Posts Tagged ‘home health care’

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  • Taking outdated, damaged, or improperly stored medications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.

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.

How Much Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

March 10th, 2017

How Much Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), hundreds of thousands of people in America are living with it – approximately 400,000 people to be exact, and of that, 86 percent list fatigue as the leading symptom of the disease. The cause of MS is not known; it is not contagious or known to be directly passed down from one family member to another, but factors that may play a role include the following:

  • Gender – Women are affected more than two times as often as men
  • Age – The majority of people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50
  • Geography – Most people with multiple sclerosis live in temperate environments
  • Ethnic background – Those with Caucasian origin are at a greater risk

It is thought that multiple sclerosis symptoms occur when an immune system attack affects myelin, the protective insulation encompassing nerve fibers of the central nervous system. For individuals with MS, myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of toughened sclerotic tissue. Some underlying nerve fibers are permanently severed, and the damage manifests in multiple places within the central nervous system — providing the disease with its name.

While no cure for multiple sclerosis has been discovered yet, a few FDA-approved drugs are available for the long-term treatment of MS. These drugs have been shown to lower the number and severity of MS flare-ups, and possibly postpone disease progression. Additionally, numerous therapeutic and technological advances are assisting those with MS to control symptoms.

If you live in the Fremont, Sunnyvale or San Jose, CA area, contact Visiting Angels to find out how our senior caregivers can help a person with multiple sclerosis feel empowered, motivated and connected to others and live his or her best life. Feel free to call us anytime at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont, or 408-610-9996 in San Jose or review our in-home and respite-care services online.

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.

4 Common Questions About Getting Home Health Care

January 13th, 2016

home health careYou need to find outside help for your loved one, but where do you start? What should you look for and what questions do you ask? It’s not unusual to feel a bit intimidated or unsure of the process when you’re in this position. There are many issues to consider, ranging from if your loved one can afford to pay for in home care to if your loved one qualifies for outside assistance or if there are other options you aren’t aware of.

At Visiting Angels, we field questions like these all the time, and we offer you the following answers to help you on your journey:

  1. Is my loved one eligible for home care? Anyone is eligible for home care services for which one privately pays a fee. Eligibility does come into play, however, if you are looking for help paying for care from any source other than private funds. Elder law attorneys and estate planners can be very helpful when planning for the payment of long-term care. Most states have Area Agencies on Aging that also provide help understanding eligibility for community-based services.
  2. What about Medicare? It is a common misconception that Medicare will pay for long-term care needs, when in fact the opposite is true. Medicare is health insurance coverage provided by the United States government for people over age 65 that covers skilled medical care; it does not customarily cover assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming. Some benefits may be available for short-term home health care, but only if certain conditions are met.
  3. How can I pay for home care? There are multiple ways to fund in-home care, including retirement savings such as pensions and life insurance policies or long-term care insurance. Talk to a financial advisor and Visiting Angels to come up with a solid plan for affordable care.

We are trained to understand the ins and outs of in-home care and healthcare service eligibility. By asking us your questions, we can help you make an informed decision and lay to rest any concerns about in-home care that you may have.

If your loved one lives in Santa Clara or Alameda County, we’re here for you and your loved ones whenever you need us. Contact us any time at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont or use our web form. We’re happy to help!