ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Posts Tagged Aging

Senior Citizens Face Isolation and Loneliness During Quarantine

Monday , April 13 , 2020

Senior Citizens Face Isolation and Loneliness During Quarantine

Throughout the country, people have been instructed to limit face-to-face interactions with individuals outside of their immediate household. These measures help stop the spread of novel coronavirus.

Many family members have had to end visits to parents and grandparents or have had to stop seeing older loved ones in nursing homes and assisted care facilities.

The implementation of physical distancing is essential in keeping the community healthy – especially those aged 60 and older who are more likely to get admitted to the hospital and to die from the disease.

Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the Brain Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, told ABC News, “The frail elderly are particularly at risk because of limited (or impaired) physical mobility, less autonomy, increased vulnerability to infections and immunological depletion, cognitive decline, chronic health conditions, lower injury thresholds and higher recovery times.”

Unfortunately, the efforts come at a hidden cost: Physical distancing may be causing social isolation and loneliness in many of the nation’s older adults.

Social Isolation and Loneliness 

Social isolation (the state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society) and loneliness (a sense of suffering from being disconnected from other people) are not the same thing.

For many people, however, especially older adults, social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness.

Those aged 60 plus often live alone, and when faced with a situation where they’re not supposed to leave the house, they are less likely than younger adults to maintain connections with other people.

While isolation and loneliness can have negative effects on people of all ages, it is especially damaging for seniors. Persistent feelings of loneliness have been linked to higher risk of certain mental and physical health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease – and even death.

Chronic isolation and loneliness may also manifest as changes in routine and self-care, where older adults suddenly stop bathing or eating meals on a regular schedule.

Helping Older Adults Combat Loneliness 

Experts say there are ways to help older loved ones combat the sense of loneliness, even when you can’t be there with them. Here are some ideas, from WebMD:

Send a Care Package

Due to physical limitations or lack of transportation, it may be harder for older loved ones to get to the store. And even if they can venture out on their own, they shouldn’t.

To help your older loved one stay safely in place, consider putting together a package of things you know they’ll need, such as non-perishable foods, over-the-counter medicines, and supplies such as tissues and toilet paper.

Drop off these items at your loved one’s front door or order them and have them delivered.

Schedule a Weekly Video Call

Schedule a time each week to call and check in with each other. For older adults that aren’t comfortable with technology, a regular old phone call will do – but research finds that interacting through technology improves feelings of loneliness and depression in older adults. Now may be the time to teach grandma how to use Zoom or WhatsApp (from a safe distance, of course)!

Watch a Movie Together

You may not be able to get together in person, but technology today makes it easy to have a virtual movie night. Streaming services like Netflix Party and Metastream will let you chat with each other while you watch your favorite films or television shows. Now someone just has to come up with a way to virtually share popcorn…

Host a Book Club

If your older loved one isn’t keen on the idea of technology, maybe they’d prefer a virtual book club.  Now is the ideal time to catch up on that pile of books you’ve had in your “read next” pile for the last several years!

Have one person choose a book for everyone in the family to read each week and at the end of the week, have a group phone call to discuss. If your senior parent or grandparent doesn’t own the required novel, you can easily ship it to them via Amazon or send it to them digitally via Amazon Kindle or another reading app of their choice. 

Write Letters

Letter writing is a neglected art these days – and perhaps one that your older loved ones miss. Take this opportunity to tell your friends and family what they mean to you on paper. It is likely something they will cherish for years to come, even after quarantine is over.

Try AARP Community Connections

AARP’s new online platform, Community Connections, helps users find and organize local volunteer groups to provide financial, emotional and other support to those most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re unable to communicate with your older loved ones as often as you’d like, this service may be able to connect them with others who can provide the necessary assistance.

Final Thoughts

Quarantine can be frightening, disheartening, and lonely – but it also presents a great opportunity to find new ways to create connection. Use this time to grow more united and build stronger relationships between parents, grandparents, kids, and other friends and family. Right now, it’s more important than ever before to connect and unite!

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
There’s No Place Like Home – But Is Yours Senior Safe?

Monday , April 6 , 2020

There’s No Place Like Home – But Is Yours Senior Safe?

Is aging at home a good thing? That depends! Our homes provide a sense of comfort, familiarity, and security.

But, according to one report from Age Safe America, 85% of older adults have done nothing to prepare their homes for aging in place.

Why does that matter? Because falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions and 40% of all nursing home admissions – and 56% of those falls occur in the home.

Let that sink in: More than half of all falls resulting in hospital admission happen in the home.

Luckily, you can take steps to keep yourself or your older loved one safe from falls and other dangers in the house. Use this list to assess your home and keep it senior-friendly:

  1. Look for fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults – most of which occur in the home. One of the most important things you can do to make your home senior-safe is to remove fall hazards. Here are some things to look for:
    • Loose throw rugs. Rugs without non-slip backing are a serious fall risk. Also, look for frayed, torn, or turned-up edges, which can lead to unintentional trips and tumbles.
    • Clutter and debris. Ensure walkways and common areas are clear of items such as loose clothing and shoes, magazines, books, trash, electrical cords, and any other clutter.
    • Decorative furniture. Sure, that antique end table from Aunt Betty looks pretty. . . But it’s just one more thing to trip over.
  1. Eliminate fire risks. Did you know that people ages 65 to 74 are almost twice as likely to die in a fire, and people between the ages of 75 and 84 are almost four times as likely? Therefore, keeping your home senior-safe also includes removing fire hazards. Here’s how:
    • Keep fresh batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (experts recommend changing them twice a year when the time changes)
    • Replace frayed or damaged electrical cords and limit the number of cords plugged into one outlet or power strip
    • Don’t leave unattended candles burning in the home (better yet – don’t use candles at all!)
    • If you use a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from furniture, drapes, bedding, and other flammable items
  1. Safeguard the bathroom. According to the National Institute on Aging, almost 80 percent of falls by people 65 or older occur in the bathroom. Yikes! To ensure your (or your loved one’s) safety, do this:
    • Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
    • Consider a walk-in bathtub and a handheld shower
    • Place rubber mats in the shower to prevent slipping
    • Use a bathing chair in the shower or bathtub
    • Set the thermostat to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent accidental burns
    • Replace the toilet seat with a raised toilet seat with handlebars to make it easier to sit and stand
    • Install a nightlight in the bathroom to make overnight trips to the loo a bit safer
  1. Consider the kitchen. Many adults spend a large amount of time in the kitchen. Therefore, it makes sense to make this room as safe as possible.
    • Move frequently used items to lower cabinets or shelves
    • If reaching for items is necessary, use a step stool rather than standing on a chair
    • Install non-slip mats in front of the sink, stove, and any other areas where you frequently stop and stand
    • Replace standard water faucet handles with single-lever models
  1. Update lighting. The average 60-year-old needs at least three times more light than the average 20-year-old. With that in mind, look around the house: Is the lighting adequate? If not, these tips can help:
    • Replace any burnt-out light bulbs
    • Install new light fixtures or lamps in too-dim rooms
    • Install motion-detecting lights in commonly used areas (such as the bedroom and bathroom)
    • Put light switches where they’re easily accessible for both safety and ease of use
  1. Make stairs safe. Ideally, a senior’s home would be one level – but that’s often not the case. To avoid unnecessary trips and falls, try the following:
    • Tighten and secure all stair railings. If they wiggle back and forth, they’re not going to stop a fall!
    • Use a contrasting paint color or colored tape to differentiate stair tops from risers. Many seniors have vision issues and cannot separate one step from the next.
    • Keep the stairs (both indoors and out) clear of debris and clutter
    • Consider a stair lift if physical limitations make it difficult to climb up and down

Although this list is not comprehensive, it’s a great place to start! If you’re unsure of whether there are risks in your home, consider calling in a care manager – they will assess the house for safety and point out any red flags!

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Things to do at Home When You’re Under Quarantine

Monday , March 23 , 2020

Things to do at Home When You’re Under Quarantine

I never thought I’d start a blog with, “Things to do at home when you’re under quarantine.”

Strange times indeed.

But now that you’re stuck in your house with no end in sight, you may be wondering, “What should I do?”

No one can go to restaurants or museums or the theater. Senior centers have cancelled gatherings and classes. In some communities, even the public parks are closed.

That doesn’t mean you can’t interact with your friends and loved ones, keep your mind engaged, or even have a little fun!

Here are some creative ways to pass the time and remain social:

  1. Phone a friend. In today’s day and age, it seems like no one talks on the phone anymore. They text or email or chat online. But when you’re missing that daily face-to-face interaction with others, nothing beats hearing a loved one’s voice. Think about all those old friends you haven’t heard from in ages – wouldn’t it be nice to take this time to catch up?

  1. Start a workout routine. Exercise has a slew of benefits for older adults, from increased muscular strength to improved mental health. In fact, several studies show that exercise can increase life span. Why not use this time to start a home workout routine? There are plenty of workouts you can do at home – just be sure to check with your physician first to find out what’s safe for you.

  1. Read a book. Almost everyone I know has a “to-read” pile of books at home. Use your time at home to read all those novels you’ve been buying over the years but haven’t had a chance to pick up. Have a difficult time reading for extended periods? Try an audio book instead!

  1. Binge a new television show. It’s difficult to justify spending hours in front of the television when there are more important things to do. But being under quarantine is a special circumstance, and many people are using the time to catch up on television programs and movies. Reach out to friends and loved ones to see what they recommend, then spend a few days binging a new show.

  1. Commune with nature. Even under lockdown, most communities still allow citizens to take a walk around the neighborhood. Walking around outdoors is a great way to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the fresh air. Even better? Experts say that going outside can help improve memory, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from your fellow walkers!

  1. Cook something new. If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, now is the perfect time to perfect some old favorites or to try something new. YouTube is full of cooking videos geared toward home chefs. Because the classes are online, you can pause, rewind, and go over each step as many times as necessary until you get it right. Need an ingredient that’s not already in your pantry? Use home grocery delivery instead of venturing out to the store on your own. Delivery greatly reduces touch points and, therefore, your risk exposure to illness.

  1. Take a virtual tour of your favorite museum or zoo. Now that COVID19 has the world locked up in their homes, hundreds of museums and zoos are making their exhibits available online – FOR FREE! Check out Google Arts & Culture for some ideas. Local options include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Valley Forge National Historic Park, and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Tell us: What are you doing to keep your mind occupied during this difficult time? Have you come up with any creative ideas not listed here?

Posted in: Health

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 10 of 23 «...89101112...»