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Atlanta Caregiver & Home Care Articles

Sudden Behavioral Changes in the Elderly

Posted by Debby Franklin on Aug 22, 2019 1:23:28 PM

dreamstime_6428137caregiver and woman

 

 

 

A serious and potentially dangerous complication for elderly loved ones is the onset of "Delirium".  The start is rapid and can begin within hours.  The condition is characterized as "worse than usual".  Delirium is dangerous because it puts an older person at risk for falls, a slower recovery, prolonged hospitalization, and even a higher chance of death.  

Identifying Delirium

  • Decrease in attention span, lack of focus
  • Delusions
  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Intermittent confusion
  • Cognitive change
  • Altered consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Decrease in short term memory
  • Drowsy and quiet behavior, withdrawal
  • Difficulty in following conversation
  • Agitation

Increased Risk for Delirium

  • Severe infection
  • Heart, Liver or Kidney problems
  • Certain medications
  • Low sodium
  • Dehydration
  • Surgery complications
  • Inadequately treated pain or constipation
  • Alcohol or drug intoxication or withdrawal
  • Organ failure
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Ways to prevent Delirium

  • Minimize meds that are known to cause confusion
  • Hydration - Is your loved one getting adequate fluids?
  • Check for infections
  • Constipation issues
  • Is there a UTI?
  • Be aware of the possible causes. Take necessary steps quickly to address the symptom.
  • Could there be sleep deprivation?
  • Look for risk factors
  • Provide mental stimulation

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

Find out more........contact Easy Living Services at 770-442-8664

 

 

Topics: infection, Chronic Medical Condition, hospital care, UTI

Dealing With End Stage Congestive Heart Failure

Posted by Jill Troman on Aug 26, 2013 4:13:00 PM

Caring for a loved one with CHF 

Congestive Heart Failure is a complex disease process that places enormous strain and suffering on patient and family caregivers.  Essentially, CHF presents multiple symptoms that are related to the heart's inability to pump out blood quickly enough. As blood flow from the heart slows down, blood backs up causing fluid to build up in the tissues.  The resulting symptoms are progressive and debilitating.  Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing are common complaints due to fluid leaking into the lungs.  Swelling in ankles, legs, feet, and abdomen are also typical.  CHF patients will also typically complain of weakness and fatigue because the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body's tissues.  As the disease moves into its final stages, confusion, memory loss, disorientation and impaired thinking may set in.

 

 

 

Patients and their family members learn that it can be a real struggle to manage the "ups and downs' of this disease.  One day the CHF patient can appear to be doing well and the next, excess fluid build up has him wheezing and exhausted.  As the disease progresses, frequent hospitalizations can become the new norm.  Becoming educated and prepared to deal with these "ups and downs" is vital for the family caregiver.  

What are the signs that the disease has moved into end stage?  

Symptoms may  include: 

* Shortness of breath, even while at rest

* More frequent and severe edema.

* Weakness and severe fatigue. Patient may lose interest in anything beyond basic needs.

* Chest pain and irregular heart rhythm.

* Sweating.

* Profound weight loss despite fluid overload in the body.  

* Loss of appetite as fluid accumulates in the abdominal area leading to nausea.

* Distended neck veins.

* Enlarged liver.

* Ejection fraction less than 20% (heart's pumping mechanism is severely impaired.)

Helping a Loved One Manage Difficult Symptoms

For most patients facing end-stage CHF, the goal is to remain home and stay out of the hospital as much as possible.  Family caregivers play an important role in helping patients recognize and treat symptoms before they reach crisis stage.  Caregivers also play a key role in helping their loved ones stick to positive life style choices and reduce anxiety levels. Planning is critical in tracking symptoms and responding appropriately.     

* Keep a daily log.  On a daily basis, record weight, medications taken, diet, activities, quality of breathing, and degree of swelling.  Relying on memory may prove difficult during periods of stress so daily note keeping will take the pressure off you and your loved one.  Your physician will be able to make important decisions about treatment more efficiently with key data readily available.  

* Decide in advance when to call the doctor.  In general, the following symptoms warrant an immediate call...

  • A gain of 3 pounds or more within a few days or a week. 
  • Increased swelling in hands, ankles, feet or abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing or night time coughing.
  • Decreased urination.
  • Confusion, dizziness, faintness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Increased fatigue
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Any distressing symptom
* Discuss appropriate relief measures in advance with physician. In some cases, certain medications may be kept on hand and added as needed to alleviate common symptoms, like edema. Also, "self-care"  actions like 
elevating legs, wearing special stockings, lightly massaging legs, reducing salt intake or other dietary changes may be recommended as 1st response options. 

