How to Handle the Death of a Loved One

Don't lose hope. When the sun comesThe death of a loved one is quite possibly one of the most difficult things you will ever experience. Most people find that when a loved one dies, they are met with high levels of grief, and try and find out how to handle the death of a loved one. When you experience the death of a loved one, there’s no easy way to get through the process, but the following tips may help you better cope, allowing the process to be easier on you.

Understanding Grief

One of the first emotions you’ll often experience upon the death of a loved one is grief. According to experts, grief comes in stages, but regardless of the stage you’re in, it’s still just as difficult to cope with. Some people may tell you that you need to move on with your life, or the time has come to let go, but grief can last for many years after the death. In order to go through grief in a healthy way, you need to let your feelings be felt completely. Even if you feel like facing reality will make things harder on you, it will actually benefit you in the long run. You need to feel grief completely, let your emotions take hold, and know that this feeling is completely healthy and natural. The more you allow yourself to feel, the easier it will be for you to move out of the stage of grief and into acceptance. It’d also important to remember that everyone grieves in their one way, and for as long as they need. Don’t try and push yourself through this stage, simply allow it to come naturally.

Connect with others

When you lose someone you love, it’s easy to feel alone, and as if no one in the world understands what you’re going through. However, you’re far from alone. Most people have experienced a death of someone they love in the past, and they can completely relate to your pain. Keeping all of your pain inside will actually cause it to get worse, or possibly suppressed. When your feelings are suppressed, they can come out in different ways, having a negative impact on your life.

You can talk to those close to you, those going through the same loss, or even join support groups that will help you talk to others about your loss in a healthy manner. Each of these routes provides the same benefits.

Read: Hospice Care: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Reduce the physical effects

Grief can lead to high levels of stress, which appear not only in mental ways, but in physical as well. You may feel shaky, have stomach issues, suffer from migraines, and experience similar symptoms as a result of your loss. Using relaxation techniques is the most effective way to cope with the physical effects.

Some people find deep breathing techniques to be effective. You want to take a deep breathe into your nose, hold it for five seconds, and then slowly exhale out of your mouth. This should be done in sets of three to five, and on a daily basis in order to get the best results.

Meditation is another effective technique for ridding your body of stress. Many people think that meditation takes years of practice, but you can actually learn this technique in no time at all. The best way to start is to take deep breathes in a quiet space, and work to clear your mind of all of your thoughts. Whenever you feel a thought some in, recognize it and then let it go.

Taking care of yourself

Because of the feelings that arise when a loved one dies, it’s easy to stop caring for yourself. Many people lose sleep and avoid eating all-together, but these two acts will make it harder for you to recover. It’s important that you try and get as much sleep as possible, and if you’re experiencing difficulty, your doctor may be able to provide you with medication to help you short-term.

Eating healthy is also important. Even if you find eating difficult because of the vast array of feelings you’re going through, snacking throughout the day will provide your body with the nutrition it needs to remain healthy and help you to deal.

Conclusion

While the healing process can be a long one, these tips can make it go smoother for you, and will allow you to eventually move past the loss, and remember your love one with love in your heart.

 

Signs of Elder Abuse in Senior Care Facilities

AbuseIt’s nowhere in writing; however, we have a responsibility to protect our elders. They’ve made our lives comfortable as we know it today. Unfortunately, greed has taken over many that work directly with our elders. Each year, 2 million seniors become victims of abuse or neglect. It’s important for you to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse in senior care facilities because you may be the only voice they ever have.

Why It’s Difficult Determining Elder Abuse

It is easier said than done to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Even when a senior breaks down and tells about their situation, it’s often hard to believe. That could be because it sounds so outrageous, and the senior care facility seems so warm and loving looking from the outside in. Some of the abusive signs may mimic signs of dementia. Hopefully, this article will bring out the awareness you need to keep an open mind and heart.

