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USA Today’s tips on Home Health Care

As there is a growing demand for home health care, this USA Today article offers key tips for navigating one of the nation’s fastest-growing job forces.

In 2012 alone, approximately 4.7 million people in the U.S. received a form of long-term care in their homes, notes USA Today.

  • Linda Fodrini-Johnson, the founder and executive director of Eldercare Services states ” Look for a licensed care agency that has at least five years’ experience and meets all the state’s licensing laws.” And, she says, “Be sure they have a clear agreement for services to sign before starting services.”
  • Make sure you have calculated all your options for paying for this care. She also recommends checking your long-term insurance restrictions on home health care.
  • Determine the appropriate person to coordinate care on your behalf.

 

Read the USA Today article.

Elderly Special Needs Disaster Planning

Disaster planning is something that every person should be involved in. The thing that makes it difficult is that it is virtually impossible to make an effective disaster plan for every type of situation when you have no idea what is coming at you.

The problem is exacerbated when there are certain members of the community that cannot necessarily care for themselves who must be included in the disaster plan. Such is the case with elderly members of the community who have special needs. This may be because they are physically incapable of removing themselves from the situation or it may be due to the fact that they have dementia and they are no longer mentally capable of comprehending what is going on around them. In either case, it is up to other members of the community to ensure their overall safety.

  •  One of the most popular ways to shelter large groups of people is to shelter them in place. Simply put, this means that individuals who are located in a large structure, such as a nursing home or an assisted living facility, should shelter by staying in the facility and not trying to avoid the disaster by moving to a different location. This is even the plan that is used for many facilities in the face of deadly tornadoes which are bearing down on their path. It is essentially the same method of protection that is used in schools and high-rise buildings throughout the country. However, it has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of sheltering in place is that it is often safer to shelter in a central location as opposed to trying to move to another area. Many more people are injured or killed trying to escape a disaster than to shelter in place and face it head on.

However, the one drawback to sheltering in place is that it is extremely difficult to ensure the survival of individuals who are located directly in the path of a large scale disaster. This other option is great for home health care patients.

  • The answer is to create a shelter that is as safe as possible and then allow people who cannot flee the disaster or fight for themselves shelter in that location. This includes using a building that has a basement which can be used in the event of tornadoes and similar disasters. The building should also have safety valves where gas lines can be quickly turned off and should have firewalls and fire doors built into the building in an effort to be able to contain any fire that breaks out to a separate part of the building.Finally, alternate forms of communication should be put in place long before the disaster ever occurs so that other people within the community can be made aware that a problem exists. This occurs by using social media, land lines and cell phones or pagers. Most of the time, it becomes a matter of using whichever of those choices is still functioning at the moment.

In closing, a disaster plan should be inclusive of ensuring that there is enough food and water and that necessary medical supplies are already on hand. Having a plan in place beforehand ensures that the plan can be carried out in its entirety as opposed to being left wondering what to do next. Caring for individuals with special needs means that extra medications and things specific to their particular situation must be on hand in advance. By doing so, it is possible to come through a disaster safely.

Dementia: Early Warning Signs

Many people fear that either they or someone they love will eventually get dementia. It is easy to understand why this would be a concern, dementia robs people of the one thing that is perhaps most important to virtually every human on earth. Dementia takes away their ability to remember special moments with loved ones who may or may not still be living and it completely transforms a loved one until they essentially become a stranger. It is extremely difficult on both the individual that is experiencing dementia and on the loved ones who must witness it. As a result, many people become fearful about this disease, especially as age progresses.
However, being acutely aware of dementia early warning signs is the most effective way to mitigate the circumstances of the disease and to treat it as effectively as possible. While there is no cure for dementia as of yet, recognizing the warning signs early on does provide additional treatment options and may slow the progression of the disease significantly.

 

It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain the difference between early warning signs of dementia and the natural aging process. It is normal for people to forgets things sometimes or to get something mixed up. However, when an older person forgets something or misunderstands something, many people immediately respond with the idea that they must be experiencing the early signs of dementia. Therefore, it is vitally important to recognize that the occasional forgetfulness that every person experiences does not necessarily constitute the onset of dementia, even when it occurs in people of advanced age. The early warning signs of dementia include:

  • Repeated and frequent forgetfulness accompanied with an inability to remember important past memories.
  • People experiencing dementia may become confused easily and have a tendency to get agitated when they are unable to remember things or to recognize individuals from the past.
  • Inability to recall familiar faces or remember names of people that have been present in a person’s life for years.

