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
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!
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
We recently offered some comparisons between Assisted Living and In-Home Care for eldercare. One of the best things about home care is the flexibility it offers. It allows a client and family to be proactive and have some control over what happens in the aging process.
By bringing in assistance in some key areas, elders can stay healthy and safe and prolong the need for more intensive care (and thus save money too). Unfortunately, this happens less often than it could, so today we offer help with some frequently asked questions about eldercare options:
How do you know if the time might have arrived to bring in some help? What services can home care offer for healthy aging-in-place? And, how can I convince an aging parent that this will be helpful (and rather than a loss of independence, the chance to have some control)?
If you notice any of the following, your loved one could benefit from eldercare assistance:
- The home is not kept up/needs repairs or the person becomes injured while trying to do repairs, the home is not as clean as usual, the person falls victim to home repair scams, etc.
- Meals mainly consist of convenience foods or junk food, pantry/fridge has expired/moldy food, your loved one has difficulty cooking or getting out to shop for ingredients.
- Your loved one takes several medications and/or sees several specialists for multiple health conditions.
- Your loved one takes a fall, or has unexplained injuries.
- Mom has begun limiting her activities (no longer taking her favorite walk or attending her bridge game; changing her routine).
- Dad decides to stop driving, or your family discusses the possibility that he should “give up the car keys”.
- You notice signs of withdrawal and/or depression.
- You notice changes in appearance and grooming habits (Mom’s clothes are disheveled or she stays in her nightgown, Dad does not appear to be bathing or shaving often).
For more signs and information, you might want to download the “Aging Parent Warning Signs” checklist put together by our Aging Wisely care managers.
Home care services can help someone stay safe and healthy in their own home longer by:
- Ensuring good nutrition by shopping for healthy ingredients and preparing home-cooked meals.
- Supervising proper medication management.
- Helping ensure care continuity with appointment reminders and transportation to doctor’s appointments.
- Keeping your loved one active and engaged with in-home activities, companionship and outings.
- Assisting with maintaining a clean and healthy environment: light housekeeping, organizing projects, reducing clutter.
- Offering dignified assistance with grooming (relieving the embarrassment/strain of having an adult child help with personal matters and helping the person feel good about him/herself again).
- Being “eyes and ears” for safety support, noticing changes or concerns.
For more details about many things a home caregiver can do, check out our 50 Ways Home Care Can Help.
When it is time to approach a loved one about your concerns, think about your approach and be prepared for resistance (here are some of the common reasons behind this resistance). Check out our 10 Ways to Convince Aging Parents to Get Home Care Assistance.One of the best techniques is to start small, maybe with a caregiver to do shopping or light housekeeping. Talk to potential home care companies about their quality control, how they pick their caregivers and match one to your needs and their ideas for approaching the situation.
With a little help, your aging parent can have a better quality of life and better their chances of being able to stay at home longer. Contact us today for a free consultation with our Senior Care Consultant!
Monday, August 25th, 2014
Almost all elders desire to remain in their own homes as they age (90%+ according to various surveys). However, caring families struggle with worries about loved ones’ safety and well-being when they’re living alone. Home care is a perfect solution to bridge the desires of the elder with the peace of mind for the family.
Often as an elder faces health problems or has some difficulties keeping up with household or self-care, families consider the option of an Assisted Living Facility. Sometimes this feels like the answer to all their worries and the most logical choice, but it’s typically not what the older person wants. Knowing what home caregivers can do and having a better understanding of options can help everyone come to the best decision.
To help you, today we will share some comparisons between Assisted Living and Home Care. Look for upcoming blog posts on different considerations, pros and cons and when to consider getting help.
Assisted Living $41,000
Home health aide $29,000
*From John Hancock’s Cost of Care 2013 Survey, average nationwide cost for a year of care.
Assisted Living 60-500 square feet
**Florida ALF regulations: Private resident units are required to have a minimum of 80 square feet of floor space (multiple-occupancy resident rooms must have at least 60 square feet per resident). An additional minimum of 35 square feet of living and dining space per resident is required. Resident bedrooms used for multiple occupancy (in facilities newly licensed or renovated six months after October 17, 1999) shall have a maximum occupancy of two people. Shared bathrooms are permitted and there must be one toilet and sink per six residents, and one bathing unit per eight residents. Average size for a one-bedroom apartment in an ALF (nationwide) is 500 square feet.
Home 2392 square feet
**average home size in the U.S. from 2010 census
Care ratios (staff: client)
Assisted Living 1:17
**minimum requirements are figured in care hours/resident, but this is the minimal requirement for having one staff awake for facilities over 17 residents (smaller facilities don’t have this requirement); see link for education/experience requirements for staff
Home care 1:1 (or possibly 1:2 for couples’ care)
**C.N.A. or Home Health Aide certified, additional requirements for tasks such as helping with medications (at EasyLiving, must score about 90% on skills test and complete continuing education); RN available for medication management; Safety and Care Coordinator provided (free of charge) for home visits, supervision and caregiver coaching
In the state of Florida, a resident must be capable of performing day to day living activities with supervision or assistance, not require 24-hour nursing supervision, be free of stage II, III, or IV pressure sores, be able to participate in most social and leisure activities, be ambulatory, and not display violent behavior in order to be admitted into an Assisted Living Facility. A resident must be discharged if he or she is no longer able to meet this criteria, or is bedridden for more than seven days.
Different levels of care/providers can be brought in to manage various needs (pressure sores, bedridden, etc.), including and up to hospice care at the end of life.
Meals usually served in a dining room, can typically be adjusted to special diet such as low sodium but are not customized to each resident. ALFs and retirement communities usually charge an additional fee if the person requires a meal delivered to his/her room.
Meals are customized to the person for special diets and preferences, including the possibility of recreating favorite family recipes and catering to likes/dislikes. The meal is served in the home and the caregiver can provide mealtime companionship. There is also the option of having a caregiver prepare meals ahead-of-time for the week or someone to come in primarily to shop and prepare meals. Caregivers can also take clients out to restaurants.
ALFs usually provide a range of group activities (smaller ALFs or Adult Family Care Homes usually don’t have activities staff so will not have many organized activities), including occasional outings. Activities are not one:one and if a resident wants to go to a specific outside activity or place, this may need to be arranged privately.
Activities can be designed in to the careplan and as caregivers get to know clients, they can customize different activities to the client’s preferences. This can include outings and activities at home. For those who don’t like group activities, this can be especially good. On the other hand, if the client could benefit from more group interaction, trips to a local senior center or other group activities can be arranged.
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