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Caring For A Loved One With The Flu & Staying Healthy

Posted by Debby Franklin on Feb 6, 2014 3:32:00 PM

Caring for a loved one with the FluWhen taking care of a loved one with the flu, it is important to take precautions to keep yourself and other family members protected.  Follow these common sense steps to stay healthy!

Start by keeping the sick person away from other people as much as possible.  Create a sick room  to help reduce the spread of germs and keep the sick person in a room away from common areas of the house.  Clean the sick room daily with disinfectant products.  It is a good practice to keep disinfecting sprays or wipes on hand to keep surfaces clean.  Influenza can survive for several hours even days.  You can use a bleach solution by mixing 1/4 cup of bleach for every gallon of water.  Mix a new solution each time you clean.  Be sure to keep bathroom faucets, light switches and door knobs frequently cleaned.  Sheets and towels should be washed in "hot" water, and try to not place the dirty linens close to the body while transporting them to the laundry room.  Wash your hands after handling dirty laundry.  

Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a least 20 seconds and make certain that all family members participate in the hand washing ritual.

Designate only one adult to be the caregiver.  People at increased risk of severe illness from influenza should not be the caregiver.  If this is not possible, ware a face mask and gloves.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent gems from entering your body.  

Hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that coughs are directed away from your face.  

Public health experts recommend staying six feet away from someone with the flu.  Any closer, and you are in prime range for inhaling the droplets that can make you sick as they expel into the air by coughs and sneezing.  Since that is not always possible that's why the other measures such as hand washing and disinfecting are so important.  

Practice healthy habits to help maintain your body's resistance to infection.  Eat a healthy diet.  Drink lots of water.  Continue to exercise.  Get plenty of sleep and rest.

Make sure the person you are caring for receives lots of fluids and rest.  Prevent dehydration by encouraging liquids at the first sign of the flu.  Give ice and easily digested foods and fluids that contain electrolytes.  

Seek medical attention if your loved one suffers from any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tear when they cry
  • Seizures
  • Less responsive than normal or confused

Remind your loved one to cough and sneeze into disposable tissue whenever possible.  Throw the sick person's tissues and other used disposable items in the trash and keep hand sanitizer nearby for those moments when they are unable to wash with soap.

Taking care of someone else may cause you to lose sight of your own health.  Remember to be mindful of your needs as well.

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  

Topics: caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care, Atlanta Caregivers, flu

Caring for an "undeserving" parent

Posted by Jill Troman on Nov 29, 2013 4:06:00 PM

caring for an abusive parent "When you are young your father puts his coat on your back. There comes a time when you put your coat on his”.  Japenese proverb

There comes a time when most of us face the reality that a parent is declining and requires assistance.  As a society, we generally expect that adult children bear the resonsibility for caring for elderly parents or at least making arrrangements for outside care. For many, this responsibility is readily accepted and becomes a normal extension of a loving parent/child relationship.  For some, however, the choice is not simple. Maybe yours was a neglectful, self absorbed, distant or even abusive parent. What then?  Are you obligated to care for a parent that didn't care for you well?

The answer depends on the degree of relational dysfunction and the emotional health of the adult child.  For some, the scars and trauma of an abusive relationship run too deep, precluding their ability to effectively care for the parent.   For those who are able, caring for this parent may offer the reward of making peace and finding acceptance.   Another potential positive comes in breaking the cycle of abuse and allowing grandchildren to experience what it means to love another unconditionally.  

Making the Decision to Care

When an adult child from a dysfunctional family returns to care for a parent,  it’s critical for him to be prepared for old issues and emotions to return to the surface.  He may feel like a young child again, filled with the same confusion, fear, and anger he felt all those years ago.  The adult child caregiver will have to navigate complex family dynamics without resentment, while trying to muster up empathy for the failing parent.  A tall order, rightExperts offer the following tips for adult children in this situation:

*Seek counseling.  Consulting with a trained counselor, even if attempted years ago, can be helpful in this new phase of the relationship.  It can help some caregivers “take the edge off” the feelings of resentment and allow them to go about the business of caring for a parent.  

