Archive for the ‘Aging in Place’ Category

Seniors & Fall Prevention: How Can You Help Your Aging Loved One?

March 5th, 2018 No Comments

Fall Prevention

If your aging parents or older relatives still live in their own home, you may worry for their safety when you can’t be with them. This fear is understandable, as one in four older Americans experiences a fall every year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of physical injuries–such as hip fractures and broken bones–in adults over the age of 65. Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in people over 65.

In addition to the physical impact of falls, fear of falling can create intense emotional distress and even depression in many seniors. This can cause them to refrain from leaving their home or engaging in physical activity.

Is your aging loved one at risk of falling? Here’s how to help.

Do a Home Safety Assessment

It can be difficult to know which areas of your loved one’s home pose the biggest risk for falls. Many of us take a defensive position when it comes to home safety–we don’t correct an issue until a fall or stumble has already happened.

However, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to fall prevention and older people. A serious fall can lead to extreme physical pain, hospitalization or even prolonged disability.

A fall can also lead to psychological distress, including increased fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.  Fear of falling can also increase a senior’s actual fall-risk. Seniors who are afraid of falling exhibit less confidence in their movements and tend to withdraw from physical activity. Lack of physical activity then leads to muscle weakness and lack of balance. These issues compound to increase a senior’s likelihood of experiencing a fall.

A home safety assessment is one of the most effective ways to eliminate tripping and fall hazards in one go. Take a look at the home objectively and pay particular attention to potential fall hazards. You may need to rearrange furniture, enhance lighting, remove throw rugs and cords, or install railing in key spots to reduce or eliminate fall-risk.

Get Vision Correction Materials

Does your loved one have eyesight problems? Does he or she regularly visit the eye doctor and keep up-to-date on their vision prescription, glasses and contacts?

Vision impairment is one of the leading causes of falls by aging individuals in the home. Many older people don’t realize that their vision is worsening. If they are no longer driving or working, it can be difficult for them to gauge vision loss as it may have occurred gradually. It can also be difficult for them to keep eye appointments or make trips to an optical retailer.

Ask about their vision and current vision prescription. Arrange to take them to an eye appointment if they complain of worsening vision.

Improve Strength, Balance, and Gait

According to Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille, lack of balance, weak muscles and uneven gait are main contributors to falls in the home.

  • Many seniors experience muscle weakness and lack of balance as a natural part of aging.
  • Uneven gait is also common, as many seniors have experienced bone fractures or injuries that affect their posture and ability to walk.
  • It’s important to help your loved one stay active. A walk each day or other physical activity can help them build strength. Physical activity can also help improve balance.

If you worry about your loved one getting enough physical activity during the day, a home health care provider–such as professional caregiver employees from Visiting Angels–can help encourage your older parent to take frequent walks, do physical therapy exercises, and be more active overall, with confidence knowing they have a safety supervisor by their side.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our home health care and personal assistance services in New Jersey.

Asthma Challenges for Seniors During Spring and Summer Months

May 31st, 2017 No Comments

 

Seniors with Asthma Visiting Angels Assisted Living Burlington County, NJMay is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

For asthmatics of all ages, the spring and summer months can be a challenging time of the year. More than two-million Americans age 65 or older have asthma, and if you’re a senior with asthma, recognizing triggers, warning signs of an asthma attack, and knowing when treatment needs to be adjusted are ways you can prepare for or prevent a full-blown asthma attack. As we age, chronic health issues can make it more difficult for us to live independently. Being able to safely manage chronic illnesses, such as asthma, is important in order to remain self-sufficient.

Asthma Challenges for Seniors

Asthma is a long-term, chronic lung disease that causes the airway to become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. There is no cure for asthma, but the disease can be treated and managed over time. The best way to effectively manage asthma is to avoid triggers, take medications to prevent symptoms, and be prepared to treat asthmatic episodes. The changing needs of senior adults will make asthma care more difficult, often due to new sets of challenges that they will face as they grow older, including:

  • Increased risk of respiratory failure
  • Difficulty using inhalers due to arthritis
  • Confusion of medication and equipment needed for nebulizer treatments
  • Affordability of medications, inhalers or asthma supplies, which can keep them from staying on track with medications they need

Triggers

As a person who struggles with asthma, avoiding triggers is key. Some common triggers that should be avoided are:

  • Allergens such as mold, animal dander, pollen and dust mites
  • Tobacco smoke, air pollution, strong odors or fumes
  • Viral and bacterial infections such as a cold, flu and sinusitis
  • Sudden exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes
  • Emotional anxiety and stress
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

