Caregivers Must Prepare for Emergencies

 

Caregivers Must Prepare for Emergencies

 

 

 

If you’re among America’s 54 million caregivers, knowing how to evacuate a loved one or how a loved one can take shelter during an emergency may not be as easy as just stepping out a door, or crawling out a window, especially if your loved one has mobility challenges and physical issues.

Not only do you have to consider how you yourself will get out of the house during an emergency, but how will your loved one also be able to escape? These are just a few of the questions that a caregiver must consider in order to arrive at a much-needed safety plan for their loved one.

 

Contact Your Local Red Cross – When devising your in-home, emergency preparedness plan, a good resource to contact is your local chapter of the Red Cross. They can tell you what kind of natural disasters occur in your area, how to prepare for each, and how you will be warned of an emergency.

Also, many communities extend special assistance to those who have mobility problems by registering these people with a local fire department or emergency management office. Professional help will then be administered quickly and with priority in an emergency to people with physical limitations and mobility challenges.

 

If you are a caregiver who still must work outside the home, ask your supervisor about any emergency plans that may be in effect at your workplace. For example, some places will not allow employees to leave for home until an “all clear” has been given by local authorities, so caregivers need to take a policy like this into consideration when creating an at-home safety plan for a loved one.

 

If you currently utilize a personal care attendant from an agency, find out whether the agency has special provisions during an emergency; will they continue to provide care and services at another location if your loved one needs to be evacuated from their current environment? It’s important to determine what will be needed for each type of emergency.

 

Rehearse Your Plan –  Once a safety plan has been created, it is wise to rehearse it, making sure that there are no other problems that arise during an emergency.

 

Let Others Know the Plan – It’s also a good idea to discuss a finalized evacuation plan with other family members who may not live with you, as well as with neighbors, friends, and any other personal care attendants that may be a part of the in-home caregiving team.  This way, people other than the caregiver will know where to locate a loved one in a timely manner and assist with anything they may need at that moment, should their caregiver not be able to do so.

 

 

4 Steps for Seniors’ Natural

Disaster Safety


 

 

1. Build an emergency kit

It’s critical that your older adult has the food, water, medicine, and supplies they’ll need to survive an extended power or water outage.

 

Prepare a week’s worth of basics like:

  • Non-refrigerated or non-perishable foods they can eat.  Freeze-dried ready to eat emergency food supplies are a great idea because they take up very little space and have a 25 year shelf life (this means you can purchase them once and not worry about needing to replenish due to spoilage).

 

Recommended: Wise Prepper Pack

 

 

  •  Clean drinking water — one gallon per person per day
  • All necessary medications and medication supplies like syringes for insulin
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for temporary toileting
  • Moist towelettes for personal hygiene
  • Flashlights and batteries

 

I really like this Self Powered Flashlight, Emergency Radio & Portable Phone Charger can be a lifesaver during emergencies when there is no power;  its  an eco-friendly, lightweight, low-maintenance and dependable multifunction device. This is a critical addition to any emergency kit.



 

 

It comes with a easy-to-tune-in radio FM/AM, Blink / Siren Mode, and it even has a headset jack.

For about 3 minutes of hand crank you’ll get 15 minutes of flashlight, 5-10 minutes of radio, 3 minutes of phone usage, or 3 minutes of siren/blink… priceless in an emergency. It can also be charged with solar exposure and USB.  Read reviews of this emergency radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wrench or pliers to turn off gas or water

 

Recommended: Aid & Prep 250 Piece First Aid Kit 

(to read my review of this 250 Piece Kit  – see Easy First Aid Kit for Home and Car )

 

Recommended: 

This terrific Four Function Whistle is also a thermometer, magnifier, and compass!

 

 

 

 

Keep copies of important information like:

  • A list of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and orders for medical equipment – including dosage, treatment, and allergy information
  • Medical insurance and Medicare / Medicaid cards
  • Contact information for doctors and people in their support network

 

 

Add special supplies like:

  • Extra batteries for devices like hearing aids or wheelchairs
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses – use an old pair
  • Plan ahead for refrigerated medications like insulin for diabetes – talk with the pharmacist or doctor
  • Oxygen
  • Catheters
  • Extra food and water for pets or service animals

 

2. Form a support network

You might not always be nearby to help your older adult when disaster strikes. So, it’s important to create a support network of trusted neighbors, relatives, and friends who can step in during an emergency.

Familiarize them with your older adult’s needs. Make sure everyone knows what medications, supplies, and medical devices are important, where they’re kept, and how to use them. Also, give them a copy of the emergency plan and access to your senior’s residence.

 

3. Create an emergency plan

Depending on the type of natural disaster, it could be safer to either evacuate or shelter in place.

Nature is unpredictable, so prepare one plan for sheltering in place and another for how to evacuate.

A written plan is best for handing out and reviewing with everyone in your senior’s support network. That way everyone will be clear on what to do and where to go. And if you’re separated, you’ll know where to find your older adult.

If your senior needs routine treatments in a clinic or hospital or if they have regular services like home health care, talk to the service provider about what to do and where to go for back-up care during an emergency. Include that information in the emergency plan.

 

4. Make sure money is accessible and secure

Older adults who depend on Social Security or other federal benefits can run into trouble if they rely on mailed payments. During emergencies or evacuations, mail services can be interrupted for days or weeks. Even worse, checks could get stolen!

To prevent financial problems, help your senior switch to electronic payments of federal benefits.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • For people with bank accounts, direct deposit to a checking or savings account is the best option. Sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or at www.GoDirect.org.
  • For people without a bank account, use the Direct Express® prepaid debit card. Sign up by calling toll-free at (877) 212-9991 or at www.USDirectExpress.com.

 

Bottom line

Creating an emergency kit, plan, and support network sounds like a lot of work, but it can mean the difference between your senior developing a serious health issue or making it through the disaster unharmed.

 

 

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Keep Your Elder Safe in Hot Weather


Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping your loved one staying safe and comfortable while enjoying the warm weather.

 

Elderly people (people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:

  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

It is critically important that adults particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses know how to safeguard against problems. Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body.

Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are forms of hyperthermia … older adults are at risk for these conditions, and this risk can increase with the combination of higher temperature, individual lifestyle and general health.

Lifestyle factors can include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions.

Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler spaces on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries.

Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

See Portable Air Conditioners – What to Consider

 

Factors that increase the risk of hyperthermia may include:

 

  • Dehydration.
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
  • Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
  • Alcohol use.

 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

 

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Skin: may be cool and moist
  • Pulse rate: fast and weak
  • Breathing: fast and shallow

 

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

 

Recommended: Lethmik Women’s Wide Brim Summer Hat, available in 11 color combinations!

Warm Weather Suggestion

On a hot summer’s day, a misting fan can be your loved one’s best friend, and provide insurance against heat risks. It works on the same principle of a humidifier, and its a great, inexpensive option for when and where you don’t have air conditioning.  Even in air-conditioned conditions, the misting fan helps to keep the moisture balance in the air, making it more comfortable and less irritating to the throat and eyes.

 

A misting fan blows a fine mist of water into the air and if the air isn’t humid, the mist evaporates, taking heat from the air with it. This allows the misting fan to work like an air cooler. In a dry climate, a misting fan can work very well outdoors.

I recommend the Designer Aire Indoor/Outdoor Misting Fan

 

 

  • Its beautiful styling to accent any indoor or outdoor living space
  • It is safe to leave outdoors: ETL “Wet Listed” safety rating with GFCI
  • The weight painted bases provide stability for windy conditions
  • The telescoping neck piece is height-adjustable

 

What You Can Do to Help Protect Elderly Relatives and Neighbors

If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help them protect themselves from heat-related stress:

Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level.

Warning: If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.

Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.

 

What You Can Do for Someone With Heat Stress

If you see any signs of severe heat stress, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency.

Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the affected person.

Do the following:

  • Get the person to a shady area.
  • Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the person with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101°–102°F
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

 

You May Also Be Interested In:

Important Tips to Keep Your Senior Hydrated

Plan Summer Outings With Your Senior

Portable Air Conditioners – What to Consider

Stroke – What You Need to Know

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Choosing a Transport Chair

Choosing a Walking Cane

Choosing a Medical Walker

Allergy Medications – Know All the Options

Easy Home First Aid Kit

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Caregivers Can Reduce Risks of Heavy Lifting

Caregivers Can Reduce Risks of Heavy Lifting

 

 

 

A caregiver has more to be concerned about than merely the well-being of their loved one; their own emotional and physical state must be a priority.

Part of a caregiver’s self care is learning how to safely transfer a loved one, whether between chairs, beds and baths.

Many opportunities are available for a caregiver to injure themselves during such tasks, and consequently be of no help to the one they must assist.

 

Much of a caregiver’s work may include daily routines such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, feeding and others. Excessive bending and lifting are physically demanding, and can make a caregiver feel tired and taxed.

