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Category: News (page 2 of 7)

Latest News

Is Senior Care at Home Right for You?

Most aging humans prefer aging at home…. There are many reasons, some good, some not so. In the company of the right person, right caregiver, senior care can be a boon, add life, energy, boost longevity in a senior’s life and bring in quality of life.

There are home care companies launching all over the world, private home duty, shift duty, short term and various amount of hours per day. The questions one must ask are directly related to the person needing the type of care.

What is senior care at home? Senior care at home is caregivers available for hiring, working with an individual to provide care for the senior/s in the home, family, and community.

Is it right for you? Read below the reasons:

  1. Do you like privacy or an individual who wants to be independent?
  2. Are you willing and open to have another person live with you, care for you for a few hours per day, or appreciate sharing your space with another person
  3. Does your finances in good health? Can you afford these caregivers, as the costs may be x times higher than moving to a senior living?
  4. What are your plans for your future? Are you independent or dependent on or even a caretaker of a spouse, partner, family member or friend?
  5. Have you tried caregiving or senior care at home before? Yourself? Or heard from others?
  6. Have you exhausted all community, county, state available support services for seniors?
  7. Do you like silence or a busy home? Surrounding, place? Are you sensitive to noise?
  8. Are you afraid of losing your independence and your chores taken over by someone else?
  9. Do you have multiple comorbid diagnosis and have you discussed the course of those medical problems, diseases, issues?
  10. Are you concerned about losing friends, people who know and visit you, play for ex bridge with you or cook together with you on events?
  11. Are you able to do your chores as you used to before, about a few years ago?
  12. Have you been aware of your health’s decline? Have you thought of what would happen if you were all alone? Needed care?

With the aging population on the rise, understanding senior care at home early on will avoid circumstances that could be avoided. More common concerns are culture, heritage, in living, cooking, enjoying and thriving. Thank you

Is a Senior Living Community Right for You? Pros and Cons

With the boom in Aging news, living and thriving in old age, taking center stage, no wonder every senior of family of senior might be contemplating the dilemma of senior living. Senior living situations are varied. One can age at home with or without outside support, move to another place for short term, long term or even if planning to spend the last days of their lives in a place away from home. No one answer or solution is right, as choices help people live to their fullest and experience life’s simple pleasures.

However the call of urgency is scary as it can get when something were to go wrong suddenly or somehow, unplanned, unexpected…. Leading to chaos, confusion and therefore poor decisions.

To make matters worse, elderly with cognitive issues fare poorly in certain circumstances.

What is left behind is loss of income, finances, energy, motivation and the ability to find the right solution, services, supports or resources. Over decades of my career ….this was all too common …

Some thoughts on choosing a senior living community (pros)

1. More dynamic place, with lots of activity going on… making a senior to find friends with
common interests not so difficult
2. Programs, activities, geared to different levels of care and condition of a senior
3. Meals prepared in dine and wine style, with many offering menu to choose on the go
4. Less clutter and material stuff to deal with and not spending time managing like one does at own home
5. Supportive services, people who work well versed in senior care
6. Private duty caregiver to hire, share, lighten duty at home
7. Above all, socialization, safety, security… depending on level of care, place etc.

Some thoughts on choosing a senior living community (cons)

1. Privacy issues, depends on personality of senior
2. Lack of support, help when needed, more independence
3. Workload increased, home management becoming cumbersome
4. Safety, due to clutter, too much material objects, gadgets not working
5. No activities apart from Television, radio. Unless senior has an active friend circle
6. Nutrition may be affected, loss of weight, malnutrition, not taking adequate meals due to
burden of preparation, shopping or cooking and cleaning utensils
7. Comorbidities might create more harm, for example living with Chronic health conditions

When to Seek Help of a Geriatrician?

Primary care is not same as Geriatrics Specialty care, like Hypertension treated by a primary doctor vs a cardiologist. There are limitations, because of the education, the foundational knowledge, expertise, interest, specialization.

However in places where Geriatrics care is not available, primary care doctors are as adept as the Geriatric Specialists. Given the circumstances, it is certainly best to use resources to learn, motivate, update, prevent, and support healthy ageing.

