Prevent Wandering, Part II

prevent-wandering-logo“Not all those who wander are lost”. This line taken from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien has become famous in itself and seems appropriate when thinking of our senior loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia and is a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly. This is the second Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis article focusing on the prevention of wandering, click here to find the first article in this series as well as many other articles related to senior safety and health.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is very common as people can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Typically, those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind. To the person who is wandering, they are not lost at all, but instead on a mission.

Watch this touching video about a man with a special mission in mind.

Continuing their effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as the risk of our seniors continuing to drive past a safe age and the Sunday Dinner Pledge, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program is full of valuable resources and tips to help family caregivers manage this common issue.

To a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, once familiar territory can suddenly feel foreign and the individual may walk away in search of the place they are looking for. There are many factors, such as fatigue or overstimulation, that can trigger a wandering episode. Taking proactive steps to safeguard the home and reduce the risk of wandering will help families be prepared if a wandering incident occurs.

Quick Tips to Reduce the Risk of Wandering:

  • Paint doors and door frames the same color as the walls to camouflage the exits
  • Use alarms to alert you when a loved one is on the move
  • Install doorknob safety covers
  • Create pathways to steer clear of wandering opportunities

missing_senior_networkTo help ease the stress and fear for families and the loved ones they care for, Home Instead Senior Care provides a free service called Missing Senior Network, which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or goes missing. This amazing service is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign and allows you to set up a private network including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your senior loved one quickly when he or she wanders away. To learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service, visit the website today! There are many other tips and services available, learn more about each one by visiting the helpful website where you can also find personal experience and tips from readers.

Learning of a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia is scary. Educating yourself and being prepared for the behaviors that can result will not only help the individual living with Alzheimer’s, but also help the family cope with the disease diagnosis and keep your senior loved ones safe in their home. There are many resources available for Alzheimer’s family caregivers. Learn more about these resources, such as the Home Instead Senior Care Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, by visiting this resource page.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, as well as support for the family caregivers, to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

Angels on Earth: 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior

bastas2015-1Although our Minnesota weather may not admit it, it’s time to kick off the 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior® program! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is proud to announce we will set up trees around the Minneapolis area and ensure seniors who are alone or in need receive a gift this holiday season. As once described by a senior who has received a gift from us, the Be a Santa to a Senior® program “shows there are angels on earth!” Join us in our movement once again this year to ensure seniors feel the love and be a part of our campaign.

This program targets seniors in our community who may not otherwise receive gifts or visits from family during the holidays and was first launched by our parent organization in 2003. Partnering with local non-profit and community organizations, Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis identifies seniors who perhaps live alone, do not have family members nearby, or are experiencing financial difficulties and ensures they receive a little TLC during the holidays.

Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults. The Minneapolis, Minnesota Home Instead office has partnered with local non-profits such as East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, low income housing, and several nursing homes to offer gifts and companionship to seniors in need.

You can help us brighten a senior’s life too! Home Instead Minneapolis will set up the gift trees beginning November 14th in the local businesses and retail stores that are partnering with us. The participation of the busy retail stores allows for great visibility of the program and provides a convenient way for shoppers to be part of the gift giving during the holiday season. Here’s how it works:

Head to any of the following locations:

senior_giftsLocate the Christmas tree decorated with ornament tags within the store. Select any ornament tag where you will find a senior’s name as well as gift suggestions printed on the tag. The next steps are to purchase the item(s) listed, place them in a gift bag, return to the store where the ornament tag was selected and deliver the gift to a store employee. We would also be delighted to take any donations of money or gift cards to ensure each gift wish is filled. To ensure timely delivery of all gifts, please return donations to the store by December 12th.

Since this amazing program began in 2003, there have been over 60,000 volunteers who have helped distribute over 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 deserving seniors nationwide. Join our movement and make a senior’s holiday special.

