We show up and speak out for the issues that matter to us. We teach. We answer your calls. We connect—generations, each other, allies. We win. And together, we celebrate.” 

Sage is a phenomenal resource and they also promote a myriad of LGBT resources. We feel regular perusal of their posts will support, inspire, inform, and connect LGBT seniors and their families. 

The Senior Nomads 

Whether your senior loved one is fond of travel, or would enjoy living vicariously with other travelers, The Senior Nomads blog is centered around the travels of Seattle-based seniors Debbie & Michael Campbell.  

While they slowed down at the beginning of the pandemic, these passionate nomads revamped the way they move from place-to-place and have resumed their travels. That means their blog is chock full of informative (as well as entertaining) tidbits about their travels, experiences, and other “senior moments.” 

Viva Fifty! 

This bilingual blog serves both the English- and Spanish-speaking senior communities. The Viva Fifty! Blog is published by Lorraine C. Ladish. The posts are divided into five main categories: Mind (culture, books, mind, empowerment, money), Grace (style, hair, skincare, beauty), Body (health, nutrition, fitness, and yoga), Soul (relationships, family, dating, inspiration), and Escape (travel, leisure, dining, tech, and shopping).  

The site features a diverse group of guest posters, and we feel this one is another ideal “blog club” candidate for you and your senior loved one to share. 

The Upside to Aging 

Remember we mentioned that some of these blogs are worth the caregiver’s read? The Upside to Aging is one of those. Hosted by longtime caregiver, Molly Wisniewski (LeGrand), the blog balances the upsides (and the challenges) faced by seniors and their caregivers. Molly specializes in in-home care for clients with dementia and other memory issues, so there are plenty of posts dedicated to that realm.  

The National Council on Aging 

As professional senior home care providers, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is one of our favorite resources for the latest studies, research, and information on aging and how to provide the best care possible for our clients. The NCOA blog can be that same resource for you, your family’s caregivers, and then seniors you care for as you navigate this next chapter of his/her life. 

Their blogs for seniors serve as an approachable, digestible synopsis of that aforementioned resource, and also keeps seniors informed about medical, legislative, and social/cultural topics particular to their demographic. 

The HomeAide Home Care Blog 

Yep, we’re biased, but we work hard to create monthly blog topics that are timely, relevant, and that provide support, insight, and informative tidbits about senior care topics. We also try to balance the equation and include plenty of posts geared towards family and private caregivers who work so tirelessly hard for the ones they love. Bookmark to the HomeAide Home Care blog and be part of a wider network of people who understand exactly what you’re going through. 

Do you suspect it’s time to bring licensed, compassionate homecare professionals to support your family’s journey through senior care? Schedule a free home assessment with HomeAide Home Care.

The Cost Of Senior Care: Home Care vs. Assisted Living

the cost of senior care home care vs assisted living

It’s inevitable that questions of the cost of home care vs assisted living enter the mix, no matter how much you love, care for, and want the best for senior loved ones. Each option has its own positives and negatives and deciding which makes the most sense for your aging senior depends on a variety of personal and practical considerations. 

We like to remind families that in addition to financial costs, there are also social/emotional costs when comparing home care and assisted living or nursing home facilities. The best way to make a sound decision is to start long-term planning conversations as early as possible. Ideally, these conversations would begin before or immediately after you notice signs a senior needs support.  

Meetings should include the most important family, partner, or close-friend players, to come up with a mindful plan that accommodates all of the big picture needs – taking all of the financial and emotional costs into consideration. 

Comparing The Financial Cost Of Senior Care

Finances must be carefully considered. Many of the conditions that affect aging seniors, from regular age-related decline to Alzheimer’s or dementia, can require years or even decades of caregiving support. The two most common solutions are home care or assisted living. 

We use the reliable, research-based statistics from the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program as our guide to the money-based cost comparisons. According to their calculations, the average, annual cost of home care vs. senior care are: 

  • Home Care (5 days/week, 6 hours/day): $37,440 
  • Assisted Living Community: $57,600 
  • Nursing Home (semi-private room): $92,710 

There is no doubt that paying caregivers to provide care in the home is the most affordable senior care option by tens of thousands of dollars. 

