Prescribed Drugs: Possible Risk to the Elderly

A study out of Brown University finds that doctors in the U.S. are prescribing drugs to the elderly that can have harmful side effects and the problem is even more acute in the south.

122422920Many drugs such as valium are harder for the elderly to metabolize so they stay in their systems a lot longer and this lingering effect can cause lightheadedness in an older person. This compromised physical state can very well lead to falls which we all know can have deadly consequences for the elderly.

Furthermore, a problem now termed as polypharmacy seems to be taking hold as a public health issue. This relates to the fact that the average senior citizen’s treatment plan includes four prescription drugs at the same time opening endless possibilities for harmful interactions which are suspected to be responsible for almost 33% of all hospital admissions.

The elderly and their caretakers need to review their medications regularly to make sure they know all associated risks, possible side effects and negative interactions. This link from Merck can be a handy reference.

David York Home Healthcare Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home 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 FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Home Health Aides – Providing Quality Care

Need a little assistance caring for an elderly loved one at home? A home health aide can provide much needed care when it comes to caring for an aging parent or spouse. Home health aides provide in-home care with many activities of daily living (ADL) which include personal care, bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and mobility.

A home health aide can also help with grocery shopping and meal preparation.Carer and elderly woman They can take into account any special dietary requirements and make sure that your loved one is getting healthy meals regularly.

If your loved one can no longer navigate outside the home by themselves, a home health aide can escort them to important doctor visits or other appointments. The home health aide will ensure that their elderly client gets back and forth safely.

David York Agency provides high quality skilled home health aide services for the elderly and infirm with the highest degree of personal service. We can provide full-time or part-time professionals depending on your needs. We have Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). All of our aides are certified and specially trained. All of our aides are thoroughly screened, fingerprinted and checked for criminal background. We regularly check credentials and maintain valid references for our aides. You can be sure that the highest caliber health aides are caring for your loved ones.

When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency would be happy to answer all your questions. Visit our website at David York Agency. Please like us on  Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Getting Important Documents Assembled for the Elderly

So often, when crisis hits, a family can be caught unawares by this emergency situation. Adult children are blindsided by not knowing where to find critical documents necessary for deciding on the care for their elderly parents and they feel handcuffed by not having access to important assets or documents that are needed. However, it is never too early to start that ‘just in case’ file.

While the holidays are a wonderful time for family sharing and bonding, it is also an opportunity for adult children to help organize essential information for their elderly parents. I think that in addition to feasting and spreading joy this holiday season, all of us, whether we be seniors, caregivers or potential caregivers, should take the opportunity to get some ‘ducks in a row’ and organize those all important documents and bits of information. David York Agency has compiled a handy checklist and a small packet of worksheets to assist in this task. Both are accessible through these links or on the Caregiver Resources page of the David York Agency website.

Essential Documents & Emergency Information Worksheets (pdf version)

Essential Documents & Emergency Information Checklist (pdf versionDec newsletter

  • Professionals List – All Contact Information for:
    • Doctors: Primary Care and Specialists
    • Accountant
    • Attorney
    • Financial Advisor
    • Insurance Brokers
  • Important Documents Packet (Originals and/or Copies):
    • Social Security Card
    • Birth Certificate
    • Driver’s License
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Divorce Certificate
    • Passport
    • Medical Information
      • Allergies
      • Medications
      • Treatments
      • Major Operations
      • Immunization Records
    • Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance Card
    • Life Insurance Policies
    • Military Discharge Papers
    • Deeds
    • Titles
    • Tax Returns for last 6 years
    • Instructions on Location of all files
  • Financial Accounts List – All Contact Information and Account Numbers for:
    • Bank Accounts
    • Investment/Brokerage Accounts
      • Stocks
      • Bonds
      • CDs
    • Credit/Debit Cards
  • Financial Assets List:
    • Car Ownership
    • Mortgage Documents
    • Real Estate Holdings
    • Loans Owed or Owed to them
    • Tax Returns
    • Insurance Policies
      • Home
      • Auto
      • Health
      • Long Term Care
      • Life
    • Original Invoices for Important Possessions
    • Partnership Documents
    • Jewelry and Valuables
    • Safe Combination and Directions
    • Location of Safety Deposit Key
  • Sources of Income:
    • Annuities
    • Social Security
    • Pensions
    • Annual Distributions from Retirement Accounts
    • VA Benefits
    • Disability Payments
  • Recurring Bills:
    • Mortgage
    • Loans
    • Utilities
      • Telephone
      • Electric
      • Gas
    • Insurance Premiums (monthly & quarterly)
    • Car Lease
    • Annual Expenses (i.e. home alarm)
    • Deliveries (i.e. newspaper, milk)
  • Computerized Information:
    • Email Accounts and Passwords
    • Password for Computer
    • Recurring Online Billing
  • Estate Planning Documents:
    • Will
    • Special Instructions regarding personal property
    • Durable Power of Attorney
    • Advanced Healthcare Directive/Living Will
    • Healthcare Proxy
    • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
    • Retirement Plans
    • Disability Plans
    • Governmental Benefits for which they are eligible
  • End of Life Arrangements:
    • Cemetery Plot Ownership
    • Pre-Planned Burial Papers
    • Personal Statement regarding burial services

Most important is that all this information be easily accessible clearly labeled and a trusted person know its location. Also, if you choose to keep this all stored on a computer, make sure a back up is made and a print out is kept in a location known to a close friend or relative. Healthcare decisions are often quite pressing, so knowing where to find medical records and decision makers in time can be crucial. With respect to assets, at times the government takes possession of unclaimed assets and while you might be able to get a hold of something belonging to you that was overlooked, it is not always an easy process. It is best not to get into that situation and have everything organized ahead of time.
When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services. David York Home Healthcare Agency can satisfy all your questions and 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.

Watch Out for Pre-Diabetes

If you are over 45, overweight and inactive, you should seriously think about whether you might have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is on the rise worldwide and about to get even higher as a large segment of the population becomes senior citizens. Knowing if you have an elevated blood sugar level which is still in the range of normal, in other words, pre-diabetic, can help you to stave off this latest scourge.

Common complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, nerve damage, hearing loss and eye disease including blindness. Some even link it to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The concerning thing is about 28% of adults with full blown diabetes and those with pre-diabetes don’t have symptoms.

As we age, the risk of diabetes increases. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that regulates blood sugar and your body uses the insulin in order to use glucose for energy. Aging causes these cells to wear out in certain individuals triggering diabetes or pre-diabetes.Pre-Diabetes_DavidYorkAgency

In a pre-diabetic stage, you can take the following steps to try to reduce your risk of developing the full blown disease:

  1. Diet: Watch your diet for refined sugars and carbohydrates so there aren’t any spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels.
  2. Exercise: Even moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week can make a difference, especially those aimed at reducing belly fat (apple shaped body) since that appears to be a risk factor for developing the disease.
  3. Weight Loss: Losing 7-10% of your starting weight can have an unexpected positive effect.
  4. Smoking: Quit now. In addition to other known ills, smokers have a 50% higher risk of developing diabetes.

More serious measures include:

  1. Daily monitoring of your glucose levels.
  2. Taking medication such as Metformin to keep the blood sugar down.
  3. Having the doctor check the blood level of hemoglobin A1C to make sure it hasn’t risen.
  4. Bariatric surgery for weight loss.

It might be prudent for us all to consider ourselves either pre-diabetic or at risk for it since watching your weight, diet, exercise regimen and not smoking are good steps for any of us to take.

David York Agency is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly. We are licensed by the New York State Department of Health and provide skilled home health aide services for home healthcare and could assist in 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.

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.

 

Diabetics: Beware of Tuberculosis

478746553 (1)With 382 million people affected with diabetes worldwide in 2013 and that number poised to rise to 592 million by 2035, a warning bell is being sounded with respect to the real possibility of a serious co-infection – tuberculosis (TB). Since diabetes is a disease that weakens the immune system, diabetics are 3 times as likely to develop this lung infection. We have seen this before when the HIV/AIDS epidemic burst on the scene. At that time, we experienced a quadrupling of TB in some African countries.

As our population ages, grows more sedentary and obese, The incidence of type 2 diabetes will rise. Obesity is often linked to adopting a Western diet and countries around the world have been integrating more and more of it into their diets as they have everything Western. The countries most at risk are China and India who are the leading countries for diabetes and TB sufferers respectively.

Clearly a strategy needs to be put in place where there is ‘bi-directional” screening. Diabetics should be carefully monitored for TB and TB sufferers should undergo testing for diabetes and both must be treated properly.

David York Agency is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly. We are licensed by the New York State Department of Health and provide skilled home health aide services for home healthcare and could assist in 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.

How to Choose a Home Healthcare Agency with the Best Aides

In September 2014, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Staten Island man whose family, based on video footage taken in the man’s home, showed he was abused and neglected by his home health aide. The elderly man, who died in June at the age of 99, had poor eyesight and trouble walking and required 24-hour assistanceChoosing a Home Health Aide. The family’s attorney, John Dalli of Dalli & Marino, stated that, “[the] driving force behind the lawsuit is to make others aware that if you’re going to trust these agencies don’t be under the false sense of security that these agencies have properly trained or screened these people.”

Of course, some home healthcare agencies are better than others. The key is to find the one that is most meticulous about the home health aides it sends out to their clients’ homes. David York Agency takes every step imaginable before hiring a home health aide to make sure they are skilled, trustworthy and reliable. While a patient is on their roster, s/he is checked on regularly to ensure the highest degree of quality home healthcare and personal service.

Taking the initial steps in choosing an agency should include these steps:

  • Start with referrals. Does your family physician or specialist have any recommendations? Or do you know any friends who have used one? Knowing someone with first-hand experience with an agency can help narrow your choices.
  • Educate yourself. Do the legwork when trying to choose. Online resources and reviews as well as meeting with or having a phone interview with an agency will help you get a better sense of how different organizations operate.
  • Consider your medical needs. Different agencies may have more expertise in certain areas. Are they experienced in handling your loved ones’ specific conditions such as for Alzheimer’s or a stroke?

Experts recommend that, when possible, families start thinking about home healthcare well in advance. Doing the legwork before a decision is a looming necessity can help make the process easier and less stressful, ultimately leading to an overall better fit for your loved one.

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 and is licensed by the New York State Department of Health. They believe your loved one deserves the best care.

Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755 or visit us at our website www.davidyorkagency.com. 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.

No More Car for Dad or Mom, Now What?

According to the Automobile Club of America (AAA), statistics for car crashes in the 75 and older age group is similar to those for teens. The difference is that they are far less likely to survive these car crashes than their younger counterparts, not to mention the harm that can be inflicted upon others. The AAA also says that the men outlive their safe, recommended driving age by about 6 years and women do so by 11 years. The problem is, once you convince them to surrender their keys, what are they supposed to do to get around.

no more carMost of the burden falls to the caregiver, 83% of whom provide for the transportation needs of the family or charge. However, for those who don’t have a ‘resident driver’ or for those who can’t rely on their caregivers 100% of the time, there needs to be an alternative.

The following are different categories of services available. What is appropriate wholly depends on the needs and ability of the senior citizen.

  1. Curb to curb or taxi services that simply pick you up and drop you off curbside and do not help at all with mobility aids such as walkers or wheelchairs.
  2. Door to door car services that pick you up and drop you off, but they do get out of the car and assist you with entering and exiting the car. Again, they may not want to help you with any walking aids or wheelchairs.
  3. Door through door services that provide a full service of helping you in and out of the car or van and help you with whatever you need including groceries and packages.

The field of door through door transportation is certainly a growing need in our society with a burgeoning senior citizen population. As more and more Baby Boomers relinquish their licenses, they will need more services to fill this needs gap. Certain companies like the for-profit SilverRide and the not-for-profit ITN America are available in specific states, but not all.

Seniors in states like New York rely a mix of private car services, government subsidized programs and community and religious organizations to supplement transportation needs not covered by caregivers. To avoid incurring the relatively high cost of private car services, New Yorkers can look to transportation services obtained through senior centers listed with the New York City Department for the Aging. Information regarding  Access-A-Ride, a subsidized door-to-door transportation service available 24/7 to those eligible can also be obtained through that department. Also, Manhattan residents can take advantage of the Community Arranged Resident Transportation (CART) Project funded by the NYC Department for the Aging which provides free transportation service to the frail elderly five days a week.

If the elderly are frail, they may very well already have a home health aide that can assist them to and from their desired destinations. David York Agency has a sizable team of skilled aides that are expert at safely transporting those of limited physical ability in and out of cars, to and from appointments and assisting seniors in stores. We would be happy to discuss your personal care and transportation needs with you. 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.

Is It Hypoglycemia or Dementia?

With diabetes on the rise in the U.S. and its accompanying concern regarding hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) seems to be given short shrift. In an article entitled “Hypoglycemia Rising in Older People With Diabetes”, the New York Times gives it some of the attention it deserves.

177008288Hypoglycemia is a serious condition especially in older segments of the population 75 and older. Impaired kidney function and adverse reactions from drugs prescribed along side their diabetic medication are two of several things that make hypoglycemia much more of a concern for seniors. Hypoglycemia can cause a host of symptoms such as intermittent dementia, shakiness, sweats, dizziness, overall weakness, blurry vision and intense hunger.

Senior caregivers must be attuned to these symptoms of hypoglycemia before it causes a misdiagnosis of dementia or, worse, results in a loss of consciousness or even death.

It is something that we can no longer ignore. According to studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine, hospital admissions for this condition jumped 11.7% between the years 1999 and 2011 for hypoglycemia while they decreased by 38.6% for hyperglycemia. One study remarked, “Hospital admissions rates for hypoglycemia now exceed those for hyperglycemia.” In fact, hypoglycemia was the third most common complication for the 70 and over population segment.

David York Agency is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly. We provide 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.