It’s never an easy decision to take your elderly loved one to a permanent care facility. However, this is likely to be the safest option that you can consider when they are unable to care for themselves at home. If you’ve exhausted all other options for caring for your family member at home, you can start looking into locations that are near your area. There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a location.
If you’re the primary family member who will be keeping an eye on your elderly loved one, you should try to pick a facility that will be a short distance from where you live. This will be convenient for you to visit, and it will also be beneficial if you have to head over to the facility in a rush. Of course, don’t compromise the quality of a facility just to make it a convenient situation for you. You should ensure that your loved one is getting all of the attention and care that they need, even if that means driving a little further to get there for each visit.
Cost is a big factor associated with the facility that you choose. Before you start budgeting for anything, give a call to the insurance provider that your loved one utilizes. They may be eligible for a certain amount of money toward a facility’s cost. You can then figure out how much money the facility is going to cost out of your pocket. You can also utilize the insurance provider to find out recommendations for locations. They have a lot of experience when it comes to providing these kinds of references.
Amenities and Layout
Adults older than 65 are most likely to sustain brain injuries from falls, so when choosing a care facility, consider one with a layout that’s easy to move around in where they won’t be at risk for falling. There should also be procedures in place for patients who are prone to falling. Preventing these falls at all costs is ideal. A facility with a living space that your loved one can safely navigate is the best choice.
Services and Therapies
In order for your loved one to function at their best ability, they should be receiving a few different services and therapies to keep their mind and body healthy. Physical therapy can help with keeping their body moving. It can help them retain their ability to walk. Occupational therapy will help them be able to continue with basic self-care needs, like using the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed and putting clothes away. Musical therapy and speech therapy are often used to help senior patients function.
There is a lot to consider when you’re trying to find the right facility for your loved one. It’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by the process. Take your time to find the location that is perfect. You can enlist the help of other family members and friends if they are available to help.
One of the greatest risks to the health of senior citizens is loneliness and isolation. This often occurs as a result of the effects of aging — hearing loss, mobility loss, etc. They start being left out of conversations, and family members may even be less likely to visit. But with proper technological assistance, the seniors in your life can re-engage.
While many elderly senior citizens wear hearing aids, these assistive devices may not be enough. For example, some seniors can hear enough to have a conversation but can struggle to catch dialogue on a television show. Products designed to give seniors citizens a personal boost of sound make it easy for them to enjoy a television program without setting the TV audio so loud that it’s disturbing to others in the vicinity. Hearing loss is a common challenge as we age. About 20% of Americans live with some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids can’t bring back your normal hearing, but can improve it by amplifying soft sounds, helping you to hear sounds you might have had trouble hearing.
A mobility aid can be as involved as a motorized scooter or as simple as a cane. However, each of these tools serves a single purpose: Avoiding a fall. One simple slip when carrying groceries or even using the bathroom can lead to a catastrophic injury to your loved one. Oftentimes, getting your loved one to use a mobility aid can be a challenge. They may not want to use a walker or a cane. To encourage the use of these types of devices, it can help to remind your loved one that such a device serves as a visual barrier to those around them. They’re less likely to be bumped by a shopping cart at the grocery store with the walker serving as a barrier between them and the general public.
For the elderly trying to live independently, there is a risk of wandering or getting lost. To keep tabs on a senior who may have trouble remembering directions, tools such as the MobileHelp GPS personal emergency response tool can provide peace of mind. Even if your loved one is unable to ask a question or communicate their challenge, they can be found and assisted. The system can be used in the home as a medical alert system, worn as a pendant, carried in a pocket on a walk or placed inside a purse for a drive.
Many seniors may feel that advancing technology is leaving them behind. However, technology can them get ahead. Many tech companies are focusing on the needs of the elderly and building ways to make their lives easier.
Homecare is another great way to help your aging loved one retain their independence while making sure that their needs are met. See how we can help.
