• Blog

“Hello, I must be going…”

In celebration of National Care Givers Month, we’ll be sharing some caregiver stories that express the wide range of thoughts and emotions, some happy and some sad, that can come with being a caretaker. Sometimes being a caretaker can be an extremely challenging and thankless job, but other times, it can also be extremely rewarding and teach us life lessons that we would never have otherwise learned. But mostly, these people are sharing their stories, caregivers and care receivers alike, so that others like them can know that they’re not alone.

Today’s story comes from Caregiver.org and is told by Michaele O’Leary-Reiff

“Hello, I must be going…”

“Hello, I must be going …” read the note addressed to me and taped to the door of Allan Reiff’s office in the Philosophy/Humanities Department at our local community college. The year was 1983, and little did I know then, the dark truth hidden in those seemingly light-hearted words; the man I would eventually marry would be taken from me all too soon by the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

We had met the year before. I had  returned to school to get my license as a registered nurse. I needed some electives so enrolled in Allan’s philosophy class, which had been highly recommended. On the first day I was riveted to his words, when he said the world would be a more peaceful and equitable place if governments were run by Romanian gypsies and ballet dancers rather than politicians and dictators. Soon we were talking after class, meeting for coffee, and having long conversations about movies, books, politics, our children, and the meaning of life.

Ours was a mid-life relationship, both of us having been previously married. Between us we had six children, his two and my four. It was an exciting time for us. In 1988, we decided to […]

November 3rd, 2015|Blog|

Celebrating November as Home Care & Hospice Month

During November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) will honor the home care and hospice community, including the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, and social workers who make a remarkable difference for the patients and families they serve. These heroic caregivers play a central role in our health care system and in homes across the nation. To recognize their efforts, NAHC calls upon all Americans to commemorate the power of caring by celebrating November as Home Care & Hospice Month.
NAHC honors this year’s National Home Care & Hospice Month with the following theme: Home Care and Hospice Delivers Freedom.

In the coming weeks NAHC will release new studies that show the increasing role of home care and hospice in health care. Whether measured in dollars spent or miles driven, the value of home care and hospice is vast and astonishing.

Home Care Aide Week takes place this year on November 8-14. For over 15 years, NAHC has used the second full week in November to highlight the many aides whose contributions are second to none as they bring personal warmth to the daily work of giving personal care. They play an invaluable role for their patients as caregivers, companions, and friends.

November is the perfect time to connect with your elected officials. Scheduling a meeting with your elected officials is one of the best ways to be a home health advocate, while also building positive relationships with your lawmakers. Face-to-face meetings give you the opportunity to ask lawmakers to support home care and hospice in-person, and from the perspective of the community that they represent. It is particularly important that we communicate NAHC’s priority issues.

“It is highly appropriate in November that we celebrate the nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our […]

November 2nd, 2015|Blog|

Learning the Unfamiliar Language of Home Care

GIVEN the tens of millions of people in retirement or about to enter it, it’s surprising how few plan for something most of them will eventually need: help doing basic tasks at home. But perhaps it is not so surprising: It’s like learning a difficult new language late in life.
Only about 1 percent of those aged 65 to 74 live in nursing homes, the Census Bureau reports. Most retirees continue to live at home as they age, even though many do not have relatives nearby to assist them as it becomes harder to handle daily activities because of declining health, mobility or cognitive difficulties.
Of those who need the help most, many won’t admit they need it or obtain assistance willingly on their own. They fear loss of independence and becoming a burden to their families. This is an issue I’m facing in my own family and it’s difficult to navigate.

For most older people, it is far preferable to stay at home rather than enter a nursing home. But it isn’t easy to make it work. Just ask Coleen Wagner, who lives in Saratoga, Calif., and has helped several relatives find home care. That includes, most recently, her mother-in-law, who was 85 and had dementia at the time. She has since died.
Home care, often referred to as caregiving or nonmedical in-home services, provides help with the activities of daily living. Professionals who perform these services may not need licensing or certification, although many are certified nursing assistants. Requirements vary from state to state.
“Home care is about quality of life and ensures that chronic conditions are being addressed and gives family caregivers peace of mind that their loved ones are safe at home,” said Phil Bongiorno, executive director of the Home Care Association of America, a trade group. “A lot of […]

October 28th, 2015|Blog|

National Institute On Aging : About Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).

These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.

Although treatment can help manage symptoms in some people, currently there is no cure for this devastating disease.
What happens to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease?
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems become evident. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and once-healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die.

The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of […]

October 27th, 2015|Blog|

For the Ladies

Today’s post is focused on Women’s Health!

This information, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is useful to help you stay healthy at ages 50 and above.

Learn which screening tests you need and when to get them, which medicines may prevent diseases, and daily steps you can take for good health.

CLICK HERE to see the full article.

October 23rd, 2015|Blog|

Choosing healthy meals as you get older

The National Institute on Aging is a great resource for a wide range of topics. One great piece of information from them is about Choosing Healthy meals as you age. Below is a list of their suggestions to help keep you or your loved one healthy. Click here to go to the National Institute of Aging website to learn about more aging.

 

Choosing Healthy Meals as you get Older

Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods for better health at each stage of life.
1. Drink plenty of liquids
With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which liquids are better choices.
2. Make eating a social event
Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.
3. Plan healthy meals
Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods to choose, all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat foods you need.
4. Know how much to eat
Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. MyPlate’s SuperTracker shows amounts of food you need. When eating out, pack part of your meal to […]

October 21st, 2015|Blog|

Health Aging: Participating in Activities That You Enjoy

There are many things you can do to help yourself age well: exercise and be physically active, make healthy food choices, and don’t smoke. But did you know that participating in activities you enjoy may also help support healthy aging?

Check out Health Aging: Participating in Activities That You Enjoy from the National Institute on Aging to learn more and get some ideas of way to get involved.

 

October 19th, 2015|Blog|

The Family Caregiver Toolbox

The Family Caregivers Toolbox is a great resource from the Care Giver Action Network  for those new to caregiving as well as those who have been taking care of a loved one for years.

It offers information on understanding Medicare and Medicaid, Financial Planning, Alzheimer’s videos, tips on how to better communicate with your elderly family member and healthcare providers, and much, much more.

Click here to explore the Toolbox and find helpful information on a wide range of topics related to caregiving.

October 14th, 2015|Blog|

Pets and Elderly Mental Health

Cats and dogs have the ability to help people deal with anxiety, depression and stress. In the vein of yesterdays mental health post, and also to celebrate National Adopt a Dog Month – read below to see how dogs (and cats) can help improve mood, encourage healthy lifestyle changes, and increase overall happiness!

The Health Benefits of Dogs (And Cats)!

October 13th, 2015|Blog|

Mental health in Older Adults and the Elderly

Studies have shown that one in five elderly people suffer from depression. Depression can often be overlooked because of the misconception that people have to feel “sad” in order to be depressed, which isn’t the case. Here’s a resource to help you identify symptoms of depression and learn more about how to help someone dealing with it.

Depression in Older Adults and the Elderly

October 12th, 2015|Blog|