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medical alert system

The Basics of Medical Alert Systems

Thinking about using a Medical Alert System / Personal Emergency Response System? ALCA Corporate Partner David Michaels shares the basics of Medical Alert Systems to help determine the best system for you or your aging loved one.

What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Medical Alert System

by David Michaels, Aging Life Care Association® Corporate Partner

The Medical Alert System – also known as personal emergency response systems (PERS)– was created in the early 1970’s by Wilhelm Hormann as a way to relay urgent biomedical data and social communication. In 1975, American International Telephone Corporation offered the first medical alert system – a pendant worn by a person who when in distress pushed a button and it called a set of preprogrammed phone numbers. In the 1980’s we all became familiar with the saying “I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”

Medical Alert Systems provide protection when no one is around or close by to lend a hand. Technology has drastically changed and improved the device since its early days now offering a selection of pendants, watches, and even systems that do not require wearing a pendant or wristband.

Medical Alert Systems help individuals maintain quality of life while reassuring their families that they are safe.  Medical Alert Systems are separated into two major categories: In the home and On the Go. Here are a few of the features and benefits of the two categories of units:

In the Home

  • Units are ideal for anyone who is home bound or just needs a little extra protection when at home – singles are a great example
  • Use either a traditional landline or cellular connections
  • Waterproof
  • Fall Detection is available
  • 24/7 Emergency Help available

On the Go

  • Watches or Pendants
  • Wi-Fi and GPS location technology
  • Apps for tracking a loved one
  • Water Resistant
  • Work anywhere in the United States
  • Fall Detection is available
  • 24/7 Emergency Help available

GPS and Medical Alert System / PERS

One question often asked is does the Medical Alert System have GPS? Every PERs dealer and the manufacture of the PERs knows where the system is located. An advanced combination of GPS and WIFI technology are used, depending on the area, to locate the individual system.

When a family member or caregiver wants to find the individual, if they are a wanderer for example, then a system with real time tracking is recommend and utilized.

Monitored vs Non-Monitored Systems

Another great question often asked is why use a monitored system versus a non-monitored system?

  • The first reason is simple – monitored systems always answer. When a loved one pushes their PERS button at 3 AM – when most people are sound asleep – the emergency contact most likely will not hear their phone ring.  This means mom may lie on the floor in distress for hours until someone wakes up and looks at the phone.  A professionally monitored system will always answer.
  • Second reason is technology updates. A medical alert received through a dealer will always have the latest technology and provide it to you or your clients free of charge. An example happening now with 3G being terminated. All dealers are upgrading their clients to new 4G units for free. If you purchased a self-monitored unit, you will be forced to upgrade it or it will not work come the end of the year.
  • Third reason is location. Anyone who has called 911 in an emergency knows they always ask you for your location. Why? Because many 911 centers use old and outdated CAD software (simply no room in the budget for updates). Basically, this means if you need help and are not able to respond to 911’s location question, 911 might not be able to find you. However, response centers used by medical alert companies all use the most up-to-date software and know where the device is and who the person is pushing the button.

The following  Redditt post is a powerful example of  why a monitored Medical Alert System: “Now, it also depends on the device in question and the infrastructure in the area as to how the call is handled. No voice call from an Apple watch? Very low chance of attendance in any sort of timely manner – just far too many false activations. A no voice call from a dedicated welfare device stating a duress condition or – in the case of eldercare technology – a possible fall – those are attended to in an immediate fashion.”

The main reason people chose a non-monitored or self-monitored system is cost, but for less than a $1 a day, one can have all the protection needed with a monitored system.

At the end of the day, Medical Alert Systems save lives from catastrophe one in every 11 minutes.

Before purchasing a Medical Alert system, it’s always best to discuss the specifics with your loved ones or an Aging Life Care Manager as they are familiar with many systems and know the expert providers of the systems. To locate an Aging Life Care Manager in your area, search aginglifecare.org. To find an ALCA Corporate Partner that specializes in Medical Alert Systems, click here.

