Fighting the Salt Habit: Weapons to Help Seniors Win

Has your senior loved one’s doctor recently said that it’s time to cut out the salt for the sake of health?

Many seniors are encouraged to reduce their salt intake for a variety of health reasons, including blood pressure control, better kidney function, improved congestive heart failure, reduced edema, and other conditions.

Many people struggle with the thought of their salt being “taken away”. They are afraid that their food will no longer taste good. For many seniors, taste sensation is already dulled so removing salt can result in poor intake and weight loss.

Ways To Reduce Salt from the Diet but Keep Flavor

  1. Remove the salt shaker but in its place add a pepper grinder. You can buy an inexpensive pepper grinder in the grocery store. Freshly ground pepper is more flavorful than pre-ground pepper.
  2. Use lemon juice squirted on your food – it tickles the tongue in the same way salt would. Add it to many different foods, not just fish, including vegetables, a glass of water, pork, and salads to name a few.
  3. Use seasoning blends such as Mrs. Dash, lemon pepper (salt free), and others. Remember, it is important to read the labels on these seasoning blends because some contain salt as the first (and largest) ingredient.
  4. Make your own seasoning blends. We will have a couple of recipes at the end to get you started.
  5. Buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned and add your own touches, such as onions, garlic, dill and cilantro.
  6. Avoid salted and cured meats, such as cold cuts, bacon, sausage, and ham. Some of these items can be purchased with lower sodium.
  7. Avoid foods that are salted, such as pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and any that you can see the salt on top, such as pretzels, chips, nuts and crackers. Many of these can be found in salt free varieties. Be careful with sauces such as hot, tabasco and soy, which are often high in salt.
  8. Avoid packaged products and canned foods such as soup that are high in salt. Many of the lower salt versions are still too high in salt.
  9. Read food labels carefully, looking for sodium content and salt or sodium as the largest ingredients. Try to find foods that have 300 mg or less of sodium per serving.
  10. Don’t use salt in cooking, especially for potatoes and pasta water. Any alternate seasonings can be added as needed once you taste the food.

Try to make changes slowly if your senior currently uses salt freely. It may take a little time to get used to not having salt and adjusting to newer flavors. It is important to try many different seasonings and herbs that can enhance the flavor of your senior’s favorite foods. There are a large variety of fresh and dried spices available that will add zing to your senior’s foods. Once your senior’s taste buds adjust, having foods with salt will become distasteful.

Recipe for Salt Replacement Seasoning Blend #1:

  • 1/2 c. onion powder
  • 3/4 c. dried parsley flakes
  • 3 tbsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp. basil leaves

Mix ingredients together and use in place of salt. Add to holed shaker.

Recipe for Salt Replacement Seasoning Blend #2:

  • 6 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 Teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

Grind all ingredients well in a grinder, food processor or blender. Put the blend into a holed shaker.

Good luck helping your senior loved one break the salt habit. Joining them in reducing salt intake might just make it less likely we’ll get the same instruction from our doctor some day!

Here are some low salt cookbooks and salt substitutes (affiliate links) we have found. Take a look and see if there’s something that helps you make the break.

Struggles of Family Caregivers as Told in One’s Moving Story

Being a family caregiver, especially to aging senior loved ones (or even not loved ones), is often described as rewarding and exhausting, confusing and frustrating, a joy and a burden.

The National Family Caregivers Association, AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving report there are more than 65 million people in the US, which accounts for 29% of the population caring for disabled, chronically ill and older family members. The value of the care provided by family members was valued at $375 million for 2009.

Caregivers are estimated to be 66% women with men acting as primary caregivers quickly on the rise. More than 37% of the women have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them and find themselves the middle layer of a triple decker sandwich.  In addition, 51% of care recipients live in their own home, 29% live with their family caregiver, and 4% live in nursing homes and assisted living.

We have explored in our video You Might Be a Family Caregiver the reality that so many people don’t look upon themselves as being a caregiver but merely doing the things they know will help their family members.

