There was a time when the local hospital emergency room was a persons only choice for an illness or injury that wouldnt wait for normal business hours.Today, its one of a menu of options for care, from urgent cares to neighborhood micro-hospitals and stand-alone ERs.Defining an emergencyIt starts with knowing what a health emergency is. Generally speaking, its a serious or life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention or advanced care such as a heart attack, broken bones and large wounds. Emergency rooms, whether they are attached to a hospital or are stand-alone, are open 24 hours a day, seven day a week, and offer extensive testing options to care for life-threatening emergencies.Have a PlanIn the event you are sick or have an emergency, you dont want to be scrambling for where to go or what to do. Calling 911 is the obvious first step in the most serious of emergencies, but you should know what services are close to you for needs that dont rise to such a level.Know where you closest emergency department is. Confirm level of care and what your insurance covers before a need arises.Download a virtual doctor tool, such as the Doctor on Demand app for your smartphone, for non-acute care any time.Find out if your primary care doctor provides same-day visits or offers after-hours care. This is often the best option for urgent, but non-emergency medical issues.For affordable after-hours care, find out if an urgent care facility is near you, and exactly what its capabilities are.Find out where the nearest accredited Chest Pain and Certified Stroke Centers are. These emergency departments provide the best care for these specific critical issues.Keep vital information with you. Keep a list in your wallet of such information as medications, allergies, primary care doctor and advanced directives.Know your insurance, such as if you have differing co-pays for urgent care, emergency care and doctor visits. When you have a true emergency, dont worry about insurance and call 911 immediately.To learn more, visit FindYourER.orgEditors note: This article was submitted by Rachel Johnson, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Good Samaritan Medical Center and may be reached at Rachel.Johnson3@sclhealth.org
How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging ParentsWhen it comes to aging parents, certain topics are often at the forefront of the conversation senior living, health care, and financial planning, to name a few. However, there is one topic that is very common but not as openly discussed: family conflict. This type of conflict usually occurs among adult children as their parents or family members go through the aging process. Disputes can also occur between parents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. Disagreements often stem from the stress, sadness, denial, anger, or uncertainty people often feel when their loved ones start to need help.Family conflict over aging loved ones is especially prevalent in the state of Florida, which has such a large senior population. In fact, family conflict became such an issue that the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts launched the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. This dispute resolution process was specifically created for families experiencing conflict over the care, autonomy and safety of Florida seniors.Clearly, family conflict over aging loved ones is a real issue that impacts seniors. While it is not uncommon, it can be prevented with the proper preparation, communication, knowledge, and guidance.This article will cover several aging-related topics that can lead to family conflicts, and how to best solve or prevent these issues. After all, the best outcomes for seniors occur when there is harmony and teamwork among their adult children. Situations that Can Lead to Family ConflictProblem: Uneven balance of caregiving responsibilitiesAdult children of seniors often have to handle many matters related to their aging parents. These can include taking on the role of a family caregiver, accompanying parents to medical appointments, making healthcare decisions, managing finances, driving them to all their obligations, managing their nutritional needs, performing household maintenance and chores, and many other duties.When multiple adult children are involved, it is natural for one child to take on more of the caregiving load than the others. This is often the case when one child lives much closer to their parents than the others.But when these duties are not evenly distributed among the children, some start to develop feelings of anger or bitterness toward their siblings.Solution: When feelings of bitterness and resentment start to develop, have a civil discussion with your siblings about the issue. Rather than being accusatory, try to make a plan to solve the problem. Write out all the responsibilities required for taking care of your aging parents, and specifically delegate each duty to certain people. Make sure everyone is on board with the agreement and is assigned a role that is achievable for them. Keep the list somewhere everyone can access it, whether it be a printed copy for each family member, or even a shared Google Doc. Plan to have frequent check-in meetings to make sure everyone is doing their part and discuss any concerns that have arisen.For example, one child who lives nearby can be in charge of driving their parents to appointments, while another child who lives farther away can take on the role of managing their finances. Or, if one person is unable to physically help, perhaps they would be willing to contribute financially to help make the other childrens roles a little easier whether that be by paying for respite care, a geriatric care manager, hospice care, or another service. Problem: One sibling is being excluded from the decision-makingSometimes, one child will take over most of the decision-making for their senior parents, causing the other siblings to feel as though they are being left in the dark about these important issues. Solution: In these situations, communication is key. In a calm manner, tell your sibling how you are feeling. It could be that they are simply unaware of their actions. Or, they might have thought they were making their siblings lives easier by not involving them. Explain your point of view and that you want to be more involved in matters relating to your aging parents. From there, you can work together to make an arrangement that you are included in.Problem: Disagreements about the amount of care neededFor some people, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that their parents needs and abilities are changing. This can lead to denial or avoidance of the situation which is not only harmful for the seniors, but can also cause disagreements between adult children.In other situations, some adult children may believe their parents are able to safely age in place in their own home, while others may think senior living would be the best choice.Solution: Sometimes a professional outside opinion is all it takes for people to come to an agreement about their parents care needs. Consult your parents doctors for a professional report about their health status and changes in ability. It is also wise to contact an expert senior advisor like Florida Senior Consulting to conduct necessary assessments and make professional recommendations for the senior. A senior advisor can also help inform about all the possible options, whether that be in-home care or senior living. Along with involving outside sources, siblings can work together to research the situation at hand. For example, if the seniors are experiencing memory issues like dementia, adult children can research this topic to learn what level of care is often recommended in these situations. This method is always a good place to start and helps everyone be on the same page about their loved ones needs.Problem: Disagreements about end-of-life care and estate planningEstate planning and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable or delicate topics to discuss. Because of their complexity, these matters can often lead to disagreements among adult children.Solution: In these tricky situations, it is often best to leave the decisions up to your parents. If possible, have them choose a power of attorney and set up advance directives like a living will and health care surrogate designation before a crisis occurs. This will prevent any future conflicts that could arise among family members if these designations are not in place.If a crisis occurs and your parents do not have these documents or their estate in order, it is best to contact an elder law attorney, a financial planner that specializes in elder affairs, and possibly a family mediator to help with inheritances. These professionals can help get the situation sorted out without the risk of a conflict developing between family members.Next Steps for Adult Children to Help their Aging ParentsDont let conflicts about your aging parents tear your family apart. In difficult times, it is important for families to come together so the seniors in your life can receive the best care possible. This positive outcome is only achieved when the adult children work together as a team. After all, as Helen Keller once said, Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.If you and your family need guidance on how to best help your aging loved ones, always contact a professional. Florida Senior Consulting will help you every step of the way, from deciding the right plan for care, finding the best assisted living community, packing, moving, and everything in between.Our expert senior advisors are local to Florida and will help you and find the best care possible.Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to get started today.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.
As individuals advance in age, maintaining an active social life becomes increasingly vital for their overall well-being. Socialization, often overlooked as a crucial component of health, holds profound benefits, particularly for senior citizens. While physical health receives considerable attention, the significance of social engagement cannot be understated, as it positively impacts mental, emotional, and even physical health outcomes. In this article, we delve into the manifold advantages of socialization for senior citizens and underscore its indispensable role in enhancing their quality of life.1. Mental Stimulation and Cognitive HealthEngaging in social activities stimulates cognitive function, promoting mental acuity and preserving cognitive abilities. Regular conversations, intellectual discussions, and participation in group activities challenge the mind, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Social interaction encourages seniors to stay mentally active, enhancing memory retention, problem-solving skills, and overall cognitive performance.2. Emotional Well-Being and Mood EnhancementSocialization fosters emotional support networks, offering seniors companionship, empathy, and a sense of belonging. Meaningful connections with peers alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are prevalent concerns among older adults. Sharing experiences, laughter, and emotional support with friends and acquaintances create a nurturing environment that bolsters emotional resilience and promotes a positive outlook on life. Moreover, social engagement acts as a buffer against stress, anxiety, and depression, contributing to enhanced emotional well-being.3. Physical Health and LongevitySurprisingly, socialization can have tangible effects on physical health and longevity. Active social lifestyles often correlate with healthier habits, including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adherence to medical regimens. Additionally, social networks provide avenues for recreational activities such as dancing, walking groups, or sports, promoting physical fitness and mobility. Studies have shown that socially connected seniors tend to have lower rates of chronic diseases, reduced inflammation, and even enhanced immune function, leading to a longer and healthier life.4. Sense of Purpose and Meaningful EngagementMaintaining social connections gives seniors a sense of purpose and involvement in their communities. Volunteer opportunities, participation in clubs or religious organizations, and mentoring younger generations offer avenues for meaningful engagement. Contributing to society and feeling valued for their knowledge and experiences reaffirm seniors' sense of identity and self-worth. These activities imbue life with purpose beyond retirement, fostering a fulfilling and satisfying lifestyle.5. Cognitive Reserve and ResilienceSocialization contributes to the development of cognitive reservethe brain's ability to withstand neurological damage and age-related decline. By continually engaging in social interactions, seniors build cognitive resilience, enabling them to adapt to challenges and maintain mental agility as they age. The diverse cognitive stimuli provided by social engagement help preserve brain structure and function, mitigating the effects of aging and reducing the risk of cognitive impairment.ConclusionIn conclusion, socialization is not merely a recreational pursuit but an indispensable component of healthy aging for senior citizens. Its multifaceted benefits encompass mental stimulation, emotional support, physical well-being, and a sense of purpose, all of which contribute to an enhanced quality of life. Recognizing the significance of social engagement, communities and caregivers must facilitate opportunities for seniors to connect with others and participate in meaningful activities. By prioritizing socialization, we can empower older adults to lead fulfilling, vibrant lives well into their golden years.