Assisted Living and Memory Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

December 20, 2019


When it comes time to make living arrangements for an aging loved one in need of support, explore the benefits of memory care assisted living.

 

Memory Care Living

Nearly 50 million Americans struggle with dementia and over 10 million new cases are reported each year. Is an older adult in your life currently facing a form of dementia?

As difficult as the disease is on the individual, it can be equally as taxing on those around them. In many cases, dementia alters the personality of the loved one you once knew. They often experience mood swings, forget who friends and family are, and in some cases, become depressed.

Are you struggling to find the best care for your loved one? Memory care assisted living programs provide specialized, compassionate care for the aging adult in your life.

Continue reading to learn more about this beneficial resource.

 

What is Memory Care Assisted Living?

There are two forms of memory care assisted living – one involves your loved one entering an assisted living facility, while the other provides services in the comfort of their own home. Whenever possible, it’s recommended that you keep your loved one at home.

This is where they feel safe and comfortable. It’s also familiar to them, which plays a key role in their care and progress. The more familiar dementia patients are with their surroundings, the less agitated they become.

Memory care is focused on meeting the specific needs of someone battling dementia. While all programs are unique to the individual, some common services include:

  • Meal prep
  • Medication administration
  • Socialization
  • Personal hygiene support
  • Housekeeping
  • Basic care needs

Some facilities and services also offer outings and group activities to help promote cognitive function. These include fitness and wellness activities and different forms of therapy.

The primary focus of memory care assisted living at home is to keep your loved one calm, comfortable, and happy. Dementia patients don’t respond well to stress, so the calmer and more at peace they are, the better.

 

Signs Your Loved One Would Benefit from Memory Care Assisted Living

Forgetfulness is all a part of aging. But how can you tell the difference between common memory loss and onset dementia?

Let’s explore some early warning signs of this debilitating disease.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or writing
  • Confusion over time and place
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Trouble solving common problems
  • Misplacing items
  • Poor judgment
  • Inability to plan or make decisions
  • Difficulty understanding visual information
  • Unexplained mood swings

If your loved one is exhibiting any, or all, of these symptoms, it may be a sign of early-onset dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and requires personalized care. Unfortunately, while early detection is important, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s and no way to slow the process down.

Instead, you can offer your loved one the best care possible as you both navigate this difficult disease. Some relatives of dementia patients choose to care for their loved ones themselves.

As the disease progresses, this may become more difficult. Hiring in-house memory care assisted living services will offer you and the patient the support and resources you need. Trained professionals are skilled in accommodating the specific needs and demands of dementia patients.

If your loved one’s condition seems to worsen, they become more withdrawn or depressed, or become combative or even violent, it’s probably time to hire professional assistance.

 

What to Expect From In-Home Care

The time has come and you’ve decided to hire an in-home caregiver or assisted living service for your aging loved one. This can be a difficult decision to make. After all, you’re welcoming someone new into your loved one’s home and entrusting them with their care.

To help ease your mind and support your decision, here are a few things you and your aging loved one can expect from memory care services in your home.

 

More Individualized Care

One of the biggest benefits of hiring an in-home professional for your loved one is the unique, individualized care they’ll receive. While assisted living facilities try to provide compassionate care, they can’t offer consistent one-on-one interactions.

Your loved one will receive the undivided time and attention of the caregiver. Not only does this make them feel special but the in-home professional gets to know your loved one on a more personal level.

The caregiver will know first-hand, and immediately, if your loved one is exhibiting unusual behavior. This means early detection for any additional medical issues.

With only one patient to care for, your aging adult receives the best possible care.

 

A Personal Connection

Providing care for a loved one with dementia goes far beyond their physical health. In fact, fostering their emotional well-being, keeping them calm, and engaging them cognitively is of utmost importance.

In-home caregivers become invested in their patients. Your loved one will have someone by their side each day to lend both physical and emotional support.

Many caregivers go far beyond the call of duty and become a friend and companion to their patients. This provides family members with peace of mind – knowing your loved one is being cared for with compassion is priceless.

 

Reliable, Consistent Care

There’s nothing worse for a dementia patient than confusion and stress. Assisted living facilities have several staff members working on any given day. This means your loved one may have a different caregiver every day.

This can be confusing and upsetting for them.

Hiring an in-home care professional means your loved one receives consistent, reliable, and familiar care. The professional arrives each day at the same time, greeting your loved one by name.

