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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


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:  and  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/




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

Did You Know Being Organized Can Improve Your Health?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Apr 27, 2017 1:25:44 PM


Having an organized life is about having more time for yourself which enables you to live a more balanced happy life. In a recent study people who described their homes as cluttered were more fatigued, depressed, and had higher levels of cortisol than those who felt their environment was peaceful. 

Clutter creates stress for the brain and as a result it can affect your ability to focus.  Being organized helps you to make better choices with healthy eating, exercise and it naturally improves a more restful sleep. Here are tips to organize your life:

  • Organize Your Home - Start small, one room at a time. Begin with clutter by going through items in a room and toss or donate things that are not being used or things that you don't love.  Throw out expired food, donate cloths that haven't been worn in a year, dispose of expired medication and half-empty toiletries.  Go through drawers and closets and neatly place like objects together.  Put hooks and shelves on the wall and make use of storage baskets.
  • Organize Your Finances - Set up scheduled payments with bill pay through your bank so the payment will automatically be sent each month.  If you are not comfortable with the auto payment process place bills to be paid in a tray and record the dates on your calender or phone.  Use a labeling machine to easily identify items and place important papers such as homeowners insurance, appliance warranties etc. in a binder or labeled file. 
  • Organize Your Letters and Email - Set aside a few minutes a day to clear out your email inbox and reply to emails.  Delete all emails after responding or completing a task.  Daily sort the mail, discard junk mail and place bills and coupons in a tray.
  • Use a Planner - A planner is essential to getting your thoughts together.  Record important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, travel and outings with friends and family.
  • Organize Your Personal Life - Schedule time for working out, meditating or praying, hair appointments and social outings.  Keeping yourself busy with "me time" is one of the best ways to improved mental and physical health.  Sometimes we forget to call an old friend and set up a get together time but if you are  weekly planning social outings and writing it on your planner it will become a habit that will reap a multitude of positive reward.
  • Use a To-Do List - Write down all the things that you want to accomplish each day and cross off each item once it has been completed. Prioritize your list with the most important tasks at the top of the list.  Up date the list daily so that you wake up each morning with an action plan in mind. People who have short-terms goals and plans that record their progress are more likely to stick with achieving their objectives.  
  • Spend Ten Minutes A Day - By spending  just a few minutes each day staying on top of your organization, picking up, tidying up, and most important, PUTTING IT AWAY, you will be able to keep it that way!  
  • Set Up a Rotation System - Each time you buy new items remove and donate like items.  Have a box where you can place items to be donated in, easy to toss and remove.  If you are buying clothing remove the same if not more items to the donation box.  If you are buying kitchen items, home decor, books, pretty much anything, remove and donate the same number of items.  This simple task will keep you organized and clutter free.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care assistance, Easy Living Services.  We have supported Atlanta families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994.  Need help getting organized and clutter free?  We have staff that can help you sort, remove and organize your space.  Call us at 770-442-8664

Does Hospice Mean the End?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Mar 29, 2017 2:13:57 PM

Caregiver reading to a client Terry dollarphoto.jpgA person placed under hospice care may very well live beyond the 6 month time frame. Sometimes, hospice care benefits the patient so much that they are able to extend their lives and leave the hospice program.  Hospice care is a specialized service designed to provide support to the person that is ill and their loved ones during an advance illness.  Hospice focuses on comfort and quality of life rather than a cure.  The goal is to enable an alert, pain free life.  

Many people hear the word Hospice and immediately reject the idea of learning more about the benefits offered through this program.  Hopefully, this brief outline will assist in summarizing key points associated with hospice services.....

  • Hospice is appropriate when a person has a non reversal terminal illness with a life-expectancy of six month or less.  However it can also be considered when individuals have a life threatening illness or when a cure is no longer possible and treatment has slowed or stopped.  Receiving hospice does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent.  The earlier an individual receives care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize the medical condition and address other needs.
  • The decision is not "set in stone".  A person placed on hospice is free to change their mind, leave hospice and restart standard medical care at any time.  The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice as long as the necessary criteria has been achieved.  People can come on and off hospice and re-enroll as needed.  Hospice can be restarted with physician's certification at a future time.
  • In order to qualify for hospice care at home, there must be a willing, able and available caregiver in the home.  Hospice provides some care assistance such as bathing and dressing, however, it does NOT provide full time caregivers.  Many families select professional caregivers from Home Care agencies to provide "around the clock" coverage for their loved ones.
  • Coverage for hospice is available through Medicare in 44 states and the District of Columbia under Medicaid, however most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations include hospice as a benefit.  Through community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, many hospices are able to provide patients who lack sufficient payment with free services or charges in accordance with the ability to pay.
  • Medicare Part A beneficiaries may elect to receive hospice care for 2 90day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60 day periods.  A physician must re certify at the start of each new period.
  • If dissatisfied, you can leave one hospice program and enter a new one once each benefit period.  All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support and programs may differ.  In addition, programs and operating styles may vary from state to state depending on laws and regulations and business model.
  • Hospice can take place in a Medicare approved hospice facility or in the majority of cases, at home (including assisted living or nursing facilities).  If an in-facility option is selected, the family needs to understand that charges for normal "room & board" will be the responsibility of the individual.  Investigate out of pocket expense before making the selection between staying at home vs. going to a center.
  • When hospice is received at home, a family member will remain as the primary caregiver and can be assisted by professional caregivers sent by Home Care agencies.
  • The hospice team will typically consist of a physician, nurse, social worker, counselor, physical/occupational/speech therapists, nursing assistants, and volunteers.  
  • Hospice includes a number of paid for services such as; physician and nursing assistance, medical equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, bedside commode, lift, etc), medications for symptom control and pain (a small copay may apply), dietary counseling, grief counseling, massage therapy, short term in-patient care if needed for pain and symptom management and short term respite care.
  • The respite benefit is an important one for family members.  It provides for 5 days care for the patient in a Medicare approved facility to allow the family caregiver to rest and "recharge".
  • Once hospice has been selected, the following costs will NO LONGER be covered under Medicare: treatments intended to cure the terminal illness, drugs intended to cure the illness, care from any provider that wasn't established by the hospice team and care in an emergency room/ambulance/inpatient facility unless arranged by the hospice team. 
  • According to the Medicare program, services may be provided to terminally ill beneficiaries with a life expectancy of six months or less.  If the patient lives beyond the initial six months, they can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician re certifies that the patient is terminally ill.  Most paid assistance will continue to cover services as long as the patient meet the hospice criteria and is re certified.

Seeking hospice and palliative care isn't about giving up hope.  Its really about finding the appropriate level of care in one's final weeks or months.  For most the comfort of home and spending time with loved ones is desired over the cold, sterile setting of a hospital room.  

If you have made the decision to transition to hospice care and need information regarding supplemental In-Home Care assistance, we can help.  Easy Living Services, has supported Atlanta families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994.  Call us for a complimentary consultation to learn more about the benefits of Home Care Assistance, 770-442-8664.

Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: Hospice