Choosing In Home Care
If given a choice, the vast majority of seniors would rather spend their Golden Years in the comfort of their own homes. Remaining at home has many benefits, including:
When your loved one has survived a stroke, they are working hard to adjust to their 'new normal'. While they may be eager to get home from the hospital, some crucial adjustments need to be made to their home in order to keep them safe and mobile.
Preparations will vary depending on the severity of the stroke, and your loved one's physical limitations. Here are some things to consider as you get ready to bring your loved one home.
Start with a walk-through
Considering your loved ones mobility, and any assistance that they'll need to get around. For example, if they are using a walker, you'll want to measure the width of the walker, and move the furniture to allow for easier access.
Make sure that any rugs or bath mats are slip proof. Install grab bars, particularly for getting in and out of the bathtub or shower. You may want to install a bath & shower seat, to allow them to bathe without strain.
Provide easy access
Place frequently used items within reach in the kitchen, bathroom, and nightstand. For example, you may need to re-shelve cups, glasses, plates, and basic pots and pans. Provide a reading lamp within reach on the nightstand, and move the clock closer to their bed. If necessary, you may want to provide a commode for easier nighttime use.
At Caring Hands Caregivers, we have qualified staff to help your loved one adjust and care for your loved one in their home, post-stroke. We can accompany you on the walk-through, make recommendations, and provide on-going guidance as needs change. To get started, just send me an email at email@example.com.
Many of us Baby Boomers are part of what is know as the Sandwich Generation. This is the generation that is busy raising children in the home and facing the reality that our parents are aging and are not as vibrant as they once were just a few years ago. Sometimes the changes in our parents are sudden like a broken hip due to a fall or a stroke. But most times, the changes are slow, and many times almost imperceptible as time marches on. It is critical to recognize the subtle warning signs, telling you that intervention may be needed. Our parents come from a generation of self-sufficiency; they are fiercely independent and will do almost anything short of asking for help to maintain that independence. The home they have build and lived in is the center of their security, and they want to stay there. Providing the proper support system for them can actually enhance their independence, not diminish it.
What are the warning signs that should prompt a closer look by the kids? Here are some common warning signs:
1. Missing important appointments
2. Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
3. Unexplained bruising
4. Stacks of unopened mail
5. Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
6. Poor diet or weight loss
7. Changes in moods or extreme mood swings
8. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
9. House cluttered and un-kept
10. Smell of urine in the house
11. Medication errors or omission
12. Refrigerator and cabinets empty
13. Getting lost
14. Increased visits to the emergency room
15. Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
While a large distance between you and your parents makes it more difficult to determine if and when help is needed, you can look for some clues. For example, listen for a change in how one parent talks about the other. If one parent starts to express concern about the other, it could be a subtle hint that something has changed. Maybe your Dad confides that he is concerned about your Mom because she is increasingly confused and disoriented. Given how fiercely independent this generation is, it is important to take these comments seriously. Alternatively, if you are concerned that something may not be all right with your parent or parents, talk with the neighbors next time you go back to visit. Many times they will be able to provide valuable insights into how your parents are coping day-to-day.
The good news is that there are a lot of resources and options for how you can help your parents. Next post, I’ll take you through a summary of some of these options to help you navigate the parent care landscape. My hope is that having some information will relieve some of the pressure of being the meat in the Sandwich Generation.
Depression among the elderly often goes untreated, as the symptoms are similar to the symptoms of aging. Anywhere from 14-20% of seniors exhibit some depressive symptoms. That percentage is significantly higher for seniors in long-term care facilities.
Some potential symptoms of depression in seniors include:
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from depression, they can get a thorough screening assessment free of charge for seniors covered by Medicare. Treatment that includes therapy, medication, or some combination has proven to be effective in many cases. However, keeping involved in social interactions is key to making any treatment work.
If your loved one in the San Francisco Bay Area is in need of some help planning and getting to social activities, we can help by providing hourly care. Just send me an email, and we can schedule an in-home care assessment.
Entrusting someone to manage your care, or that of your loved ones, is a daunting proposition. Navigating the decision making process can also be fraught with emotions. How do you find an agency you are comfortable with and that will provide the best care?
To figure out the right fit for you or your loved one, I recommend that you ask of any prospective agencies the following seven questions:
To find out if Caring Hands Caregivers is the right agency to provide care for you or your loved one, call me at 408.775.7626 to schedule a free home care assessment.
