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

By Schuylkill Home Care, Sep 11 2019 03:49PM

Prostate Health for Aging Adults

September is prostate awareness month. Spreading awareness of this disease is important, especially among seniors. Men over age 65 account for nearly 60% of all prostate cancer diagnoses. (Prostate Cancer Foundation: Patient Guide)

About Prostate Health

Men have prostates, which are small glands located near the bladder. Prostates can develop problems like infections or inflammation. Cancer cells can also form in the prostate, which can develop into tumors. There are more than 20 specific forms of prostate cancer.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Unfortunately, prostate cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms until it is in an advances stage. That’s why screening for prostate cancer is so important.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

There are two main options for screening for prostate cancer. Seniors can receive a blood test, which is called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A physical rectal exam may also be conducted. If a doctor suspects a patient has prostate cancer, a biopsy is almost always involved in the diagnosis.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

The most common treatments for prostate cancer include radiation, surgery to remove tumors, and drug-based therapies. (Prostate Cancer Foundation: Patient Guide)

Prostate Cancer Prevention

No studies to date have definitively proven a prostate cancer prevention strategy. However, some prevention strategies are believed to reduce the risk of cancer overall, and may improve the body’s ability to fight any kind of cancer.

Try:

• Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet

• Maintaining a healthy weight

• Staying active

• Attending regularly scheduled doctor appointments

(Mayo Clinic)

Why Screening for Prostate Cancer is Vital

The obvious reason for screening older men for cancer is that early detection increases the odds of survival. There are other reasons for getting screened, though:

• Men with prostate cancer may have genes that predispose both their sons and daughters to form of cancer

• Data about prostate cancer, even if it is non-aggressive, can be used by researchers to prevent and treat all cancers.

• Early detection can reduce the intensity of treatment required, as well as the side effects.

• Doctors may be able to begin with the less invasive blood test if a senior’s risk level is low.

(Prostate Cancer Foundation)

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

Men should be certain to get screened for prostate cancer if they:

• Are over 65

• Have a family history of cancer

• Have genetic factors predisposing cancer

• Are African American

• Have an unhealthy lifestyle and poor dietary habits

(Prostate Cancer Foundation: Patient Guide)

Home Care Tip:

For many men, having to experience a rectal exam is the main reason for avoiding prostate cancer screening. Remind senior men that their health (and genes) can affect their loved ones. Any temporary discomfort is worth it.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Aug 29 2019 04:53PM

Managing Diabetes as Part of Senior Care


Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body processes food, especially sugar. Many seniors have a form of diabetes, which can become serious if it isn’t managed. Learn basic facts about diabetes prevention and management. (CDC)


Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. While type 2 is much more common, especially among aging adults, type 1 diabetes can also affect seniors.


Type 1 Diabetes

• Chronic

• Unpreventable

• Diagnosed with a blood test

• Checked on through regular blood sugar tests

• May require regular insulin injections or a pump


Type 2 Diabetes

• Chronic

• Sometimes preventable

• Diagnosed with a blood test

• Checked on through periodic blood sugar tests

• Often manageable by lifestyle and diet changes; may require medication


For seniors with type 1 diabetes, care should continue as normal. Caregivers should pay special attention for symptoms of hypoglycemia and take care to help seniors manage their disease as common parts of aging, like memory loss or lack of routine, increase the difficulty of maintaining a healthy state. (Healthline)


About Type 2 Diabetes and Seniors


Symptoms:

• Feeling tired

• Being unusually hungry or thirsty

• Accidental weight loss

• Frequent urination

• Blurred vision

• Skin infections

• Healing slowly from cuts and bruises


Type 2 Diabetes Management:

• See a dietician for help with meal planning for a healthier diet

• Get regular exercise (personal training is often discounted for seniors)

• Track glucose levels with blood tests as directed by a doctor

• Lose weight if obesity is contributing to the disease

• Choose a healthy lifestyle to decrease risks associated with diabetes like stroke (stop smoking, get more sleep, attend annual physical exams)


Medical Tests:

Blood test can diagnose diabetes and sometimes even shows signs of prediabetes. Seniors should be screened for diabetes at annual appointments and ask a doctor for blood test if symptoms develop.


In some cases, medication is part of type 2 diabetes management. Ask a doctor if any medications could be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes from worsening. Be sure a senior’s caregiving team is in sync concerning diabetes care to keep blood sugar levels healthy. (National Institute on Aging)


Type 2 Diabetes Prevention:

Many people can lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes like:

• Losing weight

• Getting regular exercise

• Eating a healthy diet

• Taking prescriptions as recommended by a doctor

Seniors should take prevention very seriously if they are told they have prediabetes, which predisposes them to develop the disease. (WebMD)


Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

Seniors are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes if they:

• Are over 65 years old

• Are overweight

• Have a family history of diabetes

• Are sedentary

• Had gestational diabetes while pregnant

(National Institute of Aging)


Home Care Tip

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be discouraging for seniors. The risks of worsening diabetes are serious: people sometimes require amputations. Be supportive and understanding. Find a support group or classes about type 2 diabetes to help seniors stay positive and make healthy choices.




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

(NCBI)


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.

(AARP)


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. (Healthypeople.gov)

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

(EverydayHealth)

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

(NCBI)

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.



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