Caring for our parents as they age can come with many challenges. It’s important to be able to read the signs and spot the differences between normal symptoms of getting older, indicators of a more serious illness, and knowing when to ask for help.
Here are seven warning signs that your parent may need help:
  1. Becoming lost while driving or walking.
  2. Dents and scratches on your parent’s car as a sign of minor accidents
  3. Declining or poor personal hygiene
  4. Mail and overdue bills piling up
  5. Forgetting how to use their telephone, TV, or other devices
  6. Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  7. History of falls, difficulty walking, or unsteadiness

Certain things you notice may be signs of normal aging — like occasional forgetfulness, forgetting names or a particular word — but if your once-open parents are now secretive, or not forthcoming about their lives, pay attention. If your parents were very proud of their home and their yard and are now neglecting it, pay attention. Any change in weight, personality, or confusion may be a sign of serious illness.

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your loved one live better, longer.

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Caring for a loved one with dementia comes with many challenges. Often, as dementia progresses, unexpected aggression or agitation may occur which can be frightening or create risk of injury. Your approach with this can potentially deescalate an unsafe situation.
 
Here are 9 helpful steps to handle and deescalate agitation caused by dementia:
 
  1. Speak low and slow with a gentle and reassuring tone
  2. Scan environment to identify the immediate cause
  3. Validate their feelings
  4. Rule out pain/discomfort as the cause of the behavior
  5. Calm the environment
  6. Shift focus to a different activity
  7. Put on music
  8. Remove yourself from the room
  9. Safety first. Call 911 if you or your loved one is at risk
It’s important to speak slowly and softly in a gentle and reassuring tone. Listen to what the person is saying and see if you can identify what is bothering them. Acknowledge their feelings. Call upon extreme empathy. Take their hand, and look into their eyes. Ask if anything bothering them or if they are in pain.
 
If there are people around, go to a quieter place. Turn off the TV or radio. Changing the environment may alter the person’s mood and calm them. Try putting on music, a waltz to start dancing with them, tunes you know they like or their favorite jazz.
 
If nothing you do is improving the situation, it is better to leave the person alone than to agitate them. If the person’s behavior makes them unsafe or threatens you, get help, either from a care attendant if available or call 911, describe the behavior and tell them the person has dementia. Your safety takes priority. Get help. You are not alone.
 

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your loved one live better, longer.

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In case you missed it…
Check out Jen Maseda’s 30-Minute Lunchtime Boost with two local experts, Michelle Woodbrey, CEO of 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors and Malka Young, Director of Allies in Aging: JFS Eldercare Solutions.
Learn about how aging care systems have changed during COVID-19, as well as share resources for home care or placement for frail loved ones.
If you need support caring for your aging loved one during this time of quarantine and crisis, we can help you navigate health care systems, arrange services and understand your options. Contact us today!
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Ask YOUR Ally in Aging: A Series

Question:

“My mother is in an assisted living facility and I can’t visit her. I want to bring her into my house and care for her. Now that the state is reopening, I am thinking that maybe I need to be more patient and wait and see what happens.

— Torn

Ally Answer:

Dear Torn,

Your heart is saying “yes” and your head is saying “maybe not.” There are some practical things to think about. When your mother moved to her assisted living residence, she signed a lease.

How much notice does she have to give when leaving? It varies between 30, 60 and even 90 days. Is she prepared to pay rent to the assisted living residence while she is living with you?

There are many questions you need to ask yourself: How much care does she need? Every 6 months, according to state regulations, the facility needs to update a resident’s care plan. Do you know how much care your mother needs? Are you willing and able to provide the care? Are there any other family members who can help you? Do you have a plan how you would go about hiring a private aide to help your mother in your house?

If your mother is unhappy, will she be able to go back to her assisted living community? Would she need to quarantine? Would she need to pay the community fee again?

It is a big commitment to provide care for a parent. Even if a person does not need hands on care, it is difficult to predict how your mom will react to living in a new place, not seeing her friends regularly, or receiving care from you. Some adult children do better keeping the two roles separate, i.e., loving daughter and hands on caregiver.

There is not one right decision for all families.

Contact your Allies in Aging Care Manager today, and you can make a plan together.

 

Ask Ally is written by Malka Young, LICSW, Director of Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions

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“Malka was the best. I can’t say enough about her professionalism, knowledge and the compassion she had for my client. My client had no family in the States, so even though I have known him for over 40 years, I’m not family. At times I was uncertain what to do. Malka did and that I will always appreciate.”

