Friday, April 26, 2013

Chapel Hill Elder Care: What is Osteoarthritis?

By:  Todd Palmer at Always Best Care

Chapel Hill Elder Care - Osteoarthritis is a condition that impairs the joints. Joints are areas of the body, such as the knee, elbow, and hip, where bones meet and the body is able to bend. Between the ends of the bones is cartilage, which is a softer texture than bone tissue and allows the bones to slide easily as arms, legs, and other parts of the body move. When osteoarthritis occurs, this cartilage is broken down and does not provide the shock absorption that the joints need to function smoothly. As a result, seniors who develop osteoarthritis may experience pain, limited range of motion, and swelling of the joint.[1] The home care professionals of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, encourage you to learn more about osteoarthritis to best care for your elderly loved one.
Why Does Osteoarthritis Occur?

The body naturally wears down as individuals age, so the wearing away of cartilage in the joints is a natural part of the aging process; however, there are other factors that can contribute to osteoarthritis. These include being overweight, injury to the joints, irregularly shaped joints, genetic issues, and stress due to excessive movement (such as that experienced when playing sports or performing a repetitive motion at work).
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Pain is the most common symptom associated with this condition. Additionally, as was mentioned previously, limited range of motion and swelling are also experienced by some seniors. But there are other warning signs for which elderly individuals may be on the lookout. These include: stiffness, tenderness, a crunching sensation, or a sound occurring when a joint is moved.
It is important to note, too, that some of the symptoms that seniors experience may indicate that complications have arisen. Over time, bone spurs and the breakage of bone and cartilage can develop. These can be extremely painful for elderly individuals and can, if not addressed quickly, cause further damage to the joint.

Treatment Options
Orthopedic doctors have several different approaches to call upon when treating osteoarthritis. First, they often try to create a healthier lifestyle through weight loss and exercise. Additionally, they may call upon medications, surgeries, and alternative therapies.

If you suspect that your senior has osteoarthritis it is important to schedule an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. 


[1] All information from

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Durham Elder Care: Maintaining Independence When Paraplegic

By:  Todd Palmer

Durham Elder Care - Paraplegia occurs when damage to the spinal cord causes individuals to suffer paralysis of the lower half of their body. Depending upon the location and severity of the damage, seniors who are paraplegic may be affected from their chests down. The home care providers of Durham, North Carolina, know that orthopedic professionals work hard to avoid and improve paralysis when possible; however, sometimes elderly individuals who suffer from paralysis are not able to regain feeling in their lower extremities. No matter what stage of recovery your elderly loved one is in following an accident that has left them paraplegic, it is important that you assist them in creating as autonomous a lifestyle as possible.
Independence: Is It Possible?

Seniors who want to continue aging in place despite paraplegia are often able to do so if they have a strong support network and the right resources. You see, today's medical industry is able to provide elderly individuals with a long list of caregivers and assistive devices that allow them to perform a wide range of tasks regardless of their condition. The trick is for you to ensure that your senior has these resources at their disposal when they need them.
Assistive Devices: Improving Autonomy

Wheelchairs and scooters are extremely useful for seniors who are paraplegic, as these devices allow them to retain a degree of mobility even if they are unable to walk. If your elderly loved one is recovering from paralysis, canes, walkers, and other assistive devices may prove beneficial as well.

While having a scooter or wheelchair is necessary for seniors with paraplegia to maintain an independent lifestyle, it is just as important that their homes are conducive to the use of these devices. Make sure that your loved one has ramps where necessary. Additionally, you might need to rearrange furniture and widen doorframes to allow your senior to easily maneuver throughout their home.
Support: Having Someone to Rely Upon

While your loved one will be able to get around on their own with assistive devices, they will still face limitations due to their paraplegia. Make sure that they have a family member, friend, or elder care professional at hand to assist them in maintaining their independence.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Social Security Disability Benefits for the Aging and Elderly

By:  Molly Clarke at Social Security Disability Help
As individuals age, they become susceptible to a number of conditions that could prevent them from working before they are ready to retire. These conditions include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, joint replacement, and arthritis among others. Being forced to leave the workforce early can cause significant financial strain. Fortunately, those who are unable to work due to a condition associated with aging may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits until Social Security Retirement benefits kick in. Social Security Disability benefits can significantly alleviate financial stress and can help caretakers provide adequate treatment and support.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
The first step toward obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is filling out a Social Security Disability application. This can be done online or at your local Social Security office. In order to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you must be able to prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of work activity.

