Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

Barefoot seniors may be more prone to fall

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Going barefoot in the home, or wearing slippers or socks with no shoes, may contribute to falls among the elderly, according to a new study from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife.

Researchers found nearly 52 percent of the participants who reported a fall were either barefoot, wearing socks without shoes, or wearing slippers at the time of their fall. These people also reported more serious injuries, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, and pulled or torn muscles, ligaments or tendons, as a result of their fall.

Study participants underwent a comprehensive baseline falls assessment, including a home visit and clinic examination. During the assessment, they were asked what type of shoe they usually wear. Options included athletic shoes (sneakers), flat-sole canvas shoes, oxfords or other tied shoes, loafers, sandals, pumps, slippers, socks or stockings only, or barefoot. Participants were followed for an average of 27.5 months and were asked to record each day whether they had fallen; those reporting falls were asked about the shoes they were wearing when they fell.

Of those who reported falling, more than 18 percent were barefoot when they fell. Nearly 27 percent were wearing slippers and 7 percent were wearing socks only.

 “On the basis of this and other studies,” says Dr. Marian T. Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “we suggest that advice about wearing shoes whenever possible be included in fall prevention programs. More research is needed on the design of acceptable and comfortable footwear that provides optimal safety for older people.”

To us it's personal

Options for Seniors - A Forum

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


2061 Kentucky Avenue
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

AUGUST 24, 2010
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM


1.8 CE for Nurses
1.5 CE for Social Workers
Princeton Baptist Medical Center Nursing Education Department is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Alabama Board of Nursing (Provider Number: ABNP1210, Expiration date: 08/01/2013)

RSVP to stepbre@aol.com

To us it's personal

Hallucinations in Hospital are Risk to Elderly

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hallucinations while in the hospital are disproportionately affecting older people, often causing longer hospital stays and even leading to death.

Hospital delirium affects about one-third of patients over 70, and a greater percentage of intensive care or post-surgical patients, the American Geriatrics Society estimates. While the cause is unclear, there are many apparent triggers, according to an Ocala.com article. These include infections, surgery, pneumonia and procedures like catheter insertions, all of which can spur anxiety in frail, vulnerable patients. Some medications also seem associated with delirium.

While doctors once dismissed delirium as a “reversible transient phenomenon,” new research shows significant negative effects. Delirium can hinder recovery from patients’ initial conditions, extending hospital stays. It can delay scheduled procedures like surgery. Patients often are placed in nursing homes or rehabilitation centers, and older delirium patients are more likely to develop dementia later, the article notes.

“It’s terrible, more dangerous than a fall,” said Dr. Malaz A. Boustani, a professor at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research. He found that elderly patients experiencing delirium were hospitalized six days longer and placed in nursing homes 75 percent of the time. Nearly one-tenth died within a month. Experts say delirium can contribute to death by weakening patients or by leading to complications like pneumonia or blood clots.

Delirium triggers can include sleep interrupted for tests, isolation, changing rooms, being without eyeglasses or dentures, and some medications.

Some hospitals are developing delirium-prevention programs that adjust schedules, light and noise to help patients sleep, ensure that patients have their eyeglasses and hearing aids, and has them walk, exercise and do cognitive activities like word games.

See full article here

To us it's personal

A Loved One with Alzheimer's

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Submitted by Allison Youngblood, Operations Manager

I received a call yesterday from a client's daughter. There was sadness in her voice that brought a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. The first words out of her mouth were “I need someone to help me. My mom…” and then the tears started. She explained that her mom was in the first stages of Alzheimer’s and would not eat her breakfast, is screaming at her and will not get off of the floor. I asked her a few more questions just so that I had all the information I needed to try and get her some help.

Her mom still lives at home but doesn’t think it is her home. She tried to hit the daughter the day before because she was so angry but couldn’t really explain why she was angry. I tried to speak to the mom to try and get her to get off the floor but all she could tell me was that she had a son that had been missing for two years. It turns out this son lives in Georgia and comes and visits all the time.

