Category Archives: Caring for Elderly Parents

Wellness & Lifestyle Open Day

How good is it when you can find all the information and services you need in one location!

From local health, fitness, lifestyle and medical specialists to massages, hearing and eyesight checks, health assessments and more. And there’s a sausage sizzle, lucky door prize and more!

Come and join us at Cleveland Manor Retirement Village on Saturday 18 October, 10am – 2pm, for a Wellness & Lifestyle Open Day.

Cleveland Manor - Wellness & Lifestyle Open Day 2014-10-18


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New workshops in July

Home Care Select, Shadforth Financial Group, and HopgoodGanim invite you to join us at our first ever co-hosted seminar on private home care, including planning issues.

The seminar will feature a practical approach to private home care, utilising a carefully designed case study to illustrate how these services can impact on a typical family, and what you can do to ensure the best outcome for yourself and your loved ones.

Our expert presenters will cover three key aspects surrounding private home care, including:

  • The different services available to individuals in need of home care, including comparisons to nursing home care and the expenses involved.
  • The means by which individuals can prepare themselves financially for these expenses, both initially and in the long-term.
  • The legal considerations facing individuals requiring home care, including estate planning, powers of attorney and advanced health directives.

This seminar should not be missed by those considering private home care and estate planning options for themselves or for their loved ones, both now and in the future.

Please select one date and time from the list below that suits you best and rsvp to book your seat.

Wednesday 3 July 2013
Wednesday 10 July 2013

10.00am – 11.00am
5.00pm – 6.00pm
Light refreshments will be served after each session.

3 July 2013
Shadforth Financial Group
Level 13, 240 Queen Street
Brisbane QLD

10 July 2013
Level 8, Waterfront Place,
1 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD

By Wednesday 26 June to:
Shadforth Financial Group sessions
Natalie Cook at
or 07 3031 1610

By 3 July to:
HopgoodGanim sessions
Leon Miller at
or 07 3024 0104

Please feel free to share this invitation with family, friends and colleagues
who may be considering private home care.


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4 Tips to Help You Keep Your Elderly Parents Happy & Healthy

When caring for your elderly parents, you have a lot to keep track of and it can get overwhelming at times. Here are four tips to help you keep your parents happy & healthy:

Eating Well – It is extremely important that you make sure that elderly relatives are fulfilling all of their nutritional requirements on a daily basis. As they can be extremely vulnerable and prone to illness, a healthy diet is paramount in ensuring that they continue to be as healthy and happy as possible. Firstly, any diet should be low in fat and salt. Both dietary substances can slow down recovery from any illness if consumed in large amounts. Salt and fat are both absorbed into the blood and make circulation sluggish. Too much fat can also block the arteries. Instead, you should focus on making sure that the individual gets plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to provide essential vitamins and minerals for tissue regeneration as well as plenty of fibre to ensure that bowel action is regular.

Create Routines – You should do all you can to make sure that your elderly relative is happy and comfortable in his or her surroundings. You are in control of his or her everyday life, but establishing a routine can help to make it look like that is not the case. This also alleviates panic and stress.

Health Checks – You should encourage the senior in your care to get regular health checks to make sure that everything is functioning correctly. Any changes in health should be noted and checked out on at least a six weekly basis. This regularity will soon form part of a routine, which would afford the senior in question a level of comfort, but it would also lead to any illnesses and diseases being diagnosed very quickly. This can significantly improve the long-term health of any individual and alert you to anything that may need to be observed in the future.

Exercise – A senior may not be physically able to exercise on a daily basis, but getting twenty minutes of gentle exercise two or three times a week will make them feel infinitely better than if they were to get no exercise at all. Shopping can be considered exercise if he or she is walking around the supermarket. Other similar activities that get the individual out of the house, such as walking a dog or gardening, are also exercise and can improve health in the long term. These activities will all stretch out joints and alleviate stiffness and immobility. It will also improve general health because it gets the juices flowing!


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Ten Changes You Can Make to Your Home That Will Help Seniors Live Independently

With a few simple changes to your home, it is possible for seniors and the disabled to live in their own home.  Here are some of our favourite home improvements ideas to help you live independently at home.

