Transportation Options for Non-Drivers

Getting around is essential no matter our age. As we get older,
though, many of us may choose to stop driving or, as caregivers, decide it’s
best for our parent or loved one to no longer transport him or herself. Because
of this, transportation alternatives become essential.
There are a variety
of transportation options out there. The trick is figuring out which is the
best fit and which your loved one will feel the most comfortable with.
Location, cost, convenience (for both the person being cared for as well as the
caregiver), frequency and ease of use all become factors in deciding which
option is best. To help you get started, here is a breakdown of many of the
options.
Friends and Family
Often, the responsibility of transporting loved ones falls on friends and
family. For many, this works out to be the most trustworthy and cost-effective
solution. For others, however, schedules and distance will make this nearly
impossible. Because you and your loved one will know and trust the drivers in
this transportation network, this is also the least worrisome option. For those
of you who are willing and able to be your loved one’s primary means of
transport, be sure to have a back-up option should you get sick or need a
break. If you are unable to be the primary transportation option, hiring a
safe-driving family member or friend to provide rides on a regular basis will
help to share the load while providing them with added income.
Taxis
Whether the primary mode of transportation or a backup, taxicabs are a convenient
way to get your loved one to and from necessary destinations. There are pros
and cons, though. The pros of taxi service are that they are almost always
readily available and reasonably priced, depending on location. The cons are
that drivers usually don’t help passengers into and out of their destinations,
will most likely be unknown to the passenger and will not be consistent. Also,
if used frequently, fares can add up. Lastly, organizing rides may fall to you,
the caregiver, if your loved one isn’t able to or doesn’t like the idea of
making the reservations. As with all other services, make sure to go with a
reputable company to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Hiring a Private Car Service
If there is a need for transportation on a consistent basis and relying on
family and friends is not an option, a car service may be a solution.
Contracting with a reputable transportation service to take your loved one on
weekly errands may end up being cheaper — and more efficient — than using taxis
for every trip. Arrangements can be made in advance, the cost per trip may be
lower than using taxis and you might be able to request the same driver each
week. They may even be willing to escort your loved one into and out of their
home and provide assistance with carrying packages or bags. Be sure to ask
local senior services for recommendations so you make arrangements with a
reputable company — especially if you plan to have someone entering your loved
one’s home.
Residence Transportation Services
Many care facilities provide transportation for their residents. If your parent
or loved one is living in any type of care facility, check to see if they offer
this service. Many do, which is a great resource for caregivers who either
can’t provide regular transportation or need a break. Often, facilities will
arrange weekly trips to the grocery store and other destinations, as well as
schedule social day trips. Simply check with the front desk of the facility on
whether this is an option.
Volunteer
Drivers

Check with local senior organizations as well as your religious institution to
see if they provide volunteer transportation services. Often, churches,
synagogues and religious organizations, as well as senior centers, have
volunteers at the ready to assist older members of the community with errands,
appointments and other necessary trips around town.
Dial-a-Ride, Van Services and Ride Sharing
Many communities provide public ride sharing services, such as Dial-a-Ride,
that cater to older adults. Often, these services are run by local
transportation companies or nonprofit organizations and can be very useful for
getting around town. These vans and buses are unlike taxis and hired
transportation services in that they run along specific routes and usually
don’t cater to specific requests. Costs for these services vary by service and
location. To find a service in your area, check the phonebook or use the Eldercare Locater.
Public Transportation
Depending on your loved one’s health, level of comfort and location, public
transportation may be an option. This is a convenient way to get around
metropolitan areas and is a great option in those areas where it’s safe, easy
to follow and convenient. If you think your parent or loved one would take well
to public transportation, take him on a few test runs to ensure he’s
comfortable and finds his way around easily. Most major public transit systems
provide rate information as well as maps on their websites.
Paratransit
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), those with disabilities are
legally entitled to paratransit, as long as they meet eligibility. A system of
buses, vans, cars and trains, paratransit is a public transportation service
that caters to those who are unable to use regular public transportation. Those
interested — or their caregivers — must contact their local transit provider,
which will determine eligibility. For help with determining eligibility, visit
the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.