Beware too-good-to-be-true monthly quotes for assisted living or nursing homes when comparing the cost of senior care 

One thing to know about assisted living facilities is that they often provide low-ball, “monthly rates,” to entice prospects. However, it is essential that you ask about “add-ons.” Services like laundry, accompanied mobility to meals or events, off-site trips, visits to the onsite barber or beauty shop, etc., can all add up quickly.  

If assisted living communities are your first choice, we understand (more on that below), but we highly recommend AgingCare’s post, The Hidden Costs of Assisted Living, so you are well-informed and know what questions to ask when you take tours or speak with their staff. 

Weighing The Social And Emotional Costs 

Of course, financial costs aren’t the only costs you should weigh when taking the steps to care for an aging senior. And, while we are a homecare services provider, we are also very transparent that home care isn’t for everyone. It is imperative that seniors not feel isolated, which can lead to depression, anxiety, failure to thrive, or exacerbate dementia and other health conditions. 

There are social and emotional costs for both home and assisted living care, and many of these decisions depend on the family structure, accessibility to peers and favorite locations/activities, relationship with the home or neighborhood, etc. 

Would the senior prefer to age-in-place, or live in a larger retirement community? 

Statistics say that the majority of seniors choose to age in place if they have the choice, but that only represents the majority. Many seniors aren’t interested in bringing people into their homes to help them. They would rather move to a new place, get situated in their room or small apartment, and begin taking advantage of the “amenities in one place” lifestyle. 

It’s a personal choice and only a good conversation can establish which version is best. 

Is there an active family and friend network at play? 

The family structure matters a great deal. If there is a healthy family, friend, and neighbor network available, bringing care into the home makes the most sense. Seniors get to age-in-place, in the comfort of their own home, and they can still have lots of social interaction with family, friends, or neighbors. The same holds true if s/he is an active member of local clubs, spiritual groups, volunteer organizations, etc. 

If seniors have sacrificed their keys and can no longer drive, home care agencies can provide a caregiver a few times a week to act as a driver and then help out with other errands, shopping, or activities that are harder for your loved one to handle on his/her own, eventually increasing care services as wanted or needed over time. 

Is the senior more introverted by nature? 

If your loved one is more of an introvert, preferring to spend most time quiet and alone by choice – rather than necessity – moving into an assisted living community may be traumatic. Innate introverts and homebodies typically fare much better when family caregivers minimize transitions and keep visitors and activities focused on the familiar. 

What Are The Projected Memory Care Needs? 

If you are interested in memory care for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can go either way. Memory care facilities (much different from assisted living communities that have “memory care” services or wings, are exceptional at providing care that aligns with the foremost research pertaining to dementia care and treatment.  

That said, memory care centers cost notably more than the average assisted living communities because every resident eventually requires acute care and assistance. Most cost closer to that $90K+ price tag listed for nursing home facilities. 

If your loved one isn’t interested in moving to a memory care facility in the early to mid stages of the disease, look for home care providers who specialize in memory care, including mid to late stage dementia care, and who also offer live-in care services in case those are necessary. 

We’re Here WhenYou’re Ready

Would you like to learn more about the cost of home care services and the types of services available to Bay Area seniors in their homes? Contact us at HomeAide Home Care and schedule a free, in-home assessment.

Senior Care Resources In The Bay Area

senior care resources in the bay area

Bay Area residents are fortunate to have an impressive array of options when it comes to senior care resources. From home care and adult day care options and providers to transportation support, meal delivery, and support groups – there is a myriad of agencies and organizations dedicated to making your life easier. 

Our List For Top Bay Area Senior Care Resources 

Here are 7 of our favorite organizations that serve seniors in the Bay Area. They can be especially helpful if you are a spouse or family caregiver who is sandwiched between the demands of caring for your senior loved one and your job or children who still live at home. 

