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Fall is right around the corner, which for many people means it is time to start thinking about fall cleaning. A “fall sweep” is a great way to clean out the home and to reorganize after a busy and hectic summer. If you have a senior loved on in your life, and want to help them get more organized before they get holed up for the winter, then a fall sweep is a great idea.

If you are looking to get started with some fall cleaning, here are a few tips to help you and your senior loved one get organized and clean for the season:

  • Check smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. There is no better time to make sure that the house is safe and that fire extinguishers aren’t expired, and smoke detectors don’t need their batteries replaced.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinets. Make sure that any old or expired medications have been thrown out so that seniors aren’t accidentally taking medicines that no longer work. This is also a good time to make sure all medication is properly labeled and easy-to-read.
  • Put away clutter and consider getting seniors lots of organized, clearly-marked bins, so that everything has its place.
  • Space it out. When cleaning and organizing with a senior, it is important that you know your limits and know their limits. Only a few hours at a time will help keep seniors focused, and prevent them from getting burnt out.
  • Organize important documents while you clean. Track down and file away all of your senior’s important documents. This is also a great time to make sure that everything is in order, that no documents are missing and that everything such as power-of-attorney and advanced health-care documents are all up-to-date. This is a great way to reorganize, reduce stress and prevent further anxieties for seniors.
  • Make sure that the home is safe. This fall cleaning time is also an important time to reevaluate your senior loved one’s living conditions. Make sure that the home is free of fall-risks like loose rugs and open extension cords. Check all of the support bars in the bathrooms, reattach throw rugs with non-slip backings, and reorganize items in shelves to make sure they are easy to reach. This will prevent seniors from feeling like they need to climb on things to grab everyday items—while keeping the home organized and clutter-free.

There is no better time than the present to start getting your senior loved one more organized. Taking on a big cleaning project can seem like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming for you or your loved one. Take your time, plan you “fall sweep” over several days, and take these tips to heart in order to get the most out of your fall cleaning venture.

If your senior loved one is in the market for a new vehicle, then it is important that you step in to help them make sure they are buying the right car. There are many seniors that are able to be safe and cautious drivers, but who just need the right vehicle to help keep them safe on the road.

With this in mind, here are a few tips to remember when helping a senior loved one find a senior-friendly new car.

  • Look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for crash rate testings to see how any vehicle performed during safety tests. The administration ranks cars out of a five-star rating system to help consumers find the safest vehicle possible.
  • Back-up cameras are now a fixture in new cars, but it is important that you make sure the vehicle you purchase comes with one of these cameras. It can help adults who are less flexible easily see what is behind them.
  • Blind spot monitors are another great feature for seniors who may not be flexible enough to peer over and see what is in their blind spot. It is also a great feature to help prevent accidents. These monitors can include an audible signal, a warning light or even vibrations on the steering wheel to indicate when a driver has someone in their blind spot.
  • Power adjustable seats are another way to help make sure that seniors can safely get in and out of their car, and then adjust the seat to go back to a comfortable driving position. It is a small feature that can make a big deal when it comes to entering and exiting a car.
  • Automatic tailgates are great for seniors who are looking to drive bigger SUVs or crossovers. These tailgates open and close with the press of a button, making it easy to load and unload groceries.
  • Parallel parking assistant is a pretty high-tech feature, but it is one that will prevent unnecessary fender-benders and it is great for seniors who struggle to turn their head or look over their shoulder in order to safely parallel park their cars.
  • Adjustable steering wheels are important for seniors and every senior should test out not only how adjustable the steering wheel is, but whether or not it is easy to grip securely. When the steering wheel is thick, it is easier for seniors to hold on—especially if they struggle with arthritis.

Taking an extra look at safety features such as this can help you and your senior loved one make certain they will be in the best possible car for whenever they hit the road.

Therapy dogs can be used in a number of situations to help all types of people from those with visual impairments to individuals with physical disabilities. They can also help those who need emotional support and even people with certain serious medical conditions like seizures.