The daughter was at the end of her rope. She mentioned that her mom was at the first stage of Alzheimer’s. Based on our conversation I would say that her mom is at stage 5 – which according to the Alzheimer’s Association is:
Moderately severe cognitive decline
(Moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease)
“ Major gaps in memory and deficits in cognitive function emerge. Some assistance with day-to-day activities becomes essential. At this stage, individuals may:
• Be unable during a medical interview to recall such important details as their current address, their telephone number or the name of the college or high school from which they graduated
• Become confused about where they are or about the date, day of the week or season
• Have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic; for example, counting backward from 40 by 4s or from 20 by 2s
• Need help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
• Usually retain substantial knowledge about themselves and know their own name and the names of their spouse or children
• Usually require no assistance with eating or using the toilet”

When you are the one living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, it is hard to recognize or even admit to a decline. Emotionally it is exhausting. And like our client’s daughter, you can’t do it alone.
Our CAREGivers are trained to work with Alzheimer’s clients. Our approach of encouragement and assistance helps family members cope with the challenges of dementia. Please contact us for more information or visit www.homeinstead.com/bham.

As far as our client goes we are working on creating a schedule to have a CAREGiver in the house a few days a week. This will give the daughter a break and allow her to come back refreshed so that she can care for her mom.

Seniors Not Combating Muscle Loss

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nearly nine in 10 people think feeling weaker is one of the worst parts of aging, but few Americans over the age of 45 are taking steps to prevent muscle loss, a new study finds.

The survey, commissioned by Abbott and developed in conjunction with the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging, found that nearly 90 percent of Americans older than 45 are not making daily exercise and proper nutrition part of their daily routines to protect their muscles as they age.

“Muscle loss is a serious issue that can lead to severe health and lifestyle consequences, yet building and maintaining muscle isn’t top of mind for most adults,” said Evelyn Granieri, M.D., M.P.H., MSEd., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “Especially with an aging baby boomer population, it’s important that people take charge of their health and take action now so that they can continue doing the things they enjoy in the future.”

According to Medical News Today, clinical research shows that starting at age 40, a person can lose 8 percent of muscle per decade, which can lead to loss of strength, mobility and the freedom to enjoy life.

Granieri said that talking to one’s doctor or dietitian is a great way to identify small steps to take to protect muscle health today for a more active future.

You may view the whole press release here.

Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are in a position to help clients protect against muscle loss by encouraging them to exercise and making sure they are eating nutritious meals. If your loved could use a little encouragement, please call us for a non-obligation assessment at 822-1915.

Ten Top Tips for Aging Well**

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

**From the American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging Website

Simply living longer isn't enough. What we really want is to live longer well, staying healthy enough to continue doing the things we love. While having good genes certainly helps, a growing body of research suggests that how well you age depends largely on you and what you do. Fortunately, research also finds that it's never too late to make changes that can help you live a longer and healthier life.
Here, from the American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging, are ten top tips for living longer and better:
Eat a rainbow You need fewer calories when you get older, so choose nutrient-rich foods like brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat a range of colors -- the more varied, the wider the range of nutrients you're likely to get. Shoot for two servings of salmon, sardines, brook trout or other fish rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids a week. Limit red meat and whole-fat dairy products. And choose whole grains over the refined stuff.
Sidestep falls Walking as little as 30 minutes, three times a week can help you stay physically fit and mentally sharp, strengthen your bones, lift your spirits -- and lower your risk of falls. That's important because falls are a leading cause of fractures, other serious injuries, and death among older adults. Bicycling, dancing, and jogging are also good weight-bearing exercises that can help strengthen your bones. In addition to exercising, get plenty of bone-healthy calcium and vitamin D daily.
Toast with a smaller glass Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may lower your risks of heart disease and some other illnesses. But what's "moderate" changes with age. It means just 1 drink per day for older men and ½ a drink daily for older women. (A "drink" is 1 oz of hard liquor, 6 oz of wine, or 12 oz of beer.) Since alcohol can interact with certain drugs, ask your healthcare professional whether any alcohol is safe for you.
Know the low-down on sleep in later life Contrary to popular belief, older people don't need less sleep than younger adults. Most need at least 7 or 8 hours of shut-eye a night. If you're getting that much and are still sleepy during the day, see your healthcare professional. You may have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea stop breathing briefly, but repeatedly, while sleeping. Among other things, untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
Flatten your (virtual) opponent, sharpen your mind Conquering your adversary in a complex computer game, joining a discussion club, learning a new language, and engaging in social give-and-take with other people can all help keep your brain sharp, studies suggest.
Enjoy safe sex Older adults are having sex more often and enjoying it more, research finds. Unfortunately, more older people are also being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases. To protect yourself, use a condom and a lubricant every time you have sex until you're in a monogamous relationship with someone whose sexual history you know.
Get a medications check When you visit your healthcare professional, bring either all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements you take, or a complete list that notes the names of each, the doses you take, and how often you take them. Ask your healthcare provider to review everything you brought or put on your list. He or she should make sure they're safe for you to take, and that they don't interact in harmful ways. The older you are, and the more medicines you take, the more likely you are to experience medication side effects, even from drugs bought over-the-counter.
Speak up when you feel down or anxious Roughly 1 in 5 older adults suffers from depression or anxiety. Lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite or pleasure from things you once enjoyed, difficultly sleeping, worry, irritability, and wanting to be alone much of the time can all be signs that you need help. Tell your healthcare professional right away. There are many good treatments for these problems.
Get your shots They're not just for kids! Must-have vaccines for seniors include those that protect against pneumonia, tetanus/diphtheria, shingles, and the flu, which kills thousands of older adults in the US every year.
Find the right healthcare professional and make the most of your visits See your healthcare professional regularly, answer his or her questions frankly, ask any questions you have, and follow his or her advice. If you have multiple, chronic health problems, your best bet may be to see a geriatrician - a physician with advanced training that prepares her to care for the most complex patients. The AGS' Foundation for Health in Aging can help you find one; visit www.healthinaging.org.

