Ageism and Dental Care

Senior woman at the dentist. Ageism and dental care concept

For many Americans age 65 and older, dental care is a necessity that they cannot afford. Some older adults live on Social Security benefits of just $850 per month. Unfortunately, the cost of dental insurance and associated copays are just too expensive with this limiting budget. Additionally, the link between ageism and dental care means the care seniors receive is less than what they require.

As a result, seniors live with cavities, cracked or damaged teeth, and periodontal disease. Some seniors will turn to the emergency room for help while others may rely on over-the-counter remedies, or perform their own tooth extractions.


Dental Issues That Affect Older Adults

Oral health concerns that are common in people age 65 and older include:

  • Dry Mouth Syndrome is common in older adults. Caused by over 400 medications, severe dry mouth can contribute to cavities, mouth sores, infection, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Periodontal disease causes the gums to become red and swollen. Over time, the gums may separate from the teeth, and bone, tissue and tooth loss may occur. The inflammatory processes associated with long-term periodontal disease have been linked to dementia.


Ageism and Dental Care

Ageism is a term that refers to stereotypes assigned to older adults. Typically, ageism results in unequal access to medical prevention, detection, and treatment. For example, seniors receive fewer screenings for colorectal cancer, skin cancer, and osteoporosis than younger people. Even taking into account balancing the stress of the procedure on an older person, there is still a disproportionate imbalance in care. This is also troubling because the senior population is at greater risk for these diseases.

Although concern about age discrimination in healthcare usually focuses on medicine, disparities also occur in dentistry:

  • Ageist beliefs are a major factor in the inadequate provision of dental care for long-term care residents. Studies found that nursing home administrators believed that dentists were reluctant to see older residents, while the dentists felt the staff did not reach out for dental consultation often enough.
  • A survey of over 300 dental students found that a significant number believed older adults are less vital, less adaptable, and less likely to actively pursue goals than younger patients.
  • There are not enough geriatric-informed treatment standards. There is also call for better education among dental providers, caregivers, families, and patients.


Challenging Ageist Ideas

Research shows that when dental hygienist students and dental students have an opportunity to work directly with seniors, negative stereotypes towards this group are reduced.


Finding Affordable Care

Several resources are available to seniors who struggle to pay for dental care. Some dental hygienists can see older adults in their homes or at care facilities. This ensures cost-effective preventative care.


 Providing Compassionate Care

  • Address dry mouth by encouraging the use of over-the-counter rinses, pastes, sprays, and lozenges. All of these simple remedies will help lubricate the mouth.
  • Caregivers must ensure their own safety when assisting agitated clients with oral hygiene. For some patients with dementia, small brushes or oral foam swabs may work best.
  • Give dental hygiene its due focus. Devote at least 2 minutes to brushing teeth each day.


Dental health is of utmost importance to seniors. The rising tide of ageism makes it difficult to ensure all seniors are receiving proper care, but David York can help!

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Loss of Vision and Hearing May Cause Cognitive Decline in Seniors

It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience hearing and vision loss. Sadly, these changes can cause both physical and emotional hardships. They may feel a loss of independence, an inability to do the things they love, and a disconnect from the world around them. Beyond these discomforts, with the loss of vision and hearing, they may experience cognitive decline.

Read on to learn more about how hearing and vision loss causes dementia and cognitive decline in seniors.

Senior woman inserts hearing aid in her ear learning about Cognitive Decline in Seniors from nurse

Vision Loss and Cognitive Decline in Seniors

The most recent study on the relationship between vision loss and cognitive decline looked at two datasets. This data covered 16 years and included more than 33,000 people aged 60 and up. Published in JAMA Ophthalmology in September 2017, it concluded that “vision dysfunction…was associated with poor cognitive function.”

This confirms a study conducted at the University of Michigan in 2010. This six-year study followed 625 elderly participants and had similar findings. These findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and concluded that “untreated poor vision is associated with cognitive decline, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.”

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Hearing loss also plays a part in cognitive decline in seniors. The reason for this is unclear, but there is speculation that  uncorrected deficits in vision and hearing may accelerate this.

The New York Times recently interviewed Dr. Suzann Pershing – lead author of the study and an ophthalmologist at Stanford University School of Medicine – to learn more. Pershing said that “this association doesn’t prove vision loss causes cognitive decline. Intuitively, it makes sense that the less engaged people are with the world, the less cognitive stimulation they receive, and the more likely their cognitive function will decline.”