Warning Signs

As spring changes to summer, the hot, humid air can trigger asthma symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. If you or your loved one comes in contact with a trigger, it can lead to the following signs of an attack:

  • Severe wheezing when breathing
  • Inability to catch your breath with rapid breathing
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles, known as retractions
  • Difficulty talking

Keep Track of Changes

If symptoms worsen even after the use of a rescue inhaler or medication through a nebulizer, emergency medical treatment should be sought immediately. Keep track of any events that show signs that asthma treatment needs to be adjusted. Senior asthmatics’ overall health is continually changing, and asthma care may need to change as well. Treatment might need to change even if your health is stable if:

  • Are refills needed on rescue asthma medication more than twice a year?
  • Did you visit the emergency room for asthma symptoms more than twice a year?
  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night due to asthma more than two times in a month?

Besides calling your doctor when asthma symptoms are no longer being controlled by medication, regular doctor visits are also necessary. Seniors who have moderate or persistent asthma should expect to visit the doctor quarterly, and possibly once a week, if their asthma is uncontrolled.

If you, your loved one, or someone you know has asthma and needs assistance managing their daily treatment regimens, contact Visiting Angels today. Our Angels provide professional, individualized, non-medical in-home care to adults and seniors in Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

6 Ways to Prevent Age-Related Eye Problems

January 20th, 2017 No Comments

Age-related Eye Disease Senior Home Care New Jersey

As we grow older, one of the most important steps we can take to maintain our quality of life is to look after our eyesight. Consider this: one in six adults age 45 and over will experience some type of age-related eye problem and the risk of complete vision loss increases with age.

The leading causes of blindness and low vision among Americans are primarily attributed to age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Protecting vision as we grow older is essential to overall healthcare. Regular eye examinations are a good way to prevent and catch age-related eye problems in their earliest stages. Even better, take one or more of these preventative measures to ensure your eyesight stays sharp.

1. Find out if you face an increased risk for eye disease

Many traits that increase your risk of developing certain eye diseases are hereditary. Having knowledge of your family’s medical history can help better equip your optician or doctor with relevant information that might help prevent or treat age-related eye conditions. For example, a family history of diabetes places you at risk of developing the sight-stealing eye disease glaucoma.  Age and ethnicity are also common factors that could increase your risk.

2. Lookout for signs of changes in your vision

Even though treatment is available for many age-related eye conditions, prevention is the best route. It’s important to monitor your eyesight and take immediate action when you notice a difference. Any changes in your vision, such as hazy or blurry vision, poor vision in low light conditions, double vision or any other changes including spots, see your doctor immediately. If you experience eye swelling, pain, or flashes of light, these symptoms can be indicators of a more serious eye condition and should be addressed immediately.

3. Schedule and keep regular health exams

In addition to arranging regular eye exams, it’s important to look after your general health. Certain health problems can lead to problems with your eyesight and cause vision loss if left untreated. Both high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to loss of vision due to eye strokes and diabetic retinopathy. Having regular health screenings can help detect these conditions early.

4. Regular Exercise

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, exercising regularly could help to reduce the risk of glaucoma by 25%. Exercise can also help to manage medical conditions such as diabetes and reduce the risk of other diseases from developing.

5. Protect Your Eyes Against UV Rays

The sun’s UV rays can be harmful to the eyes, which is why it’s so important to wear sunglasses with good UV protection. In doing so you’ll be protecting yourself from the risk of cataracts and other vision problems.

6. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet, especially one packed with vegetables and fruit, can help protect your eyesight.  Studies have shown that foods packed with antioxidant vitamins may decrease the risk of developing or may even delay the progression of cataracts.

If you or a loved one is battling an age-related eye problem that has begun to affect their daily quality of life, home care provided by Visiting Angels may be the perfect option for you. Our Angels are available to help assist with personal care, housekeeping, shopping, hygiene assistance, and more. At Visiting Angels, we aim to help you or someone you love maintain an enjoyable and independent lifestyle in the comfort of home. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us at (609) 883-8188.

5 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

December 15th, 2016 No Comments

winter-safety-in-home-senior-care-burlington-country-new-jersey

Winter Safety for Seniors

As people grow older, they become more at risk for a number of different health problems, even problems due to the seasonal changes. Winter weather means there’s a greater risk for a winter accidents and illnesses such as frostbite, hypothermia, respiratory infections, the flu, and falls. Fortunately, staying healthy in winter doesn’t have to be a challenge if you follow these five tips to help keep you safe and well throughout the winter.

1.Take Care Outdoors

Make sure walkways and steps are clear of ice and snow before you walk. If they aren’t clear, ask someone to clear them for you. Remember that you may still encounter slippery surfaces, so walk slowly and take short steps for stability. If you use a cane for walking, fit it with an ice grip attachment for additional traction.

