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Posts Tagged ‘elder law’

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

caregiver burnoutBeing a caregiver is a stressful job, putting a strain on your time, your resources, and most of all, your emotions. Unfortunately, there is no day off from being a caregiver. Your loved ones can’t control when they need you, and the more their abilities deteriorate, the more they’ll need you. It’s no wonder caregiver burnout can sneak up on you as all the stresses of the job pile up. Without a release, you’ll burn out, so we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to help you avoid that.

Talk to Someone

There are support groups for caregivers all over the country for people to get together and talk about the struggles of being a caregiver. Talking about your troubles always helps, even when the people listening can’t do anything to help. In the case of these support groups, knowing you’re not alone and that your feelings are perfectly normal can be a huge release and help you get back to your job as caregiver refreshed and ready to face whatever challenges may come your way.

If there isn’t a caregiver group in your area, start one of your own. If you can’t make it to meetings, just talking to a friend or relative about the strain can help relieve some of the pent-up emotions. At the very least, keep a journal where you can feel free to write it all out. Writing is an extremely cathartic exercise and has been shown to help with mental wellbeing and stability. It doesn’t even matter if you destroy everything you wrote when you’re done, what matters is the act of getting it all down on paper.

Set Aside Time for Yourself

It’s been said before and we’ll say it again: you can’t take care of others without first taking care of yourself. While many people (especially women) misinterpret taking time for themselves as being selfish, there’s nothing selfish about taking a break to recharge. On the contrary, doing so allows you to come back to the job better and stronger than ever, meaning you’re better able to fulfill your duties as a caretaker.

Be Realistic

Many of us want to solve the world’s problems, and even when we know on a logical level that it’s not possible, it doesn’t always stop us from overextending ourselves and agreeing to take on more responsibilities than we can handle.

When you take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, it can be very tempting to say “yes” to everything. You’ll take care of their day-to-day needs and their nutritional needs and make sure they take all their medication and get them to each and every one of their doctor’s appointments, and handle all their finances, and why don’t you write up and notarize their will for them while you’re at it?

Taking care of a sick person who is losing control of their faculties is not like taking care of children (which is a full-time job in and of itself). Your senior relatives have built a life for themselves that will continue to follow them to the end – bank accounts, credit cards, savings, debt, assets, liabilities, etc. None of that includes the medical needs that can build up quickly as their body slowly deteriorates (unlike children, who are building up their capabilities as time goes on).

Know right away that you can’t handle your loved one’s life and your own life at the same time. Recognize your limits and agree to take on only a reasonable amount of duties that you know you can handle. This will mean asking for help from others and that’s OK because it means all of you will be able to provide your loved one with better care than you could provide by yourself.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How to Make Healthier Choices While Enjoying the Holidays

Healthier Choices While Enjoying the HolidaysThe holidays tend to be a dreaded time of year for all ages who are trying to maintain our weight, or even shed some pounds. When we’re surrounded by so many unhealthy treats, what can we do to make healthier choices while enjoying the holidays?


When going to a holiday party, ask if you can bring a veggie tray or other healthy dish you know you love. That way you’ll know there will be something there you can eat. If you’re going out to a restaurant with some friends, look at the menu ahead of time (not when you’re hungry), choose the healthiest option and stick to it when you get there and place your order. Don’t even consider any other options.

Eating before you go out to a party or restaurant is also a good way to keep your calories and portion size down and make sure you know exactly what you’re eating.

Don’t Stand Next to the Food

Most parties have one room where all the food is laid out. Avoid that room. If you’re hungry, make yourself a plate with the healthiest offerings, sit down and eat it, and be done. The most important thing to avoid is eating all night long, and one of the best ways to avoid that is by loading up on healthy food right away. That, combined with keeping a safe distance from the food table after that will help you avoid all the tempting sweets.

Drink Water

We tend to consume a lot of alcohol around this time of year and that’s not healthy. It’s high in sugar, which spikes our blood sugar, which in turn makes us eat more when the sugar crash comes. It’s also hard on our livers, so if you do decide to indulge in some festive drinks this time of year, keep it to one alcoholic drink per party. The rest of the time, stick to water, which will help keep you hydrated. Make it sparkling water with some lime and it will look and feel like a gin and tonic, but your body won’t punish you for it the next morning.

Three Bites

When indulging in unhealthy foods, some people practice the “three-bite rule,” which means they enjoy three bites of it, and then they’re done. If you’re eating a piece of cake, three bites is usually about half the piece, depending on how big the slice is. Three bites could also be one cookie, brownie, or a couple pieces of fudge. Besides, after three bites you tend to stop really tasting it anyway, at which point you’re just shoving food in your mouth because you’re high on the combination of fat and sugar.


