ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Posts Tagged grandma

Age is Just a Number

Monday , June 1 , 2020

Age is Just a Number

A few days ago, I got this text from a caregiver who has been with us since 2006: “I will be back in Jersey June 4th. Hope u have a job for me. It’s very hot here. I am ok, just very bored.”

Amazingly, this lady is 86 years old!

For the past few years, she has stayed with family in Florida every winter and returns in the summer. I never thought she’d be returning to New Jersey on the same schedule during Coronavirus, but you just can’t keep her in the rocking chair!

This woman is an excellent aide – smart and gracious – and she works harder than many aides a quarter of her age.

Moral of the story? Seniors can help other seniors – and we shouldn’t make assumptions about people’s ability and energy based on age!

Here are some ways we often underestimate seniors’ abilities and strength and what you can do instead:

We Meddle in Decisions

Do you often find yourself jumping into the middle of a situation where you don’t necessarily belong? Much like parents try to shield their children from harm and pain, we often do the same to protect older loved ones.

By making decisions for older adults (whether it’s what they should be eating or where they should live), we rob them of the chance to control their own lives. Don’t forget, seniors have overcome many challenges and difficulties throughout the years, and they’re often much more capable than we give them credit for.

We Don’t Recognize Strengths

Many of today’s older adults did not grow up in an easy environment. They’ve lived through wars, recessions, and social justice movements. They may have had limited resources in the forms of health care and education. If they are immigrants, they may have faced a language barrier or racism.

Even though these older adults are nearing their end of life, they still have a lot of reliance and strength. What you see as “protecting,” they may see as undermining.

We Limit Learning Opportunities

Growing older does not mean that a person is limited in their capacity to learn and grow. In fact, experts say that lifelong learning can help improve brain health!

Despite this, relatives and caregivers of older adults often underestimate the ability of seniors to learn. It is sometimes so bad that seniors are viewed as having child-like abilities, unable to understand simple instructions or comprehend normal adult conversation. Unless there is an underlying mental illness or significant health condition, this is not the case.

We Don’t Value Opinions

The opinions of older adults are often brushed aside as unimportant or trivial. We don’t recognize the importance of their views, even when it comes to their own finances or healthcare. An important first step is to take the time to actually talk to your older adult and find out what’s important to them. This can be a general conversation or about something specific.

Ultimately, whatever decisions you make for your older loved one should occur with their consent, as much as possible. In the long run, having honest conversations leads to better solutions!

Final Thoughts

Respecting seniors and involving them in the decisions surrounding their own lives helps to set the foundation for a honest, open relationship between you and your older loved one.

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
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) →
How to Tackle Online Dating in Your Golden Years

Tuesday , February 18 , 2020

How to Tackle Online Dating in Your Golden Years

Are you over 60, newly single, and looking to mingle? You may have noticed that the dating world has changed quite a bit over the last few decades.

Gone are the days of meeting through friends or marrying your high school sweetheart. Making connections at work happy hour or the church social are things of the past.

These days, people meet online. And in a world where we bank, shop, and set appointments from our computers, doesn’t that just make sense?

While online dating may sound daunting, it’s a total game-changer. Finding love online puts all the power in your hands, allowing you to “browse” the options before making any decisions.

And if thousands of other adults aged 60+ are doing it, why can’t you? All you need is an open mind, the ability to navigate some very basic technology, and a positive attitude!

Ready to jump in? Here’s what you need to know:

Choose the Right Dating Site
With so many dating sites out there, you may not know which one to choose. Our tip? Vet a few (specifically targeted at seniors) before you choose one or two to join.

Most sites will offer a free trial before they make you officially sign up. During that time, you can browse members to see if they seem like your type, note if they seem to be active, and (depending on the site) even message a few people.

Not sure where to start? According to Mashable, the top eight senior dating sites are:

• eHarmony
• Match
• EliteSingles
• SilverSingles
• Zoosk
• OurTime
• Senior FriendFinder
• SeniorMatch

Be Honest
When it comes to the internet, people tend to only post the very best things about themselves: The most attractive photos, the wittiest quotes, the happiest announcements.

But that’s not real life.
If you’re hoping to start a quality relationship with someone new, it’s best to start off on the right (honest) foot.

Post current photographs that show what you look like now (not when you were 20 pounds lighter or 10 years younger). Share your actual interests (not made-up hobbies that you think will make you look interesting). And, most of all, be honest about what you want (whether that’s a long-term committed relationship, or a casual fling).

Be Realistic
The over-60 dating pool keeps growing larger and larger as people live longer, healthier lives – but it’s still fairly limited.

If you go onto a dating site with very specific requirements (i.e. has a good pension, owns a home, and still has all his own hair), you may end up sorely disappointed.

Of course, you want to be attracted to the person you end up dating. But keep in mind, if you are dating someone in your own age range, there is likely to be evidence of that age. Don’t let a few (or a lot) of gray hairs turn you off!

Start a Conversation
Some people have a hard time starting a conversation in real life. The internet can be even worse – especially for a generation that didn’t grow up around technology.

Take the time to read other people’s profiles and pick up on their interests and desires. Likewise, make sure your bio has enough information about you to prompt others to ask questions or start a conversation.

Once you get the ball rolling, keep the message exchange moving until you can have a real, honest-to-goodness conversation.

Set a Date
Of course, the ultimate end goal of online dating is usually to meet someone in real life.

Once you’ve exchanged several emails or phone call and have determined that you find someone interesting, it’s time to grab a coffee.

Experts recommend having your first face-to-face in a neutral, public place. Tell a relative or friend where you are going to be and who you are meeting and choose a casual activity like breakfast or lunch.

After the date, make sure to follow up (email or text is fine) and don’t be worried if you didn’t feel any chemistry – there are other fish in the sea!

Keep browsing, make more connections, and enjoy the ride!

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 4 1234