Caregiving, stress, burnout, Alzheimer's, elder care, eldercare,caregiver, aging, health, dementia, disease, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, family. stress, burnout, signs of Alzheimer's, stigma of dementia,stress, potential disease, dignity, what's ...
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Minding Our Elders 

Caregiver Support Services

 

 

Hello readers: I rarely us a press release in this space, but due to Covid-19, we are all doing this a little (or a lot) differently. Birdsong is making its online tools free of charge for the time being so I consider this is a terrific chance for older adults to give this service a try. Take care of yourselves! Carol

BirdsongImageVIRGINIA BEACH, Va. March 26, 2020 -- As older adults nationwide grapple with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of curated entertainment experiences and user-friendly video communications tools are being made available for free. The public service is courtesy of Birdsong Tablet, a division of faith-based, non-profit Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Anyone can go to the Birdsong Tablet website at https://www.birdsongtablet.com/and create a free account using just a name and an email address. The website works on any technology device; a web browser is all that is needed.  No credit card data is taken. The $19 monthly fees are suspended for the web version of Birdsong Tablet to help older adults and their families during this period of social distancing and isolation.    

In addition to user-friendly video chat capabilities, Birdsong contains eight thousand different engaging experiences, including curated music, videos, games, travel, and therapeutic content. The vast content has been selected especially for older adults to keep them engaged, entertained and connected to family, friends, and caregivers. The site has the same user-friendly navigation system found on the Birdsong Tablet, which is designed especially for those with limited technology experience, physical, or cognitive limitations. Large picture-based icons, large font sizes, and a permanent home button are just some of Birdsong’s accessibility features.  The content is varied to serve and respect all capability levels.  

Social distancing and self-quarantines do protect people physically from COVID-19 -- but it also increases social isolation, which is an anathema to wellness. According to a Pew Research study, 27% percent of adults 60 years and older live alone. During a time of national stress, social connection with family and friends is one of the basic ways people deal with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression and other emotions.

As a church-sponsored, faith-based organization with a tool that can help during an extraordinary time of growing isolation, we want to use it to help ease suffering on a global basis,” said Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay President & CEO J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr., noting that the organization has purchased enough Internet cloud capacity to make the free availability possible.  “Older adults and their loved ones at home, even those in senior living communities with visitor restrictions, can use video chat to stay connected, giving peace of mind to families.  Old episodes of Jack Benny may also make people laugh, which is the best medicine of all.”   

About the Birdsong Tablet

Developed by Birdsong, the Innovation Division of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, the award-winning  Birdsong touch-screen tablet is the gateway to hundreds of hours of engaging content designed especially for seniors, including games, music, movies, television shows, travel documentaries, and so much more. Birdsong is dedicated to creating the best technology experience for aging seniors and is committed to its three core values of affordability, simplicity and engaging content. The first affordable, touchscreen tablet designed specifically for aging seniors earned its name from the groundbreaking Birdsong Research Studies between Westminster-Canterbury, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan University. The objective of the studies was to determine if bedside electronic engagement tablets could both improve the quality of life for older adults while lowering stress for their caregivers. The Birdsong Tablet is named in honor of Sue and George Birdsong who funded the research that created the tablet and software. For more information about the Birdsong Tablet, visit www.facebook.com/BirdsongLife

 

      

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Photo credit Fuad Obasesan

Dear Carol:  My mom has moderate dementia and she seems to like the idea of living in a care community. We’ve done all of the preliminary work, but the social worker at the assisted living facility recently told me that they wouldn’t want me to visit Mom for the first two weeks. Their reasoning is that Mom would adjust better if she has no alternative but to depend on them for help. I’m uncomfortable with this idea because I feel that Mom will need my help settling in. I think that I’d feel abandoned if someone just left me like that. Is not letting the family visit something new? I’ve got friends who help their parents settle in after moving their parent to a care facility and they visit from the first. What’s going on? – LH

Continue reading on Inforum to learn more about how you can better help your parent - and therefore yourself - as they move to assisted living:

Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol  

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BookMOEforWebUseDear Readers: We had some nightmarish situations before the Covid-19 pandemic, but this has created scenarios in our caregiving life we’d never before considered. Physical distance from those we want to help. Isolation when they – and we – need each other more than ever. Fear of death as we’ve never known it. However, if we are to survive, we must continue to have hope.

We now long for normalcy, and even our worst problems from before strangely seem to provide that type of normalcy. Eventually, we will still need to address many of them.  For that reason, along with Covid-19 posts, I’m continuing to post articles and columns about what we’ve always faced because, well, we will eventually be concentrating on those issues again.

Caregiving, once one of the most challenging things we can face in life, has just gotten that much harder. Nevertheless, we can still only do our best. We acknowledge that and try to have faith that life will once again, seem familiar. Blessings to you all.  - Carol