Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Long Distance Caregiving: Does Your Parent Need Help?

Many children leave home, go to college and/or careers that take them far away, and then find they have a long distance relationship with family and friends. Whether long distance is an hour away or an airplane flight away, managing care for a loved one can be a challenge. The CareLinx Team works with many families who find they must manage caregiving from a distance, so we particularly appreciate this week's article by DailyCaring.

Long Distance Caregiving: Does Your Parent Need Help?

What is long distance caregiving?
Living an hour or more away from someone you care for makes you a long distance caregiver. Since you can’t be there in person, your caregiving tasks might include:
·       Helping Mom manage Dad’s health insurance policy, claims, and payments.
·       Keeping important legal documents like Power of Attorney, living will, and wills up to date.
·       Researching home care agencies and checking references so Dad has reliable in-home care.
·       Making sure Mom has regular companionship and cooking, gardening, or home maintenance help.
·       Working with a local geriatric care manager to make sure your parents stay healthy and safe.

How do I know if help is needed?
A top question from long distance caregivers is how they’ll know when or if their older adult needs help. We hear things like “Mom sounds fine on the phone and insists she’s doing well. How do I know if she’s telling the truth?”

Some seniors ask for help when they need it and will be truthful about their situation - “Cooking is getting harder because of my arthritis.” Others don’t want to be a burden and try to hide their needs as long as possible - “Everything’s fine! You worry too much.”

Long distance care tip #1: Play detective in a subtle way
If you can’t see your older adult in person very often, you might need to play detective to make sure they’re actually doing well and not just telling you what you want to hear. Here are some tips:
·       Call or video chat at strategic times - before meals, after they usually get up and get ready for the day, or after medication should be taken.
·       Ask casually about the meal they’re preparing “What have you got cooking for dinner tonight?”
·       Talk about your own plans for the day and ask about theirs. This lets you know what they’re up to, but doesn’t make it sound like you’re prying.
·       Say that you’re looking for tips on how to remember to take your vitamins. Ask how they stick to their medication schedule.

Long distance care tip #2: Recruit local eyes and ears
You might also want to develop relationships with your senior’s neighbors, friends, doctors, and local relatives. Ask if they’ve been worried or if they’ve noticed any recent changes in habits or behavior. Ask them to call you if they see anything strange or if it’s ok for you to call once a month to check in.

Long distance care tip #3: Learn as much as you can during visits
Get the most out of each visit by using this checklist to assess the situation and look for signs of trouble. It’s easier to spot problems when you’re there and it’s harder for your older adult to hide what’s really going on.

If you’re caring for an older adult, DailyCaring.com has practical advice you. Get tips to improve your care situation by signing up for our free email newsletter. Visit www.DailyCaring.com today.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Activities for Seniors: Puzzles!

Members of the CareLinx Team love this puzzle article by DailyCaring. Jigsaw puzzles are one of those carefree activities that can be worked on solo or with a friend of most any age. It really doesn't matter if a puzzle is completed in a day or stretched out over weeks or months.

Activities for Seniors: Puzzles!

Fun activities engage and entertain

Keeping your older adult busy with something they enjoy is good for both of you. Jigsaw puzzles are a great source of engagement and entertainment for seniors.

They’ll stay out of trouble, exercise fingers and minds, and feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ll get a breather and the joy of a happy and calm older adult.

Find the right type of puzzle
The trick is to find a puzzle that’s the right level and not too childish. We’re pretty sure Mom, Dad, or Grandma won’t be too excited about pictures of kid’s cartoons.

We rounded up a bunch of fun puzzles with beautiful pictures. There are options for older adults at all different activity levels.

Puzzles for mild cognitive impairment
Seniors who have declined cognitively can still have fun with puzzles. Find ones with simple  pictures and fewer pieces. If you’re not sure, start with 50 or 100 pieces to start. If it’s too easy or too hard, you’ll know to try more or less pieces next.

