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Helping Seniors break through the walls of solitude

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5 Helping Seniors break through the walls of solitude

When you go to work every day, you see familiar faces  and have the opportunity to socialize. Socializing keeps the mind active. Then comes retirement, and we no longer see those familiar faces, our routines change, and we lose contact. Many seniors see solitude as a wall that separates them from the outside world, leaving them helpless and imprisoned in a meaningless life.

It is essential to the emotional and mental well-being of seniors to spend time with others, as it helps prevent depression. If a senior is already depressed due to ill health, mobility issues, or the death of a loved one, spending time alone worsens depression.

Maintaining a network of healthcare professionals, friends, family, and neighbors can help break the cycle of solitude. Meaningful relationships help nurture positive feelings about oneself and boost self-esteem.

Seniors suffering in solitude may be overwhelmed by negative emotions and experience anger or sadness, feeling neglected or rejected, or even misunderstood by others. It is not uncommon for seniors to experience anxiety over feeling like a burden on others or feeling vulnerable because of diminished capacity or ill health.  The loss of a driver’s license due to cognitive or physical decline or lack of public transportation can make seniors feel worthless and dependent on others.

Coping strategies for change

Let us now discuss some coping strategies. Some seniors become more active through gardening, if physically able, and others volunteer to care for animals. Joining a book club, bowling team, or another social pursuit gives you something to look forward to regularly. Planning to regularly get together with family and friends for lunch or dinner. 

Retirement and assisted living facilities provide socialization, even for those with mobility issues. Crafting and singing are also fun social activities for seniors. Online chat forums and Facebook are great places to reunite with long-lost friends. If you are unsure how to join some of these online social activities, ask for the help of a friend of a family member and enjoy participating in an online community.  

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Is it time to hire a caregiver?

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9 Is it time to hire a caregiver?

Many seniors are happy and healthy aging in place, but they encounter physical and/or health challenges that can interfere with independent living.  Depending on the level of assistance required for daily living, a full-time caregiver may be necessary.

Family members often provide support; however, full-time or part-time caregivers may be required when constant care is beyond their availability.  Caregiver assistance can help to monitor health issues and medical conditions.

I will discuss several factors to assist in determining when the right time to hire a caregiver and how to hire a caregiver to suit the needs of a loved one.

Picture2 Is it time to hire a caregiver?

If a doctor states that it is no longer safe to live at home without constant care. If declining health is a concern, there is a risk of fall, injury, and illness. A caregiver can maintain senior safety while reducing the risk of illness.

A sure sign of difficulty performing daily activities is a change in appearance, such as disheveled dressing and not bathing regularly. You may also notice a decline in household cleanliness and organization. Hiring a caregiver can help ensure that they receive the support they need.

Basic steps in hiring a caregiver.

2 Is it time to hire a caregiver?

Long before you write a job description for the person you want to hire, you need to know what services are needed. If you are unsure where to start, ask a geriatric specialist or doctor to create a list of services that are needed. A clear job description is essential for assistance such as transportation, housekeeping, and medical assistance.

It is advisable to thoroughly research the pros and cons of using an agency or an independent contractor to meet caregiving needs. Many factors influence your decision, such as expenses, flexibility, and the risk of liability to yourself and others while attending to your needs. 

It is likely that you will have contracts to sign when hiring a caregiver  and as with all contracts, it is advisable to have a lawyer review a contract to ensure that your best interests are being attended to.

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Is your senior caregiver burning the candle at either end?

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1 1 Is your senior caregiver burning the candle at either end?

Consider hiring a professional caregiver to assist family members already burning the candle at both ends to provide a safe and caring environment.

I recently had a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend who spent 10 years as a caregiver for her aging and terminally ill mother. Her mother preferred not to hire a caregiver because she did not want a stranger at home. My friend cared for her mother without any additional assistance, until palliative care was her mother’s only option.

Our conversation was informative and at times disheartening to hear. One of the first things people say about aging in place is that it is less expensive than senior community living. There are more factors to consider when it comes to aging in place than cost benefit. For instance, your caregiver is putting themselves in a position of liability should the senior person become injured. The sole caregiver also places himself/herself at risk of burnout.

It is difficult to determine which aspect of caregiving without assistance took the greatest toll on my friends’ quality of life. There were not enough hours in a day to visit friends or socialize. It was difficult to leave the house for any length of time without worrying that her mother would come to some harm in her absence. My friend had no vacations or weekends to rest and relax.

My first question to my friend was, if you had assistance from a trained professional, what would you do with that free time? She answered that she would have taken a nap without hesitation. It was nearly impossible to obtain full night sleep. Her mother sometimes required assistance in the bathroom. No rest for the weary.

Caregivers’ burnout can lead to emotional and physical exhaustion. Loss of interest in previous hobbies. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Changes in appetite and/or weight. Difficulty in concentrating and a lowered immune system result in sickness. Withdrawal from social interactions with friends, family, and other loved ones.

