Don’t Go Falling for It!

Don’t Go Falling for It!

senior man climbing upstairs with walking stick

The majesty of winter is here. You’re bundled up and headed out to adore the beauty and ope! You’re staring up at the universe faster than you can say the word ice.

We’ve all been there. When we were young, we might have a good laugh over it. When we begin to age, each fall can cause panic. So, how do you avoid these nasty little blunders when old man winter sets in?

  • Walk like a penguin with a wide stance
  • Wear ice cleats (YakTrax is a familiar brand)
  • Keep your hands free to catch yourself
  • Use railings whenever it’s possible
  • Keep snow melt or sand handy for sprinkling
  • Take someone’s hand—only if it’s safe
  • Avoid rushing
  • Bundle up (dress for the slide, not the ride—this is usually advice for being on a motorcycle, but it can apply to winter, too)
  • Go through the snow if it’s safer (wet feet/clothing is no fun, but falls can be worse)

What to do After a Fall

If in doubt, have your doctor check you out! Sometimes, you dust off and get up and limp away, only to find that three days later, you’re struggling with pain in your lower back.

Be diligent and seek care if you have any thought that you’re injured, and ALWAYS see a doctor if you hit your head from a fall. It’s just better to be safe than sorry for falls.

It’s also important to track how many falls you’ve had. Those who have fallen often need to see their doctors to learn the root causes. It’s not always a slippery floor. There could be several factors putting someone at risk.

When you see your doctor, list all your symptoms and any changes to your sleeping, eating, or activity patterns before you visit. If you’re taking supplements and medications, be sure to bring a current list and be honest about how you take your medications. If you forget now and again, offer that information, too. Your doctor is not there to scold you, but they want the best for you. Clarity is essential to receive the best treatment!

Home Evaluations & Therapy Services

Therapy services from CaringEdge can help! Our physical and occupational therapists can help you get back to working order if you’re falling or at risk of a fall.

Our occupational and physical therapy staff could give you a lot of tips to improve your safety. One of the most important things they can recommend is the placement of grab bars around your home.

Grab bars are often found in the shower or bathroom, but they should always be purchased and installed by someone knowledgeable about how they work. Stick-on or suction grab bars are unlikely effective and could pose a danger if they come unstuck as you fall and grab them.

Check with your doctor to see if you qualify for outpatient or home health therapy services, or contact us at CaringEdge at info@caringedge.com. We aim to help as many seniors as possible to live independently and safely!

The Secret to a Healthy Heart

The Secret to a Healthy Heart

Ahh, February. It’s almost time for pink and red decorations, gifts from sweethearts, and sugary snacks—everywhere. Don’t forget; it’s American Heart Month, too!

Did you know that more deadly heart attacks happen during the winter and holiday season? How about the fact from the CDC that 1 in 5 people having a heart attack don’t even know they’re having one?

The American Heart Association reported that December 25th has the highest number of heart attacks compared to any other day during the calendar year. The second-highest day is December 26, followed by the third-highest day on the first of January.

What do all these days have in common? Holidays can throw people off their routines. There may be travel, nights spent sleeping poorly on bony hide-a-beds, more visiting into the late-night hours followed by the early morning coffee chatter that throws people off their routines.

As a result of all the socializing and fun, folks may skip more medications, move less, eat more, and may also use more alcohol or too much caffeine. They’re also probably forgetting their recommended eight glasses of water to flush out the holiday fun.

All of these factors compounded may contribute to the uptick in heart attacks around these days of the year. The good news is that all those dates are behind us, and if you’re enjoying this blog, you can share some of this helpful information with your loved ones!

Do you know what the symptoms of a heart attack are? Many folks don’t know that they’re even having a heart attack!