Home Instead Minneapolis is thrilled to partner with several local fire stations. Relief associations, retired and off-duty firefighters from Hopkins, Golden Valley, Wayzata, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park fire stations are volunteering their time by picking up and storing the gifts. Once the gifts are all collected, they will also help deliver the gifts to the nursing homes, assisted living and senior apartment facilities in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. THANK YOU once again to the firefighters, retired members as well as spouses and family members for being involved with our Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign! We could not pull this off without you! We appreciate your partnership and your volunteer time.

At this time of year, there are so many gift programs aimed at children and families in need, but we can’t forget the seniors! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands there are many seniors in our local communities who have just as much need for a gift and companionship during the holidays, so join us and make a difference in the life of a senior!

For more information or to find a participating organization near you, visit the Be a Santa to a Senior® website and use the locator tool provided.

Let’s Talk About Driving, Part II

LetsTalkAboutDrivingLogoCaregivers say it’s one of the thorniest conversations they will have. A family scenario that is becoming more and more common is when the adult children feel it is time for their aging parents to give up the car keys, but Mom and Dad have no intention of doing so. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis’ latest public education program, Let’s Talk About Driving, takes a deeper look into the increased risk of our seniors when they continue to drive past a safe age, especially during Minnesota’s harsh winters. It also offers helpful resources and tips to help their caregivers manage this sensitive subject.

According to research conducted by AAA, fatal crash rates increase beginning at age 75, per mile driven, and increase sharply after age 80. This is largely due to the increased risk of injury and medical complications with seniors, not an increased tendency to get into crashes. AAA also reports that in 2014, approximately 5,709 senior drivers were killed and 221,000 were injured in traffic accidents. These facts and others show alarming trends when our senior loved ones are on the road past an age where their ability to drive safely is compromised. Most older adults recognize their driving limitations and avoid situations that may put them or others at risk, but not all are willing to give up the keys so easily and that is where family members and caregivers need to step in.

To understand what it means to give up driving, it’s important to also understand what the privilege of driving means to a person. The ability to drive offers independence, control, pride and freedom for many seniors, but when their keys are taken away they will feel frustrated, depressed, defensive and helpless. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers resources to help with this difficult transition, such as:

  • Be prepared with new options – there are several senior ride program options, stores and pharmacies that deliver, or find a carpool schedule
  • Make it fun – public transportation can be a whole new adventure when the city bus or an Uber ride are a senior’s new way of getting about town
  • Think outside the box – encourage new activities that don’t require transportation like gardening or walking

thumbnail-4-misconceptionsHome Instead Senior Care Minneapolis first offered advice on the sensitive subject of our senior’s continued ability to drive safely in last month’s blog article by discussing some warning signs that may help you know that seniors may be unsafe on the road.  Situations such as confusing the gas and brake pedals, difficulty staying within the lanes, and driving the wrong speed are just a few things to look for. Learn information on these and other important warning signs by visiting While some seniors might not like the idea of giving up their driving privilege, others may consider it a relief and will welcome the idea.

4 Misconceptions About Giving up the Car

  1. Driving yourself is cheaper than paying for alternative transportation.
  2. Driving is more reliable; alternatives are less convenient.
  3. “I can’t give up the wheel. I’ve been driving my whole life!”
  4. “I won’t be able to go anywhere or see anyone!”

Read more about how to handle these typical senior responses.

The dedicated CAREGivers to our senior loved ones are often asked for assistance from the family members to help them navigate the often difficult conversation about this important issue. Home Instead’s CAREGivers can help by offering an objective voice when family members may disagree about a senior loved one’s driving future.

4 Ways to Help Families Navigate Senior Driving Concerns

  • Encourage families to learn the facts first and then decide the best course of action
  • Recommend the CarFit program
  • Discuss conversation starters and strategies for a talk with an older adult
  • Encourage families to put a plan in place before taking away the car keys

Using the above mentioned Let’s Talk About Driving program resources Home Instead Senior Care offers, as well as the Safe Driving Planner families and caregivers can help the seniors make this a smooth transition.

