The Top 10 Ways to Prevent Falls in Older Adults

elderly person falling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2014, over 29 million older adults experienced falls in the United States. Of those falls, seven million reported injuries. It is important for older adults and their families to take precautions to prevent fall and avoid injuries. The following are the top 10 ways to prevent falls in older adults:

  • Regular exercise. Exercise like yoga and tai chi can help improve balance while weight-bearing exercises can improve strength. If balance and strength are an issue, your provider may recommend physical therapy.
  • Move slowly. Change positions slowly, allowing time in between each position change to prevent dizziness. Also, pausing before going up or down stairs is beneficial in preventing falls.
  • Seek medical care for dizziness. Dizziness may be the cause of an underlying medical condition and should be worked up by your provider.
  • Review your medications. Have your provider or pharmacist review certain medications that may make you dizzy or drowsy.

There are also environmental causes to consider….

  • Avoid clutter. Avoiding clutter in rooms, especially cluttered floors. This is one of the easiest methods for preventing falls.  
  • Be sure your home is well-lit. Inadequate lighting is a major risk factor for falls. Be sure that narrow hallways, stairs, and bathrooms are well-lit at all times.
  • Install grab bars. Installing grab bars near your shower, tub, and toilet can provide additional support to avoid falls in the bathroom.
  • Use a non-skid bath mat. Using a non-skid bath mat in your shower or tub can prevent falls while the surface is slippery.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes. Shoes with rubber soles allow for comfort and safety by preventing slipping on slick surfaces.
  • Avoid loose clothing. Clothing that drags on the floor or bunches during walking poses a serious risk for falls.

David York Agency has added a new service where a Certified Aging In Place Specialist that can assess your home environment, make safety recommendations, and manage any work that needs to be done from start to finish. If you have any questions or would like more information on ways to prevent fall please contact us today.

Here is a checklist you might find handy –

 

For more information about David York Agencys qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Should I Move My Elderly Parent? by Anita Kamiel, RN, MPS (guest post)

The website Minding Our Elders like one of Anita’s articles so much that they posted it for their followers. 

“Ah.. to this there are no easy answers. There are situations where the need to move seniors from their comfortable home is not altogether apparent, nor are its benefits.

There is a pervasive attitude that moving a senior brings on Relocation Stress Syndrome and Transfer Trauma which describe the ill effects of moving on the elderly which may result in declining health and even fatality. As such, children face the decision of whether to move an elderly parent with trepidation.

There may be ways to keep the senior in their home and familiar surroundings with a bit of elderproofing and home care, but at some point that becomes both risky and burdensome. In terms of a move, questions are: What are the risks? What are the benefits? The whole picture of the senior and their support system must be taken into account.

Continue Reading..

You can also find this published on Anita’s LinkedIn page.

 

5 Qualities That Separate the Best from the Rest in the Eldercare Service Industry

 

qualities eldercare industryCaregivers who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty possess the traits that most people might expect. They demonstrate patience, compassion, and responsibility on a daily basis. However, they also possess five lesser-known caregiver qualities that are instrumental to their success. These qualities include stamina, vibrancy, tolerance, strength, and composure.

Stamina: The Key to Enduring Support

Providing eldercare service requires a person to be supportive every minute of the day. Being in constant support mode is physically and emotionally draining. The most skilled caregivers possess a high degree of stamina.

Vibrancy: Inspiring Happiness and Optimism in Others

Effective caregivers exhibit vibrancy throughout each day. They display energy, passion and excitement even when they are in the midst of a bleak situation. By exhibiting vibrancy, caregivers can inspire senior citizens to find happiness and optimism in their own lives.

Tolerance: Combining Patience and Empathy on a Daily Basis

The most effective caregivers have higher-than-average tolerance levels for just about everything that comes their way. From their ability to look past a childish remark to their efforts to try to understand how the people for whom they are caring may feel, the best caregivers will react only after assessing the full situation, and generally will let many things roll of their shoulders.

Strength: An Illustration of Physical and Mental Fortitude

Sometimes it is easier to maintain physical strength than it is to display mental fortitude. The best caregivers display both physical and mental strength on the job. They are just as adept at handling an emotionally draining situation as they are helping to lift a person for whom they are caring.

