CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 6. Issue 4
Letter From the Editor:
July marks a month of celebration for both Canada and the United States. With Canada Day on July 1st and Independence Day on July 4th, outdoor activities including family barbeques, picnics, fireworks, parades and more are already in full effect! We are excited to share that the free public webinar on Stroke Prevention featuring Dr. Hussain, leading stroke neurologist and Head of the Cleveland Clinic Stroke Program, has received overwhelming positive feedback from those who listened with many commenting on the usefulness of the information and Dr. Hussain’s ability to relay the information in an understandable, accessible format. If you were unable to attend the webinar, you can download and view it on our webinar series page.
In this issue of our CareNotes Newsletter, I will offer easy tips to “go green” in support of environmental conservation. Next, I will discuss elder abuse, which is a serious issue that affects far too many seniors. I will delve into the six major categories of elder abuse, why seniors are the primary targets and what can be done to protect them from falling victim to this crime. As part of an ongoing effort around Alzheimer’s awareness and the 35.7 million people it affects worldwide, a number that is expected to triple by 2050, I will discuss our new service offering, Dementia Therapeutics, an in-home, non-pharmacological intervention program developed for individuals with the neurocognitive deficits that result from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Based in the Bay Area, the program consists of uniquely tailored intervention plans that account for each client’s history, weaknesses, needs, personal preferences and goals. Lastly, I would like to congratulate our Caregiver of the Month, Julie A. Mendes, from Home Care Assistance of Utah. Julie’s passion for caregiving and commitment to her clients are what sets her apart from other caregivers and make her a valuable asset to the Home Care Assistance family!
More and more seniors are embracing a “green lifestyle” and promoting socially responsible living not only in their own homes, but across their communities. In fact, there are even consulting services specific to helping seniors achieve more environmentally conscious lifestyles! Seniors are embracing green lifestyles across the globe not only because of the obvious benefits to society at large, but also because doing so typically amounts to major monetary savings.
As part of our broader mission to change the way the world ages, we would like to commend the millions of seniors who have adopted environmentally-conscious behaviors and offer easily-applicable tips to “go green”:
- Recycle. Help slow the disappearance of the world’s forests by putting your old morning papers and junk mail in designated recyclable receptacles, not the trash. Plastic, aluminum and glass products should also be recycled – why deplete the world of more of its resources when we can recycle and reuse?
- Consider public transportation. Public transportation is a safe, cost efficient way to get around town. For many seniors who no longer feel safe driving, this is an excellent solution to get around independently while also promoting cleaner air with less vehicles on the road.
- Use efficient bulbs. Adequate lighting is important to home safety but old light bulbs are a major drag on the power supply. Compact-fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will provide you with equal if not superior light quality and are four to six times more efficient than normal incandescent bulbs. As an added bonus, they last much longer than normal bulbs, so you won’t have to replace them as often.
- Consider upgrading to solar panels. Many retirees are opting to make an investment earlier on to install solar panels so that they can reap the energy savings as they age in their homes. Talk to an energy or home improvement specialist to see if this is a good option for you.
Many of our clients who have taken active steps to reduce their carbon footprints report a greater sense of well-being and purpose. From making compost gardens with caregivers, to creating quilts out of older fabrics, to helping neighbors start a recycling program, we love the inspirational updates our clients share with us. It’s never too late to adopt an environmentally-conscious lifestyle!
Help Raise Awareness Around Elder Abuse
Unfortunately, the issue of bullying is not only a problem for younger generations, but for older adults as well. On June 15th, individuals banded together to raise awareness around elder abuse in observance of World Elder Abuse Day. Elder abuse is a serious issue that affects far too many seniors. Given the prevalence of elder abuse, promoting awareness and being knowledgeable about the risk factors are important for individuals of all ages to know.
There are six major categories of elder abuse as defined by the Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect and abandonment. Beyond the cuts, bruises and other bodily injuries indicative of physical abuse, other warning signs of abuse include withdrawal from usual activities, depression, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, a change in financial attitude and strained relationships.
Just how prevalent is elder abuse? According to the United Nations, four to six percent of elders worldwide have experienced some form of mistreatment. However, a 2003 report by the National Research Council estimated that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is ever reported to authorities. One reason for this discrepancy is that the senior being abused often knows and cares about the abuser and doesn’t want to get him or her into trouble. Sadly, the majority of elder abusers are spouses and 90 percent of abusers are family members.