Five Vehicle Technologies for Keeping Seniors Safer on the Road

  1. Smart Headlights
  2. Emergency Response Systems
  3. Blind Spot Warning Systems
  4. Assistive Parking Systems
  5. Drowsy Driver Alerts:

Read more about these assistive technologies recommended by Hartford Funds and MIT AgeLab.

Proud to help bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis, Minnesota communities, Home Instead Senior Care has launched many other informative public education programs such as:

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as transportation and supports the caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Unlike some senior transportation services that just offer door-to-door service, our professional CAREGivers make sure they get all the way inside, provide any assistance required at the destination and return them home safely. Companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and other services are also available. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community.

To inquire about senior services, call us at 763-544-5988. Also, visit for more helpful information and let’s begin talking!

Caring for Seniors: A Labor of Love

The aging population and their need for care have been overlooked for so long, that the demand for caregivers in the workforce is at a critical level. As the New York Times reports, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed to meet the demand of the aging senior population by the year 2022. Caregiving is on track to become the largest occupation in the United States in the next 5 years and is expected to replace retail with the most people employed in the field, many of whom will work for home care agencies.


With our senior population aging and the ‘sandwich’ generation emerging, there is a great need for caregivers. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents and simultaneously caring for their own children. When you factor in their daily job and family activities, they can quickly become overwhelmed. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis Client Care Coordinator, Lori Leigh, explains why this growing field is so important and what being an in-home care assistant involves:

In an effort to meet the demands of the healthcare industry, one health professional in Maryland is proving he can make a difference with the High School Health Education Foundation. Dr. William Leahy, a semi-retired neurologist, created this foundation and has rolled out an education program aimed at attracting new young people to the field of home health care. The program is geared toward high school seniors who otherwise may not attend college, and offers free classroom instruction followed up by on-the-job training at a local retirement community. Textbooks, scrubs, and equipment are also covered by the foundation. This foundation’s education program has proven to be very competitive with high application numbers as well as successful graduates and Dr. Leahy is planning to expand the program to a high school in Washington D.C next. We hope he brings it to Minnesota as well!

returning-home-nutrition-480x450As the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reports, health care is a gold mine – it is an occupation industry in Minnesota that is expected to grow more than 40% by the year 2022. So, what does it mean to be a caregiver? The type of care will vary and the client’s needs will really dictate what an in-home caregiver will be doing on any given day. The caregiver may be assisting with transportation, doctor visits, errands, meal preparation, medication reminders or light housekeeping. Companionship is the most important aspect of the caregiver’s day and is a big part of the caregiver client relationship, as well as being an advocate for them within the community.

Caring for seniors is a labor of love that calls for just the right person with a special touch. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis hires dedicated CAREGivers who share our passion for caring for seniors and providing in-home care assistance to join our team. This caught the attention of Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News who featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz and highlighted their very special bond.

Every day, families in Minneapolis are struggling to balance raising their own family, a demanding career, and caring for a senior loved one. The family caregivers eventually run out of hours in the day and the stress becomes unmanageable. This is where a Home Instead CAREGiver steps in to help. If you believe you are that special type of person who enjoys working with seniors and wants to make a difference in the lives of older adults as a career, being a Home Instead Senior Care network CAREGiver might be the career for you. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides training as well as on going 24/7 support to our CAREGivers. We also provide advanced training opportunities throughout the year, including dementia and Alzheimer’s specific training, which is currently in high demand.

Home Instead offers flexible work hours, a competitive salary and health insurance benefit package, including overtime pay and paid travel time between client appointments to our employees as well. We offer this and more to our CAREGivers through a holistic approach – caring for our CAREGiver’s mind, body, and spirit. We believe when we care for our CAREGivers, they are better equipped to have meaningful relationships with the clients and their families and it will allow them to do what they do best, which is ensuring seniors live independently as long as possible.

