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Posts Tagged ‘nurse’

  1. Communicating During Power Outages

    January 3, 2013 by admin

    The most important safety measure that can
    be taken is to ensure that you are able to communicate during extreme weather.

    Emergency response systems have self-contained
    back-up power good for about 72 hours leaving time to contact the monitoring
    center for assistance. If you have phone service through your cable company and
    the power fails the response system fails with it.

    Many seniors have cell phones today. They
    are not dependent upon an immediate power supply if they are kept fully
    charged. However, it does not take much for the battery to run down.

    During the last power outage I was able to
    maintain 3 cell phones fully charged with a battery pack I purchased from Sam’s Club for $59.

    Whatever power supply you choose should have a USB port to charge things like cell phones and
    laptops. If the power supply is always plugged in it should be ready for use
    during the next power outage. I was without power for 7 days and the battery
    pack had more than ample power for 3 cell phones and two computers. Peace of
    mind for only $59.


  2. Emergency Preparedness

    January 3, 2013 by admin

    We are living in the “New Normal”, a time
    when 100 year storms come back to back. If this is the new norm then we need to
    be better prepared for the next event. It is not a matter of “if” the next big
    storm will hit, it is a matter of when it will hit.

    We are very dependent on electrical power
    for all of our needs. When the power fails many of us lose phone service,
    lights, refrigeration and, worst of all, heat.

    With winter weather fast

    approaching there are a number of things you
    can do to be prepared.

    The CDC has a
    really neat checklist of how to heat your home safely during winter weather.
    However, it is not really focused on seniors.

    Many seniors have downsized into apartment
    buildings with elevators. There are no fireplaces or storage for kerosene
    heaters. Most apartments do not have back-up generators.

    It is important for seniors to be aware of
    weather reports and take heed of early advisories and warnings. When a big
    storm hits rescuers might not be able to get to you.

    The best thing to do is to know where your
    town’s shelters are and get there whenever they open. If transportation is an
    issue contact your local police department for assistance. For emergency shelter
    information contact info line at 211.


  3. Overcoming Obstacles to Healthy Eating

    January 3, 2013 by admin

    There are many reasons that people have for
    not eating healthy. Here are a few ideas to help you overcome the obstacles to
    healthy eating.

    1. Say “no” to eating alone. Being with others
    stimulates your mind and helps you to enjoy your meal. Make a date to share
    lunch or dinner with family and friends on a rotating basis. Adult Day Care Centers
    provide companionship and healthy meals. Senior meal programs are a great way
    to meet others and get a nutrition meal at the same time. The Newington Senior
    Center has a nutritious meal program. You can find out more by calling them at
    860-665-8778.

    2. Loss of
    appetite can be another excuse. Check with your doctor to see if this may be
    related to any medications you are taking. Changes in a medication dosage may
    be able to help. Try natural flavor enhancers such as garlic, onions, ginger
    and other spices to boost your appetite.

    3. Difficulty chewing can be an obstacle to healthy eating. Consult your dentist to make sure
    that there are no oral problems. Try making smoothies with fruit, yogurt and
    protein powder. Eat steamed vegetables and soft foods like couscous, rice and
    yogurt.

    4. Eating the same foods over and over is
    bound to get boring. Start by making variety a priority. Read cooking
    magazines, buy spices you haven’t tried before and chat with friends about what
    they eat.

    5. If you can’t shop or cook for yourself there
    are a number of possibilities depending on your living situation, finances and needs. Take
    advantage of home delivery such as Pea Pod. Ask family, friends or neighbors if
    they will shop for you. If you live alone consider sharing your home with a
    housemate willing to shop and cook for you. Hire a homemaker to shop and cook
    for you. You may also contact your local “Meals on Wheels” for nutritious meals
    delivered to your door.


  4. Friendly Ideas for Healthy Eating

    January 3, 2013 by admin

    Often we have a tendency to approach our
    daily dietary needs with a lack luster attitude. We are fearful of moving
    outside of our comfort zone when it comes to trying new foods. Frequently we
    feel that “well, I didn’t like it as a kid so I won’t like it now”, forgetting
    that over the years our taste buds change.

    Good nutrition is important at any age. Eating
    well will help you to feel better every day and may even help prevent heart
    disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers.

    As we get older we need fewer calories but
    the same amount, or even higher amounts, of certain vitamins and minerals. This
    can make meal planning a daunting task.

    A major key to healthy eating is planning your
    meals accordingly. Start with planning for three meals a day. Skipping a meal,
    especially breakfast, will make it difficult for you to get all of
    your daily nutritional requirements.

    1. Try one different
    food each month. You might just find a new favorite.

    2. Keep a list of
    menu items for when you are out of ideas.

    3. Swap ideas
    with family and friends to add variety.

    4. Start your day
    with 100% juice.


  5. Dementia: What You Need To Know

    August 2, 2012 by admin

    Dementia is really a group of symptoms that include memory
    loss, personality changes and impaired intellectual functioning. These symptoms
    may be a result of either disease or trauma to the brain. The symptoms are
    those not a part of normal aging and are severe enough to impact daily living,
    a person’s independence and family relationships. There are many different
    forms of dementia but Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia are most
    common. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type accounting for two thirds
    of all diagnosed cases. If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease there are
    medications that can slow the appearance of more severe symptoms of dementia.

    The most common signs and symptoms of dementia include
    memory loss, impaired judgment, and inappropriate behavior. Other symptoms may
    include decreasing communication skills, increased problems with ambulation and
    poor personal hygiene. The person with dementia may repeatedly ask the same questions
    or may easily become confused in familiar places. This person may also be found
    wearing the same clothes day after day. He/she may appear unkempt and
    disheveled. He/she may have difficulty following simple directions.

    I know, I know, a strong case could be made that I have had
    it for years and it just has never been diagnosed. For instance, since youth I
    have had difficulty following directions. That has not improved the slightest
    over the years. I misplace car keys, glasses and baseball caps; glasses found
    on my head and baseball cap in my hand. So, do I have dementia? I say “not
    yet”, of course, my wife would disagree.

    Even though you may have some of the symptoms you may not
    have dementia either. Dementia can be caused by a large number of conditions
    such as stroke, drug interactions and urinary tract infections. When symptoms
    appear suddenly it is important to see your physician as soon as possible. Prompt
    diagnosis and early intervention can control, or even eliminate symptoms all
    together. Exercising your mind helps you stay active. Find a cause and get
    involved, there are plenty of them out there. July 4th 2012,
    Independence Day, is right around the corner. I felt that this would be the
    perfect opportunity to discuss independence and the fear and frustration that
    comes from having one’s independence threatened. How many conflicts have
    occurred worldwide all in the name of freedom and independence? Why is it so
    difficult for caregivers to understand the negative response from a memory
    impaired person when he/she feels threatened? I suppose it is because
    caregivers are convinced that they are acting in the person’s best interest.
    But are they really?

    Dan Fisher RN, BSN

    A & D
    Home Health Solutions


  6. Losing Independence Can Trigger Extreme Response

    June 25, 2012 by admin

    July 4th 2012, Independence Day, is right around
    the corner. I felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss
    independence and the fear and frustration that comes from having one’s
    independence threatened. How many conflicts have occurred worldwide all in the
    name of freedom and independence? Why is it so difficult for caregivers to
    understand the negative response from a memory impaired person when he/she
    feels threatened? I suppose it is because caregivers are convinced that they
    are acting in the person’s best interest. But are they really?

    Caring for someone with dementia can be tiring and extremely
    frustrating, especially when one is doing it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When
    a caregiver is tired and stressed it is difficult to maintain a positive
    attitude and your loved one can not only hear it in your voice but can see it
    in your body language. It then is all too easy to trigger negative behavior. One
    of my clients became extremely upset for no apparent reason. I spoke with him
    at length and figured out that he was upset because the caregiver did the
    dishes. It had been his way of helping his wife (of 65 years) out around the
    house. He felt his independence was being threatened. I am sure that all
    behavior is triggered. We may not always see or even understand the trigger but
    it is there. Becoming more aware of our approach to the person with dementia
    will also help in identifying the triggers for negative behavior.

    People can react to a loss of independence in different
    ways. Some may be fearful about how they will manage on their own. Others may
    feel angry with the loss and take their feelings out on family and friends.
    Some may feel guilty and confused resulting in the refusal of help from family
    and friends. All of these feelings are all justified. Recognizing and
    understanding these feelings will help in your caregiving duties. Realizing
    that there is no greater threat than the loss of our independence, whether the
    threat is real or perceived, is the first step in truly helping your loved one
    cope with the loss. Take the opportunity to allow as much independence as is
    safe to lessen the triggers that occur when independence is threatened.

     

    Dan Fisher RN, BSN

    A & D
    Home Health Solutions


  7. Veterans Benefits and Long Term Care

    February 7, 2012 by admin

    The Department of Veterans Affairs provides three types of long term care services for veterans.
    The first type is benefits from the VA healthcare system. This benefit is focused on those with service connected disabilities, who are receiving VA Pension or are considered low income. Services may include free medical care, free prescription drugs, orthotics and prosthetics, home renovation grants for disabilities, home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Availability of these services is dependent on the local medical centers funds, the nature of the disability and whether the veteran is considered low income.
    The second type of benefit is state veterans homes. The majority of these homes offer nursing care but some may offer assisted living care as well. Veteran’s homes are supported with a combination of state and federal funds. These homes are generally available to veterans and their spouses. There may be a waiting list in some states.
    The third type of benefit is disability income for active duty veterans. The first of these disability incomes is called compensation. It is designed to award a veteran a certain amount of money to compensate for potential loss of income in the private sector. In order to qualify for this benefit a veteran needs to have evidence of a service related disability. Some veterans may have record of being exposed to extreme cold, non-disabling injuries, tropical diseases or other incidents of exposure, while on active duty, which years later may be the cause of medical conditions. These veterans could apply to see if they could receive a benefit. Some veterans may be receiving Compensation but their condition has worsened and they can reapply for a larger amount based on a higher disability rating.
    The second disability income benefit is called pension. Pension is also called “Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit”. It is available to all active duty veterans who served at least 90 days during a period of war. Applicants younger than age 60 must be totally disabled or a patient in a nursing home. Proof of disability is not required for applicants 65 years of age and older.
    The purpose of this benefit is to provide supplemental income to disabled or older veterans who have low income. If the veteran’s income exceeds the pension amount, then there is no award. However, income can be adjusted for unreimbursed medical expenses, and this allows veterans with incomes larger than the pension amount to qualify for a monthly benefit. There is also an asset test to qualify for Pension. The primary residence, most personal property and automobiles are exempt from this asset test.


  8. Top 20 Signs That Your Aging Parents Need Help

    August 26, 2011 by admin

    I am often called in to assist clients after they have gone into crisis mode. The crisis may be a result of medication mismanagement, a fall resulting in injury or driving to the barber shop down the street and ending up in another state. The ability to manage the daily household operations can deteriorate slowly over time. Family members may miss simple signs and symptoms of this inability to cope with the activities of daily living. The following list will help to identify the need for professional help for your aging relatives.
    1. Medication bottles that have not been refilled in the last two or three months.
    2. Medication bottles that are filled too frequently.
    3. Cluttered pathways.
    4. Increasing short term memory loss.
    5. Wearing the same clothes for weeks on end.
    6. Windows and blinds shut and locked tight at all times.
    7. Stoves cluttered and unusable.
    8. Washer and dryer cluttered and unusable.
    9. Decreasing personal hygiene.
    10. Unopened mail.
    11. Utility shut off notices.
    12. Empty cupboards.
    13. Empty refrigerator.
    14. Cancelled medical appointments.
    15. Cancelled hair appointments.
    16. Phone calls to friends and relatives in the middle of the night.
    17. Paranoia about friends and relatives stealing from them.
    18. Inoperable bathroom facilities.
    19. Thick blankets placed over the windows and blinds.
    20. Going out of the house without weather appropriate attire or wearing nothing at all.
    Having been a homecare nurse for the past 20 years I have seen all of these symptoms and many more. There are many options to assist individuals to remain as independent as possible in their own home. Knowing when to call in a professional care manager can be the difference between aging in place successfully and having to move to a skilled nursing facility.
    Dan Fisher RN, BSN, CEO
    Case Management Services


  9. Keeping Mom and Dad Safe at Home

    August 11, 2011 by admin

    Generally, elderly parents want to remain living in their own home. However, remaining in
    the home becomes a concern when children see their parents slowing down,
    perhaps even having trouble with handling stairs and doing general daily
    activities. Yet, with parents’ mental and physical health currently not
    creating problems, there seems to be no imminent need to search out support
    services or other accommodations for aging parents.

    This is now the time to evaluate the home to make it safe and secure for your loved
    ones — now and in the near future — in anticipation of aging disabilities
    that may occur. Help and support are available. The nation as a whole is more
    aware of elderly needs and services and products are becoming available at an
    outstanding pace.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “Employment of
    personal and home care aides is projected to grow by 51 percent between 2006
    and 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The
    expected growth is due, in large part, to the projected rise in the number of
    elderly people, an age group that often has mounting health problems and that
    needs some assistance with daily activities.” Bureau of labor
    Statistics-Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition

    This growing need for aides and services also encompasses

    • home remodeling
      services — making a home more serviceable to the elderly;
    • safety alert
      systems and technology;
    • motion sensors
      to monitor movement;
    • telehealth
      services — using home-based computer systems for the doctors office or a
      nurse to monitor vital signs and
    • even a pill
      dispenser that notifies when it is time to take medication.

    Where do you begin to make sure your elderly family member is safe and managing well
    in his or her home?

    Visit often and at different times of the day and night. Make note of daily
    activities that appear challenging and where changes might be made to add
    safety and convenience. Remove rugs that slide — causing a fall — and move
    furniture with sharp edges. Set the water heater at a lower temperature. This
    will protect their older sensitive skin from scalds and burns. Be sure smoke
    detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in place.

    Bathrooms are a hazard area for the elderly. Grab bars by the toilet and shower are a
    must to help prevent falls. There are easy to install bars at your local
    hardware store if you want to do the work yourself. Another item that is good
    to have is a shower stool or chair.

    If you are not sure of what needs to be done, consider hiring a professional.
    There are companies that specialize in home remodeling and accommodation for
    seniors. Michelle Graham of Accessible Design by Studio G4 says about
    senior home remodel projects,

    The main thing we incorporate in all of our projects is a
    careful study of needs and potential needs that may develop throughout a
    client’s lifespan.”

    Keep in mind what future home adjustments might be needed for
    your parents to “age in place” in their home.

    Home safety or medical alert companies provide GPS-based bracelets
    or pendants to track the elderly at home who tend to wander. Or the companies
    may provide alarm devices such as pendants or bracelets which allow the elderly
    to alert someone if there has been a fall or a sudden health-related attack. In
    the event an alarm has been triggered, a 24 hour monitoring service will alert
    the family or medical emergency services or call a neighbor depending on
    previous instructions. In addition there are companies that will install motion
    sensors in the home to monitor the elderly on a 24 hour basis.

    Don’t forget your parents’ community as a valuable resource for helping them stay in their home. Take Margaret Muller as an example. At 82 years of age, Margaret lives alone in her small home. She manages very well with the help of her local Senior Center. The Center’s “Senior Companion” program sees that Margaret is taken to the store for groceries and other needs and checks in with her often to see how she is doing. Once a day, the Senior Center delivers a hot healthy meal to her door. Having these services and visits gives Margaret the help she needs and peace of mind that she is not alone.

    Neighbors, local church groups, senior centers and city centers are some places to look
    for assistance. Most of the time there is little or no cost for these services.

    Your state aging services unit is a valuable community resource. The National Area
    on Aging website www.aoa.gov states:

    “AoA, through the Older Americans Act and other legislation, supports programs that help older adults maintain their
    independence and dignity in their homes and communities. In addition AoA
    provides funding for a range of supports to family caregivers.”

    Some of the programs the site lists are:

    “Supportive Services and Senior Centers

    Nutrition Services

    National Family Caregiver Support Program

    Grants for Native Americans

    Nursing Home Diversion Grants

    Aging & Disability Resource Centers

    Evidence-Based Disease Prevention

    Long-Term Care Planning

    Alzheimer’s Disease Grants

    Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities”

    A few thoughts on hiring home care aides or live-in care givers.

    The classifieds are filled with people looking for work as aides to the elderly.
    Many of these aides are well-qualified, honest people who will do a good job;
    but, of course, there will be some not so reputable. If you are looking to hire
    someone, be sure you interview and check references and qualifications. You
    will be responsible for scheduling that person and doing payroll and taxes as
    well. Be very sure you hire someone trustworthy, as the elderly seem to trust
    these helpers more than they should and therefore can easily be taken advantage
    of.

    A professional home care service will eliminate your employment concerns.
    Professionally-provided aides are usually bonded and service is guaranteed.
    Home care companies take care of the scheduling and payment of their employees.
    Home care companies cater to the elderly in their homes by offering a variety
    of services. Please take the time to visit our website for further information.
    A & D Home Health Solutions

    These providers represent a rapidly growing trend to allow people
    needing help with long term care to remain in their home or in the community
    instead of going to a care facility. The services offered may include:

    • companionship
    • grooming and dressing
    • recreational activities
    • incontinent care
    • handyman services
    • teeth brushing
    • medication reminders
    • bathing or showering
    • light housekeeping
    • meal preparation
    • respite for family caregivers
    • errands and shopping
    • reading email or letters
    • overseeing home deliveries
    • dealing with vendors
    • transportation services
    • changing linens
    • laundry and ironing
    • organizing closets
    • care of house plants
    • 24-hour emergency response
    • family counseling
    • phone call checks
    • and much more.

    Thomas
    Day, Director of the National Care Planning Council states,

    “Care in the home provided by a spouse or a child is the
    most common form of long-term care in this country. About 73% of all long term
    care is provided in the home environment typically by family caregivers.”

    As their caregiver, you can make the difference in the quality of
    life for your aging parents and if staying in their home is a possibility, you
    have the resources to make it happen.

    Dan Fisher RN, BSN

    A & D Home Health Solutions, Inc


  10. Steps You Can Take to Prevent and treat Urinary Tract Infections

    August 2, 2011 by admin

    Homecare nurses see a multitude of urinary tract infections every year. The occurrence of these infections is most notable within the first 7 to 10 days after discharge from a hospital or skilled nursing facility. While anyone can get a urinary tract infection some are more prone to them. Women get this infection more often than men. Senior women frequently have depressed immune systems which make them quite vulnerable.
    Symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
    • Increased frequency of going to the bathroom
    • Increased urgency to make it to the bathroom
    • Cloudy or blood tinged urine
    • A foul odor from the urine
    • Increasing confusion in seniors
    • Frequently a senior will display a subnormal temperature.
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Chills
    • Low grade temperature
    • Incontinence
    Seniors may not exhibit any signs or symptoms in the earlier stages of the infection. They may only have increased confusion, general feelings of discomfort and new incontinence.
    Prevention includes drinking plenty of fluids, cranberry juice and cranberry products appear to reduce the incidence of infections. When you feel the urge to urinate do not delay.
    Contact your physician immediately when one or more of these symptoms are displayed. Depending on the Take any medications prescribed by your physician exactly as directed. Even if you are feeling better and all signs and symptoms are absent continue taking the full course of medications.
    Dan Fisher RN, BSN
    Our Website