Read about home care, long-term care insurance, care programs for veterans, home monitoring, and other senior care related issues on our blog. Amada Senior Care provides quality in-home senior care, as well as placement services for seniors seeking assisted living facilities.
Family caregivers are usually well aware of why they are the preferred providers of their senior loved ones’ long-term care. They are trusted, familiar and in the best cases, proven to have the genuine love and concern caregiving requires. Because of the nature of these relationships, it can be hard for seniors and families to open this close circle of trust to additional help. But when caregiver burnout or financial constraints limit the amount of long-term care a family can provide, sometimes the only option left is to trust someone else with the task.
Good senior care requires a patient-centered approach. Via the many human connections surrounding a patient, trust ties their entire support network together. From seniors to family, doctors, caregivers, facilities and agencies that are involved in long-term care, all participating parties depend on each other in some way. This dependence is only functional and healthy when trust is securely in place.
There are three types of relationships in senior care where trust serves this purpose. When it is achieved, trust works between people to build a supporting bond that you or your elderly loved ones can lean on. When these relationships work harmoniously to benefit a senior, you know that trust has been established in the right places. Along with these examples of trust’s important role in senior care, here are ways for you to build it.
1. Trust between senior and caregiver
The strongest indicator of a trustworthy caregiver is the quality of their care. Can you or your elderly loved one depend on a caregiver to be punctual, reliable and easy to communicate with? Is the caregiver responsible? And does the state of the senior’s health, hygiene, mood and home reflect this? If questions like these can be answered with a confident “yes”, your caregiver is has earned your trust.
Caregivers can practice good habits that will earn trust from the seniors they take care of and the families who supervise them. Families can also take steps to build their trust in new caregivers. Both parties must actively build trust in this relationship.
Caregivers must provide services that meet all expectations set by the senior’s needs, by the family or by the agency that employs them. They must also value the very close proximity they have to a senior as a precious, sensitive position meant only to help the senior. They should show attentive interest in the senior from the very start. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a person with dementia can actually sense a caregiver’s lack of interest or impatience. Seniors take cues like this to determine the trustworthiness of their caregivers. But seniors and families who see good habits and a positive, genuine mindset in a caregiver will feel reassured in depending on them to supervise their elderly loved one.
Families should take a slow approach towards integrating caregivers into a senior’s daily life and towards building trust in them. Take an appropriate amount of time to interview the right agency and the right caregivers. Once hired, incrementally escalate a caregiver’s amount of responsibilities and the level of intimacy that comes with them. For example, let the caregiver focus on companionship and housekeeping before monitoring hygiene and dressing. With time, patience and supervision, you will soon see whether you can trust a caregiver.
2. Trust between caregiver and supervisor
The relationship between a caregiver and their supervisor is a working dynamic that seniors and their families may not always see. Behind the curtain of senior care are skilled professionals dedicated to providing the best quality of service for senior loved ones. One of these professionals, the caregiver’s supervisor, is just as concerned about the quality of care as a senior or their family may be. In fact, their livelihood depends on it.
A good supervisor makes sure that caregivers they hire are qualified with the right background, training and certification. This may include facilitating background checks, reference checks, phone and in-person interviews and required orientation. Before a caregiver ever sees the senior they’ll care for, they are vetted or screened to be a good worker and a representative of their agency. Agencies like Amada Senior Care fall back on this process to find caregivers that can reflect the integrity of their supervisors as well as their entire organization.
“Our caregivers make us who we are. Without the commitment, dedication and love they show our clients, Amada could never have become what it is today.” – Chad Fotheringham, President of Amada Senior Care Franchise
Trust in the relationship between a caregiver and their supervisor should be mutual. A caregiver with a good supervisor will work with commitment and high quality. Recently, an LA home healthcare company was accused of stealing worker’s wages – an unfortunate example of how an untrustworthy caregiver-supervisor relationship can hurt many people. Caregivers mistreated by supervisors or clients are given less motivation to do their job well or to care much about it. When a good supervisor provides the guidance, respect and compensation caregivers deserve, they are trusted in return. All of this leads to better care for the seniors who trust them.
3. Trust between families and service providers
Just because a service provider, like a living facility or caregiver agency, advertises their business as the right fit for you, you are the one who will ultimately confirm this. When your selection of a service provider affects everything around the senior receiving care, your trust must be earned at its highest value price. Where do you start?
There is no amount of money that can buy your trust. But seeing as you will be paying service providers for long-term care, they are expected to deliver trustworthy service that meets the bill. You may feel open to trusting a service provider with the long-term care of you or your senior loved one, given that you pay them to do their job. You may also feel like letting go of this responsibility exposes you or your loved one to unknown dangers that you can’t control.
Elder abuse is a real problem in today’s senior care industry. Its risk factors include senior isolation, declining physical and mental health, the level of dependence and caregiver stress. You want a service provider that protects seniors against these risk factors to prevent elder abuse from happening. You can find such a provider by ensuring that trust, as depicted in the above examples, is strongly founded in their organization, operations and personnel.
Ask as many questions as you can when shopping for a service provider. Trust your intuition if it tells you something’s wrong. Speak to long-term care advisors about your options, then make your decisions after enough research. Monitor care even after you’ve decided on a provider. Take assertive action should you ever need to find another one.
While you are tasked with the final say on a service provider’s trustworthiness, the provider’s job is to perform and operate for the purpose of earning your trust every step of the way. When trust is earned in this relationship, everybody wins.
