How to Help Your Loved One Downsize

Downsizing a lifetime worth of belongings can be an extremely daunting task and for a lot of seniors it can be difficult emotionally as well as physically. Downsizing can happen for many reasons. For some, big family homes may feel too big to deal with all the upkeep now that most of the family has left and for others, an entirely new lifestyle in a smaller space may be desired, but sometimes seniors must downsize because they need to move to an assisted care facility and are unable to live in their homes on their own. No matter the situation, downsizing can be difficult because as people, we often become attached to our belongings and it can be hard to decide what will stay and what will go. As a friend or family member of the senior who is downsizing there are things you can do to help.

Time

One of the biggest things an individual can do to offer their friend or family member help in downsizing their belongings is to offer their time. Whether this time is spent helping to sort, organize or move belongings, this can provide a huge relief to your loved one. It can be hard for seniors to ask their families for help spending time with tasks like this because they don’t want to feel like they are burdening them, so if you know a loved one is looking to downsize, offer your time to come and help to go and sort through their belongings with them.

Support

Another way to help your loved one to downsize is to be there for them. Realizing that downsizing can be an emotionally trying situation, there is nothing more important than supporting your family member. For instance, helping your loved one to look at an item and decide whether it should stay or go can be extremely helpful. Since you don’t have emotional attachments to the belongings, you will be able to offer an unbiased opinion while still being able to stay sensitive to their emotions. Having someone in the room to be a trusted voice of reason can be one of the most helpful parts in downsizing.

Everything Else

Although finances can be an awkward discussion, its important that you make sure that your loved ones are in a good place financially. Downsizing can include the selling of big or antique furniture pieces, or realty costs including closing costs, legal costs, etc. Selling a home can be a large and stressful task. Offering to meet with realtors, or even gifting a cleaner to come in clean up the house to show it to prospective buyers are a few ways to assist in a financial way. You can also be there to help your loved ones to meet with potential movers or be there on moving day to ensure their belongings are being treated with care.

Although downsizing a home full of belongings and memories can be a difficult task, being there for your loved one emotionally and in person can make a world of difference to their downsizing experience.

 

Should I Be a Caregiver for My Parent?

As our parents get older and it begins to become apparent that they may need more help in their everyday tasks, it can be a big question of whether or not it is up to us to provide this care? For some, it is not possible to become a parent’s caregiver because of work or childcare obligations, but for those that it is an option, it can become an extremely hard decision.

Some of the most important things to watch out for as a caregiver are hygiene, nutrition and social interaction. A lot of seniors are unable to drive, so being a caregiver can also require driving seniors to appointments or to various locations so that they are able to socialize, run errands or shop. Depending on the general health and abilities of your parent, being their caregiver can be a small task (helping them out here and there to do a few things that are more difficult for them) or it can be a full-time position (cooking all their meals, bathing and ensuring all of their medications are taken on time, etc).

Before becoming your parent’s caregiver, it is important to ask yourself some questions to see if you are prepared or able to take on the extra responsibilities that come with the tasks your individual parents need.

Am I financially prepared or able to take on the extra costs of caring for another person?

This can be a huge aspect of deciding whether to become your parent’s caregiver. If you find it hard to meet your current financial obligations, adding the cost of another person who will need extra medical attention might mean this isn’t a cost you can take on.

Am I able to take care of my elderly parent?

If you are uncomfortable or feel you are unable to perform any of the aspects of taking care of your elderly parent, it might be best to consider hiring in a caregiver or outside help. If this is the case, you can still be heavily involved in your parents care by being in contact with their caregiver. Even if you do feel able to perform the tasks your parents require, you do need to also consider the physical and mental toll that becoming your parent’s caregiver can take.

Will I be able to make time for the rest of my family?

If taking care of your parent becomes your fulltime responsibility so much so that you are unable to focus on the rest of your family, friends or other obligations, becoming a caregiver probably won’t work for you. Not only do you need to make time for your family and friends, but you also need to make time for yourself.

There are many resources available for caregivers and it is important that if you decide to take on becoming a caregiver for your parent to take advantage on these resources. It is also important to remember to ask for help if you feel that you need it. Friends, families and support groups can be a great place to talk through any issues you might be having and to find support for what you’re going through.

How to Plan for Senior Living

It is so important to start planning for retirement and living as a senior from an early age.  Oftentimes, government pension plans and assistance don’t cover the costs of the average senior and so they must rely on their personal savings, their families, or go back to working after being retired a few years.  Most seniors don’t want to feel dependent on their loved ones and they also don’t want to have to enter back into the workforce after having been retired, so it is important to plan ahead and have access to other savings put aside earlier in life to take care of yourself in your senior years.