The point of parties is to see friends and family, new and old. Look at holiday parties not as a chance to stuff yourself with food and alcohol, but to talk with your friends and family members and even meet new people. Ask them how they’re doing and what they’re looking forward to next year. If you don’t know them, ask how they know the host(ess). If you’re talking, you can’t be eating.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Top 5 Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them

senior scamsIt’s an unfortunate fact that seniors are prime targets for scammers. They are perceived as being more trusting and many of them have acquired savings and valuable assets to help get them through retirement. The combination is too tempting for many scammers to resist. Below are the five most common scams targeting seniors and how you can avoid them.

Congratulations! You’re a Winner!

Everyone likes to win. With all the stories of big lottery winners taking home millions of dollars, it’s exciting to think about what we would do if we won a lottery or giveaway of some type. Scammers take advantage of this by contacting unsuspecting targets and telling them they’ve won some sort of sweepstakes, but with a catch: the target has to pay to cover the taxes and fees before they can get their prize.

Winners never pay in order to receive their prize. That would defeat the purpose. Legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries have other forms of income to pay their bills, such as the tickets purchased by everyone who enters the lottery. Any time someone tells you that you have to pay to get a prize, hang up and report the incident to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) right away.

An Exciting Investment Opportunity

Because many seniors are more concerned than ever about saving/investing for retirement, they are prime targets for investment fraud. Scammers will often call the target claiming they have a great investment opportunity for them with little-to-no risk and big returns.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always consult a reliable, trustworthy financial analyst before making any big investments.

You Haven’t Paid Your Taxes

This scam has been targeting all age groups – not just seniors. Someone calls pretending to be from the IRS, saying the target has not paid their taxes, and if they don’t pay immediately, they’ll face serious consequences, such as a revoked drivers’ license or arrest.

The IRS does not call or email citizens. They use the postal service, and they should never be pushy or aggressive, which scam callers usually are to intimidate their targets into paying up. If you get a call or email claiming to be from the IRS and threatening you for not paying your taxes, feel free to hang up or delete the email, because it’s not legitimate.

I Need You to Bail Me Out

Another common scam is when the conperson calls pretending to be a relative who has been arrested abroad and needs to have money wired to them to bail them out.

In reality, that relative may never have been to that country at all. Be sure to contact other family members to confirm that person is really there and that the situation is legitimate. No one wants to leave a family member hanging in their hour of need, but you should never wire money anywhere without first confirming the person is who they say they are.

We Can Fix Those Windows For You

Some scammers show up on your doorstep offering home repair services you don’t need … or didn’t think you needed. These scammers get their targets to pay upfront for work that will be done at a later date. In reality, the work is poorly done or never done at all.

Never pay for services before you’ve received them. Most licensed contractors don’t go door-to-door soliciting work, but if you’re not sure, you can always ask for their business card and do your own research later.

What Are the Risk Factors of Glaucoma in Seniors?

glaucoma in seniorsThe term glaucoma refers to various eye disorders, all of which are progressive and tend to result in damage to the optic nerve (which is a bundle of roughly one million nerve fibers that are responsible for transmitting visual signals from the eye to the brain). Glaucoma is considered to be loss of vision as a result of damage to the nerve tissue.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the form of glaucoma patients experience most often, and it’s caused by an increase in the pressure of the fluid in the eye. Such pressure can cause gradual damage to the optic nerve over time and loss of nerve fibers. It can ultimately result in vision loss and even blindness.

1) How Old You Are

Most people over 60 are at risk, but African Americans tend to experience an increased risk after age 40. After these markers, the risk for glaucoma goes up each year.

2) Your Race

African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to develop glaucoma and to experience permanent vision loss as a result. Asians are more likely to develop angle-closer glaucoma, with people of Japanese descent being especially more likely to get low-tension glaucoma. Latin Americans are most at risk in very elderly populations.

3) Your Family History

If your family has a history of glaucoma, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.

4) Other Medical Conditions

Having certain medical conditions can increase the chances you’ll also develop glaucoma. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and low blood pressure have all been linked to glaucoma. Many people worry about high blood pressure (which can cause vision loss from glaucoma if left untreated), but few people worry about their blood pressure getting too low (hypotension). Nevertheless, hypotension is as serious a medical condition as hypertension and can cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

5) Physical Injuries In And Around The Eye

Getting hit in the eye isn’t just extremely painful, it can also cause the pressure in the eye to escalate, either immediately after the injury and/or some time after the incident itself. Severe trauma to the eye can also dislocate the lens, which causes the drainage angle to close, thereby increasing pressure on the eye and causing all sorts of problems.

6) Other Risk Factors Related To The Eye

The anatomy of the eye itself varies slightly from person to person and the unique way your eyes are constructed might put you at an increased risk for glaucoma. For example, how thick your cornea is and the appearance of your optic nerve can both provide an idea of your personal risk for glaucoma. Conditions you might have developed over time, such as retinal detachment, tumors and any kind of inflammation in or around the eye, can all cause and/or exacerbate glaucoma. Some studies have also suggested you might be at increased risk for glaucoma if you’ve experienced a lot of nearsightedness.

