A DOZEN WAYS TO RECOGNIZE AN ELDER

Posted on December 21st, 2011 | Comments Off on A DOZEN WAYS TO RECOGNIZE AN ELDER

  1. An elder is someone who is older than you, born before World War II and looks like your mother (or grandmother) depending on your age.
  2. An elder is someone who remembers the Civil War, both World Wars and in a few years Vietnam.
  3. An elder is someone who drives slower than you and doesn’t get cited for “reckless” driving.
  4. An elder is someone who almost always has an opinion that you may get whether you want it or not.
  5. An elder is someone who at one time made homemade cookies, jam and never talked about calories or carbs.
  6. An elder is someone who, believe it or not, at one time was young, sexy, in love and a “catch.”
  7. An elder is someone who piloted an airplane, worked in a logging camp, built ships for war, managed a corporation or ran for high political office.
  8. An elder is someone who loves babies and small children preferably in small doses.
  9. An elder is someone who is cost conscious about almost everything but will regale you with travel stories taken during early retirement years.
  10. An elder is someone who has lived a long time, gathered an accumulation of life experiences, has much knowledge to share, and is but waiting to be asked.
  11. An elder is someone who is a role model for our future, a gem to be cherished and appreciated.
  12. An elder is someone who enriches our perspective on life.

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

LAUGHTER IS STILL THE BEST MEDICINE

Posted on December 7th, 2011 | Comments Off on LAUGHTER IS STILL THE BEST MEDICINE

For some people, life after 65 represents the golden years, but for others it’s filled with a plethora of doctor visits that can make life a drag. One of the best ways to feel better is also the simplest:  laughter.

Never say, “Never.”

It is never too late to start letting the little things go, and looking for opportunities to make light of silly situations. One way is to look for ways to connect with people who have a slightly skewed – even ridiculous – take on things.  They will bring you more joy and help you react to things less seriously. Try reminding yourself every day of the importance of laughter, and you may even be able to affect change in those around you.

Scientists are still learning how and why laughter benefits our health.

Laughter is a natural impulse. It may not be as important or automatic as breathing or blood pumping, but it is right up there with crying or scratching an itch…only better. You know that laughter is good because it feels great at the time and you feel better afterward.

Norman Cousins had the right idea!

Ever since Norman Cousins wrote his book, Anatomy of an Illness, in which he personally explored the benefits of laughter, scientists have been researching laughter benefits. What they know for sure is that laughter relieves pain. Cousins liked to watch the Marx brothers and Candid Camera on television when he was ill, and claimed that 10 minutes of laughter helped him sleep for two hours without pain.  According to Cousins, “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.

Laughing is good for you!

Some doctors now recommend getting 15 minutes of laughter every day. They believe laughing benefits health in the following areas:

  • Good Hormones – Laughter produces the natural feel-good endorphin hormones, which can help reduce stress, aid relaxation and sleep and produce a natural “high.”
  • Mini Workout – Pioneer researcher William Fry compared exercise to laughter, concluding that just one minute of “hearty laughter” elevated his heart rate to the same level it reached after 10 minutes on a rowing machine.
  • Heart Health – Laughter increases blood supply and expands the inner walls of your arteries.

The most satisfying laughter is shared. Think back to the last time you really laughed. Were you alone? Probably not. Couples know that laughter is a superglue-like bonding experience, allowing them to achieve intimacy and smooth over ruffled feathers with a single snort.

Families benefit from shared laughter.

Siblings can become best friends. After all, it is hard to dislike a person that makes you laugh. Laughter is infectious. Laughter gives you the ability to make choices when everything seems to be out of your control. Instead of falling apart at provocation, you can choose to laugh about it, which in turn makes you feel like you’re in control.

Laughter can help you survive with your sanity intact.

Laughter is helpful in large and small doses, but it is best when it is spontaneous. When you experience a good laugh, your brain secretes endorphins and the movement of laughter within your body actually exercises many muscles of the body. Endorphins are the “feel-good” brain chemicals, which raise both your mood and your ability to cope.

Humor helps to keep your body strong.

Laughter is one of the body’s safety valves; a counter balance to tension. When we release that tension, the elevated levels of the body’s stress hormones drop back to normal, thereby allowing our immune systems to work more effectively.

Yes, laughter is actually is the best medicine and good for our health!

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

Be Here Now & Keep the Glass Half Full

Posted on November 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Be Here Now & Keep the Glass Half Full

Caring for a family member is emotionally taxing, especially in the case of memory loss. You can reduce your distress by concentrating on the present moment, the here and now, and by thinking of your relationship with a loved one as the glass half full.

Seize the Day!

Try to observe yourself while in your caretaking role. Identify your thoughts. Remember that “should haves” and “if onlys” are based on trying to rewrite the past, while “wants” and “what ifs” focus on the future. Both prompt anxiety and depression.  Be here now, for the day!

Life Is a Series of Precious Moments.

It is important to acknowledge your negative feelings without judging yourself. Accept what is. What’s happening now is a done deal. Simply allow it, don’t fight it in your mind, and you’ll be less stressed. Focus on the present. Stay out of the past and future in your thinking. Take a few deep breaths. Shift your attention to create room for something positive right now. Think of something that engages one of your senses; the taste of your coffee, the color of the sky, or the music on the radio.

Refresh and Be Refreshed.

Repeat as needed to refresh your outlook!

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

BE PREPARED…THEN LET IT SNOW

Posted on November 23rd, 2011 | Comments Off on BE PREPARED…THEN LET IT SNOW

“Advice is like snow–the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks, into the mind. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

It’s time to prepare for the winter.  All around us we see squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, birds preparing to fly south and shorter daylight hours. Now, it’s our turn to get ready for winter, and the possible winter snow storms that can knock out power. Let’s start with a home emergency kit, a must have for the home of every citizen, especially seniors.

Emergency Kit Essentials

Your home emergency kit should have food, bottled water and supplies to live on for at least 3 days or longer. Keep your emergency kit all together in your home, and in an easy-to-carry container in case you need to leave quickly.

Below is a checklist of items that should be included in the emergency kit:

  • Bottled water (for at least 3 days)
  • At least a 3-day supply of foods that won’t spoil
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and extra  batteries
  • First Aid Kit with: bandages, gauze pads, antibacterial wipes, latex gloves, scissors, safety pins and aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Heavy socks
  • Hats and gloves
  • Extra clothing and blankets
  • Cash (ATM’s may not work
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Extra house keys
  • Paper towels
  • Tooth brush and paste
  • Feminine supplies
  • Soap
  • Towels & washcloths
  • One-week supply of medications
  • Extra glasses

Now you’re ready to roll! With all the necessary supplies on hand, look out the window, and enjoy the beauty of falling snow.

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL CAREGIVERS MONTH

Posted on November 18th, 2011 | Comments Off on NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL CAREGIVERS MONTH

November is a time to honor those who facilitate a lifestyle that offers giving support and as much independence as possible to older adults.

Family Caregivers

President Barack Obama declared November as National Family Caregivers Month stating, “Across our country, millions of family members, neighbors, and friends provide care and support for their loved ones during times of need. With profound compassion and selflessness, these caregivers sustain American men, women and children at their most vulnerable moments, and through their devoted acts, they exemplify the best of the American spirit.”

Statistics from the Administration On Aging show that the population 65-years-old and older is expected to grow from its current 13% to 19% of the total population by 2030. With the older population increasing, the need for elder care giving will continue to increase.

Career Caregivers

Outside of family caregivers, we need to salute geriatric caregivers who perform a wide variety of roles that tend to the needs of seniors who live at home and in facilities.  Depending on the clients’ level of independence, job responsibilities of caregivers range from light housework, shopping, cooking, scheduling and driving clients to appointments, stores and social engagements, to reminding clients to take their medicine and assist them with bathing, dressing, grooming and using the toilet.

Certified Care More Important Than Certificates of Education

Although no specific educational degrees are required to become a geriatric caregiver, reputable care giving agencies require their job applicants to pass psychological and other tests, including background checks. Certified agencies, like Elder Connections, must meet strict federal requirements for patient care and management.

Providing Quality of Life Is Demanding

The physical demands of care taking can be rigorous. Duties may include light nursing, changing surgical dressings, giving medications, or changing bedpans. The emotional demands can also be rigorous. Patients may be difficult, depressed or violent and in as much need of emotional attention as they are of physical attention. But good caregivers derive great satisfaction from knowing they are helping their clients enjoy a better quality of life.

Celebrate Those Who Celebrate Others’ Well-Being

Our caregivers help the elderly live more comfortably at home or in a senior care facility. We ask you to please acknowledge them with a note, a gift of thanks or even an offering of your time to give them a needed break. Please let the people who graciously accept their duties to our beloved seniors that their service is recognized and appreciated.

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

PATIENT ADVOCACY: GERIATRIC CARE MANAGERS LEAD THE WAY

Posted on October 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on PATIENT ADVOCACY: GERIATRIC CARE MANAGERS LEAD THE WAY


For the past 13 years, I have been an active member of The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.  Obtaining my Certification from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers was a highlight of my career.

We’re Not Caring Just for Seniors, Anymore

As the years have gone by, it has been amazing how our mission to take care of seniors has expanded.  We could not have known how many younger people we would be helping.  Trust Officers have referred children with special needs to us.  The National local MS Society asked that we be a provider of Care Management services to their members.  All these relationships have given us the opportunity to manage people who have chronic health issues that require our expertise as advocates of their care.  We find our practice shifting and so do many of our colleagues across the country.

We Provide Care, Resources, Services and Advocacy to Every Age Group

This role is one that Geriatric Care Managers have had since our inception in the 1980’s.  We have developed as a profession to have certification be the core unifying factor in the disciplines of human service professionals who can call themselves, “Professional Care Managers”.  With a code of ethics and high professional ideals, we have been striving to care for and protect those who are facing medical challenges and require an advocate to lead them to the care, services, and resources they need to live the highest quality of life.

Trust Only Certified Professionals to Provide the Best Care and Support

The term Patient Advocate is one that you will be hearing more and more frequently in the years ahead.  It is important to be certain that your Care Advocate meets the criteria to function in this capacity.  Always choose those who are certified as a Professional Geriatric Care Manager. These professionals will always possess the highest integrity and skill to help navigate the health care system to protect, promote, and enhance those seeking the best care and support.

Beverly Bernstein Joie, MS, CMC

President Elder Connections

HELPFUL TIPS WHEN DEALING WITH MEMORY LOSS IN OUR ELDERLY PARENTS

Posted on October 19th, 2011 | Comments Off on HELPFUL TIPS WHEN DEALING WITH MEMORY LOSS IN OUR ELDERLY PARENTS

Caring for a family member is emotionally taxing, especially in the case of memory loss.  You can reduce your distress by concentrating on the present moment, the here and now, and by thinking of the glass as half full.

Today Is THE Day

Remember to observe yourself as you are in your caretaking role. Identify your thoughts. Remember that “should’s” and “only’s” try to rewrite your past, while “I wants” and “What if’s” focus on the future. Both prompt anxiety and depression. Be here now!

It Is What It Is

It is important to acknowledge your negative feelings without judging yourself. Accept what is. Life is a series of moments. What’s happening now is a done deal. Simply allow it, and don’t fight it in your mind, and you’ll be less stressed.

Concentrate on the Power of Positive Thinking

Focus on the present. Stay out of the past and future in your thinking. Take a few deep breaths.  Shift your attention to create room for something positive right now. Think of something that engages one of your senses:  the taste of your coffee, the color of the sky, or the music on the radio.

Seek Out Support from Friends & Professionals

Repeat as needed to refresh your outlook!  And remember, you don’t have to manage this alone.  Reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association and join one of their excellent support groups.  Speak to a trusted friend.  Call a Geriatric Care Manager.  Dementia is not a one person play!

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections

THE MONEY CONVERSATION WITH THE SENIORS WE LOVE

Posted on October 12th, 2011 | Comments Off on THE MONEY CONVERSATION WITH THE SENIORS WE LOVE

Some of my closest moments with my mother occurred when she trusted me to help her with her bills, check book and banking account. At first, I simply sat with her and went over the bills, made out the checks, and gave them to her to sign. A year later, Mom authorized her checking account as a joint checking account so that either one of us could sign the checks. In time, Mom was relieved and confident in turning over the entire process to me.

Money Matters Do Matter

When should you take over Mom or Dad’s checkbook? Money matters are intensely private.  No one wants to infringe on a family member’s independence; yet, it is often through financial mishaps that you may become aware of changes in your parent’s memory and/or thinking.

When to Know When It’s Time to Step In

Identifying the Signs of Financial Loss of Control in Seniors

1. Difficulty counting change

2. Difficulty balancing a checkbook

3. Frequent late payment of bills

4. Confusion about banking transactions

5. Unusual or repetitive purchases

6. Accusations that others are stealing from them

7. Investing in “get rich quick” schemes

Offer Help, Not Criticism

Offer to help in a way that saves face for your family member. For example, “Gosh, it looks like you’ve forgotten to pay your gas bill. You’ve got so many other things to do.  You know, there are some easy ways to take some of these chores off your plate.”

Take Advantage of Automatic Banking

In addition, a number of safeguards are available

  • Set up auto deposit of Social Security and other retirement income
  • Arrange for overdraft protection at the bank
  • Initiate auto payment of bills &/or third party notification if a bill is not paid
  • Consider a joint bank account

One Less Worry, Much Less Stress

At first, keep reassuring your parent that he/she no longer has to worry about the bills, and that you are making sure everything is paid. Very quickly, your parent will trust it is all in your good hands. This will give the two of you more time to simply talk and enjoy each other’s company without the burden of financial concerns.

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Care Manager at Elder Connections

HELPFUL TIPS TO LESSEN FEAR’S GRIP ON SENIORS

Posted on October 5th, 2011 | Comments Off on HELPFUL TIPS TO LESSEN FEAR’S GRIP ON SENIORS

It is wise to be cautious about crime, but extreme fear may trap some elders at home unnecessarily, undermining their quality of life. Such fear, it turns out, is out of proportion with reality. Here are some facts:

The Reality of Senior Crime

  • Seniors are victims of crime far less often than people in other age groups.
  • Older adults are rarely victims of violent crimes.
  • Seniors are known for carrying cash. Wallets in back pockets and dangling purses create grab-and-go opportunities.

Be Aware of Who, What and Where

The best advice is:

  1. Live smart – stay focused when out on the street, and observe what’s around you. At home use door locks. Buddy up to go to the bank.
  2. Be prepared.
  3. Use direct deposit for Social Security payments.
  4. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.
  5. Keep your purse under your arm, not hanging from your shoulder.

Forewarned Is Forearmed
If you are concerned about the person you care for, these tips can help you support your relative’s safety and address his or her anxiety.

Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Care Manager with Elder Connections

Better Senior Care in Senior Living Communities

Posted on June 14th, 2011 | Comments Off on Better Senior Care in Senior Living Communities

BY:  Beverly Bernstein Joie, MS, CMC
President Elder Connections

How Seniors Remain At Home:  The Village Movement is One Answer

According to AARP, 90% of people want to remain at home.  Yet, staying at home is challenging when needs increase and health declines.  As the aging demographic tsunomi continues the pressure on social services and alternative living communities will overburden a system which is already compromised.  The expense to both families and our society is astronomical.

The Village Movement

The grass roots “village” movement is one answer.  Run by volunteers, communities are organizing a neighbor-to-neighbor approach to help people stay at home.  Here is how it works:

•   Members of the village pay a membership fee each year.  Some villages are all volunteer, while others have paid staff.

•   Villages provide discount dues for the lower-income elderly

•    Some of the services villages provide are gardening, shopping, driving, and household repairs.  It fills in the tasks that often become difficult when a person ages.

•    The Village Movement is NOT a social service agency.  But, typically there are relationships with trusted providers of services such as home care and care management.

The Village Movement Evolution

The Village Movement began in 2001.  Beacon Hill Village in Boston was the very first.  This consumer-driven and consumer run Village has an executive director with unpaid volunteers and paid staff.  Interest in it was immediate and continues across the United States.  This year it partnered with NCB Capital Impact, a non-profit community development group, to launch the national Village-to-Village Network.  Met Life Foundation is one of the sponsors as is JP Morgan Chase.

The Village Movement Today and Into The Future

NCB Capital Impact reports that there are currently 54 operational villages with hundreds more in development.  Philadelphia’s Penn Village has been highly successful as it serves Old City and now other Center City neighborhoods.

The concept of neighbors helping neighbors was a cultural norm of an earlier time.  Harkening back to a gently, more friendly moment in our society, this grass roots cooperative living alternative has organically shifted people.  Caring for each other can generate the autonomy and freedom we all seek.  Neighbor-helping Neighbor – what a “new” idea!

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