Uber and Lyft for Seniors

uber

The popular car sharing apps, Uber and Lyft have completely transformed the way that many people get around today. While some people may think that these apps are only for young users who need safe and sober rides, one of the fastest growing groups of individuals to use this type of car service is actually the senior community. If you are unfamiliar with the benefits of using Uber or Lyft for seniors, it is important to take a moment and look at how many older adults are taking advantage of these apps.

Why Uber or Lyft For Seniors?

There are many seniors who want to maintain a sense of independence as they age, but one of the main reasons they no longer feel they are independent is because they cannot drive. For many seniors this used to mean getting rides from friends and family for everything from doctor’s appointments to trips to the grocery store and they can do it on their own time.

There is actually a major issue in the senior community for many older adults as seniors who cannot drive make fewer trips to the doctor and are less likely to visit family and friends. This can take a major toll on any senior’s overall health and wellbeing and can leave them feeling lonely, isolated and abandoned. These car share apps are a simple solution to that problem, helping seniors get out of the house and get on with their life as normal, even when they can’t drive.

These apps allow seniors to safely and easily book their own ride and there is less risk than having to go outside to hail a taxi. Both programs are now even rolling out special programs that make it easy for seniors to find handicap accessible rides.

Getting Seniors Started With Lyft and Uber

If you have a senior loved one who you feel could benefit from apps like Uber or Lyft, you may bee to help them get started and help motivate them to start using these programs. Here are a few ways to help seniors get started.

  • Download the program directly to their phone for them and help them set up their card so they can use the service.
  • Help seniors understand the ease of these services by taking Uber or Lyft with them the first few times they use it.
  • Help them understand how rideshares work, explaining little tips about tipping and surge pricing.
  • Keep encouraging your loved one to use the program. Remember, for many seniors the idea of Uber and Lyft can seem very foreign so they may need a little push.
  • Consider companies that help seniors without a smartphone. If your senior loved one doesn’t have a smartphone where they can use the app, there are programs like GoGoGrandparent that can help seniors call a car through these programs.

Keep these tips in mind if you think your loved one could benefit from ride shares such as Uber or Lyft, they can go a long way in helping your senior enjoy a better quality of life well into their golden years.

How Seniors Can Enjoy Amusement Parks With the Whole Family

amusement

During this time of year, there are many seniors who will attempt to travel with their family to enjoy some of the world’s best amusement parks. Whether you are taking a big trip to Disneyworld or Disneyland, taking in thrills at Six Flags, or just planning a day at your local amusement park, there are certain steps you should take as a caregiver or loved one to make sure that your senior loved one is making the most out of their tip to any amusement park.

Check Out Your Theme Park’s Amenities

Many large amusement parks, such as Disneyland and Disneyworld are known for accommodating guests of all ages and types. This means they often have wheelchair accessibility, break areas and even specialty companion restrooms. These are all things that can make going to a theme park with a senior much easier. Before you travel to any of these destinations, look into what amenities that specific park offers for seniors so you know what will be available to you when you get there.

Make a Plan

Planning ahead can go a really long way when it comes to taking any senior loved one to an amusement park. Most amusement parks, no matter how big or how small can be very crowded. Considering FASTPASSES or other passes that you can pay for to help you skip the line on rides can be great for seniors who don’t want to stand outside in cramped, crowded or hot lines waiting for their rides.

You should also look at what types of rides there are and what each ride entails. It can be hard to determine this when you get to the actual park, so doing research ahead of time can only help. Make sure to look for rides that aren’t jerky and jolty as they may hurt the neck of your senior loved one. For example rides like The Haunted Mansion at Disney are great for seniors who are worried about rides jerking their head and neck around.

Look into Discounts

There are often senior discounts for visiting most theme parks, available for individuals over the age of 65. These discounts can really add up, especially if you are planning on visiting the park for multiple days. There may also be special discounts available for handicap parking and senior shuttles, if necessary.

