Justice Department Launches Elder Justice Website

Elder abuse can take many forms. Caregiverlist’s own basic caregiver training helps caregivers recognize abuse and neglect, and learn the legal requirements for reporting physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.

Financial abuse of the elderly is a racket that takes in nearly $3 billion dollars every year and that figure rises annually. Because seniors are especially susceptible to scams and frauds, the the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently launched the Elder Justice website.

At an outreach event earlier this week, Associate Attorney General Tony West stated, “The launch of the Elder Justice website today marks another milestone in reaching our shared goal of keeping older Americans safe from abuse and neglect.” He added, “The more we embrace our elders with respect and care, the stronger our society will be. This tool helps move us closer to that goal.”

The Elder Justice website will serve as a resource victims of elder abuse and their families, who often feel alone, embarrassed, and unsure of where to turn for help. Prosecutors, researchers, and professional practitioners who work with elder abuse will find a forum to share information and resources to fight elder abuse, scams, and financial exploitation in an effort to support older adults.

Nearly one in every 10 Americans over age 60 experience abuse and neglect, and those with dementia are at higher risk for abuse. Most (51%) of elderly fraud is perpetrated by strangers, although abuse by family, friends, and neighbors comes in second at 34%. Elder mistreatment by a known individual is especially prevalent because seniors are vulnerable and trusting in relationships with their families and caregivers.

There are two steps the DOJ along with the Department of Health and Human Services suggest communities, families, and individuals take in combating the epidemic of senior abuse:

  • Learn the signs of elder abuse. Take a look at the Red Flags of Abuse Factsheet, provided by the National Center on Elder Abuse, that lists the signs of and risk factors for abuse and neglect.
  • Report suspected abuse when you see it. Contact your local adult protective services agency. And, of course, make use of the new Elder Justice website.

Do you have an issue you'd like to see tackled on this blog? Connect with Renata on Google+

Summer Evening on Lake Geneva: Caregiver Stress Relief Photo

Just being near the water on a beautiful evening can be relaxing. This week's stress relief photo was taken in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on a summer evening. Caregiverlisinvites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors. Remember to take a moment for yourselves. Please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. Have a great week. 

"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it." -Maya Angelou

 

Alive Inside: Music Triggers Memories

Every year, I look forward to fall movie season—comedies, crazy horror movies (looking at you, Tusk,) big blockbusters, and sweet, small romantic dramas—I don’t have a favorite genre. As long as its well written and well acted, I’m in.

I’m also a nut for music, and the two are combined with great effect in the documentary, Alive Inside. Great documentaries not only entertain, but by their very nature, teach us something we didn’t know before or gives us a deeper understanding of a subject. Documentary filmmakers are rarely in it for the money, so you know that telling their story is a labor of love.

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the organization Music & Memory, a nonprofit that uses music to trigger memory and emotion to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Winner of the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the film showed music’s capability of reawakening the mind and soul of the listener, restoring an individual’s sense of self, especially when that person is battling memory loss.

It’s been chronicled that those with Alzheimer’s and dementia feel emotion long after memory has faded. Alive Inside shows nursing home patients respond to the music they enjoyed in their youth.

Just as “Radar Love” takes me back to cruising the streets of Chicago in my first car (a 1970 Nova), Henry reacts to the big band music played through an iPod and headphones. The 94-year-old man suffers from dementia and initially seems cut off from the outside world. We watch as he listens. The transformation is immediate and profound. Henry sits up, sways to the music, and starts raving about how much he loves Cab Calloway. He responds to questions and suddenly he is full of energy and life.

The movie is full of those kind of examples. Mr. Rossato-Bennett spent three years watching and recording the effects of music therapy. At its best, the movie let’s us see the transformation of memory loss patients from isolated to reconnected—all through the power of music.

The documentary also contains interviews with experts including renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, who discusses links between music and emotion and the strength of musical memories. Musician Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry, Be Happy) also weighs in on the power of music as a trigger of emotional memory.


Caregiverlist supports the family and professional caregiver and understands the challenges of caring for seniors with memory loss. We think music therapy is a great technique for connecting with those with Alzheimer's disease.

And if you are looking for a a little escapist fun in theaters this fall, Irma la Douce and Captain von Trapp (Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer) are living it up in Elsa & Fred, an American remake of a 2005 Spanish-Argentine film of the same name.

