Archive for the ‘Caregiving’ 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.

Your Loved One Needs In-Home Care. What’s Next?

February 9th, 2018 No Comments

In-Home Care

Yvonne is a 49-year-old mother of two teenagers. She works a full-time job and her commute to work is 30 miles each way. After being promoted to manager in her department, Yvonne’s work day stretched from 8 hours to 10 hours. Her schedule has become erratic; she often needs to work for a few hours on the weekend to stay ahead on her projects.

Yvonne’s mother, Rose, recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Rose has always been independent, until a stroke left her unable to drive her car, cook, or stand for long periods of time. A few months after her stroke, Rose had a mini-stroke, and her doctors warned Yvonne that she would need full-time care, in case something else happened. Faced with the need for full-time care for her mother, Yvonne begins weighing her options. Should she put her mother into a skilled nursing or assisted living facility, knowing it would mean taking her out of the home she has known and loved for 50 years? Should she try to balance the caregiving duties herself, cutting back on time at work and the income she desperately needs? What are her other options?

If you identify with Yvonne’s situation, you are not alone. Recent statistics show that there are  44 million unpaid caregivers in the United States; the majority of those caregivers are women.

The sudden need for full-time care for a loved one can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. For family caregivers who are also working outside the home, depression, sickness and burn-out can threaten their well-being.

What are your options if your loved one suddenly needs more care than you can provide? A trained home caregiver can be the answer to your worries.

In-Home Caregivers Can Help

One of the major benefits of having professional in-home care services for your older parent is allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own home. Your loved one can receive care and support in the environment they are most familiar with. Allowing them to remain in their home can help them feel comfortable which in turn will help them adjust to their new care plan and home health aide.

Professional caregiver employees can also assist with housekeeping duties, such as vacuuming, doing laundry, dusting, and preparing meals. Reminding your mom to take her medications, helping her get dressed, assisting her with personal hygiene, taking the dog for a walk, having friendly conversations, and helping your mom with her physical therapy exercises are all other examples of how home health aides can prove beneficial not only for your parent, but for the family as a whole by easing the family’s caregiving responsibilities.

Receive Professional Caregiving Services

If you’re worried about your loved one’s well-being, a professional caregiver employee can help give you—and your love one—peace of mind. At Visiting Angels, our employee caregivers are carefully vetted and matched according to your parent’s personality and care needs by our Care Management Team. Each client is also assigned a registered nurse who will provide a home safety assessment and create a care plan that is unique to your loved one’s needs.

If you’re seeking in-home care for your loved one in the Mercer or Burlington County areas in New Jersey, Visiting Angels can help you.

Contact us today to learn more about our caregiving services.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Winter Safety Tips for Family Caregivers

January 17th, 2018 No Comments

Alzheimer's Disease

If you provide care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, you may find that winter time brings a new set of challenges.

Earlier sunsets, colder temperatures, and changes to your loved one’s daily routine can cause confusion and agitation. As a caregiver, it’s important to be prepared for the unique circumstances of wintertime so you can help your loved one adjust and remain comfortable.

1. Carefully choose your loved one’s clothing

For individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, getting dressed can be a challenge. If they are accustomed to wearing the same types of clothing each day, adding new layers can be stressful. However, it’s important to remember that warmth is also very important, especially for those who have trouble adjusting to colder temperatures. Dress in soft, comfortable fabrics that will provide the insulation needed. If you’re heading outside, ensure that they wear a hat, scarf, and other winter essentials. Choose bright colors or reflective materials that will allow your loved one to be easily seen when he or she is outside.

2. Be prepared for increased sundowning

As we discussed in our previous post, instances of sundowning can increase during fall and wintertime because daylight fades earlier. The low light of winter can cause confusion and agitation in many individuals with Alzheimer’s. It’s important to keep your home well-lit throughout the day and early evening. It’s also important to encourage regular activity and routine each day, to regulate energy levels and maintain a sense of normalcy.

3. Be extra-cautious of wandering

Wandering is a common issue faced by caregivers of individuals who have Alzheimer’s. Because Alzheimer’s Disease affects the memory, many individuals with the disease become disoriented when trying to locate lost objects or navigate home from new places.

Often, they fall into old patterns and routines, such as dressing to go to a previous job. This can cause them to leave their homes and wander off. In winter, wandering can be deadly due to the colder temperatures and other inclement weather.

If you have experienced instances of wandering with your loved one in the past, it might be time to seek additional care from professionals who specialize in memory care.

It’s advisable for those who have dementia to wear an ID bracelet or to carry an emergency ID card. Medic Alert + Safe Return® program is recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association, and is an option for caregivers who want extra peace of mind this winter.

Choose Trustworthy Memory Care Professionals

If you need assistance providing care for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s important to seek professionals who specialize in memory care.

Caregivers who specialize in memory care and Alzheimer’s Disease have an understanding of wandering and other issues of dementia. They also understand how to secure your home in a way that makes it safe and secure for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Visiting Angels provides home health care and memory care services throughout Mercer County and Burlington County in New Jersey. To learn more about our services, contact us today or call us directly at 609-883-8188.

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.

5 Alzheimer’s Holiday Survival Tips for Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

November 17th, 2016 No Comments

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New Jersey Memory Care Assistance

Many families start the holiday season by giving thanks, sharing laughter, and creating joyous memories. But for those who have Alzheimer’s disease, and for family members who care for them, these holiday sentiments may not be as effortless. For families who have loved ones battling Alzheimer’s disease, the holiday season can be a bittersweet time, often filled with frustration and stress. Holiday travel and festivities can easily agitate, confuse, and overwhelm people who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Meanwhile, both professional and family caregivers can feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, and often lonely during the holiday season, which can lead to stress and depression.

If your loved ones are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, family and friends might not notice any changes in their behavior. However, if the disease has progressed into the middle or later stages, it can become more difficult to entertain guests or plan meaningful family activities around the limitations caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

In recognition of both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and Family Caregiver’s Month, Visiting Angels offers these 5 holiday survival tips for both caregivers of—and for—seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss.

Holiday Survival Tips

1.) Avoid holiday stress by planning ahead. The stress of the holiday season, coupled with caregiving responsibilities, can take a toll. People who typically experience holiday stress are those that give little thought to the challenges they’ll encounter. Consider planning ahead for what may be expected of you, both socially and emotionally. Talk with family and close friends about holiday celebrations in advance. Whether you’re hosting or visiting during the holidays plan to stay on a regular routine.

2.) Prepare your loved one who has Alzheimer’s for family festivities. Preparing your loved one for upcoming family gatherings can allow both of you to share a memory and enjoy the warmth of the season. Be sure to play familiar holiday music, talk about past holidays, and share photos of relatives and friends past and present. This will help encourage good thoughts and memories. Have a plan in place if your loved one starts getting agitated—too many people and loud conversations can cause anxiety.

3.) Communicate successfully during the holidays. Allow your loved one who has Alzheimer’s to be a part of the conversation. Alzheimer’s disease can diminish a person’s ability to communicate, so encourage family members to remain calm and supportive when a loved one has trouble speaking.

4.) Consult a doctor before traveling with a person who has Alzheimer’s. Traveling during the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for even the healthiest person. But caregivers shouldn’t rule out travel altogether. Consult with your loved one’s doctor about things you can do to help them through the travel process before booking a flight and packing your bags.

5.) Don’t make too many holiday commitments. As a family caregiver, you already face many challenges in order to balance daily life demands and attempt to adhere to a schedule. Be sure not to lose sight of this when planning for the holidays. For example, if you plan to host a holiday dinner, consider inviting fewer people, or ask another relative or friend to host the event this year.

For families and caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, who need an extra source of support and information can call the Alzheimer Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

If you have a parent or other loved one who is battling the stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and could use additional care in the comfort of their home, contact Visiting Angels. We offer professional, individualized, home care senior living assistance to adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

For additional Alzheimer’s care tips, check out our blog post: “Alzheimer’s Memory Care: 6 Tips to Help.”

7 Ways To Prevent Falls At Home

September 16th, 2016 No Comments

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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.

Check out our latest TV Commercial: We’re a Team

July 26th, 2016 No Comments

Visiting Angels’ new TV commercial highlights reasons to become a professional caregiver

In our latest national commercial, a caregiver explains her reasons for becoming a Visiting Angel. She channeled her naturally caring and compassionate nature into a career in home care. She loves working with senior clients and appreciates the support the Visiting Angels office gives her.

Come learn why Visiting Angels has been voted #1 Best Place to Work by caregivers nation-wide! Apply with us today at www.njseniorcare.com/jobs.

Not certified in New Jersey? Check out our list of Certified Home Health Aide schools in Mercer-Burlington-Camden county area. In as little as 76 hours (60 hours of classroom instruction along with 16 hours of clinical instruction), you can become certified in New Jersey.

5 Care Tips on Caring for Adults with Early Onset Alzheimer’s

October 16th, 2015 No Comments

Early Onset Alheimer's Visiting Angels New Jersey Senior Care Burlington County

Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Currently, there are approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65—many are in their 40s and 50s—who are battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Out of the 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s, about 5 percent of those have early onset. Watching loved ones experiencing memory problems is difficult, especially when they’re dealing a disease such as Alzheimer’s at a relatively young age. The early stage of Alzheimer’s in younger people is often undiagnosed by health care professionals. Symptoms may include forgetfulness of words/names, losing objects, greater difficulty doing tasks at work, and greater difficulty planning and organizing. As the disease progresses, symptoms cannot be ignored and many people are formally diagnosed as the symptoms become more pronounced. Symptoms include feeling moody, forgetting past history, wandering, personality changes, and confusion. It’s in the mid-stages of the disease where people may start needing more care and supervision.

