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How to Start the Care Conversation with Your Loved One?

Senior Caregiver

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Starting a conversation with a senior parent about home health care may be difficult. At the end of the day, it is a big step for many of us to admit the need for help. Sheridan Care has over 18 years of experience providing care for seniors. We are happy to assist with any questions when it comes to living confidently and the well-being of your loved one.

  1. Before approaching a senior parent to discuss bringing in a home health care worker, put yourself in that senior’s shoes. Think about what that senior is most frustrated about and be empathetic. Understanding the situation is extremely important in relating to the senior’s emotions, and timing is crucial in setting the stage. Choose a time when tensions are low and there is plenty of time for a discussion.
  2. To make the conversation the most productive, focus on the senior’s safety and helping them maintain independence. Concentrate on why and how an in-home health care worker can actually make life easier and safer.
  3. Recognize the senior’s right to make their own life choices, especially if a home care worker is coming to the house. The senior is likely to be more agreeable if their concerns or wishes are respected during the decision-making process. The sooner you begin conversations with an aging parent about how they can remain safe and maintain independence by using home care, the easier it will be to approach the topic over the long-term, before any major safety concerns are presented.

Our mission is to help seniors live confidently and age gracefully in their own homes for as long as possible.  We choose to make a positive difference in the lives of mature adults and their families who love them.

Top 10 Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association publishes an annual report detailing the complications and costs of the disease to caregivers and the healthcare system. June is dedicated to 

1. Half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 and over (10%) has Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

2. More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.

In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with the disease remain undiagnosed. With research and time, our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s continues to improve, though it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.

3. More women have Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.

4. Symptoms of the disease can develop in people as young as age 30.

We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.

5. The incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase to every 33 seconds by 2050.

The rate at which Alzheimer’s occurs — every 65 seconds in the U.S. — is projected to double by 2050 because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.

6. The disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S.

“Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the U.S. and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from Alzheimer’s continues to increase.

7. There are over 16 million American caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care at home, while a mere 10% of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.

8. There is an increased likelihood of depression, emotional stress and financial problems among caregivers for those with the disease.

The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s can place an incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person — a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories — may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Social and therapeutic support are shown to reduce this risk.

9. The total cost of health and long-term care services for Alzheimer’s is $277 billion.

Over $102 billion of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $175 billion, or roughly 70%, was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low assets and income but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.

10. There are an estimated 800,000 Americans with the disease living alone.

For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care community, as many as 15% of people with the disease still live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of medical emergencies, poor self-care, social isolation and a range of other issues.

Full and original Article: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-02-28-scary-facts-about-alzheimers-disease/



Mental Health Awareness Month - Mental Illness in the Elderly

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May has been the national Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses like for example depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Mental Health Awareness Month also strives to reduce negative attitudes and misconceptions that surrounds mental illnesses.

Mental Illness in the Elderly

Did you know that about 20% of adults aged 55 or older have experienced some type of mental health concern, but nearly one in three of those seniors do not receive treatment?

The statistics on mental illness in seniors are sobering, but with knowledge and vigilance, caregivers can stay aware of the emotional and mental health of their older loved ones and make sure they are properly treated if they are experiencing a problem.

You might not be surprised to read that the most common mental health issue among the elderly is severe cognitive impairment or dementia. An estimated 5 million adults 65 and older currently have Alzheimer’s disease — about 11% of seniors, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Depression and mood disorders are also fairly widespread among older adults, and disturbingly, they often go undiagnosed and untreated. The CDC reports that 5% of seniors 65 and older reported having current depression and about 10.5% reported a diagnosis of depression at some point in their lives.

Often going along with depression, anxiety is also one of the more prevalent mental health problems among the elderly. Anxiety disorders encompass a range of issues, from hoarding syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder to phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 7.6% of those over 65 have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, says the CDC.

Risk Factors for Mental Illness

One of the ongoing problems with diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in seniors is the fact that older adults are more likely to report physical symptoms than psychiatric complaints. However, even the normal emotional and physical stresses that go along with aging can be risk factors for mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation lists a number of potential triggers for mental illness in the elderly:

  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Change of environment, like moving into assisted living
  • Dementia-causing illness (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Illness or loss of a loved one
  • Long-term illness (e.g., canceror heart disease)
  • Medication interactions
  • Physical disability
  • Physical illnesses that can affect emotion, memory and thought
  • Poor diet or malnutrition

10 Symptoms of Mental Illness

As our loved ones’ age, it’s natural for some changes to occur. Regular forgetfulness is one thing, however; persistent cognitive or memory loss is another thing and potentially serious.

The same goes for extreme anxiety or long-term depression. Caregivers should keep an eye out for the following warning signs, which could indicate a mental health concern:

  1. Changes in appearance or dress, or problems maintaining the home or yard.
  2. Confusion, disorientation, problems with concentration or decision-making.
  3. Decrease or increase in appetite; changes in weight.
  4. Depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks.
  5. Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness; thoughts of suicide.
  6. Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems.
  7. Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained: aches, constipation, etc.
  8. Social withdrawal; loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable.
  9. Trouble handling finances or working with numbers.
  10. Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes.

Don’t hesitate to seek help if your loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms above, urges the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation.

There are professionals out there willing to help, including your family doctor, who is always a good place to start. You could also consult a counselor, geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist. The important part is not to stand by and suffer alone.

With the combined efforts of caregivers, family, friends and mental health professionals, we can help ward off mental illness in our older loved ones and make sure they are on the right track to healthy aging.

Original article: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-10-7-mental-illness-in-the-elderly/


Seniors’ Memorial Day Traditions











Memorial Day is a very personal holiday for many seniors. Some of them are veterans who remember those whose lives they saw being taken around them on the field of battle. Many more lost family members or friends who were serving their country. The memory of the lost men and women is that makes Memorial Day so special to our senior loved ones and many younger Americans.

There are a number of ways our seniors observe Memorial Day, with many traditions originating in childhood. Your senior loved ones may still participate in one or more of these.

  • Fly their flag. This is an everyday tradition for many veterans and other seniors, though on Memorial Day they may lower the flag to half-mast until noon.
  • Visit the grave site of veterans, especially those at one of the national or state cemeteries that are special resting places for those who served in our military.
  • Place a flag and/or flowers on the graves of family members or friends — sometimes also the graves of other veterans, so that all are remembered.
  • Attend a special Memorial Day service in memory of those who have given their lives in service to the US.
  • View, or even participate in, a local Memorial Day parade to honor the fallen.
  • Visit with veterans or the families of those who lost someone in the service.
  • Reminisce about those family members and friends they lost, telling stories and sharing pictures.

You may also find your senior loved ones observing Memorial Day on May 30 in addition to – or instead of – the Monday holiday. This was the traditional Memorial Day observance before it was moved to create a long weekend.

Original and full article: http://seniorcarecorner.com/honoring-observing-memorial-day-traditions

National Nurses Week - Eight Nurses You Never Knew Existed

National Nurses Week May 6th-12th

International Nurses Day May 12th

This week is dedicated to all the amazing Nurses nationally as well as internationally. The American Nurses Association (ANA) began advocating for a national day to recognize nurses and all their hard work in the 1980s. In 1982, the ANA acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day,” and president Ronald Reagan followed suit, signing an executive order that proclaimed May 6 as a national day recognizing and honoring the nursing community.

Being a nurse requires special skills and a compassionate personality.

We truly honor all these hard-working and caring professionals!

Eight Nurses You Never Knew Existed

  1. Roller Derby Nurse

Roller Derby

If you’ve ever seen a roller derby it’s pretty obvious that those fierce warriors on wheels would need some medical attention from time to time. For the Windy City Rollers of Chicago that care comes from “Mama Doc,” aka Judy Ramsay, RN, PEDS-SPEC.

A quiet pediatric nurse by day, Mama Doc spends her evenings voluntarily treating the sprains, bumps and bruises that these fiery women receive both in and out of the rink. She consults them on their needs as athletes, but is also happy to discuss with them sensitive personal issues. Her own daughter is a competitor.

“I do get nervous watching [them] out there; my pulse starts racing. My daughter has broken her nose, her leg and her collarbone, but I don’t ever want to inhibit her from feeling that she could do everything she wants in her life.”

  1. NASCAR Nurse


Ranking right up there with the MLB, NFL and NBA, NASCAR is currently one of the four most popular professional sports in America. But even sports fans need medical care, and the attendees of the Daytona 500 in Florida have someone looking out for them while they watch their favorite drivers compete.

Kathy Vance, RN, spends her time at the race doing an initial assessment of the racers and pit members after an accident, but more often than not, she’s helping to stabilize and treat injured or sick fans. She lovingly refers to some of her patients as Daytona’s “over-beveraged guests,” but she treats patients with more serious health issues, as well.

“One woman came in and she was actively having a myocardial infarction. I told her that she was having a heart attack and had to check into the hospital. She refused, saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m not going to miss the 500 for this. I’ll go and see my doctor when we’re done.'”

  1. Flight Nurse


Here’s a nursing career path for adrenaline junkies. Nurses at LifeNet in the Heartland out of Omaha, Neb., spend their days soaring over the plain states, rescuing patients from emergencies in remote places that are impossible to reach via ground transport.

Matt Tederman, BSN, CFRN, says, “Kids are always the toughest flights. A few years back, we had this kid who was on a snowmobile in a rural field. He didn’t see a barbed wire fence and ran right into it. He had a very severe laceration on his neck and was in pretty rough shape. We were able to secure his airway and the outcome was positive. It’s flights like that that make you feel you can provide a life-changing service for the patient and their family.”

