Regal Blog


Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for Senior Loved Ones

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 @ 04:12 PM

Holiday Gifts for SeniorsAre you a Santa’s helper running short on time this holiday season? Don’t get your “tinsel in a tangle!” Regal is coming to the rescue with some great last minute holiday gift ideas for those still shopping for Seniors and elderly loved ones who might be physically or cognitively impaired.

For those who are “forgetful,” here are some items to help remember things and aid with daily living:

     ~  Digital Key Finders (we could all use this actually!)

     ~  Medication reminder containers, or (even better) a digital pill dispenser you can program like MedMinder

     ~  Magnetic reminder refrigerator pads with pens attached, even large magnetic post-its or picture frames

      ~  Calendars featuring family photos – be sure to mark birthdays and anniversaries!

      ~  White boards with erasable markers for key rooms in the house

      ~  Stocking stuffer: Pretty pocket-sized diary or notebook with a pen for making notes on the go

For those with Arthritis:

       ~  Ergonomic computer mouse

       ~  Cooking tools and gardening items with special non-slip grips (even customizable golf club grips are available)

       ~  Jar openers, can openers, and wine openers!

       ~  Grab tools and sticks to reach things in high places

For those with Parkinson’s or tremors:

       ~  “Liftware” spoons and forks that make meals less challenging (www.liftware.com/)

For those hard of hearing:

       ~  Consider a hearing aid – they are expensive and not covered by insurance

For those visually impaired or with “macular”:

       ~  Audio books

       ~  Handheld magnifying glasses

       ~  Smart readers and desktop video magnifiers

       ~  Pebble -Mini electronic magnifier which is transportable (www.enhancedvision.com)

       ~  Alarm clock with the date and time in large type

       ~  Stocking stuffer: Nightlights that turn on automatically when it gets dark

For those in the early stages of dementia:

       ~  Memory Phone. A “photo” phone button is programmed to a specific person’s phone number, and then picture of that person is added to the button. One touch of the button dials the person who is pictured.

       ~  Senior “Smart Puzzles”: Books that have a collection of mazes, hidden objects, crosswords etc. There are jigsaw puzzles with fewer than 100 pieces, and you can find them with as few as 6 as the dementia worsens.

        ~  Talking Photo Album. Lets you load photos and then record a short reminiscence that can be played over and over.

        ~  Consider the gift of an outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event, or museum visit in the company of family and friends. You can hire a caregiver for the day to accompany the individual should they require special attention during the outing.

For those in the mid to late stages of dementia or with Alzheimer’s:

       ~  Music. Research has shown music has a positive impact on individuals with Alzheimer’s, it can be either stimulating and bring back memories, or it can be soothing. Stick to “golden oldies” which could be Frank Sinatra or the Beach Boys depending on the generation. “Mozart for Relaxation” and “Chopin for Relaxation” are both available at amazon.com

       ~  Movies. Stick to DVDs of known favorites or beloved TV shows, holiday specials, musicals, etc.

       ~  Craft kits. Scrap-booking is a good example that can bring back fond memories.

      ~  Paints, simple watercolors and brushes, sketch pads and colored pencils, even adult coloring books can be very therapeutic

       ~  Interactive books

       ~  Enrollment in 24-hour medical alert systems or other emergency response service for falls, wandering and medical emergencies. Try  www.mobilehelp.com/ or www.greatcall.com/

        ~  Stocking stuffer: MedicAlert bracelet

For anyone that is older and challenged:

         ~  Swivel Seat! Super for anyone with pain in the hips and spine. Makes transferring in and out of a car or standing up from a chair easier, it swivels 360° (arthritissupplies.com).

         ~  Clothes that are comfortable, easy to put on and remove, as well as wash or launder

         ~  Shoes with velcro

         ~  Non-slip socks and slippers

         ~  Soft, fluffy or cuddly blankets and robes to keep warm

         ~  Stocking stuffer: BioFreeze products are great for muscle/joint aches and pains etc.

