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Elderly-Care Articles


How To Spot Elder Abuse

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 812)
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Elder abuse is described by the following acts among family and members of the household, any nursing home staff or any individual.

- When somebody attempts or causes physical injury to an elder

- When the family member or staff of a nursing home try to or is trying to place an elder in terror or alarm of physical harm by torment, threat or harassment

- When one is convincing or persuading an elder by strength or intimidation to participate in a certain act from which the elder has the right to withhold

- When one meaningfully confines the movements of an elder without his consent

- Threatening the elder to a crime of violence

1. Detecting Abuse:

- Burn markings from cigarette

- Black eye, lacerations, bruises or cuts that can not be explained

- Rope marks, a sign that the elder had been tied or slashed upon

- Hair loss, a sign that the elder's hair was pulled

- Bodily sores and wounds

- Fingernails that are broken

- The elder's skin is very poor condition

- Fractures of the bone

- Bite marks

- Eye glasses are broken

- Laboratory results are positive of drug overdose

- The elder displays a sudden change of behavior

- The care giver refuses to allow visitors to see the elder

2. Signs Of Neglect:

- Sores are untreated

- Displays significant signs of malnutrition

- May show signs of insanity

- Lack of personal hygiene care

3. Signs Of Emotional Abuse:

- May display a nervous behavior

- Constantly be disturbed or upset

- Displays a negative attitude

- Always in anxiety

- Demonstrate signs of insecurity, such as constant sucking or biting of the fingers

4. Financial Abuse:

- Unknown withdrawal from the elder's account

- Unusual ATM withdrawals and switching of accounts

- The elder tend to withdraw money often

- The elder does not receive his pension or Social Security check from the mail

- The elder, without any valid reason, revises his will and changes his beneficiary

- The elder unexplainably signs contracts that results to unwanted financial commitment

- Signature was forged

- The elder has plenty of unpaid bill, despite his assets that can very well cover the bill

- Strange credit card charges

5. Signs Of Sexual Abuse

- Mysterious and unexplained genital infection

- Anal or vaginal bleeding that can not be explained

- Ripped underwear

- The elder may tell someone that she has been sexually abused

- Genitals are bruised

- The elder may report that her care giver is showing her pornographic materials

- The report of the elder that she is forced to touch someone's genitals, observe sexual acts, tell dirty stories and pose nude for a picture

6. How Can You Prevent Abuse To Yourself As An Elder?

- Keep and continue contacts with friends and neighbors

- Work out on a buddy system with other elders in the home

- Be active socially, do not be in isolation

- Protest and speak up if you are not happy or contented with the way your caregiver or other family member treats you. Tell somebody

- Request your friends and other relatives to visit you often

- Open your mail personally

- Never sign anything unless it was reviewed by someone that you trust

- Always review your will once in a while

- Coordinate so that your pension or Social Security check be deposited directly to your bank account than being sent by mail

7. How Can You Prevent Abuse To Others?

- Pay attention. Be wary and look out for signals that might point towards abuse

- Call your loved one as frequently as possible

- Visit your loved one often and make certain that she is well taken cared of

- Always be open to your loved one, taking the time to always talk to her and assure her that you are there to help and can be trusted

- Get permission to periodically look into your loved one's bank accounts as well as credit card statements for unauthorized withdrawals or transactions

8. How To Get Help If You Or Someone You Know Is Suffering Abuse:

911 or your local police emergency number or your local hospital emergency room

1225 Eye Street, NVW Suite 725

National Center on Elder Abuse

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 898-2586

Fax: (202) 898-2583

Area Agency on Aging

Almost all States have information as well as a referral line that can be useful and helpful in locating and finding services for elder abuse and neglect victims.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

The hotline provides support counseling for victims of domestic violence and provides links to 2,500 local support services for abused women. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

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Understanding Medicare Prescription Coverage

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 397)
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The prognosis for Medicare Part D seems to be good. Nearly half of physicians recently surveyed said they think the program will result in improved quality of care.

