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Tag: Aging Parents (page 1 of 2)

How to Evaluate Senior Living and Care Options

When choosing an appropriate senior living option, make sure that the place you pick suits all your needs and those of your loved ones. Whether you’re looking for yourself, your parent or your spouse, the future resident’s needs take precedence in evaluating options.

Here are the steps to take.

1.     Determine All Your Needs

Before you even start looking for an assisted living facility, you should first assess your monetary, physical, and everyday life needs. Determine the things that are going to be important not only to you, but also to any loved ones it may affect. After establishing all your needs, you’ll certainly find it easier to evaluate senior living and assisted living facilities.

Use your needs to decide whether to focus on:

  • Assisted Living
  • Independent Living Communities
  • Memory Care Housing
  • Senior Apartments
  • Nursing Homes
  • Residential Care Homes

2.     Tour the Facility

Once you’ve selected some candidates, be sure to visit each location. Check out the kitchens, social spaces, bedrooms and the outdoors. Are there nice places to walk around in nature? Check out whether the rooms have pleasing decor, and are clean and safe. Observe safety procedures and security in general and check whether there are fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems that are operational.

3.     Find Out More About the Staff

Is there enough staff at the facility you’re considering? A great facility should have a lower staff-to-patient ratio. Also find out whether the staff is well trained and how long most of them have been working at the facility. A fast turn-over is a bad sign. If possible, check how staff is hired. Do most staff have multiple jobs, or do they get paid well enough to only work one job?

4.     Understand Contracts and Fees

Check out the services being offered and which ones are included and not included in the monthly fee. Take your time to look at and understand the contract well. If possible, hire an attorney to have a look at the contract.

5.     Look for Licensing or Accreditation Reports

If you’re in a state that licenses assisted living homes, ask for the inspection reports. Besides licenses, check whether the facility has been accredited by any organization. The more licenses and accreditations, the more confident you can be that the services provided are top-notch.

6.     Find Out About Activities Offered

Check what activities are available at the facility. What are some upcoming activities? Are the activities on the schedule ones that the resident would enjoy? How often do they happen? Find out whether there are onsite and offsite activities. Finally, ask about religious services if they interest you.

7.     Look into Their Medical Services

Does this facility pick up or drop off prescriptions for residents? Some do. There are also facilities that offer residents free transportation to the hospital or to the doctor. Some facilities allow for purchase of basic medical supplies on sight. Understand what exactly happens in case the health of a resident deteriorates. Find out what type of assessments are usually done.

 

Best Practices When Deciding for Seniors with Diminishing Mental Capacity

Ability to make one’s decisions is essential to individual autonomy. If ever a person loses their ability to understand choices and repercussions, that is when they begin to need help making decisions. You may find yourself having to make choices for a parent or spouse.

Seniors with diminished mental capacity may not be in a position to make their own decisions. However, they can still know what they want and express it. Not having the capacity to make sound decisions is based in ability to understand and evaluate options and predict repercussions. It does not mean that a person doesn’t know what they want.

When deciding for a senior loved one with declining mental capacity, you should always try to strike a balance between acting in the patient’s favor and respecting his or her autonomy. The following practices can help you do that.

Assess Them

The first thing to do is to have your aging loved one assessed professionally by a clinician. The specialist’s job is to determine whether the individual has the capacity to make sound decisions. If it’s found that they understand and make their own decisions, then always allow them to make their own decisions.

Act in Their Best Interests

This may include alleviating the patient’s anxiety, taking time to educate the individual and their family, considering lucid intervals and the person’s physical conditions like difficulty in speech, which can sometimes interfere with capacity. Doing so is the only way to act in the best interest of the senior with diminishing mental capacity.

Disclosure of Diagnosis

In the past it was an accepted practice for doctors not to speak directly to their patients about deteriorating mental capacity. That has now changed. Today, it’s considered a patient’s right to be informed about their health condition and treatment discussions. So, involve the patient and disclose to him or her results of diagnosis. When you’ve assessed diminishing mental capacity and found out that the patient has dementia, it is good to let the patient know of their condition. Especially when it is still at its early stages. In other words, the stage of the mental illness and the time of diagnosis should be considered.

