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.

Visiting Seniors to Beat the Winter Blues

senior care tips

When seniors become stuck at home because of their age or physical limitations, it is easy for them to become bored and lonely. If you have a friend or a loved one who is cooped up inside this winter, you can help lift their spirits and provide some much-needed company by bringing the fun to their home.

Here are a few senior care tips to help you come up with a fun activity you can enjoy with a senior loved one this winter.

1. Ask Them About What They Enjoy

Don’t just assume your elderly friend or family member is eager to knit or play backgammon because you see it on TV. Talk to them about their life, what they used to do, the activities and sports they enjoyed in their youth, or what interests them today. While many of the activities they used to do may very well not be possible now, it’s a good conversation starter.

Based on your conversation, brainstorm some ideas of fun things you can do together that would actually interest and engage your senior friend or loved one. For example, if they were an avid basketball player, they may enjoy having you over to watch professional basketball games with them. If they love to bake, get together to make and decorate cookies. Get a feel for what they would enjoy most before you decide on an activity.

2. Let Them Do The Teaching

In your conversations, you may find that your senior loves to play a certain card or board game. They may also enjoy making handcrafted items. If one of their passions is outside your comfort zone or something you don’t know how to do, ask them to teach you!

If they are into knitting, crocheting, or sewing, request that they show you a thing or two. If your senior loves to cook, find out their favorite dish and bring the ingredients for you both to cook together. Even talking about your own issues in life and asking for their advice is a way to get seniors involved. Feeling useful and needed is a great way to cheer someone up and boost their confidence and sense of purpose.

3. Arrange Family “Socials” in the Home

Seniors, especially those who are widowed, may feel lonely much of the time. However, family members sometimes feel awkward visiting their elderly aunt or grandparent because they don’t know what to do or say, so they avoid them.

Ask your senior loved one if there is any family around that they would like to see, and get their contact numbers. Be proactive and invite these relatives over for a small get-together for coffee, lunch, or even just snacks. It may be easier for some members of the family to get together when they are in a group setting, rather than one-on-one.

Depression and loneliness in the elderly is an all-too-common issue that is often overlooked by friends and family members. You can do a world of good in the life of a lonely senior simply by giving them your time.

If you need a little (or a lot) of support caring for an elderly individual in your life, a home health aide from David York Agency can provide the high-quality, personalized care to help seniors through the challenges they face in the lonely winter months.

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. To find out more about hiring an aide for your loved one this winter, contact us today.

 

3 Exercises to Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is one of the most stressful jobs a person can have. The mental and physical energy involved is enormous and often underestimated and unrecognized by other not directly in this situation. To devote yourself to caring for others is truly admirable, but it is also important to take time to care for your own mental and physical wellbeing.

Here are three great stress-relieving exercises to help you relax and focus on you for a little while after a hard day of devoting your time to others.

1. Stretching

Stretching your muscles can leave you with a feeling of relief and relaxation:

Start with your legs. Stretch them one at a time, then extend them out in front of you (while in a seated position) and stretch them together. Next, stretch your back by standing and bending at the waist, trying to put your hands on the floor, or simply holding your elbows and letting your body hang loose. Then, work on your arms and shoulders. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, then move on to the next position. Be sure you never push yourself beyond what is comfortable.

2. Walking

Whether it’s a walk around the block or on a nature trail, the important thing is that you get some fresh air and start moving. If you want more of a meditation boost with your walk, head to the park to surround yourself with nature and greenery. If you absolutely cannot get outside, get the blood flowing by doing some laps around the house.

3. Tai Chi

The movements in Tai Chi are slow, intentional, and controlled. This extremely relaxing exercise helps you focus on steadying and controlling your breath while you perform the motions. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art form that helps you clear your mind and enter a more meditative state.

These are just three types of exercise you can do to help rid your body of negative feelings and stress. But, whatever you decide to do, just be sure to get out and move! Physical activity is not only a powerful way to clear your mind, but it also helps your body to release mood-lifting endorphins that combat stress.

