4 Different Types Of Long Term Care For Your Elderly Loved One

It’s hard watching those that took care of you growing up start to get old and lose their ability to take care of themselves properly. As your elderly loved one gets older, you might notice that they start to lose their ability to take their medication properly, bathe, keep organized, or simply feed themselves. When you notice their facilities declining, it is time to start thinking about different types of long-term care that are available. There are a few options when it comes to long-term care for your elderly loved one that should all be considered before you make a choice.

At Home Health Care

If your elderly loved one has a home and can mainly care for him- or herself, or if he or she lives with you or another loved one and simply needs care when you or another loved one is away or at work, then you may want to consider at home health care. At home health care allows on call nurses to service the needs of your elderly loved one. This can range from everything from serving your loved ones food to helping them with using the restroom to servicing the medical needs with which nurses are familiar. At home health care is great for those individuals who can still get around physically fine, but may need help with remembering things and doing small day-to-day tasks.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are for those elderly loved ones that require a bit more care than at home health can provide. Nursing homes provide 24 hour assistance to their clientele and provide them with all of the amenities and medical services that at home health care can provide. In addition, your loved one will be cared for in an environment where he or she can flourish and meet new individuals. Nursing homes are generally reserved for those with debilitating diseases or mental illnesses. Nursing homes can ensure that your elderly loved one receives the medical attention that they need and the sociability that is important for mental wellness, as well as ensure that no harm befalls them.

Retirement Homes

Retirement homes differ from nursing homes in the level of care that is given to their patients. Retirement homes are generally reserved for elderly individuals who do not require such an extensive amount of medical or nursing care. They generally allow their members a greater deal of autonomy, and host numerous events throughout the month. Everything from low impact sports to communal games such as bingo are played at these establishments. Retirement homes will often have communal eating spaces and nurses that can check up on their clients day-to-day, but that aren’t a constant presence. This option is great for those with slight medical needs who are competent enough to only need small check-ins.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care refers to an institution where elderly members are allowed to mingle with other elderly members of the community in a daytime setting. This differs from at home health care due to the fact that the elderly loved one will visit the institution rather than receiving at home care where the nurse will visit the loved one’s home, or the home of the person the loved one is staying at. Adult day care usually provides a small degree of medical and nursing services, coupled with meals and activities to keep your loved one occupied throughout the day.

Providing your loved one with the care that they need in their old age need not be a difficult proposition. Be sure to talk with your elderly loved one, if their facilities permit, to get their input on what type of long-term care they would like to receive. You should also monitor their abilities, as some aging people will need a lot more care than others. It can be difficult to start long-term care for your elderly loved one, but ultimately it will lead to an overall better quality of life for both you and them.

You can click here for more information about care options in your area. 

Home Health Tips For Proper Waste Disposal

If you live with a parent, spouse, or sibling who is ill, then you have likely hired a home health aide to come into your home while you work or take care of other responsibilities.  This aide can administer medications with syringes, and they can clean wounds and change bandages.  Also, soiled items can be taken care of by the professional.  Your aide knows how to deal with sharp and soiled objects properly, but you probably do not.  You may need to do some of the same things the aide does after they leave the home, so follow the tips below to make sure that sharp and dirty items are discarded properly.

Take Care of Sharp Materials

One of the most important things you can do in the home to ensure safety is to dispose of sharp items carefully.  Sharp needles, lancets, syringes, razorblades, and any other sharp item that needs to be thrown away should not be placed in the garbage.  These items place garbage collection professionals, housekeepers, home health aides, and family members at risk of needle sticks and injuries.  This can cause the spread of blood-borne pathogens, bacteria, and other dangerous microorganisms.  

Most medical facilities and waste generating establishments are required by state law to separate, contain, transport, and get rid of sharp materials in a safe fashion.  You do not need to follow these rules in the home because you are not a professional, but you should be conscious of public health risks anyhow.

Create a Sharps Container

A sharps container is a good way to dispose of sharp items.  You can purchase a sharps container at your local pharmacy, hospital, or medical supply store.  Your home health aide may be able to supply you with one as well.  If you do not want to purchase a sharps container, you can make one yourself.  Locate a container in your home that is made out of thick plastic.  A laundry detergent container or an empty bleach bottle is a good choice.  Stay away from milk jugs, tupperware containers, or dish soap bottles.  Thin, small, and open top containers can all cause spills and injuries.

