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Chronic Diseases, Alzheimers & Dementia, Mental Health, Aging Life Care, Health Education, Global Public Speaking

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Tag: Senior Care (page 1 of 2)

Living in the Moment…mihygge

Mindfulness? Wellbeing for everyone… Living in the moment. As the speaker talked about Living in the present… one evening, as I sat enthralled listening like others in that grand circle, that evening….and the story of a cat as an example…drew me nearer to mindfulness. The elderly group seemed to take in flawlessly, every word, and as they all went around with their experiences of living in the moment…. The room was filled with smiles, claps and stories to share later.

Yes, it is good to do this and that… but how many of us live in that moment , not just alive but be, but experience, savor, inhale, embrace, satisfy oneself..?

Most seniors live in the moment…. To some, as the memories dwindle, they are bound to those moments forever, to others, it is simply a moment.

From meditation, to reading, to worshiping, to fulfilling chores, to working on hobbies, seniors embrace living in the moment with style.

A lesson for us to learn, appreciate, with much love, kindness and devotion.

Here are some ways to live in the moment, or mihygge:

  1. Spend an afternoon leisurely
  2. Read a book as you soak up the sun
  3. Brew a favorite cup of coffee blend and sip in comfort
  4. Breathe and exercise with deep focus and peace
  5. Create an inviting place, declutter and enjoy minimalism
  6. Meetup with friends for an evening of sharing the fun
  7. Walking in a local park
  8. Visiting the town’s weekend market
  9. Taking a trip to see a friend
  10. Simply relaxing with a massage or a me time

The list could go on…There are ways many times during a day, where one can live in the moment…for life’s simple pleasures are really that simple! So have fun creating a list at any age, aging is a pleasure, a new era of living in the moment…or mihygge. We are excited to learn ideas from across the world, so please share, celebrate and empower many, Thank you.

Moving to a Senior Living Facility with Dementia

It’s relatively easy to find perfect residential long-term care for most seniors. There are so many different types of senior services and senior living arrangements! With all the offerings, there is something for everyone. However, it is not always straightforward when your loved one has some form of dementia.

It can be hard to tell whether the care in any senior living home is going to match up well with the progressive nature of dementia. There are a lot of factors that go into selecting a senior living home for a dementia patient. And even if you are able to get it right today, you need to know that the fit will last.

 

Tips for choosing the right senior living home for a senior with dementia:

Safety Precautions and Devices

Visit the facility and find out what safety precautions and devices the facility has in place. An ideal facility should have non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, grab bars, and monitoring systems. Also look at window doors and window locks. Does someone check residents in and out when they leave? Did they design their security with dementia in mind?

Dementia Trained Staff

The staff should have adequate training on how to handle seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and any other types of dementia. The facility should have attentive, compassionate and attentive staff.

Look at Special Memory Care Programs

There are a few memory-care or dementia-care facilities and programs across the country. There may not be one in your area, but you don’t know until you look for it. Search online, but also ask around. These programs can go by many names, including “memory care” and “special care”. Staff there will understand the difficult behaviors that may arise and how to diffuse them, they know how to communicate with their residents, and they are trained to recognize the subtle signs that can indicate changes in a resident’s mental and/or physical health.

A Structured Routine

There should be a structured routine for seniors living within the facility. Although this won’t affect dementia directly, it can reduce any overall stress by creating stability. Reducing any additional insecurity about what’s going on around a senior with dementia is helpful.

Does Age Really Matter When Deciding to Transition to Senior Living?

Contrary to what many believe, senior living facilities aren’t exclusively for people of a specific age. Many facilities have a minimum age of 18 years! There are only two things that really matter when deciding to transition to senior living.

They include:

If You Need the Services Provided

One major thing that matters when transitioning to senior living is if you need or want the services offered. Irrespective of your age, you may need a professional caregiver to provide daily assistance. In that case, it’s clear you can benefit from the services available in “senior living”. So, you can decide to hire in-home care services or move to a senior living facility to get your needs met.

For instance, you might not have the ability to prepare meals for yourself, carry out household chores such as laundry and vacuuming, feed yourself, or take a bath. You might have mobility issues or limited sight. These things happen to people of all ages! But they’re all conditions that are well catered to in a senior living situation. Life in these homes is built around accessibility for people at all ability levels.

If You Want to Be There

It’s really up to you. If you believe that a senior living home would be the best place for you, then you qualify to move in to most facilities. It’s not about your age. You can move to a senior living community when you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 100 and beyond. Whether you seek accessible facilities, a community to be social, medical supervision, or some other feature, it doesn’t matter what draws you. As long as you want to be there. 

