Archive for the ‘Home Care’ Category

How a Personal Care Aide Can Help One Live Well with Multiple Sclerosis

by: John Aker | March 1st, 2017

Personal Care AideMultiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive disease of the central nervous system which currently affects approximately 400,000 people in the U.S. In recognition of National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness month, we would like to offer some information for families. With a progressive disease like MS, education about the disease can lead to better management of symptoms.

Living With MS

People with MS typically don’t appear outwardly ill but that doesn’t mean the disease isn’t always present. In fact, 86% of MS sufferers list fatigue as the number one symptom of their disease. The exact mechanism of MS fatigue is not known, but studies suggest that changes in the brain caused by MS may require persons with MS to use five times more effort to complete a simple task than a person without MS, especially if aggravated by stress, activity, fever, and heat exposure.

MS fatigue is not just being tired — it is like having the flu without the other symptoms. Although MS fatigue is common and frustrating, there are things one can do to fight fatigue and increase energy.

A few hours a day of practical assistance from a professional personal care aide from Aker Kasten Home Health Care who is trained in MS care can save energy sources from being drained.

How Home Care Can Help

Nourishing a person’s mind, body and spirit are essential when helping a person with MS stay motivated and enabled. Due to the changeability of the disease, the type and degree of help needed will vary from person to person and may even vary from time to time for the same individual. As with any ailment that requires caregiving, family members can become burnt out or simply not know how to help. Turning to a professional personal care aide for some respite help can be extremely valuable to provide families with a break and some education. Here are a few of the ways a home health care agency can help.

MIND – Professional personal care aides can help family members with their understanding of MS and their ability to make lifestyle adjustments. For instance, they can help establish a daily routine, stressing the importance of limiting activities and taking regular rest periods to prevent fatigue and symptom exacerbations. They can also provide tips and techniques for easier bathing and dressing, assisting as needed.

BODY – Physical limitations play a big part in the caregiving role for MS. It is important to know how to address these. A personal care aide will help with all of these:

  • If the MS patient is on bed rest, maintaining proper body alignment when positioning
  • Protecting skin from friction, pressure, and excessive heat, moisture, or dryness
  • Assisting with body mechanics for good posture, alignment and improved gait
  • Encouraging daily exercise and assisting with physical therapy
  • Providing tasty, nourishing meals and assistance with eating if needed

SPIRIT – The power of mind over body is key in any disease, but really plays a big role in MS. Keeping spirits high will go a long way in managing the disease and making life more enjoyable. Personal care aides from a home health care agency are not only physical helpers but know tips/tricks to help lift spirits, such as:

  • Offering comfort measures, such as gentle massage and warm (not hot) baths
  • Encouraging independence by being sensitive to knowing when to take and then give back responsibility for tasks as symptoms come and go
  • Providing emotional support
  • Providing recommendations for devices designed to make daily activities more comfortable, such as built-up utensils, reaching devices, and sliding boards

Looking for more information?  There are many great online resources and support forums for family members to connect.  Here are a few favorites:

With various adjustments made along the way, most individuals with MS may look forward to a fulfilling and productive lifetime. A personal care aide experienced in MS care such as at Aker Kasten Home Health Care can help with interventions to fight MS fatigue. Contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care in Delray Beach and the surrounding area for more information on how our in-home personal care aides can make a person with MS feel enabled, motivated and connected to others.

Simple Steps to Take at Home to Manage Common COPD Symptoms

by: John Aker | October 24th, 2016

 COPD SymptomsAccording to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an estimated 12 million adults are currently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and it’s estimated that another 12 million may be living with the disease without even knowing it. It’s also worth noting that COPD usually strikes in middle age, with smoking as the primary risk factor. Consistent exposure to occupational dusts and chemicals also presents a high risk factor.

One of the first warning signs of COPD is mild coughing with clear sputum, usually after waking in the morning. Other symptoms may also crop up with this progressive disease, including coughing that produces excessive mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. While there is no cure for COPD, there are some steps one can take at home to manage and effectively ease symptoms, cut the risk of complications, and improve quality of life.

5 Steps to Improve Home Air Quality for Symptom Relief

  1. The most important step a person can take to reduce COPD symptoms is to stop smoking. 85-90% of COPD deaths are caused by smoking.
  2. Because people with COPD are very sensitive to indoor air pollution, it is important to purify the air at home. Ventilate the home by opening windows and running exhaust fans. However, when outdoor air quality is poor or dust levels are high, keep windows closed.
  3. Minimize dust mites by washing bed linens weekly, keeping floors clean and removing dust-collecting clutter from the home.
  4. Reduce exposure to household chemicals such as paints, varnishes and cleaning products and limit the use of fragrant sprays, air fresheners, scented candles and perfumes.
  5. Install an indoor air filtration system. Make sure it has a HEPA filter and beware of systems that generate ozone but claim to filter the air.

