All posts by Hillary Hollman

Upcoming Community Events in Florida!

Cure PSP Awareness & Memorial Walk

 

Saturday, March 10  |  10:30 AM - 1:30 PM  |  Frank Mackle Park, Marco Island, Florida

Cure PSP is a non-profit organization that helps families affected by rare, neurodegenerative brain diseases through education, support, and advocacy, along with educational programs for physicians, public awareness, and worldwide research efforts.

Help us support the CurePSP organization by joining us on Saturday, March 10th to walk! You can either join in the walk, or come to the event to support and enjoy other entertainment.

There will be a Silent Auction, Raffle Prizes, and Live Entertainment. Our American In-Home Care sister company, Advocate Home Care Services, will also have a booth set up.

Registration is $25 per person or $10 per student (Cash and check only at the event, credit cards accepted online). Registration includes lunch and t-shirt!

To register, donate, or for more information, go to:
www.swflpspsupportgroup.wixsite.com/swflsupportgroup

home health care tampa community walk

Wound Care for Seniors: What You Need to Know

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Wound care is a medical treatment plan for wounds that do not heal easily on their own. Non-healing wounds are wounds that haven’t started healing within two weeks, or have not completely healed within six weeks. For seniors, these types of wounds commonly include pressure sores, surgical wounds, radiation sores, and ulcers, and can typically be intensified if they suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, inactivity, poor nutrition, or a weak immune system - all common conditions in the senior population.

So what should you do if you or a loved one is regularly suffering from non-healing wounds? The best option is to look for a care provider that is specifically certified in Wound Care, who can help make sure the wound is properly cared for, and can help you or your loved one heal as quickly and painlessly as possible.

What is Wound Care?

Put simply, wound care is the whole plan to help you heal from any wound that won’t heal itself naturally. From the initial dressing of the wound right after treatment, to bandage changes, cleanings, tests, and physical therapy. Wound care certified care providers have passed extremely stringent qualification courses that prove that they have the knowledge to help a patient navigate from a fresh wound to a full recovery.

Why Wound Care?

Many seniors are at an increased risk for experiencing non-healing wounds that require wound care because of their increased likelihood to suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, inactivity, poor nutrition, or a weak immune system. It is important that when a senior does develop a wound, that it is treated quickly and effectively to ensure the fastest healing. Working with a care provider who is certified and trained to properly care for wounds can increase the chance of wounds healing successfully without complications. Not having proper wound care could result in complications for seniors, such as gangrene, infections, and hospitalizations.

In fact, studies show that patients that are experiencing complications related to wounds from pressure ulcers, stasis ulcers, surgical wounds, incontinence, and urinary tract infections all showed marked improvements in recovery rates when being treated by a wound care certified medical professional.

Why should I work with a Care Provider who is Wound Care Certified?

Finding a care provider that is wound care certified should be a top priority for any senior or family caregiver that regularly deals with caring for wounds. Working with a wound care certified care provider means you will be receiving the best quality of care, typically resulting in wounds healing faster and more effectively. This leads to overall more affordable care costs, which is another advantage of working with a certified care provider.

Patient care costs dropping dramatically when the patient's care provider is wound care certified, because wounds heal faster and more effectively, which means less in-home care visits or less time in the hospital as a result. In a case study at a Home Health Agency in New York, the percentage of patients requiring daily visits dropped from 52% to 20% when the agency shifted focus to hiring and training wound care certified care providers. Some other interesting points from the study: the percentage of wounds that effectively healed in 12 weeks, and post-surgery healing rates both improved once care providers were certified. However, going beyond the potential financial savings, it is important to remember that proper wound care saves lives.

Many of the care providers we refer at American In-Home Care have undergone the Wound Care Certification. If you or your loved one believe that a certified wound care caregiver would be the correct fit for your circumstances, contact us today. We refer qualified, screened, care providers that are compassionate and ready to help. Contact us at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule your free in-home consultation to discuss which care options are right for you and your family.

If you are a care provider that wants to become certified in proper wound care, click here.

