If you’re a senior citizen, it’s important to think about how you will prepare your[…]Read more
If you’re a senior citizen, it’s important to think about how you will prepare your home for the upcoming winter season. You will want to make the home as energy efficient as possible. In addition, you will want to make sure the inside of the home and outdoor walkways are easy to navigate, to prevent falls and possible injury.
If you find yourself unable to prepare your home this year, it may be wise to contact a senior care provider for assistance. A company like Seniors Helping Seniors can help you get your home ready for the cold season, if there are some tasks you’re unable to tackle yourself.
The following tips will help you get your home ready for the upcoming winter season:
1. Eliminate or reduce drafts
Drafts usually come from under doors or around window frames and sills. In an older home, replacing the windows can help. But, if you don’t have the budget for new windows and the current windows are in good operating condition, sealing the sills and frames with clear caulking or putting plastic over the windows can help.
There are kits available to help keep cold from coming through windows. But, they only address the glass, not the frames. Plastic can be applied over the window frames as well, to completely eliminate window drafts.
Another place where cold air can come in is under the front and back doors. Properly installed storm doors can eliminate some draft. But, if a gap exists under the main door, weather stripping can work. Using duct tape and turning one side under can also work, if weather stripping is difficult to install. Another option is to use a poly filled or rice filled long stocking at the base of the door. If it’s not difficult to move it away when going and coming back, this can also be a viable option for reducing drafts. Finally, keeping doors and windows sealed for rooms that are not used can greatly reduce heating costs in Winter.
2. Keep supplies within easy reach
For shoveling and removing snow from porches and walkways, the job will be easier if supplies are kept just inside the front door. A small bag of salt, a shovel, and maybe a broom can be kept near the front door, but inside. This prevents supplies from being taken or from getting lost.
For removing leaves and debris before the snow falls, a small potting shed can help keep rakes and other lawn care items in their place. A small shed with easy access can be locked. It also helps keep lawn tools in place, so helpers can access them to assist with lawn chores. Your senior care provider will help with outdoor yard tasks.
3. Address indoor and outdoor rugs
Placing a sturdy door mat outside the front door makes sense. It can help get ice, snow, and mud off shoes, before coming indoors. But, a mat at the front door should not pose a hazard for tripping and falling. A low mat works better than a thick one, because it’s less of a hazard for falls.
Inside the home, loose rugs are a serious hazard. Even thick rugs can shift or move, if not secured properly. Rugs should only be used in areas of high traffic and should be secured with two sided tape. Alternatively, rugs with rubber backing, which helps keep them in place, should be used on hard flooring, such as in the kitchen, bath, or on a hardwood floor in the bedroom.
4. Keep Winter gear handy, but out of the way
Seniors must make sure the have the proper winter gear, especially if they plan on going outdoors periodically. A good pair of winter boots with plenty of insulation and plenty of tread on the soles is recommended.
Hats, gloves, and scarves should be kept out of the way, but somewhere they can easily be reached when a trip outdoors is planned. This may require installing a shelf with hooks near the front or back door. A warm, lined winter coat is also a necessity. Calf length or longer can help maintain body heat. A boot or shoe rack near the front door helps keep water from being tracked through the house, where it can cause slips and falls. Placing a rubber mat under the shoe rack will also help remove water hazards due to thawing ice and snow.
5. Furnace maintenance
A heating system should be checked yearly, if possible. This helps eliminate common heating system problems, like clogged ventilation systems and build up of carbon monoxide. It can help address minor repair problems with a furnace or heating source, before it becomes a costly emergency.
There are many ways seniors can prepare their homes for upcoming winter months. A checklist can help address the most important tasks needed to prepare. A company like Seniors Helping Seniors can help those who are less able, get their homes ready for the colder months.
Fort Lauderdale is a popular retirement spot for many seniors living in America. With its sunny beaches and beautiful climate, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to live out their retirement years here. That being said, it can be hard to find good attractions that are entertaining and accessible to seniors.
Many seniors these days are opting to live at home to retain their independence, while getting some help from an in-home senior care agency, like Seniors Helping Seniors of Greater Fort Lauderdale, while others choose to live in an assisted living community. For people in these situations, it’s incredibly important to get out and get some fresh air. Staying at home all the time can be detrimental to mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are our favorite attractions for seniors living in Fort Lauderdale:
Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is the main thoroughfare for shopping, food, and culture in Fort Lauderdale. With a wide variety of different restaurants and retailers, you’ll always be able to find something great to eat and maybe even a little something to treat yourself at one of the various boutiques.
Las Olas is also close to many other excellent destinations such as the Stranahan House, or the art museum. This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon soaking up the beautiful Floridian sun, while trying various local cuisine. It might just be your new favorite way to spend the day.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
If you love the beach, but don’t necessarily love the crazy beach party scene that is so popular in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Beach is the place for you. This beach’s atmosphere is much calmer than many other beaches along the coast, and you’ll be able to enjoy the sun and sand without excessively loud music or tons of people.
If the beach was one of the main reasons you chose to retire to Florida, this beach has your name all over it. Nearby Dania Beach and Hillsboro Beach are also known for their quieter atmosphere if you find that Fort Lauderdale Beach is still a little too hectic for your liking.
