7 Tips for a Dementia Friendly Home
Did you know there are over 400 types of dementia? Many forms of dementia can be present at the same time and may be hard to differentiate or diagnose correctly. Having a home that is set up for success for those suffering from dementia is critical to limiting confusion. Consider the following if you are working to establish a dementia friendly home environment: Keep Photos + Positive Memories Front and Center:Keeping photos of loved ones or keepsakes that remind them of good memories can be a great way to invoke comfort in one’s home. Remove Clutter:Too many items around the house can make a space overwhelming and confusing. Make Cabinets Easily Accessible:Try removing cabinet doors so the items behind them are easy to see or print out photos of what is inside. Establish Prominent Contact Lists:Having a list of phone numbers with a description of who they are along with a photo can help the person feel comfortable and at easy when making or receiving phone calls. Improve Lighting:Make sure that rooms are light and bright especially during the day. Curtains should be opened to allow natural light and keep their circadian rhythm regulated. Simplify Access Points:Keep doors you’d like them to go through open – such as bathroom and bedrooms – and other doors closed so they are easy to access and distinguish. Create a Safe Set Up:Keep any products that could potentially be poisonous locked up so they are not mistaken or confused with anything else. Dementia TipsDownload
How to Avoid Cyber Scams
Have you ever received an intimidating call or message demanding for your information? This is an example of a phishing scam used by cyber criminals to steal your important information. During tax season, phishing scams are on the rise so that’s why we created a guide to help avoid scam attempts. what’s a phishing scam? Phishing is a type of cyber attack used by cyber criminals to obtain your information or tricking you into downloading or clicking a link. Cyber criminal tactics vary from impersonating a lovedone or claiming to work for the IRS. If you ever receive a suspicious email, text message, or even phone call, delete it and never click on any unknown links! gift card scam Most scammers will want you to purchase gift cards as payment. These transactions are difficult to trace and harder to recover funds. If someone is requesting a large amount sum of gift cards, it is a fraudulent request. Legitimate companies such as Microsoft will never ask for payment via gift cards. how to spot a scam Be cautious of emails or text messages from unknown addresses. Sometimes your emailwon’t mark messages as spam or text messages will be disguised as shipping information.Here are some tips to spot out a scam: spelling errors messages with a sense of urgencytoo good to be true offers shortened or links with misspellingsrequests for personal information demanding payment If you are unsure about a message, contact the organization who sent the email for confirmation before answering a message or clicking any links. keeping your devices updated One way of keeping your devices safe is by staying up to date on software updates. Updates enable your device to stay safe against the most recently discovered security threats. When you receive an update notification from your device such as your cell phone, set a time to install the latest update during the night time while your device is on its charger. Avoid Cyber ScamsDownload
Free COVID-19 Tests
U.S. households can place a total of 2 separate orders for 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests.Here’s what you need to know about ordering: Go to https://special.usps.com/testkits to place your order. All you need is your contact and shipping information.One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. There is a limit of two orders per residential address.Orders will ship for free. Free COVID-19 TestDownload
When Should You Take a COVID Test?
Being able to quarantine at the first signs of COVID is important to stop the spread. You should take a COVID test if you: When in contact with someone that tested COVID positiveRecently traveledHave symptoms such as, fever, sore throat, cough, loss of taste/smell, or difficulty breathing if you test positive:-Isolate yourself by staying in a separate room if you live with other members.-Monitor your symptoms. If you begin to experience emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical attention. if you test negative:-If you test negative, the test did not find the virus in your sample.-You should test again within a few days to ensure you are COVID negative. if you have questions:Always consult your doctor with questions about your health and check on the CDC website for quick access to resources when dealing with the COVID-19 virus. When to TestDownload
6 Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to physical and mental health issues, weaken our immune system, and even cause other issues such as dementia and falls. Check out these top tips to help you get your best night’s sleep, stay energized, and support your well-being. Get Physical: Daily exercise promotes better sleep 2. Watch Your Caffeine: Don’t drink anything with caffeine after 2 pm 3. Limit the Drinks: Limit your alcohol use before bed. It can disrupt your sleep cycle, so it is best to keep to a minimum. 4. Soak Up the Sun: Getting a daily dose of natural light will help your body naturally normalize your circadian rhythm and help tell your body when it’s time for bed. 5. Turn Off Your TV: Try to avoid looking at your TV, phone, or tablet at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. 6. Wind down: 30 minutes before bed lower the lights, read, meditate, listen to relaxing music or do some low-impact stretching. This will send signals to your body to start getting ready to sleep. BetterSleepDownload
Road safety is important not only for you, but for those you share the road with. You can do a self-assessment or get a professional evaluation done. The safer you feel, the safer you’ll be on the road. Here are some quick tips to consider before jumping in your car: Seatbelt:Buckle up for safety! If your seatbelt is uncomfortable try adding a shoulder pad or adjusting the shoulder mount. Health Check:Have you gotten your eyes checked this year? Has your hearing or reaction time changed? Are you taking a new medicine? These are all things you should take into account as potential mind or body changes and driving safely. Stay healthy and stay independent! Driver Refresh:AAA offers a Roadwise Driver course that you can take online or in person to refresh your road knowledge. Perks include learning about the newest technology in cars as well as a possible discount on your insurance premium! Mobility and Independence:Keeping your mind sharp is so important, especially while driving. Say a dog runs into the street…you have a matter of seconds to decide what to do. You’ll also need your physical fitness and coordination to make those quick movements. Keeping your mind and body sharp to stay independent and safe on the road. Put Cell Phones Down:If you’re using GPS, put the destination in before you get on the road to eliminate the distraction. Visibility:When possible, try to drive during daylight hours and avoid driving through bad weather. Driver-SafetyDownload
Facts Around Diabetes
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Out of those, approximately 95% are suffering from type 2 diabetes. 1 in 7 health care dollars in the US is spent treating diabetes and its complications, which comes out to $327 billion per year! However, a lot of this spending is related to managing the condition instead of treating it. Missed appointments, delays in management, and medication non-adherence can increase emergency department visits and hospitalizations. VRI’s programs can help individuals and health plans bridge those gaps to support better health and outcomes. With engagement, education, and empowerment, we help members to not only save money, but more importantly, save lives. TYPE 1 Insulin Dependent – The body doesn’t make enoughSymptoms – Increased thirst and urination, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, slow healing sores or infectionsPrevention – No way to prevent TYPE 2 Insulin Resilient – The body can’t use insulin properlySymptoms – Increased thirst and urination, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, slow healing sores or infectionsPrevention – Manage your weight, exercise, eat healthy + balanced diet, limit alcohol, control blood pressure DIABETESDownload
Communication Tips for Aphasia
Aphasia is defined as the loss of ability to understand or express speech, often caused by a stroke or some sort of brain damage. Here are some tips to support communication with a loved one working through the impact of Aphasia: Simplify questionsWhen possible, use Yes or No questions. Be patientUnderstand they are probably more frustrated than you are. Draw or write!It could be easier for your loved one to understand a drawing or picture OR it could be easier for them to draw or write the word. Communicate respectfullySpeak with them like they are an adult and refrain from using a raised voice. Use gesturesSometimes physical queues are easier to interpret. Don’t question intelligenceThey may know the answer, just not how to say it. Eliminate distractionsFocusing on communication can make it easier for processing. Leverage technologyConsider using Apps that may help. Aphasia DownloadDownload Coping with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Coping with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s Caregivers of Alzheimer’s