Composure: Helping to Instill Serenity in Senior Citizens

When people enter the later chapters of their lives, they are often comforted by serenity. When caregivers effectively maintain their composure in the face of a difficult situation, they help instill a sense of serenity in the senior citizens for whom they care.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

 

The Benefits of Home Healthcare

home healthcare benefits

There often comes the point in our adulthoods when we need to divert more of our attention and resources toward taking care of mom or dad. One commonly considered idea is to move one or both parents into some form of a retirement facility. Many reasons can prompt these considerations, such as health, financial or safety concerns. What many don’t realize until exploring health care options for their loved ones is the sizeable price tag and multitude of options that come with these types of organizations.

Yes, healthcare is expensive for seniors. But, you have options that won’t wipe out your bank account. Before you consider an independent living, semi-independent or dependent living facility you may want to take note of the various benefits of home health care services.

For those battling high blood pressure–not uncommon for seniors–the need for quality home health care can be of life and death importance. High blood pressure creates greater risks for stroke, kidney failure, and other serious issues.

  • Less stress – Being at home is always a more comfortable and peaceful environment than being someplace foreign or new. The advantage of keeping our loved ones feeling relaxed is a great benefit for those fighting high blood pressure.
  • Healthcare expenses – Although it depends on the particular needs of an individual, high blood pressure doesn’t normally require around-the-clock care. Being able to schedule when, how often, and what testing is done can result in considerable savings versus a living facility expense.
  • Overall health – Common sense states that we all–regardless of our age–prefer to live in a place we call home. The comfortable and peaceful environment afforded by home as opposed to a living facility can only promote better health. That, in turn, means the need for less medical attention.

The goal is simple – keep our parents as healthy and happy as long as possible. There have been enough studies done to prove that interaction and human connection make a difference, for both young and aging populations. So permitting our parents the happiness afforded by the comforts of home is invaluable – emotionally, physically and even financially.

To find out more about caring of your loved one and your options contact us. When it is all said and done, there really is no place like home.

For more information about our qualified compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

How to Make “Aging in Place” Possible

aging in place david york agency

 

As of January 2016, the Population Reference Bureau reports that more than 46 million Americans are over the age of 65. They project that this number will rise to 98 million in the next 40 years. According to a study by the AARP, of those 46 million Americans, 90% want to stay in their homes as they age. Coined as “aging in place,” the CDC defines this desire to stay home as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

Some positive changes fueled this “aging in place” trend:

  • Increased education levels
  • An increase in life expectancy
  • Declining poverty rate for those over 65

Aging in place has positive psychological benefits as well. Kathryn Larlee, J.D. explains in her article on Advancing Smartly that adults who grow older in their own home have better mental health, lower levels of depression, and higher levels of daily living function than those in a long-term care facility. She also states that those who remain in their own homes have more community involvement and experience less social isolation.

However, choosing to grow old at home comes with risks too. As people age, their ability to care for themselves diminishes. The need arises for assistance with personal care, food preparation, transportation, medical care, and many more issues. Sometimes this burden falls to family members. Other times there is no one available to help.

With so many older Americans wanting to remain at home as they age, how can they do so successfully? Thankfully, there are many support services available. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act, which mandated grant funding to states for establishing social services.

For New York City and the surrounding boroughs, the best place to start is the NYC Department for the Aging. They can connect you with some of the following agencies and services:

  • Senior Centers – Senior centers offer a place for socialization, education, fitness, and healthy meals.
  • Case Management Agencies – The CMA will assess the needs of the person and then help obtain in-home care services and meal deliveries, as well as educate on entitlements and available benefits. They can also provide advocacy with landlords and utility companies.
  • Transportation – Some senior centers will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping. The CMA can provide referrals to other transportation services in the area.
  • Free Legal Assistance

In-home care services are the highest need as people grow older, and finding the right services is important. These in-home services can include:

  • Home delivered meals
  • Caregiver services such as bathing, feeding, housekeeping, etc.
  • Social services such as transportation and shopping assistance, home visits, and regular phone calls to check on the person
  • Pen pals are available through a service called Platinum Pen Pals, which connects high school students with seniors.
  • In-home educational services
  • Library services via mail
  • Carrier alert programs: This is a special program that trains mail delivery people to recognize when a senior is in distress, such as accumulation of mail in the mailbox.

