Latest Blog Post

Read the latest article written by EPPIA members, published in the Eden Prairie News.

Senior Awareness Month Event

EPPIA is hosting a FREE Resource Fair on Thursday, May 12 from 1:30 to 4:30 at Pax Christi Catholic Community in honor of Senior Awareness Month. Featured speaker will be acclaimed former WCCO-TV anchor and popular storyteller, Don Shelby, bringing humor and insight to the topic of “Living Retirement to its Fullest!” His presentation is also free and runs from 2:30 to 3:30. Come enjoy Don’s views on re-inventing yourself and re-imagining life after retirement.

In addition, EPPIA will offer information and free resources from over 25 of its member organizations who serve seniors and their families in the Eden Prairie community. Virtually every topic or service pertaining to seniors can be found in their network---including housing, transportation, healthcare, legal and financial planning, relocation and move management, travel and leisure activities, education, lifelong learning, volunteer opportunities and family support. This is a great opportunity to meet friendly, knowledgeable people whose coordinated efforts make Eden Prairie such a great community for seniors and their families.

No reservations are necessary and the event is free to the public. Bus transportation is available to Pax Christi (1200 Pioneer Trail) for Eden Prairie residents. Just call 952-279-8050 by May 9 to reserve a seat. Suggested donation for this service is $4.00.

Senior Resource Fair: May 12 from 1:30-4:30

Doors open: 1:30pm
Don Shelby presentation: 2:30-3:30
Social Hour: 3:30-4:30
Resource Fair: 1:30-4:30

About EPPIA (Eden Prairie Professionals in Aging):

According to the 2014 census, over 12,500 residents in Eden Prairie were over the age of 55 and could be considered seniors. That’s a considerable period of time to be considered a “senior” (whatever that means!) and those years represent incredible opportunities and experiences. EPPIA was formed over 20 years ago to help people in this age group locate and access the many resources, leisure activities and services available to them in the Eden Prairie area. The hub of many of those activities is the Eden Prairie Senior Center which serves older adults with a wide variety of interests and abilities. (Did we mention this includes zip lining!) The Senior Center is just one of the member organizations in EPPIA whose purpose is to educate and connect seniors to resources and information that will help them get the most out of “senior living”. Check us out at our website—you’ll learn a lot! www.edenprairieaging.org.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

Who Is A Caregiver?

Are you a caregiver? Many people in this role have never identified themselves with the title “caregiver.” You may be an adult child caring for a parent. You may be a neighbor looking out for the elderly couple living next door. You may be a spouse caring for your partner. Broadly defined, caregiver refers to any family member, partner, neighbor or friend who has a significant relationship with and/or provides assistance for an older individual or an adult with health issues.

With longer life expectancy and greater opportunity to age in place, many seniors are remaining in their homes. There are numerous benefits for the senior with an attentive caregiver involved. These benefits include things such as decreased emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, delay of nursing home placement, improved compliance with the medical plan and improved quality of life.

Perhaps you identify caregiving with tasks more “hands on” in nature, including assistance with personal care, such as bathing, dressing and grooming, meal preparation, transportation, paying bills and medication management – and rightfully so. However, assistance with locating and coordinating outside services, advocacy at medical appointments or during a hospital stay, as well as ongoing communication with providers and other family members are also important caregiving tasks that can be time consuming and stressful.

The caregiver role brings a number of challenges. First, caregivers may find themselves providing increasingly complex care, including injections, wound care, special diets and medication management. There may also be significant financial and career implications for the caregiver. With a high percentage of caregivers working full or part-time and in their peak work years, caregiving responsibilities may impact availability to work and in some cases bring retirement earlier than planned, resulting in lost income. Often times, caregivers are caring for aging parents while still raising their own family. In addition, as families find themselves increasingly geographically spread out, long distance caregiving brings extra costs as the caregiver travels back and forth to meet the needs of their loved one.

Finally, caregiving may present physical and emotional health challenges to the caregiver themselves. Many report increased stress, substance abuse, and diminished social life, higher rates of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. Increased rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are also recorded among caregivers.

There is no doubt about it, caregiving is difficult. Early identification as a caregiver is important because it allows for finding and implementing strategies that will support you in remaining healthy and strong. Here are a few items to keep in mind:


1. Identify what is important to you and your family. Set realistic expectations and adapt as needed.

2. Take care of yourself.

  • See your doctor regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Recharge with some alone time or with friends
  • Be attentive to your spiritual needs
  • Find humor

3. Ask for help. A simple and convenient way to let friends and family know how they can help is by setting up a care team at www.carenextion.org. This web based tool enables caregivers to organize tasks, communicate needs and share information with their confidential care team. Care teams can include family members, friends and medical professionals. CareNextion also provides resources for professional services as well as access to an experienced social worker. Supports such as respite care educational presentations, financial help for outside services, support groups and caregiver coaching are available.

Each caregiver journey is unique. As you navigate the challenges along the way, be sure to reflect on the simple gifts and rewards that come with the journey. Take time to note the great personal satisfaction that comes from caring for another and knowing their needs are being met. As your understanding of selflessness and love grows, relationships will deepen and you will have the opportunity to establish lasting memories. You will be surprised by your strength and resiliency.

