Sunday, November 15, 2015

Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s or Other Forms of Dementia





Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related conditions can be challenging for families.  These progressive brain disorders make it difficult for a person to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and to take care of themselves.  In some cases, individuals experience mood swings as well as changes in personality and behavior.   

At the Caregiver.org website, tips are available for learning how to communicate better and more effectively deal with a family member suffering from dementia.  One of their first suggestions is to “set a positive mood for interactions.”  They explain that how you interact with the person sends a message, and approaching them in a pleasant, respectful manner conveys caring and affection.  Another suggestion is to limit any distractions and noise when you want to get the person’s attention.  Address them by name, remind them of your name, and look directly in their eyes to help keep them focused.

Be sure to speak slowly and clearly using simple words and short sentences.  Try and keep the pitch of your voice low and repeat the message if they do not understand the first time.  If you are asking a question, frame it so they can answer with a simple yes or no.  When possible, show them the choices and help guide a response.   

They also recommend changing up the environment if a loved one is upset.  Try taking a walk or suggest another activity that you know they enjoy.  Always do your best to be positive and to respond with affection and reassurance.  Humor and patience can go a long way when dealing with someone with dementia. 

If you have a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, SYNERGY HomeCare can provide the help you need.  We serve Central Texas with a broad range of non-medical, versatile and extremely flexible home care services.  Our compassionate, trained caregivers provide families with peace of mind knowing their loved one is receiving the level of care they need. 

**This blog is intended for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care provider regarding all medical decisions. **



SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the San Antonio area’s most trusted agencies for non-medical home care.  We provide families with affordable, reliable and compassionate services that include everything from short term wellness visits to live-in care.  Please contact us to discuss the range of services we can provide for your loved one. 

Source: caregiver.org/caregivers-guide-understanding-dementia-behaviors

Friday, November 13, 2015

Want to Age Comfortably in Your Own Home?





For many elderly adults, retaining a level of independence and privacy in their own home is extremely important.  It may be very doable with just a few modifications and some outside assistance, but first take the time to plan out what you sort of help you will require to ensure your continued safety and comfort.  

Many home modifications are relatively inexpensive and can help to make your home safer and more accessible.  Things like grab bars in the tub, grip mats in the bathroom and the addition of ramps to avoid stairs can make a difference.  Also although a more expensive modification, installing a new bathroom on the lower level floor can be helpful.

Furthermore, while you may have a supportive family and rely on them for help from time to time, in the long-term, you may want to consider looking into professional home care services.  Home care providers such as SYNERGY HomeCare, located in Central Texas, offer a broad range of services that you design around your specific needs.  If it is transportation that is a problem as you no longer feel comfortable driving but still need to get to and from doctor appointments and running errands, we can safely get you there. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by housework and having a hard time keeping up, SYNERGY HomeCare also offers light housekeeping services.  For anyone having trouble with personal daily care activities such as dressing, bathing, feeding, or meal preparation, we can offer a helping hand.  In addition our flexible, compassionate services include care management, recovery assistance, live-in or 24-hour care, recovery assistance, companionship and respite for family caregivers.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help. 

SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the most trusted agencies for non-medical home care in the Greater Austin area.  We provide families with affordable, reliable and compassionate services that include everything from live-in care to short term wellness visits.  Please contact us so we can offer your family peace of mind knowing you are getting the best professional home care available in Austin.    

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tips for Dealing with Hearing Loss






Hearing aids are primarily intended for hearing loss that stems from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, known as hair cells, and is referred to as sensorineural hearing loss.  The damage can be caused by diseases or injury from loud noises or trauma as well as aging (Presbycusis).

Although it is unclear why, Presbycusis seems to run in families and is also associated with years of exposure to loud noises known as noise-induced hearing loss. In fact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says that “It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.”  They add that, “Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.”

So what should you do if you suspect that you are experiencing a hearing loss?  The NIDCD recommends that you seek professional medical advice starting with your doctor.  From there, your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as an otolaryngologist, an audiologist, or a hearing aid specialist.  Otolaryngologists will try to diagnose why you are experiencing a hearing loss and may send you to an audiologist to be fitted for a hearing aid. 

A hearing aid is one way to deal with a hearing loss but there are several other treatments and devices commonly used.  Hearing aids make sounds louder and the NIDCD advises that you wear a hearing aid on a trial basis to ensure it is a good fit for you as often it takes a couple of tries to get fitted properly.  For severe hearing loss, you may be fitted with a small electronic device surgically implanted in the inner ear called a cochlear implant.  Other solutions include assistive listening devices such as “amplifying devices, smart phones or tablet "apps," and closed circuit systems.”   Finally learning to read lips can be helpful. 

**This blog is intended for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care provider regarding all medical decisions. **


SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the most trusted agencies in the Greater Austin area for non-medical home care.  Our affordable, reliable and compassionate services provide families with everything from live-in care to short term wellness visits.  Contact us for a complementary home visit to discuss the ways we can provide your family with the best professional care.    

Source:nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/older.aspx

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Household Aids to Help Keep Seniors Safe at Home




More and more seniors are opting to grow old in their own homes so it is important that the house is equipped with the tools they require to help keep them safe and provide peace of mind.  Many companies offer a line of ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) products designed to aid seniors’ mobility and maintain independence and accessibility throughout the home. 
 
If you or a loved one requires assistance to move safely in the home, you will want to go through room by room to determine what type of ADL household aids would be the most useful.  Common places where seniors can benefit from adaptive aids are in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  One potentially dangerous problem for a senior is falling out of bed as well as safely getting in and out of bed.  Bed rails are a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help keep seniors safely in bed and can offer the assistance they need getting in and out.  They are available in a variety of configurations and sizes to fit most beds.

Other important, life-saving home aids are fall and wandering alarms.  Available in a variety of models, the most sophisticated ones contain features that transmit both visual and audio alarm notifications in the event of an emergency. 

No matter what age, the bathroom can be the site of many accidents and to help address some of the dangers for the elderly, there are a whole host of products designed to offer assistance.  Easy to add ADL aids include grab bars, grip mats, shower and bath seats, and raised toilet seats.  There are even bath rails available that can be easily installed or removed without requiring any tools.     

At Austin’s SYNERGY HomeCare, our mission is to provide seniors compassionate and respectful non-medical care to help them maintain their independence and privacy in the comfort of their own home.  We will work closely with your family to ensure your loved one’s needs are met and to provide you with the peace of mind knowing you are getting the best home care services available.

**This blog is intended for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care provider regarding all medical decisions. **


SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the most respected agencies in the Greater Austin area for non-medical home care.  Our affordable, compassionate and services provide families with everything from live-in care to short term wellness visits.  Please contact us to discuss our range of options for providing your family peace of mind with the best Austin area home care services.    

Source: agingcare.com/Products

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Seniors Need to Protect Their Eyesight





There are steps we can take to ensure we protect our eyesight as we age.  One of the most important things we need to do is to have our eyes examined annually by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.  For those over the age of 65, it should also include a yearly dilated eye exam.  Also for anyone suffering from diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, eye care is critical as these diseases can lead to serious eye problems. 

Anyone can suffer from eye problems but it is typically more common for older adults to experience vision problems.  Keep in mind that while many eye problems can be treated easily, sometimes they can be a sign of more serious diseases.   

One of the most common changes to our vision affecting seniors is the condition known as Presbyopia.  This is where we lose the ability to clearly see close objects and small print.  Presbyopia is a normal aging process and can be corrected with reading glasses.

Another problem often reported by seniors are tiny specks or spots often called “floaters” that appear to float across your field of vision.   Although these can be normal for anyone with aging eyes, they can also be a sign of more serious eye problems such as retinal detachment.  It is important to have it checked out by your eye doctor.  

Many seniors experience dry, uncomfortable eyes that can cause itching, burning and sometimes even loss of vision.  The Cleveland Clinic advises that your doctor “may suggest using a humidifier in your home, nutritional supplements, such as flaxseed oil, medications to reduce inflammation as a cause, or special eye drops that simulate real tears.”   On the other side of too dry eyes, many elderly adults suffer from too many tears.  This can occur from a sensitivity to light, wind or temperature changes.  Protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses can sometimes help but check with your doctor to make sure it is not a more serious problem such as a blocked tear duct or an infection.  

Other more serious eye diseases include cataracts, glaucoma and retinal disorders.  Cataracts form over time and if they start to affect your eyesight can generally be removed by surgery.  Glaucoma and retinal disorders are very serious and need to be treated as early as possible in order to protect your vision. 

**This blog is intended for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care provider regarding all medical decisions. **

SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the San Antonio area’s most trusted agencies for non-medical home care.  We provide families with affordable, reliable and compassionate services that include everything from short term wellness visits to live-in care.  Please contactus to discuss the range of services we can provide for you or your loved one. 


Sources:my.clevelandclinic.org/services/cole-eye/diseases-conditions/hic-vision-problems-in-aging-adults, nia.nih.gov/health/publication/aging-and-your-eyes,
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/basics/definition/con-20015113

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Growing Need for Caregivers





According to the new Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, it discovered that over the past year “about 43.5 million American adults worked as unpaid caregivers, the bulk of them to an adult age 50 or older.”  Furthermore, the study found that while family caregivers are usually women around 50 years of age and that their caregiving duties are for a relative; caregivers come from a variety of ages and backgrounds and are both men and women.         

One aspect the study looked at was the level of stress for the caregivers and it was no surprise that unpaid caregivers who were on the job for more than 21 hours a week reported the most stress.  The average length of time those who were high-hour a week caregivers have done the job is five years.   Most reported they expect to continue in their role as caregiver for another five years. 

As projections from the Census Bureau estimate the number of U.S. seniors 65 and older will almost double from 2012 to 2050 and the number of seniors 85 years and older more than triple, there will certainly be a need for more caregivers.  In a recent article in NBC’s Business section it quotes John Schall, chief executive of the Caregiver Action Network, as saying, "We are seeing, without a doubt, that the caregiving need is just growing and growing."  The article went on to say that currently over 80 percent of adults 51 to 54 years old may be “at risk” of needing to provide care for a parent or in-law due to health problems. 

At SYNERGY HomeCare of Austin, we understand the stress of juggling caregiving with work, raising children and managing a household can have over time.  This is why we provide professional and compassionate respite care services to allow you to take some much-needed time for yourself while still meeting the needs of your loved one. 

SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the most respected agencies in the Greater Austin area for non-medical home care.  Our affordable, compassionate services provide families with everything from live-in care to short term wellness visits.  Please contact us to discuss our range of options for providing your family peace of mind with professional home care in the Austin area.    

Sources:aarp.org/ppi/info-2015/caregiving-in-the-united-states-2015.html
nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/more-americans-pay-steep-price-plunge-caregiving-cliff-n425081