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. 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.

 

 

A Toolkit for Promoting Positive Behavior in Dementia Patients

Toolkit for dealing with dementia

About 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease and 90% of those are abusive.  This is important because this situation puts these patients at higher risk for institutionalization, greater functional decline and domestic abuse.  Up to this point, the preferred method for managing the Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) has been to prescribe medication to control it.  However, adding to the already hefty arsenal of drugs currently taken by most senior citizens is not to be entered into lightly since they are often accompanied by significant and dangerous side effects.  Clearly, we need better mechanisms for handling these patients.

An article in January/February 2014 issue of Geriatric Nursing entitled “Promoting Positive Behavioral Health:  A Non-Pharmacological Toolkit for Senior Living Communities” unearths a great find:  a toolkit which was peer reviewed and endorsed by experts and designed to centralize the most up to date best practices for handling these challenging situations.  A team of clinicians assembled data on how to deal with BPSD beyond the parameters of the antipsychotic medications normally prescribed.  The goal is for these methods to be the first course of action in treating dementia.  The toolkit can be accessed at http://www.nursinghometoolkit.com/ and you can navigate through the tabs on top and get to an area of interest.  Searching through the site will yield a plethora of information including non-pharmacological approaches to dealing with dementia. A helpful graph of approaches can be found in a document entitled “Review of Non-pharmacological Approaches for Treating Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia“.

This meshes with a program which began in March 2012 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the “Initiative to Improve Behavioral Health and Reduce Antipsychotic Use in Nursing Homes” where it partnered with associations such as the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA)  for a comprehensive approach for limiting the use of dementia controlling medications in this population as part of their overall “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes”.

We owe it to our seniors and their loved one and caregivers to explore any adjunct or replacement treatments to alleviate the often devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  This handy tool is worth a look.

 

Eldercare Conversation With A Resistant Senior by Anita Kamiel, R.N., M.P.S.

couple having serious talking in home interior

We talk a lot about how important it is to have those serious end-of-life discussions with your elderly loved ones as they enter their golden years. It’s so important to hash out their preferences for care while they are still fully cognizant, before any decline in mental capacity. We also know that under the best of circumstances this can be awkward and, when emotions kick in, even painful to the family to face these issues head-on.

All this can feel downright impossible if the senior is not cooperative. This intractability can be the result of their age accompanied by lessened patience, a personality shift due to an underlying disease condition, or it may just be an extension of a lifelong contrariness.

While we usually dismiss their resistance as “a phase,” we must understand that the elderly have much to lose. Their diminished physical capacity leaves them vulnerable to many losses, especially the loss of their independence as the captains of their fate. They fear these conversations may mean yielding their housing, financial, and day-to-day decisions to third parties they don’t necessarily fully trust or respect. Understandably, they don’t want to deal with that. This is only exacerbated when relationships with potential caregivers have been rocky in the past.

So, how do we get the critical conversation going? How do we get recalcitrant seniors to engage? Each case is unique. I don’t pretend that my suggestions will work in every case. These are just pointers I have picked up from years of studying and dealing with the elderly.

First and foremost, I always find it best to approach the elderly with the respect they deserve. They need to know their opinions matter the most here. You must make it perfectly clear that they have a voice and your desire is to comply with their wishes. I cannot stress how crucial real and deep listening is in this situation.

Threats and scare tactics are unduly harsh and totally counterproductive. See your role as one of facilitator with agenda questions. You should be hearing their voice much more than your own.

Ask how they would like you to handle any hospital stay and follow-up care. What kind of insurance do they have in place to cover all this? The David York Agency website has an excellent checklist on our resources page that can be used as a guide for end-of-life planning.

Gently broach the subject of what they would like you to do if they are suddenly ill. I would back away immediately if there is any resistance. It may take a few tries to get through this conversation, but that is OK. These get them to start thinking. The failed attempts are warmups to the successful one.

