Why is caring for parents different from caring for children?

Why is caring for parents different from caring for children

We often hear these phrases; “Why do they behave like kids? They are so stubborn like children!”  As our parents grow older, we play the dual roles of being parents to our children and caregivers to our parents. Is caring for our parents the same as caring for our children?

Having experienced both roles, I can say categorically that it is completely different caring for our parents.  Children require us to walk the talk. We as parents need to guide them through tough choices, be supportive through tough situations and help them navigate through life. Until they grow up and become independent, we support them through the phases of childhood, teenage years and adulthood. We can see them bloom and grow into strong, independent adults.

Our parents have been there and done that with us. In their twilight years, they face a different future. They see themselves becoming weaker. It takes longer to walk the stairs. They require more visits to the doctors, more medicines, and different diets. They find it so difficult to ask for help. A walking stick is a symbol of their growing old and is often resented.

The biggest difference in caring for our parents as compared to caring for our children is our attitude. We are used to looking at our parents for help, guidance and support.  They were so strong, could carry us on their shoulders and were there in our universe forever. And now, to see them grey, weak and ill often moves us to anger and frustration. We are not ready for them to become old. But it creeps up on them and on us. And one day, we find ourselves changing diapers, giving them medicines, taking them to the doctors, making special food. We feel panicked when dementia, Alzheimer’s, or just old age diminishes their physical and mental capabilities until they don’t resemble the parents we know.

Acceptance

It is acceptance that changes the way we care for our parents – acceptance of their old age, their infirmities, their helplessness, and their need for independence. Once we accept, we can move past our feelings. The anger and frustration dies away replaced by empathy and love. It becomes easier to give your Dad a bath without being embarrassed.

Parents in their twilight years face the prospect of illness, loss of independence and death. We need to create an environment where they feel safe, well cared for and inclusive. We need to treat them with dignity, help them face their illnesses and fears.

Checkmating Cognitive Impairment in Seniors

Checkmating Cognitive Impairment

It’s a well-known fact that our population is aging due advances in technology and medicine. The global average life expectancy is close to 80 years. Downside of this increase life expectancy is that it hasn’t been accompanied by an increase in the quality of life. Also, many seniors struggle with depression, loneliness and cognitive impairment.

Seniors are at the greatest risk

Seniors are at the greatest risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Chess being a particularly good brain builder, it reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Besides, studies have shown that playing games like chess, which is a mentally stimulating game keeps seniors cognitively active. Playing chess also increases social interaction with others and thereby reduces loneliness.

Moreover, chess is a fairly easy game to learn and involves cognitive activities such as planning, strategy and analysis which keeps the mind sharp. Playing chess not only actively engages the brain but also improves social and physical wellbeing. Research has shown lower rates dementia in active chess players. Most importantly, there is no signs of dementia among all current chess grandmasters.

Benefits of playing chess

  • Cognitively-challenging activity
  • Provides seniors with a hobby
  • Increased socialization
  • Reduces depression due improved interactions with others
  • Improves emotional health
  • Stimulates all the parts of the brain
  • Lower rates of dementia
  • Improves Creativity
  • Strengthens mental capacity
  • Improves information retention
  • Also improves short-term and long-term memory
  • Uses both sides of the brain

In conclusion, chess seems like a treatment for cognitive impairment that really works. Further reading – A game of chess a day may keep Alzheimer’s at bay – The Hindu

Understanding cots for home use

Understanding cots for home use

For a person who is unwell and likely to spend a lot of time in bed, choosing the right cot is of paramount importance. Just like there are special cots that are in use at hospitals, there are special cots for home use as well.
Some of them are described below.

Common Features

While hospital cots are on the higher side to be more comfortable for Doctors and nurses, the typical cot for home use should be no higher than 20” from the ground. Similarly, while hospital cots come with caster wheels to enable easy movement of the patient to other parts of the hospital, home cots are safer without wheels. Cots also come in manual and electrical versions.

