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Keeping In Contact With Loved Ones Who Live Far Away

guidelines-for-introducing-use-of-technology-to-older-adults

Human contact is essential to our health and well-being, especially as we age. Lack of human contact has been associated with depression, loss of appetite, increased cognitive impairment, and even hypertension. Human contact is so important, in fact, that according to the National Institutes of Health, loneliness and isolation are predictors of “declining health and poor quality of life in the elderly.

As we age, it can be hard to maintain the social contacts we need, simply because health problems and mobility issues make reaching out to the community around us increasingly difficult. This makes interactions with loved ones that much more important. They can provide that essential human contact we all need to thrive.

Unfortunately, not every family enjoys the luxury of living close enough to their aging loved ones to visit as often as they would like. Do you live too far away from your loved one to provide the face-to-face contact he or she needs to stave off the effects of loneliness and isolation? Don’t worry. Below are three easy ways you can stay in touch with your elderly loved one, even when you live far away:

 

  • Make use of good, old-fashioned snail mail. Most of us don’t even think of sending a letter these days. After all, phone calls and text messages are right there at our fingertips and just so easy to use. However, many older people still remember when snail mail was the primary means of keeping in touch with friends and family far away, and they often love checking the mailbox every day, hoping to find a hand-written treasure. Consider sending letters and cards as a way of staying in touch with your loved one. Your messages don’t have to be long or complex. Even a quick, “Thinking of you!” can brighten your loved one’s day. Knowing that a letter might come in the mail will also give your loved one something to look forward to, and a reason to get dressed and out of the house — even if it’s just for a trip down the driveway to the mailbox.

 

  • Pick up the phone. Phone calls are a great way to connect with older loved ones. Not only will they be pleased to hear from you, but you will be able to check on their well-being by noticing how fast they answer the phone and listening to how they sound. Don’t plan to just try to call “when you can,” either. If you’re like most people with a busy life, that extra hour of time simply won’t materialize. Instead, make a “phone date” with your loved one: A specific day and time when you will call each week. Coordinate with other family members, as well. You can each call on a different day, so your loved one will get some needed attention throughout the week.

 

  • Don’t underestimate technology. Technology is not just for the young. According to the Pew Research Center, 56 percent of online users over age 65 have Facebook accounts, and 31 percent of all seniors use the Internet. If your loved one is comfortable with a computer, use it as a means to stay in touch. Send emails or short, cheerful text messages on a regular basis. Use Skype, as well, for a real face-to-face conversation. If your loved one has problems configuring or using computer technology, try to be sure he or she is set up with computer, camera and mic the next time you visit. You can also enlist the help of the younger generation. The grandkids could be asked to volunteer to be their grandparent’s own, private tech-support team, available over the phone to answer any computer questions or problems that arise.

Staying in touch doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming; it just needs to be heartfelt. Taking the time to reach out to elderly loved ones is a simple gesture that will greatly improve their quality of life.

Author Bio: Michele Teter is the co-founder of Alliance Homecare, a home care provider located in the New York area. At Alliance Homecare, Teter and her team provide a range of services to match every client’s individual wants and needs.

 

 

 

 

 

By |2020-02-02T15:57:13-05:00February 16th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Keeping In Contact With Loved Ones Who Live Far Away

Guest Blog: Spotting the Signs of Substance Abuse in the Elderly

Those who are at the twilight of their lives are vulnerable not just to illnesses but also to addiction, as well. This is especially true for the elderly who are residents of various healthcare facilities as the prevalence rate of alcohol abuse disorder jumps up to 22%.

Sadly, most symptoms of substance abuse are misinterpreted for depression, natural signs of aging, and other unrelated causes.

Here are just some of the warning signs that would tell you to get some help:

1. Lack of hygiene – People with substance abuse problems hardly care about their hygiene as the priority is when they can have their next fix.

2. Slurred speech – This is quite obvious and when you see them slurring their speech every time you check up on them, chances are they have an alcohol problem.

