The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals (ESA) for Seniors

The power of companionship can never be underestimated, especially in the golden years of life. As seniors navigate the complexities of aging, the comforting presence of an emotional support animal (ESA) can bring invaluable benefits. In the realm of home care, the integration of ESAs has profoundly impacted the well-being of our elderly clients. Here’s a closer look at why ESAs improve the quality of life for those in senior care.

1. Emotional Well-being and Reduced Loneliness

For many seniors, feelings of isolation can become overwhelming. According to the CDC, loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Emotional support animals offer seniors a trusted companion with unconditional love and unwavering loyalty. Whether it’s a cat’s purring or a dog’s wagging tail, these gestures provide emotional solace, combatting feelings of loneliness.

2. Physical Health Benefits

Believe it or not, having an ESA can improve physical health. Simple activities like petting a dog or a cat can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels.

3. Routine and Responsibility

Taking care of an ESA imparts a sense of responsibility. Seniors, with the assistance of their caregivers, can set routines like feeding or short walks. This structure can provide a sense of purpose, which is essential for mental health.

4. Enhanced Social Interaction

For seniors receiving home care, ESAs can be conversation starters. They offer an opportunity for the elderly to interact with neighbors, fellow pet owners, or caregivers, building meaningful social connections.

5. Safety and Security

Having an animal companion, especially a dog, can offer seniors an added layer of security in their homes. Their heightened senses can detect changes in the environment quicker than humans.

6. The Role of Caregivers

Caregivers play a crucial role in ensuring that the bond between the senior and the ESA is fruitful, assisting in the animal’s care when needed, and recognizing the therapeutic moments that ESAs bring into their care routines.

In Conclusion

Emotional Support Animals are more than just pets; they’re allies in maintaining seniors’ emotional and physical health. As the benefits of ESAs become more apparent, more families and caregivers consider them a viable option for their loved ones and clients. Their potential to transform lives, one purr or wag at a time, is extraordinary.

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Discussing Home Care with Your Loved Ones

When we see our loved ones aging or experiencing health challenges, it’s only natural to want the best care for them. Home care is one of the most viable options, as it allows our loved ones to receive the aid they need while staying in their familiar environment. However, discussing home care can be tricky, as it involves acknowledging certain realities that might be hard to accept for all parties involved. Here are some steps to make this significant life decision painless. 

1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Atmosphere:

Ensure the location you have chosen is familiar and private. You are preparing to delve into a new chapter of life with your loved one; it’s a significant conversation that can substantially impact your loved one’s life. 

2. Include All Key Players:

While discussing home care, it is important to involve all relevant parties. Depending on your loved one’s social circle, this includes siblings, spouses, and even close friends. Doing so ensures different perspectives and reduces the chances of misunderstanding or feelings of exclusion. 

3. Communicate with Empathy and Respect:

Approach the idea of homecare with empathy and respect. Ground your conversation in concern for your loved one’s well-being, and ensure that home care is not a means to strip them of their independence. Active listening is vital. Talk through your loved one’s concerns. 

4. Provide Clear Information and Reassurance:

Do your homework and be prepared to answer questions and concerns about home care. At Private Home Care, we know that one-size-fits-all plans leave room for shortcomings or unnecessary services; we aim to tailor our care plans to your loved one’s needs and support them with the best caregivers. 

5. Involve Them in the Decision-Making Process:

This step is crucial. Remember, this is about your loved one’s care, so their input should be the deciding factor. Please encourage them to weigh in on the decision and ensure they feel heard.

6. Take Your Time:

Lastly, do not rush this process. Allow your loved one time to absorb the information, ask questions, express their feelings, and eventually make a decision. Patience and understanding are paramount during this time.

