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Tech Services to Help You Care for Your Aging Parent From Afar

Across town or across the country, it’s tough to look after an aging parent when you left the nest years ago. But sometimes, moving home or having elderly parents move in with you simply isn’t an option and you’re left to navigate caring from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

It’s not an uncommon problem: It’s estimated there are as many as 7 million long-distance caregivers in the U.S. Thankfully, technology is making his challenging dynamic much easier to manage. If you’re a long-distance caregiver, here are four high-tech solutions you should be using.

Video Chat

The best way to keep tabs on your senior parent’s health is to talk regularly. While chatting on the phone is nice, but it doesn’t offer much insight into a person’s well-being. Video chat services like Skype, on the other hand, let you see a loved one’s face, making it easier to tell if she’s feeling unwell or upset.There are plenty of free video chat services on the market so you can converse without worrying about running up the phone bill on either end. If your parent isn’t quite tech-savvy, there are easy-to-use video chat devices designed to make this technology accessible to senior users.

Fall Detection

If you’re wondering if automatic fall detection is an important tool to have in your long-distance caregiving arsenal, consider this: Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for the elderly in the U.S., with one in four seniors over the age of 65 falling annually. Over 27,000 seniors will die from falling every year, and another 800,000 will be treated for fall-related injuries. With automatic fall detection, you can be alerted if your elderly parent falls and is unable to get up. Most fall detection sensors come with a feature that automatically calls emergency services when there’s no movement following a fall, so you can rest assured your loved one will get help as quickly as possible.

Smart House Technology

The technology behind smart homes is complex, but the concept is simple: A smart home lets you control basic home functions like temperature, lighting, entertainment, and security systems through devices like phones or tablets. In more advanced systems, the technology can even learn residents’ habits and take anticipatory action.

For seniors, smart technology means a big improvement in everyday convenience. No more fumbling for a light switch during a late-night bathroom trip or walking across the house to make sure the front door is locked.

For seniors’ caregivers, it means major peace of mind about a loved one’s safety. Motion detectors let you know if an elderly parent hasn’t gotten out of bed or if she left the house and hasn’t returned. Smart pill dispensers use auditory and visual cues to remind seniors when a medication is due and let caregivers know if a dose is missed. Smart home technology can even be paired with wearable sensors to provide live data on a fragile senior’s vital signs, sleep patterns, and activity level.

Web-Based Domestic Help

Not every long-distance caregiving problem can be solved with technology alone; however, even in those instances technology is a helpful tool for finding the right solution. Caregivers can easily find personal help for their elderly parent by using web-based hiring services for domestic helpers.

A number of websites make it simple to hire trustworthy services for your parents from afar. You can find professionals to provide help with housekeeping, lawn care, rides to appointments and social outings, among others. If your parent has a beloved pet that she’s struggling to keep up with, you can even hire in-home pet care to help with walks, grooming, and vet appointments. If you’re looking to hire a helper for your elderly parent, consult reviews from prior clients to find someone you can trust.

Being a caregiver for an elderly parent is hard no matter where you are. Looking after a loved one’s well being from a distance adds its own unique set of challenges, but modern caregivers have more opportunities than ever to maximize the depth and quality of their involvement thanks to these innovative technologies.

Written By Maria Villeza from Elder Impact

5 Best Foods For Memory And Focus

Recently, food critics and scientists are advising the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a healthier heart, a stronger life, bones, and a reduced risk for high blood pressure and reduced risk for diabetes. In addition, lowering your risk for dementia has been linked to the foods you eat. Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine suggests thatthe Mediterranean diet, or “Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging.”

New research through the Alzheimer’s Association International has linked that healthier older adults who follow the Mediterranean diet lower their risk of dementia by a third. In addition, our genes activity is based on four main factors: diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. Diet is the most important as our eating habits directly affect our genetic make-up. Moreover, Claire McEvoy’s study investigated “eating habits of nearly 6,000 older Americans with an average age of 68. After adjusting for age, gender, race, low educational attainment and lifestyle and health issues — such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, smoking and physical inactivity — researchers found that those who followed the MIND or Mediterranean diet had a 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment.” She conducted that most people who remain on these healthy diets function better cognitively.

What is the Mediterranean or MIND diet?

More simple than one may think. The Mediterranean diet is based off plant-based cooking, whole grains, seeds and beans, nuts, with most of the meal focusing on vegetables, fruits, and a heavy emphasis on extra virgin olive oil. Refined sugar, flour, processed foods, and unhealthy fats should never have been consumed. In America, we tend to base our meals around protein. However, the Mediterranean diet suggests we eat more fish, and use meat or eggs as a small portion for flavoring a dish. Moreover, “MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, with DASH standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” This diet suggests we reject stick margarine, red meats, cheeses, fast foods, fried foods, and sugars. Rather, eating at least six servings of green leafy vegetables a week, or once a day. Spinach or kale will hold the highest number of phytonutrients which are anti-inflammatory.

Take a look at the evidence: “In 2015, she studied 923 Chicago-area seniors and found those who say they followed the diet religiously had a 53% lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s, while those who followed it moderately lowered their risk by about 35%. Follow-up observational studies showed similar benefits.”
Certain foods will raise inflammation in the body: processed foods, sweets, fatty foods, and anything fried. Increased inflammation leads to a shrinking aging brain which can lower cognitive function and lead to memory loss. Moreover, foods rich in antioxidants, that maintain healthy microbiome in your gut will help maintain a healthy body; think of your tummy as your second brain!

Here are five brain foods to put into your diet if they aren’t already!

1. Avocados: Even though many people think avocados are high in fat; they are, the good kind! Mono-saturated fats are contained in avocados which help maintaining blood sugar and are great for your skin. Folate and vitamin K also prevent blood clots in the brain, helping protect yourself from a stroke all the while improving concentration and memory function. Avocados also have the highest protein content and lowest sugar in the fruit family.
2. Blueberries: one of the highest antioxidant fruits on the planet, packed with vitamin C, K, fiber, and gallic acid. Gallic acid helps protect the brain from stress and degeneration. Eat daily if you can!
3. Beets: Root vegetables are some of the most nutritious kinds to eat. Natural nitrates in beats reduce inflammation and are packed with anti-cancer antioxidants. Beets are delicious cut and roasted or shredded raw in a salad.
4. Broccoli: Another vegetable you cannot eat enough of. High in fiber, full of vitamin K, vitamin C, and choline. Just one cup a day fills you with enough Vitamin C needed for your daily intake.
5. Bone Broth: Instead of purchasing a chicken breast at the store, purchase an entire chicken to roast to create bone broth afterwards. Bone broth is great for your brain, boosting immune system, improving your joints, and great for your gut biome. Making it at home is essential as bone broth at most grocery stores are full of sodium, be sure to read your labels or purchase low sodium if you cannot make your own.

Let’s Get Moving! How Seniors Can Relocate into Their Dream Home at Any Age

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Cristian Newman

Retirement is supposed to be the most joyful, relaxing time of your life. Of course, you still have to deal with everyday stressors, financial challenges, and – for many seniors – possibly even the need to move. Moving can be stressful for anyone at any age. Many seniors, however, have extra reasons to be careful during a move. You’ll want to avoid financial scams, make sure your new home is a good fit, and take steps to avoid injuries or damages during your big move.

Whether you’re moving into a retirement home or simply downsizing into something more manageable, here’s a quick guide to relocation during your Golden Years. Here are four tips for seniors who are planning a big move:

1. Many seniors who are looking to purchase a new home end up facing some financing challenges. For this reason, Aging in Place recommends having a financial plan, which can enable you to purchase the home of your dreams while continuing to live a secure retirement.

2. See if a loved one, such as a family member, would be willing to come over and help you sort through your belongings to organize and declutter. It can be difficult determining which items you will keep and which one you will discard. You’ll want to honor your feelings while also being practical; remember, your new home may be smaller than your current home, and there may be items you no longer need or use.
Some beloved treasures might do better in storage, rather than your new home.

3. You’ll also want to do a final walk-through of your former home before locking up. The last thing you’ll want to do is leave anything behind! For this step, it can be helpful to have a relative, friend, or other trusted loved one assist you. This is an emotional process, especially as you might be leaving a home where you’ve spent decades, if not the majority of your life.

4. One last tip: take the time to consider where you will find assistance during a big move. You can start by reaching out to your family, friends and loved ones – perhaps even the same people who assisted you with the above steps.

Of course, not everyone has family and friends who are able to help them on moving day. If your family and friends are unable to assist you, don’t worry. You may simply want to consider hiring help for your move. If that’s the case, you’ll want to find a professional and reputable moving crew. You can do this by asking trusted friends and relatives who they might recommend.

Once you’ve found a moving crew, be sure to clearly and properly communicate with them before the move to ensure things go according to plan. You don’t want anyone to get injured or any items to be broken. Also, take steps to plan ahead so you can ensure you’ll have the proper moving supplies that you’ll need, such as moving boxes.

Just like anything else in life, your moving day might not go 100% according to plan. However, by following the tips listed above, you’ll be well prepared to handle any unexpected situations that might pop up. Best of all, you’ll feel confident in your abilities to get your belongings from your old home to your new one safely – and in one piece.

Author: Jim Vogel

How Can Seniors Protect Their Identity?

Identity theft is nothing to joke around about and with seniors being one of the most vulnerable demographics, it’s important to know which services are best for monitoring suspicious activity and identity recovery. The research team at Reviews.com recently spent months exploring different protection services and these are their top choices:

Identity Force: Identity Force gathers all the right features (power of attorney, $1MM of insurance coverage, and personal information monitoring) into a clean, easy-to-use dashboard. We also really liked how painless Identity Force made it to remove personal information from the web: It required just the click of a button and was the easiest-to-use feature of its kind that we saw. Plans start at $13 a month for UltraSecure, — the cheapest full-feature plan on the market — but note that you’ll need to upgrade to UltraSecure+Credit ($20 per month) if you want credit monitoring.

ID Watchdog: ID Watchdog’s layout and design might seem really outdated, but don’t count it out. It’s the only company that offers rehabilitation for previously existing thefts. Other services require you to discover the theft during your membership before they’ll take action — and this makes ID Watchdog a standout choice for current victims. Plans start at $15 per month and come with $1 million dollar identity theft insurance coverage (the industry standard). If you want to monitor your credit, you’ll need to opt for the $20-per-month Platinum plan, a cost on par with Identity Force’s UltraSecure+Credit option.

LifeLock: LifeLock’s reputation isn’t squeaky clean, but it offers the most customization alerts of all our picks. Plus, you have the option of speaking with a live rep who will help you understand the significance of the alerts — and how to deal with them. Plans run from $18 per month (Standard) to $27 per month (Ultimate Plus). Another feature we liked? LifeLock’s $18-per-month Advantage plan is the cheapest to offer black market website surveillance and identity monitoring. (Those features don’t kick in with Identity Force until you buy its UltraSecure+Credit plan for $20 per month.) We also expect LifeLock to learn a few skills from its new parent company, Symantec, but we won’t know exactly what this means for customers until the merger closes sometime in 2017.

Credit Sesame: Credit Sesame’s $20-per-month Platinum Protection was the only one of its plans that satisfied our baseline criteria (three-bureau credit monitoring, ID monitoring, and power of attorney), but it surprised us with a feature we didn’t see anywhere else: “full service white-glove identity restoration.” Instead of just providing you with handy instructions for canceling lost credit cards (like the rest of our picks), Credit Sesame handles the entire process for you. Also: Get prepared for a lot of unavoidable credit card offers.

For their full review, check out http://www.reviews.com/ identity-theft-protection-services /

Choosing A In-Home Care Company

Choosing the right in-home care agency for your loved one can be hard, but it is very important to ask the right questions before choosing. In-Home Care can be a range of non-professional to professional health care services that provide some level of care for people in their home. Typically, in-home care serves people who are disabled, chronically or terminally ill, recovering from surgery, illness or accident. Often, people who need in-home care live alone, or need respite from their family and friends who are their primary caregivers. Depending on the licensing held by the in-home care agency, a Registered Nurse will create the care plan after doing an assessment of the home and clients needs.

There are four types of licensing in the state of Oregon:

Comprehensive: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding, medication assistance, medication administration, and nursing services which require having a full-time nurse on staff.

Intermediate-An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding, medication assistance and medication administration but does not provide nursing services.

Limited: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding but does not provide medication assistance, medication administration or nursing services.

Basic: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding or assistance but does not provide medication administration or nursing services.

It is advised that when hiring an in-home care company, you are aware of their level of licensing and whether they have a nurse on staff full time or not. In-Home Care is just as unique as the people they serve in their communities. Every in-home care client will have different needs that will change over time. Especially when working with seniors, it can be cumbersome for friends and families to continue to do small tasks such as housekeeping or running errands. As a person ages, their level of needs may increase when it comes to their activities of daily living (personal hygiene, dressing, eating, maintaining continence, transferring).

Hiring an in-home care agency is much safer than looking online or hiring a family member or friend as a caregiver. Reason being, licensed in-home care companies are required by law to run a criminal background check and (drug screening) prior to hiring a caregiver. Not only that, but you are also protected under the agency when it comes to abuse and neglect that may happen when hiring privately.

Written by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, here are a list of questions you should ask the in-home care company prior to hiring them:

1. Does the in-home care agency supply literature explaining its eligibility requirements, fees, and services? The State of Oregon requires an agency to provide their client with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines responsibilities and rights of the clients, providers, and family caregivers alike.
2. How does the in-home care agency ensure client confidentiality?
3. How long has the in-home care agency been serving in the community?
4. Who can the client and family contact with complaints or questions?
a. How does the agency follow up on and resolve complaints?
5. What procedures does the in-home care agency have in place to handle emergencies?
6. Does the in-home care agency assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care clients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits?
7. Who can the client contact or their family members contact with questions or complaints?
8. What are the financial procedures of the in-home care agency? Does the agency furnish written statements explaining all the costs and payment options associated with home care?
9. How does the in-home care agency select and train its employees? Do they protect their workers with written personnel policies and workman’s comp insurance? Do they protect their clients from theft or abusing by bonding their employees?

The Healing Powers of Turmeric

As our bodies age, reducing inflammation and preventing joint pain can be managed organically with some. With proper diet, exercise, and supplements, inflammation can be decreased.

Today I am going to share the healing powers of turmeric, a magical root that if taken regularly, can help with a variety of paint ailments: arthritis, joint pain, stomach pain, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, high cholesterol, skin inflammation, fatigue, headaches, colds, lung infections, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, kidney problems. Moreover, turmeric can also be used for skin pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, soreness of the mouth, gum disease. Turmeric cannot get rid of these issues, but can help with the underlying problem, rather than taking something over the counter to put a band-aid over the issue.

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the plant, which is commonly used in Indian and Asian food. The medicine within the turmeric is called curcumin, which is what makes the bold yellow color. Curcumin and the other chemical components of the root are beneficial in treating conditions that involve inflammation. If taken correctly, high doses are required to see results; which can be expensive. Pairing turmeric with black pepper can aid in the healing effects, according to research. Moreover, “The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin, is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.” Turmeric is also easier on the digestive track, liver, and stomach, which is a healthy alternative to ibuprofen.

Overall, keeping away from foods that aid inflammation will help improve the benefits of turmeric: sugar, gluten, saturated fats, trans fats, omega 6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, MSG, aspartame, and alcohol. Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you intake and making fish the main protein can aide in lowering inflammation.