Service Animals for Seniors

service dogs Most people are familiar with the concept of a service animal. You have probably seen dogs wearing brightly-colored vests, walking city streets with their owners. These animals are more than just pets. They provide a valuable service. They assist the deaf, blind, and other  people with various disabilities. Some of these animals are trained specifically to assist senior citizens. Aging individuals face unique challenges and service dogs can provide necessary assistance.

 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service animals are legally permitted to venture nearly anywhere in order to assist the owner. These highly skilled animals can perform numerous tasks, such as:

  • Turning light switches on and off
  • Recognizing and alerting owner of specific sounds (doorbell, telephone, knocking)
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Reminding the owner to take medications
  • Guiding the owner across streets safely
  • Triggering an emergency call

 

Service Animals for Dementia

Because dementia is technically considered a mental illness, it falls under the ADA. So,service animals for seniors with all types of dementia are permitted  to go most anywhere. These dogs provide their owners with comfort, security, and companionship.

Some common tasks these animals perform include:

  • Assist with mobility, particularly balance
  • Help owner stick to a familiar routine
  • Tactile and cognitive stimulation
  • Relieve symptoms of loneliness and depression
  • Alert others if the owner falls
  • Help prevent the owner from getting lost when venturing outside the home
  • Remind owner to take medications or perform other important tasks  

 

Benefits

Seniors with dementia benefit immensely from owning and working with service animals. Such dogs may improve communication skills, and encourage their owners to exercise. Many seniors who have previously been unresponsive to therapies tend to do very well with service animals. Some people are simply more willing to communicate and connect with their pets. It also provides an opportunity for social interaction with other pet owners. Beyond the obvious health and safety benefits, service dogs provide valuable emotional support as well. The bond between a service dog and its owner is essential for those with dementia.

Disabilities

Service animals assist people with diverse disabilities including:

  • Blindness/visual impairment
  • Deftness
  • Seizure disorders
  • Mobility impairments
  • Diabetes
  • Mental illness\emotional disorders

If you believe your loved one could benefit from owning a service dog, it’s certainly worth further research.   Most states offer free service animals to those who qualify. There is often a significant waiting period and a training program requirement for new pet owners. You may also choose to purchase a service animal from a professional trainer.  Buying a service animal from a private trainer can be costly, as it takes much time and effort to properly prepare one of these animals. If you are interested, below are a few resources to help you get started.

National Association of Service Dogs

National Service Animal Registry

US Service Animals

 

How the Net Neutrality Repeal Impacts Seniors

Net Neutrality rules were put in place to protect the Internet and those who use it. These directives prohibited Internet service providers from throttling internet speeds or blocking access to particular websites. Under these guidelines, Internet access was treated as a utility. This means everyone had equal access to services. The growth and freedom experienced through the Internet are largely due to the protections of net neutrality. Unfortunately, Net Neutrality has been repealed, and it is likely to have a significant negative impact on everyone. Many seniors, especially those living on a fixed income, will be affected. Even senior living communities will suffer some consequences. So, how exactly will the Net Neutrality repeal impact senior citizens?

Two Separate Paths  

The most likely outcome of the repeal involves Internet service providers creating two distinct pathways to the Internet. In other words, there will be a “fast lane” and a “slow lane.” In order to access the web at reasonable speeds, individuals will need to pay more money to use the “fast lane.” Furthermore, companies who receive high amounts of traffic to their websites will pay additional “tolls” in the form of fees likely passed on to consumers. People who are unwilling or unable to pay will simply have to deal with slower Internet speeds. Some websites and services may even be completely blocked for users who cannot pay for service upgrades. This would clearly have a negative impact on low-income people, including seniors living on a fixed income. Internet access could be limited or even nonexistent for many people. Seniors use the web, just like younger people. They communicate with friends and family, pay bills, watch videos and acquire information. All the amazing things the Internet has to offer could be restricted unless one can afford to pay the extra fees. Currently, 20% of Americans cannot afford Internet service. This number is expected to increase substantially under the new Net Neutrality repeal, as discussed in The Guardian..

Mobile Plans

Most mobile plans already have data caps. Plan prices will likely increase, and consumers may need to pay extra in order to access certain websites and services via their portable devices. Some older adults are already struggling to pay for cell phone service. Increased pricing may force them out entirely or cause them to switch to a less reliable mobile carrier. This could be dangerous as seniors need to be able to make emergency calls and communicate with important contacts.

