Intimacy And Aging: The Importance Of Touch For Seniors

Touch is an important part of life. Our well-being is often facilitated by compassionate human contact. However, our modern world overwhelmingly imbues touch with sexual connotations. As such, we have marginalized platonic touch in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore the importance of touch for seniors.

Woman Receiving a Facial Massage

The Importance Of Touch For Seniors

Nurturing touch is crucial to human survival. A 1962 Yale University study supports this important truth. Researchers discovered that touch-starved children suffered more developmental delays than those who received adequate adult attention. Touch-starved children struggle to adjust, even after they are placed with caring foster families. For seniors, touch can play a pivotal part in their well-being.

The Healing Power Of Touch 

Seniors often struggle to adapt to the challenges of aging. Many feel consigned to a life of loneliness because of their physical and mental impairments. They refrain from social contact and gradually become isolated from others. However, this can negatively affect their well-being.

Seniors need to know that they are loved. Studies show that hugging increases oxytocin levels in our bodies. This, in turn, reduces stress and boosts our immune systems. Hugging also lowers cortisol levels, making seniors less susceptible to heart disease and various infections.

How Touch Helps Seniors Stay Healthy

There are many ways seniors can receive their daily doses of healing touch. For example, they can indulge in spa treatments such as therapeutic massages, facials, pedicures, and manicures.

Massages have been shown to ease aches and pains. They also help improve our posture, balance, and circulation. Seniors who get regular massages often experience a greater sense of well-being. They see undeniably stark physical improvements and sleep better at night. A 2008 study shows that massage can decrease agitated behaviors in dementia patients.

Meanwhile, pedicures are particularly excellent for seniors with diabetes and circulatory issues.

As can be seen, touch is an essential part of human survival. We have the power to change the lives of our seniors. It is also important to remember, however, that even platonic touch requires consent. Therefore, we should do everything possible to ensure that our loved ones never feel violated. Touch should be pleasant, enjoyable, and uplifting.

David York Agency Understands The Importance Of Touch For Seniors

For more about how touch can make a difference in the lives of seniors, be sure to explore David York Agency’s blog.

If you need more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 877.216.7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim 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 Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

We’d also like to point out that you can get answers to your immediate concerns by contacting us today.

 

5 Easy Places to Visit with Your Caregiver

If there’s one thing seniors cherish, it’s driving. Today’s seniors lived through the age of cheap gasoline and enjoyed road trips. Driving holds a strong positive association with our senior population and losing the ability to drive is correlated with senior depression. Giving up your keys doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Mobility is still possible by traveling with your caregiver.

If you’re sick of doing crossword puzzles at home, talk to your caregiver about going out instead. Traveling with your caregiver goes well beyond errands and doctor’s appointments. Traveling with your caregiver is a great way to get out and about while still receiving the care you need. If you love the freedom of driving on your own schedule, an in-home caregiver can help!

In many cases, caregivers related to the patient can drive their elderly relative around for a change of scenery and to get some fresh air. If that is not an easy option, there are many transportation services such as access-a-ride which is subsidized and private services like Uber and Lyft which are easy, affordable options.

Let’s take a look at some places you and your caregiver can visit. Elderly and family at a church service

Visiting Your Relatives

When you stop driving, it becomes more difficult to see your relatives without relying on them to visit you. However, talk to your caregiver. If you enjoy visiting nearby friends and relations, your caregiver can accompany you. Once you have planned a time that works for everyone, you and your caregiver can make all the arrangements. You can even ask them to help you bake a little gift to bring along.

Meeting Friends in the Senior Center

Senior centers have been an integral part of any senior communities for many decades. These large halls provide plenty of room for events, catered lunches, and card games. Whether you’re there for a special occasion, meeting a group of friends, or want to spend some time with people your own age, there’s plenty for you and your caregiver to do at a senior center.

Attend Church or Community Activities

Many seniors are deeply involved in their communities and churches. The loss of mobility does not need to affect this involvement! Your caregiver can help you reclaim these activities and volunteer opportunities. Plan with your caregiver to ensure that the events you want to attend are within your daily schedule.

Join a Club or Class

One of the best ways to keep your mind active is to continue learning. Pick up a hobby that keeps your mind, and hands occupied. Hobby classes and craft classes are readily available at senior centers and throughout the community. Build birdhouses, knit a sweater, or learn the art of scrapbooking! There’s a wide range of crafts in which to participate, and your caregiver can easily shuttle you to and from classes.

Enjoy a Drive

Finally, there is a simple joy in “taking a drive.” Now that you’re the passenger, you have the freedom to look out any window you please. Ask your caregiver if she’s amenable to a relaxing country drive and engage in some leisurely recreational driving. Enjoy a quiet opportunity to listen to the radio, talk, or enjoy the view.

Professional Caregiving From David York Agency

Just because you don’t drive anymore doesn’t mean you have to stop going out. Just because you shouldn’t be behind the wheel doesn’t mean you have to give up on the freedom of travel. Escorting you is one of the core services of senior caregiving, and your caregiver should be glad to help you stay active and engaged in your community with a few car trips.

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. Our aim is 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 Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

Ride-Sharing For Seniors: Motivator For Technology Adoption

One of the sad facts of aging is that people lose the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is largely due to deteriorating vision along with other health-related issues. Telling an aging loved one that he or she can no longer drive can be painful for all concerned (see our previous post Don’t Take Away My Car Keys, Yet!). Though it is a matter of safety it is also a matter of freedom. But ride-sharing for seniors offers freedom and safety at the touch of a button.

An elderly woman is smiling as she enters through the front passenger door of a car. Uber ride-sharing for seniors concept

Ride-Sharing For Seniors

The loss of mobility has been an unavoidable part of aging since the dawn of the automobile. Until recently, many elderly people depended on rides from friends, relatives 0r other community organizations (see our previous post No More Car for Dad or Mom, Now What?). However, technology is changing this old expectation. Ride-sharing services are now available in many communities, offering a cheap, easy, and reliable option for local travel. Offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing is a convenient way for seniors to get around.

Ride-sharing for seniors ensures that your loved ones are not completely homebound or dependent upon others for rides. This option can also help lessen the blow of having to take away your loved one’s car keys. Thanks to ride-sharing services, the elderly no longer have to endure the loss of mobility that comes with age.

 

Teaching the Technology

Teaching your loved ones to use ride-sharing apps may be a necessary step to ensure their independence. Luckily, these applications they are simple enough for anyone to pick up with a few lessons. Also, they have the added benefit of concretely introducing technology to seniors and act as motivators for their adoption. Both libraries and senior centers offer technology classes to seniors, providing an excellent resource in this area. Additionally, home healthcare workers can help guide seniors through the ins and outs of the technology. With a little time and patience, you can get your elderly parent on the road in safety.

 

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.

Eldercare Planning: Your Parents & Home Healthcare

Many adult children start to worry about their aging parents. They see them struggling as they get on in years and believe they would be better off with help. Eldercare planning is a difficult subject to broach (especially with seniors who are resistant to such discussions see our post on the subject), but it’s also a necessary conversation for seniors who are experiencing a decline in health or finding it hard to care for themselves.

 

Eldercare Planning for Parents

Approaching Eldercare Planning with Your Parents

Conversations about diminished capacity can be very difficult to have with your parents. They may get offended that you are worried about them and they may have no interest in hearing your viewpoint. It can be frustrating for you to make your concerns clear. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some tips to help you through this discussion.

  • Choose the right time. Don’t think that you are going to talk to your parents when you both have five minutes. This conversation cannot be rushed. Instead, find some time that you are all free to sit down and talk.
  • If possible, include all of the children. It can be helpful if all of the children are on the same page. Otherwise, it might look like you are ganging up on your parents.
  • Be prepared with the options. It is important that you are ready to have the talk. Write down the different options that are available to your parents. Prepare a list of pros and cons, as well as the costs associated with each of them.
  • If it gets heated, take a break. The conversation may get heated, and it may be better to take a break before things get said that can’t be taken back. Leave the list of options, pros, and cons, and plan on coming back in a day or two (after your parents have had time to think).

Difficult Now, Helpful When Necessary

Talking to your aging parents about getting help can be quite difficult. However, if you find the right time and come prepared, it is more likely to go well. If not, take a break and revisit the issue once everyone has settled down. David York Agency has a Checklist and Workbook to help guide you through the discussion. Please check them out on our website.

Remember, though this discussion is difficult now, it could lead to a better future for your parents. Decide on small changes that can be implemented now and others that will be helpful down the road.

 

If eldercare planning is a concern for you and your loved ones, please consider the David York Agency. Our qualified, compassionate caregivers are ready to help. 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.

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.

Tackling Technology with the Elderly

senior and social media

Technology + Seniors ≠ Oil + Water

For many seniors, learning how to use a new form of technology can be intimidating. A lot has changed since they were in their prime learning years. As such, many elderly individuals resist using technology at all. If your loved one is apprehensive about incorporating technology into their life, try to be understanding of their fears. Be supportive and encouraging. Ease them into it slowly, and most important, be patient. The elderly and technology do not have to be like oil and water. 

Seniors Can Learn More Than You Think

If you yourself are having trouble explaining this technology to your elderly loved one, you may want to call in the grandchildren. Chances are, the grandkids will be far better teachers because they’re using social media and technology all the time.

Another idea is to enroll for one of the free computer training courses. These are often offered through senior centers, churches or the library. It is a good way to meet like-minded people who are curious and open to learning. If you are not into technology, consider enlisting the help of a tech-savvy neighbor or a professional instructor.

