So you want to hire a professional caregiver for your loved one?

But you are not sure what to expect? Or what to look out for?

In today’s post, I am going to outline nine things you can look out for when you are choosing a home care agency.

9 things to look out for when you’re choosing a home care agency

Company culture

In choosing a home care agency, it is important look at the culture of the agency.

There are a few ways you can do this.

  • Ask the staff. Do they have positive things to say about the agency? Do they say they are supported by their agency or do they feel alone working for the company? Staff who feel supported, are more likely to provide the best care.
  • Read Google and Yelp reviews. Yes, these can be biased sometimes and there have been instances where people pay others to give them good reviews. There are also those people who are never satisfied with anything and go around the internet leaving bad reviews everywhere. Thus, ignore those 5-star and one-star reviews and read the 4-star and 3-star ones. These usually give you better insight into what the company culture is like.

Does the agency seem organized?

When you call them, does somebody call you back as quickly as they say they will call you back?

When you submit paperwork, do they call asking you for the same paperwork over and over again although you have sent it over to them more than once?

Do they miss details you have already communicated to them?

An agency that is disorganized will exhibit these signs.

If they are disorganized, they could mix up schedules and you might have a day where no caregiver shows up at your loved one’s home.

If you see warning signs of disorganization from the beginning, heed them.

What standards does the agency use in hiring staff?

Does the agency perform background checks on people?

What training do caregivers receive before they are dispatched to go and provide care?

Is there on-going training for caregivers so they continually improve their craft of providing care?

These are important questions you can ask the agency and staff yourself.

Client/customer service

Are they polite on the phone or do they seem in a rush to hang up on you?

When you register a complaint, how quickly do they rectify or resolve the situation?

Field Oversight

Does the home care agency you’re planning to choose have managers come and observe caregivers in the field?

This is important.

Every job in the corporate world has managers who oversee workers to ensure that the highest quality of service is provided.

If the agency does not send out people to observe your caregiver and provide guidance where needed on how to improve caregiving, you should think twice about choosing them.

Do caregivers show up on time?

This is another place to check the quality of both the agency and the caregiver.

You have heard the phrase: time is money.

If you have to go to work and a caregiver is supposed to come and take your place but they are late, this could make you late.

Do caregivers genuinely care about your loved one?

This particular point ties back into company culture.

Yes, individual caregivers have different personalities but one thing that needs to be glaring is the fact that a caregiver genuinely cares about your loved one.

If a caregiver does not pay attention to the likes and dislikes of your loved one or leaves them in dirty underwear, for instance, when it is their responsibility, this is a serious red flag.

Do they respect individual needs, concerns and preferences?

One of the advantages of home care is the fact that it helps your loved one to continue to live in their beloved home while they receive all the help they need.

You and your loved one may have individual needs and concerns that you would like to be respected.

For instance, your loved one may be a stickler for making their bed every time they wake up.

It seems mundane but that is their preference. A good home care agency will train staff to respect the needs, concerns and preferences of your loved ones.

Transparency/Clear communication

An excellent home care agency is transparent and clear in their communication from the get-go.

If you cannot get that from an agency, they may not be the ones to choose.


At Green Tree Home Care, we are happy to say that we meet all these criteria. If you are in the midst of choosing a home care agency, we hope you will consider us.

If you live in the Greater San Diego or Orange County area and you need care for your loved one, we are more than happy to help with our 24/7 call service.

Give us a call today for a FREE consultation.



Slowly but surely this year’s brutal winter is fading away. The weather is getting nicer and it is time for you to get out and enjoy it.

Getting out is great for you at any age.

If you’re looking to stay active and healthy as a senior, outdoor activities are a great option.

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that physical activity is helpful when it comes emotional, mental and cognitive health.

Participating in outdoor activities may also be a great way for you to meet new friends and build healthy relationships!

Basically, no matter how you spin it, outdoor activities are great for you no matter how you look at it.

In today’s post, I am going to give you 12 outdoor activity ideas that you can get involved with this year.

Outings for seniors: 12 outdoor activity ideas for seniors

Walking-Walking is always the easiest way to get outside. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. It could be a simple walk around your neighborhood which might include saying hello to everyone as you go along.

Running-If you were a runner in the past, this might be a good one to pick up again.