This establishes trust and helps them remain calm. It also creates a structured routine, which reduces confusion.

 

Resources for All Family Members

In-home memory care isn’t just for aging adults. Many services offer support and resources for family members, as well.

Your loved one isn’t the only one struggling through their dementia diagnosis. Watching your beloved family member deteriorate is extremely difficult.

Let a professional assisted living team help you navigate the emotional, physical, and financial burden of caring for a loved one with dementia.

 

Give Your Loved One the Care They Deserve

You may be unsure of what to do following a dementia diagnosis. Your initial reaction may be to take care of your loved one yourself. And while this is commendable, it can become overwhelming for most.

Hiring professional, in-home memory care assisted living services can help ease the pressure and provide your loved one with the individualized care they need.

Take a moment to browse our in-home care services or call 434.202.8565 to discover how Commonwise Home Care can benefit you and your loved ones.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

In Home Hospice Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

December 17, 2019


End of life care for a loved one is the hardest to research. Learn the difference between hospice and palliative care so you know which is right for your loved one.

 

Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care are easily confused, similar to how Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be misunderstood. Dementia is the umbrella term for memory loss diseases, while Alzheimer’s is a specific diagnosis within the dementia category.

“Hospice” is a broader term for end of life home care that palliative care also falls under. Both forms of caregiving revolve around ensuring patient comfort after the diagnosis of a chronic disease or terminal illness:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Dementia

The biggest difference between hospice and palliative care is the time when each is provided. Let’s review the details of each so you know which type of care is right for your loved one.

 

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is provided to increase the quality of life for a patient who is diagnosed with a serious illness. The purpose of palliative care is to help a patient manage symptoms and support their wellbeing during treatment.

Once a patient is diagnosed with a chronic disease, a palliative caregiver can be requested during any stage of their active treatment process. For instance, a patient may be given palliative care while they go through chemotherapy after a lung cancer diagnosis. A variety of different health care providers can give palliative care, such as doctors, chaplains, and home care agencies like Commonwise Home Care.

The approach to palliative care embraces the entire human experience during a health decline: mental, physical, emotional, social, and even spiritual if requested. Palliative caregivers do not administer medication or any form of treatment but support the patient in every way possible as the disease progresses.

 

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice is provided during the final stages of life, usually when an individual has less than 6 months to live. As the American Cancer Society says, “Hospice care treats the person and symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the disease itself.” Once a disease has reached a point where it is uncurable and recovery is no longer probable, hospice steps in.

Similar to palliative care, hospice care does not physically treat the patient, but helps them manage symptoms and side effects. Hospice is different than palliative care in that hospice care is not provided while a patient undergoes treatment. Hospice caregivers support and affirm the patient’s life, but there is an understanding that the illness is terminal.

Please fight the urge to believe that hospice care is equivalent to “giving up.” A patient may enter back into treatment at any point during hospice care. As a family caregiver, consider respite care before making any big decisions. The decline of a loved one is unlike any other experience and may require time away as a range of emotions and physical weariness set in.

 

Around The Clock Caregiver

As a chronic disease progresses, the level of care a patient may need can dramatically increase. 24 hour home care provides around the clock caregivers to actively monitor your loved one. Professional caregivers can assist in a variety of ways to support older adults from personal care services like feeding and grooming or hospital-to-home care.

End of life care isn’t just about managing pain and other symptoms, it’s about making the most of the time your loved one has left.

 

End of Life Care

Terms like palliative care and hospice can get confusing as you search for specific types of care for a loved one online. If you need help figuring out which type of care is right, don’t hesitate to give us a call. As a home care agency, we are here to answer any questions you may have about palliative care, hospice care, and anything in between.

Even if end of life care isn’t immediately needed, creating a care plan ahead of time can reduce stress and provide peace of mind. Conversations like these are never easy, but we support families as much as we support their loved ones. Care is holistic and we believe it starts with compassion.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, please call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Caring for Someone with Dementia at Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

December 4, 2019


A deteriorating memory is a common but concerning sign of the aging process. Learn how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s at home.

 

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Caring for those with declining health can be physically and emotionally exhausting. In order to know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, a caregiver needs to learn about each condition. Understanding the disease a patient lives with helps caregivers compassionately work through difficult situations.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are both conditions that affect the brain’s function, particularly in terms of thinking and memory. Although similar, they are not the same diagnosis. 

