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It’s only one week until Mandy’s mom moves into a long-term care home. Sending her mom to a long-term care community is a huge relief for Mandy, since she is moving to another state with her fiancé. However, it is not without any worry – Mandy’s mom has some physical impairments and Mandy is afraid that caregivers won’t be able to offer the best help exactly when she needs it, so she decided to build an emergency kit for her mom on her own.

Whether you are taking care of an elderly person at home or in a long-term care community, a first aid kit is one of the necessary items that you never want to miss. Seniors are more likely to be injured than younger people, since they may have less strength and flexibility, and a higher risk for fracture. Also, their sight, hearing, smell and taste may have declined, making them more vulnerable to accidents. At the same time, seniors are more susceptible to skin infections and diseases. Aging can make the skin less elastic, thinner, and drier, which makes injuries takes longer for them to heal.

Buying an emergency kit is convenient, but customizing your own emergency kit will be suitable for your loved one in a long run. In that, we are going to provide you with some tips and a checklist of what you can add into your emergency kit. Let’s get started.

Tips for Preparing an Emergency Kit for Your Loved One

1. Assess Your Loved One’s Health Condition

As we mentioned many times in our past blog posts, the premise of meeting your loved one’s needs is to understand their needs. So, the very first thing you should do is ist all the concerns that your loved one may have, and medicine or any other aiding items that can help them cope with their situation.

Consider your loved one’s mobility condition, hearing and vision status, and also ask the doctor if it is necessary to stock up on certain items according to his or her health condition (some doctors are willing to give you extra amounts of some certain medications, but it depends on the disease and the person). Assessing your loved one’s health condition makes it much easier for you to build a perfectly customized emergency kit. Also, if your loved one has memory problems or cognitive issues, it is not too late to add the things that could comfort them.

2. Know the Drug Regulation of the Long-Term Care Home

Building an emergency kit isn’t about bringing whatever you want; there are laws that restrict medications in long term care home, according to the provinces or states. Inproper usage of emergehcy kits, especially medication, can result in serious consequences for the long-term care home, so it is vital to figure what can be added and what should be avoided in a fist aid kid that your loved one will bring to a community. Here is an example list of what is allowed in long-term care homes, according to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy:

  • Analgesics, controlled drugs

  • Anti-Infectives

  • Anticholinergics

  • Anticoagulants

  • Antidiarrheals

  • Antihistamine Injectables

  • Antinauseants

  • Antipsychotics

  • Anti-Hyperglycemic

  • Anxiolytics

  • Cardiac Life Support Medications

  • Coagulants

  • Corticosteroids

  • Hypoglycemics

  • Seizure Control Medications

  • Large Volume Parenterals

  • Poison Control

  • Respiratory Medications

  • GI Medications

  • Other Medications as Approved by the Board

3. Make It As Light As Possible

Moving into a long-term care home is already a big project for most seniors. You don’t want to add extra pressure to your loved one to carry a big heavy box around. So, make a list of necessary items, and get rid of, or just leave the extra items in your loved one’s room. Below, we offer you a checklist of what you can include in an emergency kit.

What You Can Add Into A Customized Emergency Kit

Basic Sanitation and Cleaning

  • Antiseptic Wipes

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Antibiotic Ointment (e.g., Neosporin.)

  • Aloe Vera (to heal burn)

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Eye Drops

Wound Dressings

  • Band-Aida

  • Non-Adhesive Pads

  • Tape

Medicinal

  • Personal prescription and over the counter medication

  • Ibuprofen, Tylenol, aspirin, Benadryl, or other painkillers 

  • Antidiarrheal medication and laxatives

  • Antacids such as tums. 

  • A printed list of your loved one’s known medical conditions, their prescribed dosage, and allergies. 

Essential Tools

  • Thermometers

  • Tweezers

  • Scissors

  • Fingernail Clippers

  • Blankets

  • Medicine Cups or Spoons For Measurements

  • Cotton Balls and Swabs

  • Floss

  • Roll of Duct Tape

  • Small Plastic Bags

Others

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect Repellent

  • Instant Cold Ice Packs

  • Items That Accommodate Tour Loved One’s Specific Needs

Takeaway

The above list is only a general guide for your customized first aid kit; what you will actually add to your list depends on what your loved one’s needs. Remember to know your loved one’s needs and list them before your preparation, and ask if the home allows you to bring some medication that you are uncertain about.

Happy prepping!

 

References:

https://seniorsafetyadvice.com/how-to-build-an-emergency-kit-for-seniors/

https://www.pharmacyboard.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/EmergencyKitsLTC.pdf

 


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Shelly’s mom has just recently moved into a long-term care home, and it seems like a new start for her. However, her mom has always been an introvert, and moving into a new environment made her even more reluctant to speak to others. So, Shelly thought that her mom just needed some time to adapt to her new life.

After a few weeks, Shelly called the administrator and asked about her mom’s situation. Her mom’s caregiver reported that she is still shy and afraid to talk to people. As Shelly understands how harmful isolation can be to seniors, she knows that it’s time to seek a way to encourage her mom to interact with her neighbours.

