It’s true that the best things in life are free. During the holidays it can be just as important to spend time with your elderly loved ones as it can be to give gifts. Here’s a list of things that you can give the senior in your life that don’t cost a thing and will be more cherished to them than knickknacks.

1. Continue traditional meals: Every family has its signature dishes and it can be important for the cook to pass on this knowledge. When your elderly loved one becomes unable to cook the traditional holiday meal, offer a hand and teach younger generations in your family.

2. Share memories: Break out the old photo books and even your old home movies. Conversation and remembering fond times, along with laughter, can be great ways to raise the spirits. This is also a way to reinforce family history and instill it in younger generations. Consider taping these shared memories either on a tape recorder or video camera in order to preserve them.

3. Write holiday cards together: Sometimes with age arthritis can make writing by hand a chore. Help your elderly mother write and address holiday cards. The gesture will mean a lot to her.

4. Arrange a family photo: It’s great to share updated portraits with your mother as your children age. She’ll likely display them proudly in her home and look at them often.

5. Demonstrate connection technology: Long distances can separate families as children grow into adults and form their own families. If your mother has a long-distance relationship with your daughter, outlets such as Skype and Google + can be a great way to connect the rest of the year. They will require access to a computer and the internet, and of course a webcam.

6. Decorate together: It can be hard for seniors to decorate the house, but even doing simple things like hanging ornaments together can brighten spirits.

7. Hugs!

Are there any other gifts you like to give? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Physicians Choice Private Duty  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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 us today..”

There are nearly 62,000 Americans who’ve reached 100, according to 2010 Census data. And while it’s no secret that living a healthy lifestyle — eat right, don’t smoke or drink, exercise, reduce stress, laugh often and have an active social life — leads to longevity, even the healthiest person isn’t 100% immune from chronic diseases. Still, it’s always inspiring to hear words of advice from those who live to be 100-plus years old.

A recent article from Huff/Post 50 talked to several centenarians about the secrets of their longevity. Below are some select quotes.

Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious. -Bel Kaufman, 101

Do the right thing, don’t smoke, don’t drink, eat right and don’t overdo it. If you need a little extra help, take some vitamins. Going to work is what keeps me going. -Anthony Mancinelli, 101

Stay active even at 100. Eat in a balanced way Don’t stay mad at anything — you have to get used to the losses, otherwise you can’t win. Lastly, stay close with your family, they keep you thinking. -Benjamin Goldfaden, 99

Have a good wife, two scotches a night, and be easy-going. -Samuel Ball, 102

I had a wonderful marriage for 61 years, was active and danced my whole life, but I believe my life is in Gods hands. -Anne Lomedico, 104

Whatever is hard, you make hard, but if you take it as it comes, it doesn’t come hard. Don’t worry, don’t want so much, and be satised with what you’ve got. Be willing to share with your friends and those less fortunate. -Loretta Hodge, 102

You must keep active or you will just wither away. Always be involved in some activity. -Miriam Henson, 105

Are there any other tips to long life? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 us today..”

caregiving nebraskaNearly 44 million Americans currently take on roles as family caregivers. Naturally, many common questions and concerns often arise among them. With this in mind, AARP offers a thorough and easy-to-navigate online resource center related to all things caregiving.

AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center has much to offer, including:

    • Online chats and webinars hosted by caregiving industry experts

 

    • Message boards and online group support

 

    • Tools such as a care provider locator and Many Strong, a “free online service that helps you coordinate care for a loved one so you can get much-needed logistical, financial and emotional support”

 

    • Articles from experts on a variety of topics that relate to caregiving

 

    • Caregiving support line

 

 

Taking a few minutes to explore the Caregiving Resource Center, we found plenty of useful information on a variety of topics, from articles on respite care to an assessment checklist for new caregivers. Perhaps most interesting is the ability to ask a question to AARP’s Caregiving Advisory Panel via an online form. Although they claim they can’t guarantee everyone’s questions will be answered, it’s still nice to know that there is a vast online support network (that includes experts) in addition to those close to you and the loved one you’re caring for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrVuJGry4

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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.”