Dementia is a broader term that encompasses a wide range of diseases categorized by a loss of memory and thinking skills, which affect daily life. Some types of dementia include:

Alzheimer’s is a subset of dementia; a progressive disease that impairs a patient’s memory and cognitive ability to think properly. The majority of adults, 65 years and older, suffer from Alzheimer’s—the most common form of dementia.

 

Caring For Alzheimer’s Patient

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that requires careful oversight because a patient’s health can decline at a rapid pace. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge for families because of their changes in personality, physical abilities, and daily functionality. Communication becomes especially difficult as time goes on.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be just as scary for the older adult suffering from it as it is for the primary caregiver. Empathy is an intrinsic part of providing compassionate care. When you are caring for someone with dementia at home, consider how they are feeling and try to meet them where they are at.

Older adults with a memory loss condition frequently forget where they are, how things work, who they are, who other people are, etc. Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t know where you were or the person in your home. Patience and empathy are necessary for working through these situations.

Patients who suffer from one of these deteriorating brain diseases may require 24 hour home care for their own safety. If not watched carefully, patients may forget to take their daily medication or controlling bodily functions like using the bathroom. Professional caregivers can help with ambulating a patient, medication reminders, meal preparation, and even short term care to give primary caregivers a break.

 

Respite Care

Please know, if you are a primary caregiver to a loved one—it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes, caregivers simply need to step away from their duties and rest for their own wellbeing. As a caregiver, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will not be functioning at full capacity to care well for others.

As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Respite care for caregivers provides short-term relief to those who are constantly pouring out their time and attention to loved ones. A federal Lifespan Respite Care Act has even been put in place to ensure that family caregivers are able to take time off from their full-time caregiver duties.

Self-care for caregivers is just as important as caring for the patient in need. Do yourself a favor and take some time to breathe, reset and destress. Whether you call a neighbor, friend, family member, or professional home health care agency like Commonwise Home Care, let others support you in your dedicated care for others.

 

In Home Care Services

In home care is not a one size fits all service. Every family’s loved one has a unique situation or need that requires intentional, personalized care. At Commonwise Home Care, our goal is to provide the highest level of care by the most compassionate caregivers. 

As a home care agency, we provide long term care and short term assistance by professional caregivers. Our caregivers know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, so you can have peace of mind. We understand that every older adult has specific health conditions that require a high-touch level of care, which is why we create a personal care plan for each patient.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

24 Hour Elderly Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 19, 2019


24 hour elderly care provides a solution to aging adults and their families who don’t want to transition a loved one into an assisted living facility.

 

24 Hour Home Care

Watching loved ones age is a difficult process filled with emotional decisions. As a family member or primary caregiver, you may see a decline in a loved one’s health and need to reach out for help. Not everyone caring for a dependant, older adult is able to provide the necessary care; let alone 24 hours per day.

In home care provides assistance by professional caregivers to help families care for aging adults. 24 hour care for the elderly in their home provides around-the-clock caregiver support without requiring a loved one to leave their comfort zone.

24 hour elderly home care typically provides two caregivers in 12-hour shifts to cover both the day and nighttime hours. In some cases, three caregivers will rotate for 8-hour shifts at a time. One of the benefits of 24-hour care is the constant rotation of caregivers, meaning there is no time where the patient goes unwatched. The 2-3 person rotation ensures that a caregiver is always awake and readily alert to oversee the patient’s care.

24/7 home care can be helpful for short term or long term periods of time. For instance, if an older adult undergoes an operation, 24-hour post surgery home care may be needed during their recovery. In other cases, long term older adult home care is particularly helpful. Patients who suffer from Dementia may require ongoing 24-hour home care to provide critical services such as daily medication reminders.

 

Live in Senior Care

Live in senior care is not the same as 24-hour home care. Elderly live in home care provides a dedicated caregiver to your loved one for daily support. This dedicated caregiver will literally “live in” the patient’s home providing close, one-on-one care. 

A benefit to live in home care is it limits the number of caregiver interactions to one person, unlike 24-hour senior care. Keeping the same caregiver day after day provides consistency for the patient. 

A primary difference between live in and 24 hour elderly care is the consecutive number of hours caregivers are actively caring. Live in caregivers receive a mandatory 8 hours of sleep per night while 24-hour care provides a new caregiver during the evening. 

