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Loneliness and the Effect on Mental Health

The most recent U.S. census data shows that more than a quarter of the population lives alone – the highest rate ever recorded. Being alone does not necessarily herald loneliness, and living with someone may not stave it off. However, being alone can lend itself to undiagnosed loneliness and its partner, depression.

Especially right now, people are spending more time isolated from others than ever before. Many of us, however, live with family members and perhaps communicate with colleagues via video, text, and email. This is not necessarily the case for our seniors.


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Helping Seniors – and Yourself – Stay Safer

Recommendations to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and keep a safe distance of 6 feet have become all too common, and can serve us all well now and for years to come during cold and flu seasons. But there is more we can do.

In your concern about avoiding illness, remember that if you are a caregiver, you are also at increased risk. Caregivers are notably tired and worn down, and are just as susceptible to the cold, flu, and current COVID-19 pandemic. The consequences can be wide-reaching. If you have to remove yourself from the home for an extended period of time or call in unexpected respite care, these changes can be stressful for your loved one and can further open them up to the chance to fall ill. What else can we work into our daily routines that will help us all stay safer, especially seniors and the immunocompromised?


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The Next Best Thing to Being There

What many of us most want to do right now is give our loved ones a big hug and sit down for some intimate heart-to-heart conversation. Unfortunately, that’s just not as possible these days, even if we live nearby.

So, how should we communicate with our loved ones who might be sheltering in place or living in a facility with contact restrictions? There are several helpful options to stay in touch with long-distance loved ones, anytime.

Lack of technical knowledge is no longer a reason not to touch base. Most of our favorite restaurants, shops, and corporations are offering online options and may very well continue to do so for quite some time. It is time to help your senior and yourself relieve any fears they may have of online communication.


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Know the Signs of Elder Abuse

Protect our loved ones by knowing the signs and what to do if you see them.

Around 1 in 10 senior Americans experience some form of elder abuse. Some estimates show as many as 5 million seniors are abused each year. One study estimates that only 1 in 14 of these are reported to authorities. Often a senior’s desire to stay in their home eclipses their need to report abuse that might be happening. Click here to learn more.

Common Types of Elder Abuse
There are five primary categories of abuse:

Physical – Non-accidental use of force that results in pain, injury, or impairment, including the use of drugs, restraints or confinement

Emotional – Treatment of an older adult in a way that causes emotional or psychological distress, including yelling, threats, ridicule, isolation, or blame

Sexual – Contact of a sexual nature with an elderly person without their consent

Neglect – Failing to fulfill basic needs such as food, water, health, cleanliness, pharmaceutical regularity, and emotional care

Financial – Unauthorized use of a senior’s funds or property

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Understanding Respite Care

This One’s For YOU

Respite care provides a temporary break for family caregivers. No matter how much you love the person you are caring for, caregiving is hard and can drain your personal and emotional resources. It is important to take time for yourself when you can. Respite care can be arranged for any amount of time from a couple of hours a week to several weeks a month. The care can be provided in home, in an adult day care facility, or in a healthcare setting. Click here to learn more.

Try to plan for respite care before you get burnt out. You deserve time for yourself, your family, shopping, exercising, reading, vacations, and relaxing. Giving yourself this basic care will ensure that the time you spend with your senior is quality time and the best you have to give.

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Four Steps to Take When Caring For Your Parents During the Pandemic

You care for your mom and dad. Whether you help them with hygiene and grooming or cook their meals, the pandemic is changing your routine. You need to prioritize their safety. To do that, follow these four steps.

Wash Your Hands All the Time

You need to constantly wash your hands. You make a meal, wash your hands after chopping each ingredient. Wash your hands before serving your parents’ food items. Wash your hands before you eat. Wash your hands when you bring in the mail, pet your dog or cat, or use the toilet.