Home Care | A New Survey Sheds Light On Caregiver’s Needs & Attitudes

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Home Care | A New Survey Sheds Light On Caregiver’s Needs & Attitudes

 

Home Care | A new, national survey sheds light on the difficulties felt by America’s Alzheimer’s disease (AD) caregivers. Results from a survey of 524 non-professional AD caregivers illustrate that memory loss and confusion, which are cognitive symptoms, in addition to personal safety are the greatest concerns related to the progression of their loved one’s AD. In fact, 67 percent of AD caregivers surveyed said changes in cognitive symptoms were among their main concerns. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive in September 2010 for Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc. in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

As AD—a progressive brain disease typically characterized by three stages: mild, moderate and severe—changes over time, caregivers and their healthcare professionals may wish to regularly discuss modifications in lifestyle and treatment. According to the survey, the majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers are proactive participants in the dialogue and decision-making around their loved one’s disease, and 75 percent of those surveyed were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the communication they have with their loved one’s health care professional. For the remaining 25 percent who are either “somewhat” or “not at all satisfied,” there may be room for improvement in this dialogue.

“These survey results reveal that changes in cognition as the disease progresses were an important concern among caregivers,” said Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of AFA. “We encourage caregivers and health care professionals to discuss these changes and any others during regular visits.”

“AD caregivers are typically the first to notice when their loved one’s symptoms are becoming worse and whether the disease may be progressing to the next stage, which is why caregivers are essential partners in disease management discussions,” said Barry W. Rovner, MD, director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and professor in the departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “In the face of this devastating chronic and progressive disease, it is important for AD caregivers to know about the available educational resources, support networks and treatments in order to enhance these discussions at all stages of the disease.”

Key Survey Findings
Following are results illustrating the difficulties faced by Alzheimer’s caregivers, concerns about disease progression and discussions with health care professionals, highlighting differences between men and women. Of note, 173 men and 351 women were surveyed, which reflects the overall unpaid AD caregiver population in which caregivers are more likely to be female.

Difficulties Faced by Caregivers:

  • 55 percent of AD caregivers surveyed said caring for their loved one has taken a toll on their own health
  • Women surveyed were more likely to worry “all the time” compared to men (13 percent versus 3 percent). Also, women were less likely than men to feel that they have enough support to take care of themselves and their own needs (60 percent versus 76 percent)
  • 60 percent of AD caregivers surveyed said they feel overwhelmed
  • Women surveyed were more likely to consider “maintaining relationships with family or friends” as a challenge compared to men (47 percent versus 31 percent)
  • 84 percent of caregivers of loved ones with severe AD surveyed said caregiving frequently stops them from participating in activities that they enjoy, which is more than caregivers of loved ones with mild (67 percent) and moderate (68 percent) AD

Concerns About Disease Progression:

  • The three greatest caregiver concerns about the progression of their loved one’s AD were memory loss (41 percent), personal safety (33 percent) and confusion (27 percent)
  • 67 percent of AD caregivers surveyed named at least one change in cognitive symptoms as a main concern about the progression of their loved one’s AD
  • Men surveyed were more likely to be concerned about memory loss compared to women (50 percent versus 37 percent)

Discussions with Health Care Professionals:

  • Men surveyed were more likely to be satisfied with communication with their health care professional compared to women [84 percent versus 70 percent]. Also, men were more likely to regularly discuss options for information or support (26 percent versus 14 percent)
  • 53 percent of AD caregivers surveyed who said they were not very involved (somewhat or not at all involved) in these interactions were dissatisfied with their loved one’s treatment, as compared with 31 percent who said they were engaged –Parent Giving

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Critical First Steps -What To Do In A Long-Distance Emergency

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Home Care | Critical First Steps -What To Do In A Long-Distance Emergency

Home Care | As our parents age, many of us prepare for medical emergencies by making lists of mom and dad’s vital information, including prescription and over-the-counter medication, medical conditions and physician contact information. Many of us also age-proof our parents’ homes by making minor modifications to ensure their physical safety. But the reality is that, until an emergency actually occurs, most of us are not in “prevention” mode.

Until a parent ends up in the emergency room, we often don’t recognize the need for such preparation. So, what do you do when you get that call? What do you do if you live far away and can’t get to them immediately? How do you manage parents’ care from a distance?

