09.30.09

What is Respite Care?

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, Dimentia, Elderly Care at 2:49 pm by admin

Respite Care is short-term service to provide a
break for full-time caregivers of seniors or other individuals with
disabilities.

Caregiving is an exhausting job. Many family members who care for
their loved one in their own home never get a break. Daily errands
which would be routine for the rest of us–shopping, going to the
bank, taking the kids to soccer practice–can become all but
impossible for a caregiver. That’s where Respite Care come in. To give
the primary care-giver a break. It could be for just a few hours or it
could be all day. Whatever the schedule, respite care is, by
definition, part time. Respite Care-Givers are usually nurses, but
don’t have to be. Some services will send their care-givers to your
home while others offer their own facilities for you to drop your
loved one off at. Adult Day Care facilities often come into play here.


Respite Care Services are often called on for loved ones who suffer
from Alzheimers or Dementia and cannot be left alone. But this is not
always the case. It can also be helpful for those who have trouble
moving around or have scheduled medication that needs to be
administered. These services are generally much more affordable than
other types of elder care. I live in Texas and have seen several Dementia
and Alzheimer’s care facilities pop up in the East Texas area. Depending on
how bad the elderly disease has become you may be able to continue to have
your loved one cared for from yours or their home.

So how do you choose a Respite Care Service? First, evaluate your
locational needs. Would it be easier for you if a caregiver looked
after your loved one at home or somewhere else? In many cases, the at-
home option would be easier for your loved one, who could stay in the
same familiar, safe environment.


But sometimes this is not an option, especially for those busy home-
makers who desperately need a quiet house for a few hours to do that
much-needed housework. And for the busy, on-the-go caregiver who has
to spend most of the day running around in town anyway, it might be
easier to drop your loved one off at a proven, safe environment, and
not have to worry about how the house looks, etc. This is also a good
option for those seniors who crave a change of scenery.

Whatever your specific needs, it might be time to look into Respite
Care. It could just help you, the caregiver, avoid burnout.

Is it Time for Dad to Stop Driving?

Posted in elderly and education at 2:27 pm by admin



Driving is one of the hallmarks of a person’s independence. But there often comes a time when a person’s age, eyesight, and health begin to affect his or her performance behind the wheel. Sadly, the elderly driver himself often does not recognize that his skills have diminished. It might take years for the terrified passengers in the back seat (or in the oncoming traffic) to speak up and tell him, “It’s time to stop driving.”

Here are a few signs to be looking out for:

Slow reaction time. You may notice this in many different facets of your loved one’s life, not just driving. But when he fails to react to changing conditions around him–break lights ahead, pedestrians crossing the street unexpectedly, large debris in the middle of the road–it can become dangerous. It may not be time to send him to an elder care facility but it is just time to keep him safe by considering limiting some things he can do that just are not that safe for him anymore.

More blind spots: “I didn’t see them coming” is the mantra of a driver whose blind spots are “growing.” That’s not to say he is going blind, of course, although deterioration in eyesight is almost inevitable. More than likely, dad’s concentration level is just not what it used to be. Sometimes he forgets to check his mirror before he changes lanes. Usually, everything turns out just fine. But eventually, the law of averages could catch up to him.


Hard breaking might be a sign that his depth perception is not very clear. If you frequently get nervous when he approaches stop lights because he hasn’t slowed down, you might have cause for concern. The hard breaking that follows is disconcerting for you and the person he almost rear-ended. Dad might tell you that he always drove that way, and it might be true. But his eyes are not as good as they used to be now, and he simply can’t afford to keep those habits.

Trouble Staying in His Lane: Is he constantly over-compensating for tiny adjustments in his driving lane? Do the people passing you stay way over to the left side because he makes them nervous? This is dangerous.

Near misses: How many times have you said “That was too close, dad” lately? Any of these factors can end up almost getting your dad or loved one in a bad car accident. If the near misses start piling up, it’s time to talk.

But how do you talk with him without offending him?

This might be difficult to do. He’s been driving for fifty years, he will tell you, and he doesn’t need to stop now. A good rule of thumb is to not drop a giant bomb on him all at once, with ten of his kids and grandkids around him telling him how they feel. That could be unnecessarily humiliating. Start smaller. When your driving with him and you notice one of those signs, tell him gently that he needs to be careful, and has he considered using the bus instead? Bring it up again later, gently, without nagging.

Present him with well thought-out alternatives. Public Transportation: Can a bus take him to the senior center? Can his buddy give him a ride to the lodge? Can you go pick him up to bring him over on Sundays? These options are important because they could allow him to keep some level of independence, which is the real issue.

If things escalate–if he repeatedly ignores your concerns and stubbornly insists on driving–it may be time for one of those larger family interventions. And if his driving gets too dangerous, you might have to take even more extreme measures for his own safety, like calling your local Department of Transportation office.

But if you are watching for the signs and if you are honest with him early on, those should not be necessary. If you show him how much you care with your vigilant attitude, he is more likely to hand over the car keys himself.