The Impact on Senior Living Communities

For communities to conduct business and provide quality services, operators will need to purchase “fast lane” Internet packages. The increased pricing will be an inconvenience, but most senior living communities can afford the additional cost. Specific websites or programs may require special subscriptions. In this case, communities may have to drop some features to stay within budget.

80% of Americans are in favor of keeping Net Neutrality regulations. It is impossible to predict the exact impact of the repeal. In the meantime, some government entities and public organizations are fighting to reinstate Net Neutrality rules. For now, anything is possible and the fate of the Internet is in the hands of the Internet service providers. We can only hope that they will wield their power with grace rather than greed.

 

Preparing Seniors for Hazardous Winter Weather

 With winter in full swing, many areas throughout the country are experiencing dangerous weather conditions. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable during these situations, as caregivers or emergency call responders may be unable to travel and reach the individual in need. There are some things you can do to help your aged loved one prepare for hazardous winter weather.

Cold Temperatures

Freezing temperatures can be quite dangerous for seniors. If a person’s body temperature falls too low, he or she may suffer from hypothermia or frostbite. These conditions can be fatal. In fact, people over age 65 account for approximately half of the annual deaths caused by hypothermia. The most obvious way to prepare for cold weather is to dress in warm layers. Ask your loved one to stay indoors whenever possible and wear a hat, gloves, and scarf when venturing outside. Warm socks and appropriate footwear are also essential. Indoor temperatures should be kept at a comfortable level. Additionally, it is advised to store extra blankets in case of emergency.

Power Outage

It’s important to prepare for a power outage: not only for cold-weather circumstances, but for any emergency or natural disaster. Ensure that your loved one has easy access to flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit, some bottled water and nonperishable food items. Most experts agree that about three days worth of supplies are sufficient to get through a minor incident. If a power outage occurs during freezing temperatures, and your older loved ones have no access to heat, it’s crucial that they dress warm indoors and move around frequently to raise core body temperature.

Isolation

Seniors often become isolated during the winter months because travel is more difficult. Loneliness may lead to depression, so it’s important to initiate frequent contact with the older people in your life. A brief, daily phone call may be enough to keep a person’s spirits up. You can also ask friends or neighbors to stop in and check on your loved one. Frequent contact is the key.

Carbon Monoxide

The use of a fireplace, gas or propane heater, or lantern can create dangerous carbon monoxide. It is crucial that you have properly working carbon monoxide detectors in the home if your loved one is heating with these methods. Overexposure to this particular gas can cause serious illness or even death.

Ice

Slipping on ice is dangerous for anyone, but seniors are especially prone to injury and complications from a serious fall. To help avoid accidents, ask your loved one to stay indoors until roads and sidewalks are clear. If they must go outdoors, shoes with excellent traction are necessary. Furthermore, remove shoes immediately upon returning indoors because ice and snow that have attached to the shoes will melt, creating slippery indoor conditions. Additionally, replace worn cane tips to help provide safer mobility. Emergency call alert systems are helpful for seniors who live alone.

If your loved one is in a senior living community, check with the community to determine what precautions they take to protect their residents. Confirm they have working Fall detection systems. Ask about how they ensure floors are kept dry, and what procedures are in place to ensure residents, particularly those with dementia, do not wander outside unmonitored.

Winter weather hazards should not be taken lightly. Following these simple precautions can prevent a catastrophe for your aging loved ones. Take the time to ensure that the seniors in your life are prepared for the winter season.

 

How Men and Women Age Differently

 It’s no surprise that men and women age differently. Not only do our physical bodies handle the aging process in varying ways, but our coping abilities are also starkly contrasted. Extensive research in this area shows exactly how men and women age differently.

  • Longevity – It’s a well-known statistic that women have a longer lifespan than men. In general, females live approximately five to six years more than males, as stated in this 2014 report by the World Health Organization.There are numerous theories as to why this is the case. Scientists have not yet pinpointed exact causes, although they have speculated stress and lifestyle as leading factors.
  • Happiness – Women are reportedly more content during their senior years. This is attributed to women having better communication skills and more empathy, and likely more intimate/personal relationships. Men are more likely to become lonely and depressed as they age because they have fewer emotional coping skills.
  • Weight gain – Both sexes begin to gain weight after the age of 30. Men typically stop gaining in their mid-50’s while women continue to put on weight until about age 65.
  • Skin – Men lose less collagen and have thicker skin, therefore showing fewer signs of aging.
  • Hair loss – Both men and women experience hair loss during the aging process. However, men are much more susceptible to pattern baldness.
  • Disease – Certain diseases affect men or women more prevalently. For example, men are more likely to have Parkinson’s disease while women are more prone to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Gender Differences in Senior Care

Because of the longevity gap, assisted-living communities have seven female residents to every one male. Skilled nursing facilities have rates hovering closer to 10 to 1. You might think that men would like these odds. However, a lot of men feel that senior living communities are too feminine. This can create challenges when attempting to select the best community for your loved one. Senior men have different needs than women, and it’s important to find a community that has plenty to offer male residents.

Men have a significantly more difficult time coping with the aging process. Many men based their self-worth on their societal or professional role in life. Once they are no longer working, they may begin to feel useless. Without essential social interaction, they can become lonely and depressed. Here are some things you can do to help the older men in your life:

  • Give them “jobs” and responsibilities. This gives them a sense of value.
  • Allow them to teach younger people some useful skills. Intergenerational activities are highly beneficial to seniors and youngsters. This helps the older person feel important and useful.
  • Recognize the person’s history and identity.

Males tend to value independence and leadership. Anything you can do to reinforce these feelings will be immensely helpful to aging men. Take these factors into consideration when approaching delicate topics with the senior men in your life.

Aging is inevitable for both men and women. Although we experience the process differently, we are in many ways the same. All senior citizens need to feel valued and deserve the best care we can provide for them. Understanding the similarities and differences that men and women experience as they get older helps us provide optimal care.

 

Health and Happiness in the New Year: Attainable Resolutions for Seniors

 Attainable Resolutions for Seniors

 

A new year represents a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to metaphorically “wipe the slate clean” and begin to make better choices for the future. People of all ages set goals when a new year begins. Unfortunately, most individuals never achieve their objectives because their expectations are simply too high. It’s important to select new year resolutions that are achievable, yet push a person to make positive changes. Here are a few attainable new year resolutions for seniors to help them enjoy a healthier, happier life.

Nutrition

Encourage everyone, including the seniors in your life, to set nutritional goals. It doesn’t need to be anything extreme. Simply adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet may be enough to make a significant impact. We know how important nutrition is for health and longevity. Analyze your loved one’s diet and determine some realistic goals for her.

Fitness

Even people with mobility restrictions can create fitness goals. Mild to moderate physical activity can have a meaningful positive impact on a person’s life. Exercise can improve mobility, reduce risk factors for serious diseases, improve balance, and much more. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that physical activity can even improve life expectancy. Fitness goals should be tailored to a person’s specific needs and abilities. There are no shortages of exercise options. Some popular physical activities for seniors include Tai Chi, walking, and water aerobics.

Brain Boost

Seniors must keep their brains active to promote optimal cognitive function. There are many ways to give the mind a workout. This may include crossword puzzles, games, socializing, reading, and solving puzzles. A new year resolution for the brain might be something like, “I will complete three crossword puzzles each week and read one book every month.” Help your loved one find brain boosting activities that he enjoys. This makes it seem less like work and more like fun.

Speak Up

Twenty percent of seniors suffer from depression or anxiety. Encourage your loved one to talk about his feelings. A person must recognize a problem before it can be solved. Make sure the older adults in your life have someone to speak with about these issues. Their new year resolution could be a simple promise to communicate when they are feeling down or upset.

Quit Smoking

This resolution may seem completely unrealistic to some people. An older adult who has been smoking for 40 years may not be willing to stop at this point in life. However, it’s never too late to quit. We don’t need to discuss the obvious dangers of this habit. A popular alternative to cigarettes is an electronic cigarette. While they are not perfect and do contain nicotine, they are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. The goal is to have a person switch to an e-cigarette and slowly decrease the amount of nicotine intake, until eventually the user can eliminate the nicotine entirely. There are also nicotine gum products, patches and other alternative solutions for people who want to stop smoking. Some insurance companies, even some state health departments, will even cover the cost of smoking cessation products.

The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to create new habits. Persuade the seniors in your life to use this opportunity to set goals for a healthy happy future.