Home Instead Senior Care understands what it takes to provide care to seniors and we are dedicated to hiring the best individuals to fill our needs. To learn more about current openings at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, visit the Careers tab of our website where you can also apply online or contact us by calling 763-634-8247 today.

Processing the Mixed Emotions of Caregiving

homecaremnCaring for a senior loved one in Minneapolis can come with a contradiction of emotions. For example, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis points out that nearly three-fourths (74%) of family caregivers who hide their feelings are overwhelmed, but that same percent of people caring for their Mom or Dad also feel loved. In addition, 64% feel anxious while these same caregivers feel satisfied. A key finding of the research: hiding one’s feelings increases the risk for caregiver distress. As we noted in last month’s blog post, caregiver distress is a situation where the stress of caring for a senior in their home makes one more susceptible to health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and  stroke. Watch the video below to learn what Home Instead Minneapolis is doing to uncover this issue and provide home care assistance.

emotions_caregivingHome Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis’ Family Caregiver Stress Relief program is designed to assist caregivers in better identifying their potential for distress in an effort to help avoid its adverse impact. Resources featured here can help family caregivers learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand. One U.S. study of 38 years of research revealed that surveyed caregivers had a 23% higher level of stress hormones and a 15% lower level of antibody responses than did non-caregivers. That’s why it is important for a person to first recognize that they’re a caregiver by taking our quiz.

Next, one should take an honest look at their emotions.  Caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix says caregivers should try to avoid classifying emotions as good and bad. “Just recognizing it’s normal to feel many emotions when you’re a family caregiver helps take the power away from the emotion.” She offers that other major life events also bring conflicting feelings. Who wasn’t scared to walk down the aisle and what Mom didn’t grab a tissue when they proudly dropped their child off at the University of Minnesota? Two attributes set caregiving apart: the intensity of caregiving situations and the lack of planning that generally precipitates the need for care. Dr. D’Aprix offers these tips to help caregivers overcome the anxiety of the unexpected need for caregiving.

  1. Look at your situational concern. What can you control? If your Dad is diabetic, you can control the food you serve. What you cannot control is what he eats. Other common worries such as passing away before your senior loved one are things you can’t control, so try not to worry.
  2. Have an outlet. Find someone you can talk to without judgement. This could be a friend, support group or home care provider. Caregivers who repress their feelings are most likely to feel frustration over increasing demands on their time (56%), experiencing the physical demands of caregiving (41%) and lacking control over their emotions (34%).
  3. Recognize your limitations. Be realistic about what you can do. While you might be the perfect person to make a meal for a senior, you probably shouldn’t be providing medical care services. Set priorities and get help from a home health care provider when needed.

home care mn If you’re showing signs of caregiver distress, consider talking with a healthcare professional that can help you to evaluate your situation. Remember, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a family caregiver. In fact, it is important that you take initiative with your own physical and emotional care so that you can best assist the person you are caring. Approximately 74% of caregivers who hide their feelings report fatigue, 53% report difficulty sleeping, 37% report depression, and 30% experience weight gain or loss. Take the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for the Home Instead Senior Care network  to learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand.

Enter to Win our Contest!

alzheimers care mn


In conjunction with the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference and our support of organizations that provide education and assistance to those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, we’re offering a chance to win a $100 gift card to Parasole Restaurants PLUS a $100 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in your name.

Enter by June 28!

UofMHome Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is committed to making coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues, such as memory loss as easy as possible. That is why we were a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN held on Saturday, June 1st. According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., coordinator of the conference, “The Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference is designed to share tools, skills, resources, information, and wisdom with families and care professionals about the most effective ways to care for persons with memory concerns. With more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and 15.4 million people provided care for these individuals, the need to share relevant, effective care approaches and ideas to improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss is more critical than ever. To this end, our June 1st, 2013 Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference will touch on several key topics including different types of dementia, family dynamics, art therapy, and abuse issue in person with memory loss. As this conference is a community education event and free for families, the kindness of sponsors such as Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is critical to help us provide speaker honoraria, offer copies of presentation materials to attendees, provide refreshments to attendees, and live stream and record the conference for future viewing by attendees and others.”