As a society, we are living a lot longer than we once did which is a great thing because it means that we now have more life to live.  With modern science and healthcare, today’s seniors have a longer life expectancy than seniors even twenty years ago.  Unfortunately, many of today’s seniors didn’t expect to live as long as they are and are finding it financially a burden to try and live their daily lives. Seniors today are outliving their resources and it’s a challenge in our society that going forward needs to be addressed.

Mental and Physical Health

Although in Canada we have a great universal healthcare system, not every cost is covered. When planning for senior living, you must factor in the possibility of needing different medications, or other tools for everyday living.  These can include wheelchairs, hearing aids, walkers, etc. that all need upkeep.  Often in the past seniors have either underestimated their life spans or the resources that they have needed which then extends the burden of care to family members.

Where Will You Live?

One of the biggest costs and considerations when planning senior living is where you will live. A lot of seniors prefer to live in their homes, while some move into assisted care facilities.  In either situation, it is important to plan ahead and budget for the costs of these options.  Living at home has the same costs you’ve always had.  General upkeep of the house, property taxes, but the added cost of home care should be considered.  For many seniors, home care becomes necessary when they can either no longer drive themselves to appointments, or movement becomes more difficult throughout the house creating challenges with cooking and cleaning of the house.

For seniors that choose to live in assisted care facilities or senior homes, it can be a little easier to predict the costs of living.  At these facilities, seniors pay a set amount per month and have a combination of their accommodations, food and care included in the cost.  These facilities often include other amenities as well that can make senior living fun!

Although planning for senior living and ensuring you have a safety net of money set aside for your senior years is important, it is also important not to stress too much about money because the stress can cause other health issues.  Most seniors have great support systems in their families and including them in decisions can also be a big help. This way your family will know your wishes and be able to help you achieve them in your later years.

Seniors – Eating Safer and Smarter

Our bodies, metabolisms and taste buds are constantly changing and for seniors, nutritional needs and patterns are extremely important to watch and ensure that a healthy diet is being followed. Although a healthy diet is important for everyone despite age, seniors are more likely to have health problems, dietary restrictions based on a doctor’s recommendation, and changes in appetite.

Eating Patterns

Eating patterns and food preferences can change for seniors for several reasons. For some seniors, symptoms of depression can also coincide with changes in appetite. Depression is a common issue for seniors because sometimes seniors feel inadequate when they feel they need others to take care of them. If a person feels that they are unable to do things on their own, it can lead to a feeling of being useless. This is why depression can be so common with seniors. Depression is a known contributor to eating poorly, so its important to look out for signs and symptoms. Isolation can also be a contributor to poor dietary habits. Food and eating is often used as a tool for social interaction. For seniors who are feeling lonely or isolated, it can be hard to have a proper diet. Sometimes it can be easier to eat snacks or easy to make foods than to cook a properly balanced meal. This disinterest in cooking can also be a huge factor in an improper diet.

Medical Conditions/Medications

A lot of seniors have medical conditions and medications they need in order to keep these conditions under control. Common conditions can include high blood pressure, low circulation and high cholesterol. Many seniors are able to use their diets to improve these conditions or are required to have a specific diet based on the medications they are taking. It is important to know which nutritional requirements your medical condition or medication needs. Some medications, for instance, must be taken with food and others cannot be taken with food. Being aware of the requirements your medications/conditions can completely change the way you need to eat. Checking with your doctor or pharmacist or working with a nutritionist can be helpful to get to know what types of food you should be eating.

The Body

Eating smart and healthy options becomes extremely important in your senior years because the body starts changing and proper nutrition can prevent or help to slow down future health issues. After living for so many years, the immune system becomes less reliable and so proper nutrition to prevent sickness and keep your body strong is invaluable.

Your doctor will ultimately know what is best for you and your health.   It is important to listen to and implement any advice they may have. Food restrictions or foods that will largely positively effect your health are important for you and for anyone else who is preparing your meals. Although it is important for everyone to have good nutrition and make healthy nutrition choices, it can be even more integral for seniors so they are able to avoid other medical conditions and keep healthy.

The Importance of Senior Socialization

Senior isolation is a common problem for many because unfortunately, many seniors live alone. For many isolated seniors, socialization can be extremely daunting, but social relationships can have a positive impact of health during aging. Having a good attitude and lifestyle can make a world of difference throughout the aging process and being social will generally only make seniors feel happier and healthier.