As mental illness progresses, competency and decision-making capacity will definitely be affected, and this may make the patient’s ability to fully understand the diagnosis as well as its implications could be limited. When it the mental illness is at its advanced stage, there may be no need to disclose the diagnosis to the patient because they might not even care. This means that the disclosure would actually be futile.

Don’t assume that you should make all the decisions alone for seniors with diminishing mental capacity. Always involve them whenever possible. You should also ensure that you always act in their best interest when you are deciding anything for them.

 

What About When Married Couples Don’t Both Need Senior Living Services?

Life expectancy continues to increase around the world and people are now living longer than before. There are also more senior couples across the world than ever before. When it comes to receiving in home healthcare or moving to a senior living facility, it’s fairly straight forward for singles. However, it becomes more complicated when only one partner in a couple needs senior living services.

You Have Options

There are more options today than ever before for this situation. Instead of one possible answer to this question, you now have many. The degree of care needed and the gap in needs between partners will have influence on what’s best for you.

In-Home Care

In-home care can be quite easy to cater to a couple with differing needs, or where only one partner needs care. A professional caretaker can help with activities of daily living, or perform nursing tasks. This scenario can be great for couples where no one needs ongoing medical supervision.

A Shared Apartment in a Senior Living Community

Moving together into a senior living community gets needs met for the partner needing caretaking services. It also sets both partners up with the knowledge that the resources to meet increasing needs are already in place where they are. If in the future both partners need care, or needs change, they will likely be able to remain in place and adapt.

Move to a Senior Living Community Campus

There can be many reasons that a couple may choose to move together to a senior living community, but not share an apartment. One may just want to be present in the community. The other may need caretaking services, assisted living, nursing services, memory and dementia care, or even hospice care. Each partner can live under the level of care they need, surrounded by others with similar needs, and still spend their days together in the senior community. This can be especially helpful when one partner needs highly specialized care that is hard to provide in-home.

 

How Much Help is Too Much Help for Seniors?

When it comes to providing senior care for a loved one, you should know the difference between doing things for a person and doing things with a person. Most seniors (maybe all?) will appreciate when you do activities or tasks with them and not when you do things for them.

You can easily find yourself doing everything for a loved one rather than with them. Of course, its well-intentioned behavior. You’re doing what you can to make your loved one comfortable. However, this can sometimes have a negative influence on the life of the person you care for. In fact, they may feel incapacitated and start to rebel and become upset. That’s a clear sign that the “help” you’re providing is too much.

Help is too much if it doesn’t promote the independence of the other person. It’s important that you foster independence, even as you provide senior care services. There are so many reasons for this:

  • It helps fight feelings of futility and frustration, which can cause violence and rebellion
  • Your loved one will appreciate that you still see them as a person who is capable of making helpful contributions to the society
  • Promoting and sustaining a feeling of independence in your loved one allows them to retain maximum self sufficiency
  • This may soothe their fear of being a burden

So, ensure that the person you care for has the opportunity to do helpful things. Have them complete basic tasks for themselves whenever possible.

Promoting Independence

This involves providing and creating opportunities for them to contribute to maintaining their own quality of life. You can promote independence by encouraging your loved one to do certain things for themselves. Provide opportunities for activities and exercise, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and supporting brain health through games and social interaction.

Maintaining Independence

Maintenance of independence in the person you are caring for is ensuring that the person is given all the tools to follow through with his or her willingness to perform a duty for himself or herself. For instance, you can help with ensuring home safety such as installing adequate lighting, handrails, bathroom grab bars, furniture placement, and home accessibility. These tools can help the person under your care to safely do some activities for themselves with the home, without help.

 

How Communities Can Support the Elderly

Senior citizens have always been the gateway to our past and the wisdom for our future. The life lessons they have learned can help our next generation and it’s important to cherish their contribution to our society. Communities can do many things to recognize the strength of our senior generation. The following are just a few ways they could help:

A key benefit that senior living options and communities can do for our seniors is to provide these services:

Senior Care and Living

Many communities provide senior care options in order to ensure long term wellness and reduce illness. Having strong preventive and rehabilitative care is essential. These services are even stronger when they’re home-based.

