Pharmacists Are a Big Help for Aging Adults
Who knew? Who knew that pharmacists were a big help for aging adults?
About two decades ago, I had a friend that was going to school to become a pharmacist. At the time, I did not really have a clue what that meant. My only interaction with pharmacists to that point in my life was to drop off and pick up prescriptions at my local Walgreens and CVS.
Boy was I wrong. For those adults in the “senior” category, A pharmacist does a lot more than just give our prescription medication. They are really valuable members of a much larger interdisciplinary team that cares for older individuals. They are part of the healthcare team for each of us and can improve an elderly patient’s care.
Perhaps the most common pharmacists that we all know are the retail pharmacists. They frequently see patients or their family members and caregivers. There are also geriatric pharmacists who specialize in the care of older adults. You may run into a geriatric pharmacist in a nursing, assisted living or hospice facility. Of course there are also pharmacists found in the hospitals that are part of a coordination of healthcare professions. They also might be preparing IV bags, oral syringes, and more.
Some of the ways that pharmacists can help:
- Medication use and adherence – They can educate older adults, caregivers, and families on how to take certain drugs.
- Medication management – The average adult over age 65 takes between 14 and 18 different prescription medications every year. Open communication between the patient, doctor, and pharmacist helps the patient manage their multiple prescriptions.
- Information source for patients and their family – The pharmacist can teach seniors, caregivers, and families how to use drug calendar reminders, drug dispensing devices and pill crushers.
- Tailored care – Supplying drugs to patients in ways that are accessible to them, such as providing easy open bottles or pills without wrappers, printing drug labels in large type or in the patient’s native language.
- Positive Health outcomes – At least one study shows that the pharmacist’s role helped lead to a reduction in falls and better medication optimization.
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How Caregivers Can Help Seniors with Vision Loss
Getting an annual eye exam is especially important for the older population. Seniors are more prone to eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration than younger people. Early detection of these maladies is critical.
Seniors may not be aware of these age-related eye problems because they often develop painlessly and have no early symptoms. There may not be any changes in their vision until the condition has become more advanced.
For these and other reasons, annual eye exams are important and will help seniors keep regular track on their eye and overall health. Eye exams can also uncover other potential health issues such as artery blockages, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
The CDC estimates that about 1.3 million older, vision-challenged Americans fell at least once during the year. Preventing these falls is critical, as falling leads to injuries that sends seniors to the hospital. The CDC further reports that 2.8 million seniors are believed to have severe vision impairment, which is defined as either blindness or difficulty seeing, even with eyeglasses.
How can you help prevent falls?
- Leave things as you found them in their home. If you do move something, let them know.
- Shut or open doors completely, as a half-open door is a hazard.
- Help them declutter their home of unnecessary items.
- Be sure grab bars are installed in stairways and bathrooms.
- When cleaning their house, beware of vacuum cords, wet floors, and other potential hazards they could trip over or slip on.
- Keep light bulbs in good order, replacing them as needed, to ensure good lighting in all rooms, staircases, closets, and hallways.
- Eliminate throw rugs as much as possible, or ensure they are adhered to the floor well if they are necessary.
While we cannot prevent vision lose, understanding its progression can help ensure better safety with our seniors. Help them get scheduled for an eye exam soon!
Planning Outside Summer Adventures!
Summer is a time for vacations! We still have some summertime available, so are you planning a vacation? If so, do not forget your grandma and grandpa! Planning a summer adventure that includes your aging loved ones just takes a little planning to ensure they have fun and are safe too!
Your adventure needs to start with a plan, so that their needs are not forgotten and pushed to the side. Their mobility and the physical demands of your events need to be planned for.
Be sure that your grandparents have a private space they can escape to if possible. When families get together it can be loud and confusing, and that can become a trial for some, so providing an escape will improve their enjoyment.
While helping them pack, include an extra change of clothes in case of incontinence. While driving, be sure to ask often if they need to stop for the bathroom. Even if they do not speak up, STOP frequently for them. Otherwise you may be cleaning a car seat (ask how I know this). Include sunblock for their skin, a hat, their medications, comfortable walking shoes, and a sweater to help regulate their temperature.
Finally, be sure to take plenty of photos that include them having fun. Sometimes they may forget about the specifics of the adventure, but photos give them something to show their friends.
Make sure to choose activities that you think your grandparent will enjoy and ones they are able to physically do. Keep them simple and in places that are not too crowded or loud.