As the temperatures drop, the elderly are more at risk for health issues caused by or triggered by the cold. If you have elderly loved ones, friends, or neighbors, it’s important to check in on them throughout the winter, and especially after severe winter weather. Otherwise, these individuals run the risk of contracting an illness due to the cold or accidentally injuring themselves. Take these steps to protect the elderly during the colder months of the year:
Older individuals that have arthritis, circulatory problems, or diminished cognitive function may have difficulty staying warm enough through the winter. Seniors are also at a greater risk of hypothermia because of lower metabolic rates and poor circulation. Elderly individuals may be on a fixed income, leading to difficulty keeping their homes at an appropriate temperature. If you notice that a loved one is struggling to stay warm, consider helping them find heating-assistance programs or weatherizing their home. Suggest supplemental methods of heating, like electric space heaters. Large cities often run warming shelters when temperatures drop below freezing as well.
With it being winter, the weather isn’t always the best, so just be aware of the risks and dangers of slips and falls for older adults in order to keep them safe. After a snow or ice storm, it’s important to make sure that their walkways and stairs are cleared and that they have a safe pathway to get in and out of their home without falling. Slips and falls can cause broken bones for elderly adults and may even lead to permanent disability, so it’s important to prevent them during winter weather if at all possible.
Limit Snow Removal Risks
Shoveling snow is quite physically demanding and can lead to serious issues such as heart attacks. This is especially true if the individual doing the work is elderly or already has a weak heart. You can assist your loved one by making sure that the snow around their home is removed for them, either by doing it yourself or hiring a local company to handle the task for you. This will help make sure that everyone is safe through the winter months and limit the risk of severe health issues.
Snow, colder temperatures, and ice can all be dangerous for the elderly throughout the winter months. It’s important to be sure that your elderly friends and family members are safe in and around your home, especially if you live in a cold climate. Do your best to limit health risks caused by snow removal, limit slips and falls, and help them stay as warm as possible.
Pressure sores are painful and difficult to get rid of. By being proactive, you can help alleviate much of the suffering your loved one or patient could unnecessarily be subjected to. Here are a few tips that can help you to make sure that you can prevent pressure sores from forming.
What is a Pressure Sore?
A pressure sore (sometimes called a bedsore) is an ulcer common to people who are bedridden or who spend extended periods of time sitting or lying in one spot with little to no movement. There are four stages of pressure sores.
Stage 1 is redness of the area, but the skin has not broken. Stage 2 is broken skin that begins to ulcerate due to constant pressure. Stage 3 goes beyond the upper layer of the skin and makes a “crater” in the tissue. Stage 4 is deep enough to reach the muscle and sometimes tendons and bone. The bony areas of a person’s body (usually the tailbone, hips, heels, and ankles) rub against bedding or other material until the skin is raw. Since the person is not moving very much, the area is not exposed to air, preventing it from healing.
Ninety-five percent of pressure sores are preventable with multiple methods available to help do so based on an individual’s needs and capabilities. If possible, you can help your patient get out of bed or a wheelchair and walk short distances a few times a day. If walking is not possible, changing someone’s position in his or her bed or wheelchair can reduce pressure on delicate areas.
For a patient in bed, change is recommended every two hours. For an individual in a wheelchair, four times an hour is the recommendation. If your loved one is not able to change position at all — for instance, a person with a spinal cord injury—you can put small pillows under parts of his or her body that will lift the sensitive areas. You can move these pillows periodically to mimic more changing of position.
Good Skin Care
Keeping your patient’s skin lubricated goes a long way in keeping his or her skin supple and free from ulceration. A person might not experience serious pain until stage 3 or 4 of a pressure sore. It is in his or her best interest to get it under control well before it gets to that point.
Good skin care allows the affected area to heal more quickly. If the skin has not yet reached stage 2, where it has split open, gentle washing and drying along with as much movement as possible will help keep it from worsening. If the wound has reached stage 2 or more, a dressing will probably be used to keep out germs and hold in moisture. It is important to wear gloves and use sterile dressings when treating bedsores, as they are particularly susceptible to infection.
Pressure sores are often unavoidable. It is possible, though, to lessen the harm they do to your patient by following a few guidelines. It is important that all caregivers are familiar with wound care. Special classes may be given in your area, and certification could be required under certain circumstances. By doing all you can to protect your loved one, you can help them to be safe and comfortable.
Many people mistakenly believe vision problems are an inevitable part of aging. Although some vision problems are more likely with aging, other factors play a role, such as exercise, diet and exposure to sunlight. All three of these things are within your control, which means you can vastly decrease your chances of developing eye problems with age.
Get Regular Exercise
Studies have found that regular exercise decreases your chance of developing eye-related diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in patients over 50 in the United States.
Exercise indirectly protects eye health because it helps manage diabetes and blood pressure. People who have high blood pressure are at higher risk of eye disease. Those with diabetes may develop diabetic retinopathy. Easy forms of exercise include walking and swimming. Remember to always stretch before and after exercising to avoid pulling muscles or otherwise getting injured. If you have limited mobility, you can do knee lifts and shoulder retractions and lift weights.
Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
You should always wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Prolonged exposure to the sun increases your risk of developing cataracts. UV rays cause about 20% of cataracts cases. The sun’s UV rays can also cause macular degeneration and pterygium, which are growths on the eye. Choose sunglasses that protect against at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation and wrap around the eyes.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for all aspects of your health, including eye health. Zinc, copper, beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C decrease your risk of age-related eye-health decline by up to 25%. Some of the best foods for improving your eye health are fish, nuts, legumes, chia seeds, flax seeds, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes and beef. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in oily fish, are supportive of eye health. Oily fish include tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies, herring and sardines. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water a day as well. Staying hydrated helps protect your eyes.
Exercising regularly, wearing sunglasses outside and eating a healthy diet significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health as you age. Even if you’ve already noticed a decline in your eye health, implementing these three things can help reverse some of the damage and prevent or slow down further decline.
Welcome Homecare offers a variety of services to make aging easier. Learn how we can help you or your loved one today!
Facing dementia can be difficult, both for the individual who experiences it and for that person’s loved ones. Dementia impacts someone’s cognitive function, capacity for daily function, and ability to communicate. Coming to a more complete understanding of factors that may contribute to dementia can help you watch out for common catalysts and better prepare for the future. These are some potential causes of dementia.
Traumatic Brain Injury
One of the most common potential causes of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is a traumatic brain injury. Just one traumatic brain injury may substantially increase an individual’s risk of dementia. Additionally, even mild brain injuries can noticeably increase the risk of developing dementia later on. The risk of developing dementia also seems to go up in proportion to the severity of the traumatic brain injury. A single severe traumatic brain injury can result in twice the risk of dementia development that a mild traumatic brain injury causes.
Genetics also seem to have a significant impact on an individual’s likelihood of developing a form of dementia. Certain studies have found that people with a higher genetic predisposition toward dementia are more likely to develop it over time. While results vary from one individual to the next, genetic background and family history can serve as potential indicators of whether dementia is something for you to watch out for. If others in your family have shown a predisposition towards dementia, then you may have a higher genetic risk factor. The exact effects that genetics have upon an individual’s likelihood to develop dementia are complicated and include a huge amount of variance, which raises questions as to whether these effects can be countered by environmental factors.
Lack of Mental Stimulation
Speaking of environmental factors, your level of ongoing activity and mental stimulation has a huge impact on your likelihood of suffering from dementia. Even in the face of traumatic brain injury or a genetic predisposition towards dementia, staying active and regularly participating in mentally engaging activities can decrease your risk. You can think of your mind as being similar to a muscle: If you don’t use it regularly and keep it fit, it’s going to weaken and deteriorate over time. A bland, predictable, and boring environment that’s devoid of excitement and mental stimulation can greatly increase the risk of losing cognitive function. In addition to staying healthy overall by maintaining a healthy diet rich in brain-boosting antioxidant foods that provide great nutrition, you can keep your mind healthy by regularly engaging in hobbies, learning new things, and solving recreational puzzles.
