Author Archives: VGMAdmin

Alternatives to Taking Away the Keys

It’s never easy to watch our parents grow older, especially as we find ourselves having conversations with them about their independence. Driving, in particular, can be a sticky subject. On one hand, you don’t want them to be unsafe. On the other, you know what losing that much freedom will mean to them.

Fortunately, there may be some alternatives to giving up the keys completely, including:

  • Sign up for a driver’s safety course with them to help them refresh their skills. By taking it together, you can keep them from feeling singled out and isolated.
  • Many occupational therapists specialize in driving rehabilitation, and can make recommendations for adaptive equipment that will allow your loved one to continue driving even when their physical health declines. Offer to explore that route with them before they give up driving.
  • The time of day can affect how well they drive. If they’re having problems at night, help them work out an alternative schedule. Can they take that gym class during the day instead of the evening? Can they meet their friends for morning coffee or lunch instead of dinner?
  • Find out all the alternative transportation options available in your community, including buses, subways, taxis, etc. Contact your Area Agency on Aging to see if they offer a senior transportation service. While they may not be ready to stop driving quite yet, if they’re having a bad day these services can prevent an accident from happening.
  • Make sure their car is up-to-date on maintenance. If they’re already slow to respond in a traffic situation, it won’t help if their tires are bald or their brake pads are low.

 

If these solutions don’t work and it really is time for mom and dad to give up the keys, remember that it’s you and them against the problem, not you against them. By making their unsafe driving a problem that you’re tackling together, you can take some of the adversity out of the situation.

Choice Health Management is here for you no matter what decision you and your parents make. We offer transportation as a part of our suite of services, in case it is time for mom and dad to no longer drive. Why not check out the Choice Difference today?

Helping Your Elderly Loved One Celebrate the Holidays

They say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but if your loved one recently moved into an assisted living facility, they may be feeling like they’re missing out. Today, Choice Health Management is here with some tips on how you can help your loved ones celebrate the holidays no matter where they’re living:

Decorations:

Hopefully, your loved one saved their Christmas decorations when they moved! These often have strong memories tied to them, and can help your loved one feel like they’re in a familiar place. Set aside a date when you can come over and help them set these sentimental objects up. If they have trouble getting around, your assistance (and company) will be especially appreciated!

Traditions:

Try to keep as many traditions as possible. Some may not be feasible in their new living arrangements. For example, if they usually hosted large gatherings, they may not have the space to do so any longer. However, if you decorated cookies together every year or went on annual shopping excursions, you should try to keep these up. You may need to make some accommodations if they have mobility issues, but these can be easily solved with items such as walkers, rollators or mobility scooters.

Use Sensitivity:

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or Dementia, they can be easily confused. Decorating their room with new items could cause them to become agitated. If, however, you do have some objects from their past, it can actually help them with their short-term memory. Just realize that sometimes, nothing you do can be quite right. In those situations, go easy on yourself and your loved one. Their condition is difficult on both of you!

Remember to take an evening to yourself every now and then. It can be tempting to go overboard during the holiday season, but you don’t want to burn yourself out. In the meanwhile, we’re here to make sure that your relative is able to enjoy the holiday season in comfort!

Words to Say To a Loved One Who Has Lost Their Independence

Phrases meant to encourage may have an opposite effect if they’re mistimed or misinterpreted. This can be especially true if your loved one has recently had a life-altering medical incident that has left them unable to care for themselves. Here’s some inspirational words you can use to help encourage a loved one who may have recently lost their independence:

“I know how you feel.” But you don’t.  Express empathy and interest by asking them to put their experience into their own words, which allows you to show support through active listening.

Try instead: “I can’t imagine everything you’re going through, but I want to try. Can you tell me about it?”

 “This could have been so much worse.” A phrase like this can easily come across as “you’re being ungrateful.” While you’re thankful they’ve survived, they may be weighed down by loss, frustration, and the fear of an uncertain future.

                Try instead: “While I’m glad you’re still here, I’m sorry you have to go through this.”