Bay Area home care agencies 

Licensed home care agencies in the Bay Area can provide invaluable support to seniors and their caregiving loved ones. Yes, we are available to provide care full-time or live-in, around the clock support. More often than not, however, we simply help to fill in the gaps for spouses or the family team of caregivers.  

We can provide errand running and shopping/grocery delivery. We can provide respite care when you need a break, or work just a day or three a week to relieve the regular caregiver(s). Our agencies are here to listen to your needs and fill those gaps with compassionate professionals. 

Your local senior center can help with senior care resources  

Do a search online for the local senior center(s) in your immediate community. First and foremost, these centers have their fingers on the pulse of senior resources within their immediate proximity. Plus, they offer their own social events and community meals that help seniors get out of the house and engage with others

While we’ve provided recommendations based on our knowledge and experience in and around our own and our clients’ communities and neighborhoods, senior centers often know about smaller or lesser-known senior care resources that aren’t on our radar. 

Meal delivery services 

If your senior loved one lives alone, or with a partner who also requires some level of caregiving, undernourishment is a real threat. Meal planning, shopping, and cooking require a substantial level of energy. If dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other age-related disabilities are in the mix, eating three healthy meals a day becomes an even greater challenge – but is of the utmost importance for managing those conditions. 

Here are a few suggestions: 

If you have plenty of family living nearby, this can also be a great way for everyone to contribute to their beloved senior’s wellbeing. Have a family meeting and brainstorm ideas for senior meal planning. The ultimate goal is to ensure seniors have nutritious and delicious meals that are easy to heat up and that align with any relevant healthcare recommendations. 

Encourage everyone to make extras and freeze them or deliver them with clearly marked labels as to what they are and how to heat (masking tape and sharpies are perfect for this). Or, consider using free, online platforms such as Meal Train to create a meal calendar and delivery schedule. 

Here are some links to help you get started: 

Adult day care centers 

Adult day care centers allow primary caregivers to go to work every day, observe routine appointments, get some weekday respite care, or enjoy a few hours off to catch up on rest, self-care, or much-needed social time with other friends and family. The following is a list of some of the most reputable adult day care centers around the Bay. 

Live Oak Adult Day Center (San Jose) 

DayBreak Adult Care Centers (12 Locations around the Bay Area) 

Mt. Diablo Center for Adult Day Health Care (Pleasant Hill) 

Mental health & grief support  

The Institute on Aging has incredible mental health and grief support options for homebound seniors. The mental health professionals who work with seniors have niche expertise in many of the areas that trouble seniors most, including: 

  • Isolation 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Grief 
  • Cognitive decline 

While their services used to be provided in the home, technological platforms are used as much as possible to support social distancing when needed. If your senior loved one isn’t already familiar with tech, we recommend getting him/her a senior-friendly tablet to support their process. 

Read How to Support Seniors with Technology for additional tips on creating more successful tech transitions. 

 Your local hospice provider 

Hospice is an incredible organization with an often mistaken identity. For many, the idea of “going on hospice” is the equivalent of saying, “I’m dying…” That is not the case. We’ve learned through experience that hospice clients benefit most when they sign up for available services months or even a year or so before death would be on the horizon. From in-house social services and therapeutic support, to comfort care and immediate delivery of home hospital equipment that makes life easier, hospice can help home caregivers in exponential ways. 

If your loved one has any terminal medical diagnosis (cancer, COPD, dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc.), schedule a consultation with a few local hospice organizations to learn more about their services. 

We feel the same way about home care. The earlier you begin researching your options and learning more about the home care agencies near you, the more informed you’ll be when it is time to make a decision or enlist the next level of care for your loved one.  

Transportation support 

Is your senior facing the reality that it’s no longer safe to drive? That’s a difficult transition to make because, for most, it feels like the end of independence and autonomy. Help your senior loved one embrace that transition by offering transportation services s/he can use on his/her own. 

Visit the Institute on Aging’s Bay Area Guide to the Best Transportation for Seniors, which has an independent transportation option for a variety of senior needs. 

We’re Here To Help You

The caregivers here at HomeAide Home Care, Inc. have decades of experience serving Bay Area seniors and their families. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and can answer any questions you may have about the types of services that make the most sense for your loved one. Contact us today to schedule your free, in-home assessment. 510-247-1200. 

