Community Home Health Care is the leading provider in home care services in New York. Their blog gives caregiver tips for caregivers like healthy outlet ways to relieve caregiver burden, tips to handle caregiver stress, ways which help caregiver to stay motivated and much more.
Being a caregiver has many benefits and drawbacks. While caregiving can be a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational career, it’s also a very challenging job, and many caregivers find themselves frustrated with the difficulties of their positions. Of all of these challenges, though, few are more agonizing than the task of trying to figure out how best to communicate with doctors and nurses on behalf of a senior.
For older adults, communicating effectively with care staff is often a difficult task. Thanks to cognitive decline or a simple unwillingness to speak up, seniors often don’t effectively express their needs to doctors and nurses, and the responsibility to ensure the senior’s medical wellbeing falls to caregivers.
While this can be a stressful experience for both parties, it doesn’t have to feel like a burden. Here are several tips for caregivers who want to learn how to communicate more efficiently with a senior’s care staff:
Communicating On Behalf of a Senior 101: 7 Tips to a More Open Dialogue
1. Develop a relationship with the senior’s doctors
Unless you have an ongoing relationship with a senior’s care professionals, communicating with them effectively can be a challenging task. Because of this, it’s essential to dedicate some time and energy to developing relationships with a senior’s doctors and nurses. The best way to do this is to attend as many appointments as possible with the senior you care for.
In addition to allowing you to get a feel for each doctor or nurse’s care style, this will also enable you to spot certain dynamics or difficulties and prepare yourself for how best to deal with the professional and his or her unique style of care and communication.
This is especially critical for caregivers working with seniors who see multiple doctors on a regular basis. Because each of these doctors’ care styles and treatment approaches may differ, it’s smart for caregivers to understand, as fully as possible, what makes each doctor tick and how best to communicate with each team to ensure the long-term care and well-being of the senior.
2. Gain inclusion in the HIPPA contract
HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) dictates that doctors, nurses, and other care professionals are not allowed to discuss a client’s personal medical information with anyone else unless the person is incapacitated and over the age of 18. While HIPAA rules are in place to protect patients, they can make it difficult for caregivers to access relevant health information about the elderly people they care for.
Because of this, it’s essential that caregivers gain inclusion in the HIPAA contract before it becomes time to speak with medical professionals on behalf of a senior. This enables caregivers to help seniors make medical decisions and to protect the senior’s overall health and wellbeing better. It also ensures that the caregiver will have all of the information needed should a major medical decision present itself.
3. Ask plenty of questions
Helping seniors understand and respond to medical conditions and care options can be difficult, and things like diagnoses and medical-speak are often far from easy to interpret. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to ask plenty of questions to fully understand a senior’s condition and what, if anything, can be done in some cases. This empowers the caregiver with relevant information and is an efficient way for caregivers to safeguard better the health and well-being of the seniors they care for.
While many caregivers shy away from asking questions because they believe they’ll be perceived as stupid or incapable, it’s important to ask for clarification any time you don’t understand something. Knowledge is power, and clarifying confusing explanations and asking for more information allows seniors and their caregivers to work together as a unified team.
4. Avoid assuming the worst
Among caregivers, specifically family caregivers, there’s often an assumption that a senior’s medical staff doesn’t want to help the caregiver provide care. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to communicate efficiently and can have a drastic negative impact on the senior’s overall care and wellbeing. Instead of being combative with doctors or nurses, caregivers will do well to view them as skilled allies who actually want to help resolve problems and provide the best possible care for a loved-one.
When caregivers take the time to develop this type of relationship with doctors and nurses, caregivers and medical staff can work together to provide outstanding care for seniors without excess frustration and missed opportunities for communication.
5. Write down your questions
Many caregivers think of questions when they’re not in a doctor’s office. By the time they make it to the next appointment, though, they’ve forgotten their questions. This makes it easy to bypass critical inquiries and neglect essential queries that can help safeguard a senior’s health and well-being. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to write down their questions and bring them to the doctor’s office at every appointment. This ensures critical questions are being asked and prevents caregivers and seniors from suffering the fallout of forgotten information.
6. Make additional appointments for additional concerns
Doctors and nurses are busy people, and they may not have time during a meeting to discuss, at length, all of your questions and concerns. While many caregivers take this as a sign that the doctor doesn’t care, this is seldom the case. To avoid frustration and ensure all questions are answered as thoroughly as possible, don’t hesitate to make an additional appointment. This can help facilitate more functional communication and avoid frustrations born from misunderstandings.
7. Encourage the senior to speak on his or her behalf
While caregivers must learn to communicate effectively on a senior’s behalf, it’s also important to encourage a senior to speak up wherever possible. Often, the message is a bit louder when it comes from the senior’s mouth, and doctors may well understand things better from seniors than they do from caregivers.
In some situations, it’s essential for caregivers to learn how to communicate with their seniors or on behalf of them. While this can be a confusing dynamic to learn, understanding different communication necessities and timeframes is critical for good ongoing communication.
Excellent Communication Starts Here
While learning to communicate on behalf of seniors can be difficult, it’s a critical skill for family caregivers and hired caregivers alike. By developing relationships with doctors and nurses, bringing lists of questions to every appointment, scheduling additional appointments for questions and concerns that will take more time, encouraging seniors to speak for themselves when and where appropriate, becoming included in a HIPAA contract, and holding off on assuming the worst, seniors and their caregivers can develop effective communication strategies that help ensure a good relationship with doctors and nurses and the best possible care.
For caregivers, learning to provide care for patients is an ongoing process. Even after dozens of hours of training, caregiving is a fluid process, within which things are always changing and adapting. Different clients require different care, mental and emotional upset can rise and fall quickly, and confounding factors like dementia and cognitive decline can make it difficult to connect effectively with patients.
As such, caregivers are always learning to provide better care for their older patients. It’s an ongoing process and, when caregivers dedicate themselves to it fully, it can overhaul the way they view their jobs and connect to their clients.
10 Ways Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care
Providing better care is a process, and it requires learning new steps. Here are a few tips for caregivers who want to learn to provide better care:
1. Keep Yourself Healthy
The healthier and fitter you are, the better able you are to offer quality care. As such, it’s essential for caregivers to care for themselves. This means eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, staying active, and getting enough rest. When all these things are done, caregivers have the energy, stamina, and attention needed to care for aging patients.