Although you might understandably experience a great deal of frustration when faced with a crisis involving your aging parents, there are ways to lessen the anxiety for everyone and ensure that your parents receive the best care possible whether you live minutes, or hours, away.

Crisis Care Step One: Assess The Situation

If you feel a parent might have fallen victim to a medical emergency, you’ll need to assess the situation. The first thing to do is to determine the extent of the emergency. Immediate medical emergencies include:

  • Sudden illness
  • Injury
  • Fall
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Fire

Crisis Care Step Two: Get Immediate Help

Don’t hesitate: If you suspect that your parent is in need of immediate medical attention, call 911 right away. Explain the situation to the 911 operator and ask that your parent receive immediate attention. If possible, make your call to 911 while remaining on another phone with your parent.  This will keep you in contact with both your parent and the 911 operator. Sometimes, the operator will need to communicate with your parent, but if you hang up and your parent is injured or confused, you and the operator may not be able to make contact again.  Stay on the phone until you have confirmation that emergency aid has reached your parent, but provide emergency personnel with your contact information and ask them what hospital your parent will be taken to so that you can contact the facility immediately.

Crisis Care Step Three: Manage the Aftermath

If the situation warrants, you will need to determine how long it will take you to get to their side, if that is possible. Many employers have time-off policies that will allow you to personally be there to care for your loved one during their illness and recovery. If you can’t be there for a while, or at all, you’ll want to find someone who can act as an extension of you. Understandably, your own work, family or financial obligations may prevent you from personally managing a parent’s care if you live far away. And, many times, there isn’t anyone else available to take over for you. Siblings might also live far away, other relatives might not be in a position to step in and asking your parent’s friends and neighbors might be out of the question. For these reasons, and many others, your best option might be a professional geriatric care manager.

Geriatric care managers are healthcare professionals trained in managing, directing and coordinating the health needs of the older patient; many may be trained in a number of fields including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care. A geriatric care manager who works in your parent’s area has the local resources and knowledge to serve as your representative in locating the proper care, arranging post-hospital recovery options, living arrangements, and more. A GCM can also help you assess a non-emergency situation and prepare for a parent’ or parents’ future needs. -Parent Giving 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care |10 Essential Health Tips For Seniors Pt. 2

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Home Care | 10 Essential Health Tips For Seniors Pt. 2

Home Care | Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Use the Kaiser Permanente BMI (body mass index) calculator to find out what you should weigh for your height. Get to your healthy weight and stay there by eating right and keeping active. Replace sugary drinks with water—water is calorie free!

  • Prevent falls. We become vulnerable to falls as we age. Prevent falls and injury by removing loose carpet or throw rugs. Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter, and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms. Did you know that people who walk barefoot fall more frequently? Wear shoes with good support to reduce the risk of falling.
  • Stay up-to-date on immunizations and other health screenings. By age 50, women should begin mammography screening for breast cancer. Men can be checked for prostate cancer. Many preventive screenings are available. Those who are new to Medicare are entitled to a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and all Medicare members to an annual wellness visit. Use these visits to discuss which preventative screenings and vaccinations are due.
  • Prevent skin cancer. As we age, our skin grows thinner; it becomes drier and less elastic. Wrinkles appear, and cuts and bruises take longer to heal. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun and ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.
  • Get regular dental, vision and hearing checkups. Your teeth and gums will last a lifetime if you care for them properly—that means daily brushing and flossing and getting regular dental checkups. By age 50, most people notice changes to their vision, including a gradual decline in the ability to see small print or focus on close objects. Common eye problems that can impair vision include cataracts and glaucoma. Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise.
  • Manage stress. Try exercise or relaxation techniques—perhaps meditation or yoga—as a means of coping. Make time for friends and social contacts and fun. Successful coping can affect our health and how we feel. Learn the role of positive thinking.
  • Fan the flame. When it comes to sexual intimacy and aging, age is no reason to limit your sexual enjoyment. Learn about physical changes that come with aging and get suggestions to help you adjust to them, if necessary. –Parent giving

 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | 10 Tips For Talking to Someone with Alzheimer’s

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Home Care | 10 Tips For Talking to Someone with Alzheimer’s

Home Care | The mental changes that accompany Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia not only impact a person’s ability to recall past events, they can dramatically alter that individual’s capacity for communication.

