Senior Connection

Jul 31, 2013

Care To Ask

This month’s questions comes from someone who is wondering how social day care and adult day health programs differ.

Remember if you have caregiving questions email them to

Q. I am currently taking care of my uncle and I think he would benefit from some sort of a day program to socialize and be with others during the day while I am at work. Currently he is at the house all day by himself and he complains he is bored. I am confused on if we should look into social day care programs or adult day health programs. What is the difference between these two programs?

A. Social day care and adult day health programs are extremely valuable and important programs. These programs allow older adults to continue to reside in a community setting while allowing the informal caregiver to have a break during the day. There are differences between the care provided at social day care and adult day health programs. The level of care the older adult needs will determine which program is the best for them.

Both programs are offered during the day Monday-Friday, with some now offering extended evening and/or weekend hours. Most programs prefer that a person attend at least 2 days per week so the participant and staff get to know each other. Both programs offer socialization activities as well as nutritious meals and snacks. Transportation may be provided to and from the center.

Social Day programs, which may also be called Adult Day Care, focus on the socialization of the older adult allowing them to maintain structure and focus in their day. This type of program is best suited for the older adult who is still independent and does not require hands on assistance with any of their activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, toileting and transferring, but require more supervision and structure than is provided at the local senior center. Social day care is not appropriate for those who need medication administration, wander or require constant redirection during the day. It is appropriate for the person who can take their own medications after a reminder is given or needs occasional redirection or cueing during the day.

If your uncle needs more care that what can be offered at a social day care program you should look into an adult day health program. These programs have registered nurses (RNs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) on site and can provide hands on assistance to participants. They can also bring other health care professionals, including podiatrists, eye doctors, dentists, physical, occupational and speech therapists onsite. Adult day health programs are best suited for the older adult who requires medication administration and/or assistance with any ADLs such as feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting or transfers. These programs are secure so they provide a safe environment for someone with dementia. They are not appropriate for someone who needs constant one on one attention or is combative.

Social day and adult day health programs are great programs for older adults and their caregivers. Social day care programs are less expensive than adult day health programs and have a lower staffing to participant ratio. It is important to make sure that the program, whether a social day program or adult day health program, is a good match for the older adult. Programs may have different populations that they focus on such as younger individuals with mental health or developmental disabilities. It is a good idea to visit the center and make sure it is a good match for the older adult. Many centers offer a free one day trial visit so the family and older adult can decide if a particular center will be a good match. Any center you and your uncle are interested in will conduct an assessment to be he is an appropriate fit for their site.

A very big thank you to Lisa Pontbriand, from St Francis Adult Day Health, for helping to answer this month’s question. For more information about the Adult Day health program at St Francis please visit

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Jul 25, 2013

What You Should Never Say To Someone Over 50

The Huffington Post

There are just some things that are best left unsaid, especially when you're talking to someone over 50. A seemingly innocent enough observation -- "Hey, you look tired!" -- can be an unexpected and at times unpleasant reminder of one's age.

The Huffington Post asked their fans what were some things one should never say to someone over 50, and the answers came pouring in.

Add your comment below.

To read the entire article, Click Here!

Jul 14, 2013

Helpful Technology For Caregivers & Older Adults

 Lately, it’s hard to imagine a world without blogs, iPhones, tablets and the seemingly endless list of apps. But to many older adults who never had access to these developments before, the thought of using them now is overwhelming. Studies suggest that, “a lack of awareness of what is available and the knowledge of how to access it, are two of the main obstacles preventing people using technology” (University of Sheffield, 2013). There is a widespread perception that technology is too complex for those above a certain age, however this is simply not true! Once introduced to these resources, older adults often find them to be extremely useful.  Using technology is a great way to develop new ideas, save money, and connect with loved ones from all over. Check out the following websites, devices, and apps:

Groupon and other coupon sites allow you to customize searches to find deals on activities and products that directly relate to your interests. Find deals on exercise classes, restaurants, home goods, trips and more!

Pinterest is a great site for gathering ideas for the home, recipes, crafts, and do it yourself products.

Photosharing sites like dropbox and shutterfly allow you to choose who you share pictures with. Shutterfly can even organize photos into an album or gift that you order. Sharing photos is a great way to continually see what friends and family are up to in between visits!

Online calendars, like Google Calendar, are another wonderful resource. You can make multiple calendars for different types of events, which you can then choose to combine or separate. You can add other people to view or edit the calendar. This is especially useful for caregivers near and far to help keep track of an older adult’s schedule!

