Lots of people go through times when they just want to be left alone for a while with their thoughts, to work through concerns in their lives free from distractions, or simply to enjoy some downtime. For older individuals, however, being isolated for too long may be indicative of a more serious condition: senior depression. Read more
Millions of seniors in the United States are aging in their homes without a spouse or family member living with them. While there are financial advantages to this type of arrangement, one of the biggest drawbacks is the increased isolation that many elderly adults feel. For National Cheer Up the Lonely Day (July 11), it’s an excellent opportunity for communities and individuals to look at the senior population and figure out ways to make them a little less lonely.
Senior Loneliness is Serious
Social interactions certainly decrease with age for a variety of reasons. Among the most common are moving from their established neighborhood, retirement, death of spouse and friends, long-distance family members, health obstacles and lack of mobility. With so many challenges, it’s no wonder that millions of elderly adults who live at home are chronically lonely.
Studies show that loneliness has a serious impact on an elderly person’s physical and mental health. Isolation can lead to depression, poor hygiene, poor cognitive performance, high blood pressure, injuries and accidents, slower recovery, more long-term illnesses, and even increase the risk of mortality. While National Cheer Up the Lonely Day is a powerful motivation to reach out to a lonely person, isolated elderly adults need more attention throughout the year.
How to Reduce Senior Isolation
There are many ways that family caregivers can reduce loneliness in elderly adults beyond spending time with them on a regular basis. Many people hire elder care providers to allow trained professionals to come in and interact with the elderly person. The elder care providers can manage housekeeping, laundry, shopping, meal preparation and much more. They are also excellent companions and can spend time with the elderly person doing hobbies, watching movies and even driving them to events. Hiring an elder care provider is one of the top ways for seniors to avoid loneliness.
Another thing seniors can do to avoid isolation is to get out more into the community. However, if transportation and mobility are issues, they will need help from family caregivers and elder care providers. Family members can keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities for aging adults in their schools or cities. Almost every volunteer organizations need volunteers, especially elderly adults. Some of the most popular are reading to school children, answering phones, helping with paperwork and greeting visitors. Any activity that promotes socialization can have positive effects on a senior’s physical and mental health.
Let National Cheer Up the Lonely Day Inspire Action
National Cheer Up the Lonely Day can shine a spotlight onto the chronic issue of elderly isolation and chronic loneliness. It is truly a society-wide problem that affects elderly adults and their family caregivers. There’s no better time to act to counter the serious effects that long-term loneliness can have on an aging adult’s physical and mental health.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Paradise Valley, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Endeavor Home Care today. Call (480) 535-6800.
“It’s just been one of those days,” we sometimes lament, shrugging our shoulders gloomily. After all, sometimes things happen that are entirely out of our control, and some days all of these things seem to happen at the same time and make us wish we had stayed in bed! But the truth is, there are steps we can all take to turn those tough days around and discover purpose and meaning within our various daily challenges and experiences—especially those of us getting older. Read more
“How can you say I have Alzheimer’s disease? There is nothing wrong with me!”
If you’ve ever heard a senior loved one with dementia frustratingly express this or perhaps a very similar sentiment, you might have believed the person was just in denial and not willing to accept a difficult diagnosis. The simple truth is, however, that oftentimes people who have dementia and other conditions are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment. Read more
It is among the more difficult decisions we face in older years, and an extremely delicate subject for adult children to initiate with their elder parents: relinquishing the car keys. Driving ourselves, while supplying an inherent experience of freedom and independence, may become extremely unsafe due to a number of variables linked to getting older. And letting go of that independence for sake of senior driving safety can feel defeating. Read more
Living across the country from family makes it hard to see our aging loved ones as frequently as we’d like, but during the holidays, families make it a priority to spend quality time with each other – making it the perfect opportunity to ascertain senior safety for your loved one. There are quite a few red flags that are unnoticed in weekly telephone conversations, emails, or even through Skype, but which often become very clear when the family gets together during the holiday season. Read more
Viewing the holidays through the lens of Alzheimer’s disease can seem to be anything but merry and bright. Family may perhaps be overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities, and the disruption to routine can result in additional distress for a senior learning how to deal with dementia at the holidays. Read more
If you want to see a family that has unending patience with each other, stays together through any situation and has unconditional love for each other, you’ll want to watch reruns of The Waltons. But if your family members are like most, there’s definitely some degree of dysfunction, some lingering stubborn sibling rivalry, and in many cases a little residual competition to be Mom’s and Dad’s favorite. These sorts of family dynamics can be aggravated when caring for elderly parents with family members, resulting in the resurfacing of old childhood issues.
Clinical psychologist Craig Grether shares, “When there is a family crisis with a parent, the adult children, no matter how educated they are, no matter how successful, with a variety of life experiences, they regress to the same dynamic of whatever was going on when they were 7, 8, 10, 12 years old.”
