Common Sense Medication Reminders For Senior Care

medication reminders for seniors

Most nurses can attest to the frustration felt when going through a medication reconciliation with an elderly patient. Oftentimes the elderly patient will come to the ER with a pill box and no idea of what medications it contains. They may be able to recognize certain pills based on color and size and how they correlate to how many times daily they take the pills, but without any idea of what the medication is for. As a result, the hospital staff is often left waiting for family members to arrive with a medication list that is, in many cases, outdated.

So what common sense interventions can ensure accurate medication administration in senior care when reminders such as pill boxes and medication lists aren’t enough? Here are three tips for helping your senior loved one stay on top of their daily prescriptions.

1. Be Actively Involved

Whether it’s a family member or a home health aide, it’s important to have someone around regularly to ensure your elderly loved is taking their medications as prescribed.

Upon daily examination of the pill boxes, have you noticed that some pills have been missed? Do you occasionally find a spare pill under a chair or the bed? Has your senior been sick lately, dealing with bouts of nausea or vomiting that cause them to miss taking pills due to skipping meals?

Having a personal presence in the life of your elderly loved one can make a huge difference in their safety and in decreasing hospital admissions.

2. Education Is Key

Although it can be tedious, allowing the elderly person to go through the pill box filling process themselves can be very enlightening. You can determine if they understand the schedule and if they are aware of what pills they are taking and for what reasons.

For example, if they are aware that four of their daily pills are for blood pressure, and upon waking they check their blood pressure and get a low reading, this awareness may encourage them to confer with a home health nurse or their doctor’s office before taking the prescribed medications—which could dangerously lower their blood pressure.

3. Simplify the Prescription Filling Routine

Try to have medications filled at only one pharmacy if possible, and then assign one person to be in charge of reconciling what medications are filled on a monthly basis with the medication list. This way, medications that are no longer being prescribed can be eliminated from the list, while newly prescribed medications can be added on a month-to-month basis.

Keeping track of a sometimes long list of medications can be difficult for many seniors, especially when other factors—such as memory loss or illness—come into play. While it may not always be possible for you to be there to remind them what to take and when, a home health aide can provide the extra care and support your loved one needs.

At David York Agency, our experienced in-home healthcare providers can help to monitor medication and ensure your senior takes the medications they need, when they need them. We are certified and trained in the latest guidelines for eldercare.

For more information about David York Agency’s 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 Manage Stress When Providing Ongoing Care for a Loved One

how to manage stress

Becoming a caretaker is almost always a rewarding experience. Being able to care for a loved one who needs you is an enriching and satisfying feeling. However, taking on the role of permanent or even part-time caregiver for a family member or friend can quickly bring on feelings of immense stress, helplessness, anger, and fatigue.

It’s crucial to take the time to care for yourself when you have taken on the caregiving role. There are stress relief exercises for caregivers that, if followed, can help reduce the stress that is more than likely to occur when you feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.

Support Groups

A great way to get some stress relief in your life is to talk with other caregivers who can relate to your struggles. Online support groups offer caregivers a place to vent, cry, ask for advice, and just read about what others are going through. You may also want to talk to your loved one’s doctor to find out if there are actual support group meetings in your area that you could attend. Many churches offer support groups for caregivers, as there are generally many elderly folks in their congregations.

Pamper Yourself

Remember, being a caregiver isn’t just about the person who needs help. You need to take care of yourself so that you don’t feel like it’s all about everyone else. Take the time that you need to pamper yourself in whatever way you desire. Get a manicure, take a hot bubble bath, schedule a massage, lay out in the sun with a good book, or whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Don’t feel guilty for including “me time” in your schedule.

Ask for Help

It’s easy to want to take on the role of full-time caregiver, especially when it is a very close relative, such as your mother or father. But it is almost impossible to do everything for someone else and still take care of yourself. Asking for help from others will reduce a great deal of stress, especially when you see that you don’t have to do it all alone. Accept help from those who offer, and don’t be afraid to ask. You can’t do it all by yourself and expect not to get stressed.

Open Your World

Consulteering (see previous DYA post), taking on small consulting gigs or volunteer assignments, give you an opportunity to remain in touch with the outside world and contribute to society. It is a great, productive distraction that also keeps you fresh with stories to bring home to the person you are caring for.

Caregiver stress is a normal occurrence—even for professionals. When you’re feeling stressed, the key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with your feelings.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a loved one, remember that help is available. At David York Agency, we provide full and part-time support for caregivers and their families to lessen the burden of ensuring their loved one is safe, happy, and healthy.

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.

 

Consulteering: A New Way to Enjoy Life After Retirement

consulteering

If you have retired or have retired early to take care of a loved one full-time, you might be interested in “consulteering.”

“It’s my trifecta. Paid work, giving back, and relaxation. I call it ‘consulteering’, said Dane Peters.”

