Family First Alert
Family First Alert llc”, which is a company that supplies alert buttons and the service of monitoring those buttons for the elderly. At the time of this printing “Family First Alert llc” has been in business for eight years servicing and taking care of literally hundreds of elderly people. Dan has always cared deeply for older people and wanted to do something that would help them and make a difference in their lives.
Many of the people that have and are currently clients of his company have written many letters thanking Dan for the service and the quality that they receive each month.
When Dan started the company he did so because his own mother was in need of that type of service and the family had checked into different companies that offered the service, but were just not completely satisfied with everything they had found. This is when Dan decided to research the industry and learn all that he could about how it worked and how it could be improved on. This was the birth of “Family First Alert llc”. Dan not only wanted to make a quality service, but he wanted to make it affordable as well to those that needed it. This is why “Family First Alert llc” has never raised their prices from the time they started to present day.
Dan boast’s the lowest price in the industry today for the same service as the many other companies and is very proud of that claim. You can follow “Family First Alert llc” on the net at www. familyfirstalert. com or on Face book as well. Introduction: When I was born, my mother and father were forty and forty one years old. They were wonderful parent’s and they raised my brother and sister and I with much love and care. They were there for us whenever we needed them and for whatever reason. Whether it was financial support or moral support they never failed to be there for any of us. We weren’t by any mearns financially well off, my father owned a hardware store and my mother was a secretary for the board of education.
It didn’t matter to them though, because their kids always came first and if we needed something, they would find a way to get it. I remember one time my father coming home with a flu gal horn in his hand for me. I asked him where he got it and he told me that he had traded it for an antique ax and $50. 00. He didn’t have the money to go buy a new one, but he was willing to sacrifice something that he cared about for something he cared more about, Me. He loved collecting antiques and the ax was one of his collectables. This was a common thing in our household. I remember growing up having older parent’s than most all of my friends. This was a real worry for me as a kid and when they started to get older and have some health problems my fears became a reality.
I always told my mother who lived to be 86 that she would never have to worry about going into a rest home, that I would take care of her and she could always come live with me and my family. My father died at the age of 63 after having heart problems from what I feel was a result of a life of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. As I said before, my parent’s were wonderful parent’s and took care of us as best as any parent’s ever could. It’s funny how things go full circle in life. Your parent’s take care of you and worry about you when your young and then it’s your turn to return the favor in their later years. Because of their love for me and the love and respect that I had for them, I had always felt a responsibility for them and would do whatever I could in their later years.
This article is an attempt to try to help others that are going through what my family and I did while taking care of our elderly parent’s. I will attempt to go through some different stages that will hopefully help ease some of the burdens that you may face. I hope you will find the following information in someway helpful. As Time Begins to Pass, Driving Can Be A Challenge: When our parent’s begin to hit those later years it can be somewhat like walking on eggshells. You might start seeing some small things that concern you, but try not to blow them out of proportion. They might be still driving their car and the thought might come to you to ask them to stop driving or you might even be so bold as to take their keys from them. This is where many children make a big mistake.
Remember, it is very important for the elderly to be able to maintain self worth and dignity in their later years. Having a son or daughter tell them what to do or what not to do can really hurt their feelings and cause a lot of problems. It’s easy to understand this concern if the paren’t has had some accidents or is not able to drive safely where they might be a risk to themselves or others on the road, but if this is not the case, respect them enough to allow them to have input into what they are wanting to do. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel published a very good article online on December 26, 2012 where they outlined many good and useful tips for older drivers and their families.
They stated that it’s important to help older drivers stay safe behind the wheel for as long as possible. Adult children can help aging parent’s regularly maintain their vehicles. And if it’s time for a new car, adult children can help identify choices with new technologies that can enhance safe driving, like reverse monitoring systems. Older drivers can brush up on their driving skills with AARP Driver Safety’s course, which is specifically designed to help people 50 and older refresh their driving skills. Family members should observe an older loved one’s driving by taking a ride as passenger and keeping an eye out for warning signs. It’s important to look for changes in driving abilities. These signs include: – Frequent “close calls” or near-crashes. ?- Unexplained dents or scrapes on vehicles, fences, mailboxes, garage doors, etc. ?- Getting lost, even in familiar locations. ?- Difficulty seeing or following traffic signals, road signs and pavement markings. ?- Slower responses to unexpected situations, trouble moving the driving foot from the gas to the brake, and confusing the two pedals. ?- Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections or on highway entrance and exit ramps. ?- Experiencing road rage or inspiring it in other drivers. ?- Easily becoming distracted while driving. ?- Difficulty turning around to check the rear view while backing up or changing lanes. – Receiving multiple tickets or warnings from law enforcement officers. ?Third, if you notice a pattern of warning signs and an increase in frequency, then it’s time to initiate a conversation. “It’s important that the right person initiate the conversation,” says Jodi Olshevski, a gerontologist and assistant vice president at The Hartford. “Research indicates that 50 ppercent of married drivers prefer to hear about driving concerns from their spouses first, then doctors and finally adult children. Whowever initiates the conversation should have a sthrong rapport with the older driver. ” ?Avoid bringing up the topic of driving during family gatherings.