  1. Motion-sensor faucets. These are especially handy where hands are full or people find it physically difficult to turn a tap on. They also deliver water at a preset temperature which will reduce the risk of getting scalded.
  2. A single-lever faucet control, for ease in adjusting water flow and temperature with one hand. This can help you reduce wasted hot water, can be visually marked so family members know where to position it for safe hot water temperatures, and is easy to use after arthritis has started to affect your fingers and hands.
  3. A central vacuum system. It’s parts are not as heavy to push as most freestanding vacuum cleaners.
  4. A garbage disposal activated by a pressure-button switch that’s inches away from the faucet so it’s accessible without your having to bend over to open a cabinet or walking several steps to flip a switch.
  5. Well-planned task and reading lighting that doesn’t create shadows to make reading or handicraft easy to see.
  6. Lots of electrical outlets so everything plugs in nearby so you avoid the confusion or hazards of extension cords, powerstrips or overloaded circuits.
  7. Magnetic drawer and cabinet locks that release and latch via a single remote-control button that controls an entire room or outdoor area. People with arthritis will especially love this system, compared to the common plastic door locks that require considerable dexterity to release.
  8. Wall-mounted intercoms in every room and outdoor living area including the garage for talking to anyone on your property without having to physically walk over to them.
  9. A light switch or knee-level motion sensor at the top and bottom of every stairway that controls adequate lighting from above. The light from above is more important for people with vision problems than light from fixtures that are down at the stair level.
  10. A bathroom near the family entrance for easy access. It’ll prevent rushing through the house and risking a fall when nature calls.



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Nursing Care at Home

Everyday the media carries a story about hospitals and healthcare and most often those stories are negative stories. They are stories about long waiting lists for surgery, bed closures and the perineal problem – not enough staff, in particular nursing staff. Increasingly, as hospitals struggle to find the dollars and staffing required to provide responsive and sustainable health care, more and more patients will be discharged from hospital and receive nursing care at home.

Hospital discharge planners and case mix managers have the responsibility, in collaboration with the patient and/or their family, of referring patients to in home care providers who provide nursing care at home. Some of the nursing care that can be provided at home includes : intravenous (IV) therapy for patients who require intensive antibiotic therapy or palliative care medications; wound care and management; continence assessment and recommendations for effective ways to manage incontinence; case management of complex care needs; medication administration e.g giving insulin; palliative care; stoma and IDC care; management of PICC lines and infusion delivery pumps. These are some of the common nursing care needs that can be provided at home by an in-home care provider.

When choosing an at home nursing care provider, look for a company that has a 24 hour on call service, as often, with just a little reassurance, or an earlier than scheduled visit, readmission to hospital can be avoided. Also look for a provider that has a collaborative network with other service providers as no one provider can be “all things to all people” and providers of quality in home and at home care and nursing services will provide client focused services, where what is best for the client is sought and provided.

Nursing care at home is ideal for clients whose health is OK, who have good family or friend supports and who want to recover at home rather than in hospital.


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Home Health Care – A Daughter’s Perspective

Mum was in her early fifties and had been a picture of health right up to the day we found out she had cancer. Having been overseas for 6 months I could pick the changes in her which Dad and my sisters hadnâ??t noticed. Putting my backpack in the boot of the car, I took her straight to the doctor on the way back from the international airport.

The coming weeks were filled with appointments, surgery, chemotherapy and nothing but bad news. Sadly she missed her eldest daughterâ??s wedding; the bridal party visiting her in the oncology ward of the Royal Brisbane Hospital between the church and the reception.

Mum had an aggressive terminal cancer. I receive a phone call from Mum in the hospital; she said she could go home. This came as a surprise as I knew how sick she was. When I got to the hospital she said she was going to discharge herself, wanted me to take her home and look after her and promise her I would never take her back to hospital again. She knew then she was dying and she wanted to do that at home. I took her home and cared for her for the next 4 months.

Mum chose to have home health care; the last place she wanted to be was in hospital. I remember this time like it was yesterday, not over 20 years ago. Having trained as a nurse I was well equipped with skills to provide the care, talk with the GP and organise the necessary equipment with the pharmacy. Mum had lost her hair, lost her appetite, lost too much weight and lost her will to live. But she was still my Mum. I needed her and wanted her to still help me with all my stress as I was completing a degree full time at university. I worked night duty in intensive care to earn money and cared for Mum between lectures during the day and evening.

As Mumâ??s health deteriorated the GP become more involved in her care, Mum had to have a drip for fluid to keep her comfortable, a catheter and a morphine infusion into her stomach. I never realised it was possible to have home health care to this level, but really there was nothing Mum needed that couldnâ??t be done at home. She was no longer able to do anything for herself. I remember when washing her she said â??this is terrible, you shouldnâ??t have to do thisâ? but it was easy, she deserved the best care and it was a privilege to be able to do this for her. It gave me more special time with her than anyone else, this was my reward. I could lie on the bed with her, hold her hand and just talk, this was our special time.

