Monday, December 17, 2018

Accepting Dependence on Care from Others

Accepting Dependence on Care from Others Kimberly Perkins-Akers | Amada Senior Care
Dr. Seuss once said, “To the world, you may be one person. But to one person, you may be the
world.” From your perspective, who is most present in your every day? Who supports you, offers
companionship, and imparts meaning into your life? For many of our readers, it is a caregiver. If
you’re the caregiver – it may be the senior you care for.

When we find ourselves in situations that call for it, most of us know to approach elder care
gently. We take notice of and are sensitive to the frail health of many seniors, but we should also
be more intuitively careful about two underlying things: the senior’s perception of their care and
the caregiver’s feelings surrounding their service.

Pride, a common obstacle to the honest conversations we should have with people who mean the
most to us, frequently inhibits individuals from admitting how hard it is to accept dependence on
care from others. More specifically, many have difficulty acknowledging that this dependence is
often crucial to well-being. On the other hand, maybe you have sacrificed a bit of pride to care for
someone other than yourself. You may feel that you are crucial to someone else’s health and
happiness, but at the cost of providing for your own. Yet at the preservation of the care recipient’s
sensitivities, you may not complain about it. On the positive side, you may feel infinite gratitude
towards your caregiver if you are a senior. Caregivers might also enjoy the reward of having a
fulfilling purpose.

When a senior comes to need long-term care (typically after a health crisis and hospital
discharge), both the senior and their family can undergo extreme stress. Suddenly, life is
different. Before a health crisis, seniors are capable of independent living, whether it be at home
or in a senior community. They can move about on their own, cook, clean, dress and use the
bathroom in complete privacy. All of this is altered if health problems require someone else to
provide for a senior’s long-term care. The task of long-term care might come unexpectedly upon a
person who never planned for the responsibility. Both parties involved might feel trapped, guilty or
lost. Wondering about what the other person feels about you might even be a big source of

First of all, know that you are not alone in feeling guilt or loss of self-esteem while you either
receive care or provide it. You are not to blame for what you might feel during this kind of
experience. A lot of these feelings are contingent on external factors that occur during difficult
situations. There are things about aging and long-term care that you cannot control.
However, your perception and accommodation to the changing environments around
you are within your control. No matter what negative feelings you might have as a senior or a
family caregiver, there is always a brighter side. Read this article for some tips on achieving
peace of mind when accepting dependence on care from others.

Where is care received?
Look at the situation where the senior receives care. Is it in their home? Is it in an independent
senior living community? In a nursing home? In hospice? A senior’s comfort level with care
relates to the amount of service provided in their living situation, and the type of service provided.
The level of dependency a senior has in his or her living environment affects how good or bad
they feel about it.

In independent living facilities, seniors have relatively high autonomy, but a lower need for care
unless they prefer more. A study in Houston, Texas reported one elder in an independent living
facility saying, “You feel like you are independent [here] because you are paying your rent and
everything, and you can lock your door and nobody bothers you... When you lose your
independence, you lose everything.” Perhaps the perceived loss of independence is why 29% of
older people would rather die than enter a full-service nursing home, according to the Journal of
the American Geriatrics Society.

Besides independent living facilities and nursing homes, there is the option of a senior receiving
long-term care within their own home. In fact, most seniors prefer this option today. In such an
intimate setting, where seniors can feel uneasy to open their home and privacy to a stranger,
seniors’ loved ones typically become main caregivers or managers of care. This can cause
problems for some families.

While some seniors believe that children have the obligation to care for their elderly parents,
respondents to the Houston survey said it would be more “dignified” for a trained health
professional to care for them, rather than their children. Children of seniors who become
caregivers are reportedly more often the eldest daughter. A daughter supervising a parent’s
bathing or toileting, for example, may cross boundaries they have not encountered before. In
contrast, trained health care workers use the professional-functional type of touch to care for their
patients. Though unfamiliar at first, a trained professional’s contact is impersonal and almost
businesslike, which allows for seniors to relax in a mental “boundary.” Caregivers such as these
are accessible in any kind of senior community and can be hired through agencies for visits to
your home.

Who cares for who?
As mentioned, a senior’s eldest daughter is widely predicted to become the main family caregiver.
Spouses are just as likely to care for senior citizens, though. While most of us go our entire adult
lives without depending on care from a close loved one, this filial piety is actually a traditional
norm for families in some cultures.

In Confucian philosophy, filial piety is the virtue of respecting one’s elders. This philosophy is why
many collectivistic Asian cultures make senior care a family duty. Behind the virtue is a feeling of
obligation to “return the favor” of a parent’s care during childhood. Americans who are grateful to
their parents for their upbringing tend to share the same desire to care for their parents in return.
But for Asians, Asian-Americans and Americans alike, demands clash between a rising elder
population and a shortage of time and resource in an advancing world.

The press for time, energy, financial resources and the attention of a caregiver can cause stress.
The stress directly felt by a caregiver is almost never positively perceived by a senior benefiting
from care. Especially if a caregiver is a loved one, it can pain seniors to see them under pressure
to provide for needs on top of their own, or worse – at the sacrifice of their own. If this is part of
why it is hard to accept dependence on care from others, take a good look at the relationship
between “Who cares for who?” and imagine ways that you can be on the giving end of it.

A senior who receives care from another is not always just a passive recipient. The elderly have
much to give back. Our elder years can be some of the richest times in our lives, especially since
we have experience, lessons and insight to share. You might be the one person your caregiver
sees most every day, so take comfort in their presence and remember that they want to do the
same in yours. Gratitude expressed verbally or in body language tells your caregiver that their
work is valuable. Respectful feedback on the quality of their work will not only help you but also
strengthen the caring spirit and skill of your helper. And as you have done with any other friends
in your life, share good news and interesting things with your caregiver, laugh, debate, entertain
and enjoy each other’s company.

What you may not know about:
Accepting dependence on care from others is a two-way street. Seniors receiving long-term care
must find a way to accept that they need someone else for activities of daily living. Caregivers
must understand what it takes for a senior to be receptive of care in all physical and emotional
capacities to maximize the quality of their care. To mutually ensure this goal is accomplished,
these things are important to know about:

Dignity – Dignity is essential to happy living for the elderly. The Houston study said seniors defined “dignity” as the respectful treatment of the elderly as adults, not children, and that it’s upheld by humane, attentive care provided by others. So, a senior’s dignity can greatly hinge on their treatment from others. If treatment is wrongful, dignity is damaged. If it is good, dignity prospers.

Perception of Control – Losing control over health, financial resources, environment and at times mental ability feels devastating to some seniors who have been building these things for their entire lives. The perception of control is what matters most when dealing with a senior who feels these losses. In a Journal of Gerontology article titled, “Compensating for Losses in Perceived Personal Control over Health,” a senior’s individual self-evaluation of his or her social identity can buffer the loss of control they feel. Seniors who acknowledge positive past impacts of their strengths will see that in ways, the control they used to have rewarded them later on. We all lose various abilities over time, like growing out of shoes we can no longer use. The honest, unwavering passage of time is another, yet harder pill to swallow. Next, seniors should realize it is okay to relinquish some control for the purpose of ensuring their health.

Willingness to Adjust – Many caregivers have encountered the senior who is unwilling to accept care or be compliant with a health specialist. Unless the care is somehow detrimental to the senior’s wellbeing, this mental block against accepting dependence on care from others is counter-intuitive. A good caregiver wants to do what it takes to make a senior healthy, happy and content. If a senior is unwilling to accept the services that lead to this, they will be unhappy, unhealthy and discontent. Realize the win-win situation you have in accepting care from a genuinely concerned caregiver. If you’d rather let your health suffer than benefit from someone else’s help, you are on a path towards loneliness and self-sabotage.

Loneliness – In the mentioned Journal of Gerontology article, loneliness was found to be a predictor of both chronic health conditions and perceived health. In other words, lonely seniors are more likely to have serious health problems and believe they are unhealthier than they actually are. Caregivers should know that senior citizens are at high risk for social isolation, and seniors should avoid isolating themselves at all costs.

Personal Choice / Preferences – At the forefront of understanding how to accept dependence on care from others is knowing preferences of the senior and of the caregiver. From the beginning, when families are shopping for care options following a hospital discharge, they must take the senior’s preferences into account. Know the level of independence and control your senior loved one wants to maintain. Find the best services that encourage safe independent living as much as possible. Caregivers have preferences, too. If you are a caregiver, do not deny any strong feelings that say you should or shouldn’t be doing what you are doing. You are valuable to who you care for, but if you aren’t the best fit for the job, call for help.

Visit us online or call us today and say "I saw you in SPOTLIGHT!"

Kimberly Perkins-Akers  |  Owner and Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® 
Serving Chandler-Mesa-Gilbert-Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe
P: 480.999.5250  |  C: 480.999.5254 | F: 480.999.5251   E: |Web:
1660 S. Alma School Rd. #223 ▪ Mesa, AZ  85210 

12 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Beloved Senior in Your Life

12 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Beloved Senior in Your Life
Kimberly Perkins-Akers | Amada Senior Care

Our goal at Amada Senior Care is to enrich seniors’ lives and ensure our clients are safe, healthy and happy at home. Just in time for the 12 Days of Christmas, we have a dozen gift ideas aimed at achieving that goal. Keep these suggestions in mind for gifting your senior loved one on other holidays, a birthday or anniversary… or just because. 

The Gift of Your Time 
Really, this is what every senior loved one wants – just your presence rather than a present. How about treating her or him to a special family time occasion, a “day of beauty” with a haircut or hairstyling, manicure or pedicure, mustache trim or hot shave, lunch outing, church visit or a movie?
Quality time tops the gift list every time! 

Jitterbug Smart 2 
Version 2.0 of the popular, no-contract Jitterbug smartphone designed for seniors offers the same large screen and big buttons. Now it’s easier to use and boasts an improved menu. Options to make a call, text, take photos, access pictures and email are organized in a simple list. Plus, the phone can be used as a personal health and safety tool with services like a daily check-in call, fall detection and apps including brain games, medication reminders, health tips and fitness tracker.  

MaxiAids Talking Watches and Pendants 
If your senior loved one is blind or visually impaired, consider a talking watch or pendant that announces the time and date on the hour or at the press of a button. Many models by MaxiAids and similar mobility companies can be set to give an alert or vibration for medication reminders and wake-up or bedtime calls. Big faces and bold numbers make for easy viewing. 

Slippers, Sleepwear and Linens 
These never go out of style and offer the gift of comfort to a senior loved one. Consider a weighted blanket or lap pad made by Calming ComfortSensaCalm or a similar company that is designed to ease age-related insomnia, restless leg syndrome, anxiety and depression.
There’s evidence showing that a weighted blanket or lap pad offers a non-drug option for managing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia such as disturbed sleep, agitation and anxiety. Do-it-yourself types can find lots of online tutorials for how to make a weighted blanket or lap pad. 

Stylish Compression Socks or Stockings 
Turn old school into new cool by having your senior loved one ditch the plain black and beige stockings for today’s fashionably stylish compression socks fit for a cat walk. Compression socks by Vim & VigrSB SoxZensah Tech and other brands are the hardest-working garments in a senior’s wardrobe. They help keep legs from feeling tired and achy. They ease the swelling that can trigger deep vein thrombosis. They help treat spider and varicose veins. They give veins a helpful boost by pushing blood back to the heart. These benefits combined with today’s bright colors (hot pink, neon green, vivid aqua, etc.) and graphic designs (skulls, hearts, butterflies, etc.) make compression socks the healthy style choice for all ages. Note: Check with your senior loved one’s doctor to make sure that he or she can use compression socks safely.

Low-Impact Exercise Equipment 
The Healthy Seniors Chair Exercise Program kit comes with low and medium-resistance exercise bands that the senior can use at her or his own pace while sitting in a chair to build strength and improve flexibility and stability. The Portable Pedal Exerciser by Vive is a compact folding pedal exerciser to strengthen the legs and arms. It might also increase circulation while improving stamina, focus and concentration.  

Mobility Assistance Tools 
Lots of great devices are coming to market that literally give seniors a hand. Pull Me Up by Rising Improvements is a simple oval ring that lets you give your senior loved one an assist from a sitting to standing position. It’s like an instant grab bar that prevents injuries from arm pulling. The Able Life Auto Cane creates a grab bar handle for a senior (or someone recovering from an injury) to get in and out of a vehicle. The Brenium Multifunctional Bottle Can Opener lets seniors with weak hand strength or rheumatoid arthritis twist off caps, pull tabs and remove seals easy-peasy. 

Monthly Giftbox Subscription 
Ensure your beloved senior will smile often over three, six, nine or 12 months upon receiving a monthly subscription box for flowers, wine, coffee, food, spiritual inspiration, books, magazines or favorite treats. GrandBox specializes in kits (curated according to the senior’s profile) that arrive before important dates like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Filled with treats, puzzles and health-and-wellness products, CheerCrates are ideal for a loved one living in a retirement or assisted living community. Seniors with particular dietary restrictions can enjoy Love with Food, which sends an assortment of all-natural and organic food. 

Food Delivery Service 
More and more meal delivery companies are specializing in convenient and affordable programs that meet the tastes and needs of older adults. Companies like Magic KitchenHealthy Chef Creations and Personal Chef to Go deliver meals that are naturally low in sodium, fats and sugar and made with fresh, organic ingredients. Meals on Wheels, the largest provider of senior meals with 5,000 nutrition programs around the country, offers catered menus and dietary food options in some states. 

Fitness Tracker 
What we love most about gifting a fitness tracker to a senior is that it encourages fitness goals such as steps per day and stairs climbed, and promotes healthy choices to avoid the sedentary lifestyle associated with things like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. One of the fitness trackers we like best for seniors is the watch-style, user-friendly Fitbit Blaze for its large and bright display, touchscreen, built-in heart rate monitor and sleep tracker, reminders to move, exercise tracker, digital workout coach and five-day battery life. 

Medication Reminder 
Everything is going digital, why not medication reminders? One of the highest-reviewed apps is the Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker by Medisafe. It helps seniors stay safe and in control of their medications by getting reminders about taking the correct dose at the correct time and lets them track their progress. A family member or caregiver can use the app to help manage the senior’s medication to ensure she or he is taking medications as prescribed. Notifications can be set up to alert a family member or caregiver. Among the many useful features is a drug-to-drug interaction checker, a progress report email-able to a doctor’s office ahead of an appointment, prescription renewal alert and a health tracker for blood pressure, weight and glucose. 

TV Ears
This is a hearing-aid device pitched by senior celebrity spokesperson Pat Boone with the slightly corny selling point, “TV Ears saved our marriage.” But you know, sometimes corny works! The wireless headset gets rave reviews online with posters reporting that it does help seniors who suffer from hearing loss and have difficulty watching television programs with low-volume sound. The device is easy to set up, as it links directly to the TV set and lets the headset-wearing senior listen to a program at regular volume remotely. TV Ears features voice-clarifying circuitry and background-noise-reducing foam ear tips.

Visit us online or call us today and say "I saw you in SPOTLIGHT!"

Kimberly Perkins-Akers  |  Owner and Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® 
Serving Chandler-Mesa-Gilbert-Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe
P: 480.999.5250  |  C: 480.999.5254 | F: 480.999.5251   E: |Web:
1660 S. Alma School Rd. #223 ▪ Mesa, AZ  85210