At David York Agency, we understand the challenges and stress of being a caregiver. When we focus so much of our time and energy on caring for others, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves. That’s why we’re here to provide families with the additional support and care they need to keep everyone in their family 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 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.

What You Need To Know Before Choosing a Home Healthcare Agency

Choosing a Home Healthcare Agency

Handling the increasingly complicated needs of an aging loved one can be a daunting task. Knowing when or how to address concerns isn’t easy, especially if you are busy with work and family obligations of your own, unable to devote the time they require. Perhaps you live in another city or lack regular access to a loved one in need. There comes a point where further coverage is required.

If you’re considering additional in-home care for someone you love, this guide will help you establish what you need to know before choosing a home healthcare agency.

Consider the Mental & Physical Health of Your Loved One

The first thing to consider is how much and what type of help your loved one may need. There are certain signs that indicate the mental or physical ailments that might require in-home support. This quick checklist will help determine the overall health of your loved one.

Is your loved one:

  • becoming more forgetful?
  • unable to run errands on their own?
  • leaving scorch or burn marks on dish towels?
  • more reclusive, engaging less in social activities?

 

Has Your Loved One:

  • become physically/verbally abusive?
  • been left with extra/not enough medication left each month?
  • become negligent in terms of personal hygiene habits?
  • had vision/hearing impairment that interferes with daily activities?

 

The truth is, if you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, it’s probably time for additional care. Once you’ve made that decision, the next step is to figure out the extent and kind of care to provide.

Needing assistance doesn’t necessarily mean going to a nursing home or having round-the-clock help. In fact, research suggests that the longer seniors are able to stay active and engaged in activities, the higher their energy levels remain. This can help seniors maintain better overall health and a better quality of life.

What Types of Assistance are Available?

There are various types of home care services a home healthcare agency can provide. From accompanying loved ones on errands to reminding about medications to more hands-on help, like bathing or medical nurse assistance, a wide range of services is possible.

It’s important to find an agency that provides consistent, high-quality, reliable care. Establishing steady, long-lasting relationships with home healthcare providers helps relieve any stress felt when leaving a family member in someone else’s hands. Additionally, the strong personal connections your loved one establishes with a caregiver can have a powerful impact on their well-being. With compassionate in-home care, seniors can remain healthy and continue to age with dignity and grace.

Establishing the care needed and finding the right agency to supply quality assistance are two important steps for ensuring there is a high level of care administered in your absence. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA will provide the level of home healthcare your loved one 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.

5 Simple Ways to Combat Senior Loneliness

senior loneliness

Isolation at any age can be detrimental to emotional health, but studies suggest that the effects of loneliness can be much more far-reaching. Dr. John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago Neurosciences program ran a 30-year study on the effects of isolation in seniors and his discoveries were startling. Loneliness affects mental health as well as emotional well-being and has proven to be a risk factor for cognitive decline, long-term illness and a shortened lifespan.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are many ways to help isolated seniors socialize and have more human contact. A few simple solutions can reverse loneliness, improve long-term health, and create a happier tomorrow for you or your loved one.

1. Get Out and About With Available Transportation

It can be difficult to find convenient transportation, especially in small towns. In fact, 41% of seniors feel that transportation options in their area are inadequate to meet their needs. However, utilizing transportation when and where it is available can help you make great strides in feeling less isolated.

Even a quick cab ride to a park only minutes from your home can make a big difference. Take the time to learn or discuss with a loved one the public transportation routes in the area so you are familiar with them when you need them.

Contact your local government agency to discover transportation options for the elderly in your area. Many churches and other charitable organizations are also willing to help if you only ask. If these options do not appeal to you, consider asking family and friends to take turns helping you get from A to B. While it may be hard to ask, most people are more than happy to help.

2. Volunteer and Make a Difference

Seniors have a deep reservoir of life experience and talents which has the potential to make them incredibly valuable as caring volunteers. Not only does giving back help others, but it can help seniors too. Volunteering helps you create a growing social circle while improving your own mental health and well-being. It’s a win-win for everyone!

