Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

Salute to Senior Service: Alabama residents encouraged to nominate outstanding senior volunteers

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Salute to Senior Service: Alabama residents encouraged to nominate outstanding senior volunteers
Know a Birmingham AL senior helping out others? Nominate them for national recognition in Salute to Senior Service.
The search is on for Alabama’s outstanding senior volunteer. 

The Salute to Senior Service program, sponsored by Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, honors the contributions of adults 65 and older who give at least 15 hours a month of volunteer service to their favorite causes. 

Nominations for outstanding senior volunteers will be accepted between Feb. 1 and March 31, 2013. State winners then will be selected by popular vote at SalutetoSeniorService.com. Online voting will take place from April 15 to April 30, 2013. From those state winners, a panel of senior care experts will pick the national Salute to Senior Servicehonoree. 

Home Instead, Inc. will donate $500 to each of the state winners' favorite nonprofit organizations and their stories will be posted on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame. In addition, $5,000 will be donated to the national winner's nonprofit charity of choice. 

"We all know seniors who do so much for our community," said Dan Pahos, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Birmingham. "These silent heroes give selflessly, expecting nothing in return. And yet, their contributions often make a difference not only to the organizations they serve, but in changing how the public views growing older." 

Senior care professionals and those who work at hospitals, senior care facilities and other places where seniors volunteer are encouraged to nominate older adults. So, too, are family caregivers and the adult children of aging parents. Older adults also may self-nominate. 

To complete and submit a nomination form online for a senior age 65 or older who volunteers at least 15 hours a month, and to view the contest's official rules, visit SalutetoSeniorService.com. Completed nomination forms also can be mailed to Salute to Senior Service, P.O. Box 285, Bellevue, NE 68005. 

For more information about Salute to Senior Service or the Home Instead Senior Care network's services, call 205-822-1915.

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Upcoming Family Education Workshops

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Family Education Workshops are great for those of you wanting to learn more about Alzheimer's Disease or other dementias. The workshops are broken down into two sessions for you. 
If you would like to attend one of our workshops, please RSVP by calling 822-1915 or by emailing kcochran@homeinstead.com.

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Making a Difference

Mr S. is one of our favorite client's - oops, I'm sure we are not supposed to say that! 
He sent us the sweetest letter a few weeks ago with this attached! 

Our CAREGivers love what they do - how can we help you and your family?

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The Flu - it's here! Be Careful!

Friday, January 25, 2013

It is a pain - literally. If the flu attacks you, you feel HORRIBLE! 

If you are a caregiver, it is even more important for you to stay well!

The flu has spread rapidly in Alabama. As you can see in the map below we are in the HIGH range. 

The flu poses a potential risk for people 65 and up.  Our friend Dr. Andrew Duxbury explains why in a recent press release from UAB. 

People's immune systems weaken as they age, explained Dr. Andrew Duxbury, an associate professor in the gerontology, geriatrics and palliative care division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

"When older people get the flu and get knocked down further, they are more likely to get other infections, such as pneumonia," Duxbury said in a university news release. "Just being knocked into bed for as little as three or four days can, in a very frail older person, make it so they lose the ability to walk and do for themselves. It can cause a spiral in disabilities and increase chances of falls and injuries."

Prevention is the best defense. Seniors and their caregivers should get a flu shot, wash hands regularly and avoid crowds, Duxbury recommended.

He also offered advice about what seniors should do if they get the flu.

"Pay more attention to things like staying hydrated," Duxbury said. "Appetite and thirst mechanisms are different for older people; they can tip over to dehydration in less than a day if they don't keep fluids up."

Seniors with the flu also need to get out of bed at least a little bit, he said.

"It's better for lungs and helps avoid pneumonia," Duxbury explained.

He said seniors or their caregivers should call a doctor if they have shortness of breath, a cough that produces mucus or a fever higher than 101 degrees.

SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Jan. 11, 2013

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Salute to Senior Service ~ January Monthly Solutions

Friday, January 11, 2013

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Workshops Help Families Grappling with Alzheimer's Home Care

This article was published by NPR on January 8, 2013 here:  http://www.npr.org/2013/01/08/168890934/workshops-help-families-grappling-with-alzheimers-home-care

Workshops Help Families Grappling With Alzheimer's Home Care

There are more than 5 million people with Alzheimer's in the U.S., and most are cared for at home. Now, one company has begun offering training to family caregivers to help them deal with the special challenges of caring for an Alzheimer's patient.
The company, Home Instead Senior Care, is the nation's largest provider of nonmedical home care for seniors. The workshops are free and available to anyone, whether they're clients of the company or not.
A recent session in Los Angeles drew about half a dozen people on a weekday afternoon. The need that brought them there was as serious as it was undefined. Tina Stephenson put it this way: "I need help, bottom line."
She's been with her partner, Gino, for 34 years. They live in a one-room apartment, and she says that certain ordinary things, like standing in front of the sink, just freak him out. "I mean, it's so weird. He just all of a sudden resists me and pulls the other way. So I'm looking for some help with that," Stephenson says.
Leading the workshop is John Moser, the owner of the Home Instead franchise in Los Angeles. He got into the home care business after years working as an elder abuse attorney.
"I dealt with a lot of nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities," he says. "I always thought, is this really the only option for seniors?"
That led him to Home Instead. The company's employees help older adults with things like meals, grooming and transportation. "Family members would be so surprised that our caregivers were able to get mom or dad to do certain things" that family members couldn't, says Moser. "They would call the Home Instead offices and wanted to know more about this training."
The training was developed by Home Instead, but it's based on ideas accepted by many Alzheimer's experts — for example, making use of long-term memories and recognizing what triggers anxiety. The company has spent about $3 million over the past three years on developing and presenting workshops for family caregivers. Home Instead says it wants to be a community resource for families grappling with Alzheimer's. It's also a way to get more clients.
When it comes to caring for Alzheimer's patients, Moser tells the group that knowledge is power. "I always tell caregivers: Know 100 things about the person you're providing care to," says Moser. Those things are then recorded in a workbook called "Capturing Life's Journey."
"Even though short-term memory goes, a lot of people with dementia retain those long-term memories," he says.
And those long-term memories — and lifelong activities — can be rekindled and used to distract a person with Alzheimer's from behaviors that could cause them physical or emotional harm. Or the information can be used to give them a better quality of life.
For example, Moser talks about an artist who just stopped painting when the disease took hold of him.
"So we ended up getting some canvasses for the caregiver and she just started painting," he says. This went on for a few days. Then the Alzheimer's patient began to sit next to her as she painted. And a few days after that, says Moser, "he's grabbing the paint brush out of her hand, and now he's got a wall of paintings that he's painted since he got this disease."
Arguing, reasoning or just saying no generally doesn't work. One workshop participant was learning that the hard way. Anton Vogt has been caring for his friend, Erica.
"If I put some money somewhere, she moves it around," Vogt complained. "She can't find it, then she thinks somebody stole it."
Moser says it's OK for caregivers to use deception, especially if the person they're caring for has lost their short-term memory. It worked with another client of his who also liked to have money around.
"She had access to money, so she sometimes would have hundreds and hundreds of dollars on her," Moser says. She would lose it and accuse her caregivers of stealing. "So we ended up giving her a bunch of singles, then eventually Monopoly money when she really couldn't tell the difference."
But telling her she couldn't have money? That would've only upset her. You'll never be able to drag a person with Alzheimer's into the same world that you live in, Moser says, "because it's really all about them, and providing them the comfort and security of whatever they perceive as their current reality. You [should] be present in their reality."
That's a reality where many caregivers may find themselves in years to come. With the population aging, cases of Alzheimer's in the United States are expected to double by the year 2050.
Locally, our next workshop will be on Tuesday, February 12 from 9am - 11am & on Tuesday, February 19 from 9am-11am. Please let us know if you plan to attend calling by 822-1915 or by email kcochran@homeinstead.com. 

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