How to Take Care of the Late-Life Elder and Taking the Stress Out of It

In this TEDx talk, Amy O’Rourke discusses three areas in lowering stress that deserves attention:

  1. Denial of Reality– many of us deny the facts of people getting older because we dislike the thoughts and become shocked at the amount of stress of dealing with an aging parent when it happens.
  2. Knowing Basic Ground Rules
    • Don’t reverse the parental roles and boss your elder around. This can create tension and more stress.
    • Older people in hospitals don’t tend to get along. Get them out of it if they aren’t having surgery there.
    • Aging is a one way transition.
  3. Accepting it as a Lifestyle change. Whether your aging parent lives in the same city or not, the responsibility is there. Those that accept this usually have less stress. Since we live in a busy society, taking care of elders can be a benefit for you to slow down.

Amy brings out some great points when taking care of your elder parent. Using a combination of these ideas, along with our home care services, can make this transition easier on everyone. Give Family Bridges, a Cincinnati home health care agency, a call to set up a consultation to discuss how we can help.

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Thinking Differently About your Relationship with an Elderly Parent

In this video, various sons and daughters discuss how their role changed as their parents became older with issues such as Parkinson’s disease, memory problems, etc. Many see their parent as more of a friend until they start to age into an elder.

As you can see, it can be a difficult time when you start seeing your parents become older, requiring more help through daily life activities. Some contemplate on what the next step should be in taking care of them.

You may see your relationship slightly change with your senior parent early on. When this starts to happen, it is important to start talking to them about a care plan for the later years of their life. It will make the transition much easier on you and them, so they know what to expect as they continue in that direction with time.

Family Bridges is a Cincinnati based senior home care agency with many years of experience handling these issues. When you start to see signs requiring assistance, please call us for more information on how we can reduce the stress for everyone.

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Tips for Caring for Aging Parents by Amy Grant

At some point or another, most people will be put into the difficult spot of taking care of an elder parent, grandparent or friend. Even Amy Grant knows the struggles of her and her sisters taking care of their aging parents. She provides these tips:

  1. Discuss Senior Care Early – start the conversation about senior care early, before their mental stability begins to slip.
  2. Healthy Meals are Important – Start making them nutritious meals even before their health begins to slip.
  3. Keep Them Active – keeping them active by playing games so they move their muscles will help their health. Even the little movements help.
  4. Keep Them Social – even when they can’t communicate as well, try to keep them social.

Family Bridges can help with items 2, 3 and 4 and think Amy Grant has hit on some of the critical topics.

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The Stress of Being a Caregiver for Family Members

This video episode by WGBH News discusses the stress of family members taking care of their elder parents or grandparents.

After spending time taking care of her 85 year old elderly mother, Evelyn realizes that the stress of caregiving was taking a toll on her. She discusses that caregiving was causing her own blood pressure to increase and was developing severe anxiety which required medication to function.

Dr. Ann Webster of Mass General Hospital states that a caregiver may also develop: insomnia, depression, hyper-tension, or even irritable bowel syndrome.

In the video, they state that research shows family members taking care of their elderly parents develop health problems such as:

  • Higher levels of stress hormones
  • Weaker immune systems leading to more sick days
  • Higher levels of obesity

Just as many other family members taking care of their elders, Evelyn was also trying to raise a family and work. After outsourcing care for her mother, Evelyn became healthier without the need for medication and developed a relationship stronger than ever.

If you are taking care of your family member, it doesn’t have to be stressful and time consuming with your busy daily lives. Contact us for more information of our home care services and let us take the weight off your shoulders.

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Family Bridges Home Care Fair! Hiring Multiple Positions with PTO!!

Family Bridges Home Care Fair! Hiring Multiple Positions with PTO!! STNAs, CNAs, & Caregivers – September 14th

Career Fair Description

Family Bridges Home Care and myCNAjobs invites you to attend an upcoming career fair with an on-the- spot interview.

Family Bridges Home Care will be interviewing STNAs, CNAs, and Caregivers Wednesday, September 14 to fill openings throughout the greater Cincinnati area.

As a company, we hold to the best business practices. Our strong commitment to hiring and developing only excellent caregivers has helped us become a leading provider of non-medical in-home senior care in Southwest Ohio!

Family Bridges Home Care offers flexible scheduling options and gives their team the opportunity to grow and succeed with ongoing training opportunities. At the event, you’ll have the opportunity to fill out an application, enjoy light refreshments, and meet our team during a full interview. It’s an opportunity for you to meet with our staff, learn about hourly full and part-time positions and get answers to your questions about working for Family Bridges Home Care.

