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As we grow older it is nice to have a trusted and educated advocate to help guide ourselves and our family through the stages of life when we might need more questions answered. Aging Life Care Professionals, also known as Geriatric Care Managers, can work with you and your family to reduce stress and give expert advice when questions arise, guiding and helping families build an aging life care plan that can put everyone at ease.

Working with an expert such as an Aging Life Care Professional when creating an Aging Life Care Plan can help take the stress off issues such as: Financial Questions

You or a member of your family may have many questions regarding financial stability during later stages of life. Medical bills may be accumulating that need to be addressed. It might be necessary to meet with your financial planner to ensure funds are being used properly. Often an Aging Life Care Plan includes the discussion of connecting families to information regarding federal and state entitlements. An Aging Life Care Professional can help answer any questions or concerns and/or provide you with places in the community that can get you the correct information you need.

Health and Wellness

As we age, health concerns may arise. Concerns about deteriorating physical wellness to mental health such as dementia, can be the main area of focus and worry as we age, not only for ourselves but for our families. When you create an Aging Life Care Plan with a trained caretaker, the professional caretaker can act as a liaison between medical physicians, you, and your family, making sure proper communication and understanding are taking place when your health and wellness are concerned.

Advocacy and Crisis Intervention

It is very important to feel you are heard – at any age. If you or a loved one is having a hard time communicating what needs should be met and how these needs are addressed, it’s a good idea to have someone looking out for you. When you are working with an Aging Life Care Professional, they have the training and ability to help guide you or your loved one through emergency situations acting as an advocate. Explaining to you and your family exactly what the proper protocol is expected during trying situations. Making sure you are getting the best care possible and that your needs are being met. This includes being a contact for families that live far from their family member, providing a safe place to share concerns.

Having an Aging Life Care Plan is a big part of preparing for change. A plan in place can put you at ease and knowing someone like an Aging Life Care Professional is there to help and that you and your family don’t need to be alone when making hard decisions. 

If you have any questions or concerns Eldercare has a Comprehensive Aging Life Care Plan that can help relieve your stress and help you take control of your future. Call Eldercare today to meet with a professional and talk about your life’s plan. 866-760-1808

The post Aging Life Care Plan – For Your Parents or You! appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Holidays are a great way to get an aging adult involved in family traditions and this definitely includes the 4th of July. Everyone likes to feel included and having your family member join in on the July 4th celebration is a great way to brighten the festivities.  Follow these easy helpful senior care tips for 4th of July celebrations to ensure everyone has a great time and enjoys the day. 

~ Make sure you have plenty of beverages on hand to beat the heat.

As we all know, July can be a hot month. Make sure to limit sun exposure for your aging loved one and keep them hydrated throughout the day. Making sure loved ones have protection from the sun can keep everyone from overheating. Remember to pack hats and sunscreen as well. Handheld fans are another great way to beat the heat. Amazon sells many different types of fans that might work for you or a loved one.

~ Provide comfortable seating.

One of the best parts of growing older is being able to sit back and watch everyone enjoy each others company. Providing comfortable seating is a great way for your loved one to engage with others while feeling at ease. Bringing along comfortable seating cushions is a great idea.

~ Remember your loved one’s mode of transportation.

Fourth of July is often a day of parades and/or community events. If your loved one is capable of attending these events remember to bring wheelchairs, walkers and/or portable seating to ensure a comfortable day. It is also a good idea to give yourself enough time to load and unload. Allow plenty of time as getting from place to place might take a bit longer than usual. A long walk from a parking lot might require a bit more time, so maybe plan a drop off near the venue and then go and park the car yourself. It’s also a good idea to bring along any parking permits that might be helpful for loading and unloading.

Follow these easy senior care tips 4th of July to include your aging loved one in the celebration! This might require a few easy changes to your usual celebration routine, but it will be worth it to spend time together and keep your family member engaged in life events and the holidays.

