Loading...

Follow Deborah Fins Associates on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

For some families, it’s a no-brainer. Mom or Dad can’t live alone anymore. Time to give back for all those years of care and support, and make room for your aging parent in your home. To do otherwise would be unacceptable.

But the decision to have a parent (or other aging family member) live with you and your family is often not that clear-cut. Even when intentions are good and motivations selfless, the move may actually not be in your parent’s best interest—or your family’s.

Indeed, since the move affects everyone, it needs to be a family decision. Guilt over perceived obligations can be a strong influence, but shouldn’t be the determining factor. After all, what you want to achieve is a living situation that is truly going to help your parent, not simply assuage your guilt or ease social pressure.

Here are some key questions to consider:

1. What are your parent’s needs?

In an ideal world, inviting your aging parent to live in your home can be a great boon to everyone. There is a renewed opportunity to deepen your relationship, a chance to strengthen bonds with your children, a time to learn from and share with each other. If your parent is still in relatively good physical and cognitive health, the responsibilities and cost of care may be minimal.

Typically, however, the decision to move a parent is spurred by a health crisis. Your parent’s care needs may be significant and intensifying with time. That introduces a host of variables that may or may not be within your ability or means to address. A realistic, independent assessment by an Aging Life Care Professional® will help you to understand what’s at stake.

2. What help can you truly provide?

All the best intentions in the world can’t compensate for the real demands of caregiving for a frail adult whose health is compromised. You need both reliable information about your loved one’s health (consult with your parent’s physician) as well as an honest assessment of what you can actually do for your parent.

This includes being realistic about your own health, any family issues at home that demand attention and energy, work expectations and other time commitments. Are you really home enough to provide needed support? Do you need to hire outside support when you are not available? Can you afford to?

3. How well do you get along with your parent?

While the idea of having Mom or Dad live with you may sound like a wonderful chance for closeness, old issues and resentments are sure to surface. It’s certainly possible to resolve past conflicts, but living in close proximity can also intensify friction. In addition, clashes with your parent can aggravate conflicts with your own children or spouse. Once again, being realistic about your ability to get along and work through issues rather than simply hoping that everything will be fine is essential for everyone’s sanity and well-being.

4. Can your home accommodate your parent’s needs?

The physical layout of your home is a key factor in any decision to house your aging parent. Stairs, hallways too narrow for a wheelchair, bathrooms that present too many obstacles—these can create serious safety concerns. If your home is small, will moving your parent require one of your children to lose his or her bedroom, or a family room? How will that affect your family’s ability to be accepting of your parent—or will it cause too much resentment? If modifications are required to make your home accessible and safe for your parent, who will pay?

5. How will your parent’s presence affect the life of your family?

If you take on the role of primary caregiver for your parent at home, what will you be giving up? Caregiving is a serious time commitment. It can also be physically and emotionally stressful. Will you need to cut back at work, if you are employed? How will that affect your family finances?

If your parent demands more of your attention, your children may feel slighted and act out. They may also feel uncomfortable about bringing home friends or constrained in other ways about socializing. While you might argue that your parent sacrificed for you, and now it’s your turn to sacrifice for him or her, foisting that on the rest of your family without taking their true feelings and needs into consideration may not be either fair or wise.

6. How will your siblings or other family members be involved?

Your siblings may be grateful that you’ve stepped up to take care of Mom or Dad. They may also be jealous, judgmental and otherwise difficult. At the very least, it’s wise to discuss the move with your siblings, not only to keep open communications, but also to establish realistic expectations.

Caregiving, even if you do it yourself, can be costly—both in terms of needed equipment or home modification, as well as foregone income. Who will help you pay? You’ll also want to discuss ground rules regarding visits, advice and your own needs for emotional support and respite, so that you and your family can get away for vacations and other special times alone.

7. What is really best for your parent?

Your parent’s medical needs aren’t the only issues at stake. Mom or Dad’s emotional well-being is crucial, too. Even if you have a wonderful relationship, will you be home enough to provide the social companionship and stimulation that your parent needs? If dementia is a factor, while early stages may be manageable, do you have the time and patience—let alone physical and emotional strength—to be present and supportive of him or her as the disease advances?