Date & Time

Wednesday,  September 14th, 2016
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Location

RSVP

Positions

  • Multiple Part-Time and Full-Time Opportunities!
  • Caregivers, STNAs, CNAs
  • Openings available throughout: Cincinnati, West Chester, Milford, Erlanger, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Cheviot, and many more.

What’s in it for you

  • Competitive Wages
  • Flexible schedules to meet your needs
  • Paid training
  • Referral Bonuses
  • Paid vacation
  • Short Commute Times – We will work to find a case close to your home!
  • Annual raises and bonuses based on performance
  • Retirement Savings Plan – 401(K)
  • We treat our Caregivers like our family!!

Candidate Profile

  • Minimum 1 year of experience or STNA certification
  • Valid Driver’s License, Auto Insurance & Reliable Vehicle
  • Will be required to take a background check and drug test
  • Compassion! We’re looking for reliable caregivers with a passion for service, family values, true desire to help the elderly and doing this for more than just a paycheck!
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Why Are Today’s Seniors Facing Opiate Addiction?

opiate-addictionI stood frozen in the doorway, unable to do even the slightest thing to help. She had run out of money and methadone at the same time — and would be unable to refill her prescription for another three days. Lying prone on her bed, she writhed, sobbed, and wailed in pain. Withdrawal was as cruel to her as it was to any addict; the difference was, this addict was my sweet, 85 year old grandmother.

If this were a normal day, she’d probably be baking my favorite apple cake. Instead, she was being forced to endure mind numbing pain thanks to an addiction to powerful prescription opioids given to her by a doctor. Like so many seniors, my grandma suffered from numerous aches and pains. Like so many of his colleagues, the doctor at the urgent care clinic had prescribed heavy duty opiates without even offering alternative treatments.

And now, here we were. My grandma was addicted to methadone and there was nothing we could do that wouldn’t cause her even more pain.

I wish I had known then, what I know now.

A Silent Epidemic

Seniors are rarely the first age group that comes to mind when you think of drug addiction in America. But, since one quarter of the prescription drugs sold in the United States are used by the elderly, the risk of addiction is always lurking. As it stands now, 20% of seniors wrestle with substance abuse.

According to USA Today:

  • From 2002 to 2012, the number of seniors who were misusing or dependent on their painkillers increased from 132,000 to 336,000.
  • From 2007 to 2011, the number of people aged 55 and older seeking drug rehab increased 46%.
  • In 11 years, the number of seniors dying of overdoses nearly tripled.

And seniors aren’t the only ones falling prey to opioids. Since 2010, opioid-induced overdoses have increased by 200%, resulting in half a million deaths. The numbers are not only staggering, they’re incredibly disturbing. But what is the root of this problem?

A Prescription for Trouble

Doctors are prescribing addictive drugs to America’s seniors at a rapidly increasing rate. Most complaints of pain are met with medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and tramadol — especially when that pain is chronic. However, opioids aren’t meant to treat chronic pain; they’re meant to treat acute pain. As a patient continues to use opioids over time, tolerance is built, and more and more is needed for the same effect.

Because of its initial potency, it’s easy to understand why doctors prescribe these drugs for chronic pain, but they should not be the only solution offered. Non-addictive medications such as Cymbalta and Norpramin can be used to adjust levels of brain chemicals in order to control pain. There are also non-medicinal treatments available such as acupuncture, massage, and hydrotherapy.

What Are The Signs of Addiction?

Many seniors take a large number of prescription medications, so it may be hard to identify when drug use stops being medically necessary and becomes an addiction. Furthermore, the signs and symptoms of addiction can often be misinterpreted as manifestations of normal aging. It’s absolutely imperative you pay close attention to the behavior of the older adults in your life and their interaction with prescription medications.

Drug addiction may be the culprit if you see the following behavior:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Prescriptions for the same drug from numerous doctors.
  • Prescriptions being filled at multiple pharmacies
  • Taking more of a drug than is instructed on the label.
  • Becoming uncomfortable, defensive, or confrontational when asked about the medicine
  • Storing “extra” pills in various places
  • Sneaking or hiding medicine
  • Appearing over sedated, disoriented, or impaired.
  • Having major behavioral changes or mood swings.

If you believe an elderly loved one may have an addiction problem, contact the prescribing doctor and discuss your concerns. They should be able to determine whether a senior is abusing medicine or has become addicted. If they find this is the case, you can work together to come up with the next steps and treatment programs.

Liz Greene hails from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. You can catch up with her latest misadventures on Instant Lo or follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.