Home Instead Senior Care featured in "Careers for 'People Person'"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An article on “Careers for a ‘People Person’” in the Calgary Sun features Home Instead Senior Care.
The article lists careers that have experienced tremendous growth in the 21st century, and personal caregiving is among them. The section on caregiving cites the Home Instead Senior Care franchise in Calgary for its growth in just one year to 30 CAREGivers. 

Owner of Home Instead in New Port Richey named "Nurse of the Year"

Monday, July 12, 2010

From Tampa Bay Online - http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jul/03/pa-seniors-caregiver-named-nurse-of-year/

Seniors' caregiver named nurse of year

By Megan Hussey

Owner from Home Instead Senior Care in New Port Richey, was named People's Choice "Nurse of the Year" by the Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco Inc.

Topping off a decadeslong career in the nursing field, Joy A. Cook, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in New Port Richey, was named People's Choice "Nurse of the Year" by the Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco Inc. The award was presented at the Fourth Annual Nurses Gala, which took place at the Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

"The award is determined by what outside involvement you provide to your community," Cook said.
Nominated through letters of recommendation from the Pasco community, Cook was voted People's Choice by the Good Samaritan board of directors. She said the award was based heavily on the success of Home Instead's annual "Be a Santa to a Senior" program, which last year made it possible for 436 senior citizens to receive more than 4,000 Christmas presents.
"This program touches many lives of seniors who have no family and are forgotten during the holidays," said Cook, an Ohio native who lives in Pinellas County with her husband, Howard.
Be a Santa to a Senior is just one component of the Home Instead program, which provides basic services for seniors that include meal preparation and help with household chores, as well as transportation to doctors' appointments, grocery stores and social outings.

"We want to help them maintain their dignity and independence," said Cook.

She started the Pasco-based Home Instead franchise 10 years ago, and said that the position reflects her lifetime commitment to the care of those who can't care for themselves.

"I have a strong affinity for the elderly and the very young," she said. "Especially those who need some help in life moving forward."

Cook's interest in helping the elderly began at a young age, when she helped to care for a widowed grandfather who lived with her family.

"I always knew I wanted to be a nurse," she said. "Through nursing you get to make the difference in a person's life. You get to impact people's lives and make their wishes and dreams come true."
After earning a registered nursing degree and certified case manager status from the Good Samaritan School of Nursing, Cook went on to work as a home health care and pediatric nurse and as a health care agency administrator, and to complete individual nursing assignments for a staffing firm at Community Hospital and other area medical centers.

Cook's position at Home Instead is among her favorites.

"What we want to do is help people continue to live in their own homes," she said. "We want to help them stay the king or queen of their own house."


SOME BACKGROUND: Joy A. Cook, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in New Port Richey, has been named People's Choice "Nurse of the Year" by Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco Inc.

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS: Cook was recognized for "Be a Santa to a Senior" program, in which she organizes a committee of community volunteers and staff members to collect holiday gifts for senior citizens with few or no family or friends.

Home Instead Senior Care and its caregivers provide other services to its community's seniors, ranging from meal preparation and light housekeeping to respite care.

A LITTLE HISTORY: Cook began the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program two years ago.