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2013 observed 1,984 adults with an average age of 77. The study confirms that “hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment.” Also noteworthy, Adults with hearing loss will experience cognitive decline 30-40% faster than those with normal hearing.

A Causal Relationship?

According to Dr. Frank R. Lin, otolaryngologist at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, said, “Older adults with hearing loss face an increased risk of dementia even when you control for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. So we think they’re causally related.”

There are a few reasons this may happen:

  • hearing-impaired people tend to become isolated and lack stimulation
  • hearing loss causes brain atrophy that affects memory and thinking
  • the brain has to work harder to understand muffled or distorted speech

But There is Hope for Improvement.

Dr. Pershing also said that cognitive function can be improved if vision problems are treated. Regular visits with your ophthalmologist can lead to improvement, and help prevent deterioration.

Almost two-thirds of adults over the age of 70 have hearing loss, yet they remain significantly undertreated. Hearing aids are affordable and accessible. Hearing is again possible with treatment.

Cognitive decline is a problem for seniors, but now that we know the causes we can help prevent deterioration. With this information, our elderly loved ones can live fuller lives, and tackle future health problems.

David York Agency Can Help

Cognitive decline in seniors does not need to be a continuing trend. With the help of trained healthcare professionals your loved ones can learn more about their wellbeing, and fight the problems that come with age. Knowledge and proper care are the keys to living a better life.

If you would like to learn more about David York, please contact us. Our healthcare services are the best available. We provide transportation, care, and companionship to the elderly, as well as specialty services.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified and compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services will provide the assistance your loved one needs. Also, please like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to providing the very best in care.

Long-Distance Caregiving: Feeling Adequate at a Distance

At a time when seniors wish to remain independent  – and in their own homes – for as long as possible, establishing a support system is essential. The act of caregiving often falls on relatives or close friends, but these caregivers are not always local and long-distance caregiving is on the rise.

Grandparents talking on the phone at the table. Long-distance caregiving

But how can you provide adequate care from a distance while maintaining the balance of your daily life?

Remaining involved in your loved one’s life, providing long-distance care, and living your own life is a difficult balance. The “sandwich generation,” – identified as middle-aged adults “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their aging parents – can be full of overwhelming and thankless tasks, but maintaining your relationship and providing care at a distance can be done!

Here are a few ways to maintain the caregiver relationship when living far away.


The Reality of Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance caregiving is an undeniable stressor. The difficulty of balancing the duties of a caregiver with work and family can be daunting and exhausting. You will have to learn to manage your time and your loved one’s time simultaneously. You will also have to adapt your schedule to include travel time as well as care time.

Expect to make sacrifices if you plan to maintain significant involvement in your loved one’s life. From missing work to rearranging appointments, your job as a caregiver will be all-encompassing. Frequent phone calls at all hours of the day and night may become a new norm. You may also take on the added expense of additional home care in order to ensure your loved one’s well-being when you cannot be present.


What Can I Do?

How can we accept the reality of distance as a barrier but also incorporate ways to embrace it? Finding peace of mind away from your loved one is difficult, but not impossible.

Some ways may include purchasing new forms of technology such as a fall alert system. This is a small investment ensuring that emergency personnel would respond if a loved one suffered a fall. There are also various forms of medication reminders to help loved ones take their medications at the recommended time.

Establish methods of communication that are readily available and easily understood. When utilizing the telephone, your loved one may prefer a landline with multiple cordless phones and charging stations placed around their living area. If your loved one is receptive to video chat, ensure these newfangled programs are installed properly and simplified for ease of use. Many seniors suffer from hearing and vision loss so preset the volume on devices to ensure they can hear properly. Place telephones in locations that are accessible and uncluttered.


Helpful Tips from the AARP:

1. Maintain your identity and embrace the characteristics and strengths that you have while incorporating them into caregiving.

2. Reprioritize as circumstances arise.

3. Get organized. Check out these David York Agency publications for the task: Workbook & Checklist.

4. Be open to accepting help whether it be with minimal daily tasks, assistance from other family and friends or hiring a home care agency.

5. “Keep filling your tank.” Caregiving requires mental and emotional energy. Allow yourself to unwind and reboot.


Understanding the reality of caregiving and accepting ways to embrace it may ease the struggle of long-distance caregiving. David York Agency prides itself on individualized care and maintaining the dignity of your loved one. If you need assistance, support, or an open ear in the world of caregiving, reach out today!