With the right combination of family or community involvement and support services, it is possible for people to grow old in their own home safely. They can maintain their comfort and dignity while receiving the help they need.

At David York Agency, it is our mission to provide the highest-quality support services to the aged, infirmed, and disabled. Our highly trained and vetted professionals can provide your family with a level of in-home assistance that meets your needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism in Medicine: The Elderly Need Preventive Care Too

ageism elderly preventative carePreventive care is used to find and maintain a good personal health standard. During a preventive visit, your doctor will look at a number of factors to determine what vaccines, screenings, and lab work are necessary for you. These factors include age, gender, current level of health, health history, and any current symptoms you are experiencing.

Unfortunately, it’s common for the elderly to not receive proper preventive care, including important health screenings and vaccinations. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2003, nine of every 10 adults over the age of 65 did not receive the appropriate screenings.

Preventive care has many benefits. Preventing disease and illness reduces overall healthcare costs. Healthy, working adults are more productive and attend work more consistently. Most importantly, preventive care allows seniors to remain independent longer, promoting not only physical health, but also mental and emotional health.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lists five different screenings as part of their recommendations for older adults:

  • Breast cancer screening every other year for women aged 40 years or older
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults aged 50 to 75
  • Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults aged 40 to 70 who are also overweight
  • Lipid disorder screening for adults aged 40 to 75
  • Routine Osteoporosis screening for women aged 65 and older. Women who are found to have an increased risk of fracture should begin screening earlier.

In addition to receiving the proper screenings, the USPSTF also recommends that clinicians ask all adults about their tobacco use. Tobacco cessation counseling is covered under Medicare Part B for up to eight visits with a qualified doctor in a 12-month period.

On top of screenings, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive a yearly influenza vaccination. A Rand Corporation Study done in 2003 shows that getting the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations and deaths among the elderly as a result of the flu virus. They also recommend a pneumococcal vaccination for those aged 65 and older. This vaccine can prevent a serious bloodstream infection.

To develop these recommendations, the USPSTF and ACIP collected data from self-reported surveys. Despite the fact that this data is dependent on the ability of the adult to remember when they last received specific preventive care, these experts believe that there are gaps in the use of preventive services. These gaps vary by race, gender, insurance coverage, and education level.

In order to reduce the number of elderly Americans not receiving the proper preventive care, local, state, and national plans have been implemented. These include things like reducing out-of-pocket costs, promoting annual wellness visits, client reminders for screenings and other tests, distributing videos and brochures to raise awareness about available services, providing transportation to medical facilities for the elderly, and expanding healthcare to take place at the patient’s home, church, or other facility.

As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you’re interested in helping a loved one maintain their health and their independence, a home health care assistant may be able to provide the support you need. At David York Agency, our healthcare professionals can help to ensure that your loved one is receiving the proper preventive care.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Focus on the Individual to Avert Elderly Falls

prevent elderly falls

Falling poses a serious risk to the elderly. According to an article published by the CDC, over one-quarter of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year, making falling the number one cause of injury, both fatal and non-fatal, in this age group.

Falling not only poses a physical threat but also threatens one’s independence, self-confidence, and socialization. The elderly person’s mental and physical welfare, therefore, depends on preventing a fall to begin with.

While elderproofing the home is a necessary step toward fall prevention, focusing on the individual may provide them with benefits far beyond that.

Some of the areas to focus on include:

  • Regular Exercise: Techniques such as yoga and tai chi focus on balance directly, while weight-bearing exercises, especially for the lower body, may prevent bone loss and help maintain muscle mass.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy may be beneficial to recover properly from a previous injury, surgery, or chronic condition.
  • Check Vision and Hearing: Keep up on checkups for vision and hearing. Outdated eyeglass prescriptions may cause blurred vision, which can contribute to falling. Additionally, undiagnosed auditory deficits can directly affect your balance.
  • Dizziness: Even seemingly minor dizziness may indicate something much more significant, such as blood sugar issues, poor circulation, or low blood pressure.
  • Medications: Be sure to understand each medication taken, paying particular attention to those that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Stand Up Slowly: Getting up slowly reduces the likelihood of lightheadedness due to blood pressure drops. In addition, gentle movements may decrease the risk of injury to older muscles and joints.
  • Footwear: Rubber soled shoes with no or a very low heel are best to prevent slipping. Be certain that the shoes fit properly. Shoes that leave room for swelling feet may be loose, which can contribute to the risk of falling.
  • Alcohol: Limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Not only can alcohol interact with other medications taken, but alcohol itself has a disorienting effect on the individual.
  • Sleep: Getting the proper amount of sleep may reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and improve pain tolerance.