In general, there are a number of risks inherent to live-in care. First, seniors place all of their trust in one person and can be left without a backup solution in the event that the caregiver’s availability changes. Second, the live in caregiver is permitted to sleep and occasionally leave the home. Therefore, an older adult will go unsupervised unless a family member steps in or additional care coverage is requested. For these reasons, Commonwise disfavors live-in care. 

 

Home Care Services for the Elderly

To recap, 24-hour care provides multiple caregivers in shifts for around the clock care. Live in senior care provides one caregiver who physically lives in the patient’s home for daily assistance.

Commonwise caregivers, whether they are providing live-in or 24 hour elderly care, assist with daily activities such as housework, toileting, personal hygiene, ambulation, meal preparation, and a list of other care management and personal care services. Regardless of the length of time spent with an older adult, providing compassionate, relational care is always our standard.

Additionally, our professional RN care managers play an active role in the management of 24-hour care clients. Commonwise is, therefore, well suited to deliver higher quality, round-the-clock service to clients.

Home care is not an easy conversation, but we are here to walk you through it. Whether your loved one needs total patient care by a registered nurse, or live in care by a dedicated caregiver, we are on call to answer questions and assist. To learn more about the Commonwise difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Respite Care for Caregivers

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 21, 2019


Do you need a break? Respite care provides short-term relief to primary caregivers from the constant care they provide to elderly adults in need of assistance.

 

What is Respite Care?

Primary caregivers serve, serve, and serve some more. Caregiving is not only a physically demanding job but can be emotionally draining as well. Constantly caring for an older adult with a disability, health condition, or who is generally dependant on others is exhausting.

Caregiving is a calling, as we say at Commonwise Home Care, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Some people fall into caregiving unexpectedly due to the rapid health decline of a loved one and need support. Respite care relieves a primary caregiver from their daily duties by providing another caregiver to step in and care for a short period of time.

 

Who provides care?

Respite care can be provided by a friend, family member, neighbor, or professional. Having said that, being on call for those who are not proficient at caregiving is not a restful day away. An experienced caregiver will add the most value to both the patient and the primary caregiver.

 

Where do they provide care?

Care can be provided in-home or at an adult day care center. Patients with Dementia may find it difficult to acclimate to a new environment, so in home care is usually preferable. In home care provided by a professional caregiver offers the best of both worlds: trained help in the comfort of your loved one’s home.

 

How long is the care help provided?

In-home respite care is a short-term care service. Depending on the situation, respite care can be offered on an as-needed basis for a few hours or days at a time. The break provided by respite care gives primary caregivers the opportunity to run errands or simply take a personal day to rest and reset.

 

Family Caregiver Support

Family members are the true heroes of caregiving but can burn out quickly; some days they just need a break. When family caregivers are daily supporting the needs of a loved one, they may feel guilty having someone else step in.

If you are a family caregiver, concerns around respite care may start to pile up:

  • What will a new caregiver do if X or Y happens?
  • I’m responsible and can’t leave care up to someone else.
  • No one knows how to care for my loved one in the ways that I do.

The list goes on, but taking a break from caregiving is normal and a crucial part of self-care. Family caregivers deserve a break in the same way those with other full-time jobs take lunch breaks and vacation days. The burden of caregiving is weighty for a family to share, let alone one individual. Professional caregivers can help ease these concerns with their care experience and expertise. 

Remember that respite care is just as much for the care recipient as it is for the caregiver. A new face provides an opportunity for your loved one to experience more social interaction. Plus, it can be healthy for a new pair of eyes to provide care with a fresh perspective. Prevent caregiver burnout with respite care.

 

Respite Care by Professional Caregivers

At Commonwise Home Care, our professional caregivers provide a variety of care services for aging adults. Respite care is an essential service we offer to support primary caregivers. In home care includes a range of services from companionship and personal care to skilled nurse care, such as medication management.

We believe caregiving is a calling. Our caregivers are trained in both hard and soft skills, so they are prepared to care both practically and relationally. Senior care is available to support your loved one and give you the confidence you have been looking for in a caregiver. 

Whether you need a break for a few hours to run errands, or a full day off to rest and reset, we are at your service 24/7. For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Total Patient Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

November 6, 2019


Total patient care is a model of care overseen by a registered nurse who provides one-on-one care to patients. Learn if total care is the right level of care for your loved one.

 

Types of Care

Different situations require various types of care to support physical needs like ambulation, or patient-specific conditions, such as those suffering from mental health decline. Total care is a high-touch level of care, sometimes providing 24-hour monitoring. As with most care models, the necessity of total care depends on the patient’s health.