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack:

  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn/indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, back, jaw/teeth, or upper abdominal area
  • Shortness of breath

Prevention Tips:

  • Exercise
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet
  • See your healthcare provider to know your numbers and your risks
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Use “sometimes” foods and beverages in moderation
  • Work on stress reduction

Regular & Routine Medical Care

Maintain your health through regular visits to your primary care physician. They can recommend specialty care and services such as home health if you are managing chronic conditions, like diabetes, that put you at risk of a heart attack.

Regular cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose checks help your doctor understand your risks so they can advise you on the next steps. Self-care like managing stress, getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating right can also help to reduce the risks.

Self-Care & Diet

In the land of hard work, slowing down can feel impossible. It can even look selfish to some, causing guilt if we take a moment. But to be healthy, we need prep time to schedule workouts, shop and prepare healthy foods, and relax. We also need the ability to exercise safely.

Heating up quick and ready-to-eat sodium-laden prepackaged foods can take a toll. It’s important to make time to prepare and eat healthy meals. You don’t have to do it alone, though. If you’re struggling to adjust your diet, your doctor may recommend the help of a registered dietician through home health to advise you on making the right changes.

Support at Home

If you’re interested in reducing your risk for a heart attack and could use some help, consider CaringEdge. We offer home health services to make you feel your best.

Our home health nurses can monitor your vitals, medications, and any new symptoms you may be having. Dietitians can also offer education on how your nutritional habits impact your health.

With the help of CaringEdge home health and outpatient therapy, you may regain the ability to exercise and move safely and freely around your home. Lastly, with our help, you can learn how to maintain your health and stay independent in your daily activities.

Let CaringEdge set you up for success, and get back to being you again! Reach out to us at info@caringedge.com with any questions you may have about services.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way!

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way!

Aging can present a lot of emotions because, plain and simple, change is uncomfortable. How we look from age 20 to age 40 to age 85 will shift. The way and speed at which we move may be different. How we’ve done everything we’ve known for years can all change faster than we ever dreamed.

The more we change, the harder it can be to stay optimistic about the future. No one wants to worry about who will help them get out of bed or a chair or help them walk safely to the restroom. It’s common for this to weigh heavily on our minds as we age.

We all value our independence. It gives us the freedom to live our lives how we want. Fear of the unknown can take over and make us feel bleak about the future. Thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone. There are medical and professional providers to help ease this burden and gift that we call aging.

Finding Answers

It would be great to have an easy button, a magic wand, or a miracle pill to fix it all. Unfortunately, we all know that’s not an option. One excellent way to improve your outlook for the future is through keeping your abilities. To maintain your abilities, it’s necessary to stay in motion. When doing that is unsafe, painful, or slow, it can seem like an uphill battle. Thankfully, physical therapy can be a helpful way to stay moving!

Physical therapy can help people regain their ability to move freely, safely, and independently. Not having to fear falling or that every step will cause pain can offer some hope. Beyond the hope of safe and pain-free movement, if seniors keep up with exercising and staying mobile after treatment, they can experience more independence and better life satisfaction.

Barriers to Physical Therapy

  1. “I don’t want to.” We all need days of rest, and that’s ok. But too many days of rest and skipping movement can permanently impact your life and your chances to regain your abilities. Think about the future before you habitually skip workouts or therapy sessions.
  • “I can’t drive.” Living in a rural area away from services is another barrier. Thankfully, a few home health providers can also offer physical therapy right where you call home. CaringEdge is one such provider; they see patients at home or on-site in senior living communities.
  • “It’s icy.” Ice and snow don’t help those with limited mobility, and injuries can set folks back. If you’re trying to get to appointments to improve your health, be safe on the ice, or see if providers can come to visit you at home instead of going out. If you must leave, get someone to help you safely navigate the slick sidewalks.
  • “It hurts.”  If you’re having pain, your healthcare providers must know so they can complete the proper tests and suggest the right approach to care. Physical therapy may help, but the therapists must know how you are feeling so you can benefit from the treatment and not get worse.
  • “It costs too much!” Surprisingly, physical therapy can be VERY affordable. It’s coverable under most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The cost of losing independence and abilities can be more significant than a co-pay! If you have coverage questions, please ask your doctor or contact CaringEdge.

