Boca Home Care Blog

Top Tips For Protecting Your Aging Skin All Year Round

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on Top Tips For Protecting Your Aging Skin All Year Round

Protecting Your Aging Skin All Year Round

Protecting Your Aging Skin

Keeping your skin moisturized is a year round job. In the summer we are mainly concerned with avoiding sunburns. Sunburns can range from a mild redness and warmth in the skin to full on blisters or even 2nd and 3rd degree burns. In the winter, our skin can get so dry that it cracks and bleeds. The continually dry air combined with the cold does not bode well for our skin any more than over-exposure to the sun does.

There are many ways that we can maintain the skin’s natural moisture during any season. Keeping our bodies moisturized from the inside out, creams, gels and lotions, and lifestyle changes.

Protecting your skin all year involves:

  • Avoiding over-exposure of the skin to the sun – Wearing long sleeves, ball caps, large hats and sunscreen will help prevent sunburns and dryness all year round. Use lighter creams in the summer to allow your skin to sweat. In the winter, a thicker cream will help keep out the dry, cold and maintain moisture. We may think of the summer as the time when the sun’s rays are the most intense, but sun bouncing off of snow can be just as high in UV rays and just as dangerous.
  • Wearing waterproof gloves and boots in winter – This is smart because it not only keeps your hands warm, it also maintains the skin’s natural moisture. If you do not have waterproof gloves, be sure to keep spare pairs of socks or gloves with you in case of one pair getting wet. Winter temperatures can dip below freezing, causing frostbite, especially if your clothing gets wet.
  • Indoors can be harsh on your skin as well. Furnaces and fireplaces as well as air conditioning in the summer can make your skin dry. Using a humidifier in the winter and making sure to get outside in the summer (or using a humidifier in dry, hot climates) can help keep your skin moist. A cheap way to get moisture into the air on a dry winter’s day is to boil water on the stove, or set a pot, or bowl, of water overtop a heater vent.
  • Creams and lotions, especially those made from plants are best to aid you in keeping your skin healthy.
  • Avoid taking long baths in very hot water. Doing so can strip your skin of its natural oils.
  • Keeping hydrated from the inside is just as important, if not more important, as keeping your skin hydrated from the outside. Drinking plenty of water is very important for healthy skin. Dehydration happens faster than we realize. Alcohol, coffee, and tea dehydrate you and should only be consumed minimally.

Protecting your skin isn’t hard. With a little knowledge and a little preparation your skin will maintain its health all year long.

How To Take A Break From Caregiving

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on How To Take A Break From Caregiving

Cargiving for your loved ones

Cargiving for your loved ones

Caring for an elderly parent, friend, or loved one can be a wonderful, rewarding experience at best. And when we are tired and losing patience, it can be very overwhelming. Our experiences of caring for an elderly loved one can differ depending on your particular loved one’s condition, but all caregiving experiences one thing is common. The caregiver always need to take time out for themselves. Taking breaks will keep you more strong and patient.

There are many ways that you can take time out for you.

  • Get Together with Friends – Remembering who you were before you took on the all-consuming role of caretaker can be a refreshing change. You will be more likely to have a positive outlook when you take time out with friends.
  • Be sure to take time for exercise, eating right, and getting the proper amount of rest – This can be difficult if you are taking care of your loved one by yourself. We’ll discuss that issue later. Take time out to take care of you.
  • Be aware of your mental health – like your physical health, it is important to be aware of your mental health in order to head off things like depression. It’s easy to get depressed when you are “putting out more than you are putting in”. When we expend more energy than we have to give and don’t rest enough, we can get run down to the point that we begin to experience depression. Take time to love yourself.
  • Deal with your deep feelings – In addition to being aware of your mental health, it is important to work through the issues that plague you. Talk to a counselor if you are having trouble processing the hardships in your life. It’s always nice to have someone unbiased to express yourself to. Take time out for your mental health.
  • Be realistic, Just Say No– This can be difficult for the kind of people who tend to be the caregivers. It’s just a characteristic of a caregiver to want to help people, so when people ask, they find it difficult to say no. Check your calendar. If the time just isn’t there, be honest with yourself and say that you cannot help this time.
  • Plan Ahead to Stay Ahead – Life as a caregiver can tend to pile up quickly around you. Taking time for you to plan ahead will help keep you organized and your life in order.
  • Take a Fun Day! Go get a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, visit a museum or a state park. Do something that you find fun. You deserve it!
  • Lastly, after reading all these ways that you can take time for yourself, you may be wondering how in the world you can take the time away from the loved one you are caring for and that’s where places like Boca Home Care Services come in. Home Care services will come to your house, or the residence of the loved one you are caring for, and take over for you while you take time out for yourself. Call them today!