2. Ask for Help
Sometimes, caregivers run into confounding care situations that can be very confusing. For example, what if an existing patient begins to develop Alzheimer’s? That changes the level of care the patient needs, and can be confusing for caregivers.
In these situations, asking for help is one of the best things you can do. Many caregivers hold the position all their life, and can act as a wealth of knowledge for caregivers struggling to adapt to changing clients, or striving to ensure they’re offering the best possible care to the people they spend time with.
While asking for help can feel intimidating, it’s one of the best ways for caregivers to learn more about their industry, and learn to provide the high-quality care their clients deserve.
3. Study Up
Reading can be a great way for caregivers to take in new information. If you’re struggling with a particularly difficult situation or making your way into a new facet of caregiving, read a book about it. Books like The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss can be comforting and illuminating for people caring for Alzheimer’s patients. In fact, there are well-written books available for people in virtually every facet of caregiving, if you’re looking for something that applies to your situation, do a quick Google search or ask your fellow caregivers what they’d recommend.
4. Take a Course
To continue your trajectory of study, look for free or low-cost courses in your local area. These courses can teach everything from caregiving techniques to self-care tactics that will quickly become instrumental in your caregiving approach. These courses are available through senior centers, caregiving support groups, and assisted living facilities.
5. Shadow Another Caregiver
One thing few caregivers think of doing is shadowing another caregiver. Ideal for any caregiver who wants to learn new skills, or is struggling to adapt to changing or more complex clients, shadowing a more experienced caregiver is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience and learn some new skills that can help inform and enhance your own caregiving tactics.
6. Reach out to Your Employer
If you’re a caregiver who works for a company, reach out to your employer for additional learning materials or educational courses. Most caregiving centers are happy to help educate their caregivers and will work hard to further learning in their workforce.
From books to courses and beyond, it’s highly likely that your employer will have some resources to pass your way. Remember: being specific about what you want to learn and what you’re struggling with is the best way to ensure you get the education you need.
7. Branch Out
While many caregivers believe that the education they should pursue is limited to the field of caregiving, branching out into other industries can be incredibly helpful.
For example, caregivers who are struggling to manage anxiety in their careers may benefit from learning about meditation or yoga, while people who are dealing with patients with Alzheimer’s may benefit from learning a bit more about the human brain, through a course in psychology or neuroscience.
Caregivers are busy people, and many think learning about these topics is a waste of time. The truth is, though, that a broad education is incredibly valuable for caregivers, and provides the extensive information and resources required to succeed in the field.
8. Join a Support Group
Support groups can be instrumental for caregivers. In addition to providing the mental, emotional, and social support caregivers need to remain happy and relaxed in their careers, support groups are also a great place to pick up resources and education.
By putting you in contact with other caregivers from different backgrounds and educations, a good support group can help you learn the tricks and tactics needed to provide better care, and to release stress and anxiety in the process.
9. Give Yourself Time to Rest
When you’re busy learning and working a demanding career, you need to give yourself time to rest and reflect. How you do this is up to you, but resources like respite care can be invaluable.
Even if you can’t take a long vacation, ensure you’re making small pockets of time throughout the week to reflect on your recent learning, unplug, and get the rest you need for the new information to sink in and take hold.
10. Participate in Online Forums
If you’re looking to pick up some new information about caregiving, head to an online forum. Popular places for caregivers from around the world to gather, discuss topics related to the field, and problem-solve together, online forums can be great resources for anecdotal experience and hands-on expertise.
There is no plateau point with caregiving. Instead, caregivers are always learning, adjusting their skills, and adapting to new information. While this may feel exhausting, it’s important to remember that the best caregivers are the ones who remain flexible and fluid, and that ongoing education is essential to providing great service. By exploring these ten avenues, caregivers can absorb pivotal new information and become more effective in their positions.
Being a caregiver can be an exhausting pursuit. While it’s important work, many caregivers feel burned-out and tired because of their caregiving duties. What’s more, many aren’t sure how to cope with the stress and anxiety their professions create.
Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to have healthy outlets to relieve stress, get in touch with themselves and friends, and live happy, centered lives. Luckily finding a healthy outlet is easier than you might think! Here are our top ten suggestions.
10 Healthy Outlets for Caregivers
Whether you work as a family caregiver or a caregiver for an in-home agency, having an outlet is more critical than you might think. Stress, a major factor in virtually every chronic disease, weighs heavily on caregivers, and a good outlet is essential to blow off steam and cope well with the stresses of caregiving life. These ten outlets are great places to start:
Writing has been shown to calm the mind, relieve stress, alleviate anxiety and heal trauma, promote good communication skills and increase your memory capacity. Luckily, you don’t need to be Hemingway to do it.
If you’ve never written before, there are many ways to get started. Consider joining a local writing class or taking a writing course online. These guided formats are attractive for people with no experience in writing who want to get started in a group setting.
If you’d prefer to do it yourself, you can just purchase a notebook and some pens and jot down your feelings at the end of each day. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write until it goes off. Don’t try to structure yourself or edit yourself as you go – just write!
While many people are intimidated by writing, it can be a fantastic outlet for people in high-stress environments. Simply getting your brain out on paper can work wonders to reduce your stress and provide an outlet at the end of a hard day.
There’s no underestimating the importance of learning to do something with your hands. If you’ve never been a crafty person, ceramics is a great place to start. In addition to the fact that ceramics classes are available at most community colleges, universities, and local arts studios, ceramics is also a great way to create some lovely keepsakes for you, your family, and your patients.
You may also find that, over time, you enjoy ceramics enough that you want to pursue it as a hobby for years to come.
Exercise has been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals at treating anxiety and depression. If you feel stressed-out and overworked by your caregiving position, blow off some steam with exercise.
A good 30-minute run, brisk hike, long yoga class, or walk with your dog is a great way to get the feel-good energy flowing, and to manage stress caused by your work. What’s more, exercise also keeps your heart healthy, fights weight gain, and helps you sleep better at night.
Not sure where to start with exercise? Don’t go it alone. Partner with an active friend or join a gym, most of which offer a few personal training sessions with new memberships. This will help you learn to work out safely and correctly.
Therapy can be invaluable for people struggling to manage the stress of their caregiving positions. For best results, seek out a therapist with experience working with caregivers.