Instead, look for a quiet, private time when all parties involved will have privacy and minimal distractions. If the case is serious and they should not be behind the wheel then sit down with them and discuss it in a very loving way and try hard not to talk to them in a demeaning way. Remember, they have lived along time making their own decisions and have done pretty well on their own. They deserve to have your respect as they always have. Many times just sitting down with the elderly paren’t and discussing your concerns and worries and why you feel the way you do, will allow them to look at things in a different way. Remember, they loved and took care of you for a long time and they cared about how you felt and I’m sure they still do.
If you truly show your love and concern for them as you speak to them, showing them respect and dignity, they might surprise you and see things more your way. Young or old nobody likes to be told what they are going to do. Often, if your concerns are put to them as “What do you think about this mom”, or “Dad, don’t you think it would be better if we did this”, they would be more excepting of the suggestion and not be as defensive. If the situation is serious and they will not listen after all you have done, it might require a more drastic approach. I feel that it is very important to hold the relationship between our parent’s as most important.
Having said that, you may not agree with the following tactic, but it may very well solve the problem. If I knew that my mother was dangerous on the road and that her well being and the well being of many other innocent people were at risk, I might be so inclined to contact a police officer friend or just talk to one about your concerns. I might explain to the officer that I feel that my mother could be a danger on the road and would he be willing to keep an eye out for her and see what he thinks. This is more easily done in smaller towns and communities but if you have that luxury, it might be worth your wild. I’m not an advocate for telling you to be dishonest to your paren’t or sneaky, but we are talking about their well being here.
Sometimes the less you say can be the best, if you know what I mean. If the officer feels that she is unsafe in her ability to continue to drive then he can take the needed steps on his end. This will accomplish the goal of her safety and also help you save face in her eyes as well. I do feel that you must be prepared to take up the slack in the event they voluntarily retire the keys or if they are taken by other mearns. If they lose their ability to move around that they have enjoyed for many years, this is going to be a life-changing event. As their offspring, we’ll need to be sensitive to this and be willing to make arrangements for them or be willing to transport them ourselves.
Depending on the number of siblings we have and the availability of each, we can have a family meeting and work out who could be responsible for what week or what day or what church meeting or what ladies or men’s organization we would be able to drive them to. I would suggest that the paren’t not be in attendance at this meeting. I remember times when my own family meetings were taking place and my mother was sitting there. Every once in a while there would be a conflict amongst us siblings with who could or couldn’t do what and my mother would just get frustrated and speak up and say, “Just forget it, I don’t need it”, or something like that. These types of situations can really hurt the paren’t in so many ways. Most of all it makes them feel as though they are burdensome and can start them on a path of depression.
Depression is a whole other issue that we will deal with later, but it is very serious. We never want our loved ones feeling in anyway that they are a burden. I always tried my best to let my mother and father know how much I enjoyed being there for them. I’m not saying that every moment was a vacation, but for the most part, I did enjoy being there for them and seeing the gratitude in their eyes. The paren’t doesn’t need to be in the meeting anyway to solve logistical issues of who is going to transport and when or who is going to stay and what night. The paren’t doesn’t need to be in on who will be taking care of getting the medicines ready each week.
They just need to know that they don’t have to worry about it. The less they worry the better off they are. Bottom line is, work around them and make their lives easier. Business Affairs And The Elderly: There are many things to think about when it comes to taking care of business concerns. Taking charge of making sure the paren’t’s bills are taken care of is a huge worry off their minds. It’s important to know where all the legal documents are and just what there is to take care of. Make a list of all bills that need to be taken care of and the addresses to where the payments need to be sent. Check to see if there’s any balance on any of the accounts.
Find out if there is any extra bills that are not utility type bills such as, monthly donations or Christmas club dues, or maybe they are sponsoring an over seas child each month. Evaluate at this time, (with the paren’t) if the budget can continue to fund these things. In today’s world the task of taking care of the monthly bills is getting easier everyday, with the use of the internet. By going online, most bills can be paid on a monthly basis now with very little effort. This will most likely have to be set up for them being as though most elderly people are not internet savvy. I would also recommend if possible in your area, to have your paren’t’s utilities put on a budget with utility companies. This will allow them to make easier payments and free up some of their capitol for other uses.
