Chronic Disease Diagnosis: It’s Not Giving Up to Get Help

Portrait of tender mother daughter momentIn Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s a common feeling for a number of family caregivers when their loved one is diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as dementia. And even though this may generate some measure of comfort in believing that life can go forward like it always has, if only we refuse to admit this new reality, the truth is that acceptance is extremely important to obtaining necessary support.

It’s understandable for a family member to wish to accomplish everything possible independently to provide the care a senior needs. Nevertheless, frequently within the denial lie feelings of guilt, helplessness, and in many cases incompetence in the ability to “fix things.” And there are certainly major benefits to be attained – both for the senior and his or her family members – by dealing with the situation head-on, like the opportunity to savor time together, and also to learn about successful methods to deal with any issues being faced now or once the condition progresses.

AARP shares some practical things to consider for families struggling to acknowledge a loved one’s diagnosis:

  • It is possible to be TOO positive. Keeping up an upbeat disposition is great, but may actually be harmful if not tempered with a dose of reality. Many times people diagnosed with a chronic disease discover relief in speaking freely and honestly about exactly what they are experiencing, and acceptance is vital to delivering opportunities for such discussions.
  • Acceptance is not giving up. Instead, acknowledging your loved one’s condition opens the door to understanding practical strategies to regulate the condition, and to obtain the supportive services that will enable the greatest possible quality of life.
  • Treasure the time you have with your loved one. Letting go of denial permits you to shift your focus to establishing a brand new normal. There’s something freeing about removing the elephant in the room, permitting an unencumbered closeness with your senior loved one.
  • Allow others to help. Confronting a hard diagnosis in a loved one can be an overwhelming undertaking, so it’s important for family caregivers to make sure sufficient time is available on a consistent, regular basis for self-care. Accept any help offered by family, friends your religious organization, etc., or get in touch with an expert home care agency like Responsive Home Care. Understand that you are able to provide the best care for your loved one when you’re in good health, physically and emotionally.

Finding a dependable care partner is key. Responsive Home Care can deal with some of the more mundane facets of care, so you can spend quality time with the older adult you love. Call us at 954-486-6440 for an in-home consultation to find out more.

The Newest Approach to Chronic Illness: Empowering Patients to Take Control

Patients with chronic illness may feel more empowered when given the opportunity to communicate their own health care goals.

Regarding chronic diseases, seniors are the experts, hands down, with as many as three out of four seniors impacted by several conditions that are ongoing, require long-term medical attention, and place limits on activities. With the never-ending barrage of bloodwork along with other tests, physicians’ appointments and procedures, and medications, managing chronic diseases can take both a physical and emotional toll, and might quickly become stressful.

Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics and internist at Yale School of Medicine, points out, “Once you get three, four, or five and six diseases, several things happen: Number one, almost guaranteed, trying to get one of these diseases under control is going to make one of the other diseases worse. Number two: The more we ask people to do, the more overwhelmed they get and the less they are likely to do.”

For these reasons, Dr. Tinetti has developed the Patient Priorities Care approach, with the objective to decrease the burden of treatment by empowering patients to communicate their personal health care goals – determining what matters most to them. A plan of care will then be created to best meet those goals. For instance, one person’s goal could possibly be to improve total wellbeing in the short-term, while another person may seek to increase longevity of life. It also takes into consideration activities the individual enjoys and how to discover a means for him or her to continue to take part in them.

The Patient Priorities Care method builds upon the Minimally Disruptive Medicine strategy established ten years ago, which also seeks to ease the stress of chronic condition treatment, but which did not comprise the key aspect of introducing feedback from patients to understand what means the absolute most to them.

Ultimately, what many seniors ascertain is they desire to limit “unwanted care,” which they understand requires a lot more than the benefit they are going to receive from processes such as diagnostic tests and procedures. To that end, aging adults and their families can take advantage of these beneficial resources to get more successful, self-directed care, such as a conversation guide, summary of health goals, and a lot more.

