Category Archives: West Bloomfield

Time To Hire A Professional Caregiver?

Hindsight is 20/20 but it’s important not to get to that point when it comes to making care decisions for an elderly parent or loved one. Very often, by the time you’ve made the decision to get some help from a professional caregiver, you’re already past the point of burnout. You’re more exhausted than you ever thought could be possible and you wonder why you didn’t get help sooner. Guilt very often plays a part in your delayed decision because you feel it’s something you should have been able to do for your loved one so they could remain comfortably in their homes as they aged. Your role as caregiver slowly and almost imperceptibly increases and perhaps on a deeper level you don’t want to see that your loved one needs more help than you can give. Be careful not to miss the signs that your parent or loved one can’t go it alone.

*How’s their personal hygiene? Do they bathe regularly or is there an odor about them? Is hair combed and are teeth brushed? Are they wearing the same clothes for days on end?
*Is the house clean and being maintained? Is there a lot of clutter or unopened mail? Is the garbage taken out on a regular schedule? Is there an odor of urine when you step inside?
*Are nutritional needs being taken care of? Is there any spoiled food in the refrigerator? Is there food in the cupboard? Have they lost any weight and are they remembering to eat?
*Is your loved one able to drive safely? Are there any unexplained dings or dents in the car? Do they get to where they’re going without incident? Do they get lost in familiar location or when traveling a route they’ve taken many times before?
*Do they miss any doctor or dentist appointments? Are they able to follow the doctor’s directions? Do they take their medications as prescribed? Do they remember to get prescriptions filled?
*Is your loved one maintaining a social life? Do they stay in contact with friends and relatives or have you become their sole source of human interaction? Have old hobbies or interests gone by the wayside?

If you see some of these changes, it may be time to get some help. There is nothing to be gained from ignoring the signs. Getting some help to keep your loved one safely in the home they want to be in, is truly an act of love. Please share your thoughts and experiences below. http://www.trilliumhomecare.com

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Filed under Aging in Place, Caregiver, companionship, Home Care, Personal care, Senior Care, Trillium HomeCare, West Bloomfield

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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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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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

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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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

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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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

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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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

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

How Does Aging Affect Driving?

 

It takes more than having a driver’s license to drive.  As we age, a variety of issues can limit our ability to drive. Some limiting factors include:

*Mobility problems.  As we get older, we become less flexible.  Our range of motion decreases and we probably have arthritis. Some other chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes can limit our movements. This can make it difficult to look over our shoulder to change lanes or move our leg to switch between the gas pedal and the brake pedal.

*Reaction time slows with age.  This is a naturally occurring development.  It becomes harder to realize the car ahead of you has slown down or you may not be quick to spot someone coming from a side street or out of a driveway. 

*Vision decline.  With age, our vision declines.  Our eyes need three times more light than we needed as young adults just to see.  That makes night time driving much more difficult. With age also come cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. 

*Hearing problems.  We all develop a degree of hearing loss as we get older. By the time we’re 65, one third of us are affected.  This makes it harder to hear warning sounds around us like honking cars or ambulance sirens.

*Medications.  As our health declines, we take more medications.  Some medications when mixed with each other or combined with alcohol can decrease our ability to drive because they affect our senses and reflexes.

*Memory issues.  As we age a certain degree of forgetfulness is normal. In addition, our ability to multi-task decreases. This can make it difficult to pay attention to a variety of things going on at the same time while we are driving.  When these memory issues become more severe, as in an early sign of dementia, our ability to drive is greatly reduced.

Having one or two of these risk factors doesn’t mean you need to stop driving.  Everyone ages differently and it may be that you can drive into your 80’s or 90’s. If the number  of these risk factors increases, it does mean you need to reassess whether or not you should be behind the wheel.

Do you know of anything else that makes it harder for you to drive?  Comment below.

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Senior Financial Health

As we age, a large part of our independence is tied to our financial health.  Do we have enough money to take care of our basic needs?  Can we afford to do those things that gave us pleasure and purpose in life?  Over time there are things we can do to help keep our finances in good health:

Continue to put as much as you can in your retirement account. Don’t make any withdrawals without talking to a financial advisor.

Take care of your estate planning.  Organize your financial affairs so your money and assets will go where you want them to go rather than to the probate court or the government.

Consider buying long term health insurance.  You may need this if you get disabled or have to go into a nursing home.

Reduce your consumer debt as much as possible.  Those recurring monthly charge card payments can add up quickly.

Use direct deposit.  Have your periodic payments like a pension check or Social Security benefit deposited directly into your account. It’s more secure and convenient.

Check credit card bills and bank statements.  Always check your bills and statements for anything out of the ordinary or suspicious like a missing payment or charge  you didn’t make.

Periodically, check your credit report.  Checking your report alerts you to identity theft if you spot a loan or credit card you never signed up for.

Shred old documents.  Shred any old document that has your Social Security number, bank account number, or other personal financial information so you don’t become a victim of identity theft.

Do you have any other tips for financial health to share?  What works for you?  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

The Senior Brain

 

As our bodies age, so do our brains. We often don’t realize that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness until that fateful day when we can’t find our car keys or forget where we parked the car at the mall.  And then panic sets in.  The good news is that as we age there are things we can do to keep our brains healthy.  Over time we don’t lose brain cells but we lose connections between where the signals in our brains are transmitted and received.  These connections are called synapses.  The only way to form new synapses is through exercise, both physical and mental.  These are some of the things we can do to keep the brain healthy:

Get plenty of sleep.  Healthy sleep patterns lower levels of stress hormones and help keep your memory sharp.  Aim for at least 7.5 hours per nights.

Keep physically active.  Exercise increases the flow of oxygen in your body, including the brain. It decreases stress which drains the brain of energy.

Socialize.  Stay socially active with family and friends.  All the things you do and the conversations you have when you socialize stimulate your brain.  Studies have shown that socially active seniors have healthier brain scans.  Don’t spend your time sitting in front of the television.

Stimulate your brain.  Challenging your brain keeps it sharp. Even doing simple things like changing your daily routine or taking a different route to the  grocery store will challenge your brain. Other simple and inexpensive things to do include:

*learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument

*play board games or chess

*solve crossword puzzles

*do word search puzzles or sudokus

*do crafts or build models

*read

Do you have any other tips for staying sharp? 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