The summer months are a popular time for taking vacations. Whether traveling alone, with family, or as part of a group, being prepared for and accommodating to seniors’ needs will allow them and their loved ones to enjoy a memorable and hassle-free vacation experience. The following are some senior travel tips to keep in mind.
Planning Your Trip
Of course, the first step in any vacation is deciding where your destination is. What are you looking for? A chance to explore a new place? Rest and relaxation? A road trip? A trip for the whole family? You might also think about hobbies you enjoy: are you an avid golfer? A food critic? A beach bum? Do you want to stay stateside or go abroad?
There are many things to consider, especially for elderly travelers who may have some limitations. It’s important to factor in health issues and disabilities when planning a getaway. A destination that requires a lot of walking is probably not best for a senior who has trouble getting around, and long stretches in a car or plane can be hard on stiff joints. A destination that allows for a somewhat normal routine will help reduce stress for those seniors (and their loved ones) with cognitive impairment.
No matter the destination, it will help to plan travel times and activities for times that work best for the senior. It may be best to avoid late evening or night time travel, especially for those with Sundowner’s Syndrome, a condition that is common among those with dementia. When scheduling activities, be sure to include rest time, meal times, and medication reminders. It will be helpful for seniors to have adequate buffer time when arriving at airports, bus stations, etc., and to get plenty of breaks on road trips and tours.
With all the details to think about, planning a vacation can often seem like more trouble than it’s worth. That’s why many seniors take a simpler route and go on pre-planned tours and cruises. These are a great option because they are completely planned out down to the last detail – usually including all transportation, lodging, excursions, and most meals – with staff who are there to help. There are many tour and cruise lines specifically for seniors, and some that are tailored for those with disabilities and special needs.
When planning your vacation, don’t miss out on the many perks to being a senior citizen. Organizations such as AARP and AAA offer senior discounts in a variety of places when you sign up. Take advantage of the fact that many airlines and hotels offer senior citizen discounts. All you have to do is ask!
Packing Your Bags
If possible, seniors should pack light to avoid having to carry large, heavy bags throughout the vacation. This should be more feasible in the summer, when you most likely won’t need to pack large coats or boots. Check the weather of your destination – if it’s warm, be sure to pack light-colored, breathable clothing to stay cool and avoid heat illness. However, don’t forget to pack a light sweater for cool nights or flights.
One crucial thing for traveling seniors to remember is to pack an adequate amount of their prescription medications. Pack these medications and other necessities – travel documents, snacks/drinks, eyeglasses – where they are easily accessible. Seniors can also pack a small notepad to jot down important details, such as room numbers or flight information.
Preparing for Emergencies
Some may see travel insurance as an unnecessary expense, but senior travelers are more likely to need it. Medicare is not valid outside of the U.S., and many insurance policies don’t cover internationally. So if traveling internationally, travel insurance could save you from paying out-of-pocket in case of an emergency.
Seniors and their loved ones should prepare a list of contacts to call in case of an emergency, back home and at the destination. It’s also a good idea to research and find the nearest medical facilities at the destination. While packing, remember to include insurance cards, prescriptions, and doctors’ contact information. If your senior loved one has dementia, The Family Caregiver Alliance suggests they wear identification, such as an ID bracelet in case they are separated from the group.
With summer’s official arrival last week, Amada Senior Care would like to remind seniors to be proactive during the hot summer months and take steps to avoid dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and fainting or dizzy spells. “Seniors are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature,” said Dr. Lubna Javed of HealthCare Partners Medical Group. “Some chronic medical conditions and prescription medications can impair the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature.” The following are a few summer safety tips for seniors to beat the heat.
Stay hydrated. It is recommended that everyone drink 8 glasses of water each day, but especially those over 65. “Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated,” said Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic. “As a result, they are more prone to heat stroke.” Seniors also lose the ability to conserve water as they age. Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol, as they will further dehydrate you. If you are outside or exercising, be sure to drink sweat replacement drinks to replace the extra water you lost.
Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting and light-colored clothes will keep you cool and not absorb as much heat from the sun. It’s best to wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to help regulate your temperature. A broad hat and sunglasses will keep the sun’s rays out of your face and eyes.
Wear sunscreen. This is especially pertinent for seniors, as many prescription medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher will help you avoid sunburn.
Stay out of the sun. Check the forecast and avoid prolonged time in the sun, especially on days where the temperature reaches above 90 degrees. Try to plan any outside activities for the early morning or in twilight hours after the sun sets.
Spend time in air-conditioned places. If you want to get out of the house while avoiding the heat (or if your house isn’t air-conditioned), look for activities in spots with AC. Go see a movie with the grandkids, or read a book at the library. A walk around the mall or a class at your local senior center are a great way to get exercise indoors.
Know when to cool down. If you’re feeling heated, take a tepid (not too hot or cold) bath or shower to cool down. You can also use cool washcloths on the neck, wrist, and armpits. Seniors are at a higher risk of heat-related illness due to health factors they are susceptible to such as poor circulation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the inability to perspire due to certain medications. The following are health problems caused by heat and their warning signs:
A loss of water in the body
Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, passing out
Dangerous rise in body temperature
Temperature of 103 or higher; red, hot, dry skin; fast pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; confusion; passing out
Caused by too much heat and dehydration and may lead to heat stroke
Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fast and weak pulse, fainting
Fainting caused by high temperatures
Dizziness or fainting
If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms above, move to a cool and shady place. If they are awake, try to get them to drink plenty of water/ and or sports drinks to replace electrolytes. In the case of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have blood pressure or heart problems.
