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Our home care and healthy living blog covers a wide range of topics concerning aging and health, support and guides for caregivers providing care, and articles on living a more healthy and positive lifestyle.

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Finding a Good Home Health Care Agency

  If your elderly loved one requires personal and medical assistance due to injury, illness, disability, or declining health, you may want to consider a home health care agency. Home health care agencies employ caregivers and specialists such as occupational therapists, companions, home health aides, and registered nurses. They tend to the patient at his or her own home. The post Finding a Good Home Health Care Agency appeared first on Community Home Health...

 

If your elderly loved one requires personal and medical assistance due to injury, illness, disability, or declining health, you may want to consider a home health care agency. Home health care agencies employ caregivers and specialists such as occupational therapists, companions, home health aides, and registered nurses. They tend to the patient at his or her own home.

With many home health care agencies available, it can be difficult to find the right one for your elderly loved one’s needs. You’ll need to do a significant amount of research before making a decision. Here are some tips to facilitate that decision-making process.

Note that there’s a difference between a home health care agency and a non-medical home agency. A non-medical home agency provides people who do basic housekeeping and personal care tasks. On the other hand, a home health care agency features specialists and caregivers who focus on more health and medical-related tasks such as administering medication, aiding in physical therapy, and monitoring medical equipment.

 

Why a Home Health Care Agency?

For many elderly people, staying in an unfamiliar environment—even for a short time—can be frightening.  Additionally, the idea of losing one’s independence and personal space can be disconcerting. Remaining at home, where he or she is surrounded by their personal items, family photos, and furniture maintains security and comfort. Therefore, it’s best for an elderly loved one to stay home for as long as possible but still receive the care they need. In addition, hiring help from a home health care agency is cheaper than a hospital or nursing home bill.

Another reason for using a home health care agency is that their specialists can supplement the current family caregiver. Many family caregivers are stretched thin, caring of their elderly loved ones while caring for their own families or working full-time jobs. Home health care agency caregivers can take over for a few hours a week (or even all day), allowing the family caregiver some rest and personal time, or maybe even giving up that role entirely.

Expect Some Resistance

Before you begin your search, discuss the situation with your elderly loved one. There’s a strong chance that he or she will object to a caregiver, which is understandable. Many people will feel uneasy, even afraid at the thought of letting a stranger in their homes. They may fear that they will be robbed, or worse. Explain to your loved one why hiring a caregiver is necessary, even if you are a family caregiver. If he or she is still resistant, offer a short trial of say, a week or two.

If they are capable, consider inviting your elderly loved one to participate in the research and selection process. It may alleviate their worries. Perhaps he or she can even accompany you when you speak to potential caregivers once you’ve narrowed down a particular home health agency.

Home Health Care Agency vs. Independent Caregivers

Some families choose to eliminate the middle man of home health care agencies and hire an independent caregiver. It’s a tempting option, primarily because independent caregivers generally cost about 30-40% less than agency caregivers. However if you go this route, this means that you are the employer and are thus responsible for various employment laws and taxes. You will need to do the background and credit checks for potential caregivers. You also have fewer options during emergencies. What happens if the independent caregiver is sick? A home health care agency on the other hand, will be able to provide a substitute caregiver. It’s not surprising then, that many families opt for using a home health care agency to find the right caregiver for their elderly loved one.

Talk to People

The first step in finding a good home health care agency is to talk to friends, co-workers, family members, and doctors to get advice. Ask them what they look for in a home health care agency and which places they recommend. Your elderly loved one’s physician may even suggest what kinds of specialists are required.

Financial Considerations

The second step is to think about your budget. Particularly, consider the duration of the required services—how long will your elderly loved one need specialist help? A few weeks or months? Indefinitely? And how many hours per day? How many specialists will you need to hire? These factors will affect the costs. Additionally, some places take Medical or Medicare, so check if the facilities you’re interested in are covered.

Initial Research

When you have a better idea of your loved one’s needs and your budget, start that list of home health care agencies. Look for the following information when you visit their websites or call them: licensing, accreditation/certification, and insurance. See if they provide information on their employees, including screening and hiring procedures, background checks, training (medical, non-medical, and emergency situations), and whether or not they’re bonded.