Yet many of those same professionals said the program can be hard to understand and particularly confusing for patients. In fact, according to the survey, doctors and pharmacists report that 95 percent of their senior patients have difficulty understanding the Medicare Part D program and more than 50 percent of patients have trouble understanding how much their drugs will cost. If you're confused about your coverage-or simply want to understand it better-the following tips may help.

Talk To Your Doctor

More than 41 million seniors eligible for Medicare Part D may turn to their physicians for answers-and one of the most frequently asked questions has to do with what medications are covered under each option. Physicians can now answer questions on the spot, using mobile devices or by logging on to the Internet.

Most doctors are using free software applications, such as Epocrates Rx drug and formulary reference, to quickly determine which drugs are covered by a specific health plan, whether there's a generic or cheaper drug alternative and which plans best meet their patients' clinical and financial needs. The software can also help doctors identify any potential drug interactions. That's important, considering that the average 75-year-old regularly takes five prescription drugs and uses several over-the-counter medications, according to a 2004 Alliance for Aging Research report.

Check The Web

A number of government Web sites are available to help people sort through the more than 400 Medicare Part D prescription plans. Try checking a site such as www.medicare.gov or www. epocrates.com for some information about your program. Before logging on, make a list of the medications you are taking and any conditions you may have. That can make it easier to see which plan best fits your needs.

Talk To Friends And Family

In addition to checking Web sites, it's important to talk to others about their experiences with a Medicare Part D plan. Ask your friends and family about what plan they selected, how they feel about it and what they learned. In addition, don't hesitate to check with your pharmacist or doctor's office staff.

Your physicians may be able to help you better understand your Medicare Part D program.

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Mobility Electric Scooters Freedom For The Elderly

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 810)
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There would not be much excitement in life if you had to spend it sitting in a chair or lying in a bed every day. Relying on somebody else to perform simple tasks for you, such as getting a drink of water, can make you feel like you are nothing but a burden to others. If you or someone you love needs a boost maybe electric scooters are what you should be investigating.

It wasn't too long ago that the elderly and handicapped relied exclusively on others for their care and entertainment. But with the recent advancements in scooters many seniors or disabled people can now grab hold of some of their freedom again. Cheap electric scooters can allow the formerly bed-ridden or chair-ridden to travel as if they actually had legs that worked again. No more depression due to lack of independence. Returned is the ability not only to get yourself a glass of water, but to go out and get the morning newspaper or even take the dog for a walk. Getting out in the fresh air is something that may not have been possible for many without the assistance of electric scooters. Some people think of scooters as belonging in a sports category, but it's all recreation and assistance.

In my neighborhood there is an elderly gentleman that cruises down the sidewalk with his control lever in one hand and his dog leash in the other. Without his electric scooter there would be no fresh air for him. There would be no walking the dog or talking with the friendly neighbors he runs into (figuratively, not literally). He's free once again to roam the streets with his best friend Fido. What a great feeling that must be, to get out of the house for a short time each day when it used to be impossible. There's practically nowhere a person can't go these days with the help of these magnificent little vehicles.

There are a wide variety of scooters available to the public these days. Besides electric types there are gas, utility and foldable models. They all have their advantages under certain conditions. Kids love the compact and easy-to-handle foldable or Razor scooters. They are very cheap, often under $100, and make getting places a snap. They are also very inexpensive to operate once you own one. Kids use their scooters as motorcycles, but a scooter is so much more than a miniature motorcycle, they are a means of obtaining freedom for the elderly.

Gas powered scooters are more powerful, allowing the driver to travel further distances away from home. There are even larger touring models manufactured for the sole purpose of long distance travel. The touring types are bigger and heavier, and they consume a little more fuel, but they allow for long distance travel unlike the foldable, utility or mobility models.

Utility scooters are becoming very popular with different types of institutions such as school campuses, professional sports stadiums, golfers and big businesses. Have you ever seen a person driving a cart in a school parking lot, going from car to car looking for parking violations? In all probability they were driving utility scooters. And golf carts are just a modified version of this type. It's hard going to any large institution these days without running into a utility scooter of some type or another.