None of us can really predict whether and how we could rise to the occasion of caring for an aging parent at home. The most important thing to remember is that the decision is not yours alone to make. Your parent’s desires should be respected, as well as your family’s. You, too, need to care for yourself. An Aging Life Care Professional® can help you to sort out the complexities and determine the best solution for everyone involved.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® Manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

View Privacy Policy here.

Image Credit: Christian Langballe

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

So goes the oft-quoted opening sentence of Tolstoy’s classic Russian tragedy, Anna Karenina. Perhaps an oversimplification, but his words capture a basic truth that harmonious families often have common qualities, such as mutual respect and good communication skills. And families that fight find many ways to despise each other.

Especially when an aging parent needs care and siblings disagree over how to help, who is responsible, what care should cost and who’s paying, relationships can strain to the breaking point. Just because everyone is now an adult doesn’t mean that old family roles—the favorite, the decision-maker, the black sheep—disappear. For a family that struggles with power dynamics and listening to one another, the stress of watching Mom or Dad weaken can bring out the worst.

Triggers for disputes are many, but the big ones usually involve time, money and who’s in charge:

Who is going to care for Mom?
Often, this falls to the sibling who lives the closest. More often than not, even if several siblings live nearby, it falls to a daughter rather than a son, given social bias that caregiving is a woman’s responsibility. Problems arise when other siblings try to override whoever has taken on the mantle of primary caregiver. Sometimes those concerns are legitimate; maybe the sibling on the ground lacks capacity or good judgment. Other times, the faraway siblings may be butting in without taking any responsibility for their demands. Mom may complicate the picture by playing favorites. Or the primary caregiver may try to manipulate other siblings by playing the martyr.

Where should Dad live?
For some families, sending Dad to a nursing home is a violation of deeply held values about what children owe their parents. For others, the big issue is money. Keeping an ailing parent at home is an expensive proposition that can foster disputes over who is paying for what—especially if Dad’s savings can’t cover the expenses, or if an inheritance will be diminished in the process. The same goes for placement in assisted living or a nursing home. And the solution of moving Dad to live with one sibling or another involves a host of other issues—cost, accommodations, time constraints, competition with other family and/or work responsibilities, to name a few. Not to mention fighting over who gets him.

Who decides?
Whatever the argument, the ultimate question of a parent’s fate depends on whether Mom or Dad is competent to make decisions. If the answer is yes, but Mom leans on a favorite adult child (“Mom always liked you best!”) or rejects another, resentments fester. If the answer is maybe, siblings can get stuck arguing over Dad’s true intentions. And if the answer is no, more power struggles can arise over what to do if a parent’s desires were never clearly communicated and put into writing—and who should be designated to make those decisions.

How to Resolve Sibling Disputes

Bottom line: It’s complicated. What to do if sibling infighting is tearing the family apart—and eclipsing appropriate care for Mom or Dad? One solution is to bring in a certified mediator who specializes in elder care disputes. These professionals are trained to help your family resolve issues ranging from caregiver burnout to inheritance infighting. They focus on facilitating good communication, crafting thoughtful strategies and developing workable solutions for all parties involved.

Another option, if all are willing, is to work with a family therapist to deal with longstanding, destructive family dynamics that are impeding your ability to cooperate in your parent’s best interest.

Aging Life Care Managers® can also help your family to determine what your aging parent actually needs for services, appropriate living accommodations. access to qualified professional caregivers, resources for financial planning, how to assess the value of providing care, as well as guidance for resolving conflicts.

While it’s not always possible to mend all the ways that unhappy families are unhappy, when it comes to working through sibling conflicts over Mom or Dad’s care, an impartial, professional third party can help you take important steps toward mending relationships in order to reach the best decision with or for your parent. And that, of course, is what you all really want.

Related Posts
End-of-Life Choices: Honoring Your Loved One’s Humanity
Planning Ahead for a Medical Crisis: Must-Have Directives, Consents and Contact Information

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

View Privacy Policy here.

Image Credit: CloudVisual

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

May is Aging Life Care Month! So what do we means by Aging Life Care? It’s a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing health challenges. An Aging Life Care Professional®  is a health and human services specialist who is a guide, advocate, and resource for families caring for an older relative or disabled adult. Working with families, we strive to provide answers at a time of uncertainty. We are dedicated to guiding families toward actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, reducing worry, stress and time off work for family caregivers.

As members of the national Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA), we must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice.

