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, 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+, and LinkedIn.

Tips for Traveling with Dementia

traveling with dementia

Traveling, like other changes in routine, can be highly stressful for a senior with dementia. However, if your parent is in the early stages of dementia, an enjoyable getaway might still be possible. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with dementia.

 

Planning for Your Trip

  • Be sure to bring copies of important documents with you. Both you and your elderly loved one should have a copy of their identification. Similarly, you both should carry copies of doctor’s contact information, medication list, insurance information, and food and drug allergies.

 

  • Prepare your hosts. If you’ll be staying with family or friends, let them know of any changes that have occurred since the last time they saw your senior. Tell them how they can help you during your stay and how they can put their guest at ease. If you’ll be staying at a hotel, speak to the staff about any needs you might have. Inform them privately about your senior’s condition and ask them to let you know if they see him or her walking around without you.

 

  • Consider bringing someone else with you. Your elderly loved one will likely require a fair amount of attention and care. Bringing another person can help ease the stress and let you concentrate on other details of the trip.

 

  • Be patient, adaptable, and realistic. Things won’t go perfectly. Remembering that will help you to be less frustrated when problems do arise.

 

  • Have fun! While traveling with a loved one with dementia comes with its complications, it doesn’t mean you and your family can’t enjoy the trip and relish the quality time together.

 

If you come to the conclusion that your loved one is simply unable to travel, have you thought about getting a healthcare professional to care for them while you’re away? Please contact us today for information about our home healthcare services.

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 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.

Eldercare Planning: Your Parents & Home Healthcare

Many adult children start to worry about their aging parents. They see them struggling as they get on in years and believe they would be better off with help. Eldercare planning is a difficult subject to broach (especially with seniors who are resistant to such discussions see our post on the subject), but it’s also a necessary conversation for seniors who are experiencing a decline in health or finding it hard to care for themselves.

 

Eldercare Planning for Parents

Approaching Eldercare Planning with Your Parents

Conversations about diminished capacity can be very difficult to have with your parents. They may get offended that you are worried about them and they may have no interest in hearing your viewpoint. It can be frustrating for you to make your concerns clear. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some tips to help you through this discussion.

  • Choose the right time. Don’t think that you are going to talk to your parents when you both have five minutes. This conversation cannot be rushed. Instead, find some time that you are all free to sit down and talk.
  • If possible, include all of the children. It can be helpful if all of the children are on the same page. Otherwise, it might look like you are ganging up on your parents.
  • Be prepared with the options. It is important that you are ready to have the talk. Write down the different options that are available to your parents. Prepare a list of pros and cons, as well as the costs associated with each of them.
  • If it gets heated, take a break. The conversation may get heated, and it may be better to take a break before things get said that can’t be taken back. Leave the list of options, pros, and cons, and plan on coming back in a day or two (after your parents have had time to think).

Difficult Now, Helpful When Necessary

Talking to your aging parents about getting help can be quite difficult. However, if you find the right time and come prepared, it is more likely to go well. If not, take a break and revisit the issue once everyone has settled down. David York Agency has a Checklist and Workbook to help guide you through the discussion. Please check them out on our website.

Remember, though this discussion is difficult now, it could lead to a better future for your parents. Decide on small changes that can be implemented now and others that will be helpful down the road.

 

If eldercare planning is a concern for you and your loved ones, please consider the David York Agency. Our qualified, compassionate caregivers are ready to help. 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.

Ageism and Dental Care

Senior woman at the dentist. Ageism and dental care concept

For many Americans age 65 and older, dental care is a necessity that they cannot afford. Some older adults live on Social Security benefits of just $850 per month. Unfortunately, the cost of dental insurance and associated copays are just too expensive with this limiting budget. Additionally, the link between ageism and dental care means the care seniors receive is less than what they require.

As a result, seniors live with cavities, cracked or damaged teeth, and periodontal disease. Some seniors will turn to the emergency room for help while others may rely on over-the-counter remedies, or perform their own tooth extractions.

 

Dental Issues That Affect Older Adults

Oral health concerns that are common in people age 65 and older include:

  • Dry Mouth Syndrome is common in older adults. Caused by over 400 medications, severe dry mouth can contribute to cavities, mouth sores, infection, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Periodontal disease causes the gums to become red and swollen. Over time, the gums may separate from the teeth, and bone, tissue and tooth loss may occur. The inflammatory processes associated with long-term periodontal disease have been linked to dementia.

