Category Archives: Age Advantage Senior Home Care Palm Bay Florida (FL)

10 Tips for Caring for Elderly Parents

caring for elderly in Melbourne Florida1. Set Boundaries. While it might be difficult to set boundaries with someone you love, it is an important part of caregiving. There are certain things you may not be able to do, and they will need to know those things from the beginning.

2. Know where documents are. Wills, insurance policies, tax information, bank accounts, and other documents that are essential to your parent’s business life should be taken care of and kept safe.

3. Don’t back away from disagreements. Your parents are accustomed to being the boss in your relationship, but being their caregiver means you have to have some degree of input.

4. Allow for as much autonomy as possible. While your elderly parents might now require more care, it’s important to their psychological health to have all the independence they reasonably can.

5. Discuss difficult topics early. Caring for the elderly can involve some painful conversations about life and death, but don’t shy away from them. Getting them talked through early on will allow you a greater handle on the situation.

6. Include other family members in the care. While you may be the primary caregiver, other members of your family should still be lending a hand in other ways.

7. Don’t make it all business all the time. While caregiving might become your job, make sure to have fun with your parent. Go on outings, if possible, or set up times to watch a favorite television show together or play a game.

8. Network with other caregivers in similar situations. Not only will this help keep you up to date on developments in caregiving, it will also give you someone to talk to who will understand you.

9. Take care of yourself. Don’t neglect your own health and needs. This may seem obvious, but neglecting oneself is often overlooked when you have someone else who requires constant care.

10. Know when arrangements aren’t working. Not everyone is equipped to take care of elderly parents, and there is nothing wrong with that. If your situation becomes untenable, there is nothing wrong with finding another way to handle your parent’s care.

Tips for Aging Gracefully at Home

Senior womanMillions of family members face difficult decisions regarding the care of their aging parents. While this is a normal part of life, it can pose many concerns for seniors. In most cases, senior citizens prefer to live in their own environment and have access to their own things. If you are one of these individuals, staying in your home is still possible. Using these tips, you can keep your independence while aging gracefully at home.

Care at Home

Depending on your physical and mental condition, home health care may be a smart option. Of course, discuss the need with your children, doctors, and other family members. If they feel you need full-time care, it is only in your best interest. However, if you are in good health, part-time care in your home can be beneficial.

Emotional Support

As you age, you may feel many different emotions. This is normal, but talking about your feelings can help prevent the onslaught of depression or other anxiety disorders. Receive emotional support from your physician, church, or a good friend on a regular basis. Discussing your wants and needs may seem only emotional, but it can affect your physical well being, too.

Get Out

If you are staying in your home as you age, it is still important to get out into the world. Schedule a weekly outing with friends, visit museums, or just go for a daily walk, if physically possible.

Living as an independent person is important for the elderly, as well. Staying in your own home is possible for seniors with the right frame of mind, medical help, and emotional support. With these tips, you can age gracefully in your own home.

Getting Help With the Holiday Blues

While the holidays are considered a joyous time for most people, the fact is that many of us feel sadness or depressed during the Christmas season. This is often especially true for seniors, who may be dealing with the loss of loved ones or friends or facing health conditions of their own. If you or an older family member is feeling depressed this year, the good news is that it is treatable. Here are some steps to take.

Be Aware of the Signs of Depression

By knowing what constitutes depression, you will more easily be able to seek help. In addition to feelings of sadness, you or your loved one may experience difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, loss of interest in normal activities, or feelings of hopelessness, irritability, or even anger.

Connect with Support Systems

Even if you don’t feel like socializing, connecting with family members and friends can help lift the fog of holiday depression. Make plans with loved ones or participate in activities with church groups or other organizations you’re involved with. Seeing friendly faces can make a world of difference.

Help with Tasks

If your family member lives independently but is no longer able to easily decorate, bake, shop, or do other rituals that signify the holiday season, he or she may feel depressed. Help alleviate these feelings by pitching in on these tasks. This is not only a great use of family time but can help him or her feel more festive and less isolated.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, feeling sad is more than just the blues–it’s clinical depression. If you think you or a family member may be clinically depressed, talk with your doctor. He or she can prescribe medications or recommend talk therapy to help you feel more like your old self again.

