Always Best Care provides warm, compassionate and professional care for seniors and others when they need it most. We’re local experts in senior care, providing a resource for aging and senior living delivered through an international network of locally owned and operated offices. We’re dedicated to exceeding your expectations … always.

In-Home Care for Seniors

The Future of Home Care

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How will the future shape senior care?

Changes in the healthcare system over the past few years have led many to wonder what life will be like for their relatives and children as we move into the future. At the same time, astounding advances in technology have brought the world enhanced capabilities when it comes to interaction, collaboration, and research. As a result, the sciences have brought significant improvements in the quality and efficiency of patient care, including testing, operations, and recovery. It is important to take a look at the future of in-home care for individuals to understand what services are available today for senior citizens and how the practice is evolving.

Robots and Medical Assistance

Robots are enhancing the way that doctors and patients communicate. When it comes to a patient’s personal treatment plan, having a robot or automated system can help a senior citizen prepare meals and measure out medications accurately. Technology can also provide a vital service by allowing patients to connect with their doctors via video-conferencing solutions. This makes it so a person does not need to worry about transportation or long waits at the hospital or doctor’s office. Instead, a person receiving in-home care is able to quickly and conveniently check in with their doctor about their progress.

The Benefits of Robots for Home Care

As time goes by, more and more people are welcoming the assistance of robots into their home. These machines help senior citizens with a number of tasks that make daily life at home easier. In addition to measuring out precise doses of medication, robots can give people reminders of upcoming appointments and review the daily agenda. One such robotic assistant named “Hector” can detect emergencies, such as a fall, and alert the proper authorities to summon the help that is required, according to Forbes.

Choosing Home Care Instead of a Facility

In addition to robots making things easier on the elderly when it comes to medical care, they also make receiving in-home care more attractive than moving into a facility. Choosing home care helps keep families together by allowing a person to stay close to those that mean the most to them.

Other reasons that home care is preferred over facility care include:

  • Patients Remain at Home – Nobody wants to feel institutionalized. Seniors prefer to remain independent and home care allows people to feel comfortable while they deal with illness or injury. This also provides social value and allows people to keep their daily routines without having to lose control of their situation.
  • Home Care Promotes Healing – Patients heal more quickly when they are at home. Freedom and comfort are essential to the healing process, and being surrounded by a familiar setting helps accomplish this. Additionally, in-home care helps reduce stress so that a person can heal faster and more completely.
  • Patients Prefer Home Care – Each senior and his or her family is involved in the health care process every step of the way. This ownership over the process leads to higher satisfaction in the care provided.

Since medical services previously only available in a hospital or facility are now available at home, opting for in-home care has become a much more attractive option for seniors.

The Human Element Cannot Be Replaced

Although the technology exists to assist senior citizens with their medical services in the comfort and privacy of their own home, there will never be an adequate replacement for the human element of home care. Non-medical home care specialists provide services that robots simply cannot. As mentioned previously, remaining social in one’s later years is extremely important. Having conversations, playing games, and just having someone around the house goes a long way toward supporting the recovery of someone living alone with an illness.

Always Best Care’s non-medical personnel can help by answering the door and phone, preparing grocery lists, or even mailing bills when they come in. Having someone around to look after the house also allows senior citizens to remain in control of their life without having to worry about potential injury.

A home helper assists with the wake-up and bedtime routines, checks that food in the kitchen has not expired, and runs errands. As someone ages, simple tasks like making the bed, cooking meals, and taking care of pets can become more difficult. Luckily, an in-home care specialist will be there to complete these tasks each day and will make sure that anything that comes up is taken care of. In the event of an emergency, it is nice to have someone around that can get help.

Having a trusted professional at home when family members cannot be present makes staying at home that much easier for senior citizens. While robots are being developed to assist seniors in completing everyday tasks, there is nothing like being able to have a person you trust at home to look after a loved one.

Understanding and Planning for Alzheimer’s

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Caring for an Alzheimer's victim

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by damage done to neurons in the brain which are nerve cells that are connected to our memory and other cognitive skills. Victims of Alzheimer’s can be affected in some critical ways such as:

  • Declining memory
  • Altered behavior
  • Loss of ability to think clearly
  • Bed bound
  • Emotionally volatile

In the United States alone, there are nearly 5.2 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s disease, a majority of which are in need of in home care. Not to mention that every 67 seconds somewhere in the United States someone new develops Alzheimer’s disease. To top it off, a little known fact is that Alzheimer’s disease is given credit for being the 6th leading cause of death for American’s, nearly half a million people in the United States die per year of the debilitating disease. Matter of fact, Alzheimer’s disease claims more lives than the combination of both prostate cancer and breast cancer. It is also the one leading cause of death that is not preventable and yields no known cure at this point in time. Needless to say, it’s not something to take lightly.