— Rod St. Pierre, Shrewsbury (MA)

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your loved one live better, longer.

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According to the CDC, individuals who are 65 years of age and older are at higher risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

One of the steps you can take to protect yourself is to stay at home as much as possible. Of course, if you’re staying at home, how can you get the things you need like food, prescriptions, soap to wash your hands and cleaning supplies to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces?

Shopping During Senior Hours

It’s important to know that many local stores have “senior hours” first thing in the morning, when shelves are freshly stocked, and the store has been cleaned and sanitized overnight. If you choose to do your own shopping, please wear a mask and either bring sanitizing wipes or use wipes (if offered by the store) to disinfect your shopping cart. Be prepared to likely stand in line before going in as stores are now limited to 40% occupancy, including both staff and shoppers.

Some stores have created one-way aisles to maintain a safer distance, at least 6 ft., between shoppers. Please pay attention to social distancing while shopping and while waiting in line to check out. There may be lines marked on the floor by the registers to maintain distance between and protect other shoppers who are waiting, as well as the cashier. When unloading your groceries, stay at the end of the conveyer belt and wait for the cashier to call you forward to the register to pay. If you can, bring hand sanitizer or wipes with you in case you need to touch the keypad to complete your transaction (using a debit or a credit card) and for wiping the handles of your cart. Lastly, make sure to wash your hands when you get home!

Senior Hours of Local Grocery Stores:

Having Food and Supplies Delivered to your Door

There are home care services that will shop for you. You give them a list and they will go shopping for you. You can also order online, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a delivery slot. Store’s where you can shop online are Wegmans (Instacart), Whole Foods (Amazon Prime) Stop&Shop (Peapod) Market Basket (Instacart) Specialty Stores (Mercato) and Sudbury Farms.

 

If you are having difficulty accessing food or supplies, please call us and we will help you.

Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions are your partners in safety during this time of COVID 19. 

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Malka Young, LICSW Leads a Discussion on Issues related to Aging

JFS of Metrowest, in partnership with the Massachusetts Alzheimers Association is pleased to offer a virtual support group for all family members and friends caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

The support group is intended to be a supportive and educational gathering and is facilitated by both Malka Young, LICSW, Director of Allies in Aging JFS Eldercare Solutions and Dr. Jane Joiner, MD (retired), a JFS volunteer.

This group will meet one hour each week, please note that this support group is not meant for professional caregivers, but for family members and friends of those living with these diseases.

To register and receive information on how to join this group, please (800) 655-9553 or visit the JFS Elder Care Contact Page.

 

 

Worried about an aging loved one? Read “Supporting a Loved One during the Coronavirus Crisis” by Malka Young
to learn ways you can ensure the safety and well being of your loved ones during the Coronavirus crisis.

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ASK A GERIATRIC CARE MANAGER

QUESTION:

I my mother is in her 90s – what can I do to ensure her safety and well being during the Coronavirus crisis?

ANSWER:

More and more cases of Corona virus are being identified every day. The situation is changing very quickly. How at risk is your loved one? Are you wondering how prepared our local hospitals are? We have some data from China, Italy, Japan and South , but how does it apply to us?

We know the Corona virus causes symptoms similar to flu, only it can lead to more severe complications such as difficulty breathing, pneumonia, and even death. There is no treatment and we are at least a year and a half away from an effective vaccine. So much to worry about and we are helpless in the face of this new type of Corona virus COVID-19.

Our loved ones fall into the high risk categories. The older our loved one is, the more likely they are to develop complications and perhaps be hospitalized. If they are immune compromised or have chronic illnesses such as COPD, Emphysema, Asthma, CHF and others they are also at higher risk. The only way we know how to protect them is to keep them away from other people who might already be infected and not know it, or who are actively sick. This disease is now spreading in our community from person to person, and from droplets sprayed into the air landing on other people or on hard surfaces where these droplets, containing the virus, stay active much longer than the flu we are accustomed to. This is why we are told to not touch our face, maintain social distance and to clean and disinfect everything we touch in an attempt to minimize the spread of this disease.