3. Get Moving With Exercise

Exercise is known to increase feel-good hormones and decrease anxiety. In fact, even 5 minutes of walking has been shown to decrease stress. The good news is, the longer you move the more benefits you will receive. From stretching to even seated movements, there are exercises for every fitness and mobility level that can be beneficial to your health—both physical and emotional. It’s even better when you get out to a class adding an important element of socialization to the mix.

4. Enroll in a Class of Any Kind

Studies reveal a surprising truth: one of the most effective ways to combat loneliness—at any age—is to join a class and improve education. Classes not only help you to interact with the world around you, but they also serve as a great way to improve cognitive function. Striving to learn something new every day keeps your mind active and you young and healthy. Even a class on a hobby like art or bridge or writing can keep you active and in touch with people of similar interests.

5. Consider Home Care

Home care agencies are much more than just helping hands. They also serve as a support system and window to the world for seniors and their loved ones. Isolation is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s digital world. If a senior is isolated from the world, chances are their friend or family member who provides their care may be isolated too. A senior care expert can free up time for both seniors and those they love to make time for relaxing, getting out, or doing something fun for awhile.

Loneliness is never permanent if we care enough to shed light on it. The solution doesn’t have to be difficult or require large amounts of effort. Efforts, even small, can make a huge difference and create a better, brighter, and happier future ahead.

Establishing the care needed and finding the right agency to supply quality assistance are two important steps to ensuring there is a high level of care administered in your absence. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA will provide the level of home healthcare your loved one 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.

Tips To Reduce Elderly Depression During The Holidays

Portrait of the old woman in the winter

By: Anita Kamiel, RN, MPS

Although we like to think of the holidays as a joyous time of year, not everyone feels that way. It can be a depressing and lonely time for seniors — especially for seniors who are separated from their loved ones. In addition, some seniors might be reminded of lost friends or family members or for the first time find themselves spending the holidays without their significant other. These losses bring on a lot of strong emotions and can be difficult to face alone.

Those of us that work with the elderly approach this time with trepidations. It is a period when they enjoy time with their loved ones, but may mourn all they have lost in terms of loved ones as well as physical capabilities. I have tried to put together some helpful tip sheets in addition to some concrete suggestions on how we can help the senior loved one, caregiver and their families navigate joyfully through this holiday season.

So, what can you do as a loved one of a senior who might be having a difficult time coping during the holidays?

1. Really listen to your senior loved one when they want to talk.

When your loved one talks, listen. Encourage them to express what they are feeling about the holidays, good or bad. If possible, just check in with them daily either by stopping by, calling or even using Skype to see how they are doing and to be there for them if they need to talk. Often, seniors just want to know that someone cares about them and that they are not alone.

2. Ask them for help and advice.

Seniors often get depressed because they feel they cannot participate in holiday planning the way they used to. If you are planning a holiday celebration, let them know they are a big part of that celebration. Ask for their advice or help preparing for the event. Even something as simple as asking them for a recipe can make them feel included in the process. Most importantly, remind them how much they are loved by everyone in the family.

3. Spend quality time with them.

Quality time with your loved ones is important all year long, but especially during the holidays. It can be a great remedy for seasonal depression in the elderly. Look at old holiday pictures, cards or videos with them. Leave them somewhere visible and accessible so your loved one can take a walk down memory lane when they are alone. Ask to hear their memories of the season or stop by to watch some favorite holiday movies.

4. Plan a family gathering.

There is no better way to brighten someone’s mood and show them how much they are loved than by surrounding them with family. Dedicate a special night for everyone to get together for dinner, view a family video or even enjoy a game night. Invite friends, family and anyone else you think your loved one will enjoy seeing. Conversely, let them have a say in which family gathering they would prefer not to attend.

5. Help them with their holiday planning.

Many elderly seniors cannot get out and shop like they used to. Depending on their physical health and age, they may no longer be driving or may not be able to move around a store or mall without assistance. Offer to take your loved one out to do their holiday shopping. If getting out is not feasible for them, bring over a laptop or tablet to help them shop online. It might be a fun experience for them. You can help them decorate their house, wrap gifts or even make gifts. Also, a little extra help baking or preparing meals might be really appreciated.

