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Atlanta Caregiver & Home Care Articles

Going Home After Suffering A Stroke

Posted by Debby Franklin on Feb 18, 2013 3:45:00 PM

Stroke, TIA, Heart Disease, In Home CareGetting ready to go home from hospital and rehab after suffering from a stroke, requires preparation and planning. The knowledge of how the brain recovers after suffering a stroke is very limited.  Some brain cells may only be temporarily damaged and not destroyed and may resume functioning.  In some cases the brain compensates for the damaged cells and re-organizes the functioning. 

Recovery will vary with each individual.  Many will make a complete recovery and others may be left with disabilities or difficulties.  The more severe the stroke generally the longer is will take for recovery.  Recovering from a stroke is a gradual process that takes the brain time to heal and this begins the rehabilitation process. 

 

 

 

Once you are home bound you may need help with the following activities:

  • Bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Standing, walking, balance and mobility
  • Preparing meals
  • Driving
  • Use of one side of the body, arm, hand, leg
  • Speech and communication
  • Safe swallowing
  • Cognitive skills i.e. comprehension, memory, thought process, logic & reasoning, visual processing

Common Physical Problems Following a Stroke:

  • Judgment difficulty with depth and distance
  • Weakness, balance and fatigue
  • Coordination and movement
  • Vision clarity
  • Facial drooping
  • Numbness and painful sensation

Due to the brain damage caused by the stroke, eating and drinking may be difficult, as the muscles of chewing and swallowing may be weakened especially in the early stages.  It is common to have a feeding tube in the early stages, to provide proper nutrition, fluids and medication.  Generally the Speech Therapist will provide special swallowing therapy and advice to help with eating and drinking safely. 

Some people may completely lose the ability to speak, but can still understand what is being said to them.  The ability to read and spell and write may also be affected.  When a person has problems understanding and using words and sentences which affect their ability to communicate this is called aphasia.  Some of the common issues with aphasia are:

  • Confusion with yes and no
  • Saying one thing but meaning another
  • Getting stuck on a word or phrase over and over
  • Follow only a part of a conversation
  • Easily distracted by noise
  • Automatic swearing
  • Slow to respond, needing more time to understand what has been said
  • Words on the top of the tongue
  • Speaking but not making much sense

Two of the most common psychological conditions found in people after a stroke are:

  • Depression – crying and feeling of hopelessness, withdrawn from social activities
  • Anxiety – fear and anxiety often punctuated by anxiety attack

Many may experience difficulty controlling their bladder or bowel commonly known as incontinence.  For many this control will come back over time.

Dealing with the daily activities:

  • Use memory aids like diaries and keep a list
  • Practice physical and mental skills through crafts and board games
  • Keep distractions when communicating
  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Rearrange the furniture to avoid accidents
  • A stair lift may be needed for going up and down stairs
  • A walking device or chair may be needed

Getting the support and help that you need:

After your stroke, you may need to get extra help around the house or with personal care.  In-Home Care is a perfect solution to having as little or as much help as you need.  Most people find that they need around the clock live-in care assistance and as they begin to recover and are able to do more for themselves they reduce the care to shorter hourly assistance. 

Easy Living Services will send the appropriate skilled caregiver to provide exactly what you need help with.  Our caregivers can help with bathing, dressing, grooming, assistance with toilet needs, meal preparation, grocery shopping, assistance to and from Doctor appointment and errands,  medication reminders, light housekeeping, watering the plants, feeding and walking the family pet and so much more depending on each individual needs.

Today’s families have very busy lifestyles so many times family members what to help and in many cases try to help but generally it is only a matter of time before it all becomes overwhelming trying to juggle too many tasks at one time.  For most just knowing that companies like ours are here when you need support and an extra set of caring hands make the recovery and rehabilitation process less stressful and smooth. 

Should you or a loved one need help, call us today 770-442-8664!


Topics: In Home Care, Heart Disease, stroke, TIA, hospital discharge

Perfect Gifts For A Loved One Who Is In The Hospital

Posted by Debby Franklin on Oct 23, 2012 12:32:00 PM

Finding the perfect gift is challenging even in the best of times, but is even more complicated when you want to cheer up a loved one who is in the hospital.  Before buying any gift decide on what you can and can't bring.  For example does your loved one have dietary restrictions or allergies?  There may be restrictions about having live plants or flowers in the room so consider these limitations as well.  

hospitalization, hospital sitter, hospital discharge, hospital care, Here are gift ideas for unique and meaningful gifts to cheer up a loved one who has been hospitalized and to help make recovery go smoother:

  1. The most valuable gift you can give someone who is restricted to the hospital is the gift of your time.  Spending time and engaging in converstation can do wonders for helping your loved one stay focused on the positives and can help speed the recovery.  You can bring small board games or a deck of cards or boxes of photos and blank albums to fill.  These are great ways to help your loved one pass time as well as enjoy awesome memories.  Activities can be fun, however just a visit from you may be all that they will need to lift their spirits. 
  2. The dry air in a chilly hospital room can make it uncomfortable, but you can improve the atmosphere with a care package you put together to address specific problems.  Here are some items to consider:  Lip balm to moisten lips parched from chemotherapy or dry hospital air, a snuggly throw, mints to freshen a dry mouth, a knit hat for someone who has lost hair from chemo, cozy slippers with nonslip soles, a warm robe or soft pajamas, books and magazines, personal sayings and quotes for comfort.  Personal care items can perk up your loved one by bringing them their own shampoo, soap, moisturizer, makeup, hair accessories, electric razor, shaving cream, perfume or cologne.  Anything that you think will make them feel more like themselves during their stay. 
  3. Music and movies can be great entertainment.  Download your loved ones favorite songs onto an IPOD and give them their own set of earphones or buy a portable CD/DVD player with earphones and purchase their favorite CD's and DVD's.  Having something other than the hospital sounds to listen to can be soothing and help to keep them entertained. 
  4. Hospital food ranks low on the list of appetizing and good.  If your loved one is not on a restricted diet, surprise them with some of their favorites.  What is their favorite meal in their favorite restaurant?  Order it to go and pick it up on the way to the hospital.  It will be so appreciated and it will help build their strength as well.
  5. Although your loved one may not be able to use it immediately, a gift certificate for a massage, a salon visit, manicure or pedicure, or a spa service provides something to look forward to after recovery.
  6. A loved one in the hospital has a lot of worries:  keeping the house running, picking up groceries and dry cleaning, taking children to and from activities, caring for pets, as well as other responsibilities.  Offering to lend a helping hand by running errands and helping with chores might be even more relevant and appreciated than any gift you buy.
  7. If you don't have time to lend a hand, a prepaid service package for homemaker service from a Home Care company could be the perfect gift.  Homemaker services can include; errands, transportation, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry and light housekeeping and more.  For more options and details give us a call at 770-442-8664.

It's not easy to see someone you love and care about sick and in the hospital.  You can however make their stay much easier with creative gift ideas to keep them busy until they are able to go home. 

 Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: Hospital Sitter, hospitalization, hospital stay, hospital discharge, hospital care, hospital

Coping with Kidney Transplant Complications

Posted by Jill Troman on Jul 18, 2012 3:27:00 PM

This article represents the third installment of a multi-part series recording a friend's  unexpectant journey from daughter to full time caregiver.  Serving as the primary caregiver for a kidney transplant patient  poses some unique challenges.  Learn more about the ups and downs of family caregiving...

kidney transplant, transplantPart 3  "Suddenly a Caregiver:  Coping with Kidney Transplant Complications"            by:  Teresa

The exhaustion is taking its toll on me.  Getting up every morning at 5:30am and getting Mom out the door to visit the transplant center for daily labs is extremely difficult for us both.  Fatigue and frustration is setting in on Mom, as well.  She desperately wants to return to normal, sleep in her own bed and check in on Dad.  She's worried about how well he is getting along by himself.  Her appetite is poor and she is beginning to lose weight...not a good sign. 

Another significant and surprising concern is the fact that mom seems to be very agitated, verbally and sometimes physically agressive.  All of a sudden she has a very short fuse and is provoked by even the smallest of matters.  Today, she grew angry when she overheard the visiting nurse and I discussing how best to increase mom's fluid intake.   When I offered her a bottle of water, she slapped me.  Stunned, I turned to the nurse for support.  The nurse told me that the agressive behavior was a side effect of one of her medications, Prednisone.  "Roid Rage" from steroid use is a well documented challenge for transplant patients.  An additional steriod side effect is night time sleeplessness.  Since mom couldn't sleep well, I was forced to share in the misery.  I secretly wondered what other problem behaviors would materialize. 

We were hoping that the transplant team would discharge mom and allow us to check out of the hotel and head home.  Unfortunately,  upon exam, her team informed us that she was not quite ready.  Her blood pressure was elevated and some recent lab readings remained outside of the normal range.  We were both seriously disappointed. To lift our spirits, we traveled to a local beach to enjoy some fresh air and a much needed change of scenery.  It was reassuring to realize that there really was a beautiful world out there apart from hospital clinics and drab hotel rooms.   Refreshed and de-stressed from her brief trip to the beach, mom's blood pressure returned to normal.  At last, the doctors delivered the news we had been waiting for; she was released to travel back home. 

