11.14.10

Preventing Senior Falls

Posted in arthritis, Assisted Living, care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Senior Citizen at 9:54 am by admin

Possibly one of the most preventable yet sometimes life-threatening incidents seniors face is falling down. Brittle bones, unstable balance, slower reaction time all contribute to the hazardous nature of an incident that in the younger years was not such a big deal. For many seniors, a simple fall can be a big time set back for even an active senior. Healing usually takes longer and other complications can arise when you are immobilized.

My own active Grandmother took a fall in her favorite restaurant, broke her hip, and ended up wasting away in a nursing home where she was exposed to a secondary infection that weakened her dramatically and ultimately ended her life. While not every fall ends in severe injury or death, any serious fall takes its toll on a senior’s health. Something to consider especially since many senior falls are preventable.
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Providing Steadying Support
The answer to preventing falls may be as simple as using a cane for walking to help stabilize your balance or even just taking the arm of someone steadier on their feet. Many seniors balk at the idea of using a cane. It took some convincing to talk my own father into using such a support device. It wasn’t until we found one that suited his sense of style and individuality, that he finally warmed up to the idea. No cane-like walking device would do; he chose a six-foot, hand-carved walking staff with built-in flute on the top end. Whatever floats your boat, right? It provide just enough support to keep him steady. Having to shift to a walker later on was a harder sell, but he liked the idea of a walker that converted into a seat. Again, the dual purpose device appealed, and it gave him a place to get the rest he needed to stay steadier on his feet. Walkers designed with a personalized pocket storage system might do the trick for someone else.

Making the pathways smooth and clear
One of the biggest causes of falls often lies in the senior’s own home. Steps, uneven ground, obstructed pathways, and loose throw rugs are often the biggest culprits of senior falls. Replacing steps with ramps or adding grab bars and hand rails can make a huge difference in safety. Putting in smooth pathways in outside areas further reduces falling risks. Removing throw rugs and thick carpets and replacing them with rubber mats, or no carpeting at all is a quick fix. Making clear paths through the house is an absolute must. Removing stacks of stuff, low decor, and rickety furniture that will not safely offer support if grabbed will hugely reduce the senior’s risk of falling. Adding proper lighting such as motion sensor lights or night lights particularly for nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen will also go a long way to keeping seniors on their feet.

Caution when out and about
In the hustle and bustle, seniors often forget physical limitations and caution when they’re out and about. Having someone along to ofter a steadying arm and watch for wet floor signs, uneven ground, slick surfaces, traffic, or obstructions maybe the best excuse ever for making most outings a social event with a friend or family member. Remembering that senior reaction time might be a bit slower than it used to be might be added motivation for caution when venturing out into the fast lane of the grocery store or busy sidewalk.

Taking these few simple steps to preventing senior falls may be one of the simplest yet worthwhile things you can do for yourself or the senior you love. It is family elderly care, and it is worth your while.

If you need TX assisted living, or senior housing in any other state, submit your area information in the box at the top of this page.

10.09.10

Residential Care: A New Trend in Elder Care

Posted in Assisted Living, care at home, Caregiver, dementia, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care at 11:47 am by admin

We have written a lot of articles on this site about the many different forms that elderly care can take. In the past twenty years, the assisted living model has gained incredible momentum and popularity, partly because nursing homes did not fit every senior. It wasn’t a good fit.

Today, there is a new form of elder care that is gaining traction quickly all around the country for the same reason: the traditional assisted living model does not fit everybody. That model includes a large number of seniors living in a complex of some sort, and spending lots of time together. But what if your loved one is not one for crowds? What if he or she is shy? How can this possibly be a good fit? That is where residential senior homes come in to save the day.

What is Residential Care?

Residential care homes represent a new wave in elder care, ant they provide all that traditional assisted living provides in terms of care, but they give it in a family type setting. What could be more natural for a person who has spent his whole life in a residential home?
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How does it work? It is pretty simple, really. It starts when a person or a family decides to open up their home to seniors who need full time care. The caregivers often include a registered nurse, but not always. These caregivers can help the resident with whatever needs he or she has: nutrition, laundry, mobility, you name it.