Hiking-Do you have hiking trails in your city? Visit them and take a hike.

Beach walks-This is certainly an option if you live in the San Diego and Orange County areas. I don’t know about you but there is something calming about walking near a beach and hearing the waves crash on the shore.

Climbing-Check to make sure this is a healthy activity for you before you get involved in climbing. Climbing can certainly be on the “daredevil” side when it comes to outdoor activities. So make sure you’re cleared to climb before you do.

Cycling-Cycling is another classic outdoor activity that does not require expertise except unless you will cycle complex trails. A ride in and around your neighborhood might be just what you need.

Swimming-Swimming is great exercise and laying in that water is always relaxing!

Fishing-Apart from the great conversations that can happen as you fish, you just might catch your dinner.

Bird-watching-Are you a nature enthusiast? You might enjoy bird-watching.

Hunting-While I have never understood the thrill that hunters have, they definitely seem to enjoy the experience. If you live in a rural area that allows hunting and you have the appropriate license, this might be a really good one for you.

Geocaching-Wikipedia defines geocaching as an activity where people use GPS receivers and other navigational techniques to find boxes and containers that are marked by coordinates all over the world.

If you ever enjoyed treasure hunting movies or would love to treasure hunt yourself, geocaching may be an excellent activity for you.

Camping-Sleeping in a house may be comfortable but it can get boring! Enjoy nature directly by camping out in the woods!

Fruit-picking-You will get your exercise in and have fruit for days to come.

There you have it- twelve outdoor activities for seniors.

And all of them accessible enough that you could start participating today.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with someone else who might be looking for outdoor activity ideas suited for them.


Is your loved one showing signs that they need some in-home help? As people age, everyday tasks can become increasingly difficult. Things like personal hygiene, cooking, and running errands can present a challenge to many older adults.

But those who need help are often in denial about their needs. They don’t want to cause problems or make you worry about them. So, they downplay their struggles and pretend that everything is just fine.

Some may even get mad at you for bringing up the topic of an in-home caregiver. Even when they know they need help.

Here are 7 signs your loved one needs in-home care.

7 signs your loved one needs in-home care

This means you will play an important role in determining when help is needed. You need to keep tabs on the situation and watch for red flags. To help you, here are seven warning signs that your loved one may be ready for additional assistance.

1.  Increasingly forgetful

Does your loved one repeatedly tell you the same story, with no recollection of early accounts? Are they having trouble remembering which medications they’re taking, or when they took them? Have they missed doctor appointments simply because they forgot they had them scheduled? Are bills piling up, because your loved one forgot to pay them?

Each of these is a sign that some additional help may be needed. Forgetfulness can lead to problems like untreated illnesses, house fires, and financial woes.

2. Changes in cleanliness

Is your loved one looking a little disheveled lately? Are they having trouble getting clean in the shower, or shaving? Is it too difficult for them to change their clothes regularly or keep them laundered?

These changes in personal hygiene can be an indicator that it’s time for some in-home help.

3. Bare Cupboards

Don’t let your loved one turn into Old Mother Hubbard who went to the cupboard and discovered them bare. If you notice lots of empty shelves, or lots of expired food in your loved one’s kitchen, this may mean getting to the grocery store is becoming increasingly difficult.

They may also be forgetting to shop, cook, and even eat. This can lead to weight loss and poor nutrition. Always take time to check out the status of your loved one’s kitchen when you’re visiting.

4. Change in personality

Changes in personality are another sign that it’s time for some help. Look for:

  • Signs of depression
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • A desire to isolate oneself
  • Anything that strikes you as out of character or odd for your loved one

These personality differences can be a sign that it’s time for some extra help and company.

5. The condition of the house changes

If your loved one used to keep a reasonably neat house, and it’s now in disarray, something is going on. The physical tasks required to keep a home and yard clean can be too much for many aging seniors. They may not have the energy to mow the lawn as often as before, or to keep the house picked up.

6. Lack of Balance

Have you noticed your loved one stumbling more than usual, or struggling to change between sitting and standing? This could be a sign that their balance is changing. Falls and other injuries can result from this lack of balance.

7. Weight changes

Has your loved one started losing weight? Or are they packing on some extra pounds? Unexplained weight changes can indicate a problem.

Weight loss may mean your loved one isn’t taking time to eat. Or that they are eating a lot less at each meal.