7) Use Of Corticosteroids

Use of corticosteroids for an extended period of time has been linked to secondary glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a frightening prospect that can seriously inhibit our independence along with our vision. Because age is a primary factor in the development of glaucoma, you should be especially vigilant in looking out for it as loved ones get older, especially if they have one or more of the other risk factors.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How To Talk To Your Kids About End-Of-Life Care

end-of-life careNot everyone wants to think about what will happen as they age, especially when it comes to considering possibilities like dementia or a stroke leaving them incapable of making decisions about their own health. But the fact that those possibilities are so frightening is exactly why it’s important to talk to your children about end-of-life care now, before things take a turn for the worse.

Nevertheless, many people continue to put off having this extremely important conversation because it makes them so uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can ease the stress on both you and your children.

1) Plan ahead.

By doing your research ahead of time, you can plan for what comes next. Know what the average costs of end-of-life care are and put a plan in place for how you’re going to pay for it. Even if you don’t currently need an assisted living facility, doing your research and knowing where you want to go if it comes to that can make the transition that much easier on both you and your children.

Not only will this step make you feel better, it will make the idea more palatable for your children. Even those who don’t want to think about what’s coming will most likely find comfort in knowing there’s a plan in place and what that plan is. It will let them see it’s not so bad after all and will create a guideline for them to follow when it’s time to put the plan into action.

Be sure to write everything down and make sure everyone involved has a copy so there will be no second-guessing in the event of an emergency.

2) Talk about it early and often.

You don’t necessarily need to have one big Talk with your children about what they should do as you age. You can drop it into conversations throughout your lives together. As situations arise with friends and family, you can mention what you want done if you ever end up in a similar situation. Make it a two-way conversation by asking them what they think they would want if they found themselves in a vulnerable position. It can help introduce empathy into the discussion by forcing them to consider the situation from the other side, making them more likely to see things from your perspective, and by extension, respect your wishes.

3) Use media to help you broach the subject.

No one likes to hear the words, “We need to talk,” and trying to start a conversation that way can sometimes have the unintentional effect of making everyone defensive before the conversation has even begun. In order to avoid that, you can watch a show or movie together that addresses the issue. Talk about a book or show them an article you recently read on the topic. Use that as an icebreaker to start discussing the issue in general before moving on to what you specifically want to happen at the end of your life.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Top 5 Questions Answered About Elder Law

elder lawThe following are some top questions asked about elder law and the answers to them.

Q: What is an elder law attorney?

A: Elder law attorneys are lawyers whose specialty is helping seniors with a variety of legal issues. The specialty of elder law came about in the 1980’s when it became clear that the difficult issues confronting seniors, such as nursing home care, were way beyond the expertise of general practice attorneys.

Elder law attorneys can help families with:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • Guardianship
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Social Security

Elder law is unlike other areas of law. If is defined by the needs of the client rather than by a particular field of law. Therefore, elder attorneys are so aware that the needs of their clients usually extend beyond basic legal services. Elder attorneys are linked to a network of professionals who serve the senior population in their community.

Q: Should I buy long-term care insurance for my elder?

A: With nursing home care now costing as much as $10,000 per month across the country, a long-term care need can deplete the best planned estate. The purchase of long-term care insurance can be vital for an elder needing care, as well as for their family and main caregiver. One great plus of this insurance is that most plans now cover care at home or at an assisted living community.

The downside to this is the premiums, which most seniors can’t afford. There is also the refusal of the insurance companies to guarantee the rates. Another downturn is that the people who want to purchase these policies are often turned down for health reasons. To avoid this, purchase this kind of policy while you are young and healthy. You can also shop around as every company has their own underwriting criteria.

Q: When do I need a guardianship?

A: The standard that determines when a person will require a guardian differs from state to state. There are even differences within the states, depending on whether a complete guardianship is needed or a conservatorship is needed over finances. Normally, a person is judged to need a guardian when they show a lack of capacity to make responsible decisions on their own.

Q: What long-term services can an elder get as a veteran?

A: The Veterans Administration offers many long-term are options through its health plan. Some long-term care services are limited to certain veterans: nursing home and domiciliary care are not automatically available to all veterans that are enrolled in the VA health plan. Veterans with service-connected disabilities receive priority or nursing home care. A domiciliary is a VA facility that provides care in a home-like setting for veterans disabled by age or disease who are not in need of acute hospital stays and do not need skilled nursing services provided by a nursing home.

Q: When should you start taking social security?

A: As you near retirement, you need to decide when you will start taking your social security benefits. You have 3 choices:

  • Begin taking benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age
  • Wait until your full retirement age
  • Delay benefits and take them any time up until the age of 70

More than 2/3 of people take theirs early. Some of them don’t have a choice. They need the money. But it might make more sense for others to delay benefits. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that depends on whether you keep working, your health, your life expectancy, your spouse’s needs, and retirement plan availability.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.