Care For Caregivers New Or Used Stair Lifts The Differences In Elder Care Services A Grandparent S Guide To Choosing Age Appropriate Toys

If you’re caring for an aging parent or facing the challenges of assisting a loved one or friend who is chronically ill, disabled or elderly, you are not alone. You are one of the 22 million Americans who care for an older adult. Caregivers provide 80 percent of in-home care, but unlike nurses and home health aids, they are unpaid for their labor of love.

“Caregiving is a difficult job that can take a toll on relationships, jobs and emotional well-being,” says Dr. Elizabeth Clark, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. “Those who care for others need to be sure to take care of themselves, as well.”

Here are some important tips for caregivers:

• Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

We tend to wait until we are in crisis before asking for help and consultation. Seek out the help of a licensed clinical social worker or other trained professional.

• It’s Not Easy to Tell Your Parents What to Do

The most difficult thing about caring for a parent is the day you have to tell them they need to have help, they can no longer drive or they may have to move from their home. Discuss long-term care wishes and desires before any decline happens.

• Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your parents or children when they refuse your input and help. Seek a referral to a professional who can help you cope with your personal issues and frustrations.

• Stay Informed

We live in a world of constant change. Medications and treatments are constantly changing and the only way to keep up-to-date is to stay informed with the latest news. Attend local caregiver conferences, participate in support groups, speak with friends and relatives, and talk with professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics.

• Take Time Out

Caregivers who experience feelings of burnout need to accept that occasionally they may need a break from their loved one in order to provide him or her with the best care.

• Laugh

Humor and laughter are tremendous healers.

If possible, you may want to hire help. The most important thing is to find trustworthy people to provide assistance. Use recommended home care agencies, talk with friends about their experiences and interview professionals before deciding on the one you are going to retain.

When out browsing the market for a stair lift, the majority of the stair lifts that you come across will be new, however you may see some that are used. What are the differences exactly, or the risks involved with getting a used stair lift?

For starters, every stair lift that is made, has a track that is custom built for a specific stair case. So unless your stair case is the same as what the used stair lifts track was cut for, it will not be a good fit. However, it is possible to cut the track if your stair case is shorter than the stair lift track you are looking at but the tracks cannot be lengthened.

Another big issue with getting a used stair lift, is that you do not get the warranty that you would on a new stair lift. You may get a much shorter warranty, or you may get no warranty at all on used stair lifts. With the full factory warranty you are protecting your investment, giving yourself much more peace of mind and if something does go wrong within your warranty period, you’re covered. You won’t have to pay extra for someone to come out and fix the stair lift.

There is also the issue of price. Any used stair lift will have a lower price than a new one, however, is the difference that significant? It also depends on the brand, you might be able to get a used stair lift of one brand for the price of a new one of a different brand.

Lets say we are looking at the same brand of stair lifts, one used, one new. The used will be priced lower, but probably only two hundred dollars or so lower. What are you truly getting? You are getting a slightly lower priced stair lift that is used, short to no warranty and no guarantee if they have a track that will fit your stair case.

If you are in need of a stair lift, then most likely you want something that will just work, correctly and reliably, and not worry about it. For the price and warranty difference, I would say your best bet is to get a new stair lift instead of a used one.

Time marches on and so do we. Before we know it, we are older and so are our parents or loved ones. Caring for them and being sure their needs are met become a prime concern especially when they begin to not be able to care for themselves as they used to. This dilemma touches most every family. The thing to avoid is to remain under a veil of ignorance by not understanding your options and waiting until the last minute to make an abrupt and often uniformed decision. Care for the elderly is of utmost importance. This will be addressed in a comparison between adult day care, assisted living, and nursing home care.

Adult day care has the shortest care periods and usually lasts up to 8 hours a day and 5 days a week. People with Alzheimer’s, the feeble, the physically handicapped, those infected with HIV/AIDS, people with declining brain function and the hearing and visually impaired are included in this type of care. It serves as respite for busy caregivers and offers social and recreational activities, meals, therapy, health and social services. Usually there is an assessment made of the needs of each person before they enter the program. It is also important to find out how physically able they are because adult day care does provide rehabilitative services and personal care. One of its greatest advantages is that it helps people remain independent and be able to live with loved ones as long as they can plus it gives caregivers the break they often need.

