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Posts Tagged “Aging Issues”

Having “the Talk” with Your Parents

Senior using Phoenix home careSo you’re beginning to notice some things are not quite right with an elderly parent: increased forgetfulness. Misplaced items. Confusion. Is it time to consider some assistance at home?

At Nightingale Homecare, we believe that earlier is better when it comes to the safety of a senior loved one. Waiting until an emergency or crisis situation arises can put everyone into full panic mode, eliminating the ability to carefully plan and consider what’s best for both the senior and his or her family.

And so begins “the talk.”

ONCE YOU BEGIN THE CONVERSATION, TALK OFTEN

As mentioned, our advice is to begin early, and also realize it will likely take more than one discussion. Beginning the conversation when your parents are healthy and active may seem like you are jumping the gun, but it makes the conversation go a lot easier when a crisis does occur. You will also be a lot further ahead in knowing the wants and wishes of your parents, and where the roadblocks may lie.

The worst time to discuss future assistance is following a health emergency. No one is prepared, and the wishes of your parents may be unheard. So don’t wait. Beginning the discussion when your parent’s health is good is the perfect time.

INCLUDE EVERYONE

More often than not, there are numerous adult family members that need to be involved in the decision for your parent’s future health care assistance. Be sure to recognize that fact, and involve everyone who needs to participate in the discussion. Unless it’s a crisis, where all the members cannot be involved, excluding members will lead to resentment down the road. Remember, it isn’t uncommon at all for family members to have different opinions and ideas about how to manage the loved one’s care needs, and it is important that all are heard, including the parent needing care.

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

Once you are all gathered, it is important to have a list of topics for discussion. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to complete the discussion in one setting, so set a plan for future meetings.

This list should give you a good idea on what topics are important to cover.  You can customize this list or make one of your own.

  1. Home Safety. Are your parents safe in their current environment? Do they feelsafe? Could they be safer if home modifications were made?
  2. Living and Care Options. Do your parents want to stay in their current home as long as possible? Or are they considering “downsizing” or moving to a senior living community?
  3. Legal Preparations. Do your parents have an up-to-date will? How can their assets help provide for their own care in case of a decline in health or incapacity?
  4. Medical Care Coverage. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare, and paying for it can quickly deplete financial resources. Investigate whether your parents are good candidates for long-term care insurance, or if they already have a policy in place.
  5. Current Health Needs. Do you know who your parent’s physician(s) are? Would you be able to locate their contact information in an emergency?
  6. Finances. If your parents were to be hospitalized, would you be able to step in and make sure their bills are paid?
  7. End-of-Life Care. Have your parents completed advance directives for healthcare, including a healthcare power of attorney and living will? Have you discussed with them what their wishes are if they were to be incapacitated and unable to make their own healthcare decisions?

When the idea of accepting a little extra help at home becomes a reality for your senior loved one, we welcome you to reach out to Nightingale Homecare for the highest quality Phoenix senior care. Providing Arizona in-home care for more than two decades, we’re a 2015 HomeCare Elite Top Agency – meaning you can trust that the care services we provide are among the best in the country. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more about how we can help keep a beloved senior in your life safe, happy, and thriving.

How to Prevent Unnecessary Hospitalizations with Occupational Therapy

Prevent Unnecessary Hospitalizations with Occupational TherapyWe hear it all the time: “What’s the point of occupational therapy when I’m retired from my occupation?” While comments like this one may be tongue-in-cheek, the reality is that many people downplay the role that occupational therapy plays in recuperating from an illness, injury, or hospitalization – and, in preventing future occurrences.

The Arizona senior care experts at Nightingale Homecare have compiled the basics and benefits of occupational therapy for you, in the hope that if a need arises for yourself or a loved one, you’ll incorporate OT services into your plan of recovery.

Sometimes the simple things, like bathing, getting dressed, preparing meals or just getting around your home can be a tremendous challenge during recovery from and illness or hospitalization. After a return home from the hospital, just making it through the front door can seem daunting. Then, the occupational therapist steps in to “save the day”! The OT’s initial evaluation includes dozens, if not hundreds of observations regarding your (or your loved one’s) home, mobility, limitations, and safety.

Occupational therapists evaluate how problems with movement, muscle weakness, sensation, vision, hearing, breathing, and thinking affect your daily living activities, and they can recommend special devices that can make these activities easier for those with challenges.

