Vitamin D is Important for Senior Health

Vitamin D is Still an Important Factor Regarding Senior Health

When you are involved in elderly caregiving in NY and Long Island, it’s important to remember that Vitamin D is important for senior health. The recommended amount of vitamin D for senior citizens over the age of 71 is 800 IU a day, but a simple blood test can determine if you are taking in the correct amount for your age group.

Vitamin D is a natural vitamin that the body produces in response to sunlight. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, which is important for healthy, strong bones. Unfortunately, too many elderly men and women are not getting enough vitamin D, which can lead to high blood pressure, brittle bones and autoimmune disorders.

Not Just Sun- Getting Vitamin D for Senior Health Inside

Lots of people believe they get enough Vitamin D from natural sunshine. However, elderly men and women are often deficient due to an inability to get outside. Whether because of weather limitations or limited mobility, seniors don’t necessarily have the same outdoor access as their younger counterparts.

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. 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 Health Risks to Seniors

Seniors who regularly take vitamin D will lower their risk for osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Vitamin D is important for senior health, fortifying bones and offering protection in the event of an elderly fall. Your caregiver can remind you to take your vitamin D, ensuring you stay on track. For more information concerning elderly caregiving in Long Island, NY, please contact us today.

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.

Ride-Sharing For Seniors: Motivator For Technology Adoption

One of the sad facts of aging is that people lose the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is largely due to deteriorating vision along with other health-related issues. Telling an aging loved one that he or she can no longer drive can be painful for all concerned (see our previous post Don’t Take Away My Car Keys, Yet!). Though it is a matter of safety it is also a matter of freedom. But ride-sharing for seniors offers freedom and safety at the touch of a button.

An elderly woman is smiling as she enters through the front passenger door of a car. Uber ride-sharing for seniors concept

Ride-Sharing For Seniors

The loss of mobility has been an unavoidable part of aging since the dawn of the automobile. Until recently, many elderly people depended on rides from friends, relatives 0r other community organizations (see our previous post No More Car for Dad or Mom, Now What?). However, technology is changing this old expectation. Ride-sharing services are now available in many communities, offering a cheap, easy, and reliable option for local travel. Offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing is a convenient way for seniors to get around.

Ride-sharing for seniors ensures that your loved ones are not completely homebound or dependent upon others for rides. This option can also help lessen the blow of having to take away your loved one’s car keys. Thanks to ride-sharing services, the elderly no longer have to endure the loss of mobility that comes with age.

 

Teaching the Technology

Teaching your loved ones to use ride-sharing apps may be a necessary step to ensure their independence. Luckily, these applications they are simple enough for anyone to pick up with a few lessons. Also, they have the added benefit of concretely introducing technology to seniors and act as motivators for their adoption. Both libraries and senior centers offer technology classes to seniors, providing an excellent resource in this area. Additionally, home healthcare workers can help guide seniors through the ins and outs of the technology. With a little time and patience, you can get your elderly parent on the road in safety.

 

David York Can Help

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Happy Mothers Day!

Through All the Ages & All the Stages, Mother is Always There!

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

With Mother’s Day approaching and May being Older Americans Month, I was thinking once again about caregivers at the beginning and at the end of life, for those young and old. Caring for aging loved ones was never an easy prospect. However, in the past, families lived in multi-generational households and together they shared the burden of their sick and elderly. Today, families are scattered and the roles and responsibilities have changed. Of course, there is the basic care of clothing, feeding, bathing, and making sure they are in a safe environment. Additionally, there is juggling the errands such as grocery shopping, pharmacy trips, and laundry – all must-haves as well.Mothers Day Poem

David York Agency can ease the burden with qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn. We are here to help!

 

Helpful Technology for Seniors: Recharge Your Life

Technology has become a way of life and will only continue to increase in prevalence – even for the senior population. Instead of shying away from the latest innovations, seniors can embrace devices that have the potential to enhance their independence as well as their quality of life. There’s a wealth of helpful technology for seniors, many of whom are recharging their lives with the help of gadgets. Take a look!