Caregivers have to be licensed by the state, of course, in order to run a residential senior home. But it still pays for you to do your homework and get references if you want to put your loved one in this type of setting. Prices will nearly always be cheaper than a traditional assisted living environment, thankfully, because some of the more expensive amenities will not be there. There is no cafeteria or ball room… no community garden, and no knitting classes. All of those are things that appeal to many seniors, but they also completely turn off others.

If your loved one needs specialized care for Alzheimer’s or dementia, make sure you look into that, because some residential caregivers specialize in memory care. Just be prepared to pay a lot more money for this. Memory care requires a constant level of oversight that most seniors simply do not need. But the point is this: the kinds of care in residential living will depend on the caregiver. So if your loved one has some sort of unique medical needs, make sure you look around, and you can probably find someone who will be able to meet that need in this setting.

Does Medicare cover residential care? Sometimes. But some caregivers ask families to pay without medicare, at least for the first couple years of care.

10.08.10

The Benefits of Adult Day Care

Posted in Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home at 11:21 am by admin

In the last article, we talked about the feelings of guilt and fear that come with choosing a nursing home for our parents. It is a tough decision to put your loved one in a full time elder care facility, not just because of the things we think could happen (neglect, abuse, etc.), but because we can’t shake that feeling that we ought to be the ones caring for them. After all, they took care of us, didn’t they?

The problem is not a lack of love in most cases. The problem is that, while many of us really would like to care for our parents at home, we have full time jobs. We have kids that need to be shuttled to basketball practice. We are constantly on the go. And if your parents need supervision because of medical problems, you realize that you cannot offer that. Not full time anyway. Your parents might be retired, but you, on the other hand, are swamped.
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I want to present another option to you that you maybe have not thought about before, although we have written on it in the past: adult day care. Now, adult day care is a pretty new phenomenon in the elder care industry, but you can bet it will be growing in the coming years. Here’s how it works: Suppose your mother lives with you in your house. You can help her with her medications at night. You can cook for her, do her laundry, help her stay active. The grandkids can spend time with her and lift her spirits… And then you can go to bed. In the morning, as you are packing up the kids for school, packing your bag for the gym, and sorting out the grocery list, you can bring your mom with you.

After you drop the kids off, you can take your mom to her other caregivers: the adult day care center staff. These care centers are sometimes attached to full time nursing homes or assisted living facilities, but not always. They are often next to parks, or else they have open outdoor leisure spaces, and they will have nurses right there on staff, should you need them.

The staff of the adult day care will make sure your mom is cared for. They will feed her, hang out with her, let her spend time with other seniors who are in the same position as she is. And they will make sure she doesn’t wander off (an important fact for those dealing with Alzheimer’s especially.)

The benefits of adult day care are vast:

  1. It’s cheaper! Because your mom is not living there, she does not need a bedroom. Which means she does not need a bathroom. Which means she does not need to pay rent. She is living at your house, remember? And that is alot cheaper than paying out massive checks every month to a full time Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility.
  2. She still gets to be a part of your life
  3. The Grandkids can spend time with her
  4. You don’t have to worry about her being lonely
  5. Your life does not have to end
  6. You have other caregivers that you can compare notes with, including nurses
  7. Your mom can socialize with people her age every day
  8. She feels valued!

If you love your parent, and if you desire to care for her, but cannot do it full time, you should look into the prospect of adult day care. I have a feeling you will all be glad you did.

09.30.10

Hospice Care Doesn’t Mean Giving up on Faith

Posted in Elder Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:52 pm by admin

What happens when the doctors have done everything they can do? What happens when Elderly Care has run its course, but nothing has changed. What do you do when the medical staff has thrown up their hands and said “we see no way out of this, and we think it is time you put your parent in hospice care”?

These hopeless are, for many, the enemies of faith. How can a religious family–whether Christian or otherwise–hold on to their faith that their senior loved one can get better while at the same time discontinuing the only medical care that is sustaining them?

