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Selecting A Home Health Care Provider When You Have A Cardiac Condition

Recovering In The Comfort Of Your Own Home

Home health care is a wonderful alternative for a number of seniors. Many elderly people would prefer to age in place than live out their later years in a nursing home. However, finding competent home care providers when you have a cardiac condition can be more difficult and complicated. If you have heart problems and are hiring a home health care provider through an agency, read on to learn what you should ask to select the best person for the job.

What credentials does the agency require for their staff?

If you are having someone come into your home, you expect they will have been screened for their trustworthiness, as even college kids can clean and prepare basic meals. But what kinds of specific skills or certifications do they have for dealing with cardiac patients? Some examples include:

  • schooling in how to take basic vital signs, especially pulse and respiration
  • knowledge of signs and symptoms of cardiac problems and when to call a doctor or ambulance
  • ability to read a Lead II rhythm strip or a 12-lead EKG
  • knowledge of how pacemakers work and how to transmit rhythm strips to a pacemaker lab
  • familiarity with home heart monitors, such as Holter or event monitors
  • knowledge of cardiac medications, such as anti-arrhythmics, anti-coagulants, and beta blockers
  • certification in IV infusion therapy or injectable medications
  • advanced CPR certification and preferably, experience managing cardiac emergencies, such as myocardial infarctions or “code blues”
  • ability to provide wound care, such as post-sternotomy care after bypass or valve replacement surgery
  • knowledge of common comorbidities, like diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, and their medications

You don’t necessarily need someone with a nursing degree, which can carry a higher price tag and run up your insurance costs more quickly. Emergency medical technicians, paramedics, electrocardiogram technicians, cardiac ultrasound technicians, and cardiac catheterization technicians are all trained in most or all of these requirements, and many look for in-home jobs.

What about back-up personnel?

Once you find someone with the credentials you desire, you will also need to find a back-up person with similar skills. Don’t forget that your regular care provider will need routine days off, sick days, and holidays. Ideally, you want the same person to fill in whenever your regular care provider is off, so be sure to ask the agency about their policy about this.

Can you add more services (or reduce them) as need demands?

Since home health care is often used in place of assisted living, can it function much the same way by adjusting to the needs of the client? If you are recovering from heart surgery at the time the provider is engaged, you may need less care a few months later. However, if you need a carotid endarterectomy or arterial graft in the future, you will certainly need more care.

Home care may be the wave of the future and replace many other types of living for seniors. If you do your homework before hiring a provider through an agency, you’ll be able to capitalize on this trend in the best way possible.


Understanding Senior Loneliness and the Benefits of Home Care Services

Loneliness can affect people in most any stage of life, but your elderly family members are at the greatest risk. Even if your loved one lives at home with you, he or she may still feel alone. Sometimes, the feeling of isolation can lead to psychological problems and physical illnesses. Understanding the most common causes of loneliness in elderly individuals can help you combat it with your loved ones.

Common Causes of Loneliness

Elderly family members can struggle with loneliness for many reasons. Sometimes, they avoid interactions with people because they are afraid to seek care for specific conditions. Other people may feel ignored by their family members. Hearing loss can add to this feeling of isolation because it limits communication.

As family members get older, illnesses that occur can hinder mobility. As your loved one’s social circle shrinks and immediate needs become the essential considerations, it can lead to feelings of depression and abandonment.

How to Help Loved Ones Combat Loneliness

Senior family members can be protected from feeling so alone by providing them with home care services in addition to family support. An in-home caregiver will be able to provide additional interaction and necessary medical and emotional support for your loved one.

Home care services can also help your loved one to remain in his or her own home much longer than may otherwise be reasonable. Staying in a comfortable, familiar environment is important at this stage of life, particularly when that home is in a neighborhood that has become central to your loved one’s daily life.

You’ll also need to encourage your family member to remain as active and involved as possible. Sometimes, seniors find themselves feeling isolated and alone because they stop taking part in social events. Consider activities like afternoon park excursions, book clubs or other events that will keep your family member socially active.

