Elder Care Abuse Awareness

Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation can occur at the hands of anyone that interacts with him or her. It is important for those who care to know the signs of abuse, either physical
or psychological.

Physical abuse includes beating, hitting, shoving, neglect and other acts that can cause harm to an elder’s fragile body. Look for physical signs such as: bruises, abrasions, poor coloration, malnutrition, dehydration, and soiled clothing or bed.
Psycho-logical abuse includes verbal berating, harassment, intimidation, threats of punishment, demeaning comments or isolation from family and friends. Look for these signs of psychological abuse: fear, anxiety, agitation, anger, isolation, or depression. He or she may withdrawal, be non-responsive or hesitate to talk openly.
Another common way the elderly can be abused is through financial or material exploitation. This includes improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. The abuser could cash the elder’s checks without permission, forge his or her signatures, force or deceive the elder to sign a document or use an ATM/debit card without permission.
To report Abuse call: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) and to learn more call
1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337).
How Prevent
Identity Theft
NEVER:
1. Carry a Social Security card
2. Give personal information over the telephone
3. Carry multiple credit cards
4. Print Identification numbers on checks
5. Answer unsolicited email that asks for your personal information.
ALWAYS:
1. Review statements & bills promptly
2. Shred personal mail and information
3. Stop mail while you are on vacation
4. Shop online only with merchants that have se-cure websites.
5. Copy all items in your wallet and keep with personal papers in a safe place.
Preventing Financial Exploitation
1. Use direct deposit for check payments you receive.
2. Don’t sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
3. Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
4. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
5. Be aware of scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
6. Don’t pay for any prize or send money to improve your chances to win or receive a prize.
7. Don’t give any caller your credit card number or any other form of personal identification.
8. Don’t give anyone your ATM access code, and cancel your ATM card immediately if it is stolen.
9. Be cautious of joint accounts. Both parties are equal owners of the account and both have equal access to the funds in the account.
10. Build good relationships with the professionals who handle your money.
Advanced Senior Solutions are members of the American Association of Daily Money Managers and are insured and bonded in order to assist you with Bill Paying and
Financial Services. Call: 727-443-2273.

Long Distance Caregiving

Care-giving is a difficult task in itself without adding the challenge of living a distance away from the one being care for. The only information you receive is either when you call (which means you have to trust when you are being told everything is fine) or when you visit (which may not be very often).
When you are able to visit there are some things to look out for that are signs that your parents or loved ones are not doing as well as they have led you to believe.
1. Check the stove top for dust, which would indicate they are no longer cooking for themselves.
2. Check the fridge and pantry for food that is expired, which means they are not shopping as often as needed.
3. Check the bathroom for a wet shower or wet towels, indicating they are still taking showers regularly.
4. Count their pills in their prescription bottle and compare it to the date it was filled and the quantity prescribed which will indicate missed dosages or non-compliance.
These are all signs that your loved one may not be managing well and is no longer caring for themselves. You may need to take action. This could be hiring a Aging Life Care Management agency to be your loved one’s local point of contact or hiring a homemaker / companion to help pick up groceries, cook, clean and monitor medication compliance. The important thing is that these decisions need to be made before everything gets out of hand. This proactive response will prevent you from having to make hasty decisions during an emergency and give your loved ones a better quality of life.
Call Advanced Senior Solutions for a consultation. 727-443-2273

Ways to Help Your Aging Parent

As a member of the “Sandwich Generation”, whereby having an adult daughter living at home after college due to the economy and a 12 year old son with Tourette’s, along with managing my aging father from a distance, I truly understand the difficulty both on a personal level as well as a professional level as a Geriatric Care Manager Elder Care Consultant. I can only imagine how difficult this process is for those with little or no experience in navigating through the confusing maze of health care. In managing your aging parent, there are some recommendations to help you understand the aging process and what you can do to help.

1. Recognize sudden changes. Quick onset of confusion or falling frequently is likely an acute episode indicating possibly an infection, medication side effect or even a heart attack or stroke. Be aware of their baseline behavior so you’re more in tune to the changes that occur.

2. Find the source of the decline. To often, a person with dementia symptoms are mis-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Some easily treatable medical conditions such as urinary tract infection, plugged ears, vitamin B12 deficiency or underactive thyroid can mimic the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Note the ways the decline has presented itself such as short term memory impairment, loss of appetite, or poor hygiene and how long these changes have been going on. Share this information with their physician at their next appointment.