The Semi-Fowler

This cot provides facilities to raise the head side into a reclining position using an easy to operate crank. The diagrams below illustrate what the cot looks like when it is in a completely flat position and when it is in a reclined position.

The Semi Fowler Cot

The Fowler Cot

This cot allows you to raise the knee segment in addition to the functions of the semi-fowler.

The Fowler Cot

 

The image above shows the different positions of a fowler cot. This cot is useful when the knee side also has to be raised.

The Five Function Cot

This is a more advanced cot that provides all the features of a Fowler cot. In addition, it provides height adjustment and tilting (head side and foot side) facilities. These cots come in manual and electrical versions, with and without wheels.

The Five Function Cot

More advanced versions

There are more advanced cots available which can be procured on request. However, they may not be essential in a home care environment. You can position the head side segment at any angle. You can do this without disturbing or moving the person lying on the bed.

Reduce falls – Balance exercises for the elderly to do at home

Seniors falling and injuring themselves is every caregiver’s nightmare. Many older adults want to be independent as long as possible, yet they are at risk of falling. Balance exercises is essentially for seniors who want to retain their independence.

We found a free 12 minute video by Physical Therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck that helps seniors improve their balance with 10 useful balance exercises for seniors to do at home.

If your older adult practice these simple exercises at home, they can increase balance and reduce fall risk. This is important to seniors because falls can lead to several complication, including hospitalisation.

Wheelchair Safety – Tips from Karma Healthcare

This product from Karma is extremely light-weight and highly durable. This ultra-light transport chair weighs only – 9.2kg can take up to 100Kg weight and provides a more stable ride. Can move in very narrow space and allows easy storage and transport.

AVAILABLE AT OLD IS GOLD STORE

Wheelchair Safety – Tips from Karma Healthcare

Doorways

  • The safest way to operate the wheelchair is on level floors that are free of obstacles. Whenever possible use a ramp to enter or exit a facility. Keeping your hands on the push rims will allow you to maintain maximum balance. Do not try to force yourself over an obstruction by propulsion and never use the sides of a doorway to pull yourself through a passageway.

Negotiating Inclines

  • Never turn on a hill due to the danger of tipping.
  • When assisting, go straight up a slope. If user needs to go down midway, walk backwards until user is on level ground. (See Figures 2.2 and 2.3.)
  • Do not drive up to 7 degrees of incline to avoid danger. When negotiating inclines, don’t propel up to 3 degrees of incline.
  • Avoid stopping on an incline, it can potentially cause you to lose control of the wheelchair.
  • Do not use the brakes to slow down or stop the wheelchair, this could cause it to seize up, causing you to lose control or fall out of the wheelchair.
  • Whenever possible, utilize help from an assistant/attendant while negotiating inclines.

Negotiating Inclines
Figure 2.2

Negotiating Inclines
Figure2.3

Kerbs

  • Whenever possible get help from an assistant/attendant (if you have assistance make sure that your chair is equipped with push handles)
  • Avoid hard impacts when descending a kerb. A hard impact could adversely affect the wheelchair.
  • Never try to scale or descend kerbs that exceed a normal height.
  • Always take care when climbing kerbs or turning on slopes and never move in reverse without an assistant.

Stairs

 

  • Always use two or more assistants. Tilt the wheelchair to its point of equilibrium. One assistant (at the back) holds the wheelchair up against the first step, gripping the handles firmly to lift. The second assistant, holding firmly a fixed part of the front frame, lifts the wheelchair above the stairs and holds it while the first attendant places one foot on the following step and repeat the operation (See below Figure)
  • Never go down the steps forwards.
  • Never use an escalator for transport, use an elevator.

Wheelchair safety Stairs

 

Streets

  • Always use extreme caution when crossing streets. Reflective tape on the wheelchair and/or your clothing will make you more visible to drivers.
  • Please comply with traffic safety code.
  • Avoid potholes and rough terrain that might cause the casters to become stuck. (See Figure 2.4)

•	Avoid potholes and rough terrain that might cause the casters to become stuck
Figure 2.4

General

  • Always make sure BOTH brakes are applied before getting in or out of the wheelchair.
  • Never stand on the footplates when getting in or out of the wheelchair.
  • Never carry more than one passenger. KARMA wheelchairs are limited to one user.
  • Use caution to assure your clothing doesn’t get tangled with the wheels.
  • When the user is operating the wheelchair using the push rim, please push the wheelchair gently. DO NOT apply a sudden huge force on the push rim. It could cause the chair to tip over. Please refer to the figure below for the best grip points for using the push rim.

Upholstery

  • When cleaning the upholstery, use warm water and a mild soap.
  • Upholstery cleaner/foam can also be used, but avoid other cleaning solvents.
  • Do be far away of flame, it might injury user and damage the wheelchair.

Anti-tippers

Anti-tippers

  • Please strongly consider purchasing anti-tippers and always use them to avoid personal injury. The distance between anti-tipper and wheels is at least 5cm; the height to floor doesn’t exceed 5 cm.

 Maximum User Weight Limit

  • Loads exceeding maximum capacity can damage your wheelchair and cause malfunctions yielding a safety hazard.

Avoid General Misuse

  • Any vehicle can cause injury if misused and with reasonable care and your safety will be ensured.
  • Your wheelchair will give years of safe use if used sensibly and be aware that careless use endangers your own safety as well as that of user.
    • Do not let children stand or play on the wheelchair. (See Figure 2.5)

•	Do not let children stand or play on the wheelchair
Figure 2.5

Activities for Seniors who have physical or cognitive limitations – Pallanguzhi

Activities for Seniors who have physical or cognitive limitations – Pallanguzhi

There are activities and fun board games for older adults even if they have physical or cognitive limitations like arthritis or early stages of dementia. It’s more about spending time together, enjoying it and being a part of an activity.

Pallanguzhi (also known as a Cup and Coin Game, Vamanaguntalu, Mancala, Olinda Kaluja, Aliguli Mane, Adu-Guni Mane, Chenne Mane, Saat Kooti, Kutki-Boia) is perfect for seniors to enjoy with family and friends. Although seniors enjoy this game, we must be careful not to overdo it. Look for signs of fatigue and give it a break to keep seniors from getting too tired.

This is played on a wooden board with 14 cups in it, this is a game of distribution and counting. Variations of the game appeal to different ages and make it challenging and exciting.

  • Develops excellent math skills and fine motor skills
  • Helps to build memory
  • Believed to be therapeutic for those with arthritic fingers

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game

1. Aim of the game: To capture the most seeds. The Game is played in pairs with each player taking one side of the board.
2. Start: Place five seeds in each cup (Fig 1)

Figure -1
PLAYER-1

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game

PLAYER-2
Round 1:
PLAYER 2 lifts the seeds from any cup on his side of the board and distributes one seed in each cup. When the player drops the last seed, s/he takes the seeds from the next cup and continues dropping them around the board including the opponent’s side. (Fig 2)

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game
Figure-2

If the last seed falls into a cup with an empty cup beyond, Player 2 collects the seeds next to the empty cup and that ends his turn. (Figs 3 and 4)
Figure-3

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game

Figure-4

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game

PLAYER-1 plays the same way, starting from any of the cups on his side and goes round the board distributing the seeds in the cups.
If the last seed falls into a cup with two empty cups beyond, he collects no seeds and his turn is over.
3.Winning:
The round is over when a player has no seeds on his side to start his turn. At this point, the winner could be determined based on the number of seeds in the stores. Or else continue playing until one player’s store is exhausted. (Fig 5)

Pallankuzhi – Rules of the Game
Figure-5

Pallanguzhi from Kreeda

Pallanguzhi from Kreeda

While Pallanguzhis were traditionally made of wood, our current need is to conserve forests and trees. The new Pallanguzhi from Kreeda is made from MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). This is a type of hardboard, which is made from wood fibres glued under heat and pressure. It can be made from almost any scrap wood that is normally of limited value.
So when you buy an environment friendly Pallanguzhi from Kreeda, you are doing your bit toward conserving the environment.

IMPORTANT – KREEDA uses game pieces (small white stone) instead of seeds but the rules of the game remain the same

Where to buy?

We recommend ‘The Old is Gold Store’, speciality Store offering an assortment of products & services exclusive to senior citizens. Apart from the above, you will find several products that make your older adult’s life easier.

7 Ways to Help the Elderly Recover from Surgery

7 Ways to Help the Elderly Recover from Surgery

Going through a surgery can be tough on anyone, but for older adults, it is even more difficult. This is because seniors are at a higher risk of complications during and after surgery.  So, it’s important that seniors get proper post-surgery care. The potential issues facing elderly patients are generally age related and they heal more slowly.  This means that the period of recovery is going to be longer.

Good news is that there are products available that not only promote faster healing but also makes life easier. We recommend 7 devices that helps to make post-surgery a better experience for seniors. All these devices are not only useful for post-surgery recovery but also useful for general well-being of seniors.

BUY ONLINE

Wheelchairs

There are multi-purpose wheelchairs that can also be used as a shower chair and commode. This means no more having to transfer patients from wheelchair to commode chair to bath chair and back, since this meets all the requirement. Remember, wheelchairs make it easier to get around the house and benefit their recovery.

Adjustable Backrest

For a person who is recovering from surgery and likely to spend a lot of time in bed, this adjustable backrest helps to convert a fixed bed into a bed with adjustable headboard. Allows the person lying on the bed to adjust the angle so as to be more comfortable while reading, watching TV or eating.

Air Beds

Post surgery patients remain in bed for long hours. They tend to develop bed sores also known as pressure ulcers which are not only painful but can lead to infection and other complications. Active airbeds with pumps such as this one help in the prevention of bed sores. The bed is to be used on top of a regular mattress. The air bed contains air cavities which fill up alternately in a 5 – 6-minute cycle. This results in the weight of the body being borne by different parts of the mattress at different times, ensuring that no part of the body is constantly in touch with the mattress.  This allows for proper air circulation to all parts of the body and prevents the formation of bed sores.

Orthopaedic Leg Support

While an elevated leg support promotes healing, improperly elevating the legs can have negative effects. To avoid this use a specially designed orthopaedic leg support that supports knees, legs, and heel while reading, sitting or sleeping without strain. It provides relief from knee stiffness, sciatic leg pain, restless sleep, and insomnia. This is the only Orthopaedic appliance which is ideal for preventing varicose veins, swollen ankles, phlebitis and edema.

Compact Bed-top Table

This is particularly useful for seniors who spend long hours in bed. This compact bed top allows them to read/write/eat in bed. It is 100% portable, fold-able and can be used as over bed dining, laptop & study table. It is durable and compact design for quick set-up and has strong plastic handle for carrying when folded.

Compression socks

Varicose Vein Stockings provide controlled compression to the legs to squeeze the veins thereby ensuring the normal back flow of blood towards the heart. As a result, blood is forced along its natural course up the leg despite the damage to the veins (since a fluid flows from a higher-pressure area to a lower pressure area).

Personal Care Products

Hygiene is very important to prevent infection, especially after a surgery. There are several products that helps to maintain hygiene in those with limited mobility and the bed ridden. These include adult diapers, wet wipes, examination gloves, silicon sheet to cover bed for patients with incontinence, urine cans and bed pans.

Where to source these products?

Sourcing all these can become a daunting task, check out ‘The Old is Gold Store’, speciality Store offering an assortment of products & services exclusive to senior citizens. Apart from the above, you will find several products that make your older adult’s life easier.

3 mobility devices that will help seniors be safe

3 mobility devices that will help seniors be safe.

One of the worst fear caregivers have is that of seniors falling. Falls can lead to serious injuries and sometimes be fatal. Keeping seniors independent can be challenging, especially if they resist making changes. Many seniors are not willing to consider mobility devices that keeps them safe.

It’s important that you discuss mobility issues with your loved ones. Be calm, non-judgmental and don’t force the issue, instead help them understand consequences of a fall. We are all aware that as seniors get older, they will need help moving around. Here are 3 mobility devices that will help them be safe.

3 mobility devices that will help seniors

  1. Canes / Walkers – Canes and walkers are some of the most popular mobility devices. These devices not only help in maintaining a healthy posture but also helps seniors with general weakness or balance issues.
  2. Wheelchairs – Wheelchairs are of different types primarily attendant & self-propelled. A self-propelled is equipped with large wheels with an outer push ring that allows users to propel & navigate the wheel chair using their arms. An attendant wheel chair comes with a smaller set of wheels with handles for an attendant to push the wheelchair around.
  3. Rollators – Rollators are walkers with a seat for elders who require balance support as well as a place to sit down when they feel weary. Rollators are especially useful when going for walks in safe places like malls and gated communities.

For more information : https://www.oldisgoldstore.com/home-by-condition-mobility-issues

6 Great ideas for a dementia-friendly bathroom

6 Great ideas for a dementia-friendly bathroom

Most seniors find the bathroom difficult to navigate, and for elders with dementia, it can be quite a challenge. There are too many things going on in a very limited space; hot & cold water taps, shiny tiles, wet and slippery surfaces, all add to the confusion.  Here are a few ideas to keep your bathroom dementia-friendly.

1. Raised toilet seat

Raised toilet seat

A typical western closet is about 16″ in height.  This is very low for many seniors and they find it very difficult to sit down and get up from the toilet seat independently.  The toilet raiser is an easy solution. It is easy to install and provides additional height.  Made of good grade plastic, the raiser comes with a lid and simple clamps to hold it firmly in place.  Easy to clean, extremely hygienic and comfortable. Usually comes in 3 heights and fits most western closets.

Alternatively, you can opt for a foam toilet raiser that can be fitted on top of an existing toilet seat.  Unlike other toilet raisers, this is softer and hence more friendly on the soft skin of elders.  Provides 4″ elevation that makes it easy to sit down and get up from the western commode.  Has appropriate depression for coccyx (tail bone) relief as well as depression in the front for easy cleaning access. The bright colour also helps seniors with dementia to easy identify the closet. BUY NOW

2. Contrasting toilet seat

Contrasting toilet seat

If you are not opting for a raised toilet seat, consider adding a toilet seat which is bright or contrasting to rest of the fixtures to draw attention to it. This way, seniors with dementia can easily notice it and navigate without any problem.

3. Toilet Safety Frame

3. Toilet Safety Frame

Toilet Safety Frame is a device that can be easily fitted to your existing toilet. It features two handles that make getting up and sitting on the toilet an easier & safer task. Toilet safety frame is versatile and the height adjusting mechanism makes it suitable for all types of toilets. The free-standing frame fits around your toilet seat with back bar in front of your toilet tank. No need to modify your bathroom. Folds for easy storage and portable for travel. BUY NOW

4. Install a bidet

bidet

A bidet is a device that gets attached to your commode and helps one clean oneself without having to use hands.  A bidet is ideal for people who have limited mobility or dexterity in their hands.  Senior citizens who have frozen shoulders, shoulder fractures, strokes, severe arthritis or dementia may find it difficult to wash themselves.

A bidet can help them remain independent and at the same time maintain hygiene.  Most of the bidets sold here require very little plumbing work and no masonry work.  Designed in Japan, the manual bidets require no external power and work entirely based on the water pressure coming from the overhead tank. BUY NOW

5. Install Grab Bars

Grab Bars

Toilet safety aids like grab bars greatly reduce the risk of accidents. Grab bars are not only inexpensive but also easy to install. Grab bars gives elders something sturdy to hold onto while they sit or stand. Bathroom grab bars can also be angled or L-shaped. The most typical sizes for straight grab bars are 12″, 16″, 18″, 24″ and 32″. BUY NOW

6. Label hot and cold faucets

Hot and Cold

This is something basic but will go a long way in helping people with dementia. Clearly label the hot and cold water taps, as shown in the picture.

For more information on exclusive products for seniors – https://www.oldisgoldstore.com/

Gift ideas for parents who have everything

Gift ideas for parents who have everything

Festive season is just around the corner and it’s time to figure out what you should gift your parents this year.  The question is what do you get your parents who already have everything?

Elderly parents don’t need or want gifts to put on their shelves or coffee tables…just adds to the clutter. Nor do they want a kitchen aid, clothes or shopping coupons. Parents usually claim they have everything they need, but that’s not entirely true because when it comes to their safety and comfort, they tend to take it lightly.

We’ve come up with 7 Diwali gift ideas for parents who have everything that will not only put a smile on their faces but also ensure their safety and comfort.

#1 COMODITA Prima Special Rollator Walker with exclusive 16 inch wide, ultra-comfortable orthopedic seat.

COMODITA Prima Special Rollator Walker

This rollator is a walker with a seat for elders who require balance support as well as a place to sit down comfortably anywhere.  Especially useful when going for walks in safe places like malls and gated communities. The modern design and sturdy construction of the Comodita Prima Special Rolling Walker make it one of the safest walkers on the market. The exclusive 16″ wide orthopedic seat makes it ultra-comfortable, ideal for users that enjoy resting between walks. –   BUY NOW!

#2 MOBILITA Walking Stick/Tripod With Swivel Base

Mobilita Walking Sticks

Height adjustable, high-grade aluminium walking stick with tripod base and L-shaped handle. The base also swivels ensuring that the base is firmly placed on the ground irrespective of the angle of pressure or angle of the surface. Provides superior grip and comfort. For regular use, for people with minor balance issues and weak legs.   BUY NOW!

#3 MOBILITA Raised Toilet Seat with Lid

MOBILITA Raised Toilet Seat with Lid

A typical western closet is about 16″ in height.  This is very low for many seniors and those with recent knee surgery. So, they find it very difficult to sit down and get up from the toilet seat.

The toilet raiser is a easy to install device that can provide additional height.  Besides, this is made of good grade plastic. Also, the raiser comes with a lid and simple clamps to hold it firmly in place.  Easy to clean, extremely hygienic and comfortable. Comes in 3 heights (2”, 4”, 6”) and fits most western closets. BUY NOW!

#4 MOBILITA Extra-Wide Comfortable and Adjustable Backrest

adjustable backrest

This is an adjustable backrest to put on the bed so that the person reclining can sit up at various angles.  This can help people with reflux, breathing difficulties or for people to have good back support while reading, working, watching TV or eating in bed.   BUY NOW!

#5 Squatty Potty Style Stool for Western Commode – Height Adjustable

Squatty Potty Style Stool

This is a wonderful stool to enable those using a western closet to sit at the right angle for easiest evacuation.  Also, this is a well manufactured product with two pieces, one fitting on top of the other to provide two heights, namely 7″ and 9″.

It is very similar to the award-winning squatty potty.     BUY NOW!

#6 Swivel Seat for Car

Swivel Seat for Car

Do you or your elderly relatives find it difficult to get off the car seat?  This unique cushion swivels 360 degrees to make it easy to get in and out of any car. The foam cushion sits on a turntable base so you can swivel sideways to get in or out of the seat without straining your back or hips. Lightweight and portable.  BUY NOW!

#7 Anti-Slip Safety Mat for Wet Areas Standard Size (2.5ft X 1.5ft)

anti-slip mat

The bathroom is one of the most accident-prone areas in the house. Especially in India where most bathrooms and toilets are perennially wet. This anti-slip mat is similar to the mats used around swimming pools to help wet areas stay slip-free.

Besides, there are large gaps to allow free flow of water, the anti-slip mat remains dry on the top ensuring dramatic reduction in the possibility of slipping.

Available in standard size of 2.5 ft x 1.5 ft.  BUY NOW!