January traditionally triggers us to think about New Year’s resolutions. It just seems easier to create a new habit, make a big change for the better, and reinvent yourself at the beginning of a new year! Many people use the first months of the year to start something significant that will make a lasting impact on their lives. But this may also be the right time to make a lasting impact on the life of your senior family member, too. For example, taking a step towards planning for the future of your older mom or dad who may need assistance in their daily activities. The idea may feel daunting at the beginning but we are here to help. Today we share tips that come from years of our senior home care experience.
We know some seniors may not be immediately open to the idea of having a caregiver coming into their home to help them. A perceived fear of loss of independence or temporary anxiety of having a “stranger” in the house might overshadow great long-term benefits. Seniors can respond with resistance in many different ways. Frankly, family members might have their own concerns about how this new arrangement might work.
We understand. Every change requires an adjustment. Our experience has shown that slowly easing into this new “caregiver” scenario is often all it takes to relieve the concerns of starting a home care routine for your senior loved one. Maybe having a caregiver come into their home once or twice a week just to give them an idea of what it’s all about might help alleviate their anxiety. Or, maybe, one 8-hour day a week will do the trick. Maybe 4 hours a day, 2-3 days a week will help set a comfort level! The key is starting small and adjusting to what the future needs will be.
Having a senior home care provider that is flexible enough to allow time to find the perfect routine for your senior loved one is a great solution. North Oakland Caregivers at Clarkston, MI, has been doing it for 30+ years. We are waiting for your call. Are you ready to make the first step towards the New Year’s resolution that will make a lasting impact on the future of your family?
“Oh my GOSH, I am in LOVE. ElliQ is my new best friend.” Reading these words, would you know that the best friend is a robot?
We read an article in The Verge that New York State bought 800 ElliQ robots to address loneliness in older adults. What a wonderful act of care for our seniors who get forgotten by society too often! We wanted to know how a robot can help, and this is what we learned.
IT HELPS WITH SENIORS’ WELL-BEING:
ElliQ, the robot, is described by its manufacturer as ¨the first-ever proactive, voice-operated care companion designed to empower independence and support you in taking control of your social, mental, and physical well-being¨. We loved the focus on independence right away – from our experience, an inability to live independently is a sure signal for the family to start looking for different living arrangements for their seniors. So, if it can be improved, it’s a very strong benefit of getting a robot!
From many testimonials on its manufacturer’s website, we could see how ElliQ can empower independence. Some people say “she” encourages them to exercise when instead they would have spent an evening sedentary. Others feel less lonely and stressed, feeling like there is a companion present in the house.
BUT NOTHING CAN REPLACE THE HUMAN TOUCH:
It looks like ElliQ might be a great solution for some people to address such important issues as elements of mental and physical wellness. However, The Verge mentions that using robots in elderly care could be controversial, too: “Critics warn that machines have the potential to dehumanize their users, and their deployment reflects the low value society places on older adults.” We think we know where it’s coming from. For example, a senior we know did not like the idea that much stating that “It would make me feel like nothing”.
Another issue is that a senior needs to be digitally literate to be able to use a robot. And some also have concerns that it might be another gate to digital vulnerability and a possibility to get “hacked”.
Maybe the most important consideration is the lack of human touch. It’s important for a senior to get some physical help from their caregiver when needed. It’s even more important to simply get hugs or other expressions of encouragement and care. For example, our caregiver V. would “dance” with her senior by holding and lifting her arms to some happy music, and they both loved those moments.
So, we conclude that having a robot helping seniors might be a great solution in situations where humans are not available. However, nothing can replace human companionship and care, the authenticity of the human bonds, and the warmth of the human touch. We feel honored as we help our seniors to have all that and more, according to our clients’ reviews. Often the emotional connection between a senior and a caregiver turns into a genuine friendship. And it’s a wonderful thing.
We feel compelled to share with you an uplifting video interview with three British centenarians that we came across. The names of the interviewees are Clifford Crozier, born in 1915, Emilia Tereza Harper, born in 1913, and John Millington Denerly, born in 1914. These endearing 2 gentlemen and a lady give us a glimpse into their lives and share their life lessons. Even though the entire interview is filled with love for life and can be an inspiration to all of us as a whole, we highlighted just a few of our favorite moments below:
Their resilient mindset deserves admiration. This idea of keeping going would be a great recipe for a long happy life on its own! – All kinds of things happen around you and to you, but you persevere. That’s how, in their own words:
– “You keep going. A 101 is only a number, and you live for the day.” Cliff Crozier
– “Keep right on to the end of the road. – …I stay put!” John Millington Denerly
We could not help but notice a feeling of positivity permeating their entire being. These seniors knew how to make themselves happy with simple things like humor, optimism, and …shopping! Here is how they talked about it:
– “Everything makes me happy. I like talking to people, I like doing things, I like going out shopping. Once I go out shopping, I don’t want to come back.” Emilia Tereza Harper
– “I’ve got beautiful memories. I can live happily forever after because of my lovely memories.” Emilia Tereza Harper
– “I am always optimistic…” John Millington Denerly
– And how about a healthy shot of humor about the impact of their long life on the government? – “It always pleases me though that I can keep robbing the government with my pension.” Clifford Crozier
Finally, they were giving us an impression of people who were not frozen in time. All three show great mental flexibility:
– “Life goes on. You get healed (but you never forget)”, – shares Tereza who was devastated by the loss of her twins
– “You’ve got to keep up with the times. So, what was good 80-90 years ago, doesn’t work these days”, says John, who received an iPad as a gift and uses it actively.
– And Cliff points out something we believe and support the most due to the nature of our home care company: “Be as independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.”
What were your favorite moments?
National Health Education week will be officially celebrated third week of October, and we are jumping at the opportunity to contribute! Our expertise lies in the area of senior home care, so, it is only fitting that we will focus on helping you be knowledgeable in the area of healthy aging.
So, what can you do OR what can you do for your senior family member or friend to make aging as healthy as possible? In addition to your physician’s recommendations* related to your specific situation ask yourself “Am I being mindful of these 5 things?”:
- Keep mentally and physically active: Remember the old saying “use it or lose it”! Simple things like regular reading, doing puzzles or playing games help keep the mind working. Likewise, regular physical activity to increase flexibility, strength and stamina are an invaluable bonus – it’s proven to help you live a longer and better quality life.
- Eat healthy foods: A strong connection between a healthy diet and a healthy body has been established long ago. While every person has their own dietary needs, there are some established heroes like vegetables and omega-3 fats that among other benefits help you keep your heart healthy and reduce inflammation. So, keep a list of your favorite dishes that include lots of veggies, fish and olive oil handy and use it often.
- Establish a healthy sleep pattern: Sleep has more health benefits than most people realize. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems. Make sure you go to bed at the same time to help your body switch to a rest mode easier. Take a walk after dinner and avoid watching TV if you want to fall asleep faster.
- Reduce Stress: It is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. So, make sure you listen to your body and slow down if needed, take a minute or two to breathe deeply, find time in your day to meditate.
- Interact with others! Studies consistently show that individuals with the highest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to live longer. But what if you find yourself in a socially limited situation? This is an area where North Oakland Caregivers has been helping seniors in their home OR residing in nursing homes via companionship. Our caregivers provide support by visiting, taking you to a movie or just staying in and having a friendly conversation.
These are just a few of the many things that may only take a SHORT part of the day, but may enhance your chances for a LONG healthy aging future. Why not start incorporating them into your routine?
* Always check with your physician before changing anything in your diet or activities of daily living or lifestyle.
We at North Oakland Caregivers are taking an early opportunity to recognize our clients this month as we honor National Senior Health and Fitness Day. Of course, health and well-being of our seniors is the focus of our efforts every day because this is what we do. However, we would like to pause and make this month special for our seniors.
We encourage all our senior home care clients to be as active as possible. Just a simple walk in a park a couple of times a week can be beneficial for one’s health. And when that’s just not possible, maybe bringing flowers to our clients will bring a smile to their face and help their feeling of well-being.
In the picture: North Oakland Caregivers President Lance Baylis with a client