October 13, 2020

Are you wondering if it’s time to get your elderly loved one the help they need? Do you often find yourself thinking about whether or not to hire a live-in care provider to watch them? If so, then you should consider the signs it’s time to find home care.

It’s never too late to get them the help that they deserve. By looking into senior care, you will experience full peace of mind, knowing that they’re safe.

See below for several signs that it’s time to look into live-in care providers in Naples. It can help you better understand when is it time to get home care for seniors.

1. Not Eating Well

Perhaps you’ve noticed that your elderly loved one hasn’t been eating the same as they once did. Maybe you’ve even noticed that they’re losing a significant amount of weight.

If that’s the case, then they might be skipping out on meals or can no longer operate the kitchen the way that they once did. They might also find it increasingly difficult to run to the store for food items that they need to cook.

A live-in caregiver can give the assistance that they desperately need. They can go out to shop for groceries, come back to the house, and make your loved one the meals that they’ll chow down on. 

Once the meal is done, they can also help clean up the dining table and kitchen, wash dishes, and put away all the items for future meals.

Be sure to reach out to a live-in care referral company that can help you find the right caregiver for your loved one’s situation.

2. Slow Recovery Time

Perhaps you’ve grown concerned for your loved one because of an illness or injury that they’ve recently suffered. You have noticed that they’re taking longer and longer to recover from health complications.

These injuries and illnesses might also be more frequent, with no signs of that slowing down any time soon.

If so, then you’ll want someone to be around them 24/7. As much as you’d love to be around them all the time, you still have a career and your spouse/children to care for as well.

Hiring a live-in care provider can help give you peace of mind. Even when you’re not around, there’s a specially-trained and well-educated live-in caregiver that’s watching over them, giving them the best medical attention possible.

Be sure to give your loved one time to adjust to the idea. If you rush them into it too quickly, they might resist the care they’re given.

3. Their Memory Is Fading

Sometimes the biggest sign that your loved one needs help is when you notice that their memory is starting to fade. Sometimes it’s a sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, while other times it comes naturally as they age.

No matter what the reason is for the memory loss, it will only continue to worsen. If their memory fails them while no one else is around, it could lead to a very serious situation.

A live-in care provider will work tirelessly to keep an eye on them. They’ve been trained on how to work with patients that suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and how to get them to cooperate in moments of confusion.

4. They Recently Had an Accident

Did your loved one recently fall and injure themselves? Was there a close call that you were (fortunately) there to help them with? If so, then you might be struggling with the eye-opening sign that they need constant supervision.

Not only that, but your elderly loved one might not be comfortable with being left by themselves for any period of time. This is a clear sign that it’s time to get them live-in care from a specialist.

If they were to have an accident while no one was around, then it might lead to a life-threatening situation. They might not be able to reach for the phone to call for help.

5. They Seem Lonely

No one should ever have to feel alone in their own house. As much as you, your kids, and your siblings might try to keep them company, there will always be moments where your elderly loved one is alone.

Not only are those moments a danger to their physical health, but their mental health as well.

Live-in caregivers don’t just focus on giving medical treatment to their patients. They have a passion for taking care of elderly people in need. They will build a friendship with your loved one and find different ways to hang out with them.

That way, even when you’re at work or running the kids around, you’ll know that your loved one is hanging out with a close friend around the clock!

6. They Can’t Drive Anymore

There comes a time where all elderly people can no longer drive. Their worsening health makes it impossible for them to safely operate a vehicle.

With a live-in caregiver, they’ll have access to drive wherever they need to without having to wait for a loved one to pick them up.

That way, you don’t have to adjust your schedule every time they have a doctor’s appointment. The live-in care provider can take them wherever they need to go.

Find the Right Home Care for Your Loved One Today

Now that you have seen several signs that it’s time to get home care for your loved one, be sure to use the right referral service for your needs.

Be sure to read this article for more information on senior loneliness and how you can help them cope with their emotional distress.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.

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August 18, 2020

It’s easy for those with hectic lifestyles to forget that isolation is a powerful thing. As you go about your day to day life, you probably long for a quiet moment here and there. 