At Responsive Home Care, we are focused on discovering what is most essential to the older adults within our care, and to providing the level of care that helps them thrive and reach their goals. It is why our care is fully personalized, and always starts off with discovering as much as possible about every individual and what his or her goals encompass – and then developing a plan of care to help achieve those goals. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 for more information.

Finding Meaning and Purpose Later in Life

senior care in Hollywood FL

As we age, life changes, but the need for purpose does not. Learn how to help seniors find new meaning for everyday life.

Think of an ordinary day in the life of a senior loved one. Ideally it provides a number of positive and enriching experiences: savoring breakfast, participating in a satisfying activity or interest, visiting with a good friend or member of the family, watching a favorite TV show. Nonetheless, there’s a distinction between positivity and purpose; and the value of a life rich with significance is now more widely known, particularly in the life of aging parents.

Viktor Frankl, world-renowned psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, explains poignantly, “What matters is not the meaning in life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

For individuals whose identity has been devoted to a profession and raising a family, and who now are in a season of retirement and fulfilled family responsibilities, it can be hard finding meaning and purpose later in life. At Responsive Home Care, we make it a priority to help seniors determine their interests and channel them into meaningful activities, such as:

  • Volunteering. For a senior who loves kids, tutoring, reading to, or mentoring students at an area school is a great option. Other individuals may care greatly about assisting veterans, and assemble care packages of personal care products and snack food items to send overseas. Or for animal lovers, bringing treats, blankets, and an affectionate heart to a pet shelter could be very fulfilling.
  • Learning. It is true: you are never too old to master something new. Go to a nearby community college, library, or senior center to find classes or online programs that might appeal to your senior loved one.
  • Helping at home. Well-meaning family caregivers often take over household chores to free their senior loved ones from the tasks they’ve taken care of during their lifetime. Unfortunately, this can have the negative effect of leaving older adults feeling as though they are no longer useful. Engage the senior in work and responsibilities throughout the home which are typically within his / her expertise and interest, such as assisting with organizing meals, folding laundry, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox, etc.
  • Documenting family history. Supplying the next generation with the rich genealogy and family history and stories experienced firsthand is a treasure that only older adults can offer. Help your senior loved one document his / her lifetime legacy in a scrapbook, writing, or video recording, and then share with friends and family.

And, call on Responsive Home Care when it comes to tailored in-home assistance that helps older adults discover satisfaction and purpose, while continuing to be safe and comfortable in the familiarity of home. We’re able to offer transportation to engaging and meaningful activities, help plan and implement ideas to accomplish right in the home, or simply just look after some of the everyday tasks in the residence, including cleaning and cooking, allowing family members to savor high quality time with one another. You can contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our elder care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas.

Responsive Home Health is now Responsive Home Care!

Responsive Home CareIt’s official: As of May 1, 2017, Responsive Home Health has changed its name to Responsive Home Care!

As the national home health care regulations continue to evolve, the distinction between home health and home care has become clearer. The difference lies in physician ordered, skilled medical home health versus the supportive, comprehensive personal home care Responsive provides. Although our ownership and our incredible staff who have been responding with care since 1994 remain the same, our new name better describes the work we do, providing in-home care services such as personal care, light housework and meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship and fall prevention, just to name a few.

Our comprehensive care approach helps older adults remain safe and comfortable at home, reducing re-hospitalizations through a team approach to care—meaning our caregivers, care coordinators and nursing staff all work together to meet the many facets of care for the whole person. We also provide oversight of that care to ensure that families and care providers receive the information needed, changes in health are proactively reported, and no need goes unmet. The result? Seniors who are safe, healthy, active and engaged.

 

Struggling with Osteoarthritis Pain? This New Technique Can Help!

osteoarthritis painIt’s a club no one wants to be a part of; however, as many as 10 million Americans have become members: sharing a diagnosis of osteoarthritis . Due to the wearing away of cartilage over the years, osteoarthritis commonly impacts bigger joints, such as the knees, and may be debilitating to a senior’s quality of life. With three main recommended treatment plans – over-the-counter medications to lessen inflammation, such as ibuprofen, prescription painkillers such as tramadol, or physical therapy – a good number of people with osteoarthritis have resigned themselves to a lifetime of limping, suffering, modified activity levels, and not surprisingly, chronic osteoarthritis pain.

And although knee replacement surgery could be helpful for several, not all arthritis sufferers are suitable; or, the potential risks associated with this type of invasive treatment are too great, especially for senior citizens. Now, however, an impressive new procedure has entered the arena, and provides great relief from chronic osteoarthritis pain without the risks or side effects of the other alternatives. Referred to as cooled radio frequency ablation (“Coolief”), the treatment works by “…changing the wiring of the knee…taking away the pain signal and interrupting it,” according to Dr. Amin Sandeep, a pain specialist at Rush University Medical Center. The impressive reduction in soreness, inflammation and stiffness also makes it possible for many patients to reduce their need for prescription medications and then to go back to – or begin – a more active way of life, resulting in better overall health and wellness.

Similar to injections of cortisone, long-lasting but temporary respite from aches and pains is normally achieved for a duration of around six to twelve months. Necessitating only local anesthetic, the procedure is completed on an outpatient basis within as little as 40 minutes. Potential risks and recovery time are minimal; nonetheless, it’s important to bear in mind that the process will not adjust, slow, or stop the progression of osteoarthritis. But for some, quality of everyday life is greatly improved as suffering is lessened significantly.

Are you or a senior loved one faced with osteoarthritis pain? A little help and support goes a long way towards enhancing quality of life for older adults with chronic issues such as osteoarthritis and various other conditions of aging, whether through helping with cleaning and washing, taking care of shopping for groceries and preparing meals, ensuring medications are taken exactly as prescribed, or just offering friendly companionship to brighten up the day. Call Responsive Home Care’s Fort Lauderdale home care team at 954-486-6440 to learn more ways that we can help!

Exercise Can Improve Heart Health and Safety for Seniors at Home

Home Health Care Lauderhill FL

Home Health Care Lauderhill FLExercise is one of the most important things anyone can do for their health, energy levels, and safety. When you’re talking about seniors living at home, it may not seem as important as it once did, but it’s actually one of the most important things people can do, regardless of their age.

In fact, even seniors who have had heart attacks are often encouraged by their doctor to get exercise daily. Of course, it’s absolutely crucial that an elderly person consult his or her primary care physician to make sure exercise is warranted and safe.

There are numerous reasons why exercise is so beneficial and there are plenty of ways to get adequate exercise for people of all ages. When seniors exercise regularly, it can help improve their strength and agility, balance, and ultimately their safety.

It only takes 15 minutes per day.

A lot of people in the United States and around the world have a tendency to assume if they don’t get at least an hour’s worth of exercise in every day, it’s not really going to make a difference. In truth, 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day is enough to help strengthen the heart and keep the body in relatively good physical condition.

Of course, a senior who is only able to do 15 minutes of light exercise is not going to be maintaining their muscle mass each passing year.

There are many activities to enjoy.

Exercising can be done by simply increasing the pace of walking, doing water aerobics, taking part in yoga that is specifically designed for seniors, and much, much more. If a senior enjoys certain activities that get them moving, they should be encouraged to do them.

Sometimes, though, they may need physical support. This is where a home health care aide can be beneficial to keep them safe while taking part in these activities.

It helps to strengthen legs.

While a person in their 70s or 80s is not likely to add muscle mass through any amount of exercise, it can help prevent muscle loss from continuing, or at least slow it down tremendously. This can help them maintain better balance and keep them safe or within the comfort of their home.

Far too many family members see exercise as being a hazard rather than a benefit. They may discourage exercise and activities for their aging parents or other loved ones, but the best thing to do is encourage the hiring of a home health care aide who can assist the senior in these exercises and activities and keep them safer within the comfort of their home.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Lauderhill FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

Health Benefits of Beans on Bean Day

Home Care Services Sunrise FL

Home Care Services Sunrise FLFebruary 7 is Bean Day. As a family caregiver this is the ideal opportunity for you to explore the ways that adding more beans into your aging parent’s diet can improve their health and support a higher quality of life as they age in place. With a huge variety of styles and virtually endless options for preparations, beans make an ideal component of nearly any healthy eating approach.

Some of the health benefits of beans include:

• Low fat. Beans are naturally extremely low in fat. This is ideal for those who are looking for ways to cut down the pounds or protect their heart health. It is important to keep in mind that they are only low fat when prepared without additional ingredients such as oils, lard, or cheese.

• High in fiber. Dietary fiber is one of the most important nutrients that your aging parent needs daily, but one that many people do not get enough of on a regular basis. Getting enough fiber is essential for proper digestion, helping to lower and manage blood cholesterol. Fiber also promotes a feeling of fullness, which helps to reduce how much they eat and control cravings.

• High in protein. Protein aids in the building and repair of tissues throughout the body, wound healing, and the production of sustainable energy. Most doctors recommend that people turn their focus toward more plant-based proteins rather than always reaching for animal sources, which are higher in fat, calories, and cholesterol. Beans are an ideal source of protein, offering the same amount of protein in half a cup as in one ounce of fish, chicken, or meat.

• Packed with nutrients. Unlike animal sources of protein, beans contain a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, folate, and potassium. These are critical for the body to function properly, but are often missing from the diet. Simply supplementing the diet with extra beans helps your aging parent to get these nutrients.

Starting home care services for your elderly loved one is an exceptional way to help them achieve and maintain a healthier diet as they age in place. Through a personalized approach to care, support, and assistance, this in-home senior care services provider can help your elderly loved one understand any dietary guidelines that they have, support them in designing a diet that will help them to keep their body healthy, assist them with tasks such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, and then integrate these concepts into their normal care routine so that they can continue to live the lifestyle that is right for them.

This can not only help them to keep their body at its best and ward off health complications and issues, but can also promote better mental and emotional health as they maintain a greater sense of independence and control over their life.

This can be particularly important if you are encouraging your loved one to eat a healthier diet based on recommendations by their doctor that are based on specific health issues that they are facing.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/beans-health-benefits_n_1792504.html

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Sunrise FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

What Can You Do When You Think Your Elderly Loved One is Having Cognitive Issues?

Home Health Care Tamarac FL

Home Health Care Tamarac FLWhen you first start to notice your loved one having difficulty processing information, it’s scary. The situation can be scary for your elderly loved one, too, because cognitive issues can often mean that she’s about to lose some of her independence.

Talk to Her Doctor Right Away

The first step is to talk with your loved one’s doctor right away. He can run tests to determine just how much your loved one’s cognitive abilities are being affected. Your loved one may have issues due to a health condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease or even depression, or there may be other factors. Starting out at your loved one’s doctor give him a chance to narrow down those causes.

Look at Environmental Causes

Sometimes other factors are at play when your loved one seems to be having cognitive issues. She may not be getting enough nutrition from her food, for instance, which can cause her brain to work in odd ways. If your loved one isn’t getting enough sleep, she may start to experience cognitive issues, too. These environmental causes may be something that you can pick up on yourself or your loved one’s doctor may ask about them.

Stick to the Care Plan

Once you have a plan of action in place from your loved one’s doctor, it’s important to adhere to that plan. In cases where there is an illness, such as depression, your loved one may be prescribed medication. In the case of other causes, such as not enough sleep, your loved one’s doctor may prescribe an exercise plan or changing up your loved one’s sleep hygiene to one that is more effective for her. No matter what, you’ll need to follow the plan in order to start seeing results.

Get Extra Help Now

You may need to go ahead now and start getting extra help, either in the form of other family members or even senior home health care providers. This can especially be the case if your loved one has an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease that is likely to worsen over time. Having extra help in place now will really benefit you as your loved one’s situation worsens.

As your loved one adapts to her new care plan, keep in mind that you may need to adjust it over time to accommodate her changing needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Tamarac FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

Did You Know Surviving Veterans and Their Spouses May be Eligible for VA Benefits at Home?

Home Health Care Fort Lauderdale FL

Home Health Care Fort Lauderdale FL

At Responsive Home Health, we strive to take care of all the surviving veterans and their spouses in need of home health care services in the Broward County Area. Our goal is to give back to our community’s veterans by managing and coordinating the benefits they deserve. By partnering with Veterans Care Coordination we have strengthened our ability to navigate a complex system. Veterans and their spouses may be eligible to obtain up to $25,440 per year of VA benefits for Home Health services. Call us today at 954-486-6440 to speak with a representative about any potential in home health care needs and the benefits you and your family deserve.

Heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have valiantly fought to make America the greatest nation in the world. We proudly honor the soldiers who died in military service and their families and loved ones on this Memorial Day.

If you or an aging loved one are considering  in-home care to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Health, the most trusted senior care company Ft. Lauderdale families rely on. Call today 954-486-6440.

IBUPROFEN AND NAPROXEN ALERT: FDA ISSUES ELEVATED WARNING FOR HEART ATTACK AND STROKE RISK

The latest findings from the FDA are in, and should make every one of us stand up and take notice: ibuprofen and naproxen, those seemingly harmless over-the-counter medications that we reach for so often for every ache and pain (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), have a confirmed hidden danger.

Although the FDA has long warned that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could potentially increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, the wording of this warning is being revised to reflect a more serious nature, as it’s been proven that NSAIDs, in fact, DO increase that risk. And the danger applies to even short-term use, increasing when taken over an extended period of time.

What does this mean for the average consumer who occasionally takes ibuprofen or naproxen? According to Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic, “If you are someone with a low risk of heart disease, and you have back pain or arthritis pain and need these drugs to function, it’s reasonable to take them.” Basically, the FDA’s recommendation is to take the least possible amount of the medication for the least possible amount of time.

Those who should be concerned about their use of NSAIDs include patients with a history of heart disease, heart attack, heart surgery, high blood pressure, or chronic pain—particularly those older than 65. The risks are estimated to generally increase when taking ibuprofen or naproxen as follows:

  • Over-the-counter dose: about 10% higher risk
  • Prescription medication low dose: about 20% higher risk
  • Prescription medication higher dose: as much as 50% higher risk

As with any medical concern, talk with your physician before starting, stopping or modifying any prescribed medication regimen.

THE REAL KEY TO IMPROVING BRAIN FUNCTION

Have you been working hard on crosswords and other brain-bending puzzles or listening to lots of classical music as a way to improve your brain? Neuroscientists at the University of California say simply, “Stop it right now.” Their research shows that, while puzzles and classical music may improve a person’s concentration briefly, they play no role in long-term brain functionality.

So then what should you be doing to boost your brain? Exercise, and get a little sun. The study notes that rats who were exposed to different environments produced different brain-altering chemicals. Those that exercised less and were not exposed to sunlight showed no improvement in brain function, even when exposed to classical music, while those who got outside and exercised experienced noted brain function improvement.

Need more of a push to get out and get moving? Take a look at this humorous article about boosting brain power from the Huffington Post.

GREAT ADVICE FOR EVERY FAMILY CAREGIVER

Caring for a loved one as he or she ages can be a very rewarding experience, but it isn’t without challenges. Millions of Americans have taken on the role of caregiver for an elderly parent in recent years, and while your relationship with your parent may have always been great, constant caregiving and feeling like there’s a role reversal between child and parent can be extremely stressful. It is important for all caregivers to learn how to manage their emotions for their health and the health of their loved ones.

In the article Taking Care of an Elderly Parent―and Not Loving It? How to Turn Resentment Into Patience and Joy, psychologist Dr. Suzanne Gelb encourages caregivers to do three key things in order to manage stress and find peace in their caregiver role:

1. Release your feelings in a positive way, even if you just need to scream into a pillow.
2. Find and talk to someone else who understands your experience. Seek out caregiver support groups in your area or online.
3. Recognize that there are things you cannot control and let those things go.

Read more of Dr. Gelb’s advice for caregivers in this article from the Huffington Post.

Home care Fort Lauderdale provider, Responsive Home Care, can help you with the caregiving of your senior loved one. Contact us to learn more.