Blog - Crossing a Bridge Senior Advisors

Respite Care

A family friend recently visited for dinner. She is 40-something, and she takes care of her mother who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. She’s had this responsibility for years now, and it may go on for years to come.

Her story of this responsibility was heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. We couldn’t help but admire her for what she is going through.

Respite care is a form of caregiver assistance that is absolutely essential to prevent burnout from this responsibility. It is also one of those services that is not well publicized.

Respite care involves having either someone come to the care receiver’s home or having the care receiver go to an older adult center or adult day care program so that the caregiver can have a break. Respite is not just for relaxation, although that is also needed. Caregivers need to be able to run errands without looking at their watch, worried about getting back as fast as possible. They need to be able to go to doctor and dentist appointments with a calm mind.

If you know someone in this situation, make sure they know about respite care. Websites like Share the Care, Lotsa Helping Hands, and Tyze can help with that.

Is Your Home Equipped for Aging in Place?

Does your home meet your future livability requirements as you age? Use this checklist to determine whether you need to make changes or even consider moving to a more suitable home.

  • Is there at least one step-free entrance into the home?
  • Does your home have a bedroom, full bath, and kitchen on one level?
  • Are the doorways and hallways wide enough for a wheelchair to pass?
  • Do the doorknobs and faucets have lever handles, which are easier to use than rounded knobs?
  • Are the kitchen counter tops mounted at varying heights so that they can be used while standing or seated?
  • Can the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and shelves be reached easily?
  • Does the bathtub or shower have a nonslip surface?
  • Are there grab bars in the bathroom, or has the wall been reinforced so that they can be added?
  • Are the hallways and staircases well lit?
  • Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairways?
  • Can light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats be reached easily, even when seated?
  • Can the windows be opened with minimum effort?

Source: AARP (2011)

Is Your Car Fit for You?

If you’re worried about somebody’s driving because of their age, you ought to know about this. Carfit’s tagline is “Helping Mature Drivers Find Their Safest Fit.”

It is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them.

The CarFit program also provides information and materials on community-specific resources that could enhance their safety as drivers, and/or increase their mobility in the community.

Grieving Friends Need Your Help

Grief can create some very uncomfortable situations and relationships. Here are some tips from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors for helping your friends who are grieving:


Help your friends by allowing them to express their feelings and encouraging them to turn to friends, family members, or their religious or spiritual leaders and/or join a bereavement group for support. Be sure to remind them to take care of their own health during this time. Also follow these guidelines:

  • Be available. Offer support in an unobtrusive but persistent manner.
  • Listen without giving advice.
  • Do not offer stories of your own. This can have the effect of dismissing the grieving person’s pain.
  • Allow the grieving person to use expressions of anger or bitterness, including such expressions against God. This may be normal behavior in an attempt to find meaning and what has happened.
  • Realize that no one can replace or undo the loss. To heal, the individual must endure the grief process. Allow him or her to feel the pain.
  • Be patient, kind, and understanding without being patronizing. Don’t claim to know what the other person is feeling.
  • Don’t force the individual to share feelings if he or she doesn’t want to.
  • Physical and emotional touch can bring great comfort to the bereaved. Don’t hesitate to share a hug or hold your friend’s hand when appropriate.
  • Be there later, when friends and family have all gone back to their routines.
  • Remember holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, which have important meaning for the bereaved. Offer support during this time. Don’t be afraid to remind the person of the loss; he or she is already thinking about it.
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