Emergency Alert When the Caregiver is Not Around A Guest Post by Reviews Bee

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Long-distance caregiving  has become a rather common phenomenon in the world and this inability to be physically near to the beloved ones reasons for daily stresses as here a caregiver’s mind not only concentrates on what has happened, but is also occupied by the imaginary emergencies which could happen. Of course, in a similar situation you might have tried to repeat yourself “I will be next to them, whenever they need me”, meanwhile having an inner secret fear of being late. And actually, life proves that the cases when an elderly person needs a help require quick actions and the clock in such cases always works against the positive ending, on the other hand, it is a well-known fact that the occurrences of a health  crisis increases along with the age. Moreover, the elderly may sometimes have some physical limitations and it would be hard for them to reach for the phone to be able to communicate about their immediate needs, let alone the cases when a sudden fall or similar emergency totally deprives them from the ability to move.

It is here that the answer of technological means in the shape of medical alert systems arrive. Medical Alert systems provide an irreplaceable support to those who live far from their senior loved ones and cannot afford visiting them as often as they wish, who, meanwhile, grant an importance to the ability of being informed about any emergency. Medical Alert systems promote careless and independent lifestyle of the elderly and meanwhile ensure high-quality care on the part of the caregiver, thus boosting the feeling of security for the both sides.

Medical alert systems are made up of several parts – the transmitter (a help button carried or worn by the user usually as pendant or necklace), a base station and a  response center. When the elderly feels the need of immediate help s/he pushes the button, after which a connection is made to the response center which provides round-the-clock guidance and assistance. In addition to making a connection with the operator, who sends the required assistance and shares some useful tips and pieces of advice while the help is on the way, if it is previously arranged, the operator may connect to the family members, neighbors or other caregivers and notify them about the emergency (some medical alert systems even  allow programming several other phone numbers as contacts, along with an automatic call to response center).

Another level of security will be reached in case you use a medical alert system with the ability of GPS and fall detection. The first is especially helpful for those elderly who do not love to stay at home and rather, prefer playing golf, jogging, hiking, are in habit of driving  or simply enjoy walking around the blocks, while the second will free your mind of the worries that an elderly may fall and as a result will face up movement elimination and a consequent inability of calling for help(on this note, it should be highlighted that falls are rather common among the elderly, to be more exact, research reports that “About one third of the elder population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually”).

With enabled GPS system, thanks to satellite tracking technology, help will find you wherever you go. When an emergency happens, or a fall is detected a connection is made to the closest response center, even if the person was not able to press the button and by means of GPS alert system mapping, a help is sent to the due direction. So, in such cases, you as a caregiver who really cares, can be sure that the elderly people will be actually reached for whenever it is needed.

Overall, medical alert systems are an essential way of preventing emergency situations with negative outcome of your beloved seniors, meanwhile improving the life quality and sense of security for the elderly and their caregivers meanwhile  not require huge financial investments.

For more information on medical products please visit http://www.reviewsbee.com/ 

What Caregivers Need to Know About FMLA: An Article by Deb Hipp Originally Posted on Senior Living Blog

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If you’re a caregiver for an aging loved one, you’ll probably need to miss work at some point to help with medical treatment or unexpected emergencies.

In fact, the likelihood is so great that there is even a federal law, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that protects your job if you need to take leave to care for a family member.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA helps workers balance their jobs with leave time for things like having a baby, major illness or acting as a caregiver for a family member with a serious health condition.

The FMLA has been used more than 100 million times since its enactment in 1993, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, not every employer or employee is eligible, and simply relying on your employer to keep you informed may not be the best choice.

“It’s amazing what companies don’t know about FMLA,” says Robert Ottinger, an employment attorney at Ottinger Law. FMLA violations are especially common at companies with fewer than 100 employees, which may not even have a procedure in place, he says.

That’s why you need to know about FMLA and know your FMLA rights, especially if you’re a caregiver.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Employers still have to provide the same group health insurance benefits at the same premium while you’re on leave, and when you return to work, they have to give you back the same or an equivalent job.

You’re allowed to take FMLA leave all at once or intermittently in blocks of time or even by reducing your work schedule. However, not everyone is eligible.