Care models exist to support patient needs based on special situations or health concerns:

  • Total care
  • Hospice care
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia care
  • Hospital-to-home
  • Post-surgical care
  • Respite care

Understanding the right level of care your loved one needs is important when choosing a home care agency. At Commonwise Home Care, we provide an extensive list of care services to support the needs of aging adults. To determine the right kind of care a client needs, we work with family members to create a personalized care plan. Every person is unique, and an individual’s care plan is no exception.

 

What is Total Patient Care?

Total patient care is a model of care designed around a registered nurse overseeing personal care to one patient during a specific period of time. Bonnie M. Jennings, D.N.Sc., R.N., F.A.A.N., retired U.S. Army colonel, and health care consultant, says,

Total patient care and primary nursing are patient-oriented and rely on registered nurses (RNs) to deliver care.”

This model of care can take place in-home or in a hospital setting. The delivery of care varies for total care models depending on the setting it’s being provided in (i.e., a group of nurses may rotate between patients to provide care around the clock instead of one, dedicated nurse).

As discussed in our comparison of medication management vs medication reminders, caregivers have two proficiency levels: certified nurse assistants (CNA) and registered nurses. RNs can assist with medical, home care and care management needs, such as oversight of health services. CNAs provide personal care, companionship services, such as transportation.

 

Total Patient Care Nursing

In general, the greatest benefit of total patient care is the one-on-one attention and monitoring a skilled nursing professional provides. The drawback to total patient care is the price. A dedicated nurse providing medical assistance is more expensive than a professional caregiver who is hired for companionship services. 

Unlike hospice care, total care is not provided indefinitely, but rather assists a patient for a short period of time or longer if needed. Total patient care relies on a good, patient-nurse dynamic. When it comes to senior care, a compassionate, relational caregiver is essential.

Providing the highest quality of care is our goal at Commonwise Home Care. If the one-on-one caregiver we provide to your loved one is not a good fit, we will replace them with another member of our care team. 

 

Commonwise Home Care Provides Total Patient Care

At Commonwise, we have both certified nurse assistants and registered nurse care managers on hand. When it comes to total care, we provide one-to-one, registered nursing oversight in the comfort of an older adult’s home. Convenient, compassionate care should not be a commodity, but the standard. Our goal is to make clients as comfortable as possible. 

Our professional caregivers are trained to support both you and your loved one with expert care. Whether your loved one needs home care services for a few hours a day or around-the-clock attention, we are here to help. For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Medication Management vs Medication Reminders

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 28, 2019


One of the primary services people search for in relation to home care is senior medication management. The difference between medication management and medication reminders is significant, but often not understood.

 

Home Medication Monitoring

Older adults can develop several chronic conditions as they age, which requires a handful of medications from different prescribers. 1 out of 4 older adults ages 65 to 69 are taking five prescription drugs to treat chronic illnesses. An older adult’s medication schedule gets complicated as more pills are prescribed. As a result, a dedicated caregiver may be needed to help them stay on track.

Some studies have even shown that the complexity of an older adult’s prescription regimen is directly related to medication nonadherence. Seniors may become frustrated and overwhelmed with all of their medications and cease to take them as directed. Drug interactions, forgetfulness, double doses, and side effects are all concerns that need to be monitored as your loved one’s prescription regime expands. 

 

Medication Management

In home medication management provides seniors with professional help from the comfort of their own homes. Medication management is a service provided by a Registered Nurse (RN) who has a four-year degree in the healthcare field. RNs are certified to perform medical services, such as suture cleaning and injections, as well as attend doctor(s) appointments or procedures.

RNs can also administer, reconcile, and manage a senior’s medication regime due to their experience and extensive education credentials. Medication management is incredibly helpful for those taking multiple prescription drugs at a time. However, medication reminders are a different level of care and empower seniors to take their own medications with oversight.

 

Medication Reminders

Families typically need someone to support their loved one’s medication adherence, not to physically administer the pills. Medication reminders are a nonmedical service provided by a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). CNAs do not administer medications, pick up prescriptions, or speak with a doctor or pharmacist about a senior’s medicine or regime—but they do ensure medication safety and regularity.