About the author: David Michaels is the VP of Sales at Personal Living Alert. He has nearly a decade of experience in the medical alert field and has spoken at many events and written articles on medical alerts.  Personal Living Alert is an ALCA Corporate Partner and can be reached at 1-833-563-0040.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

beat the heat

Beat the Heat: 7 Safety Tips for Aging Adults

It’s been a challenging year, with social isolation, a worldwide pandemic, and having to be confined indoors.  Now that it’s Summer, and most of the outdoor restrictions have been lifted, it is exciting to finally be able to venture outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather, the blossoming flowers, and the abundant sunshine! However, there are safety risks to keep in mind when we venture outdoors. It’s important to take precautions when taking aging adults out into the sun and heat. 

Tips for Keeping Aging Adults Safe in the Sun

by Elyse Weber-Sacks, MSW, LSW, CMC – Aging Life Care Professional®

 

Older adults are more vulnerable to heat stroke as are those with heart, lung, or kidney disease. These seven safety tips will help beat the heat and keep you and your aging loved one safe outside this summer:

  1. Wear Sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if you will be outside for a half-hour or all day, sunscreen use is essential for skin health and blocking sun rays (it’s a good idea to read the label to ensure you are getting adequate sun protection from UVA and UVB rays).
  2. Bring sunglasses. Especially if you’re driving on a sunny day, glare can obstruct vision. It’s a good idea to have an extra pair of sunglasses in the car or in your bag.
  3. Bring water. Reusable water bottles are a great investment. Not only are they environmentally friendly, they are portable and most do a great job at keeping water nice and cool. Don’t leave the house without a supply of water and remember to frequently drink even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Try to avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol which can be dehydrating.
  4. Dress appropriately. When the weather is unpredictable, wear layers. In warm weather try to wear fabrics that breathe and avoid heavy bulky fabrics such as synthetic materials or wool. You can also bring a light sweater/jacket to put on if you get chilly.
  5. Don’t forget the chance of rain. In summer months, storms can sneak right up on us and no one likes getting caught in the rain. Consider investing in a small portable umbrella to keep in your car/purse.
  6. Be mindful of overdoing it. Heatstroke can occur when we exert ourselves too much without proper hydration, or perhaps in conjunction with medical/physical issues. Be very aware of your physical symptoms. If you start to feel dizzy, exhausted, nauseous, excessively sweaty, or get out of breath…stop! Try to find a shaded spot, indoors if possible, and sit down. Drink and, if possible, splash cool water on your face, neck, and wrists. Rest and rehydrate until you feel steady again. Seek medical attention if you do not improve or lose consciousness. Also learn to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke so that if you are with someone showing the symptoms you can assist them in getting immediate medical attention. Heat stroke symptoms can include: fainting or loss of consciousness, dizziness, behavioral changes (confusion, irritability), flushed skin, and weak pulse.
  7. Check-in on older loved ones when it is especially hot. Make sure they have enough to drink, aren’t exerting themselves, and have access to a comfortable environment. If they don’t have air conditioning, suggest they visit a friend who does, or that they go into a shopping center, library, or senior center to sit and cool off.

With these precautions in mind, we can all enjoy the great outdoors safely and comfortably.

About the author: Elyse Weber-Sacks, MSW, LSW, CMC is the president of  Connie Rosenberg & Associates Care Management – celebrating 35 years seniors and the disabled. She is a licensed social worker in both New York and New Jersey. Elyse is certified as a Geriatric Care Manager by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers and is an Aging Life Care Professional®. She is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of ALCA and was the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Chapter member award. In January 2020, Elyse was elected to the Board of Directors of the Aging Life Care Association®.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

faces of LGBTQ+ elderly people of different backgrounds

Gray is a Color of the Rainbow

This Pride Month, Aging Life Care Professionals across the country join in celebrating and honoring LGBTQ+ elders. Included in this celebration is understanding the unique needs of LGBTQ+ elders and creating care plans that support and enhance their individual lifestyles. According to SAGE, LGBTQ+ elders are:

  • Twice as likely to be single and live alone
  • Four times less likely to have children

If you are an LGBTQ+ elder or know of one in need of support in the aging journey, Aging Life Care Professionals are an excellent source for building a care network.

