How to Help Aging Parents with Their Pets

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Pets make excellent companions for older adults who live alone, but keeping a pet healthy requires feeding it, walking it and treating it humanely.

Pets may suffer from neglect because their owners are unable to care for them properly. When a pet owner is sick or not physically able to care for a pet, the animal may suffer. An adult who receives at home care could ask the caregiver to assist with care for a pet. However, this arrangement must be agreed upon by the caregiver and the employing agency. This is why it’s important to assess whether an aging parent who lives alone is able to care for a pet.

If you are the child of an aging parent who has a pet, you should assess whether the pet can be cared for easily. If your parent has a large dog that requires a lot of food and needs to be walked several times a day, maybe it is time to get smaller pet such as a cat or bird. These pets eat smaller amounts of food and do not require walking. However, cats require litter boxes and bird cages need to be cleaned regularly, so even small pets can be a burden on a person who is unable to attend to these tasks.

Feeding pets regularly can be an issue for an older adult due to the cost of pet food. An older adult on a fixed income may not be able to afford the quality or amount of pet food needed to keep a pet healthy. Helping an older parent purchase pet food will ensure that a pet is well fed.

Dogs need to be walked regularly. As the child of an aging parent, consider hiring a dog walker. Check references to hire the most trustworthy individual who will treat your parent and his or her pet with respect.

Modern Concepts in Caregiving

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The need for at home care services has grown exponentially due to the increase in the older adult population. Children of adults who require caregiving are busy. They are working full-time, raising children and attending to other responsibilities that leave little time to properly care for loved ones. Fortunately for those unable to take on the task of family caregiving, there are some concepts in caregiving that make it easier for families facing the issue of helping a loved one who is no longer able to provide self-care.

Non-Profit Senior Services Agencies

Non-profit senior services agencies may operate through county government or as stand-alone agencies funded by donors. These agencies provide day-time activities for seniors and programs that help seniors live active and vital lives. Such organizations usually have case workers on staff who can offer information and tips to seniors and families on how to hire caregivers.

Senior services agencies often serve as “one-stop-shops” for seniors and their families. They may provide limited legal assistance, help with navigating insurance enrollment and offer limited in home services to families who meet eligibility requirements.

Non-medical In-home Care

Non-medical in-home care is another concept that has gained a lot of traction over the last several years. Agencies provide non-medical at home care for a fee. The fee may be covered by insurance, or families may pay for services out of pocket. The good news is that in some areas, the fee to hire a caregiver may be as little as $15.00 per hour, but those who use the service may be required to commit to a minimum number of hours per week or month. Families who need someone to provide assistance such as light housekeeping or transportation of a loved one may find this service invaluable.

5 Ways to Help a Caregiver

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Sometimes caregivers and their clients become good friends and engage in social activities such as eating out or watching television together. If you have been fortunate enough to find the perfect caregiver, take some positive steps to avoid losing him or her. Consider the following tips for helping a caregiver.

Express appreciation. Most at home care providers are not making loads of money. Your caregiver may be paid a little more than minimum wage. You can express appreciation for a caregiver’s hard work by writing a “thank you” letter to the caregiver and sending a copy to his or her supervisor. This gesture can go a long way in creating a positive relationship between you and the caregiver and could help him or her receive a raise or other reward from the employer.

Be generous when you can. If you are paying for a caregiver, you are certainly not required to shower him or her with gifts. The hiring agency may not allow a caregiver to accept gifts. However, if there are not rules against such, providing a small token of appreciation on a birthday or during the holidays is appropriate. A restaurant gift card in a reasonable amount is a nice gesture for an individual who works for modest pay.

Help yourself when you can. Your caregiver does not need to do everything for you. If you are still able to get around, moving about can help you maintain your strength. If you can get up and get the TV remote without falling or other risks of injury, you don’t need to call your caregiver to do that for you.

Make sure your caregiver knows your preferences. It is fine to share your likes and dislikes with your caregiver. If you prefer taking your shower after breakfast, let your caregiver know. It will make his or her job easier if you are content.

Keep the lines of communication open. When you and your caregiver can be honest with each other, both of you will get along better and you can avoid misunderstandings.

5 Warning Signs Your Family Member Needs Help at Home

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Many of us don’t want to admit it when we need help, especially if we have been accustomed to being independent, which is why many people may not tell their families that they could use help at home. If you have a family member whom you feel may need help at home, how do you determine whether it’s time to hire an in-home caregiver? Consider these tips that outline some signs that a family member needs at home care.

Your Family Member’s Personal Care Begins to Suffer

If you visit your family member and notice that he or she has lost interest in personal hygiene, that may be a sign that help is needed. For example, forgetting to take a bath could be the result of memory impairment. Or, they may be afraid of falling and being injured when attempting to take a bath or shower.

