Thursday, November 20th, 2014

A Caregiver’s Thanksgiving

caregiver thanksgiving

In the past, I’ve always strived to host Norman Rockwell-type Thanksgiving feasts.  Every year I envisioned our children, grandchildren and other family members gathering congenially around our table, enjoying a delicious meal and intelligent conversation while expressing gratitude for our many blessings.

To be perfectly honest, it’s rarely worked out that way. Someone has always shown up late or sick.  Inevitably, someone who offered to bring a dish walks through the door at the last minute carrying the ingredients in a grocery sack.  And just as the noise level reaches a decibel level that makes the neighbors’ dogs howl, someone else cranks up the volume on the football game to drown out the relative who is hell-bent on debating politics.

I’m a little ashamed of myself for feeling this way, but I have to admit that after doing this 25...Click to Read More

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Hospice & Palliative Care: At What Cost?

Hospice

When it comes time to consider hospice and palliative care, one of the options to weigh must be the cost. The cost of end of life care can be expensive, so it is important to have some information upfront.

A Difficult Time; A Difficult Decision

Many hospice costs can be paid by Medicare, but there remains plenty of costs left over for the patient or the family to contend with. For this reason, many patients wait until the very end before entering hospice. To qualify to have hospice care paid for by Medicare, both the patient's doctor and a hospice medical director have to certify that the patient has six months or less to live. This is not an easy admission for the family to make.

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Thursday, November 13th, 2014

What You May Not Know About Diabetes: Prevention Tips for Seniors

Senior DiabetesFor anyone at risk of Type 2 diabetes, prevention can be paramount. According to the CDC, an estimated 29 million Americans are diabetic, and an additional 86 million suffer from pre-diabetes. Left untreated, many of those pre-diabetics will go on to develop the full form of the disease and be placed at risk for its serious complications.  These complications include kidney damage, blindness, hearing impairment, amputation, stroke, and heart disease. Diabetes prevention for seniors is particularly important because as many as half of all seniors over the age of 65 suffer from pre-diabetes.

But there is some good news. With the right lifestyle modifications, it’s possible to reduce your risk of diabetes by as much as 60%. These simple lifestyle changes have proven to be roughly twice as effective as anti-diabetes drugs.  Below we’ll look at several...Click to Read More

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Staying Safe: Cold Weather Safety & Prevention Tips for Seniors

Senior Man Winter AccidentWith cool weather moving in and winter at our heels, autumn is a perfect time to slow down and take stock of your home and your safety.  Cold weather, while usually forcing us to remain cozy indoors, can also bring many fall risks for older Americans.  According to the National Institute of Health, 6 out of every 10 falls happen in or around the home.  Making small changes, both to your home and your lifestyle, can prevent many of these falls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year, which has been attributed to over 2.3 million annual trips to the ER.  One of our main goals at Medical Guardian is to help people become more proactive about their risks, rather than reactive...Click to Read More

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease That May Surprise You

Alzheimer Disease AgingWhile there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, being able to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer's disease and its stages can help the patient and family caregiver better understand what to expect and when to expect it. This knowledge will also give them the time to plan and prepare for what is to come.

Common Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

A common problem patients experience in the early stages of Alzheimer's is a feeling that they can't remember simple things. This can include forgetting the location of items they use on a daily basis as well as forgetting common words. Often these will be written off as part of getting older, but if these symptoms worsen, the patient needs to be seen by a doctor.

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Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Coping with Alzheimer’s: Tips for Family Members

Alzheimer's Disease Word

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the effects are felt throughout the entire family. While your loved one may be dealing with the disease’s symptoms, you will also be dealing with the sadness that comes with watching someone you care about no longer remember the details of their life. With a few tips and Alzheimer's coping strategies, the difficult process can be made a little easier.

Find Time for Yourself

First off, it is critically important to take care of yourself. While in the role of caretaker for a loved one that needs Alzheimer's care, it is easy to forget that you need care as well. Too often, one will focus all of their time and energy on the patient and forget that they need to take time for themselves, as well.

This...Click to Read More

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Building Caregiver Resilience: Mental Strategies

nursing homeThe caregiving journey is often long and intense; marked by challenging circumstances, unclear choices and uncertain outcomes.

  • Bill’s wife has been battling cancer for years.  Should she participate in a research study on a new form of chemotherapy?  As a wife and mother of three teens, they desperately want her to live.  Bill knows this would be grueling for the whole family and the odds for a cure are not good.

  • After six years, Elsa is exhausted, and wonders if she should listen to her adult children’s advice.  They want her to place their Dad in a dementia unit, but Elsa is troubled by her promise to never put him in a nursing home.

  • ALS is progressing rapidly in Amy’s Mom.  She now needs total care, and this once vibrant, funny woman can no longer speak.  Amy...Click to Read More

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Seniors and Alcohol Abuse – More Common Than You Think

Drinking And The ElderlyIn 2013, the Centers for Disease control published a report titled, “The State of Aging & Health in America.”  Included in this report was the fact that binge drinking “accounts for more than 21,000 deaths among adults 65 or older each year in the United States.”  Elderly alcoholism is a serious problem and can increase the risk of developing life-threatening conditions, like high blood pressure, liver disease and stroke.

The Dangers of Geriatric Binge Drinking

The report also found that while the prevalence of binge drinking among older adults has decreased in recent years, the frequency with which the older demographic participates in binge drinking is the highest of all the age groups.  Seniors who binge drink consume an average of six drinks in one sitting, and do so about five or six times a...Click to Read More

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Other Side of Caregiving: What It’s Like to Receive Care

receiving careI am a huge fan of Garrison Keillor’s radio show, Prairie Home Companion.  I am particularly fond of his take on adversity. He says, “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer. It’s all material.” 

I tried to bear that in mind after my husband had major back surgery earlier this summer. I have to admit that caring for him tried my patience and tested my endurance.  (It also provided me with some great material for my daily blog!) 

When we are caring for someone who needs help with showering, using the toilet and dressing, we reach an entirely new level of intimacy. Some of the tasks we do for those who can’t care for themselves aren’t very pleasant, and no one could blame us if we felt turned off by the sights and smells of the messes we have to...Click to Read More

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Building Caregiver Resilience Webinar


2014-10-29 16.00 Building Caregiver Resilience


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Are you struggling to manage the challenges of caring for a loved one? Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted by juggling family, work, home and caregiving responsibilities? Are you a Health or senior care professional witnessing your patients’ families struggling and wonder how to help them? When facing challenges, resilience provides the capacity to handle tough decisions, to persevere and prevail. When tapping resilience, the daunting becomes do-able; difficult experiences turn into learning experiences.

Both family caregivers and the professionals who support them are invited to view this free webinar. This workshop includes 6 parts that will teach you empowering and sustaining resilience-building strategies:

  • Defining resilience and why it is important for family caregivers
  • How lack of resilience impacts health care and home care organizations
  • A method for assessing caregiver resilience
  • Practical ways to build caregiver resilience
  • Effective strategies professionals use to promote caregiver resilience
  • Helpful resources caregivers...Click to Read More