Monthly Archives: January 2014

Joint Pain in the Winter

Due to the recent cold weather and all the snow that the Tri-State Area has experienced lately, I’m sure some of you have heard complaints from people who suffer from joint pain, arthritis or osteoarthritis. This is the season in which sufferers (possibly you are one of the pain sufferers) experience great pain in their knees, ankles, hands, shoulders or other body part due to the extreme weather. Apparently, you are not alone! Some scientists theorize that the joint pain can be caused due to the drop in the barometric pressure.  The barometric pressure is the atmospheric “air” pressure caused by the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us.  The air pressure could be rising or falling and usually when it falls that usually signals rain, clouds and bad weather such as: cyclones and tropical storms. In people with inflammatory conditions, this usually cause soreness and stiffness as the swelling inflames the nerves around the joints, causing pain.  Let’s say the tissue surrounding the joints are like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding. While low pressure on the body would allow the tissues to expand and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joints according to WebMd.com. This can make it difficult enough for some sufferers; that they have a challenge getting out of bed in the morning let alone trying to go about the rest of their day with the soreness, stiffness and pain. These pains can cause some people to have real difficulties trying to do their daily activities.

There are different ways to try to alleviate some of the pain.

Stay warm – Keep yourself indoors in heated places when it’s cold outside or dress in layers and warm the car up before going into the cold. Using warming pads and taking warm baths can help as well.

Stay active  – While it might be difficult to move with stiffness, stretching and doing exercise have shown to provide some relief.

Prevent the swelling – Wear spandex type of materials where the pain is to minimize the swelling allowed by the body from your joint fluids.

Take better care of yourself – Eat healthy, get plenty of rest and be in a positive mood as it helps alleviate the feeling of stress and depression etc.

Lastly, always remember that the pain will be temporary, since we don’t have low air pressure every day!

Now, for those that are really hindered by the pain and stiffness that interferes with their activities of daily living; there is relief available by getting someone to provide you with assistance. Typically most people want/like to rely on their family members to provide them this assistance they need, but now a days with so many things going on in each of our lives it can sometimes be difficult to have someone to provide you that assistance needed. However, with a certified home health aide around, they can assist the individual with all activities of daily living making it easier to live with joint pain.

If you or someone you know suffers from joint pain, feel free to reach out to Exclusive Care which is a premier home care service agency who can connect you to certified home health aide to provide you all the assistance of activities of daily living. Feel free to call us at (718) 364-4032 and explore your options in care.

6 Main Concerns of the Elderly

As life progresses, human beings are plagued with more and more concerns. They don’t just go away once we become older. We might like to think, “Those will be the carefree days … the days when I’m older and retired,” but the truth is: today’s basket of worries simply becomes different worries tomorrow. As caregivers for the elderly, it’s important to know which anxieties might be stressing the thoughts and concerns of a senior. This is important so we can try to ease the worries and concerns of the elderly the best we can. As seniors, we need to recognize our anxieties so we can attempt to counter them with positive thoughts and actions.

  1. Money Issues
    No one wishes to outlive their savings, yet with today’s unique set of circumstances, the fear may be justified. People live longer today than ever before. Healthcare costs continually increase. Retirement savings have decreased due to a poor economy. Running out of money is a serious concern; one that can be eased through careful financial planning.
  2. Feeling Useless
    Many seniors, especially those who led very active lives, often feel they no longer have a purpose once they’ve retired from their job or their children have grown. Family members can help counter such a concern by keeping in touch with senior loved ones. Let them know they’re still an important part of your life. Another idea: give seniors useful projects to take care of such as organizing family photos, for example.
  3. Loneliness
    As a senior’s social circles shrink and their ability to get out and about becomes increasingly more difficult, loneliness can set in. This is especially true for those seniors who were social butterflies in their youth. Call or visit elderly loved ones often. Help them attend social functions. This will help seniors remain socially engaged and lessen one of the concerns of the elderly.
  1.  Risky investment and management strategies. Because of increasing medical costs and static retirement incomes, some elderly people are making risky investments to try to increase their cash flow to pay for medical care. This, in turn, often puts principal at risk and places the elderly family in illiquid positions.
  2.  Joining Medicare HMO’s instead of relying on Medicare. Each week, thousands of Americans over age 65 choose to join Medicare HMO’s without appropriate investigation. In some instances, this can cause less coverage and greater financial exposure.
  3. Not understanding what Medicare and Medicaid Cover. Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care except for a very short time and then on a limited basis. For the one in four Americans who enter nursing homes without a plan, this can be quite a shock.