6 Tips for Seniors Diagnosed with Cancer

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Many people that have been diagnosed with a major illness, particularly cancer, share a very similar experience when they learn they have the disease: an immediate moment of disbelief, followed by a series of emotional responses unique to each individual, and ultimately the feeling of a heavy weight being left behind that feels impossible to shake. Even though it might feel hopeless in the beginning, it does get better, and there are many things that seniors diagnosed with cancer can do to help them feel supported throughout the process, and to continue living life independently and on their own terms.

Join a Cancer Community

There is scientific proof that having a positive outlook and sense of belonging to a community have positive effects on recovery for seniors diagnosed with cancer. It is important that an individual suffering from cancer knows that they aren’t alone; there are others sharing in their victories and their fight, and there is hope to be gained from seeing other with cancer thrive. While family members and friends have the absolute best intentions in their hearts, and their support is always welcomed, it’s also very important for seniors to build bonds with others in their cancer community that they have shared experiences with.

The Cancer Support Community is an excellent resource when looking for a group to share in your journey with. They have a full A-Z list of every single cancer community in the United States; no one should ever feel like they have to face down cancer alone.

Focus on Dietary Health

Dietary health can play a big role in either helping or hindering a cancer prognosis. There are foods that are known carcinogens (cancer causing), which should be avoided at all costs, and other foods that could be contributing to growth of cancer in the body. It is best for any senior diagnosed with cancer to attempt to follow a completely clean diet free of carcinogens or other risk-factor foods. It is best to remove ALL risk-factors from your diet, however, any improvement to cleaning up your diet can have incredible results on your overall health, and in this particular case, it could even help you beat cancer. Here are some general tips for an “Anti-Cancer Diet:”

  • Cut out Sugars – Heavily refined sugars, flours, and dairy products can all strengthen and feed cancer cells. Attempt to remove all dairy from your diet, as well as processed flours such as white bread and pasta. Try using unsweetened nut milks instead of dairy, and sprouted grain breads and quinoa pastas in place of processed flour products. If you have a sweet tooth, try sticking to naturally occurring sugars such as fruits, honey, pure maple syrup, or natural cane sugar.
  • Avoid CarcinogensCarcinogens are foods, or substances, that have been found to actively contribute to, and even cause, the growth of cancer in the body. Processed foods (think pre-packaged deli meats, processed cheeses, fast food, chips and other junk foods), and consumption of red meats are listed as carcinogens, and should be avoided. Stick with real, raw, whole foods - grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables - and cook your own food every chance you get.
  • Chemical Heavy Diets – This point is more controversial than the others, since research seems to change consistently as time goes on. But it is generally agreed upon that anyone, especially those diagnosed with cancer, should avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, nicotine/tobacco, and any other “binge” chemicals.

In general, when you are trying to eat a diet that is going to help your body combat cancer, think raw, fresh, and clean. Eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible, and try shopping at a local farmers market for the freshest fruits and veggies that are local and in season.

Clean Up Your Personal Hygiene Routine

Did you know that many personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, makeup, sunscreens, and fragrances contain ingredients that are known carcinogens? That means that things that you are putting on or in your body on a daily basis could be causing or contributing to the growth of cancer cells in your body, among having many other negative effects in your body - scary. While it might not be realistic to remove every potentially dangerous or carcinogenic source in your life, it certainly helps to remove every one that you have control over. So take some time to look through your personal hygiene products and be on the lookout for these ingredients that are potentially carcinogenic and dangerous for your health, especially if you have already been diagnosed with cancer:

  1. Parabens: A group of preservatives with strong links to hormone and endocrine disruption.
  2. Fragrance/Parfum: A blanket term that is considered “trade secret” by the FDA and unregulated. Can contain up to 25 (average of 14) unlabeled chemicals, such as phthalates and formaldehyde releasers.
  3. Talc: An opacifying and texturizing powder with allergenic and hormone disruption links. Can be contaminated with asbestos.
  4. Oxybenzone/Avobenzone/Octinoxate: Synthetic sunscreens that transform radiation rather than deflecting it like their physical counterparts Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Linked to hormone and endocrine disruption.
  5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate + Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Surfactant cleansers that are strongly linked to skin reactions and allergies as well as organ system toxicity.
  6. Triclosan: An antibacterial often found in toothpaste and personal care goods with linked to contamination, bio-accumulation and irritation. Banned by the FDA from certain items but allowed in others still.
  7. Bismuth Oxychloride: A mineral found often in mineral makeup for a pearlescent sheen. Frequently causes irritation such as rashes and redness.
  8. Mineral Oil/Paraffin/Petroleum: Derived directly from Petroleum, these ingredients are strongly linked to toxicity due to contamination. Mineral oil is also known to clog pores.
  9. PEGs: A group of compounds called polyethylene glycols derived from petroleum and often carcinogenic. These ingredients may read something like “PEG-40 XYZ” or as simple as polyethylene glycol.