From the outside, it might seem like an impossible situation. And indeed, it might be. Nobody will live forever, after all. But millions of people believe in a God that can heal and sometimes does. I am one of them. And their is a very real tension for many of them: if we put our parent or grandparent in hospice care, does that signal the end of our faith? Does it mean, in other words, that we no longer believe that God is able to make the situation better? Does it mean we are giving up?
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Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice Care does not mean “a place to give up.” It is a different type of care where professionals no longer focus on curing the ailment. Rather, they focus on different types of discomfort: pain management, emotional wellness, and spiritual readiness. Hospices employ caring nurses who specialize in taking care of a patience physical comfort, and ministers who can communicate peace and love in the midst of their situations.

My father is a full-time chaplain at a hospice in Texas. As a minister, he fully believes in (and has personally experienced) highly unusual instances of immediate, unexplained healing. He believes in a God that can instantly make situations change, and diseases disappear. So why does he work in a hospice? Because he loves people, and he knows that this physical life is not all their is.

Hospices like his work with entire families, not just elderly patients. They help to foster a sense of family closeness, whether in the midst of onsite hospice care, or in a nursing home, or at home. And if the patient does pass on, they can help them through the grieving process. It is a much more holistic type of care than any other type of elderly care.

Keeping Faith While Letting Go

So how is committing your loved one to Hospice Care not giving up faith? It’s really simple, actually. When you believe God can heal, then you know he can heal a person in hospice care just as well as he can in intensive medical care. How is it giving up to say “Okay, God: the doctors can’t do anything else. So I guess it’s up to you now”?

Family members who might have to say goodbye to grandma or grandpa can rest assured that a choice for hospice care can still be a choice that is full of love and of continued faith. It does not mean “I do not believe.” Instead, it means “I believe. And I love.”

09.26.10

Respite Care Services

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:06 am by admin

Caregivers take on a challenging task when they decide to care for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. As the disease progresses, caregivers and family members are often overwhelmed by the changes that often happen in their loved one. The emotional and physical strain of caring for someone you love with these progressively increasing memory and physical challenges can make continuing care at home as sole caregiver difficult or even impossible. Because of tendencies to wander or forget safety precautions, many Alzheimer’s or dementia patients are unable to be left alone for any length of time.
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These caregivers providing full-time care for their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s and dementia are extremely vulnerable to burnout. The good news? There are services available to provide respite care. Respite care centers often specialize in providing short-term care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia to relieve their caregivers. Respite care services are often used when care is needed for longer than a day or during weekend days and evening hours when an Adult Day Care Center is closed.
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Many caregivers are hesitant to take advantage or Respite Care because they feel uncomfortable placing their loved one in a strangers care, or removing them from their familiar home surroundings. While these concerns are understandable, respite care could very well be the only way some caregivers will be able to continue to care for their loved one for as long as possible. Respite Care Centers are staffed with professionals. Often visiting the Respite Center and meeting staff members can alleviate these concerns.

These centers provide caregivers a much-needed respite which can prevent burnout and at the same time give your loved one quality care by professionals who will ensure their safety. Taking advantage of Respite Care could prevent caregiver burnout and extend the length of time you are able to care for your loved one in the comfort of your own home.
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09.25.10

Choosing the Right Wheelchair for You

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Senior Citizen at 12:58 am by admin

Most people trust their doctors to give them just the right kind of prescription for medications, but most doctors and patients don’t give wheelchair selection a second thought. Many insurances require a doctor’s prescription in order for wheelchairs or other mobility aids to be covered by insurance. Often the doctors prescription note reads “Wheelchair.” Often patients end up with whatever insurance is willing to pay for whether or not the device suits their needs or lifestyle. There are a vast variety of wheelchairs and other walking support devices designed to fit different body types, physical limitations, and personal preferences. With a little foresight and some professional input, you can select just the right wheel chair that will make your life easier and more comfortable.
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Think about it. How much time will you spend in the wheel chair daily? Would a pressure-relieving cushion or other padded accessories and adjustable back settings make you more comfortable for long-term use?

