July 16, 2018

Make the Most of Home Health Care Visits: A Daily Comfort Checklist

Filed under: Healthcare,Home Health Care,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 11:26 am

Courtesy of Janet Campbell

When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life.  In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis.  Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.

Sleep.  As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle.  It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns.  According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.

For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties.  These together can be a slippery slope.  With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.

There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality.  One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind.  Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon.  Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime.  Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights.  Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well.  For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.

Diet.  Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life.  As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned.  Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories.  The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.

The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious.  Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices.  Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads.  Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium.  The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish.  Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.

Exercise.  Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors.  OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors.  Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance.  Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain.  A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.

Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians.  Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement.  Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen.  Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.

Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.

Better health, better life.  Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount.  Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program.  Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.

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July 12, 2018

Be in The Senior Housing Know: Home Health Care

By: Darleen Mahoney

Home Health Care by definition according to Wikipedia: is, “Home care is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical treatment needs or by professional caregivers

Home Health Care providing assistance to elderly woman

who provide daily assistance.” Home Health Care provides the ability for seniors to age in place and provides other caregivers a break.

Those who might consider Home Health Care may be recovering from a procedure, have a degenerative disorder or in need of general medical care. Home Health is recommended most often by a doctor after a visit or a hospital stay because it is provided by medical professionals.

One of the benefits that Home Health Care provides is that not only is there a medical professional in the home providing the specialized care that is needed, but also provides personal services as well.

Home Health Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:

  • Skilled Nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain management
  • Wound care
  • Prescription management
  • Helping those with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Personal Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:

  • Grooming, like dressing and help with bathing
  • Medication reminders
  • Errands
  • Help with moving around the home
  • Cooking meals

Because Home Health Care are in the home, they can work with family members daily to make sure that routines are followed, make recommendations on medications and keep the senior in their home environment longer.

The cost of Home Health Care as an option could come down to who is going to pay for the care. While a family caregiver will not receive any monies from any programs, Medicare has limited coverage for home care. When coverage is provided through Medicare it is only covered through a Medicare-certified home health care agency.  Always check with your insurance provider and any other resources that may help with the expense of Home Health Care.

If you would like to age in place and explore different Home Healthcare providers in your area to see what they offer, please visit SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on the state and area of interest. Review each one carefully, weigh the options and what is important to you and your family and then schedule a call to discuss those options.

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July 5, 2018

Be in The Senior Housing Know: Adult Day Care Centers

By: Darleen Mahoney

Adult Day Care facilities (ADC) are vastly different than any other community than what we have covered in our Senior Housing “Be in The Senior Housing Know” series. The adult senior does not live at the facility but will spend time during the day.  It is a professionally managed environment that typically provides senior adults with dementia, or other mental or physical disabilities care. The benefit of an ADC is the option to allow these senior adults to age in place.  The facility provides activities Information on Adult Day Careduring the day while providing a safe and secure place to go. The aging adult is provided with medical care, daily social interaction, meals, cognitive stimulation and in some instances, transportation to the center. Respite Care, providing caregivers to take a break from responsibilities, is also a service that many Adult Day Care Centers provide. The ratio of staff/senior is reported as 1-6 by the NADSA.

One of the most important aspects that Adult Day Care Centers offers a Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s is cognitive stimulation. According to the National Adult Day Services Association, 75-90 percent offers these types of services to their senior adults.

Different programs may include:

  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Creative projects (quilting/puzzles)
  • Memory training
  • Educational programs
  • Book clubs
  • Current event discussion groups
  • Crosswords

As the efforts of many organizations continue to recognize the importance of helping people to “age in place”, the social aspects that can be achieved in an Adult Day Care environment can be a major piece of that puzzle for these adults who are physically and mentally challenged who would like to remain at home. As Adult Day Care Centers are growing, the certifications and licenses required are different state by state. Here is the breakdown to be considered:

  • 26 States require licenses only
  • 10 States require certifications only
  • 4 States require both licenses and certifications
  • 11 States do not require either licenses or certifications

What is a Certification? The adult day program has been approved by the Department of Human Services by the standards set. Licensing varies state by state depending on their requirements and level of care. States without certification or a license, are generally publicly funded and have official agreements with state agencies.

Before choosing any Adult Day Care Service, visit the facility, talk to the adults there and see how they enjoy their day and what they do with their time. It never hurts to ask for references from caregivers that can provide feedback.  For an extensive one stop shop to help you choose a ADS right for you or a loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com’s Adult Day Care section, click on your state and area for an extensive selection of different Adult Day Care options in your area, visit their website and their locations before making a final decision.

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