Long-Distance Caregiving: Feeling Adequate at a Distance

At a time when seniors wish to remain independent  – and in their own homes – for as long as possible, establishing a support system is essential. The act of caregiving often falls on relatives or close friends, but these caregivers are not always local and long-distance caregiving is on the rise.

Grandparents talking on the phone at the table. Long-distance caregiving

But how can you provide adequate care from a distance while maintaining the balance of your daily life?

Remaining involved in your loved one’s life, providing long-distance care, and living your own life is a difficult balance. The “sandwich generation,” – identified as middle-aged adults “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their aging parents – can be full of overwhelming and thankless tasks, but maintaining your relationship and providing care at a distance can be done!

Here are a few ways to maintain the caregiver relationship when living far away.

 

The Reality of Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance caregiving is an undeniable stressor. The difficulty of balancing the duties of a caregiver with work and family can be daunting and exhausting. You will have to learn to manage your time and your loved one’s time simultaneously. You will also have to adapt your schedule to include travel time as well as care time.

Expect to make sacrifices if you plan to maintain significant involvement in your loved one’s life. From missing work to rearranging appointments, your job as a caregiver will be all-encompassing. Frequent phone calls at all hours of the day and night may become a new norm. You may also take on the added expense of additional home care in order to ensure your loved one’s well-being when you cannot be present.

 

What Can I Do?

How can we accept the reality of distance as a barrier but also incorporate ways to embrace it? Finding peace of mind away from your loved one is difficult, but not impossible.

Some ways may include purchasing new forms of technology such as a fall alert system. This is a small investment ensuring that emergency personnel would respond if a loved one suffered a fall. There are also various forms of medication reminders to help loved ones take their medications at the recommended time.

Establish methods of communication that are readily available and easily understood. When utilizing the telephone, your loved one may prefer a landline with multiple cordless phones and charging stations placed around their living area. If your loved one is receptive to video chat, ensure these newfangled programs are installed properly and simplified for ease of use. Many seniors suffer from hearing and vision loss so preset the volume on devices to ensure they can hear properly. Place telephones in locations that are accessible and uncluttered.

 

Helpful Tips from the AARP:

1. Maintain your identity and embrace the characteristics and strengths that you have while incorporating them into caregiving.

2. Reprioritize as circumstances arise.

3. Get organized. Check out these David York Agency publications for the task: Workbook & Checklist.

4. Be open to accepting help whether it be with minimal daily tasks, assistance from other family and friends or hiring a home care agency.

5. “Keep filling your tank.” Caregiving requires mental and emotional energy. Allow yourself to unwind and reboot.

 

Understanding the reality of caregiving and accepting ways to embrace it may ease the struggle of long-distance caregiving. David York Agency prides itself on individualized care and maintaining the dignity of your loved one. If you need assistance, support, or an open ear in the world of caregiving, reach out today!

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.

Ageism in Medicine: Lack of Geriatric Specialists Creates Medical Ageism

The number of geriatric medical health caregivers is not keeping pace with the increasing number of older Americans. In addition, there is a lack of adequate training in the field of geriatric medicine as well as an insufficient amount of hands-on clinical experience. While physicians may have experience dealing with senior patients in their practice, they don’t have the same broad base of knowledge specific to the elderly as physicians who specialize in geriatric medicine. Unfortunately, this all adds up to a lack of geriatric specialists and ageism in senior medicine.

 

Lack of geriatric specialists

 

Focusing on Geriatric Problems

According to the AARP, specialists in fields such as oncology, urology, and neurology focus on these specific fields, but neglect to study the particulars of accumulated diseases in the elderly. Seniors accumulate medical issues over a lifetime, and these problems require a different medical approach. Geriatric healthcare professionals also understand the necessity of high-level compassion and communication when handling older patients. As it stands, doctors often discuss their senior patients’ prognosis or treatment with family members, bypassing the patient altogether. This creates a feeling of invisibility and lack of respect.

 

Geriatric Specializations: The Facts

Research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that most existing medical training does not cover the scope of the special needs and diverse conditions of older patients. In addition, medical students are not choosing geriatrics as a specialty. The following data demonstrates this problem:

  • fewer than 8,000 physicians are certified in geriatrics
  • less than 1 percent of pharmacists have geriatric certification
  • less than 1 percent of registered nurses specialize in geriatrics
  • fewer than 2,000 doctors specialize in geriatric psychiatry

 

Changing the System

Geriatric specializations need to be taken more seriously. First, there need to be more programs that offer this specialty. Next, – what with the rising population of elderly patients –  it should be made a more established path into medicine. We must see geriatric focus in healthcare programs for primary care doctors and offered as a specialty by more educational facilities. Above all, medical institutions should make geriatric medicine more attractive to those choosing a specialty.