Bills that are not reoccurring, like groceries, getting their hair cut or that weekly massage, will have to be taken care of the old fashion way, just do it for them. When it’s time to get groceries, go for them or have someone go, or if they feel they want to go, go with them. This is another example of allowing them to hold onto their dignity longer. Tell them, you love going to the store with them and ask them not to take that pleasure away from you. This gives them another example of your love for them and also allows them to get the help they need with getting the groceries. It may be a smart business move to put any large assets such as vehicles or the family home place and property into the names of all the children. It could probably be a smart move to talk to a lawyer that deals with estate planning who also offers Medicaid planning services in case you paren’t might need government assistance with in the next three years. Often, if a paren’t has to go to a rest home facility and they have much in the way of assets, they might find themselves in a bad financial spot, which could effect their forfeiting their property. Transferring assets may also put those that are receiving such property, eligible for being taxed on it. These are important things to think about and should be discussed with a qualified lawyer. Someone will have to agree to take on the position of power of attorney.
If there’s only one child involved the decision is easy, but if there are more it can become a little bit troublesome. If your paren’t has already decided which child this duty will fall to, do them a favor and respect those wishes. This is something that is probably going to be worrisome to them anyway. They will most likely worry that they may be hurting some ones feelings. Do all that you can do to let them know that you support what they have decided. It can be a lot of work being the person with power of attorney or the executor of the will. This person has to be willing to do the paper work and the research of assets if it is unknown. This person also bears the burden of making the final decision on most all the legal decisions to be made.
If you’re not the one chosen in the family to do this job, please be patient with the one that is and show them your support. Usually, it is customary that the person doing this job is compensated by at least $5000. 00 for taking it on. This should not be a source of contention between siblings because the job will require much work to do it right. My sister did it for our family and did it very well. She is the one that found the extra money that we (and our mother) didn’t know she had. She spent many hours on the job and did it graciously. She didn’t take a penny extra for it and that was an honorable thing to do if you’re so inclined to do so.
It is also recommended that once the power of attorney has been decided on, to also have detailed in a document that names a second person who will take a look at all the bank statements on a monthly basis and do an analysis of all the financial records yearly. This person can be another family member or a professional accountant. It’s also important to try to find extra money for a later time. Using financial tools such as reverse mortgage can improve the cash flow of the elderly. Checking for benefits that your parent’s might be eligible for such as a reduction in their heating bills or help with their prescription drugs can really make a difference. There are many avenues to get help out there but actually only about half the people who qualify for such help actually use it.
When making purchasing or financial decisions on behave of your paren’t, it is also wise to consult with other siblings if there are any. Don’t make the mistake of making an important, or even a not so important decision without consulting the family involved. This will only open your self up to problems down the road. Someone will always have a different way to have handled it and will tell you about it. When you are in charge of the bills and the worries that come with it, the last thing you want to hear from a sibling is that you didn’t do it the right way or that your decision wasn’t done fairly. Look ahead and prepare in advance. Even the closes families have issues over money. Don’t be so naive as to think that yours will not.
When you have done all that you can do to make the decision and the family can’t seem to come to an agreement on something, then it is your job as the executor or power of attorney to make that decision and everyone should support that decision, even if they don’t agree to it. The only other thing that you can do it to agree on (with the paren’t) another non bias person, sort of a mediator to make any decisions that are in dead lock. This way no family member can be upset with any other family member. All these issues need to be understood and worked out well in advance so that there is no questions or misgivings later. It wouldn’t even be a bad idea for all family members to sign an agreement stating that they understand the way that procedures will go forth and they will abide by them.
Of course, if the paren’t is still healthy and able to make clear decisions, they are the ones that should set for the procedures and how things will be handled and they will be the ones having everyone else do the signing of understanding. Assets: It’s important to make sure the family knows just what the assets are. I know before my mother passed away, she was very worried that there wouldn’t be enough money to take care of everything. We were concerned that we wouldn’t have enough money to pay off her bills and pay for her arrangements. This was something my mother should never have spent anytime worrying over, but she did. After her death, my sister was going through some of her documents and found that she actually had much more money than she herself was even aware of.
