elderly care omahaWith the number of Americans 65 and older expected to double over the next 30 years, more and more seniors and their families will go through a tough decision-making process to ensure the best possible elderly care. According to a recent New York Times article, this challenge becomes more difficult if no one takes the time to think through various care options before severe illness or injury occurs, making it impossible for elders to continue to live independently.

There are plenty of options for help, however, many of which adjust to the schedules and budgets of each particular family. Whether it’s a nonprofit volunteer service or a professional care firm, there are many areas where help can be provided. The following list is adapted from The New York Times article:

    • Assistance with dealing with paperwork and technology

 

    • Trustworthy referrals to service workers, home health care agencies and personnel

 

    • Information about and transport to local classes and social activities at a discounted rate

 

    • Regular visiting

 

    • Prepared meals delivered to the home

 

    • Shopping services

 

    • Adult day care

 

The future of senior living?

Former secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros writes in the book Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America that another way to prolong elderly independence is to change American neighborhoods and communities so that elderly persons can longer remain in them, as reported by the Times.Americans are aging in traditional homes, neighborhoods and communities that were designed for yesterdays demographic realities, Cisneros writes.Homes can be retrofitted, new age-appropriate homes built, existing neighborhoods reconnected, and new communities planned.

Cisneros notes that community changes can come in the form of affordable small-scale housing as well as cluster housing situated in walkable communities with easy access to health facilities, public transportation, etc. Elderly living of the future can even borrow from the design of current assisted living facilities and, perhaps, be built near or attached to family homes.

We’d love to hear what you think of Cisneros’ ideas as they relate to the current state of assisted living. Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.

Encompass Senior Solutions — currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa — provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo credit: Michael Patrick via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

senior care omahaFrom Twitter chat recaps to caregiving advice columns to real stories and testimonials from several of our clients, we’ve covered an array of topics on the Encompass Senior Solutions blog since its launch in July. We wanted to thank all of our readers from the last five months. We look forward to continued success in 2013!

Of our more than 100 posts, a few received more traction than the rest. Below is a rundown of the five most popular Encompass blog posts from 2012.

5. Study finds brain damage makes elderly susceptible to scams – Researchers at the University of Iowa found scientific backing as to why the tactics of con artists often work on the elderly, and it may be the result of deteriorating or damaged parts of the brain. To draw this conclusion they pinpointed the exact location in the human brain that controls belief and doubt. It’s called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and its condition may explain why some are more easily duped than others.

4. Real Stories: Caregiving through the night — In this real-life story, our client was the primary caregiver for her husband in her home, but she needed overnight help to best take care of him. After a recommendation from her husbands doctor, she contacted Encompass to assess the situation. Encompass helped them both through a tough decision-making process, ensuring everyone’s individual care needs were met.

3. Grapefruit’s dangerous drug interactions put seniors at risk – More than 85 drugs are known to interact with furanocoumarins, a naturally occurring organic chemical compound found in grapefruit. While most of these drug interactions are harmless, 26 new drugs have been found in the last four years that can cause serious harm when combined with grapefruit.

2. Signs of senior stress — No matter your age, stress is a part of life. For seniors, stress can be especially taxing and harder to overcome, as many new contributing factors are in play such as the loss of a spouse and suddenly living alone or the frustration that surrounds dealing with new physical and/or medical limitations. As a caregiver, knowing the signs of senior stress will allow you to better help your elderly loved one.

1. Great foods for elderly diabetics – The risk of diabetes increases significantly for those over 60 years old. Half of all diabetes cases occur in people older than 55, and nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population over 60 has diabetes. That’s why it’s important to know the super foods that can help alleviate the symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

senior exerciseA new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests older persons who have positive stereotypes about aging — e.g., old age brings satisfaction, wisdom, etc. — are 44 percent more likely to fully recover from an injury or disability. However, those who have negative age stereotypes — feelings that becoming old is tied to being decrepit, helpless, etc. — are less likely to consider preventative medical treatment and more likely to suffer memory loss, have poor physical health and ultimately die earlier than those who have a positive outlook, the research shows.

Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, is the researcher who has advanced this body of knowledge further than anyone, reported The New York Times.

In one set of research, Levy exposed 660 participants to external stimuli, flashing positive or negative words that the participants could only process subconsciously. Those exposed to negative words shared common traits such as poor handwriting and higher levels of cardiovascular stress. Those prompted with positive words did much better, and on average lived 7.5 years longer, according to the Times. Using this data, Levy went on to establish that eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, limited alcohol consumption and other healthy activities were associated with those with positive age stereotypes.

The Times asked the National Institute of Aging’s Dr. Marie Bernard about the research, which “confirmed her clinical observations in more than 30 years of medical practice.” Even so, Bernard pointed out that the study is small, and it should be replicated in order to be more conclusive.

What we really need to understand is the mechanism, Bernard told the newspaper. Is it something that is malleable and, if so, could we help people live longer, healthier lives?