The post Including Your Aging Loved One on Fourth of July appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Eldercare Services is going through a transition, as am I, as the founder of this fantastic organization, led by professionals, who only care about one thing: the “quality of our client’s lives”.

Graduating from High School is one of the first major life transitions that we as adults make. We leave the safety of having our needs met on most levels, and not having to worry about rent or most other expenses, to facing new challenges as individuals. There is also the emotional transition of going from child to young adult and having the expectation that you are instantly a responsible person. It was not easy; many young adults struggle with this for several years before they actually become “responsible.”

Then most of us enter the roller coaster of life. There are many transitions such as romantic relationships, career moves, marriages, having children, and the death of parents or other close family and/or friends. Each of these events, even the positive ones, take some time to adjust to. Eventually, after 6 months to a year, you wonder why you were so worried. In the case of sudden changes like death or the ending of a job or a relationship, it can take longer to find the new norm.

Some of us may feel like we have lost our identity because of a change. We might have put so much time into a specific role that it is hard for us to think of ourselves as anything but the “mother,” the “husband,” or the “founder of a company”. Of course, we are much more than the roles we play, especially as we strive to maintain the attributes of humility, kindness, compassion, love, and care. That is what matters in life, not the role we play, but how and with what “spirit” we play that role.

As a therapist for the last 30+ years, I have seen many an individual struggle with depression or anxiety as a result of over-identifying with a role they once played. When that life began to transition, they fell into a dark hole. These individuals can struggle in that darkness for years if they don’t seek counseling. We owe it to ourselves to live the highest quality of life possible. Being in the morass of the depth of depression is not going to produce quality. Action and understanding your role is what is necessary.

Eldercare Services has merged with Home Care Assistance, which is a national company excelling in the delivery of caregiving. It was time for my husband and me to transition, and we needed to find a company with the same values as us to be able to let go. Bruce will officially retire after tying up a few loose ends and will begin taking more mission trips with his Rotary club and our church. I will continue on a limited schedule to promote and train Professional Care Managers throughout the newly merged company.

It is time for me to take off the hat as “founder,” but as I pondered that action, I realized that I will always be the founder. Just like many of those other roles I have played – they are still a part of the essence of who I am.

Eldercare Services will flourish, as the need for Aging Life Care Professionals, also known as Professional Care Managers, continues. In the last week of my role as founder, I had the honor of answering the company intake calls. I heard the needs of more than 30 individuals and families that were
in that dark hole of transition. I was able to throw out the life preserver to our care managers who are the advocates, navigators and Sherpas leading families to solutions and peace – staying with them through every transition to make sure that the essence of each individual who needs support is always respected and has the quality of their lives enhanced in every way possible.

I am pleased that the door closing for me now leads me onto the path of a company that wants to offer this guidance, coaching, and navigating to all their home care clients as well.

I will have many free days to explore art, volunteerism, mission and pleasure trips, and spend time with my family. God is good. Thank you for being part of my passion and know that we are still here for you.

The post Life Transition: Open Doors or Dark Holes? appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Needing help, requiring special care or specific special assistance does not just happen for the elderly.

Special needs care is ageless and is extremely helpful for those that require assistance at any age. Having a personal advocate helps ensure that you and your family’s wishes and values are being respected. A special needs caregiver not only manages the physical, emotional, and practical aspects of their client’s care plan but also focuses on coaching both the client and their family.

Care for all ages with different needs specific to each individual can sometimes require a special needs caregiver. A special needs caregiver is well versed in the medical decision-making process. He/she is an expert that knows what questions to ask and what steps should be followed during a medical situation.