Moving into an assisted living community is usually a huge transition for aged people, especially for those who are used to living alone, or have just lost their partners. In our previous blog posts, we have talked about how Senior Isolation can impact one’s mental and physical wellness, and being socially active is vital in defeating loneliness and depression. Allow me to explain how to get your loved one active in social at a long-term care home.

Make Them Uncomfortable

Yes, the very first thing you should do is to “push” your loved one out of their comfort zone. Getting outside your comfort zone isn’t comforting, but in the long run, if avoided, can only “imprison” your loved one in the cage of isolation. IStart with doing some “uncomfortable activities” such as involving your loved one in a conversation between you and others. Just make them realize the power of small talk and getting proactive in making friends.

However, moving into a long-term care home can also be overwhelming for a senior So, allow your loved one to have some time to progress and take it one step at a time. Living in a community actually provides tons of chances for seniors to socialize, and once the senior is familiar with their new lifestyle, it’s going to be easy and fun. Here, we have several tips on how to help your loved one seize the opportunity while joining a new family.

Tips to Help Your Loved One Socialize at a Long-Term Care Home

  • Familiarize Yourself With the Community Staff

What did you do when you first  sent your kids to kindergarten? – you talked to the teachers and checked on circumstances at school to learn the ropes. Is there a place at the community that your loved one may enjoy? Or are there any activities that your loved one can attend and have fun with at the same time? As long as you find a way to push your loved one out of his or her room, the very first step of getting your loved one to blend in socially is accomplished.

  • Register Your Loved Ones for Activities

Does your loved one like dancing? Knitting? Or Wii bowling? There must be at least one interest group in the community that your loved one can join. Sometimes the “newbie” is usually too shy to socialize with other residents, so now it’s your responsibility to open the door for them. If music is your loved one’s strength, ask the staff to encourage your loved one to play an instrument at community events. It might feel embarrassing the first time, but your loved one will enjoy with everyone’s encouragement.

Also, getting your loved one involved in volunteer opportunities is also helpful. For example, he or she can help with gift wrapping during the holiday season. The core concept here is just to get them engaged in any activities that have more chances to meet and talk to people. 

  • Bring Gifts and Food

Who doesn’t love little surprises?! Another good way to help your loved one to socialize is to ask them to bring gifts to the residents. If you or your loved one loves baking, make some refreshments and distribute them around the community. Sharing food is a very easy way to start a conversation, and your loved one will feel content by surprising others, too

  • Make Use of Social Media and Technology

If your loved one has some physical impairments and stepping outside seems a bit challenging to them, technology can provide many more convenient ways for seniors to connect with others. Setting a profile on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to gain more exposure in the community is a great first step. It also allows other to know more about your loved one, just like how CareStory aims to do: knowing is the foundation of caring and sharing.

Takeaway:

The best time to assist your loved one to socialize in a long-term home always starts from day one. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for your loved one to get familiar with the community, and it is already an overwhelming process. So, be patient with your loved one, but also encouraging him or her to “jump right in” at the same time is the key to making the process easy and enjoyable.

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/social-life-when-moving-to-senior-living-151725.htm

https://www.caringseniorservice.com/blog/ways-to-help-seniors-avoid-isolation

 


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“My mom has always had bad vision, but it has become weaker and weaker in the past few years. Now, she’s legally blind. I feel bad for her since she enjoys exploring the beauty of nature, but now she’s even having trouble doing housework due to her vision loss. I can tell that she’s getting depressed because she feels that she’s losing part of the joy in her life. What can I do to make her feel happy, and have a better quality of life?”

This is a message we received from a desperate daughter. As we mentioned in our previous blog post, “How to Take Care of Your Loved Ones with Loss of Smell and Taste”, ) we know that sensory deprivation can greatly decrease one’s quality of life and lead to more symptoms. So, today we are going to focus on how to improve the quality of life of your loved one with vision impairment.

Vision loss can be a very gradual process, so it is vital to identify it when your loved one starts to show the following signs:

  • Finds it harder to focus on things

  • Accidentally bumps into things or knocks objects over

  • Stop doing activities that requires vision, such as reading or writing

  • Finds it harder to find nearby items

  • Constantly falls, or has trouble walking

All the above signs can be detrimental to your loved one’s mental health and lquality of life. However, there are ways for you to save your loved one from suffering.

Caring Tips for Seniors with Vision Impairment

  • Good Lighting

Make sure the area that your loved one normally stays around is well-lit. Counter lighting would be a good choice given that it won’t take up too much space in your house. Make sure the light isn’t too dim, but not too bright either,  so it won’t hurt yours and your loved one’s eyes.

  • Minimize Fall Risks: Install Grab Bars, Stair Lights, Remove Unnecessary Items

People with vision impairment have more chances of falling. So, it is important to remove all unnecessary items, such as electrical cords on the ground. It’d also be helpful to install grab bars along the stairs, and you can add stair lights to illuminate the way so the risk of falls drastically decrease. If your loved one has some level of dementia or memory problems, it’s better to reorganize the furniture to make the house easy to navigate.

  • Make the Best Use of Contrasting Colors

Decorating your home in contrasting colors is especially helpful if your loved one likes to move around in the house, or perform tasks that have the potential to hurt them. For example, to prevent your loved one from cuting their fingers, you can purchase knives in bright colors and a dark cuting board so your loved one can distinguish.

  • Labeling 

In our blog post, “How To Take Care of Your Loved Ones With Loss of Smell and Taste, we have talked about how labeling is important for food safety. It is especially important for someone with vision impairment or vision loss . Making a larger label of names and expiration dates on foods and medications can help prevent food poisoning and overdoses. You will be surprised at how a single step can make a significant difference.

You can also do the same thing with your loved one’s personal hygiene products, and condiments in your kitchen. Just make the name on the object visible enough so your loved one can’t ignore it.

  • Provide Mental Support

Whoever suffers from vision impairment can lose their independence and quality of life, and depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and inactivity can all be side effects of vision loss for some people. So, it is important to help your loved ones with acceptance and strive for better entertainment for them. There are several forms of entertainment for  people withvision impairment, which we will discuss below. Hopfully it will inspire you on the way to help your loved one live comfortably.

Entertainment for Seniors with Vision Impairment

  • Let’s Go Audio!

It is time to turn all visual entertainment into audio. You can download audiobooks online for your loved ones, such as Audible by Amazon. Or, use the Audio Description Project (ADP) that’s made by the American Council of the Blind. On ADP, you can access tons of TV shows, speeches, and even podcasts to museums.

  • Games

Remember when we talked about how games can be beneficial to seniors? There are games such as Bingo and Trivia that don’t require strong vision, but also good entertainment as well. If you haven’t seen our blog post on that, go check it out Best Brain Games for Seniors). It is a very good way to improve your loved one’s quality of life, and strengthen family bonds if you join in!

  • Enjoy Fragrances

Sometimes, when one sense weakens, other senses heighten! Getting your loved one involved in activities that can stimulate the sense of smell such as gardening and aromatherapy, which can greatly help them reduce stress and agitation. Enjoying natural fragrances can even help seniors to manage pain and fight against viruses. Candle making is also a good activity for seniors – it will not only relieve tension for your loved one but also give him or her a sense of accomplishment when they finish it.

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/making-life-easier-for-older-adults-with-low-vision-177792.htm

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/hobbies-for-blind-and-low-vision-seniors-429359.htm


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Chad’s mother died in a car crash 10 years ago. While destiny took her life away, it also took away Chad’s father’s love – he hasn’t  been able to fall in love with anyone else after losing his soulmate. As time goes by, Chad thinks it’s time for his father to find good company to spend his later life with. So, he encourages his father to attend dating events and use online dating sites.

The good news is that Chad’s father started to become more open to dating new people. However, he’s still very confused and cautious about talking to people online.

“Are dating sites legit?”

“What dating sites should I use?”

“How does online dating work?”

“What should I do and what should I avoid doing while dating online?”

If you or your loved one isn’t so familiar with Tinder, he or she must have a lot of questions about online dating. There are actually many senior-friendly dating sites on the internet. So today, we will give you a 101 guide on senior online dating.

Let’s get started.

Why Senior Dating?

Fun fact: 40% of men and women over 50 in the U.S. are single. Although finding love could be a long ways away, there are many benefits of dating and socializing that can serve a purpose on your journey. Having strong social relationships can greatly help seniors to reduce stress and help with heart health. It is also a very efficient way to defeat senior isolation  and increase longevity.

Dating when you are younger is fun, as you have more energy and expectations of future life. But dating when you are older means you have more freedom to choose someone that has a deep connection with you, as you don’t have the pressure of “racing against time” to settle down. If you think you don’t have many chances to meet new people in real life, online dating will open the door for you.

Although some people are be skeptical of online dating, the fact that online dating sites can serve abundant opportunities to meet new people is something to be discussed.

How Does Online Senior Dating Sites Work?

Outline Your Requirement

The steps of each dating site might differ, but the general process is similar to each other. You might be asked to fill out a questionnaire or take a personal test to narrow down your selection. The questions may include age, gender, distance, interest, education level, religious beliefs, etc.

Complete Your Profile

The next step is tobuild your own profile so you can be found easier. You can put your hobbies, occupation (past or present), and what you expect in a relationship in the description box. This will help find the people that are like-minded or looking for the same thing.

Get Ready To Match

Once your profile is completed and photos are uploaded, you are good to connect with potential matches! You may be stunned by how many people are out there and how popular you are to them. But before you dive into the ocean of possibilities, there are a few tips you should know.

Online Dating Tips for Seniors

  • Find Q Reliable Dating Site

The very first step of safe dating is to choose a reliable and reputable site. There are many dating sites out there, but not all of them are legit – actually, most sites are not well-regulated. But there are sites that are even worse, potentially hiring people to “catfish” (creating a fake accout with a false identity to trick you) and gain your trust, then ask you to make some sort of investment with the person you think is the one. This is one of the more common forms of elderly financial abuse, and you can totally avoid that by filtering it out in the first place. The best way is to do a lot of research online or ask your friends to recommend safe dating sites for you. If it seems like too much work for you, don’t worry, we have a list of top-rated dating sites at the end of this article.