Once I knew Mum was palliative I tried to explain to the family what was happening and that Mum was dying. Her sister came over from Perth and other family and friends came to visit. I was able to say good-bye and Mum was still giving me plenty of advice about what I would need to do for Dad and my sisters even in her last days. She wanted to know that we would all be okay. At this point she was very accepting of her life and that she would die soon. Her strength gave us the strength we needed at this time.

The family were there the day she died. We offered our love and support til her last breath in the familiar surroundings and comfort of her own home. We celebrated her life and having provided home health care to Mum as I promised her, which comforted me at this time. My university results were in the same newspaper as Mumâ??s funeral notice and just as she predicted they were all high distinctions and distinctions but I hardly even remember the subjects.

Mum had her wish to die at home and I made that possible with the support of the GP, the pharmacist, family and friends. I would do it all again tomorrow. It changed the way I cared for people and their families. She would be proud of the work I have continued to do in supporting and caring for people and families in their own homes granting them their own wishes.


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Care for the aged

If your parents are over 70 years of age it usually means theyâ??ve had many fulfilling years and life experiences but it will also mean they

  • are no longer able to do the everyday things they used to do and everything takes longer
  • have to start to rely and depend on others such as yourself, family, friends and neighbours for assistance
  • are more likely to be living alone and more isolated
  • experience more discomfort and failing health
  • are more susceptible to viruses and weather
  • and there will be new safety risks as they become a little more frail

The feelings and concerns you have for your parents are normal. It is also very normal to want your parents to have the help they need to ensure they are independent, comfortable and safe in their own home.

Initially there may be family who can provide the extra support and assistance and it is a great way of staying involved in each others lives. This is also a good way to ensure they are receiving some help, especially if they are not ready to have services from people they donâ??t know. There are providers though who can provide this level of support and introduce a consistent carer who your parents can look forward to coming. This is particularly important if you donâ??t live nearby or are not in a position to meet their changing needs.

Our lives though are very busy and before long you will find you are becoming overwhelmed, exhausted and not feeling like you have nearly enough time in the day to do all that needs to be done. You may even feel guilty that you have not spent enough time with your parents as they need more and more time. Not only is it okay to get help it is critical. Care for the aged person requires specialised skills, time and great care. With in home services your parents can be well looked after and you can continue to be the daughter or son.

Services in the home can start at any time you need them. It might just be a few hours a day or week but it will make a real difference to your parentsâ?? quality of life and yours as you continue to support them.

Care for the aged person is a privilege. I know you will want the very best of care for your loved one so donâ??t wait until it is too late to give them that extra care they need.


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Home care is choice of senior Australians

Home Care is becoming the preferred option for our senior parents and elderly with senior Australians and their families are turning away from care institutions and choosing to age in their own homes as nursing homes become more expensive and the death rate in aged care facilities increasing 63% in the last 5 years .

In the past, our culture saw us encourage our elderly to leave their home and move to a facility with other elderly people who required care. But who does this benefit? It suits organisations to have a centralised, managed environment in which to provide care, sixteen clients to one carer appears to be the magic number, this enables economy of scale care giving, but is it a healthy and happy environment for your mum and dad, gran or pop, or elderly loved relative, in the last years of their life?

Care at home is a reasonable, viable option. Being well is all about feeling well, and where does an individual feel the most comfort? Where is their sanctuary? At home, of course.

The Minister for Mental Health, Ageing and Social Inclusion, Mark Butler said â??Older Australians are living longer, healthier and more prosperous lives than ever before and the overwhelming message that Iâ??m hearing is that they want more support to live independently for as long as possibleâ?. With 30% of the population over 65 years living alone, â??this support needs to come from family, friends, government and non-government servicesâ?.

There are many advantages to receiving care at home, including control, choice, independence and most importantly, itâ??s all about your aged parents and their needs.

There are also disadvantages such as social isolation, personal injury risk and elder abuse. My view is that these negatives are present and can happen anywhere, regardless of being in an aged care facility or the family home. It is important that no matter where your aged parent lives, you remain aware of any risks and take action to prevent them or stop them.

The onset of Dementia is one of the elderlys most held fears, the change in the mind that inexorably disables the human being within. So I pose the question, where would you rather be if diagnosed with dementia, in an unfamiliar institution, possibly sharing a room and/or bathroom, or in the sanctity of your own home? An overwhelming number of aged Australians are choosing to remain in their own home!