*Secure outside help.  If you do not feel able to play an active care role, consider hiring an In-Home Care Provider to assist you in identifying the type of care needed, selecting qualified caregivers and managing the care schedule.  Agency care is available on an hourly or 24 hr/Live-In basis depending on level of care required.  You will have peace of mind knowing that your family member is being cared for by a screened and credentialed caregiver under the supervision of agency personnel.  

*Appoint a Legal Guardian.  If you are finding that it is virtually impossible for you to assist your parent with his or her needs in any way then consider having a court appointed guardianship established.  The court transfers the responsibility for managing finances, living arrangements, and medical decisions to the guardian.   Guardianship is an option when your elderly parent does NOT have a power of attorney or advanced directive in place AND has been declared incompetent based on expert findings.  

*Look for the “silver lining”.   View this process as an opportunity rather than a hardship.  There is the possibility that some healing may take place as you work to make care arrangements for your parent.  This healing may open the door to forgiveness and an acceptance of your parent’s limitations and flaws.  It may enable you to reach their bedside in time to say goodbye and have peace after he or she passes on.

Need help caring for a family member?  Contact the care team at Easy Living Services.  We'll be there to help when you can't be with a trained, experienced caregiver.   Hourly rates $15.95 to $17.95 and Live-In Services from $175 per day.      Call us!    770-442-8664.

Source:  Agingcare.com Carol Bradley Bursack

 

Topics: Caregiver Information, taking care of a parent, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care, Atlanta Caregivers

Cost Of In-Home Care Likely to Rise Due to Overtime Laws

Posted by Jill Troman on Oct 8, 2013 12:11:00 PM

New regulations requiring payment of overtime wages for homecare aides, while well intentioned, will likely have some unintended, negative consequences for elderly clients.

Senior Care Without a doubt, nursing assistants, charged with caring for elderly clients at home, work hard and shoulder heavy responsibilities.  Caregivers deserve to receive fair wages for the essential care they provide.  The issue at hand involves payment of overtime for caregivers working on a "Live-In" basis for seniors. The term "Live-In"  applies to caregivers who go to an elderly client's home and stay for a number of days at a time.  This arrangement greatly benefits many seniors who prefer the security of having someone with them at night for urgent needs. Seniors with dementia or impaired memory function typically need Live-In care to insure safety and prevent falls.   "Live-In" care is only offered to clients who sleep well through the night and typically do not require assistance during night time hours. Clients who have frequent needs during the night are required to have care billed on an hourly basis so that the caregiver can also be compensated appropriately.  If 24 hr care is provided on an hourly basis, several caregivers are required to cover the shifts; (2) 12 hour shifts per day. While technically, present in the client's home for at least 24 hours, A "Live-In" caregiver is able to sleep 8 hours at night and has some downtime in the evening hours.  These caregivers are paid a flat, daily rate for this service.  Historically, they  have been exempt from overtime pay due to the fact that they have rest time and are not actively working at all times.   

How will this change affect Elderly Clients?

Clients receiving In-Home Care services will definitely take a hit in their pocket books. The former companionship exemption was a significant factor in helping to keep senior home care affordable.  With overtime pay now required for hours in excess of 40, clients will pay significantly more or get used to having numerous caregivers rotating in and out of their homes.  For most seniors and their families, continuity of care is considered critical.   A continuous stream of different caregivers can be confusing for an elderly client and possibly elevate anxiety levels. Communication regarding a client's changing needs is more challenging when multiple caregivers are involved.  Faced with these negatives, many families may decide to hire their own, private caregivers to care for their seniors.  Private caregivers may not have the training and credentials of those retained through an agency.  Hiring home care workers under the table could expose some seniors to abuse, fraud or substandard care since supervision and agency oversight is lost.  What is a senior to do when a private caregiver gets sick or doesn't show up for work?  In all likelihood, the elderly client will be left to fend for himself unless family or friends are available to step in.  

Due to expense or hassle, many families may turn away from in-home care altogether and turn to assisted living or nursing care institutions instead.  Research data indicates that given a choice an overwhelming majority of seniors would prefer to remain at home with assistance. Loss of independence and control combined with less personal attention make institutional living less appealing to the senior population. 

What about the truly wonderful people who have been earning their incomes as Live-In caregivers through In-Home Care agencies?   Will they actually benefit from the new overtime provision?  Probably not.  The overall demand for Live-In assistance will likely decline sharply as costs increase significantly.  These caregivers will likely be forced into  "underground" or private hire situations to find assignments without the numerous protections offered by reputable agencies. 

