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Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Caregiving Taken to a Whole New Level

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 2:43 am

Ethel was a bit of a demon in her wheelchair, and loved to charge around the nursing home, taking corners on one wheel and getting up to maximum speed on the long corridors.

Because the poor woman was one sandwich short of a picnic the other residents tolerated her and some of them actually joined in.

One day Ethel was speeding up one corridor when a door opened and Kooky Clarence stepped out with his arm outstretched. ‘STOP!,’ he shouted in a firm voice. ‘Have you got a license for that thing?’
Ethel fished around in her handbag and pulled out a Kit Kat wrapper and held it up to him. ‘OK’ he said, and away Ethel sped down the hall.

As she took the corner near the TV lounge on one wheel, weird Harold popped out in front of her and shouted ‘STOP! Have you got proof of insurance?’ Ethel dug into her handbag, pulled out a drink coaster and held it up to him. Harold nodded and said ‘On your way, Ma’am.’

As Ethel neared the final corridor, Crazy Craig stepped out in front of her, Butt- Naked, and holding his ‘You-Know- What’ in his hand. ‘Oh, good grief,’ yelled Ethel, ‘Not that Damn Breathalyser Test again.!!!’

Isn’t it good to know we can still laugh about things at any age?

Being Alone & Being Lonely Are Not the Same

In caregiving, Health on November 22, 2011 at 2:59 am

Being alone means being on your own. Being lonely usually refers to being unhappy with the emotional and social relationships that you do not have or with the ones you do have. It has a lot to do with feeling connected with people.

Growing older means dealing with a lot of changes including health and lifestyle. It can mean moving away from a community or having fewer opportunities to develop new friendships. Physical pain and loss of mobility can make it harder for older adults to get out and enjoy activities with other people. Even if you live with family it can be lonely. Our society does not always make seniors feel good about themselves.

Loneliness can be stressful and is very hard on a person’s health. Did you know that being lonely puts a person’s immune system under stress making it more likely to develop colds and infections?

Personal Strategies for Preventing or Reducing Loneliness:

Start with a smile. The quickest way to make a friend and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Say “Hi”. Take a moment to speak with someone.
Reach out to others. Take the initiative to invite someone to go with you for a short walk or to have a cup of tea with you.
Be a friend and show interest in others. Everyone wants to be around people who are nice to them.
Take a chance on developing new relationships at any age.
Help someone with something. Anything you are able to do for another person.
Keep connected with others. Try to get to activities or just make regular visits with neighbors and/or family.

Test Yourself:

Do I have someone in my life who understands me? Yes No
Do I have someone I can easily talk to? Yes No
Have I felt close to someone for a long time? Yes No
Do I have a network of friends? Yes No
Do I like my life the way it is? Yes No

If you answered “No” to one or more of these questions, loneliness may be affecting your life.

Routinely assess our community. How senior friendly is it? What services are available to you? Regular telephone contact can increase feelings of security and show that people care. It can give a senior someone to connect to or unburden to about what they are going through. It provides a person-to-person link where the senior might not feel physically, emotionally, socially or financially up to having visitors.

You’re First provides reassurance services for less than $1 a day. We make that daily connection via telephone because we know how important it is!

We also provide canine companionship to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. We bring the canine right to you wherever home is.

Elder Abuse from a Caregiver Perspective

In caregiving, community on November 4, 2011 at 3:24 am

Statistics show that every year tens of thousands of elders across America are abused whether it’s domestic, institutional or self-neglect. No matter how you look at it, it’s a crying shame and we (yes we) must do everything we can to stop it. Remember we will all be a senior some day.

Domestic abuse is the most common and it usually initialed by someone who is close to the elder (spouse, child, sibling, friend and/or a caregiver). I am ashamed to have to include caregivers in this as I take my duties as a caregiver very seriously and consider myself extremely loving and caring. Some people are just opportunistic while others are just plain mean; and then you have those that don’t know how to handle their own situations let alone dealing with someone else. People have been preying on weaker people for centuries and it’s not getting any better, especially since we have so many more people living longer.

Institutional abuse occurs in nursing homes, group homes and care facilities and is inflicted by those who are legally required to take care of our elders. While self-abuse stems directly from the elder themselves. Here are some warning signs to look for in the elder you know and love:

* Bruises, scars and other bodily injuries
* A change in emotional behavior or mimicking signs of dementia
* Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
* Unusual weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
* Unexplainable diseases or infections
* Any changes in their financial state; family or caregiver is unusually interested in the elders finances
* Problems with care facility or under/over medication
* Multiple billings for the same medical care

This list only highlights the major warning signs to look for. According to the Elder Financial Protection Network roughly $2.6 billion is stolen from seniors every year. Elders most often rely on family and friends to help them with their financial matters. Most often the abuser is someone the elder trusts or is the primary caregiver so the elder is unwilling or unable to get help. This crime is one of the most difficult crimes to detect and prosecute as it can take many forms from forging a senior’s name on checks, loan or credit card to promises of services that are paid for but not delivered. Elders get coerced into giving up power of attorney or bullied into giving money and/or other assets.

Please, please, PLEASE keep a watchful eye on the elder in your life. If you suspect someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse please contact the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or their website at http://www.txabusehotline.org Outside of Texas contact the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) at 1-800-677-1116 or their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov

Save a Life, Love a Senior!