What are the symptoms?
As all senior care professionals know, there are many symptoms that can point toward the development of Alzheimer’s disease. When an older member of the family or a loved one begins to exhibit such symptoms it is highly advisable to visit a healthcare professional who can determine whether or not Alzheimer’s is in fact rearing its ugly head. Some of the major things to keep an eye out for are:

  • Loss of short-term memory: this is a major indicator that Alzheimer’s disease may be developing as it is the most common symptom to appear during the early stages.
  • Familiar tasks become challenging: Familiar everyday tasks or chores should be second nature. If bathing, washing dishes, checking the mail, brushing teeth have become difficult this is another indication that Alzheimer’s may be developing.
  • Disorientation: Losing track of oneself and/or environment is a blaring symptom. For example, confusing one room for another, or getting lost inside of your own neighborhood are clues. Putting items in obviously wrong places is another way to determine if a loved one is experiencing disorientation.
  • Difficulty with planning and managing: If tasks that require a fair amount of detail become increasingly difficult, this may be a tell-tale sign.
  • Language issues: Struggling to find words, using malapropisms, broken sentences or incoherent statements are big signs.
  • Random mood swings: The lack of control over one’s emotions can range from happy to sad, or calm to livid. Mood swings can be triggered by the smallest thing and quite often have no rhyme or reason to them at all.
  • Loss of motivation: When there’s less and less enthusiasm put toward things that were once very enjoyable like spending time with friends and family or hobbies then an issue may be arising.
  • Altered Sleep Pattern: While this is self-explanatory, it is something to keep an eye open for if the irregularity becomes habitual.

How can it affect us?
As stated earlier, approximately 5.2 Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease today. Not to mention the new victims are had nearly every minute. Of the 5.2 million Alzheimer’s victims approximately 3.2 million are women, which is nearly two thirds of the population suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s come to light that Alzheimer’s disease has an especially nasty habit of developing in women over the age of 60. Matter of fact, women who are 60+ are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer.
In 2013, the costs to the American Society of Caring for those with Alzheimer’s climbed to an estimated $214  billion. The average per-person Medicare spending for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease is 19 times higher than that of seniors with any other condition. So it is no surprise that one out of every 5 dollars of Medicare funding is spent on cases associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Caregiver and Family

What can you do for your loved one(s)?

There comes a point for which families or loved ones simply cannot tend to an Alzheimer’s victim on their own. It’s important to be able to recognize when this time comes because when it does, it’s best that family members come together in order to find the next step toward getting their loved one the proper care that they deserve. When this happens it is highly recommended to seek out in home elderly care.

Caregivers

Caregiving to a victim of Alzheimer’s disease can be all encompassing. Typically, and to a great extent, victims require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL). Caregivers are known for being experts and professionals at assisting with ADLs such as:

  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Dressing
  • Getting to and from toilet
  • Bathing
  • Managing incontinence and diapers
  • Feeding
  • As well as chores such as paying bills, clearing, etc.

In many scenarios, families that are concerned about the treatment, tending to, and overall well-being of their family member can create a list of what expectations they have for their senior home care provider, including what they need from the caregiver, and so forth.

Baby Boomers Changing the Face of Retirement

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As the 78-million-strong Baby Boomer generation retires, senior care such as home care services, assisted living, and residential care is set to change, as this generation has different ideas about retirement than previous generations.

Aside from their sheer size, the Baby Boomer generation also wants more independence and a more active retirement than generations past. These demands are increasing strain on senior care providers to accommodate both the needs and the desires of the Boomers.

One way Boomers are changing the industry is through their life expectancy. People are living longer and longer, and the increased longevity is increasing the demand for long-term care. Providers will need to train and hire more personnel and find more economies of scale to give adequate care to retired Boomers as they grow older.

Boomers are much more reluctant to go into a residential retirement facility than their parents and grandparents, wanting to stay independent in their homes as long as possible. Home care can help support aging Boomers in their homes.

Financial companies are getting more creative in providing options for Boomers to finance long-term care. Deals like reverse mortgages are becoming more common as Boomers search for the funds they need to ensure a comfortable long-term retirement.

Always Best Care connects seniors and their families with quality assisted living and home health services. To find out more, explore our website or call 1-855-470-CARE.