Dane Peters, a seasoned educator and head of school who retired three years ago made up the word. He wanted to combine a life of consulting, volunteering, and leisure time to find a perfect work-life balance. Peters transitioned gradually from working full-time to building a rich, to lead a fulfilling life in his later years. He and others have made this ‘work a little, play a little’ philosophy work for them.

Retirement, even without caregiving, is an adjustment. If you miss your job and want to do some consulting or if you just want to try out a new job, part-time or volunteer work will keep you excited about life, consulteering could be the answer.

You may have some goals you want to pursue, such as getting in shape or just visiting and spending more time with family and friends. You really do deserve some time for you.

Taking care of a loved one full-time is a rewarding labor of love, but it can be all-consuming at times. Adding a little balance to your life is not only good for your own health and well-being but for the health and well-being of the loved one you are caring for too.

Those you care for love you. They want you to go fishing or spend an hour or two working in the garden. They don’t want you to miss your grandchild’s sports game or ballet recital. They want you to enjoy doing something that is meaningful and recharges you. Whether it is a part-time job, doing volunteer work, or just having fun, we all need a break, especially caregivers. As an added benefit, you will be able to come home with a new lens on life and window to the world to share with your charge. The updates get them involved and thinking about something other than their personal situation.

Consider exploring the life of “consulteering” while we watch over the ones you love most.

At David York Agency, we understand the commitment involved with being a caregiver for a loved one. You focus so much of your time and energy caring for others, and often forget to take time to do things for yourself. Our in-home health care professionals can be there to give you some extra time to pursue your interests or simply unwind a little.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide which 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.”

Intergenerational Caregiving: It Takes a Village

intergenerational caregiving

In recent years, Americans have witnessed a drastic change in the way we care for our elders and our children. The average family size has become smaller, and many of us find ourselves living extended distances from our aging parents. Add to the mix the increasing number of households that require multiple full-time incomes, and it isn’t hard to see the challenges one may face when trying to provide safe and effective care for both children and elderly family members. These challenges can sometimes be best addressed through the concept of intergenerational caregiving.

What is Intergenerational Caregiving?

Simply put, intergenerational caregiving is the practice of bringing together children and the elderly for mutual benefit. And the list of benefits is impressive:

  • Improved memory and physical ability for the elderly
  • Decreased depression and anxiety for both adult and child
  • Decreased behavioral issues in children
  • Improved social development in children
  • Improved self-esteem for both adult and child

Real-Life Application

There are a variety of scenarios in which intergenerational caregiving can be successful. Grandparents caring for their grandchildren at home while the parents are at work, day care centers placed in assisted living facilities, the bringing together of elderly adults and adopted or fostered children—these are just a few of the ways to successfully bridge the gap between the elderly and our children.

Whether the elderly adult is a grandparent, a close relative, or simply a member of one’s community, it’s easy to see that intergenerational caregiving provides positive benefits to both the elder adult and the child.

If you have a senior loved one who is in need of light assistance around the home, they may benefit tremendously from the company and purpose caring for a child can bring. In some situations, though, your senior may need the help of an adult. A home health aide from David York Agency can provide high-quality, personalized care either on a full-time or part-time basis.

For more information on David York Agency’s 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.

Caregiver Stress: How to Manage Common Caregiver Frustrations

caregiver frustration

According to a joint study by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 44 million Americans provided caregiver services for an adult family member in 2015.

While many of them took the responsibility of providing care for a family member willingly, an overwhelming number of them believe they had no choice in assuming the role of caregiver. This can cause enormous frustration and resentment for a caregiver, particularly among siblings in situations where one sibling feels they have been forced into the caregiver role.

One way for family members to alleviate this frustration is to develop a plan for other family members to occasionally step in to relieve the primary caregiver. The sacrifice of as little as a few hours a week can make an enormous difference to a caregiver who feels they are unfairly shouldering the burden of caring for a loved one on their own.

Another leading cause of frustration among caregivers is the emotional state of the person being cared for. It is very common for a senior in long-term care to become depressed, and this can manifest itself in anger, emotional outbursts, or refusal to cooperate with the caregiver.

Caregiver stress is a very normal occurrence—even for professionals.

While you can’t control your loved one’s emotions, you can control how you respond to them. Staying calm and in control can help defuse the situation and prevent escalation. Take a deep breath and try to fully assess the situation from the perspective of the person receiving the care. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel at that moment?

Caregivers also need to remember to take the time to care of themselves, both physically and mentally. Many caregivers ignore their own personal needs, skipping medical appointments, not eating regular meals, and not getting adequate sleep. The long-term effects of those choices can be devastating, leading to poor health, increased frustration, and an inability to provide adequate care.