The Types of Elder Abuse in Senior Care Facilities

The New York Times published an article in October 2000, Congressional Investigators Cite Safety Violations at Nursing Homes. This listed many tragic incidents reported throughout the United States of senior victims. Violations were found such as:

• Restraints found on residents
• No one responding to a resident’s plea for help
• Being bathed with soiled towels
• Ants crawling around the face of an elderly resident
• Residents are physically abused by other residents
• Molestation while bathing residents

There are many other terrible situations. The thought of these heinous actions is a cause for alarm. And, while some manners are nowhere near as serious as these, they are still minimizing our elderly’s dignity, freedom, and quality lifestyle. Below we discuss five common types of elder abuse in senior care facilities and how to recognize their signs.

Recognizing Financial Abuse

One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial abuse. An elder’s money or property is misused or taken from them, including clothing, jewelry, and checks. You’ll notice this happening to your senior loved one if they have many unusual bank withdrawals, property no longer in their name, revisions to their will or trusts, or new credit lines opened.

Recognizing Physical Abuse

Sometimes physical abuse is easily recognized such as bruises on the arms and legs, bedsores, or broken bones. However, other things such as being slapped, pushed, shaken, forced fed, or not fed at all are not as easy to detect. Even when you do see these things, being in a senior care facility, a caregiver can fabricate “reasonable” explanations for it all. Things can be said such as “They fell off the bed, slipped in the tub, or had a bad night and dreamed it all” can be phrased in such a way, it’s believable. Other things to watch out for include sudden weight loss, dehydration, or always heavily sedated.

Recognizing Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, sexual abuse is defined as any form of sexual activity in which one party involved does not give consent. However, being in a care facility, no employee or volunteer should be engaging in this conduct, even with a willing senior. Sexual abuse comes in many forms, including rape, fondling in the bathtub, sexual comments, exposure of genitals, and sexual harassment. A few signs you’ll notice are bleeding or bruises in genital areas, torn underwear, or having a sexually transmitted disease.

Recognizing Emotional Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse inflicts fear and minimizes the feeling of self-worth and dignity in seniors every day. Emotional abuse includes:

• Ignoring a senior
• Calling them names
• Shouting at them
• Threatening
• Humiliating
• Placing them in isolation
• Stripping them of making decisions

Senior victims of elder abuse exhibit signs of depression, often mumbles, are fearful and blame themselves consistently for minor problems.

Recognizing Isolation and Neglect

In senior care facilities that are understaffed and underpaid, isolation and neglect are a common occurrence. Staff may not want to be “bothered” with residents and lock them away in a room, unable to access their crutches or wheelchair. They may strap them down to their beds to prevent them from “hurting” themselves. They have no social interactions with other residents or staff.

Neglect of a senior is when a caregiver does not meet the senior’s needs. They won’t provide them with the food and beverages they need to sustain themselves, won’t properly bathe them, nor provide accurate medicines for pain and stability. You’ll notice signs of isolation and regret in seniors:

• Dressed in soiled clothing
• Living in unsanitary and unsafe living environments
• Appear malnourished
• Given frequent sedatives
• Show marks on their wrists and ankles, indicating they’ve been restrained

It’s hard to believe that any of this could go on inside a senior care facility. After all, they are supposed to be cared for. In these times, no one should be underestimated. For more information on how you can detect and stop elder abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/

7 YouTube Videos Every Caregiver Should Watch

As a caregiver, you have many responsibilities. You may have been positioned as a caregiver at the last minute, with no formal training on taking care of your senior loved one. Taking care of the elderly, you should have a visual demonstration of how to handle their needs, for their safety and yours. Here are seven YouTube videos that every caregiver should watch.

1. Understanding and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you may have a limited support system. Family and friends may help out initially, but their support gradually fades away. They are busy supporting their family. Their finances are tied up in their household needs. They don’t understand that even one hour a day provides you with much-needed relief.

You’ll notice signs of caregiver burnout such as having anxiety, restless nights, or are easily frustrated. You may avoid social interactions as well. Second Opinion has a health care team addressing caregiver burnout and what can be done about it. It’s important to address your health and emotional needs before you can assist others.

2 . Feeding a Senior While in Bed

Feeding a senior is not as easy as you would think. There are a lot of concerns, such as if they can sit up properly to swallow food, if they can chew their food, and what foods they can eat. A senior can easily become malnourished due to special dietary concerns of dysphagia. So it’s important that you understand how and what foods to feed your senior loved one. Caregiver Minute presents this video that shows you step by step instructions on feeding a senior while they are in bed.

3. Simple Modifications for Senior Home Safety

85-90% of seniors want to stay at home, and it is recommended they stay home for their mental well-being. Were you aware that the majority of household accidents seniors are involved in occur in the bathroom? Certain accidents such as falling over objects, falling off ladders, or slipping in the bathroom occur often, but can be avoided. Home Instead reviews their Home Safety Checklist. In this video, you will learn simple and inexpensive tips to modify your senior loved ones home for safety.

4. How to Transfer Your Loved One

As your senior loved ones primary caregiver, you are going to need to transition them from a laying down position to a sitting up position. You may need to move them from the bed to a chair. Moving them around often helps prevents bed sores and their muscles from tightening. It also exposes them to other areas of the home so that isolation and loneliness does not set in.

Transferring your loved one around is not easy at all. It is far more difficult than moving a heavy object because you must be careful not to cause physical injuries to yourself or them. Watch this video by Family Caregiver Alliance to learn how to transfer seniors around safely.

5. Managing Medications

A very tough job for caregivers is managing medications. It’s a difficult enough task getting a senior to take just one prescription, but when you have a host of them, it’s confusing as well. Doctors do attempt to prescribe the least amount of medications for a patient. When they are on multiple pills, they then attempt to let the senior take as many as possible together. This is not always safe to do. So in those situations, you, as their caregiver take on the immense responsibility of ensuring they take their medications on time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outstanding video reviewing various tips on proper medication management.

6. How to Monitor Blood Sugar

Your loved one’s blood sugar should be carefully monitored. If it’s too high or too low, the senior could become very sick. Knowing where their blood sugar levels are at is important to treat them immediately if something should occur. It’s also important to track it so your senior loved one’s doctor will know if their diet should be adjusted or prescriptions changed.

Monitoring your blood sugar is not as simple as poking one’s finger. There are precautions and proper procedures that should be followed. Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to monitor your loved one’s blood sugar levels. They also have this important video demonstrating how to administer insulin using an insulin pen.

7. How To Measure Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure levels can alert you to a serious problem in your loved one. Too high or low blood pressure could be an indication of neurological or heart disorders. The symptoms include dizziness, thirst, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. However, it’s not always apparent, especially in seniors with diabetes. As a caregiver, you should monitor your loved one’s blood pressure levels to ensure they are safe. Cal Poly’s PolyFit students give an excellent overview and demonstration of how to measure blood pressure.

These videos will help ease your transition into the role of caregiver for your senior loved one. Best of all, they are always there for you to refer to if you get nervous or forget.

Activities of Daily Living

As our parents age, we often try not the think about the worst case scenarios. However, the truth is, your parents will age and come to a state where they depend on us to handle their financial, legal, and emotional matters. It’s important for you to know their wishes and how to obtain important documentation. Here are seven questions to ask your aging parents before it’s too late, and things become complicated.

1. Do You Have Someone to Make Health Care Decisions for You?

In most cases, aging parents are expected to make health care decisions for their spouse. However, decisions can be prolonged or go in the opposite direction of what a person wanted. This is because family and close friends are too emotionally attached, thinking of their own wants and needs. Your aging parents can select a health care proxy who will handle all their health care decisions. Before they designate one, they need to be sure this person can carry out their wishes.

2. Do You Have an Idea of the Type of Medical Care You Want?

Having a health care decision maker only works well if they know your medical care wishes. That’s why it’s important to discuss with the decision maker exactly what they want, especially when faced with the end of life decisions. Comfort levels, pain management, life support decisions, these are all important as your parent does have their own views.

3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?

The fact that both of your parents are alive and well does not mean they shouldn’t have a will or living trust established. Typically, when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically receives the assets. However, what should happen if they become incapacitated or pass away soon thereafter? It’s important that both of your aging parents establish a will or living trust so their possessions can be passed on as they wish.

4. Do You Have Your Long-Term Care Plan in Place?

Some parents believe they will stay at home until they pass on. They don’t think about how they will be able to remain at home and be comfortable. There are costs involved, such as an actual caretaker, medications, and supportive equipment. They may, in fact, not be able to remain at home and need to go to a supportive facility such as an assisted living or nursing home.

The costs of these communities are rising so having a long-term care plan in place, especially insurance, is going to be helpful. If they do have long-term care insurance in place, set up an appointment for you, your parents, and the insurance agent to discuss the policy in full. You need to make sure you understand it and the coverage options.

5. Where Can I Find Your Important Documents and Are They Current?

If you are not familiar with where your parents keep their important documents, it’s time to find out. If something were to happen to them, you don’t want to waste time searching their home for insurance documents, medical paperwork, financial statements, or proxy designation forms. Any documents kept in a safe deposit box should have a designated family member assigned a key. Ensure these documents are up to date as well.

6. Do You Have All Your Doctor’s Listed in One Location?

Should an emergency happen, it could be critical for attending physicians to talk to your parent’s primary care physician (PCP). There could have been a recent appointment that uncovered important information about your parent’s medical condition. You should know who their physicians are and how to contact them.

7. What Are Your Current Medications?

As your parents age, you can expect that sooner or later there may be medication management problems. They may get confused regarding what prescriptions they take and why. They may mix up their dosage. Having a clear understanding of their prescriptions could save your parent’s life should they become confused.

If your parents are comfortable and open with you, go over these 35 questions that AARP has compiled together. Sometimes the best way to be there for your aging parents is to ask them the hard and uncomfortable questions.

Discover 10 things you should never say to your aging parents. http://bit.ly/1DsAmGV

How to Care For a Senior Citizen At Home

Senior CitizenYou want the senior citizen in your life to get the best care possible, and when you care for a senior at home, you can provide them with just that. There’s a process for caring for a senior citizen at home. It requires time, patience, and the ability to understand their unique needs and meet them accordingly. By caring for a senior citizen at home, they can maintain their independence while staying in the comfort of their home and spend time each day with those closest to them.

Decide where the care will take place

The first step towards providing in-home care is deciding where the care will take place. Some people move a senior citizen into their own home, while others provide in-home care at the senior’s current residence. The best location for care is the one that’s most convenient for you, and where the senior citizen feels most comfortable.

Determine the need for medical care

While caring for a senior citizen at home, you’ll need to ensure their medical needs are met on an ongoing basis. You can hire medical professionals to care for a senior at home. They may come to the home on a daily basis to administer medication, take vitals, and provide similar as-needed medical treatment. If the need for consistent medical treatment isn’t present, the medical care may be provided out of home. You can determine the need for medical care and treatment with the senior’s current doctor to create an effective plan that ensures their medical needs are met.

Look into programs in your state

There are funding programs available that provide funds to those caring for senior citizens. The type of funding available, and the amount provided to the caregiver vary according to state. In order to find out more about the program available in your state, you’ll need to inquire with your local care agency. Some agencies have a waiting list, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible to guarantee funding for care.

Determine personal care needs

Some senior citizens require personal services if they’re unable to care for themselves. You may need to provide baths, showers, assist with going to the bathroom, dress the senior, and complete similar tasks. By determining areas of need for personal care, you can create a care schedule to make the process structured.

Create a meal chart

Creating a meal chart with the senior citizen prior to starting care will help you plan for buying groceries and making meals each week. You can include the senior in meal planning to involve them in the care, and choose meals that suit their individual taste. The meals you choose to make should be well-rounded and include all areas of the food chain.

Household Services

If you are caring for a senior citizen within their own home, providing household services is part of the care you’ll need to provide. Keeping up with the household duties ensures the house remains clean, and the services needed are dependent upon the homes activity level. General household services include; laundering clothing, doing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, wiping off counters and similar household chores.

Consider a live-in aid

In some cases you may want to provide your friend or loved one with at-home care, but may not have the time needed to provide them with the with one-on-one care they need. In this care, you can consider the use of a live-in aid. This type of aid doesn’t belong to the medical field in most cases, but can offer the services outlined above on an ongoing basis. The aid will provide complete care for a senior citizen, outside of medical care, unless certification is present. If the senior qualifies for funding, the entire cost of an at-home care aid may be covered.

Conclusion

Some people feel more comfortable in knowing they are the ones caring for a senior citizen, or are overlooking all areas of the seniors care. The process of caring for a senior citizen at home can be simple with the right schedule, structure, and ongoing routine.

What have you found most rewarding when caring for a senior citizen at home?

Hospice Care: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Hospice Care are:

What is hospice care?

Hospice Hospice is a philosophy of care that aims at improving the quality of life rather than the length of life. It treats persons who are diagnosed with terminal illness such as cancer, advanced dementia or heart failure. This form of care not only surrounds around the patient but also addresses the emotional needs of family members who will be affected by the demise of the patient. Hospices aim at providing emotional, physical as well as mental support to the patient and their family members to help them cope with the life-limiting situation.

Who is best suited for hospice care?

Hospices aim to provide pain and symptom control to the patients and provide psychological and social support as well. It is specifically meant for those who have limited life expectancy and diagnosed with serious medical conditions. This form of care is meant for patients who need physical, emotional as well as spiritual guidance to lead a fruitful life before death. Seriously ill patients who want to cope with their life-limiting situation need hospices to care for them and provide support. Hospices provide holistic and total care to not only the patients but also prepare the family members for life without their loved ones.

Should we wait for doctor’s advice before opting for hospice?

Hospice care is meant for those patients whose life is limited. Often doctors fail to bring up the topic of hospice until it is too late so you must be the one to bring up the topic of hospices to doctors. You can always seek the doctor’s permission to allow hospices who specialize in pain control to ease the distress of your loved ones. If your doctor refuses to grant permission then you can always seek second advice and discuss the matter thoroughly before deciding what is best for your loved ones.

Can hospice treatment be stopped if the patient recovers?

Yes, definitely hospice care can be stopped if the patient shows signs of recovery or requires advanced medical attention. Most often hospices deal with patients who are terminally ill and have no chance of living beyond six months or one year. However, there are instances of miracle when patients can get better due to the constant care and support from hospices. Under such circumstances, you can discharge the patient and get your loved ones back to normal life. Further, if the patient needs advanced medical treatment, then you can also discharge the patient from hospice care and get her admitted to hospitals.

What is the admission procedure for hospice care?

Before admitting any patient, the hospice providers assess the condition of the patient and seek permission from the patient’s physician for hospice care. Only with approval of the physician can patients be admitted for hospice treatment.

Is hospice available at any time throughout the day?

Hospices work 24 hours a day and they are always ready to provide support to patients who are suffering from terminal illness. Most hospices have nurses who respond to calls within minutes and set out on giving the right advice to patients and their family members.

How can we judge the quality of hospice care?

Hospices follow a set standard as provided under the “Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs” by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Most importantly, these accreditation programs regularly check the hospices to find their policies, personal records and medical facilities to accredit them for hospice care. If the center is accredited then you can sure about the quality of the care services provided at such facilities.

6 Recent Trends in Nursing Home Care

Nursing HomeThe past stigma that nursing home care is just about providing a place for old people to live out their final years is of course not true. Although, let’s be honest when was the last time you even thought of visiting an old friend living in a nursing home?

Treating our elderly as worthwhile contributors in our society is not only an important part of them maintaining their dignity, but it is also a vital element in our social evolution.

Thankfully, modern nursing home care facilities are starting to adopt strategies that are designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate their clients into a more normal life style.

1. Nursing home care is becoming more rehabilitation orientated

Due to the high cost of skilled nursing, the trend is for nursing facilities to become short-term rehabilitation centers. Typically, over 25% nursing home resident admissions are after hospitalization for a serious injury or acute medical procedure. A growing number of nursing home patients return home fully recovered to live independent life styles.

2. Technology is enhancing our nursing homes.

We are far from the emulation of Star Trek, but technology is becoming a huge part of caring for our seniors. Specialized computers systems are being developed to do tasks that range from keeping track of medications and vital signs to mobile networks that help run smart-homes allowing for independent living.

3. Families oriented living arrangements

The cost of senior care is forcing families to rearrange their housing to accommodate the care their seniors. A well designed multi-generational housing unit is not only a cost saving measure but also a highly manageable way of keep the seniors in the family setting.

4. Senior living cooperatives

A senior living cooperative is a good way of maintaining a degree of independence while sharing some of the expenses with other seniors. The senior lives in an independent home but shares certain expenses and recreational areas. The members of the community setting will typically pay monthly dues to maintain the property and pay for housekeeping and some shared meals

5. Baby boomers prefer eco-friendly

Today’s senior citizen are much better informed and are demanding safer and more eco-friendly conditions to live. They understand that consuming organic and nutrient rich food will keep them healthier. They recognize that using LEED-certified eco-friendly materials and appliances will lead to significant cost savings in the future. They know that they will be more comfortable, happier and healthier living in environmental friendly conditions.

6. The home health care industry is booming

Senior citizens don’t want to be institutionalized.  Today’s senior citizen wants to be independent and at home for as long as possible. Home health care is much more affordable and effective than a nursing care facility due to technology enhancements and civic planning initiatives. The home health care alternative will continue to grow in popularity due to the many advantages it offers over an institutional setting.

There are many consideration to be taken into account when planning for long-term care and it can be quite overwhelming. However there is no reason to fret, visit our Facebook Page for a great place to build relationships and get advice.

 

How to Avoid 5 Common Medication Mistakes

medication mistakesA National Institute of Health study found that over 40% of seniors take 5 or more medications on a daily basis and 90% take at least 1 prescription. The study also found that as many as 55% of seniors are also taking their medication improperly. Taking medications incorrectly, can be a matter of life or death. This is why it’s  more important than ever that we learn the common medication mistakes and find ways to prevent them from happening.

1. Overdosing on medications

Overdosing is the number one problem when it comes to common medication mistakes. Overdosing can be done unintentionally or intentionally. Either way, there are ways to help prevent overdosing on medications. The most overdosed medications that are typically used are painkillers and antidepressants.

Solution: Some times overdose can happen because the senior couldn’t read the dosage correctly on the bottle. A pill sorter could help overcome this problem or a larger label on the pill container with the proper dosage amount listed, so they can clearly read the label.

2. Confusing medications for one another

Often medication can look similar and are often stored in traditional orange pill containers. This can cause a confused senior to take the wrong medication without knowing it. Also, seniors typically have weaker eyesight and this can cause them to not be able to read the labels properly.

Solution: Sorting medicines in bright-colored pill sorters can help seniors determine which medicine is the correct one to take. There are several different types of pill sorters and they can be bought at any drug store or many grocery stores. Each pill sorter should be clearly labeled with the name of the medicine and how much is prescribe to take each time. It’s a good idea to have the medications sorted out in advance. Many people like to organize their medications for a week or two-week time period.

3. Medicines interacting with other prescribed medicines

There are many medicines used and several of them can’t be taken with one another. This is why it’s very important that you discuss all of the medications you’re currently taking with your doctor before he or she prescribes you another medication. Since 40% of seniors taking 5 or more medications at once, it can be easy for seniors to accidentally get medications that can cause dangerous mistakes if taken together.

Solution: While doctors and pharmacists should stay on top of the medicine their patients are being prescribed, mistakes can happen. To avoid this deadly mistake, keep a list of all the medications you’re currently taking with you when you go to the doctor. Also, when you pick up your prescription, talk to the pharmacist about the medications, side effects and other medications that can’t be taken with that medication.

4. Food and drug interactions

The same for other medications, there are some foods that you should stay away from when taking certain medications. For example, there are 85 different medications that can cause harm when taken when you eat grapefruit. There are also blood thinners that shouldn’t be combined with high vitamin K diets.

Solution: Always read the warning labels on the pill containers. If the pills are placed in a pill sorter, make a note on the outside of the pill sorter of foods that you should stay away from while taking the medication. This is another reason why it’s important to speak to the doctor and pharmacy about any new medications you’re taking.

5. Wrong route of administration

The FDA has released information that about 16% of all medications taken, are administered incorrectly. For example, this could be a medication that was swallowed whole when it was supposed to be taken sub-lingually or a liquid that was taken orally when it was supposed to be taken either by injection or through the nasal cavity.

Solution: Again, this is why it’s very important for you to read the labels and talk to your doctor and pharmacist about how to take each medication. A simple mishap could be a life or death situation and be a mistake that can’t be corrected.

Source and for more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/MedicationErrors/default.htm

 

Nursing Homes: Everything You Need To Know – Part 2

Nursing HomesFinding a nursing home for you or a loved one isn’t an easy process. As we discussed in Nursing Homes: Everything You Need To Know – Part 1, you will need to take your time and know exactly what a nursing home is and find which one is the best fit for you or your loved one.

In part 2, we are going to discuss how to break down the searching process and skim through the different nursing home options that you will have.

Find a vareity of nursing homes

As mentioned before, finding the right nursing home isn’t an overnight process or a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. During this process, you should learn as much information as possible about each nursing home you come across and then use the information to help narrow down your final choices.

Obtain as many referrals as possible. More than likely, you will have family or friends who have made the decision about long term care or know some who has. Ask friends, family and coworkers if they know any places that they would recommend. Ask them as many questions as possible to get their honest opinion. Let them know your situation and what type of place you are looking for. You may be surprised by how much information and reviews you can gather during this process.

Educate yourself with online resources. We all know the Internet is a customers best friend. The Internet is chuck full of reviews about products and services, but did you know there are places that you can read reviews about senior care options such as nursing homes? Care Compare is a great place to get these reviews and information about local nursing homes. It’s important to read through these reviews and get a better understanding about how others view the nursing homes you are looking into.

Take yours or your loved ones medical needs into consideration. This is very important because not all nursing homes care for the same type of illnesses or conditions. Some may specialize is Alzheimer’s disease while another one might only offer care for people who need minimal medical supervision and little assistance.

Factor in distance. When you place a loved one into a nursing home, you don’t want them to feel alone. When looking at nursing homes, it’s important that you try to find local options, that are easy for friends and family to visit. When family and friends are local, it will make the resident in the nursing home feel more secure and safe, as well.

Plan a visit to each of the nursing homes, before making your decision. It’s very important to make sure you visit a nursing home before placing your loved one in their care. We recommend visiting the nursing home at least twice, at different times of days.

It’s important to know that many nursing homes may have alarms or areas that are restricted to outside guest with out a pass to enter. This is for the safety of the residents. Some residents may wonder and they need to have areas closed for their safety and protection.

What to look for when you visit a nursing home

Cleanliness. The halls and rooms should be free of any clutter. The odor should be very minimal and free of any urine odors. Also, be on the look out for any smells of strong deodorizers because this may be used to mask those odors.

• Food. Find out what types of foods are served and the times of days the residents have access to meals. Do the meals look healthy and nutritious and do they look like something you or your loved one would enjoy eating?

• Layout of the nursing home. Most nursing homes are laid out about the same, with a nursing station in a central location and the rooms out in different wings. The difference between most nursing homes is how homely of a feel it gives their residents and guests. When you walk in, you should instantly feel that feeling of being at home and cozy. Their should be plants, art work and other decoration to help make the residents feel at home.

• Activities. It’s important for the nursing home to offer social activities for their residents. This could be bingo, arts and crafts, outside activities, social hour, book clubs…etc. Some nursing homes offer their residents options to go out and about. For example trips to stores, sporting events and concerts. Of course, outside activities depends if the resident is physically and mentally able to do so.

• Specialized in any conditions. If your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s, you should look for a nursing home that specializes in Alzheimer’s disease. Facilities that specialize in different diseases and medical conditions will be the best fit for your loved one if they are suffering thought it, as well.

In part 3 of Nursing Homes: Everything You Need To Know, we will discuss how to handle the emotions of moving into a nursing home and how to over ease the transition.

Nursing Homes: Everything You Need To Know – Part 1

Nursing HomesAs the population ages, we are all faced with the decision to either place our loved ones in a nursing home, convalescent home or search out alternative options. This decision may come about all of a sudden after an illness that lead your loved one into the hospital or this could be a decision that you will want to be well prepared for in the future.

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be a very stressful and emotional situation. This is mostly because of the misconceptions about nursing homes and negative media attention we all hear on a regular basis. While there are some nursing homes that aren’t the best, there is plenty that can be a wonderful home for your loved one.

What Are Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes are usually the top level of nursing care for older or disabled adults, outside of a hospital. Nursing homes offer nursing staff, both nurses and aides, 24/7. Most nursing homes depending on the level of care will have either an LPN or an RN on staff at all times, if not both at the same time. Each state has their own set of laws, so it’s important to check with your state to find out the ratio and mandatory number of nurses to be on staff at any given time.

Nursing homes provide custodial care such as providing assistance with bathing, feeding, dressing and toileting. Depending on the nursing home, they may offer more extensive care for residents who require more medical attention or services. Nursing homes also have other skilled professionals on site during the day. These types of professionals include occupational or physical therapists, care workers and dietitians.

Living arrangements in nursing homes

The living arrangement that your loved one will be faced with will vary depending on the nursing home that you select. Some nursing homes offer private rooms that include a bed, seating for the resident and their family members as well as a dresser and a closet. Each room would also have their own private restroom that may or may not have a private shower.

The most popular and cost-effective living arrangement in nursing homes is shared rooms. These are rooms that two residents would share. They would each have their own bed, dresser and or closet and a chair for guest or themselves to sit in. Shared rooms usually have one bathroom that both residents will share and sometimes there will be a shower in the bathroom. Most places will have a shower room that is separate from the room and is shared with other residents in the hall or wing.

Typically, nursing homes will split their facility up into different sections. There may be a wing that is for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, a wing for residents who only need minimal assistance, but need 24/7 monitoring and other wings for different medical conditions. Each nursing home is different and you need to make sure you find one that will cater your loved ones individual needs.

Dinning areas are usually placed in the middle of the facility to make it easier for every resident has access to it. While residents are allowed to eat in their rooms in many nursing homes, it’s highly encouraged that every resident who is physically able to, joins the other residents in the dinning room for their meal. This is a chance for the residents to be social and engage with their peers. There will be at least 2 food choices for the resident to choose from at each meal. Typically, there is a calendar posted for the residents to review beforehand.

When should you, consider looking into nursing homes?

Looking into nursing homes is something that is better done sooner than later. The reason why is because you want to have time to research and become aware of your options. When a tragedy hits and we are rushed into making a decision quickly, we may find ourselves not making the right decision and regretting the choice we made.

Choosing a nursing home is not an easy process and there can be a lot of emotion throughout the process. It’s important to take a few questions into consideration before making your final choice.

Has the senior been fully assessed recently? If your loved one is being placed into a nursing home after being hospitalized, an assessment has more than likely already been properly completed. If this is a decision that you and your loved one are starting to consider, it’s important that you have their primary doctor do an assessment and make sure you know what direction is the best to take when looking into nursing homes.

Would living in a nursing home be temporary or permanent? This is an important question to ask yourself because you want to make sure your loved one is being placed somewhere where they will be comfortable for either a short period of time or permanently. As for cost-effective methods, you will want to make sure their will be enough money to pay for the care for long-term.

Will their be enough support for the senior? Different nursing homes can come with different levels of care. It’s important to make sure the nursing home you choose will be able to match and exceed those needs. Your loved one may need more care later on and you will want to make sure they will be able to receive it without having to go through the stress of being moved to another facility.

Stay tuned for Nursing Homes: Everything You Need To Know – Part 2