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The post Know the Professionals in Your Senior Support Network appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Surrounding yourself with support is a no-brainer—for every person of any age—and of course, the current pandemic has made this even more essential for everyday life. Months into COVID-19, seniors are still trying to accept their “new normal.” According to Kaiser Health News, “many remain fearful of catching the virus and plan to follow strict precautions — social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, limiting excursions to public places — for the indefinite future. Mortality is no longer an abstraction for those who have seen friends and relatives die of COVID-19.”
Supportive people can have roles ranging from beloved family to peers, friends, colleagues, mentors and others. But given coronavirus, the ideal senior support network spreads even more to include professionals who specialize in specific areas of senior service.
The key professionals in your senior support network should include skilled and unskilled workers in healthcare, social services, elder law and insurance. This article introduces some of the important professionals from these fields that you may want to interact with regularly, and it explains their role in supporting seniors.
Knowing the job descriptions of these people will help you and your family navigate your senior support network. You will also be able to leverage the relationships you have with these professionals to help you in your health, financial, recreational and personal matters. Get to know the professionals in your senior support network and learn how to help them help you! Taking this step will give you and your family peace of mind in dealing with the challenges of coronavirus and anticipating life post-pandemic.
According to the CDC, 15.3% of seniors age 65 and older had at least one hospital stay in 2017. These seniors were treated by hospital physicians who often had to respond to senior health crises. In the hospital, and especially during an unexpected health emergency, seniors will encounter physicians who they may have never met before. This is because inpatients, or individuals admitted to a hospital room, are assigned any attending physician once they arrive. This physician will almost definitely be someone different from your primary physician.
The hospital physician has the ultimate goal of ensuring a patient’s physical and mental well-being while they are treated in a hospital. Your hospital physician will prescribe discharge medications and make the recommendations for the best place for your recuperation. They will authorize final discharge plans when you leave the hospital. The rest should be carried on with your primary physician.
COVID-19 may have changed the way you will see your doctor, so it’s important to check with the medical office to see whether your in-person appointment is now a virtual “telehealth” visit. Your primary physician is the person you refer to as “my doctor” and whom you see regularly for typical checkups, prescriptions and other clinic visits. They know you on a personal level and are regularly updated on your health. They are also usually intimately aware of your health history, personality and family. Your primary physician should be included in the event of a health crisis, mainly because they would be able to inform your hospital physician of your state of health better than anyone else, but also because they will have to know what happened to you to make sure you recuperate well afterward.
Keep an open line of communication with your primary physician whether or not you go through a health crisis and keep their contact information on hand in case of an emergency. Let your family know how to reach them, especially if you are a senior with multiple health problems. This can complete the circle of communication if you should ever face the chaotic unknown during and after hospital discharge.
Nurses – RN, LVN, CNA (Home Health Aide)
At the forefront of your hospital treatment (and long-term care for some people) may be the kind, caring face of your nurse. Nurses take care of patients day in and day out. They attend to your care constantly by monitoring your vitals, responding to your emergencies, providing your nutrition and by fulfilling other needs you have while recovering. In the hospital, seniors should know that nurses are not their treating physicians, but aides who can ensure the comfort of their patients and their patients’ families under physicians’ orders. Nurses observe patients’ mental status, mood, cognitive status, stamina and ability to follow directions. They are able to relay this information to physicians, who see you much less often.
There are different kinds of nurses who get involved in senior care. RNs, or registered nurses, provide professional, comprehensive nursing care for patients in an acute care environment. They are coordinated, safe, compassionate and attentive. They will evaluate senior patients to determine required services and plans of care. All RNs have graduated from a nursing program and have a nursing license. LVNs, or licensed vocational nurses, are nurses who care particularly for people who are sick, injured, convalescent or disabled. They plan, organize and direct the nursing functions of patients in units like senior care centers, working under direction of registered nurses or physicians. CNAs, also called certified nursing assistants and home health aides, work beneath these two other types of nurses to provide basic care to patients. They assist them in activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting and eating. You will often encounter CNAs working in assisted living or seniors’ homes as caregivers.