Mental & Emotional Challenges that Come with Aging

Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on Mental & Emotional Challenges that Come with Aging

Elderly Lady Working on Her Age Related Challenges

Elderly Lady Working on Her Age Related Challenges

Mental and emotional challenges changes that occur as we age are two key problems that most people face. In the past, society, and even some doctors, saw mental/neurological changes in a patient as strictly something emotional that the person needed “to get a handle on”. This largely was assumed about women when they were having problems with pre-menstrual syndrome, post-partum depression, or just clinical depression. Men who suffered with clinical depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome were also seen as people who were just not able to control their emotions.

The effects that aging has on our brain are physical effects just as the physical changes that cause pms, post-partum depression, post traumatic stress syndrome or clinical depression are. When your body’s nervous system is creating mental issues, you will likely suffer emotional problems as well. The two usually happen around the same time, making a person wonder, what came first? Which one is causing the problems? Is it emotions that “just need controlled”? Or are there really some neurological issues happening here?

The “mental problems” (neurological problems) that happen as we age are things like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss.

The way that we respond to these neurological problems is the emotional challenge of growing old. We also respond emotionally to normal physical changes that come with old age like:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Vision Loss
  • Loss of Mobility
  • Delayed Reaction Times
  • Loss of Energy

All of these changes present challenge to keep an upbeat attitude or keep up the pace that we used to as a younger person.

The mental/neurological changes that may happen to us can be dealt with in a couple of different ways. We can use preventative methods like:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Mental stimulation like puzzles, reading, engaging in conversation and community

These things have been shown to improve mental functioning, memory, energy levels, and to prevent or alleviate depression. They will likely help you with some of your emotional problems as a side effect.

Emotional challenges that come up as we age can also manifest as unavoidable physical problems like genetically inherited vision or hearing loss or just the challenge of coming to terms with needing to move a little slower as we age. Losing people that have been supportive in our lives, like parents or grandparents, also represent emotional challenges, and as much as all of the above steps will help, there are still purposeful steps you can take to maintain your emotional health. Here are a few to try:

  • Pay more attention to the positives in your life than to the negatives.
  • Stay connected with friends and family.
  • Make new friends.
  • Become part of a community. A spiritual one if you are a spiritual person, or volunteer organization if you prefer a secular community.
  • Do activities that make you happy. Try new activities that you think you may enjoy.

Growing older presents new challenges, but you are an “old” pro at facing challenges, right? You can do anything that you put your mind to.

Threat of Fewer Caregivers by 2026 – Broward Boca Home Care, Your Solution to In Home Care

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Aging, Blog, Featured | Comments Off on Threat of Fewer Caregivers by 2026 – Broward Boca Home Care, Your Solution to In Home Care

Threat of Fewer Caregivers by 2026 – Broward Boca Home Care, Your Solution to In Home Care
Caregiver Providing Home Care

Caregiver Providing Home Care

Colleges that provide nursing degrees have long been advertising the shortage of nurses in the healthcare industry. This is a very realistic shortage and it will continue to be. Sadly, there may be another more desperate crisis looming in the form of a shortage of caregivers, both paid and unpaid.

Currently there are many caregivers supporting their family members during short or long term illnesses and they assume that they will receive the same courtesy. Statistics suggest that they may well be disappointed.