 

Focus on the Individual Elderly Person

A full assessment of each individual with respect to their risk factors for a fall will go a long way toward keeping them safe from a fall. Fall prevention within the elderly community can be enhanced by having a home healthcare aide present, either full-time or part-time, to ensure that your elderly loved one has someone nearby to assist them if they do experience a fall.

At David York Agency, we are committed to providing the personalized and dedicated care that people need as they age. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Why Vitamin D Is So Important for Senior Health

vitamin d for senior health

When you are involved in elderly caregiving in NY and Long Island, it’s important to remember that all seniors need the proper amount of vitamin D in their diets. Vitamin D is a natural vitamin that the body produces in response to sunlight. It can also be taken in through diet and supplements.

Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, which is so important for healthy, strong bones. Unfortunately, too many elderly men and women are not getting enough vitamin D by diet alone, and this deficiency can lead to high blood pressure, brittle bones, and autoimmune disorders. A simple blood test can determine if you are taking in the correct amount for your age group.

Not Just From the Sun: Getting Vitamin D Inside

Many people believe they get enough of this vitamin simply from being out in the sun, and that is certainly true for a large part of the population. However, elderly men and women are often vitamin D deficient because many seniors cannot get outside due to the weather or limited mobility.

Spending an hour or so a day in the sun is the first step, but when that isn’t an option, it’s extremely easy to get the amount that you need by eating the right types of foods. The recommended amount of vitamin D for senior citizens over the age of 71 is 800 IU a day. Many are already fortified with this vitamin, such as milk, certain dairy products, and cereals. Tuna, cheese, egg yolks, tofu, and pork are just a few more vitamin-D-enriched foods. Supplements are also a great source of vitamin D.

Lower Osteoporosis Risk

Seniors who take vitamin D as part of their daily routine will lower their risk for osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. This vitamin will help keep their bones strong, which is important in the event of a fall.

If you are caring for an elderly person with a vitamin D deficiency, a home health aide can help. The aide can remind your loved one to take supplements recommended or prescribed by a doctor, including vitamin D.

At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that growing older and not getting enough nutrients can present, not just for the person affected, but for everyone in their life. We provide families with the support and care they need to ensure their loved one is as happy and healthy as possible.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.
If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

How Home Health Aides Can Prevent Foodborne Illness

preventing foodborne illness

People over 65 need to take special care to reduce their chances of contracting foodborne illness (i.e. food poisoning). Fortunately, home health aides for senior citizens can help. Although food in the U.S. is usually very safe, food that has started to go bad or has been in a refrigerator too long may carry bacteria that could cause illness in anyone, but that is particularly dangerous for the elderly.

Older people process toxins in their body more slowly than younger people, so bacteria stay in their body longer. In addition, older people may have weaker immune systems, due either to chronic conditions or medications. Because seniors tend to live alone or with an elderly spouse, food may often sit in the refrigerator longer and even go bad. Their lack of mobility and a normal concern about the budget on a fixed retirement income can contribute to the problem.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 48 million Americans become ill each year from foodborne illnesses. As many as 128,000 people are hospitalized annually, and 3,000 of those foodborne illnesses become fatal. Many of those affected are senior citizens or children.

Here’s where a home health aide can help. As people age, their memory may gradually deteriorate and they may lose some of the acuity of smell and taste they once had. Smell and taste are the ways people can easily tell if food is no longer safe to eat. If an elderly parent, relative, or friend is dealing with a diminishment in those senses, a home senior care aide can examine fruits, vegetables, and meats to see if they are still fresh.

A home health aide who helps prepare food or provides company can be a safeguard against food poisoning. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services to help ensure your elderly loved one gets the care and nutrition they need. Whether you just need someone to come over a few days a week to help prepare fresh, healthy meals or you need a full-time home healthcare assistant, we can help.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.