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Aging Wisely April 2015 - Aging Wisely

Taking Care of Mom: When Your Aging Parents Don’t Want Help


aging parents Mom refusing help

As Mother’s Day approaches, you may have more weighing on your mind than just what gift to get your aging Mom. Perhaps you are worried that Mom or both of your aging parents are not doing well. Maybe you’ve already experienced some crisis and can tell the situation is getting worse. Unfortunately, sometimes when we try to offer help, our aging parents refuse those offers. It is not uncommon to get the response, “We’re fine.” when you know they are not.

What can you do when your aging parents refuse your help?

  • Keep an open dialogue. Try not to react with anger and to listen to what Mom is saying (we often work with family members well before we work with the elder, talking to them about their concerns and anxieties and suggesting different approaches). Try to gain an understanding of her perspective and the hidden messages she may not be stating. Remember that change doesn’t usually happen immediately, and this typically needs to be an ongoing conversation.
  • Try to find an opening. What does Mom say she would like help with? Is there something you can suggest which would make her life easier but not seem like an admission of problems or loss of independence? Household help, such as light housekeeping and meal preparation, or driving services are two areas where many seniors first accept help.
  • Don’t miss out on windows of opportunity. If Mom has a hospitalization, needs surgery or comes down with an illness, bring in “temporary” help (there’s more chance it will turn permanent when Mom becomes comfortable with help and sees the benefits).
  • Take a step back and get perspective. It’s your aging Mom and it’s understandably emotional when you’re worried about her. But, often, arguing won’t get you anywhere. Remember that she’s an adult and can make poor or different choices (as long as she’s competent to do so and not putting herself or others in immediate danger). It might help to talk to a professional or get an assessment to determine where things stand from an objective perspective and prioritize needs.
  • Learn about resources and where to turn when there is immediate danger. There may be situations where you have to take action, despite Mom’s protests. It’s also good to be prepared for the time when she might accept help. You want things to go well, so do your research about any services she might need. If she is in immediate danger or you feel she is incapable of making decisions, find out about the process you need to follow. For example, in Florida you could contact the Department of Family and Children’s Services for reporting elder abuse/neglect, including self-neglect and there is a Baker Act process for Florida residents who need immediate, involuntary psychiatric evaluation. These are used in worst-case scenarios. Talk to a professional about ideas and resources. We can give you information and refer you to an attorney about the guardianship process, if needed.

For more tips and resources on topics like this, sign up for our monthly newsletter. We’re here to help! Call us at 727-447-5845 with questions.

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Senior Gun Safety: Information from the Expert


Senior Gun Safety expert Largo Florida

Gun ownership is a controversial, highly discussed topic. What few people realize is the high number of seniors who own guns and the growing problem of senior gun safety for elders with dementia and diminished mental and physical capacity.

Senior gun safety is one of the trickiest issues our team has come across when working with elders and their families. Although driving safety and falls are probably the top two senior safety issues we encounter, elderly gun safety has come up in a number of cases and there are far too few resources/discussions about it. As shared in a Journal of American Geriatrics Society article*, “Whereas there are well-accepted guidelines for the assessment and counseling of older drivers, there is little to help guide clinicians in their discussions with older gun owners”.

One of the advantages we have in helping families at Aging Wisely and EasyLiving is a great resource network to access knowledge on all types of topics. We were fortunate to welcome Julie Williams from the Largo Police Department to provide continuing education for our eldercare team about senior gun safety. Julie has been with the Largo Police Department 12 years as a member of their Crime Prevention and TACH/SWAT Teams.

Senior Gun Safety Training by Julie Williams, Largo Police Department

Julie started with an overview of general gun safety and firearm information. She talked about the different types of firearms and the importance of safe storage and handling of both guns and ammunition.

She then shared the complex laws about gun safety and firearms. Gun ownership is strongly protected and there are federal and state laws governing firearms. These are covered under U.S. Code U.S.C. Chapter 44 Firearms and Florida Statute 790 Weapons and Firearms. There’s no upper age limit for owning a gun and the law does not routinely address diminished capacity in a person who already owns a firearm. Generally, someone can have a gun at home with no requirement for safe keeping (and can take them many places with them as well). Police can hold a gun temporarily for safe keeping, but this is only a short-term option (they can also advise on safe handling and keeping). Most care facilities have regulations about guns, though they may not be enforceable without the power of the law behind them.

Of course, there are specific issues that apply to aging and homebound clients. Julie discussed in-home care situations involving a gun issue and specific senior gun safety concerns. We talked about a number of cases we have dealt with and our experiences contacting the non-emergency police contacts. Due to the complexities of the law and limitations on police, families and professionals may need to be creative with solutions. The Record of Firearm Transfer form can be used when a client is willing to transfer a gun, for example to a family member.

Care planning can be done to incorporate gun safety and lawyers can even draw up a gun trust (a competent person can execute this, along with other estate planning documents, making the transfer of guns easier. The more proactively we (family and professionals) can address gun safety with seniors, the better. The issues may become more difficult and dangerous over time, especially for someone with dementia.

It is important to evaluate continued client and caregiver safety in relation to gun ownership. This ongoing assessment includes issues such as cognitive status, mental health, and physical abilities. In our discussions with the client, family and allied professionals, we consider the client’s wishes (and why he/she wants the gun–interestingly, nearly a fifth of all guns in the home are not intentionally purchased, but have been given to or inherited by their owners) and others who are coming into the home (providers may have policies about sending employees or volunteers into the home when a gun is present). Julie advised us on alternative safety measures a client might take if their concern is home safety (noise-making devices, pepper spray, securing the home).

One of the big takeaways from our discussions is that this issue needs to be addressed more holistically within communities. Gun issues are controversial generally, and gun rights limit what can be done in these situations. However, as our population ages we’ll need to work together to try to determine more comprehensive gun safety solutions.

What can you do about senior gun safety for your aging parent?

If you’re concerned about an aging parent’s senior gun safety, give us a call at 727-447-5845 or contact our eldercare professionals online (we offer nationwide consultations!). You may also want to check out Elderly Gun Owners and Home Safety Tips. Look for a future post with the Five Things You Need to Do When Your Aging Parent Owns a Gun (you can refresh your browser to initiate our signup box again, if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet).

*Pinholt EM, Mitchell JD, Butler JH, Kumar H. “Is There a Gun in the Home?” Assessing the Risks of Gun Ownership in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2014.
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Selecting the Right Help for Finding an Assisted Living Facility


assisted living facility decisions

So, your family has decided it might be time for Mom to move to an Assisted Living Facility. How do you find a good quality ALF that fits Mom’s needs and budget? How do you know which facilities have good ratings and provide quality care? Where to begin?

There are more and more assisted living options, making them all the more confusing to navigate. Because of this, services have sprouted up to assist families in reviewing eldercare options. Geriatric care managers have been helping families with this process for many years. We’ve helped hundreds of families with finding unique solutions to fit their needs, understanding costs and benefits programs, and helping the elder make a positive, dignified transition. You can read a great example story of the difference a care manager can make with the process in “A Daughter’s Experiences in Eldercare“.

Nowadays, there are other services that offer help with this process as well. Typically, they are single purpose companies/individuals (in other words, they don’t offer a range of eldercare services/options, assessment, etc., but only help specifically with choosing and moving to assisted care or retirement facilities). Here’s what you need to know/ask when evaluating who you might want to help you with the process of choosing an assisted living:

Who’s paying?

A geriatric care manager is an expert that you pay for personalized advice. Yes, that means the cost is typically out of your/your parent’s pocket, but it also means that you are the client. The care manager’s goal is to provide you the best options, and even find ways to possibly save you money, through negotiations, unique solutions and benefits programs. We find that most care management clients using our services for ALF transitions save more money in the process than they spend on our fee.

Most “ALF placement” services will tell you that there is no cost to you. This means they are typically paid by the assisted living communities when someone moves in (or through other similar arrangements). While this may seem like a cost-effective option, consider the possible limitations. Will you be shown all possible facilities or will smaller facilities or lower cost options who won’t pay a fee be excluded? Can the person negotiate on your behalf or help you understand benefits that may assist with costs? Moving into an assisted living facility is a very costly (financially and emotionally) transition, and sometimes saving a fee will cost more in the long run.

What are you getting?

What is the company’s background and the person’s experience and education? Can they tell you the ins and outs about the facility? Do they have a solid educational foundation in psychosocial aspects of aging? Do they have experience in counseling elders and families through various transitions? Do they have expertise in doing a comprehensive assessment to ensure the facility is appropriate? What about other alternatives for eldercare (for example, could they help if you want to explore in-home care, at least temporarily)? Do they understand Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits, etc.? Check out our Aging Wisely team’s experience.

Understand what you’re getting and how involved the person will be at different stages of the process. If you need help with the moving process and ongoing services (post-transition help, advocating at the facility, check-up visits), can the company assist?

We offer more details on evaluating an assisted living facility and getting help with the process here, along with our free Choosing the Right Assisted Living Checklist. Contact us at 727-447-5845 or online for more information and help navigating your eldercare choices.

Aging Wisely…your family’s advocate!

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Senior Friendly Gifts


Mothers hold their child’s hand for a moment and their heart for a lifetime.

As your Mom gets older, it can be hard to think of an appropriate gift to express your love on Mother’s Day. It is especially challenging to come up with senior-friendly gifts that are useful for a Mom who lives in assisted living or a nursing home. Today, we bring you some great products from our expert senior care teams at Aging Wisely and EasyLiving. These are products we know can make your elder Mom’s life easier or brighter. Click on the links to go directly to the sites where you can buy these products (and get our special coupon code below for so you can save a little money this Mother’s Day!).

Get My Senior Gifts Coupon


Women’s Fashionable Adaptive TopWomens adaptive top

This attractive women’s top is easy to get on and off and super comfortable. It completely opens up, allowing the individuals arms to be slid into the garment sleeves without the struggle of raising the arms or dealing with small neck openings. The shirt is perfect for helping Mom remain more independent with her dressing and for anyone who struggles with mobility. The top is made of easy care fabric. Get $5 off this and other adaptive clothing from with our special coupon code (you can use it as many times as you wish).



Extra-Wide, Slip Resistant Fleece Slipperselderly friendly slip resistant slippers

Ultra comfy slippers that are safe for walking around the house or assisted living facility, with a great non-slip tread. The soft lining is also great for Moms with sensitive skin and whose feet are often cold.



Sterling Birthstone Family Necklacemother's day birthstone necklace


Beautiful, keepsake necklace personalized with 2-8 birthstones representing children’s (and grandchildren’s, if desired) birth months. It can also be custom engraved with a family name, message or saying. This is a treasure for any Mom or grandmother.

Bionic Rose Gardening Glovesarthritis friendly gardening gloves

Specially designed by an orthopedic hand specialist for comfort and reduced hand fatigue, these gloves will keep skin safe from tears due to rose thorns. This is great for the gardening Mom! The special fabric and design keep hands cool and promotes natural movement and grip.

Adaptive Pants with Arthritis-Friendly Velcro Closureadaptive pants for women with easy closure

These adaptive women’s pants are great for Moms who suffer from arthritis or who use a wheelchair, and also provide easy access for dressing and using the toilet. VELCRO® brand strips on both sides of the waistband allow for adjustable, struggle free dressing. The front fold-down panel provides slip-on ease from a wheelchair or seated position. The back waistband is elasticized, and handy side flap pockets provide added convenience. The pants come in a wide range of colors and sizes and are made of easy-care fabric.

For other great gift ideas for your elderly parents and tips on how to make holidays special, visit our Gifts for Seniors post. If you need help ensuring the best quality of life for your elderly Mom or Dad, reach out to our senior care team today at 727-447-5845. Give the gift of aging wisely!

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How to keep a loved one safe at home, and when it may be time to consider assisted living.

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Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.