Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Family Education Workshop

We’ve all heard at least some of the statistics. Maybe you already knew that one in eight seniors aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. But did you know that by 2030, the number of adults living with dementia will almost double (according to the World Alzheimer’s Report, Alzheimer’s Disease International)? Maybe you don’t need to hear these statistics to realize the impact of Alzheimer’s on people’s lives because you’re living it. Are you caring for an aging parent or relative in Minneapolis with Alzheimer’s disease? Do you want to find out more about what causes dementia, and the signs to watch for? Are you familiar with the behaviors – such as wandering and aggression – that can be caused by Alzheimer’s and other dementias? You need to know that there is support for you and your loved one. Home Instead Senior Care developed a unique training program called CARE so that our CAREGiversSM  can provide the highest quality of home care service, changing the way people live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. CARE stands for Changing Aging through Research and EducationSM and we’re excited to bring this program to family members of those with Alzheimer’s through our Family Education Workshops.

Next Workshop!
Date:  Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 6-8:30pm
Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis in Maple Grove, Minnesota
If you are interested in attending, please call us at  763-544-5988 or RSVP on our Facebook page.

We will briefly discuss the causes of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, the symptoms and how they are diagnosed. The focus will be on understanding the behaviors and learning to engage your loved one. Our workshops are audience guided and interactive so you’re sure to have your questions answered.

Topics include:
• Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias
• Capturing Life’s Journey
• Techniques to Handle Challenging Behaviors
• Activities to Encourage Engagement

Capturing Life’s Journey

This workshop will help you:
1. Discover how capturing your loved one’s life’s journey can help you and others provide the best care for your loved one.
2. Learn techniques to encourage your senior loved one to share their stories and memories.
3. Become familiar with the format of the Life Journal and how to record information about your loved one’s past.
4. Find out how to use the Life Journal in partnership with professional caregivers.

Techniques to Handle Challenging Behaviors

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn more about the challenging behaviors that may be displayed by those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
2. Discover techniques to help handle these behaviors.
3. Determine what techniques work best to manage different types of behaviors.

Activities to Encourage Engagement

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn about the benefits of staying active for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
2. Learn about three types of activities – for mind, body, and soul.
3. Discover various techniques to encourage your loved one to engage in an activity.
4. Become familiar with activities that are suitable for late stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, to stimulate your loved one’s five senses.

Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
2. Recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
3. Discover how Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are diagnosed.
4. Understand more about the behaviors that can be caused by the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Home 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’re a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN.  According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., Associate Professor, McKnight Presidential Fellow, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Applied Gerontology, School of Nursing, Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota and 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 Minneapols 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 is free and will be held Saturday, June 1st at the at the Mayo Memorial Auditorium in Minneapolis, MN. To learn more or to register, click here!

Mom is home from the hospital, now what?

Once a loved one comes home from a Minneapolis hospital, family caregivers soon realize that reaching a nurse with a push of a button or accessing the social worker down the hall is a thing of the past. Now, it’s time for medication reminders, transitional care & doctor appointments. But, you’re not alone! Family members, neighbors & professional home care providers are usually willing to provide assistance, they just need assembled & organized. Most faith communities have a parish nurse or care team that are just a phone call away. And Home Instead CAREGivers can provide a consistent level of compassionate care while you get some respite. Before you start your calling tree, ask the senior how much information they’re comfortable sharing about their health. Find out if they have certain people they’re more comfortable with doing personal tasks like washing their hair or providing assistance dressing. Once you have your list ready, it’s time to access some caregiving help.

Often times, family conflicts or even sibling rivalry can get in the way of caregivers asking for help which can lead to hostility or caregiver burnout. To avoid this situation (or at least get through it), watch Laurie Owen, a trainer with Home Instead Senior Care, as she covers “The 50/50 Rule: Managing Sibling Dynamics.

Maybe one of your siblings has volunteered to drive your Mom to medical appointments. This is a crucial task  in order to keep her recovery on track. To bridge the communication between yourself, your siblings and possibly a home care provider, keep a large desk or wall calendar handy and write in follow-up visits using a bright colored ink such as red or green. It’s also good to keep the appointment calendar by the phone so as new appointments are scheduled they can be easily added in. Before going to the doctor’s office or other follow-up appointment in the Minneapolis area, make sure your senior has a current list of all prescriptions, over the counter medications and supplements they are taking. You should also make sure they have a list of any symptoms they are experiencing such as nausea, constipation, breathing difficulties, rashes, lack of appetite, etc.

create-plan-of-care-480x450Once at the doctor’s office, the National Transitions of Care Coalition advises that it’s important for your senior to ask several questions including:

  • Why am I meeting with a health care provider today?
  • Should I see another health care provider?
  • What medical conditions do I have?
  • What else do I need to do?
  • May I have a print out of any newly scheduled or upcoming follow-up visits?
  • Do all of my doctors have my medical care or discharge plan?
  • Who should I call if I have questions or problems?

