UPMC Senior Care Resources SessionsA Wealth of Information on Senior Care
Caring for a loved one comes with its own set of challenges, which is why UPMC created Senior Care Resources Sessions. Designed to support UPMC staff, many of whom care for aging loved ones, these educational sessions provide practical information on a wide range of senior care topics, including how to prevent falls, options in long-term care and tips to help caregivers balance their own needs with those of their loved ones.
Watch and Learn About Topics that Affect Most Caregivers
Video 5: Medicare Part D: Enrolling and Managing Your Drug Benefits
Contact the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh if you have any questions about the topics or resources discussed in this session.
Topics and speakers:
1. I don’t think my elderly father should drive anymore, but he refuses to give it up. What steps can I take?
AAA sponsors driver safety evaluations and classes for older drivers. Check with the Institute on Aging for information about these programs. If your father has medical issues that affect his driving so that you believe he is endangering himself or others, you should talk with his physician. He or she can evaluate your father’s abilities and decide whether or not to inform the state to revoke your father’s drivers’ license.
2. I have durable power of attorney for my father. When should I exercise that?
Durable medical power of attorney is exercised when a person can no longer speak for himself or herself, for example, when they are hospitalized and not conscious or coherent. In this situation, the person with durable power of attorney has the responsibility to make medical decisions for the patient in accordance with the patient’s own wishes.
3. My mother and father refuse to move out of their house even though it’s too much for them handle. I have discussed this with them, but they won’t consider moving. What can I do?
“Aging in place” is a term that refers to older adults living independently in their homes. There are many community resources that allow people to live in their homes as long as they possibly can. Experts agree that with proper support, this is an optimum living situation for older adults. However, when there are safety issues and caregiving resources are being stretched to the limit, then it is time to consider alternatives. Sometimes a family meeting helps a parent understand their children's concerns. Try asking a trusted friend, clergy, or other person your father would trust to speak to him about the issue.
4. What is the best way to help prevent further decline of physical and mental capabilities?
Doing resistance and aerobic exercise (with PCP approval), quitting smoking, eating a diet that is low in fat, problem-solving activities such as crossword puzzles, reading discussing current events, and writing, all can help prevent mental and physical decline.
5. How can adult children encourage aging parents to plan for the future (putting in place plans for long-term care and financial planning)?
Simply holding a family conference and discussing these issues with parents shows that you are concerned. It gives all family members the opportunity to voice their sentiments. Have a variety of possible resources for parents and help them explore their options. Give them information, show them concern and care, and then let them make the decision themselves.
6. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia. My mother wants her to move in with her or go to a nursing home. But she is safe and fairly competent. Which environment is best for her?
Staying in a familiar environment with appropriate supports can be fine as long as there are consistent helps and aids (grab bars, for example, in the bath). Learning new environments can be difficult. And getting help in the home can help a person "age in place." However, when an older person becomes functionally disabled due to inability to dress, bathe, walk, or toilet themselves, or when in-home supports with caregivers and paid help still leave questions of safety, then it is time to consider alternative care arrangements. If a familiar environment cannot be maintained, then staying with a familiar person may be the next best alternative.
Topics and Speakers
PowerPoint supplement to Managing Fall Risk Webcast: UPMC Senior Care Resources PowerPoint presentation - Aug. 2008
A guide to safe shoes: this shoe guide PDF is viewable in Internet Explorer and Adobe Acrobat.
University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging – To get information about other programs not mentioned today.
UPMC Senior Care – Benedum Geriatric Center, Oakland – 412-692-4200 – For Falls Assessment
Center for Balance Disorders – 412-647-2100 (many locations in Pittsburgh)
Centers for Rehab Services – 1-888-723-4CRS (4277) – For Home Assessment and Strengthening Exercises
Pittsburgh Claude D. Older Americans Independence Center (to learn more about research studies) – 412-383-1564
Center for Assistive Technology – 412-647-1310 – For Home Assessment and Assistive Devices
UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine – 412-623-3023 – Programs include acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathic counseling, shiatsu, tai chi, qigong, meditation, yoga and more.