Not only do OTs have the educational background to analyze and develop a physical plan, but they also understand and evaluate the patient’s psychosocial status and disorders that impact the whole person. By working with an occupational therapist, individuals can learn and/or re-learn the “skills of living.” OTs can aide in moving the challenges of life into opportunities for growth, adaptation and acceptance.

Occupational therapists develop strategies to help clients overcome health issues such as mobility and movement problems due to developmental disorders, spinal cord injury, aging, or arthritis. They can also provide assistance in managing pain due to accidents, burns, back injury, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

Other roles of the occupational therapist include:

  • Assisting clients with re-learning and discovering new ways to manage home upkeep activities after an illness, disability or brain injury.
  • Managing fatigue during activity due to a chronic lung or heart condition, CVA (or stroke), multiple sclerosis or other muscular degenerative illness, or depression.
  • Assisting clients with performing daily living activities, and returning to a routine or work after an injury or prolonged illness.
  • Providing tools and strategies for managing memory loss by introducing memory aids for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, stress, etc.

At Nightingale Homecare, we understand the value and necessity of our occupational therapists! They help clients avoid additional injury and also help prevent unnecessary hospitalization as well as premature long-term care and nursing home admissions.

To discover more of what an occupational therapist can do for you, contact Nightingale Homecare and let us help you realize your highest level of function and independence at home!

5 Ways to Celebrate Stress-Free Holidays with Senior Loved Ones

5 Ways to Celebrate Stress-Free Holidays with Senior Loved OnesFor many seniors, this time of year can bring about a roller coaster of emotions. In tandem with experiencing the joy of family, friends, and holiday activities, feelings of loss, depression, and exhaustion can result in an overload of stress. To help balance out the season for the seniors you love, try some of these tips, courtesy of AARP:

  • Don’t try to do it all. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to embrace every opportunity the holiday season offers, but the reality is, seniors need plenty of downtime in the midst of the festivities. Try to match your pace to that of your senior loved ones, and treasure the times of relaxation together as much as the bustle of shopping and parties.
  • Honor old traditions while introducing the new. While it’s important to uphold certain traditions that are valued by your senior loved ones, realize that they may invoke some measure of sadness for times gone by. Try implementing some brand new traditions that the whole family can agree upon and enjoy together, such as watching a new holiday movie while stringing popcorn and cranberries, constructing a gingerbread house, or a game of holiday charades.
  • Keep an eye on health issues. The busyness of the holidays can mask the subtle signs of health concerns if we’re not careful to pay attention to the cues our senior loved ones are exhibiting. Keep a watchful eye out for signs such as changes in sleeping or eating habits, which could indicate physical or emotional issues that need to be addressed.
  • Think ahead before venturing out. When accompanying a senior to a holiday outing, a little advance planning can go a long way towards ensuring his or her comfort and safety. For example, before hitting the mall for a day of shopping, map out the locations of rest rooms, review meal options (taking into consideration any dietary restrictions), check on wheelchair accessibility or rental options, etc.
  • Allow time to just be together. The best gift you can give your senior loved ones is that of your unhurried time and undivided attention. Simply setting aside an afternoon to visit over a cup of tea, without any other obligations or distractions, shows you care in a way unlike any other.

A professional home care agency, such as Nightingale Homecare, can enhance the holidays for seniors and their families even further. We allow families the opportunity to spend quality time together with activities they can enjoy, while our experienced Phoenix senior caregivers assist with the more mundane aspects of care, such as light housekeeping, bathing and grooming, meal planning and preparation, and much more.

We also provide nursing, therapy, and other home health care services as needed, so seniors can remain safe, comfortable, and as independent as possible, right at home. Contact us to learn more about our Arizona in-home care services and how we can make life easier and more enjoyable for your senior loved one!

The Flu and Chronic Conditions: A Volatile Combination

The Flu and Chronic ConditionsIt’s that time of year again! People are sneezing, coughing and generally feeling miserable. Most often, it’s just a minor “cold” and symptoms are quelled by cough medicine and decongestants. But sometimes it can be something far more serious, and that virus may be influenza, or “the flu”.

If you are in a high-risk group (such as those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, COPD or certain other chronic medical conditions), you’re at risk for flu complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death, and annual vaccination is your best protection against the flu virus.

Most people that are hospitalized with the flu – nearly 80% of adults and 50% of children – have a serious underlying illness that can complicate the flu. Receiving the influenza antiviral drug, or “flu shot,” can mean the difference between having a milder form of the flu or coming down with a very serious version of the flu, resulting in days or weeks of illness and complications that may result in a hospital stay or even death.

Symptoms of the flu can begin with symptoms similar to a common cold. Later, symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

You may wonder why your medical condition leaves you more vulnerable to serious complication of the flu, even though you have your chronic condition well-managed. Those with chronic conditions are more likely to develop pneumonia, thus making the condition unstable, especially for conditions such as COPD and asthma.

If you have diabetes, your immune system is less able to fight the flu symptoms and raise your blood sugar levels. Antiviral medications can help lessen the flu symptoms and the duration of the illness, and are especially helpful in preventing serious complications and hospitalization for those patients who are in the high-risk group. Antiviral medications are not a substitute for the flu vaccine. The influenza vaccine is the first and best way to ward against getting the flu virus.

Nightingale Homecare is diligent in helping to prevent the flu for our clients and our staff. If you are a patient or a caregiver of Nightingale Homecare, we offer the flu vaccination free to you. Just call the office to request your vaccine.

Your doctor can give you more information about the vaccine and antiviral medications used to treat the symptoms. For more information, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites.

If you live in the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or Maricopa County, AZ, reach out to Nightingale Homecare to discuss your specific needs for home care and monitoring your chronic disease. Our team of caring professionals has developed our unique Pathlink Program designed to instruct our patients and their loved ones on how to manage their chronic disease, empowering them to get control of their health care needs. Nightingale’s care is provided any time of the day or night—all from the comfort of our clients’ Phoenix-area homes.

Nightingale Homecare is tailored to the needs of each individual situation. Contact Nightingale Homecare any time at 602-504-1555, or complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help. If getting trusted care at home and maintaining independence is critical to your long-term care plan, we can help.

Posted in Aging Issues, Senior Health on December 16th, 2015 · Comments Off on The Flu and Chronic Conditions: A Volatile Combination

Helping Seniors Deck the Halls Safely

Helping Seniors Deck the Halls SafelyIf you listen closely, you may be able to hear it: the creak of attic doors opening, the dusting off of boxes packed away in storage, the jingling of bells being carefully lifted out. It’s time to deck the halls! And there’s no age limit on enjoying the beauty and tradition of holiday decorations. But there are some specific precautions to be taken when helping your senior loved ones prepare their homes for the holidays, particularly those with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Keep these tips in mind to allow seniors to celebrate safely:

  • Lights: When choosing holiday lights, steer clear of those that twinkle and opt instead for steadily burning bulbs. The blinking on and off of lights can be disorienting and disturbing to those with dementia.
  • Candles: There are a variety of electric and battery-operated candles available that can be used in place of the more dangerous, open flame variety.
  • Clutter: With the addition of holiday decorations comes the potential for falls. Be sure to keep walkways (both in the home and outside) clear of extension cords, decorations, and gifts.
  • Animations: Particularly for those with dementia, characters that move, talk, or sing can invoke fear. Stick to non-animated decorations if you suspect these may cause distress for your senior loved one.
  • Imitations: Avoid decorating with artificial fruits, nuts, cookies, etc. which can be incredibly realistic and easy for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to mistake for the real thing.
  • Breakables: Fragile, glass ornaments and other breakable decorations, if used at all, should be placed out of reach of those with dementia. Choose sturdy, brightly colored, non-breakable options instead.

For more tips on keeping your senior loved ones safe this holiday season, call on the Arizona home care professionals at Nightingale Homecare! We love making the holidays merry and bright for seniors throughout the Phoenix area, and are here to help with a variety of hands-on assistance, such as:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Preparing special holiday meals
  • Setting out and reminiscing over treasured holiday decorations
  • Baking treats and creating holiday crafts and artwork together
  • And so much more

We also provide a full range of home health care services, such as nursing, occupational, physical and speech therapy, and all of our services are provided by fully fingerprinted, background-checked, bonded, insured and trained care staff – always supervised by registered nurses.

Call us any time at 602-504-1555 to bring a little holiday cheer to your senior loved one. Happy Holidays!