 

Though Improving, LGBTQ+ Elders Still Face Unique Obstacles

by Anne Sansevero, RN, MA, GNP, CCM – Aging Life Care Professional®

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate and affirm the diverse mosaic of our humanity. Part of this rainbow coalition includes a growing number of LGBTQIA+ elders. Conservative estimates are that there are over 3 million LGBTQIA+ people over 50 living in the US today. According to SAGE, an advocacy organization for the older LGBTQIA+ community, that number is expected to grow to over 7 million by 2030. LGBTQIA+ adults (ages 65 and older) came of age during the McCarthy Era when their identity was severely stigmatized and criminalized. They had to deny who they were and live under a blanket of silence or risk verbal or physical assaults, job loss, discrimination, and ostracization. Since then, several hard-won victories, such as the Equality Act, bans discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

However, many older adults in the community still face unique obstacles. Elderly LGBTQIA+ adults are less likely to have had the opportunities to parent, reduce their support system, and increase their likelihood of living alone. The resulting isolation has often led to financial insecurity. As they age, they are much more likely to be caregivers for their friends in the LGBTQIA+ community. Because they have experienced many challenges throughout their lives, they have higher incidences of depression, substance abuse, and HIV. Many older LGBTQIA+ adults experience high levels of discrimination in accessing assisted living or affordable housing. In fact, a transition into senior living for many can mean going back “into the closet” as they do not have confidence that senior residences can accommodate their care and safety needs. This is compounded if they have memory issues. Many same-sex partners are still denied visitation rights in hospitals and long-term care residences. Many LGBTQIA+ elders are not candid about their sexual orientation for fear of receiving inferior care from medical providers.

Some positive developments are on the horizon. There are now an increasing number of senior living residences and aging in place communities that are creating more welcoming and inclusive environments. More and more people realize that LGBTQIA+ cultural competency training for a medical, facility, and home care staff is key to developing affirming and inclusive care. On advocacy, we must continue to pressure federal, state, and local governments to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections in existing housing laws. Senior housing providers must be pushed to adopt anti-discrimination policies (SAGE LGBTQIA-friendly housing resources). On a broader level, the community’s unique needs need to be integrated into systems of care across the continuum so that services for older adults are assessed on their ability to be both welcoming for people who are older and who identify as LGBTQIA+. As we continue to evolve into a more inclusive society, it is past time to show our LGBTQIA+ elders who fought for equality the dignity and respect they deserve and acknowledge and affirm that their dreams for aging well matter.

 

About the Author:  Anne C. Sansevero, RN, MA, GNP, CCM is the founder and CEO of HealthSense LLC, an Aging Life Care™ management consulting practice. She is a master’s prepared geriatric nurse practitioner, and a seasoned nursing professional with over 30 years of experience in the field. Anne has a sub-specialty in neurological disorders and is well versed in all aspects of geriatric nursing. She has particular expertise with communication disorders relating to stroke and dementia and has developed a number of innovative nursing assessment tools and standards to improve the nursing care for frail elders. Anne is a member of the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA) and Fellow of the Aging Life Care Leadership Academy. She is currently serving on the board of the ALCA, and is President of ALCA’s New York Chapter. In addition, Anne is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Nurse Practitioners of New York. Anne is a registered nurse, certified care manager, and a master’s prepared geriatric nurse practitioner.

This blog originally appeared on the HealthSense blog.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

National Aging Life Care™ Month Highlights Solution for Overwhelmed Caregivers

As the aging population continues to grow, so does the demand for caregivers. During National Aging Life Care™ Month this May, the Aging Life Care Association is raising awareness around a solution for caregivers and families of aging adults — Aging Life Care Managers®. This network of professionals are experts in aging, helping ensure a client’s optimal quality of life while reducing stress, worry and time away from work for family caregivers.

Solution for Overwhelmed Caregivers

For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the numerous caregiving challenges faced across generations. The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP’s recently released Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 reveals an increase of 9.5 million in the number of family caregivers in the United States 2015 to 2020. As the aging population continues to rise, so does the demand for caregivers.

The Aging Life Care Association® launched National Aging Life Care Month in May eleven years ago to raise awareness of a solution for families and caregivers supporting aging loved ones. Aging Life Care™ is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults, dependent adults, and others facing ongoing health challenges. Aging Life Care Managers®, sometimes called geriatric care managers, are strategic planners with key knowledge in crisis intervention, housing, health and disability, advocacy, family legal needs, and financial and local resources.

“Aging Life Care Managers collaborate with families and professionals to ensure the needs of vulnerable seniors are met and optimal quality of life is obtained,” says Debbie Feldman, ALCA President and Chicago-land Aging Life Care Manager. “We help navigate through the medical, financial, legal, and social challenges that are part of the aging journey.”