One Family Caregiver’s Brave & Truthful Story

Recently I read a new book entitled Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir, which was written by family caregiver Martha Stettinius. In the book she details her journey, caring for her mother afflicted with dementia. The story covers the changes in their relationship, her caregiving experiences, her learning not only about the disease and its treatments but also how to best deal with the change in her mother by the disease, how she navigated the maze of options and financial difficulties encountered and faced the unexpected alterations in the woman she knew and loved.

I found this to be a moving story about how she achieved a greater and deeper respect for the woman her mother has become and came to understand the woman she was all along. Another interesting aspect about this book is the way Ms. Stettinius intertwined the mental and physical changes in each stage of Alzheimer’s disease with her approach to her mother so that readers struggling with the same challenges might be able to improve their own journey. Her brave and truthful story of both the mistakes made and successes celebrated as well as how she struggled to maintain balance in her own family caring for her children with the support of her spouse will help others as they find themselves in similar circumstances.

Family caregivers need to remember that no matter how difficult the day to day routine becomes, the number of daily duties that must be accomplished and the ongoing balancing act between work, family, kids and marriage there must be time set aside for caring for themselves. Building a strong network to help you care for your senior loved one so that you can care for yourself isn’t just a cliché but a duty so that you can be the best caregiver for your senior.

There are several books that you might want to check out in Senior Care Corner Bookstore, including the one above.

Windows 8: A Tech Gift to Seniors and Family Caregivers?

Is Windows 8 the next great thing? For many seniors – and the family caregivers who have been trying to get them online – that just may be the case.

Why so? What about Windows 8 gives it the potential to be something special for many seniors? The two biggest things are the availability (finally) of touchscreen computing on mainstream, large screen computers and a user interface that makes it easier to get to what you want to do on the computer.

We should probably make it clear up front there is NO compensation involved in our discussion of Windows 8. Our interest is in helping family caregivers identify and learn about tools which may help make better the lives of senior loved ones. Based on what we’ve seen and read so far about Windows 8, we put it in that category.

Many Seniors Not Yet Online

It thrills us to see that seniors are jumping online in greater numbers every day, with many of them using Facebook and other social networking sites. What they’re doing online is a topic for another day. Today’s topic is a potential tool to get even more of our elder family members active online.

There are still millions of seniors not online and lots of reasons behind that – – including many who have no interest even after family members try to convince them of the benefits. We have heard from a number of seniors and family members who say usability is a limiting factor. Computer keyboards are not friendly to some aging fingers and touchscreen smartphones are just too small to be practical for many of them. Complexity of access is also named as an issue. While operating systems are vastly more user-friendly than in the early days of personal computing, it could be easier to find and do what we want on the Windows-based computers most people use at work and at home.

Many seniors – as well as a number of their juniors – have taken a liking to tablets (of which the iPad and Kindle Fire are top sellers) as a way to access the web and especially social networking sites. Tablets offer touch control and ease of access over most PCs, as well as a much more user-friendly screen size compared to smartphones – though their size advantage over smartphones is diminishing.

Windows 8 to the Rescue?

Not quite, as it’s going to need some help in order get all the benefits it offers. On top of that, if history is any indication there will be reports of bugs, as few packages are in perfect shape when shipped and previous versions of Windows have been poster children for “not perfect.” Still, it does offer some great benefits that can help us get senior loved ones active online.

  • Touchscreen capability – Yes, this is the big one, providing great capability without the need (or with minimal need) to use the keyboard. The “big” difference between other common touchscreen devices is the size of the screen that can be used to operate the device through touch.  From ultrabooks through desktop monitors and all-in-ones, there are likely to be screen sizes to meet all needs.
  • Easy-to-Use Interface – The applications used most often, which may be all the applications used for some people, can be laid out on the home screen, just a touch away. We really like this feature when we saw Windows 8 in action, though admittedly not nearly as much as the touchscreen access.
  • Compatibility with Family Members’ PCs – Most people still use Windows-based computers at work and/or home, something that’s not likely to change soon, especially with this move made by Microsoft. Sure, it may be a while before Windows 8 is adopted on many existing computers but we expect it is just a matter of time. In the meantime, we are still looking at compatibility between the software used on computers running new and older versions.