 

5 Steps to Improve Diet for Symptom Management

  1. For a person with COPD, breathing burns ten times more calories than it does for a person without COPD. Eating larger meals early in the day when energy is highest will help a person gain the most calories and nutrients possible for the day.
  2. Fatigue sometimes stops a person with COPD from eating before he/she gets the calories and nutrients needed. Eating the most nutritious foods first ensures a healthier diet, even if a meal is not entirely eaten.
  3. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help a person with COPD meet daily caloric needs and feel less full, making it easier to breathe.
  4. Preparing meals sometimes uses up so much energy that a person with COPD then doesn’t have enough energy to eat the meal. Instead, have a family member, friend or a Boca Raton FL home care agency such as Aker Kasten Home Health Care, help with grocery shopping and/or meal preparation.
  5. Sodium can cause water retention, which makes it harder to breathe, so it is best to avoid foods that have more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving. No-salt spices including garlic, oregano, basil, curry, onion, parsley, rosemary and lemon juice are all good alternatives.

 

Aker Kasten Home Health Care, a Boca Raton FL home care agency, is experienced at working with COPD patients and their family members to manage COPD symptoms and ensure that the home is a safe environment and free from irritants. In-home care helps sufferers manage COPD through education, exercise, nutritional support, psychological support and coping skills. Call Aker Kasten Home Health Care today at 561.955.6010 to learn more about managing COPD symptoms.

Caregiver Stress Affecting Productivity & Profitability in Boca Raton Businesses

by: John Aker | June 26th, 2016

 

Boca Raton BusinessesBoca Raton companies are always concerned about the well-being of their employees. Many offer wellness coaches, gym facilities, stress management tactics and more. However, there is a silent undercurrent of stress for many employees that companies are likely unaware of that could be affecting performance and ultimately, the bottom line.

This silent stressor centers around the “sandwiched” employees: those that have their own nuclear family to care for and are also now in charge of an aging relative. Currently over 1 out of 4 households is involved in providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. Just over half of all caregivers for persons aged 50 and over are employed full-time, while simultaneously providing 20 hours or more of care per week.

Employed caregivers are more likely to miss work or come in late/leave early, experience a loss in productivity, take unpaid leave of absences or use personal or sick days to provide care, and are two to three times more likely to develop depression. All of these factors cut into morale and productivity in the workplace.

By recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress in an employee who is also caregiving for a senior or disabled person, steps can be taken to assist through a respite care benefits program or home care referral.

 

Why It Matters

According to MetLife, family members needing to care for loved ones 50 years or older cost American businesses as much as $29 billion each year. Another national study reported that companies without eldercare benefits stand to lose $2,500 a year per caregiving employee. Some evidence shows that:

  • Each caregiver loses on average 166 hours of productivity due to absenteeism and interruptions.
  • 20% of the caregiving employees will quit their jobs to provide care full-time.

The financial impact of all these factors combines to staggering dollar amounts. For example, a Boca Raton area company that employs 500 people loses over $1.8 million each year to unmanaged eldercare – equal to about 15% of their salary budget. Bottom line, family caregivers need help, and more and more companies are looking to provide it.

 

Employer ROI

For any Boca Raton company to create a new program, there needs to be a business case for it. Will helping employees stressed with caregiving benefit the company? The answer is yes. The most valuable return on investment for an eldercare program is employee retention. The time, money and valuable expertise that are lost when employees leave is far more costly. Benefits typically offered include:

  • Work time flexibility
  • Financial assistance
  • Phone- or Internet-based resources and referrals
  • Face-to-face consulting
  • Educational activities like on-site seminars and health fair kiosks

 

Web Resources for Family Caregivers in the Workplace:

Aker Kasten Home Health Care works with many Boca Raton area companies to assist in advising family caregivers. We have compiled the following list of resources for employers to begin the process of learning about the benefits of eldercare programs or referrals.

With the graying of the Boomer generation, these trends pose an urgent need for Boca Raton businesses to plan for the needs of their working family caregivers. A strong support network is always going to be the greatest protection against stress. Through an eldercare benefits or referral program, businesses can help alleviate some of the responsibilities and pressures of family caregiving.

For further information about our eldercare resources and respite care programs, please contact us today!