“Here, let me do it.” Your loved one is still getting a sense of what they can and cannot do independently. Give them a sense of control by asking them to delegate help when they decide they need it rather than hopping in when you think you do.

                Try instead: “You do what you can. Tell me when and how I can step in.”

“It’s time to start moving forward.” Your perception of “ready” may be lightyears different from your loved one’s. Though they may need a nudge if they’re resisting change, their opinion is the one that ultimately matters.

Try instead: “I know what you’re capable of and don’t want to see you get stuck in a less-than-best version of yourself. What are you willing to try today?”

You have their best intentions in mind. ­­Now put the best words in your mouth. At Choice Health Management, we can give your loved one the long-term care they need if they’ve become unable to live on their own. Schedule an appointment with us today to see the Choice Difference!

How to Keep from Getting Caregiver Burnout This Holiday Season

As a caregiver, you’ve probably given more of yourself than you ever thought possible. During the holidays, you may find yourself giving even more. This time of year is so taxing that many people in your position find themselves going through a burnout. Today, we have three tips that can help you get through the holiday season:

  1. Keep Your Routine

Gatherings, shopping trips, and reunions can make it difficult to maintain a steady routine. Avoid over-scheduling and try to stick as close as possible to your regular schedule. If you cannot make it to every holiday event, don’t be afraid to say so.

  1. Start New Traditions

 

When you first found yourself taking on the role of caretaker, you no doubt found your life changing dramatically, taking on a “new normal.” Likewise, your holidays may need to take on a new normal, as there are some traditions that may just be out of reach. Work with your loved one to create rituals that will accommodate both of you and that still encompass your sense of the season.

 

  1. Focus on what you can control

 

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things to face as a caretaker is the loss of control. You can’t control the how the health condition is affecting your loved one, and you can’t control how much of your time is taken away from you. During the holidays, this can be especially apparent as you have to say “no” to invitations that you would like to say “yes” to.

 

While you can’t control the circumstances, you can control your attitude. A positive outlook can help increase your energy, mood and productivity, which can translate into being able to do more during the holidays.

Remember to take a step back and allow some self-care during this hectic time of year. If you need any other tips on how to make this time of year better for you and your loved one, stop by and talk to our experts!

 

5 Holiday Survival Tips for Those with Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, and it’s no coincidence it falls at the start of the holiday season. Numerous upcoming celebrations will present plenty of opportunity to indulge in sugary, carb-filled treats.

If you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes, you’re probably not looking forward to the temptation that’s about to present itself. That’s why we’re offering these 5 tips to survive the holidays when you have this condition:

  • Eat ahead of time.

 

If you’re invited over to dinner, make sure you eat a small, diabetes-friendly meal before you head out. Once you arrive, dine on micro-sized portions. This way, you’re not filling up on food that could give you a blood-sugar spike, but you’re also not hurting your host’s feelings by refusing their food.

 

  • Check your blood sugar frequently

 

Even if you are watching what you eat, you should still keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels. This is especially true if you’re about to adjust your insulin dose or go driving. You may need to make allowances to account for changes in your exercise schedule or diet.

 

  • Shift your food budget for special food

 

Does your auntie make a special nut roll every year that you just have to have? Adjust your food budget so you can include it in your daily carb intake. For example, if you usually have a certain number of carbs or sugar at dinner, cut back so that it’s lower than normal. That way, you can partake in your annual tradition!

 

  • Be smart at parties.

 

Don’t sit near the buffet table, as this may present too much temptation. If you do partake of the food, use a napkin instead of a plate—you’ll put less on it. If alcohol is offered, temper how much you drink. Even moderate alcohol intake can affect your blood sugar level, so don’t drink on an empty stomach.

 

  • Ask if you can bring a dish.

 

If your friends or relatives know that you’re dealing with a health issue, they’ll probably be open to you to bringing something that’s friendly to your condition. Take a fruit or veggie platter along to share with everyone, so you don’t feel so alone!

