: Caretakers

Caring for the demented

Hello everyone:

As hard as it is to watch your loved one decline as a result of dementia, it can be even more difficult to care for that person. A dear friend of mine has a mother who is going downhill quite rapidly.

The sweet elderly lady doesn’t want to take a shower, or wash her hair, or do anything related to her hygiene. She also doesn’t want to take her medications. What is her caregiver to do?

Well, with regards to the showers, she checked with her mother’s doctor and learned that someone in her 90s who does not exercise can probably get by with two showers per week. Old folks’ skin dries out pretty fast so bathing less frequently, while it may not seem like a good thing to you or me, may actually work for the older individual.

The hair washing is a challenge but, since the older gal likes to get her hair cut, my friend decided to take her mother to the hairdresser’s once a week. Problem solved. Stress relieved.

The personal hygiene is a battle worth winning, keeping in mind that you are now caring for your loved one like he or she once cared for you. Your roles are reversed, forever.

My friend thought of a superb way to give her mother her much-needed medications- Cool Whip. Get yourself a high-quality pill chopper-upper (one that turns the pill into powder) and crush the meds (make sure that you are allowed to crush them, of course) and then put them in something the patient loves- like Cool Whip. Down the hatch they go!

If you have any ideas to share, I would love to hear from you on a problem that cropped up and how you solved it. Thanks in advance for your ideas!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

A little laughter is good for your mental health

Hi Everyone:

Sometimes we get so bogged down in our troubles that we forget how to laugh. I wanted to share this wonderful and, yes, absolutely silly, recording that I heard today. I hope you enjoy it and pray that it lightens your load. https://stevelaube.com/fun-fridays-may-18-2018/#comment-162515

Best,

Dr. Sheri

 

Read more

Dealing with dementia

Hello everyone:

I have a dear friend who is dealing with her mother’s dementia. It has taken a turn for the worse lately as this sweet, precious woman has become argumentative. Please keep in mind as you go through this: it’s not your fault. It’s part of the disease.

You may find that your loved one doesn’t want to eat the dinner you spent a lot of time preparing. Maybe he or she thinks that the spices you used are bugs. Maybe the fallout from the toast on his or her sandwich reminds the demented individual of ants and he or she will refuse to eat the sandwich. Perhaps you could encourage the person to eat the inside of the sandwich. While this is not ideal, at least it is getting the person to consume some calories.

You are being asked to demonstrate agape love and incredible patience. I pray that the Lord will keep you strong and help you finish the race with endurance. You are an amazing person. Thank you for helping someone who cannot help him or herself.

What stories can you share with others, to encourage them during this time? I would love to hear what you have to say that may help someone else get through this part of life.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Taking someone in need under your wing

Hello everyone:

I want to pay tribute to some folks I know. They are the unsung heroes who take a new divorcee or widow or widower under their wings, to help that individual who is hurting get back on his or her feet.  May you be richly blessed for your kindness to someone who is hurting.

I know a lady who did just that with a work colleague. She invited this colleague, who she had not known before except to say “hello,” into her life when the lady suffered an unexpected loss.  This woman has been there for the other gal. She’s taken her to dinner, let her spent the night when it was too painful to face the empty bed at home, and given her advice on how to cope with the death of her husband. She is a devout Christian, as you might expect, and there is a hurting lady who now knows where she is going when she dies, thanks to the outreach of this wonderful woman.

If you know someone like this, I hope you will share his or her story with my readers. These are the behind-the-scenes folks who are treasures from heaven.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Long term care can cost you and arm and a leg, so beware

Hello everyone:

I was talking to my financial consultant recently. Our topic of conversation was long term care. Here’s what I took away from our chat:

Do you have long-term care insurance? It is extremely expensive to get long-term care; yet you really can’t afford to be without it. Long-term care insurance (LTC), an insurance policy, helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. LTC covers care not generally covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

To get into one quality long-term skilled care facility in my area, you are expected to give a one-time “facility gift” of $50,000. The care then runs between $10,000 and $11,000 per month, depending on the level of need. That is a substantial chunk of change, so I hope you can see the need here.

Where would you get the money to pay this kind of bill? The pool of insurance for long-term care usually plans on the costs running about $125,000 per year. However, keep in mind that a joint plan provides this for you and your spouse; if one of you has used it up, there is nothing left for the other spouse to draw on. Folks usually last about four years in one of these facilities. If they stay home and get care, the lifespan is usually 15 years.

Do you qualify for long-term care? If you have pre-existing medical problems, the answer may be “nope.” You have to plan on using long-term care insurance or you could end up in a Medicaid facility.

The interesting thing about these places is that, if the treatment you need is not available locally, they can ship you off to the nearest place where it is available.

I heard a horror story lately where an elderly woman who was not insured needed specialized care. One day when her daughters came to visit her, the daughters found out that their mother had been shipped some other place three weeks before their visit that day (they really needed to visit their mother more often!).

It took a while before they could even learn where their mother was, since folks had forgotten by then and they had to look it up. As it happened, the mother was shipped from Maryland to Pennsylvania. The daughters, who apparently had not seen fit to visit their mom very often when she was local, now had to drive a distance to check on their mom. that’s not a scenario you want to experience, so be prepared!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Cleaning out the closet- make sure the widowed or divorced person is ready

Hello everyone:

If you are familiar with the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, there was a scene where the betrayed wife Helen (Kimberly Elise) was taken by Medea (Tyler Perry in drag) to her former home and her old closet.

Medea encouraged Helen to tear up the clothing of Brenda, the other woman (Lisa Marcos). As they utterly destroyed the closet’s contents, clothes flew all over the place. This was a great source of relief to Helen and Medea as they took revenge on the adulterous husband Charles (Steve Harris) but it, along with the wholesale chain-sawed destruction of the living room, led to their being taken to jail. It is not a good way to get a closet organized, although it did relieve some tension.

My sister-in-law knew a gal whose hubby died unexpectedly. A relative of the lady came into her house and removed all of the dead man’s clothing; she thought she was helping out, but the lady had wanted to do it herself, as part of the grieving process.

She had planned on making a comfort pillow out of one of her hubby’s dress shirts, but that plan was nixed by her relative’s over-eager approach to cleaning out the closet. Make sure the person is ready; let things happen in their own time.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Being a blessing to the differently-abled

Hello everyone:

Do you know anyone who requires care? Maybe this person has a caregiver who accompanies him or her everywhere he or she goes. A common reaction to the disabled person is that he or she is ignored or overlooked while folks carry on a conversation with the care provider.

This disabled person could be elderly person who is demented or a fairly young person who is in a wheelchair.

Would you like to be a blessing to both the caregiver and the person receiving that care? Talk to the care receiver.  Do not do it in a demeaning way, but actively listen to what the person is saying. If you can’t understand a word, act as if you do. Make that person feel important, valued.

If you approach someone in a wheelchair, get down on that individual’s level, which may mean you have to sit down. Talk to the person as if he or she is important- because disabled folks are just as important as those who are not.

Whether or not someone is able to respond as he or she once was, everyone likes to feel like what he or she says is important. By showing that person is valued, you bless not only the disabled individual, but you bring joy to the caregiver, as well.

Do you have a special way of showing others they are special? I would love to hear your story!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Long term care: Love it, don’t lose it

Hello everyone:

Do you have long-term care insurance? It is extremely expensive to get long-term care; yet you really can’t afford to be without it. Long-term care insurance (LTC), an insurance policy, helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. LTC covers care not generally covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

To get into one quality long-term skilled care facility in my area, you are expected to give a one-time “facility gift” of $50,000. The care then runs between $10,000 and $11,000 per month, depending on the level of need. That is a substantial chunk of change, so I hope you can see the need here. Where would you get the money to pay this kind of bill?

The pool of insurance for long-term care usually plans on the costs running about $125,000 per year. However, keep in mind that a joint plan provides this for you and your spouse; if one of you has used it up, there is nothing left for the other spouse to draw on. Folks usually last about four years in one of these facilities. If they stay home and get care, the lifespan is usually 15 years.

Do you qualify for long-term care? If you have pre-existing medical problems, the answer may be “nope.” You have to plan on using long-term care insurance or you could end up in a Medicaid facility. The interesting thing about these places is that, if the treatment you need is not available locally, they can ship you off to the nearest place where it is available.

I heard a horror story lately where an elderly woman who was not insured needed specialized care. One day when her daughters came to visit her, the daughters found out that their mother had been shipped some other place three weeks before their visit that day (they really needed to visit their mother more often!). It took a while before they could even learn where their mother was, since folks had forgotten by then and they had to look it up. As it happened, the mother was shipped from Maryland to Pennsylvania. The daughters, who apparently had not seen fit to visit their mom very often when she was local, now had to drive a distance to check on their mom.

I hope you find this information helpful. It is not meant to provide legal information, but simply to provide a guide towards preparing you for long term need ahead of time.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

Being penny wise and not pound foolish

Hello everyone:

I met up with a former high school teacher a few years ago, running into him at the mall. After asking what he was doing now, he told me that he was back at the same high school after a five-year break.

He immediately (and voluntarily) launched into an explanation, telling me that he had met a wealthy, older widow a few years before and that she had taken him into her home (and her pocketbook).

Over a period of a couple of months, she began giving him lavish gifts; her financial advisor cautioned her repeatedly that she was running through her estate very quickly, but she told him to mind his own business. One day, she asked her counselor if she should marry her much-younger boyfriend and she was told, “You might as well. You’re spending all of your money on him.”

They got married a short time later and their spending increased. He told me that they thought nothing of taking friends to Paris for the weekend or going to New York City for lunch.

He said that they had spent money like drunken sailors on shore leave, until one day when they found out they were broke. They were forced to sell her gorgeous house and their numerous expensive cars.

When I ran into him, they were living in a very modest home with economical cars. He said, “I spent all of her money and now we are back to where I was before I met her.”

To his credit, he did not divorce her and move on, he was actually taking care of her, albeit at a considerably lesser lifestyle than they had become accustomed to. His hard-earned advice: Be careful with your money and spend carefully!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more

To scan your groceries or not, that is the question

Hello everyone:

While you are in the grocery store, do you go to the self-scan or the line with a cashier? If you are efficient, you may find it faster to scan the grocery items yourself (the register people are lovely individuals, but they are paid by the hour to be there). If you are interested in socializing, see a cashier.

A huge waste of time in the self-scanning line is those folks who do not bag their groceries as they scan. In some grocery stores, you have to place your purchases on a weighted platform as you scan. There are bags there; go ahead and put your items in a bag. Some people put their items on the platform, scan their entire shopping cart full of food, pay, and then bag the groceries. Not only are you placing your stuff on a possibly-germ-infected platform, but you are wasting your own time!

You have to put each item in the bag with enough force that the system picks up the fact that you put your item in the bag (it doesn’t take much pressure to do this), but you can get through the register in half the time if you bag as you go. Some platforms have poor sensors on the outside edge of the platform, so try to stick to placing your newly-bagged groceries in the center of the platform so that you won’t need to wait for customer assistance (voice of experience here!).

Other stores do not have platforms at all; they just have belts that take the purchases to the end of the checkout. Bag some of the items as you go, if there are no baggers to help you. Waiting till the end sometimes means that the next customer in line will begin scanning while you are still bagging and your things can be trampled by their things (there is a large divider available in some stores, but they don’t always get used by people who are in a hurry).

If possible with that type of setup in the store, scan some items, bag some items, scan some more, bag some more, and finish up pretty quickly. If you have too big a backup, the computerized register will tell you to bag some items before you continue scanning. I try to beat her to the punch and bag before she asks.

As you bag items, keep similar items together. If something requires refrigeration when you get home, put it with something else that also needs to go into the freezer or frig quickly. Don’t over-bag- if your items are too heavy, they will break through the plastic or paper bag, usually at a very inconvenient time. This happened to me! Once I had a small cart absolutely filled with groceries. One of the bags burst and the items went rolling away as I walked down the slopped parking lot. As I reached for the fallen items, the cart took off. I seized my fallen purchases and raced after the cart, grabbing it right before it crashed into someone’s vehicle. A nearby customer (he was too far away to do anything but laugh) yelled at me “nice catch, lady!” Lesson learned: don’t overstuff the bags or you will be sorry! I keep the empty plastic bags to use as garbage can liners in my bathrooms.

Another reason it is a good idea to keep similar items together is because you might get distracted when you get home and forget to put something away. Later, it may come to you that something is missing from your shopping order and you can go look for it.

My dearly beloved deceased aunt had a loaf of bread in her shopping one week, but she brought it in with the mail and forgot about it. When we found the loaf of bread years later; it was as hard as stone. She apparently thought she had forgotten to buy it; she never went into the room where she had stashed it, except that day when she came home from the store. You don’t want your heirs to find the bread (or anything else that is perishable) years after the fact.

Want to have a bit of fun at the register? Push the Spanish language button on the machine and then scan the membership card from a different store. The polite lady in the computer gets really testy really fast when you do that! (Well, maybe it’s just that I am easily entertained, but her blood really gets boiling!) My Spanish is not fluent enough to understand what she’s saying but it sure sounds like she’s mad!

Have a great day!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

Read more