Do you have an issue you'd like to see tackled on this blog? Connect with Renata on Google+

Buy, Swap and Sell Clothes Using App's Online Marketplace

Shopping secondhand clothes can bring about some great deals, but it also takes time to sort through the items at each individual store. For senior caregivers on a budget, shopping at the big name retailers might be too pricey. The Vinted App brings the thrift store resale environment alive in an online community, with more sources than a physical store.

Caregivers also may be caring for seniors who need to clean out their closets and reselling clothing can be a fun way to involve the senior in an activity to use their creativity and exercise their mind.  We know seniors may not have a shirt from Free People to resell, but caregivers of all ages will appreciate this cost-effective way to buy stylish clothes that perhaps have even never been worn.

Users can list any clothes and accessories they no longer want for sale and others can browse through the listings. Upon creating an account in the app, caregivers will be asked to select the retailers they are interested in seeing clothes from. With options such as Nike, Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Free People, there's a wide variety of options to fit individual style and taste.

A quick browse through the app shows that many of the items up for sale have rarely or never been worn. The browse feature on the main homepage doesn't have an easily visible size filter, which makes scrolling through the listings to find your specific size a little annoying. However, the Shop tab features a options to drill down to size and brand, which narrows down nicely. The listings on every page also show the actual retail price and the price within the app, so caregivers can see how much money they're saving. 

Some categories to browse include Tops & T-shirts, Accessories, Footwear, etc. Caregivers who use this app also don't have to go to several stores to shop, which can even be time consuming and crowded no matter if you shop at a thrift store or directly at a retailer's location. 

The Vinted app is available for download for Apple and Android products. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Cocktails and Movie for Los Angeles Area Caregivers October 1st

Caregivers in the Los Angeles, California, area are invited to a special evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, along with a movie viewing and fellowship with other caregivers on October 1st.  This event, honoring family and professional caregivers, is a special event sponsored by Clorox® as part of the debut of their new care kits.  This means you will also receive a FREE GOODY BAG - - - we always love goody bags and can tell you this one is a really good one!  Complimentary parking is included and a $5 donation will be made to the Beauty Bus, in the caregiver's honor, when a photo of the one they care for is shared at the event.
 
Caregiverlist's team attended the Chicago event and really enjoyed the documentary movie created by Ernesto Quintero, profiling his brother's journey with M.S.  Ernesto's mother and siblings provide care for his brother who now cannot walk, eat or breathe on his own.  Ernesto's Mom even went back to school for nurse's aide training and become a C.N.A. in order to properly care for both her husband and son.  Clorox has debuted a home care clean-up kit that contains products without bleach and also includes gloves and just the right items for caregivers:  hand sanitizer, stain remover, germicidal non-bleach spray and disinfecting and deodorizing spray.  Maintaining a sanitary environment for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are very important in caregiving and are part of the caregiver basic training required in many states.
 
Spread the word to other caregivers about this event as you will also enjoy a roundtable discussion with the film maker and others in the caregiving industry after the event.  Below you will find the invitation for this night where caregivers will be "caring for the caregiver".
 
Let Clorox CareConcepts take care of, celebrate and honor you for caregiving.  Join us for a “night off” to enjoy hors d'oeuvres, drinks and camaraderie with other caregivers. Enjoy pampering activities and a private screening of the documentary “A Sacred Journey” by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ernesto Quintero that touches all of those who care for a loved one. A panel discussion (6:30 p.m. screening only) with experts and caregivers on "When Care Comes Home” will follow the screening, exploring the challenges and inspirational moments of caregiving.

Date: Wednesday, October 1
Time: 6:30 p.m. with panel discussion, 8:00 p.m. film only
Location: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Transportation: Complimentary valet parking

RSVP: TRSVP@pdcpr.net or 708.305.5075 noting 6:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. showtime

Donation in Your Honor: Submit a photo or keepsake representing the one you care for and Clorox® CareConceptsTM will donate $5 to the Beauty Bus Foundation

For More Information: Visit WhenCareComesHome.comDisplaying L.A. Caregiver Special Event 300P.jpg
 
 
 

Caregivers Need Care Too: World Alzheimer's Day

World Alzheimer’s Day was observed on September 21, 2014. Because of the nature of the disease, caregiving for a person with such a degenerative memory condition can be especially taxing.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias – care valued at $220.2 billion. Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own, due to the physical and emotional burden of caregiving. This doesn’t even take into account lost employment income and the out-of-pocket costs associated with in-home care. A recent study showed that 54% of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias had to go
in late, leave early, or take time off and 7% had to turn down a promotion due to the demands of caregiving.