  • Don’t Give Extra Personal Information

Staying cautious and safe through online dating is vital. NEVER give too much of your personal information to people that you haven’t met and/or built trust with yet. Your personal information includes your address, your financial information, information about your family members, etc. Being cautious and protecting youself isn’t something to be ashamed of; a good potential mate should understand.

  • Write A Detailed Profile

What do you do when you are seeking your dream job? Yes, you write a great resume. It works for online dating, too. Be sure to upload your best selfies and photos that can represent yourself well. Also fill out your interests, favorite movies/books, and of course, the activities you love to do. Your potential date will find you through your shared interests, and this is how the two of you will ignite a spark.

  • Be Open-Minded

Sticking to your own rules is good, but limiting your options can prevent you from meeting someone that could be a good match. Selectively discard the rules like, “If he or she doesn’t talk to me right away, her or she is not the one” or “If he or she doesn’t listen to jazz, then he or she will never be the right person for me.” Loosen up your standards a bit (but not completely), and have an open remind. Remember, opposites attraact! You may find people that you resonate with unexpectedly.

  • Meet In Public And Tell Your Family And Friends When Going On A Date

Be safe! Always make your first date happens in a public setting. Restaurants, museums, parks, and galleries are all good places to meet for a first date. So, if you find the person is not safe or makes you uncomfortable, you can always seek help from others, or make a smooth escape.

It is also important to inform your family or friends before you are going on a date. You can share your location with them and tell them exactly when the date starts and ends.

Top-Rated Senior Dating Sites

Silver Singles

Silver Singles has an extensive questionnaire (about 100 questions) to help you to narrow down your options. It is designed for people over 50 and has fraud detection to help you screen out potential scams. It also has a video chat feature so that you can get to know each other before meeting in person.

Price (in US dollars)

  •   3 months: $49.95/mo

  •   6 months: $37.95/mo

  • 12 months: $27.95/mo

OurTime

If you are looking for a well-established dating site, OurTime should be one on your list. It provides matching opportunities for local folks who are over 50 and organizes events in multiple cities for people to meet each other. The site is easy to use and it offers a free version for people who just like to browse.

Price (in US dollar):

  •     Basic: Free

  •     Standard: 6 months, $3.75/week

  •     Monthly: $7.49/week

eHarmony

eHarmony is the largest dating community online for all ages. The site is easy to use and can provide different levels of matches according to the user’s needs. The site is designed for heterosexual individuals so if you are LGBTQ+ it might not be the best for you.

Price (in US dollars)

  •     Premium light: 6 months, $65.90/mo

  •     Premium plus: 12 months, $45.90/mo

  •     Premium extra: 24 months, $35.90/mo

Takeaway:

No matter what site are you using, just make sure to stay safe and trust your guts – if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy and have fun on your journey to meeting new people – who knows if the next person you meet is going to be your soulmate!

References:

https://www.mensjournal.com/style/best-dating-sites-for-seniors/

https://blog.silvercuisine.com/senior-dating/

 


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Communication has never been more difficult. Jade finds that her mom’s hearing has become weaker and weaker over time. Sometimes when she tries to talk to her mom, her mom thinks Jade’s yelling for no reason. However, Jade’s mom refuses to wear hearing aids and whenever she doesn’t understand Jade, she acts like she can’t hear them at all.

Loss of hearing is a common phenomenon that occurs among seniors. The natural aging process will lead to a decrease in our senses, and this includes our hearing. However, there are a few factors that can expedite this process, such as medications, noisy environments, chronic fatigue, and emotions.

Hearing loss does not just make people “not listen” to you, but it also change their personality – eliciting anger, anxiety, social withdrawal, and even depression. When seniors feel stressed or annoyed, they may just act like they don’t hearing anything. So, when dealing with seniors with a hearing impairment, you need to have more patience, sensitivity, and understanding.

Today, we are going to provide you with some useful tips on how to communicate happily and smoothly with a loved one who has hearing loss. Let’s jump in!

What Is the Best Way to Communicate with a Hearing Impaired Loved One?

  • Find a Quiet Place or Reduce Background Noise

Your loved one may not know you are talking in a noisy environment, so when you are trying to raise your voice, there’s a very high chance that she or he thinks you are shouting and angry. So, make sure there is no music or television playing in the background.

Public places like restaurants with a lot of noise and crowds would make conversation difficult. Selecting locations with fewer background noises and less congested areas can greatly improve communication and reduce distractions.

  • Get Their Attention, and Face Them While Talking

Before speaking, you need to first get their attention. This can be accomplished by touching them on the arm or shoulder in a proper way, and not from behind.

Make sure you are making eye contact, and keep the light on your face. Sometimes, it is also helpful to say their names in a polite way; being respectful is always the key in a conversation.