Besides spending time with elderly loved ones this holiday season, the best gift that you can give is often one that is practical. There are a number of gifts to be found that are sometimes fun and can make elder care less difficult.

Pens for arthritic hands 

Arthritis can be a terrible and painful burden for an elderly loved one. It can make everyday tasks that were easily done prior to arthritis almost unbearable to perform. There are a number of devices that can improve these tasks, but here’s one that makes a great stocking stuffer: arthritic pens (a number of styles are available). Next year’s holiday cards should be easier to manage.

Swivel Seat for Seniors

Make sure your elderly loved one is safe to drive if they are behind the wheel. Keep in mind that as a person ages flexibility is diminished by muscle atrophy, making it more difficult to navigate out of a seated position, particularly when that seated position is in a confined space. For some, a Swivel Seat for Seniors can make getting out of vehicles a little less bothersome.

Cameo pillbox

Some get embarrassed about taking the many pills that may become necessary as we age. But it’s important to take prescribed medication and to have that medication with your parent or grandparent if they are outside of the home. Carrying a pillbox can seem clunky, but products like a cameo pillbox can add some style to the functionality of traditional pillboxes. A cameo pillbox almost seems like a fashion accessory and can make being mobile with medications less of a chore.

Board games, including “Vintage Trivial Pursuit”

Board games can provide socialization and enjoyment for seniors. Games such as “Trivial Pursuit” can challenge and keep the mind sharp. To add a touch of nostalgia, consider giving “Vintage Trivial Pursuit.” January Jones trivia may fly past your elderly mother. She may, however, give you a run for your money on knowledge of Grace Kelly.

Photo dialers

Photo dialers can be useful for those with memory problems. A photo dialer simplifies the process of using a telephone by eliminating the need to push multiple buttons. Each button on the phone is set to speed dial a particular person that is labeled on the button with a photo. This way the user can call without having to look for or remember phone numbers.

Handybar for exiting vehicles

By using an already-existing striker plate located in the car doorframe as a simple insertion point, the Handybar creates an instant, easy-to-operate “support arm” for exiting the vehicle.

Walker art

So this one isn’t exactly practical, but it’s fun. And it can make using a walker a little less drab. Like a Cameo Pill ox, walker art makes using a functional item more stylish. Walkers are important in preventing debilitating falls for seniors with balance problems, so make it easier for your loved one to remember to use it.

Physicians Choice Private Duty  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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 us today..”

Todays post features a real-life story of how Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living
helped a person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process, ensuring each persons individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Grace’s husband experienced frontal lobe atrophy and was too violent to stay with his family. Grace found an assisted living facility in Omaha, Nebraska that could best handle his care, but there were other difficulties to overcome and Grace turned to Encompass for help.

How did Encompass help you and your family?

Grace: We placed my husband at an assisted living facility in Omaha. He had frontal lobe atrophy and was very difficult. The manager there at the assisted living facility recommended Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living. My two daughters and I went to visit. For about an hour, we discussed our needs and they discussed the things that they could provide for us.

We decided to let them assist with a driver to take my husband places that he wanted to go with our approval. So we made out a list of places that he could go. We had certain boundaries that he couldn’t go beyond, and they had to teach him that he had to call ahead of time. He couldn’t just call up in the morning and say, “I want you here in the next fifteen minutes,” or even that day. And that took some doing, but they were very patient with him.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living was so good with him. Just really very good with him.

He was still in the assisted living in Omaha and I live in a town many miles away. My two daughters also live long-distance, but we absolutely could not take him into our homes because of his violence.

The Physicians’ Choice  drivers would go to his assisted living facility to take him places. They even took him to square dances where the driver would stay and be sure to get him back to the assisted living. Very often he would want to go as far as a small town an hour away for a haircut and then stop to eat on the way back to Omaha. They were so good to stay with him and keep him within the boundaries we had set.

What was one of the more stressful aspects of family caregiving before you sought out Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living?

