5 Ways to Help Your Loved One Avoid Loneliness

Lonely old man staring out of a windowLoneliness has become a common hardship for seniors who live alone or who do not have the ability to leave their homes on a regular basis. With an increasing number of seniors living alone, isolation has become a growing concern for caregivers and loved ones. Social isolation can be dangerous for seniors, negatively impacting their mental and physical health, according to a Place for Mom. However, loneliness can be diminished, allowing seniors to live a more fulfilling and happy life.

Here are 5 ways to help your elderly loved one avoid feeling lonely.

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When Best Laid Plans Go Astray

When most people plan for their senior years, they mostly think about a will that specifies how their assets will be distributed upon their death.

But there are other things to think about as well, such as what will happen if you have a stroke, develop a serious illness or become incapacitated?

What should you or your loved ones have in place in those circumstances?

It is extremely important to consider and plan for serious illness, not just death. While we are living longer, that doesn’t always mean we are living healthier. Stroke, complications from diabetes or osteoporosis can lead to nursing home placement. A legal plan must be established with the help of an elder law attorney when a person is healthy so that a difficult situation doesn’t become more difficult when illness or incapacitation occur.

Here are some suggestions for how you can plan ahead for serious illness:

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Helping Older Adults Overcome the Holiday Blues

During the holiday season, many people experience sadness, especially older adults. Memories of family and friends who have passed on or the longing for family holidays of the past can cause them to feel isolated even when they are with family.

Often when elderly loved ones live alone, the warning signs of sadness and seasonal depression go unnoticed. During the holiday season, pay close attention to your older loved ones and watch for the warning signs of holiday blues: persistent sadness, feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, weight changes, withdrawal from social activities, slowed thinking or response, inability to concentrate, and excessive worrying.

If you sense that your elderly loved ones are unhappy, follow the tips below to help brighten the holiday season for them:

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The Benefits of Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager

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Family caregivers often overlook the benefits and peace of mind that a geriatric care manager can provide. Caregivers may feel that they know how to care for their loved one in the best way possible. But very few caregivers can manage caring for themselves, their families and elderly loved ones without feeling anxious and overwhelmed at times.

A geriatric care manager is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to long-term care including: nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology, or case management, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.

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Caregiver Appreciation

As we know, May is Older Americans month but let’s also remember to celebrate the more than 45 million family members who care for seniors on a daily basis. On average, these caregivers provide 20 hours of unpaid caregiving support each week.

Josh Fotheringham, a former Apple software designer and current CEO of Caring in Place®developed the Caring in Place® iPhone app and online portal to help family members manage the complexities of caring for their aging loved ones.

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

 

SSI is the basic federal safety net program for the elderly, blind and disabled, providing them with a minimum guaranteed income. For 2014, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $721 a month for an individual and $1,082 a month for a couple. These amounts are supplemented in most states.  For example, Pennsylvania adds a supplement of $22.10 a month for eligible individuals.

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The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Special Needs Planning

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved ones quality of life and access to government benefits.

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved ones quality of life and access to government benefits.

On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama.  This series of laws, also known as Obamacare, had and will continue to have a major impact on all aspects of our health care system.  No greater example of this can be found than that affecting the long term planning which must be done by members of the special needs community.

Beginning January 1, 2014, insurance companies are no longer able to deny coverage to adults for pre-existing conditions.  In fact, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage or charging more to any person based on their medical history, including genetic information.  Insurance companies are also required to offer and renew coverage for any applicant.

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Home Modifications for the Elderly

Modifying a home can make it safer and more accessible for elders to live independently longer. Home modifications adapt a living space so that the homeowners can live safely, perform everyday tasks more easily and live independently despite their physical limitations. Home modifications can be as simple as adding a hand rail in the bathroom or as complex as removing a staircase for a wheelchair ramp.

Many elders have houses that were built before architects thought about spaces that were accessible to everyone. Narrow stairs and doorways are fine for someone of a younger age but could be dangerous for senior citizens.

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Planning for the Future of a Child with Special Needs Five Mistakes that can Cost you

Special Needs childrenThe care of your child with special needs is extremely important now, but it is equally important in the future. Deciding how to care for your child with special needs after your death or if you become incapacitated is vital. Here are 5 costly mistakes to take into consideration when deciding how to provide the best care for your child in the future.

 

Mistake #1: Disinheritance.

Do not rely on government supported care programs like SSI or Medicaid. Although these programs provide some benefits, they provide little more than the essentials to survive. These programs also do not guarantee that your child will be looked after once you are gone or if you become incapacitated. A more trustworthy and viable option is establishing a Special Needs Trust. A trust will provide a strong foundation for your child and guarantees that he or she is cared for. Continue Reading Planning for the Future of a Child with Special Needs Five Mistakes that can Cost you

When Should Elders Stop Driving?

For many elders and their loved ones, determining when they are no longer safe on the road can be a difficult and heart wrenching decision, but ignoring the issue can become dangerous.

Age related changes such in visual acuity, physical fitness and reflexes can hinder someone’s ability to continue to drive safely. Keeping tabs on the following things will help you know when it’s time for your loved one to turn in the keys.

Changes in vision and hearing- Loss in vision can make it harder for drivers to see essential traffic signs, lane lines on the road, as well as other drivers and pedestrians. Sensitivity to light at night can also make oncoming headlights dangerous. Loss of hearing can mean that typical signals used to alert drivers such as horns and sirens may go unnoticed. Continue Reading When Should Elders Stop Driving?