Medication use can be a critical aspect of maintaining health. But as a person gets older, it is common for them to require a variety of medications for different physical and mental conditions. As a result, it can be challenging for the individual and family to manage the various pills and dosages.

The more you and your loved ones know about the risks and benefits of medications, the better you will be prepared in avoiding potential problems. Not only do you need to talk to healthcare professionals about prescription medications, but it is also important to evaluate potential side effects and issues with over-the-counter drugs and supplements as well.

Aging and Medications

Proactive medication management is key for people of all ages. Older adults especially need to be careful about medication usage because age can change the way medicines are used and absorbed by the body. For example, digestive system changes can affect how rapidly medications enter the bloodstream. Circulation, weight, and organ function can also affect how much is needed and the way the drug is broken down in the body.

Additionally, older adults tend to use more medications compared to younger people due to the health concerns that come with age. Recent reports show that people in their 60s take an average of 15 prescriptions annually. As a result, drug interactions are a possible risk, especially when medication usage isn’t monitored by an experienced health professional.

Tips for Managing Medication Complexity

You can take a proactive approach in protecting yourself and loved ones who are taking one or more medications. Here are a few tips to navigate the complexity of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs:

  • Assistance: Find a healthcare expert to help with organization and planning. It can be helpful to have a trained professional (like a home health nurse) assist with med set-up at home.
  • Reduce Use: When possible, advocate for the reduction of medication use. A Senior Care Pharmacist can work with the physician to eliminate medications that aren’t needed. If it’s appropriate, look for other lifestyle changes or alternative treatments that can be used for symptom management.
  • Monitoring: Ongoing monitoring is key to avoid serious side effects and potential drug interactions. Pay attention to changes in health or new symptoms and report them to your healthcare provider.

At Windward Life Care and Windward Home Health our goal is to support individuals and families in finding the best resources to support overall health. Contact us for information about these services.

Moving yourself or an aging parent to an assisted living facility is a decision filled with uncertainty.  After the decision is made, many people experience feelings of worry, fear, and even guilt. Perhaps you or your loved one don’t want to move away from the place they currently live. Maybe you promised a loved one years ago that you would never “put them in a home.,” but circumstances have changed since then.

But rest assured, many assisted living facilities in San Diego are well-equipped to improve the quality of your aging loved one’s life. This is especially true if their needs are not being met in their current living arrangements, or if your loved one has become socially isolated and less active

What to Look for in Assisted Living Facilities in San Diego

As you search for a suitable facility, here are some useful tips and things to look for in a potential assisted living community:

1. Review Public Records: Check your state’s website for survey and complaint reports for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). You can read in detail about how each facility is measuring up to the standards established by the state.

2. Visit the Facility:  Once you’ve found a few facilities that you’re interested to see, schedule an appointment to visit them. The administration will give you a tour and answer your questions. Ask about caregiver staff-to-resident ratios, and what type of medical care is available on-site. Use a checklist to make sure you are noting the features most important to you.

3. Observe a Mealtime Hour: Take notice of how many staff are in the dining area. Are they meeting the resident’s needs and meal requests? How is the quality of the food? Is the atmosphere inviting, friendly, and comfortable? Talk to current residents about their experiences at the community if possible.

4.  Ask About Social Activities: Enrichment programs are a key component of quality assisted living facilities in San Diego. Different facilities will offer different programs, so try to find a community with activities that you or your loved one will enjoy. Everything from gardening, to fitness classes, to lecture presentations may be available. Even a regular happy hour can be an important social activity offered. 

Help Is Just a Call Away

If you’re searching for potential assisted living facilities in San Diego that will meet you or your loved one’s needs, we can help. Windward Life Care provides information and support for long-term care and housing. Call us for a friendly conversation today.

One of the most challenging conversations you can have with an aging parent is when the time comes to take away their car keys. Eventually, everyone loses physical or cognitive function, to the point where they are no longer safe behind the wheel. If your parents should no longer drive, then it is your responsibility to step in. Not only is their safety at stake, but they could be putting others in danger as well.

What to Do When Parents Should No Longer Drive

If you need to address this topic with a parent, then it is important to be delicate about your approach. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Ease into It: Instead of springing the conversation on your parent unexpectedly, start talking about this topic when the signs are mild. For example, you might point out small issues you’ve noticed in their driving or discuss how a recent diagnosis could impact their safety behind the wheel. This dialogue can set the stage for the time in the future when a boundary needs to be drawn.
  • Take the Test: If the time to renew their license is drawing near, allow them to take the DMV test. Failing the vision test or driving test will eliminate your decision because the state regulations will decide the results.
  • Talk About Options: Handing over the keys doesn’t mean the person needs to be homebound. Provide alternative suggestions, such as the local bus system, rideshare options, grocery delivery, Uber, or loved ones who are willing to donate driving time.
  • Discuss Risks: Help the person understand the potential consequences if an accident occurs while they are on the road. A wreck can affect them physically, financially, and mentally, which could have a domino effect on other areas of life. Additionally, talk about the potential danger to other people.
  • Hold the Line: Sometimes, you need to be firm in the decision. Keep in mind that this decision isn’t a negotiation. Even though they will be angry today, you will be grateful for their safety in the future.

Your aging parents should have the necessary resources to support a healthy, safe lifestyle. If you are looking for local resources, then our team at Windward Life Care is here to help. Contact us to learn about available services.

A scam or fraud can quickly overshadow the fun holiday memories that you are trying to create with your family. Unfortunately, scammers are more prevalent during this time of year because they know people are in a giving mindset and spending more money. A holiday scam could be as small as a package theft from the doorstep, or something bigger like a fake charity request.

You need to know the dangers if you are going to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from holiday scams. Here are a few common scams that pop up during this time of year:

  • Online Shopping Scams: Online shopping is growing every year. If you love the convenience of shopping at home, then watch out for unsecured websites, phishing emails, cloned websites, false order confirmations, and bogus shipping notices. It is best to have a strong security program on your computer to prevent against malware and viruses.
  • Porch Pirates: As online shopping has increased in popularity, the boxes on the porch are perfect pickings for doorstep thieves. Minimize the likelihood that your package will be one of the thousands that are stolen during this time of year by having the package delivered to someone who will be home during the day. Other options include using a “Ship to Store” service or requiring a signature confirmation on delivery.
  • Gift Card Scams: A false income-earning opportunity could appear in the form of a gift card scam. For example, the scammers will send a check for a certain amount and ask you to purchase gift cards in return. The problem occurs when the check bounces, and you have no way to recover the money. If it seems too good to be true, then stay away!
  • Scams Targeting Older Adults: Aging adults tend to fall victim to online scams more often, due to declining cognition, lack of knowledge about the internet, or being lonely and eager to connect with someone. Scammers often target retirees because they have money and can be more trusting. Educate family and friends about the potential dangers.

At Windward Life Care, we are here to help you find the right resources for health and safety throughout the year. Contact us today to learn more about available services.

Planning activities with aging parents is important for creating memories that you can cherish for years to come. When you are caring for your loved ones, fun activities can be the perfect thing that is needed to minimize stress and focus on the highlights of your relationship.

But it can be a challenge sometimes to find the right activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Consider the person’s mobility and choose from some of these fun options:

  1. New Game: Choose a new game that fits their personality. It might be as simple as a game of checkers, or a new word game app on your phone. Board games and puzzles can be great if the person has the dexterity to pick up the game pieces.
  2. Baking or Cooking: Spending time in the kitchen together not only fills their fridge with delicious food, but it can also be a way to share the nostalgia with family recipes.
  3. Genealogy: Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about your family history. Aging adults are often willing and interested in talking about their childhood memories. This information can be recorded and kept for future generations. Another option is to spend time on a genealogy website looking at the family tree.
  4. Talk a Walk: If the person can leave the house, a bit of fresh air can be uplifting. Walk around the park, or bring a picnic to enjoy on the backyard porch.
  5. Events and Concerts: Look for community activities and events that match the person’s interests. For example, a musician might enjoy an evening at the symphony.
  6. Local Classes: Is there a new hobby you would like to share together? Look for classes in the area, such as sewing, crafting, cooking, and more. Community classes are often available to the public at reasonable prices.

Other Resources for Aging Parents

Are you looking for support for the care of your loved one? You don’t need to hold the responsibility of caring for aging parents alone. Windward Life Care is here to help you find the resources needed for your parent’s unique situation. Call today to learn more about available services.

AARP has determined that more than 40 million Americans are unpaid caregivers. Currently, 1 in 4 of these caregivers are Millennials, individuals born between about 1980 and 2000. Those they care for include their elderly or disabled parents and grandparents.

As their Baby Boomer and Generation X relatives age, the number of millennials providing unpaid care will only increase. These younger caregivers are redefining the way we think about the Millennial generation and about the overall needs of family caregivers in the United States.

November is National Family Caregiver Month

Because November is National Family Caregiver Month, it’s important to recognize the unsung family caregivers that spend so much of their own time and money caring for their loved ones. Millennials are often unfairly portrayed as a “selfish” generation, primarily focused on themselves and their own wants. But for those millennials working as unpaid caregivers, nothing could be further from the truth.

Millennials acting as caregivers report spending an average of 21 hours per week caring for those in their charge. About 73% of them do this in addition to working a regular job. Most Millennials tend to keep quiet about their caregiving responsibilities, deciding not to tell their boss about these after-hours family obligations. They report that their caregiving commitments have harmed their work and career opportunities, yet they persist in their efforts.

Adding to the financial pressures that many Millennials face related to student debt and high housing costs, Millennial caregivers are spending an average of $6,800 per year from their own pocket on caregiving expenses.

The stress of caregiving is taking a toll on these young people. Like family caregivers of other generations, many Millennials can struggle with feelings of isolation, guilt, and resentment. Millennial caregivers are evenly split between male and female; more than 50% of Millennial caregivers are people of color; and this generation is more likely to identify as LGBT. Organizations providing support for family caregivers need to be responsive to the particular needs of this generation of family caregivers.

Looking for Caregiving Support?

At Windward Life Care, our compassionate team is well connected with local elder care resources and understands the pressures faced by family caregivers. When you call on us for help, you’ll receive quality information that you can rely on. Give us a call today for information about available resources.