Schuylkill Home Care

Schuylkill County, PA

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

By Schuylkill Home Care, Aug 8 2019 04:05PM

How to Help a Senior’s Caregiving Team Work Together

Many seniors rely on the care and support of multiple people. This type of community is important, but can also be a problem if everyone isn’t working in sync. Use these strategies to work as a team.

Why It’s Important to Stay in Sync

Excellent caregiving can reduce some of the risks seniors face, but if a caregiving team is out of sync, risk can actually increase:

• Medications can get mixed up

• Stress levels can increase

• Lapses in scheduling

• Uncertainty about what tasks were completed

• Missed appointments

• Unnoticed symptoms


How to Spot a Team-Oriented Caregiving Agency

• Not all caregiving services see teamwork the same way. For instance, some agencies require caregivers to use private tracking tools in a way that would make interaction with a senior’s family members tedious.

• Look for agencies that have:

o Existing plans for communications with family members

o A proven track record of good reviews from clients and their families

o Online portals such as Schuylkill Home Care’s Family Room to make teamwork efficient and effective

o A senior-centered, dignified perspective on care.


Ways to Coordinator Care as a Team

Working together to help a senior enjoy life in their own home safely required organization. Use these tips to coordinate care effectively:

• Hold regular meetings

• Agree on communication guidelines like:

o What are the best times for updates?

o When is the best time to regularly check in about upcoming needs?

o Who should be contacted first if there is an emergency?

o Who is authorized to make what kinds of decisions?

• Post these communication guidelines so all caregivers can see them

• Leave an emergency guide and kit for all caregivers can see them

One of the most important ways to stay organized is to use an app. Care agencies sometimes offer apps or other tools for communication. (CDC)

Home Care Tip

Be sure seniors know who is on their caregiving team and when to expect different caregivers to be around. Many seniors appreciate the sense of independence and ability to anticipate who will be helping them.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jul 26 2019 03:36PM

As Seniors Age, Their Risk of Disease and Health Problems Increases

Preventative strategies can help seniors live healthier lives with fewer risks.

60% of older adults manage two or more chronic conditions, according to one study. Some conditions that affect seniors are preventable; others aren’t but may be improved if they are recognized early enough. (

There are several preventative strategies seniors can use to protect their health and reduce their risks, including certain medical tests. It’s important for seniors to have these screenings performed.

Common Preventative Services for Seniors (Healthine: Family Doctor)

• Everyone Over 50

o Colorectal Cancer Screening

o Annual Wellness Exam

o Influenza Vaccine

o High Blood Pressure Screening

o Skin Check

o Mental Health Checkups

• Everyone Over 65

o Annual Pneumococcal Vaccines

o Diabetes Screening

o Thyroid Screening

o Annual Vitamin D Test

o Bone Density Scan

o Semi-Annual Hearing Test

o Annual Periodontal Exam

o Shingles Vaccines

o Annual Eye Exam

• Women

o Over 45

 Cholesterol Screening

o Over 50

 Annual Breast Cancer Screening

 Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

o Over 65

 Osteoporosis Screening

• Men

o Over 35

 Cholesterol Screening

o Over 50

 Prostate Cancer Screening

How to Keep Track of Test and Screening

With so many steps to take for preventative care, it’s easy for some tests to be overlooked or forgotten. Seniors should keep track of which services they have had performed and when. Some helpful methods for tracking include:

• Keep a checklist of annual screenings to be filled out each year

• Ask for copies of test results to keep in a binder

• Grant doctors’ offices permission to share files with each other electronically

• Sign up for electronic health records websites used by doctors’ offices

• Keep a long-term record of screening, procedures, and other notable medical events to bring to annual wellness appointments


Top Reasons to Take Preventative Measures

Did you know some preventable disease can develop without noticeable symptoms? That’s one reason why screenings are important. Other reasons to have screenings as an older adult include:

• Might take actionable steps if warning signs of problems are detected

• Possibly identify disease early enough to treat them

• Reduce the impact of some conditions

• Improve the chances of living a long and healthy life

(Very Well Health)

Other Preventative Health Strategies

Besides screening, tests, and vaccinations, the top strategies seniors can use to prevent health problems include:

• A healthy diet

• Regular exercise

• Getting rest


Home Care Tip

Many preventative services, like wellness exams or certain vaccines, are covered by most health insurance providers. Ask insurance providers for a full list of free services seniors can take advantage of.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jul 26 2019 02:38PM

In case of an emergency, especially an evacuation, its essential for seniors and their loved ones to have a communication plan.