3. Extreme mood swings – The addicted individual becomes emotionally unstable. They can lash out at you for no reason at all.

4. Hyperactivity – Stimulants like meth and cocaine trigger hyperactivity.

5. Lethargy and excessive sleeping – Prescription opioids are the most commonly abused drugs by the elderly. Abusing their medications can take a toll because of their slowed metabolism.

6. Sudden weight loss – Addicted individuals are not really eating right because, again, their priority is sustaining their addiction. Instead of buying food, they buy drugs instead.

7. Alienation – They will isolate themselves from everybody else because they don’t want to be answering questions about their physical appearance and behavior.

8. Constant lying – When they do get confronted, they lie and lie. They will also feign illnesses in order to trick their doctors into adding into their dosage of prescription opioids.

9. Frequent accidents – Their motor skills will depreciate as they grow older and that’s understandable. However, when they fall more times than usual, it could be a sign that they have an alcohol abuse disorder.

10. Mental health issues – Over time, abusing drugs and alcohol will mess up with the chemistry in their brains. They may develop depression, feeling of isolation, extreme anxiety, among others.

Senior living facilities are not equipped to deal with substance abuse. However, they do have protocols on how to deal with these situations. However, if your parents and grandparents are living on their own and you think they need help, you can search for the rehab facilities in Colorado.

By |2020-02-02T15:54:49-05:00February 14th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Spotting the Signs of Substance Abuse in the Elderly

Seniors and Pet Ownership

 

Whether you enjoy the company of dogs, cats, or even iguanas, pets have been proven to benefit seniors in plenty of ways. For many, they have become an integral part of the family. In fact, assisted-living facilities have adopted a few animals from shelters to keep residents company and uplift their spirits. Pet ownership has helped so many seniors by keeping them physically active, providing emotional support, and even improving cardiovascular health.

However, keeping up with your pet’s needs may not be as easy as it was when you were younger. Elderly individuals may be at a disadvantage when matched with highly-energetic pets. The costs of pet care are also a big consideration in this situation, especially when you have your own care costs to contend with.

To keep all the hassles and stresses at bay, we have listed a few tips in living a happy life with your beloved pets.

  • Care providers who include pets

Many care providers include pet care in their list of services. This may consist of dog walking, pet sitting, boarding, grooming, and even training. So check with your care providers if they can also accommodate your pets.

  • Maintain a regular schedule for feeding and walking

Schedules and routines do not just benefit the animals; these also can help you maintain a good quality of life. Create a schedule for you and your pets to eliminate surprises and memory lapses that could possibly come with old age.

  • Set a spending limit and sticking to it

Though pets undeniably cost money, these expenses can be cut down to affordable amounts. Many veterinarians offer senior discounts, so check if yours provides any for special rates.

There are also various pet-care support programs, like selected Meals on Wheels, which help seniors in providing food for their pets. Low-cost clinics are also a great option for individuals on a budget.

  • Create an emergency plan

Individuals get affected by emergencies, which is why they plan and prepare for it. This is also true for our pets. As their caretakers, it is your duty to ensure their safety before, during, and after an unforeseen incident.

Using Ready.gov’s list of steps to take, you will be able to safeguard and care for your pets through pet and animal emergency planning. Through this, you get to rest soundly knowing that they are protected even when you are not present.

ALTCP.org provides free long term care information, resources, long term care insurance quotes and expert planning advice for seniors and adults. Our mission is to raise awareness and promote self-education on the need to plan for long term care and buy long term care insurance.

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By |2020-02-02T15:52:58-05:00February 10th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Seniors and Pet Ownership

Dan Easton, Marketing Director for IRC, presenting Dr. Mauk’s books at Rainbowfish Rehab in Hangzhou China

By |2020-02-02T15:52:27-05:00February 9th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Dan Easton, Marketing Director for IRC, presenting Dr. Mauk’s books at Rainbowfish Rehab in Hangzhou China