There is often a solid and longstanding bond between a senior citizen and a beloved pet. Scientific studies repeatedly validate this emotional connection. Researchers say that seniors living independently with a pet tend to have better physical health and mental well-being, than those who do not. Pets provide senior citizens with around-the-clock companionship and can be a fun source of exercise. However, some aging individuals worry whether they can properly care for a pet as time goes by. AAA TLC has some helpful hints for senior pet owners and their home caregivers:
· Purchase smaller bags of pet food, as larger bags may be too heavy.
· Store pet food in a closed container on a table or counter to avoid reaching very high or low.
· Be sure to keep healthy treats on hand so you are not tempted to give away your dinner each night.
· If you do not have a fence around your yard, you may consider hiring a dog walker on a regular basis.
A dog of any age is likely to need more exercise than a senior citizen can provide. At AAA TLC, we not only provide care for the client and their family, we provide adequate care and exercise for the beloved family pet.
Contact a home care service, like AAA TLC, who understands the value and benefits a pet can give to a senior citizen.
The majority of caregivers in the United States are family members – many of whom suffer from physical ills, stress and other mental health issues brought on by the challenges of providing care to another. Some research studies have shown that between 40 to 70 percent of caregivers have, at least, some symptoms of clinical depression.
Currently, a team led by Maria Aranda (Associate Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work) will be piloting psychosocial intervention aimed at increasing the physical and psychological well-being of family caregivers through self-care management. This test will be conducted in Los Angeles County which, according to recent information, is home to more than 30,000 informal (i.e., family) caregivers of older adults.
According to Aranda, by helping family caregivers take better care of themselves, the hope is that this will allow them to, in turn, provide better care for their loved ones – the majority of whom are older adults dealing with illness, injury, or disability.
Programs such as this will certainly be a benefit for many family caregivers who provide invaluable services that allow individuals to remain in their own homes. Even with such intervention, the responsibility of providing care without respite can be truly overwhelming. While some families have multiple individuals who can assist with the care and offer relief to the primary caregiver, in a great many instances the responsibility for providing care falls to a single person.
In circumstances such as this, AAA T.L.C. Health Care, Inc. can offer the much needed respite care for the caregiver. We offer services ranging from a few hours a day to round-the-clock care. By reaching out to us to provide short-term relief for a family caregiver, we can help ensure that the individual receives the care that (s)he needs while, at the same time, giving the caregiver a much needed break.
Aspects of this information first appeared in USC News (a on-line publication of the University of Southern California)
Whether a family member or friend is providing care or an agency, such as AAA T.L.C. Health Care, is involved, it is very important to treat the individual providing care with courtesy and respect.
At times, without meaning any disrespect, we may say things to a caregiver that are, in fact, disrespectful. No one intends to be offensive, but sometimes a better understanding of the caregiver’s perspective can make a huge difference in how they view their work and whether they feel valued and valuable.
The following are guidelines to consider when communicating with the caregiver(s) caring for your family member or close friend (each of these considers two scenarios: One in which the caregiver is a family member or friend and the other when the caregiver is provided through an agency):
When you say ”you should do” it can make the caregiver feel judged and raise doubt about the quality of the care (s)he is providing. It can also make the caregiver feel unappreciated and resentful.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider praising the work the caregiver is doing, offer to brainstorm new approaches to make the caregiving easier, and consider providing some relief caregiving.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, consider praising the work (s)he is doing and dialogue about approaches that you might be aware of that have been successful in caring for the individual in the past.
When you say “I would do it differently” , it is actually saying that you believe the caregiver is not doing a good job and can create a defensive response. It also implies that there is only one way to accomplish something.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider acknowledging the challenges of providing care, and let the caregiver know that you are available if (s)he would like to explore additional ways to provide care.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, consider offering insight into the person receiving care so that the caregiver has a better sense of what motivates the person and may, in turn, make the caregiving more efficient and effective.
When you say “I can’t handle seeing him/her that way or the changes are too hard for me” , it can give others the sense that the impact of the illness is mostly on you rather than on the individual who requires assistance.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider acknowledging that it is difficult for you, but focus more on the impact on the person who is ill as well as others who are also challenged by a relative or friend’s illness. It is important to remember that others are also impacted by this.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, remember that the caregiver is there for the individual and not for you. If you focus too much on the impact the illness is having on you, it can, inadvertently, divert the caregiver’s attention away from the individual requiring assistance.