  • Keep Tour Hands/Mask Away From Your Face While Talking

Same as maintaining adequate illumination on your face while talking, patients with hearing loss need to read your lips. So get rid of your mask or anything that would block your mouth and let your loved one “read” your words.

  • Speak Clearly and Loudly

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, “How To Communicate With Seniors, you need to speak clearly, and raise your voice if needed (but don’t scream). Do not speak too quickly or too slowly, and don’t use slang that elderly people may not understand.

  • Rephrase Your Question or Statement

When your loved one seems to not understand what you mean or not hear what you say, try rephrasing it in another way.

Sometimes your loved one may be confused about certain words, so simply repeating your statement isn’t helpful. Try shortening or simplifying your words and see their reaction.

  • Make Wse of Body Language and Visual Cues

Your posture and facial expression conveys emotion, while visual cues provide instruction. However, since facial expressions and nonverbal movements provide additional information, don’t exaggerate them, as they may be distracting.

You can also use aids to deliver your information, such as writing it down, or typing it on your phone and showing it to the person.

  • Ask Them How They Prefer to Communicate

Communication with seniors often requires cooperative efforts. So, it is never a bad idea to inquire about the other person’s preferred method of communication – if verbal isn’t the best for them, ask them if they would like to use any aid such as phones or sticky notes.

In the End

If you have tried many methods to communicate but the condition continues to worsen, it is better to do a hearing test. Specialists will offer potential solutions and techniques to help with hearing problems.

 

Reference:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/hearing-loss-communication-techniques-144762.htm

https://www.hearinglink.org/living/partners-children-family-hearing-people/how-to-communicate-with-someone-with-hearing-loss/

 


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In the senior care space, we often rely on communication, connection, teamwork, collaboration. Together, we can change the narrative of long-term care, and help seniors age safely, comfortably, and happily at home.

We are proud to announce that Assisting Hands Home Care – Arlington Heights is launching a new pilot program with CareStory!

Check out their blog post here:
https://lnkd.in/gfmdUuyu

Assisting Hands Home Care is dedicated to delivering professional, personalized home care services while not only meeting the unique needs of each client, but also honoring WHO their clients ARE, and celebrating their life stories. Their services include Senior Care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, Respite Care and Hospice Care. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), in Arlington Heights, Wheeling, Mount Prospect, IL and the surrounding areas.

We are proud to be piloting with such a dynamic team and a company that truly puts passion into care.


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Food has always been the main attraction at family reunions regardless of culture and race, and it is especially prominent in Jen’s family.

Today is the day that Jen picks up her mom from the nursing home, and welcomes her back home. Jen has put a lot of effort into preparing this family reunion dinner, and she had been studying recipes for the past few weeks, just to make sure her mom would be satisfied.

The dinner went well, except for the fact that Jen’s mom only ate a little and finished eating very soon after the dinner had started. Jen asked her mom if the food didn’t taste good, and her mom replied: “my taste buds arent as strong as before, not because of covid or anything else; my sense of taste has been getting weaker and weaker over the years.”

This is very normal among seniors. In fact, nearly 5% of seniors who are over 75 years old have  chronic issues with their sense of smell. Loss of smell and taste occurs when people enter their 60s, and some start as early as 40s.

What Causes Loss of Smell and Taste?

Loss of smell and taste can be attributed to many reasons. Certain medications that treat cardiovascular disease that contain beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, may cause lose of senses  in seniors. Also, other common causes such as aging, poor dental hygiene, nasal and sinus problems, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and smoking, etc. are all correlated to loss of smell and taste in elderly people.

Consequence of Loss of Smell and Tast

Our five senses are gifts from nature, and a disappearance of any one of them would lead to serious consequences.

  • Safety Issue

Our smell is linked to sections of the brain that process emotions and memories, and it may alert us to dangers such as gas leaks, fires, or rotting food. It can also trigger pain signals to be sent to our brain when we smell or taste anything unpleasant, as it could be a warning that something horrible is about to happen. For example, some polluted water may taste metallic. If seniors drink a glass of water without being aware of a metallic taste, the chemicals may put them at risk of metal accumulation in their bodies. Therefore, loss of smell could cause safety issues such as food poisoning and chemical poisoning.

  • Change in Dietary Habit

Flavour is a combination of taste and smell, so changes in the senses could also change someone’s food preferences and eating patterns. Seniors with a loss of taste would tend to “over-salt” their food, which is linked to high blood pressure. Also, a loss of interest in certain foods can cause malnutrition, which would cause substantial weight loss in seniors. So, if you notice your loved one skipping meals and slimming down, it is better to get checked out.

  • Decreased Quality of Life

Food brings happiness, and that’s why human beings are so enthusiastic about food. If an individual experiences loss of smell and taste, feasts are no longer appealing, and he or she may find it hard to reminisce by the smell of certain foods.

Smells have the power to evoke deep feelings and memories in humans. So, one’s quality of life might be severely hampered by the diminished or distorted perception of smell.