Telecommunication Technology Togetherness Concept

 

Promoting Independence

Seniors typically take several medications per day and this daily task can become overwhelming. The number of medications prescribed as well as the frequency of dosages is easy to forget. The risk of medication errors has always been high but rarely addressed. However, many devices have implemented apps and voice assistants which provide reminders and alarms set to the individual’s needs. Some devices also allow family members to check on the well-being of loved ones with wireless sensors. These unintrusive devices allow seniors to remain as independent as possible.

 

Social Connections

Some seniors face feelings of isolation and are unable to readily connect with family and friends. The use of social media has helped counteract these feelings. The age of waiting for phone calls or letter to arrive is over. Now, seniors can experience the instant satisfaction of receiving brief texts, seeing pictures posted or using webcams to check in with the people they care most about.

 

Overcoming Technological Intimidation

At times, seniors have had an attitude of skepticism toward technology. This is likely due to continuous product revisions and ongoing updates and advancements. According to a Pew Research Center study, a significant majority of older adults say they need assistance when it comes to using new digital devices. A mere 18% feel comfortable learning to use new devices on their own. In contrast, 77% indicate they would need someone to walk them through the process.

To overcome this fear, seniors with tech-savvy friends or caregivers can request help as needed. Education is also provided by senior centers and libraries as well as your local Office of Aging.

 

David York Agency Can Help

Technology is always moving forward and it’s easy to feel left behind. However, embracing technology can greatly enhance the quality of life for many seniors. From promoting independence and social connections to stimulating the mind with ongoing education, technology is a great tool for seniors.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

How Technology Can Help Seniors

There is an unsubstantiated assumption that seniors are not capable of understanding new technology. We think it’s time to challenge that way of thinking. Today’s post is all about acknowledging just how much technology can help seniors, and why we should help them integrate new technology into their lives.

Shot of a senior man using his digital tablet while relaxing at home, use of technology to improve quality of life

Technology offers an array of important benefits which apply directly to seniors. In fact, there are a number of devices that specifically cater to the needs of the elderly. If we don’t encourage seniors to use technology, we run the risk of denying them a world of support and a diminished quality of life.

 

Yes, Technology Can Help Seniors

There are many new devices that can support seniors’ health and safety. Missing medications is a thing of the past. We can now use digital pill dispensers and pill alarms to ensure accurate and full dosage compliance. Seniors can also benefit from voice-activated reminders that track meals, medicine, and appointments. Another useful piece of tech? Personal Emergency Response Systems. These simple devices ensure that help is available at all times in the event of an emergency. All of these tools are vital ways to help keep seniors safe and independent for as long as possible.

Did you know that technology can also improve seniors’ social connections? According to a study at Michigan State University, seniors who used social networking sites experienced decreases in loneliness, lower rates of depression, and better health. For people with limited mobility, social networking is a powerful way to reduce their isolation (see our previous post Using Technology to Eliminate Loneliness in the Elderly).

 

Barriers to Adapting

Learning to navigate the world of technology can be intimidating for seniors. Sadly, Pew Research found that only 13% of seniors who do not currently use digital devices feel comfortable learning to use them on their own. Additionally, seniors deal with physical challenges, such as poor eyesight or arthritis that limit their capacity to adapt. And, yes, the occasional skeptical attitude doesn’t help either.

The younger generation such as children and grandchildren may be able to help. However, it can be difficult to learn challenging new ideas from your children, so it helps to get outside instruction. A great way to help seniors recognize the potential value of new technology is to find classes. Most libraries and senior centers offer free technology classes to seniors (see our previous post Tackling Technology with the Elderly).

There are many adaptations available to make digital devices accessible for people with physical disabilities. For example, voice commands can eliminate the need to type, and changing font size can make screens more readable. Also, many seniors find tablets easier to use than desktop computers, and their screen is a more comfortable size than a smartphone’s.

