Posts Tagged ‘senior health’

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  • Taking outdated, damaged, or improperly stored medications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.

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.

Home Care and Diabetes Care Go Hand in Hand

November 25th, 2015

Home Care and Diabetes Care Go Hand in HandCaring for diabetes is an ongoing, daily process. Ignoring your diabetes care plan can lead to complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetic coma, blindness, kidney disease or amputation. The home care professionals at Visiting Angels of Sunnyvale and Fremont understand that constant health management can be overwhelming and stressful, and it can be difficult to manage your diabetes on your own. If you or a loved one needs help keeping up with diabetes care, hire an in-home caregiver to assist. Here are a few ways our caregivers can help:

  • Foot sores are common issues for people with diabetes, and if they aren’t cared for quickly, they can develop into major problems. A senior with reduced vision may not notice a small foot sore, but an in-home caregiver can inspect the diabetic’s feet daily, provide proper wound care and coordinate care with the physician to ensure that proper treatment is followed in order to help the senior heal.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet is a major part of diabetes management. An in-home caregiver can plan and prepare tasty, diabetic-appropriate meals to help diabetics keep up with proper nutrition.
  • Exercise is another important part of diabetes management. Caregivers can assist with a physician-approved exercise program and help them stay motivated.
  • An in-home caregiver can provide reminders for glucose testing and can schedule regular physician checkups.

Coping with diabetes requires a reasonably high level of cognitive or mental function, given the need to follow a treatment plan that includes diet, exercise, and medication components as well as blood sugar testing and other self-care measures. Additionally, those with diabetes have a higher incidence of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, making it even harder for them to perform multiple, complex tasks. Even normal memory loss associated with aging can impact how well a person deals with diabetes.

If you have a loved one who is struggling to manage his or her diabetes, contact the caregivers at Visiting Angels in Fremont and Sunnyvale. We can help get you on the track to better health.

Get the Non-Sugar-Coated Facts About Diabetes

November 18th, 2015

DiabetesThere are many myths about diabetes floating around out there. You may have heard some of the more common ones, like eating too much sugar causes diabetes or people who have diabetes can’t eat sweets. The home care professionals at Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale want to clear up some of these misconceptions. The following are some facts about diabetes and diabetes care:

  1. Diabetes is a serious disease that requires regular care and monitoring. While many people with diabetes are able to live normal, healthy lives, diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Maintaining a healthy diet and monitoring glucose levels regularly is essential.
  2. Being overweight does not necessarily mean you will develop diabetes. Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, but most overweight people never develop it. Additionally, many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight.
  3. Eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes. It is important to eat a healthy diet, but simply eating too much sugar is unlikely to cause diabetes. Diabetes actually begins when something disrupts the body’s ability to turn food that is eaten into energy.
  4. People with diabetes can still eat sweets. If eaten in moderation as part of a healthy meal plan or combined with exercise, sweets can be eaten by diabetics. However, diabetics must take their insulin prescription regularly as recommended to ensure that the sugar will be absorbed by the body and does not stay in the blood.
  5. People with diabetes do not need to eat foods advertised as “diabetic foods”. A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” foods typically do not offer any special benefits. In fact, most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are generally expensive, and can have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

Practicing good diabetes management is vital for diabetics, and having an in-home caregiver to help with medication reminders, monitor blood glucose levels and provide early recognition of potential complications can make all the difference in someone’s diabetic care. Call Visiting Angels today to schedule a home care aide who is well trained to assist a diabetic patient with maintaining good health.

Diabetes-Related Eye Conditions: Tips to Help

November 12th, 2015

Diabetes-Related Eye Conditions: Tips to HelpThe eyes are the windows to the soul, but they are also one of the most vulnerable parts of the body when it comes to being affected by diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes, leading to a number of different vision issues.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the following are the top eye conditions that diabetics should be aware of:

  • Glaucoma: Since diabetics are at a 40% higher risk of contracting glaucoma, it’s imperative to be screened regularly. The risk also increases with age and with the length of time a person has had diabetes. There are medications available to reduce pressure in the eye, and surgical options as well.
  • Cataracts: As with glaucoma, the risk of cataracts is more common in those with diabetes as well – 60% higher. Diabetics also typically are diagnosed with cataracts at a younger age than those without diabetes, and the progression is generally faster, too. Mild cataracts can be managed through wearing sunglasses and glare-control lenses, while more developed cataracts may need to be removed.
  • Retinopathy: This broad term covers all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes, including nonproliferative retinopathy (the most common form, in which pouches form in the back of the eye) and proliferative retinopathy (where blood vessels close off due to damage, resulting in new, weakened vessels leaking blood). A number of treatments are available for both conditions, and as with other eye conditions, the sooner they’re treated, the better the prognosis.

People with diabetes should schedule appointments with their eye doctor at least once a year so that any problem can be detected early and treated. Additionally, staying in control of blood glucose levels can help slow any damage to the blood vessels in the eyes.

Visiting Angels’ caregivers can help diabetics monitor their glucose levels, develop healthy meal plans, provide transportation to and from eye appointments, and more. Contact our team in Sunnyvale or Fremont today to learn how we can help your loved one live a healthier life with diabetes.

Startling Link Between Socialization and Health

July 20th, 2015

social healthThere’s nothing like the warm feeling of spending time with a close friend or family member, and there’s no question that a friendly visit with a loved one can boost your mood and morale. But surprisingly, socialization – or lack of it – can also impact our physical health.

Staying Social Reduces Risk of Disability

A Rush University Medical Center study reported higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. Results showed that a person who reported a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living than a person with a low level of social activity, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility.

Marked Reduction in Depression and Pain for Those with Greater Social Support

The Journal of Pain published a study that showed social support reduces pain and depression. A similar study showing the connection between social support and physical symptoms was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Be Social and Live Longer

Being socially active can contribute to an increase in the quality and length of life.
Researchers in Australia followed senior citizens for 10 years. In people 70 years old and older, the risk of dying decreased by 20 percent when people had a strong network of friends. Having social interactions with friends provided a greater effect than interactions with family members.
University College London followed 6,500 British people over the age of 52 from 2004 to 2012.Those that lacked social interaction were 26 percent more likely to die during the period than those with active social lives.

Staying social as we age can be a challenge, but a professional home care agency, like Visiting Angels, can provide an easy solution to the debilitating effects of isolation. Our services are available on an hourly basis or through live-in, around-the-clock care and companionship. Contact us at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont to get started!