Here are ten tips to keep conversations with a cognitively-impaired loved one positive and valuable for everyone involved:

  1. Face-off: Establishing friendly eye contact and using a person’s name are good rules of thumb to follow during any kind of dialogue. When speaking to a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America suggests making sure you get their attention by saying their name. Assure them that they have your full attention by facing them and looking them in the eye.
  2. Diminish distractions: Background noise from a television, radio—or even a fan—can distract your loved one during a conversation, making them more likely to lose track of what the discussion is about. Find a quiet place where the two of you can converse in peace.
  3. Converse one-on-one: The more people who are involved in a discussion, the more complicated it becomes. Try to keep talks with a person who has Alzheimer’s one-on-one whenever possible. Even small groups of three or four people could make your loved one confused and anxious.
  4. Keep things simple: According to the Mayo Clinic, comments and conversations should be kept short, simple and to the point. You should always refer to nouns by their actual name (i.e. when pointing out a pretty bird on a walk, say “bird” instead of “it”). Also, being faced with too many choices can be frustrating for someone with Alzheimer’s, so steer clear of open-ended questions. For example, if you’re having a discussion about what outdoor activity your loved one wants to do, don’t say, “Where would you like to go today?” Instead, it’s better to ask, “Would you like to go to the park?”
  5. Avoid conflict: Don’t argue with a person who has Alzheimer’s—you won’t win and it’ll only make both of your more agitated. Avoid inflammatory comments, such as: “I just told you that,” and “You’re wrong.” It’s important that you learn to recognize when giving in and walking away from a brewing feud is the best course of action.
  6. Extra points for patience: Be patient when talking to a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Resist the temptation to complete their sentences—it won’t help them remember and it’s likely to be more frustrating than anything else. Instead, try asking a question that might jog their memory. For example, if they are wandering around the kitchen and saying, “I want…I want…,” you can ask, “Are you hungry? Would you like something to eat?”
  7. Enter their world: Conversing with a person struggling with Alzheimer’s means making a pledge to temporarily live in their reality—which can be much different from yours. The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research refers to this approach as, “reality therapy.” Depending on what stage of the disease they are in, your loved one may believe that their deceased spouse is still alive, or that they are an accomplished singer. As long as living in their reality isn’t hurting anybody, it’s best to just play along. If this makes you feel guilty, remember that their mind has been hijacked by disease and no amount of persuasion on your part is going to convince them that they are wrong. Providing support and validation will go a long way towards easing their anxiety and brightening their mood.
  8. Clue into visual cues: Body language is a powerful conversation tool, no matter who you’re talking to. Physical indicators can be especially important when you’re trying to communicate with someone whose cognitive ability is diminished, says the Mayo Clinic. Your loved one may not be able to verbally articulate their happiness or frustration, but paying attention to facial expressions and body positioning can help you determine their disposition.
  9. Get creative with your communication: If words are not sufficient enough to get your point across, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of communication. The Fisher Center suggests utilizing verbal, visual and auditory cues to help your love one understand. For example, if you want to know whether they would like turkey or ham on their sandwich, it might help to pull out and point to each option as you ask the question.
  10. Just keep talking: Even if you’re caring for a loved one who has limited powers of speech, or who can no longer talk at all, don’t underestimate the power of conversation. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says that talking to a non-verbal sufferer is a good way to indicate to your loved one that you still support them, not only as their caregiver, but as a family member who loves them.

 

For more information on Home Care please Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Health | How Elders and Caregivers Can Take Advantage of Summer Weather

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Home Health | How Elders and Caregivers Can Take Advantage of Summer Weather

 

Home Health | Enjoying a breezy spring day or the warm summer temperatures don’t have to be a distant memory for elders and caregivers. After being cooped up in the house for possibly months at a time, senior adults can breathe in the fresh air, even if they are experiencing mobility problems. It takes some advance planning and choosing an activity that won’t seem like a chore, but it’s worth getting out of the house, for you and your elderly parent.