A variety of different factors contribute to an individual’s risk for dementia, and some seem to be especially common. Even a single traumatic brain injury can dramatically increase someone’s risk of developing dementia, and medical history of brain injury should be taken as a strong motivator to be proactive by staying active and healthy. Genetic predisposition may also be a factor for some people, although an individual’s level of genetic risk may be somewhat offset by environmental factors. Make sure you prioritize mentally stimulating activities that engage the brain in order to decrease this risk.
While aging comes with various challenges for any individual, watching a loved one endure certain difficulties can be hard as well. Every day, more and more people are faced with having to decide if they should place their loved one in a nursing facility. While this decision may be one of the toughest to make ever, trying to take care of a loved one with declining health can be even tougher. Although this can be a very emotional time, in order to do what is best for your loved one, as well as yourself, you must ask yourself the following fact-finding questions:
Does Your Loved One Have Escalating Needs?
When it comes to matters of the heart, you may want to believe that you will be able to take care of your loved one properly simply because of the love that you have for them. However, when it comes to escalating needs, oftentimes love isn’t strong enough when someone is needing to be lifted, bathed, and more. There are some needs that your loved one may have that your body just isn’t physically equipped to handle. However, nursing facilities have the proper equipment as well as trained staff that can accommodate those needs and more.
Are You Becoming Too Stressed?
Trying to care for a loved one all on your own can be not only physically strenuous but emotionally strenuous as well. Certain conditions may require around-the-clock care which is something that can be extremely taxing on your emotional and mental state. It is okay to feel tired or to want a break as you are human and just one person. According to this source, it’s normal to feel caregiver burnout, and it’s important to remind yourself that if you don’t take time out for yourself, you’ll have a harder time caring for other people. A nursing facility can provide around-the-clock care and treatments to help your loved one get all the help they need.
Is Your Home Safe?
For many aging adults, illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia can develop causing a person to have severe lapses in memory. This can be very dangerous as they may not even know who you or even themselves are and could hurt themselves in your home. Unfortunately, situations like this are best dealt with in a nursing facility where the person can be monitored around the clock.
Are Nursing Homes Safe?
Although nursing facilities house people who have physical and even mental disabilities which can increase their chance of injury, for the most part, these facilities are safe. Nursing facilities can provide treatment as well as equipment that can help people regain mobility, around the clock care and more. According to this source, the leading cause of injuries in seniors in the United States is falling. Because these facilities have a staff of people to check on patients, as well as proper equipment, they can help to prevent injuries from occurring.
Whether your loved one is in a facility or at home, there will always be risks involved. However, by allowing your loved one to receive care in a nursing facility, you can help to minimize those risks by giving your loved one the best care and treatment possible.
It is no secret that older adults benefit greatly from regular physical activity. Seniors should make a commitment to getting in an adequate amount of exercise each day. Not only will this improve overall health and mitigate the risk of disease, but it will also provide a mental and emotional boost. Here are three things to know about the importance of physical activity for seniors.
Reduce the Risk for Diseases
Physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of disease for senior citizens. Even if you already have a chronic condition, daily exercise can help to control the symptoms and slow the progression of many diseases. Making the commitment to get up and move may prevent or delay the onset of various conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Regular exercise can also play a big part in reducing blood pressure, helping to stave off a host of issues. Weight-bearing exercises will strengthen bones while maintaining healthy joints and muscles.
Amount of Activity
Seniors should participate in approximately 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, with each session lasting about 10 minutes. Breaking the activity up into smaller increments of time will reduce the risk of injury and exertion. Small bursts of activity will also serve as a motivation to keep moving because the exercise can be easily incorporated into a daily schedule. Seniors that have been sedentary need to take caution when launching a new routine. Be sure to start off slowly and gradually build up endurance as the body becomes accustomed to the exercise.