Who will really benefit from removing the overtime exemption for home care workers?  Its unclear but quite possibly the only benefactor will turn out to be SEIU, the largest and fastest growing member of the AFL-CIO.  Politics as usual?  Let's hope not; the lives of seniors, the disabled and chronically ill will be impacted. 

 


Topics: elder care, In Home Care, senior care, Atlanta Home Care, Atlanta Caregivers, Around-the-clock caregiver, 24 Hour Caregiver

Hospital Advocates for Older Adults

Posted by Jill Troman on Sep 30, 2013 5:00:00 PM

hospital advocates for seniors

 

Your senior loved one has been admitted to the hospital for treatment. You can relax now, knowing that he or she is secure and well cared for in a hospital environment...right?  While its true that medical professionals will strive to provide the highest level of patient care possible; many factors put seniors at increased risk for problems during hospitalization.  With nursing shortages and financial stresses increasing for most hospitals, adequate care for the complex needs of older patients can pose significant challenges.  The resulting gaps in care can be serious with medical errors, falls, medication mistakes and infections on the rise.

 

 Common Risks for Hospitalized Seniors:

1.  Falls:  Seniors may become disoriented due to illness or sedatives and as a consequence are at increased risk for falling.  Serious or life threatening injuries can occur as a result. 

2.  Delirium:  Sleep disturbance, change in normal routine and introduction of new medications can put seniors at risk for developing a serious complication like delirium.  As many as 1/3 of patients over 65 and 70% of seniors admitted to intensive care units experience delirium.  Symptoms of delirium include confusion, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and agitation.  These behavioral changes are often first noticed by family members or friends. 

3. Pressure Sores:   Break down in an elderly patient's delicate skin may occur during a hospital stay, resulting in painful bed sores.  Open wounds put a senior at risk for infection. Seniors who are not capable of repositioning themselves are at increased risk for this serious complication. 

4. Medication Errors and Side Effects:  Seniors are frequently taking multiple medications at the time they are admitted.  Incomplete medical information and histories may result in adverse reactions when new or contraindicated medications are prescribed by the hospital's attending physician. Potentially serious side effects may go unnoticed by hospital staff who are unfamiliar with a patient's normal condition.  

5. Malnutrition:  Studies show that approximately 58% of patients over 65 experience problems eating and/or poor appetite while hospitalized.  This can put older adults at risk for malnutrition and slower recovery rates. 

6. Infection: Serious and sometimes drug resistant infections are rampant in clinical settings.  Elderly adults, weakened by illness are more susceptible to hospital acquired infections.  

These serious and potentially life threatening complications underscore the need for all elderly patients to have an advocate for them while hospitalized.  In many cases, the advocate will be a family member or trusted friend.  However, in some cases, family members live out of town or can not be available due to work schedules or personal obligations. In such instances, a paid advocate makes sense to cover the senior's needs during hospitalization. 

How will an Advocate help?

1.  Monitor patient safety.  An advocate can remain at the bedside to make certain that patients who are at risk of falling, remain safe.  This will prevent the use of safety restraints. Additonally, the advocate can monitor the patient for changes in mood or behavior which could signal medication interactions or infection. 

2. Meet physicians.  An advocate can meet with hospital personnel to convey important medical history and current medication dosing.  An elderly client might be too ill or confused to ask appropriate questions regarding his care or treatment plan. An advocate work to make sure that needs are addressed in a timely manner. 

3. Bedsore prevention.  Some elderly patients will not be physically able to reposition themselves to prevent the development of risky bedsores.  An advocate can make certain that he is repositioned every 2 hrs to reduce this risk.  

4. Prevent Infection.  Senior patients will need an advocate to remind all personnel and visitors who enter the room, to wash their hands to prevent the spread of infection. Many seniors are just not up to this task.  An advocate can assist with trying to get a private room for a client or loved one.  Having a private room can greatly reduce the risk of disease cross contamination.  

5. Monitor Nutrition.  Seniors often do not eat well while hospitalized.  Often, hospital aides remove meal trays too quickly, before a senior patient has finished or even developed an appetite.  The advocate can encourage or feed, if necessary, to promote adequate intake.  Advocates can also make certain that patients are served food that takes into account any dietary restrictions. Outside food items can also be brought in as a treat with nurse's approval.  