RN Case Manager
A RN case manager is a special type of registered nurse tasked with evaluation and implementation of health care plans. RN case managers may come from backgrounds of nursing and social work. They have clinical experience to understand important processes of assessment, planning, and evaluating care for patients who need assistance making educated decisions about continuing their health care or long-term care. RN case managers use excellent communication and problem-solving skills to help you through the ins and outs of the health care system. They will work to find you resources within and outside of hospitals to maintain your health. RN case managers work in hospitals, for insurance companies, in rehabilitation facilities, in senior communities and within home care.
The discharge planner in a hospital is sometimes also a nurse, but with a different set of responsibilities. They can also be a social worker. The discharge planner’s job is to coordinate all resources to get patients out of the hospital as soon as possible. They source from a network of referrals to figure out where a patient should go for continued care after their hospital discharge. Discharge planners listen closely to seniors and their families while they all work together to find senior care from assisted living facilities, physical therapy providers and caregiver agencies. Help your discharge planner help you by reading this blog to understand the discharge process.
Caregivers are family members or paid helpers who regularly look after the elderly. Though caregivers have much skill, they are categorized as “unskilled workers” who do not require formal education or licensure to perform their duties. (At Amada Senior Care, caregivers have received trainings and certifications, including those on how to minimize risk to senior clients during COVID-19.) Caregivers help seniors perform activities of daily living, or ADLs, to help promote independent living as much as possible. They are companions who watch and guide seniors as they live their daily, regular lives. Oftentimes, caregivers continue the good work done by other senior support professionals who helped seniors through health crises or rehabilitation by making sure they are supervised, healthy and safe.
Good caregivers are hard to find, especially as their workforce dwindles in the troubled senior care industry. However, to find qualified, vetted and dedicated caregivers, give an Amada Senior Care location near you a call.
Skilled Therapists – Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists
Skilled therapists can play a large role in a senior’s discharge planning process. Occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists will assess their patients’ capabilities and deficits to communicate updates to physicians and discharge planners. They also share this information to help family members realize the types of physical care that a patient needs once they are discharged from a hospital.
Occupational therapists work with seniors to achieve fulfilled and satisfied lives. They aim to help seniors live independent, productive lives while working through physical, developmental, social or emotional problems. If you are a senior with a physical or cognitive disability, an occupational therapist can help you understand your limitations in order to hone new or other capabilities that will promote your independent living. Physical therapists are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who can help you reduce pain and improve mobility. They work with past injuries or bodily limitations to strengthen you enough to be comfortable or move freely. Physical therapists can help with rehabilitation after surgeries, such as hip replacements, without invasive treatments – and reduce your need for prescription medications, if possible. Speech therapists work with patients who are limited with communication because of swallowing disorders or cognitive decline. Like other therapists, speech therapists work on strengthening your abilities with consistent, caring guidance.
A medical technician, or a “med tech,” for short, can be found in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. They are responsible for administering medications to residents. Seniors living in homes for the elderly depend on medical technicians to organize, refill and provide important medications that they might have to take every day. Med techs will also take telephone orders from physicians to refill prescriptions and keep their facility’s med carts stocked.
Assisted Living Activity Directors
Coronavirus certainly has curtailed group activities at assisted living communities, but activity directors are still doing what they can to keep residents socially engaged. In assisted living, senior residents often take part in a pattern of daily activities set by the facility’s administration. An activity director plans, schedules and implements these programs to engage and incorporate residents. Activity directors may be the people responsible for some of the most enjoyable events in you or your senior loved one’s life. Concerns activity directors take to mind while planning their activity programs include seniors’ emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual needs.
You might find an activity director organizing resident attendance, communicating schedules throughout the community or even transporting residents from place to place. They have an ear and heart for senior citizens and should be attentive to seniors’ preferences and needs. It’s certainly advisable to ask questions about coronavirus precautions being taken and the communication plan with residents if you or a loved one are considering a move into a community.
As have assisted living communities, municipal senior centers around the country have had to hit the pause button during these pandemic times. A recreational leader is similar to an activity director because they are responsible for organizing activities that seniors can take part in to fulfill emotional, physical, social and intellectual needs. However, recreational leaders are often government employees who work through your city hall. Perhaps there is a community center in your city where recreational leaders organize things like movie nights, arts and craft socials, mixers and group exercise events for seniors. Recreational activities like these are very beneficial to seniors who wish to be a part of their community. They’re often free of charge as well. Check with your local senior center or City Hall to learn about what physical activities are available while following safety protocols or what new, virtual activities might be offered.
Geriatric Care Manager
Geriatric care managers are professionally trained to work with seniors and their families to help seniors reach the highest level of functioning. Your geriatric care manager may have been educated in various fields of human services, such as social work, psychology, nursing or gerontology. They coordinate services for the elderly and their families and monitor their progress. Geriatric care managers are some of the biggest advocates in senior service because they act as a liaison between different providers, seniors and their families to find solutions that best fit seniors in need.
You may have had to hire a geriatric care manager to take part in a discharge process. Oftentimes, geriatric care managers maintain independent businesses in the community. Once hired, they do a comprehensive assessment of their client and create a care plan reflecting the best environment and services that he or she needs. The family of a patient is highly involved in this process. If you believe your loved one could benefit from the advocacy of a geriatric care manager, visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) website.
Elder lawyers are a unique category of legal specialists who help families with issues pertaining to aging. Most of the time, elder lawyers help families pay for long-term care costs or preserving assets. Elder lawyers will likely advise seniors on how to maintain the value of assets including estates, pensions and investments. They will also help seniors prepare and plan for covering long-term care while keeping their assets intact.
Most elder lawyers belong to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Members of NAELA work together, learn from each other, and leverage broad experience to help people who encounter legal issues as they age. With an elder lawyer, you will be able to plan for special needs, incapacity, long-term care, Medicaid and Medicare coverage, long-term care insurance and health care decision making. You can also consult an elder lawyer for estate planning decisions concerning trusts, wills and beneficiaries.
Financial Advisors are available to you through several organizations or even in the form of a trusted friend or family member. However, finding a good financial advisor depends on whether or not you can trust your candidates to competently counsel you in managing your wealth. Working with a financial advisor develops a very personal relationship because they will be aware of the uses and location of your money. They will become intimately aware of your spending and saving tendencies, wishes regarding your finances in the case that you become incapacitated and the network of people who your assets support or affect.
You must feel comfortable with your financial advisor and monitor their work to make sure that your money is safely taken care of. Financial advisors touch large sums of money in helping you pay for long-term care or managing your estate. They must keep you informed of their business and stay in tune with yours.
Insurance of any kind can be a hassle, especially when it works in a carrier’s favor to avoid paying for your claims. Work assertively with the insurance agents whose organizations carry your health, life and long-term care insurance plans. This takes communication, documentation and persistence to maximize coverage of your health and long-term care claims. Often, working with insurance agents can be too difficult for senior citizens to manage on their own. It can be even more difficult for their children or other family members to help with. Regarding the different types of insurance you may have, few people are able to navigate this, besides yourself. But when it comes to insurance for long-term care—one of the largest expenses a senior can have—let an Amada Senior Care advocate be part of your senior support network.
The post Know the Professionals in Your Senior Support Network appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
The post Maintaining Close Bonds with Parents from Afar appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
This Sunday marks the 25th National Parents’ Day, a commemoration launched to celebrate and support parents for their role in helping to develop strong communities by raising happy children. Even when a child grows up into a self-sufficient adult, they are still that precious baby in an aging parent’s eyes. Parents’ Day can serve to remind adult children that their senior parents likely are needing more of their love and support. This need has become a clear priority in this time of pandemic, given that the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases for older adults and the elderly.
Of course, jobs and life events tend to separate adult daughters and sons from their parents. This often leaves children far away from mom and dad, and visits back home to see them likely have been less frequent over the years as “life happens.” COVID-19 has put a new focus on increased communication as a necessity for the emotional and mental health of elderly parents due to travel restrictions and stay-at-home advisories.
Right now, you can’t put a price on the value of letters, packages, cards and other tangible items received by a senior loved one. Even more dear are phone calls offering a little more intimacy, especially if you feel your parent needs to hear your voice. In addition, technology today allows us to reach parents through live video communication. Whichever medium of connection you choose to bond with your parents from afar, it can make the distance between you seem smaller.
If you are a long-distance family caregiver, managing an aging parent’s care can get in the way of bonding if you take more of a “supervisor” or “babysitter” role over your mom or dad. Don’t hesitate to contact an Amada Senior Care advisor to discuss ways to preserve your relationship or learn about user-friendly technology designed to help them live safely and independently at home. Read on for more ideas on how to bond with your parents and keep those crucial lines of communication open.
“Maintaining Close Bonds with Parents from Afar,” by Michelle Mendoza and updated by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors.
The post Summer Safety Tips for Seniors During COVID appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Being a month into the official summer season, Amada Senior Care would like to remind seniors to be proactive during the hot summer months and take steps to avoid dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and fainting or dizzy spells. Seniors are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. Experts point to chronic medical conditions and prescription medications impairing the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature.
A recent study by Climate Central found that that each year 12,000 Americans die from heat-related causes and that more than 80% of victims are older than 60. In this pandemic year, seniors may find it more difficult staying cool while outdoors since “social distancing could prevent the usage of traditional cooling centers or local air-conditioned sites like shopping malls or libraries, as older residents, vulnerable to the virus, avoid public places and personal contact.”
Because of their training, Amada caregivers understand hot summer weather can be challenging for the elderly. They know how to help senior clients take steps to minimize their risk of health problems caused by heat and keep vigilant for signs of distress. The simplest protective steps that you or your senior loved can take are to drink plenty of water, access air conditioning as needed and wear sun-protection clothing. The following are a few summer safety tips for seniors to beat the heat:
Stay hydrated. It is recommended that everyone drink 8 glasses of water each day, but especially those over 65. “Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated,” said Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic. “As a result, they are more prone to heat stroke.” Seniors also lose the ability to conserve water as they age. Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol, as they will further dehydrate you. If you are outside or exercising, be sure to drink sweat replacement drinks to replace the extra water you lost.
Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting and light-colored clothes will keep you cool and not absorb as much heat from the sun. It’s best to wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to help regulate your temperature. A broad hat and sunglasses will keep the sun’s rays out of your face and eyes.
Wear sunscreen. This is especially pertinent for seniors, as many prescription medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 20 or higher will help you avoid sunburn.
Stay out of the sun. Check the forecast and avoid prolonged time in the sun, especially on days where the temperature reaches above 90 degrees. Try to plan any outside activities for the early morning or in twilight hours after the sun sets.
Spend time in air-conditioned places. If you want to get out of the house while avoiding the heat (or if your house isn’t air-conditioned), look for activities in spots with AC. Because people age 65 and older are at an increased risk of experiencing serious complications related to COVID-19, avoid activities that involve crowds, like movie theaters, large family parties, amusement parks, museums and the like. Consider activities that are lower risk like small, outdoor family events as long as you and others wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
Know when to cool down. If you’re feeling heated, take a tepid (not too hot or cold) bath or shower to cool down. You can also use cool washcloths on the neck, wrist, and armpits. Seniors are at a higher risk of heat-related illness due to health factors they are susceptible to such as poor circulation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the inability to perspire due to certain medications. The following are health problems caused by heat and their warning signs:
|Health Problem||Definition||Warning Signs|
|Dehydration||A loss of water in the body||Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, passing out|
|Heat Stroke||Dangerous rise in body temperature||Temperature of 103 or higher; red, hot, dry skin; fast pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; confusion; passing out|
|Heat Exhaustion||Caused by too much heat and dehydration and may lead to heat stroke||Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fast and weak pulse, fainting|
|Heat Syncope||Fainting caused by high temperatures||Dizziness or fainting|
If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms above, move to a cool and shady place. If they are awake, try to get them to drink plenty of water/ and or sports drinks to replace electrolytes. In the case of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have blood pressure or heart problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic means celebrating summer a little differently this year, but by minding sun safety guidelines and taking extra precautions to minimize risk you or your senior loved one can still enjoy an active and safe summer.
