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Entertaining The Elderly On Grandparents Day

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 387)
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Not all elderly people have family to celebrate Grandparents Day with them. In fact, many of our most celebrated older citizens live lonely lives in retirement or nursing homes. While we are always concerned with our own family members, the first Sunday after Labor Day that is designated as Grandparents Day is about more than celebrating our own relatives. It was set forth to honor all the elderly who have done so much to shape our universe.

For this reason, one way to spend the holiday, especially if your own grandparents are no longer around, is to visit a nursing home and provide some companionship and entertainment for other elderly members of our society. And in case you are putting off this visit because you aren't sure what to do, here are a few tips for entertaining the elderly.

While recognizing that it is a holiday and wishing the residents a happy Grandparents Day, the important thing is to treat them as the respected citizens they are and provide some form of entertainment that they typically would not get. Many older people enjoy playing cards or board games, such as checkers, chess, or bridge. Also, watching a fun family movie with them is a way to spend a quiet, relaxed afternoon.

If they are up to it, simply going for a walk can bring their mood up. Perhaps spending time looking through their family photo albums with them can be exciting, as they get to share special memories that bring back happiness.

One thing that always cheers the elderly is a visit with animals. Many older people adore dogs, and playing with puppies often literally rids these respected people of depression. If possible, take a puppy with you to play with the residents of the nursing home, and, if pets are not allowed, consider rescuing one or two of these live-ins and taking them somewhere that they can play with these cuddly animals.

With so many options, it's not hard to entertain the elderly for a single special day every year. More than anything, most of these lonely people are grateful for the company, and if they aren't really in condition for any kind of physical activity, at least you can listen to them and let them share their life experiences.

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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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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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Should We Fear Death

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 588)
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Death is not something that many people want to think about. However, death is a part of living a human life. At least, our current level of science and technology acknowledges that death is inevitable.

Is death something to be afraid of or is death something to look forward to? The answer may depend on who you talk to.

Aside from the obvious religious answers, what body of information exists that can help us to approach this question with some degree of logical thinking? When exacting scientific evidence is lacking, our only option is to consider the anecdotal or subjective experiences that others have had.

Fortunately, there is a body of information that leads to the formation of some interesting thoughts on the subject of death and what it is or what it might lead to. You can find this resource at near-death.com.

Each person is encouraged to draw their own conclusions. Yet, I would like to share some of my thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Many people who have a near-death experience have strikingly similar experiences. There are some who report a horrible experience but the majority report more positive experiences.

Some may have gone to a terrible place, while others seem to leave the pain of the mortal body behind and experience an interesting journey before they revive. Both kinds of experiences have been recorded.

One striking similarity is the 'life review' process. This has been reported as a review of one's entire life where each event is played out before your eyes. People that have experienced this process say that you suddenly become aware of how you affected the people you interacted with during your life.

If you did something that caused them pain, you may become cognizant of those feelings as if you were experiencing them yourself. People report that they feel regretful. The experience doesn't just extend to that one person, but the effects are like a ripple in a pond and you see how that ripple affects multiple people.

On the other hand, if you did something good you experience that as well. It does appear that the good things involve acting from compassion. For example, one lady said the most significant act of her entire life occurred when she was a little girl. She cupped a flower in her hand and gave it 'unconditional love'.

Others don't experience an in depth life review, theirs lasts a few seconds and doesn't seem to have much impact. Experiences vary someowhat. However, the fundamental similarities remain.

Can a person change as a result of a near-death experience? I was struck by the example of one person who was a self described atheist and hateful person. After his near-death experience he became a minister and a kinder, gentler soul. The change was not only noted by himself, but also by his family members.

Wouldn't it be fascinating to actually talk to a person who has had a near-death experience? I remember listening to a gentleman named Dannion Brinkley talk about his NDEs (near death experiences). He actually had more than one in his life due to an unfortunate propensity to attract lightning. I found his insights to be very interesting.

If you want to read more about NDEs, visit near-death.com Although it is hard to classify the information there as anything more than subjective, there is a large body of recorded experiences there. Perhaps it will provide you with more insight as to whether death should be feared or not.

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Keep Seniors Independent And Involved Practical Acts Of Kindness

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 473)
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Sometimes elderly people can be fierce about maintaining their

independence - some would say downright stubborn. But it is hard

to give up taking care of oneself and give the reins over to

someone else. It can diminish their spirits to depend on others to

do tasks they used to do so easily.

How can you help without taking away their independence?

Following are five ideas from the e-book, "101

Ways to Change the World". Use them to stir up your

own ideas. Let's keep our seniors involved in life - they are a

valuable commodity!

1.If you have an old computer that still works, take it to an

elderly person.

Teach how to operate it to send and receive email. Give them

a connection to the world.

What a great way to keep them connected to their family and

friends who are probably online too.

Their kids and grandkids will think they are so cool, and be so

impressed that they mastered the computer!

Become an E-mail Pen Pal with them yourself!

2.Help someone around the house who is elderly or sick. You

could:

Paint

Garden

Mow the lawn

Shovel snow

Take out trash

Just look around. You'll be able to discover what needs to be done.

If there is an extensive list of things to do, enlist the help of a

couple other people - take a lunch along and make it a party! The

senior will appreciate the help and the company.

3.Take daily walks with an elderly neighbor who doesn't feel

comfortable or safe going out on their own. Exercise will help keep

them mobile and keep their spirits up, too. And you may just

learn tidbits of history and wisdom from their perspective.

4.Birds are always a delight to watch for those who are

homebound.

Take over a bird feeder and keep it filled with birdseed.

Hummingbirds are fun to watch. Keep their feeder filled with

fresh hummingbird nectar for hours of entertainment!

5.Help the elderly or homebound decorate for the holidays.

They often miss out on the fun of holidays because they aren't

able to handle the traditions and decorations. Yet they usually

have boxes of items that made their holidays special over the

years. Make sure you return to put them all away!

There you have it - five simple ways to make a difference in an

elderly person's life. All you have to do is make the decision to

help and then do it. It's just that simple!

For more suggestions, visit http://www.101WaysSeries.com and

download the e-book, "101 Ways to Change the World".

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Monuments And Memorials Selection

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 971)
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There are many memorial monument dealers selling headstones to the public. The most important thing in finding a good monument dealer is to know what each one has to offer. There are different kinds of professionals & amateurs of each.

Monument Memorial Headstone Companies

The great majority of monument headstone companies do only one thing; they build and sell headstone memorials to USA. Taking into consideration that this is probably the main business they do, they are often qualified, experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to a headstone. Most of these headstone and memorial monument companies have been around for years handing the company down from one generation to the next.

Professionals

- They have a good knowledge of their headstone monument products.

- A Headstone / Monument Company is the best place to go to if you want a custom headstone made.

- Availability of in stock granite headstone products ready for lettering and carving.

- Good knowledge of the local cemeteries and the rules governing a headstone.

- Usually independently owned and operated.

Amateurs

-Their headstone products can sometimes be priced on the medium to high end.

-Turn around time can vary depending on how busy they are.

-You can sometimes run into a pushy or aggressive sales person.

-May not be open on weekends or evenings when most people can shop.

Considered the new kids on the block, Internet monument dealers are usually not that new to the industry. They are mostly owned by headstone / monument dealers or cemeteries that are using the Internet as a new channel for sales and to broaden their market. Maintaining a presence on the web allows Internet monument dealers to sell at drastically reduced prices due to the low overhead associated with operating a web site. Many people consider the low headstone prices a good trade off to the cons. Internet monument dealers are actually accounting for more sales due to their unimposing format and accessibility.

-You cannot see and touch actual headstone samples of their products.

-Many people are uncomfortable shopping online for a headstone.

-Relatively new sales outlet.

Cemeteries

A cemetery's main field of operation is selling and maintaining grave spaces. Most cemeteries that sell headstone products have a sales staff of "Counselors" who sell headstones as well as burial plots and pre-need burial insurance. There is usually a high turnover rate with sales counselors and their knowledge of headstone products may be somewhat limited. Generally speaking you will pay the most for a headstone if purchased from a cemetery as opposed to any other source. Reason being is their high overhead.

Professionals

-Convenience of ordering a headstone from the same company that maintains your loved one's grave space(s).

-They have direct knowledge of what is acceptable as a headstone.

Amateurs

-Usually the highest prices you will pay for a headstone.

-Salespeople sometimes have inadequate knowledge of the headstone products.

-Have been known for high pressure sales tactics.

-May choose profits over customer service.

Funeral Homes

Funeral directors have the first opportunity to offer the sale of a headstone to a family. Again you are dealing with a source whose primary function is not the manufacturing or selling of headstone memorials. While some funeral directors do know the details of headstone sales, many do not. Their main job is funeral directing, but many include the sell of headstone memorials for extra income. Their knowledge may be somewhat limited. Since most see it as a supplemental income they may not take the time to fully understand all aspects of the headstone industry and therefore cannot provide this knowledge to their customers.

Professionals

-Convenience of ordering a headstone from the same company that also arranges the funeral of your loved one.