At Amada, we know that caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia takes an endless amount of patience. Professional caregivers are trained to handle difficult situations and respond to the varying moods of their clients – but family caregivers usually have no previous experience to draw on.
Jo Huey, an Alzheimer’s caregiver for over 30 years, has created what she calls “The 10 Absolutes of Alzheimer’s Caregiving.” She shares more stories of her experiences in her book “Alzheimer’s Disease: Help and Hope.” The 10 Absolutes provide practical yet compassionate strategies for family caregivers to implement that are based on her personal experience. We hope you find some of these helpful.
Never argue, instead agree.
Never reason, instead divert.
Never shame, instead distract.
Never say “you can’t,” instead say “do what you can.”
Never command or demand, instead ask or model.
Never condescend, instead encourage and praise.
Never say “remember,” instead reminisce.
Never say “I told you,” instead repeat.
Never lecture, instead reassure.
Never force, instead reinforce.
In a nutshell; be understanding, attuned, and constantly aware of your loved one’s condition. It may be difficult to remember at times, but their mentally deteriorated state is not really “them,” and their misconceptions due to their condition are not their fault.
Though more difficult in practice than in theory, when caregiving for Alzheimer’s patients – it always helps to remember the golden rule.
When you first noticed that your parent’s age was limiting them, what questions came to mind? Did you struggle to accept the reality of their aging or worry about their wellbeing? Did you wonder what preparations were in place for their needs?
Besides the questions you may have asked yourself, there is one question you must ask your aging parent: “Do you have a long-term care insurance policy?”
After a health crisis, anyone may find they need long-term care. But since senior citizens especially are at a higher risk for debilitating health problems, they are more likely to need it.
Long-term care provides assistance with activities of daily living, or ADLs. These include bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders, housekeeping, shopping, toileting and other non-medical assistance. In the future, forecasts say that 70% of people over the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lifetime. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, 30%, or 1.5 million people of the older population already have substantial long-term care needs.
The cost of long-term care is rising. Imagine what you believe your parent would pay for a room in a nursing home. In a 2015 survey, Genworth reported that a private nursing home room, which is the priciest option for care, now costs $92,378 annually. This is a 19% increase since 2011.
How should your elderly parent pay for the monumental cost of long-term care? If you are fortunate, your parent may already have the answer to that question. He or she might have a long-term care insurance policy. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is a valuable tool to protect assets and finance long-term care. If your loved one has purchased a policy, you may be reading this article to find out how to navigate it with them. If they do not have a policy yet, this article will help you navigate LTCI for your parent nevertheless.
Long-term care insurance is an investment to consider before it is needed. Without LTCI, long-term care’s costly expenses are paid using either Medicaid (if you qualify for it) or out-of-pocket savings (if you can afford it). The middle class is in limbo between having too much wealth to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford long-term care on their own. Long-term care insurance is meant to be a solution for them.
If your parent is in good health, between the ages of 50 and 65, and able to make decisions about paying for long-term care before they actually need it, it is time to shop for an LTCI policy. Some children of adults this age may be too young to take the lead in their parent’s financial matters. Yet at this time, your parent is in good shape to secure their policy because insurers will base costs on:
Type of benefits desired
If your parent is in poor health, around or above the age of 65 and in need of long-term care, their situation can fork into two directions.
If your parent does not have long-term care insurance, they may deplete their personal savings or depend on family to pay for or provide care. For seniors who have exhausted these options whose needs still aren’t met, they may have to resort to Medicaid; a health insurance option for low-income seniors.
If your parent has a long-term care insurance policy, funding for care is within reach. Your parent may not remember that they have LTCI. So ask them the crucial question, “Do you have a long-term care insurance policy?” This is an important starting point for the process ahead.
The Health Crisis
The unfortunate turn of events that typically prompts people to need long-term care is a health crisis. A health crisis can occur at any age and to a person in any state of health. Accidents and terminal illnesses are just a few health crises that handicap healthy people for the rest of their lives. Senior citizens are at risk for these crises in addition to common debilitating ailments, such as cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, falls, influenza, pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In the midst of fretting over the health status of your parent while they are treated in the hospital for these common health problems, it may be impossible for you to even consider thinking about what lies ahead after discharge. But following successful treatment of a serious health problem, senior citizens undergo dramatic changes in their lifestyles when they go home. They may have a sudden need for constant, dependable care. To continue the progress of your parent’s health, there must be a way to pay for it.
Families hope to feel relief after their elderly loved one’s discharge from a hospital. However, if they suddenly find themselves short of the resources to provide care for the senior’s needs at home, stress compounds on top of the health crisis. If your parent has an LTCI policy, this is where it brings you a solution.
After the health crisis, a senior with an LTCI policy can only activate their policy as soon as they qualify for care. Observe your parent to determine whether they are:
Unable to bathe, dress or eat
Unable to move on their own
Unable to toilet independently
These are just a few signs for your parent to activate their LTCI policy, with your help.
Activating the Policy
There are several things for you and your parent to know when activating their LTCI policy. Know how long the elimination period is for the policy. The elimination period is essentially a time-based deductible where you are responsible for paying the full portion until coverage begins. Elimination periods can range from 0-100 days. If you were preoccupied with your parent’s health treatment, this detail may have escaped you. It is frustrating to suddenly need immediate long-term care after a health crisis, only to find that you have to wait for your LTCI policy to kick in its coverage. Knowing the elimination period ahead of time not only informs your parent of what policies to choose in the first place, it also cues you to prepare out-of-pocket resources for care during its time span.
