Posts Tagged ‘Seniors’

Tips for Avoiding Elderly Heat Stroke & Exhaustion

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Jamie

I think it’s safe to say that summer has finally arrived here in Vermont and New Hampshire. Hot weather is dangerous, and seniors are particularly prone to its threat. Elderly heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real problem. Please check on your older family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they do not have access to air conditioning. summer fan

There are several reasons for elderly heat vulnerability. People’s ability to notice changes in their body temperature decreases with age. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat. Furthermore, many medicines that seniors take can contribute to dehydration. Simple precautions are all that’s needed to keep safe. Here are some guidelines for keeping safe in hot weather:

  1. Drink Plenty of Liquids: Dehydration is the root of many heat related health problems. Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you’re not thirsty. But remember to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as they can actually contribute to dehydration.
  2. Wear Appropriate Clothes: When it’s hot out, wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and a wide-brimmed hat.
  3. Stay Indoors During Midday Hours: During periods of extreme heat, the best time to run errands or be outdoors is before 10 am or after 6 pm, when the temperature tends to be cooler.
  4. Take it Easy: Avoid exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors, when it’s very hot out.
  5. Watch the Heat Index: When there’s a lot of moisture in their air (high humidity), the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating is impaired. The heat index factors humidity and temperature to approximate how the how the weather really feels. The current heat index can be found on all popular weather websites, and is also usually announced on local TV and radio weather reports during periods of warm weather.
  6. Seek Air-conditioned Environments: Seniors whose houses aren’t air-conditioned should consider finding an air-conditioned place to spend time during extreme heat. The mall, library or movie theater are all popular options. During heat waves, many cities also set up “cooling centers,” air-conditioned public places, for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Seniors without convenient access to any air-conditioned place might consider a cool bath or shower.
  7. Know the Warning Signs of Heat-related Illness: Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately.
  8. In addition to heat stroke, heat can kill by worsening existing chronic health conditions. For example, for the many Vermonters over the age of 65 who have a chronic condition—such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes—temperatures over 87°F can put them at a higher risk of life-threatening illness. People who feel unwell or faint in hot weather are also vulnerable to serious or deadly falls. People with chronic conditions may not show typical signs of heat illness, but rather worsened symptoms of their condition. If you or someone you know has a potentially dangerous chronic condition and begins to feel sick during a hot day, pay very close attention. If you have concerns about a person’s condition, dial 9-1-1 or get immediate medical attention.

Good Read for the Sandwich Generation

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 by Jamie

Good ReadAttention Sandwich Generation Members: If you need something to read while relaxing on this upcoming soggy spring Saturday and Sunday, I highly recommend Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?  by Roz Chast It’s not new, it came out in 2014 and won lots of awards, but I finally got around to reading it. This memoir details the author’s journey with her parents aging, decline, moving and ultimately their passing.

The graphic novel style makes it an easy read. It is heartbreaking, funny, unflinchingly authentic, and relatable – if you are going or have gone through this with your own parents.

If you haven’t had conversations with your parents about the future, make it happen as real life won’t wait for you to do so. Planning is power – Good luck!

Good Read

8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Jamie

8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents
Unintended barbs cut to the quick and can’t be taken back. Here are some better options.

 
By Linda Bernstein  Published March 6, 2016 at Next Avenue

 
I’m going to say something politically incorrect here: Sometimes our elderly parents make us a little nuts. (And sometimes they out-and-out drive us crazy.) We love you, Mom and Dad, but we’ve heard the story about Aunt Cissy pouring wine into the dog’s bowl so many times we can tell it ourselves – in our sleep.

 
The repetitions, the forgetfulness, the incessant asking whether we’d like a sandwich: Eventually it just happens, and out of our well-meaning mouths tumble snarky comments and insults that we really don’t mean but they…just… slip … out.

 

“Seniors often know that their memory and cognitive and physical abilities are declining, and reminders are only hurtful,” says Francine Lederer, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles who works with “sandwich generation” patients and their parents. But even when we manage to hold our tongue, frustration lingers. That’s when we have to be doubly mindful, because by repressing those emotions, we’re more likely to have an emotional outburst.

 
“You might be justifiably annoyed,” Lederer says, “but take a step back and consider how your parent must feel as she faces her diminished capacities.” When people first start “slipping,” they are aware of the loss, and they are often terrified, scared and saddened.

 
Since forewarned is forearmed, read through these eight common things we often catch ourselves saying plus suggestions for less hurtful ways to say them.