However, therapy dogs can also be a great asset to elderly adults as well. Whether seniors have their own personal therapy dog, or if they are living in a community that has therapy dogs, there has been a great deal of research done on what the presence of these dogs can do. Here are a few of the many ways in which therapy dogs can help seniors thrive.

  • Help seniors maintain a routine.
  • Provide companionship to lonely seniors.
  • Help seniors with socialization and verbalization.
  • Promote alertness and a more positive mood in seniors who otherwise struggled with this.
  • Help to spark memories and encourage seniors to reminisce.
  • Treat depression and depression-like symptoms.
  • Give seniors something to look forward to.
  • Help seniors with physical challenges such as opening doors.
  • Provide visual stimulation to seniors with visual impairments.
  • Promote decreased aggression and resistance among seniors.
  • Help seniors who struggle with anxiety.

These are a few of the many reasons why more and more seniors are not only getting therapy dogs of their own, but why many senior housing facilities are also bringing in therapy dogs for their residents.

There are many reasons to consider adding a therapy dog to a loved one’s current situation. Dogs can be a source of mental, physical and emotional stimulation—seniors and their families just need to determine their individual need for a therapy dog and the senior’s ability to take care of that therapy dog.

Seniors who are unable to take care of a therapy dog on their own or who are unsure if they need a full-time therapy dog can consider working with a program that brings therapy dogs in for short sessions, once, or multiple-times a week. This is a great compromise for seniors who want the emotional and physical boost that interacting with a canine companion can offer. In fact, research shows that just 15 minutes of bonding with an animal can have a tremendous impact on any person’s emotional and mental responses.

If you have been considering a therapy dog for the senior in your life, there are many local organizations that can help pair seniors with dedicated, loyal, loving and highly-trained therapy dogs.

Snacking is an important activity and one that can help any person stay full throughout the day without eating a large meal. Snacks can give you energy, help you fight cravings and more—however, not all snacks are healthy (as most people know). If you happen to be a fan of snacking, it is important to make sure that the snacks you are eating are healthy—particularly if you are a senior or older adult.

Unfortunately, there are many snacks out there that are touted as being healthy, but really aren’t as healthy as they seem. Seniors are already prone to different health issues, which is why it is so important for older adults to be aware of potentially unhealthy snacks that may be unintentionally impacting their diet.

Here are a few different unhealthy snacks for every senior should be aware of and try to avoid.

  • Flavored yogurt. While plain Greek yogurt can be a delicious, healthy snack and filled with good bacteria, not all yogurt is healthy. Try to avoid yogurt that is flavored, filled with candies, sprinkles, fruity syrups and sugars—they can be filled with unexpected carbs and sugar.
  • Trail mix. Sure, trail mix sounds healthy, but most trail mixes are filled with salty nuts and chocolate that can be very unhealthy, especially when consumed in mass quantities.
  • Veggie straws. Veggie straws are all the rage right now, and seem to be everywhere. While the name “veggie” can seem like these snacks are healthy—don’t let the name confuse you. Most of these veggie straws and chips have just as many calories, salt and sodium in it as regular potato chips.
  • Mixed nuts. While raw or unsalted almonds in small quantities are healthy—eating too many nuts can be very unhealthy as they are typically covered in salt and sodium. Eating handfuls of salty nuts can dehydrate any senior and increase their sodium levels. Salt can be very dangerous for seniors, especially if they already have high sodium levels.
  • Granola Bars. This is another food that seems like it would be a healthy snack for on-the-go. However, if you really look at the labels on granola and protein bars, you may be surprised to find out just how unhealthy they really can be. Most of these bars are filled with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Dried Fruit. Lots of seniors like munching on dried fruit when they need a sweet and healthy snack—but this is another one of those foods that you need to check the label on. Make sure that this dried fruit isn’t overly processed and covered in sugar. Otherwise, it may be no better than munching on candy.

The thing to remember about these snacks is that they often are advertised as “healthy” options, which can be confusing for anyone. Just remember to do your best to avoid these snacks when trying to stay on a healthy diet.