 

Tips for Helping Seniors Cope with the Holidays

Tips for Helping Seniors Cope with the HolidaysThe holiday season is a time of joy and celebration for many people. However, it’s a time of despair for others. This is particularly true for seniors, who may have experienced significant losses throughout their lives. Sadness is compounded when a person is dealing with loneliness, mobility restrictions, or health problems. Aged individuals often struggle the most during the holidays. There are several things you can do to help seniors get through this difficult time.

  • Shop: If possible, take your loved one out to the stores to enjoy a day of shopping. To avoid crowds, go early in the day on a weekday. Allow plenty of time for frequent breaks and maybe stop for lunch or coffee. It’s important to keep things lighthearted and simple. Try not to let him or her get exhausted or overwhelmed. This should be an enjoyable, memorable experience for both of you. If the person is unable to go shopping due to mobility or health issues, consider an online shopping adventure. You could make this a really fun experience by bringing a laptop, decorations, music, and snacks. Spend some quality time with him, and give him the opportunity to select gifts for grandchildren, etc.
  • Task assistance: Help your loved one with holiday-related tasks around the house that she may be unable to perform alone. This might include hanging decorations, gift wrapping, or baking those special cookies that she always makes for the holidays. It could be a wonderful opportunity for older grandchildren to get involved and spend some quality time with grandparents.
  • Social activities: If your loved one enjoys community or religious activities, make sure he has adequate transportation to participate in these events.
  • Inclusion: Be sure to include your loved one in your holiday experience. Even if the person has mobility restrictions, she can still help with planning or simple craft projects. Involvement is the key here. She needs to feel that she is a part of the celebration.
  • Listen: This time of year may bring up feelings of grief, and it’s important to allow people to talk through their feelings. You don’t need to offer solutions or advice, simply listen and allow him to express his feelings openly and honestly. Reminisce with him, pull out some old photos if you like, and just allow him to sit in his memories and grief.
  • Avoid exhaustion: Everyone is so busy during the holidays. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure your loved one has enough downtime to avoid exhaustion. Frequent naps and rest are helpful to keep seniors healthy and active during these hectic times.

Older individuals are more likely to experience the “holiday blues.” Pay close attention to your aging loved ones to ensure they don’t slip into depression. Make sure the seniors in your life feel included and understand how important they are during the holiday season.   

 

Preparing for a Loved One’s Golden Years

 Caring for aging loved ones has its challenges. The unexpected will undoubtedly occur. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare. It’s probably impossible to avoid all obstacles, but anything we can do to make circumstances more manageable, is well worth our time. A little planning and preparation truly go a long way. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a loved one’s golden years.

Documents

It is crucial for at least one family member to have access to the aging individual’s important documents. It is very stressful to gather needed records in the middle of a crisis. Having these in advance will save your family from unnecessary anxiety. Commonly required documents include:

  • ID – A photocopy of the person’s photo ID or driver’s license.
  • Certificates – You need certified copies of birth, marriage, and if applicable, spouse’s death certificates.
  • Social security card
  • Medical insurance cards – Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurance cards.
  • Vehicle titles.
  • Passwords to online accounts.
  • Military records if applicable.
  • Contacts – Significant addresses, phone numbers, and emails.

Advance Directives

Living Will

This legal document is extremely helpful. It defines an individual’s wishes if they become unable to advocate for themselves. It generally refers to end-of-life care and decision-making. Your loved one outlines instructions on how to handle issues like mechanical ventilation, resuscitation, and pain management. It leaves little room for debate, giving families some much-needed relief during an immensely stressful time.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This legal document allows your loved one to choose someone to make decisions on their behalf. Of course, this person should generally understand the wishes of the aged individual. This type of advance directive requires a great deal of trust.

Frequent updates

Some information needs to be revised often. Try setting up a quarterly schedule to record changes.

 

Medication

Having a current list of medications is vital. Furthermore, note any allergies your loved one has to food or medicine. It’s helpful to have copies of medication dosage, filling pharmacy, and the doctor who prescribed it . Don’t forget over-the-counter meds, vitamins, and supplements that the individual takes regularly.

Finances

A person’s financial information is very private, so it’s understandable why your loved one may not want to share much of this data. However, it is tremendously useful to have on hand. This is especially true of expenses. If an individual must spend several weeks in the hospital, someone needs to make sure personal bills are being paid. In more serious situations, assets and investments play a crucial role in providing proper care. You may need to have an in-depth discussion with your loved one to explain how important it is for someone to have access to their finances. Perhaps they can select a trusted family member with whom to share this information. It should include assets, investments, expenses, bills, and bank account details,

We can’t predict the events that will occur as our loved ones age. We can, however, prepare and plan for various potential situations. Put forth a little effort now to prevent your family from experiencing unnecessary strain in the future.

