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Opioids: Surprising Addiction in the Elderly

Opioids: Surprising Addiction in the Elderly Is it possible you may have a preconceived notion of certain stereotypical groups of people? For example, what comes to mind when you hear the words “drug addict”? Do you think about the various forms of addiction in the elderly or do you think of a young adult unable to get through everyday life without a fix, potentially resorting to a life of crime to fund his or her addiction?

If that’s the case, you may be surprised to discover that older adults are breaking the mold, unknowingly dealing with serious addiction in the elderly – namely, to opioids. Often prescribed for short-term pain relief, longer term use of the drugs can result in addiction. And yet, the American Geriatric Society updated its guidelines in 2009 to highly recommend their use in older adults, who, they reasoned, are less likely to become addicted.

Dr. Mel Pohl, of the Las Vegas Recovery Center, has a different opinion. “There’s no factual, scientific basis for that. The drug takes over in the brain. It doesn’t matter how old the brain is,” he explains.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, as many as 15% of patients are getting an opioid prescription. Up to half of those patients are still taking that medication three months later, which makes the chances of becoming addicted quite alarming. Opioids themselves might leave elderly people fatigued, groggy, and depressed, and the results of quitting the medication once addicted may be more serious: nausea, perspiring, muscle aches, and more.

So what’s the remedy? Supplying yourself with knowledge and asking about less risky alternatives to opioids for your older loved ones is an excellent place to start. But remember the fact that even over-the-counter pain medications can be hazardous for older people, making it tough for medical professionals to know how to best control senior pain – managing risks with the need to take away suffering in older patients.

It is important for everyone, regardless of age, to become familiar with our own conditions and treatment options, and make smart decisions in our care – and, to take medications exactly as prescribed, for the length of time they are prescribed.

Endeavor Home Care, providing in home care – Phoenix and surrounding areas can help in many ways to help avoid opioid addiction in the elderly. We can provide transportation and accompaniment to doctors’ visits and procedures, pick up prescriptions, and provide medication reminders to make sure seniors are on track with effective medication management. Contact us any time at (623) 428-2100 to find out more ways we can help keep your senior loved one safe and well, right at home. Click to view our full service area.

Tips for Alzheimers Care

alzheimers care

Some days are better than others, so the more flexible and adaptable you are, the better care you will be able to offer your loved one.

Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be a difficult process, especially if you are the primary caregiver. Your loved one likely requires constant support, and having to know what to do and how can make you feel almost as confused as your loved one. But there are a few ways to improve the quality of Alzheimer’s care you provide:

Use schedules to your advantage. With careful scheduling, you can plan your loved one’s days so that they are as comfortable as possible. The more consistent a routine you can establish, the less confusion they will experience. In addition, if they have to do something complicated or deviate from the routine, schedule that during the time of day they are the most alert and agreeable.

Don’t turn the schedule into a crutch, however. If you rely too much on the schedule, it can actually make things more difficult for your loved one. Things may often take longer than scheduled, and that’s perfectly fine. The important part is that a routine exists, not that each day is perfectly orchestrated down to the minute.

Remain adaptable. Alzheimer’s disease progresses as time goes on, so the capabilities your loved one has now may not be there in a few years. In addition, some days are better than others. Sometimes your loved one will be worse than their usual, and sometimes they will be better. The more flexible and adaptable you are, the better care you will be able to offer them.

Take care of yourself. Just as you are responsible for caring for your loved one, you are also responsible for caring for yourself. There is no shame in needing a break or asking for help. Don’t forget that you can’t help them if you aren’t at your best.

The most important part of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is the love and care needed to support your loved one in this difficult time in their life. As long as you try your best and are open to improvement, you will do a good job.

Contact us for more information on Alzheimer’s care.

Home Healthcare Solutions Exist for People with PTSD Dementia

Have you ever experienced trauma in your life? According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’s ongoing research, almost all of us have gone through such events. Unfortunately, a May 2015 article that appeared in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry indicates having those types of experiences puts us at risk of developing something many families don’t anticipate.

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There are treatment options for PTSD dementia patients, and we can help your family find the right one.

If you guessed dementia, you’d be correct. On a good note, the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder also believes that people suffering from one or both illnesses would benefit from home healthcare. It is one item on a list of treatment options the center released previously to interested caregivers. A registered nurse or physician can go over, in detail, the other items on the list for families that are interested.

Based on those published treatment recommendations, it’s apparent that the agency’s experts widely believe that everything from medically necessary assistance to companion care services may help. So families should know that it is normal to see both types of care included on a PTSD dementia patient’s care plan.

There are a number of ways to pay for home healthcare for PTSD dementia patients. As such, specialized care plans and related treatments are in reach for those that need it. For example, treatment for trauma experienced as part of service to our country may be covered by Veterans Administration programs and private insurance. Our team members are willing to sit down and offer guidance to families in need of PTSD dementia in-home care.

To learn more about obtaining care for people with PTSD related dementia and receive personalized assistance, pleasecontact us at Endeavor Senior Care. We specialize in caring for people with various forms of dementia, including post-traumatic, LBD, Alzheimer’s and TBI. All of our caregivers are screened. Plus, we’re bonded and insured.

Home Care for Hip Fracture Patients

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Skilled therapists are trained to know what your loved one needs most, from exercises and stretches to encouragement and education.

A recent study shows there are at least 258,000 hip fractures among adults aged 65 and older that lead to hospitalization each year. A more disturbing statistic is one out of five people who suffer a hip fracture die within the first year following the fall. Treatment for a fractured hip includes surgery, a hospital stay, and more often than not a stay in a nursing home.

Life following surgery is a challenge on many levels. Recovery is a slow and painful process. Daily activities easily completed before the injury are now struggles. Family will need to be near to offer assistance with walking, dressing and bathing.

Help is a phone call or click-of-the-mouse away. Home care provided by the professionals from Endeavor Senior Care can make a difference when a patient goes home from the hospital and must begin physical therapy in order to learn to walk properly and be able to complete daily activities.

Family members need no longer stress over knowing what exercises to do, how often they need to be done, and when. The emotional ups and downs of caring for a loved one after major surgery are many; personal connections make it difficult to insist on the hard things being completed.

Skilled therapists are trained to know what the patient needs most. From exercises and stretches to encouragement and education, family members can be confident in the care received. Patients will receive the help needed to regain balance, motor skills, and mobility. Occupational therapists are there to help a patient accomplish those daily tasks such as taking care of personal hygiene and dressing themselves.

Remember, you don’t have to attempt to do this alone. If you have a loved one who has suffered a fall, contact us. Let us help. We are the Home Health resource you can trust.

New Year’s Goals for Caregivers

Whether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, the holiday is a great time for caregivers to take stock of their emotional assets. After a year or more of making certain a loved one is receiving the care he needs, you may have sacrificed your own physical or emotional well-being. Here are some questions you might ask yourself to determine how you are faring.

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Ask yourself a few questions to determine how you’re faring in your role as a caregiver.

Do you make certain to allow some time for yourself, away from the loved one you care for? If you have a family, do you take time to do things with them? Asking for help is not a sign you aren’t doing your job; it is an indication that you are caring for yourself as well. In the year ahead, promise yourself some well-deserved down time. In-home care agencies can provide respite for a few hours, a day or a week or more to give you time to relax. Of course, you could hire a neighbor or relative, but the agency trains its personnel to handle emergencies and understand the limitations your loved one may have.

Did you get your flu shot? You cannot care for a loved one if you are ill. The strain that is making people sick this year may be different, but the shot may lessen symptom severity and shorten the duration.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Determine to learn more about the issues your loved one is having. Just knowing what to expect in the future, what is normal and when you should get more help can significantly lessen your own stress level.

Are you depressed? Of course, as caregivers we all get down sometimes. Seeing someone we love struggle with impairments and illness is hard, especially if that impairment is dementia. Caregivers of elders with dementia are twice as likely to have depression as the general population. Some of the signs of depression are: a change in eating patterns or an unusual gain or loss of weight; a change in sleep patterns; constant fatigue; loss of interest in things you have always liked to do; being easily angered or frustrated with little cause and thoughts of suicide. If you have any of those symptoms, and if they have persisted longer than two weeks, you should see your doctor.

Do you know how your loved one stands in relation to insurance benefits and savings? These are crucial details for a caregiver to know. Evaluating your own and your loved one’s financial resources at the beginning of each year helps you plan ahead, and gives you an idea of the options that may be available to you.

