Local owner John Botsko has over 25 years of healthcare experience as a Hospital CEO as well as other Healthcare Executive positions. He was inspired to blend his skill sets and give back to the Ft. Myers and Naples communities by creating a company that raises the standard of in-home healthcare.BrightStar is accredited by the Joint Commission for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO. We have also earned the distinction of the Enterprise Champion for Quality Award from the Joint Commission for the last 5 years in a row. (2013-2017). No other Home Care Agency in the country has been awarded this honor from the Joint Commission.This BrightStar Care agency won the Top Customer Satisfaction Award in 2017 out of all 300 BrightStar Agencies. BrightStar is committed to providing compassionate care and peace of mind to families and facilities throughout Lee and Collier counties. BrightStar serves patients of all ages, from newborn through end of life, whether its in their home, in any place of residence, or in any facility.
Family members are first in line for caregiving responsibilities, whether raising children or caring for a spouse, or aging family members. Yet, while home care has been around since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid were established, the concept of non-medical in-home care is still relatively new.These ten things you didn't know about home care will reduce the stress and worry associated with caring for family members. Learn the benefits of regularly scheduled in-home care visits for loved ones needing support and their caregivers.1. Delays the need for more expensive types of care In-home care services can delay or prevent the need for more costly care out of the home. In-home caregivers initiate medication reminders, meal preparation, personal care, light housekeeping, companionship, and other tasks. Family caregivers may worry about the health of an elderly parent worsening. Young parents may worry about a baby's health. Single adults facing surgery may worry about managing upon a return home. Home care workers provide peace of mind by offering supportive assistance for a fraction of the cost of a residential care home, assisted living community, or nursing home. Rates for in-home caregivers range from $20 to $45 per hour, depending on the location and type of services provided. Compare in-home care to assisted living or a nursing home where the costs range from several thousand dollars per month to $10,000 or more. Depending on your situation, in-home care may be a more practical and affordable option.2. Supports a wide range of services for all ages Home care agencies serve diverse clientele from babies to older adults and everyone in the middle. While some only offer non-medical care, others offer a combination of companion and personal care services and skilled medical care. For example, companion services might encourage a loved one to participate in a hobby or provide transportation to meet friends for lunch. Personal care services can offer assistance with bathing, dressing, and grooming. If you suspect that the needs of your loved one will be changing, it's a good idea to inquire about the menu of services available when interviewing a home care agency. In addition, ask about staff qualifications and agency standards that may include extra efforts to become accredited through organizations like The Joint Commission. (this links to the Brightstar Care page about accreditation)3. Preserves the well-being of the family caregiver The care that family members receive is only as good as the health and well-being of the person providing the care. When short-term care situations become permanent, caregivers who are spouses and adult children can become mentally and physically exhausted. Hiring a non-medical in-home care agency offers family caregivers the opportunity to take time off during the week, evening, overnight, or on the weekend. Regularly scheduled breaks to enjoy activities or spend time with friends is just what the doctor ordered to support positive family relationships and the caregivers health.4. Implements a plan of care to provide peace of mind You might wonder how in-home caregivers can make life easier. At an initial meeting, a company supervisorwho may also be a nurseasks about your family situation and discusses assistance that might be helpful. The nurse identifies areas where consistent actions can positively impact family care. or some, this may be companionship for an elderly parent with dementia or grocery shopping and meal preparation for the week to relieve the family caregiver of this task. In-home caregivers alleviate family caregiver stress and meet the needs of care receivers, giving the family peace of mind.5. Provides trained employees to support care needs and unexpected situationsThings you didn't know about home care or may be afraid to ask include knowing if caregivers are trained. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer's, uses medical equipment, or is nearing an end-of-life care situation, it's essential to know that the caregiver visiting your home is trained and competent. If you hire a caregiver independently online or through someone you know, evaluating background and work experience may be challenging. Home care agencies that provide registered nursing oversight and employee training are worth their weight in gold when the unexpected happens.A home visit from a registered nurse can identify a change in health like a fever or breathing issue that might indicate a more serious condition. Then with a call to the doctors office, the nurse can obtain a prescription for medication or an order for treatment to prevent unnecessary hospitalization. 6. Professional caregivers take on the task work so family caregivers can focus on relationships Family caregivers often feel like they are the housekeeper, the repairman, the laundry person, or the cook. Instead of feeling like chores are never-ending, family caregivers can establish a relationship with a care agency to provide a wide range of services, including respite care. Respite means that family members are relieved from busy work to spend more time making memories with loved ones.7. Allows families time to plan for the future Care situations can arise out of crises. A parent is hospitalized and is sent home but struggles to complete daily tasks. A nursing home stay may be cut short with a parent released days or weeks before the caregiver anticipated. When families are unsure how a loved one's abilities might improve, utilizing home care services gives families time to take a breath and evaluate the situation. In-home caregivers can provide short or long-term care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This support is vital to allow families to make thoughtful and practical decisions about the timing of next steps for a loved one's care.8. Acts in a supervisory role so you don't have to Ever worry about what happens if the caregiver you hire isn't right for you or doesnt show up? Another of the things you didn't know about home care is that you don't have to be the supervisor. The care agency supervises and trains staff, hires, manages schedules, and completes background checks, payroll, insurance, and taxes.You'll never have to feel burdened by covering a shift if your private caregiver can't show up. Nor will you feel uncomfortable about a caregiver offering too much personal information or crossing a professional boundary. If the situation doesn't feel right, all it takes is a phone call to the agency to resolve your concern.9. Offers backup support and resourcesLet's say you're at work and you receive a call that mom is scheduled for a doctor's appointment tomorrow. You're not available. Accompanying a loved one to a medical appointment is a perfect assignment for an in-home caregiver. Care agencies are used to dealing with the unexpected and can usually provide a caregiver for last-minute projects. In addition, if there is a request for assistance not offered by the care agency, many have a list of helpful resources that can assist with other needs.10. Extends care services from birth to end of life Some agencies offer a broad range of care services for newborns to supplemental caregivers when hospice care visits the home. As family caregivers know, aging family members are insistent in their desire to remain living at home. The challenge is that being a caregiver takes a toll on many areas of life. Being a caregiver can extend beyond months, years and decades.About Pamela D. WilsonPAMELA D WILSON MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA is a national caregiving expert, author, advocate, and speaker educating family caregivers, older adults, professionals, groups, and corporations. Since 1999, Pamela has been an entrepreneur and business owner providing direct service: in-home care, care management, and legal and financial appointments. In addition, she consults about elder care, care navigation, caregiving services, and caregiver support programs with families, health and care providers, attorneys, and financial planners. 2022 Pamela D Wilson, All Rights Reserved
Transitional care is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of services designed to help individuals and families make successful transitions from one stage of health care to another. The goal of transitional care is to help individuals manage their health and maintain their independence by providing them with the resources they need as they move through different stages of treatment. Transitional care can be tailored to fit individual needs and includes services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, nutrition counseling, medication management, and more. Transitional care also includes follow-up visits with primary healthcare providers and specialists. Who Is Transitional Care For? Moving on from one health care setting to another can be a tricky situation for anyone, and that's where transitional care comes in to play. This type of care provides essential support for people as they navigate their way from a hospital or nursing home back to their home, or even as they move into an assisted living facility. It can be a true lifeline, helping to ease the transition and ensuring that individuals have the proper resources and guidance they need to move forward with confidence in their health and wellness. Its also beneficial for those managing chronic illnesses or major medical events such as strokes or heart attacks because it provides continuity of care during times of change. Additionally, transitional care can be used by caregivers too; caregivers often need assistance in understanding how best to manage their loved ones condition at home after discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation center. In short, anyone who needs assistance with creating a plan for transitioning from one form of health-related situation to another can benefit from transitional services. At BrightStar Care our team works closely with your medical providers throughout your transition process so that you get the personalized attention you need during this critical time. Our team will coordinate follow-up appointments with all involved parties so that there is continuity between each step in the process, allowing you or your loved one's recovery journey go as smoothly as possible while providing peace of mind for everyone involved. Short-Term Transitional Home Care Services Offered by BrightStar Our BrightStar Home Care (Opens in a new window) team of registered nurses are dedicated to helping you transition safely back home. With a wide range of in-home services (Opens in a new window), we provide personalized plans that ensure your health needs are met with the utmost care and accuracy. Our team provides for health needs such as: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Diabetes Heart Attack/AMI (Acute Myocardial Infarction) Heart Failure Pneumonia Post-Operative Stroke Therapy for Post-Op or Stroke Transitional care management includes multiple services to ensure proper healthcare delivery for patients. It involves obtaining and reviewing patient discharge information, assessing the need for further diagnostic tests and treatments, providing education to the patients and caregivers, establishing referrals to and arranging for community resources, scheduling follow-up visits with various services, and coordinating care with home and community-based clinical service providers. A critical aspect of transitional care is the reduction of unnecessary hospital readmissions and medication management. BrightStar Care seeks to make the transfer from hospital to home as seamless and efficient as possible, ensuring patients are comfortable and well taken care of throughout the process. BrightStar Care transitional care services are conveniently located around the country (Opens in a new window), allowing you access to the help you or a loved one need when you need it most. In-Home Transitional Care Services When it comes to transitional care services, there are many benefits to receiving care in the home. One major benefit is the convenience it provides. With in-home transitional care services, the individual and their family members don't have to worry about the potentially hefty cost of a nursing home or rehab facility. They also don't have to worry about transportation to and from the hospital or rehab center, as they can receive care right where they live. This can be especially important for individuals who have limited mobility or who have difficulty getting around. Another benefit of in-home transitional care services is the level of personalization that can be provided. At BrightStar Care, we understand that no two individuals are the same, and their care needs vary. Through our transitional care services, individuals receive personalized care that addresses their specific needs, including personal services such as light housekeeping, meal prep, and medication management. This level of customization allows individuals to receive the care they truly need, promoting a faster and more comfortable transition back to home and routine. In addition, receiving care in the home can be less stressful for both the individual and their loved ones. Receiving care in the home allows the individual to have greater control over their surroundings, which can be especially important for those who may have anxiety or other conditions that can be exacerbated by an unfamiliar environment. Similarly, this can provide much-needed peace of mind for family members, who can rest assured that their loved one is in a familiar, comfortable environment that promotes healing. Choose BrightStar Care Today for Your Transitional Care Services! Transitioning between different stages of health-related situations can be overwhelming without proper guidance and support; this is where transitional services come into play! At BrightStar Care (Opens in a new window) our team works closely with you or your loved one during this critical time so that you receive personalized attention every step along your journey back home! With our help, you can ensure that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible while providing peace of mind for everyone involved! Contact us today (Opens in a new window) if you have any questions about our transitional services! We look forward to hearing from you soon!
For more information on the author BrightStar Care of Bonita Springs, CLICK HERE.Heart health is so vitally important, so today is the best day to commit to living a healthier lifestyle. Family history is one major risk factor for heart disease, but an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and being overweight can also elevate your risk. To get yourself and those you love back on the right track, start by heading to your general practitioner for a full check-up. This should be done yearly. To make sure youre staying healthy year-round, try following these daily tips.Heart-Healthy Tip #1: Eat RightEating right isn't just a great idea, its a necessity. By putting the right food into your body, you will receive the proper nutrients it needs to fight off everyday germs, and helps you stay energized and strong. Try these easy tips for eating right:Prep meals ahead of time. Spend some time one day a week putting together nutritious meals for yourself and your family members to grab and heat up.Never go shopping on an empty stomach. This will help you avoid buying treats that aren't on your shopping list.Take a walk. After a meal, take your family on a walk together to resist the urge to overeat and to grab a sweet treat. The best dessert will be spending more time together.Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. When choosing something to drink, steer clear of alcohol, sodas, and sports drinks. Remember, water is your friend as it takes up 70% of your body. Keep fully hydrated, and replace any water you may lose from sweat.Heart-Healthy Tip #2: Exercise RegularlyExercise helps keep the body strong and helps keep the weight off and the heart healthy. Try these small ways to make healthy decisions every day.When you go shopping, park farther away from the door, walking is good for your body.Instead of taking the escalator or elevator, take the stairs.If you;re at a wedding or even in your own living room, dance to the tunes that are playing. You;ll be surprised how many calories you can burn from busting a move.Love to watch TV? Walk or jog in place in your living room or place the TV in front of your treadmill and enjoy your shows while getting in a daily workout.Find a partner who will motivate you to work out more often and push you to try exercises that challenge you.Try new activities and sports each week to keep your workouts interesting.Wear a pedometer to track your steps. Increase your target number each day.Always remember to stay hydrated and stretch before and after every workout!Heart-Healthy Tip #3: Reduce StressTaking care of sick or aging loved ones can be stressful and this stress can cause strain on the heart, increasing the chances of a heart attack. Make sure you take care of yourself daily to decrease your stress levels.Use a to-do list to organize everything you need to do each day. This will help you focus on your most important tasks at work, at home, and with your loved ones.Slow down. There is no rush to do everything at once. Make a plan ahead of time for events or appointments that are coming up so everyone is fully prepared.Have me time. Everyone needs time to themselves. Spend at least 30-60 minutes a day with your phone on mute and doing something that makes you happy. This can be reading a book, painting, meditating, anything that relaxes you.Sleep. Sleep. Getting 6-8 hours each night can help reduce stress and depression. Cant sleep? Exercise can help with this.Quit SmokingSmoking harms you as well as those around you. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two top potential high-risk outcomes of a smoking addiction. Did you know smoking, along with alcohol and caffeine, can increase your stress levels? Kick these harmful habits today for a healthier tomorrow.