Gaining weight can be a sign that your loved one isn’t as active in the day. Or that they are eating much higher calorie convenience food, so they don’t have to actually cook.

Either way, weight changes are another sign that your loved one is ready for some in-home care.

Do you know someone who is wondering if it’s time to arrange for care for their loved one? Share this article with you so they can keep their eyes out for these seven signs that indicate it’s time.



Did the recent California wildfires affect you?

We realize that this might be a difficult time for you as a caregiver or an elder affected by the fires.

There is some good news for California wildfire victims who are on Medicare: the deadline to enroll in and/or review and change your options for 2019 has been extended.

Regular open enrollment for Medicare ends on December 7. However, the fires may have caused you to move out of your home. Because of this, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare have given California wildfire victims an enrollment extension.

The Human and Health Services has categorized the fires as a public health emergency and thus they have also made other provisions for Medicare beneficiaries.

What you should know.

If you are or your elderly loved one is a Medicare beneficiary, here’s what is available to you.

  • Haven’t enrolled yet? Call the Medicaid hotline at 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on how to take advantage of the extension.


  • Waivers for skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and assistance for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Here’s what that means.
    • If you have recently exhausted your SNF benefits, you could get renewed SNF coverage without having to start a new benefit period.
    • You had to evacuate or be transferred because of the wildfires. If you or your loved one needs skill nursing care (SNF), you can get temporary emergency coverage without a qualifying hospital stay.
    • If you lost your prescription medications in the fire, Medicare may cover the replacement cost of those medications. You can get coverage for up to the quantity your pharmacy originally dispensed.
    • To get more knowledge on what might be covered during this public health emergency period, you can either call the hotline or read detailed information here.


  • Because this is a public health emergency, Medicare Advantage plans will have to waive prior authorization and any similar requirements. This will help affected beneficiaries get care from non-network providers and hospitals faster.


  • Are you on dialysis? If you cannot get care from your regular provider, call the Northern California patient hotline at 800-637-4767 or the hotline number in Southern California at 800-637-4767. They will help you sort out where you can go for care.

It’s a difficult time…

We realize that these fires are a difficult time for everyone in so many different ways.

If you were looking to hear some good news during this time, I hope this helped.

At the very least, call the Medicare hotline to find out what is available to you.


Summer is gone. One of the best things about the Fall Season is the opportunity to volunteer.

If you live in San Diego and are looking for volunteer opportunities that allow seniors to serve their community, here are 8 opportunities are for you.

A huge benefit of volunteering is that it brings us into contact with other people, helps us get rid of boredom and helps us to live longer.

In fact, volunteering can even delay conditions like dementia.

Are you ready to wield this life-prolonging weapon?

Let’s get right into it.

8 Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors In San Diego

Pet/animal shelters

Organizations like the San Diego Humane Society and the San Diego County Animal Services are always looking for help with things that need to be done in and around the shelter.

If you’re a pet-lover, you can get in touch with them to find out how you can help.

Volunteer at Sports Events

The fall season also means they will be all kinds of team sports going on with the schools and within the community.

These events are always looking for volunteers who will help with tickets, organizing teams, clean-up etc.

Look at your local bulletin to find these events to volunteer for!

San Diego Audubon Society

The San Diego Audubon Society is a non-profit organization that promotes the conservation of birds and wildlife in and around San Diego county.

If you love animals, have a background in conservation science or would simply like to contribute to the good of our environment, the San Diego Audubon society is a place you can look up.

City of San Diego

The City of San Diego also has many opportunities for you to volunteers.

These programs include the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP). In this position, you will help area police stations perform vacation house checks, You are Not Alone checks and promote community awareness of the the RSVP program.

You will have to pass a background check and have a clean criminal record.

Go here to learn more about volunteering with the City of San Diego.

Meals on Wheels

Other elders struggle with insufficient food and just plan hunger.

As a Meals on Wheels volunteer, you will deliver meals to other seniors who live at home. These seniors struggle to get healthy cooked meals at home.

You will be alleviating hunger!

Go here to learn more about volunteering for Meals on Wheels in San Diego.

Keep someone else company

We all need someone else to keep us company. Why not volunteer by playing a game and keeping another senior company?