Grace: Well before Encompass was hired to take him places, he was hiring taxis and that was getting extremely expensive.We didn’t have any idea where he was going and when he was going to show up. The drivers at Physicians’ Choice were able to set limits for him whereas the taxi drivers had no idea. He really didn’t have any control, so to speak, over the things he wanted to do and knowing right from wrong. So the Physicians’ Choice drivers were also able to keep him guided in doing the right thing.

How was working with Encompass long-distance?

Grace: It worked very well for me. They would always let me know if there was something that took place that they thought I should know about. They were excellent. I don’t know how we ever would have managed without them.

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Photo credit: WSDOT via photopin cc

“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living 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.private-duty.pchhc.com.”

For those elderly individuals out there who have not received their seasonal flu vaccination, sooner is better than later. CDC director Thomas Frieden told The New York Times that the flu season seems to be starting a month earlier than normal and that the flu strains circulating, especially the N3N2 strain, were particularly severe.

Frieden did state that this year’s flu vaccination is a 90 percent match for circulating strains and that people were encouraged to get vaccinated. You may recall another post by Encompass about getting vaccinated for the flu.

Elevated levels of flu-like illnesses have shown up in five of 10 U.S. regions according to the CDC’s FluView survey. States experiencing high flu numbers include Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The Midwest is also seeing elevated numbers.

Deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu were at 6.3 percent for the week. This is slightly below the 6.7 percent that the CDC considers to be an epidemic rate.

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

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photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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.”

A new study published in the scientific journal Circulation raises doubts about the effectiveness of “safety coated” aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes. Purportedly the enteric coating prevents the aspirin from causing bleeding in the stomach of users, allowing the aspirin to be absorbed in the small intestine.

However, Dr. Garret FitzGerald, chairman of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the studys authors, told The New York Times that coating aspirin conceals its effects for some people, and that there is scarce evidence that it protects the stomach better than uncoated.

He said in a statement accompanying the article: These studies question the value of coated, low-dose aspirin. This product adds cost to treatment, without any clear benefit. Indeed, it may lead to the false diagnosis of aspirin resistance and the failure to provide patients with an effective therapy.

Aspirin resistance a myth?

The study was partly financed by Bayer to prove that aspirin resistance was a myth. In the ’90s and early 2000s the idea that a significant amount of the population was aspirin resistant was a popular idea. The authors of the recent study claim that, out of 400 people who were examined, they found not one case of true aspirin resistance. The researchers said that the coating on the aspirin made it seem on tests that the drug wasn’t working, because it interfered with the way the drug entered the body.

Bayer was not happy with the conclusions of the study, a large part of their business is safety coated aspirin, and said that previous studies had shown enteric-coated aspirin has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together in comparable levels as uncoated. It’s this ability of aspirin to stop platelets from sticking, which makes it a preventative measure against heart attacks and stroke.

If the results of the study are found to be true, it could mean that a number of patients are able to receive an aspirin regime, which is much more cost friendly than prescription drug treatments such as Plavix.

Some information provided by the U.C. Berkley Wellness Letter also points to a study that found safety coated aspirin to be ineffective. This study, published in the journal Stroke by Irish researchers, “found that coating reduces the absorption and bioavailability of low-dose aspirin, and thus it may be less effective in inhibiting blood clotting, especially in heavier people.” The study found specifically that a 75-milligram enteric aspirin, close in size to the U.S. 81-milligram “baby” aspirin, was equal to 50 milligrams of uncoated aspirin.

Advice on using aspirin from the U.C. Berkley Wellness Letter:

    • Don’t take safety coated aspirin for immediate pain relief.

 

    • Don’t think of safety coated aspirin as safer than regular aspirin and subsequently take higher dosages.

 

    • If regular aspirin causes heartburn or stomach upset talk to your doctor to make sure that there isn’t an underlying problem.

 

    • Small-dose “baby” aspirin is only available in coated form. If this concerns you the Wellness Letter suggests cutting up a regular aspirin and taking a fourth every day, or one-half every other day. Chewable aspirin may also an option.

 

    • Don’t discontinue taking a daily dose of aspirin without consulting your doctor.

 

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 Care Chat is a bi-monthly Twitter chat hosted by Seniors For Living and Denise M. Brown. Physicians Choice Private Duty, providing elder care solutions for the greater Omaha area, once again joined in on the conversation, which focused on the various ways elderly people are susceptible to scams, many of which routinely surface during the holiday season.

As we’ve said in the past, Twitter chats are a great place for caregivers and healthcare professionals from across the world to gather and discuss the issues currently facing senior care. As usual, with so many people sharing their insights and personal experience, yesterday’s chat was a great resource to draw from, helping us all to make the services we provide better and better.

Read our recent blog post on elderly scams.

Below is a recap of yesterday’s #eldercarechat, which we put together via Storify.

http://storify.com/EncompassSenior/elder-care-chat-december-5-2012

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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.”

U.S. cases of the bacterial infection pertussis, also known as whooping cough, are at the highest levels since the 1950s. And a recent study of a vaccine to prevent the infection suggests it is safe and supports the recommendation that those 65 and older get the vaccine to protect others — especially babies — from whooping cough.

The study of the vaccine, which is named tetanus-diptheria-acellular pertusis, or Tdap, was published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Tdap is a booster vaccine for tetanus-diptheria vaccine (Td). If it has been more than 10 years since a person last received their last Td vaccine it is recommended that they get the Tdap.

Risks of whooping cough

Whooping cough is a very contagious respiratory illness that puts infants at the greatest risk for severe complications, even death. Exposure to whooping cough puts half of infants younger than one year old in the hospital, according to the CDC. One to two in 100 infants who are hospitalized due to whooping cough die. Infants can’t be immunized to protect against the infection until they are two months old.

Safety of the Tdap for seniors

The study included 119,573 seniors who received the Tdap vaccine and an equal number who received a traditional Td vaccine. Risk for adverse effects following the vaccination was found to be similar in both groups — those given Tdap and those given the Td vaccine. The safety data was compiled by seven health maintenance organizations across the U.S.

Whooping cough outbreaks

The researchers behind the study are seeking to assure senior citizens about the safety of the Tdap vaccine. They believe a string of recent whooping cough outbreaks in Minnesota, Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin make it important that doctors administer the vaccines to senior citizens.

Symptoms and spread

Pertussis bacteria is found in saliva in the mouth and mucus in the nose. Children normally catch whooping cough when they breathe in tiny droplets released into the air by other people’s coughs and sneezes. It’s important to cover mouths and noses when sneezing and coughing.

Symptoms of whooping cough start like those of a cold. There can be sneezing, runny nose and a slight fever. A cough may worsen at night. Whereas a cold comes and goes waning in strength as time passes, whooping cough gets stronger within two weeks. Coughing fits may go on and on. During coughing spells a person’s face may go red or the lips or skin may turn purple or blue.

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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.”

Todays post features a real-life story of how Physicians Choice Private Duty helped a person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process, ensuring each persons individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Janice 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 husband’s doctor, she contacted Encompass to assess the situation.

How did Encompass help your family?

They sent me a nurse that was absolutely incredibly wonderful. She was here at night with us and when my husband had to get up she could help him. In the meantime she kept my house spotless. I miss her a lot. She was very, very good and very, very kind. I would recommend her so highly to anybody.

How important was it for your spouse to stay at home?

It was very important. He really didn’t need assisted living too much. I could do everything for him, except at night. That’s when it was important to have somebody here, really. He now-and-then needed to get up but he couldn’t walk very well. He was heavy. He was too heavy for me and sometimes he needed medicines — pain pills and such — at night. It was very helpful to have somebody help at night. During the day we could manage mostly until the end.

What were the most stressful aspects of caregiving for you and how did Encompass help?

We had somebody from Encompass who was here on the last day. It was good to have another person help me react. They also had hospice here at the end and that helped.

Physicians Choice Private Duty 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 social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty 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.”