Category Archives: Companionship Services

5 Things You Should Tell Your New Home Care Provider

Being a caregiver for an aging parent can be overwhelming. Whether your loved one requires skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapies or assistance with activities of daily living, home care services provide family caregivers a moment of relaxation and peace of mind. However, there are some things you should make your care provider aware of before you start services. This will ensure that you are getting quality care and will help us create a plan of care that will fit your specific needs.

Emergency Contacts. Provide a list of emergency phone numbers including: yourself, other key family members, the patient’s doctor, local hospitals, home care nurses and therapists, local police and fire.

Medications. When a new homecare provider comes into the home, the patient will receive medication reconciliation from a nurse. Because home care aides can only remind a patient to take their medications, creating a schedule that lists: what prescriptions to take, when and the correct dosage will reduce medication errors.

Meal Preparations. Home care aides are available to prepare meals for patients and families. Explain how your loved one: likes their food prepared, portion sizes, dietary issues, or food allergies. The more details given, the better the care provided. It helps ensure your loved one is cared for to your standards.

Transfers. If your loved one needs assistance getting out of their bed or in the bathroom, assistive devices are available. They can be covered under insurance or Medicare and can help reduce falls or broken bones.

Activities. If your loved one is still independent and just needs companionship, discuss what they like to do. Do they enjoy playing games, watching television, listening to the radio, or taking a walk outside? The more details your homecare provider knows about the patient, the better care they can deliver.

If you or a loved one is in need of assistance with activities of daily living such as: light cooking, cleaning or even medication reminders! Please contact Excluisive Care. so that one of our enrollment specialists can assist you in the process of obtaining services. We can be reached at 718-364-4032 from the hours of 9am-5pm, or email us at info@exclusive-care.com.

 

 

Help Around The House

There are many things that can offer some assistance within the home, if we are having difficulties on our own. But there are several differences between items and people when providing assistance. Let’s explore.

Assistance to prevent slipping:

  • Items
    • Floor mats and grab bars are useful in preventing you from slipping/falling while in the tub
    • It is only useful if you are right next to the grab bar in question
  • A Home Health Aide (HHA)
    • A HHA would hold on to you to make sure you are able to maneuver within the entire bath
    • An Aide can prevent you from slipping/falling just about anywhere

Assistance putting on your shoes:

  • Item
    • A shoe horn is only good for slipping your foot into the shoe
  • HHA
    • A HHA would be able to adjust your socks and make sure the shoe fits well and even tie the shoe laces

Assistance with meal preparation:

  • Item
    • There are microwaveable food items, that still requires an individual to go to the kitchen, put it in the microwave and serve according to instructions
  • HHA
    • They can cook a home cooked meal (keeping in mind dietary restrictions when necessary)

Assistance with medication reminders:

  • Item
    • A pill box is only useful if you remember to take your medication(s) at the appropriate time(s)
  • HHA
    • They can get you the right pill(s) at the right time throughout the day

It’s funny how all the “items” may help you around the house, but on a very limited basis. Whereas a certified home health aide is more than someone that can provide assistance as they are a companion, a professional and caring hand that can make most of life’s difficulties more pleasant. If you or someone you know need some assistance in the home with activities of daily living such as: bathing, eating, cleaning etc…Exclusive Care can help! We have highly trained certified home health aides that can care for you or your loved ones. They can assist with activities such as: bathing, toileting, dressing, cooking, cleaning and other activities of daily living. If you would like to find out more information about the services a licensed home care service agency can offer you, please feel free to contact us at (718) 364-4032 or visit our website at www.exclusive-care.com

The Affluence of Home Care

Imagine a life where you would be healthy throughout your entire life until the day you die. If you have the financial means, there are plenty of things in this world that could be easily resolved like paying the mortgage, college tuition, wedding and all your bills including your medical bills. There is one thing that can still happen regardless of our financial status and that is, we can become sick, get injured or develop a chronic condition. Once we become “sick” and not able to properly care for ourselves, we can do one of two things: one is to call upon our family/friends to care for us (which might not be the best idea) or option two is we can be proactive about our own care and get ourselves a specialist to care for us. But, who wants to be seen in public with a nurse by their side? No one wants to walk around with someone dressed in all white, giving you the appearance that you are infirmed. So let me clue you in on one of life’s best kept secrets. The best thing to do is to get a certified home health aide (HHA) to assist in your daily care. An HHA is the perfect solution to meet all of your needs. They are like a personal assistant for your activities of daily living. They can dress in regular clothing to be discrete and keep your health status 100% confidential. The next question is what exactly does an HHA do? Well, here’s a glimpse at some of the services they can provide:

  • Assist with care of the teeth and mouth
  • Assist with care of the hair including shampooing and shaving
  • Assist with ordinary care of the nails, including washing, drying, and filing with an emery board
  • Assist with bathing in bed, tub or shower
  • Assist with feeding
  • Assist with walking, use of walker, or wheelchair
  • Assist with dressing
  • Assist with transfers from bed to chair or commode and back
  • Prepare and serve meals according to dietary restrictions
  • Change bed linens regularly
  • Dust, vacuum, and straighten the room that the patient uses
  • Wash dishes, scour kitchen and bathroom sink
  • Maintain general cleanliness of the client’s environment
  • List needed supplies
  • Shop for client in the absence of family members
  • Launder client clothes and linens in the absence of family members

Even under certain circumstances the HHA can:

  • Assist with the administration of medicines
  • Measure body temperature, pulse, respirations and blood pressure
  • Test urine for glucose, ketones, and bacteria
  • Collect urine, stool and sputum specimens
  • Preparation of a complex and/or modified diet
  • Assist with a prescribed exercise program
  • Assist with prescribed medical equipment, supplies and devices
  • Assist with special skin care, ostomy care and dressing changes

 

Obtaining an HHA through Exclusive Care is even more specific to your needs, as we do a holistic approach to the care provided. We would provide a registered nurse who would go to your home (to be discrete) and evaluate you and your current needs and provide you with a unique plan of care to fit you and your lifestyle. Life is a lot easier when we have a little assistance especially when dealing with personal difficulties. At Exclusive Care we are proud to be the premier licensed home care agency serving the New York City area. If you or a loved one is having difficulties with activities of daily living, feel free to visit our website at www.exclusive-care.com or call us at (718) 364-4032. Life does not have to be difficult and challenging when the right help is only a phone call away.

The Limitations of Pain

Pain is physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury as per Merriam-Webster dictionary. Pain, in many people, is due to some kind of inflammation. There are several things that can hinder us from living independently and happily, especially when we are having pain due to a condition. For a lot of sufferers, the pain starts and gets worse as we age. So let’s explore what are the limitations we experience when we have pain in;

Arm(s) {from hands to shoulder}

  • You might not be able to grasp things easily or it can be painful
  • Movement can be stiff and rigid
  • Putting on clothing can be difficult

Shoulder(s)

  • You can’t do activities over-head (i.e. difficulty washing/combing hair)
  • Can’t reach behind your back (i.e. clasping your bra)
  • You can have difficulty sleeping on your injured shoulder

Leg(s) {to include ankles, knee and hip}

  • You will have difficulty walking
  • You will be more prone to a slip, trip or fall (Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.)¹

Foot

  • You will have pain while walking or standing, making it difficult to walk or stand for lengths of time, which can make traveling difficult

Back/Neck

  • Can make it difficult to move or stand
  • Performing certain task may become impossible
  • This pain can be from mild to severe and can be greatly debilitating as most movement requires your neck and back area to be performed

Head

  • If you have a headache, a migraine or any other cause for pain in your head there might not be much that you can do depending on the severity as the head is what controls the body

At Exclusive Care we want to keep everyone safe, secure and comfortable if they are experiencing pain. As a leading license home care agency, we provide the best possible home care services in New York City. With our highly trained personal care aides and skilled home health aides we provide the adequate care you and your loved one may need. Our aides provide such services as: grooming, bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding and assistance in getting around your home or outside the home to name a few items. For any aspect of care or information on pain management, our highly trained nurses can provide the knowledge to minimize or make you able to tolerate your pain better. 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 for you, if you or your loved one participates in our program. The nurse will also be able to evaluate the home to make you aware of any potential hazard that might cause harm to our clients. The RN 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. Exclusive Care is always here to help you and your! If you would like some assistance, please feel free to contact us at (718) 364-4032 or reach us 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]. Accessed August 15, 2013.

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

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