There are many more ideas and items available. Here are some resources in addition to those noted above that can help at gift time, whether Christmas, Chanukah, birthday or anniversary. Visit:

         ~  http://store.best-alzheimers-products.com/

         ~  www.health.com

CONTACT US: Everyone should be able to enjoy the holidays golden gift and share in the spirit of giving! Keep in mind what not to buy – it is just as important as selecting what to purchase: books, but not novels; movies, but not long or sad or serious with complex story lines. The same is true of most activities, be sure to select dementia stage-appropriate options. Keep in mind that Regal caregivers are trained in working with patients suffering from cognitive decline or dementia. The key is to stimulate the senses and bring back pleasant memories while keeping loved ones safe! Read our earlier article here: http://wp.me/p5l8fP-wQ. An assessment can determine if a Senior family member or elderly loved one might benefit from an in-home care plan that supports their treatment and care management, as well as provides assistance with the activities of daily life. Please contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical advice.



Activity Menu for Seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Saturday, December 19, 2015 @ 04:12 PM

Our Regal Clinicians and Caregivers put together a list of suggested activities for those families expecting holiday visits from Seniors with Dementia or an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s. Actually these activities are perfect all year long. Keeping loved ones active with meaningful activities gives them pleasure and keeps them from withdrawing. The key is to “stimulate” but keep it simple and safe! Some activities work better at certain times of the day. Remember to concentrate on the process, not the results. What matters is that the individual (and you) enjoyed the time spent on it. 

     ~  Play or listen to holiday music

     ~  Sing Christmas or Hanukkah songs, even just “golden oldies”

     ~  Paint and/or draw

     ~  Knit or crochet a scarf

     ~  Organize sentimental items and trinkets – they have a story to tell

     ~  Look at old photo albums, and current pictures toopainting

     ~  Watch family videos

     ~  Read the daily newspaper or a favorite book together

     ~  Walk in the park or along the beach

     ~  Tend the garden, plant something simple, impatiens perhaps

     ~  Cut and arrange flowersconcierge services

     ~  Work on simple puzzles, crosswords

     ~  Play board games, cards, Bingo!

     ~  Bake something simple in the kitchen

Keep in mind that pleasurable activities can bring back happy memories and rekindle emotional connections. Activities that encourage self-expression can help those with dementia feel more engaged in their environment. 

CONTACT US: Meaningful activities can provide stimulation while promoting a feeling of usefulness, and raising spirits any time of year, not just at holiday time. A Senior family member or elderly loved one suffering from cognitive decline or dementia might benefit from an in-home care plan that supports their treatment and care management, as well as provides assistance with the activities of daily life. Regal nurses and trained caregivers can coordinate with the individual’s family members and healthcare professionals so they can be treated comfortably and cost-effectively in the less restrictive environment of the home. For a consultation, please contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical advice



Fix The Hazards In Your Home This Holiday Season!

Friday, December 18, 2015 @ 10:12 AM

Senior Safety Preventing FallsDid you know that most injuries from falls in the home are preventable?

Are you aware that no matter what your age, the average hospital stay for patients who suffered injuries from a fall is 10 to 12 days longer for those who don’t?

Chances are if you are expecting holiday company this year and have elderly relatives or senior loved ones coming for a visit, you are probably preparing the house for guests while putting up your holiday decorations! Wouldn’t it make good sense to sweep each room for fall hazards?

Don’t let hazards ruin your holidays! Regal created these user-friendly checklists for the whole family that highlight high-risk areas for falls along with some practical tips on how to prevent falls as well as teach Senior loved ones and the elderly infirm how to do so.

One of the key items to keep in mind is that no matter what your age, baby or Boomer, fall prevention is part awareness and part pro-activity! Use our checklist and take the time to look around the home environment and determine what and where the fall risks are and then remove them before an accident or potential injury can occur.