Reviews and References

Look online for reviews of your potential home health care agencies. Major review sites such as Yelp and Consumer Reports will have some ratings. The Medicare website has a section  on home health care listings as well. Of course, don’t just rely on online reviews. Ask the potential agencies for references as well.

Find the Right Caregiver for Your Elderly Loved One

When it comes to matching the right caregiver with your loved one, you may have to look to factors in addition to their training and skills. This is a person who will spend lots of time with your family member, so it’s important that they get along. It helps if the caregiver has similarities or something in common with your loved one. Some people feel more comfortable with a caregiver who speaks the same language as them, or is the same gender or ethnicity. Others may like spending time with a caregiver of the same religion. Ask the home health care agency how caregivers are matched, and if they can accommodate special requests.

 

If you are looking for a home health care agency for your elderly loved one or have any questions, please fill out the form at the Community Home Health Care home page and one of our helpful staff will contact you as soon as possible.

 

The post Finding a Good Home Health Care Agency appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


Differences between Elderly Caregiver Roles

When we think of elderly caregivers, we often picture nurses working in hospitals or assisted living facilities. But the truth is that you don’t need a nursing degree to become an elderly caregiver. In fact, in some cases, all you need is a high school diploma and some training. Caring for the elderly is a rewarding, The post Differences between Elderly Caregiver Roles appeared first on Community Home Health...

When we think of elderly caregivers, we often picture nurses working in hospitals or assisted living facilities. But the truth is that you don’t need a nursing degree to become an elderly caregiver. In fact, in some cases, all you need is a high school diploma and some training.

Caring for the elderly is a rewarding, but challenging experience. It’s not a career choice one should decide upon a whim. Before you decide to go down the path of elderly caregiving, first ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do you like working with people?
  2. Are you willing to work with potentially difficult, combative, stubborn, and even abusive patients?
  3. Are you physically able to lift and carry a full-grown adult to and from various locations such as vehicles, wheelchairs, or beds?
  4. Can you handle long, physically and mentally exhausting days and possibly nights?
  5. Will you be comfortable helping patients with personal hygiene, bathing, and using the toilet? What if the patient was of the opposite sex?
  6. Can you maintain a professional yet friendly disposition regardless of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue?
  7. Will you be comfortable speaking with the patients’ families regarding difficult situations?
  8. Will you be able to keep a cool head in the event of a medical emergency?
  9. Will you be able to emotionally handle a patient’s death?
  10. Are you willing to do all these things for very little pay?

If this list of questions didn’t scare you off and you’re still interested, then congratulations! You’re on your way to a fulfilling career in elderly caregiving. However, before you start applying to hospitals and nursing homes, you first need to understand that there are actually several types of positions available. The differences lie in how much education or training is required, whether or not you need certification, and the type of medical-related duties involved.

 

Personal Care Assistant (PCA)

Personal care assistants require the least amount of education, training, and medical expertise.

Job Description: As the job title suggests, personal care assistants focus on the personal care of their patients, with very minimal medical-related responsibilities. Their duties include running errands, bathing, providing transportation, preparing meals, general hygiene care, and companionship.  Some personal care assistants work with current family caregivers to help with more difficult tasks such as moving the patient from a wheelchair to a bed.

Minimum Required Level of Education: High school.

Training: Not required unless you receive federal payment through Medicare or Medicaid.

Certification: Only if you receive federal payment through Medicare or Medicaid, in which then you need a minimum of 75 hours of training to receive certification.

Medical-Related Duties: Simple tasks such as taking temperature, reminding patients to take their medicine, or collecting lab specimens such as stool samples.

Salary: About $25,000 a year (as of November 2018).

 

Home Health Aide (HHA)

Home health aides are a step up from personal care assistants in terms of training, certification, and medical-related duties. Whereas training as a personal care assistant isn’t really necessary, becoming a home health aide requires training and certification. In fact, some HHAs are certified nursing assistants or even nurses.

Job Description: Home health aides provide many of the same duties as personal care assistants related to a patient’s personal care. However, they also have the ability to perform more medical-related duties.

Minimum Required Level of Education: High school.

Training: Training for home health aides are usually on-the-job, provided by health professionals. However, similar to personal care assistants, home health aide training is required if you work for a federally funded program. You need a minimum of 75 hours of training, but most states require additional hours.