Source: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-10-2010/pc_transportation_options_for_nondrivers.2.html

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

5 Signs of Senior Stress

Stress is a common factor in life. Children experience
stress from school, new social situations, and growing up.  Adults feel the stress of working, paying
bills, raising kids, and maintaining households. Seniors also feel stress even
though some may have retired, raised their children and paid off their homes.
Certain amounts of stress are a part of life for people of all ages.
For seniors, stress has the potential to be overwhelming.
This type of tension in older adults has unique contributing factors, such as
the loss of an elderly spouse or friends. Living alone can increase the sense
of isolation. Sometimes the simple tasks of everyday life can cause stress in
those who experience physical or medical limitations. The effects of stress can
sometimes exacerbate health conditions from which some seniors suffer, causing
additional worry.
Stress can present itself in various ways. Here are five of
the most common ways to detect if a loved one’s stress is cause for concern:
1.      
Changes in eating habits, such as overeating or
loss of appetite.
2.      
Mood swings due to stress may present in
increased irritability, general sadness or depression.
3.      
Memory issues may arise in the form of increased
forgetfulness of names, places, or other things that normally come naturally.
Lack of concentration may become a problem. Some seniors may exercise poor judgment,
such as excessive spending when they are already on a limited budget.
4.      
Physical signs of stress can include body aches
and pains or increased episodes of illness.  Changes in sleeping patterns- either trouble
falling asleep or interrupted nighttime sleep can signal significant stress.
5.      
Seniors experiencing overwhelming stress often
isolate themselves from others, refusing to socialize or participate in
activities they used to enjoy.
The fact is that stress is a part of life does not mean that
overwhelming stress is a burden seniors have to should all alone. With help,
seniors can combat stress and its negative effects. Spend time helping seniors
determine what burdens they face. Help plan ways suited to their lifestyles
that are not only fun but that can minimize the pressures stress can cause. By
doing so, the quality of life seniors experience can increase, further paving
the way for them to lead independent lives within the comfort of their own
homes.
Source:
www.comfortkeepers.com/information-center/news-and-highlights/fivesignsofstress

12 Resources Every Caregiver Should Know About

Here’s a list of key
resources to help you in your caregiving role.
800-272-3900
Information and
support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Operates a
24/7 helpline and care navigator tools.
The government’s free
information resource about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Find programs and
services that allow caregivers to get a break from caring for a loved one.
800-677-1116
Connects caregivers to
local services and resources for older adults and adults with disabilities
across the United States.
800-445-8106
Information, education
and services for family caregivers, including the Family Care Navigator, a
state-by-state list of services and assistance.
800-Medicare
Provides information
about the parts of Medicare, what’s new and how to find Medicare plans,
facilities or providers.
A coalition of
national organizations focused on family caregiving issues.
Information and
education for family caregivers; includes the Caregiver Community Action
Network, a volunteer support network in over 40 states.
Information and tools
to plan for future long-term care needs.
800-772-1213
Information on
retirement and disability benefits, including how to sign up.
A program that offers
one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and
their families.
855-260-3274
Support and services
for families caring for veterans. Maintains a VA caregiver support line.

Source:
www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-08-2012/important-resources-for-caregivers.html

Handling a Hospitalization: Planning ahead for a more manageable experience

A loved one’s hospitalization can evoke fear and uncertainty
on the caregiver. With little planning though, you can make the experience more
manageable for both you and your loved one before, during, and after the stay.

Before a
hospitalization
Whether your loved one has a scheduled surgery or ends up in
the emergency room unexpectedly, he/she will need to have certain information
handy so the medical team can provide effective care. Help him/her create an “in
case of emergency” card that can he/she can keep in a wallet or purse with the
following information:
    o    Name.
    o    Date
of Birth.
    o    Doctors’
names and numbers.
    o    Any
allergies (medication, therapeutic dyes, food, etc.)
    o    Current
medications and dosage information for each.
    o    Current
or past medical problems.
    o    Previous
surgeries.
    o    Health
insurance information.
    o    Contact
information for primary caregiver(s) as well as a relative, friend, or neighbor
who lives nearby and can help with home or pet care, if applicable.

If your loved one has named a health care agent (also known
as a health care proxy or power of attorney) to make medical decisions should
he/she become incapable of making such decisions, include that person’s name
and contact information on the card. If he/she has not named a health care
agent, encourage him/her to do so. He/she may also want to complete a living
will. In the meantime, include the name and contact information for one or two
other emergency contacts. At least one contact should live near your loved one
and have HIPPA clearance.
Make sure to keep a copy of this information in y our own
purse or wallet as well.
During
Hospitalization
Once your loved one has been admitted to the hospital, find
out the name of the attending physician who will coordinate his/her care and
ask what’s the best way to reach him. Also make sure that your loved one’s
chart includes your phone number.
It is important to remember that as long as your loved one
is capable of making decisions and understanding the consequence of those
decisions he/she have the right to decide courses of treatment and even refuse
treatment, even if you, his physician and other family members disagree with
his/her choice. If your loved one is incapable of making decisions and you must
act as his/her health care agent, use his/her living will as a guide to ensure
that his/her wishes are followed through. Your role as a health care agent is
to voice your loved one’s wishes, not
your own.

