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Aging Loved Ones & Pets

As adults get older, willingness to socialize and be active may drastically decrease.

It is common for elderly adults to feel as though they may not have a purpose to get up and get going every day, as they likely have retired from their work and may not have close friends and family nearby. During this time, the feelings of loneliness and sadness can take over and cause the elderly to feel hopeless. Although there may not a cure for these feelings during a time of uncertainty and change, owning a pet can certainly help combat feelings of isolation and sadness.

Benefits and Downfalls of Seniors Owning Pets

Owning a pet can bring plenty of health benefits to the elderly individual, along with a few downfalls. It is important to note that adopting any sort of pet can be expensive. Not only will the new pet require an adoption fee, but they will need to remain healthy by visiting the vet regularly. Keeping a pet healthy and happy not only costs money but takes time, energy and patience. If a senior does not have the time or energy to commit to taking care of a pet, adopting a pet will not be beneficial to them and may cause more harm than good.

However, if an elderly adult has the financial means, energy and emotional capacity to take care of an animal, adopting a pet may be the companionship they’ve been looking for! There are several benefits of pet ownership for the elderly. These benefits include the following:

  • The feeling of companionship and having a bond will always be available to them. They will be able to spend time with their pet while they relax at home and will always feel that they have someone to keep them company. Although they are not humans, animals can be just as comforting during times of need.
  • A sense of purpose will be instilled in the senior, which may be an emotion that may have been absent previously. If an elderly adult has been feeling lost and hopeless, owning a pet can bring them a sense of purpose and responsibility that will bring joy to their lives. Suddenly, they may feel more energized waking up in the morning knowing that there is a life that is depending on them.
  • Able bodied seniors will get more exercise, especially if they own a dog. Whether they choose to adopt a dog, cat or another animal, it is work keeping up with a new pet! They may get more physical activity naturally by running around with their new pet!
  • Anxiety can be diminished with he solitude and comfort of an animal around! That bond can serve as a way to calm down and be in their “happy place” for the senior.

If an elderly individual has a specific need, such as impaired vision or severe anxiety, a service dog may be a viable choice for them. If a senior is interested in learning more about service dogs and if they will benefit them in the long run, his or her medical professional team will be able to evaluate their needs.

What Type of Pet Fits a Senior Lifestyle?

Seniors range in mobility, activity levels and attitudes, which will make their needs and desires different from person to person. When choosing the right pet, seniors and their families must consider their level of daily activity, their willingness to become more active and the amount of attention they are willing to give their pet. It is also important that before adopting a pet, elderly adults make sure that they are not allergic to said animal. This will prevent adopting and rehoming animals due to inability to make the situation work. Animals that can be great pets for seniors include:

  • Cats, for those seniors that want a companion but don’t want to have to walk their new friend every day. Cats can be a warm body to snuggle with, but do not require daily walks or a high level of attention. Cats may be best for the type of senior that is independent but looking for an extra companion at home.
  • Dogs are perfect for the type of senior that wants to have a companion that relies on them. Dogs rely on humans to take them out for daily walks, feed them and to keep them active. Dogs require a lot of attention and will be harder to take care of, but they are the perfect companion for seniors that are looking for a purpose and companion.
  • Fish could be perfect for the type of senior that wants something to take care of but doesn’t really want to have the fur or cuddle aspect of things! If the senior is looking for a purpose, but doesn’t want a huge commitment, a fish may be the right pet for them! A fish requires food daily, but they do not need to go for walks and do not require any physical touch. A fish may be the perfect pet to look at from afar!

Dogs, cats and fish are not the only options for seniors that may want to adopt a pet. There are other options such as bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters or reptiles. It is important for the senior to do research on the level of care that the animal requires and to match it directly to their abilities and willingness to care for said animal. With the right amount of love and care, pets can bring happiness and companionship into an elderly individuals’ home. Happy pet hunting!

 

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The Importance of Friendship as We Age

As we age, the feeling of loneliness and isolation may become more common. This is likely due to a lot of changes that is happening in your life, such as retirement, the loss of a loved one, moving from your home or not being physically able to perform daily tasks anymore. Although this is statistically a normal feeling for elderly individuals, it does not have to control your mood daily. Below are ways that a strong friendship or group of friends will get you through these transitional times as an aging adult.

