Children of elderly parents are being provided with the valuable option of in-home senior care. Deciding how to take care of your aging parent comes with limited choices. You can bring them to a nursing home, move in with you, or hire a home health care service to take care of their everyday needs. Today many people choose the first two options, and frequently choose either or, even though there are common challenges to each.

Many people are not aware of the usual difficulties with putting an elderly loved one in a nursing home. Seniors typically get lonely and it is hard for someone to be relaxed in an odd place where they don’t see their family members often.

Moving your elderly parent in your home has its own challenges. If you and your spouse are working, there is usually no time to take care of your loved one and their health. In addition, most people don’t specialize in elder care and may not have the ability to correctly care for your senior.

Home care is a developing service today and it has many benefits for your loved one. Safe Harbor Healthcare Services provides benefits from hiring an in home service care agency to take care of your parents everyday needs.

Reduced anxiety and stress

Moving your loved one in a nursing home can put major stress on you, your loved one, and other family members. Quite often their health issues can become more severe and lead to further medical complications. Receiving elder care in your loved one’s home can provide them with comfort and a stress free environment. They will also feel the same independence and quality of life they’ve been used to.

Needs of care is customized to individual

In home care services provides one on one support for your elderly one, unlike huge institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals. Hiring a home care agency assures your elderly loved one will receive personalized care every day.

Saving money

With in-home health care for your parent, you will save thousands by not having to deal with outrageous hospital bills, nursing bills, or even the state taking ownership of their house. At a fraction of the cost, in home care services saves your loved one and the entire family’s money in medical bills.

For more information about In-Home Health Care Services, contact Safe Harbor Healthcare Services at 718-979-6900

fruit-salad-11289323714od5As your loved one gets older, the importance of eating healthy is vital for a longer life. The benefits of eating healthy include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, more energy, and better management of health problems. That’s why Safe harbor has come up with nutrition and diet tips for your elderly loved ones.

How many calories do adults over 50 need?

Women

  • Very active woman needs about 2000 calories a day

  • Someone who is a little active needs about 1800 a day

  • Not physically fit needs about 1600 calories a day

Men

  • Very active men need about 2400-2800 calories a day

  • Someone who is a little active needs about 2200-2400 calories a day

  • Not physically fit needs about 2000 calories a day.

What does your body need?

  • Fruit: Try to eat whole fruits instead of juices for more fiber and vitamins. Make sure to watch the portion size and have 1 to 2 servings every day. Go for color rich fruits such as berries and melons.

  • Veggies:  Color is important in this category. Try to incorporate antioxidant rich vegetables including kale, spinach and broccoli. Make sure to also orange and yellow vegetables, such as carrots, squash, and yams. The serving size should be 2 to 2 ½ cups of veggies every day.

  • Calcium: Drinking enough calcium can prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. It is important to drink milk since it maintains your bone health. Older adults need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. There are also non-dairy choices including tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

  • Grains: Choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and more fiber. Look for breads, pastas, and cereals that list whole grains in their ingredients. Try and eat 6-7 ounces of grains each day.

  • Protein: Adults 50 and over need approximately 0.5 grams per pound of their bodyweight. To find out the right amount you simply divide your bodyweight in half to know how many grams of protein you need.

 

Senior woman in a wheelchair Elderly people (65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger individuals for many reasons:

 

• Elderly people don’t adjust well as young people do to abrupt changes in temperature.

• They are more probable to have a prolonged medical condition that upsets normal body responses to warmer temperatures.

• They are more likely to take prescription medicines that weaken the body's capability to balance its temperature.

 

Tips to protect the elderly from heat-related stress:

• Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic, and non-caffeinated beverages. Also, avoid exceptionally cold liquids since they cause cramps.

• Make sure to get enough sleep.

• Take a nice cool shower or bath.

• Seek an air-conditioned environment if it’s probable.

• If you don't have air conditioning, go visit an air-conditioned shopping mall or store to cool off right away.