How Will You Celebrate Spring’s Arrival in Florida?

by: John Aker | March 12th, 2015

March may come in like a lion or a lamb.

Florida home care

via www.123friendster.com

But regardless of the weather when it arrives, March contains many special days you may want to celebrate. Some of the notable days this month include:

  • Purim (March 5)
  • Daylight Saving Time Beginning (March 8)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • World Kidney Day (March 12)
  • The Ides of March (March 15)–any Shakespeare fans remember the warning, Beware the Ides of March?
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • First Day of Spring (March 20)
  • Palm Sunday (March 29)
  • National Doctors’ Day (March 30)

This month has also been claimed for:

National Nutrition Month

American Red Cross Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Women’s History Month

Many of these observations are important and some are also quite fun. The weather across the county is in the process of warming and SPRING is just around the corner. Spring is a powerful season–it seems to compel us to consider what is coming!  New leaves on the trees and buds on the flower buses remind us that we, too–despite our numeric age–can start anew and be refreshed.

Admittedly, it may be a bit difficult to be impressed visually by the arrival of spring when you live in Florida. But take a moment to reflect on that new life that spring offers and make an effort to renew yourself. We are never too old to try and we are wise enough now to know what we want for ourselves and what we want to share with those around us. Celebrate spring this year–do something to refresh your mind and body.

The reason various organizations claim a ‘national month’ is to raise awareness of their cause and many of them attempt to deliver a torrent of educational materials which will urge us to take action, whether it be to improve or adopt new healthier habits or become involved by donating our time, talents, or treasury to further their work to help others. If you are already healthy and want to renew your spirit this spring, check out the website of one of these organizations above and educate and refresh your mind. You may learn something new and you may determine to partner with one of these organizations. Learning and giving back are two great ways to celebrate spring!

Another way to celebrate Spring is to choose just one little healthy habit to re-commit to doing every day. Your in-home caregiver can assist you in setting a goal and recording your efforts. Think of a reward you’ll grant yourself when you meet your goal (a scoop of frozen yogurt?) and keep a diary of your progress allowing your caregiver to cheer you on to victory.

Maybe you want to become more agile, like the tree branches swaying in the breeze, displaying their shiny new green leaves.  Or simply enjoy the scenery and sunshine–try to get outside each day for 15 minutes to soak up some natural Vitamin D from the sun. You could also enjoy taking time to phone an old friend or a grandchild once a week–that will be a spring gift for both of you.

Even enjoying healthier meals and snacks can have a big impact from little effort. Ask your home health aide to help you plan menus and shop for healthy foods and treats. Nutritious snacks like fruits or whole grain toast can be an easy, enjoyable addition to your daily routine. Try to drink more water during the day than you think you need–that can aide digestion and prevent dehydration.

Strive to sit less and walk a bit more. Many doctors are fond of the saying, Motion is lotion for the joints. You don’t have to walk for miles, just a bit extra will help:

  • ask your caregiver to park three spaces further from the entrance to the grocery store;
  • or accompany you on a walk to your mailbox;
  • or do some range of motion exercises at home.

Mark each bit of exercise on the calendar. And enjoy the satisfaction of your achievement!

How will you welcome spring this year? How will you be refreshed and renewed? Let us know if you’ve been inspired. We would love to know how we can encourage you this spring and throughout the rest of the year–tell us now!

If you’d like to celebrate spring by researching Florida home care options for yourself or a loved one, contact us today!

Cataract Awareness: Now you see it…

by: John Aker | August 12th, 2014

Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the U.S. Thanks to advances in technology, it is also one of the safest and most effective types of surgery with 90% of patients reporting greatly improved vision after surgery. This is evidence of the expertise of a limited few surgeons—like Boca Raton’s own Dr. Alan Aker and his associates at the Aker Kasten Eye Center. Don’t trust your eyesight to just anyone. Look for an experienced surgeon trained in the latest techniques and protocols.

What Is A Cataract?

To receive a clear, sharp image from our retina, the lenses must be clear. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works somewhat like a camera lens, helping to focus light onto the retina and adjust focus. The lens consist primarily of water and protein but as we age some protein may meld together and start to could the lens—this is a cataract. If the lens become cloudy due to a cataract, the image you see will be blurred and may even add a yellowish or brownish tint to the images you see.

Cataracts typically cloud the lens of the eye and affects vision. While there are varying types and causes of cataracts, most cataracts are related to aging. In fact, more than half of Americans ages 80 or over either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have A Cataract?

While researchers can point to several possible causes and risk factors for cataracts, a majority are diagnosed through a comprehensive dilated eye exam which should be performed once every two years. If you have any of the following symptoms or risk factors such as diabetes, you should see your ophthalmologist sooner:

• Cloudy or blurred vision
• Colors seem faded
• Poor night vision
•A halo appears around lights—or sunlight or lights appear too bright or you are bothered by glare

How Can I Prevent A Cataract and Protect My Vision?

Most researchers agree that good nutrition, full of green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants might help reduce the risk of age-related cataracts. Protecting your vision from ultraviolet sunlight may also help to delay cataract so using sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are good accessories, especially for those of us in The Sunshine State!

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Early cataract symptoms can be improved with new eyeglasses, better lighting, and anti-glare sunglasses. If these do not help you may be a candidate for surgery. But surgery is only necessary if vision loss affects your daily activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV. Be sure you ask questions of your eye doctor and make an informed decision. Your eye care professional can provide you with up-to-date information about the procedures available to you and the risks and benefits.

While it is generally regarded as a safe and effective procedure, you may want to have a little help around the house following an eye procedure since you will be asked not to bend from the waist or lift heavy objects. An aide from The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can assist you for a day or two until you feel more confident and have recovered fully. Click here to learn more about how we can help you.

Low Vision Care Optionscataract

If you have any questions or concerns about your vision—make an appointment right away. We highly recommend the Aker Kasten Eye Center, one of a few of elite practices designated as a Center of Excellence for the Crystalens HD intraocular lens. Click here for more information.

Sources: National Eye Institute, Aker Kasten Eye Center

 

Take An Aspirin and Call Me In The Morning…Right!

by: John Aker | June 3rd, 2014

We all know the old joke:  Take an aspirin and call me in the morningIMG_3152_jpgbut did you know that doctors prescribe medication to help treat or cure what ails you so when you don’t fill or take your medication as directed, you could be putting yourself at serious risk!

It can be hard to remember to take medications. Some of us have difficulty just getting the medication–actually getting to the pharmacy can be burdensome.

When you don’t take medication as it is prescribed, it’s called non-adherence or non-compliance. And you are not alone–it turns out many people are also non-compliant. But it doesn’t have to be this way!  Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can accompany you to your doctor, take notes about the physician’s comments, directives, and prescriptions. Then we can take you to pick up your medication and even remind you to take your medication at the appropriate time!

According to a recent study, approximately 30 % of new prescriptions are never even filled. It also showed that a majority of patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases either take less than prescribed or stop taking the medication altogether after about six months. The Centers for Disease Control link such non-adherence to startling increases in hospitalizations and sometimes death. (see http://www.marinij.com/News/ci_25632494/Dr-Bill-Elliott:-Costs-and-benefits) There are also health risks when you don’t take your medication properly or fail to alert your physician to an adverse reaction.

Don’t become a statistic. Let us help you. We’ll ensure that at each physician visit your medication list is reviewed, your questions are answered and if they are necessary, we can help you comply with a healthy regimen and ensure your medication is taken properly and note any adverse reactions.

Call us now at 561-955-6010 to learn how we can help you remain healthy at home.

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain

by: John Aker | January 27th, 2014

Brain

We hear a lot about low-carb diets these days, but more than just helping people trim fat, cutting carbs could be beneficial to your brain. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., contrary to popular belief, the human body does not need carbohydrates.

And not only does the body not need carbs, Perlmutter claims in his book, Grain Brain, that carbs are “the brain’s silent killers.” Perlmutter also notes, “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.” Returning to the eating habits of early man—roughly 75 percent fat and 5 percent carbs—could stave off many modern cognitive issues, Perlmutter postulates, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read more about how grain may be putting our brains at a higher risk for cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease in this article from Shape.

Or watch this video from the Dr. Oz show with Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

This is certainly controversial since many experts tout the benefits of whole grain in our diets.  One thing is sure: moderation in our diets is likely a wise goal.

Pearls of Wisdom

by: John Aker | January 7th, 2014

As we move into 2014, many of us reflect on the years past and make resolutions for the New Year.  While this reflection and planning is worthwhile, some of us tend to expect too much of ourselves–and others.  And sometimes we complicate our daily lives by not focusing on what truly matters.

Take a deep breath and click on the link below.  We think you will enjoy this brief video of seniors sharing wise words which might help you keep things in perspective:

Pearls of Wisdom

Happy 2014!

All of us at Aker Kasten Home Health Care wish you a year filled with good health and great happiness.

