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How to Find the Right Senior Housing Community

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Guest Blog: How to Find the Right Senior Housing Community
By: Derek Hobson

First let’s tackle the basics. Many people are wary of senior care homes because there’s a stigma that surrounds them; people see them as gloomy, dreary, end-of-life communities. While certainly there was a time when this was the case (several decades ago), most communities have worked hard to battle this stereotype and they have succeeded.

Many communities have done away with “institution” or “hospital” –like settings. Even more have become increasingly lenient on policies regarding residents’ possessions; some facilities have been known to permit pets and even furniture to help it feel like home. So, when the time comes to transition into one of these senior care homes, the question becomes, “How do I find the right one?”

1. Find out About Affordability
This is usually at the top of everyone’s list and for good reason. Today, people are having children later in life. This isn’t a bad thing, but it means that around the same time their kids are going off to college, their parents are starting to need extra care. This can put a lot of stress on adult children, but some senior homes provide help.

Some Assisted Living Facilities will accept private pay for a period of time and then accept the rest through Medicaid. This way, your senior does not need to move and they won’t need to fear outliving their assets.

2. Visit the Community (Often)
If you think a community looks good for your loved one, then you should visit and revisit. You should tour the facility on different days of the week at different times. This way, you’ll get a much broader view of the day-to-day.

See if people are out and about, if engaging activities are going on, and if there’s a general feeling of community. If you show up to an elder care home that looks more like a ghost town, then it’s probably not the one for your loved one.

3. Talk to the Residents & Staff
This one is critical, as nothing quite beats a first-hand view into the establishment. Ask residents if they enjoy the community, what they do on a daily basis, and if they’re happy.

When asking the staff, of course they’re not going to disparage against the home, but one of the most important things to take notice of is how they interact with the residents. If they refer to them by name and have clearly established relationships with them, then this can be a huge indicator of the level of personal care your loved one will receive.

These are the three most important criteria to face when choosing an elder care community and they should give you a well-rounded idea of the facility you’ve chosen.

By |2019-03-01T17:05:55-05:00March 20th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on How to Find the Right Senior Housing Community

4 Home Improvements Caregivers Should Make


Paige A. Mitchell
If you’re caring for a family member at home, you’ll want to ensure your house is a safe, healthy environment for everyone involved. You’ll likely have some adjustments to make in order to make your home more comfortable for an ill or impaired loved one. Consider the four home improvements below.

1. Declutter and re-decorate

Keep floors clear of toys and shoes. Strategically rearrange the furniture, so that your loved one is able to remain stimulated and engaged while they sit. For example, they may enjoy some natural sunlight and the view of nature from a comfortable chair near a window. Personal touches and familiar objects can make Alzheimer’s patients more comfortable.

2. Enhanced access

It’s important to review each room in the house to determine how accessible it is to someone who is ill or impaired. The American Association of Retired Persons’ checklist includes zero-threshold and wide entrances for wheelchairs and walkers, low light switches and door knobs that are reachable to someone in a wheelchair, and non-slip flooring and grab bars in at least one bathroom.

3. Maintain your home

Whether you’re caring for someone who is ill or not, it’s important to conduct regular home maintenance to ensure it’s a truly healthy environment. For example, replacing batteries in smoke detectors is especially important if your loved one is forgetful and susceptible to forgetting that something is on the stove. Take full advantage of your home repair insurance to save time, energy, and money on repairs.

4. Ask for help

Fifty percent of caregivers report feeling depressed. If you’re suffering from fatigue, isolation, irritable, and/or ill, it’s important to take a step back to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. Seek an expert opinion for objective advice on whether you should consider placing your loved one in assisted care.

By |2019-01-12T11:20:30-05:00January 13th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on 4 Home Improvements Caregivers Should Make

Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors


When you’ve started to notice changes in an elderly relative, you may wonder if a mental health issue is the cause. While it is important a mental health professional diagnoses these issues, some signs exist indicating that the time has come to make an appointment.

Depression
Depression can occur for a host of reasons. Elderly individuals may be suffering from the loss of a loved one, or they may feel alienated, isolated or otherwise separated from their friends or from their interests outside of the house. Individuals who seem filled with sadness and negative emotions or who are hinting about emotional turmoil may need outpatient or inpatient treatment for depression.

Anxiety Issues/Bipolar Disorder
You may also notice that your loved ones are having heightened periods of elevation followed by periods of deep sadness. They could be suffering from bipolar disorder. Serious anxieties could begin to manifest at this age too. For example, you may notice that your elderly relatives always seem to be thinking about their own death or about expected loss of other loved ones.