At the end of the conversation, my friend stated that she was very happy with her choice to help her mother age in place and remain at her home until it was no longer feasible, but help would have been appreciated. She said there were times when she had to be a caregiver first and a daughter second. As her mother’s condition worsened, she eventually became a caregiver. She had to bury her emotions or displeasure to maintain her mother’s well-being.

I think my friend did an incredible job of caring for her mother. Her experience has made me look at the subject of ageing in place in a new light. Caregivers also need care. Aging in place is a personal preference and a blessing when family can assist with daily needs, but at what cost to the relationship? I personally would hire a trained professional to assist my family members/caregivers so that they can also preserve their quality of life.

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4 Reasons Seniors Resist Moving To Retirement Community Living

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sad 4 Reasons Seniors Resist Moving To Retirement Community Living

Change can be difficult for us no matter our age, but selling the family home and moving to a new home can raise many concerns and fears. Younger seniors often dismiss the benefits of retirement community living because they may view retirement living as nothing more than a glorified nursing home with weekly bingo nights.   Understand that those fears and concerns require patience, reassurance, and information to become confident about moving to a new home environment.

 Below are 4 reasons you may be resistant, or your parents may be resistant to moving to a retirement community even when the move makes sense.

Retirement Community Living is a glorified nursing home.

 Retirement communities have changed and are not your grandparents nursing homes. Today’s seniors are active and want to live life to the fullest. Many retirement communities today have amenities, games rooms, dining rooms and theatres. Modern living spaces are geared towards comfort and safety. There’s nothing boring or old about retirement living today! Chances are opportunities for new friendships and new hobbies add to the vibrancy of life and healthy living.

Losing independence

The last thing we want in our senior years is to be told how to live life as we age. The fear of being a burden to family members and others is real!   The fear and unwillingness to hand over control of our lives to someone else can be daunting even when it makes sense.

There is an outdated perception that retirement communities equal losing independence and that is one of the biggest reasons seniors resist the move to the community. In reality, retirement communities help seniors gain independence, not lose it!  The change from maintaining a large home to a maintenance-free lifestyle will provide you with the freedom and time to do the things you enjoy most in life.

I want to Age-in-place in the Family home with my memories.

A family home is a place filled with joy and cherished memories but aging in the family home may not be a safe place to age in place. As the body’s joints become stiff and getting around the homestead becomes physically difficult, a single-story home built for aging in place is the safest option. Waiting too long to move could be inviting an accident.

The thought of moving is too overwhelming

 Downsizing and moving is a process allowing you to adjust to the transition. It can be difficult emotionally to sort through your personal items and furniture to decide what to keep and discard. No one likes moving and for a senior it can be even more difficult to pack items  and safely move boxes. Luckily, there are many professionals who can assist with the sorting, moving and helping you setup your new home. The sooner you start the process to move and put the stress behind you, the sooner you can start enjoying carefree living in an active retirement community that’s full of life and new friendships.

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8 Questions to ask your home Inspector before you seal the deal

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1 8 Questions to ask your home Inspector before you seal the deal

You have an accepted offer on a home and now its time for an inspection. Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make so it’s important to ensure it’s a good one. Make sure to hire a certified and insured inspector for your home inspection. They will provide you with a written report outlining any potential issues that will require repair.

 It’s highly recommended that you attend a home inspection so you can ask important questions about the condition of the home and any long-term issues that will need attention. The inspection will cover the condition of the structure, electrical, plumbing and roof. They will also check for water damage and fire or safety hazards in and around the home.

This article will cover questions you can ask the inspector, so you are sure your home is in good condition. 

A home inspection usually entails a roof inspection for condition of roof and shingles, flashing and chimney and gutters. They will check the exterior of your home, windows, doors and trim. They also check for structural issues, will explore crawlspaces, and check the attic for insulation and ventilation. 

The inspector will also check plumbing, visible pipes and plumbing fixtures. The electrical panel, outlets, switches, and any visible wiring. They will check your heating systems including visible ductwork. In addition, doors and windows will be checked to make sure they are operational. 

There are limits to what an inspector can check visually as he cannot cut holes in the walls. They will flag any potential problems in the report and advise you to check with another expert.

1. What is the age and condition of the roof?

A properly installed roof should last between 20 and 30 years. The roof is very important as it protects your home from weather, water, and intrusion of pests. Ask if there are any missing or broken shingles that need replacing or if sections of the roof are covered in moss or mold.

Trees should be at least 8 to 10 feet away from the property.  They can cause damage to the roof and the roots can cause structural damage to the home. Tree limbs can damage the roof and siding. Trees planted too close to the house can affect the foundation as the tree grows. Removing trees before they become a problem.