Your Family Member Doesn’t Take Medication as Prescribed

Failing to take medication as prescribed may occur for several reasons. Older adults may forget to take their medications, or they might take too much medication. Either way, failing to take medication as prescribed can lead to illness, accidents and in some cases death.

Your Family Member Doesn’t Pay Bills on Time

Failing to pay bills can lead to utilities being disconnected, poor credit and other financial problems. When a parent is ill or dealing with issues like memory loss, it can be difficult to handle finances. They may also be vulnerable to scam artists who attempt to sell bogus products or services.

Your Family Member is Having a Difficult Time with Household Chores

If you notice that the laundry is not getting done, the sink is full of dishes and the house seems to be in disarray, it may be a sign that your loved one needs help.

Each of these issues can be solved by hiring an at home caregiver. A caregiver can help your elderly family member with personal care, remind him or her to take medication, help with paying bills and perform household duties. Hiring a caregiver can help your loved one stay healthy and safe while remaining in a familiar environment. And, provide companionship that may last a lifetime.

Five Activities to Do with Your Caregiver

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If you receive at home care, you know the value of having a trusted caregiver who is friendly and attentive to your needs but, sometimes caregivers need a change from their routine too? You may be surprised to learn that your caregiver might enjoy some of the same activities you enjoy, and that’s a win-win for both of you.

Here are tips for five activities to do with your caregiver.

Go for a walk.

On a nice day, a walk can be invigorating! During the spring and fall, sunny days are good for walking. Your walk does not need to be long, a stroll through the yard or half-way up the block may be all that’s needed, but the benefit of being outside can be refreshing.

Go out to for coffee or ice cream.

If you are able to travel, invite him or her out for a coffee or ice cream break. Coffee or ice cream can help to reenergize you both. If there is a shop close to you, try taking a walk there.

Go to the library.

Libraries are not just quiet places to read or check out books. Many libraries are bustling with activities, such as free classes on just about any topic you can imagine. Additionally, if you have a library card, you can borrow movies and use computers to surf the web.

Exercise with your caregiver.

On your trip to the library, pick up a low-impact yoga or exercise video, bring it home and put it to use.

Play a table game.

Board games and card games help keep the mind sharp and pass the time. Concentrating and plotting winning strategies can be fun, and of course, whether you win or lose, you will look forward to the next challenge.

Fall Gardening Tips: Staying on Top of Your Game

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For the few outdoorsy people who love spending time under the sun, the slight window of opportunity between summer and fall can be an excellent way to catch a tan while gardening. Below are a few fall gardening tips to keep you on top of your game.

Make a compost pile.
This is the time to start digging a compost, or purchasing a garbage can for a compost pile. Fall is the only chance you have to collect as many leaves for manuring and mulching in the spring. When spring rolls around, your hibernating plants will surely be hungry for a bite, and with the compost pile, you’ll be prepared.

Avoid pruning.
Pruned branches and twigs may look pleasing, but put pruning on the back burner for fall. Pruning promotes the fresh growth of healthy leaves, flowers, and it also improves the fruiting of fruit trees. However, when you prune during the fall you’re actually doing more harm than good as some branches may suffer in the cold weather.

Weed before the snow.
While summer has its delightful moments, the weeds are not one. Weeding during the fall ensures that when the first summer rains arrive, your plants are the first to benefit from the new surge of moisture and nutrients, instead of them having to compete with weeds.


Is Your Garage Properly Cleaned Out for Fall?

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As the fall season approaches, it’s time to say goodbye to summer and begin cleaning out your garage. You’ll no longer need your pruning sheers and other gardening supplies scattered on the floor. It may be time to store away your lawn mower as well. Here are some cleaning tips that help homeowners get ready for autumn.

Clean the Shelves

Now is the time for homeowners to examine all the items that are cluttering their garage shelves. You may have open bags of potting soil, old gardening gloves, and other summer supplies filling every inch of the space. It is wise to decide what to store away, what to donate, and what to throw in the garbage.

Free Some Floor Space

During the summer, you are probably in and out of your garage a number of times. It is common to take things out and not return them to their original places. Fall is the time to pick up all items from the floor. This one cleaning step will make a tremendous difference for the look of your garage and will make it safer when you need to walk through the area.

Swap Supplies

Instead of your fertilizer spreader and hose being hung by your garage door, fall is the season to prepare for the colder weather. You should replace these items with a rake and a snow shovel.

Organize Your Cabinets

Your garage cabinets are great places to store all the items that you cleared from your shelves and floor. Using bins in various sizes will keep things neat and organized. Large items can be hung from hooks as well.