CNA caregivers provide companionship services such as housework, transportation, meal preparation, and medication reminders. The fading memories of Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients tend to require a dedicated caregiver to gently, but insistently remind them to take their pills. One of our experienced team members, Nora, explains:

“Medication reminders are more difficult than one might think. There are lots of variables at play. For example, Dementia clients sometimes believe they have already taken their medication and can become frustrated by your reminder. You just have to keep your head straight and redirect – making sure to come back and give the pills a few minutes later.”

 

5 Medication Reminder Tips

The “art of medication reminders” is no small task to accomplish and can require considerable patience, compassion, and wit. We crowd-sourced some medication reminding tips from the deep experience of our care team to hopefully make life a little easier for other caregivers!

1) Just be casual about it. “Don’t make it more of an event than it needs to be. Nobody enjoys taking pills. At best, they tolerate it; at worst, they dread it. Just get it done matter-of-factly.”

2) Tried and true. “Lead with the orange juice and follow with the pills on a napkin!”

3) For them, not you. “Sometimes if a client is resistant, I’ll remind them that their son or daughter— someone they don’t want to disappoint—asked me to make sure they got these pills. That way, they are taking their medication ‘for them’ not me.”

4) Let’s talk about it. “Usually, clients are pretty comfortable taking their meds; but sometimes they get mad!! One of my clients liked to spit out her pills when I wasn’t looking. I got in the habit of sitting down and starting a little conversation before handing her the medication. Now when I finally give her the pills, she wasn’t just waiting for me to walk away!”

5) Floats for the win. “When in doubt, nobody says no to a root beer float (more root beer than float) with a straw! Always gets the job done!”

 

Commonwise Home Care Can Help

Home care is multifaceted and takes a very skilled individual to care compassionately. At Commonwise Home Care, we provide personalized senior care plans to support the daily needs of older adults. Whether your loved one needs care for a few hours a day or all-day assistance, our caregivers are here to serve. 

As a full-service home care agency, our CNA caregivers and RNs work together to provide both medication reminders and medication management services. Let our home health care team help you and your loved one with compassionate, personal care. Learn more about how we care differently at Commonwise Home Care by calling 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Post Surgery Home Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 15, 2019


Depending on the severity, surgery can turn day-to-day tasks into impossible feats. After surgery home care can be a helpful resource for seniors by providing assistance in the event of complications and general support as they heal.

 

Prepare Your Home for Recovery

Sometimes surgery can’t be planned, but if you know a surgery is coming in the near future: prepare, prepare, prepare. Consider organizing your loved one’s home to support their physical needs during recovery. Early preparation to make a senior’s home a safe space to return to helps streamline the recovery process and lower overall stress levels.

 

1. One Level Living

Post-surgery usually causes weakness and dizziness at any age, so keep life restricted to one level for a while, especially for seniors. If their home is multileveled, make a comfortable bed space on the first level to prevent the need to climb stairs. Keep everything as close as possible to minimize unnecessary movements like searching for remotes and telephones.

 

2. Pantry Preparation

The recovery time for different surgeries vary, and everyone’s body is unique, so the restrictions may vary from person to person. In the case that their doctor has recommended a strict, post-surgery diet, stock the pantry with approved groceries beforehand.

“Food is medicine” as they say. Meal preparation is important for seniors because their appetites may be unusually small after surgery. In general, buy healthy foods to support senior nutrition like leafy greens, fruits, veggies, and nuts to have on hand for when they get hungry.

 

3. Clean Up Clutter

If the senior’s home has many rugs or is generally cluttered, clear the floor space of any potential trip hazards. Make a trip-free pathway from the senior’s bed to the bathroom, kitchen, and other necessary areas of the house to minimize the risk of falling. Put nightlights in bathrooms for visibility at night and if the senior requires walking equipment, keep it closeby to avoid stumbling.

 

4. Sanitize

Our immune systems decline as we age, and after surgery, patients are especially prone to infection with open wounds. Deep clean the house before returning to sanitize germs providing for a clean recovery area. Use Clorox wipes to wipe down bathrooms, kitchens, doorknobs, handles, keyboards, telephones, banisters, and other high-touch areas of the house.

 

Post-Surgery Care

Regardless of the procedure or physical shape an older adult is in pre-surgery, keeping life “low key” for a while post-surgery is always helpful.

Be mentally supportive. Take things slowly, but keep seniors mentally active during the recovery process. After surgery, everything can feel a bit stiff and foggy. Even if a senior is not diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, they still may experience some confusion post-surgery. Studies have shown that older adults over the age of 60 experience some level of cognitive decline three months after undergoing surgery, so be aware of their symptoms.