The conference was a huge success! Thank you to Joseph Gaugler and others for providing this valuable education and awareness to people caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Conference Committee

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, is an Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the School of Nursing and Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, family caregiving, and clinical interventions for these individuals.

Mark Reese, MA, LPC, LAMFT, is a study counselor at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on enhancing clinical services for families caring for relatives with memory loss.

University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry

As Dr. Gaugler’s research program continues to grow, he would like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider being a part of the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry. Becoming part of the registry does not enroll you in any study, but it provides Dr. Gaugler with permission to contact you in the future about any upcoming opportunities to participate in his research as well other basic information. Filling out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry form should not take more than 5 minutes. If you have already done this for us and nothing has changed since you filled it out, there is no need to fill out another form. However, if something has changed since you last filled out a Registry form, please feel free to fill out a new form:

If you are a family member or friend who knows someone with memory loss or is helping them, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Family form here:

If you are a professional who cares for persons with memory loss or their families, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Professional form here:

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss (CPWML) Annual Conference was Streamed

The CPWML conference recording will be made available on the virtual library site at: after the conference. This live stream will be interactive, meaning you can participate in Q & A with presentation speakers.

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference Virtual Library

If you would like to revisit the information presented in this or past Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences, please visit our virtual conference library at There you will find Power Point slides and handouts of each presentation, information on how to access recorded presentations, speaker contact information and other resources from past conferences. We have held Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences since Spring 2008, and there is a lot of great, free information in the virtual library for you, your family members, or clients!

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10 Tips to Protect Seniors from Scams

home care MinneapolisAfter reading the 3 stories of senior fraud in last month’s blog post, you might be wondering, why are seniors so often targeted, who would do such a thing and how can I prevent this from happening to an elderly person in my life? “Scam artists are specifically targeting seniors because they are the fastest-growing segment of the population, which has led to increased demands on Minneapolis law enforcement agencies,” said John Stuck, owner of Home Instead Senior Care® of Minneapolis. In addition, the National Association of Triads, a partnership of law enforcement, has identified these characteristics in some seniors that make them vulnerable:

  1. Wealth: Money is one of the most notable reasons why seniors are targeted. Scammers consider not only their disposable income but the value of their homes, property, life savings and other assets.
  2. Availability: Seniors that are retired spend more time at home and are available for phone calls and visits. Scam artists can more easily get in contact with them, often times repeatedly if their first attempt is successful, as with the woman in last month’s blog post who was scammed out of $5,000 over 2-3 months.
  3. Sickness: Chronic health issues mean that many older adults have difficulty maintaining their property and may rely on outside sources for help. Unscrupulous workers can bilk seniors out of thousands of dollars for a job that should only cost hundreds of dollars. Dementia can exacerbate the problem.
  4. Isolation: Seniors are often alone when families move away from the Minneapolis area. If they don’t have a family member or home care agency to assist them with large decisions, they can fall prey to fraud.
  5. Loneliness: Because of their isolation, seniors’ friendships often can be limited, and this can make them vulnerable to that friendly caller who drops by the house. Some scams are even perpetrated by seemingly trusted people who work to build new friendships with older adults and then prey on their vulnerabilities.

home health careCons against older adults aren’t always acts of blatant theft. They can be subtle, like the retailer who over-charges an older adult or an individual who bills for a service and doesn’t finish the job. A 2011 MetLife Study has identified three elder financial abuse strategies: crimes of occasion, crimes of desperation and crimes of predation.

  • Crimes of occasion, or opportunity, are incidents where the senior has something of value and a perpetrator is allowed easy access to it.
  • Crimes of desperation are typically those in which family members or friends become so desperate for money that they will do whatever it takes to get it. Many of these family members are dependent on the senior for resources. Some believe that, in return for care, he or she is due compensation, as with the case in last month’s blog post of our client with MS.
  • Crimes of predation, or occupation are the most popularized by the media. Most often, a trust is engendered specifically for the intention of financial abuse later. The taking of assets is by stealth and cunning.