Certification: Not required unless you work for a federally funded program.

Medical-Related Duties: Monitoring a patient’s vital signs, writing observations in their patient’s journal, changing dressings and bandages, assisting in physical therapy or certain exercises, and possibly even administering medication.

Salary: About $24,558 as of October 2018.

 

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Certified nursing assistants work under the supervision of registered nurses, and thus act as go-between patients and their supervisors. Although a patient is cared for by a nurse, it’s the CNA’s job to help that nurse juggle their many patients.

Job Description: A certified nursing assistant does everything that a PCA and HHA does, but has more medically-related responsibilities. They’re closer to nurses than personal care assistants.

Minimum Required Level of Education: High school.

Training: Unlike PCAs and HHAs, training for certified nursing assistants is mandatory. In fact, in some cases, some CNAs go on to become RNs.

Certification: After training, budding CNAs must complete assigned hours of supervised training at a clinical facility, followed by a certification exam.

Medical-Related Duties: These include checking patients’ vital signs, maintaining medical equipment and machines, observing patients’ bodies for bleeding or bruising, and restocking medical supplies.

Salary: A certified nursing assistant’s salary as of October 2018 is roughly $32,108.

 

Registered Nurse (RN)

Becoming a registered nurse requires the most schooling, training, and certification. They are also entrusted with the greatest amount of medical-related responsibilities.

Job Description: Unlike the other three roles, registered nurses do not normally tend to a patient’s personal care and general errands. Rather, their primary tasks are medical-related. Therefore, registered nurses often work with say, a home health aide or personal care assistant. The nurse would attend to medical-related duties for a few hours, but the remainder of care comes from the personal care assistant or home health aide.

Minimum Required Level of Education: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Many registered nurses continue on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Training: Achieved while obtaining an ADN and/or BSN.

Certification: Required.

Medical-Related Duties: In addition to basic tasks that can be performed by CNAs, PCAs, and HHAs, registered nurses can insert and maintain catheters, admit and discharge patients, take care of wounds, perform life-saving techniques, and administer injections.

Salary: Out of the four elderly caregiver roles featured in this article, registered nurses receive the highest average pay, with $73,550 a year (as of May 2018).

 

As the baby boomers continue to age, elderly caregivers become increasingly important in society. Not everyone is capable of caring for their parents full-time. Many need to hire professional caregivers to attend to their parents’ medical and daily needs.

Becoming an elderly caregiver is no small feat. Although it requires completing a certain level of education and training and the ability to meet the standards mentioned on the list, the most important things about elderly caregivers are that they must have an immense amount of compassion, patience, and respect for their patients.

If you want to start a career in elderly caregiving, or if you need to hire professional care for a loved one, please visit us at Community Home Health Care fill out the query on the home page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

The post Differences between Elderly Caregiver Roles appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


How Caregivers Can Communicate with Doctors and Nurses on Behalf of Seniors

Being a caregiver has many benefits and drawbacks. While caregiving can be a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational career, it’s also a very challenging job, and many caregivers find themselves frustrated with the difficulties of their positions. Of all of these challenges, though, few are more agonizing than the task of trying to figure out how best to communicate with doctors and nurses on behalf of a senior. The post How Caregivers Can Communicate with Doctors and Nurses on Behalf of...

Being a caregiver has many benefits and drawbacks. While caregiving can be a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational career, it’s also a very challenging job, and many caregivers find themselves frustrated with the difficulties of their positions. Of all of these challenges, though, few are more agonizing than the task of trying to figure out how best to communicate with doctors and nurses on behalf of a senior.

For older adults, communicating effectively with care staff is often a difficult task. Thanks to cognitive decline or a simple unwillingness to speak up, seniors often don’t effectively express their needs to doctors and nurses, and the responsibility to ensure the senior’s medical wellbeing falls to caregivers.

While this can be a stressful experience for both parties, it doesn’t have to feel like a burden. Here are several tips for caregivers who want to learn how to communicate more efficiently with a senior’s care staff:

Communicating On Behalf of a Senior 101: 7 Tips to a More Open Dialogue

1. Develop a relationship with the senior’s doctors

Unless you have an ongoing relationship with a senior’s care professionals, communicating with them effectively can be a challenging task. Because of this, it’s essential to dedicate some time and energy to developing relationships with a senior’s doctors and nurses. The best way to do this is to attend as many appointments as possible with the senior you care for.