 6. Comfort Care.  Elderly patients may feel anxious or frightened when hospitalized.  He may feel a profound loss of control.  Having an advocate, whether  family member or paid professional,  can offer reassurance and security during a difficult time.

 *Busy work and family schedules may prevent you from being with your parent as much as you would like.  That's where a "Hospital Advocate" from  Easy Living Services can be an invaluable resource. Rely on a trained caregiver to provide companionship, supplemental personal care, and to serve as your loved one's advocate when you must be away.  A professional "Hospital Advocate" can fill in family care gaps and provide peace of mind.  

For more information,  contact us at 770-442-8664.

Topics: senior care, Atlanta Caregivers, Hospital Sitter, hospital stay

24 Hour Caregiver Service

Posted by Debby Franklin on Sep 20, 2013 4:28:00 PM

24 Hour Caregiver, Live-In Caregiver, Around-the-clock caregiver, Atlanta Caregiver, Home Care, 

There's no question that evaluating 24 Hour Caregiver options for a loved one can be quite overwhelming, not to mention costly.  You might be surprised to learn that 24 Hour Caregiver service options can be among the most affordable and best values in senior care. 

24 Hour Caregiver Service refers to a caregiver that lives with the care recipient for a specified period of time (usually 3-4 days), providing 24 hour coverage. Typically when 24/7 service is set up 3 caregivers are selected to work with a specific client so that familiarity and continuity can be established between the client and the care team. The selected are team will rotate days providing what is typically called "Live-In" care. 24 Hour "Live-In" care is  billed at a flat, daily fee with rates ranging from $175 to $185 per 24 hour period.  24 Hour Caregiver Service rates are considerably less expensive on a per hour basis than standard hourly care.  In order to meet the qualifications for 24 Hour care, one of the requirements is that the client must sleep on average 7-8 hours per night without needing assistance.  If regular sleep is not possible for the caregiver, one solution is that an additional Aide can be brought in to provide nighttime coverage, on an hourly basis so that the 24 hour caregiver can get the rest needed to perform the duties during the day. Even by brining in an additional caregiver at night the total cost for care is normally much lower than hourly around-the-clock rates.

Before you dismiss 24 Hour care as too costly, consider how comprehensive the care is for the money.  Besides "hands on", personal care services such as bathing, dressing, mobility assistance and companionship, caregivers serve as Household Managers.  Consider the tasks listed below that are rolled into the job of a "Live-in" caregiver:


Household cleaning & laundry services--- a $540 per month ($135 per week) value

Personal Meal Planning/Shopping/Preparation Services--- a $450 per month value (30 home cooked, nutritious meals) 

Pet Care (feeding/walking)---a $270 per month ($9 per day) value

Errand & Transportation Service---a $320 per month value (2 local outings per week)

 

These extra services, of course, are in addition to the priceless benefit of one-on-one personal care and companionship in one's own home.  24 Hour care is especially economical for couples or those requiring significant levels of personal care.

As a word of caution---some might be tempted to search for 24 Hour Caregiver Service on their own. "A friend of a friend" may sound like an attractive option.  This person may be someone that you believe you would be comfortable around.  After all, concern about having a stranger in the home is a major hurdle for most.   You should question the motivation of people who claim they will move in on a permanent basis to care for all of the needs of an elderly person.  Professional Caregivers are real people with families, homes and their own interests. A professional, skilled caregiver will NOT be willing to move in permanently and give up their own lives without a break. He or she should possess the credentials/experience necessary to work with the elderly.  Be skeptical of those who are willing to accept room/board and tiny salaries in exchange for a loved one's total care.  Many seniors have fallen prey to dishonest "caregivers" who take advantage of the situation.

Instead, consider retaining the services of a professional In-Home Care agency. Agency personnel will handle the screening and make certain that the caregiver sent to care for your loved one is skilled, professional and has a solid track record.  Agencies also guarantee coverage if your primary caregiver must miss work.  Agency caregivers receive regular breaks so that when they return to care for your loved one; they are refreshed.

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  

  Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: In Home Care, Atlanta Caregivers, Around-the-clock caregiver, Live-In Caregiver, 24 Hour Caregiver