When is it Time To Intervene With Your Parents Care?

When is it Time To Intervene With Your Parents Care?

How
do you know when it’s the right time to intervene with your parents
care?  This can be a very delicate situation. You don’t want to alienate
your parents by prying too much into their affairs, but you certainly
don’t want to wait until you get a call from the hospital ER or worse,
your State’s Department of Children and Families.  To know when it’s the
right time to intervene might take “seeing out of the box”.  As adult
children of elderly parents, we tend to see them as they once were,
instead of how they are today. Look at your parent as if you were
someone other than their adult child, such as a neighbor or a caregiver.

   Of course most families are ready to act when there are obvious issues or serious incidences, but here are some early signs to look for that indicate your parent may need some intervention sooner rather than later:
· They
drive only when absolutely necessary, only during daytime hours and
only to places nearby home. I suggest to my client’s families that when
they are here visiting they have their parent drive them around and go
outside of their local comfort zone.  If you’re not comfortable with
them driving you around, then that’s a red flag.
· Unopened
mail, insurance or bank statements and junk mail are hidden out of view
in drawers, under sheets of a spare bed or under the table cloth. (I’ve
really seen this). Of course some obvious clues are late notices and
returned checks because of duplicated or over payment.
· Household
maintenance projects are left unattended because maybe they can’t see
the water leak stain on the ceiling or ants crawling on the counter.
Maybe they can’t hear the toilet running.
· Look
for signs of malnourishment.  Check the pantry for outdated canned
foods and the refrigerator for spoiled moldy food. Have they had to
tighten their belts to the next hole or two? You can tell this by
looking at their belt – there will be a wear line from the buckle from
where they normally had it positioned.
· Missed
medical appointments, vague responses to your questions related to
their latest doctor visit (“I’m fine, don’t worry”), or they are using
more than one pharmacy. Any of these can be cause for concern.
Above
are just a few examples of some early signs that your parent’s
functional status is declining to a point of concern. A Professional
Certified Care Manager with a background in social work, public health,
or gerontology can help assess their level of functioning and recommend
the most appropriate types of intervention and services. 

To
reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to
the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of
your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a
free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Caring for an Elder from Far Away: Geriatric Care Managers

For people who work and care for an aged family member,
particularly when that family member lives far away, one solution is to hire a
professional geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager is a professional
who specializes in assisting older people and their families with long-term
care arrangements. Care managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or
substantial equivalent training in gerontology, social work, nursing,
counseling, psychology, or a related field.
Prolonged illness, disability, or simply the challenges of
aging can significantly alter the lifestyle of older adults. Daily
responsibilities can become difficult. Efficient coordination of medical,
personal, and social service resources can enhance the quality of life for
older adults and their caregivers.
Geriatric care managers assist older adults in maintaining
their independence at home and can ease the transition to a new setting, if needed.
Geriatric care managers also help:
  •          Conduct care planning assessments to identify
    problems, eligibility for assistance, and need for services.
  •          Review financial, legal, or medical issues and
    offer referrals to geriatric specialists to avoid future problems and conserve
    assets.
  •          Act as a liaison to families at a distance,
    making sure things are going well and alerting families to problems.
  •          Assist with moving an older person to or from a
    retirement complex, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
  •          Offer counseling and support.

How do you know when it is time to call a professional? Look
for the following signs:
  •          Is your loved one losing weight for no reason?
  •          Do they fall?
  •          Is the home unkempt and becoming unsafe?
  •          How are meals made?
  •          Who pays the bills?
  •          Are they able to and do they maintain a neat
    appearance?
  •          Has drinking become a problem?
  •          Is it safe for them to drive? If not, who does
    the driving for them?
  •          Has there been a sudden memory loss or increased
    confusion?

In order to answer these questions you will have to pay a
visit to your long distance loved one or rely on information from a relative or
friend who is close to that loved one.
Source:
www.caregiver.com/channels/long-distance/articles/professionalhelp/geriatric_care_managers2.htm