  • Your friend or friend group can serve as a support system for you, especially if they are around the same age as you. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or with limited mobility, your group of friends likely is experiencing the same thing or something similar. They can give you advice that your young family members simply cannot give you, due to lack of experience or understanding. Your friends will serve as your support system during a time of change that many people call lonely and scary.
  • Your friend or group of friends likely will want to experience the same things as you. If you are unable to keep up with your younger family members when they do certain activities, you can feel left out. Your group of friends are likely around the same age as you and more than often will have similar limitations as you. As a group, you can do the activities that you enjoy, at the pace you are comfortable with!
  • Your friends likely have had different experiences through out their lifetime and connecting with them can bring you new life lessons. Although you may be older and wiser than you used to be, no one knows everything! By connecting with people in your elderly years, you are connecting with people that have lived a lot of life and have stories to tell. Allow yourself to be open to learning new things and getting to know different sides of life. It might feel refreshing to do so!
  • Your friend group may start to feel like a second family. Although no one will be able to replace your family, you likely don’t get to see them as often as you would like. Your children and siblings may be busy, or they may have moved away. Having a core group of friends allows you to feel as though you have a family close to you, taking the loneliness away.

During this time of change and transition, it is normal to feel uncertain of the future and loneliness due to the change. However, with the right support system and friendships to keep you company, loneliness can be a thing of the past! We hope that you will seek out healthy, long lasting friendships during these pivotal years.

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How to Help a Parent That Refuses Home Care

Home care can help your aging loved one with daily tasks such as light housekeeping, companionship, medication reminders or meal preparation. It may seem like the natural next step for your loved one, but what if they are refusing care? It can be difficult to convince your loved one that home care is the right step and will allow them to age comfortably at home rather than in a nursing home. Here are some tips that we put together to help you have that tough conversation with your loved one.

  • Start bringing up the conversation when you notice they are slowing down. It is advisable to ease into the idea of having an in-home caregiver. It can be overwhelming for your loved one to go from not having any help to suddenly welcoming someone into their home to help them immensely through out the day. As soon as you feel that they need extra assistance, offer to hire someone to clean the home, a friend to come and check in on them or using a ride sharing service to help them with their errands. This will hopefully reduce their feelings of losing their freedom suddenly.
  • Ask them why they feel that they do not need this assistance and show them why you believe they do. Often times, people will have this conversation and if their aging loved one says no, they leave it at that. By digging a little deeper into the reasons behind them declining help, you can get to the bottom of their insecurities or fears. Do your best to understand their concerns and to reassure them that although they may feel that they are losing freedom or are better off without it, they will have many benefits from bringing in a caregiver. Offer them situations and examples so they can realize that real life circumstances can require extra care and comfort that a caregiver can provide.
  • Bring a support system to help you when times get tough and conversations get heated. By bringing people with you that are on your side, you can show your loved one that they are loved, they have a support system and they have people that are looking out for their best interest. Be careful to not gang up on your loved one, using accusatory language may irritate them. Simply let them know that all of you gathered together that day to show your support for them and want the best for them.
  • Schedule a free consultation with 24 Hour Home Care, where your loved one can hear more about what a caregiver can bring to the table for them. Sometimes, people need to hear the same facts from a third-party individual that is not a part of their family. A 24 Hour Home Care representative will meet you and your loved one, free of charge, at their home to go over their treatment plan. This is a time for your loved one to ask their questions, get an idea of how they will benefit from home care and for you to show your loved one you support them.

We know that this conversation can be uncomfortable, emotional and hard. With these tips, we hope that you and your loved one can have a productive and positive conversation that will result in the right plan for them.

