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

Home Care

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.