In home injuries and how to prevent them

If your parent or loved one is living at home, it is important to take steps to ensure that their surroundings are safe. In home falls are a leading cause of injuries among seniors living alone. As adults age, we start to see an overall decline in vision, balance, and memory. Fortunately, we can make changes to help prevent accidents within the home by creating a safe environment.

As our vision declines with age the risk of tripping and falling rises. Take note of furniture around the home. Are there smaller pieces that can be removed or placed elsewhere within the home? Are there rugs that can easily be tripped on? Clearing obstacles and potential hazards from around the house can help decrease the chances of an accident.

It is also important to check in with seniors about their medications. What are they taking? Are they taking the right dosage and at the right time? If not, one could experience dizziness and loss of balance among other side effects, leading to a fall or accident.

After experiencing a fall in their home, seniors may feel scared and uneasy to start being active again. This inactivity creates other issues such as lack of muscle strength, balance, and at times depression. It is important to encourage seniors to stay active to help prevent other issues from surfacing.

By taking a few of these steps and asking a few questions we can help to lessen the chances of falls in the home for our older loved ones.

Diane Delaney

Golden Placement Services

503-723-7145

Won’t Medicare and my health insurance pay for long-term care services?

Long-Term Care Insurance provides funds to help you cover long-term care costs in the same manner Health Insurance provides financial coverage for doctor’s visits and hospital bills. However, it is very important to understand that Long-Term Care Insurance and Health Insurance are two distinctly different types of insurance. Health Insurance would likely provide coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, and maybe even some prescription medicines. But if the individual’s condition progresses to the point where he or she requires long-term care or constant supervision and assistance with daily activities, Health Insurance would likely not provide coverage for that care.

Health insurance was not designed to cover the long-term care expenses for those who may have suffered permanent paralysis from an accident or stroke, developed Alzheimer’s, or perhaps need care as a natural result of aging.

This is where Long-Term Care Insurance comes in. Long-Term Care Insurance has been designed to pick up and provide coverage where Health Insurance leaves off. So in the case where the individual’s condition has progressed to the point where he or she requires assistance carrying out basic activities of daily living (like bathing, eating, toileting, dressing and moving about), Long-Term Care Insurance would provide funds to help cover the insured’s long-term care expenses, in support of any care the family is able to provide.

Those who have purchased Long-Term Care Insurance share that it has also helped them maintain their independence and freedom of choice over how and where their care services are provided. Long-Term Care Insurance can allow you to protect your assets and help ensure that your long-term care needs will not create a physical, financial or emotional burden on your family.

Becky Wehrli
Long-term Care Insurance Specialist
503-758-5725
info@BeckyLTC.com
www.BeckyLTC.com

Transitions

Although you may not frequently move from one home to another, you may go through mini-moves within your living spaces. Perhaps a better term to describe it would be a transitioning.

There are a variety of housing transitions that can occur throughout our lives. There might be a time when you have to change the way your home is set up to accommodate a baby arriving, a young adult returning from college or an aging parent coming to live with you. Another transition might be the blending of two households and the struggle of knowing how to combine everything that is important without having too much. Maybe someone in your home is limited to living only on the first floor due to a short term or long term physical ailment. These transitions require us to rethink the use of our homes, to move and reorganize our possessions to meet our current needs. How do you transition your present space to fit your new specific needs?

Create a list – Begin by writing down the specific new needs for your space. This list may take some time to compile and will require repeated communication with everyone involved in the transition. Often when someone states a need, such as a first floor bathroom, they are making the assumption that you will see other parts of that need that are connected. In this example, it really means a full bath with shower because they aren’t able to climb stairs. Take time to talk through each need, discussing what is involved, why it is important and how it can be addressed.
Think outside the box – Sometimes it is hard to do this in our own homes. When the living room has always been the living room, it can be a challenge to be view the space differently. However, transitioning may require some creative repurposing. You may have always had the dining room where it is now, but perhaps the room could be changed into an office, a bedroom or a family room to fit your needs better. A fresh set of eyes or a new perspective may be needed to see the different possibilities for your space and furniture. In addition, you may find that one change may create a shuffling effect of other rooms or items. This is a part of the transition process, and though it may require some extra effort, working through this cascade of changes will help to make life run much more smoothly.
Stay flexible – Although you may have put a lot of thought into this space transition, you may find there is an aspect of it that doesn’t work well. Take note of this and be ready to adapt. Perhaps your transition was that someone is in a wheel chair and cannot reach the upper cabinets. You shuffled everything to the countertop and lower cabinets, only to find out that the things at the back of the countertops are still out of reach. Be willing to continue to make changes to optimize your space, and remember: transitioning is a process not just a one-time event.

No transition is easy, but with a little bit of planning and work, you can make your home transition so that it is able to meet your new needs.

© Beth Giles

Senior Move Manager/ Professional Organizer – NWOrganizingSolutions.com

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead

As you know, it is virtually impossible to predict the exact time when a disaster will occur. Many of us can easily put an emergency kit together with a point and a click on an emergency kit website and our kits are delivered to our doorstep within a couple of days. When we send our children off to school we expect that during a disaster or emergency they will be cared for by trained staff regarding their safety, welfare and comfort.

