All posts by Always Best Care

What should seniors do as Dorian threatens Florida


BY HOWARD COHEN

After 14 elderly residents died in a sweltering post-Irma rehabilitation center in Hollywood in September 2017, which led to the arrest of four former staffers on manslaughter charges, many have acute concerns about their loved ones when storms threaten.

Here are some things you can do to prepare seniors if a hurricane or other major storm threatens, according to Zamira and Mario Froio, owners of Always Best Care, a firm that provides in-home care and assisted living services in Broward County.

  •  Keep prescription medications and approved vitamins organized. This includes excess meds they may have on hand so you aren’t scrambling and searching in dim light should the power be out. Also, keep copies of prescriptions in case pharmacies close during or temporarily after a storm passes.
  • Gather medical records, including information about healthcare needs, insurance cards and emergency contact information.
  • Stock up on water. The Froios recommend enough to drink at least a gallon a day to provide hydration.
  • Have nonperishable food handy, preferably rich in B12 vitamin and low in sodium.
  • Pack a spare bag with blankets, extra clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • If your senior relies on special medical equipment such as eyeglasses, catheters, batteries or oxygen systems, stock up on spare items in case stores close.
  • Have a safe place to keep items like flashlights, battery-powered radios, and a whistle easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • Place copies of family records and other important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, passports, wills, deeds, and financial, insurance and immunizations records and emergency family contact numbers in a sealed, waterproof bag.
  • Have cash on hand.
  • If your loved one is in an nursing home or assisted living facility you need to be on top of them to make sure they have, and you know the details of, an evacuation plan.

“After the terrible tragedy that took place in 2017 [at the now shuttered Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills], Florida and the Agency For Health Care Administration (AHCA) have imposed new regulations making power generators a requirement for nursing homes of all sizes located in Florida. This regulation is now regularly monitored across the state by AHCA,” said Mario Froio.

“Despite that, Always Best Care’s advice is to confirm that the nursing home is licensed by AHCA and if they are licensed, to confirm when the most recent official review of AHCA’s licensing regulations were performed,” Froio said.

“Secondly, you should have the nursing home confirm that the generator is in place and working,” he said.

“And last, but not least, make sure that the nursing home has an evacuation plan ready to be followed by all staff in the event that there is a long period without power.”

Other tips from Griswold Home Care, which has locations that include Miami-Dade, Broward, the Florida Keys, Sarasota County, Tampa, Jacksonville, Manatee County, Melbourne, Pasco County, Pensacola, St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.

  • Write everything down, such as contact phone numbers for friends and family, their primary care physician, pharmacist, and local disaster relief numbers. You might not be able to rely on digital means if the power is out and their phones run out of charge.
  • If your parents or other loved ones live on their own far from you ask a neighbor to check in on them at least once a day and get back to you. Make sure they are comfortable having their neighbors popping over.
  • Don’t forget their pets. Make sure the pets have extra food on hand and that they know of the availability of animal shelters should it come to an evacuation need.

Source: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article234435142.html

Identifying Risk Factors that Increase Fall Risk in Seniors


A major health and safety concern that comes with aging is fall risk. Seniors tend to be more likely to fall which can lead to fractures, sprains, or contusions that can be difficult to bounce back from. September 23rd is Falls Prevention Awareness Day and a great time to brush up on some of the factors that can contribute to fall risk.

Many people are aware of some of the main risk factors for falls such as poor mobility or balance. Obviously if a senior has trouble getting around or staying steady on their feet, they are at greater risk for falling. But those are not the only issues that need to be taken into consideration.

Medications:

It’s important to understand the potential side effects of any medication that seniors may be taking. Sometimes these effects include dizziness, drowsiness, poor coordination or balance, risk of postural hypotension, and other issues. This can greatly impact fall risk and take seniors by surprise because they may not have experienced these side effects before.

Vision Problems:

Poor vision can also increase risk of tripping or falling. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts can all impair vision in different ways and alter depth perception. Seniors may not see obstacles in their way or perceive objects as being closer or further than they really are.