Here are some situations that a special needs caregiver would be useful and could help walk a client through the process.
  • Adults having a medical procedure (pre and post procedure).
  • Adults experiencing a life-adjustment period due to new limitations or demands brought on by a progressive illness.
  • Adults with cognitive, psychological or physical special needs who have busy or older parents.
  • Families experiencing interpersonal conflict and stress regarding care choices.
  • Adults suffering from a chronic progressive illnesses who want to focus on physical, emotional and mental wellness.
  • Family caregivers who need coaching and support to find balance and cope with the demands of looking after a loved one.
  • Easing the adaptation process of managing and meeting changing needs related to aging, illness or a medical condition within the home environment.
  • Enhancing general quality of life and encouraging you to be who you always have been, no matter what health challenges you may be experiencing.

It is a relief to have someone on your side making sure you and your family are getting the exact care they deserve and that everyone feels supported and safe. Sometimes the hardest moments are the decision making moments. Having an expert that can ease the burden of gathering information and making sure everything is going as planned can make the process less stressful for everyone.

Eldercare offers this service and has a well-trained staff of special needs caregivers ready and willing to help walk you through any questions you might have.

The post Special Needs Caregivers: Care for All Ages appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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If you are a homeowner you are well aware of the work that comes along with that title. It’s important when you are in need of home repairs to be well informed about the people you hire. Older adults are targeted by home repair scammers because they often own the home outright and have good credit. An aging individual is also less likely to report a scam or even be fully aware a scam is taking place.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when you or a loved one is in need of home repairs.

PLAN YOUR PROJECT


Before choosing the right contractor make sure to plan out your project. Creating a budget that fits your financial situation will help when you are deciding what repairs are needed. Having a delegated plan and monetary cap will help you be aware of what your spending limit will be when you are hiring help. Knowing the basics of what is needed for the project is important. This will keep you from paying for things you do not need to complete the job.

CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR/REPAIR PERSON


Choosing the right person to do repairs on your home is essential. One way to avoid home repair scammers is to reach out to others you trust and ask for their help. Sometimes word of mouth is a great way to find a trusted resource. Does a neighbor or a close friend have a reference you can contact to get a quote?

A common way home repair scammers work is door-to-door. They often show up at your home “unexpected” posing as if they are “doing other work in your neighborhood and noticed your roof is in need of repair”. These “accidental” visits by someone offering work you did not seek yourself should not be trusted. This can cause worry and fear for an aging adult, causing them to think their home is in danger and that repairs are needed immediately. The scammer will seem trustworthy, and it’s only later that the elder may realize that they’ve been financially targeted, and in most cases very late in the scam, causing severe financial distress.

GET QUOTES


It is important when hiring someone to do work on your home to ask for a quote. Get at least three quotes from different people you are interested in hiring. This will help you know you are getting what you need and at the right price point. Make sure you meet these people face-to-face (not over the phone) and that they inspect the work you need done.

GET A CONTRACT


Once you have decided on the right person for the job, make sure he/she writes up a contract that you look over closely before you sign. Maybe even get another trusted friend to look it over as well. Make sure you are committing only to the work being done, and not extras or later additions. Paying with a check or Credit Card, NOT cash is recommended. It’s easier to put a hold on a check or Credit Card payment than to refund cash if the job is not completed.

Taking care of your home is important and no one should ever feel taken advantage of. It is important to know the proper steps to take to avoid home repair scammers.

The post Be Aware of Home Repair Scammers appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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As the weather begins to turn from wet and drizzly to warm and blossoming you may be searching for spring allergy relief.

The spring allergy season typically begins when the thermometer hits 60 degrees for 3-4 days. When that happens, pollen from plants starts moving through the air.  According to Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation of Northern California Juniper/Cedar/Cypress are all related and are major causes of allergic disease in Northern California. Acacia is heavy pollen and pollinates in February and into March. There are many other contributors and they are listed in detail on their website. However, knowing the contributing factors does not bring us spring allergy relief, but can help us avoid allergy triggers.