Funding can come through Medicaid if the person qualifies, need-based scholarships, some medical insurance, long-term care insurance or tax credits for dependent care. Medicare doesn’t cover adult day care. Usually centers are non-profit (80% of them) and charge anywhere from $25-$75 a day. This will vary according to location. Transportation is also provided. There are full-time nursing services and these places are licensed by the state.

The next step up in care, if the elderly are not living with friends or family, is assisted living. It is for seniors who are somewhat independent and who need more care than a retirement community has available. The focus is on allowing for individual residents’ independence, need for privacy, choice, and safety. The services offered are personal (bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, and eating), health care (which also involves management of medications), social and physical activities, 24-hour supervision, education, laundry, linen, housekeeping, unit maintenance, shopping, meal preparation, money management and transportation. A person can occupy a furnished or unfurnished studio or 1-bedroom unit with a bathroom. Some places have a shared bathroom. Also some units may have kitchenettes or even a full kitchen.

A potential resident is assessed according to physical and cognitive abilities, mental awareness, medical history (including medications being taken) and some personal history to find out if assisted living is a good option. Family members are encouraged to continue being a part of the resident’s life and are welcome to attend social activities throughout the year and on holidays. Usually assisted living places have a full-time nurse and trained staff. Meals are eaten in a dining room and assistance is given when needed. Activities are planned throughout the day and residents have the choice to attend or not. Church services are held, some being a specific denomination and there is usually a non-denominational gathering. Assisted care is regulated by the state.

Sources of funding can include personal funds, assistance for families, Social Security, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. The cost varies, depending on the size of the unit, the services needed and location. It’s between $1,000 and $2,000 per month, the average being $1,873.

The nursing home is the most intensive in care (along with adult family care homes). The residents have definite physical needs. They usually have physical or mental disorders or happen to be too feeble and/or unable to move around, bathe or prepare their own meals. Their ADL’s (Activities of Daily living) are minimal and low functioning. As a general rule, there will be no recovery or ability to take care of themselves, so assistance is a necessity for most or all ADL’s. There are definite medical needs too.

Nurses and nursing aids are available round the clock. Because of the residents’ needs, nursing homes are staffed with that in mind. There is full management of medication and it is administered according to a physician’s orders. A person can obtain a private room if he/she is paying with private funds. Normally, there are 2 people to a room. Meals are brought to them or residents are taken to the dining area. Besides full assistance, nursing homes offer rehabilitative services, exercise, social activities, laundry, housekeeping, and prepared meals. Families and friends are encouraged to visit.

The cost depends on where the home is and what the surcharge is that is attached for private payers versus Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately 70% of nursing home costs are paid by the state and federal governments. The government pays part or all of the fees for about 85% of the residents. Another funding option is long-term care insurance. The actual cost is somewhere around $114 a day or more and can go well above $2,000 a month. This varies depending on the location and the services required.

In summary, adult day care involves hours of care, while assisted living and nursing homes offer more care progressively. It helps to research all the residential and financial options. AARP is a valuable source, as well as Medicare. There are a wealth of other websites that will help relatives and friends find the right place for their loved ones and the phone book lists companies and people that have a network to draw from. Quality care of our elderly is essential. Knowing what can be done is being done, brings a sense of peace of mind.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.3 million children are entrusted to their grandparents every day. Roles of a grandparent include spoiling and enlightening their grandkids with toys they will enjoy. After all, toys are considered to be treasures of childhood. With this role comes an added responsibility to make sure that grandchildren stay safe and enjoy a toy that is age-appropriate. Grandparents make up a large percentage of toy buyers. Thousands of toys are marketed with the promise to educate and entertain kids. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe for children to play with. What can a grandparent look for when purchasing a toy for the kids that they love?

Most pediatricians and child experts believe there are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys that people should be made aware of. Here is a guide that grandparents can use when it comes time to buy a distinctive toy for that special little person:

* Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Labels on toy packaging should specify the age group the toy is made for. Consider that children at any age have different maturity levels. You may want to avoid buying a toy that won’t hold the child’s attention. Make sure to buy educational toys that match every child’s age group. This will make the toy effective and fun to play with.

* Read and follow all warning labels. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, choking is the most common cause of toy-related deaths. Warning labels are made to alert if a toy poses a choking hazard for younger children, typically under the ages of three. Federal law requires these labels. Make sure toys made for older children are kept out of the reach of younger children. Objects such as balls should not be less than 1.75″ in diameter. Avoid toys that have small parts that can potentially be pried off by tiny curious hands. Examples of toys that contain small parts are stuffed teddy bear’s eyes or a wooden car’s wheels. Stuffed and wooden toys are still very popular among children; just think BIG when checking out the “parts” attached to the toy. Toys should be larger than the child’s mouth. Tip: if a toy or toy part can fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, chances are the toy is too small. This would not be a safe toy. If a toy contains small parts, parts should be secured and guaranteed not to come off.

* Make sure toys are free from sharp and pointy edges. As an experienced mother or father, you are probably aware, small children have a tendency to put most things in their mouth. It is important toys are free from sharp edges as to avoid cuts and injuries. There may be danger of a child falling on top of a toy while playing. To avoid injuries, make sure pointy edges are buffered or eliminated,

* Avoid LOUD toys. Children’s ears are highly sensitive and hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises. In order to find out if a toy is too loud, use your own ears as a tool. If the toy is too loud for you, it’s twice as loud for the child. You can choose to take out batteries of the toy or cover speakers with tape. This method is not preferred since tape can be pulled off and the child can swallow it.

* Make sure toys are free of toxic chemicals. Toys such as art supplies, play make-up and crayons have been known to contain toxic chemicals. Before making a purchase, investigate ingredients and contents of the product by looking at the label. The same label should also provide instructions on what to do in case of accidental ingestion of any hazardous substance that the item might contain. It may be wise to consult your local poison control to use as a reference if you need one.

* Some toys come with cords or strings. If a cord or string is longer than 12 inches in length, it can pose a strangulation hazard if looped. Never cut an electrical cord! Make sure electrical cords or wires are secured and protected. Make sure to supervise if an electrical toy needs to be plugged into an outlet. Battery-operated toys are preferable to purchase, especially with young children around. However, battery doors need to be checked frequently to make sure they are secured and cannot be opened. If strings have been cut, make sure frayed edges are cut also. When purchasing crib mobiles, make sure the mobile can be safely mounted high on the crib and out of babies’ reach.

* If you choose to purchase a toy over the Internet there are a few things that you should be aware of: Internet sold toys may not comply with U.S. Toy regulations. Auction sites may sell toys that have been recalled by the CPSC. This could be due to the fact the toys were hazards to children’s safety. If you happen to come across a recalled toy, or you would like to see what toys have been recalled, there are web sites available to you. CPSC or provides sites with helpful information.

* Supervise and be realistic about your grandchild’s abilities and maturity levels. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the child physically ready for a certain toy? Is the toy too heavy? A heavy toy can cause severe injury if the toy falls on the child. Gauge if the child can physically control a heavy toy. Teach the child the safest way recommended by the manufacturer to use the toy properly. Again, SUPERVISE!

* Follow these tips when buying video games: follow age recommendations of each game and observe a game’s ratings. Games rated T for Teen can contain violence, profanity and content not suitable for children under the age of 13. EC for early childhood or E for everyone would be the best choice of rating when buying a video game for younger children.

* Remember the days when you would buy toys for your children? How many dollars have we spent to watch our children and now our children’s children go to the kitchen cupboard, pull out all the pots and pans and wooden spoons and bang away and be happy for hours at play? Or grandparents made or bought wooden toy vehicles and wood constructed pull toys that were safe and entertaining. Maybe all the banging of pots and pans is no longer a situation we wish to experience but fun and educational wooden toys are still available.

There was a time when toys were put on the market and bought without a lot of regard for safety. Grandparents could buy any toy that surely the grandchildren would enjoy without considering if the toy was age-appropriate. It was assumed that kids were thought to have the automatic knowledge not to pick up monopoly money and put it in their mouth. Slinkys were toys made to “walk” down your closest set of stairs. Who knew kids would start to use the Slinky as a rope from which to hoist their little brothers up to the highest treetop? Times have changed. So many toy accidents have taken place, it is now important to teach kids and grandparents the importance of toy safety. The most exciting thing about being a grandparent is watching grandchildren grow up happy and healthy. By becoming vigilantly aware shoppers, grandparents have the power to protect the grandchildren they love.

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