What To Do When Your Parents Need Different Types of Senior Care

Written by Julia Merril of befriendyourdoc.org

Dr. Stacey Naito of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is a board-certified family practice physician with a wide range of interests that she shares with readers. Read more informative articles today!


Image via Pexels

What To Do When Your Parents Need Different Types of Senior Care

As your parents age, they may need help finding senior care or an alternative living situation. When that time comes, you may be faced with an unexpected challenge — figuring out what to do when only one parent needs to move into a nursing home. Dr. Stacey Naito of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog explains that by involving your parents and handling the process with compassion, you can create a smooth, loving transition.

Choosing a Nursing Home

The right nursing home is essential for your parents’ comfort, health, and financial stability. As you choose a facility, follow these steps:

  • Verify insurance coverage. Find out how much your parents’ plan will pay each month.
  • Identify appropriate facilities. Find nursing homes that accept your parents’ insurance and fulfill their care requirements. Go online to find the facilities in your area and read up on pricing information, payment options, and reviews. You’ll find nearly 80 assisted living communities in Los Angeles.
  • Determine excess costs. Calculate the extra monthly costs for each facility.
  • Make a short list. Select facilities that fit your budget, care, and location preferences.
  • Read reviews. Look into the reputation, quality of care, and services at each facility.
  • Visit facilities. Bring both of your parents to check out your top 3-5 nursing homes. Look at factors such as cleanliness, activities, and interpersonal relationships.
  • Ask about openings. Find out when a room or bed will open.

Paying for a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

In the United States, US News & World Report notes that the average room in a nursing home costs more than $100,000 per year. For a shared room, you can expect costs of more than $93,000 per year. Some ways to cover nursing home costs are:

  • Medicaid
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Savings and retirement income
  • Family contributions

Keep in mind that costs can vary significantly between states and cities. If you live in a different city, you might save money by moving your parents to a nursing home near you.

Helping Your Other Parent Downsize

Maintaining a home is a big job; when one parent moves into a nursing home, your other parent may want to move as well. Some options are:

  • Move the parent in with you or a sibling
  • Find a smaller apartment or condo near the nursing home
  • Rent a room in an assisted living facility

When your parents are moving to different places, you’ll need to deal with two moves. A moving company can make the transition easier for everyone; they can handle the packing and the heavy lifting so you can focus on your parents. For safety and security, choose a trusted company by reading moving company reviews online and selecting the best one. Ideally, the moving company you choose has experience with senior moves. 

Providing Compassionate Help to Aging Parents

Moving your parents into separate homes can be emotional and exhausting for everyone involved. As an adult child, DailyCaring points out that all of the stress can make it harder to remain compassionate. To ease the process, you can:

  • Hire a senior move manager. They’ll help with sorting, organizing, and selling belongings during the downsizing process.
  • Take personal time. Make time for your friends and favorite activities.
  • Ask relatives for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  • Get support. Join a support group to express your emotions in a safe place.

Managing the Senior Care Process

With patience and compassion, you can help both of your parents settle into new homes. Remember to put a lot thought into choosing the right senior living facility, paying for continued care, helping with downsizing, and providing all the care you can. 

Is Technology the Key to Healthy Senior Living?

Image courtesy of Unsplash

By Karen Weeks

Please check out Elderwellness.net and contact her via karen@elderwellness.net

According to MarketWatch, there are over 47 million seniors in the United States, comprising approximately 14.9% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the majority of these people have at least one chronic health condition. On the upside, advances in technology have made it easier to manage these conditions and connect seniors with helpful resources and make sure they have access to broadband internet. Here, Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog describes some of the latest products, gadgets, and apps that can make staying healthy easier as you grow older. 

Convenient apps can remind you to take your pills

At any age, it can be difficult to remember to take medication. This is particularly true if you have more than one prescription that you take daily. If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, you might want to consider a medication reminder like Medisafe Medication Management.

This is a free app available for both Apple and Android, and while it can jog your memory to take your pills on time, the app also does more than that. Medisafe checks for drug interactions, connects you with coupons and even reminds you when it’s time to request a refill. 

