Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Speech Therapy: Can It Help Stroke Victims?

Strokes occur when the blood flow to the brain is cut off, either from a blood clot or the rupture of a blood vessel. When this happens, the brain cells that are deprived of oxygen and other nutrients delivered by the blood die. In many cases, this results in speech impairment for stroke victims. Home care professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, know that restoring speech is not an easy task for many seniors who have suffered from a stroke; however, speech therapy can assist them in regaining their ability to communicate verbally.

Finding the Right Form of Therapy
Like all therapeutic fields, you may find that the practice of speech therapy can be performed following different philosophies. For instance, some professionals believe that short yet intensive sessions are more effective than traditional ones. Additionally, the way in which professionals approach the actual exercises conducted throughout a session can vary. For this reason, the first step toward recovering the communication capabilities of your senior is to find the right therapist for the job. Your loved one's physician should be able to recommend a therapist who can help your senior achieve their verbal communication goals.

Understanding the Nature of the Process
Ultimately, speech therapy can work; however, the extent to which it can restore your loved one's speaking capabilities will be determined by how much damage the stroke caused to their brain. As such, it is important that your family makes small, realistic goals while your senior is going through the therapeutic process. By expecting too much out of the therapy, you could discourage your senior and cause them to become frustrated, angry, or bitter. The best approach is to celebrate each success and move one step at a time in terms of goal-setting.

Understand the Difference between Short-Term and Long-Term Success
Therapy will, essentially, help restore the ability of your loved one to speak. This entails a great deal of work regarding the rebuilding of damaged brain tissue. The brain is a flexible, adaptable organ, to be sure, but it is not always possible to completely restore speaking abilities if a stroke has caused too much destruction. For this reason, it is important to maintain clear communication with your loved one's therapist regarding their progress.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Weather: How to Keep Your Senior Safe Behind the Wheel

Winter weather can present a wide range of challenges to drivers. Icy roads, freezing rain, and other unique features of the colder months can create dangerous driving conditions. This is particularly true for seniors, who may have impaired vision or slower reflexes. As such, it is crucial that you assist your elderly loved one in staying safe this winter by following these tips.

  1. Make sure your senior's car is in tip top shape. Take the vehicle in for an inspection to make sure that the brakes and other important parts are capable of handling winter weather. Because being able to stop quickly on frozen roads may be required of your loved one, it is essential to ensure that their car can stand up to that challenge.
  2. Check your senior's car's tires. When navigating the roads, they will need a thick tread to stick to the asphalt. Depending upon your senior's needs, you may invest in winter tires to ensure that they are as safe as possible when traveling on their own.
  3. Pour winter wiper fluid into your loved one's car to ensure that they are able to defrost their windshield effectively. Even if they do not receive a great deal of snow in their area, frozen windshields can pose a major threat—especially if your loved one already suffers from impaired vision.
  4. If you are worried about your senior driving during the winter season, try to provide transportation as frequently as possible. For instance, you may accompany your elderly loved one to the grocery store or on other errands to minimize the amount of driving they must do. This will also allow you to spend quality time with your senior, so you both may come to cherish these errands and the time they allow you to spend together.
As a caregiver, your first priority is the wellbeing of your elderly loved one. Providing home care to your senior may not always be easy, but going the extra mile to ensure that they have access to safe vehicles during the winter months—or even driving them to their destinations yourself—is the best way to help your loved one stay safe this season.

Monday, December 10, 2012

High Blood Pressure: How Can It Be Treated?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that commonly ails elderly individuals. The good news is that there are many ways in which your senior can combat this issue if it occurs. From lifestyle changes to medications, your elderly loved one can try a variety of treatment options that will assist in restoring blood pressure levels to within a healthy range.

Lifestyle Changes: Improving Blood Pressure without the Use of Pharmaceuticals
The first course of action your senior's doctor will probably want to take is to see if your loved one can lower their blood pressure naturally. There are several ways in which they can attempt to do this, including:

  • Improving dietary intake: Limiting the consumption of sodium can help in lowering blood pressure levels. Additionally, maintaining a well-rounded diet is the best way to keep the systems of the body working optimally. As such, a nutritious meal plan can assist in promoting overall health, in addition to lowering blood pressure.
  • Engaging in physical activity: Exercise is an important aspect of any healthy lifestyle. In fact, incorporating exercise into their daily schedule is a great way for seniors to maintain healthy blood pressure and other levels. Working out is also a wonderful way to maintain a healthy weight, which is another way in which elderly individuals can improve their blood pressure levels.
  • Kicking the habit: Smoking is linked to high blood pressure, which is why quitting smoking is a great way for seniors to improve their health and blood pressure levels.

Medications: When Lifestyle Changes Are Not Enough
For some seniors, making the previously listed changes in their lifestyle is enough to get high blood pressure levels in check; for others, the assistance of a medication is necessary to achieve healthy blood pressure. The market offers several different medications to be used for this purpose, and your senior's doctor will prescribe one based on their personal medical history.

Treating high blood pressure is a relatively common objective for seniors; however, this does not mean that it is not a serious issue. High blood pressure can lead to numerous medical complications, so it is crucial that you help your elderly loved one in achieving healthy levels.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Home Safety: Winterizing Your Senior's Property

During the winter months seniors face a variety of challenges that are sparked by cold weather. To ensure that these challenges do not compromise the safety of your elderly loved one, it is important to ensure that their homes are winterized and able to withstand the harsh weather that this season may produce. Here are a few tips to assist you in making sure that your senior's house is safe and secure during the upcoming colder months.

  1. Check the heating system. An effective heater is an integral part of keeping your loved one comfortable as cooler weather approaches. The health of elderly individuals is a bit more vulnerable to environmental changes than that of younger people, so it is important that the living area is kept at the right temperature. Make sure that the system is running and that the filter is clean. Additionally, close the vents in any rooms that your loved one does not use so that all of the heat is directed toward their living area.
  2. Ensure that the home is properly insulated. Having the right insulation in the attic is very important, as hot air rises and you do not want all of your senior's warm air to escape out of the top of their home. If necessary, have new insulation installed to keep heating costs down and create a more comfortable living environment for your loved one.
  3. Check outdoor spigots. If any of these fixtures are left running, even if they are just dripping, they can create dangerous patches of ice. If these ice patches are located in certain spots, they can cause your elderly loved one to slip and fall. Make sure that all spigots are off and that there are no leaks in the pipes or fixtures.
  4. Search your senior's house for any drafts. Check the windows and doors for broken seals and other issues.
Winterizing your loved one's home will allow you to create a safer living space for your senior. These are just a few of the ways in which you can make sure their house is secure; you may also want to consult with a local home improvement professional regarding ways in which you can improve the safety of your loved one's property this season.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prognosis for Stroke Victims: What Should You Expect?