Volunteer at your retirement community

If you live in a retirement community, ask the activities coordinator if there is anything you can help with in and around your retirement community.

Perhaps you will be able to help with organizing events or helping other retirees with different activities.

Volunteer at area hospitals

A lot of hospitals in our area depend heavily on volunteers. Volunteers assist with activities like reading to children and the delivery of warm blankets to waiting patients.

If this is something you are interested in, get started by visiting websites of area hospitals.

Closing Thoughts

Volunteer opportunities are all around us!

If you are looking for a way to volunteer this Fall, here are 8 excellent ways for you to do so.


When it comes to home care medical supplies, most people are never sure what to expect.

Perhaps, your family is currently transitioning into a home care situation and you are not sure which supplies you need.

If you find yourself wondering what you need to get and even where you need to get it especially if you live in the Greater San Diego area, no need to worry!

In this blog post, we will go over what home care medical supplies you should have handy.

PLUS, give you a shortlist of area supply stores you can visit to find what you need.

Ready to dive in?

Let’s do it.

Home care medical supplies – Here’s what you really need

Specialized/Hospital bed

Not every senior will need a special bed but sometimes it becomes necessary if there is an underlying condition.

However, specialized beds can be good for several reasons:

  1. They can be lowered, raised or reclined.
  2. They are good if you are considering hiring a home caregiver through your local home care agency
  3. Hospital beds are small, movable and can be easily maneuvered. You cannot do that with a traditional bed.
  4. Specialized mattresses that are designed especially for these beds can also reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers as this study from Ghent University in Belgium showed.
  5. Specialized beds typically come with side rail support to prevent falls.

Bedside support rail

Even if you choose to go with a traditional bed, you can still optimize it for safety.

One way you can do this is by getting a support rail to help prevent falls for your loved one.

Falls are a common health problem for seniors which can have devastating consequences.

Buying a support rail will help your loved one maneuver better in their bed and prevent them from falls and injuries.


Mobility is an issue for many older adults.

A walker will be helpful in helping your elderly loved one move around and get things done around the house independently.


A wheelchair is another mobility aid that can increase the independence of your elderly loved one.

Shower chair

The shower is another place where falls can occur.

Taking a shower does not have to become a danger trap for an elder.

A shower chair can prevent that.

Staircase transport

It is best if you can customize the home so that your elderly loved one lives on the first/ground floor and doesn’t have to use the staircase.

However, I know that this may not be feasible for everyone.

In such instances, staircase transport support becomes imperative.

First aid kit

Every home needs a first aid kit!

According to the Red Cross, a good first aid kit should include:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each) (PLEASE NOTE: Aspirin is not good for everyone. It is especially not advised if your loved one is on blood thinners or bleeds easily. Alternative pain killers include ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) and acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol).)
  • Blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

Or you could just go to Wal-Mart or Target and pick one up!

Non-skid bathmats

These help prevent falls in the bathroom.

Compression garments

Compression garments are used in different kinds of situations but their main purpose is to encourage blood circulation.

A common type of compression garment is the compression socks. These can be worn just like regular rocks with daily shoes to improve circulation.

Find out from your loved one’s doctor if they need one.

Adult diapers/Disposable Under-pads

Extra adult briefs and disposable under-pads are must-have home care supplies if your elderly loved one has challenges with controlling bowel movements or urine.

Disposal under-pads are especially helpful for home caregivers when they need to change your loved one in keeping messes off the bed.

Home Care Medical Supplies Stores in Greater San Diego

Here is a shortlist of San Diego home care medical supplies stores in the Greater San Diego area.

San Diego Home Care Supplies

All Home Medical Supply 

Harmony Home Medical

Advanced Medical

Closing Thoughts

Will you need all these items as you transition to home care?

Of course not!

Every individual needs something different and so you will get these items depending on your loved one’s particular needs.

This list is just to give you an idea of what items you may need to get.

If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it someone else who needs this.





According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, one in nine seniors have reported financial exploitation.

This is incredibly sad and unfortunate.

And what makes it even more difficult to spot and prevent is that the abusers are typically close relatives.

This post will be useful to you whether you’re a caregiver or a senior.

In this post I will discuss ways to spot, prevent and deal with financial abuse.

But first, let’s start with a definition.

What is financial elder abuse?

