Category Archives: Aging at Home

Senior Fall Prevention: Reporting Dizziness Key to Safe Aging at Home

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the number one cause of death caused by injury for Americans over the age of 65. One reason is because falls are so commonplace: the CDC estimates that one in three older adults suffers a fall every year.

But another reason is that seniors are often reluctant to tell a doctor or a family member that they are having balance problems or dizzy spells. And that’s a huge problem…

…the hesitancy of some seniors can frustrate family members and medical professionals and compound an already serious problem. ”I think it’s more (about) that fear of progressing into a different stage of my life… They feel that their independence might be robbed if they self-report.”

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The irony is that NOT reporting past falls, balance problems, or dizziness is often a faster route to losing independence, sometimes permanently.

That’s because a bad fall for an older person can easily lead to a prolonged hospital stay and rehab. And depending on the severity of injury and degree of recovery, there’s no guarantee that an elderly fall victim will ever return to the same level of pre-fall mobility or independence.

Take fall prevention seriously. Get rid of obvious trip hazards such as clutter and throw rugs. Use a non-slip bathmat and install grab bars in the tub and shower. Get your eyes checked regularly. And insist your doctor review ALL you medications to avoid interactions that can cause dizziness.

Click here for the CDC’s Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults.

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Mild Cognitive Impairment: Gateway to financial elder abuse?

Much has been made of the new redefinition of Alzheimer’s disease — the first in 27 years — which incorporates research that shows Alzheimer’s actually starts affecting the brain years before the most commonly known dementia phase of the disease.

Most experts agree that although we are still quite a way from any sort of standardized medical tests for early detection, the new definition is a critical step in the right direction.

If nothing else, the new guidelines issued by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association are creating awareness of mild cognitive impairment…

Experts say there are at least as many people experiencing this phase as the 5.4 million people estimated to have Alzheimer’s dementia. And they expect others to now ask their doctors if they are showing signs of mild impairment, which include experiencing some difficulty or inefficiency with memory, attention or other mental faculties, while still being able to function independently.

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The renewed focus on mild cognitive impairment is critical because during this diminished mental state — when an aging parent appears to be functioning “normally,” but is experiencing failing memory or judgement — it is very easy to miss just how vulnerable they can become.

Most adult children don’t understand how easy it is for aging parents with mild cognitive impairment to get into trouble while driving, or to become the victim of financial elder abuse.

It is easy to mistake Dad’s forgetfulness or Mom’s confusion for what often passes as normal signs of aging. For more info about symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, click here.

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Home Modifications Help Elderly Age at Home Safely

If you’d like to grow old at home, you’re not alone. Most older adults want to live independently for as long as possible. The problem is that most homes aren’t set up to keep older adults safe as they age.

Research by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that home modification and repairs may prevent 30-50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls.

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Need to make your home safer for yourself or an aging parent? Check out these FAQs from the National Resource Center for Supportive Housing and Home Modifications.

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Senior Scam Alert: Say NO to door-to-door contractors and handymen

Elderly scam prevention tip “Hall of Fame” contender: If someone knocks on your door and promises to spray a chemical on your roof that will make it last 20 years, just say NO! Even, as these con artists in North Carolina did, they claim to work for Sherwin-Williams…

…the suspects do not spray anything on the roof. After persuading the victims to pay up front, the men never come back to complete the work. …Dias was spotted in the Stanley area where he allegedly scammed an 84 year old out of $2,700.

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Elderly homeowners are favorite targets of travelling “contractors” and “handymen” who “just happen to be in the neighborhood.” The scam varies: sometimes these scammers run off with the cash before doing the work. Sometimes they pretend to do the work. And sometimes they do work that doesn’t need to be done. Either way, it’s fraud and you lose.

Your best defense: If you don’t know the person knocking at your door, do not let them in. Period! No matter how nice they seem. No matter how good the offer. Even if they claim you’ve won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! (Especially if they claim you’ve won!) Instead, call the police. If it is Publisher’s Clearinghouse, they’ll have enough money to make bail.

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In-Home Caregiver Steals from Elderly, Caught on Hidden Camera

What do you do if you think a home health care worker is stealing cash from your aging parent? When it happened to the elderly mother of this Rhode Islander, he set up his own sting operation…

The son told police he had become suspicious… after noticing that money he had given his mother over the course of several months was repeatedly missing from her purse. The son also told police that his mother suffers from dementia.

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The son showed his spy video to the cops, who busted the Certified Nursing Assistant when she was caught with a marked bill from her victim’s purse. The perpetrator has since been charged with stealing from another older client. Now this hired caregiver’s employers — a local nursing home and a home health care agency — are scrambling to see if she is connected to thefts from other unsuspecting elderly patients.

Important: Home health care agencies are supposed to run background checks on all employees. But don’t just take their word for it. Here are some critical questions to ask ANY health care agency you might trust to take care of your aging parents.

Thinking of hiring a caregiver who does not work for an agency? You have even more homework to do. Click here for more tips on how to obtain background checks for in-home caregivers.

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