Plan for Plenty of Snacks and Breaks

Taking a senior to an amusement park can be a lot of fun for the whole family. However, it can also be quite taxing on any senior. With this in mind, make sure that you have a plan to stop frequently so your senior loved one can rest, sit, have a snack and of course, drink plenty of water. It is important for seniors to drink plenty of water while at any theme park, even if it isn’t hot, so they can avoid dehydration. Theme parks require a lot of time outdoors and a lot of walking, putting many seniors at risk for dehydration.

Take these steps for your loved one and you can make the most of any upcoming trip to your favorite theme park.

Great Yoga Poses for Seniors

Senior couple performing yoga on exercise mat at home

The art of practicing yoga has been around for thousands of years and is one form of exercise that has truly stood the test of time. One of the great things about yoga, is that it is truly for everyone. While there are yoga poses that are clearly meant for the more experienced, flexible and stronger practitioners there are also plenty of yoga poses that are perfect for seniors and won’t cause any pain or discomfort.

Seniors who practice yoga regularly can enjoy a number of benefits from this practice. This includes better posture, flexibility, more muscle tone and strength and more. It can also help restore both the mind and body and help your entire system work as it is supposed to. It can help promote better digestion, combat stress and anxiety and help seniors find peace of mind. Overall, seniors who do yoga are simply healthier individuals.

With this I n mind, here are a few easy, yet effective yoga poses that seniors can start incorporating into their routine.

Mountain Pose

This pose is great for practicing the important, cleansing breaths that are so vital to yoga practice. It is also great for the ankles, knees, thighs and core. It is the perfect pose for seniors who want to build more muscle stability so they don’t have to worry as much about falls.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand tall with the arms at your side, looking straight ahead. Distribute the weight in your feet evenly.
  • Take a deep breath in. Raise your arms up and interlock them above your head, while raising your toes at the same time.
  • Hold this pose for several seconds or as long as you can.
  • Exhale and slowly lower the hands and feet down, relaxing the shoulders.

Seniors should try to do this a few times in a row to begin and eventually build up to 10 big breaths.

Corpse Pose
Corpse pose is extremely easy, yet extremely effective. It is great for relaxing the mind and helping seniors improve concentration. It is also an important pose to help relieve muscle tension and anxiety and to help lower blood pressure.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie flat on the back with the arms and legs straight but not touching the rest of your body, like a corpse.
  • Breath in and out with deep breaths while relaxing every part of the body.
  • Hold this pose for at least 10 minutes while feeling all of the muscles in the body loosen and relax.

This is one pose that will have any senior feeling refreshed and less tired.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is another restorative pose. It can help stretch the shoulders and the back, especially the low back and promote better digestion and blood flow. It can also help with tension and flexibility.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Position yourself on your hands and knees, with your back flat.
  • Push your rear end towards your ankles, leaving your arms stretched out in front of you, elongating them as much as possible.
  • Place the forward directly down on the mat.
  • Take several, deep, cleansing breaths, focusing on having the breath settle into the back.

Hold this position for a minute and then rest and repeat.

Keep these poses in mind if you want to help your senior loved one get started with yoga. They are all powerful ways to help introduce any older adult to this wonderful, ancient practice.

Psoriasis in Seniors: What Every Caregiver Should Know

psoriasis

Psoriasis is an extremely common condition that impacts millions of people from all over the world. While many people assume that this condition is a skin issue, it is actually an autoimmune disease—and is the most common in the world. Psoriasis is extremely painful and uncomfortable and is typically associated with the red, itching, dry patches that can appear on the skin as part of this condition. Many times, it is described as looking “scaly.”

While there is no complete cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help improve the side effects of this condition and the more caregivers know about psoriasis, the better equipped they will be to help their loved ones who are battling this condition.

Helping Seniors Manage Stress

The first and most important thing for senior caregivers to remember with psoriasis is that it is in fact an autoimmune disease and it needs to be treated as such. People with psoriasis actually have an overactive immune system.