Memory Loss
As people age, you may think that it is a normal occurrence for them to forget information that they would have once remembered. However, these early slips could be signs of a more serious problem that is coming into fruition. Your loved ones might now be forgetting about certain dates or social events, but these struggles could turn into failures to take medication or complete other necessary medical tasks.

Personal Care
If you notice that your loved ones are not taking care of themselves as they used to, this situation could also be a sign of mental health issues. For example, you may have noticed that your relatives are no longer brushing their teeth or bathing on a regular basis. Seeking professional help can uncover the root of the issue so that a plan of treatment can be devised.

Social Withdrawal
Your loved ones might also seem to not want to participate in social activities anymore. Whether they are constantly declining invites to attend family functions or they do not want to participate in community activities any longer, these decisions could be signs that a mental health issue is present.

As your loved ones age, you may be the lookout for physical health issues. While addressing these problems is imperative, so is watching for signs of mental health struggles. May is mental health awareness month, get involved to help bring awareness to this important cause!

By |2018-11-02T17:14:15-05:00November 5th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors

Guest Blog: Four Easy Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

For many people, winter is a magical time. They get to play in the snow, celebrate holidays with family and friends, and cuddle up by the fire. But, for some, including seniors, winter can be a difficult and even potentially dangerous time.

Between the risks of slipping and falling and arthritis pain made worse by the cold weather, many seniors find themselves dreading the winter months. If you’re in this group, there’s no need to fear the cold and snow.

Read on to learn about four winter safety tips that every senior should keep in mind as the weather cools down.

1. Avoid Slips and Falls
Your chances of slipping and falling increase dramatically in the winter.

To avoid falls and potentially serious injuries, be sure to only walk on sidewalks and walkways that have been cleared and salted. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and take another route.

It’s also important to wear proper winter boots with non-skid soles. Replace the rubber tip on your cane, if you use one, too.

2. Drive Safely
You also need to take extra precautions when you drive during the winter months. Have your car checked during the fall or early winter to make sure everything is operating properly. Be sure to keep your cell phone with you whenever you drive, too.

Avoid driving on icy roads whenever you can, and stick to well-plowed, bigger roads when snow hits. They’re usually cleared more quickly than backroads.

3. Minimize Joint Pain
If you suffer from arthritis or joint pain, you mind find that it gets worse during the winter. Some things you can do to relieve your pain and stay comfortable include:

Dress warmly
Find ways to exercise indoors
Eat a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet
Use balms or creams to relieve knee pain
Soak in a warm bath or hot tub to loosen up your joints

4. Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
Finally, keep in mind that Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or winter depression, is also common among seniors, especially seniors who live alone and don’t socialize as much during the winter.

If you find yourself feeling depressed or isolated when the weather cools down, seek out new ways to connect with loved ones. Schedule daily or weekly phone calls, or arrange for family members and friends to come and visit you.

By |2018-10-19T15:27:14-05:00October 19th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Four Easy Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

On a list of the greatest fears many seniors have, failing health, hearing loss, and falling often rise to the top. One major fear that few actually talk to their families and doctors about though is losing the ability to drive. In fact, a new AAA study found that over 80 percent of older drivers never discuss their safe driving ability at all with their care networks or medical professionals.

For many seniors, driving is the hallmark characteristic that defines independence. Being able to drive allows seniors to travel, to run their own errands, to get out of their house and socialize. Losing that ability to drive doesn’t just strip those things away, but it also requires seniors to ask for help and coordinate transportation, all of which can leave them feeling like a burden on their caregivers.

What is the danger then? Well not only do older drivers who have outlived their ability to safely drive a vehicle endanger their passengers and other drivers on the road, they put themselves at increased risk for injury and even death. Because older adults typically have more fragile bones and higher rates of chronic illness that can complicate an injury recovery, they are more likely to get hurt or even die in a car crash than younger adults.

Talking About Driving with Your Aging Parent

The bottom line is that simply conducting a dialogue about driving doesn’t mean a senior will lose their license or be held back from driving. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Just as using a cane for walking empowers a senior with mobility limitations to keep moving, talking about safe driving can empower seniors to take helpful steps that keep them safe on the road.

For example, the Senior Driving division of AAA offers loads of helpful resources, tools, and information that connect seniors with local refresher courses on defensive road wise driving, help them understand how medicine can affect safe driving, and much more.

If you need to have a conversation with your aging parent about safe driving, experts recommend approaching it from a place of compassion and empathy. Instead of accusing them of being an unsafe driver, confess the concerns you feel about their safety on the road and ask them about their own perspective. Discuss helpful driving tools, safe driving refresher classes, and even consider attending a senior driving expo together.

By |2018-08-24T09:38:02-05:00August 24th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?