The easiest way to qualify for disability benefits from the SSA is to prove that your condition meets the criteria of a condition that has been listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book is a published list of conditions and symptoms that may qualify for disability benefits. If you do not suffer from a condition that is listed in the Blue Book, you may still be able to qualify for benefits based on a vocational allowance. You will, however, have to gather sufficient medical evidence to prove that your condition completely prevents you from performing any type of work activity.

How Age Plays a Role
Age plays a large role when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. This is because the SSA understands that it is much easier for a 30-year-old to be retrained for other types of work than it is for a 50-year-old to be retrained. As such, your age will be taken into consideration when your application for disability benefits is being evaluated. If you can prove that you can no longer perform the work that you had been performing and that you can’t perform any type of work that you already have the skills for, chances are that you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

How Social Security Disability Benefits Can Help
As the age of retirement keeps going up, more and more people are finding themselves disabled before they reach full retirement age. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to fill that gap.

If you’re not financially ready for retirement but health conditions now prevent you from performing your daily work activities, Social Security Disability benefits can help alleviate unnecessary financial stress. In addition to receiving a monthly benefit check, you will also receive medical insurance under the Medicare program. If you qualify for Medicaid, you may also be entitled to additional medical assistance.
Applying for disability benefits will also relieve any stress that your caregiver or future caregiver may be feeling. While the SSA does not offer assistance to caregivers directly, there are programs that are run at the local and state levels which offer financial assistance to those who are caring for a disabled family member. For example, if your son or daughter has had to leave the workforce to help take care of you due to your disability, he or she may be able to receive pay for their efforts if you qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration, compensating them for their loss of wages.

The Services of a Social Security Disability Attorney
If you are no longer able to work due to a condition that is related to the aging process, you may want to consult with a disability attorney. These professionals know which conditions can qualify an individual for disability benefits and what you will need to do to prove your eligibility.

Additional resources are available here:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Durham Elder Care: How Can You Help Your Quadriplegic Senior Maintain Independence?

By:  Todd Palmer

Durham Elder Care - Quadriplegia is a condition in which an individual loses the ability to feel and move their arms or legs in addition to their torso. This can be caused by damage to various areas of the central nervous system, which incorporates the brain and the spinal cord.[1] Individuals who suffer from quadriplegia may feel as though they have lost all independence, as they cannot physically take care of themselves as they once did. This can be an incredibly difficult situation, both physically and emotionally, for individuals to overcome. For this reason, the home care professionals of Durham, North Carolina, encourage you to learn a bit more about the ways in which you can help your loved one retain a higher degree of independence despite their physical limitations.

Making Decisions: Your Loved One's Life Is Still Their Own
If you are providing care for a quadriplegic senior, you are probably tempted to make many of their decisions for them. While this might make your day a bit easier, it is certainly not the best way to encourage a sense of independence in your loved one. Remember that, although your senior needs assistance with physical activities, they are still capable of making choices about their lives. Try to make a conscious effort to include them in the decision-making processes regarding their healthcare, the management of their home, and the administration of their finances. Daily decisions, such as what to eat for dinner or where to go grocery shopping, can make a major difference in your loved one's perceived independence.

Calling Upon Technology
The technological industry has made great strides in its ability to cater to the needs of quadriplegics who are looking for a higher level of independence. Try exploring the available technological resources that may be open to your loved one, such as assistive devices ranging from switches to communication devices, in order to determine which gadgets will best help your senior achieve a higher degree of independence.

For seniors who are quadriplegic, independence may seem like an impossibility; however, there are ways in which you can support your loved one's autonomy in order to assist them in continuing to live their lives to the fullest.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chapel Hill Elder Care - What is Arthroplasty?

By:  Todd Palmer

Chapel Hill Elder Care - Harold, a senior care professional in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has assisted numerous elderly individuals and their families through a wide range of orthopedic surgeries. From shoulders to knees and everything in between, the joints of the body are frequently in need of repair once individuals reach a certain age. Arthroplasty is a common surgery that aims to alleviate pain and restore a wider range of motion through the reconstruction or realignment of the joints. Here, Harold shares some insight regarding arthroplasty and how it is used in the medical field.[1]

  • Joint resection is one of multiple types of arthroplastic surgery. This particular form of the operation removes bone that limits range of motion.
  • Interpositional reconstruction is an orthopedic operation that reshapes the joint. To assist in doing so, surgeons insert a prosthetic between the bones to allow from better movement.
  • Total joint arthroplasty, or joint replacement, is a common procedure for the hips and knees. This entails completely replacing the joint if interpositional reconstruction either fails to achieve the desired results or is not an option; however, this particular procedure is often only performed on individuals or are 60 years old or older.
  • Individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are frequently advised to undergo this form of orthopedic surgery.
  • After arthroplasty is performed it is imperative that individuals restrain from over-exercising or stressing the joint in order for it to heal properly. Seniors will be advised to partner with a physical therapist to ensure that they are exercising the joint enough to regain range of motion but not so much as to cause further damage.
  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in arthroplasty. Individuals who are considering this orthopedic operation are highly encouraged to speak with their doctors regarding the details of the procedure and whether or not it is the best option for your loved one.

Harold knows that orthopedic surgery is not always easy for seniors to face; however, with your support and the guidance of an experienced, knowledgeable medical team, your loved one can more confidently undergo and recover from arthroplasty.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Durham Elder Care: Recovering from Orthopedic Shoulder Surgery

By:  Todd Palmer

Durham Elder Care - Orthopedic shoulder surgery is a relatively common operation for seniors. The shoulders do a great deal of work on a daily basis and, over time, it is natural for them to experience wear and tear. Just because these procedures are done frequently, though, does not mean that they are not major operations. As such, it is important for you to assist your elderly loved one in recovering from their surgery. Here are some tips to help you understand the different kinds of surgery that may take place and to guide your senior through the healing process.  
Orthopedic surgical procedures are performed in two different ways: arthroscopy and open surgery. Arthroscopy entails the insertion of a camera into an incision near the shoulder joint. The recovery time associated with this type of surgery is minimal compared to that of open surgery, as open surgery requires medical professionals to create a larger incision in order to clearly see and fix the joint.

Gene from Durham, North Carolina, is an elder care professional who encourages you to keep the following tips in mind:[1]

  1. It is important that seniors do not stress the shoulder joint after undergoing orthopedic surgery; however, it is crucial that they engage in the exercises recommended by their doctors or physical therapists to assist the joint in healing and regaining mobility.
  2. Abrupt movements can put a great deal of strain on the shoulder and should be avoided.
  3. Seniors should have access to assistance when walking, climbing stairs, etc. so that they do not have to lean against objects or put undue pressure on their shoulder.
  4. Lifting heavy items or pulling items off of high shelves should be avoided until the shoulder is healed.
The target recovery date for each individual is different, depending upon their overall health, the severity of their injury, and the complications incurred during their orthopedic procedure; however, most seniors heal completely within six to seven months after their operation is performed. If your elderly loved one is scheduled to undergo orthopedic shoulder surgery it is essential that you provide the care they need either yourself or by hiring a home care professional.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Durham Home Care - Recovering from Orthopedic Hip Replacement Surgery

By:  Todd Palmer

Durham Home Care - Hip replacement is a fairly common procedure that allows seniors to benefit from a new joint and the increased mobility and decreased pain that it creates. Whether an elderly individual has this type of orthopedic surgery because they have a condition, such as arthritis, or have suffered from an injury, the truth is that the recovery process can be daunting. Here, Lesley from Durham, North Carolina, shares what she learned about orthopedic hip replacement recovery when she cared for her mother after she underwent this procedure. By taking these pieces of information into consideration, you can better assist your loved one in healing after the procedure is complete.

·         After surgery, seniors are put into an observation room for a few hours. During this time, healthcare professionals monitor them to ensure that they are responding well to the operation and that they are not experiencing any complications.

·         Once immediate observation is complete, elderly individuals are moved into a hospital room. They will stay here for a few days, depending upon their condition and the recommendations of medical professionals.

·         Pain management is an important aspect of recovery after orthopedic hip replacement surgery. As such, pain medication will most likely be prescribed by healthcare providers. There are several different kinds of pharmaceuticals and delivery options, so it is important to discuss these options with the doctor.

·         Medical professionals will want to prevent blood clots following surgery. They may recommend the use of TEDs, compression stockings, and exercises. Furthermore, medications to avoid the development of a blood clot are commonly given.

·         Physical therapy is often started the day after surgery to increase mobility in the joint and kick start the recovery process. Pain should be monitored while exercises take place, and the intensity of the physical therapy conducted should begin very low and increase over time.

·         Elderly individuals benefit from the attention of a family member or home care professional upon their discharge from the hospital. During the recovery process, they will need help walking, preparing meals, and caring for their home.
With these pieces of information in mind, you can assist your loved one in healing after orthopedic hip replacement surgery.