3. Familiarize yourself with their medicines. Note medication name, dosage, frequency, what it’s prescribed for and the prescribing doctor. Many times medications are prescribed for a secondary effect rather than the most common one. Find out about the potentially dangerous side effects to be on the alert for. Inform their doctor of your parent’s other substance use such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and even vitamins, supplements and nutritional drinks.

4. Curb ageist attitudes. Don’t assume all that anguish your parent is experiencing is age related. For instance left hip pain in an 87 year old may not be from age if there’s no discomfort in the right hip. Also, not every elderly person becomes depressed. And avoid saying things like “What do you expect at your age?” (Which is something my daughter says to me in jest, and I’m only pushing 50!)

5. Address the symptoms but don’t ignore the emotions. During the aging decline comes all the emotions of insecurity, fear, grief, boredom, sadness and embarrassment. Emotional distress can exacerbate dis-ease symptoms and even spark new illnesses. Uncover what causes the most stress and find solutions to help ease their concerns.

6. Maximize quality of life. Help your parent to find ways to enjoy life to its fullest and have the capability to do the things they want to do. Helping them through a problem or providing them with companionship and love. As they experience loss of loved ones coupled with their loss of some of their functional abilities, they may feel lonely or isolated. Help them meet new people and develop new interests through senior centers, adult day care or even through their local retirement or as-sisted living communities.

7. Know when to ask for help. You cannot assist your parent with the aging process alone. Your own immediate family support is a must and even with that, you may need to call for some professional guidance.

Call us today for help 727-443-2273

Independent Living and Assisted Living What’s the difference?

What exactly is “Independent Living”? What is the difference between that and “Assisted Living”? What sounds like a simple question to those of us who work in the industry, may seem like a mass of confusion to those of you that are exploring these options for yourself or a loved one.

While there is plenty of support in most Independent Retirement Communities such as housekeep-ing, meals, transportation, and maintenance assistance, the minute the need increases to the point where “hands on” care is needed such as physical assistance with showers, dressing, grooming, or transferring, then Assisted Living would likely be needed.

Each Community provides a different “package” of services, even if their licenses are the same. Some offer Levels of Care where certain services are included within each level and that level comes with an additional fee above and beyond room and board (base fee). Other communities offer services associated with time involved, such as 1-5 hours a week is this much, 6-10 hours a week is that much and so on. With each increase in increment of time, additional fees are added above base fee.

Ask for any additional costs such as transportation fees, utilities, laundry service or other services that may not be included in base fee. Do they have a physician that makes rounds in the building? Do they offer other mobile services such as eye doctor, podiatry, home care services, and more.

As you search for the right fit, comparing apples to apples can be a challenge. Just remember to keep it simple. Start with the basics then compare and contrast. Most importantly trust your instincts. How does each community “feel”? Talk to residents as you pass in the halls and ask how they like living there.

Remember, this information is more important than the bricks and mortar. A beautiful building does not always make a good home! Also remember, if you’re touring on behalf of a loved one, keep in mind their likes and dislikes, not what you would like if it were you moving in.

Where do I start? Whom do I contact? What is the best solution for Mom or Dads problem?

Some of us have been there and asked those questions, or we may find ourselves in that situation in the future.

We want to take care of Mom or Dad, but it is not an easy task — especially if we are working full time and raising our own family. But eldercare issues do not wait for convenience of time or place. For example:

Sherry stopped by her mom’s house every day after work. Her father had passed away last year and he had been the caregiver of Alice, Sherry’s mom. Now it was up to Sherry to fill the caregiver role. Alice suffered from mild dementia. She could still function on her own, but was showing more signs of forgetfulness and confusion. Sherry would find her morning medication still on the cupboard in the evening and wasn’t sure Alice had eaten during the day. Sherry couldn’t quit her job to take care of her mom, as she was a single mother supporting her own family. Sherry had a lot of questions. What type of help was available to her? Are there resources in the community? Who would she contact to find out about home care or assisted living? Should she get legal power of attorney and when is the right time to do it? What about selling mom’s home if mom goes to assisted living? How will that affect Medicaid eligibility?

A Aging Life Care Manager can be a valuable asset to family members when it becomes necessary to look at alternatives for their loved one’s long term care. They work with all members of the family in educating about resources and making decisions. A small sample of some services provided are.

  • Perform a comprehensive assessment on level of care needs
  • Develop a Care Plan for both current and future care needs
  • Work with physicians in getting medical support
  • Find home care and other services that work with the families needs
  • Provide assistance with legal, financial and end of life issues

For more information or to find a Geriatric Care Manager near your loved one, go to www.advancedseniorsolutions.com

When should we hire a Aging Life Care Manager?

 

·      When there’s no local support system in place or family lives too far away to assist regularly.
·      Family members are unable to determine needs, agree on options, arrange for or oversee care.
·      If the burden of providing care is threatening the health of the spouse or primary caregiver.
·      When placement in a facility is necessary and your not sure what fits both care needs and budget.
·      Your loved one displays inappropriate behavior, uses poor judgment or may be easily victimized.
If you’re experiencing any of these or other concerns, call Advanced Senior Solutions. 727-443-2273 www.advsrs.com

Not All Aging Life Care Managers Are Created Equal

Aging Life Care Management is a rapidly developing, newly recognized profession which helps families adjust and cope with the challenges of an aging loved one.

Aging Life  Care Manager’s  are health advocates for seniors and disabled adults. Managers  provide needs assessments, screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help, counseling and support including family conflict mediation and crisis intervention. They assess the ability to remain safely in the home or whether the person may need to be relocated to an alternative residence. Determining appropriate living arrangements and necessary supportive assistance are among the many services they offer. Additionally, managers’s help to facilitate legal, financial, medical and end of life services.

Aging Life Care Managers become liaisons to families who are separated by long distances from their elderly loved ones making sure they are managing well,
and alerting them to any concerns or problems that may arise. Managers’s have extensive knowledge about the services and resources in their communities.

Aging Life  Care Managers hold Bachelor Degrees, Masters Degrees, or Doctorates in a human service related field such as Gerontology, Social Work, Psychology, or Nursing. As the aging
population continues to grow, the need for strict Aging Life Care standards is increasingly critical.

The National Association of Aging Life Care Managers recognizes the following credentials as exceeding the standard of expertise in being a Aging Life Care Manager;
CMC, CCM, A-CSW & C-SWCM. The certification exam to be a CMC is facilitated by the National Association of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). These certifications re-quire testing, ongoing continuing education and peer review in order to re-certify.

Because there are some individuals working either independently or for a different professional and who refer to themselves as “Care Managers”, it is important for the wise consumer to ask questions when considering hiring a PCM. Some of these questions include:

How much experience does Aging Life CareManager have in healthcare?

  • What are the credentials and education of the Aging Life Care Manager?
  • Are they Licensed, Bonded and Insured? Ask to see it
  • Are they a member of the National and State Associations of Aging Life C are Care Managers?
  • What types of services do they offer?
  • Can they provide references from clients/families?
  • What are the fees and costs for services? Do they offer a complimentary consultation?

When selecting either a Professional Care Management Agency or an Individual, the process should be comprehensive and cautious. The answers to your questions will assist you in
determining whether that particular Agency or Sole Proprietor has the qualifications important to you for a successful relationship.

Ten questions to ask when hiring a private home care agency

1. What is the background of your company? Search out the history and ownership of the company. Find out who owns the company and weigh how the ownership affects the company’s service and reliability. is it reputable and in good standing?

2. How long has your company been in business? The number of years an agency has been in business is not always pertinent to the quality of care given,\ but it does reflect on the stability and success of the company.

3. What qualifications, certifications, experience and training do you require of your workers? Find out if caregivers’ credentials are investigated. Plus, determine whether caregivers undergo a thorough, professional testing and screening process.

4. Are your employees insured and bonded? For your protection, ensure that all caregivers are insured and bonded by the home care agency.

5. How do you supervise your workers to make sure the proper care is given? Some agencies make scheduled quality assurance calls and visits. To further ensure quality care, see that all caregivers are regularly and closely supervised by a qualified company representative.

6. Will the same employee continue with my case? It is difficult to receive good care if different people show up every week. A good home care provider will be concerned with continuity of care.