The holiday season is a time of joy, coming together with family and friends, and celebration. For our elder loved ones, however, it can be a time of loneliness and even isolation given their changing care needs. Here are just a couple of ideas about how you can make this holiday season bright for the senior in your life.
1) Give the gift of companionship
If you live locally, make a visit your gift. If your loved one can go out, take them on a short field trip. If not, bring an old movie on DVD, and watch it together.
2) Provide Audio Books
You can buy one of your loved one's favorite books as an audio book to provide hours of entertainment. Or, you can provide comfort with the sound of your voice. Record yourself reading a book you know they'd enjoy, and send to them, in manageable increments.
3) Help relive a memory
Frame a photo from an important milestone in your loved one's life, and ask them to recall their story. Even if you've already know the story, just listening will allow your loved one to feel the joy of the occasion all over again.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!
Choosing a Caregiver Agency
There are over 110 home care agencies in the Bay Area alone. How do you navigate to find an agency you are comfortable with and that will provide the best care?
To figure out the right fit for you or your loved one, there are certain questions that you should ask of any prospective agency, such as:
The decision to stay at home and look for help is an important one, and is often fraught with emotions. Having a caregiver should make life less stressful…not more. My hope is that this list of questions will remove some of that stress, and will provide you with some guidance on finding the best partner for the years ahead.
Giving Family Caregivers a Break
How can Home Care, Home Health, and Day Health help family caregivers avoid burnout by providing much needed breaks during the day? I've illustrated how the different services can be used in tandem using the following sample case study (written by Sue Alvey, whom I had the honor of co-presenting with at the Annual Avenidas Caregiving Conference a few years back):
"Mrs. J is 93-years-old, and lives in her own home. Her daughter lives with her and works part-time. Mrs. J has fallen twice at home. After each fall, she has become a little more confused and needs more help getting around.
Mrs. J's doctor recommended working with a HOME HEALTH agency to provide Physical and Occupational Therapy. The therapies will help strengthen her muscles and improve her balance. However, the daughter realized that she cannot leave her mother at home alone while she works. She’s also having trouble navigating the logistics of helping her mother bathe.
A friend recommended that she call a HOME CARE agency to help with personal care. The caregiver helps the daughter to keep an eye on Mrs. J. and keeps her safe at home. The caregiver was able to watch her sessions with the physical therapist and now helps follow through on her exercises. The work on puzzles and go out for ice cream as a special treat.
The social worker at the Home Health agency suggested that the daughter consider a Senior DAY HEALTH Program for her mother. There she could benefit from social interactions with her peers and mentally stimulating activities. Nurses and physical therapists there would continue to monitor her health. Physical and occupational therapists could take over after the Home Health Agency therapists have finished up. She could benefit from both HOME CARE and Senior DAY HEALTH by alternating days when these services are provided."
At Caring Hands Caregivers, we are always happy to recommend the appropriate service for the appropriate set of needs, whether or not you hire a Caring Hands caregiver. Call us at 650.943.2313 to find out how to best combine these services to fit your particular needs.
Cure for Alzheimer's Coming Soon?
Scientists at Stanford have discovered that a protein called C1q, which is known as the initiator of the immune response, is now linked to degenerative brain diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and many others. The full story can be found here.
Having cared for many clients who suffer from these debilitating diseases, we are greatly encouraged by this groundbreaking discovery. Everyone in the family suffers along with the loved ones who are slowly losing their brain function.
At Caring Hands Caregivers, the training of our caregivers is personal to the person they are caring for. We take the time to get to know the person who has the disease and the who they used to be in the prime of their lives. We also get to know the family to get a 360-degree understanding. The more we learn the better able we are to help with the challenges that come with this journey.
Values driven caregiving
While I now call the San Francisco Bay Area home, my original home was in the Midwest. And as they say, you can take a boy from the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the boy. My upbringing has greatly influenced my values, and the way that we approach managing our caregiver agency.
When I purchased Caring Hands Caregivers, I had the goal of providing the highest quality of care possible. To do so, you need to make sure that every client is treated like we would treat our family. And while issues inevitably come up, our guiding principles ensure that we react quickly to meet the changing needs of our clients.
With that in mind, we use the following set of values as guiding principles for our business, each and every day:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.