-Funeral directors are in many cases compassionate and this makes their families more at ease when making a headstone purchase.

-They usually do not resort to aggressive sales tactics.

Amateurs

-Many do not posses proper knowledge about the headstone industry and headstone products.

-Headstone pricing can be on the medium to high end.

-Accessibility can be low considering their first priority is planning funerals.

Pre-need Sales Counselors

Pre-need sales counselors are hired by cemeteries and funeral homes to sell pre-need burial and funeral insurance policies. In addition they also sell pre-need funeral and cemetery merchandise such as headstone and cremation products. Their primary focus is to make sales. Many of them have backgrounds as sales reps for a wide variety of businesses. Their knowledge about headstone products is usually on the low end. There is normally a high turnover rate with pre-need counselors as is the case with sales positions in general.

Professionals

-Convenience of being able to visit your home.

-Affiliated with local funeral homes and cemeteries.

Amateurs

-Limited knowledge of the headstone products they sell.

-Have been known for aggressive sales tactics.

-They will approach you first with a sales call or knock on your door.

-Primary focus is in closing the sale.

As you can see there are a variety of monument dealers each one with pros and cons. The information provided here is to help you in making a decision on whom to purchase a headstone from.

You may also want to ask your friends and family members if they know of a reputable monument dealer. In many cases one will have been referred to a source by a friend or family member who was very satisfied with the monument dealer. This is a very valuable tip especially since the person looking for the dealer may not have a clue where to start.

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Understanding Home Care Agency Options

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 637)
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As people age, the desire to remain in their homes, close to family, friends and familiar surroundings, deepens. However, the ability to remain totally independent within one's own environment often diminishes.

Millions of Americans spend part or all of their day assisting and caring for family members or friends who need help to stay in their homes. Often, however, paid outside help is needed to supplement this care because of the caregiver's responsibilities for children or work outside the home. Americans presently spend over $40 billion annually on home care, allowing loved ones to remain at home and "age in place."

If you or someone you know is looking into home care for a relative, or may soon be in that position, here is some information that may help make the process more manageable:

(*) Determining the individual's care requirements. Will there be a need for hands-on care such as bathing, dressing and toileting? Are there cognitive issues that will require a different type of care? Are there financial restrictions? Is the individual willing to receive help? Write down the answers to these questions, along with the estimated amount of time and number of days that a caregiver will be needed. When you call a home care agency, you will want to have this information at hand. If you require help making these assessments, check with a nearby senior center. They often have social workers who can perform assessments or direct you to someone who can, such as a geriatric care manager. This is a professional who specializes in assisting older people and their families in making long-term care arrangements. They can do in-home assessments, develop care plans and monitor services.

(*) Identifying the type of care that is required. Custodial or supportive care is usually provided by paraprofessionals-home health aides, home care aides and nursing assistants who provide hands-on care to people in their homes, nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Custodial care includes assistance with bathing, dressing and mobility, as well as transportation, light housekeeping and similar tasks.

Skilled care is usually provided by health care professionals, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses or therapists, under the direction of a physician. Most often, skilled care is needed after a person has been hospitalized due to a fall or other medical condition. Discharge planners and social workers assist in the coordination and arrangement of these services, which may include some care from certified nursing assistants if they are included as part of a skilled plan of care.

(*) Contacting an agency. Every state has the authority to license and regulate its home care agency system. As a result, there are often variations in licensure requirements and regulations from state to state. The exception is Medicare-certified agencies, which must also comply with federal regulations. If care is to be covered under Medicare, it must come from a Medicare-certified agency.

(*) Paying for care. While many older adults count on Medicare to cover their home care needs, the reality is that Medicare will only cover home care costs if an individual has a skilled need and meets specific Medicare criteria. It will not cover ongoing long-term care services. It is important to know that custodial care is not typically covered by Medicare or most private health insurance. Funding for custodial care must often come from personal resources. The local Area Agency on Aging is a good place to check for programs or services for which an individual might qualify.

One good source of information is a free booklet from the MetLife Mature Market Institute called "Understanding Home Care Agency Options." It's part of the "Since You Care" series of guides, created in cooperation with the National Alliance for Caregiving. It includes advice, resources and checklists.

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Why Swimming Is The Perfect Exercise For Seniors

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 340)
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There are a many reasons why swimming and water-based exercise may be the best choice for seniors. Water based exercises are second only to walking in lowest rates for injuries. They are commonly used for physical therapy modes for those recovering from major surgery.

Water also provides more options for those who are lacking in general fitness or have a prior injury that makes land based activity difficult. Finally, water based activities work the entire body, serving as a form of both strength training even as aerobic training takes place.

Swimming utilizes nearly all major muscle groups simultaneously, imparting a total body work out. Because of the inherent resistance of the water, swimming develops both muscle strength and endurance, as well as helps flexibility.

Because of its horde of effects, swimming provides almost all of the aerobic benefits of running even as it yields many of the benefits of resistance training thrown in. Because swimming does not put the strain on connective tissues that running, aerobics and some weight-training regimens do, swimming is the kind of low-impact work out that is perfect for seniors seeking to regain or maintain their fitness.

This is a sport especially gentle to those who are physically challenged. The buoyancy factor of water makes swimming the most injury-free exercise available. So it is specifically interesting to seniors, especially those with any type of joint issues. In water, a person's body weight is reduced by 90% as compared to its weight on land. For example, a 220 pound man will weigh about 22 pounds if he is standing in chin deep water.

Exercises in water can also be done more often because of the low incidence of injuries and it is more effective for exercising the entire body as any movement in water 12 times greater resistance than movement in air.

For the elderly, water fitness is safe, fills the need for exercise, increases a body's range of motion and is a low-impact exercise.

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Hearing Impaired Hearing Aids Advice For Deafies And Those Who Put Up With Us

(category: Elderly-Care, Word count: 825)
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I have always had a hearing impairment. I was born with a 70% hearing loss in both ears. While I had a mother who was sensitive to my disability, I never believed there was anything wrong wth me. As a child, I refused to wear hearing aids.

When, at 19 years-of-age, I bought one hearing aid, it was as if someone turned the sound up. I felt even more invincible. By the time I was 30, I knew I needed aids in both ears. It was not for 25 more years that I would learn that hearing aids alone were not enough.

Granted, most persons who don't hear very well do need hearing aids. If they think they will look stupid wearing aids, these people have no idea how stupid they appear to others without them. When one gives crazy answers to sane questions ~ and misunderstands what others say ~ they don't appear to be very bright. Amplification normally helps a great deal, even if perfect hearing is not attainable for many of us.

Consider this: Use of hearing aids might prevent you from being diagnosed as senile when you get older or loose the understanding companion who has always made allowances for you.

Yet, even with good hearing aids, I have only now come come to understand that it is my responsibility to not do those things which irritate normal hearing people ~ when I can control those very things.

If I am in another room, I have no business asking questions ~ or initiating conversations ~ which I will likely not hear right. To do so can only cause a person with normal hearing to take on unearned aggravation.

If I wish to engage in a conversation, I should make certain that the other person is close enough for me to have the best chance of hearing. And when others speak to me, ask that they do so in a hearing environment where I will understand ~ "Because I don't want to ask you repeat yourself." I expect the same courtesy of others that they should reasonably expect of me.

When I enter a room and see some people cocking their heads, looking at the ceiling confused, I should be sensitive enough to realize that my hearing aids are probably on too loud without someone asking, "What's that noise?" Yes, often in an effort to hear better, I have cranked my hearing aids up to a point of "Feedback" which ~ although I can not hear it ~ many people do. Frustrated, associates have screamed, "You're beeping!" Perhaps, my right to hear should be restricted to the point where other people's sanity endures?

I have great difficulty communicating on the telephone. It was not uncommon for me to already be on the phone and to request assistance of the closest person to me to be my ears ~ for just a moment. I expected that person to drop everything and help me. How unfair? I have sense learned to say, "In a few minutes, I need to make a call. When you are free, would you mind being my ears if I need some?" I no longer expect everyone to allow me to interrupt them just because ~ through my lack of planning ~ I need help "Now!"

While I am on the subject, we who require special effort on other's part to engage in conversation with us, need to learn not to begin talking to them if they are engaged in an activity which will necessitate their relocation to accommodate us, allow us to see their lips, etc.

Hopefully, I've learned I don't have to talk all of the time. All of my life, I had attempted to masquerade as a normal person. The fact is, if you can't hear ~ you are not normal! While really not wanting my captive audience to talk ~ because I knew that I would not be able to hear what they said ~ it was much easier to talk than to listen.

Now, I tell the truth. "I can't hear what you are saying. It is not your fault, but my poor hearing. Please speak more loudly to me. And if I give you an inappropriate response, I will not be offended if you tell me that you don't think that I understood what you said. In fact, I'd really appreciate it."

My best advice to persons who can't hear: Don't try to "Fake it." Maybe, you will get away with making like you understand the conversations? Yet, more than likely ~ and more often than you will ever know ~ others will think that you really didn't care what they had to say.

Being hearing impaired is hard ~ not just on we "Deafies" ~ but those who put up with us too.

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