Senior Care in Tucson, AZ: August is National Immunization Month- The Importance of Flu Shots for Seniors

Immunizations are essential for prevention against serious life-threatening infections and diseases.

Many illnesses are contagious and can cause serious complications. Influenza is an illness that affects the respiratory system and individuals that catch the flu viruses can develop symptoms that range from mild to severe. Severe complications from the flu can lead to serious health problems and even result in death. Specific groups of people are at a higher risk of developing complications including young children and the elderly. August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month to help raise awareness of preventable diseases and the importance of vaccinations to stay healthy.

Seniors and Influenza

Seniors are more susceptible to the flu virus due to the immune system weakening with age. One of the most common complications of the flu is pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia may be treatable at home; however, hospitalization is often required for those with compromised immune systems. Receiving a vaccine for influenza can reduce the chances of developing pneumonia and other illnesses that often occur after having the cold or flu.

The “Flu Shot”

The influenza vaccine can help protect against three types of flu strains that are predicted to be the most commonly spread throughout the upcoming flu season. The viruses used in the flu vaccine may change each year depending on the research and estimation that helps to predict what strains will be the most harmful and widespread. The flu shot contains killed virus and is administered through a needle typically in the upper arm. Shots are approved for individuals six months of age and older.

The three different types of flu shots available include:

• Regular shots approved for those six months and older

• Intradermal flu shots for people ages 18 through 64

• High-dose flu shots recommended for those over the age of 65

Antibodies begin to develop in the body within two weeks of vaccination to provide protection against the most harmful strains throughout the flu season.

Seniors are advised to receive the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their area. A healthcare professional can help determine what type of vaccine is right for an individual. In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, everyday measures such as eating right, getting an adequate amount of exercise and drinking plenty of fluids can also help seniors stay happy and healthy throughout the flu season.

When researching options for senior care agencies in Tucson AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your senior care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing senior care in Tucson, AZ.

Elder Care in Gilbert, AZ: Keeping Seniors Safe from Financial Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse occurs when a person uses illegal or deceptive methods to gain control of a senior citizen’s assets. Sometimes the method is straight forward – stealing money outright or forging the senior’s signature on a check, car title, or deed. Other times, abusers use more subtle methods – convincing the senior to give them credit card information in order to claim a non-existent prize, for instance, or soliciting donations for a fraudulent charity.

Someone a Senior Knows

The perpetrator of financial elder abuse may be someone the senior knows and loves, such as a child or grandchild. In these cases, the abuser is usually in great need of money – often to feed an addiction – and believes that he or she is somehow entitled to the senior’s money and other assets. The family member who abuses may make statements like, “She didn’t take care of me right when I was a kid, so she owes me something now.”

A Stranger Who Becomes a Friend

Other abusers start out as strangers but quickly work their way into the senior citizen’s life as a friend, a love interest, or even a caregiver. Once they have attained a position that gives them access to the senior’s valuables and bank accounts, the exploitation begins.

Scams via Phone and Mail

Another type of financial abuser perpetrates telephone scams, coaxing seniors into pouring their money into worthless investments or spending thousands of dollars on merchandise that is little more than junk. These abusers tend to prey upon seniors who are slightly confused and don’t always understand the consequences of their financial decisions.

Elder Care Protection

Protecting your loved one from all forms of abuse is important in elder care. Sadly, though, you may not discover that your loved one has been financially abused until his or her assets have vanished. This is especially true if your loved one still handles his or her own finances.

Hire a Reputable Home Care Agency

One option that can help stop financial abuse and promote good elder care is to hire a pre-screened caregiver from a reputable agency that provides in-home services to seniors. The caregiver who visits several times per week is in a perfect position to notice suspicious activity – increased check-writing to family members or unfamiliar charities, phone calls or visits from new “friends,” or an increase in the number of deliveries made to the home.

When you hire the caregiver, discuss your concerns about financial abuse with the agency and the caregiver. Make it clear that you want to be informed of any signs the caregiver sees of any type of abuse. Becoming aware of a possible problem early on can allow you to protect your loved one from being financially exploited.

When researching options for elder care agencies in Gilbert AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your elder care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Gilbert, AZ.

Senior Care in Chandler, AZ: Understand the Resources Needed to Keep Seniors in Their Own Homes

According to a report by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, most people over the age of 45 express a desire to live in their own home even when assistance becomes necessary. In addition, over 25 percent of seniors report that they fear the loss of their independence and moving to a nursing home more than they fear death itself. However, home care is often possible with adequate support, resources and information.

As individuals age, the need for assistance tends to grow, often in accordance to health problems that progressively worsen or multiply. While nursing homes are often the traditional solution for many elder care problems, home care is another option that often allows the senior to remain in their home and maintain a sense of independence, privacy and dignity. However, as with any other solutions, keeping the senior at home requires some advance planning.

Budget

According to the MetLife report, one in five seniors in the U.S. faces considerable costs for long-term care. Most insurance companies offer only limited health care costs and only if “skilled care needs” are included in the policy.

Seniors and their families should plan for long-term costs including a home care companion, changes to accompany the senior’s movement and safety in the home, transportation, entertainment, prescription and over-the-counter medication as well as co-pays, laboratory tests and other medical costs.

Daily Tasks

Some of the tasks that most healthy adults take for granted but many seniors require assistance for include bathing, dressing, eating, walking, toileting and taking medication as recommended/prescribed. Home companions and family members can assist the senior with these daily tasks and allow them to remain in the home through adequate elder care, thereby maintaining a sense of dignity and independence.

Transportation

Another necessary aspect of home-based care includes transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, running errands and visiting friends and family. A home companion, family members or some services that provide transportation for seniors to various activities and appointments may meet this need.

Meals

Many seniors can no longer perform grocery shopping or meal preparation on their own and require assistance for these tasks. Again, this is a need that home companions may help fill, as can family members and some organizations that visit seniors daily to bring them meals.

Home Design

As seniors age, their needs in the home change and require modification to the home as a result. For example, an individual may no longer be able to navigate stairs safely or easily or might have difficulty getting in and out of the shower or bathtub. In addition, the home needs to be well lit and clear of clutter or items that may cause the senior to trip or fall.

Entertainment

No one wants to sit around all day with nothing to do, so entertainment is a necessary element when it comes to senior home living arrangements. This may include television, movies, reading, music, puzzles and regular visitors as well as social outings.

The coordination of all of these factors typically requires a person to act as a care coordinator to ensure that all aspects of care at home are present. Finding the necessary resources and support to do so is often an expensive proposition. Both planning and saving should be performed in advance as much as possible to alleviate the associated costs and to prepare adequately for the senior to remain at home as long as possible.

When researching options for senior care agencies in Chandler AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your senior care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing senior care in Chandler, AZ.

Elder Care in Sun City West, AZ-Understanding Living Wills: Five Wishes

Whether you are 18 or 88, an advanced directive is a wise idea to help protect your wishes and to avoid forcing your family or others to make difficult or even misguided decisions on your behalf. An advanced directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document that instructs your decisions about serious medical care and treatment when or if you are not able to do so.

About Advanced Directives

An advanced directive tells others whether you desire the use of breathing machines and/or dialysis to help you stay alive as the situation dictates, as well as whether you wish artificial nutrition via tube feeding or through an IV. You may also determine how you wish to be comforted, such as receiving medication for pain or nausea, ice chips for dry mouth and/or spiritual and emotional counseling.

In addition, an advance directive tells others whether you want resuscitation if your heartbeat or breathing stops. You can also determine whether you want to participate in organ or tissue donation after your death.

Another element to an advance directive is to establish a durable power of attorney for health care, which names the person you want making decisions on your behalf if you cannot, due to a physical or mental condition. Establishing the person to direct your elder care is often a relief for both the senior and their family.

About Five Wishes

Making the decisions required by an advance directive can be difficult. However, there is help available. The Aging with Dignity organization has a mission to protect and affirm individual human dignity as they age and help ensure sound elder care for those who are reaching the end of life.

Aging with Dignity introduced a document called “Five Wishes” in 1997. Five Wishes helps users fill out and compete an advanced directive, meets the legal requirements for an advanced directive in at least 42 states, and is useful in all 50.

Five Wishes is now available online and allows users to determine not only their desired medical treatment but also information about their care and comfort, as well as information they wish their loved ones to know. The standard Five Wishes form is available online.

The Aging with Dignity organization also offers a “Next Steps” guide to help individuals speak with their family members about their advanced care directive and their wishes for medical care and treatment when they are no longer able to articulate them.

For more information about Five Wishes or the Aging with Dignity organization, call 888-594-7437 or email fivewishes@agingwithdignity.org.

When researching options for elder care agencies in Sun City West AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your elder care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Sun City West, AZ.

Caregivers in Sun City, AZ: Why Seniors Sometimes Sleep Less than the Rest of Us

Those of us who provide caregiving to seniors may be distressed to find that our senior seems to sleep less than the rest of us do or less and less as time goes on. However, there is an important difference between normal age-related changes and those caused by illness or other problems.

Normal Patterns

According to the National Institute of Health,  the average healthy adult requires between 7 ½ and 9 hours of rest a night. However, the NIH also found that those of advanced age may fall on the low end of that spectrum and only need about 7 ½ hours of rest per night on average. This is due to normal age-related changes in the body including changes in melatonin and other related hormones.

In addition, research has shown that older adults tend to go to bed earlier and wake earlier than others, called advanced phase syndrome. This is a normal age-related pattern.

Every individual is different in terms of rest needs, so caregivers should watch to make sure that the individual wakes up rested and maintains normal energy levels throughout the day. If so, the senior is likely getting the rest that they need, even if the actual amount of rest is less than expected.

Identifying Problems

The most important factor of rest for anyone, including seniors, is the quality. If someone has difficulty relaxing, wakes often, feels tired in the morning and is tired throughout the day, there is likely an underlying medical issue.

If the senior snores loudly, this may indicate that the individual has obstructive apnea, often caused by obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or other issues and a health care professional should evaluate this.

Other potential health care problems may include restless leg syndrome (RLS), gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, all of which might cause rest issues. If you are concerned about the quality of rest the senior is experiencing or any other symptoms or issues, schedule a physical exam by a health care professional.

Tips

Some simple changes are often enough to improve the quality of nightly rest:

– Reduce caffeine intake

– Shorten daily naps

– Exercise daily

– Stop liquid intake after dinner to help prevent the need to urinate during the night

– Turn off the television before bed

– Set a regular schedule

Proper senior caregiving includes helping the senior establish healthy sleeping patterns to aid them in feeling as rested and energetic during the day as possible, which in turn leads to an increased feeling of overall well-being.

When researching options for caregivers in Sun City AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Sun City, AZ.

When Transportation for Seniors Becomes Challenging- Home Care in Paradise Valley, AZ Can Help

Most of us take the ability to get in the car to go run some errands or to get somewhere for granted. After all, we are used to being able to drive ourselves wherever it is that we would like to be whenever it is that we would like to go. However, there is a point for many seniors when they can no longer drive or are no longer able to drive safely, which means that the loved ones in their life are responsible for transporting them around town. This may present many logistical challenges in terms of time, scheduling and effort. If this is the case, then perhaps it is time to consider in-home care assistance to provide necessary transportation for the senior.

Home Care Can Help

Home care assistants can do many things for seniors of all ages and ability, from providing basic cleaning and cooking to more intensive caretaking efforts. In addition, one essential service that care assistants can provide is transportation to doctor’s appointments, to the grocery store, to pick up medicine at the pharmacy, the bank and/or any other errands or events.

Transportation is Easier

Transportation assistance from home care companions is an important benefit for many reasons. For example, it frees up loved ones from having to take time from their own schedule to pick up the senior, transport them to the desired location, pick back up and then drive the senior home, which can be a very time-consuming activity on a regular basis. In addition, it provides the senior with an important sense of freedom and independence since they do not have to wait for their loved one to have the time available to come and take them somewhere.

Have the Driving Discussion

If you have an elderly loved one who is no longer able to drive or whom you are not sure should be driving, have a frank discussion with their primary physician about their driving abilities. After all, driving safely requires a certain action and reaction time in order to be safe and prevent injury to themselves or others. If this safety is in question, perhaps it is time to hire additional care help to make sure the senior can still get to important doctor’s appointments and run errands as before with a trusted home care companion at the helm. Your loved one will maintain a sense of independence and you will maintain a sense of security for their health and safety.

When researching options for home care agencies in Paradise Valley AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Paradise Valley, AZ.

Home Care in Fountain Hills, AZ: Easy Craft Ideas to Share with Homebound Seniors

One of the biggest day-to-day problems with care for homebound seniors is the sheer boredom that sets in over time. While there are things that can help fill the time, such as reading new books, doing puzzles, playing games and watching a little bit of television, home care companions can also do easy crafts with their senior for a welcome change of pace.

– Creating homemade greeting cards are a good way to help the homebound feel connected and to give back to the community. Use construction paper in bright colors, folded over to make a card, and give the senior markers, rubber stamps, stickers and other decorations to make Get Well, Happy Birthday and Just Because cards. These cards can be sent to the local hospice, hospital, rehabilitation facility or veteran’s hospital.

– Establish a pen pal relationship with a local classroom of children. Teachers often welcome a new way to tell stories from the past and increase children’s awareness of life beyond their own daily routine. In return, older adults feel reinvigorated by getting mail and enjoy the funny, sweet letters from children.

– Use boxes of photographs to create memory books, accompanied by stories and anecdotes from the past. Caregivers can listen to a story by the senior and type it up, then print the story and cut the paper down to size and add to the scrapbook. This makes for a beautiful and unique heirloom and a great way to preserve history.

– Watching birds can be a restful and entertaining way to spend some time. Make your own bird feeders by spreading peanut butter generously on a pinecone, working it into all of the spaces on the pinecone and then roll the pinecone in birdseed. Wrap a piece of yarn firmly around one of the top pieces and tie a firm knot, then create a loop with the rest of the yarn to hang the bird feeder on a branch near a window.

– Many seniors know how to knit, sew and quilt. Put these skills to use by making baby hats and booties for the local hospital or tiny blankets for the neonatal intensive care unit. Alternatively, the individual can knit socks, scarves, mittens and hats for friends and family.

– Make some bath salts by putting one cup of Epsom salts and ½ tsp. lemon oil into a jar and stirring well. Add color by putting in two drops of yellow food coloring to the jar and mixing. Allow the senior to decorate the jar and the lid to complete a lovely gift to donate or give to friends and family. Be sure to keep some to use at home as well.

Home care companions often find that fun and simple crafts for homebound seniors help them feel more involved, perk up their minds and encourage them to use some of the skills and abilities they already have while even learning some new ones.

When researching options for home care agencies in Fountain Hills AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Fountain Hills, AZ.

Senior Care in Mesa, AZ: Good Foot Health Means Longer Independence

Most of us take having healthy feet for granted most of our lives. After all, other than some periodic cleaning and perhaps a pedicure or two, there is not much that needs doing to keep our feet in good shape. However, as you age, foot care becomes more and more important and is an essential aspect of health care for seniors.

Basic Daily Care

Good senior care includes taking care of the entire body, top to bottom. Some basic elements of caring for the feet can help prevent problems and identify potential issues as they arise.

• Wash the feet with warm water and gentle soap, such as baby wash, and then dry thoroughly. Be certain to dry around and in-between each of the toes as well.

• Check the feet daily to look for any sores, blisters, cuts, swelling or infected toenails.

• Apply antibiotic ointment to any sores, blisters or cuts and cover with a clean bandage.

• Apply gentle, unscented lotion to feet and work in well, then wipe away any excess. Avoid getting lotion into any sores, cuts or blisters.

• Encourage the senior individual to wear clean socks and supportive shoes every day to keep the feet dry, clean and protected.

Basic Weekly Care

Once a week, carefully trim the toenails straight across using clean trimmers. Do not cut the toenail any shorter than the end of the toe and file down any rough edges.

Another element of senior care that most seniors will appreciate is a weekly foot rub. This increases circulation to the feet, which also helps prevent problems and feels quite nice as well. Perform the massage after the feet are clean and lotion is applied.

Overall Basic Care

One of the best ways to help a senior take care of their feet and overall health in general is to encourage daily physical activity. Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, reduces fatigue, increases energy and improves immune system functioning.

An excellent form of physical exercise for most seniors is walking, as this is a low-impact exercise performed at a comfortable rate. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking, 5 times a week.

In addition, some specific foot exercises will help keep those feet in tip-top form:

• Hold a table edge and lift up onto the toes. Rock back onto the heels and lift up the toes. Repeat 20 times.

• Place marbles on the floor and have the senior pick the marbles up with their toes.

• Sit down and flex the toes up, then point down. Repeat five times and then rotate each ankle in both directions five times as well.

Foot care is an important part of senior care and should be a daily part of caretaking efforts in order to help maintain a high quality of life and prevent potential issues. Once foot problems set in, most seniors have difficulty walking and begin to lose what independence they have left.

When researching options for senior care agencies in Mesa AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your senior care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing senior care in Mesa, AZ.