Financial elder abuse occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of a vulnerable senior for his or her own personal benefit without prior, explicit consent of the senior.

If a personal disregards the advance directives/living will or estate plan of a living but incapacitated senior for their personal gain, this can be considered financial elder abuse as well.

Types of financial elder abuse

Per the definition above, financial elder abuse can take different forms.

If you see any of the following going on, you can suspect that financial exploitation is going on.

  1. Fraud. This involves forging signatures, taking out funds in the name of the senior, unauthorized check-writing and basically any financial representation of the senior without their prior consent.
  2. Theft. This would involve taking and/or using any asset of the senior without their knowledge. Clothes, cars and jewelry that are taken out of a senior’s house without their knowledge even if you are closely related to them is theft and is a form of financial abuse.
  3. Investments made without the knowledge of the senior is financial abuse. Even if you think an investment will be good for an elderly relative, it is important to ask first before you make an investment on their behalf.
  4. Lottery scams.
  5. Electronic phishing scams that target retirement funds or any other financial asset is also financial abuse.
  6. Real estate fraud which involves transferring property titles out of the name of the senior into another person’s name.
  7. Insurance fraud. This involves life insurance and health insurance.
  8. Businesses can also commit elder abuse if they charge money for work they have not done for a senior just because they think the senior will not check details.

And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial elder abuse.

If you are a caregiver or a adult child of a senior, a good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure NOTHING is done that with the assets of your relative or parent that they have not consented to or which does not honor their advance directives or living will.

How to prevent financial elder abuse

  1. Know the types of financial abuse that exist. This is what I have listed for you above.
  2. Make sure to fully read and understand all contracts before you sign anything.
  3. Start planning your estate now. Read our previous posts on estate planning and advance directives.
  4. If you are a concerned person and you notice that every time the issue of money is brought up, a spouse, adult child or caregiver does not allow a senior to speak, it is probable that financial elder abuse is going on. Report it immediately to prevent it from getting worse.
  5. If you are a close relative, be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming the financial abuser.

If you are a senior, make sure you only deal with companies who have proven track records when it comes to your money.

Make sure to get everything in writing and not just “take people’s word for it”. As much as you may trust certain people, if a case ever goes to the court of law, unfortunately, “he said” or “she said” will not cut it.

Last but not least, don’t sign any contract you have not fully read and understood. If the person asking you to sign the contract is rushing you or telling you that whatever they are offering is a “limited offer” and that you must “take action now”, these are red flags. If the person is not willing to allow you to take the contract and think about it for at least 3 days so you can make a decision, it may be best that you don’t get into business with them.

How to deal with financial elder abuse once it has happened

What if financial elder abuse is already happening?

What should you do?

Report it.

In the state of California, you can report financial elder abuse by calling your District Attorney’s office.

You can check the California District Attorney’s Association for you DA’s current address and phone numbers by calling 916-443-2017 or by visiting

By California law, you are supposed to follow this up with a written report 2 days later.

If you live in San Diego, here is the information you will need.

Hall of Justice
330 W. Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
FAX: 619-237-1351

San Diego County Adult Protective Services/Elder Abuse Hotline: 800-510-2020

Failure to report financial abuse is a crime in the state of California that is punishable by six months in county jail and a $1000 fine.

Closing Thoughts

Financial elder abuse is a horrible common problem and moreover it is a crime.

If you are committing this crime, the time to stop is NOW.

If you have observed it happen, it is your duty to report it.



Over time, diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet. It can also affect blood flow to your feet and cause foot problems that are directly related to diabetes.

Additionally, it is a well known fact that wounds heal slower in people with diabetes.

And one of the areas of our body that sustains wounds regularly is our feet.

It is therefore important if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes that you to take good care of your feet.

Failure to do so can lead to loss of the foot or leg and we want to avoid that.

In this post, I will be sharing 8 tips on how to take care of your feet when you have diabetes.

Foot care and diabetes

#1- Take care of your diabetes

The first step to taking care of your feet is to take care of your diabetes.

Keeping diabetes under control happens because of a series of things you do.

  1. Checking your blood sugar levels at set times during the day so that you are not spiking it too high or having it drop too low.
  2. Regular exercise. Apart from exercise helping with weight control, it also allows for better blood blood to your hands and feet which also reduces the risk of non-healing wounds.
  3. Healthy diet choices.
  4. Regular visits to the doctor to make sure your medication is working for you.