Low Core Strength/Muscle Weakness:

Your core is what gives your body support and helps keep you upright. When muscles are weak, it can be harder to maintain limb control and support your weight. This can also throw off balance and coordination increasing fall risk. Foot or ankle instability can also be problematic.

Poor Organization:

Outside of physical issues, environmental issues can also add to fall risk. For instance, having rugs that are not secured, having clutter or cords laying around, having a lack of grab bars or handrails, or having furniture arranged in a way that makes it difficult to navigate with a walker, cane, or other assistive device.

Improper Footwear:

Seniors may be used to wearing slippers, high heels, or backless shoes, but as they age, this can become hazardous. They are better off wearing supportive shoes with a sturdy sole that offers some slip resistance. Loose-fitting shoes that flop on their feet or are too big can lead to tripping or stumbling and potentially falling.

Recognizing these risk factors can help seniors and families to be proactive in protecting against falls. In addition, working with an in-home care provider can help seniors to stay organized and move about more safely, encourage them to remain physically active, and provide assistance with activities such as light housekeeping, dressing, meal preparation, errands, and more. They can also provide medication reminders and be alert for potential side effects that could affect fall risk.

Schedule a free consultation with Always Best Care today by calling 855.470.2273. Learn more about how an in-home caregiver can offer the support and assistance your loved one needs to safely age in place.

Chronic Care Solutions: Improving Patient Outcomes


One of the challenges that many seniors face with aging is dealing with chronic health conditions. Whether they struggle with arthritis, dementia, diabetes, COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or another health problem, it can impact their quality of life. Investing in a trusted in-home care provider can improve patient outcomes and empower seniors to make the most of each day.

How Can In-Home Care Help?

Having an in-home caregiver available allows seniors with chronic conditions to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own home which can decrease overall healthcare expenses and hospital readmissions. It also reduces some of the pressure on families to be constantly checking in and providing support. There is someone else there who can help out with activities of daily living and other needs while providing one-on-one attention.

What Services Are Available?

There are a vast array of services available depending on each person’s needs. Some seniors may require assistance in the morning or evening getting ready for or out of bed. They may benefit from medication reminders, help preparing meals, or assistance getting dressed. A caregiver can do light housekeeping to reduce fall risks, stay organized, and make it easier to find and access the things seniors need. They may provide general companionship to boost mood and stimulate memory, or be an escort for appointments or errands.

These are all tasks that aging adults with chronic health conditions may struggle with. Building a rapport with an in-home caregiver can increase their confidence and provide the level of care that they need to safely maintain as much independence as possible. Plus, the caregiver can adjust the level of care and support based on progression of their condition.

What if More Assistance is Needed?

In-home care often varies from a few hours per week to a few hours per day. When it is no longer safe for a senior to remain in their own home, the caregiver can help with transition to an assisted living facility and continue to provide services there. They can partner with the family and care team to find the right balance of non-medical care necessary. If a greater level of medical care is needed, the care provider can walk the family through this process as well and offer valuable resources and insight.

Maximizing Available Resources

With the right support, individuals with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, and other issues can continue to age in place. Chronic health conditions do not have to negatively impact their ability to do what they love and maintain their independence. In-home caregivers are well-versed in empowering seniors to stay active, remain social, and manage the challenges that come with aging whether physical or mental. It can put the whole family at greater ease knowing that their loved one is enjoying the comforts of their own home but has someone regularly checking in and assisting with activities of daily living.

Learn more about how Always Best Care Senior Services can support your loved one with chronic health needs or the general progression of aging by calling (855) 470-2273 today and scheduling a free consultation.

Fun Summer Activities to Do with Seniors


That chill in the air is officially gone, and warm weather is here to stay! Summer is a great opportunity for seniors to get out and about and enjoy some fresh air. Plus, the kids are out of school, so it allows for more flexibility in getting the family together. Schedule some fun events and activities with your senior this summer to keep them active and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Go Swimming.

It’s easy on the joints and offers a cool respite from the summer heat.

Pick Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Whether you have your own garden, go to the community garden, or visit a farm or orchard, there’s nothing quite like plucking fresh produce right from the tree or ground. Use it to make some healthy meals together!

Go to a Farmers Market.