Use this doctor’s visit worksheet (PDF 600k) to keep track of the information you need both before and after your visit.


From the excitement of your senior loved one leaving their Minnesota hospital to the hectic pace of providing constant care, you may have forgotten about the most important person in this process…you! Even a fully prepared family caregiver can get overwhelmed with creating the plan of care, learning about medications and making sure the proper foods are in the refrigerator. Home Instead Senior Care is here to help. If you can break away for an in-person workshop, you’re sure to enjoy our Family Caregiver Training Workshop held at the Home Instead Minneapolis office. We could even provide home care assistance while you attend! If you prefer a webinar, view these topics ranging from caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease to understanding Diabetes.

Focusing on the specific needs of your loved one and accurately following the doctor’s discharge instructions is critical to a successful recovery. Monitoring care once the senior has returned home by documenting progress and warning signs will help limit the risk of readmission. This will also help “share the care” with family members, neighbors & home health care professionals.

Returning Home

If your mom or dad is about to be discharged from a Minneapolis hospital, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Will he or she be able to stay home in Minnesota alone? If not, how much home care will be needed and for how long? Will insurance cover their care? A great place to start is our FREE Returning Home Guide developed by Home Instead Minneapolis to help make the transition from hospital to home a smooth one.


Next, talk to your loved one’s doctor or discharge coordinator to create a plan of care. Key issues to discuss with the discharge planner include:

  • Expected date of discharge
  • Type of aftercare required including the level of skilled care
  • Staff recommendations for discharge options

Options for Services and Rehabilitation After a Hospital Stay

There are three primary transitional care or rehabilitation options available and each has its own rules, regulations, and entrance requirements.

  1. Inpatient—Nursing facility/rehabilitation hospital – This option is typically necessary if your family member will benefit from specialist treatment following the hospital stay, such as intense physical therapy and requires a doctor’s order.
    Time spent in a Minneapolis skilled nursing facility or rehab center typically lasts for weeks not months, and if continued rehab is required beyond the inpatient stay it usually takes place at home or an outpatient center.
  2. Home—Certified home health care agency or in-home health care services—If your family member only needs part-time rehab or skilled health care services such as wound care or monitoring of medications and equipment, then home health care may be the right option for them. Depending upon need, care can be provided by nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants or certified home health aides.
    If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia care, there are a wealth of resources for you to consider. Often, a non-medical but trained home companion will be able to assist with mobility, medication reminders and special dietary issues.
  3. Outpatient—Rehabilitation center or adult day health center—In order for your senior loved to utilize this care option, they must be able to travel to the center in order for his or her after care needs to be met. Typically outpatient rehabilitation centers provide physical, occupational and speech and language therapy.
    Often, a combination of in-home care services and outpatient rehabilitation services works well in this scenario. For example, caregivers provided by an in-home senior care agency like your local Home Instead Senior Care® office could assist with transportation to rehabilitation. Also it is common for top rehabilitation facilities to have waiting lists so start early to find a center that will accept your loved one when he or she is ready to be discharged.

Guidelines: Determining Service Options After Discharge

  • What level of skilled nursing care or specialist rehabilitation services are required and for how long?
  • Are these after care services covered by Medicare or other insurers and if so, for how long?
  • Does your loved one need full-time/around the clock, daily or intermittent care?
  • Will transportation be a factor for both inpatient and outpatient options?
  • Does the Minnesota facility (outpatient or inpatient) have extended hours of operation, convenient visiting hours and are meals/snacks provided?

As the primary family caregiver there are also many personal factors for you to consider as well:

  • How much time do you have to help out?
  • Will you need to take time off from work?
  • Do you have a back-up caregiver in the event of an emergency?
  • Are you physically able to lift or move your family member?
  • Can you handle additional tasks such as picking up medicine and taking care of your loved one’s home?

Once you have answered these questions your loved one’s medical providers and you can decide which post-discharge care option is best for your loved one. Knowing what options are available and weighing each against your loved one’s desires and needs can help you make a well-informed decision that will help to ensure a successful recovery.

power-of-attorney-480x450What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A health care power of attorney, also called a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care, helps protect your loved one’s end-of-life wishes. It is a document that appoints a trusted individual to make decisions regarding your loved one’s medical care, and it becomes effective when he or she can no longer communicate effectively or coherently with others.