7. Do you conduct a home visit before starting the home care service? It is important that the patient and family members discuss the kind of care needed with a home care representative. This will help you determine whether the home care provider can meet your needs.

8. Do you work with my doctor in developing a plan of care? If you require care beyond that associated with activities of daily living, your doctor ought to be involved.

9. Can you give me some references from doctors, hospital personnel or social workers? Ask for names of people, not just the name of a hospital or organization.

10. Do you guarantee customer satisfaction? Find out if you’re locked in to a contract for a certain period of time. The home care provider should guarantee care and cancel charges for unsatisfactory service.

By Lory Smeltzer, MPH, CMC

Supervising Activities

People who are getting agitated can sometimes feel better if they have something useful or interesting to do. However, they usually need direction to find appropriate activities and to prevent frustration. Here are some suggestions that can help:

Structure and routine. Try to follow regular predictable routines that include pleasant, familiar activities. Remind the person that everything is going according to plan.
Pleasant activities. Make time for simple pleasant activities the person knows and enjoys—listening to music, watching a movie or sporting event, sorting coins, playing simple card games, walking the dog, or dancing can all make a big difference.
Keep things simple. Break down complex tasks into many small, simple steps that the person can handle (e.g., stirring a pot while dinner is being prepared; folding towels while doing the laundry). Allow time for frequent rests.
Redirect. Sometimes the simplest way to deal with agitated behavior is to get the person to do something else as a substitute. For example, a person who is restless and fidgety can be asked to sweep, dust, rake, fold clothes, or take a walk with the caregiver. Someone who is rummaging can be given a collection of items to sort and arrange.
Distract. Sometimes it is enough to offer a snack or put on a favorite videotape or some familiar music to interrupt behaviors that are becoming difficult.
Be flexible. Your loved one might want to do some activity or behave in a way that at first troubles you, or may refuse to do something you have planned, like taking a bath. Before trying to interfere with a particular behavior, it is important to ask yourself if it is important to do so. Even if the behavior is bizarre, it may not be a problem, especially in the privacy of your own home.
Soothe. When the person is agitated, it may help to do simple, repetitive activities such as massage, hair-brushing, or giving a manicure.
Compensate. Help the person with tasks that are too demanding. Don’t put the person in a position where demands will be made that he or she cannot handle.
Reassure. Let the person know that you are there and will keep him or her safe. Try to understand that fear and insecurity are the reasons the person may “shadow” you around and ask for constant reassurance.

Getting to doctor appointments. Is the person upset about going to the doctor or dentist? Here are some helpful hints: Emphasize the value of a check-up, rather than a test for a specific problem.

Providing the right environment

It is important to evaluate the person’s environment—his or her bedroom, daytime areas, and schedule—to see if any of the following problems may be contributing to agitation:

  • Some individuals become particularly agitated at specific times of the day. Would it help to change the person’s routine to avoid these problems? It is helpful to try to do things in the same place at the same time each day.
  • Agitation may result from thirst or hunger. If a person with dementia forgets to eat, offer frequent snacks and beverages.
  • Agitation may result from physical discomfort. Has the person remembered to use the bathroom? Is he or she constipated? Could there be aches and pains from sitting in one place?
  • Does the person have a regular, predictable routine? Unexpected changes or last minute rushing can cause those with dementia to become scared and disoriented.
  • Getting dressed can be frustrating for someone with dementia. Try to simplify this task, for example, by using Velcro fasteners and not insisting on matched outfits.
  • Is the person feeling rushed, overwhelmed, hungry, tired, scared, constipated, cold, or hot? Does he or she need to use the bathroom? Fresh air or air conditioning can minimize agitation. It is also important not to rush individuals with dementia. Simplify dressing by using Velcro fasteners. Don’t insist on matched outfits.
  • Is there a chance for regular exercise? Walks and simple exercises are good ideas. If a person wants to pace and isn’t disrupting anyone, that’s OK, too.
  • Is the room well lighted? Good lighting can help to reduce disorientation and confusion. Provide night-lights.
  • Is the air temperature comfortable? Try to provide fresh air, heating, or air conditioning as needed.
  • Is the environment too noisy or confusing? Are there too many people around? It may be helpful to use picture cues, to personalize the room, and to decorate and highlight important areas with bright contrasting colors.

Is the environment safe? If not, take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the patient and caregiver (e.g