Muscle tension, backaches, sore neck and headaches are only a few side effects of a caregiver’s job. As author Mary King says in Caregiver Safety for Moving & Managing Patients, “Sore muscles are one thing, but a chronic back injury, painful hernia or ruptured disc can cause major problems beyond the medical complications.” 

A caregiver can learn how to efficiently help a loved one with some simple lifting, transfer and assistance tools.

 

 

Safe Lifting For Caregivers

No matter a caregiver’s strength and physical endurance, without proper lifting techniques, the rest is useless. The first tool for a safe lifting experience is making a plan! Never go into a transfer without first “walking” through it mentally.

A caregiver should know where they are going and how to get there.  Have the person positioned properly. Make sure the area is clear and free from interference. Position any assistive equipment in order to provide the optimal support to both caregiver and person being assisted.

 

The Importance of a Gait Belt

 

Example: Vive Transfer Belt

 

A gait belt is an assistive device which can be used to help safely transfer a person from a bed to a wheelchair, assist with sitting and standing, and help with walking around.

It is secured around the waist to allow a caregiver to grasp the belt to assist in lifting or moving a person.

Proper use of a gait belt can reduce the struggles involved with this task and lower the risk of back injury. 

 

 

When used properly, the belt protects the care recipient from falling and also protects the caregiver from injuring his or her back as they lift or move the care recipient.

 

A gait belt is usually 1-½ to 4 inches wide, and 54-60 inches long. The belt is made out of canvas, nylon, or leather with a buckle at one end. You can purchase a gait belt at medical supply stores, large pharmacies, online (e.g. Amazon), or even stores like Walmart.

A standard gait belt has a metal buckle that has loops and teeth. Thread the belt through the teeth of the buckle and then put the belt through the loop to lock it.

A quick-release gait belt has a plastic buckle that snaps into place to clip the two ends together.

 

 

 

http://www.wrightstuff.biz/assets/images/categories/gait-transfer-belts-slings-1.jpg

A gait belt should always be used if the care recipient is partially dependent and has some weight-bearing capacity.

 

 

Here are some benefits of using a gait belt:

 

  • Provides assistance to the caregiver in moving an individual from one place to another. Gait belts can also be used to help raise a care recipient without straining the back.
  • Allows a caregiver to help stabilize a care recipient who loses his or her balance while walking. The belt acts as a handle that allows a caregiver to easily grasp onto the belt and stabilize the care recipient.
  • Helps protect the care recipient and caregiver from unnecessary injuries.

 

Be extra careful if the care recipient has a feeding tube, catheter, or medical issues involving their abdominal area. Consult with a physician about proper lifting under these conditions to find out if using a gait belt is safe.

You can find a wide variety of gait belts on the market.   I particularly like the Vive Gait Belt; it’s strong enough to handle bariatric weights, has six padded waist handles for gripping from any angle, and a quick-release buckle.

For proper lifting techniques, I recommend the book Caregiver’s Handbook, profiled in this article below, which has excellent detailed diagrams and tutorials on lifting and transfers.  

 

Some Basic Lifting Tips:

 

  • Make a plan.
  • Do not over exert.
  • Stand close with your legs shoulder-width apart to keep balanced.
  • Bend your knees as far as comfortable.
  • Let your legs do the work: Lift with your leg and back muscles.
  • Lift slowly; do not jerk.
  • Avoid twisting.
  • Don’t bend at the waist, but keep your back and neck straight
  • Face the person you are helping, positioning them close to you
  • Wear support, non-skid shoes
  • Never have someone grab your neck for assistance.

 

 

 

The Transfer Process

 

If a loved one is in bed (one of the most common and challenging transfers) and needs help moving to a different location, the process below is a step-by-step instructional.

If transferring to a wheelchair, the chair needs to be parallel to the bed, and the wheels of the chair locked. Before touching a loved one and performing any movement, it’s important that a caregiver explain what they are going to do.

After a short explanation, eliminating any surprises, the next step is getting the person to a seated position. If they are not strong enough to do this independently, a caregiver can place one arm under their loved one’s legs and the other arm under their back and lift up. They must lift from the legs, not back. Then, pivot and swing both legs over the edge of the bed.

If applicable and able, always transfer the person to their stronger side. An example the Strength for Caring Web site gives is if a loved one has had right hip surgery, they will most likely be able to help the most if transferred to the left.

Next, a caregiver should instruct and assist the loved one to scoot to the edge of the bed. Let a loved one use as much strength as they can to help themselves. A caregiver can then use the gait belt, by placing their arms around the loved one’s hips and grabbing to the belt.

Helen Pereira, a physical therapist, recommends asking a loved one to lean forward, bringing their weight over their feet. Use the belt and their strength to lift to the feet. A good hint here is for a caregiver to begin a rocking motion, to gain momentum. The caregiver should still be in front of the loved one while he or she is coming to a standing position and stabilizing his or her knees against those of the one being assisted. This provides the most stability for both participants. After lifting carefully together, then take small steps and lower to a sitting position in the chair, or other destination.

Practice makes perfect, and after a caregiver performs a few proper transfers, he or she will be a pro!

 

See Also: Safe Transferring from Wheelchair to Toilet

 

 

Patience

 

Patience is one thing a caregiver needs to have with any transfer.
The Family Caregiving Alliance (FCA) suggests that a caregiver allow their loved one to finish what they are doing before beginning a transfer.

Many times a caregiver will unintentionally rush because of their own pending commitments. This attitude is frustrating for a loved one who can sense another’s angst and hurried pace.  Especially if a loved one is memory or brain impaired, this sense of urgency must be curtailed. The FCA suggests a caregiver allows their loved one time, saying for example: “Mom, after you finish that last bite of cereal, we’re going to get you dressed and ready to see your friends.”

The other side of the emotional assistance a caregiver can show is respecting a loved one’s “reality”. Caregiving is a big responsibility and taking on transfers is no exception. It may take longer to get a loved one up and going for the day if they are confused, argumentative or just tired and not ready for the tasks at hand. As a caregiver, never force a situation. It will only make the transfer more challenging and tense, leaving room for error and injury.

Leave and come back after a few minutes, the FCA suggests. And, if a loved one still resists being transferred, a caregiver must weigh the pros and cons of moving forward. If it’s a simple question of taking a bath or not, it can probably wait another hour or even day. However, never leave a loved one in soiled undergarments, or lying down for hours at a time to develop bed sores. The loved one’s health is a priority!

 

 

Other Helpful Assistive Devices

 

Durable medical equipment is a big help with all transfers, of any kind.

In addition to gait belts, this kind of equipment includes products such as walking canes and walkers.  Often, having a stable object for a loved one to grasp and assist in standing is the key for a successful transfer.

See Also:

 

Many other important safety devices can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, including raised toilet seats, plastic shower chairs, transfer discs or cushions, and portable seat lifts.  These items can provide invaluable assistance in daily activities for both the caregiver and the patient.
 
Pivot Disk
 
A pivot disc is an item that not every caregiver is aware of; it is designed for assisted or unassisted transfers by individuals with limited or no ability to pivot.
 

Individuals with upper body strength can use the Pivot Disc to accomplish independent transfers, and it’s an excellent caregiver assistance tool.

I recommend the Safety Sure® Pivot Disc (weight capacity: 400 lbs)

  
 
This video shows how to to use the pivot disc properly:

 

 

 

Bed Rails

 

A bed rail can also be particularly very useful for transfers from bed to a walker, wheelchair, or simply to a standing position.

To make sure bed rails are appropriate for your situation, read my post Risks of Bed Rails:  Should You Install Them?

 

 

 

 

The Able Lift Bedside Rail is a good choice, is height-adjustable to fit any bed, and has the ability to support up to 300 lbs.  The organizer pouch is handy addition.

 

Example: Able Lift Bedside Rail With Pouch

 

 

The Universal Stand Assist, also by Able, is like a bed rail for chairs.  It can be used to stand more easily from most couches, chairs, or recliners.  It is height-adjustable, and has a weight capacity of 300 lbs.

Universal Stand Assist

 

Mechanical Lifting Cushion

 

Another accessory a mechanical lifting cushion, can be very helpful. The UPEASY Seat Assist is a mechanical lifting cushion that will ease an individual into their seat, as well as help them up. Its lifting action releases gently as they begin to stand, lifting up to 80% of their body weight, as needed. 

The Seat Assist requires no electricity to operate, so it’s convenient to take everywhere you go. It’s also adaptable to fit most armchairs and sofas, so it can be quite handy to have one of these in the home, to use when and where needed.

 

Uplift UPEASY Liftchair Lift Chair Liftup Seat UPE 3
UPEASY Seat Assist
 

 

 

Patient Resistance to New Devices is Common

 

Sometimes introducing a new assistive device makes people uneasy. If a loved one resists any assistance or assistive devices, a caregiver may need to have a conversation with them, explaining the risks to both people if these tools are not used. It is important for your loved one to feel in control and that they are making independent decisions for their care.