Senior care professionals in Durham, North Carolina, understand that caregivers must anticipate the needs of an elderly loved one after they suffer from a stroke. Although the exact impact that a stroke will have on a senior varies from one individual to another, there are ways to plan for the increased care that your elderly loved one may need after leaving the hospital.

In terms of severity, a stroke is a very intense event if not addressed by medical professionals quickly. In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this particular medical condition is the second leading cause of death around the world. Due to improved medical response and the ability of individuals to get their family members into the hands of healthcare professionals quickly, the mortality rate associated with stroke is declining. In fact, the medical center asserts that over 75 percent of individuals who suffer from a stroke survive for the first year. Over 50 percent survive through the next five years.
The damage that a stroke causes to the body hinges on many factors. First and foremost is the location of the stroke. Depending upon where the bleeding or blockage occurs, the event will result in damage to different parts of the brain. Because the brain’s many parts control different functions and areas of the body, the damage done to them will dictate the lasting effects of the stroke. For instance, an aneurysm that cuts off blood flow to the part of the brain that controls speech may impair the ability of a senior to communicate vocally.

After your elderly loved one’s condition is assessed by a doctor, following the event, it is important to speak with the healthcare professional regarding their individualized prognosis pertaining to the damage that has been done to your loved one’s brain. Through this conversation, you can better gauge the amount of extra care that your senior will need.
Determining the prognosis of a stroke victim is not an easy task, and it is one that requires both family members and medical professionals to remain patient, as the lasting damage of the event will not be evident until after it has occurred. By understanding this damage, though, you can better cater to the needs of your loved one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Treatment Options for Stroke Victims

A stroke is a major medical event, one that must be treated as quickly as possible in order to minimize the damage that it causes to the brain. Senior care professionals understand that the treatment plan that a doctor recommends will depend upon the kind of stroke that has taken place. Also, an elderly individual’s medical history, symptoms, and other factors may be considered. Helping elderly loved ones through the treatment of a stroke is difficult, but you can assist your senior in staying strong through the process by educating yourself about the ways in which strokes are treated. The elder care professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, know that understanding these treatment options makes the entire process a little less daunting.

Ischemic Stroke Treatment
Ischemic strokes may be first treated with a clot-dissolving medication. Called a tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA, this medication disbands clots and, in so doing, restores blood flow to the brain. As such, if administered quickly enough, it can prevent further damage to brain cells.

In addition to a t-PA, seniors who suffer from ischemic strokes may also be given aspirin or a similar medication. This is an antiplatelet drug that prevents platelets from clotting.
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment

Elderly individuals who suffer from a hemorrhagic stroke may first be monitored for the symptoms of increased pressure in the brain. Medications to control several different factors, including blood pressure, fever, blood sugar, and seizures, may be administered to minimize the damage that the stroke causes to the body.
If the stroke has been determined to stem from a ruptured aneurysm, surgeons may opt to perform one of two different procedures; they may use a metal clip to stop the aneurysm from bleeding any further or they may choose to perform endovascular coil embolization, which entails threading a coil into the aneurysm to stop the flow of blood. Surgery is also an option when bleeding leads to high pressure around the brain, as medical professionals may need to drain the fluid that is pushing on the organ.

The most important thing to remember is to get your senior into the hands of a trained healthcare professional as soon as possible when a stroke begins. Treating this condition quickly is imperative to preventing lasting damage to the brain.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Happens During a Stroke

A stroke is a very dangerous medical event that occurs when the blood supply is cut off to the brain. This can take place for multiple reasons, but in every case it is crucial that elderly individuals receive medical attention as soon as possible. During a stroke, brain cells can die and cause permanent damage, resulting in a long list of complications for the senior who has suffered the event. By understanding what happens during a stroke, senior care professionals know that you can better navigate the situation and, ultimately, more effectively secure the care that your loved one needs.

A stroke can be caused by two different ways in which blood flow to the brain is limited. The first is a blood clot. When a blood clot blocks an artery, blood cannot move up into the brain. This blood is oxygen-rich and provides the brain with the nutrients it needs to survive. Without these nutrients, brain cells cannot live. The second way in which the blood supply can be cut off is through the rupture of a blood vessel. If a blood vessel breaks, then the blood will flow out into the body instead of up into the brain. Like a blood clot, the rupture of a blood vessel limits the flow of blood into this vital organ, causing its cells to die.

As brain cells begin to die, seniors will experience a loss of certain capabilities. For instance, their speech or movement may become impaired. If blood flow is not restored to the brain quickly enough, the damage done to the cells may prove irreparable. This means that seniors can face permanent damage to their ability to speak and move. Additionally, if a certain part of the brain is affected, elderly individuals may lose their memory.
The extent of the damage caused by a stroke is dependent upon several factors. First and foremost, the location of the event will determine which parts of the brain are impacted. Furthermore, the amount of time that it takes for individuals to receive medical assistance plays an integral role in the ability of healthcare professionals to restore function to affected parts of the brain. By understanding what is taking place, you can better get your senior the medical assistance they need.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Parkinson's Disease: What Treatment Options Are Available?

Parkinson's disease is a progressive illness that, over time, causes neurodegeneration in the brain. Although the progression of the disease is often slow, allowing individuals to live for decades after receiving their diagnosis, it creates a long list of symptoms that can interfere with the daily lives of individuals who have this condition. Unfortunately, modern medicine is still searching for a cure for this disease; however, individuals who suffer from Parkinson's disease are encouraged to take advantage of the treatment options that can alleviate their symptoms and, ultimately, improve quality of life.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, both pharmaceutical and surgical treatment options are available to individuals with this disease.[1] The symptoms that healthcare professionals advise be treated are those that most impair the ability of their patients to enjoy their lives. For this reason, the treatment plans created for individuals who are battling Parkinson's disease are different from one case to another.
Pharmaceutical Treatment

When Parkinson's disease takes hold, the brain often struggles to create the dopamine it needs. For this reason, many of the drugs prescribed to treat this condition focus on replacing or mimicking dopamine. These pharmaceuticals are often also able to alleviate rigid muscles, which frequently develop with this condition. Furthermore, they can improve coordination and speed while reducing the severity of tremor.