Because of this, stress can really factor flare ups, particularly in seniors who may already have compromised immune systems from other conditions. While psoriasis does not get worse with age, seniors are often more likely to experience stressful life events that can impact their flare ups. This can include:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Death of loved one
  • Medical conditions
  • Stress over moving to assisted living
  • And more.

Many seniors find that the more they are able to control their stress, the easier it will be to control their flare ups. This is where caregivers can come in and really help their seniors in these situations.

Assisting With Itching

For many seniors, one of the most frustrating things about this condition is that it is very itching. Many times, this itching can translate into a painful burning sensation. For caregivers looking after someone with psoriasis, it is important to recognize that seniors need to be able to control this itching in order to get the sleep that they need.

If you are looking after someone with dementia, they may also not realize how much they are itching and scratching or how much they are continuing to irritate their skin and making their inflammation worse. As a caregiver, it is important to look after your loved one and try to manage their itching as much as possible. Thick creams, soothing ointments and moisturizers can all help with the itching sensations as well.

You may also want to visit your loved one’s doctor for more information on treatments that can help with psoriasis effects.

Psoriasis is a life-long issue for most individuals and with over 7.5 million people in the United States suffering from this condition, it is important that all caregivers are aware of how psoriasis can impact their loved ones, as this condition can develop virtually at any time. The more aware you are of how to treat this condition and help your loved one manage their psoriasis the less of a problem it will become.

Dowager’s Hump: Important Information About This Common Health Issue

medicine, healthcare, surgery, radiology and people concept - do

As seniors continue to age, they often become at risk for a number of new and serious health conditions and physical side effects. One of the common conditions that is often associated with the aging process is known as Dowager’s Hump. This is a general term used to describe the stooped appearance that many people develop as they age and the hump in the upper back that starts to form.

So, What is Dowager’s Hump?

This condition can impact any senior, but is most common in women. Dowager’s Hump is a non-medical term used to basically describe a forward bending of the spine over age. With time, the upper back starts to develop an outward curve or a “hump.” As the person starts to lean forward, their shoulders begin to slouch and their backs begin to round. This creates the hump like appearance. The hump develops over time, and you may notice your senior getting more and more of a hump as they age with the curvature becoming more and more noticeable.

Many times, this hump starts as a fatty deposit at the base of the neck and begins to worsen over time. The progression typically happens because of small micro-compression fractures in the vertebrae that develop when seniors lean forward too much.

What Causes This Condition?

There are a number of factors that could lead to the development of Dowager’s Hump. One of the most common is osteoporosis, which is likely the reason why more women tend to have this hump than men. People who have osteoporosis often also have a condition known as kyphoscoliosis, which are bone deformities that can give the appearance of the “hump” along the spine.

Some research has even found that certain medications can cause an increase in the likelihood of developing this type of spinal curvature. In fact, this is a common risk associated with many AIDs treatments. Seniors who have Cushing’s syndrome, which leads to excess cortisol production can also increase a person’s chances of developing this spinal hump. Long-term steroid users are also more likely to develop this condition. It is important to note that steroids can often be found in numerous medications, including asthma inhalers, so many seniors may actually be taking more steroids then they assume.

While certain medical conditions and treatments may be associated with this hump, most experts believe the most common issue has to do with posture. Over time, many seniors struggle with their posture, increasing their chances of developing the hump. Also, individuals who spend years leaning forward over a desk or computer are more likely to develop this condition.

Treating Dowager’s Hump

The good news about this condition is that it can be treated. If left untreated, seniors may develop serious pain and discomfort and even spinal degeneration over time. The best way to treat this condition is with regular exercise, which should begin right when the condition first starts to appear. Working with a chiropractor or physical therapist on different neck, shoulder, back and abdominal exercises can help restraighten the spine and prevent the issue from worsening.