 

 

Don’t Do it Alone

 

A caregiver can and should rely on the strength of their loved one to assist in lifting and transferring. Solicit your loved one’s help by having them shift their weight, move their arms to make the assisting easier, or push up with the strength they do still possess.

Remember that a small amount of help from the one being transferred equals a lot less work for a caregiver.

If a loved one is unable to help and too heavy for one person to life, seek help. A caregiver should never put themselves in harm’s way during a transfer. 

If it’s a non-emergency situation and a caregiver finds themselves unable to physically assist a loved one, they should call the local fire department and request a “fireman’s assist,” says the Family Caregiving Alliance. The local squad will come to the house and help. And, of course, in any emergency, call 911.

A caregiver who remains calm and collected, explains the process to their loved one, and uses simple safety measures will be able to complete almost any transfer with ease.  Soon they will be moving a loved one with confidence and control.

CAREGIVERS HANDBOOK
If it’s a non-emergency situation and a caregiver finds themselves unable to physically assist a loved one, they should call the local fire department and request a “fireman’s assist,” says the Family Caregiving Alliance. The local squad will come to the house and help. And, of course, in any emergency, call 911.

A caregiver who remains calm and collected, explains the process to their loved one, and uses simple safety measures will be able to complete almost any transfer with ease.  Soon they will be moving a loved one with confidence and control.

Suggested:  Caregiver’s Handbook. This is acompassionate and comprehensive resource for anyone who needs to take care of an elderly person at home, the Caregiver’s Handbook is an invaluable reference that offers constructive, illustrated guidance for first time and beginning caregivers, including information on essential first aid, advice on selecting professional help when needed, and dealing with a variety of common conditions.  Read reviews.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Helping Your Older Adult Move From Wheelchair to Toilet

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Risks of Bed Rails – Should You Install Them?

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Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

 

 

 

Imagine…

 

  • You ask your spouse for a plate, and he hands you a cup.
  • Your spouse seems to get “stuck” on the same word or phrase.
  • Your spouse can say words, but her sentences don’t make sense.

 

That’s Aphasia: a language disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain. It can affect all modes of language including speaking, writing, gesturing, understanding what others say, understanding writing, and using numbers.

Aphasia often hides people’s thoughts, ideas, personality, intelligence and competence – they know what they want to say, but can’t always get the words out.

 

 

Causes

Stroke is the leading cause of aphasia; however, it also can result from brain tumors, head injuries, brain infections, and other conditions of the brain.

 

 

Symptoms

People who suffer from aphasia can have difficulty understanding others, particularly strangers. Or, they can follow the gist of a conversation, but lose track easily, or forget the beginning of a message before reaching the end of it.

They may be able to say individual words, or parts of words, but struggle to complete the entire word or sentence. Or, they may speak nonsense quickly. And background noise or lively conversation among a group of people can really exacerbate the difficulty they have understanding conversations.

“Many times, too, a person with aphasia is so focused on themselves, they are unable to see that their caregiver is overwhelmed. The person with aphasia can’t help it; they’ve lost a lot of control in their lives between the loss of communication and physical disabilities. They are just trying to survive,” says Mimi Block, M.S., CCC-SLP, clinical services manager, University of Michigan Aphasia Program.

“And even if they could recognize how much their caregiver is dealing with, they cannot express their gratitude or appreciation,” she added.

It can be an enormously frustrating condition, for both the individual and the caregiver.

 

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP)

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) is the oldest and most effective program of its kind in North America for the treatment of aphasia. Established in 1947 to assist World War II veterans who sustained injuries in combat, UMAP has successfully treated thousands of individuals, offering as much speech-language therapy during a six-week session as a person would receive in one year of traditional therapy.

Caregiver education and support is a critical component of the UMAP.

This past summer, UMAP gave Robin Cox, wife of a (retired) National Guard Lieutenant Colonel with aphasia, the tools to help her husband with his therapy and the insight to help herself as his caregiver. Her husband Mark suffered a stroke in March 2009, just 30 days before he was due to be deployed to Afghanistan.

“I know it’s a cliché, but UMAP taught me this is not the end of the world, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the little progress we make each day brings us that much closer to our goals,” Robin Cox said. “And those little improvements are exponentially more important for the caregiver,” she added. “They bring us ten times the joy.”

 

Celebrate Small Achievements

One morning, not too long ago, Mark found his glasses after looking for them for quite some time.

“He said, ‘I found them’ and I said, ‘Say that again!’ and he did! And then I made him say it again. It was one whole, complete sentence. It’s those little moments you must celebrate,” Cox said.

During the six-week session at UMAP, there are five caregiver meetings which focus on:

  • Acquiring a better understanding of aphasia, and the physical disabilities associated with a stroke (the most common cause of aphasia)
  • Facilitative conversation and other ways to communicate with people who have aphasia
  • Effective communication techniques and strategies
  • Practicing new communication skills using facilitative conversation
  • Options for the future

 

“Ongoing education is essential for the well-being of the loved one with aphasia and all the family members,” Block says. “The caregiver needs to connect with the speech-language pathologist who sees their loved one to learn about aphasia and specific techniques to communicate with him or her.”

 

Recommended:  Shadowbox Press Conversation Cards for Adults

To prompt conversation, Block encourages caregivers to use “topic cards,” which are lists of words or pictures—like family, sports, friends, birth dates, hobbies, maps, a calendar—as a starting point to determine what the person wants to talk about.

“There’s also the WH Chart—who, what, when, where and why, that can be used to get the person thinking in terms of sentence structure,” Block said. “The more information that’s available to them, the more successful they will be.”

One night when Mark Cox was trying to tell his wife Robin to change his schedule that week, she said they both “went round and round and round, and started to get flustered” until she resorted to using a calendar and writing down days of the week and appointments to clarify what her husband was trying to do.

“You have to keep digging to find the right way to get the point across,” Robin Cox says. “It’s more than just talking. You can use pictures, calendars or write words on paper. You’ve got to take a deep breath and be patient. Yelling isn’t going to do it. You have to try all of your options.”

 

Be an Advocate

UMAP also encourages caregivers to be advocates for their loved ones, providing them with the encouragement and motivation to continue on the road of recovery with realistic goals and expectations, and a better ability to communicate in their day-to-day living.
Lulu Smith, whose husband Louis suffered a stroke in 2005 and has aphasia, is in two therapy programs, including UMAP. She accompanies Louis to all of his therapy sessions, and either watches them or participates in them directly.

“I watch to see what the therapists are doing, and I insert their techniques into our daily routine at home,” she said.

 

 

Keep Life as Normal as Possible

Lulu Smith also tries to keep their lives as normal as possible. Louis is a legendary jazz trumpeter with an international reputation and many major recordings, and she regularly takes him to jazz festivals and clubs where he can interact with other musicians. They’ve always been great travelers, she said, and they go to Paris in October each year and to Mexico for two months in the winter.

“I never get someone to ‘sit’ with him. We’ve always done things together,” she said.

Robin Cox recently encouraged her husband to go with her to their 11-year-old son’s football game.

“He didn’t want to go at first. Since he had his stroke, he’s lost some endurance, too. But he ended up staying for the whole game. I think Mark realized he can socialize, and he can talk with others—not just his wife, his brothers, or people who are close to him. Physically, he was tired, but it was great for his spirit.

“He was put out of his comfort zone. I think that’s what a caregiver does. We try this, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else,” Cox said.

 

Keep Trying

“It is so important to keep trying,” says Joyce Zeigler, whose husband Mack suffered a stroke in 2004 and who has participated in two UMAP sessions in 2006 and 2008.

“Mack continues to make progress. I encourage people with aphasia and their loved ones to be patient and have hope. Mack and I have faith that more progress is in his future. We take it a day at a time and look forward to each day.”

Lulu Smith adds, “You must understand it takes a long time to have success. You have to keep working and working, and never give up. You’ve got to stick with it.”

Adapted from an article by Joanne Marttila Pierson, associate director of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program

 

10 Dysphasia Communication Tips

 

Amanda Sheridan, clinical fellow at the Mary A. Rackham Institute’s University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP), shared these suggestion for talking with someone who has aphasia. These suggestions were gathered directly from UMAP’s clients who have aphasia. They may be helpful for family members and caregivers.