How to Help Your Loved One with Change in Sense of Smell & Taste

  • Get Checked

First and foremost, get checked by a doctor. You can book a nasal examination for your loved one to see if there’s inflammation or something else, such as  COVID-19. Sometimes it emerges from collective issues, and loss of smell is just a signal of more troubles down the road.

  • Encourage Him or Her to Eat

A loss of smell and taste would alter one’s appetite. In that, encouraging your loved one to savor foods becomes a vital topic here. Making social events and family gatherings is a good way to help seniors eat more food than usual. Also, you can try to use more herbs and spices that stimulate their appetite and increase food flavours without increasing blood pressure. Moreover, food is better served hot than cold in terms of its flavour. However, watch the temperature carefully so it won’t be too hot and burn your loved one’s tongue and throat – the best temperature served is about 150 F.

  • Follow Nutrition Guides

In our previous blog post, “Nutrition Guides for Seniors”, we have provided nutrition requirements and macronutrient charts for seniors. You can use the chart for planning for tasty meals for your loved one. Eating balanced meals is essential for seniors, no matter if they have lost their smell or not.

  • Label Foods with Dates Clearly

Since some seniors aren’t able to distinguish rotten or spoiled food by smell (as the look of food may not change much as they go bad), it is important to label fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, and other foods with their purchase date, and best before date CLEARLY. Write the date in a bigger size so your loved one will notice.

  • Make Sure the Gas Detectors and Fire Alarms are Working

Again, guaranteeing your loved one’s safety at home is the primary thing we should focus on. In case he or she may be forgetful, or isn’t able to smell any “dangers”, you need to be proactive. Install and make sure gas detectors and fire alarms are in good working condition to greatly relieve your tension when you are away.

 

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/help-seniors-whove-lost-smell-hearing-vision-172651.htm

https://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/when-aging-steals-your-sense-of-taste.aspx


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It’s just an ordinary morning. Jane wakes up and goes to the kitchen to get some water.

“Mom,” her daughter says, “umm, you kind of smell like old people.”

“Maybe it’s just because I haven’t brushed my teeth yet,” replied Jane.

Jane tried her best to be a good sport about it, but her daughter’s comment stayed with her for the rest of the day.

“What do old people smell like? And why do I smell like that – I’m only 55,” she thought. Obviously, this is something Jane wants to deal with right away.

“Old people smell”, as Jane’s daughter pur it, is actually very prevalent, and there’s a Japanese word that specifically describes it: Kareishu. The word has a negative meaning to it, mainly referring to a sweaty or unbathed smell. Not showering regularly may result in the smell, as it can with anyone of any age, however it is not the most prominent cause of changes in oder as we age.

Other Causes Of “Old People Smell”

  • Chemical Changes With Aging

You know the fresh and warm scent of a newborn baby? That goes away as we get older due to a chemical breakdown. The most popular hypothesis is changes in the chemical 2-nonenal. 2-nonenal may be responsible for causing older adults to have changes in odor.  When a person enters their 40s, 2-nonenal will present in the body and keep increasing as aging progresses.

As we become older, our skin produces more lipid acid, which is a type of fatty acid, and antioxidant protection in our skin decreases with age as well. In that, 2-nonenal is formed when fatty acid is oxidised, and is therefore what gives off that infamous “old people smell”.

However, scientists still haven’t confirmed how much of a role 2-nonenal plays in odor changes, as it might be a result from the interaction of the compound with skin secretions and bacteria.

  • Diseases

Some chronic diseases are also the source of changes in oder as we age. Diseases such as diabetes or uremia have a negative impact on skin function and can cause skin disorders. Also, skin problems like acne and eczema might exacerbate the issue. For example, diabetic dermopathy is caused by changes in small blood vessels, which could cause changes in skin maintainance.

Odor changes while aging is perfectly normal, but of course, we still want to smell fresh. There are several ways to manage changes in order as we age.

How To Manage Changes In Odor As We age

  • Engaging in a Heathy Lifestyle: Regular Exercise and Clean Eating

The best and most effective way is to change your lifestyle and quit bad habits. Make sure you are regularly exercising and eating clean. Eating clean means not eating too much fat, sugar, and sodium, given that these things would also alter our skin condition. Also, having enough rest and doing exercise can reduce our stress, which is huge ineliminating our unpleasant scents.

  • Quit Alcohol and Tobacco

Usually, when you walk past someone who drinks or smokes a lot, you will find that the smell of alcohol or tobacco has lingered on their body. This is because alcohol and tobacco leaves leaves residue on the skin whenever the person touches or consumes it. In addition, consuming alcohol or tobacco accelerates oxidation, which further increases “kareishu” in your body.

  • Drink Plenty of Water and Dilute Fatty Acids

Interestingly, dehydration can cause body odor. Drinking a lot of water can also dilute fatty acids in our body, along with increasingsaliva, which can help get rid of bacteria that causes unpleased odors

  • Green Tea May Help, Too

Green tea, which is rich in antioxidants, can help prevent bad breath, body odor, and stinky feet by neutralising free radicals.