In certain cases, you might want or need a family meeting with the senior included. On the other hand, you may not want to make a “federal case” out of the whole thing by calling a potentially intimidating meeting. If you call a meeting, make sure not to muddy the process by holding it during a holiday. Holiday time doesn’t lend itself to the focus required to get this task done and may just end up ruining everyone’s celebration.

In some instances, a third-party facilitator such as a geriatric care manager or another geriatric professional might be quite useful. This is true whether you have solid family relationships or not. These neutral advisers help to keep fears and emotions in check, everyone on track, and the atmosphere non-threatening.

These conversations must be predicated on trust and there is no place for any ill will. Be fair and evenhanded. You will gain a lot more trust if you are honest about the pros and cons of every type of available care and residence option. People are much less likely to get defensive if they feel you are not trying to manipulate them.

It may take some time to build that trust—even months—which is why planning is so important here. However, I realize that in many situations time is of the essence, so if you missed out on this lead time, you can still make it up in the end game.

Emotional stroking can help a resistant senior be coaxed into engaging. Remind them how much you love them. Tell them how caring for them would be your pleasure as compensation for all they have done for you all these years.

You need to be patient. The world they mastered as they grew from scared child to adult can seem like a scary place again. Emphasize how you are not going to abandon them and will be there for them always.

Again—really listen! Repeat their wishes aloud for clarity and so they can confirm what you said. It will calm seniors to know you understand them. Also, it will build the bridge to ease subsequent conversations that may be necessary.

I suggest ending with a big group hug. It wipes away any mistakes made during the discussion—and even in years past. Let me know if I can help!

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

5 Tips for Serving as a Caregiver for a Loved One

Caring for a loved one can be an emotionally challenging task. Not only is it often a 24/7 job, but it can be especially difficult to find a balance between providing and caring for your loved one and maintaining your own physical and emotional well-being.

21829794_sHere are five practical tips that will help you in your role as a caretaker.

  1. Keep records.

Keeping track of your loved one’s doctor visits, medications, symptoms, and eating habits will help you better manage their care. These records make consultations with healthcare providers more focused on getting the specific care your loved one needs and also give you a more holistic view of their medical history. Strong record keeping is especially essential if you share care responsibilities with another family member or professional caregiver.

  1. Educate yourself.

The best way to support your loved one is to understand their specific medical needs, including any chronic conditions or diseases, and the nature of their treatment. This will help you anticipate potential problems or side effects and prepare for unforeseen challenges in your role as a caregiver.

  1. Understand the insurance.

Know the limitations and allowances of your loved one’s health insurance. This will help you navigate difficult topics such as reimbursement, specialist co-pays, and respite care. By knowing what they are entitled to from their insurance provider, you can advocate for their best possible care.

  1. Plan ahead.

Talk with your loved one about his or her final wishes. Do they have a will or special instructions regarding their estate? Do they have specific wishes for their burial services? These are difficult conversations to have, but both you and your loved one will appreciate the peace of mind, knowing that plans for their future are in place.

  1. Take care of yourself.

Providing care for someone can have a substantial effect on your own personal well-being. If you’re finding that your quality of life is diminished as a result of your duties, consider enlisting the help of a certified home health aide or professional caregiver. This will allow you time to recharge, both physically and emotionally. You want to be there for your loved one, but in order to do that, you need to care for yourself as well.

We understand that taking care of a loved one is difficult. If you need additional support, please call David York Home Healthcare Agency today at (718) 376-7755. David York Agency has provided the highest quality care for the elderly and infirm for over 30 years. We would be happy to give you more information and discuss your case with you. To hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. If you would like to learn more about how our certified home health aides can help provide you the additional support your loved one needs, contact us.

Reversals in Parenting

A recent article in the Deseret News,  recounted the writer’s final months with her father, noting how the roles had suddenly reversed as she found herself taking care of an aging parent. Through it all, it’s important to remember that we are still dealing with the person who raised us and took care of us when we needed them. It can be gratifying to repay them by being there for them as much as possible.

Not only are we living longer, but we are leading healthier and more independent lives. Yet inevitably, there comes a time when we start to slow down. Mobility becomes restricted and sometimes it is even dangerous for an aging parent to be left alone. As eyesight decreases and bones become fragile, moving around safely becomes more of a concern. Aside from physical ailments, mental capacity can also diminish, whether as a consequence of Alzheimer’s, other health issues or medications. As a result, we can often feel that we are parenting our parent.

When the proverbial handwriting begins to “appear on the wall”, sit down with your parent and have a discussion with open and honest questions about choices, so that you can do your best to ensure that your parent’s autonomy is respected. Autonomy is one of the most important factors in an aging person’s life. They worked hard, ran businesses, raised children and took care of homes. They earned the right to make as many decisions for themselves as possible and within reason. This role reversal should not compromise anyone’s dignity.

Parenting our parentsWhen we are caring for a parent, we often find that the time we spend with them is filled with doing laundry and housekeeping, checking to make sure the pantry is properly stocked and ensuring that all their medications are in order and being taken. This can be a difficult time, both for you and for your parent. It’s okay to acknowledge that, but remember that this is also a time to share as many moments together as you can.

That quality time is so important and should be made a priority when possible. “Parenting” activities such as discussing a favorite book, watching a movie or reminiscing over the past can bring a lot of joy to a parent who endures a lot of alone time and can even help them keep alert. Research points to an active mind staving off ill effects of encroaching dementia. Sometimes it’s possible to coordinate with other available family members to ensure that your loved one is not just taken care of, but feeling valued.  Professional caregivers can also free up all involved from mundane tasks in order for you to enjoy quality time with your parent.

Sudden illness in an elderly parent often requires us to rearrange our lives in order to help out. Unexpectedly, our schedules are disrupted. We worry whether or not Mom or Dad is being taken care of or safe when we are not able to be there. Additionally, our parent may live outside our normal radius of travel, meaning that we may need to take some time off work to help out. If we can’t take time off, we need to help make alternative arrangements for doctor’s appointments, trips to the pharmacy and grocery store, and assistance with personal grooming. With so much to think about, frustrations and tensions can often run high, not only for us, but also for the parent who suddenly feels that he or she is a burden.

Try to remember that there is help out there. There are support groups available for those who find themselves caring or helping to care for an aging parent. These groups can offer advice and support when dealing with scheduling, finances, medical care and respite care. And, a home healthcare agency can help find caregivers for all or some of the time. Hiring a professional does not completely remove the burden of the responsibility, but it can be a lifesaver. Professional caregivers are also trained to spot signs of concern about their health. It’s always best to research home healthcare agencies until you feel comfortable with your decision.

When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services. David York Home Healthcare Agency is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors and can satisfy all your questions. We would be happy to give you more information and discuss your case with you. Visit our website at David York Agency – providing healthcare professionals to the elderly and infirm, with the highest degree of personal service. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any of your questions concerning elder care, contact us.

 

Make Elderly Taste Buds Tingle with Good Nutrition

Eating is a sensory experience on so many levels. Not only does a good meal nurture our bodies, but it also awakens all of our senses. Beautiful food has amazing visual appeal. The aroma of home cooking literally makes the mouth water. The texture and crunch of food make our taste buds tingle. When mealtime is fun, it also feeds our souls.

Healthy eating keeps our bodies in better working order, lessens the effects and duration of illness, and increases energy. Leafy green vegetables, nuts and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can increase mental acuity and may even stave off memory loss. The fact is, when we eat better, we feel better.

Nutrition in the elderly

Our appetites naturally decrease with age as does our sense of thirst.  Thus, many of the elderly do not get the nutrition their bodies need.  Sometimes this is simply because eating has ceased to be an enjoyable experience. The elderly actually experience a decreased sense of taste and smell and the side-effects of certain medications can intensify this. Older adults are also prone to digestive issues that make them cautious and less adventurous about what they will eat. Slower metabolism, poor dentition and depression can also contribute to seniors not getting the recommended daily vitamins and minerals for their age.

The United States Department of Agriculture lists 10 tips for older adults who would like to improve their nutrition.

1. Drink plenty of fluids especially since some medications can dehydrate you.  It’s best to stay away from sugary drinks likes juices and stick to water or even add more soups into the mix.

2. Turn mealtime into a fun social event! Make eating a pleasant experience by sharing the time with others either in your home at a senior center. You can even listen to music as you eat.

3. Plan healthy meals in advance and the National Institute on Aging has a handy tool ChooseMyPlate.gov for building a balanced plate that includes fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.

4. Have an idea of how much to eat – both too much and too little.  There is so much emphasis on how obesity carries health risks that we can sometimes forget that deficiencies in the frail elderly can be just as dangerous. 

5. Vary your vegetables using the old rule of thumb. Follow your mother’s advice and make sure different colored vegetables are amply included in your diet as each is composed of different and important nutrients.

6. Keep your teeth and gums healthy both in terms of what you eat to strengthen them and proper hygiene and maintenance.  Losing teeth can also affect your taste buds, so it is best to take care even in your choice of hard to chew versus softer foods. 

7. Use herbs and spices to counteract any new sense of blandness to your food. A bonus is the newly included spices can bring with them added nutrition such as turmeric with its anti-inflammatory effects and mental acuity. 

8. Keep food safety top of mind.  Often seniors forget how old something is or are hesitant to throw out food due to financial constraints.  Better to be safe than sorry – don’t eat anything that can jeopardize your health.

9. Read those nutrition and ingredient labels.  In addition to calorie, carbohydrate and fat content, they will clue you into the important nutrients contained. 

10. Ask your doctor about personal nutritional requirements and deficiencies and speak to him/her about vitamins and supplements. Many necessary prescription drugs have side effects that deplete your body of important nutrients which are important to replace.  For example, it is important to beware of anemia which can actually contribute to dementia or to take CoQ10 while on cholesterol reducing statin drugs which can zap your strength. 

Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice that promotes good nutrition in the elderly. For additional tips on helping our senior family members stay active and productive, contact us.  David York Agency could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website DavidYorkAgency.com to become acquainted with all we offer. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

5 Signs That It May Be Time For Senior Homecare

It is difficult to accept that a senior adult in your life is no longer able to perform the same tasks they once could on their own. You may have started noticing small signs that have raised concerns. At first, you may have even turned a blind eye, but when those signs become more frequent and more serious, it is time to pay attention and ask for help. Getting assistance for your loved one can help keep them safer, healthier, and living at home longer.

senior care

Here are some signs that it may be time to consider home care assistance for a senior in your life.

1. Piles of Unopened Mail

Most people open their mail every day. Traditionally, this is a way of connecting with friends and family members’ over long distances and staying on top of appointments and bills. If your aging parent has started letting their mail pile up, especially bills and letters from friends, this should be a red flag that something is wrong.

2. Spoiled Food in House

Everyone is guilty of letting food spoil in the fridge from time to time. However, if you go to a loved ones’ home and notice that most of the food or beverages have long-since expired, it may be a sign that their memory or eyesight is worsening. Having expired food in the house can be major health risk to seniors, who may not realize they are consuming spoiled food or may not be able to read the expiration labels.

3. Medications Not Being Taken

Your mother calls complaining that she has not been feeling well lately. You decide to make a trip to check on her, only to discover she has not taken any of her medications since your last visit—2 weeks ago. She argues that she has been taking them every day, but you know the truth because the pill bottle is still full, and right where you left it. Forgetting to take medications can be dangerous to the health of your aging parents, especially if they suffer from chronic health conditions.

4. Missed Doctors’ Appointments

Several missed appointments should raise concern regarding the safety and cognitive health of the senior. If your loved one is reminded at the beginning of the week about the appointment, and it is marked on their calendar, the appointment should not slip their memory. Missed doctor’s appointments not only jeopardize their health, but forgetting them can be a sign of early dementia and a signal that other important things are being forgotten as well.

5. Unpleasant Body Odor

If your parent or loved one is not properly attending to their personal hygiene and cleanliness, it may be a sign that they need some extra assistance around the home. Worsening mobility, strength and memory can often lead elderly adults to neglect their appearance and personal health. Home health aides are perfect for elderly care in these instances. The aide can help with grooming, dressing and keeping the home tidy.

It is important to understand that just because your aging loved one needs a little extra help on a daily basis does not mean they are ready for a nursing home. Most seniors simply need a little help because their mobility is becoming more limited, their vision is worsening, or their memory is becoming less sharp. Hiring home care assistance is the best way to ensure the health and safety of your loved one as they age. For more information about senior care for your aging loved one, contact us.

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.

Live In or Live Out Care?

Loved ones from coast to coast rely on professional home healthcare services to ensure their aging loved ones can stay in their homes for as long as possible. Care for the elderly can range from simple tasks to more complex options; sometimes professionals simply stop by a few times per week while others may actually live in the home. What’s the difference between the two kinds of services? Which one is right for your loved one? This guide can help.

Evaluating Your Needs

Senior woman and supporting nurseBefore you even begin to tackle the question of live in or live out care, the key is to have the medical and non-medical needs of your loved one evaluated. Hired caregivers don’t have to provide medical services. In fact, simple things like running errands, light housekeeping, and simple companionship are all available with live out caregivers. You’ll need to provide more information about your loved one’s current care schedule (who comes in and how often that occurs) and his or her current medical and non-medical needs. For example, is bathing an issue? Are there problems remembering to take medications? All of that should be part of the assessment.

Live In Care
The goal with live in care is to provide your loved one around-the-clock support that helps to keep him or her in their home for as long as possible. The right live in caregivers are highly capable, compassionate individual and can be vital when someone can no longer be left alone. Like all Home Health Aides, they offer help with bathing, continence, dressing, personal hygiene, nutrition, range of motion, and medication reminders. Depending upon your situation, it can be either for a short period of time or for the long term.

To learn more about whether live in or live out care is right for your loved one, take a moment to contact us today to find out about our free in-home assessment.

David York Home Healthcare Agency is fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and is always available to set up a senior care plan taking the whole patient into account. David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  Contact us at 718.376.7755 and visit our website. A nurse is waiting to take your call. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Senior Social Media Training for Senior Health

A new study out of England and Italy finds that when the elderly are trained in the use of social media as well as Skype and email, they perform better cognitively and experience improved health.

During a two year period, 120 seniors in the UK and Italy aged 65 and above were given specially designed computer training and were compared against a control group that did not received any. Among those that used these tools, the mental and physical capacity improved as opposed to a steady decline experienced in the control group.

Hypotheses asThinkstockPhotos-453532787 to why this occurred include: “Human beings are social animals,” as stated by Thomas Morton who led the study out of the University of Exeter’s psychology department. It is amazing how satisfying our basic social needs can have synergistic effects for our overall health. One woman reported feeling “invigorated” rather than “slipping into a slower pace” and caring more about her appearance and losing weight. Three quarters of the test group with computer training found email and Skype useful, but fewer than half liked Facebook as much.

The Office for National Statistics in the UK reports that the elderly over 65 have increased their internet use from 9% in 2006 to an astounding 37% in 2013. With the elderly population in Europe set to grow from 17% to 30% by 2060, marrying their well being with this ever growing usage of technology can have dramatic effects on their quality of life.

Those in the eldercare field feel that the computer, and even the use of that word, could be a barrier to entry for many of the elderly. Shifting the focus of technology adoption from the computers to tablets might be more effective since tablets tend to be more user-friendly.

Being that a major problem of the elderly is a devastating feeling of loneliness and isolation, encouraging new technology adoption as an avenue for its alleviation is a winning solution. Keeping in touch with old friends and relatives as well as keeping current with the events of the day could help the elderly remain feeling vital. The counter intuitive marriage of the elderly with technology might be the perfect antidote to what ails them.

David York Home Healthcare Agency is very sensitive to the potential of feeling isolated and makes every effort to send caring and compassionate home health aides into the client’s home. David York Home Agency (DYA) is well versed in the problems of the elderly and all factors related to eldercare services. DYA provides certified home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines and trends for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call for a free consultation today at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.