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How to Communicate with Your Loved Ones Doctor

There may be multiple reasons why you want to chat with your loved one’s doctor, including your concern for your loved one’s health or asking for more information. It can be intimidating to talk to medical professionals, especially if they are not your own personal doctor. It is important to note that if you are going to your loved one’s doctor to get personal information about their medical conditions and health, they are legally obligated to keep that information private. You should never expect a doctor to disclose private information, as they have laws to abide by and you should respect that. However, here are some reasons why you could speak with them, as well as how to speak with your loved one’s medical professional team.

If your loved one has an illness or diagnosis that you are unsure of, try asking them about their condition. Often times, they may feel overwhelmed or confused and not be able to offer you much information. This is an example of when it is appropriate to speak to your loved one’s medical professional team. Try giving their office a call and explain the situation in detail. Let them know that you would like information, not necessarily about your loved one’s health, but about the condition and diagnosis that he or she received. You can ask them if they have brochures for you to pick up, if you can come in to talk for about thirty minutes or if they have support groups you can reach out to. It is important to remember that their job is to protect client’s privacy, so refrain from asking them to go into great detail about your loved one’s health.

If you are concerned about your loved one and their health, it is important to evaluate the gravity of the situation. If the condition of your love one is not grave enough to call 911, make sure you write down all of the things that you are concerned about and give their doctor a call. You can describe to the doctor what is worrying you and ask them if they have any advice or what the next steps are. It is important to remember that your loved one’s health and happiness is the goal of both you and their medical team and that they will take the necessary actions to make sure your loved one is taken care of. Express your concerns and allow them time to respond, give advice and come up with a plan.

When you are communicating with a medical professional on behalf of someone else, it is important to remember that respect is key. You should respect their promise to keep patient information private and their time may be limited. Keeping your loved one’s doctors’ information in your home allows you to call them if the need arises, but remember to not contact them unless you have a valid reason to do so.

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Bullying and Harassment of Children with Disabilities: What to Look Out For

Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their peers that do not have a disability. While this statistic is shocking, what may be even more appalling is that only 60% of these children report their bullying or harassment. As a parent of a child with a disability, it can be challenging to know when the right time to deal with a bully is, how to go about addressing the situation and how to tell if your child is not being honest with you about the severity of the bullying. It is important to know that your child is likely either hurt, embarrassed or confused by the bully’s behavior and that may make them not want to report it to an adult or authority figure. When you ask them if they are experiencing bullying, make sure you make note of more than just their verbal answer. Here are some warning signs of bullying to look out for:

  • Your child has unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises or scratches.
  • Your child seems anxious, especially before school.
  • Your child may fall behind in school.
  • Your child may have trouble sleeping or may experience bad dreams.
  • Your child becomes afraid to go to school or attending any sort of organized peer activity.
  • Your child has a shift in their mood after school including depression, moodiness, sadness, agitation.

The best thing to do if you are suspicious about your child being bullied is to make an appointment to speak with his or her school faculty. It is important that you enlist their help to observe what is happening during the day and to notify you if there is anything suspicious happening. Should you receive that phone call that your child may be experiencing bullying or harassment at school, be sure to ask the school for the resources they can provide to you and your child. The school should have a protocol for situations like this and you are legally protected by The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It is important for you, as your child’s protector and guardian, to know what laws and regulations are put in place to protect you and your child’s safety. To read more about this, please click here

We hope that these signs will help you determine whether your child is being bullied at school or not. Please remember that although a child with disabilities is two to three times more likely to be bullied, bullying of any kind should not be tolerated or encouraged. We hope that you and your family live a very happy, healthy and positive life!

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Activities to Bridge The Generational Gap Between Grandparents and Grandchildren

A relationship with a grandchild can improve a senior’s mental health because it has been proven that socialization and engagement can decrease the chances of loneliness and depression. Equally so, one of the most important relationships that young children can have is with their grandparent. Grandchildren look up to their grandparents to give them direction and guidance, since they have experienced so much in their life. For some, the question lingers of what kinds of activities they can do together that they both will enjoy. We have come up with a list of activities that grandparents and grandchildren alike will appreciate and enjoy!

• Arts & crafts! Children love to play with their hands and discover new things. Try finding an art project that he or she has not completed before and teach them how to do it. This could be painting on a blank canvas, building a popsicle stick house, making slime or simply sketching portraits of each other! Arts & crafts will bring out the creative side of your grandchild and will give you both an activity that you can call your own.

