Archive for the ‘Senior Care’ Category

Prepare for the Holiday Reality Check with These Warning Signs that Senior Care Is Needed

December 20th, 2017

Senior Care It’s holiday time once again, which means it’s also the ideal time for a “holiday reality check.” If you haven’t seen your elderly loved ones in a while, now is a good time to take note of how they are doing. With busy agendas or long distances separating families for much of the year, subtle (or not-so-subtle) indications that senior care is needed can very well be undetected. Keep a lookout for the following signals that additional senior care may be required, and bear in mind that looking for warning signs is not for the purposes of judgment or critique; it’s a check for wellness, wellbeing and safety.

Physical signs: An unanticipated disheveled appearance of a loved one may be noted during a holiday visit. Failure to stay up with daily hygiene routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and other basic grooming could be indicative of health concerns such as dementia, depression, or physical impairments. Look to see if clothes are clean and if the individual appears to be maintaining good grooming habits.

Weight: At the dinner table, the senior’s appetite may seem to be just fine through the holidays, but significant weight loss without trying could be a sign that something is wrong. For older adults, weight loss might be related to many reasons, such as trouble with cooking or loss of taste or smell. In addition, weight loss is a sign of a more significant underlying concern, such as poor nutrition, dementia, depression, or even cancer.

Within the home: Any significant modifications in the way things are done around the home could give clues to health. For instance, burned pans could mean forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Ignored housework might be a sign of depression, dementia, or other issues. Make sure the lights are working, the heat is turned on, the bathrooms are clean, and no clutter is obstructing the walking areas of the senior’s home.

Click here for more warning signs that senior care is needed.

If you notice signs like an unkempt home, unexplained weight loss, or other general personality changes, talk to the senior about care experts at Visiting Angels about possibilities. While it might seem better to delay difficult discussions until after the holiday season, it’s much better not to wait until a real crisis strikes. Be reasonable with your expectations, and realize that your senior loved one may resist the conversation at first. The most important thing at this time is to open the lines of communication.

Need help with initiating the home care conversation with a loved one this holiday season? Call the Fremont home care experts at Visiting Angels at 510-284-0000 today for information about home care services in the Fremont, San Jose and Sunnyvale areas.

Deck the Halls Right for Safer Holidays for Seniors

December 14th, 2017

Holidays for Seniors The holiday season presents a wonderful chance for you to visit with senior loved ones that you may not have been able to spend a lot of quality time with for a while. Additionally, it is a very good time to see to it that holidays for seniors are safe in addition to being joyful. Whether your older loved one is spending the season in your home or his or her own, taking into consideration these safety tips from our San Jose in home care experts can assure that everyone’s holiday is happy and bright.

Decorating:

In your senior loved one’s home, or your own if he or she will be visiting there:

  • Use very simple decorations that do not result in extra clutter. Always ensure that there is sufficient room to walk.
  • Always keep extension cords away from walking paths to prevent stumbling over them.
  • Instead of candles, use colorful centerpieces of flowers or fruit, or utilize battery-operated candles.

Lights:

While we often like to enjoy the colorful holiday lighting, keep these guidelines in mind when older adults are nearby:

  • Make certain that all areas of the home are sufficiently lit. Dim holiday lights can hide tripping hazards and make it difficult to see around household furnishings.
  • Put a nightlight in the bedroom and bathroom the senior will be using and make sure light switches are easily accessible.

Floor Safety:

With all of the holiday decorations, tripping risks can become a major problem for seniors during the holidays, so remember to:

  • Keep floors clutter-free.
  • Keep outside pathways clear.
  • Move furniture so people can freely move around it.
  • Place non-slip pads under rugs.
  • Keep rambunctious pets from running around while the older person is walking through the home.
  • Identify a special out-of-the-way location for children to play with their new toys while the senior is visiting.

It’s vital to recognize the special care needs of older individuals during the holidays in order to make their home, or visits to your home, fun and safe. If you’d like more information on home alterations to help make the holiday season safer for seniors, or any other in-home senior care needs, contact the Fremont and San Jose in home care experts at Visiting Angels. We can provide an in-home safety assessment to ensure the home is as safe as can be for your senior loved one, advise on adaptations, and provide a full range of care services. You can reach us any time through our online form or by calling 408-610-9996.

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.

Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors in Honor of National Bath Safety Month

January 24th, 2017

Bathroom Safety Tips for SeniorsHow could something that’s so comforting and relaxing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the greatest dangers to seniors? The truth is, combining slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water create a number of potential hazards to seniors, especially the danger of falling – one of the most severe risks to older people.

January is set aside as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great opportunity for both training and assessment in bathroom safety for seniors.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related injuries every single day in the USA. Because most falls in the home occur in the bathroom, AARP recommends taking the following preventative bathroom safety measures:

  • Put in grab bars for the toilet, shower, and tub
  • Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
  • Adjust temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or less to prevent scalds
  • Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if susceptible to falling when stepping over the tub wall
  • Provide a bath chair to allow bathers to sit while bathing
  • Apply no-slip strips to the bathtub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
  • Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately

It’s also a wise idea to assess whether it might be worthwhile for a senior to utilize a mobile commode, which may be put at a bedside to ease nighttime bathroom needs. Bedside commodes can reduce the chance of evening falls, and can additionally be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to look for when buying a commode:

  • Non-removable armrests
  • Rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels
  • A frame that is sturdy
  • Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)

Simple, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as much as $3,000.

AARP also provides a handy bathroom safety checklist with design instructions which will help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions so that they can avoid the potential hazards of the bathroom.

Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale can also help with bathroom safety for seniors. We can provide an in-home safety evaluation and suggestions, and by providing expert, hands-on support at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs. Our care is always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.