Approaching your loved ones about home care is a delicate process. However, it’s possible to navigate this conversation effectively with empathy, respect, clear communication, and ample time. And remember, seeking professional advice can also be very helpful in this process. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that your loved ones receive the best possible care in a setting that offers them comfort, familiarity, and a sense of dignity.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

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The Advantages of Aging at Home

Many older adults who desire to maintain their independence and autonomy receive personalized, professional care from the comfort of their own homes. Let’s explore five reasons why aging at home with the help of a caregiver can be a valuable option for individuals:

1. Familiar surroundings

Aging at home allows individuals to continue living in their own homes, creating a sense of comfort and control. Moving to a long-term care facility may be intimidating for many older adults because it threatens their independence. Aging at home under the watchful eye of a caregiver maintains a client’s autonomy and dignity while still living independently. Additionally, aging at home allows them to remain in a familiar environment—a home that offers comfort and familiarity. This becomes particularly significant for those dealing with cognitive impairments. 

2. Tailored Care

Care should never be one size fits all. Aging at home enables individuals to receive care-tailored plans that optimize their quality of life, needs, and preferences. At PHC, we prioritize the perfect match for every client. We work closely with caregivers and families to develop care plans that accommodate a client’s personal, medical, and social needs, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as more specialized care like medication management and mobility support. 

3. Cost-effective 

For those requiring minimal assistance with daily activities, aging at home can be cost-effective compared to moving into a long-term care facility. In-home care arrangements offer flexibility on an as-needed basis. For instance, caregivers may provide support during specific times of the day or week to help with bathing needs or mobility assistance. A caregiver’s help reduces the burden on family members or loved ones. 

4. Flexibility

Aging at home provides greater flexibility when choosing the proper care provider for each unique situation. Each individual has distinctive needs and preferences to consider when making these decisions. The ability to select the most suitable caregiver allows for a more personalized care experience. 

Aging at home with the assistance of a caregiver offers numerous advantages for older adults. It promotes independence and autonomy, provides tailored care, maintains familiar surroundings, and is cost-effective. These reasons make aging at home a valuable and desirable option for many individuals seeking to maintain their independence as they age. The flexibility offered by receiving care at home should be noticed, as it allows adjustments based on individual needs. Notably, the availability and variety of options for aging at home have grown significantly over time. For those seeking a more comprehensive discussion, please contact us today. At PHC, we are prepared to go the extra mile to make this critical transition as easy and manageable as possible. 

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A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

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In-Home Care: The Basics

In-home care services bring multifaceted solutions directly into the homes of individuals seeking assistance while preserving their sense of dignity within familiar surroundings. Such services benefit older adults, people grappling with disabilities, and those recovering from illness or surgery.

Many older adults experience anxiety about moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility—an inclination rooted deeply in concerns over perceived obstacles to autonomy. A cherished benefit of in-home care is the affirmation and sustenance of an independent and self-governing lifestyle. Additionally, in-home care empowers individuals to sustain their hobbies, social habits, and routines.

At PHC, we ensure that in-home care remains rooted in service and passion. PHC hand selects professional caregivers to support your loved one’s passions and meet your loved one’s needs. The repertoire of home care encompasses a variety of assistance surrounding daily tasks facilitation, medication management, and mobility aid.

For individuals needing modest assistance while undertaking everyday activities, reliance upon in-home care may yield more favorable outcomes than seeking accommodation within long-term care facilities. We aim to meet the clients where they are and bring them the quality of life they deserve. Moreover, PHC customizes crucial attributes of our care plans to support every client best. We staff certified nursing assistants (CNAs), level one med aides (LIMA), CPR-certified caregivers, and professionals with years of experience in their field.

Lastly, in-home care allows caregivers and clients to build lifelong relationships and ensure cognitive stimulation. Through PHC’s lunch-on-us programs— where caregivers are invited to a free lecture and provided a meal, we keep our caregivers updated on the most reliable in-home treatments and new practices.

Compared to alternative solutions, in-home care stands out for its remarkable flexibility. To learn more about home care, please contact us via phone or communicate directly with one of our agents using the live chat option on our website.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration? Types, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD occurs when the macula of your eye starts wearing down because of age. The macula is the central part of the retina, which is a light-sensing nerve tissue present at the back of our eyes, and it helps us have clearer, straighter vision.