 

 

David York Agency is Here to Help

Helping seniors across the digital divide can be tough, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties. Home healthcare aides may even be able to help by walking their patients through the functions of new devices. A home aide can also review what has been learned on a daily basis, helping each lesson “stick.” If we can help support the seniors in your life as they navigate the challenges of aging, please contact us. Our skilled and caring aides strive to provide personalized attention to every client.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

For more reading on the topic, see Anita Kamiel's article:
The Elderly, The Internet & Social Media

A Couple’s Guide to Eldercare Planning

Senior couple using laptop to discuss eldercare planning at home

Eldercare planning is a tough topic that most couples avoid. The thought of losing their independence and then later, their life together, can create feelings of fear and loss. As difficult as it is to consider, the earlier you discuss your eldercare expectations with your spouse, the easier it will be to implement a successful plan for care. With this in mind, we’ve created the ‘couple’s guide to eldercare planning.’ So, have courage and tackle eldercare planning together, with David York Agency by your side.

David York Agency’s Guide to Eldercare Planning

Once you are ready to discuss an eldercare plan with your spouse, be sure to schedule plenty of time to discuss all aspects of your future. Using a checklist can help you ensure that nothing is forgotten. David York Agency has published a comprehensive checklist to help in this task.

Take the time to research and discuss all the options, and compare notes. David York Agency has also published a wonderful workbook just for this purpose. You can access it here and print out as many as you need. Please note that your spouse will need a separate eldercare plan.

Below, you’ll find a list of important topics you’ll need to visit when you begin planning for eldercare:

  1. Professionals List. Gather the contact information for your doctors, accountant, and other trusted professionals.
  2. Important Documents. Gather essential documents such as your birth certificate, social security card, and insurance cards.
  3. Financial Assets List. Pull together all the information on valuable possessions like vehicles and property.
  4. Estate Planning Documents. If you have yet to do so, discuss creating a will and a living will. Determine how you want to spend the final years of your lives. For example, if you want to stay at home for as long as possible, consider utilizing an agency that can provide in-home care.
  5. End of Life Arrangements. Discuss burial plans and options for the widowed spouse.

 

Early eldercare planning will bring confidence and security to both you and your partner. Each of you will be able to make decisions on the other’s behalf, knowing that you’ve already determined how your spouse would handle any given situation.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Eldercare Planning: Your Parents & Home Healthcare

Many adult children start to worry about their aging parents. They see them struggling as they get on in years and believe they would be better off with help. Eldercare planning is a difficult subject to broach (especially with seniors who are resistant to such discussions see our post on the subject), but it’s also a necessary conversation for seniors who are experiencing a decline in health or finding it hard to care for themselves.

Portrait of a young woman holding her happy grandmother

Approaching Eldercare Planning with Your Parents

Conversations about diminished capacity can be very difficult to have with your parents. They may get offended that you are worried about them and they may have no interest in hearing your viewpoint. It can be frustrating for you to make your concerns clear. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some tips to help you through this discussion.

  • Choose the right time. Don’t think that you are going to talk to your parents when you both have five minutes. This conversation cannot be rushed. Instead, find some time that you are all free to sit down and talk.
  • If possible, include all of the children. It can be helpful if all of the children are on the same page. Otherwise, it might look like you are ganging up on your parents.
  • Be prepared with the options. It is important that you are ready to have the talk. Write down the different options that are available to your parents. Prepare a list of pros and cons, as well as the costs associated with each of them.
  • If it gets heated, take a break. The conversation may get heated, and it may be better to take a break before things get said that can’t be taken back. Leave the list of options, pros, and cons, and plan on coming back in a day or two (after your parents have had time to think).

Difficult Now, Helpful When Necessary

Talking to your aging parents about getting help can be quite difficult. However, if you find the right time and come prepared, it is more likely to go well. If not, take a break and revisit the issue once everyone has settled down. David York Agency has a Checklist and Workbook to help guide you through the discussion. Please check them out on our website.

Remember, though this discussion is difficult now, it could lead to a better future for your parents. Decide on small changes that can be implemented now and others that will be helpful down the road.