Honesty is Best

If you’re feeling unsteady, you’ve had falls you’re not telling your family about, or you’re just not feeling as strong as you used to be, check with your doctor, and don’t wait. Share your pain points, fears, and your goals. Aging doesn’t have to come with so much anxiety and uncertainty with the right help in place.

If you or someone you care about could benefit from physical therapy, or you’d like to learn more, drop us a line at info@caringedge.com. We’ve helped many seniors improve their lives and find the gold in their golden years!

How to Stay Safe in the Tub

How to Stay Safe in the Tub

elegant bathroom design

Bathtime should be relaxing! Whether you like to soak your cares away in a tub filled with bubbles or prefer a warm shower, these cares shouldn’t add stress. For some, bathtime has caused falls, injuries, or near misses to the point that it’s more hassle than self-care should be.

January is many things, but it’s also bathtub safety month. According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of senior falls happen in the bathroom. That number is alarming, but prevention is possible.

What Keeps People from Enjoying Bathtime?

  • Fear of falling
  • Prior falls
  • Pain
  • Memory loss
  • Limited mobility
  • Inaccessible bathtub/shower
  • Injuries
  • Diminished strength
  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of balance

 Bringing Relaxation Back

If you’ve had an injury or are experiencing pain, consult your doctor to determine if your insurance will cover outpatient therapy. Medicare may cover the bill.

Outpatient physical or occupational therapy can help you regain strength and balance and teach you new techniques to safely get in and out of the shower or tub. Outpatient therapists can show you how to move more painlessly based on your needs. Best of all, these experts can recommend everyday exercises to help you stay strong even after you recover.

Therapists may also recommend some helpful equipment to help keep you safe. Shower chairs, grab bars, hand-held shower heads, and long-handled sponges are all useful for safe bathing/showering.

Durable medical equipment comes in different heights, sizes, and weight capacities. Outpatient occupational and physical therapy specialists can offer expertise on which products are appropriate for you and your bathroom.

Be cautious when choosing bathroom décor and equipment on your own. Stick-on grab bars are readily available, easy to install, and may be fashionable, but perhaps dangerous to use if they don’t stay in place.

Set up your bathtime to have toiletries easy to grab once you’re finished. Be sure you have proper lighting and that rugs are firmly secured to the floor before hopping in the tub.

Adding a Layer of Safety

Having someone to help you safely step into the tub or wash your back can reduce the risk of falling. If fear or dignity keeps you from a thorough wash, hiring a trusted professional rather than asking a family member can be beneficial. Each person’s comfort level differs, but having family help with the most personal care doesn’t work for everyone.

Regardless of who helps you, ask them to look over your skin during the process. Skin breakdown can affect overall health. Wounds that don’t heal properly can create pain and potentially need antibiotics, wound care, surgeries, or hospitalization.

Skin Checks

  • Sores
  • Blisters
  • Bruises
  • Wounds
  • Skin tears
  • Changes in your skin or moles

CaringEdge can offer home health services that can help you enjoy bathtime again. They can provide home health services from a nurse to address medication safety or outpatient therapists to help you regain your strength and independence with tasks of daily living like bathing. Prevention is always best, so consider getting help before health problems escalate from falls to skin breakdown or more complex issues. Please get in touch with us to learn more at info@caringedge.com.