For those forced to deal with long term isolation, the pattern flips. When it comes to senior isolation, activity, care, and a bit of noise are welcome distractions.

In the recent past, studies have demonstrated numerous health impacts from isolation. With the ongoing ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, you hardly need a study to tell you that restrictions on access to the external world causes problems. 

How can you make sure your seniors are coping and being cared for in this dire time? Read on for a rundown of options and services. 

Isolation Permeates

It sounds contradictory but the issue of isolation spreads. If you feel cooped up and unable to get out, the people you normally spend time with have one more reason to feel likewise.

For reach link in the chain, the next link is missing a similar connection. For those with only a scant few links to begin with, the loss of a connection hits much harder. 

In the US more than 27% of adults over 60 live alone. This number increases every year (of age) and women are 20% more likely to live alone than men towards the end of life.

These figures are a problem in and of themselves, currently, they carry a more dire weight. Isolation directly affects the immune system and especially reduces defense against viruses. Reaching out to those at higher risk of feeling isolated and those who suffer from the many risks of isolation is crucial. 

Senior Isolation Risks

Isolation comes with a set of direct risks and indirect risks.

Direct Risks

In addition to the risk of lower viral resistance cited above, other direct mental and physical health effects impact isolated seniors more.

Those left alone often find it difficult to stay motivated or stick to a schedule. These lapses being to mount and produce greater weaknesses. Once a person feels incapable of performing simple tasks due to physical or mental infirmity, they avoid the tasks and, worse, often retreat from situations that might involve those tasks.

This spiral of self-imposed isolation on top of the situational isolation makes it hard to speak out about problems or for those on the periphery to identify issues. Symptoms of progressive but low-grade problems, such as depression, may go unnoticed well beyond the stage where aide can be offered. 

Indirect Risks

One of the reasons that seniors are often relegated to homes and assisted living facilities is because they require extra care.

Seniors that go for too long on their own are more prone to accidents and injuries. These injuries may be minor but without proper care, they can become infected or increase in scope. 

Typical forms of self-care in adults are problematic enough, in seniors the entrenched reasoning associated with minor poor decisions is worse. Where an adult might overindulge in ice cream after a bad day, a senior is likely to overindulge and then forget about the frequency.

Without anyone watching out for their diet they are more prone to diabetes and high blood pressure from dietary choices on top of the increased risks that present with age.

Senior Isolation Solutions

Preventing issues with senior isolation come in two varieties as well: intervention and coping mechanisms. 

Intervention Care

For those with even a single elderly parent to look in on, the time can seem to evaporate, leaving to dos spilling over from one list to another. With the extra time sinks of children at home and remote work, this time feels more crunched.

Looking into senior home care services is a solid first step in creating more time. 

Senior home care provides a bevy of options to meet a need and the training necessary to ensure safety for your senior. 

Senior home assistance puts an extra player on your team to help cover all the things that you need to get done. They also work to provide the following benefits.

Community Involvement

Being involved with a community (and family) requires more of a remote approach now but is still important. Phone conversations have become impersonal and distant forms of communication. Many families are using facetime and remote viewing technology to keep a firmer presence in each other’s lives.

For seniors, this technology can e difficult to access and maintain. Home care providers or a dedicated setup day both help to make this connection possible.

Keeping seniors working and occupied in some sense also helps. Volunteer activities in your area always need hands and time. Pick up and drop off of bulk materials in need of processing can be rewarding and lowkey for seniors. 

Transportation

The biggest factor in feeling isolated is often feeling trapped. Even if you have nowhere to go, the ability to go provides comfort. 

Taking a drive to see the country or to a quiet place for a light walk can feel like a relief after days at home. Even being in a vehicle for the purpose of running errands gives a senior a chance to experience a change of scenery and feel the wider world at work.

Medical Visits

Preventative health and frequent checkups are both needed to give a senior in peak shape for longer. However, both of these types of visits are extra frustrating right now.

They often take extra time from backlogs in offices or are being conducted remotely through apps. In either case, in-home assistance for the elderly makes a difference in keeping these appointments flowing. Whether this is setting up a computer for the purposes of a remote visit or sitting with them in a safe environment while waiting for a test, having someone there has a big impact.

