Call us today at 727-447-5845
Aging Wisely January 2015 - Aging Wisely

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Seniors


valentine's day helen keller quote

Give the Gift of Love

Valentine’s Day is a time dedicated to expressing love. Our aging loved ones may not be first on our minds at this holiday, but taking a moment to show them we care can make a big difference. Holidays can bring up feelings of loneliness, especially for those who have lost spouses and friends or had physical and emotional losses. An elder who lives in a group setting such as an Assisted Living facility may be surrounded by others, but this does not necessarily prevent feelings of loneliness or grief. Some of the best Valentine’s Day gifts for seniors are the gifts of time and attention.

Showing you care is probably the most meaningful senior Valentine’s Day gift you can give. Here are some special things you can do on Valentine’s Day to show your love to elderly relatives/friends:

  • Plan a special outing (it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Valentine’s Day itself to be a Valentine’s Day celebration). You can plan an appropriate outing based on your loved one’s situation, such as a short lunch, getting a manicure together or attending a fun event. Our EasyLiving senior concierge service provides caregivers to help with the logistics like getting in and out of the car, to the bathroom, driving, etc.
  • Prepare a special treat. Bring a home baked goody to your loved one or take a favorite dish to share. Homemade gifts are always appreciated on Valentine’s Day or anytime, especially by elders who don’t do a lot of cooking anymore or live in a care facility. Live at a distance? Send a “care package” or you can give caregivers a favorite family recipe to make for or with your loved one (our EasyLiving caregivers often do this!).
  • Simply make a visit. Set aside some time to visit without being rushed or having tasks to complete.
  • Set up a call or Skype/Facetime session with family members at a distance. What great fun for an elder on Valentine’s Day to be able to chat with and see grandchildren who live in another state!
  • Send a nice card with a handwritten note. Acknowledge what the elder has meant in your life or share a special memory you have of time together.
  • Send/provide kids’ artwork or family photos. These make a great addition to the environment and really personalize a space. Our clients often proudly show us the latest pictures of their grandchildren and love sharing news about the family with their caregivers. There are many different personalized photo gifts you can create as well, from photo books to mugs, bags and more.
  • Check out our special Valentine’s Gift Guide for Seniors for specially selected elder-friendly gifts with direct links (click on the product picture) so you can easily purchase the products. Our team has chosen gifts that solve various concerns that come up for clients as they age, so each of these will enhance quality of life for those you love. Enjoy!
  • Free Valentine’s Gift Guide!

Taking a little time to share your love this Valentine’s Day can mean so much to elder loved ones and friends. Contact us if we can help with ideas or any of the services mentioned above! We can help plan a special Valentine’s Day event, but we can also help you with generally making sure your loved ones have the quality of life they deserve.

Isolation and loneliness disproportionately affect seniors, especially those suffering ill health and limited mobility. The need for companionship and meaningful relationships is universal in all ages. Coming up this month, we’ll be co-hosting a screening of The Age of Love and sharing a lot of great information and tips about companionship and relationships in later life. Stay tuned!

Did you like this? Share it:

Pros and Cons of Aging in Place


It seems everyone wishes to remain in their own homes as they age (90+% of seniors respond with this preference on various surveys)–also known as “aging in place”. But, are there any downsides to aging in place? Are there times when moving to an assisted living facility might be a better choice?

As eldercare advisors to hundreds of families over the years, we of course believe this is an individualized decision with pros and cons depending on the case. But, it can be hard for elders or their family members to imagine what the cons might be to aging in place (as survey results clearly show). This also leads to promises like “Mom, I’ll never put you into a ‘home’.” Today, we’ll help present an overall picture of the pros and cons of aging in place. When you’re facing such decisions or even planning for the future, a personalized assessment is the best way to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for your family.

PROS: The Argument for Aging in Place

  • Preference: Overall, this is the option most people prefer when looking into the future aelderly couple aging in place at homend it is associated with maximum independence/choice.
  • Comfort: Familiar surroundings form a strong sense of attachment and can be an ideal place to live out your later years with the memories surrounding you.
  • Individualized: Supportive home care can be brought in and tailored to your needs. Everything can be catered to you, from the foods you prefer to eat to the way you want your laundry done to the schedule you keep.
  • Cost: When you need a little support to stay in your home, care and services can be brought in for relatively low cost. If you own your home, aging in place with home care can be very cost-effective.
  • Routine: Aging-in-place means your lifelong routines and habits can be maintained, at least to a great extent. Typically, in a group setting such as assisted living there may be set routines and rules.


CONS: When Assisted Living or a Retirement Home Might Be Best

  • Isolation: Elders can have a tendency to become isolated living alone if mobility or activity is limited. Some group around pianoelders may blossom with the socialization and activities that the right retirement home provides.
  • Home Maintenance: As you age, a home can become overwhelming to maintain and costs may even become an issue.
  • Safety: A home can be full of fall hazards and other potential safety problems. It is essential to do a home safety assessment for proper aging in place and make necessary changes to ensure the home is safe and the resources are available to stay safe. Other safety issues you may not have thought about include scams (living in a retirement community does not make you immune to them, but scammers often target elders living alone).
  • Cost: Depending on the level of care needed, the economies of scale in a group setting can make it more affordable. In comparing costs, the budget should include care costs, meals, household maintenance, utilities and other costs for both options (hint: we can help you create a budget and compare your choices, as well as finding hidden options you might not know about!).

So, is aging in place right for you? There are many more areas to explore to know what’s best in your situation. A lot of the factors that influence this decision are hugely personal. You’ll notice, for example, cost is listed under both options because the costs are very dependent upon the situation and needs. Even when the financial, medical, and care needs are identical, two different people may find resolution in differing options.

The families we work with often tell us what a relief it was to work through these decisions with the help of our care manager. The experienced professional offers not only wise counsel, but an independent assessment which helps everyone have a realistic picture of the situation. the care manager also helps the client make a dignified transition (whether to having help at home for the first time or to a physical move).

Contact Aging Wisely online or at 727-447-5845 to find out if aging in place is right for you and to know all of the best options for aging wisely and well.

When you want the best for your aging parents…

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.

Did you like this? Share it:

Ten Signs Your Aging Parent Might Have Dementia


dementia warning signsToday, we’ll revisit an important topic that we get asked about often. Many people notice problems with an aging parent’s memory and wonder whether it could be dementia. They’re often unsure what is normal for an aging person (and if there’s something wrong, is it dementia or Alzheimer’s–what’s the difference?). To understand more about the terminology, you might also want to read our Understanding Memory Loss in Old Age article.

Top Ten Dementia Warning Signs

  1. Memory gaps, especially short term memory. Does Dad repeat the same questions or stories over and over? Does Mom forget what you just told her? Occasionally forgetting an appointment does not necessarily indicate a problem, but this type of pattern and change is a strong sign that something might be wrong.
  2. Disorientation. The person with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may become confused about whether it is morning or afternoon and may get lost on familiar routes. On the other hand, it is not unusual for someone not to be aware of the day or date on occasion, especially a retired person who may have less routine need for that information.
  3. Difficulty performing everyday tasks. Someone with dementia may not be able to follow the steps necessary to perform tasks like personal care and household maintenance. This is especially true for things that require planning or multiple steps and you may notice a decline in personal hygiene and household upkeep. You may notice that your aging parent has stopped shopping or cooking.
  4. Misplacing things frequently. We all occasionally forget where we put something, but this increasingly becomes a problem for the person with Alzheimer’s. They may put things in very unusual spots and even forget the use of common items.
  5. Poor judgment. Early signs often come in the form of finding out your aging parent has been scammed or is making poor decisions about safety and well-being. Of course, everyone has the right to make poor decisions occasionally, but dementia’s effects on higher level thinking rob the person of their normal judgment and decision-making process.
  6. Language difficulties. People with Alzheimer’s disease often have trouble “finding” common words or substitute incorrect words. Those in the early stages may try to cover this up and spouses may also help compensate by speaking on behalf of the person (another possible sign something may be wrong).
  7. Mood swings and behavioral changes. You may find that the person angers easily or is withdrawn or prone to crying spells. Typically, you will notice that this behavior is not characteristic of the person’s lifelong patterns. Some of this may be related to actual changes in the brain, while other behaviors may be an expression of the fear and anxiety the person feels due to the symptoms they’re experiencing.
  8. Changes in personality. Often, the person with dementia becomes more withdrawn than usual or develops anxiety or paranoia. A person who previously was somewhat independent may become extremely dependent or quiet.
  9. Problems with complex thinking. You may not realize how much abstract thinking goes into our everyday lives, until you see the person with dementia struggling with this. Handling numbers and finances can be especially difficult and abstract reasoning impacts judgment, as mentioned before.
  10. Loss of initiative and withdrawal from normal activities. The person may find it difficult to initiate plans and may withdraw from favorite activities. The main activity often becomes sitting in front of the TV or excess sleeping. Often, just making and following through on plans becomes difficult but the person may also withdraw out of embarrassment about their decreasing abilities.

So, what should you do if you notice these signs? First, we want you to know that we welcome your calls or emails to discuss what you are seeing and possibly set up a care management assessment. Aging Wisely occasionally hosts the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Mobile, which offers free dementia screenings and your medical professional can perform one of these as well. Then, a comprehensive workup will be important to determine the most accurate diagnosis and rule out reversible causes. Our team can help with this process, as well as planning what to do from there and setting up in-home help with our dementia-trained caregivers.

Don’t face this alone! Click here to contact Aging Wisely’s eldercare experts (or call 727-447-5845) for help today!

Did you like this? Share it:

Aging Wisely with Care Management


Aging Wisely and EasyLiving Director

Message from Alex Chamberlain

Geriatric care management plays an important role in our ever evolving healthcare system. Aging Wisely is proud to be at the forefront of addressing these challenges and to have protected the interests of over 700 clients over the past 18 years. When my family founded Aging Wisely, we honored the memory of my great-grandmother and our family’s struggle to care for her with limited options. Over time, we have seen the array of options evolve, but it is no less of a struggle for caregiving families today. Here are some of my thoughts about the valuable role care management can play for elders and families today and into the future.

Every year the government changes the qualifications, rules, and funding for federal and state programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and other government funded programs. Large companies that sell fundamental programs such as insurance and other benefits are trying to reduce costs and adhere to new regulations. At the center of all these changes are seniors, the fastest growing population in the United States. As our population ages, the number of older citizens needing health care support will reach astronomical levels. Aging Wisely stays ahead of all these changes to ensure that clients have sound information for decision-making.

In the past, family members have picked up the burden of helping their aging loved ones navigate the healthcare puzzle. However, the amount of knowledge required to make informed decisions in this complex environment can make this an impossible job for a non-professional. Additionally, family dynamics have shifted and economic pressures mean that adult children may not have the time to invest in learning and navigating these systems. As more families struggle to understand the changing healthcare system, they can make a smart choice in reaching out to Aging Wisely to speak to someone who can provide a complete assessment of their needs and offer expert solutions.

The challenge we find ourselves facing is that many families wait until a crisis before exploring their long term care options. By then, the client and family are physically and emotionally overwhelmed and confused by being bounced around the healthcare system. Waiting until the crisis can really limit your options, leaving you in a less than ideal situation for your remaining years. Engaging Aging Wisely’s services creates options and can help you avoid these pitfalls. Rather than being caught up in the crisis, our professionals can build creative solutions around the client’s wishes, financial situation and a professional assessment. In this way, you and your family gain control and can steer clearly through any crisis that arises.

Aging in Place Minus the Hassle: A Professional Partner Makes All the Difference in Managing In-Home Caregivers

As our population continues to age, many will develop health and logistical issues that make it difficult to live on their own. Most of the clients we meet with prefer to age in place. We always recommend using a state licensed home health agency such as EasyLiving. Despite this, we know that many clients have decided to higher caregivers privately. However, once a client decides to employee privately, the family or other responsible party now becomes responsible for the employment of that individual and all the related supervision and administrative tasks.

Managing an employee can be a daunting and frustrating task for anyone, let alone the elder and family dealing with this for the first time. It also becomes awkward for the client and family to deal with employment problems as they become close and somewhat dependent upon the individual caregiver. Hiring Aging Wisely can be tremendously valuable as Care Managers have a level of expertise that can help families anticipate needs they have not encountered before. A Care Manager can coordinate background screenings, reference checks, drug testing, care plan development, training, and proper documentation. Not only are these issues stressful for elders and their families to deal with, you can easily miss important elements and required duties of privately hiring in home care.

When professionals such as attorneys or financial professionals get involved in helping, they are also taking on the responsibility and associated risks. Having a professional partner to navigate these waters and document key information can greatly mitigate the risks and protect you and your client.

Want to talk about how you and your family can make the choice to age wisely? Or are you a professional who’d like to partner with us to help your clients in a holistic way? Contact me today online or at 727-447-5845 and let’s chat!

Did you like this? Share it:

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.

Get Our Newsletter!

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.