When the vaccine for COVID-19 is finally available, the decision to get inoculated will depend on where trust lies. When the doctor recommends a vaccine, will folks get it? The term “inoculation” was used as early as the year 1000 AD, when Chinese doctors were trying to eradicate smallpox. Their method involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing them into nostrils.
Amid all the COVID-19 restrictions, there is a bright spot — the opportunity for families to celebrate the holidays together by engaging creatively in a way that’s enjoyable and safe for everyone.
While younger members of the family are on the go and ready to run around the house, seniors (especially those with dementia) will prefer quieter, more structured activities.
An increasing number of family caregivers are performing more complex medical care for their family members at home. According to Home Alone Revisited: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care, a report prepared jointly by AARP and the United Hospital Fund, there is an increase in the number of family caregivers performing tasks that would, in the past, have been provided under the direct supervision of a medical professional.
Time can stop when memories are lost for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. At certain stages, the brain loses its recent (short-term) memories. The brain — and therefore, the present — is in the past for those with memory loss. Current thoughts are drawn to distant memories.
Compassionate care involves addressing the needs of the individual as a whole — their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. While providers dedicate themselves to managing the physical symptoms of aging and disease, seniors may experience other pain as well, on a mental and spiritual level. Why is this happening to me? What will happen when I die? Will my family survive my loss? How will I make it through this? The time has come for us to find other avenues to help our family members cope.
As parents age and grown-up children take on more responsibilities in managing their care, unforeseen challenges often arise. The roles of parent and child reverse as adult offspring increasingly manage the often complex affairs of their parents. This change can create tension when family members share more time together, such as at get-togethers and holiday celebrations.
In home care, a question I often get asked is how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s who asks the same questions over and over again. To better understand and manage what’s going on, it helps to first know a bit about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It’s a progressive disease, where brain cells deteriorate and eventually a person can’t make sense of the world. When short-term memory is affected, it can lead to repetitive behaviors, like talking or asking about the same things over and over. In essence, your loved one can’t recall having already asked a question because of their memory loss.
At some point in our lives, most of us will be given the opportunity to care for someone with cancer. Even though our experience with cancer may be limited, we may have learned enough to ask initial questions of the patient after the diagnosis is made.
After gaining years of experience working and caring for the elderly, I can imagine many ways to describe what “aging” means. There are multiple factors that determine if one is considered old. In other words, a high number of years someone has been on this Earth does not define them as being old. In today’s world of medical technology, health products and smarter lifestyles, it may be hard to identify our kūpuna.
How do family members prepare for the day their senior needs more help? The kind of help that requires loved ones to re-prioritize their lives. If only there were a date set aside for this change in everybody’s life. Planning on change at this level has never been easy because a plan may not be in place.
At some point we’ve all had times of forgetfulness or misplacing things. Our keys get lost or we draw a blank trying to remember where the car is parked or what we just ate for breakfast. We can usually sort it out and remember things with some time and patience. But when is forgetfulness or memory loss of concern?
Today, more seniors are receiving care in their homes for medical conditions. Many receive it following a hospitalization or discharge from a rehabilitation center and have complex needs. Seniors who require them may have difficulties adjusting to their care and can benefit from transitional care during this period.
Home healthcare providers are often asked what makes a better caregiver. The answer is that, while many factors come to mind, an interest in learning is high on the list, and essential to a caregiver’s progress. For example, an important role caregivers have is recognizing when an individual’s health condition is changing. Those who can reflect and learn from these changes often develop into better caregivers.
In home care, a question I often get is how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s who asks the same questions over and over again. To better understand and manage what’s going on, it helps to first know a bit on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
As a handpicked Labradoodle, Ruby is highly trained and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a certified therapy dog. She loves her time visiting children and adults in hospitals or in their homes, and she enjoys the special relationships she has meeting and greeting everyone.
Most seniors I meet say they prefer to age in place and live at home for as long as they can. Who wouldn’t want that, right? But living out your life safely at home may require a bit of help and experience. Home healthcare is particularly suited here; clients can manage their care with medical professionals to help make safer and more informed decisions.
Serving Senior Veterans by Eileen Phillips, RN, Attention Plus Care from the Oct-Nov 2016 issue of Generations Magazine, Hawai‘i’s Resource for Life
Senior Travel Assistance by Eileen Phillips, RN, Attention Plus Care from the August-September 2016 issue of Generations Magazine, Hawai‘i’s Resource for Life
Animal Assisted Therapy by Eileen Phillips, RN, Attention Plus Care from the June-May 2016 issue of Generations Magazine, Hawai‘i’s Resource for Life