Fitness trackers motivate you to move

Fitness trackers like FitBit and Garmin Venu are nothing new. The first Fitbit was released in 2009. At the time it was barely more than a steps tracker, but they have come a long way since then. Today, in addition to counting your steps, most fitness trackers and smartwatches detect your heartbeat, track your sleep, record your weight, and help you set health-related goals. These tools are a great way to not only make sure you stay active but also monitor changes in your health. 

Fall detectors give you peace of mind

As you age, your risk of developing osteoporosis increases. In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation explains 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis. Osteoporosis increases the risk of broken bones which can easily lead to a fall. Falls are serious and can lead to even more serious injuries. Falls are a serious threat to anyone, and sometimes seniors can suffer from balance issues. It’s easy to see how this can become the perfect storm for an older adult.

For those who are at risk, technology has answers in the way of fall detectors. For instance, the Lifeline fall detector can detect a fall and connect you to a central communication center. If they determine you need assistance they can call for help.

There are many other devices that can help in the event of a fall. In fact, the latest version of the Apple Watch comes equipped with fall detection. In the event of a fall, the watch will call for help and send a message with your location to your emergency contacts. 

Use online tools to book a getaway

There’s nothing quite like getting away for a short vacation or staycation to get a change of scenery. Better yet, booking a quick getaway in a vacation rental offers benefits like free wi-fi and having a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook healthy meals. Many rentals also have home gyms so you can get in a workout or two during your stay. Using a service like TurnKey is a premium choice, as you get your pick of distinctive homes, 24/7 on-call service, and other perks.

Online access to insurance helps you get the care you need

Each year, the open enrollment window for Medicare is October 15 to December 7. During this time you can choose the plan that’s right for you. The best way to get started is to visit medicare.gov. Here you can find information on how to sign up and examine your available options.

Since plans like Medicare Advantage offer things like dental and vision care, many seniors find they save money on out-of-pocket expenses by making changes in coverage. With that in mind, do some exploring to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Your health is important, but staying on top of it doesn’t have to be complicated. With technology, it’s easy to track your health and stay active. And the best part is, many of these services are easy to use and inexpensive or free. 

Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is home to a wide range of lifestyle and health topics (and more!). Read more interesting articles today!

5 Healthy Habits Seniors Can Adopt in the New Year

Please check out this excellent article written by Karen Weeks, which covers healthy habits which seniors can adopt in 2021.

Image via Pexels

By Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net

A brand new year is ahead of us, making it the perfect time to adopt healthy habits like eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending time with loved ones (whether in-person or virtually). Below, Dr. Stacey Naito offers five senior-friendly habits that can be adopted in the new year — and how seniors can go about incorporating them in their lives.

1. Eat Nutritiously

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, seniors need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, B12, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and potassium in order to lead long and healthy lives. And fortunately, seniors can get all the nutrients they need by consuming plenty of fresh leafy greens, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats like avocados and fish. Supplementation may also be necessary if calcium, B12, B6, or vitamin D levels are low.

 

If you’re looking for some ways to eat better this year, try buying a new cookbook or two, purchasing a grocery delivery service, or visiting your local health foods store to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy grains, and lean proteins. If you’re thinking of paying for a grocery delivery service, some of the best options for produce include Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market, and Farmbox.

2. Exercise Often

Like good nutrition, seniors need plenty of physical activity — including strength training activities, exercises for balance and flexibility, and aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or dancing. And fortunately, there are several things seniors can do to increase their physical activity in the year ahead:

 

  • Following along to exercise DVDs or online fitness classes.

  • Walking or biking alone or with friends (while practicing social distancing, of course).

  • Parking further away from store entrances when shopping.

  • Purchasing an elliptical machine, exercise bike, or treadmill.

  • Starting and maintaining a garden.

 

If you have a medical condition or you’re experiencing body aches or pains, a physical therapist can help you to select the best exercises for you. Plus, many physical therapists are offering virtual services amidst COVID-19.