Not quite up for picking your own produce? Support your local farmers market and see what fresh food options they have. Many markets also offer plants and crafts as well, so you never know what you might find.

Enjoy Outdoor Events.

Check your local paper or websites to see what concerts, fairs, craft shows, or other special events are coming up. Pick some activities you think your aging parent might enjoy, such as a concert with music they’re familiar with, a fair with handcrafted goods, or a baseball game.

Have a Picnic.

Pack a blanket and some favorite foods and spend the day at the park having a picnic, playing with the grandkids on the playground, or tossing a ball or frisbee back and forth. If there’s a pond, see if you can feed the ducks.

Go to the Movies.

Too hot to be outside? Escape to the movies for the afternoon. There are new movies coming out all the time, and some venues show classics over the summer as well. You’ll also have a great source of conversation once it’s over sharing your thoughts.

Plan a Weekend Getaway.

Need a change of scenery? Take your aging parent along for a long weekend. You could revisit somewhere you used to go as a kid or check out somewhere completely new. Ask your loved one about places they’d like to go or things they want to do in order to plan a trip that everyone can enjoy.

As you’re out and about this summer, don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sunscreen. You don’t want anyone to become dehydrated, and seniors’ skin can be especially sensitive in the sun. Try to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day, and if you must, find a cool, shady place to take a break.

Staying active and social is encouraged for seniors so they don’t become too isolated and to help boost their mood. During times when you’re not available, an in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of companionship and support for your senior. The caregiver can escort them on outings, help them prepare meals with the fresh produce they picked, reminisce about favorite activities, and make sure they’re staying safe. Find out more about the benefits of senior care by contacting Always Best Care today at 855.470.2273 and scheduling a free consultation. Help your loved one make the most of each day.

Navigating Senior Care Options: What’s Right for Your Loved One?


Caring for an aging parent can be exhausting and time consuming depending on the level of support they need. You’re trying to balance your own life and family’s needs along with those of an aging parent. Understanding how to navigate senior care options can make ensuring your loved one is well cared for and their needs are met easier than you thought. Plus, it can take some of the responsibility off of your shoulders.

Determine Their Needs

Spend some time with your aging parent to see how well they function in their own home, what tasks or activities they struggle with, what they can do independently, and where there are areas of concern. Make a list of the ways you’ve been supporting them as well. This can help you to decide what level of care might be most appropriate. It doesn’t make sense to pay for services that they don’t need.

Know Your Options

Once you’ve determined their needs, it’s time to look at all of the senior care options available. It can be a good idea to check their insurance or benefits as well to see if specific services are covered or if there are any stipulations. Then spend time doing a little bit of research on senior services such as:

  • Home Care (also referred to as private duty care)

Home care can be a wonderful option if your loved one just needs help a few hours a week or day to complete non-medical tasks such as getting in or out of bed, preparing meals, tidying up around the house, organizing mail, or being escorted on errands or appointments. They can continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

  • Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities allow your loved one to live independently, but they don’t have to worry about lawn care or taking care of maintenance and repairs around their home. There are professionals who will do that for them. Communities often organize group activities, outings, and meals as well.

  • Assisted Living

Assisted living provides 24/7 assistance in a more structured setting. It is for seniors who may no longer be safe living in their own home but are not yet ready for a nursing home. Group activities are usually offered so they can remain social and active.

  • Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide more extensive care including medical services. There is someone there to help around the clock, and residents often live in a single room on a floor with other residents.

Talk with a Professional

Unsure what might be the best fit for your aging parent? Schedule a consultation with a professional like Always Best Care who can explain your options and what level of care your senior may benefit from. They can help you to compare resources and answer any questions you may have.

Be Flexible

Recognize that your loved one’s condition will likely change over time. You may need to increase the hours of home care they receive. They may need to transition to assisted living or a nursing home as their needs become more complex or demanding. Be open to discussing what is in their best interest and making necessary changes.

Always Best Care offers a multitude of in-home care services to support your loved one as they age in place and can also work with you on getting them into an assisted living facility. Have peace of mind knowing that they are receiving the appropriate level of care to meet their needs. Call Always Best Care today at 855.470.2273 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about available senior services.