caring for elderly parents

Storms may come and go but Gods love and Word are forever-Christian encouragement via Kaye Swain REALTORAging in Place. That's our goal for as long as possible. But it can have many faces. When my grandparents' health started to deteriorate, my parents moved in with them to help. When my grandparents on the other side of the family had health issues, they opted for assisted living for years. Then they moved in with my parents for the last few months of my grandfather's life. In both cases, it was a blessing to see the great example my parents set. And a blessing to get to spend extra time with each set of grandparents in the twilight of their lives even though it was followed shortly by a bittersweet season of grief and loss

Fast forward two decades. When my dad's Parkinson's Disease progressed, my parents moved into my home. This was something I had anticipated and we had several aging in place options already installed. They moved in around June. A few months later, when I was out at a lovely Thanksgiving church musicale, my dad's simple cold turned into pnuemonia and I had to leave the service early to take him to the hospital.

Thanksgiving was less joyfilled the year my dad got so sick-via Kaye Swain

I still remember how scared and concerned I felt as I drove to the house to pick them both up. Once there we worked with the palliative care team who prescribed hospice for him. What a shock! Here we were, in the midst of a season of joy and merriment, being hit hard as we entered a slow and sad journey down the "valley of the shadow of death."

It was a difficult holiday season for our family. I look back on it now, remembering many of the sad happenings but grateful there were also lovely lovely family memories sprinkled throughout. It was truly one of the most difficult times of my life! We didn't put many decorations up, that's for sure! But we were blessed throughout with the help of our beloveds and we came out on the other side grateful for the comforting presence of God throughout. 

You may have to go easy on the decorations but Christmas can still be a sweet blessing even in the midst of sorrow grief and loss

During any of the holidays, you may be dealing with end of life issues, as we were. Or you may be in the throes of ongoing caregiving needs, as I am now. Or you may know of a friend or relative dealing with these issues – again, I am right there with you. Any and all of these are a challenge at any time, but especially so during the holiday seaons. 

Because of a loved one's situation, I went to one of my favorite resources for dealing with grief and sorrow – Griefshare.Org. I again signed up for their free one-year subscription of daily emails.  I was blessed with these when my dad passed away. I've shared this info with others who have dealt with loss. I had a friend who lost a beloved pet who was very comforted by them. I can't recommend them highly enough. And if you aren't sure a friend can or will sign up, you can sign up yourself and share individual ones with that friend – which can be as much a blessing to you as them. Such a great resource!

In addition to their onliine options, they provide grief care groups in various local churches all over the country. During the season of Thanksgiving through Christmas, they may have a special holiday seminar to provide support, encouragement, and practical stress-reducing ideas that will help you face and survive the holidays. If it is November – December, check their webiste for the holiday seminar link. I typed in my zip code and found five churches offering this seminar within 10 – 30 minutes of me. I checked zip codes for several of my loved ones. If you live in the country, it might be a further drive but the farthest I found was about an hour away. The course time varied with the location from 1- 2 hours for the seminar. 

They also have various articles dealing with holiday grief.  CLICK HERE to read them. And to sign up for the daily emails, CLICK HERE

If you or a loved one of any age – including elderly seniors – are dealing with the pain and suffering that come with grief and sorrow, I would definitely encourage you to check out along with their free daily email newsletters and other excellent resources including season holiday options. My family and I have been blessed by their ministry and I am hoping you and yours will be as well. 


Gods light can still shine at Christmas even in the midst of grief and loss-pain and suffering

Beverly's Got so many cute pink things each Saturday including lovely homes and home decor - great for creative ideas when you are moving to a new home




A vivid blue sky and lovely autumn fall foliage from Kaye Swain REALTORThis lovely week in autumn, as we wander amidst the beginning of delightful fall foliage, we're also talking about Disaster Preparedness across the nation and across my blogs! FEMA and other government and community agencies are sharing valuable and vital emergency preparation tips for National Preparedness Month 2014 and National Prepareathon Day on September 30, 2014. That's a subject near and dear to my heart so I'm joining in big time!

Here at SandwichINK Real Estate Info, the topic focus is helping our elderly seniors stay safe at home – whether their own home, a multigenerational home they share, or even in a care facility. And emergency preparation is just as vital for them! Maybe more so as they are less likely to be aware of a disaster as others – or to react as fast to a dangerous situation.

As FEMA puts it, Elderly seniors, particularly those "with medical issues and limited mobility, can be especially vulnerable should a natural or manmade disaster strike. Local, state and federal officials are urging all Americans, in particular the elderly, to review, update and rehearse their disaster plans. Those living in a group setting, such as a nursing home or adult living facility, should speak with the administrator to learn about the specific disaster/evacuation plan for that facility."

Many of the normal preparation items are the same for all of us, including a NOAA emergency radio. My senior mom is way ahead of all of us there – she's been using one of those for years, just because she likes how good the reception is and how easy they are to operate. I always tell her, she's my emergency backup if we ever need one of those! 

Pink roses from Roseville California to make scary conversations less scary for our elderly seniors

Some preparation items FEMA suggests for elderly seniors are different, though. Here are some of the items they recommend specific to older seniors: 

  • "Prescription medicines:  These should be rotated frequently and kept up to date;
  • Medical supplies: an extra pair of glasses, hearing-aid batteries and any other personally needed medical devices;
  • An emergency contact list: to reach family, friends and emergency numbers;  
  • If you live alone, talk to your family or friends about preparing for emergencies, getting help in the event of an evacuation and dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers who can help in an emergency. Discuss needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary medical equipment.
  • Arrange for electronic payments of federal benefits or other retirement income. A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. Switching to electronic payments also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The federal government recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:
  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account is the best option for people with bank accounts. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or at
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative topaper checks for people who don't have a bank account. Sign up is easy – call toll-freeat (877) 212-9991 or sign up online at
  • Disaster-assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children."

You can read the entire page at – Elderly Need Special Plans To Be Ready For A Disaster

Here's a great video for boomers and seniors:

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

Here's the link for seniors referred to in the video. And by the way, one thing this video recommends is to teach senior parents how to text. Sadly, that isn't going to be possible for many. That's why it is also vital for those of us overseeing our beloved seniors – near or far – to check in with them regularly in case of problems. I also recommend signing up for emergency information from cities and counties in the areas they live to be notified of emergencies sooner.

I really liked this great printout to post at home or share online – Prepare For Emergencies Now: Information For Older Americans

Here are a few other valuable links and resources:

Great disaster preparation resources for elderly seniors and caregivers, that's for sure. Do you have any resources to share as well? We'd love to hear! And don't forget, even though we are staying busy caring for elderly parents, working at home or out, and now – preparing for any emergencies, it's vital to take good care of the caregiver as well. That may be the most important emergency preparedness tip of all for caregivers! So don't forget to…

Lovely Roseville CA roses remind us to stop and smell the roses even in the midst of national preparedness month and the prepareathon




Kaye Swain REALTOR loves to visit the Dedicated House for Anything Blue Friday

Beverlys Pink Saturday for pink photos from my easy to use digital camera