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My senior mom is getting ready for gardening - with her garden wagons loaded - her dirt prepped - and her faux snakes at hand

It's SPRING! My senior mom has started gardening, in spite of the rather erratic weather. (Do you like her faux snake in the corner – great for discouraging the birdies from eating the wrong seeds.) My grandkids and I have been enjoying games of softball and tag. And homes, everywhere, are saying, "Pay attention to my upkeep!" For those of us caring for the elderly parents and relatives in our families, that includes the senior citizens homes as well, doesn't it?

Angie's List has a great article to share with all of us that was of special interest to us in the Sandwich Generation.

This cute country house clipart reminds those of us caring for the elderly parents to check on the air conditioner maintenance for their homes as well as ours

Lead poisoning can be devastating to many, but especially our young children and grandchildren! And since many of our elderly parents still live in an old house that may have lead paint problems, it can really have a major impact on all of us in the Sandwich Generation, so I wanted to share it with you:

Important news for boomers and seniors caring for elderly parents who live in older houses:

Test for lead poisoning to avoid devastating effects

by Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List

For years, Angie's List has been championing lead safety awareness. Exposure 
can lead to adverse health effects for individuals of any age, though children ages 
6 and younger are especially susceptible to poisoning, which can include permanent brain damage and death.

In 2007, we launched a nationwide 
lead awareness tour. In both 2007 and 2008, we conducted investigations exposing unsafe industry practices. In 2010, we called on the Environmental Protection Agency for tougher enforcement of contractors who aren’t trained and accredited in proper lead safety techniques.

Though our goal has always been 
to encourage lead safe practices and help families reduce their exposure to poisoning, the heavy metal unfortunately continues 
to remain a prevalent public health threat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 250,000 children between ages 1 and 5 have dangerous levels of lead in their blood, but they often don’t exhibit symptoms that can be directly connected to lead poisoning. In fact, some symptoms can be confused with behaviors that are often characteristic in young children, including hyperactivity, 
lack of focus and irritability.

Dr. John C. Ellis, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the medical director for Managed Health Services in Indianapolis, says the only way to tell if a child has lead poisoning is with a blood test. “When you find a kid with elevated levels, they already have [been poisoned],” Ellis says. “Ideally, the doctor should be bringing questions up and screening kids at 1 and 2 years.”

The most common types of exposure come from lead paint dust in homes or child care centers built before 1978; contact with someone who works in a lead-related industry, such as a painter or contractor; soil contaminated with lead gasoline residue; and imported jewelry, toys and even some candies.

If you have concerns about 
lead exposure, push your child’s or grandchild's doctor to do an evaluation. One 
of CEO Bill Oesterle’s children was poisoned during a home renovation project. Oesterle had to insist that a pediatrician administer a blood test before his daughter got the treatment needed that’s allowed her to overcome the posoning.

“If we hadn’t persisted, we might never have fully understood why she exhibited the symptoms she did or gotten her the treatment she needed,” says Oesterle, who talks about the issue freely to help educate other parents.

If your child tests positive, identify the source of the lead 
and remove it as soon as possible. If you live in a home built before 1978, purchase a lead test kit from your local hardware store or hire 
a professional who can properly test and remove it.

Your doctor should also discuss treatment options. In severe cases, your child could undergo chelation therapy, which involves taking medication to extract lead from the body. If you’re not comfortable with your doctor’s approach, ask to be referred to a specialist in toxicology or environmental and occupational medicine, or seek 
a second opinion.

Wow! Excellent food for thought, isn't it! Each of you and I certainly all want to protect your family from lead in your home, but knowing how to remove lead based paint is not something most of us can do.  

I want to say a huge thank you for the information to Angie's List. I'll be passing this info on to some other friends of mine who are caring for elderly parents in older houses, along with friends renting an older house, that's for sure. How about you?

P.S. If I had a concern about normal or high lead levels in my children or grandchildren, I would consult a doctor immediately and I highly recommend you do the same. If you wanted to start with lead testing kits first, though, Amazon does have several for you to take a look at. Just click here for more information. 🙂 

What do you do if you're a member of the Sandwich Generation and you've moved to a new area to help an aging parent? Or what if your elderly parent, who doesn't live near you, needs to find a repair person, doctor, or other service provider?

I've wrestled with both of these problems and have three recommendations to help you:

  1. Ask people. If I'm the one who moved into a new area, I ask everyone I can, even total strangers. In this last move, we found a new hair stylist from a lady at church, a doctor from my landlord, and a dentist from my doctor. If it's my elderly parent's area I'm researching, I make sure I always have a list of their friends, neighbors, and pastor, giving me a pool of people to call for recommendations.
  2. The Better Business Bureau is one of my favorite resource sites for researching businesses. They don't always have a business listed but I consider that a good sign. Not great, but not bad either, since apparently no one has made any major complaints.
  3. After hearing great feedback and, of course, checking the Better Business Bureau, I have added as a great resource to my "Sandwich Generation Toolbox." Since I live in a small city, about 45 miles from the main area they cover, I haven't had as much success as I would living in a larger metropolitan area. Even so, it's proven itself useful several times and I will definitely be renewing my membership. This great service helped me research heater and air conditioner repair companies, a good locksmith, doctors, and more. I've gleaned information from them and added information to them and I definitely recommend

Well, there you have it. My three favorite ways to help my Sandwich Generation family by finding reliable and reputable assistance even though in an unfamiliar area.

P.S. If you have to move an elderly family member, I would recommend that you read the guest post by Katie Hustead at SandwichINK, The Sandwich Generation Issues of Moving Mom and Dad: Senior Moving Services Assistance, along with the comments. There, you'll find more useful information specific to researching senior moving services for that situation.