We recognize there are already computing devices with touch capability on larger screens and ease of access, most targeted to seniors. We have touted and praised some of them in the past for helping to fill the need. For whatever reason those devices never hit the mainstream the way, though, at least not nearly in the way, Microsoft’s new offering does.

Touchscreen Capabilities Require New Laptops or Monitors

For all the features of Windows 8, it needs some help from your computer to activate the most important feature, touch capability. The laptop or monitor used has to be designed with touch capability built into it as well. For most people that means buying new equipment. Not surprisingly, manufacturers with names big and small have raced to roll out new laptops of all sizes, new desktop computers and all-in-ones (computer and monitor in one) specially designed to make use of touchscreen capability.

Yes, this means an added expense to get the benefits we’ve outlined. It looks like the new equipment covers all price ranges, though, so there should be something for all pocketbooks. All these devices come pre-loaded with Windows 8, of course, so that cost is built into the price.

Many seniors not currently active online don’t have computers in their homes, so investment in some device would be needed to give them access to the web. Given it’s so hard to pick out gives for our senior loved ones, maybe WE got a holiday gift from Microsoft as well.

Hmmm…is it merely coincidence Windows 8 is being rolled out just before the holiday shopping season?

We are going to be watching the reports on Windows 8 and the new touchscreen devices, not to mention upgrading our own computers as well (maybe not all at once!), and will report back to you on what we read, hear and see for ourselves. In the meantime, we wanted to make you aware of the potential benefits to the lives of senior loved ones.

Change of Seasons with Seniors: Creating & Sharing Remembrances

Most of the US is moving slowly – some places more quickly – into autumn.

Leaves are showing their glory in colors of red, oranges, golden yellow, rust and maroon. The air is getting crisp and cool. The air puts forth smells frequently of burning smoke.

Some of us may be gathering around the campfire to roast marshmallows or make s’mores with our family. Others of us may be picking apples, attending harvest festivals or watching football games.

There are many family activities that we all enjoy as the season marches on offering us ways to reminisce with our senior loved ones. We can stroll down memory lane sharing stories of seasons long ago at the same time we make new memories.

Activities for Families to Bring Back Old Memories and Create New Ones

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch, bring home a pumpkin and together carve a funny face; then light it up. Save the seeds for roasting and pass the bowl around!
  2. Take a trip to your local park and walk or drive along a path less taken enjoying the crunch of the leaves and chill in the air. Talk about when your parents or grandparents did this as a child-what stories can they tell?
  3. Enjoy a fall festival in your local community: church, school or organization. Play carnival games, bob for apples, toss a ball, taste some cotton candy or caramel apples and sip on some apple cider.
  4. Wrap up in a sweater and sit under the stars. Gaze at the moon and tell ghost stories.
  5. Octoberfest here we come! Is there a celebration for October near you? Check it out with your seniors. What are their favorite German foods? Can they dance a polka? Did they play an instrument growing up?
  6. Take your senior on a visit to a petting zoo with the (great-) grandkids. What stories can your senior tell the great-grands about animals-did they have a pet or own a cool animal while growing up like chickens or a horse? Did they have to feed it and clean up after it?
  7. Do some gardening! Now is a great time—few bugs and no heat! Clean out the planting beds, trim away dead leaves, plant flower bulbs and prepare your vegetable garden for spring. Now is a good time to start a compost pile.
  8. Rake leaves and play! Have a leaf fight or roll around in the pile!

When the family is gathered, now is a good time to snap some family photos to share and enjoy for years to come. Take every opportunity to have your senior express his or her memories in story form. You may want to record some of these precious stories on video or in print reminiscing with family members now and in the future

How do you plan to share the memories this fall? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Essential Family Caregiving Discussion This Holiday Season

Seniors, especially those with health, physical or memory issues, should sit down with the other adults in their families to openly discuss their needs and the roles of the rest of the family in assuring those needs are met. Unfortunately, those meetings – and the sharing of thoughts and feelings among family members – don’t happen nearly frequently enough.

The holiday season is a time many families come together from their dispersed homes into one place, some for the only time in the year – if not for multiple years – they see each other.