Increasing Quality of Life Through Activities
The overall quality of life for seniors is important, and we can all help them on a day-to-day basis by engaging with them in different activities.
- Encourage them to share Stories – Ask them about when they were younger. They will love to relive escapades from their past and share them with you
- Let them give Back – Seniors have given much throughout their lives, but it is important for them to continue this spirit of giving to others. Find a place where they can volunteer. It may help boost their confidence and give them a sense of purpose.
- Help them find Community – Many seniors may miss the lives that they once had. Help them to find a group where they can connect with others and share similar experiences. It may be a veteran’s group, a cooking group, a craft group, or one of many others.
- Maintain a Routine – Many seniors may have thrived from having a schedule. Keep a regular routine for them each day and allow them to know the schedule in advance. This can give them a sense of peace.
We need to be their advocates by helping them navigate through a potentially confusing time of their lives. Finding mental health solutions and sharing daily activities with them can help increase their quality of life.
#veterans #seniorcare #seniorcaregiver #seniors #caregiver #caregivers #caregiversupport #homecare #homecareservice #elder #elders #health #dementia #dementiaawareness #alzheimers #alzheimersawareness #alzheimerssociety #parkinsonsdisease
At this time of year, it’s gratifying to see so much attention turns to our veterans. And it’s very much deserved! The only question is, why can’t we focus on them throughout the year! My father was a veteran, having served in the Air Force as a navigator. I’m grateful to him and to the many millions of others that have sacrificed so much. For my dad, his service came about because of the call to serve. Many others join because it’s a family tradition, or because of the honor and respect they receive (or should receive). Others because they crave the discipline and structure. Regardless of what got them there, each is a hero in my eyes.
#veterans #airforce #seniorcare #seniorcaregiver #seniors #caregiver #caregivers #caregiversupport #homecare #homecareservice #elder #elders #health #dementia #dementiaawareness #alzheimers #alzheimersawareness #alzheimerssociety #parkinsonsdisease
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month
Hospice and Palliative care are helpful when someone has either a serious illness or medical condition. But there is a lot of confusion about what these types of care really are, and how they are different.
Hospice is specialized care designed to support both an individual with a terminal illness, and their loved ones. The aim of hospice is to provide comfort and quality of life rather than a cure for an illness. Hospice seeks to manage pain, giving individuals time and comfort to spend with their loved ones.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for those people having a serious illness. It can provide curative treatment as well as providing relief from the stress of the illness. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. The goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their family and friends.
It’s important for the needs of the individual as well as their loved ones to be considered whether Hospice or Palliative care is involved.
Photo Credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/young-woman-holding-elderly-woman-s-hand_4835332.htm
Free Home Safety Assessment
Ever wonder if your older family members are safe in their home? Have they been keeping up with safety features that will help them remain safe? We have found that usually an unfortunate event occurs before people begin to consider various modifications needed to safely stay at home. We want to avoid any such events for your loved ones!
More and more of our aging family members want to remain in their homes, yet their homes may not be the safest place for them. We are Living Free Homecare want to help. We will come in and perform a Home Safety Assessment, at no cost. Our 5-page review contains over 100 review items that covers these locations in the home:
- Entrance and Yard
- Back and side yards
- Hallway and foyer
- Living Room
- Laundry Room
- Miscellaneous items
Keeping their independence is important to many seniors and ensuring a safe home can help prevent accidents. Following our assessment, we will leave you with a list of any recommendations that we have. No obligations beyond that – we just want to help improve the safety for your loved ones!
Reach out – see how easy it is to get started on your free assessment.
Send a note to get started: firstname.lastname@example.org
#seniorcare #seniorcaregiver #seniors #caregiver #caregivers #caregiversupport #homecare #homecareservice #elder #elders #health #dementia #dementiaawareness #alzheimers #alzheimersawareness #alzheimerssociety #parkinsonsdisease #remodel #safety #homesafety
Priority Home Modifications for Home Safety
More and more of our aging family members want to remain in their homes, yet their homes may not be the safest place for them – yet! Keeping their independence is important to many seniors, and ensuring a safe home can help prevent accidents. There may need to be various modifications needed for them to safely stay at home.
Modifying a home can be costly and time consuming, so make sure to research which modifications are most important for their safety, and select the right contractor for the job.
These are the top five typical home modifications:
- Widened doorways: Doorways that are 36” wide will make it easier for wheelchairs and walkers to fit through.
- Ramps: Adding ramps to the entrance and interior of a home will help seniors with balance and mobility issues and can be worth the cost as a safety precaution. A good contractor should know the right angle and size to build the ramp.
- Lowered countertops and sinks: Having a variety of levels of countertops is helpful if individuals want to sit or stand while working at the counter. Having appliances and the sink easily accessible from a seated position is important for seniors to move around and do things in the kitchen with minimal assistance. A roll under sink is also a great option for individuals in wheelchairs.
- Bathtub modifications: Replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower provides easier and safer entry for your aging loved one than a typical tub. If they have difficulty standing or if a shower chair is not an option, a walk-in bathtub may work better.
- Levered door handles and drawers pulls: Levered door handles are much easier to use for hands that can’t grip. Drawers and cabinets with “C”- or “D”-shaped pulls to replace round ones. These changes make it easier to open doors and drawers and are easy to install. This simple change can make daily life a lot less frustrating and painful for individuals with arthritis or dexterity issues.
Keeping your loved one safe in their own home and able to carry out activities of daily living (ADL) can help maintain their independence and prolong them living on their own. Most individuals over age 50 want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Depending on their mobility and current living conditions, you will have to determine what is the safest and best living environment for them.
Need someone to help with modifications? Let us know – we have contacts that can do this work.
Improving the Quality of Life in Adults with Dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of diseases that may cause a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is not a specific disease but refers to a list of different symptoms, one of those being brain and memory function.
When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms, without knowing what is specifically causing them.
Dementia affects three areas of the brain: language, memory, and decision-making. Individuals with dementia may experience changes in their behavior and personality, very often recognized by family members.
Dementia is often described in stages, meaning how far a person’s dementia has progressed. There are seven stages total (dementiacarecentral. com), ranging from “No Cognitive Decline” (Stage 1), which means an individual has no memory loss and is mentally healthy to “Very Severe Cognitive Decline” (Stage 7), where the individual has no ability to speak or communicate and they require assistance with almost all daily activities.
Depending on the stage an adult is in, individuals with dementia may have greater difficulty with brain and memory functions as well as physical challenges, limiting the types of activities they can participate in.
Engaging adults with dementia in physical, mental and emotional activities that stimulate their mind and body can help improve their overall quality of life. It can also lessen their anxiety, stir up memories for them, encourage self-expression and make them feel more engaged with life.
There are ten different types of dementia:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Parkinson’s disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
- Mixed dementia
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Huntington’s disease
By engaging in physical, mental and emotionally stimulating activities, adults with dementia can help their brain function and improve their quality of life.
- Cook or bake simple recipes together. Let them decorate cookies or cakes with you.
- Go for walks around the neighborhood or a mall.
- Visit and walk around community events such as health fairs, parades, or farmer’s markets.
- Clean around the house with them. Sweep the patio, wipe the table, fold towels or try other household tasks that help the person feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Enjoy some light gardening such as planting flowers or sitting outside somewhere peaceful.
- Work on puzzles together.
- Read the newspaper or favorite magazines.
- Watch classic movies with them.
- Sing songs or play music. Select music that is familiar to them.
- Do arts and crafts, such as painting or knitting. Keep the tools and patterns simple.
- Create a scrapbook with various photos known to the person.
- Look at books the person used to enjoy.\
- View photo albums of past memories.
- Watch family videos.
- Have them tell you stories from their past and write them down.
Hospital Lessons Learned
Nobody (that I know) likes being in the hospital. I had the opportunity recently to spend several lovely days lying in a hospital bed – a first time experience!
What’s worse than having a ruptured appendix? That’s easy – having complications a few days later!
What did I learn from this experience of being in the hospital? The main lesson for me is the care and attention of caregivers really does make a difference! I had some caregivers that were totally friendly, talkative (when I was alert enough to listen), and informative. These traits were very appreciated by me and my family. Others however– hmmm, let’s just say, perhaps they are in the wrong field. There’s nothing wrong with that – not everyone is a compassionate people person. The sooner these people find their place in the world, the better for all of us.
But I have learned firsthand how important good Caregivers are! Living Free Homecare has many Caregivers, and they are each compassionate, people-loving people! I am gratified to see them in action, and to hear such positive feedback from our clients.
Give us a call and we can discuss the needs of your family!