According to a report put out by the Policy Institute of the AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, the caregiver profession population is declining and will continue to decline. Many baby boomers are currently working and caring for an older parent or family member. The current common age is around 60 years old for these caregivers. The AARP states that the caregiver support ratio, which is the ratio of potential caregivers to persons needing long-term care, was seven potential caregivers to each person needing care in the year 2010. The persons needing care were in the 80 years old and above range.

As baby boomers age, the ratio declines and the projected healthcare situation worsens. The ratio is projected to be just four potential caregivers to one person in need by the year 2030. This is because the number of senior citizens over age 80 will increase by an overwhelming 79% from the year 2010 to the year 2030 according to AARP’s projections. With the number of those needing care soaring and the numbers of potential caregivers plummeting, what are we to do?

The Associated Press states that most people at and over the age of 40 years old are in denial about their future healthcare needs. Based on the fact that they are currently taking care of the older, high-risk generation, this indicates that they are not paying attention. Many people over the age of 80 years old have some kind of disability as well as other co-morbidities. To someone who sees themselves as young and healthy, those statistics may seem far away, but we would do well to plan ahead.

The large number of aging population is not the only reason for the sharp decline in caregiver ratio. The AARP points out that fertility patterns for those who reached age 80 between the years 1990 and 2010 were higher than they will be for those reaching 80 in the next twenty years. This means that fewer children were born to the next generation of senior citizens, which will lead to there being fewer caregivers available for those seniors.

Americans would do well to focus on more efficient public spending policies in order to use our healthcare giver resources wisely in the next twenty years and forward. Home health care companies like Boca Home Health Care will likely play a large role in this area, as it is cheaper and healthier to care for the elderly in their own homes.

My Alternatives to Nursing Homes

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on My Alternatives to Nursing Homes

Elderly Man Trying To Understand His Alternatives To A Nursing Home

Elderly Man Trying To Understand His Alternatives To A Nursing Home

What are my alternatives to nursing homes? This question is on a lot of minds as people age. Horror stories of abuse and neglect are sometimes seen in the media, which understandably causes feelings of nervousness about nursing homes. There is some truth to these rumors, as there is to most rumors. Finding the right nursing home for yourself or your loved one does take some effort. When your circumstances become such that a nursing home is your only choice, you may be pleasantly surprised at the realities you find there.

Even so, most people don’t love the idea of a nursing home for a few reasons:

  • Sharing a room
  • Lack of privacy
  • Lack of familiarity
  • Lack of freedom to go places
  • Lack of food choices
  • Not enough exercise activities

When you want to stay home in later years and you don’t have enough family or friends to get all of your needs met, it can be scary. You don’t want to face that void that you will feel when you have to move out of your house. You want to have access to your own refrigerator, back yard, pets, TV, friends, and choice of meals.  Basically, you want to be in control of your own life. Sure, there are adult daycares available, assisted living and continued care retirement communities. But many people really don’t want to move, you want to live in and be cared for in your own home.

Relax! There is a viable alternative to nursing homes. Home health care is an option that allows you to have access to all of the above as well as control of your own life. Your home care aide will assist you with all of your daily needs as well as many other tasks. He or she will assist you with:

  • Your ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) – Your aide will arrive early in the morning (if you don’t yet require 24 hour care) to get you ready for the day. He or she will help you bathe, dress, and groom yourself.
  • Your home care aide will help you prepare meals and clean up after them.
  • An aide is unable to give you pills, but they can assist you by opening pill bottles if your hands are stiff or numb. They can also help keep track of when you took your medications and when you need to take them again.
  • Your aide can assist you in keeping track of doctors’ appointments and other appointments, such as hair styling.
  • The right home care aide can assist you with TV programming or using the internet.
  • An aide can do light household chores, including sweeping, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and dusting. How much housework your aide can do for you will be determined by both your schedule and the individual needs and abilities of the home care aide.

As you can see from all of the items listed above, staying in your own home and using a home care aide is a viable alternative to living in a long term care residence. Call Boca Home Health Care today to find out more.