Know the policy’s maximum daily benefit and maximum lifetime benefit. The maximum daily benefit is the amount a policy will reimburse for each day of long-term care. Look out for inflation riders on the maximum daily benefit, which can significantly increase it over time.
The maximum lifetime benefit is the total amount of time or money up to which benefits will be paid. Policies can state the maximum lifetime benefit in either days or dollars. Know which one your parent’s plan uses. Also look out for a Restoration of Benefit, which allows your parent to restore benefits if they are not fully maximized.
Although your parent has already chosen what benefits to receive if they’ve already purchased a long-term care insurance policy, it helps you to know what specific benefits their plan covers. The Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey outlines all types of long-term care that seniors can get, as well as their costs. Research the types of care covered by your parent’s plan and be assertive in commissioning the best companies to provide them. If your parent is like most American senior citizens today, they may prefer long-term care at home. Securing this care entails knowing the coverage the LTCI policy will afford, what services to go to for the care and monitoring the professionals who come to your parent’s aid.
Knowing all of this, you are ready to initiate the activation of your parent’s LTCI policy. These are things for you to do:
Call your parent’s insurer and request a claim packet.
Fill out the claim form and send it in.
Make sure to list the information of the company providing care and their tax ID.
Check to see if the policy requires a doctor to fill out a form documenting your need for care.
Check to see if your parent needs an assessment from a registered nurse (RN).
Once the claim is approved, you want your parent’s benefits to be maximized under the reimbursement they receive. Achieving this takes constant attention to detail and monitoring invoices and notes your insurer needs to keep the claim active. Ensure that each invoice you receive from providers, like caregiver agencies, is submitted to the insurer. Each invoice must have notes documenting that assistance with your parent’s ADLs is provided each day.
Aside from all the work that goes into purchasing and activating it, long-term care insurance is sometimes disappointing when the grant of coverage is unpredictable. What if your parent never qualifies? What if the claim is not approved? What if it is, but the insurer decides your parent no longer qualifies later on and cancels it?
Your Trusted LTCI Partner
You and the rest of the children who try to navigate long-term care insurance for their aging parents are not alone. Amada Senior Care is the one-stop shop for long-term care insurance advocacy. Amada Senior Care locations across the U.S. provide a Concierge LTC Resource Center of experts who help policyholders understand and verify their long-term care insurance benefits. Our senior care advisors will guide you through the process of reviewing and filing a claim so that you can start receiving your benefits as soon as possible. Our advocates will:
Identify and analyze the requirements of your policy, including elimination periods, daily maximum, lifetime benefits and coverage.
Assist policyholders in completing the necessary forms to file a claim.
Bill the LTCI carrier directly at policyholder’s request.
Aid in the responsibilities of payroll taxes, benefits, scheduling, bonding, workers’ compensation and general and professional liability insurance.
Amada Senior Care has established relationships with multiple LTCI carriers and third-party administrators to make the claims process easier. The Concierge LTC Resource Center will not only assist you or your loved one with the details of your policy but will also coordinate and deliver care – providing you with the peace of mind and the time to share happy, healthy wellbeing with your elderly parent.
High cholesterol is a common health concern in the United States, but it’s particularly troublesome to seniors. The truth is that as you age, your risk for developing high cholesterol increases. Here’s a guide tailored specifically for seniors to help you gain a better understanding of your cholesterol health.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your bloodstream. This insoluble matter is produced primarily by the liver, but it is also produced by other cells in the body. Despite its bad reputation, cholesterol is actually vital for many of the metabolic processes that take place in your body.
Your body needs cholesterol for a variety of reasons including:
Making New Cells.
Cholesterol is needed to build the structure of cell membranes. This includes the coating for neurons, which are the cells in your nervous system.
Aiding in the production of bile.
Bile is important because it assists your body with digestion by helping you digest fat and absorb important nutrients. Complaints among older adults frequently pertain to digestive health. Cholesterol indirectly helps aid in digestion so that it’s easier for your body to break down and move food through your system.
Producing important hormones.
A few of the essential hormones cholesterol helps you create include estrogen, testosterone, and several stress hormones. These hormones are as important to seniors as they are to every other age group.
Producing vitamin D.
Vitamin D is critical for senior health because it helps prevent osteoporosis (another common condition associated with age).
Although cholesterol provides many benefits, it’s very important to know that not all cholesterol is created equal – so don’t go binge on eggs before you finish this article!
With that being said, the rules regarding cholesterol are similar to those that pertain to most things in life. You have likely heard phrases like “too much of anything is never a good thing,” and “quality over quantity.” Both these cliches embody the view you should take when conceptualizing your cholesterol health.
Understanding Your Cholesterol Score
Your total cholesterol score is composed of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides.
First, let’s look at your total cholesterol. Jimmy Moore, author of Cholesterol Clarity, has a great answer to the question “What does total cholesterol mean?” He clarifies that despite the often confusing equation, total cholesterol is not the factor you should be concerned with. Knowing the total cholesterol is like asking how a baseball game went and having someone respond with only the total number of points that were scored. Obviously, you need a breakdown of how many points were scored by each team to really understand how the game went.
In this example, the two teams would be comparable to HDL and LDL. You need to understand how much comes from each source to gain a real understanding of what is going on in terms of your cholesterol health.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
LDL is the type of cholesterol you DO NOT want. LDL can build up in the walls of your arteries, resulting in plaque. Similar to how you don’t want plaque to build-up on your teeth, this same rule applies when it comes to plaque in your arteries.
