Monthly Archives: February 2014

What Life is Like Caring for My ……………?

Heart

Most of us never think that one day our parents will become an “elder” person and we think less about the day we will have to start caring for them. For most individuals, becoming a caregiver usually sneaks up on us. As we start to notice changes in our parents, we do the loving thing of providing them that extra hand to make them happy and go about their regular day. This additional attention for our parents also feels good because we are making sure that they are o.k. (they are our parents after all). We might start with the little things as helping our parents run an errand or running the errand for them. We might progress to helping them with their bills. Depending on how our parent’s health condition(s) develop, we can end up with a second job “caring for my ……………”, since our first job “only” pays the bills. This second job can develop such responsibilities as assisting them with;

  • Getting out of bed
  • Bathing them
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Getting them dressed/undressed
  • Toileting
  • Cooking
  • Feeding
  • Cleaning
  • Running most/all of their errands
  • Become a record keeper of all appointments, events and activities
  • And finally assist them with their entire day until they go to bed

Now we do all this and then repeat it every day and as stated earlier, we might start with a few task at first, but soon more and more things on the list above are being added to the daily tasks you must perform.

As time goes on, all of these additional tasks can cause you to become tired, depressed and could possibly cause you to start suffering from health issues of your own. Caring for someone is not an easy task. It can be the most rewarding thing in life, but it can also be draining at times. Luckily, there is hope and a great solution to maintaining your own piece of mind for the care of your loved one and allowing for time to recharge your own “battery”. You can call Exclusive Care the licensed home care service agency that can take over the “second job”, which will allow you to be more productive, less stressful, more fulfilling and give you the peace of mind knowing that a certified home health aide is there providing care with as much compassion and sympathy as you offer. If you are a caregiver and nee d a break or just need someone to take over all these responsibilities, call 718-364-4032 and speak with the professionals that can provide care.

Suicide Amongst the Aged

Suicide takes plenty of lives on a yearly basis, but did you know that it is becoming such a problem that it has made the top ten list of leading causes of death in the United States. According to census data from 2010, 38,364 individuals committed suicide, which meant that every 13.7 minutes someone died by suicide. The most alarming part is how often it affects people 65 years of age and older. According to the American Association of Suicidology, there was one elderly suicide every 97 minutes. There were about 14.9 elderly suicides each day, resulting in 5,421 suicides in among those 65 and older. Suicide rates for males are highest among those aged 75 and older (rate 36 per 100,000) ¹.  The most shocking part is that the completion rate is highest amongst seniors more than all other groups, making them most successful at killing themselves. This is a very sad truth as this affects family members and communities as well as the individual. The biggest problem is because suicide can be caused by many different factors and signs of intent to commit suicide are not easily detectable, particularly amongst males who tend to hide their feelings. And while we all face many issues we usually have friends and family that can assist and help us during these times, but for seniors they might lack that support system that is essential to avoid a possible suicide attempt. So, we must pay special attention to our elderly loved ones around us to make sure that they do not get absorbed into this trap.

Some of the warning signs:

  • Loss of interest in things or activities that are usually found enjoyable
  • Cutting back social interaction, self-care, and grooming
  • Breaking medical regimens (prescriptions, diets, doctor visits)
  • Feelings of depression and worthlessness
  • Putting their affairs in order and giving things away
  • Gathering items that are for lethal means (guns, rope, medication etc…)
  • Expression(s) of suicidal intent

Some of the risk factors:

  • Physical illness and prolonged pain
  • Social Isolation & Loneliness
  • Major changes in social roles (retirement)
  • Experiencing or expecting a significant personal loss (spouse or other) – sometimes leads to multiple suicides as the remaining person might not want to be left alone
  • Financial problems

Some of the numbers²

Suicide

The simple truth is that as people age more issues come into play that greatly affect one’s mental health. Imagine someone that has retired and has lost most of their social environment and now is left alone due to death or divorce and their grown children have left and moved on as well. Then add in depression to their mental health due to a chronic health condition that has affected them and made them more handicapped. Feeling isolated and with a chronic condition that might be causing someone pain or difficulty with activities of daily living adds a great deal of strain to one’s mental capacity to think clearly and maintain a feeling of hope. Having someone there to assist the individual, communicate and interact with them can be the difference between an elderly loved one and a deceased loved one that has now affected your life. If you or someone you know is living alone, having difficulty with activities of daily living or is going through some form of hardship; getting them a certified home health aide can be that difference. At Exclusive Care, we care for many patients and can be there for you and your family if they have been suffering from loneliness or even  a chronic medical condition and can no longer care for themselves or others. Our highly trained certified home health aides and personal care aides can be there to help them lead the most enriching life possible. You can count on Exclusive Care to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for any and all Live in Care, Personal Care, Home Health and Companionship needs. For your convenience, we may even schedule a nurse to visit you or your loved one’s at home and evaluate the level of care that is needed. This will help clarify some questions you or your loved one may have. Exclusive Care is a licensed home care service agency that provides top quality aides to all our clients. If you would like to have more information, please feel free to contact us by phone at 718-364-4032 or on our website at www.exclusive-care.com

¹. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010). [cited 2012 Oct 19] Available from www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index. html.

