Should You Move to Be Closer to Your Aging Parents?

Long-distance caregiving is tough, but moving to be near parents is a big step

By Deb Hipp for Next Avenue

Woman looks at smartphone with worried look of deep concern

“If I had a dollar for every tear I shed in guilt, I could have hired 15 caregivers.” [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

Sara Tapscott won’t ever forget the day an employee at her aging parents’ assisted living center knocked on their apartment door and told them they’d have to move. Their needs had become too great for the staff to accommodate.

Tapscott’s mom, who was 79 and down to 90 pounds from advanced Parkinson’s disease, was crying and shaking so badly that she nearly fell from her chair. Tapscott’s dad, who was 83 and a retired attorney with Alzheimer’s, attempted to make his case, holding a finger up for each point. read more

The Amazing Technology That Could Change How We Age

Experts say it will make life happier, healthier and easier for older adults and caregivers

By Suzanne Gerber for Next Avenue

Hand typing on a laptop

“Future tech will increase older people’s independence and help relieve the health services,” says Naomi Climer. [Photo credit: Getty Images]

Pop quiz: When you think about how technology will personally impact your life over the next 10 to 20 years, which of these things do you envision as being part of that evolution?:

  1. Holographic technology to communicate with your family
  2. A car that chauffeurs you around
  3. 3-D-printed medicine
  4. Drones to help with household activities
  5. All of the above

If the tech-prognosticators are to be believed, the correct answer is E: All of those Jetsons-sounding devices will be available in the coming not-so-many years.

Whether that news thrills or terrifies you, it’s ultimately a good thing, because these technological developments can help older adults and those who are housebound with tasks keep them mobile, keep them at home longer and help them stay connected to others, which is one of the most important factors for a long and fulfilling life. read more

The VA Program That Pays for Long-Term Care for Vets

This little-known benefit can be a help, but expect red tape

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

Uniformed shoulder with patches indicating military

By one estimate, only 5 percent of vets entitled to the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance benefit apply for it.

Here’s a frightening statistic from the just-released United States of Aging survey:  Only 3 percent of professionals supporting people 60 and older say they are very confident older Americans will be able to afford their health care costs as they age. (The survey was conducted by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Council on Aging and UnitedHealthcare.)

One reason: The steep and rising cost of long-term care.

What Long-Term Care Costs Now

The median price of a private room in a nursing home is $91,250, up 4.17 percent from a year ago, according to Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Long-Term Care Survey. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates that 44 percent of men and 58 percent of women will use nursing home care. Many more will need long-term care in assisted living facilities or at home. read more

What’s Better for You: Butter or Margarine? Red Wine or White?

Here’s the latest research on smart food choices as we age

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

A bit of butter or margarine in the shape of a heart, melting in a teflon-coated pan

Take a deeper look at the current line of thinking on 4 popular food duels. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

In the world of nutrition, certain debates seem to ping pong back and forth. Like the issue of butter vs. margarine. Or the battle between coffee and tea. It all starts when a new study comes along that seems to give a leg up to one food choice above the other. So the debate over healthy food choices marches on.

Here’s a deeper look at the current line of thinking on four of these popular food duels:

Bone Broth vs. Stock

With the Paleo diet movement and athletes like Kobe Bryant singing the praises of bone broth, you might be ready to ditch the homemade stock. But when culinary experts at Bon Appetit magazine turned to bone broth guru and chef Marco Canora, he told them that technically, bone broth is stock. read more

Here’s a tool to plan for late-life what-ifs

A website for older adults by older adults

By Kevyn Burger for Next Avenue

Seniors have a lot to say about thier options for care.

Jane Curry used Plan Your Lifespan to think through her contingencies in case health issues diminish her independence.

Jane Curry, of Chicago, settled into a retirement community a few years ago, where she found friends and support. It was part of her preparation to age in place in a home of her own. But the now-75-year-old widow knew that taking a fall could play havoc with her ability to stay in her second-story condo.

“My balance is off more as I’ve gotten older,” she admitted. “That frightens me.”