Green tea helps the body rid itself of damaging pollutants by assisting in the secretion of glutathione, an antioxidant, so your body will smell much fresher.

  • Use Body Scrub – Fine Salt

Fatty acid on your skin is insoluble, so simply washing and rinsing with water isn’t so helpful to “wash out” the smell. However, using scrubs like fine salts can help remove the dirt and grease and make your skin much cleaner than just body wash alone. Also, scrubbing can offer feelings of relaxation, which in turn, helps to releave tension.

  • Air Out and Make Sure Living Areas Are Clean

Always keep your space clean! Sometime seniors’ rooms are warm and stuffy, which amplfies odors. Make sure to ventilate living spaces on a regular basis.

Also, make sure to do laundry on a regular basis. 2-nonenal transfers to your clothes and sheets from your skin. Using anti-stain and anti-grease laundry detergent helps to wash off the insoluble 2-nonenal.

At the End:

“Old People Smell” can be difficult to manage, even in those with good personal hygiene. However, don’t be scared of 2-nonenal. It is actually described as smelling like cucumber or old books – the greatest smell ever. And don’t stress about odor changes as you age; it is just a natural process.

 


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Everyone knows Steve – the toughest and most obstinate man in the long-term care home. It is very difficult to convince him to do anything, which also includes welcoming his grandson’s dog, a three-year-old yellow lab.

“I hate dogs! They are annoying and dirty,” shouted Steve, speaking to his son on FaceTime. “Don’t ever bring that thing here…I won’t even let it in!”

Apparently, Steve’s grandson was even more uncompromising than his grandpa. He still brought the dog to the long-term care home, two weeks after the FaceTime call. His grandson gave: “The dog can’t be left in the house alone.”

The first greeting wasn’t so pleasant. Steve looked at the dog and angrily asked his son why he had brought him. However, the dog wasn’t aware of Steve’s disgust – he put his paw on Steve’s knee and wagged his tail happily, as if he were saying, “Hi Steve, it’s nice to meet you!”

After two hours of visiting, the family decided to go back. “Hey, why don’t you just leave the dog here since you will be in the city for a week,” requested Steve. “You said yourself that the dog can’t be left alone. I think I can take care of him.” 

It may have been surprising for a man like Steve to say that, but it did not surprise anyone that day. Everyone witnessed how happy and gentle Steve was when he was playing with the dog and how he made Steve another different person – a person that no one had ever seen.

“Maybe animals are magic,” joked Steve’s caregiver. “They can do the tricks that we can’t.”

This is true – our fluffy friends are amazing. They don’t speak (human languages), and they don’t buy you any gifts (small dead animals and sticks don’t count, of course). However, they have the power to sweep the haze away from your life and let the sunshine in – which is also a primary reason why so many institutions are using pet therapy to cope with people’s health problems.

What Is Pet Therapy?

Pet Therapy is a type of therapy that uses specially trained animals to offer affection and comfort to a community or a single individual. It is being used in a variety of organisations, including hospitals, schools, mental health facilities, and retirement and assisted living homes.

There are three different types of pet therapy: Facility Therapy, Animal-Assisted Therapy, and Therapeutic Visitation.

Facility Therapy refers to having the pets reside at the care home and trained to monitor dementia patients. At the same time, Assisted Therapy means a specific individual owns a trained pet in the assisted living community and receives a more intensive treatment.

Therapeutic Visitation, on the other hand, is the most common type of pet therapy out of the three. It refers to pet owners bringing their pet and visiting long-term, care homes, which allows  seniors to spend time with them and enjoy their companionship without having to take on the additional responsibility of caring for them all the time.

Why Do We Love Pet Therapy?

  • Encourages Social Engagement

It may be awkward if two strangers stand together, but if there is a pet sitting around them, the two individuals are more likely to interact with each other. Isn’t that amazing? In many cases, pets serve as excellent conversation starters. Residents can connect with each other and form new friendships when they spend time with animals.

  • Pet Therapy Has Many Physical Benefits

Did you feel amused when you scroll through TikTok and see pet videos? If yes, you’ve already benefited from “The Pet Effect”.

The term “The Pet Effect” refers to the miraculous healing powers of watching or interacting with pets. Spending time with dogs has been found in studies to lessen long-term care home residents’ pulse rates, as well as their stress and anxiety levels, as well as their heart rate and blood pressure.Some parents notice that their children who have depression will show alleviation in their symptoms when they have pets around, and it works for seniors, too. After all, these little animals don’t judge or give you any advice, and stay with you no matter what you do.

  • Senior isolation

If you have subscribed to our page, you must be familiar with the term “Senior Isolation”. Many seniors tend to have feelings of loneliness and isolation, either as a result of a lack of frequent visits from family and friends, a loss of a significant other, or a decreased level of physical activity.

Senior Isolation is difficult to tackle because so many seniors are “comfortable” in their unhealthy settings. So, for the reluctant elders, we can use our paw-friends to bring them out of their “shells”, and thus make them more open to new friendships. Feel free to check out our blog on “Senior Isolationwe have a lot of advice for you to help your loved one if he or she is experiencing loneliness.