Any time you have an aging family member who is struggling with health care, daily care tasks and some isolation, deciding how to proceed can be difficult. If you have the room, you can always move your loved one in with you, which will help to ensure that he or she has company and support. But, if your family member prefers independence or you can’t be there all the time, you may still want to secure a home care service to ensure that there’s always someone there when needed. A visiting care provider not only offers routine health care and basic needs, but also important interactions that can help to combat loneliness and its negative effects.


4 Winter Safety Tips for Your Elderly Loved Ones

With the winter months at hand, now is the time to ensure that our elderly loved ones are safe and protected from any harsh weather conditions. During this time of year, there are some important safety precautions to make to make certain that our loved ones stay healthy this winter:
Place Rubber Mats at Every Door
When the weather gets damp and snowy, the risk of falling can greatly increase for older citizens. Placing some heavy-duty mats near all the doors can help keep the areas that are prone to excess moisture dry. You can find these mats in any hardware or home supply store.
Ensure the Heating System is Fully Operational
Before the weather even turns cool, it is imperative to make sure that the heating system is working. The elderly often get colder more quickly than those of a younger age since their circulatory systems are sometimes not as strong as they once were. Check the heating unit for dust and make sure it is adequately connected to its power source. If they are using a non-electrical heat source, make sure they have enough fuel to adequately heat their home.
Keep Ice Removal Tools on Hand
If your loved one lives where ice forms outside on a regular basis, you should make sure they have some ice removal tools handy. This includes salt to melt ice on the sidewalk. This also includes any tools that are needed to remove ice from the windshield of the car if they are still driving. Keep in mind that you or a hired home care professional should assist with these preparations, since it can be easy for your loved one to slip and fall.
Make Sure there is Adequate Lighting In and Out of the Home
Check any of the outdoor lighting fixtures to make sure they are operable. Winter time brings with it darker days, so it is important that there is enough lights to see the path or walkway into the house. The same goes for indoor lighting. Since the days get darker, the inside lighting is often on more often than during other times of year. Check that lamps are available and that all bulbs are in working order. Also be sure that there are plenty of extra light bulbs on hand in case one burns out.
Preparing the home for your older loved ones is so important for their safety. In addition to taking these safety steps, also be sure to always be in communication with your loved one, especially when conditions are especially harsh.


Should You Stay Home Or Move To The Nursing Home? Ideas To Consider

If you or a loved one is trying to decide whether you should stay in your home or move into a nursing home, that can be a stressful and emotionally charged decision. In most cases, it is more affordable for a senior to stay in his or her own home for as long as possible. Here is a look at a few ideas that make staying at home a bit easier:

Modifying a home to accommodate a senior with mobility issues can be affordable.

You can spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars modifying a home so that it can accommodate a wheelchair, but you can also make potentially life changing accommodations without spending that much money. In fact, one non-profit organization in Baltimore recently put this idea to the test.

As part of the CAPABLE project, a group of handymen went into seniors’ homes armed with a few tools and $1,100. With just that money, they were able to fix banisters, glue down old linoleum, and make other changes that made staying at home possible for several seniors.

Physical therapy can help to boost mobility.

In addition to making changes in the home, it can also help to address the mobility issues of the person living in the home. If you or your loved one is having trouble using the stairs or walking without falling, that can severely impact the ability to live a full and productive life at home. However, if you or your loved one schedules time with a physical therapist, that professional can help with mobility issues.

Physical therapists are often available for home visits, and they work on more than just mobility issues. They can also help with issues ranging from incontinence to arthritis to strength.

Medicare/Medicaid may cover cost of healthcare at home.

Some people assume that they have to move into a nursing home in order to get medical care where they live, but home care is becoming more and more popular every day. In many cases, Medicaid covers the cost of home care with minimal copay for these services.

New devices make it easier to monitor health even when a home care worker isn’t there.

If you or your loved one opts to stay at home, there will be times when the home care worker is not there. During those times, many seniors opt to wear a medic alert device. This device can be worn around the neck, and if you or your loved one falls or gets injured, you simply need to push a button, and the relevant authorities will be dispatched to help.

However, there are other devices that can also help. For instance, a new device is currently being developed that can alert wearers about medical conditions ranging from heart attack symptoms to dry skin. The device just gets placed on your skin, and it sends you alerts as needed.


