Tuesday, March 24, 2015

6 Fun Spring Activities for Seniors

Team CareLinx loves this reminder by DailyCaring that it is time to leave winter behind and go outdoors. Put away the wool scarves and mittens and put on a smile.

6 Fun Spring Activities for Seniors

Look forward to warmer weather
After a long and brutal winter, it’s a relief to know that warmer weather is just around the corner. Welcome the spring season with these six fun activities that seniors (and you!) will enjoy.

6 ways to celebrate spring with seniors
1. Enjoy a picnic meal
Whether you eat indoors at home or outdoors in the park, having a special picnic meal is a lovely activity. Active older adults can help with the prep too.

Part of the fun can be planning the menu together! Think about traditional picnic foods like sandwiches or wraps, coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad, cookies, and lemonade. You could even invite family and friends and turn it into a festive potluck.

2. Visit a farmers market
Ah, fresh produce and flowers! Leisurely strolling (or being wheeled) around a farmers market is a perfect activity for seniors. There’s so much to see and sample. Plus, they can take home some fresh veggies for a healthy meal.

3. Take a nature walk
Once the weather warms up, take a walk (or wheelchair ride) through the neighborhood, go to the park, or visit a garden center. For those who are less mobile, sitting in the back yard, on the porch, or near an open window is just as nice.

4. Bring nature indoors
Spring means plants, flowers, and growth. Bring the beauty of nature inside by getting an easy-to-care-for plant, a fragrant potted herb like lavender, or some freshly cut flowers. Everyone can enjoy the scent and colors.

5. Bird watch
A sure sign of spring is the birds chirping outside. Attract even more wildlife to your window by making and putting up a simple DIY bird feeder.

6. Do some spring cleaning
Chances are, your older adult could stand to get rid of a few things around the house. Spring is a perfect time to clear out some of that clutter. It’s also a perfect opportunity to go through keepsakes and share special memories.

Bottom line
Everyone enjoys the coming of spring and promise of beautiful weather. Celebrate with these six senior-friendly activities. They’re perfect ways to appreciate the season together.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Visit DailyCaring.com for practical caregiving tips and advice. We help with the day-to-day challenges of caring for your older adult. Improve your care situation – check out our free website and email newsletter!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Declutter Your Older Adult’s Living Space

It's that time of year: Spring Cleaning time! Take a look around. Are there winter blankets to pack away for the season? Are neighborhood signs appearing for yard sales and recycling fundraisers? It's time to clean house and brighten up the rooms. DailyCaring has a few suggestions for how to make living spaces safer and more spacious by decluttering them.

Declutter Your Older Adult’s Living Space

Create a safe, pleasant living space
Many older adults spend a majority of their time in a few rooms of the house. For safety and comfort, it’s important to make sure their main living spaces are decluttered, pleasant, and don’t have hidden dangers.

Being in open, welcoming spaces is also a great mood booster. Here are our top five suggestions for creating a comfortable space where your older adult can happily spend time.

1. Get your older adult involved
      This is the space they’ll be using so collaborate with them on changes.
      Help them feel excited about getting a room or home makeover.
      Tackle the rooms that your older adult spends most of their time in. Don’t worry about spaces they never use.

2. Declutter and remove tripping hazards
      Swap out any sharp-edged furniture for softer, safer items.
      Remove throw rugs or area rugs.
      Tape down or remove any exposed electrical cords.
      Donate or sell excess furniture or move it to other rooms. Keep things simple and minimal.
      Declutter the space! Don’t use the room as a storage area.
      Keep only things that are actively being used and consider storage baskets for organization.

3. Brighten the space
      Improve the lighting by getting brighter lights and making sure the curtains get opened.
      Hang up a few large pictures or posters. Anything that triggers happy memories is great. Ideas include:
      Family photos
      Nature scenes
      Images from hobbies like fishing or gardening
      Cityscapes from favorite vacations

4. Keep frequently used things in reach
      Make note of the things that your older adult reaches for constantly.
      Figure out how to keep those items within arms reach of their usual seat.
      This could include:
      TV remote control
      Reading glasses
      Books or puzzles
      Glass of water

5. Bring nature inside
      Add some plants. Whether they’re fake or real, they bring freshness and life.
      Add natural items from favorite activities, like:
      Smooth rocks from a fishing spot
      Shells collected from the beach
      Flowers from the farmer’s market
      A bowl of lemons
      A bunch of fall leaves

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

DailyCaring.com empowers families who care for older adults by giving free, practical advice. We help you make good care decisions and manage real-life challenges. Plus, everything is short and to-the-point!

Friday, March 13, 2015

What's Next? Boomer Business Summit

CareLinx CEO Sherwin Sheik is honored to be speaking at Mary Furlong's annual What's Next? Boomer Business Summit in Chicago on Thursday, March 26. "CareLinx would not be where it is today without Mary Furlong. She's been instrumental in making introductions, mentoring, and much, much more. She is absolutely amazing and we are blessed to have her part of the CareLinx family."

Sherwin will be speaking on how to fund your emerging business and attract venture financing. He will share how CareLinx has evolved from being a bootstrapped startup with a social mission to help families in need of care, to being able to attract Angel financing to grow the organization to ultimately closing a Venture Capital and Strategic rounds of financing. To date, the company has raised more than $5M and has garnered a lot of institutional investor interest given CareLinx's rapid nationwide growth. CareLinx now operates in the top 50 metropolitan areas with over 100,000 caregivers on the platform. He will be highlighting the key performance metrics investors typically look for when evaluating opportunities so that other fellow entrepreneurs looking to help seniors can successfully launch their businesses and achieve their goals.  

We hope you plan to attend the summit and introduce yourself.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Deal with Stress in 2 Minutes

Technology can actually calm your nerves! This week's DailyCaring article features a website that helps you relax with calming images and music. While you could use your computer, you could also direct the site to a large screen television monitor. It can be used for daily meditation, yoga, afternoon nap or bedtime. The site can be accessed by your mobile device, such as your smartphone while waiting in a doctor's office. Check it out!

How to Deal with Stress in 2 Minutes

Caregivers need a break
We know how busy family caregivers are, but we also know how important it is to learn how to deal with stress. One way is to take short breaks.

Regularly taking breaks improves your health by decreasing stress and reducing the physical damage caused by chronic stress.

Free website - calm.com
We love the calm.com website for quick relaxation breaks. The site only does one thing - it helps you relax. Choose from many nature scenes with calming sounds and set a timer for 2, 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes of quiet bliss.

When we’re feeling really stressed, the soothing voice in the guided meditations makes it much easier to let go of racing thoughts.

How to use the calm.com website

1. The first thing you’ll see is a peaceful nature scene and a soothing soundtrack. Put your mouse anywhere on the page to bring up the vertical menu bar on the left side and a smaller horizontal menu bar in the lower right corner.

2. The horizontal menu bar in the lower right corner controls the nature scenes and relaxation soundtrack. In this picture, we’ve numbered the controls to let you know what each one does.
1.    Use the left and right arrows to scroll through the different nature scenes and soundtracks until you find the one you like best.
2.    This control lets you set the chosen soundtrack on repeat.
3.    This allows you to select from mute (no soundtrack) or soundtrack + nature scene. It also scrolls through the scene options.
4.    This controls the volume and can quickly mute the sound.
5.    This puts the website in fullscreen mode. On a PC, to get out of fullscreen mode, press the ESC key on your keyboard.

3. Put your mouse over the alarm clock icon on the vertical menu to bring up the timer. Click the length of time you want and the timer will let you know when the time is up. Now you can relax and let go of your worries for a few minutes. If you need to pause or stop before the time is up, use the controls that will appear in the lower right corner.

4. This is our favorite part of the website. Put your mouse over the seated figure in the vertical menu. Choose the length of time you’d like. The soothing voice will help you stop the stressful feelings and help you focus on relaxation. If you need to pause or stop before the time is up, use the controls that will appear in the lower right corner.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: calm.com

DailyCaring.com has useful real-life advice to improve your day-to-day life caring for an older loved one. It’s a free website and email newsletter with to-the-point articles that help you make better care decisions.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5 Important Legal Documents for Caregivers

This week, DailyCaring tackles important paperwork. Too often, legal decisions are put off, so make a plan to get your legal documents completed or up-to-date. Start today!

5 Important Legal Documents for Caregivers

Preparing legal documents benefits everyone
Eventually, your older adult won’t be able to manage their own legal matters and will rely on you to act in their best interests. Planning ahead allows your older adult and your family to have control of critical decisions. You wouldn’t want a stranger getting involved just because the proper legal paperwork wasn’t in place.