 

If eldercare planning is a concern for you and your loved ones, please consider the David York Agency. Our qualified, compassionate caregivers are ready to help. Contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Remodeling a Home for Aging-In-Place

There is an ever growing trend of seniors resisting leaving their home and opting to age-in-place. They cite emotional attachment, the comfort of a familiar place, and retaining independence as arguments why they don’t want to move. Perhaps they don’t always have to. According to the United States of Aging survey, 75% of seniors plan to stay put. With a bit of adjusting, they may very well be able to.

Seniorproofing Homes

According to Rodney Harrell, director of livability thought leadership for AARP, out of 100 million homes across the country, only approximately 1% of them are designed and outfitted for an elderly person to live safely and easily. Fortunately, there are things that could be done to an elderly loved one’s home that will enable them to stay.

Home Matters, AARP, the AARP Foundation, Wells Fargo, the Home Depot Foundation and Dwell magazine sponsored a competition among designers and architects. These professionals were asked to create the home of the future. Interestingly, many of the entries, including the winning one, incorporated a concept called universal design. This is a home design that incorporated products and elements in such a way that it would be usable by various types of people. These include those with a wide range of ages and physical abilities.

Remodeling With Safe Updates for Seniors

Consider these features when remodeling an senior’s home:

  • low or no threshold doorways
  • widening doorways
  • lever types of doorknobs and faucet handles
  • lower countertops
  • curbless shower stalls
  • open concept floor plan
  • slip resistant floors
  • more windows
  • lower placement of light switches

For a more complete list of renovations, visit this checklist found on NAHB’s (National Association of Home Builders) website. It would be worthwhile to consult one of their Certified Aging In Place Specialists (CAPS) when considering these modifications.

Cost/Benefit Ratio

While aging-in-place considerations stretch far beyond the financial into areas of quality of life, we must always crunch numbers. Ostensibly, the idea of updating a home can seem cost-prohibitive. Nonetheless, consider it against what it would cost to place a senior in an assisted living facility or nursing home. According to this 2011 article from AARP, an assisted living facility can cost around $40,000; a private room in a nursing home will run about $84,000. However, both of these estimates are per year costs. So, while the cost of an update might be just as expensive, it is a one-time expense as opposed to a yearly recurring one.

DYA Has An Expert CAPS Specialist

We have a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) on staff who could advise you on how to make your senior loved ones home safe. Our home safety specialist will do a thorough review of the areas of your home including the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living room. He will provide you with an assessment of what needs to be amended along with an action plan for implementation. If you are considering remodeling your loved one’s home so that they can age-in-place, contact us. We’d be happy to discuss what modifications we think might be appropriate to accomplish this.

We Can Help

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help. You can 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.

Small Changes that Make Aging-In-Place at Home Easy

Aging at home is more desirable than moving to assisted living. This is called Aging-In-Place. In fact, the AARP reports that 90% of seniors plan to age at home. However, most senior homes are not equipped for the comfort, convenience, and safety of the elderly. So, how can you or your loved one achieve a senior-friendly home?

Aging at home senior riding his stairlift with a cane in home setting.

Fortunately, floor-to-ceiling renovations are not necessary. Instead, a few small changes will go a long way to improving senior quality of life and relieving pressure on home healthcare workers.

Consider these important tips for home modifications that make aging at home easy:

 

Safety, Security, and Aging at Home

Seniors are more likely than younger people to experience falls and accidents. As such, preparing to age at home requires special attention for safety and security.

Start by tackling lighting. Sufficient lighting makes a big difference for seniors experiencing diminished eyesight. Seniors need two or three times as much light in order to see, so the addition of light fixtures and wide windows is recommended. Make sure that desks, tables and sewing machines have task lighting available. Also, consider repainting dark rooms in light, glare-free colors.

Remove throw rugs and obstacles that could cause a fall. Minimize slipping by treating non-carpeted areas with non-slip sealant. If feasible, consider swapping hardwood and tile floors for carpeting.

Don’t forget the outside of your home! Add outdoor lighting, including guide lights along paths, and clear shrubs and clutter from paths, decks, and patios.

Also, consider installing an alarm or “panic” system that allows the homeowner to call for help in the event of a fall.

 

Mobility and Convenience

If you use a walker or a wheelchair, you may need to widen your doorways. A cheaper and easier alternative is re-hanging doors with swing clear hinges. These allow the door to open all the way and make standard doors wheelchair accessible quickly and easily. Also, if your house is multi-level, you may want to install a chairlift. Finally, replace doorknobs with lever handles and standard light switches with rockers, both of which are much easier for arthritic hands.

The kitchen and bathroom are particular areas of concern in terms of convenience and safety. Step-in showers are best for seniors. A walk-in tub is another alternative, but is often more expensive. Add grab bars to showers and toilets for additional support.

In the kitchen, induction cooktops may be better than traditional stoves since there are no open flames and dishwashers with drawers reduce the need to bend down. Ensure the most-used cooking and dining supplies are in cabinets as close to eye level as possible.

 

Self-Reliance

If you are making home modifications for a senior relative, remember: they know what they need. The goal should not be to reduce their independence but to enhance it, reducing their reliance on you and home health aides while aging in their own home.

The most important thing to remember is that small changes can be better than larger ones. In many cases there are cheap and easy options that can alleviate small stresses. Even small things like “reachers” or talking clocks can make a huge difference to you or your relative’s quality of life.

 

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Aging and Medication: Hazards, Health, and Hope

Every new drug formulation, testing phase, and government approval means longer, healthier lives. However, new medicines also bring new problems and the possibility of exacerbating old ones. Aging and medication go hand in hand, but how much do you really know about your prescriptions?

Senior Woman Taking Medication From Pill Box. Aging and medication concept

Aging and Medication: Fast Facts

  • Adults age 65 and older buy 30% of all prescription drugs and 40% of all OTC medications.
  • One in six seniors will suffer an adverse reaction to their medications.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death among the elderly, and many of those falls are related to a drug overdose, missed doses, and adverse drug interactions.
  • Prescription drug abuse is found in about 30% of those between the ages of 65 and 85.
  • Polypharmacy, “defined as the use of multiple drugs or more than are medically necessary, is a growing concern for older adults” and increases the chance of death in the elderly.

90% of the aging population faces a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. However bad the statistics, adding new drugs without careful consideration increases both the chances of bad reactions and abuse.

What do you need to know about aging and medication?

Learning to Ask Questions

The best way to ensure that you or your loved one are getting the right treatments is to ask questions. Educate yourself! Do you know the possible side effects of your heart medication? Do you understand why you should always take a certain pill on an empty stomach? Are your prescriptions compatible? These questions can help you avoid hazards and enjoy the benefits of your medications.

Not sure how to approach your doctor with these questions? Consider a three-way conversation between the patient, the doctor, and a health advocate. The advocate is a friend, relative or healthcare professional who serves as a listener, note-taker (see our blog post “Don’t Worry: I’ll Take Notes For You“), and information seeker. Together, go over which doctors are prescribing which drugs as well as the dosages, side effects, and things to avoid. You should also discuss OTC products such as vitamins and herbal supplements. Additionally, review the patient’s daily routine and health, as well as any physical or cognitive changes.

Drug Interactions: What to Know

Medications interact with other medications and alcohol as well as certain foods. These interactions cause prescriptions to work differently or stop working altogether. Age also changes how drugs work; the aging body has less muscle to absorb medication, so dosage adjustments are sometimes necessary to prevent side effects. Ask your doctor to cover drug interactions for each new prescription you receive.

Missed Doses

Depending on the type of medication and the person’s condition, missed doses of certain medications can result in rapid and serious illness. Time-released drugs, drugs requiring food, and drugs for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, seizure disorders and cancer treatments are critical. Trying to make up a missed dose by doubling it can result in a trip to the emergency room.

There are smartphone reminder apps, charts and calendar reminders available, and for the forgetful, there are smart pill bottles.

 

Our agency’s 33 years of experienced care is reflected in every nurse and administrator on our team. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.