Aging at home doesn’t need to be a pipe dream.

Posted on January 2, 2013

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BrightStar Caregivers are trained to help those suffering from many different diseases including dementia, COPD, Heart Failure and Pnuemonia, as well as others.

We envision a world where patients experience the safest, high quality care where ever they are served.  Join us in discussing family care giving and resources available to you at Caregiver Junction.

When asked, 80 to 90 percent of older people say they want to remain in their own homes as long as possible.

Most Americans over 65 will eventually need help with the so-called activities of daily living,” or ADLs. The term refers to the basic tasks of everyday life, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring (walking). When people are unable to perform these activities, they need help in order to cope, either from other human beings or mechanical devices or both. Although persons of all ages may have problems performing the ADLs difficulties rise steeply with advancing age and are especially high for persons aged 85 and over.

The first line of defense to combat these difficulties is the family.  But, with family members spread all over the map or local but unable to be full-time caregivers the need for new and better options will only increase.

The issue is compounded when no one has thought through the options before a serious illness or injury makes it impossible for elders to return home without help.

There are many avenues to explore options before a crisis hits.

Home companions trained specifically in specific maladies, dementia, COPD, Heart Failure and other diagnosis can have a very positive effect on those suffering from these conditions.   BrightStar provides caregivers trained in our Clinical Pathways program that understand these conditions and know how to work with the patients.   Our Director of Nursing and Clinical Pathways Director supervise and direct the care given to each patient.

If you want recommendations on what to ask when considering home careclick here.

The following questions can be used to determine if assistance is needed for a person to live at home or, if home is the right place for them.  They are excerpted  and adapted from Jane E. Brody’s Personal Health Blog in the New York Times.

  • Have there been recent accidents or close calls, like a fall, medical scare or minor car accident.
  • Was the last recovery a slow one? How well was a recent illness weathered? Did it develop into something serious? Was medical help sought when needed?
  • Has there been a worsening of a chronic health condition so that specifically trained caregivers would be necessary. As problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia or congestive heart failure progress, more help will be needed.
  • Greater difficulty managing the so-called activities of daily living, like dressing, bathing and cooking.
  • Bodily changes, like obvious weight loss or gain, increased frailty or unpleasant body odor.
  • A loss of active friendships, including outings with friends, visits with neighbors or participation in religious or other group activities.
  • Days spent without leaving the house, perhaps because of difficulty driving or a fear of using public transportation.
  • Is someone checking in regularly? If not, is there a home-safety alarm system, a personal alarm system or a daily calling service in place?
  • Is someone nearby to assist if there’s a fire, earthquake, flood or other disaster, and does the older resident understand plans for a catastrophe?  Part of a good home health assessment will be recommendations for the patient and the family on what to do in emergency situations.
  • Is mail in a chaotic state, scattered about and unopened? Are there unpaid overdue bills, surprising thank-you notes from charities, piles of unread magazines?
  • If an older relative is still driving, go along for a ride and look for failure to fasten the seat belt or heed dashboard warning lights; signs of tension, preoccupation or distraction while driving; damage to the vehicle that may indicate carelessness.
  • In the kitchen, signs of excess or forgetfulness, like perishables well past their expiration dates.
  • Favorite appliances are broken but not scheduled for repair.
  • Signs of fires. Look for charred stove knobs or pot bottoms, potholders with burned edges, a discharged fire extinguisher. Do smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have live batteries?
  • A once-neat home now cluttered, spills that were not cleaned up, grime coating bathroom and kitchen appliances or an overflowing laundry basket.
  • Neglected plants or pets.
  • Signs of neglect outside the home, like broken windows, debris-filled gutters and drains, uncollected rubbish and an overstuffed mailbox.
  • Ask friends and neighbors whether your family member’s behavior has changed lately.
  • Ask the person’s doctor whether you should be concerned about the person’s health or safety and whether a home assessment by a social worker or geriatric care manager may be advisable. If you expect resistance from the person, ask the doctor to “prescribe” a professional evaluation.
  • If you are the primary caregiver, how are you doing? Are you increasingly exhausted, depressed or becoming resentful of the sacrifices you have to make to care for the person?
  • Consider your older relative’s emotional state. If she is riddled with anxieties or increasingly lonely, then it may be time to make a move for reasons other than health and safety.

If you or a loved one need assistance please call us at  832-730-1255.

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