Senior Hair Care Tips Every Caregiver Should Know

Senior Woman at the Hair Salon

When it comes to providing quality care for any senior loved one, as a caregiver you not only need to know how to look after their health and safety, but how to keep your senior looking and feeling their best. Seniors who have more confidence with their physical appearance tend to be happier and less stressed. They are more likely to go out in public and socialize as well.

For many women, and men, hair has a great deal to do with their overall appearance. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but it can make all of the difference in the world to many aging seniors. This is why both seniors and their caregivers should be aware of some of these important hair care tips that can help any senior properly take care of their aging hair. Keep these tips in mind and your seniors loved one can be looking and feeling their best every day.

  • Start with the right shampoo. The right shampoo can play a major role in the way any person’s hair looks and feel. Most people know, seniors begin to lose color in their hair as they age, which is why the hair turns grey. However, the hair can also get a yellow tint. Deep-cleaning shampoos such as those made with blue or violet color can minimize this yellowness.
  • Help seniors maintain a healthy diet. Dull, dingy, yellowing, brittle and lifeless hair can sometimes be a result of a poor diet. The healthier the diet, the better the hair will start to look. Some great foods for healthy hair include: spinach, salmon, eggs, nuts, omega-3 fatty acids and citrus fruits.
  • Taking hair vitamins. Hair-specific vitamins, or vitamins that are high in vitamin B and Biotin can prevent hair loss and help hair look fuller, thicker, shinier and healthier. It can be a great solution to frail, brittle or thinning hair in seniors.
  • Use the right products. Volumizing and thickening products can help give thinning hair an extra boost and help it look fuller. Meanwhile heavier mousses and gels can weigh the hair done, make the scalp more visible and actually make the hair look thinner.
  • Avoid heat when possible. When hair continues to age, it becomes thinner and more susceptible to damage. With this in mind, it is important to try to avoid over-washing, heat products, curling, straightening and blow-drying unless necessary.

The more you can do to boost your loved one’s self esteem and help them stay feeling like themselves, the better they will feel no more what comes their way. If you are responsible for caring for your loved one’s hair, make sure to keep these tips in mind and to try to style their hair in a way that is familiar to them so they look like themselves. It is also important to take great care when styling a senior’s hair. Keep water temperatures mild and consider a tear-free shampoo so you don’t accidentally irritate your loved one while helping them maintain a hairstyle that they will love.

Planning a Family Reunion With Your Aging Senior Parent

family-reunion

If you are looking after an aging senior parent, then chances are you know that many everyday activities can come with a few extra challenges. Chances are you also know that special events can be all the more challenging when you are responsible for your loved one’s care. If you are trying to plan a family reunion this season, then making sure your loved one feels included and enjoys this experience is paramount.

Family reunions are filled with love, fun and cherishing old memories and they can be extremely enjoyable and beneficial for all seniors, even those suffering from memory loss or dementia. However, while family reunions can be very positive and enjoyable they can also come with some extra stress for seniors—which is why proper planning is so important. Here are some tips on how to plan a family reunion with your aging senior parent.

  • Keep the schedule in mind. A family reunion may be one giant party for younger family members, but it can be overwhelming for seniors who are used to a regiment schedule. Work with the individuals planning the event to make sure that meal times are around your loved one’s normal times and that there will be an opportunity for your parent to rest. After all, everyone will want grandma or grandpa to be able to participate.
  • Encourage activities where younger kids can spend time with your loved one. This not only gives both parties a chance to bond but it can bring a great deal of joy to your aging parent. Family reunions are all about bringing together family members that don’t get to see each other on a regular basis.
  • Remember that memories can often be triggered by visual cues, so if you are worried about your loved one keeping up with all of the reminiscing, consider bringing photo albums, family trees, documents or other visual cues that can help them remember.
  • Don’t try to push your loved one. While everyone in the family may be excited to see grandma or grandpa at the reunion, if you try to keep them involved in too many activities, the reunion can turn stressful instead of fun.
  • If you have a big family, consider name tags. They may not be necessary for younger family members who know everyone’s name, but they can be of great help to seniors who may be foggy on a few names.
  • Take lots of photos so your loved one can remember all of the fun of the family reunion.
  • Make sure that someone is always with your loved one, helping them eat, go to the bathroom and engage in meaningful conversation. This individual doesn’t just have to be you either. This is a great opportunity for other people to spend quality time with your parent and for them to spend more time with other family members.