 

Help Seniors Surrender the Keys-When is it Time to Stop Driving?

Driving is a privilege that many of us take for granted. When a person loses their ability to drive, it is often devastating. It’s a loss of autonomy and freedom, and a tangible recognition that the individual’s faculties are declining. However, it is inevitable that as we age our ability to drive safely diminishes. At some point, we all must face the fact that driving is no longer an option. So, how do we approach this subject with our aging loved ones? How do we know when it’s no longer appropriate for them to drive? This is a very touchy subject for many seniors. Here are some tips that can help you handle the situation.

Signs that it is time to surrender the keys :

Some older people recognize that they can no longer drive adequately. Their discomfort will push them to willingly hand over the keys. But in most cases, people fight to retain their driving privileges. The best way to determine if your loved one needs to stop driving is to get in the car and take a ride with them. Here are some clear signs that a person may not be able to continue driving safely.

  • Bumping curbs, especially when turning
  • Forgetting the destination
  • Multiple minor accidents or “fender benders”
  • Passing/missing exits or turns
  • Lack of signaling for lane changes and turns
  • Rolling through stop signs, instead of stopping
  • Difficulty seeing traffic lights/distinguishing the colors
  • Forgetting the route to a commonly-known destination
  • Generally not paying attention to surroundings
  • Difficulty steering or pushing brake/gas pedals
  • Vision issues including cataracts and macular degeneration

How to discuss the subject with your loved one:

Start Early and Talk Often

Begin discussing the issue long before the individual actually needs to give up their driving privilege. This gives them plenty of time to digest the information and expect the transition. Have frequent conversations about the matter. Speak candidly, creating an open and honest exchange.

Patience

It’s very important that you approach the situation with empathy. Begin by softly encouraging the individual to stop driving. Explain the dangers, without pointing out the person’s driving mistakes. For example, you don’t want to say something like, “You need to stop driving. You missed two turns yesterday and almost hit the neighbor’s dog this morning.”’ Instead, try using gentler language and asking questions that provoke discussion. For instance, an alternative statement would look something like, “I’m worried that you are going to get hurt. Do you still feel comfortable behind the wheel?”

Don’t Force it

Allow your loved one to come to their own conclusions about driving. Don’t force them to stop unless it is necessary. There may be a time when you have to take the car and keys. However, it is much more productive to let the individual come to that decision on their own. Encourage them to evaluate their feelings about driving. Point out the unsafe environmental factors. Bring attention to the horrible traffic conditions and crazy drivers on the road. When you put the fault on the environment, rather than the driving abilities of your loved one, you remove some of the resistance.

Examine the Alternatives

There are numerous transportation options. It’s helpful to evaluate all the choices with the aged individual. There are ride services like Uber, Lyft, even taxis. Many communities also provide some sort of transportation specifically designed for senior citizens. Additionally, you might want to consider relocating your loved one, in order to be closer to family members or within walking distance of important locations. Reassure the individual that he or she will not be stuck by showing them all the promising substitutes for driving.

A number of states have laws in place that attempt to stop hazardous older drivers. However, these laws often are not comprehensive enough and most older people must voluntarily stop driving. It is an emotionally charged subject and requires gentle negotiation. When handled with patience and understanding, families can resolve this issue w

The Harsh Reality of Ageism

Senior citizensPrejudice is generally frowned upon in our society. We strive for inclusion, fighting against racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. However, unfavorable stereotypes of older people are widely accepted, and ageism is not treated with the same seriousness as other types of bias. Unfortunately, senior citizens feel the harmful impacts of societal ageism. In order to create positive changes, we must understand the problem. Here, we will examine ageism and how it is affecting our aging population.

Cultural norms

Americans spend billions of dollars each year to hide signs of aging. There is an underlying belief that getting older is undesirable. Our culture values youth. We associate seniors with diminished mental capacities, rather than wisdom. When someone is confused, it’s common to say they are “having a senior moment.” We would never allow such negative language to describe other minority groups. Yet, we find it amusing to give birthday cards stating that an older person is “over the hill.” Is this the message we want to send to aging people? The implication is that once we are aged, life just goes downhill, and we are deemed fairly useless.