Meals

cooking for one is already difficult. Having the energy to cook is an added issue. Finding the wherewithal to cook for one when bored and annoyed tends to lead to poor meal decisions and high levels of snacking.

Meal preparation is a rewarding way to spend time with a senior and to provide them with assistance that isn’t overbearing.

Get them in on the planning of meals and prep the difficult pars so that they can complete meals on their own.

Incontinence

Issues with incontinence are some of the most embarrassing and frequently cited reasons that seniors self-isolate. 

Nobody likes to need help in general, but it’s especially tough for the more intimate issues. Having a frank discussion with a senior and planning for ways to deal with incontinence helps provide autonomy. 

Just Like Family services offers experience in broaching this topic, enabling a senior to engage in social situations with confidence. 

Interests

Engaging in a pastime that feels reward is difficult when there is nobody to share it with. Many pastimes are social in nature and those that don’t have social components.

Art projects and crafts need a reveal and an audience to not feel like busywork.  

Engaging with a senior periodically gives them a reason to work in the time between visits. It’s important to both generate an interest and to support that interest by being interested yourself. 

Coping Mechanisms

Senior home care services and direct intervention in senior lives are important. It’s much more difficult to feel isolated and to fall into the damages therein when they’re not isolated. 

But nobody has infinite time and there are instances when seniors will be left alone. To stave off the problems it’s important to develop coping mechanisms and systems with your senior.

Remember that you also need to learn to deal with isolation for coping with current events and your own future. 

Pets

A pet is a constant companion that fills the void with noise. Pets provide a lot to humans, it’s why they’re so prolific.

However, a pet also takes time and effort to care for. Don’t select a pet that will be a big burden. Avoid breeds and animals that are fragile or high-strung.

Exercise

Exercise sharpens the mind and the body. Exercise also feels like an enormous chore that nobody ‘wants’ to do.

Building an exercise routine for the whole family is a great way to keep yourself and seniors interested. Start a competition (friendly, of course) to encourage everyone.

When people move they feel better. Just Like Family knows how to keep it positive and about the doing, not the results. 

Purpose

Finally, remind seniors that they have a purpose. It’s far easier to put in the effort today if it is part of a whole. People need to know that they matter and that the things they do matter.

Even the hardships you face must count for something (especially the hardships). Talk about your hopes and dreams and suss out what is next on the list of accomplishments for your loved ones. 

Don’t focus too mucho n the now of survival but the tomorrow of doing and being more. 

Be More

Senior loneliness is a problem that has needed to be addressed for years. Too often senior isolation is a product of a world too busy to care. Right now, with so much happening, taking the extra time to let a senior know that you care and are working with them makes all the difference.

For more information about senior home care and referrals, contact us

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June 11, 2020

There’s a nagging cliché about life coming around full circle. But, never does it seem more real than when one of our parents starts to visibly age and requires assistance for otherwise-normal activities. 

Yet, even as our parents start to age, the rigors of a full-time job don’t seem to dissipate. So, what happens when you want to be there for Mom and Dad, but you still need to draw in a paycheck?

Well, this is where a live-in caregiver steps onto the scene. Whether a caregiver comes to tend to your loved one’s daily affairs while you’re at work or moves in on a more permanent basis to oversee things, they offer tremendous reassurance that everything’s going to be alright.  

Below, we’ll break down the details of what, precisely a live-in care provider offers. There are a rainbow of options, depending on your loved one’s needs. And, no matter which direction you take, comfort lies at the core of it all. 

Comfort Giver

The first (and perhaps best) way to describe a live-in care provider is a comfort giver. Their presence offers a certain level of comfort for friends and family members who are concerned about the well-being of an elderly loved one. 

No longer do sons and daughters have to worry that their elderly parents may have slipped or fallen. No longer do they have to send up a flare if a phone call isn’t answered. It’s established that someone’s close at hand and caring for their every need. 

Live-in care providers also provide comfort for someone who’s aging, as well. Consider how we spend our lives curating our home. It’s our safe haven, our safe space.

When the trials of aging start to take their toll, it’s far more reassuring to endure life’s difficulties from the comfort of a living room surrounded by family photos or a bedroom that was painted and decorated by their spouse many moons ago. 

Live-In Caregiver vs. Daytime Caregiving

Of course, many of us would love to welcome our elderly parents back into our homes and care for them the way they cared for us as children. Yet, often, the demands of life require us to maintain a daytime job. When our hands become tied like this, there are a couple of options. 

Live-In Caregiving

Live-in elderly care means your family member will have an in-home caregiver who works four or five days a week, providing ’round the clock care. So, while you’re at work, your loved one will be cared for. Even if you’re working a double shift, there’s no fear; your loved one will be cared for. 

In this situation, the live-in senior caregiver must be provided a bed where they can rest for eight hours a night (with, of course, the stipulation that this sleep may be disrupted by the needs of their client). They’re also given a period of rest during the day where another caregiver can come in or a family member can take over. 

Daytime Caregiving

If you’re able to move an elderly loved one into your home, but can’t be around all day, this may be a lovely option for you. A daytime caregiver will arrive to oversee the health and safety of your loved one while you’re at the office. 

Typically, when you come home, you’re “on duty” to care for your loved one. But, what’s nice is that the same daytime caregiver can sometimes step in to help with the occasional evening affair. And, of course, if you work an evening shift, then you will be able to find someone who’s available for overnight caregiving until you come home again in the morning.

24-Hour Caregiving

Twenty-four-hour caregiving may sound a bit like live-in elder care. But, it’s actually more intensive. This is for someone who can’t be left unsupervised (i.e., during an eight hour period of rest). Perhaps they’re prone to falls or need constant medical attention. 

In which case, 24-hour caregiving is provided by two or three caregivers who work in shifts. There won’t be an eight-hour sleep break or a daytime break. Rather, someone would be “on guard” at all times, providing the utmost care for your aging family member. 

Types of Care Providers

Aside from live-in vs. daytime (or nighttime) providers, there are also varying levels of training that you can consider when looking for the perfect match. Here’s a breakdown of some of your best options:

Licensed Practical Nurses & Registered Nurses

A licensed nurse can provide skilled care for a number of situations. They may come in hourly shifts, or more frequently, to administer medication, provide post-surgery care, tend to wounds, provide ventilation care, or monitor vitals. 

This is, of course, for someone who needs diligent medical attention or someone who may be recovering from a difficult surgery. Having a registered nurse enter a home is a wonderful way to know your loved one is being cared for by a trusted member of the medical community. 

Certified Nursing Assistant

Of course, another member of the medical community that’s not to be overlooked is a nursing assistant or home health aide. These are friendly folks who can assist with everyday activities like bathing, dressing, oral hygiene, shaving, skin care, ambulating/transfer, transport/escort, toileting, supervision, reminder medication, prepare meals/feeding, laundry/change linens and light housekeeping. 

A home health aide may fall nicely into the category of daytime care listed above. This is someone who can oversee your loved one’s daily routine, from breakfast to afternoon bridge with their friends, to an early supper before a member of the family arrives home for the evening. 

Companion

Another alternative is a companion. This is for someone who’s just looking for a bit of companionship rather than “hands-on care.” Perhaps a companion will drive Mom or Dad to the local movie theatre to catch the latest Tom Cruise film.

Or, maybe they’ll stay at home and enjoy a couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy while playing a robust game of gin rummy. This is someone who’s going to keep your loved one’s mental health in tip-top shape and also help ward off any feelings of cabin fever. 

Does Insurance Cover a Caregiver?

Thankfully, most long-term care insurance will cover the services provided by a registered caregiver. Of course, that’s not to say that what’s covered doesn’t vary from policy to policy. 

If you work with the right referral agency, they can not only pair you with the perfect caregiver out there, but they can also help you master the game of ping pong that comes with a phone call to the insurance company.

For example, the team here at Just Like Family loves to assist our clients as they navigate the nitty-gritty of an insurance policy. We also provide the documentation necessary to start your policy benefits and keep them going. 