For more information on BrightStar Care Bonita Springs, CLICK HERE.The past year has been challenging for most people, and particularly those with elderly loved ones. The COVID-19 vaccine, however, has been approved in record time, and is now being rolled out around the country. With so many different COVID-19 vaccine companies sending their products to market, how can you know which one is right for you? Are some more effective than others? Here, we look at the different COVID-19 vaccines, to answer some questions you may be asking.How do the different COVID-19 vaccines work?How do COVID-19 vaccines work? As most of us have eagerly followed COVID-19 vaccine progress updates, anxious to know each COVID-19 vaccine update, many people have become confused by the different mechanisms behind the vaccines. All vaccines have the same goal: to help our bodies develop immunity to a particular illness. However, different types of vaccines work in different ways. Right now, there are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines in play in the United States. Some of these are already being distributed throughout the country, and some are still undergoing clinical trials. Lets take a look at how each type of vaccine works.mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions on how to make a harmless protein found in the virus. They contain material from the virus that allows our cells to make copies of the protein, after which our cells destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Recognizing that the protein is foreign to us, our bodies build defensive white blood cells that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if they encounter it in our bodies in the future. Some people have concerns about this type of vaccine because theyve not heard much about it and wonder if its safe. In fact, mRNA vaccines have been studied by researchers for decades, and are already in use for some illnesses, including the flu, Zika, and rabies. The thing that makes this type of vaccine appealing is that it can be developed in a laboratory with materials that are readily available, facilitating faster vaccine development than traditional methods.The second type of vaccine is the protein subunit vaccine. These vaccines contain harmless proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19. As with other types of vaccines, our immune system recognizes the proteins as being out of place in the body and begins to fight them. Any future infections will be recognized and fought by memory cells.Vector vaccines are the third type of COVID-19 vaccine. These contain a weakened version of a live virus. Its a different, and harmless, virus than the one that causes COVID-19, but it has genetic material from the COVID-19 virus inserted into it. This inserted material is called a viral vector and once its inside our cells, it gives cells instructions to make a protein that's unique to the COVID-19 causing virus, leading to our bodies fighting this foreign protein and, by extension, the virus. Viral vectors have been around since the 1970s. They've been not only used in vaccines, but also studied for gene therapy and molecular biology research and used to treat cancer. Notably, viral vector technology has been used for Ebola outbreaks.Which vaccines are available?So, what does all of this mean for the COVID-19 vaccine timeline in the United States? Currently, there are two vaccines that have been authorized for use in preventing the virus. The first is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which requires two shots, 21 days apart. The second is Modernas COVID-19 vaccine, which requires two shots 28 days apart. Both the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are mRNA vaccines, and neither contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. These vaccines are both about 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.Before they were approved for distribution, there was rigorous COVID-19 vaccine testing for each of these vaccines. Currently, there are other vaccines in the queue, with large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials underway or in the works for three new vaccines. These pending vaccines are AstraZenecas COVID-19 vaccine, Janssens COVID-19 vaccine, and Novavaxs COVID-19 vaccine. Many other vaccines are in the works, at earlier stages of development.The distribution of the vaccine varies from state to state, with some states moving more quickly than others. In the entire United States, about 9.9 percent of the population has gotten the first vaccination, with about 3 percent having already gotten the second one. That may not seem like it's moving very quickly, but as of the COVID-19 latest update, about 43 million doses have been administered. When will it be your turn? COVID-19 vaccine status is based on which portion of the population the state decides is most in need of the vaccine. It's estimated, though, that most Americans will receive the vaccine by January 2022.You can follow the progress on the CDCs vaccine tracker.What to expect when you get the COVID-19 vaccineWhen its finally your turn to receive the vaccine, what should you expect? First, be aware that you'll need to get both doses of your vaccine in order to develop immunity to COVID-19. In fact, it will take about two weeks after your second vaccine for your body to build up an immunity. Its very important to follow your local Health Departments advice on practices like wearing a mask and social distancing. As to the vaccine itself, the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are similar to the side effects of some other vaccines. You might experience pain and swelling at the injection site, and you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headaches. These side effects should be mild, and typically go away in a day or two.At BrightStar Care, we know that healthcare can sometimes be confusing, and caring for a family member can be challenging. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our nurses, therapists, CNAs, and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available, in the comforting, familiar surroundings of home. Further, because we have a Director of Nursing overseeing all care, at every level, whether personal or skilled, our patients and their family members have access to someone with insight regarding COVID-19 vaccination. If you have questions related to the vaccines, or any follow-up questions, feel free to ask and we'll offer expert advice.
Caring for a senior parent with cancer can be incredibly challenging, especially if you are the primary caregiver. Seniors are higher at risk for cancer, with people over 65 accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed malignancies. It is important to remember that your parent needs love and support during this difficult time, and there are many ways you can provide them with both. Here are some tips to help you better care for your senior parent who has cancer. Get Organized The first step in caring for your senior parent with cancer is getting organized. Create a schedule of all their doctors appointments, treatments, list of contacts such as family members and emergency contacts, etc. This will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Additionally, if you have other family members helping out with caregiving duties, having this information readily available will help make things easier for everyone. Learn About Their Condition Its important to understand what type of cancer your senior parent has and what the treatment plan is, so you know exactly what theyre going through. Talk to the medical team about any questions or concerns you may have. Educating yourself on their condition will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to provide them with the best care possible. Help Them Feel Relaxed and At Ease Caring for someone who is seriously ill can be stressful at times, but it's important to make sure your senior parent feels comfortable and relaxed as much as possible during this trying time. Spend quality time together by watching movies or chatting about life experiences--anything that brings joy and laughter into their day can significantly improve their mood and outlook on life. You could even look into activities such as art therapy or music therapy which research suggests could reduce anxiety levels in people living with cancer. Talk, Listen, and Offer Support It is important to be a listening ear for your senior parent throughout their cancer journey. There may be times when they want to talk about their diagnosis or express emotions like fear, anger, or sadness. Make sure you give them the space they need to do so without judgment or interruption. Also, make sure that you offer your love and support whenever possibleeven if its just holding their hand during a difficult conversation or medical appointment. Seek Out Support It is also important that you seek out support along the way as well. Taking on the role of caregiver can take its toll on both physical and mental health so make sure that you reach out to family members, friends, or even professionals who are available to provide emotional support during this difficult time. Additionally, consider partnering with an in-home care company like BrightStar Care who can provide extra assistance in managing day-to-day tasks such as meal preparation or transportation to doctors appointments. Respect Independence While providing extra support is important, its also critical that you respect your senior parents autonomy throughout the process as well. Try not to take over too much. Instead, let them make decisions whenever possible (unless medically necessary). This will help ensure that they still feel valued and independent despite any obstacles they may face due to their diagnosis. Plan For The Future Its also essential that you plan for the future as well, including sorting out finances/wills/etc., as well as considering who might manage their affairs if they become too unwell due to their illness (some people arrange lasting power of attorney). Planning ahead like this can help protect both your loved one's autonomy and financial security in case of any unexpected health issues down the road.Know What Types of Care Are Available When caring for your senior parent with cancer, its important to understand what types of care are available and which ones would be most beneficial for them. Depending on the type of cancer they have and their overall health, different options may be more appropriate than others. A great place to start is by talking with their doctor about what types of care might be best suited for them. Additionally, BrightStar Care can provide further guidance into the types of services that may help your loved one in the long run. Our trained professionals work closely with our clients and their families, so they receive the personalized care they need while navigating through this difficult time. Maintain Regular Communication It is essential to maintain regular communication when caring for a senior parent with cancer. This means checking in on how they are feeling or if theres anything they need from you as well as allowing them to express any concerns or worries they may have regarding their diagnosis or treatment plan. Reassure them that their feelings are valid and address any questions or concerns that come up during your conversations together. Additionally, ensure that all changes in their condition or health status is reported directly to their doctor so that any necessary medical interventions can be taken quickly if needed. Partner with BrightStar Care Today for Help Supporting Your Loved One!