How Medicare Works For Seniors in Palm Bay FL

How Medicare Works
By Stephanie Miles, senior editor

Medicare is the government’s contract to provide healthcare insurance coverage for Americans over the age of 65. But, as with all contracts, it’s always smart to read the fine print.

Medicare pays for about half of all medical costs for older Americans, including hospitalization, doctors, some nursing care, some prescription drug costs, and medical equipment and supplies. But there’s much that Medicare doesn’t cover, as well as an alphabet soup of coverages, premiums, deductibles, and eligibility requirements that can be difficult to navigate — especially for someone facing a health crisis.

Here are the basics everyone should know about Medicare, and where to look for more information if you need it:

What is Medicare?

Medicare consists of four categories:

Part A covers hospitalization, some skilled nursing facility and home health care, and hospice.

Part B covers doctors’ services and outpatient care such as X-rays, laboratory work, some home health care, physical and occupational therapy, and some preventive screening.

Then there’s Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, which is Medicare received through a private managed care system such as an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). When someone enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan, they receive all the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, as well as some additional coverage provided by the private plan. As with other managed care, however, Medicare Advantage plans limit where and how their members may receive care.

Finally, there’s Medicare Part D, which consists of private insurance plans that partially cover prescription drug costs.

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Senior Care Palm Bay FL: How Medicaid Works

How Medicaid Works
By Joseph L. Matthews, Author

Medicaid is a federal government program to help provide healthcare coverage to certain categories of people who have low income and few assets (other than the home they live in). Among those covered by Medicaid are people over 65 and those with disabilities.

Each state runs its own version of Medicaid, with slightly different rules and coverage.

The Medicaid program has several different parts:

  • Medicaid medical coverage includes most common forms of healthcare, as explained in this article. Medicaid medical benefits cover at least the same healthcare services that Medicare does, as well as some services that Medicare doesn’t cover. Medicaid also pays Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-payments for people who are enrolled in both programs.
  • A separate part of Medicaid covers long-term nursing home care.
  • Special Medicaid-funded programs cover long-term, in-home personal care. Income and asset eligibility rules for these long-term, at-home care programs are usually quite a bit looser than for regular Medicaid medical coverage.
  • In some states, a Medicaid-related program can pay some of the cost of assisted living.

Finding out about your state’s Medicaid programs

To find out exactly what Medicaid and Medicaid-related programs operate in your state, what they cover, and who’s eligible, contact a local office of your state’s Medicaid program.

To find a local Medicaid office, go to the federal government’s website and choose your state. This will take you to a page with contact information for your state’s Medicaid program and information about local offices.

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Vitamin D Linked To Reduced Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk in Palm Bay FL

Vitamin D Linked To Reduced Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk
by Kangna Agarwal

Consider adding vitamin D in your daily diet. A new study suggests that high levels of vitamin D in older adults can cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin present in many foods such as fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel), fortified milk, breakfast cereals, and some juices. Available as a dietary supplement, it is also produced by the body when exposed to sunlight.

The sunshine vitamin is important for numerous reasons; it boosts immunity needed for bone growth, reduces inflammation and the risk of cancers, controls blood pressure, lessens joint pain, and helps prevent osteoporosis.

28 studies reviewed

A research team from the Warwick Medical School analyzed 28 studies to determine whether vitamin D lowered the risk of cardio metabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes [Also called non-insulin dependent diabetes; a condition in which the pancreas produces so little insulin that the body cannot use the blood glucose as energy; can often be controlled through meal plans and physical activity plans, and diabetes pills or insulin.] mellitus, and metabolic syndrome.

The studies published between 1990 and 2009 looked at 99,745 men and women across a variety of ethnic groups.

Nearly 14 studies were conducted in the United States; eight were European, two from Iran, three from Australia, and one from India.

Outcome of the study

Based on the data, the researchers found a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and lower chances of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

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If you or someone you know needs help with home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding area, contact the caregivers at Age Advantage. We provide quality and affordable in home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at 321-676-0103 for more information.