Quick Tip: Remember the “L” in LDL as “low.” You want to keep this kind of cholesterol low.
LDL Guidelines in the U.S.
Less than 70mg/dL is best for those with a very high risk for heart disease.
Less than 100 mg/dL is best for those with heart disease.
100 – 129 mg/dL is near ideal.
130 – 159 mg/dL is borderline high.
160 – 189 mg/dL is considered high.
190 mg/dL and higher is considered to be very high.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
HDL is the preferred type of cholesterol. HDL helps you remove the bad cholesterol from your bloodstream.
Quick Tip: Remember the “H” in HDL as “high.” You want to keep this kind of cholesterol high. Another great way to recall that HLD is the good protein is to think of the “H” in HDL as “healthy.”
HDL Guidelines in the U.S.
Less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50mg/dL is considered poor.
40 – 49 mg/dL for men and 50 – 59 mg/dL for women is better.
60 mg/dL and higher is best.
Triglycerides are the third component in your total cholesterol score. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. They can be synthesized in your body and come from the food you eat.
Triglyceride Guidelines in the U.S.
Less than mg/dL is desirable.
150 – 199 mg/dL is borderline high.
200 – 499 mg/dL is high.
500 mg/dL and higher is considered very high.
High cholesterol refers to a high amount of LDL in your blood. Problems arise when LDL combines with fats among other substances to create a buildup of plaque in the walls of your arteries.
These problems become life threatening when the arteries become clogged with plaque. The narrowing of the arteries reduces blood flow, and this reduction can result in a blood clot. Blood clots occur when the buildup of plaque breaks loose or ruptures. This can lead to a heart attack (when a blood clot blocks the flow to your heart) or a stroke (when the flow to your brain is blocked).
There are several factors that can contribute to high cholesterol.
Genetic Factors. Your genetic background can give you a likelihood of developing in high cholesterol. Your risk of high cholesterol increases if one or both of your parents have high cholesterol.
Age. The likeliness of developing high cholesterol increase as you age.
Gender. Women are more likely to have high cholesterol than men.
While these factors are completely out of your control, there are more factors that you DO have 100% control over.
Lifestyle. Your lifestyle plays a significant role in your risk for developing high cholesterol. Being overweight, inactive, and smoking greatly increase your odds.
Diet. A diet high in saturated and trans fat could greatly increase your risk for high cholesterol.
Quick Tips for Lowering Your LDL
If you have high cholesterol, don’t lose hope. Here is a list of simple changes you can make in your life to help lower your LDL. (Please consult with your doctor before attempting any of the following).
Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume and avoid trans fat completely
If you are overweight or obese, develop a plan to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI
Hopefully, this guide has given you a better understanding of your cholesterol health. Feel free to pass it along to someone who might be experiencing difficulty understanding their cholesterol numbers.
It seems that most of us in Western culture would do whatever it takes to prevent aging – wrinkle creams, hair dyes, supplements, and even plastic surgery are commonplace. What is it that keeps us searching for the fountain of youth? Many believe it is our culture’s negative depiction of aging.
“There’s so much shame in our culture around aging and death,” said Koshin Paley Ellison, co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. “As people approach old age they frequently feel that there’s something wrong with them and that they’re losing value.”
Jared Diamond, a professor at UCLA, said that America’s high value of work ethic means that “if you’re no longer working, you’ve lost the main value that society places on you,” and that our “cult of youth” places an emphasis on independence and self-reliance – which are often lost with age.
In many other cultures, however, old age is revered. The elderly are highly valued, and the process of aging is embraced. Below are some examples of how cultural attitudes toward aging in non-US countries affect the life experiences of their inhabitants.
Chinese and Japanese
In the Chinese and Japanese cultures, filial piety – a virtue of respect for one’s father, elders, and ancestors from Confucian philosophy – is highly valued. In fact, it’s the law in China and other countries including India, France, the Ukraine, and Singapore. “Placing your parents in retirement homes will see you labeled as uncaring or a bad son,” said Beijing resident Zhou Rui. “To abandon one’s family is considered deeply dishonorable.”
Chinese seniors can sue their children over lack of financial and emotional support; many seniors have already sued their children for not visiting them regularly. Companies are required to give employees time off in order to tend to and visit their elderly parents.
Japan holds a national holiday every year on the third Monday of September to honor and show appreciation for the elderly. “Respect for the Aged Day” is a paid holiday from work where grandparents receive gifts and share a meal with their families. Even those who don’t have family are shown appreciation and respect and often receive free meals.
However, these cultures are beginning to see somewhat of a breakdown in these values as much of the younger generation continues to move to urban areas for work, while their parents usually stay in rural areas. The significant growth of the senior population because of China’s one-child policy and increasing life expectancy is also projected to change the social norms when it comes to senior care. Japan is also dealing with these changes; according to Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, 7.2 percent of the Japanese population will be 80 or older in 2020 (compared to 4.1 percent in the U.S.).
Korean culture not only values filial piety, but also celebrates old age. Koreans traditionally hold large celebrations for their loved ones 60th and 70th birthdays. In the Asian Zodiac, 60 years is considered a full cycle, so this milestone birthday is when children will celebrate their parents’ entering old age. Another reason for celebration is that advances in modern medicine have allowed them to reach old age, where many of their ancestors did not. Sixty is also the age when, traditionally, a man can retire and rely on his children to support him. The 70th birthday calls for a similar celebration and is known as kohCui, meaning “old and rare.”