While many people believe that therapy won’t help them, it can be a fantastic way to handle the stress and difficulties of caregiving and find healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions like grief and sadness.
5. Support Groups
Like therapy, support groups provide an important bouncing-off point for people who work in stressful professions like caregiving. In a support group, you’ll find a dedicated group of like-minded individuals who understand your struggles and can work with you to help alleviate them.
What’s more, support groups can work with you to turn you on to helpful resources and give you the tools you need to navigate difficult caregiving situations.
Dance is a great way to get your body moving and dump stress all at once. Never been a dancer? No problem! Sign up for a fun local dance class in your community or join a local play to get moving.
Designed to incorporate fun, discipline, and exercise all into one movement, dance is a great way to cope with the stresses of being a caregiver.
Having trouble staying in the moment? Meditation might be able to help. Designed to offer the help you need calming down, getting rid of obsessive or difficult thoughts, and maintaining your center throughout the day, meditation is a great outlet for busy or stressed-out caregivers who need help coping.
Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation is effective at resolving anxiety, which is a bonus for caregivers.
Yoga combines breath and movement for a truly calming experience that’s also good for your body. Clear up kinks in your back with downward dog while breathing your way through a stressful day or a difficult situation.
Reading is one of the best ways to escape from reality and infuse yourself into a new and exciting world! Pick up a novel you love to escape the day-to-day and get busy imagining new and exciting worlds. It’s also a great way to combat stress and cut down on anxiety.
10. Meeting with Friends
Laughter is the best medicine and meeting with friends is a great way to blow off steam and help yourself recover from busy caregiving days. Make tie in your schedule to get together with the friends you love and cherish.
Not only will you feel happier and less stressed because of it, but you’ll also maintain your connection to the outside world and keep your finger on the pulse of the things that keep you inspired and exited outside of caregiving.
Healthier Outlets Start Here
There’s no question about it: being a caregiver can be difficult. Finding healthy outlets is key to coping with those difficulties, though. Luckily, activities like dancing, reading, yoga, and writing can help you work through difficult emotions and find healthy methods of expression.
Home health care has now become a popular option for the aging population as it is being touted as a cost-effective solution to increasing medical costs and hospital admissions. As a result, home health aides are now more in demand than ever. According to projections, there won’t be a shortage of jobs for home health aides in the near future so employment in this area is ideal for people looking to have a career in the healthcare industry but don’t have the money nor the time to invest in lengthy school education.
What is a home health aide?
A home health aide assists with tasks, such as bathing and dressing, keeping homes clean and safe, arranging leisure activities and organizing transportation for patients so they can be engaged in their communities. Some states allow home health aides to administer medication or check the patient’s vital signs with the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Most home health aides (HHAs) take care of a single patient at a time but others could visit up to five patients a day. The patients don’t always reside in private homes. Some of them live in retirement communities, group homes, transitional housing, or assisted living facilities. Case length may vary from a few weeks to several years.
What are the qualifications to become a home health aide?
Becoming a home health aide is not difficult. If you’ve taken care of a sick or an elderly family member competently, chances are that you’ll be a good candidate to become an aide.
Education, training, and certification
At present, there is no standardized educational requirement for home health aides. The requirements that the aides need to meet depend on the state where they live.
42 CFR 484.30 is a Federal legislation that requires Medicare-certified home health agencies to employ home health aides who are trained and evaluated through training programs by their state. According to federal regulations, these training programs should consist of at least 75 training hours, which includes at least 16 hours of supervised practical or clinical training and 12 hours of continuing education every 12-month period.
As of 2014, 34 states and the District of Columbia do not require more than the minimum federal standard of 75 hours. Sixteen states exceed the federal minimum for the number of training hours, but only six of those meet the standard of 120 hours suggested by the Institute of Medicine or the IOM. Fourteen states require more than the minimum 16 hours of clinical training, with the required clinical hours reaching 80 hours.
Eleven states, including Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington require home health aides to be Certified Nursing Aides and have completed the CAN training and competency evaluation. In California, Kansas, Montana, and Wyoming, Certified Nurse Aides may be dual-certified as Home Health Aides with additional training.
There are states that don’t require even a high school diploma or its equivalent while in other states, home health aides are only required to take preparation classes, which are usually offered at community colleges or vocational or technical schools before they begin working.
Home health aide certificate programs often take a year or less to complete. These programs teach basic patient care skills, which includes life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). After completing the course, the graduates can assist nurses and other health care professionals, and they are ready to earn a certification if required by their state.
In general, home health aides are trained by other aides, healthcare professionals, or the patient’s family members. Because of the complexity of every case and because each patient has unique needs, aides may have to train for a few hours or a few days.
Government-certified home care agencies and similar employers often provide training classes and obligate home health aides to pass a test before beginning their first assignment.
Requirements to be a good home health aide
Due to the nature of the job, it is ideal for home health aides to be physically fit and in good health since the job requires them to assist their wards in activities in and out of the home.
There are also other qualities that will allow aides to perform their jobs well but these traits are difficult to measure because of their intangible nature. Here are examples of those characteristics:
Being passionate is important in any profession but more so in the healthcare industry. Having passion for the job and genuine concern for the patients allow home health aides to go beyond their expected duties and do everything that needs to be done for the overall well-being of their patients.
Good interpersonal skills
Home health aides need to maintain good relationships with their patients, family members, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Because they deal with different types of people in their profession, it’s important for aides to have good interpersonal skills to facilitate the flow of communication to and from the various parties. Having this skill also means being able to handle delicate situations accordingly and tactfully.
Patients and their family members need home health aides that they can depend on, especially since most of the patients are unable to take care of themselves. Knowing that they can depend on their aide will give patients and their family peace of mind that no amount of money can buy. Being dependable could be as simple as staying beyond the appointed hours if the other aides or family members have not arrived yet.
Patients come in different forms. Some of them are only physically challenged but others also struggle with mental issues that most people, even family members, would find difficult to handle. It’s not easy to take care of someone who has the tendency to be violent but even mundane chores, such as housekeeping can become a drag if you do them often enough. This is why patience is an important trait in home health aides.
What are the responsibilities of a home health aide?
The responsibilities of a home health aide vary depending on the needs of the patient, but their typical duties include the following:
Provide basic health care services, such as checking the patient’s vital signs or administering prescribed medicines at appointed times.
Help patients in the performance of personal tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed.