There were many reasons one seeks the specialist:
1. Rather easy availability of the Geriatric specialist
2. Second opinion about a subject/ issue/condition
3. Even more comprehensive assessment
4. Working with an elderly with multiple issues, polypharmacy,
5. Wanting a team approach, involving ancillary health care professionals

There are also reasons to know when to seek the help one a Geriatric specialist:

1. The senior is having multiple issues, including sudden or unexpected decline
2. Needing info on resources to help the family with legal documents, power of attorney, mental capacity etc.
3. Thorough assessment when finding or looking for a care facility or home, to get detailed
examination.
4. Documents completed for moving a senior to a different home
5. Coordination of care between different specialists of a senior patient
6. Discussing cognition, mental health issues of elderly, and also treatment
7. Completing forms for end of life care, after realistic discussion
8. Addressing polypharmacy, multipharmacy issues
9. Care planning for the senior, being proactive , while regarding pending future deterioration of a senior
10. Understanding and figuring out caregiving issues because of crisis
11. Discussing overall goals, needs of seniors
12. Above all, Bringing in Quality of life for a senior

There are many more…however let not the lack of a Geriatric Specialist in your area prevent one from getting the right care… Therefore ask, ask, ask, and join senior services, support services, clubs for seniors or families with seniors or suffering a specific condition or disease, get recommendations, interview and decide to partner ….Thank you

Is Your Parent Hiding Their Cognitive Disabilities?

What is cognition? How does cognition checked? Who can do a cognitive test? Why is cognition a basic for all Comprehensive Geriatric care?

Cognition is in the dictionary: the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses.

Cognition is the essence of aging. Loss of cognition is not a normal part of aging. Cognition can affect and in turn feel effects of many factors internal and external. Cognition can tell us… the life story of a senior or the decline of a senior in advance. Cognition is and cannot return back to baseline in many circumstances ….

My father cannot find simple things at home? My parents always seem to tell me everything is right, but I find bottles of medications not used or they almost always give me excuses about a chore not done? Maybe my elderly senior neighbor and avid gardener seems like they’ve lost interest in gardening? My senior aunt is missing her appointments with her mental health doctor or my grandfather who lives alone is not paying bills on time.

Not all cognition is reversible and some may be permanently irreversible or a manifestation of a neurological condition, disease or mental health problem.

I recall a lady who was getting forgetful rapidly in a very short span of time, it was neither Delirium, Dementia nor Depression, and instead a brain tumor affecting one half of her brain, she went onto make a complete recovery, though she did lose some cognition in the process.

Hence assessing cognitive disabilities:

  1. Above all, must be done by a qualified professional , with tests, and after ruling out causes that could mimic it
  2. May be irreversible or rarely reversible to original level, hence seeking health care consultation is necessary
  3. They do not mean a death sentence, because research, proper treatment, care can help sustain life to certain extent
  4. Supportive services, quality of care, future planning is must that always should be presented to the senior and/or the family
  5. Following some of the steps outlined in our other blogs. They can be useful to prevent unnecessary decline due to extraneous factors.

Remember the 3 D’s when you think of cognition: Delirium (reasons many, waxing and waning of consciousness), Depression (medical mental health condition), Dementia (mental health disorder with poor reasoning, impaired thought processes, personality changes, and impairment of memory), and
Thank you

When Senior Loneliness Strikes?

Is there such a thing as loneliness? Or it a myth? Or even a mystery? What are we truly meaning by the word loneliness and why is it important now and not before?

Too many questions and too little answers. Yet, even so, they are confusing, and the opinions are many, some based on facts, experiences, tryouts and historical.

Loneliness: the definition in the dictionary “sadness because one has no friends or company”, friendlessness, rejection? Abandonment?

In reality, loneliness is a spectrum! One can have friends but still feel lonely? Why? How?

One can be very social, yet feel rejected? Abandoned? Why? How?
To understand is to understand human personalities, not all are same and not all are dissimilar, we have many commonalities as human beings but the structures, foundations, experiences, curiosity, creativity, values, purpose…… are all different.

The answer is not all are going to respond to same stimuli or solutions, so what do we do if we find a senior lonely?

What should we do for senior loneliness?

Here are a few examples of some queries that might shape the solutions to loneliness …

  1. Who is in the inner circle of the person? Who knows them intimately?
  2. What are their likes and dislikes?
  3. What are their vision for their ageing?
  4. Where do they live? Has anyone spoken, asked them to know them?
  5. What are their beliefs and value and purpose?
  6. Who cares for them?
  7. Has anyone extended support before?
  8. Does senior loneliness affect social, cultural, spiritual, personal life?
  9. Has mental health been excluded?
  10. Are they truly alone or alone having no needs met despite…are they dissatisfied?

Activities to promote socialization and prevent loneliness is a huge social, economic, philosophical, emotional responsibility of humans, communities, countries and the world.

At the pinnacle of the 21 st century bracing towards its’ silver jubilee of the decade …we have more questions than answers….Thank you

How to Tell Your Aging Parents it’s Time to Find Some Help?

Over the decades, a common scenario playing over and over again…. The questions the same, the solutions not the same?? Or are they?
Parents are losing things?
Parents are not eating well?
Aging parents’ refrigerator is empty?
Parents are not socializing like before?
Parents don’t participate in activities like they did?
Aging parents gait is not that good anymore?
Parents’ home is unclean, unkempt and unmanaged?
And many more…………
Before taking the hasty decision, a pause, a few minutes of brainstorming helps…
Why, sometimes our perception of things is not the same as for a senior.
Their tastes, values, interests change as they grow older…don’t we all?
Compassion matters, even more a cool being who is empathetic, kind, understanding and respecting.
Patience is a virtue…

So here without further ….

1. Find a suitable time, day, place and reason
2. Don’t bring up the past, be in the present, think of the future
3. Take moments of time out to let things sink in
4. Hear both sides of the talking
5. Don’t bring in examples of their friends, or relatives or communities
6. Remember to take notes in mind and not in paper, undue attention to listening is more
rewarding
7. Make the meeting pleasant, with some fun times, jokes and lighthearted talk
8. Visit the topic again, keep notes after, think, do research
9. Follow the simple rule of win-win for all
10. Keep an open mind, for the seniors are the ones to live and not you
11. Choices are important, money is too.
12. Efficiency is even more important, so is healthy ageing and thriving.

There are no set of domino rules, transparency, trust building, accountability and clarity are a must…
Hope this blog shed a light on some valuable elderly living, please feel free to post your thoughts. Thank you.

How Hospitalizations Can be Prevented?

Why is health economics a game changer? And for whom? And why? For what? Emergency room visits, hospital stays, post hospitalization admissions are all tangents of the same circle where “Healthy Ageing” rests.

Yes, data on age groups, body conditions, and sex is important,

here is a list of what a senior or carer of a senior can look for in activities of daily living….

  1. What is the declining rate of the senior?
  2. What are the medications they take? Are they necessary?
  3. What are their Activities of daily living/ Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (described in another blog), as assessed and compared quarterly or even twice yearly?
  4.  How many physicians, Doctors, health care professionals does a senior visit and ask for help?
  5. When did they last visit? And what was the visit summary?
  6. What supplements other than prescribed medications are taken regularly? Are they necessary and helping the senior?
  7. How deconditioned or conditioned is the senior? As a result, what is the physical activity level?
  8. Have the weight been fluctuating or steady or declining? What is the body mass index? Muscle tone?
  9. What is the personality? And their mental capacity? Their mental health?
  10. Do they have access to or have accessed supportive services?
  11. What type of hospitalizations make up their personal history?
  12. What is a seniors’ end of life care choices? Or have they made any decisions?

This list is a beginner…hope it helped start a conversation, or a need to change a policy… we would love to hear how it helped you… certainly stay tuned for more our upcoming blogs on specific topics.

Is Your Senior Living in Their Own Home Post Discharge? Are They Ready?

When was “ready” used in healthcare, and why did we start using it?? Somewhere in the history of caregiving and healthy aging, there must have been reasons…

Post hospital or rehabilitation discharge are different terminologies.

Hospitalizations can be for many reasons, as are Emergency room visits and rehabilitation visits and stays.

Here is a list to consider in the evaluation…

  1. Have the ADL and IADL pre and post episodes and scenarios as in above similar or changed little or extensively?
  2. What is the mentation? Have you checked the 3 D’s — is the elderly delirious, common after hospitalizations, change in medications, etc., is there a change in mood? Any signs of depression, isolation, loneliness? Likewise, is there any new forgetfulness? Are they trying to camouflage or cover up their inability to remember the medications or incident or else? Was your senior living with memory issues or cognitive impairment prior to the hospitalization?
  3. What about medications? Is there a change, or another new one? Ask them, can they take them on their own, witness them doing so, how about directions like … take with meals, don’t crush, etc.
  4. Any changes in sleep patterns, speech patterns, hearing, seeing, basic senses …
  5. Home layout… their bedroom , easy access to toilet, bathroom, safety and security in the rooms and around the house
  6. Ancillary services… are they agreeing to some temporary support from a nurse, a physical therapist or someone that can assess and help them recuperate completely, in a dignified manner or help them understand their further needs.
  7. Family, community, also religious affiliations… any support, responsibility, finances, physician visits etc.

There are many more senior living topics in our other blog posts, so stay with us.

When to Know to Seek Help?

How many times has anyone heard? “You need help” and no matter the age!

It is isn’t that simple for elderly, aging population who were mostly brought up in a depression or post era. For them the gratitude of having something vs craving was different. They learned how to suppress, live within means, be most creative and engage in saving anything and everything or using something and reusing it multiple times.

That is exactly what I liked about seniors… do till you drop?? Or is it??

Seeing help, support systems or services, humans, needs more than just a handshake. There is indeed deep psychological needs that need to be fulfilled.

So what are the signs, when empathizing instead of just writing someone off, taking over their duties or simply making decisions for them even when they are capacitated is wrong??

  1. Get to know someone first …
  2. Empathize, be in the present, and live in their past and cherish their lives…
  3. Understand needs and wants and haves: they are different at different stages of aging
  4. Keep priority as priority, rest does not matter…
  5. Find and work to a win-win situation…
  6. Use the ADL and IADL check list
  7. Make a list of their do’s, don’ts, takes, past and present
  8. Have a heart to heart conversation….it is not easy asking someone to be in a wheelchair and not attempt to walk on their own anymore..
  9. Make sure mental health issues are not present, seek counseling, examination when in doubt
  10. Prepare to be resilient, trying out solutions and helping all coming to terms
  11. When something is not right, it usually is not right…. Use intuition to benefit the senior in the aging process

What 5 Things Affect Seniors’ Health?

I constantly get to read … things a senior must know, a caregiver must know and so. Here today I uncover 5 things affecting seniors’ health?

These are based on: questions I was asked for decades in the past.

Breath

breathing is important part of our systems, shortness of breath can alarm anyone, more so as they may be a symptom or sign of inner body systems not working or failing or deconditioned.

Nutrition

Body Mass Index is critical but even so is muscle mass, asthenia, wasting or flabbiness is not always the sign of aging. They may uncover some unpleasant discoveries, especially when malnutrition, elder abuse and neglect may be a part of it.

Hydration

Losing the sense of tasting water is not uncommon as we age, in my career, I have seen elderly not take an ounce per day and never asking for either …. Why this is important is many conditions and diseases can be hidden by dehydration, or mask and show differently, or even so camouflage grave internal damage. Water intake is not the same as eating fruits and vegetables. The ricochet effect is frequent urinary tract infections, falls, confusion etc

Movement

Physical functioning is the key to prevention of many issues in seniors’ health. Adequate functioning is a must, certainly exercises and mobility are key. Without using it regularly, losing it is easy, recovery to baseline is or may be impossible. Hence exercises therapy, tailored to different physical presentations can prevent further morbidities and mortalities

Mental Health

No matter what friends and family they have, what activities they do, there is difference between isolation and personality. Some older people in my experience wanted to be alone. It was their choice, some wanted to have a large company, some wanted only to experience certain things…not all have depression and need medication. Understanding the mental health needs of a senior and not mislabeling them is crucial to a healthy aging process.

Therefore, being aware, open minded and understanding humans and culture in aging is beneficial.

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