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5 Reasons to Choose In-Home Care

Ageing is a process that doesn’t happen to one individual, but affects the entire family. Often times, families feel the need to move elders out of the house if they think they can’t provide adequate care. While this works for some people, it is certainly not the best decision in all cases. The alternative, or in-home care, is an option that suits some people much better. Here are 5 reasons to choose in-home care:

1. Familiarity

Where would you, or anyone else for that matter, feel most comfortable living? A majority of people prefer living in environments that are known to them, and this desire increases as we age. Allowing elders to age in place gives them the same freedom they had previously, allowing them to continue to maintain their own schedules rather than live by someone’s else’s schedules.

2. Family Time

The realities of taking care of a family member can easily become stressful and tedious. From everything like modifying the bathroom to suit an older person’s needs, to adjusting your day-to-day routine, it is no surprise that in-home care does take a toll on some. However, once you have a system in place, you will find that what was once stressful soon becomes extremely precious family time. In-home care allows for a family to stay together, and not be separated in times of need. This is especially meaningful through the ageing process. Think about your family traditions like Sunday dinners – in-home care will allow you to keep these traditions intact and this sort of family time will become all the more rewarding.

3. Finances

In an assisted living facility, you will incur significant expenses. Besides the time and stress of the move, residents are often required to pay for facility amenities and services whether they use them or not. When choosing in-home care, you have the option of getting only as much care as you need. Whether you are choosing an external caregiver, modifying the house,  opting for part-time care or full-time care – you can choose the services you need, and will only have to pay for those. In this way, in-home cares greatly reduces the economic burden.

4. Safety

According to Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, “Many risks such as infection are eliminated or minimized when care is given at home.” When professional caregivers provide quality home care, this risk is greatly minimized.  An example that Ross cites includes preventing stair falls in the home since seniors may be too weak or dizzy from medication since they fall when they’re cleaning or bathing.

These are just 5 of the reasons (and believe me, there are so many more) to choose in-home care. Ageing in itself can be a difficult and taxing time, but having your family around and living in the place you can home can help ease some of the stress. Ultimately, with the right planning, in-home care could be a great option for your and your family.

5. Personalization

Because in-home care is set up specifically for the recipient, it allows for complete personalization. One of the best reasons to choose in-home care is that it can be tailored specially to suit the recipient’s needs. Your loved ones are more likely to receive the personalized attention they deserve through in-home care rather than at a communal facility.

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Protecting Seniors from the Dangers of the 21st Century

seniors-onlineWhile seniors have always been a vulnerable subgroup of our population, the 21st century has spawned an entirely new batch of threats to protect them from. From con-artists to preventable diseases, here are three dangers to keep an eye out for.

Online Scams

In past centuries, swindlers have gained access to the elderly via the front door or the telephone. However, with 59% of seniors now using the internet, more and more con-artists are getting their foot in the virtual door.

The most common scams used against senior citizens include:

  • Phony lottery and sweepstakes seeking upfront fees to enter or collect winnings.
  • Impostors posing as representatives from Social Security and Medicare.
  • Offers for free or discount medications or medical equipment.
  • Credit card fraud and investment schemes.

Discuss such scams with your elderly loved ones and talk about how they can become a victim. Tell them how important it is not to automatically trust strangers — especially those seeking personal information and money. Caution them not to give out their credit card number online, to avoid investment offers (especially through unsolicited e-mail), and to be wary when dealing with individuals/companies from outside their own country. Offer to be a second set of eyes if they have any suspicions.

Opiate Addiction

Though you may have never suspected it, the number of seniors with opiate addiction problems is on the rise. In fact, about 20% of seniors struggle with substance abuse. Older adults are at risk for opiate abuse, mainly because they take more prescription medications than other age groups.

Most seniors are becoming addicted after doctors prescribe high-dose opioids to treat chronic pain. While there’s a place for high-dose opioids — for short-term use after major surgery or to ease suffering at the end of life — it’s better for seniors to take non-addictive medications like Cymbalta or Neurontin for chronic pain. There are also non-drug treatments such as acupuncture, medical massage, or hydrotherapy.

Since the signs and symptoms of addiction can be misinterpreted as products of normal aging, it’s important to pay close attention to the behavior of older adults in your life. A person who is addicted to a prescription drug may:

  • Demand narcotic drugs when visiting the doctor.
  • Shop for doctors.
  • Get a prescription for the same medication from two different doctors.
  • Fill a prescription for the same medication at two different pharmacies
  • Request early refills.
  • Take more of a prescription medicine than they used to — or take more than is instructed on the label.
  • Report that their medications have been lost or stolen (particularly if this occurs more than once).
  • Make excuses for why they need a medicine
  • Be uncomfortable or defensive when you ask about the medicine
  • Store “extra” pills in their purse or in their pocket
  • Sneak or hide medicine
  • Appear over sedated, disoriented or impaired.
  • Have major behavioral changes or mood swings.