 

  • Please take the time to sit down and talk with me.
  • Slow your rate of speech.  Say one thing at a time.  It may take me a little longer to understand what you are saying.
  • Give me plenty of time to talk.  It may take longer for me to find the word or words I want to say.
  • Be flexible.  I may have another way of expressing myself.  Perhaps I will write, use an assistive communication device (e.g., ipad, communication book), gesture, or draw. 
  • Be honest.  You may not understand me.  Let me know.  I will try again.
  • Please look at me as we talk.  So much can be shared through facial expression.  This can help me understand you, and you understand me. 
  • Ask me yes/no questions.  It may be easier for me to communicate by saying or gesturing “yes” or “no.”
  • Write down key words and numbers.  This may help me understand you.
  • Find a quiet place to talk.  Noisy, busy environments make conversation difficult. 
  • Keep your sense of humor.

 

Recommended:

The Teaching of Talking – Learn to Do Expert Speech Therapy at Home

 

People with speaking difficulties are at the mercy of insurance companies who are determining how often and for how long speech therapy services should be delivered.

It is also a disturbing reality that the likelihood for therapy frequency and length of care is contingent upon either the level of competence or comfort level of the speech-language pathologist or the financial policies of each institution.

Often it has nothing to do with the severity or need for speech therapy. Our health care system is in no position to bankroll the long-term therapy that many people need who have moderate to profound speaking difficulties.

The goal of  The Teaching of Talking is to make sure that any loved one, caregiver or speech-language pathologist is thoroughly knowledgeable in methods to help people improve talking since it is never known when the plug will be pulled on speech and language therapy services.

Ittleman says: “I see hundreds of people with speech and language difficulties each year. By reading and applying The Teaching of Talking, you will have the confidence to help your client or loved one, no matter what the insurance company or institution does.

By learning to do what is in Teaching of Talking you will be more self-sufficient and will not have to rely on anyone to provide your loved one with expert speech therapy.

Mark IttlemanAuthor Mark A. Ittleman, M.S. has been referred to as the “Speech pathologist who can make a rock talk!” He received that name from colleagues who noticed that he could often help children or adults learn to speak, or speak again. Ittleman has the uncanny ability to find a way to help others speak, often after they were discharged from therapy and told they had “plateaued.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort

 

Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort

 

 

 

Patient lifts and slings are an essential part of home health care when a person requires help getting out of bed, getting up from a sitting position or when they need help moving from one spot to another.

 

 

Patient Lifts have provided patients and caregivers alike, with a more efficient means of transportation. Patient lifts allow an occupant to be effortlessly lifted from a bed and transferred into a wheelchair, onto a commode, or bath, all without any strain by the caregiver or risk by the occupant. Patient lifts offer safety assistance to both the occupant and the caregiver.

 

From manual patient lifts to electric patient lifts to scales and slings, there are a wide variety of effective patient lifting devices available in today’s medical supplies market which affects how the lift operates for the caregiver and occupant.

 

There are a number of factors you should take into consideration before making a purchase, including how much you are willing to spend, where is the lift going to be used, how much the occupant weighs and how often you will be using the lift.

 

By answering the questions below, you can best assess the type that will best suit your needs.

 

The basic questions to ask before buying a Patient Lift are:

 

  • Is the lifting to be done from a seated or a prone position?
  • Does the occupant have a lack of extremity use or spasticity?
  • Can the patient utilize the provided hand grips?
  • Is collapsible design a necessity?

 

The primary advantage of all the general purpose patient lifts is that they enable a single caregiver to meet a wide range of safe patient handling requirements for patient and caregiver injury prevention.

Patient Lifts can widely be classified into 4 categories:

 

  • Manual Patient Lifts
  • Power Patient Lifts
  • Stand-Up Patient Lifts
  • Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts

 

Other Patient Lift Resources include:

 

  • Lifting Slings
  • Lift Accessories

Power Patient Lifts

Electric Patient Lifts come equipped with enormous power enabling them to accommodate a wider range of patients.

Electric Patient Lifts are often able to hold up to six hundred pounds and feature power-operated bases that allow for customized structuring.

They feature an ergonomic design, which makes patient transfers much easier and less stressful for both the patient and the caregiver. Additionally, electric patient lifts also offer long, padded handles with various grip choices to accommodate users of different heights.

Further, electric patient lifts operate via a rechargeable battery pack or plug-in cord and also include a manual override feature in case of a power outage. Due to these features, electric patient lifts are more expensive than their manual counterparts.

Stand-Up Patient Lifts

Stand-Up Patient Lifts are designed for the caregiver to assist patients in standing from a seated position, dressing or undressing, and/or moving the patient from a wheelchair to a commode or bed.

Stand-Up lifts are ideal for patients who are too weak to stand without assistance. Stand-up patient lifts are preferred over general purpose floor lifts because they provide the patient a greater degree of independence and participation and at the same time promotes circulation and joint range and improves clinical outcomes by enabling the patient to stand for a period of time.

Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts

Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are capable of lifting up to 1000-lbs. Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are ideal homecare equipment for transferring bariatric patients from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to commode or bath etc.

The base legs are generally adjustable and open for additional stability during transfers. The legs of these lifts can also easily close to make the lift as narrow as possible for hallways and doorways.

Additionally, Heavy-duty frame mounts and steel tubing outline such structures in order to guarantee optimum strength to lift heavy loads. All Bariatric Lifts are electrically operated and use 24V rechargeable batteries.

Patient Lift Slings

Patient Lift Slings are easy for the caregiver to use and provide secure support to the patient. These durable, comfortable slings are available in a variety of styles and fabrics to meet specific patient needs.

Getting the right Lift Sling is a vital part of purchasing and using a Patient Lift. Both normal patient lifts and stand-up patient lifts require that the sling is purchased separately, because patient lift slings are available in multiple sizes and styles to meet specific needs.

Each sling is constructed of durable materials which resist deterioration from exposure to moisture or laundering. Patient Lift Slings are available in a variety of styles like full-body sling, sling with toileting cut-out, commode sling and divided leg sling.

 

 

Installing patient lifts and slings can prove invaluable to the comfort of both the caregiver and the patient, increasing the quality of life for those who have advanced mobility issues, and enabling those who are temporarily or permanently disabled to remain in their homes rather than having to relocate to a nursing home.

 

With so many variables at play, choosing the right patient lift can be a daunting task and an uninformed purchase can cost time and money. Luckily, I’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right lift for any user’s unique needs.

 

 

 

Floor Based Patient Lifts

 

Hoyer Deluxe Power Patient Lift HPL402

 

Floor based patient lifts can be moved from room to room and are spatially economical. We offer several models ranging in price and designed to support a wide range of weight. The Hoyer Deluxe Power Patient Lifter features handle grips to reduce back strain and a mechanical lever for non-powered lowering. This model also provides the patient with more leg-clearance and comes equipped with castor bumpers to prevent wall and furniture damage. This patient lift is designed to support up to 400 pounds, folds for compact storage and can easily be moved from room to room.

 

If you require a standing lift with the utmost support, the Reliant Stand-Up Patient Lift is ideal. This lift supports up to 350 pounds and the adjustment features adapt to a range of body sizes. This patient lift features multi-functioning slings that allow for quick toilet transfers, stand assist and full supported seated transfers.

 

 

 

 

Tension Mounted Overhead Patient Lifts

 

 

Another great in-home lift is the Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter. It has a lifting capacity from 220-440 pounds, enabling care givers to easily perform safe lifting with less effort, keeping them from getting injured themselves.

 

Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter (for Easytrack Systems) The Guardian Voyager Portable Lifter when used with optional Easytrack Systems, offers a revolutionary breakthrough in overhead lifting and transfer technology for the home.

 

Overhead ceiling lifts solve the problems that traditional floor-based lifts have presented such as difficulty maneuvering over thick carpeting, turning in tight spots, and getting into and around bathrooms.

 

Although ceiling lifts have been available, they typically require permanent and expensive modifications to the home thus turning it into an institutional setting. Now, with the Guardian Voyager and Easytrack Lift, caregivers can easily transfer family members or loved ones from a bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair to bath or any where else within the range of the Easytrack System without permanently defacing their homes.

 

A Guardian Voyager with Easytrack System can be the enabling factor that allows the home to be the primary place for care. And because the system is portable and can be setup without tools in as little as 5 minutes, it offers the flexibility to travel.

 

The Voyager Portable Lifter is the lightest portable lift on the market today. Weighing only 12 pounds with the battery, the Voyager can lift up to 440 pounds.

 

Its lightweight design allows for portability and easy attachment to any permanent mount or the Easytrack trolley if using one of the Easytrack systems. The smooth, quiet operation ensures the person being transferred is safe and comfortable. The patented Quick Release feature prevents having to lift the Guardian Voyager onto the rail, as well as saves time and battery power.

