“What?” – Ways to Help Those Who Experience Hearing Loss with Age

October 12th, 2017

Hearing Loss with Age“Pardon me?”

“Will you repeat that, dear?”

“I apologize – what did you say?”

If this sounds like a common reaction in your discussions with a beloved senior, you are not alone. The National Institute on Aging records a strong relationship between growing older and hearing problems, with nearly half of those age 75 and older encountering hearing difficulties.

Hearing loss with age naturally sneaks up on too many of us. In time, the damage to the ears from noise contributes to hearing loss by negatively impacting the delicate inner ear. Nonetheless, those with hearing loss generally wait on average seven years before pursuing help, and more than 15 million people in America with hearing loss refrain from seeking help altogether.

Although hearing loss is irreversible, Visiting Angels wants seniors who are afflicted by its effects to know that there are approaches to help effectively manage hearing loss. To communicate more efficiently, older adults with a hearing loss should carry out the following:

Situate themselves to hear better by facing the person to whom they are speaking

• Eliminate all distracting background noise
• Ask others to speak clearly
• Choose quiet settings
• Consider using an assistive listening device — hearing devices, including TV-listening devices or telephone-amplifying products, help people hear better while minimizing other sounds
• Think about using devices such as flashing/vibrating phones and clocks; visible doorbell alarms; specialty smoke and burglar alarms

Family care providers can help by:

• Recognizing the signs of hearing loss and making suitable referrals
• Remaining sensitive to the impact hearing loss has on the senior and the phases of adjustment the senior may go through before acceptance
• Modifying the home surroundings, when feasible, to support the special needs of those with a hearing loss
• Obtaining the support of professionals like Visiting Angels who have developed expertise in providing quality home care to seniors with hearing loss

To learn more…

• Visit the League for Hard of Hearing
• Contact AssistGuide Information Services for new and improved devices for accommodating hearing loss
• Contact Visiting Angels for insight on discovering ways to live comfortably in spite of hearing loss

Sadly, many older adults begin to feel left out and isolated due to hearing loss with age. The friendly, fully-trained caregivers at Visiting Angels can help provide relief for lonely seniors by offering companionship, accompaniment and transportation to appointments and fun events, and much more. You can reach us any time at 510-284-0000 to discover more about how our home health care services in Fremont and the surrounding areas can help seniors maximize their wellbeing, safety and independence, right in the comfort of home.

Learn 3 Crucial Strategies for Safe Medication Management in Older Adults

September 27th, 2017

senior medicationAll of us realize that medications can save lives, but most of us have heard frightening reports about patients who have received incorrect medications – either because of an issue with the health care provider or pharmacy. What many people don’t think about is that there is another danger even when we get the right medication — the hazard of improper medication management.

Comparable to driving down the wrong side of the road, taking a medication improperly is dangerous. In fact, it is more so — 125,000 people die every year attributable to prescription medication non-adherence, two times the number killed in auto accidents. While many people may think they are following the rules when it comes to their medications, medication adherence mistakes occur frequently. These mistakes include:

  • Failing to fill or refill a prescription
  • Missing one or more doses
  • Taking the incorrect medication
  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Prematurely discontinuing medication
  • Inappropriate use of items such as inhalers or syringes
  • Taking outdated, damaged, or improperly stored medications

Medication management can easily be a significant issue among older adults who take a variety of prescription meds. However, research shows that, with the proper commitment, knowledge, and assistance, seniors can break through many barriers to medication adherence. The following are several tactics to help with some of the most typical causes of medication non-adherence.

Memory Loss: A leading issue when it comes to medication adherence among older individuals is memory loss. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may forget to take their medications or even take several doses, having forgotten that they took the medication earlier on.

Strategy: Make taking medication a component of another everyday regimen, using pill dispensers and/or charts to keep organized.

Complications with Swallowing Pills: Some seniors have problems with swallowing, and might attempt to chew or crush pills, triggering long-acting medicines to be released into the body too rapidly.

Strategy: Talk to the person’s medical practitioner or pharmacist to find out if the medication is offered in a liquid or smaller pill form that is less difficult to swallow.

Transportation Issues: Some elderly individuals may be homebound or are unable to drive or easily access transportation and cannot consistently pick up prescriptions.

Strategy: Ask the pharmacy about mail order prescriptions that can be sent to the home, or hire an in-home caregiver, like those at Visiting Angels, to provide transportation to the pharmacy, as well as doctors’ appointments and other outings.

Taking prescription medications the proper way is imperative to your senior loved one’s health. If you have a loved one who is struggling with one of these obstacles or any other hindrance in adhering to medications, contact us today . We can help you create medication management strategies for success as well as support many other elder care needs in Santa Clara County or the surrounding areas.

Avoid Senior Medication Mishaps with These Tips from Visiting Angels

September 13th, 2017

Senior MedicationThere are tens of thousands of prescription medications obtainable in in America alone, and around a third of all adults take at least five of these prescriptions every single day. If you’re a care provider for an aging loved one, the difficulty of senior medication management, keeping track of potential interaction issues, dosage amounts, and more can be overwhelming. In fact, studies show that 55% of prescription medications are not being taken the proper way for a range of reasons, and the outcomes can be dangerous.

Lessen the potential for senior medication mishaps and receive the highest benefits of the prescription by following these guidelines to help manage medications effectively.

Educate Yourself Right from the Start. Don’t be afraid to ask the physician and/or pharmacist questions about the medication. Make sure you know these particulars:

  • The name of the medicine
  • What the drug is prescribed for
  • How, when and for how long to take the drug
  • Proper dose
  • Potential side effects and drug interactions

Additionally, be certain to have your senior loved one’s physician routinely perform a medication overview to determine which drugs are still needed and which ones could be eliminated.

Keep a Master List of Medications. Creating a full list of all prescription medications, OTC drugs, and supplements that the senior takes can be a tremendous help at the physician’s office.

This record should contain all of the information from the list above, plus:

  • The shape and color of the drug (and a picture of the drug if possible)
  • The prescribing doctor’s name and contact information
  • Date the medication was started, and whether or not it should be refilled and taken repeatedly
  • Date the listing was last changed

Visiting Angels, providing elder care in Alameda and the surrounding areas, can help older adults manage prescriptions, set up medication reminders, and communicate with physicians and pharmacists to assure medications are being taken properly. Contact Visiting Angels today at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, 510-284-0000 in Fremont, or 408-610-9996 in San Jose to learn more about proper medication management.

Protection from Bed Sores – Tips from the San Jose In-Home Care Experts at Visiting Angels

August 30th, 2017

bed soresAffecting around one out of every ten seniors, and even more widespread in smokers, in those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, or whose skin is more delicate, bed sores (also known as pressure sores or pressure injuries) are not just very painful – they can rapidly advance to infections that can extend to the bloodstream and even end up to be deadly.

For those with reduced mobility or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, and those who care for them, the struggle against pressure sores can seem never-ending. Ensuing from a decrease of blood flow when staying in one position for too long, it is vital for those caring for an older loved one to become educated about pressure sore protection. Try some of these guidelines from our San Jose in-home care experts to help protect your loved one’s sensitive skin from these dangerous sores:

  • Frequent Position Changes
    • Every hour if confined to a wheelchair, every two hours if confined to bed
    • Utilize lifting instruments when possible to eliminate friction during repositioning
  • Support
    • Utilize specialized cushions and pads:
      • In between knees and ankles
      • Under calves to protect heels
      • To lie at an angle, protecting hips
  • Skin Care
    • Utilize mild soap and warm (not hot) water and apply moisturizing cream
    • For extremely moist skin, use talcum powder
    • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to enhance circulation
  • Healthy Nutritional and Activity Choices
    • Check with your loved one’s doctor for dietary and supplement recommendations for maximum skin health
    • Ensure good hydration
    • Stop smoking
    • Frequent exercise (as appropriate and per physician’s suggestions)

If, despite taking these precautionary measures, your loved one develops a pressure sore, it will advance through the four stages below:

  • Stage 1: A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch on the skin can be noticed, which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and bring about sensations of itching or burning.
  • Stage 2: An open sore appears on the bruise, similar to a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and pain are often part of this stage.
  • Stage 3: As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin darkens and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4: At this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a dangerous bone infection) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can take place.

Be sure to get in touch with your loved one’s physician immediately if a pressure sore is discovered. Visiting Angels can also assist by inspecting skin every day to identify susceptible areas of the skin and detect the early signs of bed sores, as well as provide assistance with ambulation, turning and transferring to decrease the risk of developing sores. We are just a phone call away. Contact us today for more information about our San Jose in home care services at 408-610-9996 or view our other service areas online.

The Keys to Proper Skin Care for the Elderly | Visiting Angels Senior Home Care, San Jose, CA

August 16th, 2017

Senior Home Care, San JoseAs we age, our skin tends to become dryer and more delicate. Reported by Medscape, as many as 75% of older adults endure dry, flaky skin, which not only is easily injured (scratched, bruised, or cut), but also typically causes uncomfortable itching.

The most prevalent areas for dry skin in the elderly are the elbows, lower legs, and forearms. For older adults who are less mobile than they were previously, dry skin could also play a role in the development of bed sores from remaining in one position too long in either a chair or bed.

Dry skin can also result from the loss of oil and sweat glands. If your senior loved one is encountering the irritation of overly dry skin, Visiting Angels’ senior home care in San Jose, CA and the surrounding area can assist! The following strategies below are also a great reference guide to proper skin care for the elderly.

  • Refrain from taking hot showers and baths. Warm water is less drying to the skin.
  • Encourage the elderly person to bathe less often if feasible. While personal hygiene is important, utilizing “dry baths” (with a damp towel) can be satisfactory between baths and showers.
  • Use mild soaps and shampoos on the older adult’s skin. If his or her scalp or skin is extremely dry, there are special products, such as Nizoral, that might help.
  •  Moisturize the senior’s skin well, specifically after bathing or showering.
  • Only use products that are unscented, as perfumed products could further aggravate the skin.
  • Be sure the elderly person drinks an adequate amount of fluids.
  • Consider making use of a humidifier in the wintertime or in dry climates.
  • If the person smokes, encourage him or her to quit.
  • Add stress-reducing activities into the older adult’s everyday schedule.
  • Ensure that he or she uses sunscreen when going outdoors, and limit exposure to the sun.

It’s a smart idea to look at your senior loved one’s skin on a regular basis to see if there are any signs of extremely dry skin, and seek medical care if necessary.

Serving the San Jose, CA area, our experienced staff at Visiting Angels can supply hourly or live-in care assistance with bathing and dressing, restroom use or incontinence, and many other personal care tasks to help keep seniors safe and in good health at home. We also supply a full range of in-home assistance with light housework, cooking, running errands, providing transportation, companionship, and so many other services for senior home care in San Jose.

Contact us at 408-610-9996 today to set up an in-home evaluation. We can help you and your loved one decide what level of care and services are best for his or her individual needs.

Handle the Hardest of Dementia Symptoms – Secret Tools from San Jose In Home Care Experts

July 25th, 2017

Handle the Hardest of Dementia SymptomsFor individuals caring for a senior struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia, a number of complicated effects need to be very carefully handled, but possibly the most difficult of dementia symptoms to handle are the hallucinations and the illusions, and the suspicions that other individuals are out to cause injury or harm. Incorrect perceptions such as these happen most commonly in the late stages of progressive dementia due to changes within the brain. It’s essential to first understand the reason behind these emotions and behaviors, and to address the underlying cause.

Hallucinations/Illusions

Causes for hallucinations may be the result of a general confusion, a medicine side effect or an infection. Talk to the health care provider to rule out medication side effects or infections, but also pay attention to the person’s environment.

For example:

  • If the person complains about hearing someone talking: Is a TV or radio on nearby that could be causing the issue?
  • If the person believes he or she is always being watched: Try pulling the drapes closed over the windows.
  • If the individual sees insects moving across the table: Is there a patterned tablecloth that may be triggering the perception?

When illusions do occur, don’t debate about whether or not they are real, but instead evaluate the circumstance, assure the individual in a serene voice and change the person’s environment as necessary or respond to the individual’s feelings.

For instance:

  • “I do not see any bugs on the table, but you seem anxious, so let’s go into the living room until they can be gotten rid of.”
  • “You believe you saw a person in that side of the room? Let’s turn the light on over there so we can see more clearly. Would that help you feel more at ease?”

Suspicions/Accusations

A person with dementia might accuse other people of stealing things, of unacceptable behavior or of betrayal. This may possibly be due to a general confusion or memory loss, but might also be a way for the person to express anxiety.

How to respond:

  • Take “no” out of your vocabulary. Don’t disagree, become offended or try to persuade the senior otherwise.
  • Reassure him/her, permitting him or her to share feelings.
  • Try and come up with a simple answer to the complaint.
  • Redirect, such as by distracting the individual with another activity.
  • Respond to the requirement instead of the words.
  • Obtain duplicates of regularly lost objects, for instance a purse or wallet. If one is lost, the alternate can be given to the person.