Preparing For Home Care

It is never easy when you realize that your loved one needs home care so that you don’t have to put them into an adult care facility.  Their health and safety is your first priority, and you want to make the best decision for them so that they will be happy and enjoy living a fulfilling life.  Here are a few tips to get prepared to have in-home care so that your loved one can be in good hands.


The first step is to allow them to realize that they may not be as independent as they once were.  In-home care will allow them to be independent while being taken care of by a professional.  Allow them to realize that you hold their safety, health and their daily needs as a priority.  Show them the benefits that may come from having a caregiver in the home with them to assist them.


There will most likely be many benefits to having in home care.  There are many positive aspects to having an at-home caregiver.  They will still be able to do as much as possible on their own.  The caregiver is simply there to do things that may be a little more difficult for them as the weeks and months go by.  Remind your loved one that they are still in control of what happens, and that their caregiver is only there for assistance.

Burdens Lifted

The caregiver is going to be able to lift many burdens from them by helping them do more difficult things.  There will be no more forgotten or missed medication dosages.  They won’t have to worry about preparing meals or cleaning the home.  Remind them that they are only there to assist them in their daily lives.  Ordinary tasks that may be getting harder for them to handle will be easier to deal with when a caregiver is assisting them.

Doctor’s Assistance

Your loved one’s doctor may be helpful in encouraging them in this new life venture.  Have an open dialogue with their physician in order to have your loved one be reassured that it is a good decision for them.  The doctor can discuss his concerns for your loved one and their needs, in addition to their desire for independence and the push to live a “normal” life.

The Interview Process

Include your loved one when you interview in home care givers.  Allow them to ask questions and talk openly with the potential employees.  When they understand that their opinion is valued, they may be more likely to accept the idea of having help.


Prepare the home for the in-home care, but also for times that they may not be there as well.  Install carbon monoxide detectors that will sense any potential hazardous air quality.  Install smoke detectors that have light that flash in addition to the alarm sounds.  Some have vibrating features that can be put under the pillow in case of any problems with hearing.  In the bathrooms, install anti-scald devices that will prevent any burns from hot water.  These can be installed in showers and baths, as well as sinks.  Grab-bars in the shower and bath are always a good feature for folks that may need a little help.  Consider a security feature that will alert when there is an absence of movement during the day in the home, in such instances as a fall.

By allowing your loved one to participate in the preparation and interview process of a home caregiver, they will be more comfortable with the entire process.  Eventually, they will see that having that extra helping hand and pair of eyes is only benefiting their health and well-being greatly.


Are You Overwhelmed Caring For A Loved One With Alzheimer’s?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are over 5 million patients living with a form of Alzheimer’s. In 2012 alone, the Alzheimer’s Association stated there were over 15 million caregivers for relatives with the disease. Although caring for a loved one with dementia is rewarding, it can also be overwhelming for most people. If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, there is help available.

Seek Financial Support

You have most likely developed a financial strain due to your new role of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Many elderly patients do not have the proper health insurance they need to cover medical expenses so the financial responsibility has fallen on the caregiver.

Fortunately, there are many programs available that will help the patient and caregiver with the cost of medical aids, doctor’s appointments, and medications. If you are struggling financially, you should contact a local organization to help with your needs. Many churches, local government programs, and charities will offer financial assistance to low income families.

Open Up to Others for Emotional Support

Of course, the emotional stress of caring for a loved one with any type of Alzheimer’s can be severe. If you’re suffering with depression or high anxiety, it may be time for support. Most caregivers will have friends and other family members who are constantly offering their help. Unfortunately, many people do not accept help because their pride causes them to want to handle things alone. If you’re offered help, take advantage of it with the utmost appreciation.

Simple forms of help such as cooking a meal or running some errands may not seem beneficial but will offer tremendous assistance to a caregiver. Also, many doctors who work with Alzheimer’s patients may suggest a support group for caregivers in your area. This is a great way to share tips and secrets with others who are caring for a loved one.