Try one of these (100 pieces)
      Good Companions, friendly pets
      Puppy Wagon, adorable puppies in a red wagon
      Tiger, lounging in the jungle
      Come Unto Me, Jesus with animals

Try one of these (under 100 pieces)
      Mare and Foal, beautiful horses, 60 pieces
      Golden Retriever Puppy, 30 pieces
      Van Gogh Sunflowers, 24 pieces
      Pets, not childish, wooden puzzle with tray, 24 pieces

Puzzles for Alzheimer’s or dementia
Springbok, a puzzle company, makes a special line for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s called Puzzles to Remember. They have 36 large pieces, which makes it easier to grip and see.

The pictures are lovely, vibrant, and perfect for adults. No kid’s cartoons here! We bought this Goldfinch puzzle and it was beautiful. Almost like a picture you’d put on the wall!

Try one of these
      Click here for Puzzles to Remember at Springbok’s online store.
      Click here for more Springbok Puzzles to Remember at Amazon. Look for Puzzles to Remember in the item description - they’re different from the 36 piece puzzles for kids.

Custom photo puzzles
It’s easy to design your own custom puzzle! Just choose your senior’s favorite family or nature photo and have it made into a puzzle. Many seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, really enjoy these.

Try one of these
      Portrait Puzzles - starts at $35, comes in variety of sizes & number of pieces
      Shutterfly - $30, variety of photo layouts
      Walmart - starts at $13, comes with custom gift box

Puzzles for low vision
Many older adults are still mentally sharp, but their eyesight or hand flexibility has gotten worse. Try a puzzle with larger pieces, but a lot of them. That way the challenge is in putting it together, not seeing or picking up the pieces.

Try one of these
      Hautman Bluebirds, 300 pieces
      Sunlit Shores, 300 pieces
      Click here for Springbok’s line of large-size puzzles, 350 pieces

DailyCaring.com has useful tips for families caring for older adults. Get the latest updates by signing up for our free email newsletter. Check out www.DailyCaring.com today!

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Saturday, January 17, 2015

CareLinx Social Media

We at CareLinx search high and low for warm and wonderful images to share with our Caregivers each day, through our Facebook posts and Twitter tweets. If you don't yet follow us, we invite you to do so today. 

Below is one of our recent and very popular posts - a lavender heart for our thousands of very special caregivers.

Here is a colorful collection of images from the end of the year, the beginning of the winter season. Images range from tips to toes, food and flora. Follow us daily and we hope you will "like" many of our posts and share them with friends and family.

We archive most of our images on Pinterest Boards. We have 21 different boards or categories. Visit the site and follow one or more of the boards. We keep adding to them!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CareLinx President and CEO Sherwin Sheik presented at this afternoon's Healthcare Transformers Showcase in San Francisco. The Healthcare Transformers Summit and Showcase is a part of the 2015 JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.

It was exciting to be a part of the Summit, where presenters and healthcare leaders exchanged ideas and networked.

Q&A: Fair Pay for an In-Home Caregiver?

This week, our guest editorial from DailyCaring is a discussion about fair pay for in-home caregivers.  Rates vary by geography and special requirements needed. But there is more to consider ...

Question: What is a fair hourly rate to pay an in-home caregiver if the person isn’t hired through a traditional agency?

Fair rates and pay can differ depending on:
      Type of care your older adult needs. For example: Alzheimer’s care vs. companionship.
      Background and experience of the hired caregiver
      Tasks you'd like your in-home caregiver to handle
      Location of your residence. Rates can vary by city or state.

One way to get an idea about typical hourly rates is to sign up for a free service like Care.com so you can browse through caregivers that could fit your situation.

According to another caregiver service, Carelinx.com, the average rate on the CareLinx marketplace is $15/hour.

DailyCaring.com brings the latest advice to families caring for older adults. Our practical tips help improve your situation today. Find out the caregiving and aging by signing up for our free email newsletter. Check out www.DailyCaring.com today!

