Tag Archives: elder care

Watch Out for Well-Attired Caregivers

21 Jul

Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than most of us realize. It’s certainly not an unfamiliar concept to me. Both my mother and my late uncle were victimized by paid caregivers.

A few years ago,  my brother and I were given three hours notice that my mother was to be released from hospital but would require around-the-clock care for several months. We didn’t have a clue how to hire a care giver. All we knew was my mother really wanted to go home and the hospital wanted its bed back.  Lorna was the only applicant I spoke with and I hired her immediately. She seemed trustworthy and competent. And she was immediately available.

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ADLs & IADLs

1 Jun

If you have an elderly person in your life, you’re going to hear a lot about ADLs and IADLs.

Basically they are all the things we do for ourselves every day that we take for granted.

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About that Talk

13 Mar

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of talking to aging loved ones about uncomfortable issues. There aren`t many people who like to speak about death — especially their own — but for each and every one of us it’s inevitable. So if I did not convince you earlier, watch this. And then, if you haven’t had the conversation already, go bite the bullet and discuss.

This video was produced for a public awareness campaign to draw attention to the importance of advance care planning. I think the issues deserves more attention which is why I was pleased to find it on the web site of the Canadian Home Care Association. It is associated with a Canadian study(Accept)  relating to improving advance care planning initiatives across Canada.

The High Cost of Dementia Care

9 Mar

I had no idea how much it costs to grow old and get sick until both my mother and late uncle became unwell. And having been fortunate enough to grow up in a country with universal health care, I naively thought it would extend to elder care. I was wrong.

Here in Ontario, the most someone with a chronic illness is going to get in the way of government-funded home care through the CCAC is two hours per day.  If your loved one required around-the-clock, 24/7, home care (which is often the case for dementia sufferers) and they don’t have long term or critical care insurance, the expenses can become astronomical. A personal support worker (PSW) makes between $15.00 and $20.00 per hour before taxes. With no more than two hours of subsidized care a day, the cost could be as much as $160,00 a year or approximately $13,000 per month.

Most people want to stay in their own homes, but it’s not always realistic. If  an individual’s only financial asset is their home, he or she may not be able to afford to stay there if they require around the clock care for any length of  years.

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Getting My Mother to the Doctor

6 Mar
My mother as I never knew her, as a confident working woman.

My mother was once a confident working woman.

My mother used to live for doctors’ appointments. And visits with specialists were always a high point for her. She never forgot an upcoming doctor’s appointment, until now.

Mom’s memory is failing and she had forgotten about her appointment with a nephrologist at a major hospital.  This is the reason for the dozen calls I took while with my son at the paedeatrician’s office. It’s important that she be there because her kidneys have been getting weaker. To complicate matters, she also misplaced the requisition form for the absolutely necessary blood tests that should have been completed two weeks prior.  To ensure she keeps the appointment made three months earlier, I arranged for new forms to be faxed to the nursing station at the home so she could have blood drawn at a nearby lab.

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“The Sandwich Generation” – A Preview

3 Mar

This video brings up a number of emotions for me. Watch it and let me know your thoughts.

 

Every family is different and we all have our own ways of tackling life’s challenges. I could not imagine bringing either of my old people home to live with my child and I. But that’s me. Would you uproot your children and move half-way across the country for your family?  How would you feel about having your home of 40 years emptied out before your eyes? Is this family better or worse off for having Harry move in with them?

#Let’s Talk — Depression and the Elderly

15 Feb

Talking about mental health is important. Doing something about ending the stigma of mental health issues is even more important.  No matter what your age, we are all vulnerable. That’s because there are  no age restrictions whatsoever when it comes to mental illness.  Just as more and more organizations are talking about children’s mental health, we need to talk more about the elderly and mental health too.

Dementia and depression are both forms of mental illness and both share similar symptoms.  While dementia is not just an older person’s disease, depression is not restricted to the young or middle-aged either. The elderly can and do suffer from depression.  Ensure the primary care physician is aware of the situation if your elderly loved one is more than just sad and showing signs of any of the following:

  • neglecting his or her personal hygiene,
  • sleeping more than usual or not sleeping at all,
  • refusing to take part in activities previously enjoyed,or
  • gaining or losing an unusual amount of weight.

The physician, sometimes in concert with a geriatric psychiatrist, can determine if medication will make a difference.

CAUTION

Any of the following situations can trigger depression in the elderly:  retirement, death of a spouse or close friend, physical health troubles, relocation to a new home or to a facility, hospitalization, etc.

Depression, whether in the young or the old, should never be ignored.

It is an illness. It is not a sign of weakness, and it is treatable.

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