Help me, please; I’m a caregiver

Being a caregiver for an aging loved one can be tough. It can drain you physically, emotionally and mentally, but you do not have to do it alone. With the help of your community and assistive technology, it is a task that turns into something that does not have to be overwhelming, but will actually allow you to see your loved one without thinking about the bills that are piling up on the table or the fact that you are having to do this all alone because you are too stubborn to ask for the help of those around you.

Take a look at what one overwhelmed and, self admitting, stubborn caregiver has to say about community and asking for help

Help me, please; I’m a caregiver

By Nell Noonan
This story was originally published in Interpreter Magazine.

Why, oh, why do caregivers think they have to do everything by themselves? Is it our rugged American individualism or some kind of arrogant stoicism and pride that makes us believe our journey as caregivers must be a solo venture?

According to November 2012 statistics from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, I am one of 65.7 million unpaid caregivers for family or friends in the United States. I imagine that the majority, like me, have a hard time asking for help.

I was well into the seven and a half years of my caregiving odyssey with my husband before I stopped saying, “No, thanks; we’re doing just fine.” Truthfully, I was sleep deprived, depressed, sad, stressed and heartsick. Year after year after year, I watched a truly good human being suffer in excruciating pain. I also had a torn rotator cuff and bad back from physically assisting my 220-pound husband from bed to lift chair to wheelchair.

View the rest of the article here

Better Business Bureau warns about scams for seniors

With parents or loved ones aging, there is a lot to think about. How much longer will they be able to live on their own? Do we/they have the means to sustain themselves living where they are? Are they safe at home? These are just a few of the things caregivers worry about, among others. 

The Better Business Bureau recently published a piece about elders being scammed. The BBB continues to get calls about seniors receiving unsolicited calls requesting personal information including Medicare/Medicaid or Social Security information.

Seniors are likely to be receiving these calls because they are more vulnerable and  likely having memories that are not as sharp as they once were, making them perfect candidates for scammers.

Take a look at what Sharane Gott has to say about being aware of Medicare/Medicaid scams.

 

Better Business Bureau warns elderly to beware Medicare/Medicaid scams

By: SHARANE GOTT

Better Business Bureau is alerting elderly and disabled individuals to beware of unsolicited phone calls from unscrupulous people looking to obtain Medicare or Medicaid information.

In the last few weeks, BBB has received numerous phone calls from residents reporting they received phone calls, supposedly from federal agencies, medic alert businesses or medical supply companies working with the government.

These people are asking for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers in order to provide free services such as medic alert alarms, back braces, and other products that assist the elderly and infirm and are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.

Elderly consumers may be given any number of excuses to provide this information. Reasons used to further the scam include:

  • The resident is part of a corporate or government survey
  • They are eligible to receive free products if they give the information
  • They must provide the information to sign up for a new prescription drug plan.
  • Residents are eligible for a free medic alert service if they provide the information.

Some scammers also claim that they are from the government and are calling to update information or confirming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers in order to issue a new card.

Read the rest of the article here

Could’ve Should’ve Would’ve: Aging in Place

Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. How many times a week do we say that? Most of the time it is something like “Could’ve packed my suitcase a little better” or maybe “I would’ve done that sooner if I had just known (insert mistake here).” 

Stephanie Borden is trying to use her could’ve, would’ve should’ve moment to help others.  She wished she would’ve known about aging in place before her mom passed. Borden is sure that her mom would have been happier and she would have felt more comfortable about how her mom was aging.

Like most children of aging parents, Stephanie wanted what was best for her mom; she simply did not know all of the options. Along with people similar to Stephanie, SimplyHome is committed to letting people know all of the options they have before they feel stuck into what has always been; nursing homes and skilled living facilities. Aging in place has proven beneficial for thousands of families and aging in place with technology continues to prove fruitful for our clients.

 

Take a look at what Stephanie has to say in her article “Consider aging-in-plcae as one of many choices.”

Consider aging-in-place as one of many choices

Stephanie Borden

Now that I know better, I can help others do better. Still, I wish I had known about aging-in-place 15 years ago when my modest 75-year-old Minnesota mother fainted on her kitchen floor.

When she came to and called 911, she refused to get into the ambulance until she could put on her pantyhose. On the way to the hospital, her heart stopped twice. After she was stabilized in the emergency room 1 thousand miles away, my phone rang. It was her doctor, with this strict advice: “Your mother can never live alone again.”

My sister, brother, and I flew to her with only one option in mind: Find the best assisted-living facility she could afford. Because we didn’t know about aging-in-place, there was no exploration of how we could arrange for in-home health care services and make some minor home modifications that would have allowed her to stay in the cherished home and familiar neighborhood where we grew up.

Click here to view the rest of the article

Stay active and keep family close

The best advice John Haaga, senior official at the National Institute on Aging, has is “Take a lot of long walks and have a lot of daughters and daughters-in-law.”

It is no secret that family and staying active is valuable at any age, but these two things become particularly important as we age. This article lays out facts and figures as far as what it looks like to have a family member in a nursing home. We want to help you prevent those rising costs of nursing homes and assisted living facilities through having technology in your loved one’s home.

Check out what else Jim Landers of the Dallas News has to say about aging in place, living independently and what it looks like to have a loved one who is aging in this economy.

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WASHINGTON — John Haaga, a senior official at the National Institute on Aging, offers a disquieting thought for baby boomers heading into their later years.

“The best advice we can give people for old age is ‘Take a lot of long walks and have a lot of daughters and daughters-in-law.’”

Unless a retiring couple has hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for health care, exercise and family caregivers could be vitally important.

A new report from the Institute on Aging, “65+ in the United States: 2010” (census. gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p23-212.pdf), estimates a couple retiring in 2010 needed $190,000 for out-of-pocket care. If one of them needs nursing home care, it took $260,000 in savings. This is money required to pay bills that exceed the health coverage of Medicare.

Many Americans heading into old age don’t have that kind of money.

Read the full article here.

5 Things You Need To Age in Place

The phrase “aging in place” has taken the baby boomers by storm. This phrase is so popular right now because people want live independently, where they are. People want to grow older in their own place; in their own home. For some, this is no problem. For others, it may take more preparation and thought. It is our hope that these tools will provide a better understanding as to what aging in place means and how it is possible in most situations.

 

Family_blog1. Having a sense of community is important regardless of age.

As people age, a sense of community becomes more and more important. It may be true that “it takes a village to raise a child,” but, it also takes a community to age in place. Community can mean a slew of different things.

Whether it is community with family that lives close, community through church, community through long time friends, community through a card group or community through home care providers, community is crucial. Social interaction among people and friends is one of the main factors for being able to age in place.

Community could include Meals on Wheels, church groups, and other community groups.

 

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 2. Time and time again it is proven that staying mentally and physically active are two of the top ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases often developed by aging individuals.

“Use it or lose it” has never been more true. Doing puzzles, basic stretching, reading or walking are just a few examples of ways to get the blood pumping, keep the brain active. Active aging is a surefire way to keep chronic diseases at bay and stay independent for longer.

Here is a great article on how and why you should start exercising.

The AARP Website has dozens of games to keep your brain active and healthy.

 

Fruits-and-veggies3. Mom was right; “eat your fruits and veggies!”

This tidbit of advice does not become outdated as people age. Actually, it is crucial advice to follow. Keeping your plate full of colorful, whole foods will help you get the necessary vitamins and minerals that assists in keeping the memory active that encourages healthy blood flow and that regulates the level of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. Watching and enjoying what you eat will improve your overall health and make aging in place more feasible.

The intake of Vitamin C and beta-carotene is especially important. These two antioxidants help fend off blindness, keep skin healthy, protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. These antioxidants can be found in carrots, broccoli, citrus fruits, kale, onions, peppers and other fruits and vegetables.

Examples of healthy meals can be found here.

This is another great resource with basic steps to eating healthfully.

 

telehealth24.New technology coming out all the time. Some of these technologies can help keep you at home and create peace of mind for caretakers.

Though technology can be new, different and appear intimidating, especially for the aging population.  Technology is often less expensive than assisted living and allows families to stay at home longer.

Technology can include medication dispensers, a personal emergency response system, and telehealth equipment as well as bed pads and stove sensors.  These technologies can be viewed here.

 

mother_daughter5. Discussing some end of life topics is often uncomfortable, but is very necessary.

Having a living will and a power of attorney is hard to think about when an individual is well, but it becomes a scramble if the individual’s health begins to decline.  This conversation may be awkward and uncomfortable for all parties, but will prove fruitful when and if the time comes.

A serious talk between the individual and the caretaker(s) about accounts, lifestyle, and potential transitions is imperative. It is important that both parties know the desires of the other and though all wishes may not be able to be accommodated, everything will be on the table and out in the open.  There are community and online resources available to facilitate these conversations.  Some of those resources include Council on Aging and Elder Care.

SimplyHome TechTip: Medication Dispenser

 

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This month, SimplyHome’s VP of Business Development, Jason Ray, discusses common questions about the medication dispenser in our Tech Tip. He goes through troubleshooting issues such as:
1-Making sure your alarms are set up properly
2-Tray alignment
3-What to do when the time is not displayed
4-Why won’t my alarm stop beeping?
5-Medications off limits for this device

If you have trouble with something not mentioned in our TechTip, please do not hesitate to call us and let us know!

 

Holiday Weekend Reflection

With July 4th being this past weekend, we hope that you were able to fill your weekend with food, fun, and family. Holidays are a great time of catching up with those you have not seen in a while, making dishes just like grandma used to make and making new memories.

