Our Clearwater home health agency mission is to create an environment where we set our team members up for success empowering them to provide the best in home care to the community.
EasyLiving Home Health Services Blog
Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
It’s no secret that elders express the desire to stay in their own homes as they age. Few of us dream of moving to an Assisted Living Facility when we get older. But, as with many things, reality sets in, both for elder and family, when illness strikes or challenges arise. That first call from Mom at the hospital or the visit during which you see that the home is in disarray often leads to a tug of war over the love of home versus basic safety.
In order for staying in the beloved home to remain a good idea, basic safety and well-being should be provided (access to decent nutrition, proper taking of medications/managing health, cleanliness and personal grooming, low risk of accidents and ability to get help when needed, etc.). Fortunately, this can be accomplished with a combination of resources. A home care plan can be arranged to suit each client’s needs, as well as a variety of budget levels. For many elders, family, friends and neighbors can also offer support in certain areas. And, with the advent of greater technology, more unique solutions can bolster the human resources available.
Here’s our latest update on some interesting aging-in-place technologies, to give you an idea of what is available (and coming) to assist elders and those with disabilities.
- WalkJoy (www.walkjoy.com): A technology system to help people with peripheral neuropathy by replacing the “feedback loop” that has been lost to restore normal walking and reduce the risk of associated problems. They’ve also developed Walking Health, an electronic assessment tool for practitioners for fall/walking issues.
- Enhanced Emergency Response/Monitoring with Lively (www.mylively.com) and Guardian Medical Monitoring (www.guardianmedicalmonitoring.com): Lively is a combination “safety watch” which offers traditional emergency response along with medication reminders, step counting and more (coming soon, a fall detector add-on!) along with activity sensors placed throughout the home to track behavioral patterns and spot abnormalities (for example, no activity at the pill box or refrigerator, indicating possible missed medication or nutrition concerns). Guardian offers the traditional emergency response system, as well as an electronic medication dispenser and a monitored camera system.
- Pocketfinder GPS (www.pocketfinder.com): Small, personal GPS devices that allow real time location information (along with an app, with various features such as zones, history tracking, etc.). They also offer devices for vehicles, pets and more.
- MC10 Health Monitoring Technologies (www.mc10inc.com): This company is developing a number of new technologies, including sports technologies using biofeedback to improve athletes’ performance (and safety, with things like impact monitoring) and wellness products (heart rate and activity monitoring). Remote health monitoring (via a band-aid like instrument) will measure things like hydration, temperature, heart rate and more, allowing data to be uploaded to practitioners and family caregivers.
Technology will never replace the human interaction and personal touch of care from family, friends and caregivers. However, technology can further the reach and abilities of caregivers to ensure the well-being of our elders.
Our expert team puts together recommendations and care plans customized to meet your needs, using the best resources and tools. Contact us for ideas and help today! 727-447-5845 or Complete our Online Form
Monday, October 6th, 2014
Our EasyLiving/Aging Wisely team is excited for the upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 26th! We have been raising funds and awareness throughout the year, and it is part of our ongoing mission to do so and help both clients and caregivers in managing life with this disease! Please consider joining us by participating or donating to the Pinellas County walk or an Alzheimer’s walk in your area!
Today, we share five facts about Alzheimer’s disease to help you understand more about the disease and those it affects. We encourage you to share this information (and any of our fact sheets or blog posts)!
- Alzheimer’s risk increases with age, though it is not a normal part of aging. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.
- Dementia is the term for the range of symptoms associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is not the name of a specific illness, which often confuses people. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s (60-80% of cases) and the 2nd most common is Vascular dementia (related to stroke or mini-strokes).
- There is no singular test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (in a living person). A definitive Alzheimer’s diagnosis requires viewing the brain directly (i.e. at autopsy), but skilled doctors can diagnose with great certainty with a holistic workup and review of symptoms. It is likely that a good number of people suffer from some combination, such as Alzheimer’s disease along with Vascular dementia. Many of the treatments for the different diseases that cause dementia will be similar, but a thorough diagnostic workup is extremely important to eliminate potentially reversible/treatable causes of symptoms (drug effects, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, depression).
- In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (valued at $220.2 billion). The toll on caregivers is immense: Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2013 and there are large financial impacts in terms of lost wages and opportunity costs (giving up promotions, limiting one’s own savings, etc.).
- About 800,000 Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are living alone. Some of these individuals do receive family and outside support, but many may be especially at risk of everything from social isolation to poor self-care, malnutrition and safety hazards. Alzheimer’s disease affects complex thinking and leaves individuals highly vulnerable to scams and challenged in managing self and household care. However, with proper support, it is feasible for many individuals with Alzheimer’s to remain in their homes well in to the disease/through end-of-life.
When you need help with Alzheimer’s disease questions, concerns or care, the EasyLiving team is here to help! Our expert team can offer assistance in all areas, from helping you find the right practitioners for good diagnosis and treatment plans to finding the right care options, developing a care plan and managing safely at home. Call us at 727-447-5845 to chat about your needs and concerns (or if you’d like to join us in supporting the Alzheimer’s Association)!
Monday, September 22nd, 2014
EasyLiving believes in active aging and being proactive with your own health. Falls are one of the biggest risks for older adults and can quickly derail your plans and hopes for an independent, active lifestyle.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in elders.
- Every 29 minutes an elder dies from a fall.
Every year, the NCOA (National Council on Aging) and partners around the country celebrate the first day of fall with falls awareness education and activities. EasyLiving is a proud founding member of the Pinellas County Falls Prevention Coalition, which we helped to form several years ago as a community-wide effort to bring awareness to the #1 cause of ambulance calls in our county.
The information below is from a NCOA falls prevention infographic. Join us in sharing these important steps with someone you care about to stay safe!
There are numerous exercise and balance programs at Pinellas County’s senior centers, as well as senior-oriented classes at local gyms. Taichi has proven beneficial for balance and falls prevention, so you might want to give it a try. Dunedin even hosts the national Taoist Tai Chi Society headquarters! EasyLiving also works closely with In Home Fitness, personal trainers specializing in helping seniors and we often share good exercise and balance resources right here on our blog.
Too often, elders fail to disclose falls out of embarrassment or fear of losing independence. The reality is that a lot can be done to prevent future falls and keep you safe, so you are only harming your chances of continued independence when you don’t get help. There might be an underlying problem, such as a medication side effect, which could easily be addressed.
The risk of falling increases with the number of prescription and OTC medications taken. Several studies have shown that multifaceted falls prevention strategies that included medication review and modification significantly reduced falls. If you need help taking your medications properly, EasyLiving’s Medication Management Program can help.
Environmental factors play a big role in falls, and are easily modified. Check out EasyLiving’s free Falls Prevention Checklist to get an idea of some simple steps you can take to make your home safer. We also offer home visits and free evaluations so that you can begin safer aging-in-place today. Our Aging Wisely care managers can do a comprehensive assessment to ensure the home environment is safe, evaluate your holistic needs and medical situation, and make recommendations for home modifications, aging-in-place technologies and other resources.
If you’re concerned about an older loved one, we can assist with ways to approach the topic and how to help. Fear of losing independence or concerns over costs of services often create immediate barriers when you bring up such topics, so the approach is important. And, don’t forget these tips are good for all of us to maintain good health and a safe environment. Falls don’t just affect seniors!
Call our Senior Care Consultant at 727-447-5845 for a free needs analysis any time!
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
“Everything (was most helpful). I came for an overview and found all information extremely useful.”–EasyLiving Alzheimer’s Workshop attendee
EasyLiving/Aging Wisely held its first Free Alzheimer’s Workshop on Friday, September 12, 2014 with Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Certified Trainer, RN Marilyn Fratello. The class focused on the skills needed to understand Alzheimer’s and differentiate it symptoms from normal aging, how to communicate effectively with persons with Alzheimer’s and answered questions from those who attended.
If you didn’t have the chance to attend, here are a few facts you might not know about Alzheimer’s and memory loss:
- Significant changes in memory and cognitive functioning are not a normal part of aging. If you notice more than an occasional memory slip, it is a good idea to get screened for possible memory disorders (and other reversible causes such as medication side effects, underlying infection and more).