Deb will be speaking on Aging Life Care issues at several events, both national and local, this month:

May 11

ALCA 34th National Conference in Chicago
Panel discussion on “Awareness in Preparedness: Disaster Lessons”
Click here for details.

May 22

Worcester Alzheimer’s Partnership
“What is Aging Life Care?” at Noon
100 North Parkway #105, Worcester, Mass.
508-799-2386

May 23

Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire
A Map Through the Maze Conference for Alzheimer and Dementia Care Providers
“Collaborative Care Planning in the Community,” with Attorney Laura Traiger, at 10:45 a.m.
DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester, Mass.
Click here for details.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: Tiago Muraro

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It’s that time of year when weekend calendars are jammed with graduations, weddings, award celebrations and other special family get-togethers. You want to include your aging parent in the festivities. But what happens when Mom or Dad lives farther away and is getting too frail to make the trip?

Here are some tips to help your aging loved one arrive safely:

1. Plan the shortest, most direct route.

Whether your loved one is traveling alone or with a companion, it’s worth the added expense to keep her travel as easy and time-limited as possible. Travel, especially by air, is tiring for everyone, due to long security lines, crowded flights and unpredictable delays. Having to get up early to get to the airport, arrive late at night, or make connections through a large terminal is exhausting for even younger, seasoned travelers. Whether your parent is able to travel alone or not, encourage her to spend the extra for non-stop, midday flights. And if she’s concerned about cost, offer to help pay.

2. Make advance arrangements for your parent’s special needs.

Airlines and airport authorities in the U.S. are required by law to provide accessible bathrooms at the airport as well as other accommodations, such as electronic cart or wheelchair transport to the gate. Plan ahead for special needs. Contact the airline’s disability specialist at least 48 hours in advance to make arrangements for onboard wheelchairs and other medical equipment. You’ll find a good overview in this article from Senior Care Advice.

3. Clear travel with your parent’s doctor, if necessary.

Here’s where you need to weigh the stress of travel for your loved one against his desire (and yours) to join in the family celebration. The last thing you want is for travel to trigger a health emergency! While there’s no way to prevent every medical crisis, some can be avoided with common sense and a healthy dose of precaution about what is really doable. Consider, too, whether the stress of travel would overwhelm a parent who might become disoriented or confused due to dementia or other cognitive conditions.

4. Be sure your loved one has travel insurance.

It’s worth the money to be certain that any medical emergencies are covered when your parent is away from medical support within her health plan network. Travel insurance also helps to cover unanticipated costs of cancellations, delays and other travel mishaps, such as lost luggage.

5. Accompany your loved one on the trip or arrange for a trustworthy travel companion.

Whether you (or another family member or friend) can travel with your parent is, of course, a matter of schedules and logistics. If your loved one is well enough to travel, but too easily fatigued or confused in high stimulus environments (like crowded airport terminals), or has special needs, then it’s worth ensuring that he has someone with him along the way. There are services that will help your loved one to make all travel arrangements as well as provide trustworthy travel companions. Be prepared and do your research: These services come with a hefty price tag.

6. If your parent is traveling alone, make sure she is met by someone reliable at the end of her journey.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Your aging loved one will be tired from travel. Even if she’s always been the gung-ho, organized planner of the family, give her a break, a warm greeting, and a hand with luggage and transportation to wherever she is staying.

7. Be clear about whose needs are being met.

This is probably the most important piece. Don’t guilt-trip your parent into travel when it’s really more than he can handle. In the age of the Internet, we’re fortunate to have options for virtual visits via video chat. While being there in person is preferable, there are times when cyberspace travel is a better, safer choice.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: Omar Prestwich

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Whatever your faith, chances are you’re familiar with these famous words from the Book of Ecclesiastes: “There’s a time to be born; there’s a time to die. . . . There is a time to be silent. And there’s a time to speak.” If you’re a fellow Baby Boomer, you probably sang those words to Turn, Turn, Turn, popularized by the Byrds in 1965—but written as a protest song by Pete Seeger in the late ‘50s.

Silence in protest can be both powerful and extremely uncomfortable. In the recent March for our Lives in Washington, D.C., Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland survivors and a leader of the student movement, got up to speak. She said a few words about each of the victims, then stood still, tears rolling down her cheeks. The crowd started to cheer, unclear how to respond. Gonzalez finally broke her silence, at 6 minutes and 20 seconds from the time she stepped to the podium, which was exactly how long it took for the gunman to kill the 17 victims. I believe her speech (or really her silence) was the most powerful of the afternoon.

