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.

Long-Distance Caregiving: Feeling Adequate at a Distance

At a time when seniors wish to remain independent  – and in their own homes – for as long as possible, establishing a support system is essential. The act of caregiving often falls on relatives or close friends, but these caregivers are not always local and long-distance caregiving is on the rise.

Grandparents talking on the phone at the table. Long-distance caregiving

But how can you provide adequate care from a distance while maintaining the balance of your daily life?

Remaining involved in your loved one’s life, providing long-distance care, and living your own life is a difficult balance. The “sandwich generation,” – identified as middle-aged adults “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their aging parents – can be full of overwhelming and thankless tasks, but maintaining your relationship and providing care at a distance can be done!

Here are a few ways to maintain the caregiver relationship when living far away.

 

The Reality of Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance caregiving is an undeniable stressor. The difficulty of balancing the duties of a caregiver with work and family can be daunting and exhausting. You will have to learn to manage your time and your loved one’s time simultaneously. You will also have to adapt your schedule to include travel time as well as care time.

Expect to make sacrifices if you plan to maintain significant involvement in your loved one’s life. From missing work to rearranging appointments, your job as a caregiver will be all-encompassing. Frequent phone calls at all hours of the day and night may become a new norm. You may also take on the added expense of additional home care in order to ensure your loved one’s well-being when you cannot be present.

 

What Can I Do?

How can we accept the reality of distance as a barrier but also incorporate ways to embrace it? Finding peace of mind away from your loved one is difficult, but not impossible.

Some ways may include purchasing new forms of technology such as a fall alert system. This is a small investment ensuring that emergency personnel would respond if a loved one suffered a fall. There are also various forms of medication reminders to help loved ones take their medications at the recommended time.

Establish methods of communication that are readily available and easily understood. When utilizing the telephone, your loved one may prefer a landline with multiple cordless phones and charging stations placed around their living area. If your loved one is receptive to video chat, ensure these newfangled programs are installed properly and simplified for ease of use. Many seniors suffer from hearing and vision loss so preset the volume on devices to ensure they can hear properly. Place telephones in locations that are accessible and uncluttered.

 

Helpful Tips from the AARP:

1. Maintain your identity and embrace the characteristics and strengths that you have while incorporating them into caregiving.

2. Reprioritize as circumstances arise.

3. Get organized. Check out these David York Agency publications for the task: Workbook & Checklist.

4. Be open to accepting help whether it be with minimal daily tasks, assistance from other family and friends or hiring a home care agency.

5. “Keep filling your tank.” Caregiving requires mental and emotional energy. Allow yourself to unwind and reboot.

 

Understanding the reality of caregiving and accepting ways to embrace it may ease the struggle of long-distance caregiving. David York Agency prides itself on individualized care and maintaining the dignity of your loved one. If you need assistance, support, or an open ear in the world of caregiving, reach out today!

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.

How to Make “Aging in Place” Possible

aging in place david york agency

Aging-In-Place

As of January 2016, the Population Reference Bureau reports that more than 46 million Americans are over the age of 65. They project that this number will rise to 98 million in the next 40 years. According to a study by the AARP, of those 46 million Americans, 90% want to stay in their homes as they age. Coined as “aging in place,” the CDC defines this desire to stay home as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

Advantages of Aging-In-Place

Some positive changes fueled this “aging in place” trend:

  • Increased education levels
  • An increase in life expectancy
  • Declining poverty rate for those over 65

Aging in place has positive psychological benefits as well. Kathryn Larlee, J.D. explains in her article on Advancing Smartly that adults who grow older in their own home have better mental health, lower levels of depression, and higher levels of daily living function than those in a long-term care facility. She also states that those who remain in their own homes have more community involvement and experience less social isolation.

Obstacles to Overcome

However, choosing to grow old at home comes with risks too. As people age, their ability to care for themselves diminishes. The need arises for assistance with personal care, food preparation, transportation, medical care, and many more issues. Sometimes this burden falls to family members. Other times there is no one available to help.

With so many older Americans wanting to remain at home as they age, how can they do so successfully? Thankfully, there are many support services available. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act, which mandated grant funding to states for establishing social services.

Resources for Seniors Aging-In-Place

For New York City and the surrounding boroughs, the best place to start is the NYC Department for the Aging. They can connect you with some of the following agencies and services:

  • Senior Centers – Senior centers offer a place for socialization, education, fitness, and healthy meals.
  • Case Management Agencies – The CMA will assess the needs of the person and then help obtain in-home care services and meal deliveries, as well as educate on entitlements and available benefits. They can also provide advocacy with landlords and utility companies.
  • Transportation – Some senior centers will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping. The CMA can provide referrals to other transportation services in the area.
  • Free Legal Assistance

In-Home Services

In-home care services are the highest need as people grow older, and finding the right services is important. These in-home services can include:

  • Home delivered meals
  • Caregiver services such as bathing, feeding, housekeeping, etc.
  • Social services such as transportation and shopping assistance, home visits, and regular phone calls to check on the person
  • Pen pals are available through a service called Platinum Pen Pals, which connects high school students with seniors.
  • In-home educational services
  • Library services via mail
  • Carrier alert programs: This is a special program that trains mail delivery people to recognize when a senior is in distress, such as accumulation of mail in the mailbox.

With the right combination of family or community involvement and support services, it is possible for people to grow old in their own home safely. They can maintain their comfort and dignity while receiving the help they need.

 

At David York Agency, it is our mission to provide the highest-quality support services to the aged, infirmed, and disabled. Our highly trained and vetted professionals 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 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.

 

iPads are Great for Seniors

For many years, seniors have faced the stigma of being slow adopters of new technologies. However, as computers and graphical interfaces become more user-friendly, nearly everyone has been able to utilize them to make their lives more convenient and more accessible. Here are some of the great benefits that iPads offer to seniors.

  1. iPads offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of text and image sizes. Simply pushing your fingers apart makes the text as large as it needs to be. As eyesight fades with age, this can allow anyone to continue to read books or stay up-to-date on current events.
  2. Nothing is more troubling for seniors than feeling disconnected from their friends and loved ones. iPads give them access to email and messaging software so that they can still keep in touch. Video streaming applications such as FaceTime even allow them to chat with children, grandchildren, and friends who may live on the other side of the country.
  3. Even if motor control is a problem for some seniors, iPads have an extremely easy-to-use graphical interface. A man with arthritis may not be able to rummage through old photos in a box, but swiping from picture to picture on an iPad is a breeze. The same is true for most applications. Interacting with the iPad is often as simple as touching the icon you want. Apple prides itself on its simple touch-screen model which is ideal for many seniors.
  4. There are many great healthcare apps for seniors that will allow them to track their diet, monitor their health, and even communicate with their doctors and other healthcare providers. There are even apps that can warn loved ones of any troubling physical signs in their elderly relative.

If you do decide to get an iPad for your elderly friend or family member, take the time to talk with them about what he or she wants out of an iPad. Show them how to set it up and how these benefits will make their lives easier, safer and more fulfilling.

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

Are You the Caregiver? Tips for Caring for Yourself, too!

Caring for aging loved ones was never an easy prospect. However, up until now, caregiver stress was not such an issue. Families lived in multi-generational households and together they shared the burden of a sick or elderly loved one.

senior woman and caring daughter walking in forest

Today, families are scattered and the responsibility for care falls on the spouse to shoulder almost alone. There’s so much to consider on a daily basis, and it’s easy for their needs to get lost in the mix. The spouse usually has their own physical problems of decreased mobility, strength and pain discomfort often followed by depression. It’s clear that these caregivers need help, but is the help that is available enough to relieve the stress?

How can you ensure their needs are met while they’re working so hard to care for someone else? A recent Time Magazine blog post had several helpful tips that may prove useful if you’re in that situation.

  • Support Groups are Helpful: Often just speaking to others who are in the same situation you are day after day is a good way to connect, relax, and recharge. Local hospitals and churches sometimes offer caregiver support groups. Even the local rec center may have support programs for caregivers.
  • Look Online: Sometimes when you can’t connect in person, you may be able to connect online in a forum or via social media groups on channels like Facebook. Make certain, though, that you utilize caregiver focused groups, as those that include patients and family may have you worried you’ll step on someone else’s feelings.
  • Write: If you’re journaling, you may be able to relieve some stress. There are several different ways to handle this. Some use a gratitude journal where they record things for which they’re grateful. Others simply use a journaling space where they can vent. No matter how you use it, you’re certain to find some solace in simply recording your thoughts.
  • Get Technical: There are several apps that may help you stay organized, which can alleviate the stress of your situation. Ask others about the apps they use or do some searching to figure how what can help you keep track of those appointments and medications.

Caregiver stress can be incredible at times, but there are ways to deal with it. Read the full Time Magazine article when you have a moment, and don’t forget to enlist the help of professional caregivers, like those at the David York Agency.

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

Keeping Your Cool

Summer is shaping up and it’s going to be a hot one! That can be dangerous for your health. For seniors, beating the heat is even more important than ever.

Older adults and young children are often the most at-risk groups for heat-related illnesses. Taking certain medications like beta blockers and diuretics, having medical issues like heart disease and just living alone all increase your risk for heat stress and common traits among senior citizens. Heat stress can result in minor inconveniences like heat rash or cramping or it can create serious problems like dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Preventing heat-related illness is an important part of senior home health.

Symptoms

Keep coolPay attention to your body when it’s warm and be aware of the symptoms of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. (This is good advice for any age.) Here are a few symptoms to watch out for when the weather gets warm:

  • Hot, dry skin.
  • Paleness, even when hot.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

Treatments

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the above symptoms, seek medical help immediately. Call 911 and cool the person down by getting them to shade or air conditioning as quickly as possible. Use any means necessary to cool the body’s temperature like wet towels, a hose or ice packs placed in the armpits and groin area.

Prevention

Prevention is far better than treatment. If the temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, seniors need to take precautions.

  • Make sure your AC is functioning.
  • Younger people should check on older loved ones often.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Stay indoors if the heat index is high.
  • Discuss all your medications with your doctor to learn which can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses.

Keep your cool this summer and maintain your health.

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.

 

Hiring Home Healthcare

When a loved one is struggling with daily chores and self-care, some difficult decisions lie ahead. One way to lighten his load, keep him safe and help him living at home is to hire a home healthcare services provider. Finding a qualified, compassionate and trustworthy person to bring into your loved one’s home is serious business. Here are a few tips to help you find the right caregiver for yourself or someone you love.

Know your needs.

hiring home health careAn honest assessment of the person’s needs helps you determine what kind of help will be required. Is there a medical condition that needs monitoring like diabetes or Alzheimer’s? Are daily tasks like meals and personal care giving some trouble? Then you might need daily care rather than weekly.

Be thorough when outlining the needs to be filled by the home healthcare agency hiring the home health aide. You need a good match between the home health aide and the senior. Ask the agency lots of open-ended questions about their experiences dealing with similar needs and situations.

Interview thoroughly.

You don’t have to settle for the first agency or home health aide that you find. Your doctor may recommend someone but that doesn’t mean that person is the best choice for you or your loved one. Interview several aides so that you can choose the very best fit. Look for specific answers, a polite and enthusiastic personality and a genuine love of the job. Ask if she has references and make sure the agency has checked them.

When hiring an agency, be sure to go over the contract completely. You need to know exactly what is covered and what will become an “add on” fee later. Find out what the procedure is for requesting a home health aide in case the first one is not the right fit. Make sure the agency performs background checks and drug screenings.

Trust your gut.

Your first instincts are usually pretty accurate. If you don’t feel good about a candidate or agency, it’s perfectly ok to move on to another. You should always be comfortable with your choice in senior home care.

It is possible to remain safely at home with a little help from in home healthcare services.

The Home Healthcare Agency that can satisfy all your questions and that you feel comfortable with will be the right choice for you to trust. David York Agency would be happy to give you more information about Home Healthcare. Contact us at 718.376.7755 where a nurse is waiting to take your call and visit our website. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Paying for Home Health Care

Home healthcare service is ideal in a number of different situations, but many worry about how to pay for it. Often these services must be handled out of pocket which is not easy given its cost and today’s economy. Fortunately, there are options that could help you pay for the home healthcare that is so desperately needed.

Medicare

pay for home healthcareFor seniors, Medicare will typically cover the cost of some healthcare services. There are, however, conditions. Individuals must be homebound, which means they are either unable to leave home or leaving home requires the help of another individual. The person must also require skilled services. While home healthcare services can assist with things like bathing and meal preparation, these are not typically considered skilled services. Instead, those are services that must be provided by a certified professional like a home health aide. Medicare will look at the orders of a physician, the complexity of the service required, and the patient’s condition to decide if this is a necessity. The final qualification for Medicare to pay is that the care has to be intermittent in the patient’s home. It cannot be required all of the time or for an extended period.

Private Medical Insurance

Private insurance may also pick up the cost of home healthcare, but there’s usually a copay involved in this service. As with Medicare, there are typically a number of other requirements including the need for medically necessary, skilled care. It also typically has to be short term in nature. The key is to talk with your insurance company to learn more about the available benefits when it comes to home healthcare services, what’s allowed and what may not be covered, and how to make sure you’ve properly applied for those benefits.

Long Term Care Insurance

These policies are designed to cover care that is not covered by the other options. As long as the patient is not able to perform two activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing or eating, you should be able to utilize a long term care insurance plan. There are many plans available with various levels of coverage depending upon what you sign up for. It is best to commit to this in your 40’s and 50’s while you are still healthy as the insurance company prices out these products to customers based upon their medical risk profile.

Public Benefit Programs

Other public benefit programs outside of Medicare may also be able to help with the cost of home healthcare. Medicaid and VA benefits may be used to cover doctor-prescribed care. Individual states also sometimes have programs to help offset some of the associated costs. Most of these, like Medicare and private insurance, have some rules that must be followed before home healthcare becomes a covered option.

HSAs

Home health care can typically be deducted from a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you or a loved one has a qualified insurance plan that has an HSA attached to it, talk to your tax advisor to learn more about whether the money in that HSA can be used to cover medical expenses associated with home healthcare.

There are many ways to cover the cost of home healthcare, but talking to a professional can help you decide what may work for you is the best way ensure you get covered for home healthcare.

At David York Agency, we are well versed in the myriad of ways to finance your home healthcare needs. You can all us anytime to discuss your specific case. David York Agency has caring and compassionate individuals on staff who can work with the patient or the involved physicians to make certain excellent care is provided in every situation. To learn more about whether we can help you meet your needs or those of a family member, please contact us for a free consultation today at 718-376-7755 or visit us at our website at David York Agency. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google + or LinkedIn.

 

Utilizing Home Healthcare for Stroke Recovery

The experience of having a stroke is difficult enough, but after a stroke has occurred, finding your path forward can be even more complex. Being discharged from the hospital is just the first in a number of steps, and deciding where to turn could make all the difference in your recovery.

Enlisting the Help of Home Healthcare Services

stroke recoveryThe days just after a stroke will slowly begin to reveal the number of long term problems ahead. These could include cognitive problems, challenges communicating, physical difficulties and emotional issues like depression. Our caregivers can make much of this easier.

The home health aides at David York Agency can help with day to day caregiving including bathing, grooming, dressing, meal preparation and feeding. Even light housekeeping and laundry can be added to the list. Activities of daily living are difficult after a stroke and our aides can make things much easier.

Our registered nurses can help individuals follow a physician’s care plan, ensuring medication is properly dispensed and the right therapies are carried out correctly to help with the therapeutic process.

No matter what level of service you need, we’re available twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Sometimes the cost of the services can be covered by private medical insurance or Medicare depending on the physician’s orders. Often long term care insurance will pay for a home health aide when the patient is unable to perform activities of daily living.

David York Agency can furnish a home health aide for you in that circumstance and we are also able to service Medicaid patients. Our services make all the difference when you are staying in your home, surrounded by comfort and compassionate care. While nursing homes and rehab facilities can help, they never really feel like home.

To learn more about how we can help with stroke recovery or our other home healthcare services, please contact us today for a free phone consultation. We can help get you or a loved on track toward stroke recovery.

David York Home Healthcare Agency offers varying levels of care to help meet client needs. Whether it’s personal care activities like grooming and bathing or simple household tasks, David York Agency has caring and compassionate individuals on staff who can work with the patient or the involved physicians to make certain excellent care is provided in every situation. To learn more about whether we can help you meet your needs or those of a family member, please contact us for a free consultation today at 718-376-7755 or visit us at our website at David York Agency. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google + or LinkedIn.