When a loved one starts to get older and begins to experience health issues, it[…]Read more
For many seniors in the US, Florida is a great place to spend your retirement. The climate is perfect for most of the year, there are many communities full of like-minded seniors, and the beach is easily accessible. There are a wealth of opportunities when it comes to places to live, sights to see, and people to meet.
Fort Myers is a well-kept secret among seniors who chosen Florida as their residence. Generally people just end up passing through on the way to other exciting cities and islands, but if you take the time to look around you might find that it’s the perfect place to settle down. No matter what your situation is, whether you’re moving with a spouse, living by yourself (with or without in-home senior care services), or moving into a retirement community, there are a wealth of activities and adventures to be had right at your fingertips.
Here are some of the most highly recommended sights to see and places to explore in and around Fort Myers:
- Manatee Park: Anyone who has spent time in Florida knows how much Floridians love their manatees. Manatee Park is a 17-acre canal that is a popular spot for manatees to spend the cooler winter months. With a vast network of raised boardwalks and protected nature areas, this is a great spot to come get in touch with nature and commune with the local wildlife. The best part is, admission is free!
- Boat Tours: It comes as no surprise that boating activities are high on the list of fun things to do in southwest Florida. Get some friends together and charter a boat to go visit Captiva Island and see otters, turtles, and sea birds in their natural habitat. There are tons of options when it comes to boats, captains, and destinations. Boating can be a great way to spend a day or even an evening with friends and family, or even just by yourself.
- Museums and Historic Estates: Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had winter homes in Fort Myers which are now museums that are open to the public. Spend an afternoon looking through these iconic american’s homes and the attached museum that houses artifacts and exhibits detailing their work through the years. This is an ideal activity for history fanatics and fans of gadgets and inventions.
- Art Galleries: There are a plethora of different art galleries all around town that are perfect for spending an afternoon wandering through. Fort Myers has a wealth of local artists which means the galleries are regularly rotating their stock.
- Murder Mystery Train Ride: If you’re into solving puzzles, the Seminole Gulf Railway Murder Mystery Dinner Train is a great time for people of all ages. The ride comes with a 5 course meal, and over the course of the evening you can put your sleuthing skills to the test to uncover the truth about a ghastly murder. Each car will award prizes to a designated “super sleuth” at the end of the evening’s events.
There are always plenty of things to do in and around Fort Myers, making it the perfect retirement destination for many seniors. You’ll always have an adventure close at hand when you choose to live in Fort Myers.
When a loved one starts to get older and begins to experience health issues, it can be easy to overlook the basics, such as taking care of your teeth and mouth. As we age, our teeth and gums begin to erode and break down, and it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to maintain a healthy, pain-free mouth!
Since many seniors have sensitive teeth and gums, you have to be careful that you choose a dentist who is able to take care of you with the necessary care and attention to detail. There are many different conditions and complications that can arise as you age in regards to your teeth, such as :
- Gum Disease
- Tooth Decay
- Old Dental Work
- Oral Cancer
Taking the time to understand your teeth and mouth is extremely important to living a healthy life. Being aware of the different issues that can come up in your mouth is a great first step. It all boils down to one main issue, however: controlling the various bacteria that live in your mouth! The bacteria in your mouth breaks down your enamel and roots of your teeth, which can cause decay and extreme sensitivity.
One of the most common problems with seniors when it comes to their mouth is constant dryness. This can be caused by a large range of things, such as medication’s side effects, treatments for various diseases or just plain genetics! Saliva is absolutely vital to a healthy mouth – without it, the bacteria inside would run rampant. Saliva is a key protector of your teeth, and helps to remove the toxins and other harmful bacteria that build up over time.
The number one solution to preventing tooth decay and helping with dental hygiene, no matter your age, is to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Very acidic beverages such as soda and coffee can also contribute to tooth decay over time as well.
Gum disease is a serious problem – and one that can be prevented with routine dental cleanings. Periodontal (gum) disease is very common, and harms you by severely damaging the tissue, bones, and nerves around your teeth, which can result in severe tooth loss and other complications. Being consistent in your dental hygiene routines and using a toothpaste or mouthwash that helps with gum disease are a few steps you can take to help prevent it. Smoking and diabetes can also contribute to the chances of you encountering gum disease in your lifetime.
Proper dental hygiene is a process that takes place over your entire lifetime. Bad dental hygiene habits from your earlier years can come back to bite you as you age, and vice versa. Even if you have had beautiful teeth your whole life, failing to take care of them can cause issues to pop up quickly! If you are looking for the best care around, I highly recommend taking the time to ask the dental care facility any questions you may have about their cleaning process and the steps they take during the cleanings. Choosing the best dentist in Raleigh NC was somewhat of a hassle, but in the end, I decided to go with Dr. Russo for my senior family members because of his outstanding reviews and customer praise regarding his gentle nature and care of senior patients.
LifestyleIf you’re responsible for caring for aging parents as well as your own children, then welcome to the “sandwich generation.” Being sandwiched between the needs of the old and the young can leave the middle generation feeling stressed and burned-out. The first step to feeling better is often accepting that you have needs, too, and taking steps to meet them. Here are some next steps:
Take Care of Yourself – Doing your best requires you to feel your best. You can’t give your all to care for your parents and children if you’re always feeling tired and run-down. Think about this: When your parents feel run-down, what do you suggest for them? More rest, more nutrition, and if possible, more exercise and fresh air. Take your own advice, and you won’t be the only one who benefits.
Speak Up – Don’t assume that your family members already know that you’re overworked and need help, especially if they don’t live nearby. So be candid about your situation. If you’re stressed out, let them know. If you need a hand, ask for it. There is nothing wrong with asking siblings (or even offspring) to help. That’s what families are for.
Don’t Just Lend a Hand, Take It – Caring for a parent is a chance to do something meaningful for someone who means a lot to you. Providing that care may not be easy, but you want to do it; you do it out of love. Maybe that’s why others are trying to help you. Let them.
Contact a Caregiver– Many agencies specialize in providing care to seniors. By providing care for as little as a couple of hours a week, an agency can provide a much-needed respite – time for you to take care of your children or yourself. Agencies such as Seniors Helping Seniors provide care from fellow seniors, so your loved one can enjoy some company when you’re not there.
Get Some Outside Help – If you would rather not hire someone to care for your loved one, consider getting some additional help for yourself. Many professional services can handle tasks that require a few hours of your time each month; these include housekeeping, landscaping, grocery shopping, and babysitting.
Help Doesn’t Have to Be Local – The burden of caring for an older parent often falls on the son or daughter who lives nearest. But that doesn’t mean others can’t help. Even faraway relatives can serve as hubs for communicating with family and friends; they can also help with finances, medical care, or arranging for local services. A little long-distance help can free you to do what can only be done in person – even if it’s just having a nice visit.
Caring for parents and children at the same time is never going to be easy. But, chances are, there are things you can do to make the responsibilities easier to handle. So get the care you need. Once you’ve had time to breathe and recharge, you can help the rest of your family feel better, too.
When your aging loved one needs a little extra help with activities of daily living, it becomes frustrating for them and can cause them to become depressed with feelings of worthlessness. It is important to give them the care they need and to also allow them to be as independent as possible to maintain their general health and well being. This is when you may want to look into senior care and getting extra help for your loved one that allows them to continue to enjoy life and to live freely.
Where To Find Companionship
The elderly need some form of companionship that provides them with the care they need and also the social interaction that they crave. They have not stopped living because they have aged, they just need a little extra help with their activities of daily living that still provides them with their independence and pride. This is where home care agencies become an important part of providing the care your loved one needs. These agencies will provide a companion for your loved one that will take care of them in their aging years and provide them with a much needed service such as taking care of household chores, running errands, taking care of your senior’s personal care and other services that ensure the elderly are well cared for in their own homes.
The home care provider may also prepare meals for your senior and social interaction that keeps them feeling positive and uplifted in spirits. The care provider has had training in many aspects of healthcare and often can spot changes in your senior’s health status and can get help for them when needed.
As a person ages, they may lose some abilities that were once easy for them. This can take its toll on the elderly person’s mental health. By providing a companion for them that either lives with them around the clock or visits on a regular basis, you can be assured that they have the help they need but also the encouragement of their care provider.
In-home care is on the rise as more and more seniors are opting to stay living in their own homes and being close to family and friends. The cost of such care is minimal compared to living in a nursing facility or retirement home. Most insurances will cover the cost of in-home care, but you must check into this option before you select this method of care for your senior.
Many agencies provide around the clock live-in services or offer to come in on scheduled daily visits to take care of the elderly in their homes and provide them with personal care and other services they may need to maintain their independence. Companionship is of utmost importance and finding someone who connects with your loved one is vital to their well being.