- Alzheimer’s risk increases with age, but younger people do get Alzheimer’s disease. There are an estimated 200,000 people in the U.S. under age 65 with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
- There is no guaranteed prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, since it seems a variety of risk factors are involved. It is wise to practice good “brain health” though: being physically active; eating healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and fish; keeping your brain challenged; reducing stress, keeping an eye on your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels; avoiding traumatic brain injury; and keeping socially active. Most of these lifestyle choices are also great for other areas of your health. Many different things have been pinpointed as possible causes, from aluminum to aspartame and flu shots, but nothing has proven conclusive. The same goes for supplements and herbs for prevention.
For a quick guide to Alzheimer’s, download Aging Wisely’s free memory loss fact sheet. It offers concise terminology definitions and a list of symptoms (contrasted with normal aging).
Feedback from attendees at the Alzheimer’s workshop was excellent. They appreciated that the informative workshop (including handouts and with two available CEU credits) at no cost. EasyLiving will again be offering this Free Alzheimer’s Workshop on Friday, November 14, 2014. Be sure to reserve your seat soon. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
Next Alzheimer’s Workshop:
Date: Friday, November 14, 2014
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Location: Training Classroom
1180 Ponce De Leon, #701
Clearwater, Fl 33756
CEUs: 2 credits (certificate given at end of class)
RSVP: Online form (or call 727-447-5845)
On October 25th our team will be gathering for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Pinellas County. We encourage you to consider participating and supporting this important cause! You can contact us for more information or check out the website for more details.
If you or a loved one is facing concerns about memory loss, our Senior Care Consultant is always here to help! Call us any time at 727-447-5845!
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
This post offers some answers and advice for some of the more common questions we get about problems adult children face when coordinating a parent’s in-home care. We hope these help you and your family!
My parent doesn’t think there is anything for the home caregiver to do. He often dismisses her early when there are plenty of tasks that could be done. I’m also afraid he isn’t going to think this is worth it and cancel services since he doesn’t think there’s anything for her to do. What can I do?
One of the biggest reasons elders resist (or have a hard time getting used to) having help in the home is that they feel pressure to entertain the person. Their graciousness makes it hard for them to relax while the person is there or they may not be used to giving instructions/tasks. First, your home care provider should work with you on creating a care plan and listing possible tasks for the caregiver to do. The caregiver can then be proactive with these tasks.
Before bringing in caregivers or in your initial meeting with the company, brainstorm with your parent about possible tasks (our “50 Ways Home Care Can Help” handout is full of ideas). It might be good to have a conversation with your home care provider…in some cases the caregiver needs to be more assertive in carrying out tasks and creating a routine.
Mom doesn’t like the home caregiver who was assigned to her. What can we do?
Talk to your home care provider if things aren’t working out. Some people just aren’t a good match. A good employer understands that this happens from time to time and it doesn’t necessarily reflect negatively on the person (unless there are specific problems). Can you or your parent pinpoint what it was about the person that was not a good fit? This can help the company find someone who is a better match, or make changes to ensure things work out better (maybe the caregiver needs more specific instructions or information on the way a client likes things done).
I know my Dad is very prejudiced, so I’m worried he won’t accept caregivers of certain races. I don’t support this attitude but I don’t know what to do?
An EasyLiving client’s daughter was kind enough to share how they dealt with overcoming Mom’s prejudices to have a good home care experience so that others might benefit. We typically suggest that we send out the caregivers we feel would be the best match for the job, disregarding these personal prejudices, which may allow your parent to get past preconceived ideas. Often, an aging parent has experienced great care in a hospital or rehab. center from people of different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and genders, and it may help to mention this and remind your parent that your goal is to get them the best possible person to help.
Mom is talking about hiring a lady who helped her neighbor. She comes highly recommended. Are there any issues we should consider about hiring her?
We caution you to carefully consider the possible repercussions of privately hiring. We don’t just say this because we’re in the home health business, but because we have seen the negative consequences in our many years as elder advocates. While the caregiver may come highly recommended, remember that you/your loved one are now becoming the employer with all the related responsibilities and liabilities. Our article about “live-in care” outlines the areas you should consider in such arrangements (most of the information is applicable even if the caregiver will not live in the home).
You can talk to the caregiver about whether she would be willing to work through an agency to work with your Mom. Some caregivers do both private and agency work, or may be willing to make arrangements to afford you the extra protections and backup care you should have.
For personalized answers to all your eldercare and home health questions, contact our Senior Care Consultant. Call us any time at 727-448-0900 to set up a complimentary home visit!
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