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“Do you need me to go grocery-shopping for you, Mom?” I asked, opening the door to her refrigerator. It took a moment to realize that I was staring at all of the unopened food I had purchased for her the week before.
“No,” my mother answered from the dining room. “I don’t have a big appetite. I just start with a can of Ensure in the morning.” I pulled opened the freezer. It was packed solid –mostly with all of the groceries I’d delivered to her over the past several weeks.
My mom needed some assistance with meal preparation to overcome a diminished appetite, but because she was a capable and independent person I had missed the signs. If I’d known about the ADL and IADL resources I could have periodically reviewed the checklists with my mom and opened up a conversation on how to head off small issues before they became big health problems…
There are basic living tasks that represent a person’s healthy ability to live at home. These are known throughout the senior care industry as Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and a person’s abilities are judged by how well they are able to accomplish…
There are more advanced tasks, the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), that are related to performing the essential ADL tasks — and they are just as important for safe, independent living. Can a person appropriately…
Using ADL /IADL as a checklist is a good way to gauge when a parent or patient could use extra help or home modifications. For example, can your elderly mother use the toilet? (ADL) And, in related moves, can she get herself to the bathroom, use toilet paper, pull up and fasten her clothing and wash her hands? (IADL) Using a checklist helps you think of solutions; maybe all mom needs are some well-placed grab bars and elastic-waisted pants to maintain continence and independence.
To keep an elderly person in his or her home as long as possible, a home care agency is often brought in to help with both ADL and IADL tasks. Post-surgical patients who wish to keep a rehabilitative stay in assisted living to a minimum are also candidates for home care — and usually welcome the opportunity to heal with caregiver help in their own home and on their own schedule.
With a growing number of Baby Boomers reaching senior-status, the gap between caregiver demand and caregiver availability is rapidly widening. Senior technology is attempting to bridge the home caregiver shortage with virtual caregivers via home monitors and safety alert devices that perform simple tasks. More immediately, technology gives older citizens the opportunity to pay to participate in services provided by virtual senior centers and virtual retirement communities. Connectivity also addresses a serious senior issue NOT on the ADL/IADL checklists — but perhaps it should be: isolation.
In How to End the Senior Loneliness Epidemic, author Melanie Haiken quotes Geriatrician Carla Perissinotto of the University of California, San Francisco: “Assessment of loneliness is not routine in clinical practice and it may be viewed as beyond the scope of medical practice. However, loneliness may be as important a predictor of adverse health outcomes as many traditional medical risk factors.”
In analyzing data from the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study, Perissinotto also found that “adults age 60 or older who identified themselves as lonely were 59 percent more likely to experience decline in their ability to perform daily activities and had a 45 percent higher likelihood of dying.”
A safety monitoring system, online groups and a computer may be important components of helping a parent combat isolation and live independently at home, but a human caregiver from a reputable agency may bring a life-extending social element into your mom or dad’s circle of care. Older parents may require help with cooking, showering, shopping and vacuuming, but to stay healthy they may equally need human touch, conversation, empathy and laughter.
Once you know a parent needs help, Marisa Home Care will be there, in person, to help you and your family.
By Jean MacLeod for Marisa Home Care
HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING SEASON cranked into high gear over the Thanksgiving weekend, with bargain-hunters going online, shopping small businesses, and flocking to the malls. Organized shoppers carried lists of people to gift and crossed off names as purchases were made.
In a short, powerful VIDEO, Hospice of Michigan highlights the ability of Music Therapy to bring quality of life to patients with limited responsiveness. Whether it’s dementia or aging or disease, MUSIC reaches past the pain or cobwebs to bring back memories connected to familiar tunes.
The Hospice of Michigan website states:
Music has a universal power to affect emotions. The right kind of music can enhance relaxation to ease pain and anxiety. Research has shown the effectiveness of music therapy even in patients resistant to other treatment approaches. Our music therapist engages patients with music in ways best suited for their needs and preferences.
And Marsha agrees.
“It’s incredibly magical, but a lot of it is Kaitlin — Kaitlin’s doing what she’s been trained to do,” said Marsha. “When you talk about treating the whole person you want to treat every aspect of their life, because what you want is dignity and respect to the very end.”
Reflecting on her mom’s joyful response to her weekly music therapy visit, Marsha added: “It’s really wonderful to see that spark again — when Kaitlin is with her it brings her back. I wrote a letter and said thank you for giving my mother back to me.”
Read more on how MUSIC can help you connect to family members in “When the Visit Doesn’t Go Well“.
Visit our Marisa Home Care RESOURCE PAGE and find creative solutions for the challenges of daily living.
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There has been a lot of recent news coverage on the ‘Opioid Epidemic’. The focus has been on the overuse and abuse of these powerful painkillers, and while these drugs can become addicting they are also our frontline defense against extreme chronic pain.
When a family member has been prescribed narcotics for healing and pain management, it is important to monitor for correct usage to keep the patient both safe and comfortable.
As a caregiver, there are some actions you can take that will simplify dispensing narcotics and other types of medication, and help you stay on top of your family member’s health.
First, check with ALL of your family member’s doctors and pharmacists to put together a complete list of medications and potential drug interactions. Patients often have several physicians for varying issues, who may not know there are other medical personnel or multiple pharmacies involved.
You can also search the internet for interactions caused by the wrong combination of drugs, or for medicines contraindicated for specific health conditions or allergies. It is important to know the health history of your family member, so you can advocate against a potentially disastrous prescription or drug combination.
Ensure that your family member continues a full dose of prescribed medication for the correct amount of time and doesn’t try to save money by cutting pills in half.
Does this look like your bathroom counter?
Throwing all the patient’s pill bottles in a basket is a recipe for mixing up or missing meds — and disorganization can be dangerous. Here are some ideas to keep pill-taking orderly and on track:
Another resource to assist with medication management is hospice care. The old vision of hospice was of a place where people went to die, but hospice has evolved into a system of in-home, modern-day pain management – helping medically compromised people live out their lives in comfort.
A patient must first be admitted to hospice under a medical diagnosis that fits hospice coding, and the patient must be willing to forego ‘life-prolonging’ treatment. This does not mean a patient’s physical needs are ignored, but the hospice medical team will treat the patient with medication to maintain quality of life rather than use invasive, life-extending procedures.
A reputable home care agency can provide professional caregivers and nursing staff, for both short-term and long-term situations. Marisa Home Care staff can accompany a patient to a doctor’s appointment and translate a medical diagnosis or care updates for family members living out of state. Medication management and in-home patient care is a 24/7 job, and a family caregiver deserves the partnership with supportive, affordable assistance whenever feasible. ~
We’re here to help: visit Marisa Home Care online for free resources or call us NOW at 248.354.7600.
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