Gifts for Caregivers

caregiving1 150x150 Gifts for CaregiversWith the holidays quickly approaching, I have been asked by clients and family members alike what the best gifts for caregivers are this season.  After some reflection about all the things caregivers do for the people they are taking care of, I made a few adjustments to my answer.  There is no amount of money that will ever fully recognize the amount of stress, love, and care that any family or professional caregiver goes through each and every day.  However, here are a few ideas that may help the caregivers in your life feel recognized, appreciated and pampered.

Private Caregivers

I think of these caregivers as the folks who work for in-home care, home health, and hospice companies.  They may also be private caregivers who work for themselves or through a caregiver referral agency.  If they work for a private company, do check on company policies for gift-giving.

  • Massage, Manicure, and/or Pedicure gift certificates
  • Gift certificate to a nice restaurant
  • Movie tickets
  • Anything to help facilitate relaxation and pampering

Family Caregivers

Did you know that 4 in 10 U.S. adults cares for a sick or elderly loved one?  That’s a whole lot of care being provided without any paycheck at all.  Family caregivers often feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and pulled in many different directions by work and family obligations.

  • Offer to go shopping
  • Cook a meal
  • Clean the house
  • Lunch or dinner delivery
  • Let them know how much you appreciate everything they are doing!
  • Respite- can you help them have a day/night off?

Facility Caregivers

Facility caregivers are anyone who works in a nursing facility, long term care facility, assisted living, memory care, retirement community, adult care home or any other residential setting for seniors.  These caregivers are definitely underpaid for the amazing work they do.  Often, the companies they work for also have very strict gift-giving policies in place that can make it difficult to express gratitude.  As with private caregivers, check the company policies on gift-giving first.

  • Letter of recognition- This is one of the most personal gifts I can think of for a facility caregiver.  A letter touting their amazing skills with your loved one, the care and compassion they bring to work everyday, or they way that they bring a smile to the resident’s faces that they care for will go a long ways in showing your appreciation.  This letter could be given to an administrator as well to be put in the caregiver’s employee file.
  • Donation to the facility or organization the caregiver works for- Many care facilities will have an “employee bonus” fund that is split amongst the employees or direct care staff.
  • Donate on behalf of the caregiver- If there is no bonus fund to contribute to and/or the gift-giving policies are tight, donate to a non-profit or cause like the Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s Association, or Senior Wish Foundation in your area.  I found this great site that rates and links to charities if you need ideas.
  • Food, Coffee, Teas for the breakroom- and make it the good stuff.

Gifts for Caregivers: Not just for the Holidays!

Don’t just say thank you at the holidays, say it year round!  Let the caregivers in your life know how much they are appreciated.  A smile, pat on the back, a listening ear, and a willingness to help out are always welcome.  Don’t forget each November is National Caregivers Month, another special time to recognize the caregivers in your life.

Have any gift ideas we missed?  Add your thoughts in the comments below!


Last Minute Christmas Card Deals

Christmas Card Deals From Tiny Prints

Calling all last minute shoppers who haven’t ordered your holiday cards yet! Tiny Prints has your back.

First, their sitewide sale of up to 30% off ends Tuesday, 12/16 at midnight PT. Second, if you 1 Last Minute Christmas Card Dealsorder before midnight PT on 12/17, you can save $10 on their super rush shipping. And yes, you can stack those codes!

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and choose from their selection of holiday cards. Personalize the cards with your pictures and text.

2. Use the code 30SWDEAL to save 25% on all orders and 30% on orders of $99+.

3. Stack the code SRSAVE10 if your order is more than $100 and you’ll save $10 on their super rush shipping. You’ll get the cards within two business days (if you are in the lower 48 states).

Celebrate the holidays with customized Christmas cards from Tiny Prints!

This post is a really great deal we’re passing along to our community members, and it may contain affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we would absolutely recommend to friends and family.