Retiring Together: Boomers & Their Parents

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As people are living longer, the chances that your parents may still be alive when you retire are increasing. Many Baby Boomers hitting retirement age are still taking care of aged parents. A significant portion of these new seniors are taking their parents with them in planned communities close to assisted living facilities for their parents.

The average life expectancy in the U.S. is a little over 78 years, but members of some demographic groups have even longer average life expectancies. This situation can result in children in their 60s taking care of parents in their 80s and 90s.

If you’re retiring and plan on taking your parent or parents with you to your new home, finding a good assisted living facility close to your residence can help. When evaluating assisted living facilities, consider the following:

  • Trained staff. Make sure the staff of the facility have the necessary medical and care skills your parent needs.
  • Proximity. Choose a facility that’s close to your home, to make visiting convenient.
  • Activities. Make sure the facility you choose has plenty of structured, health-promoting activities for your parent. Seniors need exercise, socialization, and intellectual stimulation.
  • Budget. Before choosing a facility, make sure it fits comfortably into your and your parents’ budget.
  • Atmosphere. Be sure to visit the facility several times to see how residents and staff interact.

Always Best Care connects seniors and their families with quality assisted living and home health services. To find out more, explore our website or call 1-855-470-CARE.

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Five Hot Trends in Elder Care

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As the elderly population in the U.S. increases, elder care will become an increasingly important issue for our society. By 2025, the elderly population in the U.S. is expected to grow by 80 percent. Care industry experts predict the following trends in care for seniors:

  • The Decline of Residential Nursing Care. Nursing homes are becoming a thing of the past as economic realities, improving technology, and the desires of the elderly are pushing toward more home and community-based care models. Nursing homes will largely be reserved for severely ill or disabled seniors.
  • Assistive Technology. Tracking devices, technology that promotes memory and health, and robots to help with tasks are expected to become more common in senior care. This technology will help seniors, previously unsuited for home care, to remain in their homes.
  • Senior-Friendly Housing – More homes will be built that have standard senior-friendly features, such as gently sloping ramps, protective floors, handrails, and more.
  • Co-Housing. More seniors will live together in senior communities of independent homes. This will help with financial burdens and allow seniors to take care of one another.
  • Home Care Boom. As more seniors find it practical and desirable to remain in their homes, the home care industry will boom. Jobs in the industry are expected to increase exponentially over the next decade, and revenues for home care companies are also expected to climb.

Always Best Care offers in-home care, as well as assisted living and Alzheimer’s/dementia care, all over the nation. Call us to find out more about our services at 1-855-470-2273.

 

Technology Contributing to Greater Dementia Home Care Options

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Improving technology will help dementia sufferers stay in their homes longer, delaying or even eliminating the need for residential care as home care options expand.

Dementia affects millions of people in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow as the U.S. population ages. Dementia care is expensive, with the costs of residential care often consuming the assets of elderly individuals and their families. Finding more cost-effective ways to provide dementia care and solutions that allow sufferers of this condition to stay in their homes longer can help reduce this financial burden.

Technological solutions that help people with dementia adjust safely to their condition can greatly help. A number of assistive technologies have recently hit the market and can help dementia patients stay independent. Some of these devices include way-finding devices, technology that promotes social interaction, online games, and puzzles that foster memory and health and other items. Monitoring devices that help home care workers keep tabs on their charges can also help promote greater home care results.

Robotics also offers promise. Some recent advances include assistive devices that can lift and carry people, reducing injury risk, therapeutic robots that provide the benefits that owning a pet can have for dementia sufferers, and robots capable of assisting home care workers.

Always Best Care offers in-home care, as well as assisted living and Alzheimer’s/dementia care, all over the nation. Call us to find out more about our services at 1-855-470-2273.

New Study Urges Policy Changes for Dementia Care

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The RAND Corporation recently released a report detailing important policy changes needed to ease the burden of long-term dementia care.

The organization noted that dementia care poses a substantial burden on caretakers and urges changes to how dementia care is provided. The study noted that 15 percent of people over 70 suffered from dementia. About a third of family caregivers reported being stressed by taking care of relatives with dementia, with much of the stress being caused by the financial burden. The RAND Corporation examined care data and developed five major suggestions. The report urged the following changes:

  • Increased public awareness aimed at reducing the stigma associated with dementia and the promotion of early detection of the condition.
  • Better access to long-term service and support, including home and community-based services. Better training for caregivers is also urged.
  • Promotion of high quality care dedicated to the needs of dementia sufferers and their caregivers.
  • More information and support for caregivers that allows them to better find and obtain services and financial assistance.
  • Single-payer health insurance and linking long-term care insurance to health insurance.