However, there are times when silence can render us powerless or even impotent. There are times when we must speak up, if not for society’s sake, than at least for our own. Travel through any major transportation hub in this country and you’re sure to hear “If you see something, say something.”

April 16 Kicks Off National Healthcare Decisions Week

On April 15 (April 17 this year), Americans will file their income tax returns. April 16, in keeping with Benjamin Franklin’s saying that “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), kicking off a week for health care decision planning

NHDD emphasizes education and awareness to encourage adults to create a health care plan. It is NOT just about end-of-life planning. Case in point: when our sons turned 18, we had each of them sign healthcare proxies and durable powers of attorney, just in case. After all, we never know when something could happen that changes everything.

Every adult is at risk of being unable to make healthcare decisions. I had a very close call 11 years ago, when I suddenly became critically ill and was comatose for five days. My husband had to speak for me and give consents for certain interventions.

Fortunately, we had a health care plan in place, including a health care proxy and an advance health care directive—documents that help an adult name someone to make health care decisions if/when the individual is incapacitated and that identify what decisions the individual wants to be made on their behalf. Creating the planning document before a health crisis gives you the opportunity to think and talk about the different kinds of health care and treatment that you do or don’t want during your lifetime. As your needs and circumstances change, it’s worth revisiting the plan and making necessary updates.

Health Care Planning Tools Available through Honoring Choices

For the past several years, I have been a Community Partner of Honoring Choices, a consumer-focused non-profit supporting the right of every adult to direct their health care choices for quality care today and everyday all through their lives.

Honoring Choices provides up-to-date health care planning information, free Massachusetts care planning documents, and handy guides to start a planning discussion with your care providers to match quality care to your goals, values and choices. You can find those resources here.

When you need to take care of yourself and advocate for your health care, you can’t afford to be silent. Health care agents or care provides must remember to be silent in order to hear what those they serve are trying to communicate. A time to be speak, and a time to be silent, indeed.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: Lui Peng

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Deciding how best to care for your aging parent depends on many factors—how close or far you live from each other; their and your financial resources; time; energy; your health; other demands of jobs and family; availability of other siblings, family members or friends to assist; whether help from professional caregivers is an option; family and community values regarding how elders are treated.

Above all, however, your choices will depend on your relationship with your parent. And if that relationship was an abusive one, the decision becomes much more complicated.

There is certainly plenty of societal pressure for adult children—especially daughters—to care for their aging parents. But honoring your parents, as the Bible instructs, doesn’t necessarily mean caring for them yourself if they were abusive or negligent in caring for you as a child. In fact, doing so can be hazardous to your own well being.

Caring for Abusive Parents Increases Risk of Depression

A 2013 research study in The Gerontologist by Kong and Moorman found that caregivers who had a history of parental abuse were significantly more likely to suffer from depression when caring for their abusive parents, as compared to caregivers who had never experienced such abuse.

The reality is that the trauma of emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood doesn’t evaporate just because it happened in the past. Unless you’ve worked through those painful experiences, old issues can resurface or fester when you are faced with responsibility for a vulnerable parent.

It may be true that caring for an abusive parent can also create a new opportunity to heal old wounds and find forgiveness. But such reconciliation carries significant psychological risks and is best undertaken with therapeutic support.

Filial Responsibility Laws Make Exceptions for Adults Who Were Abused as Children

While more than half the states in the U.S., including Massachusetts, have filial responsibly laws that require adult children to take care of their parents—some even imposing civil penalties and imprisonment for failure to support a destitute parent—the laws are rarely enforced.

In addition, most state statutes make exceptions when it comes to supporting a parent who has abandoned a child or done them some wrong.

Be Realistic About What You Can Handle and Set Boundaries

Ultimately, the very personal decision about whether and how to care for an abusive parent comes down to being honest with yourself and what you can handle—and setting appropriate boundaries. Regardless of guilt tripping by peers to care for your parent at home or other social pressure to keep him or her out of a nursing home, a secure environment in a good skilled care setting may actually be healthier for both your parent and for you.