Traditionally, most Indians live in family units in which the seniors act as the head of the household. This, Diamond said, is in direct contrast to many families in the United States, “where routinely, old people do not live with their children and it’s a big hassle to take care of your parents even if you want to do it.” Achyut Bihani said that disrespecting seniors or placing them in a living facility is looked down upon in India, and that seniors are valued for their wisdom. “Advice is always sought from them on a range of issues, from investment of family money to nitty-gritties of traditional wedding rituals and intra-family conflicts. And this is not just passive advice; their word is final in settling disputes,” Bihani said. “The elderly are often the most religious and charitable members of the family.”
While contemporary American culture places a stigma of fear on death, Native American cultures accept death as a natural way of life and do not fear it. In these communities, it is expected that the elders pass on wisdom and life experiences to the younger family members, according to a study by the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Mediterranean and Latin
As with the Indian culture, it is very common for multiple generations of Mediterranean and Latin families to live under one roof. The main priority is on family, and seniors share in the duties of the household. In a contemporary version of this, the oldest family members will often take care of younger children while the adult children and others work outside home to support the family. This allows the seniors to be fully involved and integrated in society even in old age.
In Greek culture, being old is something that is honored. When Arianna Huffington visited a monastery in Greece, she said the abbots were respectfully referred to as ‘Geronda,’ meaning ‘old man.’ “The idea of honoring old age, indeed identifying it with wisdom and closeness to God, is in startling contrast to the way we treat aging in America,” Huffington said.
“Culture and Aging,” Written by Taylor French, Amada contributor.
As an adult, you are used to having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. It may be difficult for you to imagine not being able to do those things. Yet, for many seniors, this is a reality. We’d like to take a moment to recognize not only the importance of senior independence but also how caregivers can help seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.
With age comes a variety of changes that can challenge a senior’s physical and physiological state; some making it increasingly difficult for seniors to properly care for themselves. Because of this, many older adults are pressured to move into an assisted living facility. As a direct result, many seniors are hesitant to ask for help, even when they know they should, for fear they will be forced to live in an assisted living home. This is a huge mistake.
Failing to ask for help when you know you need it can backfire and can cost you your independence entirely. In fact, the best thing you can do to secure your independence is to learn how and when to ask for help.
Failing to ask for help when you need it is the quickest way to lose your independence. Click To Tweet
How Home Care Can Help
Let’s clarify – an assisted living facility may be best for you if you need more help than you can receive from home care. But if you just need a little extra help around the house, non-medical home care is likely the best option for you and can really help facilitate your independence.
Here are a few common threats to a senior’s independence, as well as some information on how having a caregiver a few times a week can help.
#1: Failing to meet your nutritional requirements.
Getting adequate nutrition is crucial for seniors to remain independent. Seniors who meet their requirements typically report better mental acuity, stronger immune systems, higher energy levels and have an easier time managing chronic illnesses. Failure to do so can threaten health, mobility, and as a result, independence.
Getting adequate nutrition is crucial for seniors to remain independent. Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, many older adults experience challenges that make it difficult for them to get the nutrition they need. For example, seniors who are unable to drive may have a difficult time coordinating trips to and from the grocery store, while other seniors may struggle to prepare fresh meals on a regular basis. As a result, many seniors consume more processed foods due to their longer shelf life.
Home care services can help seniors by eliminating many of the challenges seniors face that prevent them from meeting their nutritional requirements, including the following.
Driving seniors to and from the grocery store.
Helping seniors navigate the grocery store (i.e. getting hard-to-reach items and carrying groceries back to their home)
Preparing fresh meals.
Throwing away old/expired meals.
#2: Neglecting to exercise.
Many seniors refrain from exercise because they think it’s unsafe. Studies have shown the contrary; seniors who refrain from exercise are usually more at risk of losing their independence.
Exercise is crucial for seniors to maintain their bone density and circulation. When bone density is lost, seniors are at a much greater risk of experiencing more serious injuries. Exercise can be the difference between a minor fracture and a broken bone.
In-home caregivers can help ensure seniors get enough exercise in the following ways.
Encouraging seniors make the effort to exercise.
Making sure seniors are doing the right exercises for their personal needs and capabilities.
Reducing the likelihood of injuries by providing assistance when needed (i.e. support while walking, ending exercise when needed)
In-home caregivers can help ensure seniors get enough exercise. Click To Tweet
#3: Forgetting to take medications.
As your age increases, the number of medications you are prescribed is also likely to increase. As a result, older adults are often faced with the challenge of managing multiple medications. It can be easy to confuse medications and miss doses. Unfortunately, doing this can be detrimental to a senior.
Caregivers can be extremely helpful to seniors who have trouble remembering to take their medications in the following ways.
Reminding seniors to take their medication at the appropriate time.
Ensuring seniors are consistent with their medication.
Caregivers can help seniors remember to take their medication. Click To Tweet
Aging is inevitable, bringing to light many of the associated challenges is the first step to ensuring aging doesn’t equate to a loss of independence. If you think you or a loved one may benefit from an in-home caregiver, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Having an abundance of belongings can be a burden as you transition into your retirement years. Not only does it crowd your living space, it can make retrieving desired objects challenging. The fact is that during working years, you may have needed more stuff than you do in the coming years. You may have accumulated things over time for one reason or another that you simply no longer have use for. As you move to the next chapter in your life, you may want to re-evaluate your “stuff” to see what you want to bring along. Sorting through full closets can take a good amount of energy. Deciding what to keep and what to part with only gets harder the longer you hold on to things. Downsizing from a large living space to a smaller one should be done early in the retirement years. You’ll save more money and more likely have the physical ability to move. If you’re going to make moves to simplify your life, today is the day to let go of the baggage that holds you back.