Stress Relief For Caregivers

stress relief for caregivers

Caregiver burnout is no small thing. No matter how much you love the patient, the physical, emotional, and mental challenges demanded of you by daily caregiving take their toll. This is why it’s so important to make stress relief and self-care a regular part of your caregiving routine. In fact, we believe it should be part of every caregiver’s job description. 

First, Let’s Define Self-Care 

Somehow, the term “self-care” has become synonymous with mani/pedi and massages. Those are absolutely wonderful things and should absolutely become a part of your self-care regimen if possible. However, self-care means so much more than that. It starts with the basics and then reaches out into the less tangible realms.  

For example, self-care refers to: 

  • Eating well to nourish your body and mind 
  • Establishing healthy sleep habits 
  • Getting daily exercise (preferably via some time spent outdoors) 
  • Practicing stress management (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, deep breathing, stretching, etc.) 
  • Learning to say, “no,” to give yourself extra time 
  • Recognizing the signs of caregiver fatigue/burnout so you can honor them 
  • Asking for the help you need 
  • Getting emotional/mental/spiritual support from professionals or others 
  • Practicing gratitude 

We could go on and on, but this list represents a foundation for true, nourishing self-care. From there, you can expand with whatever other wonderful treatments, healing modalities, or luxuries time and money permits. 

Make a healthy diet a priority for some stress relief 

If you don’t nourish your body with the right foods, you’ll be running on empty – and that’s not good for you or your client. Make healthy meals and snacks a priority. There are so many ways to make that happen, including with your client or loved one.  

We’ve written multiple posts pertaining to meal planning, nutrition, and so on. We are a homecare provider in the Bay Area, so our posts are geared towards seniors. However, when it comes to food, nutrition, and meal planning – the tenets are universal. Feel free to read any of the following: 

Practice healthy sleep habits 

Your body needs to rest well, and habitually, to restore energy, maintain hormone balance, and to keep your immune system healthy. If you are not getting the rest you need, it will take its toll on your overall health. 

Visit AARP’s post, 4 Tips For Better Sleep While Caregiving. Also, plenty of natural daylight by day and then a lights-out sleeping environment help the body’s natural circadian rhythm – one more reason why exercising outdoors is a good idea. We also invite you to our post about aromatherapy and how it can support relaxation, good sleep, and daytime energy. 

Make sure you’re exercising 

Exercise is about far more than weight management or cardio, it’s about clearing the mind, detoxing, getting rid of unhealthy stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, etc.), burning excess anxious/worried energy, and just making you plain feel good.  

Getting outside into Mother Nature while you do it is a win-win, but indoor exercise is most certainly better than no exercise.  

Actively practicing stress management 

From a yoga or meditation class or morning time spent in deep prayer to gadget-based mindfulness apps that can be used with headphones – there are so many ways to practice stress management. 

We have caregivers who set alarms hourly, or three times a day, to remind them to take deep breaths and center. You can make a conscious effort to get outside during the day – or night – to basque in the wonders of mother nature and let anxious thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Perhaps you join a mindfulness group, or you find that gardening is the way to stress relief for you.  

It doesn’t matter how – what matters is that you are actively becoming aware of your stress levels and finding the tools to reduce them.  

Learning to say, “NO” to avoid caregiver fatigue and burnout 

We have yet to meet a caregiver who has solid boundaries from the start, especially when they are spouse/family-based caregivers. However, learning to say, “no,” is one of the best and healthiest gifts you’ll ever give to yourself and your client/loved one. Overextending yourself is always a recipe for burnout. Period. If you want to be the best caregiver you can, then you must honor your own body/needs first (remember the oxygen mask analogy?).  

It can be hard to say, “no” or to cancel plans involving something you love or “want” to do – but if your body or inner-resistor is asking you to say, “no” or bow out – please listen to and honor that wise voice. It’s your own, inner-caregiver trying desperately to do his/her job of taking care of you

Ask for the help you need 

Micromanagement is another very common facet of a caregiver. Even if you weren’t a micromanager before, it is a tendency to believe that your way is the best (and only) way and that without you the world will crumble. Even if the world doesn’t run as perfectly or neatly as you’d like, you can’t do it all without compromising yourself. 