It is no doubt that providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be complicated at times. It’s critical to depend on the support of others for guidance, resources and respite from the everyday responsibilities. Call on the San Jose in home care experts at Visiting Angels to provide top notch caregivers who are specially trained in the art of patient, innovative dementia care strategies to ensure your loved one is safe, comfortable and living life to the fullest. Contact us online or call us at 408-610-9996.

How to Handle Memory Loss for Better Dementia Care | San Jose, CA

July 12th, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease can alter someone’s mind so that recollections regarding current happenings are forgotten or mixed up while those from the more remote past often stay intact. The memory loss of more current events can also cause earlier times to make more sense to an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. A person’s alternate reality can be his/her strategy of making sense of the present through past memories.

Older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s may have problems expressing themselves, and in some cases their alternate reality has more to do with a need or a specific feeling they are attempting to express than it has to do with the things they are saying.

For instance:

  • “When is my wife going to be home?” This question could possibly be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home cooked meal than it could be about wanting to see his wife, who died a number of years ago. The right answer to learn more might be, “Why do you want to see her?”
  • “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Though these casseroles don’t exist, the words may indicate a need for intention in daily life or desiring to be engaged in an activity. An appropriate answer to discover more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for your friends?”

Maintaining a record of these kinds of happenings could help you see trends in needs. The more you listen and pay close attention, the easier it will be to understand the reasoning behind the alternate reality and how to best react.

Should You Play Along?

Provided that the scenario is not going to be dangerous or inappropriate, it is fine to play along with the older person’s alternate reality. Doing so will not make the dementia worse. Remember, your loved one’s reality is true to the person and going along with it can make your loved one feel better.

If the scenario is inappropriate or may cause danger to the senior, try to react to the perceived need while redirecting the individual to something less harmful or more appropriate.

Keep in mind these 3 steps:

  1. Reassure the individual.
  2. Respond to his/her need.
  3. Redirect if required.

Also, call on the expert in-home care services of Visiting Angels for dementia care in San Jose, California. Our caregivers are experts in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and can provide respite care services for family caregivers who need some time to refresh and recharge. Contact us online or call us at 408-610-9996.


Using Medicaid for Elderly Home Care Equipment and Other Payment Options

June 22nd, 2017

Does your loved one need more stability in the bathtub or shower? Does he or she require a walker or rollator to get around? Then it’s very likely that you’ll eventually be in the market for home care products. It’s also likely that you’re curious about how to cover the cost using Medicaid for elderly home care equipment and the other payment options that are available to you.

Just like in-home care services, there are several different possibilities when it comes to paying for home care supplies and equipment. The following are several of the solutions available to assist you or a loved one to purchase home medical equipment:

Medi-Cal

If prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner and it meets a patient’s medical equipment needs, durable medical equipment can be covered if the following is also met:

a. serve a medical purpose;

b. withstand repeated use;

c. be useful to you because of illness, injury, functional impairment or congenital anomaly;

d. not be useful to someone in the absence of illness, injury, functional impairment or congenital anomaly; and

e. be appropriate for use either in or out of your home.

Medicare

If a person has Medicare Part A and qualifies for the Home Health Benefit, then Medicare will cover 80% of the permitted cost for medically essential durable medical equipment. If someone is covered by Medicare Part B, the person does not be required to qualify for the Home Health Benefit, and Medicare will cover 80 percent of the allowable amount for medically necessary durable medical equipment.

Veteran’s Administration (VA)

The VA is especially helpful in providing durable medical equipment for those who qualify. Veterans or spouses of veterans may be qualified for benefits. Find out more at www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap01.asp.

Other Methods to Cover the Cost of Home Care Equipment

If a person does not meet the requirements for Medicare or Medi-Cal, or receives benefits from the Veteran’s Administration, there are several other options to help pay for home care equipment. Here are a few tips for utilizing long-term care or health insurance and private funding to afford the equipment needed:

Long-Term Care Insurance/Health Insurance

If the devices or products needed are medically necessary, they may be in part covered by some private insurance policies. Coverage is either dependent on the individual’s coverage, or, if the individual seeking coverage is a dependent, then the family policy should be reviewed for coverage of dependents.

Keep in mind, though, that although having your insurance provider cover the cost for some of the cost may seem like the best deal, it is possible to find the products you need at an “out of network” supplier with a lower price.