AMD impacts close to 5% of Americans who are 65 years old and older and is the leading cause of vision loss in America. Although there is no cure, intervention from an ophthalmologist can aid in slowing down the condition in the diagnosed. The pest way to screen for and in some cases prevent degenerative eye diseases similar to ADM, such as glaucoma and cataracts, is to have eye exams on a yearly basis which will include dilation. Any change in sight is alarming and a cause to make an appointment for comprehensive testing. 

AMD usually doesn’t result in blindness unless it’s the rare kind of AMD, called Wet AMD. However, it does get progressively worse and can result in severe, in some cases, cause debilitating damage.  Below are some main points about AMD as well as some information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment options. 

There are two types of AMD affecting adults over 65: 

  • Wet AMD
  • Dry AMD

Between 85 and 90 percent of people with AMD have dry form, with wet AMD is rare. Dry AMD can lead to wet AMD.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Everyone’s retinas contain a yellow deposit called drusen which are largely comprised of fatty proteins, located in the macula. As we age, the deposits increase in quantity and size. Initially, they don’t cause any changes to sight, but over time, and especially with age, you might start exhibiting distorted vision and blind spots. Consequently, as we age, the drusen deposits coupled with macular thinning can make the condition worse, with the loss of vision depending on the amount of thinning of the retina. Many with dry AMD experience some difficulty reading smaller print, almost always have trouble seeing at night and may experience reduced vision quality overall. Dry AMD develops slowly and overtime. 

Wet Macular Degeneration 

This kind of AMD is caused when the blood vessels start leaking fluid and blood into the retina. This leakage distorts your vision, creates blind spots, forms scars and eventually leads to permanent loss of central vision. Wet AMD develops quickly and is rare.

Stargardt Disease or Juvenile Macular Degeneration

Stargardt muscular degeneration is an eye disorder that results in progressive vision loss. The condition is genetic, but onset typically occurs before late adolescence. The retina breaks down prematurely in Juvenile Macular Degeneration, and the person may exhibit symptoms like color distortion and blurry vision. Both conditions get progressively worse but early intervention and therapies can often prevent blindness.

The Signs and Symptoms 

The challenge with AMD is that it’s hard to catch it – until it gets worse. That’s why regular examinations are so necessary as we age. Usually, AMD gets diagnosed when it has already affected both eyes and the person is exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Vision blurry enough to deter them from reading or driving
  • Dark edges in the center of your vision
  • Altered color perception

The Causes and Risk Factors for AMD

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the major causes of vision loss in people over 60. This risk increases exponentially when there’s a genetic, gender-specific, and physiological factor involved. 

  1. Age

As the namesake suggests, age is the most significant factor that contributes to AMD. Over 2% of older adults and a third of seniors develop AMD.

  1. Smoking

Smokers have a four times higher risk of AMD because smoke reduces the oxygen absorption abilities of the eye.

  1. Heart Problems

High cholesterol levels, beta-blocker usage, a history of stroke, and a higher BMI contribute towards a higher risk of developing AMD.

If you think that you or your loved one is at a higher risk of AMD, you can still prevent the onset of the disease by quitting smoking, getting regular physical exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet of seafood and leafy greens, and managing your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels.

Diagnosing AMD

Dilated Eye Exam

The earliest sign of AMD is the yellow drusen under your retina clumping together. This can be diagnosed by a painless but comprehensive dilated eye exam. A regular visit to the ophthalmologist might pre-emptively catch AMD before it gets worse. 

Amsler Grid Test

Another way to diagnose AMD is by the Amsler Grid Test, a pattern of straight lines that look like a checkerboard. The doctor might ask you to look at those lines, and if they seem irregular or distorted, it might be a sign of AMD.

Angiography or OCT

The Angiography or OCT as a diagnosis for AMD only happens when the doctor has conducted the physical exam on your eye and suspects macular degeneration. 