10 Ways to Deal with Caregiver Stress

When you are caring for others, it is
critical that you first take care of yourself. By not doing so, you put
yourself at risk for exhaustion, health problems and even total burnout.
These 10 tips will help keep your stress in
check.
1.       Put you physical needs first. Eat
nutritious meals. Do not give in to stress-driven urges for sweets or overindulge
in alcohol. Get enough sleep; if you have trouble sleeping at night, try
napping during the day if you can. Schedule regular medical checkups. Find time
to exercise, even if it means you have to ask someone else to provide care while
you work out. If you experience symptoms of depression talk to a medical
professional.
2.       Connect with friends. Isolation
increases stress. Getting together regularly with friends and relatives can
keep negative emotions at bay.
3.       Ask for help. Make a list of things you
have to do and recruit others to pitch in. Even relatives and friends that live
far away can manage certain tasks.
4.       Call on community resources. Consider asking
a geriatric care manager to coordinate all aspects of your loved one’s care.
Other service providers, including home health aides, homemaker and home repair
services, can shoulder some of the many responsibilities of caregiving.
5.       Take a break. You deserve it. Plus your
ailing family member might benefit from someone else’s company. Think about
respite care by friends, relatives, or volunteers. You can also try a home
health agency, nursing home, or assisted living facility; these facilities
sometimes accept short-term residents. Adult day care centers, which usually
operate five days a week, provide care in a group setting for older adults who
need supervision.
6.       Deal with your feelings. Bottling up
your emotions takes a toll on your psyche and even on your physical well-being.
Share feelings of frustration with friends and family. Seek support from
co-workers who are in a similar situation or a caregiver support group.
7.       Find time to relax. Doing something you
enjoy, such as reading, walking, or listening to music can recharge your
batteries.
8.       Get organized. Simple tools like
calendars and to-do lists can help you prioritize your responsibilities. Always
tackle the most important tasks first, and don’t worry if you can’t manage everything.
9.       Just say no. Accept the fact that you
simply can’t do everything! Resist the urge to take on more activities,
projects, or financial obligations than you can handle. If someone asks you to
do something that will stretch you too thin, explain honestly why you can’t and
don’t feel guilty.
10.   Stay positive. Do your best to avoid
negativity. Hold a family meeting or call an elder care mediator to resolve
conflicts with siblings and other relatives. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t
do, pat yourself on the back for how much you are doing, and focus on the
rewards of caring for someone you love.
Resource:
www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-06-201/crc-10-caregiver-stress-management-tips.hmtl

Home Maker/Companions

Home Maker/Companion
agencies provide a trusted companion to help with a broad range of activities.
These tasks can be as simple as visiting with your loved one and providing companionship,
to housekeeping and cooking meals. Companions can take your loved ones to doctor’s
appointments and shopping.

When looking
for a Home Maker/Companion service, be sure to do your homework. Make sure the
agency you select will meet your needs.
Here are some
tips to help you:
    
  •         Make
    a list of all the services your loved one needs, as well as the times and how
    often things must be done. Your loved one may need daily help with meal
    preparation, but may only need help with the laundry once a week or a ride to
    the doctor once a month. This will help you to determine how many days a week
    and how many hours a day you will need the companion. (Some agencies require
    you hire the companion for a minimum number of hours or days per week.)
  •           Make
    sure the agency is licensed, accredited and certified to perform this service.
    The agency should be insured and their employees should be adequately trained
    and bonded. Find out how the company deals with certain issues such as theft or
    unacceptable behaviors. Ask for and check references.

  •          You
    should get a written statement indicating the services they will provide, the
    cost and payment procedures. Ask for a copy of the service plan, including a
    schedule of when specific duties will be done.

  •          If
    possible, you and your loved one should meet and agree upon the person who will
    be providing your loved one’s care. Ask about the company’s policy if that
    companion is unable to make a scheduled visit.
  •          Check
    in with your loved one after service has begun to be sure they are happy with
    their companion.

A Home
Maker/Companion service can provide you with peace of mind if you live far away
from your loved one or if your work schedule prevents you from being available
throughout the day. If you are a full-time caregiver, it can give you a much
needed break.
If you find
that you need additional help with making decisions and managing the care of
your loved one, you may want to consider hiring a Care Manager. This person
will help evaluate your loved one and their situation, design a plan and help
arrange the services. They can also monitor the services of the home
maker/companion agency and make suggestions when the service plan needs to be
updated. Many care managers will accompany their clients when they go to the
doctor or hospital and will keep the family apprised of their loved one’s
situation.

Resource: www.agingflorida.com

If you have a
loved one that could benefit from Home Maker/Companion and/or Care Management services give us a call at 727-443-2273 or visit our website at www.advsrs.com.

What you should ask and Information you should provide when you go to the Doctor

Doctor visits
can be overwhelming for older adults, particularly if they have hearing
problems or dementia. Seniors can often appreciate someone attending an
appointment with them to provide any needed assistance.
Here is what to
ask and information you should provide to your doctor:
      
  •       Always
    tell your doctor what prescription medications, supplements, and vitamins you
    are currently taking. Write them down for your appointment. Also you should
    make a list of any symptoms or health complaints you have.

  •          Describe
    your symptoms in order and include past experiences with the same problem.

  •          Ask
    the doctor what he or she thinks is causing these problems. Take notes on what
    the doctor says or ask the person who is accompanying you to do so.

  •          If
    new tests are ordered or medications prescribed, ask the doctor why he or she
    is recommending that and why you need it. Find out if there are alternatives.

  •          Ask
    the doctor if any of the medications that he or she prescribes will interact in
    a negative way with medications that you are already taking prescribed by other
    doctors.

  •          Confirm
    the proper dosage and method of taking the new medication.

  •          Find
    out if there are potential side effects or complications from a medication or
    procedure.
  •          Discuss
    with the doctor how you will get any test results.
  •          Find
    out if the doctor wants to see you again, or if you should report back to him
    or her.
  •          Discuss
    what, if anything, you should be doing at home to improve your condition
    including diet and exercise. Find out if any of your activities should be restricted.
  •          Finally,
    if you are confused about anything, make sure you ask your doctor to explain it
    again.

Source: www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety/planning-tips/doctor-office-what-to-ask

Over-the-Counter Remedies for Seniors

Over-the-counter
(OTC) remedies are wonderful. You don’t need a prescription, and relief is as
close as the nearest drugstore. You may already use several OTC remedies.
It’s easy to
forget that OTC remedies are drugs that can cause side effects and affect other
medications. That’s why it’s important to read the dosage instructions, health
risks and warnings on the packaging.
Keep in mind
that as an older adult, you may be more sensitive to some drugs or you may be
taking prescribed medications that could interact with OTC medicines. If you
take OTC remedies often at the highest dosage, you are more likely to have
harmful side effects. Here are a few OTC remedies and some of their side
effects:
Acetaminophen
(Tylenol) may relieve pain and fever, but taking large doses for a long time
can lead to kidney damage. The drug is available in many formulations. Taking
more than 4,000 milligrams a day can cause liver damage. If you have more than
three alcoholic drinks a day, talk with a doctor before using medications that
contain acetaminophen. The risk that acetaminophen will harm the liver
increases when the drug is combined with alcohol or other drugs that can harm
the liver.
If you take
warfarin, acetaminophen is better to use for pain relief than aspirin or other
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, because acetaminophen doesn’t cause
gastrointestinal bleeding and has no effect on platelets (the anti-clotting
cells). The blood-thinning effect of warfarin may be significantly increased
after only a few days of using acetaminophen, however, because acetaminophen
boosts the level of warfarin in the blood.
Antacids can
interact with many drugs and cause problems for people with heart or kidney
conditions or high blood pressure. Brands with aluminum may cause constipation
or weaken bones. Magnesium-based antacids may cause diarrhea.
Aspirin can
interfere with blood clotting and may worsen or trigger asthma. If you take a
prescription blood thinner, use aspirin only if your doctor says you can. It
can cause heartburn, indigestion, and ulcers, and may worsen asthma in
individuals who are sensitive to aspirin.
Cold or
allergy remedies often have antihistamines (for sneezing and a runny nose)
and/or decongestants (for a stuffy nose). Antihistamines may leave you drowsy
and sluggish, making driving dangerous. Light-headedness and blurred vision may
occur in older adults, and difficulty urinating may occur in older men.
Decongestants can cause nervousness and insomnia and may raise your blood
pressure. If you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or an
overactive thyroid, use these remedies only with a doctor’s permission.
Ibuprofen
(Advil or Motrin) helps relieve pain. Ask your doctor before using them if you
have any kidney or liver problems, stomach problems, heart failure, high blood
pressure, or if you take any blood thinners.
Remember to
read the label and check with your doctor before taking an OTC remedy. Then
you’ll be ready to get relief.
Source: yalemedicalgroup.org

What is Aging Life Care or Geriatric Care Management?

Geriatric Care Management , also known as “elder care
management”, senior health care management” and “professional care management,” is the process of planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with
physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long term care needs, improve
their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible.
It entails working with people of old age and their families in managing,
rendering, and referring various types of health and social care services.
Geriatric care managers accomplish this by combining a working knowledge of
health and psychology, human development, family dynamics, public and private
resources and funding sources, while advocating for their clients throughout
the continuum of care. For example, they may assist families of older adults
and others with chronic needs such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease
or other dementia.

Overview
Geriatric care management integrates both health care and
psychological care with other needed services such as housing, home care
services, nutritional services, assistance with activities of daily living,
socialization programs, as well as financial and legal planning (ex. banking,
trusts). A care plan made for specific circumstances is prepared after an
individual assessment, and is continuously monitored and modified as needed.


Geriatric
care managers
Geriatric care managers typically have prior training in
nursing, social work, gerontology or other health service areas. They are
expected to have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability
of services in their communities. In some countries and jurisdictions, they may
obtain certification from various professional associations, such as the National Association of Professional
Geriatric Care Managers
in the United States.
Professional care managers help individuals, families and
other caregivers adjust and cope with the challenges of aging or disability by

1. Conducting care-planning assessments to
identify needs, problems and eligibility for assistance.
2. Screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help
and other services.
3. Reviewing financial, legal, or medical
issues.