Family caregivers are often reluctant to reach out for help. Middle-stage caregiving lasts longest and this is where most family caregiving occurs. The person living with Alzheimer’s doesn’t yet need the extensive (and expensive) care that late-stage Alzheimer’s demands, so often a spouse, child, or other family member provides the needed care. At this stage, the person with Alzheimer’s may have a more difficult time expressing their thoughts and may anger easily. They have an increased need for help as their independence decreases. Caregivers need patience and flexibility, but it’s important to realize that providing this level of care bring with it a higher level of caregiver stress and burnout.

You know how, on an airplane, the flight attendant will instruct passengers to, in case of emergency, place an oxygen mask on themselves before helping others? Same thing goes for family caregiving, especially when caring for those with AD or dementia. What starts out as a labor of love often turns into feelings of resentment, isolation, depression, and the physical problems (such as hypertension and coronary heart disease) associated with chronic stress.

Caregiver stress and caregiver burnout are prevalent and may counterac the caregiver’s original intent to keep the care recipient at home. For example, when caregivers report being stressed because of the impaired person’s behaviors, it increases the chance that they will place that person in a nursing home.

There are, however, several interventions that are proven to help the family caregiver.

Work with a Professional
A Geriatric Care Manager can help assess the needs of someone afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia and provide information, referral, and help with care coordination. They can be a strong advocate for the family caregiver.

Get Counseling
Professionals can help resolve conflicts between caregiver and care recipient and help the caregiver work through emotional overload.

Find Support Groups
Online and offline, it is important to know you are not alone in your caregiving, and that the emotions you are feeling—as well as the physical challenges you experience are experienced by others as well.

Get Respite Help
Ask for help, hire help, demand help. Reach out before you burn out. Just because you don’t do it alone doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Much-needed breaks will make you a better caregiver.

Make Nutrition and Exercise a Priority
Many caregivers say they simply don’t have the time to care for themselves. If you aren’t healthy and strong, you can’t take care of anyone else. Lead your care recipient by example. Eat well and schedule exercise breaks.

September and October see Walk(s) to End Alzheimer’s all over the country. There may still be available dates in your area. See if you can start or join a team and see just how strong the caring community is.

And check back with this blog in November, which is not only National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, but also National Caregiver Month.

Seaside Walk in Wales for a Moment of Stress Relief

As summer slips away it is time to savor the late afternoon sun and the golden hue it casts over the world. This week's photo was taken along the southern coast of Wales in Tenby, Pembrokeshire. Caregiverlisinvites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors. Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. Have a great week. 

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up.

Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."  -Michael Jordan

Daughters More Likely to Care for Aging Parents

“When am I coming to live with you?” she asks almost every time I see her. My elderly mother lives alone and as days pass, it’s becoming apparent that she will soon need more help with her activities of daily living. She refuses to think of moving to assisted living and doesn’t want a “stranger” or a professional caregiver in her home. But a high second floor, and its myriad of stairs, is not elder-friendly. When I ask if she’d entertain the thought of living with my brother, in his one-story house, she looks at me as if I’d grown horns. No, she tells me, I’m the only one she would live with because, after all, I’m her daughter.

A recent study presented at the American Sociological Association's 109th Annual Meeting shows that female siblings are more likely to provide the lion’s share of elder caregiving in the family.

Study author Angelina Grigoryeva, doctoral candidate at Princeton University's Office of Population Research, analyzed data from the 2004 Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) survey of more than 26,000 Americans over the age of 50. The detailed questionnaire asked older Americans which tasks they need help completing, who helps them, and the length of time each person administered help.

The study showed that daughters average 12.3 hours of senior care each month, while sons provide only 5.3 hours.

"In other words," says Ms. Grigoryeva, "daughters spend twice as much time, or almost 7 more hours each month, providing care to elderly parents than sons." And it doesn’t matter if the daughters have their own children to care for, or have employment outside the home. According to Ms. Grigoryeva, daughters provide as much (care) as they can with given constraints, but sons provide less (care) regardless of constraints.