There are many seniors who end up eating their meals alone—however, while this is common, it can be quite dangerous as well. There are millions of seniors who eat their meals alone, but friends, loved ones and caregivers looking after these seniors need to be aware of the dangers that can come with solitary eating.

Here are some of the dangers that can come with eating alone:

Weight Loss

This is one of the first ways that people tend to notice there is an issue with seniors and their eating habits. There are many seniors who just won’t eat if there is no one there to eat with. They may forget to eat, not feel up to cooking for one or may not be eating a healthy and balanced meal.

Eating Alone and Malnutrition

Seniors who eat alone are much more likely to become malnourished. Seniors are actually much more likely to become malnourished than younger adults. Malnutrition can increase the risk of infection or illness, or can cause confusion in seniors.

Malnutrition can also lead to depression.

The Physical Challenges of Eating

What many people don’t realize is that sometimes eating can be a physical challenge for seniors. Make sure to ask seniors if they are having physical challenges or if they are having difficulty with chewing or swallowing. If something like this is going on—the senior may need to go to the doctor.

Seniors May Be Eating Unhealthy Food

One of the dangers of seniors eating alone is that they may not stay on top of what they are eating. If you have a loved one in your life with the early signs of dementia or memory loss, they may accidentally be eating foods that are expired, rotting or unhealthy.

If you are helping a senior loved one out, you should check their refrigerator to make sure food hasn’t gone past the expiration date. This is one of the many dangers of seniors eating, cooking and grocery shopping alone.

Social Implications of Eating Alone

Eating is not only important nutritionally, but it is important to remember that eating is a social act as well. Seniors who are eating alone may be dealing with depression or isolation. Eating with someone can be fun, encouraging and help seniors stay mentally and socially engaged.

How to Encourage Seniors to Eat

There are many ways you can encourage seniors to eat. One of the best, of course, is to go over and eat with your loved one in their home. Here are a few other tips:

  • Plan an outing such as a picnic that makes eating fun.
  • Have pre-made meals ready for your senior in the fridge so they are at least eating healthy.
  • Have your loved one join a mall-walker or social club that also includes breakfast after the outing.
  • Sign your loved one up for programs like Meals on Wheels

If you have a senior loved one in your life who eats most of their meals alone—do your best to step in and help. Coordinating times to come over and join these individuals for a meal during the week, won’t just give your loved one some much-needed social interaction—but it can help them in many other ways as well.

It is one of the most difficult conversations to have with a senior parent, but it is one that many adult children have to have every single day—taking away the car keys. There are many seniors who, as they age, get to a point where they are no longer able to safely drive on their own. At this point, it is time for a loved one to step in and stop them from driving before they hurt themselves or others while on the road.

Here are some indicators it may be time for your loved one to stop driving.

Health Changes That Can Impact a Senior’s Driving Abilities

It is best to try to predict when a senior will have issues with driving before an issue ever starts. With this in mind, there are a few different health changes to be aware of that are not only common in seniors, but that can impact that senior’s ability to drive.

These health changes include:

  • Visual decline that impacts depth perception and peripheral vision. Many seniors also struggle with night vision.
  • Hearing loss—which can make it difficult to hear important warning signs while operating a vehicle.
  • Limited mobility can make driving unsafe, particularly if a senior can’t step on a pedal, steer or turn their head effectively to check for oncoming traffic.
  • Medications can impact a senior’s ability to safely drive. Most medications will have warnings on them about operating vehicles or machinery if they are dangerous.
  • Dementia, even early signs of dementia can make driving more dangerous for seniors and put them at risk for senior’s issues.

Warning Signs It is Time to Take the Keys Away

While it is always best to catch potential issues before they happen, there are warning signs to be aware of that may indicate your senior is already an unsafe driver. Here are some of the more common indications that your loved one may be losing their ability to safely drive.

  • Struggling to drive at high speeds.
  • Signs of erratic driving, like abrupt lane changes or abrupt braking and acceleration.
  • Hitting curbs while driving and parking.
  • Getting lost while driving on familiar roads.
  • Being surprised or startled by other cars or pedestrians claiming they “came out of no where.”
  • Failing to use turn signals.
  • Drifting into other lanes for no reason.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road.
    Struggling to read street signs.
  • Getting an increase in traffic tickets or warning tickets.