 Dealing with the Fatigue Factor

A CHF patient will frequently complain of fatigue which will increase with disease progression. Helping your loved one better manage this symptom can go a long way in increasing quality of life.  Encouraging him to conserve physical energy on routine tasks in order to save fuel for the important things like exercise and special activities. 

Plan for the entire day and pace activities. Encourage your loved one to:

  • Allow ample time for what needs to get done. Rushing wastes energy.
  • Alternate activity with rest. Divide large chores into smaller tasks spread across the day or week.
  • Work smarter. Minimize trips up/down stairs. Shop with a list and in as few stores as possible. Cook in quantity and freeze the extra; soak dishes first for less scrubbing later. After a bath, slip on a terrycloth bathrobe instead of drying with a towel.
  • Get help when you can. Have medications and groceries delivered.


Throughout the day, consider opportunities to reduce standing, walking, lifting, and bending:

  • Sit down whenever possible. When cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, or grooming face and hair, have a stool or seat handy.
  • Create task stations. Lay out supplies at waist height so everything is within easy reach before you start cooking, cleaning, bathing, or dressing.
  • Wheel or wear; don’t go looking for supplies. Use a cart on wheels, a walker with a basket, a pocketed apron, or a fisherman's vest to keep supplies at hand.
  • Use extensions. To avoid bending and reaching, use an elevated toilet seat, a grabber for objects, and elongated handles on shoehorns, brushes, and dustpans.

These simple, energy saving tactics may help your loved one conserve the energy needed to enjoy life to its fullest. 

  *Excerpts from "Living with Congestive Heart Failure", a publication of Delaware Hospice.

This article is dedicated in memory of my father, Donald Cooke who lost his decade long fight with CHF on June 12, 2013.  

End Stage CHF

Topics: Caregiver Information, Home Care, senior care, aging, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Caregivers, Cardiovascular Disease, chronic disease, Chronic Medical Condition

Help for those who suffer with Chronic Medical Conditions

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jul 10, 2013 1:14:00 PM

chronic medical condition, stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, head injury, hyperbaric therapyHyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen.  This promotes natural healing for persons who suffer with chronic medical conditions.  In the hyperbaric chamber the atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled and is used for a wide variety of treatments.

With normal circumstances, oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells. With the hyperbaric oxygen therapy oxygen is dissolved into all of the body's fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked.  With the hyperbaric therapy extra oxygen can reach all of the damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process which is great news for anyone suffering with a chronic medical condition.  The increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.  This is a simple, non-invasive and painless treatment.  

CONDITIONS WHICH MAY BENEFIT FROM HYPERBARIC THERAPY INCLUDE:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Asthma
  • Allergies                                                   chronic disease, stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lupus, Brain & Head injury
  • Brain & Head Injury
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Alzheimer's
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Joint Pain
  • Loss of Limb
  • Lupus
  • Lyme Disease
  • Immune Deficiency
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sports Injury
  • Stroke
  • Wound Healing
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Body Detoxification
  • Sleeping & Skin disorders
What are the side effects?
The most common side effect is barotrauma to the ears and sinuses caused by the change in pressure.  To minimize this risk, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during compression. occasionally some patients may experience changes in their vision during their treatment.  These changes are usually minor and temporary.  A rare side effect is oxygen toxicity which is caused by administering too much oxygen.
What information should you discuss with the technician prior to treatment?
  • If you have any cold or flu symptoms, fever, sinus or nasal congestion
  • If there is a possibility that you may be pregnant
  • If there has been a change in any of your medications
  • If you have skipped a meal prior to your treatment
  • If you are diabetic and did not take your insulin prior to your treatment
  • If you have any concerns or anxiety 
How does hyperbaric therapy help brain injury or stroke?
When cells in the brain die, either from trauma or lack of oxygen, blood plasma leaks out into surrounding brain tissue causing swelling and reducing blood flow.  These otherwise normal cells go dormant because they can't function without the appropriate amount of oxygen.  Hyperbaric therapy dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, making oxygen available to heal damaged capillary walls, preventing plasma leakage and reducing swelling.  As the swelling decreases, blood flow can be restored to the dormant tissue and these cells then have the pltential to function again.  
Insurance and Medicare consider coverage for several conditions so check to see if this is an available option prior to treatment. 
The above information is from www.hbot.com additional information is available at this site.

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.  

In Home Care For Seniors

Topics: Parkinson's, stroke, brain injury, chronic disease, Alzheimer's, Chronic Medical Condition, Chronic, hyperbaric therapy, Lupus