Learn/Blog

Coping with Dementia

blog , Dementia , Senior Care     no comments    

People who are in the early stages of their dementia have a more difficult time participating in social activities than those who have been suffering with this illness for a longer period of time. Teepa Snow, a dementia education specialist, believes that this phenomenon occurs due to the fact that patients in the first stages of this illness are more aware of their clinical state, which in turn inhibits their social skills. The awareness of something being wrong is extremely hard to overcome, which will negatively effect  interactions with other people.

By creating daily activities that help patients bond with their caregivers is a great opportunity for them to reach a daily sense of happiness and fulfillment. Teepa has over three decades of experience in the caregiving field, and she is on the road most of the year educating healthcare providers and families on ways to interact with their loved ones on a more personal level. She explains that by establishing meaningful interactions, you allow the patients to go through this illness with dignity. Teepa  also teaches the importance of balance when creating a schedule for people with dementia. Caregivers have to be very careful to not overstimulate patients, and allow time for them to de-stress, as well as engage in a wide range of fitness activities such as walking and balance.

Ms. Snow also points out the  importance of setting up a stable activity schedule for people who are living with dementia. She describes patients who become easily overwhelmed and must be introduced to a balanced day that can give them a chance to relax and focus. Separating people who are in different stages of the disease is also important, because they could become irritated and more confused by their surroundings.

It is no easy feat to become a caregiver for people with dementia- whether you are a professional caregiver or a family member. Local groups and online communities are a good source of support for anyone that needs an extra hand. Teepa Snow also suggests that people need to continuously readjust their expectations and diversify the activities schedule as their loved ones progress towards the disease.

6 Ways to Prevent Fall Risks Around the Home

Senior Care     no comments    

There is no doubt that the number of seniors at risk of falling is staggering.  One in three elderly individuals are subject to a fall of some degree annually. These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, especially hip fractures, so how can you care for your loved ones? With these simple alterations you could easily prevent a fall from happening.

 

Clear Pathways

It can be easy to trip over a loose object or wire when it’s in your path, and this can become very dangerous for seniors living alone. Unattended, your loved one can find it difficult to get help if they fall. It is important that you make sure that the floor they are walking on is stable and secure. Rugs and loose objects on the floor are an easy fix, by placing an adhesive backing onto rugs and carpeting you can prevent rugs from slipping. It is also important to ensure that all wires are placed next to walls, so the risk of tripping is eliminated.

Good Lighting  

This is another important factor in preventing a fall risk in the home. Proper lighting helps guide individuals and makes any loose objects visible. By installing light fixtures in many places around the home, especially in bedrooms, at the top and bottom of stairs and in bathrooms, it becomes a lot easier for your senior to move around their home safely.

Proper Shelving Height

Trying to grab objects that are out of reach can be a key contributor to a potential fall. By having step stools readily available throughout the home, installing shelves at an attainable level, and making sure that most items around the home can be reached easily, you can help ensure the safety of your elderly relative.

Bathroom

A bathroom is potentially a very hazardous area, however with the additions of a few non-slip mats, both within the shower area and next to shower, you can eliminate some of the fear out of showering for your loved one. An additional tip, install grip bars within the shower and beside the toilet to provide stability.

Exercise

Exercise can be seen as a potential dangerous activity to a senior, however it is very important and should be encouraged. By exercising regularly seniors can significantly lessen the risk of falling. Not only does it improves overall wellbeing and health but it directly targets balance and coordination.

Preventative Measures:

The first step would be to have phones and emergency numbers placed in multiple areas of the home to ensure that if your senior has fallen, they could call for help easily. Another option is to purchase an alarm device that can be strapped to the wrist, or necklace style pendant that can be worn by your loved one, to ensure in the event of a fall they can quickly contact a doctor or paramedic that can attend to them. The concern with these types of devices is often once a fall has occurred many times an individual may become disoriented or may be injured making it impossible for to use the device.

Please visit our selection of fall prevention items.  If you would like to purchase an item for your loved one or would like a free consultation please contact us at 714 921 9200. To learn about signs that may indicate your senior needs more assistance, download our free eBook “7 Signs & Symptoms That Your Loved One May Need More Assistance”

What to Look for in a Facility

Assisted Living , blog , Senior Care     no comments    

Trying to find the right care facility for your senior can be an overwhelming and confusing process. Cost, level of care, and environment are just a few of the factors you need to take account when trying to find a new home for your senior. Knowing what to look for and knowing which questions to ask when visiting facilities can make the process easier for you.

The first step is knowing where to look. There are so many options out there that you can feel overwhelmed before you even get started. Here are a few ways to start to narrow down your search.

  • Distance-Begin by looking in an area close to family and friends. It is easier for friends and family to visit a loved one if the facility is conveniently located.
  • Referrals- Ask the people you know if they have any recommendations. Does your family physician or specialist have a facility they recommend? Have your friends had experience with different facilities? Hearing about experiences from others can help you decide what you want for your loved one.
  • Medical Needs- What specific medical needs does your senior have? Do they have a special condition that requires special care? You want to make sure that the facility has experience and is capable of providing that care.

Once you begin your search and find a few facilities that you think fit the needs of your senior, there are some things you need to look for in the facility itself.

  • Cleanliness- Is the facility well-kept? Does it appear clean and neat? If you can smell urine or if there is a strong deodorizer attempting to mask the smell of urine, this can be a red flag.

 

  • Food- Pay attention to the food that is being served. Does it appear fresh, nutritious, and appetizing? If your loved one has special dietary needs, be sure to ask the facility how they accommodate those needs. Also take note of what kind of assistance is available during meals.
  • Arrangement- This varies depending on the type of facility. Nursing homes tend to resemble medical facilities with centralized nursing stations, whereas residential care facilities have a more homely feel. Larger assisted living facilities tend to have apartment style living. When deciding on a facility, it is important to take your senior’s preference for living arrangement into consideration.
  • Activities- Be sure to ask about the activities offered by the facility. Cognitive activities are important to maintaining your senior’s mental health, just like exercise is important to maintain their physical health. Also, ask if they take the residents out on weekly or monthly trips. These trips can be a fun opportunity for your senior to get out of the facility.

The quality of the staff and caregivers is a crucial factor when choosing a new home for your senior.  It is importantPathways_to_Care_Senior_with_Caregiver_14 to get a feel for the staff and caregivers when you visit the facility. It can be hard to know what to look for, so here’s a short list to help you get started.

  • Staffing- How many caregivers and staff members does the facility have? Do they have 24 hour awake staff? How many staff members and caregivers are there on weekdays, weekends, and in the evenings? What is the staff or caregiver turnover rate?
  • Interaction with You- When you go to visit the facility take note of how the staff interact with you. If you are visiting a smaller facility, such as a residential care facility, you will most likely meet with the owner. Are they rude and trying to rush through the meeting? Or are they kind, friendly, and helpful? Do they want to discuss how they would handle your senior’s medications, health condition, and possible emergencies?
  • Interactions with Residents- How does the staff interact with the current residents? Are they warm and kind? Do the residents appear happy and engaged with the caregivers? See if you can observe a meal. Are the caregivers there to assist those who need help with eating and mobility?

Even with these tips, finding a home for your senior can be overwhelming and difficult. We at Senior Home Advocates are here to assist you with your search. Give us a call at (714) 793-0527 for your free consultation to learn how we can help you find the next home for your elderly loved one.

Which Incontinence Products Does Your Senior Need

Assisted Living , daily lfe , Senior Care     no comments    

There is a wide variety of incontinence products available out there and it can be hard to figure out which solution is best for your senior. Factors such as activity level, level of protection needed, gender, and size should all be taken into account when considering products. Here is a brief description of some different products that can be helpful when trying to make a decision.

  • Diapers and briefs: These products are highly absorbent and are secured by side fasteners. The side fasteners are ideal if your senior needs assistance getting them on and off. Because of their Breezers-by-Prevail-Brief1high absorbency, these are ideal for seniors with heavy to complete loss of bladder or bowel controlDiapers and briefs are generally recommended for elderly individuals with little to no activity.
  • Adult Pull-Ups: These products have the same absorbency as diapers and briefs, but are ideal for a more active and independent individual. Instead of being secured with side tabs, they are pulled on and off, like you would with regular underwear. These are close fitting and discreet, which provides maximum protection against leaks for active individuals. These products are recommended for seniors with little to no bladder control, but wish to continue an active lifestyle.
  • Reusable Underwear: Reusable underwear may be a good option for active seniors with light to moderate loss of bladder control. Similar to adult pull-ups, they provide full coverage and maximum leak protection. They are softer and more comfortable than the disposable pull-ups, but tend to be bulky and less absorbent.
  • Undergarments: This category includes both beltless undergarments and belted shields. These products are discreet and provide high leakage protection. Beltless undergarments are worn inside of underwear, while belted shields can be worn inside of underwear or replace it completely. Both options are less bulky than adult pull-ups and reusable underwear are recommended for seniors with little to no bladder control.
  • Shields, Liners, and Pads: These are a variety of products that all serve the same purpose. They are all ideal for an independent, active individual with moderate to light loss of bladder control. They are form-fitting, discreet and are placed inside of underwear. They feature adhesive strips to help hold them in place and are easy to remove and replace.
  • Underpads: These products simply provide additional protection to bedding, sofas, chairs, and other surfaces. These absorbent pads are flat and rectangular and simply go underneath the individual and on top of the surface they are sitting on. The can be useful for seniors with all degrees of incontinence.
  • Mattress Covers: These are similar to underpads, as they just provide the bed with another level of protection against leakage. Mattress covers are quilted, waterproof sheets and recommended for all levels of incontinence.
  • Skin Care: Regardless of what products your senior is using, having the right skin care products is crucial. Urine can be harmful to the skin, which can cause injuries and infections over time if the skin isRenew_Dimethicone_Skin_Protectant-1 not properly cared for. Some important products in the skin care category includemoisturizing creams and skin cleansers. The moisturizing cream provides protection against skin breakdown and promotes healing for damaged skin. The skin cleansers and incontinence washcloths are used to clean, neutralize, and deodorize skin from urine, while being gentle and not doing any further damage.

There are many ways to prevent and treat the damage caused by incontinence. We at Senior Home Advocates are committed to providing excellent service and quality products to the seniors and the families we serve.  To learn more detailed information on how to care for your incontinent loved one download our free Educational eBook or call (714) 921-9200.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Incontinence?

Assisted Living , daily lfe , Senior Care     no comments    

How does incontinence damage the skin?

  • Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control and if not treated properly, can damage the skin. When skin is exposed to moisture and urine for long periods of time, it loses its ability to protect against friction, bacteria, and fungus. Extended exposure to urine can raise the skin’s natural pH levels, and those higher levels can actually encourage the growth of bacteria. The excess moisture will also lower the skin’s temperature and reduce skin’s blood flow when under pressure.

What injuries can incontinence cause?

  • Incontinence-Associated DermatitisThis is caused by repeated exposure of skin to urine that results in skin inflammation. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including redness with or dermaseptinwithout blisters, erosion, and the loss of the skin’s barrier function. The injured skin may also have induration, or be firmer than the surrounding tissue. In addition to being very painful, the skin loses its ability to protect itself and surrounding tissue. The moisture from the urine causes the skin to become over-hydrated and when the skin contains too much moisture it is not longer to act as an effective barrier.
  • Pressure Ulcers: Pressure ulcers are formed when there is continuous pressure being placed on part of the body. The pressure prevents a constant blood supply, which contains oxygen and nutrients, from reaching the tissue. Without these nutrients, the tissue is damaged and will eventually die. The lack of a constantblood supply means that the ulcer is also vulnerable to infections. The amount of pressure being applied and the skin’s vulnerability to damage will determine how long the ulcer takes to form. Incontinence increases the risk of developing pressure ulcers because the moisture from urine can break down the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, and because moisture reduces skin’s blood flow, which we mentioned earlier.
  • Maceration: Maceration is when the skin becomes waterlogged due to overexposure to moisture. When incontinence causes maceration, the skin becomes very fragile and can be damaged from friction, shear, and pressure. Macerated skin is so fragile that gentle rubbing from bed linens and wash cloths can cause injury.
  • Bacterial Infections: Incontinence allows the surface of the skin to come into contact with urine and other waste products. Urine contains ammonia, which raises the pH of skin and can serve as a source of nutrition for bacteria. Bacterial infections can be especially dangerous for the elderly with dry skin because skin cracks and fissures can absorb micro-organisms.
  • Fungal and Yeast Infections: Seniors with incontinence are at high risk for fungal and yeast dermaphorinfections. When the skin is exposed to urine, it creates a warm, damp environment, which is ideal for fungi. Fungal infections will result in a skin rash that itches, burns, and fiery red and are usually found in skin folds.

There are many ways to prevent and treat the damage caused by incontinence.  We at Senior Home Advocates are committed to providing excellent service and quality products to the seniors and the families we serve.  To learn more detailed information on how to care for your incontinent loved one download our free Educational eBook or call (714) 921-9200.

What Are The Physical Risks Your Senior Faces Living Alone?

Assisted Living , Senior Care     no comments    

It is understandably difficult to start the discussion about the “hazards” of your older parent living alone and isolated not to mention the Herculean persuasion skills needed to convince your aging mom or dad to move into a safer environment. With 37.3% of older women and 19.1% of older men living alone in the United States currently, this often difficult but necessary conversation of the welfare of your loved one is common place. We at Senior Home Advocates understand this conversation, we specialize in reviewing the facilities in the Southern California area and we help many families start and successfully conclude these heartfelt and needed moments. The conversation you have with your family members about what to do with your loved one now that they are living alone, with the underlying question being can they really take care of themselves?

Pathways_to_Care_Senior_Man_9

This blog will explain why it is important to consider moving them to an assisted living or residential care facility so they receive the care and attention they need, especially if they are resistant to the idea. By encouraging them to move to a safe and caring environment, you can often prevent the following physical risks your senior faces living alone from occurring:

Falling:

With age, seniors find it progressively more difficult to be physically fit and active.  Unfortunately they can find themselves facing a greater risk of falling by locking themselves in their homes and bathrooms, and then becoming progressively more disorientated, with no help or way out of the situation. Although there are many alert system options, these services still take time to reach your senior, and especially in the case of a fall, time can become increasingly valuable. It’s important to keep in mind, often when a fall occurs, the victim (your loved one) becomes too confused or hurt to actually use the device intended for the actual situation.

Running Errands alone:

Seniors can find it hard to run errands to supply their basic needs such as buying groceries, going to the bank, or even going to a routine doctor’s visit. These tasks become increasingly difficult when driving is involved. With the knowledge  of visual impairment and declining mental capacity that naturally occurs with the aging process, it is important to understand the risks and issues associated with driving. Often seniors experience many painful symptoms when it comes to driving such as dizziness, headaches or joint pain which can lead to dangerous situations such as accidents or even extremely costly litigation if they are driving more frequently and minor accidents happen.  Compounded with this is the normal human element of embarrassment, we all can relate to the minor accident, but as one ages there is an added feeling of responsibility by the senior and painful denial

Poor nutrition:

Seniors many times can lose their appetite from the medication they are taking or just from the loneliness they may experience after a beloved spouse passes away –  so it is important to be observant of their eating patterns and the amount of food your loved one has at home. A quick check of the contents of the refrigerator is really important and this is an easy tip to a bigger problem.  In time, a lack of proper healthy nutritious diet increases the chances of developing more serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and often debilitating diabetes.

Personal Hygiene:

In time, living alone can cause an elderly person’s hygiene to decline. This may be because they develop a fear of falling in the shower or bath and therefore they choose to stop showering completely or because the task of doing laundry becomes too physically challenging for them. Sadly, many seniors living alone lose the drive to attend to their hygiene because without the natural “peer to peer” validation the motivation to look your best is just simply put aside.

It is important to weigh out the independence your elderly parent strives for with the unnecessary harm they are subject to living at home alone. Although you may have made a promise to never put your mom or dad into a nursing home, you have to keep their best interest in mind. If the best possible care is your priority, Senior Home Advocates is here to help.

Page 2 of 3123