For more information on the author BrightStar Care of Bonita Springs, CLICK HERE.Parkinson's disease is a serious condition that involves the progressive degeneration of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain that control movement.Parkinson's disease affects about 1 million people in the United States more than the number of people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) combinedAbout 60,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each yearParkinson's disease becomes more common as people age, but about 4% of people with the disease are diagnosed before 50Parkinson's disease is 1.5 times more likely to affect men than womenThis condition can be absolutely debilitating to people who have it. But with careful planning and coordination with medical and in-home care professionals, people living with Parkinson's disease can maintain their independence and activity longer than those without this additional support. To help make that happen, its important to know the signs to watch out for and when its time to get help for your loved one who has Parkinson's disease.What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?Be on the lookout for the following movement-related symptoms in your loved one:Slow movementsTremors, or shaky movementsExcessive muscle stiffnessPermanent muscle contractures for example, if your loved one bends their elbow and then cant straighten it back outThe signs of Parkinson's disease are subtle, so its easy for the condition to start slowly and not get noticed for some time. That means it can be misdiagnosed as something else or not diagnosed at all until the disease has had a chance to progress.As the disease progresses, your loved one may have trouble walking or balancing on their own. That's because Parkinson's disease affects the area of the brain that controls movement and balance. Your loved one may believe they're standing upright when they really aren't. The result is an increase in falls, as well as trouble with activities of daily living, such as bathing, cooking and going to the bathroom.When Is It Time to Get Help for a Loved One Who Has Parkinson's Disease?Any of the symptoms we've discussed are red flags for you to bring up with your loved one or their primary care doctor. Its best to get a Parkinson's diagnosis early on in the disease process. Although there's no cure for Parkinson's disease, doctors can prescribe medications to slow the diseases progression.However, its common for people who haven't been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease to chalk these symptoms up to the aging process. Though you may be concerned if your loved one is taking hours to get ready in the morning when they once took mere minutes, they may brush you off with a gruff, Leave me alone. I'm just getting slower, but 'Im fine.In these cases, its a good idea to document the occurrences you notice. Consider making a short recording on your smartphone with the date, the time and a short summary of what happened, such as: Dad tripped again this morning. He fell while getting out of bed because he couldn't get his foot to work. These notes can provide vital evidence to help doctors determine if your loved one really does have Parkinson's disease.If your loved one is diagnosed with the disease, work closely with their doctor on treatment methods, home safety measures, etc. The doctor can also provide valuable input on when it might be time to get your loved one some additional help at home.How Can In-Home Care Help a Person Living With Parkinson's Disease?If your loved one is otherwise independent but is having trouble at home because of the effects of Parkinson's disease, skilled in-home nursing care like that provided by BrightStar Care can help keep them safe and in their home as long as possible.Specially trained caregivers with experience dealing with clients who have Parkinson's disease can help slow the diseases progression in your loved one. They can bring activities such as physical and occupational therapy into the clients home. These activities are key to successful management of the disease, and having them in the home environment lessens the risk to your loved one because of any balance or falling issues they might have. As the disease progresses, your loved ones in-home care team can bring in various aids to help them adjust, such as adaptive silverware that is specially made for people living with Parkinson's disease.Its often challenging to have a conversation with a loved one about bringing a caregiver into the home, especially if they've been living independently for some time. I recommend first speaking with someone your loved one trusts such as a clergy member, doctor, friend or other family member and getting buy-in from that person before approaching your loved one. Use the following example to help guide you: Listen, Dad, I know your'e doing great, but I've talked to Pastor Bob, and we've found a company that offers the kind of service that can help you with your daily routine. We can have them come do a visit to see if there's something they can do to help you. Can we just talk with them?We offer a free living room visit, where a registered nurse and a care team member visit your loved ones home to get to know them and discuss their unique care needs. Older loved ones, especially gentlemen, tend to worry about finances, so this can help set their minds at ease.When you get the care team in the door, listen to how they suggest helping your loved one deal with and adapt to living with Parkinson's disease. If you like what you hear, continue the conversation with your loved one. Dad, now that we've heard what they have to say, how about we try them out for two weeks or a month? I really need help making sure you have your meals, and I can do this with their help. Its critical to respect your loved ones choices in this matter, but showing how this choice will help you, not just your older loved one, is key to getting the care they need.Make sure you also talk about in-home cares importance for your loved ones independence. Dad, if we bring these folks in to help you, we can keep you here at home for as long as possible. That's a huge deciding factor for many clients living with Parkinson's disease. It makes people feel good to have their own bed, blanket, pet and other comforts of home.Parkinson's Disease Care Tailored to Your Loved OneOur teams offer different layers of in-home care that they can adjust depending on how much help your loved one needs. Maybe your dad just needs rides to the doctor and some minor assistance around the house. If so, companion caremay be the right balance of independence and support. If your loved one needs more intensive care, a certified nursing assistant can help. The registered nurse overseeing your loved ones care will constantly reassess their situation to make sure they're getting the care they need.When it comes to Parkinson's care, consider the analogy of pain management. If you wait until the pain gets really bad, it can take twice as long to bring it under control. Its easier to get help sooner when the pain isn't as bad. The same goes for a loved one who has Parkinson's disease. If you wait to get help, it takes longer to get their symptoms under control, and the disease is progressing the longer you wait.Our goal for every client living with Parkinson's disease is to help them maintain their independence, stay active as long as possible and incorporate our care into the plan of care created by their primary care doctor. Click the link above to learn more about how we can help your loved one get the in-home care they need for Parkinson's disease.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects a person's social interaction, communication, interests, and behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States. Families and caregivers of people with ASD often need support and resources to help their loved ones thrive. Here are six ways to get you started! In-Home Services In-home autism support services (Opens in a new window) help provide families with additional resources, insight, and guidance in navigating their autism journey. In-home care providers will adjust routines as needed, create effective communication plans, enhance learning opportunities, and teach self-advocacy skills and other life skills to help your autistic loved one thrive. With their assistance, families can continue to make meaningful progress. This helps ensure that individuals with autism can continue to access essential care and grow in their abilities despite difficult circumstances. Respite Care Respite care is temporary care that gives caregivers a much-needed break from the demands of caring for a loved one with ASD 24/7. It can be difficult to juggle work, family responsibilities, and taking care of a loved one with ASD. Respite caregivers can step in when you need a break so you can recharge and come back refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way. Respite care services are an invaluable opportunity for families with members who have autism. Respite care helps to alleviate stress on the family unit by allowing them to take some time away to focus on other areas of their lives, knowing that their loved one's autism-related needs are still being met. With the right respite care provider, this specialized form of autism support strengthens not only the individual receiving care, but the entire family unit in the process. Behavioral Therapy The National Institute of Health (Opens in a new window) recommends behavioral therapy as one way to offer autism support but it may not be offered by your particular agency so you may have to shop around. Behavioral therapy approaches vary depending on a persons particular communication and learning needs, but generally include techniques such as proactive strategies for teaching social skills, reinforcing desired behaviors, and reducing problem behaviors. Different methods of behavioral therapy also utilize different approaches to best meet the individual needs of the person with autism. This can range from discrete trial training, naturalistic teaching techniques, pivotal response training and more. Understanding autism behavior is critical to provide effective autism support, which is why it's important to choose a therapy model that works for the individual by taking into account their unique learning style and communication needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a popular therapy for individuals with autism, as it emphasizes positive reinforcement to teach appropriate behaviors and reduce challenging behavior. Primarily used for children, ABA programs provide one-on-one instruction in which therapists use games, songs, stories and other activities to engage the individual and reinforce desired behaviors. The development of an ABA program begins with a goal assessment to identify the behaviors or skills that need to be addressed. From there, discrete trial training (DTT) is applied which involves breaking down each skill into simple steps that are learned one at a time. Once the individual demonstrates consistent mastery of the skill through multiple trials, more complex tasks can be added on until eventually the entire set of goals are achieved. While autism support through ABA is primarily most helpful for young individuals, it can also create meaningful changes in adults as well when used correctly. ABA therapists are highly trained in this evidence-based approach and can provide in-home or center-based services depending on what will work best for your loved one. Community Integration For some people with ASD, community integration services may be recommended to help them become more involved in their community through volunteering, joining social clubs or recreation leagues, or working part-time or full-time jobs. Our team can provide the support they need to succeed in any community setting they choose so they can live their best life possible. Contact BrightStar Care Today for More Autism Support Tips! If you have a loved one with ASD, know that you are not aloneBrightStar Care (Opens in a new window) is here to support you every step of the way! Our team of expert caregivers (Opens in a new window) are specially trained to work with people of all abilities, including those on the autism spectrum. We offer a wide range of services from respite care to behavioral therapy so you can find what works best for your loved one's needs.
Floridians know how hot summers can get in our great state. When high temperatures are coupled with high humidity, it can make our days difficult and the need to stay indoors often keeps us from doing what we love and what we need to accomplish. For elderly, though, it can also mean a higher risk factor for their wellbeing. So, what are the risk factors to elderly associated with humidity? Experts tell us that a day that is 70 degrees or hotter with humidity that is also 70 percent or greater puts elderly at greater risk. Our body has to work harder to cool the itself on these days, and the heart works harder to efficiently circulate blood. Older people have a higher chance of heart disease and high blood pressure, two conditions that make humid days more dangerous. Excessive humidity can cause dehydration, increase our stress levels and loss of sleep. In addition, in our neck of the woods, when heat and humidity are present in the home, mold and mildew can thrive and cause other health issues such as coughing and throat and respiratory conditions. Susan Nimnuan, Vice President of BrightStar Care of Naples/Ft. Myers says Its really important as a caregiver to a senior, to watch for signs of excessive humidity so you can get ahead of any affects it might have on your loved one. Some signs to watch for include headache, excessive fatigue, confusion or sweating, nausea and swelling. Here are some suggestions for managing the effect humidity can have on the elderly: - Seek air-conditioned spaces indoors- Dress in light-weight, loose fitting breathable fabrics- Wear hats with wide brims outdoors- Drink lots of water- Avoid alcohol- Take cool baths or showers to help lower the bodys temperature.- Avoid excessive activities outdoors like exercise If at all in doubt, call a healthcare provider immediately.
Deteriorating eyesight is a common concern for older adults. However, no vision problem should be ignored. Changes in how you see could point to an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Even if the changes are harmless, chances are an eye doctor can treat your eyesight troubles and improve your quality of life. Eye Conditions & Disorders Common Among Seniors Aging eyes are often more delicate and prone to problems than younger eyes. Many seniors also have diabetes or other underlying problems that complicate eye care. As a result, the risk of developing eye conditions increases when you reach your 60s and beyond. These include: Trouble focusing on up-close objects (presbyopia) Difficulty discerning contrast between colors Needing more light to read Pupil contraction Eyelid inflammation Loss of peripheral vision Dry eye Floaters Serious eye disorders (Opens in a new window) are also more likely to appear with age, including: Cataracts: A cloudy area in the lens of the eye, or cataract, develops slowly over time. Most people develop cataracts when they get older. Fortunately, the condition is treatable by surgically replacing the affected lens with an artificial one. Glaucoma: This group of eye diseases damages the optic nerve, causing gradual vision loss. A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to diagnose glaucoma before symptoms appear. Treatment options include eye drops, other medications, and surgery. Macular degeneration: The largest risk factor for age-related macular degeneration is being 50 or older. This disorder causes vision loss in the center of the field of vision, but it rarely leads to complete blindness. There are ways to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but surgery is the only way to fix it. Diabetic retinopathy: This progressive condition affects people with high blood sugar. It can cause vision loss and eventual blindness if left untreated. While not curable, diabetic retinopathy can be slowed or stopped by taking medication and controlling underlying diabetes. Retinal detachment: When the tissue at the back of the eye (known as the retina) pulls away from the supportive tissues surrounding it, a sudden loss of peripheral vision, flashes of light, or excessive floaters may occur. This rare condition requires prompt medical attention to save the vision in the affected eye. Why Routine Eye Care for Seniors is So Important Whether youre experiencing typical age-related vision changes or symptoms of a concerning eye disorder, you should plan to make routine eye care an integral part of your health regimen. Heres why: Detect problems early: Vision problems progress more quickly in older adults, meaning routine eye care is essential to identify a condition or disease and begin treatment before it significantly affects your eyesight. Seniors are advised to visit the eye doctor once a year. Preserve your eyesight: Managing diagnosed eye conditions with medication and routine eye appointments can help your vision remain as clear as possible for as long as possible. This allows you to continue enjoying the hobbies and passions you love, such as reading, golfing, or knitting. Continue driving safely: Slowly degenerating eyesight can make driving unsafe, yet you may be reluctant to give up the car keys. Eye care for seniors can help you drive safely for years longer than if you neglected your eyesight. Reduce falls: Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, but they are not an inevitable part of aging. Scheduling routine eye exams to check for visual acuity can reduce your risk of falling and getting injured. In-Home Care Professionals Promote Senior Eye Health If youre the family member of an aging adult, you may have safety concerns as they navigate the changing vision that comes with age. Thats where an in-home care provider (Opens in a new window) can prove invaluable. Heres how this professional can assist your loved one: Offer eye exam reminders: Keeping up with routine eye care is important for all seniors. A care provider can remind your loved one when its time to schedule or attend an eye exam and can even arrange transportation if needed. Create a safer home environment: Poor eyesight increases the risk of accidents. A care professional can help make a seniors home safer(Opens in a new window) by removing obstacles that could lead to a slip, trip, or fall. Handle daily tasks: Reading recipes, matching laundered socks, shaving, and putting on makeup is difficult to do with vision problems. A caregiver can provide the help a senior needs when attempting to complete these and other day-to-day tasks. Assist with vision aids: Whether your loved one needs to keep track of their glasses, adjust their cell phone for easier viewing, or set up voiceover features on the TV, an in-home care provider is the perfect person to help. Manage risk factors: Certain lifestyle tips can improve vision and slow the progression of age-related eye diseases. A care professional can prepare nutritious meals, encourage regular exercise, and remind older adults to take their medications, all of which promote eye health. Offer companionship: Vision loss makes older adults more prone to loneliness and isolation. A caregiver doubles as a social companion, providing stimulating interaction in the comfort of the seniors home. Arrange Personal Care Services from BrightStar Care The compassionate, knowledgeable home care professionals at BrightStar Care always strive to give you moremore convenience, more security, more peace of mind. Whether theyre arranging transportation to an eye exam, reminding a senior to apply their eye drops, or reading incoming text messages from family members, you can feel confident your loved one is cared for, even when you cant be there.
Hurricane season is in full swing in Florida until the end of November. With hurricane warnings an ever-present threat as they are in the southwest region of the state, it is important to know how to react especially when caring for an elderly person. Here we provide the key factors you should consider and planning tips for the inevitable order of evacuation. Orders are not mandates. Despite what the general public might think, the states emergency authority cannot order any resident to leave their home. However, it really is prudent for seniors to take the order seriously and vacate to safer ground. Structures like trailers and manufactured homes are especially vulnerable to the high winds and heavy rains that accompany hurricanes, so its best to heed warnings from the authorities and start planning the evacuation.Dont wait for the evacuation order. As with any potential disaster, it is best to plan and prepare for them before youre in the storms path, when stores and support services will be crowded and backlogged. Encourage your loved one to purchase one or two emergency kit items every time they go to the grocery store so that over time they create a stockpile of needed items. This also makes the task less overwhelming and manageable.Take only whats necessary but everything youll need. Evacuation kits should include copies of important documents like personal identification, property deeds, insurance records and even medical records including prescription lists. If and when an evacuation order comes, two weeks of medications should be ready to go in case you cannot get access to the home after a hurricane. And since shelters especially make shift shelters established in public buildings like schools are not set up like formal shelters, blankets, toiletries If your loved one ends up in a shelter, they should also arrive with their own blankets, air mattresses and toiletries for a comfortable stay.There are safe places for special needs seniors. Each county in the state of Florida has a special needs registry that all seniors should sign up for in case of emergencies like hurricanes. These shelters are prepared to take in people who might need oxygen, dialysis or insulin injections, and can assess which and how many supplies are needed if seniors are in their registry.Stay informed. All seniors should have the Florida state emergency management apps on their phones. The Lee County Emergency Management website has information on notifications and other resources residents can use to stay informed.Staying clued in to threatening weather and emergency evacuation information is crucial for all residents but seniors are most vulnerable to the dangers of severe weather. Having a caretaker who is thinking ahead on their behalf can make all the difference when the storm hits.