Supporting your loved at home:

  • Cancel any unnecessary doctors’ appointments.
  • Have a plan if their usual caregiver gets sick or is exposed to a person with the virus. If your caregiver comes from an agency, find out what they are doing in response to the Corona virus.
  • If multiple caregivers are coming into the home, consider changing to live-in care to limit the number or people coming in from the outside and protect your vulnerable loved one.
  • Make sure they have an adequate supply of prescription medications, adult diapers, ensure or other special foods. They may need extra help getting organized and understanding what they may need to do.
  • Identify activities that your loved one can do when they are alone or remotely with others to combat social isolation when keeping social distance.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, key pads, doorbells, counters, toilets, faucets, light switches) and then disinfect.
  • If you live out of state, identify someone who can help your loved one if they need anything or were to become sick.

Supporting a loved one living in a nursing home:

  • Follow the policies of the facility. (Nursing homes and Assisted Living Residences in Massachusetts are restricting visitors) This also means no outside entertainment or volunteers are coming into the facility.
  • Appoint one person to communicate with the facility who shares information with the rest of the family. The staff is busy taking care of the residents.
  • Find out if outside medical providers, doctors, therapists, etc are coming into the facility. Ask how this impacts your loved one’s care plan.
  • Call or text loved one frequently.
  • Send cards, pictures, magazines or books by mail.
  • Watch a TV show together (you at home and loved one in the facility) and then talk about it.

Supporting a loved one living in an assisted living residence:

  • Follow the policies of the facility.
  • Be aware of changes to your loved one’s daily schedule. Outside speakers, entertainers and other programs have been temporarily halted during this crisis. Meals may be served in residents’ apartments.
  • Communicate regularly with your loved one.
  • Call or text often.
  • Send cards, pictures, magazines or books by mail.
  • Watch live streaming events on Facebook together; Arrange a time to sign onto online game sites like Words with Friends or MahJongg Time to play a game together. Invite them to share your Netflix account or Amazon music and share movies or favorite songs.

Keeping Yourself Well:

  • Your ability to stay well is affected by the your overall state of health
  • Get enough rest
  • Exercise
  • Drink Water
  • Get outside (just keep your social distance)
  • Decrease stress (meditation/guided relaxation)
  • Accept that it is hard for everyone when their routine changes
  • Understand that you may not be able to do as much as you would like
  • Limit the amount of exposure to the news
  • Know who to call if there is a mental health crisis or Crisis Hotline

This is a difficult time for everybody. It is harder for you, the caregiver, because you are caring for a loved one. However you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help managing these challenges, a geriatric care manager can help.  Contact me to learn how partnering with a geriatric care manager can provide you with the guidance and support you need to ensure the well-being of your loved ones.

Do you have questions about caring for an aging loved one? We have the answers. Send them to me today and receive free information about caring for an aging loved one!

 

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On Sunday, January 26th, Malka Young, LICSW,CCM Director of Allies in Aging JFS Eldercare Solutions presented as part of Congregation Beth Elohim’s Adult Education Series Things We Need to Know for Ourselves and Our Parents:  A series of presentations about end of life issues. Almost two dozen people gathered to learn how to plan for their own aging and ways to better care for their parents.  Click to watch the presentation:

Many attendees had questions – below, Malka answers some of the group’s most pressing concerns.

Do you have a question for Malka? Submit your questions here and she will address them in future blog posts.

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If one is privately engaging and paying for care, are there any organizations that help with the tax, workman’s comp, etc?

A household employer has certain responsibilities, both state and federal.  Here is a link to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue with an overview of these responsibilities.  The five steps below are only the beginning.

  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number with the IRS
  • Report New Hires
  • Submit employment and wage detail report
  • Register with Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
  • File a withholding tax return/make payment (quarterly)

This is why many families hire an accountant or sign up with a private household payroll service for a monthly fee.

Are you finding the management of a loved one’s in-home services challenging? We can help.
Contact us today to learn how we partner with families to ensure their
loved ones are getting the care and services they need.

 

 

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Elder Healthcare – Things We Need to Know for Ourselves and Our Parents

Join elder expert Malka Young on January 26th at Congregation Beth Elohim when she will share practical information that will help you help your parents or prepare for your own later years. How to find healthcare? What are the pitfalls to avoid? What does Medicare cover? What do you do if you are concerned about your parents’ driving? These and other questions will be answered in an interesting and informative workshop.

Sunday, January 26, 2020
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Congregation Beth Elohim
133 Prospect Street
Acton, MA 01720

This is Presentation #2 of the Adult Education sponsored series of four presentations about end of life issues at Congregation Beth Elohim.

Click here to learn more and register.

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