3. Socialize With Loved Ones

Socializing is tough in the age of the coronavirus, but it isn’t impossible! With senior-friendly video chat software, online multiplayer games and apps, and safe in-person gatherings (like outdoor activities and walks with loved ones), seniors can safely spend more time with their friends and family members in the new year. Regular socialization keeps seniors physically, mentally, and emotionally well — and reduces their risk of cognitive decline and depression.

4. Keep the Mind Sharp

Speaking of cognitive decline, seniors should also make time for brain games and activities in the new year. Brain games keep the mind young and healthy, fight boredom, and improve overall mental well-being. A few brain training activities for seniors include:

 

  • Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and word finds.

  • Classes on cooking, foreign languages, dance, or music.

  • Arts and crafts like knitting, scrapbooking, and upcycling.

  • Reading, coloring, and drawing.

5. Clean and Declutter

Clutter is harmful for a number of reasons. Not only does it create tripping hazards at home, but excess clutter often triggers anxiety, concentration issues, irritability, and even depression. So, if you’ve been feeling especially negative or depressed as of late, the new year is the perfect time to freshen up your living space by cleaning, decluttering, and letting in as much fresh air as possible. Redfin shares a checklist with some ideas for cleansing your home and creating a happier and healthier living space.

New Year, New You

It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and take steps to improve your life, and these five tips will help you to tackle everything from changing your diet to eliminating excess clutter at home. No matter your age, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and improve various areas of your life.

 

Looking for more health tips and advice? Visit Dr. Stacey Naito’s blog at staceynaitoblog.com.

Tips for Seniors Who Want to Burn Body Fat and Get Better Sleep

Image via Rawpixel

Please check out this fantastic article by Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net on optimizing sleep in older individuals.

By Karen Weeks

karen@elderwellness.net

It’s a well-known fact that we burn calories while we sleep. Therefore, the higher the quality of our sleep, the more fat we will burn throughout the night. But sleep and body fat are even more intertwined than that. Lack of sleep, which is common among seniors, can lead to weight gain, and excess body fat can impede your quality of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you’re a senior, there are steps you can take to maximize the calories you burn during sleep, and there are also practical things you can do throughout the day that will help you reduce body fat and get better sleep. Here’s what you need to know.

Eat Better

Eating well is a cornerstone of healthy living. And yes, it can even help you sleep more soundly.  If you’re super busy and fast food is a part of your normal routine, consider getting an electric pressure cooker. That way, you can cook fast, healthy meals at home and avoid the consequences of fast food. Before you buy anything, check out reviews of various pressure cookers to compare quality, prices, and ease of use.

It’s also worth considering that there are certain foods you can eat late at night that will give your metabolism a boost, which will help you burn more calories in your sleep. Protein shakes, pistachios, plain yogurt, strawberries, and cheese are just a few examples of healthy late-nightsnacks. Just be sure to keep the portions under control so that your body isn’t working too hard to digest, which can keep you from falling asleep.

Get a Move on It

Exercise is another thing that can help you lose body fat and get better sleep. Not only that, but it also comes with a number of mental health benefits, such as improved self-confidence and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

There are many types of exercise that are safe and beneficial for seniors. Many older adults opt for low-impact movements like swimming, cycling, brisk walking, and using the elliptical. The important thing is that you find something you enjoy and that you do it for at least 30 minutes a day, even if you need to break it into 10- or 15-minute segments.

When you have a solid exercise routine, you will have more energy throughout the day and it will help you feel more tired by bedtime. Morning and afternoon routines tend to work best for improving sleep, as exercising in the evening can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Establish a Killer Bedtime Routine

If you want to get better sleep and burn off more calories, you need a bedtime routine. This can include anything that helps you fall and stay asleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends). Also, try a variety of activities that help you wind down and get ready for sleep. Taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, practicing yoga, meditating, and reading a book are all things that can put you in the right frame of mind to drift off.