My father had investments in stocks and bonds that she didn’t even know about. My brother and sister and I ended up with much more inheritance than she ever knew. It saddened us all to think our mother worried so over this and didn’t have the peace of mind of knowing everything was going to be ok. If there had been some way that she could have known this before, if we would have just taken the time to find out before hand. Worry is hard on the elderly and knowing that she did so was upsetting. Find out what there is and what will be needed. Plan ahead for that time when you will need to know. Financial Help: Many Elderly are living on a very fixed income and can’t afford much in the way of extras.
They must budget their income very carefully and some struggle to the point that they give up many things they really need. If your paren’t is in a ssimilar situation and you or another family member aren’t in a position to help much, all is not lost. There are many programs available that could be of some help. Arrangements should be made early on for those times down the road where you paren’t will most likely need some sort of services to help them get by. These types of services will most likely be that of some type of in home care such as health care, or some other type of service. These types of services usually can run upwards of 19 dollars an hour. For many elderly, this can add up to draining their nest egg pretty quickly.
Plan far enough ahead that this situation will not come as a major shock to both their finances and there emotional well being. The local Social Services organization is a wonderful resource that should be tapped into. This organization has government funded grants and monies to help. If you contact them and explain your situation with them, very often they will be able to help in some way. Another fine organization is the Area on Aging services and the Community Action group that also can be of great help. They to have monies allocated from the government for helping the elderly. Local branches of the American Red Cross provide Americans with help paying electric and heating bills.
Often these particular organizations are given a certain budget that they have to last for a certain quarter or even on a yearly basis, therefore, it is important to contact them as soon as possible to be able to receive such funds. These two organizations would definitely be a good place to start when looking for some assistance. Many utility companies across the country offer support and assistance to Americans to help them pay their electric bills. Sometimes the utility companies will out source the administration of the program to the United Way. By contacting the local United Way office, you can see if they are aware of any assistance or support provided by any of the utility providers.
The Cancer Care Co-Payment Assistance Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance and cash grants to people who need assistance with paying hospital and medical bills that result from a cancer diagnosis. There are several programs that offer discounted and free prescription meducations. They include Dispensary of Hope, Together RX Access, NeedyMeds, and the Patient Advocate Foundation. The Meducations: I would first recommend that whowever is in charge of getting the meducations ready, get a weekly pill container to put them in. They even have these for the whole month if you want to do it that far in advance. This helps you organize the pills and keep track of them more efficiently.
If the paren’t is still seeing that they take the pills each day, these little containers also help them not to take their meds twice, thinking that they might not have. If the pills are gone, they know they have and if the pills are still in the container by evening, they know they forgot to take their meducations and can still do so. The responsibility of taking care of the paren’t’s meducations can be very nerve racking, at least for me it was. Even when using the pill containers it can still be a difficult task. I think there was only a few times that I didn’t make a mistake while getting them ready for the week. I recommend after all the pills are in the container, that you to take the extra time and go back and check each container for the correct dosage. It’s better to be safe than sorry as they say.
I remember when I was doing this job for my mother, it proved to be a very nerve racking job each week. It’s also very important that you stay up on refills so that you don’t get caught without a meducation during a weekend or a holiday when it might be difficult to get one. The pill containers seem to help with this as well, because you can see just when you’re getting low and when you need a refill. Do yourself and your paren’t a very valuable favor by doing some of your own research on the meducations that they are on. Don’t always trust the doctors, they see thousands of patients during the week and may not be taking the time to always look and see if something they are prescribing is going to conflict with something else that they are on.
This has happened more times than any doctor would like to admit. My own mother was on sixteen pills a day towards the end of her life and at one time wasn’t making a lot of sense with her words. At first, we thought she was just going down hill health wise and that maybe she was getting Alzheimer’s or something worse. She got to the point that she had to be put on Hospice care and was taken off most of the meducations and miraculously regained her clear thinking within just a few short days. This led to her being taken off Hospice care altogether. This was an eye opener to my family that many of the elderly are over medicated in today’s society. “Sometimes, less is more”, is really true.
Any quick search on the internet these days can tell you what any drug’s side effects are and in many cases you might even be able to find out what drugs shouldn’t be taken with certain other drugs. It’s just good to be educated on what is going on because no one is going to care as much for your loved one as you are. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you make a very clear typed page that shows all the meducations that your paren’t is on and how often they take each one. I would make several copies of this document for family members to have. It’s a great idea to place one of them on the refrigerator, so that if an ambulance is ever dispatched to the home, it is in plain site for them to take it with them when transporting.
This will alleviate much confusion on the way to the hospital and even after they arrive. Listed on this paper along with the meducations that they are taking, it is important to list any allergies or specific problems that you would want the ambulance crew to know about. The hospital will thank you as well, because they to will have to know this information once your paren’t arrives and is diagnosed. Many meducations can cause the patient to be less alert and therefore more prone to falls. Some of these meducations can be sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs. People that are taking multiple meducations are at greater risk of falling. Know the side effects of all the meducations that you are taking.
