Home Safety Tips

Put large numbers on your house that you can
read easily from the street.
If you want to hide a spare key to the house,
make sure to really hide it. Never put it in predictable places like under the
Leave a key with a neighbor you trust, in case
you are locked out.
Set a timer on a radio to make it sound like
there is someone home when you run an errand.
Have deadbolts installed on your doors.
Lock all doors-Especially the front door when
you are working in the attic, basement, or yard.
Never open the door to a stranger. If it is a
repairman or salesman, call the company they say they work for and verify.
If it someone needing to use the phone, get the
phone number and call it for them.
Never tell people you are alone.
If you must let a stranger in, don’t let them
think you are alone. Turn on a radio or television in another room to give the
impression that someone else is around.
Limit the number of rooms a visitor can see. Don’t
show strangers what you have in the house.
Make it a habit to be security conscious.

Source: www.parentgiving.com

Fire and Kitchen Safety Tips

Use a microwave rather than a stove.
Make sure smoke detectors are installed in all
rooms, and check batteries regularly.
Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking.
Fabric can catch fire very quickly.
Point pot handles away from the front edge of
the stove. This ensures that you won’t bump into them or catch your sleeve on
Never leave cooking food unattended.
Wipe off any spilled grease from the stove.
Avoid using appliances with frayed cords. Get
them repaired or replaced.
Ensure there is adequate lighting in all areas
where you are working.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Source: www.parentgiving.com

Car Safety Tips

Make sure all doors are locked and windows
rolled up while driving. You don’t want someone jumping into your car when you
stop in traffic.
Never leave anything valuable in plain view.
Never leave car keys inside the vehicle.
Always lock the doors when you leave the
vehicle, even for only a short time.
Park as close as possible to where you are
Avoid hiding a spare key in the car.
When returning to your car, look around as you
approach your vehicle.
Have your key ready in your hand before
approaching the car; don’t fumble looking for the key.
Peek into the back seat before getting in.
Once you’re inside the car, lock all doors
Source: www.parentgiving.com

7 Tips for Managing the Household

As time goes
by, your gaining parent may have lost some steam regarding taking care of his
or her home, self-care, daily chores, and the organization of outside help.
This is where you can be a great help to your parent. Depending on your parent’s
condition and ability to take care of him or herself, be sure to offer your
help carefully. Give suggestions and recommendations rather than demands and
Here are seven tips to help you stay on top of his or her home
Set up the living space. As people age their living needs
change, First and foremost, make sure the home is safe and secure. Eliminate
hazards such as clutter and loose area rugs; replace lower wattage light bulbs
with brighter ones to address your parent’s likely vision deterioration;
install handicap-accessible devices where necessary, in bathrooms, bedrooms,
and the kitchen; consider alarms and/or medical alert devices.
Discuss and plan daily hygiene. Be sure your parent is addressing
daily hygiene such as brushing teeth, washing hands, bathing and even laundry
needs. When we age and our health deteriorates we are often more susceptible to
colds, flu, and other illnesses, which can lead to more serious conditions. Maintaining
good hygiene practices will help reduce these risks.
Plan meals, food shopping and cooking.
You know your parent.
If one of his/her favorite activities is preparing and cooking meal, then don’t
discourage this activity. If he/she does not like to cook, then make sure
he/she has healthy snacks and quick meal options available. If your parent is
no longer able to drive to the grocery store, you may be able to find a local
grocery delivery service, or inquire at your parent’s favorite grocery store to
find out if the store offers delivery.
Coordinate outside home workers. Go over with your parent the list of
regular outside home worker, such as house cleaners, landscapers, pet walkers,
newspaper delivery, and seasonal workers, such as snow shovelers and gutter
cleaners. Make sure you have names, phone numbers, and schedules for these services.
It is also a good idea to have a list of ancillary service people, such as
electrician, plumber, painter, and handyman.
Discuss daily activities, events, and
To avoid
having your parent become depressed and unhealthy, be sure to have a regular
schedule of activities, events, and exercise in place. If your parent has
recently retired and has not regularly participated in hobbies or fitness
activities, find out what might be of interest and schedule some appointments
with the local senior center, YMCA, or health club. Always be sure to check
with your parent’s physician before recommending any new physical activities.
Evaluate the need for home health
Depending on
your parent’s current condition and expectation for rate of deterioration, home
health care may be needed, so you will want to be prepared to institute this if
necessary. Do not wait until the last minute to investigate options for in-home
care, assisted living and the possibility of nursing home admission.
Allow for your parent’s independence. Especially if you live far away from
your parent, resist the temptation to over-care if your parent remains able to
care for him or herself. Parents feel healthier and younger the longer they are
able to continue to take care of the home, pets, and daily activities.


