Archive for the ‘Senior Care’ Category

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.

California Home Care Services Team Explains COPD Diagnosis & Treatment

November 8th, 2016

California Home Care Services There are times when receiving a definitive diagnosis for debilitating symptoms is actually a relief. Suddenly, the condition has a name, and there’s a way to treat it! This is definitely true when it comes to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If your senior loved one has been struggling with such symptoms as chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a diagnosis of COPD just might be the first step needed to improve her quality of life.

Here’s what you can expect from the senior’s physician when diagnosing COPD:

  • Assessment of the senior’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history
  • Testing such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to check lung functioning), x-rays and blood work
  • Creation of a treatment plan

Since the symptoms of COPD can differ widely from person to person, treatment plans are also not always the same. Here are some of the methods your senior loved one’s doctor may try to implement to help her best manage the disease:

  • Medications, to include any of the following:
    • Bronchodilators taken through an inhaler to help open airways, available in both short-term and long-term formulations, to work immediately as needed or to be taken ongoing for maintenance
    • Steroids and corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation, swelling and mucous production
    • Antibiotics to address any bacterial infections in the lungs
    • Immunizations to protect against flu and pneumonia, as those with COPD are at a greater risk for complications from these illnesses
  • Pulmonary therapy works to strengthen the lungs through guided exercise and nutrition.
  • Oxygen therapy, available through liquid or gas oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators that utilize the oxygen already in the environment.
  • Lung surgery may be an option if symptoms are extremely severe.
  • Palliative care focuses treatment on improving quality of life, and is available to anyone diagnosed with COPD, regardless of the prognosis or stage of the disease.
  • Clinical trials help researchers determine the success of new, experimental treatments, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk with your senior loved one’s physician to see if clinical trials are an option, and check the American Lung Association’s clinical trial search page for opportunities near you.

Regardless of the doctor’s recommended treatment plan to help improve life for your senior loved one with COPD, Visiting Angels’ California home care services team can help improve quality of life and ease COPD symptoms with supplemental in-home care. Whether the senior needs respectful assistance in performing personal care tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, help with light housework and meals, transportation, or just the kindness of a caring companion to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities together, our fully trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Contact us in Sunnyvale at (408) 735-0977 or in Fremont at 510-284-0000 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

How to Choose the Best Senior Care in California: Home Care or Assisted Living

October 11th, 2016

Senior Care in CaliforniaHome is where the heart is, and most seniors’ hearts are set on remaining at home throughout the aging process, rather than moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home – nearly 90% of them, according to AARP. And who can blame them? Feeling comfortable in familiar surroundings, having the independence to come and go as you desire, experiencing the freedom to choose whatever meals you want, and eat them whenever and wherever you want – these abilities are simply priceless.

But although it sounds ideal in theory, there are a number of concerns to be addressed as well:

  • Will the senior be safe?
  • How will he or she get around when driving, or even walking, becomes difficult?
  • What happens if the senior becomes ill or injured and no one’s nearby to help?

Thankfully, it is possible for California seniors to remain safe and well cared for at home, with a little thought and planning. These suggestions can assist you in taking the necessary precautions to ensure your senior loved one is prepared for these needs and any others, now and in the years to come:

  • Assess the home, both inside and out, from the perspective of the senior’s safety. Check to make sure:
    • Grab bars are in place near the bathtub and toilet.
    • Throw rugs and other tripping hazards are removed.
    • There’s plenty of lighting, including in hallways and stairways.
    • Commonly used items are within easy reach.
    • Emergency numbers are posted in a prominent location.
  • Put together a transportation plan, so it will be ready to implement when driving is no longer an option:
    • Look into public transportation options that are available and easily accessible.
    • Create a list of those the senior can rely on for help with transportation: friends, family members, neighbors, religious organizations, local senior centers, Visiting Angels, etc.
  • Provide the senior with technology to use in an emergency to call for help when alone, such as a PERS (personal emergency response system).

Keep in mind that the best way to ensure seniors remain safe and well cared for at home is by partnering with a professional in-home care agency, such as Visiting Angels. Our caregivers are trained and have experience in providing the very best senior care in California, including personal care services, transportation, meal preparation, and companionship, and are available for as much or as little care as needed.

Our first step is to create an individualized care plan to address the senior’s specific needs and wishes, and then we continuously monitor that plan and modify as needs change – ensuring that the senior remains safe and is able to live life to the fullest, where it’s most comfortable: right at home. Contact us any time at 800-969-0499 for more senior care tips or to get started with in-home care for your senior loved one.