Halloween Ghost Crafts

Halloween is here and we have a fun, simple activity you can do with your senior clients or family members. You can get creative on what materials to use from around your house, below we have some ideas for you.

Materials:

  1. Black Markers or Pens
  2. White cloth or tissue paper
  3. Any type of string, yarn o ribbon
  4. Dry macaroni or any type of pasta

Instructions:
  1. Cut out a round piece of cloth, or use double tissue paper and place dry pasta in the middle.
  2. Twist it and tie any type of string around it.
  3. Draw a face.
  4. Get creative! Add in arms, ornaments or anything you'd like!

Grilling App Helps Caregivers Prep for Holiday Weekend

With the Fourth of July holiday on Tuesday, many caregivers and their senior clients may be planning to celebrate by attending a party or grilling at home with loved ones. While old stand-bys work, the Weber Grill app offers a wide selection of recipes to try this year.

The recipes are the main star of the Weber Grill app. When caregivers first open it, they are greeted with a home screen full of photos of featured recipes, such as California Hamburgers with Guacamole Mayonnaise or Caribbean Swordfish with Mango Salsa. As caregivers scroll down, new recipes continue to populate the screen.

Caregivers can also scroll through categories of recipes by selecting the different icons at the top of the screen. Categories include new recipes, red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, veggies, dessert, etc.

When users see a recipe that they'd like to make, they can click on the photo to see all of the details. At the top, caregivers can see the number of servings it makes, the prep time and the grilling time. As they scroll down, they can also see the ingredients and the cooking instructions for the dish. 


If caregivers want to make a recipe, they can add it to their Grocery List within the app and it will prepopulate with all of the ingredients that they need. Then, when caregivers are at the grocery store, they can easily scroll through the list of ingredients and place a check mark next to the items as they place them in their grocery cart.

The app also includes a built-in timer, so when you place your food on the grill you can easily cook it for exactly the time specified in the recipe. And even more helpful is the Grill Guide area. Here caregivers can pick the type of meat they're cooking, it's approximate thickness and the desired cook, if it's something like beef. Once the info is entered, the app will tell you approximately how long to cook it for to get the desired cook.

The Weber Grill app is available for Apple platforms.

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

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day Using Celtic Knot Brain Game App

St. Patrick's Day is less than a week away, so along with pulling out a green shirt to avoid getting pinched, caregivers can also help their senior clients celebrate and prevent onset of dementia at the same time. Celtic knots emerged during the Roman Empire in artwork, became part of many Christian monuments and often accompany celebrations of Irish heritage. Caregivers can get in the spirit of the Irish holiday by using the free Celtic Knot game app to help their clients exercise their minds. 

The basic elements of a Celtic knot come from interlaced lines that form patterns. When users first begin using the app, they will be presented with a set of scrambled tiles that should make up a Celtic Knot pattern. Users then can drag and drop the tiles using their finger to rearrange them. The goal of the game is to rearrange the tiles to form the knot in the least amount of times and moves possible. The drag and drop feature makes it easy to play with a few taps of the finger.

 

The puzzles vary in difficulty and pattern type. Some of the patterns make one cohesive and connected figure, while others make a few different shapes on the same board. The level of difficulty ranges from fairly apparent designs to more intricate ones that require a lot of shuffling. The design above is made easier to assemble by the different colors shown on the two shapes. Some other levels have complicated designs with all of the lines in one color.

Exercising the brain on a regular basis remains one of the easiest ways to help prevent the onset of dementia for senior clients. Mixing up the games they play seasonally can help seniors mix it up and stop them from getting bored with doing the same activity repeatedly. The app also offers a difficulty level for the "Wee Folk," or children, so if your senior client has family members visiting then they can play together. 

The app also offers a Knot Shop, which takes users to an online store selling various items with Celtic Knot designs. T-shirts, mugs, bags, phone cases etc. feature different designs for caregivers who might be interested. The free version of the app offers a limited number of games with ads present, but if caregivers find their clients enjoy the game enough then they can purchase the paid version with additional levels. 

The Celtic Knot app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers 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

Create Cards in App to Spread Holiday Cheer

Hanukkah ended earlier this week and Christmas is only a week away. Plus Kwanza and the New Year are within sight. Instead of stressing about writing, addressing and mailing physical holiday cards, caregivers can create cards right in the PaperlessPost app to send to senior clients, family and friends. 

Once users open the app, they will find the home page presents different categories with types of cards available for customization. The app provides templates for cards and invitations for many occasions, including weddings, birthdays and thank you notes. The three main holiday categories are holiday invitations, holiday cards and holiday photo cards. 

Once a user selects a main category, they can scroll through all of the card options available. New users in the app can create a free account and receive 40 "coins" to start with to purchase cards to send in the app. All of the cards are sent over e-mail and cost various coin amounts.On the main screen with all of the options, users can see the number of coins each card costs so comparison is easy. Some of the cards are free to send, but users can also purchase additional coins if needed. 

If users would prefer to design a card online to physically send via mail to their loved ones, they can also see the price per card in the app. Users can import photos into the holiday photo card templates directly from the camera roll of photos stored on their phone. If a senior client would like to send out cards to their relatives, designate an afternoon to take on the project. Get dressed up and do a little photo shoot in the house, then let them pick out a design. 