Low-Vision Home Safety Tips
As vision changes occur throughout our lives it becomes increasingly important to keep remove hazards that could lead to falls, injuries, or trips to the emergency room. Check out our tips to help make your home safer for you and your guests: Keep all cords out of walkways and as close to baseboards as possible. Add light! Overhead or centralized lighting can help you see a writing, a small step or exit.Make sure bathmats have non-slip backing.Use high contrast towels and rugs, especially in bathrooms.Keep clutter to a minimum and especially out of walkways.Clean up spills immediately.Eliminate unnecessary small throws that could be tripping hazards.Label things in a large font, especially if it’s toxic.Use color contrasting color strips for stairs.Make sure you know where your pet is so you don’t trip on them. Adding a bell to their collar is great option! Low Vision Tip SheetDownload
Low Impact Options to Stay Active Outdoors
Studies have shown that within minutes of getting outside and active and being around nature you will see a significant reduction in cortisol (stress), blood pressure, and muscle tension. Those who struggle with mental illness saw a huge improvement in their self esteem and a reduction in the depression symptoms. With all of these great benefits, here are a few options to get outside, do a low impact activity, get your stress down, and your wellness up: GardeningGets you your vitamin D, combats dementia and is mood-boosting! Aqua aerobicsGreater range of motion in the water, puts less stress on your joints helps build strength WalkingA 20-30 minute walk can help your cardiovascular health, improve your sleep, and help you stay strong Strolling with FidoHave a neighbor with a dog who works during the day? Offer to walk their furry friend while they are busy working. It’ll boost your mood and your furry friend’s! Tips-to-Stay-Active-OutdoorsDownload To see more around healthy aging visit: https://vricares.com/6-things-you-can-start-doing-today-for-healthy-aging/
How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s
If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it can be scary and stressful. The fear of the unknown can be intimidating, but now could also be the best time to make the most of this time together! Consider these next steps to provide support: Start the conversation: Allow them time to process and feelRemind them the importance of their role ie Grandmother/father, parent, etc.Validate any emotions that ariseEncourage them to speak with someone they trust and can confide in Create a safe environment: Assess the level of supervision neededWatch for sundowning and wanderingConsider adult daycare resourcesAdd photos of people they will see often with their names in their homeEvaluate options for supportive technology, including door alarms, medication reminders, etc. Leverage memory loss techniques: Use repetition when necessaryTell them who you are if they don’t seem to knowReduce extra noiseGive very clear directions: the red door on your left instead of, that doorUse specific names instead of “he” or “she Caring-For-AlzheimersDownload Coping with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Coping with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease can be scary and unpredictable. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, it is important to prioritize how you use this time. Here are some suggestions: Have important discussions with your doctor: How your diagnoses was determinedHow the disease will progress and expectationsAvailable treatmentsInteractions with other medications Any side effects that you should be looking forCare planning in the futureAre they familiar with this disease? If not, is there anexpert you can be referred to? Build your support team: Talk to a trusted friend or counselor to talk through any emotions or fears you may be havingConsider building out health directivesTalk to legal advisors about important decisions you should make nowJoin a support group for people who know what you’re going through Get involved in meaningful activities: Continue to do activities you love and bring you joyKeep your mind active whether it puzzles or learning a new languageTravel to a place you’ve always wanted to visitFind a purpose (seeing friends/family more, participating in activities, travel)Try writing down memories you and your family can look back on Coping With AlzheimersDownload How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s
6 Things You Can Start Doing Today for Healthy Aging
Lifestyle and overall health are big drivers in aging well, and you can always make changes to improve your experience! Check out these six things you can start doing today for healthy aging: Healthy Eating + Hydration Eating a fresh, healthy diet while limiting processed food and staying hydrated are essential for your health and disease prevention. Healthy foods and hydration not only improve your health, but can also improve your mood and energy levels. Sleep People who are 65+ you need between 7-8 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting quality sleep this could affect your mood, memory, weight, immunity heart disease or even shorten your life expectancy. If you nap, do so before pm, exercise early and start a bedtime routine to wind down and limit screen time 30 minutes before bed. Exercise Regular exercise and stretching can improve your balance and keep your body strong and limber which can help prevent falls by 21%. You don’t have to run a marathon to see the benefits. A couple days of exercise per week can also benefit people with heart disease, help brain health, boost your mood, arthritis, diabetes and chronic conditions. Preventative Care There are many preventative screenings that can help you live longer so that you can focus on enjoying life. The good news is, Medicare covers preventive screenings in full! We broke down a few key screenings here:https://vricares.com/preventative-screenings-by-age-gender/ Social Relationships Loneliness can have a devastating effect on your mental health as well as your physical health. Keep connected with neighbors, engage in the community with volunteer work or community centers, use technology to keep in contact or play games. Support System Your support system should include loved ones and tools to make it easier to maintain your health, like emergency response systems. Learn more about VRI’s connected solutions here: https://vricares.com/how-it-works-signal/ 6Tips_AgingDownload
STROKES: Know the Warning Signs
Strokes are the No. 2 cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of disability. Getting someone to the hospital within three hours of symptoms gives them the best chance for treatment and recovery, so it is important to know the warning signs. Just remember to FAST: Face Dropping When you smile, does one side of your face drop? Arm Weakness Try lifting both arms, does one drift downward? Slurred Speech Recite a simple phrase, does the speech sound different that itnormally does? Time to Call 9-1-1 If you’re seeing these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1 Strokes-TipSheetDownload
Combating Compassion Fatigue
If you are a caregiver, you know providing support can be both rewarding and exhausting. Caring for people can cause compassion fatigue by creating stress and trauma. It is important to know the signs of building compassion fatigue and steps you can take to combat it. Signs of Compassion Fatigue: Loss of empathy Feelings of burnout and numbnessHeadaches, nausea or dizziness Difficulty concentrating or making decisionsFeeling detached or self-isolation Self-blame or dwelling on thoughtsIncrease, anger, irritability, sadness or anxiety Tips to Combat Compassion Fatigue: Try to get some exercise or walk each day Schedule out breaksStay connected with friends or loved ones Talk to a therapist or join a support groupMake sleep a priority Continue doing activities you enjoy Learn More: Here are 2 great resources you can visit for more resources if you’re feeling compassion fatigue and need some guidance:http://www.compassionfatigue.org/http://www.healthycaregiving.com/ CombattingCompassionFatigueDownload
Tips to Stay Hydrated During the Summer
With the hot, summer months upon us, it is important to not only stay cool, but also stay hydrated and about 20% should come from your food alone! Staying hydrated helps rid your body of waste, helps regulate body temp, lubricates joints, and protects tissue. Here is a quick guide to help you stay hydrated and avoid dehydrating foods and drinks. Hydrating: Drinks – Water, milk, fruit infused water, sportsdrinks with electrolytes, 100% fruit juice(low sugar), coconut water, caffeine-freetea, milk alternatives (soy, coconut,almond). Foods – Watermelon, spinach, tomatoes,strawberries, bell peppers, radishes,pineapple, cucumber, grapefruit, iceberglettuce. Dehydrating: Drinks – Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks such asalcohol, coffee, teas, soda, hot cocoa,lemonade, sweet tea, energy drinks,flavored milk, smoothies (excess sugar). Foods – Avoid salty, processed foods like,dehydrated meats, breads, pancakes,waffles, canned foods, soy sauce, highprotein meats, fast food. Hydration-Tip-SheetDownload
Caregiver + Family Meeting Communication Tips
5 Tips on Discussing Decisions with Family Caregiving is a huge task alone, and coordinating those efforts with other loved ones and family members can be complicated. Here are 5 tips to try to help you navigate these types of meetings to help them be less stressful and more productive: ATTENDANCE CALL! Family can mean a different thing for each person, but this meetingshould include everyone who would be part of the Caregiver teamand the decision making. This could also change based on the topici.e., if the topic is finances, this may only include immediate family.Agree ahead of time with the group who should be involved ininfluencing which topic. PREPPING YOUR COMMUNICATION Before your meeting, prepare an agenda and distribute it to all whowill be attending the meeting so that everyone can gather theirthoughts prior to the discussion. You can also make thecommunication more convenient for all involved by offering flexiblemeeting options, like video calls, conference calls, or meetingrecordings. MEETING SUCCESS Host meetings in a safe, neutral place for the entire group. Thisallows each participant to contribute easier and feel involved in thecare coordination planning. FAMILY DYNAMICS + CHALLENGES Family dynamics can be complicated. Remind all participants of thegoal of the meeting, refrain from bringing up off-topic subjectmatters, and include a neutral mediator as necessary. WRAPPING UP Make sure everyone is aligned before you finish the meeting byreviewing decisions, action items, owners, and deadlines. Then, sendout a recap to the group so everyone can reference the same list. FamilyDecisionTipsDownload
Preventative Screenings By Age + Gender
There are many preventative screenings that can help you live longer so that you can focus on enjoying life. The good news is, Medicare covers all costs of screenings that it considers preventative! We broke down a few gender specific screenings in a quick guide for you to download. PreventiveScreenings_VRI-1Download
8 Red Flags to Help You Avoid Fraudulent Scammers
While people of all ages can fall victim to scams, seniors are often targeted and lose more than $3 billion per year in fraudulent scams. Watch and listen for these red flags to help protect yourself and loved ones: WIRE TRANSFERS Wire transfer requests are often made as funds are instant and harder to pull back. If a wire transfer is being requested, ask yourself: -Do I know the recipient? -Am I confident I owe the money? -Should I run this by someone else? DEMANDS FOR SECRECY Scammers will often pressure you by creating fear and demanding you keep the transaction a secret from your loved ones. While they may try to persuade you that it is for your benefit, there is no reason that an official agency would tell you not to share information with your support team. GIFT CARD PURCHASES Fraudulent requests often include gift cards as they are harder to trace or recover than funds that are transferred or wired. If someone is requesting several, high dollar gift cards, stop! Legitimate companies will never request gift cards as payment. HIGH PRESSURE CONVERSATIONS Scams usually include a sense of urgency to prevent you from talking to your support team. If someone is demanding funds immediately, pause, talk to your support team, and ensure the request is legitimate. TOO-GOOD-TO-BE-TRUE OFFERS If an offer is too good to be true, it is probably is just that. If someone is offering to overpay for something if you wire them a portion back, if they promise an exceptionally high return on your investment, etc. – talk to someone you trust to see if they think it might be a scam! Real companies will not ask for payment to give you a prize. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES + UTILITY COMPANIES Someone calling posing as person collecting for the IRS, social security, the bank, or utilities companies. If you get a call requesting money from one of these institutions tell them you can call them back. Proceed to call the company with it’s public phone number and ask them if they have called requesting money. FAMILY OR ROMANTIC IMPOSTERS Is a family member or loved one acting out of character? Some scammers will pose as loved ones or romantic interests with claims that they urgently need money for visas, medical emergencies, or to visit. When loved ones act out of character, ask other loved ones if their story is accurate before sending funds. COMPUTER TECH SUPPORT Your computer will not send you a pop up ad with a support number to call. However, these ads can appear. Often, they will be directed to someone who requires money for a fix that you did not need in the first place. Do not call or click these links. People lose an average of $500 per “support call”. 8Flags_Fraud-1Download
4 Tips for Bathroom Safety
Nearly 200,000 people are injured in their bathrooms annually, and one of activities most likely to cause injury is getting in and out of the bathtub. Seniors are often at the highest risk for bathroom injuries, but these tips can help reduce risks. Prevent falls with these 4 tips:1. Place no-slip strips or mats in the bottom of your shower.2. Install safety handles in the tub or shower and by the toilet to make getting up and down easier.3. Keep a no-slip rug or bathmat beside the bathtub or shower to avoid falls.4. Vision issues increase your fall risk, so make sure you have bright lighting that’s easy to reach. In addition to preventing falls, it is important to have support quickly when you need it. Consider resources, like VRI’s water resistant emergency response pendants, to connect you to assistance at the press of a button. 4 Tips for Bath Safety PDFDownload
6 Ways to Stay Engaged
If you haven’t heard by now, social isolation is taking it’s toll on not only the elderly, but people of all ages. There is a higher rate of anxiety and depression now more than ever. We have complied a list of fun things we can all do to stay connected and wanted to share some ideas with you. DRIVE-IN MOVIES You may have seen these starting to pop up again during COVID so do a quick google search to see if there is one close to you! We’ve also been seeing people projecting movies onto a building wall and gathering at a safe distance. Don’t forget the candy! DIGITAL DINNER Agree on a set dinner time and invite your friends or family to eat with you. This can be a great time to catch up especially with those who live alone. WEEKLY GAME NIGHT Everyone agree on a game and go around playing via Zoom! BOOK CLUB Keep your mind sharp! Meet every week online to discuss a book of choice. WINE TASTING Everyone orders the same bottles of wine and have one person lead the tasting. Don’t drink? Try different brands of Root Beer! STAY FIT Connect your fitness tracker of choice and challenge some friends to a step or fitness competition TRIVIA NIGHT One person leads the questions and everyone writes down their answers. Need a cash prize? Say hello to our friend, Venmo! Download
8 Respiratory Care Tips
Did you know that nearly 37 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis? That is why it is so important to stay active, breath deep, toss those cigarettes and remember to laugh! We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine and in lung health, it’s true! Laughter helps to get rid of stale air so that more oxygen can enter. Not only that, but, it release peptides that lower stress and help with pain management. At VRI, we’re here to help, even if that help is to tell you a funny joke. Toss the cigarettes: Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting. Minimize exposure to pollution: Secondhand smoke, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon all can cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smoke free. Test your home for radon. Avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. Stay Active: Aerobic exercise provides the best workout for your lungs. The more you exercise, the more efficient your lungs become. Creating strong, healthy lungs through exercise helps you to better resist aging and disease. Even if you do develop lung disease down the road, exercise helps to slow the progression and keeps you active longer.Breathe deep into your diaphragm: Deep breathing helps clear the lungs and creates a full oxygen exchange. Breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient. As you inhale count 1-2-3-4. Then as you exhale, count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Shallow breaths come from the chest, and deeper breaths come from the belly, where your diaphragm sits. Be aware of your belly rising and falling as you practice. When you do these exercises, you may also find you feel less stressed and more relaxed.Prevent infections: A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoids crowds during the cold and flu season and remember to get your flu vaccine every year!Sit up tall: Since the lungs are soft structures, they only take up the room that you make for them. Lean back slightly in a stable chair, lift your chest and open the front of your body as you breathe deeply.Stay hydrated: Getting enough water is as important for the lungs as it is for the rest of the body. Staying well hydrated helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin. This thinner lining helps the lungs function better.Laugh!: Laughter helps to get rid of stale air so that more oxygen can enter. Not only that, but, it release peptides that lower stress and help with pain management. Download VRI’s Repiratory Care Tips Here
5 Tips for Seniors to Beat the Heat
As we welcome the warmer weather of summer, it is important to make sure you are taking extra precautions to avoid the downsides of increased temperatures. Establish good air. Whether you enjoy some air-conditioning, use your ceiling fans, or open windows to allow for air circulation, make sure your home has good air flow to keep you cool. Minimize the sun. Heat from the sun can increase quickly. Use your shades to block light into your home during the day, and minimize the amount of time you need to be outside when the sun is out. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is always important, and it is an essential component to staying cool. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Stay active safely. Continuing to stay active is important – but do it in a safe way! Take part in indoor, air-conditioned activities, keep activities to the coolest parts of the day, or try our local pools to stay fit and cool. Watch for warning signs. Heat exhaustion signs include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you begin to see these signs, get help! Contact a friend, neighbor, or press your personal emergency response button to connect to VRI so that you can get help. Download VRI’s tip guide here.
5 Tips to Stay Independent As You Age
No one wants to relinquish their independence. As we age, the challenges to maintain it do as well. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help preserve our independence: Staying fit. Exercise can help improve balance, keep your bones strong, and prevent many health conditions that could compromise your independence. Ask your physician what activities might be right for you to stay fit and active. Staying balanced. Falls can be detrimental to health and confidence when it comes to independence. Working on building your balance can help prevent falls form happening. Talk to a physical therapist about activities you can do to help build your balance. Removing hazards. Many homes have several fall hazards that are easily removed. Consider evaluating your space and removing items like throw rugs, loose carpets, clutter, and cords to prevent falls. Staying engaged. Independence is more enjoyable when you engage with people you care about. This can not only keep you sharp as a tack, but it can enhance your happiness. Whether it is a regular volunteer opportunity or visits with friends and family, keep up the conversations. Asking for help. Independence can change over time, and that’s ok! Sometimes, preserving independence means asking for help. Build out your support network with friends, family, and even organizations like VRI who provide emergency support and reminder calls to help keep you independent. Download VRI’s Tip Sheet here.
6 Tips to Make Your Home Aging Friendly
You have enjoyed your home for years, and you want to stay in it. However, what you need from it changes. Some simple modifications can help make you house better supportive of your continued independence as you age: 1. Light it up. Great lighting can help prevent falls by helping you see where you are going. Look through your home and check to see if there are areas that could use better lighting. 2. Add support. Getting up from a seated position can be tough. Consider adding support bars in bathrooms, next to seats, and next to your bed to make it easier. 3. Remove hazards. Falls can be detrimental to your health and confidence in your home. Look for ways to prevent them by removing hazards like rugs, cords, and clutter. 4. Step less. Having at least one no-step entry into the home can reduce fall risk as you go in and out of the house. Small ramps can easily be added to remove steps into your home. 5. Consolidate rooms. Reduce the amount of times you need to go up and down stairs by consolidating your highest use areas onto the first floor of your home. 6. Add resources. From electric stair lifts to emergency buttons, like those provided by VRI, adding resources to your home can make moving around easier and connect you to help when you need it. Download VRI’s Tip Sheet here.
5 Resources to Help Seniors Stay Independent
There is a plethora of resources available to support seniors stay independent, but it can be difficult to know where to start for your own support or that of a loved one. If you are beginning to think through ways to stay safely independent, here are a few organizations to consider looking into: Area Agencies on Aging While all AAAs offer five core services under the Older Americans Act (nutrition, caregivers, health and wellness, elder rights and supportive services), the average AAA offers more than a dozen additional services, including insurance counseling, case management and Senior Medicare Patrol. Contact:n4a.org202.872.0888 Meals on Wheels Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. Contact:mealsonwheelsameria.org/find-meals National Council on Aging Benefits NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. They partner with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to provide innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy. Contact:benefitscheckup.org PACE Association PACE was created as a way to provide you, your family, caregivers, and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet your health care needs and to help you continue living in the community. Care includes medical resources, personal care, rehabilitation, social interactions, medications, and transportation. Contact:pace4you.org1-800-MEDICARE VRI Emergency response devices can help provided an extra layer of support, reducing the need for moves to assisted living communities. Our services may be available through many of the above listed organizations. Additionally, those who do not qualify may coordinate support directly through VRI. Contact:vricares.com800.860.4230 Download our tips guide here.
4 Tips to Be a Great Caregiver
When your loved ones depend on you, it can be a lot of pressure. However, there are a few best practices to providing support that can help you to be a great resource. 1. Practice Patience Your loved one needs your caregiving because daily tasks have become more challenging. This is a difficult point in life, and their frustrations may show. Practice patience while they work to maintain their independence by taking a deep breath and counting to five slowly before responding when you become impatient. 2. Reliability Rocks For many people who are beginning to need extra support, the process can be stressful. Having reliable resources is important to relieving that stress. Make it easier for your loved ones by clearly communicating when you will be there next. Try posting a calendar in a visible spot with days that you will be visiting clearly marked. 3. Feel Flexible Caregiving is often evolving. What your loved one needs today may be different tomorrow, so it is important to be flexible. Try building out your own support network and asking for help when you need to adjust your plans to support your loved one. 4. Share Support You do not have to bear the burden of providing support by yourself! Whether it is leaning on other caregivers, establishing in-home support, or setting up a network with organizations like VRI to provide emergency response devices or Companion Calls, you do not have to tackle care all by yourself. Download our tips guide here.
3 Tips to Build Your Support Network
Caregiving is a big job. As we age, building a support network does not have to mean leaning on one or two people. Instead, we can build out a network to help stay safe and preserve our independence. 1. Connect with neighbors. It takes a village, and your village is a great place to start. As you think of your support network, connect with neighbors on a regular basis who can help support you when you need it. 2. Engage in the community. Your community is a great place to give back, get involved, and build support. Whether it is volunteering at a hospital or local school, connecting with these organizations can also help you build a network of people who are as invested in you as you are in them. 3. Use technology You don’t always have to connect to your support network in person – you can build a network all over the work with technology! Whether it is a Zoom call, FaceTime chat, or using an emergency button like VRI’s Mobile and in-home solutions, support can be available anywhere. Download VRI’s quick tips here.
3 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Connected
Social isolation is a key concern as loved ones age – and helping them stay engaged and active is key to their happiness and yours. Knowing where to start can be challenging, though. We’ve found that there are a few steps you can take to create a plan. 1. Find a volunteer opportunity. Organizations like the United Way and RSVP help match individuals with opportunities to volunteer in their community. These activities can drive purpose, connection, and passion – all while helping others! 2. Go virtual. Technology is helping make connections easier than ever. Using tools like the Amazon Echo Show or Zoom calls can connect seniors to loved ones with voice commands or easy interfaces. 3. Add resources in the home. Some home care organizations can provide services well beyond skilled care, including companion visits. Also, tools like personal emergency response systems are not just for emergencies – some organizations, like VRI, encourage members to press their buttons even when they just want someone to talk with. Download VRI’s quick tips guide here.
4 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Safely in Their Homes
As loved ones age, caregivers are often challenged with considering how to help support their desire to stay in their homes safely. While there are many factors to consider, there are a few key actions that can be taken to help seniors stay in their home. 1. Create a safe environment Reducing risks for falls and installing support is an important step to adapting a home to support aging seniors. Consider removing fall hazards like rugs, improving lighting, and installing support rails in places like bathrooms. 2. Consider in-home support The day-to-day support doesn’t have to fall on one person. Consider expanding the support team for your loved one by coordinating weekly or daily support to ensure they are safe, taken care of, and fully supported. 3. Manage medications Proper medication adherence is essential to ensure a loved one’s health, but normal adherence is only around 50%. Help improve the efficacy of medications by managing use with tools like VRI’s medication management dispenser or our Companion Call support. 4. Leverage technology Many new technologies can make it easier to support your loved one from wherever you are located. Consider tools like video doorbells, video conference boxes, and emergency response buttons, like VRI’s in-home or mobile devices. Download a copy of our tips here.
6 Tips to Help You Take Your Medications
Sticking to a medication regimen can be challenging. In fact, it is estimated that adherence to medications is only around 50%. However, adhering to prescriptions can reduce risk, help us stay healthier, and improve the efficacy or our medications. Check out these 6 tips for ways you can make sure you are taking your regular medications: 1. Combine it with a daily task Whether it is making your coffee or brushing your teeth, there are usually a few tasks that we each do around the same time each day. Add taking your medication in with the task to help stay on track. 2. Create a self-care ritual and connect it Whether it is reading the paper, talking a walk around the block, or enjoying a cup of hot tea, make time to do the things you enjoy each day. Then, combine your self-care ritual with taking your medication so that you connect the two acts together each day. 3. Set an alarm Need to take your medication at a regular time each day? Try a recurring alarm! The timed reminders will help prompt you to take your medication at the right time each day. 4. Keep it visible We are less likely to act on the things we don’t see. Keep your medications in a visible spot as a reminder to take them. 5. Use technology Technology, like VRI’s medication management solutions, can help you stay on track! With options to keep up with even the most complication medication plans, including dispensing medications up to 4X/day, these tools can be your pillbox and alarm reminder in one! Even better? These solutions can be combined with monitoring to add extra support and accountability. 6. Set up calls Whether it is a loved one or VRI’s Companion Call support, having someone check in to remind you to take your medications regularly will help keep things on track. Download a copy of our quick tips guide here.
4 Tips to Help Seniors During COVID-19
With increased vulnerability, the aging population faces unique challenges for facing COVID-19. However, there are a few things that can be done to help navigate this time successfully. 1. Limit needs to leave the home Public places can be a place of risk as it presents exposure to others who may be asymptomatic carriers. By reducing the need to leave home, you can also reduce your risk. Try services like grocery delivery, mail order medications, and online banking to limit the need to leave the house. 2. Ensure best practices Whether in or out of the home, there are best practices that we can each follow to limit our risk. Make sure you are practicing proper handwashing techniques, disinfecting high touch surfaces regularly, avoiding touching your face, and wearing a face mask in public. 3. Monitor for symptoms Establishing a network to monitor your symptoms can help ensure you receive care as needed. Work with a loved one to check in on you daily or establish Companion Calls with VRI for regular check ins. 4. Set up tools to overcome social isolation While staying at home reduces your risk of exposure to COVID-19, it can also be isolating. Keep yourself connected by setting up regular calls with your loved ones and consider personal emergency responses systems to connect you to support 24/7. Download our quick guide here.
7 Tips to Prevent Falls
1 in 3 people over the age of 65 fall each year, but there are 7 simple steps that you can take to prevent falls in risk in your home. 1. Keep It Lit Ensure well traveled areas, like entry ways and hallways, are well-litPosition switches in accessible areasUse motion, clap, or timed lights for evening hours 2. Remove Hazards Secure loose rugs to the floor or remove themInstall ramps and grab bars where appropriateAdd non-skid strips Wear slip-resistant shoes, slippers, or grip-socksMinimize clutter 3. Renovate Restrooms Add grab bars near the toilet and in the showerUse non-slip mats and rugs in and outside of the tubInstall a zero-entry tubAdd a shower seatSwap for a tall toilet seat 4. Schedule Check-ins Add a regular time for a friend, family member, or caregiver to call, text, or visitKeep a schedule of visitors throughout the week 5. Wrangle Rover Keep pets in a designated areaAdd a bell to the collar of pets so you know when they are moving around 6. Add Accessibility Move items stored on high shelves to lower positionsArrange regularly used belongings in a central areaRearrange furniture to keep clear pathways 7. Add Technology Wear an emergency button to connect you to help when you need itInstall smart home assistantsUse fall-detection to alert someone if you are unable Click here to download a copy of our cheat sheet for yourself.