August 28, 2012 // Franchising.com // This back-to-school season, families are scrambling to prepare their children to head back to the classroom. But in busy times, senior experts urge us to remember our elderly loved ones who are often left out of the hustle and bustle, and can feel lonely, isolated and mentally stagnant. So, while Mom and Dad may have already filled their child’s backpack full of pencils and other school supplies, they may have forgotten to stuff one very important backpack – that of their aging parent.
That’s why Senior Helpers, one of the largest in-home senior care companies, is helping local families create Senior “Back-to-School Backpacks” to keep elderly loved ones sharp and engaged. These backpacks are an easy, inexpensive way to keep seniors involved in activities that will keep their minds and memories sharp. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in cognitive activities, play games or participate in crafts, have a 30-50 percent decrease in memory loss compared to those who did not participate in these activities. In fact, studies show that even the “diseased brain” has the ability to make new neurological connections when kept active.
“Families become so busy they can forget to include their elderly loved ones in all the activities. Studies show that without stimulating activity, seniors can lose memory, feel depressed and isolated and have a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care company with a local office of highly trained caregivers specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. “That’s why these Senior “Back-to-School Backpacks” are a fun, easy way to keep the elderly engaged. If you can’t be there to join your elderly loved one in these activities, hire a caregiver who can take the load off you.”
(Experts suggest activities must not only be fun but give seniors a sense of accomplishment)
Research shows seniors should play these games for stimulation, not for competition, and should be enjoyed by a group of two or three. Whenever possible, experts suggest children (or a caregiver) play with the older adults.
“Games at all levels – low tech to high tech - can help dementia patients,” says Ross. “The Senior “Back-to-School Backpack” is one initiative in our dementia and Alzheimer’s program called our Senior Gems Program. We stress seniors should decide which games they want to play, whether they’re games they played as a child or games they played with their own children. This stimulates familiar memories which keep the brain sharp.”
We can provide photos of the Senior “Back-to-School Backpack” and interviews with caregivers and possibly families making the backpacks to keep senior loved ones mentally healthy and active.
Sources: Mayo Clinic (2009 study), Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Best Alzheimer’s Products, Dementia Today
To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s through the Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems Program, please visit our website at www.seniorhelpers.com. There, you can also request a complimentary Senior Gems DVD.
Senior Gems is a revolutionary program to help family members and professional caregivers properly care for their aging loved ones through each stage of dementia. Teepa Snow began developing her Gem Levels in 2006. In 2011, the Senior Gem program was created with her guidance and assistance. This program puts Senior Helpers at the forefront of individual and in-home dementia-specialized caregiving as they offer all of their in-home companions and caregivers the opportunity to become dementia care certified through the training program.
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has nearly 300 franchises in 40 states and one Canadian province offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care. For more information, please visit: http://www.seniorhelpers.com/