Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Checklist for Doctor's Checkups for Your Senior

One of the most important responsibilities of family members who are taking care of their elderly loved ones is to ensure that they have access to the healthcare that they need to keep their quality of life as high as possible. Scheduling regular checkups at the doctor's office is part of a comprehensive healthcare plan; however, it is important that you understand just what your loved one needs in terms of screenings and preventative measures at each of these checkups, as some may require your senior to visit different kinds of doctors (i.e. OB/GYNs or urologists). A leader in eldercare, Always Best Care Burlington-Greensboro has offered the following list of services that your loved one should receive at various times throughout the year.

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccination
  • Pneumococcal vaccination
  • Zostavax vaccination
  • Flu vaccination
  • Mammogram (for women)
  • Pap test/cervical cancer screening (for women)
  • Prostate cancer screening (for men)
  • Colorectal cancer screening (method depends upon doctor recommendation)
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Glaucoma screening
  • Hearing screening
  • Vision screening
  • Osteoporosis screening

Annual physical examination
These are the basic tests that eldercare professionals encourage your senior to undergo regularly; however, there are other things to take into consideration when your elderly loved one visits the doctor. The following are some of the topics you may consider bringing up to ensure that your senior has the highest quality of life possible.

  • Nutrition: Ask your loved one's doctor if they have any dietary recommendations based upon your senior's medical history and current state. For instance, they may need to reduce sodium intake or increase consumption of foods that are high in fiber. 
  • Physical activity: Exercise is important at every stage of life, and seniors need to stay physically active to remain as healthy as possible. Ask the doctor if your elderly loved one needs to gain or lose weight and what kind of physical activity is appropriate for their health level. 

Eldercare professionals know that it can be difficult to manage your senior's healthcare, but by knowing what your loved one needs you can better navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Seniors and Pets

A leader in home care, Always Best Care Burlington-Greensboro has long served to assist its professionals in helping seniors to create the best living spaces possible. For many elderly individuals, a positive, comfortable living environment encompasses beloved pets. Dogs and cats are most popular, but some seniors have birds and other pets, too. But is it really in your elderly loved one's best interest to take on the responsibility of a pet, and can your home care provider help in the care of the animal?

Pros of Having a Pet
Ultimately, pets provide a great deal of comfort to seniors. Individuals who are living alone, particularly, can benefit from the companionship of an animal. Dogs and cats are wonderful options, as they provide physical contact that has been shown to keep anxiety levels down and ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. Pets can also be great sources of exercise to their owners, as dogs require daily walks and can serve to get their seniors out and about.

Cons of Having a Pet
While the companionship that a pet provides is undeniably beneficial to seniors, it is also true that there are some challenges that elderly individuals may face when trying to care for their animals. First and foremost are concerns of mobility, as seniors who cannot go for walks with their dogs may not be able to provide them with the amount of exercise that they need to stay healthy. Additionally, elderly individuals who have cats may have difficulty cleaning out the litter box on a regular basis, as this often requires bending over and handling large, heavy containers of litter. Finally, actually purchasing and transporting large bags of food and litter may be difficult for seniors.

Asking for Assistance
When considering whether or not to get a new pet or to keep a current one, it is important for seniors to determine what help they need and where they can find it. Oftentimes, home care providers can assist with the feeding of animals and other tasks, but this is something that should be approached on a case by case basis. If your loved one is facing challenges with this regard, talk to their eldercare professional to see how they can help.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hearing Loss and Dementia: Understanding the Connection

Dementia, which includes Alzheimer's disease, is a major concern for many families, as it can prove difficult for seniors and their loved ones to cope with this condition. As such, eldercare and dementia care professionals encourage families to plan for such a disease by understanding the risk factors that may lead to it. One such risk factor, according to a 2011 study performed at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, is hearing loss.

According to an article published by The Huffington Post, researchers involved in the study looked at 639 adults who were aged 36 to 90.1 Over the course of four years, these participants were tested for their cognitive and aural health. For the next 14 years, until May of 2008, researchers kept tabs on which participants developed Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

When the study began, none of the participants suffered from dementia; however, 125 of them had mild hearing loss, 53 had moderate hearing loss, and six had severe hearing loss. The results, at the end of the study, revealed that individuals who had hearing loss at the onset of the initiative were more likely to develop dementia. The article explains: "[...] the greater the hearing loss, the more chance there was. This was a noticeable trend for the Alzheimer's too: Baltimore's Dr. Frank Lin reported that for every 10 decibels of hearing lost, the extra likelihood of development jumped up by 20 percent."

Other studies have corroborated the evidence found in this one, including one conducted in 2013 by researchers at the Health ABC Study Group. But this does not mean that hearing loss necessitates dementia; the development of hearing loss does not automatically lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease or any other form of cognitive difficulty. Ultimately, the information gathered during these studies should serve to help seniors and their families to stay aware of the risks that they face and to ensure that the proper precautions, treatment methods, and other activities are put into place to detect and address the issue should it arise. Dementia care providers at Always Best Care of Burlington-Greensboro encourage you to reach out to your loved one's doctor if you have any concerns about their health.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is Home Care the Best Option for Your Family?

The professionals in home care at Always Best Care of Burlington-Greensboro understand that aging in place is not always easy for seniors or their families. As individuals age, they require an increasing amount of assistance in maintaining their homes, their health, and their quality of life. As such, many families believe that moving their elderly loved ones into an assisted living or nursing home is the best route, as they will have access to the support they need. But the truth is that there is another option: home care. With the home care services that are provided by elder care professionals, seniors have the ability to age in place without compromising their homes, their health, or their quality of life. While this is a wonderful option for many families, though, it is important to know whether or not home care is right for your loved one.

Who Benefits Most from Home Care?
Ultimately, home care is best suited for individuals who are interested in aging in place and who do not suffer from any major health conditions. The professionals who care for elderly individuals in their homes often provide the following services:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living, including dressing, eating, bathing, personal grooming, etc.  
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping 
  • Transportation
  • Medication administration

If your elderly loved one has medical needs you may hire a trained and certified professional to provide for these needs in their home; however, certain conditions are best cared for in a nursing or other facility.

Talking to Your Loved One
It is important to remember that, when your senior gets older, they may still have an opinion about the care that they receive. As such, it is crucial that you speak with your elderly loved one about their wishes and that you and your family members try to find a way to honor these wishes if possible. Should your senior want to age in place, you can certainly call upon the assistance of home care professionals to keep them safe and healthy as they do so.