As Feldman watched the Pandemic separate families and isolate aging adults, she knew that her job as an Aging Life Care Manager was essential to the lives of her clients. “Families could not travel to check on their out-of-town loved ones; long-term care facilities shut their doors to the outside; and medical care became virtual,” Feldman reflects. “Aging Life Care Managers became essential workers and the lifeline to isolated, aging adults.”

Today caregivers are facing more challenges, says Julie Wagner, Aging Life Care Association CEO. “With the ‘great resignation’ and the demands on unpaid family caregivers, we are seeing an increased demand for Aging Life Care Manager services, and we want families to know that help is available.”

The Aging Life Care Association hopes National Aging Life Care Month will not only increase awareness of the professional services available, but also bring more people into the growing profession. Aging Life Care Managers come from a variety of backgrounds in the health and human services fields, including social work, nursing, gerontology, mental health, as well as occupational, physical, and recreational therapies. To locate an Aging Life Care Manager, visit aginglifecare.org for a nationwide directory of professionals.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day: More Than One Day

“National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.” – The Conversation Project

Make your healthcare decisions and choices known…start the conversation today

by Tiffany Webster LCSW, CMC – Aging Life Care Association®

Through past efforts of national, state, and community organizations, the importance of advance healthcare decision-making was highlighted and led to the formal designation of April 16th as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). This day exists to encourage each of us to express our wishes regarding healthcare and to empower all of us to see the importance of advanced care planning.

Do you know what healthcare treatments you would and would not want if you could not speak for yourself? Do other people know what your wishes are? The difference starts with us, we must lead by example. Each of us, need to be sure to have thoughtfully considered and made our own healthcare decisions known.

Why plan ahead? It is important to plan ahead to leave a guide of your wishes for loved ones to follow. This gives loved ones’ peace of mind. They do not have to question what you would want regarding your health. By planning ahead fewer families and health care providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance.

The process of advance care planning seems difficult and time consuming, but if broken into steps it is not as overwhelming.

  • Start with thoughtful consideration of one’s values and learn about treatment options.
  • Talk with those that are important in your life about what your want at the end of life.
  • Think about who would uphold what you would want at end of life and follow your wishes. Speak with them about being your Healthcare Agent.
  • Complete legal documents.
  • Share documents and wishes with family of choice, friends, healthcare providers, and anyone that you think should know your wishes.

What can we do as Aging Life Care Managers®? As stated above, lead by example and make your healthcare decisions known by completing your own advance care planning. Be an encourager by encouraging those you serve to discuss advance care planning. Be an educator and educate those you serve on advance care planning and link with available resources. Be an advocate and empower those around you and in the community to have needed conversations and start advance care planning. Rally your community by having an event, participate in a podcast or on the radio, or share information about advance care planning on social media.

For additional information on ALCA’s standpoint and resources visit aginglifecare.org and read  ALCA’s position paper on “Health Care Decision Making.”

Additional Resources

This article originally appeared in the ALCA Midwest Chapter’s Spring 2022 Newsletter. 

About the author: Tiffany Webster of Private Home Care in St. Louis, MO is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Care Manager with over 20 years of experience in the mental health field and geriatrics. She is passionate about improving the care and quality of life for elderly individuals and promoting collaboration between health care providers, community educators, and organizations.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Aging Life Care Manager

Is a Career in Aging Life Care™ Right for You?

If you are in the health and human service fields and looking for a career where you make a difference in people’s lives, stop here and watch this video. Aging Life Care Management is a fast-growing, in-demand profession where your guidance can lead families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through: assessment and monitoring; planning and problem-solving; education and advocacy; and family caregiver coaching.

People come from a variety of disciplines to find a career in Aging Life Care. What Aging Life Care Professionals have in common is commitment to the highest Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

 

Aging Life Care Professionals® are members of the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA) and differ from Patient Advocates, Senior Advisors, Senior Navigators, and Elder Advocates. ALCA members must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice . For more information on membership requirements, please visit the Join ALCA section of aginglifecare.org .


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Could a Life Insurance Policy Help Pay for Care Needs Now?

Real-Life Examples of Utilizing this Untapped Asset

As Aging Life Care Professionals® customize care plans and resources for their clients, they are careful to evaluate and manage the client’s financial resources necessary to ensure quality care and an optimal life.