In addition to allowing you to get a feel for each doctor or nurse’s care style, this will also enable you to spot certain dynamics or difficulties and prepare yourself for how best to deal with the professional and his or her unique style of care and communication.

This is especially critical for caregivers working with seniors who see multiple doctors on a regular basis. Because each of these doctors’ care styles and treatment approaches may differ, it’s smart for caregivers to understand, as fully as possible, what makes each doctor tick and how best to communicate with each team to ensure the long-term care and well-being of the senior.

2. Gain inclusion in the HIPPA contract

HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) dictates that doctors, nurses, and other care professionals are not allowed to discuss a client’s personal medical information with anyone else unless the person is incapacitated and over the age of 18. While HIPAA rules are in place to protect patients, they can make it difficult for caregivers to access relevant health information about the elderly people they care for.

Because of this, it’s essential that caregivers gain inclusion in the HIPAA contract before it becomes time to speak with medical professionals on behalf of a senior. This enables caregivers to help seniors make medical decisions and to protect the senior’s overall health and wellbeing better. It also ensures that the caregiver will have all of the information needed should a major medical decision present itself.

3. Ask plenty of questions

Helping seniors understand and respond to medical conditions and care options can be difficult, and things like diagnoses and medical-speak are often far from easy to interpret. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to ask plenty of questions to fully understand a senior’s condition and what, if anything, can be done in some cases. This empowers the caregiver with relevant information and is an efficient way for caregivers to safeguard better the health and well-being of the seniors they care for.

While many caregivers shy away from asking questions because they believe they’ll be perceived as stupid or incapable, it’s important to ask for clarification any time you don’t understand something. Knowledge is power, and clarifying confusing explanations and asking for more information allows seniors and their caregivers to work together as a unified team.

4. Avoid assuming the worst

Among caregivers, specifically family caregivers, there’s often an assumption that a senior’s medical staff doesn’t want to help the caregiver provide care. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to communicate efficiently and can have a drastic negative impact on the senior’s overall care and wellbeing. Instead of being combative with doctors or nurses, caregivers will do well to view them as skilled allies who actually want to help resolve problems and provide the best possible care for a loved-one.

When caregivers take the time to develop this type of relationship with doctors and nurses, caregivers and medical staff can work together to provide outstanding care for seniors without excess frustration and missed opportunities for communication.

5. Write down your questions

Many caregivers think of questions when they’re not in a doctor’s office. By the time they make it to the next appointment, though, they’ve forgotten their questions. This makes it easy to bypass critical inquiries and neglect essential queries that can help safeguard a senior’s health and well-being. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to write down their questions and bring them to the doctor’s office at every appointment. This ensures critical questions are being asked and prevents caregivers and seniors from suffering the fallout of forgotten information. 

6. Make additional appointments for additional concerns

Doctors and nurses are busy people, and they may not have time during a meeting to discuss, at length, all of your questions and concerns. While many caregivers take this as a sign that the doctor doesn’t care, this is seldom the case. To avoid frustration and ensure all questions are answered as thoroughly as possible, don’t hesitate to make an additional appointment. This can help facilitate more functional communication and avoid frustrations born from misunderstandings.

7. Encourage the senior to speak on his or her behalf

While caregivers must learn to communicate effectively on a senior’s behalf, it’s also important to encourage a senior to speak up wherever possible. Often, the message is a bit louder when it comes from the senior’s mouth, and doctors may well understand things better from seniors than they do from caregivers.

In some situations, it’s essential for caregivers to learn how to communicate with their seniors or on behalf of them. While this can be a confusing dynamic to learn, understanding different communication necessities and timeframes is critical for good ongoing communication.

Excellent Communication Starts Here

While learning to communicate on behalf of seniors can be difficult, it’s a critical skill for family caregivers and hired caregivers alike. By developing relationships with doctors and nurses, bringing lists of questions to every appointment, scheduling additional appointments for questions and concerns that will take more time, encouraging seniors to speak for themselves when and where appropriate, becoming included in a HIPAA contract, and holding off on assuming the worst, seniors and their caregivers can develop effective communication strategies that help ensure a good relationship with doctors and nurses and the best possible care. 

