Elder Proofing a Senior’s Home

Simple falls can have catastrophic effects on the elderly leading to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. These falls can be prevented and a good caregiver can minimize any negative long term effects if one does occur.  With most falls occurring at home while doing mundane tasks, “elder proofing” homes becomes critical to those seniors that are able to stay in their homes. David York Home Healthcare Agency is intimately aware of what a safe living space for an elderly person should look like and can help set that up.  That is why our aides are instructed frequently during in-service training about safe environments for our elderly clients.

The National Institute on Aging has a handy article about making a home safe for the elderly. Tripping hazards from carpets, wires, and clutter need to be removed.  Grab bars in places like the shower, tub, and toilet as well as proper lighting often prove essential.

Here is a summary:

Stairways, Hallways and PathwaysHandicap-Shower

  1. Keep electric cords and wires next to the wall and tacked down.
  2. Affix all carpets and area rugs firmly to the floor.
  3. Arrange furniture so there are clear paths for walking.
  4. Make sure sofas and chairs are the right height for sitting and getting up.
  5. Don’t walk on wet, newly washed floors.
  6. Keep often used items in easy reach.
  7. Don’t stand on a table or chair.
  8. Have a reach stick (obtainable in hardware stores) for hard to reach items.
  9. Know where your pet is before sitting or standing so you don’t trip on them.
  10. Keep emergency numbers in large print near the telephone.

Living Areas

  1. Have handrails on both sides of the stairs.
  2. Make sure there is good lighting,
  3. Keep the walkway tidy.
  4. Check that the carpets are fixed firmly.
  5. Don’t use throw rugs or small area rugs

Bathrooms

  1. Grab bars for the tub, toilet and shower.
  2. Place non-skid mats, strips and carpets.
  3. Place nightlights.

Bedroom

  1. Put nightlights and light switches near the bed.
  2. Keep the telephone on the night table.
  3. Have all remote controls within reach.

Source: National Institute on Aging: AdPage: Falls and Fractures; September 2012

At David York Home Care Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Preventing Falls in the Elderly

We are often so consumed with the symptoms and treatments of the diseases endemic to the elderly that we fail to see how a simple fall can have catastrophic effects. These falls can lead to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. To the elderly, commonplace activities like walking, shopping and socializing become dreaded events.  Their physical realities combined with their fears mean that the elderly come to view themselves as fragile which exacerbates their isolation and depression, all too common conditions among this group.

Ten things you can do to prevent falls include (The National Institute on Aging has a handy tip sheet):487709591

  • Regular exercise, especially those that work on balance like yoga and tai chi, can help steady the elderly adult. Weight-bearing exercises that slow bone loss and lower-body strengthening exercises are especially helpful.
  • Physical therapy may be useful for improving balance and walking confidence.  Your doctor or health care provider may be able to make that referral.
  • Stand up slowly from a seated or lying position.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes to avoid slipping.
  • Make regular eye and hearing check-ups to ensure they are fitted with glasses with the optimal prescription for clear vision.  Interestingly, even wearing bifocals while walking or on steps may blur the vision enough to cause falls.  Proper hearing can ensure no cues are missed.
  • Elder proofing a home taking elderly needs and deficits into account much as we do for babies is often neglected.  (See article below.)
  • Regular dizziness may indicate an underlying medical condition with respect to blood pressure, circulation, or sensory issues which should be checked out by a physician.
  • Have the doctor or pharmacist review all medications to identify those most likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Get enough sleep.
    Source: National Institute on Aging: Go4Life: Preventing Falls

David York Home Healthcare Agency  provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.

MediSafe Project: Never Forget to take Medications

Managing medication compliance keeps getting easier. At David York Agency, we are excited about the MediSafe Project, one of the latest technological innovations to help ensure that you and your loved ones never skip or take the wrong dose of a prescribed medication or supplement. MediSafe is a user friendly app that you can download for free at their website and use to set alerts to remind you to take your various medications or supplements. This new award winning mobile pillbox technology is also a way for supportive families, friends and caregivers to identify when patients have taken medication and be alerted when they did not.

mediSafeFor those who don’t have smartphones, caregivers and relatives can download the app and track the medication compliance for the patient. Also, beginning in 2015, the system will become accessible to people without smartphones via an automated phone system and text messaging. Patients will be able to record medication doses via touchtone and caretakers will be able to receive alerts via incoming, automated calls.

Medication non-adherence is a pervasive and costly problem in terms of time, money and health. This problem tremendously impacts health outcomes and even causes fatalities. Whether they are elderly, diabetic, or suffering from another illness, adherence is critical to patient health. In fact, the National Community Pharmacists Association estimates that it adds $290 billion to healthcare spending annually.

In the elderly, impediments to adherence include dementia and lack of adequate support from caregivers. Though a child, spouse, or senior caregiver is usually taking some level of responsibility for their daily routine, it’s hard for everyone to remember every medication on time.

MediSafe’s mission is to solve the problem of medication non-adherence and increase the power of family & friends to achieve positive, healthy outcomes for each other on a daily basis by delivering personalized medication reminder notifications specific to each patient & medication. It tells you when it’s time to take a medication; then you enter that you have taken it so the software can record that for you. It is the first-of-its-kind cloud-synced mobile medication database management system with an iOS and Android mobile app. Here is a quick video to show you how it works.

David York Agency is expert at the care and management of various diseases endemic to the elderly. Our home health aides are fully aware of the problem of missed medication doses and most of them have smartphones that could be utilized for MediSafe if the family desires.

David York Home Healthcare Agency provides skilled home health aide services for home healthcare and could assist you in mapping out and managing the total care of your senior loved one. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website  www.davidyorkagency.com to become acquainted with all we offer.
Please like us on  Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Home Care for Seniors: An Assessment Tool

It’s not easy to be a parent, but it is often difficult as well to be the child of parents who can no longer care for themselves. Most aging parents obviously want to live at home for as long as possible which often means that they will need in-home elderly care to do so.  The question is how do you know when it is time to seek home healthcare help for your parents’ care? 136265213

There is an online tool that can help guide that decision-making.  The Independent Living Assessment is a terrific on-line tool developed by researchers at Boston University that can help to determine if your parents’ safety and health needs are being well served by their current living situation. It asks a series of questions about such things as level of independence and mobility in order to determine how much assistance is needed.  Parents may only require assistance part of the time or their needs are such that a full time caregiver would be necessary.  Many home healthcare agencies provide a nursing assessment in addition to much needed assistance by a home health aide who normally helps with household tasks and personal care.  You may discover that with a little help around the house, running errands and assistance with meal preparation, your parents’ needs are sufficiently met to enable them to live at home indefinitely. 

David York Agency not only provides skilled home health aides for your in-home healthcare, it is one of a select few that provides a free nurse assessment for their clients. They can help you develop a plan to accommodate changes in your parents’ health situation. This can minimize the anxiety and stress that occurs when quick decisions have to be made. Please become acquainted with our service  today by visiting www.davidyorkagency.com or follow us on our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages. You can also call us at 718.376.7755 and we will be happy to talk over your specific home healthcare needs.

 

A Tool to Diagnose Depression in the Elderly and Type 2 Diabetics

According to a recent article in Home Healthcare Nurse entitled “Diabetes, Depression, and OASIS-C”, among the population 65 years and older, one in six suffers from depression and this is especially true among elderly adults who receive home care.  Identifying depression in the home bound elderly and effectively treating it may be key to decreasing their hospitalization rates and all its associated health and financial costs since the effects of depression can send the elderly adult down a path of negative complications. 

depressionAn additional finding that has some serious implications for our aging population is that research indicates depression is higher among adults with diabetes than the general population.  In fact, diabetics are twice as likely  to suffer from depression.  Under the best of circumstances, our senior citizens have increased chronic and acute diseases; with the interplay of diabetes and depression the rate of mortality, cardiac problems, diabetes related problems, functional impairment as well as hospitalizations increase.  A significant reduction in the overall quality of life ensues due to the resulting combination of events of poor self care, functional impairment and significant nutritional issues. 

Depression is a very treatable condition.  New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene research has shown that 70% to 80% of patients respond well to treatment and good medical care. 

As an essential start, before this issue can be adequately addressed, the patient must be seen by trained nurses and clinicians and a medical doctor should screen for any endocrine disorders.  After other medical issues have been ruled out, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated using a new diagnostic assessment tool in the form of a PHQ-9 questionnaire which is a validated instrument used in primary care to screen for depression in home care patients with Type 2 diabetes.  The questionnaire is an upgrade from the one formerly used because it measures the physical symptoms of depression as well as the level of interest in activity and mood.  With a score of 3 or higher, the patient is referred to a clinician by the home healthcare team

Training a home healthcare provider to recognize symptoms of depression will greatly increase the prospect of its treatment, especially in Type 2 diabetics and home bound elderly patients where its prevalence is so much higher.  Cooperation and communication between all the healthcare disciplines is essential in order to achieve successful diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. 

The home healthcare team at David York Home Healthcare Agency is on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of depression in the elderly and is eager to be an active player in the treatment plan of the total elderly caregiver team.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website at http://davidyorkhomehealthcare.com/.  You could also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.