If it seems overwhelming to start cleaning up your routine, take it one step at a time. Find some green and clean brands that you like, and stick with them!

Create A Dreams List and Pursue it!

In an effort to promote a more positive approach to making our dreams into reality, we propose that we drop the "b-list" term, and come up with another term. Something like… "Dreams List." Come up with a list of goals, experiences, and dreams you’d like to complete in your lifetime, and start pursing that list!  Much like joining a supportive community, completing aspects of your list brings a big positive feeling of accomplishment and happiness, which can actively help your body and mind to cope with cancer.

Beyond the measurable effects on the healing process, it is also important for seniors suffering from cancer to not focus so intently on treatments and cures that they forget themselves and what makes them happy. Maintaining your mental health and happiness is extremely important to maintaining your physical well-being. So reward yourself with some happiness and joy by fulfilling aspects of your dream list and living to the fullest! Ask your family members for help in completing items on your list, or if you have an in-home caregiver, they can also help you!

Utilize Cancer Resources

There are a number of incredible cancer resources for those seeking a range of different treatments. Whether you decide to pursue traditional cancer treatment, or go the route of a more naturopathic cancer treatment; you have options. There is a website and community for just about any type of cancer, along with hundreds of funding options, and countless different treatment methodologies.

If you are pursuing traditional care, the National Cancer Institute is the gold standard. There are pages and pages of informative posts on every type of cancer, funding options, and also Doctor Resource Centers to connect you with the best possible physician, and active communities to help support you.

CancerTutor.com is a rapidly growing cancer website that is focused on natural care. There are hundreds of options to consider if you decide to pursue natural care, some of them considerably more reputable than others. CancerTutor checks out and rates natural clinics and methodologies within an entirely non-profit model, allowing you to choose a doctor confidently. CancerTutor also has a range of community resources, diets, videos, and an incredible message of empowerment.

Never Stop Fighting

No matter which route you decide to take, whether it be natural or traditional, if you decide to join a cancer community, or rely on the support of your friends and family exclusively, whether you change your diet up or not... The most important thing to always keep in your mind is to never stop fighting. Every day, hundreds of Americans beat cancer, and we genuinely believe that you can too.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and need some help to remain at home and continue to live life to the fullest, we can help. We refer qualified and compassionate care providers that can help perform a variety of services such as assistance with medications, meal preparation, and accompaniment to doctor's visits, among many others. Contact your Client Care Liaison today to discuss your options, they are standing by and ready to help!

Engaging Social Activities for Older Adults

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Written by Geena Graham

Age should not define your ability to lead an active and invigorating life. In fact, today's seniors are leading more vigorous and engaging lives than ever before. Most seniors are no longer content with a short strolls outdoors or sitting on the front porch drinking lemonade, they want to be out in the world, enjoying their lives, and making lasting memories.

While it is perfectly ok to spend time taking it easy and relaxing as we age (we have earned that after all), it can be very beneficial in many ways to keep up an engaging lifestyle. Staying physically active has many benefits such as reducing aches and pains and enhancing balance and coordination - think gentle yoga, hikes, and water aerobics or swimming. But what about staying mentally and socially active? These types of activities are equally important for staying fit and healthy as we age, and to make sure we continue to get the most out of life. Here are a few engaging social activities for older adults that want to keep living to the fullest:

Volunteering

Are you passionate about animals, or an advocate for children? No matter your age or activity level, volunteering can be an extremely fulfilling and joyful activity. The older we get the more free time we tend to have, and spending it on a good cause is a great way to help others and also help yourself stay mentally and socially active. From helping at an animal shelter, to holding babies at the hospital, to volunteering at your local community center, these little acts of kindness can go a long way in the lives of others. No matter your age, you can make a difference in someone else’s life, and not even realize the impact you have on them.

Search for volunteer opportunities here.

College Courses

Did you know that some colleges offer discounts to seniors? And others allow seniors to audit classes, which mean you can take the same classes as students, but you do not receive actual credit and you’re not working towards a degree. Some community colleges also offer programs to finish getting your degree if you did not complete a degree-program when you were younger, as well as other senior-specific offerings. Now may be the perfect time to learn a new language, master a new skill, or dive into a topic that interests you. After all, getting older doesn’t mean you shouldn't continue to learn new things. The world around us is ever-changing, and being able to adapt, grow and evolve with it is a pretty miraculous feat that we should be taking advantage of.

Arts & Crafts

Ready to rediscover your artistic side? Most of us have had at least one creative hobby in our younger years, and it’s important as we age to tap back into that. Rekindling a hidden passion for poetry or a long lost love in music, scrap-booking, knitting, photography or drawing for example, can provide us with the ability to express ourselves creatively like never before. Sometimes we can forget what its like to have a hobby or passion, but nowadays there are so many avenues and outlets to consider when seeking these types of activities, that it is a great time to find a hobby that drives you. The Internet offers a wealth of resources to find local artistic communities that are just a click away. These communities can offer classes to continue learning and developing your hobby, as well as support, guidance, and friendships.

Aging doesn’t have to be scary. The goal is to stay engaged, motivated and passionate about life as we age. Our older years are far from being the end of the road, with new passions, hobbies, and social activities, we will find that there is so much more road to travel.

Breast Cancer Awareness in Aging Women: Reduce Your Risk

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with an incidence that rises dramatically with age. The average age at diagnosis of breast cancer is 61 years, and the majority of woman who die of breast cancer are age 65 years and older. That's why it is so important for women to understand that the risk of getting breast cancer increases as they get older, and the need to be proactive with their breast health.

Roughly one-third of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women over the age of 70, however, only around nine percent of these cases are found through early breast cancer screening. This is compared to nearly 50% of cases detected through early screening in slightly younger women, aged 50-70. That's why we are calling attention to the importance of breast cancer awareness in aging women, and the need to stay "Breast Aware" and make breast health a priority with age.

Being "Breast Aware"

Breast cancer is generally slow-growing, especially in older women, but if it is undetected for many years, once it is finally detected, it can be much more aggressive. That's why it is vital that all women, and especially older women, are "breast aware" and stay on top of their breast health. This can be done by giving yourself regular breast exams, and having regular check ups with your doctor. Although it might be a little harder to notice changes in your breasts the older you get, it is extremely important to be diligent and aware of your body, to go for regular screenings, and to report anything unusual to your doctor. Women age 50-70 should go for breast screening every three years, and can phone their local screening unit for an appointment. Remember: early detection saves lives.

Learn how to give yourself a breast exam here

What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer?

If you're concerned about breast cancer and your risk as you age, you might be wondering if there are steps you can take toward breast cancer prevention. Some risk factors, such as family history, can't be changed. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. Lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk and older women. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:

  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation — based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk — is to limit yourself to 1 drink per day or less, as even small amounts increase risk.
  • Don't smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs in older women, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 2 hours per week of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, plus strength or bodyweight training at least twice a week.
  • Eat healthy and avoid processed meat. Eating a healthy diet could decrease your risk of some types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. For example, women who eat a Mediterranean diet have been shown to have a reduced risk of breast cancer in some studies. The Mediterranean diet focuses on mostly on plant-based foods - fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, as well as healthy fats, like olive oil, and fish rich in omega-3 oils instead of red meat. The World Health Organization states that all processed meat is carcinogenic (something that causes cancer), and lists red meat as being a probable carcinogen, so in general, processed and red meat should be avoided, especially in aging and high-risk women.
  • Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. If you're taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. You might be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you and continue to have your doctor monitor the length of time you are taking hormones.
    • For younger women who might be concerned about using Birth Control pills, studies show that current or recent use of birth control pills does slightly increase the risk of breast cancer compared to women who have never used the pill. However, this extra risk is quite small because the risk of breast cancer for most young women is already low. So, even with a slight increase in risk, younger women using the pill are still unlikely to get breast cancer. And once women stop taking the pill, their risk begins to decrease and after about 10 years, returns to that of women who have never taken the pill. It is also worth noting that in most studies to date, women took older, higher-dose forms of the pill, and almost all of the pills today have lower dosages of hormones, and are thus likely to pose even less of a risk.
  • Breast-feed. Breast-feeding might play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary.

