Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Senior Mom

The day my daughter was born — my firstborn — I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and fell deeply and unbelievable in love. Then I picked up the phone, called my mother, and apologized for every rotten thing I had ever done to her (especially during my teenage years.)

You certainly don’t need to be a mother to celebrate your mother. If you are lucky enough to have mom or a grandmother around to honor, we have a few suggestions that go beyond Chanel No. 5 (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Peace of Mind
If you mother lives alone (over 80% of American women outlive their male spouses), making sure she’s safe can be a great gift. Senior-proof the home to help prevent falls. Buy her a Medical Alert system. Technology is a beautiful thing and some systems come equipped with GPS tracking if your mother is a senior on the go.

Stay in Touch
The best cell phones for seniors have have large buttons that are easy to read and a high contrast LED screen. Look for amplified sound and, in some cases, urgent care monitoring, similar to the response she’d receive through an alert system. Two of the most popular cell phones especially made for seniors are Snapfon and Jitterbug with 5Star Urgent Response (which is running a Mother’s Day promotion for $20 off.)

I’ve recently set my mother up to Skype her family halfway around the world. At 83, she believes her flying days are over, but she is always delighted to speak with her brother in Poland face-to-face.

Preserve Memories
Remember when photos were printed on paper? Most seniors have boxes and albums full of memories, but they may be difficult to get to. Scan those photos and present them to her on a digital photo frame. She can watch her favorite memories play on a continuous loop.

A Little Help Here?
Many times we find our schedules so hectic, we forget that the elderly mom might need a little help with day-to-day activities. Perhaps she could use help with shopping, light housekeeping, or simple companionship. You can hire a fully vetted and bonded companion caregiver for just a few hour per week through a quality home care agency.

Time
Let’s face it — the best present you can give is your presence. Stuff is just stuff. If you can, spend a little time with your mother this holiday and show her what she means to you.

Cargiverlist® wishes all the mothers and grandmothers out there a happy Mothers Day. If you have some special gift suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Caregiver Support Translates to Saved $$

Caregiver stress can have debilitating consequences on senior caregivers. Reports show that family caregivers tend to experience anxiety, loss of sleep, and become ill more frequently than their non-caregiving counterparts. An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease in 2014. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease require increasing assistance with basic activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, dressing, and toileting. These individuals eventually need around-the-clock care. Because of that, their family caregivers find themselves especially overwhelmed. When caregivers feel they can no longer cope, patients are more likely to be placed in institutional settings such as nursing homes.

Costs of Nursing Home Placement
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2014 the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer's will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Alzheimer's will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today's dollars) in 2050.

Medicare covers short-term skilled care up to 100 days the first 20 days are covered at 100% and from day 21 to day 100 the patient (or their family) has a daily co-pay. Medicaid is a state/federal program that does pay the cost of nursing home care for eligible individuals, however the patient must meet income and resource requirements. 

Families’ and patients’ total out of pocket costs for nursing home care in 2014 is estimated at $36 billion.

Image Source: Alzheimer’s Association

If we can delay the nursing home placement of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, can substantial money be saved? If Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are aging in place longer, doesn’t that mean more stress (and its inherent problems) for family caregivers?

States are seeking to provide real and meaningful support for patients and their caregivers. Many states are looking to increase their funding for community-based programs to support individuals and families facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, and in doing so, significantly reduce their state’s Medicaid costs. Recently, Minnesota determined it could save almost $1 billion in Medicaid over the next decade if the state adopted a new dementia caregiver support model, according to a study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs. That support model was introduced by a program called New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI).

New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI) is a counseling and support intervention for spouse caregivers that is intended to improve the well-being of caregivers and delay the nursing home placement of patients with Alzheimer's disease. The program also aims to help spouse caregivers mobilize their social support network and help them better adapt to their caregiving role.

The program consists of four components:

  • Two individual counseling sessions of 1 to 3 hours tailored to each caregiver's specific situation,
  • Four family counseling sessions with the primary caregiver and family members selected by that caregiver,
  • Encouragement to participate in weekly, locally available support groups after participation in the intervention, and
  • Ad hoc counseling, counseling provided by telephone to caregivers and families whenever needed to help them deal with crises and the changing nature of their relative's symptoms.The program is delivered by counselors with advanced degrees in social work or allied professions.