Seniors Living at Home

For seniors living at home, socialization can be a daunting task. Those receiving care at home are in contact with others, but with time constraints on caregivers, these seniors may not be getting to spend as much time with their caregivers as they wish to. This means that these seniors will have to find other means of socialization. Socialization doesn’t have to be a planned activity with a large group of people. It can be as simple as meeting a friend for lunch or spending some quality time with your family members.

Another option for seniors living on their own is to join a club or class where they can not only interact with others, but possibly meet new friends to spend time with. There are many clubs and fitness classes targeted at seniors and these can be a great option to learn a new skill, get fit and meet new people. All these things have great health benefits for seniors who otherwise may have stayed at home on their own.

Volunteering your time to causes can also be a great way to not only socialize with others, but can also be a very healing experience. Looking into local causes and events that need volunteers can be a great way for seniors to interact with others, but also can be a rewarding experience to know that you have helped others.

Seniors in Assisted Living Facilities

Senior homes have a lot of programming availability for their residents, so it is generally easier to get out and meet other people in your community. Socializing can still sometimes be a challenge, but with your caregivers available to you and other seniors also living in the same vicinity as you, joining in activities will be a great way to ensure that you are engaging with others. Physical activities, like fitness classes are especially important because they can have other health benefits as well. Craft and hobby classes as well as excursions can also be great ways to meet other people, learn new skills and gain new experiences. All of this will be beneficial to your health.

Seniors who are out and socializing are happier and healthier because of their lifestyle. The importance of socialization is important to those of all ages, but because a lot of seniors live alone, it is very easy to become isolated. It is important for seniors, and their family members, to ensure that they are making the effort to spend time with others doing activities or even just spending time in the company of others. This time spent with others will ensure everyone’s happiness and health.

Talking to Your Parents About End-of-Life Issues

It is never easy to talk about death, or the challenges that come with end-of-life issues for family members. Although it can be hard to have these discussions, it is important to have them before the inevitable occurs. Death and end-of-life issues can be an easy topic for some families, but for most it can become an ominous and avoided conversation. Having these conversations, will, in the long term, actually benefit families who will either then know or be able to fulfil the wishes of aging parents and can help to prevent fights between siblings and other family members later.

Siblings

All siblings, along with their parents, should be a part of end of life issue discussions. In order to keep all children in the loop and also to ensure that the wishes of parents are honoured, the entire family should be aware of any end of life discussions or decisions made. One way to do this is to approach your siblings and have an open conversation about any information you have discussed with your parents. This way, you may find out some information that will give you peace of mind. If together, you realize that no one has any information, this discussion can be a good way to come up with a plan on how best to approach the topic with your parents.

A Will

Although some people make sure they have a will from a young age, it is important to ensure that your parents have spoken to a lawyer and created a legally binding will. Wills help to guarantee that a deceased person’s wishes are being honoured. There are non-threatening and non-invasive ways to bring this issue up. For instance, instead of asking your parents if they have a will outright, you can soften the question. Suggesting that you want to ensure that you are honouring their wishes if something were to happen to them is an effective way to suggest that writing up a will is a good idea. Verbal testaments don’t hold up in court and in order for your parents to have their wishes completely honoured is to have a written and verified will.

Power of Attorney

In many cases, appointing a power of attorney can save families a lot of strife. The power of attorney is a legal document that gives the authority to one person to act for another person in legal, business or financial matters. In some cases, it can come down to the power of attorney to make tough decisions about course of action regarding furthering or cutting off certain health treatments, but it can also be the person in charge of any other financial or legal matters. Again, instead of asking outright if your parent has a power of attorney, why not suggest that in an emergency you want someone designated to make tough decisions for you and it might be good for them to do the same. Without a power of attorney, any important life decisions will be made by a judge and may not best represent the wishes of the person unable to make the decision. It is important; however, to have discussions with your appointed power of attorney to ensure they know what you would want decided upon in any given emergency situation.

Ensuring Adequate Staffing During Summer Holidays in Senior Homes

Summer time is one of the most popular times of the year for vacations. Whether people are going out of the country, to a cottage or even just taking an extra long weekend at home, for most professions, summer is the time they find they have the least amount of staff. For some companies, its okay if a lot of people have staggered vacations and for some it is necessary to hire seasonal staff, but senior homes do have staffing requirements because the elderly they are charged with need help and support. It is important for senior homes to be adequately staffed for the entire summer because if they are not, the present workers will be overworked and will not have the opportunity to make sure that every senior is getting the full amount of support required.

Cover Vacation Time Early

Since it is common knowledge that many fulltime staff members take vacation time during the summer holidays, it is important for companies to anticipate for staff shortages. If notice is required for staff vacations, senior homes will have the time to look into alternative staffing to ensure that all residents have the full care that they require. Workers should schedule time off early to give administration the time to make sure all hours can be covered.