2. Dress Appropriately

Wear two or three layers of light, warm clothing rather than one thick layer. When venturing outdoors, wear a winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, and waterproof boots with good traction. Consider carrying a small bag of sand or grit in your coat pocket to sprinkle on icy surfaces.

3. Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms

To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, install at least one carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas, and test all alarms at least once per month. Remember to replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms once a year.

4. Eat Healthy

Eat regular hot meals to help boost your energy levels and immune functioning and to keep your body temperature up. Be sure to include foods that naturally contain or are fortified with vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna, milk and yogurt.

5. Prepare for Emergencies

Make sure you have access to a cell phone, flashlight, and battery-powered radio in case of a winter weather emergency. Stockpile drinking water, warm blankets, and non-perishable foods such as crackers and dried fruit. If you take medication, make sure you have enough to last at least one week. View a complete emergency checklist for other necessary items.

If you or your older parents need help at home this winter, Visiting Angels can help. Our Angels offer housekeeping, personal care, errands/shopping, meal preparation, and hygiene assistance services to help you live as independently as possible in your own home. For more information about our New Jersey home care services, call (609)-883-8188.

6 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

October 21st, 2016 No Comments

Prevent the Flu for Seniors and Older Adults New Jersey

Fall Starts Flu Season

As the leaves change colors and cooler temperatures cause us to reach for a light jacket, we can expect flu season to make its grand arrival. Fever, chills, a runny nose, and fatigue make getting the flu at any age a miserable experience. But for adults age 65 and older, catching the flu virus can lead to serious health complications including pneumonia and death. During the flu season seniors are more at risk of contracting the flu virus due to their weakening immune system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 54% to 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States are among adults age 65 and older. For aging adults, this time of year brings about serious health concerns, which is why taking steps to prevent the flu is critical. Below are 6 key flu prevention tips to keep yourself or older people from contracting the flu.

6 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

  • Getting an annual flu shot is the first line of defense to preventing the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone age six months and older get the flu vaccine as soon as it’s available in your area. Those that are 65 and older can receive any injectable flu vaccine in the regular or high dose that has been approved for their age group. The high dose vaccine is recommended because it was specifically designed for adults 65 and older and is associated with a stronger immune system response. Talk with your doctor or other medical care professional about which is the best option for you.
  • For those who are at an increased risk of contracting the flu, like seniors and small children, it’s important that everyone they come in contact with daily get vaccinated as well, including close family and caregivers.
  • Good hygiene is always very important to avoid catching or spreading any virus, but especially important to avoiding the flu. The flu is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing, so it’s important that you cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Make sure you and your loved ones wash their hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers after touching certain surfaces, doorknobs, and stairwell railings in public places.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of sleep can help boost your immune system. Continuing a healthy lifestyle even after flu season is beneficial to your overall health year round.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately if you start to experience flu-like symptoms. Although there are a number of over-the-counter antiviral medications you can take to prevent the onset of the virus, consult a medical professional for the best course of action. A few common signs of the flu include a sore throat, runny nose, body aches, or chills and a fever. The flu virus can present itself with or without a fever in addition to the most common symptoms. Even if you think you only have a common cold, it’s wise to take extra precaution during flu season and seek medical advice if you’re experiencing symptoms.
  • One of the simplest ways to prevent contracting the flu is to avoid close contact with anyone who’s sick or showing signs of the flu.

By taking these preventative steps during flu season this year, you and your loved ones can enjoy the fall and winter months’ flu-free.

If you have an aging loved one who needs help completing day-to-day chores, managing medications, and/or requires personal hygiene assistance, contact Visiting Angels. Our Angels help older adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties throughout New Jersey maintain independence in their homes while improving their quality of life by providing individualized, non-medical, in-home care.

7 Ways To Prevent Falls At Home

September 16th, 2016 No Comments

in-home-new-jersey-senior-care-visiting-angels

September 22nd is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries of people age 65 and older. One in three adults experiences a fall each year and over 700,000 are hospitalized for injuries sustained during a fall.  Even if a fall doesn’t result in a major injury—such as a hip fracture, broken bone, or head injury—a fall can often leave seniors more fearful of falling or even depressed, making it more difficult for them to stay physically active and remain independent.

If your aging parents or loved ones are high fall risks, helping reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them maintain independence, and most importantly, to stay healthy.

Although falls are serious, the good news is that they can be prevented. Below are seven steps that seniors can take to reduce their risk of falling while at home.