When providing care for someone with signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important that both you and your loved one face the diagnosis together. Below are five tips to help you gain and establish mutual trust and care for a person battling the early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Care Tips for Early Onset Alzheimer’s: Early Stage

1.) Stay positive. There will be good days as well as bad days. It’s important to learn to enjoy and appreciate both. Each day will be different, so always keep a positive outlook each day!

2.) Keep educated on the progression of Alzheimer’s, as this will prepare you for what’s coming in the later stages.

3.) Encourage your loved one to remain independent. The goal is for them to continue living a reasonably self-sufficient life by doing as much as they can for themselves.

4.) The time is now to decide on important matters. Don’t put off legal, financial, or end-of-life questions for later. It’s important to take care of these matters as soon as possible. All parties should be involved in the decision making if still possible.

5.) Do projects and activities together. Although Alzheimer’s may affect a person’s memory, he or she can still be physically able and willing to enjoy activities such as gardening, housework, listening to music, doing art or craft projects, cooking, reading, doing crosswords, playing cards, visiting friends, walking, etc.

If your family member or someone you know is showing signs of early onset Alzheimer’s and could use extra living assistance while remaining at home, contact Visiting Angels today. We offer professional, individualized, in-home care to New Jersey and adults and seniors. Visit our Alzheimer’s Awareness page for additional resources on the disease.

Do you have a heart for older people? Become a certified home health aide in NJ!

August 18th, 2015 No Comments

Why become a CHHA in New Jersey?

Are you searching for a meaningful career or second career? Do you enjoy the company of older people? Are you a dependable, caring, compassionate person? Becoming a Certified Home Health Aide may be the career for you.

The job outlook in the elder care industry is extremely positive. As the population ages, home health aide jobs are one of the fastest-growing in the nation; the job growth is expected to be about 70% within by 2020 (visit http://bit.ly/1d8poZT). With a career in home health care, you’ll always be in demand!

What does a home health aide do?

  • Housekeeping
  • Meal Preparation
  • Medication Reminders
  • Shopping
  • Errands
  • Personal Hygiene Care (including bathing, grooming, dressing assistance)
  • Companionship
  • Assistance with Walking, Transferring, and Safety

How to get started

Becoming a certified home health aide isn’t a long, drawn out process. In as little as 76 hours (60 hours of classroom instruction along with 16 hours of clinical instruction), you can become certified in New Jersey. Compared to many other certifications or degrees, the cost is quite reasonable. Most courses are between $500-$1000. Click our list of CHHA schools in New Jersey which offer home health aide certification programs.

Are you a certified home health aide? Visiting Angels is always recruiting the best in the profession. Apply online at www.njseniorcare.com/jobs today!

How to help dementia sufferers sleep through the night…

August 11th, 2015 No Comments

10 Ways to help a person sleep when they have memory loss and confusion

A common NJ senior care caregiver challenge is getting their loved one with dementia to sleep peacefully through the night. Many times, especially beginning with sundown, they become anxious and restless.

10 simple and practical tips that will help:

  • 1. Diet: Make sure to limit caffeinated beverages to mornings; alcohol should also be avoided
  • 2. Limit Naps: Set and keep regular times for rising in the morning and keep naps to morning hours, if needed
  • 3. Active Days: keep the person as active as possible throughout the day–take a walk with them, have them fold laundry, rake leaves, etc.
  • 4. Make Evenings Relaxed: Develop relaxed routines each evening, such as listening to music or watching TV; keep excess activity, noise, and visitors to a minimum
  • 5. Don’t Go To Bed Hungry: A light snack before bedtime is ideal
  • 6. Keep a Diary: Maintain a log of activities, food, medications, or beverages that may contribute to their sleep disturbances
  • 7. Bedtime Routine: Keep it relaxed and easy. If they refuse to go to bed, let them sleep in the chair or couch. If they don’t want to wear their PJs, let them wear their day clothes
  • 8. Bedroom: Keep the bedroom comfortable–temperature, soft music, comfy PJs, blankets, nightlight
  • 9. Safety: Keep the path to the bathroom (and other areas of the house) clear, block dangerous parts of the home, such as the stairway, use audible monitors if necessary
  • 10. Provide Reassurance: If they wake up in the night, offer reassurance instead of arguing or explaining as you slowly get them back into bed

For more NJ elder care information on dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, visit our Alzheimer’s Awareness page.