 

In the whirlwind of activities, we urge you to keep in mind what the season is about—and why you’re making steps towards a healthier self. Focusing on both these things will hopefully lead to a less stressful holiday experience.

 

Don’t Let Your Mobility Aid Cause You to Have a Fall!

Falls are the number-one reason why senior citizens are hospitalized each year, with 29 million falls occurring in 2014 alone. Of those, the CDC found that 47,000 involved the use of a walker, rollator or cane. That’s why it’s so important to be sure you’re using your walking aid properly. Today, Choice Health Management is going to give you some tips on how to avoid a fall when using mobility aid:

  • Make sure that it’s the proper height. No matter which device you’re using, your arms shouldn’t be bent or raised in an uncomfortable way.
  • Place the device in front of you and step into it. This is true of both a cane and a walker, and it shouldn’t be placed so far in front that you have trouble stepping into it.
  • Use proper posture. If you are hunched or slouched over, this will make it easier for you to sustain a fall while using your mobility aid.
  • When getting up and down from a chair, put your mobility aid in front of you and push up. Trying to grasp it after you’ve stood up could cause you to fall.
  • Make sure your path is cleared of anything that could trip you up, such as rugs, cords and other clutter.

In addition to using your cane or walker properly, there are some other things you can do to prevent experiencing a fall, such as:

  • Exercising regularly.
  • Finding out from your doctor if your medications will have side-effects such as making you dizzy, tired or weak.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly to make sure your prescriptions are still working as they should.
  • Revamp your home environment to make sure it’s safe. This includes installing bathroom safety equipment such as grab bars, raised toilet seats and shower chairs.

For more tips on how to avoid a fall, talk to the experts at Choice Health Management. We can demonstrate in person how to best use a walker, rollator or cane and help you avoid a costly trip to the emergency room!

 

5 Ways to be Proactive about Your Incontinence

Adult incontinence is not a common discussion around the dinner table. Fortunately, there are some valuable resources that can help you navigate many day-to-day tasks associated with incontinence. Choice Health Management offers these five tips to help make your days a little bit easier:

 

  • Understand how frequently you may need to change.

 

Most people need to change their disposable underwear every two to three hours. However, others release small amounts of urine throughout the day, instead of voiding all at once. If this is the case for you, underwear liners may be a better fit than disposable underwear.

 

  • Different sizes mean different absorbency.

 

A good rule of thumb is to go with the smallest size that fits you, as this is the best way to prevent leakage. The exception to this rule is when you need extra protection, as larger sizes typically provide more absorbency.

 

  • Take the outer shell into consideration.

 

Adult incontinence products are usually encased in a plastic or cloth-like outer shell. Plastic is more effective at masking odor and preventing leaks. However, it makes a crinkling noise while you move around or upon sitting. The cloth-like outer shell provides a much quieter alternative.

 

  • Superabsorbent is ideal for nighttime use.

 

Getting up to change in the middle of the night is disruptive, which is why you want to use disposable underwear that’s labeled as “superabsorbent” when you sleep. In general, it can hold twice the amount of urine that regular absorbency can, and it’s designed to pull the void away from the skin.

 

  • An underpad is a great backup in case of leakage.

 

Unfortunately, leaks do happen from time to time. That’s why it’s a good idea to use disposable underpads on beds, sofas, chairs and even car seats. They can soak up anything that might seep through, saving you from cleaning up your furniture.

At Choice Health Management, we know that living with incontinence is not easy. However, having the right products can make all the difference. By following these tips, you should hopefully make this condition a little easier to manage!

5 Tips for Healthy Aging

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, when it comes to your age and achieving new health milestones, nothing could be further from the truth! There’s a lot you can do to improve your heath and functionality well into your 60’s and beyond. Since September is Healthy Aging Month, Choice Health Management is excited to provide you hints and tips to help you age like the best:

  • Do Daily Stretches

Even five minutes a day can help. Stretching increases flexibility, relieving discomfort from arthritis and other chronic conditions. Doing this daily can also help strengthen your muscles and sense of balance, which may mean a lower risk of a fall.