Private Finances

If you need home care equipment that is not covered by private insurance, look into equipment rental solutions or formerly owned items such as wheelchairs, scooters and handicap vans. Used equipment advertisements can be found in disability publications as well as on websites such as www.Craigslist.org, www.ebay.com, and www.unitedaccess.com.

If you need further support either in finding or buying home care equipment for your loved one, contact Visiting Angels today. We can provide a free in-home assessment, make equipment suggestions, arrange for order and delivery, and answer any other home care related questions you may have. Contact our home care agency’s Alameda office by calling 510-284-0000 or view our entire service area.

3 Helpful Home Care Products to Make Life at Home Easier

June 8th, 2017

As your loved one ages, adaptive home care products can aid in making everyday life around the home simpler and less dangerous. There are scores of home care products obtainable today that can make older adults’ lives safer and more secure. At Visiting Angels, we wish to provide you with some expert recommendations for purchasing and using just a few of the most widely used pieces of home care equipment.

Commodes

A commode can replace both a raised toilet seat and a toilet safety framework and offers the additional advantage of being movable, so can be utilized individually at a bedside as well.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Search for one with non-removable armrests and rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels, and check for sturdiness.
  • Look for a commode that includes both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet).

Rollators

A rollator is a four-wheeled walker that contains a brake system, a seat, and a basket. They work effectively both indoors and outdoors, provide a seat when the user needs to rest, and the basket allows users to carry objects with them, keeping their hands free to work the rollator.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Bigger wheels are preferred, as they roll easier on uneven ground and are generally more sturdy.
  • Look for a light-weight, foldable version so that it can fit in the trunk of a vehicle.
  • Test out the hand brakes before purchase to make sure that they are not stiff or difficult to use.
  • Search for a rollator with a cushioned seat for comfort.
  • Versions that allow easy accessibility to the basket while in the normal walking position are preferable.

Shower bench vs. shower board

A shower bench is beneficial for older adults who feel insecure when lifting their legs over the side of the tub and greatly minimizes the chance of slips when getting into and out of the bathtub.

The primary benefits of shower benches over shower boards are that they have backrests and are height adaptable. Having a taller surface makes getting up from a seated position less difficult and backrests provide more support to seniors who tire more easily. Shower boards can also be difficult to fit securely to a tub.

Guidelines for purchase:

  • Search for a shower bench with a handle and backrest that can be adjusted to accommodate different bathtubs.
  • Make sure to also invest in a quality hand held sprayer that connects to the faucet and is simple to use.

For additional tips and information on home care products, feel free to contact the Fremont home health care professionals at Visiting Angels online or call us at 510-284-0000.

The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for Seniors

May 14th, 2017

The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for SeniorsIt seems intuitive to some people that interacting socially with others elevates wellbeing by maintaining connections to other people’s experiences, beliefs, problems, humor, opinions, and a host of other human happenings. Now, scientific studies are displaying the benefits of social activities for seniors that could boost the wellness of the brain and the body.

The results point clearly to the benefits of friendship and social interaction for the elderly. A study executed by Rush University Medical Center demonstrated that a person who was documented to have a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of an impairment with activities of daily living than somebody with a reduced level of social engagement, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility. Extremely social older persons had a 70% decrease in their level of cognitive decline when compared to their less social peers.

And yet, being social is not second nature to everybody, and for a number of people, it turns out to be harder with age because one’s ability to get around may become greatly diminished. Here are a few ways a home care agency such as Visiting Angels can help the elderly continue to be social and protect their wellbeing:

  • Promote attendance at and provide accompaniment to social outings like club meetings, community events such as fairs, holiday activities and parades, plays, concerts, and sports events, religious services and church activities.
  • Share in playing interactive games with seniors such as board games, cards and Nintendo Wii.
  • Arrange for visits with friends and neighbors.
  • Offer transportation to an adult day facility or a low impact exercise class.
  • Provide companionship during family celebrations or vacations for optimum comfort and safety.
  • Help older adults navigate social media sites like Skype and Facebook to enable them to connect with family and friends even when they are unable to leave the home.

In the Social Activity and Wellbeing of Older Australians Study, testing more than 6,000 older adults across about 5 1/2 years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a reduced decrease in intellectual and memory performance. Better mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially engaged.

Having a professional home care agency provide assistance to encourage and help with keeping a senior socially connected might be one of the most essential means to help him/her continue to thrive and feel alive. Visiting Angels’ in home care San Jose staff are all committed to supporting the independence, dignity, and social connectedness of every person we serve. To view our full service area in California, click here.