This information is brought to you by http://www.lifemanagement.com/nsa15.1.1786/ and http://blog.alternativesforseniors.com/6-major-concerns-of-the-elderly/. To continue to read more about this subject please visit either one of these sites. During this time of gathering and season for compassion, let us not forget those who are not able to travel to their loved ones, have no family/friends to share with during this season. At Exclusive Care we would like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays from our family to yours. If you or a loved one are in need of home care services, please contact us by calling 718-364-4032 or by emailing us at info@exclusive-care.com

How to Determine if Mom or Dad Needs Care at Home

The holidays are upon us and this is usually one of the few times we get to visit our family and friends and spend some meaningful time with them. As we have grown into adults, we might have started to notice that some things might be a little off with mom or dad or possibly Aunt Sally.  Initially we might try to rationalize and say “oh she is just getting older but, she’ll be fine”. The truth of the matter is that we might feel guilty for suggesting that a loved one is losing their ability to remain independent at home. The worst part is, is that the adult person losing their abilities might feel ashamed to admit such a thing. Well, we don’t have to be so closed minded and worried all the time especially during this time of celebration and family. The best thing to do is to look for clues that they might need some assistance/help or even companionship. For this, all we need to do is use our five senses to determine if our loved ones might need some home care services to provide them with the freedom to remain at home longer without having to be placed in a nursing home.

To use our senses requires us to do the following:

 Eyes - With a visual inspection of someone or their living conditions, we can pick up on many signs that things are not going well.

  • Look to see if their place is a mess or becoming messier than usual.
  • See if their clothes are dirty, stained or that they are wearing the same clothing for several days at a time.

Nose - Your nasal senses are very powerful especially in picking up foul odors.

  • Sniff around their living quarters to see if it smells like an old gym locker or if the trash has not been taken out in some time.
  • Smell the individual to see if they have taken a bath.
  • Smell their breath as well to check if they are brushing their teeth and doing everyday activities.

Ears - Giving people the opportunity to be heard is one of the best ways to find out what is going on with them. Listening to what people say can tell you a lot about their current mental status.

  • Listen for clues of repeated events – Such as I fall often, I forget to take my medication; I forgot another doctor’s appointment.
  • Listen for signs of sadness, disorientation or confusion.
  • Listen to see if their speech is slurred or impaired as this can signify mental problems.

Touch - Your hands are the best tools to maneuver through many things.

  • Wipe a finger/hand around areas that should generally be clean to check for dust or other dirty conditions.
  • Bathroom areas – such as the sink and toilet area.
  • Kitchen – touch to see if things have spilled and the fridge is all sticky.
  • Living room – look if the TV has so much dust you can barely watch it.

Taste - Your tongue can distinguish between four basic taste of salty, sweet, bitter and sour

  • Not everything smells like it is spoiled. So give several items in the fridge a small taste test to see if they are good or spoiled. Be careful, because you don’t want to end up being the one that needs care for food poisoning.

If you sense that your loved one is having issues with their overall general well-being, do not hesitate to get them care now. Being proactive can be the difference between them getting hurt and ending up in the hospital and having a safe, happier and healthier family member. For any aspect of care or information on care-giving, please feel free to contact Exclusive Care.

At Exclusive Care we provide services in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. For your convenience a nurse can be scheduled to visit you or your loved one at home to evaluate the level of care that is needed at no cost to you, if they participate in our program. The nurse will also be able to evaluate the home to make you aware of any potential hazards that might cause harm to your family member. They will help clarify some questions you or your loved one may have. We can provide as much care as is needed from a couple of hours a week to 24 hour live-in care and everything in between. We have highly a trained staff of home health aides, personal care aides, homemakers, and nursing care members. We help with bathing, cooking, toileting, grooming, medicine reminders, laundry and cleaning services. Exclusive Care is a licensed home care service agency that provides top quality care to all our clients. Feel free to give us a call at 718-364-4032.