Sawgrass Recreation Park
For the nature lovers, it doesn’t get much better than Sawgrass Recreation Park. Take an airboat tour through the Florida Everglades and experience the local wildlife in all of its natural splendor. For $20 you can get an excellent tour through a section of the Everglades, with spectacular views of the local flora and fauna including alligators, egrets, and various native flowers.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon getting in touch with nature, the Sawgrass Recreation Park is an excellent option for people of all ages.
The Stranahan House Museum
If you’re into history, the Stranahan House Museum offers a look into life in Fort Lauderdale in the early 1900’s. Frank Stranahan built the house as a trading post where he could trade with local townspeople as well as the Seminole Indians who were still living in the area at the time. After he and his wife passed away, the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society bought the home and turned it into a museum to showcase what life was like in the early days of the now bustling city.
The museum offers guided tours three times a day, and costs $12 to take the tour. This is a great way to spend a few hours and take a short outing. It’s conveniently located right off of Las Olas Boulevard, so you can grab a bite to eat or do some shopping after seeing the house if you’re feeling up to it.
These are some of our favorite activities that are fun and senior friendly. Whether you’re looking to spend a few hours, or the whole day, these are great options for getting out of the house and getting to know Fort Lauderdale.
Choosing an orthopedic surgeon can stir up a variety of emotions. On one hand, you might be optimistic about resolving ongoing joint or back pain issues. On the other hand, it might cause some anxiety. In most cases, your primary care physician will recommend that you make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon or specialist. When picking the one that’s best for you, there are many things to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when deciding on an orthopedic surgeon or specialist.
Get A Referral
Your first port of call along your journey should be consulting with your primary care physician or doctor. Ask them for a list of orthopedic specialists in the area that they recommend, and if there are any in particular they think would be a good fit for you. It’s also worth asking your family and friends about, especially if they’ve had issues that required the consultation of an orthopedic specialist in the past.
Once you’ve narrowed your list a bit, pull up your web browser and conduct a search. You can try typing in their name directly, or just enter the type of specialist you need and your area. For instance, if you live in Richmond, VA, you could type in “hip replacement specialist richmond” or “orthopedic surgeon richmond va” to get a list of specialists in your area. Once you’ve located a couple specialists near you, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
Review Their Credentials
When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll want to ensure they have all the proper training, experience, and skills to properly diagnosis and treat your condition. Make sure the specialist you’re researching is board certified. Next you’ll want to make sure they don’t have any kinds of malpractice in their history. You can also typically find out things like which schools they went to, which hospitals they trained in, and other certifications they’ve received by visiting the specialists’ website, or by looking at their scores on websites like RateMDs or HealthGrades.
Consider Their Experience Level
Complex orthopedic problems require specialized medical care, and surgery in some cases. This is why you’ll want to select an experienced doctor to work with. Look for surgeons that specialize in certain types of care or treatments, and ask questions about how many patients they’ve treated in the past. If you need a specific surgery or procedure, make sure to ask how many times the doctor has performed that specific procedure, and if there are any complications that might arise.
Check Out Patient Reviews
It’s always helpful to read about other’s experiences with a doctor. It can provide valuable insight into how the doctor conducts themselves, as well as their medical practice in general. You can find reviews on many places across the web, but a good place to start is Google Reviews. Check out other sites like Yelp, as well as websites that are specific to the medical industry like RateMDs and HealthGrades. It’s also worth reviewing the testimonials they have on their own website. You can learn a lot about people’s experience and general satisfaction levels this way.
Make Sure They’re In-Network
Last in the list, but certainly not least, you should really only be looking for surgeons and specialists that are covered by your insurance provider. You’ll want to ensure that you are receiving the most benefits as you can, so your out of pocket expenses are minimized. References, experience, and credentials are all important, but working with an orthopedic surgeon that’s covered by your insurance plan will save you a lot of money, so make sure you’re covered before setting up a consultation!
Boca Raton is an increasingly popular retirement destination in Florida, due to its beautiful beaches, palm trees, and tropical climate. Many seniors are choosing to live out their retirement years kicking back and enjoying this incredible stretch of Florida’s Palm Beaches.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite attractions for seniors living in Boca Raton. These are all excellent day trips that you can make with friends, or a caregiver if you have limited mobility. It’s important to stay active and engage in a variety of activities as one gets older. Active seniors have better physical and mental health overall, and for seniors living at home, it’s important to spend some time out of the house to avoid getting cabin fever.
Here’s our list of the best things to do in Boca Raton:
Chances are if you live in Boca Raton, you are already aware of Mizner Park. It is highly regarded as one of the best attractions in the city, and functions as a meeting place for all kinds of people living in Boca Raton. It’s perfect for an afternoon of walking around, shopping, and if you plan right you could even see a free concert in the open-air auditorium.
With plenty of parking, and a wide variety of shops, attractions, and beautiful scenery, Mizner Park is an excellent way to spend a day out on the town.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is Boca Raton’s most popular wildlife attraction. If you’re an animal lover, this is simply a must-see. Located near Red Reef Park, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center offers visitors a close up look at wildlife native to the region.
