Category Archives: House Keeping

The Holiday Caregiver

Now that we’ve officially begun the holiday season, we’ve started one of the most stressful times of the year. There’s just so much to do with holiday shopping and preparations. Combine that with the regular disruptions to the family and work schedules that seem to multiply with the holidays and add the tensions of the obligatory family get- togethers that you may not want to attend. Top it off with possibly dicey winter weather that hinders you at every move. If that isn’t enough, continue to care for your loved one on a daily basis. It’s basically a recipe for disaster.

There are things you can do to help weather the holiday storm. First and foremost, don’t pressure yourself with unrealistic expectations. You can’t be everything to everyone. Do what is reasonable and within your grasp and don’t be shy about asking for help from family members. In addition, employ shortcuts—-order meals in, shop on-line, and pare down how many events you want to participate in.

Take care of yourself. Eat well and get enough sleep. Continue to get some exercise—it will help to de-stress. Make some time for yourself whether it means reading a book or taking a nap. Try to stay away from alcohol—it’s actually a depressant.

Try to stay organized. Keeping a to-do list you can refer to will help you stay in control of your time and help you finish those things that are most important while weeding out those chores that can be done by someone else.

Be open to change. What worked last year may not be a good idea this year. If you ordinarily have a large gathering, maybe something on a smaller scale will be easier on your loved one. You may want to adjust the time of day the festivities will occur. Is your loved one more comfortable earlier or later in the day? Do you always do all the cooking? Maybe everyone can bring a dish.

Be sure to plan some time with family members and those who are close to you. It’s good for your soul and it’s what the holidays really are all about.

Do you have any holiday tips to share? Please visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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Helping Seniors at The Doctor’s Visit

As our parents age there will come a time when it’s a good idea to tag along when they go to the doctor. Frequently, we don’t realize there’s a problem until they can’t tell us what happened at their last visit. Maybe they’re not sure how to take the new prescription or perhaps they forgot they had a scheduled appointment for their annual check up. It becomes clear that a second set of ears would be helpful—that’s where you come in. There are things you can do to make sure the visit is less stressful and more productive.

*Bring a list of all the medications your loved one is taking, including over the counter drugs and any other vitamins or supplements. Include how often they’re taken.

*Be sure you’re up to date on your senior’s medical history. What chronic conditions like hypertension or diabetes do they have? Have there been any surgeries and what were their outcomes?

*Be clear about the purpose of the current visit. If there’s a health problem make the doctor aware of the symptoms, when they started, and does anything your loved one does make them better or worse? Have this conversation with your senior before you get to the doctor’s office.

*Pay attention to what the doctor is saying—-remember, you are providing a second set of ears. Be sure to ask questions and request further clarifications about the diagnosis, treatment options and what can be expected down the line. No question is too ridiculous if it helps you and your loved one understand what’s going on.

*Encourage your loved one not to be embarrassed or afraid to talk openly to the doctor. The more honest information he receives, the more readily he can help with proper treatment.

Helping with your loved one’s doctor appointment is all about communication and information. Keeping a log will help tremendously as your senior ages and health declines. The goal is to help your loved ones care for their health in a less stressful and more organized manner. Do you have any other tips that work for you? Please share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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How Safe Is The Bathroom?


If our goal is to keep our parents or senior loved ones safely in their own home, one of the best places to start is the bathroom. For seniors, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the home. A small space with water, slick floors, hard surfaces and wall mounted towel bars doesn’t mix well with someone who may be frail, has poor vision, or may have walking or balancing issues. A fall resulting from this combination can lead to serious injury and even hospitalization. There are things you can do to prevent accidents in the bathroom.

*Install grab bars in showers and bathtubs. You don’t want your loved one grabbing a towel rack for balance or support because racks can’t hold their weight. Another option is to purchase a rail that fits over the bathtub edge without damaging the tub.

*A shower/tub chair in the tub is a good option if your senior has balance problems or general weakness. They come in a variety of heights and be sure to get one with slip-resistant rubber feet.

*If you use a tub chair, invest in a hand held shower spray. They’re easy to handle and with their flexible hoses they’re more convenient to use in a seated position.

* Make sure the bottom of the tub has nonskid tape or a nonskid bathmat.

*A raised toilet is helpful to anyone who has problems getting up or down from a seated position or problems with bending. An alternative would be to add a raised toilet seat to an existing toilet. Toilet safety frames with armrests can be added to help with transferring to and from the toilet or grab bars can be installed near the toilet.

*Be sure the temperature on the water heater is set at 120 degrees F or less. Anything higher than that can scald skin.

*Make sure there’s a nightlight in the bathroom and in the hallway going to the bathroom.

*Install bathroom door locks that can be unlocked from both sides. You need to be able to get to your loved one if there’s an accident in the bathroom.

Over one third of falls and accidents in the home occur in the bathroom. Following these tips will go a long way in preventing the most common bathroom injuries. Please share any other tips you have and visit us at www.trilliumhomecare.com

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Why Should I Use A Home Care Agency?


Once you’ve made the decision your senior or loved one needs some help to keep them safely in their own home, you need to decide if you should make some private arrangements to directly hire a caregiver or if you should go through a home care agency. Your first instinct may be to directly hire a caregiver, thinking this is the less expensive option. In effect this would make you both a case manager and an employer. You would have to do all the things a home care agency will do but without the experience or the time to do it. There are definite advantages to using a home care agency.

*Are you prepared to search for a caregiver? Where should you look? How do you know if the candidate is both qualified and experienced? A home care agency already has a staff of qualified, trained caregivers who also receive ongoing additional training.
*A home care agency will have run an in-depth background check of the caregivers they place in your home. The caregivers have also passed extensive drug tests and are bonded and insured. This is not typically done for direct hire caregivers.
*If you hire someone privately, you will be responsible for collecting and remitting Federal and State taxes to the government. You will have to deal with unemployment, workers’ compensation and the employment eligibility paperwork.
*A home care agency takes care of all the staffing issues. If the caregiver becomes ill or is on vacation there are back-up caregivers on staff so that services won’t be interrupted.
*Through an agency, caregivers are supervised and they are matched to be a good fit with your loved one. This is especially important since you probably won’t be there while the caregiver is with your loved one. Keep in mind that if things don’t work out with the caregiver you’ve hired directly, you’ll have to start the search and hiring process all over.
*You can be more flexible with services through an agency. A direct hire caregiver may not be available if you want to change prescheduled times or days or if you need the type of service changed. With an agency, adjustments can be made when your needs change.

The ultimate goal of using a home care agency is to keep your loved ones in their own home for as long as possible. If you’ve gotten to the point where you can no longer do all the caregiving on your own then it just makes sense to have an experienced agency take some of the burden off your shoulders. For more information, visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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Filed under Alzheimer's, Caregiver, companionship, Farmington Hills, Health care services, Home Care, House Keeping, Medication Reminder, Personal care, Senior Care, Transportation, Uncategorized, West Bloomfield

Is It Time For Home Care?

As our parents age, we gradually take on the responsibility of caring for them and helping them with their activities of daily life. It starts out slowly. Perhaps we make extra portions of dinner and bring it to them so they have a nice hot meal. Maybe we pick mom up and take her grocery shopping so she doesn’t have to drive. When we stop by we put the garbage out or do a couple loads of laundry. After all, our goal is to keep them safe and comfortable in their own home surrounded by their own familiar things. As our parents age, the number and frequency of these thoughtful actions slowly increase. Then one morning we wake up to find we are now the parents, making daily decisions for them and helping them with everything. It’s time for home care. Just the thought of getting professional home care for our loved one can stir up deep feelings of guilt. It’s important to remember that we owe our loved ones the honest, warm relationship that exists between loving parents and children. We need to keep that role as a loving child alive and not trade it in for a role as a caregiver. This is often compounded by the issue of juggling the demands of work and our own children.. The signals that our parents need help are often subtle and we may not come to this realization until we’ve become overwhelmed by caregiving. Remember, you can’t be much help to them if you are burned out yourself. Look for these clues that it may be time to get some help.

*Is their personal hygiene good? Do they bathe regularly? Are teeth being brushed and hair combed?
*Are there any physical changes in your loved ones? Do they look thinner? Do they seem weak or do they fall frequently?
*Are meals being prepared? Is there any stale or expired food in the refrigerator or cupboards?
*Is the house being cleaned and maintained? Is there a lot of clutter or trash around?
*Does the car have any unexplained dents or scratches? Has your loved one gotten lost driving somewhere familiar?
*Are there any safety issues like coffee pots left on or doors left unlocked at night?
*Have you noticed any memory problems? Have appointments been missed or medications not taken?
*Are your loved ones isolating themselves and avoiding social functions or family gatherings?
*Have you noticed any mental changes? Are they often moody or seem distant and vague?

If you see some of these changes in your loved ones, it may be time to talk to the family about getting some help for them. As parents age, its often easier to accustom them to having someone come in to the home for shorter periods of time. As their needs change, the type and amount of help can be adjusted. The goal is to help your seniors stay in their own home for as long as possible. This is where they are the most comfortable. Have you noticed other signals that your parents need help? Share below. Don’t forget to visit us at www.trilliumhomecare.com

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How Can A Senior Take Medications Safely?

If you care for a senior friend or relative, you’ve certainly had concerns about their medications. Over a third of all prescriptions written are accounted for by seniors over 65. Because of their age, their hearing, vision, and ability to remember things is often diminished. Seniors generally have multiple health problems and these problems are probably being controlled or treated by a variety of drugs. This can lead to a disaster just waiting to happen. How can you be sure they take their medications? How can they ensure their own safety? Are they taking the right amount? There are things you and your loved one can do to prevent problems and adverse drug reactions. Be proactive – don’t wait for something to go wrong!

*Keep a list of all medications including over the counter drugs and herbal supplements. Record their dosages along with any special instructions and who prescribed them.
*Take the medication list every time the senior goes to the doctor so it can be reviewed for any possible drug interactions or dosage adjustments.
*Get all prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. This will allow the pharmacist to also check for any possible interactions.
*Keep the old pill container until you get a refill. Compare the information on the bottles to see if there are any changes you aren’t aware of. Contact your pharmacy and/or the doctor’s office if something is unfamiliar.
*Be sure to read the literature that comes with the medication. Be aware of and look out for any possible negative reactions. Seniors are especially sensitive to new medications.
*Take medicine exactly as prescribed and don’t stop taking it without the doctor’s orders.
*Be sure any old medications are disposed of. They can degrade quickly and cause more harm than good.
*Store medicines in a cool, dark place (not the bathroom) and try to keep them all together.
*NEVER use medication prescribed for someone else.
*A pill box or compartmentalized medication reminder box is a great way to keep multiple doses of several medications organized in one spot. They are labeled for the different days of the week and for the different times of the day. You can check with one look whether a dose has been missed.

Following these tips can help manage a senior’s medication and prevent an adverse drug reaction. It can help prevent constipation, depression, falls, fractures or the confusion that can result from the mismanagement of medications. Do you have any other helpful tips? Share below and don’t forget to visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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What’s The Truth About Seniors And Medications?

Nowadays seniors are living longer in great part due to medications that have been developed to control their health problems. It’s these same medications that can be a cause of concern for both the seniors and their caregivers. Typically, seniors over 65 take at least five different medications per day. This greatly increases the odds that things can go wrong.
*As they get older, seniors see several physicians and specialists. They also tend to shop around for and use more than one pharmacy in an effort to pay less for their medications. Both of these factors increase the risk for dangerous drug interactions. One physician may not know what another physician has prescribed and one pharmacy won’t know what has already been dispensed at another pharmacy.
* Seniors often have memory problems as they age. They can easily forget the instructions for taking their medication. The resulting problems can range from taking their prescribed drugs too often to skipping them altogether.
*Problems with hearing can cause your loved one to misunderstand the doctor’s or pharmacist’s directions for taking the prescribed medication.
*As seniors age, their bodies tend to respond differently to medication. Medications build up in their systems more easily and take a longer time to be eliminated. Not taking the medications exactly as prescribed can cause dangerous over or under dosing. In addition, seniors are more sensitive to the effects of drugs so the dosage needs to be carefully monitored.
* Some seniors may have financial problems and may not refill their prescription as necessary or may cut their pills in half to make them last longer.

The presence of any of these issues with your loved one makes it very important to have medications dispensed and taken as directed by the physician. Have you noticed other things that affect your senior and their medications? Share below. Don’t forget to visit us at: http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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How Can I Get A Good Night’s Sleep?

How Can I Get A Good Night’s Sleep?

If you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep there are things you can do:

1. Try to follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, even on weekends.
2. Take time do something relaxing before bedtime such as reading a book or listening to music.
3. Melatonin regulates your sleep/wake cycle. Bright light suppresses its production in your body. Try to get some exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and avoid the bright lights of the television or computer screen before bed so your body produces melatonin to help you fall asleep at night.
4. Get some exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
5. Don’t eat a heavy meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
6. Use your bedroom for sleep, not for watching TV or working.
7. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, dark, and cool (about 65 degrees).
8. Avoid caffeine after noon. It can affect your sleep for 10-12 hours after consumption.
9. Avoid alcohol before bed. Although it may help you fall asleep by relaxing you, it will make it harder for you to stay asleep.
10. Don’t smoke before going to bed. The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant.
11. Use the bathroom before going to bed to reduce the need to get up at night.
12. If you get insomnia often, try not to nap during the day.
13. If you get sleepy much too early for bedtime, don’t just sit around. Do something mildly active so you don’t sleep too early in the evening.

If you follow these tips for two or three weeks and your sleep doesn’t improve or if you find you’re so tired throughout the day that you can’t function well, be sure to see your doctor or a sleep disorder specialist. What have you found to be helpful in dealing with sleep problems? Share below.

Don’t forget to visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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How Important Is Sleep As You Age?

How Important  is Sleep As You Age?

There’s a common myth out there that sleep isn’t very important as you age.  Just the opposite of that is true. As a senior, getting enough sleep is critical to being healthy and that in turn translates into a better quality of life. Sleeping gives our bodies time to rest and recharge.  Physically, sleep deprivation has a negative effect on our reflexes, judgement, and fine motor skills.  It has also been linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are much more likely to have depressed moods.  Just as important, a lack of sleep will decrease the ability to focus and make it hard to learn new things efficiently.  Our brains require that we have sufficient sleep so that we can not only absorb information but also recall it.  The brain can actually age by up to seven years as a result of a lack of sleep.

A variety of issues can cause sleep deprivation in seniors:

*Due to health problems and a combination of medications, insomnia becomes common.

*Often, frequent trips to the bathroom at night are caused by prostate enlargement in men or incontinence issues in women.

*As seniors get older they often develop “advanced sleep phase syndrome”.  Their internal clock makes them sleepy earlier in the evening and wakes them earlier in the  morning.

*With age comes an increase in sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

Remember that healthy and sufficient sleep should be expected at all ages, even with seniors.  In fact, seniors need just as much sleep as young adults, about 7-9 hours per night. How has a lack of sleep affected you? Share below.

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Should Your Senior Stop Driving?

 

Many people can drive safely into their senior years and then there are those who need to limit their driving or stop altogether.  If you notice some of these things happening  when a senior friend or relative drives, it is time to consider this change.

*Do they have a hard time making turns, especially left ones?

*Are there a lot of frequent “close calls” when they drive?

*Do they get lost in familiar areas?

*Are there unexplained scrapes and dents on the car?

*Has the senior gotten lots of “warnings” from the police?

*Have you noticed abrupt lane changes or braking?

*Are other people reluctant to be in the car when the senior drives?

*Do other drivers honk at them often?

*Do they bump into other cars when they park?

*Are gaps in traffic often misjudged?

*Does the driver keep the turn signal on without changing lanes?

*Is there any confusion over the gas and brake pedals?

*When driving, does the senior seem nervous or agitated?  Do they often get road rage?

*Do they drift into other lanes or onto the shoulder of the road?

If you notice these warning signs in someone you know or care for, it’s time to have them evaluated by a professional. Taking a senior driver refresher course can also be helpful. Have a candid conversation with them and try to work out some options together.  With encouragement and cooperation from friends and family the senior driver can switch to other transportation options.

Have you noticed other warning signs in some senior drivers? Comment below.

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Filed under Alzheimer's, Caregiver, companionship, Farmington Hills, Health care services, Home Care, House Keeping, Medication Reminder, Personal care, Senior Care, Transportation, Uncategorized, West Bloomfield