Posts Tagged: Aging in place

Home Health Care vs Senior Home Care

If you are looking for care for yourself, your spouse or parent, it may be confusing to identify the exact service needed. You’ll encounter terms for home health care, home care, personal care, and companion care services. At Corewood Care, we provide these services across the greater Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC region, in accordance with our licensures; many companies focus only on home health care or senior home care.

Let’s begin with home health care. This term describes more in-depth, skilled medical care that is brought to the home so that the client doesn’t have to visit a doctor’s office or other medical provider. Home health care may be needed to treat a chronic health condition or during recovery from surgery or a serious illness or injury. These services are considered clinical or skilled care, so they are provided by a licensed caregiver, from a registered nurse (RN) to a certified nurse’s aide (CNA), according to pertinent licensure requirements. Home health care is usually covered by private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid.

Home care usually refers to making life better for a senior as he or she ages in place in his or her home, even if that is an independent living facility instead of their own home or apartment. Home care is non-medical care.

Chart of services for home health care versus senior home care

At Corewood Care, we tailor in-home care services to each client. Sometimes, home health care is a temporary need, such as wound care or skilled nursing care after a release from the hospital. Home care services, also often known as senior home care or personal care services, help the client with bathing, dressing, and toileting, as well as light housekeeping and meal preparation. Our home caregivers also help keep the senior client engaged during our visits with conversation and interaction. The term companion care refers to that more social side of home care; these clients perhaps do not need help with bathing or grooming, but benefit from someone to play cards with, reminisce, or engage in activities that keep the brain stimulated.

When you need help at home, Corewood Care can provide the customized in-home care you need. We’ve served clients across the region with home care services, respite care, and 24/7 care for many years. If we can be of service, answer questions, or help you find the right service for you, please give us a call, schedule a free home assessment, or use our chat.

When to Use a Care Manager

Feeling confused about when to hire a Care Manager? We’ve compiled a list of situations when hiring a Care Manager would be beneficial:

1.     When you want to save money

Many people believe that engaging the services of a Care Manager is expensive and beyond their reach. This is often a short-sighted view. Hiring a Care Manager can often save money. Yes, the initial cost may be high and often not covered by insurance, but a Care Manager can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Care Managers know the medical system, senior living communities, and local specialists better than any other senior resource.  Recommendations by a Care Manager, who are usually trained as a social worker or is a registered nurse,  can save you from making uninformed and hasty decisions. They can also assist in developing plans for future care and act as an honest agent of communication between the power of attorney, financial planner, and elder law attorney.

2.     When you’re confused about services

Trying to find the right care for an older adult can be confusing. Good news – there are a lot of choices out there. Bad news – there are a lot of choices out there. Hiring a Care Manager to navigate through these unchartered waters is indispensable. A Care Manager knows their local resources, a company’s reputation, and cost factors. If staying within a certain budget or remaining within a specific insurance plan is important, a Care Manager can guide you through all your options.

3.     What specialist to choose?

If a specialist, new primary care physician, or alternative treatments are on the table, a Care Manager can provide recommendations about local experts. It’s important to recognize that a Care Manager is working on your behalf. They receive no compensation from an outside source. They work for you and are looking out for your well-being. Thus, Care Managers can recommend a specialist for a particular treatment. They can also attend the doctor’s meeting with you, and they can help you communicate with your healthcare professional.

4.     Feel exhausted?

Many caregivers feel obligated to take on too much responsibility in caring for an older adult.  This effort can be exhausting for everyone: the caregiver, the caregiver’s family as well as the older adult. A Care Manager can help share the work burden and suggest ways for you to focus on yourself. A Care Manager can also assist in building your “circle of care” enabling others to assist you with your caregiving duties by driving, making meals, or spending time with your loved one.

When a referral is needed, a Care Manager’s commitment is to recommend the most trusted and respected local care providers. A Care Manager does not accept referral fees or other forms of compensation from the service providers that are recommended. A Care Manager wants you and your family to be completely comfortable when placing your trust in us.

How to Care for Your Aging Parents

Many adult children return home for the holidays and notice for the first time that their aging parents are not able to do as many things as they previously could perform. Often they notice the house is no longer well kept, the outdoor garden is overgrown, and old family friends have moved away. As older adults age in place here is four useful tips for helping to maintain health, wellness, and social connections.