What activities would you want to be able to participate in from your wheelchair? Racer-style wheelchairs are specially designed for speed. Do you need a motorized wheelchair to get around the house or around town?
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Where will you be using your wheelchair? A wheel chair used primarily in the home will look different than one you will need to transport frequently. If you need a wheelchair most often while on the go, you may prefer a lighter, more compact and foldable wheelchair. Regular use on rough terrain may call for thicker tires.

What physical limitations or challenges do you have and what accessories would make your life easier? Break extensions, swivel seating, electric wheelchair, joystick steering, and other accessories may be necessary to accommodate physical limitations. Specialized chairs suited exactly to your physical needs can promote independence and comfort. Wheelchairs are designed to either provide full mobility support or significant assistance, it’s crucial to find one that is just right for you.

Since most General Practitioners are not experts in physical medicine, it would be a good idea to seek some advice on the proper wheelchair from another more specialized professional involved in your care such as a physical or occupational therapist. Another option would be to visit a local wheelchair clinic which are usually staffed by trained professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Rehabilitation Technology specialists.

Once you’ve decided which chair will best suit your needs, you may need to revisit your regular doctor to obtain a specified prescription in order for insurance to cover the equipment. If you will be spending a significant amount of time in the chair, or if you require more specialized accessories and fittings, the expense is usually higher. Most insurance companies will require a detailed prescription from your physician to provide coverage for additional accessories or customization.
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Choosing a wheelchair is like choosing a car or mattress; take the time to find the one that suits your needs and lifestyle. Not all insurances require you to consult with a rehabilitation professional, but it is highly advisable. These professionals will ask questions about your needs, daily activities, and preferences, allow you to “test drive” several chairs with accessories to find your perfect fit. Getting a professional evaluation is worth the time in energy if you end up with the right wheelchair that will give you the freedom, comfort, and independence you desire.

For more helpful tips on eldercare issues, visit the homepage.

08.23.10

Massage Therapy for Seniors

Posted in Assisted Living, Home Health Care at 11:07 am by admin

Massage therapy can give elderly citizens numerous benefits to minimize loneliness and boost their sense of wellness. This is often an overlooked option, which is unfortunate, because there simply aren’t many ways to help a person do that. Seniors in nursing homes are especially susceptible to decreased mobility and extreme loneliness, let alone those who are battling arthritis. In any of these cases, the art of massage therapy can be a wonderful gift.
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As age increases, activity decreases. We all know that. But we don’t often consider all the ailments that can arrive as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle. Massage therapy has the potential to minimize these affects. So why don’t more seniors receive massage therapy? Maybe the problem is that most people don’t understand it. That was the conclusion of one study by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Everyone has heard of massage therapy, but too many people have weird misconceptions of it, so they never consider it as a viable option for themselves, let alone for a loved one.

More impressively, recent studies now claim that massage therapy can be a tremendous help with Alzheimer’s patients. These seniors have proven to be less agitated and more calm. Their heart rate stays steadier, and they don’t have as many outbreaks. Why? Probably because there is real, tangible (yet untangle) power in human touch. Not only is it a great benefit to have an actual therapist massaging your sore muscles, but it helps to have a human make some kind of physical contact. This is most obvious in cases where orphans have been denied human touch, and their development is significantly stunted. Similarly, when an Alzheimer’s patient is calmed by the touch of another human, something just… happens.

And in regular cases with people whose mind and memory are intact, massage therapy has still shown tremendous benefits, namely energy boosts and stress reduction.

But even if you don’t buy into the intangible benefits of personal contact, you simply cannot deny the help a therapist can give to an arthritis patient, or someone losing muscle coordination. When you add it all up, massage therapy is a valid medical option that more people need to consider, especially for the seniors in their lives.
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Thankfully, more and more assisted living facilities are realizing the potential power in massage therapy. In some places, it is a continual option for residents. In other facilities, residents can make an appointment with a licensed therapist. Either way, if you are considering a change to senior housing, this is something you will want to ask about. A weekly check in with a therapist turn around a miserable week in thirty minutes flat. Even gardening can’t do that!

No matter what, aging will be difficult, and aches and pains will increase. That will never change. But if we could dull that some; if we could squeeze out the stress and loneliness and infuse a little bit of happy health, wouldn’t that be worth it?