Another important point to be aware of is key symptoms of illness christmas_hazardand medication side effects that are associated with preventable falls that turn into medical emergencies. Keep an eye on gait and balance if dizziness, or instability, are issues for the individual, and monitor folks with declining eyesight. And if someone does fall – be sure you can identify signs of post-fall injuries (especially head injuries) which are often subtle.

Prevent Falls in the Home With These Checklist Items

Start with floors:

     ~  Walk through each room, including the living and dining areas as well as the family room, and if you have to walk around any of the furniture then ask someone to move it so the path is clear for canes, walkers or wheelchairs.

     ~  If there are throw rugs on the floor, remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.

     ~  Pick up things that are on the floor. Always keep objects off the floor and be sure to beware of sleeping pets lying on the floor!

     ~  If there are wires or cords from lamps, telephones, or power strips/extension cords in the way, coil or tape the cords and wires to the wall so people can’t trip over them.

     ~  Be careful where you put the Christmas tree or Hanukkah menorah, make sure it is secured and out of the way, and any electrical light cords are tucked out of sight and not a stumble hazard. (ALSO: Do not let your tree dry out, it can become a fire hazard. Do not leave Hanukkah candles unattended when burning, they can quickly become a fire hazard too!)

Stairways and steps are next:

     ~  Stairs both inside and outside the home need to be free of newspapers, magazines, shoes, books, and any other random objects.

     ~  If carpeting on the steps is damaged or torn, or if some steps are loose, broken or uneven then fix them ASAP. 

     ~  If the stairway is poorly lit, install an overhead light. Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. If there already is a fixture and the bulbs have burned out, then simply replace them.

     ~  Fix loose handrails or put in new ones, preferably on both sides of the stairs that run the full length of the stairwell.

     ~  Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better. Non-slip rubber treads for the stairs might even be a better option.

Visit the kitchen:

     ~  Move constantly used items from high shelves in your cabinets to the lower shelves or to cabinets under the counter.

    ~  Buy a “grab” stick to reach hard to get items instead of getting up on a step stool, they are available online and cheap compared to a stay in the hospital!

     ~  If you must use a step stool, buy one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair.

Check out all the bathrooms:

     ~  Fix leaks and any faucets that splash – wet floors are slippery and dangerous.

     ~  Get a non-slip rubber mat for the floor of the tub or shower.

     ~  Install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.

     ~  Watch when you spray toiletries, often ingredients in the fine mist can make the floor slippery.

Walk around the bedrooms:

     ~  Plug in a night-light so you can see where you’re walking, preferably one that is light sensitive or on a timer so it goes on automatically after dark.
      ~  Place reading lamps on a nightstand close to the bed so the switch is easy to reach. Ditto a bedside telephone.

     ~  Beware of exposed extension cords, heating pad cords, phone wires or phone charging cords, and cable TV wires that could be a tripping hazard.

In General:

Improve the lighting in your home, especially in dark areas. Hang lightweight curtains or install shades in areas where you need to reduce glare.

Share These Proactive Ways to Prevent Falls:

     ~  Make a New Year’s “resolution” to exercise regularly, it will improve balance and coordination

     ~  Review all your medications with your doctor or pharmacist (over-the-counter drugs too) as some may make you sleepy or dizzy.

     ~  Get your eyes checked – poor vision can increase the risk of falling.

     ~  Avoid going barefoot or wearing flip flops and slippers.

More Senior Safety Tips

     ~  Keep emergency numbers in large print near each telephone.

     ~  Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.

Contact Us: Keep in mind thatPrevent Senior Falls if you or an elderly loved one is at risk for falls due to surgery, illness, impaired cognitive abilities or other medical condition, Regal professionals can provide either around the clock in-home care or an in-home safety check. Ask us to include an audit for fall prevention as part of the assessment process. Most older adults wish to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible but the environment must be designed to meet changing needs as they age. The simple modifications described above can promote senior safety and reduce the likelihood of falling. After a home environment evaluation we can recommend an action plan to keep the client safe and have a team on site that day to install the safety items required, or provide the appropriate medical equipment or monitors needed. Should you have any questions regarding Regal’s special services, please contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical advice



It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week!