A starting point for caregivers
We’ve put together a list of the legal basics caregivers should be aware of. These topics don’t cover every situation and shouldn’t be considered legal advice, but it’s a good starting point for those tackling “the legal stuff.” Get to know these 5 important legal documents for caregivers.

1. Power of attorney (POA)
      This allows your older adult to authorize someone to make legal decisions when they are no longer competent.
      POA also covers authority to make financial decisions

2. Durable power of attorney for health care (also known as a health care proxy)
      This allows your older adult to authorize someone to make all decisions regarding health care, including choosing health care providers, medical treatment, and end-of-life decisions.
      This power only goes into effect when your older adult is unable to make decisions for themselves.

3. Living will or advance directive
      This allows your older adult to state, in advance, what kind of medical care they do and do not want to receive.
      This also covers what life-support procedures they would not like to have.
      This is used when a person isn’t able to make their wishes known on their own.

4. Living trust
      This allows your older adult (the grantor) to create a trust and appoint someone (a trustee) to manage the trust assets when they aren’t able to manage their finances.
      A person or a financial institution can be the trustee.

5. Will
      Your older adult’s will names an executor and beneficiaries.
      The executor is the person who will manage your older adult’s estate at the time of death.
      Beneficiaries will receive the estate at the time of death.

What happens if you don’t plan ahead
If no planning is done before your older adult becomes incapacitated, family members must ask a court to appoint a conservator or guardian. A conservatorship can be difficult for families because almost every action or decision on behalf of your older adult must be court supervised and approved.

Where to get started with legal documents
For legal matters, hiring a lawyer is always recommended. It’s also smart to do your own research so you understand what’s happening. In addition, you can usually seek advice on legal issues from social workers or clergy, free of charge.

This article is part of our Caregiver Beginner’s Guide series. For all 8 articles in this series, go to our Caregiver Guide Overview.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Do you care for a senior? Try DailyCaring.com for practical advice on managing real-life challenges. It’s free, there are new tips every weekday, and it’s a quick read.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Seniors Need a Backup Medicine Supply

Be prepared! Emergencies happen. Last summer, the CareLinx Team touched on emergency preparedness checklists, but this week's DailyCaring article really details why and how to have a handy backup supply of medications. Several members of our team are members of CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) and participate in emergency preparedness drills. Each drill includes volunteer "victims" playing the role of dazed and lost citizens that have no identifying information on them and/or not having the medication they need. 

Why Seniors Need a Backup Medicine Supply

Skipping medication is dangerous for seniors
Most seniors are on multiple medications to manage symptoms from chronic conditions. Skipping one or more doses can have serious consequences that could make them ill or land them in the hospital. Normally, you make sure they take their pills every day so bad things won’t happen.

But what happens if they can’t get a refill on time?

Emergency medication supply
If your older adult has extra medicine on hand as a backup supply, nobody needs to worry if something makes getting a refill impossible. This tip saves you from panic, headache, and anxiety! Having extra medicine also saves trouble if your older adult needs a travel supply.

Many things could make getting an on-time prescription refill difficult or impossible. Here are a few common situations:
      A severe snow storm, thunderstorm, or flooding makes going out unsafe.
      You have the flu and are too sick to leave the house.
      The pharmacy is temporarily out of stock of that medication.
      There’s a glitch in the system and insurance won’t cover the pills until things get straightened out...next week.

DailyCaring Tip: Keep a close eye on the extra medicine or keep it with you to make sure nobody else can help themselves to things like painkillers.

Get extra medicine for free
It won’t cost anything extra to build up a backup medication supply!

Not everyone knows this, but most insurance companies (including Medicare) allow you to get a refill in 25 days, not 30 like you might think. The pharmacist will be able to tell you the soonest date you can get a refill under your senior’s insurance plan.

Picking up a refill 5 days earlier builds up an extra medication supply because you’re shortening the time between refills. That means you’ll have extra pills left over each month.

How does this work?
If your senior’s prescription is for 30 pills each month, you’ll have 4 pills left over each month when you pick up their refill 5 days early. Those extra pills add up fast! In 7 months or so, you’ll have a full month’s supply on hand as backup.

Bottom line
You never know what’s going to happen in life. Being prepared saves time, energy, anxiety, and sometimes even money. Help your senior build up a stash of backup medicine so nobody has to panic or suffer negative consequences when getting to the pharmacy is impossible.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Albany IVF

Caring for an older adult? Visit DailyCaring.com for tips on how to handle day-to-day challenges. It’s free, there’s fresh advice every weekday, and we keep things brief.