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Your Homecare Agency and You: Super Heroes

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The homecare agency depends upon your help and proper hearing and vision tests to keep your loved one happy and well.

You check in on your elderly loved on regularly, and you have arranged for  live-in care through a homecare agency. He loves the aide who fixes his meals, reads with him and takes him on outings and to appointments. You are confident he is taking his medications correctly and is well cared-for. Lately, though, you have noticed he seems confused when you take him out to eat or to other family get-togethers and you wonder if perhaps he needs a higher level of care. One question may give you the answer. Has your loved one had a vision and hearing evaluation recently? The homecare agency depends upon your help to keep your loved one happy and well. Together you are the superheroes that do what your loved one cannot do for himself.

Nearly half of all people 75 years old and over have some degree of Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. It is a gradual, progressive condition that affects both ears equally. The hearing loss may be more acute in crowds, and your loved one cannot communicate if he doesn’t hear the conversations. Hearing aids can greatly increase the hearing of most individuals, though they may have to be adjusted as the loss increases.  Vision, too, may change as we age. People over 65 are three times more likely than younger people to have impaired vision. Glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts are the greatest causes of vision loss in the elderly, and yet we sometimes forget to have our elderly loved ones examined regularly to make sure they are seeing and hearing well. The homecare agency depends upon your help to keep your loved one happy and well. If you believe your loved one cannot afford to get hearing aids or glasses, you can go to the website healthfinder.gov to find assistance programs.

Because we depend upon all our senses to keep us in touch with our environment, even minimal loss of vision and sight can disorient us. Hearing loss can affect balance and coordination, making  loved ones fearful of going outside. Studies show that losing those senses can also lead to cognitive difficulties, depression and anxiety.

So, the confusion your elderly loved one exhibits at family gatherings may be the result of poor hearing or sight. He may not be able to tell you what he is experiencing, and that is why regular examinations are important to your loved one’s quality of life. You have taken the step of getting live-in care to assure he is well cared for and has companionship; regular vision and hearing tests will assure you that he has the highest quality of life you can provide.

For more information on how you can help keep your loved one happy and healthy, contact us.

From Hospitalization to Home Care in 3 Simple Steps

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If you hire outside help to care for your loved one, the information you relay from the doctor will make the difference in how the home care service provider understands their needs.

The time has come when your elderly loved one is going to be discharged.  Sometimes the announcement comes with enough advanced notice so that you can prepare for your loved one’s return to his residence or yours.  If you are one of those lucky ones whose parent is discharged early during the week, you might be able to call a long list of numbers given to you by the hospital staff if you have any questions about your parent’s post-acute care.  However, if your loved one is discharged on a Friday, your chances of talking to a live operator for post-acute care advice over the weekend are slim to none.

As the family caregiver or point-of-contact, you will be the one receiving any kind of information about your parent or spouse’s prognosis.  Unfortunately, at the present time there is no universal system set in place when it comes to hospital discharge, and the information you relay to your caregiver (if you hire outside help) from the doctor will make the difference in how the home care service provider will understand your loved one’s needs.

Hospital discharges don’t have to be complicated.  To make life easier for yourself and the caregiver you hire, follow these simple steps:

Ask your loved one’s physician for a written, detailed report that an average person can understand. 

Your certified nurse assistant may understand medical jargon, but you as the family caregiver might not.  To be as engaged as possible, ask for clear language so you know the medications, prognosis, type of daily living assistance and any specialized care your loved one needs upon returning home.

If your loved one requires specialized care, ask your doctor to be specific if the report contains inadequate details.

Specialized care means going beyond the normal scope of assistance with daily living (e.g., light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, etc.).  If a patient’s condition calls for usage of a nebulizer, colostomy bag, G-tube, or other equipment, a regular family caregiver without the knowledge, training and experience of such care may do more harm than good.  You can avoid hospital readmission if you get the right type of care for your loved one.  Understand your limitations – what you can or cannot do for your elderly loved one.

Make sure you hire a caregiver from a 24-hour home care agency.

Knowing that you have support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, gives you an incredible peace of mind.  Not every home care agency offers 24 hour support, and you might find yourself in a bind if you can’t reach anyone for immediate answers.  Whether you hire a caregiver for a few hours a day or for 24 hours round-the clock, it’s always good to know in the back of your mind that you could call a hotline at any hour, day or night.

Contact us at Endeavor Home Care!  Our hotline (480) 535-6800 is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Our exceptional team of medical professionals is ready to answer any questions you may have about homecare services.

Alzheimer’s Disease Third Stage and Homecare Services

homecare servicesAlzheimer’s Disease typically progresses through stages with Stage Three being the last and most severe one. This final period lasts anywhere from one to three years and is quite trying for everyone involved with your loved one’s care. Because of the difficulty, it is often advised to utilize homecare services for additional support.

You can help your loved one by knowing the symptoms to look for and then doing what you can to help.

  • Loss of communication—Your loved one will likely begin to lose their ability to speak. As you help him or her through their daily activities, talk with them about what you are doing as if they had the ability to respond.
  • Excessive movement—Offer activities that allow them to move in meaningful ways. Give your loved one soft material to rub, a doll to rock, or task them with wiping tables.
  • Loss of normal movement—Help them with lifting their arms and bending elbows or other movements that seem to be difficult.
  • Loss of desire to eat—Offer meal replacement drinks with as much nutrition as possible. Also, feed them fresh fruit, ice cream, or other foods they enjoy.
  • Choking—If your loved one begins having trouble swallowing, talk with their doctor or the pharmacist. Thickening agents are available and they make drinks easier to swallow. You can also offer foods that are easy to swallow such as mashed potatoes.
  • Lack of emotion—Sing songs that are familiar and look for any eye movement. Touch them frequently by brushing their hair or rubbing lotion on their arms and hands.
  • Seizures—Talk with your loved one’s doctor and they may prescribe anti-seizure medication.
  • More susceptible to infection and illness—Ask any visitors who may have a fever or cold to postpone visiting until they are well. You can also assure proper hand washing techniques and use anti-bacterial wipes on faucets, doorknobs, counter tops, and other areas that are touched often.

While there are typical patterns with Alzheimer’s Disease, it progresses differently in each person. For more information on this condition or abut how we can help, please contact us.