The article notes that those answers will have to wait. Still, it touches on the subject of ageism and the idea that the way people treat one another does indeed influence behavior as well as perception of self. Perhaps by being more thoughtful in the way we act and the words we choose, we can be a positive influence in the lives of our aging loved ones. And, if there’s even a shred of truth to Bevy’s research, we can help those we care about live longer, more fulfilling lives.

 

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

 

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

A rapidly increasing number of older Americans living at home has led to an increasing shortage of available home care aides. With high demand and a shortage of supply, this means an increase in cost to the consumer, i.e., the person in need of care and/or their family. As such, some families turn to private persons to provide home health care assistance instead of seeking out help from a licensed agency. While this may seem like a reasonable option, there are many problems that can arise, creating unexpected financial and legal liabilities for the family, now burdened with the responsibility of acting as an employer. Nearly all of these risks can be eliminated by choosing a state licensed home care agency.

Tax issues

When a family acts as an employer, they are required to pay taxes tied to Social Security, unemployment and payroll. They are also responsible for making sure the private individual they hire meets the criteria of an independent contractor and is paying their own taxes. If not, the responsibility falls on the backs of the employer. If this is the route your family is going, it’s best to seek assistance from a lawyer. Of course, hiring a home care agency would avoid many potential dilemmas.

Workers’ compensation and other liabilities

The individual or family paying for the independent home care aide is liable for any work-related injury occurring on the job, including all medical expenses and (if applicable) disability payments. Also if the home care aide causes an accident where other family members suffer harm or any loss, full financial responsibility and compensation falls on the shoulders of the employer. An easy way to avoid these problems from the start is to hire an agency, where all provided home care aides are licensed, fully insured, professionally trained and supervised on a regular basis.

Abuse and exploitation

Sadly, there are some individuals out there who will physically and mentally abuse the person they are caring for. Financial exploitation is also not at all uncommon, as a frail, aging individual with limited functionality can be an easy target. On top of this, supervising the home care aide can be particularly difficult due to time and geographic restraints. If you simply can’t use an agency, use extreme caution when hiring an independent caregiver, including running a criminal background check and making sure to follow up with references.

Agency supervision

A licensed agency is well equipped to handle nearly any home care aide situation and can adjust to the changing needs of individual clients. To boot, agencies have the responsibility to provide ongoing supervision for their employees — a service that can be as important for the aide as it is for the family.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo credit: bradleygee via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

alzheimer'sWith up to 5.2 million Americans over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s, the holidays bring about a unique set of challenges when trying to uphold family traditions. While taking a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other onset dementia out of their familiar home surroundings and routines to join in on family festivities may seem like the right thing to do, it could in turn be an unpleasant experience for all involved.

A recent Huffington Post article by Dr. Amy D’Aprix suggests that changing family traditions can be the best way to honor your loved one with Alzheimer’s.

“Think about the positive memories you can create with your family, while making the holidays easier on yourself and your [loved one],” D’Aprix writes. “Although it is difficult, acknowledge that you may need to change your traditions in order to do so.”

While it’s sad to admit, the truth is a person with Alzheimer’s simply won’t enjoy the traditional holiday experience due to a number of factors. For example, they’re likely used to a normal routine as far as eating, sleeping and other daily activities are concerned. Breaking such routines can leave your loved one confused and unhappy in an unfamiliar setting surrounded by faces they no longer recognize.

D’Aprix suggests we consider alternative ways to spend time with a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

“What about bringing brunch to Grandma’s house, which achieves both maintaining her regular meal schedule and keeping her in familiar surroundings? If she still retains memories from her youth,” suggests to D’Aprix, “would she enjoy helping make cookies or decorating the tree before the big day?”

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the article is this: however noble our intentions may be when trying to keep up on family traditions, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing it all for them or for us.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo: Flickr

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

elder careWhile easy for most, traveling even small distances can be quite difficult for some elderly people. So if you’re expecting an aging loved one as a guest during the holidays, prepare your house to make it easy to maneuver through. Most preparations are simple to do and are common sense, but a little can go a long way in making someone you love feel welcome and comfortable.

Start with the outside of the house:

 

  • Make sure all pathways are clear leading to the doorways.

 

  • If icy, put down salt or sand.

 

  • Make sure any steps leading into the house have sturdy railings. If not, make sure someone is always available to help your loved in and out of the house.

 

Inside the house:

 

 

  • Check for tripping hazards. Rugs and general ground clutter are usual culprits.

 

 

 

  • Be aware of any uneven floor surfaces in the house and plan your loved one’s stay around them accordingly. If the uneven spots are unavoidable, make them more visible with brightly colored mat or even tape, in necessary.

 

 

 

  • Have a sturdy seat for your elderly loved one to sit — plushy couches and chairs may be comfortable to most, but are difficult to get out of for the elderly.

 

 

 

  • Make sure all railings are secure, especially if you’re loved one must use stairs to reach their bedroom, bathroom or other area in the house.

 

 

 

  • Bathrooms can be particularly hazardous for the elderly, so make sure anti-slip mats are in place on the floor and in the tub. If needed, add a shower stool and grip bars to the tub.