The electric models are very versatile and are used to perform many functions. They are used in the foldable and utility types most often. But perhaps where they perform their greatest task is in assisting the elderly or disabled. It wasn't too long ago that these mobility vehicles had a very limited distance, but with the advancement of batteries and their capacities they can now be used for an entire day before needing to be recharged. They can be driven all day and then plugged in at night for recharging while everyone is fast asleep. Then in the morning they are ready to perform their duties again for another day. What a wonderful gift to those that no longer have the ability to get around on their own.

Mobility electric scooters are different than the gas powered models. For one thing they will have at least 3, but usually 4 wheels. The reason for the extra wheels is stability. It's not too hard to lose your balance on a 2-wheel variety, but it's almost impossible with 4-wheels. With the extra stability that 4 wheels adds it makes the mobility electric scooters very safe for travel in and around the home. These handicapped models are bigger and heavier than other types which allows for better control and more storage. Electric scooters are here to stay. If chosen carefully it can become one of the best purchases ever made for the handicapped, disabled or elderly.

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Should You Join Aarp

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 355)
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The AARP used to be the American Association of Retired Persons.

The AARP is known for representing and speaking on behalf of aging populations based in the United States.

It is involved in all kinds of activities such as:

negotiating reduced rates for prescriptions, housing, tourist attractions, automobile rentalsm motels and hotels.

It is at present involved politically with the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

The AARP was founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus and hopes to have 70 million members in the next ten years due to the increasing age of the US population.

It is interesting that the AARP is fighting the proposed changes to Social Security.

The AARP has changed its role over the last few decades so as to reflect current living standards and the way in which we now approach age with dignity and purpose.

On its website discounted trips to Hawaii and Alaska are advertised as well as news specifically geared to seniors, such as employment news, legal advice, health and fitness information and other interesting items.

At present some of the hot button items the AARP is working with are:

Prescription Drugs;

Prescription Drugs over the last 5 years have increased much more rapidly in costs than the rate of inflation and as such are a heavy burden on Seniors.

The AARP makes available the results of studies of changes in manufacturers' prescription drug list prices for 200 brand name and 75 generic drugs most widely used by Americans age 50 and over.

Social Security;

President Bush seems to think that there will not be enough money in the future to pay for Social Security benefits for Seniors at today's level.

His private accounts plan would allow workers to invest up to one third of their payroll contributions in the Stock Market.

Based on Stock Market results for the time President Bush has been in office this would have resulted in a loss for the average Senior taking inflation into account.

And the indexing plan that Bush embraced at his April 28 press conference would preserve the present defined-benefit approach only for low-wage workers

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Helpful Hints For The Elderly

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 505)
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The elderly need a lot of help around the house, but it is not often that each and every member of the family will be around to help. A typical household will not have a hired nurse, and so it becomes the duty of the homeowner to assist their aged parents or grandparents. Assistance may range from simple walking, to getting a hard to reach item. The wisdom comes in the form of self-assistance; that is, in the ability for the elderly to help themselves. This can easily be made possible with proper planning and slight adjustment to your daily routine.

Eliminate obstacles around the house. What may seem like a trifle to an agile twenty-year-old may be a gauntlet for a seventy-year-old. These daily obstacles pose threats ranging from mild to critical. For example, glassware and tile pose a very serious threat, while polycarbonate and carpet virtually eliminates any concern. Problems like that can be remedied by practical thinking: eliminate the obstacle, not the object. Outfitting the house to meet the needs of the elderly, while at the same time preserving the homeowner's comfort of living, can be a much simpler task than perceived.

Solutions can be entirely within the realm of practicality, while others involve expenses. The most obvious and time-honored solution is to leave all of their personal affects downstairs, assuming they live inside a house with more than a single story. Doing so will sidestep the most frightening scenario: falling down the stairs. If at all possible, ensure that plenty of necessities remain accessible on the first level, especially a bathroom. As a tip, lay out a non-slip surface inside the tub and showers, as well as bath mats on the outside. Inexpensive and easy to install, they deter the most hazardous of daily household injuries.