Senior Scam minneapolisAs a result, the nonprofit National Association of Triads and Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis have launched a public information program to educate families and seniors about how to protect themselves. The Protect Seniors from Fraud program provides family caregivers with a number of important tools including a Senior Fraud Protection Kit. Download your copy today!

In it, you’ll find these 5 tips to protect seniors from scams:

  1. Add seniors to the national Do-Not-Call Registry. A study has shown that one of 10 telemarketing callers is a scammer. People may register their residential telephone number, including wireless numbers, on the Do-Not-Call Registry at no cost. To register online and for additional information, go to To register by phone, call 888-382-1222; for TTY, call 866-290-4236. You must call from the phone number you wish to register.
  2. Shred documents that could be useful to criminals, including bank statements, credit-card statements and offers, and other financial information. Documents that need to be preserved, such as tax filings and car titles, should be stored in a safe deposit box.
  3. Insist that your senior calls the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) or gets a BBB Business Review online at before acting on a phone call or a piece of mail, or agreeing to a visit from an unknown person, business or charity. Point out suspicious mailings, especially look-alike envelopes that mimic letters sent from the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service.
  4. Insist that your senior never give out personal information nor agree to give money over the phone. Rather ask for written information to be sent through the mail. The best rule of thumb is to “never provide information in a phone call that you did not initiate.”
  5. Establish a strong defense by posting a “No Solicitation” notice by senior’s front door and help them to sort through his or her incoming mail. A Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver actually prevented fraud by noticing endless magazine subscriptions, along with invoices for them!

Do these tips sound helpful? If so, download your own  Senior Fraud Protection Kit and learn 5 more!

senior careAccording to experts, the top three crimes targeting seniors are identity theft, Medicaid/Medicare and medication fraud, and financial exploitation. The demographics of an aging population and the sophistication of scammers are adding up to big losses – both financially and emotionally – for older adults. The annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion, a 12 percent increase since 2008.

Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis clients is urging Minnesota families to be protect senior loved ones from scammers who may be targeting them with clever cons that could jeopardize not only their life savings but their independence.

How Seniors Make Volunteering Joyful and Long Lasting

senior volunteerOur parent organization, the Home Instead Senior Care® network, recently performed research on senior volunteers and found some truly interesting facts about what makes volunteering enriching and fun for people in their golden years, especially in Minneapolis.

Minnesota seniors who have learned how to give of themselves in a sustained way had some secrets to share about how to enjoy community service as long as possible. In fact 70% of the seniors surveyed said they plan to go on donating their time to special causes “forever.”

Tips from these seniors included the following:

1.  Find something to be passionate about. What have you always wanted to do? What special causes really make your heart sing? Whether it’s helping to feed the homeless at a Minneapolis shelter, being a docent, helping at a pet shelter or making baby bonnets, there is something for everyone and every passion. Finding the role that really tickles your fancy is the key to keeping it interesting.

2.  Find a cause where there is a real need. In this Minnesota economy, as you might guess, that is a very easy thing to do. Not only are there more people in need today than ever before, but non-profit and community service organizations are more taxed than ever too. The Corporation for National and Community Service conducted a survey in 2009 revealing that 80% of nonprofit and AmeriCorps organizations were feeling fiscal stress.

Some great resources exist locally and nationally to find the greatest need, including:

3.  Giggle your way out a bad day. Like any real job, volunteer roles for seniors are going to have their ups and downs, and one way to handle it is to simply laugh it off. For a quick “laugh fix,” visit CaregiverStress.comSM and “Laugh with Mary Maxwell.” Mary’s delightful perspective on life as a senior will help get rid of the bad day blues!

4.  Don’t set the bar too high. We all want things to go well, but sometimes they just don’t. Organizing events, for example, can involve many details from fliers to food, decorations, and the contributions of other volunteer seniors. Aiming for perfection can make the whole event go sour. By contrast, cheerfully taking the good with the bad and making the best of whatever challenges occur will help you and everyone around you “go with the flow.”

5. Be joyful. Just like paid work, a volunteer role may not be worth doing if there is no joy in it. Even the grittiest hands-on jobs should be things that you enjoy or even take special pride in accomplishing. Whether you’re building, baking, organizing, reading or caring for an elderly person in their home, make sure it brings you joy.

senior minneapolis6. Shrug off the critics. Volunteering takes all kinds of seniors, and some of them can take the roles and responsibilities of volunteering a touch too seriously. If faced with criticism, shrug it off – especially if it is a one time thing. The good news is that tomorrow is likely to be a better day. And if not, there are many more opportunities to explore such as caring for a person with disabilities in their home.

7. Turn the other cheek. Avoiding conflict and side-stepping turf wars has helped many a volunteer to rise above challenges that may crop up from time to time. Remember, sometimes it is best to give up ground to keep the peace, and most disagreements will simply blow over given some cooling off time.

8. Give yourself a break. Do not overdo it. The world will certainly go on if you take care of yourself and your own needs. Dedication is a wonderful thing, but the work you do in your retirement years should not drudgery, and should never supersede your own self care.

9. Ignore negativity. There is “one in every crowd,” as they say. It may be someone who looks for what’s wrong instead of what’s right, or even someone who is envious of all you accomplish. Seek out those who share your interests, have a “team” mentality, and are about the greater good.

10. Need help? Ask for it! If you are yearning to volunteer or you know a senior who is, contact Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis, which employs CAREGiversSM . CAREGivers can help around the house with meal preparation and light housekeeping so their clients can volunteer. What a great way to get out of the house and interact with others!

Need ideas for ways to make a difference? Here is a brief overview of the primary volunteer activities of seniors:

  • 47% volunteer with churches and religious organizations
  • 16% work in senior centers or other senior-related services
  • 10% work in hospitals or healthcare organizations
  • 10% work with schools, educational services and youth programs
  • 7% volunteer with social services and nonprofit organizations

There are as many ways to help as there are people who want to give their time. Think about volunteering in Minneapolis today. You can make a world of difference!

Senior Volunteer Nominated for Hospice Work

Know a senior hero like Ernest Bradbury that’s making a difference in your community? Salute that senior’s volunteer efforts by nominating them for the Home Instead Minneapolis Salute to Senior Award.

Nominated Senior Heroes℠ have a chance to win dinner for 2 and a show at the Old Log Theater!

In addition, each Nominated Senior Heroes℠ will automatically be entered in our Home Instead National Salute to Senior Service℠ contest. Home Instead, Inc. will make a $5,000 donation to each of the national winners’ designated non-profit charity of choice. Nominees must be 65 years of age or older and volunteer at least 15 hours a month. Stories will be posted on the website.

Hurry, contest ends March 15th!

Be a Santa to a Senior Program a HUGE Success in Minneapolis!

In 2011, 2000 gifts were given to local Minneapolis area seniors who needed holiday cheer.
We appreciate your participation!

senior careThe faces of both the seniors and the volunteers lit up as gifts were distributed to seniors in nursing homes, low income senior housing, adult day centers and personally nominated individuals. Just a few of the senior residences include the Ebenezer Tower, Friendship Center and Augustana.

home careThis huge success would not have been possible without our partners which include Byerly’s & Lund’s Pharmacy locations, Starbucks, The Brost Clinic, Health Partners, Minneapolis Women’s Club, Upsher-Smith, Park Nicollet Orthopedic Clinic, Allina Health Clinic Medical Arts, Oakwood Elementary, MN School of Business and Herzig University.

With this experience in our hearts, we look forward to 2012 with positivity and gratefulness.