  1. Prison Hospice Nurse


The over whelming majority of inmates at the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., are behind bars for life, which also means that’s where they will die. What’s unique about this place is that many of these prisoners will die in the company of compassionate hospice volunteers — inmates themselves — who are trained in hospice care by a corrections nurse.

Tonia Faust, CCNM, RN, is the hospice program coordinator there, and she and her inmate volunteers help to bring palliative care and emotional comfort to inmates in their last days of life.

“When I am working with a patient, my thoughts are in the present. I don’t look at their rap sheets, and I don’t know what the majority of my patients have done to be here. I don’t want to know. I know they’ve done something bad, but my job is to take care of a human being as if he were a family member. I don’t treat these patients any differently than I would a patient out on the street.”

  1. Drug-Endangered Children’s Nurse


Anyone acquainted with television shows like “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire” might feel they have a working knowledge of the culture behind drug production, distribution and abuse. But no one is more keenly aware of the harsh realities of that world than nurse Peggy Arvin, BSN, RN.

Working as a consultant with the state of Kentucky’s foster care system, Arvin has been on the forefront of helping identify the physical and psychological effects of drug abuse on the most unwitting victims of the trade: children. As meth production in Appalachia began to spike, there was a sudden influx of children coming into foster care with a whole litany of never-before-seen issues. Arvin took action: educating herself about the drug in order to create a protocol for EMS and child-welfare workers to use when they encountered children in a meth home.

“We have one child whose parents owed either meth or money to a relative who kidnapped the child and said, ‘Every day you don’t pay me, I am going to burn the child with a cigarette.’ The two-year-old was brought into foster care, and we found twenty-two burn marks on the child.” The hope is that with the right care, these neglected kids can be treated for their physical and emotional needs and placed in foster homes where they can have a chance at a new, more stable life.

  1. Transgender Outreach and Education Nurse


Members of the LGBT community often face intimidating barriers when seeking adequate, compassionate health care. Health care professionals might not understand their specific needs or might be discriminatory against their lifestyle. Sometimes, in spite of their best intentions, something as simple as a question about gender can immediately alienate a patient.

That’s where Nathan Levitt, RN, MA, BSN, comes in. From his office at the Callen Lorde Community Health Center in New York, Levitt works double duty: he counsels and performs outreach to members of the local community, but he also functions as an educator to health care professionals, instructing them on how to provide LGBT patients with affirmative and sensitive health care.

“I did not know I wanted to be a nurse early on. I did a lot of LGBT-advocacy work and started working with doctors and nurses in San Francisco. That pushed me further to be a nurse because I wanted to help remove the barriers to care that I had faced myself. It’s best to ask, ‘How do you identify your sexual orientation?’ or ‘How do you identify your gender?’ or ‘What pronoun would you like me to use for you?’ What I love about nursing is developing trusting relationships with patients to help them feel more comfortable in an environment that may feel alienating and discriminatory. I just need more hours in the day and night to do the work I love.”

  1. Wound Nurse


“My nickname here is ‘Pus Princess’. I don’t talk about my work at cocktail parties because people think a wound nurse deals in gunshot wounds. I say, ‘Not so much, more like chronic, non-healing things.’ That usually ends the small talk.”

Amanda Owen, BSN, RN, CWCN, is a wound specialist in the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s inpatient ward, treating people with problems the rest of us would probably rather not know about. “I tell people I went to school to become this glamorous looker of disgusting things,” Owens said. Some of her patients will never fully heal and must be continually managed, but some do have miraculous outcomes.

“I didn’t choose wound nursing; it chose me. I was a nurse on a medical nursing floor where I saw all kind of patients. My first successful wound patient was in the hospital for six months. I was able to try every wound product and technique on her to see what worked and what didn’t. Then we had another lady who had this horrible disease and who shouldn’t have healed, but she did because she had specialized care. At the time, the department did not have anyone who specialized in wound care, so that became my specialty.”

  1. Global Health Policy Nurse


Some nurses aren’t only RNs, they’re also MDs and PhDs, as well, and their work can take place far outside of the realm of day-to-day patient care. Nurse Marilyn DeLuca, PhD, RN, MA, MPA works as both an educator and consultant on issues of public policy, both locally and globally.

Her career began on an ICU ward, but she soon felt she needed to have a better understanding of the policy issues driving health care reform on a larger scale, so she returned to school for a PhD in health policy.

“If we could start from scratch, we would build a very different health care system than the one we currently have. Many of our current problems — high costs and fragmented care — are the result of the unexpected consequences of policy decisions. In the coming years, nurses will likely play more dominant roles in health care delivery. They have the capacity and clinical skills to improve the continuity and quality of care. I would like to see a large-scale project to improve the continuity of care.”

Original & full article: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/eight-nurses-you-never-knew-existed


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