The post How Caregivers Can Communicate with Doctors and Nurses on Behalf of Seniors appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


How Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care for Older Patients

For caregivers, learning to provide care for patients is an ongoing process. Even after dozens of hours of training, caregiving is a fluid process, within which things are always changing and adapting. Different clients require different care, mental and emotional upset can rise and fall quickly, and confounding factors like dementia and cognitive decline can make it difficult to connect effectively with patients. The post How Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care for Older Patients...

For caregivers, learning to provide care for patients is an ongoing process. Even after dozens of hours of training, caregiving is a fluid process, within which things are always changing and adapting. Different clients require different care, mental and emotional upset can rise and fall quickly, and confounding factors like dementia and cognitive decline can make it difficult to connect effectively with patients.

As such, caregivers are always learning to provide better care for their older patients. It’s an ongoing process and, when caregivers dedicate themselves to it fully, it can overhaul the way they view their jobs and connect to their clients.

10 Ways Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care

Providing better care is a process, and it requires learning new steps. Here are a few tips for caregivers who want to learn to provide better care:

1. Keep Yourself Healthy

The healthier and fitter you are, the better able you are to offer quality care. As such, it’s essential for caregivers to care for themselves. This means eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, staying active, and getting enough rest. When all these things are done, caregivers have the energy, stamina, and attention needed to care for aging patients.

2. Ask for Help

Sometimes, caregivers run into confounding care situations that can be very confusing. For example, what if an existing patient begins to develop Alzheimer’s? That changes the level of care the patient needs, and can be confusing for caregivers.

In these situations, asking for help is one of the best things you can do. Many caregivers hold the position all their life, and can act as a wealth of knowledge for caregivers struggling to adapt to changing clients, or striving to ensure they’re offering the best possible care to the people they spend time with.

While asking for help can feel intimidating, it’s one of the best ways for caregivers to learn more about their industry, and learn to provide the high-quality care their clients deserve.

3. Study Up

Reading can be a great way for caregivers to take in new information. If you’re struggling with a particularly difficult situation or making your way into a new facet of caregiving, read a book about it. Books like The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss can be comforting and illuminating for people caring for Alzheimer’s patients. In fact, there are well-written books available for people in virtually every facet of caregiving, if you’re looking for something that applies to your situation, do a quick Google search or ask your fellow caregivers what they’d recommend.

4. Take a Course

To continue your trajectory of study, look for free or low-cost courses in your local area. These courses can teach everything from caregiving techniques to self-care tactics that will quickly become instrumental in your caregiving approach. These courses are available through senior centers, caregiving support groups, and assisted living facilities.

5. Shadow Another Caregiver

One thing few caregivers think of doing is shadowing another caregiver. Ideal for any caregiver who wants to learn new skills, or is struggling to adapt to changing or more complex clients, shadowing a more experienced caregiver is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience and learn some new skills that can help inform and enhance your own caregiving tactics.

6. Reach out to Your Employer

If you’re a caregiver who works for a company, reach out to your employer for additional learning materials or educational courses. Most caregiving centers are happy to help educate their caregivers and will work hard to further learning in their workforce.

From books to courses and beyond, it’s highly likely that your employer will have some resources to pass your way. Remember: being specific about what you want to learn and what you’re struggling with is the best way to ensure you get the education you need.

7. Branch Out

While many caregivers believe that the education they should pursue is limited to the field of caregiving, branching out into other industries can be incredibly helpful.

For example, caregivers who are struggling to manage anxiety in their careers may benefit from learning about meditation or yoga, while people who are dealing with patients with Alzheimer’s may benefit from learning a bit more about the human brain, through a course in psychology or neuroscience.

Caregivers are busy people, and many think learning about these topics is a waste of time. The truth is, though, that a broad education is incredibly valuable for caregivers, and provides the extensive information and resources required to succeed in the field.

8. Join a Support Group

Support groups can be instrumental for caregivers. In addition to providing the mental, emotional, and social support caregivers need to remain happy and relaxed in their careers, support groups are also a great place to pick up resources and education.