10 Home Remedies That Work

Every year we spend billions of dollars on over-the-counter
health remedies for everything from canker sores to aching muscles, but in some
cases there is no need to spend a lot of money to find relief. All you need to
do is check your cupboards for some surprising home remedies.
Because certain home remedies can interact with prescription
medications, check with your doctor before trying something new.
1.       Honey.
One spoonful can help quiet a nighttime cough
better than over-the-counter cough syrups or suppressants.
Honey coats and soothes an irritated throat to
help calm repeated coughing.
Older adults should make sure their cough is
because of a cold and not a more serious condition that may not respond to
honey. Also, honey has high sugar content, which may be inappropriate for older
adults with diabetes.
2.       Liquid dish soap.
If you come in contact with poison ivy or poison
oak, washing the affected area with liquid dish soap within two hours of
contact may prevent you from getting an itching red rash.
Any brand of dish-washing soap will work.
3.       Ginger.
Ginger can help reduce nausea and relieve motion
For older adults prone to motion sickness you
should eat one to two pieces of crystallized ginger before traveling.
Ginger extract capsules are much stronger than
crystallized ginger and may actually cause an upset stomach. You should not go
above 2 grams of ginger.
4.       Baby shampoo.
A half-and-half solution of baby shampoo and
warm water is a simple, effective way to clean eyelids that are itchy, red, or
crusty. The condition could be blepharitis, a common eye problem in older
adults. It can cause scaling and crustiness along the base of the eyelashes.
Gently cleaning the eyelid with a baby shampoo
wash helps get rid of oil and bacteria but won’t sting your eyes.
Try diluting a little baby shampoo with an equal
amount of warm water twice a day, then gently rubbing the mixture with clean
fingertips on the base of the closed eyelid and along the eyelashes for one
minute. Rinse well with water.
Baby shampoo should only be used on the eyelid
and never on the surface of the eye.
5.       Menthol rub.
Applying mentholated ointments such as
strong-smelling Vicks VapoRub has been shown to be a safe, cost effective treatment
for toenail fungus, often more effective than over-the-counter products.
You can also first wipe the affected nails with
a cotton ball soaked in white vinegar, then apply the VapoRub.
6.       Tart cherry juice.
Drinking tart cherry juice can help prevent gout
attacks, relieve muscle soreness after exercise, and possibly help with
arthritis pain because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Unlike other cherries, the tart cherry is bright
red and higher in antioxidants.
7.       Witch hazel.
Witch hazel is derived from the leaves and twigs
of a flowering shrub. For more than a century, the clear, refined extract has
been used as an astringent to help tighten the skin and relieve inflammation.
It is the main ingredient in commercial hemorrhoid
pads, used to relieve mild itching and irritation, but you can do the same at
home with pads you moisten with witch hazel. For even more relief, use chilled
witch hazel.
8.       Water.
Daily gargling with plain tap water can help cut
the number of colds and respiratory infections you get, as well as relieve
symptoms if you are already sick.
Gargling with salt water or water with lemon and
honey is a safe and effective way to soothe and cleanse a sore throat.
9.       Milk of magnesia.
Dabbing this milky liquid on canker sores can
temporarily soothe their pain.
You can also dab the sore with a mixture of half
water and half hydrogen peroxide, then dabbing on the milk of magnesia.
10.   Cranberries.
Cranberry juice can help prevent bladder
Taking a 500mg cranberry extract pill twice a
day is also effective at preventing urinary tract infections.
Cranberries keep bacteria from attaching to the
bladder walls.

6 Tips for Setting Caregiver Limits: What to do if you are unable or unwilling to take on the role of caregiver.

As much as
you want to help out with your aging parents and/or loved ones, there are times
when it just does not work out. You may be unemployed, facing your own health
problems, or live too far away to offer much assistance. Sometimes family
dynamics are such that it is not easy for you to step in as a caregiver.
Here are six
ways you can deal with the decision not to be deeply involved with your parent’s
and/or loved ones care.
1.    Take
charge of your emotions.
how you feel and the best way to handle your new family situation. Avoid
slipping back into old family roles. Do not let past resentments and battling siblings
get in the way. This is a time to come together as much as possible and do what
is best for your parents and/or loved ones.
2.    Have
an honest discussion.
with your immediate family members about what is involved in caring for your
parent/ loved one and what is reasonable and manageable for each person to
contribute. Identify what needs cannot be met by you or others, and what
resources need to be pulled in. Explain what you are prepared to do, what is
not possible, and why. If you can’t be there in person, find ways to provide
support from long distance and to stay in touch.
3.    Deal
with your guilt.
may have guilt about your decision not to play a primary caregiving role, but
other family members may be better suited, have a closer relationship with the parent
and/or loved one or have the time and availability to take on the task. Family
tensions and disagreements are often common when caring for a parent and/or
loved one, but it is best to be upfront and resolve the issues from the start.
4.    Do
what you can.
because you are far away or not the primary caregiver does not mean you can’t play
a role. You may be able to help out financially, research community services,
or check in with your parent and/or loved one regularly by phone. Make the most
of any visits, and offer to relieve the primary caregiver when you can. If you
live close by, so some grocery shopping or take your parent and/or loved one to
a medical appointment.
5.    Deal
with changed relationships.

