Mobility Problems

Limited mobility is an unfortunate, yet common factor that often comes with age or diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. In the past, it has not always been easy to mobilize after an injury or fall, but in modern technology, mobility products have greatly improved for the ease and safety of the elderly. Mobility products have advanced over time to help patients regain their independence and return to their daily activities such as getting from one place to another or simply reaching for objects around them. Today, there are many types of products that help  elderly get out and enjoy life like they once used to.

Depending on the type of injury or disease, there is a different option of mobility products. The most common are the canes and walkers; they are usually given to patients after an injury, but doctors now want to prescribe them to increase stability, support, and to relieve pressure from the joints to prevent injuries. For those who are unable to walk or have limited upper body strength, a manual wheelchair might be a bit of a challenge. There are other options such as electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Electric wheelchairs are easier to maneuver compared to the scooter simply because it is smaller. The wheelchair is more beneficial because it fits in smaller areas such as narrow hallways, bathrooms, and is able to pull up to a table without having the front end of the scooter interfere.

Some big factors in mobility injuries are environmental hazards. Hospital evaluations show that a third of injuries in the elderly population involve hazards in the home. It could be poor lighting, loose carpets, or even having too much furniture which minimizes space to move around. There are many factors that can play a roll in preventable injuries. Lack of exercise leads to potential loss of balance or poor muscle tone that could make one feel weak, and prescribed medications can cause drowsiness potentially causes impaired vision causing one to miss a step or bump into something.

Proper mobility is very important as we get older. It is shown today, that falls and injuries due to improper mobility cause most hospital admissions among the elderly population. Choosing the right mobility product as well as taking the proper precautions of making a home safe, can help prevent your family and friends from injuries. If you or someone else is taking care of an elderly be aware and responsive to how he/she is feeling and to their surroundings.

Power of Attorney

There always comes that time in life where either you or a loved one can no longer handle financial or any stressful decision making. No one ever plans to reach a point in their life when they may need or want to have help in carrying out their daily needs. Every family will reach that difficult time when a loved one needs help. As we age our daily needs, and activities become more difficult to handle. Do not let a loved one stress out or make poor decisions on their own. In deciding the best way to help a family member be aware of the options, make sure the decision that is agreed upon is in the best interest for the person who is being cared for.

Some options to look at would be; A “Power of Attorney”, which is a document that gives another person the authority to act as a legal guardian on one’s behalf should one ever be incompetent to do so themselves. A power of attorney is very similar to a living will; it is a safety net to protect not only the person in need of care but the family as well. There are many types of power of attorney so be sure to look into them. One that I would like to point out in particular would be, “Durable Power of Attorney for Health care”, this is a power of attorney where the legal guardian contacts an agent to make health care decisions for a loved one even after they are unable to make such decisions on their own. This type of power can be viewed as a form of advance health care directive.

Disability can hit any of us at anytime; it is never too early to put a loved one in good hands.

Caregivers, Care Managers and Family Members

Many seniors, for various reasons, face hazards when they are left alone in the house. Some might need someone to bring food and water, or help them go to the bathroom. Others, due to memory problems might be in danger of leaving the stove on, or doing something else that puts them in danger. For these seniors, just having someone around for supervision can be a tremendously valuable thing.

Unfortunately, many seniors are unable to have someone around at all the times when they need one. For seniors with large, closely-knit families, it can be easier to make sure that someone will be there, especially if the senior also has a professional caregiver for hours when family is unavailable. But for other seniors, without a lot of nearby family members to supervise, it can be a major challenge to get sufficient care. In this situation it can be useful to hire a care manager. Care managers work with seniors’ physicians, family members and caregivers to ensure that the senior is being cared for sufficiently, and is not in danger. When seniors don’t have family members to check in on them, a care manager can provide all the supervision that would otherwise be provided by the family.

Not all seniors can have people around whenever they need them. Depending on the amount of care needed, and the ability of the senior’s family to provide supervision, the senior’s home care needs could be met by a combination of family help and the services of professional caregivers. But for seniors without an adequate family or social support system, hiring a care manager might be the best choice.

Why ACS?

Here at ACS we are commited to educating the community on the service we provide. We understand that many of those in need of care don’t really know where to start in terms of searching. For some of you it is a shock to know your loved one is in need of such care and for others it is something you knew you would need eventually.

Although it is difficult for us to accept we must remember that those that are in need of homecare have a sense of loss that is often troubling to accept. They are afraid to leave everything familiar behind along with losing their sense of independence.It is important that at such a difficult time in one’s life they understand moving away from home isn’t the only option. By having a caregiver to supervise and assist them with everyday tasks in their home they don’t have to succumb to a nursing home.

If this is your first time looking into homecare you should understand some of the benefits. Take the following into consideration:

It’s Simple:
ACS is here to meet your specific needs. Together we can work out a schedule and a list of duties that you need performed. You decide if you want light housekeeping, bath assistance, meals, etc. performed everyday and you even choose the shifts you need worked. Once we have that information we will be able to place you with a caregiver.

The transition is easy:
The true benefit is that your caregiver comes to you! There is no need to drive yourself or your loved one anywhere. You’ll also have a companion around who you can talk and share stories with.

The price is reasonable:
ACS was founded to provide quality, affordable, non-medical homecare for seniors! Keeping costs down is what we are here to do! It is our mission to improve their quality of life by providing them the best service at the best price.

Homecare provides family members with the PEACE OF MIND that their loved one is in the hands of a qualified individual.

Exercise and Older Adults

As most of us already know physical activity and exercise are important to both your physical and mental health. That being said there are tremendous benefits for older people who exercise. Continuous physical activity can also produce long- term benefits and many experts suggest that older adults who remain active also maintain their optimal health. Some of you may be reading this wondering what activities can do to stay healthy and for others this may be the time to start an exercise game plan.

First, you need to know what your limits are. Second, ease into your new exercise routine. Decide how often you want to exercise, whether it be once a day or maybe just certain days of the week. There are 4 main categories of physical activity: Endurance, Strength, Balance and Flexibility. For the most part most exercises fit into more than one category.

Endurance:
These are activities that increase your heart rate and breathing. Increasing your heart rate and breathing help to condition your body and may lower your risk of heart attack while increasing the strength of your lungs. You may try taking a brisk walk or taking the stairs whenever possible. If you are looking to build your physical endurance try taking a dance or aerobics class, some of these classes may be offered at your local senior center. Biking and swimming are 2 other ways to build up your endurance.

Strength:
By increasing your strength may also ensure that as you age you will still be able to carry your own groceries as you get older. To do this you can try lifting light weights.

Balance:
If you are concerned about your balance you might want to learn Tai Chi or even practice heel to toe walking.

Flexibility:
As with all exercises and especially before physical activity always stretch to increase your flexibility and to prevent injuries.

Remember that even though physical exercise is important it is also important to know your physical limits before beginning an exercise routine.

Staying Safe in Cold Weather

Cold weather is especially dangerous for children and older adults. Although we may not notice its affects right away the winter’s cold can easily bring on Hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 96 Degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia can develop in older adults fairly quickly when exposed to colder temperatures, even if the temperature change is small. Older less active adults are more prone to Hypothermia due to a low production in body heat. Diabetes and other medical conditions can also lead to a diminished response to cold weather. Even some over the counter cold medicines can lead to a poor response to drops in temperature. If you care for an older adult you should pay close attention to them when they are exposed to the cold.

Although dangerous Hypothermia is preventable. While indoors dress your loved one in layers, ensure that they are wearing socks and slippers. Set the thermostat to 68 to 70 Degrees Fahrenheit, although this may seem too warm Hypothermia can be brought on at the temperature of 65 Degrees Fahrenheit. When going outdoors it is important to make sure they keep their heads covered by a hat and that they have a scarf and gloves with them. You should also check with a doctor to see if any medications or cold medicines may increase their risk of hypothermia.

If an older adult has been exposed to the cold and you believe that they may be suffering from hypothermia, check their temperature. A temperature of 96 degrees or less is an indicator that something is wrong and 911 should be called immediately. Some other warning signs are sleepiness, confusion, shivering, stiffness in their arms or legs, slow/slurred speech, slow reactions and a weak pulse.

Tips for preventing falls

Every 18 seconds and elderly person ends up in the ER due to a fall.
In fact more than 1/3 of people over 65 fall each year and nearly
23,000 deaths are linked to falls each year. What most people do not
realize is that these deaths stem from head injuries or hip fractures
that lead to extensive hospital stays. Falls are normally caused by
loss of balance, weak muscles, impaired vision, medications and
everyday home hazards. What older adults fail to voice is just how
afraid they are of falling. Since a fall can occur at anytime they may
be afraid to be left alone but are not willing to give up their
independence. Learning how to prevent falls will not only help them
avoid injuries but it will also help them preserve their independence.

When the elder speaks to their doctor encourage them to be honest with
their level of pain. Older people tend to minimize their pain when in
reality it is in their best interest to be honest. Researches have
found that those in severe pain we 77% more likely to fall than those
with no pain. If the pain can be managed with medication the doctor
has the ability to find medications that serve their needs. If balance
is an issue ask their doctor to test of any inner ear disorders. These
inner ear disorders can cause dizziness and affect their balance.

Although it is tempting to go out and buy them a cane or walker on
your own it is highly advised that they get fitted by a physical
therapist.The physical therapist will be able to show them how to use
the aid properly. Improper use of canes and walkers send over 47,000
older people to the hospital every year.

Many older adults find having a pet therapeutic, which is very true.
Having a pet as a companion can give them emotional strength as well
as encourage them to exercise. But pets also make the home unsafe,
pets are responsible for sending 21,000 elders to the hospital every
year. Pets should be discouraged from sleeping at the foot the bed or
at the foot of chairs. Also, make sure that their toys aren’t left
throughout the house as this poses a threat to any person who may walk
through that area.

Its Never Too Early For an Advance Directive

“If you were to become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for
yourself, what would you want your family to do?” For many this
question comes across their mind and they answer it, but fail to
express that answer on paper. The problem with not putting it in
writing is when a situation arises where they cannot make their own
decisions, no one knows what to do. The answer comes from their
family who may have a different view of what should be done. Family
feuds often arise in situations where parties take opposing views in
regards to “what you would want”. By drafting an Advance Directive you
are able to ensure that your wishes are respected and that you are not
burdening loved ones with painful choices.

Advance Directives are documents that specify your wishes for heath
care if you are unable to make your own decisions. They are used to
avoid prolonging the dying process and to prevent unnecessary
heartache and turmoil within families. Advance Directives are
basically your dying health care wishes written on paper. You are able
to specify what you want done to save your life or the limits of
medical interventions that you want preformed. You then appoint a
health care power of attorney, someone who will be responsible for
carrying out the Advance Directive. This person should also know you
well enough to weigh out the pros and cons before carrying out your
wishes.

Although we may think we are “too young” to draft an Advance Directive
be assured that you are never too young to make end of life plans. At
any point in life, whether young or old, a vegetative state or severe
impairment can be brought on by car accidents or physical illnesses.

Make sure the documents are drafted and executed in a legally binding
manner, this can be done with the help of attorney who specializes in
elder law, trusts or estates. Once you draft your Advance Directive
make sure you give copies to your doctors, surrogates, attorney and
family. Also, make sure those papers are taken with you or brought to
the hospital. Most of all communicate your wishes to relatives and
medical providers to avoid conflicts later. Advance Directives help
give others peace of mind and allow you to be in control even though
you are not mentally or physically able.

Welcome to the ACS Blog

Hi everyone, and welcome to our blog. Here at ACS we decided that having a blog would be a great opportunity for us to discuss the many issues seniors face in today’s world. We plan to fill the blog regularly with information on home care, health and wellness, senior events, humor, and anything else that would help enrich people’s understanding of senior life. We intend for this blog to be both informative and entertaining, providing information that can help people live better, presented in a way that’s readable and fun. So check back with us regularly for helpful hints on elder care, senior news, and much more!