Mike Garfunkel
Mike Garfunkel
Mike is currently the administrator for Family Bridges, which is a home care agency in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. He is fully dedicated to providing the best home care services for the elderly.

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Safety on Giving Medicine to Elderly at Home

Understanding Safety in Administrating Medication and Other Health Care Needs

Elderly people often spend a lot of money purchasing medication as compared to younger generations. This is in response to health issues older people suffer as they age such as diabetes, arthritis, heart illnesses and high blood pressures.

“People age 65 and over buy more than 30 percent of all prescription medicines and 40 percent of all nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines sold in this country.”

Due to life expectancy and aging, elderly need more medication and supplements to: cure their diseases due to age complications and to boost vitamins / minerals absorption, respectively. We must be more cautious in giving medicine to the elderly because it can have greater implications on their body due to organs not working as well to process them. Otherwise, one may be putting the life of the elderly to risk.

Difference of Prescription and Non – Prescription Medication

Over the counter pills are easily accessible such as basic supplements and drugs that can address non-severe cases of illness like cough, clogged nose, and a simple fever.

On the other hand, prescription drugs like pills, inhalers, patches and creams are under certain restrictions and can only be used under permission of doctors.

Responsible Giving of Medication to Elderly

There are specific and proper ways on how to cater to assisting medication to elderly. To read the rest of this article and learn about what caregivers and nurses should be aware of, visit Healthinaging.org here.

Family Bridges is Here to Help

Family Bridges is equipped with readily available home caregivers that can help with medication reminders for your elderly loved one.

Please contact us at (888) 900-0048 or via our online contact form to learn about our services.

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Common Senior Eyesight Issues & Other Poor Vision Symptoms

senior eye-sight issues

Caring for the Elderly Who Have Possible Eye Related Problems

Knowing the Cause and How to Address Poor Eyesight Problems

Poor eyesight is one of the expected issues that comes with aging. More often than not, most seniors develop blurry vision, and worst, may become blind.

Every person’s eyesight decreases with time which is dependent on their genetics, physiological, cultural and habitual background. A person who has taken care of their eyesight when they were younger, is of course, more likely to have better vision as they get old, otherwise, it is safe to blame genetics.

Special equipment like eye lasers, treatments like medication and supplements, or eye accessories like glasses and contact lenses may either temporarily or permanently increase vision. But as aging is inevitable, so is decreasing vision.

Understanding Cataracts in Elder people

The cloudy part that blocks the ability of elderly to see clearly is called cataracts. The ability to see depends on the amount and severity of blockage of cataract to the light that pass through the eye lenses.

Eye surgery and laser procedures can be done, but an older person may not be able to handle it depending on the health risk. Proper consultation with an eye expert specialist must be consulted.

Expectation of Degenerative Vision Due to Old age

There are other degenerative eyesight conditions to consider in aging. These are retinopathy due to diabetes, glaucoma, and macular deterioration due to ageing.

Read more about these on Health In Aging.


How to Effectively Care for an Elder from Long-Distances

how to take care of senior long distances

Many families these days move away from their parents before they become elder and may end up having to figure out how to take care of them in their later years. This can cause challenges with long-distance caregiving. Some families will go as far as moving back to their senior’s hometown or having them move into their own home. But others settle down with a new life in another city and find it is best to care for them from a distance.

According to NIH’s article on getting started with long-distance caregiving, you can do a lot of caregiving far away from your senior by:

  • Managing their bill payments and finances
  • Outsource in-home care professionals and work with them through phone or email communication
  • Coordinate their health care needs and handle their insurance benefits and claims
  • Inform family and friends about your loved ones status

Family Bridges is skilled and experienced in working with families living at far distances from their aging senior. Although we recommend you visit your senior as often as possible for emotional support, it is very possible to work with us physically taking care of them.

Please contact us at (888) 900-0048 or via our online contact form. We would love to help in any way we can.


How to Help a Senior Drink & Eat in Late Stage Dementia

How to Help a Senior Drink & EatIn this short clip, Teepa Snow demonstrates some invaluable tips on how to get a dementia senior to eat and drink without causing problems.