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Monday, January 12, 2015

Forget New Year's. Monday is key to helping caregivers keep New Year’s resolutions

Our friends Cherry Dumaul and Vanessa Protass at CaregiverMonday offer some great advice for the new year.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed that 120 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions, with health-related goals like losing weight, exercising and quitting smoking topping the list. Unfortunately, only 8% of all resolutions are actually kept and many don’t even make it to Groundhog Day.

That’s where Monday comes in. Monday acts like a mini-New Year’s that comes around every seven days, 52 times a year. It’s a day caregivers can use each week to reboot or refresh their health intentions to help them stay on track with their resolutions. Each Monday, they can take a small, manageable step to build up to their bigger health goal over time. Or, if they happen to slip up over the weekend like many people do, they can always use Monday to give themselves a fresh start and recommit to their goals.

People are already tapping into the power of Monday: A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by researchers from Johns Hopkins and San Diego State University showed that Google searches on health topics consistently surge every Monday, with 30 percent more searches for health information occurring on Mondays as compared to other days. The same pattern was confirmed by other research showing that Monday is a day people use for a “fresh start” for their health regimens, as well as in a study by Brian Wansink that showed dieters who got back on track on Mondays were more likely to keep the weight off over time.

Morgan Johnson, director of programs and research at The Monday Campaigns, the nonprofit organization behind Caregiver Monday and co-author of the Google paper, said that this collective “surge” in healthy thinking on Monday can be used to provide social support for people seeking to improve their health. “Millions of people around the world are starting the week with healthy intentions – if we can connect those people at school, work and communities we can make a “Monday Health Reboot” the cultural norm.”

To help caregivers keep their resolutions past Groundhog Day, The Monday Campaigns is offering free weekly health tips, along with resources for people with specific health goals in mind such as quitting smoking, getting more exercise, and promoting good nutrition habits with kids. For more information visit our website at www.caregivermonday.org and join our communities on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Music for Seniors: Improve Health, Mood, and Sleep

We all have different tastes in music, but there are some songs and musicians that were a part of a very special time of our lives -- when we were young adults. Listening to that set of songs, especially listening without the many distractions of the day, can turn a cold gray day into a joyous stroll down Memory Lane. A set of ear phones or ear buds makes a huge difference to the listening experience. Once again, DailyCaring gives us the lowdown on how music makes a big difference for seniors.

Music improves health, mood, and sleep
Music has many therapeutic benefits for seniors and sometimes helps more than medication! In documentaries like Alive Inside, we’ve seen how music can deeply affect older adults with cognitive issues.

This study showed that in stressful pre-surgery situations, patients who listened to music rather than taking anti-anxiety meds actually had less anxiety and lower cortisol (stress) levels.

Other studies say that music can also:
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Help post-stroke recovery
  • Improve memory and engage people with memory disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve mood and decrease depression
  • Have an anti-seizure effect
  • Boost immune function
These are all great reasons to make music a part of your senior’s daily routine. As a bonus, music might help you feel happier and less stressed too!

Play the right music
To get these benefits, you need to play music that your older adult enjoys. If they still have their music collection, dig through those albums to find their favorite bands. We’ve also rounded up popular groups from different eras. Start by playing music from their youth and find something that brings that spark to their eyes.

Top hits for every age group
Today, music is widely available through Internet radio stations, at the public library, or through online shopping sites like Amazon. Here are some of the top artists and highly rated “best of” albums from each decade. Click the links to see the albums we suggest.

Top hits for 90+ year olds

Top hits for 80+ year olds

Top hits for 70+ year olds

Top hits for 60+ year olds

Top hits: Jazz
DailyCaring.com helps families care for older adults by giving tips and advice you can use today. Get the latest wisdom in caregiving and aging when you sign up for our free email newsletter. Visit www.DailyCaring.com today!

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: kamere