In an angiography, your doctor will insert a dye into your veins and take pictures of the leakage of the blood vessels in your retina, which will be more apparent due to the color of the dye. On the other hand, an OCT will be able to see the fluid underneath your retina without using a dye.  

Treatment can start once the diagnosis has been confirmed by physical exam and diagnostic tests

Treatments for AMD

Some studies have shown that Vitamin C and E, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper can help prevent AMD; unfortunately, there is no cure. However, some treatments slow down the degeneration:

  • Anti-angiogenesis drugs which block the fluid leakage into your retina, in case of wet AMD
  • Laser therapy destroys excess or abnormal blood vessels in your eye
  • Photodynamic laser therapy, where a light-sensitive drug is injected into your bloodstream, and a laser is used to trigger the medicine into damaging the abnormal blood vessels
  • Visual aids that create larger images of nearby objects help cope the older adults or seniors with the vision loss

There are also surgical treatments such as retinal translocation for AMD. 

At Private Home Care, we offer hourly and live-in services with caregivers familiar with AMD and other vision conditions. We also understand the importance of consistency with following vision medication routines. 

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A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

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What is a geriatric care manager and how can they help me and my family?

If you are like a lot of people with parents in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s, the fear creeps in before the reality does. At some point, the very people who you’ve depended on your whole life will come to depend on you. For most of us, our parents were the bedrock of our stability. Even into adulthood, our parents are still our parents. They’ve always been there for us. But what happens when they can’t be there for us? What happens when we need to be there for them? How and when do we intervene? What resources are available to help us through this process? None of these questions have a simple answer, but fortunately, there are professional guides that can help quickly calm what can be overwhelming situations.

As the reality of aging, loss of independence, and ongoing health challenges start to emerge, loved ones and family members are faced with one main question:

“What do I do now?”

It’s a question that will inevitably come. For some families, the answer will be simple, with all of the pieces smoothly falling into place. While for others, particularly families that are in crisis and need to make decisions quickly, that question is much more difficult to answer. Aging isn’t always linear and smooth. One day your loved one may be fine, and the next, you notice changes in memory or in ability to safely complete tasks of daily living. We brush it off as a normal part of aging and even joke about never being able to find the car keys ourselves. But what if these changes become more pronounced. Or what if something else happens, like a fall or a break. Or what if your independent parent has to go to the hospital multiple times over a short period. If you feel that something needs to be addressed, it likely needs to be done sooner rather than later.

But where do you start? At the very least, it may be a good idea to start putting together a plan for what to do, where to go and who to call. At Private Home Care, we work closely with a number of third-party geriatric care management practices who help families make informed decisions about long-term care options. These professionals are private advocates for their clients, and provide them with an additional layer of oversight and transparency. Care Managers are able to navigate resources efficiently, intervene in a crisis and help organize a plan of care to save you time, while tailoring options to your loved ones’ specific needs and goals. Here are just a few more ways Care Manager can help:

  • Answering questions and addressing any emotional concerns surrounding life and care changes
  • Crisis intervention
  • Facilitating conversations about starting care; introducing caregivers and care options
  • Highlighting and tackling areas of concern
  • Advocating for the caregiver as well as the care recipient
  • Putting together long-term care options based on your loved one’s objectives and budget
  • Serving as a liaison to family members who live out of town
  • Scheduling and attending medical appointments with clients
  • Tracking an individual’s recovery progress and plan of care
  • Serving as a trustworthy point of contact for clients and their families
  • Helping clients who do not have local family members stay in their homes for as long as they choose with hourly or live-in care services. 

Step 1:

Contact a Geriatric Care Manager (or simply, “Care Manager”) in your area. For help locating a Care Manager or a Care Management practice in your area, you can visit the Aging Life Care Association at https://www.aginglifecare.org. If you have more questions about Care Managers or what they do, Private Home Care can certainly be a resource and can provide referrals for Care Managers we’ve worked with in our community. Think of a Care Manager as a patient advocate. They can perform an in-home, professional assessment, uncover the needs of the patient, and document them for next steps or a plan of action.