By putting you in contact with other caregivers from different backgrounds and educations, a good support group can help you learn the tricks and tactics needed to provide better care, and to release stress and anxiety in the process.

9. Give Yourself Time to Rest

When you’re busy learning and working a demanding career, you need to give yourself time to rest and reflect. How you do this is up to you, but resources like respite care can be invaluable.

Even if you can’t take a long vacation, ensure you’re making small pockets of time throughout the week to reflect on your recent learning, unplug, and get the rest you need for the new information to sink in and take hold.

10. Participate in Online Forums

If you’re looking to pick up some new information about caregiving, head to an online forum. Popular places for caregivers from around the world to gather, discuss topics related to the field, and problem-solve together, online forums can be great resources for anecdotal experience and hands-on expertise.

A quick online search for “caregiving online forums” will reveal options from reputable sites across the U.S. To get started, try out AARP’s online caregiving community.

Better Caregiving Starts Here

There is no plateau point with caregiving. Instead, caregivers are always learning, adjusting their skills, and adapting to new information. While this may feel exhausting, it’s important to remember that the best caregivers are the ones who remain flexible and fluid, and that ongoing education is essential to providing great service. By exploring these ten avenues, caregivers can absorb pivotal new information and become more effective in their positions.

The post How Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care for Older Patients appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


Signs you Should Switch from Companion Care to Overnight Care

As an elderly loved one ages, making care decisions only seems to get harder and harder. While companion care may be enough for a while, there comes a point in every senior’s life when overnight care is needed.  While companion care offers care with the activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, The post Signs you Should Switch from Companion Care to Overnight Care appeared first on Community Home Health...

As an elderly loved one ages, making care decisions only seems to get harder and harder.

While companion care may be enough for a while, there comes a point in every senior’s life when overnight care is needed. 

While companion care offers care with the activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, cooking, cleaning, and eating, overnight care is more comprehensive care designed to cater to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or related conditions. 

If you’re struggling with knowing when it’s time to trade in companion care for overnight care for your aging loved one, this post is for you. Read on to learn more.

The Emotional Implications of Hiring Overnight Care

Before we move on to discuss when is the appropriate time to hire overnight care, let’s first establish that many, many family members have an incredibly difficult time making this decision. It’s okay to find it difficult to accept the deteriorating health of a loved one, and many family members find themselves in a bit of denial about the fact that their loved one needs round-the-clock long-term care.

As painful as it is, this is a reality in many peoples’ lives, and addressing it by hiring the best-quality overnight care possible is the only way to provide for the health and wellbeing of an aging loved one. 

What are the Benefits of Overnight Care? 

Overnight care has many distinct benefits, both for the caregiver and the senior. Here are some of the top advantages overnight care has to offer: 

a) Medical assistance at all hours of the day and night.

 When a senior is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, being alone at night can be dangerous. Alzheimer’s is well known to affect sleep patterns and it’s very common for affected individuals to get up and wander in the middle of the night. Without the care and supervision of a qualified attendant, a senior may wander out of the house and get lost or find themselves in a dangerous situation. Overnight care helps mitigate these risks and ensure that the senior is safe and well cared-for at all times.

b) A break for family caregivers.

More than 65 million people act as family caregivers in the U.S. alone, and these patient, kind, loving individuals cope with superhuman burdens nearly every day. In addition to the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one, these people often have young children and spouses to care for, as well. This creates a significant emotional, financial, and mental burden that contributes to caregiver stress and burnout. In many situations, it’s not uncommon for a family caregiver to be with an aging loved one every hour of the day that he or she isn’t working or caring for his or her family. Luckily, hiring overnight care can help decrease this burden a bit. By giving the family caregiver a way to step out of the care responsibilities without putting the senior at risk, overnight care offers a critical respite for stressed family caregivers who need small, regular breaks.

c) Medical assistance.

Overnight care providers are generally trained medical staff, which means they can assist with things like catheterization, medication administration, and other healthcare needs the senior may have. This helps ensure the senior’s safety and encourage appropriate treatment at all times.

7 Signs That it is Time to Hire Overnight Care

If you’ve noticed any of the following signs or symptoms in your senior loved one, it is time to hire overnight care: 

1. Wandering off

If a senior is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s and has started to wander off, it’s time to hire overnight care. Without it, these seniors may wander out of the house and find themselves in serious trouble late at night. An overnight care assistant can monitor and prevent this behavior to keep the senior safe.

2. Intense forgetfulness

If the senior has become increasingly forgetful and has begun to do things like leave doors open or stoves on, it’s time to hire overnight care. These forgetful behaviors pose a risk to the senior’s health, and overnight care is one of the best ways to ensure the senior stays safe.

3. Depressive thoughts or actions

Seniors have an increased risk of depression, and older people who feel intensely depressed may try to wound themselves. If you’ve noticed this tendency in your loved one, overnight care is a critical tactic that can help keep the senior safe and happy.

4. Medication neglect

If your loved one forgets to take his or her medications, hire overnight care to ensure they’re administered correctly. With certain drugs (like anti-seizure or blood pressure medications), forgetting to take them can have dire consequences. Luckily, an overnight care professional will be able to ensure that the senior adheres to a medication schedule. 

5. Anger or uncharacteristic behavior

If your loved one has recently started to exhibit strange or atypical behavior, it may be time to hire overnight care. Because overnight caregivers can help seniors stay in a routine and remain safe in their homes, they’re a valuable form of assistance for elderly people who have started to behave differently than they used to.

6. Medical conditions that necessitate round-the-clock care

If your loved one has seizures or another medical condition that can be dangerous if left alone, overnight care can be lifesaving. By hiring someone to attend to the senior when you can’t, you get the benefits of peace of mind while also ensuring that the senior has the medical assistance he or she needs to cope with their condition. 

7. When the senior needs help to get around

If your senior loved one has a difficult time walking or moving around the house, overnight care is a smart idea. This way, a senior can get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night while also maintaining his or her dignity and independence as much as possible.

The Case for Overnight Care

In the right setting, overnight care is a critical service that can overhaul a senior’s life as well as that of his or her family caregivers. Because overnight care steps in to fill a critical care gap where the family caregiver needs to sleep and the senior is often left alone, it’s a fantastic option for seniors who need a high level of care or who are suffering from cognitive impairment.

By hiring overnight care for a senior loved one, family members can put their minds at ease and shrug off some of the guilt that comes from not being able to accompany the senior through every moment of the day. Since overnight caregivers are highly trained and qualified attendants, they’re the ideal tool for helping to ensure a senior’s ongoing health, safety, and wellbeing.

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Why Some Seniors Lose Their Hearing and How You Can Prevent it

As seniors get older, it’s not uncommon for them to lose their hearing. A grandmother who used to share whispered secrets with a grandchild may now struggle to hear shouts from across the house. A grandfather who used to be an avid talker may now feel isolated from discussions he can’t make out. The post Why Some Seniors Lose Their Hearing and How You Can Prevent it appeared first on Community Home Health...

As seniors get older, it’s not uncommon for them to lose their hearing.

A grandmother who used to share whispered secrets with a grandchild may now struggle to hear shouts from across the house. A grandfather who used to be an avid talker may now feel isolated from discussions he can’t make out.

While hearing loss is a common side effect of aging, it’s not the rule for every senior. With proper care and prevention tactics, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent hearing loss and maintain your hearing well into your golden years.

Read on to learn more.

Why Hearing Loss Happens in Seniors

Today, about 8.5% of seniors ages 55-64 are experiencing some degree of hearing loss. By the time seniors reach the age of 75 or older, that number has risen to 50%.

With these numbers in mind, it’s clear that hearing loss is a widespread problem that affects many people. But what causes it?

The truth is that there are dozens of reasons for hearing loss and that very few people lose their hearing for the same reason.

For starters, age is a factor in hearing loss. As you age, the microscopic hairs in the ear (which are required for helping the brain make sense of sound waves) get damaged or die off completely, making it more difficult for seniors to convert sound waves into discernable sounds.

This type of hearing loss is known as presbycusis, and it is, unfortunately, permanent. Once the hairs in the ear have become damaged, they cannot grow back, and seniors must turn to mechanical hearing aids and the like.

