Can Change in Gait Indicate Bigger Problems?

The shuffle. It’s something we’ve come to accept as a normal part of aging, or as a result of certain medical conditions—following a stroke or coinciding with the onset of Parkinson’s disease. But what if there was more to this sometimes-gradual change in a person’s gait? What if it indicated a shift in cognitive function? Research is beginning to investigate possible connections between the way people walk and their ability to think as well as the possibility that changes in gait may be an early indicator of cognitive impairment stemming from conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

AlzheimersRecent studies suggest that thinking skills—memory, planning activities or processing information—decline at nearly the same rate as the ability to walk steadily and information increasingly points to a correlation between trouble walking and difficulty thinking.

A number of studies utilize a dual-tasking testing system to help uncover problems, asking subjects to simultaneously perform thinking and movement tasks such as walking while counting to 50. While still inconclusive, the results of these tests —which revealed that subjects who walked more slowly or inconsistently did worse on cognitive tests, with the worst of these suffering the most severe Alzheimer’s—may indicate that the brain is sufficiently compromised as to be unable to coordinate and efficiently manage more than one task.

This seeming correlation could be an indicator for earlier diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Once the studies are conclusive, the hope is to integrate an observation-based screening protocol that can be used during routine examinations by doctors, or physical therapy sessions.

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

For more information about our services, please visit www.davidyorkagency.com or follow us on our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages. You can also call us at 718.376.7755 and we will be happy to talk over your specific home healthcare needs.

How Do I Make Sure a Home Health Aide is Fully Qualified?

As people live longer, the need for home care likely increases. While some aging seniors can receive personal care from family members, others search for care from a qualified home health aide. Hiring a home health aide can allow your loved one to remain in the comfort of his or her own home while getting the support for the activities of daily living needed. Home health aides may do anything from providing personal care to cooking. If your loved one needs help with general house duties like meal preparation, a specially certified home health aide may be sufficient. It is important to make sure that you find a qualified caregiver that meets the needs of your loved one.  Here are some things you’ll want to make sure your home health aide has.

Certified & Specially Trained

Aide Qualified2You want to make sure that your home health aide is certified.  Most are either Certified Home Health Aides or Certified Personal Care Aides.  In the state of New York, home health aides receive their certification from a training institute.  All New York approved training institutes will be certified and licensed by the New York State Department of Education.  Home Health Aides maintain their certification by working for a licensed agency that will provide the 12 hours of annual in-service instruction they need to keep their certification current. 

Current Credentials & Valid References

It is important that your home health aide have valid references.  Whether they are from previous employers, school professors, or mentors, they should be willing to allow you some time to review and talk with these references.  A reputable home care agency will require this as a matter of course and is meticulous about validating all the information on their home health aide’s application.  They also check that their certificates are current and valid with the New York State Department of Health. 

Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check is done through fingerprinting.  If your home health aide has committed a crime, they would’ve been finder-printed soon after the time of arrest.  By requesting a finger print background check, you can be sure that your home health aide is clear of a criminal past.  A licensed home care agency takes care of this step for you and is not allowed by law to hire aides convicted of a felony.  While it is up to the discretion of each agency to hire someone convicted of a misdemeanor, many will not hire an aide with any criminal background at all as an extra safety net since they are sending aides into client’s homes. 

Since the above certification and security checks can be labor intensive, many people searching for a home health aide prefer to use a home health care agency that will relieve you entirely of these tasks.  Additionally, a Registered Nurse will do an initial nursing assessment and provide ongoing assessment and supervision periodically or as needed as part of the service. 

At David York Agency, they ensure that all home health aides and personal care aides are certified and specially trained, checked for current credentials, have valid references, are interviewed by astute personnel specialists and thoroughly screened, are fingerprinted and checked for a criminal background.  David York Agency also provides frequent in-house/in-service education, is insured and bonded and only sends aides of the highest caliber and integrity to your loved one’s home.

Home health aides should be trusted to take care of aging parents, a spouse or loved one who needs extra help.  Knowing they are fully qualified will ease your mind and help make the decision to hire a lot easier. 

For more information on hiring a home health aide, contact David York Agency at 718-376-7755 and visit our website at http://davidyorkhomehealthcare.com/. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.