Consider the stresses faced by the primary caregiver and find ways you can help,
even in small ways. When there is family tension, avoid anger and venting your
problem and focus on what is best for your parent and/or loved one. Be a
sounding board for the primary caregiver and express your appreciation to him
or her for taking on this role.
6.    Participate
in major decisions.
if you are not providing hands-on care, stay in the loop on major decisions
such as weather your parent and/or loved one should move into a nursing home,
what kind of care should she or he be receiving at home or whether medical
intervention is needed. Listen to and respect the views of the primary
caregiver who is dealing with the stresses and strains every day. Sometimes an outside
perspective, if delivered tactfully, can be helpful to everyone involved.


Ombudsman: A Long-Term Advocate on Your Side

For those in
nursing homes, assisted living, board and care facilities, and their families,
an extra voice is sometimes needed to fix problems. Each state has someone to
advocate on the residents’ behalf called an ombudsmen. An ombudsman makes sure
problems get resolved and provides information on care facilities as well as
the rights of the resident. Through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program,
thousands of ombudsmen are working across the country to make sure people get
good care.
What Ombudsmen Do
Ombudsmen are
trained to investigate and resolve complaints about nursing homes and other
care facilities. An ombudsman will also:
  •         Listen
    to residents’ complaints and talk the issue over with them. These issues can
    include violations of rights, violations of dignity, accusations of abuse (mental,
    physical, or verbal), refusal of necessary services, inadequate care, slow
    response time and overall concerns of quality.
  •         Investigate
    the problem.
  •        Try
    to solve the problem by working with the staff.
  •        Notify
    agencies that license and regulate the facility if needed.

also provide information on residents’ rights, how to handle issues before they
become serious problems and how to find a quality home. Additionally, they can
answer questions about nursing home procedures, eligibility and payment as well
as help explain resident contracts.
Who Can Utilize an Ombudsman?
Nursing home
residents as well as residents of assisted living facilities and board and care
facilities, and their families and friends, can request the aid of an
ombudsman. Employees at these care facilities can also call upon an ombudsman
if they are concerned for the health and well-being of one of their residents.
Families considering placement for a loved one in a nursing home, assisted
living facility, or other long-term care service are encouraged to inquire with
an ombudsman about the quality of the facilities.
Where to Find an Ombudsman

At a long-term care facility. There should be a sign posted listing
the ombudsman’s office and telephone number. If you can’t find the sign, ask
the staff.
In your state. Each state in the U.S. has a Long-Term
Care Ombudsman office, often located in the state office on aging.
On the Internet. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Resource Center
Locator: Run by the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Eldercare Locator is the
federal agency that oversees the Ombudsman Program. Either call 800-677-1116 or
find them on the internet at www.eldercare.gov.
What about Anonymity?
An ombudsman
will not mention who has made a complaint without a resident’s permission.
Depending on the problem, however, there might be times when it is very hard to
keep the resident’s identity a secret. It is illegal though, for a nursing home
or any facility to take any kind of negative action against a resident who
files a complaint.
Ombudsman Funding
The Long-Term
Care Ombudsman Program is funded with government dollars, so residents and
their families do not have to pay for ombudsman services.
Speak up!
Residents of
nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, as well as their families,
have the right to quality care that is free from abuse, neglect,
discrimination, or retaliation. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something does
not seem right. An ombudsman will support you, protect your loved one’s rights
and help you get the best possible care.


Caregivers and Their Spouses: Remembering to support your significant other

Even if your
spouse is fully supportive as you become a caregiver for your ailing mother or
father, the strongest relationships can still be affected by the stress, lack
of privacy and financial pressures that come with caregiving.
Here are four
ways to make sure your relationship stays strong while you take on your role as
a caregiver.
Talk frequently. You are busy and exhausted, but
frequent communication is essential to prevent misunderstandings and
resentments from festering. It is healthy for the caregiver and spouse to
express their feelings about practical matters or vent their frustrations about
tough situations. Even if there is no “meeting of the minds,” talking through
it will help. Trust each other, rely on your spouse’s advice, and try not to
cast blame. Most of all, keep your spouse fully informed and part of the
decision making. You are a team, and there is strength in numbers.
Have a date night. At least once a month, arrange for a
friend or sibling to take care of your parent or loved one so you and your
spouse can go out. Go see a movie, play, or reconnect with old friends.
Allow time for your spouse to be
Make sure your
spouse has quality time with you and time alone as well. Your house may always
be noisy and full of activity. Give your spouse the time to think and relax.
Make sure the spouse has time for his or her own activities, including exercise
and time with friends.
Stay alert for signs of depression. Studies show that caregiving can
strain a marriage as the caregiver tries to do too much and the spouse feels
neglected and burdened. Watch for feelings of sadness or emptiness, and a loss
of interest in activities. Talk with your spouse about his or her feelings. If your
spouse can’t shake it, confide in close friends or seek professional help to
get over the hump.

