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Elder Care Best Practices for Aging-in-Place: Featured on

Nov 7, 2017 by Toni Reinhart

Episode 1: "Aging in Place: Providing Comfort and Care for Seniors Living at Home"

Comfort Keepers recently appeared on the popular home design and renovation show Designing Spaces. Designing Spaces, which is now its 10th season and is shown nationally, typically features home remodeling projects, decorating and design ideas, and do-it-yourself tutorials. The latest episode focused on the details of aging-in-place, discussing the home adjustments seniors can take to make their homes safer, and the products they can buy to give them more peace-of-mind and security.


Episode 1 Recap: Caregivers, Senior-Friendly Tablets, ADT Health Alerts

In this episode, Designing Spaces introduced us to Marianne and John Nicholas of Tequesta, Florida. Until recently, both were very active adults: Marianne frequently went out shopping and swimming, and John spent a lot of time on the golf course. But one day at the pool, Marianne slipped and fell, and struck her right temple on the concrete pool deck. She was quickly brought to the hospital, where doctors rushed to stabilize her condition. She survived the incident -- which, one doctor told her, was nothing less than a "miracle." When she finally made it back home, she and John had to adjust to a slower, different lifestyle. John took care of Marianne, and their daughter Maureen started coming every week to take care of them both.

So far, this arrangement has been working, but it has its drawbacks. Neither Maureen nor John begrudge the work, but caregiving can easily turn into a full-time job. Maureen already has a full-time job of her own, and when her work takes her away from her parents, she often feels guilty. John, for his part, worries that Marianne will take another fall just when he steps around to run an errand or water the flowers. He hasn't gone to the golf course since Marianne's fall. The constant vigilance is wearing on everyone, and all three have been looking for ways to regain some of their lost mobility and independence.

Recently, John and Maureen reached out for help, and Designing Spaces picked up their story. The Nicholases soon received responses from various organizations offering to help them age in place -- and one of these was Comfort Keepers.


Elder care by delegating: getting a personal assistant

Comfort Keepers met with John and Marianne to discuss getting a third-party caregiver, someone to come and take care of daily household tasks, errands, and anything else that they might need. Comfort Keepers also took a walk-through of the house with John, evaluating each room and "senior-proofing" them against falls, and pointing out ways to make the house more accessible.

These changes have really helped John and Maureen relax. The introduction of someone else into household management was just the thing they needed. After matching up with a promising caregiver, John had enough free time -- and felt confident enough -- to finally go to the golf course. Maureen is glad that she no longer has to feel selfish when she takes some time off for herself.


Senior-friendly tech: the grandPad tablet and Tracfone ZTE

Comfort Keepers also provided John and Maureen with a grandPad(r): a tablet that looks similar to an iPad but is designed specifically for seniors. The grandPad has a bright screen with large, colorful icons and easy-to-read text, and has limited options to keep confusion to a minimum. With the grandPad, seniors can call friends and family, play games, take photos, send emails, and more.

Maureen is glad for the grandPad, and for a senior-friendly easy-access phone introduced by Tracfone. One aspect of caregiving Maureen finds most frustrating is how often her parents fail to answer her calls. "I call them five or six times a day," she told Designing Spaces. "I'll call the home phone -- no answer. I'll call the cell phone -- no answer." More often than not, her parents don't answer because they can't find the phone or don't know how to use it. Tracfone's ZTE line of cellphones has bigger screens and larger icons, making it easier for seniors to use.


Preparing for falls: the ADT Health Medical Alert Safety System

ADT Health also came to John and Maureen's assistance with their Medical Alert Safety System. The System includes a speaker set, a help button, and a GPS locator. The button is designed to be worn: it is small, light, and hangs from an adjustable lanyard. Marianne wears hers around her neck.

If she needs emergency help, she can simply press the button, and emergency services from ADT can locate her, begin talking with her over the speaker, and send emergency responders to her house.

If she falls and cannot press the button, the signal will still be sent. The button has a special sensor inside it that detects when there's a fall and alerts ADT. The GPS locator is another device that Maureen can wear on her waist or keep in a purse. If she's out and about, ADT (and John) can always know where she's at.

Watch the full episode at DesigningSpaces.tv.

Comfort Keepers’ goal is to allow seniors and disabled individuals to live as independently and possible, knowing that they are receiving the best care possible. If we can help you or your family members age-in-place gracefully, please reach out to usComfort Keepers Herndon is a full-service, in-home care provider for the elderly -- helping to keep your loved ones at home longer for better quality of life.

We’re here to help 24/7! Give us a call at (703) 424-9519, or stop by at 459 Herndon Pkwy #5, Herndon, VA 20170 

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