This March, we are celebrating National Nutrition Month. We all know how important a balanced diet and frequent exercise are to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that certain foods and exercise have even more benefits for aging adults? As we age, our bodies change, as do our needs. In fact, as we get older, our metabolisms slow down and we are more at risk of developing chronic diseases. We know that getting into a routine can be challenging at first, which is why we want to share with you a few tips to help you get started on your health and wellness journey.
First, consider your daily diet. The National Council on Aging suggests that aging adults consume a balanced amount of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Planning your meals a few days or a week in advance can help you stick to that diet. If you neglect to plan in advance, it is easier to fall into the habit of missing meals or reverting back to unhealthy food options. Reducing salt and sugar intake have also been linked to lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk for cardiac-related diseases. Further, certain foods, such as blueberries and sunflower seeds have been shown to boost brain health and decrease memory loss.
Next, we encourage you to implement a regular exercise regimen. If it has been a while since you have been active, it is important to start slowly and work up to a preset goal. We know that being physically active can present some unique challenges if your mobility levels are low. There are, however, various activities that can be effective and accommodated to fit your needs, such as raising your arms or legs up and down on a frequent basis. When creating the exercise regimen that works for you, consider activities that will help improve your endurance, balance, muscle strength, and flexibility.
Finally, it is important to check in with your doctor before changing your diet or becoming more physically active, especially if you have a pre-existing or chronic health condition. Your health care provider may be able to recommend various activities and diet plans that are best for your individual situation and can work around any limitations you may have.
These are just a few tips to help you make better food choices and establish an exercise regimen to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age. Do you need more ideas? Are you ready to create a plan for your long-term care? Do not hesitate to contact our office to set up an appointment.
At any given time, the majority of elder caregiving is performed by family members. Often, though, the elder’s health declines to the point that paid outside care services can be required for him or her. Whether due to an illness, like Alzheimer’s Disease, a debilitating injury or simply old age, the demands of elder health care can exceed even the most dedicated family caregiver’s capacity to give.
Shifting to paid care can be emotionally difficult, even when it is obvious that it is in an elder loved one’s best interest. A healthy transition can induce feelings of failure and guilt, especially if a senior loved one values his or her independence and resists.
Statements like, “I don’t need any help,” or, “I don’t want a stranger in my house,” can be crushing when you are trying to help. Just like a parent looks after the best interests of a young child, an adult child may need to look after the best interests of his or her elder parent.
Let us share a few suggestions for you to consider when launching into a paid caregiver dynamic:
- Reassure an elder loved one that hiring help does not mean that you are going to abandon him or her.
- Be present for initial meetings between the caregiver and an aging loved one to help establish rapport.
- Show outside caregivers how to do things in ways that are familiar and pleasing to the senior adult to help them feel comfortable.
- Tell an elder loved one that working with a care provider is something they can do to take part in his or her own care.
- Include an elder loved one in the caregiver process by asking him or her to try it out for a week, and then listen to feedback.
- When selecting caregivers, try to find a personality or cultural match to create a sense of common ground, although cultural differences also make for interesting combinations.
- Once the relationship is established always check-in to keep an eye on things.
Above all, an elder loved one’s quality of life, and therefore, quality of care, is the most important objective in any caregiver relationship, whether family or paid. Feelings of guilt can be overcome in taking steps to achieve this important objective. We work with families each day to solve challenges just like the one described here. Let us know how we can help you and your loved ones today.
As we age, our bodies experience a number of changes, particularly in the way it functions. Tasks that were once easy to accomplish, such as getting dressed, bathing, eating, and generally getting around, may be more difficult to perform. These can be difficult changes for your senior loved one to accept, and they may feel hesitant to lean on you for assistance. We know how important the safety of your loved one is, which is why we want to share with you a few tips to help your senior loved one successfully and comfortable navigate daily activities and tasks.
First, it is important to evaluate your senior loved one’s specific needs. Not every senior experiences the same difficulties, and your loved one may feel embarrassed to share their challenges with you. We encourage you to monitor your loved one moving around and performing daily tasks, like eating and getting themselves ready. It is important to remember that the tasks your loved one finds challenging may change as he or she continues to age. If you feel more comfortable hiring a professional to evaluate your loved one’s needs, there are home assistance personnel who can monitor your loved one for you.
If your senior loved one does not have a daily routine in place, it may be time to help them create one. This can add stability to your loved one’s life and avoid causing him or her unnecessary stress. Having a routine can help your loved one feel more comfortable navigating daily tasks, as he or she will follow the same steps each day.
Unfortunately, sometimes your senior loved one may need more help than you can provide. As difficult as it can be to think about moving your loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility, sometimes it is in his or her best interest to do so. If your loved one is still mostly functional and healthy, a home caregiver may be able to provide the care he or she needs. If your loved one has worsening health conditions and frequently falls, these may be signs that he or she would benefit from living in a care facility.
Encouraging your senior loved one to lean on you for support can significantly improve his or her quality of life. If you have questions or if you are ready to discuss a plan for your loved one’s long-term care, do not wait to contact our office to meet with experienced Elder Law attorney, Scott Selis.
One of the most challenging aspects of getting older is the loss of independence that accompanies aging. Advancing age alone, however, is not necessarily a sign that the Florida senior you love should give up his or her car keys. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 40 million licensed drivers are over the age of 65.
Unfortunately, as drivers get older, they can be more at risk of being seriously injured or killed if they are involved in an accident. There is more to driver safety than buckling your seatbelt. If the Florida senior you love is eager to drive, let us share a few tips to help you keep him or her safe on the road.