2. Does the house have good drainage?  

Inspectors examine the exterior first walking around the building identifying any issues with the driveway, structure, and brickwork or siding. They will also check for poor drainage or improper grading around the house. They may recommend that you change the grade of the soil surrounding the house to move water away from the foundation. 

A house with poor grading could have water penetration into the basement or crawlspace and this can cause damage to the foundation and structural integrity of the home. Will the nearby trees and plants cause problems later?

3. Is the house structurally sound?

The structural integrity of a home is one of the most important elements to ensure overall safety and future value. On the exterior you might see cracks bricks, in mortar, or bulging walls. 

Inside look for things like uneven floors, cracks in walls and windows and doors that don’t open and close properly. Some settling is natural and cracks in walls will occur, but cracks suggest foundation issues especially if seen on the second floor of a home.

4. What is the age and condition of the plumbing? 

The age and condition of the plumbing is very important and can be quite costly to replace. Is there any mold issues present from leaking pipes? Check exposed pipes for discoloration, flaking and symptoms of corrosion that can lead to leaks. 

Low water pressure can be an indication of a leak you cannot see. Discoloration of water is also a sign of corrosion. Lead pipes are durable and can last forever but can be a health hazard.

5. Do you see any evidence of water damage?

Your inspector will look for signs of water damage throughout the home. Water damage can affect a home in a variety of ways so it’s important that you know what caused the damage if found. 

A house that has water damage has a musty smell throughout. You may see mold or mildew or hear dripping sounds inside the walls. Water stains on the walls, ceiling or floors should be investigated. 

6. Is the electrical system adequate or does it need an upgrade?

Have your inspector check for shoddy wiring work done by the owner and not by an electrician. Faulty wiring causes electrical fires. Does the panel need an upgrade? Make sure the wiring is not outdated aluminum wiring or knob and tube. 

Make sure everything is up to code. Ask if  there are any potential electrical hazards?

7. Is the heating system working properly?

The heating system regulates the indoor temperature in your home. What is the age of the furnace? Has it been maintained, or should the furnace be replaced? Is the duct work in good condition and has it been maintained? Have the inspector show you how to operate the heating system. If you’ve never owned a home before you may not know how to operate or maintain a system. 

8. Is there anything I need to do once I move in?

The inspector’s report will usually make suggestions for things that need to be done in the first few months or within a couple of years. As a homeowner you should have a maintenance schedule to ensure your home’s systems stays in good working order.

In closing, keep an open mind regarding your home inspection. For every problem, there’s a solution. A home inspection deal breaker exists if you and the seller can’t come to an agreement on how to handle the repair issues. take into consideration whether or not the house is priced right for its current condition. 

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16 Things to Quickly Toss When Decluttering Your Home

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1 2 16 Things to Quickly Toss When Decluttering Your Home

If decluttering your home has been in the planning for some time, we have some tips to help you get started. These simple straight forward tips will provide you with some much-needed space and organization.

Old Movies collection, CD’s, Books, and mounds of paper

Sort through your old movie collection and consider keeping only your favorites. Thanks to the wide variety of streaming services, holding on to physical copies of movies has become redundant. Same can be said for CD’s and books. Reclaim your shelf space and get rid of books you wont read again and old cookbooks and magazines. Reduce the amount of paper in your home by going paperless if you haven’t already. Scan documents and pictures and shred what you don’t need.

 Forgotten hobbies or abandoned projects

Its best to dispose of leftover crafts, art or hobby supplies that are taking up space. If these supplies are in good shape, consider a donation to a worthy charity or sell the items yourself. The same can be said for any old furniture that you have been planning on refinishing. Reclaim that space!

Extra water bottles, lidless containers, scratched Teflon plans

It is important to keep hydrated as we age, however, water bottles can start to take up a lot of cupboard space. Do you have lidless containers? How about scratched Teflon pans? If you answered yes, it’s a good idea to toss them too. Teflon pans can be dangerous and be absorbed into your food if the pan is damaged.

Mismatched Linens

Sheets, pillows, and towels wear out over time. Get rid of any mismatched or threadbare items.

Cords to Nowhere

Time to tackle that mass of tangled cords. If you don’t know what they are or to what they belong, there’s no sense keeping them.

 Old Prescription  and prescription glasses

Disposal of unused or expired medication properly. Check with your pharmacist about their return policy for unused prescriptions. Do not flush or throw away unused medication. Are you keeping glasses with an outdated prescription? You can donate them to someone in need.

Clearing out your wardrobe and linens

It is a good idea to discard clothing that you will likely never wear again. Same can be said for accessories, jewelry, old make and beauty products.  These items can take up a lot of space. If you have old towels and linens, it’s a good idea to have them replaced and throw away the old.

Doing just a few of these things may motivate you to declutter other areas of your home like the kitchen and storage areas. Good luck with your decluttering projects.

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