Aging parents typically require some kind of outside support as their physical and/or cognitive abilities decline over time. When that day comes, it can be difficult for them to accept a “stranger” in their home. You may encounter resistance to hiring caregivers for help. Your parents may refuse the idea with comments such as, “it’s not necessary,” “it’s uncomfortable,” “it takes away our independence,” “it’s dangerous,” “it violates our privacy,” or other similar rebuttals.

While their questions and concerns may be valid,  this doesn’t mean your aging parents don’t actually need the help. It may take some time for them to warm up to the idea of having caregivers in the home, but the effort is well worth it.  Here are three tips to help encourage your parents to accept help at home:

1. Start Small

Initially, you can hire a trusted caregiver to come into the home to assist your parent with everyday household tasks such as laundry, driving to appointments, or grocery shopping. If needed, you can even suggest it be for a trial period. Eventually, the goal is for your parents to form a trusting relationship with the caregiver and allow them to provide more personal hands-on help over time.

2. Emphasize the Needs of Your Parent who is the Primary Caregiver

When one parent is dependent on the other for day-to-day care, the burden can become heavy for the spousal caregiver. Draw attention to this fact, and help the dependent parent to understand their spouse or partner needs the support for their own well-being.

3. Emphasize Your Own Need

The classic, “It’s not you, it’s me” explanation is appropriate in this situation. Let your parents know that having some outside help will give you peace of mind, and help you manage your personal stress. This tip is particularly potent if your parent lives alone and needs help and you cannot always be there.

Choosing Caregivers for Aging Parents

If you know where to look, finding good help for your aging parents can be easily accomplished. Not sure how? Call Windward Life Care for guidance about your options. Our team of caring professionals is here to help you get the local support you need.

Roughly 15 to 20 years ago, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) noted the number of World War II veterans heading into their sunset years. As these veterans approached the end of their lives, the VA acknowledged they did not have the capacity to care for all of these aging soldiers in a meaningful way. The sheer number was beyond their ability to handle.

Recognizing the problem, the VA began to establish hospice and palliative care in every VA medical center across the country. In time, they also began to partner with private community health providers to offer end-of-life services in local communities far from VA hospitals. This effort remains ongoing as additional collaborative health care partnerships continue to be established. The increased availability of hospice care should help close the low utilization gap that exists between veterans and the general population.

Coalitions for Veteran Care

Commonly referred to as Hospice-Veteran Partnerships (HVP), these veterans’ care coalitions are being set up between VA facilities, State Hospice Organizations, local community hospice providers, and other supporting groups. The HVP initiative is conducted by the VA Hospice and Palliative Care Program. Their objective is to extend the reach of the VA by establishing a network of interested health organizations to meet the end of life needs of our nation’s veterans.

Unique Veteran Needs

Because of the unique stresses of serving in the armed forces, many veterans need special care throughout the course of their hospice experience. For example, if a patient who is a combat veteran has dementia, it is possible for post-traumatic stress disorder to manifest during routine care. This sudden onset can happen even if it was not an issue previously. Other examples revolve around military culture and training that is so engrained in these service men and women, that they may refuse to disclose pain and symptoms in order to not appear weak.

Help to Get You Started

If you are searching for hospice or palliative care options for an aging veteran, call on us here at Windward Life Care. Our team of professionals can provide you with timely information and guidance to the resources that you need.

5 Early Signs of Dementia

November 5, 2019

Dementia is a term used to describe the gradual loss of cognitive function that can occur as a result of neurological changes to the brain. A number of different diseases can cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. Dementia  is characterized by the decline of a person’s ability to think, reason, and remember, and tends to get worse with the passage of time. Eventually, these symptoms become severe enough to interfere with daily function.

Early-Stage Indicators of Dementia

Here are several early-stage indicators or signs of dementia to watch for in yourself or those for whom you provide care:

  1. Memory Loss: One of the most common symptoms of dementia is difficulty recalling information that has been recently acquired, such as instructions, upcoming events, and dates. It is important to note that occasionally forgetting and then remembering things is normal and not due to dementia.
  2. Difficulty with Everyday Tasks: If it becomes harder to complete routine tasks, this could be an early sign of dementia. Examples include having trouble making a cup of tea, paying bills, or navigating to the grocery store.
  3. Time and Location Confusion: Judging the passage of time may prove difficult, as can remembering where a person is at any given moment. Dates in the future and past can become mixed up.
  4. Losing Track of Things: It can become more difficult to remember where things are kept, such as car keys, remote controls, documents, etc.
  5. Struggling with Writing or Speaking: Engaging in conversations can be difficult because it is hard to track what has already been said. Writing, grammar, and spelling may become harder.

Other Signs of Dementia

Other indicators can signal early signs of dementia, such as challenges with planning and problem solving, poor decision-making or judgment, and difficulty with visual perception. It is also common for people who are experiencing dementia to become disinterested in social activities. They may stop participating in hobbies or sports that involve others and may isolate themselves at home.

Although dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, age is the primary risk factor. If you are caring for a loved one who may be experiencing dementia and you are looking for local resources and support, contact our team at Windward Life Care. The help you seek is just a phone call away.

Are you nervous about the idea of choosing a nursing home, or “skilled nursing facility,” for your aging parents? Full time nursing home care may be needed for your loved one because families aren’t always equipped to offer this degree of medical care and support at home. If a family member needs 24/7 support and has care needs that exceed what can safely (or affordably) be provided at home or in an assisted living setting, then you might find yourself searching for the best nursing home in San Diego.

Tips for Finding the Best Nursing Home in San Diego

Here are a few important things to consider when making your decision:

  • Don’t Rush: Dedicate the time needed to evaluate your options and find a nursing home that is a good fit for the needs of your family member. Not only should you evaluate immediate needs, but it is also important to consider long-term care. If you have the option, prepare in advance, so you are ready with the right nursing home when the individual requires immediate placement due to a sudden change in physical or mental health, or in a hospital discharge situation.
  • Ask Around: Talk to friends, neighbors, and family members to learn more about the best nursing homes near your location. Additionally, social workers, Aging Life Care Managers, religious organizations, and other support groups can be helpful with suggestions. It is also important to review data about the nursing home’s track record in meeting state and federal requirements, as well as data related to resident complaints.
  • Call and Tour: The first step to evaluating whether you have found the best nursing home in San Diego is to call the location and schedule a time for a tour. This conversation will allow you to learn about the facilities, services, and more. Pay attention to the cleanliness of the facility, interactions between residents and staff, and activities that are happening during the day. It is smart to stop by unannounced for a second visit, during a different time of day. If possible, talk to current residents or their family members for an “insiders” view of how things work there.
  • Evaluate Pricing: Cost is an essential factor that should be considered when choosing a nursing home. Look at options to see if insurance or a long-term care policy will cover the costs of the care center. Pay close attention to the contract, so you understand the terms and conditions of services.

At Windward Life Care, we understand the heavy responsibility you are carrying when looking for the best nursing home in San Diego. If you need supporting finding the right solution for a family member, contact our Aging Life Care Professionals for assistance.

October is National Physical Therapy Month, which is a great reminder and opportunity to evaluate how you or a loved one might benefit from physical therapy services. While therapy is often recommended after an accident or surgery, you don’t need to have acute health concerns to enlist the services of an experienced therapist.

Why Physical Therapy Services?

Here are a few reasons why it might be time to find a physical therapist near your home:

  • Daily Movement and Activities: The aging process means that you likely can’t move as well as you used to in your younger years. Therapy can be beneficial to build muscle strength, improve flexibility, and maximize available movement as much as possible. Seniors can benefit from physical therapy to regain mobility, maintain independence, and prevent falls.
  • Managing Pain: As an alternative to opioids and other addictive pain medications, consider the safe and effective solutions available through physical therapy. Instead of masking the sensation of pain, therapy gets to the root cause to strengthen the muscles and support the body. Therapists help with pain management through exercise, manual therapy, pain education, and lifestyle adjustments.
  • Patients with Dementia: Overall health is critical for patients who have dementia. Researchers are now finding that patients with cognitive decline might benefit from physical therapy. These services can reduce the risk of falling, improve balance and gait, and support healthy circulation which stimulates the brain and body.

Not only can you benefit during the physical therapy sessions, but you will also have “homework” to do throughout the week. Consistency with your training program is the best way to maintain health and independence as you age.

Finding the Right Therapy Services

A physical therapist can be a valuable resource to help patients with physical needs. If you are looking for solutions to restore physical function and optimize health, then it might be time to talk to a local therapist.

Where should you start when physical or mental support is needed for yourself or a loved one? It can be overwhelming to evaluate your options without recommendations from a trusted expert. At Windward Life Care, our experienced team is here to offer guidance and support in locating the right local resources that assist your individual needs. Contact us at any time if you are looking for information about available services.

People want to maintain independence for as long as possible. Eventually, physical decline in the later years of life requires that families step in to offer the support and resources essential to care for the daily needs of their parents. At this point, you might be asking yourself: is it time to find help for my elderly parents?

Age-Related Changes and Senior Safety

Age-related health changes can start to develop in retirement, such as hearing and eyesight decline, limited mobility, muscle mass loss, and slower cognitive processing. Even though these small health changes seem insignificant, they can have a domino effect on lifestyle and safety.

The conditions might not be life-threatening, but the combined concerns can make it difficult to drive, shop for groceries, cook a meal, or clean the house. Often, the older adult doesn’t ask for help because they don’t realize their safety and health are in jeopardy.

Paying Attention to the Signs

Family members need to pay attention to the signs, helping to determine if an older adult needs support. Here are a few warning signs that your family member needs help:

  • Forgetfulness: Change in cognitive abilities start to show up in simple memory lapses, such as finding the car in a parking lot, remembering appointments, or forgetting to pay bills.
  • Car Damage: When a vehicle is dinged, dented, or missing side mirrors, it could be a sign that the person is having difficulty driving.
  • Messy Home: Poor vision, memory issues, or physical challenges can result in poor cleanliness habits at home. If you see a change in the cleanliness or tidiness of the living space, then it might be time to hire a housekeeper.
  • Unkempt Appearance: Cognitive or physical ailments can have an impact on a person’s hygiene habits. The person might be forgetting to take care of daily activities, or having a hard time getting dressed in the morning. Also, watch for sudden signs of weight loss.
  • Social Isolation: If the person tends to stay home more often, then this change in activity could indicate physical or mental challenges. Withdrawal from activities that were normally attended in the past could happen if the person is forgetting or can’t keep up with the conversations.
  • Falls: Falling is a major health risk and a sign that help may be needed in the form of physical therapy, home modification, and/or professional caregiver support.

Where to Find Help for My Elderly Parents

Where is the best place to look to find help for my elderly parents? Our team at Windward Life Care is just a phone call away. We’ll help you find the local resources to support the needs of your loved one.