“Summer Safety Tips for Seniors During COVID” written by Taylor French and Michelle Flores, Amada contributors.
The post Travel during COVID: Tips for a Senior ‘Safecation’ appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Summer’s here and with it comes the itch to travel. But should you attempt to go on vacation if you are a member of the senior population who is advised to minimize their risk of exposure to coronavirus? With careful planning and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, older adults should be able to enjoy a “safe-cation” – what’s defined by popular website Travelocity as “a mini getaway to destinations that are cleared for safe travel during this time.”
Keep in mind that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) emphasizes that no form of travel is completely safe: “We don’t know if one type of travel is safer than others; however, airports, bus stations, train stations and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.” This CDC travelers’ guide will keep senior travelers informed on precautions and advisories amid the continuing pandemic.
It follows that the first step a senior adult should take when making any summer travel plans is to assess your personal situation. Risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases for older adults and the elderly, according to the CDC. Having a chronic condition like lung, heart or kidney disease puts seniors at an even higher risk for complications, including hospitalization. If you feel confident of clearing yourself for takeoff, keep reading for essential tips for planning and enjoying a safecation.
COVID’s shifting environment requires that all of us, especially higher-risk seniors, check a variety of resources for news and guidelines on travel restrictions and advisories. The U.S. State Department website issues advisories and reports on safety conditions for traveling domestically and internationally. Many travel portals like Kayak report on travel restrictions and include information on borders, airports and state regulations. Read up on the latest travel health notices and COVID-19 travel recommendations via the CDC.
Protect Yourself and Others
Senior or not, by now we all know the CDC drill! Wear a cloth face mask in public. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid close contact; try to keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others.
Forget About Cruise Lines for A While
Under the No Sail Order, most cruise lines have suspended voyages worldwide until at least September 15 while they work to implement rigorous health and safety initiatives. Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival have suspended cruises to Alaska for the rest of the year. If you’re a senior who loves to cruise, it’s not too early to plan for next year. The industry is bullish on a strong return next year with outlets like Condé Nast Traveler reporting that booking is hot for 2021.
To Fly or Not to Fly?
Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, air travel is considered safe by most experts. The tricky part is maintaining the recommended 6 feet of social distancing space between you and other people while waiting in security lines and sitting on crowded flights. Seniors are encouraged to choose an airline that has protocols in place you’re comfortable with and try to book travel for mid-week to avoid big crowds. Bring wipes and clean your seat area before sitting down. Wear your mask the entire trip. Avoid standing in line to use the lavatory. Check out these airplane germ-fighting tips from AARP.
Consider Hitting the Road
Road trip vacations either by car or a recreational vehicle are picking up speed with seniors since you have more control over your personal space. One free online tool that can help you create your itinerary is Roadtrippers, which provides routes, calculates mileage and travel time, and identifies points of interest, restaurants and RV campgrounds.
Make sure to pack hand sanitizer, several masks and disinfectant wipes, along with paper towels. Always wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops and remember to use hand sanitizer before you get back in your car. Use a paper towel if you must touch door handles and faucets at rest stops.
Bring your own food if possible (provided you can safely store it). If you buy food, use drive-through or curbside service and clean your hands before and after eating. Pay for gas, food and other necessities with a credit card to minimize contact and disinfect the card afterward. Remember to clean the inside of the car, along with phones and tablets.
Stay Close to Home
Instead of embarking on a long road trip, consider a weekender or an overnight within a 100-mile radius of where you live. Several booking sites like Travelocity are including information on hotel cleanliness policies and hygiene amenities like contactless check-in, complimentary hand sanitizer and social distancing measures.
Think about staying even closer to home with a day trip. Seize the opportunity to pare down your “senior bucket list” to a “backyard bucket list” and visit local landmarks and attractions, provided there are social-distancing and other safety protocols in place.
Armchair travel is the new black for seniors! Hundreds of portals can give you a tour of the White House, national parks, museums and zoos, global cultural landmarks, and countries or provide experiences like taking a dogsled ride in Alaska, riding a rollercoaster or attending a concert. Hop on your tablet, PC or mobile phone and search “virtual travel” or “virtual experiences at home” and you’re there!
“Travel during COVID: Tips for a Senior Safecation,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada contributor.
The post Travel during COVID: Tips for a Senior ‘Safecation’ appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
The post In Appreciation of Independence, Our Beloved Veterans and Unsung Heroes appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
By issuing its “Declaration of Independence” on July 4, 1776, the United States claimed independence from England. Fourth of July wouldn’t become an official federal holiday until 1941, but that hasn’t kept Americans from celebrating Independence Day since the 18th century and the American Revolution. It’s a given that the holiday had to look different this year, with the pandemic prompting many cities and counties to cancel fireworks displays, parades and other festivities. We’re encouraged to stay safe and minimize risk by avoiding large groups, continuing the habit of social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and practicing hand hygiene.
We can still embrace a fresh appreciation for our nation’s freedoms and honor veterans who fought in a range of battles: World War II (about 325,000 vets are alive today, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Our duty as Americans is to honor those who have made sacrifices to preserve our freedom and independence. This duty often is forgotten in the usual frenzy of festivities, but this pandemic year gives us the opportunity to contemplate the true meaning of Independence Day. In addition to honoring veterans, we can also pay respect to the countless unsung heroes — paid and family caregivers, nurses, doctors, social workers, hospital workers, pharmacists — and so many others who serve our veterans not only on this holiday but every day of the year.
At Amada Senior Care, we are honored to be in the position to care for those who have given so much. Our goal is to provide exceptional and compassionate caregiving to enable clients to live safely at home and as independently as possible. More than a few Amada franchise owners were motivated to pursue caregiving because of a loved one who served. Many more franchise owners continue to be inspired by the courage and commitment of veterans under their care. Continue reading to learn why:
“Helping people has always been my passion, especially working with our veterans,” says Glen Schecter of Amada Ventura County. “My dad was a WWII veteran and worked as a veteran’s advocate for more than 30 years. Thanks to his influence, helping veterans and seniors has been part of my life both personally and in business.”
Glen’s dad, Mort Schecter, was a tail gunner during the war, serving in the Army Air Corps from 1942-45. According to this article, he flew 35 combat missions in France and Germany aboard a B-24 Liberator.
As a member of Jewish War Veterans and the American Legion, Mr. Schecter would spend 25 years as a volunteer three times each week at the Sepulveda Veterans Ambulatory Care Center. On Nov. 3, 2012 at the age of 89, he received the Veteran of the Year Award from the County of Los Angeles Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during a ceremony at the Rose Bowl.
“I asked my dad ‘Why did you pick that position?’” Glen said. “He told me jokingly, ‘So I can go back and take a nap when I needed to.’”
Mort Schecter also was awarded the Legion of Honour medal (the highest decoration bestowed in France) that was presented personally by the Counsul General of France. Mr. Schecter passed away at age 93 in 2016, having helped hundreds of veterans.
Glen Schecter, VP of Client Relations
Amada Senior Care of Ventura County (CA)
“John told me of the difficulties he had to deal with caring for the men he led and protecting them with his own body,” said Bob Schricker of Amada Nashville about his client (and now close friend) John Tucker. “He said that the way he deals with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is that he had to do something that was bigger than him after he returned from Vietnam. He felt he would have been a suicide statistic like many other veterans if it weren’t for his grandmother’s earlier guidance as he was growing up. It is an honor to help John.”
“I am a Vietnam veteran as well and we developed a friendship right away,” added Bob, who served as an Army drill instructor. John is confined to a wheelchair due to arthritic knees, and Bob was able to obtain medical equipment from the VA to assist with his mobility around his home. Bob installed a carpet runner so that he could wheel about easier. Bob also was successful in arranging local medical care for John who, although he can drive, was having difficulty making the long drive to the Nashville VA Medical Center.
John, who will soon be 77, has gained his upper body strength back since his hospitalization two years ago. He is featured on the Wall of Heroes at the Veterans Clinic in Gallatin. About a year ago, John and Bob were guests on “PTSD Warrior Stories,” a YouTube series by veteran and country singer Chris Turner.
“We are honored to serve this patriot,” said Kevin Fehr, owner of Amada Nashville and founder of CommuniServe, a nonprofit that raises funds to help pay for services for veterans.
Kevin Fehr, Owner, and Bob Schricker, Caregiver and Director of Community Relations
Amada Senior Care of Nashville
“At Amada Senior Care of WV, we are so honored to have many veterans under our care. THREE of our clients are 99-year-old WWII veterans! Each of these veterans had outstanding military careers and it has been so enlightening to hear their stories of their heroic service.
Mr. Freeland served in the Marine Corps and was a member of the Edson Raiders from 1940-44. This was a special unit for amphibious light infantry operations, typically landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines. Mr. Freeland was a platoon leader who was present at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He will turn 100 in September and is still healthy enough to live at home alone with just a little help from the VA and Amada Senior Care.
We started service earlier this year with Mr. Dumont on his 99th birthday! He served in the Navy Air Corps from 1938 to 1942. After his military service, he went on to a long career with Union Carbide and is still a highly active member of the Putnam County community. He was flooded with calls on his birthday and continues to have many caring visitors call and stop by to check on him.”
Kari Peyatte, Owner
Amada Senior Care of West Virginia
Treasure your independence, the independence of others and sacrifices made by our veterans this Fourth of July. Here are easy ways to do that:
“In Appreciation of Independence, Our Beloved Veterans and Unsung Heroes,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada contributor, with some content updated from “Treasuring Independence by Caring for Our Veterans,” by Michelle Mendoza, Amada Blog contributor.
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The post Memory Loss: When to be Worried and How to Help appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Here’s something to keep in mind: Occasional forgetfulness – aka “having a senior moment” – is a normal process of aging. Keys are easy to lose, so there’s no need to panic when you or your elderly loved one misplaces them. The same goes for forgetting names or mixing up words. Likewise, anyone can forget an appointment, fail to recall that one word “on the tip of their tongue” or become easily distracted. Still, signs of memory loss can trigger significant worry for aging adults and their families considering about 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and that one in three seniors dies with the disease or another of the 70 known types of dementia.
Something else to keep in mind: There is a difference between normal age-related memory loss and serious memory impairment. As we age, our memory makers and keepers (our brains) change. The adult cortex starts to shrink in our 40s, neurons in the brain atrophy, aging brains get less blood flow, and some of our abilities to remember words, people and habits decline as a result. When these scientific, physical changes are near inevitable for almost every human, why is it still hard to accept changes in memory as at least partially inevitable, too?
In addition to the normalcy of these changes, it is also normal for us to compare ourselves or seniors we love to more cognitively sharp, previous selves if memory loss happens. There can be embarrassment surrounding forgetfulness, making it seem like it’s detrimental to our intelligence or former reputation. This article will help you understand that many aspects of memory loss are nothing to feel embarrassed about. More importantly, it will teach you when to take memory loss seriously—if it is an actual threat to you or your senior loved one.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is a “distinct form of long-term care designed to meet the specific needs of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other types of memory problems,” according to Alzheimers.net. Memory care communities are safe places for people with memory problems to receive special services accommodating their unique needs. Memory care communities often provide 24-hour supervision, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and medical monitoring. Staff members are trained particularly for assisting people with dementia or impaired cognition. Sometimes, assisted living facilities have a separate area or wing for memory care, which can be called a special memory care unit (SCU).
While memory care can refer to the service and location where aging adults with memory problems can receive supervised long-term care, the act of memory care itself is just as instrumental in securing the well–being and safety of seniors with memory impairments.
How can seniors and families of seniors take care of memory, preserve cognitive vitality and cope with the symptoms of memory problems?
The Difference Between Normal and Serious
Memory problems become apparent when an individual’s lifestyle is affected by it. This affect can be small; perhaps as you age you’ve noticed certain inconsequential lapses in memory when you communicate with others or misplace items. When the effect of memory problems exceeds a certain limit and negatively impacts your lifestyle, it is serious. You, as the senior undergoing the change or the family member observing it, must know the difference between normal age-related memory changes and serious cognitive impairment.
You are undergoing normal, age-related changes in memory and if these signifiers apply to you or your elderly loved one:
These are changes in memory that you or your elderly loved one may be suffering from or beginning to experience dementia or other serious memory problems:
If you are unable to distinguish the difference between normal and serious, problematic memory loss, please speak to a primary physician about any of your concerns. You also can turn to an Amada Senior Care advisor for information and resources, whether you’re a current client or now. Here are complete lists of symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for your reference.
Tools for Aging Adults
It is scientifically proven that behavior changes can help people stay sharp for as long as possible. A study called “Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly,” also known as ACTIVE, found that short mental workouts improve mental performance and can even sustain it for up to five years. This means that challenging yourself mentally by exercising memorization, reasoning or visual concentration can promote cognitive vitality. So can other lifestyle strategies that you can read about here.
Some people think good memory is the ability to recall things immediately. Good memory is actually good learning and retention of information. A strong mind can associate new information it encounters with other information it already holds. For example, making a mental note of where you leave your keys, like “They are by the fruit on the table,” will associate something new to remember (where your keys are) with something you already know (the fruit is always on the table). Besides making mental notes to remember things you’ll need later, here are some other memory care tools you can use to exercise your mental skills:
Tools for Families and Caregivers
Family members and caregivers, who may very likely be one in the same, are the frontline observers and responders to senior loved ones with memory issues. They are the people who will observe noticeable changes in their loved one’s memory, realize the shift from normal to serious memory loss and unfortunately, often be the ones to break the news of declining memory to the person experiencing it. Especially when seniors undergoing memory loss or diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s will tend to deny any suggestion of their illness, family members breaking the news might also fear breaking the hearts of their loved one and all other people who will be affected by their mental change.
Memory problems are difficult to accept, but to deal with them, families and caregivers can use several tools meant to maximize memory care and comfort the person experiencing it. Communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be excruciatingly hard to do. The person’s memory loss may inhibit them from speaking linearly, remembering things they have just said, or mixing up names and words to a point of confusion. Family members and caregivers also may expect the person to have the same intellect and speaking ability they have always had in the past, which can be frustrating. To communicate effectively with someone with memory loss, secure the person’s attention by maintaining eye contact, speak clearly and succinctly, be extremely patient, use kind, encouraging words, notice your body language and take a break if you get frustrated.
Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are core to caregiving for the elderly needing long-term care, whether they suffer from memory loss or not. But while cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing may be justifiably easy with a coherent, mentally healthy senior, these tasks can prove challenging with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. If you are providing care to someone who panics because they do not recognize you, it might even feel like your caregiving is harmful to the person in need. This and other mishaps can happen in the delicate situation of caring for someone with memory loss. These are good tips to keep in mind while providing assistance with ADLs for someone cognitively impaired. Remember that the key to good caregiving is to promote independent living as much as possible.
The Reality of Memory Loss
As mentioned, there may be some degree of heartbreak while dealing with your own or a family member’s memory loss. Memories are precious, and when lost it can feel like losing parts of meaning in your life. While senior parents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may even forget who the most beloved people in their life are, the people they love suffer feelings of helplessness and mourning at “losing” someone who is familiar to them. Sometimes, families will grieve for the person with memory loss long before they actually pass away. The reality of memory loss is just that—a loss—but it’s also the making of room to create more memories in the time our loved ones have left with us. Use it well.
“Senior Moments vs. Memory Loss: When to Worry,” written by Michelle Mendoza and updated by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors.
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