Top 10 Inspirational Photos From Last Week

We searched the web high and low to come up with the top 10 inspirational photos from the web last week.  Origins are unknown, but we thought sharing these would put a smile on your face and bring inspiration to your day!

We routinely post inspiring images and thoughts-of-the-day on our Facebook page, along with articles that are pertinent to the lives of boomers and seniors everywhere.  Be sure and join our robust community on Facebook so we can share with one another on a personal level.  If you’re on twitter, you can follow us there too at @SeniorList.  Enjoy!

Top 10 Inspirational Photos

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If you have words of wisdom, or sources of inspiration to share with The Senior List community we invite you to do so in the comments section below.  We love hearing from you!

Exciting New Senior Care Companies Emerge

seniorcaretechnology 150x150 Exciting New Senior Care Companies EmergeWe live in a very exciting time for senior care.  The combination of a quickly aging population, robust purchasing power, innovative technology and venture capitalists wanting in on the action is a recipe for some incredibly useful tools for older adults and caregivers alike.  A plethora of emerging companies have been welcomed by Aging2.0, a program designed to nurture and accelerate a select group of startups, and have our senses tingling with anticipation as well.  These companies have all been selected for the highly competitive Aging2.0 Academy where they will receive support, mentorship, and introductions to investors and customers to help them accomplish their goals.  Some of these companies are up and running, others are still in beta.  The future of senior care is here and we will be watching these emerging companies very closely.  Here are some of our favorites.

Caregiving/ Caremanagement

Care Monster is a caregiving app that supports family communication and encourages engagement when it comes to the care of a loved one.

CareMerge is a care coordination platform that forges meaningful connections between providers, payers, families and seniors to improve communication in today’s complex healthcare environment.

GeriJoy provides 24/7 companionship, supervision, and care management support through senior care avatars; improving quality of care, increasing safety, and lowering cost.

Roobrik is an online decision tool that helps family caregivers make difficult health and care choices with clarity and confidence.

Fall Detection/ Prevention

Active Protective produces smart garments that reduce hip fractures in the elderly by deploying micro-airbags to protect the hip in the event of a fall.

WalkJoy is a wearable device which reduces falls for patients with peripheral neuropathy by restoring the sensory feedback loop. The WalkingHealth software provides objective gait analysis, fall risk prediction and functional outcome data to therapists.

Tablets and Phones

Breezie is a simplified, personalized tablet interface designed for seniors and those less familiar with technology.

Gociety creates software that simplifies the smart phones interface for older adults. Their products, GoLivePhone® and GoLiveAssist®, are easily accessible and highly affordable.

Senior Care Planning

Everplans is the first comprehensive digital planning platform that allows families to create, store and share essential end-of-life wishes and emergency plans.

Vynca is a digital health company that provides cloud-based software for Advance Care Planning.

Communication Devices

Smartstones is the world’s first wearable, sensorial communication device, which connects family members and friends through simple gesture-based messages. *As a mom and a family caregiver, I can’t wait for this one to go to market.*

We will be following these companies and will continue to provide updates on the products and services they offer.  In the meantime, if you have experience with any of these services or products, please let us know in the comments below.

For a complete list of companies selected for the Aging2.0 Academy, visit the Aging2.0 website.

Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014

Our first holiday shopping guide for seniors includes a wide range of gift ideas for the special people in your life.  Whether it’s for a family member or a friend, we hope our holiday shopping guide will inspire and help you find the perfect gift!

For the Techy

AGreen600x500px large Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Bamboosa Lap Log- This hands-free tablet stand is a great gift idea for the senior who uses a tablet.  Made in the USA, the Lap Log is stylish, comfortable, and adjustable.  We wrote a review about it earlier this year. Cost:  Starts at $30

For the Vision Impaired

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Pebble-HD and Pebble Mini- Portable Electronic Magnifier- A hand held magnifier that is easy to slip into a purse, pocket, or around the neck.  Adjustable magnification, high resolution LCD display, adjustable brightness, color selector for various vision conditions. Cost: $295 for mini, $599 for 4.3″.