If there is any way we can help you remain independent in your own home and enjoy improved quality of life–call us at 561-955-6010!  We are here for you!

 

Snacks Can Be Delicious & Healthy

by: John Aker | September 10th, 2013

September is Healthy Aging Month!

What are you doing to age in a healthy manner?  Exercising?  Eating healthy foods in the right portions?  Taking your medications and vitamins as prescribed?  Enjoying some social time with family or friends by phone or in person?

All these simple things can help you age in a healthier way.  When we neglect any of the items above, we risk our good health and energy.  Since we can’t avoid aging, we should do what we can to remain healthy and vital. healthy snack post

Recently, one of our dedicated in home caregivers posted a picture of a BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS and HEALHTY snack she had prepared for her client.  We are so thrilled that she had taken the time to not only prepare a healthy snack option, but to make it appealing to the eye as well.  Often when we think of eating healthy, we conjure up a picture of something unattractive or unappetizing.  Caregiver Fahaina had prepared low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries to encourage her client to enjoy a healthy snack.  It was simple, healthful, pleasing to the eye, and enjoyed with enthusiasm!

Eating right can taste great too!  And snacking between small meals is often recommended since it helps you eat less at mealtimes.  When you make healthy snack choices like Caregiver Fahaina presented, you can be proud AND enjoy great tasting food.  Thank you, Fahaina for the reminder that presentation can make good food so much more inviting!

Here’s a simple and delicious healthy soup option for you.  Ask you caregiver to help you prepare this soup and invite a friend over for a simple salad and soup meal.  Enjoy sharing some old stories and create new memories with a little social time around a healthy meal.  Bon appetit!

Quick and Healthy Potato Soup

2 cups Stock or reduced sodium broth

1 1/4 lbs White Potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 stalks Celery, chopped

1 medium Onion, choppedpotato soup

1 small Carrot, peeled and chopped

1 cup fat-free Half & Half or Milk

1/2 tsp Thyme or Italian Seasoning

Sea salt or garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

 

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Chop vegetables while broth is heating, then add to saucepan.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, for 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then puree until smooth, or until soup is desired consistency.  Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes more.

Approximate cost per serving: $2.00

Nutritional Analysis per serving:  Calories  340, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 590 mg, Potassium 209 mg, Carbohydrates 42g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 8g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 90%, Calcium 50%, Iron 10%.

SOURCE:  www.healthyagingfood.com

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

Is Your Home Helping Your Health?

by: John Aker | August 28th, 2013

Cleanliness Affects Health

Chronic conditions or recovery from a medical procedure can be very taxing on our bodies and minds.  While our bodies work to heal, the condition of our home can either hinder or help. 

It has been proven that a cluttered, dirty environment can be depressing and actually decreases motivation.  To heal, we often have to move, exercise, stimulate our minds and bodies.  That is difficult to do with stacks of papers and magazines sapping our energy levels.  And it is important to remember that you may already have a compromised immune system.

But a home must also be clean to stimulate healing.  Infection is a leading cause of re-hospitalization.  When recovering from a medical procedure or hospitalization, our immune system is working hard to repair and restore our bodies.  If we come home to an unclean or unsanitary home, we are risking re-admission or infection.

Consider these tips for a cleaner home :Domestic Cleaning Services

  • germs that cause infections can live on surfaces for months, and they can be spread either when the patient touches that surface or when a caregiver touches the surface then the patient.
  • hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent infections; but are germs lingering on the faucet handle? 
  • using microfiber mops and cloths, which can hold six times their weight in water and have a positive charge that attracts dirt, cut down on cross contamination when compared to cotton-loop mops, which need to be “re-dunked” into increasingly dirty mop water.
  • a cleaning service can deep clean your already neat home to ensure a sanitary atmosphere.

Aker Kasten Home Health Care feels strongly that a home should have a thorough cleaning prior to a client being discharged from hospital to increase their ability to recuperate fully and quickly.  So, in addition to the light housekeeping services our aides provide and the infection-control practices they follow, we have added a full service Housekeepers Plus option. 

Housekeepers Plus offers one time and recurring cleaning services and leaves your home fresh as a rose!   We ensure your home is a suitable healing environment in which your home health specialist can assist you in your recovery.

Even if your home is already tidy, our housekeepers can provide a deep clean so you can begin the fall season fresh.  Current Aker Kasten Home Health Care clients will receive a discount on their third service. 

Call now and ask Omar to provide you with a free in-home estimate.  Tell us how we can help you remain healthy and independent in your own home:  561-955-6010 or click here to request more information.