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aging parent

What NOT to Say: Tips for Better Communication with Your Aging Parent

It is always better to be honest with others, right? Even so, there are times when some truths are better left unsaid or at least worded more positively, especially when talking with aging family members. Although we might have the best of intentions in attempting to help seniors navigate life, we could help alleviate problems with hurt feelings in our loved ones by rethinking statements such as the following: Read more

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Why It Pays to be Proactive When Talking About a Financial Care Plan

It’s a sensitive topic to go over with aging parents, but one which needs to be resolved at some point: a financial care plan. Many adult children are reluctant to step into their parents’ financial matters until there is an obvious need, but beginning the discussion ahead of the need provides ample opportunity to ensure everything is in order. Read more

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.

The Surprising New Findings on Saturated Fats and Heart Health

New Findings on Heart HealthIt’s difficult to plan healthy meals when what is recommended as “healthy” seems to change from one month to the next. The initial recommendation was that saturated fats found in items such as butter, red meat and fried food were unhealthy, but later research indicated that there wasn’t enough proof that people who gave up or reduced the amount of these items considerably improved their heart health – and therefore, we were given the go ahead to choose butter over margarine yet again.

However, as reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists clarify that the lack of noticeable results in reducing saturated fats is more likely related to equally poor dietary choices made in place of those fats – such as refined carbs. Subjects who instead replaced saturated fats with more healthy options, such as olive oil and whole grains, did decrease their heart disease risk by as much as 25%.

According to Adela Hruby, one of the researchers in this study, “We know that people don’t just drop 10% of their calories…and not replace them with other things. What they are adding in to replace what they’re not eating is really important.”

The research, led by Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was extremely thorough, tracking about 130,000 male and female participants over 30 years. The study tracked dietary choices and heart-related conditions, and it was noted that subjects who substituted carbohydrates for saturated fats were realizing a virtually equal risk of heart disease – something that was missed in other studies that determined it was not significantly beneficial to heart health to cut back on saturated fats.

So what can we learn from this study? Improving our heart health can best be achieved by not just reducing saturated fat in our diet, but by also selecting healthier foods than processed flour-based products and those with a high sugar content.

Endeavor Home Care, serving seniors throughout the Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City and Tucson, Arizona areas, is also eager to plan and prepare heart-healthy meals that are not only nutritious, but delicious, helping local seniors to reduce their risk for heart attacks and heart disease. We can also help make sure that seniors are:

  • Making good dietary choices, and can help with obtaining groceries so that healthy, fresh foods are always stocked.
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Participating in doctor-approved exercise programs
  • Safely brought and accompanied to appointments and other outings
  • And much more

Give us a call at 480-535-6800 to learn more.

Pill Reminder Boxes: Effective for Seniors or Possibly Dangerous?

Pill Reminder Boxes On average, a senior takes between 15-18 different prescriptions each and every day, so one can understand how easy it can be to miss a pill here and there or take an incorrect dosage. However, the health hazards that happen because of those medication mistakes are substantial. Enter the pill reminder box: such a simple concept of placing the correct meds into the appropriate little boxes each day. Problem resolved, right?

Startlingly, research recently points to a considerably different outcome. Mature adults accustomed to taking medications directly from the original packaging who switched to a pill reminder box were inundated with medical concerns, including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one case, a person unable to get out of the bathtub until a rescue 12 hours later.

The research involved 29 older persons over age 75 who were not using pill reminder boxes and were, inadvertently, not taking their prescriptions as directed by their physicians. For two months, half of the seniors began using a pill reminder box, while the other half continued taking their prescriptions as they always had.

The health concerns, surprisingly, were realized only in the seniors who had just started to use the pill reminder boxes. The theory behind these unexpected results comes from the thought that the seniors were skipping doses or taking their prescriptions incorrectly prior to using the pill reminder box, and were suffering from side effects from taking full doses of their drugs.

Lead researcher Dr. Debi Bhattacharya stresses the need for those planning to change to a pill reminder/organizer system to first seek advice from their physician or pharmacist to verify dosage amounts. And she makes clear, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”

Endeavor Home Care can assist with medication reminders to ensure aging adults take prescriptions when they’re supposed to, assist with transportation to pick up prescriptions, and assist with noting any medication side effects that should be reported to the physician immediately. Contact Endeavor Home Care for important assistance with keeping your senior loved one safe and healthy. We provide home care services throughout Arizona.

Ways to Help Seniors Achieve Their Life Goals

Senior care“One day…”

At Endeavor Home Care, we’re sure you can imagine a lot of interesting ways to conclude that thought – perhaps with activities and adventures you’ve always dreamed of pursuing, but just haven’t had a chance to turn into reality. But what about older loved ones? Don’t the seniors in your life still have dreams, aspirations, and hopes for the future as well?

Everybody has some sort of a bucket list, and older loved ones are no exception. If a senior you care for seems unwilling or unable to dream up ideas to live life to the fullest, try these suggestions to stimulate his or her wishful thinking:

  • Visit the town where he or she was born and raised
  • Volunteer with a favorite charity
  • Try a new hobby, such as scrapbooking or painting
  • Create a legacy to pass down through writing memoirs
  • Learn something new, such as a foreign language or musical instrument
  • Adopt a new pet

It is important to consider that the things should be ones the senior is interested in, not just activities you feel he or she should try regardless of what he or she would like to do. Endeavor Home Care can help get a bucket list conversation started with your senior loved one, and then devise plans with you to fulfill those wishes. Give us a call at (480) 535-6800 for more senior care tips, or for hands-on assistance with turning “one day” into today.

Endeavor Home Care Announces Breakthrough in Cataract Treatment Options

Senior CareLet’s face it: cataracts and getting older pair together like peanut butter and jelly. 90% of those age 65 and older develop cataracts, and by the age of 75, as many as 50% have experienced vision loss as a result of them. And so far, the only recourse to restore cleared vision has been surgery.

Enter the latest development in the control of cataracts, which may be available in as soon as five to ten years: eye drops that can dissolve the damaged crystalline proteins that cataracts are comprised of. Tested in mice and humans, Jason Gestwicki of the University of California at San Francisco and study leader stated, “We did see very promising improvements in transparency and protein solubility in the lens … although not a complete reversal.”

Studies are continuing, and the outlook for an effective eye drop-based treatment is bright, expected to be both inexpensive and non-toxic, according to J. Fielding Hejtmancik of the US National Institutes of Health.

At Endeavor Home Care, we maintain a keen interest in all issues relating to senior care in Phoenix, AZ and the surrounding area, and we’ll keep you informed as this exciting development unfolds. If you have a loved one with cataracts or other vision issues, rest assured that our dedicated Arizona senior care aides can help keep him or her safe, happy, and independent at home. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Study Shows Those Who Care for Seniors Should Increase Protein Intake for Elderly

senior care

Sufficient protein is crucial to maintain muscle mass after age 60.

It is easy to get overwhelmed in the day to day care of the elderly, and forget there are steps you can take to prevent future problems. One of the biggest issues in senior care is the rapid decline in muscle mass over the age of 60, which leads to balance and falling issues. The result can be broken bones and head injuries which require even more care. A recent study shows that increasing protein in a senior citizen’s diet may help overall physical health.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, followed 2600 men and women over 60 years of age for several years, recording muscle mass and protein consumption. It was found that for men needed 3 ounces of protein daily and women required 2.6 ounces to maintain muscle mass and lean muscle, which equate to physical strength and wellness.

Some senior citizens are set in their ways, and it can be difficult to introduce new, high-protein foods. Protein can befound in a variety of plant and animal sources, which should be consumed at every meal and in snacks too. Common high-protein foods include nut butter, beans, greek yogurt, fish, chicken, and cheese. If all else fails, protein shakes or nutritional drinks can help boost daily intake.

A diet high in protein is also beneficial for those dealing with heart issues or diabetes. If you are caring for a senior citizen, adding more protein to each meal will certainly help overall health. In addition, it will help seniors maintain muscle mass which leads to better mobility and independence.

For more information and help for caring for an elderly loved one, contact us.

Early Warning Signs that in Home Care is Needed

There is nothing easy about watching our loved ones grow old. They are the ones that we have always turned to in a time of need, but now the roles are reversed and they find themselves leaning more on others. Becoming the caregiver to someone who has always given back to you can be difficult. One of the most important things that you can do when in this situation is to look for early warning signs that in home care is needed.

in home care

It’s time to consider in home care if your loved one is showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

One early sign that a loved one may need homecare is related to their memory. While it is common for people to repeat themselves on occasion, you should definitely note if your loved one does so more than normal. This could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or could even be the sign that a stroke has occurred.

Another sign that you should look for is your loved one forgetting common things and misplacing things. Keep in mind that it is not abnormal to forget or misplace something, but putting things like a purse or a pair of shoes in the refrigeratormay be a sign that something more serious is going on.

Other more subtle issues may be reason for concern as well. For example, dramatic mood changes or sudden decreases in interests, appetite or energy may also be a sign that homecare is needed. While these problems can appear in anyone, they often point to more serious health concerns in the elderly.

If you notice any of these changes in your loved one, you may be surprised to find that this could be an indication thathomecare is needed. For best results, consult your loved one’s regular doctor privately about their specific needs. In order to learn more about the signs that indicate that your loved one may need homecare, please contact us.

Take a Break from Caregiving with Respite Care

respite care

You can’t be caregiver you need to be when you’re burnt out.

The commitment you made to care for your elderly parent probably means a lot to them but it doesn’t mean you have to do all of the caregiving 24/7 every day of the year alone. The most important thing for any caregiver to learn is that to be able to give yourself to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself first. Burnt out caregivers can’t give the same level of care. The stress can make them prone to depression and illness that would leave them unable to care for the ones who depend on them. Caring for a parent is hard work.

Taking a well deserved break from caregiving is not a failure in your commitment to care for your parent like they cared for you. Arranging safe, qualified, respite care on a regular or occasional basis can allow you to balance your parent’s needs with the other parts of your life. Everyone will be happier.

If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, juggling the care of your parents and the care of your dependent children, you may need respite care for your parent for only a few hours at a time while you are busy with your children’s activities or while you take your children on an active vacation that wouldn’t be suitable for a senior. If you don’t yet have children, maybe you need someone experienced in the special needs of caring for seniors so that you and your husband can enjoy an evening alone or a weekend getaway. It’s okay to get help to care for your parent no matter what you plan to do with your free time.