Medical professionals

While it’s probably unintentional, many physicians regularly reinforce ageist beliefs. They are less likely to recommend technological solutions for seniors, because they think older patients will not understand or use high-tech solutions. Doctors also tend to accept physical ailments as a natural part of aging, rather than looking for other potential causes. Therefore, many seniors do not receive the best care.

Media

Public portrayals of aged individuals are often stereotypical, unrealistic, and overall negative. Television is especially responsible for pervasive ageism. Older characters are inclined to be one-dimensional and ridiculously stereotypical versions of senior citizens. They are underrepresented on television, but when they are shown, they often have these generalized qualities:

 

  • Childlike
  • Cranky
  • Unapproachable
  • Bumbling and confused

There is also a bizarre representation of older people who are hyper physically active. An example is an 85-year-old male character jumping out of airplanes for fun. It’s just another unrealistic portrayal of aging.

The impact

The most important part of the ageism equation is how it affects seniors. Some people may believe it’s just lighthearted humor to use ageist language and stereotypes. However, it deeply impacts aging individuals. It creates negative outcomes, both mentally and physically. Ageism causes people to feel useless, depressed, and anxious. From a physical standpoint, research shows that older individuals experience more health problems if they believe aging is the cause. Seniors who reject stereotypes are overall happier and healthier.

How can we help?

Healing begins with education. Psychologists and other mental health professionals must educate the general public about the mental and emotional dangers of ageism. Additionally, seniors should be knowledgeable about these false stereotypes. We need to focus on the positive aspects of getting older and ensure that aging individuals feel useful. We all need to feel that our lives have purpose. This may be even more crucial as we get older.

The systemic ageism running rampant in our society is problematic and unfortunate. To correct the problem, we must first recognize and understand it. Informing people of the harmful effects of ageism is the best way to begin the healing process. Hopefully, this institutionalized prejudice will become as unacceptable and taboo as racism and sexism.   

 

How to Cope with Aging Parents and Sibling Conflicts

Caring for aged loved ones frequently creates stress and conflict for family members, especially among siblings. It’s difficult for families to provide quality care when they are busy arguing. So, it is in the best interest of our aging relatives that we understand why these disputes occur and how we can solve them.

Areas of Conflict

Imbalance

The most common reason for fighting between siblings is a perceived imbalance of responsibility. If one sibling feels as if she is doing all the work, a grudge builds quickly. Or, if a sibling believes he is providing most of the financial assistance; he may think that he is being treated unfairly. Most often, the adult child living closest to the aged relative, is the person who provides the majority of the hands-on care. She is the one driving mom to doctor appointments and doing the grocery shopping. Anytime a particular sibling feels that they have been delegated more than a fair share of work, resentment, anger, and frustration eventually come to the surface.

 

Finances

Disagreements about money typically involve an aging parent’s assets. Siblings may argue about how to pay for care and how to handle funds. Some adult children adamantly protect assets because they hope to inherit the parent’s estate. However, it is often necessary to liquidate resources in order to help pay for care. Furthermore, some adult children believe they are entitled to a larger share of the future estate because of the disproportionate amount of care they currently provide the parent. Families regularly begin fighting over the estate years before the aged person passes away.

Solutions

  • Communication – As with any conflict in life, communication is the key. Siblings and family members must speak honestly and openly about their feelings and the issues. In order for this to work, people must put their egos aside and focus on the well being of the senior in question.
  • Professional advisors – A great way for families to step aside and view the bigger picture is to hire a trained mediator. This could be a senior care advisor, family therapist, or even a qualified religious counselor. A neutral third-party can generally calm the waters and bring a fresh perspective to the situation.
  • Personal responsibility – Understand and accept your role in the quarrel. Do your best to put aside negative emotions and blaming others. Simply do what is best for the aging individual and let the rest go. You will have plenty of time later to deal with hurt feelings, now is the time to take care of your loved one. .
  • Planning – Determine in advance which sibling will handle each responsibility. Set up regular meetings or conference calls to discuss current status and changes.  This ensures that everyone is on the same page and provides an opportunity for open discussion.  Siblings may want to switch responsibilities as circumstances change.These meetings might take place twice a year, quarterly, or even monthly, depending on the situation.

Family conflicts are difficult, requiring tremendous patience and understanding to overcome. However, it is necessary to resolve these issues in order to provide the best care for your aging relatives.