Caregiver Stress Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Caregiver Stress Needs Serious Attention

Caregiver Stress is Real

Caregivers experience stress just as frequently as anyone else. Unfortunately, they are often dismiss it. It’s assumed that caregiver stress is an expectation that comes with the job. People feel that the stress should be tolerated, like learning to cope with long, boring commutes.

Caregiver Stress Has Medical Consequences

In fact, caregiver stress can cause demonstrable medical problems. Those who take on the responsibility of caring for aging or ailing individuals need to stay healthy themselves. They should not fall into the trap of denial. Just because they’re helping others does not mean they won’t need help themselves. Round-the-clock care can lead to running on lack of sleep or lack of food – both causes of declining health. Caregivers do not receive the amount of healthcare monitoring they themselves deliver, so self-care is exceedingly important.

Patients Can Suffer As a Result of Caregiver Stress

When caregivers deny their own health needs, it isn’t just negative for them. According to some recent research from UC Berkeley, patients suffering from dementia will have a shorter life expectancy if their caregivers experience persistent untreated anxiety or depression.

As many as 40 percent of dementia caregivers suffer from depression. Though the problem is widespread, it is rarely discussed. Those who experience caregiver stress should not feel as if the problem is unusual or that it reflects poorly on them as people. The job is fraught with emotional and physical realities that are often sad. These sad realities naturally lead to stress often culminating in depression. This occupational hazard is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Working Through Caregiver Stress

There are many resources available for caregiver stress, including groups that provide social support and therapists who specialize in helping people cope with caregiver stress. Of course, many people will be able to overcome caregiver stress if they reach out to others in order to get some help with their responsibilities.

Home health aides can work with caregivers in order to provide the best possible standards of assistance for the patients. Being a caregiver is difficult, and getting more support can make all the difference in the world.

An Additional David York Agency Service

David York Home Healthcare can refer you to an agency to help you work through the caregiver stress and feelings of depression you may be experiencing. We can also recommend services that target depression in the elderly, should your loved one be experiencing mental health problems. Please contact us for more information on caregiver stress and related issues.

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.

Are Older Patients Creating Their Own Medical Ageism?

Age-Related Myths Pose Danger to Seniors

When seniors subscribe to these myths, it could prevent them from seeking the medical help they need. These myths and pitfalls include thoughts such as:

  • “It’s too late to change my lifestyle”
  • “Lifelong damage is irreversible”
  • “This pain is a result of my age”
  • “I don’t trust my doctor”
  • “Modern medicine is for the birds”

Elderly Ageism

There’s no question that elderly ageism exists in the medical field, but, in some cases, the outdated beliefs of older patients is the cause. They may be preventing themselves from receiving necessary medical care.

When older patients assert that their advanced age means that medicine won’t – or can’t – help them, they create their own medical elderly ageism. Seniors make common rationalizations for their problems and dismiss them as mere symptoms of aging. These symptoms include: diminishing mobility and hearing, sleeplessness, and chronic pain. Today, however, common ailments can be alleviated or eliminated by healthcare professionals, enabling older patients to pursue active lifestyles.

Trust in Your Doctor

In some cases, health issues wrongly associated with aging can be symptoms of serious underlying problems. New ailments should always be brought to the attention of your doctor. A new study in the British Journal of Cancer reports that one in five older patients with early symptoms of cancer did not go to their doctor. Unfortunately, this was a result of believing that nothing could be done to help alleviate the issues or that they would be “bothering the doctor”. This led to later-stage diagnoses and fewer positive outcomes.

Tackling Age-Related Myths

Age-related myths cannot be further from the truth. People at any age have the resilience and adaptability to make the changes necessary to achieve better health. Both older patients and their healthcare aides need to trust in the benefits of treatments, preventive plans, and recovery options.

The healthcare professionals at the David York Agency are trained to recognize symptoms that require medical attention. They also provide the encouragement to help their patients overcome lifelong age-related myths. Contact us to discuss the right type of care plan for you or your loved one.

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.

 

Ageism in Clinical Trials Limit Elderly Healthcare

One-quarter of patients who regularly take prescription medications are over 65. However, clinical trials severely underrepresent this age group. Unfortunately, this is no oversight. Ageism in clinical trials is an unfortunate reality. The International Longevity Center reports that people over the age of 75 are “explicitly excluded” from participating in 40% of clinical trials. These trials evaluate not only the effectiveness and safety of medications, also treatments. Eliminating older patients from these assessments has the potential to result in improper treatment strategies and dosages, as well as overlooked drug interactions.

Elderly Ageism

 

Facts and Figures

Heart disease is a major cause of death in older populations. Despite this fact, less than 2% of people over 75 were included in clinical trials for unclogging blocked arteries. Worse, trials for advanced heart disease treatments did not include any patients over 65. In treatment trials for cancer – a disease where age is a significant risk factor – the number of patients 65 and up was extremely low. In breast cancer treatment trials alone, the number of participants over 65 was a mere 9%. This is a shocking statistic, given that more than 50% of diagnosed women are over 65.

 Why is Ageism So Prevalent?

Why do these statistics exist? Will this exclusion from medical trials hurt our older population?

There are several reasons for this trend. The first: medical practitioners – including 50% of oncologists – consider older patients to be “ineligible” for participation based on age alone. Another reason for ageism in clinical trials is that coexisting medical issues automatically make a person ineligible. True, varying factors can wreak havoc on the results of a controlled trial, but most patients who ultimately receive treatment will likely have multiple medical concerns. Another reason for this ageism: situation. Doctors deem some older patients ineligible for participation due to distance, inability to travel, and other related costs.

Taking a Stand

Designing trials specifically for the elderly would help alleviate this discrepancy. Quite simply, there is no way to determine how a new treatment will react with an untested population. This includes those with other pre-existing conditions. Prescribing untested drugs among the 65+ community leads to incorrect dosages, poor reactions, and other dangerous problems. Regardless of the reasons, eliminating any age group can have unintended consequences. This is particularly true for the older population who take the most medications and have the most health problems.

It is important to include all age groups in clinical trials. The medical community must make this effort to provide the safest and best healthcare to patients of all generations.

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

Ageism in Medicine: Mental Health is Critical for the Elderly

Mental Health is Critical in the Elderly

Mental health is equally as important as physical health.

The U.S. Surgeon General once defined mental health as “the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and providing the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.” This holds true for everyone – including the elderly. Sadly, the lack these activities and stimuli leads to lower quality of life and poor mental health.

Deteriorating mental health can affect financial stability, put strain on families, open up the possibility for criminal victimization, and have a negative impact on physical well-being. Unfortunately, mental health is an area doctors avoid when treating their elderly patients. This implies that depression is normal in older patients.

Jarring Mental Health Trends in the Elderly

The rate of suicide among the elderly is four times the national average. Additionally, seventy-five percent of those who committed suicide visited their primary care doctor within the previous month.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, recently published a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. This study found that doctors do not spend enough time discussing mental health with elderly patients. Results also suggested that doctors “need more support to identify, treat and refer their patients to mental health specialists.”

How to Spot Depression

Caregivers and family members of the elderly should watch for signs of mental illness. These include:

  • Sadness or depression lasting longer than two weeks
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or social activities
  • Unexplained decrease in energy or changes in sleep patterns
  • Difficulties with concentration or decision-making
  • Change in appetite or changes in weight
  • Memory loss, especially short-term memory
  • Feelings of unimportance, misplaced guilt or thoughts of suicide
  • Unexplainable physical setbacks such as aches, constipation, etc.
  • Changes in appearance or problems taking care of the home
  • Struggles with money or working with numbers

Moving Forward

Given the facts, it stands to reason that further geriatrics training should be required of all doctors and caregivers. This would help combat the lack of mental health treatments available to the elderly. Tackling depression among the elderly could improve overall wellbeing. By providing improved care medical professionals could also enhance the personal independence and maintenance of mental well-being among the elderly population.

Caregivers and family members can protect the mental health of older adults by being watchful for the symptoms and advocating for quality care. Therapy, medications and lifestyle changes can all be effective in treating mental illness, allowing older adults to live longer, fuller lives.

We Can Help

DYA puts a premium on personalized services and attention and conducts regular training classes for all their home health aides regarding many conditions endemic to the elderly. 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.

 

The Top 10 Ways to Prevent Falls in Older Adults

elderly person falling

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

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

There are also environmental causes to consider….

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

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

Here is a checklist you might find handy –

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading..

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

 

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

 

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

Stamina: The Key to Enduring Support

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

Vibrancy: Inspiring Happiness and Optimism in Others

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

Tolerance: Combining Patience and Empathy on a Daily Basis

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

Strength: An Illustration of Physical and Mental Fortitude

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

Composure: Helping to Instill Serenity in Senior Citizens

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

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

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

 

 

The Benefits of Home Healthcare

home healthcare benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

How to Make “Aging in Place” Possible

aging in place david york agency

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ageism in Medicine: The Elderly Need Preventive Care Too

ageism elderly preventative carePreventive care is used to find and maintain a good personal health standard. Unfortunately, when it comes to seniors, the medical community does less for prevention, intervention and aggressive treatment. Ageism is a real problem.

Routine Preventive Care

During a routine preventive visit, your doctor will look at a number of factors to determine what screenings and lab work you need. These factors include: age, gender, health history and any current symptoms you are experiencing. However, when it comes to the elderly, after these are noted, it is common NOT to receive proper preventive care, including important health screenings.

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2003, nine of every 10 adults over the age of 65 did not receive the appropriate screenings. Preventive care has many benefits. Preventing disease and illness reduces overall healthcare costs. Healthy, working adults are more productive and attend work more consistently. Most important, preventive care enables seniors to remain independent longer. This promotes not only physical health, but also mental and emotional health.

Five Important Screening Tests

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

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

Steps to Remedy the Situation

In order to increase the number of elderly receiving the proper preventive care, the government has stepped in. Local, state, and national plans have been implemented. These include reducing out-of-pocket costs, promoting annual wellness visits, client reminders for screenings and other tests. They have also distributed videos and brochures to raise awareness about available services, provided transportation to medical facilities. They have also begun to allow screening to take place outside of the traditional facility such as in the patient’s home, church or other facility.

 

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

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

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