The best way to tell if your loved one is experiencing these issues is to drive in a car with them regularly to assess their skills.

Keep these warning signs in mind if you have a senior loved one who is still driving. The more you can do to keep them and others safe on the road—the better it will be for everyone.

Whether you are moving a senior loved one into your home, a new property, or into assisted living—any move can be difficult. After all, moving is seen as one of the most stressful things that you can encounter in your life. While moving is a challenge for anyone, no matter their age, it can be particularly difficult for seniors. With this in mind—here are a few tips to utilize when helping a senior parent move.

  1. Be Prepared for Emotions- It can be very emotional for seniors to move. Whether they are nervous about moving to assisted living, or if they are leaving a home they have lived in for decades. Be ready for the process to be emotional—and do your best to provide comfort to your parents even if you don’t understand why they are upset.
  2. Enlist All the Help You Can Get- Moving never goes as smoothly as any of us want it to, which is why it is so important to enlist the help of friends and family. There are never too many hands on deck when moving. Plus, your senior loved one will likely enjoy the opportunity to be surrounded by loved ones.
  3. Take the Opportunity to Downsize- In almost every case, moving a senior will involve some type of downsizing. Before the moving day, go through your loved one’s home, item by item to help them start downsizing. You can categorize objects based on what is being donated, what stays and what goes. It is a great way to help your senior loved one get organized and can be a fun trip down memory lane.
  4. Hire Experts- You are going to need to give your senior loved one a lot of attention to help them through the moving process. This is why it is important to hire experts to help you. This not only includes moving companies but packing and cleaning services as well. The smoother it goes, the more time your senior loved one will have to focus on their own transition.
  5. Take the Time To Get Their New Space Ready First- Whether it is painting, doing repairs or just setting up a room with pictures, if you take the time to get your loved one’s space ready and feeling like home before they move in—it can really help with their transition.

While moving can seem like a big undertaking, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you assume, when you keep these tips in mind. Just remember to relax, take a deep breath and remember that the stresses of moving are likely going to mean a better home for your loved one.

There are many conditions that seniors need to be aware of as they grow older—including health changes that can impact vision. There are several conditions that are more common in seniors that can ultimately lead to vision changes—and the more aware of these changes seniors are, the more prepared they will be when they start to notice the signs and symptoms of these conditions.

  1. AMD- Age-Related Macular Degeneration

This is a condition that mostly impacts seniors and affects the middle of the vision. Typically, this condition will cause a blurry, dark patch directly in the line of sigh or an overall foggy appearance. Seniors should visit their eye doctor if they start to see waves in straight objects.

  1. Dry Eyes

Did you know that as we age, our tear glands actually start to produce fewer tears? This can create dry eyes. And while dry eyes won’t cause vision loss, they can cause the eyes to become irritated if there isn’t enough moisture to clear out the eyes. Excessive rubbing can cause temporary issues in sight such as stars or speckles in the vision.

  1. Cataracts

This is perhaps the most common age-related vision condition that impacts seniors today. When the front lens of the eyeball starts to become cloudy—it is a sign that cataracts are forming. Typically, cataracts and their symptoms develop gradually over-time. Common signals that cataracts are forming include overall blurry vision, issue recognizing colors and difficulty with driving at night.

  1. Diabetic-Related Eye Disease

Seniors who struggle with diabetes, and don’t have control over this condition can develop a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye can start to rupture, leading to dark patches in the vision.

  1. Glaucoma

This is another condition that becomes more and more common as we grow older. Glaucoma occurs when there is unusually high pressure on the optic nerve connected to the back of the eye. Over time, this pressure will break down the nerve, which can lead to blind spots.

The best way to make sure that issues like this don’t cause serious or permanent vision loss is to go to regular eye exams with an eye doctor.

Every senior should keep this information in mind as they age and be on the lookout for signs and symptoms as well as noticeable changes in their vision that may be a sign of a developing issue. With the help of a doctor, seniors can get the help that they need to keep their eyes as healthy as possible.