You do not have to get out and run for an hour each day to see the physical and mental benefits of exercise. When devising an exercise routine, it is important to incorporate activities that boost endurance, strengthen muscles and bones, improve balance and encourage flexibility. Good exercise choices for seniors include yoga, pilates, walking, resistance training, biking, and simple stretching exercises. The hardest part about developing an exercise routine is simply getting started. Once you make this exercise a part of the daily routine, it will become easier to maintain moving forward.
Seniors who commit to daily exercise are more likely to be able to retain their sense of independence as they age. Encouraging the elderly to make exercise a priority will pay off big dividends both now and in the future.
For many seniors, their golden years bring with them leisurely days and peaceful nights. Yet, as the body ages, simply getting in and out of bed can become a chore. That’s why you should bear the following three things in mind when choosing a bed for a senior.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping patterns change significantly as we get older. So, when seniors mention their inability to sleep, the issue is often cast aside as part of the aging process. However, a saggy mattress may be a contributing factor to a loved one’s lack of sleep. A droopy bed cannot support the body properly. As a result, seniors may experience insomnia, aches, and pains. Try rotating the mattress 180 degrees every six months, purchasing a latex topper or buying a hybrid mattress for added support.
Consider the elevation of the bed’s frame, the depth of the box springs and the loftiness of the mattress. When a person sits up on the bed, his or her feet should touch the floor. Otherwise, it’s hard to shift the weight forward to stand. The bed’s height should match a dining chair seat. If the bed is for a wheelchair-bound senior, it’s important to make sure the height of the bed is no greater than the height of the wheelchair. To facilitate accessibility, measure the bed from the floor to the top of the mattress. Alternatively, you can have the person sit on the edge of the bed to make sure the hips and knees align while the feet remain flat on the floor. If the bed is too high, you can remove the wheels from the frame. Other options include buying a lower bed frame, purchasing less bulky box springs or replacing the mattress to reduce the overall height.
Seniors who require assistance may benefit from the use of a hospital bed that lifts and lowers for an easy transfer. In addition, bed rails can offer stability. They prevent a person from rolling out of bed and provide something solid to grab onto when getting in or standing up. Check for gaps between the mattress and rails, and cover the openings to avoid entrapment risks.
Seniors need and deserve a good night’s rest, and a good bed can help resolve many of their sleeping challenges. Just remember to consider the support level, height and transfer capabilities to give them the best chance of sleeping peacefully through the night.
Even if you are in good health and exercise regularly, the potential of heart disease is lurking down the road. As the leading cause of death in the US, heart disease can strike anyone. While some of the factors that contribute to your heart disease risk are hereditary and cannot be controlled, there are a number of lifestyle factors that you can control. Here are three things that you can do today to prevent heart disease in the future:
Improve Dietary Habits
Your diet is a significant predictor in your odds of developing heart disease. Medline Plus explains that to lower your risk of heart disease, focus on eating a diet that is low in saturated fats, sodium and added sugars. You should make fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains the cornerstone of your diet. There are a variety of dietary changes that you can make to decrease your risk of heart disease while still enjoying flavorful food. For example, instead of reaching for the greasy tortilla chips to dip in that heart-healthy guacamole, try eating it with jicama instead. Substituting applesauce for vegetable oil is a great way to reduce the fat and calories in baked goods. With a little creativity, you can still enjoy your favorite foods without sacrificing your health.
Most people are surprised to learn about the connection between flossing and heart disease. Not flossing regularly can lead to a host of oral hygiene issues such as gum disease. According to Dr. Bret Dyer, this gum disease can inflame blood vessels around the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack. For this and many other reasons, it is important that you make proper oral hygiene a cornerstone of your overall approach to good health.
When it comes to preventing heart disease, the benefits of regular exercise are vast. Family Doctor says that engaging in frequent cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart while also improving blood circulation. Regular exercise will also help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is a big predictor of heart disease. You will also enjoy lower blood pressure levels and lower cholesterol as a result of working out. All of these benefits work together to reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease.
Heart failure is the leading cause of death in patients today. Welcome Homecare’s exclusive CHF program caters to each patient, individually and focuses not just on care but also education and prevention to keep patients from readmitting into the hospital. Contact us with questions!