WHAT'S NEXT?: In the future, Cook hopes to spread the word about Home Instead and its many services.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Anyone can be a victim of heat-related illness, such as people working or exercising under the sun when it is hot. However, those most at risk are:
  • Children under five
  • Adults over age 65
  • People with chronic illnesses and disabilities
  • People taking certain medications
A few suggestions for keeping cool include:
  • Dressing for the heat by wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing and a hat
  • Drinking water even if not thirsty
  • Eating small meals
  • Avoiding the use of salt tablets unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Slowing down and avoiding strenuous activity
  • Staying indoors as much as possible
  • Taking regular breaks when active outside

A Home Instead CAREGiver can plan indoor activities, prepare meals, provide medication reminders, and help keep seniors hydrated if they’re outside and watch for symptoms of heat-related illness.

Source: http://www.fha.state.md.us/cphs/eip/pdf/HeatEmergencyAwareness.pdf

Blue Mood Be Gone

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness and Depression, Help is Available

Despite popular opinion, depression and loneliness are not normal parts of aging, although many seniors experience these feelings. According to a University of Michigan study released in 2006, nearly 60 percent of more than 500 seniors age 70 and older experienced some form of loneliness.1

"It's vitally important to keep older adults from falling into despair," said Paul Hogan, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. Similarly, the National Institute of Mental Health Web site asserts that, "Emotional experiences of sadness, grief, response to loss and temporary 'blue' moods are normal, but persistent depression that interferes significantly with one's ability to function is not."2

Family members who suspect that the older adults in their lives might be suffering from depression should immediately help them seek medical attention. There is now a wider-than-ever variety of medications and therapies that can significantly improve these seniors' lives.

Help from friends and caregivers can make a difference, as well. If a senior needs additional in-home support, Home Instead Senior Care is there to help. Fully screened, trained, bonded and insured CAREGivers can provide senior care to older adults through meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and shopping and Alzheimer's care, but, as Hogan said, "Companionship and support to seniors and their families are among the most valuable services we provide."

Along these lines, while the holidays - typically a festive time of year for most people - can be a particularly difficult time for older adults who are psychologically "down," Home Instead Senior Care's Be a Santa to a SeniorSM program can be a real boost to older adults throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In 2006 alone, 196,500 lonely older adults in need received 312,500 gifts through this extremely successful community-service program, which partners Home Instead Senior Care franchise staff with community retailers and volunteers. In fact, during its first three years, Be a Santa to a Senior has generated more than half a million presents that were delivered to more than 300,000 seniors throughout North America.

"Our home care franchise offices have seen firsthand how loneliness can affect the lives of seniors," Hogan said. "CAREGivers and other Home Instead Senior Care staff members work during the holidays and year-round to provide the assistance and companionship that helps keep older adults healthy and happy."

1. "Lonely in an Aging Crowd; U-M Studies Count the Way": Online at http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2005/Nov05/r111805b.
2. "Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts": Online at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/elderlydepsuicide.cfm.

Spouses Face Hurdles When Caring for Elderly Loved Ones

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Caring for a sick or disabled elderly relative is difficult – physically, emotionally and financially – on any family member, and spousal caregivers face even greater challenges.

“Spouses are older and dealing with their own age-related health limitations,” says Steven H. Zarit, a Pennsylvania University gerontologist.

According to a Kaiser Health News report, today’s longer life spans, in which once-fatal conditions like heart disease have become manageable chronic illnesses, mean the “sickness” part of “in sickness and health” can last for years.

Medical and psychological literature has long reported that caregivers face risks to their own well-being, particularly when caring for someone with dementia. A new study from the University of South Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that high caregiving strain among spouses increased the risk of stroke by 23 percent, and the association was particularly strong among husbands caring for wives.

“Spouses are likely to take on more than they can reasonably do,” Zarit says.

President Barack Obama’s proposed 2011 budget would add $102.5 million for family caregiving programs. The money would boost existing programs that serve family caregivers, including training and counseling, referrals, respite care, transportation, adult day programs and home care.   Read the in-depth article online

Paula Span is the author of "When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions."

Be a Santa to a Senior Planning in Progress

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Instead Senior Care has already started planning the Be A Santa to A Senior Program for 2010!

The objective of Home Instead Senior Care’s® Be a Santa to a Senior program is to give back to local
communities by providing gifts and holiday cheer to lonely and forgotten seniors. It’s an opportunity to touch the lives of seniors in our community who generally don’t have family around during the holidays and aren’t going to receive gifts. Ultimately, the objective is to positively impact the lives of seniors in our community.