Friday, December 11, 2015 @ 04:12 PM

December 6th-12th is National Influenza Vaccination Week!

FluFlu typically peaks between December and February, so if you haven’t gotten it already, Regal would like to remind you about the importance of getting your flu vaccination even though it is the busy holiday season.

Vaccination is still the best way to prevent the flu and the serious complications that can follow especially for those who are chronically ill, 65 years or older, and anyone suffering from physical or mental impairment.

Even if you do get the flu, the vaccine can temper its severity and duration. 

For a complete list of those at risk, different vaccine options available, and locations offering vaccination, click on the CDC Flu website.

CONTACT US: Remember that Regal has experienced clinicians and care managers that can get answers to your medical questions, coordinate physician appointments and assist you with in-home care and medication management while you are ill. We’ll even take care of those non-medical everyday needs. Contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical advice! 



End of Year Tax Tips for Savvy Seniors

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 @ 02:12 PM

check that listSanta shouldn’t be the only one “makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice!” No matter what your age, savvy individuals and Seniors should pay special attention to year end opportunities for tax planning. Here are the top tips to consider courtesy of Jon Sahn of Ascendant Planned Giving:

December 31st is the deadline for:

     ~  Making charitable contributions (including cash, non-cash, and stock contributions)

     ~  Gifting to family members

     ~  Selling stocks or listed options to realize a gain or loss

     ~  Contributing to qualified retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), etc.)

     ~  Completing a Roth conversion

     ~  Rolling over FSA balances in employer-sponsored plans

     ~  Contributing to HSAs

     ~  Paying for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare services, procedures, or equipment for the purpose of itemizing medical expenses*

Don’t panic, just be pro-active. Remember that even though the holiday season is hectic, you deserve the gift of financial health and well-being, and so does your family.

Year end is a good time to:

         ~  Check progress against your 2015 financial plan

         ~  Refine 2016 financial goals and priorities

         ~  Review/update beneficiary designations

         ~  Review/adjust asset allocations, as needed

         ~  Review/update estate planning documents and wills, trusts, healthcare directives, etc.

Contact Us: While you are sitting down with your trusted advisers at holiday time, please remember that every estate plan and financial plan should consider Long Term Care! Regal’s professionals are not financial planners or attorneys or CPAs, but we are clinicians and patient advocates who understand that long term care and private duty nursing is an integral part of the puzzle needed to allow Seniors to age well and comfortably in the home. Regal can provide care managers and caregivers who can provide a broad spectrum of home health services to families and individuals tailored to meet their specific needs which are affordable and may qualify for certain financial breaks or tax benefits. We will also help you maximize any Long Term Care Insurance benefits you have! Contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, for more information at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

*For taxpayers under age 65, the IRS allows you to deduct medical costs on your tax return as long as they are more than 10 percent of your adjusted gross income; taxpayers age 65+ can still use the 7.5 percent threshold to claim itemized medical expenses through the 2016 tax year. Eligible medical expenses include preventative care, treatment, surgeries and dental and vision care. You can also deduct visits to psychologists and psychiatrists. Prescription medications and appliances such as glasses, contacts, false teeth and hearing aids are also deductible.The IRS also lets you deduct the expenses that you pay to travel for medical care such as mileage on your car and parking fees.

This article is not intended as financial advice!

Jon Sahn, CAP is the Founder and President of Ascendant Planned Giving, Inc. Since 1996 Jon has been helping individuals and business owners protect their wealth. He utilizes charitable giving and insurance strategies to maximize the financial impact his clients can have on themselves, their families and their communities. Jon protects families and creates legacies by utilizing life insurance, long term care insurance, annuity products and multi-generational philanthropy. He can be reached at Jon@AscendantPG.com or 561-716-0800.