When you say “you look tired and need to care for yourself” , you are in a sense preaching to the choir – caregivers know they are often working long hours with little free time for themselves.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider offering a brief respite or providing a “home-cooked” meal to take some responsibility off the individual’s shoulders.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, acknowledge the challenges of providing care, appreciate the efforts being made on behalf of your friend or relative, and ask if they’d like you to speak with the agency about a temporary relief caregiver.
When you say “I just couldn’t do what you’re doing” , it could be interpreted to mean that what you do is more important or valuable than what the caregiver is doing and that you are, unintentionally, demeaning the caregiver’s work. While you may think it is acknowledging the hard work, there is an implicit sense that it is “beneath” you.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider acknowledging the difficulty in being a caregiver and how (s)he has had to rearrange his/her life to provide the care. Also consider being available to provide relief caregiving.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, consider acknowledging how appreciative you are of the care being provided, and praise the caregiver for ensuring that your friend or relative’s needs are being so well met.
When you say “you are a saint” or “your reward will be in heaven” , you fail to acknowledge the commitment being made now, or that we are not deserving in the present.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider thanking them routinely for their work and offer to provide relief so that they can attend to personal needs or desires that may have been ignored.
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, consider acknowledging your appreciation for their work on behalf of your friend or relative. Depending on how much time they provide care, a small gift (e.g., gift card) might be both appropriate and appreciated.
When you say “let me know how I can help” , it puts the burden on the caregiver to ask for help – something that might be difficult for someone to actually do.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider offering specifics (e.g., “I’ll come by tomorrow afternoon so you can have some free time” or “I’ll take care of the errands this week”).
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, offer a brief respite or provide transportation for your friend or relative’s medical appointment, to allow the caregiver a short break.
When you say “isn’t caring for aging adults just like raising children” , you minimize the responsibilities (and differences) of these two very different populations. The needs of adults, even those who require significant caregiving, are not the same as those of children and it can create the impression that it is appropriate to treat adults as if they were children.
o Instead , if the caregiver is a friend or relative, consider acknowledging the care and respect they are providing without making comparisons. Note how they are preserving the dignity of the individual(s).
o Instead , if the caregiver is an agency employee, acknowledge how (s)he is caring for and treating the individual(s) with respect and dignity and how much that is appreciated.
Some of the information contained in this piece originally appeared in an AARP Publication written by Amy Goyer
It is never easy making decisions about how to care for a relative or close friend who may need assistance. Often times, there are more questions than answers. AAA T.L.C. Health Care believes the following information will prove valuable in your decision-making.
What are some of the signs that a friend or relative might need a caregiver?
· Fall Hazard: Do you notice things like unsafe indoor or outdoor stairs, throw rugs, or clutter? Does the bathroom present a scary obstacle course? Has his/her vision changed or does (s)he sometimes feel dizzy?
· Unfinished Business: Are there stacks of unopened mail or unpaid bills, or key financial, home, or legal documents that haven’t been dealt with?
· Car Accidents & Tickets: When you see multiple accidents (even small dents) or an increase in citations.
· Isolation: Does your loved one seem disconnected from friends, family, and social activities? Does his/her support system seem to be deteriorating.
· Change in Appearance: Have you noticed a significant weight gain or loss? Is ()he wearing the same clothes every day or do the clothes need mending? Does (s)he appear dirty (or have unwashed hair)? Does (s)he seem sad, anxious, or distressed or are there problems with sleeping?
How do I keep my loved one safe at home?
· You can go room-by-room to ensure a safe environment as well as considering part-time or full-time in-home assistance to provide a more secure setting.
How do I get the person I worry about to accept help?
· Be open and honest and share your feelings. Present your concerns as just that – your concerns. Providing examples of why you think help is needed can support your concerns.
How can I deal with my family member of friend’s challenging behavior?
· This is a common problem for which there is no simple answer. One option is to find a support group in your area and meet with others who are sharing similar experiences.
My family members don’t agree about how best to care for our loved one. What is the best way to work through this?