 

 

1. “How can you not remember that!?”
That lengthy discussion you had last week with your dad about getting the car inspected might as well never have happened. Older people often lose short-term memory before long-term and forget all kinds of things we think are monumentally important, like where they put their glasses or the keys – or when to take the car into the shop.

Say instead: “See this sticker? If the car isn’t inspected before the end of the month, a cop will give you a very expensive reminder.” Place a few Post-it notes around – on the dashboard, fridge, and bathroom mirror. Add a smiley face to keep the tone light. And if you still think your parent might forget, make the appointment then call your mom that morning to remind her.

 
2. “You could do that if you really tried.”
How hard is it to change the lightbulb in the table lamp? Well, if your hands shake a lot or you can’t reach the shelf where you keep the spare bulbs – or you’ve grown wary of electrical outlets – very hard. Simple tasks, like tying shoes, can become next to impossible if you have arthritis in your fingers or your back doesn’t bend easily. And being shamed into trying something doesn’t help.

Always Be Kinder Than You Feel
Say instead: “Let me watch and see where you’re having trouble so we can figure out how this can get done.” Or if you live out of town: “Ask (so-and-so) for help.” Older Americans, like everyone else, want to maintain their independence. But if a project is truly beyond their capabilities and they either don’t know anyone who could help (Or won’t ask), you might want to try find someone who can lend a hand.

 
3. “I just showed you how to use the DVR yesterday.”
Learning new technology is tough for any adult, but gadgets with lots of buttons and options pose a special challenge for someone whose cognition or eyesight is failing. Even those of us with nimble fingers and well-functioning frontal lobes can be stymied by a new device that labels the controls differently from the one we are used to.

 
Say instead: “The blue button on top turns the TV on, and there’s one set of arrows for changing the channel and another for the volume. I’ll show you again.” Better yet – ask your parents’ cable or satellite provider to recommend an older American-friendly remote control with a simple design. Some companies give these to older people for a nominal charge. If not, purchase one at a local electronics store. Or if they’re okay following instructions, you could write or print out step-by-step directions in large, legible type and leave it near the remote or listings guide.

 
4. “What does that have to do with what we’re talking about?”
One minute you and your dad are discussing summer vegetables and the next he’s talking about a problem with the sprinkler system. What happened? Conversations with elderly parents often “go rogue” – either because they can’t keep their mind on the thread or they are simply bored and want to change the subject.

 
Say instead: “I was telling you about my garden. You love my fresh lettuce!” If the subject is important to you, try to bring the conversation back on track without pointing a finger at their slipping powers of conversation. And try to avoid suppressing genuine anger or sadness, gently explain why the conversation was important to you. Another option: Say nothing and just listen.

 
5. “You already told me that.”
And don’t you ever repeat yourself? We all say things more than once – but because elderly parents seem to do it all the time, we lose our patience with them.

 
Say instead: “No kidding?! And don’t tell me that the next thing you did was …” Yes, you can make a joke of it -but only if your parent won’t feel hurt. Best-case scenario: Your mom or dad will feel amused and relaxed enough to join in.

 
6. “I want your silver tea service when you die.”
This is wrong on so many levels. Even worse than casually referencing their death is the fact that you come off like a circling vulture.

 
Say instead: “I have been reading how it’s helpful for everyone if parents leave a list specifying what will be left to whom.” Stress that unless they make their wishes known, there may be conflict among siblings and other relatives. I know one woman who gave her children and grandchildren stickers which they could use to mark items they desired (by placing them in the back or on the bottom).

 
7. “Wake up! (Or shhhh!) I thought you wanted to see this.”
The darkened halls of concerts, movies, plays and religious services (or even the TV room at home) cue our parents that it’s time for a quick snooze – which might be OK if there aren’t people around you trying to hear the show. There’s no need to remind older people that they’re committing a faux pas. And if their hearing is diminished, they may not realize that everyone can hear them “whisper.”

 
Say instead: “Mom, I know you don’t want to miss this.” Most likely she’ll fall asleep again. Then it’s up to you how many times you want to bother with the nudges – and not take it personally that your parent fell asleep on you.

 
8. “Hel-lo?! Your grandson’s name is Ryan.”
How many times have you called your husband by the dog’s name? Mixing up appellations can be a sign of cognitive impairment – or just a normal problem with word recall. The more it happens, though, the more likely it is that your parent is moving into a stage where he needs medical intervention.

 
Say instead: “It’s Ryan, Dad. Your first grandson’s name is Ryan.” There aren’t a lot of different ways to say this: The difference here is how you say it. Don’t sound critical or angry; say it gently and with a friendly smile. If your father is truly confused, he’ll probably be relieved that you’re not offended. If it’s just a slip of the tongue, he’ll be glad you’re not annoyed. If he really truly can’t remember your children’s names, you have larger issues to deal with.

 
The most important thing, Lederer stresses, is that as our parents age, we go out of our way to maintain good relationships. “When dealing with elderly people, let your motto be, “Reframe, don’t blame,” she says. A slip of the tongue can unleash a world of hurt and ill will. As exasperating as elderly parents can be, spouting off without thinking will only make them – and you – feel bad.

We shared this on our Facebook page earlier in the week and felt it was a great addition to our blog as well! You can view the original slideshow here.

Spotlight On Our Caregivers-Jillian

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by Jamie

Spotlight-JillianArmistead Senior Care continues to shine a spotlight on our incredible Caregivers who give their hearts and souls to our clients each and every day. They are out in the community making a difference by sharing their compassion and skills in caring for our clients and allowing them to age in place. Today’s spotlight belongs to Jillian.

Although Jillian has only been with Armistead since June, she is a highly motivated young woman. She has recently earned her LNA license and has applied to enter nursing school this fall. Jillian comes from a family of nurses and ultimately, she would like to become a Certified Geriatric Nurse.

 

Jillian has strong family roots and deep connections with her extended family; respect and compassion were fostered from a young age. She fondly recalls spending Sundays with a beloved family member in her nineties.

 

Jillian was an important part of her Thetford Academy basketball team, culminating with the team winning the Vermont Division III State Championships in her senior year. With a love for sports and coaching, she enrolled at Coastal Carolina University to study Business and Sports Management. Ultimately, she decided that wasn’t for her and she returned home geared towards a new path.

 

Jillian loves to cook and bake, for both her family and her clients. She bakes a lot of muffins and scones for all and enjoys making stews and chowders. Jillian goes above and beyond for her clients; she incorporates servings for them when cooking at home. She loves arriving with food her clients especially like as it puts a smile on their faces, which in turn, puts a smile on Jillian’s.

 

When not cooking, baking, studying, walking with her two dogs, and Caregiving, Jillian also volunteers as a youth basketball coach. This season she will coach 5th and 6th grade boys on the school level plus 5th and 6th girls in the AAU basketball league.

 

Jillian really loves her job and her clients. She enjoys meeting people, hearing about their life experiences and learning from them. The most important qualities of a Caregiver according to Jillian are patience, understanding, and flexibility because every client is different and every day is different.

 

We are grateful for Jillian’s dedication and skill as an Armistead Caregiver. Thank you, Jillian!

Spotlight on Our Caregivers-Maria

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by Jamie

caregiver heartArmistead Senior Care would like to shine a spotlight on our incredible Caregivers who give their hearts and souls to our clients each and every day.

 

Maria has been with Armistead since 2014 and feels that the most important qualities of a Caregiver are patience, empathy, and respect. She exhibits all of these important qualities while meeting and developing relationships with her clients-learning about their lives, providing assistance to them and honoring who they are now.

 
Her father was in the United States Information Agency, therefore Maria and her siblings grew up in such places as Thailand, Germany, and Iceland. She graduated from high school in Tokyo, Japan. In the U.S., Maria has lived in Boston, MA and on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park where she graduated with a degree in Dance.

 
After college, Maria used her degree at the Kids Moving Company in Bethesda, Maryland. Her focus was on creative movement, motor development and dance with children two to 12 years of age. Maria has also been a Para Educator/Reading Tutor in elementary through high school settings. She has also worked with the developmentally disabled using visual motor integration.

 
Maria is currently enrolled in the Master of Science Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (PCMH) through Southern New Hampshire University. Ultimately, she is interested in helping people living through trauma.

 
In addition to her Caregiving with Armistead and her schoolwork, Maria is a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness where she helps run support groups and trains new facilitators.

 
During her limited free time, Maria enjoys walking and doing yoga for her mind and body. She carves time out of her busy schedule to spend time with special friends and family. Maria and her husband are grateful their son, a UVM graduate student in Applied Math and daughter, a Biochemistry major at Norwich University are still living at home, at least for the time being.

 

spotlight on our Caregiver's
We wish Maria all the best with her studies; we know she will make an excellent Counselor. For now, we are very lucky to have her and we are grateful for Maria’s dedication, skill and compassion as an Armistead Caregiver.

 

Thank you Maria!

 

 
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