• Play fun games! It can be challenging to play games outside with a grandparent, as age certainly will play a factor in their ability to participate in games such as tag or hide and go seek. However, there are several games that you can play with your grandchild that will allow you both to participate fully. Try playing a card game, board game or making up your own game to spend some quality time together!

• Take a walk! One of the best things for both children and adults alike is enjoying the great outdoors and having fresh air. Take a walk with your grandchild along a scenic route, to their favorite park or with their pet. This will give you a chance to have a conversation with them while you enjoy the outdoors.

• Go on a “grandparent date”! Do you remember your first date? Did you feel nervous as your date picked you up or as you approached their front door? Remember how special that person made you feel? Taking your grandchild out on a “grandparent date” would be a great way to not only spend quality time with your grandchild, but it will also give you a new tradition that you can keep up with in the future! This could mean going to dinner and a movie, attending a play, going to a museum or simply reading a book and having a meal together. Find out what your grandchild would like to do and make sure you treat them to a wonderful night!

Spending time with your grandchild can be a wonderful experience that will create memories to last a lifetime. Although there is a gap in generations between you, there are ways to bridge this gap and form relationships and connections that are unparalleled. We hope that you will use some of the ideas above to spend quality time with your loved ones.

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How Home Care Can Benefit Your Loved One’s Life

As seniors age, it can become increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks. Cooking meals, bathing and cleaning can all become arduous. On top of the strain that comes with aging, many seniors are faced with health concerns and serious illnesses. Because of their inability to care for themselves, leaving seniors alone can become dangerous. While family members can choose to care for their loved one themselves, it’s often times better to hire a professional. Working with a home care agency in Laguna Beach can benefit the life of your aging family member in a number of different ways.

Professional Help When You Can’t Be There

As a family member, you’re constantly worried about the well-being of your loved one. If you’re not living nearby, it can be stressful thinking about whether or not they’re safe and taken care of. That’s where home care is beneficial. No matter how near or far you may be, these trained and qualified caregivers can give your loved one the help they need to remain healthy and happy. In the event that you live with your aging family member, it’s still important to enlist the help of a senior home care service. It allows you to run errands, go to work, or remain active without the fear that something will happen to your loved one while you’re away.

Smiling senior 2

Day-to-Day Help

Not all seniors need help medically as they age. In fact, some just need help bathing, grooming or performing light cleaning. Home care services can help with these smaller tasks as well. Enlisting the help of an in-home care company ensures that your loved one preserves their dignity as they age. They’ll hold on to their independence and be able to function on their own with the help of the right home care company.

Dietary Support

It’s been shown that those who are 65 years or older or who are suffering from chronic conditions are more likely to suffer from malnutrition. This is especially true if they’ve recently been discharged from the hospital. If your loved one isn’t receiving the necessary nutrition, a home care agency can help. With skilled dieticians on staff, they can recommend certain meals and snacks to ensure that seniors remain strong. And if need be, a home care company will even prepare meals daily for your loved one to enjoy.

Medication Management

With aging, it’s not uncommon for seniors to be prescribed multiple medications. However, taking these medications incorrectly can lead to serious health issues. For that reason, many families are relying on home care agencies to keep their loved ones safe. With the help of licensed professionals, medication reminders can save your loved one’s life.

Smiling senior 3

Companionship

Did you know that seniors are at an increased risk of depression? This could be partly due to the limitations that come with failing health. More often than not, depression occurs due to loneliness. Seniors often find themselves alone all day long. Without visitors or companionship, they may start to lose hope. A home care service not only monitors the health of these valuable patients, but also gives them someone to talk to. Your chosen caregivers should not only be compassionate, but also positive and easy to get along with. They’ll provide a ray of sunshine in the life of your loved one and keep them company throughout the day.

There’s no “right” reason to hire a home care in Laguna Niguel. Whether your loved one needs around the clock assistance or simply needs help with day-to-day tasks, find out how the right home care agency can make a positive difference in their life.

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