Dragon Diction is an app that enables users to vocalize emails, text messages, status updates, etc and view them immediately before publishing. This is a great app for people who have difficulty with seeing small print on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Apps like Viber, TextPlus, and Whatsapp are all communication applications that allow you to call or text people who also have the app for free! This is useful for contacting people in other countries.

Red laser is an app that compares the prices of a good among stores in your area. Find out where to get things for the cheapest price and save money!

Pill Reminder apps keep track of the valuable information associated with medication management. According the Guardian, the Pill Reminder Pro asks users to “enter in the name of your pill, dosage, frequency, and what time(s) of day, and Pill Reminder sends a message via PUSH alert” (Guardian, 2013).

For older adults that live far away from loved ones, one of the best investments to make is in a webcam. Aging can sometimes be a lonely process but chatting through Skype or Google can allow you to regularly keep in touch with family or old friends.

As many people age, they have difficulty reading the small print found in newspaper or books. Many E-readers provide the same publications in larger print. For example, Kindle users have access to a wide range of books and newspapers through the online bookstore. E-readers are also useful because they conveniently store everything in one place. Tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire or Samsung Galaxy Note act as E-readers while also providing the internet and wide selection of apps to their users. Tablets are easy to travel with allowing users to bring book collections, music, pictures, movies and more with them wherever they go!

Fitbit is a device that is similar to a pedometer, except that it is synced to your computer. You can keep track of how many steps you take each day and compare to friends!

The WII is a user friendly gaming system that provides a lot of entertainment and fitness options. It is interactive so it allows you to actually play sports like bowling, tennis, and golf indoors. You can buy different games that suit your interests. You can also download Netflix onto your WII. This is a great way to stream favorite movies and television shows from home for a relatively low monthly cost.

There are many options available. Many senior centers can provide information on how to use these devices and websites. Technology stores like Apple and Windows can offer tutorials on how to use their products. Several senior centers and libraries offer free courses on how to use the internet, which provides its students with opportunities to ask specific questions.

Horton, Clare, and Mark King. "10 of the Best Apps for Older People." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, Media, 21 September 2011. Web. 12 July 2013.

"Older People Have a Thirst for Technology." University of Sheffield News Releases. N.p., 22 May 2013. Web. 12 July 2013.

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Jul 1, 2013

Care To Ask

Summer is in full swing and that means that wedding season is here. This month’s Care to Ask comes from a caregiver who would like to travel to his niece’s wedding but is concerned about who will care for his mother while he is away.

Remember if you have caregiving questions email them to

Q. My Niece in California, who is also my godchild, is getting married in September. Since my brother’s passing, she has looked to me as her dad, and has asked me to walk her down the aisle. I really do want to do this, but my Mom lives with us. Mom is homebound, and cannot make the trip. What kind of help is available so that my wife and I can go to Cali, and yet still be sure my Mom is safe and cared for?

A. The service that can best meet your needs in this situation is called respite. Respite can best be described as a short term service that provides care to an individual when the caregiver is not available. This service can be provided in a number of settings including in home, out of home or a combination of both.

Using in home services means that your mother can stay in the comfort of her own home. Depending on the level of care your mother needs you can arrange for someone to stay with her 24/7 or during certain times of the day. If your mother needs help showering, being put to bed and/or staying overnight and individual could be hired to come for only those times of the day.

Out of home services can be provided in facilities such as nursing homes or assisted living residences, or in a community based day program. Respite in a facility is for overnight stays and is usually provided on a space available basis. The facility may also have minimum or maximum length of stay requirements.

Day programs include Adult Day Health and Social Day programs. An assessment will be done to determine the appropriate program. Your mother would be transported to the program in the morning and return home later in the day, usually late afternoon. In home services can be used for the night, overnight and weekend hours.

Depending on the level of care your mother needs and the amount of time the service will be utilized respite may be costly. Respite services are usually on a private pay basis unless your mother is fortunate enough to have long term care insurance that covers this service. There may be assistance in paying for a portion of these services through your local Family Caregiver Support program, which in Massachusetts is a program of the local Aging Service Access Point (ASAP).

If you live in Massachusetts, you can find the appropriate service agency by going to

For those individuals that live outside of Massachusetts you can find local resources by using Elder Care Locator at or call 1-800-677-1116.

If possible, you should begin researching options and putting a plan in place as soon as possible. It is also important to have a conversation with your mother about your plans, the services that you have arranged so that she will be safe and well cared for while you are away. If appropriate it is always good to have your mother participate in the planning to the best of her ability. By planning in advance, you may be able to arrange for you and your mother to meet anyone that will be providing in home services and/or to visit any out of home programs that she will be participating in.

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To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.