Step 2:

Start putting together a plan. A plan of action could, and should, encompass some or all of the following:

  1. Medical – Do you have a complete list of medications and health records? If not get them in order. There may come a time when you can’t ask and get a reliable answer.
  2. Financial Housekeeping – Do you have a complete list of all life insurance, social security, investments, etc? Make sure you have an up-to-date file in a safe place that you can access when you need to. 
  3. Financial Planning – There are ways to preserve money without depleting everything. Star preparing.
  4. Power of Attorney – Get a working power of attorney to be able to make decisions (Elder Law). Some Care Managers can be the Power of Attorney for individuals who do not have family or friends able to fulfill this role.

Care Managers can provide assistance navigating the following:

  • In home hourly care and live-in care
  • Home health care
  • Independent living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing Communities
  • Hospice
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Social services and community programs
  • Referrals to legal, financial or medical professionals

If you are reading this article because you are considering a Care Manager for a loved one or yourself, it’s important to take a step back and remember that you are not alone. A Care Manager can help you navigate options and create a safe and enriching environment. At Private Home Care, we value the amazing work being done by Care Managers in our communities and see great value in the professional guidance they can provide. For more information on Geriatric Care Managers or what they do, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. 

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Caregivers Help Aging Adults During COVID

With COVID putting aging adults at risk, many are turning to professional caregivers to provide safety and companionship.

Because the risk of death from COVID-19 increases with age, especially for those 65 years and older, aging adults and their families are facing new challenges.

Many aging adults are choosing to age longer in their homes to avoid higher exposure levels. In addition, we’ve seen an increase in people who have moved their loved ones out of care communities and into their own homes to promote social distancing. 

Private Home Care gets new calls every day from family members trying to keep their loved ones safe and healthy during this pandemic. We’re committed to providing the best care and making special efforts to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Here are just some of the ways we can help your loved one during the COVID-19 outbreak: 

Caregiver COVID Safety Precautions and Procedures

Safety is always a top priority for both our clients and our caregivers. We closely follow the latest CDC guidelines and have implemented new procedures and precautions to limit the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. In addition to daily temperature screenings, we also make sure our staff have ample personal protection supplies. You can learn more about our COVID-19 policy here

Limiting Exposure to Others

Whether your loved one lives at home or in a care community, our professional caregivers can provide help. PHC provides care for a few hours each week up to 24-hour or live-in care. And because of our One-to-One Care Model, your loved one will have limited exposure to others. They will be cared for by one caregiver or a consistent team of caregivers to limit their exposure. 

Preventing Isolation and Loneliness

Because of the risks of exposing their loved one to COVID-19, many family members and friends have been limiting their visits. This practice of social distancing can cause feelings of social isolation, loneliness, and depression among aging adults. Professional caregivers can help fill the gap and provide companionship as well as provide ways to reduce stress and boredom.

Staying in Touch with Family during COVID

If you are unable to visit your loved one, Private Home Care caregivers can help you stay in touch. Our caregivers can help your loved one use technology to stay connected when COVID keeps you apart. Our team also is committed to keeping care transparent and families well informed. We will communicate often about your loved one’s well being and care plan, so you always know your loved one is in good hands. 

Preparing Your Home for a Loved One

If you are moving your loved one into your home, we can help you assess and prepare your home to make them comfortable. We provide complimentary home assessments to identify potential hazards or recommend accommodations. Some simple changes can make to make it easier to provide care and provide a comfortable space for your loved one. 

Running Errands and Buying Supplies

Our caregivers can help minimize aging adults’ exposure to large groups of people by running errands for them. They can pick up medications, buy groceries, or anything else they may need. Even if a caregiver only visits occasionally, they can help your loved one stock up on necessities and make sure their needs are met.

Contact Us

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, please contact us 24/7 for a complimentary in-home assessment at (844) 785-2273.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane