Some Tips to Enjoy the Busy Holiday Season

As we enter the final stretch of the 2016 holiday season, I’d like to take a moment to encourage families to cherish the moments they have together. Instead of stressing over the elaborate food, decorations and gifts, try to keep it simple. Typically, people try to do too many things during the holidays. Because of that, they become tired and stressed out. In the end, they don’t enjoy the season or being with loved ones as much as they could. Instead of trying to do it all, select a few of your family’s favorite ways of celebrating and focus on those. For example, if your family members and friends enjoy singing Christmas carols, make sure you allot time to do that. If you like to reminisce about holidays in the past, be sure to provide a setting where everyone has a chance to share their favorite memories. Maybe you have some family members and friends who enjoy baking holiday treats. Think how much they’ll enjoy doing that together. Not only will there be goodies that they can share, but they’ll also have fond memories that will last into the future. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, I like to come up with ways to create memories for all of our residents and our families. I know everyone appreciates it. Another great tip that I heard recently is to extend your holiday season. There are many advantages to making a week or two in January part of your holiday celebration. I know families that actually look forward to getting together after the traditional holiday season. That gives them time...

Dehydration can Take a Toll on the Elderly

Dehydration can create health issues for people of all ages, but it can be especially serious for the elderly. And it can often be hard to detect, despite the fact that dehydration can have such a big impact on someone’s health. Proper hydration allows people to regulate their temperature through sweating, eliminate bodily waste and maintain blood pressure. When people are dehydrated – or losing more water than they take in – they can become confused, weak and even develop tract infections or pneumonia. In fact, dehydration and the delayed diagnosis of it has made it one of the 10 most frequent diagnoses for admitting people for Medicare hospitalizations, according to the Health Care Financing Administration. The Causes of Dehydration So let’s look at several of the causes for elderly dehydration: Medications – Some medications taken by seniors are diuretics, while other cause patients to sweat. Both of these can be dehydrating. Decreased kidney function – As people age, their bodies lose kidney function, which means they are less likely to conserve fluid. Decreased thirst – The sense of thirst decreases as people age. Elderly individuals don’t think about drinking water or other fluids. Also, it’s harder for them to get up and get a drink when they are thirsty. Or, they don’t want to have to get up to go to the bathroom. Key Indicators of Dehydration Now that we’ve discussed some of the top causes, let’s look at some of the key indicators of dehydration. These are signs that we monitor daily at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker. They include confusion, dizziness or headaches, difficulty walking, dry...

5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents

If you find yourself caring for aging parents, it’s important to take care of yourself and implement ways to reduce your stress. It’s hard to avoid stress – even if your parent is in an assisted living facility like Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, CO. The emotions you feel as your parent ages and struggles with declining health can easily take a toll on you. In a continuation of my series on caring for aging parents, let’s look at some key actions you can take to reduce your burden and handle your stress. 1. Practice self-care. As they say when going through safety procedures on airplanes, take care of yourself first and then look after your children or others with you. The same is true here. When you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t last long in your efforts to properly take care of others. Self-care can come in many forms, but it almost always includes getting exercise, proper nutrition and sleep. It’s also important to mention that it’s okay to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. Do at least one thing for yourself on a daily basis, whether it’s going to a fitness class, watching your favorite TV show or reading a novel. When you put yourself first, even for just an hour, you’ll feel much better when you are back at your caregiver duties. 2. Delegate. People are always offering to help, but caregivers often fail to accept these offers. Instead of turning help down, start saying “YES!” Yes, you can pick my sister up at the airport. Yes, you can stop in weekly...

Sharing the Responsibility of Caring for Aging Parents

No matter how close and tight-knit a family is in its earlier years, tension and controversies can arise when taking care of aging parents. If brothers and/or sisters are available and actively involved, the care-giving burden can be shared among all the siblings, which is great. But it also complicates matters because emotions and differences of opinion can come into play as everyone tries to reach an agreement on emotional, medical and financial decisions. In this second part of my series on caring for elderly parents, let’s look at some techniques that siblings can use to help them share the care-giving responsibilities. To make it easier for all family members, be sure to focus first on good communication and then on planning. I recommend holding a family meeting – or at the very least a family phone conference -to clarify the situation, including the medical, emotional and financial factors that may be involved. In this session, family members should be able to talk openly about their concerns and desires. For example, parents should be allowed to tell their children what type of advanced health care they would prefer and whether they want to live at home or somewhere else. Children should be able to explain how they can help, whether it’s their time, financial assistance or even offering their home as a living option. Accept Each Other’s Differences Since dealing with aging parents can create different reactions among the children, a family meeting can be a good opportunity to share feelings and ideas. Be sure to listen to each family member so that you understand where they are coming...

How do You Know if it’s Time to Consider Assisted Living?

Whether we are talking about you, a spouse or a parent, it’s not always crystal clear if it is time to consider a move to an assisted living facility. One of the key considerations is whether you, your spouse or parent needs more personal care than is available at home or in an independent living community. Safety is a huge consideration. For example, have there been any recent falls or balance issues? What about leaving the stovetop on or any other signs of forgetfulness? If you or your loved one has fallen or left the stovetop on more than once, it might be time for assisted living accommodations. Some additional safety considerations include whether you or your loved one is: Still able to drive. Prone to wander. Struggling with eyesight. The answers to these questions should be part of your decision-making process. Other issues/questions to consider include: Dietary issues. Is the elderly person losing weight, or unable to get to the grocery store or cook for themselves? Housekeeping. Does the home look less tidy and more cluttered than usual? Is unopened mail accumulating? Are the dishes getting washed? Hygiene. Are you or your loved one wearing the same clothes day after day or struggling with personal bathing or toileting? Social. This is a consideration that is often overlooked. Are you or your loved one alone more often than not, not calling or seeing friends frequently, or no longer attending church or other regular social activities? Assisted living facilities, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, help with all of these issues. At Country Home, you or your...

15 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

Choosing an assisted living facility for you or a loved one can be a difficult process. First, it marks a major change in one’s lifestyle. Second, you want to find a place that is a good fit – one that will provide adequate accommodations for years into the future. When reviewing your options, it is very important to consider personal needs, and to trust your feelings and reactions when visiting possible locations. In my 18 years as the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, I’ve learned firsthand the difference it makes when facilities are properly vetted. So here are 15 questions to get you started. Is the facility licensed? What is the admission criteria? What is the starting price and what does it cover? If applicable to your situation, be sure to also ask if Medicaid is accepted. What are the room sizes and are they private or semi-private? What about bathrooms? How many residents live at the assisted living facility? What is the ratio of residents to staff? What type of care is provide? What type of meals are provided? If applicable, you’ll also want to ask if special diets can be accommodated. How is housekeeping/laundry handled? Are cable TV and Internet service provided? What types of activities, such as outings or art classes, are available? Is transportation available to and from doctors’ offices? Can a personal family physician be involved in providing medical care? Are family members welcome to visit and/or take their loved ones out for a family activity, lunch or doctor appointment? What are the reasons for which a resident can be...