Do Today’s Seniors Want to Live to 120 Years Old? Do Younger Adults? Do You?

120 years old – if you could live that long is that what you would want?

America’s population continues to grow older, with one in five expected to be seniors by the year 2050.

Would you believe there are more than 50,000 centenarians – people at least 100 years old – already? That number continues to rise daily.

By all reports, we are going into our golden years much healthier than have past generations. We are fitter and have the benefit of medical advances which help keep us all well longer.

Every day we learn more ways to improve our lifestyles and diets to prevent chronic disease and are finding ways to stay physically active through the years in activities we enjoy. Not only are we learning, but there are signs even more of us are starting to put what we’ve learned into action and are living healthier lives.

Yes, we are taking better care of ourselves but do we want to live longer? A recent Pew Research study asked who wants to live decades longer.

The results may surprise you. We weren’t quite sure what to expect.

Living to 120 Not Favored or Widely Expected

  • Many Americans don’t look with favor on the prospect of living longer, according to the report. Many see the promise of advances in biomedical treatment but feel it could also be a bad thing.
  • When asked whether they personally want to live decades longer, 56% of the study respondents said “no” and only 38% said they would want to live that long. One survey question asked if they would want to undergo medical treatments to slow aging.
  • The same people were asked if most other people would want the same and the response was different. 68% thought others would want to live longer and only 27% thought they would not.
  • A majority of respondents stated that they thought that living longer would put a strain on the country’s natural resources and likely only be available to wealthy individuals due to the cost.

Make no mistake, the researchers point out that there is in reality no way to slow the aging process and extend our life expectancy to 120 years at this time, as the recent cover of National Geographic Magazine suggests with the cover headline “This Baby Will Live to Be 120.” However, research is currently underway to do just that.

Outlook on Aging and Medical Advances

Survey respondents also had interesting things to say regarding their outlook on aging and medical advances.

  • Participants were generally optimistic about their own aging process and health in the future. 81% say they are satisfied with the way their life is going and 58% feel that they expect their lives to be even better in ten years.
  • More than two thirds of those asked stated that the ideal life expectancy would be between 79 and 100 years. The median of 90 is 11 years longer than the current life expectancy in the United States – 78.7 years.
  • Seven in ten Americans are very optimistic about future medical advances including a cure for cancer in the next ten years.
    • 32%, said that prolonging life in general is good and not that it will interfere with the natural cycle of life.
    • 41% said current medical treatments often create as many problems as they solve.

The bottom line for those surveyed is that three out of four feel that the average person will not live to be 120 years old by 2050. These results are thought to be due in part to the skepticism on medical advancements perhaps due to inadequate knowledge on the status of research but also that everyone will not have access to medical advances due to finances.

Successful Aging Tips for Our Senior Loved Ones

Whether living longer means 120 year old or something less, we hear from many that it’s not the number of years in a life that’s is most important, rather the amount of life in those years.

Here are some tips to make those years better.

  1. Stay physically active, move more!
  2. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains including daily lean protein foods.
  3. Quit smoking!
  4. Get vaccinated on schedule including pneumonia, seasonal flu, and shingles immunizations.
  5. Regularly visit your doctor and get your preventative health screenings.
  6. Stay mentally engaged by participating in a variety of activities, including volunteering and technology.

What do you and your senior loved ones think about your aging process? Are you staying healthy? Do you have a positive outlook compared to your ancestors?

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Financial Abuse of Seniors: Regulators’ Guidance to Banks on Reporting Role

Seniors abused through exploitation of their finances, property or assets are targeted by people they know, including members of their family, caregivers, home contractors and financial advisers. That’s in addition to the scam artists and others we commonly think of as crooks.

Financial crime – abuse somehow doesn’t seem strong enough a word – by seniors’ loved ones and others in whom they place their trust has become the most common form of elder abuse. It’s believed only a small fraction of these crimes are reported, though, often out of embarrassment or fear that the targeted senior will be seen as incapable of managing their own affairs.

Financial abuse is typically difficult for family members to catch and stop unless they regularly review senior loved ones’ finances — insight into a personal and private world few of us would want to give. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could count on those who do have access to their financial records to be on the lookout for signs of abuse?

Maybe we can…

Role of Banks in Reporting Financial Abuse

Banks and other financial institutions that serve seniors are in a unique position to protect them by spotting signs of abuse in their accounts and transactions. Our financial records are subject to legal privacy protections, of course, but there are exceptions that allow banks to report suspected abuse.

Federal bank regulators and consumer protection agencies just issued guidance to financial institutions regarding the reporting of suspected abuse and how it fits under privacy laws.

The guidance notes that a number of state and federal governmental authorities encourage or even require reporting of information that indicates potential senior abuse. They note that sharing of this type of information is specifically permitted under appropriate circumstances with the need for normal notification of account holders. That notification, of course, may delay intervention on behalf of the senior or even tip off the abuser.

The agencies point out that exceptions to privacy restrictions specifically allow disclosures made in order to

  • “report incidents that result in taking an older adult’s funds without actual consent” or
  • “report incidents of obtaining an older adult’s consent to sign over assets through misrepresentation of the intent of the transaction.”

Signs of Potential Senior Financial Abuse

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department provided an advisory describing potential signs of senior financial exploitation that would be helpful to keep in mind for those who see the financial records of older loved ones or talk with them regularly.

Unusual banking behavior or changing patterns might be cause for suspicion.

  • Frequent ATM withdrawals, especially large ones
  • Account over-withdrawals when that has not previously been a problem
  • Failure to pay bills on a timely basis for those who always pay on time, which may indicate accounts that have been drained
  • Closing financial accounts without apparent reason for doing so
  • Credit or debit card transactions that seem unusual for older adults or inconsistent with the seniors’ history

Interactions with caregivers or others close to a senior might also trigger action to protect them.

  • Unusual interest in a seniors’ finances
  • A family member or caregiver who stays near the senior whenever they are talking with others
  • Fear exhibited toward a family member or other caregiver
  • A caregiver, friend or even family member starts conducting transactions on behalf of the senior
  • Senior loved ones who previously spoke openly about their finances become reluctant to discuss them
  • A sudden change in financial managers or shift to a new power of attorney without reasonable explanation

It’s good to hear that our seniors’ financial institutions have the ability or even obligation to look out for signs of financial abuse. All the same, we shouldn’t count on them to catch abusive activity but be watchful ourselves.

It doesn’t matter who catches and stops abuse of our senior loved ones if it should happen — just that somebody stops it.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Week 4: Resources for Family Caregivers

“Where can I learn more” and “where do I turn for help” are pleas heard from many family caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease. We’ve got answers to those pleas.

Family caregivers are once again the focus in this, the 4th and last (for this year) of weekly topics to mark Alzheimer’s Awareness Month on Senior Care Corner.

We hope we’ve helped you increase your knowledge of the disease, find ways to aid others who are battling the disease, especially family caregivers, and find ways to become an advocate for a cure!

This week we are discussing resources for family caregivers.

If you are a family caregiver, please know you are not alone. In 2012 there was an estimated 15.4 million caregivers providing more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care for someone affected by Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States alone.

We know that there are many joys and rewards that come with being a family caregiver and devoting yourself to your loved one. But with that, there are also frustrations, worries and exhaustion. There is help for you from a variety of sources and we encourage you to reach out for to assistance in meeting your needs to enable you be the best caregiver you can be for your loved ones.

What You Can Do Today!

  1. Learn all you can about Alzheimer’s Disease so that you are prepared for what is happening now and what will happen in the future. Understand the various stages and what that means for you as a caregiver.
  2. Get day to day help – don’t try to do it all yourself! Ask for help from your network: family, friends, community agencies, healthcare professionals, and church members.
  3. Get support! We will list the many ways you can get support below but remember sharing your questions, concerns and expertise with others will help you AND others so don’t think you are in this alone. Managing your stress will help you cope with whatever comes a bit better and hopefully prevent caregiver burnout.
  4. Make plans for the future – how will you continue to care for your loved one as the disease progresses? What if they require more help than you can provide? Have you completed advance directives, DNR forms, living will and a financial will yet? Plan to visit an elder care attorney to get the help you need to be sure all legal bases are covered for the requirements in your state.

Organizations That Can Help

  • Alzheimer’s Association – a wealth of knowledge and resources at your fingertips. Most states have their own organization in addition to the national association. They can provide other resources in many cases such as respite care when you need a break.

Family Caregiver Support

  1. Check out support groups that meet in your local area. People who care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia forms meet to share experiences, give emotional support, share advice and learn from guest speakers about a variety of topics of interest to family caregivers. The meetings often provide respite care for you to attend and participate without worrying about your loved one.
  2. Online support groups and message boards are a great way to share and learn from others over the computer when you have time. You connect at your convenience and gain support from others in the same position. There are a variety of websites that have message boards and support communities that you might find useful. One example is ALZConnected.
  3. Twitter and Facebook chats. If you are currently using social media, you know how easy it is to ‘meet’ people from all over the world and share information. There are also a variety of chats going on that are specific to those caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. You can check it out on twitter by following #alzchat or #carechat to name a few.
  4. Build your network. There are people all around you that are willing to help if asked, you just need to ask. Check out our post 10 Steps for Caregivers to Build a Strong and Effective Network.
  5. Seek spiritual guidance if you have a church affiliation. Your pastor or priest can offer you comfort in your time of need as well as the services of a spiritual outreach program.
  6. Online dementia caregiver training sessions are offered for caregivers to learn more and cope with day to day issues such as wandering, behaviors and eating.
  7. Area aging organizations, geriatric care managers, elder law attorneys, adult day programs, respite care, home care agencies, and healthcare organizations are good resources to seek out in your area to meet needs as they appear.

Family Caregiver Books

  • The 36-Hour Day, fifth edition: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss by Nancy Mace and Dr. Peter Rabins
  • Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence by Gail Sheehy
  • Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease by Joanne Koenig Coste
  • Creating Moments of Joy: A Journal for Caregivers, Fourth Edition By Jolene Brackey
  • Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul: Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, Community and the World (Chicken Soup for the Soul)By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, LeAnn Thieman L.P.N

We want to say thank you to all the family caregivers who are doing so much to help our nation’s seniors. You are doing invaluable work and we know it is a job you would not feel is a burden but a joy!

Remember, there are ways to make your journey a smoother one and we hope that these suggestions will help you and your loved ones.

Commission on Long Term Care Report Insights – Senior Care Corner Show

12 million Americans need long term care services, a number certain to grow as the nation ages. Who will provide those services and where will we get the dollars to cover the costs? Good questions.

In January 2013, Congress called for an effort to answer those questions by establishing the Commission on Long Term Care when it passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 to deal with the fiscal cliff.

The report issued by the Commission is the subject of your feature segment in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show.

Commission Report

In our feature segment we discuss some background on the Commissioners, their mission and their process so we hope you’ll listen to get all our insights.

They gave the Commission 15 members and 6 months to recommend a plan that answers the questions. Was that enough or did they hand the Commission too big a challenge?

Well, the Commission released their report, which made solid recommendations regarding caregiving but was unable to come together on a financial solution.

In other words, big questions remain.

There are some great points we see in the report, which could make it a tool for raising awareness of long term care needs and especially the key role played by family caregivers.

  • The value of unpaid long term care services provided by family caregivers far exceeds that provided by paid caregivers.
  • Seniors with Alzheimer’s will need long term care services for more years than other seniors – and one in eight seniors has Alzheimer’s, with that climbing to 40% of those over 85.
  • Without changes, the demand for caregivers will strain the supply. According to AARP, there are 7 potential caregivers for each adult 80+ years old today, a number that will fall to 4 for each one by 2030.

Commission on Long Term Care Recommendations

While the Commission was unable to agree on a full financial solution to meeting long term care needs, they did make a number of recommendations. These are a few of the key recommendations from the perspective of family caregivers.

  • A specific strategy should be developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to recognize and help strengthen the role of family caregivers in long term care.
  • Family caregivers should be integrated into the needs assessment and care planning processes.
  • Technology should be used more effectively to share information among providers, the individuals receiving long term care and family caregivers.
  • Along the lines of the emphasis on “caring for the caregiver” here at Senior Care Corner, the Commission calls for expansion of programs such as the provision of respite care for caregivers and other interventions that look address their needs.

Listen to this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show for more on the Commission on Long Term Care and its report, including insights into the less than overwhelming 9 to 6 vote that approved the report for release.

News Items in This Episode

  • Omega-3s Tied to Lower Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spinal Fluid Test May Aid Early Detection of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Depression with Diabetes May Speed Mental Decline
  • US Nursing Homes Reducing Use of Antipsychotic Drugs
  • Volunteerism May Lower Blood Pressure

All these and Kathy’s quick tip, “What to Do When Alzheimer’s Affects Sleep” in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show.

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Learn this and more about all of these topics in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show.

We hope you enjoy this episode and hope you find it informative.  Do you have comments or suggestions about the show or topics you’d like to hear us cover? Please leave a comment and let us know.

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

Majority of Seniors Online – But Are They Practicing Safe Surfing & Social?

Social networking successfully and safely requires a balancing act. By it’s nature it means sharing information but at the same time that sharing can hurt us. Between the things we share that maybe shouldn’t go online and those who are out there looking for anything they can use to make money – legal or otherwise – any online activity carries risk.

We can’t talk enough at Senior Care Corner about what we see as the importance to senior loved ones of getting them online and active on social media sites, especially those who are aging in place independently at home. The benefits justify urging them to take the leap if they aren’t already active on the web but the risks dictate that we help them do so safely and securely.

Unfortunately, seniors are less likely to take steps to protect their online activity, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. We feel there are stories beyond the numbers that impact what they reported so we’ll delve in those along with the statistics.

Seniors Less Than Anonymous Online

Adults overwhelmingly report using one or more strategies in an effort to retain their anonymity when online. Seniors are much less likely than other age groups to do so, however.

  • Clearing  the history on web browsers and deleting cookies, at least once in a while, is the most common step taken by adults for safety online. 2 in 5 seniors do this, a much lower rate than other age groups.
  • Setting the browser to refuse the cookies sites try to put on visitors’ computers is done by fewer than half of all adults, including one third of seniors.
  • Roughly a third of seniors and all adult web users say they avoided a site because it required the use of their real name.
  • On the other hand, a small majority overall indicate they post material on the web in their own name or a username that is recognizable as theirs. A much smaller number say they post without revealing their name.

Does this mean that seniors are knowingly operating less safely than others online? Probably not, at least based on our experience. Many seniors likely aren’t aware of these steps that can protect them online. Others may feel they limit their online activities enough not to need these precautions.

Seniors Perception of Footprints Online

The internet isn’t written in pencil, it’s written in ink” is a brilliantly-put lesson many of us took away from watching The Social Network. How much “ink” do we think is out there on us? In this area, seniors aren’t too far behind other adult age groups.

  • 2 in 5 seniors say there’s a picture of them on the web, the only age group in which fewer than a majority say so. A whopping 90% of adults under 30 indicate that’s true, though. That’s a lot of pictures!
  • The same number of seniors, not far behind adults overall, say their birthdate can be found online.
  • About a quarter of all adults, with seniors well behind, say that their membership in groups or organizations can by found online.

Keep in mind those results indicate what respondents to a survey THINK is true. That may be wishful thinking, at least when it comes to birthdates and memberships. Based on some sample searching we have done over time and in research for this post, it’s likely many people don’t realize just how much information can be found about them — and that is likely the case even for those not active on the web.

On the other hand, there aren’t big numbers of adults, across all age groups, who feel it’s crucial to control access to personal information online. Other than our email, fewer than half indicate a need to control who sees online footprints.

Fewer Seniors Actively Hiding Online

Even when not working to remain anonymous, a majority of adults say they’ve actively worked to stay under the radar when it comes to certain people or groups. Fewer than half, though, report taking steps to hide from criminals or hackers. Do we not see any risk or just not any way to do so?

There are some groups, though, from whom we try to hide more often than others. All age groups are more likely to try and avoid detection by advertisers, people from their past or certain friends than they are their employers, the government or (least of all) law enforcement.

Interesting, and a positive thing, that we (the collective “we”) see less reason to try to hide from law enforcement than hackers or advertisers.

Ensure Senior Loved Ones Informed

Yes, we favor urging senior loved ones to at least try the web and social media sites, even setting them up for it if needed, in hopes they will see what they’re missing and join the majority of their peers who are already online. Do we need to push them regarding safety, though, or just inform them?

We think it’s the latter.

Safety online is important, but there are a number of ways to be safe — or to choose not to take precautions. Seniors are adults, after all, and adults generally are allowed the discretion to act (within limits) and are held responsible for the results of their actions. That means we should inform them regarding steps they can take to be safe and secure when online and make sure they know the potential repercussions of not doing so.

Arm them with the information and let them decide!

Do you think a different approach is more appropriate? If so, we’d like to hear from you!

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Week 3: Caring for Family Caregivers’ Health

It’s both one of the most important and most challenging things most of us will do in our lifetimes – caring for a senior loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease!

Those special people are our focus in this, the third in Senior Care Corner’s series of weekly topics to mark World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Our subject this week is something too often overlooked by family caregivers as they are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s – their own health.

You might not think you are a family caregiver, also called a carer, but you probably are. If you are taking care of a family member, friend, or neighbor by providing assistance for a health related condition or disability or merely aging and are unpaid, you are a family caregiver.

Being a caregiver can take many forms, such as making a meal, mowing the lawn, helping buy groceries, taking a loved one to the doctor’s office, or living with someone and meeting all their needs.

Family Caregiver Health Issues

A recent study says that 26.5% of all American adults today are family caregivers. That is a lot of us and we need to protect our own health so that we can continue to care for our loved ones.

Family caregivers may experience a number of health issues they would not if they weren’t being caregivers – or they experience them to a greater degree. These issues are faced by many family caregivers.

  • Stress – both physical and emotional tolls can be great when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia
  • Financial – personal spending to meet the needs of the ones you love can become overwhelming, especially if covering some or all of the cost of care needed by a loved one with a long term illness; can be worsened if caregiving interferes with your paying job
  • Depression and isolation from usual lifestyle – often experienced by those who spend so much of the time caring for the needs of family members, especially when they need constant care
  • Marital discourse and loss family unity – often the daily tasks of caring for others can cause the family unit to be unintentionally neglected and suffer as a result
  • Caregiver burnout and guilt – all of the above and more take their toll on a family caregiver, especially over the duration of a long and progressive disease like Alzheimer’s

Care Tips for the Family Caregiver

Yes, caring for the family caregiver! That one person whose needs are so often overlooked but is the key to making so much around them work.

Here are some tips that can help family caregivers maintain the good health needed to give their best to those under their care.

  1. If you begin feeling any ill effects, please seek help. Don’t avoid your own health and well-being or you won’t be able to handle the duties of caregiving.
  2. Get regular health checkups and vaccinations. Schedule the appointments, but them on the calendar and make sure they are viewed as must-dos.
  3. Seek respite help either for an afternoon, weekend or vacation. Getting away once in a while, even for a short time, can work wonders in recharging a caregiver.
  4. Solicit family members near and far to help you continue to perform your duties.
  5. Connect with technology and devices that can make your job easier. Senior Care Corner regularly reports on devices and apps that can caregivers might find valuable — and we are always on the lookout for more.
  6. Seek out and attend support groups to learn and share with others to realize you are not alone. This can be either online or in person.
  7. Learn more about the disease suffered by the loved one under care and strategies to make the caregiving experience more effective and manageable.
  8. Check back next week for another Topic

We encourage you to find ways to care for yourself so you can enjoy the moments and the memories of your loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and help them make their own lives better!

Sharing Senior Loved Ones’ Football Memories and Making New Ones

Cool autumn air brings back football memories for many seniors (as may hot late summer air or even the cold of winter). It also provides opportunities for families to use football to create new memories with older loved ones.

Sure, there are more important things in life than sports and lots of other ways memories are made, but football just seems to be one of those things that so many families share.

Whether it’s a way to show school spirit, spend Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon together in front of the TV or gather the family for a game in the yard, football has been a part of American’s lives for generations.

Recalling Seniors’ Football Memories

We talk often about helping senior loved ones keep their brains exercised and healthy by getting them to tell stories that relate memories from years past. So many have cherished memories tied to football that they love to recall — and sometimes don’t take much urging to do so. Think about the many ways football touches lives and creates memories we carry with us. Here are just a handful.

  • The favorite local team – it may be a pro, college or high school team – has a big year that brings everyone together and creates excitement and moments that stick with even those who don’t typically follow the game.
  • A family member plays for a local team, is a cheerleader or marches with the band and entire extended families gather to support and root for them. A highlight – or maybe a particularly embarrassing moment – becomes a family story shared for generations.
  • Touch football in the backyard or at the park is a traditional activity enjoyed by the entire family at gatherings. How often are stories retold about the comical play (tackling Mom or even Grandma, for example) or the – ouch! – injury suffered by Dad or an uncle forgetting their bodies just aren’t capable of those moves from youth (been there, done that!)?
  • A special experience attending a favorite team’s game. We’ve heard (and heard about) many seniors tell stories that center on attending a game at the home of their favorite college or pro team. Maybe it was ice cold and/or snowing, they encountered somebody famous or obnoxious (maybe both?) or something else happened to make the occasion particularly memorable. It might even have been an incredible play or incident that was part of the game itself.

Any of these situations and many more could be the source of stories senior loved ones love to retell and do so in detail that tests their memories and helps keep them sharp. Often all it takes is asking.

Creating New Football Memories – Even From a Distance

Seniors’ memorable events around football don’t have to be relegated to those things that happened in years past. New stories can be created and shared for years to come, with family members young and old taking away memories they will carry the rest of their lives.

Any of the items from the list above can be the source of magical moments, of course, but there are many ways even dispersed families can create new memories from a distance. These are some ideas we’ve encountered.

  • Initiate a family “game of the week” to share on TV. Pick a game that everyone can get on TV at home – it could be a college team that means something to the family or a favored, or even hated, pro team – and “get together” as a family to watch it. You can gather by phone, with free long distance a reality for so many, by Skype (maybe even video), via social media or by text message and talk with each other almost as if in the same room. You might even find the enjoyment is heightened with team jerseys or other gear from your favorite teams.
  • Tie distant grandparents and great grandparents into a younger family member’s football game vie phone or, better, video so they can share the experience. If that isn’t practical, share video and pictures after the fact so they can feel the experience themselves when you call to tell them about it.
  • Create a family pool around each football week that lets everyone exercise their competitive juices in absence of the backyard game. Sites such as Yahoo and many of the sports networks make it easy by putting in place the format and administering everything, with families or other groups able to set up private pools so they are competing only among themselves. We don’t suggest any sort of illegal gambling, mind you, but you might decide to make the pool more interesting if more than family bragging rights are at stake — maybe some stakes that are both fun and meaningful within the family.

Provide Memory Sharing Opportunities

All these memories, both those from seniors’ younger years and those created now with family, will be enjoyed by each individual involved and those with whom the stories have been shared. One of the big benefits, though, is best achieved when members of the family are together, whether physically or via technology.

Just as the some of the best kinds of exercise for our bodies occur when we’re just having fun and don’t realize it’s a workout, some of the best brain workouts come when seniors regale us with stories from their past, especially when those stories involve another family member and a comical action. Well, at least it seems funny today!

Give senior loved ones encouragement (beg if must) to get them to share those stories from their past and the new memories created recently.  Both will help them keep their minds sharp and pass those cherished memories forward for generations to come.

We’d love to hear how football has created memories in your family! Please share any stories and suggestions for the benefit of all.

Local Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease – Fun Way to Make a Difference

We consider it a privilege and pleasure be part of a community event as important as our local Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which raises funds to benefit Alzheimer’s research on a national basis as well as local programs and does so much more.

Of course, it’s one privilege we look forward to eliminating one day when Alzheimer’s disease has been relegated to the history books.

In communities across the country, people are banding together to raise funds and increase awareness of the disease, the effort to both find a cure for the disease and prevent it from affecting future generations.

People at the walk are selling forget-me-not pins, flowers, drink koozies, wrist bands, baked goods, and memory flags. They are holding  dance-a-thons, cake walks and many other events that will help raise much needed money to finally find a cure for this powerful disease and support programs in the community for those who already have Alzheimer’s.

Many thousands are then coming together in communities all over to walk one or more miles to show ending Alzheimer’s is important to them. They are giving of their time to raise money, often with pledges based on them walking.

Our Local Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I walked today with hundreds of other people who are trying to help end Alzheimer’s.  Research into Alzheimer’s disease will help to not only discover a cause for the degenerative disorder, improve treatment of its devastating effects but hopefully one day find a way to prevent it altogether.

Many of those walking with us know (or knew) and love someone with Alzheimer’s and have felt the effects of the degenerative neurological disease. We all know what a cure could mean to millions of families across the country today and so many more in the future.

More Than Walking

Another major part of our Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to honor caregivers, give them a pat on the back, share their stories and challenges, show them they are not alone, and give them a shoulder to lean on. Local support organizations are part of the walk in many communities and raise awareness of the services that are available — and which could use local support beyond the day of the walk.

Many Alzheimer’s walks include the sale of memory flags, which fly over the events now and in the future, remembrances of the loved ones lost to the disease and reminders of those who are living in the midst of it now.  If you have the opportunity to purchase a flag, support a walker or join a team, we at Senior Care Corner encourage you to do so and receive the love in return.

I will wear my purple shirt proudly and continue to help in the fight!

We would love to hear stories from your local Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

When Seniors Need Assistance with Mobility to Maintain Independence

Physical challenges associated with aging, injuries or illness affect many of our senior loved ones who wish to age in place.

That doesn’t have to mean they are physically unable to live where they want nor give up their independence.

It could be, though, they can use some assistance to be safe in their home and when outside the home doing errands, shopping, visiting or just enjoying being outdoors.

Being able to move from a seated to a standing position, transferring on and off the toilet, getting in and out of the house on their front steps, getting in and out of the shower and just walking down the hallway of their homes can be difficult for them to safely accomplish on their own. There are devices that can help.

Mobility Aids to the Rescue

A mobility aid is a device that helps a person who is disabled or recovering from an injury or someone who has an age-associated functional decline move from place to place.

Someone with a risk of falling in their home or when they are out in the community can benefit from a variety of products that will assist them to transfer more safely and allow them to age in place longer. Aids can keep your senior independent with their activities of daily living allowing aging in place.

  • Crutches – to help when you need to keep weight off a foot, ankle or leg
  • Rollators – a rolling, wheeled walker that helps maintain balance without needing to be lifted with each step as a regular walker would; a senior needs to be able to control its forward movement since it has wheels consequently needs to be more functional than someone using a standard walker
  • Canes – assists with balance and to help maintain stability when walking
  • Walkers – provides additional help with balance when cane is not enough, the arms help   support body weight, takes weight off lower body with steps
  • Wheelchairs – a chair with wheels that allows the senior to propel themselves and move about when the lack of strength in the lower body prevents mobility
  • Motorized scooters – a wheeled chair that can be used by a senior who is unable to propel themselves in a standard wheelchair, is propelled by a motor
  • Rise and Recline chairs – upholstered recliner chairs that lift your senior to a standing position and ease back down when going back, powered by a motor.

There are a variety of other devices that can help your senior such as cushions, shower benches and chairs, transfer benches, grab bars, reachers, and raised toilet seats/frames in addition to those listed above. Even a small item can make a big difference in safety and independence!

What You Should Know

Many devices are specific for the user and will require a fitting to be sure it will provide the most effective and SAFE use for you. Walking with a walker or a cane that is not adjusted for your height can be more harmful than helpful.

There are specially credentialed healthcare providers who can guide you in your pursuit for the more advantageous device. They are certified and are known as Assistance Technology Professionals (ATP) or Providers.

Also known as durable medical equipment (DME), many of these products used for rehabilitation are covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Check with your physician if you have a specific need that is covered by insurance or other third party payer source.

There may be other benefits, funding sources or tax breaks available to your senior loved ones, based on where they live.

Many devices will be more beneficial if instructions and demonstration on use, precautions and care of the equipment are provided before they are used by your senior.

You will want to check for any warranty, repair or service dealer and resale ability once the device is no longer required.

No matter what limitations that your senior may have, it is recommended to discuss your needs with your doctor or physical/occupational therapist so that you will get the most appropriate product that will best meet the needs of your senior without creating a more dangerous situation.