How to persuade my mom, dad, family member or friend to get home care services

There is nothing more awkward then having to start a conversation with a loved one about the need for them to get some help. Particularly when it pertains to that loved one getting home care services. As we age and get older, we feel that we are getting bigger, faster, stronger and smarter. However the opposite holds true as we age because we get smaller, slower and weaker and lose some of our acuity when it comes to information. This usually causes the dilemma between parent and adult child or other individual that you made need to have this conversation with.

There are two sides of the story here; one is of the individual that needs care – They might feel like they are being attacked or that the person no longer loves the individual or might feel like the person is trying to abandon them. On the other side of the coin is the person that is caring for the person who needs to get them care.  This person might feel guilt, sadness, stress and possibly overwhelmedat times.

But, we must remember here that the ultimate goal is to have the individual that needs the care to be healthy and independent and at the same time to have the current caregiver healthy and independent as well. As the caregiver could have a family, work and other activities that are going on in their lives that make it difficult for them to provide the adequate time and care to the individual that needs the care. Therefore, leaving the caregiver burnt out physically and emotionally. So, where do we go from here? The best thing is to have an open and honest conversation about getting some professional help to provide them with home care services. In order to have this conversation the environment and the way the conversation flows must be a seamless process so no one feels uncomfortable.

That’s why we created our own little conversation guide.

  1. Do your homework – Look to see what services are available in your area and be able to answer some of their questions they might have in regards to the care.
  2. Pick the right time and place for the conversation – Pick a place that is comfortable but non-emotional as this place is important to having a successful conversation.
  3. Approach the conversation slowly by asking questions – You might want to ask about level of pain, difficulty or any challenges the person might be having.
  4. Direct the question towards your goal –Inquire to see how they would feel about care and let them come up with answers that are appropriate.
  5. Point out the Benefits – To get them away from that “worry” mind frame may dispel any concerns they might come up with. Steer them towards the benefits of a home health care aide.

If the conversation is not going as smooth as possible there is still time to correct the conversation.

  1. Take a break – Delicate conversations like this can go bad but not to the point where both parties are upset. If the conversation is not going as you planned, cut it short and bring up a different topic and approach the conversation at another time.
  2. Call in the authority – In every family there is always that authoritative person that everyone listens to but it does not have to be a family member it can be a friend, religious leader, someone that is trusted or a care worker from a professional setting.

In the end, the focus is to get them the right care sooner rather than later to avoid further decline and a potential hospital stay. At Exclusive Care we understand the concerns about growing old, being disabled or possibly losing some independence. The truth is, home care service is provided so the individual may remain at home, independent, healthier and leaving them able to focus on the things they enjoyed in life not the things they are now limited too. If you or a loved one are in need of home care services, please feel free to reach out to us today at 718-364-4032.

You don’t have to be alone for the holidays

The holidays are a time of joy, family and laughter for most, but for others it can be a sad time of reflection and/or loneliness; especially for those who have lost someone dear to them.  The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) released several statistics on loneliness and seniors that were published through an article written by Erin Schmidt of brightstarcare.com .  The study examined prevalence rates among older Americans, and also presented a descriptive profile of lonely older adults and examines the relationships between loneliness and health, health behaviors, involvement in a social network and use of technology for social communications and networking.

Key findings revealed:

  • A little over one-third (35%) of the survey respondents were categorized as lonely.
  • Older adults reported lower rates of loneliness than those who were younger (43% of those ages 45-49 were lonely compared to 25% of those 70+).  Married respondents were less likely to be lonely (29%) compared to never-married respondents (51%), and those with higher incomes were less likely to be lonely than those with lower incomes.
  • Lonely respondents were less likely to be involved in activities that build social networks, such as: attending religious services, volunteering, participating in a community organization or spending time on a hobby.
  • Almost half (45%) of those who had lived in their current residence for less than 1 year reported feeling lonely.
  • Loneliness was a significant predictor of poor health. Those who rated their health as “excellent” were over half as likely to be lonely than those who rated their health as “poor” (25% vs. 55%).
  • Lonely and non-lonely respondents did not differ significantly from each other in terms of their frequency of email use.  However, 13% of lonely respondents felt they have fewer deep connections now that they keep in touch with people using the Internet, compared to 6% of non-lonely respondents.

Loneliness is a very real issue for many people this time of year, and we can all make a difference in their lives one by one by simply reaching out and bringing them into your circle of happiness.  Here at Exclusive Care we make sure that companionship and home health care services are available to you all year round. We distinguish ourselves  from the rest by ensuring that our aides are people who not only “do their job”, but they are also people who treat our clients with love, care, and compassion.  So if you or a loved one are in need of Home care or companionship services don’t hesitate to contact us at 718-364-4032 or email us at info@exclusive-care.com

Home care and PTSD

Most people tend to think that in order to get home care services that one must be physically disabled or be a senior citizen. But in life there are many occasions and situations that may cause mental trauma that is hard to overcome; thereby individuals end up with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). With a little assistance from a certified health aide and other medical professionals, an individual can get the proper care to help them cope and heal and recover to be a healthy functioning individual in our society.

The following article was obtained from Helpguide.org which is a non-profit resource website to help explain some of the things one might experience depending on their level of PTSD.

After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the upset doesn’t fade and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can seem like you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But by seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.

PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.

Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • War
  • Natural disasters
  • Car or plane crashes
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Childhood neglect
Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless

The difference between PTSD and a normal response to trauma

The traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder are usually so overwhelming and frightening that they would upset anyone. Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events.

For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.

A normal response to trauma becomes PTSD when you become stuck

After a traumatic experience, the mind and the body are in shock. But as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions, you come out of it. With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, you remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to move on, it’s important to face and feel your memories and emotions.

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Physical aches and pains [i]

At Exclusive Care we understand that bad things do happen to great people, so helping our clients overcome these difficult times is what we are all about. PTSD is something that one cannot overcome by oneself. It is something that requires a team of trained professionals to regain one’s mental health again. PTSD usually affects those in the “front line” as a first responder to helping those that cannot help themselves. If you do have PTSD let us be your first responders to help you or your loved ones recover during this trying time. We believe everyone’s health is important, which is why we have all our Certified Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides trained efficiently so that you or your loved ones are getting the right health professionals in your home to provide safe care. If you or someone you know is having difficulty with activities of daily living, please feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation at 718-364-4032. Or you can visit our website at http://www.exclusive-care.com/

[i] HelpGuide.org A trusted Non-profit resource http://www.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

Quality Home Health Care

August 9, 2010 Home Health Care Aide: Ms. Carmen Dear Ms. Dominguez: I am writing for my mother and myself when I say that we are very happy with her present Home Health Care Aide, Ms. Carmen, She exhibits all the attributes we had expected in a home health care aide. She is reliable, she encourages my mother to go out and get some exercise, she cooks for her and takes care of light cleaning and laundry and doctor appointments and all the other things my mother cannot do for herself. However, what stands out above all the rest is her upbeat personality and the personal interest she seems to take in acting as a true companion to my mother. My mother is alone in her apartment most of the time and the thing that really cheers her up is having someone to talk to, whom she can understand and relate to and who seems to really take an interest in her well-being. I think she truly represents your agency as a place of quality home health care. When raise time comes, please don’t overlook her. Yours truly, Patients Son

Special Thanks to the entire Staff at Home Care Agency

September 9,2010 Ms. Laude , who works Monday thru Thursday. I am going to highlight some of her qualities and explain to you how and why I came to these conclusions. First and foremost she is an extraordinary human being who cares: Her work assignments start at 8:00 am daily, yet she arrives to work between 6:45 am and 7:00 am everyday (even though it takes her 90 minutes, using 2 buses to get here). Moreover, her time sheets will confirm she is always punctual and on time – never late. She shows initiative helping and caring for me as if I am her mother. She takes pride in doing my laundry and cleaning my home. Without ever asking her, she insists on changing my bed sheets almost every day; she does so, 3 out of the 4 days she works during the week. It is now a joy to have friends and family visit my home, because it is always very clean and she is humble and respectful of my visitors. Many of them have had good and kind words to say about her polite mannerism, the way she is always neatly dressed (in uniform) and her professionalism. In fact, Ms. Laude, has changed my life: She prepares my meals on a timely basis: at the same hour of the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What is also gratifying Laude checks my schedule for my medication; she reminds me when to take my medications and does her own follows-up that I take them; she helps me monitor my “sugar” and my “pressure”. It is refreshing to note, that I do not suffer anymore with “terrible gas” from not eating on time; the previous aides were always late (9 out of 10 times). And as a diabetic, you know I must check my “sugar” and I have to eat early, otherwise I am sick like a dog. I must give thanks to God for sending Ms. Laude. I am a lot better and there has been a tremendous improvement in my health: my “sugar” and my “pressure” are under control and I am no longer as stressed out as in the past, I cannot ask for a better home attendant. We have a great and beautiful relationship. I must say I respect her and love her for the love, care and attention she has given to my every need. I am happy and comfortable with her. Again, I must thank God for blessing me by sending her into my life and into my home. Before Ms. Laude came along I was suffering terribly; with the other girls there is no comparison. I can honestly recommend her to the world for her outstanding work, care and good nature. She always does her assigned duties in a timely manner and would go beyond the call of duty (if you allow her). In closing, special thanks to the Manager and entire staff at Home Care Agency, for taking the time to select and send me an extra special worker who has improved my life in every possible way. Ms. Sylna

Definitely Recommend Your Agency

November 29, 2010 Thank you for giving us the opportunity to express how much we appreciate Home Care Agency and particularly our home care attendant, Marvalyn. She has been a first-rate companion and caregiver for me. She is punctual and reliable. Her manner is gentle, she is friendly, warm, and she treats me with dignity. She has high standards of cleanliness, which is a constant comfort. She is a good cook. We see every day that Marvalyn’s motivating force is love. We asked for Marvalyn even though we did not know her well, because she is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. My daughter and I are also Witnesses, and this would make her our dear sister. We thus knew that her study of the Scriptures would have trained her to be someone who is trustworthy and kind, and she has proved to be so.This sisterhood creates an unbreakable bond between us, but we also feel that Marvalyn will show the same caring skills wherever she is assigned. She is persevering. When she started working with us, I had just moved to Brooklyn and my weight had gone below 100 pounds, I was sleeping about 20 hours a day, was unable to communicate much, and had difficulty swallowing. I was beginning to get bed sores. My breathing was very shallow, and, in fact, I contracted pneumonia the first week I was here. To everyone’s surprise, I survived, and began my days with Marvalyn. In the hospital I acquired an incentive breathing apparatus. Marvalyn has worked very hard every day doing mouth exercises with me, and encouraging me to use the little breathing machine-Today, i weigh more than 120 pounds. My swallowing is greatly improved, in fact, I have very little difficulty now. I have no bed sores. And doctors have been amazed at the good flow of air in my lungs. Marvalyn understands all my needs and never delays in meeting them. Marvalyn has a heart trained in wisdom from the Bible, and this is one thing that makes her the good caregiver that she is. I am sure that she is not alone among your caregivers in showing love. But though we see much evidence that your course is excellent, and it certainly put Marvalyn on the right foot in her career, it is very difficult to help someone understand the importance of showing love in such a short course of time. We are enclosing reprints of three Bible-based articles from the Watchtower and Awake! that were a small part of Marvalyn’s life education and contributed greatly to her qualities as a loving caregiver. I have read these magazines regularly for the past 40 years and they have made my life better, and richer. I am now benefiting from my dear Marvalyn’s years of putting these good things into her heart too. I think you will enjoy these articles, along with the two current issues of the magazines I am enclosing. We have enjoyed our business dealings with Home Care Agency. My daughter reports that you are always helpful and amiable. We very much appreciate your supportive calls and the nurses’ visits, which are very pleasant experiences. Both of my caregivers enjoy them. We would definitely recommend your agency to others at any time.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Lucille