May 23, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Learn about the top five treatment options for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Older adults diagnosed with mesothelioma have a variety of options when it comes to treatment. The type of care your loved one receives will be determined after a doctor or specialist evaluates him or her. Since each older adult’s diagnosis is unique, treatment will vary on an individual basis. While there is no specific treatment that cures mesothelioma, an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment can lead to your loved one going into remission. (more…)


 April 21, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Senior finance conversations can lead to a variety of arguments, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for many of today’s seniors, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it can be hard for them to share access to finances with adult children, and to accept the need to spend some of those finances on caregiving needs. 

Talking with an aging parent about finances is most effective when started before the need arises, understanding it may take several conversations before an agreement can be reached. These conversation starters can help: 

  • “Dad, in time, we’re going to need to make some decisions about the future. Now might be a good time to sit down together and go over your wishes and the financial side of making sure we can abide by those wishes.” 
  • “Mom, I know you’re managing your finances just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It would be good to have a backup plan in place. Let’s sit down and come up with one.” 
  • “Mom and Dad, you’ve always been so good at managing your finances and providing for us while we were growing up. We want to be sure to continue that legacy, and to understand how best to help you both meet your financial obligations if the time comes that you need some assistance with that.” 

It can also be helpful to share real-life scenarios of a friend or neighbor who was victimized by identity theft, or a story from the news about the changing economy, stock market drops, changes to tax laws, etc. This can jumpstart a discussion about your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, allowing you to come to a mutually agreeable resolution, such as talking with a financial advisor together.   

Most importantly, be sure to maintain a sense of respect, never attempting to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to provide the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for advice and include them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, suggests, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.” 

At Home Independent Living, the top providers of elder care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding area, offers a free in-home consultation to help older adults and the families who love them understand their options for care, and to help mediate difficult conversations such as those related to senior finance concerns. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663for assistance.  


 February 5, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

“It takes a village” was never a more accurate statement than when caring for a senior family member. It’s essential for that “village” to maintain effective, ongoing communication so that you can provide the best care and ensure that everyone taking part in care is on the same page. It is also crucial for family caregivers to have the opportunity to express concerns and to come together to find resolutions, to talk about different perspectives, and also to remain proactive in preparing for the future. (more…)


 January 3, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Of all of the many responsibilities a family caregiver encounters, perhaps one of the most daunting is managing medical issues. The National Council on Aging estimates that approximately ¾ of all seniors are identified as having at least two chronic diseases, and are seeing an average of four medical specialists.

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 December 18, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

After 16 long years without any viable treatment options for Alzheimer’s, there is some hope on the horizon, in a stunning reversal on the formerly-rejected antibody therapy, aducanumab. The most recent research reveals that high doses of the medication do, in fact, reduce cognitive decline in early Alzheimer’s. (more…)


 December 11, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

If you’re one of the 8% of Americans who actually achieve their New Year’s resolution goals, congratulations! But if you’re like most of us, you’ve given up before even turning the calendar page to February. While of course it’s admirable to strive to better ourselves by resolving to lose 10 pounds or eat healthier, for busy family caregivers, there are some truly meaningful, attainable goals that can improve life throughout the year. (more…)


 December 4, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

One of the hardest challenges for older adults is accepting the need for help with financial matters. Finances are both highly personal and a representation of our independence, and adult children in particular are often met with resistance when attempting to help aging parents with finances. (more…)


 October 16, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

While there are particular commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease impacts every individual differently. Our highly trained dementia caregivers know, for instance, that while someone may enjoy being outside, a different person may be overwhelmed by so much sensory input and prefer a quieter indoor environment. One may love a morning bath routine, while a bit of resourcefulness is necessary to help a different individual manage good hygiene.

We also know that there are particular triggers which can often lead to dementia exacerbation. Family care providers should be particularly careful to help their loved ones with dementia to avoid the following:

  1. Individuals diagnosed with dementia may not be in a position to identify when they are thirsty, or may resist when provided fluids. It’s crucial to ensure appropriate hydration to prevent added weakness and confusion. Plain water is most beneficial; nonetheless, if refused, try flavored waters, together with different types of cups or bottles.
  2. Those with dementia suffer from loneliness as much as anyone else, and without having enough social stimulation, could become progressively agitated or paranoid. A knowledgeable care provider, like those at At Home Independent Living, who are fully trained in dementia care, can provide suitable socialization, giving members of the family a much-needed break from care.
  3. It is not unusual for those with Alzheimer’s disease to experience an elevated appetite for cookies, cake, and other sugary snacks; however, these may also result in increased irritability. Try offering a number of healthier options, such as fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free goodies.
  4. Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep problems including sundowning, it may be tempting for family members to offer sleeping pills to a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. However, they increase the risk for falls and other accidents and add to confusion and fogginess. Talk with the senior’s health care provider for an all-natural sleep-inducing alternative.
  5. Be aware of what is on television; shows containing criminal activity, violence, and even the nightly news can instill fear and paranoia in individuals diagnosed with dementia. It might be far better to leave the television off and engage the senior in alternative activities, such as games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to watch films you’ve very carefully evaluated to ensure content is suitable.

Every member of our dementia caregiving team is highly trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to successfully manage the difficulties inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to improve quality of life. Call At Home Independent Living’s Marietta home health experts at (315) 579-4663 for further dementia care tips, and for an in-home consultation to discover how our specialized in-home Alzheimer’s care can make life brighter for your senior loved one.


 October 9, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s a standard response for lots of family caregivers when their loved one receives a difficult medical diagnosis, such as dementia. And while this could generate some measure of comfort in assuming that life can go forward like it always has, if only we will not admit this new reality, the truth, of course, is the fact that acceptance is essential to obtaining necessary support. (more…)


 August 14, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

When it comes to chronic diseases, the elderly are often the experts, with as many as 3 out of 4 seniors affected by multiple conditions that are chronic, require extensive treatment, and place limitations on activities. With the constant barrage of bloodwork and other exams, physicians’ appointments and procedures, and medications, managing chronic conditions can take both a physical and emotional toll, and might very quickly become stressful. (more…)