By way of expenses, outfit the television with a wireless headset. This way, the volume can be turned up to suit their needs without disrupting the rest of the household. Another measure would be to enable subtitles and captions for movies and television. Other gadgets to consider are audio reminders, which will remind a person of certain tasks via pre-recorded messages. In short, gadgets of all kinds can aid in everyday life just as well as practical decisions. In times of boredom, say, handheld portable gaming systems integrate very well into the lives of the elderly. For example, crossword puzzles and other games that aid in critical thinking and coordination are easily accessible on Nintendo's own DS Lite.

With these tips in mind, use your home to their advantage, all without necessitating too much change. Too often can discomfort and accidents happen at the smallest detail. Sometimes the elderly may be at home for hours at a time, alone. The best option would be to organize a lifestyle alongside your aged parents or grandparents, a lifestyle that suits them. This makes it easier for everyone involved, as self-assistance is the most ideal way to retain their freedom and their dignity.

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New Or Used Stair Lifts

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 388)
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When out browsing the market for a stair lift, the majority of the stair lifts that you come across will be new, however you may see some that are used. What are the differences exactly, or the risks involved with getting a used stair lift?

For starters, every stair lift that is made, has a track that is custom built for a specific stair case. So unless your stair case is the same as what the used stair lifts track was cut for, it will not be a good fit. However, it is possible to cut the track if your stair case is shorter than the stair lift track you are looking at but the tracks cannot be lengthened.

Another big issue with getting a used stair lift, is that you do not get the warranty that you would on a new stair lift. You may get a much shorter warranty, or you may get no warranty at all on used stair lifts. With the full factory warranty you are protecting your investment, giving yourself much more peace of mind and if something does go wrong within your warranty period, you're covered. You won't have to pay extra for someone to come out and fix the stair lift.

There is also the issue of price. Any used stair lift will have a lower price than a new one, however, is the difference that significant? It also depends on the brand, you might be able to get a used stair lift of one brand for the price of a new one of a different brand.

Lets say we are looking at the same brand of stair lifts, one used, one new. The used will be priced lower, but probably only two hundred dollars or so lower. What are you truly getting? You are getting a slightly lower priced stair lift that is used, short to no warranty and no guarantee if they have a track that will fit your stair case.

If you are in need of a stair lift, then most likely you want something that will just work, correctly and reliably, and not worry about it. For the price and warranty difference, I would say your best bet is to get a new stair lift instead of a used one.

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The Differences In Elder Care Services

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 985)
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Time marches on and so do we. Before we know it, we are older and so are our parents or loved ones. Caring for them and being sure their needs are met become a prime concern especially when they begin to not be able to care for themselves as they used to. This dilemma touches most every family. The thing to avoid is to remain under a veil of ignorance by not understanding your options and waiting until the last minute to make an abrupt and often uniformed decision. Care for the elderly is of utmost importance. This will be addressed in a comparison between adult day care, assisted living, and nursing home care.

Adult day care has the shortest care periods and usually lasts up to 8 hours a day and 5 days a week. People with Alzheimer's, the feeble, the physically handicapped, those infected with HIV/AIDS, people with declining brain function and the hearing and visually impaired are included in this type of care. It serves as respite for busy caregivers and offers social and recreational activities, meals, therapy, health and social services. Usually there is an assessment made of the needs of each person before they enter the program. It is also important to find out how physically able they are because adult day care does provide rehabilitative services and personal care. One of its greatest advantages is that it helps people remain independent and be able to live with loved ones as long as they can plus it gives caregivers the break they often need.

Funding can come through Medicaid if the person qualifies, need-based scholarships, some medical insurance, long-term care insurance or tax credits for dependent care. Medicare doesn't cover adult day care. Usually centers are non-profit (80% of them) and charge anywhere from $25-$75 a day. This will vary according to location. Transportation is also provided. There are full-time nursing services and these places are licensed by the state.

The next step up in care, if the elderly are not living with friends or family, is assisted living. It is for seniors who are somewhat independent and who need more care than a retirement community has available. The focus is on allowing for individual residents' independence, need for privacy, choice, and safety. The services offered are personal (bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, and eating), health care (which also involves management of medications), social and physical activities, 24-hour supervision, education, laundry, linen, housekeeping, unit maintenance, shopping, meal preparation, money management and transportation. A person can occupy a furnished or unfurnished studio or 1-bedroom unit with a bathroom. Some places have a shared bathroom. Also some units may have kitchenettes or even a full kitchen.