 

 

 

Features:

 

  • Can be used with optional 2, 3, and 4 post track configurations
  • Heavy-duty Lifting Capacity – 440 lbs
  • Lightweight – only 12 lbs. (including battery)
  • Lightweight and portable – only 12 lbs.
  • Quick easy set-up in less than 5 minutes
  • Push button feature to Remove and rechargeable Battery pack
  • Quick Strap Release Lever – fast winding/unwinding of Strap before and after transfer operation
  • Electronic soft-start and Soft-stop

 

 

Patient Slings

There are a variety of slings available for rent or purchase depending on patient needs and the type of lift you decide on. Look slings that offer full head and neck support and double padding for comfort, and are machine-washable. Quick-drying mesh fabric makes them ideal for bathing, and handles and strong nylon and polyester straps help to prevent falls. The Hammock 6 Sling was designed with additional straps to prevent falls of agitated or non-cooperative patients.

 

 

With four sling points and a padded head support, the Extra Large Patient Lift U-Sling with Head Support by Drive Medical is a valuable accessory to a floor lift.

 

 

The solid-design, polyester product does not require an optional chain or strap and can withstand a weight capacity of 600 pounds. The 58″L x 49″W sling includes 4 or 6 cradle points.

Renting Or Buying Patient Lifts and Slings

If you temporarily need patient lifts and slings you may prefer to go with patient lift rentals. Many patient lifts and slings are available to rent as well as purchase.

Also, it is always crucial to investigate the options and familiarize yourself with the safety features of your patient lifts and slings before purchase, and contact the supplier if you have any further questions.

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

Guide to Power Lift Chairs

Finding the Right Power Wheelchair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

 

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

 

 

 

It’s not really news anymore – Americans as a rule are overweight. In fact, more than half of the population struggles with weight or is considered obese.

Yet, despite campaigns to bring awareness to the problem and the increased number of options for individuals to work through these issues, obesity continues to increase.

 

Individuals who are morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40) present even greater challenges for healthcare professionals and caregivers. Bariatric medicine is associated with the challenges and treatment of individuals who are obese.

 

While on the surface it may appear simple – losing weight equates to improved health – individuals who struggle with morbid obesity find that it is difficult to manage from day-to-day.

 

Caregivers face special challenges when helping their loved ones who are morbidly obese. There are emotional considerations for both themselves and their loved ones, physical challenges involving lifting, transferring, and transporting; and social stigma of obesity to name a few. Caregivers who find themselves in this position are in need of supportive care in order to overcome these obstacles.

 



 

Health Concerns and Obesity:

 

The list of health concerns related to obesity is quite lengthy. One of the most common issues is diabetes. Diabetes can be caused by either too little insulin being produced, a resistance to insulin the body does produce or even both. The American Diabetes Association states that the likelihood of developing diabetes is higher in persons who are obese.

 

Coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also related to obesity. In fact, individuals who are obese is considered a major risk factor for CHD and it could lead to heart attack.

 

The American Heart Association states, “Obesity harms more than just the heart and blood vessel system. It’s a major cause of gallstones and can worsen degenerative joint disease.” The risk of stroke is also increased when blood vessels or arteries that supply blood to the brain are damaged or blocked by a blood clot.

 

Cancer is also more prevalent in people who are obese. Men and women with higher BMI have increased incidences of cancers in the colon, esophagus, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and kidney. The Nurses’ Health Study even points increases of more than 20 pounds between age 18 to midlife can result in doubling the risk of women developing breast cancer.

 

Finally, mental health issues are also prevalent with obesity. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that individuals who are obese are 25% more likely to suffer from depression and mood disorders. Mood disorders encompass major depression, bipolar disorder and even panic disorders.

 

 

Healthcare Stigma:

 

With the health complications associated with obesity, it may be surprising to learn that healthcare professionals often hold negative attitudes or stereotypes of people who are obese.

 

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has been involved in researching subjects related to weight stigma in the healthcare industry. According to some of their studies, even those who are directly involved in the treatment of obese patients have negative biases of obese individuals.

 

Facing negative stereotypes may lead to less effective care and increased stigma, especially if the weight condition is perceived to be caused by a controllable situation (overeating vs. a medical condition such as thyroid disease).

 

Caregivers who come in contact with these biases need to learn positive ways to counteract them in a way that can gain access to care for their loved ones.

 

One of the best methods to overcome negative stereotypes is through education. The caregiver and the patient can research obesity, ways to overcome negative stereotypes, and join advocacy groups that can provide support.

 

Mutual support groups may be found through advocacy groups like Obesity Action (www.obesityaction.org) or through bariatric clinics in the community. Support groups are available for both the patient and the caregiver.

 

Another way to help overcome the associated stigma of obesity is to work with a cohesive team of healthcare professionals who are treating the patient. These could include a number of specialties including bariatric physicians and nurses, psychiatric specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, and possibly a respiratory therapist. By developing a solid cross-functional team, the patient and caregiver can provide consistent communication to each specialty and achieve a balance of care that may not be possible when physicians and other healthcare professionals are not coordinated in care provision.

 

 

Safety Concerns in the Home:

When considering the challenges of transporting, transferring, and caring for the morbidly obese patient, the caregiver needs to be especially aware of physical safety.

 

There is special medical equipment for bariatric patients that can help with these areas. Finding the one that works best may need some research – as well as trial and error.

 

Home health care options should be investigated in order to help provide patient care in the home in a safe manner. Some home health companies may be less willing to provide care, especially given the safety concerns. Others may be able to work with the family, but provide fewer services than the patient requires. For example, bathing and helping someone who is morbidly obese with activities of daily living may require the assistance of at least two persons.

 

Insurance companies, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, however, are not likely to pay for the costs of two home health workers in the home. The patient’s family may need to provide some assistance or work with the company to find ways to pay for the cost of an additional worker in the home.

 

 

Bariatric Home Equipment Options:

 

Bariatric walkers, wheelchairs, bedside commodes and patient lifts are available to help with patient care at home. The caregiver should research the various durable medical equipment (DME) companies that provide bariatric equipment and then investigate their options. Some equipment may be more helpful than others, and the home may need to be modified in order to use some of them.

 

Patient comfort is a consideration when choosing equipment to use in the home. If the device is safe, yet the patient does not feel comfortable using it, the caregiver may encounter resistance to its use. For example, the wheelchairs need to have adjustable widths and heights to provide stability and overall ease of use.
           
In addition, the caregiver needs to learn how to safely use the equipment. The supplier should provide training in how to use the product or suggest ways to obtain this training through the manufacturer.

Until the caregiver has become familiar with using the equipment, he or she should refrain from using it as it could lead to other safety or health issues.
           
Durability is also another area to consider when choosing equipment. The caregiver may want to consider:

 

  • Is it reliable?
  • Is it constructed of durable products that can support the patient’s weight?
  •  Can it be delivered immediately?
  •  What is the warranty available on the product?
  •  If the patient’s weight increases, will the equipment still be safe to use?
  •  Is assembly of the product required at home? If so, is the DME supplier prepared to  assist with this?

 

Sleep apnea is another associated health risk that could require special medical equipment in the home. Sleep apnea occurs when the patient stops breathing for short periods of time during the evening. Persons who are obese are especially at risk of developing sleep apnea.

 

A continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine is often used to treat sleep apnea at home. These machines are prescribed by a doctor and work to provide a constant flow of air to hold the patient’s airway open in order to provide uninterrupted breathing while the patient sleeps. Additional CPAP supplies can be found in medical supply stores and online. There are a variety of these machines available on the market, and while they are similar, some may pose challenges in using if the caregiver or patient is not familiar with the device. 

 

In-Patient or Nursing Home Care Considerations:
           
In some cases the patient is not able to rehabilitate or continue to live at home. Various challenges that exist at home such as proper diet, supervision, and continued health problems may necessitate either short-term or long-term placement in an in-patient or nursing home environment. When this happens, caregivers should consider special accommodations for the patient who is morbidly obese.
           
Some of the same alternatives at home should be taken into consideration in an in-patient environment.

 

These may include:

 

  •  Is the facility willing to accept a morbidly obese patient? Some are not willing to risk caregiver safety given the special challenges in lifting, moving, and transferring a morbidly obese patient.
  •  Will the physician team provide care in the facility or will there be new physicians to coordinate the care plan? Some facilities allow outside physicians while others use in-house or on-call physicians to provide care.
  •  What level of rehabilitation care is provided?
  •  How long will insurance(s) cover the cost of in-patient care?

 

There are many issues to consider when looking for a quality in-patient or nursing home facility. While the larger issues of inpatient care should be considered, caregivers need to ask specific questions that pertain to care of a morbidly obese person and the facility’s ability to respond to those issues.
           

Clearly it is a challenge to provide care both at home and in a facility setting for someone who is morbidly obese. Some individuals may thrive in this type of care and their health may improve. Other caregivers may find that they need more supportive services in the community or from the healthcare system in order to be successful.

 

It is important to keep active communication about these types of issues since the health ramifications of obesity are often chronic and lead to serious complications.

 

Please share your thoughts and experience in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

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Easy Home First Aid Kit

Easy Home First Aid Kit

 

Everyone should have a first-aid kit at home and in the car, plus a portable kit to take along when traveling.