As the senior population in the U.S. increases, it is likely that the number of individuals and families dealing with dementia care will also increase. Finding ways to ease the burden of care can greatly assist a significant portion of the population.

Always Best Care offers in-home care, as well as assisted living and Alzheimer’s/dementia care, all over the nation. Call us to find out more about our services at 1-855-470-2273.

Creating Activities for Seniors with Dementia

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Many caregivers struggle to create activities that seniors with dementia can participate in, but getting these seniors active is important to slowing the progress of dementia and improving their health. Many assisted living facilities have professionals with the skills and know-how to get elderly people with dementia up and moving. When seeking a facility for your loved one, be sure to check into their activities for residents living with dementia.

In general, when devising activities for residents with dementia, it’s important to keep their interests in mind. For example, seniors who enjoy gardening should be included in gardening-related activities. Assisted living facility staff can help residents with diminished capacity in these activities, by simplifying activities or assisting them with the parts of the activity they are unable to do.

Assisted living facility staff should work to make activities meaningful, instead of just ways to pass time. A component of achievement or learning should always be part of the activity. When activities are meaningful, seniors are more likely to respond to them positively.

Seniors living with dementia often benefit from activities that reestablish old routines. By creating activities relevant to their lives, assisted living staff can help create activities seniors will find engaging and enjoyable. Even common household tasks, such as washing dishes or cooking, can be meaningful to seniors. Assisted living staff must work to ensure these activities are safe and ability-appropriate for seniors, however.

Studies have shown that staying fit physically and mentally greatly increases the quality of life for seniors and helps to mitigate some of the effects of dementia. With a cooperative assisted living staff, you can ensure that your senior stays busy and keeps well. To find the perfect facility for your senior, contact Always Best Care. We will provide you with assisted living placement finder services during your care consultation, free of charge.

 

Walking Works Wonders

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Recent studies show that regular walks can be the dividing line between good health and poor health for seniors.

According to a recent University of Georgia study, walking offers health benefits and helps older people stay independent. In the study, researchers split subjects into walkers and non-walkers. The walkers began by taking 10 minute walks, and later increased to taking 40 minute walks.

Both the walking group and the control group were tested on aerobic capacity and physical ability by researchers before and after the study. After four months, the study found that:

  • Physical function results increased by 25 percent for the walkers, but decreased in the control group. Disability risk also decreased significantly for the control group.
  • Peak aerobic capacity also increased for the walkers, growing by nearly 20 percent. Peak aerobic capacity declined for the non-walkers by about 9 percent.
  • Aerobic capacity is important, as it helps provide the energy people need to accomplish physical tasks.
  • Study participants reported improved energy and also commented positively on the social aspect of walking with others.

Researchers concluded that walking is a simple means of improving health that seniors from all walks of life can engage in to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. This low cost method of health maintenance can help maintain mobility and physical condition, and reduce risk of illness or injury, making it worthwhile. A home care professional from Always Best Care can help you create a walking schedule to follow, and even walk with you around your neighborhood, so that you too can reap the benefits of regular walking.

Watching Cholesterol is Essential for Senior Health

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It’s been said a million times, but it bears repeating. Seniors – whether they’re benefitting from home care or in an assisted living facility – have to keep a careful watch on their cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a leading contributor to heart disease, the leading killer of older Americans. To lower their risk of illness and death, seniors and their caregivers should carefully monitor cholesterol levels and work to keep their levels within reasonable limits.

Cholesterol – a fatty substance in the blood – is vital to various life functions, but too much of it can be dangerous and contribute to heart disease and other ills. Doctors say that total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL.

Cholesterol is also further broken down into LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL. HDL cholesterol should be above 35 mg/dL in men and 45 mg/dL in women.

If you have elevated cholesterol levels, your doctor will recommend treatment. To start, you’ll be told to make changes to your diet, limiting foods high in fat such as red meat, eggs, and fried foods. You’ll also need to up your fruit and vegetable intake and exercise more often.

Medications may also be prescribed to treat cholesterol. A doctor will determine whether medication is the best route, as some cholesterol treatments may have side effects.

The goal of your treatment will be to keep cholesterol within acceptable levels and, often, to also boost HDL cholesterol – also referred to as “good cholesterol.” Regular visits to a doctor can help seniors and their caregivers keep tight rein over cholesterol levels. Once you have visited a doctor, your non-medical home care caregiver from Always Best Care can help you maintain a healthy diet by setting up an eating and exercise schedule for you to follow.