An Aging Life Care Professional® can provide an objective assessment of your parent’s needs, help you to figure out what you can realistically handle, and mediate negotiations between you, your parent and other family regarding best options for all involved.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: Claudia Soraya

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Celebrating its 25th year on May 23, A Map Through the Maze, a practical-based Alzheimer’s and dementia care conference sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, offers professionals a unique opportunity to learn current and cutting edge information on a wide range of Alzheimer’s-related care topics.

I’ve attended this conference for years and always learn something new and useful. It’s a great networking and educational event with many exhibitors and lots of good information. With 30 breakout sessions offered, there is something for everyone. This year, keynote speaker Melanie Bunn, GNP, MS, RN, will present “Managing Pain and Dementia: Detection, Assessment and Treatment.” CEU’s are available.

In addition to the regular program, five tracks will be offered:

  • Dementia Management in the Acute Care Setting
  • Creating Purpose: Therapeutic Activities and Meaningful Engagement
  • Community Based Dementia Care
  • Advancement in Research: Prevention, Treatment and Care Approaches
  • Caring for Individuals with Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities

Along with Attorney Laura Traiger, I’ll be presenting a session on “Collaborative Care Planning in the Community” at 10:45 a.m.

What’s New at A Map Through the Maze?

NEW LOCATION: DCU Center, 50 Foster Street, Worcester, Mass.

  • Larger breakout rooms with table seating
  • Five unique tracks highlighting best practices in dementia care
  • 30 breakout sessions with 39 new speakers and 27 new care topics
  • Expanded exhibitor area, including morning session and interactive learning opportunities
  • Easy access from MBTA Commuter Rail

Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are also available. There’s a reduced registration fee for those interested in being conference assistants. For more information or to register, please click here.

Questions? Contact Lorraine Kermond at lkermond@alz.org. Hope to see you there!

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: beasty

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We all have them—those special memories, conjured by a song from the past. One chorus, and you’re back at that high school dance when you shared your first kiss, or with your best friends at summer camp, or on your first road trip away from home. One phrase, and you can easily recall all the lyrics that touched your heart.

Recently, I was deeply moved by the film Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, which portrays the power of music to touch individuals. This documentary follows Dan Cohen, founder of the non-profit Music & Memory, as he introduces personalized music playlists to people living with Alzheimer’s in nursing homes. As the film illustrates, music has a way of tapping and evoking emotional memories, even for people with dementia.

Music, Emotion and Memory Are All Connected in Our Brains

Research over the past decade points to the reason why: In a 2009 study at the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis, Dr. Petr Janata discovered that the region of the brain that is stimulated by strong memories also tracks music—the pre-frontal cortex, just behind the forehead. This part of the brain is often one of the last to be affected by Alzheimer’s.

Individuals who have lost their ability to connect with the world may regain the ability to speak when listening to their favorite music—particularly songs from teenage years and early adulthood. Witness the remarkable reawakening of Henry, a resident of a New York City nursing home, who can suddenly articulate his love of music after hearing songs by Cab Calloway, in an excerpt from the film.

Music & Memory has brought personalized music playlists into nursing homes and other care communities across the U.S. and around the world. Their work has demonstrated that listening to musical favorites can increase residents’ social engagement and even reduce reliance on antipsychotics.

Hearing Musical Favorites Can Reduce Reliance on Antipsychotics

A 2017 Brown University research study of 25,000 nursing home residents in nearly 200 settings compared residents who had access to Music & Memory’s program to those who did not. Researchers found “that after homes adopted the program, residents with dementia became significantly more likely to discontinue antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications and significantly less likely to engage in disruptive behaviors, compared to those residing in homes used for comparison.”

Sharing an individual’s musical favorites is an important way for family members to reconnect with a loved one who may seem remote or otherwise uncommunicative. Listening to beloved music can help to ease transitions between home and doctor’s office visits or adult day centers. Having access to those special songs can also make life in a new setting, from assisted living to the nursing home, more homelike. And a personal music soundtrack can provide profound comfort at the end of life.

To find a care community for your loved one that offers Music & Memory, click here. And if you’d like to see Alive Inside for yourself, you can rent the documentary on Netflix here. Be sure to bring a box of tissues.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 35 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: CC0 Creative Commons

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Spring promises to be a busy season at Deborah Fins Associates. In addition to serving our clients, I am committed to helping fellow professionals and students sharpen their skills for serving elders. Among my speaking engagements for the coming weeks and months:

February 27

Aging Life Care® Association Webinar
“Serving as a Client’s Decision Maker: The Pros, the Cons and What the Aging Life Care Professional® Should Consider”
4:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. MT/1:00 p.m. PT
Click here for details and registration for ALCA members.

