407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

December 16, 2022

When You Need to Stay in the Hospital Longer to Get Stronger

Sometimes, your loved one is going to be discharged from the hospital, and you feel that person is not ready to come home. You can refuse discharge. Every state has a quality innovation network Improvement Organization.  These government agencies help people with Medicare and Medicaid. 

KEPRO handles Florida, Georgia, etc. It is a beneficiary and family-centered, quality improvement organization that can help you.  

Quite simply, this is how it works and I tried it with my mother a few years ago. The hospital gives a discharge order. You refuse the order. You call KEPRO for an appeal. A KEPRO physician reviews your loved ones record. The beneficiary and facility are notified of their decision.

Here is the cool part. You almost cannot lose. Reviewing the case takes 1-2 days, sometimes longer if a weekend is involved. Your loved one receives two days of care in the hospital. You are not charged anything for the extra days, because they cannot charge you during an ongoing appeal.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

December 23, 2022

Representative Payee

Some of the millions of people who get monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits need help managing this money. A person assigned to help you manage your monthly benefits is called a representative payee. The Social Security office may decide you need a representative payee if they receive information that indicates you need help to manage your money. They try to select someone who knows you and wants to help you. Your representative payee should be someone who you trust, who sees you often, and who clearly understands your needs.

A representative payee receives your monthly benefits on your behalf and must use the money to pay for your current needs. Eligible costs include:

  • housing and utilities;
  • food;
  • medical and dental expenses;
  • personal care items;
  • clothing; and
  • rehabilitation expenses (if you’re disabled).

If there is someone you want to be your representative payee, tell a Social Security representative, and they will consider your request. Social service agencies, nursing homes, or other organizations are also qualified to be your representative payee. Ask them to contact the Social Security office.

If you receive a decision that you are appointed a representative payee and don’t agree that you need one, or if you want a different representative payee, write to the Social Security office within 60 days to appeal that decision.

If you can’t manage your finances, someone else can help. If you have a trusted friend or family member who can be your representative payee, their publication: A Guide for Representative Payees will provide more information on our representative payee rules.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

December 30, 2022

Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems should provide reliable, 24/7 monitoring by trained monitoring agents, allowing seniors and their caregivers to live with less worry, at home or on the go.

An alert system should provide the following: 

  1. If there is an emergency, you should be able to push the button on your pendant or wristband. Systems with Fall Detection will automatically send an emergency alert to the company if a fall occurs. 
  2. A monitoring center should receive the alert, and a trained monitoring agent should respond to over the base unit’s voice communicator. If there is no response, the agent should send help. 
  3. The medical alert system monitor should notify emergency responders and/or family as needed. Professionally monitored medical alert systems should help make life simpler and safer for seniors and their caregivers. Having safety measures in place can help seniors continue to live their lives independently and provide immense peace of mind to caregivers.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 8, 2022

Caring for Someone with Dementia

It is estimated that 1 in 3 people with dementia and 1 in 7 of those with Alzheimer’s live alone. A diagnosis of dementia does not automatically mean a person cannot safely live independently; some people may be able to live on their own for a time after their initial diagnosis. Others may be at too much risk to continue living alone.

It is common for people living with dementia to go through a series of stages, from complete independence to living with someone or needing a long-term care placement over the course of disease progression. When a person who has lived alone eventually needs to consider other options, the move to live with someone can be difficult for all those involved. Some people with dementia may try to hide or compensate for the problems they are experiencing. If you are a family member or caregiver of a person with dementia, it can be difficult to decide whether a person who is living alone is truly in need of help.

Please keep in mind that just as a child cannot be safely left alone, neither can seniors with child-like capacities or judgment be safely left alone.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 15, 2022

Nutrition for Seniors

Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need to function, and include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Good nutrition is important for energy at every age.  It may also help prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

But as you age, your body and life change, and so does what you need to stay healthy. For example, you may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. 

Eat foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories, such as:

    • Fruits and vegetables—bright colors are the most nutritious;
    • Whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice;
    • Fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese, or soy or rice milk that has added vitamin D and calcium;
    • Seafood, lean meats like poultry, and eggs;
    • Beans, nuts, and seeds.