1-    Stay in contact

Isolation causes depression,  a major factor in the declining health of older adults. As we age, it is critical to remain engaged and connected to the outside world. Thus remain connected to your older adult. Call once or twice a week and check-in. Many older adults suffer a sense of loss as they age. Thus, hearing a familiar voice on a regular basis can help them realize that they are not alone and others care for them.

2-    Visit in person

Calling and talking on the phone can never replace an in-person visit. A visit can help put a smile on your loved one’s face, and it enables you to determine how they are doing. It may be difficult to visit regularly,  but try to schedule quality time with them as they need you. If you can only see them once or twice a year, try communicating using video call platforms like Skype and FaceTime. While these applications are not as meaningful as an in-person visit, they offer the potential for connections and will be appreciated by your loved one.

3-    Hire a caregiver

Caregiver companionship is another option to consider for older adults who live alone, especially those who are homebound because of frailty or dementia. Companion care is primarily emotional support and companionship for seniors who are generally healthy and who want to remain independent at home. Most importantly, companions function as an extra set of hands, eyes, and feet to the person you care for when you can’t be there. Companions can assist with meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, and errands. Companions provide valuable social benefits, decreasing isolation and improving the quality of life. Warm relationships are often formed when a consistent companion is on the job — a boon for both the companion and the older adult.

However, do not let the presence of a caregiver Companion take your place. It means the world to older adults when young people visit them.

4-    Community social gathering

Many older adults want to stay in their homes as they age. Moving comes with both physical and emotional stress, and many older adults are afraid of leaving behind beloved neighbors and a family home full of memories. Add the fear of the unknown to those concerns and a move to a senior living community can be downright overwhelming. However, the truth is that for many seniors living at home alone can be unhealthy and even dangerous. Spending most of their time at home, alone can increase their loneliness and can make them inactive.

It’s important to encourage older adults to participate in social gatherings and events, designed specifically for older people. Not everyone has a family to count on. So for tens of thousands of older Americans, the solution has been something called the Village, a neighborhood-based membership organization. Usually, the way it works is that older adults pay dues of a few hundred dollars a year. And then the village provides connections to discounted services, anything from contractors to grocery shopping to home health workers. There are also social activities. It’s a lot of things you might find in assisted living except you don’t have to leave your home. A Village can help make those social connections and keep an older adult physically active. It can also put your mind at ease, as you know that they are not alone.

4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you might also notice a change in their behavior as late afternoon and early night approaches.  Doctors call this ‘Sundowning, a ‘Sundown Syndrome’, or even ‘late-day confusion’.

People suffering from Sundown Syndrome may show the following symptoms during the latter half of the day:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Extreme pacing
  • Wandering
  • Rocking

For some people, the symptoms they face diminish immediately. However, for some, they continue on, disturbing their sleeping schedule: leaving them wide awake at night and making them sleepy during the day.

Preventing Sundown syndrome is impossible, however, as a caregiver, you can engage in a number of techniques that can help reduce the ‘late-day confusion’ and agitation that your loved one faces.

The following may help:

1.        Make a schedule and try to follow it

People suffering from Alzheimer’s usually cannot remember new things, which makes it hard for them to develop new routines. This unfamiliarity in their daily life can cause stress and agitation which seems to play a role in causing the symptoms to surface.  Hence, keep your loved ones calm and collected by setting a regular time for eating, sleeping, etc. The familiarity provides them with security.

2.        Light it up for them

Theories to explain Sundowning are many, but one reason that stands out is the change in a patient’s sleep-wake cycle. To address the issues, experts have suggested adjusting the lights in the room – by adding bright or fluorescent lights. This can help prevent those with Sundowning from assuming that it is nighttime, which in turn, will make them less agitated and confused.

3.        Distract and attract

Divert the person away from self-consuming thoughts and anxieties by engaging in activities that they love. These may include engaging in physical exercise, going for walks, or even playing music. Distractions help reduce daytime napping, increasing the chances of peaceful sleep at night.

4.        Be there for them but do not overdo it

Try to stay calm when you’re dealing with a patient or loved one. Do not argue with those suffering, even if they face hallucinations or delusions. Just reassure them, tell them they will be fine and that you are there watching out for them. Your presence in itself offers them the familiarity they crave.

Managing Sundown Syndrome is not easy. It requires patience and time but a little support from you can help ease your loved ones’ anxiety and confusion.

Call Us: (301) 909-8117