Keep the one at home in an easy-to-access spot, such as your kitchen.

You can make your own with sample-size products tucked into a zippered plastic bag – or you can buy kits that don’t cost a lot of money but contain everything you might need, just in case.

In fact, you can purchase a kit for far less that would cost to buy all the supplies separately; this is one of those rare cases where it costs less for a more convenient option.

There is a huge variety of first aid kits available, and most are of reasonable quality and relatively inexpensive.

I especially like the Aid & Prep 250-Piece First Aid Kit; here’s why:

Aid & Prep First Aid Kit for Home and Office, Lightweight and Compact for Travel - Medical Supplies for Basic Emergencies-250 Pieces FDA labeled, USA assembled

 

  • This Kit comes fully-stocked with FDA Labels and clearly labeled stock numbers and expiration dates so you never have to worry about bandages that crack or don’t stick, and you never have to worry about expired medicines or ointments (unlike the kit from China, which may have been sitting on the stockroom shelf forever before you took ownership).
  • the Aid & Prep Kit comes with high quality products
  • includes everything you should have in your kit
  • Made to be OSHA and ANSI Compliant
  • presents in a compact, organized style
  • it provides excellent value for the price; you simply could not assemble this quality assortment of medical supplies and the durable bag with the handle and zipper for that price.
  • No-hassle Lifetime Manufacturer’s money back guarantee
  • Free shipping when you buy 2 or more (keep one in the car, boat or cabin)
  • In other words, it’s everything you need and it’s priced right.

 

Included in the Kit

 

Alcohol Prep Pads & Antiseptic Towelettes

Instant Cold Compress

Tweezers & Safety Pins

Antibiotic Ointment & Burn Cream Ointment

Non-aspirin Tablets & Aspirin Tablets

Sting Relief Pads

Cotton Tip Applicators & Finger Splints

Adhesive Bandages (1 x 3) & (3/4 x 3) & Butterfly Closures

Paper Tape Roll (1.5 x 2.5 yds)

Sterile Gauze Pads (2 x 2) & Sterile Trauma Pads (5 x 9)

First Aid Instructions

Examination Gloves

 

 
This is a Fantastic Kit – However …

Just a couple of boo-boos can wipe out those little packets of pain relievers, bandages and antibiotic ointment in any pre-made kit, so stock up on extras of those common items, so you can replenish the kit as needed. 

Also, there are a few extra items you will want to add to this (or any) pre-made kit, so go over the must-haves checklist below.

Be sure you keep your first-aid supplies neatly organized in one place, so that you don’t waste time rounding them up when someone’s hurt. And remember to restock when you use something up.

It’s also a smart idea to go through your kits every year to replace out-of-date medications

 

 

First Aid Checklists

Below are checklists of everything you should have on hand.  Note that the mouth-to-mouth barrier device, the hydracortisone ointment, thermometer and additional drugs are items that you should add to any pre-made kit. In addition, you should have a cold pack in your freezer at all times.

 

Must-haves:

 

  • Gel cold pack to keep in freezer at all times (or instant cold compress)
  • Drugs; I recommend having the following medications in adult and child (if applicable) formulations:
  1. acetaminophen (tylenol or generic)
  2. ibuprofen (Advil or generic)
  3. aspirin (brand name or generic)
  4. antihistamine (Benadryl or generic)
  5. antidiarrhea medicine (Imodium or generic)
  6. antacid (tums or generic)

 

  • Prescription medications and medical supplies
  • Emergency contact information and medical history of each family member

 

Things you don’t need:

 

  • syrup of ipecac.
  • chemical preparations to stop bleeding.
  • smelling salts.
  • tincture of iodine.

 

Whether you purchase a kit or assemble your own, keep your first aid kit handy and fully stocked.  Check for expired items regularly and refill anything that is running low. 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

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FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

 

 

Seniors Are Getting Scammed

 

Older adults get scammed out of $36 billion each year. Even worse, most of this money can never be recovered. Fraudsters are stealing hard-earned savings and ruining seniors’ lives.

Being aware of popular senior scams helps you protect your older adult from losing money to these thieves. Here, I’ve summarized advice from the FBI about common senior scams and tips to protect against them.

Talk with your older adult about these scams and let them know about the warning signs. It’s better to be safe than sorry – emphasize that they’re not being rude for refusing to speak with a potential scammer. Since stolen money isn’t likely to be recovered, the key is to shut down the scams before they can do any damage.

 

Senior Citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:

 

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.

 

  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.

 

  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.

 

  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.

 

  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.

 

 

What to Look For and How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

 

Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud

 

Medical Equipment Fraud:

In this fraud, equipment manufacturers offer “free” products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered.

 

“Rolling Lab” Schemes:

Unnecessary and sometimes fake tests are given to individuals at health clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to insurance companies or Medicare.

 

Services Not Performed:

Customers or providers bill insurers for services never rendered by changing bills or submitting fake ones.

 

 

Medicare Fraud:

Medicare fraud can take the form of any of the health insurance frauds described above. Senior citizens are frequent targets of Medicare schemes, especially by medical equipment manufacturers who offer seniors free medical products in exchange for their Medicare numbers.

Because a physician has to sign a form certifying that equipment or testing is needed before Medicare pays for it, con artists fake signatures or bribe corrupt doctors to sign the forms. Once a signature is in place, the manufacturers bill Medicare for merchandise or service that was not needed or not ordered.

 

Tips for Avoiding Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud:

 

 

  • Never sign blank insurance claim forms.

 

  • Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.

 

  • Ask your medical providers what they will charge and what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket.

 

  • Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of the benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.

 

  • Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that medical services or equipment are free.

 

  • Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.

 

  • Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.

 

  • Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.

 

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

 

Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Prescription Drugs:

 

  • Be mindful of appearance—closely examine the packaging and lot numbers of prescription drugs and be alert to any changes from one prescription to the next.

 

 

  • Consult your pharmacist or physician if your prescription drug looks suspicious.

 

  • Alert your pharmacist and physician immediately if your medication causes adverse side effects or if your condition does not improve.

 

  • Use caution when purchasing drugs on the Internet. Do not purchase medications from unlicensed online distributors or those who sell medications without a prescription. Reputable online pharmacies will have a seal of approval called the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS), provided by the Association of Boards of Pharmacy in the United States.

 

  • Be aware that product promotions or cost reductions and other “special deals” may be associated with counterfeit product promotion.

 

 

Funeral and Cemetery Fraud

 

 

Tips for Avoiding Funeral and Cemetery Fraud:

 

  • Be an informed consumer. Take time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help make difficult decisions. Funeral homes are required to provide detailed general price lists over the telephone or in writing.

 

  • Educate yourself fully about caskets before you buy one, and understand that caskets are not required for direct cremations.

 

  • Understand the difference between funeral home basic fees for professional services and any fees for additional services.

 

  • Know that embalming rules are governed by state law and that embalming is not legally required for direct cremations.

 

  • Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing, and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing.

 

  • Make sure you understand all contract cancellation and refund terms, as well as your portability options for transferring your contract to other funeral homes.

 

  • Before you consider prepaying, make sure you are well informed. When you do make a plan for yourself, share your specific wishes with those close to you.

 

  • As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.

 

 

Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products

 

 

Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products:

 

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for “secret formulas” or “breakthroughs.”

 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the product—find out exactly what it should and should not do for you.

 

  • Research a product thoroughly before buying it. Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if other people have complained about the product.

 

  • Be wary of products that claim to cure a wide variety of illnesses—particularly serious ones—that don’t appear to be related.

 

  • Be aware that testimonials and/or celebrity endorsements are often misleading.

 

  • Be very careful of products that are marketed as having no side effects.

 

  • Question products that are advertised as making visits to a physician unnecessary.

 

  • Always consult your doctor before taking any dietary or nutritional supplement.

 

 

Telemarketing Fraud

 

If you are age 60 or older—and especially if you are an older woman living alone—you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations.

 

There are warning signs to these scams. If you hear these—or similar—phrases from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone:

 

  • “You must act now, or the offer won’t be good.”

 

  • “You’ve won a free gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.

  • “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.

 

  • “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone, including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.

 

  • “You don’t need any written information about the company or its references.”

 

  • “You can’t afford to miss this high-profit, no-risk offer.”

 

Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Fraud:

 

 

 

It is very difficult to get your money back if you have been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

 

  • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.

 

  • Always ask for, and wait until you receive, written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But beware, not everything written down is true, unfortunately.

 

  • Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.

 

  • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers—verify the accuracy of these items.

 

  • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.

 

  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question: “What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”

 

  • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay only after they are delivered.

 

  • Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.

 

  • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.

 

  • Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.

 

  • Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are—for example, the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out over the telephone.

 

  • Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It is never rude to wait and think about an offer.

 

  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.

 

  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

 

  • Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.

 

  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.

