Falls Can Take a Toll on the Elderly

Recognizing the Risk and Alleviating Dangers are First Step The risk of falls becomes greater as we age. In fact, recent statistics indicate that one in three elderly persons fall each year. And those falls are not without consequences. They account for 87 percent of all fractures in people who are at least 65 years old. These falls and fractures can lead to a downward spiral that can shorten one’s life. As the owner of an assisted living facility in Parker, Colorado, I am diligent about doing what I can to reduce the risk for my residents. Whether you have an elderly loved one living with you, in a facility like Country Home Assisted Living or a retirement community, you should realize that your loved one is probably going to be a fall risk at some point. With that realization, it is then a good time to make a concerted effort to reduce the fall risk that surrounds your loved one. Here are some good ways to get started: Keep pathways clear. Oxygen tubing and electrical cords are easy to trip on. Try to route them away from pathways. Remove obstacles and clutter that can get in the way. Keep a clear path around the bed. Remove throw rugs. Or, at the very least, fasten throw rugs to the floor with double-sided tape. Make sure your elderly loved one wears good footwear that has a tread on the bottom. Avoid shoes with heals. Gripper socks are great for the nighttime. Wipe up spills immediately. Make sure that furniture is stable and doesn’t tilt when leaned upon. If you have...

Help in Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

I said in a recent blog that you should do your homework before beginning a discussion about assisted living with your elderly loved ones. I recommended that you research the various living alternatives and facilities so that you will be able to answer questions and have a productive conversation. So this month, let’s look at the various alternatives and review questions you should ask at each facility. There are all types of facilities available these days. They range from retirement communities that take away the burden of managing a home to full-service assisted living facilities that provide caregiver assistance, medication management, food, entertainment and transportation. Some are huge apartment-type dwellings that are operated by corporations and often require you to fill out loads of paperwork or jump through hoops to make any changes in the care that is provided. Others, like Country Home Assisted Living in western Elbert County, are smaller operations with a limited number of residents that provide a home-like setting in a pleasant neighborhood. And, of course, there’s everything in between those two options. As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living for about 18 years, I would like to explain the advantages of our home in a country setting. As a smaller facility, we tend to have an attentive staff that will notice any changes in a resident’s health, mood, urinary functions, eating habits, etc., much sooner than a larger facility where nursing care is spread across many more people. At my eight-bed assisted living facility just outside Parker, I take prompt action, calling a family member or doctor, whatever is necessary, to keep our...

A Home-Like Setting, Instead of a Hospital Environment

Choosing to enter an assisted living facility, or providing that option to a loved one, need not be a difficult decision. There comes a time in many people’s lives that remaining in the home is no longer possible due to medical conditions or ailments. A full-service assisted living facility near Parker, Colorado offers many benefits, and family members can rest assured that their loved one will receive the care and attention that they require. Benefits of Using an Assisted Living Facility There is no reason to feel guilty if you are seeking an assisted living facility near Parker, Colorado for an older family member. Finding the proper care for our loved ones is a reflection of our love for them, and when their health care needs become too overwhelming to be handled at home, it is often the best option. With conditions such as dementia or physical weakness that can cause falls and other injuries, a full-service facility is necessary for the well-being of the patient. Knowing that your loved one is receiving round-the-clock care and will be protected from injuries can give loved ones the peace of mind that can be elusive when worrying about an older relative living at home. In addition to the full-time medical care and attention, such facilities offer organized activities, socialization, and other mental health benefits that will help to keep their minds and spirits engaged, even if their physical health is no longer 100%. A Home-Like Setting, Instead of a Hospital Environment Maintaining the feeling of home can make a huge difference in the transition to an assisted living facility near Parker,...

Serious Memory Issues: Is it Time to See a Doctor?

Memory issues and forgetfulness are something we all face as we get older. It can be frustrating for elderly individuals as they struggle to find the right words, remember information and learn new things. Last month, we talked about the less serious forms of forgetfulness, those that are brought on by emotional and some health issues. This month, we are going to talk about the more serious types of memory issues, including dementia, Alzheimer’s and amnestic mild cognitive impairment. By looking at each of these individually, I’m hoping you can help friends or loved ones who might be dealing with serious memory issues. Let’s start with dementia, which is not actually a disease but a group of symptoms that are caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. When someone has dementia, they have a loss in their thinking, memory and reasoning skills to the point that they can’t carry out their daily activities. According to an article about forgetfulness on BrainHealth.gov, people with dementia lose their mental abilities at different rates, but the symptoms often include: Being unable to remember things; Asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over; Becoming lost in familiar places; Being unable to follow directions; Getting confused about time, people and places; Neglecting personal safety, hygiene and nutrition. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia and is caused by changes in parts of the brain that result in the death of nerve cells. It can begin slowly with simple forgetfulness. As damage to the nerve cells spreads throughout the brain, the condition becomes worse and...

Memory Issues – Causes and Helpful Tips

Memory problems are common as people age. In fact, we’ve all been there. We walk into a room and forget why we wanted to go into that room. We forget where we put our keys or our glasses. However, there are varying degrees of forgetfulness. Mild forgetfulness is considered a normal part of the aging process. As we age, it can take longer to learn new things, it can be more difficult to remember information and it is common to misplace possessions like keys and glasses. Other types of memory issues can indicate a more serious problem, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This month, we’re going to look at less serious memory issues – why they can occur and tips for dealing with and avoiding them. Next month, we’ll look at the more serious problems. Let’s start by looking at the two main causes of mild forgetfulness – emotional and health issues. Forgetfulness that is caused by emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, can often be mistaken for dementia because it can be accompanied by confusion. It can be triggered by losing a spouse, relative or good friend; or even retiring from a long career. Think about someone you know who has lost a spouse. Coping with the loss often leaves them feeling a bit confused, sad, lonely, worried and bored. This confusion and forgetfulness is usually temporary and will go away over time. The love and support from friends and family will help ease these emotions. However, if these feelings continue for more than a year or so, it might be wise to see a doctor...

Caregivers Need to Think About Themselves Too

Caregivers can become extremely important in the lives of elderly individuals. In fact, they can make all the difference in the quality of life that is enjoyed by seniors as they age and face health issues. At the same time, the job of a caregiver can be quite taxing and stressful. The stress and emotional rollercoaster ride that comes with care giving are just two reasons why it is so important that caregivers take care of themselves – not just the people they are caring for. As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County, I make sure my caregivers are given the appropriate amount of time off work. During that time, I encourage them to get out of the care-giving mode and do some activities that they really love or enjoy. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, make sure you take time for yourself. You can’t be effective if you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for someone – even if it’s your favorite parent or grandparent. Make sure you do things that make you smile, whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, watching a funny movie, listening to your favorite music or participating in your favorite sport or hobby. (I’ve got even more ideas on how to reduce your stress in my blog: “5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents.”) During the workday, however, it is much harder to get a break while you are tending to individuals who rely on you. So, I have several suggestions for caregivers who find themselves in...