Category Archives: Home Health Care

Keep Your Brain Healthy!

BrainAt First Care, we understand that our clients have a variety of health issues, which sometimes prohibits them from being the same person they once were. We also understand that they want to continue to live freely, independently and with the same energy and fervor that makes them happy. It is with this in mind that we include articles like this one about keeping a person’s brain stimulated as they age. The goal is to give you subtle tips that will keep you and your loved ones sharp and active physically as well as mentally. The information in this article is courtesy of Mary Desaulniers, author of the article “How to SuperCharge an Aging Brain”.
A study at the Bay Crest Centre for Geriatric Care found that as people age, their ability to focus on one activity in one part of the brain decreases, which explains why older people are easily “distracted”. Yet this distraction suggests that different areas of the brain are working simultaneously, which explains why older people can often access higher reasoning processes (such as intuition) by using both hemispheres at the same time. Like any other muscle, the brain can only function at its peak capacity when it is used consistently. What are the steps we can take to ensure a strong and healthy brain in our later years?
• Pursue leisure activities. Read books and magazines. Knit with friends, go for a walk, play bridge. Leisure activities can reduce the risk or delay the onset of dementia.
• Read and write Poetry. In the famous Nuns’ Study, researchers concluded that the sisters who had more resilient brains later in life were the ones who tended to use multi-syllabic words and richer vocabularies in their diary entries. Those who developed dementia tended to use simple, monosyllabic words.
• Exercise and a healthy diet. Exercise creates significant differences in the grey and white matter areas of the brain. Aging brings about a shrinking of these areas that cardiovascular exercise actually slows down. Eat whole grains and legumes as these are rich in lecithin. Eat fish, high in omega 3 fatty acids (good fats), which have anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent the formation of plaques in the brain. Have 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables for their powerful anti-oxidant benefits and increase your consumption of Soy Protein, rich in phytonutrients and gives you all the benefits of protein without the fat.
• Learn new things and take risks. Evidence shows that learning new activities (starting a new project, hobby, business or venture) is exactly what is needed to prevent the loss of myelin in the brain.
• Love and enjoy what you have. Be thankful for the abundance you have been blessed with and give generously to those you can serve. A positive sense of purpose and a healthy optimism can do wonders to ensure longevity in the brain. Take Advantage of the possibilities!
To learn more visit: http://goarticles.com/article/How-to-Supercharge-an-Aging-Brain/148053/
Always keep in mind that 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, we are here to help! Please contact Exclusive 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.

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.

 

 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

According to the CDC, Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it¹. If you do the math that is roughly 1 in 3 (or 28%) of people diagnosed with colon cancer will die from colorectal cancer per year. It is also the third most common form of cancer² according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. No one likes being poked in the back side, but when it comes to your health, one has to do what they have to do. To be foolish with your life and risk the possibilities of wearing a bag on your hip and a tube in your abdomen, instead of having regular bowel movements, would not be the most ideal way to live the rest of your life. A more common outcome of not being treated in time would be the possibility of dying from the cancer. Colorectal cancer, just like other cancers, can begin to spread to other parts of the body the more time it is left untreated, making death the most probable outcome. Sadly, it also seems to affect those that are 50 years and older and we all know that the older we become the tougher it is to deal with the treatment options. For instance, radiation therapy, which makes people weak, causes nausea and other side effects which will further hindering a happy, healthy lifestyle.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the best medicine is to provide them with as much assistance as possible to help them get through the tough times ahead. We recommend seeking some professional assistance from a certified home health aide. Gaining assistance from a certified home health aide from a licensed home care service agency, such as Exclusive Care, can be the key to a happy, independent lifestyle during or post cancer treatment. An aide can provide such services as: cooking, cleaning, dressing, and even taking the patient out an about town to get to doctor’s appointment or social events. If you know someone that is having difficulty due to colorectal cancer or any other forms of cancer, feel free to reach out to Exclusive Care to explore the options in how to obtain a home health aide. You can call us at 718-364-4032.

¹ http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/ColorectalAwareness/

² http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/MarchToolkit.aspx

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.

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.

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.