Health Advice

Alternatives to Nursing Homes

Before you make any decisions about long term care, get as much information as you can about where you might live and what help you may need. A nursing home may not be your only choice. Discharge planners and social workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies can explain your options and help arrange your care.

Community services

There are a variety of community services that might help you with your personal care and activities. Some services, like volunteer groups that help with things like shopping or transportation, may be low cost or the group may ask for a voluntary donation. Some services may be available at varied costs depending on where you live and the services you need. Below is a list of home services and programs that are found in many communities:

  • Adult day care
  • Meal programs (like Meals-on-Wheels)
  • Senior centers
  • Friendly visitor programs
  • Help with shopping and transportation
  • Help with legal questions, bill paying, or other financial matters

Home care

Depending on your needs, you may be able to get help with your personal activities (like laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning) at home from family members, friends, or volunteer groups.

If you think you need home care, talk to your family to see if they can help with your care or help arrange for other care providers…

Medicare only pays for home care if you meet certain conditions. To learn more you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

If you or a loved one owns a single-family home, adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to an existing home may help you keep your independence. An ADU, sometimes called an “in-law apartment,” an “accessory apartment,” or a “second unit,” is a second living space within a home or on a lot. It has a separate living and sleeping area, a place to cook, and a bathroom.

Space like an upper floor, basement, attic, or space over a garage may be turned into an ADU. Family members might be interested in living in an ADU in your home, or, you may want to build a separate living space at your family member’s home.

Check with your local zoning office to be sure ADUs are allowed in your area, and if there are special rules. The cost for an ADU can vary widely depending on how big it is and how much it costs for building materials and workers.

Subsidized senior housing

There are federal and state programs that help pay for housing for some older people with low to moderate incomes. Some of these housing programs also offer help with meals and other activities like housekeeping, shopping, and doing the laundry. Residents usually live in their own apartments in the complex. Rent payments are usually a percentage of your income (a sliding scale fee).

 

Signs your Parent Needs Help

Admitting the need for help and accepting assistance is not easy for people as they age. The responsibility often falls on family members to recognize the signs that an aging loved one might need support with completing daily living tasks.

How do you know if it is time for in-home care? Here are many of the red flags you should be looking for.

  • Difficulty keeping track of time
  • Sleeping for most of the day
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Unexplained bruising or injuries
  • Marks or wear on walls, door jams, furniture and other items being used to help with stability while walking through the home
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness, including forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages
  • Missing important appointments
  • Consistent use of poor judgment (e.g. falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)
  • Changes in Personal Hygiene
  • Neglecting Household Responsibilities
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Infrequent showering (/Articles/elderly-parents-who-wont-shower-or-change-clothes-133877.htm) or bathing
  • A strong smell of urine in the house or on clothing
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care (e.g. unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, lack of oral care, wearing dirty or
  • stained clothing)
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food in the fridge
  • Dirty house and/or extreme clutter (/Articles/How-Do-I-Get-Dad-to-Move-Out-of-His-Cluttered-Unsafe-Home-133954.htm)
  • Dirty laundry piling up
  • Stains or wet spots on furniture or carpet
  • Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Utilities being turned off due to missed payments
  • Unexplained dents

If these signs are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living or a nursing home is required. However, these red flags do indicate that daily supportive care is needed.  Home Care One has the professional team needed to assist families during these sometimes difficult transitions.  If you or a loved one are in need of support please call us today.  800-781-6004

10 Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors

There are a number of benefits for seniors that practice Tai Chi . Tai Chi only requires about 20 minutes a day and is a low-impact, relaxing type of exercise.  Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art in the sense that it focuses on mental and spiritual aspects integrated into movement.  This meditative form of exercise consists of a series of 19 movements and one pose.

Here are 10 benefits of Tai Chi for seniors:

  1. Relieves the physical effects of stress
  2. Reduces bone loss in menopausal women
  3. Improves lower body and leg strength
  4. Helps with arthritis pain
  5. Reduces blood pressure
  6. Accumulates energy by releasing endorphins
  7. Enhances mental capacity and concentration
  8. Improves balance and stability by strengthening ankles and knees
  9. Promotes faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks
  10. Improves conditions of Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s

Many senior care facilities and community centers offer Tai Chi classes not only because of the extensive health benefits but also because it does not require any equipment or furniture.  Many seniors find it an easy activity and a peaceful environment in which to meet other seniors with common interests.

There are several locations in South Florida that offer Thai Chi classes.  Google “thai chi near me” to find options close to you.

How Cardiac Rehabilitation Can Help Heal Your Heart

If you have a heart attack or other heart problem, cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is an important part of your recovery. Cardiac rehab can help prevent another, perhaps more serious, heart attack and can help you build heart-healthy habits. Learn more about who needs cardiac rehab and how it can help your recovery.

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehab is a program for someone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care.

Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes physical activity, education about healthy living, including healthy eating, and counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health.  You may seek assistance from your health care team, which includes exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors or mental health professionals.  These may be in hospital or in-home services depending on the patients needs.

Who needs cardiac rehabilitation?

Anyone who has had a heart problem, such as a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery, can benefit from cardiac rehab. Studies have found that cardiac rehab helps men and women, people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems.

But certain people are less likely to go to or finish a cardiac rehab program. These include:

  • Women. Studies show that women, especially minority women, are less likely than men to go to or complete a cardiac rehab program.  This may be because doctors may be less likely to suggest cardiac rehab to women.
  • Older adults. Older adults are also less likely to join a cardiac rehab program following a heart problem.  They may think they are unable to do the physical activity because of their age, or they may have other conditions that can make exercising harder, such as arthritis. This makes cardiac rehabilitation especially useful for older adults, since it can improve strength and mobility to help make daily tasks easier.

One of the benefits of cardiac rehab is building healthier habits, such as finding a physical activity that you enjoy, to help you stay heart-healthy for life.

How does cardiac rehab help?

Cardiac rehabilitation has many benefits to your health in both the short and long-term, including:

  • Strengthening your heart and body after a heart attack.
  • Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain.
  • Building healthier habits, including getting more physical activity, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet. A nutritionist or dietitian may work with you to help you limit foods with unhealthy fats and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Improving your mood. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehab can help prevent and lessen depression.
  • Increasing your energy and strength, making daily activities easier, such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs.
  • Making you more likely to take your prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems.
  • Preventing future heart problems and death. Studies have found that cardiac rehab decreases the chances you will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by around 20% to 30%

Where can I get the care needed?

Some programs are done in a hospital or rehabilitation center, while some programs can be done in the patient’s home. Cardiac rehab may start while you are still in the hospital or right after you leave the hospital.

Cardiac rehab programs usually last about three months but can range anywhere from two to eight months.  If you or a loved one in South Florida need in home care please call Home Care One.

Source: CDC

Unknown Health Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health

Oral health is much more important than you may have thought.  Aside from  cavities, gum disease and even oral cancer, there are a number of health problems you may not have realized can be traced back to having poor dental hygiene or damaged and missing teeth. Here are some less known conditions that can be caused by skipping the dentist.

  1. Weight Gain or Obesity
    Damaged or missing teeth can mean you’re not chewing your food properly, or you’re limiting the types of food you can eat. People may be partial to foods that are easier to chew, which include high-fat options like fast food. Foods that are nutritious and high in fiber (fruits and vegetables) aren’t as easy to chew and swallow when your teeth aren’t up to the job.
  2. Higher Risk of Diabetes
    According to the UK’s Daily Mail, tooth loss has been connected to a higher chance of developing diabetes—an 11-percent higher risk, to be more precise. This is due to inflammation in the bloodstream. Diabetes is the body’s inability to regulate its blood sugar, which can lead to more major health problems.  To make matters worse, once you have diabetes, your chance of developing more serious oral health issues actually increases as well.
  3. Greater Chance of Heart Disease
    You may not believe there’s a link between your teeth and your heart, but the American Dental Association (ADA) says a number of studies link poor oral health with poor heart health, although the reasons aren’t yet exactly known.  While there is no hard scientific evidence to support whether bad oral hygiene contributes to a weaker heart, the ADA says you should still regard your teeth and gums as the gateway to diseases including those affecting your heart. Further studies are being performed by various groups to prove the link.
  4. Risk of Low Birth Weight
    If you’re a pregnant woman, having poor oral health or gum disease can not only affect you, but also your next generation, according to Health Canada.  The Canadian government body states that studies are currently underway to link poor oral health to premature births as well as low birth weight. Pre-term babies are at a higher risk of facing development barriers, infections, abnormalities and even infant death, according to Health Canada.
  5. Weakening of the Bones
    Osteoporosis is a serious condition that causes your bones to become brittle, so you are much more likely to suffer a serious injury due to a fall or even from carrying out your daily routine.
    The Mayo Clinic says there may be a link between osteoporosis—which affects your entire body—and the loss of teeth and periodontal bone that supports the teeth. Several studies support the fact that people with tooth loss and periodontal bone deficiencies also tend to show signs of a weakening skeleton in other parts of the body.
  6. Possible Respiratory Complications
    Health Canada attributes some breathing problems with gum disease, which is caused by plaque that is actually a layer of bacteria that isn’t friendly to your mouth. Health Canada notes that bad bacteria can actually make its way from your mouth to your lungs, which is bad news for those with existing respiratory ailments and also for those with previously healthy lungs.
    The respiratory difficulties from poor oral health particularly affects the elderly, but that doesn’t mean people of any age can be left gasping for air due to complications from gum disease that has gone untreated. If you’re having a hard time catching your breath lately, you may also want to see your dentist after consulting your physician.
  7. More Chance of Developing Dementia
    That’s right, even your mental health can be negatively affected without the regular supervision of a dentist. The Alzheimer’s Society points to the importance of maintaining your oral health to help stave off the effects of Dementia, which causes confusion and memory loss. For those reasons, it’s also much more difficult for those with Dementia to maintain a proper oral care routine.  The University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry also conducted a study that pinpointed bacteria from gum disease in the brain. The study found that of the 10 people with Dementia (and 10 without), almost half of those affected with the mental disorder had a particular type of bacteria, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, show up in their brains.

Heath Resources for Palm Beach County Seniors and Broward County Seniors.

Storm Preparation for Seniors with Mobility Disability

Planning for a hurricane or major storm is critical for those with a mobility disability. Seniors and disabled people in South Florida are just entering into Hurricane season which runs 6/1/17-11/30/17. Palm Beach and Broward County offer several resources for those with people disabilities.  You should maintain a list of all emergency services and medications you may need.

Here are 5 Tips to prepare if you do have a mobility disability

  • If you use a power wheelchair, if possible, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported. Your home health aid may assist with finding the specs of your wheelchair.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices. If you are unable to purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations, or local charitable groups can help you with the purchase. Keep extra batteries on a trickle charger at all times.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof. (from Nusura/CalEMA)
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you. Your companion care assistant will help with these details.

See our Senior Resources for important services in you live in Broward or Palm Beach County.

Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. Living in Palm Beach and Broward County we are especially aware of this as we enter into hurricane season.  Seniors and families with special care and/or medical needs have to take into account possible long term power outages and limited ability to get access to medications after a storm. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.

There are commonsense measures older Americans can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen.  Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. If appropriate, discuss your needs with your employer.

Seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration such as coolers and ice-packs. Make arrangements well ahead of time if you need any assistance to get to a shelter or special assistance.

For more information, read Ready.gov’s Preparing Makes Sense For Older Americans or visit the Red Cross website