Holidays can also be a time of evaluation. It could be evaluating why you have not talked to your long lost aunt in years, or evaluating why your kids have never met some of their cousins. Maybe it is evaluating what the next step is as far as your aging mother and evaluating changes in health of your dear ones that are graying.

For those who may not see aging relatives day in and day out, seeing them on holidays can really be a time to see changes in their health and well being leading into a discussion about what is next for your loved ones.

Characteristics you may notice are the slowing down of mechanical movements, the loss of weight, senses not being as sharp as they once were, among others.

Though these are not things that are demanding of immediate attention, they are things to be aware of. These are characteristics that are flags of slowing down and potential health risks to come. Observing these things may be startling at first, but they are things that you cannot see over the phone or have seen as vividly before.

What are the necessary steps to take for helping your loved one age in place?

-          Speak delicately with your aging relative about what they want to do. Try to speak with them about keeping their independence and empower them to be able to continue being independent. This may be through connecting them with people in their neighborhood or church. This could also be connecting them with some assistive technology to keep them living independently while providing you with peace of mind.

-          Collect local resources including people who could act as a stand in caretaker if you are not there, doctor’s phone numbers, neighbors’ information, where you could get meals for your loved one if necessary.

-          Speak with you siblings and other relatives about what the options look like as far as having your parents or relatives age in place, move in with one of you or begin to look into home care.

-          Continue to monitor the progress of your loved one while you explore options for them. Ensure, though, that their wishes and wants are taken into account. This is their life. Try to enhance it and make it as enjoyable for them as you can.

Keeping your loved one at home and safe is a priority and we are here to help make that a reality. We want to help you help your loved ones as they begin to age and through technology, we want to make that happen. Whether it is controlling their environment, monitoring their habits through sensors or keeping an eye on their medication, SimplyHome is here to help you keep your loved ones at home, living independently and your worried mind at bay.

SimplyHome Wins M2M Award

Check out this press release being distributed today! Check it out here!

The 2014 M2M Evolution Product of the Year Award was given to SimplyHome’s technology powered by Aeris Communications. The award was given by M2M Evolution Magazine who is committed to being a resource for the rapidly developing technologies that surround M2M technology.

“As a company, we are ecstatic to be partnered with Aeris who continues to provide industry leading technology for SimplyHome and the families we serve,” said Jason Ray, SimplyHome’s VP of Business Development.

SimplyHome is considered M2M because of the communication that occurs when a system passively captures and transmits information about activities taking place in a home, such as a door opening or the medication cabinet being assessed.

“Machine to Machine technology [M2M] is a broad term meaning the connectivity among wired and wireless devices to exchange information,” said Ray.

SimplyHome’s technology communicates with multiple sensors to observe activities of daily living, and proactively alerts caregivers and loved ones of changes in behavioral patterns. Text, email, or phone alerts can then be generated by a single event, a combination of events, or by inactivity. SimplyHome can also monitor wellness priorities ranging from blood pressure and glucose levels, to weight and medication management.

“Receiving the M2M Evolution Product of the Year Award is testament to our technology and industry leadership,” said Raj Kanaya, Chief Marketing Officer at Aeris. “We pride ourselves on our uniquely flexible and reliable network built exclusively for machines, enabling SimplyHome to deliver this innovative solution that makes home health care more affordable and improves the quality of life.”

Aeris is the only cellular carrier built exclusive for machines which is what makes the SimplyHome System unique. A System can now be used independent of Internet connection. This solution not only provides for faster system implementation at a lower cost than most internet service providers, it also provides a much more reliable and stable connection for system communication and alerts.

“In order for us to remain on the forefront of health care M2M, we are proud to partner with Aeris who continues to be innovative and groundbreaking. SimplyHome is staying ahead of the game and Aeris has played a big part in that,” said Ray.

Aging in Place- the dangers and solutions

The risk of staying at home, as also mentioned in this article, can be a risk for many families. The thought of mom or dad being at home alone without anyone coming by regularly to check on them or having around the clock care can be scary, but can also be terribly expensive. Leaving caretakers in a bit of a pickle, the families still need a solution. The SimplyHome systems have proven time and time again to be appropriate solutions to this debate. Giving the caretakers peace of mind and keeping mom and/or dad safe and in place, it truly is the best in both instances. Take a look at what Bob Collins says about the risks of aging in place and then take a look at our website to see some solutions preventing these issues.

Jason Ray and SimplyHome featured by TecHomeBuilder

 

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Our very own Jason Ray elaborates on how our system works and the concerns of people prior to using the SimplyHome System and the peace of mind that comes with it after installation. TechHomeBuilder.com discusses the benefits of digital health care products including glucose and blood pressure meters as well as a Personal Emergency Response System. Take a look at what Tec Home Builder had to say about SimplyHome.

 

Check out the video here!