Hospital discharge
planning
As soon as possible after admission to the hospital, speak
with the nurse, social worker, or other professional responsible for helping
you with discharge planning. Don’t wait until the day your loved one leaves the
hospital. You, your loved one and the discharge planner should work together to
decide if he/she should go to his/her own home, a relative’s or friend’s home,
a rehab facility or a nursing home as well as who will provide the necessary
care.
Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the days
and weeks ahead, and enlist friends’ and relatives to help.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself too. You will need
plenty of rest and time to de-stress in order to remain a caregiver.
Source: www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-08-2010/pc_handling_a_hospitalization.html

Helping Seniors Beat the Holiday Blues

While the holiday season is a
festive time for many, it can cause depression for seniors. There are many
factors that contribute to sadness or apathy around the holiday season such as
the loss of a spouse, sibling or a close friend. Some feel alone and isolated
because their grown children and grandchildren live far away. While others may
feel blue because of financial concerns, poor health or because they’re unable
to perform routine holiday activities like shopping, baking or even attending
religious services.
If you notice that an
older loved one seems depressed:
– Lend a hand by offering to
help them with shopping, transportation and holiday preparations.
– Get them out and about.
Avoiding isolation is key in reducing depression.
– Helping others by
volunteering can be a great mood lifter. Contact local schools, churches,
synagogues and mosques to find out about volunteer opportunities.
– Don’t drink too much alcohol,
which can lower your spirits.
– Accept and help express
feelings. There’s nothing wrong with not feeling happy during the holidays,
many people feel the same way. Talking about feelings can help you understand
how to help.
– There’s a big difference
between feeling sad or blue and being chronically depressed. If the blues
linger beyond the holidays into the New Year, there may be a more serious
problem and will need addressed by your physician. Following are some signs to
watch out for:
A persistent feeling of
sadness.
• Lost interest in hobbies or
activities that was formerly enjoyed.
• Feeling worthless or
hopeless.
• Inability to sleep or
sleeping too much.
• Loss of energy or motivation.
• Not eating or eating too
much.
• Trouble thinking,
concentrating, and making decisions.
• Feeling anxious, restless, or
irritable.
• Thinking about dying or
suicidal thoughts.


Caring for an Elder from Far Away: Geriatric Care Managers

For people who work and care for an aged family member,
particularly when that family member lives far away, one solution is to hire a
professional geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager is a professional
who specializes in assisting older people and their families with long-term
care arrangements. Care managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or
substantial equivalent training in gerontology, social work, nursing,
counseling, psychology, or a related field.
Prolonged illness, disability, or simply the challenges of
aging can significantly alter the lifestyle of older adults. Daily
responsibilities can become difficult. Efficient coordination of medical,
personal, and social service resources can enhance the quality of life for
older adults and their caregivers.
Geriatric care managers assist older adults in maintaining
their independence at home and can ease the transition to a new setting, if needed.
Geriatric care managers also help:
  •          Conduct care planning assessments to identify
    problems, eligibility for assistance, and need for services.
  •          Review financial, legal, or medical issues and
    offer referrals to geriatric specialists to avoid future problems and conserve
    assets.
  •          Act as a liaison to families at a distance,
    making sure things are going well and alerting families to problems.
  •          Assist with moving an older person to or from a
    retirement complex, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
  •          Offer counseling and support.

How do you know when it is time to call a professional? Look
for the following signs:
  •          Is your loved one losing weight for no reason?
  •          Do they fall?
  •          Is the home unkempt and becoming unsafe?
  •          How are meals made?
  •          Who pays the bills?
  •          Are they able to and do they maintain a neat
    appearance?
  •          Has drinking become a problem?
  •          Is it safe for them to drive? If not, who does
    the driving for them?
  •          Has there been a sudden memory loss or increased
    confusion?

In order to answer these questions you will have to pay a
visit to your long distance loved one or rely on information from a relative or
friend who is close to that loved one.
Source:
www.caregiver.com/channels/long-distance/articles/professionalhelp/geriatric_care_managers2.htm

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.