 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Big Address Book For Seniors- Large print 8×10 address book, large font and easy to write in spaces.  Plenty of room for large addresses, phone numbers and emails. Paperback, Cost: New $9.95, Used available.


For the Grandparent

static.squarespace Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Grandbox- Monthly care package for an older loved one.  Each box is tailored to the receiver and includes personal hand-selected details.  Grandbox customers answer questions about their loved one and can include photos and letters to be included in the boxes as well. Cost: Boxes start at $33 month-to-month, $31.50 every three months, $30 every six months. Free shipping in the USA.

For the Nostalgic

autofill store hero final 120414 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014I think Photo Albums and Photo Books are a fantastic idea for gifts for seniors.  Photo Albums can be filled with photos, mementos, old post cards,   Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014and hand-written notes.  There are a plethora of photo book publishers online that allow you to build your own personal photo book, make one or several for the whole family.  In the past, we have used Costco, Snapfish, and Shutterfly for our own family memories. Cost: varies depending on number of pages and service used.

For the “Always Cold”

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Brookstone Towel Warmer- Spacious fast-warming luxury towel warmer makes bath and shower time more pleasurable and less of a chore.  I think this is a great idea for seniors who may be bathing-adverse with colder temperatures in the bathroom.  Works for bath towels, robes, blankets, and could even be used for gloves, hats and socks!  Cost: $99 on Amazon, free shipping, same price on Brookstone, but shipping is additional.

Warming Blanket Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014- I found a huge variety of these on Amazon, who wouldn’t love a warm snuggly blanket to curl up with! Cost: $20-$150

For the Grandparent Who Has Everything

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Parking Sign- What can I say, this thing is awesome.  Any grandfather (grandmother available too) will be proud to hang this in front of the house, driveway, or in the garage. Cost: $12 on Amazon ($6.27 for Prime)

Cafepress- customizable shirts, hats, mugs and home decor.  Another way to personalize a gift for a loved one without much cost involved.  Cost: depends on items, customizable and stock items available.

For the Book Reader with a Sense of Humor

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014

$9.95 on Amazon, $7.96 Prime

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$17.00 on Amazon, $12.45 Prime

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014

$12.95 on Amazon, $11.00 Prime









For Those At Risk For Falls

 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014QMedic- I recently reviewed this alert system and was very impressed by it.  In addition to the standard alert system functions of a press button and base-station speaker, this little device also tracks activity patterns and can send alerts to family or caregivers about unusual events.  Cost: $30/month, no long term contracts.

SeniorList Display Ad 150x150 Gifts for Seniors: Holiday Guide 2014Bay Medical Alarm- Pendant style alert system, they offer short-term agreements, there is no equipment to buy, their staff is attentive, the pendant is waterproof, the in-home range is as good as it gets, it’s easy to install, and if that wasn’t enough they offer free monitoring for a second pendant purchase (for spouse or roommate).  Cost: $27.95/month, $24.95/for quarterly contract, or $21.95/month for yearly contract.

Bay Medical has a cellular option (cost is about $10 more/month than landline system) that does not require a landline phone jack.  In addition to the landline and cellular alert in-home systems, Bay Medical offers a great GPS Medical Alert and Tracking System starting at $39.95 per month.

For Someone on a Fixed Income

Helping out with the Monthly Bills- While not the most exciting gift, relieving a monthly expense for a loved one can be an appreciated gift that keeps on giving.  Paying for a newspaper subscription, utility bill or other monthly reoccurring expense will not only alleviate some of the stress of living on a fixed budget, but will also allow a loved one to free up some cash for other uses.

If you have gift ideas for seniors that you would like to contribute, feel free to comment below!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only consider affiliate relationships on products that we recommend to friends and family.