The person designated as your loved one’s health care power of attorney, also known as an “agent,” should be a trusted individual who knows your senior loved one’s religious beliefs and has the ability and time to act on his or her behalf.

Your loved one can give a health care agent as much or as little power to oversee his or her health care wishes and make medical decisions as feels comfortable. However, many people give their health care agent comprehensive power to supervise their care.

Each state has unique health care power of attorney laws and due to potential conflicts of interest, most do not allow medical providers or their employees to be named as agents. Many states also have free health care power of attorney forms that you can download from their websites.

What Medical Wishes Does a Health Care Power of Attorney Cover?

Seniors and their health care power of attorney discuss the following items:

  • Does your loved one want aggressive health care measures or life-prolonging treatments in the event of a chronic and debilitating illness?
  • Does he or she want to be resuscitated in the event of heart failure or stopped breathing?
  • Are there any medical treatments to which he or she has a religious objection?

How to Help Your Loved One Appoint a Health Care Power of Attorney

Most of us do not like to consider the possibility that we may become incapacitated and unable to make our own decisions anymore. When discussing the need for a health care power of attorney with your loved one it is important to be considerate, patient and not demanding.

Below are some issues to consider when helping your loved one legally appoint a health care power of attorney:

  • Make sure your loved one understands that the health care power of attorney document is intended to ensure that his or her wishes will be respected.
  • Be careful about adding restrictive language to a health care power of attorney document as it is important that the agent is able to respond to changing medical needs as they develop, even ones that cannot be foreseen.

How to Assess the Amount of Care Needed

Below is a checklist below to help family caregivers determine how much care they might need to provide.

  1. Patient Restrictions and Activities: Will your family member be able take a bath or shower, lift heavy items or walk up stairs? Can they be left alone? Are you prepared to help your loved one with exercise instructions?
  2. Equipment and Supplies: Make a list of items you will have to shop. They might include a hospital bed, shower chair, oxygen supply, disposable gloves or special skin care items.
  3. Home Safety: Do you need to move out items that might cause a fall such as area rugs or electrical cords? Do you need to make room for a hospital bed and other large equipment? Download the Returning Home Guide which includes a Home Safety Assessment.
  4. Health Care Tasks: What tasks will you have to perform and will you need any special training to accomplish them? Plan on receiving the training, such as wound care or taking and recording vital signs, while your family member is still in the hospital.
  5. Special Diets: Will you need to purchase and prepare any special foods? For example, your loved one may be on a liquid diet for some period of time.
  6. Medication Management: Will you be able to monitor your family member to ensure he or she takes the correct medication at the right time in the right amount? Will medications cause side effects?
  7. Follow-Up Care: Will you or another family member arrange for follow-up care and appointments? How often and where will they need to take place?
  8. Medical Expenses: As the primary caregiver you may have to manage your family member’s medical expenses including correspondence with the hospital, Medicare and insurance companies.
  9. Other Financial Issues: Are you prepared to manage your loved one’s finances, deposit retirement payments, balance his or her checking account and pay bills? There may be additional financial issues including taxes and home maintenance and repairs as well.

In addition to managing your loved one’s care, be sure to factor in time for yourself. It is important for family caregivers to take care of themselves while taking care of others. Remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own; hiring professional in-home caregiver services for even just a few hours per week can give you the time you need to focus on your own needs.

understanding-what-insurance-provides-480x450Understanding What Health Insurance Covers

One of the most common ways to finance medical care and health services for seniors in the United States is through Medicare which covers almost all Americans over the age of 65 for a large share of their medical expenses including hospitalizations, doctors’ bills, x-rays and therapies. The following steps will help family caregivers obtain the information they need to better understand their senior loved one’s insurance policies and programs before they return home from the hospital.

Contact Insurance Representatives Before Bringing Your Loved One Home

Make sure the insurance provider understands all the services and equipment that your loved one needs and ask them to provide information on what they will approve, why and for how long.

Conduct Research and Build a Support Network

  • Discuss your loved one’s insurance needs with a bank trust officer, financial planner or other investment adviser. While these individuals do not provide legal advice they can often help with insurance, retirement plans and many other issues on behalf of their clients.
  • Get to know your local pharmacist, who may be an excellent and readily available resource for information about insurance as it relates to prescription coverage.
  • Discuss insurance options and information with friends and acquaintances who have experienced similar health care situations.
  • Have family members help with sorting bills, reviewing current and potential supplemental insurance policies and conducting research.

