It’s that time of year again, the holidays are upon us. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas around the corner, it’s likely you’ll be seeing a lot of your family members. While it’s always nice to connect with your loved ones, it can also be a good time to have conversations with your aging parents while you’re together.

If you’ve noticed your family members need a bit more help lately, here are a few important conversations to have with your senior parents this holiday season. But first, take a moment to run through the strategies for how to have those talks. Always remember:

  • Be considerate: While you may have noticed slight changes in the lives of your parents, they might not have so, it’s important to be considerate of their feelings. Have these conversations with them thoroughly and explain your point of view respectfully.
  • Listen: It will be helpful to say your point of view but then remember to take the time to listen to their side of the story. It can also help in the future if you all agree that assisted living may be necessary as you’ll know what parts of their lives they struggle with most—from climbing the stairs to cooking meals.
  • Show you care: Conversations like this can always be hard to have but reminding your parents that you love them and you want to talk about this to ultimately help them will allow the conversation to go smoothly. 

Now that you have a few guidelines for how to approach these tough conversations, here are three critical conversations to have with your aging parents.

Wellbeing Conversation:

First, and most importantly, talk about the wellbeing of both or one of your parents. This is a conversation that might be the toughest to have but it’s critical to gauge how they’re feeling overall. Discuss their health—how do they feel on a daily basis? Are they staying active? If not, discuss options for them to get some exercise like, going for walks or joining a gym. These questions will help you learn more about their daily life and how they are feeling they’re doing with daily tasks.

Financial Conversation:

Finances can always be an awkward conversation to have with your parents but, it will help set up the rest of their lives. Discuss their will, is it up to date? Do they have property they have plans for? Offer them assistance with any of the financial questions or concerns they might have.

Living Conversation:

How are your parents doing in their home? Ask them about their living situation—do they have any issues climbing the stairs or keeping track of their personal items like keys or wallets? If they live alone, do they ever feel isolated or lonely? Conversations like this might lead to discussing assisted living or senior living options for your parents. Remind your parents you are there to help them if they do choose to move into a community.

Conversations like these can be hard to have with family members but they are awfully important. Review the strategies provided and keep them at the top of mind while you discuss any of the topics above this holiday season.

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The holiday season is upon us. The best way to spend the holidays is with family.

Unfortunately, some of our family members can be miles away. Traveling in the car or on a plane can make seeing your loved ones a little difficult especially, as you age. Figuring out travel plans and whether or not to make them can be stressful for many people.

Related: Tis the Season: Helping Seniors Manage Holiday Stress

But, not to fret! There are many ways you can still connect with your loved ones even if you can’t see them in person. The main way is through technology—it can be very useful when you want to catch up with your family members. According to the Pew Research Center,

“Around four-in-ten (42%) seniors ages 65 and older now own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013.”

Below we offer you three ways to connect with your loved ones over the holidays.

Schedule a Skype or FaceTime session:

Scheduling a session to Skype with your family members is a perfect way to connect with each other. This way, you get to talk to your loved ones and see them. One way to make it feel even more like the holidays is to open each other’s presents during your Skype/Facetime session. Plan to mail your presents to your family ahead of time so they’ll arrive before your Skype/Facetime session. It will feel as if you’re all there together being able to see everyone’s reactions to their gifts.

Make a video:

Using your phone, wish your family members happy holidays through a video! You can make it ahead of time and send it to them on the day they’re celebrating. This will show them how much you miss and love them.

Give them a ring:

Even a simple can call bring your family members together. Next time you feel like connecting with your loved ones, call them up! It’s a great way to get the inside scoop on all the fun things they have planned for the holidays.

Use technology to stay close to your loved ones over the holiday season and throughout the year. If you feel like you still want more holiday celebrations, bring the holiday cheer to your assisted living home!

Related: How to Bring Holiday Cheer to Seniors in Assisted Living

 

Happy holidays from all of us at American Baptist Homes of the Midwest!

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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. In the U.S., an estimated 5.5 million people have this disease.

Do you know someone who is or might be affected by Alzheimer’s? Learn the 10 warning signs to watch for from the Alzheimer’s Association below:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

Are you wondering, what now? What if I do notice these signs and symptoms in one of my loved ones? The next step you should take is to see the doctor.

Early detection can be very important with Alzheimer’s disease. If detected early, you have the opportunity to explore different treatments that can help extend your independent lifestyle longer.

It’s important to take notice of your loved ones and their health. If you’re starting to worry about a loved one’s memory and their living situation, let us help. We have an Assisted Living Decisions Guide that outlines the senior communities and services we offer throughout the Midwest.