Shop for groceries and prepare meals according to the patient’s dietary requirements.
Assist with eating.
Perform light housekeeping.
Organize the patient’s schedule and plan appointments.
Arrange transport to doctor’s offices or other kinds of appointments.
Observe and record the patient’s condition, appearance, or behavior and report any changes to the supervising medical professional or case manager.
Work with therapists and other medical staff as required by the patient’s condition.
Help with simple exercises as prescribed by a professional healthcare provider.
Enforce common precautions against infections.
Change simple bandages or dressing, help with prosthetic and orthodontic devices, or give massages, if necessary.
Other responsibilities could be required of the home health aide depending on the state where he or she works in.
Work as a home health aide can be physically and emotionally demanding. Compared to the national average, home health aides have a higher rate of illnesses and injuries. Aides should be especially wary of back injuries since they often assist patients in and out of bed, or help them stand or move.
Mental and emotional conditioning is also necessary because home health aides often work with patients who have mental health issues who may exhibit difficult or violent behaviors. Aides can also face threats and risk contracting communicable diseases, which could be avoided by following proper procedures.
How much does a home health aide make?
As of 2015, home health aides typically earn $8.10 – $14.34 per hour. While the salary of aides is lower than those of others in the healthcare industry, many home health aides consider their job as a stepping stone in the career ladder. Through additional education and training, home health aides can become medical assistants or nurses. Skilled and experienced aides could also teach and supervise new home care assistants and even students.
Employment of home health aides is considered to be a growing industry. In fact, it is projected to grow 48 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average compared to other occupations.
This positive growth could be attributed to the following reasons:
The demand for aides who could provide assistance and companionship will continue to increase as the elderly population grows.
Home care is a less expensive alternative to nursing homes, hospitals, and other similar institutions.
Most patients prefer to be cared for in their own homes where they usually feel safer and more comfortable.
Studies have shown that home care is usually more effective than care received in a nursing home or hospital.
Home health aides do more than perform chores for patients who are unable to execute the tasks by themselves. They also thoroughly administer care from helping their patients walk to monitoring their vital signs. In many cases, these aides become almost like family members to their patients because of the amount of time they spend with them and the care they provide.
Often perceived as a lonely, painful, and vulnerable time in the human lifespan, the realities of aging are unpleasant, and the fact of the matter is that dignity can be difficult to maintain.
Luckily, a handful of world-class dementia care services are changing that.
While nobody can stop the aging process, care professionals who understand that dignity can and must be maintained during dementia care are going a long way toward improving the face of dementia care for everyone who accesses it. Read on to learn more.
Why Maintaining Dignity is Crucial to Clients and Patients Alike
Dementia is a challenging disease, and when a friend or loved one is suffering from dementia, many people find that they have an incredibly hard time accepting the change in the person they used to know so well. In many cases, dementia causes a woman who has been gentle and soft-spoken all of her life to lash out in angry outbursts or a man who has always treasured his family as his most valuable asset to forget his son or daughter’s face. These things can be heartbreaking for family members.
While there is no real way to alleviate the difficulties of dementia, or to make the disease simply “go away,” friends and relatives of affected people often find the condition easier to deal with if a level of dignity is maintained throughout. In addition to helping loved ones remember that even a person with severe Alzheimer’s is an adult, maintaining dignity can also assist in overall acceptance and coping.
While maintaining dignity is essential for friends and family members, it’s critical for the senior suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. While many people mistakenly believe that people suffering from dementia are not “in there,” many are very sensitive and can easily have their feelings hurt by being undermined, condescended, or talked over. Because of this, organizations that want to streamline a more manageable dementia experience do everything in their power to maintain dignity for both the senior and his or her family members and friends.
How to Help a Senior Maintain his or her Dignity
While there are many ways to help a person affected by dementia maintain his or her dignity, the following approaches are commonly used by dementia care facilities for whom dignity is paramount:
Again, seniors affected by dementia are adults, and they are very sensitive to being treated as anything less than such. Because of this, it’s critical for all caregivers to understand how damaging condescension can be, and how best to avoid it. This typically involves referring to things like diapers and toilets by more dignified names (underwear rather than diaper, for instance). Avoiding condescension with seniors can also mean avoiding the adoption of a parental tone and ensuring that, as much as is possible, you’re speaking to the senior the way you would have talked to him or her before dementia took hold.
Help the senior succeed:
People affected by dementia often know that they’re not the same as they used to be. They may struggle for words, work to remember a familiar person’s name or face, or lose their train of thought in the middle of a story or sentence. In these situations, one of the best and most humane things you can do is help the senior succeed by asking leading questions and ensuring that you’re prepared to fill in important details that the senior may miss. An example may include saying something like, “Mom, say hi to Linda, Charlie’s wife. You met her at the family reunion last year,” when company arrives rather than, “Mom, Linda is here.”
Don’t be afraid to tell white lies:
While we’re told all of our lives that we shouldn’t lie, sometimes dementia and Alzheimer’s necessitate the occasional use of a half-truth or a white lie. In some situations, it is vastly better (for both the senior and the caregiver) to tell a half-truth than it is to tell the truth and wound the senior’s feelings or sense of dignity.
Treat the senior as normally as possible:
In many cases, a senior who is affected by dementia quickly becomes a shut-in because friends and family are no longer sure how to deal with the person’s new way of being without making themselves or others uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this only wounds the senior in the long run and makes it harder to deal with the dementia adequately. With this in mind, caregivers must be sure to continue efforts to get the senior out and about and enjoy occasional get-togethers. Keep in mind that, while seniors affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s do have special needs and requirements (Take care to ensure any outing you attend will not overwhelm the senior, for example, and that all other parties on the outing are prepared for the increased needs of the senior), people who plan accordingly for social outings and gatherings can help the affected senior maintain a sense of dignity and engagement despite a dementia diagnosis.
How a Lack of Dignity Affects Seniors
While it’s understandable that many people are confused about how best to deal with dementia and its related symptoms, caregivers who miss the mark and cost a senior his or her dignity are ultimately harming the senior’s health and well-being. While pride may seem like a surface-level thing, it has profound and lasting repercussions on a senior’s health, wellbeing, and happiness.
In many cases, a senior who has lost his or her sense of dignity and autonomy will also suffer from decreased self-esteem and confidence, and declining relationships with loved ones. In some cases, this may lead to deep periods of depression, and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Because of this, it’s essential that caregivers do everything in their power to help seniors maintain their dignity in the face of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In addition to benefiting the senior in the short-term, this approach also helps to ensure that the senior will remain happy, healthy, and fulfilled as he or she navigates the complicated waters of dementia.
Dignity is Possible in Dementia Care
While many people assume that dementia necessitates a loss of dignity, this does not have to be the case. In many situations, people affected by dementia find that the upkeep of dignity is possible, just so long as they have skilled caregivers to help facilitate it.
As an adult ages and slips into the grips of dementia, figuring out how to maintain that person’s dignity can be difficult. Luckily, though, it’s far from impossible. By ensuring family and professional caregivers never condescend the person, that charitable white lies are used generously, that the senior is set up for success as much as possible, and that outings and social gatherings don’t stop just because of a dementia diagnosis, it’s easy for caregivers to help their loved ones survive and thrive in the midst of a dementia diagnosis.
Whether it manifests as a tightening in your chest, a quickened heart rate, or a feeling of imposing doom, stress is a common feeling, and it affects virtually everyone at one point or another.
Known to scientists as a highly subjective phenomenon, stress has a starring role in the everyday lives of most people. Related to dozens of troubling chronic conditions, from heart disease to diabetes and depression, stress is bad for your health and wellbeing.
That said, though, it’s unavoidable, which means that stress is something everyone must learn to cope with at some point or another. Today, we’re going to talk about stress: what it is, and how to deal with it, and where to seek help if you need it. Read on.
What Is Stress?
There is no single, linear definition of stress. This is because stress is a highly individualized experience that varies from person to person. The dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
For most people, stress can strike at any time and can be related to everything from finances to jobs to personal relationships.
What To Know About Stress
Part of the process of overcoming stress is understanding it. Here are five things to know about stress and how it manifests for different people.
1. Stress Affects Everyone
While everyone handles stress differently, the feeling is universal. Although some individuals cope with stress more efficiently or deal with it less outwardly than others, this does not mean stress is not present. Some of the most common stressors in life are money, work, family, responsibilities, and change.
2. Stress Can Be A Good Thing
While stress is often associated with negative feelings or emotions, it bears mentioning that stress can be a good thing. In some cases, stress related to things like a job or financial security can inspire people to work harder or perform better.
This, in turn, can improve the quality of a person’s life and create positive change. Beyond that, some people just cope with stress differently, turning what could be a negative experience for some into a positive experience or a learning opportunity.
3. Stress Is Dangerous For Your Health
While everyone experiences stress from time to time, chronic stress can put your health at risk. Stress is directly related to chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and depression. As such, individuals experiencing intense or chronic levels of stress need to find ways to cope with the emotions so that it does not begin to impact their daily lives or their health.
4. Stress Can Be Managed
So, everyone experiences stress, and it can be damaging to your health. Where does that leave you? Luckily, stress is a manageable emotion, and people who learn to cope with the feeling effectively can limit the impact it has on their lives and well-being.
5. Some Stress Requires Professional Help
In some cases, the lines between normal stress and serious anxiety or depression can become blurry. As such, it’s smart to know that some stress, particularly the kind that is ongoing, difficult to resolve, or distressing, may require the help of an expert.
This is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, seeking professional help for undue or ongoing stress can contribute to improving the quality of your life and making you a happier and healthier person.
How To Cope With Stress
There are dozens of ways to handle stress. No matter where your stress is coming from, or how bad it may be, you can use a series of simple coping methods to limit its impact on your life. Here are a few of the most popular:
It’s impossible to cope adequately with stress if your body and mind are not healthy. As such, one of the best ways to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming and to deal with it efficiently when it does is to stay healthy. This means eating well, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and making time for physical activity each day. When your body is healthy, it’s easier for your mind to be healthy, as well.
Take A Break
If your stress comes from a daily environment, like a job for a home setting, it can be imperative just to take a break when you need it. Even if the stress you experience in this environment isn’t overwhelming, anything that is pervasive will eventually impact your health. With this in mind, make time for yourself each day. If your stress comes from the workplace, for example, make an effort to get away for half an hour or 60 minutes each day at lunch. During this time, read a book, talk to a favorite friend on the phone, or take a walk. These small breaks will help you cope with stress more efficiently.
Talk To Someone
If you’re finding your stress excessively difficult to manage, it might be time to consider talking to someone. Start by calling a trusted friend or loved one, and then search out support groups for stress and anxiety. If that doesn’t work, you may consider enlisting professional help to teach you how to help with your stress.
Stress No More
Let’s face it: stress is a fact of life. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, stress will affect you. In some cases, though, stress can become overwhelming or harmful, and people who want to maintain their happiness and health and avoid the devastating chronic conditions caused by stress need to learn to cope with it efficiently.
By understanding your largest stressors (whether they revolve around money, family, relationships, or work) and developing functional ways to address them, avoid them, or cope with them when they pop up, you can improve your response to stress and live a happier, healthier life, starting today.
One of the biggest dangers of aging is a loss of mobility and strength. In fact, a 2013 study published in the Journal Clinical Interventions In Aging, found that strength and muscle mass decrease by between 30-50% as people go from the ages of 30 to 80. What’s more, people lose muscle at a rate of about 12-15% per decade after the age of 50.
Luckily, there are proactive steps you can take to stay healthy and limber as you age.
Staying Flexible Is Possible
Lots of people believe that it’s impossible to stay flexible as you age. Fortunately, this is not true. While it’s true that muscles atrophy and bones change as you get older, staying flexible at any age is as simple as incorporating just a few minutes of stretching into your everyday routine. In addition to helping you feel better, improving flexibility can also improve balance, decrease back pain, alleviate fatigue, and even help you feel clearer and sharper mentally.
10 Stretches To Practice As You Age
Ready to reap the benefits of flexibility in your life? Here are ten stretches to try as you age.
1. Front Hip Stretch
The front of the hip can get surprisingly tight, especially for people who sit all day long. To stretch it out and restore mobility to the area, try the front hip stretch. Here’s how it works:
Begin by sitting on a fitness ball.
From there, straighten your right leg out behind you and stabilize your weight by pressing your toes into the floor and raising your right heel.
Rest your hands on your left knee and use your arms to push your upper body backward gently. You should feel the stretch across the front of your right hip. Switch sides and hold for between 15 and 30 seconds.
2. Standard Chest Stretch
Like the hips, the chest gets tight from extended sitting. To stretch it out and improve your posture at the same time, start standing in an erect position. From there, clasp your hands behind your low back and gently raise your arms as far as you can. Keep your head held high, your shoulders back, and your chest lifted. Hold the pose for 10 seconds.
3. Standard Shoulder Stretch
If your shoulders are tight from exercise or sleeping awkwardly, loosen them up with the stretch. Start standing in an upright, erect position. From there, cross your right arm directly over your chest and hook your left forearm around your elbow. Use the leverage to gently pull the right arm into your chest, stretching the right shoulder. Hold the stretch for between 10 and 15 seconds before switching sides.
4. Side Body Stretch
Even if you don’t think about the muscles that run down your ribs and into your hips, they’re critical for posture and overall comfort. To keep them limber start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
From there, place your left hand on your left hip and raise your right arm to the sky. Gently bend to the left, using your left arm to support your weight. Make a “C” shape with your body, stretching your right side body for 10 to 15 seconds before switching sides.
5. Neck And Shoulder Stretch
To stretch your neck and shoulders, move your arms in front of you with your elbows touching, and your hands pointed towards the sky, palms facing you. From there, place the palms of your hands on top of your head and use your arms to gently drop your chin to your chest and exert mild downward pressure on the top of your head.
You should feel the stretch in your neck and shoulders. Be sure that you’re not using too much pressure, or you risk injury.
6. The Toe Touch
Allow your back the opportunity to get long and loose by doing a simple toe touch. To start the stretch, stand with your feet hip-width apart. From there hinge at the hips and extend your arms down toward your toes, keeping as flat a back as possible the entire time.
When you reach the point of maximum extension, you can grab opposite elbows and dangle like a ragdoll to take the stretch further.
7. The Hula Hoop Stretch
The hula hoop stretch is a great one for anybody who sits for long periods of the day or occasionally uses a wheelchair to get around. Designed to increase mobility and loosen tension in the hips, the hula hoop stretch is perfect for seniors of all ages.
To start, stand with your feet together and your hands on your waist. From there, begin to circle your hips slowly, as if you were keeping a hula hoop in the air. Keep your back straight, head high, and chest lifted.
8. Triceps Stretch
The triceps stretch is ideal for anyone who feels tension in their arms. To start, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your chest up. From there, take your right arm and reach it over your shoulder, with your elbow pointing toward the sky, and your palm touching the back of your right shoulder.
Then, take your left hand to the ceiling and place your fingers on your right elbow. Exert gentle tension to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds before switching sides.
9. The Hand Stretch
The hand stretch is ideal for seniors who write, type, or draw often, or those who have arthritis in their hands or fingers. To do the stretch, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. From there clasp your hands together in front of you. Once you’ve done that, turn your hands out so that the palms are facing away from you and the fingers are still interlocked. Gently push out, so you feel the stretch in the backs of your fingers and hands.
10. The Low Back Stretch
Perfect for anyone who wants to stretch their low back but isn’t quite ready to commit to a full downward dog, the low back stretch helps extend the muscles of your back. You’ll need a chair or table for the stretch.
To get started, stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms hanging loosely at your side. From there, bend your knees gently to prevent overextension, and begin to hinge forward at the hips.
Extend your arms in front of you and reach them toward the chair or table. At the full extension of the stretch, your back should be flat, and your hand should be on the chair or table, with a straight line from your arms to your hips and your hips to your ankles. Lean your weight back gently to extend the stretch.
Greater Flexibility Starts Here
Even if you’re not planning on taking up yoga anytime soon, these simple, at-home stretches are ideal for helping you stay limber, comfortable, and flexible throughout your golden years. They’re also ideal for anyone who wants to prevent injury, stay strong, and enjoy a higher quality of life during the aging process.
Staying motivated as a caregiver can be tough. In addition to the fact that you work long hours, being a caregiver is a difficult job.
Fortunately, most caregivers love their jobs and want to find ways to excel at them. That’s where these motivational tips come in. Ideal for helping caregivers get excited about work each day, this simple checklist can make it easier to love your job and avoid burnout, both now and in the long-term. Whether you’re a new caregiver or an old veteran looking for ways to stay involved, these ten tips can help:
1. Remember why you’re doing it
Remembering why you chose to work as a caregiver is one of the biggest motivating tricks you can access. While working as a caregiver can be difficult, coming back to the reasons you chose to start the job can help make it more enjoyable. Any time you get stressed or overwhelmed, make a list of the reasons you started caregiving.
For example, maybe you began caring for elderly patients to help them enjoy their independence or maybe you did it because you wanted to see people smile. No matter what your reasons may be, checking back in with them can help you enjoy your position and navigate the hard days with ease.
2. Reach out to friends or family
When you feel stressed or unmotivated, reach out to your friends or family. They’ll be able to help you remember what you love about caregiving and make it easier for you to keep your head in the game. Even a short phone call with a close friend can make you happy and provide the touchpoint you need to keep serving your clients and fulfilling your duties.
3. Connect With Support Groups
If you feel stuck in a rut in your career, reach out to caregiver support groups. Available through your local hospital, online, or through local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, caregiving support groups make it easier to connect with like-minded peers and find productive and intelligent ways to navigate the stress of the job and stay motivated to care for your patients.
They can also be a fantastic resource when you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to move forward with your career. If you find that you drift in and out of support groups, that’s okay. While some people show up to them faithfully, others use them to fall back when times get tough. Either approach is just fine.
While many caregivers feel that they’re too busy to hit the gym, finding a way to fit it in is essential. Exercise helps you stay lean and healthy, and can be an excellent way to blow off steam and clear your head.
Regardless of whether you had a tough day with a patient or things are going well, be sure that you’re making time to be physically active. The more space you create for this pursuit, the better you’ll feel and the more efficient you’ll be at your job.
5. Start Each Day Rested
Good sleep translates to an increased ability to do your job. To make the most of your days and ensure you’re serving your patients well, get some rest. Things, like developing a consistent nighttime schedule, practicing good sleep hygiene, avoiding artificial light in the 60 minutes before bed, and prioritizing sleep, are essential.
Most caregivers work between 40-50 hours a week, and, without enough rest, this schedule is impossible to maintain. With this in mind, enjoy your sleep and make it a priority, since it will help you stay motivated for the task at hand.
If you didn’t sleep well the night before, try your best to fit in a power nap somewhere during the day. Even 20 minutes of slumber can make all the difference in your attitude and outlook.
6. Brainstorm New Approaches
Have a difficult patient you can’t figure out how to “crack?” Don’t get discouraged. Instead, get proactive. Taking the time to brainstorm new approaches is an excellent way to make the most of the client/patient relationship and ensure that you’re serving each patient as well as you can.
If you’re having a difficult time making headway, or you feel stuck in a rut, talk with your fellow caregivers or head to an online forum. The more proactive you can be in addressing these problems, the more motivated you’ll be to excel at your job.
7. Develop a Morning Routine
Rushing through your morning and starting work stressed and frazzled is a terrible way to start the day. Instead, develop a morning routine that allows you space and time to cater to yourself before you dive into a day spent catering to other people. Wake up early enough to drink your morning beverage, read for a bit, go for a walk, and get cleaned up before you go to work.
This morning routine, combined with a nice healthy breakfast, will make all the difference when it comes to your daily motivation.
8. Set Goals
Goals are a great way to stay motivated in your daily life. No matter if your goals are big or small, setting them can help you hold yourself accountable. For example, you can set a goal to be more interactive with your patients, to stress less during the workday, or to eliminate time-wasters that make you feel frantic and hurried at work.
No matter what you do, setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve them!
9. Take Breaks
According to recent research, taking regular breaks can help you feel more motivated and focused at work. While it’s true that finding time to take breaks can be difficult as a caregiver, it can be as simple as a 20-minute break during the day or hiring respite care to allow for longer breaks throughout the year. No matter what you do, find a way to make it work for you since downtime is essential for caregivers who want to perform as well as possible.
10. Take a Deep Breath
While it’s easy to find yourself feeling flustered, off-task, or distracted in your daily work, take a deep breath and re-center yourself. Although you can’t do away with stressors completely, you can change how you react to them.
A Great Caregiver is a Motivated Caregiver
Caregiving is a challenging profession, and learning how to stay motivated will help you achieve better results with your patients and yourself. From taking care of your mind and your body to setting goals for your attention and interaction with your patients, these ten tips will allow you to be a more efficient, motivated, active caregiver – every single day.
While many people want to care for their loved ones when they need it, financial concerns often get in the way. Depending on a loved one’s required levels of care, it can quickly become a full-time job that limits a caregiver’s ability to work and care for their other family members.
According to AARP, there are more than 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the country, all of whom dedicate a significant portion of their time, energy, effort, and personal resources to caring for their ill or ailing loved ones. In fact, each caregiver spends an average of $6,954 each year on the out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving. This represents 20% of the average caregiver’s annual income. Long-distance caregivers spend even more: $11,923.
It goes without saying that this is a huge portion of a caregiver’s income and that dedicating that much unpaid care to family members can easily create lots of hardship in a caregiver’s life. Fortunately, things are beginning to change.
CDPAP is a New York-based care program that allows Medicaid-eligible patients to take control of their in-home care. Under CDPAP, qualifying patients have the power to hire, monitor, and let go of their home caregivers, rather than trusting an outside agency to manage the effort for them. This allows elderly or ill patients to select a caregiver with whom they’re comfortable, and make their own decisions about their in-home care.
How CDAP Allows Family Members to Be Paid for In-Home Care
One of the most unique aspects of CDPAP is that it allows home care patients to hire people who already care for them, such as a loved one, sibling, child, friend, relative, previous aide, or neighbor.
This is critical on two levels. On the one hand, this flexibility allows the patient to take a real stand in his or her care, and select the person he or she feels most comfortable and at ease with. This is worlds different than traditional care programs, which match patients with caregivers without much thought to the patient’s preferences or comfort.
Beyond that, however, CDPAP is also a virtual miracle for the thousands of unpaid family caregivers who provide a collective $470 billion in unpaid care annually. When these caregivers work out arrangements with their loved ones, they can be paid under CDPAP, thus limiting the financial burden they must take on to provide care, and making caregiving more realistic and feasible for caregivers who also have family or other dependents.
How the CDPAP Process Works
For families who want to access paid, in-home care, under New York’s CDPAP, these are the steps you’ll need to follow:
1. Check With Your Medicaid Provider
The first step is to ask your Medicaid provider about your eligibility for CDPAP. Different plans cover different numbers of paid care hours each week and knowing where your program stands will give you the foundational information you need to arrange your in-home care accordingly. You can also reach out to agencies like CDPAdirect which provide services ranging from free consultations all the way to getting both the caregiver and patient signed up.
2. Select Your In-Home Care Provider
Next comes the portion of CDPAP where you appoint your in-home care assistant. Again, because CDPAP allows this person to be a friend, family member, or neighbor, you can designate a family caregiver if that’s who’s already been providing your care, or if that’s who you would feel most comfortable receiving care from.
If you’re interested in hiring someone who doesn’t have any previous experience with in-home care, CDPAP will work with you to design a plan to train, monitor, and retain quality in-home care with the person of your choice. Remember that you’re always in control of your care under CDPAP, so you can make changes to your aide, shift schedules, and alter your care as you see fit.
3. Enjoy Quality Care
Once you’ve designated your in-home care assistant, CDPAP will set you up with the tools, systems, and functions you need to create a symbiotic home care relationship. From helping you manage payroll (and enrolling the caregiver in the CDPAP payroll system) to helping you provide training when and where it’s necessary, CDPAP works with your Medicaid provider to create a caring environment that’s financially stable for your care assistant, and comfortable for you.
Finding Out More About CDPAP
If you’d like to learn more about CDPAP, visit www.cdpapdirect.com. They will assist you with any questions you may have about your specific case, and whether or not you qualify for CDPAP. By calling the number or filling out the form you’ll be able to speak to a CDPAP specialist to help you get started.
Whatever you choose to do, learning more about CDPAP is the first step in receiving quality care, and ensuring your hardworking family caregiver is compensated properly for it.
CDPAP: A Ray of Hope for Family Caregivers and Their Loved Ones
Family caregivers are some of the hardest-working individuals under the sun. Frequently saddled with the stressors of financial hardship, the pain of watching a loved one become ill, and the time and resource constraints of caring for their own families as well, these compassionate people do their share (and then some) to care for the people around them.