Ask for the help you need and accept the help that is offered to you. This might include: 

  • Arranging respite care or regular breaks from caregiving 
  • Utilizing adult daycare centers in your area 
  • Asking family, church, friends, etc. to start a meal train for you (certain days? One day a week? Every day?) 
  • Hire a housekeeper or cleaner to keep up on chores 
  • Start a GoFundMe for family/friends to contribute to your cause 
  • Working with professional caregivers to take on some of the harder tasks for you 
  • Finding someone to take on night shifts for you so you can get a good night’s sleep 

Seek mental/emotional support 

Finally, we find that all caregivers benefit from intentional mental and emotional support. You are doing incredible work and only other caregivers truly understand the effects that work has on your body, mind, and spirit. 

We highly recommend that you find a way to share your experience with others, which can be immensely empowering and restorative. Examples include: 

  • Working with a regular therapist who has experience serving overworked caregivers 
  • Looking for caregiver support groups online or in your area (there is so much wisdom and compassion to be found there) 
  • Keep your feelers out and connect with others who are in the role of caregiver in your neighborhood, religious community/church, or extracurricular organizations. Even a weekly or bi-monthly Zoom or FaceTime Coffee/tea talk can provide such solace.  
  • Try connecting with your local senior center to see if they offer a support group to have caregiver connections in your neighborhood. 

Let Us Bring In Some Stress Relief

Could you benefit from some serious stress relief for caregivers? The caring and experienced staff at HomeAide Home Care Inc. are here to help. Our qualified caregivers can provide welcome respite care relief as well as weekly or monthly support to make sure you are getting much-deserved rest and time off. Contact Us to learn more at 510-247-1200.

How To Support Seniors With Technology

how to support seniors with technology

Social isolation and lack of connection are especially challenging for seniors. And, the current pandemic is making it harder than ever for seniors to safely navigate the public arena. As a result, we’ve been doing all we can to support senior clients with technology, as they learn to use a gadget and the video and social platforms that keep them connected to loved ones, friends, and the world-at-large. 

For example, technology provides multiple ways to personally engage with loved ones – even when they live hundreds or thousands of miles away. And, if you are in The Sandwich Generation, taking care of both aging parents and a family at home – you’ll appreciate that tech-savvy seniors rely less on immediate caregivers when they are able to connect with other friends, family, book clubs, and other support groups. 

Tips To Support Senior Success With Tech 

That said, technological glitches are discouraging, so you need to provide ample support to seniors who haven’t had experience with computers or tablets in the past. For seniors with cognitive decline, or who experience high levels of stress due to sheltering-in-place mandates, are more susceptible to frustrated or angry outbursts that can make them quit before they’re fully launched. 

With the right support, a senior-friendly gadget, and ample, guided practice, your senior will be on his/her way. 

Purchase a senior-friendly gadget 

Less is definitely more is seniors are on the beginning side of the technology spectrum. To that end, tech manufacturers intentionally design senior-friendly tablets and gadgets that keep things as simple as possible. 

Examples include: 

In addition to ease of use, these tablets have built-in accessibility features like larger user interfaces, easy volume adjustment, and they have live support available enabling seniors to get the help they need when they need it. 

Provide a list of senior-friendly tech support resources 

There are several Bay Area, senior-friendly tech support resources available online, via the phone, and in-person. Print a list of them and tape it somewhere visible, so your loved one has help available when s/he needs it.  

Examples include: 

Encourage your loved one to take these organization’s online tech classes (another great way to keep those neurons firing!) and get familiar with their gadget. The more they learn to do for themselves, the less they’ll need to call you for real-time tech support. 

Encourage syncing connection time with companion time 

The ideal scenario is to have someone on hand to help when seniors need it. While that isn’t always possible, scheduling a companion to come by once or multiple times per week yields exponential benefits. In addition to providing human-to-human connection, your companion can provide general support with most tech issues, OR your companion/caregiver can help seniors make the calls or online connections they need to solve the problem. 

BONUS: Syncing your connection time to hours when a loved one’s companion or caregivers is present gives you a chance to get to know the caregivers better. Our caregivers have nothing but positive things to say about how client “video chats” with family and friends have supported their bonding process with the client, deepening their connection because it feels more like being part of a family. 

Foster a positive relationship with technology to support seniors 

If your senior is new to the tech world, texting and emailing may be more challenging. However, video chats are a wonderful way to positively bring our elders into the technological world.  

To begin, we recommend scheduling a weekly (or daily, if your schedule allows it) meal or snack time. Seeing your face and hearing your voice, while both of you enjoy a meal, a drink, or a snack together, can feel almost like the real thing. 

This strategy is a win-win because social isolation can result in loss of appetite or unhealthy eating patterns, along with depression and anxiety. The satisfaction and heartwarming anticipation of weekly meal dates can literally transform a senior’s landscape, giving him/her something to look forward to each week, while allowing you to see him/her “in person,” which is the best way to assess senior wellbeing. 

Help them set up apps that align with their interests 

It’s best to start simply to avoid overwhelm. So, we don’t advise going too app crazy. However, there are plenty of apps that support senior connection, fun, engagement, learning, creativity, and wellbeing. 

Depending on their interests and needs, there are all kinds of apps that open the world to homebound seniors: 

  • Audible and/or text-based reading apps 
  • Games (cards, dominoes, board games, etc.) and puzzles 
  • Art apps 
  • Senior Blogs 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Telehealth apps from their healthcare providers 
  • Health apps such as Blue Button from Medicare 
  • Crossword, number puzzle, and word game apps 

Playing games, reading, or being read to, working on puzzles, creating art – all are available with the download of an app.  

Spend “time” with tech savvy grandchildren  

There are so many benefits from seniors spending time with their grandchildren, and bonding through tech is right up the 21st-century grandchild’s alley. Visit our post, 8 Ways to Connect With Grandchildren Online, and see if your kids are inspired by any of the suggestions. 

If nothing else, we bet your tech-savvy children, teens, and young adults could be the go-to tech support for their grandparents or elder relatives when needed, providing a win-win for both sides. 

Is your senior loved one starved for company and something to do while sheltering in place? The Caregivers here at HomeAide Home Care are available to help as much or as little as you like. We observe stringent health protocols and while they aren’t designated tech experts, our caregivers are certainly happy to support seniors with technology in any way they can. 

We’re Here To Support Seniors Any Way We Can

Contact us to schedule a free in-home assessment or to learn more about home care services and how they enhance senior health, wellbeing, and quality of life. 

Parents Caregiving For Parents: Support For The Sandwich Generation

parents caregiving for parents support for the sandwich generation

Are you a member of The Sandwich Generation? If so, you are probably working full time, taking care of aging parents, and still serving in the role of mom or dad to children who still live at home. That’s a tough order.  

To put it in perspective, the American Psychological Association (APA) has reported that women in the Sandwich Generation feel more stress than any other group due to their exponential caregiver expectations. 

Adults taking care of their children and aging parents often feel pulled in two different directions: 

  • Do you answer the call from your aging parent or do you relax and enjoy the rest of your child’s recital? 
  • Should you reschedule your own doctor’s appointment again to honor a specialist appointment for your parents? 
  • Is it okay to leave a mom or dad with early-stage Alzheimer’s home alone for an hour or two to get the errands run as quickly as possible? Or will that end up in disaster? 

If you aren’t careful, you can burn out quickly, which has a negative impact on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.  

The Sandwich Generation Needs All The Support It Can Get! 

Unfortunately, most caregivers prioritize everyone’s needs but their own, and this is the exact opposite of how it should be. When you aren’t healthy, happy, and taking care of yourself, you are simply not able to provide quality care to the ones you love.  

Don’t ever consider “taking care of yourself” to be a selfish act. It is a gift that keeps on giving to those who depend on you.  