We work with local agencies to identify seniors who don't have family and might be alone for the Holidays. Individuals within the community donate gift bags stuffed with goodies for the seniors. We are working on a few partnerships right now and will let you know the details about this year's program later on in the year.

We are excited to unveil the new Be a Santa to a Senior logo for 2010!

June 2010 CAREGiver of the Month

Monday, July 5, 2010

Congratulations to Cathy Watkins! She was selected as CAREGiver of the Month for June 2010

July 4th

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Caregiver Cruise Giveaway

Friday, July 2, 2010

Are you or someone you know devoted to caring for a senior loved one?

We recognize the dedication and love it takes, but also the stresses that can come along with it. So we’re giving one lucky caregiver hero a free, 5-day cruise – and while they’re gone, we’ll provide professional care for their loved one. And if you are nominating a friend or family member, you could win a laptop and camcorder!

The Prizes:
One (1) Caregiver will receive:
  • A free Caregiver Cruise to the Caribbean (worth up to $4200)
  • Airfare to and from the cruise port
  • Peace of mind! 40 hours of care from a Home Instead Senior Care professional CAREGiver for the senior loved one (while the winner is away on the cruise)
One (1) Nominator will receive:
  • Laptop computer and camcorder (worth up to $600)
For more information or to nominate yourself or someone you know for chance to win…

7 Ways to Avoid Sibling Tensions While Caring for a Parent

Thursday, July 1, 2010

{reprinted from www.caregiverpartnership.com}

7 Ways to Avoid Sibling Tensions While Caring for a Parent  
by Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership  May 7, 2010 

There are few events in life that stir up old, seemingly forgotten sibling tensions and rivalry like caring for elderly parents. The frustration can escalate when family members are separated geographically. As in many life situations, communication and sympathy on both sides is key to achieving understanding - and maybe even harmony.

A growing problem
According to a February 2010 Time magazine article, a recent survey by the AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving showed that of the estimated 43.5 million U.S. adults caring for an older relative or friend, 70 percent said although they received help from an unpaid caregiver in the past year, only 10 percent said the burden was shouldered equally.
In addition to the likelihood of disproportionate duties, an elderly parent may “put on a show” for out-of-town sons or daughters, out of a desire to not burden them and to more fully enjoy their time together. This can lead to problems such as the remote sibling not comprehending how much caregiving the parent needs, and the local sibling feeling resentful and angry.
Communicate to resolve
With a little initiative, siblings can keep the lines of communication open, which is the first step in avoiding a negative situation that can have disastrous effects on a family. Here are some ideas to get started:
  • Hold family meetings when everyone can participate. Ask your parent and siblings what their needs are and if they’re being met. Be honest and realistic about what you can handle, whether it’s hands-on caregiving or financial assistance. Document care plans and financial arrangements, but keep an open mind that these may change over time.
  • Do not make unrealistic promises. As much as you’d like to assure your parent she will never have to live in a nursing home, health can deteriorate to a point where you can’t provide care. It’s better to stay realistic than feel enormous guilt later.
  • Work together to develop a schedule. In addition to duties of the primary caregiver and weekly or twice-weekly visits and help from siblings, choose times when those who live farther away can spend a vacation helping out.
  • Offer emotional support. Whether you’re the primary caregiver who needs to vent to others, or a secondary caregiver who feels out of the loop, it is helpful to know you’re all in this together. Use humor whenever possible to lighten the situation.
  • If you are a geographically separated sibling, learn what is involved in caring for your parent. Someone who’s never had to renovate a home to improve mobility or purchase and learn to use incontinence products may have a hard time understanding how much work it can be. Offer sympathy and support, and try not to second-guess decisions.
  • If you are the local sibling, keep others informed of your parent’s health, without endlessly describing how much work you put into his care or trying to incite guilt in your siblings.
  • Seek outside help. If one side is feeling anger and resentment, and another guilt and defensiveness, and open communication doesn’t resolve it, seek the help of a clergyperson or therapist.
Lynn Wilson founded The CareGiver Partnership based on her experience in caring for loved ones, and takes pride in offering support, convenience and old-fashioned customer service. Now that her children are grown, Lynn enjoys spending time with her granddaughter while also helping to care for her mom. To find out how The CareGiver Partnership can serve you, call800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CDT.