Other customizable areas of each card include colors, font and the exact phrasing of the text. While the card comes with a pre-populated seasonal greeting, users can change that to make it more personal or applicable to the exact holiday they're celebrating. Likewise, users can send out one group of cards addressed one way and then change the text and send out another group with a different greeting depending on the recipients. 

Once the card is entirely customized, users can click send and their recipients will receive an e-mail letting them know they have an e-card to view. Click the link in the e-mail takes the users to their web browser to view an animation of the card being opened and pulled up and out of the envelope. They can click a swivel button to move between the front and back of the card to read your message as they wish. Alternatively, the physical cards will be mailed to you to address and send to your loved one. 

The PaperlessPost app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers 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


New Year's Resolutions for Senior Caregivers

It’s about that time of the year. The time when we look at our lives and think “How can I make next year better than this one? Am I leading the life I want to lead?” Some people absolutely hate New Year’s resolutions. What better way to heap more stress on yourself than setting unrealistic goals?

What if we don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions? What if we refer to these ideas as hopeful plans to achieve goals that will help both caregiver and care recipient? Start them in January if you’d like, but they’ll be just as relevant in July. Bookmark or print this page and use it as a reminder that life is a balancing act and just as you give (care), you must also take.

Take Care of Yourself
This is the biggest challenge facing both family and senior caregivers. Senior care is exhausting at best, so there is little time to look after your own well being. Don’t make that mistake. You know how in an airplane emergency, you must place the oxygen mask over your own face before you can help those around you? It works the same way with your health. You are an athlete and senior care is your event. Make sure your body is in its best condition by exercising, eating right, and taking some quiet meditative time to regroup.

Take a Respite Break
You just can’t do it all yourself. Nor should you. If you are a family caregiver, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide a few hours (or days) break for you. If money is tight and you have a community of givers nearby, programs like Lotsa Helping Hands were created to provide friends, family, and colleagues a place to come together and coordinate needed support through a group calendar. Volunteers can provide a meal, furnish transportation, or plan a visit. But most of all, they can give you a break.

Take Some Training
Whether you are a family caregiver looking to learn how to maintain a clean, safe, and healthy environment specifically geared toward seniors, or a companion caregiver who wants to begin a path to professional senior care, formal training is a great place to start. Online training (like the kind Caregiverlist offers) allows you to learn at your own pace, on your own schedule. If you are a seasoned caregiving professional, maybe it’s time to take that next step and study to become a C.N.A. — and very much in demand.

Take Advantage of Technology   
There are a host of programs and applications that can help with self- or elder-care. From exercise and nutrition, to crafting, to ideas for caregiver stress relief, every Friday, Caregiverlist’s own Paige Krzysko reviews all things Tech to help with your senior caregiving. Be sure to give her a read.

Well, that’s my last post for the year 2014 — thanks for reading. From everyone at Caregiverlist, have a happy, healthy, safe New Year and I’ll be back with senior care news, advice, opinions (and sometimes just some general nonsense) in 2015.

Seniors Should Be Wary of Holiday Scams

We at Caregiverlist bring this up every year: the elderly and their loved ones need to be extra cautious of holiday scam artists. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that up to 80 percent of scam victims are over 65.

According to the National Council on Aging, here are some of the more common holiday scams targeted to seniors:

Medicare Fraud
According to the Better Business Bureau, Medicare scammers ask for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers and promise in return free products and services to be paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. In October of this year, CBS MoneyWatch reported that the FTC shut down a scam in which millions of dollars were allegedly stolen from older Americans by callers who claimed to be working on behalf of Medicare. Those who gave their information saw hundreds of dollars in bank account withdrawals.

Beware the Nigerian Prince
Most seniors don’t have extensive experience with the internet and email, making them perfect targets for online scams. Oftentimes, there is a promise of lottery winnings or release of funds if the winner just pays an upfront fees. Scam artists collect bank routing and account numbers and, of course, the senior never sees dime one.

Dearly Departed Debt
In an especially onious scam, victims are found through obituaries. Victims are recent widows or widowers who are contacted and told that their deceased spouse had left behind thousands of dollars in debt. Usually flush with recent insurance money, the victim will seek to resolve the debt rather than face “financial ruin, eviction, and public disgrace.”

The Old “Grandparent Scam”
The Grandparent Scam is nothing new but the over the holidays, when many college kids find themselves back home over winter break, grandparents can find themselves on the receiving end of a disquieting call. “Often, the scammer will pose as a grandchild in college and tell the grandparent that they are in legal trouble or even physical danger,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote in a letter to colleges and universities across the state. “They will ask the unsuspecting grandparent to wire money immediately and, as a means of avoiding detection, ask the victim not to tell other family members about the situation.”

Why are the Elderly More Vulnerable to Fraud?
It may be that the part of the brain that detects suspicious looks and behavior becomes less active as we age. A study done by professors at UCLA has found that the area of the brain called the anterior insula diminishes the older we get, and “untrustworthy” faces can’t be distinguished from the trustworthy. Also, social neuroscientist Shelley Taylor of the University of California, Los Angeles, asserts that “Older people are good at regulating their emotions, seeing things in a positive light, and not overreacting to everyday problems.” However, this trait may make them less wary and more susceptible to scams.

So have that talk with your senior loved one or client and make them aware that, especially at this time of year, they can easily fall victim to fraud. If you or a senior you know has been the victim of a scam or fraud, report it to your local police department and Department on Aging. You may help prevent others from becoming victims as well.

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