Who Can be Our Paw-Friend?

Not all pets can be used in pet therapy, given the various personalities among the species and breeds. Normally speaking, old dogs and indoor cats are more suitable for companionship and providing comfort for seniors – they are quiet and understanding (yes, they are more sensitive to human’s needs when they get older).

There Are Limitations:

Just like many medications, pet therapy is not without its limitations. The more prominent concern of pet therapy would be safety. Many long-term care homes will ensure the animals are well-trained by doing behaviour checks. Cause, some pets may cause a threat to seniors’ safety if they are not properly trained.

Another issue is sanitation. Seniors tend to have compromised immune systems. Any unvaccinated or unwashed animals may cause allergies or infections among senior residents.

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/pet-therapy/art-20046342

https://thehamlets.ca/pet-therapy-benefits/


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Charles hit 70 years old last week.

After his divorce, he took over the task of managing all the housework in the family. Just like other Californians, Charles likes to enjoy the sun and the little serendipities in his life. So, only three days after his birthday, Charles decided to move into a long-term care home to spend more time enjoying the idleness he deserves.

But here comes a problem: Charles wants to sell his house and use the money to cover his long-term care home expenses. However, his son is still living in his house with him. The cost of long-term care homes in California isn’t cheap, and it hurts Charles when he thinks about kicking his son out of the house as well.

Charles is in a conundrum that many seniors are.

Paying for long term care homes isn’t easy in the US. There are different types of long-term care homes. Here, we talk about nursing homes. According to the statistics from 2018, the average annual cost of a private room in a long-term care home across the US was $106,000. For some major cities, such as in San Francisco, the nursing home rate could reach $182,500 a year, and that’s why so many people choose to sell their property to live in a community.

However, selling houses isn’t the ultimate option to pay for a long-term care home There are, in fact, many benefits you should check out to relieve your financial burden.

How To Pay for A Long-Term Care Home in the US

Government Programs:

Just like in Canada, (Paying For LTC Homes In Canada) there are many government programs for senior citizens to use, and you probably already know of Medicare and Medicaid if you are living in the US.

However, there are some differences in range of what Medicare and Medicaid can cover:

Medicare

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for people who are over 65 or under 65 and with a disability. Note that it only covers the expense of long term care that requires skilled services and rehabilitative care for 100 days, or a short period of time of receiving skilled home health and skilled in-home services.

Medicare works in the following situations:

  • Hospital deductible: the cost after you have paid a certain amount

  • Short stays in a nursing home to receive medical care that arose after a hospitalization

  • Hospice care

  • Outpatient care, doctor visits

  • Some medication costs

Medicaid

Medicaid, on the other hand, is a combined Federal and State program for low-income residents. It is only available to individuals who meet the requirements set forth by their state, and the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and the federal poverty line are used to determine financial eligibility for Medicaid.

Medicaid covers the cost of medical care and some long-term care. However, the range it covers may vary state to state, and in most cases, the coverage is very limited. As for California, the Medi-cal program can only cover 30 days of stays and medication in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

While Medicaid can only cover a very limited amount of services and expenses, PACE can cover much more long-term care services (including medical and social services) for senior citizens, and it pays some or all of the long-term care expenses for the patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, PACE is active in 28 states. For more details, visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/long-term-services-supports/pace/programs-all-inclusive-care-elderly-benefits/index.html

Other Programs

There are also many other benefit programs or institutions designed to serve a certain group of individuals. For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides long-term care and at-home care for some veterans and their family. If you wish to know how to use different programs according to your situation, you can consult the National Council on Aging (NCOA). NCOA offers a free service called “BenefitsCheckUp” to screen your eligibility and find you a list of Federal and State benefit programs that can help you and your loved one.

Private Payment Options

If you don’t meet the eligibility to require financial aid from your state, and you wish to explore more options other than paying from your own savings, there are some ways you can try:

Long-Term Care Insurance

This type of insurance is purchased when you are younger. Long-term care insurance covers many long-term care services including palliative and hospice care. The cost depends on the amount of services, age and health condition. Thus, the earlier it is planned, the better it can serve.

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors

A reverse mortgage is a particular type of house loan that allows a homeowner who is over 62 years old to get a portion of their property’s equity in return, so they can use the returned amount to cover their long-term care home.

Reverse mortgages have no criteria for applicant’s income or health, only age (>62). Moreover, the loan amount is tax free and can be used for any expense. However, it’s only useful for a mortgage-free property. So if you already owe money on your house in the form of a mortgage or another type of debt, you must pay it off first to get the benefit.

 

References:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/paying-care

https://health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/articles/how-to-pay-for-nursing-home-costs#long

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/17/how-to-pay-for-long-term-care-like-nursing-homes-home-health-aides.html

 



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    Contact us


    Call us

    1-647-243-2981


    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada


    Send us an email

    info@emersewell.com



    Subscribe


    Sign up for Medicare newsletter to receive all the news offers and discounts.




      Social networks


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      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.



      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.