 

Ageism and Dental Care

Ageism is a term that refers to stereotypes assigned to older adults. Typically, ageism results in unequal access to medical prevention, detection, and treatment. For example, seniors receive fewer screenings for colorectal cancer, skin cancer, and osteoporosis than younger people. Even taking into account balancing the stress of the procedure on an older person, there is still a disproportionate imbalance in care. This is also troubling because the senior population is at greater risk for these diseases.

Although concern about age discrimination in healthcare usually focuses on medicine, disparities also occur in dentistry:

  • Ageist beliefs are a major factor in the inadequate provision of dental care for long-term care residents. Studies found that nursing home administrators believed that dentists were reluctant to see older residents, while the dentists felt the staff did not reach out for dental consultation often enough.
  • A survey of over 300 dental students found that a significant number believed older adults are less vital, less adaptable, and less likely to actively pursue goals than younger patients.
  • There are not enough geriatric-informed treatment standards. There is also call for better education among dental providers, caregivers, families, and patients.

 

Challenging Ageist Ideas

Research shows that when dental hygienist students and dental students have an opportunity to work directly with seniors, negative stereotypes towards this group are reduced.

 

Finding Affordable Care

Several resources are available to seniors who struggle to pay for dental care. Some dental hygienists can see older adults in their homes or at care facilities. This ensures cost-effective preventative care.

 

 Providing Compassionate Care

  • Address dry mouth by encouraging the use of over-the-counter rinses, pastes, sprays, and lozenges. All of these simple remedies will help lubricate the mouth.
  • Caregivers must ensure their own safety when assisting agitated clients with oral hygiene. For some patients with dementia, small brushes or oral foam swabs may work best.
  • Give dental hygiene its due focus. Devote at least 2 minutes to brushing teeth each day.

 

Dental health is of utmost importance to seniors. The rising tide of ageism makes it difficult to ensure all seniors are receiving proper care, but David York can help!

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.

Loss of Vision and Hearing May Cause Cognitive Decline in Seniors

It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience hearing and vision loss. Sadly, these changes can cause both physical and emotional hardships. They may feel a loss of independence, an inability to do the things they love, and a disconnect from the world around them. Beyond these discomforts, with the loss of vision and hearing, they may experience cognitive decline.

Read on to learn more about how hearing and vision loss causes dementia and cognitive decline in seniors.

Senior woman inserts hearing aid in her ear learning about Cognitive Decline in Seniors from nurse

Vision Loss and Cognitive Decline in Seniors

The most recent study on the relationship between vision loss and cognitive decline looked at two datasets. This data covered 16 years and included more than 33,000 people aged 60 and up. Published in JAMA Ophthalmology in September 2017, it concluded that “vision dysfunction…was associated with poor cognitive function.”

This confirms a study conducted at the University of Michigan in 2010. This six-year study followed 625 elderly participants and had similar findings. These findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and concluded that “untreated poor vision is associated with cognitive decline, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.”

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Hearing loss also plays a part in cognitive decline in seniors. The reason for this is unclear, but there is speculation that  uncorrected deficits in vision and hearing may accelerate this.

The New York Times recently interviewed Dr. Suzann Pershing – lead author of the study and an ophthalmologist at Stanford University School of Medicine – to learn more. Pershing said that “this association doesn’t prove vision loss causes cognitive decline. Intuitively, it makes sense that the less engaged people are with the world, the less cognitive stimulation they receive, and the more likely their cognitive function will decline.”

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2013 observed 1,984 adults with an average age of 77. The study confirms that “hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment.” Also noteworthy, Adults with hearing loss will experience cognitive decline 30-40% faster than those with normal hearing.

A Causal Relationship?

According to Dr. Frank R. Lin, otolaryngologist at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, said, “Older adults with hearing loss face an increased risk of dementia even when you control for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. So we think they’re causally related.”

There are a few reasons this may happen:

  • hearing-impaired people tend to become isolated and lack stimulation
  • hearing loss causes brain atrophy that affects memory and thinking
  • the brain has to work harder to understand muffled or distorted speech

But There is Hope for Improvement.

Dr. Pershing also said that cognitive function can be improved if vision problems are treated. Regular visits with your ophthalmologist can lead to improvement, and help prevent deterioration.

Almost two-thirds of adults over the age of 70 have hearing loss, yet they remain significantly undertreated. Hearing aids are affordable and accessible. Hearing is again possible with treatment.

Cognitive decline is a problem for seniors, but now that we know the causes we can help prevent deterioration. With this information, our elderly loved ones can live fuller lives, and tackle future health problems.

David York Agency Can Help

Cognitive decline in seniors does not need to be a continuing trend. With the help of trained healthcare professionals your loved ones can learn more about their wellbeing, and fight the problems that come with age. Knowledge and proper care are the keys to living a better life.

If you would like to learn more about David York, please contact us. Our healthcare services are the best available. We provide transportation, care, and companionship to the elderly, as well as specialty services.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified and compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services will provide the assistance your loved one needs. Also, please like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to providing the very best in care.

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.

 

Caregiver Stress Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Caregiver Stress Needs Serious Attention

Caregiver Stress is Real

Caregivers experience stress just as frequently as anyone else. Unfortunately, they are often dismiss it. It’s assumed that caregiver stress is an expectation that comes with the job. People feel that the stress should be tolerated, like learning to cope with long, boring commutes.

Caregiver Stress Has Medical Consequences

In fact, caregiver stress can cause demonstrable medical problems. Those who take on the responsibility of caring for aging or ailing individuals need to stay healthy themselves. They should not fall into the trap of denial. Just because they’re helping others does not mean they won’t need help themselves. Round-the-clock care can lead to running on lack of sleep or lack of food – both causes of declining health. Caregivers do not receive the amount of healthcare monitoring they themselves deliver, so self-care is exceedingly important.

Patients Can Suffer As a Result of Caregiver Stress

When caregivers deny their own health needs, it isn’t just negative for them. According to some recent research from UC Berkeley, patients suffering from dementia will have a shorter life expectancy if their caregivers experience persistent untreated anxiety or depression.

As many as 40 percent of dementia caregivers suffer from depression. Though the problem is widespread, it is rarely discussed. Those who experience caregiver stress should not feel as if the problem is unusual or that it reflects poorly on them as people. The job is fraught with emotional and physical realities that are often sad. These sad realities naturally lead to stress often culminating in depression. This occupational hazard is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Working Through Caregiver Stress

There are many resources available for caregiver stress, including groups that provide social support and therapists who specialize in helping people cope with caregiver stress. Of course, many people will be able to overcome caregiver stress if they reach out to others in order to get some help with their responsibilities.

Home health aides can work with caregivers in order to provide the best possible standards of assistance for the patients. Being a caregiver is difficult, and getting more support can make all the difference in the world.

An Additional David York Agency Service

David York Home Healthcare can refer you to an agency to help you work through the caregiver stress and feelings of depression you may be experiencing. We can also recommend services that target depression in the elderly, should your loved one be experiencing mental health problems. Please contact us for more information on caregiver stress and related issues.

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 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.

The Benefits of Home Healthcare

home healthcare benefits

Moving Senior Loved Ones

There comes a point when we need to divert our attention and resources toward taking care of mom or dad. One commonly considered idea is to move one or both parents into some form of a retirement facility. Many reasons can prompt these considerations, such as health, financial or safety concerns. What many don’t realize until exploring senior healthcare options for their loved ones is the sizeable price tag and multitude of options that come with these types of organizations.

Consider Home Healthcare

Yes, healthcare is expensive for seniors. But, you have options that won’t wipe out your bank account. Before you consider an independent living, semi-independent or dependent living facility you may want to take note of the various benefits of home healthcare services.

  • Less stress – Being at home is always a more comfortable and peaceful environment than being someplace foreign or new. The advantage of keeping our loved ones feeling relaxed is a great benefit.
  • Healthcare expenses – Although it depends on the particular needs of an individual, high blood pressure doesn’t normally require around-the-clock care. Being able to schedule when, how often, and what testing is done can result in considerable savings versus a living facility expense.
  • Overall health – Common sense states that we all–regardless of our age–prefer to live in a place we call home. The comfortable and peaceful environment afforded by home as opposed to a living facility can only promote better health. That, in turn, means the need for less medical attention.

Intergenerational Benefits of Home Healthcare

The goal is simple – keep our parents as healthy and happy as long as possible. There have been enough studies done to prove that interaction and human connection make a difference, for both young and aging populations. So permitting our parents the happiness afforded by the comforts of home is invaluable – emotionally, physically and even financially.

To find out more about caring of your loved one and your options contact us. When it is all said and done, there really is no place like home.

For more information about our 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 you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

The Importance of In-Home Healthcare for Seniors with Congestive Heart Failure

Seniors with CHF

Seniors with CHF At Risk

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can be fatal. Seniors are at an especially high risk. In people over the age of 65, heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admissions, with 900,000 people being hospitalized in the US each year.

CHF does not mean that the heart is literally failing. The heart just has a difficult time pumping blood throughout the body and has to work harder. This results in the buildup of fluid throughout the body.

There are many potential causes of CHF. These include coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that weaken the heart, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and birth defects. CHF can be managed and treated by working with a physician prescribing appropriate medications. Also, utilizing non-medical treatments as well as in-home caregivers can alleviate the situation.

In-Home Caregivers

In-home care can be very beneficial to the CHF patient. Having a caregiver in the home who has knowledge of CHF can help the patient to get the fastest and best possible treatment. Especially relevant, CHF must be promptly treated in order to avoid complications or more serious issues. If potential symptoms of CHF present themselves, a well-educated caregiver can contact the patient’s doctor, and treatment can be obtained immediately. The patient’s normal senior care routine can be modified to include a protocol for CHF.

Warning Signs of CHF

  • Congested Lungs: Fluid may back up in the body due to a weak heart. The patient may experience shortness of breath when exercising and/or difficulty breathing when at rest or lying flat. A dry, hacking or a wheezing cough may also be present.
  • Fluid and Water Retention: The patient may experience swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen (edema). They may also experience significant weight gain in a short period of time. An increased urge to urinate may also be present. Bloating in the stomach may cause nausea and/or loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness, Fatigue, and Weakness: Decreased blood flow to the major organs of the body may cause these symptoms to arise.
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat: With fluid buildup in the body, the heart may have to work harder to pump blood to major organs.

In addition to recognizing warning signs of CHF, in-home caregivers can assist the patient in the following ways:

  • Assisting the patient with maintaining fluid balance by keeping a daily journal of fluid intake
  • Ensuring the patient follows a low-sodium diet
  • Helping the patient with weight maintenance
  • Monitoring of symptoms and notifying the doctor when needed
  • Ensuring the patient takes medications as prescribed

 

If your senior loved one suffers from CHF or other severe heart problems, they may benefit from the added care. The expertise of an in-home care provider can help. Knowledgeable caregivers maintain consistent communication with the patient, his or her doctors, the family, and all other involved parties. As such, they make sure that the patient’s medical, health, and safety needs are met.

At David York Agency, we offer home healthcare services from highly trained and vetted professionals who you can trust. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA can provide your family with a level of in-home assistance that meets your needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. 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 you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Avoiding Heat Exhaustion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat causes an average of 658 deaths per year in the United States. That’s more than many natural disasters in this country! No one is more at risk from heat exhaustion and heat stroke than the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

Avoid spending too much time outdoors at once, but if it does happen, be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The most common signs of heat exhaustion are dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, clammy skin, and cramping. If you notice these symptoms, get indoors or in the shade immediately and drink water. Heat stroke is the more severe of the two, and symptoms include a high body temperature, alternating between chills and sweating, flushed skin, rapid breathing, and a racing heart rate. If you think you’re beginning to suffer from heat stroke, stop what you are doing immediately and seek medical assistance.

Protect yourself this summer season by following these guidelines.

  1. Limit your time outside in the hottest parts of the day: from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Even if you stay in the shade, the heat and humidity can do just as much damage without the sun being directly on you.
  2. If you must go out, ensure that you are wearing proper attire. Hats with a wide brim, loose fitted clothing, and sunscreen all help to protect you from the heat.
  3. Light colors help to reflect the sun’s rays and the heat associated with it. Whites and pastels will keep you much cooler than dark blues and blacks. Also be sure that your clothing is lightweight and loose fitting.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Fluids will keep your body hydrated and less likely to suffer the ill effects of heat exhaustion. Avoid any drinks with alcohol in them; they will only dehydrate your body and make the situation worse.
  5. Avoid exercise and other strenuous activity in the extreme heat. Work out in air conditioned gymnasiums or through activities that are cooling, such as swimming.
  6. Avoid hot areas such as attics or cars that have been outside for a long time. Cool your car down before getting in.
  7. Let your body get used to the heat. If you go on vacation to a place with temperatures that you are not accustomed to, allow a few days for your body to adapt to these new conditions before you do any kind of vigorous activity.

One of the most dangerous issues with overexertion in the summer is actually a psychological one. Many people, especially the elderly, do not want to admit when they can’t do something safely. Some would rather risk severe injury or death rather than appear weak or incapable. However, be aware of your own limitations and the seriousness of the summer weather. Don’t allow your idea of what you could do in the past keep you from taking care of your health now.

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.  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.