#2- Check your feet on a daily basis

This can be either you or a caregiver checking your feet on a daily basis to make sure there are not cuts, blisters or wounds.

If there are any cuts or wounds, report them to your doctor immediately for appropriate care and advice.

#3- Good skin care is a must

Wash your feet everyday and make sure to dry the spaces in between your toes well.

Apply lotion to your feet to keep the skin on your feet from cracking.

#4- Don’t walk barefoot

Do your best to wear socks or shoes as you walk around your house to protect your feet from unnecessary injuries.

Make sure to check the insides of your shoes before you ear them.

#5- Ask about shoes that support your feet

Wear shoes that are not too tight or too loose.

There are also shoes that are designed specially for people with diabetes.

Ask your doctor about those and find out if your health insurance will pay for it.

#6- Trim your toenails regularly

Use a nail clipper to trim your nails regularly or use a file to file them straight across.

Avoid using sharp razors on your foot as this might cause an infection.

#7- Protect your feet from hot and cold extremes

Because diabetes can affect your the nerves in your feet, it is possible for you to not even feel when your feet are too cold or being burned. It is therefore important for you to protect your feet from hot and cold extremes.

It is important that you keep your feet away from heaters and open fires.

Make sure you wear shoes if you have to go to the beach or walk on the pavement especially in the summer.

Avoid putting hot water bottles or heating pads directly on your feet.

Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.

#8- Regular visits to the doctor are a must

Last but not least, it is important that you visit your doctor or podiatrist regularly so they can help take care of your feet properly.

When problems are detected early, it is possible for measures to be put in place to avoid further complications.

And there you have it.

Eight tips for taking excellent care of your feet when you have diabetes.

If you found this helpful, share it with someone else who needs this information.



Did you know that 1 in 3 adults is at risk to develop Type 2 diabetes?

This risk gets worse as people grow older and organs don’t function as well as they used to.

In this post, I will be explaining exactly what Type 2 diabetes is, the symptoms associated with the disease, and why you or your elderly loved one needs to see a doctor immediately to manage diabetes.

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

When you eat, your body breaks down food into different molecules that are then transported in your blood to your cells so that they can perform the functions that are necessary for life.

One of the major molecules that is broken down from your food is glucose (sugar). Glucose is an important source of fuel for your body and is at the core of many important biological and chemical processes in your body.

Glucose is transported in your blood to your cells.

You can think of your cells as a house with a door.

The key to that door is another chemical produced by your body called insulin.

In a non-diabetic person, insulin “opens the door” to your cells and allows glucose to enter into your cells.

In Type 2 diabetes however, insulin does not function properly and so glucose is unable to enter into the cells.

This results in high concentrations of sugar in the blood (this is not where sugar should be!) and ultimately results in Type 2 diabetes.

Now you’re probably thinking “But why would insulin suddenly not function properly?”

There are a few reasons why this might happen.

  1. It could be that your pancreas- the gland in your body which produces insulin- does not produce enough insulin
  2. Or it could be that even though there is insulin, your cells are resistant to the insulin for some reason and thus not allowing glucose to enter your cells.

Whatever the case is however, Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that requires medical attention.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:

  1. Increased urination. You notice that your elderly loved one has the need to urinate more than before.
  2. Increased thirst.
  3. Increased hunger. Because glucose does not enter your cells like it should, you experience intense hunger.
  4. Sudden unexplained weight loss.
  5. Fatigue.
  6. Blurred vision.
  7. Wounds that are slow to heal. Infections may be difficult to clear as well because your immune system is somewhat compromised.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire right?

Although scientists are not completely sure what causes diabetes, the following are risk factors associated with the disease.

Reducing/managing these risk factors can also reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

  1. Obesity.
  2. Family history. If a parent or sibling has had Type 2 diabetes, it increases your risk significantly. And even though this is not a risk factor you can modify, modifying other things can keep the disease at bay.
  3. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age. The risk goes up significantly after age 45.
  4. Lack of physical activity. Physical activity helps you lose weight, and makes your cells more responsive to insulin.
  5. Race. African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to Caucasians.
  6. Gestational diabetes. This is true for women who had a temporary form of diabetes while they were pregnant.
  7. An unhealthy diet.