Fortunately, the Consumer Directed Personal Care Assistance Program is out to change that. By providing payment for people who care for Medicaid-eligible seniors in their homes, CDPAP makes in-home care easier and more accessible for family caregivers, and safer, more enjoyable, and more comfortable for patients from all walks of life.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S.
Right now, more than 15 million U.S. residents have their identities stolen each year, with losses exceeding a total of $50 billion annually.
While it’s true that identity theft can (And does) affect anyone, seniors are at increased risk. Today, senior identity theft is growing rapidly, and people ages 50 or older are frequently the target of scams and fraudulent activity.
While various factors make seniors especially vulnerable to identity theft, deceased spouses, dementia and cognitive decline, a failure to check credit reports regularly, and often substantial saving or checking account balance are some of the primary draws for identity thieves.
Luckily, there are many ways that friends and loved ones can help protect seniors from the burden of identity theft.
Read on to learn more.
Why are Seniors Vulnerable to Identity Theft?
While many factors influence seniors’ vulnerability to identity theft, including the ones mentioned above, the issue is complex and multi-faceted. Even seniors who aren’t affected by dementia or cognitive decline are frequently the target of identity theft, but why?
On one hand, the answer may be generational. As a general rule, seniors grew up during a period when people were quick to trust one another, and credit card and banking scams were not as prevalent as they are today.
Alternately, seniors are often concerned about not seeming dependent or overly needy, so they may not ask for help or verification from a friend or family member when something seems fishy, or when they receive an odd phone call asking for personal information.
Finally, seniors may be at increased risk of identity theft because the human brain changes with age. According to a 2012 study conducted by psychologists at UCLA, senior citizens quite literally process risk differently than their younger companions. When presented with mildly risky or dangerous situations, the older people in the study displayed less activity in the portions of the brain responsible for responding to danger, which suggests that they may not recognize or respond to risk the same way as their younger counterparts.
12 Ways to Help Protect Seniors from Identity Theft
1. Find trustworthy caregivers
While it may sound shocking, some of the main culprits in senior identity theft are the senior’s caregivers. Because these people have access to the senior’s personal documentation, credit cards, and checking account numbers, it’s easy for an unsavory caregiver to create fake accounts in the senior’s name or wreak havoc on checking and savings account balances.
With this in mind, vet all caregivers thoroughly and consider conducting background searches and checking references. While this may seem paranoid, it’s the first (and arguably most critical) step in ensuring a senior’s identity remains safe and sound.
2. Help the senior be aware of common scams
It’s reasonable for a senior to get excited about a phone call or email stating they’ve won a million dollars and, if nobody bothers to tell them about common scams and frauds, it may not occur to the senior that these types of interactions aren’t legitimate. With this in mind, seek to be informed about common frauds and scams and pass the information along to the senior citizen.
The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force operates a website called StopFraud.gov, which offers a wealth of information on common scams and how you can protect yourself and others. Check it regularly and keep your senior informed of what you learn. Better yet, turn the senior him or herself onto the website and have them check it frequently.
3. Monitor a senior’s financial activity
One of the most efficient ways to keep a senior out of identity theft troubles is to monitor their financial activity carefully. Since many common scams come in the form of credit card or email scams, monitoring credit card and bank statements can be a useful way to catch fraudulent activity before it blows up.
4. Check in often
While it may seem nosy, checking in often can help keep seniors safe from identity theft. Don’t hesitate to ask your senior friend or relative if they’ve received any suspicious calls or emails lately. While some seniors may get frustrated by these questions (believing they couldn’t possibly be the victims of identity theft), it’s worth it to ask.
While it may cause a small tiff, the tough conversation is ultimately worth it if it protects the senior from financial or personal hardship. Soften the conversation by reminding the senior that identity scammers are excellent at what they do and that the scams may not even seem like scams.
5. Enroll the senior in identity theft protection
There are various credit monitoring services designed to monitor personal and financial information for any red flags. Plans are affordable and can be a crucial tool in the ongoing battle for keeping seniors out of the clutches of identity theft.
6. Shred unneeded personal documents
Old personal documents that contain sensitive information like the senior’s birth date, social security numbers or banking information should be shredded or burned. This prevents them from falling into the wrong hands (in many cities and states, it’s common for identity thieves to comb through trash on public streets in search of such documents) and causing havoc.
7. Verify the validity of any “Free” services gated with personal information
Seniors are often targeted by scammers offering free or highly discounted medical services in return for personal information. While these proposals may seem outstanding, they’re often fraudulent. If the senior in your life receives any such offer, check the company with the Better Business Bureau before proceeding.
8. Encourage the senior to check credit reports often
Since seniors are typically not applying for mortgages or other large loans, they may not check their credit reports as often as younger people. Unfortunately, this is how so much fraudulent activity goes unnoticed for so long.
To be on the safe side, encourage the senior to check his or her credit report at least once a year. This can help keep tabs on financial and personal information and ensure it’s not being used incorrectly.
9. Help the senior understand link scams
Many scammers masquerade as reputable companies and use fraudulent links to gain personal information. Help the senior understand how these scams work and how to stay safe: instead of supplying personal information via a questionable link, go directly to the company’s website and complete an application or sign-up process there.
10. Maintain open communication about phone scams
Many identity scams use callers pretending to be court representatives or medical establishments, claiming outstanding balances for past bills. Instead of giving personal information to these callers, help the senior understand the need to call the company directly instead, and resolve the issue there.
11. Consider hiring an attendant
In the grips of dementia or Alzheimer’s, many seniors begin to make risky financial decisions and become intensely vulnerable to scammers. If this is the case with your loved one, consider hiring a professional caregiver to keep the senior out of financial trouble and away from the clutches of scammers.
12. Get the senior a secure mailbox
With a traditional, street-side mailbox, it’s easy for anyone to steal a senior’s sensitive mail. To protect your loved one, opt for a secure mailbox option like a post office or locking box.
Senior Identity Theft Stops Here
Seniors are a vulnerable population when it comes to identity theft. Luckily, you can help your loved ones stay secure with these twelve helpful tips. In addition to protecting a senior’s personal and financial information, these steps also go a long way toward ensuring healthy, happy, secure golden years for the senior in your life.