Get Professional Help for Physical Needs

Although most people are happy to care for a sick or elderly relative, most are forced into their role of caregiver. They may lack the skills or experience necessary for caring for sick and elderly patients. If you are like these millions of people who do not have any medical training, hiring professional home care may be the best option.

Home care services like HisGrip Home Care offer a licensed and trained staff of nurses who will aid the patient with bathing and basic needs in their own homes. Having this in-home care is an option many elderly patients prefer so they can hold on to their independence. However, professional help inside the home will also help your role as caregiver.

It’s Okay That It’s Hard

One of the most important things to note is that the role of a caregiver is not meant to be easy. You should feel overwhelmed and not be ashamed of that feeling. Choosing to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a wonderful show of character that you should be proud of. However, utilizing help financially, physically, and emotionally can make your new role easier.


Tips for Aging in Place

According to a recent study by the AARP, the vast majority of Americans over age 50 want to stay in their homes as they age. There is a recent increase in demand for home care agencies such as HisGrip Home Care to provide help for seniors at home. Most homes, however, weren’t designed with that objective in mind. Often built by and for younger generations, they can pose hazards to someone with impaired mobility, balance or vision. Fortunately, some relatively inexpensive adaptations can accommodate life changes as we age.

Here are some ‘most frequently tips for staying at home’ that we come across at HisGrip Home Care as we continue to provide reliable and trusted care at home.

  • Rugs. Remove loose rugs since they’re a primary cause of falls and broken bones.
  • Rockers and unstable furniture. Replace them since seniors may use them to steady themselves.
  • Monitored Alarm.  Personal emergency  response systems provide a wearable pushbutton for summoning help.
  • Cordless Phones. They can be put in any room or every room, but look for models that are easy to use.
  • Bathroom. Install a seat in the shower, even a portable one, and add a hand-held showerhead. Install grab bars in the shower and bath, and higher commode and handrails.
  • Stairs & steps. Make sure all stairs and outside steps have handrails, and consider replacing or covering steps with ramps. Home entryways that don’t need stairs make great wheelchair access.
  • Stair Lift. If your two-story home lacks a bedroom and full bath downstairs and you can’t remodel, then consider a stair lift. They can be purchased or rented, and you can often find good refurbished models.
  • Doorways. Remove doors that serve no useful purpose and widen doorways so people can get around with canes, walkers or wheelchairs.
  • De-clutter & Reorganize. Clean house and discard everything that’s not truly needed, remembering to reuse (donate) and recycle where possible. Organize the things that remain so objects used daily are within easy reach.
  • Lighten up. Replace heavy pots, pans, vacuums, and trash cans with lightweight models
  • See the Light. Bright lighting is important to people with poor eyesight, so replace existing light bulbs with the new  fluorescent variety. They not only save energy, but they last so much longer.
  • Remote Control. Just like a universal remote is used to control the TV and cable box, handheld wireless devices are  available to control lights, window blinds, and fans – all while seated or  from the bedside.
  • Friendly Furniture. Consider adjustable beds and  chairs that recline easily, but avoid cushiony furniture that’s had to get in and out of.
  • Stay Warm. Senior can get cold when not moving around, so cut the chills with attic insulation and weather  stripping to eliminating drafts.
  • Appropriate Appliances. Front-loaded appliances are easy for someone in a wheelchair to use. Top-loaded models are not.
  • Do Your Chores. In addition to any professional medical help that’s needed, consider the relatively inexpensive cost of weekly maid service, lawn care, and Meals on Wheels.
  • Save Money and the Environment. Purchase wisely, buy second hand, recycle, and donate.

Remember what Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  With planning and preparation, our adults can continue to live and age at home much longer.

Nike Aremu, is the President and Owner of HisGrip Home Care, a licensed Home Care Provider located in Alpharetta, GA


Celebrating 4th of July with our Seniors

Fourth of July usually means large gatherings of family and friends to celebrate the holiday with food and fireworks. If your July 4th celebration includes seniors, don’t forget to consider any special dietary needs. Seniors face a vast array of challenges when choosing their daily menus and this can be especially daunting at cookouts and parties.