Why do seniors become targets for abuse? They’re often viewed as vulnerable, not only physically, but also financially; many financial scams involve conning the elderly with “free” medical equipment in exchange for their Social Security numbers. Research shows that elderly women are more likely to be abused than elderly men and that the prevalence of abuse increases with age.
Elder abuse is a very serious problem, one that Home Care Assistance is committed to raising awareness around and preventing. Our caregivers are screened, undergo background checks and are professionally trained. Our care managers are knowledgeable about elder abuse and are taught to be aware of the risk factors and signs. If your loved one is at risk, or you suspect that he or she is a victim of elder abuse, contact us today and we can set-up a free consultation to discuss your concerns and come up with a solution that is best for your family.
Alzheimer’s and dementia: The Facts Revealed
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect 35.7 million people around the world, a number that is projected to triple by 2050. These numbers are staggering and compounded by the fact that less than one in four people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia are formally diagnosed. Without a diagnosis, many do not receive the proper care, treatment or support from medical professionals, friends or family.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating condition that can impact memory, communication, reasoning, judgment and other cognitive processes; it is the most common form of dementia. Currently one in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type dementia; while other conditions saw a decrease in death rate from 2000 to 2010, the rate for dementia increased, and will only continue to rise. Further, spending related to Alzheimer’s and dementia research and care also continues to increase. The estimated global cost of dementia in 2010 was $604 billion, or 1% of the world GDP. Clearly, Alzheimer’s has a crippling effect on the global population, especially with no known cure.
With over 40 percent of Home Care Assistance clients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, we saw the need for services and resources that not only address the unique needs of dementia patients but also help delay the progression of the disease. In doing so, these services would enhance the quality of life of the men and women living with some form of dementia (and that of their loved ones).
Based on scientifically-supported best practices in dementia care and spearheaded by a team of neuropsychologists and researchers, Home Care Assistance created Dementia Therapeutics, an in-home, non-pharmacological intervention program developed for individuals with the neurocognitive deficits that result from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Based in the Bay Area, the program consists of a uniquely tailored intervention plan that accounts for the client’s history, weaknesses, needs, personal preferences and goals. Thoroughly trained caregivers use among 300 research-based interventions which target both cognitive and non-cognitive domains. These interventions may delay the onset of more severe symptoms by as many as 5 to 10 years for individuals with mild cognitive impairment.
Having a professional caregiver in the home is beneficial to both the client and the client’s family. Family members can take a break from their hectic caregiving schedules to relax and recharge, knowing that their loved one is receiving the highest-quality care available while the individual with dementia benefits from the familiarity of home.
While Home Care Assistance is revolutionizing Alzheimer’s and dementia care in the home, scientists are racing to find a cure for this disease and are getting closer by the day. With significant advances being made in the medical and technological fields, it’s an exciting time to be involved in dementia care and improving quality of life for older adults across North America.
Caregiver of the Month Spotlight: Julie A. Mendes
This month’s Caregiver Spotlight features Julie A. Mendes from Home Care Assistance of Utah. Julie has been with the company since November of 2012 and has already made a great impact on her clients in her short time as an employee. Julie’s commitment and willingness to go above and beyond to meet the needs of her clients is what sets her apart from other caregivers–she is the go-to person when the Utah office needs someone to cover a shift at the last minute. Further, she provided care for one of the office’s most challenging live-in cases, a father with dementia and a daughter who was disabled, and was always looking for ways in which she could entertain and engage the two clients. She would often go to the public library to check out movies or books that she knew both would enjoy. Her positive attitude was refreshing to her clients and their families…and the office!
Julie grew up in Virginia and South America where she learned to speak Spanish. She appreciates experiencing new cultures and enjoys learning about where her clients have traveled and their favorite places to visit. Julie graduated from Brigham Young University of Idaho with a Degree in Elementary Education and taught for four years; she has enjoyed being a licensed CNA for the past four years.
Julie’s knowledge and previous work and educational experience have been a valuable asset in training new caregivers. As a mentor, she always makes herself available to caregivers to answer any questions or address any concerns they may have. When transitioning with another caregiver, Julie is very detailed in relaying all the necessary information to prepare the new caregiver.
When asked why she loves what she does she shared, “Home Care Assistance is about love; serving those who are in need, those who have often times been forgotten by others. We need to remember who we are and why we are doing what we are doing. We want our clients to live long and happy lives and we can help them accomplish many other goals in their lives by being there for them.” Julie is so personable and passionate about her job that clients often request her by name!
We appreciate Julie’s dedication and the example she sets for other caregivers! Thank you for everything you do, Julie!