Commonwise is fully-staffed and prepared to serve new home care clients. We are taking extra precautions to protect our clients and caregivers from COVID-19, and our experienced nursing team is ensuring our compliance with all CDC guidelines as they emerge. In these uncertain times, the safest place to be is in your own home. We can help.

Spreading Positivity and Joy: The Importance of Words of Encouragement for Senior Citizens

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 23, 2020


Reflecting on the aging process, singer-songwriter Mike Love commented, “The great thing about getting older is that you get a chance to tell the people in your life who matter what they mean to you.” With these words of encouragement for senior citizens, Love identifies an important advantage of aging.

Senior citizens have had more time than most to share their love with others. When you think of the seniors in your life, you know that they have made the most of that time. This is because most seniors have learned the value of time. They know the value of loving and encouraging words. Most importantly, they share those words freely.

Senior citizens need encouragement too, though. Read on to learn about the importance of words of encouragement for senior citizens.

 

The Importance of Words of Encouragement for Senior Citizens

The CDC estimates that 20% of elderly Americans are affected by mental health concerns. Depression is the most common mental health concern among older Americans. Other mental health concerns include anxiety and bipolar disorder. 

Suicide also remains a risk among elderly Americans. In fact, suicide risks increase with age. Men aged 85 and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group.

Even if they do not have a diagnosed mental disorder, senior citizens struggle with complicated emotions. 

As they reflect on their lives, seniors are likely to identify many reasons for gratitude. These include:

  • Friendships and family relationships
  • Career success
  • Personal achievements in athletics, music, art, or other talents
  • Positive memories of vacations and leisure activities
  • Hobbies and special interests

Even a casual glance at this list, however, reveals a potential mental health pitfall for seniors. As people age, many of the relationships, successes, and memories on the above list become just that—memories. 

Friends, spouses, and even children pass away. Retirement brings new freedom but also boredom. When some seniors retire, they may even feel that they’ve lost their purpose in life.

As relationships and careers meet their natural ends, the body also ages. This means that hobbies, vacations, and leisure activities become more difficult for seniors.

Thus, seniors do have many reasons to be grateful and many positive memories. However, they also need help maintaining a positive and grateful attitude in the present. 

 

Encouraging Senior Citizens: Tips for Conveying a Positive Message for the Elderly

To be most effective, encouragement for the elderly needs to be genuine, realistic, and personal. It also needs to be heard, and it needs to be repeated.

Many senior citizens struggle with their memory. If you share a message for the elderly today, they may forget it tomorrow. Repetition is, thus, key. Remember to keep in touch with your elderly loved ones consistently.

Also remember to vary the forms your messages take. Seniors appreciate spoken words of encouragement. However, they also appreciate tangible messages. These can include notes, cards, and pictures. The current kindness rocks movement offers another possibility. The kindness rocks movement spreads encouragement and positivity through painted rocks.

Many nursing homes and senior centers have capitalized on this trend. Some caregivers give residents rocks bearing positive quotes for senior citizens. More active seniors may enjoy finding inspirational rocks that have been “hidden” on the ground. Finally, some seniors may also appreciate the opportunity to participate in the movement by painting their own inspirational rocks.

Whether in the form of a rock, a note, or a card, a tangible positive message is one a senior can revisit when they’re feeling low.

 

Positive Words for a Positive Outlook

As you plan for a visit with an elderly person in your life, it can help to have some inspiration for seniors in mind. Positive thoughts for seniors include personal words of encouragement and motivational quotes for the elderly.

 

Personal Words of Encouragement for the Elderly

Personal words of encouragement include simple messages of “I love you.” Those three words aren’t the only way to show that you care, though.

No one wants to be forgotten, but the elderly experience a heightened sense of this fear. Reminding them that you think of them often assures them that they are still important to you. Starting a conversation, visit, or note with the words “I was thinking about you, so I thought I’d say hi” shows the elderly they are on your mind. It also invites further conversation.

In addition to statements, you can convey affection by asking questions. A simple “How are you?” goes a long way toward showing you care.

Based on senior citizens’ responses and your own observations, you might find other ways to encourage them.

If a senior expresses boredom, suggest enjoyable activities. You might even consider offering to do those activities together.

If a senior is struggling with an inability to engage in hobbies they used to enjoy, help them find new ways to use their talents.

Maybe an artistic senior can no longer paint detailed landscapes. However, she might be able to explore new styles, including abstract art. Likewise, a formerly active senior may no longer be able to hike rigorous trails. Still, he might enjoy time outside in a garden or on a paved path.

Finally, many seniors face the grief of a lost spouse, friend, or other loved one. Allowing them to talk about the deceased loved one can be an important part of the grieving process. 

Whatever the specific words, most important is for these personal conversations to happen. Show your love and care for the seniors in your life by making time to talk to them.

 

Encouraging Quotes for Seniors

If you’re struggling to find inspiration, inspirational quotes can help. 

The following positive quotes for the elderly show them that you care. They also remind seniors to reflect on happy memories while also finding reasons to be grateful in the present. 

  • “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” –Henry Ford
  • “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
  • “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” –Carroll Bryant

Of course, these are just a few of the many good senior citizen quotes you can find.

While exploring ideas to share with the elderly, consider the recipient’s personality. Some people appreciate humor, while others prefer more reflective and meaningful words. Tailor your message to each senior citizen in your life.

 

Listening To Words of Wisdom From the Elderly

As you share words of wisdom for senior citizens, remember to allow them to share their wisdom with you. Being heard is another important component of mental health.

When you spend time with the senior citizens in your life, give them time to reflect out loud. Listen to their stories. Accept their wisdom and advice. 

As you do, be patient and demonstrate interest. Make eye contact. Ask questions. If you feel comfortable, touch is also a valuable way to convey affection when listening or speaking with a senior.

 

Encouraging the Elderly: Appreciating the Past, Remaining Grateful in the Present, and Loving Them Always

Mental health is important at any age. For seniors, however, maintaining a positive mental outlook can be a challenge. It is not a challenge they can or should face alone.

Words of encouragement for senior citizens can go a long way toward helping them stay positive. Telling someone you love them is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time. This is true at any age.

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

The Dos and Don’ts of Managing Paranoia in Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 16, 2020


We’re still learning about the root of paranoid delusions in the elderly. One study found that an estimated 4% of elderly people show signs of paranoia, meaning that it is not a common or “natural” part of aging.

When you’re working with paranoia in elderly parents, it’s normal to become stressed, frightened, or wonder what causes paranoia in older people. Paranoia has a tendency to make people practically unrecognizable, and dealing with paranoia can be difficult. 

Commonwise Home Care is here to remind you that you are not alone. Our services range from basic personal care to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our caregivers have plenty of experience with paranoia in the elderly and we’re here to share our expertise with you. We can also help you find questions to ask during paranoia episodes as well as solutions.

Read on for more information about the possible causes of delusion in the elderly and how to deal with paranoia. 

 

What Causes Paranoia in the Elderly?

The first thing you should do when dealing with paranoid parents is to seek a medical opinion. As we mentioned earlier, paranoia is not a normal part of aging. It is a symptom of other issues that may need to be addressed for the sake of your parent’s overall health.

Read on to find out the leading causes of paranoia in the elderly.

 

Substance Use

The abuse of alcohol or drugs can often lead to paranoid thoughts. Addiction rewires the brain, making the substance of choice a number one priority over everything else.

In some cases, you’re not looking at substance abuse. Prescription medication can have serious side effects that lead to paranoid delusions.

 

Disease

Physical ailments can have consequences on mental functions. For example, severe dehydration, infections, and kidney dysfunction can all cause dementia-like symptoms. If the paranoid delusions seem to have appeared suddenly and out of nowhere, your parent may have a physical need or disease that needs to be addressed.

 

Dementia

Paranoia may arrive as dementia sets in. In fact, about 40% of people who suffer from dementia experience paranoid delusions. These delusions crop up as your parent tries to make sense of their declining cognitive functions. It can be difficult to know how to handle Alzheimer’s paranoia, but you’re not alone.

 

Depression

In rare cases, elderly people who suffer from depression may also develop paranoia. In these cases, paranoia tends to manifest as an intense belief that the individual deserves punishment or is a bad person. In other words, the paranoia is often self-directed, rather than directed at others. 

 

Delusional Disorder 

Delusional disorder is on the spectrum of schizophrenia and is very rare, though it can be one of the causes of delusions in the elderly. Most patients with delusional disorder were diagnosed in their 20s or 30s, although it is possible for the disorder to set in later in life. In order to combat delusional disorder, antipsychotics are typically necessary. 

 

How to Deal with Paranoia in Elderly Parents

No matter what is causing paranoia in your elderly parent, you may find it difficult to grapple with. Getting a medical diagnosis or opinion is an important first step to seeking treatment. When it comes to how you should and shouldn’t react, we’ve got you covered.

 

Do Sympathize

Try to imagine how confusing and scary this must be for your parents. They aren’t sure who to trust and struggle to distinguish reality from their paranoid thoughts. In fact, their paranoid thoughts seem to have become their reality.

Even if it’s difficult to do, try to sympathize with your parents. Remember that they aren’t expressing paranoia on purpose or to gain attention. 

 

Do Keep Track of Elderly Parents’ Belongings

Paranoia in the elderly often revolves around their belongings. When they misplace an object, they may accuse you, their caretakers, or other people who have access to their home.

If you can, make a list of where their belongings are, especially if they’ve willingly gotten rid of them. For example, take note of who your mother has given her jewelry to and what books or other keepsakes your father has donated to charity. It’s especially helpful if you can ask them to write these things down during lucid moments so that they see their own handwriting.

Remember that showing them a list and telling them the truth won’t always convince them of the truth. It will, however, help you determine whether or not their accusations are true or if they’re struggling with paranoid thoughts.

 

Don’t Invalidate Them

There are a few reasons that you should avoid telling your parent that they’re wrong about their paranoid delusions. The biggest reason is that this may break the trust they feel for you. 

There’s also no real benefit to applying reason or logic to your parent’s delusions. In their minds, their beliefs make perfect sense. Invalidating them may lead to further panic. 

Instead of telling them that they’re right or wrong, say things like: “I’m sure it’s scary to have strangers in your home,” or, “If your belongings were stolen, it is valid to feel angry.” 

 

Don’t Take Accusations Personally

It’s always possible that you’ll become the target of your parent’s paranoia. Try not to take it personally and remember that something is affecting the way your parent thinks. They’re trying their hardest to make sense of their confusion.

If you’re struggling to deal with your parent’s accusations, consider removing yourself from the situation. Ask their caregiver to step in while you get some space. A distraction may break your parent’s conviction that you have done something to harm them.

 

Do Seek Help

Paranoia in elderly parents is one of the hardest things to deal with. Paranoia affects both mood and cognitive function, which can make it hard to recognize your own parent.

Seeking help is one of the best things you can do in a time like this. Whether you’re hoping for daily at-home care or a few days of respite care, Commonwise Home Care is here to help. 

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Advice for Caregivers of Elderly Parents: 6 Expert Tips for Keeping Everyone Happy

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 9, 2020


In the US, 44% of caregivers are providing help to their elderly parents. So if you’re a caregiver yourself, there’s a very good chance you’re taking care of your mom and/or dad. And if you’re new to this, then you might be wanting some advice for caregivers of elderly parents.

Of course, you know your parents best. But still, there are some general elderly care tips that can help immensely, relieving stress for everyone involved.

If you could use some tips for caring for the elderly at home, then you’re in the right place. Read on for six expert tips that’ll help keep everyone happy.

 

1. Make the House Safer and More Accessible

As we get older, our mobility decreases. What used to be a simple task can end up becoming difficult and even dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t put into place. And what might be a small injury for a younger person can be quite serious for seniors, like a broken hip from slipping and falling.

When it comes to how to care for an elderly parent in your home, one of the first things you want to do is make the house safer and more accessible for them.

They don’t have to be big adjustments, either. For example, if they regularly use something in the house, simply move it somewhere that’s closer to the ground where your parents don’t have to go far to reach it. Or put in anti-slip shower mats so your parents won’t fall in the shower or bath.

 

2. Make Sure They Eat Healthily

Senior citizens can be particularly at risk for malnutrition. So while your parents are under your care, you need to keep a good eye on what they’re eating so they stay healthy and strong.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make gourmet meals for your parents. Instead, our advice for caregivers of elderly parents is to either cook easy and healthy meals or order from food delivery services. If you choose the latter, many services are affordable and deliver boxes of ingredients with recipes so you can cook quickly.

You can even make cooking into a fun activity to do together! These food boxes often come with meal options you’ve never considered before, so it can be an exciting way to explore the culinary world.

 

3. Make Sure They Stay Fit

In addition to eating healthy, your parents should also do their best to get outside and stay fit. If you’re wondering how to care for aging parents in this regard, you can set aside some time in your busy schedule to go on walks or do yoga together.

You can also browse local fitness classes that are geared specifically toward seniors. Not only can your parents get out of the house and stay active, but they might be able to also make some friends in their own age group!

 

4. Help Them Be Social

Building on the last point, it’s important for your senior parents to not only stay active, but also keep up a healthy social life. Senior loneliness is a real thing, and it can be the catalyst for other mental and physical illnesses.

Even though you’re there for them a lot, you’re not there all the time. So an important part of senior care advice is to help your parents have an active social life.

Enrolling them in senior fitness classes is definitely a start. You can also help them get to church or other activities they may be interested in.

 

5. Make Sure to Take Care of Yourself

Your parents have done so much for you to raise you to adulthood. So you feel like you owe it to them to make some sacrifices and care for them in their old age.

Of course, this is an excellent thing to do, but caretaker burnout is a very real thing. If you burn out, then you won’t be running at full capacity. And when you’re not running at full capacity, caring for your parents at home will be next to impossible when you can barely muster enough energy to take care of yourself.

Make sure to schedule some “me” time where you can take a break from your caretaker duties and do something for yourself. Even a small break can be enough to re-energize yourself.

 

6. Get Help If Needed

On that note, caring for your parents can become overwhelming, especially if you’re the single caretaker for both of them. When it comes to taking care of aging parents tips, one of the best ones we can give you is this: get help if you need it!

You might feel like it’s admitting defeat, but in reality, it’s only helping both you and your elderly parents. These trained professionals can help with things like:

  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Transfers
  • Exercise

In fact, they’re likely more qualified than you are in elderly care. So by enlisting the help of some professional caretakers, you’ll be providing the best at-home care for aging parents.

 

Take This Advice for Caregivers of Elderly Parents

With this advice for caregivers of elderly parents, hopefully, you’ll now navigate looking after the elderly a lot easier.

There may come a time when you just can’t take care of both yourself and your older parents, and that’s perfectly fine. In that case, you’ll want to consider options for elderly care at home.

For instance, there are professional caregivers (such as Commonwise) who can come to your parents’ house on their schedule. We can do anything from hourly to around-the-clock care.

Are you considering home care for your aging parents? If so, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

A Basic Guide to Getting Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 2, 2020


It can be scary how quickly time changes things. At one point in your life, your parents were helping you make big decisions. They taught you to drive, helped you when you were sick, and taught you how to handle money.

Now as they age, the tables have turned. You are finding yourself in a position where you need to help your parents with some of the same decisions they once guided you on. 

Do you need to get a power of attorney (POA) for an elderly parent? Are you starting to see signs that your aging parents need more help and support? Are you wondering how to get power of attorney for a parent with dementia?

If you feel like it might be time to protect your parents and make sure you have the legal right to make decisions on their behalf, read on to learn all about becoming a power of attorney for elderly parents.

 

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney gives one person the legal power to make decisions on behalf of another person. Depending on the type of power of attorney, those decisions might be legal, financial, or medical.

As parents age and need more help, many children opt to get a power of attorney for aging parents to help them in making decisions. If you are granted the power of attorney from a parent, then you are considered the agent. The parent granting the power of attorney is considered the principal. It can be hard to know what to do when an elderly parent is mentally incompetent, but a power of attorney can help make the situation easier to navigate.

 

What Rights Does the Principal Have With a Power of Attorney for Older Parents?

When a parent agrees to grant a power of attorney, they can also make decisions about what kind of authority they want to grant. In essence, the power of attorney can be granted the right and task of making decisions for elderly parents. 

The agent acting as power of attorney can make financial decisions. They can sign checks and move money around as needed, for example. It’s important to make sure the bank your parents work with will recognize your power of attorney paperwork. While they should if it’s done correctly, many banks have their own power of attorney paperwork.

The agent can also make medical decisions on behalf of the principal. This would include signing for treatments and deciding when to grant treatment and when not to.

They can also make general welfare decisions on behalf of the parent. 

 

Types of Power of Attorney

As you consider getting a power of attorney paperwork drawn up, you might also consider the type that will work best for you. Many parents are reluctant to give up the autonomy they have as adults. It might not be that they don’t trust their kids. It is more that knowing someone else is making decisions for them can be hard. 

There are several different types of power of attorney to consider based on your individual needs. It’s important to not wait too long to complete this process. You need your parent to be signing this paperwork when they are of a good mind if possible. 

 

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is the most basic type of elder care power of attorney. It covers a variety of options and gives the agent authority to make decisions in a variety of scenarios. These might include:

  • Signing documents for the principal
  • Handling banking matters like opening and closing accounts or making withdrawals of money
  • Asset management
  • Handling real estate in the name of the principal
  • Paying bills
  • Managing commitments

Many will refer to this type of power of attorney as a financial POA since much of what the agent will do involves making financial decisions.

 

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives the agent the authority to make all medical decisions on behalf of the principal. This might include things like:

  • Medical therapy
  • Surgery release
  • Medical treatments
  • Whether to put in or remove feeding tubes
  • Health care selection including senior living choices
  • Organ donation

This is another important time to make sure your parent has granted you this type of authority before they are considered incapable of making this decision in their right mind. 

 

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows the agent to make all types of decisions on behalf of the parent. This is often the most comprehensive option to choose when getting this paperwork arranged. It allows you, as the agent, to make all decisions on behalf of your parent no matter their condition or state of mind. 

 

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants the agent POA authority for either limited decision making or for a limited period of time. This is not always the best choice for an aging parent as you would need to keep doing the paperwork again and again as it expires. 

You might, however, get a limited power of attorney, if your parent wanted you to handle something specific on their behalf. 

 

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is sometimes a good option for the parent who is reluctant to sign the immediate POA paperwork, saying they want to retain their autonomy.

In the case of a springing POA, the agent doesn’t retain the power to make any decisions until the principal is declared incompetent. Only then can a springing power of attorney go into effect. 

 

The Process of Getting a Power of Attorney for Seniors

The sooner you can go through the process to get a power of attorney with an elderly parent, the better. It is best if they still have their faculties as the process is smoother and doesn’t need to involve the courts. Having an elderly parent declared incompetent is something you’ll want to avoid having to do for everyone’s sake.

First, talk with your parent. Explain a power of attorney and how it will help you provide care for them. Write out the power of attorney. It’s best if you have an attorney do this step or find a free form online. Make sure the parties involved in the POA are clearly identified. 

If it is important to your parents, you can identify specifics for what authority it gives you. You will want the paperwork witnessed, too. 

 

Understanding the Process to Get Power of Attorney From an Elderly Parent

Now that you understand how to get power of attorney from an elderly parent, it’s important to do it sooner, rather than later. You don’t want to wait too long and risk your parent not understanding. 

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Dehydration and Aging: A New Solution to an Old Problem

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 26, 2020


Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte problem among the elderly population. Dehydration in seniors can be a problem when it comes to their daily function. Do you ever wonder: “why are older adults at risk for dehydration?”

Learning about dehydration can help you understand why consequences of dehydration in elderly adults can be more serious. You can also learn how to come up with new approaches to ensure adequate hydration in the elderly.

To learn more about dehydration and aging, keep reading. We have compiled information about hydration in the elderly and some tips for making sure that your loved one is adequately hydrated.

 

Why are the Elderly More Susceptible to Becoming Dehydrated?

Dehydration is more common in older adults because of their level of susceptibility to many of the risk factors of dehydration. Dehydration is simply an overt loss of fluid within the body. There are many ways that our body can expend too much fluid. Nonetheless, hydration in seniors is very important, and causes of dehydration must not be overlooked.

There are several different causes of dehydration in older adults:

Medications can cause dehydration. You may want to look into what medications your loved ones are taking. They could be taking a pill that causes an increase in urination, such as a diuretic or blood pressure pill.

If you do find that the medication may be causing the dehydration, you will want to make sure that your loved one is taking in enough fluids to replace what is being lost.

Health conditions can cause dehydration. Some health conditions can also cause a loss in fluids, whether by symptoms or mechanisms. For example, diabetes and kidney disease can both cause someone to urinate more frequently.

If you find that your loved one has a health condition that causes fluid loss, you may want to consult a doctor about how to combat this. When in doubt, have them drink more water.

Illness can cause dehydration. Depending on the illness, there may be symptoms that can cause dehydration. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever can all cause dehydration.

If you think this may be the issue, you should encourage your loved one to drink water to replace the lost fluids. However, some people may not be able to keep these fluids down. At that point, you should consult a physician.

Heat exposure can cause dehydration. Your loved one may be spending a lot of time in hot or humid environments. This can also cause a loss of fluid through sweating.

You should make sure that your loved one has access to things like air conditioning, a fan, and other cooling agents to prevent fluid loss. You should keep in mind that elderly people have trouble keeping a constant body temperature, causing them to be more susceptible to high temperatures.

Mobility issues can cause dehydration. Believe it or not, the ability for your senior to get up and get water can actually cause dehydration. If they can’t get up to get a glass and fill it with water, they’re less likely to drink water.

Make sure that your senior has access to water whenever they need it. The more convenient it is, the more likely they are to drink it.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

There are several symptoms that you can look out for when it comes to dehydration in seniors. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include dry mouth, generalized weakness, a decrease in the frequency of urination, dark urine, generalized body aches, and lightheadedness.

There are some more serious symptoms that come with urgent dehydration. If you find that your loved one has any of these symptoms, you should seek out medical attention for them as soon as possible:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Trouble walking

 

What Could Happen If They Don’t Receive Medical Attention?

If you find that your loved one has any of the more serious symptoms, you should make sure that they get medical attention. If they don’t receive medical attention, you could be looking at some serious complications.

Your loved one could develop heat exhaustion or heat stroke if their dehydration was caused by high temperatures.

They could also develop seizure-like activity. This is the body’s response to low levels of potassium and sodium. Without enough water, these electrolytes will deplete, making it key to keenly look out for geriatric dehydration symptoms.

Your loved one could also develop urinary and/or kidney problems. There are several different conditions that they could develop, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney failure, kidney infection, and more.

Arguably, the most serious condition that your loved one could be facing if their dehydration goes untreated is hypovolemic shock. This is a complication of dehydration that is marked by low blood pressure and low oxygen levels. It is your body’s response to having lower than normal blood volume levels due to the decrease in fluids.

 

How Can I Help Prevent Dehydration?

If you’re looking to prevent dehydration in your loved one, there are several tips and tricks for how to increase fluid intake in elderly adults:

  • Encourage your loved one to drink water throughout the day. It may help to have specific goals to meet at different times in the day.
  • Let them know that taking small sips of water is okay as many elderly adults complain that drinking too much liquid causes nausea and stomach pain.
  • You should encourage your loved one to eat more foods that have a higher water content. Many of these foods are fruits and vegetables that you can include in their regular diet. Soups are also high in water content and easier for some seniors to ingest.

 

How Can I Ensure My Loved One’s Care?

If you’re looking for more help to ensure that your loved one does not suffer from dehydration, you should look into home care. At Commonwise, we pride ourselves on our ability to give wonderful at-home personal care.

We have a variety of services that your family might find useful, especially if you believe that your loved one may suffer from dehydration or another illness in the future.

Contact us today to make your first at-home appointment. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

A Complete Guide to Senior Events in Richmond, VA

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 19, 2020


Studies have linked loneliness in elderly people to serious conditions like dementia, so it’s vitally important for seniors to stay engaged in social activities for as long as possible. Simply attending events isn’t enough, seniors need to find things that excite them and get them fully involved with their peers.

If you or your elderly parents live in Richmond, you’re in luck. This city has plenty to offer in the line of appropriate senior events and get-togethers. 

These are some of the top senior events Richmond, VA has to offer.

 

The Senior Center of Greater Richmond

This Richmond senior community center is the focal point for many of the senior activities in Richmond. All these activities take place at the Peter Paul Development Center in Richmond’s East End.

Some of the events hosted by this club include:

  • Fellowship events on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Battery Park Fellowship Hall
  • The Potluck Picnic during August at Joseph Bryan Park
  • Field trips to locations in the greater Richmond area
  • Brain Boot Camps at Battery Park
  • Annual Senior Safety Days

The best way to keep tabs on all these Richmond senior center events is by checking their website regularly for updates. 

Apart from these onsite occasions, this hub of senior entertainment also facilitates a few offsite events at various locations around Richmond. 

 

The Richmond Travel Club

The senior travel club meets at the Imperial Plaza or Brookdale Plaza in the Azalea building at 1 PM on the fourth Friday of every month. These exciting, informative, and informal get-togethers focus on the travels of Senior Club members.

During these events, seniors get to share all their exciting adventures with their peers. These could be memories from the past, or recent trips anywhere in the country or the world.  

All you need to do is contact the event facilitator or the senior center office to book your spot at the next Travel Club meeting, or to request a chance to share your experiences.  

 

Wellness Group Richmond, VA

Many senior living facilities offer senior wellness programs in-house, but if you’re still enjoying your home life, you can join in the programs offered by the Senior Center of Richmond. 

Here you can join in their Joy of Wellness program which offers informative talks on health-related topics as well as the chance to loosen up with some fun and appropriate exercises. This event takes place from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm and includes a boxed lunch.

These events take place at various venues around town. You can book by calling the Senior Center of Richmond.

The Westminster Canterbury Club is another organization with wellness at its heart. The club offers regular talks on wellness issues like fall prevention, ways to combat movement disorders, and diabetes.

You can also join in their weekly aquatics and group fitness classes. 

When you place your health at the center of your activities as you age, you help ensure you’re able to enjoy fun, social activities for much longer. 

 

Senior Swimming Richmond, VA

If you’re a water baby wanting to reap the benefits of aquatic exercise, you’ve got quite a few options when it comes to fun, social swimming events in Richmond, VA.

You can join in at the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities’ water aerobics classes at Swansboro Pool.

The YMCA also offers masters swimming classes for seniors at all five of their Richmond locations.

AQUAFIT Pool Exercise Classes welcome seniors to join in their water aerobics classes for a small fee at 11:15 am on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Swimming is an excellent, low-impact exercise for seniors that places no strain on the joints. It’s also a lot of fun.

 

The Richmond Walking Group

Seniors with an interest in keeping fit with walking can gather at Battery Park before the regular Senior Center of Greater Richmond weekly events. These walks take place outdoors if the weather is nice or indoors during cold, wet weather.

They’re guided by a qualified physical trainer who’ll help you set goals and achieve them.

Other great places for seniors to put one foot in front of the other in Richmond include:

  • Monument Avenue
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 
  • The Virginia State Capitol
  • The Richmond Canal Walk
  • Richmond’s Fan District
  • Maymont Park 

Walking is a wonderful and often scenic way to preserve your health and fitness as well as interact with other enthusiasts. So, round up your friends from the Richmond Senior Center and get going.

 

Other Senior Outdoor Activities in Richmond, VA

Richmond’s many parks offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching around town. The Richmond Audubon Society welcomes seniors to join in their frequent field trips as well as monthly meetings.

The Cars and Corks event takes place at Maymont Park during September. Here you can join fellow motor vehicle enthusiasts to admire some of the world’s most classic cars.

The city also offers some great events designed for children to spend time with their grandparents. These include time spent admiring the indoor and outdoor exhibits at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Maymont or Agecroft Hall, and The Children’s Museum of Richmond.

 

Aging Gracefully in Richmond, VA

There are so many ways to make the most of these golden years, especially when you have the help you need close at hand.

Save yourself for the fun things by letting us take care of those energy-sapping daily tasks. 

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

The Best Caregiver Options for Seniors

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 12, 2020


Did you know the average life expectancy for American seniors is nearly 79 years? We’re living longer than ever before, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the effects of aging. In fact, the longer we live, the more important it is to think about how we’ll take care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Do you need help taking care of elderly parents or other family members? Are you overwhelmed looking for help for an aging mother through the different caregiver options for seniors?

Take a deep breath—we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll review 4 options of how to get help taking care of elderly parents, along with some other resources to make your decisions easier. 

 

4 Caregiver Options for Seniors

For most families, nursing homes are a last resort. Rest assured that there are many alternatives that allow your loved ones to remain at home while still getting the care they need.

Here are some popular options to consider.

 

1. Informal (Unpaid) Caregiver

Do your parents need actual medical attention, or do they just need some help with daily tasks? If your aging parents need help but don’t need professional round-the-clock care, you might start with informal caregivers.

Is there an existing network of family members and friends who can step up to the plate and provide support? Perhaps they can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, or rides to appointments. Practical help around the house, like basic maintenance tasks or organizing pills, could also be a huge help to aging parents.

Adult children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other extended family members often fill this role, along with close family friends. If your parents are members of a church, temple, or community center, you could see if they have any volunteer programs in place. There are also federal programs that provide grants and other support to voluntary caregivers.

 

2. Professional (Paid) Caregiver

Home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and other similar professions fall under the umbrella of paid caregivers. They often work in conjunction with an agency or government-sponsored program.

Paid caregivers can provide home health care for elderly parents with an array of daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and meal preparation. Others specialize in medical care for elderly ones with certain conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Typically, caregivers come to the home on a set schedule, ranging from a few hours a week to several hours each day. Not only do they provide practical assistance to the person in need, but they offer respite for the primary caregiver (such as the spouse).

 

3. Adult Day Care

Speaking of respite, adult day care centers have become increasingly popular caregiver options for seniors. These are ideal for people who require some daily assistance or are otherwise isolated in their homes.

Much like day care centers for children, a senior spends a certain number of hours each day in a safe, monitored environment. Adult day care centers offer medical support as well as activities such as games, arts and crafts, and exercise classes.

This is a great option because it gets seniors out of the house and allows them to socialize. Meanwhile, the primary caregiver(s) have time to rest and attend to their own needs.

 

4. Live-In Caregiver

A final option we’ll consider is hiring a full-time, live-in caregiver to assist your parents. They can manage the day-to-day affairs of the household, as well as providing personal care and assistance.

This could be the right choice for your parents if they need more care or supervision than the other options provide. It’s also an excellent solution for allowing them to continue living at home while receiving the care they need.

 

Comparing Care Options for Elderly Parents

For many seniors, a combination of informal and formal caregiving is the best solution from among the many options to care for elderly parents.

For example, a widow with severe arthritis but a sharp mind could benefit from home care a few days a week to help with daily tasks. Meanwhile, friends or family members could pick her up for church, doctor’s visits, or grocery shopping.

Alternatively, for an elderly couple where the husband has advanced dementia and the wife is unable to manage his physical needs, the family might decide it’s best to hire a live-in caregiver to attend to the husband while adult children offer other practical support to their mother.

Here are some factors to consider when making the decision for your family:

  • How much support is available from nearby family and friends?
  • How safe and accessible is the home?
  • Do your parent(s) have chronic medical conditions or mobility limitations?
  • How much can you realistically afford to spend on care?

If possible, sit down and discuss these questions as a family so you can arrive at a decision that is best for everyone involved.

 

Other Resources for Caring for Aging Parents

As mentioned above, you might have resources available to you at your church, community center, or VA office. There are also state and federal non-profit organizations that provide more information for families.

Another option is to consult with an elder law attorney in your area. These lawyers can help you find senior care options in your locale while protecting your family’s assets. They can also help you navigate the complex world of Medicaid and VA rules.

 

Do You Need Help Taking Care of Elderly Parents?

None of us likes to think about our beloved parents getting older. And it can be overwhelming to consider how to support elderly parents while caring for our other responsibilities too.

While there’s no single answer that works for everybody, the good news is that help is available. Review the information listed above as you decide how best to care for your aging loved ones.

When it comes to caregiver options for seniors, many in your shoes choose to bring professional caregivers into the home. Whether it’s companionship care a few hours a week or full-time Alzheimer’s and dementia care, there’s someone who’s perfectly suited to your family’s needs.

Contact us today to discuss your family’s circumstances and learn about the best care options for your aging parents. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

A Complete Guide to United Way Caring for Community Awards in Charlottesville, Virginia

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 5, 2020


COVID-19 has brought hardship to the world, the nation, and right here to our home state of Virginia. A recent report revealed that there are currently over 140,000 positive cases in the Commonwealth, alone. 

During these difficult and uncertain times, it is important that members of the community come together for safety, security, and joy. We are proud to continue to offer our at-home care services to the Charlottesville families who depend on our caregivers. 

It is an absolute honor to announce that Commonwise Home Care was one of the organizations given a United Way Caring for Community Award. It is both humbling and affirmative of our work to receive such wonderful recognition.

What is the United Way Caring for Community Award? Read on for our complete guide.

What Is United Way of Greater Charlottesville?

The United Way is a national organization devoted to resolving any pressing issues that exist within individual communities. Through partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, schools, businesses, financial institutions, and other organizations, United Way looks for community-based solutions that better human lives.

In Greater Charlottesville, our United Way branch is focused on three major goals: school readiness, financial stability, and community connection. Through programs like their Early Learners scholarships, tax assistance awareness, and the Annual Day of Caring, United Way of Greater Charlottesville brings the community together. 

What Is the Annual Day of Caring?

The Annual Day of Caring was established 29 years ago by Laurence E. Richardson. The objective of the Annual Day of Caring is to engage the community through broad-reaching community service. For our Day of Caring, Charlottesville volunteers can participate in a one-day event and learn more about the organizations in our community that can use our help!

This year, the Annual Day of Caring, which took place on September 2nd, looked a little different. Normally, United Way encourages us all to gather together en masse and head out into the community to complete projects for our neighbors and other organizations. Due to the necessity of social distancing measures, many of us went out in smaller groups or participated in virtual volunteer programs.

Who Can Reach Out for Volunteers?

If you are a member of a local nonprofit, public school, or faith-based organization, you can reach out to United Way about the Annual Day of Caring. Members of these groups may submit proposals of projects that require volunteers and United Way will take care of the rest!

For example, this year several volunteers from Management Services Corporation paired up with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC). Together, these volunteers helped CATEC complete their education space, which utilizes both indoor and outdoor space, for the upcoming months. This space will go on to serve Culinary Arts students as they learn how to grow, cultivate, and cook a variety of plant-based foods!

This is just one of the dozens of projects that were completed this year. Some organizations provided technical training online while others performed traditional, hands-on work at a safe distance. 

Who Can Volunteer?

Interested in participating next year? Anyone in the Greater Charlottesville area is welcome to sign up for a Day of Caring service project!

Many volunteers come in groups, whether they are members of an organization, educational program, or business. Not only does volunteer work create a stronger community, but it also offers a unique bonding experience for you and your peers.

Who Sponsored the 2020 Day of Caring?

The 2020 Day of Caring was sponsored by the University of Virginia (UVA). UVA students and faculty often make up a large number of the volunteers present on the Annual Day of Caring.

The university considers community outreach an important part of its mission. Participating in volunteer work allows students to become more immersed in and proud of the wider Charlottesville area.

What Is the United Way Caring for Community Award?

This year, United Way of Greater Charlottesville created the first-ever Caring for Community Award. United Way understands how difficult navigating COVID-19 has been. Community members and organizations have worked hard to keep themselves and those they serve safe. Everyone here at Commonwise Home Care understands just how important caring for communities after a disaster is. 

To honor the tireless commitment and effort put forth by local organizations, United Way bestowed the Caring for Community Award on twelve different organizations. These organizations are part of the local faith community, government, nonprofit, and medical sectors. Each group was nominated by members of the wider community and selected for going above and beyond to provide care.

The twelve honourees of the 2020 Caring for Community Award are

  • Commonwise Home Care for Above and Beyond business
  • Siri Russell for Above and Beyond local government employee
  • Charlottesville Community Cares for Above and Beyond faith community
  • Cville Craft Aid for Above and Beyond group effort
  • All Blessings Flow for Above and Beyond nonprofit
  • Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen for Above and Beyond restaurant, catering, or grocery
  • Brassiere Saison for Above and Beyond use of space or product
  • Hospice of the Piedmont for Above and Beyond medical group 
  • Faith Christian Academy for Above and Beyond childcare provider
  • Dr. Taison Bell for Above and Beyond care provider
  • Heather Kellams for Above and Beyond nonprofit employee
  • Alex-Zan for Above and Beyond service–individual or family

All of us at Commonwise Home Care are grateful to the families we serve, the community members of Greater Charlottesville, and the hard workers at United Way. It is a great honor to receive such wonderful recognition and we could not be more proud!

Commonwise Is Still Here to Help

This year’s United Way Day of Caring was a big hit. We can’t wait to carry the spirit of caring with us through the rest of the year. 

Do your loved ones in Charlottesville need at-home care? Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

A Guide to Your Options for Taking Care of Aging Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 28, 2020


An overwhelming majority of elderly people want to grow old in their own homes. As our parents age, though, sometimes they need help taking care of themselves.

Are you wondering what your options are for taking care of aging parents? Let’s take a look at different care options for elderly parents.
 

Options for Elderly Adults Who Require Frequent Care

If you’re searching for living options for aging parents who need help with daily tasks, you have a number of care options to choose from.
 

In-Home Care

In-home care is one of the best options for taking care of aging parents. Many elderly people are not interested in relocating, and you may wish to keep them out of nursing homes and other facilities.

In-home care can assist elderly people with:

  • Personal care services
  • Home care services
  • Companionship services
  • Care management services

This means assistance with things like housework, meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders, bill pay, personal hygiene, and exercise, to name a few.

Benefits of in-home care include:

  • Comfort: The most obvious benefit of in-home care is the ability for people to receive care in the comfort of their own homes.
  • Faster recovery: Research has shown that patients recover from illness and surgery more quickly and more successfully in their own home. They’re also less likely to develop an infection and have fewer hospital readmissions.
  • One-on-one attention: Your elderly parent will be the primary focus of the caregiver. The needs of your elderly parent will be met much quicker than at a residential facility.
  • Cost effectiveness:  Home care can be significantly less expensive than residential nursing facilities. Some long-term care insurance plans can assist in covering the cost of in-home care.
  • Independence: Seniors are often wary of losing their independence and reluctant to leave their homes. This way they can still choose their own schedule and have control over many aspects of their own life.
  • Peace of mind: With in-home care, you don’t have to worry about your loved one getting injured while performing daily activities. You can also rest easy knowing that they are in the comfort of their own home.
  • Companionship: Having in-home care can ensure that your loved one isn’t feeling socially isolated and lonely.
  • Pet ownership: Pet companionship can reduce loneliness and reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also be calming to dementia patients. When you opt for in-home care, your elderly parents don’t have to part with their beloved pet.

When it comes to long term care for elderly parents, in-home care allows them to age gracefully in the comfort of their own home. Without interrupting their daily routines and allowing them to sleep in their own bed, in-home care offers the help they need.
 

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living residences are communities where elderly people can live on their own while benefiting from personal care services if necessary. Things like taking medicine, bathing, and getting dressed are services that are often provided by these facilities.
 

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide personal services and medical care. They are staffed with nurses and other health professionals 24 hours a day. This is a care option for elderly parents who need 24-hour medical and personal care.
 

Living With a Family Member

It isn’t uncommon for elderly individuals to move in with a family member. This allows them support with daily activities and non-skilled health care. They can also enjoy the companionship of a close family member.

Taking care of an elderly family member can be a lot of work, and incorporating in-home care could be incredibly beneficial. If you’re taking care of aging parents while simultaneously working a full-time job and raising kids, hiring in-home help could make a world of difference.
 

Options for Elderly Adults Who Are Independent

Sometimes elderly adults are capable of handling their own daily tasks but would like to live among others in their age range. If your elderly parents are largely independent but looking to relocate to a senior community, you have a few options.
 

Active Adult Communities

These communities are neighborhoods where there is an age minimum to live there. Typically, adults must be at least 55 years of age but it can vary between communities.

These neighborhoods can be made up of houses, townhomes, apartments, condos, or mobile homes. This is a great living option for aging parents if they are fully capable of living on their own. In these communities, residents are fully independent, meaning they manage their own homes and take care of themselves.
 

Independent Living Communities

Also known as retirement homes or retirement communities, older adults are able to purchase their own unit within independent living communities. While most residents take care of themselves and don’t need help with daily tasks, meals are often included.

If you’re looking for care options for elderly parents who are active and independent but looking for a little help with services like prepared meals and housekeeping, independent living communities could be the right fit. Another benefit is the built-in community of similarly-aged peers.
 

Taking Care of Aging Parents: We’re Here to Help With In-Home Services

Taking care of aging parents can be difficult and stressful, with each decision made potentially impacting your parents’ comfort and happiness. If your parents can no longer care for themselves but want to maintain the independence of living in their own home, in-home care is the best option.

Commonwise Home Care offers our services in Charlottesville and Richmond, VA, as well as Charleston, SC. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Home-Care vs Nursing Home: What Is the Best Fit for Your Family?

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 21, 2020


Did you know that nearly 70 percent of Americans who reach the age of 65 will, at some point in their lives, be unable to care for themselves?

If you have aging parents, it’s likely very important to you that they receive the best possible care.

Many families are faced with the same conundrum. Home-care versus nursing home: which is right for my parents?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of putting elderly parents in nursing homes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of home care for the elderly.
 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Nursing Homes

When an elderly person is no longer able to care for themselves, their children might consider putting them in a nursing home. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of an old age home.
 

Nursing Home Benefits

Nursing homes are staffed with medical professionals around the clock. This means if your loved one requires 24/7 medical attention, they’ll always get the help they need. The staff at nursing homes can fulfill both medical and non-medical functions.

Another benefit of nursing homes is that they tend to be quite secure. If your parents have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and tend to wander, this can help ensure that they stay safe.

At a nursing home, your elderly parents will have social opportunities they might not otherwise have. Surrounded by peers in the same age group, some residents find it nice to have people their age to talk to. It’s common for people to feel more and more isolated as they get older, so this is a plus.
 

Nursing Home Drawbacks

Living in a nursing home is incredibly expensive, particularly for high-quality institutions. The costs of nursing homes can be financially crippling even for families that are fairly comfortable. In 2018, the average cost of a private room was $8,365, amounting to more than $100,000 per year.

Nursing homes are also problematic because they don’t allow individuals as much independence as living at home. This can lead to your elderly parents feeling old and helpless. There are often fairly rigid schedules at nursing homes, and if it might be disagreeable for individuals to have to conform to this.

Another potential con of nursing homes is the possibility of poor care. There have been a number of nightmarish stories from nursing homes over the years including abuse and neglect. While there are many above-board institutions that provide good care, it’s important to do your research ahead of time.

An additional important consideration is the fact that 42% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing homes. As the pandemic swept across the world, nursing homes around the country closed their doors to any and all visitors. This was particularly difficult for the families of those who passed away from the disease, as they were unable to visit them in their final moments.
 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Home-Care

An alternative to nursing home care is in-home care. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of elderly parents living in their own home and receiving home care.
 

Home-Care Benefits

One of the most obvious benefits of receiving home care is that individuals can stay in their own homes. Most elderly people would choose to remain in their own house if they had the option, and it can be difficult for them to make a big move so late in life.

Living in their own home affords elderly people the opportunity to “age in place.” They aren’t removed from their social network, their routines, and their normal surroundings. This generally leads to feeling happier and more secure, which is beneficial to mental and physical health.

Being in familiar surroundings can be especially important for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In a place they know and recognize, they can feel calmer and like they have a great sense of control. Any senior might find moving to a new place stressful, but it can be particularly unsettling for an individual with dementia.

With in-home care, your parents can maintain their own schedules. They don’t have to eat dinner or take a bath at a regimented time. Having the freedom to make one’s own decisions is a valuable aspect to anyone’s adult life.

In-home care is also much less expensive than nursing homes. You can also tailor the number of hours that your elderly parents receive care. For example, if they simply need help with some domestic tasks and don’t need extensive medical care, you may only pay for help a handful of hours a week.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are seeking alternatives to nursing homes. While the disease has spread quickly in nursing homes throughout the country, home care offers an option for your parents to socially isolate and receive the care they need.
 

Home-Care Drawbacks

If your parent is very social and lives alone, they’ll have fewer social opportunities at home than at a nursing home. While they will receive companionship, some seniors might enjoy having people their own age to talk to.

Occasionally older people are wary of accepting external support, as it can take away their sense of control to need outside help. In this instance, in-home care is still likely preferable to a nursing home. It’s important to take the time to talk with your parents about their concerns and find a provider they feel comfortable with.
 

Home-Care Vs Nursing Home: Which Is Right for Your Parents?

The home care vs nursing home question is one only you and your family can answer. Elderly care is a decision that is specific to each family.

That being said, while there are benefits of living in a nursing home, for many families the negative outweighs the positive. Home care allows elderly individuals to receive the care they need without making drastic changes to their everyday lives.

Are you considering home care for your aging parents? If so, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

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