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Aging Wisely May 2014 - Aging Wisely

Summer Senior Spotlight: Seasonal Eldercare Issues


summertime tips for seniors

We hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day! As we celebrated the heroes who gave their lives for our country, many of us also celebrated the symbolic start of summer with cookouts, trips to the beach and fun with family and friends. We kick off the summer season here at Aging Wisely with some friendly tips and information for helping the seniors in your life stay safe and healthy (as well as some special advice for caregivers).

Heat-Related Illness and Seniors

Heat affects seniors more than younger counterparts and the effects can be worse based on the individual’s medical conditions and medications. Dehydration is a common problem in the elderly. It is vital the seniors stay well-hydrated and keep cool.

  • Caregivers should monitor fluid intake and watch for signs of dehydration. Because an elder may sense thirst less, the “pinch” test (checking the elasticity of the skin) can be useful. Prevention is the best option, though, so if your loved one or client does not like water, make an effort to find hydrating beverages (and foods, like fruits, cucumber, lettuce) that he/she likes.
  • Plan indoor activities, especially during the prime heat of the day. Our EasyLiving caregivers offer some great ideas for cool, fun senior-friendly indoor activities here.

Hurricane Season and Home Safety

Throughout this month, we’ve been sharing information on preparing for hurricane season on this blog and our EasyLiving blog. Please make sure your loved one is prepared for the storm season properly. Contact us if you are not sure how to go about that or want help. This is a vital issue since elders suffer injury and death at disproportionate levels during natural disasters.

This is also a good time of year to do a general home safety inspection. Ensure air conditioning units are in good working order and make sure your loved one has fans to help circulate air. Help with yard and home maintenance and of course, the storm readiness of the house. Many elders still attempt to do home repairs that may be more dangerous now (climbing on the roof, being out in the heat doing yard work) so try to be proactive in finding out what is needed. Seniors in Florida also fall victim to frequent home improvement scams, so help be your loved one’s eyes and ears or hire a local elder advocate. Start summer safely with a home assessment and falls prevention review.

Snowbird Migration: Reduced Support Systems

In Florida, many active retirees still go back and forth between two locations and will spend most of the summer up north. Additionally, many neighbors take vacations or travel during the summer months. This often leaves Florida seniors with a reduced support system.

Read more about this phenomenon and our tips/resources to ensure your loved ones or clients have the support they need.

Vacation Issues: Caregiver Respite and Planning a Trip with an Elder

It is vital for caregivers to get a break, but too often the idea is overwhelming. Since summer is a traditional vacation time, it is worth reminding caregivers that there are ways to make respite work well so you can get away and truly relax. This can vary from short breaks where you just take a few hours to do errands or a favorite activity to extended trips. With good preparation, you can get a break and your loved one can be assured excellent care. You can get a care manager involved to oversee the care and act as your liaison while you are gone, providing you the peace of mind to enjoy yourself.

We also help many clients with planning trips for or with their elderly loved one. It is essential to plan the logistics and consider all the little things that can make or break the trip. We can help you think through ways to modify the trip to be more comfortable and safe, so that your good intentions don’t end in a disaster. If your loved one has dementia, the changes in routine can be very upsetting. This does not mean a vacation or trip is not possible; it just takes some planning and modification. Our care managers can help you assess your loved one’s status with an expert view, to know what makes sense and what doesn’t.

Check out some of our Tips for a Smooth Journey with a Senior and keep an eye out for our upcoming features on traveling with a person with Alzheimer’s/dementia.

Stay safe and cool this summer! We’re here to help anytime: contact us online or call 727-447-5845. Our Senior Care Consultant will provide a complimentary consultation and we can assist on any of the issues above, plus tons of resources from our senior care experts.


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Alzheimer’s Awareness


alzheimer's care
Our team has long participated in supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and helping to spread awareness about the disease and its impact. Please join us in recognizing and participating in the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association’s “The Longest Day”. We’ll have more news throughout June and you can sign up for our newsletter to get the latest information every month.

On June 21st the Alzheimer’s Association celebrates The Longest Day. On this day, teams around the world come together to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer’s with a day of activity. Held on the summer solstice, June 21, 2014, this event calls on participants to raise funds and awareness to advance the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association (information from

This day is the highlight of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, during which the Alzheimer’s Association spreads global awareness of their vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease. We encourage everyone to wear purple on June 21st in recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness. You can also join the many individuals and teams who are participating in activities and raising funds that day (click here to learn more).

Here are a few facts you might not have known about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias:

  • Over 44 million people worldwide have dementia (expected to jump to 76 million by 2030).
  • The worldwide costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease per year are $604 billion.
  • 15.5 million American caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care in 2013, valued at $220 billion.

For a concise overview to understand what Alzheimer’s disease is and definitions of the various terms, visit our dementia overview page.

Alzheimer’s care brings special challenges for families. Many times, individuals live with the disease for many years with escalating care needs. The disease is signified by memory loss and decreased cognitive functioning, but can also result in behavior problems and concerns such as wandering. Eventually, the person with Alzheimer’s loses more and more functioning and may have difficulty with even the most basic tasks.

You can check out (and share!) several free resources we offer such as a recommended dementia reading list for families, an Alzheimer’s quiz and fact sheet, and tips for caregivers. We write about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care regularly on our blog too and we’d love to hear from you if there is a topic you’d like to see covered. Our Senior Care Consultant, Sue Talbott, provides a free consultation for families who have care concerns, no matter what stage of Alzheimer’s they are dealing with, from pre-diagnosis to late-stage disease. Contact us at 727-447-5845 to set up a time to talk or meet.

Our team is also gearing up for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. Check out the Pinellas County Alzheimer’s Walk website and consider joining us (or find a local walk in your area at

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The Call for Help: When is it time to get assistance for your elderly parents?


getting help elderly parent

When it comes to eldercare, the phone becomes your constant companion…from the anxious call you make every week (or day) to your elderly parent to check on how things are going to the panicked calls you receive from Mom or Dad (or from the emergency room). Or, what about the calls from family members to check in on things (or criticize your efforts)? Then, there are all the calls you might make on your loved one’s behalf…calls to agencies to try to get information, calls to doctors offices to try to obtain information, calls to family members to provide information. As a caregiver, you definitely need to have a mobile plan with a lot of minutes!

But, perhaps the most important call is the call for help (this is often many calls…but hint, hint, we’re going to let you in on the secret to cutting down the work). Because caring for your elderly loved ones is such a deeply personal thing, we find many families struggle through all kinds of challenges without reaching out for help. You may not be sure where to turn, may feel it is up to you to handle everything (or have been told by your parents they don’t need help even though you find yourself doing more and more)…or you might just feel too busy to add making a phone call to your to-do list. We’re here to give you some tips on where to go for help and why it’s worth your time (and should be a time-saver).

So, when should you make “the call”? It is preferable to do it before a crisis, when you start to notice changes and concerns in your elder parent (i.e. those phone calls become more frequent) or when issues arise that you are having trouble navigating (e.g. insurance denials, trying to understand eligibility for a program, getting poor information from doctors/providers). Basically, if you are worried or spending a lot of time dealing with caregiving issues, it is worth taking some time to make the call. You can check out our “Warning Signs” handout for some key indicators. If you find yourself already in a crisis, it’s not too late if you know who to call.

Who should you call? Well, obviously we’re biased, but we have good reason to say you should call a geriatric care manager. The reason geriatric care management came in to being was the need for professionals who could serve the comprehensive needs of elder and families…someone who could “bridge the gaps” and help in any setting or aspect of eldercare. There are great resources out there for specific needs: the medical specialist who can help with treatment, the home care provider who can bring in home health aides, the assisted living where Dad could move for care, the disease-specific organization that can provide information on the condition, etc. What a geriatric care manager does for you is bring all of that together so you don’t have to make a million calls (often leading to dead ends).

The care manager offers you expertise in various facets of eldercare and puts that together with your personal situation. This saves you a lot of wasted time and effort going down the wrong paths. The pioneers in care management were social workers and nurses who saw this need time and time again when they worked with families in various settings and knew there had to be a better solution.

What will this call cost me? Generally, you can talk to someone at the company about your needs and concerns as part of the complimentary inquiry process and then you will find out the procedure and costs for proceeding with services. At Aging Wisely, our Senior Care Consultant will provide a complimentary phone or in-home consultation to determine your needs and outline your options.

May is National Geriatric Care Managers Month. Join us in spreading the word about this great resource for family caregivers, so that every family knows the options and where to turn when help is needed.

If you or someone you know needs help, take a few minutes to call us at 727-447-5845.


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National Geriatric Care Managers Month


professional geriatric care managers

May is National Geriatric Care Managers Month, celebrating the work that care managers do to help elders and families throughout the country and aiming to raise awareness so families can access help when they need it.

Care management is still a relatively new profession and often an untapped resource for families struggling with elder or disability care issues. Please pass along our resources and articles if you know someone who could benefit!

A good place to start is by reading our Signs You Might Need a Care Manager. Though a bit tongue-in-cheek, many families and caregivers can relate to these challenges, but don’t know there is a place to turn to make things easier. We also outlined some of the situations that indicate a geriatric care management assessment might be needed in this article. Most importantly, we encourage families to seek advice and understand options, whether or not they decide to hire a professional care manager (our Senior Care Consultant does complimentary phone or in-home consultations–email or call 727-447-5845 to inquire). Caregiving is such a personal, family matter but getting outside help and advice can truly help you do the best job for your loved one.

As the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers shares, “Professional geriatric care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges.  Working with families, geriatric care manager expertise provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers.”

A geriatric care manager is a health and human services professional, acting as a guide and advocate to help the elder achieve maximum potential and support the family system. Services are completely tailored to the individual client’s needs, making this a unique option for problem solving in a holistic way. A care manager can work with you in any setting, from setting up in-home care and resources for aging in place to advocating for you at the hospital or monitoring nursing home care. Some of the roles a geriatric care manager takes on include:

  • Assessor
  • Planner
  • Advocate
  • Mediator
  • Counselor
  • Liaison/coordinator
  • Educator
  • Coach

You can review some of our care management client testimonials and case studies to get a better idea of how care managers help with specific issues. We look forward to sharing more stories and information with you as we celebrate National Geriatric Care Managers Month!

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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.