This finding is significant in many ways. First, it shows that while gender equality may be making strides in the workforce and with childcare, inequality is alive and well when it comes to eldercare. And because of the time demands of senior care, woman can suffer in their career opportunities and earnings. Caregivers endure financial burdens, as many caregiving costs are paid for out-of-pocket.

Caregiver health can suffer as well, due to caregiver stress. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers struggle finding time for themselves, managing physical and emotional stress, and balancing family and work obligations. The stress has also been shown to result in a higher mortality rate.

So what’s the answer? How do we begin to change the societal view of women as primary caregivers? While sons tend to provide care in the way of physical activities, such as home maintenance, daughters are relied upon to provide emotional and more personal care. What can we do to make the level of care provided more equitable between siblings?

Caregiver Stress Relief With 7-Minute Workout App

Finding the time to exercise on a regular basis can be difficult in the busy schedule of a senior caregiver, but maintaining your health doesn't necessarily mean you need to always find an hour to spend at the gym three times a week. The 7 Minute Workout App coaches users through a series of exercises for less than a minute each that add up to a whole body workout that can be done in your living room. 

Exercise can help caregivers burn off some of their extra stress from the day and these workout are simple enough that they can be done before or after a long day on the job. The app features one basic whole-body workout routine for free, and then users can pay for access to additional workouts if they like the first one. The whole-body workout includes crunches, jumping jacks, wallsits, squats, lunges and side planks for less than a minute each with quick rest periods between each. 

A narrator talks users through each activity so that they don't have to stare at their phone screen for the duration of the activity. If a user is unfamiliar with a specific exercise, such as triceps dips, then a multipart image on the screen shows the activity. For triceps dips, it shows a person balancing on a diagonal with their arms on a chair, back to the floor, and then a second image shows them lowering their arms so their elbows are bent. Caregivers can do these quick exercise routines at home, on a break while on the caregiving job or anywhere else that they have ten minutes free and access to a wall and a chair to use. 

As an added bonus, upon successfully completing the exercise the app shares a celebratory coupon with users at some levels. After the first workout, it shared a coupon for nutritional granola bars. 

The Seven Minute Workout app is available for Apple and Android products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Where is Masterchef for Seniors?

I love MasterChef. And Iron Chef. And just about any show that features competitive cooking.

If you didn’t see Monday’s MasterChef finale, I’ll stay clear of spoilers, but one of the final contestants, Leslie Gilliams, was complimented by Gordon Ramsay for disproving the adage “cooking is a young man’s game.” Mr. Gilliams is 56.

Seniors are an anomaly on MasterChef. The oldest contestant, Sue Drummond, was 61 when she competed on MasterChef New Zealand. Kumar Pereira was MasterChef Australia’s oldest ever Top 24 contestant at 62.

While a small number of contestants were a bit older, the food they presented was not necessarily food that should be served to older adults.

As we age, it’s harder for our bodies to fight off the germs and bacteria found in raw or undercooked food. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can grow to high levels in some of the “healthiest” and tastiest dishes. Some of the MasterChef dishes that are not necessarily elderly-approved included:

  • Ceviche: a seafood dish especially popular in South and Central America. The raw fish is “cooked” by curing it in citrus juices such as lemon or lime.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs: these are found in Hollandaise sauce, homemade Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu.
  • Raw meat: like carpaccio (thin shavings of raw beef fillet) and steak tartare.
  • Raw fish: shellfish, such as oysters, mussels and clams, and raw fin fish, like sushi and sashimi.
  • Soft cheeses: cheeses like feta, Brie, or Camembert (my favorite!) can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Senior caregivers need to be especially careful when preparing meals for the elderly. Yes, the food needs to be palatable, look appealing, and be nutritious, but meals should be safe, first and foremost.

If you are a caregiver who subscribes to Caregiverlist’s newsletter, The Caregiver’s Gist,  you know we provide a delicious, nutritious recipe—safe for seniors.

We’d also love to hear from you caregivers. Do you have a special recipe that your senior client or loved one especially enjoys? Send it to me at renata@caregiverlist.com. I promise to try them all and report back on my favorites. Who knows? Maybe your recipe will make it into an online Caregiverlist safe-for-seniors cookbook.

And I’d like to challenge the MasterChef franchise. Your MasterChef Junior, the kids version of MasterChef, was incredibly popular. So popular in fact, that MasterChef Junior returns for Season 2 on Friday, Nov. 7.  Come on, Chef Ramsay, how about a MasterChef Senior?

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