• Wear clothes that are loose.

• If you can, stay indoors during the heat of the day.

• Stay away from vigorous activities.

• Sunblocks and sunscreens with (SPF 15) are extremely helpful when one is exposed to direct sunlight.

Safety on the Road for Aging Drivers

 

Helen's first car was a navy blue 1959 Monte Carlo. In her first 48 years of driving, she was
accident free; however, beginning in 2010, she was involved in several minor fender benders.  At
82 years of age, Helen is still in adequate physical health with a sharp mind- she still considers
herself a good driver, but why do these accidents continue to occur?  

Helen's story is not uncommon and you might have asked yourself these same questions.  
Helen might be your mother, sister, grandmother or friend.  Just because you or a loved one is
getting older doesn't always mean it is time to stop driving; however, there are several changes
associated with aging that everyone should be aware of.

 

Reaction Times

One of the most important abilities to have when driving is the power to react quickly.  Other
drivers, road conditions, weather, heavy traffic and several additional components make it
necessary to think and react fast.  Over time as muscles weaken, it might be more difficult to
move quickly.  Furthermore, it might be harder to think quickly as well.  By following these tips,
you or a loved one can avoid accidents:

-break early when you know you need to stop
-for every 10 mıles per hour you drive, leave 10 feet of space.  (ex.  40 miles per hour/ forty feet
behind the car in front of you)
-Avoid high traffic areas when possible
-Call your local AAA agency and ask if defensive driving classes are offered.  AARP also offers
classes.
-Use the right hand lane on the expressway.  Because traffic moves slower in this lane, you will
have more time to think and make decisions.
-Be conscious that your mind and body might be going through changes.  Talk about these
changes with your doctor during annual checkups.

Health

 

Diseases and conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, dementia and other
ailments may limit one's ability to operate a vehicle and, therefore, it might be time to stop
driving.  Alzheimer's disease and dementia can make driving difficult because limited memory
can cause one to forget how to get to simple places such as the *bank or grocery.  The worst
part of these conditions is that the driver might not realize what is going on and thus doesn't
recognize a problem. In the case of a stroke or arthritis, driving may be more difficult because
reaction times and the ability to move quickly can sometimes be greatly diminished.  If you or a
loved one is at risk *for any of these conditions, have a doctor evaluate your overall condition.

Physical Changes

 

Weakening muscles and stiff joints are common with aging.  This can make it harder to turn your
head or to turn the steering wheel quickly.  Being physically active is a benefit to your health
overall and can loosen your body so that these physical maneuvers can be made easier. Another
good idea for aging drivers is to drive with an automatic transmission and as always, make your
doctor aware if stiffness or discomfort is getting in the way of your ability to drive.

 

Hearing Loss

The ability to hear while driving is of utmost importance. Horns, sirens, sounds from your
vehicle and other external noises are warnings that could result in injury or even death if
ignored.  Beginning at age 50, American Hearing Association recommends having your hearing
checked every 3 years.  Many hearing issues can be treated by a doctor and in severe cases, a
hearing aid can successfully improve hearing ability.  Keeping the car quiet by not blaring the
radio is always good advice even for people with no hearing loss.

Vision Loss

Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma decrease the ability to see
properly while medications can also complicate proper vision.  Even if you or a loved one has
not been diagnosed with these ailments, decreased vision is usually associated with aging,
thereby making it difficult to read signs, recognize places and gauge how soon you need to
break.  By visiting an optometrist, you can have your overall vision tested and also learn about
removing a cataract if necessary.  In addition to this, it's a good idea to avoid night driving as this
is the most dangerous time for the visually impaired to be on the road.

 

Medications

It is not unusual to increase your intake of medications as you get older.  Various medications
have a wide arrange of side effects and many can make you feel lightheaded, drowsy and not
fully alert.  Because all drugs affect people differently, it is best to consult a doctor or pharmacist
with a full list of your medications.

 

When is it Time to Stop Driving?