The benefits of getting outside

A main advantage of heading outdoors, even for a short period of time, is being able to soak up the sunlight, which generates Vitamin D – necessary for the brain, bones and muscle function, says Dr. Michael Raab, a geriatrician with Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla. Some doctors even prescribe sunlight as a source of Vitamin D, which research also finds can improve cognitive function.

Another key benefit is that being outside enables elders to socialize and interact with caregivers as well as other adults, children and animals.

Those activities can give people an extra spring in their step and rejuvenate them, says Christina Chartrand, vice president of training and staff development for Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care agency with offices in 40 states.

Raab adds: “Whatever you can do, it’s going to be mentally uplifting.”

Although caregivers may be aware of the benefits, sometimes it seems as if the obstacles, such as wheelchair access, bathroom access, frailty and fatigue, are too great to overcome the great outdoors.

Caregivers can start to prepare elders with mobility problems to take the steps to head outside. Your physician can suggest chair exercises to make them more stable and build their muscles, for example.

Even though the temperatures may be pleasant, Raab says it’s also important to make sure an elderly family member stays well hydrated; if not, it can impact muscle function and blood pressure and lead to a dangerous situation.

Types of outdoor activities for caregivers and the elderly

Instead of being overwhelmed by the potential challenges, focus on activities and interests that you and the elderly person you’re caring for enjoy.

Here are 10 suggestions:

1. Catch a sporting event. The events could be watching a grandchild’s soccer game, which are not all-day events, or attending a professional game, like baseball.

2. Fish for fun. For folks who enjoy fishing, you can cast a rod from a pier or other location, even if someone is wheelchair bound.

3. Be a tourist. If you live in a city, take an open-air bus or trolley tour to see the local sights. Another option could be a boat tour, depending on what type of equipment an elder needs to take with them. “It’s outside, but you don’t have to be walking,” Chartrand says.

4. Take a dip. For some folks, it may just be putting a foot in the pool, while others may be able to handle low-impact water aerobics.

5. Stroll around. If a walk is possible, start slow. Raab suggests trying three or four minutes in one direction, turning around and coming back.

6. Be a bird lover. If you have a birdhouse, bird feeder or bird bath in your yard, checking on the those daily give elderly individuals a reason to go outside.

7. Pedal around. Rent a three-wheeled bicycle, which are easier to mount and ride, and also could offer back support.

8. Go fly a kite. Head to a park or beach and get a kite soaring. Let an elderly individual take control, which they can do while sitting down. If children are around, they can get involved by trying to keep the kite in the air.

9. Picnic outdoors. Picnics are another park or playground activity. Elderly individuals can watch children run around or enjoy the buzz of outdoor activity.

10. Celebrate the holidays. From Memorial Day concerts to Fourth of July fireworks, there are plenty of community events this spring and summer with opportunities for elders to get out and be part of the crowd. –Aging Care

 

For more information and tips on home health please call Complete Home Care at Call 561-408-7760 or 888-823-0428

Home Health | 6 Vital Nutrition Tips for Aging Adults

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Home Health | 6 Vital Nutrition Tips for Aging Adults

Home Health | As people age, their diets may need to change, especially if their diets are not well-balanced. Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for older adults, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health. According to Ruth Frechman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, in addition to eating a healthful variety of foods, there are specific things a caregiver can incorporate into their their loved one’s diet to boost his or her health.

Prepare meals rich in these nutrients

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
    The acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They can be found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, and different types of fish. Your older relative should have foods rich in this nutrient twice per week. If this is impossible, check with their doctor to see if an Omega 3 supplement would be beneficial.

 

  • Calcium
    The need for calcium increases as people age. This is primarily to preserve bone health. One added benefit of calcium is that it helps to lower blood pressure.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults over the age of 50 get at least 1200 milligrams per day of calcium – equal to about four cups of fortified orange juice, dairy milk, or fortified non-dairy milks such as almond or soy. Leafy greens like kale and turnip greens are also great sources of absorbable calcium. Many people find it challenging to consume this much calcium per day by eating and drinking, so check with your loved one’s doctor to see if he or she should take a calcium supplement.