Benefits of Downsizing Before Retiring
While there are some things you have that you need, there are many items in your home that you don’t. In the same manner, a large home was great for entertaining in your 30s or 40s, but a lot to clean and maintain in your sixties. Downsizing can greatly improve a person’s retirement years for several reasons. First, you can save money on current monthly expenses. Second, you can free up valuable time that would otherwise be spent cleaning or performing maintenance work on a large home. Third, you can profit from the sale of odds and ends that are no longer desirable to keep. Downsizing can help you reach goals and simplify your life.
Reduce Hassle of Maintenance
Reduce Excess “Stuff”
How to Make and Save Money by Downsizing the Home
Decreasing the size of your home or property can provide several benefits for retirees. A smaller home with equal efficiency can result in lower utility bills. You also save money on annual taxes and insurance when the value of your home is lower. Other key perks to living in a smaller space include fewer maintenance issues and less yard to maintain. The money from a real estate sale can boost your savings as well. When making the move, there are some things to consider. The size of your new bedroom, for instance. You’ll want to make sure to measure the dimensions of your furniture to make sure it will fit in the new living space. Many people will change from a larger king size bed to a split queen adjustable bed. A bed like this has smaller proportions and is also capable of moving through smaller halls and doorways with ease. Before you move also consider the cost of living in your new area and the distance your new home is from loved ones.
Simplify Leisure Time with Fewer Maintenance Issues
As you adapt to your new life of unemployment, you may find yourself with time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Yardwork and cleaning are probably not on that list. When you move to a smaller home you can save valuable time on these unpleasant tasks. Time isn’t all you will save. Think about all the money you could save on maintenance. Downgrading to a home with a single bathroom, for example, may lead to fewer plumbing calls. A smaller lawn means lower cost for mowing and other landscaping expenses. Keep in mind that you may be capable of doing many tasks yourself at this point but as you age you may not want to.
Other Ways to Save Money by Cutting Out Excess
A 2018 survey indicated that up to 75% of retirees would like to stay in their current home as long as possible. Even if you don’t downsize your home, there are some ways to downsize your expenses. Eliminate unnecessary bills. Perhaps when you were working, an Internet connection at home was vital. Now, if you need to access the Internet you can visit the library or have a cup of coffee at a coffee shop with Wi-Fi. This might be a monthly expense you can get rid of. If you do keep Internet, consider shutting off cable television. It can be expensive and there are many cheaper options for streaming movies and television shows. Landlines are a thing of the past and if you have a cellular phone, there is probably no reason to keep paying for a landline.
Cancel services you no longer need.
Call service companies and re-negotiate rates.
Ask for a senior discount on monthly bills such as garbage and phone service.
Transportation Downsizing after Retirement
When a couple is retired there is very little reasons to own two separate vehicles. Selling one and sharing the other can save a considerable amount of dough. Insurance, taxes and repair costs add to the regular maintenance costs of a vehicle. Pro tip: Keep the car that has the best gas mileage. Then, whenever possible, enjoy a walk or bike ride instead of a drive. Regular exercise is important for long-term health, plus this way you save money that would otherwise be spent on gas.
Ways to Maximize Space and Declutter
Say goodbye to the days of overwhelming closets and cupboards when you say goodbye to unused stuff. Disposing of your junk can be profitable. You can have a garage sale or sell larger items online to make extra money. You can even donate your unwanted things to a secondhand store or one of numerous nonprofits for a tax write-off. Ask yourself a few questions to decide what to keep and what should go.
Can I Borrow This?
If the answer is yes, it may be time to free up the space this object is taking up. It is not always necessary to own. There is no reason to hold on to tools and books that can easily be borrowed.
Do I Still Have Use for This?
Downsizing your home may have terminated the usefulness of some stuff. For example, if you have garden tools but no garden to maintain, they can probably go.
When Was the Last Time I Used This?
Chances are, if you haven’t used an article of clothing or a kitchen device in several years, you won’t need it tomorrow. A good rule of thumb is to place a six-month expiration on stored items, unless it is a seasonal item.
“Downsizing for Retirement: Benefits and Simple Tips” written by Jesse Crow, owner of Rest Right Mattress.
Hurray for May because it’s Older Americans Month! During this month, the Administration for Community Living (under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) promotes its resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent.
Helping seniors maintain their health and independence is exactly what each of our Amada caregivers does every day in communities around the country. So, we decided to mark Older Americans Month by profiling six exceptional caregivers who were presented with an Amada Value Award in recognition of their outstanding service to seniors.
6C’s of Caregiver Core Values
Each Value Award represents one of Amada’s 6 Caregiver Core Values, which include Compassionate, Competent, Communicative, Committed, Confidently Humble, and Congenial. These Caregiver 6Cs reflect our caregiving philosophy and process. Amada franchise partners nominated their best-of-the-best caregivers and a seven-member corporate panel selected honorees during a fervent jurying session.
The recipients of the 2018 Amada Value Awards are Elaine Judson (Compassionate), Ashley Bruner (Competent), Megan Pepper (Communicative), Joy Douglass (Committed), Cynthia Woy (Confidently Humble), and Vanise St. Jilus (Congenial). What follows are snapshots of their interactions with senior clients that demonstrate why they were chosen to receive a Value Award.