Start the Process for a Live-In Caregiver Today

Do you feel the weight lifting off your shoulders as you consider the multi-faceted nature of a live-in caregiver? Whether it’s preparing tea, doling out medication, or helping a loved one move around safely, there’s a lot to be gained by entrusting the supervision of a loved one to a caregiver. 

Here at Just Life Family Home Care, we offer the support your loved ones need by referring qualified home health care caregivers to come to their home and live the most independent life possible. Our mission is to provide tailor-made solutions to each family’s needs. Whether you’re looking for a Registered Nurse or a Home Health Aide, we can connect you with someone truly special. 

Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation with a representative. Together, we’ll shape out a plan of action that will ensure the health, safety, and comfort of your loved one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all slept in peace again, starting tonight?

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Professional Care for Your Aging Loved Ones in the Comfort of Their Own Homes

November 22, 2019

Professional Care for Your Aging Loved Ones in the Comfort of Their Own Homes

Watching your mother or father age and slowly lose their independence can be challenging, if not heartbreaking.  You grapple with issues like when is it time to step in and offer assistance, and how much assistance do they need?  Are they able to drive themselves to their doctor’s appointments?  Can you honor their wishes and keep them in their home?  These are not easy issues to consider, and Just Like Family Home Care is here to help. 

 

Maintaining Familiar Surroundings

It can be a very difficult transition for your loved ones to have to leave their homes in order to receive the care they need.  Mom may already be upset because she is losing her mobility, mental capacity, or ability to remain 100% independent.  Dad knows it’s important for Mom and him to enter their golden years in familiar surroundings, like the home they created for themselves. The neighborhood, their place of worship, their social groups and friends are central to their happiness.  So why not try to keep them where they will prosper the most.

Of course, they will need assistance with day-to-day activities of life – meal preparation, grocery shopping, housekeeping, exercise assistance, bathing, dressing, driving, caring for pets – the numerous things that compose our daily lives.

Fortunately, this is where Just Like Family Home Care comes in.  We can offer the help and support your loved ones need by referring qualified caregivers to come to their home and help them live the most independent life they are able to.  Caregivers can also provide immediate help in case of an emergency, such as a fall or a sudden illness.  We can provide short or long shifts, or even around the clock care.

 

Conversation and Companionship

An important role of an in-home caregiver that is often overlooked is companionship and friendship.  Oh, just to have someone to play cards with, to walk and talk with, or to watch their favorite shows together!  A private caregiver is, perhaps more than anything, a friend to people who truly need one.

 

Peace of Mind

By having our referred caregiver assist your loved ones, you should find relief in knowing your parent is being cared for in a one-on-one environment in the comfort of their own home.

Now that’s peace of mind!

For more information visit us at https://justlikefamilyhomecare.com or call us at 239-431-6661.

 

 

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August 13, 2019

Aging at Home

Recent surveys show that nearly 90% of seniors hope to and  plan to live in their current home for as long as they live, now termed “aging in place.” Some have lived in the same house for years or moved into their current home after retirement, to be closer to family, moved to a smaller home that is easier to maintain, or to have access to activities that suit their current lives. In talking to our clients, and our family members, we found that their experience and motivation mirrors what current research says relating to the benefits of staying home, even in cases where some outside assistance is needed for short or long term.  

Benefits of Living at Home

Comfort, independence/control:

When a Senior stays in their residence, they are in a place that is comfortable and familiar to them, with neighbors and friends accessible. They make their own rules, eat what and when they want and watch the TV shows they want. They relish the independence they have, and many dread the thought of someone else setting their schedules. They also feel safer in their own home, both in terms of the physical comfort of getting around a place they know very well, and in having neighbors who can help.  A sense of pride is often mentioned by seniors who retain their independence. Finally, research tells us that those with medical issues recover more quickly and retain their health after recovery when home-based.

Personalized care

If a senior needs assistance, that care is provided one-on-one. That undivided attention for only what is needed versus every resident getting the same treatment is often mentioned as a preference of seniors. Also, the attention is scheduled for when the senior wants the help, not when it is convenient to a caregiver juggling many others.

Affordability

The cost of senior care in nursing homes or assisted living centers can be very high. A recent study showed the average costs of assisted living and nursing homes can range from $50,000 to $100,000 a year. Staying home and having assistance when needed is relatively inexpensive, especially since you only pay for the hours you need. 24-hour care is still possible in the home if needed, but significantly less expensive than paying for a room in a facility.

Human Companionship

Having friends and family accessible is one of the most popular responses as to why seniors prefer staying in their home. Whether they chose to stay in the family home near family and friends, or if they move into a neighborhood heavily populated with seniors, having interaction with others is critical. Personalized caregivers can play a role in the socialization of the senior, but that interaction can be scheduled to fit the senior’s wishes, rather than a center’s schedule.  

Animal Companionship

One issue that many seniors bring up when discussing their living preferences, is their desire to have a loving pet in their home. A dog or cat is the most common pet. For those with dogs, they need to get out and walk the dog which is especially good for the senior, providing not only exercise but the ability to connect with neighbors.  

New Technologies

In today’s technology and delivery based world, there are many new options to help seniors “age in place.” In a recent blog post, we discussed the use of technology to have face-to-face conversations with family and friends. Other technologies that can provide the senior with access to needs:

  • Technology-based ‘emergency alert’ systems, also discussed in a prior blog.
  • Access to voice-activated technologies such as televisions and telephones that run via voice commands.

Fortunately, more and more seniors and their families are finding that home care is possible, especially with the help of companies like ours. Just Like Family Home Care is proud to offer Lee and Collier Counties referrals for sensitive, discreet personal care for our clients to help them better enjoy life at home. Care providers are carefully selected for their compassion, professionalism, and dedication to providing the best care possible.

 

Disclaimer: The blog entry above has been created utilizing different online sources. The blog entry has not been verified by a doctor. Please note that conducting the above-mentioned activities is at the individual’s own risk and responsibility. Please always consult a doctor before exercising or doing any physical activity, especially to avoid injuries or harm due to unknown preconditions. Just Like Family is not responsible for any injuries while conducting the above activities.

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May 21, 2019

Just Like Family Home Care is a provider of multiple services for those needing assistance in:

  • Home health care matters, where staff are able to provide nursing and health care tasks, including reminding the client to take their medication.  
  • Home care services,  when a client needs assistance in daily activities and personal care including bathing, dressing, food preparation or eating.
  • Daily activities and personal care, when a client needs a companion/assistant to help with daily living needs like cooking, but especially with staying engaged and active.

With all of these services, Just Like Family is very cognizant of the need to match caregivers with clients in a way that both feel comfortable, and that the client’s needs are met.  As we do this ‘matchmaking,’ especially for longer-term assignments, we consider many issues to make the relationship mutually beneficial.

According to Home Care Pulse, an organization that provides research and quality information to agencies reported recently on the keys to making a good match.  Some of those keys are more obvious:

  • Matching the client’s medical needs to the caregiver’s qualifications.
  • Matching the client’s physical needs to the caregiver’s physical ability.
  • Matching the client’s home environment to the caregiver’s home, to include any habits (smoking) or health concerns (allergies.)

Other issues to address in making the match include:

  • Gender, if either client or caregiver is more comfortable with one or the other.
  • Language, if communication could be difficult due to a language barrier.

The last issue Home Care Pulse encourages review of is personality.  Making a personality match can sometimes be the hardest match-making component, reminding us to consider the personality of both the client and caregiver.  We ask questions that help us understand, for example,

  • Would the extroverted client prefer an extroverted caregiver, or would a more introverted caregiver allow the client to express more about their situation?
  • Would an introverted client prefer another introvert or an extrovert who brings extra energy to the conversations?
  • Would very energetic caregiver make the client feel overwhelmed, or would a subdued caregiver make the client feel responsible for all interactions?
  • Does the client need emotional needs filled, and if so in what way, and what type of caregiver does the best with those needs?
  • Does the client need someone with extra high patience and compassion?