6. Help them keep to a regular schedule.

With all that is going on around holiday time, it can be easy to slip out of a regular routine. It is important that seniors stay on as much of their normal schedule as possible including keeping up with their medication, getting about seven to nine hours of sleep and eating their three healthy square meals a day. It is equally important to not overeat or overindulge in sweets or alcohol. Be vigilant or tell their caregiver to make sure they keep up their strength during the holiday season.

7. If they are mobile, take them out.

There is no better distraction than getting out of the four walls surrounding them every day. You can bring them to social activities they normally attend or forums for their hobby. Museums in small doses could be quite manageable and shows are even better since you get to sit down. You could even take them shopping if they are so inclined in the busy season. Even grabbing lunch in the neighborhood could be just the fun outing they need.

8. Let’s get physical!

In addition to all the other physical benefits, exercise is great for mood improvement. It can be as effective as anti-depressants without the ill effects and toxicity. There are plenty of exercises designed for the elderly to do at their level of ability taking any limited mobility and stamina into account. Yoga and Tai Chi are also excellent low impact alternatives. Exercise can enhance their weight bearing, balance and muscle density. A qualified personal trainer that comes to the house might be a good solution for those who are unable to get out to classes or a gym.

9. Get them an iPad.

There are many studies that demonstrate the cognitive and psychological benefits of the Internet for the elderly. It opens vistas for them in terms of connecting with the outside world and like minded people. It is also a great platform for connecting with grandchildren and relatives. Buy them an iPad if they don’t already have one, crack it open and sit together with them as they explore what is a new and exciting technology for them. They’ll learn a new skill that could spark some creativity for you both.

10. Consider getting a pet.

Don’t underestimate the value of pets in the life of a senior. Having a manageable, low maintenance pet can provide not only a much needed distraction and companionship, but a sense that seniors can still love and care for another living thing. These are important factors that can ward off the all too pervasive affliction of depression in the elderly. This is also an opportunity to employ an important form of therapy called therapeutic touch.

11. Arrange time for them to laugh and put on a happy face.

If your senior loved one is not up to going out, invite their friends in. Help them make it a pleasant experience by serving light fare and arranging an activity they can have fun with. Even watching a comedy can provide comic relief for all involved. Remember, positivity is infectious. If you’re able to keep a smile on, you’ll spread that holiday cheer to everyone around you, including your loved one who may be struggling with a bout of seasonal depression.

12. You’re never too old for a spa day.

Of course, there is nothing as relaxing as a pampered experience at the spa. However, that might not be feasible for your senior loved one. As the baby boomers age, house call businesses are burgeoning. You can get everything in the comfort of your home, from manicures to massages. Calling in some spa-like professionals could also be a fun activity with their friends.

13. Hire a home healthcare provider.

If you do not have the time to help your loved one during the holidays, consider hiring a home health aide. An aide can help them with errands, decorations for the holidays as well as preparing meals. Home health aides can also provide much needed companionship. You will feel more at ease knowing someone is covering for you and helping take care of your loved one during what might be a vulnerable time in their life.

Depression in the elderly is a serious problem that is far too often overlooked. If you feel the situation is really serious, consider bringing in a professional. There are support groups for all sorts of conditions which could be extremely helpful for appropriately directing your loved one to get insight and help from those facing the same challenges. One on one talk therapy and supportive counseling can help them work through their individual underlying issues without the risks and side effects of medication. However, when medication is deemed necessary, be sure to monitor their intake since the elderly metabolize medications differently than younger adults. You might want to explore some alternative remedies for depression such as omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, SAMe or St. John’s wort. Also, be on the lookout for any warning signs of suicide. Tragically, when the elderly decide to take that step, they are much more ‘successful’ at it than their younger counterparts.

Anita Kamiel, RN, MPS, is the founder and owner of David York Home Healthcare Agency, licensed by the State of New York. She holds a master’s degree in gerontological administration and is fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and the latest guidelines for seniors. Thirty years ago, she realized the need for affordable, quality home health aide services provided and supervised by caring individuals. You can contact her at 718-376-7755 or at www.davidyorkagency.com. David York Agency is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

7 Quotes When You’re Feeling Caregiver stress

caregiver-stress1

You have either been a caregiver, you are a caregiver, you will be a caregiver, or someone will care for you.” – Rosalynn Carter

The former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, knew about serving and caregiving from personal as well as professional experience. She was first to hold a caregiver conference that identified issues such as burnout and guilt. Her words focus on the interdependence at life’s foundation.

How we approach caregiving…

The question isn’t will we need care, or will our life call upon us to provide care. We are all part of a caregiving equation in our lives. The question is, how do we manage caregiving, as receiver as well as giver. In many ways, how we received shapes how we give.

And so for some, caregiving is easier and more natural than for others. And for some, caregiving is more natural with one person who requires care and not as easy or natural with another person in their life who requires it. Each experience of caregiving is unique as each relationship is unique.

For everyone, caregiving is an opportunity for growth, for increasing compassion or learning to set boundaries, for setting aside blame of others or for oneself, for deepening the dimensions of intimacy or for recognizing the limits of control.

With that uniqueness of experience in mind,

Here are 7 Quotes When You’re Feeling Caregiver Stress:

Love prevails

To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Dr. Seuss

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten.” Thomas Chandler

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”Emory Austin

Boundaries and Negative Feelings

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”Dalai Lama

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”Lena Horne

When Love Bonds Seem Broken

“Be determined to handle any challenge in a way that will make you grow.”Les Brown

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our reality is our interdependence, from birth to death. Our response to interdependence provides our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity for growth in life. For assistance with your caregiving role, please contact us.

5 Qualities to Look for in a Home Health Aide

home health aideAre you looking for someone who can provide senior care for your elderly or disabled loved one? If so, you might be shopping around for a caregiver to ensure that you choose the right person. Here are five qualities that may indicate you’ve found a good match.

1. Patient

Caring for an elderly person can be a bit trying. They are used to being fully independent and often resent their diminished abilities to the point where they are irritable mush of the time. They may even take it out on those around them. This means that it’s important to look for a caregiver who is patient.

2. Reliable

If your loved one needs care on a regular basis, you’ll need someone who will be able to provide it, without a lot of excuses or the need for a lot of days off. The elderly person and their family are depending on the aide for essential help daily. Make sure they are the type that takes their job seriously and is reliable.

3. Pays Attention to Detail

Day-to-day care of someone else requires individualized consideration. They need to be mindful of the particular eating habits of their patients, be on top of their grooming needs as well as keep an eye out for even slight warning signs of any worsening of a condition they may have. You will want to find a caregiver who pays attention to detail.

4. Easy to Get Along With

You don’t want to bring someone into your loved one’s home who is not friendly or pleasant. After all, a caregiver is supposed to make things easier for your loved one and less stressful for the family. Someone who lets things slide will add positively to the atmosphere. It is best to look for someone who is easy to talk to and get along with.

5. Multi-Tasker

Someone who provides care for an older or disabled person has to know how to do a lot of things, such as light cooking, light cleaning, helping with bathing, and more. Look for someone who can juggle and “keep all the balls in the air”. You will want to make sure that person you hire does not get thrown by multiple responsibilities and is a good multi-tasker.

At David York Agency, we set the bar high and ensure that all of our home health aides offer these important qualities—and so much more. We look for people with common sense and a heart. We continually monitor them to ensure consistent, high-quality service. We do not send anyone to your home that we would not want in ours.

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 they need.

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

Drug Abuse is Becoming More Common After Age 65

drug-abuse-after-65

It starts slowly and innocently at first. An older adult needs relief from the knee or back pain that so often comes with aging. Or, perhaps a life-changing event, like divorce or the death of a loved one, throws him or her into a pit of depression and an antidepressant is prescribed. Even retirement can bring on anxiety caused by a sudden lack of purpose, structure, and self-worth for which a prescription anti-anxiety medication is recommended.

