February 25, 2009
February 23, 2009
A Shift in Care
February 22, 2009
- What does each facility have to offer?
- How much do the facilities cost?
- How will these costs increase based on level of care needed by your parent or loved one?
- How does each facility measure up in terms of quality of care?
- What option is going to work best for one or both of your parents?
But why should the burden be left on you to make these decisions? Sitting down with your parents or loved ones to discuss and pre-plan what methods will be used if/when the time for caregiving comes will alleviate stress for both them and for you. This should be a process and not a single discussion that requires a definitive outcome. Let your parents be involved as much as possible for it is their every day lives that are being discussed. Here are some topics to think about during these talks.
- Your parent(s) health and finances
- Needs / wants for socialization
- Risk and value of moving versus "aging in place"
- Size and style of facilities to suit your parents needs (smaller care homes, residential communities for the elderly, assisted living and continued care retirement communities)
Planning and preparedness will help all involved with this emotional time. Having a plan of action in place will allow you to worry about things of more importance such as the health of your loved one and what you can do to continue to make them comfortable during these trying times.
February 21, 2009
History is repeating itself but this time around, the increase is in the amount of senior caregivers and facilities across our nation. According to Home Instead Senior Care, it appears that the senior care industry is following the trends of the child-care boom. Personal and home care nurses and aides are expected to grow by more than 50 percent between the years 2006 and 2016. This is an increase in jobs from 767,000 to 1.5 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Personal aides who help seniors at home with meal preperation, light housekeeping and general companionship is the second fastest growing occupation in the industry.
Boomers have been the key in fueling both industries. It was their children that boomed child-care and it is now their parents that are creating the need for new services and regulations for the elderly. This "sandwich" generation is the stimulus for industry growths and declines. Who knows if we will ever see this type of history repeat itself with future generations.
February 19, 2009
Excerpts from Department of Urology, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.
A probability sample of noninstitutionalized elderly people in Washtenaw County, Michigan, was interviewed to determine the relationship between urinary incontinence and various health conditions. The results show that between both male and female respondents physical mobility problems, specific neurologic symptoms, lower urinary tract problems, bowel problems, respiratory problems, and history of genital surgery are more prevalent among those who are incontinent than among those who are continent. Additional factors associated with incontinence in females are: history of parent and sibling incontinence, incontinence either during pregnancy or postpartum, hearing problems, use of female hormones, and vaginal infections. Incontinence among males is associated with vision problems and a history of and symptoms of cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest urinary incontinence is part of a complex and multifactorial problem. Further studies are needed to confirm and explain these findings.
February 18, 2009
1. Negotiate - It never hurts to ask, especially when dealing with a nursing or assited living facility that is not filled to capacity.
2. Offer to share a room - Some nursing facilities set aside a number of "shared" rooms that are designed for lower income seniors.
3. Hire a geriatric care manager - They can help with everything from asssessing your parent's long term care needs to mediating family conflicts over care decisions.
4. Adult Day Care - This is often more affordable than private, in-home caregiver fees and allows you to still be active at work and valuable to your employer.
5. Hire a part-time caretaker - For someone who does not require full time care, ask a neighbor, church acquaitance or trusted friend to check on your parent a couple of times a day. This also promotes independence if the senior is able.
February 17, 2009
A growing business sector is designed to assist caregivers and let them know that they are not alone with the feelings that they are experiencing. New companies in Dallas include a business that helps families draw up plans for how an elderly parents will be cared for when the time comes for needed assistance. Another company lines up care for the serious and chronically ill when their families do not know where to go next.
Non-profit organizations can also help address caregiver questions. This month, the American Cancer Society is offering a telephone workshop called Coping with Caregiving: Recognizing Depression & Anxiety. The next scheduled time for this workshop is Thursday, February 19th from 7:00 to 8:15 Eastern Standard time. Future workshops with similar topics are planned in March, April and May.
Even our company site, www.fenwaymedical.com, is designed with the caregiver in mind as we offer advice on how to cope with these new responsibilities. We also offer certain lines of supply products that can be delivered directly and discretely to the home. As with all of the aforementioned businesses and organizations, Fenway Medical wants to help and support you as you learn how important you are to someone else.
February 16, 2009
The Effect on the Workplace
February 15, 2009
The addition is the creation of the office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will monitor medical treatments across the United States. This office is created as a quality control type agency that will oversee doctor's decisions and treatments of particular illnesses or conditions. Doctors can be penalized by a review board should the board find their treatment methods to be too "excessive". Groups such as AmericanSeniors.org believe this stimulus provision to be the starting point towards rationed healthcare which, in their opinion, would unfairly impact senior citizens. They believe that the threat of penalties to doctors will lead to restricted treatment options for patients.
This may turn out to be an extremist view or in a few years a brilliant observance but there is no denying that America's health care system needs an overhaul and an upgrade. Let's all hope that whatever steps are taken do not turn out to be detrimental to our aging society.
February 14, 2009
- A senior citizen's Valentine's Day dance in Omaha held this past Tuesday
- A senior citizen's dance that drew more than 150 seniors to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington
- A high school in Arizona has re-created a senior prom for senior citizens in their area to attend
- A Best Chocolate Dessert contest was held at a senior center in Texas
- A Valentine's Day cookie decorating party involving seniors and young children in Iowa
I could go on and on with this list of activities that are happening all over the world. This is proof that aging does nothing to inhibit the feeling of being loved. Studies show that most people the ages of 57 to 85 feel that a relationship and sexuality are an important part of life.
If you are a caregiver, take a little extra time today to tell your parent or loved one how much they mean to you. Also, take some time for the one that you should care for and love the most..yourself. Happy Valentine's Day!
February 13, 2009
A total of 50 devices were purchased using federal grants and distributed by the prevention program. They attach to the senior's clothing with a clip and the light weight of the device (less than 3 ounces) does not hinder movement for the user. Caregivers, loved ones and even emergency services can go to a web site to monitor the exact location of the GPS.
Time will tell if this technology will catch on in other communities but with the aging of our society, the future is now.
February 12, 2009
With the elderly population growing and the costs of healthcare rising against an unsteady economy, more seniors are moving in with their children, who themselves are now parents. This can be both harmful and healthy to all generations involved. From the decision on what furniture or belongings can fit into a probably already crowded space to the changing of schedules to accommodate both young and old, new stresses are introduced to the family dynamic. Boundaries must be established as to not make the grandparents a permanent "babysitter" for the kids and to allow the grandparents to continue to live their lives to the fullest. This new living arrangement should be embraced and looked at as a learning experience for all family members. Multi-generational arrangements should be cherished and treated as a time to share pictures, stories and maybe the occasional trip to get ice cream.
February 11, 2009
February 10, 2009
Theives call a random phone number and hope to hear an elderly voice on the other end. If they reach their target, they start into a normal "how's it going" conversation and bombard your loved one with information and stories. This builds a comfort level with the senior and often makes them forget that the caller forgot to introduce themselves. After a few minutes of small talk, the thief begins their pitch. They tell made-up stories of hardship and how if they had a little money they would be able to turn the corner and set things straight. They often add the line, "please don't tell mom or dad or anyone else as I don't want them to know" to assure anonymity. When your confused loved one agrees to send some money, they send them a set delivery address and never call again.
Don't let your loved one be vicitmized by this scam. Though this may sound like a far fetched scam to those of us who are of good mind, an eldely person's cognitive senses can be muddled and confused. As a caregiver, let your parent know to watch out for theives like these as not all callers are phoning to wish you a Happy Birthday.
February 9, 2009
February 8, 2009
February 7, 2009
A recent study by the Pew Research Center out of Washington DC shows that this is not the case. In research done from 2005 to 2008, the popluation ages 70-75 have increased their internet useage by 19%. One-fourth of this demographic was on-line in 2005 compared to 46% being on-line in 2008. Most elderly users access the internet for e-mail but as they become more familiar with the format, they will visit sites and informational pages such as Fenway Medical's. It is this audience and this demographic that we know will change as the world changes and who we hope we can provide with services that they need.
February 5, 2009
My best friend in life has recently been overcome by frequent panic attacks and mild depression. Always a traveller and someone who has a zest for life, the past few months have taken their toll. I have been thrust into the caregiver role. Due to uncertainty about public places, I now am in charge of tasks such as shopping and picking up carry out. Frequent tiredness has required that I take on additional responsibilities around the house and in our friend circles.
I have learned several things during this experience. The first is to respect what your loved one brings to a relationship and the little things that they offer every day. Second, you need to take care of yourself. My site has published frequent advice on the health of the actual caregiver and how you need to also look after yourself. Maybe I didn't fully buy into this when just writing the words but now I understand. You may not feel that you have enough time in the day but as a caregiver you need to remember to care for you. And, if you are not currently a caregiver, keep in mind to look after yourself if you are given these responsibilities as we are all just one step away from being the rock that they look to for guidance.
February 4, 2009
You can eliminate the guess work of the quality of care you or your parent is going to receive by taking preventative measures to decrease the chance of illness or disability. Poor health does not have to be consequence of getting older. A healthy lifestyle such as increased physical activity, healthy diet and the exclusion of tobacco is encouraged. Another step to take is using early detection practices for breast, colonic and cervical cancers, diabetes and depression.
February 3, 2009
The cost of a semi-private room at a nursing facility in Hawaii ranks among the highest in the nation at just under $98,000 per year. This number is twice Hawaii's median annual household income. Less extensive assisted living facilities average a cost of $41,000 annually and the average yearly cost of adult daycare services is $15,000. According to the results found in a State of Hawaii Older Adults Needs Assessment, over 76% of seniors in the state indicate that they go without proper care because services offered cost too much. 31% say that services are not even available to them.
This is not just a problem in Hawaii. Across the United States, millions of people are being hit with economic hardships. These tough times are magnified when taking on the additional responsibilities of caring for a loved one.
February 2, 2009
February 1, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 30, 2009
Assessing Their Needs
Does your parent need help with grooming, bathing, or dressing?
Does your parent need help with housekeeping, shopping, or yard work?
Does your friend need help planning or preparing meals?
Is your parent unable to drive or get around on public transportation alone?
Does your parent need help managing finances and paying bills?
Does your parent need help making legal and other important decisions?
Does your parent have trouble functioning at home? Would modifications help?
Does your parent have trouble with hearing, vision, or memory?
Financial power of attorney to make financial decisions and pay bills
Living will to make life-support decisions
Medical power of attorney to make health care decisions
Durable power of attorney to make legal decisions
Access to safe deposit box
May choose to be added to deeds and mortgages
May need to be added to automobile insurance
Know the person's wishes (medical treatments, funeral, finances, etc.)
Information to Have on HandI
Insurance (Medicare / Medicaid number, supplement, other policies)
Doctors (names, phone numbers, and other contact information)
Medical history (medications, allergies, conditions, procedures)
Identification (social security, military ID, driver's license numbers)
Address list (friends, neighbors, family)
Service providers (attorney, financial advisor, clergy, accountant)
Financial (account numbers, checkbook, investments, tax records)
Legal (wills, powers of attorney, health care directive)
Deeds (house, other property, car title, boat title)
Insurance (life, medical, auto, homeowner's)
Household (mortgage, apartment lease, property tax records)
Vital records (birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree)
Final wishes (organ donation, burial, property distribution)
Make Sure that You
Respect your parent's independence, even while taking care of them
Allow your parent to make as many decisions as appropriate
Have reasonable expectations of what your parent can do independently
Talk regularly with your parent about their concerns, desires, and frustrations
Make informed decisions that are in the best interest of your parent's needs
Show compassion while you are trying to be efficient and responsible
Taking Care of Yourself
Recognize when you are getting worn out and need a break
Make use of support groups, family, and other caregivers in your situation
Take regular breaks to do something enjoyable for yourself
January 29, 2009
With more of us taking care of our parents outside a professional setting, we understand that your responsibilities are constantly changing and your valuable time is limited. Fenway Medical offers efficiency and value with our bulk medical supplies and we also are a professional advice source to help you with your care-giving. We appreciate your interest and look forward to helping you with your medical supply questions and needs.
Please come see what we have to offer at www.fenwaymedical.com.