An emergency or natural disaster, such as a tornado, fire, winter storm, hurricane, earthquake, or flooding, can strike at any time. These events can force individuals to evacuate their neighborhood or be confined to their homes with little warning. This can be especially difficult for older adults who live in their own homes with support from caregivers. Careful emergency planning can ensure you and your loved one are ready in case of an unexpected emergency. Read on to learn tips for keeping your loved one safe during an emergency or natural disaster.Make a disaster preparedness planThe single most important thing an older adult can do to protect themselves is to make sure they have connections within their neighborhood or community before an emergency happens. A disaster, like Hurricane Dorian, is likely to disrupt communication systems for hundreds of miles. Unfortunately, many older adults quietly live alone without a close circle of friends or support nearby. When an emergency or natural disaster strikes, family caregivers or in-home health care aides may not always be available to assist older adults as quickly as needed. Encourage your loved one to reach out to neighbors, a church, or a community group and establish connections with people who can assist them in an emergency. The worse thing that can happen is that there is an unknown survivor because no one knows they are there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests creating an emergency plan, including details about who your loved one can contact nearby in case of an emergency. One option could be to create a phone tree where a loved one makes an initial call to one person, and they call the next person, and so on. Then relatives and friends will know what is happening in the event of an emergency. Consider including these additional ideas as part of your emergency plan:Create a list with family members and friends contact information and leave a copy by the phone and in your emergency kit.If the emergency requires evacuation, work with local services to plan for accessible transportation and call your county emergency management agency to be placed on a list of people with disabilities who will receive help in the event of a crisis.If your loved one depends on respiratory equipment such as ventilators and oxygen tanks or equipment related to feeding and nutritional procedures, make sure you have adequate power supplies, including backup generators and battery backups. In addition, call your local power company. They make vulnerable people a higher priority for restoration of power for life-sustaining equipment.Plan on where you and your loved one will go during an evacuation. Keep a copy of exit routes and meeting places in a convenient place.Make an emergency kitThe Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests creating an emergency kit with enough food, water, and medical supplies to last at least three days. Essential items to include:Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteriesDust mask to help filter contaminated airPlastic sheeting and duct tape if you need to shelter where you areFlashlight and extra batteriesFirst aid kitLocal mapsMoist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitationOne gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener for canned foodPet food, extra water, and supplies for your pet or service animalWhistle to signal for helpWrench or pliers to turn off utilitiesMedications also are critical, especially if an older adults life depends on them. Get prescriptions filled ahead of time. There may be an extra charge, but it is well worth the money. Its also important to include medical-related supplies:A cooler and ice packs if medications need to be kept coldGlasses and/or contacts and contact solutionHearing aids and extra batteriesIdentification band (full name, contact number for family member/caregiver, and allergies)Model numbers and vendor names for items such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygenSupplies like syringes or bandagesRemember, too, oxygen needs should be considered for those dependent on oxygen. Do you have an adequate supply and what is your back-up plan?Your kit should include important documents. The CDC recommends keeping physical copies of your documents in a waterproof bag and taking a photo of each document listed below. Consider developing a care plan that can be easily referenced during an emergency.Complete list of medications, including the exact name of the medicine and the dosage, and contact information for your pharmacy and the doctor who prescribed medicineContact information for family members, doctors, pharmacies and/or caregiversCopies of medical insurance cardsCopies of a photo IDDurable power of attorney and/or medical power of attorney documentsList of allergies to food or medicines If your loved one depends on Social Security or other benefits, its a good idea to switch to electronic payments or direct deposit to keep payments coming in case mail is disrupted.Staying informedDeveloping an emergency plan and an emergency kit are important but remember to stay informed during an emergency or natural disaster. Radio and television stations are usually able to warn residents of some disasters. You can also monitor your phone for weather updates and other alerts. BrightStar Care follows the Safety Goals of The Joint Commission and provides 24/7 services and emergency care in this kind of crisis.
A Shining Star in Home CareSusan Nimnuan earned degrees in business admin-istration and criminal justice while living in Michigan in 2005. However, she felt drawn toward a different field healthcare and f ollowed in her fathers footsteps after graduation. After working in radiology, she moved to Florida in April 2012.While interviewing for positions in Florida, she learned about BrightStar Care. Founded in 2002 and franchised in 2005, BrightStar Care has 380 locations nationwide and offers premium medical and nonmedical home care to seniors and others.John Botsko Jr., owner and president of the BrightStar Care of Naples and Fort Myers, was looking to hire a scheduler. Nimnuan was hired, but, at first, she only saw the company as a stepping stone toward her ultimate career goal. However, she loved the company and the role she played in the lives of seniors so much that she stayed. She worked her way up to director of operations in 2016 and vice president in 2020.Botsko, a former hospital CEO, opened his franchise in 2006 to have a closer relationship with the patients, and Nimnuan aligned closely with his vision. I connected and valued his commitment to the patients and community, she said. I love every minute of it and would never change it. I see people live fuller, healthier lives in their later years. Being able to make an impact in someones life is very rewarding.Nimnuan and Botsko also are members of C12, a Christian leadership organization that focuses on building great leaders and businesses for a greater purpose. Additionally, she volunteers with the Parkinsons Association of Southwest Florida and other charities.She has led relief efforts through two hurricanes, Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Ian in 2022, which devastated Southwest Florida Many clients and staff were greatly impacted by Ian, losing vehicles, homes and personal effects. Nimnuan and the BrightStar Care team moved clients into hotels with generators and drove clients and caregivers to survey their homes post-hurricane when it was safe. They also collected and distributed clothing, food and essential items and established a benevolent fund to help with recovery.However, of all her outreach efforts, Nimnuan is most proud of her teams work during the pandemic. It speaks to doing whats right for the community, she said.When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, emergency rules applied to most aspects of health care, except home care. As a result, Nimnuan arranged for free COVID-19 testing for healthcare professionals and home care clients. Then, obtain-ing the vaccine was challenging because it required state certifica-tion, special refrigeration and other supplies. Through Nimnuans efforts, BrightStar Care became the only home care agency in Florida to be a certified vaccine provider. Nimnuan appeared on local and national news stations to highlight the need for testing and vaccinations among individuals who require at-home care. She and her team vaccinated over 500 home care clients, staff members, caregivers and families for free, with no aid or support from the state or government. It was quite an undertaking, but its something that I am very proud of. Home care was an overlooked piece of the health care pie, and I was committed to advocating for them, Nimnuan said, adding that she and Botsko feel blessed to do this for their community. Giving back and doing the right thing is my passion. BrightStar Care gives me the platform and ability to do that, she said.
Summer is many peoples favorite season, but high heat, humidity, and sunshine can pose safety concerns for the older population. If you care for an aging loved one, keep these senior care tips in mind to make summer safe and healthy for everyone. Sun Protection Tips for Seniors Overexposure to the suns UV rays can be harmful at any age, but older adults are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. After all, the skin becomes thinner and more brittle with age, and seniors often take medication that can increase light sensitivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Opens in a new window) even lists older age as a risk factor for skin cancer. To help protect your loved one from sun exposure, follow these senior care tips: Avoid spending time outside during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Check the sunscreen bottle from last season and throw it out if it has expired. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Reapply hourly or anytime you towel off while swimming or sweating. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, long pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Seek shady spots when spending a long time outside to reduce sun exposure. Read medication warning labels to see if they make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. If so, stay in the shade or remain indoors while on that medication. Hydration Tips for Seniors Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but its especially critical for seniors. The body loses some of its ability to conserve fluids with age, and older adults are often less aware of being thirsty. They may also take medications that make them dehydrated. As a result, seniors have a higher risk of being hospitalized for dehydration. Summer is the most important time to stay hydrated because of the high temperatures and extra exertion that typically come with the season. Here are some tips to help your aging loved one drink more water: Provide water flavored with fruit, cucumbers, or a dash of lemon and lime juice to make drinking water more enjoyable. Prepare more fruits and vegetables, which are naturally hydrating. Set an alarm as a reminder to pause the current activity and take a drink. Carry a water bottle everywhere and drink from it regularly. Cut back on caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and increases the likelihood of dehydration. Tips for Seniors to Keep Cool It doesnt have to be 100 degrees outside for seniors to develop hyperthermia, or an abnormally high internal temperature caused by the bodys failing heat-regulation mechanisms. Because the body loses some ability to manage temperature changes with age, most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high or low body weight, and heart, lung, or kidney disease. If youre concerned about an older loved one succumbing to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, provide proper senior care in summer with these tips: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothes when walking, gardening, or simply spending time outside. Exercise in the morning or evening when temperatures arent so extreme. Escape to a cooling center such as a library, movie theater, or shopping mall if theres no air conditioning at home. Install AC if possible. Even a window air conditioner in one room provides an oasis to escape to when the temperature climbs outside. Eat cool foods, such as salads, sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and cold soups. Take a cool shower to bring the body temperature down. Open the windows at night to let cool air inside the house. Summer Exercise Ideas for Seniors Theres no shortage of ways for seniors to be active in the summer. Pleasant weather makes this the perfect time for outdoor activities, but there are also plenty of indoor options when its too hot. Here are some ideas: Spend time in the garden planting and watering flowers, herbs, or vegetables. Container gardens and raised flower beds prevent having to kneel on the ground, so consider growing plants this way. Swim a few laps at the neighborhood or city pool. Just remember to wear sunscreen! Swimming in an indoor pool is another option to prevent excessive sun exposure. Take a walk around the block. Nature walks and hikes are also an option for more physically fit seniors. Call a friend or invite someone to join in to make the walk a social affair. Do 10 to 20 reps of an exercise or movement during commercial breaks while watching TV. Walk around the mall or other air-conditioned indoor space to avoid overheating. Try yoga at home, outside, or at a local studio. Just avoid hot yoga this time of year, which involves exercising in a heated room. Check out the fitness classes offered at a local senior center. These may include spinning, tai chi, water aerobics, yoga, and more. Arrange Senior Care This Summer Many find summer vacation to be restful and relaxing, but its easy to get overwhelmed, especially while raising a family and simultaneously providing care to a senior loved one. To help minimize stress, you may want to arrange in-home senior care (Opens in a new window) this summer. This provides peace of mind, knowing your family member is in good hands when you cant be there. It also allows you to go on vacation without worrying about leaving your loved one alone. The compassionate team at BrightStar Care is dedicated to providing knowledgeable, trustworthy care to seniors experiencing any level of physical or cognitive decline. We offer a full range of home care services, including non-medical personal care (Opens in a new window), companion care (Opens in a new window), and skilled nursing care (Opens in a new window), depending on your needs. To learn more about arranging senior care during summer, please contact us (Opens in a new window) at 866-618-7827.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that slowly damages and destroys brain cells. It is the most common cause of dementia. Early signs and symptoms can be difficult to detect, and they may vary from person to person. By knowing the signs of this common disease, you can ensure that the seniors in your life receive the care they need as quickly as possible. What Causes Alzheimer's? The cause of Alzheimer's is unknown, and it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. It affects parts of the brain that control memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. In time, these areas can become damaged, leading to cognitive decline. The disease mostly affects seniors, and it's important to understand the early signs of Alzheimer's. Early Symptoms of Alzheimers Alzheimer's is a complex disorder, and symptoms can vary depending on the person. However, there are a few common denominators that you can keep an eye out for. Common early signs of Alzheimer's include: Memory Loss. One of the most well-known symptoms of Alzheimer's is memory loss. This can manifest in forgetting names, places, and events that were once familiar or easily recalled. The person may also have difficulty forming new memories or recalling recent conversations. Alzheimer's often affects short term memory, which is why a patient may repeat stories or ask the same questions. They may not be able to recognize close friends and loved ones or mistake them for other people. Changes in Mood and Personality. Alzheimer's often affects behavior and moods, even in its earliest stages. The person might become easily confused, suspicious of others, or display shifts in their personality or emotions. They may also have difficulty understanding jokes and be withdrawn from social situations. If your loved one is showing any of these changes in personality, they may need to be evaluated by a medical professional. Difficulty Planning and Problem Solving. Alzheimer's can make it difficult for the person to plan or solve problems. This might manifest in forgetting how to do simple tasks or becoming overwhelmed when faced with a new task, even one that would have been easily completed prior to diagnosis. They may also struggle to follow directions or focus on a task, quickly becoming distracted. Poor Judgment. As the disease progresses, you may notice that your loved one is making poor decisions and displaying a lack of judgment. They might forget to pay bills, or make other financial errors, or engage in risky behavior without understanding the consequences. This is why it's important to monitor their finances and decision-making process if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. However, be sure to avoid making your loved one feel like you don't trust them, as this can be very damaging to their self-esteem. Wandering and Getting Lost. As Alzheimer's gets worse, it can become harder for the individual to remember where they are or how they got there. This can lead to instances of wandering, where the person may leave the house and get lost. If your loved one seems confused about their location, it's important to stay with them at all times and make sure that you have a plan in place for how to respond if they wander away. Anxiety or Aggression. As Alzheimer's progresses, the person may become more anxious or aggressive. They might start to express fear or frustration and lash out at those around them, even if they had no prior history of doing so. If your loved one is exhibiting signs of aggression, talk to their doctor about how best to address it in a safe and supportive way. Aggressively acting out could cause your loved one to injure themselves by accident, so it's important to treat them with respect and care. Alzheimer's Treatment While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, there are treatments available to help slow the progression of the disease. Medications can be prescribed to help mitigate some of the common symptoms, such as memory loss and changes in mood. It is also important to stay active and engaged in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles or reading. Exercise and proper nutrition are also essential for managing the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Remember that Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, and it is likely that your loved one will require more attention and care as their condition worsens. Knowing the early signs and symptoms of the disease can help you recognize when it might be time to seek professional medical advice. Contact BrightStar Care Today Early detection of Alzheimers is key for providing the best care and treatment plan. If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, it's important to speak with their doctor so they can get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment right away. At BrightStar Care, we provide high quality care for seniors suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Our compassionate team is committed to providing the best care for your loved one, help