So, in deep appreciation for all that you do to care for your parents and your children, we’ve compiled a list of ways to support yourself as a noble member of the Sandwich Generation. 

Implement a regular schedule of respite care 

Respite care means that you are free to take some hours, a day, or even multiple days off so you can honor your personal calendar appointments. At the very minimum, we recommend booking respite care once a week or, at the very least, once per month.  

If you have other family members or family friends interested in providing respite care, you can set up a SignUp Genius for free and have a regular rotation. Professional respite care is also available from licensed home care agencies in your area. 

Consider adult day care options 

Adult day care centers operate similarly to child day care centers. They provide a safe, fun, and interactive space for seniors to get together. Some even specialize in memory care, making them a safe place for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.   

Read the AARP’s article, Adult Day Care: What Family Caregivers Need to Know, which provides a wonderful explanation of the service as well as how to find qualified adult day care options in your area. 

Join an in-person or online support group 

As this post goes to press, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing ordinance. As a result, in-person support groups may not be an option for you. However, there are plenty of online support group options available. 

Our clients repeatedly comment on how much it has helped them to communicate with others who understand exactly what they’re going through. It makes you feel less alone. Plus, support groups give you the chance to get creative, expert, and “I’ve been there” ideas from people who are on the same journey as you. 

Click Here to view a long list of caregiver support groups to find one near you, including support groups for the LGBTQ caregiving community, or to join an online group. Professional therapists can also be a wonderful resource, helping you to manage stress and cultivate self-care tools as you navigate the hurdles along the caregiving way. 

If you’re part of the sandwich generation make time for the basic tenets of a healthy, active lifestyle 

Skipping meals, substituting healthy food for quick-and-dirty snacks, and putting off your daily exercise plan is the absolute worst thing you can do to support yourself. And, the same is true for your children and your parent(s). 

Here are some ideas our clients use to honor their health in addition to their caregiving duties: 

  • Have mom/dad over for a weekend afternoon and spend time making multiple, easy-to-store, and reheat meals for the week. Some can go home with your parent(s) and the rest remain in your fridge for easy dinners. 
  • Don’t have time to make food? Meal delivery services abound, so take advantage of them. You can have takeout delivered from your favorite restaurants via DoorDash or from meal boxes, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron
  • Exercise together using any one of a number of YouTube videos from famous instructors. Your parent(s) can do senior-centric exercises such as chair yoga or exercises with the walker, while you search for exercise programs designed for your interest and abilities. 
  • Take time each day to get outside and take a walk, look at the sky or the trees, spend some time in the garden, or simply sit on the porch sipping a cup to tea. 
  • Convert from readable to audible. If you’re an avid reader, utilize platforms such as Audible.com, so you can listen to the books while driving, cleaning, running errands, etc., that you don’t have time to sit down and read anymore.  

Make sure everyone is pulling their weight 

Remember when you put your five year old’s rain boots on, only to realize s/he had been able to put them on him/herself for two full years already? It may be time to take stock of who is capable of doing what to help out. 

  • Could a licensed teen/20-something take a turn taking his/her grandparent to the doctor? Or do the grocery shopping? Help out with dinner? 
  • Might your out-of-town/state family members take on the meal delivery coordination for your parents, which can easily be organized and paid for online? 
  • Are there extra household chores the kids can pick up to lighten your load now that you’re more actively involved in caring for their grandparents? 
  • Can other family members split or take over the adult day care or respite care bills to do their share since you do the majority of the physical, day-to-day, and logistical caregiving? 
  • Are you able to afford housekeeping help so you can spend more time relaxing at home? Even bi-monthly visits can yield extra free time for you. 
  • Have you considered using a part-time, senior caregiving service, with the costs split between your parents, yourself, and any sibling(s)?  

Learning to ask for help – or demand a fair share of help – is often essential to getting your support needs met.  

When You’re Ready For A Break

Are you looking for licensed respite care, home care, or other senior services provided by compassionate seniors in the comfort of your home – or your parent’s home? Schedule a free, in-home assessment with HomeAide Home Care