In addition, many states are seeking increased funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP), which provides educational initiatives and caregiver respite programs. Paired with funded public awareness campaigns, the hope is that by addressing and getting in front of the challenges of the family caregiver, the length of time before placing a care recipient into a nursing home setting can be extended, saving everyone a lot of money.

What would help you, as a caregiver, reduce your stress and help care for a family member longer? If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with the task of senior caregiving, Caregiverlist® suggests you consider the possibility of hiring respite care from a quality senior home care agency.

Older Americans Month: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.

Professional caregivers know that the primary responsibility they have to their senior client is to keep them safe and healthy. This entails keeping them mentally and physically (within capabilities) active, well-nourished, but perhaps most importantly, injury-free.

May is Older Americans Month and this year’s theme, Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow, is focused on injury prevention. Older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury and even death than the rest of the population.

Senior fall prevention can be the first line of defense in preventing unintentional injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. In 2010, about 21,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living hope to raise awareness and help older Americans take control of their safety, thereby living longer and healthier lives.

Older Americans Month was established by President John F. Kennedy in May of 1963, after meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens. At that time, there were 17 million Americans aged 65 and above. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter changed the designation to “Older Americans Month.“ In 2012, the census bureau counted 43.1 million people who were 65 and older in the United States. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other activities, in order to recognize the contributions of older persons in the community.

Here are some events that are taking place around the country:

Seattle/King County, Washington
A series of short films will be presented in a new festival dedicated to broadening the ways we think about aging.The Healthy Aging Partnership Film Short Festival takes place on Tuesday, May 6, with a reception and screening.

Albany, New York
Senior Citizens' Day 2014 will be held on Tuesday, May 6 at the Hart Theater in the Egg at the Empire State Plaza. The ceremony will honor older citizens from around New York State, with a focus on those who have lent their expertise to their communities through volunteerism.

Evanston, Illinois
The 16th Annual Aging Well Conference is a free half-day conference on May 9 providing strategies for healthy aging for older adults, their families, caregivers and professionals. The conference includes a continental breakfast and a choice of two workshops.

Nationwide
National Senior Health & Fitness Day is held nationwide on the last Wednesday in May during Older Americans Month. Over 1,000 locations across the nation will hold health and fitness events. 2014 marks the 21st year of the program.

For information on events, workshops, and in your area, contact your local Area Agency on Aging or call 1(800) 677-1116 to find ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans. You can also keep up with the latest events and news by following #OAM2014 on Twitter.

A great way to keep seniors safe is to make sure their caregivers are qualified. Caregiverlist recommends working with a quality home care agency in order to assure that the caregiver has received qualified caregiver training such as the training and certification offered by Caregiverlist Training University’s Basic Caregiver Training. Home care agencies also routinely perform background checks and drug testing prior to employment.

New Chicken Soup Tackles Alzheimer's, Dementia Care

The numbers on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are staggering. More than 5 million American seniors are living with the Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. More than 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers are women. In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion. It’s no wonder that the publishers at Chicken Soup for the Soul saw the need to provide support and encouragement with their trademark inspirational stories, culled from those at the front line of caregiving.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping and Compassion by Amy Newmark is publisher and editor-in-chief of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Angela Timashenka Geiger is Chief Strategy Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. After sifting through thousands of admissions, they chose 101 of the best stories for their readers.

Chicago area resident Carrie Jackson became a caregiver to her father, Henry George Jackson Jr. while he was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. She submitted some of her stories for publication and her essay describing a nursing home visit was chosen for inclusion. Life Matters Media was given permission to share an excerpt. Because of this experience (her father passed away in 2012,) Ms. Jackson in now a certified dementia practitioner.

Chicken Soup for the Soul always asks for story and poem submissions for upcoming titles, as they did for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Family Caregiving by Joan Lunden and Amy Newmark. That collection offered support and encouragement for family caregivers of all ages, including the “sandwich” generation caring for a family member while raising their children. Stories are by and about those who are both giving and receiving care.

The Chicken Soup for the Soul, Changing Your World One Story at a Time series began in 1993 by founders and motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. They had a simple idea: that people could help each other by sharing stories about their lives. With over 250 titles and over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. and Canada, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series continues to publish first-person stories to “soothe and provide comfort, just like their grandmothers’ cooking.”