A Common Problem

Although these scenarios sound relatively harmless, they can be the start of drug abuse after the age of 65. According to the New York Times, there are a number of factors that make the elderly in general and today’s aging baby boomers specifically more susceptible to becoming addicts.

  • the elderly metabolize drugs and alcohol more slowly which means that they stay in their systems longer,
  • tolerance to these drugs increases over time and addiction can begin after as few as 10 days of use,
  • more established folks often have the money to afford their addiction, and
  • Baby Boomers don’t have the same attitude toward drug use as the previous generation. There is less of a stigma.

Pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet, along with antianxiety and antidepressant pills like Xanax and Valium, are the most frequently prescribed. And since most doctors don’t usually screen for addiction, even low doses can quickly escalate into full-blown addictions. Couple that with the fact that these medications are being used in conjunction with other prescriptions and alcohol, and you have “the perfect storm,” says Brenda J. Iliff, executive director of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Naples, Florida.

Notice the Symptoms

The signs of addiction—like confusion, brain fog, mood swings, and shaking—may not raise red flags when exhibited by seniors because such symptoms are written off as part of aging. Many times, senior addictions are only discovered by medical professionals after they fall or sustain another type of injury. If you notice any of these symptoms and know that your loved one has been taking pills, schedule an appointment for them with a doctor, or try and gently confront them about the issue.

Getting Help

Detox for seniors is difficult and needs to be done slowly and with a lot of monitoring. Cognitive and physical issues can also slow detox treatments down, but once completed, patients can return to living more normal lives, without the debilitating effects of prescription addiction.

Drug abuse is not just a problem faced by young people. It may come as a surprise that as we age, we are, in many ways, more susceptible to prescription pill addiction. At David York Agency, our experienced in-home healthcare providers can help to monitor medication and keep an eye out for warning signs of substance abuse. They 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 they need.

 

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

Understanding a Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis

lewy-body-dementia

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) affects 1.4 million people in the United States and is the second leading cause of dementia, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. LBD is a combination of two distinct diagnoses, Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Lewy bodies are clumps of abnormal proteins in the outer layer of the brain, the cerebral cortex and are associated with both forms of dementia. When dementia develops after the established motor disorder, it is called Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD). When dementia occurs at the same time as the motor disorder, it is called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). They are both on the continuum of the same disease. These two conditions can cause the same underlying biological changes in the brain. In the later stages, the two diagnoses exhibit similar behavioral, cognitive, physical, and sleep symptoms. Sufferers also frequently experience hallucinations and bouts of ongoing depression.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

Despite being widespread, LBD is frequently underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed by health care professionals. It can resemble other causes of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. James E. Galvin, MD at Florida Atlantic University has developed a way to assess and diagnose LBD. The system is known as the Lewy Body Composite Risk Score (LBCRS).

The LBCRS system of diagnosis is based on a rating scale. The assessment is one page long and features six questions that quickly outline whether the patient suffers from six non-motor symptoms that are distinct to LBD, but not other forms of dementia. The physician can quickly determine if the person suffers from rest tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, or postural instability by asking a few questions.

Getting the Help You Need

A clear diagnosis of LBD is imperative to help prevent patients from being misdiagnosed and, therefore, misprescribed. In fact, taking the wrong medication could possibly have serious adverse consequences and will not help to treat LBD.

A definitive and prompt diagnosis of LBD gives physicians the chance to quickly begin medical therapies that may help or improve the quality of life for the LBD sufferer. Usually, a combination of the Lewy Body Composite Risk Score System, PET scans, CSF biomarkers, high-density EEG, and MRI tests are used to arrive at a clear diagnosis of LBD.

Facing a Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis can be frightening for both the patient and their loved ones. If you need extra help caring for a loved one who suffers from LBD, our in-home health care services, whether part time or full, can offer you additional support.

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.

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