Once you have the container, use a permanent marker to label it.  Words like “danger” and “sharps inside” should be used.  Place the container in the bathroom or kitchen and store sharp materials inside of it.  Make sure the cap is always secured on top, and only fill the container about two-thirds full.  This is best so the sharps can be removed easily.  Once the container is full, take it to a sharps drop off location.  Local pharmacies, hospitals, health departments, and police stations are likely to accept the containers.  Hazardous waste collection sites and mail-back programs can be used as well.

Dispose of Soiled Materials

You may need to get rid of soiled bandages, clothing, sheets, and other materials while your home health aide is away.  These types of items do not require special handling and disposal like sharp items, but they do require proper disposal.  This helps to protect you and others from potential hepatitis and HIV transmission.  Also, it keeps you from coming into contact with fecal matter that may contain harmful bacteria.

To take care of soiled items properly, wear a pair of exam or surgical gloves.  Vinyl exam gloves are a good option, because they are inexpensive and soft, and they offer proper barrier protection.  With the gloves on, pick up the soiled item and place it directly into a plastic garbage bag.  Biohazard bags are not required for this, but you may want to purchase a heavy or extra heavy strength bag that will resist tears and punctures.  Bags that are between 1.2 and 2.7 mils thick are a good choice.

Once the soiled material is placed in the bag, close the top with a tight knot.  Place the bag directly into a garbage can for general garbage pick up.

If you have hired a home health aide, then this professional is probably used to dealing with sharp medical wastes and soiled items.  You may need to deal with these same sorts of items after the aide leaves your home.  You can do so in a safe manner by following the tips above.

Home Health Aide Tips: Reducing Stress And Agitation In Alzheimer’s Patients

If you are a home health care aide, then you may take care of patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.  Older individuals with Alzheimer’s can be quite challenging, and you may find that you have to deal with agitation and general behavioral issues.  These problems often occur due to stress, and the patient also may be trying to cope with confusion and the loss of independence.  You can help to reduce issues with behavior by creating a supportive and calm environment in the home.  Follow the tips below to do this.

Play Classical Music

Many people respond emotionally to music.  Music can make you feel happy, sad, energized, or mad.  Some tunes can also reduce stress and provide a sense of calm.  This is true of classical music, and research indicates that it can reduce emotional distress, boost quality of life, reduce depression, and increase self-esteem.  Music played at a low volume is best for stress relief, and you also should consider sonatas or compositions with a slow tempo.  This can help to reduce the heart rate and pulse.

Consider playing classical music throughout the day on a stereo system, and provide your patient with a small CD player or MP3 player so music can be heard through headphones during alone times.  When picking out music to play, consider compositions from composers like Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Vivaldi, Verdi, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky.  Music from these composers is considered slow and your patient may also recognize some sonatas you play.  This may bring back memories and help to encourage brain stimulation while stress is reduced.

Exercise

There are many reasons why an Alzheimer’s patient may show signs of aggression, depression, and stress.  Poor sleeping habits may be one reason for these emotional difficulties.  People with Alzheimer’s typically stay up later at night and wake up more often after falling asleep.  Also, some elderly individuals may become drowsy in the afternoon and choose to take a nap.  People with Alzheimer’s also naturally become confused and agitated in the evening, and this sort of situation is called sundowning.  Sundowning can cause a great deal of restlessness at night.

Depression also may cause sleeping difficulties as well and pain may be a contributing factor too.  All of these issues can be helped or assisted through exercising.  Exercising will produce endorphins in the brain to elevate the mood, and activities will loosen muscles, tendons, and ligaments to minimize general soreness.  Also, exercise will help to tire out the patient, so they can sleep better at night.

Activity Options

Many older individuals do not have a great deal of physical strength.  This means that most forms of aerobic exercise are out of the question.  Walking is a good form of exercise though, so consider taking the patient for walks during the day.  Mall walking is a great option.  These types of walks provide a specific routine and repetition.  Both routines and repetitive tasks can be soothing for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Walks outdoors are a good option as well, because the sun can reduce depression symptoms.  If you travel outside for exercise, just make sure that your patient has the right type of sneakers to wear.  Shoes with flexible soles are a good option, because the feet can better feel and grip the ground. Breathable uppers are a good choice too, because they help to reduce sweating. The shoes also should have velcro closures so the patient can easily close the sneakers themselves and feel a sense of independence.

If the sneakers are not enough to provide support during walks, then consider providing your patient with a rollator device.  Rollators are rolled walkers and some of these devices have thick, rubber, all-terrain wheels that are perfect for outdoor excursions.

If you take care of Alzheimer’s patients, then you likely notice some aggression, agitation, and stress issues on occasion.  You can reduce some of these behavioral issues by playing classical music and by exercising with him or her.