Ombudsmen
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

     
1.     
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.
     
2.     
In your state. Each state in the U.S. has a Long-Term
Care Ombudsman office, often located in the state office on aging.
     
3.     
On the Internet. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Resource Center
Eldercare
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.

Source:
www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/infp-10-2010/pc_ombudsman.html

Seniors in Transition: Making New Friends

Demographics
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
Understanding
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.
Source:
www.livestrong.com/article/15014-seniors-in-transition-making-new-friends

Protect your loved Ones: Signs to Look For

If you know or care for an older adult, here are some
warning signs that may indicate they are the victim of financial abuse:
  •         There are unusual recent changes in the person’s
    accounts, including atypical withdrawals, new person(s) added, or sudden use of
    a senior’s ATM or credit card.
  •        The senior suddenly appears confused, unkempt,
    and afraid
  •        Utility, rent, mortgage, medical, or other essential
    bills are unpaid despite adequate income.
  •        A caregiver will not allow others to see the
    senior.
  •        There are piled up sweepstakes mailings,
    magazine subscriptions, or “free gifts,: which means they may be on “sucker
    lists.”

Every state operates an Adult Protective Services (APS) program,
which is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of elder abuse,
neglect, and exploitation, and in most states, the abuse of younger adults with
severe disabilities.
APS is the “911” for elder abuse. Anyone who suspects elder
abuse, neglect, or exploitation should make a report. The reporter’s identity
is protected. APS services are confidential, so the reporter may not be able to
learn about the outcome of the case.
APS respects the right of older persons to make their own
decisions and to live their lives on their own terms. In cases of cognitive impairment,
however, APS will take steps to protect the older person to the degree
possible.
Source: www.ncoa.org

8 Ways to Protect Yourself from Scams

Millions of older Adults fall prey to financial scam every
year. Use these tips to protect yourself or an older adult you know.
1.       Be aware that you are at risk from
strangers and those closest to you.
Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is
committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult
children, followed by grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and others.
Common tactics include depleting a joint checking
account, promising but not delivering care in exchange for money or property,
outright theft, and other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, threats,
intimidation, and neglect of basic care needs.
Everyone is at risk of financial abuse.
Understand the scams that target seniors so you can spot one before it is too
late.
2.       Don’t isolate yourself-stay involved.
Isolation is a huge risk factor for elder
abuse. Most family violence only occurs behind closed doors, and elder abuse is
no exception.
Some older people self-isolate by
withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose
the ability to drive, see, or walk about on their own. Some seniors fear being
victimized by purse snatchings and muggings if they venture out.
Contact your local senior center to get
involved and stay active.
3.       Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from
or give to anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in
writing.”
Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and
always ask for what and wait until you receive written material about any offer
or charity.
Neighborhood children you know who are
selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but
a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit
card information on any forms.
It is also good practice to obtain a
salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address,
mailing address, and business license number before you transact business.
And always take your time in making a
decision.
4.       Shred all receipts with your credit card
number.
Identity theft is a huge business. To
protect yourself, invest in and use a paper shredder.
Monitor your bank and credit card
statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone
who initiates the contact with you.
5.       Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take
yourself off multiple mailing lists.
Be careful with your mail. Do not let
incoming mail sit in your mailbox for a long time. When sending out sensitive
mail, consider dropping it off at a secure collection box or directly at the
post office.
6.       Use direct deposit for benefit checks to
prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox.
Using direct deposit ensures that checks go
right into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even loved ones
have been known to steal benefits checks right out of mailboxes or from seniors’
homes if they are laying around.
7.       Never give your credit card, banking,
Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless
you initiated the call.
Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the
largest known scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for
services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to
beneficiaries.
Protect your Medicare number as you do your
credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else
to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will
be paid for by Medicare.
Review your Medicare statements to be sure
you have in fact received the services billed, and report suspicious activities
to 1-800-MEDICARE.
8.       Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and
thoroughly do your research.
Be an informed consumer. Take the time to
call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may
offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions.
Also, carefully read all contracts and
purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your
requirements have been put in writing. Understand all contract cancellations
and refund terms.
As a general rule governing all of your
interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making
purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours
and yours alone.

If you think you’ve been scammed, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it – waiting could make it worse. Immediately:

  • Call your bank and/or credit card company.
  • Cancel any debit or credit cards linked to the stolen account.
  • Reset your personal identification number(s).

Source: www.ncoa.org