Compatible companions offer social interaction that engages your loved one as they share memories and other personal stories that are important to them. This often keeps them active mentally and provides them with the stimulation they need to keep them out of depression and mental decline.
This companionship provides the key t o keeping your elder happy and healthy. It is often the most overlooked aspect of home care while providing the services needed for independence. It is not just about providing personal care and household chores. It is about connections with people and sharing stories of interest and sharing lives. It is about caring and concern that goes beyond the profession. According to the NIH, there is a positive correlation between social interaction and health.
Selecting A Home Care Agency
In choosing an agency to work with your loved one, always check their references and check the references of the employees who work with them. Many times the agency themselves will do background checks on their employees to ensure that you are hiring people of integrity and with sound values. You should also conduct interviews to ensure that the companion you select is compatible with your loved one and that they get along with each other and have something in common.
Many times in hiring an outside agency to work with your senior, finding the right fit is often a challenge in these modern times. So many people live busy lives and often it is just a job to them where they come and go without any connection at all to those they serve. You want to avoid agencies that treat this profession as just a job. Look for agencies that have a personality and that hire people who are friendly and compassionate about what they do.
When you take the time to find the right agency who will be a companion and senior care provider for your loved one, you will feel good about the choice that you have made and know that your senior will get more than just a service but a lifetime of friendship.
Hasbro has recently developed a new line of toys that is aimed at helping senior citizens cope with loneliness. The first of the Joy for All Companion Pets line is a robotic cat that has a variety of simple sensors all along its body that provoke different lifelike reactions. This robocat was developed for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and to help battle depression and other mental illnesses that many seniors have to deal with.
The concept of companion pets for seniors isn’t an entirely new idea, with many different brands attempting to make versions of their own. Recent technology has allowed these toys to simulate life in a way that is appealing to seniors and others suffering from various mental illnesses. For someone who receives regular in-home senior care, or is a resident of a nursing home where people are constantly taking care of them, it can give quite a sense of empowerment to feel as though they have something that they are taking care of.
For many seniors the stress of taking care of a real pet can be far too much for them to handle, leading to a feeling of failure on the part of the senior and poor care for the pet. Often times when families try to surprise their elderly family members with a cat or dog, it creates a situation where the family or caregiver ends up having yet another series of tasks to help out with around the house, and you always run the risk of the pet not being particularly friendly towards their new senior companion. These companion pets from Hasbro on the other hand are said to feel like the real thing and provide a similar feeling of companionship that seniors get from having a real pet. Many elderly cat lovers have taken quite a liking to their robotic companions because while they know that it’s not a real cat, it reminds them of cats that they’ve had.
Many seniors are well aware that they are not in a place where they could deal with a real pet, and having a robotic pet that you can talk to, responds to your petting, and can move and interact with you simulates enough of an experience to be an appropriate alternative. For nursing home patients, and seniors living at home, these companion pets are showing measurable results for seniors battling with loneliness and depression. Research has shown time and again that loneliness and depression are some of the main problems that affect the emotional and mental health of seniors, and simple companionship (even from a robot) can go a long way to keeping these feelings at bay.
One of the most famous companion pets on the market is the Japanese developed Paro the Seal. Paro is a robotic seal that is technically referred to as medical technology and carries a significantly higher price tag than Hasbro’s companion pets, which Paro creator, Takanori Shibata, has referred to as “just toys”. Coming in at a cool $5000, Paro is being used in hospitals across the world as a therapeutic measure for people of all ages, suffering from a wide variety of illnesses. The cute and cuddly seal companion can restore hope for patients going through chemo, children with terminal illnesses, and adults with special needs.
Originally the idea came about as an alternative to animal-assisted therapy, which has shown great results for all types of patients and especially for boosting spirits of seniors in nursing home facilities. The drawback to animal-assisted therapy is the fact that therapy dogs and cats can only work for so long before they get worn out, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be friendly to everyone. Robotic companions on the other hand can work until they need to be recharged and run their programming no matter who is holding them.
These robotic companions are rapidly gaining popularity, creating a whole new market for toy developers and manufacturers to take advantage of. Many nursing homes and in-home care agencies are starting to deploy these robocats and robodogs as a part of their senior care regimen, and getting good results from it. It will be interesting to see how these robotic companions evolve moving forward and what new kinds of therapy emerge as a result of this technology.