Posts Tagged: Aging in place

Home Health Care vs. Older Adult Home Care

It can be confusing to find the exact service and care necessary for an older adult. You may encounter terms for home health care, home care, personal care and companion care services that can be tricky to understand. At Corewood Care, we provide many of these services across the greater Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, Northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. region, in accordance with our licensures. In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between home health and older adult home care to make it easier to find the necessary services for you or your family member.

What Is Home Health Care?

Home health and home care services have some similarities in service capabilities, but they are not the same. Let’s begin with home health care. This term describes more in-depth, skilled medical care that comes to the home so the client doesn’t have to visit a doctor’s office or other medical provider. Home health care may be necessary 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 licensed caregivers provide them. Home health caregivers can range from a registered nurse (RN) to a certified nurse’s aide (CNA), according to pertinent licensure requirements. Private insurance companies or Medicare and Medicaid will usually cover these services. 

Providers often prescribe home care or recommend it as part of a care plan. Older adults may need home health care if they require supervision after a medication change, recently received a discharge from a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center, or lack the ability to travel safely to a doctor’s office. Other older adults may need this care if they experience a decline in their functions that requires therapies to help regain their independence. 

Home health services can include health monitoring, medical tests, medication administration, pain management and wound care. Although a home health care provider may offer some similar services as a home care provider, such as medication reminders, they will not deliver the same personal touch, social interactions or daily activity assistance as home care.

What Is Non-Medical Older Adult Care?

Home care usually refers to making life better for older adults as they age in whatever location they call home, including independent living facilities, apartments or houses. Home care is non-medical care and can include services like transporting the client, assisting with dressing and grooming, house cleaning and toileting assistance. Some people also refer to home care as a personal care service because caregivers will use a holistic approach to meet the client’s needs while helping with hygiene, medication reminders and other unique challenges.

Home care can be a long- or short-term service. For instance, home care may be a temporary need for someone recently released from the hospital. Home care can also provide valuable social interaction, making older adults feel more comfortable. 

Choosing Home Care or Home Health Care

Ultimately, choosing home care or home health care will depend on each client’s unique needs. If a client needs wound care, specialized therapies or medication administration, they will be more suitable for home health care. Meanwhile, older adults needing assistance navigating activities of daily life (ADLs) can benefit from home care. 

Chart of services for home health care versus senior home care

However, when choosing necessary services, you should also consider price. Although both types of care typically have an hourly rate, home health care services may be more expensive because the caregiver can administer licensed medical support. If an older adult needs or wants both types of care, it’s possible to create a more budget-friendly schedule that allows for each type of assistance. This way, the client can receive the medical attention they need from home while also accessing a supportive and dedicated caregiver to help them navigate daily activities.

Get Support at Home From Corewood Care

At Corewood Care, we tailor in-home care services to each client. Our home caregivers also help keep the client engaged during our visits with conversation and interaction. The term companion care refers to the more social side of home care — these clients perhaps do not need help with bathing or grooming but would benefit from someone to play cards with, reminisce with or engage in activities that keep the brain stimulated.

Corewood Care can provide the customized in-home care an older adult needs to feel comfortable while they rest, heal or navigate their homes. 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 find the right service, please give us a call at 301-909-8117, schedule a free home assessment or use our chat.

Oral Health in the Elderly

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association points out the need for oral health in the elderly. The study says that older adults with tooth loss have a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The more teeth that are missing, the increased risk.

Researchers reviewed records of 24,074 participants, of which 4,689 had cognitive impairment or dementia. They found that each missing tooth was associated with a 1.4% increase in the risk of cognitive impairment and a 1.1% increased risk of dementia. Those with 20 or more missing teeth had a 31% higher risk. Participants who had missing teeth but also used dentures were not found to have a higher risk.

The connection between missing teeth and these risks is not clear. Perhaps missing teeth create problems chewing food so much that nutritional deficiencies or chemical imbalances occur. If there has been poor oral hygiene, increased bacteria in the mouth or gum disease may also have a connection.

Or it’s possible that people who are experiencing cognitive decline become less able to take care of their teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. There’s still a lot to be studied on this issue but one thing is clear: aging adults often need more care. At Corewood Care, we serve seniors and their families with in-home care, allowing the elderly person to age in place in their own home.

