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Is it Mental Illness or Aging?

Posted by Saxon Olson on Aug 7, 2017 1:06:50 PM

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As our loved ones age, it's only a matter of time before they experience changes in their health, but many people confuse the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems for the aging process as a whole. Regular forgetfulness can be normal, however; cognitive impairment or persistent memory loss is something to take much more seriously. The same goes for extreme anxiety, which is one of the more prevalent mental health problems in the elderly community.

Around 20 percent of adults aged 55 and older experience some sort of mental health concern, but one in three of these seniors will not seek professional help. In 2006, the CDC found that 5 percent of seniors (65 and older) reported a current struggle with depression, and 10.5 percent reported being diagnosed depressed at some point in their lives.  The key to understanding the mental health needs of your older loved ones is to recognize that physical health and mental health are often connected. 

Mental illness is a health term used for a group of mental conditions that cause severe disturbances in thinking, behavior, feeling, and relating. With knowledge and vigilance, family caregivers can stay aware of the mental and emotional health of their elderly loved ones, as well as their physical health. To help you decipher some of the key differences in mental illness and simply aging, here are 5 signs:

1. Sadly, forgetfulness is a part of growing old, however; extreme short term memory loss or hallucinations is a sign of dementia, which is the most common mental illness among the elderly.

2. It is normal to worry about death, family members, or financial pressures, but that is not the same as anxiety. Anxiety is extreme and constant worry or fear, which can include physical symptoms such as chest pain, a racing heart, and sleepless nights. 

3. As we age we tend to fall into patterns, but obsessive compulsive disorder is much more drastic than getting up to lock the door for a second time. OCD can mean going into lock down for stepping on a cracked tile, or washing your hands obsessively until it begins damaging your skin.

4. Stress is a normal part of life, but if stress causes disassociation or depersonalization, you may be suffering from acute stress disorder due to a recent trauma or shock.

5. Lastly, along with aging comes aging friends/family who begin dying around us. There is bound to be periods of sadness throughout life, but it shouldn't be causing insomnia, loss of appetite, social withdrawal, or a fixation on death. All of these symptoms can point to clinical depression. 

    If a loved one has suddenly had a change in personality, seems to have a loss in intellect or is regularly confused and forgetful, take a closer look and make sure they are not suffering from a mental illness. There are so many people willing to help, such as your family doctor, a counselor or psychologist, and caregivers. It is important not to stand by and suffer alone, because with combined efforts of family and professionals, we can help ward of mental illness in our older loved ones and make sure they stay on track to the healthiest aging process possible.

                                                                                                Atlanta Caregivers If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all....work, family, errands and other demands, consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services, Inc.  We offer flexible care plans designed to guarantee personal care and attention to your loved one at home.  Call us to learn more, 770-442-8664

 

Topics: dementia, senior anxiety, mental illness, clinical depression, OCD

Tips To Help Seniors Avoid Isolation

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 28, 2017 1:16:04 PM

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Social isolation among seniors can lead to many detrimental health issues including dementia, increased falls, re-hospitalization, and early mortality.  Unfortunately, isolation among seniors is alarmingly common and these feelings of loneliness can pose many health risks.  

Here are tips to promote social health and a more active lifestyle:

  • Schedule hearing and vision testing - Social situations may be avoided when there is embarrassment or difficulty communicating.  
  • Schedule outings and transportation - Getting out and making independent choices promotes social health.  Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause of isolation for seniors. Arrange for transportation from family, friends, public systems or by contacting a Home Care company and hiring a caregiver to provide shopping, errands, appointments and social outings.
  • Engage in hobbies and former passions - Maintaining hobbies and other interests promote a sense of purpose and help to reduce feeling lonely or isolated.  Senior centers and places of worship have great scheduled activities that form social connections. 
  • Provide a pet - There are numerous health benefits from interacting with pets.  Studies have shown that pet owners have more motivation for constructive use of time, require less medication than non-pet owners and have less depression.  If the senior isn't capable of caring for a pet, there are pet therapy volunteers who will bring their pets in for interaction and enjoyment.  
  • Maintain gardening - Tending a garden or houseplants has shown to offer therapeutic advantages and help satisfy our nurturing desire.  Assist your loved one with planting something and provide gardening supplies for the activity.
  • Set up and assist with social media - Using the internet, email and other sites like Facebook help to keep seniors connected with family and friends.   Skype and FaceTime is also extremely beneficial in keeping your loved one from isolation and feelings of loneliness.   
  • Get to know the neighbors - Meet the neighbors who are within a close proximity and let them know if they see anything out of the ordinary to contact you.  Introduce your loved one and let them know that someone is close by to offer peace of mind with assistance. 
  • Encourage social dining - Sharing a meal not only increases social health but promotes better nutrition. Whether it's with a church group, the local senior center, or with family or a friend, dining with others is crucial for positive health.
  • Don't forget the hug - Hugging helps lower stress and promotes feelings of well-being.  At the very least provide your loved one with a friendly hug as you're greeting or farewell.
  • Provide extra support to those who have recently lost a spouse - It is crucial to offer support by spending more time with them in the weeks after their loss.  This helps to encourage a healthy grieving process rather than depression and isolation.

