5 Ways to Help Prevent Senior Hospitalization Guide

5-Ways-GuideMost families would agree that keeping a senior out of the hospital is an important goal. That’s because professionals who work with older adults know that some seniors who are hospitalized don’t always go home the same. Or, they don’t go home at all.

And yet, research reveals that many of these hospitalizations could be prevented, according to a survey of 400 North American nurses who specialize in senior care and conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. In fact, this new research showed that nearly half (48.5%) of these hospitalizations could be avoided if the proper preventative steps are taken.

In fact, these five preventative actions can help reduce the potential risk that an older adult will end up in the hospital:

1. Follow doctor’s orders

2. Don’t ignore symptoms

3. Reduce risks of falls and accidents

4. Stay active physically and mentally

5. Maintain a healthy diet

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70-40 Rule® – Bridging the Communication Gap

7040-RPNSenior care professionals are often caught in the middle when families can’t agree. That’s where the “70-40″ Rule® programs and emotional support services can help. This program is offered to develop open discussions between families when it comes to providing care to parents and other various senior needs. Older adults and their families often look to professionals like you for practical resources and tips to help them bridge the communication gap.

You may have witnessed this in your senior care practice: the communication gap that occurred when Boomer children were teenagers can repeat as seniors struggle to find the right words to talk to their kids about sensitive subjects.

Independence, money, health and romance can leave tongue-tied even senior parents who are close to their Boomer children. How do seniors tell their adult children they want to stay in their own home versus going to a nursing home? What does a widower say to the kids when he’s dating a family friend? How does a widow tell her children that she has cancer? How do older adults explain that they’re becoming forgetful without sending their family into a panic?

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5 Ways to Support Senior Patients and Their Families During the Holidays

5-Ways-to-Support-Senior-Patients-and-Their-Families-During-the-HolidaysThe holiday season is an excellent opportunity to support your senior care patients and their families by preparing them to address any health changes they may notice in their aging loved ones. Holiday gatherings can provide a good backdrop for families to broach these concerns in a gentle, non-confrontational manner.

Here are five ways you can support them in this process.

Provide a Senior Safety Checklist. Remind family members of tips for general safety, such as ensuring the patient has a cane, walker or other proper support if she has difficulty walking; removing throw rugs or other potential tripping hazards; and installing grab bars and no-slip strips where needed. Senior Safety Checklist for added peace of mind.

Connect Seniors with Home Helper Services.  Outlets for Social Engagement. Since social seniors generally have a healthier and more optimistic outlook on life, ask your patients about their friends and encourage the patient’s family members to do the same. If a patient doesn’t have a strong social network, help the family connect her with enjoyable community activities or companionship services.

Connect Seniors with Home Helper Services. Trouble keeping up with housework is common as seniors experience a decline in health. If the family notices the house looking more unkempt than usual during a holiday visit, connect them with senior care services that include light housekeeping.

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The Top Ten Fears of Elderly Adults

Father-Daughter-WalkingMany of the fears that aging adults experience relate to the biggest challenge they say they face: staying active. According to a recent survey conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network, seniors worry about the future, beginning with the loss of their independence.*

  1. Loss of independence.
  2. Declining health.
  3. Running out of money.
  4. Not being able to live at home.
  5. Death of a spouse or other family member.
  6. Inability to manage their own activities of daily living.
  7. Not being able to drive.
  8. Isolation or loneliness.
  9. Strangers caring for them.
  10. Fear of falling or hurting themselves.

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Time to Start Talking: Making Parents Part of the Aging Process Now

Communication_TipDiscussing aging issues, such as living arrangements, finances, dating, end-of-life decisions and driving, early and often can save families years of heartache, tension and even legal battles. Yet, research indicates that about two-thirds of American families put off these conversations, either because they are uncomfortable with the topics or they just don’t know where to start. 1

Statistics show that 34 percent of adults surveyed are conversation avoiders. 2 That is, they haven’t talked about any important end-of-life issues with their parents or children, or they have talked about just one issue. 

To help, the local Home Instead Senior Care office is sponsoring the “40-70 Rule®” program, which includes an Action Plan for Successful AgingSM and other resources to help ease these conversations between adult children and their parents. 

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Foods to Make Your Eyes Sparkle and Shine

shutterstock_132455525You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes. If a smile reaches a person’s eyes, psychologists call that a Duchenne smile, which people classify as genuine. Healthy eyes are seen as a sign of beauty, vigor and wisdom, but the sparkle in your eyes also is affected by your health and nutrition. So it makes sense to eat foods that will support and promote healthy looking and feeling eyes.