An often-overlooked financial resource is life insurance. Did you know that 500,000 seniors a year will walk away from their life insurance policies?  This happens because they no longer want the policy, need the policy, or can afford the policy.  The reason a policy was purchased 10, 20, or even 30 years ago is no longer a concern.  The house is paid off, perhaps a spouse has passed away, the kids are grown and have their own lives, etc.  Or maybe the policy premiums have become unaffordable.  What many don’t realize is there is another option that can have a dramatic impact on the ability of clients to pay for their care needs.

A life insurance settlement is that option. It is the ability for a client to sell an unwanted/unneeded life insurance policy for cash.  Yes, that’s right, a life insurance policy is an asset that can be sold – just like a car or a house.  The investor groups who purchase these policies become the new owner, pay the premiums, and become the beneficiary.  The client receives cash today, and the buyer receives an investment with a future return.  The amount a policy could we worth is very specific to each client, but policies can be worth tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars…all from an asset a client was going to walk away from.  All different types of policies can be sold, including term policies.

Here are some real-life stories  whose lives were changed through a life insurance settlement:

  • A 66-year-old woman with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) had a $150,000 term life insurance policy.  Her beneficiary was her ex-husband.   There were no children and no one she wanted to leave the money to.  This policy was no longer needed or wanted.  She did not know a life insurance policy was an asset that could be sold.  Since she didn’t need it anymore, she decided selling the policy made sense, in order to give her money for the care needs she knew she would need in the future.   We marketed the policy and she sold it for $25,000, giving her the financial cushion she wanted.
  • A 78-year-old gentleman with cancer had a $250,000 term policy.  He purchased the policy for his wife so she would be protected and could pay off the house if something should happen to him.  The house had long been paid off, and his wife had passed away four years ago.  His daughters were the beneficiaries.  They had successful careers and their families did not need the money.  He decided that he wanted to sell the policy to make his life more comfortable while he was still alive.  The opening offer on his policy was $15,000.  By the time we were done, he sold it for $128,500.  That will go a long way to helping him stay comfortable for the rest of his life.
  • A 58-year-old gentleman with significant heart issues had a $1.6 million universal life policy.  He was a successful businessman and his family was well cared for.  He had a dream of living on a ranch for the rest of his life.   So, he sold his business, sold his house, and sold his policy for $350,000 (the opening offer was $125,000).  Now, he has the resources to live the rest of his life the way he wants.
  • A healthy 88-year-old gentleman needed to find money to continue to pay for his wife’s home care needs.  He had several life insurance policies.  He sold his $114,000 policy for $26,000, giving him the resources needed to continue the care for his wife.
  • A 66-year-old gentleman with liver issues held a term life insurance policy that was reaching the end of its term.  He purchased it for his wife to pay off the house if something happened to him.  The house was now paid off and he was not going to continue the policy.  He sold the policy for $75,000.  This was “found money” for him, as he was going to walk away from the policy with nothing – a game-changer to help make his life more comfortable.

These are just some examples of clients who were able to repurpose an asset – one they didn’t know they had – into cash to use to take care of themselves and their families.   We are life insurance settlement brokers and are here to support Aging Life Care Managers and their clients.  As brokers, we have access to many investor groups.  Our role and fiduciary duty is to represent our clients to obtain the highest amount for their policy as possible.

If you know anyone who is thinking of lapsing, surrendering, or walking away from their policy, please contact us first so they can find out if a life insurance settlement may work for them.  There is no up-front cost to find out how much a buyer may be willing to pay.  Contact us – we’re here to help.

About the Author: For more than 30 years, Lisa Rehburg has been working with insurance brokers, financial advisors and clients in the health and life insurance industries. Ms. Rehburg is energized by helping financial professionals, non-profit organizations, health care professionals and their clients benefit from unwanted or unneeded life insurance policies. Rehburg Life Insurance Settlements is  a proud ALCA Corporate Partner.  Ms. Rehburg can be reached at (714) 349-7981 or lrehburg@aol.com.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Severe Winter Weather

Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe During Severe Winter Weather

As winter weather descends on the United States, many people are being confronted by cold weather they have never experienced before.  All of this greatly impacts the safety and well-being of the elderly, especially when weather events strike unexpectedly or with speed. Here are some tips from the experts in aging well® to help aging adults get ready for winter weather.

Before a Storm
  • Stay informed and sign up for severe weather alerts through your local city or state resource
  • Refill prescriptions and have an extra supply of other medical necessities
  • Buy extra food, including non-perishables, and bottled water (and don’t forget pet food or supplies if needed)
  • Keep vehicles filled with gas and have tires checked for safety
  • Clear debris from downspouts and gutters
  • Have trees inspected and remove any dead limbs
  • Have evacuation routes planned with identified medical centers
  • Identify an individual or company to shovel snow from driveways, stairs
  • Make sure outside furnace vents are clear and carbon monoxide alarms are working
  • Inspect outside plumbing, insulating any exposed pipes
  • Know the locations of emergency warming stations in your city
Prepare for Power Outages
  • If using oxygen, bi-pap, c-pap or other equipment, you will need a generator
  • Purchase battery operated, plug-in lights that automatically turn on when the power goes out
  • Make sure you have working flashlights within reach and extra batteries
  • Keep cell phones charging so you have a full charge at power loss
Plan for Caregivers

If you rely on caregivers, consider the following:

  • Arrange for a live-in caregiver
  • Build a relationship with neighbors that may be able to temporarily fill-in
  • Plan temporary or respite stay with a nursing home, assisted living community, or hospice
Safety
  • Keep areas around space heaters clear
  • Use space heaters with automatic shut-off
  • Gas stoves or ovens should never be used as a heating source
  • Do not attempt to climb ladders
  • Do not walk on frozen stairs, sidewalks, or driveways

For more winter weather tips and planning, visit the Winter Safety section of the National Weather Service.

With knowledge of local resources, An Aging Life Care Professional® can  build an emergency weather plan for your aging loved one. Find one to consult at aginglifecare.org.

bladder health month

Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults & Seniors

Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults & Seniors

By Vicki Wolpoff of NorthShore Care Supply  –  an Aging Life Care Association Corporate Partner 

November is Bladder Health Month — a  month is designed to encourage you to stay informed about different bladder issues, so you can proactively take care of your bladder health or help someone who you are caring for.

One of the most common bladder conditions that affect millions of individuals each year is urinary incontinence. It is characterized by poor bladder control, which is when an individual cannot prevent urine from leaking out.

Aging is a factor that can cause urinary function to decline due to bladder and/or bowel changes as people get older. That’s why urinary incontinence is more prevalent in older adults.

Here’s what you need to know about urinary incontinence and aging as well as how you can help someone managing incontinence live life to the fullest without worrying about leaks.


What is the Connection Between Urinary Incontinence and Aging?

In older adults, incontinence may be caused by the following reasons:

  • Reduced Mobility: If seniors are suffering from a specific condition, like arthritis, they may have difficulty reaching the bathroom in time. This urge incontinence increases their risk of falls and accidents. It is also considered a major contributing factor to hip fractures among older women.
  • Impaired Cognition: Psychological disorders, like delirium, depression and dementia, can cause changes in the cognitive functioning of older adults. Once severely impaired, these conditions can limit their ability to go to the toilet and worsen their incontinence.
  • Urinary Infection: Urinary tract infections (UTI) in seniors may be characterized by pain, burning and the frequent urge to urinate. It can also cause urinary incontinence.
  • Side Effects of Medications: Certain medications can affect urinary incontinence, including diuretics, opioids, sedatives, antihistamines or decongestants, benzodiazepines and some antidepressants.Diuretics are known to increase the frequency of urination. Alcohol and caffeine can cause bladder irritation. Drowsiness is another side effect of medications, increasing one’s risk of falls.
What Can You Do to Help Manage Incontinence?

Managing incontinence among older adults is crucial to preventing the occurrence of bladder infections or ulcers. It can also be beneficial for their overall health and well-being, resulting in enhanced quality of life. Below are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Do Pelvic Strengthening Exercises. Doing pelvic floor exercises every day can strengthen the muscles around the bladder. This helps stop urination and reduce incontinence.
  • Make Lifestyle Changes. People experiencing issues with urinary incontinence should consider making the following lifestyle changes:
    • Eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Avoid drinking bladder irritants, such as alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
    • Stop smoking tobacco products.
    • Control the amount of fluids consumed.
    • Schedule regular bathroom breaks during the day and night.
  • Consider Incontinence Products. Even after getting treatments or making lifestyle changes, urine leakage may still occur occasionally. Consider using absorbent incontinence supplies to help manage this issue.Incontinence products are designed to support bladder (some also address bowel incontinence) leakage while offering comfort and protection. They come in the form of tab-style briefs/adult diapers, protective underwear/pull-up style, liners, pads, underpads and more. Absorbency levels can vary so pick the one with the most capacity needed to stay dry. At NorthShore Care Supply, we specialize in higher-absorbency products designed for individuals managing moderate and heavy to total incontinence.
  • Seek Professional Help. Whether you’re an older adult or a concerned family caregiver, the decisions you need to make surrounding aging safely, comfortably and healthily can be overwhelming, according to Care.com. If you are caring for an older relative or disabled adult, consider seeking professional help from an Aging Life Care Professional®. Sometimes referred to as geriatric care managers, these professionals have the expertise to address elderly care-related concerns, answer questions and help improve the quality of life for both you and your loved ones.

To locate an Aging Life Care Professional near you, visit aginglifecare.org.

About the author: Vicki Wolpoff is the Director of Marketing and Communications for NorthShore Care Supply, the company behind NorthShore® high-absorbency incontinence products such as tab-style briefs, protective underwear, pads, liners, bed pads and more. She has over 20 years of healthcare experience and currently serves as chair of the Adult Incontinence Committee for the Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products(BAHP), helping develop communications regarding adult incontinence, providing information on treatment and management options as well as increasing the accessibility of absorbent incontinence products.

image credit: National Association for Continence

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips for Hosting Aging Adults

If your Thanksgiving holiday is fortunate enough to include multiple generations at the dinner table, here are some simple tips for keeping aging loved ones engaged, comfortable and safe during holiday celebrations.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips for Hosting Aging Adults

By Lisa Mayfield, MA, LMHC, GMHS, CMC – Aging Life Care Association® President

When planning a multi-generational Thanksgiving holiday consider these ideas to help navigate a few common issues that might pop up with your aging family members:

Making Conversation

• For those with hearing challenges or memory changes, navigating multiple conversations can be tough. Strategically sitting aging family members at the end of the table next to one or two family members who will be intentional about including them in conversations can often be the best way to ensure they feel engaged and included. Shouting across a room or even the dinner table, is rarely effective. More important than speaking loudly, is speaking clearly and sitting close.

• Don’t be shy about sharing stories and taking initiative with conversation. As memory declines, initiating conversations can be tough. It’s okay to take the lead with starting conversations.

• Focusing conversations on the present or sharing favorite memories is a great way to keep the conversation going.

• If aging family members have low vision or memory challenges, having family members introduce themselves can be helpful, “Hi Great Aunt Jane, it’s John. It’s so nice to see you.”

Feeling Comfortable

• Keeping rooms well-lit and bright is the best way to help those with low vision. To reduce the chance of falls, keep the house well-lit and clear any pathways.

• Offering a friendly escort to navigate the house can also be helpful for those with low vision, poor mobility, or memory challenges.

• Aging family members appreciate a warm house. Encourage dressing in layers and be intentional about seating. Save the “hot seats” for those who prefer being cozy.

Taking it Easy

• Less is often more.  Families tend to over plan their time together, so schedule plenty of down time. The best memories are often made while simply catching up and taking time to be together. “Being” vs “doing” might be the best approach.

• If your planning on an evening gathering, encourage taking an afternoon nap before the Thanksgiving meal. Later afternoons or early evening can be a time that people with memory changes become even more confused. Having an early dinner can help ensure aging family members are more engaged.

• Integrating family traditions with new family activities can be an effective way to bridge the generations.

For more ideas, consider engaging an Aging Life Care Professional® to be your guide for navigating the changes with aging family members. Aging Life Care Professionals are experts in aging well and can help your family successfully strategize solutions to challenges of aging. You can find an Aging Life Care Professional at aginglifecare.org.

Lisa Mayfield is the founder and co-Principal of Aging Wisdom®, an Aging Life Care™ practice in Seattle. Trained and licensed as a Mental Health Counselor, Geriatric Mental Health Specialist, and a Certified Care Manager, Lisa brings over two decades of experience working with older adults and their families. She is currently serving as the President of the Aging Life Care Association board of directors.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.