Our Assisted Living Decisions Guide is designed to help you make good decisions for your future or that of a loved one. There are many factors to consider — financial security, ongoing healthcare, and overall safety and well-being.

It’s important to educate yourself and your loved ones of Alzheimer’s disease so that if the time comes, you are prepared. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about our assisted living communities, please contact us at 952-941-3175.

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Did you know? October is National Physical Therapy month. As we age it’s important to remember to prioritize our health. One way to do that is by taking care of ourselves when we are in pain.

Are you wondering how you can accomplish that in order to maintain your health? There’s one answer: physical therapy.

According to Web MD, physical therapy is a non-drug, no-surgery treatment that works for arthritis, cancer pain, Parkinson’s and incontinence and improves your strength and endurance.

General aging can cause many seniors to be in a lot of pain whether they have arthritis, recently fell, have been in an accident, sick, or simply just tired. To help you understand what physical therapy can do for you or a loved one, we’ll walk through four physical therapy types according to seniorliving.org:

  1. Manual Therapy
    Manual therapy is done by the therapist with their hands. The goal is to reduce any pain and relax the patient. This process includes massaging muscles to improve circulation and reduce pain. It also includes slow movements to stretch arms or legs—twisting and pulling joints or bones and making sure they are put into place.
  2. Electrical Stimulation
    This type of physical therapy is when electrical currents are going through the body in hopes to contract the muscles that may not be working as they should. Electrical stimulation is used when someone is experiencing pain, spasms or muscular weakness.
  3. Heat Therapy
    Heat is used when the need is to relax muscles and increase blood circulation. Heat therapy is a great way to loosen stiff joints caused my immobility. Another use of this therapy is to loosen the muscles before further physical activity takes place.
  4. Cold Therapy
    Cold therapy is a great type of physical therapy for those with arthritis. Cold temperatures are used to reduce pain and inflammation. This type of therapy often follows the process, also known as RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy can restore or increase strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and endurance – as well as reduce pain. Another role is to help the patient to do everyday tasks. If you or a loved one feels they are in pain, physical therapy may be the solution.

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Each year in October, we raise awareness and highlight the importance of education and research of the most common cancer in American women besides skin cancer: breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the U.S. for 2018, about 266,120 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.

However, if breast cancer is detected early, there are more treatment options and a better chance of survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years, according to the Carol Milgard Breast Center.

As reported by the American Cancer Society, at this time, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.!

Fortunately, there is one major factor in detecting breast cancer early and that is getting mammograms regularly.

It’s recommended that if you are 50 to 74 years old, you should be getting a mammogram every two years by the United States Preventative Services Task Force. If you are 40 to 49 years old, you should talk to your doctor about when to start getting mammograms.

Many organizations and people are dedicated to raising awareness to this cancer during the month of October and throughout the year. There are many ways you can get involved to help too.

3 Ways to Get involved:

1. Educate yourself and others
Get this free Breast Health Guide to educate yourself and your loved ones about breast cancer. There may be more than you thought to learn.

2. Raise awareness
Spread the word about the importance of detecting breast cancer early through mammograms to your friends and family.

3. Donate
Donating your time or money is a great way to get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are many organizations you can donate to like, Breast Cancer Research Foundation or the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. If you want to donate your time, try starting your own fundraiser with your business or school.

This October, how will you get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

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Does your family enjoy reminiscing about the past? Take advantage of these precious moments to learn more about your loved ones.

Talking through your family history can be therapeutic. During these reminiscing times, don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring out photo albums or mementos to spark a moment in time that allows for a fun and sometimes touching exercise.

There are many ways to start off these insightful conversations.

One helpful tool is the internet—it will offer quite a few sample questions to help you get started.

The day’s news or events can also be a great place to begin. For example, if you purchased gasoline on your way to visit, you may mention the cost per gallon and ask how much it was when your parent/grandparent was learning to drive. This can take you on a journey of follow up questions like, who taught you to drive? Where did you learn? What kind of car was it? What did you have to do to get your license?

What seems like a mundane life experience can actually help generate a whole new perspective about what your loved ones were like when they were younger. You may even see similarities in personality, mannerisms and talents in yourself or another relative.

Another way to spark conversation is to watch a documentary about an important event or person in history. This can bring people back to that moment and share details they may have forgotten themselves. Mining these memories with positive encouragement makes everyone feel important.

So, be creative, think about the time of year we’re in now—back to school—or what you ate for lunch that day or things your children have said, take these experiences and turn them into questions. Then, sit back and listen or record stories that you will cherish forever.

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