 

However, how often do we stop to consider the same levels of preparedness for our aging loved ones in their Assisted Living community? The next time you stop in for a visit consider asking some emergency preparedness questions. Their answers may calm or concern you. Either way you’ll be able to make a plan of what role you will have in the event of an emergency and most of all what your expectations are of the community during a crisis.

 

Does the community have an emergency plan — and know that it works? An assisted living home must have a disaster preparedness and emergency evacuation plan approved by the state’s licensing agency.

 

Will the community be adequately staffed, no matter what?
There have been lockdowns of public transportation during weather events, terrorism threats or other crises. The staff’s ability to travel from their home to the community may be constrained by the emergency. It’s important to know if there’s a plan in place for adequate staffing during an emergency.

 

Will there be enough emergency supplies?
Find out how the facility stays supplied during an emergency and if staff prepare in advance. Will there be enough food and water? Are food and water supplies kept fresh? Are there extra medications for residents who will need them? Are there emergency generators and are they in working order?

 

Are there protocols to maintain clear lines of communication?
Find out in advance what the chain of communication is between staff and families of residents, and know where to look for updates. Some senior living organizations have centralized offices that collect information from individual communities experiencing a disaster and post it on the main company website or distribute it through emails to residents’ families.

 

How does the staff address residents’ worry when regular routines are disrupted?
Often when we walk by the rooms of assisted living residents, we see they are relaxing while watching their favorite TV shows. However, during a crisis seeing graphic images over and over on the TV can become overwhelming for older adults, especially for those with dementia. Inquire about what your loved one’s senior living community will do to help pass the time. Will they play games, tell stories or offer other engaging activities?

 

What are the community’s emergency evacuation plans?
Does the community have arrangements with other facilities in the event the building becomes inhabitable after a fire, flood or other disaster?  When your loved one moves into a community you’ll want to know whether it has this type of arrangement and with whom.

 

Knowing what a senior living community’s emergency procedures are and how to communicate during an emergency eases your worry and lets you focus on what you need to do at home. At the very least, make sure the facility has the information it will need to contact you, plus alternate ways to reach you if cell phones and telephone lines are down.

 

For more information about how to prepare, visit  National Preparedness or Red Cross.

 

2017 Cherie Henry and Catherine Camp

Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services

Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation.

Safety Improvements:

  • Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
  • Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.
  • Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers of socks.
  • Non-skid safety strips:adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.
  • Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.
  • Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.
  • Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

Convenience Factors:

  • Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with flexible hose.
  • Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
  • Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick up mail off the floor.
  • Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
  • Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
  • Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.
  • Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to-access locations.
  • Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle, and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

Lynn Mattecheck is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) with RE/MAX. You can count on her to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. (503) 495-3258.

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit SRES.org

Senior Identity Theft

With each passing minute a growing number of our seniors are becoming victims of identity theft. Identity thieves love to prey on older people because they are “sitting ducks”. They are often socially isolated, lonely, tend to be trusting and unprotected. Add early dementia or memory loss to the list and our seniors are the perfect victim profile for an identity thief to prey upon.

 

The sly tricks a thief uses to attain an elderly person’s social security number, bank account numbers and other financial or personal documents are quite simple. Most of our older population have been living in their homes for years and many have unsecured mailboxes. Stealing mail containing bank and credit card statements, tax information or even rummaging through garbage can lead to an easy creation of a new identity.

 

Thieves will even go to such lengths as to send mail, some with “official letterhead”, appearing to come from trusted sources such as the victim’s bank, charitable organizations or well-known companies. Almost daily we hear of thieves calling elderly people, pretending to represent charities, associations or their bank or financial institution. Unfortunately, many senior citizens believe that these phone calls are coming from a trusted source.

 

 

Knowing that identity theft can happen at any time and in various ways there are a few ways we can all initiate our own crime prevention tactics.

  • Never give out personal information over the phone, through mail, or over the internet unless you initiated the contact.
  • Shred all financial documents, bank statements, sensitive mail, credit card solicitations, and documents that contain any type of personal information.
  • Guard credit cards. Watch sales people, wait staff in restaurants, and anyone who asks for your credit card. Destroy credit cards that are rarely used or unused.
  • Don’t allow anyone to copy your driver’s license or similar information. Address and date of birth can be used to get other personal information.
  • Get a locked mailbox or post office box.
  • Be suspicious of emails asking you to click on link to confirm account or respond to an urgent need. It is safer to ignore the email and contact the company directly if you are unsure.
  • Moni
    tor online correspondence for “phishing” e-mails from people asking for help with the promise of financial rewards.

According to the FTC, nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. It’s impossible to say how many seniors are scammed, or even what percentage of known fraud targets seniors, because they are often too embarrassed or ashamed to let anyone know. There are resources you can use to further protect yourself and your aging loved ones as well as resources to help you know where to get help if identity theft has occurred.

 

http://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/elder_care.aspx

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

 

© Catherine Camp  – Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services