With age comes different living needs. Seniors have special amenities that would help make their daily living amazing. Communities that make a variety of living options available for seniors expand the ease to which the elderly can continue to age with dignity.

Assisted Living

A corollary of senior living options is assisted living. Many seniors need help with certain supervision and oversight due to concerns about their health or ability to do some tasks. Communities can provide assisted living options so seniors who need that extra help are able to easily gain access to it.

Independent Living

Similarly, some seniors are young at heart and able to do everything on their own. Certainly adults need a climate where they don’t feel “old” and an environment that allows them to exercise their independence.  

Senior Centers

Socialization and other “classes” designed for the elderly are often big challenges for the aging. Communities with a senior community center that offers the ability for the elderly to socialize or take senior focused classes or groups can greatly help those in our wisdom generation.

Specialty Organizations

Many non-profits and other speciality organizations cater to the elderly. For instance, many Rotary clubs provide Home Team, which provides handyman service to the aging. Such organizations further strengthen the welcoming climate for the community’s elderly population.

As our Baby Boomers generation becomes our “Wisdom” generation, our elderly are needing communities to take steps to provide a welcoming and resource based approach for them. The above are just a few of the ways communities can take steps to make it better for our senior citizens.

 

The List that Keeps Growing… Why a Box Does Not Answer All Elderly Questions?

A human being cannot be either put in a box, classified as a box or even assessed as a box? Why …

In senior care and senior living, social wellbeing is as critical as mental or physiological or even financial wellbeing.

Seniors health is dependable on many factors and aging is not defined by the age in years… because aging is variable, depending on circumstances.

Hence, if a box would answer everything, then we would not have the spectrum we see in aging.

Senior needs include more than ADL (activities of daily living) and IADL (instrumental activities of daily living).

Many a times, assessing a senior in a slot of few minutes in practice does not give us any more than we would have just looking at the history… and why not? For history of a senior is the past, present and the future…

What things to know about aging?

  1. It’s not a number like 65
  2. Aging is related to stress, sadness, chemicals, pollution, mentation, socialization…
  3. It includes the past, present and future of a person
  4. Needs are changeable and can consequently swing back and forth as a pendulum of a clock
  5. Aging cannot be treated by medications, is untreatable for now
  6. It’s a part of family growth, not just individual growth
  7. Aging is irreversible
  8. It’s largely undefined, which means aged have freedom of choice and opportunities as younger populations do
  9. Aging is a human being’s journey that is unavoidable…
  10. Aging is an extension of one’s self, a growth…

Globally, aging has different means and aged laws, rules and regulations are sometimes no longer applicable… and need changes, new policies written, and needed in almost all countries…  if you are an advocate for aging change, we would certainly love to read your comments, please share and inspire all. Thank you

Senior Wellbeing and Health

Wellbeing for all… is the new slogan. Seniors or a child… everyone deserves mental wellbeing, should be guided to wellbeing? Ancient sciences from across cultures, always have emphasized on wellbeing as the core of living, thriving or being. Certainly peace can help with health in many ways. A walk in the wooded area or across a grass field or a sip of favorite tea… are fine examples of living in the present and focusing on mental wellbeing.

Because wellbeing is the comfort of life’s simple pleasures, they are not costly, can be found anywhere, and solve human mind, body, soul, heart’s earthly cravings. In this world of material wealth, most seniors that I have worked with or known cared not for money, richness, glamour, or splendor…. But instead in the little things we all take for granted.

Senior wellbeing is directly related to their health… physical, emotional, spiritual, physiological and psychological. It will be ages and maybe never proven… as humans just know and feel, so the intuition is enough for people to cultivate or derive or get drawn towards the very basics of life on earth.  

What can one do or how can one help?