Getting Seniors to Swallow Water & Other Drinks

Teepa explains that many dementia patient’s brains get distracted while helping them drink a glass of water and forget to swallow. Be sure to pay attention if they are actually swallowing the drink. If they don’t swallow, Teepa’s technique is to bring the cup up to her lips again, but don’t give them any which usually tricks their brain to make them swallow.

Risk of Aspiration Pneumonia & Techniques to Prevent While Drinking & Eating

Dementia patients can also get aspiration pneumonia which can lead to all kinds of problems so this is important.

If the patient coughs after or while drinking, it is a sign of some liquid getting to her lungs. The next step is to see if a thicker fluid will help.  If it doesn’t, help you can try something that is solid but has a lot of liquid such as a puréed diet.

You can make puréed food by blending all types of food. Mashed potatoes is one example which can be done by boiling potatoes and smashing them to the right consistency.  Mixing fruits and vegetables in a blender is another great example with more nutritious vitamins and minerals. Water, milk or juice can be added to get the desired consistency.

Family Bridges is Here to Help

If you need help caring for a senior with dementia, our in-home caregivers can assist with eating and drinking. Please contact us here or call us at (888) 900-0048.

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How to Bath a Senior

Bathing a senior comfortably.

In this post, we are featuring a video by Teepa Snow, Dementia and Alzheimer’s care expert, to discuss how to bath a senior in their home with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Proper hand support positions

Allowing the senior to grab your hand while getting into the bath tub is important so they feel safe and to prevent them from falling. Teepa discusses the essentials on holding their hand.

  • Grab their Dominant Hand– remember to grab their dominant hand where they having motor memory doing tasks the best. So if they are right handed, grab their right hand for support.
  • Don’t grab the hand like you’re shaking hands too long– people have a natural tendency to shake hands and let go. People with Dementia may not fully understand what you are doing and try to pull away.
  • Palm to palm hand position is best– pressure on the palm is known to calm humans. Make your hand the bottom one and place your opposite hand on top for warmth.

Setting up Comfortable Conditions

  • Make sure you are face to face– this ensures the senior doesn’t feel like they’re being bossed around in an uncomfortable manner. This also allows easy communication and easy for them to understand.
  • Make sure the water and room is warm– this ensures they will be willing to undress their shirt and pants without being too cold.
  • Place a warm towel around them– after some of their clothes are removed, comfort them with a warm towel which also makes them less exposed.

Ease them into Undressing

Along with the above techniques, Teepa shares these steps to slowly making them willing to fully undress for proper bathing.

  1. Remove only outer clothes– she suggests to only have the remove their outer clothes until they are in their underwear and bra.
  2. Shower them with towel and underclothes first– after their under clothing is wet, the natural tendency will be to remove them and make sense too.

The technique of bathing seniors with a towel over the private areas will make it more comfortable for both the caregiver and senior. It can also prevent their private areas from being exposed while bathing.

Although these techniques make it more manageable for family member’s to bath their senior, most folks don’t feel comfortable and will have someone outside the family help.

Our trained caregivers can help with bathing your senior to make them feel better and maintain a healthy hygiene. Please contact us to discuss how we can help at (888) 900-0048 or via our online contact form.


What Causes Alzheimer’s?

What causes Alzheimer's disease in seniors.According to the National Institute on Aging, we still aren’t 100% sure what causes Alzheimer ’s disease but studies point that each of the below have a part in causing it:

  • Genetics– studies are finding that the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is found in people with the disease. A person that had a close family member with Alzheimer’s may have this gene as well which is linked.
  • Health, environmental, and lifestyle factors – studies seem to point that vascular and metabolic health may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. This includes heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Since research has linked these two factors as a possibility to causing Alzheimer’s, people may be able to prevent it by changing the factor that they can control: your health

Only time will tell once further research is concluded, but it is a good idea to exercise, stay a healthy weight and eat well.

If your senior is struggling with Alzheimer’s, Family Bridges provides Alzheimer’s home care services to help assist them in their home and keep them on healthy diets that you plan for them. Please call us or contact us here.