08.04.10

Seniors, Insurance, and Financial Security

Posted in Home Health Care, Insurance, Nursing home, Nursing home alternative at 4:00 pm by admin

American seniors who are financially savvy no longer keep their money in a sock under the mattress as in days gone by, but with a shaky economy, some may wonder if their hard-earned money’s still safe in the bank. My grandmother was one of those savvy seniors. She made it through the Great Depression without losing her shirt. Her advice rings in my ears now, “Divide up your assets in a variety of banks and investments, and make sure your bank is FDIC insured.“
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I believe my grandmother’s advice still rings true. Here are a few things senior citizens should know about FDIC insurance.
FDIC insured banks give their customers a guaranteed peace of mind that their hard-earned dollars will be safe in case of economic crisis that would cause the bank to fail. The FDIC has temporarily raised its maximum insured amount per depositor from $100,000 to $250,000 until January 1, 2014 when all account categories except IRAs and certain other retirement accounts will return to the previous maximum of $100,000.

This means that if you and your family has less than the maximum in all of your deposit accounts at the same FDIC insured bank, your money is fully insured. And if you have accounts in different insured banks, each bank insures those accounts up to the maximum. Meaning? Make sure your funds don’t exceed that maximum in any one bank. Divide your money into separately chartered banks, because each bank is separately insured. Your funds are fully insured by each bank up to the maximum even if the banks are affiliated (belong to the same parent company).

It’s possible that you may qualify for more than the maximum coverage (currently $250,000) at one insured bank if you have deposit accounts in different ownership categories. The most common consumer account categories are single ownership accounts, joint ownership accounts, self-directed retirement accounts (IRAs and Keogh accounts for which you choose how and where the money is deposited), and revocable trust accounts (the funds in this account pass to one or more named beneficiaries when the account owner dies). Deposits in different ownership categories are also separately insured. So rather than dividing funds among different banks, you could simply separate funds into different accounts that have separate ownership categories. So your single ownership account that exceeds the maximum coverage could be split off into another account or trust in the same bank that falls under a different ownership category. For example, you could funnel some of your funds into an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or open a joint account with your spouse or another family member.
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A reduction of FDIC insurance coverage is possible in the case of a death or divorce in the family. This means that if two people own a joint account and one dies, the surviving owner might need to restructure his accounts so that he doesn’t exceed the maximum limit as the owner of two single ownership accounts within the same insured bank. The FDIC rules allow a 6-month grace period after a depositor’s death to give survivors or estate executives time to restructure accounts. But once the 6 months are over, you run the risk of having funds that are no longer insured by your bank. Also, check with your bank if you have a trust account, because for certain trust accounts, there is no grace period in the event of a beneficiary’s death or divorce.

Bank failures are fortunately fairly rare in this day and age, largely due to the strict financial strength and stability requirements for banking institutions to qualify as an FDIC insured institution. But in the rare instances of FDIC insured bank failure, no depositor has lost even a penny of FDIC-insured funds. If your bank did happen to go under, FDIC insurance would cover your deposit accounts completely including principal and accrued interest up to the maximum covered. If you did have deposits exceeding the maximum covered, you still might be able to recover some, or rarely, all of your uninsured funds. But this is usually a risk not worth taking.

In the unlikely event your bank does fail, the FDIC would issue payment promptly to you, the depositor, usually within a few days, and often by the next business day after your bank closes. Some competing insurance agencies have spread rumors that the FDIC doesn’t have adequate reserves to make payouts or that it takes years to make payments to insured depositors. This simply isn’t true. Recently the FDIC has increased its premiums for insured banks to ensure adequate reserves if there should be wide-spread bank failures.

Ultimately it is up to you to know what accounts and funds are insured by your bank, so ask! In economically unstable times, your best defense is to be aware and to make sure your hard-earned savings are protected.