To Have a Bath or Not to Have a Bath? – Bathing Solutions for the Elderly

January 16th, 2017

Bathing Solutions for the ElderlyWhat feels finer than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the conclusion of a long, stressful day? While many of us relish the wonderful comfort that bathtime brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, to have a bath is anything but blissful.

For a variety of reasons, such as memory problems, feelings of vulnerability, or physical distress from the pressure or temperature of the water, assisting a senior with washing can feel a lot more like entering a battleground.

Visiting Angels wants to help restore the pleasure of bathtime for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these bathing solutions for the elderly:

  • Ensure safety. Keeping the shower area clear of hazards is essential. Make certain that:
    • Grab bars and mats that are slip-resistant are strategically placed in and around the tub
    • The water temperature is comfortable (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
    • Never leave a senior with dementia unattended in the bathroom
  • Be innovative. Who says one person’s bathtime experience has to be like everyone else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to discover what works best for your senior loved one:
    • If the senior appreciates music, try singing or playing some songs as a distraction
    • Try a “dry” bed bath using no-rinse soap, dry shampoo, and a warm, damp towel
    • Incorporate a seven-day bath, involving cleaning just a portion of the body each day over the period of a week
    • Assisting the older adult with both using the toilet and cleaning his or her body simultaneously can be effective for those experiencing a high degree of anxiety or agitation
  • Allow control. One of the most challenging aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Help the senior regain a sense of control through:
    • Offering choices
    • Enlisting his/her help (i.e., holding the washcloth or bottle of shampoo)

It may take some trial and error to discover what the best bathing solution is for your elderly loved one. They will pick up on any frustrations you’re feeling, which could increase the amount of agitation for everyone. A healthy dosage of patience and a sense of humor can go a long way towards helping senior loved ones relax.

For more tips on bathing solutions for the elderly, contact Visiting Angels. Our professional in-home senior care specialists can assist with a complete range of personal care services, including bathing, assistance with the restroom, dressing, hair care and skin care, and much more. Partnering with Visiting Angels of California enables family to spend more quality time with their senior loved one, and also to take a much-needed break to rest and recharge. Call us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.

Fremont Elder Care Tips on Making Family Memories This Holiday Season

December 21st, 2016

Palo Alto Elder CareGetting together with family during the holiday season can be wonderfully fun! It can also be quite eye opening. Sometimes, family members notice an ever-widening gap between generations, with the children hunched over their phones and iPads while Grandma sits by the sidelines just watching. If you’d like to get the whole family together and enjoy each other’s company, and make some memories, Visiting Angels of California recommends creating a memory book of a cherished senior’s lifetime legacy.

The first step is to decide whether you’d like to record the memories in writing, as an audio recording or on video (or some combination of each). Then put together the questions you’d like to ask. These can be compiled by all family members, from the youngest to the oldest. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What’s your favorite holiday memory?
  • What was your first job?
  • What was school like when you were growing up?
  • How did Grandpa ask you to marry him?
  • What are some important values you possess that you would like to see continued in the family?
  • What is one thing that you would have liked to have done, that you did not have a chance to do?
  • Tell us about your favorite trip.

Kids can get involved by interviewing Grandma or Grandpa, asking questions about old pictures, or video the interview using their phone or tablet.

Getting the family together during the holidays can be both fun and challenging, especially when blending multiple generations. Visiting Angels’ Fremont elder care providers can help your entire family celebrate this season. For more tips on involving seniors in holiday activities, contact us at 510-284-0000 or (408) 735-0977.

Exploring the Difference Between Asthma and COPD | Sunnyvale Elder Care

November 22nd, 2016

Palo Alto Elder Care Unstoppable coughing. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. Sounds like an asthma attack, right? Before reaching for that inhaler or those OTC cough drops, though, it might be better to find out if another culprit – COPD – could be a factor. With a full 12 million people in the U.S. currently living with COPD (and just as many who probably have the disease but haven’t been diagnosed), it’s crucial for seniors with COPD-like symptoms to determine the cause behind the cough.

Take a look at some of the major differences between these two conditions:

Asthma:

  • Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, dust, and pet hair can trigger asthmatic symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Usually displays in patients in childhood, often by age 5.
  • Thought to be caused by genetics.

COPD:

  • Environmental triggers can exacerbate symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing, but these symptoms are often present in a milder form regardless of air quality.
  • Typically diagnosed after age 40.
  • Caused mainly by cigarette smoking (in up to 90% of all patients), or by secondhand exposure to air pollutants.

While medications available for both COPD and asthma are often similar – bronchodilators or inhaled steroids – their treatment plans usually differ. Those with asthma are urged to stay away from known triggers, such as limiting outside time when the pollen count is high and avoiding secondhand smoke. Those with COPD require a more intense approach, which may include prescribed oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation to maximize breathing capacity, and, most importantly, making sure they’re not smoking.

Of course, it’s important to visit the physician if you’re concerned that your senior loved one is suffering with any type of lung condition.

There’s currently no cure for either asthma or COPD; however, both conditions can be better managed when properly diagnosed and treated. Although COPD does cause permanent, irreversible damage to the lungs, with correct treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed down, its symptoms made more manageable, and quality of life maximized.

Visiting Angels’ Sunnyvale elder care team is also available to provide assistance at home to help make a chronic condition easier to manage. Some of the many ways we can help include:

  • Light housework, to ensure as much dust as possible is removed from the home
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and to pick up prescriptions
  • Encouragement and participation in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Planning and preparation of nutritious, delicious meals
  • Friendly, compassionate companionship
  • And much more

To help your senior loved one remain safe and healthy at home, contact Visiting Angels in Sunnyvale at (408) 735-0977 or in Fremont at 510-284-0000 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about elder care in the surrounding area.