Posts Tagged ‘home health care’

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.

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!

Heart Health

by: John Aker | April 3rd, 2013

Did you know that today is National Walking DayAK_ServiceArea

Did you know that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease?

The American Heart Association has many tips and tools to help you discover the importance of physical activity.  One of the best things about walking as exercise is that walking is free, can be done anywhere (even walking in your home or marching in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks!) and can significantly improve your overall well-being.

Statistics show that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease.  And research indicates that poor lifestyle is a major contributor.  But don’t be discouraged–you can help reduce your risk right now by getting active and eating healthy.

Visit MyHeartMyLife.org for more information, tips, recipes, and even lists of walking clubs!  If they don’t have one near you–ask your caregiver to join your walking club!!

 

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.

 

 

 

Simple Nutrition

by: John Aker | March 22nd, 2013

March is National Nutrition Month, so this is a good time to gather up some helpful information about what to eat! 

For many of us, nutrition seems intimidating.  We are bombarded with information about diets, recipes, cooking shows, news stories advocating some new super food or health scares related to food.

Let’s be honest.  When many of us think about what we are going to eat it’s a matter of what do we have in the house.  And when we are in the grocery, we mostly look for items we know we enjoy. 

It does take a bit of effort to plan out healthy, balanced meals.  We all know we should.  But many of us don’t or won’t make that effort.  Sometimes we are unsure what to believe–what should we be eating?  In what quantities?  And how do we prepare quinoa?  In an ideal world, eating nutritiously would be simple.

Simple? Surprise–yes, it can be simple! Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to make huge changes to your routine.  Nutrition can be simple–and you truly can benefit right away by selecting simple, healthy options. 

Studies have shown that even those with chronic conditions might reduce symptoms after appropriate dietary changes.  So at your next visit, ask your doctor for nutritional advice.  In the meantime, we’ve collected a few items for your consideration:

Save Time & Money At The Grocery Store

·         Don’t shop when you are hungry

·         Make and stick to a shopping list

·         Organize your list into sections corresponding to the layout of your favorite store

·         Check for specials and sales

·         Don’t be afraid of larger bags of frozen items–just take out what you need and return to freezer

 

What’s On Your Plate?

Eating well and remaining active can make a dramatic difference in your quality of life.  You are never too young or too old to benefit from improved nutrition and fitness.  As we age, we need more nutrients, but fewer calories.  We particularly benefit from protein, B-vitamins and calcium.  A great resource is the USDA’s website MyPlate.gov.  The site can help you determine the right number of calories for an individual based on their age, and activity level, offers a wealth of information and resources and recipes, and even sample week-long menus.

This concept is pretty simple, really.  According to their recommendations, your meal should include:

·         Half of your plate should be filled with Fruits and Vegetables

·         Make at least half of your Grains whole (whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, etc)

·         Switch to Skim or 1% Milk

·         Vary your Protein food choices (lean meat, fish twice a week, beans)

·         Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars

·         Be physically active–even range of motion exercises in a chair counts and a brisk for just a few minutes a day will yield results! (Ask your caregiver to assist you to ensure your safety.)

 

How Many Calories Do You Need?

The number of calories you need depends on your age, gender, and activity level.  Here’s a basic guide, courtesy of eatright.org, for adults over 51 years of age:

                Activity Level                    Women               Men
               Sedentary (not active)        1,600                       2,000
                Moderately Active               1,800                      2,200-2,400
                Active                                     2,000-2,200         2,400-2,800

 

Snack Wisely to Avoid Overeating  At Mealtime
Many of us do feel hungry in between meals.  And, it can be fun to have a treat now and then.  Many experts agree that snacks are a good idea.  So go ahead and enjoy a small container of Greek yogurt…a whole wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter…a fresh apple or orange…or fresh veggie sticks.  These snacks can provide great nutrition and help you stick to smaller portions at mealtimes.  You can make a healthy, delicious snack a reward for exercising and feel a great sense of accomplishment for your efforts!  Be sure to drink plenty of water too–often we mistake thirst as hunger.  Medications often can cause a bit of dehydration or constipation so drinking more water than you think you need is likely a good policy.

As always, check with your physician before making changes to your diet or exercise routine.  And for more tips and hints, visit eatright.org and choosemyplate.gov. 

If you’d like individualized advice about meal planning and preparation, please call our office and ask for one of our nurses.  She can discuss your concerns and relay instructions to your caregiver too!

Bon appétit!

 

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.

 

National Nutrition Month

by: John Aker | March 8th, 2013

Most of us can recall being admonished by our mother to eat your vegatables!

Well, as usual, mom was right.  Even in our information age with scientific and medial breakthroughs, nothing seems to be able to take the place of proper nutrition.

