Friday, January 29, 2010

Tips to Prepare for Your Aging Parents Care in Allentown, PA

Baby Boomers and Aging Parents - Six Tips to Prepare For Their Care
By Katie B. Marsh

Although there is some debate over the exact age range of the Baby Boom generation, the US Census Bureau identifies most Boomers as those who were born between the years 1956 to 1965. In any case, whether you were born within that time frame or fairly close to it, chances are you are beginning to deal with end-of-life issues regarding your elderly parents. Your many considerations run the gamut from the practical to the spiritual and everything in between. So, where do you begin?

Caregivers. Imagine if we ended our lives as babies, completely dependent on a caregiver tending to all of our needs: loving us, feeding us, changing our diapers. Imagine now that we are not as cute as little babies but still have the same need to be cared for gently with love and respect. Who would you want to take care of you in this situation? Who do your parents want to care for them? This question should be posed directly to your parents. Don't assume you know the answer. What they may have said 10 to 15 years ago may not still hold true today as they are closer to facing their mortality.

Finances. As we know, in our society it's considered impolite to ask someone about their finances. Many adult children hesitate to inquire about the exact state of their parents' finances for fear that their parents will think that the real questions is about potential future inheritance money. But it's extremely important to have an honest discussion about finances at this point in life. First of all, you need to know if your parents have long-term care insurance. This is the only type of insurance that pays for future assistance that may be needed in the performance of activities of daily living. And, as the name implies, it helps cover the cost of long-term care usually for an undetermined length of time. Long-term care insurance combined with your parents' net worth, any financial assistance from family, and personal preferences will all factor in to determining where and how your parents live out their final years.

Memoirs. The written word is a way for us to live on beyond this lifetime. Encourage your parents to share their unique stories on paper. My great grandfather actually typed his life story and had it bound in leather and embossed in gold leaf. My brother, sister, and I cherish it and each wish we had our own copy.

Legal Instruments. A living trust is a very important instrument for any family with assets to bequeath. Its main purpose is to avoid probate. Much of a family's estate can be lost through probate; setting up a living trust is a way to prevent such a loss. It is best to hire an attorney to set up a living trust tailored to your family's specific needs.

The next consideration is to find out to whom your parents have given or intended to give power of attorney. Power of attorney assigns power to an individual to act on your behalf to handle all of your legal and business matters in the event that you are unable to do this for yourself.

Lastly, an advance directive is a legal instrument prepared in advance by an individual. It gives health care instructions to your care providers in the event you are unable to conduct such matters on your own. A living will, power of attorney, health care proxy, and Five Wishes are all forms of an advance directive.

Possessions. A Last Will and Testament is the instrument to be prepared by your parents to assign care for their dependents, if any. This can include pets as well. Also, this is the legal mechanism through which they can identify one or more persons to manage their estate and provide instructions for the distribution of their personal possessions. This includes everything from real estate and expensive jewelry to the simplest sentimental items. Funeral and burial instructions can also be outlined here. Although this is a legal document, completing one can give great comfort to your parents, giving them control and certainty over one aspect of their lives.

Final Messages. Encourage your parents to write letters to each of their children if they feel comfortable doing so. Some families even make audio or video recordings of their elders. It can be about anything - a full life story, funny anecdotes, family stories, or loving good-byes to each of their children. My husband's grandmother came to this country from Armenia and she recounted her tumultuous life on CD. He cherishes it and plans to share it with our children when they are older.

Your parents are entering a time of life where many people feel particularly vulnerable. This can be especially difficult for parents who are used to being in charge and may not be comfortable at all with the reversal of roles. Please keep that in mind as you gather information from them and help them create a plan for the future. If done tactfully and respectfully, this time of life can bring you closer to your parents than ever before.

Katie B. Marsh is co-author of The Birth of Dying: A Sensitive Workbook to Help You Broach and Explore End-of-Life Issues with Your Terminally Ill or Elderly Loved One

(c) Copyright - Katie B. Marsh. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

5 Ways to Make Your Aging Parents' Bathroom Safer in Allentown, PA

5 Ways to Make Your Aging Parents' Bathroom Safer
By Kevin J Campbell

One of the most dangerous areas of seniors' homes are their bathrooms. Seniors can get trapped in the bathtub, slip and fall on the wet floor and can even have difficulty getting off the toilet! Do not let this happen to your loved ones.

5 ways to make your aging parents' bathroom safer include:

1) Remove scatter rugs - They are a major falls risk. Older adults cannot easily recover from a slip as they have decreased balance and strength. If your mother (or father) insists on keeping them, replace them with ones that have rubber bottoms (anti slip) and are rigid so that they cannot roll up. This prevents people from getting the scatter rug caught under their feet and causing them to fall.

2) Raised Toilet Seats - Older adults typically have difficulty sitting down and getting back up from regular toilets. An easy fix is to install a raised toilet seat. There are a variety of different styles so have a general idea as to what their toilet looks like when you go purchase one. Believe it or not, but seniors do get stuck on the toilet (sometimes for hours if they live alone) because they cannot get up from off the toilet.

3) Tub Bench - If your aging parents have a standard bathtub, it might be time to consider using a tub bench. This provides a place to sit down as well as makes getting into and out of the tub safer. Instead of having to lift their feet over the tub edge they sit down first and then bring their feet into the tub. Combined with a hand held shower head and they have one of the safest ways to shower (without having to renovate!).

4) Hand held shower - Since older adults may have poor balance, it is often a good idea to have a shower head that they can move around their body, instead of the other way around. Turning around in a slippery bath tub has caused many falls and there is no easy landing in a bathtub. It is also excellent for seniors who use tub benches or shower chairs.

5) Grab bars - An excellent way to prevent falls is to install a few grab bars. One by the toilet to help in sitting/standing, and another two in the bathtub/shower area. For the bathtub/shower area, have one the senior can hold onto when getting in/out and then another for when they are in the shower/bath tub.

All it takes is an afternoon and some money well invested to prevent falls and make your parents safer in their own home.

For more information:

Kevin Campbell - Articles about a wide variety of topics including: home design for seniors, equipment for seniors and home safety for seniors.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Understanding Cold and Flu symptoms in Allentown, PA

Is it a cold or the flu? Here's how to tell

(ARA) - "My body aches and my head is throbbing. Do I have the flu or is it just because I'm stressed or tired? Do I need a flu shot? Do I need the H1N1 vaccine, too?"

Millions of Americans will be asking themselves these and more questions this fall and winter as news reports and health care providers continue to warn about seasonal influenza and novel H1N1 influenza, otherwise known as swine flu.

The flu symptoms self-assessment tool on can help you assess whether you or your loved ones have some form of flu, or just a cold. If you possibly or likely have the flu, you'll also learn whether antiviral medication is an option. And you can check a concise list of high-risk groups who should seek medical attention for the flu.

Flu - influenza - is caused by a virus that attacks your respiratory system. Health experts agree that if you're generally in good health, the flu - either seasonal or H1N1 - will likely do no more than make you feel rotten for a few days. You probably won't develop complications or need to go to the hospital. If, however, you have an already weakened immune system or are among those considered high risk - such as infants, young children, pregnant women or the elderly - the flu can be a serious and even fatal illness.

Common symptoms of both the seasonal and swine flu include:

* Sudden onset. Colds usually develop over a few days and are only a nuisance. Flu hits you quickly and hard.

* Chills, sweats, headache and body aches, especially in the back, arms and legs.

* Fever higher than 101 F in adults and up to 103 or 105 in children.

* Nasal congestion but a dry cough.

* Overall weakness and fatigue.

* No appetite in adults and children, and diarrhea and vomiting in children.

* Worsening of chronic ailments like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

Most healthy adults will only need to treat the symptoms and let the illness run its course. Infants, young children or adults at risk of complications, however, should see the doctor right away. Antiviral drugs, taken in the first 48 hours that symptoms develop, may trim the length of the illness and help prevent the development of serious complications like pneumonia.

Ultimately, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting the flu. Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated. Visit for more information on managing your health. Courtesy of ARAcontent

Visit us at if you need help for a senior loved one in the area.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Healthy Joints Keep Seniors Active in Allentown, PA

An active life begins with healthy joints

(ARA) - The new year often means resolutions like being healthier or exercising more often. What many people don't know is that our joints are the critical part of the body that allows us to be active and do the activities we most enjoy.

Approximately one-third of Americans 35 and older say their joints prevent them from doing their favorite sport or activity in the last year and more than 50 percent of them just accepted that as part of the aging process, according to a recent study. The good news is there are simple and effective steps you can take to strengthen and protect these "forgotten soldiers" - ensuring your joints a healthy kick-off to an active year.

Dr. Kevin R. Stone, an orthopedic surgeon at the Stone Clinic and founder of the Stone Research Foundation and Joint Juice, a San Francisco-based joint health beverage company, offers five tips for helping to maintain healthy joints:

1. Manage your weight - You won't just look better - you'll feel better. Every extra pound puts four times the stress on your knees and other weight-bearing joints. Even a small amount of weight loss will give your joints relief.

2. Be supplement savvy - Dietary supplements like glucosamine have been proven to help maintain joint function and mobility. Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body, but due to the physical demands of everyday life (let alone running, tennis or even walking), our body's supply is often not enough. Joint Juice beverages provide an easy way to drink your daily supply of glucosamine and avoid having to swallow two big horse pills a day.

3. Stretch - Stretching isn't just for workouts. Take breaks throughout the day, especially at the office, to get re-energized. Range-of-motion exercises are a good way to keep muscles and ligaments flexible and strong.

4. Use good technique - When sitting, standing and especially when lifting, using the proper technique will prevent fatigue and injury. Ask an expert if you don't know how to do it, but be sure to assess your technique for these simple daily activities.

5. Make a date with your doctor - See a physician for a routine check-up at least once a year. Request an examination of your joints - from head to toe - and ask for tips on protecting your joints from daily stress.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Helping Parents Accept Assisted Living in Allentown, PA

Should Mom Be Living Alone?
Jacqueline Marcell

Recently I received a call from Michelle, an exasperated adult daughter asking if there was any legal way to get her elderly father to stop yelling, screaming and berating her, and to accept a caregiver so she could move out of his house. She had moved in to help him after her mom passed, but was now trapped as he refused to move to assisted living or accept live-in help.

Michelle started to cry, saying she had just called an agency where a man “laughed at me,” saying her father could do whatever he wished in his own home short of physically abusing her. Since I have survived the same situation with my own father, I knew the misery she was going through.

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