 

  • If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

 

 

Internet Fraud

 

As web use among senior citizens increases, so does their chances to fall victim to Internet fraud. Internet Fraud includes non-delivery of items ordered online and credit and debit card scams. Please visit the FBI’s Internet Fraud webpage for details about these crimes and tips for protecting yourself from them.

 

 

Investment Schemes

 

 

As they plan for retirement, senior citizens may fall victim to investment schemes. These may include advance fee schemes, prime bank note schemes, pyramid schemes, and Nigerian letter fraud schemes.

Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud

 

Nigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter mailed, or e-mailed, from Nigeria offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author—a self-proclaimed government official—is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria.

 

The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers, and other identifying information using a fax number given in the letter or return e-mail address provided in the message.

 

The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a “propensity for larceny” by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.

 

Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria.

 

In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist, and the victim eventually ends up with nothing but loss.

 

Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks that they received to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances.

 

While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually. Some victims have been lured to Nigeria, where they have been imprisoned against their will along with losing large sums of money.

 

The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims of these schemes, since the victim actually conspires to remove funds from Nigeria in a manner that is contrary to Nigerian law.

 

The schemes themselves violate section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, hence the label “419 fraud.”

 

Tips for Avoiding Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud:

 

  • If you receive a letter or e-mail from Nigeria asking you to send personal or banking information, do not reply in any manner. Send the letter or message to the U.S. Secret Service, your local FBI office, or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You can also register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.

 

  • If you know someone who is corresponding in one of these schemes, encourage that person to contact the FBI or the U.S. Secret Service as soon as possible.

 

  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.

 

  • Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.

 

  • Guard your account information carefully.

 

 

Reverse Mortgage Scams

 

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) urge consumers, especially senior citizens, to be vigilant when seeking reverse mortgage products. Reverse mortgages, also known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), have increased more than 1,300 percent between 1999 and 2008, creating significant opportunities for fraud perpetrators.

 

Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a multitude of real estate, financial services, and related companies to steal the equity from the property of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing equity from a flipped property.

 

In many of the reported scams, victim seniors are offered free homes, investment opportunities, and foreclosure or refinance assistance. They are also used as straw buyers in property flipping scams. Seniors are frequently targeted through local churches and investment seminars, as well as television, radio, billboard, and mailer advertisements.

 

A legitimate HECM loan product is insured by the Federal Housing Authority. It enables eligible homeowners to access the equity in their homes by providing funds without incurring a monthly payment. Eligible borrowers must be 62 years or older who occupy their property as their primary residence and who own their property or have a small mortgage balance. See the FBI/HUD Intelligence Bulletin for specific details on HECMs as well as other foreclosure rescue and investment schemes.

 

Tips for Avoiding Reverse Mortgage Scams:

 

  • Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.

 

  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment.

 

  • Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.

 

  • Do not accept payment from individuals for a home you did not purchase.

 

  • Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor.

 

If you are a victim of this type of fraud and want to file a complaint, please submit information through the FBI’s electronic tip line or through your local FBI office. You may also file a complaint with HUD-OIG by calling HUD’s hotline at 1-800-347-3735.

 

Recommended:

“The bible of eldercare”—ABC World News. “An indispensable book”—AARP. “A compassionate guide of encyclopedic proportion”—The Washington Post. And, winner of a Books for a Better Life Award. How to Care for Aging Parents is the best and bestselling book of its kind, and its author, Virginia Morris, is the go-to person on eldercare for the media, appearing on Oprah, TODAY, and Good Morning America, among many other outlets.

How to Care for Aging Parents is an authoritative, clear, and comforting source of advice and support for the ever-growing number of Americans—now 42 million—who care for an elderly parent, relative, or friend. And now, in its third edition, it is completely overhauled and updated, chapter-by-chapter and page-by-page, with the most recent medical findings and recommendations. It includes a whole new chapter on fraud; details on the latest “aging in place” technologies; more helpful online resources; and everything you need to know about current laws and regulations. Also new are fill-in worksheets for gathering specifics on medications; caregivers’ names, schedules, and contact info; doctors’ phone numbers and addresses; and other essential information in one handy place at the back of the book.

From having that first difficult conversation to arranging a funeral and dealing with grief—and all of the other important issues in between—How to Care for Aging Parents is the essential guide. Read the reviews.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Help Your Older Adult Move from Wheelchair to Toilet

Help Your Older Adult Move from Wheelchair to Toilet

 

 

 

Caregivers, save your back!

 

Since family caregivers don’t get formal training in safe lifting and transfer techniques, it’s easy to hurt yourself while helping others. These instructions will allow you to confidently help your older adult move from wheelchair to toilet while also saving yourself and the wheelchair user from injury.

 

Important Tip:

For Wheelchair Transfers involving a wheelchair and toilet. I recommend having a raised toilet seat with arms; a raised toilet seat with arms helps ease this type of wheelchair transfer because it helps the wheelchair user by giving them something to hold onto for support, this will allow the transfer to be made with extreme caution and safety.

http://www.oshatrain.org/courses/images/623/623_2_2_toilet_seat_riser.jpg

 

Instructions for proper transfer from wheelchair to toilet

 

1. Starting Transfer From Wheelchair To Toilet

The wheelchair user should be currently sitting in a wheelchair, in a position where it is easy for them to transfer from the chair. When the user is ready, you should make sure that the brakes are engaged on both sides of the chair before attempting a transfer.

The wheelchair user should be currently sitting in a wheelchair, in a position where it is easy for them to transfer from the chair. When the user is ready, you should make sure that the brakes are engaged on both sides of the chair before attempting a transfer.

 

2. Removing Footrests & Clearing a Path To Transfer

The next step would be to remove any type of components of the chair that are in the way of an easy transfer. That would include footrests (if they are removable), leg rests, and/or any extra accessories or components that are removable. Some wheelchairs do not have the feature to remove the footrests, others allow you to “swing away” the footrests to the sides so that they are not in the way when attempting a transfer.

 

3. Caregiver Positioning & Precautions

You should be in the right position to attempt a wheelchair transfer. This means that if you are the caregiver, you should make sure that you are ready to support the user’s weight in case you need to assist them during the transfer.

The caregiver should also keep in mind which side of the user is their weak side; this allows you to know which side they are more likely to lean or fall over if that occurs.

The weak side of the user is determined by finding out which side they have a weakness in their extremities. This may include their arms & legs, depending on their current condition.

If you are able to determine their weak side, you can position yourself so that your knees are between their legs, ready to support the knee in case they need help. Your hands should be positioned so that you are ready to support their hip area as well.

 

4. Wheelchair User Shifting

The user should now be in position to lift from the chair. This means that they are positioned at the edge of the wheelchair seat with some minimal momentum building towards the front of the chair.

When they are at the edge of the seat, ask the user to ensure that their legs are level with the ground, and that their feet are positioned straight underneath the seat so that they are ready to stand up.

 

5. Standing & Transfer

When the user is in position and ready to stand, make sure that your hands are on their hip area. The user’s arms should be positioned on top of the armrests to provide stability and support.

Direct the user to lean towards the front of the chair, this will help the caretaker handle the weight of the user when they are assisting the person during a transfer.

The user should push themselves upward and out of the chair. Their arms positioned on the armrests, and their feet leveled with the ground, which will help ease the pressure of the transfer for both parties.

Once they are in a standing position in front of the chair, the caretaker should shift their positioning towards the opposite end of the user’s weak side (or their strong side). The toilet should be directly in front of the user when they are in a standing position after exiting the chair. They should face the front of the toilet, the user’s eyes should be facing the wall where the toilet is facing.

Once they are ready to sit down, assist them by providing limb and hip support, then you will want to instruct them to slowly step back until they are positioned to sit in the center of the toilet seat. While doing this step, the arms of the toilet should help the user by providing support, the user should place their hands on top of the arms of the toilet.

 

Transfer From Wheelchair To Toilet Tips

  • Make sure you allow the user enough time to complete each step without having to struggle with their body weight.
  • If able, the user should be able to lift some of the weight of their body out of the chair during the transfer, to allow an easy transition.
  • You should always double check the brake mechanisms of the wheelchair before attempting a transfer.
  • Remember that some bathroom surfaces may be slippery when attempting a transfer, some may not provide enough support to enable a wheelchair transfer.

 

And that is how you can properly transfer a person out of their wheelchair and into their toilet.

If you are consistently having to transfer out of a wheelchair and onto a toilet, or from a wheelchair to , or any type of transfer, you should research information to buy a wheelchair that comes standard with flip back armrests, or removable armrests. This should help you and your caregiver to easily transfer in any type of situation.

  • Always protect your back by bending your knees instead of from your waist.
  • Consider using an inexpensive gait belt to help you safely support your older adult.
 

 

  • Ask your older adult to use the wheelchair or toilet seat arms for support rather than holding on to your shoulders.

