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We at Schuylkill Home Care strive to bring to you knowledge on varitety of topics.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jan 11 2019 02:40PM

Preparing seniors for doctor visits

Getting to a doctor visit, as well as understanding and implementing medical advice, can be a challenge for seniors.

Aging involves changes in health, physical ability, and medical risks. On average, older adults in the US tend to be in a healthcare setting about 17 days a year. Given how common (and often necessary) it is for seniors to interact with doctors, it is important to help seniors navigate doctor visits well.

A start to finish doctor visit checklist

For seniors, doctor’s visits are stressful. Use this checklist to help ease anxiety

* Arrange transportation to and from the appointment

* Identify whether or not a companion is necessary for the visit

* Check if the appointment or associated tests require seniors to contact their insurance company ahead of time for pre-certification or other purposes

* Pack everything needed for a successful appointment

● Insurance card

● Photo ID

● Payment for co-pays or other charges

● Contact information for other doctors

● List of current medications

● List of allergies/medical conditions

● Medical records, if needed

● A list of questions for the doctor

● And notepad or device for note-taking

*Verify at checkout after the appointment

● If further testing or labs required

● When new prescriptions should be picked up

● If there are instructions or treatment notes seniors can take home with them

● When follow-up appointments are scheduled

● If any payment is due

How to Help Seniors Advocate for Themselves

Often, seniors feel nervous or powerless when in healthcare settings. Encourage seniors to attend their appointments confidently and to speak up for themselves. Remind seniors to:

● Bring glasses or hearing aids if necessary to support effective communication

● Prepare to share what has been going on in their lives and to ask questions

● Ask for directions, diagnoses, and notes about the appointment in writing

● Get a second opinion if they are uncomfortable or unsure of something a doctor says

● Take a family member or close friend for support if self-advocacy is challenging for them

Tips to see the Doctor Less Often

Following doctor's instruction and taking care of oneself are great ways for seniors to reduce the number of appointments they attend. There are also alternatives to traditional doctor visits that seniors can benefit from such as:

● Web-based medical services

● Virtual or over-the-phone appointments

● Retail clinics, especially for flu shots or common, minor illnesses

● Urgent care centers

Cyclical Reasons Seniors Should See the Doctor

One of the reasons aging adults tend to see doctors often is for cyclical treatments, check-ups, or preventative care. For instance, seniors should plan on:

● Annual check-ups

● A colonoscopy every decade

● Annual vaccinations

● Regular eye exams

● Dental exams twice a year

● Screening for cancer, thyroid disorder, etc.

Home Care Tip

Help seniors who are active online to understand that the web does not have a medical degree. While medical information could be helpful to reference and understand more about health, only professionals with education and training should make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jan 6 2019 02:43AM

Technology to Improve Senior Lives

Assistive technology can make a difference in seniors’ lives. Learn about technologies that are designed especially for seniors.

One of the benefits of technology is that it can improve quality of life. Assistive technology for seniors is designed to enhance safety and well-being

Assistive technology for seniors supports their health, safety, and quality of life. There are many types of technology designed for these purposes. Some of these technologies are digital and cutting-edge, others are more basic.

Most Common Assistive Devices for Seniors

There are many types of devices designed to help seniors. The following are the most popular:

● Hearing aids

● ACTIVATOR Poles

● Buttoning aid hook

● Bed handles

● Long reach comfort wipe

● Medical alert devices

● Voice-controlled alarm clocks

● TV ears

● Uplift seating device

● Chair lifts

● Computer magnifier software

● Tablets or ipads

● Robotic vacuums

● Video doorbells

● Monitoring devices

● Voice command devices

How to Choose an Assistive Device

With all the options out there for assistive devices, it can be challenging to know how to choose the right one. Seniors can use these tips to chooses the best assistive devices for their needs.

How to Research

Online research, customer reviews, and senior service agencies are great places to find about these kinds of assistive technologies out there. When it comes to comparing the devices themselves, it's best to use verified sources like Consumer Reports.

Where to Buy

Assistive technologies can sometimes be purchased directly from the companies that manufacture them. Big box stores like Best Buy or Walmart sometimes carry devices. Online retailers, like Amazon.com, often sell assistive technologies as well.

What to Consider Before Purchasing

There are several steps you should take before purchasing assistive technology.

● Compare consumer product reviews

● Verify the manufacturer's reputation with the Better business Bureau

● Look for coupons or discounts

● Check on return policies

Benefits of Assistive Devices

● Help seniors age in place

● Increase independence

● Improve quality of life

● Enable social connections

● Protect senior safety

● Support senior health

● Enhance convenience

● Restore senior confidence

Technology for Senior Homes

Seniors living at home can especially benefit from assistive technology. These are many adaptations that can be made to homes to improve senior safety.

Smart senior home technology can include:

● Voice-activated lights and alarms

● Video doorbells and monitors

● Chair lifts and other lift devices

● Accesibile fixtures

● Mobility aids

● Adaptive switches for equipment

● Amplifiers for devices with sound

● Modern communication devices

Home Care Tip

If seniors need an assistive device but find it too expensive, encourage them to look for grants or other types of aid. Check www.cta.tech for example of programs.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Dec 23 2018 02:19PM

Creating Holiday Meals and Memories Seniors Will Love

Making the holidays special for seniors can involve such simple things as spending time together and cooking a special meal or two.

Nostalgia has a powerful effect on seniors. By making the holidays special for them, you can improve their quality of life.

The magic of the holiday season doesn’t necessarily wear away with age. Seniors get nostalgic during the holidays, and many still want to celebrate.

Creating a Special Holiday Meal

There are many holiday meals that are heart healthy for seniors. You can find many recipes on web sites such as aplaceformom.com, tasteofhome.com or health.com. Use these ideas to get started:

• Main Dishes:

o Roasted, lightly seasoned turkey breast

o Sweet potato pasta with ground turkey

o Turkey meatloaf

• Sides:

o Pan seared Brussel sprouts with cranberries and pecans

o Roasted green beans with almonds

o Lemon orzo salad

• Desserts:

o Oatmeal cookies with cinnamon and raisins

o Peppermint tea

o Lemon bars

• Dress the Meal Up:

o Use holiday napkins and/or tablecloths

o Help seniors dress up for the meal

o Invite loved ones to share the meal with a senior

How to Make Holiday Memories

So much of the holiday season is about reminiscing, reflecting, and togetherness. For seniors, this can be a challenge due to memory issues, health concerns, or family members living far away. You can sweeten the season by intentionally spreading holiday cheer and making memories.

• Softly play holiday music, including songs that were popular in past decades

• Read holiday cards together and use them to decorate

• Create a holiday craft with a senior or help them select/make gifts for loved ones

• Look through old photo albums and reminisce with seniors as they share stories

• Share your favorite holiday memories and ask seniors about theirs

• Plan to attend an even like a holiday concert, pageant, game night or festival

• Take a drive to see holiday lights and décor

One Major Benefit of Holiday Celebrations for Seniors

Depression is common during the holiday season, especially among seniors. Feeling sad and alone isn’t good for seniors’ health. When you brighten the holidays for seniors, you may be increasing their lifespan and improving their quality of life. Agingcare.com

Coping with Holiday Hardship

The holiday can be stressful for seniors, as well as risky for their health. Help seniors avoid and cope with these challenges. Care.com

• Don’t plan back-to-back activities

• Be mindful of the weather

• Keep tissues and sanitizer available

• Schedule time to connect with long-distance loved ones

• Make free or affordable plans

• Don’t upset routines like bedtimes

• Keep fiber and other nutrients in their diet

• Remain positive and sensitive

Home Care Tip

Decorations for the holidays can be dangerous for seniors. Be sure that décor like lights, candles, hanging ornaments, glass pieces, and linens are not in places where seniors would be endangered if they slip, fall, or forget to turn something on or off.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Nov 29 2018 03:36PM

What you need to know about Arthritis and Senior Care

Arthritis is a medical condition many seniors struggle with. World Arthritis Day takes place on October 12th.

Did you know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States? Many seniors struggle with this type of disease.

Over 54 million adults in the Us have been diagnosed with a form of arthritis. Since the condition is common among seniors, it is important to understand the symptoms and the effects of arthritis when caring for them.

Basic Facts about Arthritis

A word used to describe joint pain and joint disease, arthritis comes in many forms. Some of the most common types of arthritis include: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Seniors often develop osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis?

This form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down. Cartilage is the tissue that covers the ends of the bones and joints. Cartilage is found largely in joints like the knees, hips, and shoulders. When the cartilage breaks down, the bones can rub against each other, wearing away the bones, reducing mobility, and causing both stiffness and pain.

Who does Osteoarthritis Affect?

Typically, osteoarthritis occurs in older adults. It tends to occur as a part of aging since the cartilage is worn down over time and with extensive use.

How to Prevent Osteoarthritis

Although osteoarthritis is cause by wear and tear, it is preventable to a point. Adults should take care and stretch and to use joints safely by bending to life properly. This may reduce or delay osteoarthritis if a person in prone to the condition.

Supporting Seniors with Arthritis

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be completely cured or reversed. However, there are many ways to reduce the pain and difficulties that result from the condition.

• Medication like Tylenol or NSAIDs can relieve pain

• Physical therapy can reduce stiffness and improve mobility

• Occupational therapy can offer alternative motions to avoid aggravating affected joints

• Yoga, tai chi, and other gentle exercises can relieve pain and stress

• Medical injections can relieve pain

• Surgeries can protect bones replace severely damaged joints

Risk Factors and Arthritis

Seniors are at greater risk of osteoarthritis if they:

• Have struggled with obesity

• Overused various joints

• Maintained poor posture

• Are genetically predisposed

• Have previously injured their joints

Sign of Arthritis

• Stiffness in joints

• Stress related to pain

• Decrease flexibility in the joints

• Noise when the joints move

• Swelling around the joints

• Pain in the joints during cold weather or after activity

Home Care Tip

Seniors “feeling cold in their bones” isn’t a joke. Cold weather can exacerbate osteoarthritis pain. Support seniors with arthritis by helping them stay warm and offering extra help with physical tasks when it’s chilly.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Nov 14 2018 07:25PM

Make Holiday Memories with Seniors

Take on these simple projects with seniors to make special holiday memories together this season. The crafts are easy and fun.

Part of the joy of the holidays is making memories together. Senior mobility and energy may be limited, but making simple crafts at home are special ways to brighten the holidays.

5 Nostalgic Projects to Make This Holiday Season

These crafts are fit for seniors because they are calm and simple. They’re also nostalgic, adding joy to the time spent making them. Seniors might also enjoy making these crafts to give as gifts over the holidays.

1. Recycled Card Bookmarks – use ribbon, glue and old Christmas cards to make simple bookmarks

2. Mason Jar Snow Globes – encourage seniors to put knick-knacks collected over the years in their mason jar snow globes. Only a few materials are needed

3. Memento Ornaments – clear, hollow ornaments can be fun to fill with special mementos. These are often valued as priceless memory holders and conversation pieces

4. Scrapbooks/photo albums – good old-fashioned scrapbooking allows seniors to reminisce and share stories with a sense of purpose and delight.

5. Needlework/sewing project – There are a ton of easy, fast, adult crafts seniors can make using fabric, needle, and thread (or yarn). Search online for adult sewing ideas and directions.

Simple, Decorative Holiday Crafts Seniors will Love

Being able to decorate or make decorations to give as gifts can brighten the holidays for seniors. Decorative items seniors can easily make include

* Basic jewelry

* Holiday Pins

* Candleholders

* Gift tags

* Ornaments

* Pinecone decorations

Check out sites like goodhousekeeping.com or countryliving.com and look up holiday craft ideas.

Benefits of Crafting for Seniors

Making something offers a number of benefits to seniors, especially during the holidays. Benefits include

* A sense of purpose

* Joy of giving gifts

* Something to share with others

* Nostalgic feelings and reminiscing

* Honing skills

* Learning something new

* Memory making

* Conversation starters

* Adding cheer to living environment

* Mental boosts

Make Holiday Projects More Special

Wheter seniors really love making crafts or not, spending time working on projects over the holiday can create precious, joyful memories. There are many ways to make these activities more meaningful to seniors.

* Turning on holiday musics

* Planning projects as gifts to loved ones

* Inviting friends or family to participate

* Using the projects to decorate

* Encouraging storytelling and memory-sharing while crafting

* Completing projects to donate to charity

* Incorportating mementos or favorite knick-knacks into crafts

* Making regular time to work on crafts over the season

Home Care Tip

Some seniors' fine motor skills deteriorate over time. If that is the case, offer to help seniors write cards and select crafts that don't require precision. Seniors should retain a sense of ownership over projects, even if they are unable to do some of the tasks independently.

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