The Right Precautions to Prevent Pneumonia in Senior Citizens

Senior citizens are prone to a host of health conditions due to aging. Reports by the CDC tell us that pneumonia is one of the top five causes of death for people age 65 and older. That’s a strong reason to take the right precautions to prevent pneumonia in senior citizens. For the health and safety of your loved ones, read on to learn more about pneumonia, including the warning signs and how to prevent it.

Understanding Pneumonia in Elderly People

In simple terms, pneumonia is a condition of the lungs where the small air sacs in the lungs (called alveoli) become inflamed.

A variety of conditions can cause pneumonia. The following list shows the most common causes of pneumonia:

  •   Bacterial infection
  •   Viruses
  •   Autoimmune conditions
  •   Mycoplasmas
  •   Medications
  •   Chemical exposure  

In general, lung capacity decreases with age. That’s a primary reason why pneumonia affects people over the age of 65 so frequently. To complicate the issue even more, many seniors have other serious issues like heart disease or diabetes. Seniors that spend time with other ill seniors puts them at even greater risk of pneumonia.

Signs of Pneumonia in Elderly People Should be Taken Seriously

Pneumonia in elderly people is often treatable in the early stages. It’s important to recognize the early warning signs of pneumonia and get treatment before it becomes life-threatening.

In younger people, a heavy cough or alternating high temperature and chills can be indications of pneumonia. Seniors, on the other hand, don’t always have symptoms that are obvious.

The warning signs of pneumonia include:

  •   Difficulty breathing
  •   Chest pains
  •   Fever
  •   Cough

Less obvious signs of pneumonia include:

  •   Weakness
  •   Confusion
  •   Delirium
  •   Shortness of breath
  •   Dizziness
  •   Loss of appetite

If you notice that a senior is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Prevent Pneumonia in Senior Citizens

It’s possible to take some preventative steps to decrease the potential for pneumonia in senior citizens.

Here are 5 things that you can do right now:

  1. Be diligent about hygiene. Colds, flu, and respiratory tract infections spread quickly, especially during the winter months. All of them increase the potential for pneumonia. Good hygiene like washing your hands, covering your face when coughing or sneezing, and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces greatly reduces the risks associated with pneumonia. Seniors should also practice good dental hygiene because tooth and mouth infections increase the risk of pneumonia. As an extra precaution for pneumonia prevention, it’s a good idea to restrict visits from ill family members.
  1. Stay up to date and immunizations. A one-time vaccine can protect seniors from pneumonia that’s caused by bacteria. Your medical provider can tell you how to get the vaccine. It’s also a good idea to get an annual flu vaccine to protect against the flu and prevent complications with pneumonia. Caregivers and family members that spend time with seniors should also be up-to-date on vaccinations to prevent getting sick and passing it along to elderly people.
  1. Help seniors to quit smoking. People that smoke tobacco have a reduced capacity to fight off infections. Smoking increases the risks associated with pneumonia in senior citizens. Impress on seniors the health risks associated with smoking. Work with the senior’s physician to find the best solution to break smoking habits.
  1. Help seniors eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. As you strive to learn how to avoid pneumonia in seniors, it’s important for them to watch their diet and have a way to get mild exercise every day. The more they exercise, the greater lung capacity they will have, and they will be less likely to contract pneumonia. Take care to see that seniors drink plenty of water and get good rest at night. Good nutrition and keeping the body moving will help to keep their immune systems stronger and improve their health overall.
  1. Follow up to ensure that seniors get regular medical checkups. Seniors that have chronic health conditions should have regular checkups with their physician at least annually. Seniors that live with issues like diabetes, heart problems, or lung disease should see a physician more often. Encourage seniors to take their medications. Get assistance for those who can’t manage it on their own.

Now that you are armed with more information about how to prevent pneumonia in elderly people, you should be able to notice the warning signs of pneumonia. A qualified senior caregiver may be your best resource for keeping elderly people healthy and well. If you have any questions about our services, contact At Home Care Service at (760) 634-8090. Contact us today for an in-home consultation and we’d be happy to explain the full array of non-medical home care services that we offer.

Things You Need to Know About Overnight Care and Hiring an Overnight Caregiver

If you are a family caregiver, you need to take a break at night too. However, instead of resting, you sometimes end up staying awake most times of the night taking care of your aging loved one. Fortunately, you can hire an overnight caregiver to help you rest up at night, while ensuring that your loved one is getting the best care that he or she needs. When you have a good night’s rest, you can better take care of your loved one during the day.

However, it is quite difficult to decide when and who to hire for overnight home care. There are many things you need to consider. In this article, we will discuss in detail what is overnight care, what are its benefits, and what are the tell-tale signs that your loved one already needs such care. We will also discuss some tips on hiring a caregiver, as well as the pricing options. You and your senior loved one deserve to be healthy, safe, and contended. 

Understanding Overnight Care for Elderly

Overnight care is a type of care provided to seniors who need help at night, as well as early in the morning. Such assistance is helpful for families and their aging loved ones who need more comprehensive care. Those who need assistance during their bedtime routine, and those who often wake up several times at night or who suffer from insomnia will benefit from getting overnight care. 

Having a caregiver overnight ensures that someone will be there to monitor and assist your elderly loved one throughout the night. With a caregiver assisting you at night, you will be able to rest up and save energy for the next day. This type of care is suited for family members who are taking care of their elderly loved ones during the day, but are unable to provide such care at night. This setup is a cheaper alternative to a 24-hour care or live-in care. It’s a more convenient option than a residential facility. 

For most seniors, daytime care is sufficient. Their usual needs are already covered: assistance with daily living, meal preparation, bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, and companionship. However, for the elderly with progressive conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a greater and more comprehensive care is needed. This is where overnight care comes in. 

When Do Your Aging Loved One Need Overnight Care

As much as we would like to be always there for our elderly loved ones, we cannot just can’t. We cannot be effective at taking care of them when we don’t have full time and attention. To give them the best care that they deserve, we need to take a physical and mental break and let professional caregivers take care of them at night. 

The question is: when can you say that your loved one already needs overnight care? Families have trouble knowing when is the right time to hire overnight senior care. Thus, to help you decide, we have listed the signs, conditions, symptoms, and situations to watch out for.

Your elderly loved one needs an overnight care under the following circumstances:

  • Seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, or if they are prone to wander especially at night. 
  • The elderly are already forgetful and are prone to bringing harm to themselves or to others.
  • Clients who are recovering from a medical procedure or major surgery.
  • If they require continuous monitoring due to a medical condition.
  • If their mobility is extremely limited and they need assistance with going out of bed or going to the restroom at night.
  • If they need an overnight administration of their medication.
  • If the senior is suicidal or depressed.

A family member can only do so much.Under any of the circumstances mentioned above, it is better to seek assistance from a professional caregiver to keep your loved one safe at night. Depending on your loved one’s condition, you may need to get a home health aid or a non-medical caregiver. 

Benefits of Overnight Care for Seniors

Hiring an overnight caregiver has plenty of advantages. For one, you and the rest of the family will be able to rest easy since a more qualified caregiver is taking care of your loved one. The caregiver can provide skilled care, constant monitoring, and supervision overnight. With such a care, you will have peace of mind knowing that a professional is assisting your loved ones with their needs from bedtime until morning, making sure that everything is well taken care of: nighttime medication, fall prevention, repositioning, toileting, and others.

In relation to certain conditions, these are the benefits you can expect from an overnight care:

  • Conditions that require nighttime supervision. Seniors who are prone to frequent wakefulness and wandering out at night need constant nighttime supervision. Without someone supervising them, their safety will be in jeopardy. They may fall or slip out while walking around. That’s why a caregiver needs to be there to watch over them. 
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care. A condition closely associated with nighttime wandering and becoming disoriented at night is Alzheimer’s, as well as other types of dementia. To prevent your loved ones from wandering out of the house at night or getting lost or injuring themselves, it is better if there is an overnight caregiver supervising them. A caregiver will stay awake throughout the night to monitor the condition and activities of your elderly loved one.
  • Disabled adults care. If your loved one has disability which restricts his or her mobility, he or she may need overnight care. Disabled adults may need assistance going to the restroom at night. A professional caregiver will assist them with their needs and help them have a good night’s sleep.
  • Post-surgery care. Clients who come home from a surgery need extra care and attention for their fast recovery. They need a professional caregiver to take care of them at night. Post-surgery care includes assistance with repositioning, medication reminders, fall prevention, and helping with mobility. To ensure their healthy and safe recovery, it helps if you have a professional taking care of them at night.
  • Neuromuscular disorder care. The common neuromuscular disorders include Parkinson’s disease, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS). These conditions affect mobility; thus, they need mobility assistance not only during the day, but also at night. To ensure that they get skilled care and assistance around the clock, hiring a professional caregiver for overnight care is essential.
  • Medical care. There are medical conditions, like seizures, that require skilled and continuous supervision. If you provide daytime care for your loved one with such a medical condition, you need someone reliable and skilled to cover you up at night. With a qualified caregiver taking care of your senior loved one, you will have peace of mind at night.
  • Mobility assistance. There are plenty of reasons why a senior needs mobility assistance. Whatever is the reason, a senior needs assistance walking around the home or going to the bathroom at night. A caregiver is trained to safely provide mobility assistance and support, among other things. 
  • Medication schedules. There are certain conditions that require evening medications. Elderly individuals are prone to forgetting about taking their medications. These medications, like blood pressure or anti-seizure drugs, need to be regularly taken. A qualified caregiver sees to it that your loved one will be reminded when to take their medications. 
  • Forgetfulness. Seniors who are increasingly becoming forgetful need overnight care. They may jeopardize their safety and that of others if no one’s supervising them, especially at night. They may leave the doors open, or turn on the stove and leave it attended. To prevent these from happening, you need an attentive caregiver to monitor your elderly loved one.
  • Erratic behavior. Seniors with certain medical conditions like dementia are prone to having emotional outbursts or erratic behavior. When they are alone at night, they can get themselves into dangerous situations. To ensure their safety, an overnight care is necessary.
  • Depression. Depression is closely associated with aging. Many seniors develop depressive thoughts as they age and as their condition deteriorates. Overnight care also involves companionship and providing social and emotional support. This can help seniors ease up.

Payment Options for Overnight Care

Knowing the importance and benefits of overnight care, you may now have decided to get one for your elderly loved one. However, as with other families, you may be concerned about the costs. Unfortunately, the cost is what prevents most families from getting overnight help. No matter how badly they want to help their aging loved one, they are prevented from doing so due to financial reasons. 

Here are the things you need to know about the cost of overnight care. Overnight care ranges from 10 to 12 hours of work. Without coverage, this can cost from $120 up to $200 a night. The cost depends on the kind of care required, as well as other factors like where you live and the qualifications of the caregiver hired. In California, if you require the caregiver to stay away throughout the night, the rate is $25 to $35 an hour. You will pay less if there are given sleeping hours in between.

For care that requires medical assistance, Medi-Cal will shoulder some of the home care costs. This only applies if you hire a home health aide for overnight care. Medi-Cal does not cover non-medical overnight care. However, if your loved one is qualified for Medicaid, then the IHSS or the In-Home Supportive Services will help cover the costs.

Considering the benefits you will get from a caregiver agency, it is only reasonable that their rates are higher compared to private home care workers. While private caregivers charge less, they may not be insured, licensed, or bonded. If you choose private caregivers, make sure that you thoroughly check their insurance policy and qualifications. Some non-profits also offer overnight care. 

When you think of the cost, you need to consider the benefits your family and aging loved ones will get in return. An overnight care can make a significant difference in your loved one’s quality of life. With a caregiver around, your loved one will remain safe and comfortable even at night. You can also focus on your well-being and attend to other things. Since there are plenty of overnight care options to choose from, you will find something that will suit your needs and budgets. 

Additional Tips You Need to Know

If you are a family caregiver and you haven’t hired an overnight caregiver yet, here are some tips and extra measures you can do to keep your loved one safe and sound at night. First, always securely lock all the doors of the house in case the senior is prone to nighttime wandering. This ensures that your loved one won’t get out of the house without you knowing. 

Install motion sensor lights in the areas or hallway leading from the senior’s room leading up to the bathroom. In case they get up and go to the bathroom, they will be able to see the way with the lights on. You must also keep the path free from any obstructions. This is to prevent the senior from getting injured or from a fall accident. 

Make sure that your senior loved one is not taking caffeinated drinks a few hours before bedtime, so as to prevent nighttime awakenings. Help the senior exercise during the day to promote quality sleep at night. Do not give your loved one any sleeping pill, as this may increase disorientation or interact with the medications they are taking. Lastly, make your loved one’s room as comfortable and sleep-inducing as it can be. 

However, it is still best if there is a skilled and qualified caregiver attending to your loved one’s needs throughout the night. Overnight caregivers will stay with the elderly and are always alert and ready to provide assistance and optimum supervision. To get reliable and efficient caregivers, it is best if you hire from a licensed and reputable home care agency.

Questions to Ask a Caregiver Before Hiring

Hiring the right caregiver for your home care agency can be quite challenging. Mistakenly hiring a candidate who ends up performing the job poorly can negatively impact your agency’s reputation. If you are an agency owner, you need to really be careful when hiring caregivers. One best way of spotting a good candidate is during the interview process. More importantly, you need to prepare the right questions to ask a caregiver during the interview. 

Conducting an interview is not enough. Even with an interview, you might still end up hiring the wrong candidate. The interview process is a crucial step in recruiting a caregiver. Hence, it is important that you ask the right questions. Your questions need to be more thorough and inquisitive so you can acquire insights on what kind of caregiver the candidate is.

Think of this way. If you ask the right interview questions for a caregiver, chances are, you will get the right candidate. When interviewing, you need to start asking general questions first before delving into more specific and candidate-oriented questions. That way, you will first get an overall idea of what kind of caregiver is the candidate. You then get to know them by looking into their experience and skills. Finish up with asking hypothetical and situational questions so that you would know how they would react when confronted with certain problems and situations. 

To give you an idea of what to ask during the interview, we have created a list of caregiver interview questions. You can use these questions as a guide. We have arranged them in several categories. Feel free to use several questions from each and modify as needed. Hopefully, by using these questions, you will get the right caregiver for your agency.

General Questions to Ask a Caregiver

  1. Can you give us your full name, address, and contact number?
  2. When is the best time to call you?
  3. What qualities do you have that make you a great caregiver? 
  4. Why are you applying as a caregiver?
  5. Why did you choose to apply to work at our agency?
  6. Do you like working with seniors? What makes you excited about working with them?
  7. If we hire you, what do you wish to accomplish as a caregiver in our agency?
  8. What traits do you have that make you valuable to us?
  9. What do you think is the biggest challenge of working as a caregiver? How are you going to overcome this challenge?
  10. What is your greatest flaw as a caregiver and as an employee in general? What have you done or what will you do to improve this?
  11. What are your work-related and personal goals? How are you planning to accomplish them?
  12. What aspects of work will most likely discourage you or wear you out?
  13. What makes you feel good when working? Tell us about what your best day at work is like.
  14. Share with us an experience where you display your company’s values.
  15. How do you motivate yourself to work hard, especially during hard times?
  16. When you begin a new job, do you set some goals for yourself? If yes, what are they?
  17. Can you tell as an interesting thing about you which you didn’t include in your resume?
  18. What are the personal values you uphold?
  19. Outside of work, what do you think is your proudest achievement?
  20. Where do you live and how far is it from this office? Do you drive? If yes, do you have a driver’s license and insurance?
  21. Will you allow us to conduct a background check on you?
  22. Do you smoke?
  23. What animal do you think best represents the kind of employee you are?
  24. If you are going to write an autobiography, what will be the title?
  25. If you are to use three words to write on your epitaph, what words are these?

Questions Related to the Candidate’s Past Experience 

  1. What is your level of experience with caring for seniors?
  2. In your past experiences, what was the most meaningful and what was the most challenging part in caring for a senior?
  3. Did you experience working with a difficult senior or client? If yes, what made it so difficult and what did you do to overcome the challenge?
  4. Did you undergo formal caregiving training? Have you had first-aid and CPR training?
  5. What diagnoses and conditions have you cared for?
  6. Did you care for a client with Alzheimer’s or other similar conditions? What were the challenges you encountered when you worked with these clients and how did you overcome them?
  7. What was your reason for leaving your last job? Did you find it hard to leave your previous job? IF yes, what was the hardest part of it?
  8. What is your favorite past job? Tell us why.
  9. What achievement from your past job are your proudest at?
  10. What mistakes did you commit in your previous job? How did you correct it?
  11. What are the things you have learned from your previous jobs?
  12. Tell us about a time you failed, whether in your personal life or at work. If given a chance, what would you do differently to prevent such failure?
  13. Tell us an experience when you were reprimanded at your previous job. How did you react when you were reprimanded? 
  14. How do you hand fearful, stubborn, and angry people?
  15. What do you wish to do differently at this job?

Skills-Based Questions to Ask Caregivers

  1. How did your experiences help you build your skills as a caregiver?
  2. What do you think is the most important skill that a caregiver should have? Describe to us how you demonstrated such skill in your previous job.
  3. What skills do you have that made you think you are most qualified as a caregiver? What skills do you lack that make you least qualified?
  4. If you are to hire a caregiver for your loved ones, what skills and trails will you look for? 
  5. If you are to hire someone for this position, what skills and traits will you look for? Give us your top three skills and traits. 
  6. Tell us about a time when you lacked a particular skill in performing the job required. How did you develop such skill afterwards?
  7. What skills would you like to develop more and improve on?
  8. What skills and traits do you have that you think clients will most likely value?
  9. Are you aware of the duties required for the position we are looking for? Can you perform such duties?

Questions Relating to Hypothetical Scenarios 

  1. If your client refuses to go to the bathroom, or eat a meal, or take a shower, how would you go about it?
  2. If your supervisor reprimanded you, but you believe that it was uncalled for and unjustified, how would you react? How would you handle it?
  3. If the client uses derogatory language or is rude at you, how would you respond?
  4. Are you willing to adjust your schedule when we require you to?
  5. What do you think is a justifiable reason for being late for work?
  6. If the client requires meal preparation, what food can you cook? Do you have experience with cooking for clients or other people?
  7. If the client needs to be transferred from a wheelchair to a bed or into a car, will you be able to do it? Can you do heavy lifting when required? 
  8. If you are the employer, what traits would you be looking for in an employee.
  9. If you are the client in need of an in-home care, what kind of caregiver would you want to take care of you? Do you meet this criteria?
  10. If you are given the chance to work again in your previous job, what things would you do differently?
  11. If there is a person who would tell us that we must never hire you, who is this person? Why do you think that person would discourage us from hiring you?
  12. If there is a person who would tell us that we should hire you, who is this person? What do you think that person will say?
  13. If you have a pet and your pet can talk, what would it say if we ask for a reference regarding your personality?
  14. If we are going to ask for a reference from the last person you interacted with, what do you think that person would say about you?
  15. If all the caregivers we hire for our agency have the exact skill set, experience, and personality as you, what positive and negative effects would that have in our business? 
  16. If we ask your previous employers, what negative thing would they say about you?
  17. If we ask your previous employers, what positive thing would they say about you?
  18. If we hire you right here, right now, what will you do to make yourself the best caregiver you can be?

Questions to Ask Caregivers to Understand Their Needs

  1. If you want to be paid something other than actual money, what would it be? Why?
  2. What positive are you really looking for? Upon reviewing the job description, do you think this is still the position that you are looking for?
  3. Are there anything included in the job description you are not comfortable performing?
  4. What motivates you as an employee in terms of recognition and rewards from your employer?
  5. What other things best motivate you to do great at your job?
  6. What factors make a job fulfilling? Name three.
  7. If you are to name three things that will persuade you to stay long-term at a job, what would these be?
  8. What do you want your future employers to do differently than your previous employers to motivate you and help you be more fulfilled and effective at your job?
  9. If there are things that you wish your past employers had done differently that could have made you stay there longer, what would these be?
  10. Tell us how you feel about disabled person, a client with memory problems, or an elderly.
  11. What things will you do to keep your client’s family informed?
  12. Do you use a computer? Do you keep daily records of your work?
  13. If we are to hire you, what training do you want us to provide you in order to make you better at your job?
  14. Will you be able to work the hours required for the job?
  15. How committed are you at this job? What time can you commit to this job?
  16. When can you start working?

You don’t have to use all the above-mentioned questions to ask a caregiver. Feel free to modify them and add similar questions. Just remember to keep your questions varied so that you will get well-rounded answers. Some questions may be silly-sounding; but these questions are necessary in order for you to fully assess the candidate’s personality. Make sure to ask more questions regarding their past experience.

During the interview, do not forget to take down notes. There may be plenty of candidates and you will not be able to remember all their answers if you are not taking notes. Before hiring the final applicants, always verify their references. Do not just simply rely on what is written on the references. Call their references and ask them yourself regarding the applicant’s work ethic, job performance, skills, personality, and other relevant information. Also ask former employers if, when given the chance, would they be willing to work with the candidate again.

While you need to be as thorough as possible, do not take too long before making the offer. Most likely, the applicants are also applying in other agencies. You may lose great caregivers to another home care agency if you’re taking too long. Once you have fully assessed the candidate, it’s time to make the offer. Then set a date for the signing of the contract and start of work. Make sure that you and the caregiver each has a copy of the signed contract. 

Never underestimate the importance of an interview in the hiring process. Ask the right questions and find the best caregiver for your agency.

Choosing a Home Care Agency According to Best Practices

Choosing a home care agency isn’t something you generally think about on a daily basis. But, when a loved one falls or gets seriously hurt, it’s something you can’t stop thinking about. Your thoughts are consumed by, “How can I find a home care agency near me?”

After contracting with the first home care agency they find, some families quickly realize that all home care agencies aren’t the same. To get the best home health care, you won’t want to make the mistake of rushing into choosing a home care provider just to find that you’re disappointed and dissatisfied later on.

To get the best care, here are a few things to consider when looking for the best home care agency:

  •   Give yourself the time you need to make the best choice.
  •   Research the major health agencies in your area.
  •   Have conversations with your loved one about their home care preferences.

In your quest to choose home care for your loved one, best practices for choosing a home care agency should be your guide. Here’s what you need to know.

What Level of Home Care Do You Need?

In your pursuit of local home care agencies, you’ll find that they offer many different types of services at different levels of care. Having so many choices can be confusing and overwhelming. Let your loved one’s caregiving preferences and best practices be your guide to finding the right caregiver and the right services to meet your loved ones’ needs. As you educate yourself about the home care industry, you’ll learn that they provide medical care and non-medical care.

It’s to your benefit to get better acquainted with some of the terms in non-medical care. You may hear it being referred to as:

  •   In-home care
  •   Personal care
  •   Senior care
  •   Custodial care
  •   Companion care
  •   Homemaker caregiving

These are some of the services that skilled nursing care agencies offer:

  •   Hospice care
  •   Physical therapy
  •   Pharmaceutical therapy
  •   Infusion therapy
  •   Home medical equipment

Companionship care and supervision are especially important for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or other mental impairments. Professional in-home caregivers assist seniors with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Local home care agencies in your area also provide non-medical caregiving services like the ones listed below:

  • Bathing and showering
  • Personal hygiene, shaving
  • Dressing
  • Transferring
  • Toileting
  • Eating or feeding
  • Walking

Still another term that you’ll want to get familiar with is instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). This term refers to tasks that allow seniors to continue living in their homes independently.

See the following list of activities that seniors often need help with. The best local home health care agencies offer the following types of services:

  • Assistance with managing personal finances
  • Transportation or errand services
  • Shopping for food, clothing, and other needs
  • Preparing meals
  • Home maintenance
  • Housework
  • Helping with technology and communication
  • Taking medications

Now that you know what local home care agencies offer, you’ll be better able to take the next step of hiring the best caregiver.

Hiring a Caregiver

Another issue that can be quite confusing for people looking for home health caregivers is understanding the various medical certifications.

Here’s what you need to know:

  •   CNA-Certified nursing assistant
  •   HHA-home health aide
  •   PCA-personal care aide

You can hire a caregiver directly if you choose. You also have the option of going through a referral agency or using a full-service in-home care agency in your area. Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s take them one by one:

  1. Hiring a caregiver directly

    When choosing this option, you’re taking on the responsibility for checking a caregiver’s background. You’ll also be responsible for employment-related paperwork including setting up worker’s compensation, payroll taxes, and insurance. It will be up to you to set up a backup system in case your regular caregiver is unavailable for any reason.

  2. Using a referral home care agency

    These types of agencies are also called home care registries. They exist to help you match your loved one’s needs to an independent contractor. Be aware that these agencies don’t employ caregivers directly. If you hire someone from their registry, they receive a referral fee. You can’t assume they’ll screen caregivers well. You’ll want to do that yourself. Just as when you hire a caregiver directly, you become their employer and you’re responsible for insurance, payroll taxes, etc.

  3. Hiring through a licensed home care agency

    Licensed home care agencies specialize in hiring quality caregivers. They typically provide training and supervision of the caregivers they employ. They also generally provide substitute caregivers when your regular caregiver is not available. They take on the responsibility for background checks, payroll taxes, and other necessary paperwork for compliance.

Choosing a Home Care Agency

In your quest to find the best home care agency in your area, you may find that some agencies operate better than others.

There are a couple of ways to narrow down your options for the best caregiver:

  1. Do the proper research.

    Talk to your loved one first about the type of assistance they need to live in their home safely. Inform them about the type of services they can use such as:

  •   In-home caregiving
  •   Skilled nursing care
  •   Personal care
  •   Skilled Alzheimer’s or dementia care
  •   Transportation services

Respect their wishes for pursuing the type of care they feel they need. When searching online for home caregiving, avoid clicking only on the first link. Choose several agencies to get the information you need.

  1. Ask for recommendations.

    Your family members and friends may have had good success with a local home care agency. They can alleviate many of your concerns as you pursue the right home care agency. Customer satisfaction counts for a lot. Also, medical professionals can often connect you with home care agencies or professionals they’ve had success with in the past.

What Questions Should I Ask Prospective Home Care Agencies?

At this point, you’ve probably narrowed your choices down to the top three or four agencies. The next step is to call each agency and set up interviews. You and your loved one will have the greatest comfort level in your caregiver when you ask all the right questions.

Develop a list of questions about the agency for cost, the management, the caregivers, and the quality of services. Here’s a helpful list to get you started:

What You Need to Know About the Agency

  •   Does your agency provide non-medical home care?
  •   Are you currently licensed by this state?
  •   What types of services does your agency provide?
  •   Are there any services your agency doesn’t provide?
  •   Are your services available 24 hours, seven days a week?
  •   How do I reach someone during off-hours if I have a problem?
  •   How many years has your agency been in business?
  •   What is the process to get services started?
  •   What is the soonest availability to get care started?
  •   Is your agency insured and bonded?
  •   Are your caregivers insured and bonded?
  •   Are there any minimum requirements for the length of the contract I should be aware of?

What You Need to Know About Costs

  •   How much do your services cost?
  •   Will I have to pay a deposit to set up services?
  •   How often can I expect a bill?
  • Can you build my long-term care insurance company directly?

What You Need to Know About Management

  •   Who owns your agency?
  •   How many owners has this agency had?
  •   Who is the manager in charge and what are their qualifications?
  •   How do I escalate a concern to a higher level of management if I have a problem?

What You Need to Know About Agency Caregivers

  •   What are the certifications of the caregivers your agency provides?
  •   How do you select and screen your caregivers?
  •   What is the average level of experience for your caregivers?
  •   What kind of background checks do you conduct?
  •   How do you check caregiver credentials?
  •   Do you test your caregivers for drug abuse?
  •   Can you describe a typical caregiver to me?
  •   Can you describe how you train and support your caregivers?
  •   How can you assure me that your caregivers are competent in their duties?
  •   If I contract with your agency, are you their legal employer, or am I?
  •   Are your caregivers bonded and insured against theft or damages through your agency?
  •   What is your process for matching caregivers with my loved one?
  •   Can we expect the same caregiver every time, or will different people be coming to my loved one’s home?
  •   What should I do if the regular caregiver doesn’t show up on time?
  •   Can I request a different caregiver if we aren’t happy with the one we have?
  •   How many caregivers do you employ?
  •   Can I interview the caregivers before we schedule services?

What You Need to Know About Quality Care

  •   Can you give me references for your caregivers?
  •   How do you monitor the quality of your caregiver services?
  •   Has your agency been reviewed by any outside organizations?
  •   When was your agency’s last compliance review and do you make the results available to your clients?
  •   Do you have an established process for resolving problems or complaints? How does that work?
  •   Can I expect to get a written care plan for my left one?
  •   Will I be allowed to be involved in putting together an appropriate care plan for my loved one?

Bear in mind, most states mandate home care agencies to be licensed. It’s completely appropriate to ask to see a copy of their state license. The appropriate state department should also be able to tell you if a specific home health care agency has had any complaints or negative results from inspections.

Checklist for Hiring a Home Care Agency

The following checklist is designed to streamline the process of hiring a home care agency:

  •   The agency I chose offers the types of services and caregivers that my loved one needs now, and it offers additional services that my loved one might need later on.
  •   The agency is willing to send a nurse or social worker out to my loved one’s home at a convenient time to conduct an initial assessment.
  •   The agency is willing to help with arrangements for the necessary supplies and equipment to be delivered to the home.
  •   The agency is willing to make recommendations for home modifications such as installing grab bars, adding ramps, and rearranging the furniture to help my loved one live more independently.  
  •   The home care agency I selected is familiar with community resources for seniors such as Meals on Wheels, transportation services, and adult daycare.
  •   The home care agency is willing to involve family members in planning care and communicating about on-going changes in my loved one’s care.
  •   The written care plan clearly describes the services we expect to receive.
  •   I understand the written plan about care costs and billing procedures.
  •   I have the assurance that the caregivers work directly for the agency, and I know they’re taking care of employment tax withholding and worker’s compensation for any caregiver providing services to my loved one.
  •   I have written assurance that caregivers are licensed and bonded and that caregivers will go through a background check and be tested for drugs.
  •   The agency has assured me that my loved one and I have a say in caregiving services, and if we are unsatisfied with a caregiver, we can request a change in caregiver.
  •   The agency will provide the same caregiver on a regular basis and provide an emergency substitute if needed.
  •   The agency provided me with a copy of “Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities.”

 

Choosing the right home healthcare agency is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. For this reason, it’s important to take all the time you need to select the best option for quality caregiving. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for more information if you’re not getting the answers you need.

 Your loved one deserves the best quality of care possible. At Home Care Services is happy to speak with you about the right caregiving services for your loved one.

Talk to Your Parents About Home Care in a Sensitive, Informative Way

It’s common for seniors to want to live as independently as possible and that makes it difficult to talk to your parents about home care. If you’re concerned about your parents being alone at home and not being able to take care of themselves, it’s time to have a discussion with them about hiring a professional caregiver.

Many adult children have gone through similar experiences. Read on to learn how to have a discussion about home care services with your parents in a sensitive, informative way.

Begin the Conversation Early

The conversation about home care services will be easier for you and your parents if you start the conversation early and make it an ongoing conversation. Talks about home care services will be much more difficult during times of crisis. By having these conversations when things are good, you’ll get a better idea of how your parents see themselves living in the coming years. These conversations form the basis for how to address the issue of needing extra help when the time comes. By that time, they will have worked through much of their emotions and be better able to accept the fact that they need help.

Choose the Right Time When Talking to Parents About Home Care

Along your journey as you learn how to talk to your parents about home care, it’s important to choose your time wisely. Whether they want to admit it or not, your parents are probably feeling frightened about having a stranger come into their home to care for them.

Try not to focus too much on their medications, forgetfulness, or risks about driving their car. Bring up these issues gently, and in small doses, to help ease their fears. Don’t keep reminding them about their limitations. Keep a neutral tone and stick to the facts.

Demonstrate Care for Your Parents by Focusing on the Issue of Independence

Your parents may not realize that hiring a caregiver offers new ways for them to maintain their independence while living in their own homes. If you can paint a picture for them of how much better their lives will be with the help of a personal caregiver, it may help them understand that they could do more with a bit of help than without it.

Offer up some examples of some things that have happened in the past and help them see that if they’d had a home caregiver, the situation would have gotten better rather than worse. For example, help them see that a simple thing like having someone remind them about their medications could help prevent a medical emergency.

How to Talk to Parents Using Scenarios

You may need to get a little creative to convince your parents that getting a bit of extra help is worth the expense. Get to the root of their hesitation. Often, they don’t want to burden their adult children with organizing care or paying for it. You can easily reverse the sentiment by elaborating on how hiring a caregiver would help you share the load and that you’d worry less.

Steer the conversation toward tasks that would truly help them, such as calling someone in to do some light housekeeping or help them prepare meals. Perhaps, they’d like to visit with friends in the evening, but they have difficulty seeing at night while driving. You might suggest that getting help with transportation would allow them to get out more and they’d be less lonely.

Play Up the Benefits and Play Down the Limitations

Help them keep their eyes on the goal of living in their home independently. In talking to parents, focus greatly on the benefits that home care services will afford them. There are some limitations with home care services. Leave that issue alone until they become better acclimated to the idea of receiving help.

If they continue to be concerned about finances, help them understand that with home care services, you’re only paying for the services they need as opposed to the higher costs associated with an assisted living facility.

Help them to understand that a home caregiver won’t control their life. They’ll get help with the activities they need help with and that will give them more freedom to do the things they enjoy.

Ask Professional Caregivers to Support the Conversation

Professional caregiving agencies or medical doctors are usually willing to participate in conversations about home care service options. Conversations about home care services can take a turn for the better when professionals are leading the conversation because your parents may trust their expertise more than your own.

Professionals sometimes suggest having a geriatric care assessment performed. The results provide an objective view of the type of care your parents need and it may be easier for them to accept.  

Involve Parents in Conversations About Home Care Services

Be aware that these are crucial decisions about your parents’ lives. They may not want what you would want under the same circumstances. It’s a mistake to force them to make choices that you think are best if they’re not on board, even if it’s in their best interest. It’s best to lay out the groundwork and let them take the lead in making decisions. Lay everything out as best you can. Give them a chance to meet their caregiver before they have to make a final decision.

Try It, They Might Like It

If they’re highly resistant, give it a try and see how it works. Try to understand where their fear is coming from. It’s normal for them to fear losing their independence or dignity. Once they have an opportunity to try it, they may feel more secure than vulnerable. Allow empathy to overrule your frustration.

 

The conversation about hiring home care services isn’t always easy. When you care, you want them to have the best. If you’re struggling with how to talk to parents, At Home Care Services can help bridge any gaps between you and your parents. At the right time, we’re here with the right caregiver. 

Recognizing, Treating and Preventing Pressure Ulcers in Elderly 

Pressure ulcers in elderly are more common than you think. It is the most common type of wound observed by home care providers. It is also one of the conditions that limit a person’s mobility. In fact, an estimate of 1 to 3 million Americans is affected by pressure ulcers in a year.

These ulcers should not be taken lightly. For one, they are painful and worrisome. Here’s a more cause for concern: when left untreated, pressure ulcers can lead to complications which may lead to death.

A key to preventing and treating pressure ulcers is developing a deeper understanding of it. Identifying and recognizing pressure ulcers as early as possible can be a life-saver. With this in mind, we have made a list of the important things you need to know about pressure ulcers in seniors.

What is pressure ulcer: Recognizing and identifying it

Pressure ulcer, which is also medically known as decubitus ulcer, is an injury to the skin which affects the underlying tissue as well due to prolonged pressure. It is mostly common, and especially troublesome, in the bony areas.

Seniors who use wheelchairs can develop ulcers on the areas that come in contact with the wheelchair. These areas include the buttocks, spine, shoulder blades, and the back of the legs and arms. Bedsores in the elderly are also common. This is especially true for seniors who are already bedridden. The sores often affect the hips, lower back, shoulder blades, sides of the head, back of the head, ankles, and heels.

Elderly patients with limited mobility are prone to pressure sores, which when left untreated, can become chronic and long-lasting. Hence, before pressure sores become life-threatening, it is important that family members, caregivers, and the patient themselves develop a plan of identifying, preventing, and treating sores.

Signs, Symptoms, and Stages of Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcer symptoms are easy to spot. Before the sores appear, here are the early warning signs you should watch out for: swelling, tenderness, pus-like drainage, and change in skin color. The skin also feels cooler or warmer to the touch.

To better understand pressure ulcer, here are the four stages or grades that you must be aware of:

 Stage 1 Pressure Ulcer

During the stage, the skin starts to get inflamed but remains unbroken. Inflammation is usually associated with redness, hardness, oedema, induration, and discoloration. 

Stage 2 Pressure Ulcer

Here, the first two layers of the skin, epidermis and dermis, are broken. These are easy to spot, as they give an appearance of blister or abrasion.

Stage 3 Pressure Ulcer

In this stage, there is already full-thickness skin loss. The subcutaneous tissue is damaged and the underlying fascia may even be affected.

Stage 4 Pressure Ulcer

This is the most serious stage. The sore now extends below the subcutaneous fat, affecting deep tissues such as ligaments, muscles, and tendons, and down to the cartilage or bone in more severe cases. There is high risk for infection.

Understanding pressure ulcers causes and risk factors are important in its prevention. These include the following:

  • Peripheral vascular disease and diabetes
  • Lack of mobility
  • Poor hydration and poor nutrition
  • Lack of sensory perception

Pressure Ulcer Prevention: 7 ways

Now that you know the signs and causes of pressure ulcers, here are some tips on how you can prevent it.

  1. Shift position at least once every two hours. If the elderly is bedridden, move him or her from one sleeping position to another. It helps to put pillows and other support to help the patient stay in the best position to prevent pressure ulcers. For those who are often sitting on a chair, it helps to switch positions and take breaks.
  2. Encourage exercise. Even those who have limited mobility can do this. Exercising does not have to involve moving about or walking. Simply moving the legs and arms can already encourage blood flow and alleviate or even prevent pressure sores.
  3. Keep the skin moisturized, clean, and dry. When cleaning the skin, it is encouraged that you use mild soap, cloth, or soft sponge. Don’t rub the skin to prevent irritation. Just pat the skin dry. It also helps to apply skin moisturizers.
  4. Proper hydration and nutrition. Keep the skin healthy by making sure that the senior is eating healthy foods and drinking enough water.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing. Comfort is the key. Avoid wearing too tight clothing or clothing with buttons and zippers.
  6. Use pillows as support when sleeping. Pillows serve as a comfortable barrier between areas of the body that may touch with each other, like heels, ankles, and knees
  7. Use pressure-relieving support. These include mattresses and cushions that are made with a special gel or foam, and mattresses or overlays with alternating pressure systems.

Conclusion

Pressure ulcers can be prevented and managed. Just make sure that you watch out for any warning signs and risk factors. Take measures to prevent it as well in order to improve the quality of life of the elderly.

 

 

 

Tips on Maintaining Elderly Health: Living and Eating Healthy

As we age, we undergo a lot of changes. It is not only our  body that changes, so do the circumstances surrounding us—children leaving and off to start a family of their own, loss of friends and loved ones, retirement, and declining health, among others. However, aging does not mean that we should no longer take care of ourselves. There are secrets to keeping a great elderly health.

Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle are important especially in old age. Knowing its importance, we decided to share with you some essential health tips for seniors.

The importance of balanced diet for the elderly

Part of aging is a change in the body. As we age, our diet also changes. Our metabolism decreases, the taste and smell are altered, and the digestive process becomes slower. These affect how the body will process the food we intake. Thus, these healthy eating tips for seniors can be a life-saver.

As a rule, seniors must avoid saturated fat, refined carbs and sugary foods. They need to eat more foods that are loaded with essential nutrients. These foods include vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber fruits.

The following are essential nutrients that seniors need the most: proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates, water, minerals, and vitamins. Aside from eating nutritious foods, seniors must also take plenty of water and other fluids. All these are important in maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

Seniors are more at risk for various health conditions, including heart diseases, memory problems, strokes, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease, visual problems, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. All these conditions are caused or impacted by unhealthy diet. Thus, the elderly need to take care of their health more seriously.

Proper diet is only about what to eat and what not to eat. It is also about how much to eat. Here’s a rule of thumb: everything must be taken in moderation. Eating large portions, even of healthy foods, can still be bad for you due to high caloric intake. Speaking of calories, avoid “empty calories,” which are foods that are high in calories but don’t have nutritious benefits. These include donuts, cookies, sodas, and chips.

For certain health conditions, there are special dietary restrictions imposed. For instance, those who have kidney disease or heart problems are not allowed to eat salty foods. Seniors with diabetes are also required to limit their carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Exercise for seniors: Why is it important

Living healthy is not only about eating healthy. Another important component is exercise. Studies show that exercise is an important factor to a healthier and longer life. There are lots of benefits of exercise, especially to seniors. It improves sleep, maintains and improves agility and strength, boosts mental health, and increases vitality. It helps prevent cognitive decline, memory loss, and dementia as well.

If you pair a balanced diet with regular exercise and physical activity, you prevent or manage certain health problems. These health issues include heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, muscle weakness, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and even depression.

Here a summary of health benefits of exercising for seniors:

  • Keeping the bones and muscles healthy.
  • Optimizing respiratory and cardiovascular health.
  • Improving physical endurance.
  • Burning excess calories and bad cholesterol.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Enhancing overall mood.
  • Improving sleep duration and quality.
  • Reducing risks for fall.
  • Efficiently delivering nutrients and oxygen to the tissues.

However, not all exercises are recommended for the elderly. The key is effective exercising. Some of the safe exercises for seniors are walking, balance exercises, resistance exercises, flexibility exercises, and exercise machines. Recommended exercise for seniors is 3-5 times a week, for around 30 minutes each session.

Stop exercising if you are not feeling well, especially if you experience any of these symptoms: fainting, dizziness, shortness of breath, tightness or chest pain. Raise these concerns to your physician.

Sleep in the elderly: What is normal

Sleep quality is important for the seniors. The problem is, many older adults develop sleep problems and require senior care specialist assistance to manage them. These problems include daytime sleepiness, insomnia, and frequent night-time waking.

If you have sleep problems, it is important that you develop a healthy sleep habit and make your room as sleep-inducing as possible. Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable. Avoid artificial light and don’t use a gadget at least an hour before sleeping. It also helps if you stay active during the day. Since we all have different sleeping habits, develop a bedtime ritual of your own, like playing music or taking a bath before bed.

Conclusion

Old age affects the physical, mental, social, sexual, and emotional aspects of our lives. We naturally “decline” with age. However, we can take proactive steps to stay as healthy as we can. Sleep well, regularly exercise, eat healthy, and live life to the fullest.

 

 

 

 

 

Causes, Effects, and Symptoms of Dehydration in Elderly

Everybody needs water. We are often told to drink plenty of water a day to prevent dehydration and its effects. While dehydration can affect anyone, its risk is higher in older adults. This is why it is important to know the tell-tale signs and symptoms of dehydration in elderly. Spotting the signs at the onset is crucial in preventing the adverse effects of dehydration, especially among seniors.

Why is drinking enough fluids important? Aside from the fact that no one can survive without water, drinking sufficient amounts of water and fluids help eliminate waste and toxins, digest food better, regulate temperature, maintain one’s blood pressure, and other healthy functions.

Elderly and dehydration

The elderly are more susceptible to various health conditions compared to younger individuals. They have higher risks for dehydration as well. This is due to several factors associated with aging:

  • Decreased total body fluid.When people age, the amount of water reserves in their body also begin to decline With less body fluid, they are more prone to dehydration.
  • Weaker thirst response. We drink water because we are thirsty. Thirst is our body’s way of reminding us to drink water. The problem is, one’s thirst response weakens with age. Hence, older adults don’t often feel thirsty as they should be.
  • Decreased kidney function. As with other parts of the body, the kidney doesn’t function as healthy as when we were younger. It declines as we age. This results in loss of water during urination.
  • Health conditions and taking certain medications. Water loss may be a side effect of certain medications. Dehydration may also be triggered by other underlying health conditions affecting the elderly.

 Causes of dehydration in elderly

Understanding what causes and triggers dehydration in older adults is important. Knowing these causes can help you prevent dehydration. The common causes include the following:

  • Exposure to humid conditions and hot temperature can lead to excessive sweating, which can result in increased fluid and water loss in the body.
  • Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and other illness may also cause dehydration.
  • Mobility problem, which is common among seniors, can also result in decreased water intake. This happens when seniors have difficulty getting water by themselves.
  • Underlying health conditions like kidney disease and diabetes can also cause dehydration.
  • Certain medications can cause increased urination as a side effect. This leads to increased fluid loss, which when not prevented, can result in dehydration.

Side Effects and Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors

Dehydration in the elderly should not be taken lightly. It can lead to serious consequences, which can result in frequent hospitalization and health complications. Even in cases of mild dehydration, the senior can still be seriously affected. Mild dehydration is associated with lack of concentration and attention, reduced reaction response, and memory impairment.

Dehydration can cause fatigue and exhaustion as well, which increases the senior’s risk of falls. Additionally, dehydration can cause itchy skin, dry skin, pressure sores, and other skin problems. It has been linked to the increased mortality rate among seniors with stroke. It affects kidney functioning, which when left untreated, can result in serious kidney problems.

Other effects, symptoms, and signs of dehydration in elderly include:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Darker urine
  • Less urination
  • Sunken eyes

In severe and more serious causes, dehydration can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty moving and walking
  • Rapid heart rate

Preventing dehydration

Now that you know the symptoms and effects of dehydration, it is easier for you to prevent it. The key is to stay hydrated. These are some tips you can follow in order to prevent dehydration:

  • Drink as much water as you can throughout the day. Take small sips if you find it hard to gulp down too much water. Don’t wait for you to get thirsty. Other fluids like fruit juices, flavored water, and low-sugar milk are also great for hydration. Don’t drink too much tea and coffee. 
  • Eat foods with high water content. These include watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and celery.
  • Put lime or lemon on your water if you are not fond of drinking pure water.
  • Drink more water than usual when you go exercising or you go out in hot weather or humid conditions.
  • Hire a caregiver that will provide personal care services for the person you love.

If you are taking care of a senior, see to it that they drink plenty of water in a day. Here are what you can do:

  •  Place water within easy reach from the senior.
  • Constantly remind the senior to hydrate.

 

Knowing and understanding the dehydration effects, signs, symptoms, and causes are essential in its prevention and treatment. The key is to replace the lost fluids. Keep hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and other nutritious liquids, and incorporate foods with higher water content in your daily diet.  

Mental Health and the Elderly: Understanding and Dealing with the Issue

Mental health is a common concern among older adults. In fact, it is more common than you think. The problem is, people tend to dismiss the problem. Understanding the correlation between mental health and the elderly is important in order to deal with the issue.

It shouldn’t be merely dismissed since mental health issues can also affect the overall well-being of the person, which can result in the deterioration of physical health, especially when compounded with chronic diseases common to the elderly.

Mental illnesses in the elderly: Why are they not often addressed?

While mental health is common among older adults, it is often not addressed. This is partly because the signs may appear subtle, or that the symptoms are often just attributed to other non-mental health conditions associated with aging.

Older adults also have the tendency to keep the symptoms to themselves. They don’t go complaining about their mental issues. This may be due to the stigma often attached to mental illness.

That is why, if you are taking care of an elderly, it is important that you have a basic understanding of mental health among seniors and older adults.

 Health issues common to the elderly

The elderly are more inclined to report physical health problems than mental or psychological ones. This makes diagnosing and, more so, treating the senior’s health problem quite challenging. Since mental illness may be triggered by physical stress and certain conditions, it is important to know what these are.

These possible triggers include:

  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic pain
  •  Physical disability
  • Physical impairment affecting memory, thought, and emotion
  • Solitude and loneliness
  •  Major life changes

Signs of Mental Illness in the Elderly: What to watch out for

We often associate forgetfulness with aging. However, forgetfulness is not the same as memory loss, anxiety, depression, and other cognitive problems. Often, these are signs of a far serious mental issue.

Since most elderly won’t likely tell you if they experience the early signs and symptoms, it is important that you keep an eye on them yourself, whether you have an elderly family member or you are a caregiver. The warning signs that you should watch out for in mental health of older adults are:

  • Persistent depressive and suicidal thoughts, feeling of immense sadness and hopelessness.
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep, or the opposite, which is too much sleeping.
  • Change in mood, energy level, or appetite.
  • Having difficulty feeling positive emotions.

Common mental health illnesses among seniors

To have a better understanding and to efficiently deal with the issue, here are the mental health illnesses common in older adults and seniors:

  1. Depression

The most common mental health concern among the elderly is depression. This type of mood disorder affects older women more than older men. If left untreated, it can impede social functioning and can lead to other mental and physical impairments. Depression can even interfere with and worsen the senior’s chronic health problems.

The common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Physical discomfort or pain
  • Distancing from things you previously normally enjoy
  • General feeling of “slowing down”

It’s also important to know the risk factors as well for late-onset depression. These are:

  • Widowhood
  •  Physical illness
  • Drinking problems
  • Diminished “functional” status
  • Lack of education

Hence, if you noticed any of the signs and symptoms of depression in your loved one or client, immediately seek professional help.

  1. Anxiety Disorders

Another common illness is anxiety disorder. Statistics tell us that anxiety disorders are associated with depression. These are the risk factors to watch out for:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Poor health
  • Stressful or traumatic event
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Physical impairments
  • Alcoholic and drug abuse
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid problems
  1. Bipolar disorders

Bipolar disorders are marked by sudden and irregular mood shifts. The problem is that these are often misdiagnosed among older adults because some of its symptoms are also common in aging.

Here are symptoms of late-onset bipolar disorder you should watch out for:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  1. Eating disorder

Eating disorders are now becoming prevalent among seniors. These disorders may include anorexia nervosa or bulimia, which are often undetected among older adults. This is why it’s important to know what signs to watch for, which are:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness and anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Slow healing
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Memory deficits and cognitive decline
  • Decreased food intake

 

With all these mental concerns and psychological problems in old age, it is important to watch out for any signs that may be crucial in the early detection and treatment of the illness. Keep an eye on your client or loved one, and be ready to seek the necessary professional home care help when needed.

Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help: Identifying Them and Taking Action

Your parents have taken care of you all your life, and now you’re thinking, “I need help with my aging parent.” They’ve probably even helped you during your young adult years. As they age, the tables begin to turn, and it may be time to start caring for elderly parents.

 

In the beginning, the field of senior care services is unknown territory. With no one to guide you, it can be difficult to know where to look for help. Many adult children quickly feel like they’re out of their leagues.

 

It’s common for concerned family members to have trouble navigating senior care services. When it affects your parents, you need insight and guidance when you see signs that your aging parent needs help.

 

How to Identify That My Older Parents Need Help

 

Aging slows people down, and often, it becomes more difficult to care for themselves and their homes. You may notice warning signs over time or all at once. If the lightbulbs are burned out and they’re not being replaced, the lawn is unkempt, and the exterior paint is peeling, it’s time to think about the fact that your older parents need help.

 

Any number of signs could show that things aren’t going well at home for your parents. They may not be willing or even able, to tell you that they’re no longer able to keep up with things. The important things are to keep a keen eye, communicate about your observations, and seek help when you need to.

 

Caring for Elderly Parents

 

You’re better acquainted with your parents’ habits and lifestyles than anyone else. What’s commonplace for someone else, may be an area of concern for your parents. Checking up on your parents is more important than ever since the onset of COVID-19. Quarantining and isolation in the name of health separates seniors from society even more than normal.

 

How to Spot That You Mom or Dad Needs Home Care

 

When you spend time with your parents, if something seems off, it probably is. If the issues on the following list sound familiar, your parents probably need home care:

 

  •   Late or collection notices in the mail or utilities being shut off
  •   Appliances that don’t work and they’re not cooking or eating.
  •   Mood changes—mild or extreme
  •   Home is cluttered and garbage is building up
  •   Not keeping up with laundry and cleaning
  •   Signs of fatigue or depression
  •   Clothing is torn, worn, dirty, or ill-fitting
  •   Moldy or unsanitary food in the refrigerator
  •   Misplacing keys or wallets
  •   Forgetting to take medications
  •   Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  •   Missing doctor appointments or other activities
  •   Noticeable weight loss without reason
  •   Poor hygiene or body odor
  •   Difficulty walking or frequent falling
  •   Frequent injuries or bruising
  •   Dents or damage to their car or car accidents

 

What do you do when you notice some of these issues with your loved ones? To begin with, open up a conversation about it, as tough as that may be. After getting the issues out in the open, the next conversation should center around their needs.

 

Assess Your Parent’s Needs

 

Seniors’ needs fall under several different categories. That makes it very challenging to make a list of the issues they need help with.  

 

Get out a notebook and write these headings down.

 

  •   Safety at home
  •   Medical or medication needs
  •   Cognitive impairment
  •   Mobility
  •   Hygiene and personal care-bathing, dressing, etc.
  •   Shopping, cooking, and meal preparation
  •   Transportation
  •   Companionship

 

Try to have an honest conversation about specific tasks that they need help with. Don’t forget that family members need support as well.

 

Finding Help for My Loved One

 

Taking the first steps toward getting help can be extremely overwhelming. Learning what services are available will help to relieve you of much of your fear and anxiety.

 

This partial list of senior services should give you some encouragement.

 

  •   Senior care managers-They have vast experience in the senior care industry. They’re typically well acquainted with senior care services. Their experience could save you a lot of anxiety and frustration.
  •   In-home care-Hiring a caregiver to come in and provide some type of senior care help.
  •   Assisted living-Senior living communities often offer varying levels of care from minimal care to advanced care and everything in between.
  •   Geriatric physicians-Doctors that care for seniors with age-related conditions.
  •   Area Agency on Aging-This is an agency that’s funded by federal, state, and local governments that provides senior care services at the county level. It’s a good place to start to learn more about the senior care services and how to access them.

 

Watch for signs that your parents need help and take a few steps to put the right help in place. The right care may be more available than you think.