Lisa Engdahl, Licensed Social Worker
Senior Community Services
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.seniorcommunity.org

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

FINDING THE RIGHT CARE

The New Year is here and for many people that means time for change. However, having just visited older loved ones during the holidays, you may have concerns about changes you noticed in their lives such as:

Their Health

  • How did they look? Are they noticeably heavier or thinner? Do they stoop or stand upright? Have their looks changed in any significant way?
  • How is their balance? A balance problem could indicate a medication problem, an incorrect eyeglass prescription, or worse and warrants a visit to the doctor.
  • Were their clothes rumpled or soiled when they used to be immaculate?
  • Did they appear to have issues with memory? Were they struggling to perform what use to be routine tasks? Have they become quiet and withdrawn?

Their Home

  • Was the house clean and well-kept, or does it need more maintenance than usual?
  • Does the stairway have handrails; is it well lit? Are carpet coverings tight or wood non-slippery?

Their Driving

  • How’s their driving? How was their reaction time? Do they miss signs and make risky maneuvers? Have they been in any fender benders since your last visit?

Their Finances

  • Were there late notices in their mail? Had the mail even been opened? Were bills stacking up?
  • Are there bills they can’t pay?

Many in the “sandwich generation” are experiencing the daunting tasks of a new life stage that includes helping parents or older family members stay as independent, healthy and as safe as possible while they navigate the complex myriad of living and care options. It can be overwhelming.

Throughout other major life transitions, experts often provide guidance and support, such as:

  • Guidance Counselors offer advice to high school seniors.
  • Wedding Planners help couples bring their special day to life.
  • Financial Planners assist parents in setting up college funds.
  • Realtors educate people on what to look for and how to purchase their first home.
  • Personal Trainers support people as they go after their New Year’s goals.

Fortunately, experts in senior care, with titles like: Eldercare Consultant, Senior Placement Advisor, or Care Manager, offer expertise, support and guidance to families and seniors as they go through these transitions. Many have been through this same process with their loved ones. Some services are provided on a fee basis and others (like assistance in finding senior living) are often provided at no charge to the client because the agency is paid a commission by the communities, much like a Realtor.

Examples of how or when these care experts can be helpful:

  • A family feels like a loved one is no longer safe living at home alone. Experts like these can help evaluate options for in-home care, adult day care programs or moving to a senior community with services. The agencies can research to compare options, summarize expenses and provide names of resources to contact.
  • Often these agencies are especially helpful to adult children who live out of the area or have extremely busy work lives and can’t be there for appointments, etc. In those cases, the agencies can provide support on a scheduled basis, and provide updates to the family on their loved one.
  • Financing senior living can be confusing. Senior care experts can explain the types of financing each community will accept and if there’s a required period of private pay. They can recommend financial planning experts, help families apply for Medical Assistance and explore other sources of funding such as: VA benefits for qualified vets and spouses when appropriate.

Change can be hard, but it is easier when an expert provides guidance during the process. As you help your parents or older loved ones navigate the wide range of care options available, consider engaging an expert in senior care to make the process more productive, efficient, and less stressful. We’re here to help!

Kathy Quinby-Johnson, Owner and Senior Advisor Senior Care Authority 952-903-5060 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

Delirium Is NOT a Rock Band

Well, actually it is. But that is not what you need to know about delirium. What you need to know about delirium is very simple and you may need this information sooner than you think.

The good news is that delirium is short term and reversible confusion. It’s also not a new condition. The word delirium comes from a Greek word meaning “out of the furrow” or off track. It is a medical diagnosis for sudden changes in cognition (thinking) or behavior. It is not uncommon among older adults and persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s have a higher chance of having a delirious episode. Many times a family member will say “Mom’s dementia got so much worse during her hospital stay”. What they are describing is delirium—a sudden and noticeable difference in behavior. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are slow, progressive diseases that do not suddenly accelerate. As of now, these diseases do not have a cure. Delirium, however, can be reversed.

The best way to clear delirium is to identify and address the underlying cause. The usual culprits are certain medications, urinary tract infections (UTIs) or dehydration. All of these can be treated fairly easily—by changing or discontinuing medications, administering antibiotics, or increasing fluid intake. The best person to diagnose delirium is a member of a medical team—physician, nurse or other professional who can identify the underlying causes. But the best person to recognize delirium is a friend or family member who sees the sudden changes in behavior or thinking. They are the ones who can alert the medical team to these changes because they may not know what “normal” is for their patient.

Something else to be informed about if you have a family member with delirium is alternative,
non-drug ways to reduce confusion and ease anxiety. Aromatherapy, healing touch, Reiki, and music therapy are a few examples of programs that can be integrated with other treatments to help people with delirium feel less distressed and confused. Any familiar, enjoyable pastime such as puzzles, reading, gardening can also be beneficial and therapeutic.

Because many of us have never heard of delirium, we may mistake it for dementia, depression, anxiety or other contributors to changes in behavior or thinking. Knowing more about delirium is important to making sure you or your family member gets the appropriate care so they can get back on track and enjoy life in its familiar settings and participate in favorite activities.

Key things to remember:

• Delirium is a sudden and noticeable change in thinking or behavior.
• Delirium can be reversed so that a person returns to their familiar surroundings and activities.
• YOU are the best person to recognize delirium. Your doctor is the best person to diagnose and treat it.
• Older adults and persons with dementia have a higher chance of having a delirious episode.
• Delirium the rock group is less likely to impact your life than the medical condition of delirium.

For more information visit the American Delirium Society website: https://www.americandeliriumsociety.org/about-delirium/patientfamily

Anne C. Tabat
Transitions & Community Relations Manager
Walker Methodist Health Center
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

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