Glen Campbell’s Last Song

Glen Campbell Glen Campbells Last SongLegendary country singer Glen Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Diagnosed back in 2011, Glen Campbell set out with Kenny Rogers to plan one final international “Good Bye” tour which was stopped short in late 2012 because of complications.  It would have been the last leg of his international swing… But alas it was time to rest, and to fight his last battle on the home front.

Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t discriminatory.  It hits country stars, rock-n-roll stars, fathers and sons… sisters and mothers.  It’s the most common type of Dementia, affecting a staggering 5 million Americans today.  From  “An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2014. This includes an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.”  Dementia recently reared its ugly head again recently with revelations that Robin Williams may have been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.

The song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was written especially for Glen Campbell’s  recently released documentary called “I’ll Be Me” by PCH Films.  The lyrics are eerily poignant, and this piece will forever be known as Glen Campbell’s last song.

I’m still here, but yet I’m gone
I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you ’til the end

You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you

I’m never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You’re never gonna see it in my eyes
It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry

I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains

I’m not gonna miss you
I’m not gonna miss you

Lewy Body Dementia: What you need to know

TheAmazingBrain 150x150 Lewy Body Dementia: What you need to knowLewy Body Dementia has been in the spotlight recently with the news that Robin Williams had this common disease.  Lewy Body Dementia or LBD, affects more than 1.4 million people in the US and is one of the most common forms of dementia.  LBD is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia

LBD can be difficult to diagnose early and many practitioners are still unfamiliar with the disease.  This leads to a large number of under-diagnosis and mismanagement of medications and treatments that may be prescribed for Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s instead.  In the early stages, memory impairment may not be that noticeable and can easily be masked. Memory issues can easily change from day to day also making it hard for practitioners to establish a diagnosis.  People with LBD can have trouble sleeping and will often experience hallucinations.

The diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia is often confirmed after death.  LBD is indicated by protien deposits on the nerve cells of the brain.  An excellent resource for caregivers is the Lewey Body Demenita Association.  They offer a Lewy Body Dementia symptom checklist for patients, caregivers, and physicians and it is an excellent tool to start with if you or a loved one has concerns about the disease.

Is there a cure?

The short answer is “No”. But, the symptoms of LBD are treatable.  There are medications to treat the symptoms of the cognitive, behavioral, and movement problems that can accompany LBD.  Early diagnosis is the key because people with LBD can react differently to certain medications that are prescribed for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.   These medications can cause severe reactions in people with LBD and can sometimes be fatal.  Early diagnosis can also allow for other changes and modifications that can improve the quality of life for people with LBD.  Changes in diet, sleep habits, routine, and medications may allow for someone with LBD and their caregivers to effectively manage the symptoms and changes that take place with LBD.

If you or a loved one has Lewy Body Disease, you are not alone.  Find a local support group or join a virtual LBD support network to help you and your loved one.

Act Your Shoe Size Not Your Age

So we’ve all heard the analogy “act your age… not your shoe size” right?  Well this trio stands that analogy on it’s head with their rendition of Billy Jean by Michael Jackson.  Who says you can’t have fun once in a while eh?  This troupe of Seal Beach dancing seniors brings down the house.  Enjoy!

Speaking of dancing, did you know dancing is a great form of exercise whether you’re in your 20’s or in your 80’s?  WebMD says that dancing can be one avenue to better health.  That’s right, dancing can help you burn excess calories, work your muscles, strengthen your core and make you feel great!  See you out on the town.

Assisted Living Documentary

50 Inspiritational Motivational Thoughts quotes and memes 34 300x300 Assisted Living DocumentaryEver wondered what it’s like living in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF)?  Dick Weinman, professor Emeritus at Oregon State University pulls back the curtain in a new assisted living documentary entitled “The Thin Edge of Dignity”.  Dick say’s “It takes a village to accompany the elders on the final journey of life.  But in today’s fragmented and mobile society, families no longer live together in a single household.  Once it took a village… Today it takes an ALF.”  This no-holds-barred exposé is an emotional roller coaster, and gives us a view that few outsiders get to see.