These tips and resources will provide you a positive start in your loved one’s journey home from the hospital but it only touches the surface. Download the Returning Home Guide, then check back in the coming months as we provide more advice on bringing a senior home from the hospital.

Holiday Visit Checklist and Top 10 Gifts for Seniors

home careHeading home to Minneapolis to visit a senior for the holidays? Often times, it isn’t until we see for ourselves how Mom or Dad is living that we get involved in their care at home and begin to inquire about services. Even if you’ve recently visited Mom or Dad, now is the time complete a checklist to make sure the conditions of aging aren’t jeopardizing your senior’s health and safety. Complete this checklist provided by Home Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis. If you see any of these situations, your senior may need extra help.

  1. Look in the medicine cabinet. Review the number of pills prescribed, refill date and number of pills in the bottle to help determine if your loved one is taking the accurate amount of medication. According to Arcadia Healthcare, at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications and it’s the number two cause of hospital re-admittance.
  2. Look in the refrigerator, freezer and drawers. Spoiled food or an empty refrigerator can mean your elderly loved one can’t get to the grocery store. Declining health may be prompting more convenience and junk foods, and a neglect of proper nutrition. According to Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, older adults often have health issues that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating. These can include chronic illness, difficulty chewing or swallowing and diminished taste and smell.
  3. Look on top of furniture and countertops. Dust and dirt in high and low places of their home may be signs that household tasks are becoming more difficult for your parents. Caution your senior not to climb or reach where they’re no longer able. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and deaths among older adults. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  4. Look at your senior’s appearance. Unkempt clothing may signal that your loved one is neglecting personal hygiene because of failing vision. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota cites macular degeneration as the leading cause of severe vision loss in people age 60 and older. Gray or blank spots may mask the center of your senior’s visual field. The condition usually develops gradually, but sometimes progresses rapidly, leading to severe vision loss in one or both eyes.
  5. Look under beds and sofas. Old newspapers, books and magazines stowed there may show a decreased ability for your parent to organize things which creates a fire hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, older adults are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the overall population. It may also be a sign of hoarding which is caused by a mental condition.
  6. Look to your parents’ Minneapolis area neighbors to find out about their daily routine. If your seniors are at home more, watching television and avoiding stimulating conversation and companionship or not getting their mail daily, it may be a sign they need help at home.
  7. Look through the mail. A parent’s dementia may cause him or her to forget to pay bills and answer correspondence. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that as many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with the disease, which is characterized by forgetfulness.

If it appears that Mom or Dad need home care services or you’d simply feel better if someone checked in on them, consider contacting Home Instead Senior Care. Our CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and equipped to help seniors with their home care and companionship needs such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping.

Top 10 Holiday Requests Seniors Likely Want But Won’t Ask For

minneapolis seniorminneapolis senior

What do you get Grandma this year? A new blanket . . . again? How about a pair of slippers? While those gifts could satisfy the needs or desires of a senior loved one, why not choose a present that is even more meaningful: a gift from the heart. Once you choose something, download this Holiday Elf Certificate, write down your intended activity and give it to the senior in your life as the best holiday gift they could get.

  1. Wrap and send packages. Arthritis can make wrapping those holiday presents a challenge. Schedule a gift-wrapping afternoon, complete with hot chocolate, cookies and plenty of family stories.
  2. Take your loved one shopping. Whether you plan a trip to the Minnesota Mall of America or an online shopping spree, make it a special day.
  3. Send holiday greetings. Offer to spend an afternoon helping your loved one address and send holiday cards, either by mail or as online photo greetings. This helps friends & family to know that your Mom or Dad is doing well and makes it more likely that they’ll receive holiday cards from others.
  4. Lend a hand.  Carry on the holiday cooking traditions, asking your senior loved one to help where he or she can. Or, ask everyone to bring a favorite dish.
  5. Focus on others. Get your senior loved one and the entire family involved in gathering supplies for a homeless shelter or serving a holiday meal at Mom or Dad’s church.
  6. Deck the halls. Bending, lifting and reaching to get those holiday decorations in place isn’t always possible for an older adult. Enlist the help of the grandkids and make decorating their home a fun multi-generational activity.
  7. Stay connected. Help an older adult connect with loved ones far away, whether over the phone or through a video-calling service like Skype. Show them how to use it so that you can stay connected all year!
  8. Plan a fun event. Get a group of your senior loved one’s friends together to serenade other older adults in an assisted living facility or Minneapolis nursing home.
  9. Celebrate the reason for the season. Attend a religious program with your senior loved one. Be flexible with service times if necessary.
  10. Give the gift of time. Sometimes all an older adult wants is companionship. Download this holiday activity calendar for festive activity suggestions, then make room in your schedule to spend time together.

While you may not be able to add the following 10 gift ideas to a shopping list, you can bet they’re on your loved one’s wish list.

Tips for Seniors and Caregivers to Survive the Holidays

Be a Santa Minneapolis
Click here for more information!

Whether you’re senior with a large family or young family with small children, the holidays can take their toll on your time and emotions. That is why the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging focused on providing you these holiday stress busters.

For Caregivers

  1. Communicate your needs
    Difficult family dynamics can take center stage during the holidays. Conflict may arise if family members can no longer continue their traditional holiday roles. Let yourself be heard and invite conversation around conflicts. Communicating is the best way to help smooth out problems and avert new ones.
  2. home carePlan ahead
    Lower your level of stress by starting your holiday preparations way in advance. Make a list before the season arrives of what needs to get completed and purchased.
  3. Be flexible
    The holidays are steeped in personal, family and religious traditions. Maintaining those is a lot of responsibility for anyone, especially family caregivers, who lead busy lives while caring for aging parents. Diane K. Hendricks, social worker for the Center, recommends: “As a family, ask yourself, ‘What is important to continue and what can we adapt or let go?’”
  4. Be resourceful
    Take a look at your list from suggestion #2 and think about who might be able to help. Think about their skills and time commitment. Sometimes, people simply need to be asked. Maybe a Home Instead CAREGiver could help?
  5. Take care of yourself
    You hear it every year – don’t over-eat during the holidays and keep exercising. That’s easier said than done, for sure. Make a concerted effort to schedule time for exercise and keep healthy snacks handy to help avoid sugary holiday treats.
  6. Make time for your traditions
    One of the most important things about the holidays is creating memories with your loved ones.  Don’t let favorite traditions go by the wayside during the busy holiday season. If time or circumstances make them difficult to maintain, adapt them as necessary. Consider making volunteering for the Home Instead Be a Santa to a Senior program part of your holiday traditions!
  7. Look for comic relief
    Nothing lifts the spirit like a good laugh! Gather friends together for a game night or to watch a funny holiday movie. Or, for immediate relief, let the queen of aging humor, Mary Maxwell, give her a one word solutions for those that might not want to cook a large holiday dinner.

For Seniors

    1. Reconsider the menu
      If Mom can no longer handle preparing and cooking the traditional meal on her own, make it a group effort. It’s a win-win: Mom can supervise and the next generation can learn all the secrets to making those favorite family recipes. Involve Mom’s home care provider to do the grocery shopping and prep work.
    2. Be their eyes, hands and feet
      When arthritis prevents seniors from writing cards or macular degeneration damages eyesight and makes it difficult to shop for gifts, you can offer to take on those tasks. If time is short, suggest more efficient options such as online shopping and sending e-cards.
    3. Mix it up
      Older adults are usually most alert and at their best earlier in the day. Why not plan a holiday brunch rather than a lunch, or attend a daytime religious service instead of the evening one?
    4. Go Skype
      Distance can separate older adults from loved ones, which exacerbates loneliness, isolation and depression during the holidays. Use the latest technology to help an older adult stay connected to loved ones from afar.
    5. Think simple
      You may love seeing the family home all decked out for the season, but hauling boxes of decorations may become impossible for seniors who struggle with mobility and balance issues. Get together with family and friends and decide which holiday decorating traditions to keep and what to forego.

  • Hit the road
    You no doubt remember it as a child – those holiday light tours that you and your parents loved. A holiday driving tour is an easy way to bring back the memories and joy to an older adult who can no longer decorate. Get a list of places to visit in Minneapolis!
  • Compensate when necessary
    If hearing impairment keeps Dad from enjoying the annual holiday movie, check out the latest sound enhancement technology. If Mom is having trouble seeing the deck of playing cards, look for large print cards or activities that can help keep her in the game.
  • minneapolis holidayRelive memorable moments
    Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will especially appreciate opportunities to tap into old memories. Read our post on preserving family memories for ideas.
  • Make new memories
    Sometimes, things must change. If an older adult can’t participate in the holiday or is hospitalized, why not create a simple video that shares highlights of the season? Or arrange to have a group sing carols to your senior loved one – traditional songs from his or her generation.
  • Get help – fast!
    One of the best ways to adapt holiday activities is to ask for help . Enlisting the help of a professional caregiver to help with meal preparation or to provide transportation for your loved one can lighten the load for families and free them up to maximize special holiday time with their senior loved one.

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.

10 Tips to Help Minneapolis Families Cope with Alzheimer’s

Issues related to aging can add stress to even the most stable Minneapolis families. Taking turns caring for a senior after surgery, deciding who’s going to mow the lawn and who’s going to assist with doctor appointments and hiring elderly home care are all typical (yet time and energy consuming) tasks for Minnesota family caregivers. Adding behavioral changes related to Alzheimer’s and dementia can push families to the brink. Watch Laurie Owen from Home Instead Senior Care and Dr. Jane Potter from the University of Nebraska Medical Center discuss the lifestyle changes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

“Regular communication – whether it’s by email or phone – is the single biggest key to helping families cope with Alzheimer’s disease,’’ said caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix, who developed Caring Cards exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care to engage families in meaningful communication. Here are 9 more tips from Dr. D’Aprix and the Home Instead Senior Care network to helping families stick together through the ups and downs of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Get an accurate diagnosis: Get several opinions, if necessary, to ensure that all family members, doctors and home health care professionals caring for your loved one know and understand the situation.
  2. Hold a family meeting: Often times, the main caregiver becomes the only person who has the important information needed to care for the person with Alzheimer’s. Gather family members together with a professional  to ensure that everyone shares the same information and gets the resources they need.
  3. Learn to manage change: Dementias are ever-changing conditions. Find a support group in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area to share with others who are facing similar challenges.
  4. Learn skills and techniques: The behavioral changes that come with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be difficult to manage. The resources of the e-learning Family Caregiver Training can help. Find memory activities and puzzles here.
  5. Ask the primary caregiver if they need help: The main day-to-day caregiver can harbor resentment towards others who they feel should be doing more. Look at what needs to be done and ask the primary caregiver how you can give them respite.
  6. Assign tasks: Family members who live out of town can still help with things like finances. Make a list of all that needs to be done and form an online care team to allow others to help.
  7. Ask for help if you’re the primary caregiver: Are you the only one of your siblings in Minneapolis who lives by your parent? Or maybe you’re the oldest daughter and everyone expects you to be the caregiver. Whatever the circumstance, caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias shouldn’t try to go it alone. (Hint…see tip #6)
  8. Preserve memories: Create a video of your loved one with Alzheimer’s telling stories about their lives or design a shadow box of keepsakes. Make sure to read next month’s blog from Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis for more information!
  9. Tap into local Minneapolis resources: Families can’t have too much information when it comes to managing  the behavioral changes of Alzheimer’s disease. Contact a Home Instead CAREgiver who has received special training to care for those with all types of dementias.

Dr. Amy D’Aprix also prepared content for the Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Training Program called CARE which stands for Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM. Programs like these as well as the online Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training were developed exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care and FREE to you!

Each e-learning class in the Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training  program can be completed within 5–15 minutes and include:

  • Understanding Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
  • Capturing Life’s Journey
  • Managing Behaviors
  • Encouraging Engagement
  • Safety

To begin your free online training immediately, simply click here and “home instead facebookLike” our Facebook page.

As a Fan of our Facebook page, you’ll have access to special opportunities and resources such as this training that we offer throughout the year. Already a Fan? Click here and get Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training now!

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!

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.

Happy New Year!

The New Year brings NEW programs to Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis.  We are rolling out a new transitioning program.  It is called Hospital to Home -(H2H)

The idea of Transitional Care benefits both the discharge planners in hospitals, TCU’s (transitional care units), and Rehabilitation facilities along with the discharged patient.  Home Instead Senior Care wants to prevent unnecessary readmissions because a patient doesn’t have reliable help at home to help them recuperate.  We can be there to help- from Hospital to Home! Our team of Home Instead Senior CAREGivers that have been trained in H2H and been assigned to a specific location are waiting to assist and encourage as a patient takes the next step toward recovery. 

Transitional care often falls to the family and then falls through the cracks. Home Instead Senior Care’s transitional service assumes much of that responsibility which would normally be assumed by a family member – an aging spouse, and employed daughter or son or,surprisingly often, a next door neighbor.

Hospital to Home provides the family with peace of mind, reduced stress, freedom from employment conflicts, and the opportunity to maintain balanced lives and regular communications about the transitional care experience of their loved one.

Call us today for information!