How to Help a Senior that Becomes Agitated & Aggressive

How to help agitated seniorsThe Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center put together a great ebook, Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Coping with Agitation and Aggression which you can download here.

We summarized some of the tips on dealing with a senior that becomes agitated or aggressive in respect to having Alzheimer’s but it is helpful for those who don’t have the disease as well.

The first point it mentions is to find out what causes them to become upset and try to rectify it before it starts the next time around. Some possible reasons are pain, depression, little sleep, constipation, soiled clothing, a sudden change, interaction with medicine, etc.

Tips to Help Them When Caregiving

Listed below are some of the suggestions to do which may them while agitated or prevent it from happening:

  • Speak calmly, listen to them and reassure them that you understand their frustrations.
  • Give them some space and control over their life, as long as it is safe for them.
  • Stick to the same routine every day. Senior’s tend to have trouble with changes.
  • Schedule quiet time and activities into the day to keep them active.
  • Display well-loved object and photographs near them so they feel secure.
  • Gentle touching and activities like soothing music, reading or walks may help.
  • Reduce noise, clutter and amount of people in a room.
  • Distract them with a snack, object or activity to keep their mind off the negative.
  • Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar and unhealthy food.

We at Family Bridges know that it can be a large daily task making seniors comfortable during times when the can be most irritated in their life. Given the daily tasks with work and their own family, many people use our trusted, in-home caregiver agency to help. Please give us a call for a free consultation by calling or contacting us here.


3 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Find Which Stage Your Senior is In

3 Stages of Alzheimer’sAccording to the National Institute on Aging, there are three stages to Alzheimer’s disease: Mild, Moderate, and Severe.

To find out which stage your senior is in, match the below symptoms up with what your senior is experiencing below.

Mild- elders are typically diagnosed at this stage when then have some of the below symptoms. If they have any of these symptoms, be sure to have them visit the doctor for proper diagnosis.

  • wandering and getting lost
  • trouble handling money and paying bills
  • repeating questions
  • taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
  • losing things or misplacing them in odd places
  • personality and behavior changes

Moderate– the brain starts to become damaged at this stage with the below symptoms.

  • increased memory loss and confusion
  • problems recognizing family and friends
  • inability to learn new things
  • difficulty carrying out multistep tasks such as getting dressed
  • problems coping with new situations
  • hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • impulsive behavior

Severe– at this stage, patients need to be cared for and may stay in bed most of the time.

  • inability to communicate
  • weight loss
  • seizures
  • skin infections
  • difficulty swallowing
  • groaning, moaning, or grunting
  • increased sleeping
  • lack of control of bowel and bladder

If your senior or loved one needs care assistance, contact us online here or by calling us at (888) 900-0048.

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Who is most at risk for developing Alzheimer’s?

Who is at risk for alzheimersAccording to alzheimers.gov, folks with the below are more likely to get Alzheimer’s:

  1. Upper Age– the older someone gets, drastically increases the risk.
  2. Genetics– if someone had an older family member with the disease, they are of course at a greater risk than someone without many relatives with it. You can look at your family tree and find out who had Alzheimer’s.
  3. Medical histories– folks with Down syndrome, other developmental disorders, repeated concussions and traumatic bran injuries are known to have a higher risk.

If someone is in all three of the above categories, they may be in the greatest risk, but alzheimers.gov goes on to say the below:

“Being at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease does not necessarily mean that you will develop the disease.”

If your family member currently has Alzheimer’s and needs someone to care for them, our caregivers can help assist them in the comfort of their home. Please contact us online here or by calling us at (888) 900-0048.


8 Qualities To Look for When Selecting a Home Health Care Agency

Before you hire a home care agency or caregiver, be sure to look at these 8 points. Click to play to video or read the points below.

  1. Make sure they provide all services needed
    Some home care services may provide a simple companion service such as watching over your senior and providing general assistance. But at times, it may be important to get help with other tasks such as bathing, grooming & dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, companionship and 24 hour care.