A potential resident is assessed according to physical and cognitive abilities, mental awareness, medical history (including medications being taken) and some personal history to find out if assisted living is a good option. Family members are encouraged to continue being a part of the resident's life and are welcome to attend social activities throughout the year and on holidays. Usually assisted living places have a full-time nurse and trained staff. Meals are eaten in a dining room and assistance is given when needed. Activities are planned throughout the day and residents have the choice to attend or not. Church services are held, some being a specific denomination and there is usually a non-denominational gathering. Assisted care is regulated by the state.

Sources of funding can include personal funds, assistance for families, Social Security, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. The cost varies, depending on the size of the unit, the services needed and location. It's between $1,000 and $2,000 per month, the average being $1,873.

The nursing home is the most intensive in care (along with adult family care homes). The residents have definite physical needs. They usually have physical or mental disorders or happen to be too feeble and/or unable to move around, bathe or prepare their own meals. Their ADL's (Activities of Daily living) are minimal and low functioning. As a general rule, there will be no recovery or ability to take care of themselves, so assistance is a necessity for most or all ADL's. There are definite medical needs too.

Nurses and nursing aids are available round the clock. Because of the residents' needs, nursing homes are staffed with that in mind. There is full management of medication and it is administered according to a physician's orders. A person can obtain a private room if he/she is paying with private funds. Normally, there are 2 people to a room. Meals are brought to them or residents are taken to the dining area. Besides full assistance, nursing homes offer rehabilitative services, exercise, social activities, laundry, housekeeping, and prepared meals. Families and friends are encouraged to visit.

The cost depends on where the home is and what the surcharge is that is attached for private payers versus Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately 70% of nursing home costs are paid by the state and federal governments. The government pays part or all of the fees for about 85% of the residents. Another funding option is long-term care insurance. The actual cost is somewhere around $114 a day or more and can go well above $2,000 a month. This varies depending on the location and the services required.

In summary, adult day care involves hours of care, while assisted living and nursing homes offer more care progressively. It helps to research all the residential and financial options. AARP is a valuable source, as well as Medicare. There are a wealth of other websites that will help relatives and friends find the right place for their loved ones and the phone book lists companies and people that have a network to draw from. Quality care of our elderly is essential. Knowing what can be done is being done, brings a sense of peace of mind.

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It S Your Funeral Why Not Plan It Properly

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 423)
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Making plans for the future brings mixed feelings. It is right to concentrate on the good things, but sometimes there are things you would rather not think about. A funeral is one of those things. You may not have considered planning a funeral in

advance, but there are several reasons why it can bring great peace of mind.

Bereavement usually brings with it emotional and financial burdens. However, you can spare your loved ones much of the burden of having to make difficult decisions at an upsetting time.

The cost of many funerals has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and prices are set to continue to increase in the future.

If you have savings set aside for your funeral, you can never be sure that there will be enough - or you may be setting aside more than you really need to. It makes good sense to guard against unknown price rises.

A prepaid funeral plan is the way to be absolutely certain that the services of the funeral director will be provided and there will be nothing more to pay for these services.

Bereaved relatives usually arrange a funeral and may be unsure what was actually wanted. It helps to do something at times of sadness, but it is not a good time to make important decisions - which, if wrong, cannot be put right later. Planning ahead for your funeral can be a great help in alleviating the emotional and financial burdens that naturally accompany bereavement and those who remain will remember your thoughtfulness.

There is also some quiet satisfaction to be gained from putting your affairs in order and reflecting on the most appropriate arrangements. People worry that their wishes will not be carried out. It is important to realise that any funeral wishes set out in your Will or other letters or documents are only requests. Your executors are under no obligation to carry out your wishes. However, if you own a prepaid funeral plan, your guarantee is with a funeral director and your wishes are set out in your guarantee certificate.