Seniors benefit in many ways from seeing geriatric specialists; not only is their overall healthcare and quality of life better, but they are hospitalized less often and can lead more independent lives. This, in turn, lowers overall medical costs and creates a healthier generation of Americans. Ageism in medicine is an unfortunate reality. However, the right information can lead to improvement.

 

When you need home healthcare for a senior in your family, contact us. Our licensed practical nurses (LPN), registered nurses (RN), certified personal care aides (PCA) and certified home health aides (HHA) are ready to help. We employ professionals trained in the care and needs of geriatric patients. Let us can help your loved one live a more independent, fulfilled life.

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.

Demanding Dignity, Above All Else, in Eldercare Services

Aging and losing the ability to perform the day-to-day tasks that once defined us can be a tough pill to swallow. Relinquishing those responsibilities to someone else can be even harder. At David York Agency, we understand how important it is to find quality care when a loved one has reached a point in their life where they need additional support and assistance. But more importantly, we understand that dignity, above all else, is the key to good eldercare.

In her novel Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand wrote, without dignity, identity is erased.Thats why, at David York Home Healthcare Agency, we treat all of our clients with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Eldercare service is what we do. It is what we want to do. We care about our clients, not just for them.

Our dedicated staff members provides personalized care to every client.

  • We value your input and listen to your requests. We want our clients to feel involved in the decisions being made about their care.
  • We work to establish trust with every client maintaining confidentiality, without question and without exception.
  • We encourage our clients to remain as active as they are able and involved in their daily activities.

When a member of our staff is in the home assisting a member of your family, we guarantee:

  • Recognition that every client has different needs. By offering a personalized level of service, our staff members are able to give every client the best possible care.
  • Respect for privacy while assisting with bathing and dressing. This is something we hold in highest regard.
  • Sensitivity to issues of toileting and incontinence. We strive to maintain a sense of dignity at all times.
  • Preparing and feeding meals that cater to personal tastes and nutrition requirements.  

At David York Agency, we provide every client the same quality of care we would give to our own families. Along with our certified and licensed staff members, we choose this profession because we love helping people. We hope you will think of us as a valued friend, ready to help you and your family transition into this new phase of life. Contact us with any questions you have about home care services. We are always happy to help.

Helping Others Make Lasting Change

Of all the resolutions we make to start the new year, more than half involve becoming healthier: losing weight, eating better, adhering to specific diet, or quitting [insert bad habit here]. And while much is made of how few people achieve their goals, what of those who get it right? The people who drop a dress size, adopt a healthy new routine, eliminate a specific toxic behavior? What constitutes the difference between those who succeed and those who do not? The answer lies not in the resolutions we make, but in how we go about realizing life changes that determines success.

When caring for aging parents or loved ones, a related question might be how to help them adopt new habits when you’re not always there to observe their behavior and offer encouragement—or if they resist making the change. How do we help a loved one overcome a habit that’s bad for their budget, their health, or their general well-being?

TNew Yearshe most common problems the elderly face involve

  • getting enough sleep
  • eating healthfully
  • managing chronic health issues
  • appropriate daily exercise

When helping an elderly adult make positive life changes, consider the following suggestions which experts advise for creating lasting and effective resolutions for the upcoming year:

  • Focus on one habit change, and make it realistic.
  • Understand the “Golden Rule of Habit Change,” which states that every habit has three components:
  • The cue (or a trigger for an automatic behavior to start),
  • A routine (the behavior itself), and
  • A reward (which is how our brain learns to remember this pattern for the future).
  • Learn to recognize triggers.
  • Replace an old habit with a new one, or associate a specific trigger with a different behavior.
  • Take small realistic steps. Make them manageable and duplicate them every day.
  • Celebrate accomplishments.

Whether the goal is to help a parent manage diabetes or to be active on a daily basis, helping another through these steps may not be easy, but the outcome—a healthier lifestyle and potentially longer and more productive life—is worth the effort.

When it’s not possible to spend as much time as you’d like with an aging loved one, David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them. Our Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), are available full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the very best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755 or visit our website www.davidyorkagency.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn, google+ or Twitter.

Using Color and Contrast to Increase Safety in the Home

As your loved ones age, their changing physical needs also require a change in their physical environment – their home. Elder proofing a home is a way to make sure a senior’s home is safe and in many cases it requires only slight accommodations and a small investment. A simple, yet effective method is incorporating color and contrast to increase the safety and functionality of their home.

color and contrastThe use of color and contrast accommodates the aging eye which may lose sensitivity and have difficulty differentiating similar patterns and colors. Therefore, using bolder color contrast becomes crucial. “When we talk of color contrast, it’s the separation of lights and darks,” said Michael Pause, a professor who teaches color and light theory at North Carolina State. “It’s the notion of being able to distinguish between two surfaces.” For example, using different colors on kitchen countertops and cabinets can help people with declining vision discern where one surface ends and the next begins. Other areas of the home that can benefit from color contrast and make for easier navigating include baseboards, stair edges, ramp edges, door moldings and, in the bathroom showers and bathtubs.

According to the Healthy House Institute,

“If the color of a floor and wall are similar, low light conditions will make it hard or impossible to clearly see where the floor meets the wall. The result for eyes not adjusted to low light conditions can be accidental collisions into the wall perhaps by turning a corner before actually reaching it. High contrast or opposite colors on the floor and walls makes the floor visually ‘pop.’ These are visual cues, additional guideposts for the brain to navigate by.”

There are a myriad of ways to use color and contrast to increase functionality in the home. The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State offers several ideas in its “Universal Design in Housing” guide.

• Use a contrasting color border treatment on between floor surfaces and trim.
• Add color contrast to differentiate between stair treads and risers.
• Emphasize lighting at stairs, entrances and task lighting which affords easy recognition of the junction of floor surfaces and walls.
• Create contrast between countertops and front edges or cabinet faces.
• Avoid glossy surfaces, which may reflect light and glare, potentially confusing the eye.
• To increase safety, install color contrasting faucet handles.
• Use contrasting colors on wall and casements when installing light switches and window hardware.
• Color can also be used for facilitating recognition of everyday-use items in the kitchen and bathroom as well.

David York Agency has done a lot of research about elder proofing homes and has compiled a concise, handy chart for caregivers to use which is available on the caregiver resources page of their website.

David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them: Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755.

Elements of a Barrier-Free Bathroom

The bathroom has come to be viewed as a retreat – a place for relaxation, solitude and renewal in the home. However, for the elderly and infirm, it can present formidable barriers to use and may compromise safety when physical abilities begin to fail. However, designing or updating a bathroom to be handicap accessible and able to accommodate the changing needs of an individual can incorporate tranquility into a once again functional space.

For an able-bodied person, a standard tub or shower poses no challenge. However, consider changes in mobility and it becomes a different story. Raising the height of fixtures like the sink and toilet, in addition to allowing for increased clearance for walkers or wheelchairs, are simple ways to increase accessibility in this room. On the other hand, the bath and shower are the trickiest for ensuring safety and accessibility.

bathroomsWhen renovating or designing a bathroom to accommodate the elderly or handicapped, many will choose to add shower or bath options that are both user-friendly and beautiful. Increasingly, bathroom remodels incorporate barrier-free showers taking into account possible future needs and the market has responded with some very aesthetically pleasing options.

If a remodel is your choice, a zero-entry or curbless shower offers complete accessibility with no threshold to step over can be designed to occupy any amount of space desired – from that of a standard shower to much larger. Installing a hand-held showerhead on a slide bar is a great way to increase usability, allowing the user to shower while seated. Of course, a shower bar is an easy to install and a popular standard for safety. Walk-in bathtubs are also an option and can be installed in the same footprint as an existing standard-sized tub.

Accessible bathrooms are critical for creating an accessible home as loved ones age. David York Agency is well aware of possible safety hazards and their home health aides know how to navigate their clients in the bathroom safely. David York Agency has done a lot of research about elder proofing homes and has compiled a concise, handy chart for caregivers to use which is available on the caregiver resources page of their website.

David York Agency’s qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals provide additional peace of mind, offering the services of Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755.

 

 

Returning Home After a Stroke

When a stroke occurs, time spent in the hospital amounts to mere moments compared to what can be a lengthy and challenging recovery process. A stroke can change your loved one’s life in the blink of an eye, and can suddenly make normal, everyday activities impossible for the stroke survivor to do alone. Living arrangements, too, can create unique issues—even the scope of the home (its layout and its associated responsibilities) may be incompatible with their changed capabilities.

As soon as possible in advance of the stroke survivor being discharged, an assessment should be made of the stroke survivor’s entire situation, including their living environment, support fromUntitled1 family, disability and insurance benefits, along with the possible introduction of in-home healthcare.

According to information published by the US Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, ensure a safe and comfortable transition by reviewing the following and making necessary changes:

  • Making sure that your loved one has a safe place to live,
  • Deciding what care, assistance, or special equipment will be needed,
  • Arranging for more rehabilitation services or for other services in the home (such as visits by a physical therapist or hiring a home health aide),
  • Choosing a healthcare professional or doctor who will monitor your loved one’s health and medical needs,
  •  Learning the necessary skills to provide your loved one with daily care and assistance at home,

Experts recommend that, when possible, families take the initial steps in deciding on in-home healthcare well in advance. David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them: Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755.

 

Mitigating Pre-Diabetes

Diabetes affects a disproportionate number of older adults—approximately 25% of Americans aged 60 and over. In the United States, our growing aging demographic is clearly one of the drivers of the diabetes epidemic. Another less known condition, prediabetes, is even more common and affects an estimated 50 percent of Americans over 65. Prediabetes is where one’s blood glucose level is above normal, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. It is important for seniors to be aware of prediabetes because it is very common and greatly increases one’s risk to develop type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Lady SwimmingMedication
When someone is at risk of developing diabetes, a health care provider may prescribe certain medications to manage symptoms. Taking even simpler steps, however, may be even more effective in preventing the disease.

Physical activity
There are numerous studies that show the benefits of being active as we age. This is absolutely vital in diabetes management. The activity doesn’t need to be strenuous—begin slowly to build up stamina and strength. Limited mobility isn’t a barrier, many websites and books today offer suggestions for chair and limited mobility exercises.

Weight loss In addition to increasing physical activity, cutting back on calories from sugar and bad fats can go a long way in managing weight. The American Diabetes Association suggests losing 7 percent of your total body weight as a goal.

Continued monitoring
If you’re at risk for diabetes, having blood glucose checked once a year is standard; some health care professionals may suggest more often. Blood pressure and cholesterol should also be checked regularly, as fluctuations can point to heart disease and blood vessel problems.

If you’ve been told you are prediabetic, or that you’re at risk of developing diabetes, see this as a warning sign—not a life sentence. By taking simple steps and getting help from your health care provider and loved ones, diabetes can be prevented.

David York Agency is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly. David York Agency and their team of home heath aide professionals will be there to help you every step of the way. Our client intake coordinator is available to answer your questions about in-home healthcare. When you sign on as a client, a free nursing assessment helps tailor a specific care plan performed by a caring home health aide.

For more information about our services, please visit www.davidyorkagency.com. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on our 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.

Is My Caregiver Available in an Emergency?

It’s estimated that older patients account for nearly 25 percent of all emergency room visits, exhibiting a range of conditions, from physical illness to cognitive disorders. Additional causes or factors can include falls, dementia, delirium, and simultaneously taking several medications, all of which can complicate the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of maladies in the elderly population.

BP is care available in an emergencyBy the time it becomes necessary for you or your loved one to hire a home health aide or caregiver in the home, accidents, illness or emergency room visits have likely already occurred. These incidents often serve as the precipitating event, indicating that personalized, in-home care is important for continued health and well-being. While there’s no guarantee that the aide or caregiver will be present should an emergency event occur, having a healthcare professional’s record of activity, behavior and medical care available can streamline the process, ensuring the best outcome for you or your loved one.

When you choose to work with David York Agency, we begin by contacting your physician and any other concerned healthcare professional, to develop and implement the optimal home care plan to fulfill the patient’s needs. We then select capable home health aides that fit with the individual’s health requirements and living situation. For ongoing care, our Director of Patient Services carefully monitors each case and, at no extra charge, regular visits are made to your home by a registered nurse to supervise your DYA caregiver.

In a life-threatening emergency, calling 911 should always be the first course of action. In the case of other less urgent situations, a David York Agency client always has access to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To request an assessment, call our office in Brooklyn, New York at (718) 376-7755, or visit us online at davidyorkhomehealthcare.com. Our highly skilled Director of Patient Services will carefully listen to your particular caregiver needs and help customize a care plan for your specific home healthcare needs.