Anxiety in Older Adults: Managing Isolation During Quarantine

In the quest to get the best medical care, well-meaning family members and friends sometimes overlook the importance of seniors’ mental health. Lots of things can trigger anxiety during the course of an average day. When anxiety in elderly people is happening on a regular basis or they’re overly emotional for many days in a row, something more serious could be going on.

The risks associated with COVID-19 have increased anxiety the world over. These are particularly stressful times for seniors who are already experiencing isolation and loneliness. With stronger restrictions in place on visiting, many older adults need help discovering ways to cope with anxiety.

Causes of Increased Anxiety in Elderly Populations

Anxiety is a normal response to stress, and it can be triggered by a variety of issues.

Let’s look at some reasons why anxiety in seniors often goes undetected:

  •   Seniors don’t recognize the symptoms.
  •   Seniors don’t want to burden anyone.
  •   May be masked by other issues like physical or emotional pain.
  •   May be viewed as a side effect of medications.

Seniors that haven’t dealt with the diagnosis of anxiety in the past may encounter new stressors they haven’t had in the past. They need help to learn how to deal with anxiety.

Here’s a list of some of the things that create anxiety in older adults:

  •   Feelings of isolation
  •   Greater health risks
  •   Lack of access to medical care
  •   Reports of increased deaths due to COVID-19
  •   Guilt due to their lack of independence

While anxiety is a normal emotion, it’s important to address it and learn how to help people with anxiety.

How to Learn if Seniors Need Support

Over the course of their lifetimes, older adults have lived through many traumatic experiences—wars, depressions, and other trying times. In the past, societal norms encouraged people to be tough and hold things in. In today’s society, it’s more acceptable to communicate your feelings with people you trust. In general, this is a new concept for seniors. They may need a little encouragement and coaxing to open up about their struggles with anxiety.

While seniors may not be forthcoming with how they’re feeling, you can find out more about their anxiety levels by asking them questions about their daily functioning like these:

  •   Have you been sleeping well?
  •   Have you been eating all your meals?
  •   Are you happy most days?
  •   Is anything unusual causing you stress?
  •   Did you worry about anything in particular today?

Be sure to take a compassionate approach and offer lots of emotional support.

How to Help Seniors Cope Social Isolation with Stress

If you suspect that a senior is coping with stress, anxiety, and isolation, there are specific ways that you can help them learn how to reduce anxiety.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help seniors reduce stress and anxiety that’s due to the pandemic or other reasons:

  •   Be an active listener. Actively listen to their concerns and take them seriously. Let them know that you’re open to hearing about stress and anxiety, and you’re committed to helping them learn how to reduce anxiety.
  •   Help them maintain a routine. Work with them to help them set up a daily routine. When they know what to expect every day, it can be a significant stress reliever.  
  •   Be accepting of their feelings and fears. Take their mental and emotional health seriously. Help them to communicate their fears and give them lots of reassurance that these feelings are normal and you’re willing to help them in any way you can. Do your best to help them recognize that being willing to receive help is a sign of strength.
  •   Assist them in calming activities like meditation, deep breathing, or journaling. Encourage them to incorporate calming activities into their daily routine and help them find the resources to support them to follow through.
  •   Find ways to keep them healthy and active. Help them find a way to get some regular physical exercise. There are lots of options for exercise including taking fitness classes at a senior center, going on walks, or taking a chair yoga or senior aerobics class onsite or online.
  •   Share factual information with them from reliable sources. Direct them toward reliable news sources and discourage them from visiting websites with non-factual or misguided information about the pandemic and other senior health issues.

If your loved one is dealing with excessive worry or fear, isn’t sleeping well, and is further isolating themselves because of it, help is available. Anxiety is treatable. Work with your loved one’s physician to share information about the symptoms of anxiety and what treatment options are available.

One of the many services that At Home Care Services offers is companionship care. Getting some extra help could be the key to getting your loved one’s anxiety under control. Call us today for a quote.

What Resources Are Available to Pay for Home Care in California?

How do you pay for home care in California? While no one looks forward to the effects of aging, it’s a reality. If you’re like most people, you’d prefer to live out your final years in the comfort of your own home. In-home care can help you realize that vision.

 

The chances of remaining in your home, even when it’s difficult to take care of yourself, may depend on whether you can access funding to pay for in-home care in California.

 

It’s common for people to assume that Medicare, Medi-Cal, or private insurance will pay for in-home care.  That’s not the case—most clients pay for in-home care using their personal funds. Medicare will cover a limited number of services for home health care, but only if it’s medically necessary. Medicare doesn’t cover homemaker services and neither doo Medicare supplemental plans.

 

People are starting to live longer and they’re realizing that paying for home care in California is something they need to explore sooner rather than later.

 

Options to Pay for Home Care in California

 

If you’ve built senior care services into your financial planning, you have a few options for exploring home care payment options in California.  

 

Patient/Private Pay

Most seniors have some amount of assets and money and private pay it’s the first and most common source of funding for in-home senior care.  

 

Long-Term Care Insurance

If you’ve planned ahead and bought long-term care insurance, it may cover various types of senior care services like skilled nursing, assisted living, in-home care, respite, etc. depending on the policy coverage.

 

Even if you have it, there are different rules about what insurance companies will cover and when coverage starts. Social workers in your community or in-home care agencies will help you learn how a long-term care policy can help you.

 

Private Health Insurance

In better understanding how to pay for senior care services, you have to remember that health insurance is intended to cover medical needs. It doesn’t cover non-medical care services that are necessary to help with functional needs. You need to find other financial sources for that.

 

Medicare

You can’t count on Medicare to cover in-home care either. It won’t cover bills for private caregivers or services from a home care agency. Medicare won’t cover bills for personal caregiving needs like bathing, dressing, mobility, or other activities of daily living (ASLs). It also doesn’t cover transportation to appointments, companionship, or housekeeping.

 

Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California)

Medi-Cal is California’s state Medicaid program for people that don’t have private health insurance. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover some types of senior care that aren’t considered skilled services. Medicare and Medicaid make it possible for many seniors to afford the services they need.

 

Medicaid and Medicare benefits can make the average in-home cost for senior care services within reach for many people.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance also provides some coverage for senior services if you get injured at work. Your employer will review the plan’s coverage with you.

 

Other Ways of Paying for Home Care

 

If you’re still wondering, “How can I pay for home care in California?” there are a few other resources you can check into.

 

  •   Veteran assistance through the Veteran’s Association (VA)
  •   Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
  •   A reverse mortgage
  •   Senior nonprofit organizations like Alzheimer’s Association, the ALS Association, Easter Seals
  •   Community organizations like the local Area on Aging, United Way, and area senior centers

 

California Home Care Cost

 

As you consider how to pay for home care in California, the average hourly rate for home care services in California was $26 per hour in 2019. The average assisted living care costs are also quite expensive.

 

The cost of senior care services in California differs significantly depending on where you live. The most affordable locations to access care are Chico, Visalia, Riverside, and Vallejo. You can expect to pay caregivers in these areas to charge between $22.50 and $24 per hour. You can expect to pay $7-$10 more per hour in Napa, San Jose, and El Centro.

 

In summary, there are many resources for getting appropriate funding for in-home senior care services if you know where to look.

 

One of the best ways home care agencies can help you is to supply expertise in finding all the resources for senior care services that might be available to you. They can also help to forecast the cost of a senior care services plan.

 

If you don’t have private insurance, the next places to look for senior care service funding are government benefits, community programs, long-term care insurance policies, veterans’ aid, and reverse mortgage programs.

How to Take Care of an Elderly Person After Hospitalization

Hospitals are releasing patients as soon as they can because of insurance or other reasons. While elderly patients might meet the criteria for discharge, they might not be physically or mentally ready to go home when they’re told it’s time.

 

Out of worry and concern for a loved one, many families find themselves darting around at the last minute to find after-care and rehabilitation resources to ensure that a patient doesn’t have a setback.

 

Getting the right care after hospitalization can aid an elderly person in their recovery and help make them stronger and healthier.

 

Making a Smooth Transition from the Hospital to Home

 

Under the best of circumstances, elderly people are vulnerable. After a hospitalization, elderly people have many old and new health matters to contend with like:

 

  •   Reduced mobility
  •   Risk of falling
  •   Risk of infection
  •   Medication mix-ups
  •   Side effects from medications
  •   Complications from surgery or other treatments

 

In addition to these health risks, elderly people need to get back into a routine of healthy eating and exercise. That doesn’t usually happen right away, but it’s always a goal.

 

Seniors need a special diet after being charged from the hospital.

 

It’s important to help an elderly person’s bodily systems get working again and the right diet helps seniors with digestion and blood circulation.

 

There are over 2 million Medicare recipients in the U.S. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 20% of people that get discharged from a hospital get readmitted sometime later. Many of them get worse before they’re readmitted.

 

Here are some tips for things you should consider as part of hospital discharge planning for elderly people.

 

  •   Type of equipment needed—canes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc.
  •   Setting up the home—removing rugs, adding grab bars, rearranging furniture, etc.
  •   Bringing in a hospital bed
  •   Arranging for visits from a nurse, OT, PT, or other home care services
  •   Arranging transportation to medical appointments

 

Types of Help an Elderly Person Needs After Hospitalization

 

The hospital may be able to help you set up some of the after-care needs for discharge planning but be aware they may not be able to arrange for all the services you need. Home care services can fill the gap in services that you need after hospitalization, and longer if necessary.

 

Here are some of the needs that elderly people commonly need after surgery or hospitalization:

 

  •   Help with safe transfer and mobility
  •   Medication reminders
  •   Meal preparation
  •   Transportation to medical appointments
  •   Taking detailed notes for family
  •   Bathing and personal hygiene
  •   Exercise
  •   Companionship

 

At the time of admission, the hospital may discuss discharge planning. If they don’t, it will be up to the elderly person or their family to make sure everything is in place for continuing care.

 

At the end of a hospital stay, it will ease your stress if you have a detailed plan for how to manage things when it’s time to bring an elderly patient home. A smooth transition to the home environment will facilitate recovery, prevent infections and illnesses, and give everyone involved the confidence to move forward safely.

 

Most importantly, by enlisting the help of a home caregiver, you may very well prevent an elderly person from having a setback that takes them back to the hospital.

 

 

What Can Seniors Eat After Surgery to Recover Fast

A surgical procedure is an invasive procedure and most people wonder what to eat after surgery. That’s a good question for seniors that are facing surgery to ask because good nutrition will help them heal more quickly. The doctor will advise when a senior can begin eating again after surgery. A healthy diet will reinvigorate the body’s systems and stimulate the body’s natural healing. 

 

Planning for a diet that includes a good selection of foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals will help to repair damaged tissue and stimulate cell growth. Healthy food for seniors after surgery

includes a nutrient-rich diet, along with 6-8 glasses of water. These choices help to prevent some of the common post-surgery problems such as dehydration and constipation. Healthy food for seniors after surgery includes lean protein and foods with lots of fiber. 

what seniors can eat after a surgery - Infographic

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Healthy Food for Seniors After Surgery

 

Doctors prescribe a healthy diet for seniors after they’ve had surgery. When they get home, they need to prepare meals for themselves or have someone else prepare meals. It’s important to know what to eat after surgery to decrease inflammation. 

 

If you’re wondering what to eat after surgery with anesthesia, the following foods are healthy choices:

 

  • Milk kefir-after surgery, physicians usually give seniors antibiotics to help prevent infections. Antibiotics also help to destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Seniors may avoid problems like constipation and diarrhea. 
  • Citrus fruit-a senior’s supply of collagen drops severely when they’re injured or under stress. Vitamin C is helpful for restoring collagen in an aging body. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits contain vitamin C. Add citrus fruits to meals to aid the healing process.
  • Fatty fish-fish contains healthy fats and they help to break down vitamins in the body so they can be used more efficiently. Seniors that eat cod and Alaskan salmon will have an easier time with digestion. Fatty fish products contain omega-e fatty acids which also help reduce inflammation. 
  • Berries-after surgery, molecules called free radicals grow and may attack damaged tissue in the days after the procedure. Antioxidants are complex substances that protect against free radicals. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are good sources of antioxidants. 
  • Whole grains-whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates which provide a good source of energy and build muscle tissue. Quina, whole wheat products, and oats are good whole grain choices. 
  • Red meat-amino acids help to create new cells after surgery. Red meats, especially meat from grass-fed cows that haven’t been injected with hormones are a good source of nutrient-dense meat. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

What to Eat After Surgery to Avoid Constipation

 

Fiber is an important ingredient in everyone’s diet because it’s instrumental in preventing constipation which is a common problem after surgery. Constipation can be painful and it can increase the potential for medical attention during recovery.

 

If you’re wondering what to eat after surgery to avoid constipation, here are some good high-fiber food choices:

 

  • Whole grain bread
  • Corn
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits 
  • Vegatables
  • Cereal such as oatmeal or cream of wheat

 

Drink Water to Keep the Senior Hydrated

 

Replacing lost fluids also helps a senior’s body to heal itself after surgery. Small amounts of water isn’t sufficient. Try adding herbs or a little lemon to take the boredom out of plain drinking water. 

 

Foods to Avoid After Surgery

 

It’s just as important to know what not to eat after surgery as it is to plan a healthy post-surgical diet. Certain foods will increase the potential for constipation.  Constipation can be painful and put pressure on a senior’s incision. 

 

Here’s a list of foods to avoid: 

 

  • Dried and dehydrated foods
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Cheese
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Sweets and sugary foods

 

Losing Appetite After Surgery

 

Constipation or nausea sometimes causes a loss of appetite after surgery. It’s for seniors to eat even if they don’t feel like it. Calorie-dense foods such as smoothies made with yogurt and fruit will help to provide energy and boost calories. Protein shakes are a good choice when you’re looking for what to eat to decrease nausea. 

 

Recovering from surgery is challenging at any age, but it’s especially difficult for senior adults. Seniors need to take special care with their diets to aid in the healing process and regain their strength. 

 

At-Home Care Services provides in-home caregivers to ensure that seniors are getting the proper nutrition after surgery. We provide professionally trained and certified caregivers to care for seniors after surgery and longer if they need it. Hire a caregiver today for in-home care needs for seniors after surgery.