². National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (1995) Suicide in the United States 1980-1992 Violence Surveillance Summary Series, No.1 http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dphillip/suicide_in_the_united_states_cdc_report.pdf

Oral Hygiene and aging

The miracle of life is a wonderful thing! We are born into this world perfect in a sense; just lacking any teeth. Therefore, we cannot feed on the vital things we need such as: meats, fish and plants that provide us with most of the nutrients and energy we need to function to our maximum capacity and maintain a healthy body and mind. So as we grow up, we develop our teeth and progress accordingly and we start to eat more solid foods, which help us develop faster and stronger until we hit approximately age 5-6 years old when our baby teeth start to fall out and we begin to have gaps in our teeth and look crazy in our school photos. While this is a short and funny time period in our lives, it is fixed naturally when our adult teeth grow in. But as we become adults and start losing our teeth, unfortunately there is no natural cure to re-grow our teeth, which is why keeping our teeth and gums in good shape as we age is very important. Granted we will look just as crazy as when we were kids, but this time it can be a permanent problem. Having a mouth full of missing teeth becomes more of a problem than just the aesthetics with the more teeth we lose. The loss of teeth, causes an individual to not be able to chew as we used to; thereby causing us to forgo eating foods that we need to keep us healthy. Also, we can lose the ability to speak clearly and confidently as we can become self-conscious about our missing teeth. Poor oral hygiene can lead to very serious conditions besides bad breath and ugly looking gums if not monitored. Poor oral hygiene can be an early sign that an individual is developing more serious health conditions. This is why proper oral care and regular dental visits are a must! This can help fight tooth decay, gum disease and other potential medical conditions.

Did you know that?

  • Infections in the mouth can be a sign of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other health conditions
  • Some medications can affect your oral health. So you should talk to your doctor about the potential effects on your mouth when new medication is prescribed
  • Having multiple abscesses in your mouth can be a sign that you have diabetes
  • In most cases gum disease isn’t painful
  • There is such a thing as burning mouth syndrome (BMS)
  • Having poor oral hygiene can be a sign of mental decay

Once your mouth has deteriorated, your body usually follows as both are interconnected. Ours mouths are a key tool in what is needed to take care of our bodies by allowing it to take in and break up the meats, fruits and vegetables that provide us the needed nutrients and vitamins to function. If you know someone that is having difficulty eating and processing their food and they need some assistance, contact Exclusive Care at 718-364-4032 and one of our certified home health aide can cook for specific diet needs, feed or assist in feeding the client so they can get needed nutrients and stay healthy. Also the certified home health aide can escort the individual to their dentist appointments and thereafter provide the necessary oral care the individual would need to continue with proper oral hygiene.

How to Prepare to Become a Senior

We are getting older every single day, yet if you are like me you still think you are “young” regardless of your actual age. Regardless of our age, we must do certain things that are recommended to help us to live happier & healthier lifestyles. For instance, getting a regular prostate exam for males or getting a mammogram for a female beginning after a certain age. Here are a few things to help you prepare in the years as you become more senior.

40’s

50’s

60’s

Do your Will

Exercise

Exercise some more

Get your “situation(s)” in order

Do brain teasers

Exercise your brain forever

Eat healthy daily

Continue to eat healthy

Healthy eating should be a habit

Learn to control stress

Practice Yoga

Learn to Meditate

Get Long Term Care Insurance

Get some life insurance

Have the proper health plan

Lose all the negative people in your life

Tell all you love, that you “love them”

Learn what happiness is

From all my years in this world, all that I have learned so far is that the happier you are the healthier you are as well. So don’t sweat the small stuff, stop and smell the roses and enjoy your life because people say all you have is one life to live and if you do it right you, don’t have to repeat it.

I know people do things at their pace and when they feel it is appropriate but, remember that time waits for no man and time is always ticking. So if you are alive today and get to accomplish all these goals, you should be a happier and healthier person knowing that you have covered all bases.

But, for those of us that have not completed our life goals, it’s o.k. There is still time!

So if you haven’t done anything on the list, do something (In bold letters). Plan to see what you will need most at this point in time and in the future and prepare for those things. If you are healthy, continue to strive to be the best you can be. If you are not healthy and need some assistance within your home with activities of daily living, feel confident that you can get the care you need by calling Exclusive Care at 718-364-4032.