So if you’re interested in looking at senior living facilities, don’t hesitate because you’re afraid you’re too young. You’re not. If you would benefit from being there, if you want to be there, then go for it.

Settling into Senior Living: the Do’s and Don’ts for New Residents

Being the new kid on the block happens over and over in our lives. Now you’re about to be the new resident in a Senior Living home. Here are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success as you join a retirement care community.

 

Plan the Move

When you schedule your move-in date, be sure you’ve left yourself enough time to pack in an effective, organized manner. Give away or sell the things you don’t really want to continue owning. If time is short, that may mean you need to recruit some helpers from family and friends. The shorter the time, the more helpers needed. Just keep in mind- if you needed three friends to help pack, you’ll need 3 friends to unpack too. Or else you’ll end up surrounded by boxes and feeling lost in a new place, instead of surrounded by familiarity and able to find things.

 

Mark the Occasion

Have a meaningful farewell from wherever you’re leaving, whether it’s from one assisted living facility to a better one, or from a house to your first assisted living home. Don’t rush the move, and don’t act as if it doesn’t mean anything. It actually means a lot. You have established great relationships with people in your neighborhood and leaving can be a very emotional and personal process. Although you’re not giving up your relationships, they may be changing. So take a day to celebrate your old home and it’s community.

 

Set up a Familiar Environment

It is very important that you set up a familiar environment when moving to a senior living facility. Don’t buy the perfect new carpet or couch right away. Instead, move with what you’re already familiar and comfortable with. For example, arrange your new bedroom so that when you wake up in the morning, your eyes will find the same familiar items in view. Set the living room with the same old decor, pictures, or TV. This will help you feel immediately at home.

 

Medication Management

Have your medications plans in place so they’re not disturbed by the move. Do you need a refill or a doctor’s appointment? Depending on the community, obtaining emergency medications and other medication management services can be handled by staff, or can be left to family members. Find out how things work and plan ahead.

 

You’re Here! Now What?

The new facility and community may have some routine and culture of its own. And you have your own routines. You don’t have to just scrap your old traditions. Feel free to drink your tea and read at the same time you used to, and keep other daily routines too. If your plans conflict with what’s going on around you, remember that you can always join in another day. But if you want to capitalize on your newness to make more friends right away, you can do that too! Just remember that the choice is yours.

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.

 

Real Differences Between Care From a Spouse and a Professional Caregiver

At some point in life, most of us will start to experience decline with aging. If your spouse experiences mental or physical decline first, you’ll have to decide between caring for them personally and hiring a professional caregiver. Your choice will depend on whether you’re able to provide the care they need without sacrificing yourself. If you can’t care for yourself and them adequately, it’s best to let a professional caregiver take over.

Care From a Spouse

You may be able to care for your partner when they experience physical and/or mental decline, and they may also do the same for you. Doing the care yourself can be appealing for financial reasons, or to skip the process of interviewing and hiring a caregiver. Maybe you’d rather not invite another person into your home. There are many possible reasons to choose caring for a spouse.

But it doesn’t come without stress. It may also feel like a necessity or an obligation.

Having to care for your aging spouse can sometimes cause strain in your relationship. You might also experience insufficient energy or sleep, and you may find it isolating or stressful. These effects are common among people providing care for their aging partners, and are known as “burnout”.

Some of the most common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Depression
  • Pains or aches
  • Sleep problems
  • Severe fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Stress

A Professional Caregiver

A professional caregiver can be a person trained to care for seniors at home. They often have nursing experience or other specialized skills that make them a great fit for the job.

One of the main differences between care from a spouse and a professional caregiver is that a professional is trained in specific areas of importance. They’ll know how to move, wash, feed your husband or wife in the safest, most effective ways. They’ll often have CPR and first aid certifications, and they work for an hourly fee.

Another benefit of professional caregivers is that they clock out and go home to recharge. You can’t just disappear for 16 hours a day to give your attention to other things. Your professional caregiver does, which means they’re better able to focus and keep perspective about day-to-day challenges. Being able to step away is very helpful for caretakers, emotionally.

This is unlike when you’re the one taking care of your partner. Besides being untrained, and always “on”, you’re also working for free.

When to Go To a Professional Caregiver

If you aren’t up to the task of taking care of your spouse alone, don’t do it. Whether it’s the emotional strain, physical demands, or mismatched skillset that deter you, it’s best to employ someone in this case.

