Engaging Seniors Tips - Elder Care Lawyers CT

elder care lawyersElder Care Lawyers CT

 The more socially active the elderly are, the less likely they are to become depressed. Depression, stress, and isolation can lead to health issues. This can happen easily to seniors living away from family. Whether seniors are living alone, or receiving home care, or living in some type of senior housing, a retirement village, or nursing home, they need to interact with other people.

The #1 thing to keep in mind is that you can’t force a senior to be active or to exercise. Your efforts will not succeed if the elderly person feels coerced into doing it. Patient and friendly persuasion goes much farther than confrontation.

Focus your efforts on encouraging the elderly person to try things that you know she has enjoyed in the past or that have a high likelihood of being interesting to her now.

There are many ways to build more socialization into a person’s daily life. Here are some suggestions:

1. Visit in person at regular intervals.

Not only is it better than a call because you can see what is going on in the home, it is best for the senior to see you, get a hug from you and feel the benefit of your physical presence. If distance and time make this a challenge, consider using SkypeTM or other video connection to make contact a visible event.  If your aging parent is difficult and this is not enjoyable for you, keep it brief, but make it regular.

2. Take your aging parent to events he may enjoy. 

Concerts, theater productions, community festivals, comedy acts, and other social activities are best enjoyed with company.  If you can go with your parent, he may have a chance to do things he would never do alone.  Start with things your parent has liked in the past, locate something similar via online research or newspaper listings and offer to get tickets and arrange transportation.

3. Utilize your local senior center.

Nearly every community has a senior center, but most people do not think much about it until they realize one day that they are old enough to attend. The benefits associated with senior centers are significant in the lives of older people and those who care about them.

Each senior center tends to have its own personality, based on the community it serves. Dances, outdoor hikes, political forums, volunteer placement services, health clinics, and therapeutic massage are just a few of the things you might find are offered. Check with the local senior center to learn what's available, and expect to find programs for older adults of all ability levels. Fees are usually on a sliding scale.

How to find it: Senior centers are listed in the phone directory or online. Be sure to use the local town or neighborhood as a keyword. Or try getting in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging at www.ct.gov/agingservices.

4. Consider jobs, volunteering, and education.

Older adults' ability to work, volunteer, or take educational courses depends, of course, on their condition and desires. But a surprising number of these options are available for seniors of varying ability levels.

The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program in Connecticut provides opportunities to persons 55 years of age and older to participate in their communities by sharing their knowledge and skills through meaningful volunteer experiences.  The State of Connecticut funds 8 RSVP programs in Connecticut along with the Corporation for National Service and local communities.  The program links retirement-aged individuals with community organizations seeking assistance.  Volunteers provide valuable services in places such as day care centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, hospitals, and home health agencies.

How to find it:            Local offices are listed at: www.ct.gov/agingservices/cwp/view.asp?a=2513&q=313072

5. Look into adult day programs or daycare.

It can be hard to get past the name -- it sounds like childcare, and some older adults find it stigmatizing -- but many adult day programs offer fabulous opportunities for people of all abilities.

Adult daycare centers are designed to provide supervised care to adults unable to be alone for long periods of time. Adult daycare programs can provide peace of mind to caregivers. These facilities are generally open Monday through Friday during normal business hours, although some may be open evenings and weekends as well. The National Adult Day Services Association defines elder care day programs in three types of centers: social day care consisting of activities such as outings, meals and entertainment; health day care intended for those needing medical management, which is a benefit to those hoping to keep a loved one out of an institution for as long as possible; and centers designated only for residents needing a high level of care, such as dementia patients or patients with HIV/AIDS, which can benefit the caregiver needing a much deserved break from the exhaustion of extensive care.

How to find it: Senior centers are listed in the phone directory or online. Be sure to use the local town or neighborhood as a keyword. Or try getting in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging. This agency is useful for tracking down many of the resources listed below, and can also be found at 800-677-1116.

6. Sign up for Meals on Wheels.

For many older people who've become isolated, Meals on Wheels also provides a regular social contact, as recipients get up to chat with a friendly visitor. And while Meals on Wheels doesn't officially take responsibility for the people it serves beyond delivering meals, volunteers often bond with their clients and informally look out for them.

Local Meals on Wheels programs are usually run by senior centers or other community organizations. While many people think this service is only for those who are ill or have a low income, older adults and disabled people of all income levels enjoy the service, paying as they can afford.

Newly released research from Brown University demonstrates the positive impact of increased spending on home-delivered meals programs for older adults. The study compared state-level expenditures on Older Americans Act (OAA) programs with the population of "low-care" seniors in nursing homes (i.e., residents of nursing homes that might not need the suite of services that a nursing home provides). According to the analysis of a decade of spending and nursing home resident data, states that invest more on home-delivered meals to seniors have lower rates of "low-care" seniors in nursing homes.

How to find it: Meals on Wheels has chapters around the country. Go to the Meals on Wheels website www.mowaa.org and enter your zip code to find a local program. Or contact a local senior center, listed in the phone directory or online.

7. Hire an in-home caregiver or companion.

Whether specifically intended to help older adults with tasks such as dressing or bathing, or for casual companionship (like playing a game of cards or sharing a movie), in-home caregivers can help older adults beat isolation and boredom.

There are in-home caregivers for every level of need, from companionship to clinical nursing. Some people use more than one type of caregiver, depending on their situation.

The key to making in-home caregiving work is balancing older adults' needs with their finances. Caregivers are usually paid by the hour, and it can become expensive. The greater the skill set required, the higher the hourly rate.

For medical assistance, older adults may be eligible for some in-home care funding from Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit, or health or long-term disability insurance.

How to find it: In-home caregivers can be hired independently or through an agency. Agencies are listed in the telephone directory or online (search using your location as a keyword). Or try using the Eldercare Locator www.eldercare.gov/.

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