 

Little things you might forget:

    • Be aware of any special dietary needs your loved one has. If possible, have meal options planned out for them in advance.

 

    • If they’re staying overnight, leave a glass of water and an empty pillbox for them to use next to their bed.

 

    • Plan family activities that can easily include your elderly loved one.

 

Are there any other tips for preparing your house for any elderly guest that we missed? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo credit: angelocesare via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

by will silvey simonsWhile kids get excited about the idea of a snow day, bearing a severe winter storm can be a dangerous situation for the elderly, especially if they rely on help from a caregiver. That’s why it’s important to make sure your love one is prepared for the worst if the weather outside doesn’t allow you or another caregiver to visit for a day or two.

FEMA offers some tips on keeping safe during a snowstorm, such as the one that hit Omaha yesterday and early this morning. Most importantly, it’s best to know ahead of time what to do to help elderly or disabled friends, family and neighbors. If this is the case, have an emergency contact list and see if someone living nearby, such as a trusted neighbor, can help out in a pinch.

    • Prepare for possible isolation. Have enough heating fuel, such as wood for a fireplace or wood-burning stove,  in case regular fuel sources are cut off.

 

    • Winterize the home. Insulating walls and the attic, caulking and weather-stripping doors/windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic will help to extend the life of the fuel supply.

 

    • Insulate pipes. Use newspapers and plastic to insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather, helping to avoid freezing.

 

    • Get a fire extinguisher. Many people use alternate heating methods during a blizzard, which can cause a fire if certain precautions aren’t taken, so it’s best to make sure your loved one, their neighbor and other caregivers all know how to use a fire extinguisher.

 

    • Know how to shut off water valves. Every house is different, so make sure you and any other caregivers know how to shut off water valves in case one bursts.

 

    • Make sure their roof can sustain heavy snowfall. You may need to hire a contractor to check this.

 

    • Have winter supplies on hand. It’s best to have sidewalk salt, sand, snow removal equipment, etc. on hand at your loved one’s home.

 

Have a safety plan in place before a blizzard hits

    • Have numbers of local organizations, such as the Red Cross that can help in an emergency.

 

    • Make sure family members (especially long distance) know where their elderly loved one plans to be during the storm and how to reach them.

 

    • Find relatives or friends who can take in and/or offer extra caregiving support during a snowstorm as needed.

 

    • Make sure to stock up on items for special dietary needs (low sodium, diabetic, etc.).

 

    • Likewise, make sure your loved one has enough medication before the storm threatens.

 

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

Health Talk is a regular Twitter chat hosted by editors at Everyday Health. Encompass Senior Solutions, providing elder care solutions for the greater Omaha area, joined in on the conversation, which focused on healthy holiday eating and intention setting for 2013. While the chat mostly covered general health and well-being, the questions and answers can be applied to both caregivers and their loved ones receiving care over the holidays.

If there’s one big takeaway, it’s always be mindful of sticking to healthy habits and don’t be afraid to start that new year’s resolution early!

Below is a recap of yesterdays #healthtalk, which we put together via Storify.

A recap of #healthtalk, 12/18/12

http://storify.com/EncompassSenior/health-talk-december-18-2012?utmsource=embedheader

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

encompass senior solutionsNo matter your age, stress is a part of life. For seniors, stress can be especially taxing and harder to overcome, as many new contributing factors are in play such as the loss of a spouse and suddenly living alone or the frustration that surrounds dealing with new physical and/or medical limitations.

As a caregiver, knowing the signs of senior stress will allow you to better help your elderly loved one.

    • Isolation. Seniors who isolate themselves from friends, family and other social situations may suffer from overwhelming stress.

 

    • Physical signs. Identifying factors include body aches/pains, longer episodes of illness and changes in sleeping patterns.

 

    • Forgetfulness. Memory and concentration issues which are abnormal or lead to your elderly loved one making bad judgments may be rooted in stress.

 

    • Mood swings. Sudden shifts in mood — as well as noticeable sadness, depression and increased irritability — may be caused by stress.

 

    • Eating habits. Overeating or loss of appetite are both telling signs that a person is stressed.

 

Stress management

However severe stress can be, there are steps the elderly can take to properly manage it, including:

    • Socializing. Family and friends offer a strong support network as well as an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.

 

    • Staying mentally active. Mental exercises such as meditation or other methods of sharp mental focus (e.g., crossword puzzles) help keep the mind healthy and in turn can reduce stress.

 

    • Getting enough sleep. Sleeping is a time for the mind and body to recharge. Helping ensure your loved one is sleeping properly will greatly benefit their overall health, and greatly reduce their stress.

 

Are there any other tips you’ve found to help reduce senior stress? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo credit: bruckerrlb via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

The many stages of senior care brings about a life changing journey that is challenging and full of tough decisions, as the needs of each individual are different. This video features actual Encompass clients talking about their experiences working with us, from the services we provide to the depth of knowledge we offer when answering important questions.

http://vimeo.com/43920304#

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”