Visitors can check out feeding time at the aquarium, see Florida Atlantic University’s sea turtle research and rehabilitation lab, and observe the natural ecosystem from the park’s extensive boardwalk system. For more active visitors, they even offer kayak tours through the mangroves.
For seniors we recommend visiting in during the fall and winter, since most of the attractions are outside, and much more enjoyable when it’s not incredibly hot and humid. With free parking and free admission, there’s no excuse not to check out the adorable sea turtles and other creatures that make up Florida’s unique ecosystem.
The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum
For fans of live theater, it doesn’t get much better than The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum. Started in 2013 by Marilynn A. Wick as a way to show off her extensive collection of Broadway costumes, this museum has grown to house a local theater company that puts on regular performances, as well as a full restaurant that pays homage to New York City’s famous Tavern on the Green.
Call ahead to make reservations for a tour through the fabulous costume museum, grab drinks or dinner at the Tavern Room restaurant, and see a local theater performance all in the same visit! It’s a theater fan’s dream! Tours begin at 11 AM daily, and for $48 a person, you’ll get a tour of the museum and a three-course lunch at the Tavern Room. There are many tour packages to choose from, including a cocktail tour, and a show and dinner package. You can also go just for a performance if you’re not interested in taking the whole tour.
This is definitely worth a visit if you have any interest in theater whatsoever, and the food is excellent. The Wick Museum is a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening in Boca Raton.
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Located in Mizner Park, the Boca Raton Museum of Art tops the list of things to do for art lovers living in Boca Raton. Featuring more than 4,500 works, the permanent collections include: African and Pre-Colombian art, 19th and 20th century European and American paintings, drawings and sculptures, and a stunning photography collection that has been described as “first-class” by recent visitors.
The Boca Raton Museum of Art is a fantastic attraction to check out during the hot summer months to get a break from the brutal Florida heat. It’s also recommended to time your visit for the first Sunday of the month when the museum offers free admission. Usually it is $12 for an adult ticket.
These are our top 4 attractions for seniors in Boca Raton, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many other attractions out there to check out. Take the time to get out and explore the wonderful sights and sounds of Boca Raton. If you’re a senior living at home that has trouble getting out on your own, call a local in-home care service, like Seniors Helping Seniors Boca Raton, to discuss hiring a caregiver that can take you out on day trips or help with other aspects of living independently. If you’re living in an assisted living facility or community, talk to your nurse or community programming leader to ask about taking an outing to any of these attractions for you and your fellow community members. However you do it, get out there and see the sights! You won’t be sorry.
Asheville is known for being one of the more interesting cities in North Carolina, and it’s gotten that reputation for good reason. There are all sorts of great activities in and around Asheville for people of all ages. In this article we’ll be focusing on the best activities for seniors living in Asheville.
Asheville is a fantastic place to retire, with stunning views of the blue ridge mountains and the crisp cool air of the Appalachian region. For people who grew up there it’s obvious to see why many seniors in the area choose to remain in their homes and hire in-home senior care services to retain their independence as they get older. Those who live here know that the mountain air and spectacular views are the perfect way to spend your golden years.
Here are some of the top activities for seniors around Asheville:
Biltmore Estate and Garden:
The Biltmore Estate is one of America’s largest historic homes, built by the Vanderbilt family. It’s one of the country’s most prominent examples of the Gilded Age, and sits on an enormous private estate in the Pisgah National Forest.
With memorable experiences planned year-round, the Biltmore Estate is a great place to take a day trip or even enjoy an overnight stay in the mansion.
In addition to the enormous mansion, the Biltmore Estate also has impressive gardens speckled across the landscape, including an Italian garden and America’s first managed forest. If you’re a plant lover, this is the perfect botanical adventure for you.
If you are a senior with mobility issues, it is a good idea to bring along a friend or caregiver who can help you get around while at the Estate since there is a lot of walking involved. The exercise is well worth the payoff though.
For those of you that are into handmade crafts, Lexington Glassworks is an excellent place to spend an afternoon watching craftsmen at work. Enjoy a local craft beer, while watching glassblowing experts create unique custom works of art in their studio.
You can even find one of a kind glass pieces for sale in their shop, after you’ve watched them work their glassblowing magic. If you haven’t been to see these guys, it’s well worth a trip.
Asheville Pinball Museum:
For the young at heart, there’s a whole museum dedicated to classic pinball games. Take a stroll through this amazing museum to relive the lights and sounds of classic pinball. If you’re a lover of classic arcade games, this museum will give you a healthy dose of nostalgia. Spend an afternoon being a kid again and check out the Asheville Pinball Museum.
Western North Carolina Nature Center:
For the animal lovers out there, the Western North Carolina Nature Center is the perfect day out. Featuring many different animals native to the region, there are many things to learn and cute animals to see. Take family members to have a fun outing for all ages.
These are just some of the highlights that Asheville has to offer. If you’re a senior living in Asheville, make sure to get out and enjoy some of the wonderful attractions and events that Asheville has to offer. There are lots of great things to do in and around our fantastic city if you take the time to get out and explore!
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.