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Managing Long-Distance Caregiving

If you live an hour or more away from a parent or relative who relies on you for some form of care, you are considered a long-distance caregiver. Managing long-distance caregiving is no easy task.  It is stressful and time-consuming and difficult to accomplish without additional help. Being far from your loved one when they need assistance can be draining and, as this role-reversal presents itself, you are thrust into a realm of new responsibilities.

There is no one right method to approach your new role. Every situation is different. But the task of managing long-distance caregiving doesn’t have to be daunting with these helpful tips.

managing long-distance caregiving

How will I know help is needed?

Regrettably, if your parents need care, they probably won’t tell you when they need help. The last thing they want is to become a burden to their children. Typically, a person will experience a health crisis or a “wake-up call,” triggering the awareness that they need assistance. Barring a sudden health event, difficulties and changes in performing ADLs (activities of daily living) will be a telltale sign that help is needed. Routine ADLs include:

  • Bathing and showering
  • Personal hygiene and grooming
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Transferring (for example, moving from a chair to the bed)
  • Self-feeding


What is my role?

As a long-distance caregiver, you will play the role of information gatherer as well as coordinator of assistance.

As the information gatherer, you can use websites and other resources to locate local community services that specialize in care for older persons or the disabled. You will also gather relevant data pertaining to your loved one. This information will be your go-to resource in the event of an emergency. David York Agency provides an excellent resource in the form of our Essential Documents and Emergency Information Workbook.

As the coordinator of assistance, you will make arrangements for care as well as set appointments. Consult with your loved one to determine their needs in the following areas:

  • Meal delivery
  • In-home care
  • Medical devices
  • Transportation
  • Help with Medicare/Medicaid claims
  • Support groups
  • Telephone check-ins
  • Financial Assistance


Additionally, David York Agency publishes a handy Essential Documents and Emergency Information Checklist to make your new role more manageable. This checklist provides a place to record pertinent information that will help you determine what your loved one can and can’t do. The AARP also offers a Caregiver’s Checklist that may be of use as well.


Evolving Care

It is never too early to start thinking about the future needs of your loved ones and how you will handle the evolving nature of your caregiving journey. Once you have completed the caregiver’s checklist and determined the wishes and needs of your loved ones, it will be time to speak to professionals in the caregiving industry. Check references and do whatever you can to make things as straightforward as possible for the caregiver. In-home caregivers help with a variety of household and personal tasks and will be in a good position to update you on day-to-day progress.

Remember that you are not alone.  An estimated 43.5 million Americans provide care, advocacy, and healthcare navigation for a relative or friend 50+ years or older.


For more information about David York Agency‘s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Cognitive Support in a Cup of Green Tea

Green tea is well-known for helping induce a calm, alert mental state, but did you know it could also deliver cognitive support? Scientists believe this is due to the unique nutritional aspects of green tea, including high levels of the amino acid Theanine.

This is great news for anyone who would like an extra boost to be at their best every day. Now, research shows that green tea’s mental benefits extend far beyond a daily stimulant. In fact, the compounds in green tea can have a profound impact on cognitive function as we age.

Happy Asian senior woman drinking tea at home.

Cognitive Support is a Sip Away

One study looked at how a history of green tea consumption affects cognitive function in people aged seventy or older. The amount of green tea regularly consumed was compared to their results on tests that measure cognitive function.

Not only was cognitive impairment lower with green tea intake, but the effect was greater when more tea was consumed. A regular green tea habit can help you stay mentally sharp as the years go by.

Powerful Benefits. Today!

Even more exciting is that the benefits of green tea aren’t just preventative. If you or someone you love is already experiencing cognitive decline, it’s not too late to benefit from green tea.

A recent study tested how nursing home residents’ cognitive function test results changed after three months of consuming green tea powder every day. The results showed a significant improvement in cognitive skills with daily green tea powder intake.

Even once cognitive decline begins, the daily use of green tea can supply significant cognitive support.

When caring for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia, it can be hard to find the support you need. For professional, compassionate care, please contact us.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism in Medicine: Senior Mental Health is of Vital Importance

Much as in the general population, senior mental health is of equal importance to physical health.

In fact, the two play off each other.

In 1999, the U.S. surgeon general defined mental health as “the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and providing the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity”. Quality of life suffers when any of these things cannot be done.

Poor mental health can:  affect financial stability; strain families; open up the possibility for crime or victimization, and even negatively impact physical well-being. Unfortunately, mental health is often an area most doctors avoid when treating older patients. This sends the message that depression is normal in the elderly.