This isnâ??t to say that Home Care can completely replace care in a managed facility, not all of us have the resources or possess the family home but there are strong, evidence based arguments that support the view that care in the home is the healthiest option for the our elderly parents. Quality facilities that have short waiting lists are also very hard to find, making the transition from home to facility can be painful and unsettling, and some individuals never adjust to institutional life. Why not promise yourself that your aged parents never go there and instead enjoy care at home.


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Home Care Services Can Help Your Parents Live in Their Home Longer

In a work context, if there is too much work to get through or the job is not in our area of expertise, we seek assistance. Our personal and home lives are no different. Most of us can think of a number of things we need done that either we canâ??t get to, can no longer do ourselves, donâ??t want to do or donâ??t know how to do. If this list includes personal care, nursing, shopping, domestic support, transport, respite care, gardening, simple jobs around the house or assistance to lead a full and satisfying life, then you need home care services.

Home care services are designed to assist people living in their own homes to be safe, comfortable and independent so they can continue to enjoy life. As we find our parents getting older and slowing down or living alone and not able to do everything themselves, home care services are a very real and practical solution to helping us help our mums and dads.

However it is not always easy to organise the services you need for your elderly or senior parents. Many people donâ??t know what is available or how to access home care services. For this reason many aged Australians are without the support they need which has a significant impact on the quality of their lives and options for care and support in the future. It can also lead to families being torn between helping their ageing parents out and doing all the activities in their own lives.

What works best is having a â??one stop shopâ?? model that comes to you. One provider can deliver all the home care services you need now and also as your needs change. This ensures you have a consistent and reliable service you can trust that delivers exactly what you need, when you need it. It is important to choose a local provider who is interested it what you want, who listens and responds to your specific needs.

At first your parents may only need a little assistance in the morning or evening to make a real difference. However the time may come when you need more services including overnight presence and possibly even 24 hour live in care. If it is your parents goal to stay at home as they age then their home care services must be also be committed to this goal. This way they can help you and your family plan for the future so your parents remain in control.

Talk to your parents and family about your parents plans and find out about the different home care services available in your community by searching on the internet or talking to your local GP. Then you can take the first step and choose the home care service provider that best suits you. If you are in the South East Queensland area, you are most welcome to call Home Care Select on 1300 88 95 45 for local service and advice.


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How to have a conversation with your parents about them needing in home care

Is there ever a right time to talk to your parents about getting old and frail and how to manage? Failing health and old age is very confronting and therefore most of us avoid discussing it. Most people are either not aware of how and what help they can get, or can recall a terrible experience that one of their friendâ??s or neighbours have had. There is support and options available once you understand what is important to your parent.

The two biggest fears older people have is getting dementia and not being able to stay in their own home. Not only do they never want to move they simply say â??they couldnâ??tâ??. Their homes hold 50 plus years of memories and provide the comfort and familiarity they need, not too mention the shear volume of belongings they have kept! But if you can see they are no longer able to maintain the home and look after themselves they way they used to, they need help.

So where to startâ?¦

  • First listen and understand the most important thing to them, this may be staying home
  • Agree that this is the goal you are also committed too
  • Find out what they believe is working well for them and donâ??t try to change these, even if you think it could be improved
  • Now try and get them to think of some of the things or times which they find most difficult, tiring or that they donâ??t seem to be able to do. It is always better to spend the time to allow them to express these, it is not just about the things you are noticing
  • Then it is important to pick the one or two keys things that would really make a difference for your parents and for you
  • Express these suggestions to your parents as ways to ensure they stay safe, comfortable and at home
  • If there is resistance to in home care or assistance then suggest just trying something and if it doesnâ??t work it can easily be stopped
  • Give them the choice as to whether they would like to instigate the changes or if they would like you to do this for them
  • Now take action whilst the idea is fresh, keep it simple, make it easy and donâ??t rush your parents. You are putting in place the most important plan ever â?? their future care and security so give it the time and consideration it needs â?? it will be worth it!

Remember most donâ??t like change so fewer smaller changes earlier are better than significant changes later. Introducing a change and waiting until it is well established will mean future changes can also be successful. Once someone is providing in home care for some activities of daily living it is much easier to increase the level of in home care as their needs change.

A word of warning â?? they will have all sorts of reasons why they donâ??t need any help or in home care e.g. they are fine, they donâ??t want to be a burden, weâ??ll just make do, everyone else is too busy, donâ??t want to spend the family money, donâ??t want to change things, they donâ??t want strangers coming to their home, it’s too much trouble, itâ??s just a bit of old age, and really they are very luckyâ?¦.

The sooner you have this conversation the better. Whilst it is not easy, knowing what is important, having a plan and getting some support earlier rather than later will make this difficult time smoother.


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