Surgical Treatment
Surgery is always a major undertaking, and it is important to remember that it should only be performed if medications have not satisfactorily addressed certain symptoms of Parkinson's disease. If the characteristic tremor of this condition is not alleviated by pharmaceuticals, surgery is often an option. Additionally, individuals who suffer from motor fluctuations may also consider this method of treatment to improve their symptoms and enhance their quality of life.

Complementary Treatment
Herbs, vitamins, and supplements may prove helpful in lessening the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It is important, though, that individuals exploring this avenue are certain of the credentials of the individual providing them with treatment advice.

Clinical Trials
Researchers are actively looking for cures to this devastating disease. As such, multiple clinical trials are taking place at any given moment.
Parkinson's disease is a difficult condition for both individuals and their loved ones to handle; however, with the support of a knowledgeable medical team, families in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, can help alleviate the symptoms of their loved ones. 

[1] http://www.parkinson.org/Parkinson-s-Disease/Treatment

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Parkinson's Disease: What Is the Prognosis?

A progressive illness, Parkinson's disease is a condition that gets worse over time. Frequently, the disease intensifies slowly, allowing individuals who have received this diagnosis to enjoy long lives with their loved ones; however, with a cure still not confirmed by medical researchers, it is important that individuals understand the prognosis of this condition in order to best care for their loved ones who have the disease. Lindsay, from Durham, North Carolina, was by her mother's side when she was told she had Parkinson's disease. Since then, Lindsay has learned the importance of planning ahead—and knowing what the plan for.
While doing her research, Lindsay discovered several different pieces of information regarding the health challenges that her mother had before her. While it was certainly hard for her to think about the difficulties that the progressive disease would cause, Lindsay is glad that she understands the road before her mother.
Here are some details regarding the prognosis of Parkinson's disease:[1]

  1. This illness progresses at a different rate for everyone. Oftentimes it develops slowly; however, there are cases in which the condition progresses at a more rapid rate.
  2. The life expectancy of individuals who have Parkinson's disease is lower than that of those who do not, but the disease itself is not fatal. Oftentimes, any loss of life associated with this condition stem from health complications that accompany it. These may include pneumonia, choking, and falls, among others.
  3. In some cases, Parkinson's disease can transform into a Parkinson-plus disorder, which is often resistant to pharmaceutical treatments. 
  4. A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease does not mean that a person has lost the ability to live life to the fullest. Treatment options are available to assist in managing symptoms and helping individuals live a higher quality of life.
Lindsay understands that Parkinson's disease presents a challenge for both her mother and the rest of the family; however, armed with information about what to expect and how to react to certain symptoms as the years go on, Lindsay is confident that she can help her mother experience the best life possible despite this condition. 

[1] http://www.news-medical.net/health/Parkinsons-Disease-Prognosis.aspx

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease is a condition that affects the nervous system. As such, it impacts movement and often causes a tremor in individuals who suffer from this illness. To date, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease; however, there are medical therapies that can assist individuals in managing the condition's symptoms and improving their quality of life.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

The symptoms associated with this disease showcase its impact on movement. The most common is a tremor, which causes hands and limbs to shake. Individuals who have this condition may also experience bradykinesia, or slowed movement. With impaired nervous symptom function, people with Parkinson's disease may find that it takes them longer to move. For instance, they may start taking shorter steps or have difficulty getting up out of a chair. Rigid muscles, which create stiffness and limit range of motion, often contribute to this problem.

In addition to challenges with voluntary movement, individuals who have Parkinson's disease frequently experience a decline in involuntary movement. The swinging of arms when walking, the ability to blink, or even the ability to smile may decline. Changes in speech, too, occur with this illness. People who have this condition may speak softly, slur their words, or speak in a monotone manner. Writing, similarly, may change in appearance.
Complications of Parkinson's Disease

Frequently, people who have this illness suffer from complications, which can be thought of as secondary symptoms in a way. Difficulty thinking, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, bladder control problems, and sexual dysfunction are all associated with the disease.
Diagnosing Parkinson's Disease

Medical professionals cannot simply run a test for this condition; most commonly, a diagnosis is made through differential diagnostic procedures. Simply put, physicians eliminate the presence of other possible illnesses to determine if Parkinson's disease is the best diagnosis. After this is complete, if Parkinson's disease seems to be the most likely candidate, doctors often prescribe medication for the illness. If the medication creates a significant improvement in the individual's condition, it is thought as a confirmation of the diagnostic conclusion.
Parkinson's disease is a devastating condition for many individuals; however, early detection and treatment options can improve quality of life for people who suffer from this illness.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Skilled Nursing Facilities: How Many Professionals Should Be On Staff?

When seeking the best nursing home for her mother in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Darla compared many characteristics of a handful of skilled nursing facilities. During her efforts to pinpoint the best facility, she realized that the staffing of these facilities was integral to their ability to provide the highest possible degree of care to residents. As such, she began to analyze the value that different senior care professionals bring to the team.

Darla quickly recognized that the federal requirements regarding the staffing of nursing homes are very vague. In fact, they simply dictate that a satisfactory number of professionals are available to care for the residents. State requirements, on the other hand, are a little more detailed; however, they are still a bit ambiguous. In many cases, a registered nurse is required to be on hand for eight hours of each day and a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or licensed vocational nurse is required to be available 24 hours per day.
Because these guidelines leave skilled nursing facilities a lot of leeway regarding their staffing procedures, Darla encourages individuals to consider staffing levels when comparing the facilities from which they are choosing. During her experience, she discovered that there are three groups of professionals working within nursing facilities: direct care, support, and administration.

Direct care professionals are the most important, as they are the individuals who interact daily with the residents of a facility. Included in this category are registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certified nursing assistants. Depending upon the facility, specialty therapists and other medical professionals may be on staff or on call.
Support personnel are the individuals who ensure that the facility runs smoothly. This category of professionals includes maintenance workers, custodians, and groundskeepers, among other individuals. These are the professionals who ensure that the facility, as a whole, is a safe, clean, and healthy place to live.

Administration professionals are probably the least involved in the care of residents. These individuals handle administrative tasks and rarely have contact with the seniors living in the facility.
Darla encourages you to consider the staffing levels of the nursing homes you and your family are considering for your loved one. She advises you to find a well-staffed facility that conducts background checks and only employs qualified, licensed professionals.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How Long of a Stay Does Medicare Cover In a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Many elderly individuals rely upon Medicare to assist in paying for their healthcare costs. As such, it is important for seniors and their families to understand the role that Medicare plays in a stay at a skilled nursing facility, or nursing home. James, from Durham, North Carolina, recently assisted his mother in arranging her short-term stay at such a community. As such, his insight may help you in planning for your elderly loved one's tenure at a nursing home with the benefits of Medicare coverage.
Why a Short-Term Stay?

Oftentimes, people assume that seniors who move into nursing homes do so permanently. This is, however, not the case. Many elderly individuals stay in nursing facilities after an operation or similar medical complication in order to benefit from the services of around the clock healthcare professionals. As such, they can rest and recover with the assistance of skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced individuals.
James' mother's stay at a nearby nursing home is a great example of this situation. She fell and suffered a broken hip. To recover as successfully as possible, she opted to move into an assisted living facility for two months to ensure that the break healed properly.

How Much Does Medicare Cover?
The amount of the medical expenses incurred during a short-term stay at a nursing facility really depends upon the number of days that an individual lives at the community. According to Medicare.gov[1], the Original Medicare Plan will cover 100 percent of the expenses accumulated if the stay lasts for 20 or fewer days. For stays lasting 21 to 100 days, Medicare covers everything except a daily copayment. It is important to note that Medicare does not contribute to the expenses that are associated with a stay of over 100 days.

What Is a Copayment?
The copayment of a Medicare plan is similar to that of a regular insurance policy; however, it can change from year to year. James encourages you to call to find out the exact copayment that your family will be responsible for when arranging for your loved one's stay.

Medicare is an important resource for many families. By understanding the benefits it provides, you can optimize your loved one's budget.

[1] http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10153.pdf

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Cost of Assisted Living

One of the primary concerns for families whose elderly loved ones are considering moving into an assisted living facility is cost. In many instances, families may be covering the expenses associated with the elder care that their seniors need. For this reason, it is crucial that they are able to understand how much such care will cost—and what options are available to seniors who have limited income and must stick to a strict budget. If your loved one is looking at assisted living facilities in the Durham area, or in any other community within North Carolina, here are some basic details regarding the costs that such care may incur.

Ø  On average, assisted living costs $2,600 per month.

Ø  The seniors who live in assisted living facilities in North Carolina, and oftentimes their families, pay between $1,700 and $5,100 per month.

Ø  Additional fees may be charged to residents of assisted living facilities according to any extra services that seniors may need. For instance, short-term medical care after a surgery or fall may increase the charges associated with a month at an assisted living facility.

Ø  Some seniors opt to hire outside in-home care after a medical treatment or other procedure. This is a cost that may increase the total amount spent on senior care, but not the amount paid to the assisted living facility.
The cost associated with assisted living services can vary greatly from one community to another. By comparing both the expense that each facility presents and their amenities and resident programs, you and your elderly loved one can find a community that fits your budget and the best interest of your senior.

When visiting the different assisted living facilities that you are considering, it is important to understand why they charge certain costs and which, if any, are optional. Don't hesitate to ask the professional who is guiding you through the tour what the monthly costs cover, including social events, community programs, meals, and other items. Remember that the least expensive assisted living facility is not always the best choice, but that the cost associated with the community that your elderly individual chooses is of central importance.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reporting a Complaint against Your Senior's Nursing Home

Legitimate complaints against nursing homes are rarer than people may imagine, given the stories that circulate regarding abuse and neglect. While it is true that seniors have experienced unprincipled treatment at the hands of healthcare professionals in such elder care facilities, it is also true that the majority of nursing homes are staffed with caring, honest, and ethical professionals. Regardless of the odds of needing to report neglect or abuse at the hands of senior care providers, it is important to know where to go to make such a complaint if the issue ever arises in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

My Elder Advocate has provided a wonderful list of tips to help you through the process of making a complaint:

  1. Write the complaint out. While you may be tempted to simply speak with the professional in charge of the nursing care facility, it is important to have your complaint documented. Be specific when describing the incident(s) and avoid speculation.
  2. Remember not to threaten action. Try to stay as calm and professional as possible. This may sound impractical, given that you will certainly be concerned for the safety and health of your senior; however, getting angry and making threats will not help the situation.
  3. Make use of the chain of command, ensuring that you go up the proper channels. This may take longer, but making your complaint by the book will ultimately be the best move. Additionally, should this be an issue that is limited to one employee, rather than a widespread problem, it can be dealt with more quickly by going to the right professionals.
  4. Request a meeting with the nursing facility to discuss the issue and the plans that are in place to resolve it. Don't apologize for complaining—remember that you are advocating for your loved one.
  5. If your complaint is ignored or if the facility fails to prevent abuse or neglect from happening again, consult with an attorney and report the community to the Department of Health. If necessary, file a police report.
Making a complaint against a nursing home is a daunting task, but it is important that you stand up for the rights and safety of your senior. With these tips, you can document the incident and work to ensure that it will not happen again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Assisted Living Communities: Who to Talk to If You Have a Problem?

Assisted living communities often offer invaluable services to seniors who need help with daily living activities. From  assistance with grooming and dressing to housekeeping, these communities offer the services elderly individuals need while providing residents with a social calendar that allows them to stay active. But sometimes assisted living facilities fail to deliver on their promises. Horror stories abound regarding the abuse and neglect that seniors have endured at the hands of unethical healthcare professionals. While these stories represent the minority of assisted living communities, it is important that you know where to turn should your elderly loved one experience improper care or disreputable treatment.

Talk to the Executive Director of the Community
Immediately upon discovering that a complaint should be made, talk to the Executive Director of the community. In the best case scenario, the problem is limited to one employee and can be quickly and easily addressed; however, it is important to determine if the root cause is an individual or the community as a whole.

If, after talking to the manager of the assisted living facility, the issue is resolved, your loved one can most likely remain in the community if they wish. If the problem has not been addressed, however, it is important to take the next step toward filing an official complaint.
Contact the Licensing Agency for Your State
Senior care facilities in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, fall under state jurisdiction. In fact, all elder care communities across the country are regulated by state laws. For this reason, it is important to deal directly with the state's licensing agency. You should be able to file a complaint with this agency directly.

Reach Out to the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance
A national organization, the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance is a great resource for families that have loved ones in assisted living communities. Filing a complaint with this organization will further spread the word regarding the unethical, illegal, and/or abusive treatment that seniors in an assisted living facility experience.
When considering filing a complaint, do your due diligence to ensure that a complaint is warranted. If you are certain that your senior experienced unlawful treatment and the issue has not been resolved, it is crucial to alert the right authorities.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Skilled Nursing Facilities: What Services Do They Provide?

The aging process naturally requires people to need a bit of assistance as they grow older. For some people, basic in-home care is enough to allow them to retain their independence and continue aging in place. For others, the services of an assisted living facility, which are a bit more comprehensive, are preferable to trying to maintain a home on their own. Others, still, may benefit most from moving into a skilled nursing facility.

Skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes, as they are more commonly called, provide what is known as custodial care. This form of care offers a long list of services to elderly individuals, including assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, eating, and housekeeping. While assisted living facilities also provide this form of aid, nursing homes go a step further by offering medical care.

To ensure that residents receive the best care possible, nursing homes often employ licensed physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals. Donna, a resident of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, recently discovered that not all nursing homes are the same. In fact, when trying to choose the right skilled nursing facility for her father, Donna learned the importance of comparing the living arrangements and services that each nursing home supplies to its residents.

The key to securing accommodations for your elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility that will see to their every need is to compare the nursing homes in the area. While all of these facilities offer similar services, they may have different living arrangements, varying staffing levels, or diverse healthcare professionals on call. Understanding your loved one's needs and seeing how each nursing facility measures up to them is the best way to determine which will provide the most comprehensive, reliable care to your senior.

Nursing homes are often associated with a negative connotation; however, these facilities play a crucial role in the aging process. It is true that some facilities are better for your senior than others. For this reason, elder care professionals encourage you to take stock of the services and living arrangements that each contender offers before deciding which facility is best for your loved one.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Does Long Term Care Insurance Cover?

Long-term care insurance is an important aspect of future planning for many families. In fact, it is advised that individuals who believe their loved ones may need long-term care seek out a plan that fits their senior’s anticipated needs. Long-term care, including home care, is a medical necessity for which some families struggle to pay. By planning ahead and taking out a long-term care policy, you can protect your elderly loved one and the rest of your family against the financial complications that such care can create.

While long-term care is certainly recommended by elder care professionals, it is important that you and your family understand exactly what the policy will cover. Because each policy varies, it is important to speak with your senior’s insurance professional to understand precisely what expenses will be covered or reimbursed; however, here are some basic facts regarding the services that a long-term care plan may cover.

  • The purpose of long-term care policies is to cover daily needs that are not met by health insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid. For this reason, the policy is most likely to pertain to assistance with activities of daily living, including grooming, personal hygiene, dressing, eating, etc.
  • Some medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, often require the supervision of a senior care professional; however, these services are not always covered by health insurance despite the fact that they are necessitated by a medical condition. Long-term care policies frequently cover such supervision, allowing elderly individuals to continue aging in place despite Alzheimer’s disease or other illnesses.
  • A long-term care policy may also cover skilled services, such as the treatment provided by physical, respiratory, and speech therapists.
If your family is unsure whether or not to invest in long-term care insurance for your elderly loved one, it is important to take the opportunity to consider the future needs of your senior. Additionally, it is recommended that you consult with an insurance professional to determine if a long-term care policy is the right move for your family. While no one knows exactly what the future holds, an insurance policy can help protect you and your loved ones against the unexpected expenses that may arise as your senior ages.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Family Caregiving Stats: How Many People Are Caring for an Elderly Loved One?

Senior care is an important part of life, one that allows elderly individuals to continue aging in place with dignity and independence. In fact, remaining in their home for as long as possible is extremely important to many seniors. To make this happen, family members often step in to provide the home care assistance that their loved ones need in order to stay out of an assisted living or nursing facility.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled a list of facts regarding family caregiving. Here are some of the highlights from these statistics, which shed light on just how important senior care is to families that have elderly loved ones.

  1. As of 2008, over 34 million unpaid caregivers offered services to seniors.
  2. Approximately 21 percent of households within the United States feel the repercussions of caregiving responsibilities.
  3. It is estimated that 90 percent of the long-term care provided to elderly individuals is performed by unpaid caregivers, which are typically family members. In fact, 83 percent of all unpaid caregivers are those who are offering their services to a relative.
  4. Women provide the majority of unpaid senior care. The CDC cites that the average caregiver “is a 46 year old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother.”
  5. Caregivers are often responsible for the expenses associated with the care of their loved one. The website reports that those caring for a family member who was 50 years old or older in 2007 spent an average of $5,531.
  6. As of 2008, an estimated 37 percent of unpaid caregivers had to quit their jobs or reduce the amount of time they spent on the job in order to meet the needs of their elderly loved one. 
Home care professionals know that taking care of an elderly loved one can be stressful. This is why they are trained and ready to step in whenever you need someone to take over care—either permanently or temporarily. Elder care providers can offer a variety of services, from respite care to in-home care, that can make caregiving a bit easier for the millions of family members who support their elderly loved ones.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Supporting Caregivers Facing Burnout

Caregiver burnout is a common occurrence in the senior care industry. In fact, burnout in any field is frequently experienced by professionals who spend a great deal of time at work. But caregiver burnout is a bit different because it can directly impact the quality of care that elderly individuals receive. If you have a friend or family member who is worn out or experiencing full-blown burnout, it is important to support them and assist in any way possible, as their emotional and mental wellbeing are crucial to their ability to provide the best care to an elderly loved one.

What are the signs of caregiver burnout?
The stress that caregivers experience is often intense, and it can affect them in a wide range of ways. From simply overloading them with responsibility to launching them into a depression, this stress is dangerous if not addressed. This is why, when your friend or family member becomes worn out, it is important to step in and support their wellbeing.
The signs of caregiver burnout are similar to those of depression, and the signs of the stress leading up to burnout are less severe versions of these symptoms. Some of these include withdrawing from social activities, feeling sad, not engaging in familial activities, and becoming disinterested in activities and topics that an individual was once passionate about.

How can you help?
The best thing to do for a friend or family member who is stressed by their care giving responsibilities is to support them emotionally and physically. This means being there to both talk them through their problems and being there to physically assist with their daily responsibilities, if possible. In fact, stepping in to provide respite care to a loved one will give your friend the chance to take some time off and recharge.

One crucial fact to remember is that there is no shame in caregiver stress or burnout. Providing home care to an elderly loved one is an emotionally, mentally, and physically demanding job. Oftentimes, caregivers simply need a few days off to relax and rebalance their lives to overcome the stress that care giving can create.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Do I Start My Parent’s Long Term Care Insurance Benefit?

Long term care insurance helps many families with seniors pay for the care of these elderly individuals without suffering a financial strain. Long term care insurance prevents these families from having to wipe out savings accounts or bear a financial burden that they can’t necessarily handle. If you’re like Nancy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and have invested in long term care insurance, you want to make sure you know how to use this coverage when the time comes.

When do long term care insurance benefits kick in? 

As the AXA Equitable website explains, many long term care insurance policies have a waiting period before benefits begin, even after elderly individuals have been judged medically eligible.  These periods vary between insurance companies. Some are twenty days, others are thirty or sixty days. However, some insurance policies have no waiting period at all, and seniors are eligible to start receiving benefits on the first day they need care. It’s important to know the details of your loved one’s policy so you’re aware of the waiting period involved, if there is one.  During the waiting period, you’re responsible for paying for the patient’s care yourself, whether your senior is in a nursing facility or receiving care at home.

How do I file a claim to receive benefits?

You should know how to file a claim before you’d like your elderly loved one to receive long term care insurance benefits. In most cases, filing a claim requires submitting a written letter to your insurance company. In the letter, you’ll probably need to include a proof-of-loss form (which your insurance company can provide you) as well as relevant medical records. Some insurance companies require you to verify the person’s condition in writing every 30 to 90 days. You may also need to have verification from a doctor who has evaluated the elderly individual. These policies vary between insurance companies, so check with your agent to make sure you know the details of the claim submission process.

Long term care insurance is extremely beneficial to the families of elderly individuals. If your senior is in need of long term care, it’s important to research their insurance company’s specific policies to guarantee that you’re able to receive the benefits of the policy as quickly as possible.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Asking for time off of work to care for a parent

For people with aging parents, it’s often necessary to take time off from work to stay home and provide care to these elderly loved ones. Asking for this time off can seem like a daunting task. You may have questions about what you’re legally guaranteed from your employer. John, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, felt great anxiety when he knew he needed to approach his employer and ask for time off to care for his elderly mother. Before you discuss your situation with your place of employment, it’s important to know a few things about the right you have to care for your senior:

  • Health Insurance Online explains that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 requires employers to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain family-related reasons. During that time, the employee’s job is protected. An employee is eligible for this leave if they have worked for a covered employer for at least a year, have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past year, and if the company has at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.
  • FMLA requires companies to grant unpaid leave for an employee who must care for a parent with a serious health problem. The employee might need to provide advance notice about this leave, and may need to show a doctor’s note confirming the situation.
  • If you have an elderly parent who requires care, it’s important to talk with your boss about the steps necessary to get time off. Some companies are more demanding than others when it comes to offering employees leave. While some may require documentation and advance notice, other companies are more flexible and can work with you based on your individual situation.
If you believe you’ll need time off to care for your elderly loved one, it’s important to know what rights you’re guaranteed. Look into national and state policy, as well as the rights your own company has put into place. Don’t hesitate to have an honest dialogue with your boss about your situation. Your supervisor can guide you in the right direction and help you care for your family and manage your career at the same time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stages of Being a Family Caregiver

Caring for elderly family members is an important task, and it is one that you can prepare for by understanding the several stages through which this responsibility evolves. By anticipating the care you will need to provide for your loved one in the future, you can better offer the senior care that your elderly family member needs.

Rachael, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is preparing to care for her mother. Still living on her own, her mother is able to maintain most of her independence; however, she needs a bit of help with daily tasks. The doctor has told Rachael to prepare to step in and provide assistance within the next six months.

Preparation for such a task is emotional, mental, and physical. From juggling schedules to emotionally preparing to take care of a parent, it is important that caregivers are ready to take on this responsibility. Here are the six stages of care giving that Rachael has studied.

1.       Need for care is approaching: You know that your loved one will need assistance in the near future. You research ways to help your elderly loved one. 

2.       Need for care begins: You begin to care for your loved one, providing assistance with bills, errands, and daily tasks. During this stage, you learn what your loved one needs and what you can offer.

3.       Care is provided: For two to five years after beginning care, you provide daily assistance to your loved one. You may begin to feel the strain of care giving, but are happy to help.

4.       Care continues to be provided: After five years of care giving you enter this stage. You have experienced the ups and downs of being a caregiver and understand your loved one’s needs.

5.       Role as caregiver changes: Either you have decided to hire professional care providers or your loved one’s health is declining. Your role is changing, and your services as caregiver are no longer required to the extent that they once were.

6.       Role as caregiver ends: You reflect back on your experiences and strive to assist others in building successful care giving situations.
Rachael is preparing to care for her mother and, using her knowledge of these stages, will be ready to take on anything that her role as caregiver throws at her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Can Vitamin E Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that affects the judgment, memory, and behavior of elderly individuals. A progressive illness, it deteriorates their mental capacity and requires them to receive a high degree of care as they age. Researchers have, for decades, been looking for a cure for this disease. To date, Alzheimer’s remains an incurable condition; however, there are treatment options that can slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life of elderly individuals. One popular treatment method is vitamin E. As an antioxidant, vitamin E is thought to protect brain cells, as well as other tissue, from chemical damage.
The use of vitamin E was first sparked by a study carried out by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS). ADCS is the research division of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Released in 1997, the initiative revealed that vitamin E, when administered in high doses, could delay the progression of the condition. This resulted in the ability of elderly individuals to continue to carry out activities of daily living for a longer period of time. Additionally, it allowed families to put off the placement of their loved ones in elder care communities for numerous months.
Although vitamin E has been shown to slow Alzheimer’s disease, it can also be very dangerous. Studies conducted after the aforementioned 1997 study have revealed that an increased risk of death is associated with high doses of the vitamin. This was particularly true for individuals who also suffered from coronary artery disease.

For this reason, it is important that elderly individuals do not take vitamin E for Alzheimer’s disease unless they are doing so according to doctor’s orders. When taken under the supervision of a trained, experienced healthcare professional, vitamin E can assist in treating this condition; however, the treatment offers too high a risk to be taken independently.

The dementia care professionals in Durham, North Carolina, are dedicated to assisting seniors and their families in coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s care providers encourage elderly individuals to follow the treatment directions provided by their doctors in an effort to slow the progression of the illness and enjoy more time with their loved ones.
Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that affects the judgment, memory, and behavior of elderly individuals. A progressive illness, it deteriorates their mental capacity and requires them to receive a high degree of care as they age. Researchers have, for decades, been looking for a cure for this disease. To date, Alzheimer’s remains an incurable condition; however, there are treatment options that can slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life of elderly individuals. One popular treatment method is vitamin E. As an antioxidant, vitamin E is thought to protect brain cells, as well as other tissue, from chemical damage.

The use of vitamin E was first sparked by a study carried out by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS). ADCS is the research division of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Released in 1997, the initiative revealed that vitamin E, when administered in high doses, could delay the progression of the condition. This resulted in the ability of elderly individuals to continue to carry out activities of daily living for a longer period of time. Additionally, it allowed families to put off the placement of their loved ones in elder care communities for numerous months.
Although vitamin E has been shown to slow Alzheimer’s disease, it can also be very dangerous. Studies conducted after the aforementioned 1997 study have revealed that an increased risk of death is associated with high doses of the vitamin. This was particularly true for individuals who also suffered from coronary artery disease.

For this reason, it is important that elderly individuals do not take vitamin E for Alzheimer’s disease unless they are doing so according to doctor’s orders. When taken under the supervision of a trained, experienced healthcare professional, vitamin E can assist in treating this condition; however, the treatment offers too high a risk to be taken independently.

The dementia care professionals in Durham, North Carolina, are dedicated to assisting seniors and their families in coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s care providers encourage elderly individuals to follow the treatment directions provided by their doctors in an effort to slow the progression of the illness and enjoy more time with their loved ones.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Emotions Following an Alzheimers Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be very difficult for family members to accept. While there are treatment options for this condition, it is an incurable disease that affects the judgment, behavior, and memory of elderly individuals. For this reason, family members often anticipate having to care for their loved ones as they slowly decline—which can cause individuals to experience a variety of emotions.
Dealing with these emotions can be difficult. Anger, frustration, sadness, grief—these feelings and others are commonly felt once the diagnosis is announced. But there are healthy ways to handle these circumstances.
Understanding What You Are Feeling

The first step in understanding the emotions family members are experiencing is to pinpoint them. Both one on one and in groups, talk to family members about how they are feeling. You may be met with resistance at first, but remember that this is natural. Make it clear to your family members that, when they are ready to talk, you will be there for them.
For some families, counseling is the best way to overcome this emotional challenge. Therapy, both individual and in groups, can help family members identify their emotions and work through them. This may be a better option for some individuals, who may be embarrassed by their feelings or hesitant to discuss them with anyone who is close to the situation.

Recognizing Feelings on a Daily Basis

Learning that your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a stressful experience. This stress can amplify the emotions that family members may feel, leading them to inadvertently take their frustration, anger, or grief out on others. Encouraging your family members to recognize the feelings that are prompting their actions can help keep tempers cool and avoid familial conflict, which may arise as care plans are developed for your loved one.
The stress of caring for an elderly individual who has Alzheimer’s disease can also cause conflict. If your family needs a bit of guidance, the Alzheimer’s care professionals in Chapel Hill are happy to provide assistance. Dementia care providers understand the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and can assist in any arrangements that need to be made.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alzheimers Care

Alzheimer's disease can be very difficult with which to cope—and it is a condition that will almost certainly require that your loved one have assistance with activities of daily living. When you take on the responsibility to provide dementia care to your elderly loved one, it is important that you understand that kind of care your senior will need. Whether you choose to hire an Alzheimer's care professional, share responsibilities with a dementia care professional, or provide the care that your loved one needs yourself, it is important that you understand what it is that your senior will require.

Creating a Safe Environment
Marjorie, an Alzheimer's care professional from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, knows that the most important thing you can provide your elderly loved one is a safe, secure environment. Because Alzheimer's disease often makes seniors feel disoriented, it is crucial that they live in a stable household.

Marjorie recommends creating this steady environment by adhering to a daily schedule. Help your senior stick to a regular schedule while allowing some room for new activities. Depending upon how advanced the disease is your elderly loved one may be able to attend community events or participate in games or other activities with the family. Consider their health when coming up with the schedule and revisit it often to adjust it according to your loved one's needs.
Asking for Help

If you are providing dementia care to your loved one, then there is no doubt that you are dedicated to their wellbeing. But taking a step back now and again is not something to be ashamed of and does not mean that you love your senior any less. As your loved one's illness progresses, Marjorie encourages that caregivers consider relying upon the expertise of professional Alzheimer's care providers.

The great thing about dementia care professionals is that they can provide whatever degree of service your loved one needs. Marjorie offers part time care to simply give primary caregivers the chance to take a day or two off each week. She also offers more constant care. In these instances, she is the primary care provider.
When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it is important to consider the care options available to your family.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alzheimers Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that is, as of yet, incurable; however, seniors who suffer from this condition have several treatment options available to them. By understanding the severity of your elderly loved one’s case, and talking to their doctor about the latest treatment plans, you may be able to ease your loved one’s symptoms and improve their quality of life through the right treatment options.

Mark, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has been taking care of his grandmother for five years. After her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Mark knew that he would need to be an advocate for his grandmother in order to get her the best in treatment and care options. With the help of dementia care professionals, Mark has assisted in creating a secure, positive living environment for his grandmother.