Hire Contract Workers

It is anticipated in most professions that during the summer holidays, regular fulltime staff is depleted. For senior homes, it is extremely important that a full staff is present because each staff member is required to do a certain amount of tasks per day which ensures that safety and care of a home’s residence. Hiring seasonal employees, instead of daily contract workers can help a senior home to function at its regular level by not disrupting the peace. Since care workers are so highly involved in the lives of the seniors living in their care, it is important that they have a connection with one another. These connections make for a better environment and allow workers and their patients to feel comfortable and happy.

Use BookJane Services

BookJane is a great source for care centres to book qualified support workers in advance or on short notice. If it looks like your senior home won’t have enough staff for any given period of time, by finding a local BookJane worker, your company can avoid a lot of stress and feel confident knowing that they are hiring a competent and skillful worker. BookJane employees have already been vetted and companies can feel safe and assured that they are hiring the best of the best. When covering staff shortages, BookJane is an especially great resource because of all the work of ensuring competency and talent. The BookJane app is user-friendly and very simple to use. With the click of a few buttons, senior homes will have access to great care workers that they care hire on demand. BookJane employees come with a full background check and are professional and reliable. Seniors homes in need can rest assured that their residents are in good hands.

The Top Concerns for Seniors Today and How You Can Help

As a group, seniors are facing everyday challenges that are causing stress, feelings of incompetence or failure and instead of being able to solve these issues, it seems only more are added.   It is important that we understand and empathize with these challenges so we are able to provide solace and assistance to our elderly loved ones. Here are some of the main concerns facing seniors today:

Loneliness

A common social concern for seniors is that as they grow older, feelings of loneliness creep in. As we get older, our friends and partners also grow older. A lot of seniors lose these friends and their spouses either to growing health issues or even death. It is important that we spend time with our loved ones and encourage them to spend time with any of their remaining friends. This will help to ensure they feel they have support systems and they are not alone. Considering a pet can also help to create daily companionship.

Financial Issues

Living is expensive and as a senior, a lot of healthcare costs can become cumbersome. As we grow older, it becomes more and more important to keep an eye on our health. This means doctor’s appointments, testing and medications. Although in Canada, we do have great healthcare coverage, it does not cover all of the costs. There is also a higher mortality rate and seniors are living to be a lot older than they once were. All of these possible health concerns and medications can end up costing quite a bit of money, which will impact a senior’s retirement savings.

Other unexpected costs can also affect a senior’s retirement savings. The rising cost of living affects seniors who are on fixed incomes. Their savings won’t cover the higher and higher inflation we face in today’s society. If seniors run out of money, the logical option would be to go back to work, but this isn’t possible for a lot of seniors who are either unable physically or who face possible ageism in the workplace market and can’t get hired.

For most people, it is hard to take on another’s financial burden, but if you are unable to help your loved one’s by providing financial assistance, you do have other options to help tackle some of the stress they can cause. For some this could be providing transportation to medical appointments or coming over and helping your loved one to prepare meals. This is not a huge financial burden, but has the ability to alleviate financial stress for your elderly loved ones.

General Health and Lack of Independence

One of the largest frustrations for seniors is the physical ageing and the lack of independence it brings with it. A lot of seniors become dependent on loved ones or support workers to help them which can be extremely frustrating. Seniors aren’t able to see as well as they once did or move as quickly as they were once able and often require assistance to do tasks they once found menial or simple. In order to help your loved ones to feel more independent, encourage them to do as much as they are able on their own. Good nutrition and exercise can often help to strengthen the abilities of seniors so they are more able.

The Changing Social Climate

One of the largest hurdles for seniors can be the changing social climate which includes a lot of technological inventions which are ingrained in the abilities of younger generations. Using computers, cell phones and other advanced technologies can prove to be a large challenge for a lot of seniors. Either you can try to help give them lessons on how to use these technologies or look into local classes. A lot of libraries and community centers offer free classes (and wifi) which can help to assist seniors with technology. This way, they also won’t feel dependent on you

Canada’s Shortage of Personal Support Workers

It has become clear over the past few years that personal support workers are a dying breed. There are less and less care workers in an industry that is growing due to aging populations. The Baby Boomer Generation, which has the largest amount of people in any generation, is aging and are just starting to need Personal Support Workers. Over the next 20 years, as Baby Boomers retire and begin to need more support, the need for personal support workers is going to increase drastically.

