10.19.09

Computers and Seniors: Helping Your Loved Ones Connect

Posted in Elderly Care at 12:11 pm by admin

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My grandfather is over 90 now. The man has lived a full life. He
raised four children, served in WWII, and built up a massive, lush
garden at his home in Canada. And today, he has grand-children and
great-grandchildren scattered all across the United States and Canada.
But there’s a problem. He has lost nearly all of his eyesight, and
much of his mobility. His garden is gone, and he often doesn’t know
what to do with himself. Does this sound familiar?

Last time I saw him and grandma, they had moved into an assisted
living community. It was sad to see them out of their house, but I was
glad to see that he had started using computers. Alot. He showed me a
website where he has connected with his old military buddies who had
also served on a nondescript North Pacific island during the war. The
men reminisced, swapping old pictures and stories that only they could
fully appreciate.

His computer use certainly doesn’t stop there. Grandpa constantly uses
email, and is always on the prowl for some useful bit of information
on the web, from new developments in technology to the latest
conspiracy theories abroad.

According to a recent study by the PEW Research center, my grandpa
isn’t alone. Internet use by seniors is dramatically on the rise.
Acquisition of high speed internet connections rose from 26% to 45%
among seniors ages 70-76. That’s a rise of nearly 80%, easily the
highest of any demographic.
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This could be a significant trend. Seniors have been stereotyped as
being intimidated and inept at dealing with technology. And many still
are. Some will stick with their stack of magazines and their telephone
and never bother to take the leap. But, as the study shows, more and
more elders are finding reasons to sign on. Social Network sites like
Facebook are starting to hit the mark with seniors, too, and it only
makes sense. If a 30 year old can have a rush of nostalgia when he
receives a friend request from an old high school buddy, imagine the
possibilities for a someone more than twice his age!

The biggest draw into the digital age might be data speed increases.
With broadband, seniors are able to use Skype or iChat to talk face to
face with their grandchildren. That is reason enough for some seniors
to buy a computer in the first place! And beyond webcams, who has time
to get bored with 15 Mbps transfer rates?

Getting your loved one connected may take a bit of arm twisting, but
it can yield big benefits. One study showed depression showed a 20%
drop in senior depression among those who are active on the internet.
Before you dismiss that, just think about how much it can lift your
spirits to connect with your friends and family. For someone who can
hardly see and who can’t get out anymore, the effect is doubled.

If you’re trying to convince your loved one that they ought to get
online, don’t go for the “limitless possibilities” angle. That works
for you and I, but it won’t likely work for them. What does work is
the relationship angle. Our generation puts a higher value on
entertainment than relationship. Not so with our parents and
grandparents. Let them see the possibilities to reconnect with
friends, stay current with family, and make new friends who can relate
to their past experiences and current situations.

Then, make the process as simple as it can possibly get. Get as many
icons off the desktop as you can. Increase font and icon size, and
adjust the brightness and contrast (this is the only way my grandpa
can read anything). Hook up the camera and set up a Skype or iChat
account, and make sure their usernames and passwords are saved and
will be entered automatically. Then, help them find avenues for
networking. Get their Facebook account up and running. Show them how
to add pictures with a click, and how to search for old classmates.
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Once the digital world becomes relevant to their stage of life, they
will be off and running. Now just be prepared for your new job as a
technical support specialist.

What Should I Know About Long Term Memory Care?

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, Dimentia, Elderly Diseases at 10:26 am by admin

Understanding Long-Term Memory Care

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Seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s have needs that other Elders do
not. Their memory impairment and frequent disorientation can be a
constant source of anxiety for their loved ones and caregivers. Memory
Care Facilities can be a huge help for these individuals. Memory Care
is offered in the form of short-term respite care or long-term
assisted living. Elder care services are increasingly recognizing
Memory Care as a necessary form of specialized care.

So how is Memory Care different than regular Assisted Living?

The most major component is the increased focus on safety. Alzheimer’s
patients are especially prone to wondering around, getting lost, and
sometimes hurting themselves. Most Assisted Living facilities aren’t
equipped to deal with this type of problem. Memory Care facilities
place a high priority on a safe, contained environment. Sometimes,
facilities provide an entire wing, sometimes called an Alzheimer’s
wing, that is always well-staffed and keeps doors locked. That way,
the staff can keep track of potential wanderers.
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But just because facilities are locked and safe doesn’t mean they have
to be institutional, stifling and dull. Many Memory Care centers offer
lots of room for residents to roam and explore in total safety.
Outdoor courtyards and gardens are very common, and very helpful.

In addition, the staff of Memory Care facilities are trained to deal
with the difficult effects of memory loss. Much of this comes in the
form of routine building. Routines are an important part of any
person’s life, but they become especially important for those with
memory loss.

There are kinds of variations in treatment and environment between
memory care facilities. If you are considering placing your loved one
in this type of assisted living facility, it is important that you
actually go to visit several in your area to compare the level and
kids of care they offer.

Dealing with Alzheimer’s is never easy, and it almost always means the
end is not far away. Memory Care facilities are acutely aware of this,
and uniquely suited to help make your loved one’s final days just a
little bit more comfortable and, if possible, maybe even pleasant.
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10.07.09

The Cost of Respite Care

Posted in Elder Care, Home Health Care at 3:39 pm by admin

When choosing a Respite Care service, there are many considerations to
take into account. Here are 3 important ones:

What level of service does my loved one need?
How many hours per day do I need a Respite Care service?
How much will the service cost?


If you prefer your loved one to be cared for at home, you need to
decide whether you need a Nurse, a Home Health Aid or a Companion.

Nurses are, of course, trained and ready to help your loved one deal
with all of the issues that arise from living with illnesses. In
addition to helping with bathing and dressing issues, they can
administer medication and act in precisely the same ways Nurses in a
health facility could. They generally cost upwards of $25 per hour.

Home Health Aids are often Certified Nursing Assistants, trained to
provide many of the same services offered at nursing facilities. They
can help your loved one dress, walk around the house, bathe, take
medication, etc. Home Health Aids are ideal for seniors who are
currently battling illnesses and need basic health care assistance.
You can expect to pay between $20 and $25 per hour for their services.

Companions, on the other hand, are better for seniors who need
supervision but are not sick or too feeble. They are not trained to
give basic aid in activities like bathing or dressing. Companions, who
are sometimes called Homemakers, are ideal for Alzheimer’s patients
who need conversation and supervision, as well as a hand in making
lunch and taking walks. You can expect to pay them between $15 and $25 per hour.


The costs for home respite care can add up quickly. The out-of-pocket
costs could easily reach $200 per day for even basic services. If you
just need a break for a few hours, this is a fine option. Otherwise,
you would be wise to consider an Adult Day Service.

Adult Day Services (often called “Adult Day Care”) are generally far
less expensive, costing around $65 per day on average. These services
are generally open all day Monday through Friday, offering care for
many different patients in a community-rich environment. These
facilities are common for Alzheimer’s patients, and seniors who are
sick but not immobilized. The staff will almost always include
Registered Nurses and all kinds of aids who together are well equipped
to handle bathing, dressing, and all kinds of medical needs. And best
of all, the staff and patients should provide plenty of companionship.
There are around 4000 Adult Day Care facilities in the United States.

Despite the benefits, most people prefer Home Care. This is probably
because Medicare usually covers at least part of the cost of home
health care but usually does not cover adult day care. The type of
care, of course, is the determining factor. Before making any
decisions be sure to visit Medicare’s website or talk to an advisor.