02.15.10

Home Modifications For The Elderly

Posted in Home Health Care at 11:30 am by admin

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Home Modifications

So you’ve decided to care for your loved one at home instead of a Texas elder care facility, but you may be concerned about how to make it work. Will he be able to navigate our home safely? What if I can’t help him get into bed or in and out of the shower? Home modifications, simple or complex, depending on your loved one’s physical limitations or medical needs, may be the ticket to keeping him at home longer, providing a safe environment, and maintaining maximum independence and dignity. 

 

Making modifications to your home may sound overwhelming and expensive, but may be as simple as rearranging the furniture, removing loose rugs, and installing night lights between bedroom and bathroom. These simple changes could go a long way to prevent a potentially dangerous fall. 

 

The following tips and checklists will help you take stock of your home, your loved one’s needs, and sort through needed modifications:

 

Consider your loved one’s mobility issues, visual or physical limitations and challenges in everyday functions in your home. Does he need assistance getting out of bed? Is he having difficulty navigating your current furniture arrangement? If he reaches out to steady himself, will he have something sturdy to grab? Is he making trips to the bathroom at night? Simply tracking these kinds of things and other potential challenges for a day can be tremendously helpful in identifying and prioritizing necessary home modifications. Allowing your loved one to be a part of this process will help you identify problems  and challenges you might overlook.

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Here’s a checklist to get you and your loved one started on identifying his or her physical challenges in the home:
  • Do you need assistance getting into or out of bed?
  • Are you able to navigate getting to the bathroom during the night?
  • Do you feel comfortable getting up and down from the toilet?
  • Are faucets easy to turn on and off?
  • Do you feel comfortable in getting in and out of the shower or bathtub?
  • Do you have visual limitations or depth perception difficulties?
  • Are all areas of the home appropriately lighted?
  • Do you have difficulties with self-feeding?
  • Are things you need arranged within your reach?
  • Are windows, doors, cabinets easy for you to open and shut?
  • Are light switches within easy reach?
  • Are all rooms easily accessible?
  • Is the phone in easy reach and at an appropriate volume?
  • Are stairs easy and safe to navigate?
  • Are all entrances easy to navigate?
  • Is the furniture arranged to provide clear pathways and support as needed?
  • Are outside pathways smooth and easy to navigate?
Complete a simple safety check of your home. Make careful observations as you walk through the house room by room during both daylight and nighttime hours. 
  1. a.  Check for adequate lighting in all rooms, outdoor walkways, and hallways. Note any extra lighting needed: night light, noise-response lighting (the Clapper), brighter bulb, new lighting installation, or motion sensor lights
  2. b.  Make note of any changes needed to provide clear pathways, safe and easy access, and balance supports especially for outdoor walkways, entrances, hallways, and stairways: rearrange furniture, remove obstructions or loose rugs, provide additional seating, install non-slip surface, mark level changes with colored or reflective tape, add handrails, install ramp or stair lift
  3. c. Evaluate each room for functionality, potential hazards, or physical obstacles. Consider appropriate solutions.
bedroom getting in and out of bed – bed risers, grab bars, side rails,  Hoyer lift (manual or hydraulic), adjustable hospital-style bed

 

accessing closet  - reachable storage, clothing rods, shoe hangers, accessory organizers

 

accessing dresser  – easy open drawers

 

getting to the bathroom – portable commode

 

keeping things accessible from bed  - hospital-style bedside table (can be raised or lowered, wheeled, or locked), book rack

 

independent dressing  – long handled shoe horn, button hook, velcro to replace buttons, extra seating

 

bathroom getting in and out of the shower – grab bars, non-slip mat, shower chair, walk-in shower and bath tub

 

using faucets – set water heater temperature to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent accidental scalding, replace hard to turn faucet controls with more manageable handles.

 

sitting down and getting up from the toilet – raised toilet seat, grab bar

 

stairs potential fall hazard - make sure stairs are wide enough for foot and not too steep

 

mark edges of steps with bright tape or reflective strips position railing on both sides use safety gate at top of stairs install stair lift.

 

Kitchen 

accessibility – check for well marked appliances (stove settings), place commonly used items in easy to reach cupboards, install easy open drawers, purchase or make your own modified utensils (wrapped in foam for better grip), sturdy arm chair

 

Living Room

clear path - rearrange furniture, remove fragile items, and unsteady furniture
close, organized storage solutions – sturdy stand with place for remote, magazines, books, drinks, etc.
 