Put those two together and the opportunity becomes clear – family holiday gatherings are the time to gather to share their thoughts and discuss the hopes and needs of senior loved ones. Easier said than done, in part because the subject matter for those discussions consists of topics not easy for families to openly discuss with each other, particularly with the person who is the topic of those discussions. Not easy, maybe, but those meetings are essential, precisely because of that subject matter.

Those opportunities to get together to talk and their subject matter is the topic of the feature segment in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Podcast.

What makes those meetings essential? The caring the family members have for their senior loved one and their desire that her/his needs be met.

Essential maybe, but why the urgency to talk during the holiday season, which is probably overloaded with activity already? First, no time is too soon to make sure plans are in place for the care senior loved ones need or for each family caregiver to understand the role they can fill in providing that care – – and getting care for their own needs. Now is also a better time than later to address questions – and to get honest, thoughtful responses to those questions – that are better discussed in a calm setting rather in the stress-filled setting encountered if the decisions are put off too long.

Senior & Family Discussion Topics

  • Aging in place – whether it’s desired by the senior and practical for their life
  • Transition to long term care – planning and making it happen when and if appropriate
  • Family caregiving – identifying the role each family member will fill in meeting the needs of the senior loved one
  • Caring for the caregiver – assuring the needs of the caregivers themselves are met
  • Financial considerations – planning for the financial needs of the senior loved one
  • Contingencies – preparing for potential sudden changes in the health or ability of the senior loved one or one of their family caregivers
  • End of life – decisions and documentation of those decisions to assure their known and understood
  • Family communications – keeping everyone in the loop beyond the meeting

This is not an all-inclusive list of topics, nor do all these topics apply to each family’s situation. It’s our hope that the discussion in this episode will help family members understand the need for the discussion and to pick the topics that fit the needs of their senior loved one.

News Items in this Episode

  • Medicare Open Enrollment Begins
  • Eye Docs Must Do More to Spot Unsafe Older Drivers
  • More Men Caring for Aging Parents
  • NIH Funded Study to Test Pneumococcal Vaccine in Older Adults

Links Mentioned in this Episode

We hope you and your family will find this episode helpful in planning to meet the needs of your own senior loved ones.

Do you have a story to share with our community about a family meeting or other needs planning? We’d love to hear it in a comment to this post or on our Facebook wall.

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience

Seniors and Flu Season: What Family Caregivers Need to Know

Fall brings with it the holiday season and the notably less welcome flu season. Yes, it is that time of year again when we all need to get our flu shot, especially our senior loved ones who are more vulnerable to contracting the flu. Seniors are more at risk due to a greater likelihood of impaired immune systems.

It’s estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. You can have the flu without having a fever.

Common Flu Symptoms

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Don’t Become a Flu Statistic!

Because they are more susceptible and devastating complications may result, we have some tips for action provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  1. Get a flu shot! Encourage your senior and all who come in contact with them including home caregivers and family members to get one too.
  2. Take precautions to prevent the spread of illness such as covering your mouth during a cough, wash your hands frequently, and avoid people and places that might expose your senior to the illness. It is thought that the flu is spread in the air in coughs and sneezes, germs then land on surfaces and are picked up by our hands and spread when we touch our mouths, nose or eyes.
  3. If you think you or your senior are developing flu symptoms, contact the doctor quickly for treatment-the earlier the better.

If you get the flu, you can spread it to others even if you don’t feel sick. Anyone can get the flu at any age. Anyone can also spread the flu.

The flu can make chronic health problems worse, especially in older adults, so locate a provider near your senior to get a flu shot today. By the way, Medicare covers immunizations as a preventive care benefit. It could take two weeks after the shot to have full immunity so experts agree that the time is now before the main flu season hits with full force!

Don’t be afraid—experts tell us that the vaccine will not give you the flu and the vaccine is safe. You can discuss the complications with your doctor if you have a concern.

Alzheimer’s Genetic Testing and YOU – Survey Results are In!

Would you want to know?

Recently we came across a research endeavor that followed family members with a genetic link to Alzheimer’s. Many in the study were afraid to join, they didn’t want to know what was coming after watching several family members deal with the currently untreatable disease and eventually lose them to the fight. Others with whom we talked had similar ideas.