At 14, Curry developed a rare form of cancer in the connective tissue of her wrist. In the 1950s, her only option was to have her left arm amputated. “I was so young when it happened that I adapted and I’ve been able to live my life without thinking about it too much,” she said. But now, Curry worries that being an amputee increases the likelihood she could take a tumble. read more

9 ways family caregivers can get a break

Here’s how to get respite care, and sometimes get help paying for it

By Sherri Snelling for Next Avenue

Finding respite care is an important part of caring for the caregiver.

Credit: Adobe Stock – Many Presbyterian Manors campuses offer caregiver support groups or respite care services.

“Respite care” can be a little difficult to understand. The words don’t make it clear who is being helped. The “care” goes to the person who needs it due to illness or disability. The “respite” — a chance to rest and recharge — goes to the family member or other volunteer who would normally be on the spot, doing the caring. As for who gets helped by this? Everybody does.

“If family caregivers don’t take the time needed to care for themselves, we will face an additional health care crisis,” says Lily Sarafan, CEO of California-based Home Care Assistance, which provides support services including respite care. “Caregiver burnout can be associated with serious health issues including depression, and yet burnout is still not recognized as a real health issue in the eyes of many caregivers. Families and communities need to develop sustainable care plans that do not just rely on a single individual.” read more

Write down those special grandparent moments

How to keep a journal or blog so you can both share memories

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue

Sharing your hopes and dreams for your grandchildren can become a treasured gift.

Credit: ThinkStock – You can record your thoughts and memories as a keepsake for your grandchildren.

So many boomers are finding delight in nurturing grandchildren — and most of us also are amazed that they do grow up quickly. That rarely seemed the case when we were bringing up our own kids.

A traditional baby book stuffed with baby shower napkins, pink or blue ribbons and photos seems a bit outdated in this digital age, though many of us do make them for our grandchildren.

Another option is a journal.

You can write it on the computer and call it a blog, or on paper and call it a diary. Either way, recording special moments will help you recall every heartfelt emotion from the early days, months or years — depending on long you keep writing. Plus, you will have something meaningful to share with your grandchild when he or she is old enough. read more

Keeping older people safe in the summer heat

Make sure you know the signs of life-threatening heat stroke

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

Avoiding heat stroke is important for seniors who may be taking medicines that make them more susceptible.

Credit: Thinkstock – Know the signs of heat stroke and how to avoid it.

If you’ve ever lived in a hot place without air conditioning, you know how miserable it can be. But getting overheated is more than just unpleasant for older people. It can be dangerous, and even deadly.

That’s why it is important to be aware of the risks of hyperthermia, or overheating of the body, especially if you care for an older parent or have elderly neighbors. Hyperthermia includes heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness or fainting), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and — the most serious — heat stroke. read more

9 ways to help your spouse with a sleep apnea machine

A CPAP will result in better sleep for both of you

By Madeline Vann for Next Avenue

A CPAP machine can improve sleep quality.

Credit: Adobe Stock – Sleeping with a CPAP machine can improve how both you and your partner sleep.

If your spouse has sleep apnea, his or her CPAP machine for it could save your sleep, health, and marriage. But first you need to find effective ways to help and support your husband or wife.

Whatever you do, don’t suggest that the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine makes your spouse less desirable, advises sleep medicine expert Dr. Patricia Patterson, medical director of the UAB Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in Birmingham, Ala. You’ll have to find a delicate balance between helping, encouraging and focusing on the benefits rather than nagging or offering a cold shoulder. read more

Is it time to downsize your dog?

A big dog can cause a fall, so the next one will be smaller

By Jane Gross for Next Avenue

Jane Gross and Henry, her standard poodle.

Credit: Courtesy of Jane Gross – Jane and her dog, Henry, a 10-year-old standard poodle.

Henry is a 10-year-old standard poodle, weighs 50 pounds, stands 2-feet-3-inches tall and has liver cancer. I am a 67-year-old woman, 5-feet-tall and tipping the scales at 85 pounds — with brittle bones, bad eyes and bursitis in my shoulder.

This dog is the first I’ve ever had and he’s taught me unexpected lessons about being responsible for another living creature and what it means to experience unconditional love. He sleeps on my bed and licks my face when I cry, which I do anytime I think about losing him. read more