Older adults typically have weaker immune systems than the younger population due to the natural effects of aging. This makes illnesses like influenza and COVID-19 inherently more dangerous for seniors. Fortunately, numerous vaccines are available to help prevent getting sick or developing severe complications. August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance that highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Take a look at the types of vaccines for seniors that can help this at-risk age group stay healthy and safe. Flu Shot for Seniors The influenza vaccine (Opens in a new window) gets more attention each year than any other type of vaccine. While there is some debate about its importance and effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge everyone to get a flu shot once a year, preferably in the fall at the start of flu season. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the effects of influenza, making flu shots critical for preserving health and wellness among this age group. In fact, the CDC estimates(Opens in a new window) that at least 50 percent of flu-related hospitalizations occur among people age 65 and older. Then, 70 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths happen within this age group. Here are the types of flu shots available for seniors: High-dose flu vaccines have four times the antigens as a regular flu shot. Clinical trials reveal that older adults who receive the high-dose shot are less likely to get sick than those who receive a standard dose. Adjuvanted flu vaccines have an additive known as MF59 adjuvant that helps stimulate a stronger immune response in individuals with weaker immune systems, such as older adults. This vaccine first became available in the 2016-2017 flu season. Recombinant flu vaccines are intended to provide better immunity among older adults than regular flu shots. Pneumonia Shot for Seniors Complications from pneumococcal diseasesuch as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infectionsclaim the lives of about 18,000 seniors each year. Thats why the CDC highly recommends the pneumonia vaccine (Opens in a new window) for seniors age 65 and older. Two types of pneumococcal vaccinations are used in the USpneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, or PCV20) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Individuals who have never had a pneumonia shot should get a dose of PCV13 first, followed by PPSV23 six to 12 months later. Those who have already had a PPSV23 shot can get vaccinated with PCV13 after waiting at least a year. Shingles Shot for Seniors Shingles is a viral infection caused by the zoster virus. Anyone can develop shingles, but your risk is higher if you have had chickenpox. The painful shingles rash can develop anywhere on your body, but the torso is most commonly affected. The rash itself isnt dangerous, but it can lead to complications, which tend to be more severe in older adults. These include: Toxic shock syndrome Brain inflammation Pneumonia Depression Hearing problems Vision problems Because of the high risk of complications among seniors, the CDC recommends a two-dose shingles vaccination (Opens in a new window) for everyone 50 years and older. Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine for the Elderly A vaccination known as the Tdap vaccine (Opens in a new window) protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, diseases that can be fatal if not treated promptly. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound. It causes the muscles to stiffen painfully, making it hard to move, swallow, and breathe. Diphtheria spreads from person to person. It causes thick mucus to accumulate in the throat, restricting the airway and making breathing difficult. Heart failure, paralysis, or death may occur. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, spreads from person to person. It causes severe coughing that can lead to rib fractures, difficulty breathing, passing out, vomiting, and loss of bladder control. The CDC recommends the Tdap vaccine for children age 7 and older (preferably 11 or 12), followed by a booster shot every 10 years. Seniors are more vulnerable to complications from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis and have a higher risk of hospitalization, so keeping up with Tdap booster shots is especially important for this age group. COVID Shot for Seniors 2020 saw the emergence of a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Older adults and people with underlying health conditions affecting the heart and lungs are more likely to develop serious complications if they contract this illness. COVID vaccines (Opens in a new window) became available in 2021 after monumental efforts to curb the pandemic as quickly as possible. Every approved age group is advised to get vaccinated, with additional doses recommended for people with compromised immune systems. While the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infection or illness, they can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and minimize the risk of hospitalization and death. Even if you have already had COVID-19, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated because its still unknown whether recovering from the illness protects you from future infection. Hepatitis B Vaccine for the Elderly The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause lifelong infection, severe liver damage, and death. The hepatitis B vaccine (Opens in a new window) is available for all age groups and is recommended for adults age 60 and older who are at risk for hepatitis B infection. Risk factors include sexual exposure to another person with hepatitis B, exposure to infected blood, underlying liver disease, and travel to countries where hepatitis B is common. Older adults who do not exhibit these risk factors can still request a hepatitis B vaccine.
The numbers of people over 45 is growing every year. People are hoping to stay active and vibrant as long as possible. There are over 76 million baby boomers today over 50, and the first of the 82.1 million Generation X-ers are about to reach that milestone in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).According to Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine and creator of September is Healthy Aging Month(Opens in a new window), its never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion or hobby. Healthy Aging Month is an annual observance month designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older that began over 20 years ago.Tips for Reinventing Yourself As You AgeTo get you started on re-inventing yourself, here are 10 tips from Healthy Aging Magazine(Opens in a new window):Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Picture yourself at that age and be it.Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day.Have negative friends who complain all of the time and constantly talk about how awful everything is?Walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first and wear comfortable shoes.Stand up straight. You can knock off the appearance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept trying to tell you. Fix your stance and practice it every day. You will look great and feel better.Hows your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier.Lonely? Stop brooding and complaining about having no friends or family. Do something about it now. Right this minute.Start walking not only for your health but to see the neighbors.Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings.Find your inner artist. Sign up now for fall art or music classes and discover your inner artist!WebMD - Healthy Aging TipsFollow these tips from WebMD to stay at your peak!Get moving - Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain.Stay social - Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends, and make new ones.Bulk up - Eat beans and other high-fiber foods for digestive and heart health.Add some spice - Add herbs and spices to your meals if medications dull your taste buds.Stay balanced - Practice yoga or tai chi to improve agility and prevent falls.Take a hike - Brisk daily walks this September can bolster both your heart and lungs.Sleep well - Talk to a sleep specialist if you dont sleep soundly through the night.Beat the blues - If youve been down for a while, see a doctor.Dont forget - To aid your memory, make lists, follow routines, slow down, and organize.Fall PreventionFall prevention is an important component to healthy aging. Elderly people can lose their sense of balance, judgment and motor skills as they get older. This results in awkward falls, and with weakened bones, extreme cases can lead to severe breaks or even further gravely complications.
For more information on the author BrightStar Care of Bonita Springs, CLICK HERE.Exercise has a host of physical benefits for our aging loved ones: it can help them lose or maintain weight, reduce the impact of chronic disease, and enhance balance and flexibility, which can help reduce the risk of dangerous falls. Theres also a plethora of mental benefits, too. Exercise has been shown to boost mood, enable deeper sleep, relieve stress, and even stave off cognitive decline.No age is too old to start exercising, even in very small doses. Exercise for seniors does not need to be strenuous in order to have an impact and help your loved one bring about positive health changes. In the Northeast, cold weather prevents you from exercising outdoors year-round; we have plenty of ideas on staying activeno matter the temperature outside. Read on for more tips from BrightStar Care on helping your senior loved one get moving and have fun while doing sotogether. And remember to consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.4 Ways to Exercise With Seniors1. WalkingWalking is fantastic for health. Walking improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School, can even add years onto your life. If the weathers nice, head to a local park and go at your loved ones pace. If its on the chilly side, the local mall is a perfect spot to walkclean and well-lit, with an even floor. Have a well-behaved dog? Take him for a walk too!2. Swimming for SeniorsSwimming is a wonderful exercise, as its non-weight-bearingthat means its ideal for anyone with knee, ankle, or hip problems. Swimming requires coordination (using arms and legs at the same time) as well as strength to propel the body through the water. Lastly, it can be an aerobic exercise depending on how fast the swimmer goes. Seniors dont need to cut through the water like an Olympian to reap the benefits. Encourage your loved one to go at his or her own pace, and swim (or walk!) side-by-side in an indoor or outdoor pool.3. Yoga for SeniorsYoga helps with balance, flexibility, and core strength. Its also a surefire way to promote overall well-being and relieve stress. Balance exercises for seniors, like the kind done in yoga, are particularly beneficial, as they can help reduce the risk of falling. Yoga can also be done sitting down if needed.4. Stretching for SeniorsFlexibility is an important component of health, and the best way to increase flexibility is through stretching. Stretching is especially important for seniors, as it can increase their range of motion and make them less prone to injury while enjoying life. Stretching can even help improve posture and relieve pain. If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, they can still work on some simple stretches like side-to-side reaches and neck rolls.For even more inspiration, learn about other popular family caregiver activities by regionwith BrightStar Care.
In the last 10 years, theres been this push to try to get people long-term care in a home setting, and particularly their own home, Bowblis said. Home health aides play a very important part in allowing people to stay at home longer.1 However, the Home-Based Care Pain Points and Opportunities in 2022 report from Home Health Care News (HHCN) and AlayaCare found that 80% of surveyed home health and home care providers indicated they are turning away referrals due to employee churn and staffing capacity.2 The Cost of Quality: CaregiversClearly, attracting and retaining in-home caregivers has become a significant challenge in todays tight labor market. In order to meet the ever-increasing demand, wages need to rise to compete with non-healthcare jobs that require comparable education levels, such as customer service, retail or hospitality. 2021 Median PaySource: Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsHome Health and Personal Care Aides3$14.15 per hour$29,430 per yearCustomer Service Representative4$17.75 per hour$36,920 per yearInformation Clerks (e.g. Hotel Front Desk)5$18.01 per hour$37,450 per yearThe Cost of Quality: NursesThe Nurse Salary Research Report from Nurse.com,6 revealed that 25% of all nurse respondents (RNs, APRNs, LPNs/LVNs) indicated their salaries grew during the pandemic. In addition to the higher salaries reported by RNs and LPNs themselves, the overall cost of employing high-quality nurses for in-home health care also includes significant signing bonuses, benefits, training and general operating costs. But it wasnt just changes in the healthcare sector the entire U.S. economy experienced (and is still experiencing) soaring inflation. According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), in May of 2022, we hit the highest inflation rate in 40 years, pushing wages up with bigger and more frequent pay raises for employees.7 While the overall inflation rate was reported at 8.6%, gas was up 48.7%, drastically affecting nurses and caregivers who help clients in their homes. Often driving up to 40 miles round trip to see a client, in-home providers arent able to work remotely like others in todays workforce.Home Care HeadwindsThe industry-wide staffing challenge is quantified in HHCNs Pain Points report, which polled 145 home health and home care providers between December 15, 2021 and January 10, 2022. Recruiting and hiring followed by employee retention and churn are the top business inefficiencies reported by home-based care providers. As you can see by the chart below, turnover rates have increased each year. National Average Turnover Rates8 201920202021Registered Nurses20.55%25.85%32.25%Home Care Aides 36.53%38.05%Source: 2021-2022 Home Care Salary & Benefits Report from Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS). The report is published in cooperation wiht the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).Quality Care SolutionsHome care providers truly want to deliver the best care possible to their clients and their families, but the reality is that its costing employers more to recruit, hire and retain high-quality caregivers.2 75%of respondents reported an increase in the cost of care due to staffing shortages.40%of respondents reported they increased the use of contract labor to mitigate staffing shortages in 2021.As with many things in life, you get what you pay for, which is why its crucial for in-home care companies to offer compensation that attracts and rewards at-home caregivers. When nurses and caregivers are paid well and receive meaningful benefits, clients reap the rewards of high-quality, happy providers. Other ways to ensure that clients receive quality assistance at home include:offering robust training and development for caregivers,providing career paths for continued growth,investing in technology to improve the employee experience,creating a culture of connection and support for nurses and caregivers,utilizing contracted caregivers.Concerned family members are extremely appreciative of those friendly, skilled and helpful caregivers who assist their loved ones with activities of daily living so they can remain in their homes longer. We make it possible.
I enjoy working with veterans because they have a wonderful view of the world and of life itself, says caregiver Montana F. You get to meet amazing people and enjoy each others company, while helping them with their daily needs. Montana is just one of the caregivers at independently owned and operated BrightStar Care agencies across the country who are passionate about supporting their clients who have served our country. With 3,658 veterans tended to by our compassionate and experienced caregivers during 2022, weve found that our caregivers gain far more than they give. Were proud to share a few of these powerful relationships. Christines StoryMontana F. has been caring for veteran Christine S. for more than a year, handling those daily activities that Christine can no longer do herself or that cause extreme exhaustion. Since Christine was no longer eating well-balanced meals due to persistent fatigue, one of Montanas most important tasks includes cooking healthy food and prepping meals for future use. My diet has improved immensely since Montana started visiting and Im so grateful for all she does for me, Christine says. Montana is also there to help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like light housekeeping and ensuring Christine can take a safe and comfortable shower. Montanas care does more than just nourish Christines body, it also feeds her soul. Christine explains that she loves having someone listen to her, ask about her day and truly care how shes feeling. It helps me not feel so alone; having someone who cares enough to take time to sit and chat is amazing! Montana loves getting to know her clients and is committed to being kind and patient with each one. Thats the thing about genuine client and caregiver relationships its a two-way street of respect and affection.Jacks StoryMy caregiver is a great source of inspiration, says Jack K., a veteran in Chico, California, who has been a BrightStar Care client since January of 2022. Its nice to know that people care; and Im not as depressed anymore.Jacks praise demonstrates that caregiver Isabelle J. is meeting her goal of making her clients days a little brighter. Some of my clients have a lot of health issues and they can become discouraged, so I want to cheer them up, Isabelle says. Caring about people is really important. When people know you care, then they want to keep moving forward. Isabelle helps Jack keep his home clean, makes meals and is in the home when he showers to make sure he remains safe. Since having surgery on one of his eyes, a BrightStar Care of Chico team member has checked in with him every day. Another goal Jack has is to take his medication consistently. Sometimes clients need a gentle reminder about those activities that can keep them healthy and safe this sometimes includes staying hydrated, eating nutritious meals and avoiding falls. Isabelle is great, Jack says before sharing his future goal of enrolling in real estate classes. This friendship has become one of mutual admiration and inspiration. In Jacks own words, Shes a real nice gal.Kenneths StoryCorporal Kenneth R., served as a United States Marine completing two tours during the Vietnam War. With a choice between being drafted or enlisting, Kenneth chose to enlist., Kenneth has been receiving care from Karen M., HHA, CNA, of BrightStar Care of Burnsville / South St. Paul for just over a year. Karen provides companionship and support for activities of daily living (ADLs) for this veteran who has a personality that others gravitate to. Karen shared an example of his engaging personality, Sometimes when I think hes fallen asleep and not be listening to whats being said, he will make a comment or wiggle his eyebrows to let us know he is still in there. I enjoy every moment with Kenneth and hearing his stories. She also says that its in Kenneths nature to look out for everyone around him. He is super grateful after all hes been through and thankful for a wife thats always been beside him in sickness and in health. In addition to meeting Kenneths needs, Karens service has enabled his wife to meet her own needs. This respite creates time and space for Leota to attend appointments and run errands, as well as satisfy self-care measures like going for a walk or seeing friends. Leota says she can do this because she knows she can trust and depend on the BrightStar Care Burnsville / South St. Paul team. Karen has heard similar comments from other families shes worked with. They often say that BrightStar Care agencies hire quality caregivers, offer more care than similar companies and provide peace of mind.The Privilege is OursWe consider it to be the highest honor to care for veterans by supporting their independence and dignity. We come into their homes to assist with meals, mobility, errands and more, but we are the ones who are blessed by the stories they share and the love they have for our country. Although we have provided nearly 600,000 hours of care to veterans this year, our true focus is on a much smaller number ONE. Our caregivers and nurses are committed to caring for one client at a time. One hour at a time. One special memory at a time. Whether its the joy we see on a clients face when we walk in the door or we notice their physical health is improving, these are the moments that matter. Caregiver Karen M. says it best, Veterans put their lives on the line for our freedom. Its our turn to serve them, by making their lives better every day.We consider it to be the highest honor to care for veterans by supporting their independence and dignity. If you or a loved one is a Veteran, our team of expert caregivers are specially trained to work with people of all abilities. We offer a wide range of services from assisting with meals, mobility, errands and more, but we are the ones who are blessed by the stories they share and the love they have for our country.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one or close friend, you are aware of the emotional, physical, and mental strains that come with providing care for another human being. It is a difficult job, but can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Unfortunately, caregivers often find it hard to take time for themselves due to their responsibilities. This is why respite care can be so beneficial. At BrightStar Care, we understand the importance of a break for caregivers. Find out why respite care can have a myriad of benefits for caregivers, both physical and emotional.What Is Respite Care?Respite care is the provision of short-term relief to family caregivers. It can vary from having a professional caregiver come in and take over for a few hours or even a weekend, allowing you to rest, recharge, and spend time doing something other than caring for your loved one. Respite care can also be used when you need a break for an extended period or when your loved one needs to be attended to in a specialized setting.Benefits of Respite Care for CaregiversRelaxation. Taking time to relax is essential for human health. Stress is a leading cause of many health problems, including anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Stress can also lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. This is why it is so important to take the time to unwind and recharge your batteries. Some caregivers feel guilty if they take some time for themselves, as they think that their loved one will be neglected. With respite care, you can take a break from your responsibilities and relax in peace without worrying about caring for someone else. This means that you are less likely to become stressed, which is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. You will be able to put your best foot forward when caring for your loved one and be better equipped to handle the responsibilities of caregiving.More Energy. Having a break from caregiving can give you a boost of energy. As a caregiver, it is easy to become tired due to the heavy workload and long hours. When you are tired, it is more likely that you will make mistakes, which can put your loved ones health in danger. Taking some time to rest and recharge will give you the energy you need to perform at your best and keep your loved one safe. You will also be better able to tackle everyday tasks with ease. Respite care makes it easy to stay on top of your duties and be a better caregiver.Social Engagement. Caregiving can be an isolating experience. You may spend most of your time caring for your loved one, which makes it nearly impossible to participate in social excursions. Isolation can have negative effects on your mood and even your physical health. Respite care can give you the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, have meaningful conversations, and engage in activities that you enjoy. This will be beneficial for your mental health, as it allows you to build relationships with people outside of your caregiving responsibilities.Increased Self-Confidence. When you successfully take a break from your caregiver duties, it can give you a renewed sense of self-confidence. It can help to remind you that you are capable of taking care of yourself and that your needs should be taken care of as well. Knowing that you have taken the time to relax and recharge can also boost your self-esteem, which is beneficial for your overall mental health.Peace of Mind. Taking care of your loved one can lead to anxiety and worry. With respite care, you can rest assured that your loved one will be in safe hands and get the best possible care. This will provide peace of mind for both you and your loved one, which can lead to a better quality of life.Able to Complete Tasks. Caregiving is a big job, and it can eat up lots of time. This makes it difficult for caregivers to take care of their own needs, such as errands or appointments. With respite care, you will be able to complete all the tasks that need to be done without feeling overwhelmed. This can make your life a lot easier and give you more control over your day-to-day activities. You won't have to worry about choosing between caring for your loved one or doing your laundry.Contact BrightStar Care TodayAt BrightStar Care, we believe that respite care is essential for caregivers in order to ensure their physical and emotional well-being. Taking a break from caring for your loved one can give you the time and space to relax, recharge your batteries, socialize, and stay healthy. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your caregiving responsibilities,
For many people, paying for in-home care can be a confusing and intimidating process. From determining the cost to navigating insurance regulations-its hard to know where your family should start. However, with the help of a trusted partner like BrightStar Care, you dont have to go through this alone. We provide personalized guidance on how much in-home care your loved one (Opens in a new window) needs and offer tailored payment options that are easier and more affordable than ever before. Here is an overview of the different ways you can pay for In home Care(Opens in a new window)Government Assistance Programs Some government assistance programs may help cover the cost of in-home care for those who qualify. These programs include Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state so it's important to thoroughly research which programs may be available where you live and what kind of assistance they can provide. Our team is also here to help walk you through all the necessary steps needed to apply for any type of government assistance program that may be available near you. Managing In-Home Care Payments: Tips and Resources It can be difficult to know how to budget for in-home care. You want to provide the best possible care for your loved one, but you also need to consider your own finances. There are options available that can help make paying for in-home care easier, and the experts at BrightStar Care are here to help. Here are some tips and resources from BrightStar Care on budgeting, comparing rates, and managing insurance payments. Budgeting for Home Care Services The first step in managing home care payments is creating a budget. You should consider all your expenses when calculating the amount that you can comfortably spend on in-home care services. This includes any existing medical bills or insurance costs as well as the cost of food, clothing, and other necessary items. Once you have established a budget, you will be able to more easily compare different providers rates to decide which will work best with your finances. Comparing Rates When it comes time to compare rates between different home health agencies, there are several things that you should take into consideration beyond just the cost. Quality of service should always come first; however, you also need to factor in convenience and accessibility when selecting an agency or provider. Additionally, ask about special discounts or promotions that may be available; many providers offer discounts for clients who pay upfront or commit to long-term service contracts. Managing Insurance Payments If you are using insurance benefits to pay for home health services, it is important to understand what those benefits cover before selecting a provider or agency. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for certain types of home health services; however, not all agencies accept all types of insurance plans so make sure that you check with each potential provider before committing to any particular plan. Additionally, if your loved one has private insurance coverage through their employer, or another source then make sure that this coverage is accepted by the agency prior to signing up for any services. Let BrightStar Help! Paying for in-home care services doesn't have to be complicated or stressful when you know all your options before deciding on what works best for your budget and lifestyle needs. Whether it's private pay, insurance coverage, or government assistance programs, there are many ways to ensure that receiving quality home health care is within reach for everyone who needs it. If you're considering BrightStar Care's (Opens in a new window) services but don't know how to make it work financially-don't worry! Our team is here every step of the way and ready to answer any questions or concerns you might have about paying for our top-notch home health care service offerings!