· While there is no one answer, a good start is a meeting with all of the key individuals to discuss what the love-one’s needs are and explore options from each person’s perspective. This will afford everyone the opportunity to explain their feelings.
What is long-term care insurance?
· Long-term care policies can pay (or help pay) for unskilled (custodial or non-medical) care at home that is not routinely covered by medical insurance (such as Medicare).
What do I need to do to get my family member of friend’s legal affairs in order?
· The first step is to identify and organize the right documents. Additionally, make sure the individual has a will, a health care power of attorney, and a power of attorney for financial decisions.
What is a power of attorney?
· A power of attorney is a legal document in which an individual authorize another person to act on his/her behalf for any purpose spelled out in the document.
How do I get legal guardianship for my loved one?
· Although the process varies state-by-state (and sometimes County by County), in general you will need the assistance of an attorney. In Los Angeles County, the Probate Court has both on-line and in-person assistance available.
How can I find someone to help care for my family member/friend at home?
· Home Care agencies, such as AAA T.L.C. Health Care, can provide you with both skilled and unskilled (custodial or non-medical) in-home care professionals. This assistance is available on an hourly or live-in basis.
What are the best ways to hire a home caregiver?
· When interviewing caregiver candidates (whether you find them on your own or you’re working with an agency), ask for a list of their work history along with references that you can call.
What are the best questions to ask when hiring a home care worker?
· In addition for references, be clear in explaining what your loved one’s needs are and then ask about the caregiver’s specific expertise to ensure that the needs are compatible with the caregiver’s ability to provide for them.
What is the difference between skilled and unskilled care?
· Skilled care, under the direction of a physician, is typically provided by an RN or LVN and usually involves more complex services. This could include individuals requiring ventilator and/or trach care, feeding tubes, and various therapy services.
· Unskilled (or non-medical) care usually involves activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing, feeding, medication reminders, and assistance with ambulation) along with light housekeeping and various other services to facilitate living at home.
It is old news now that, thanks to improvements in medical care, boomers are living longer than members of the previous generation. Yet, statistics show that traffic accidents increase after age 65, and traffic fatalities, after age 75. Unfortunately, aging can affect driving in a number of ways:
• Pain/stiffness in the neck, arms, legs, joints due to arthritis
• Decreased vision from cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma
• Hearing impairment
• Slower motor reflexes/reaction time
• Diminished memory
First step: Acknowledgement of the issue
What to do? Older drivers must take responsibility, not only for their own lives, but those of others, including passengers, pedestrians, and fellow drivers. Seniors must take precautions, such as:
• Regular health check-ups to assess vision, hearing,
musculoskeletal, and cognitive function
• Keeping vehicles in optimal running condition
• Driving a vehicle well-suited to the driver’s needs (automatic transmission, power steering, lumbar support, etc.)
• Ensuring that windshields, mirrors, and headlights are clean
• Avoiding extraneous noise from open windows and radios
• Pulling over to the side of the road to check GPS or road maps, or to answer cell phones
• Keeping a safe distance behind the car ahead
• Making sure prescribed medications cause no drug-drug interactions or side effects that could impair focus, such as drowsiness or dizziness
If you believe that a loved one ought to give up driving, it is time to speak up. This must be done tactfully because driving signifies independence to seniors. Things to address might include observed trouble with driving basics, such as lane changes, braking, accelerating, lane “drift,” failing to use turn signals or leaving them on beyond when they are needed. More obvious examples might include increased “close calls,” citations, or actual accidents.
Other ways to make your case
If it’s necessary, enlist the support of other family members or
friends to convince your loved one to leave driving behind. Bring up
alternatives to driving, such as public transport, including buses,
taxis/Uber/Lift, ride sharing, community shuttles or senior transit. Stress the
health benefits of walking to destinations if your loved one is up to it.
Visit seniordriving.aaa.com for resources such as interactive self-assessment quizzes and certified driver rehabilitation specialist listings. Another resource, dmv.ca.gov, catalogues a number of Mature Driver Improvement Programs and also features a Senior Guide for Safe Driving. Again, the mantra in all of this is safety. Do not be shy to repeat it.
Recuperating at home after a significant illness or injury is an intimidating prospect, even for strong and independent people. There are so many decisions to make and questions to answer, such as “Can I take care of myself?” and “What are the best homecare agencies in the area?”, among others.
In these confusing times, it is often helpful to write a list of topics to talk about when it comes time to interview representatives from local homecare agencies. Talk with your doctor about how much help he or she expects you will need when you go home. Also ask your doctor about your medications, your ability to walk by yourself, physical therapy schedule, wound care routine, and other significant aspects of your care. Your physician may recommend a quality homecare agency, like AAA T.L.C., that he or she feels is best suited to address your needs.
When contacting any homecare agency, ask the representative if that agency offers the specific healthcare services you need. For example, if you have diabetes, ask whether the homecare workers perform glucometer checks. Review your doctor’s orders with the representative to learn if the company’s workers have the expertise you require. Learn if the agency provides basic, non-technical services to make life more comfortable. The best agencies offer a wide range of services, from tube feedings to trips to the local grocery store. Find out if workers will cook meals or take the dog for a walk. Many agencies encourage workers to do dishes, light housekeeping, and generally make the home more pleasant. Healthcare does not keep regular business hours – people need assistance at all times of the day and night. The best homecare companies offer around the clock care.
AAA T.L.C. is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Writing a list of questions to ask a homecare agency representative helps you get the care you need when recuperating at home. Ask your doctor or nurse for more information about homecare agencies in your area, or contact AAA T.L.C. to learn more about assisted living in California.
Living at home with cancer can be difficult, but it’s where most people want to be while battling the disease. Home health care providers from AAA T.L.C. Health Care Inc., can be invaluable in helping these patients lead normal lives at home with their families. Whether long term care or short term, we provide a wide range of medical, psychological, and social support, from full-time companions to on call nurses and everything in between.
There are two levels of home care, both furnished by a care giver
agency such as AAA TLC:
Custodial Care: Sometimes referred to as non-skilled home health care, these workers include home health aides and certified nursing assistants who help with bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom and other daily activities. They can perform light housework, pet care, and shopping, tasks that can be very exhausting for cancer patients. Also included in this category are companions , who read, talk and, most importantly, listen to the client. They bring a sense of normalcy to the home, engaging in recreational activities and hobbies.
Skilled caregivers have received special training in caring for cancer patients. Registered nurses and other highly trained professionals deliver advanced home health care, such as monitoring medications, performing assessments, and implementing therapeutic procedures. These advanced home care providers form a sturdy medical bridge between the oncologist and the homebound patient. In years past, this level of care was available only in a hospital or nursing home.
AAA T.L.C. has drivers available to help when transportation needs are required.
Call us today at 1.866.608.6608 for your FREE in person Patient Care Assessment.
AAA T.L.C. is always trying to improve our client’s well-being. This new exciting technology which has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might just be the godsend needed to help our spinal cord and paralyzed clients.
Do you remember the 1970’s TV shows “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman?” If you don’t the premise of the shows had astronaut Steve Austin and tennis pro Jamie Sommers “rebuilt” with experimental cybernetic technological body parts developed by a secret government agency after they were severely injured in accidents (of course they were then recruited as covert field agents who used their enhanced “powers” to help win the Cold War).
Flash forward to today and cybernetics have actually been developed to help those who have lost the use of body parts. While these replacement parts don’t have the look and feel of our own body parts as pictured in science fiction, they are nonetheless scientific marvels.
One recipient of cybernetic technology is Marine captain Derek Herrera, paralyzed from the chest down by a sniper in Afghanistan. Last month Capt. Herrera, using the ReWalk system developed by ReWalk Robotics Ltd., was able to “walk” across the Camp Pendleton parade ground in San Diego to receive his Bronze Star for bravery.
According to the Associated Press the ReWalk system, which can be used at home and in the community, is a “robotic exoskeleton system aimed at allowing people with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk.” The device consists of leg braces with computer-based motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance.
While this life changing technology is still in its infancy outcomes already indicate potential improvements in cardiovascular health, loss of fat tissue, building of lean muscle mass, and improved bowel function by those who are using the system.
ReWalk, developed by Dr. Amit Goffer, an Israeli inventor who himself is a quadriplegic, is designed for daily use in places such as home, work, at indoor and outdoor events as well as on different surfaces and terrains.
AAA T.L.C. will continue to monitor ReWalk and other similar companies as these first steps in cybernetic technology begin to fundamentally change the health and life experiences of those in need.
A senior knows a thing or two about life — especially the importance of planning. Senior citizens will often plan the smallest details of day-to-day living, from mapping the shortest path from the bedroom to the bathroom, to deciding when to take medications.
However, some elderly people drop the ball when it comes to planning meals and often choose instead to simply “graze” on whatever happens to be in the refrigerator or cupboard. This lack of preparation backfires, costing more time and money than planning meals several days or even a week in advance.
An AAA T.L.C. Health Care, Inc. caregiver can encourage better
nutrition and a more pleasing culinary experience by facilitating meal
planning. Whether it’s on a short-term care or long term care basis, we provide
balanced meal plans that provide complete nutrition, without excess fat or
calories, throughout the day.
New items can be incorporated into each meal, and cooking food at home guarantees each meal to be slightly different, as fresh fruits and vegetables come in and out of season.
Meal planning by our home health care personal attendants also saves time and money, sparing extra trips to the grocery store for incidental items.
Call AAA T.L.C. today at 1.866.608.6608 for your FREE in person Patient Care Assessment of your needs. Let’s cook up something great.
Sometimes a canine companion can be the best healing agent of all. Generally, any breed of dog can work wonders, but a few special breeds are recommended as best for specific conditions.
Airedale Terriers can be great dogs for those with heart conditions because they are so eager to go on long walks in the park and elsewhere. Without exercise, they can become visibly anxious, therefore motivating their owners to get the low-impact work out they may very well need.
Bullmastiffs can be helpful to those with limited mobility, including patients with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. Despite their size, they do not need much exercise. They are gentle animals and loyal to their owners. They can be great pets when there are in-home care givers in the house.
Greyhounds can be a great fit for insomniacs. They possess a quiet temperament and do not bark. Despite their size, they generally stay very relaxed in the home, and they bond deeply with their human masters.
Labrador Retrievers are often used as seeing-eye dogs for those who are blind or nearly blind. Very intelligent, they are easily trained and retain what they are taught. Labs are also very gentle, and have a very strong desire to please their masters. Their loving nature and even temperament enable them to calmly meet new people and situations.
Pomeranians are perfect as companions for seniors confined to their homes. These dogs need little exercise, they are subservient, and they are very loyal, affectionate and lovable. They are another breed that can be perfect when there are in home health care givers present.
Standard Poodles, with their hypoallergenic coats and little shedding, are obvious choices for those who suffer from allergies. They are also good-natured and love the company of humans.
Saint Bernards love the companionship of children, and can therefore be perfect when paired with hospitalized young folks. Patient, loving, obedient and protective, they can always be trusted with kids of any age.
Surgery can disrupt your life for weeks or even months, taking you away from work, school, and other responsibilities. The best recovery care possible is needed to get you back into your routine. AAA T.L.C. is a home care agency that will help you heal faster in the comfort of your own home – where you want to be.
Some surgeries are debilitating, requiring lengthy recovery time under the care of highly trained medical professionals. Undergoing spinal surgery, hip or knee replacement, an operation to repair a broken bone, or other surgical procedures, often result in your inability to care for yourself. Without the help of a home caregiver, you would have no choice but to recover in a nursing home or extended care facility.
What to expect
AAA T.L.C. Home Health Care provides a multi-faceted approach to postoperative recovery care, with services ranging from advanced medical care to light housework. Nurse’s aides, Certified Nursing Assistants, nurses, and therapists help with:
• Medication reminders
• Dressing changes
• Post-operative therapy
• Transportation to the doctor’s office for follow-up appointments
• Housekeeping duties
• Respite care to give family members a break
AAA T.L.C’s quality home health care reduces risks associated with surgery, including infections, pneumonia, bedsores, and falls. Our in-home caregivers also decrease the likelihood for medication errors or poor compliance with physician recommendations. This superior home health care optimizes healing and improves the outcome of your surgery.
Call AAA T.L.C. today at 1.866.608.6608 for your FREE in person Patient Care Assessment.