Get Your Carotenoids

If cartoons are true, then bunnies have great eyes. Lutein and Zeaxanthin carotenoids are known to support eye health, according to Nutrients, an open access nutrition journal. Carotenoids are a pigment inhibitor which gives certain fruits and vegetables an orange or yellow color. Yes, carrots are in this category as are cantaloupe, corn and yellow peppers. Lutein and Zeaxanthin carotenoids have been linked to a reduced risk of macular degenerative disease and cataracts. They also serve to filter out damaging blue light, which gives the eye that shiny, sparkly appearance of health. However, carrots are not the best source of carotenoids but rather kale, basil and parsley top the list. If you have a hard time getting enough vitamins through your food, try a vitamin supplement like Lipotriad. You can purchase this supplement as well as a variety of others online through Vision Direct.

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9 Steps to Take after Being Diagnosed with a Serious Condition

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 1.59.39 PMBy Melissa E. Clarke MD

When patients first receive the upsetting news that they have a serious condition such as cancer, they typically feel distressed. After the initial anger, fear, and sadness, these patients often tell me they feel overwhelmed and lost. They don’t know what steps to take next.

It’s important for patients to feel empowered when it comes to their healthcare. According to a recent study published in the journal Health Affairs, patients who are more engaged in their healthcare have better outcomes than those who are passive (read the study findings here). Making informed decisions will help you meet the challenge of your illness, get good-quality care, and minimize aggravation caused by the tricks and traps inherent in our current healthcare maze.

Here are 9 strategies to follow.
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Ending Your Life Is Not The Answer To Your Situation

PopovichBy Stan Popovich

You are at the end of your rope and you can’t take it any much longer. You are in pain and you are suffering and you feel there is no hope. The first thing that you need to do is to seek the services of a professional counselor. As a published author of a managing fear book and as a Layman, here are five reasons why suicide is not an option to your problems.

1. Things Change Over Time

Regardless of your situation, things do not stay the same. You may feel very bad today, but it won’t last forever. Remember this fact:  Regardless of your current situation, everything changes over time. This includes your current situation. Nothing remains the same forever.

2. There Are Always Other Options…..Always

You may feel lost and confused but the answers to your specific problems are out there. The key is that you have to find the answers. The answers to your problem will not come to you. As mentioned before, the first step in finding the solution to your problem is to seek help from a qualified professional.

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Eating Disorders: No Longer Just For Young Females

By Dr. Kim Dennis

For decades, the topic of eating disorders conjured an immediate stereotype – female, beautiful, a high achiever, affluent, often the first-born, and above all, young. She might be the high school prom queen, or the college cheerleader, but hardly ever was she a middle-aged mother of three. Indeed, the very idea that a woman in midlife could suffer from anorexia or bulimia was nearly unimaginable.

In years past, experts believed eating disorders rarely, if ever, occurred after the age of 35; we now know anorexia occurs across the lifespan, in girls and women, boys and men. In fact, behavioral and mental health professionals report that in the past decade, they are treating an increasing number of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are starving themselves. Additionally, these women are abusing laxatives, exercising to dangerous extremes and self-harming – behaviors that frequently co-occur.

Women seeking treatment later in life typically fall into one of three categories: those who have secretly struggled with an eating disorder for many years yet did not receive help; those who were treated for an eating disorder in younger years; and those who developed an eating disorder as an adult.

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Regain Flexibility With Ease After Your Back Surgery

BLD054342Worried about whether or not you’ll be able to return to your favorite activities following your back surgery? Not to fret. Today, sports physiologists encourage many post-surgical patients to return to some form of exercise almost right away. From gentle water walking to personalized stretching routines, your rehabilitation program can be fun and get you back to the activities you love most — fast!

Walk Your Way to Flexibility…In the Water

Aerobic water walking has become one of the most popular forms of rehabilitation following back surgery. Many people begin water routines with the sole purpose of entering their recovery program with ease, only to discover the fun whole body benefits. Some ranges of motion require subtle movement following surgery. Performing these ranges of motion while submerged in water takes away much of the pressure gravity exerts on land, making it easier to stretch. One of the major issues patients report is a fear of falling just following surgery. Water walking takes that fear away by offering the ultimate cushion as you regain your equilibrium. The YMCA offers classes throughout the U.S. that are led by certified instructors to help get you in the groove.
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