Managing Behavioral Change As You Age

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on Managing Behavioral Change As You Age

Managing Behavioral Change As You Age

Manage Change In Your Loved Ones

How do you manage changes in your loved ones’ behavior as they age? Age does not always come with major changes in behavior. It is usually due to a medical situation. Nonetheless, it can be very difficult when your loved one, who used to be so kind and compassionate, becomes aggressive, angry, defensive, or even passive with age.

Maybe it’s your spouse who used to be so understanding and has now become hostile. Possibly it is your mom or dad who you used to lean on for support that has become irrational and physically violent. It’s likely very difficult to comprehend and overwhelming. You probably feel like you just don’t know where to start and you wish that they could just go back to being the sweet person that they used to be.  Here are some simple things that you can do to address the changes that you may see in your lived ones:

  • First, you need to educate yourself on what is causing these behavioral changes in your loved one. Having a clearer picture can help you feel that you have more of a handle on the situation. Talk to your loved ones’ doctor, therapist, or social worker if they have one. If these changes have just begun to occur, discuss them with your own doctor. Tell him or her what type of symptoms your loved one had begun exhibiting. They may be able to give you information to discuss with your loved one.
  • Talk to your loved one if you feel that it is safe to do so. If your loved one is just beginning to exhibit behavioral changes, he or she will likely be able to acknowledge that something has been feeling “off” or “not quite right” within themselves. This is the stage that you want to suggest communication with your loved one’s physician or nurse practitioner. Having gathered preliminary information from your own doctor, you can go into a meeting with your loved one and their healthcare provider feeling somewhat knowledgeable.
  • Set the tone for compassion and understanding with your loved one. Do not come off as selfish or angry. Your loved one is likely going through some difficulties in their own mind and will need compassion from those around them. In the meeting with your loved one’s doctor, do your best to help them understand what may be going on without making them feel talked down to. No matter what a person’s cognitive abilities, we can all feel when someone is being condescending to us. Put your emotions regarding how you have been treated aside. It will help your loved one feel that you want to help them.
  • Take time away for yourself. Even when you know that your loved one’s actions are due to an illness, it can still be hard to take. Be sure to take time away from giving care to your loved one to take care of yourself. Do things that you enjoy and spend time with people who are uplifting.

 

Fall Prevention Checklist – Keeping Your Elderly Parents Safe

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on Fall Prevention Checklist – Keeping Your Elderly Parents Safe

Falls are a leading form of accidental injury in homes with people aged 65 or older.  A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that seniors over the age of 75 are at even more risk. Another study done between the years of 1991 and 2002 found that the number of product-related injuries in people of age 75 went up by 73%, while the age group grew only 27%.

 As our aging population grows, we want to create a world in which our senior citizens can lead healthy and enjoyable lives. Part of achieving this goal is to help them prevent falls before they happen. 

What causes people to fall?

  • Lack of balance from lack of exercising
  • Lack of balance from the side effects of drugs
  • Poor vision and/or poor lighting in the home
  • Tripping and slipping hazards in the home such as rugs and slippery floors

How can you prevent falling?

  • Exercises that promote balance are very helpful for seniors who want to maintain or re-achieve their independence. Balance exercises include simple things like
    • Taking walks
    • Balancing on one foot at a time for a few seconds while holding onto something sturdy
    • Weight shifting exercises: similar to one footed stands, but instead of pulling your foot up off the ground towards your body, you put your lifted foot out to the side a few inches and hold your body weight on the planted leg for as long as you can.  Do this for up to 30 seconds on each leg.
  • If you or your senior loved one feels that their imbalance may be a side effect from a drug then talk to the doctor  immediately. He or she may be able to pinpoint the drug, or at least find it by trial and error.
  • Poor vision can be kept in check by frequent eye check-ups. Older people can have many types of eye problems and should get their eyes tested at least once a year.
  • Be sure that the home is well-lit. Bad lighting is such a simple thing to fix to avoid a potentially deadly fall.
  • Floors can be a tricky thing in an elderly person’s home. Tile or linoleum can become slick when wet, carpet can bunch as it gets older and rugs can be slippery. There are many ways to correct these issues. The main thing to remember is that the floor needs to be clear of obstacles. This can mean that it is flat (no bunching in carpet or rugs), rugs are not loose, and pathways are clear of objects that could trip a person.