The Silver Lining

Women today are living longer than ever before. The average life expectancy for women is 87 years old, so it is of increasing importance to be aware of changes in our bodies as we age, because being proactive and being “breast aware” can save our lives. And it is important to understand that getting breast cancer at an older age does not have to mean you have received a death sentence. Older women can get just as much benefit from breast cancer treatment as younger women, and breast cancer treatment has vastly improved over the past 30 years, both in its effectiveness and managing side effects. Know that if you are diagnosed, being proactive in your treatment and keeping a positive mindset can help save your life. Older women who are in good health, and who are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are likely to live for many more healthy and happy years.

One Last Thing

While breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a woman's disease, it can occur in men. Male breast cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the male breast tissue. Although it can occur at any age, it is most common in older men. Like women, men diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage have a very good chance of curing it. Unlike women, men with breast cancer do not always realize the changes or show unusual signs or symptoms, such as a breast lump. Because of this, male breast cancers are typically diagnosed when the disease is more advanced. So this means it is especially important to be proactive with your health as you age, no matter your gender.

Spread the word this October. Be proactive with your breast health and get checked out!

Contact us for a free in-home consultation to discuss care options.

 

 

10 Simple Tips for Preventing Elderly Falls

Preventing elderly falls is extremely important, because a fall can be detrimental to our health and our body as we age. Follow these simple steps to help prevent a potentially disastrous fall from happening to you or your loved one.

1. Learn about your bone strength: Ask your doctor to conduct a bone mineral density test and explain the results

2. Stay physically active: By exercising regularly you can improve muscles, tendons, and joints, increase flexibility and strength

3. Maintain your strength: Walking, climbing stairs and other mild weight-bearing activities may help slow bone loss

4. Get enough sleep: Drowsiness can make you more likely to fall, its important to get a good nights sleep

5. Know your medications and any side effects: Be familiar with any side effects like dizziness, or sleepiness and discuss with your physician

6. Have your hearing and eyes tested regularly: Small changes in hearing and sight may increase your risk of a fall

7. Be cautious with alcohol: Your balance and reflexes can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol

8. Stand up slowly after sitting, eating, or lying down: Your blood pressure may drop if you get up too quickly, take a measured pace.

9. Wear low-heeled, rubber soled shoes with support: Always avoid wearing just socks, or slippers and shoes with slippery or worn soles

10. Use a cane, walker, or walking stick to steady yourself: It’s especially important to use a walking aid in uneven or unfamiliar terrain, and when entering and exiting vehicles

And…always advise your doctor of any falls since your last visit even if you were not hurt!

Contact us for a free consultation or care

10 Questions to Ask When Searching for In-Home Care

Searching for In-Home Care can be a big task. There are so many companies out there that provide In-Home Care services, so how do you choose one that is a reputable, safe, and reliable company that is also the right fit for your needs? We have compiled a list of questions that should help make the selection process easier:

1. Is the company you are considering properly licensed or accredited by an independent third party for in-home care?

While many companies will claim they are licensed, they may mean they have only a business license, and are not properly licensed with the state if required, or accredited by a nationally recognized independent review for in-home and personal care services. Licensing also must be appropriate to the type of care, some companies can only provide companion care, and not assistance with the Activities of Daily Living which is a different license.

2. How long has the company been in business and what areas do they serve?

In order to determine the stability of a company, their relative longevity, experience and size may be of help. In addition if they are part of a franchise, while the franchisor may have a long history that does not mean the local owner has that same experience, or stability. A company operating in a larger geographic area will likely have a larger pool of qualified caregivers to call upon if an emergency arises. Its always important to confirm who will manage your relationship, how back up is handled, and their availability for support 24/7.