Understandably, when the elderly lose their independence and mobility, it can be difficult to come to terms with. They often vent frustrations on a family member even more than on a professional caregiver. The key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with and reduce your stress.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a loved one, remember that help is available. At David York Agency, we provide full and part-time support for caregivers and their families to lessen the burden of ensuring their loved one is safe, happy, and healthy. .

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.”

 

8 Inspirational Quotes for When You’re Feeling Caregiver Stress

inspirational quotes

Being a caregiver is a very fulfilling and worthwhile task. However, sometimes, in the day-to-day challenges that arise, it can be easy to lose sight of that and let the stress and frustration get the best of you. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out…. and you’re not alone.

Here are 8 quotes that will hopefully provide some caregiver inspiration and give you a much-needed boost of positive energy.

  1. “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing.” –Mother Theresa
  2. “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” –Lee Iacocca
  3. “Family is the most important thing in the world.” –Princess Diana
  4. “The simple act of caring is heroic.” –Edward Albert
  5. “Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.” –Senator John Hoeven
  6. “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” –Michael J. Fox
  7. “If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” –Amy Tan
  8. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

At David York Agency, we know, first-hand, the challenges and the stress of being a caregiver. Often, those responsible for helping others end up neglecting their own needs because they are stretched so thin. We’re here to provide families with the additional support and care they need to keep everyone happy and healthy.

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.”

Preventing Caregiver Stress From Turning Into Caregiver Burnout

caregiver stress

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ― Rosalyn Carter

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months. Of those numbers, 85 percent are taking care of a relative, while 15 percent care for a friend, neighbor, or other unrelated individual. About 49% care for a parent or parent-in-law, and most report that they spend at least $5,000 in non-reimbursed expenses.

Caring for a loved one that requires assistance is an act of love, but it can also be very mentally, physically, and financially stressful. If caregivers don’t make a concerted effort to manage and cope with that stress, this act of love can quickly turn into caregiver burnout.

Not only does caregiver stress and burnout hurt you and put your health at risk, but it also puts your loved one and their health at risk, as it affects your ability to provide proper care. Learning to spot the signs of caregiver stress allows you to step back, recharge, and get back on the right track before it turns into a more serious problem.

Signs of Caregiver Stress

  • Health problems that are new or begin to get worse
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Excessive feelings of fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Increasing feelings of resentment
  • Drinking, smoking, or emotional eating

caregiver burnout

Finding healthy ways to manage stress before it turns into burnout is important. Some effective techniques for stress management include:

  • allowing others to help with caregiver duties;
  • getting regular exercise;
  • meditating or doing relaxing breathwork;
  • eating consistent, healthy meals;
  • taking time for yourself;
  • and finding support groups.

Failing to deal with caregiver stress can and will eventually lead to burnout. Once you reach this stage, taking care of your loved one is no longer healthy for you or them.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Unable to relax when given the opportunity
  • Neglecting your own needs due to being too busy or just not caring
  • Becoming more irritated by or impatient with the loved one you are caring for
  • Getting sick with colds or other illnesses very easily

If you feel you may be experiencing caregiver burnout, the first and most important thing to do is to speak up. Tell your family and friends how you’re feeling and come to terms with the fact that you need help. See if another family member can assist you with caregiving responsibilities or consider enlisting professional help a few days a week so you can have more time to yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that, in order to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life, your life cannot revolve around caregiving alone. Hobbies, physical activity, social outings, and free time for relaxation are all important parts of a balanced life. Pay careful attention to your needs, check-in with your mental and physical wellness, and take the time to show yourself appreciation and love.

If you’re having trouble finding the time you need to properly manage caregiver stress, David York Agency is here to help. We provide families with the additional support they need to care for both their loved ones and themselves.

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.

Preparing Your Home for an Elderly Loved One

elderproofing

When you have a loved one coming home to live with you, or you are helping prepare their home when returning from a hospital or rehab stay, you need to ensure that they come home to a safe environment. While we have covered a few of these tips in the past, they are worth reiterating due to their importance for the safety of your loved one.

Walking

Mobility can be one of the largest issues facing the elderly, and it’s important that the home is set up so that walking is as safe and easy as possible.

  • Make sure walkways throughout the home are clear and wide.
  • If there aren’t handrails on both sides of a stairway, make sure to have them installed.
  • Tripping hazards should be removed. This includes throw rugs, electrical cords, and even furniture. A table or ottoman can easily be a dangerous obstacle for an elderly person, and electrical cords should be tucked away out of tripping distance.

Bathrooms

Bathroom visits can also present challenges for the elderly. Floors can be slippery or wet, and the person may have difficulty sitting or standing unassisted. Take special precautions to make the bathroom friendly to an elderly user.

  • Make sure you have grab bars for showers or tubs.
  • Consider a toilet surround to help with getting up and down, especially if a grab bar is not an option.
  • Place something on the floor to make it non-skid, but be careful if considering rug. It can be a tripping hazard. If that doesn’t seem like a good choice, you can opt for anti-skid scuba socks for your loved one, especially for bathing.

Living Areas

Common living areas should be set up so as to minimize the movement and effort of your loved one. These are some useful tips for creating an elder-friendly living space.

  • Be sure remotes for televisions and other often-used items are going to be within reach of your loved one.
  • Night lights are important so that your loved one can see when it’s dark. They may get more disoriented, so seeing is more important than before.
  • Make a printout or handwritten sheet with large letters spelling out emergency numbers for your loved one to have by the phone.
  • Another sheet with medications, family member contacts, and doctor’s information is important to have on-hand in case of an emergency situation.

If you have an elderly loved one living at home, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of falls or injuries. Implementing the above tips will ensure your loved one comes home to a safe and comfortable place. For additional information on preventing senior falls, check out our handout and our resource page.

David York Home Healthcare Agency now offers elderproofing services from our Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) professional. Call for a free consultation and estimate.

For more information about David York Agency’s 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.

Easing the Transition of Moving the Elderly to a New Residence

moving the elderly

One of the biggest difficulties when moving the elderly to a new residence is the sorting through all their possessions. These are things they’ve accumulated over their lifetime, and many have emotional attachments and cherished memories connected to them. While de-cluttering can have a freeing feeling, it can also signal the end of the life they’ve known and shines a spotlight on their mortality.

According to an article on Next Avenue, it can take up to two years to sort through all of a person’s belongings and make decisions about whether to sell, donate, or take individual items with them. These types of decisions can take a psychological toll on the elderly. Surrounding them with love, care, support, and compassion during the process can help ease this emotional transition.

Once your loved one has chosen their next residence, you can zero in more clearly on what can be taken, which can offer some comfort. By drawing the rooms of their new home on graph paper according to scale and cutting out pieces of paper to represent furnishings they’d like to take, you and they can easily visualize what will fit and how things can be positioned ahead of time.

Since many baby boomers look at downsizing as a fresh, new start, why not start the process way before it becomes necessary. Start the discarding process before the need becomes immediate and while in your 50s or 60s when you are physically stronger and more capable of decision making.

If your loved one is considering downsizing or has recently moved to a smaller home, contact us. Our caregivers can help make the transition easier and give them the attention and care they need during this potentially difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, call 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.

The Importance of In-Home Healthcare for Seniors with CHF

Seniors with CHF

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can be fatal, and seniors are at an especially high risk. In people over the age of 65, heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admissions, with 900,000 people being hospitalized in the US each year.

CHF does not mean that the heart is literally failing. The heart just has a difficult time pumping blood throughout the body and has to work harder. This results in buildup of fluid throughout the body.

There are many potential causes of CHF: coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that weaken the heart, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and birth defects. CHF can be managed and treated by working with a physician, using medications, and also utilizing non-medical treatments such as in-home caregivers

In-home care can be very beneficial to the CHF patient. Having a caregiver in the home who has knowledge of CHF can help the patient to get the fastest and best possible treatment. CHF needs to be promptly treated in order to avoid complications or more serious issues. If potential symptoms of CHF present themselves, a well-educated caregiver can contact the patient’s doctor, and treatment can be obtained immediately. The patient’s normal senior care routine can be modified to include protocol for CHF.

Warning Signs of CHF

  • Congested Lungs: Fluid may back up in the body due to a weak heart. The patient may experience shortness of breath when exercising and/or difficulty breathing when at rest or lying flat. A dry, hacking, or wheezing cough may also be present.
  • Fluid and Water Retention: The patient may experience swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen (edema). They may also experience significant weight gain in a short period of time. An increased urge to urinate may also be present. Bloating in the stomach may cause nausea and/or loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness, Fatigue, and Weakness: Decreased blood flow to the major organs of the body may cause these symptoms to arise.
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat: With fluid buildup in the body, the heart may have to work harder to pump blood to major organs.

In addition to recognizing warning signs of CHF, in-home caregivers can assist the patient in the following ways:

  • Assisting the patient with maintaining fluid balance by keeping a daily journal of fluid intake
  • Ensuring the patient follows a low-sodium diet
  • Helping the patient with weight maintenance
  • Monitoring of symptoms and notifying the doctor when needed
  • Ensuring the patient takes medications as prescribed

 

If your senior loved one suffers from CHF or other severe heart problems, they may benefit from the added care and expertise of an in-home care provider. A knowledgeable caregiver will maintain consistent communication with the patient, his or her doctors, the family, and all other involved parties, in order to ensure the patient’s medical needs, health, and safety are met.

At David York Agency, we offer home healthcare services from highly trained and vetted professionals who you can trust. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA 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.