I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Things were definitely looking up.  Mom was recovering nicely and soon would be back to her old, independent self.  Dad was another story.  Unfortunately, Dad's gout was flaring up and was extremely painful.  It was apparent that taking care of himself, the house and their dog was just too much for him to handle on his own.  He was clearly relieved to see me and quick to point out all of the chores that needed to be accomplished around the house...by me!  Dad readily relinquished control of everything to me, comfortable knowing that I would handle it.  While mom and dad snoozed in the living room, I began the task of creating some system for organizing mom's complex array of medications.  I used the hutch in the kitchen as a staging site for mom's meds with bottles placed in the exact order in which they were to be dosed.  Precise dosing instructions with a daily chart were kept alongside the medications.  I set up a calendar with all key dates recorded for follow-up appointments and lab appointments. 

Moms Pill

Exhausted after a full day of transporting mom, shopping, cooking, organizing and dealing with a "special needs" pet, I collapsed into bed. Worry crept in...how would Dad manage all of this after I left? 

Topics: Caregiver Information, caregiver, taking care of a parent, chronic disease, hospital discharge, kidney transplant, kidney transplant, transplant care, transplant care

Kidney Transplant - A Caregiver's Personal Perspective

Posted by Jill Troman on Jun 25, 2012 1:21:00 PM

kidney transplant, transplantTeresa, friend of Easy Living Services, recounts her journey from daughter to caregiver in the following multi-part series.  Teresa found herself suddenly and unexpectantly thrust into the role of primary caregiver for her mother who had undergone a successful kidney transplant procedure.  Theresa experienced the roller coaster ride of  worry, fatigue, stress along with personal satisfaction that family caregivers often experience. 

"Kidney Transplant Experience...Becoming a Caregiver"    By: Teresa

My mother's kidney disease had reached a critical point and doctors agreed that a transplant was essential.  I was prepared to serve as a donor but my physician determined that it would have a negative impact on my own health  Her only option was to be placed on the national transplant list and wait for a suitable kidney.  We felt fortunate that mom was even eligible for a donated kidney due to her advanced age of 79 years.  She remained on the list for almost 1 year.  On January 25, 2012 she received the call that my family had been anxiously awaiting!  A match had been identified!   My parents traveled to the transplant hospital and prepped for immediate surgery. 

The surgery went smoothly.  We were all amazed at how quickly Mom recovered and how great she looked.  The posted photo was taken one day after the surgery. The transplant team planned to discharge her 3 days following surgery and recommended that she stay in a nearby hotel where she would receive daily RN visits.  Dad insisted that he serve as Mom's primary caregiver. 

I had reservations about Dad taking on the role of post surgical caregiver from the beginning.  My Dad was in good health at the time but was 80 years old.  I was concerned about the stress that he would face in taking care of all of her physical needs and managing the strict medication regimen that had been ordered.  Reluctantly, I left Dad in charge at the hospital and went to handle some logistics.  I didn't plan to return until discharge day.    It turns out that my concerns about Dad were well founded.   I received a  panicked phone call from him shortly after my departure.  He was overwhelmed, in pain from a gout flare up and his blood pressure was sky high.  Dad was wisked away to the ER for an evaluation and I found a new full time role, mom's caregiver!  

Three days following surgery, as planned, Mom was discharged and we moved into a nearby hotel to continue recuperating.  Look how fantastic she looks in this second photo taken at discharge time.  I was optimistic.  Mom was doing great; caring for her would be a breeze...

 

Topics: caregiver, taking care of a parent, Hospital Sitter, chronic disease, hospital discharge, Transplant, Transplant, kidney transplant, transplant care

Do I Need A Caregiver After Hospital Discharge?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 6, 2012 11:37:00 AM


caregiver, Home Care, In Home Care, post hospital careFrom the aspect of safety and peace of mind at having someone to help monitor the condition,  having a caregiver provide assistance after a hospital or rehab discharge can mean a smoother and faster recovery.  The initial period following discharge from the hospital can be a vulnerable time.  According to the Society of Hospital Medicine, about half of adults experience a medical error after hospital discharge and suffer an adverse event. 

The first 30 days after returning home from the hospital are critical and will determine if readmission to the hospital will be necessary.  Adding to the difficulties at discharge are the economic pressures on our health care system which cause patients to be released from the hospital sooner and sometimes premature to a full recovery. 

Here are steps to take prior to going home:

  • Make the necessary safety preparations in the home to avoid falls.
  • Schedule a meeting with the hospital discharge planner to make certain you have a detailed plan of care with instructions and medications that can be used by the caregiver. 
  • Stock the refrigerator with healthy nutritious foods and beverages that will help the caregiver ensure proper nutrition and hydration, which is so critical to recovery.
  • Put a Medication System in place to organize and track medication.   
  • Schedule follow up medical appointments and record in a log book so that the caregiver can provide transportation and ensure that the visits are being kept. 
  • Keeping the line of communication open and informative between the medical team, family and caregiver are critical to the effectiveness of long term recovery.

In Home Care For Seniors

Topics: Caregiver Information, senior care, caregiver, hospital discharge