Every fall, Medicare designates October 15 through December 7 as an open enrollment period. This is the time of year when Medicare recipients are encouraged to take a look at their health care coverage, evaluate how satisfied they are with their current health care and prescription plans, review other options, and make changes. For seniors and their caregivers, it can be an overwhelming process. It is especially difficult if you opt for a plan other than traditional Medicare.
Adult children may find themselves wondering if it is time for an older parent to have a little extra help. It might be a concern that arises about their safety after a fall or a worry about how well they are eating. For seniors who remain in their own home, the time will come when they need to accept some form of assistance. Recognizing the warning signs that can indicate they are struggling will help you know when it is time to talk with your parent.
Many families struggle to accept that a loved one is nearing the end of their life. Putting off necessary conversations is often just fear and denial. If your family has a senior who has declining health or a loved one who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, talking about their wishes is important. We understand that sometimes just getting the conversation going is the hardest part.
When an older adult suffers the loss of someone close to them, it can take more than an emotional toll. Research shows grief can also compromise their immune system and make the senior more susceptible to illness. For healthcare professionals who work with older adults, this news doesn’t really come as a surprise. Experienced hospice team members can likely cite case after case where a senior passes away soon after the death of a close family member. Now we know why.
The statistics surrounding older adults and fires are startling. The odds a senior will be injured or die in a fire are double that of the rest of the population. For those 85 years of age and older, the risk shoots up to four times greater than younger adults. If a senior you love lives alone, those numbers can be especially frightening.
Freezing temperatures, dark skies, snow and ice make exercise nearly impossible in the winter, yet physical activity is exactly what you need to stay sharp and healthy in the winter. Regular exercise helps you burn off calories, build muscle mass to help you walk on slippery ice, boost your immune system to ward off colds and flu and improve your heart and lung function.
Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins that keep you in a cheerful mood through the dreary, dark days of winter. Many seniors struggle with vitamin D deficiency and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)–also known as winter depression–because they cannot get outdoors during the winter.
Every year, one in three seniors will experience a fall. If you talk with emergency department physicians and first responders they will confirm just how dangerous falls can be for older adults. They are the number one source of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors.
If you are trying to find your way back into a regular exercise regimen after you’ve been away from it for a while, knowing how to stay safe and motivated are two of the challenges you will no doubt face. Once an exercise routine has been broken, getting started again can be difficult. It is all too easy to set your goal to begin again “tomorrow.”
Every fall we receive questions about the flu shot from the older adults and their adult children we work with in Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland.Some seniors are convinced receiving the influenza vaccine will cause them to get the flu, while others don’t think they need the shot every year. To help separate fact from fiction, we have pulled together the most common myths associated with the vaccine.
Over the past few summers, natural disasters have been a mainstay of the evening news. Tornadoes and floods can displace Pennsylvanians from their homes for many weeks. Because older adults often have health conditions, it is important that adult children and loved ones help them prepare ahead of time in case a crisis hits close to home. We thought it would help if we shared a few ideas on how to get started.