If you believe an elderly loved one may have an addiction problem, you should intervene. Alert the prescribing doctor to your concerns. They will determine whether the person actually is abusing medicine or addicted — and will help them get treatment. Treatment will vary be based on each individual’s particular circumstances.

STDs

Americans are living longer, healthier lives — and are maintaining an interest in sex much longer than preceding generations. With the addition of drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra for men, and progesterone and estrogen creams for women, sex is both achievable and comfortable later in life.

Unfortunately, most seniors have never had any formal STD education. While many soldiers were warned against “ladies of the night” in foreign ports, they weren’t made aware that anyone can have an STD — even the nice guy or gal next door. As far as today’s senior citizen is concerned, if there’s no danger of pregnancy, there’s no need for a condom.

It’s easier for seniors to contract STDs because of their lowered immune systems. It’s also harder for doctors to detect STDs in seniors, because symptoms such as the worsening eyesight and arthritis caused by chlamydia and gonorrhea can be attributed to aging.

The best way to keep the seniors in your life healthy — at least sexually — is to give them the same information as young people. Give them a quick rundown on how STDs are transmitted, what their short- and long-term effects are, and how transmission can be prevented. You should also inform them that Medicare provides free STD screenings with low-cost treatment should results come back positive.

Today’s seniors face a number of unforeseen hazards and can benefit greatly from the support of their loved ones. Don’t be afraid to approach difficult subjects such as addiction and sexual health. We’re all human — even grandma and grandpa.

Liz Greene is a dog loving, beard envying, pop culture geek from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. You can catch up with her latest misadventures on Instant Lo or follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.

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4 Warning Signs Your Parents Need Home Care

parents-needing-home-careSince no one’s keen to lose their independence, it may be difficult for your aging parents to admit they are having trouble taking care of themselves and need assistance. While difficulty handling daily tasks doesn’t necessarily mean a move to an assisted living facility, it may indicate a need for some extra help around the home. However, when your parents are unwilling to confess a need for support, the burden falls on you to spot the signs.

Decreased Mobility
Walking, balance, and mobility are a leading safety concern for senior citizens; and with good reason. Falls can cause a number of health issues — in fact, one out of five falls causes serious harm, such as broken bones or a head injury

Look for signs of mobility problems, such as:

  • Balance issues (e.g. becoming unsteady when walking)
  • Difficulty getting out of a chair or when sitting down
  • Trouble going up or down stairs

Arrange for modifications throughout the home to improve accessibility, like added railings, grab bars, and barrier free showers.

Decline in Hygiene
Pay close attention to your parents’ personal hygiene routine. Choosing not to bath for a day or two is one thing, but skipping a week or more is something to be concerned about. Your parents might begin to neglect their hygiene for many reasons, such as a fear of falling, mobility problems, depression, or even Alzheimer’s. Be on the lookout for a decline in personal grooming activities, such as brushing hair and teeth, trimming nails, or shaving.

Change in Eating Habits
Do your parents appear to be losing weight, becoming dehydrated, or forgetting to eat? The next time you’re over at their house, surreptitiously check the refrigerator and pantry. Look for more convenience foods than normal, an abundance of spoiled food, or an empty fridge. All can be signs that your parents might be having trouble cooking, holding utensils, or they may have difficulty with their senses of taste and smell.

Increased Forgetfulness
We all have moments of occasional forgetfulness, but when it becomes an noticeable pattern in senior citizens, it’s important to take a closer look at the symptoms.

Are your parents:

  • Forgetting appointments, to pay bills, or take medicine?
  • Are they getting lost more regularly?
  • Have they begun repeating themselves or putting common objects in illogical places?

If this is the case, an assessment might be in order to help determine options and resources. When familiar tasks become challenging, or when your parents seem to struggle to complete a task that they’ve always done, it’s time to seek help.

One of the most frightening prospects for seniors is leaving home, so approach the idea of home care with sensitivity. Let them know that accepting assistance doesn’t mean leaving the warmth and familiarity of their own home; and that whatever service they choose to use, their personal caregiver’s top concern will be their health and happiness.

Liz Greene is a writer and former preschool teacher. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene

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Today is Home Care Association of America Lobby Day

Today, September 30, 2015, the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) Lobby Day was held with many HCAOA colleagues to meet with their elected officials to discuss important matters impacting the home care community.

We ask that you take action today to support their efforts on issues addressing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s companion care exemption, and the National Labor Relation Board’s recent decision on joint employers, and consumer protections to prevent worker misclassification.

You can help spread the word by:

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