Fire leading cause of safety issues for the elderly

December 31, 2008 by  
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According to a Consumer Watch report by, fire is the leading cause of safety concerns for the elderly. The Good Housekeeping Institute tested some silicon pot holders because of the flammability of traditional cotton pot holders. The researchers found that the elderly loved the flexibility and lack of heat that came through the silicon pot holders. These pot holders are just one of many products that the Good Housekeeping Institute tests to help the elderly maintain their independence safely. Caregivers must educate themselves about the safety issues related to aging in the particular environment of those they care for.

Aging relatives and parent care

December 25, 2008 by  
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I am sure many of you have spent time this holiday season with relatives and parents who are aging. You see your loved ones a bit more forgetful, less mobile, and more fragile. Yet, there is still that person inside who you looked up to, respected for their individual characteristics, stamina, character, and the way they lived life. I experienced this phenomena this last week. I visited with some elderly relatives during a winter storm. I was truly concerned for their safety if they drove under such conditions. So, I volunteered to drive them around. I knew the freeway would be a safer place because those roads are better maintained, yet, when my uncle adamantly directed me onto the hilly and icy city streets, I did it. I could not bare to override him. After all, all of my life I looked up to him; respected his decision making. But by the time we got to our destination, everyone was frazzled because it was dangerous. Then I was conflicted because on one hand, their driveway was so snowy they could not get out unless they paid someone to shovel the driveway. Yet, I did not think it wise that their driveway allow them out under such conditions. There is such a fine line between helping our aging parents, relatives, and friends and stripping them of their dignity. I now believe that sometimes we must err on the side of safety and take control. I did not. I had the great idea of backing the car in and out so that IF they needed to get out, they could. Well, I got the car stuck in the snow. Jim and I had to shovel the whole driveway to get the car back in. Jim told me that I had made a big mistake because now my uncle would think it was OK to go out. Gently, I reminded them that they should not go out under such conditions. Well, the day after we left, my uncle slid on the ice in a store parking lot and hit another car. That would not have happened if I had used my good sense instead of deciding with my heart. The same thing happened today when my parents and I went to Christmas dinner at a restaurant. My mother needs to be using a walker or scooter, but her pride makes her only take a cane. I did not insist on the walker going and because we went to a different restaurant than planned, she almost did not make it to the table. If she had fallen, it would take at least 2 people to pick her up due to her weight and lymphedema in her legs. Again, not wanting to make my parents feel less mobile and functional than they already do, I did not use my head, I used my heart. If they were children, I would just take over. It is a difficult line to walk. I need to learn to cross over into both sides when it is most appropriate to maintain a good quality of life for all of my elderly relatives, friends, and my parents. I hope that us baby boomers learn some lessons from caring for our parents. We need to acknowledge that body parts wear out, our mind and reactions will never get faster so we need to accept help and utilize all of the gadgets, makeovers to homes, and services without resisting so that people do not need to make a choice between our dignity or our quality of life. As caregivers, we must always do what is right for our parents, relatives, and friends, not what makes us feel safer or better.

Factoring in caregiving to loss of productivity cost related to cancer

December 11, 2008 by  
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According to the Matria Healthcare website, a recent study shows that the loss of productivity due to cancer in 2000 was approximately $146 billion. However, if you factor in caregiving and household activity and it increases to $232.4 billion. The expectations are that this amount will climb to over $300 billion by 2020. These are astonishing numbers. This study helps to make a case for legislation to provide caregivers with some form of help; preferably a combination of support such as preventative medical, mental, and financial.

Kudos to BlueRidge Electric in North Carolina

December 10, 2008 by  
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According to, BlueRidge Electric donated 6 grants to non-profits to help people with their bills. Six thousand of the grant dollars went to organizations that support family caregivers. How great that someone understands that most caregivers are struggling financially as they care for family members. If any of you know of other companies that are supporting family caregivers, please let people know.