 

  • Limit sodium contentFor those with hypertension (high blood pressure) one of the most important things caregivers can do to help reduce a loved one’s hypertension is to prepare foods that are low in sodium. Most people are surprised to find out that added table salt accounts for only a small percent of sodium content in food. Frozen, processed and restaurant foods are typically extremely high in sodium, and should be avoided or only be a very small part of the diet. Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, dry beans, unsalted nuts and nut butters, and grains like brown rice and oats are all foods that are naturally low in sodium, so try and incorporate them as much as possible in their diet.
  • Hydrate
    As people age, they do not get thirsty very often, even though their bodies still need the same amount of liquids. If you notice that your loved one is not drinking liquids very often, make sure that you provide them with it. If they do not feel thirsty, chances are they may not think about drinking a glass of water.If you are concerned that your loved one may not be properly hydrated, check his or her urine. Urine is the surest sign of hydration or lack of it. If their urine is clear and light, then they are most likely properly hydrated. If, however, their urine is dark and/or cloudy, they will need to start drinking more liquids.

    How Caregivers Can Help an Aging Adult Make Dietary Changes

    Making dietary changes can be difficult for anybody. It can be especially difficult for older adults, though, because people get stuck in habits. If your loved one needs to make dietary changes to increase their health and well-being, there are specific things that you, the caregiver, can do to help with the change. Frechman recommends three important areas in which caregivers can help.

    Incorporate changes gradually
    Older people are usually skeptical of change. They need to make small changes gradually. As the caregiver, you should reinforce this and make sure that your loved one is incorporating the new foods into their diet.

    For example, if your parent is diabetic and needs to adjust their carbohydrate intake consistency, incorporate oatmeal as breakfast once or twice per week. As they get used to it, oatmeal can be added to three to four times per week. If your parent normally eats white bread, give them a wheat bread sandwich a couple times per week, and gradually increase it so that white bread is completely cut out of their diet.

    Set an example
    When an older adult has to change their diet for health reasons, they can feel singled out.Eating is a social activity and it is important to eat meals with your loved one. It is equally important that when you eat with them, you eat the same foods as them. When sitting down for a family meal, don’t make a special meal for your aging loved one and something different for everybody else. By eating with them and eating the same foods as them, the dietary changes being made won’t seem so drastic.

    Make smoothies
    Sometimes older adults simply refuse to make necessary nutritional changes, even if they are doctor recommended. People with dementia, especially, may refuse to eat certain things. Be creative. If your loved one needs protein, try making them a smoothie with wheat germ. Wheat germ is not a supplement that may interact with prescription medications, but an actual food with very high amounts of protein. Sometimes, foods can be blended into a smoothie to ensure that your loved one consumes the necessary nutrient. –Aging Care

    For more information and tips on home health please call Complete Home Care at Call 561-408-7760 or 888-823-0428

Home Care | Tips and Insights for Caring for Someone Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Home Care | Tips and Insights for Caring for Someone Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

Home Care | Tips and Insights for Caring for Someone Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease slowly progresses until you can no longer communicate with the person afflicted with the disease. One of the first signs of the disease progression is the inability to find the right words for objects. The person with Alzheimer’s might point to an object like a toothbrush, and not be able to say the exact word needed to express themselves. Then, over time, language becomes increasingly vague. The person cannot give specific details because their store of language has been affected by the disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects various parts of the brain. The person with Alzheimer’s has a hard time learning new information because the disease affects the temporal lobes responsible for helping us to learn new things. However, old memories are represented in various parts of the brain, so it is not until the disease has advanced that those memories are lost.

When communicating with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to know that they cannot control what is happening to them, and they are not able to change their behavior. We, as the care providers, need to adapt and learn effective ways to relate to the person with Alzheimer’s. The most important moment for the person with Alzheimer’s is the present. The caregiver’s goal should be to try and make the person living with Alzheimer’s feel relaxed in the present moment.

It is important to remember that someone with Alzheimer’s can’t always express their feelings accurately and; therefore, you shouldn’t take what they may say personally. It is important that we don’t get upset or try to correct someone with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, if the person is gesturing for you to pass the salad bowl but says pass the bread–don’t try and correct them or argue with them–Just hand them what they are gesturing for and carry on. People with Alzheimer’s may repeat the same question over and over—the person can’t remember what they just asked—and; therefore, their concern hasn’t gone away. It is the caregiver’s job to try and ease the worry. Don’t try and make the question go away—make it your goal to make the worry go away. If you answered the question in a way that seemed to put the person at ease, then respond to the question again in the same way. It is important to remember that certain situations will trigger repetitive questions. It is not poor technique by the caregiver; it is the nature of the disease.

Aggressive behavior is a form of communication—kicking, hitting or biting, are ways to say, “stop.” You should listen and stop doing what is causing the aggressive behavior. Of course, in a half-hour, we can try again doing what we are trying to achieve, like get the person to take a bath or get dressed.

As the disease progresses, verbal explanations become increasingly ineffective. The most effective way to communicate with the care recipient is through the use of body language or gestures. Keeping this in mind will make accomplishing tasks easier. Try and make eye contact with the person you are providing care for, and gently guide them where you want them to go or gesture for them to come to you. Sometimes distraction helps—like singing. Once you have some eye contact, you can use body language to communicate. The person with Alzheimer’s recognizes the tone of voice and body posture to the end of the disease progression. A calm/soft voice and leaning towards the person will be better received than speaking with a harsh tone and leaning back with crossed arms. To maximize the chance the care recipient will understand what you are saying, you should use simple words and phrases, speak in a warm tone, and use body posture and gestures to communicate.

Try to avoid negative words that create resistance such as, no, don’t and can’t. “Let’s eat later,” is more positive than, “don’t eat now.” When it is time for bed, try leading with statements like, “I am getting sleepy,” and then follow with gestures. Never baby talk or talk to the person as if they are a child, as this is not effective. Treat the person with respect and speak with them as you would to an older adult. Sometimes women with Alzheimer’s may ask where their babies are, or someone with Alzheimer’s may ask where a person is who has died. You can respond by saying “the babies are sleeping” or “Mom went out to run an errand.” Providing these types of responses is the most humane way to handle these situations, as bringing the person with Alzheimer’s back to present day reality is not effective. It is ok to adapt to your care recipients reality, and it is ok to go wherever that time period or place might be.

Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s comes with many challenges. The goal of the caregiver should be to make the person you are caring for feel comfortable and safe.

 

For more information on Home Care please Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Health Care | 2017 Policy Updates for Medicare Health Plans

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Home Health Care | 2017 Policy Updates for Medicare Health Plans

Home Health Care | The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released proposed changes for the Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Programs in 2017 that will, if finalized, provide stable and fair payments to plans, and makes unprecedented improvements to the program for plans that provide high quality care to the most vulnerable enrollees.

“These proposals continue to keep Medicare Advantage strong and stable and as with this past year, support the provision of high quality, affordable care to seniors and people living with disabilities,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “In particular, these proposals support investment in dually Medicare-Medicaid eligible individuals and those with complex socioeconomic needs.”

The net payment impact of the proposed updates would result in a modest increase of 1.35 percent on average for Medicare Advantage plans, although individual plans’ experiences will vary. This moderate growth is consistent with last year’s update and reflects a similar pattern in Medicare fee-for-service.  Plans that improve the quality of care they deliver to enrollees can see higher updates and can grow and enhance the benefits they offer to enrollees.

CMS is also proposing to improve the precision of payments to Medicare Advantage plans that serve vulnerable populations such as dually eligible or low income beneficiaries. CMS proposes to adjust Star Ratings to reflect the socioeconomic and disability status of a plan’s enrollees.  In addition, CMS proposes to revise the methodology used to risk adjust payments to plans to more accurately reflect the cost of care for dually eligible beneficiaries.

Enrollment and quality have grown in Medicare Advantage and Part D since enactment of the Affordable Care Act:

  • Medicare Advantage has reached record high enrollment each year since 2010, a trend continuing in 2016 with a cumulative increase of 50 percent to an all-time high of more than 17.1 million beneficiaries.
  • Nearly 32 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Average Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen by nearly 10 percent from 2010 to 2016.
  • The percentage of Medicare Advantage enrollees in four or five star contracts has almost quadrupled since 2009 to 71 percent.
  • About one-third of prescription drug plan enrollees are in Part D plans with four or more stars, compared to 27 percent of enrollees in such plans in 2009.