As we grow older, there are so many different things that we need to plan for and account for in order to help us through the aging process. One of the many things that every senior needs to do as they grow older is create a care plan.

If you aren’t already familiar with care plans and what they are—a care plan is a tool designed to help professional caregivers and long-term care providers to help make sure seniors needs are met. This is not only a tool used in facilities like nursing homes—but it is just as valuable of a tool for family caregivers as well—as it can help seniors and their families stay organized and stay on-task. The plan can also allow many family members to participate in care as seamlessly as possible—and to make sure that primary caregivers are getting a break.

How to Make a Care Plan

Care plans look different for every senior and can entail different steps, templates, outlines and appointments. The best way to make the right care plan is to get several individuals involved and to make sure that you are covering these three major topics: health, finances and daily care.

Typically, seniors and their families can easily sit down together to make a care plan that works for everyone, but it is also important to consider adding a few professionals to the mix as well.

Professionals to Include in Any Senior Care Plan

Family members who are involved in the day-to-day planning are an important part of any senior care plan. However, there are a few other professional services and advisers that may be involved in the planning.

  • Home care professionals. These are professionals who can come in and help seniors with daily tasks and activities.
  • Adult day care services. This is a valuable service for seniors who want somewhere to go during the day.
  • Geriatric care managers. These legal professionals specialize in helping families manage long-term care, advanced care and can even help with estate planning.
  • Financial planners. The right financial planner will help make sure that seniors can afford the care that they need during this time in their lives.
  • The right care team can include primary care physicians, geriatricians, psychologists, neurologists, or any other medical professional the senior may see.

Bring these experts together as part of the care plan to make sure that everyone is on the same page for what is best with your senior loved one.

Putting it All Together

Simply put, a care plan is an outline for seniors to follow to make sure they are getting the best care and attention possible. It can help with everything from daily medication management to goal setting, to doctor’s appointments. The most important thing to remember about using a care plan—is that it is going to change.

Just like seniors themselves, care plans can and will change quite often and should be designed to grow and adapt as time goes on. If you are able to keep with a care plan like this and continue to grow and change with that plan, you and your family will be poised to provide the best care possible for your senior loved one.

Summer is here, and while seniors, and adults of all ages, may be excited about getting out to have some fun in the sun—there are some dangers that come with this time of year. Mores specifically, there are dangers that come with sitting in the sun during this time of year.

There is a misconception that seniors can’t really do anything about skin cancer at their age, as most of the UV damage that leads to skin cancer occurs during adolescence. This is not true. Seniors still need to protect their skin from sun damage.

As we age, our immune systems weaken, and our risk of getting skin cancer grows—which is why seniors in particular need to be careful with sun protection.

Here are five easy, yet effective skin cancer protection tips that any senior should be aware of and that every senior should pay attention to.

  1. Apply sunscreen whenever you go outside. This doesn’t mean just when it is hot, or when it is sunny out. UV damage can happen even on cooler and cloudy days.
  2. Reapply sunscreen often. One of the biggest mistakes that people tend to make with their sunscreen is that they don’t reapply it and they don’t put enough on. Just because you are using a high number SPF, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to reapply every two hours.
  3. Avoid the peak hours. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from UV damage. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM—so all seniors should do their best to stay indoors during these times. When you do go out during these times, make sure to wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves and pants. Pick a lightweight blend so that you won’t overheat, but do your best to keep as much of your skin covered as possible.
  4. Wear sunglasses, what many people don’t realize is that the eyes are also susceptible to UV damage. With this in mind, a quality pair of sunglasses, with UVA/UVB protection is an essential component to your sun protection regimen. They will protect the eyes from both types of rays and help keep your eye health in tact.
  5. Always check for growths. Seniors should be checking themselves, or having their partner check themselves for suspicious growths and changes in their moles. It is best to do a head-to-toe skin cancer check at least once a month.

Every senior should keep these tips in mind during this time of year, and all year round so that they can stay as safe and protected from skin cancer as possible.

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