As you can see, while many of these risk factors are things you can’t help, losing weight through physical activity and a healthy diet will help to significantly reduce your risk for diabetes.

What can you do as a caregiver?

As a caregiver, the best thing you can do for an elderly loved one with diabetes is to help them pay attention to medical advice.

Diabetes is a disease that appear “not serious” until complications develop.

Usually, those complications are hard to treat and can be fatal.

Thus your job as a caregiver is to encourage your loved one to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise– even 30 minutes of exercise three times weekly can do wonders
  • Take medicines that are prescribed to them. You will also have to pay attention to any side effects of prescribed medication so that you can report them immediately
  • Watch your loved one for complications of diabetes (we will talk about this in another blog post).

Closing Thoughts

Diabetes is one of those disease that can “lurk” in the background until it is too late.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what Type 2 diabetes is, take action for yourself or your elderly loved one before it is too late.

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Elder abuse, like any other kind of abuse takes many forms- subtle and not so subtle.

Unfortunately, it is very common.

According to the San Diego Country District Attorney’s website, over 9000 cases of senior abuse cases are processed each year.

Sadly, even with that high number, many of these incidents go unreported.

As a caregiver, it’s important that you are able to tell when elder abuse is happening for two reasons:

  1. So you don’t do it yourself
  2. So you have the knowledge and tools to report it when you spot it.

In today’s post, we’ll go over the definition of elder abuse, the signs that elder abuse is going on and what you can do when you find out.

What is Elder Abuse?

The best way to define elder abuse is to talk about the different types of elder abuse that exist.

  • Physical abuse – This happens when a person is harmed physically.  Hitting, pushing, shoving or is roughly handling a senior are all examples of elder abuse. Most of the time this happens because the elder is physically weak and cannot retaliate.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse is also called psychological abuse. This involves yelling, insulting and using abusive words, threatening and repeated ignoring the elder. Anything that is done to intentionally make a person unhappy can be considered emotional abuse.
  • Neglect – This occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older person’s needs.
  • Abandonment – This happens when the senior is left alone without a plan for his or her care.
  • Sexual abuse – Forcing an elderly person to watch or participate in sexual acts is sexual abuse.
  • Financial abuse – This involves mismanagement of money and property that belongs to the elder. This would include family members lying about having financial needs and taking money from the elderly and then refusing to pay it back. Financial scams can be categorized as financial abuse as well.

Signs of Elder Abuse

The following are signs that there is elder abuse going on.

  • Elder has trouble sleeping
  • An otherwise upbeat elder is now quiet and withdrawn
  • Elder has trouble eating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Elder does not make eye contact with the abuser when they are around
  • The elder complains of aches and pains constantly
  • Multiple bruises at different stages of healing
  • The elder loses weight for no reason
  • A visit to the elder’s home shows an unkempt room/smells of urine and feces
  • Elder is wearing clothes that look unwashed and stained
  • The elder is easily agitated and violent
  • The elder develops bed sores and other preventable conditions

If you notice any of these signs of elder abuse, it is important for you to talk to the elder to find out what is going on.

It is possible that when you broach the subject, the elder will be resistant to open up. This can happen because they may feel they don’t want to incriminate the abuser especially if they are family members.

When you talk to such a person, assure them of that while you respect their privacy, it is important that you report the abuse to the right authorities to protect them.

This is not an easy conversation for the abused.

So please understand the emotions the person might go through in sharing this bit of news with you.

What To Do After You Confirm Abuse

Elder abuse will not stop on its’ own. It is not a “phase” or “season”. It is a chronic problem that can go on for years.

Because most abusers are close relatives, it is likely that an abused elder will not report the abuse themselves.

It is therefore important that after you’ve confirmed the abuse that you report it to the appropriate authorities.

You can report elder abuse to:

  • Your local police
  • If you overhear physical abuse going on, call 911
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233 – toll-free, 24/7
    1-800-787-3224 – TTY/toll-free)
  • You can also locate resources using the Elder Care Locator (call 1-800-677-1116 toll-free) and the National Center on Elder Abuse (call 1-855-500-3537 toll-free).

Elder abuse is real.

And it is a terrible problem.

When you see it and confirm it, please report it.

The life of the elder may be at stake.

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