There are many ways you can lessen spring allergy symptoms that plague many of us during the season:

  • If your symptoms are severe, ask your trusted physician. He/she might be able to refer you to an allergist. An allergist is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible, with your windows closed.
  • Invest in an air filter to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
  • Making sure your air filtration systems (such as your air conditioner) have clean filters or replace them if needed.  
  • If you are a pet owner, make sure you have limited contact with your pet during the peak season and/or wipe them down upon re-entry to your home if they have been outdoors.
  • Showering and changing your clothes before bed to remove excess pollen can reduce interrupted sleep from allergy attacks.
  • Washing your face often and rinsing your nasal cavity from pollen you have inhaled.
  • The removal of shoes when entering your home can lessen allergens inside the home.
  • Wearing a face mask when outdoors. (for severe allergy sufferers)
  • Taking over the counter medications can be helpful and work best if taken before the allergy season begins. Always consult with your doctor when taking any medication.

There are helpful apps that can inform you of the pollen count in your area. WebMD Allergy, Zyrtec AllergyCast, and WeatherBug are options you can download on your smart device. They can inform you of the pollen count as well as the major allergy factors in your area at any given time.

Finding spring allergy relief can at times be frustrating, but it’s important to remember there are options available so you can enjoy the turning of the seasons in a non-allergic way!

The post Spring Allergy Relief appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Western medicine treats the presenting illness primarily with prescription medications or procedures. I wonder, is that the best approach? Last week, I attended a conference on how Integrative Medicine approaches illness by using a combination of methods as a better way to resolve challenging mental and physical health conditions.

Integrative Medicine, as defined by Duke Integrative Medicine, is “An approach that is grounded in the definition of health.” The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

I was personally astonished at the outcomes of these alternative approaches to treating illnesses such as addiction, pain, and anxiety and even Alzheimer’s and MCI (mild cognitive impairment).

I counsel families who are at a quandary of what to do with illnesses that do not seem to be responding to treatments. The patients/clients are often on 8-15 different medications. That alone has to be contributing to some of the behaviors or the decline. Integrative medicine looks for effective interventions that are natural and less invasive. Each patient might get a different formula based on lab results that look at many markers that guide the physician in addressing the illness or condition by using diet, supplements, counseling, mindfulness, and exercise.

According to Duke Integrative Medicine, the principals that define integrative medicine include the following:

  • The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit, and community.
  • Providers use all healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
Integrative medicine is based on sound science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
What I heard from the medical experts at the conference was that many of the drugs could be eliminated or significantly reduced with this approach. Some of the primary roots of many of the conditions discussed were “inflammatory” in nature. The power of mindfulness on almost every condition considered is something we all should pay attention to – and has little if any cost.

One of the most exciting sessions from Dr. Ronald Siegel of Harvard was called “Mindfulness & Aggressive Rehab for Chronic Pain.” He told us of his serious back pain and how a combination of exercise and mindfulness ended his pain after first trying months of bed rest. He described a study of several hundred people from the general population selected to have MRI’s of their back. They found that 2/3 of these individuals had herniated discs or other negative results, but only those who reported that they didn’t like their jobs complained of pain. His point is that those with pain might need to receive cognitive-behavioral therapy, resume normal activity and work with their negative emotions. Fear exacerbates pain and pain is everywhere. Suffering he said is optional. You can find Dr. Siegel’s lecture on “The Science of Mindfulness” at Google.

Dr. Andrew Weil spoke about mental health and the overuse of medications to treat depression and anxiety. He stated that we have more depression now than during World War II and the Great Depression. He pointed out that studies using placebos and the SSRI’s (anti-depression) medication for depression showed no real change with medications alone and that what is needed is a bio-social-spiritual model to treat these mental health conditions.

Dr. Weil says that today’s population is not connected to nature, depends on diets of processed foods, have less social connections (which are protective), and have increased dependence on technology which increases anxiety. To address these mental health conditions, we need to look at the whole person. He also talked about the protective value of including omega fatty acids and Vitamin D in the diet.

Dr. Weil suggests that if drugs are used, it should be short term use only. To reduce stress and help with relaxation, individuals need to increase physical exercise, seek behavioral/cognitive therapy, and learn relaxation exercises like his breathing technique. His technique is included in many of our offered classes.

The final lecture of the conference was Dr. Dale Bredesen and his “First Effective Treatment for Alzheimer’s and MCI.” His research and approaches are not conventional and somewhat controversial. However, they are based on science and look at the APOE4 gene and the lifestyle changes necessary to delay or reverse cognitive decline. If you are interested in knowing more and wanting to follow his treatment, I encourage connecting with an Integrative Medical Provider sometimes also called a Functional Medicine specialist. Some of the changes he recommends are exercise with strength training, testing and treating sleep apnea, daily meditation, brain training activity classes and a diet of whole foods. He recommends a light Ketogenic diet. Again, do not start on these paths without medical guidance.

Another interesting session was “The How of Happiness: The Science of Interventions Aimed at Increasing Well-Being” by Dr. Sonja Lyubominsky. Two big takeaways for me were both the importance and value of the “count your blessings” intervention. An easy exercise – just once a week write down what you are grateful for during the past week. Those in the trial that did this daily did not have the same results as those that did it weekly. It turns out they were happier! The other was the power of “random acts of kindness” for yourself or to others as a way to increase your immune system as well as to add to your sense of happiness.

If you or a family member is not responding to interventions, a second opinion is helpful. I often suggest University Hospitals for those second opinions.

UCSF – Osher Center for Integrative Medicine – (415) 353-7700

Stanford Integrative Medical Center – (650) 498-5566

UC Davis Integrative Medicine – (916) 734-4754

Being well and staying well is about you and your total environment. Your spiritual life and your relationships can be as important as your blood pressure. Thrive!

The post Medications: The answer or the problem? appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Being prepared for an emergency is important at any age.

As an aging adult, it is important to think about what steps you or your loved one should be taking to be prepared in case of an emergency. Emergency preparedness for seniors consists of a few more arrangements to ensure less anxiety and stress in case of an emergency. Here are some things to add to you or your loved ones preparation list in case something urgent arises.

A Support Network
One of the most important steps for preparation is having a support network. A support network can consist of a family member and/or close friends that are aware of your needs. Friends and family that are capable of responding in an emergency when assistance is needed. Keeping a list of loved one’s numbers around the home and programmed into your smartphone is essential. Learning how to send updates via text message, if at all possible, is helpful due to the fact that phone lines can become overwhelmed during an emergency. Having someone in your support network that resides inside as well outside your state is a smart extra step in case of an emergency.  

Important Medical Information
Having your medical information available in case of an emergency is very important. A list of the medications you take and possible ongoing health concerns should be in an easy to access list. Doctors, pharmacists, and specialists’ information should also be included.

Emergency Kit
After you have secured your support network and created your medical information list, a basic emergency kit should be pulled together. This kit should supply each member of your household with the supplies listed for at least three days.

This Kit Should Consist Of:

  • Water & non-perishable food items (don’t forget a can opener)
  • First Aid Supplies (including needed medications labeled for each person’s use)
  • Radio (preferably solar powered)
  • Flashlights
  • Cell phone with charger
  • An extra pair of glasses in case one breaks & extra batteries for hearing aids
  • Important documentation such as birth certificates, insurance information, and copies of personal information should be included.

For a more extensive list of supplies needed in case of a disaster visit The American Red Cross. Their website also offers a printable list that you can check off while you collect your supplies.

Although the thought of having to navigate through an emergency situation can cause stress and feelings of anxiety, being prepared can lessen those emotions. Emergency preparation for seniors can be empowering. Making sure they have the things they need and desire in case of a disaster can help comfort them in the unknown.

The post Emergency Preparedness for Seniors appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Eldercare Answers Blog by Dana Reactionconcepts - 3M ago

The importance of having a good relationship with a trusted physician becomes greater as we age.

Our bodies change over time, and our health care needs to change with us. Geriatrics is a branch of medicine that focuses on senior health and the prevention and treatment of disability and disease in old age.

For some older adults switching to a geriatric doctor might be a good idea. Perhaps you’re not sure if your current doctor is qualified for the advanced care you need and deserve. Or, you’re tired of having to repeat your concerns and issues to a plethora of different doctors. A Geriatrician must be certified by two separate medical boards. They will be certified in either internal or family medicine as a foundation, but they work intensively with patients ages 60 and older to become board certified in geriatrics. Therefore they are both your doctor AND your specialist.  

According to The American Geriatrics Society, you should seek a geriatrician when these symptoms begin to occur:
  • An older person’s condition causes considerable impairment or frailty (this tends to happen after age 75 or when someone starts managing a number of health conditions).
  • An older person’s family, friends, or other caregivers start feeling considerable stress related to care.
  • Older adults or their caregivers start having trouble following complex treatments or working with many different healthcare professionals for multiple health needs.
When finding the right geriatric doctor for you or a loved one, first contact your primary care physician.

Your primary care doctor will most likely give you a referral to a trusted geriatrician they are familiar with. If you are choosing on your own, it’s often smart to set up an initial ‘get to know you’ appointment. During this meeting, feel free to ask all the necessary questions about your health and concerns you may have. One important question is whether the doctor is covered by your health plan, as well as office policies and hours. This appointment can be a great way to see if switching to a geriatric care doctor is the right choice for your specific medical and health needs.

It is important for all of us to have the opportunity to live the longest and healthiest lives possible. Switching to a geriatric doctor can help provide a trusted person to help guide us through the health process as we age.

The post Switching to a Geriatric Doctor appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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Are you struggling with your aging or taking care of an older loved one? Aging can be overwhelming, but you and your loved ones don’t have to stop living life to the fullest, just because getting older throws you a curveball or presents challenges. If you have the right guidance, direction, navigation, and sound advice from the get-go, you, your family, and your loved ones don’t have to suffer.

In this episode of Absolute Trust Talk, Kirsten welcomes Licensed Family Therapist, certified Professional Care Manager, and founder of Eldercare Services, Linda Fodrini-Johnson, to the show. Linda has become a pioneer in geriatric care management, not just in the greater Bay Area, but across the country, with her firm becoming one of the largest care management and home care agencies, which is now celebrating 30 years of practice.

Kirsten and Linda will explore what is geriatric care, the available resources, and how you and your family can formulate a plan to move forward with long-term care, no matter what stage of planning you and your loved ones are in. Are you ready to continue living a comfortable, fulfilling life? Or, help a loved one who deserves to? Then it’s time to press play and listen in!

http://eldercareanswers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Absolute_Trust_Talk_Episode_026_Linda_Fodrini-Johnson_.mp3

Highlights from Episode #026:

  1. Life doesn’t have to end. You can bring joy to your life and continue to live a FULL life if you have good direction and navigation.
  2. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
  3. Get good advice in the beginning.

Time-stamped Show Notes:

3:06 – Linda shares what geriatric care is and the other resources that her company, Eldercare Services, provides.

4:55 – Kirsten asks her to share how she got into eldercare.

6:24 – Linda highlights what an aging lifecare associate is.

11:21 – What are standard areas of knowledge that an individual needs to have, to be in this type of profession?

14:45 – Linda shares what families need to think about when it comes to quality of life for an aging parent.

19:07 – What are some transitions that families have to plan for with long-term care?

27:40 – What happens when a parent transitions into a child’s home?

35:04 – Linda and Kirsten discuss the importance of a trial run.

39:00 – How Eldercare Services can help a family save money

The post Expert Advice: What is Geriatric Care appeared first on Eldercare Answers.

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