If you need help with your fall garage cleaning, Wesley At Home has a number of specially trained aides who can be of assistance.  These individuals offer household and personal help so that seniors can better enjoy the comforts of home.  For more information, call (614) 633-9826.


How to Stay Physically Active in the Fall

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Fall brings with it thoughts of colorful leaves, crisp apples, cooler air and indoor activities.  When the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we often find ourselves curling up on the sofa to watch our favorite television shows. However, too many nights on the couch with popcorn and hot chocolate can pile on the pounds.

So don’t give up on a healthy and active lifestyle just because the weather turns cool. Cooler weather brings opportunities to engage in some activities that can burn calories and keep muscles strong. Try these tips to help you maintain an active lifestyle throughout the fall and into winter.

Rake Leaves

If you or someone you know has a yard full of trees, get out the rake and go to work. Raking leaves will work your entire body because when you rake leaves, you walk, pull and stretch. These movements can help build muscles and burn calories while giving the yard a fresh look.

Take a Hike

Fall is a great time to start a walking program. You can dress in enough layers to keep you warm and still stay cool while you walk. Lower temperatures make for a more pleasant walking experience, which can make it easier to turn your typical walk into a hike. Hiking is an exercise that engages the whole body, which can burn calories and build strong bones and healthy muscles.

Walk Inside

Walking inside is a perfect alternative to walking outside. If it’s too cold outside or you don’t feel safe walking alone, you can walk in place during television commercial breaks. An hour long television program usually includes about 30 minutes of commercials. If you walk during just one program each day, you will get in about 30 minutes of walking. Another option for walking inside is to use a walking DVD.  Walking DVDs allow you to walk along with an instructor during a recorded session. You can find walking DVDs from the beginner to advanced level at your local library, online or where exercise equipment is sold.

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte

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There are so many wonderful things to enjoy during the fall season, like the crisp, cool air, the changing colors of the leaves, and of course, all things pumpkin flavored. One of the most popular treats at this time of the year is a warm, delicious pumpkin spice latte. Luckily, you do not need to leave home in order to enjoy one. Here’s a simple recipe for how to make a DIY pumpkin spice latte:

First, you will need to gather up all the necessary ingredients. It may require a quick trip to the store, unless you typically bake pumpkin pies. You will need pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and 2 shots of espresso.

Start by heating up 2 tablespoons of pumpkin in a saucepan. Add about a teaspoon of spice, stirring continuously over medium heat. Next, slowly stir in about 2 tablespoons of sugar. One of the benefits of making this drink at home is that you can control the sugar amount, so add less if you need to. You could also switch out the sugar for a substitute sweetener, if necessary.

The mixture should thicken up and bubble before you add the milk. Once it’s become syrupy, you can whisk in 2 cups of milk and 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Make sure that you whisk constantly, keeping it over medium heat, and not allowing it to boil over.

Next you will need to transfer the mixture to a blender. Be careful, as it will be very hot, and you don’t want to burn yourself. Be sure you have secured the lid on the blender before turning it on. Allow the mixture to become frothy to ensure that it’s blended completely.

Finally, you will need to prepare the espresso. Pour it into a mug until it is half full, and then add the mixture on top. Stir with a spoon, and enjoy!

Fall Cleaning Checklist for Homeowners

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The warm summer weather is almost over, so it’s time to think about the approaching fall. A new season brings new responsibilities for homeowners. Below are a few tips to get your home ready for the temperature changes.

1. Get Your HVAC System Inspected

Before the weather gets cold, you want to make certain that the heating system in your home is working properly. Now is the time to have a licensed heating contractor clean, inspect and repair your HVAC system. By fixing small issues now, you can worry less about the heating system breaking down on the coldest day of the year, and more about spending quality time with family and friends.

2. Hire a Tree Expert

If you have trees on your property, you’ll want to get them inspected as part of preventative maintenance. The fall and winter weather can bring storms with high winds, heavy rain and/or snowfall. If the trees surrounding your home are not strong and healthy, they can fall over onto your house or garage causing extensive damage in some cases. An arborist examines the trees and looks for disease, decay and structural weaknesses. With treatment and ongoing tree care, you reduce the chances of damage from flying branches and fallen trees,

3. Clean Gutters and Downspouts

The fall weather often brings rain. To prevent water damage, you’ll want to remove any debris from the gutters and downspouts. It’s also important to have a professional contractor clean and inspect your drainage system to prevent flooding during the next storm. You also want to make certain that your sump pump is functioning properly to reduce flooding damage.

Homeowners in the Columbus, Ohio area can use this checklist to ready their homes for the fall and winter months. If you need vendor referrals and other at-home services, contact Wesley At Home. This membership organization helps senior citizens remain independent in the comfort of their own homes.