(Opens in a new window) When Does 24-Hour Care Become Necessary? 24-hour care has become a very important topic of discussion as the healthcare needs of individuals and families across the country continue to expand. 24-hour care is necessary for special cases where regular, day-time providers cannot meet a persons care needs. For seniors, 24-hour care (Opens in a new window) can provide additional support for those who need assistance with activities like bathing, dressing and eating, or to handle the constant supervision needed for those with Alzheimer's or dementia. It is also helpful for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses with specialized needs that require 24/7 attention. 24-hour care can help make sure these vulnerable individuals are safe throughout the day and night. In addition, 24-hour care may be necessary to provide family caregivers with much needed respite when they need time away to recharge and refocus on their own lives. Ultimately, 24-hour care is an invaluable service that can help enhance the quality of life for individuals in need of extra support--both during the day and at night. The Benefits of 24-Hour Home Care Whether it's an elderly relative, someone with physical challenges, or someone recovering from illness or injury, 24-hour home care can provide the best possible solution to make sure your loved one is comfortable and safe in their own home. Consider the following benefits that cannot be replicated by any other form of long-term care arrangement: Ensures Your Loved One is Fully Supported 24-hour home care ensures that your loved one has someone there to assist them with activities throughout the day and night. This means that your loved one can continue to engage in activities like visiting friends or attending events knowing that they have someone who can provide assistance if needed. This provides them with a sense of independence while still being able to receive help when its needed most. Gives Family Members Greater Peace of Mind Knowing that there is always someone available to provide assistance to your loved one gives family members greater peace of mind. You dont have to worry about who is going to be available if something unexpected happens or how long it will take for help to arrive if an emergency arises. 24-hour home care ensures that someone is always there when you need them most. With BrightStar Care's round-the-clock services, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is safe and secure in their own home. Keeps Your Loved Ones in Their Current Home 24-hour home care services enable aging individuals to stay in their homes while receiving the care they need. Moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility can be a difficult transition, and most seniors would prefer to remain in their homes where they feel happy and comfortable. With home care, your loved one can receive care from experienced caregivers while staying in their familiar surroundings. This helps them stay independent and maintain their regular routines. Maintains Their Proximity to Family and Friends Many seniors fear losing touch with their family and friends, and placement in a nursing home can often result in isolation. With around-the-clock home care, your loved one can continue to have regular contact with their relatives and acquaintances. This helps them to stay connected, reduce loneliness, and improve overall happiness and wellbeing. Allows Your Loved One More Independence With 24-hour home care (Opens in a new window), your loved one will be able to remain in the comfort of their own home while still receiving the personalized care they need. This means that they can maintain control over their daily routine and keep up with their favorite activities without having to move into an assisted living facility or nursing home. Furthermore, they will have access to all of their familiar surroundings and itemsincluding furniture, decorations, family photos, etc.which can provide a sense of comfort and security during this difficult time. 24-Hour Care Is Affordable Many people fear that 24-hour home health care services are too expensive for them to afford. At BrightStar Care however, we offer competitively priced packages tailored specifically for each of our clients so that everyone has access to quality 24-hour home health care services regardless of budget constraints. Our team will work with you every step of the way so that you can create a plan that fits both your needs and financial situation perfectly. Why Choose BrightStar for Your Loved One's 24-Hour Care? If you are considering 24-hour care (Opens in a new window) for your loved one, you cannot go wrong with BrightStar Care. 24-hour care is an important step in ensuring that your family member is well taken care of day and night. With BrightStar Care, peace of mind is the key factor when choosing 24-hour care since they value their clients' health and safety. All their dedicated caregivers are carefully screened, trained, and insured to guarantee optimal services that boost the quality of life for seniors living at home. Clients can also rest easy given BrightStar Cares robust 24/7 availability and support service if any issues arise. Above all, its client list speaks highly of its customized 24-hour services and tailored plans that meet each individual's needs, giving them a sense of security and companionship even in times of crisis.
A stroke can be a life-changing experience for the survivor and their family. Strokes vary in type and severity, but many people have been where you are nowfacing difficulties with mobility, vision, speech, swallowing, cognition, and daily functioning. Making progress after a stroke can feel overwhelming, but with the proper rehabilitation, seniors can regain their strength, courage, and independence over the coming months and years. Learn more about stroke in seniors and how to stay safe at home during stroke recovery with tips from BrightStar Care. Recovering from a Stroke at Home Determining the appropriate level of aftercare is vitally important. Some people benefit the most from in-patient rehab. Others are allowed to return home immediately following discharge from the hospital. Either way, any long-term recovery plan eventually includes at-home rehabilitation. It may be comforting at first to return home to a familiar environment, but life may not return to normal. Things that used to be easylike getting dressed, using the bathroom, cooking, and cleaningmay be more difficult now. Rehabilitation may include visits to an out-patient medical facility, but much of the recovery can take place right in the living room. Follow these tips to safely recover from a stroke at home. Preparing your environment is a simple way to prevent falls after a stroke. Clear a path to the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen and avoid slick surfaces. Remove loose carpets or runners or secure them to the ground to improve traction. If you have stairs in the home, use the handrails at all times.Make Changes to the Living Environment Little changes can make a big difference. Heres what to try: Remedy critical dangers like making sure the water temperature isnt too hot Remove slipping, tripping, and balance hazards.(Opens in a new window)Keep everyday items on the kitchen counter for easy access. Simplify bedding in the sleeping area. Increase bathroom accessibility with grab bars, a walk-in tub or shower, and a comfort-height toilet seat. Post a list of emergency contacts in a prominent location. Take Steps to Prevent Another Stroke Having a stroke increases your risk for another. Some causes of stroke in seniors are beyond your control. For instance, once you turn 55, the odds double every decade. Women also have a higher risk than men, and African-Americans have more strokes than Caucasians. Even so, lifestyle changes can make a big impact on the long-term health of a stroke survivor. Heres how to minimize the risk of having another stroke:(Opens in a new window) Quit smoking, vaping, and using tobacco. Manage high blood pressure. Increase daily physical activity to prevent weight gain. Manage existing diabetes. Avoid food high in trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Do Post-Stroke Exercises For recovering stroke survivors, physical activity can make the difference between remaining dependent and gradually gaining independence. Please talk to your doctor before doing these post-stroke exercises recommended by the American Stroke Association (Opens in a new window). Bridge weight shifts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Lift your hips toward the ceiling so your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Holding your arms out for support and keeping your hips level with the floor, shift your weight slowly from the left leg to the right leg. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise until your legs become tired. Mini lunges: Start in a standing position with your hands on the hips. Step forward with one foot and bend your knee slightly, keeping your hip, pelvis, knee, and ankle in a straight line. Return to the standing position and repeat eight to 10 times on each side. Swiss ball weight shifts: Sit in a chair with an exercise ball between your knees. Scoot to the front of your seat and put your hands on the ball. Roll the ball away and bend forward until your elbows touch the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat eight to 10 times. Then, roll the ball out at an angle on the right side eight to 10 times, followed by eight to 10 times on the left side. Crumpling a piece of paper: Sit at a table with a piece of printer paper in front of you. Pick up the paper and crumple it with both hands, keeping your shoulders down and back. Then, uncrumple the paper using the same two-handed technique. Consider Arranging In-Home Stroke Care for Seniors Some stroke survivors feel comfortable handling daily tasks independently. For others, hiring a non-medical in-home care provider (Opens in a new window) may be necessary. This ensures your loved one has long-term, comfort-focused assistance with dressing, personal hygiene, light housekeeping, and meal preparation. Arranging in-home personal care services can improve senior health and safety after a stroke. Heres how: Reduce the risk of slips and falls: Mobility limitations and increased fatigue raise the risk of an accident. A care professional can help seniors safely navigate the stairs, use the bathroom, and get in and out of bed. Assist with household tasks: Physical and cognitive limitations can make shopping, cooking, driving, and housekeeping more difficult. A caregiver can take over these tasks or arrange services like grocery delivery and transportation to appointments. Offer reminders: A stroke survivors rehabilitation may involve taking medication, performing at-home exercises, or attending medical appointments. An in-home care provider can remind seniors to do these things at the allotted times. Stick to dietary recommendations: Difficulty eating and swallowing are common concerns after a stroke. Having a caregiver there to prepare prescribed foods and monitor your loved one at mealtimes ensures proper nutrition and food safety. Watch for signs of another stroke: One in four stroke survivors (Opens in a new window) have had a previous stroke. Care professionals know to watch for signs of stroke in seniors (Opens in a new window) and call 911 for help if necessary. Choose BrightStar Care If youre looking for in-home care for seniors previously suffering from a stroke, turn to BrightStar Care. We are committed to providing A Higher Standard of Care by only hiring caregivers who exemplify compassion and empathy. Then, we match them to you based on your personality and lifestyle. For added peace of mind, we also have skilled nursing care (Opens in a new window) available if you need assistance with medical machinery, medication management, wound care, and other nursing services. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us (Opens in a new window) at 866-618-7827.
Summer is here, and the temperatures are climbing. It also means the risk of dehydration rises for older adults. Individuals 65 and older are at greater risk of heat-related illness according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults who are overweight or have existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease; socially isolated people; and the poor are also at risk. Dehydration in the summer heat can lead to health concerns such as heat stroke and heat stress, which are very common in the elderly. If youre caring for a loved one, its important to know the signs of dehydration and how to keep them safe when its hot outside. Signs of Dehydration in SeniorsYour loved one becomes dehydrated when they use or lose more water than they take in. Without enough water, the body cant function normally. As your loved one ages, their sense of thirst diminishes. Even when their body needs replenishing with water, they might not realize it. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common signs of dehydration in an adult are:ConfusionDizzinessExtreme thirstFatigueUrinating less frequentlyMany of these symptoms, such as dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness, are non-specific and could be attributed to other medical conditions, medications, or natural effects of aging. Dehydration can lead to difficulty walking and confusion. In addition, when dehydrated, older adults may experience orthostatic hypotension a drop in blood pressure when changing positions (e.g. from sitting to standing) putting them at increased risk of falls. Its important to encourage your loved one to drink as much as possible. Older adults should drink six to eight cups of water daily. When its warm outside, they should avoid caffeinated beverages and sports drinks like Gatorade. Popsicles, Jell-O, and ice chips also can help your loved one stay hydrated. Sugar-free popsicles are available for people with diabetes. If your loved one is on a special diet, especially if fluids are restricted, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it. Watch your loved ones medications because they can increase the risk of dehydration. Diuretics, for example, while critical to treat certain medical conditions, can lead to an increased risk of dehydration. People with diabetes also need to be cautious as their risk of dehydration is even higher and comes with serious, life-threatening consequences. Consult your prescriber or pharmacist for more information regarding your medication regimen before making any changes.Preventing Dehydration in Older AdultsThe CDC recommends having your loved one stay in an air-conditioned place during extreme heat. If they dont have air conditioning at home, visiting the shopping mall or public library for a few hours can help their body stay cooler when they go back into the heat. Check with your local health department for heat-relief shelters in your area. When temperatures climb into the 90s, fans may provide comfort, but they wont prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or wearing loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing will help your loved one stay cool. At BrightStar Care, a registered nurse oversees the care as well as provides education and support for not only the care team but the client and family as well. Our caregivers are happy to help keep an eye on your loved ones overall health and keep them cool and hydrated.
Planning your own long-term care gives you choices about care as you age. The truth is, most families don't plan until it's too late because long-term care planning isn't a well-known or frequently discussed subject. On the other hand, some adults believe that needing long-term care will never happen to them. Regardless of what you know or believe about long term-care, these five tips offer practical information to help you decide the importance of planning your own long-term care. 1. Understanding Medicare, Medicaid, and Supplemental Health InsuranceMost consumers believe that Medicare pays for all care after the age of 65. Families are shocked when they learn differently. Learning the difference between Medicare, Medicaid, and individual health insurance is one of the first steps to becoming more educated about long-term care planning.Let's begin by defining long-term care. Long-term care services include a wide range of privately paid and government services to help older adults live independently as long as possible. For example, long-term care means receiving care in your home from family members or caregivers, in an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.Planning your own long-term care means that you understand long-term care costs, the different types of care available, including the services offered by Medicare, Medicaid, and supplemental insurance. Most consumers over the age of 65 receive a Medicare and You handbook Offering basic information. Calling 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) is another way to have questions answered.After being enrolled in a health plan, calling the customer service number on the back of your supplemental insurance card is the way to learn more about plan benefits. For Medicaid, contact your County Human Services office who can help or direct you to the local agency responsible for Medicaid long-term care programs. Having a level of understanding of health insurance allows you to plan for costs of care that you pay for out of pocket.2. Care Options and CostsThe next step is to learn about care options and costs to pay for assistance with activities of daily living and advancing health care needs. For example, private home care agencies offer in-home caregivers who provide companionship, meals, light housekeeping, transportation, bathing and hygiene assistance, medication reminding, grocery shopping, errands, and other services. Some care agencies also offer skilled services that include physical, occupational and speech therapy, nursing and other types of medical care.Adult day centers offer care for aging parents during the day while adult children work or provide respite for the primary caregiver. Independent, assisted living, and memory care communities provide meals, assistance with bathing and dressing, medication management, light housekeeping, transportation, and a menu of other services.Waiting until after a parent suffers a hip fracture or is diagnosed with dementia usually results in families resorting to crisis-planning mode. Planning your own long-term carebefore unexpected events happenensures you know the options and who to call to establish care services.3. Do I Need Long-Term Care Insurance?Family discussions about long-term care costs can bring up many questions. Should I purchase long-term care insurance for myself or my parents? Are company-sponsored long-term care insurance plans good?Considering that the average rate for a single day in a nursing home in the United States is $275 per day, $8,365 per month, or $100,380 per year, purchasing a long-term care plan may be a wise decision. Long-term care insurance is available in single plan options or combined programs offering life insurance and long-term care.Additionally, options exist for shared spousal or individual plans. Coverage options include home modifications, in-home care, day care, assisted living, memory care, and nursing home. It's important to know that long-term care insurance is not guaranteed coverage. Companies may decline coverage if a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer's, or other condition exists.The most favorable rates and coverage options are available when you are young and in good health. Consult a financial advisor or a long-term care insurance agent to learn the details and costs of how long-term care insurance plans work.4. Initiate Long-Term Care Insurance Claims As Early As PossibleOwning a long-term care insurance policy means that you can use the plan to pay for care instead of paying for services from savings or investments. The qualifications for policy use usually require assistance with two daily living activities or a diagnosis of memory loss. Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) is the type of help many older adults need to remain safely at home. ADLs include bathing and grooming, continence management or using the toilet, dressing, meal preparation and feeding, ambulation, or transferring.5. Why Having a Long-Term Care Insurance Plan to Pay for Care Offers Families Peace of MindWith the flexibility available in long-term care insurance plans today, consumers have various options to pay for and supplement care in the home or care communities. Having a family discussion about care wishes can help identify individual preferences of loved ones for the variety of care that may be beneficial and the preferred care location whether in home or a care community.For example, as a court-appointed guardian, the agent under medical or financial power of attorney, or a care manager, I arranged and coordinated services reimbursed by long-term care insurance plans care for my clients that are identified below. This list of the benefits of using long-term care insurance and combining benefits with private funds provides options to identify additional care in the home or wherever care recipients reside:Allowing individuals to remain living at homeinstead of moving to a care facilityby increasing daily hours of careDelaying nursing home placement for individuals living in assisted living communities who require more support than community staff can offer. In-home caregivers may be hired to help with bathing, meals, socialization, and monitoring daily care needs.Providing additional care and oversight for individuals living in nursing homes who thrive when receiving one-on-one personalized support and interaction.Additionally, long-term care insurance Partnership Plans allow Medicaid recipients to use policy benefits. For example, policy benefits can pay the difference between a typical Medicaid shared room versus a private room not reimbursable by Medicaid in some states.Planning your own long-term care by learning about all of the options available and the costs of care can help you live the life you want--where you want to live. Many individuals enjoy a better quality of life and live longer and happier when receiving additional care and beneficial services.Learn how BrightStar Care's independently owned and operated agencies provide in-home care services reimbursable through long-term care insurance policies or by private payments. About Pamela D. WilsonPAMELA D WILSON MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA is a national caregiving expert, author, advocate, and speaker educating family caregivers, older adults, professionals, groups, and corporations. Since 1999, Pamela has been an entrepreneur and business owner providing direct service: in-home care, care management, and legal and financial appointments. In addition, she consults about elder care, care navigation, caregiving services, and caregiver support programs with families, health and care providers, attorneys, and financial planners. 2021 Pamela D Wilson, All Rights Reserved.
As we get older, our social situation changes. The kids grow up and move away, we lose friends and sometimes spouses, we retire, and often, we lose the ability to do things that used to connect us to the world around us. Its easy for older adults to begin to feel isolated, and this social isolation can be very detrimental. The connection between social isolation and mental health is so strong that this lack of contact with others has become a national public health concern. People who are socially isolated can begin to feel the effects not only in emotions like loneliness, but also in physical symptoms and cognitive decline. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the ensuing lockdowns and social protocols, have made social isolation in seniors even worse than before. While the problem of isolation and loneliness is not new, statistics from the Association of Health Care Journalists suggest that the strain of measures taken during the pandemic increased loneliness significantly in older adults. As of June 2020, the number of people over the age of 50 reporting feelings of isolation was at 56 percent, compared to 27 percent in 2018. Lets take a closer look at the effects of senior social isolation and ask the important question: what can be done to mitigate them? The Impact of Isolation Mental Health Senior isolation has been linked to cognitive decline and a decrease in the speed at which older people process information. After long periods of isolation, people often become physically inactive and depressed, with poor sleep quality, high blood pressure, and inflammation. All of these factors can contribute to cognitive decline. Researchers studying the link between isolation and cognitive decline have found that loneliness can cause the same types of brain changes found in people with Alzheimers disease. With both Alzheimers disease and long-term social isolation, certain proteins build up in the brain and alter its function. Recent data from Florida State University indicates that loneliness is associated with a 40 percent increased risk of dementia, for people of all genders, education, race, and ethnicity. (Opens in a new window) In addition to loneliness, other stressors linked to isolation, like negative thinking, can also cause this protein buildup. In addition to cognitive issues, increased protein buildup in the brain can increase a persons risk of illness and disease. Poor Health Theres evidence to indicate that isolation alters cells in the immune system and causes inflammation. Inflammation is not always a negative thing, as it can help in the healing process after an injury. However, unaddressed, it can increase the risk of chronic diseases. This means that isolation can result in a compromised immune system, making people more vulnerable to infectious diseases and viruses. Research out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people who are isolated and have pre-existing conditions like heart failure are 68 percent more likely to be hospitalized than their peers. These same people are at a 57 percent increased risk of emergency room visits and four times the risk of premature death. (Opens in a new window) Sometimes, this is because loneliness and isolation are associated with depression, anxiety, and suicide, but people living in isolation are at a higher risk of premature death from all causes, as well. In fact, isolation is as much a risk factor as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Social isolation has been connected with chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, and high blood pressure, and those who are socially isolated are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like failing to exercise, eating a poor diet, and smoking. Whats more, people who live alone are more likely to die early because of failure to notice changes in their own health. Risk of injury A senior who lives alone is more likely to experience complications from a fall. Loved ones may want to check on seniors often and move items in their homes that may cause falls. It may take a longer time for the fall to be discovered, putting the person at higher risk for serious injury or death. In addition to injury, falls can cause physical decline, feelings of helplessness, depression, and continued isolation. Even worse, older people are sometimes injured through elder abuse, which is more likely when they have a limited support system. Supporting Seniors Physical and Mental Health What can be done to protect older people from the dangers of isolation? Its important for them to have meaningful relationships and consistent interaction with others. This benefits both their physical and mental health, and research indicates that people with strong, supportive relationships are 55 percent less likely to develop dementia. (Opens in a new window) Strong social connections help people cope with stress more effectively, and feeling supported can even help decrease protein buildup in the brain over time. For those without family or friends nearby, technology can play an important role in helping them feel connected to others. Through social media or videoconferencing apps like FaceTime, WebEx, and Zoom, they can find ways to enjoy the company of loved ones, even if they live far away. Staying Active Can Reduce Isolation Remaining active is also an important component in decreasing feelings of isolation. Older adults can connect with others through exercise, whether its walking with a neighbor, attending a class, or taking a virtual group class at home. Similarly, taking classes to learn new skills or joining groups where people can bond over similar interests can be helpful, and this can be done in-person or online. BrightStar Care Works to Prevent Social Isolation in Seniors When you need help meeting the physical, mental, and emotional needs of an older relative, trust BrightStar Care (Opens in a new window). We know that facing the challenges of aging can be difficult, so we work hard to deliver the right care for your loved one and to be a partner you can turn to for support. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our nurses and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available. In the comforting, familiar surroundings of home, we offer a full range of care services to meet your loved ones needs and help you when you need it most.
The Naples and Fort Myers areas of Florida were recently reminded of the harsh realities of how weather can affect our retirement. Hurricane Ian was undoubtedly one of the biggest natural disasters our retired elderly residents endured.Conventional wisdom tells us to assess the risk of our future financial and medical needs when deciding where to retire. But what about the hidden risks of the weather in the places we choose to retire and live out our days? They are seldom thought about in advance but often the very risks that come to bare. A natural disaster is one of them.Financial Planning for the WeatherSeniors who choose Florida as their retirement destination need to consider the financial risks of living in a hurricane prone region. For example, temporary relocation costs, transportation, hotel, home rental, etc., resulting from a hurricane evacuation order can amount to considerable expense that far exceeds a typical rainy day fund. Increases, sometimes significant ones, in property insurance premiums is a common after effect of a natural disaster, like Hurricane Ian, but most retirees do not plan for these extraordinary increases in their daily living budget or emergency fund.Communitys Emergency ReadinessSeniors have a unique set of needs and that is why retirement communities and assisted living facilities exist. They will also require a different kind of attention and help when nature strikes and causes significant disruption to the services that support seniors. Seniors typically choose a retirement destination based on affordability, amenities and health care. But rarely is that communitys ability to respond to natural disasters a consideration factor. Elderly should absolutely understand how their potential new community is response-ready for a catastrophic event like Hurricane Ian, says Tracy Brady, Executive Director at BrightStar Naples and Fort Myers. They should especially understand if the local first responders and municipal services have systems in place to handle the mobility, cognitive impairment and medical conditions of seniors in the area.During Hurricane Ian, BrightStar Care of Naples and Fort Myers set up shop in a local hotel as a stand-by operation. Our elderly clients need BrightStar Care services to continue even when a hurricane abruptly stops everything else in its path, Ms. Brady said. We want to be at the ready and have the ability to provide uninterrupted care regardless of the severity of a natural occurrence.
Conversations about long-term care and end-of-life decisions are very important but often overlooked topics of discussion as our loved ones age. Whether it's documenting an aging parent's wishes in writing or providing him or her with the most comfortable and caring environment possible, having open conversations now can ensure the end-of-life care your loved one wants and deserves. Here are the four things every family caregiver should discuss with their aging parent.Starting the ConversationAn advance directive is a legal document that goes into effect when individuals are unable to speak for themselves or are incapacitated, according to the National Institute on Aging. It allows an individual to express if theyd like emergency measures used to keep them alive, such as:Artificial nutrition or hydration to feed an individual through a feeding tube.Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR to restore an individuals heartbeat if their heart stops or has an abnormal rhythm.Comfort care to soothe an individual and relieve suffering while still following their wishes.A ventilator to help individuals breathe.A power of attorney (POA) for healthcare allows an individual to entrust someone else to make decisions about their medical care. Individuals might need two separate POA documents one for healthcare and another for finances. The power of attorney can be the same person for both or different people. An estate planning attorney can help your loved one establish a power of attorney or a living will to communicate end-of-life healthcare wishes. Your loved one may also consider creating additional documents regarding their wishes about a single medical issue such as:Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order: A medical order written by a doctor that tells healthcare providers not to do CPR if an individual's breathing stops or if the individuals heart stops beating.Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) or Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST): These forms clarify your medical care preferences in the form of a doctor's orders. Not all states acknowledge this form; check with your medical team for additional information.Once your loved one has established power of attorney or a living will, it is important to make sure this paperwork is available and easy to locate. Some individuals may consider wearing a medical identification bracelet or choose to carry paperwork with them, expressing their desire for advanced directives. It is also very important to review your healthcare preferences and wishes with your POA regularly. There are also communities with programs that encourage people to put advanced directive instructions in a baggie in their freezer because emergency personnel are trained to look for it there. It is important to understand your state laws and if there are any community programs related to advanced directives. Its also crucial to update these advanced care documents periodically to make sure your loved ones wishes are current. Legal paperwork should be reviewed every five years, or more often if needed, to make sure it is accurate.Collect Key DocumentsAs you start caring for your elderly parent, youll also need access to their health and financial information. Compile information connected to your parents insurance policies, Social Security benefits, housing contracts, retirement, and bank accounts. Make a list of their doctors names and preferred health facilities as well as their current medications and health conditions. Check to see if an individual has Medicare and/or any Medicare Supplement Insurance. Its a good idea to make copies of these key documents. And dont forget to keep copies and know where originals are of the POA, living will, and property deeds.Do Your Parents Have a Long-Term Care Plan?Long-term care is not always easy to discuss with a parent or loved one, but its best to address it before an unexpected accident, illness, or injury changes their needs. Here are some questions you should ask:How much are you or your loved one willing to spend on care? Long-term care can be expensive. According to the AARP, the average cost for a home health aide was $20 per hour in 2016 with the average aide providing in-home care for approximately 30 hours a week. The annual cost was $31,000. Some older adults use private financing options, such as long-term care insurance.What kind of help do you need now? Or, in the future? At first, your loved one may only need a ride to appointments or help with meals. Establish a schedule for them and discuss how the schedule could be adjusted as their needs change.Can you get used to having a stranger in your home to help you? Some individuals might have a hard time having a stranger care for them. Its also important to ask if they have a preference whether if an aide is male or female.How do you feel about care outside of the home? Many individuals want to stay in their homes, but you should be careful what you promise. A long-term care facility may be the best choice for some illnesses or stages of the end-of-life journey. Listen and Follow Your Parents CuesClarity is essential for the family. Everyone should be on the same page about care for their elderly loved one. The following topics should be discussed and answered among family members:Who is the main spokesperson for the elderly loved one? Its important to have a point person and keep things moving ahead. Often that person is the ultimate decision maker. Ask other family members what tasks they can take on to support your loved one.Establish general rules. Understand your loved one may not want to share everything about their health or personal life. Be respectful of their choices and be supportive even if you dont personally agree with their decisions.