When you pre-arrange your funeral with your pre-paid funeral plan you can:

Decide on your funeral service and select a suitable arrangement

Settle on a method of payment to match your circumstances

Select who benefits under the plan

Have comfort, reassurance and freedom from worry and stress

Ensure no hidden extras are charged

Why not give it some thought?

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Caring For Elderly Parents 5 Tips For Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 910)
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Joanne's mother, Betty, had rheumatoid arthritis for years. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Betty was disabled by the pain, fatigue and limited mobility that she had feared since her diagnosis.

Joanne convinced her fiercely independent mother that living alone was no longer an option. And Joanne, the eldest of four children, knew that caring for her sick mother fell on her shoulders. Joanne was a legend in the circles of her family, friends and colleagues for her ability to act with grace under pressure.

Joanne took two weeks of vacation from her job and cooked and froze meals for her husband and three children. As she flew to her hometown, she wondered how she would coordinate her mother's care from a distance. Supporting her husband as he built his new business, nurturing her kids and directing a major project at work already made her feel that she was running on empty.

You may relate to Joanne's story. One out of four Americans cares for a friend or relative who is sick, disabled or frail. That's 46 million Americans who offer unpaid help to a loved one. If they were paid caregivers' compensation would exceed last year's Medicare budget! And if you become a caregiver, you, like Joanne, may try to do it alone, shrouded in secrecy.

Solo caregiving compromises your ability to nurture yourself and others. Let's take caregiving out from behind closed doors. For your sake and the sake of those who count on you, please get some help. Caregivers are competent people who feel that they should be able to do this job. Yet, many soon find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to manage the sometimes daunting tasks, such as managing a complex medical regimen or remodeling a house so it's wheel-chair accessible or even finding someone to stay with their loved ones so they can go out to a movie without worrying their relatives will fall on the way to the fridge.

If you are a caregiver, you know that this act of love has its costs. You stand to forfeit up to $650,000 in lost wages, pension and social security. Add to that is the personal cost to your well being, as your new demands leave you less time for your family and friends. You may give up vacations, hobbies and social activities. Finally, caregiving places a burden on your health. Caregivers are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, depressed immune function and even hospitalization.

Instead of reaching out, caregivers become isolated. Many who assume the caregiving burden fit the profile of the giving family member, like Joanne, who does not want to trouble others with their problems. Some fear the consequences of disclosing their new demands to coworkers or employers. Caregivers are further challenged by the cultural conspiracy of silence. Our youth-centered society turns a blind eye to the unpleasant and inevitable reality that all of us age and die. This leaves both caregivers and care recipients unprepared. Look no further than the path of Hurricane Katrina to witness the consequences of a lack of planning.

What can you do? Start talking about the "what ifs" and make a plan.

1. Start with yourself. What will happen to you and your family if you become disabled or die unexpectedly? Do you have disability insurance? Do you have a will? Do you have a living will, and have you identified the person who will make the medical choices you would make if you are not in the position to do so?

2. Approach healthy family members. Say, "I hope that you live many happy years in which you enjoy all of the pleasures you worked so hard to create." Have you thought about what would happen to you in the event that you cannot live independently any more? If some medical event befalls you, who would make your medical choices?

3. Look into community resources that support caregiving. A day program, for example, helps your loved one by providing social connections with peers. Your community may even offer transportation to and from the program. Getting out of the house offers the additional benefit of getting bodies moving. Socializing and exercise are the two most powerful interventions that help your loved ones stay at their best.

4. Make specific suggestions to friends, family members and neighbors who want to help. You may even want to keep a "help list." When they say, "Let me know what I can do," you have a response: "Could you take Mom to her physical therapy appointment this week?" "When you're at the store, could you pick up some oranges and blueberries?" "Could you watch the kids for an hour so I can get to the gym?" Your giving friends will appreciate specific ideas about how they can help.

5. Take care of your health. Get good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise to stay in top health. Wash your hands regularly to prevent colds and flu. Manage your stress with laughter, a prayer or even a deep breath. Nourish your soul with a taste of activities that recharge your batteries such as writing in your journal or gardening. Finally, talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.

The best strategies for effective caregiving include preparation, acts of self-care and reaching out for help. That begins with the courage to start talking openly about caregiving.

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