Additional wheel chair modifications:
  • ramps
  • lifts
  • smooth pathways
  • wide doorways
  • wide hallways 
  • electric door opener
  • table, counters, sinks, adjusted to appropriate height
Other handy accommodations:
  • reach extender
  • walker
  • cane
  • walking stick

 

Some of these home modifications may be accomplished with a quick trip to Walmart or Lowe’s. For other medical equipment needs, check out Edge Medical Supply located at 1331 S Beckham Ave. in Tyler. Used medical supplies such as walkers may also be located in local thrift stores or on Craig’s List. Other more elaborate home modifications may require a friend or even a contractor to help you install them. 

Financial Assistance

Always check with your insurance to find out what equipment and modifications they will cover. For installation or construction not covered by insurance, check with local non-profit volunteer organizations such as Faith in Action or Habitat for Humanity. Many of these organizations have developed relationships within the community with contractors, builders, and handymen, or have other qualified volunteers to help with such needs.

 

Jack Wilson, COO
Habitat for Humanity of Smith County, Inc.
822 W. Front Street
Tyler, TX 75702
coo@smithcountyhabitat.org 


 

  +1 (903) 595-6630  

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For more information on assistance for home repair or modifications for the elderly please contact 
The Area Agency on Aging of East Texas 
3800 Stone Rd
Kilgore, TX 75662


 

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or online www.etcog.org

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11.15.09

Caregiving Toward Independence

Posted in Home Health Care at 1:10 am by admin

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How to Help your Dependent Senior Live more Independently

 

 
 
Transitioning from family relationships into the roles of caregiver and care recipient can dramatically change the relational dynamics. A common mistake most caregivers make is doing too much for their loved one. Encouraging your loved one to maintain independence as much as possible while maintaining reasonable expectations will relieve your own burden, improve her sense of dignity, and encourage her physical mobility. Here are a few ways you can do this.
 
  • Maintain reasonable expectations. Expect your loved one to participate in her own care as much as she is able. It’s tempting to rush in and help immediately, but unless your loved one is in trouble, giving wait time can convince her she can handle the task at hand herself. This can be difficult especially if your loved one is feeling helpless or frustrated with her loss of ability, but successful independence even in little tasks will add to her overall sense of autonomy. Encourage and applaud every success and effort.
 
  • Provide something for your loved one to tend or care for like a pet or a plant. Some studies have shown that having something depend on you can prolong life. Just be sure she is really able to provide the necessary care and it will not become another task you need to add to your to-do list.

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  • Rearranging the home and using assistive devices may help your loved one move around with greater ease independently without the use of traditional Texas elderly care like assisted living, and nursing homes. Move her to a bedroom closer to the bathroom, add a hand railing in the hallway, a chair lift on the stairs, a shower chair or raised toilet seat in the bathroom. Even the simpler devices, like a button hook, or velcro closures on clothing and shoes could make a major difference in allowing your loved one to dress herself. 
 
  • Planning outings and social interaction is essential to preventing depression and feelings of isolation, or worthlessness. Allow your loved one to choose locations, and schedule regular visits with family and friends.  Asking them to put a date on the calendar and following up with a phone call a day before is a great way to make sure they remember. 
 
  • Encourage good hygiene and personal maintenance, such as shaving and regular hair cuts. This is important to your loved one’s sense of dignity.
 
  • Regular exercise will go a long way to maintaining mobility and independence. Consistency is more important than intensity or length of workout. Work toward increasing large muscle movement, but recognize that even small movements on a regular basis will help your loved one to maintain and improve overall muscle tone, allowing her to do more on her own.
 
  • Allowing your loved one to make her own choices as much as possible will give her a sense of control and autonomy. Encourage her to choose bed time, clothing, hobbies, reading, entertainment, and activities. 
 
These simple choices and responsibilities can make a huge difference in the life of an aging loved one. They can help fend off the sense of helpless and depression that can so easily creep in.

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