Elaine Judson, caregiver at Amada Twin Cities, received the Compassionate Value Award for the kind attention she gives to “all the little things” for senior clients. In caring for an 85-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s, Elaine helped her apply her favorite lotion as part of her bedtime routine and talked quietly to her to make sure she went to sleep comfortably. She even gently repositioned her throughout the night and took care of any perceived discomfort the client experienced during the day.
Elaine took time to understand what was important to her client, even though the woman had lost the ability to articulate. She included the woman’s husband of 65 years in the care of his wife as much as possible. “I know my mom was aware of Elaine’s empathy and was comforted by its warmth,” said the woman’s daughter. “I sometimes felt like I had another sister, or may another (healthy) mother, guiding me through this difficult journey, because the depth of Elaine’s loving feelings was always evident.”
Ashley Bruner, caregiver at Amada Knoxville, received the Competent Value Award for consistently applying her talents to improving her senior clients’ health and lifestyle. Seeing one couple she cared for was significantly underweight, Ashley created a diet plan that included fruits, vegetables and home-cooked meals. (They had previously consisted on whatever they could get out of a can or box.) She made meals for them and the husband’s weight climbed to a healthy 164 pounds for his 6-foot-1-inch frame.
She got the husband to take his Parkinson’s medication regularly and cajoled him into using his walker. These steps improved his mood, helped minimize his tremors and lessened his fall risk. Ashley’s support greatly helped his wife, who suffers from mild dementia. “Through a combination of compassion, love and just the right amount of assertiveness, Ashley greatly improved the couple’s health and quality of their home life,” said Jeff Pell, owner of Amada Knoxville.
Megan Pepper, caregiver at Amada Mesa, is the recipient of the Communicative Value Award, because of her talent for interpreting clients’ needs and overcoming challenges in their care. She was able to gain the trust of a client diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who was struggling to give up her independence and wasn’t comfortable allowing caregivers to take over some household tasks. Megan went through the steps of doing laundry with the client to show her that everything would be done as the client wanted.
When the client began having hour-long seizures because of the disease’s progression, Megan would sing the client’s favorite hymns to her because she had noticed it would help ease the seizure and bring it to an end. “Her clients feel her love and commitment,” explained Kris Patmos, co-owner of Amada Mesa. “They know she will always care for them lovingly. Megan never delays in taking care of a need. She knows how important it is to know the heart of her clients and what speaks to them.”
Joy Douglass, caregiver at Amada Corona, received the Committed Value Award, for unfailing service to multiple clients during short two to three hour visits. She often works with five different clients in a single day yet gives her all for each. She jumps at the chance to help rather than be put off by such a challenging schedule.
Joy was off-shift when she received a call from a regular client who was in a panic because she couldn’t remember where she had parked her car at a large shopping mall. Joy dropped everything to drive to the mall, pick up the client and drive around the mall parking lot until they found the client’s car. “I believe it’s this type of self-sacrifice and commitment that Joy reflects in her character,” said Michael Robirds, owner of Amada Corona. “She truly carries her herself in such a manner as to reflect the Committed Value Award – doing nothing out of selfish desire or a boastful self-importance, but in humility because she considers others more than herself.”
Cynthia Woy, caregiver at Amada Pittsburgh, is the recipient of the Confidently Humble Award because she is “nothing short of a personal caring angel to everyone she comes in contact with,” said franchise owner Joe Spehar. “She goes above and beyond to ensure everyone around her is safe and content.”
Many times when she goes off-the-clock, Cynthia will give extra time to a senior client simply because she wants to be of further assistance and know the client is on a restricted budget. She is passionate about her clients being well cared for, comfortable and fed. She keeps up her cosmetology license just so she can provide a complimentary haircut and styling to a client on a limited income. “She is the most selfless person we have ever met,” Joe said.
Vanise St. Jilus, caregiver at Amada Boca Raton, received the Congenial Value Award for her ability to put clients at ease with her warmth and friendliness.
“How better to describe someone as congenial? When I recently visited Vanise’s client’s home, Vanise was teasing the client’s husband and everyone was giggling about it,” recalled Michele Harris, owner of Amada Boca Raton. “Her client said they laugh all the time.”
The client confided to Michele that Vanise made sure to have a close relationship with the woman’s daughter and that Vanise “handles my husband, who can be a pain sometimes.” Because of Vanise’s ability to get along so well with others, the client was able to ease her mind because she knew that her daughter and husband were getting emotional support while the client dealt with a chronic disease.
Vanise truly became one of the family, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with them and sharing personal stories with them. The client asked Vanise to continue caring for her husband when she passed away. The bond between Vanise and her client was so intimate that Vanise was there the day the client died peacefully at home.
“Each one of you represents the heart and soul of our organization, and the essential values that have built our company into what it is today,” said Amada Franchise Sales Director Matt Smith at the Value Awards ceremony held March 17 during our annual conference. “Thank you for the care and compassion you provide to the seniors we serve. Thank you for your nurturing hearts and for your patience with those unable to care for themselves.”
Just as this May’s Older Americans Month theme encourages seniors and their communities to …
Connect with friends, family, and local services and resources.
Create through activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
… so do Amada caregivers every day of the year.
“Amada Caregivers Presented with Value Awards for Exceptional ‘6Cs’ Service” written by Michelle Flores, Amada marketing specialist.