While these are typically signs that should indicate that something may be wrong, it is possible that they can be signs related to the aging process or to stress. More advanced signs include getting lost, not being able to remember a home address or forgetting holidays and birthdays.

As a result, any person who is suspected of having dementia should be evaluated by a medical professional as quickly as possible. It is not possible to definitively determine if a person is suffering from dementia or merely suffering from normal memory loss associated with the aging process without a thorough examination by a medical professional. Therefore, any time that a person experiences the warning signs listed herein, an evaluation should be conducted. Once the problem is identified, the proper treatments can then be started.

Perks of Home Health Care!

When your loved one takes ill, or develops a disease that is hard to deal with on your own, it is time for you and your loved one to make the decision about getting outside help. A great option that helps keep your loved one near, is to engage in the assistance of home health care. What can home health care provide? Mainly it is a skilled assistant that comes into the home, and helps with the care and nurturing of your struggling loved one. Although it may be hard to admit that you need help in this hard time, it will be very beneficial for all when there is less stress, and you get more one on one interaction time with them versus just assisting them with daily tasks.

What can home health care provide? There are a lot of services that are available to help you in all aspects of care. There are companion services to start. In this type of service, a skilled worker will come to the home and help with supervising the patient as they live their day to day life. This is essential to make sure that they have less risk of injuring themselves, or to prevent them wandering off. They can also play games and visit with the patient, keeping them happy and content as you complete other tasks that cannot be ignored.

Personal care services are another aspect of home health care. This is where the assistant comes in to help more with ADL’s . or activities of daily living. These are things like bathing, eating, showering, and getting dressed. They also assist in toileting, exercising, and any other ADL’s, such as shaving and brushing teeth. They can also help those who just need some assistance, to get these tasks done right and in a timely fashion.

It’s actually not all about the patient. There are homemaker services as well that can be utilized. These skilled workers can come into the home and do all the housework that is needed to be done. They can also run errands, such as grocery shop and run to the bank. They will even prepare meals and make some in advance for quick heating. This is a great choice who want to be the sole caretaker for their sick loved one, letting others take care of the normal household chores.

There are a lot of options here that lets you know a little more about what home health care can provide to you. This will help you to make a more informed decision and do what is best for you and your loved one. Although this is never an easy time, with the help of these skilled workers, it can be a more relaxed time.

What to look For When Hiring Home Health Care

Hiring someone to provide home health care is a situation that should involve every member of the family. If possible, it should involve the individual that will be receiving the care more than anyone else, as they will have to work with this individual on a daily basis. Ideally, the person or people that are hired should be individuals that the entire family can agree upon. It should fit well from a financial standpoint and they should be able to provide for the needs of the patient and develop a relationship with that individual which makes the entire process more enjoyable.
It is important to remember that it is a huge adjustment for someone who needs home health care to get used to having strangers inside their home. In addition to the fact that the individual is likely feeling frustrated and fairly insecure about their particular situation regarding their health, having to deal with a stranger in the home does not help things.

  1. It is important that the first step in hiring a home health professional be that the individual be able to develop a relationship with the person they are caring for. It is essential that some type of common ground be found before anything can move forward. This is the foundation that everything else should be built on and if it does not exist, everything else will undoubtedly crumble in time.
  2. In addition, the needs of the patient must be considered when hiring home health professionals. Different patients have different needs. Some patients need only basic help with some housekeeping while others need full care. This will be a major factor in deciding which type of home health professional needs to be hired. In addition, it is vitally important that only professionals be hired that have the medical qualifications necessary to adequately take care of someone who needs full care. Depending on the patient’s medical condition, it may be necessary to hire someone that is also a licensed nurse as opposed to hiring a home health professional who does not carry those credentials.
  3. Finally, cost is a major factor. Home health professionals come from all walks of life and as such, they charge a wide array of different prices. While it is important to settle on something that can be afforded, it is also important to remember that this concerns the health of a loved one. In the end, there is no amount of money that can be more important than an individual’s personal health. As a result, it is essential to hire someone who has the qualifications needed to adequately care for the individual in question.

By following these steps, it is possible to make a situation that is undoubtedly unpleasant as easy as possible. In time, having a home health professional will likely have tremendous advantages. It is important to follow the guidelines listed herein and take the time to find the right individual or even the right group of individuals to adequately care for your loved one.