7 Ways to Prevent Falls

  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing. Although you want to be comfortable at home, wearing baggy clothing can sometimes make you more likely to fall. Wearing clothing that’s properly hemmed and that doesn’t bunch or drag on the ground can keep you from tripping.
  • Brighten up your home. Having poorly lit areas in your home is a major hazard. To increase the lighting in your home, install bright light bulbs where needed, especially at the top and bottom of staircases.
  • Wear shoes when at home. Wearing socks or going barefoot may be comfortable at home but can present an increased risk of slipping. Preventing a fall at home can be as simple as wearing shoes. If you really want to wear socks, consider wearing non-slip socks that have grips on the soles.
  • Remove or repair any walkway hazards. Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls. While doing a walkthrough of your home, examine each room and hallway, looking for any loose carpeting, slippery throw rugs or floorboards that stick up, and decide rather you want to repair or remove those items.
  • Install handrails and grab bars where needed. Use of safety devices is critical for going up and down the stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub/shower, and getting up on and off the toilet without injury. Consider installing a second handrail along staircases and a grab bar near the toilet and in the bathtub. You should also check that all current handrails are secure.
  • Make slick surfaces non-slip. Use non-slip mats in bathtubs, showers, and kitchens to reduce the risk of falling. These surfaces and areas can become extremely dangerous when wet.
  • Slow down. Many people fall just by moving too quickly. Slow down and take your time when moving from a sitting to a standing position to ensure you have your balance before walking and going up or down stairs.

For aging adults, reducing the risk of falls also means reducing the risk of injury. Along with taking these seven steps towards preventing falls at home, ask seniors about their health and how they are feeling about their potential to fall.

It’s also important to discuss and review any medications with your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Some medications can cause dizziness, and if you’re experiencing this at any time, see your doctor for a medication review. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to check that your prescription is up to date.

If you have an aging parent or senior who has experienced a fall, or needs help completing daily activities while remaining independent in their own home, contact Visiting Angels. Our Angels provide professional, individualized, non-medical, in-home care to older adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

June is Cataract Awareness Month

June 21st, 2016 No Comments

Adult and Senior In-Home Care New Jersey Mercer & Burlington Counties Visiting Angels

As we become older, we become more at risk to develop certain natural conditions that often arise due to age. Loss of hearing and eyesight are just some of the senses that are often affected by age-related conditions. For instance, most cataracts are developed due to age. Cataracts affect the eyesight of more than 20-million Americans. By age 80, more than half of Americans will either have a cataract or had cataract surgery. It’s increasingly important to understand the risks of cataracts as the Baby Boom generation ages.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is the cloudy or opaque areas in the eye’s lens that are normally clear, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. The lens of the eye helps to focus images onto the retina, which transmits images to the brain. A cataract usually develops in both eyes, but can affect one eye more than the other. The exact cause of a cataract is unknown.

Even though cataracts can affect anyone, it is most common among older adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of vision loss among adults age 40 and older in the United States. The exact cause of a cataract is unknown. According to the Prevent Blindness, there are eight factors that increase your risk of cataracts aside from getting older, such as:

  • Other diseases, such as diabetes
  • Excessive or long-term exposure to sunlight
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Previous eye injuries
  • Eye diseases, such as glaucoma
  • Smoking
  • Long-term steroid use

Being aware of common signs and symptoms of cataracts is just as important as the risk factors.  In the early stages of development, a cataract can cause nearsightedness. Older adults may also experience blurry images that appear yellowish or brownish. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness.

Visiting Angels understands that vision loss can be frightening and can make getting around more difficult. If you, a parent, or loved one has cataracts and needs assistance with daily living activities, contact Visiting Angels today. Our Angels provide professional, individualized, non-medical in-home care to help improve quality of life for adults and seniors in Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

Caring for Seniors with Epilepsy

April 19th, 2016 No Comments

Epilepsy in Older Adults

Epilepsy in Older Adults New Jersey

When our parents or loved ones reach their sixties, seventies or eighties, experiencing unusual feelings such as loss of time, suspended awareness, and confusion is common, and you may think that “getting older” is to blame. However, there could be another explanation for this change in behavior: they might be one of the 300,000 seniors with epilepsy. Seniors age 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of epilepsy patients in the United States, and the condition has been difficult to diagnose. The increase in epilepsy diagnoses in seniors has led to more healthcare professionals becoming more aware of how to care for them.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder affecting 3-million Americans. Regardless of age, 1-in-26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Although seniors make up ten percent of the people affected by this condition, their diagnosis can be delayed due to the symptoms being mistaken for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression or just normal aging. Some leading causes of epilepsy and seizures in older adults include the after effects of sudden strokes, tumors or cardiovascular events (heart attack or myocardial infarction).

