Tag Archives: senior citizens

Gifts For Grandparents

Your parents, grandparents and elderly relatives are a special part of your family. They not only you’re your history but they also are the historians of the family. Whether they are active older adults or challenged by physical or mental illnesses as senior citizens, show your love and appreciation for your beloved aging family members this season with a gift that will make their lives easier, more fun or just memorable.

Customized photo keepsakes
Given with love and affection, Shutterfly  is one of many online retailers offering personalized photo gifts appropriate for any celebration. Items such as a custom photo book filled with favorite family pictures or desktop plaques, glass prints or canvas prints will not only provide a lasting memento but may help trigger familiar memories. Gifts of jewelry and playing cards will let your parents or grandparents take images of their loved ones wherever they go and provide an ideal circumstance for the coveted humble brag. If your aging relative resides in an assisted living facility, personalized décor, such as pillows, woven blankets and fleece photo blankets may provide a familiar sense of home as well as help keep their memories alive.

If you or your kids are tech savvy, you can also create your own bound photo album by downloading the free easy-to-use software from Blurb  or choose from an array of styles created by designers to build a personalize photo calendar with Minted.

If you are long on time but short on cash or have tech-savvy teenagers in the house, do your parents or grandparents a solid and help them digitize their photo collection. Depending on how many photos are involved and how many stories your aging loved ones like to tell, plan on spending at least a few hours or possible set a day and time once a month. If you upload the photos to the cloud, it will not only keep the photos safe but they will be accessible from various devices – making it easy to share memories with multiple family members. A wonderful opportunity to recall childhood memories or hear family stories you or your kids have never heard before. An added bonus, it is basically free to do using something like Heirloom, Google Photos or an Amazon Prime account with unlimited storage.

Technology tools
Buying tech gifts for anyone can be tricky, depending on how comfortable they are in technology in the first place. But for many older adults struggling to stay connected with their grandkids or long-distance loved ones, technology can be a useful tool. Just remember a technology gift to a grandparent usually requires a time commitment beyond just buying, wrapping and giving the gift. You should be prepared to help them set up the item, teach them how to use it and be available to occasionally trouble shoot. Just because you or your kids find technology simple, don’t assume your parents or grandparents will. An unusable gift isn’t helpful. To that end, if you do not have as much time as you would like to help troubleshoot technology issues for your loved ones, consider giving them a subscription to Bask Tech Support (LINK). For a moderate monthly fee, the remote tech support will listen to the problem and walk through a solution. If necessary, they can also connect remotely to the computer to back up data and clean up any issues with viruses and malware.

Aside from iPhone’s Facetime, Skype provides a great way to stay connected with your long-distance relatives but not everyone has a tablet, phone or computer with a built in web camera. If your relatives have an older computer, consider giving them a fun, foolproof webcam. There are many choices available or buy one directly from Skype.com. Or, if you are feeling a little flush this holiday season, consider buying them a tablet, such as an iPad Mini. Even if they only check their email and the weather channel, if you teach them how to use FaceTime or Skype, it could be one of the most useful gifts they receive. Once they master the basics, they may find technology is not as intimidating as they thought. However, if a tablet is just too big and expensive a jump right now, consider starting with a Kindle Fire to ease the transition into technology. It comes equipped with a front facing camera that can be used to Skype, access to Amazon’s remote tech help feature, “Mayday” and of course, they can download audio and e-books.

Sometimes the most appreciated gift is one that makes life easier. If your family member is coping with a physical challenge or must take numerous medications, Sabi offers several practical gifts ranging from health and wellness items  to canes and accessories.

No matter what gifts you give this year, remember, your love and support are always the best gift of all. We wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

And if the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: How To Recognize the Early Signs of the Disease

With the holidays of November and December, many families will gather together after long months or years of separation. In addition to sharing the latest life developments, it can be a good time to assess the current physical and mental health of your aging loved ones. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

Most people are aware the Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a gradual decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. While some memory loss happens to everyone, regardless of age, memory loss that disrupts your daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 warning signs and symptoms  that may be early indicators of the disease and an individual may experience one or more of these signs in various degrees. Remember, some of these signs could be temporary, as a result of injury or medication but if you believe you are exhibiting any of these signs or if you have noticed them in a loved one, please see a doctor.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

As opposed to typical age-related memory loss, where one occasionally forgets a name or where you put something but remembers it later, this is an increasingly more disruptive type of member loss. An individual may not be able to recall recently learned information or may forget important dates or events more than usual. You may also notice individuals repeatedly asking for the same information or increasingly relying on memory aids or family members to remind them of information or appointments that they used to recall on their own.

  1. Challenges in planning or solving problems

Balancing a checkbook can be a challenge for anyone, but if an individual experiences a change in their regular abilities to work with numbers or follow a plan, it may be cause for concern. Some common signs may be trouble following a familiar recipe, a new difficulty keeping track of monthly bills or increased difficulty concentrating and as a result, take longer to do things than they previously did.

  1. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

Who doesn’t need help trying to figure out how to set the DVR or download music? But if you notice your loved one seems to be having trouble with familiar tasks, such as driving to the grocery store, remembering how to play their favorite game or use the oven, it could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

  1. Confusion with time or place

It’s not uncommon to forget what day of the week it is, only to remember later but loosing track of dates, seasons or the passage of time is a different matter. Look for signs of disorientation, your loved one may forget where they are or don’t know how they arrived there.