Most pharmacists these days include a brochure with the side effects for you to read when dispersing the meducations. Fall Prevention And The Home: The most common reason for injuries to the elderly are due to falls. Falls account for 70% of the cause of accidental deaths in America for elderly persons seventy-five years and older. More than 90% of hip fractures occur because of falls. One third of community-dwelling elderly and 60% of nursing home residents will fall each year. There are many reasons that an elderly person will take a fall and because of their age it can be a devastating experience and in some cases even result in death. I remember once staying ith my mother for the evening and she got up to go to the kitchen and the next thing I heard was a terrifying crashing sound. I jumped up and ran to the kitchen with fear in my heart and found my mother on the floor. It really scared me, but luckily she was not hurt to badly, except for a few scrapes here and there. As I helped her up I felt guilty for not jumping up as soon as I saw her going to the kitchen. The thought that I could have moved faster and gotten whatever it was that she was wanting and prevented her fall was all I could think of. Then I realized if I had not been there at all, she might have been confined to the floor for several hours.
Not that this eased my mind that much, but it did open my awareness to how quickly something like that can happen. I felt blessed that she had not gotten hurt any worse. There are many things to consider when making a home Elderly proof. Just like making a home child proof, there are things that need to be done for the elderly. One of the biggest issues that the elderly have is that they have a high risk of falling. You can alleviate some of this worry by making sure the following is taken care of. Is the home setup in a safe way for the family member? Are there things that can be done to the home to ensure that it’s a safe environment? It’s a good idea to include anti scald devices for showers and faucets that protect older skin.
The skin of an elderly person can sustain serious burns much easier than a youthful person. Take the time to set the water heater to the “low” setting or at 120 degrees. My mother was having trouble getting in and out of her bathtub and we were afraid that she might take a bad fall in doing so. We decided to tear out the old tub and install a walk in shower unit. This way she could just step into it and sit on her shower seat. We found out later that this was a very smart move because of the fact that several weeks later her sugar level dropped and she passed out and laid in the shower for over three and a half hours with the water still running on her.
If she would have still had her tub, she might have drowned. Many elderly over the age of 65 have a fall each year. Most of the time these falls occur right in their own home while doing the things they have done for years. Here are some quick things to think about that I have come across in trying to help prevent a loved one from a serious fall. * Make sure all rugs are secure. * Get rid of any throw rugs that are present. * Do away with any slippery surfaces that might be a hazard to walk on. * If the loved one is bound to a wheel chair or uses a walker, or any other walking aid, make sure the pathway is clear enough for them to pass through without being a fall hazard. It’s sometimes a good idea to install handrails on both sides of the steps for better support. Many have even installed handrails in hallways to help prevent falls. * Make sure appliance cords are out of the way. Especially telephone cords and electrical cords. * Arrange furniture so that you can easily move around it. * Make sure furniture is easy to get in and out of. In some cases, purchasing a lift chair might be required. I would recommend shopping around when looking for these because there can be pretty big differences in price and quality. * Remove caster wheels from furniture. * Use a television remote control and a cordless phone. Avoid using floor polish or wax in order to reduce slick surfaces. * Keep commonly used items within easy reach. * A higher toilet seat can be very helpful to the paren’t as well. These help by allowing the paren’t to sit up higher and makes it much easier to get up from. * Put in a bedside light with a switch that is easy to turn on and off or a by a touch lamp. * Locate a telephone within the reach of the bed. * Adjust the height of the bed to make it easy to get in and out of. * Have a firm chair, with arms, to sit and dress in. * Install night lights where walking will be required. * Keep things off the floor that would create a hazard for walking at night to the bathroom. As mentioned before, a tub seat is a very safe way for the paren’t to take a shower. These can be picked up in pharmacies or medical supply stores. * Add a nonskid mat to the bathtub. * Mounting a liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub wall will help prevent falls from trying to pick up fallen bars of soap. * Install a portable, hand-held showerhead. Physical Aactivity is very important: Up to 75% of elderly folks are not getting enough exercise in their lives. Regular exercise has so many health benefits in older adults when it comes to blood pressure, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, lipid profile, and neurocognitive function. Improvements in cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine, and psychologic health are well documented.
Regular exercise has proven to help improve the quality of sleep, cognitive function and even helps with depression and short term memory. Probably the biggest effect that exercise has on the elderly is they gain much in the way of m