Even if you started out fine with caretaking, when you realize that burnout may be affecting you, take it seriously. Cut back how much care you provide alone or hire help until you feel like returning to caretaking full time. If you ever do.

It’s okay to employ a professional, it has no bearing on your love or dedication.

A professional caregiver can help with many things:

  • Preparing meals
  • Light housekeeping (tidying up, dishes, vacuuming)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Hygiene and bathing
  • Incontinence care
  • Transportation to and from various doctors’ appointments
  • Changing bed linens
  • Laundry
  • Medication reminders
  • Mobility assistance

Whether to do caretaking wholley alone, employ part time help, or use the services of a full time caretaker is up to you. You can change your mind at any time, just keep in mind your partner’s health and happiness, and also your own.

To Receive the Best Senior Care, One Must ? For Their Aging Family Member?

What does one mean by best senior care? Most of the companies provide similar senior care, however their hourly rates, may differ, or their specialty may be a thing or two. In senior living, it is the same, the smaller facilities are more homelike, offer a more personalized care and may specialize in something vs a larger facility which has access to more resources, and may or may not translate to the ratio of caregivers to the senior.  The pricing can vary depending on needs, availabilities…

So what should one do to help their senior receive the best care…

Now that you have moved them to a senior care facility or home, or have those sharing their home with someone?

  1. Keep advance directives, contact information easily accessible to the senior or the senior living or caregiver
  2. Make them aware that things could be worked out, and that it takes time, patience and understanding… decision made less than a month to move out are sometimes hasty decisions and may not solve the issues
  3. Have a routine for chores, care etc., to make it a smooth transition for both parties
  4. Take time to introduce each other and sit for a meetup over coffee/ tea in or without the presence of the family
  5. Work on simple things first, get them right, then go to complex things
  6. One can hear out third party opinions but remember the final decision making is not theirs
  7. Approach this change in a senior’s life with lots of sensitivity, for most times the solutions lie in the approach and not after
  8. Create an inviting atmosphere for all
  9. Bring in the blend of old and the new with time, and not be forced upon
  10. Believe in the power of communication, compassion and listening

These above little gems were based on my personal experiences. Opinions vary and we are open to new learning and sharing… so please send us your comments, and help healthy aging globally. Thank you

Are You Considering Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are a key type of senior living option for those in our aging population.  They can be termed by congregate housing, senior care facility, boarding home or even domiciliary care. These facilities care for the elderly who need daily care.  This could be in the form of medical care, daily tasks, or just a little bit more help with normal living needs.

Over one million people live in assisted living facilities.  About 30,000 of these locations exist across the country with a majority of them being female and over the age of 80.  Most of these seniors have income below the poverty line.

Senior citizens stay in assisted living for a few years and then either move out to go back home, to another facility, or to a skilled nursing home.  Finances and living arrangements are the two main sources for decisions to move.

 

Tenants Rights

Seniors who stay at assisted living homes are generally independent.  This allows them to feel confident and more comfortable in their aging state.  Their dignity and privacy are also kept intact.

As a result, if a resident gets critically ill or injured, they are usually moved to a hospital or skilled nursing home.  If the situation is temporary, many of these homes will do their best to readmit a resident after the situation has improved.  If a tenant appears to be in the process of dying, they can remain as long as the assisted living home can provide the services they need.  Thus, a resident has the following rights:

  • Respected and treated with Dignity
  • Not forced to abide by a religion
  • Be cared for and not be abused
  • Freedom of movement
  • Privacy
  • Continue to utilize their own personal items
  • Manage their finances
  • Many also allow pets and regular visitors

Living Environment

These facilities usually have two forms of housing:  semi-private and private. There are furnished and unfurnished options.  Many of them have kitchens and private bathrooms.

In addition to the housing, these living environment have enhancements through their services such as:

  • Additional care services for daily living (i.e. dressing, eating, showering, etc)
  • Food services
  • Learning Environment
  • Emergency Services
  • Wellness Programs
  • Housekeeping
  • Group sessions
  • Transportation
  • Personal Services

Finances

Each locations pricing differs.  Some are an all in one option while others provide tiered pricing.  They vary from a few hundred dollars to over $3,000. Many pay for this out of pocket although

 

Level of Care

A key difference between facilities is the level of care their residence receive. Make sure to research this in detail before signing up.

Bottom line is to take the time to ask questions, ensure all your desired services are provided and the right community atmosphere exists before you sign up for a facility.

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.

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