Why Caregivers in Palm Bay FL Need Respite Care

Why Caregivers in Palm Bay FL Need Respite Care

Giving Yourself a Break Helps You and Your Loved One

From Carrie Hill, PhD

Caregivers who use respite care often tell me that although caregiving is one of the hardest jobs they’ve ever had, they wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Helping a family member or close friend who has Alzheimer’s disease can provide a sense of purpose and great satisfaction.

Still, the emotional and physical demands of caregiving make it hard to be a caregiver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without respite care — a temporary break from the demands of caregiving — you may be more susceptible to the effects of caregiver stress, such as depression, exhaustion and other health problems.

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The caregivers at Age Advantage are available to talk with you and your family about all of your live-in home care needs. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing quality, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas. Call 321-676-0103 for more information.

Senior Care Palm Bay FL: February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Heart health is an area of grave concern among healthcare professionals, policy makers and the government. Heart disease has killed more Americans than any other diseases or chronic illnesses. It is the leading cause of death among patience of all race, gender and age. About 785,000 patients in the nation suffer their first heart attack every year and 470,000 of them have recurring heart attacks in a year. It has been estimated that heart attack affects one patient in every 34 seconds in America, costing a whopping healthcare bill of $316.4 billion a year. The risks of heart disease also dramatically increases with age affecting one in every five women above the age of 65 as compared to one in every 10 women between ages 45 and 65.

For 37 years, the American Heart Association tirelessly organized and campaigned for the fight against heart disease. February is the ‘American Heart Month’ where efforts are spent to increase awareness and raise funds for research and education on heart disease. 

Heart disease is a lifestyle-related condition. Risk factors that can lead to heart disease or stroke are physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and alcohol. As more elderly patients tend to have high cholesterol, high blood sugar or high blood pressure conditions coupled by weaker immunity systems, healthy living to promote elderly health is one of the primary concerns during American Heart Month.

Good heart health can be attained by adopting change in lifestyle, diet and regular monitoring of one’s blood sugar level, cholesterol level and blood pressure. The following are five healthy living tips to good senior health that not only help keep heart disease at arm’s length but also increase one’s quality of life.

Regular Exercise or Physical Activity

Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best remedy for elderly health and wellbeing. Walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, golf, dancing and others help to build strong healthy hearts and help to improve blood circulation. In fact, statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle is a leading threat to heart health; those who are physically inactive and seldom participate in regular exercise program are 39.5 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke.

Balanced Diet 
Healthy living starts with balanced diets rich in fiber and low in trans fat, sugar and sodium. Elderly patients should also consume high nutrient foods that are good for the heart and body as a whole. Greasy food and food high in trans fat found in cooking oil and meat should be avoided to prevent gradual formation of blockage in the arteries especially among elderly patients’ whose body metabolism decreases with age.

Control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level 

Senior health checks should never exclude regular monitoring of seniors’ blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level as these are among the top risk factors to cardiovascular disease. Senior patients can perform regular monitoring of their conditions at home and take precautionary measures such as diet and prescribed medication if levels are higher than normal.

Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Being overweight can also lead to heart disease or stroke; it is as unhealthy to one’s heart as it is to one’s bones and joints. Excessive fats in the body can strain the heart and cause additional stress on the bones and joints. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to good senior health as it helps to prevent adverse conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can potentially lead of heart disease.

Stop Smoking and excessive Alcohol intake
Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol are harmful habits that are especially damaging to elderly patients. Smoking increases the chances of blood clot and accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, hence increasing the risks of coronary heart disease. It can also increase the chances of a relapse or recurring heart attack. Smoking is also linked to many elderly health conditions such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

Home care counselors at Age Advantage are available to talk with you about your live-in home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas.

Elder Care Palm Bay FL: What Does It Feel Like To Be 75?

What Does It Feel Like To Be 75? Say Goodbye To Spry

by Jennifer Ludden

While reporting my recent series on Aging At Home, I came across a special suit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. It’s meant to help 20-something engineers feel the aches and limitations of an average 75-year-old so they can design better products for them.

Think of it as working like those outfits Superheroes put on, only backward. Of course, I couldn’t resist. Now, I’m 40-something — no spring chicken. But if the crosswalk light is blinking, I can still dash across the street, no problem.

