According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of heat-related deaths occur in those 65 and older. Statistics also show that more Americans die each year from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. And yet unlike those natural disasters, heat-related deaths in seniors are completely preventable. It’s as simple as the use of air-conditioning, which is the number one protective factor against heat related illness and death.
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice is working to educate area seniors and caregivers about ways to prepare for days of excessive heat, and understanding the signs of heat exhaustion and stroke.
We recommend that seniors create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on them during times of extreme heat and in an emergency to give assistance, if needed.
Seniors should also follow these safety tips to prepare for days of excessive heat.
– Have a plan for what to do if the power goes out.
– Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat.
– Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
– Avoid strenuous activity. If you do activity, do it during the morning or later in the evening.
– Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay out of the direct sunshine.
Seniors are more likely to take prescription medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature and often suffer from chronic conditions that change their bodies response to heat. At Liberty HomeCare & Hospice, we recognize these challenges and monitor our patients’ situations to ensure heat exhaustion and heat stroke isn’t a factor.
To determine if an individual maybe suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke look for these common signs:
– An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
– Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
– Rapid, strong pulse
– Throbbing headache
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice warns that if you witness any of these signs you should move the person to a shady, cooler area and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.
Caring for an aging parent or relative can be challenging, and for those with a full-time career it can feel as if you’re holding down two full-time jobs.
As an employed caregiver, you may lose time from work, come in late, or take unscheduled time off due to your caregiver responsibilities. Your role may be hard, even overwhelming and it can present even greater challenges if you have a full time career. This is when the use of home care services may be helpful.
Generally, home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends. More and more older people are electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, and are receiving home care services as their physical capabilities diminish. Home care not only allows a person to age comfortably at home but it can also alleviate stress for the primary caregiver.
Here are some other steps to help manage caregiver and career responsibilities.
Talk to your employer. Let your manager know your needs related to caregiving. Make it clear that you are committed to your job and want to find ways to remain productive.
Resist isolation. Find support in and out of work. Join community caregiver groups for emotional support, and seek out local resources for help. Take advantage of resources to coordinate care giving tasks within your family and support network.
Take care of yourself. As often as you can, get enough sleep. Eat sensibly and exercise. Take a break when the pressure gets too great, even if it’s just a hot bath or a short walk. Walking with a buddy can have two advantages—fostering friendship, while getting much needed exercise.
Know your rights. The Family Medical Leave Act varies by state but it is there to protect you and your job security if you should need to take time off to care for a spouse, parent or child. Consult your human resources department about what you are entitled to under the law.
Take Advantage of Benefits. Contact your Employee Assistance Program and find out what support services are available, such as counseling on reducing stress and managing your time. Many companies also offer access to eldercare referral services through an online database or live consultants.
Build a Support System. Consider asking a geriatric care manager to coordinate all aspects of your loved one’s care. Other service providers, including home health aides, homemakers and home care volunteers can shoulder some of the many responsibilities of care giving, from preparing meals to driving your loved one to appointments to providing companionship.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to go it alone. There are support services such as Liberty HomeCare & Hospice that are available to help you shoulder the responsibilities of being a primary caregiver.
Did you know that falls are a major reason that seniors lose their independence?
According to statistics, one out of three people over the age of 65 will fall each year, which can lead to mild to serious injuries that may require extended hospital stays and rehabilitation at a nursing home facility. Fortunately, falls are a problem that is largely preventable.
Here are a few factors to consider:
- Have you fallen in the past year? People who have fallen once are likely to fall again.
- Have you been advised to use a cane or walker? People who have been advised to use a mobility assistance device may already be more likely to fall without one.
- Do you feel unsteady when walking? Unsteadiness while walking is a sign of poor balance.
- Do you need to push with your hands to stand up from a chair or have trouble stepping up onto a curb? This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.
- Have you lost feeling in your feet and toes? Numbness in your feet can cause stumbles and lead to falls.
- Do you take medicines that make you tired or dizzy? Side effects from some medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.
These are just some of the considerations you and your loved ones should evaluate with your primary care physician. If your health care provider determines that you could benefit from physical therapy, Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services can conduct an evaluation and may be able to support your needs.
We want to assure the best care possible for our patients, and helping them stay in their homes and stay safe while there is our core focus. If you’d like to learn more please contact us and let us help you remain safely at home for as long as possible.
It often takes a traumatic event such as a fall in the home before a family considers home care. But in many circumstances, home care is needed well before those events happen. There are many reasons to consider home care, long before a crisis strikes:
- Home care can provide significant health benefits. Physical therapy and speech therapy are two of the many different kinds of home care that can be prescribed for a loved one. Those receiving home care can stay in their own homes instead of living in costly assisted living facilities where they may not receive as much 1-on-1 attention as they need.
- Starting home care can prevent falls and other events. Falls prevention is often a vital part of home care. Physical therapists can conduct home safety assessments, and determine what needs to be done to prevent falls. Those returning home from hospital stays should also consider home care, because it can assist in the healing process. If you are not sure whether your loved one may be a candidate for home care, this survey may help.
- Home care can create peace of mind for all involved. Caregivers of home care patients have reported how those services have been a benefit to them, because they feel better about the care that their loved one is receiving and aren’t as worried about falls or other events. Those receiving home care have stated how they have felt better almost immediately, and that home care has helped them recover quicker than if they were in a hospital room.
- It may be easier than you think to get started. Home care must be prescribed by a physician, but caregivers can help get the process started. Just taking a loved one to the doctor can be a big first step. A physician will make the ultimate decision, but once home care is prescribed, the process for the implementation of the service is streamlined to get home care started as quickly as possible.
Home care services can make a major difference for a loved one. Can your loved one benefit?