3. What process is used to screen and verify the caregivers, including reviewing their credentials, qualifications, certifications, and references?

Have the company representative explain how caregivers’ credentials are verified, and if they undergo testing, screening and interviewing. Determine what levels of screening are used, state, local, and federal, and how this information is kept current.

4. Do both the company and the caregiver have insurance?

You should ask to inspect the company’s Professional and General Liability insurance to provide peace of mind that you are protected, and not just the company should anything go wrong. If you have concerns about someone being in your home or operating your vehicle with permission, you may want to ask your insurance agent about an umbrella liability policy. Check to be sure that caregivers are bonded for theft, and protect items that cannot be replaced.

5. Has a consultation and home visit been conducted prior to beginning service or recommending caregivers?

Making arrangements for care in your home is very different than being relocated to a facility where everything is in place already. When you choose in-home care, the client and their family are an essential part of determining, with a professional client care advisor, what services are right for the situation. The consultation and assessment may include prudent suggestions for modifying the home environment for improved safety.

6. Does the contract lock you into a long term or include penalties for discontinuing service?

Obtain clarity about the contract commitments you are making including the time period, any minimum, and what your cancellation options are. You should not expect any penalty for cancelling because of dissatisfaction or changing needs. Be aware that accepting a locked in low rate may limit your flexibility to cancel, or impose penalties. Find a company with a reputation for treating its clients fairly.

7. Is there a guarantee of caregiver match with no questions asked?

You should have a choice and the approval of the caregiver that will provide the personal care for you or a loved one. The caregiver is an invited guest into one’s home. If there is ever a problem for any reason with a caregiver, does the company have the flexibility to find you a different caregiver. Is their first responsibility to you, your needs, and your schedule. The decisions as to who provides your care and what type should be yours.

8. What provisions have been made to handle emergencies?

Generally, when it comes to in-home care the worst issues arise at night, on weekends or holidays. It is essential that the company you choose operate with a 24/7 mentality, including a defined process for managing problems outside of normal business hours. You should understand who is responsible for your relationship and expect them to respond within a few minutes of your call, and often it is best to test the system.

9. Have you obtained professional and client references?

While it may be difficult to conduct reference checks with clients due to privacy rules, it is relatively easy to search for information about the company on the internet, determine if they belong to industry associations that govern personal care, or see if they are registered with consumer groups like the Better Business Bureau. Take the time to weed out the bad candidates.

10. What are the rates for service?

Often this is the first question that is asked, but it probably should be the last. Before a company can make a quote, they should ask appropriate questions, and you should be comfortable that they can provide the services needed. Quoting prices without doing the background work can be a warning sign that you are being treated with a one size fits all approach, when each in-home care engagement is unique and personal. Companies may quote an hourly or weekly rate, but generally the more hours required per week will dictate a lower rate, subject to care needs. Live-in companions may offer an affordable alternative for the right situation. It is important to get a clear understanding of billing practices, payment options, and billing cycles.

American In-Home Care and our sister companies fit all of these criteria and are always honest and straightforward about our policies and our relationship with our clients. If you have any questions about our process, or about in-home care, please do not hesitate to contact your local Client Care Liaison who is standing by 24/7 to help.

Avoiding Elderly Dehydration

Dehydration is a common condition that affects many people over the age of 65. Because the symptoms of elderly dehydration are masked by the aging body, patients and caregivers typically overlook the warnings signs until it is too late. But, dehydration can be avoided if you are careful and know what the symptoms are.

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition when the body is losing more water than it is taking in. Loss of water can be due to medications, illnesses, inability to move around easily, diminished sense of thirst, or reduced kidney function. At times, seniors are dependent on caregivers who may not realize they are not taking in enough fluids.

Symptoms:

  • Dark or malodorous urine
  • Decrease in urine output
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic fatigue and lethargy
  • Weak muscles and/or muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Weakness or Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Wrinkled or sagging skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden problems with mobility
  • Low blood pressure or severe change in blood pressure when standing up
  • Rapid resting heart rate
  • Irregularity in body temperature (too cold or feeling hot without producing sweat)
  • Inability to produce tears
  • “Sunken” eyes

How can dehydration be prevented?

  • Keep a water bottle or two next to your client or loved one
  • Coffee, tea and lemonade all contain water
  • Be educated about the medications your client or loved one is taking. Some of them might be diuretics which means more fuids need to be consumed daily
  • Fruits, vegetable and soups are a great source of hydration that can be added to meals

American In-Home Care understands the challenges of staying hydrated and preparing healthy meals as we age. We use proven techniques to prepare nutritious meals at home that are not only eaten, but welcomed by clients.

Contact us for a free consultation or for care

Elderly Home Safety Checklist

Are you concerned about your aging parent or loved one being home alone? Use this elderly home safety checklist to determine whether or not your loved one is safe living at home in its current state, or if you need to make some safety modifications.

Any time you respond "No" indicates an area of concern in the home. "No" responses don't necessarily mean that the person can no longer live at home, but rather indicate areas in the home that may require modifications, or show that a caregiver might be necessary to ensure safety.

If your elderly loved one is unable to perform the task independently mark "No"; if a caregiver is available to assist with the task mark "Caregiver." This will help determine whether a caregiver is necessary for your loved one to be safe in their home.

Home Interior Yes No Caregiver
Stairs inside home are safe
End of stairs is clearly marked (top and bottom)
Handrails on both sides of stairs
Hallways and doorways wide and obstruction free
Fire extinguisher available
Smoke detectors present and working
Adequate lighting
Throw rugs absent
Area rugs secure and safe
Adequate heat
Adequate cooling
Space heaters safe
Hazardous materials stored safely
Adequate plumbing
Absence of rodents/insects
Space free of clutter/debris
Adequate trash pick up
Electrical cords safe
Safe use of electrical circuits/extension cords
Furniture arranged to facilitate mobility
Furniture appears sturdy and in good repair
Non-carpeted floors are not slippery
Door thresholds are safe
Safe water temperature
Chemicals stored away from food
Able to distinguish between products
Flammables kept away from heat
Outdated products safely disposed
Home Exterior Yes No Caregiver
Able to get in/out front door safely
Able to get in/out rear door
Able to retrieve mail/newspaper
Ramp available, if needed
Stairs safe and in good repair
Railing on stairs
Proper lighting
Snow/ice removal when needed
Bathroom Yes No Caregiver
Able to get into bathroom
Able to turn on/off light
Able to get on/off toilet
Able to safely transfer in/out of tub or shower
Able to use faucets
Soap available
Safe use of transfer bench, if necessary
Night light
Grab bars available and secure
Raised toilet seat, if needed
Non-slip mat or strips in tub/shower
Proper disposal of soiled incontinence pads
Adequate cleaning/sanitizing
Kitchen Yes No Caregiver
Adequate food storage
Able to recognize if stove/oven is on
Able to feel heat
Fire extinguisher available
Smoke detectors present and working
Able to prepare meal
Able to operate microwave
Able to get groceries
Frequently used items within reach
Bedroom Yes No Caregiver
Able to get in and out of bed
Room for hospital bed, if needed
Light accessible
Phone accessible from bed
Emergency alert system accessible from bed
Adequate heat
Bedside commode, if needed
Flashlight available
Night light, if needed
Pet Care Yes  No Caregiver
Pets safe underfoot
Able to feed pets
Able to let pet outside and back in
Able to change litter box
Able to provide pet with adequate exercise
Communication Yes No Caregiver
Able to utilize telephone
Emergency response system available
Able to use system
Can call for help in an emergency
Able to exit in an emergency
Able to clearly communicate needs
Able to hear alarms
Mobility & Personal Safety Yes No Caregiver
Absence of falls
Balance is stable
Able to maneuver assistive device, if needed
Can engage in physical activity
Shoes are safe and comfortable
Safe clothing for ambulation and circulation
Wears shoes or non-stick socks inside
Able to self-manage medications
Able to manage thermostat
Able to verbalize and enact emergency plan
No smoking around oxygen, if needed
Able to safely change/refill oxygen tanks, as needed
Oxygen tubing does not obstruct safe ambulation

If you determine that your loved one is in need of a caregiver to safely live at home, American In-Home Care can refer a compassionate, qualified, screened and insured caregiver that is right for your family. The caregivers we refer provide a variety of services including Alzheimer's Care, After Surgery Care, and assistance with Activities of Daily Living. Contact us today at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

 

Your Estate Plan Checklist

Estate plans are a common way for Americans to get all of their assets in order, especially as they age. However, most people's plans are incomplete and often don't address some of the most important subjects.

This estate plan checklist, will help you ensure that you have a sound estate plan. However, you should also look into getting an attorney who specializes in elder law, and a financial analyst to help ensure that your plan and your assets are protected and being managed properly. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is a great resource to find an attorney in your area that meets your needs.

1. Will 

A will provides instructions for distributing your assets to your family and other beneficiaries when you pass. Your will also appoints someone to be the executor to pay final expenses, taxes, etc., and then distribute the remaining assets. If you have minor children, a will is also a way to designate a guardian for them. A will doesn’t take effect until you die and it cannot provide for management of your assets if you become incapacitated. That’s why it is necessary to have other estate planning documents in place to utilize if you should be unable to act for any reason.

2. Durable power of attorney for business and health care decisions

A power of attorney is a legal document in which you name another person to act on your behalf. You can give this person/agent broad or limited powers. You should choose this person carefully because he or she will be able to sell, invest and spend or distribute your assets. A durable power of attorney continues to apply if you are incapacitated and terminates only upon your death, whereas a traditional power of attorney terminates upon your disability or death.

3. Health care power of attorney and living will

A health-care power of attorney authorizes a person you designate to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. This document, coupled with a living will are necessary to avoid family conflicts and even court intervention should you become unable to make your own health care decisions. A living will dictates your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatments and other end-of-life medical care in the event of a terminal illness or accident. It states what you do and do not want done in terms of treatment, but doesn’t give any individual the legal authority to speak for you. That is why it is usually coupled with a health care power of attorney.

4. Revocable living trust

You’ll need one of these to transfer, manage and distribute assets while you are alive and to avoid probate after your death. There are many different kinds of trusts, which are usually put in place to minimize estate taxes. Each trust has benefits and should be discussed with your attorney. There are marital trusts, charitable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, bypass trusts, testamentary trusts, qualified terminable interest property trusts, and more. A revocable living trust is often used in estate plans. By transferring assets into a revocable living trust, you can manage your financial affairs during your lifetime and provide management if you become incapacitated. A revocable living trust lets trust assets avoid probate, keeps personal information private and can designate the disposition of trust assets to future generations.

5. List of Assets

A list of assets will serve as a guide for those managing your estate or your affairs if you are incapacitated. Use this form from Retired Brains to list all your assets and where they are located.

6. Do not Resuscitate Order (DNR)

A DNR medical order written by a doctor instructs any healthcare providers to not use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient stops breathing or heart stops beating.  Some feel this is an important document, while others do not. If it is important to you, include this document in your plan.

7. Legacy Letter

A legacy letter is an ethical will designed to pass “ethical values” from one generation to the next. Traditional wills involve what you want your loved ones to have. Ethical wills involve what you want your loved ones to know.

8. Discussion with attorney about who inherits what assets

Decide where you want your assets to go and discuss this specifically with your attorney.

9. Selection of someone to make medical decisions if necessary

Decide whom you want to make health decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

10. Instructions on how you want your assets distributed

Have this discussion with your attorney and/or spouse or appropriate family member, trustee, etc.

11. Guardian decision

If you have minor children, you may wish to name a guardian to take care of them in the event of your passing.

12. Estate plan tax review

Meet with your accountant and attorney to discuss the tax consequences of your estate plan.

13. Instructions on how to handle digital legacy

Check your digital footprints. Most people aren’t aware of the full extent of their presence online.  List any personal sites and review the steps necessary to protect online information after your death or if you are no longer able to act on your own behalf.

14. Letters to your family

Consider writing a letter to your spouse or family regarding your funerary wishes should you need to be removed from life support or pass unexpectedly. This letter will make their decisions a great deal easier if you reiterate that this is your wish with a personal, not formal, request.

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Source: Koff, Art. "Use This 14 Point Checklist To Review Your Estate Plan." Next Avenue. 31 July 2015. <http://www.nextavenue.org/use-this-14-point-checklist-to-review-your-estate-plan/>