March 8

Becker College Counseling Program, Worcester, Mass.
Guest speaker, graduate class session on “Mental Health and Elders”

March 15

National Academy of Certified Care Managers
Part 3 of 5-part Webinar series on Five Essential Knowledge Areas for CMCS
“Entitlements, Benefits and Legal Issues”
Click here for details.

May 11

ALCA 34th National Conference in Chicago
Panel discussion on “Awareness in Preparedness: Disaster Lessons”
Click here for details.

May 22

Worcester Alzheimer’s Partnership
“What is Aging Life Care®?” at Noon
100 North Parkway #105, Worcester, Mass.
508-799-2386

May 23

Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire
A Map Through the Maze Conference for Alzheimer and Dementia Care Providers
“Collaborative Care Planning in the Community,” with Attorney Laura Traiger, at 10:45 a.m.
DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester, Mass.
Click here for details.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 30 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Image Credit: Biegun Wschodni

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Freedom to go where we want, when we want. It’s a deeply held American value, part of our cultural DNA. The iconic 1960s TV series, Route 66, about two young men coming of age as they drive cross-country in a Corvette, still resonates.

But what if the one with wanderlust is your aging parent with dementia? You don’t want to lock her in her home, but you’re also terrified that she’ll take off on foot and go missing for an hour or a day—or more. So-called “elopement” takes just an instant. Even experienced caregivers can briefly turn their backs, only to discover that their charge has slipped out the door and disappeared. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander eventually. The risks are real.

These GPS Tools Can Help You Keep Track of Your Loved One

But now there’s an app for that. The same kind of GPS devices that enable you to find your missing smartphone can also help you find your missing loved one. All involve a subscription for some kind of tracking device that is worn by your loved one, paired with text or email alerts, tracking apps and/or a hotline network. Among the options:

Project Lifesaver: Requires your loved one to wear a personal transmitter ankle bracelet. If he wanders, you receive an alert. When you call the local Project Lifesaver agency, a trained team goes into action to find your loved one. Most people are found within a half hour, a few miles from home. This service specializes in helping people with cognitive conditions that cause them to wander. The international search and rescue program also works with local public safety agencies to educate staff about risks of wandering.

GPS Smart Sole: If your loved one objects to wearing a tracking device or is likely to forget to put it on, this option may be the solution. GPS Smart Sole is an insert equipped with GPS technology that fits into most shoes with removable insoles. This works best if your loved one wears the same shoes daily or if you purchase multiple pairs of inserts. The device transmits location data every 10 minutes via smart phone, tablet or computer. You can define a safe radius for your loved one; if she goes beyond, you receive an email or text alert.

Alzheimer’s Association Comfort Zone: This service, paired with Medic-Alert, uses location based mapping to track your loved one. The locater device can either be worn or mounted in a car, and transmits signals via satellites and cell towers to a web-based system that you can monitor. Options include real-time location monitoring, alerts if your loved one leaves a safety zone that you define, and emergency assistance if your loved one wanders.

But Technology, Alone, Is Not the Full Solution

These tracking systems can help your loved one to live safely at home as long as elopement episodes are relatively infrequent. But it’s important to understand that this technology doesn’t prevent wandering, any more than a wheel chair alarm can prevent falls. Be sure to have a current photo or digital image of your loved one, in case he goes missing. Call the local police as soon as you realize he’s wandered off. Massachusetts is one of three dozen states to participate in Silver Alert—a public notification system, similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, that broadcasts information about missing individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias or cognitive conditions.

If wandering becomes a serious safety concern, you may need to consider moving your loved one to a secure setting that specializes in memory care. Even that’s not foolproof, since it’s still possible for someone to exit a “secure” setting; however, there are several systems used both to prevent wandering and to quickly alert staff in case someone elopes. An Aging Life Care Professional® can provide a thorough assessment of your loved one’s safety issues and needs, and help you determine the best alternatives.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified Aging Life Care® manager. Drawing on more than 30 years of professional experience in aging life care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

For more on coping with aging, follow us on Twitter: @DeborahFinsALCM.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview