Home Instead Senior Care’s Co-Owner Lori Hogan has such a heart for seniors and caregivers.
Looking forward to reading the caregiver stories in her new book!
Featured Story of Caregiving
The Ladder of Love
Mom was only seventy-one, in great health, fun-loving, vivacious, and outgoing when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Strange as this may sound, that diagnosis was a relief! She and we knew something was wrong, so we were all relieved to learn that there was a medical reason for her forgetfulness. Mom had enough wits about her to worry that others might think she was just dumb or forgetful. …Read Full Story
The 2012 Family Caregiver Support Web Seminar Series provides access to information and advice from professionals experienced with issues faced by family caregivers.
Caring for a senior loved one can bring a sense of fulfillment, but usually not without a few challenges as well. To help you feel a little more confident and equipped in your role as a family caregiver, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is launching the 2012 Family Caregiver Support Web Seminar Series, featuring free monthly seminars for family caregivers on a variety of essential caregiving topics.
The web seminars, hosted in cooperation with the American Society on Aging (ASA), provide tips, information and advice from the perspective of professionals who are well-versed in issues facing families caring for aging loved ones.
Please note, these Family Caregiver Webinars are not eligible for CEU credits. The CEU credit offering is only available for the webinars featured in the Professional Family Caregiver series.
Please pre-register for any Family Caregiver Webinar by the deadline of 9 PM PST the day before! for the following 2012 Senior Care Web Series. Please click each "Register Now" link below for more details of each webinar and to sign up.
Recorded webinars will be available for viewing following the live sessions. It may take up to two weeks following the session for the archived version to be posted.
The 50 / 50 Rule: Managing Sibling Dynamics - Family Caregiver Webinar View Recorded Webinar from January 25, 2012.
Lillian Hartley and Allan Marks are officially the oldest newlyweds ever.
With more than 193 combined years under their belts, 95-year-old Hartley and 98-year-old Marks broke a Guinness World Record for the oldest aggregate age of a couple on when the two tied the knot Wednesday.
The couple said, “I do,” in a civil ceremonyin Indio, Calif., on Wednesday after 18 years together, according to the Desert Sun. They unknowingly surpassed the previous record of 191 aggregate years, which a French couple set in 2002.
“We talked about it for years, but our lives were so busy that I just never got around to it,” the bride told ABC News, citing their busy lifestyle filled with travel, trips to temple on Saturdays and watching their favorite basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers. “We just decided to go to Indio and have the marriage ceremony in one day.
“We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, so I’m not taking any chances. I want to be with Allan for the rest of my life,” she said.
“I want to be with Lillian for the rest of my life,” Marks echoed.
Riverside County Clerk’s Office Deputy Commissioner of Marriages Yvonne Cruz, who performed the ceremony, said Hartley and Marks’ love was evident from the moment they walked in.
“When they came to my window, I spoke to her first and she says, ‘I want to marry this man,’” Cruz recalled. “He puts his arm around her waist and says, ‘I want to be with her for the rest of my life.’ And she says, ‘I want to be together forever.’”
Cruz, who has officiated thousands of marriages over the past seven years, including one two years ago for an 82- and 83-year-old, said Marks was “one of the most romantic grooms” she’d ever seen, at any age.
“She told us that he tells her he loves her at least three or four times a day,” Cruz said.
During the time the couple was at the clerk’s office, Cruz recounted how the groom gestured lovingly at his bride, put his arm around her, kept giving her pecks on the cheek and told her how much he loved her. “Little things that added up to one big picture that these two were incredibly, incredibly in love,” she said.
Cruz helped Hartley and Marks fill out the paperwork and helped them from the main lobby to another room, where they exchanged vows. (Marks tried to kiss his bride a little too early, but who can blame him.)
“You see couples who come in and they’re in love, but in their case it was just … the degree of their love, surpassed even their ages. It was just so beautiful. It had to be one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever officiated,” Cruz said.
The bride and groom were both widowers when they met 18 years ago at temple in Palm Springs on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. He, a retired veterinarian, talked up the retired paralegal, complimenting her dress, and one thing led to another.
“I believe in fate and destiny a little bit and I think that was meant to be,” Hartley said. “I had been a widow for six years and I really loved my freedom. …I said, ‘Oh, I don’t want a relationship,’…and then he came along, and somehow hooked me.”
The duo is certainly one to learn from. “The wisdom, the knowledge and the love that they have for one another,” Cruz said, “that’s something that you don’t see every day.”
Health 411: Aging mom may have dementia, and family doesn't know what to do
First, try talking to your mother's doctor. If that doesn't work, you'll need legal documents to gain medical access. There are many resources available for caregivers of aging parents.
(Curtis Parker / For The Times)
My 82-year-old mother has been accusing family members of spying on her, listening in on her phone conversations and entering her home when she's not there, among other things, off and on for about 10 years. She told her doctor she won't talk with us. Is there anything we can do? Are there resources and/or free counseling services to help us work out issues with our mom so we can talk with her doctor?
You can try to contact your mom's doctor to discuss her condition, particularly given that you're concerned she may be suffering from dementia and unable to properly care for herself.
In some states, doctors will talk to a family member about a person's condition even without a legal release, says Garvin Reiter, a certified elder law attorney in Portland, Ore., and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. That's especially true if it is suspected or known that the patient is suffering from dementia.
But if the doctor is aware of a rift in the family, you're unlikely to get through, Reiter says. "They will definitely put up firewalls," he said. In that case, you'd need legal documents to gain access.
When it comes to planning for situations like these, you'll need four legal documents to be fully prepared, said Kathleen Kelly, executive director of the National Center on Caregiving in San Francisco.
The first document is a trust. This allows a family member or friend to manage a person's assets.
The second is a durable power of attorney for finances, which grants someone authority to make financial decisions on another person's behalf.
To make decisions about someone's medical care, you'll need a separate durable power of attorney for health. Finally, an advance healthcare directive allows someone to specify their wishes so they can maintain control over the type of treatment they do — or do not — receive. An advance healthcare directive may also designate a person to communicate those wishes on their behalf when they are unable to do so.
"Having all of those documents together is the biggest gift a person could [give] their family and friends," Kelly says.
Although it sounds like your mom may be tough to reason with, don't assume that setting up a power of attorney for health, which would give you access to her doctors, is out of the question, Reiter says. Dementia is progressive in nature. Until it reaches a stage where all cognitive function is lost, there are moments, albeit decreasing in frequency, when an individual retains the ability to reason. Depending on the stage of her dementia, you may be able to catch your mom at a time when she is lucid and clear-thinking.
To get the necessary legal papers in place, you'll have to demonstrate that she has transactional competency, meaning your mom understands the transaction in front of her at that moment she's carrying it out, Reiter says.
An attorney can help establish your mom's competency and get the legal papers in order. Since laws vary greatly by state, it's a good idea to work with a local attorney with experience in elder law. You can find one in the online directory of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at http://www.naela.org. You can also search for attorneys with experience in this area on the National Elder Law Foundation's website. Go to http://www.nelf.org, click on "About NELF" and enter your state under the heading "Finding a CELA."
If it's too late to get these legal papers together for your mom, you can consider becoming your mom's legal guardian or, as it is known in California and some other states, a conservator, says Sarah Clingman, a certified elder law attorney in Columbia, S.C. Guardians have the authority to make medical, legal and financial decisions on someone's behalf.
But first, you'll need a physician to determine that your mom is incapacitated, Clingman says. Then an independent lawyer will be appointed to represent her interests. Finally, a judge will decide whether to make you her guardian. Keep in mind that this can be an onerous and expensive process. "Guardianship is a last resort," Clingman, says.
There are a number of places you can turn to for assistance in these matters.
Geriatric case managers, who plan and coordinate care for the elderly and disabled, can be very helpful in identifying and navigating the range of needed resources. You can find one through the Assn. of Certified Geriatric Care Managers by visiting http://www.caremanager.org and looking under the "About Care Management" tab.
For information about healthcare documents, estate planning and more, try Help4srs.org, operated by the Torrance-based nonprofit Healthcare and Elder Law Programs Corp.
Services can also be located through the Family Care Navigator on the Family Caregiver Alliance's website, http://www.caregiver.org.
All states have an agency on aging, and the federal Department of Health and Human Services offers an Eldercare Locator at http://www.eldercare.gov to connect families to services for older adults. The department can also be reached at (800) 677-1116.
Cooking might not be the pleasure it once was, but you don't want to shortchange yourself on nutrition and a healthy diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to spending long hours in the kitchen.
Nobody feels like cooking every night. Some people don't even feel like cooking any night. But if you avoid cooking completely in your senior years and don’t look for alternatives to maintain a healthy diet, you may not get the nutrients you need.
A Healthy Diet Made Easier
Eating healthfully doesn't have to involve hours in the kitchen. Consider these options for maintaining a nutritious diet in your senior years:
Get help in the kitchen. If you can't or don't like to cook any more, consider getting some help with your meals from friends and family, or by hiring a home health aide who can shop and prepare meals for you.
Buy prepared meals. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have expanded their prepared food sections. You can buy entire meals with all the preparation done for you. Some stores have prepared foods set up like a big salad bar, enabling you to put together your own healthy mix of protein, veggies, and other sides.
Consider home delivery services. If you can’t easily get out to shop, see if you can get fully-cooked meals delivered right to your home from the supermarket and local restaurants. You can have healthy, delicious food for dinner without the effort of shopping and cooking, just by making a phone call.
Partner with neighbors. If you have friends or neighbors who live alone or just don’t like all the chores surrounding cooking, consider forming your own cooking club. You can share in the bills, the cooking, the shopping, and the eating — a great way to stay socially connected, too.
Choose easy recipes and plan ahead. Stick to healthy yet simple recipes that don't require a lot of ingredients or effort but pack a lot of nutrients. Plan your menu for the week ahead so that you don’t have to make many trips to the store.
To limit the preparation work, consider using frozen ingredients, like vegetables, in your recipes. A simple way to add flavor to your meals is with seasonings rather than complicated preparations; try different herbs and spices to make eating more enjoyable. When cooking is too difficult, choose frozen meals that are microwavable.
Investigate social services when money and mobility are problems. Programs like Meals on Wheels deliver nutritious meals twice a day to the homes of seniors who can't cook or get out of the house to shop. Meals on Wheels isn't free, but it is based on income level.
Practice Kitchen Safety
Staying safe in the kitchen is always important, and even more so if you aren’t as mobile or agile as you used to be. Always follow these kitchen safety tips when cooking at home:
To avoid kitchen fires, never leave food cooking on the stove or in the oven unattended.
Be careful to keep loose clothing (like shirt sleeves), dishtowels, and potholders awayfrom all heat sources.
Have a fire extinguisher mounted in the kitchen and learn how to use it.
Switch to lighter pots and pans. Cast-iron and ceramic pots may be too heavy to lift safely. To avoid bending and extra lifting of any kind, keep cookware and heavier items at waist level when storing in cabinets.
Clear a space on the kitchen counter before taking hot pans out of the oven or off the stove.
Make sure there are no area rugs or clutter on the floor that can lead to slips and falls. Clean up any spills or water on the floor right away.
Completely cook food all the way through to prevent illness.
Toss out any old foods that could be contaminated with bacteria. Date any leftovers so you remember when to throw them out, usually within three days — freeze them if you won’t be eating them in time.
Whether you buy prepared or frozen foods, use services that deliver nourishing meals, divide cooking duties with friends, or a combination of all these options, continuing to follow a healthy diet is one of the most important steps to staying well throughout your senior years.