Thursday, April 26, 2012

Always In Touch...a new FREE service

At Always Best Care of Chapel Hill-Durham, we are committed to serving seniors and their families in our community and beyond.  We have launched a new service that is completely FREE with no obligation:  Always In Touch.  Do you have an elderly loved one or have an elderly neighbor who may benefit from a daily check-in by phone?  Are they homebound, isolated, disabled?  Are you too busy between your household, children and work to make that needed phone call to them every day?  Sign up with our Always In Touch program and we will make the phone call for you…every day, Monday – Friday, at a prescribed time between 11 AM and 8 PM Eastern.  We will make two attempts to call and ensure that your loved one is safe and sound.  If we can’t reach them after two attempts, then we will notify you or a friend or a neighbor – your choice.  Their location doesn’t matter…they can live here locally or anywhere in the country.  Allow us to provide you peace of mind – again, at NO COST.  Call 919-357-1440 to speak with a senior care professional.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I don't want to be a Care GIver...what do I do?

Acting as a caregiver is an extremely demanding job—both physically and emotionally. If you have elderly loved ones, you may be called upon to help take care of them. Providing senior care services is something that many children and grandchildren do for the senior members of their family. But what are you to do if you can’t—or don’t want to—provide the services your elderly loved one requires?
Julie, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was faced with this very dilemma. After suffering a stroke, her grandfather needed home care services. Julie was a new graduate who had yet to land a job in her field. Because the rest of her family had already started their careers, they decided that Julie should step in and take care of her grandfather.
Although she loves her grandfather dearly, Julie did not want to put her career on hold. Additionally, she was not up for the emotional strain that becoming a caregiver would cause. But what could she do?
Providing senior care services is a job that should not be forced on anyone. People in the same position as Julie—people who love their family members but cannot take care of them—have options. First and foremost, though, they must realize that they are not turning their backs on their family by deciding not to provide in-home care. By recognizing that she is not up for the task, Julie is making a decision that will benefit both herself and her grandfather.
The first step in this situation is to call in elder care professionals. Aging in place is something that many seniors hope to accomplish, and these professionals will help them do just that. With personalized care plans, they will provide the skilled or non-medical services that individual patients need. As a result, seniors are able to continue living at home without their families having to make major personal sacrifices to ensure that they can continue aging in place.
But the benefits of professional caregivers do not stop there. As trained experts, they can provide a level of care that some family members cannot. Professional help is always available, so do not feel trapped if you do not want to be the caregiver.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What are ADLs?

Senior care professionals use a variety of medical terms to assess and communicate the needs of their patients. Activities of daily living, also called ADLs, are used by home care providers to determine the level of care patients require. In Durham, North Carolina, Pauline’s ability to perform ADLs was one of the first things her senior care provider determined before recommending an individualized care plan.
Pauline realized while cooking dinner one day that she was not able to perform all of the activities necessary to run her home on her own. A widow, she had taken care of her house by herself for the last ten years. Now she needed help. After calling in local home care professionals, Pauline discussed the several ADLs that she felt she needed assistance completing.
ADLs are commonly thought of as the basic activities associated with daily life. These activities include:
  1. Grooming
  2. Personal hygiene
  3. Dressing and undressing
  4. Eating
  5. Meal preparation
  6. Functional transfers (i.e. moving from the bed to a wheelchair, sitting on the toilet, etc.)
  7. Using the restroom
  8. Ambulation
These ADLs cover the basic activities one needs to complete in order to function from one day to the next. But functioning within society is different from simply living at home. Instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs, are not considered fundamental to survival but are important in the lives of active seniors. These include:

  1. Maintaining a clean house
  2. Taking prescribed medications
  3. Managing financial assets
  4. Shopping
  5. Using telephones, computers, and other communication devices
  6. Moving within the community
Pauline recognized the fact that she was facing difficulty maintaining her home. Although she could perform most ADLs without assistance, she wanted to continue to participate in the IADLs that she was accustomed to. To maintain her independence and continue living an active lifestyle, Pauline called in home care professionals to help her with some of these tasks.

ADLs and IADLs are standards of assessment when determining whether or not an elderly individual needs home care services. By calling in elder care professionals, as Pauline did, seniors can continue to live fulfilling, independent lives.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Signs of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that makes breathing difficult over time. This illness also causes wheezing, shortness of breath, copious amounts of mucus, and tightness in the chest. As a result, it is a very scary condition that many elderly individuals in Durham, North Carolina, must endure.

George’s mother, Valerie, is a life-long smoker who always seems to have a difficult time catching her breath. George thought it was due to her smoking habit, but lately it has gotten worse. After a bit of Internet research, he has pinpointed a few health conditions that may cause her symptoms. He thinks she might have COPD, so he has scheduled her a doctor’s appointment.
When considering COPD as a cause of your elderly loved one’s health condition, it is important to understand the signs of this illness. These symptoms include:

  • A constant cough that, oftentimes, results in a great deal of mucus being expelled from the body. This cough is generally referred to as “smoker’s cough.”
  • The inability to catch one’s breath. This is especially evident if your elderly loved one is generally active but now finds themselves having a difficult time keeping up.
  • Wheezing without any other apparent cause.
  • Tightness in the chest. If your elderly loved one experiences this symptom it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately, as it may be a sign of a heart attack.
COPD is a progressive illness, which means it gets worse over time. All of these symptoms, then, will become increasingly apparent as the condition worsens. If the following develop, seek the services of emergency medical professionals immediately:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Decline in mental focus
  • Blue or gray lips or fingernails
  • Difficulty catching one’s breath
George recognized the signs of COPD in his mother and, as a result, is getting her the care she needs. A progressive and life-threatening illness, COPD should be taken seriously and treated as quickly as possible. The third leading cause of death in the United States, this illness affects over 12 million people—many of whom are smokers or used to smoke.

Information from

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Signs of a Stroke

Signs of a Stroke: Act FAST

Senior care providers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have witnessed numerous strokes. As a result, they know the importance of understanding when a stroke is taking place—and how to respond. Elder care providers should be well-versed in the warning signs of a stroke, as quick action makes a significant difference in the prognosis of the victim.

Here are five stroke symptoms to look out for:

  1. Numbness in the face, arm, or leg (this includes weakness in these areas)
  2. Confusion, difficulty speaking, or a hard time understanding others
  3. Vision impairment in one or both eyes
  4. Difficulty walking or maintaining balance; dizziness and loss of coordination
  5. A severe headache with no apparent cause

All of these symptoms appear extremely suddenly. Once they strike, it is imperative that stroke victims receive medical attention right away.

Dealing with this kind of an emergency situation can be overwhelming. Learning the basic stroke symptoms, listed above, can help you detect the tell tale signs. But when your adrenaline is pumping, remembering these signs can seem next to impossible. To help you remember what to do in case your elderly loved one has a stroke, memorize this acronym: FAST.

  • F: If you suspect a stroke, ask the elderly individual to smile. Does one side of their face react while the other droops?
  • A: When the individual lifts both of their arms, do they go up evenly? Stroke victims will often have one arm that stays lower than the other.
  • S: Speech is a commonly impaired capability when a stroke occurs. Ask the potential stroke victim to repeat a very simple sentence. Are they able to do it, or is their speech slurred or otherwise abnormal?
  • T: Getting help in a timely manner is crucial to the health of your elderly loved one. Call 9-1-1 immediately if any of these signs occur.

Strokes are sudden, jarring conditions that can threaten the life of your elderly loved one. As a result, it is important that you remember these symptoms and act quickly if they develop. To learn more about strokes, visit the National Stroke Association’s website at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Benefits of Respite Care

Respite care is a service that allows primary caregivers to take time off. In Chapel Hill, many family members help their elderly loved ones with everything from basic, daily activities—such as bathing, grooming, and housekeeping—to more complicated medical functions. But what are caregivers to do if they need time off? Who will step in if they cannot be present to care for their elderly loved ones? Respite care providers allow primary caregivers to take the time they need to maintain a balance between providing care and leading their own lives.

Respite care provides a long list of benefits to the families and caregivers who utilize it; however, all of these benefits stem from one major form of assistance: giving primary caregivers the ability to relax and recuperate. Care giving is a rewarding yet stressful task, and having a day to unwind is crucial in avoiding burnout, depression, and other unwanted challenges.
Here are some of the aforementioned benefits that respite care can provide:
1.       Primary caregivers can retain a balance between providing care and living their lives.
2.       Caregivers are able to avoid burnout by taking time away from the senior care environment.

3.       Many caregivers can keep depression at bay, as they are susceptible to developing this issue if they do not make time for their personal lives and other activities.

4.       Families are able to continue to live well-rounded lives through the services of respite care providers. For example, members of a family who care for their elderly loved ones can take vacations, spend time with their children, and lead a balanced life.

5.       When the primary caregiver is not present, respite care providers offer the highest level of care to their loved ones. Both elderly individuals and their primary caregivers can feel comfortable trusting in the services of respite care providers.

Respite care is an invaluable senior care resource because it allows primary caregivers to relax and recharge. The senior care services that these caregivers provide are taxing, oftentimes both emotionally and physically, and cannot be sustained indefinitely. As a result, respite care offers the break that all caregivers need.  Contact us here in Chapel Hill, NC, if we can be of service to you and your family. or at 919-357-1440.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is Respite Care?

Regardless of whom you are caring for, acting as a primary caregiver can become exceedingly challenging at times. In Chapel Hill, many family members find themselves providing care for their elderly loved ones. Senior care is an important part of the healthcare world, as elderly individuals often need help with tasks ranging from daily activities to medical conditions. But caring for anyone—be it a stranger or a loved one—for an extended amount of time can be taxing. For this reason, respite care was created.

Respite care is a form of home care that provides short-term care services. While they are temporary in nature, respite care services are every bit as professional, thorough, and valuable as long-term home care services. Most notably, the caregivers who provide respite services allow primary caretakers the opportunity to take a few days off, go on vacation with their families, or simply retain a sense of balance in their lives.
Consider the following scenario: you are the primary caregiver for your mother and your husband wants to take you and your children on a family vacation. Your mother does not wish to join you and you know that you need to spend time with your kids. What do you do? One solution is to call in respite care services. The caregiver you hire will care for your mother while you are gone, performing all of the tasks necessary to keep her safe, healthy, and happy while you are gone.
Clearly, respite care is an important aspect of a fully-functioning senior care industry. Without the ability to take time off and enjoy their own lives, senior caregivers would fail to maintain an invaluable balance between work and personal priorities. Even if you care for your elderly loved one and consider your services personal, you need time to spend resting, relaxing, and bonding with the rest of your family.
If you are interested in learning more about respite care services, contact Always Best Care here in Chapel Hill for more information. Remember, taking a break from being a caregiver is integral to your ability to maintain a balance in your life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When to call in Hospice

Hospice is an invaluable care giving service that provides home care for individuals who are facing terminal illnesses. Through this service, elderly individuals can remain in the comfort of their homes without having to sacrifice the comfort and security they deserve. Always Best Care in Chapel Hill, Durham, Orange County, Carrboro, Hope Valley, and Southpoint has helped its patients decide when to call in the care givers who provide Hospice services.

Making the decision to call in Hospice can be difficult, as Hospice is connoted with end of life. In reality, Hospice services allow elderly individuals to continue aging in place and provide a way for them to end their lives in the comfort of their homes. The mission of Hospice is to help patients remain as comfortable as possible as they face the end of life. Although calling in Hospice can prove difficult for family members, it is a decision that, ultimately, improves the quality of life for their elderly loved ones.

Oftentimes, a doctor will signal that it is time to call upon the services of Hospice. Typically, this decision is made when a physician believes an individual to have six months or less to live. Doctors utilize a variety of information to make this determination, but most often this decision is made when a patient's condition is beyond the ability of medical services to improve. Once all other medical options have been tried, doctors will encourage patients and their families to utilize the services of Hospice care givers in an effort to keep the patient as comfortable and happy as possible.

When considering the services of Hospice, remember that several different organizations are available to you. Consult with each organization and ask any and all questions you may have. Because the upcoming months will prove emotionally difficult for your family, having a Hospice care giver who you trust, and who is forthcoming with information, is important. Choose to hire the care of an organization that clearly values your elderly loved one and is knowledgeable about the care they need.  

Always Best Care in Durham ( understands that determining when to call in Hospice care givers can be a challenge. For this reason, the senior care providers at Always Best Care maintain open lines of communication with their patients and their families. They are able to help families and their elderly loved ones determine the appropriate level of care and, when necessary, make the decision to call in Hospice services.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Differentiating Between Skilled Home Care and Non-Medical Home Care

The senior care industry encompasses a variety of services, ranging from simple assistance with household responsibilities to thorough medical care. Determining what kind of senior care your elderly loved one needs requires an understanding of skilled and non-medical home care. The professionals at Always Best Care provide services to elderly individuals in Chapel Hill, Durham, Orange County, Carrboro, Hope Valley, and Southpoint. In doing so, they help families determine the level of care their elderly loved ones need.

Skilled Home Care
Care giving encompasses a variety of tasks, and skilled care is a medically-oriented level of senior care that helps elderly individuals who have health conditions. New patients who need skilled care are assessed and a care plan is created for them. This care plan acts as a guide for all care givers working with this patient. The care provided at this level is frequently supervised by a physician, nurse, or even a therapist.

Skilled care is invaluable to individuals who are looking forward to aging in place because it allows them to avoid having to move into a nursing home. Care giving at this level encompasses many aspects of medical care, including:

  • Nursing Care
  • Respiratory, Occupational, Speech, and Physical Therapies
  • Social Services
  • Hospice Care
Non-Medical Home Care

In addition to providing medical attention, senior care services can offer a more basic level of care to elderly individuals who do not need home-based health care. This care is often provided by Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides. The amount of care that each patient receives depends upon their needs, and these home care professionals can provide companionship as well as assistance with daily activities. Non-medical care involves daily functions, allowing elderly individuals to continue aging in place instead of moving to assisted living facilities. The care that non-medical care givers provide includes:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Meal Preparation
  • Housekeeping
  • Medication Reminders
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Transportation
Always Best Care in Chapel Hill ( knows that pinpointing the level of care your elderly loved one needs can be a challenge. For this reason, the organization's professionals provide a variety of information and observations to help their patients receive the appropriate level of care. From skilled to non-medical services, these professionals provide the home care that your elderly loved one requires. Aging in place is not always easy, but with the help of professional care givers it is possible.