Boomers, I sense this is a call for a mobilization.  One of Dick’s goals is for a “cultural shift in long term care” and after watching this assisted living documentary you may want to join the brigade.

“An independent man of 80 years, disabled in a traffic accident, who strives to maintain his independence enclosed in the world of dependency of an Assisted Living Facility” – Dick Weinman

The Thin Edge Of Dignity – By Richard Weinman

Mr. Weinman, was an incredibly active broadcaster until injured in a tragic 2005 auto accident.  Dead at the scene, he was resuscitated and “put back together”.  He currently writes a column for AARP Oregon aptly entitled The Thin Edge of Dignity.  Dick’s column is a bi-monthly column featuring “an independent man of 80 years, disabled in a traffic accident, who strives to maintain his independence enclosed in the world of dependency of an Assisted Living Facility”.

Let us know what you think of Richard (Dick) Weinman’s Assisted Living Documentary in the comments below.

Choosing the Right Hospice

11035798 04a3e21f0c q 150x150 Choosing the Right HospiceThe decision to start hospice and trying to choose the right hospice is not an easy task. For many, there is an an overwhelming sense of sadness when this decision is made. However, most people soon realize what a tremendous help hospice can be to a patient and family members.

The importance of choosing a suitable hospice is critical for you and your family.  Many physicians will make recommendations for hospices and most hospitals and insurances groups operate their own divisions of hospice.  You have the right to choose any hospice you want, and your doctor must respect that right.

Commonly Asked Questions About Hospice:

  • What is hospice?
  • Are all hospices the same?
  • How do I decide what is right for me?
  • Who pays for hospice?

Hospice is a compassionate service for those with a life-limiting disease or illness.  The focus of hospice is comforting, not curing, the patient through pain management, medical care, and emotional and spiritual support based on the patient’s wishes and needs.  The patient’s loved ones will also receive support from hospice services.

If you are looking for the best hospice for you, ask the nurses and doctors within your care team and at the potential hospices you are reviewing what services would be provided for your specific needs. You need to make sure that you are asking these questions so that your treatment and the support you and loved ones will need is a good fit for you.  The care that you receive should be tailored to you and your needs.  If an individual hospice cannot provide this, then it is not the right choice for you.

Talking to local aging services, hospital staff, and charities can also assist you with your search to find the right hospice.  No one should force you into a decision; they should only offer advice.

In the midst of your research, contact several different hospices, such as Notre Dame Hospice. if you are in the Louisiana area.  They can give expert advice and answer the questions you may have about hospice care for you.

The Benefits of Hospice Care

For many, there are a plethora of benefits to choosing to undergo hospice care.  One of the main benefits is that the patient receives a robust care package. This is something that other care settings cannot always deliver.  In addition, there are more specialists  to deal with the terminal diagnosis of the patient.  The caregivers who work for the hospice company are specially trained to deal with the illnesses of the patients in their care.  They are able to tackle issues of grief and help patients and families work through these, as well as educate everyone involved about the death and dying process.

Some patients and families will seek out hospices because they can obtain additional care.  This means regardless of holidays, weekends and night shifts; they can still get the care that they deserve and need.  Hospices offer people dignity and tender loving care when it is needed most.   Having constant access to expert care and hospice facilities provides comfort to families and individuals who need additional support.

Hospices can also lessen the financial burden to those who are struggling to pay for medical care.  Insurance and Medicare usually pay for medical care, medication, and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis and treatment.  Be aware, there are things that Medicare won’t  pay for once a patient is on hospice.

  • Treatment to cure a terminal illness
  • Prescription medication to cure a terminal illness
  • Room and board- Medicare will pay for short term inpatient or respite stays in a facility if the hospice team determines that it is necessary
  • Emergency Room, Inpatient Facility Care, or transportation by an ambulance

Remember, when hospice care is chosen, it means that the patient no longer wants to treat their terminal diagnosis and the focus becomes “comfort care”.  Any hospice patient has the right to stop hospice care at any time.