Our caregivers are trained to help with the physical needs such as toileting, bathing, dressing and basic oral care, as well as help in the home with light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, and companionship and compassion during every visit.

If you or a family member are struggling to keep up with the tasks of daily living, let us help. Contact us for a no-cost home consultation for senior home care services across the greater Bethesda and Washington DC region.

Local vs National Home Care Companies

If you’re looking for a home care service in the Bethesda-Montgomery County-DC Metro region, there are many options. Dozens of in-home care companies offer care for seniors. Some are large national companies; others, like Corewood Care, are locally owned.

What differences might be found between a corporate home care agency and a locally owned home care service? You may be more familiar with the big-name national companies. Several of them run nationwide TV commercials, hire well-known actors or former television news people, place ads in magazines, or send direct mail to your home. All of that costs money which is factored into the rate they charge.

Services that match you to a home care company, assisted living facility or nursing home can have very high fees that are paid for by that business. Those also have to be factored into the rate they charge for their services.

Locally owned senior home care agencies have a smaller management structure and less overhead cost. That means that if you ever have a concern, you can easily speak with top management or the home care agency’s owner. At Corewood Care, our company was founded by Mary O’Donoghue. Following her experience caring for her father in the family home on Corewood Lane, she believed in-home care for the elderly entailed more than physically helping the senior adult. She set out to build a company that employed caregivers passionate about helping people, caring for their emotional and physical needs.

It’s that desire to find the most caring and compassionate staff, provide excellent training and hands-on care management that often sets local senior home health care agencies apart. Corewood Care offers no-cost home assessments before we match a caregiver to the senior client. We work to make that a good relationship from the beginning, whether it’s for respite care, post-surgery care, or 24/7 in-home care.

Senior care services can help with dressing, bathing, medications, and activities of daily living, as well as light housekeeping, meal preparation and companionship. We’ll tailor a specific plan to help care for you or your senior family member, and always be available to make the senior care services meet your needs.

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

If you have an older adult in your life who suffers from dementia, you might also notice a change in their behavior as late afternoon and early night approaches. Doctors call this “sundowning,” “sundown syndrome” or even “late-day confusion.”

What Is Sundowning Behavior? 

Sundowning is not an actual condition but a side effect that many individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may face. As sunlight starts to fade, you may notice them start to get more anxious and upset. These kinds of behaviors can extend into the nighttime, impacting their quality of sleep.

The cause of sundowning is not widely understood. Usually, though, sundowning behaviors are more common in either the middle or later stages of dementia. 

While it’s linked to lower levels of sunlight in the late afternoon and night, there are other factors that are believed to contribute to or exacerbate sundowning behaviors. One possible cause is a distributed biological or body clock, which then impacts the sleep-wake cycle. Other possible causes could be not getting enough sunlight or getting overstimulated during the day.

What Does Sundowning Behavior Look Like?

Symptoms of sundown syndrome in older adults may vary, but common behaviors during the latter half of the day can include:

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

Ways to Help Someone Cope With Sundowning

If you know an older adult who is dealing with sundowning, you may be looking for ways to help them cope. While preventing sundown syndrome is impossible, as a caregiver, you can engage in a number of techniques that can help reduce “late-day confusion” and agitation.

The following tips may help with sundowning:

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 individuals 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 client’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 someone who is sundowning. 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 anxiety and confusion.

Help the Older Adult in Your Life Live Gracefully at Home 

At Corewood Care, it’s our goal to improve the way health is managed, allowing our clients to thrive and live gracefully at home. As a home care agency, we provide an array of care services that we tailor to each individual’s needs, and partner with the Alzheimer’s Association for the highest quality of care for our clients. 

Older adults who are struggling with sundowning may benefit from having reliable, professional in-home care, providing them with round-the-clock support. From assisting with activities of daily living (ADL) to advocating for clients with the right tools and options, our caregivers are here to provide a holistic approach to care— when it’s needed most. 

We rely on an integrated care management and home care model that combines technology with a multidisciplinary team focus. With dementia specialists, nutritionists and other professionals, we’ll make sure needs are covered.

We invite you to learn more about our home care services or schedule a free consultation to get started.

Call Us: (301) 909-8117