The thought of having to stop driving can be overwhelming and depressing; however, it's one
of the most important decisions you will have to make because continuing to drive when you
shouldn't puts yourself and others in danger.
Because each individual ages at a different rate with different circumstances, there is no set age
when you should cease driving.  To help you answer this question, you should ask yourself the
following:

 

– Do I find myself lost even on roads that are familiar?
– Have loved ones or my doctor commented on my safety when driving?
– Do people, cars or objects seem to appear abruptly and without warning?
– Is it often that other cars honk at me?
– Is staying in my lane an issue?
– Do I not drive as often as I used to because I am questioning my own driving ability?
– Do I have trouble effectively using the break and gas pedals? Do I ever confuse the two?

If you are answering yes to most of these questions, it might be time to consider other
transportation options. While sacrificing your license might feel like losing your independence,
you are protecting yourself and others. If you answer yes to only a few of these questions, it is
best to consult your doctor and loved ones to determine how you can maximize your safe driving
habits.

At SafeHarbor Home Care, we provide care to meet more than just the medical needs of
our clients. Our trained caregivers provide services that maintain our clients' dignity and
independence and their quality of life. We know that it so important, especially during periods
of illness and recovery, for people to be in familiar surroundings and continue to enjoy daily
pleasures.

 

Please contact SafeHarbor to learn how we can help you or a family member with the activities
of daily living, including help outside the home. Our licensed and trained caregivers can
accompany you or a loved one wherever you need to go–medical appointments, errands, family
or social outgoings. Call us–we can help

Recently, the Staten Island Advance released an article about preparing a senior for a caregiver at home.   SafeHarbor Homecare would like to pass on this information to help our clients to ease the adjustment process.

 

When an elderly family member chooses to remain at home rather than live with a relative or in a senior facility, the family should consider hiring a home-care professional.  Opening your home to a caregiver could be a scary thing.  It is essentially inviting a stranger into your home.  In some cases the aids are pleasantly welcomed into the family, but sometimes the elderly view caregivers as intruders, resulting in violence and foul language.

It is not easy to let someone you don’t know into your home, but there are a few ways to make the process less stressful:

 

“Introduce the health aid into the home gradually, in shorter shifts,” advises Dr. Eric Rackow, a professor at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Senior Bridge, an organization that manages at-home care. It may be a struggle in the beginning, but everything should ease with time.  A gradual introduction allows a building of a relationship that is appropriate and forms trust between the senior and caregiver.

 

Rackow also indicates that one should not forget that just because they are the caregivers, remember this is their work, not their entire life.  Showing concern for him or her and treating them as your welcomed guest should make it more comfortable for everyone.   Rackow expresses that you should “consider showing them where they can comfortably put personal things, and offer to add some foods that she might enjoy to the shopping list — especially if the aide will be working long days or living in.”

 

Although the caregiver is considered a trusted professional, you should always verify their identity and keep track of all possessions in the home.  It is important to not leave valuable belongings or personal informational documents lying around.

 

Establishing a distinct set of ground rules is also important when hiring a home care professional.  Although they may spend many hours there or may live in the home, it is still your home.  Just because they may live there, they are still your employee.

 

Lastly, it is important to choose someone who is a trained professional, rather than someone who seems like a good friend.  Although a positive relationship is needed, providing safety and care is what the individual is hired to do.  Choose the person who will provide your loved one the best possible care all around.  It is acceptable to integrate them in some aspect of person life, as in family dinner, but never lose sight of the professional relationship.   Keep in mind that the relationship is “friendly, but professional.”

At SafeHarbor Homecare, we want our clients to be comfortable with our services.  Our goal is to provide the best care and safety possible.  These tips can help ease the process and generate a positive experience for you, your loved ones, and the caregiver alike.  Contact our offices to learn more about what we have to offer and how we can further help make this transition period easier.

Recently, The Joint Commission has launched a campaign called “SPEAK UP.”  It is a program designed to empower patients to become advocates for themselves to prevent errors in the field of health care.  It is necessary to “Speak Up” to make sure you or your loved one are getting the proper care and that protocol is being followed to ensure that your health is in the best of hands. 

At Safe Harbor Homecare, we want you to be involved in the care we are providing to you.  We feel it is important to have you as part of the process every step of the way.  With a better understanding of the care we are providing, it builds a stronger trust and bond between our homecare aids and patients making the overall experience easier and more enjoyable for both parties. 

Each letter in the acronym “SPEAK UP” stands for a different way you can get involved in your care and become a better advocate for yourself. 

S- Stands for speaking up if you have any questions or concerns.  It is your health and you should understand everything that is going on with how you are being cared for.  If you do not understand something, do not hesitate to ask again or for further explanation.  It is our duty to make sure that you feel comfortable and we want you to appreciate the care you are receiving. 

P- Stands for paying attention to the care you are receiving.  Knowing the specific care you are getting and if it is correct will help avoid errors and keep you involved in your care plan.  It is important to ask questions if something does not seem right.  Always make sure your care giver is wearing the proper identification and that he or she knows who you are and the proper doses of medication you receive.  Also note if your home care professional is washing their hands.  Hand washing prevents infection; you should not be afraid to remind them to do this.  Being aware of the care you are receiving reassures you and avoids mistakes from being made in this important field of care.

E- Stands for educating yourself about your condition, care plan, and services you will be receiving.  Ask your doctor about your condition and what kind of care you should be getting.  Also be sure to read all documents before you sign them.  Ask questions if you do not understand any aspect of a document.  It is your care and educating yourself as much as possible on your condition and care plan will help ensure you are getting the best care you can. 

A -Stands for asking a close friend or family member to be your advocate in times of need.  There may be times when you will be too stressed or not feeling well enough to “speak up” for yourself.  The person you select to be your advocate will be there at these times to ask questions for you and make sure you are getting the proper care.  They should also be aware of your wishes for life saving efforts and what to do if your condition worsens.  They should also read over important documents with you, so both of you fully understand the care plan you will be receiving. 

K- Stands for knowing what medications you take and why you are taking them.  Ask your doctor information about the medications you are given and if they are safe to take with other medications or over-the-counter medicines.  Be aware of the side effects of each medication.  Make sure the prescription is legible and if not, ask for it to be printed to guarantee the pharmacist gives you the right medicine.  Your advocate should also be aware of the medications you are taking and the correct dosages.  If your home care professional is administering your medications, make sure it is the right prescription and dosage.  Staying aware can avoid mistakes in administering medications. 

U- Stands for using a home care organization that is reputable.  It is important that they meet their own standards and of home care organizations nationwide.  Ask if they have worked with people with your condition before and the services they offer for you.  Be sure the home care organization is accredited and follows the rules that keep patients safe and makes sure quality standards are high. 

P- Stands for participating in your home care plan.  You are the core of your home care.  Every decision should be made with you, not for you.  You should have a say in every step of your home care plan.  You should know and get along with your home care professional and understand the treatment you will be receiving from them.  Ask about alternative options in your specific care and what is best for you. 

Safe Harbor Homecare has been serving Staten Island for nearly half a century.  Our business is prided on delivering high quality nursing and home health services to our patients and to maintain our long standing reputation for excellence in home care on Staten Island.  We urge our patients to learn about the “SPEAK UP” campaign and become advocates for themselves.  We want our patients to be involved in their care plans, so their experience with our service is the best it can be. 

Have you been sad for at least two weeks? Have you lost interest in things that you normally find pleasurable? If you answered “yes” to either of the previous questions, you may be dealing with depression.

Depression is not just a feeling; it is an illness that affects millions of people worldwide.  It takes a toll on the mind and body, sometimes making easy, everyday tasks more difficult and life less enjoyable.  It goes beyond being a mood one feels.  It can take over one’s life and have physical effects on the body.  Depression can cause headaches, joint pains, stomach problems and make existing illnesses, such as arthritis, much more difficult to handle.