Keep little tips like this in mind before taking your loved one to a family reunion. It can make all of the difference in how they enjoy this experience.

Important Senior Living Terms That Every Familial Caregiver Should Know

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There are many family members who find themselves thrust into the position of acting as a senior caregiver to a parent or loved one. For most of these individuals, the entire world of senior living and senior care is completely foreign—and at times it can be confusing or overwhelming. Whether you are committed to in home care, considering a caregiver, exploring an assisted living community or looking into temporary adult daycare, there are a few terms that you will likely run into when exploring the world of senior living.

Accreditation- This is a seal of approval that proves this community or provider has been through a thorough review process and met specific requirements set forth by an autonomous governing body. You should always look at accredited senior care providers or facilities.

Administration on Aging (AOA)- This agency is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services and educates the elderly and their family members about different available benefits and services.

Assisted Living Facilities- Housing options for seniors who cannot live independently on their own and need help with things such as bathing, grooming and daily living activities.

Adult Day Care- These are structured programs that offer stimulating social activities and rehabilitation services for seniors who need extra care or enrichment during the day.

Aging in Place- When a senior chooses to remain in their own home with care instead of moving to a facility.

Board and Care Homes- These are actual homes in residential neighborhoods that are staffed and equipped to care for several seniors at once, usually 20 or less. They may also be called “residential care homes” or “group homes.”

Conservator- A legal representative, typically court-appointed who is in charge of the financial and legal responsibilities of another person who is no longer able to make those decisions themselves.

Continuing Care Retirement Community- A community that offers several levels of assistance such as independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing care. These are longer-term facilities where seniors can continue to get different levels of care while they age without having to move.

Durable Power of Attorney- A proficient adult who is in charge of another person’s affairs if they are physically or mentally incapacitated.

Home Health Care- Medical or nursing services from a licensed providers, offered to seniors in their own home.

Hospice Care- Also known as end of life care, this involves providing comfort to those with life-threatening conditions, instead of attempting to save their life.

Independent Living- These communities are for elderly individuals who still have the physical and mental capacity to live on their own, but want companionship or other services provided in these apartment-like communities.

Living Will- A written, legal document that details the wishes of an individual regarding life saving devices and procedures should a terminal illness or injury happen and they are no longer able to make these decisions on their own.

Medication Management- A formal procedure that includes a set of rules for the management of self-administered medicine.

Nursing Home- A licensed state-run facility that provides 24-hour nursing care, room and board and activities for residents with chronic or long-term care illnesses.

Palliative Care- A type of health care that provides pain relief and prevents chronic suffering for patients. The goal is to improve the quality of life in all areas of the patient’s life and not only includes physical care, but emotional, spiritual and social.

Respite Care- Temporary care relief for full-time caregivers. Can be for several hours or several days.

Hoarding and Dementia- What Every Caregiver Should Know

piles and stacks of old papers, newspapers, magazines and books

If you are helping look after a senior with dementia, then there are all types of new behaviors that you will likely run into. There is no arguing that dementia care comes with certain challenges, and that every senior’s experience with dementia is likely different. However, one of the most unique, and often overlooked side effects of early dementia is actually hoarding behavior. It is a type of behavior that many caregivers are not expecting when they start providing dementia care, but it is one that every caregiver should be aware of.

So, what exactly is hoarding behavior? It is generally described as the excessive tendency to save items that others may view as invaluable, such as keeping all of the boxes from online orders, hundreds of Tupperware containers or even empty egg cartons. The condition is often chronic and progressive. Some seniors may even hoard animals and keep dozens and dozens of pets in their home even if they are unable to care for them.

Many times, the hoarding clutters their living space and prevents seniors from using rooms or areas of their home as they were intended to. It can also prevent seniors from engaging in their normal day-to-day activities or to live their life as normal. Hoarding is unfortunately a very common condition, but this disorder is even more complex in individuals who have dementia. Seniors with dementia are not only more likely to start developing hoarding tendencies, but it can get worse due to the confusion, memory loss, impaired judgement and disorientation that seniors face with this condition.

Typically, hoarding starts developing in the early or middles stages of this disease and is a side effect of dementia that is often associated with a loss of control. Some seniors may feel as though hoarding helps them reestablish control or security in their lives, or others may simple feel it provides comfort in a time of insecurity. If you are looking after a senior who tends to engage in hoarding behaviors, here are a few ways you can help mitigate the situation.

  • Only remove items that impact the senior’s safe and health. Removing all items from the home can provide more stress and make the situation worse.
  • Try to negotiate. If they have two years of old newspapers in their home, consider switching it out for a month of newspapers.
  • Be patient. Hoarding can be a difficult habit to break, especially in those with dementia.
  • If your loved one agrees to de-clutter, start slow with just a box at a time. You can also give them a positive reason to get rid of certain items—such as being able to donate them to charity.
  • Be prepared for your loved one to seem unreasonably attached to their items. It may seem like 100 old baskets to you, but the senior may feel very attached to those baskets.

While no one ever wants their senior loved one’s to deal with something as difficult and all-consuming as hoarding, it is an unfortunate side effect of dementia and one that every caregiver should be aware of.

Small Dog Breeds That Are Great For Seniors

Senior couple holding a dog in a retirement home

There have been countless studies on the benefits of dog companions for seniors. Dogs have long been known as being man’s best friend and research has found that they can be particularly helpful to seniors—especially those that may be mostly home-bound or dealing with issues related to dementia. Many times, small breeds are ideal for seniors as they require less exercise and are easier for seniors to move around and care for.

With this in mind, here are five great small breed dogs that are known for being excellent companions for seniors. Make sure to contact your local shelter or rescue organization to find dogs like this in your area, or mixed breeds that are bred with these types of dogs. They may be just what your senior loved one needs.

King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for being affectionate and a great snuggle buddy. These dogs love laying in your lap indoors but also love spending time outdoors, making them a great companion for seniors who like to take short daily walks with their pooches. These dogs are known for getting very attached to their owners and other dogs in the home and are great companions—they are also notoriously smart and easy to train.

Shih Tzu

The compact little Shih Tzu is known for being loyal and affectionate and is often considered to be the ultimate lap dog. Seniors who adopt these dogs will have a friend that will want to sit in their lap virtually all day and they typically require little exercise. Make sure your senior loved one is aware of the grooming that this breed needs as their long silky hair does require trimming and brushing.

Maltese

The little Maltese breed is known for being super small in size and easy to carry around, making them a great companion for seniors on-the-go. Chances are you have seen the Maltese in hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living communities before as these laid-back, well-mannered dogs often serve as therapy dogs for older adults. These dogs typically stay under 10 pounds when they are full-grown and are hypoallergenic, which is great for those that may be prone to allergies.

Pug

If your senior loved one doesn’t mind snoring then a pug may just be for them. While these dogs are known for their adorable snores and snorts, they in general are very well-mannered and smart little dogs. They are the perfect canine companion for seniors who want a dog who will encourage them to get up and walk or throw a ball. While they don’t need as much exercise as larger breeds, they do have some spunk to them and will need to be walked from tie-to-time.

Miniature Poodle

The Miniature Poodle is an adorable little dog for seniors who want a pooch with a fun personality who is super easy to train. Poodles are known for being highly intelligent and rarely shed, which makes owning them and cleaning up after them a breeze.