The first step in choosing the right treatment option is to open up the lines of communication with your elderly loved one’s doctor. Every Alzheimer’s case is different, meaning that the treatment options available to your senior may be different than those available to other patients.
Once the doctor has outlined the options available to your elderly loved one, it is important to understand what each of them entails. Ask any questions you may have about these options and, if you like, your senior’s doctor should be able to provide you with literature and other resources regarding these care plans. 

At their most basic, the options available to Alzheimer’s patients are meant to manage their symptoms and slow the disease, which is progressive in nature. Medication and treatment for memory loss, behavioral changes, and sleep disturbances are commonly used to improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s disease patients. Mark’s grandmother has responded well to these medications and has, as a result, been able to maintain a normal sleeping schedule.

If these options do not work, or do not suit the needs of your loved one, there are also a number of clinical trials available at any given time. Although risky, these trials are designed to develop new treatment methods and improve the primary treatment options available to Alzheimer’s patients.
Mark knows that choosing the best treatment can be difficult; however, with the assistance of your senior’s doctor and the right information, you can choose the treatment that best fits your loved one’s needs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alzheimers Diagnosis

A kind of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to diagnose. In fact, a confirmed diagnosis of this condition is often only possible after the individual has passed and their brain tissue can be examined. For this reason, healthcare professionals use what is called a differential diagnosis to rule out any other possible health conditions before coming to the conclusion of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pat, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, whose mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, understands that the lack of a single test can make the diagnostic process incredibly stressful—for both elderly loved ones and their families. While there is no fast track to answers about your senior’s condition when it comes to this disease, there are four different factors that can assist doctors in accurately identifying your elderly loved one’s illness. These are:

  1. Physical and neurological examinations
  2. Testing regarding mental status
  3. Thorough medical history
  4. Blood tests, brain imaging, and other testing procedures to rule out possible conditions
Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are commonly experienced with other illnesses, such as depression, thyroid disease, drug interactions, and vitamin deficiencies. For this reason, it is crucial that doctors are able to perform all the tests necessary to rule out these other conditions before making a diagnosis.

Pat knows that a key part of the diagnostic process is trusting in the right healthcare professional. Finding the right doctor, one who is both knowledgeable and experienced, will allow seniors to feel more comfortable with their healthcare team and trust in the expertise of their medical professional. This is important, as the cooperation of your elderly loved one through these tests is essential.
Though primary care physicians can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, they may send your senior to a specialist if they feel as though their case needs more targeted care. Pat’s mother was referred to a neurologist, who specializes in conditions that affect the brain and nervous system. Other specialists who take on Alzheimer’s patients include psychiatrists and psychologists.

Pat understands that the diagnostic process pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease can be long and stressful; however, knowing what condition your elderly loved one is up against, and having the resources necessary to treat it, are well worth the time and effort.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Signs of Alzheimers

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that affects seniors. This condition, which is progressive, targets the parts of the brain that control memory, judgment, and planning. Because of this, it can impact several mental and physical capabilities.
Dedicated Alzheimer's care is important in keeping this illness from getting worse too quickly. While there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, there are treatment options that can slow the progression of the condition. For this reason, early detection is important in allowing dementia care professionals to create the highest quality of life possible for your loved one. This means that knowing the signs of Alzheimer's disease and detecting them if they arise are important. The Alzheimer's home care professionals of Chapel Hill know that the following 25 signs are important to look out for if you suspect your loved one may have this condition.

  1. Memory loss/severe forgetfulness
  2. Mood swings
  3. Issues with judgment
  4. Financial struggles
  5. Inability to complete familiar tasks
  6. Difficulty problem solving or planning
  7. Frequently misplacing items
  8. Inability to keep up with time or place (not knowing where they are or what year it is)
  9. Inability to communicate clearly
  10. Repetitive actions or speech
  11. Withdrawal from social and familial relationships
  12. Challenges dressing
  13. Tendency to wander
  14. Inability to understand spatial relationships
  15. Signs of depression, including a loss of motivation
  16. Aggression
  17. Paranoia
  18. Skipping meals
  19. Inability to recognize friends and family
  20. Performance of activities that may seem purposeless
  21. Impaired motor skills and physical sensitivity
  22. Discounting of personal hygiene
  23. Inappropriate actions
  24. Insomnia
  25. Childlike behavior
By catching these signs early, you can assist your elderly loved one in getting the dementia care they need to slow the progression of the condition. In-home dementia care can improve quality of life for both seniors and their family members, as it takes a great deal of stress off of each of them and allows them to enjoy the time they have together.

The senior care professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, know the importance of securing Alzheimer's care as quickly as possible. As such, they are dedicated to assisting you in detecting and addressing any of these signs that may emerge.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Importance of Workers Comp for Care Givers

Workers compensation insurance protects both caregivers and the agencies for which they work should a senior care provider sustain an injury on the job. As such, it is a crucial aspect of responsible care in virtually any field, but particularly those that require employees to carry out physically demanding tasks. While providing senior care may not seem physically demanding on the surface, professionals who provide home care to elderly individuals must drive to different locations, lift heavy objects, and engage in other activities that may result in injury.

Mary of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, discovered the importance of workers compensation insurance when she was injured on the job. Mary was caring for a patient and, while helping the patient into a wheelchair, she pulled her back. The injury forced her to miss two weeks of work, as she had to visit multiple doctors and allow her back to heal before resuming her daily responsibilities.
If it weren't for workers compensation insurance, Mary would have lost much more than the use of her back for those two weeks. With bills to pay, she would have been financially devastated had workers compensation not covered the lost wages and doctor's fees associated with her injury.

Workers compensation laws vary from one state to the next, but in all cases they are meant to protect all parties involved. Here are some important highlights about this form of insurance:

  • Workers compensation will provide employees with wages they have missed should they be absent from work due to a work-related injury.
  • Workers compensation often covers medical bills associated with a work-related injury, such as costs regarding hospital visits and follow-up appointments.
  • When an employee accepts workers compensation coverage they give up their right to sue their employer.
  • This form of insurance allows for a variety of situations, as it can offer weekly payments, similar to disability insurance, and can provide benefits to the families of workers who die due to their injuries, depending upon the circumstances.
Workers compensation insurance is important for caregivers, as their job requires them to complete tasks that can result in injury.