1.Research senior-friendly cars.
Did you know that not every car may be appropriate for a senior driver? Certain cars have features that can help keep your senior loved one safer while driving. A car with safety features such as power seats, power windows and mirrors, an easier to grip steering wheel, a push start button, and keyless entry can help senior drivers feel more comfortable behind the wheel.
2. Encourage your loved one to make regular doctor’s appointments.
As we age, our bodies change. The senior you love may regularly visit the doctor’s office for check-ups and treatment plans for any medical conditions. If your senior loved one is driving, however, you may want to encourage him or her to meet with a primary care physician to discuss whether any prescription medications they currently take can impact driving skills. Regular checkups with an optician and ear specialist can also help your senior loved one monitor any hearing or vision loss that can increase their risk while driving.
3. Encourage your loved one to take a driver-safety course.
Most of us remember taking a driver safety course when applying for our driver’s license. It never hurts to refresh those skills! Did you know that your Florida senior loved one can enroll in an older driver education program? These programs are designed to increase awareness of age-related risks and will educate your senior loved one about how to help avoid these risks while driving.
4. Make sure your loved one knows his or her limits.
The senior you love may not feel comfortable driving in every situation. We encourage you to discuss your loved one’s driving limitations before he or she gets behind the wheel. Determining what driving conditions your senior loved one finds more challenging, for example, driving in the dark or when it is raining, can help protect both your senior loved one and other drivers on the road.
These are just a few of the ways you can help protect the senior you love on the road. Above all, remember, it is important to frequently check-in with your senior loved one to keep track of any changes in their health or functionality. Do not hesitate to ask us your questions or to seek advice about creating a legal plan to protect the senior you love.
Every year, millions of American families face the difficult decision of how to help an aging parent who can no longer fully take care of himself or herself. For many families, the answer is to provide needed caregiving services themselves. While this seems like an easy solution at first, it is not.
There is much to know about caregiving, and several initial questions to consider, include:
Are you qualified to take care of an elder parent?
Some aging loved ones require assistance with meal preparation, bathing, and getting dressed. Others may need assistance taking medications and short trips to the doctor’s office. Florida seniors with serious health conditions or mental illness, however, may need professional care.
Are you financially prepared?
Caregiving is expensive, but there are ways to obtain financial support. Although most seniors expect Medicare to help cover the costs of aging, often it cannot. Medicaid and veterans benefits, however, may be available as resources. Further, long-term care insurance, Social Security income, and various tax deductions for out-of-pocket expenses may also apply.
How will caregiving affect your emotional and mental health?
Providing care for elderly parents can be emotionally and mentally challenging, especially as loved ones continue to age and their health declines.
If you can affirmatively answer these questions, or are committed to developing healthy caregiving strategies, you may also want to consider:
Family caregivers can be paid. If an aging parent has the resources to pay for a family caregiver, there is no reason not to explore this possibility. The key is creating the right contract for your needs. Do not wait to meet with an experienced elder care attorney about this type of contract.
Sibling conflicts. Caregiving responsibilities usually fall on one adult-child family member more than any other. This often leads to sibling strife even in the most “functional” families, and especially over issues concerning money, fairness and important health decisions. Discuss ways to prevent these issues now, as things may get harder in the future.
Moving in. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expensive. One cost-effective option, however, is to have your aging parent move into your home. As long as your relationship is healthy, it can be a rewarding experience for all involved and provide much needed care.
Taking care of yourself. The demands of family caregiving can lead to burnout and poor health. Often, we find these problems stem from putting an elder parent’s needs before your own. As a caregiver, try not to avoid your needs in this setting.
With over thirteen million Americans currently caring for their children and parents, we know you may need guidance on how to balance these responsibilities. We know this article also may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact our office to discuss your needs, and those of your family, today.
Many of our clients tell us that creating a last will and testament is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about estate planning. While a will is a fundamental component of successful estate planning, including detailed health care documents in your estate plan is an effective way of ensuring any medical decisions made on your behalf are ones that you would approve of.
One of the main benefits of establishing advance directives is that you, as the creator, have the opportunity to create specific and detailed instructions with regards to the future medical care you wish to receive. Further, by creating advance directives, you have the ability to choose someone to act as your health care agent in the event you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
To help you make an informed decision about the types of planning documents you need, let us share three important health care documents that you should consider adding to your estate plan.
- Living Will
A living will is the first of these important health care documents. A living will is a legally-binding document that allows you to lay out your medical wishes in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or experience a serious accident or injury. By creating this important planning document, you can provide as much detail as you like about your future medical treatment and end-of-life care wishes. This will lift some of the burden from your loved ones and will make it easier for them to make decisions about your care that align with your wishes.
- Health Care Power of Attorney
Through a health care power of attorney, you can designate an agent who has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself. It is almost impossible to plan for every conceivable circumstance, establishing a health care power of attorney can help accommodate for unexpected situations that arise. We want to share one cautionary note, however, about setting up a health care power of attorney. Be sure to choose someone you trust implicitly as your agent, as these types of decisions can be life and death.
- HIPAA Authorization
In order for your agent to gain access to your medical records as needed, he or she must have HIPAA authorization. HIPAA was created to protect your privacy when it comes to your health. Ensuring that your agent has the authority to access your records will make it easier for him or her to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and are unable to do so. Discuss with your estate planning attorney whether this authorization should be included as a part of your health care documents or as a stand alone document.
These are just a few of the health care documents you can add to your estate plan. Are you ready to discuss your legal planning needs and find out which documents fit best with your planning goals? Do not wait to get in touch with our office. As always, we are here to be a resource for you.