As part of our eNewsletter this month (if you are not receiving your copy, sign up on our home page after you finish reading this article!), we provided a link to allow you to test your health eating IQ by taking a simple quiz which appeared in the Ladies Home Journal.   You might be surprised to learn something new about nutrition that you didn’t know before.  This quiz is quick (only 9 questions) and the right answers pop up after you enter your guess–and they provide additional information to truly educate you.

For instance, did you know that snacking doesn’t always inhibit weight loss?  It all depends on what you snack on!  Snacks that combine food groups (such as a slice of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter) help keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating at mealtime. 

If you have special chronic medical conditions or food allergies, it can be a bit difficult to eat nutritionally balanced meals.  If you find it difficult or just don’t know how to prepare meals that are nutritionally sound, call one of our nurses today to set up a brief visit.  We also make several cookbooks available in our Community Resource Library to address concerns such as heart health, diabetes, and more.  Ask your in home caregiver to help you shop and prepare more nutritionally sound meals and snacks and remember part of good nutrition is to remain hydrated so enjoy several glasses of water each day too!

Call us with any concerns or questions you may have but in the meantime, eat your vegatables!

Hearts Making a Difference

by: John Aker | February 13th, 2013

Operating a service-based business can be both challenging and exhilerating.  The greatest reward for our organization is realized when a client or family member tells us we’ve made a positive difference.  With a view to treating the whole person–not just assisting with physical needs, but also addressing emotional well-being as well, we seek to preserve dignity, promote quality of life, provide for safety, and protect the serenity of the family.  Whether we serve a client for 4 hours a week or 24/7 Live In care, we follow the same model of caring, from the heart.

Caring for the whole person can not be achieved by simply placing a caregiver in the home.  Each client is cared for by a Concierge Team, at no additional cost:  a primary caregiver, a respite coordinator, a nurse supervisor, and a concierge coodinator.  These team members work together to ensure quality outcomes and coordination of care.  (Also available upon request is access to a chaplain for spiritual and end of life care.)  When possible we communicate with a primary care physician and other health professionals to ensure our client’s condition and needs are constantly monitored and met. And will even send progress updates to a designated family member, if desired.

This agency was founded to make a difference in people’s lives.  We’ve learned that the impact of our care can be significant and powerful–despite the simplicity of what we do.

We take time throughout the year to gather our caregivers and acknowledge and honor their efforts to make a difference to our clients.  Their labors of love are rewarded and celebrated for it is not always easy work–but it is work they choose, and it comes from the heart.

We’ve been humbled by kind words for our caregivers, office staff, and leadership.  And yet, we know there is always room for improvement and we must continually strive to enhance our service to others.

Click on our Testimonials page to see what others are saying.  And take a moment to let us know how your caregiver is making a difference in your life.  It’s nearly Valentine’s Day so it’s a perfect time to share a positive word with someone in your life!

So, here’s our positive word to you:  we deeply appreciate you!  We are privileged to have become acquainted with you and to serve you.  From our hearts, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure & Sodium Intake

by: John Aker | March 28th, 2012

Do you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or a concern about your weight? If so, your physician may have encouraged you to modify your diet to improve your cholesterol, blood pressure or weight.

It may seem overwhelming at times when you feel need to make a lot of changes in your eating plan to make a difference in your cholesterol, blood pressure or weight. The good news is you can make simple, small changes with both your food choices and how you prepare your foods in order to positively impact your health.

In the coming weeks, we will explore other simple steps you can take to cut back on fat and calories and wyas to eat more high-fiber and whole-grain foods–all important steps toward a healthier diet. First, let’s look at 5 ways to lower your blood pressure and sodium intake because if you are concerned about your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is important.

  1. Season foods with black pepper, herbs and spices instead of salt. There are plenty of herbs and spices to add zest to your food–you will probably never miss the salt! Low- or No-Sodium salt substitutes are available, but check with your physician before using them if you have kidney problems.
  2. Buy fresh, plain frozen or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
  3. Use fresh poultry, fish, and meat instead of canned or processed meats. If you use prepackaged lunchmeat, be sure to purchase only low or no-sodium varieties. And beware: pre-seasoned items from your grocery store’s deli or meat counter may save you a minute in your kitchen, but could be loaded with sodium.
  4. Cook pasta, rice, and hot cereal without salt. Flavored pasta, rice mixes and instant hot cereal usually have added salt. Preparing pasta with a squirt of lemon or lime and steam rice with no-sodium chicken broth can add great flavor so you aren’t tempted to add salt at the table…
  5. Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and beans, before eating or adding to other foods to reduce the sodium content.

If someone else prepares your meals and snacks, as many of our home health specialists do, be sure to tell them if you are concerned about sodium intake so they can help avoided added salt in your diet.

For more information about obtaining help with meal preparation, go to our Contact page and let us know. We will be happy to help!

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.