Preparing To Age In Place

Many seniors prefer to age in place during their retirement years. As such, it’s important to prepare for this eventuality. According to an AARP survey, 87% of people 65 years and older prefer to stay in their current homes. So, if your loved one is on the cusp of her twilight years, take time to begin a conversation about aging in place. At David York, we understand that accepting sudden changes can be difficult. However, putting a plan in place now serves to empower your loved one, protecting his dignity, security, and peace of mind. Below are some tips to help a loved one prepare to age in place confidently.

Smiling senior man with cup of coffee talking to female caregiver sitting in front at care home. Aging in Place

Don’t Wait To Discuss Driving Privileges

Seniors consider this a touchy subject. Many bristle at the prospect of giving up the car keys. Undoubtedly, driving is equated with independence, and the feeling of freedom is greatly treasured. So, it’s important to communicate compassionately with your loved one. Express your concerns gently, and see if you can establish alternative means of getting to doctors’ appointments and performing the necessary activities of daily living (ADL).

Make Home Safety A Top Priority

Even if your loved one is feeling great, encourage her to set up a plan with her doctor for maintaining long-term safety at home. Discuss the possibility of home modifications to address mobility challenges, and take steps to help her establish a strong social support network.

It’s Possible To Age In Place And Stay Healthy

It’s important to begin a discussion about physical needs now, even if your loved one is in relatively good health. Have your family member talk with her doctor about dietary needs, personal habits, and exercise plans. In particular, discuss the possibility of rehab care or in-home assistance in the event of an illness or unexpected injury.

Help Your Loved One Maintain Good Mental Health 

It’s difficult to talk about mental health. Many seniors fear admitting any weakness in this area. However, beginning the discussion now can be a helpful experience. So, encourage your senior to share his ideas. Listen to what he has to say, and assure him that mental challenges need not define his identity. Next, try to get him involved in activities that protect his mental health. Suggest social events with friends, adult education classes, or weekly exercise regimes.

With a plan to age in place, seniors can be confident that their needs will be taken care of.

At David York, we understand the importance of securing your loved one’s future. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance your family needs. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Checklist: 8 Steps to Ensure Successful Aging in Place

Would you or your loved one prefer to retain independence and age in place rather than live at a nursing facility? You are not alone. Successful aging in place is becoming more and more common. Just as the global population of older adults is growing at an unprecedented pace, so is the same population group in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American 65 and older population is expected to double over the next thirty years – from 48 million to nearly 90 million. Furthermore, global life expectancy is projected to extend an additional eight years within the same period.

Senior woman making a list at home

It comes as no surprise then that these demographic shifts have created demand for aging in place options. And with the call for older adult independence, comes the need to create a plan that includes the support and resources to address specific individual needs holistically.

Here is a checklist of the eight steps to create a solid plan that ensures successful aging in place:

8 Steps to Successful Aging in Place

1. Round-Up Important Information

Make a list of all assets, income, and expenses. Do the finances cover all costs of living, including medical? If not, find out if there are any assistance programs offered by the county, city, and or state.

2. Evaluate your Living Space

Determine if the home is suitable for all age-related needs. Are there any home modifications such as grab bars, walk-in tubs, or stair lifts that need to be made? Below, you’ll find a short list of other common alterations for successful aging in place.

  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Shower transfer benches
  • Non-skid strips
  • Push-button door openers
  • Roll out shelves
  • Climate controls.

3. Assess Your Health Needs and Coverage

Create a list of health issues and necessary medications. Does the existing health insurance cover everything? If not, are there any local organizations that can assist with these expenses?

4. Look Into Home Care

Determine which healthcare services and other types of care are needed at home, and which must be conducted a medical facility. Assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating are quite common. Additionally, many organizations provide extended assistance with a variety of services from caring for medical devices to grocery shopping.

5. Transportation

Define transportation needs. If still driving, find out when your license expires as well as what age-appropriate requirements exist to renew. Additionally, make a list of frequent destinations. Do you require public transportation? If so, is it accessible for specific health needs?

6. Seek Out Senior Activities

Discover what senior activities are available within the community. Social interaction is key to good health as well as successful aging. Be sure to schedule regular entertainment and continuing education as well.

7. Plan for Every Scenario

Create an advanced care plan with loved ones. End-of-life issues and funeral services are difficult to discuss, but they are a necessary preparation.

8. Contact David York Agency for Professional Care

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim 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

Music Therapy and End-of-Life Care

Music Therapy is becoming increasingly popular for end-of-life care. Twenty years ago, music therapy was just starting to gain popularity. Today, it is growing throughout the nation at a rapid rate. Let’s take a look at why music therapy has become so popular so quickly!

treating elderly woman with music therapy

What is Music Therapy?

The American Association of Music Therapy, (AMTA), defines Music Therapy as “the use of music to help clients reach their goals in a therapeutic setting. Music can treat the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients.”

  • A music therapist uses music in the following ways:
  • Writing new songs with their client.
  • Singing songs from the client’s childhood.
  • Helping patients dance along to music.
  • Listening to music with patients.

What are the Specialties of Music Therapy?

This type of therapy can be useful to anyone. Children with disabilities learn new skills with the help of music therapy. Additionally, music therapy has helped treat PTSD as well as mental health issues such as depression.

One of these fastest-growing specialties is end-of-life music therapy. One therapist, Ms. Kelly, was featured in The New York Times. The article highlights how her treatments have helped her clients and their families. One family member said Ms. Kelly “brought life and energy back to his suffering mother in the last days of her life.”

What are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

Music therapy can’t extend our loved ones’ lives. However, the AMTA has done numerous studies that take an in-depth look at its advantages. It has been proven to promote peace, hope, and spirituality. Listening to and creating music has also been shown to decrease pain.

The AMTA wants to make music therapy as prevalent in end-of-life cares as chaplains and social workers. Their goal is to increase the quality of life for their clients in their last days with their families. Having an outlet for their emotions and spirituality can bring peace to our loved ones in their last remaining days with us.

Treatment Options From David York

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim 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

Small Changes that Make Aging-In-Place at Home Easy

Aging at home is more desirable than moving to assisted living. This is called Aging-In-Place. In fact, the AARP reports that 90% of seniors plan to age at home. However, most senior homes are not equipped for the comfort, convenience, and safety of the elderly. So, how can you or your loved one achieve a senior-friendly home?

Aging at home senior riding his stairlift with a cane in home setting.

Fortunately, floor-to-ceiling renovations are not necessary. Instead, a few small changes will go a long way to improving senior quality of life and relieving pressure on home healthcare workers.

Consider these important tips for home modifications that make aging at home easy:

 

Safety, Security, and Aging at Home

Seniors are more likely than younger people to experience falls and accidents. As such, preparing to age at home requires special attention for safety and security.

Start by tackling lighting. Sufficient lighting makes a big difference for seniors experiencing diminished eyesight. Seniors need two or three times as much light in order to see, so the addition of light fixtures and wide windows is recommended. Make sure that desks, tables and sewing machines have task lighting available. Also, consider repainting dark rooms in light, glare-free colors.

Remove throw rugs and obstacles that could cause a fall. Minimize slipping by treating non-carpeted areas with non-slip sealant. If feasible, consider swapping hardwood and tile floors for carpeting.

Don’t forget the outside of your home! Add outdoor lighting, including guide lights along paths, and clear shrubs and clutter from paths, decks, and patios.

Also, consider installing an alarm or “panic” system that allows the homeowner to call for help in the event of a fall.

 

Mobility and Convenience

If you use a walker or a wheelchair, you may need to widen your doorways. A cheaper and easier alternative is re-hanging doors with swing clear hinges. These allow the door to open all the way and make standard doors wheelchair accessible quickly and easily. Also, if your house is multi-level, you may want to install a chairlift. Finally, replace doorknobs with lever handles and standard light switches with rockers, both of which are much easier for arthritic hands.

The kitchen and bathroom are particular areas of concern in terms of convenience and safety. Step-in showers are best for seniors. A walk-in tub is another alternative, but is often more expensive. Add grab bars to showers and toilets for additional support.

In the kitchen, induction cooktops may be better than traditional stoves since there are no open flames and dishwashers with drawers reduce the need to bend down. Ensure the most-used cooking and dining supplies are in cabinets as close to eye level as possible.

 

Self-Reliance

If you are making home modifications for a senior relative, remember: they know what they need. The goal should not be to reduce their independence but to enhance it, reducing their reliance on you and home health aides while aging in their own home.

The most important thing to remember is that small changes can be better than larger ones. In many cases there are cheap and easy options that can alleviate small stresses. Even small things like “reachers” or talking clocks can make a huge difference to you or your relative’s quality of life.

 

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Managing Long-Distance Caregiving

Taking care of ill or elderly relatives is a complicated and stressful situation. That stress is compounded in the case of long-distance caregiving. As more and more adult children care for their elderly parents, this issue is becoming more common.

Health visitor with smartphone and a senior man during home visit. A female nurse or a doctor making a phone call. long-distance caregiving concept

According to a survey conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, long-distance caregivers experience negative impacts on their time, finances, and work schedules. Despite this, over half of these caregivers see their loved ones at least a few times a month, and over 75% help with basic services such as shopping, cooking, and transportation, spending 22 hours on these aspects of caregiving alone.

If you are managing long-distance care, here are a few things to keep in mind.

 

Recognize the Added Strain

Caregiving can cause major stress. Compounding this stress with the addition of travel, finances, and schedule increases the load for the long-distance caregiver. It is important to ensure that caregivers, as well as the patient, have the support they need.

In order to receive this support, the long-distance caregiver must acknowledge their added stress. Once the problem is recognized, steps can be taken to help relieve the pressure. Consider support groups, in person or online. These meetings can be an important source of comfort. Regular, healthy meals and exercise can also help reduce stress levels.

Remember: you can only care for others if you care for yourself first.

 

Gather Information

When medical emergencies arise, it’s important to have all the information you’ll need. Make copies of insurance documents and medical information, including medications and doctors’ orders and phone numbers. Keep these documents handy, so you don’t have to find them during stressful moments.

One important document to have is a durable medical power of attorney. This is particularly important if there are multiple siblings or you are taking care of an in-law. It is extremely important to clarify your right to make medical decisions if the patient is unable to do so.

DYA has handy publications for organizing you essential documents on our website.

 

Keep Communication Open

When possible, it’s a good idea to attend doctor’s appointments with the patient. They may not remember everything the doctor says or feel comfortable talking about the visit. If you can be there to hear the doctor’s orders and keep notes, it can help you see that the patient is getting what they need.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to keep lines of communication open. Some of the things they recommend are:

  • Speak with your loved one’s healthcare providers. A release signed by your loved one will allow their doctors to talk to you about their treatment. See if you can set up conference calls or log into their online medical records to stay fully informed.
  • Get support from friends. People who live nearby can check in on your loved one. Having a few people look in periodically can give you insight on how they are doing.
  • Consider hiring help. Someone to help with tasks such as meals and bathing can ease the burden on both of you.
  • Prepare for emergencies. Save time and money in case there is a crisis. Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act, which can provide you with unpaid time off with no threat to your job.

 

Maintain Your Relationship

Finally, remember to spend time visiting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the tasks of caregiving and forget the relationship. Try to set time aside for sitting and talking, or doing an activity you enjoy together, such as taking a walk. The reason you are doing this monumental task is that you care so much about this person. Remembering that can ease the strain on both of you.

 

There are many difficult choices to make when taking care of a loved one. Living far away complicates those decisions. If David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers can help you in this process, please contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Exercise Can Delay Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a type of cognitive decline characterized by memory loss, communication difficulties, and impaired thinking. Dementia is a growing concern for aging populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 47 million people have dementia worldwide. WHO also estimates 75 million people will be affected by dementia by 2030. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of patients suffering from dementia also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and signals damage to the brain. Doctors have long advocated a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia. A new study finds that exercise may also play a vital role in helping to delay dementia.

Group Of Seniors Enjoying Dancing Club Together

 

Study Results

Results of this ground-breaking study were published in the September 2017 issue of Scientific Reports. The study found that mice who ran on a wheel for one week had more new neurons in their brains than those of mice who did not run. Neurons are brain cells that transmit information to other parts of the body and provide direction.

Since dementia patients have damaged neurons, the creation of healthy neurons through exercise is a fantastic find. Researchers surmise that exercise can help change brain cells in humans, protecting them from the onset of dementia as well as ensuring a higher quality of life.

 

Exercising to Delay Dementia

Though the study focused on running, there are many other ways for seniors to stay active and keep their brains healthy. Here are four types of exercise to help seniors stay mentally and physically active:

  • Aerobic exercise, or cardio, gets the heart pumping. Some examples of easy aerobic exercises for seniors include jogging, brisk walking, or dancing. Chair-based aerobic programs are also available.
  • Flexibility exercises help seniors maintain good posture and normal a range of movement. Examples of flexibility exercises include stretching and yoga.
  • Strength exercises benefit seniors’ muscles and bones. Examples of strength exercises for seniors include lifting light weights or using resistance bands.
  • Balance exercises can help seniors stay steady on their feet and prevent falls. Tai chi as well as yoga are a popular balance exercises among seniors.

When starting any exercise routine, it’s important for seniors to start out slowly and listen to their bodies. Seniors with medical conditions should also consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. Be sure to find trainers that are specially trained to work with the elderly.

Have your trainer lay out a safe exercise plan and have it approved by your healthcare practitioners. David York Agency has a handy workbook that can help.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and it can help seniors maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.

 

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

Determine What Type of In-Home Healthcare is Right for You

Determine What Type of In-Home Healthcare is Right for YouIf you are responsible for caring for an elderly loved one, you probably could use some help to lighten the load. But without experience in the medical industry, it’s hard to know what level of caregiver you need? In-home healthcare needs can be easily met with a little bit of research and the help of an experienced homecare professional.

Here is an easy-to-understand summary in-home healthcare roles that will help you determine your needs.

  1. A Personal Care Aide (PCA)

    provides general support but does not address any medical needs. They often assist with daily chores, bathing, preparing meals, cleaning, or just being a companion to someone who needs a friendly face to come visit on a regular basis.

  2. A Home Health Aide (HHA)

    is the next level up, and can do all of the above, and more. They take care of extra tasks like checking vital signs, or changing medical dressings. Home Health Aides have training and certification.

  3. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

    has a higher level of education and provides basic medical and nursing care. They check blood pressure as well as insert catheters. An LPN also ensures the comfort of patients by assisting them to bathe or dress. They discuss health care issues, and report the status of patients to registered nurses and doctors.

  4. A Registered Nurse (RN)

    is the highest level of medical professionals typically available for home care.  They usually oversee the treatment plan and administration of medication. An RN can keep an eye on medical test results and handle most of the higher-level medical needs of a patient.

While the terms can be confusing, an experienced agency can work with you to determine your needs. With a consultation, an expert in patient services can ask questions and get to know your situation so the right recommendation is made for both the patient and the family members in need of support. Questions such as procedures, fees, and insurance payments are also covered during this initial discussion.

If you have a loved one in the New York City area who is in need of in-home nursing care, contact us. We can help determine the best course of action and provide any of the above support staff to help your loved one age in place.

 

Benefits of Aging in Place by: Max Gottlieb

aging in place
Aging In Place

As seniors age, they and their families are faced with the difficult question of how to provide the best care. The necessary level of care depends on the situation, but aging in place is becoming more feasible due to a combination of factors. There are constant medical advancements, people are living healthier lifestyles, and people are retiring later, leaving them financially able to make the choice. Sometimes all it takes to age in place is finding a caregiver or agency you can trust.  

Familiarity

The most obvious benefit of aging in place is familiarity with one’s surroundings. Familiarity may not seem like a big deal, but aging in a familiar place can alleviate depression and disorientation that sometimes occurs in aging facilities. Also, if you have the means for you or a loved one to age in place, you can avoid the dreaded argument that frequently occurs when parents are too stubborn to leave their home. It removes the tension that occurs when older people think moving them is a sign of pushing them away. 

Keeping a Routine

Studies show that people remain healthy, both physically and emotionally, by keeping with a routine. A routine can be anything from housekeeping to yard work, or seeing neighbors and cooking. These are all forms of physical and mental exercise that patients do not receive in institutional settings. What is known as aging atrophy can be reduced by keeping active, even in small ways. Eventually, this could lead to a complete dependence on others. This is not to say that it’s harmful to depend on others for certain activities of daily living. Oftentimes, a loved one or a professional caregiver can help someone maintain a healthy routine.  

Safety and Health

By aging in place, seniors can control their environments. They are not forced to acclimate to an environment controlled by others. The house can be as clean as they like and they are able to decide which visitors they want to see. At facilities, residents are forced to see health care professionals, other residents, and the families of other residents. Also, the spreading of sickness or disease is a major fear, when living in close quarters with other people. As such, this is alleviated by remaining independent.

What Kinds of Resource are Available?

As mentioned, sometimes people need caregivers in order to age in place. Caregivers are able to offer a variety of services, including homemaking, personal care, meal preparation, and medication management just to name a few. If bathing or maintaining personal hygiene becomes troublesome, a part-time caregiver can help. Or perhaps housework, laundry, or grocery shopping have become problem areas. Some grocery and drugstores offer delivery services, but if not, a caregiver can help with these things as well. Depending upon the type of services needed, there are different types of caregivers available with different job titles.

If a caregiver is needed, it is best to talk to an agency or a care manager. A trained care manager will be able to plan, organize, monitor, and deliver services to an elderly person. They can be immensely useful. Aging can be a time of navigating new terrain, but aging in place can hopefully eliminate some pressure.

 

Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.

 

Overcoming the Challenges of Adjusting to a Home Health Aide

Adjusting to a Home Health Aide

It has been said that if you have your health, you have everything. When that is no longer the case, and one is unable to care for oneself, we may need to seek outside assistance. Many elderly adults find themselves in a position that requires choosing to leave their home to become a resident in a long-term care facility, or choosing to stay at home and have in-home care.

Choosing to remain in their home comes with many advantages. In their own home, things are familiar and comfortable. They feel like they are still independent, a part of the family, not torn away from the things and people they love.

But, bringing in a home health aide means that they must open their home to a total stranger. This is someone who will become involved in the most private and intimate aspects of personal care. Seniors have to give up freedoms that we take for granted; things like bathing and toileting are no longer completely private.

However, when the right person walks through the door, someone with a warm smile and compassionate manner, it seems that everything will be alright. An experienced home health aide can take a new and sometimes awkward situation and make everyone comfortable and at ease, making the family feel confident that their loved one is receiving the type of care they would provide if they were able.

These professionals make adjusting to a home health aide no different from inviting a new friend into your home. The use of the home health aide is an invaluable tool during this time of recuperation or in end-of-life care. The right home health aide will provide either type of care with wisdom and compassion, all the while protecting the dignity of the client, even in the most intimate aspects of a client’s care.

At David York Agency, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional and highly personal home health care to the elderly and infirmed. We know how difficult the transition from an independent to dependent life can be, and we work hard to help our patients adjust as quickly and painlessly as possible.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim 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

Finding A Compassionate Caregiver: 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Wait

compassionate caregivers

Many people think that they need to wait until they’re no longer able to take care of an aging loved one before they consider hiring an in-home health care provider. Fortunately, that’s not the case! There are many reasons not to postpone finding a compassionate caregiver for your loved one.

  1. Improve Relationships by Preventing Burnout

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, primary caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week focusing on caregiving tasks. Over time, this can lead to burnout which can make it much more difficult to maintain positive relationships. An in-home caregiver can give primary caregivers and loved ones the chance to attend to their own personal health and wellbeing and recuperate from the stress of their caregiving responsibilities.

  1. Adapt to Changing Ability Levels

Professional caregivers are another set of eyes to help families see changes that need to be made to the home environment or care routine. Through their special training, they may also be able to implement techniques that make daily tasks safer or easier to accomplish making it much easier to maintain a loved one’s well-being in the long-run.

  1. Take Time to Find a Good Match

It’s hard to think clearly about finding a caregiver who “fits” with your family in an emergency situation or when you’re exhausted, burned out and desperate for help. Instead of waiting until your responsibilities become too much of a burden, it’s helpful to begin the process of finding an in-home caregiver early. This will give you the chance to bring the caregiver into your life gradually and on your own terms.

At David York Agency, we are committed to providing the best in-home care services. We like to consider our clients family, and it shows in the personalized, compassionate care our professionals provide. Although choosing a home health care provider can feel like a big decision, you’ll ultimately be glad that you made the choice.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home 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.