One should never think they have to settle for living with depression.  Even the most severe cases can be treatable.  With advanced research on the subject, doctors and psychologists have developed various treatment methods, such as through counseling or medications, which have been proven to be effective.  Think about seeking treatment if the answer is yes to either of the two questions proposed at the beginning of this article.  Contact your doctor right away if either of these questions pertains to you, so you can take the steps to improve your well-being. 

After seeking help, there are various ways to remain healthy and feeling better about life.  Be sure to keep up with counseling and/or prescriptions, even if you think you are feeling better.  If you are feeling better, that is a good sign that your treatment is working, but until your doctor feels you have fully recovered, you should continue treatments.  Never be too hard on yourself.  By setting realistic and attainable goals and taking small steps towards achieving them, you will have the empowerment to keep going and improve self-worth.  It is also positive to surround yourself with loved ones who support you and keep away from those who impact you negatively.  Having those who support you around you will help you through the process and keep you on the right path.  You should also indulge in activities that are enjoyable, yet not harmful to you.  Alcohol and drug use can trigger depression and make the road to recovery much more difficult.  Lastly, take part in physical activity.  Even just walking for ten minutes a day can help clear the mind and boost your endorphins which contribute to forming a positive outlook. 

Feeling depressed is not a normal part of life and affects people differently.  Sometimes new mothers have a difficult time adjusting to their new life.  They could be suffering from postpartum depression and may experience mood swings which should dissipate within two weeks.  This could also become more serious and if it continues treatment should be sought.  Young children can be affected with symptoms such as worrying often, crying more, getting scared more easily or trying to injure themselves.    Teens may lash out, turn to substance abuse, become violent, or isolate themselves.  Men, often overlooked when dealing with depression because of the “men don’t cry” attitude, can show signs through the misuse of alcohol, controlling or abusive behavior, irritability, risky behavior or unsafe sexual activity.  As for the elderly, depression is not a standard part of getting older.  It can cause unexplained symptoms, such as frequent headaches, loss of appetite and tiredness.  Age does not make a person more worthless.  Everyone should get the most they can out of life and living with depression sets limits to happiness and possibilities. 

Living with depression should not be an option.  If you find yourself feeling sadness for an extended period of time or you do not feel the joy in things you used to, seek help.  It cannot hurt to simply ask questions and take steps to improve your life.  Every person deserves having the best possible life they can; don’t let depression get you down!

At Safe Harbor Homecare, we aid in dealing with symptoms, as well as, take measures for our patients to avoid falling into depression.  If you have a loved one who is showing signs of depression, we are here to help!  Whether it is providing nursing, companion, physical activity, or simply getting them out of the house, we can help in creating a nurturing environment to lessen or avoid depression and improve quality of life.   

 

Home care is a growing field in the health care industry offering services for all ages and cases with the options of remaining in an environment which provides more comfort and allows for greater freedom. It is a viable and liberating alternative to a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.  Choosing the right home care agency can be an arduous task with many factors to consider when finding the best home care agency for your loved ones. 

When doing your research, qualifications of the business, services provided and experience is vital to choosing the right home care agency. The first question you should ask is if it is a licensed home care agency or a non-medical or companion agency.  A licensed home care agency is licensed by New York State.  In order to be licensed by the State the home care agency must strictly follow a number of rules and regulations including training and certification of home health aides, criminal background checks, continued medical education and insurance coverage.  A variety of services can be provided by a licensed agency with licensed personnel including all aspects of assisting a patient with activities of daily living. These services would be reimbursed by the patient’s long term care insurance and in some cases by their health insurance.  On the other hand, a non-licensed home care agency can only provide companionship and simple tasks for the patient.  These workers are not certified and do not have the level of experience or qualifications that are possessed by licensed personnel.

One should consider the experience and expertise of the agency.  A simple question, such as, “how long have you been in business,” can reveal the reliability of the services and their workers.  Newly started businesses are harder to trust because there is little record of the turnover rates and quality of services.  Choosing a long-standing business with credibility and extensive records may be a better choice. 

The quality and treatment of staff is very important to your search in finding the right fit for you.  It is essential that you choose an agency that sets high standards for their workers through their hiring policies.  Inquiring about the extent of criminal background checks the agency runs, will provide you with the information about where the care taker is coming from and if they will be reliable to your loved ones.  To ensure the credibility of their employees, the agency should check into the last job of the employee and personal references.  It is also beneficial to inquire about whether there is a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) on staff.  They provide the caregivers with the proper care plan and ensure proper practices and protocols are being followed. 

But the patients are not the only ones who need care and protection.  It is more common than people like to think, that the caregiver will get hurt on the job, car accidents, sprained ankles and back injuries are possible injuries within this field.  Learning the insurance policies of the company can be helpful in choosing your agency.  Insurance should include, Professional and General Liability, Non-Owned Auto insurance and Workers compensation.  Unfortunately it also happens that things, such as valuables, can go missing or disappear while the caregiver is in your service, so a fidelity bond will insure the caregiver in case of a theft.  In the event that you do hire a caregiver from a particular agency and they do not work out for whatever reason you also want to know that the company has a replacement caregiver available for continuity of care for your loved one.    

Finally one should view the operations of the company.  What are the office hours of operation?  Is there a 24 hour on-call service? This provides you with the assurance that they are available to take your calls even after office hours.  What are required minimum hours to provide services and how soon can they start?   A reputable agency will go above and beyond to keep you informed including having brochures available by mail that clearly outline the services and fees of the agency.    It is essential that you inquire about how the exctent of the services that can be provided and any additional fees for additional services. For example, does it include assistance with activities of daily living like bathing, washing, feeding, etc.?  You want to make sure the services they provide serve your needs and give you comfort in your decision.  Finding the right home care agency that covers all your needs is a lengthy process and through extensive research you can find the right one for your loved one.  The tools listed above give a foundation to knowing what you should look for and the type of questions you should ask when considering the agencies. 

 

 

 

Presenting the idea of assisted living to a loved one is one of life's most difficult events. It is as if the human brain turns off rationality whenever the idea comes to mind that we are unable to care for ourselves or complete some task or another alone. Don't believe it? Just try helping a 3 year old do something that he or she has their mind set on.

"I do it myself!" is the likely answer.

While you may laugh at this example, the 3 year old, in all of us, screams and kicks when it feels as if someone doubts our abilities in one way or anther. This never changes and when you are trying to convince an aging parent or grandparent to have someone come into their home to provide some sort of aid… be prepared for the kicking and screaming.

There are some ways that you can approach the topic without making it sound like you doubt their abilities to take care of themselves or their home. If your loved one is spending far too much time alone, use this as a selling point of in-home care. You do not need to mention that it is for care purposes. , rather mention that you have heard of a friend whose mother/father/sister has someone come in and "sit" with them for a few hours a day. Focus on how the person in your example is happier with someone to talk to.

Many elderly people are afraid of being burdens on their families. You can also use this (in a positive way, never use negative speech!) to help them choose in-home care. If your loved one always talks about how they hate bothering you, bring up how much easier it would be for them to have an aide or nurse stop by a few times a week. If they bristle at this idea, bring up how they always say they feel as if they are "bothering" you and that with an aide or a nurse to take care of those needs, you and your loved one can focus on spending quality time together.

While we are speaking of things that make older people afraid, probably the biggest fear is being forced to leave their home and move into a nursing home. If you know that the person you care for is afraid of this, bring up the fact that with in-home care they can stay home far longer than without. In-home care is also more cost effective than a nursing facility! Not only can your aging parent or grandparent age in place, they can do so without going bankrupt.

From all of us at SafeHarbor we like to wish you a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.