This is a growing issue that needs to be solved sooner rather than later because already personal support workers are facing longer hours in what can be considered an extremely tough job. The job can be physically rigorous, but can also have an emotional toll as well. Personal support workers truly connect with their clients and watching them struggle or having to deal with sickness and health can be extremely difficult. It’s a hard job that receives little thanks, which is part of the reason that the amount of personal support workers available is decreasing.

More workers are leaving the industry than are being trained and qualified per year. This is a dangerous truth for our country because without the proper amount of workers in the industry, a lot of people will not receive the care they need and in the years to come it is only going to get worse. It seems that part of the reason this decrease in workers is occurring is in fact the nature of the job. It doesn’t offer a very high salary and requires long and hard hours. The people who become personal support workers do it because they want to help others and this is their passion. Unfortunately, a low paying salary will discourage many from entering a position despite their level of passion.

Personal support workers who work for institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes and generally have a more steady, balanced schedule. For home care workers, a much different schedule is necessary. Oftentimes these workers start in the very early morning and work until the late hours of the night. These home care workers will have multiple patients per day that they must try to administer medication, prepare meals, clean the house, etc. With the decrease of these personal support workers, hospitals and nursing homes will be more understaffed than they already are and many patients who require home care, won’t be able to receive it because home care workers will have too many clients already. The workers are being stretched too thin.

Although this shortage has increasingly negative connotations on our society and the care of our people, it is important that we brace ourselves and try to fix the issue before its way too late. Not only do personal support workers deserve higher wages, but support systems should be put into place for those interested in working in this field. Incentivising learning programs and trying to get the younger generation interested in this industry has become increasingly important. No person should ever feel that they or their loved ones are at risk of not receiving care and it should be one of our highest priorities as a country to ensure this never happens.

How to Find the Right Caregiver for your Elderly Loved Ones

A caregiver can be an extremely important person in the life of your parents and by extension an important person in your life. Caregivers can support your elderly loved ones in any number of tasks including meal preparation or medical support. This all depends upon the needs of your parent, the budget you have established for hiring a caregiver and the skill set your chosen caregiver possesses.

Qualifications/Credentials

The most important part in beginning the process of hiring a caregiver is to find someone qualified to look out your parent. The best option would be to have a personal referral from someone you trust; however, this is unlikely to happen and many times it is best to look at resumes. How many seniors has this caregiver worked with in the past? What tasks were they in charge of to ensure the safety and care of these seniors? How much time will this caregiver be able to dedicate to your parent? Does their experience reflect what your parent needs? All of these questions are important to answer when looking at candidates for this position.

Run a Background Check

One of the most important aspects in hiring a caregiver for your parent is to find out about your candidates past. When working with children or seniors, it’s important for you to request a police check and to call listed references. Past employers are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to give you an honest referral. When it comes to your loved ones, you want a caregiver who works hard and is empathetic and truly likes your parent. Talking to the people who have worked with candidates before will be the best indicator in knowing if a caregiver will be a good fit for your parent.

Responsibilities and Tasks

Does your parent need a part time caretaker? Do they need someone with a medical background to administer medication or someone to help with cleaning, meal preparation and transportation? These are questions that you need to consider when looking at hiring a caretaker. A candidates abilities have to match your loved ones needs for a caregiver/patient relationship to succeed.

Personal Connection

Even though a caregiver can look great on paper and come with excellent references, that doesn’t mean that they will be the right fit for your parent. Having a personal connection is important because this caregiver will be a support system for you and your loved one. Fostering a good relationship between a caregiver and your parent can really change your parent’s life for the better. This person will not only be caring for your parent, but will become their companion. If your parent and their caregiver get along, you will feel more assured in the safety and happiness of your loved one.

It is also important that you have a good relationship with your parent’s caregiver. This is the person you will be able to get in touch with to make sure that your loved one is getting the best possible care. If you hire a caregiver that you have a good personal connection with, it will be easy for you to keep in touch and get updates on your loved one’s well-being. This will keep your mind at ease and it will make for an open line of communication, which is vital when hiring a caregiver.

How BookJane Can Help You

Using BookJane is ultimately going to save you a lot of time in the process of finding a caregiver. All the caregivers you’ll find on the app have already been screened and interviewed to ensure that they are the best of the best in their chosen field. Their qualifications and experience are listed on their profiles, so you will have access to a more reader-friendly resume without all the extra information that might not be relevant. BookJane offers an extremely streamlined processed for all your caregiver hiring needs. BookJane profiles are also a lot more personal than reading a piece of paper with qualifications and experience listed. We want you to feel like you can get to know our caregivers before meeting them so you’ll feel comfortable leaving your parents in their hands.