Do we really want to know when there is no cure – at least not yet – and few effective treatments?

This dilemma intrigued us enough to ask you for your opinions. We put out this survey to our community of family members and other caregivers to get your insights about this issue.

The results of the survey are not surprising to us but further point to the need to fight Alzheimer’s Disease and work together across not only the United States but also in collaboration with the global community to find a cure.

Your Responses on Alzheimer’s Testing

Question 1: Knowing there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, if you could get a test that would indicate if you are more likely than average to develop the disease, would you want to be tested?

  • Yes, I would get tested 43.6%
  • Only if there is a history of Alzheimer’s in my family 31.3%
  • No, I would not get tested 18.3%
  • I just don’t know 12.8%

Question 2: If told there is a cure for Alzheimer’s, if you could get a test that would indicate if you are more likely than average to develop the disease, would you want to be tested?

  • Yes, I would get tested 87.3%
  • Only if there is a history of Alzheimer’s in my family 6.3%
  • No, I would not get tested 6.4%
  • I just don’t know 0.0%

Question 3: Do you have any thoughts on this survey you would like to share? (a sampling of the responses)

  • I would want to know and face any results head on, become informed and make changes if needed.
  • I have a fear of Alzheimer’s since it runs in my family. I have seen the effects of what it did to family members and my fear is if I knew I was destined to get it I wouldn’t be able to live my life the same anymore. I would always be thinking did I do this or that because of the disease.
  • Might be a good idea to ask for the reasons for the answers given; see how many people are driven by fear or a desire to make the most of the time they might have left.
  • I think it would be great to have those tests. Alzheimer’s is an awful disease.

There are many people who have experience with someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias and who might have a genetic link present and know firsthand the devastating toll this diagnosis can take on the affected person and their family. These people often feel that getting a diagnosis can mean a long, hard fought battle is ahead of them and may not want to know. Some may question if passing the gene on to the next generation is desired. Others want to become fully educated and prepare in advance as much as possible.

There are many advantages to knowing the diagnosis such as getting personal affairs in order, making end of life wishes known to all family and friends involved, making their home aging in place friendly for the functional changes coming, getting all the legal documents executed in advance and perhaps even making changes to live life to the fullest before cognitive changes hinder enjoyment.

There are pros and cons to both sides and naturally it is a personal decision to make within each family unit.

We thank you all for participating in our survey sharing your thoughts. Clearly an end to Alzheimer’s cannot come soon enough!

Retirement a Scary Idea Financially for Senior Loved Ones? If So…

Retirement is a subject of much anticipation for many of us who’ve not yet achieved it. We hope to finally be able to do some of the activities we have either put off or not had enough time for in the past.

More people these days are reaching the age of retirement, including our senior loved ones. 10,000 more people retire each day!

Economic hardship, stock market changes and lower interest rates have left many of us asking – often for both ourselves and our senior loved ones – “have we saved enough money to make our dreams come true or even just to live every day?”

Too many retirees and near-retirees are kicking themselves, realizing that thinking ahead when not yet seniors and making a savings or investment plan at that time would have been a good idea. Regrets won’t help us, of course, and there was always something more pressing on which to spend money in younger years. Hopefully, everyone who began a retirement plan when they were younger is finding their financial planning effective enough to meet their needs in retirement, especially when the recent downturn in the economy may have diminished their earnings. However, if your senior has not saved enough (or any) for retirement, it is not too late to take action now.

Social Security benefits for retirement begin for many at age 67, depending on the year you were born. Many seniors are opting to retire later and can earn a bit more money if they delay their benefits. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov about your individual situation. Hopefully none of our loved ones – especially those (and us) who’ve not yet retired – are relying totally on Social Security benefits, as it is impossible for most to keep their pre-retirement or desired post-retirement lifestyle without additional sources of funds.

