Posts Tagged ‘caregiver’

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.

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!

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!

 

Marching On

by: John Aker | March 27th, 2013

March is nearly over. Did it come in like a lion or a lamb for you? We have enjoyed windy weather, the ides of March, college basketball’s March Madness is in full swing, and now you may find yourself involved in a religious observation of Passover or Resurrection Sunday, then the month is concluded. But wait! There’s more! It’s not over just yet.

March is also National Nutrition Month and before the month marches on, we wanted to remind you of a few resources to encourage you to eat well–all year long–and present you with a fun challenge…

Marching On Resources and Reminders
Remaining independent at home is a top priority for many of us.  As a home health provider, we are here to help you do just that!  So, we strongly encourage you to march on. Marching on consists of taking control of that which is within your grasp–namely eating right and exercising–foundations for well-being.

Proper nutrition plays an large role in our well-being, more so if you have any chronic conditions. Our Community Resource Library has great cookbooks–some of which center on meal planning and preparation for those with Arthritis, Diabetes, Hearth Health issues, Pain or inflammatory concerns, Parkinsons’s and even those who require soft foods only. If these are of interest to you, call 561-955-6010 and ask about borrowing a book or having a staff nurse assist you in reviewing them.

Be sure to spend some time investigating the latest information, helpful tips, and great recipes at:

 www.eatright.org       www.choosemyplate.gov      www.nutrition411.com

Did you know that our caregivers can help you choose healthy options at the grocery store and assist you in preparing and eating nutritious meals and snacks? Make a game of it and try a new, healthy recipe together. When you are ready to march on toward something bigger than just nutrition, tackle our challenge below.

The Challenge
To make eating healthier fun and prove it makes a difference, write down all that you eat and drink over a 7 day period. Weigh yourself the first day and write it down. Then write down all the foods and drinks you consume for the next seven days then weigh yourself again. Review your dietary choices. You may be surprised to learn you are already eating good, nutritious meals and snacks. Or, you might find that a few small changes are in order–give yourself some new marching orders.

If you do need to make healthier food choices, begin doing so and log all your food again for another week. (Be sure to list your beverages too–you may be surprised how little water you drink. And many medications can have a dehydrating effect so drinking more water could pay dividends in how you feel.) Weigh yourself again at the end of that week.

The next step would be to march on. That is, add a little walking to your day–your in home caregiver can accompany you. (Be sure to ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you.) Even if you can’t walk, you could easily add some movement to your day in the comfort of your own home. Our Community Resource Library offers chair exercise videos so dare your spouse or caregiver to exercise with you–see who can keep a smile on their face through an exercise. Let the winner choose the day’s healthy snack. Keep marching on, you will quickly feel a sense of accomplishment. And in just a short time, exercise and proper nutrition will make a big difference in how you feel!

If you embark on this home health challenge, please let us know. We would love to help encourage and support your healthy changes and celebrate with you when you feel better. Eat well and enjoy the rest of March!

At the top right hand corner of this page, click on the Face Book, Twitter, or Google+ icons to join the conversation. We can’t wait to hear from you…

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.

Avoid Re-Admittance After A Procedure or Hospitalization

by: John Aker | December 11th, 2012

According to research recently conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, patients who received assistance with medication compliance in their home following a procedure or hospitalization reduced their risk of re-admittance to 11% as compared to 34% of those who received no supportive in-home care.

This is just another study affirming the value of home health care and its vital role within a continuum of care which seeks to provide support medical providers such as physicians and hospitals. The goal is to keep you healthy and happy–AT HOME!

Home health care helps you follow doctor’s recommendations, take your medication properly, enjoy nutritionally balanced meals, reduce your risk of falls, and meet reasonable exercise goals–all while assisting with activities of daily living and encouraging your social engagement.

The leading causes of admittance or re-admittance to hospitals and other facilities are medication mismanagement, falls, and failure to make or attend follow up appointments with physicians. Having The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Family on your side will help minimize or eliminate these risks.

And our whole agency is dedicated to you as a whole person. When we introduce your in home caregiver–you actually have a team of professionals working for you behind the scenes.

Your care team will include:

  1. Primary Caregiver
  2. Respite/Back-up Coordinator
  3. Care Manager
  4. Nurse Supervisor
  5. Chaplain (upon request)

And this team is available to you at no additional cost! Each member of your care team has specific skills and sensitivities to ensure unparalleled service and care of your physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Call now for details on how we can help you remain healthy and happy in your own home!

561-955-6010

Don’t Take a Holiday from Exercise

by: John Aker | December 2nd, 2011

Courtesy of the Private Duty Home Duty Association

Exercise is an important part of life, particularly for senior clients. It’s a known mood and energy booster, great for the heart, and it helps control certain diseases and ailments, like diabetes. While most people are busy preparing for the approaching holiday, don’t take a holiday from maintaining fitness.

From candy to cake to rich stuffingAK_ServiceArea and gravies, it’s the season for indulgence. It’s also the season in which many people are prone to depression. Exercise can help combat holiday weight gain while generating mood-lifting endorphins that can keep clients from feeling the holiday blues. The following tips can ensure that clients stay active and fit during this busy time of year:

  • Encourage group fitness classes. When people exercise with others, they are more likely to feel encouraged and continue their fitness routine than when exercising alone. Find a list of group senior fitness classes in your area, and encourage clients to attend. Ask Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency about area classes that cater to seniors at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or local community centers or gyms, and offer transportation services when needed. In group classes, such as simple water or step aerobics, clients can get in a good workout and socialize at the same time.
  • Follow trends for fitness and fun with video gaming systems. Many video gaming systems now offer games that focus on getting users moving. The Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect are two systems that have become trendy tools in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country to help seniors stay mobile and increase coordination while having a little fun in the process. Maybe it’s time to invest in a game system and some exercise games, and challenge your caregiver to some fun and fitness. If you loved to bowl or play tennis in your prime, you can still enjoy the competition and movement of the online version without as much strain on your joints.
  • Enlist the family. With family and friends gathering together this time of year, create an exercise routine that the whole family can enjoy. From walking pets to competitive balancing exercises, ask your Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency caregiver to help you create a list of fun activities that all ages can participate in.

As always, check with your physician before implementing any new exercise routine.

 

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.