  1. Understanding wellbeing
  2. Understanding the need for wellbeing for seniors
  3. Assimilating resources to help seniors
  4. Continuing the practices, as before, if a senior can or finding a suitable substitute
  5. Encouraging holistic aging
  6. Understanding needs of an aged or stages of aging and its’ needs
  7. Making it a win-win situation
  8. Understanding the personality of a senior and tailoring individualized solutions

Some of the ways…

  1. Spirituality and spiritual/ holy events, prayers, music,
  2. Nature and natural being, a walk, gardening, driving a senior through some green pastures
  3. Communal eating, at religious facilities, home with family or at the senior living center
  4. Assigning a member with similar needs to champion wellbeing
  5. Any other activities that help with mental wellbeing, mental peace…

Practicing, advocating or preaching… because everyone can help someone… We would love to inspire others reading this with more ideas, ways… so feel free to share. Thank you

A Senior and Older Adult Children Caretakers?

Caregiving is a very difficult role to fulfil, as it affects the caregiver and the senior in many ways.

Caregivers are not all young adults, many are our neighbors, elderly or middle aged, children of seniors, family members of seniors, or friends.

Caregivers are caretakers… Their jobs vary, their hours vary and their situations in which they work vary.

Senior caregiver or caretaker of another senior caregiver is not uncommon, but is it enough, is it safe, is it worth the effort, is it working?

Having helped senior couples for decades, caring for each other or one taking over the care of another, or seniors helped by adult children caretakers,

Here are some pointers:

1. What is the condition? How sick is the person? How disabled is the person receiving care?
2. How much time is being spent on this, is this an issue of financial resources or else?
3. How long have they been doing? Have they needed resources to cope with caregiving crisis, needs, and effects?
4. Have the resources been exhausted? Is there any way of getting a third party help from an outside caregiver?
5. What is in place, in case the caretaker falls sick, becomes disabled or dies?
6. When is the right time to discuss calamities or emergencies? Has any discussion started on caring issues if the receiver declines or needs more intense caregiving or even professional
caregiving services?
7. Have they had a trial of respite? Did it work? What were the thoughts in case this might be a better option in the long term?

Adult children caretakers face similar and also other issues as well…

1. Do they have a part time, full time job besides caregiving?
2. What are the safety precautions, security in place when they are unavailable or what are the risks of leaving the senior alone to fend for themselves?
3. Have they discussed other options in case of sudden decline, inability to care…?
4. Who is the decision maker, what is the relationship like?
5. How is the financial health? Has a cost benefit analysis been done?
6. Is the adult children caretaker capable of medication management, basic ADL management?
7. Is the caretaker healthy enough themselves mentally and physically to cope with caregiving? Can they provide the emotional support expected of them to the senior?

This is an incomplete list, we will explore further in our mihygge journey… we appreciate new insights, ideas which may help other people like you.

Have You Found it Difficult to Give up Your Activities?

Continuing to do the things we once loved is a basic longing of a human being. And inability to do so, due to various restrictions from one’s body can lead to many effects…
Finding it difficult adjusting to aging when one is living alone vs in the company of others is very different. Consequently there can be loss of independence, self-control, faith, confidence, sleep, health, mental health..

Here are things that can lead to giving up activities:

1. Chronic medical conditions
2. Acute health conditions with a temporary setback
3. Sudden decline in health
4. Mental health issues like depression or others like loneliness
5. Injuries
6. Cognitive issues and decline, inability to remember recent activities
7. Loss of friends who socialized and participated in activities collectively due to disease, decline or death
8. Loss of ability to pay for transportation to attend events
9. Inability to do activities that need physical exertion , because they need more energy, are too time consuming
10. Change in personal goals, likings, tastes. With ageing.

What to do when finding it difficult adjusting to aging and giving up activities?

1. Talk, speak, converse with family, friends, community, neighbors
2. Understand limitations by speaking with a health professional
3. Find ways to use time in things that do not deteriorate health
4. Join groups for adjusting to aging with people who have similar issues
5. Connect with or ask people to help you connect with resources catered to declining function in seniors

There is a wide range of activities available in most communities, finding the right one takes time, yet the benefits when adjusting to aging are many. If there are none in your area, certainly think of asking your local elected official or senior organization to start one. We look forward to your ideas to share, help more seniors and their families. Thank you

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

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