If none of these are an option, you can go to YouTube or Google and search for videos on any subject you want to learn. In other words, you could search for “how to join Facebook” or “how to post on Twitter” or “how to use Pinterest.” Every search will bring up a lot of videos and you can watch several to learn what you need to know. The nice thing about watching videos is that you can watch them over and over and even pause them when you need to slow things down.

Of course, social media and technology aren’t replacements for real human interaction and care. If you need help caring for and accompanying an elderly loved one, it may be time to seek the help of an in-home health care agency. At David York Agency, we provide a variety of personal health care services that support both the mental and physical wellness of the elderly and infirmed.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. It is our aim to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

 

Using Technology to Eliminate Loneliness in the Elderly

loneliness in the elderly

While winter is the season when people of all ages feel more lonely and cooped up due to the weather, for the elderly, loneliness is not just limited to winter. Loneliness can be a major problem all year round. With decreased mobility, less community engagement, and fewer visits from friends and loved ones, seniors can be left feeling forgotten and alone, which commonly leads to depression. Technology available to seniors can help. 

Fortunately, with today’s technology, there are more options for seniors to stay active, take part in the community, and maintain relationships with loved ones. Through social media and a variety of technological tools, the elderly can stay in touch with family and friends. As a result, they feel more connected to the world as a whole.

Staying in Touch Through Social Media

Social media provides a way for seniors to connect with friends and family. It is also a way to meet new friends from around the world or to connect with long-lost acquaintances.

According to the latest Pew Research report on seniors and social media:

“Usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010, when 11% used social media. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005.”

Social Media Primer for the Elderly

But what exactly is social media? Well, social media is defined as online social communication. This communication takes different forms. Through Twitter, it takes the form of short messages (140 characters only) called tweets. Facebook allows the posting of pictures and longer-form status updates. Instagram and Pinterest are places where people post images and YouTube is a place where people publish videos.

With social media skills, seniors can not only communicate with and reach their friends and family, but they can also stay connected to the world.

Facebook is the most used social media platform. It allows connection with friends, families, and groups. Users can follow their favorite celebrities, news outlets, and loved ones. As such, they stay connected and up-to-date on what’s happening in everyone’s lives.

Twitter is for those who like to say things in a few words. For those who don’t like to type, or just want to say a short comment, Twitter is for you. If you want to connect with other Twitter users on a particular topic, use the “#” when searching for groups, such as #seniorcitizens or #recipes, to find others who are discussing that topic.

LinkedIn is a place to showcase online resumes and professional information. It is a place primarily for those who are still working. If someone is only semi-retired and still wants to connect with the business world, LinkedIn is a good social media network to join.

Video Chatting

Another technological tool that can make the elderly feel less lonely is online video chatting. Using any device that has a web-enabled camera, seniors can talk face to face with their friends and family. Applications like Facetime, Skype, and Google Hangouts are all easy to use and can be set up on smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Video chatting offers a more personal and intimate way to chat with loved ones. It really is the next best thing to actually seeing them in person. This can be an especially great tool if children and grandchildren are spread out across the country or globe. Even if loved ones aren’t able to come visit in person, they can connect through video chat with the click of a mouse.

Of course, social media and technology aren’t replacements for real human interaction and care. If you need help caring for and accompanying an elderly loved one, it may be time to seek the help of an in-home health care agency. At David York Agency, we provide a variety of personal health care services that support both the mental and physical wellness of the elderly and infirmed.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. Our aim is to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Creating a Care Plan for Alzheimer’s

planning for ill health

There are other circumstances that require a more urgent need for a long-term care plan. If a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, you will want to think about making plans as soon as possible. It is best to do this early, before their condition worsens. This is especially true in cases such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Make Long-Term Care Plan for Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is something that most people prefer not to think about. For those who have just been diagnosed with the disease, it is probably frightening. It becomes difficult to think about the future. However, waiting to bring legal and financial affairs into order can have serious consequences. They may lead to incomplete or inadequate care for patients down the road. That’s why it’s important to begin planning for ill health before Alzheimer’s disease starts to take its toll.

The National Institute of Aging recommends that families start their estate planning soon after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. In these early stages, the patient is still able to be an active participant in legal, financial, and medical discussions. While the National Institute of Aging guidelines reference Alzheimer’s disease, the early planning that the institute recommends applies broadly to the care of anyone with a debilitating disease. That planning includes home healthcare.

Families also benefit from these early discussions. When the patient participates in planning for his or her care, their family will have more clarity. Their loved one can spell out their precise wishes . Everyone will feel more prepared for the tough decisions that must be made in the coming years.

