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Posts Tagged ‘Aging In Place’

Caregiving a parent with dignity

In Children and Family, Economy, Education, Health, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on October 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Deer In Headlines
Gery L. Deer

When you’re a caregiver of a senior parent one of the most difficult things is maintaining the dignity of your charge. When we’re kids, our parents wipe our faces free of food, help us in the bathroom, even spoon-feed us. But, decades later, when those roles are reversed, it’s important to keep in mind that the person you’re helping isn’t a child. He or she is an adult with a mature sense of dignity and pride.

It took me a long time to get used to helping care for my parents. To say it was uncomfortable to have to help my mother dress or manually feed her would be a massive understatement. Alzheimer’s had long settled in by the time she broke a hip, but not being able to walk created further challenges. Her mind was like that of a toddler and she didn’t initiate speech or really understand anything going on around her. So, it was different than it is with my father now.

Deer In Headlines author, Gery Deer, with his father, Gary Sr.

My parents were proud people and didn’t like taking help from anyone. Now, the man who was always looking after everyone around him needs more care than he’d probably ever imagined he would in his golden years.

Like many seniors in this situation, Dad is fully cognizant of what is going on around him, but he needs a great deal of physical help in managing his day-to-day activities. One thing it took a while to understand is that his sense of personal privacy and dignity must be preserved, though it seems to outsiders like it wouldn’t matter as much anymore. It does.

Which brings us to the first point of what you can do to maintain self-worth for your senior parent, whether you’re caring for them all the time or just helping out once in a while. First, you can help maintain personal privacy and dignity by closing the door when you help him or her to bathe, dress or change clothes.

You wouldn’t think twice about closing the door when you do those things but put yourself in their place. What makes you feel awkward probably makes them feel that way too.

Don’t make a show of things. Try your best to avoid drawing unwanted attention to your charge whenever possible. Adult children sometimes have a need for outside validation of the caregiving task they’ve undertaking and can be overly dramatic in public. I can assure you it’s unlikely your mom or dad or whomever you’re caring for really wants any of that attention. They want to feel as normal and inconspicuous as possible so help them.

The more prepared you are the better. Keep a care bag packed to travel with, even if just going around town for the day. Load it with spare clothing, tissues, a towel, facial wipes, a bottle of water, specialized eating utensils, whatever your senior may potentially need, both commonly or in an emergency. Remember that their comfort comes first. Be ready for anything.

Sometimes the best way to help is to do nothing. As frustrating as it can be as a caregiver to sit by and watch your charge struggle to do something like button his shirt, there are times when you need to do just that – nothing. Although it can be part of the individual’s therapy to do normal, day-to-day things like getting dressed, it can be challenging.

And, as caregivers, it’s tough not to jump in and just do it for them. But, from the standpoint of respect, you have to let them do their best to tackle it on their own. It’s when their own frustration level peaks you might need to take over.

Naturally, there are things you have to do to care for them that they’re not going to be happy with. He or she may not want to use the cane or walker they’ve been provided. You will probably need to be firm with them on this because sometimes safety must outweigh pride.

Finally, be patient. I struggle with this one daily. Remember that this is hard for them too. Remember you’re not alone. If you need help, go find it.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at deerinheadlines.com.

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Aging in place: Helping seniors remain home longer

In Economy, Home Improvement, Local News, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on January 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

DIH LOGOCurrent statistics show approximately 1.3 million American seniors now reside in nursing homes at an annual cost of more than $83,000 per room. As more of the population comes to retirement age in the next decade, those numbers are expected to triple. Some seniors, however, are choosing to invest money to modify their current homes to meet specific accessibility needs so they can remain there as long as possible.

The professional building trade refers to it as, “aging in place,” adapting an existing home to serve as a long-term residence including the retrofit of service equipment such as grab bars, ramps, side-entry bathtubs and so on. Other alterations include the widening of hallways, lowering of cabinets and sinks, or the addition of an elevator.

Some builders now offer certified contracting services for the express purpose of refitting a home for longer occupancy, regardless of disability. For the last several years, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has provided a specialized certification called, “Certified Aging in Place Specialist, or CAPS. The program is designed to educate contractors on the latest methods and products for creating a safe, supportive environment in a senior’s existing residence.

The number of seniors living in retirement communities and nursing facilities is expected to triple in the next decade.

The number of seniors living in retirement communities and nursing facilities is expected to triple in the next decade.

Keep in mind that when you hire a Certified Aging in Place Specialist you are buying a service rather than a product. Each CAPS professional draws from a different knowledge base and will approach your project from a unique perspective, focusing on your needs.

Marty Walling, owner of Marty Walling Construction, LLC, in Riverside, Ohio, has been an NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialist for more than two years. According to Walling, the process should be all about the individual experience and meeting the needs of the resident.

“A CAPS professional is trained to identify and recommend attractive design solutions that create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who want to age in place,” Walling said. “Aging in place is more than the simple addition of grab bars and bathtub seating. These modifications offer seniors the ability to live in their own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

But not every contractor is right for these kinds of jobs and consumers should do their homework before hiring. The first step is to contact the NAHB to find a CAPS designated builder in your area. This is a niche market and few remodelers have the proper certifications.

Next, have a meeting with the builder in the home to be remodeled and discuss the needs and expectations of the project. Attendees should include the caregiver and, if possible, the individual who will most benefit from the alterations. He or she can demonstrate any accessibility problems in their existing environment so the builder can properly adapt solutions to the need.

Expense and time are also of importance and should be discussed as soon as needs are assessed and products are selected. Walling noted, “Project costs will vary with need but the average bathroom upgrade, for example, takes about two weeks to complete and the resident can remain in the home while the work is done.”

Décor should also be considered when making changes to existing furnishings. “Savvy CAPS builders will work with designers to incorporate color and style to match the home’s décor and do their best to avoid the sterile, hospital look,” Walling said. “There are safety products available that blend right in with the current design of the space which can sometimes make the modifications less obvious.”

It’s also important to stress that this kind of remodel is helpful to all types of people, not just the elderly or disabled. Alterations can be made for any need and it is all about making the homeowner more comfortable and providing them with a feeling of safety, security and ease of access.

If you or a loved one are considering nursing care because of accessibility and you own your home, an Aging in Place upgrade might be the right solution. A CAPS specialist can help you determine what works for you or whether the changes are practical, mechanically and financially. In either case, the safety and security of the resident should be the primary concern.

 

Deer In Headlines author and Living Dayton business contributor, Gery L. Deer in the "Stafford Jewelers Diamond Room" at WDTN.

Gery L. Deer is an independent business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s LIVING DAYTON program. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

Riverside Builder Opens New Contracting Firm

In Business, Economy, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, Senior Lifestyle on March 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Marty Walling, owner and president of Marty Walling Construction, LLC hopes to grow his business while serving his community.

RIVERSIDE, OH – Riverside,Ohio resident Marty Walling started his professional career in 1977 on the factory floor as an apprentice at the Inland Division of General Motors. Multiple layoffs and inconsistent work helped him to decide on a career change into the building trades.

“I had always dabbled in building and construction, so I left GM in 1982 and went to work for a builder in Beavercreek, Ohio who was putting up a 126-unit condo development,” says Walling. During nearly three decades with the same company, Walling held the positions of vice president, treasurer and construction manager.

In October of 2011, highly experienced and well connected, he decided to go into business for himself and established Marty Walling Construction, LLC . The company provides complete residential and commercial remodeling and construction services, from the most basic kitchen and bath upgrade to building new homes.  Working on the client’s behalf, the firm handles everything from permits and adherence to local building regulations to managing any subcontracting work that needs to be done.

Walling also offers expertise in several specialized construction services including certifications in energy efficient, green building technologies and home safety modifications for seniors, also known as “aging in place.”

As a Certified Green Professional, Walling’s firm specializes in Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) construction techniques. An ICF building combines polystyrene foam with reinforced concrete to provide greater energy efficiency (equivalent to R 22.4 insulation), as well as increased fire and storm resistance.

“Our focus is on quality work at a fair price with a focus on building a long-term relationship with our customers,” Walling says. “I’ve got a great team of professionals working with us including framers, roofers, plumbers, electricians and drywall hangers; a cohesive group that works together to prevent problems before they can happen.”

Walling’s work ethic is grounded in a strong belief that giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate is paramount to personal and professional fulfillment. Over the years, he has used his skills as a volunteer with Catch the Building Spirit , a collaborative between Dayton area Catholics and Presbyterians to build housing for low income families through Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, Walling also traveled toHaiti to aid in the relief efforts after the devastating earthquake that struck the country.

Opening a new business amidst a slowly recovering economy offered Walling at once challenge and opportunity and his intention is to focus on the Miami Valley region. “I want to provide a level of service that will allow my clients to experience the ease of building.” For more information about Marty Walling Construction, LLC, call (937) 475-2902 or visit the company’s new website at www.martywallingconstruction.com.