Seniors in Transition: Making New Friends

in the U.S. indicate that by 2020, about 60% of the population will be in the
65 to 74 age group. Relocated retirees are fueling population increases in
states such as Arizona, where more than 80,000 retirees live. Even if a long
distance move is not in your future, seniors often choose to relocate to
age-restricted communities that are near home. No matter the distance from
home, a relocation disrupts long-standing relationships and almost always
requires migrating seniors to make new friends. Finding and making new friends
is a challenge seniors may not have encountered since childhood. Here are some
tips for getting started:

Take a Personal Inventory
your personal definition of friendship will help you know what kind of person you
night seek as a future friend. Consider these questions:
  1.          What
    is your definition of friendship?
  2.          Have
    your needs for a friend changed? How?
  3.          Who
    are your best friends now? Why?

Make New Friends but Keep the Old
Friends Too
When seeking
new friends, local social activities and churches can be a good starting place.
Age-segregated communities often have special events for welcoming newcomers
and are designed to help you get to know other residents. Making new friends
gives you opportunities to learn new things and discover new ideas. Make new
friends, but keep the old. Old friends provide you with continued stability
during a major life change. They can offer you a way to keep in touch with
familiar things and can provide a safe outlet for discussion about reactions to
your new home.

Your Effort Will Pay Off
Before you
relocate, take an inventory of what outside services you will need and make
arrangements for them. Reducing your task list after moving will help you be
relaxed and available for socializing sooner. If you have special hobbies,
check ahead to see what groups, clubs, and facilities exist in the new
neighborhood. Before you relocate, make contact with those groups, clubs, and
facilities you find interesting. You can then anticipate meeting new people
right away who share your likes and interests.
You will most
likely have to make special efforts to maintain longstanding friendships,
especially if you have moved to a retirement community where participation in
activities is limited to residents. You must make an effort to make new
friends. If it has been a while since you have needed to make new friends, keep
in mind that simply placing yourself in a new community, club, or surroundings
is not sufficient. You must actively seek opportunities to explore the thoughts
of others to find a good match. Lasting friendships are an important aspect of
our lives and are found through discovery and interaction as well as presence.

How to Organize Important Documents: Creating a plan now can help caregivers make better decisions during a crisis.

One of the
first and most important things to do when making a caregiver plan is to
identify and organize the documents. Here is how to get your loved one’s papers
in order and come up with a caregiving plan.

3 steps to assemble important

Discovery: The first thing to do is ask your
loved one where they store important papers. It may be in a file cabinet at
home, or in a safety deposit box or with an attorney. You can’t get organized
if you can’t find anything, so come up with a checklist to write down where
everything is. Documents that should be assembled and accounted for might
certificate (for deceased spouse)
license/organ donor card
power of attorney
care power of attorney
policies (life, disability, long-term care)
2.    Review:
Once you have
identified where those important papers are located, sit down as a family to
review all the documents.
3.    Storage: It is smart to keep important
documents in a safe, accessible place such as a secure file cabinet. Copies
should be made for the person who is designated as a health care agent, and you
should consider copying the files onto a thumb drive that can be stored at
another location.
Making a caregiving plan:
Once the
important papers are securely stored, you can confidently begin to plan for
Consult with all family members, friends, and neighbors whom you
think would be willing to help. 
Think about the present and the future, and
draft a plan that will meet your loved one’s immediate and long-term needs.
It is helpful
to make a chart that displays your loved one’s goals and requirements; the
steps required to provide them; the person responsible for each task; and a
timeline for completion. For example, if your parents are considering a move,
one person is designated to help research housing options. Another could be tasked
to help sort through and prepare their belongings for an eventual move.
The plan
should revolve around your loved one’s wishes. Keep them at the center. For
instance, let them choose the person who they would like to handle their finances
or accompany them to the doctor. Don’t take decisions out of their hands. As
long as they are able to do so, let them steer their caregiving ship.
after a caregiving plan has been finalized, share a written summary with
everyone involved. Set up a communications system that keeps everyone in the
loop. And remember that the plan is fluid, as your loved one’s circumstances
change, the caregiving plan will evolve.