Senior mental health and ageism

Sadly, the rate of suicide in the elderly is four times the national average. In addition, 75% of those who committed suicide had seen their primary care doctor within the past month. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found that doctors do not spend enough time talking to elderly patients about their mental health. Results also showed that doctors “need more support in how to identify, treat and refer patients to mental health specialists.” Apparently, doctors and need to do more.

Family Advocacy Can Stem Negative Effects of Ageism

In order to advocate for your loved ones, caregivers and family members of the elderly should be aware of the possible signs of mental illness.

These signs can include:

  • Sadness or depression lasting longer than two weeks
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or social activities
  • Unexplained decrease in energy or changes in sleep patterns
  • Difficulties with concentration or decision-making
  • Change in appetite or changes in weight
  • Memory loss, especially short-term memory
  • Feelings of unimportance, misplaced guilt or thoughts of suicide
  • Unexplainable physical setbacks such as aches, constipation, etc.
  • Changes in appearance or problems taking care of the home
  • Struggles with money or working with numbers

Going Forward: Next Steps

In order to better serve our elderly population, doctors should be required to undergo more formal training in geriatrics. Aside from improving the overall health status, understanding the elderly will serve to maintain their mental well-being. Caregivers and family members can protect the mental health of the older adults in their lives by being watchful for the symptoms and advocating for quality care. Therapy, medications and lifestyle changes can all be used to effectively treat mental illness and enable older adults to live longer, fuller lives.


David York  Agency is well aware of the issues surrounding aging. We put a premium on personalized services and attention. If you would like more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.


Ageism, Elderspeak, and Long-Term Care

Wouldn’t you be confused if a near-stranger patted your head and called you “sweetie”, or if a nurse shouted instructions despite your excellent hearing? These behaviors are confusing and elicit irritation, but, for seniors, they are becoming more and more common. Ageism, elderspeak, and bias are an unfortunate reality for many seniors in long-term care. Seniors everywhere are struggling against the presumptions that demean them as well as the negative toll on their personal lives.

a care worker or medical professional with a senior client at her home . She is discussing the senior woman’s options on her digital tablet.

Ageism in Medicine

Ageism refers to negative stereotypes about older people that lead others to treat seniors differently from younger people. In medicine, extensive clinical evidence shows that older adults do not receive the same level of preventive care, diagnostic care or treatment as other age groups.

By speaking to residents in certain ways, long-term care workers perpetuate stereotypes about seniors. In turn, older adults may shut down or become angry at staff, which reduces their willingness to ask for help or to talk about their health concerns.

What is Elderspeak?

Elderspeak refers to a communication approach towards seniors that is based on the assumption that older people are incompetent, fragile or impaired. To some, elderspeak is unavoidable because many elders suffer from hearing loss or cognitive decline. But most seniors view elderspeak as a type of bullying that belittles their age. Elements of elderspeak include the following:

  • Speaking in a sing-song voice
  • Using baby talk
  • Talking too slowly
  • Interrupting frequently
  • Speaking loudly when it is unnecessary
  • Saying “we” instead of “you”
  • Using overly familiar endearments (“dearie,” “sweetie”) towards unfamiliar seniors
  • Using overly familiar signs of affection (hair-tousling, back-patting) towards unfamiliar seniors

Elderspeak and Dementia

Research suggests that elderspeak may be distressing to older adults, and may lead nursing home residents with dementia to act out negatively (e.g., disregard instructions, act aggressively) or to withdraw from social interactions altogether. This throws into sharp relief that even in the face of cognitive decline elderspeak has a negative impact on seniors.

Challenging Elderspeak

Several approaches can reduce the frequency of elderspeak. These include:

  • Self-awareness. Most nursing home staff do not realize that they sometimes use elderspeak to communicate with residents. This form of speech may occur among caregivers who genuinely want what is best for the people in their care. When caregivers become aware of their speech behaviors towards seniors, ageist assumptions are challenged.
  • Clear, respectful speech. Nursing staff should learn to speak to seniors in a normal, conversational way, including the use of humor when appropriate. A simple educational lecture is all the difference necessary to raise awareness among caregivers.
  • Encourage assertiveness. Not every senior will take offense at all elderspeak practices. Some seniors find nicknames such as “sweetie” or “honey”, endearing. However, when seniors are annoyed or hurt by certain utterances they can be encouraged to speak out, for example, to say, “You don’t need to yell, I have a hearing aid” or “My name is Lori, can you call me that?” By using calm, clear wording, seniors can advocate for themselves and challenge the inaccurate perceptions of others.

David York Agency provides exceptional in-home care for seniors. If you have further questions about ageism, please contact us.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism in Medicine: 5 Mind-Blowing Facts on Elderly Participation in Clinical Trials

Imagine if studies on the effects of eating dog food looked only at its effects on cats. While it sounds outrageous, that is the logic currently employed by many medical researchers studying treatments for a vast array of chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses affect older people at a higher rate than younger people. At the same time, seniors make up a growing portion of the population which is most in need of the treatment of chronic disease. By continuing to conduct studies that rarely include older patients, researchers become part of the picture of ageism in America.

For many years, when it has come to participating in medical trials, the elderly have experienced ageism and discrimination. As a result, these studies may fail to reach conclusions that are truly applicable to the elderly population.

1. 39% of medical trials from 1994 to 2006 excluded people over age 65 (*1)

Dr. Ken Covinsky, a researcher at the University of California in San Francisco, told the New York Times in 2011, “In taking care of older patients, we’re often guessing the best therapy on insufficient data.” This is a major problem for older patients, their families, and their doctors.

(*1 source: “Clinical Trials Neglect the Elderly” Paula Span, New York Times, August 2011)

2. Of the trials that don’t have age limits, almost 50% use other criteria that limit senior patient participation (*2)

Age restrictions notwithstanding, there are plenty of other factors that keep our elderly out of medical trials. On a disproportionate basis, patients over 65 are routinely excluded from participation based on other factors common to the elderly. These include varied factors from suffering from illnesses and to non-inclusion of patients living in nursing homes. Thus, it would seem that removing age limits in medical trials is not the only impediment to inclusion.

(*2 source: *“Examining the Evidence: A Systematic Review of the Inclusion and Analysis of Older Adults in Randomized Controlled Trials” Journal of General Internal Medicine, July 2011)

3. One in four people prescribed medication are 65 or older, but less than 10% of medical research findings are specific to older patients (*3)

Unfortunately,the likelihood we will need prescription medication increases as we age. Interestingly, while seniors use more prescribed medicine, the vast majority are also more likely to ask for and study information from their doctors about the effectiveness of OTC drugs.

(*3 sources: “Prescription Drug Use Among Midlife and Older Americans” Linda L. Barrett 2005; “Ageism: How Healthcare Fails the Elderly” Alliance for Aging Research;“Disparate Inclusion of Older Adults in Clinical Trials: Priorities and Opportunities for Policy and Practice Change”Am J Public Health. 2010 April)

4. 2/3 of cancer patients are over 65, but only 25% of cancer trial participants are over that age (*4)

While the elderly account for 60% of new cancer patients, study after study shows that they account for a disproportionately small segment of research trials. This obviously restricts our ability to determine if newly discovered treatments are effective for the group suffering from cancer the most—the elderly.

(*4 source: Simonetta Alvino, Senior Medical Director at inVentiv Health Clinical)

5. Between 1985 and 1999, only 2 OUT OF 60  heart disease treatment trials included enough older patients to make valid conclusions (*5)

As indicated by this shocking statistic, the group most likely to suffer from heart failure —people over 65—is the LEAST studied in treatment trials. Sadly, this means that the results may not be easily applied to people over 65.

(*5 source: Simonetta Alvino, Senior Medical Director at inVentiv Health Clinical)

Since the elderly are often frail, it is understandable that researchers are reluctant to include them. By including this high-risk population in trials,  researchers will obtain more reliable results for all sufferers. Fortunately, as noted above, there are more and more of studies that are relaxing their criteria to include older participants.

Even with medical trials becoming more inclusive, newer research suggests that a very large percentage still have rigid age limits. With our the aging of baby boomers, elderly underrepresentation in clinical trials demands attention.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. Our dedicated healthcare professionals are well equipped with the best, most up-to-date information about elderly caregiving. In order to determine the best level of care for your situation, a free phone consultation can help you. Let us help you decide what services might be best to provide you with the assistance you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Managing Long-Distance Caregiving

Taking care of ill or elderly relatives is a complicated and stressful situation. That stress is compounded in the case of long-distance caregiving. As more and more adult children care for their elderly parents, this issue is becoming more common.

Health visitor with smartphone and a senior man during home visit. A female nurse or a doctor making a phone call. long-distance caregiving concept

According to a survey conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, long-distance caregivers experience negative impacts on their time, finances, and work schedules. Despite this, over half of these caregivers see their loved ones at least a few times a month, and over 75% help with basic services such as shopping, cooking, and transportation, spending 22 hours on these aspects of caregiving alone.

If you are managing long-distance care, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Recognize the Added Strain

Caregiving can cause major stress. Compounding this stress with the addition of travel, finances, and schedule increases the load for the long-distance caregiver. It is important to ensure that caregivers, as well as the patient, have the support they need.

In order to receive this support, the long-distance caregiver must acknowledge their added stress. Once the problem is recognized, steps can be taken to help relieve the pressure. Consider support groups, in person or online. These meetings can be an important source of comfort. Regular, healthy meals and exercise can also help reduce stress levels.

Remember: you can only care for others if you care for yourself first.


Gather Information

When medical emergencies arise, it’s important to have all the information you’ll need. Make copies of insurance documents and medical information, including medications and doctors’ orders and phone numbers. Keep these documents handy, so you don’t have to find them during stressful moments.

One important document to have is a durable medical power of attorney. This is particularly important if there are multiple siblings or you are taking care of an in-law. It is extremely important to clarify your right to make medical decisions if the patient is unable to do so.

DYA has handy publications for organizing you essential documents on our website.


Keep Communication Open

When possible, it’s a good idea to attend doctor’s appointments with the patient. They may not remember everything the doctor says or feel comfortable talking about the visit. If you can be there to hear the doctor’s orders and keep notes, it can help you see that the patient is getting what they need.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to keep lines of communication open. Some of the things they recommend are:

  • Speak with your loved one’s healthcare providers. A release signed by your loved one will allow their doctors to talk to you about their treatment. See if you can set up conference calls or log into their online medical records to stay fully informed.
  • Get support from friends. People who live nearby can check in on your loved one. Having a few people look in periodically can give you insight on how they are doing.
  • Consider hiring help. Someone to help with tasks such as meals and bathing can ease the burden on both of you.
  • Prepare for emergencies. Save time and money in case there is a crisis. Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act, which can provide you with unpaid time off with no threat to your job.


Maintain Your Relationship

Finally, remember to spend time visiting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the tasks of caregiving and forget the relationship. Try to set time aside for sitting and talking, or doing an activity you enjoy together, such as taking a walk. The reason you are doing this monumental task is that you care so much about this person. Remembering that can ease the strain on both of you.


There are many difficult choices to make when taking care of a loved one. Living far away complicates those decisions. If David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers can help you in this process, please contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Aquatic Activities for Seniors

As we have discussed many times, seniors need exercise just as much as the younger generation. It’s so important that they find routines that meet their needs. Water-based activities are some of the best workouts seniors can experience. Aquatic activities for seniors are in high demand because they provide an excellent low-impact, low-risk exercise for seniors.

A multi-ethnic group of senior adults are taking a water aerobics class at the public pool. They are holding water weights and are working out.

For many seniors, pain can be an obstacle when committing to an exercise routine. Fortunately, aquatic exercise cuts back on the possibility of injury. Water’s buoyancy results in very little pressure on joints and muscles, but still allows for full range of movement. Stretching and resistance training can both be achieved in the pool with much less effort than on dry land!

Not only do water-based activities provide the exercise that senior bodies require, they also fulfill social needs. Because pools are typically available in shared spaces like community centers, these aquatic classes force seniors to socialize.

Senior classes meet the needs and safety concerns of seniors. Here are just a few aquatic activities that the elderly may enjoy.


Water Aerobics

Water aerobics classes provide fun social interaction and all the health benefits of aerobic exercise. Led by a trained professionals who are qualified in CPR, water aerobics is a great activity that keeps seniors in mind. Seniors-only classes are designed specifically for seniors, utilizing oldies music and simplified exercises to keep everyone happy and healthy.


Swimming Laps

Many seniors choose swimming as an option since you can do it at any time, you can go at your own pace and stop at any time. Like any new activity, if you are new to swimming or haven’t been swimming laps in a while, you may want to start by consulting a trained professional or take private lessons until you are comfortable in the environment.


Water Walking

Take your daily walk to the next level with water walking. In this activity, seniors go through the motions of their walking routine in the swimming pool. This activity is wonderful because you can do it alone or with a group. For an added challenge, add ankle weights.


For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.