Anyone who may have gained experience as a caregiver while caring for a loved one with memory loss may consider becoming a professional senior caregiver by receiving caregiver training and certification. They can then submit a job application to be connected with hiring companies in their area.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias will be released April 22, 2014. You can pre-order here. All royalties from the sale of the book will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For the latest numbers regarding Alzheimer’s disease, watch the following video from the Alzheimer's Association: Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures 2014

 

Beat Caregiver Stress with Humor

If you are a senior caregiver, you already know what it means to make a difference in someone’s life in a meaningful way. And you are not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, due to the increasing number of aging Baby Boomers, the number of Home Health Aides and Personal Care Assistants is projected to grow by 49% over the next ten years — much faster than the average workforce. The need for trained and certified caregivers isn’t going anywhere.

Family caregivers, also known as informal caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population, providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged as of November 2012, according to The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

Where there are caregivers, you’ll find caregiver stress. Both professional and non-professional caregivers can find their own health at risk due to high levels of stress, anxiety and exhaustion due to the nature of caring for the elderly.

Humor is a valuable weapon against stress. April is National Humor Month. Originally founded in 1976 by author and humorist Larry Wilde, the original idea was to “heighten public awareness of the therapeutic and restorative values of joy and laughter.” Studies have shown that laughter does indeed affect people on a physiological level.

A good laugh can not only make you feel better, but laughing can have the following effects:

Blood Flow
Like mild exercise, a good laugh can stretch your muscles, boost your heart rate, and get more oxygen into your tissues.

Immune System
Laughing can boost your immune system by raising the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body.

Relaxation
Laughter can relieve physical tension and relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes.

According to Natural News, laughter can also help fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and help with chronic fatigue.

I thought it might be appropriate to post comedian Jeff Foxworthy and caregiver/author Peter Rosenberger’s AARP video to help you figure out if you might be a caregiver. Granted, they produced it for November’s National Family Caregivers Month, but I’m sure the laughs will be just as welcome now.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to find the humor in your everyday life. Laughter may be the best medicine, and as a caregiver, you deserve to treat yourself to the emotional and physical benefits that laughter and joy bring.

Rainbow in Wales Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo was taken at Caernarfon Castle in Wales.  Nature gives us magical moments that we sometimes just have to stop and savor, even on a rainy day. Feel free to share this photo with your loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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.

 

"Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow." ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You

San Antonio, Texas Caregiver Wins Refer-a-Friend Monthly Grand Prize for Referring Her Friends to Caregivelist Job Application

Congratulations to the February monthly winner of Caregiverlist Refer-a-Friend and Win program - caregiver Rebeca Torres from San Antonio, TX.

 

Rebeca referred her friends and family for caregiving jobs that are available on Caregiverlist.com, and she won a free stylish scrubs outfit and a pair of shoes, courtesy of Scrubs Magazine. February caregiver winner will receive a chic scrub to look fabulous this spring, as a thank you for taking care of her loved ones, and for making a difference in seniors' lives. Read Rebeca's caregiving story to find out what lead her to caregiving career, and then refer your friends, family and coworkers for professional Caregiving Jobs near you.

 

Senior care companies hire Professional Caregivers, C.N.A.’s, & C.H.H.A.’s weekly from Caregiverlist, the only Caregiver Career Center customized for the senior care industry. Build your professional caregiver resume, and apply for multiple caregiving positions near you online.

 

Refer-a-friend to Caregiverlistand get entered to win a free 8-hour online caregiver training program. A new winner is drawn weekly. One monthly GRAND PRIZE WINNER receives a Scrub of the Month (top, bottoms and pair of shoes), courtesy of Scrubs Magazine.

Refer-a-Friend for Caregiverlist Caregiver Jobs and Win

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features ancient mountain resting in Yosemite National Park, California. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Mountain

"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them."

John C. Maxwell

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo was taken in Hawaii, featuring friendly dolphins. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Dolphins

"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain."

Joseph Campbell

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers during the holidays to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo was taken in Hawaii, featuring cheerful waterfalls. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Waterfalls

"I am the only me there is, that's what makes me so special."

Unknown

 

Log in