Being diagnosed later in life can pose additional problems with treatments due to age-related issues and the use of other medications. There’s an increased risk of your loved one falling and breaking bones during an episode. Each seizure also puts extra strain on their heart, due to the reduced intake of oxygen during an episode. Caring for a senior with epilepsy presents different challenges from a child with the condition, but the main principle is the same when handling their seizures: “Protect the person from harm until full awareness returns.”

The Epilepsy Foundation provides several tips to help you when handling convulsion in an older adult.

  • Ease the person into a reclining position on the floor or flat surface.
  • Place something soft and flat under their head.
  • Turn him or her gently onto one side to prevent choking and keep the airway clear.
  • If the person is already seated, turn them gently to one side so any fluids drain away from the mouth.
  • Don’t attempt to force anything into their mouth. Seizures do not cause people to swallow their tongues.
  • Don’t attempt to give any fluids or medicine until the seizure is completely over and full alertness has return.
  • Don’t attempt to restrain the jerking movements. Applying restraint could cause tears in the muscles or even break a bone, especially in seniors.

Although epileptic seizures are usually not life-threatening, they can stop the most active seniors from living an independent and satisfying lifestyle. Many seniors with epileptic seizures are treated and the condition is managed successfully.

If your loved one or someone you know has epilepsy and could use assistance with remaining independent in the comfort of their home, contact Visiting Angels today. We offer professional, individualized, in-home care to adults and seniors in Mercer and Burlington County, New Jersey.

3 Important “To Do’s” While Visiting Aging Relatives at the Holidays

December 16th, 2015 No Comments

Home for Christmas Checking on Aging Parents Visiting Angels Mercer County, NJ

Holiday visits create opportunities to monitor changes in older parents

“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree.”

This popular tune is sure to remind us of the joy we find when returning home for the holidays. Whether you live across town or across the country, the holiday season is one in which many of us will spend surrounded by family. For those with aging parents, it’s a time you can really observe them in their “natural habitat.” Changes in your older parents’ appearance, behavior, or environment are warning signs that their health, mentality, and ability to function as usual are changing. If you notice any changes, it’s important to fully assess the situation and determine if intervention is needed. Visiting Angels suggests these important “to do” items during your holiday visit to monitor changes in your parents’ behavior and living environment.

1. Discreetly check on your parents.

Holiday visits are a great time to discreetly check on your parents, especially if they live alone.  Keeping a few notes each year you visit will help you to spot changes more easily in the future. Ask yourself the following questions when making observations:

  • Are there any changes in your parents’ hygiene and grooming habits?
  • Are they using furniture for support or balance while walking through the house?
  • Have there been changes in their weight?
  • Have they been eating properly and enough?
  • Have you noticed personality changes?

2. Spend a day making home safety repairs/updates.

During your visit, take a look at your loved one’s environment. Are there areas of disrepair? Take time to make a few simple safety updates, which can help your parents avoid common accidents so they can remain independent longer.

Suggestions:

  • Check all smoke detectors in the house; replace any batteries
  • Check light bulbs; replace as needed
  • Increase lighting where
  • Check and fix loose handrails
  • Make a through assessment of the bathroom, where many accidents happen; add handrails or bath chair as necessary
  • Check to see if throw rugs are slippery, replace them with non-slip mats or remove altogether

3. Have conversations about the future.

Holidays are the most common occasions that all of the family comes together in one place. This is why they’re a good opportunity to have meaningful conversations. If you haven’t started talking with your parents about aging and planning for the future, consider bringing up the subject at the right moment.

Get the most out of visiting your senior parents this holiday season. It’s not only a good time to check in on them, but it’s an even better time to bond and create new memories.

If your aging loved ones are showing signs that affect their ability to live independently, Visiting Angels can help. Our Angels will come directly into clients’ homes throughout Mercer and Burlington counties in New Jersey. From companionship to personal care, housekeeping, hygiene and grooming assistance, we can help your older parents continue to live independently in their own home. Call us today at 609-883-8188.

Choosing The Right Senior Living Long-Term Care Option

September 17th, 2015 No Comments

Senior Long-Term Care Options

Are you an adult child of aging parents who aren’t unable to manage on their own safely? Nursing homes aren’t the only option for their long-term care, especially if your parents don’t have a lot of medical needs. At Visiting Angels, we love to help people stay in their own homes safely with help from our Angels! Studies have shown that’s where people want to be as they grow older, after all. We’re partial to home care, obviously, but there are other long-term care options, as well. Each person and family must decide what’s best in each case. Take a look at our infographic, or read about different types of senior long-term care by clicking on the image.

Long Term Care Options Infographic