 

  • Workout

 

You don’t need to do anything strenuous. Simply taking a walk around the block can be beneficial for your health. Many seniors find that as they start exercising, they expand what kinds of movements they’re able to do. Strengthening your muscles also has the added potential benefit of lowering your blood pressure and weight!

 

  • Preventative maintenance

 

Things such as yearly checkups, flu shots and getting screened for cancer are key to keeping your health up. It’s also important to keep your eye on high blood pressure or the early stages of diabetes.

 

  • Stay Connected

 

This can get harder as we age, but maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family members has been proven to extend people’s lifetime. Making an effort to stay connected to your loved ones helps you be proactive in your own health.

 

  • Maintain a Positive Outlook

 

If you see the glass as half full… then it really is! A nine-year study found that seniors who described themselves as optimistic had a 55 percent lower risk of dying during that time period than those who described themselves as pessimists. Having a positive outlook on life can impact your physical health as well for the better.

 

By following these steps, you’ll hopefully be able to boost your personal wellness throughout your Golden Years. At Choice Health Management, we specialize in helping individuals age in-home. Call us today to find out how we can equip you to remain in the same household where you have formed so many life-long relationships.

5 Ways to Avoid the Flu This Season

While the CDC recommends that receiving the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent coming down with influenza, not all people are able or comfortable having it done. Today, Choice Health Management is here with five ways that you can protect yourself from the virus this year:

  1. Wash Your Hands

This is perhaps the most crucial, if not most overlooked preventative measure you can take to protect yourself from germs. A good rule of thumb is to rub the soap in your hands for about the same amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song under warm water.

  1. Avoid Touching Your Face

By touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, bacteria has a chance to make its way into your body much faster. Germs are most commonly spread by touching something that has been contaminated and then bringing those germs up to your face.

  1. Disinfect Surfaces

Clean surfaces and objects with disinfectants in order to keep away from the germs. By keeping a clean environment, you will be less likely to touch something contaminated and become sick.

  1. Cover Coughs & Sneezes

To avoid spreading the flu, be sure to cover your cough or sneeze with your arm. By coughing into your arm, you are taking the preventative measure to not spread the flu by having germs on your hands.

  1. Avoid Contact

If someone is sick or looking sluggish, try to stay away from them and objects they touch. By keeping out of coughing range, you will minimize your exposure to germs and have a better chance of staying healthy.

These tips are simple but crucial in aiding your health, so you can be at your best this flu season. By taking precaution and spreading these simple tips around, you can help others stay healthy and away from the flu bug!

5 Tips to Managing Arthritis

being incredibly painful, it adds the additional frustration of limiting one’s ability to enjoy normal day-to-day activities. However, some relief is available. Choice Health Management would like to offer these tips, courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation:

 

  1. Understand all of your treatment options: Exercise, arthritis pain medication or joint surgery for severe arthritic cases can reduce or eliminate your pain caused by arthritis.

 

  1. Eat the right foods: Following an anti-inflammatory diet full of fish and vegetables could potentially reduce arthritic flare-ups. Eating healthy can also result in weight loss, which can reduce pressure on your joints, easing your arthritic pain.

 

  1. Find the right exercise plan for you: If you are in pain caused by arthritis, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. Activities such as water aerobics and swimming can give you the exercise you need without increasing your joint pain brought on by arthritis.

 

  1. Take frequent breaks: Whether you’re in the middle of an arthritis flare-up or you want to avoid another flare-up, it’s important for you to give yourself a break. Taking short naps, going to bed early to get a full 8 hours of sleep, and resting when you feel tired can help reduce the pain caused by arthritis.

 

  1. Utilize arthritis mobility products: Give your joints a rest and reduce your recovery time after an arthritic flare-up by using mobility products specially designed for those who suffer from pain caused by arthritis.

 

At Choice Health Management, we assist elderly residents with a wide range of different conditions, including arthritis. Our in-house therapy team works with residents to reduce the aches and pains they feel from this disease.  Contact us today to set up an appointment to see the Choice difference!