Be emotionally supportive. Physical restraints and impairments may cause frustration for seniors resulting in emotionally stimulated highs and lows; be patient and understanding during this time. Empathize when you can and encourage seniors daily to persevere during recovery.

Be physically supportive. Day-to-day activities are no longer simple to perform and usually require assistance in the most humbling ways. Getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and bathing all can become cumbersome tasks; but everyone needs a little help sometimes. Empower seniors to do some things, when possible, with your assistance so they don’t feel completely helpless.

Consider professional support. In home care provided by professional caregivers can help seniors recover faster and prevent common pitfalls post-surgery and indefinitely moving forward. Family members may not always be able to provide the level of post-surgery care required. Caregivers, on the other hand, can assist with ambulation and other needs that may be stressful for family members to help with. 

 

Post Surgery Care Services

At Commonwise Home Care, our caregivers specialize in supporting aging adults no matter their condition. When it comes to post-surgery assistance, we provide a personalized care plan including, but not limited to, the following services:

  • Transportation
  • Meal preparation
  • Suture cleaning
  • Bandage changing
  • Bathing, dressing, grooming
  • Medication management
  • Light housekeeping

Our in home caregivers provide the highest quality care for aging adults at various stages in the aging process. Whether seniors need post-surgery care, hourly care, overnight care, or around-the-clock after surgery home care, we are here to serve. Let our caregivers support you and your loved one with compassionate, personalized support. For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Ambulating a Patient

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

October 8, 2019


After a long period of hospitalization or immobility, patients can find it difficult to move freely and safely without assistance. Transfering and ambulating a patient are helpful techniques to know, but a professional caregiver should be the one to provide support.

 

Transfers and Ambulation

As a family member or professional caregiver, you may find yourself acting in place of a physical crutch for those in your care. You may help seniors sit down, stand up, walk, keep their balance, and move from one position to another. Safely ambulating a patient requires great care and training.

The physical strain that assisted ambulation puts on caregivers can be weighty and potentially dangerous if not well-trained. Understanding transfers and ambulation for a variety of mobility needs is the job of a skilled caregiver. For some, ambulation is not possible and they require a transfer.

Let’s review these terms to give you a better grasp of both assistive methods.

 

What is a Transfer?

Transfers involve moving patients horizontally from one flat location to another (i.e., from a bed to a stretcher). In hospital settings, transfers are a more general term for relocating patients from one area or position to another. For example, moving a patient from their bed to a wheelchair and from their wheelchair to the toilet are common hospital transfers. 

Properly transferring an individual requires at least three health care providers. Transferring requires patience, strength, and comprehensive knowledge about the individual’s physical condition(s). We will not be giving directions in this blog on how to perform a transfer, but caregivers can read more about the steps of a patient transfer here.

Please note that transfers should be performed by professional caregivers or health care providers only. 

 

What Does “Ambulate” Mean?

Ambulation is commonly mistaken with mobility, but their definitions are different. Mobility is movement in general, such as moving one’s limbs or experiencing a range of motion in the joints. Ambulation, on the other hand, specifically relates to walking without assistance. To ambulate with assistance means to help an individual get on their feet and start walking with the help of someone else or something.

For those who are bedridden for a time post-surgery or due to a chronic condition, assisted ambulation is especially necessary. After a period of immobility, whether that be during recovery from an operation or a long-term illness, the body can become stiff, weak, and the muscles may atrophy.

 

Ambulation with Assistance

The first, most crucial step to assisting with ambulation is assessing the older adult’s physical state. Caregivers must gauge the patient’s ability to move, current pain levels or injuries, and understand any assistive devices that may be needed in the process. Caregivers can help older adults ambulate with assistance because they are trained in the proper techniques and safety precautions.

As a family caregiver or professional caregiver, familiarize yourself with the walking equipment of those in your care, including wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc. Walking equipment is there to make the ambulation process easier, but working around them can be a bit of a dance. 

 

Benefits of Ambulating a Patient

Keep in mind, not all ambulation requires an assistive device. Successful ambulation requires slow and steady movement with the help of a caring individual. Be aware that each new movement can cause dizziness or imbalance, so check in regularly while assisting an older adult to ambulate.

Helping older adults move and walk after a procedure,

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Increases appetite
  • Enables seniors to recover quicker

Studies have shown that older adults who practice early ambulation after a surgical procedure are discharged 2 days earlier than those who do not!

 

How Can Commonwise Home Care Help?

Remember, transfers and ambulation are no small tasks for just anyone. Safely transferring an older adult takes a minimum of three people. When an older adult needs to ambulate with assistance, additional devices may be involved. Skilled caregivers and health care providers are the ones who need to be assisting with these senior support tasks.

At Commonwise Home Care, we train our professional caregivers for a variety of in home care services, such as ambulation. We equip our caregivers to provide care for older adults with a range of debilitating medical conditions. Home care management services provide support for seniors and take the weight off of family members who do not have the expertise to care for their needs.

In home caregivers assist seniors with day to day activities from meal preparation to medication management. One of the primary benefits of an in home caregiver is their gift of companionship to older adults. Don’t care alone, let Commonwise Home Care serve you and your loved one with professional, personal support.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

 

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

How to Prevent Elderly Falls

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

September 30, 2019


Falling, to some degree, is a natural part of life. We fall learning how to walk, ride a bike, play sports, etc. and are taught to just brush it off and get back up again. As we age, simply “getting back up” is no easy feat and the recovery time after a fall takes longer and longer.

 

Senior Fall Risk

For the elderly, falls can be fatal. The majority of both fatal and non-fatal injuries older adults experience are a result of falls. Statistics show that 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 falls each year in America. Don’t let your loved one be a statistic. Stay informed on older adult’s home hazards, lifestyle, and health concerns to help lower their risk of falling.

Seniors are at an increased risk for falling due to medical conditions such as osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, cataracts, among many others. Checking in regularly with a primary care doctor or specialist is crucial to monitor the side effects of these conditions. Wearing improper footwear can also be a hazard for older adults, but taking steps to decrease the senior fall risk starts at home.

 

Take Steps to Prevent Falling

The risk of falling can be paralyzing to older adults. Fear prevents seniors from being able to live freely and leave their homes to go shopping or even participate in casual, social activities. To overcome the fear of falling, older adults need to feel confident in their abilities to move freely with control over their bodies.

 

Home Environment

The home environment is the first line of defense to prevent elderly falls. As a caregiver or family member of an elderly individual, take a walk-through of their house or living space and note concerns. Some items to address include: 

  • Lighting in the room. Is everything visible or does the dim lighting make it difficult to maneuver in the space? 
  • Clear the walkway. Are there items that may cause a hazard to walking in particular rooms such as old rugs or clutter on the floor?
  • Grab bars in bathrooms. Install grab bars in all bathrooms for the shower and near the toilets for easy support.
  • Railings. Are there railings for all staircases? If not, be sure to install railings for secure steps when walking up and down the stairs.

Physical Exercise

Another important fall prevention tip to note is daily exercise. Even small movements, when done regularly, can help in the long term to build and strengthen muscles within the body. Encourage the older adult(s) in your life to engage in one or more of the following activities:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Chair exercises
  • Group fitness classes
  • Walking around the block

Being proactive to strengthen their physical shape will give older adults the security they desire in their own skin. Each of these physical exercises helps build strength, improve balance, and develop agility. Retirement homes and local gyms sometimes offer group fitness classes for older adults, so keep an eye out or search for classes in your area. Finding more places for older adults to get social is always a plus.

 

Eye Examinations

Regular checkups are important for maintaining physical health, especially for aging adults. Older adults tend to lose their vision and need to go in for eye checkups at least once per year (if not every six months). Keep in mine, bifocals and transition lenses can become fall hazards. 

Bifocals can cause imbalance when walking up or down the stairs; one of many reasons why railings are very important to install on stairwells. Tint-changing lenses can be disorienting when walking into a building from the bright sunlight. Remind older adults to wait for their lenses to adjust before taking another step. Another option is to buy sunglasses that fit over regular glasses so they can be taken off immediately after walking into a building.

 

How Can Home Care Help?

Falls happen, but don’t be discouraged! As noted above, elderly falls can be prevented. At Commonwise Home Care, our caregivers are trained to keep an eye out for potentially fall hazardous environments. From rolling up that old rug with curled corners to fall-proof the home to everyday meal preparation, our in home caregivers are here to help. 

Senior care support is also available for crucial activities such as medication monitoring. A professional caregiver provides home care management services that truly care for your loved one’s wellbeing. We are devoted to serving clients and their families with the utmost compassion, respect, and care. For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise or medication routine.

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