One of the most troubling, and little understood, considerations when planning a senior’s diet is making certain that whatever food and beverages they select won’t cause harmful interactions with the medications they are prescribed. Since many seniors are on multiple daily medications, you need to be vigilant about ingredients contained in the meals you are providing.

There are a few summertime food and drink choices that you may want to avoid or provide alternatives to at your next cookout. For example, grapefruit juice – something most of us would not hesitate to drink as a refreshing cocktail addition – can block the action of intestinal enzymes that break down certain drugs such as cholesterol –lowering ones. Since many seniors take these drugs, grapefruit juice should be avoided. Replacing grapefruit with another citrus fruit is not an option, as they would also provoke negative interactions. Strawberries are a good choice for a colorful, flavorful fruit taste addition that also provides the vitamin C and fiber that can be found in grapefruit.

While dark green leafy vegetables are really healthful and make a great summer salad they also contain high levels of Vitamin K – a vitamin that boosts the blood’s ability to clot. These should best be avoided by seniors who are at risk of stroke and who have been prescribed blood thinners such as Coumadin. Instead have some fun with salads that are lettuce free – apple slaw is one of my favorites. Julienne apples, jicama and carrots, throw in some raisins and Voila, a delicious and safe salad for your barbecue.

Seniors with asthma should steer clear of caffeine. Caffeine can boost the effect that asthma medications supply and increase anxiety. Herbal teas make much more sense here and thrown over ice are the perfect beverage for a 4th of July celebration. There are also many caffeine-free cola drinks if grandparents grew up loving Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

For seniors who are suffering from depression, alcohol should not be a part of the daily routine. Alcohol dehydrates the system and can create dangerous interactions with opiate pain medications and sleeping medications. If your other guests are enjoying cocktails, be sure to offer some sparkling cider or alcohol-free beer and wine as an alternative as well.

Although there are definite red flags for seniors with complex prescription histories, you can still have pleasing and nutritious dishes for your summer holiday celebrations. When designing meals for seniors, it is important to keep individual needs a top priority. Every senior has a different history and a different list of pharmaceutical requirements limiting a “one size fits all” approach to menu selection. Be well informed on your senior’s medication intake. That way, seniors can enjoy a diverse and exhilarating series of culinary experiences – experiences that are safe, healthy and sure to spark appetites.


Top Ten Summer Activities for Children with Special Needs

Summer can be a challenging time for children with special needs and their parents. Many families face a decrease in school and therapeutic hours. This may leave parents with extra time to fill during the day. Parents are also on alert as children with behavioral or social skill challenges encounter bullies and controlling peers at parks. A trip to a recreational center may seem like an easy answer for some families, but not always the most accommodating for a child with physical disabilities or special needs.

Here is a list of summer activities that you can do with your child that does not require weeks of planning, a loan or travelling further than your backyard.

1. Backyard Water Park. You can quickly create your own water park in the backyard for an afternoon of fun. If your child’s tolerance is low for water play, sit them on your lawn (if they are sensitive to grass, put them on a shower curtain or towel for more comfort) and use your finger and a hose to create a variety of sprays for your child to experience.

2. Sloppy Sensory. With the nice weather, partake in some “goopy” activities outside that will help your child to integrate their senses. Spray an outside table with shaving cream and let your child smear it around or fill a bin with rice and dig your fingers in. Lastly, create a mud pit to roll around in. All you need afterwards is a hose! This type of sensory play has many benefits.

3. Train Time. Most children love trains. Make a day of it and ride the train with your child. Choose departure times during non commuting hours so you can get a seat next to a window and deal with fewer crowds. If you don’t have commuter trains in your city, check out other public transportation options. A bus ride could be just as exciting as the train when presented as an adventure and not an everyday experience.

4. Tent Building. Make “the best tent ever” by pulling out all your blankets and chairs and have the tent overtake your backyard. Tent play can occupy your children for hours. It may also be a great resource to soothe a child, providing a hide-out or quiet place.

5. Fossil Find. Take a trip to a sandy beach or to your backyard sandbox and bury some “fossils” (a.k.a. painted rocks). Provide your child with a small shovel and bucket to dig up these archeological finds. Afterwards, you can dust them off, just like Indiana Jones, with a paintbrush. You and your child can take turns hiding and discovering these wonderful fossils.