    • At Family Bridges, we provide all of these services and much more.
  2. Make sure they perform background checks and screen their caregivers
    • Since you will be hiring caregivers to care for your elder in their home, you will want to make sure they are a trusted and loyal individual. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure they had a background check and were screened properly.
    • Unfortunately, we find that many agencies don’t take this step.
    • We at Family Bridges only hire caregivers that pass fingerprinted background checks, and are qualified in other ways such as training, experience and compassion. Choosing a caregiving agency that handles this eliminates the need of having you review dozens of resumes and pay for background checks on each person. That itself can be a time consuming process.
  3. Ensure your senior will be safe
    • In addition to having a trusted caregiver assisting your senior’s every actions, you will also want to make sure that caregiver is trained to focus on safety.
    • At Family Bridges, every caregiver is trained with best safety practices and our case manager regularly visits current clients in their homes to ensure their needs are being met. Our caregivers will keep you updated on your senior’s current status for a worry-free experience.
  4. Do they allow you to choose the caregiver?
    • Not many agencies do this, but we feel it is important to provide the option for you to interview and pick a caregiver from our team.
    • Although we make it a priority to match the best caregiver with the needs of your senior, you may be the better person to know which personalities your senior will be most comfortable with.
  5. Take note of how much they charge per hour
    • Price is typically charged hourly and it is important to get a great value from home care. A price that is even slightly lower than a competitor will add up to a lot of money saved in the long run.
    • At Family Bridges, we aim to provide the best value. Our hourly costs are typically in the middle price range of local agencies and lower than the national average.
  6. See if they belong to the Better Business Bureau and check their profile for past issues
    • Not all agencies belong to the BBB. But it can be a good sign if they do belong for a little extra peace of mind. Some agencies will display their accreditation on their website and linked to their profile. We encourage everyone to review an agency’s profile for any complaints and to verify the company’s legitimacy.
    • Family Bridges is a BBB accredited agency. If you search the BBB’s website, you will notice it currently rates us as an A+ company with zero complaints.
  7. Make sure they know their industry and belong to similar organizations
    • A company that belongs to a senior care related organization can further confirm they are knowledgeable about providing quality care, they are operating professionally and meeting industry standards.
    • Family Bridges is currently a member of the “Home Care Association of America” and accredited by several government organizations which can be seen on our website.
  8. Read about what others are saying about the company
    • If a friend didn’t refer you to a certain agency, the next best thing is to read reviews and find a company with positive testimonials. You can search review websites such as Google Plus and Yelp.com, among others to see what people are saying.
    • At Family Bridges, we are constantly hearing our clients say great things about our services. In addition to many 5 star ratings listed on various review sites, the third party satisfaction research and quality assurance firm, Home Care Pulse, has praised us with many awards. Family Bridges has earned the “Best of Home Care, Provider of Choice” award in 2011 and all the way up until the time of this video in 2017. That’s 7 years in a row! And we are very proud of that. The Home Care Pulse awards are given to agencies with the best feedback received from independent phone call interviews from past and current clients.
    • Through these interviews, some of our clients have said the following testimonials:
      • Bob T. writes, “Family Bridges staff has bent over backwards to accommodate us. They are outstanding. If they didn’t do what was promised we wouldn’t have them back. That being said, they have done exactly what we have hired them to do. We are very satisfied. I appreciate their caregivers. They are conscientious and overall they are just good at what they do”
      • Jeanette M. states, “I was using a national franchise company before…. Family Bridges offered everything I needed. I chose to go with Family Bridges because they were willing to give me what I wanted. “My caregiver is excellent. She is all I could ask for. We hug each other when she comes and goes. Being a caregiver isn’t just a job for her; she actually cares and wants to help me. She is just perfect.”
      • Cheryl states, “We had tried another agency, and they kept sending different people. Family Bridges has been so great, and they have been sending the same people consistently. It’s worked out very well. The caregivers are very nice, polite and helpful. My father really enjoys having them there for company and companionship. It works out very nicely.”

We hope this was a helpful video as you search for a caregiver. We truly think Family Bridges is one of the best available in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky area.
Please contact us by phone at (888) 900-0048 or by emailing us through our website here.

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