Planning for Alzheimer’s disease requires drawing up several formal documents, such as:

  • A Living Will: This document explains what the person wants for end-of-life medical treatment.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This documentation designates which person will make the health care decisions when the Alzheimer’s Disease patient can no longer make such decisions.
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR): This order directs medical professionals about what they should do if the patient’s heart or breathing stops.
  • Advance Directives: Financial planning must include advance directives, such as a will that establishes which people will receive a person’s assets upon death.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: Similar to the power of attorney for healthcare, the power of attorney for finances establishes who makes financial decisions for a person when he or she is no longer able to do so.

Keep home healthcare in the forefront as you start to formulate a care plan for your aging loved one. You may want to consider including reliable elder care services. At David York Agency, we can provide a variety of in-home health care services to support the health and wellness of your loved one in every stage of life. For more information about your options, we would be happy to discuss how our services can fit into your plan.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 877.216.7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We are happy to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Implement an Eldercare Plan Before the Need for Eldercare Services Arises

eldercare services

As your loved one ages, it becomes more and more difficult for them to think clearly about the care they will need in the future. Mental clarity and astuteness wane, unexpected health conditions arise, and before you know it, you could be left making decisions about the care of your loved one, without their valuable input.

Everyone deserves to have a say in how they will be cared for as they get older. That’s why it is so important for seniors and their loved ones to discuss a care plan for the future, before complications occur or elder care services are actually needed.

A care plan addresses the needs that may arise as someone grows older and begins to lose his or her ability to remain independent. A good care plan designates the different responsibilities that are specific to the care of the elderly person. This allows everyone involved to make rational, educated decisions that are in the best interest of their loved one.

There are four different scenarios that usually ignite the need for an elder care plan:

  • The elder is preparing for future situations.
  • The elder’s family is anticipating the need for certain resources in order to properly care for their loved one.
  • The adult caring for the elderly individual is searching for resources that pertain to elder care.
  • The elder has been diagnosed with a condition they know will require future care planning.

An elder care plan requires resources from a number of different areas, such as financial planning, healthcare, transportation, emotional management, social needs, and daily activities. It’s important to start thinking about the aging process well in advance in order to help your loved one maintain his or her quality of life for years to come.

Have a discussion that’s centered around the wishes and desires of your loved one concerning short-term and long-term care goals, as well as his or her physical abilities. As the needs of your loved one change, the resources you use will evolve accordingly.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

5 Signs That It May Be Time For Senior Homecare

It is difficult to accept that a senior adult in your life is no longer able to perform the same tasks they once could on their own. You may have started noticing small signs that have raised concerns. At first, you may have even turned a blind eye, but when those signs become more frequent and more serious, it is time to pay attention and ask for help. Getting assistance for your loved one can help keep them safer, healthier, and living at home longer.

senior care

Here are some signs that it may be time to consider home care assistance for a senior in your life.

1. Piles of Unopened Mail

Most people open their mail every day. Traditionally, this is a way of connecting with friends and family members’ over long distances and staying on top of appointments and bills. If your aging parent has started letting their mail pile up, especially bills and letters from friends, this should be a red flag that something is wrong.

2. Spoiled Food in House

Everyone is guilty of letting food spoil in the fridge from time to time. However, if you go to a loved ones’ home and notice that most of the food or beverages have long-since expired, it may be a sign that their memory or eyesight is worsening. Having expired food in the house can be major health risk to seniors, who may not realize they are consuming spoiled food or may not be able to read the expiration labels.

3. Medications Not Being Taken

Your mother calls complaining that she has not been feeling well lately. You decide to make a trip to check on her, only to discover she has not taken any of her medications since your last visit—2 weeks ago. She argues that she has been taking them every day, but you know the truth because the pill bottle is still full, and right where you left it. Forgetting to take medications can be dangerous to the health of your aging parents, especially if they suffer from chronic health conditions.

4. Missed Doctors’ Appointments

Several missed appointments should raise concern regarding the safety and cognitive health of the senior. If your loved one is reminded at the beginning of the week about the appointment, and it is marked on their calendar, the appointment should not slip their memory. Missed doctor’s appointments not only jeopardize their health, but forgetting them can be a sign of early dementia and a signal that other important things are being forgotten as well.

5. Unpleasant Body Odor

If your parent or loved one is not properly attending to their personal hygiene and cleanliness, it may be a sign that they need some extra assistance around the home. Worsening mobility, strength and memory can often lead elderly adults to neglect their appearance and personal health. Home health aides are perfect for elderly care in these instances. The aide can help with grooming, dressing and keeping the home tidy.

It is important to understand that just because your aging loved one needs a little extra help on a daily basis does not mean they are ready for a nursing home. Most seniors simply need a little help because their mobility is becoming more limited, their vision is worsening, or their memory is becoming less sharp. Hiring home care assistance is the best way to ensure the health and safety of your loved one as they age. For more information about senior care for your aging loved one, contact us.