An interesting way to look at personality is the Myers-Briggs personality tool.  Through that tool, we know that there is a “type” entitled “the Caregiver.” This personality type is “conscientious, warm-hearted, and cooperative.”  They also search for solutions, and carry out tasks on time and accurately. Not every caregiver we employ fits this type, but most of them mirror most of the attributes.   As a provider of care, Just Like Home continues to research this component, as well as all personality attributes, so we can make the best matches possible.

Disclaimer: The blog entry above has been created utilizing different online sources. The blog entry has not been verified by a doctor. Please note that conducting the above-mentioned activities is at the individual’s own risk and responsibility. Please always consult a doctor before exercising or doing any physical activity, especially to avoid injuries or harm due to unknown preconditions. Just Like Family is not responsible for any injuries while conducting the above activities.

 

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Plan for Help After Surgery or Hospitalization

April 12, 2019

Plan for Help After Surgery or Hospitalization

Imagine a close relative going through knee surgery. By all accounts, the surgery is to be simple and the patient should be able to be home that day and even walk up the stairs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the outcome. The patient was hospitalized overnight and was incapacitated for days. While rare to have complications, many experts recommend thinking ahead about the care needed after surgery or hospitalization and for unexpected outcomes. Different types of surgery require different plans.  So, the relative’s knee surgery did result in problems climbing stairs, and a patient’s shoulder surgery can restrict the use of the arm completely.  If the surgery or procedure is planned, patients are encouraged to discuss the recovery with the doctor or medical provider and identify what can be planned for.

Things to Consider

A recent WebMD posting suggests the following examples of issues to think about, that may sound obvious, but can help patients understand the types of plans needed:

  • Consider the location of the bedroom. If upstairs, consider sleeping downstairs during recovery.  Bring any bedding downstairs before the surgery, along with personal hygiene items and medications.
  • Stock the pantry before the procedure, especially if there are special food recommendations from the doctor.
  • Identify and obtain any equipment that is recommended, and ask the insurance company if that is a covered expense. New York Times reporter, Lesley Alderman, wrote about home recovery and pointed out that the patient may need special equipment, such as ‘a walker, a bath seat, or a commode’ to help ensure the patients do not injure themselves during recovery.  Consider if the patient could need any outside help using that equipment.
  • In addition to addressing post-procedure planning, the National Institute of Health (NIH) publication regarding “Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery” provides suggestions for post-op care that is more medically specific. Let’s look at some of those issues, and how outside assistance may be helpful.
  • Managing Pain: NIH recommends clear communication with the doctor regarding how to manage any surgical pain.  In most cases, the patient can handle this. However, if the pain medicine, or other ordered medications, need to be provided via shot or intravenously, family members will likely need outside assistance.
  • Surgical Site and Incision Care: NIH recommends following the doctor’s orders, but also keeping an eye out for separation, bleeding or signs of infection. Despite the perception that wound care is “simple,” there are exceptions, such as a surgical site that isn’t accessible to the patient, or a family member/friend is just not comfortable dealing with wounds, or the patient is not comfortable with non-trained family/friends playing this role. Outside assistance can come in for a short period and perform this service.
  • Activity: NIH encourages patients to “get up and be active as soon as possible” which encourages faster recovery. NIH also reminds us that the doctor will likely give “specific activity instructions” which should be followed, and which will likely limit the lifting of objects heavier objects. Often, we find that those who have had surgery, however, need assistance in fulfilling this recommendation. As an example, those with knee surgery, like our example above, may need help walking just a few steps, or walking with crutches. Or, someone who has shoulder surgery may need help bathing and dressing. Health care staff can be of great assistance, in a professional and supportive way.
  • Consider in-home care if family members aren’t available regularly. Just Like Family Home Care has nurses available to provide superior care in-home or temporary accommodation setting. They can provide daily drop-in care, day or night care, extended hourly and after hours house calls. We offer our clients flexible hours because we understand that it may be difficult to gauge how much care they will need following surgery. Some clients may require more hours and some may need fewer than anticipated. Your nurses work with your surgical team to customize a plan of care that fits your needs. There are no contracts and no minimum hours required: our clients control the schedule.