Whether you call them resolutions or just goals, the Near Year holiday is a great time to assess how we are doing and plan to make the coming year as stress-free as we can.

If you would like to talk to someone about your resources and challenges, or if you would like to learn more about in-home care contact us. We can help you meet your goals to provide the best care for your loved one and for yourself.

The Benefits of Senior Home Healthcare Services

Senior citizens face many challenges that often include needing assistance with the things they once took for granted. Simple tasks become difficult to perform and even preparing meals can become a challenge as you age. If you have a loved one who needs help with daily activities but who values their independence, home healthcare may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

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Home healthcare services can help your senior loved one with a variety of daily activities, from cooking meals to taking medication.

Many seniors don’t want to leave the home they spent years working for to live in an assisted care facility, which is understandable. You work hard all of your life to make your house a home and it’s difficult to leave. However, as we age, many people have disabilities that prevent you from doing everyday tasks like cooking or cleaning, which is necessary for your health and well-being. Home care services can help.

Home Healthcare Provides a Variety of Services

One of the great things about home healthcare services is that you can choose from a wide variety of options, which allow you to cater to the specific needs of the elderly person. For example, some elders need help preparing meals and taking medication correctly. Skipping doses or doubling up could have serious health complications, so it’s vital someone is there to help.

Some seniors need medical aide administered by a professional and there are qualified nurses available to provide this type of service. Checking vital signs and monitoring patients are part of the job and these professionals also have CPR and first aid training.

Home care services also offers personal care that includes helping the patient bathe, get dressed and move from one room to another along with transportation to doctor’s appointments and other places they need to go. Some seniors have disabilities that prevent them from doing housework or cooking meals and these services are also available.

Regardless of what your specific situation is, home care can provide the services needed for your loved ones to maintain a certain amount of independence, so they can continue to live in their own home.

Home Healthcare Offers Companionship

Some seniors may not say much but they need companionship just like everyone else and that is another benefit home healthcare provides. While these professionals are taking care of their needs, they are also giving them someone to talk to throughout the day.

Even if you have an elderly parent or other relative living with you, home healthcare can still be beneficial. You can’t always be there to provide the care they need but with these services, you don’t have to worry about your loved one because you know they will be well cared for when you’re away.

Here at Endeavor Home Care, we offer quality care for your loved ones and we provide service to the Scottsdale, Arizona, Phoenix and surrounding cities. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer and our mission to provide the best in-home care for seniors in the area.

Senior Care Services: No Guilt Trip

Did you know that one in five Americans is a caregiver? It’s true; twenty percent of us care for an elderly or disabled person at home. We try to be super-human and balance our jobs and family with caregiving duties, but that seldom works. Caregivers burn out. They get frustrated and angry, they have more sick days and they are exhausted. Added to that, most caregivers of people 65 or older are in their 60s themselves. That means they may be dealing with some age-related arthritis or other health issues themselves.

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An in-home caregiver can provide socialization for your loved one, while protecting you from caregiver burnout.

If you are one of the twenty percent, you may have considered arranging for senior care services but you feel guilty at the prospect of hiring someone to help. You feel justified in having someone administer medications or lift your loved one for baths, but the idea of someone who will come and “just sit” makes you uneasy. After all, you are there and you can visit with your loved one, you can do dishes and vacuum, you can give massages and treat wounds.You can give adequate care without the added expense of in-home senior services.

Well, first, in-home caregivers seldom “just sit.” They read to the patient to keep them alert or they visit to give them socialization. Beyond that, the service caregivers can help with light housekeeping. That is where the guilt often surfaces. After all, if you are there, why let someone else do the work…and why pay to have it done?

The answer is simple: it will keep you from burnout and the associated illnesses it brings. Seventy-five percent of family caregivers are women, and women need more socialization. In short, you need to get out from time to time. In addition, the service doesn’t provide all the care. You do a lot. You are the “first responder” in the morning and the one who answers the call at two a.m. You are more likely to be obese than the general population. Wounds heal slower and you get depressed easier. Added to this, the resentment you may feel from being “boxed in” by your caregiving duties can lead to an unhealthy relationship with your loved one.

Insurance companies don’t usually cover custodial help. Still, the expense might be just as justifiable as a routine medical exam or a gym membership. It is preventative treatment. The cost may be less than treating burn-out related illness. If you are the one-in-five, that is something to consider.

If you would like to know more about in-home senior care, contact us. Let us show you how, instead of a “guilty pleasure,” it might just be a “stitch-in-time.”

Senior care and a simple solution to health-care-associated infections (HAIs): handwashing.

It seems like a simple solution to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), but hand washing remains one of the single-most preventatives as outlined in a 2014 strategy updates for acute care facilities, and a policy that applies to in-home care providers as well.

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Hand-washing is still one of the most effective measures to take against the spread of infection.

In addition, notes the report, performance in these and other areas are being measured to assess outcomes centered on the prevention of healthcare associated infections, which can be a primary concern for senior care providers.

Infections were categorized by their prevention recommendations and given a low-to-high ranking based on the evidence gathered.

A focus on implementing specific methods of intervention proven to mitigate HAI situations, particularly during the initial outbreak of infections are determined.

By turning attention to locations in the hospital at high risk for HAIs, or certain categories of patient diagnosis, prevention strategies can be initiated throughout the entire hospital.

“Basic practices include recommendations where the potential to impact HAI risk clearly outweighs the potential for undesirable effects….Special approaches include recommendations where the intervention is likely to reduce HAI risk but where where there is concern about the risks for undesirable outcomes, where the quality of evidence is low, or where evidence supports the impact of the intervention in select settings…or select patient populations.”

Primary considerations for basic approaches include common areas that could preceded an instance of infection. As such, a few of the ongoing contributors to HAIS include:

—pneumonia caused by ventilator gateways

— Clostridium difficile infections

— Infections around surgical sites

— UTI infections associated with catheters

Always on the radar, too, are routines associated with daily useage of syringes and needles; in the latter case the concern is the re-use of these items; also, the lapse in judgement is suspect when a single vial of medication is considered ‘ok’ to use for multiple patients.

Looking for home care for your aging parent, or family member? Contact us to learn more about our care-giving services.

Preparing a Senior to Accept In Home Care

It is common for an aging adult to no longer be able to live alone in their home without assistance. Most people don’t want to admit their age is affecting them and that they need help. Often they fear losing independence if they acknowledge they need help. Some seniors may fear family members will remove them from their home and move them to an assisted living facility. In reality, in home care is a wonderful solution allowing a senior to maintain independence in their own home but providing the assistance needed to complete daily tasks.

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Highlighting the positive aspects of in-home care will help ease the transition.

If you have a loved one who is showing signs that they can no longer live on their own, make sure you maintain frequent contact. This will allow you to monitor and assess the living situation to verify that you are correct in your evaluation. In addition, consider talking about the living arrangements with other family members to see if everyone has the same point of view. Make sure all family members are on the same page before you broach the subject with your loved one. This way when the elder discusses in home care with any family member the response will be consistent.

It is best to make your case that in home care is needed by providing specific examples. If your loved one is forgetting to take medications or having difficulty preparing meals express your concern for their well-being. Cite ways in which day to day life has become too difficult for the elder and how burdens can be eased with assistance. Highlight the ways in which the in home care will be helpful to your loved one. In addition, emphasize that in home care will provide companionship as well as assistance. For additional information about in home care for your loved one and how to prepare them to accept the assistance they need contact us.

When You Just Can’t Be There, Consider Respite Care

respite care

Respite care can provide peace of mind to a primary caregiver.

Everyone needs a little help now and then, and that goes for caregivers as well as those they care for. While being a primary caregiver is born out of limitless love, an individual’s personal resources aren’t. In order to take care of loved ones, caregivers need to take care of themselves. Nevertheless, whether it is to deal with physical, financial, or emotional needs, the caregiver naturally wants assurances that the people they love are in good hands when they are not able to be there. Respite care might be the answer to those concerns.

Some primary caregivers seek respite care in the form of a companion who will stay with a dependent loved one for few hours while they run errands. Others find a personal care aide a godsend in to help with activities of daily living such as bathing. Many find adult daycare to be a good alternative so that they can continue to work. Still others require care for their loved one overnight so they can get a good night’s sleep. Whatever the particular need, respite care can be an answer to a prayer and give the caregiver peace of mind.

If you and your loved one are residents of the Phoenix, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Sun City, Gilbert, Tucson, or Scottsdale areas, contact us so we can discuss what options are available to assist you. You’ve made the selfless decision that allows your loved one to stay at home, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help.