The average number of Medicare plan choices remains consistent in 2016 as compared to 2015, and access to supplemental benefits, such as dental and vision benefits, is growing. The proposed policies in the Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter continue to strengthen and improve the Medicare Advantage program for current and future generations, including the program’s ability to serve Medicare beneficiaries with diverse needs.

 

For more information please do not hesitate to contact our home health care unit at Complete Home Care 561-408-7760 or 888-823-0428

 

Home Care | Noticing Care Patterns

Home Care | Noticing Care Patterns

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Home Care | My parents were early risers. They went to bed early and got up early in the morning. I’m a night owl. I usually go to bed around 1 PM and sleep-in when I can. Sleep patterns vary among individuals and often change when we age. Even the way we start the day is unique to an individual. Some people are up and at it as soon as they rise, while others (myself included) like to ease into the day without a lot of conversation, enjoying a quiet slow start to the day. When I first began as a caregiver for my mother-in-law she was a morning person. She got up early, showered, dressed, made her breakfast, made her bed and was still ready and waiting for me to pick her up for a 9:30 appointment. As the years passed she required more and more time to get ready.  Now it is about 11:00 before she is ready to start her day. We adjusted to this by making afternoon appointments and I modified my arrival time so that I came later giving her time to get ready at a pace that was comfortable for her.  Now that she is in hospice care part of the planning is coordinating her health care workers. In the beginning everyone wanted to come early in the morning way before my mother-in-law was ready to begin her day. She was willing to try this for a few days but it soon became evident that this was too taxing. We then scheduled her health care workers to begin at 11:00. She was much more relaxed, rested and ready to share in her care. The other scheduling issue we had to resolve was to use all the days of the week for her support services. In the beginning the health care worker, nurse, Chaplin, social worker and hospice volunteers would overlap and come on the same day. Although she wanted to avail herself of their services she got very tired and was extremely fatigued after their visits. We were able to create a schedule that allowed us to minimize the overlap and she now gladly awaits their arrival. I guess the lesson to be learned in this for the caregiver is that people have different internal schedules. When providing care for an individual you must take this into account if you want your assistance to be effective and less invasive.

Are you a caregiver looking for just the right help for your loved one? Are you unsure exactly how much care they need? Complete Home Care can help you. We know how important it is to mange every aspect of patient care, from a patient’s needs to the physician’s orders. That’s why every service we provide is supervised by our professionals and administrated from the initial consultation to recovery or treatment completion. Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

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Home Health Care | Make Home Interesting

Home Health Care | Make Home Interesting

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Home Health Care | When my mother-in-law gave up driving we recognized that her world would get smaller. To offset this we decided to bring as much of the world that we could to her. We needed to enrich her home environment and foster opportunities for her to interact with it. We started with seasonal plantings around her patio that she could water and nurture. She could observe them from her kitchen table and often commented on their beauty. Next we installed a birdbath. A birdbath involves less work than a bird feeder, attracts fewer pests, is cleaner and requires that you only add water. It wasn’t long before the birds started coming. A consequence of this was that my mother-in-law wanted to be able to identify them. We gave her a bird book and now she spends time classifying her feathered visitors. Of course the next logical step was a birdhouse and every spring and summer she sits on her patio in the early evening and the wrens serenade her. She especially enjoys watching the fledglings take their first flight.  Growing things is always an interesting endeavor. Each spring, we put patio plants like tomatoes, eggplant and herbs on her patio. My mother-in-law enjoys caring for them, watching them grow and ripen. However, the icing on the cake is when she can use them in a meal that she has prepared. In the winter months we would put paper whites and amaryllis bulbs throughout the house. She enjoys the touch of spring in the winter, and often gives us periodic reports on their growth and progress. We have a pet dog that we inherited from our son and from time to time we take him to my mother-in-laws for a visit. She loves his antics and enjoys the contact comfort of petting him. When she thinks we are not looking, she will spoil him with a treat. As a caregiver you can do many things to enrich and stimulate the individual in your care. Just listen and be creative.

Are you a caregiver looking for just the right help for your loved one? Are you unsure exactly how much care they need? Complete Home Care can help you. We know how important it is to mange every aspect of patient care, from a patient’s needs to the physician’s orders. That’s why every home health care service we provide is supervised by our professionals and administrated from the initial consultation to recovery or treatment completion. Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

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