Avoid empty calories. These are foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol.

Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat. You especially want to try to avoid saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are usually fats that come from animals. Trans fats are processed fats in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 22, 2022

Hydration for Seniors

Water, the most important liquid on the planet, makes up roughly 60% of the human body. That is why it is so important to stay hydrated. Most doctors agree that you should try and consume eight to ten 8-oz. cups (64-80 fluid ounces) of water each day.

The health benefits of drinking water are numerous:

  • Keeps your skin hydrated. Your skin is mostly made of water. When dehydrated, it can lead to disorders and wrinkles. Drinking water is the easiest and cheapest way to stay looking young!
  • Lubricates your joints. Cartilage contains 80% water. Dehydration lessens the effectiveness cartilage has on joints and, in turn, leads to pain and inflammation.
  • Aids in weight loss. Water is the perfect zero-calorie drink to replace soda or other sugary drinks. Drinking a big glass of water before a meal will also help prevent overeating.
  • Promotes healthy kidneys. Your kidneys are primarily used to filter liquids that come through your body. When dehydrated, kidney stones can start to form and, in extreme cases, dehydration can lead to kidney failure.
  • Relieves allergies. When your body is dehydrated, its airway constricts. This heightens breathing difficulties brought on by allergies or asthma.
  • Helps with healthy digestion. The digestive system is reliant on water to process food correctly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and heartburn.

Water is so important to our everyday lives, and we should make a concerted effort to drink the recommended amount. Seniors tend to exercise less, and exercise increases one’s thirst, so they need to be especially careful to drink enough water. 

According to the Institute of Medicine, almost 75% of Americans suffer from dehydration. There are plenty of ways to make sure you reach your daily recommended water intake. Try remembering to drink a glass of water after every bathroom break, or use one of the numerous water tracking apps. Keep a water bottle by your side.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

July 29, 2022

Dehydration in Seniors

Dehydration is dangerous no matter what your age, but seniors are at a greater risk for dehydration than other age groups. Dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water. When your body’s water content is too low, it causes damage quickly. Dehydration is especially prevalent on hot days or after vigorous exercise. Mild or moderate dehydration is easy to recover from, but severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention.

Risks for seniors experiencing dehydration include:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting: in addition to losing fluids, your body’s electrolytes and minerals are quickly depleted;
  • Fever: high fevers quickly lead to dehydration. The higher the fever, the faster you become dehydrated;
  • Excessive sweating: if you don’t replace the fluids lost while sweating, you can become dehydrated. Don’t wait to replace fluids at the end of a workout or strenuous activity. Instead, drink a little water all along to avoid severe dehydration;
  • Increased urination: diabetes that isn’t yet diagnosed or controlled through diet or medication can lead to passing more urine and depleting your water supply.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling unquenchable thirst
  • Few or no tears
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Not urinating frequently
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Confusion
  • Black stool

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea or vomiting that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • Feeling irritable and disoriented
  • Sleepier than usual without reason
  • Inability to keep fluids down

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

August 26, 2022

Hurricane Safety

The state of Florida is vulnerable to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June to November. When there is a warning of a hurricane or other natural disaster, elder-care communities ensure the comfort and safety of their residents.

Senior communities have a Hurricane and Disaster Preparedness Plan, which consists of recommendations from regulating authorities such as the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), as well as precautionary guidelines and procedures developed from their experience and expertise in hurricane preparedness.

Elder-care communities are constructed to meet stringent Florida codes and withstand high winds and flooding so residents can shelter in place. Should a power outage occur, there are generators. Florida assisted living facilities are required to have backup power generators to ensure function and access to essential lighting and air conditioning in the event of a power outage.

Senior facilities try to provide e-mail communication with family members prior to and during weather emergencies. Hurricane-related communications and news are posted on websites and social media.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

September 2, 2022

Summer Safety

Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. It is critically important that adults particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses know how to safeguard against problems.

Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body. Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are forms of hyperthermia. Older adults are at risk for these conditions, and this risk can increase with the combination of higher temperature, individual lifestyle and general health.

Lifestyle factors can include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions. Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler spaces on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. 

Factors that increase the risk of hyperthermia may include:

  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions 
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases
  • Use of multiple medications
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications 
  • Age-related changes to the skin 
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Alcohol use

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include an increase in body temperature, changes in mental status, rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering or coma. 

If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • Call 911
  • Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water 
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth 
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer water or fruit juice

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

September 9, 2022

Summer for Someone with Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander. Wandering is best described as a tendency to roam or walk around without a clear destination or purpose. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the destination or purpose of the walk is often forgotten, causing them to become confused or lost. 

As a caregiver, you must be concerned about the safety of someone who wanders. There may be no harm in wandering a contained space, but for someone with dementia who gets lost outside, the risk of injury is high. You would not allow a child to roam. A senior with dementia may have equivalent judgment. 

There are several reasons why a person who has dementia might wander, and understanding these will help you put some practical interventions in place: 

  • Stress, fear, and anxiety 
  • Searching for important people, such as old friends or family members 
  • Searching for the bathroom 
  • Searching for food 
  • Visual-spatial challenges 
  • Memory loss 
  • Boredom, especially at night (called sundowning) and restlessness 
  • Pain 
  • Poor sleep, restlessness 

People with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may have pain and can’t express it verbally, so they wander to find relief.  Overstimulating environments can also cause anxiety and the urge to “get away.” 

Home Adaptations to Support Safe Wandering: 

  • Keep spaces clutter-free to minimize fall risk 
  • Remove rugs to minimize risk of falls 
  • Eliminate the need to use stairs 
  • Lock the stovetop to prevent your loved one from trying to cook 
  • Keep windows and doors locked 
  • Install alarms on all exterior doors 
  • Camouflage doors–hang curtains over exterior doors to make them less visible 
  • Use a pressure-sensitive alarm mat to notify you when your loved one gets up at night 
  • Install gates to dissuade entry to unsafe areas of the house, including stairs 
  • Fence in the backyard to allow your loved one access without risk 
  • Install safety locks on kitchen cabinets 
  • Lock up all medications and cleaning products 

Behavioral Strategies for Wandering Caused by Dementia 

Knowing that part of the cause of wandering is boredom, anxiety, and fear, learning behavioral strategies to keep your loved one occupied can prevent unsafe wandering. The added benefit is reducing unwanted agitation and frustration. 

Here are some ways to help a loved one with dementia:  

  • Redirect and distract with an activity or exercise 
  • Find out if your loved one is in pain, too hot or cold, thirsty, or hungry 
  • Minimize noise and overstimulation 
  • Turn on the music–music has been found to have a calming effect on people with dementia 
  • Listen to your loved one’s concerns with compassion, and to the extent you can, try and alleviate their fears and anxieties 
  • Provide lots of healthy snacks–wandering uses excess energy reserves and frequent snacks can help offset weight loss caused by dementia 

While it may be impossible to prevent wandering completely, you will want to permit safe wandering and reduce the risk of falls. Most importantly, measures should be taken to prevent your loved one with Alzheimer’s from venturing outdoors, particularly in Florida, where summer heat can be life-threatening. 

Technology for People with Dementia 

Safety products that permit safe wandering have come a long way over the years. Today, there are a range of devices to manage and monitor your loved one’s activities and give yourself a break from constant supervision. 

  • An Emergency Response System (ERS) detects falls and has built-in GPS tracking 
  • In-home video monitors with continuous feeds can be monitored via smartphones 
  • Smart sensors collect data, detect unusual movement, and monitor for smoke and carbon dioxide 
  • Safety Alarms alert you to movement and can be installed on beds, chairs, wheelchairs, doors, and windows 

Constant supervision and interaction with your loved one can be exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and symptoms and behaviors become more than you can manage at home, a memory care community can help. These communities are specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and provide around-the-clock care to assure the safety and well-being of those with memory challenges and wandering symptoms. 

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.