  1. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

Trouble with your vision could simply mean you need a new pair of glasses or are developing cataracts or glaucoma but if an individual is having difficulty reading, driving, judging distance and determining color or contrast, it is time to consult a doctor beyond an ophthalmologist.

  1. New problems with words in speaking or writing

Having trouble finding the right word may be a common age-related issue but someone with Alzheimer’s may not be able to follow the flow of a conversation or be able to join in. Look for signs of an individual who suddenly stops in the middle of a conversation, looses their thought thread and then has no idea how to pick up the conversation again or repeats themselves. Other signs include struggling with common words or difficulty coming up with the correct term for a familiar object.

  1. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

Anyone can misplace their keys or phone but usually simply retracing your steps is the solution. However, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may not only place things in unusual places, they forget when they placed them and also be unable to retrace their steps to find them again. Sometimes, out of fear or embarrassment, they may accuse others of stealing the missing object.

  1. Decreased or poor judgment

No one is perfect and anyone makes an occasional bad decision. But people with Alzheimer’s may experience more drastic changes in judgment or decision-making, such as falling for telemarketing scams or failing to keep up with basic daily hygiene.

  1. Withdrawal from work or social activities

Sometimes you just don’t feeling like going out or socializing, especially after a hectic day or high-pressure week. But when an individual is regularly opting out of their regular social activities or hobbies, it may be because they are having memory issues or want to avoid people who will notice some of the difficulties they are experiencing.

  1. Changes in mood and personality

Many people like schedules or performing a task a certain way and become irritable when their routine is disrupted. However, people with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personalities changes more frequently, especially when they are out of their comfort zone or a familiar environment. Such individuals may become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious or upset at home, at work or in unfamiliar places when their routine is disrupted or they feel uncomfortable.

For more information about the disease, please watch the National Institute on Aging’s video

Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer’s Disease. The 4-minute captioned video shows the intricate mechanisms involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.

If the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink  to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.

Moves Like Dick Van Dyke

Forget Jagger, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Mary Poppins to The Dick Van Dyke Show to the Night at the Museum films, popular actor Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining audiences for decades. Turning 90 this December, the still spry Van Dyke seemed surprised by that fact, telling NBC News  reporter Joe Fryer, “I can’t really get my mind around it. I don’t feel 90.”

The secret to his longevity? “Sing like nobody can hear you, dance like nobody can see you,” explained the Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer, “Everybody should be singing and dancing. People tell me they can’t dance and they can’t sing. Everyone can. They might stink at it, but you gotta be able to keep moving!”

More than a life philosophy, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging is the name of his autobiography filled with advice about aging. Practicing what he preaches, Van Dyke starts each day with a true enjoyment of life as well as a rigorous workout routine; arriving so early each morning the gym gave him his own key.

Expanding on the subject during an interview with NPR, Van Dyke said, “It’s more in my nature to be optimistic, I think. I’m one of those people who gets up on the right side of the bed in the morning. I get up and have a cup of coffee and go to the gym before I talk myself out of it because I will as anybody will.” And unlike his friend and collaborator for more than 50 years, actor/producer/director Carl Reiner, Van Dyke revealed, “I don’t seem to have any fear of [death]. You have to realize that you do have a terminal condition, but I very much live in the present and I really don’t worry much about it.”

The Hollywood legend also revealed that he didn’t discover dancing and singing until he was an adult in his 30s. While he had fun, he does regret he didn’t take any professional dance or vocal training. While he still enjoys working out, he now has arthritis and other physical ailments and has given up one of his passions, playing tennis. Recognizing that many senior citizens have to give up some of their favorite activities as they age, he still believes that everyone should find something they “enjoy doing, what fulfills you, what interests you… almost anyone can find that one immersing hobby or pastime that they love to do … and someone.”

And he is still singing and dancing, recently performing in an a cappella quartet called Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix. And as than more than 2.7 million YouTube viewers of the music video for Dustbowl Revival’s “Never Had to Go,” can attest, we still enjoy watching him perform.

Talented and famous as he may be but Van Dyke hadn’t considered writing this book until approached by the publisher. Initially concerned about what he could write about aging, the grandfather told AVClub.com, “One day I started making some notes and I realized it was more than an exercise in health, that attitude was very, very important—openness of mind—and then I just kept writing and came up with a lot more than I thought I would….Walt Disney and I always said we were two children looking for our inner adults.”

What else keeps Van Dyke young, perhaps it has something to do with his 46-year-old wife, Arlene Silver-Van Dyke. The couple wed in 2012 and Van Dyke joked to the Today show, “Well, people come up to me and say, ‘Wow, she’s beautiful, is she your daughter?’ Or, ‘Is she your granddaughter?’ No, it’s my wife! Hugh Hefner, eat your heart out!”

He also said he was inspired by a recent story about a 100-year-old man who broke the world record for the 100-yard dash for 100-year-old people: 27 seconds. The song-and-dance man might not have been totally kidding when he claimed, “I’m going into training right now. I’m going to break that record.” Just keep moving, Dick, we’ll keep watching. To listen to the entire NPR interview, click below.

If the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink  to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.