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Posts Tagged “senior safety”

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.

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!

Find a HomeCare Elite Top Agency When a Senior Needs Help Over the Holidays

Nursing homeAs the holidays move into full swing, it is a time of year when people call on each other more. Families gather together for holiday celebrations, neighbors stop by each other’s homes to bring good tidings, and everyone tends to reach out more than during other seasons.

However, because people are reaching out more, it’s also very common during the holiday season for visitors to discover that some things are not as they should be with the seniors they are calling on. It may be as simple as some additional (but harmless) forgetfulness, or it could be something more alarming and potentially dangerous, such as the stove being left on.

But, what if, while visiting with a senior you know, suspicions are raised about his or her ability to continue to live independently in a safe environment? It’s crucial to know how to find a quality care provider in your area. The home care agency you recommend or select should have staff that are employed, as well as fully screened and background checked. This helps to ensure safety and prevent seniors from encountering any dangers that can arise from poor quality care.

One way to determine the overall quality of a home care agency is to look for the HomeCare Elite top agency designation. Nightingale Homecare is pleased to announce being named a HomeCare Elite top agency for 2015. This designation is only awarded to the top 25% of all Medicare-certified home care agencies, and is judged based on quality outcomes, best practices, patient experience, and other important criteria.

As a HomeCare Elite agency, we at Nightingale strive to be a resource for our community, helping people better understand common aging and caregiving issues and find the tools they need to navigate the aging care journey. In that spirit, if you notice any of these telltale signs that home care may be worth considering for a senior you visit during this holiday season, it may be time to begin the process of investigating top quality home care options:

  • Hygiene:
    • Are clothes dirty or disheveled?
    • Are basic grooming tasks, such as bathing and brushing teeth, being neglected?
  • Home:
    • Is the state of the home more cluttered than on previous visits?
    • Is the lawn maintained properly, or has it become overgrown?
    • Has the quality of housework declined?
    • Have you noticed scorch marks on pots and pans that could indicate that food cooking on the stove was forgotten?
  • Overall health:
    • Has the older adult experienced weight loss, which might indicate malnutrition or a more serious concern?
    • Does his or her balance seem less stable?
    • Does he or she seem to have a marked decrease in energy?

To learn more about the services offered by Nightingale Homecare, or schedule a free in-home assessment for an older adult you know and love, contact us by calling 602-504-1555. Nightingale Homecare offers the top quality Phoenix home care services you can trust.

Are Your Senior Loved Ones Prepared for an Emergency? Check Out These Tips to Find Out!

Emergency ChecklistIt’s human nature to push thoughts of emergency situations to the far reaches of our minds. After all, it seems like most disasters happen in faraway places and only become visible to us on the news. Right? But, what if a disaster were to strike close to home, and in particular, to affect the seniors you know and love? Would they (and you) be prepared for an emergency situation?

In honor of National Preparedness Month in September, the Red Cross urges you to take the following precautions to ensure that senior loved ones are as safe as possible:

  1. Make sure that you have a support network in place for senior loved one. This should include people in the local area such as trusted neighbors, friends, fellow congregants from church, or nearby family members. Designate one specific contact to check in with the senior immediately after a disaster to assess the situation.
  2. Make sure that those in the support network have copies of the senior’s important keys, security codes, and/or garage door openers so that that access to the senior’s home environment is immediately available.
  3. Keep an emergency supply kit stocked and in an easily accessible area. The CDC recommends the following:
    • Nonperishable foods that are easy to prepare, and plenty of bottled water
    • Manual can opener
    • Flashlight and extra, fresh batteries
    • Radio powered by batteries or by hand crank
    • Cell phone and charger
    • First aid kit, including a blanket and personal care items
    • A week’s supply of medications, along with paperwork related to medical conditions
    • List of contact information for family and emergency services
  4. Have an emergency evacuation plan in place, and practice it several times. Adult learners require information to be repeated five times before it is fully remembered.
  5. Be sure that everyone who is in the senior’s support network is aware of each other’s travel plans – when someone is out of town and when to expect their return.

Staying informed is the best way to be prepared for a disaster. Make a point of staying abreast of news through a variety of venues: TV, the Internet, newspapers, radio, etc. The local Emergency Management office in your area will share information on mandatory evacuations and shelters that are available. For more emergency resources, visit the CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response website, which offers details on putting together emergency kits, having a plan in place, and staying informed on a full range of potential disasters: disease outbreaks, weather emergencies, bioterrorism, and much more.

At Nightingale Homecare, our Arizona caregivers are poised and ready to assist the seniors in our care in the event of any type of emergency. Partner with us to keep your senior loved ones safe, in both times of normalcy and times of disaster, with our professional Phoenix senior care services. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more.

Posted in Home Safety, Senior Safety on September 9th, 2015 · Comments Off on Are Your Senior Loved Ones Prepared for an Emergency? Check Out These Tips to Find Out!

Supporting Your Senior Loved One to Age Safely at Home: Maximizing Health and Mobility

Maximizing Health and Mobility

Maximizing Health and MobilityIt’s easy for all of us to fall into a sedentary lifestyle, particularly as we age. But did you know that for older adults, lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for disability? And that the benefits of incorporating physical activity into a senior’s lifestyle include improvements in muscle strength, appetite, and flexibility, just to name a few?

This fifth post in our seven-part blog series from the registered nurses at Nightingale Homecare serves as an encouragement to help your senior loved ones maximize their health and mobility through incorporating a wellness routine to stimulate both the mind and body. This not only includes routine wellness check-ups with your loved one’s physician, but also activities appropriate and of interest to him/her. Some examples include:

  • Tai chi
  • Pool exercise
  • Yoga
  • Senior center activities
  • Healthy cooking and nutrition clubs
  • Book or card clubs

Keep in mind that all seniors should be involved in activity programs that foster strength and balance as they age. Promoting activities also helps prevent the “cascade effect”. This cascade is created when a senior experiences a fall – then becomes afraid to fall, limits activities to prevent falling and ultimately loses strength, balance and flexibility, thus actually increasing their risk of falling! Even stairs become a major obstacle to the elderly.

Allowing therapy specialists, medical social workers, or geriatric care managers to evaluate your loved one’s individual needs and interests, paired with available community resources to create the most individualized plan for your loved one, helps promote mental agility, companionship, physical strength, mobility, and balance, and will prevent the cascade scenario from occurring.

Nightingale’s home care team is trained to observe for warning signs, such as missed appointments, missed medication, subtle changes in routine, and symptom development to alert the patient’s physician and work to avoid emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Our goal at Nightingale Homecare is to provide the guidance and care necessary for your loved one to remain safe and independent at home. We love nothing more than engaging in activities that promote wellness with the seniors in our care, and seeing the smiles on their faces when their lives are enriched and fulfilled! For more information contact us or call us 602-504-1555.

Look for the next blog in our registered nurse series: HEALTHY CONNECTIONS: Maintaining Quality of Life and experience success with helping your loved on age in place at home!

Posted in Aging Issues on July 8th, 2015 · Comments Off on Supporting Your Senior Loved One to Age Safely at Home: Maximizing Health and Mobility