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Aging Wisely August 2015 - Aging Wisely

Great Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents Who Have Everything


Do your elderly parents have lots of stuff? Does your elder Dad tell you he just doesn’t need anything? Are your senior parents trying to downsize?

It can be impossible to come up with gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything. Every few months our expert team does the hard work for you and finds some great senior-friendly gift ideas! We try to find things related to the season and to cover a range of interests, plus things we know are especially useful gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything. These are things that they’ll enjoy or can make life as you age a bit more enjoyable or comfortable. Many of them are appropriate for someone who lives in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home.

This time we offer some special autumn gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything:

Fall Foliage Book

Fall Foliage Book

A beautiful book of New England autumn photographs. It makes a lovely addition to any home. It is an especially nice gift for “displaced” New Englanders who might be missing the fall foliage season, or anyone who’s ever visited.

First day of school

“First Day of School” Picture Frame Magnet Craft Kit

This is a great project for grandma or grandpa do to with the grandkids as they prepare to go back to school. It makes an adorable decoration for the grandparents’ home or assisted living/nursing home room too, and it’s a great way to create special memories and discussions together.

personalized gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything: football blanket

NFL Football Blanket

Perfect for your favorite football fan! Elders tend to get colder more easily and nothing will keep them warmer than snuggling up with their favorite team while they watch the game!

Gripper Socks

Fuzzy Spa Slipper Socks with Non-Skid Grips

Super soft, unisex slipper socks are one of the best gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything. These are wonderful to wear around the house, or in an assisted living facility, rehabilitation center or hospital. The non-skid grips keep you safe, while the warm, soft fabric keep toes toasty!

Apple Peeler

Apple Peeler, Corer and Slicer

Have a great baker in your life? This tool makes baking the perfect apple pie so much easier; it’s also great for potatoes! Peel, core and slice apples or potatoes in seconds; attaches to a table or countertop.


Stay tuned (sign up for our newsletter so you never miss out) for more seasonal gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything! You might also want to check our full Gifts for Seniors guide, where you can also get an exclusive coupon for senior-friendly clothing and adaptive equipment.

Contact us if we can help with your eldercare needs, advice or resources!

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Senior Fitness Tips


senior fitness

As we said in our post about the secrets to aging wisely, keeping your body as fit as possible is one of the keys to enjoying your latter years. Today, our special guest expert, personal trainer and owner of At Home Fitness, Kelly Carson, shares some great senior fitness tips.


Think of it this way: the more repetitions you do while exercising, the MORE wear and tear on the joint.  The LESS repetitions you do while exercising, the LESS wear and tear on the joint.

You can’t strengthen an arthritic joint by doing more repetitions.  The only way to strengthen an arthritic joint is to get it replaced with a new one!  The idea is to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint.  This will give the joint more support and lessen the workload on it.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your repetitions between 8-20.  If you can’t do eight repetitions, the workload is too heavy.  If you can do more than 20, then the workload is too light.  Weight bearing exercises are also harder on the joints than lying down, or sitting.  If the arthritis is severe, then even less repetitions are needed and isometric exercises are warranted.

Kelly works with many of our Aging Wisely clients on personalized routines that fit their needs. Less is more doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, just follow these tips to ensure you are helping your body and not hurting it. Some clients have particularly enjoyed exercising in a pool. The right kind of exercise can relieve pain in most cases…check with your doctor and work with a senior fitness expert!


You will need a straight back chair with arms:

  1. Sitting in the chair, get your bottom to the edge with both hands on the arms of the chair.  Now stand up (check out my “nose over toes” tip for safe standing, balance and fall prevention).  Then sit down – slow and controlled, no flopping!  Do 5-10 times, when 10 become easy, go to #2.
  2. Same position- bottom to the edge of the chair with one hand on arm of the chair, other hand across your chest.  Stand up, and then sit down – slow and controlled, no flopping!  Do 5 times with one arm, and then do 5 with the other.  When this becomes easy, go to #3.
  3. Same position – bottom to the edge of the chair, “look ma, no hands”! Both arms across your chest.  Now stand up and then sit down – slow and controlled, no flopping!  Do 5-10 times.  When 10 become easy, go to #4.
  4. Same position – bottom to the edge of the chair, both hands on the arms of the chair.  Now stand up. When you go to sit down, STOP halfway, hold and count ALOUD to 5, then sit down -slow and controlled, no flopping!  Work up to 10 times.

At Aging Wisely, we strive for clients to live the best life possible in their latter years and to assist the entire family system. For us, aging wisely means physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and familial well-being. Sign up for our newsletter for ongoing senior fitness and aging wisely tips and contact us today for customized recommendations!

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The Keys to Aging Wisely


happy couple aging wisely

At Aging Wisely, we’re all about helping people to be the best they can at any age. We help clients and their families navigate health challenges and care needs, while maintaining the vitally important things that make them unique. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of different ways people deal with aging, from the ways they plan (or don’t) to their attitude and actions. Today, we’ll share some of what we’ve learned about the keys to aging wisely and living well.

Exercise for the body and mind

Exercise can be very beneficial for those with arthritis and many other conditions. As the CDC shares, “scientific studies have shown that participation in moderate-intensity, low-impact physical activity improves pain, function, mood, and quality of life without worsening symptoms or disease severity” (more info., tips and guidelines).

A rapidly growing body of studies strongly suggests that exercise may reduce dementia risk and mitigate the effects of cognitive impairment (Ahlskog et. al). In addition to physical activity, exercising your brain can have protective effects for it. This can include specialized brain fitness solutions, but anything that keeps thinking, organizational or memory circuits active can be helpful so enjoy that crossword puzzle, engage in debate and discussions, play computer games and generally stay engaged!

If you need help with creating an exercise program that works for you and/or help staying motivated, we recommend our friends from At Home Fitness! People with arthritis who can most benefit from exercise often don’t participate due to pain, but the senior specialists from At Home Fitness can create a routine just for you and make exercise enjoyable.

Our EasyLiving companions are also here to help you keep your body and mind engaged, from driving you to activities to planning outings and activities at home. You might also be interested in some of their senior-friendly activity ideas.

Nutrition to keep your body strong

What you eat is even more important as you age. Metabolism slows and your body therefore needs to get greater nutrition from less calories to maintain a healthy weight. Nutrition is vital to healing and closely related to how well your body will deal with chronic health conditions or recuperate from illness.

Read more about senior nutrition and get special tips from our senior nutrition specialists (check out our meal preparation services, too!).

Keep growing and giving

Many Aging Wisely clients tell us the secret to them aging wisely is their attitude (and especially, a sense of humor and perseverance). They continue to give back and grow as people, by volunteering, pursuing interests and staying close to family and friends.

Several studies have corroborated this. As shared by Heather Gilmour of Statistics Canada’s health analysis division about their study’s findings, “Social engagement — involvement in meaningful activities and maintaining close relationships — is a component of successful aging.”

Another important study about the role of volunteering for older adults found that the volunteers reported significant improvements in mental health, along with other socioemotional benefits such as a greater feeling of productivity, increased social activity, and an overall sense that life had improved.

When we do an Aging Wisely assessment, we consider how your physical situation might impact important areas like socialization and activity. For example, if it is time for a senior to stop driving, we help create a plan so the person can continue activities and avoid isolation.

When we suggest caregivers to assist at home or help a client transition to assisted living, we work with the client on aspects of socialization and engagement. For example, when one of our clients is moving to an assisted living facility we might find out ahead of time which facilities offer activities specifically matched with the client’s special interests and provide an orientation to the facility and introduction to activities staff and other residents after move-in. When we introduce caregivers, we make sure they know about the client as a person and can play a role in socialization and activities along with simply doing tasks.

Contact Aging Wisely for assistance today and get our FREE comprehensive eldercare checklist for more great tips!

Stay tuned for great resources to accomplish these aging wisely strategies!

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Fall Risk Assessment: Is Your Parents’ Home Safe?


Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. For this reason, a fall risk assessment and home safety evaluation is vital. Falls can not only be deadly to elders, they can forever alter quality of life since falls often lead to nursing home placement and declining health. A professional fall risk assessment is a valuable tool in preventing falls and the accompanying problems. Below we will outline what is involved and how your family can benefit from a fall risk assessment and home safety evaluation, along with sharing falls prevention resources.

fall risk assessment by geriatric care manager


When should our family consider a professional fall risk assessment and home safety evaluation?

  • As your parents age, their fall risk increases. A home safety evaluation is wise for anyone over the age of 70 and especially those with health problems.
  • If your Mom or Dad has ever fallen before, it is vital to ensure the home environment is as risk-free as possible.
  • If your elderly parent takes medications or has any chronic conditions, it is wise to get a comprehensive assessment.
  • If your aging parents desire to “age in place” at home, a fall risk assessment is one of the best ways to ensure this is possible.
  • When your elderly loved one leaves the hospital or has a change in health, it may be wise to review the health and living situation for continued safety.

What is involved in a professional fall risk assessment?

  1. Review of the client’s health status (diagnoses, medications, history) and possible risks.
  2. Assessment of ADLs and IADLs for potential trouble areas and resources to assist.
  3. Home safety evaluation: a thorough review of the home environment to identify fall risks and ways to improve aging-in-place readiness. For some ideas of key areas of the home, check out EasyLiving’s Fall Prevention Checklist (free for you to download to get an idea if your parents’ home may have safety issues).
  4. The geriatric care manager writes up their findings and recommendations and reviews this with your family.
  5. A geriatric care manager’s assessment is more than just identifying the risks; it comes with personalized recommendations for solutions. So, rather than just saying “the throw rugs are dangerous”, the care manager might offer solutions if the client has a special attachment to the rugs, like non-slip backings or hanging them as wall decoration. For the bathroom, the care manager might recommend someone to install grab bars and provide specific equipment or modification suggestions. Often, the creative solutions make life easier as well as safer. For example, our care manager helped one client rearrange items in the kitchen so key items were within reach and sight. She ended up wasting less food, finding the kitchen more user-friendly and avoided getting on step stools to find items regularly.

How do I approach my elderly parents about a fall risk assessment?

  • Take the approach that this is a step to make sure their wishes (such as the desire to remain at home) can be met.
  • Explain that the process is collaborative. The geriatric care manager will make suggestions and can offer alternatives if they don’t like some of the solutions (such as the above throw rug example).
  • Talk to the care management company about their suggestions if your parents are reluctant. Our care managers are highly experienced working with reluctant clients and often have great success once the clients meet them (daughters and sons frequently tell us they can’t believe Mom agreed to make changes they had been suggesting over and over!).


Top Tips for Fall Prevention

Home, Sweet Home: Aging in Place Tips

Contact us about a fall risk assessment and home safety evaluation.

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Concerned About an Elderly Parent Getting Married?


aging parents marriage issues

What to Do When Your 85 Year Old Mother Tells You She’s Getting Married

Most of us want what’s best for our elderly parent and tend to feel a bit protective. Romantic feelings, sexuality and the need for companionship are not exclusive to youth. Many aging parents will find love again after a spouse dies (or post-divorce). For adult children, this can raise concerns, especially when the relationship happens in late life and various complexities are involved. So, our team brings you some valuable advice and resources on later life marriage.

  1. Take some time to process your emotions before having an in-depth conversation with your parent. You may feel upset or even angry, which can immediately cause conflict since your parent is likely feeling very happy about the situation. The way you feel is clouded by all kinds of emotions and family history. Consider taking some time to “cool off” and maybe even talk to a professional about what you’re feeling and your concerns. Our geriatric care managers can be a valuable partner in this process, helping you not only talk through things but assess legitimate concerns and find resources. For those having trouble dealing with the situation over time, counseling may be recommended.
  2. Prepare for a family conversation. Write down your concerns and do a little research beforehand (see our resources below). This way you can be prepared to bring concrete issues up during the conversation (and hopefully find solutions).
  3. Acknowledge your loved one’s emotions and consider their perspective. You should set aside quiet, non-rushed time for the meeting and include siblings and other key family members. You may want to talk to your elderly parent about having a geriatric care manager there or at a follow-up meeting (pose it as an expert to help with financial and practical questions that might come up). If your parent decides to get married , you have to decide how you will handle it and how that will effect your relationship. Even if you are not pleased with the decision (and assuming there aren’t competency issues or exploitation), it may be better to make peace after you have expressed your concrete concerns, so that you can maintain a relationship with your loved one.

Practical Concerns for an Elderly Parent Getting Married in Later Life

  • Finances: This is a complicated area in most marriages but more so in later life when retirement plans, Social Security and a larger asset base often come into play. Talking to financial advisors is key (but can also be tricky when each member of the couple has a different advisor who may feel protective or have different advice…talk to them and ask if a group meeting can be set up, or what they’d advise). A good financial advisor can assist in planning to avoid pitfalls. Many advisors have gained experience in helping other clients/couples in similar situations.
  • Benefits: Programs like social security and Medicaid may be affected by a marriage. Regarding Social Security (SS), remarriage after age 60 should not affect widow/widower’s benefits. If marriage occurs after full retirement age and one partner’s Social Security benefit is less than half of the new spouse’s, he/she can receive the Social Security benefit of their own record plus an additional amount to bring the amount up to half of the new spouse’s SS benefit (generally one year into the marriage)*. Medicaid is usually based on household income so this and any other public benefits may be affected.
  • Estate planning: It is essential to revisit estate planning with the new marriage in mind, ideally before the marriage takes place. Wills, trusts and key legal documents as well as financial paperwork (beneficiary designations, for example) may all need to be updated (and hopefully discussed).
  • Housing and logistics: Aging parents who own homes may decide to sell one home to move in together, or sell both homes and buy a new home. Adult children might have sentimental attachments to the home, or might have practical concerns (such as wanting the elders to consider selling to purchase a more senior-friendly home or move to a retirement community). Various logistical issues may arise as the partners merge their lives.
  • Caregiving/long-term care needs: What if one partner has long-term care insurance and the other does not (and/or the partners have quite different financial situations)?  What happens when one spouse begins to need care? How will you and your siblings feel about money being spent on care of the new spouse? Are you concerned about Mom having to take care of her new husband? *Important note: don’t mistakenly think a prenuptial agreement will solve issues of paying for care automatically. Medicaid, for example, does not acknowledge a prenup in considering the couple’s assets and income (but we recommend you talk to an elder law attorney, as there may be planning and strategies available).

Resources for an Elderly Parent Getting Married Again

Wells Fargo Conversations: Autumn Love

Five Things to Consider Before Late-in-Life Marriage*

ElderLaw Answers: How Divorce and Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits

Contact Aging Wisely at 727-447-5845 for help with the practical and emotional issues of an elderly parent getting married. We can assist with resources and counseling, assessment of the situation and needs (as well as specific issues like memory loss and projecting possible care needs/options), family mediation and referrals to professionals such as elder law attorneys.

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Payment Concerns
Not sure how you are going to pay for elder care?

Is the Time Right?
Find out if its time to seek help for your loved one.

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

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Mission Statement

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.