Aside from age-related hearing loss, there is also hearing loss associated with things like medications, high blood pressure, tumors in the brain or inner ear, strokes, viruses, punctured eardrums, or even a simple buildup of earwax. In some cases, people who have worked in loud industries (such as music or factories) may experience hearing loss that results because of damage to the eardrum.

The Effects of Hearing Loss

For people who haven’t experienced hearing loss, the effects of the condition may seem as simple as not being able to hear friends or acquaintances or requiring people around you to speak louder.

If you’re currently suffering from hearing loss, though, you know that the effects can be much more pronounced than that. For many people, hearing loss results in a pronounced feeling of isolation and exclusion.

While the world around you continues to move, as usual, you’ve lost your ability to participate as you once did simply because you can’t hear like you once did. The effects can be devastating.

In some cases, the effects of hearing loss can go far beyond the physical and start to affect seniors on a mental and emotional basis. According to one 2014 study, approximately 12% of seniors affected by hearing loss experience depression ranging from moderate to severe.

In addition to being linked to an increased risk of depression, hearing loss can also wreak havoc on a senior’s cognitive function. According to a JAMA Internal Medicine study published in 2012, hearing loss can decrease cognitive function by as much as 41% in some seniors.

These things can be detrimental to your health and, as such, it’s critical to ensure that you’re taking proactive steps to prevent hearing loss. 

How to Prevent Hearing Loss

We’ve all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere does it ring truer than with hearing. While hearing is difficult to restore once it’s been lost, it’s relatively simple to maintain. With this in mind, here are some of the primary ways seniors can protect their hearing both now and in the future: 

1. Wear ear protection.

Upwards of ten million Americans have already done irreversible damage to their hearing as a result of loud noises. With this in mind, it’s clear that protecting your ears from loud noises is essential. Because of this, it’s wise to wear ear muffs at loud concerns, insert ear plugs before running chainsaws or other loud machinery, and be careful about how loud the music you play in headphones is. These are small steps, but they can serve to safeguard your hearing in the years to come.

2. Be careful with medications.

Some medications can have dire effects on hearing, and many people assume this is normal when it’s not. If you’ve noticed that a medicine you recently started taking is affecting your hearing negatively, see your doctor. There may be an alternate treatment you can adopt to protect your hearing and your health.

3. Get frequent check-ups.

While many people forgo annual hearing screenings, attending them allows you to catch dangerous hearing loss issues before they become permanent. Be sure to see your doctor about any new or worsening hearing symptoms as you age.
While these tips may seem simple, they can go a long way toward preventing the damage caused by hearing loss and ensuring that you remain happy, healthy, and alert well into their senior years. What’s more, these easy prevention tips can also contribute to ensuring that you never have to suffer the cognitive and mental challenges caused by pronounced hearing loss. 

How to Treat Hearing Loss

If you’ve already suffered irreversible hearing loss, don’t fret. Because hearing loss is so common, it has many well-researched treatment options. For example, people suffering from hearing loss may find a hearing aid helpful for day-to-day life. Hearing aids are beneficial for seniors with various levels of hearing loss and are available in a wide selection of sizes, options, and styles.

While many people are concerned about how wearing a hearing aid will make them look, today’s models are small and low-profile, so you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing one.

If a hearing aid isn’t a fit for your unique situation, you can also explore surgical treatment options, including cochlear implants, which are meant to treat severe hearing loss by making sounds louder and helping seniors decipher the noises around them.

Beyond surgery, there are also many non-invasive and non-mechanical options available. These range from sign language to lip reading, and can serve to help you feel more interactive and included in your daily life. 

Hearing Loss Doesn’t Have to be a Reality for All Seniors  

Hearing loss affects millions of Americans, and it can have devastating repercussions for mental and emotional well-being. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be the status quo. By understanding the common causes of hearing loss and taking proactive steps to prevent it, you can protect your hearing throughout the aging process.

While some hearing loss is hereditary and can’t be prevented entirely, these smart steps can help you reduce environmental risk factors and ensure that you’re doing what you can to keep your hearing in tip-top shape.

Although many people assume that hearing loss is an intrinsic portion of old age, this doesn’t have to be the case, and people who understand the causes of hearing loss and know how to prevent them are better equipped to stay sharp and alert throughout their golden years. 

The post Why Some Seniors Lose Their Hearing and How You Can Prevent it appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


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