6. In Door Play Zones. Visit local indoor play areas. These are typically filled with gigantic inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more. Many offer times for children with special needs to work on their social skills and/or sensory development.

7. Mall Meandering. Need to escape the heat? Take advantage of someone else’s air conditioning by walking the mall on hot days. Malls are cool and not too crowded on the weekdays. It is a good way to keep your child moving and active as you pace back and forth in a controlled environment; less worries about children darting in front of traffic.

8. Movie Madness. A home cinema experience is a great way to get your children out of the sun for a couple of hours and allow some down time. Instead of just plopping down in front of the TV, make it a production – homemade movie tickets and a bowl of popcorn with pillows and blankets in front of the flat screen. It will seem like a special event in your child’s day with these little extras. Just be cautious of 3-D movies since some may cause over stimulation.

9. Firehouse Visit. Call your local fire department and ask if you can stop by with your children for a quick visit to see the fire trucks and meet the firemen. This is a great way to break up your day, learn about fire safety and introduce your child to rescue workers (especially if your child wanders). Firemen are often good with children and will spend time talking to your child about what to do in an emergency. Take pictures of your visit and make it into a social story.

10. Soothing Swing. If nothing else, find a swing with your child this summer. Swings are beneficial for physical, social and cognitive development, and they offer certain therapeutic benefits. They promote movement and perceptual skills, spatial awareness, general fitness, social interaction, mental representation, and sensory integration, including vestibular development. If your child has trouble with crowds, visit the park in the morning during summer camp hours.

It is the mission of HisGrip Home Care to ensure an improved quality of life and well being for all our clients and families, by providing dependable and affordable home care. We strive to provide relevant information through regular articles. For more information including copies of archived articles, please visit our website www.hisgriphomecare.com



Summer Health Tips for Seniors
The beginning of June means that summer is officially here! This time can be a physically taxing time for everyone. The weather gets hot, places get crowded and busy, and we tend to race from one place to the next. Everyone needs to relax and enjoy summer, especially seniors. Seniors are more sensitive to changes in temperature, especially heat.
Here are a few summer health tips for seniors that HisGrip Home Care shares with clients as the the weather warms up.

Seniors must examine their homes. Look at ways to save energy and stay cool. Many seniors cannot afford air-conditioning, which can be vital for good summer health. Look at ways to conserve cool air, like covering windows with heavier curtains, or ensuring that windows can safely remain open to allow breezes to flow. Create a shaded place outdoors in the yard that is free of clutter and has a comfortable chair for reading or relaxing.

If you are planning a trip, meet with your doctor to discuss the vacation. This will allow the doctor to give any needed medical advice and refill any prescriptions that might expire while you are away. If you have any complicated medical conditions, you might have your doctor write out an outline of your medical history and course of treatment, along with a list of medications and dosage instructions. This will be very helpful and save a lot of time if you need to seek emergency treatment away from home.

Another summer health tip for seniors to keep in mind is their schedule. While you are out and about, make sure to keep comfortable. Take your time getting from one place to another and rest often. Take breaks to drink water or enjoy some fresh fruit. Plan your activities so they take place in the cooler times of the day, such as in the morning or early evening. Plan trips to places that are indoors and air conditioned.

Soaring summer temperatures can make everyone more susceptible to heat stroke and exhaustion. Symptoms can include confusion, short rapid breathing, a fast pulse, excessive sweating or lack of sweat. Avoid extreme heat and direct sunlight. Seek comfortable places to relax, such us under an umbrella, on a patio, or anywhere air-conditioned. Drink plenty of water, and wear light loose-weight clothing in light colors. Pack sunscreen, glasses, and hats.

Remember these summer health tips for seniors to keep everyone in your family healthy. Check in on elderly relatives who may be home-bound to make sure that they are faring well during the summer. Most of all stay healthy and enjoy your summer.

It is the mission of HisGrip Home Care to ensure an improved quality of life and well being for all our clients and families, by providing dependable and affordable home care. We strive to provide relevant information through regular articles. For more information including copies of archived articles, please visit our website www.hisgriphomecare.com.


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