The Impact of Loneliness on Senior Health

The Impact of Loneliness on Senior Health

caringedge effects of loneliness on senior health

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, new research is uncovering the importance of social connections. With the average life expectancy rising, seniors are spending more of their lives alone, which can lead to an increased risk for serious health issues. In fact, researchers are now finding that loneliness can be as detrimental to your overall health as smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Loneliness is defined as a subjective feeling of isolation, and is typically caused by a lack of meaningful social connections. While loneliness can affect people of all ages, seniors are disproportionately at risk due to their increased risk for isolation. This can be due to the death of a spouse, moving to a new area, mobility issues, health complications, and more. There are many physical and psychological impacts of loneliness on seniors. The physical impacts are numerous, and can lead to an increased risk of health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, poor nutrition, and impaired immunity. Moreover, there is an increased risk of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors who are feeling lonely can work to combat this issue by making meaningful changes in their lives. One way to do this is to stay in touch with family and friends, either through in-person visits, phone calls, emails, or other communication methods. Other activities such as joining a club, attending classes or events, volunteering, gardening, pursuing a hobby, or taking a trip can also help to reduce feelings of loneliness. It’s also important for friends and family members of seniors to be aware of the warning signs of loneliness. These can include withdrawal from activities, general disengagement, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, increased reliance on others, health complaints, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. Seniors who are feeling lonely should not hesitate to ask for help. There are numerous support groups available online and in local communities, as well as trained professionals such as social workers or counsellors who can aid in managing loneliness. Additionally, healthcare providers may be able to provide referrals and resources. Despite the many risks and impacts of loneliness on seniors, it is important to remember that there are solutions available and support systems in place. With a few lifestyle changes and access to the resources described above, seniors can start to feel a sense of connection again and improving their overall wellbeing.

Ensuring Medication Safety in Home Care

Ensuring Medication Safety in Home Care

caringedge ensuring medication safety in home care

When caring for a loved one at home, medication management is one of the most important responsibilities to ensure safety and best health outcomes. As a caregiver, it is important to understand how to properly store medications, identify the right dose and give medications on time, as well as understand the side effects and interactions of the drugs. Keeping medication safety in mind, here are a few key tips to help protect your loved one’s health.

Educate Yourself on the Medication

When administering medications, it is essential to first understand the purpose of the drug and how it is meant to be taken. This means reading the label thoroughly as well as consulting with the doctor or pharmacist before matter. Understanding the implications and potential side-effects is also important. Knowing what drugs should and should not be taken with the medication your loved one is taking is critical, as certain medications can react with each other. Keeping yourself well informed about the medications will help protect your loved one and prevent any mistakes.

Store the Medications Properly

After understanding the medications being taken by your loved one, proper storage should be a priority. It is recommended to keep all medications away from direct light and away from humidity. In addition, it is important to keep all medications in labeled containers and away from children. Beware of using expired medications, as this can cause serious side-effects.

Understand the Dosage

One of the most important steps when giving medications is understanding the dosage. Overdoses or underdoses can cause serious health risks, so it’s important to understand the right amount to give. Generally the doctor or pharmacist will provide instructions about how much medication needs to be given and how many times per day. It is important to have a schedule for taking the medication and use measured spoons for liquid medications when needed.

Monitor the Side Effects/Symptoms

When taking any medication, there are always side effects that can occur. It is important to recognize and understand the side effects that are associated with your loved one’s medications. Different side effects can range from nausea and fatigue to skin rashes and other more serious conditions. In addition, if any of the medications your loved one is taking have been changed recently, it is important to monitor any new symptoms that may emerge. Recognizing any potential changes will help ensure the best health outcomes.

Stay Organized and Communicate

Managing medications may seem like a daunting task, but there are ways to make things easier. Using smartphone apps, such as CareZone, to track medications and set alerts for doses helps ensure that your loved one is taking their medications properly. In addition, if you are caring for your loved one with other family members, it is important to coordinate and share medical information to ensure that all parties are well-informed. Communicating with the doctor and the pharmacist is also important when managing medications.

Ensuring medication safety in home care is not an easy task. However, by educating yourself about the medications, storing them properly, understanding the dosage, monitoring any side effects or potential changes, and staying organized, you will be able to ensure the best health outcomes for your loved one.