If you are a family caregiver caring for a loved one, remember to take care of yourself.  Many family caregivers are 50+ and caregiving can trigger many social and health risks for the caregiver.  Family caregivers often work by themselves, and more than half say they have less time for friends and family. Often they don't call the doctor when they are sick, and have little or not time to exercise or eat well.  If you know a family caregiver, look for ways to make their life easier.  Consider hiring respite care from a Home Care company.  Respite care is temporary care, it can be a few hours or several days of care, that relieves the family caregiver from their duties and allows them time for focusing on their needs.

Atlanta Caregivers

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all....work, family, errands and other demands, consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services, Inc.  We offer flexible care plans designed to guarantee personal care and attention to your loved one at home.  Call us to learn more, 770-442-8664

Kidney Disease Symptoms & Protection

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 20, 2017 2:48:14 PM

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Kidney disease often goes undiagnosed and begins to progress due to subtle symptoms that go unnoticed. One of the key risk factors is that our kidney's decrease from normal working conditions as we age.  

Our kidneys perform so many important task such as cleansing the blood of toxins, managing blood pressure, and aiding in producing red blood cells. It is not surprising that what is termed "kidney failure" can cause debilitating results, even death.

Here are symptoms that can indicate kidney issues

  • Swelling in ankles, face, feet or legs.
  • Rash and itching skin.
  • Shortness of breath due to the body struggling to carry toxins.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Excessive urination with small amount of output.
  • Increased issues with blood pressure.
  • Management issues with diabetes.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Pain in the kidney area, back or even in the leg.
  • Bad breath and a metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Anemia and feeling cold.
  • Dizziness and lack of concentration, forgetful.
  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Weakness, tired and fatigued.

How to keep your kidneys protected:

  • Pay attention to warning signs listed above.
  • Eat a healthy diet and reduce or restrict salty foods and those high in potassium.
  • Keep high blood pressure under control.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Alcohol should be in moderation or not at all.
  • Keep diabetes monitored and blood sugar controlled. 
  • Exercise daily.
  • Treat urinary tract infections as soon as it begins. 
  • Monitor and control cholesterol levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stay hydrated and eat foods low in sugar and fat.
  • Review pain medications with your doctor.

Your kidneys can be damaged by a variety of conditions.  As we age we are more likely to suffer from kidney and urinary tract problems.  Kidney issues can increase the risk of heart disease.  If you have one of the risk factors for kidney disease, you should have a kidney health check from your doctor every two years.  Advanced age does not automatically mean you will have kidney failure but being aware of the risk factors and preventative measures will help keep your kidneys healthy throughout your senior years.  

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care assistance, Easy Living Services, Inc.  Easy Living has supported Atlanta families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994.  

Call us to discuss care options, 770-442-8664

Family Caregiver Burnout

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 5, 2017 4:56:33 PM

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Helping with the needs of a loved one is no easy task.  Millions of family caregivers are working with difficult physical and mental health situations and putting in extremely long hours with little or no back up assistance. Family caregiving can drain individuals both physically and emotionally which can result in burnout and exhaustion, leaving the caregiver endangering their own health.

Family caregiver burnout is a result of neglecting your emotional, physical, and mental health.  Persons between the ages of 66-95 who are caring for loved ones, have a 63% higher risk of dying than people of the same age who are not providing caregiver duties.  

Burnout Symptoms Can Include:

  • Physical exhaustion, drained and tired, excessive illness
  • Depression, emotional breakdowns, crying for no valid reason, sadness, feelings of helplessness
  • Inability to sleep soundly, restlessness, changes in sleep patterns
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Increase or decrease in weight
  • Irritability, anxiety
  • Withdrawal from prior activities both social and personal
  • Concentration problems
  • Feeling of abandonment and abuse

The first step is to realize you may no longer be the best person to take care of your loved one.  Seek the advice of a trained professional on getting yourself back on track, and re-engage with friends and family.  Look into Respite Care and Home Care services to give yourself a much needed break.  Respite care provides an outside caregiver service to send in temporary care which can support and strengthen your ability to continue on as a family caregiver.  Respite and Home Care services can be scheduled for as little as a four hour block of time up to around the clock for several days or weeks.  Respite care can allow for you to relax and take care of important appointments and most importantly, YOU!  

For persons caring for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer's, it is possible to apply for a grant to help cover the cost of respite care.  The Alzheimer's Foundation of America makes a limited number of Family Respite Care Grants.  There are application deadlines in spring and fall.  Go to: http://ww.alzfdn.org  and http://www.alzfdn.org/AFAServices/familygrant.html  for more details.  You can also look into government senior organizations, churches and other volunteer groups for respite assistance. 

Home Care is typically paid by private pay or Long Term Care Insurance and can provide a world of relief. Home Care can range from companion and supervised activities,s or can include personal care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, and safety.

Consult Atlanta's Home Care expert, Easy Living Services, Inc.  Easy Living has been assisting thousands of Atlanta families with keeping their loved ones fulfilled, happy, and safe in the comfort of home since 1994.  Call us today to learn how we can help 770-442-8664.  To learn more visit /blog/119751/edit-beta/www.easylivingservices.com/services

 

 


 

Topics: Caregiver Support

Home Care or Assisted Living?

Posted by Debby Franklin on May 17, 2017 11:11:12 AM

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For many older adults the worry of having enough money to make it through the golden years is top concern.  Living at home is the first choice for most seniors.  While other factors play an important part in the decision making cost ultimately can be the most determining factor.  

Here are things to be aware of when considering the move to Assisted Living:

  • Caregiver staff is very limited.  Should you need additional assistance, staff may not be available.
  • Carefully review the contract for the eviction clause. Residents may be asked to leave because they are disagreeable, their health has deteriorated, or they are transitioning to a less lucrative payment source.  Americans With Disabilities Act can be used to fight an unwanted eviction.
  • Be aware of the extra charges that can really add up.  They can include charges for administering medication, assistance with dressing and bathing, bringing meals. making the bed, assistance to and from the dining room, and other medically related issues that might appear as health declines.
  • Like everything, the rates will increase.  Assisted Living occupancy is down from the peak in 2006. Most communities offer low introductory monthly rates and even a few months rent free as an incentive to lure in new residents.  Keep in mind the monthly living expense will be higher in the very near future.
  • The Alzheimer's Association, advises persons looking for memory care facilities to ask specific questions about the type of care and activities available and to look for competitive staff-to client ratios.
  • Many Assisted Livings work to create a beautiful atmosphere yet slack on the level of care provided. Talk to residents, their families, staff, eat in the dining room a couple of times and explore the behind the scenes of the living environment.  
  • One of the top things to be aware of is that Assisted Livings pay people to send you their way.  There are many free referral services that advise on options of Home Care, Assisted Living, and nursing homes.  These free services are paid huge fees to recommend you to Assisted Living communities. But most of these services won't recommend a facility that doesn't pay a finder's fee, even if that community is a better fit.  Placement services paid for by the consumer, on the other hand, can recommend any facility.  
  • Around 19 percent of Assisted Living residents pay with Medicaid.  An organization can decide that its facility will not enroll in Medicaid at all or only have a limited number of space for residents on Medicaid.  

Home Care centers around professional caregiver services at home.  Activities such as assistance with dressing, bathing, toileting, feeding, safety and mobility, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation to shopping, errands and appointments, and companionship and socialization.  

Upon initial inspection Home Care costs may seem to be higher than Assisted Living.  However Home Care can be less expensive with creative management of caregiver schedules while utilizing family support. The general rule of thumb is that if 40 hours or less per week of Home Care is required, then Home Care is a less expensive option than Assisted Living.  Factor's to also consider are whether you rent or own your home and if additional services are required, along with the choice that will provide the best quality of life for your loved one.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care assistance, Easy Living Services, Inc.  Easy Living has supported thousands of families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994.  We offer flexible care plans designed to provide companionship and personal attention to your loved one.

Call to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation 770-442-8664

Atlanta Caregivers