 

  • If their legs are not strong, place your knees in front of theirs (called blocking) while they stand.
  • If one side is weaker than the other, stand on the weaker side for extra steadiness and support.

 

Go regularly to reduce accidents

It takes some preparation to help your older adult from wheelchair to toilet. To reduce the chance of an accident because it takes so long to get to the toilet, make regular trips to the bathroom to reduce urgency. Try after meals and every couple of hours. Don’t wait until your older adult says they need to go – by then the need might be too urgent.

 

Video below: an occupational therapist demonstrates a wheelchair to toilet transfer using a raised toilet seat with arms.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

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Healthiest Supplement Drinks for Seniors and Diabetics

Healthiest Supplement Drinks for Seniors and Diabetics

 

 

The Benefits of Liquid Supplement Drinks In Your Parent’s Diet

 

As our parents age, one of the worries we have to contend with is whether or not they are receiving adequate nutrition from their daily diets. Nutritional drinks may help fill nutrition gaps in your diet.

 

The simple fact is that, as we age, our nutritional needs change. However, most of our diets never make the transition necessary to accommodate our changing nutritional requirements.

 

See my full reviews below

 

 

Undernutrition in the Elderly

 

According to one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Undernutrition is a risk factor for increased mortality in older adults,” making it a problem that can’t be ignored.

 

Undernutrition in the elderly is driven by these primary factors:

 

  • Physical difficulties chewing and swallowing many foods
  • Cognitive difficulties with remembering how to prepare nutritious meals or with remembering to eat at all
  • Fatigue and a lack of motivation or desire to prepare meals
  • Changing nutritional needs due to age-related physical changes in the body

 

Seniors require a nutrient-dense diet — one rich in protein, vitamins D, B12 and calcium.

 

For those unable to meet their nutrient needs, dietary supplements, in the form of fortified beverages are an option. These protein-rich drinks come in many flavors and varieties to suit specific health needs; however, real, whole foods should always be the first option.

 

How can liquid nutritional supplement drinks help?

 

Each of the factors that can lead to undernutrition is addressed by adding a liquid nutritional supplement to your parent’s daily diet.

 

These drinks require no preparation, are easily swallowed and tolerated by the elderly and satisfy the need for added nutrition without empty calories and with the appropriate amount of dietary fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol.

 

There is a wide variety of Drinks to help your elderly parent maintain optimal health; various formulas are designed for different nutritional needs including individuals who are diabetic, need to improve bone health, are battling cancer, or are either pre or post-surgery – issues which many of us will face as we deal with the declining health of our parents.

 

I recommend products formulated for diabetics as the healthiest option for non-diabetics as well, since they build on the use of complex carbohydrates to give better blood glucose control – a key factor in avoiding Type 2 diabetes.

 

Note that these recommendations are very nutritious, but some of them are not particularly high in calories. If your senior is  eating very little, choose a high calorie shake, provide a larger serving of the drink, or add some full-fat plain yogurt or whipping cream to these drinks to add calories without additional sugar.

Here are the Healthiest Meal Replacement Nutrition Shakes for Your Elderly Parent:

 

Glucerna SR, Vanilla, 8 ounces

 

  • 200 calories
  • 10 g protein
  • 27 g total carbs
  • 7 g fat (0.5 saturated)
  • 6 g sugar

 

Glucerna is gluten-free and a good choice if you’re lactose intolerant.

 

These protein shakes, which are designed for people with diabetes, come in four flavors: Rich Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Creamy Strawberry, and Classic Butter Pecan, with the chocolate and vanilla also available in snack-size portions . Overall, they are a good choice. Their carb content of 27 grams places the shakes in the range of a moderate-sized snack or small meal.

 

 

Boost Glucose Control, 8 oz.

 

  • 190 calories
  • 16 g protein
  • 15 g total carbs
  • 7 g fat (1 saturated)
  • 4 g sugar

 

Boost Glucose Control is a meal replacement drink made specifically for people on a type 2 diabetes management plan. Plus it’s lactose-free and gluten-free, making it a good choice for people with these dietary concerns.

 

“This nutrition profile is one of the better options available to individuals trying to find a diabetic-friendly shake,” says Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York City.

 

 

Almased, 8 tablespoon serving

 

  • 180 calories
  • 27 g protein
  • 15 g total carbs
  • 1 g fat (0.5 saturated)
  • 12 g sugar

 

Almased is a meal replacement drink mix made from soy protein, honey enzymes, and skim milk yogurt powder.

 

Because it’s a powder, if you mix it with any liquid other than water, you’ll need to factor in those nutrients. “This shake has a higher amount of sugars, but the total carbohydrate is reasonable,” Ramsetty says.

 

The soy and yogurt give it one of the highest protein contents among shakes for diabetes. “If you do not have kidney disease and are looking for soy replacements, this would be an option to try,” she adds.

 

It’s also likely to be more satisfying because of its high protein content. “This is likely to keep you full longer than other meal replacements while helping achieve better blood glucose control, Cipullo says — a plus for type 2 diabetes management.

 

The Almased drink mix is a good choice if you are looking to add extra calories; just mix the powder with milk instead of water.

 

 

EAS AdvantEDGE Carb Control Ready-to-Drink Chocolate Fudge, 11 oz.

 

EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control Ready-to-drink Shake, Chocolate Fudge, 11 oz., 18 Count
 
  • 110 calories
  • 17 g protein
  • 4 g total carbs
  • 3 g fat (0.5 saturated)
  • 0 g sugar

 

Besides Chocolate Fudge, Rich Dark Chocolate and French Vanilla, these protein shakes for people with diabetes also come in Strawberry Cream and Café Caramel.

 

Extend Nutrition Shake Mix, Vanilla, 1 packet
  • 110 calories
  • 15 g protein
  • 12 g total carbs
  • 1.5 g fat (0 saturated)
  • 1 g sugar

 

Extend Nutrition Shakes were developed by Francine Kaufman, MD, former president of the American Diabetes Association. These protein shakes for people with diabetes are formulated with a combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that metabolize slowly and help control blood sugar for up to 9 hours — good for type 2 diabetes management.

 

Extend Nutrition Shakes come in strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors; you add water to the powder packet. Again, if you are looking for more calories, mix the powder with milk instead.

 

 

Atkins Advantage Vanilla Shake, 11 oz

  • 60 calories
  • 15 g protein
  • 2 g total carbs
  • 9 g fat (3 g saturated)
  • 1 g sugar

 

Atkins Advantage shakes, from the creators of the Atkins Diet, are marketed as snack or light meal replacements. Flavors include Café Caramel, Dark Chocolate Royale, Milk Chocolate Delight, Mocha Latte, and Strawberry.

 

 

Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate, 11 oz.

  • Provides you with 35 grams of protein per can.
  • 4 grams of carbs.
  • An excellent source of Calcium.
  • Delicious Chocolate flavor
 
The Pure Protein Shake is the #1 best seller in the category of sports nutrition ready-to-drink protein, and an excellent choice for supplementing protein.  Reviewers also claim it is one of the tastiest high protein shakes available.
 

MET-Rx RTD 51 Frosty Chocolate

 

 

 
 
 

The MET-Rx High Protein Ready-to-Drink Shake has more of everything, particularly protein and calories.  If you are looking for a very high protein meal replacement, this shake is an excellent choice.

The MET-Rx has a whopping 51 grams of protein and 250 calories in a 15 oz serving. You’re also getting a substantial amount of vitamins, minerals, and 3 grams of fiber.

If your loved one is skipping meals, this shake is an excellent choice.

 

The bottom line on liquid nutrition for the elderly

 

The majority of scientific studies indicate that adding a low-volume nutritional supplement drink can significantly improve the health of elderly individuals.  These studies have researched the effects of using liquid nutritional supplements as a dietary aid for elderly individuals who reside in hospitals, nursing homes and those who continue to reside at home or in an assisted-living environment.

 

The conclusion of these studies is that, regardless of the setting, significant nutritional benefits can be realized by incorporating a daily liquid nutritional supplement drink into your loved one’s diet. And, they not only improve overall general health, they help increase energy, cognition and even mood.

 

This is good news because finding a high quality, tasty supplement drink is a simple matter.  If this is your first time offering shakes, pick up a few different brands to see which one is a favorite.  Remember to look for diabetic or low carb shakes to avoid unnecessary sugar.

 

Summary:

 
  • Undernutrition is a risk factor for increased mortality and poor overall health for older adults.
  • Undernutrition in the elderly may be caused by difficulty chewing and swallowing, not remembering how to prepare nutritious meals or forgetting to eat, and/or age-related changes in the body.
  • Adding a low-volume liquid nutritional supplement drink to your parent’s diet can significantly improve health.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.  Let me know what you think about the shakes mentioned, or others you may have tried.  I’d love to hear which supplement drink you think is best.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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