Alzheimer’s Care Tips

It takes a lot of patience to care for that loved one that has the unfortunate disease of Alzheimer’s. It is not only hard dealing with the task for watching them to keep them safe because of their lack of memory, but to watch your loved one change before your eyes into another version of themselves. In the early stages, they still may be able to function well and care for themselves as before. As this disease worsens though, their ability to do even everyday tasks will lessen, making their caretaker need to take over to get these things accomplished. There are a lot of simple tasks and tips that you can follow to decrease the frustration and anguish that can build during this trying process. Following these Alzheimer’s care tips will help you both ease more into the transaction of the levels of this disease and be prepared.

  • Schedule your time wisely. If you prepare a routine to follow, the days will become more predictable and will be less confusing for the patient, as well as you. Learn your loved ones moods, as they tend to change throughout the day. As you learn their mood habits, start to schedule the more difficult tasks, such as feeding and bathing, during the times where they are more relaxed and happy. This is also a good time of the day to schedule all doctor and dentist appointments as well.

 

  • Learn to take your time and pace yourself. Simple tasks that you used to breeze through will now take a lot longer than before. Learn to be patient and things as time allows. Allow more time to complete tasks than you did previously. This will help give you more piece of mind at the end of the day.

 

  1. Keep your loved one as independent and as involved as you possibly can. Instead of dressing them and brushing their hair, it may help to just lay their clothes out for them, or to have a checklist taped to a bathroom mirror of simple hygiene tasks to complete each morning. This will help them to not feel so dependent, and will help you to keep them involved in everyday life.

 

  • Limiting their choices may be a hard thing to do, but will be beneficial in the long run. The fewer choices that your loved one will have, the easier it will be for them to make a decision. Give them two options for meals. Give them two choices of clothing to wear after a bath. It will also help if you eliminate choices that aren’t really necessary as well, such as wearing a belt, or a bunch of dessert choices.

 

  • Reduce all the possible distractions. When you are trying to interact with them, don’t have the TV or radio on. This will help them to concentrate more on the task or conversation at hand, and keep you from repeating yourself. This is the most important during meal times and those times that you are wanting to talk to your loved one.

Alzheimer’s is not an easy disease to live with. It takes time to learn what the person is capable of still doing on their own, and it can be frustrating to watch them struggle. Following these tips will help make these task more at ease for the both of you, and will allow for more interaction time. In the long run, it will help you to be the best provider that you can possibly be.

Choices, Choices: Home Health Care vs. Nursing Facilities

When you have a loved one that has taken ill or has been diagnosed with a disease that makes it hard for them to take care of themselves, it becomes a very hard time for the family to decide what is the best choice to make sure their family member has all the proper care that they need to thrive. This huge decision may be something that is impossible to incorporate into your already busy lifestyle. One of your first questions may be, “Is home health care or nursing home care best for my loved one?” These are two great options

Home health care has many advantages. These are companies of skilled workers that can come into the house and assist your loved one. There are many levels and options available depending on your need.

  • Caregivers can help the patient with the normal hygiene needs of everyday life, such as showering and toileting. These workers will also help the patient with eating and getting dresses as well as any other basic need cares the patient may require.
  •  Home health can also provide workers that will take care of all household needs, such as cleaning and cooking. They can even go grocery shopping and run other basic errands you may have so that you can spend more time with the patient.
  • There are some registered nurses that can come into the home and provide wound care and all medications needs as well. These are all great options for those who prefer to keep their loved one at home.
  •  Caregivers are even available for travel visits such as hospital stays or vacations to ensure your loved one is take care of even away from the home.
  • Home health care allows  more time spent with family and allows your loved one their independence.

Nursing homes are often viewed as a last resort, used for those who have a terminal illness or physical ailment. This is not the only case though, as nursing homes are open to accepting all types of patients with different needs.

  • This can be a more cost effective choices.
  • The patient will have a group of nurses and doctors available at all times to make sure all their needs are met.
  • Nursing homes even allow the patient to bring personal items from home, making it seem less like a hospital to them and more comfortable.
  • Patient may socialize with others their age or with similar needs and meet new people.

When comparing home health care to nursing home care, you will see that this is just a personal preference on what fits best into your lifestyle and your loved ones needs.  Do the research and make the most informed decision that you can to benefit everyone.

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