The above, and our own experience results in a recommendation that planning, when possible, help make recovery from surgery or other hospital stays, much easier. Good communication with the medical staff, learning what to expect upon release and for the few weeks after the event, is critical. Planning ahead for higher level skilled care, such as nursing, and more generic care, such as a home health aide, can make the process much easier. But, even if not planned, patients and family/friends should be comfortable asking for outside help. Those who work in this field love to help and can make recovery a much less frightening experience.

Recovering from Home

One final point, research from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons indicates that recovery from home, is equally positive for those who live alone and those who live with others. The Rothman Institute in Pennsylvania conducted a study that showed that with the “emotional benefit for patients recovering in familiar surroundings, and the lack of difference in pain or complications, discharge home is appropriate for the clear majority of patients.” While the study targeted those having joint surgery, other studies show the same. Obtaining outside assistance, such as health care and nursing staff, at home, was encouraged.

As professionals in the field of health care, and in overall home health care support, we do encourage patients and families/supporters to consider recovery from home and do encourage pre-planning when possible.

Disclaimer: The blog entry above has been created utilizing different online sources. The blog entry has not been verified by a doctor. Please note that conducting the above-mentioned activities is at the individual’s own risk and responsibility. Please always consult a doctor before exercising or doing any physical activity, especially to avoid injuries or harm due to unknown preconditions. Just Like Family is not responsible for any injuries while conducting the above activities.

 

 

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It's okay to ask for help with caregiving!

January 31, 2019

It's okay to ask for help with caregiving!

As family members, and as friends, many of us are called upon at some time to consider assisting those close to us in connection with an illness/surgery or aging. As we take on those roles, we often feel guilty if we become overwhelmed. According to experts in these fields, it is important to consider the family/friend caregiver’s own needs as well as those who are being helped. Common caregiver issues include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and trapped, by the situation and/or the time involved,
  • Feeling like other family members are being abandoned,
  • Feeling afraid of dealing with medical issues,
  • Feeling as if self-care and other personal issues are suffering, and
  • Feeling guilty for feeling any or all of the above!

A recent web posting from AARP (American Association of Retired People) pointed out that family/friend caregivers “have a lot of reasons for not arranging respite for themselves. Among them: guilt, money, being too busy in the present to plan for the near future and reluctance to change their loved one’s routine.” The site goes on to say, “every caregiver needs a caregiver — someone who will care for your loved one for a few hours, days or weeks, so you can take care of yourself.”

Many articles discussing home health care and ‘aging at home’ discuss the need for a plan for the caregiving situation, which addresses these issues. The National Institute on Aging, at this site, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/caregiving, provides several discussions regarding planning for the caregiving situation, as well as finding help when overwhelmed. Another page on the NIA site provides more tips for caregivers needing help taking care of themselves, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/taking-care-yourself-tips-caregivers.

One other site, dailycaring.com, has many resources for the caregiver who is feeling overwhelmed. This link, https://dailycaring.com/how-to-be-ok-with-getting-caregiving-help/ provides specific guidance on encouraging caregivers of older adults to seek help. They conclude with:

“Did you know that getting help will actually make you a better caregiver? That might sound crazy, but it’s true.

If you get help, you’ll reduce stress, cut down your to-do list, and be able to regularly take time for yourself. This is guaranteed to improve your health and mood. When you’re feeling better, you’ll be more patient and caring with your older adult.”

While much of the information here, and online, deal with caregivers for older people, much of the information equally applies to those providing caregiving after injury or surgery.  For those caregivers, there are usually specific concerns about dealing with medical issues.  While the need for a plan still applies, the caregiver needs to be up-front about their ability and/or willingness to handle issues from bathing to wound care. Professional assistance is available and can be provided for short periods of time. 

Just Like Family Home Care is proud to serve the community by providing short and long term assistance, including providing respite care to help the caregivers.  As family/friend caregivers need assistance, we stand ready to be part of their team and plan.  Most importantly, Just Like Family encourages family/friend caregivers to remember to take care of themselves.

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