Until, that is, MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo starts strapping me into what she calls her Age Gain Now Empathy System. I pull a harness around my waist and Puleo starts attaching things to it. First, stretchy rubber bands connect from my waist to the bottom of my feet. "It will limit your hip flexion," Puleo explains.

The act of having to balance makes you more fatigued. – MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo, talking about foam-padded sandals that are part of her Age Gain Now bodysuit. That means no more sprinting. More stretchy bands restrict my arm movements.

There are knee pads and Velcro wrist braces; rubber gloves to lessen sensation in my fingers; yellow goggles to limit my depth perception. Everything on the suit is carefully calibrated to mimic the loss of function that happens as we age.

Finally, Puleo fits me into a hard hat and attaches yet more things to that. And that’s when this all starts to feel like a bad idea. It has become work simply to stand up straight. And to walk? Puleo has me in Crocs sandals, with bits of rubber foam taped to the bottom. I haven’t exactly lost my balance, but it feels like I easily could.

"The act of having to balance makes you more fatigued, makes you more tired," she says. MIT researchers say baby boomers, of course, aren’t the first to get old. But Joseph Coughlin, the head of the AgeLab, says they’re the first to say, "Wait a minute, there’s gotta be a product, a service or something to make this better, easier, more convenient." It’s much harder to dash across the street in the suit. And that’s the AgeLab’s mission.

Puleo has outfitted graduate students in her age suit and taken them grocery shopping. Each had a list of typical items a senior might want. "What we found," she says, "was a lot of the low-sugar, low-sodium items were either at the top of the shelf or the bottom of the shelf — not in a place where an older adult would have the easiest time locating."

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The Caregivers at Age Advantage are available to talk with you and your family about  home care and your loved one.  We are a home care agency providing caring quality and affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas. Call 321-676-0103 for more information.

Caregiver Spotlight is on Work, Life Balance in Palm Bay FL

Caregiver Spotlight on Work-Life “Balance”

by Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

There’s no avoiding stress in caregiving, at work or in life. Stress, both “good” and “bad,” will always be a part of our human existence. That’s all the more reason for caregivers to be proactive in managing stress. Shining a spotlight on your work and personal life is one way to identify and better manage stress. Be prepared, though. It requires serious commitment on your part.

Are you still with me?

What is Work-Life Balance?
“Work-life balance” is a misnomer. In real-life, there is no such thing as equal balance – other than maybe on a well-calibrated scale. When humans are involved balance would be perfection. If you’re not a perfectionist, you know that human perfection doesn’t exist.

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, the word “tension” may be the better word choice. “Tension” has multiple definitions, including competing pressures that require learning how to better balance push-and-pull opposing forces. The push-pull tension of work competes with the push-pull tension of caregiving and other forces in each of our lives.

The force is truly with us, so to speak.
“Work-life balance” requires continuous prioritization by individuals, self-examination and seamlessly deriving pleasure or satisfaction in daily living. However you choose to reconcile and (de)value competing elements in your life is entirely within your control.

So much to do, so little time!
Doctors appointments, pharmacy runs, medical supplies, emerging symptoms, caregiver or elder general malaise, Medicare and other insurance tangles,  financial spaghetti bowls, family sparring, swirling emotions and more, will run caregivers into the ground if we are not mindful.

Caregivers’ Stress Management Tips
Stress management presumes gaining or re-gaining life control and greater balance.

  • Check your blood pressure at least once monthly.  Discuss your monthly readings with your physician.
  • Schedule medical appointments early mornings or as late in the day as possible. Aavoid needless back and forth between work, home, and medical offices.
  • Consider taking pre-approved vacation leave on medical appointment days. Enjoy breakfast or lunch before or after appointments, whether alone, or with your loved one or a friend.
  • Treat yourself at day’s end. You’ll feel refreshed at work the following day.
  • Consider the most strategic use of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) based on your own preferences in addition to your elder’s medical needs. Decide whether intermittent (working reduced hours at work) or consecutive FML eases competing elements in your life. If approved by your employer, consecutive FML is a block of leave as allowed under FMLA.
  • Leave home earlier than rush hour traffic. Leave work later than rush hour traffic. Take the long way home occasionally.

May the (right) force be with you!

Home care counselors at Age Advantage are available to talk with you about your live-in home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas.