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Veteran Salutes the US Flag

Assisting Veterans with Free Home Care

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with the VetAssist Program to be able to offer free, or low-cost, home care to veterans, or their surviving spouse, who qualify under the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension benefit. This is an additional benefit that is added to your existing Veterans pension.

We can sit down with you and undertake a thorough assessment to determine whether you are eligible for the benefit. If we believe you meet the criteria we can help you submit the application and all the relevant documents to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

As an overview, the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs says:

“The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:

You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment

You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment

You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity

Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.”

In addition, the additional benefit is also applicable to those that are substantially confined to their immediate premises because of permanent disability.

We can provide your home care immediately

If we believe you qualify we will start your home-care straight away. We do this by offering an interest-free loan that covers the gap until you are approved. This means that you get the care you deserve and need straightaway.

We will continually work with you to ensure the level of care we provide you with covers all of your needs. Whatever non-medical home care you require, we can provide it. Call us today on 215-825-5501 to find out more.

Elderly adults older than 65 are at higher risk of dying in a fire.

Fire Safety and Your Elderly Loved One

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Adults over 65 have a 2.6 times greater risk of dying in a fire than the total population, with those over 85 and over 4.1 times more likely. These are pretty scary statistics worth paying attention to. There are things you can do to help your elderly loved one stay safe.

Install and check smoke detectors

Ensure there are smoke detectors on every level of the property, especially outside of bedrooms. As well as testing them regularly, ensure that your loved one can hear them.

Buy fire extinguishers

While you want your loved one to escape from the property quickly, they may need to use a fire extinguisher if their path is blocked. Ideally there should be one on each floor and they should be checked yearly.

Plan an escape route

It’s good for everyone, not just the elderly to know how they’ll escape from their property if there is a fire. It may be that more than one route is needed depending on the location of the fire.  However, your loved one may have limited mobility, sight or hearing so ensure that you work out an easy escape route and practice it with them so that if something did happen they’d automatically know what to do.

Cooking safely

Ensure your loved one know the importance of never leaving food unattended, especially if they have a lack of mobility. If they suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider purchasing a shut-off device for the stove and oven in case they are left on by accident. Check the weight of the pots and pans. Heavy pans can slip and allow fat to spill onto an open flame.

Keep heaters at a safe distance

Ensure that your loved one keeps their heaters 3 feet away from things that can burn, such as blankets, beds, curtains, sofas. Remind them not to leave heaters on when out or overnight. If they need the heat from them, put the heaters on timers so that they will come on and off when most needed.

Looking through an ice-speckled car passenger side window during an early December winter snow storm, an 86 year old elderly senior adult woman - a real person grandmother - is shivering and making a frozen face as she waits for the car door to be opened. Her full time home caregiver - and designated shopping trip driver daughter (unrecognizable in this image) is helping Grandma get into the car. She's wearing a warm winter jacket with the collar flipped up to go out for some shopping errands. Finger Lakes Region in western New York, near Rochester, USA.

Winter Health Hazards

 

Reducing the risk of falling

More than 25% of Americans aged 65 and over take a fall. While not all falls lead to injury, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors and are the most common cause of non-fatal hospital admissions.  95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually on curbs, steps, and uneven sidewalks, and falling is the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.

In addition to the physical impact, falling can result in the person becoming fearful, impacting on everyday life and making them isolated.

Fall prevention throughout the year

There are a number of ways to reduce the risk of falling. Firstly, arrange for your loved one to review their health and overall wellbeing with their doctor and other healthcare providers.

  • Get their level of vitamin D checked out. A deficiency can cause weakness in muscles, causing their legs to give way unexpectedly.
  • Review medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter. Check for ones that may cause dizziness or sleepiness.
  • Arrange for hearing and eyesight to be tested as either can impair judgment or throw off balance when walking.
  • Ask if they are experiencing anything else, such as foot pain or trouble walking.

Review their home to remove hazards and add essential aids:

  • Add handrails where needed: on the stairs, in the bathroom, outside external doors.
  • Remove hazards such as rugs that can be tripped over.
  • Place items within reaching distance so they’re not tempted to stand on a stool.
  • Increase lighting if needed so they have improved visibility of potential hazards.

If they are able to, encourage your loved one to sign up to a strength or balance class to help maintain or improve in these areas. Go with them, or arrange for a friend to so that it becomes less about fall prevention and more about a fun activity.

Fall prevention in icy weather

We recommend going out as little as possible when it’s icy out… at any age! If your loved one insists on going out in all weather, ensure that they follow these tips for a safe outing:

  • Wear footwear with a good grip.
  • Use a walking stick or Nordic walking poles for extra grip
  • Walk slowly and keep an eye on the sidewalk for broken areas.
  • Salt their steps and pathways for them and ask a neighbor or carer to ensure they are salted regularly.

More than half of those that fall don’t tell anyone. It is important that you encourage your loved one to be honest, as falling just once doubles their chance of falling again. It’s important to figure out why they fell so that serious injuries can prevented.

holiday-loneliness

The Holiday Season: Loneliness and Isolation  

Thanksgiving seems to have flown around this year and on Thursday, many of us were spending time with family and friends. In our excitement, we can often forget that for an elderly friend or relative the holiday season can be an incredibly lonely and isolating time.

Rather than happiness and joy, the holiday season can act as a reminder that a once-bustling and vibrant home, is now silent and still. It may be the first year without a spouse or much-loved friend or family member. Loneliness is true of other holidays and events but the weather conditions over the winter holiday season can make it hard for seniors to get out and about, making them feel particularly isolated.

This holiday season, be mindful of helping elderly friends and families. Here are our top tips:

  • Engage in regular phone calls or visits to help your loved one feel just that, loved and cared for
  • Help them decorate their home, but remember to help them take the decorations down afterward. May seniors choose not to decorate as it’s just them, or because they are physically unable to decorate their home
  • Involve them in the holiday preparations. This can be anything from taking them out present shopping, to writing out Christmas cards together.
  • Ask them for recipe ideas, or baking tips so that they have a feeling of self-worth and usefulness
  • Take them to carol concerts, or to other holiday events
  • See if they need help with chores, or would like to visit a friend or relative.
  • Drive them to the cemetery to lay flowers for their loved ones no longer here
  • Hire a carer to spend time with them so that they have human contact and someone to converse with

Loneliness can lead to depression which can lead to health issues. Watch out for signs of depression. These can include:

  • A loss or increase in appetite
  • An increase in drinking alcohol
  • A change of sleeping habits, this can be insomnia, to not wanting to get out of bed, to napping more frequently
  • A lack of interest when you chat
  • A loss of interest in self-hygiene or presentation

If you believe your elderly friend or family member is suffering from depression, raise your concern with them and book an appointment with their physician.

There is a big difference in being alone, and being lonely so this holiday season, let’s help keep our loved ones from feeling lonely, even if they are alone for some of the time.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Family caregivers are often unsung heroes, not always recognizing that they are a caregiver, rather they are just ‘doing their job’. This year, the theme for National Family Caregivers Month is “Take Care to Give Care”, which ties in with our last article on noticing the signs of burnout (link to article).

Caregiving can be anything from mowing the lawn, to carrying out chores, taking your family member back and forth to hospital appointments, cooking meals, bathing and dressing your loved one. Often, family caregivers are managing extra responsibilities alongside running their own household and managing a career, or are in fact elderly themselves.

Being a family caregiver is emotionally challenging. Many caregivers experience a range of emotions including guilt, anger, despair, sadness, and fear. Obligation can way heavy, especially if your family member requires a considerable amount of care.

Therefore, it is important to take care of yourself, so in return you can give the best care possible to your loved one. We recommend creating a self-care plan so that you build in time for you. If not you may burnout, or become sick and no longer able to help your loved one.

For your self-care plan, think about the items that relax you, or hobbies and interests you enjoy. Brainstorm ideas and then work out how to fit a few of them in. Ideas include:

  • Going for twenty minute walk each day
  • Baking
  • Mindfulness coloring
  • Exercising
  • Spending time with a friend
  • Reading a book
  • Meditating

Making time for you will stop you from burning out and being resentful of all the people wanting a piece of your time. Getting enough sleep is essential, nap if necessary. Remember to stay hydrated and eat well.

Take help from other family members, friends or neighbors when offered. We find that many of our elderly clients initially try to care for their spouse by themselves, not wanting to ask for help from others. Do not feel that you must shoulder everything alone. Take people up on their offers of yard work, grocery shopping or pet walking.

There is also no harm in working with a caregiving agency such as Americare Philadelphia. We can help share the workload, even if it’s just for a few hours so that you can go off and run your own home, take time out from your spouse, or go to see a friend without worrying about leaving your loved one.

Take care to give care.

Beware of Burnout

Many Caregivers Give Too Much Of Themselves

The focus of family caregivers is to take great care of a loved one. However, as time goes on, a caregiver’s energy, productivity and even motivation can wane…though not intentionally.

Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Every day is a bad day. The exhaustion leads to the caregiver feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet the relentless demands on them. Without realizing it, they can appear cynical, hopeless, and even resentful. In fact, from 40-70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.

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A Tummy Ache – Again?

Seniors Are More Susceptible To Digestive Disorders

When the digestive system works properly, it breaks down foods into
forms that the body uses to build and nourish its cells, and to provide
the fuel and energy we need to live. Of course, it does not always work
to our liking. We have all had an upset stomach at one time or another.
It’s a rotten feeling – cramps, nausea, etc. Hopefully, the symptoms go
away quickly and our appetite returns.

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4 Common Fears of Old Age

There are fears that can creep into a person’s mind during any stage of life. They tend to change a bit as time goes on, but there is something that almost everyone fears in each stage. As you reach those retirement years and beyond, you begin to think through other aspects of aging and how your life may change drastically. Here are four of the most common fears that creep into peoples’ minds in the later stages in life.
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Tips for Writing a Will

Drawing up a will document is one of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself, your family, and your assets for whatever happens next. Both young adults and older adults alike should write a will to ensure that things are taken care of properly and aren’t left up to the local government. Here are some important aspects of a will that will give you a good idea of where to start.
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5 Ways to Provide Emotional Care for Your Elderly Loved One

Aging is a tricky business. It can be an emotionally challenging time for seniors as they come to learn that they may not be as able to perform tasks that they once could do so easily. Through the years, each sign of aging is an emotional and mental battle to cope with. Support and encouragement from family and friends is greatly needed while going through these tough transitions. If you start taking over every part of a senior’s life, they can begin to feel like they are a burden or lack value. Here are some tips for you to make the senior in your life feel important and valued as well as raise their self-esteem.

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