According to FEMA, the most common reasons for evacuation are fires and floods. It’s important for seniors to know who to contact in case of a disaster. A senior’s loved one needs to know who to contact to check on senior safety too. (OSHA)

When a senior is facing a crisis, like emergency evacuation, they need to know how to act quickly. A disaster communication plan helps seniors and their loved ones know what to do to stay safe and connected in case of an emergency.

How A Disaster Communication Plan Works

The first step in any disaster communication plan is to designate an emergency contact who will check in on a senior

1. Senior and emergency contact person check in with each other

2. Emergency contact coordinates with senior to evacuate them

3. Loved ones and caregivers can check in with emergency contact about seniors status

4. Emergency contact keeps all parties updated

5. When applicable, emergency contact helps senior return home

6. Emergency contact verfies with all parties that senior may be contacted directly

Seniors should select a secondary emergency contact in case their primary isn’t available. Loved ones and caregivers should receive the emergency sontact’s phone number, email address, and mailing address as well. (CDC)

Role of an Emergency Contact

A senior's emergency contact may be responsible for (CDC):

● Keeping up with disaster status in a seniors home region

● Checking in on a senior safety

● Reminding a senior of their emergency plans

● Coordinating the evacuation of a senior

● Connecting with a senior's loved ones to provide updates

● Helping a senior coordinate their return home

● Navigating health, insurance, and other needs during times of crisis

● Letting loved ones know when a senior can be contacted independently again

Choosing an Emergency Contact

When choosing two emergency contacts. Seniors should choose people who are (Red Cross):

● From another region (long distance calls are easier to make during disasters)

● Able to make important decisions with good judgment

● Connected to the senior’s loved ones

● Entrusted with access to vital information like accounts, insurance providers information, etc.

● Reliable and able to navigate community, healthcare, and emergency service conversations

● Willing to coordinate with second emergency contact person

Tips for Disaster Safety (Admistration for Community Living)

● Keep emergency contact numbers in a disaster kit, wallet, and in/near the phone

● Provide copies of emergency contact person’s information to loved ones and caregivers

● Send copies of essential documents and information to emergency contact, insurance cards

● Add numbers of local and national agencies to contacts (CDC, FEMA, CMC, etc.)

Home Care Tip

In times of crisis , it is unsafe for seniors to navigate the options and plans of multiple parties. Verify with seniors and their loved ones that they understand why only one or two emergency contacts should be involved.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jun 28 2019 12:25PM

Managing Money as an Older Adult

One-third of seniors don’t have money left over at the end of each month. This and other monetary concerns make financial planning especially important for seniors. (NCOA)

About 1 in 20 seniors have experienced financial mistreatment. Since many seniors already face uncertainties and struggles financially, seniors need an understanding of how to plan financially and how to protect themselves from financial risks. (NAPSA)

Financial Safety Tips for Older Adults

Seniors are often the targets of financial scammers. Additionally, seniors can be financially vulnerable due to changing technology and issues related to aging. For example, seniors with hearing problems may struggle with communication about their finances and seniors with memory loss may have trouble managing their budget.

Using these tips to stay financially safe:

● Work with financial advisors (be sure they are licensed abd a fiduciary)

● Use unique passwords for accounts and record and store information electronically or on pen and paper

● Entrust a loved one with access to accounts in case of an emergency

● Keep finances in multiple secure accounts

● Always call the numbers listed on the account information do not return call as they might be a scam

● Get details about financial decisions in writing for review

● Check credit reports once a year

● Sign up for notifications when payments are over a certain amounts are made

● Never give confidential information, such a social security number over the phone unless you initiate the call

(American Bankers Association)

Estimating Cost of Living During Retirement Years

Look up these tools online to better understand planning for retirement budgeting.

