How Caregivers Can Help to Prevent Hospital Admissions

Although not every hospital visit is avoidable, some visits can be preventable and with the help of caregivers, seniors can evade being admitted into the hospital. Many caregivers provide twenty-four hour support for their seniors, or are with them often enough to monitor changes in both physical and mental health. The caregiver plays an important part in a senior’s life because they are so involved. It is often up to the caregiver to notice changes in habits, general health and how the senior is feeling. It is important that seniors are also very open with their caregivers about how they feel and any changes they notice so that the caregiver can assess a given situation and decide upon the best course of action. The senior and the caregiver need to work as a team to combat any possible health issues that may develop.

Monitoring Diet

One of the first signs of changing health can be observed through a senior’s diet. If a senior’s diet drastically changes, or if a loss of appetite is observed, it may be a sign of a bigger issue. Change in diet cab signal many different physical issues, but also mental ailments such as depression.

Medication Reminders

Many seniors are on different medications for their various health issues. It is important that seniors follow the instructions for taking these medications. For instance, some medications require being taken on an empty stomach, full stomach, or at a specific time each day. Following these strict medication requirements can be difficult, especially if a senior is on multiple medications that all require different specifications. A caregiver can be hugely instrumental in helping seniors to take medications at the right time in the right way which can help to prevent further health issues for seniors.

Preventing Falls

Many seniors have some form of mobility issue. Whether a senior requires a cane, walker or wheelchair to be able to move around, caregivers can be involved in assisting seniors getting the place they need to be. This can include helping seniors to remove clutter from their homes and creating large pathways between rooms, but can also include physically assisting seniors when they want to go to a different room or to any place outside of the home.

General Safety Issues

Generally speaking, caregivers are most likely to be the first person in a senior’s life to notice and address any safety issue. If an entryway looks like a tripping hazard, a caregiver is more likely to notice it before the senior in their care trips over it. This is because caregivers are tuned into their senior’s needs and are able to think about how different situations or conditions will affect the person they are care for. Always staying vigilant will bee important for caregivers when it comes to keeping seniors safe and preventing unnecessary hospital visits.

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.

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.

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.

Available Transportation for Seniors

Starting in their 80th year, Ontario law requires seniors to renew their G license every two years. For a lot of seniors this causes issues, if they are deemed unable to drive, it becomes difficult for them to get to appointments, run errands, meet with friends or any other activity that requires them to leave the house. For a lot of seniors, losing their license is representative of losing their freedom and independence. It’s important for seniors to do their research and discover what other methods of transportation are available to them. This way they can continue to live their lives in almost the same manner as they are used to.

Friends/Family

It’s nice to be able to rely on friends and often times seniors are going places with their friends or family members. Carpooling is a great way to for seniors to get where they need to go. Although its not always possible to rely on friends and family members for transportation, its important to know that they are always an option in helping the seniors in their lives to get the places they need or want to go.

Public Transport/Shuttle Buses

Its important for seniors to do some research on their local transit systems. In big cities like Toronto, TTC is widely available with buses, streetcars and the subway covering the entire city. Transit systems like this make it very easy for travellers to get to their destinations. Most other smaller cities and towns also have some form of public transit available. For these smaller communities, it is unlikely that transit will allow seniors everywhere they need to go, but should allow them to get to most places. Public Transit companies usually also offer senior discounts, which are helpful to seniors with fixed salaries. For seniors living in assisted living facilities often have access to shuttle buses that are organized by the facility. These shuttles usually bring seniors to places where they can run all their errands.

Taxi’s/Uber

Even though taking taxi’s (or for tech savvy seniors taking an Uber) can be expensive, it’s important for seniors to have these options available to them. For instance, when grocery shopping, taking a taxi home is helpful because groceries can be heavy and trying to take them home on public transit would be difficult. Making sure seniors have access to taxi numbers (or the Uber app) can make a huge difference in their independence and ability to get to the places they want to be.

By Foot/Bicycle

If the location is close enough, it’s good to get a bit of exercise and either walk or bike to your desired destination. For certain errands, this option isn’t the most logical because the destinations are too far, or the errands require a lot of lifting or carrying. The best part about going places on foot or by bicycle, is that it doesn’t cost anything.

Although it can be hard for seniors when they lose their ability to drive themselves, they have many other options available to them to maintain their independence. Its important for them to do the research and find out what their options are.

 

 

How Dance Can Help Seniors to Avoid Dangerous Falls

Dance is often overlooked by many as a sport or as a means of legitimate exercise, but for many seniors it is the perfect way to strengthen the right muscles to help then with balance. Some of the most common injuries in seniors stem from serious falls. Recently Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto live streamed dance classes for elders living in rural areas to advocate this as a integral part of any seniors exercise regime. Dance requires focus and determination and works the parts of the body most important to the development of strength and safety for seniors. Preventing falls is one of the most important aspects of protecting the well being of seniors. A fall can dramatically decrease the quality of life for seniors, sometimes leading to a lack of independence, hospitalization or even chronic pain or issues. Although movement in general is good for seniors, dance can provide an all encompassing exercise that isn’t only good for them, but is also fun and something that can be done as a group activity.

Balance

 One of the largest benefits of dance classes is the general improvement of balance. Usually when seniors fall and injure themselves, the fall has stemmed from a lack of balance. Dance is a very disciplined exercise which includes different positions. For instance in ballet, there is first position (feet together with toes turned out), second position (feet shoulder width apart with toes turned out), etc. These positions along with the other movements that go along with them offer a good base for muscle memory. In a situation where a senior feels they are losing their balance, they’ll have learned these positions and may be able to prevent a fall by trusting this muscle memory.

Strength

Like any form of exercise, movement is important. In dance, strength is gained mostly in your core. This is because all movement in dance stems from the core. This is the perfect strength training for seniors looking to prevent falls because the body’s core is where balance is gained. A dance move that begins in first position will also finish in first position. For instance, if a dancer lifts their leg from first position, they will return it to the ground into that position. This works the core and teaches the body control.

Flexibility

 In general, dance is seen as an extremely flexible form of exercise. Dancers work muscles based on their own body weight and body movements. Often, dancers use stretching of their arms, legs and torsos to move their bodies into certain positions. These stretching movements will help to increase flexibility which in turn will help with overall movement capabilities. The more able a senior is with their movement, the less likely they are to fall.

 Confidence

 A big part of preventing falls and being safe in movements is confidence. Being confident will help seniors to feel in control of their bodies which is a large part of preventing falls. Practicing dance as a form of exercise will enable seniors to feel accomplished, strong and totally in control of their bodies. Like with any type of exercise, it’s important for seniors to not push themselves. Dancing in groups is more fun than it is as a solitary exercise and having an