Falls cause fractured and broken bones which can lead to hospitals stays where infection can set in and increase which one should try and avoid.  Home care can be a solution in such cases but prevention is better than cure.

Physical Challenges That Come With Aging And How To Handle Them

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Aging, Blog | Comments Off on Physical Challenges That Come With Aging And How To Handle Them

Physical Challenges That Come With Aging And How To Handle Them - Nap Regularly to Overcome Fatigue

Nap Regularly to Overcome Fatigue

As we age, we face many physical challenges. Our eyesight begins to fail, we develop new aches and pains, and our bodies fatigue more easily in general. It can be hard to handle these things. We don’t want to believe that we are getting older. We saw it happen to our grandparents and then to our parents, but that was them, not us. It can be very difficult to accept that we too are aging, but we do not have to give up on ourselves just because this aging process is happening. We can choose to stop taking care of ourselves. That is an option. But what happens when we do that? We continue aging anyway. So, let’s take a look at our best options for taking care of our bodies as we age. What changes physically and what can we do about it?

  • Skin – Our skin tends to lose some of its elasticity (doctors call this our skin’s turgor) as we age causing it to wrinkle and become lined. This happens because we produce less oil and our skin becomes more dry as a result. This means less pimples! Use Vitamin E, olive oil, or coconut oil to keep your dry skin moisturized and avoid getting sunburned. Do get some sun, though, you want that Vitamin D!
  • Energy level – We naturally fatigue more easily as we age. Use this as an excuse to take more naps! Get to bed on time. Don’t work too hard. These can all be perks of aging.
  • Vision –  Our vision can decline or we can develop issues like spots or double vision. Visit your doctor regularly, use glasses or contacts to assist, and be sure to get adequate amounts of Vitamin A. Eat your carrots.
  • Bones – Bones lose their density as we age, but the effects of smoking, lack of exercise, and the lack of good nutrition will do more damage to bones than age will. Genetics play a part, of course, but be sure to avoid smoking, get good nutrition and continue to exercise as you are able.
  • Hearing – Changes in our hearing occur as we age that make it more difficult to hear higher pitched sounds or changes in tone. Sometimes speech sounds garbled. Go with the flow on this one. Get a hearing aid if you need one. Ask people to speak more slowly.
  • Metabolism – The composition of body fat and muscle changes as we age due to the slowing or our metabolism. We don’t need as much energy, therefore our body slows our metabolism down. The body doesn’t know that we have an abundance of high calorie foods available to us. Take a cue from your body. Eat foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients.

We may not be able to stop the aging process, but we can do things to help ourselves feel our best while we age. Taking care of ourselves is still, if not even more important as we age. Consider it one of the perks! Now is the time for you to nurture yourself.

Managing Changes As We Age

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Managing Changes As We Age

Managing Changes In Our Body Can Be Hard

Managing Changes In Our Body Can Be Hard

How will you manage changes in your physical ability, coordination, strength, or incontinence with age? As we age, we experience physical, mental, and emotional changes that are interwoven and complex. Some of them seem to creep up on us slowly over time, but some hit us immediately without warning, such as in the event of an accident or injury. Whether developing slowly over time or occurring immediately, these changes can cause many changes in our lives and impact our mental well-being just as much as our physical well-being. How do we navigate the changes in nutrition, exercise, and willpower that are needed to get back to the place we were before the injury or change?

Facing these changes can be daunting. Some fall into a depression before managing to accept them. Some never feel as happy as they once did.  Others take each new development in stride, thankful for the positives in life. There is no magic ingredient, formula, or decisive thought pattern that is a cure-all for the changes that we experience in life. Differing environments, economic levels, and emotional or mental capacities all affect us differently.

So how do we navigate these changes to minimize the negative impact as much as possible? Here are some tips that will give you a leg up regardless of your situation:

  • Be Prepared – Acknowledging ahead of time that these changes will occur is a good way to begin. The earlier you begin the process of acceptance, the better.
  • Plan ahead – Planning ahead comes in many forms. Exercise, adequate rest, and proper nutrition all prepare your body to age less quickly and heal faster when traumas or injuries do occur.
  • Think positively – Our bodies really do follow our minds. Positive thinking leads to more positive thinking, and can help us overcome many of the mental affects that change, illness, or injury can have on our minds.
  • Educate yourself – You will save yourself a lot of misery by educating yourself about your family’s health history and the changes that you experience in your own body or mind. Knowing your family’s health history will give you an idea of specific conditions that you may be more susceptible to and how to best avoid them or prepare for them should they occur.  Educate yourself on your current health issues and how to manage them. Educate yourself on any drugs your doctors want you to take. Know your diet well enough to know which foods are contraindicated with which drugs.  Know your allergies. The more you know about yourself and your conditions and overall health, the better off you will be.
  • Have good communication with your health care team – Doctors are not miracle workers, and they can only provide the best treatment to you if you are open and honest with them about your conditions. Discuss any allergies, diet or health contraindications to drugs, or remedies that your doctors may prescribe to you. The more your doctors know about you, the better they will be able to treat you.

What Is Long Term Care and Does Medicare Cover It?

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Blog, Featured, Medicare | Comments Off on What Is Long Term Care and Does Medicare Cover It?

What Is Long Term Care and Does Medicare Cover It?
Home Care Giver Caring For An Elderly Patient

Home Care Giver Caring For An Elderly Patient

Long term care is the spectrum of services and support that a person may need to meet their needs of personal care. Medical care is sometimes part of long term care, but most long term care consists only of assisting a person with their ADL’s (activities of daily living). These activities include:

  • Using the toilet
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Transferring (to and from a chair and bed or to another room)

Additional services called IADL’s (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living) provided during long-term care are:

  • Managing money
  • Using the phone, computer, tablet, or other devices
  • Caring for pets
  • Housework
  • Taking medication
  • Preparing meals
  • Responding to emergency alerts, such as fire and carbon monoxide alarms

Most people think of the elderly or nursing homes when they hear the term “long term care”; however, this is not always the case. It is true that more elderly people need long-term care due to the effects aging. In fact, 70% of people over the age of 65 will likely need some form of long-term care. It is also true, though, that aging is not the only factor that makes long term care necessary. Other factors that determine whether or not you need long term care are:

  • Disability – A disability caused by an illness or an accident may cause a person to require long term care;
  • Gender – As women tend to live five years longer than men on the average, women are more likely to need long term care;
  • Living Arrangement – Those who live alone are likely not to have a significant other to care for them and therefore will likely need long term care; and
  • Health Status – Chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or other long-term illnesses increase the likelihood that you will need long term care. Other factors that increase the possibility are poor exercise and diet, or a family history of chronic conditions.

Medicare is a Social Security funded health insurance program for those 65 years of age or older, or for those under the age of 65 who have certain disabilities, end-stage Renal Disease, or permanent kidney failure that requires a transplant or continuous dialysis.  Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital and nursing facility stays, hospice care, and respite care. Medicare Part B will cover outpatient care, such as lab tests, physical therapy, doctor visits, and select home health care services. Medicare covers only “medically necessary care”. Under the Medicare guidelines, “acute” conditions that are expected to improve can be covered, such as physical therapy after a fall or a stroke.  However, long term care is not considered an “acute” condition by Medicare; therefore, Medicare will not cover a person’s long-term care needs.

Understanding which services are considered “acute”, “chronic”, “medically necessary”, etc. under the law can be difficult to understand.  Always consult with your health care provider for assistance in understanding what will and will not be covered by Medicare.  For more information regarding specific services and their Medicare eligibility, please see: Long Term Medicare