Things Your Senior Can Do Now to Help Meet Retirement Needs

  1. Make a budget and manage debt. Making a personal plan for expenses and income will help prevent overspending and increased debt. Paying off current debt will allow money to be set aside for retirement investment now.
  2. Estimate how much money will be needed for retirement life, including rent or mortgage, bills, medical care, debt, etc. so that your senior will know how to proceed. While many planners and websites suggest a rule-of-thumb value of 70% of pre-retirement earnings, it’s much better to plan based on a realistic evaluation of one’s own needs.
  3. Don’t count on using your senior’s home equity to pay for day to day expenses because you can’t count on the value of the home remaining the same.
  4. Be aware that the average life expectancy may mean your senior loved ones will need more money as they live longer than prior generations.  Living to 100 years is not a rare occurrence anymore. A good rule of thumb is to plan for an additional 30 years of life after your retire at age 65, especially for those in good health at that time.
  5. You may want to offer to help your senior review any investments as they near retirement so that they can be sure that the balance of stocks, bonds, cash and mutual funds is in their favor. While this may be a sensitive subject for an aging parent or grandparent, expectations regarding investments from years past may not serve them well today.
  6. Plan for an average of 15% of a senior’s income – if not more – to be spent on healthcare. Even with Medicare there are numerous out of pocket expenses and premiums for which your senior will be responsible.

None of us should depend entirely on Social Security and Medicare to get us through our golden years, especially if we wish to live our dreams. Planning now – no matter what one’s age may be now – will help turn dreams into realities!

Knowledge is Power: Rights and Responsibilities in Long Term Care

Upon entering a long term care facility and becoming a resident, our senior loved ones are covered under the Resident’s Bill of Rights.

Last time we reviewed the role of a Long Term Care Ombudsman, who will help you and your senior receive the appropriate care and treatment as well as help you mediate any disputes with their new residence.

As your senior’s advocate – – and someone who cares about them – – it would be helpful to know your senior’s rights so that he or she gets the care and treatment to which they are entitled.

Long Term Care Resident’s Bill of Rights

  1. Medical Treatment – choose his own doctor;  get a complete list of all medical conditions in a form he can understand; participate in his own care throughout the treatment plan; be informed in advance of any change in the care or treatment plan that could affect his well-being; refuse to be involved in experimental tests and research; have his medical records treated with confidentiality and refuse to release his medical record to anyone outside the facility (except in the case of transfer to another facility or if it is required by law).
  2. Personal possessions – store her personal belongings securely; keep and use her possessions as long as they don’t interfere with another resident; manage her own personal finances (if the facility has been empowered in writing to manage her finances they must provide quarterly statements of funds).
  3. Personal Treatment – be treated with respect and dignity; be free from mental or physical abuse; be free from chemical or physical restraints unless ordered by a doctor;  be free from working for the facility unless it is part of the plan of care; only be transferred or discharged for medical reasons, the welfare of other residents ,  the welfare of your senior, or nonpayment  (a written notice with no less than 30 days must be given unless the safety and health of other residents are endangered); and written notice before a room change occurs.
  4. Communication – be informed in writing of fees and services of facility; have family members, relatives or legal guardians visit; or refuse to allow family, relatives or legal guardians to visit; send and receive mail privately; associate privately with people she may choose; meet with family members and legal guardians to discuss the facility; participate in social, religious and community activities unless prohibited by a medical order; view recent regulatory survey results; and communicate grievances without discrimination or reprisal.
  5. Personal Privacy – right to privacy during care; privacy when using phone; privacy for conjugal visits; share a room with a spouse unless doctor disagrees in writing in medical record; and use a private sitter from outside the facility (sitter must abide by facility policies and you can’t hold the facility liable for matters involving the sitter).

As is often the case, along with these rights come responsibilities.

Responsibilities of Your Senior Loved One and You

  1. Providing accurate and complete information about present complains, past illness, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters related to your senior’s health.
  2. Reporting perceived risks in your senior’s care and unexpected changes in his/her condition.
  3. Asking questions when it is not clear what your senior has been told or what your senior is expected to do.
  4. Following the care, service, or treatment plan developed; expressing any concerns about your senior’s ability to follow and comply with the proposed care plan or course of treatment.
  5. Your senior may be responsible for the outcome if he or she does not follow the care, service, or treatment plan.

We share this because we know that having expectations based on knowing rights and responsibilities makes it easier to know when the time is right to ask for assistance from your ombudsman.

Yes, knowledge IS power!