       

4. Offering referrals to specialists to avoid
future problems and to conserve assets.
       
5. Providing crisis intervention.
       
6. Acting as a liaison to families at a
distance.
      
7.  Making sure things are going well and
alerting families of any issues.
     
8.   Assisting with moving their clients to or
from a retirement complex, assisted living facility, rehabilitation facility or
nursing home.
     
9.   Providing client and family education and
advocacy.
      
10.  Offering counseling and support.

References:
www.caremanager.org
www.seniormag.com/services.caremanager.htm

Selecting a Geriatric Care Manager

geriatric care manager (GCM) is a professional who specializes in helping older people and their families with long-term care arrangements. GCMs often have training in gerontology, social work, nursing or counseling. They also have extensive knowledge about the cost, quality and availability of services in an older person’s community.
As a result, GCMs can help:
  • Conduct care-planning assessments to identify problems and determine eligibility for assistance and the need for services
  • Screen, arrange and monitor in-home help or other services
  • Review financial, legal or medical issues and offer referrals to geriatric specialists to avoid future problems and conserve assets
  • Provide crisis intervention
  • Act as a liaison to families living away from the parent, making sure things are going well and alerting families to problems
  • Help move an older person to or from a retirement complex, care home or nursing home
  • Provide consumer education and advocacy
  • Offer counseling and support
Choose a GCM carefully. The field of geriatric care management is relatively unregulated and many people without specialized training identify themselves as care managers, care coordinators or care advisors. Therefore, it’s wise to screen candidates to ensure that you’re working with a person qualified in this new profession.
  • Ask about candidates’ training, education and background in care management and geriatrics. Ask how long they’ve been a GCM and whether they belong to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers or any other professional associations.
  • A care manager’s ability to be responsive is important. Ask candidates what their average response time is to return calls from clients and their families. Have them describe their communication system. Do they use pagers, portable phones, an answering service or voice mail? Learn about their agency’s size, hours and staff composition. How are after-hours emergencies handled? What are the back-up systems for covering vacations and days off? Will you and your parent work with one GCM or several?
  • Determine the scope of the GCM’s practice. Some GCMs or agencies specialize in assessments and care consultation, but typically don’t follow people on an ongoing basis. An assessment is a thorough review of the client’s physical, medical and mental status, and financial resources. It serves as the basis for a comprehensive plan for the client. Other GCMs offer psychotherapy, money management, or home care. They also can act as conservators, appointed by a court, to manage the financial and/or personal affairs of someone unable to manage his or her own affairs. It’s important that the GCM’s practice setting and specialties meet your needs and your parent’s.
  • Investigate the GCM’s track record and reputation. Ask for letters of reference or names of previous clients you may contact. Is the GCM active in professional associations? Does the GCM perform volunteer work?
While there are no licensing requirements for GCMs, there are certification programs. Ask each candidate you interview if he or she is certified, and by whom.
Confusion about fees and billing can be a problem. Be sure you understand the GCM’s billing rates and how charges are calculated. Fees vary depending on the GCM’s work setting – private practice, public agency or private non-profit agency. Get a written service agreement that outlines the fee structure and practices.
Finally, ask GCM candidates if they subscribe to a code of ethics or are guided by professional standards of practice. Get a copy of the standards. They should deal with the right to privacy, fiduciary responsibilities, full disclosure, fostering self-determination, fees, continuing education and professional relationships. Ask how complaints are handled.

Advantage to Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager

Very often children take on the responsibility of looking after their parents as they grow older. While this is admirable, the increasing complexity of health and financial issues facing today’s elderly can become overwhelming. And the stress of trying to negotiate the maze of financial and health-related issues can often put strain on the parent-children relationship.

geriatric care manager (GCM) can help. A GCM will look after the client’s finances search and apply for helpful programs and benefits, and administrate claims on insurance and Medicare. They can use their experience and contacts to suggest high quality assisted living facilities, in-home care providers, and nursing homes should the need arise. A GCM can also help locate reputable legal help for estate planning, willspowers of attorneyhealth care directives, and Medicaid. When children live too far away or lack the considerable time it takes to care for a loved one, a GCM can even do shopping, pay bills, balance the checkbook, and protect a senior from scams.

The primary benefit of a good GCM is peace of mind, but choose with great care. Unscrupulous individuals are out there, so be certain your GCM has a spotless reputation. Monitor the GCM’s handling of your loved one’s affairs closely. An excellent resource is the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website, www.caremanager.org.

NYNewsday.com, 2-28-04