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 home care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas, 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.  


 April 14, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Providing dementia care is a fluid, ever-evolving process. One day can be calm and peaceful, with your loved one enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day may be fraught with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. What will today bring? 

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 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…)


 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 23, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

There’s no question that it’s an incredible honor to care for people we love. Family caregivers experience a closeness and bond with those in their care that generally far outweighs the downsides. But there are downsides. A perpetual to-do list to make sure the senior you’re providing care for is as happy and healthy as possible. Household chores and errands to run. Job obligations. The requirements of other family members and friends. And don’t leave out self-care.

The result is an often daunting level of stress, that when left uncontrolled, can rapidly transform into burnout and even depression in caregivers of the elderly, which can appear in any or all of the following ways:

  • Feelings of frustration, sadness, hopelessness, stress
  • Difficulty with falling or staying asleep through the night
  • Lack of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
  • Eating more or not as much as usual
  • Delayed thinking
  • And if left untreated, suicidal thoughts and even attempts at suicide

This short online evaluation makes it possible to determine if you may be experiencing depression.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy steps you’re able to take to lower your potential for falling into depression:

  • First and foremost, make an appointment with the doctor for assistance
  • Refrain from isolating yourself and ensure an abundance of opportunities for socialization apart from your caregiving relationship
  • Remain active, both physically and mentally, with activities you enjoy: swimming, playing a sport, reading, volunteering with a cause that is important to you personally

While it may be challenging for family caregivers to carve out the time essential for self-care, it’s vital to the wellness of both the caregivers themselves and the seniors in their care. Lots of times, family caregivers feel as though they need to do it all by themselves – after all, they understand the individual a lot better than anyone else, and in some cases it just seems much easier to manage things on one’s own.

An overly stressed, burned out, or depressed caregiver should have trusted, reliable support – and the best news is, it is readily available! A skilled, in-home caregiver can provide as much or as little caregiving assistance as necessary. Perhaps, for example, you want to continue to make most of the meals for a senior loved one – but would like some help with cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Or maybe the senior would feel more at ease with an experienced care provider providing help with personal care needs, such as bathing and using the toilet.

At At Home Independent Living, the top providers of in-home senior independent living in NY, we know how complicated life can feel for family caregivers, and we work with families to create a strategy of care that meets each person’s individual desires and needs. Let us assist with reliable, professional respite care. Call us at (315) 579-4663 any time to find out 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.


 July 22, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

At Home Independent Living, providing solutions for elder care and independent home care in Syracuse, NY brings you the latest guidelines from the Endocrine Society about the elderly and diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar is not necessarily best. And for all those who’ve been keeping a routine of finger pricks, insulin injections, and thorough monitoring of food intake, this change of course may be somewhat tough to swallow. (more…)


 July 8, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

At Home Independent Living, providers of top rated home care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas, understands that as a family member striving for a positive senior caregiving experience, you unquestionably experience a wide range of feelings throughout the day: shared laughter over a joke with your loved one; worry due to a health concern; and of course, from time to time, irritations. We would like only the best for people we love, and if a senior loved one is resistant to doing an activity we know is beneficial, it may be challenging to choose the best response. (more…)


 May 23, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

Think of a typical day in the life of a senior loved one. Hopefully it includes a number of positive and enriching activities: enjoying breakfast, engaging in a fun pastime or interest, visiting with a friend or family member, watching a favorite TV show. Yet there’s a difference between positivity and purpose; and the importance of a life rich with meaning and purpose is becoming more apparent, particularly in the life of older adults. (more…)