The reality is, approximately 40% of family caregivers are experiencing significant family disputes, and 65% feel care needs for elderly parents end up being unequally distributed among siblings. Disagreement commonly occurs whenever there’s a notion that one family member isn’t pulling his or her weight in terms of meeting the proper care demands of an older family member – reigniting any earlier family dynamic problems that until now may seem to have been hidden. With family caregivers at risk for such challenges as depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, sleep loss, and career pressures, it’s easy to understand how rapidly tempers can surface between family members.
So, just how can members of the family come together and make a plan of care that’s fair to all? The conclusion: there are times when it’s just not attainable, and it’s necessary to come to a place of acceptance that your younger brother might not be equipped, for whatever reason, to handle caring for Dad at the level you’d like. Letting go of preconceived expectations and also any feelings of resentment is essential to gaining peace for yourself and to be able to focus on providing the best care for your senior loved one.
Regardless of your family’s dynamics, Endeavor Home Care’s San Diego caregivers are on hand to supply a regular, trustworthy resource to ensure that all care requirements are fully fulfilled at all times. We work together with family members to help fill in the gaps in caregiving, enabling them to focus on spending quality time together and alleviating the anxiety often associated with meeting the everyday needs of elderly parents. Contact us at (480) 535-6000 or review our full service area to learn more.
It is a common problem for many older adults – falling and staying asleep for a full night’s rest. Other than feeling a tad foggy the next morning, however, and feeling the need for an afternoon snooze to catch up on lost sleep, the actual repercussions have felt negligible. That is, until a recent study suggested a potential link between chronic insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Deep sleep enables the brain to remove toxins, such as the amyloid plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease, and it appears that a build-up of these toxins is shown to harm the brains of lab animals. Consequently, a human study is launching to better understand the interconnection and its impact.
Through the use of a strong MRI system, the strength of the brain’s signal to get rid of toxins can be reviewed: a strong signal in brains whose toxin elimination is successful, and a less strong signal in people who may be developing Alzheimer’s. The objective will be to assess if too little deep sleep does, in fact, affect the likelihood of a future Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and if so, to determine the best treatment options to improve sleep quality.
The difficulty in the human leg of the trial will be in assisting people to feel comfortable enough in the MRI machine to achieve the natural stages of sleep, between the noise and cramped and sometimes claustrophobia-inducing quarters. However, it’s a much more feasible and less-intrusive option than the laboratory animal study, which involved creating a window in the skull and watching the brain with a strong microscope and laser. And the payoffs may potentially be life-changing: identifying people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease because of inadequate sleep, and opening doors to new treatment options.
Per Bill Rooney, director of Oregon Health & Science University’s Advanced Imaging Research Center, “It could be anything from having people exercise more regularly, or new drugs. A lot of the sleep aids don’t particularly focus on driving people to deep sleep stages.”
Financing for human trials is currently in place, and the research is slated to start this year.
Are you currently providing care for a senior loved one and finding it challenging to get a restful night’s sleep? Or does your family member have a problem with sundowning, chronic insomnia, or other issues that make evening sleeping tough for you both? Contact the Arizona and San Diego senior care experts at Endeavor Home Care for overnight respite care, offering you the chance to sleep while knowing your family member is safe and sound and well cared for!
It is an amazing feeling to know that you are protected, safe and cared for. Dads and moms thrive on making certain their kids are surrounded in the comfort of understanding their needs will be fulfilled, providing the safety net that permits them the self-confidence to explore the world around them. Yet there comes a point in all children’s lives when the craving for self-sufficiency is more compelling than the benefit of protection, and they have to discover firsthand what it means to stumble, fall and get back up again independently.
These types of protective instincts quite often trigger once again for adult children who find themselves taking care of parents as they age. We wish to help them to reduce risks, to ensure they are safe from harm. Yet at the same time, it’s all too easy to fall into a pattern of overprotectiveness if we’re not always careful, which can result in feelings of bitterness as well as resentment on the part of the senior parents.
According to professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University Steven Zarit, “One of the scariest things to people as they age is that they don’t feel in control anymore. So if you tell your dad not to go out and shovel snow, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing. But his response will be to go out and shovel away … It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back.”
A recent study investigated the impact of stubbornness in older adults’ relationships with their adult children. While the seniors were less inclined to rate themselves as appearing stubborn, their younger loved ones more regularly noted stubbornness as an issue. The key for adult children is in knowing their parents’ reason for digging in their heels to hold onto their freedom and autonomy, and to avoid arguing and generating an attitude of defensiveness. Clear, open and truthful communication among both sides can go far towards smoothing the waters and making sure that each individual is heard and understood.
So what is the easiest method for taking care of parents without seeking to control them? A healthy dosage of patience, respect and empathy will go a long way. Positioning yourself within the senior’s shoes and knowing the importance of self-sufficiency allows adult children to step back, instead of stepping in. Allow the additional time an older adult needs to finish a task, rather than doing it for the person. Continue to look for opportunities to show the older person you appreciate his or her suggestions and recommendations. For additional suggestions about offering care that doesn’t cross the line, contact the San Diego home care experts at Endeavor Home Care by calling (480) 535-6800. And see our full California and Arizona service area here.
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