Make Your Bedroom Dark, Quiet, and Cool

Your bedroom is also important when it comes to healthy sleep, so make sure this space promotes relaxation by keeping it dark and quiet leading up to bedtime and throughout the night.

Keeping the temperature a little cooler can improve sleep as well. Moreover, consider removingthe use of electronic devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, TVs, etc.) from your bedtime routine, as the blue light emitted from the screens can be a sleep disrupter.

If you want to reduce your body fat and get better sleep, make sure you’re following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Also, create a good bedtime routine and turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. Just because poor sleep is common among seniors doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Making little changes like these might be all it takes to help you improve your overall health and well-being.

Healthy Living Tips for Seniors on a Fixed Income

Please check out this fantastic article, written by Karen Weeks, which is full of tips on how to live healthy and strong as a senior on a fixed income!

by Karen Weeks – Elderwellness.net
karen@elderwellness.net


Image by Xevi Casanovas via Unsplash

As you get older, it’s more important than ever to make your health a priority. Unfortunately for seniors living on fixed incomes, a healthy lifestyle can seem financially impossible. Nutritious ingredients, fitness classes, and other healthy living resources don’t come cheap. When money is limited, it’s hard to find room in your budget.

Forgoing healthy habits may save money in the short-term, but it costs seniors in the long-run. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent chronic illness, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re more likely to develop health problems that are costly to manage.

That’s why it’s so important to adopt healthy habits now, no matter your budget. If you’re a senior living on a fixed income, these tips will help you stay healthy without spending a lot.

Eating Well

Learn how to grocery shop on a budget
If you look at the price of packaged organic goods, healthy foods can seem out of reach. Instead of worrying about organics, focus on eating a diet high in vegetables of any (and every!) type. If fresh vegetables are too expensive, frozen vegetables are just as nutritious without the sodium content of canned goods. Dried beans, whole grains, frozen fruit, canned fish, and eggs are more cheap and healthy foods. Avoid frozen meals. While they seem like a good value, most frozen dinners are high in sodium and saturated fat.

Make use of food assistance programs
If you find yourself skipping meals or eating poorly to save money, look into food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is an especially helpful resource if you live alone and have trouble leaving your home.

Staying Active

Get cleared for exercise
It’s safe for most older adults to exercise, but it’s still wise to talk to your doctor. Your annual wellness visit is a good time to ask if you should take precautions before starting an exercise program. Keep in mind, however, that Medicare’s annual wellness visit doesn’t include a full physical. You may owe a copay if your doctor recommends bloodwork or other tests to clear you for exercise.

Exercise at home
There’s a lot of exercise seniors can do in the comfort of their homes. Basic strength and balance exercises, important for senior fall prevention, require minimal space and no special equipment. Use these 14 exercises from Philips Lifeline to get started.

Join a senior center
Do you prefer the camaraderie of group exercise? Senior centers offer tons of activities for older adults, including exercise classes like tai chi, yoga, and Zumba. Not only that, but all of a senior center’s services are available free or low-cost. No matter where you live, there’s likely a senior center in your neighborhood.

Getting Help at Home

Apply for the Assisted Living Waiver Program
If you need caregiving but don’t want to move into a nursing facility, consider assisted living. Under the Assisted Living Waiver Program, California seniors receiving Medi-Cal benefits can receive a reduced rate for assisted living. With facilities in California having a median cost of $54,000 annually, that’s a valuable benefit. However, not all facilities participate, so it’s important that seniors understand how to research assisted living facilities. Online search tools are a good place to start looking for a facility that meets your needs, but once you find one you like, you’ll need to check if it participates in the waiver program.

Get a roommate
Unfortunately, not every senior who needs help affording care qualifies for a waiver. If you could use help at home but don’t need nursing home-level care, consider a roommate. A roommate can be a housemate who splits the bills or someone who provides housekeeping and companionship in exchange for reduced rent.

Living on a fixed income forces you to get creative with your money, but it shouldn’t stop you from living well. If you’re having trouble affording the things you need to stay healthy, reach out to your Department of Aging and Adult Services to learn what resources are available to you.