● Blackrock’s Retirement Expenses Worksheet

● T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator

● Social Security’s Retirement Estimator


(CNN Money)

Budgeting as a Senior

Many seniors are retired, which often leads to living on smaller income then when they were employed full-time. As a result, they tend to live on a carefully managed budget. The most common living expenses include:

● Housing

● Food

● Medical

● Personal care/ living assistance

● Moving

● Travel and leisure

● Gifts/support of loved ones

To live within the means, seniors can adhere to a reasonable budget by:

● Downsizing to save on housing and utilities

●Asking for senior discounts on food, travel, leisure, and more

● Looking into insurance, supplemental insurance, and health savings accounts HSA options to reduce costs

●Reducing insurance, such as auto insurance, by reporting no daily commute as a retiree

● Maintaining traditional savings accounts in order to avoid withdrawals from retirement accounts in emergencies or for unexpected large expenses

● Restricting credit card spending to maintain more awareness of budgeting and reduce potential credit card fraud

● Choosing one account to pay all regular cost of living expenses, while maintaining additional accounts for specific other expenses

● Switching to online and automatic billing, direct deposit, and other simple process that make management essay and may include incentives for switching


Common Sources of Senior Income

● Social Security checks

● Retirement accounts

● Savings

● Stocks

● Pensions

● Annuities or insurance

● Home equity

● Part-time jobs

● Seasonal or temporary work

● Consulting work

(US News Money)

Home care tip

Encourage seniors to keep legal documents up to date, especially those giving power of attorney POA. In the case a senior is unable to manage their own finances, a POA can step in and help. If one is not assigned, such processes are longer and can be costly.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jun 13 2019 12:30PM

Help Seniors Prepare for Emergencies and Hazards

June is national safety month. This is a great time to check in on our senior home safety as well seniors emergency preparedness plans.

In emergency situations, seniors are often less able than other adults to protect themselves. For example, older adults are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the general population. Preparing for emergencies can help keep seniors safe when hazards arise. (U.S. Fire Administration)

Safety is one of the major concerns of most seniors and their family members when older adults live in their own homes. The concern is valid; injury is the cause of 1 in 40 deaths in America. National safety month each June is a great time to check on the emergency preparedness of seniors and the condition of their living spaces. (

Safety tips and technology

Often, improving senior home safety involves making minor adaptations or additions. Use this checklist to minimize risks in the home:

● Add supports to chairs, walls, bathroom fixtures, etc.

● Uses brighter bulbs and add more lighting

● Remove loose rugs and other tripping hazards

● Find light switch with built-in nightlights

● Get devices like life-alert buttons that seniors can wear

● Set loud alarms on stoves, cell phones, and other appliances when they are turned on for a long time or need to be recharged

● Create a plan for regular check-ins by friends or family

● Keep poisons and chemicals in a secure place away from edible items

● Schedule regular checks on fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and other alert systems

● Update ventilation to prevent smoke, mold, and other hazardous built up

● Remove clutter and arrange furniture for easy navigation

● Run cords and other tripping hazards along walls or out of the way


How to Build an Emergency Kit

Besides common home hazards, seniors are also at an elevated risk when emergencies like fires or natural disasters occur. This can be due to factors such as dulled senses had health conditions like memory loss or limited mobility.

Build an emergency kit to protect seniors. Be sure to make the kit something seniors can grab and take with them quickly if necessary


● Emergency numbers like poison control

● Personnel emergency contact numbers

● A limited supply of essential medications

● Copies of insurance/vitial documentation

● Spare keys to the home, car, etc

● One basic outfit

● Water or filtered water bottles

It’s also wise to create a second, similar kit for loved ones to use in case a senior experiences an emergency. Close friends, family members, or caregivers should be told where to locate the kit. For older adults living in areas particularly prone to natural disasters, this second kit should be stored elsewhere, like with a family member

(American Red Cross)

Common Home Hazards for Seniors

For many seniors, illnesses, and natural processes of aging can be threatening. Seniors living in their own homes face additional threats in the form of home hazards. Some medical conditions, like dementia, can make these hazards in the home include:

● Throw rugs or steep stairs that could cause falls

● Poision for pest or chemicals in cleaning supplies

● Carbon monoxide

● Fire

● Choking

● Sharp objects that are not secured

● Stoves and other hot devices

(Stay Safe)

Conditions that Make Seniors More Vulnerable

Extra precautions and preparedness are important for seniors who are more vulnerable than others, for instance, the following conditions increase vulnerability:

● Memory-related health problems

● Chronic fatigue or poor sleeping habits

● Living in areas prone to natural disasters

● Experiencing poverty

● Limited mobility

● Multi-level homes

● Dulled senses like reduced haring. Eyesight, or sense of smell

Home care tip

To make chemicals and other hazardous materials obvious, add brightly colored labels or stickers. This can help prevent common mistakes and accidents.

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