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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|

Advantages to Non-Profit Health Care

Did you know that Mountain Home Health Care is a Non-Profit Organization? Studies show that one in five people do not understand the differences between “Non-Profit” and “For-Profit” organizations and what that can mean for Health Care. Click on this link from The Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Healthcare to learn more.


October 9th, 2015|Blog|

Applying for Medicaid

If you’re new to Medicaid, either for yourself or a loved one, it can be confusing to know what steps to take when you’re trying to find help for personal care services. Here’s a little information that you can use as a guide if you’re interested in getting yourself or your family member set up with Medicaid and Personal Care Services through Medicaid.

Step 1: Applying for Medicaid

To apply for current Medicaid coverage or for Medicaid Expansion Coverage (that went into effect on January 1, 2014) please go to: www.yes.nm.state.us.

To download or print a paper version of the Streamlines HSD or Medicaid only application, go to www.hsd.state.nm.us/isd/apply.html.

To apply by phone to have an application mailed, call 1-855-637-6574

Step 2: Choosing a Managed Care Organization (MCO)

Below are the Centennial Care MCOs:
Blue Cross Blue Shield:
Member Services
(866) 689-1523
(For members with hearing or speech loss: TTY/TDD: 711)
Molina HealthCare:
Member Services: (877) 373-8986
Presbyterian Health Plan:
Member services:
(505) 923-5200 or (888) 977-2333
For members with hearing or speech loss:
(888) 872-7568 TTY
Navajo Hotline:
In Albuquerque: (505) 923-5157
Outside Albuquerque: (888) 806-8793
United Health Care Community Plan:
Member Services: (877) 236-0826
For member with hearing or speech loss: TTY:711
Step 3: Call your Managed Care Organization (MCO)
Step 4: Ask for Care Coordination
Step 5: Ask to be assessed for Personal Care Services

If you have more questions, please call us at Mountain Home Health – 1-575-758-4786.

October 8th, 2015|Blog|