The Rapidly Growing “Sandwich” Generation

Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation”? No, we’re not talking about a generation of people that like to eat sandwiches, it’s a newer growing group of individuals that are facing sometimes insurmountable challenges. This group is tasked with not only raising their own children, but also providing care for their elderly parents at the same time.

According to Pew Center for Research in January 2013, nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

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Members of the sandwich generation are oftentimes pulled (or yanked) in many different directions. The result is a mental, emotional, and financial toll that can be extremely difficult to deal with. Oftentimes, these individuals are working full-time trying to juggle the roles of several people combined. With all the added responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent can come burn-out, exhaustion, insomnia, and many other stress-related illnesses.

Here are some helpful tips to help reduce manage the added responsibilities:

◾Carve out a block of time each week to participate in a hobby or interest that is relaxing and can help you rejuvenate

◾Plan meal and schedules ahead of time to help alleviate stress

◾Talk to siblings or other family members that might be able to help go shopping, run errands, or provide companionship to your parents

◾Find a home care company that can help provide short-term “respite” care to give you a little break each week.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is available to help provide short-term/long-term and part-time/full-time care for your aging parent. We understand the importance of having someone there when you cannot be and hope you will contact us should you need assistance in the future.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

The Value of a Caregiver Support Group

Are you caring for a loved one or friend that is ill or has a disability? If so, then you join the group of over 75 million unpaid caregivers to someone 18 or older who is ill or has a disability – according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Many caregivers are holding down full time jobs and caring for their own children and sacrificing time for much needed rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. They are “unsung heros” that are devoted to helping out without the benefit of a paycheck or oftentimes even a thank you. In addition, they may be left feeling that no one understands the responsibilities or pressures they are going through and have no place to turn.

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With a support group, caregivers can be part of a forum of others going through similar circumstances to help ease some of the stress that comes from helping out others. Some of the benefits of a Caregiver Support Group include:

  • Offering an outlet to discuss worries, concerns, and struggles as a caregiver
  • Learn more about professional organizations that can provide community support for free
  • Meet new friends that can empathize with your situation and offer helpful suggestions
  • Offer helpful suggestions on how to manage time and resources

It can be very comforting being part of a group on people that are going through what you are at the same time. They can truly understanding what you are feeling and become a friend in time of need.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is committed to bringing awareness to importance and role of caregivers – both paid and unpaid. We are hosting a series of Caregiver Support Groups in the South Eastern Michigan Area to do just that. Please feel free to give us a call at 734-744-6477 to learn more.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

Seniors Suffering from Seasonal Depression

The changes in temperature and seasons can be a warning sign for aging seniors being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a type of depression that comes as a result of the reduction of sunlight coming from shortened days. Be sure to pay extra careful attention to your loved ones during this time of year to notice changes in their behavior such as: fatigue during the daytime, sadness, weight gain, lack of desire to participate in activities, or suicidal thoughts.

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Should you believe they are affected by SAD below are some recommendations to help reduce the effects of this type of depression:

Exercise – Regular daily exercise will help keep energy levels high to help ward off depressive thoughts and feelings.

Volunteer – If they are able, taking some time out to help someone in need will not only get them out of the house, but is good for the soul.

Get Sunlight – Take a break throughout the day to go outside and get some direct sunlight to increase vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supplements can also be taken to help keep levels high during winter months when it is difficult to be outside for extended periods of time.

Speak to a Doctor – If the symptoms are amplified or if you are concerned for their safety, do not hesitate to seek advice from a medical professional.

At Enriched Life Home Care Services, we offer in-home care services to help provide your loved ones with much needed personal care and companionship services. Our services can help reduce the effects of seasonal depression by being their when family members are not able to be there.

 Enriched Life Home Care Services LLC  |  www.ELHCS.com

 

 

 

With Dementia…Time is My Enemy

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared a guest blog from Rick Phelps. Rick was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010 at the age of 57. Rick is passionate about bringing awareness to this disease and is the Founder of Memory People, an Alzheimer’s and dementia support and awareness group on Facebook. In the latest blog article, Rick tells us how time has become his enemy with his disease.

“Sometimes yesterday, can seem a million years away.” This is the beginning of “While I Still Can…” a song my dear friend Dan Mitchell penned for me.

He took some of my quotes and put them to music. The reason the first line of the song is about yesterday, is because when you have dementia you have no yesterdays.

I no longer have any concept of time. I can tell time, but there is no concept of it. Ten minutes can seem like an hour. If someone says “I will call you in a half hour” that half hour is long forgotten in just minutes.

Many patients suffer with the loss of time. When you are able to tell time you need a reference point. Take for example, if you know you have to be at an appointment on a certain day, at a certain time, the first thing that goes through you mind is a reference of that time.

If it’s Monday at 3:00pm. you might reference that too it’s your first day back at work, and you have to be there when the kids get of school, at 3:00pm.

This doesn’t work when you have dementia. I can’t keep track of the time of day it is, let alone the day of the week. I have no reference to go by.

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Telling your loved one you will be taking them to the doctor tomorrow, Monday at 1:00pm means absolutely nothing. Chances are they don’t know what today is, let alone tomorrow and if you tell them they will simply forget.

Again because they have lost the concept of time. Not many people talk about losing the ability to tell time or know what day it is, but it is a huge problem for the dementia patient.

Everything you do, everything you have planned from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed at night, dictates because of your reference to time.

Right now I know it’s Wednesday, only because I just looked. I had to fill some paper work already this morning, and did it before Phyllis June was up.

That was a mistake. I put the date as September 31rst. There is no September 31rst. I looked at the calendar and everything, but still wrote in September 31.

She checked it luckily and said its Oct.1, not September 31. She didn’t go into there is no September 31, knowing that it wouldn’t register any ways.

Out of habit, you will tell your loved one about a certain date, or time. And that’s fine. It’s what you have been doing forever. Just try to remember, they have no reference of time, and will likely not remember it in just minutes.

So, if it’s important you have to be the one to make sure they are ready to go or do whatever it is at any given time.

The second verse of the song goes, “Time is my enemy, that’s why I’m living for right now.. Tomorrow just to far to think about, my heart only knows one task.”

Time indeed is my enemy. And it most likely is your loved ones as well…

We’d like to thank Rick for sharing his personal stories with us to bring awareness of this disease to others. To learn more about Rick and his story you can visit his website at http://whileistillcan.net

If you or someone you know has been touched by dementia or you’d like more information, please join other patients, caregivers, and advocates all walking this journey together at the Memory People Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259

Do You Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

You probably have a family member or friend that has been affected by Alzheimer’s. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease today. It is now the 6th leading cause of death in the US with 1 in 3 seniors dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.1

Hopefully these shocking statistics have gotten your attention.

We have all forgotten things here and there and make jokes about our memory failing us as we get old. However, experiencing the memory loss from Alzheimer’s can be completely devastating to family and friends of loved ones that are affected. Awareness of the disease is key to help with early diagnosis and treatments to help ease the progression of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The Alzheimer’s association has made note of 10 warning signs and symptoms.1

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1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2.  Challenges in solving problems

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks

4.  Confusion with time or place

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing

7.  Misplacing things

8.  Decreased or poor judgment

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities

10.  Changes in mood and personality

Take a moment to read these early signs in more detail by visiting www.alz.org®

If you notice any of these warning signs it is advised that you or your loved one see a doctor soon to discuss the possibility of having Alzheimer’s.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is committed to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We also provide respite care for friends and family that are caregivers for their loved ones.

1 Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp

Enriched Life Home Care Services, LLC  |  www.ELHCS.com

Helping Aging Parents with Money Matters

It’s all too common these days that people in their 50s and early 60s notice their elderly parents having trouble with memory loss and with handling finances. In fact, one in eight Americans 65 and over and 43 percent of individuals 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease.

Financial advisors and accountants say elderly parents and adult children alike are too slow to seek or provide help in the early stages of decline. Denial is part of it. Hoping to stay independent, parents may minimize their difficulties. Adult children hesitate to step in and help out and oftentimes ignore warning signs.

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Reporting in Smart Money, Kathleen Michon, an attorney and editor at Nolo, a provider of legal information and products, says the damage can be dire: closed accounts, damaged credit, money lost to scam artists, even foreclosure.

A mailbox stuffed with donation requests, checkbook mistakes, unpaid bills, and desks and drawers that were once neatly organized now scattered with paperwork, are all signs that help is needed.

Don’t try to suddenly step in and take over. To ease into their financial affairs, begin by offering help with such matters as filling out insurance claims, helping to adjust property tax bills or checking credit card statements.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is passionate about educating families and bringing awareness to issues facing aging loved ones. We are here to help answer questions that may arise as you are caring for your loved ones.

www.ELHCS.com  |  Enriched Life Home Care Services

How to Get the Right Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

Don’t grow old without it …

Long-term care insurance is getting more expensive and complicated. It’s also harder to get.

The insurance is now not very profitable for insurance companies. People are living longer, which drives up costs. Interest rates on investments are low, which makes it harder for companies to profitably invest premiums.

Some insurance companies are no longer offering the insurance.

273/365: 09/30/2013. Money, Money, Money!

peddhapati / Foter / CC BY

It pays to shop around for long-term care. The American Association for Long-Term-Care Insurance says coverage that is nearly identical to a few years ago can cost almost twice as much today. For a $150 daily benefit lasting three years for a married couple age 65, one company charges $317 a month, while another charges $594.

Besides age and health, the three factors with the most impact on premiums are: the daily benefit, the length of coverage, and the inflation protection you choose.

One insurance broker says, “The new reality is, something is better than nothing. Get what’s affordable and sustainable.”

If you select $250 a day for three years, you would have an “expense pool” of $273,750 ($250 x 365 x 3). If you use less than $250 a day, the pool of funds would stretch longer than three years.

Insurance experts say inflation protection is the most crucial part of a policy. People in their 50s and 60s need to make sure their coverage keeps up with costs. Age 80 is typically when people make their first claims.

The most expensive and most widely recommended inflation factor is 5 percent per year. Your pool of $273,343 would grow to $726,343 in 20 years.

You can also choose cash and flexibility. A few insurers offer policies with cash benefits up to half your monthly allowance and require no receipts. You need documentation from the doctor saying you require help with at least two “activities of daily living.” With the cash option, you can hire family members to care for you or even move to a resort. Most long-term care policies will only pay for home care if given by a person with a nursing degree.

According to The Wall Street Journal, some retirees are turning to permanent life insurance policies and deferred fixed annuities packaged with long-term care benefits. They avoid the risk of spending their entire savings on nursing care. When the limits of long-term-care are reached, bills are paid from the life insurance or the annuity. Whatever is left goes to the beneficiary upon the policy holder’s death.

You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling… Robots as Future Caregivers?

Caring, Loving, Compassionate, Considerate, Supportive, and the list goes on. These are just some of the adjectives that are commonly used to describe a caregiver. But in the near future there could be a robot that is used to provide care for our aging family and friends. Why? Because due to the rising age of the baby boomers there is concern that there may not be enough caregivers to provide care. How can you teach a robot to have feelings? I am not sure you can.

According to a recent study conducted by an article on CNN.com, by the year 2050 the elderly will account for 16 percent of the global population. In other words that is 1.5 billion people over the age of 65 (Population Reference Bureau). This is where caring for seniors whether it be physically, emotionally, and/or mentally will become an enormous task. Adding to the difficulty is also finding the properly trained, educated, and willing individuals for the job.

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Many times seniors may just need conversation and companionship. A robot may be able to provide some dialog, but it’s not likely that a piece of metal will provide much by way of companionship. Then there is the ability to act as a reminder system for those who are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s likely a robot could do that with ease. But, will it be able to create and foster that sense of love and compassion that is uniquely humane? For many families this may be the greatest question.

There are many positive benefits to the robot caregiver and many disadvantages as well. One thing that is for certain is that we must continue to provide the most compassionate and loving care for our seniors and those with disabilities that we can.

Important Home Safety Tips for Aging Seniors

Today, there are more and more aging seniors that want to stay in the comfort of their own home. For many, they are still capable of living on their own with minimal assistance. However, even the most independent person may need help sometimes making sure their environment is safe.

For example, many of us take for granted that we can easily check the batteries in our smoke alarm to ensure they are still working. Or we can just run to the store to replace a light bulb that burns out. Although some seniors are able to take care of these type of things on their own, many cannot. Not taking care of them could cause injury or possibly even death from a fire.

Here are a few home safety and fall prevention tips that could help keep your loved one safe while in their home alone.

5 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

CHECK ALL CORDS: Make sure any cords are out of the traffic flow to prevent trip and fall accidents. Also, take note of any furniture resting on cords that could cause them to be damaged and create a shock or fire hazard.

DEVELOP AN EMERGENCY EXIT PLAN:  Is there an emergency exit plan and an alternate emergency exit plan in case of a fire? Once a fire starts, it spreads rapidly. Since there may not be much time to get out and there may be a lot of confusion, it is important that a plan is in place before the unexpected happens.

CHECK RUGS AND MATS: Take a look at small rugs, runners, and mats. Make sure that they are skid resistant by applying double-sided adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs.

CREATE EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST: If an emergency happens, are there emergency telephone numbers listed? Take the time to make a list of numbers for the Police, Fire Department, and local Poison Control Center, along with close relatives’ and a neighbor’s number. Write the numbers in large print and tape them to the phone, or place them near the phone where they can be seen easily.

CHECK BATHTUB AND SHOWER AREAS: These are some of the most dangerous areas because they become very slippery when they get wet. Ensure that all bathtubs and showers are equipped with non-skid mats, abrasive strips, or surfaces that are not slippery. Grab bars can be installed as well to assist with getting in and out of the tub safely.

These are just a few common home safety measures that Enriched Life Home Care Services provides to families and individuals as a complimentary service. We want to make sure that the homes of our seniors and those who may need assistance can be comforted in knowing their homes are safe for them to live in comfortably.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  ELHCS.com