FMLA Eligibility

You’re eligible for FMLA if you:

  1. Work for one of these covered employers:
    • Public agencies; local, state and federal employers; schools; private employers who employ at least 50 employees for a minimum of 20 workweeks per year.
  2. Worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave.
  3. Work at a location where your employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
  4. Worked for the employer for at least 12 months, although the months don’t have to be consecutive.

Even though FMLA leave is unpaid, many companies offer paid or partially paid FMLA leave as a company benefit. Also, state laws in CaliforniaNew JerseyNew York (taking effect Jan. 1, 2018) and Rhode Island provide some form of paid family leave.

Once you determine your FMLA eligibility, you’ll need to find out whether your caregiving situation is covered as well.

Caregiving and FMLA

Don’t simply assume that you can take FMLA leave to care for any family member you love. For instance, you may think of your father-in-law as a second dad, but in-laws aren’t considered “immediate family” under the FMLA.

Qualifying Reasons to Take FMLA

Your employer is required to grant FMLA leave to eligible employees for:

  1. The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn.
  2. When an employee adopts or fosters a child, including providing time to bond.
  3. To care for an immediate family member, including a spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition. Eligibility doesn’t cover leave to care for in-laws, siblings or grandparents. However, you might be eligible for FMLA leave to care for a grandparent who was once your legal guardian or if you are the legal guardian for a disabled sibling.
  4. When the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  5. For qualifying urgent situations when the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call in the military or to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

FMLA Compliance: A Two-Way Street

Both you and your employer must comply with certain requirements when it comes to FMLA. For example, you’re required to provide your employer 30-days advance notice when the need for FMLA is foreseeable. As a caregiver, it’s best to find out your options before a crisis.

“If an employee is concerned about having to leave work at the last minute, then it’s to that employee’s benefit to let human resources know, get approved for intermittent leave and find out the FMLA policy,” says Christina Thomas Mazaheri, an employment lawyer with Morgan & Morgan.

When it comes to unanticipated FMLA time, like rushing from the office because your dad was injured in a car crash, let your employer know as soon as practicable, says Thomas Mazaheri. Even if you have to call from the emergency room, make sure you don’t wait for days without providing an explanation.

“As long as your employer knows, they shouldn’t terminate you because their obligations under FMLA would be triggered,” says Thomas Mazaheri.

At the same time, your employer can’t intentionally delay paperwork or ask for unnecessary medical information. While you’ll need to provide certification of your loved one’s medical condition, your boss isn’t allowed to pry into your life.

“Employers don’t have carte blanche to ask personal medical questions unrelated to the need for protective leave,” says Thomas Mazaheri.

That means if you request FMLA leave for your mom’s cancer surgery, your supervisor can’t ask you to hand over your mom’s psychological records. However, an employer is allowed to ask for clarification if there is reason to believe an employee is being dishonest, says Thomas Mazaheri.

What If My Employer Won’t Grant FMLA Leave?

If your company illegally denies or interferes with your FMLA request, Ottinger recommends showing your employer a print-out of the federal law. If that doesn’t work, “It’s time to call a law firm to write a quick letter,” says Ottinger.

You can file a lawsuit for FMLA violations, and if an employer illegally retaliates by firing you or changing your work conditions, you can probably also add a retaliation count. To find an employment lawyer, search the directory at the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Knowing your FMLA rights can mean the difference between being there to help your aging parents or regretting that your job kept you from helping them when they needed you most.

Have you had experience with taking FMLA to care for a senior loved one? What was your experience like? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.

Related Articles:

 

We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living. 

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About the Author
 

Deb Hipp is a Kansas City, Mo.-based freelance writer who covers elder and caregiving issues and has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and writer. Deb began writing about elder care and aging after her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She hopes her writing can help others whose lives have been altered by dementia and Alzheimer’s. Her work can be found at: http://www.debhipp.com.

Tips for Wearing Your Colostomy Bag A Guest Post by Gary Simmons

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People want to be different, and they want to stand out of the crowd. Most of the time—but not when that difference is based on a health issue or disability. Then, people may fear to stand out, and sometimes withdraw from the company of others. The difference can lead to unhappiness.

People who wear colostomy bags may have some of these fears, whether they’re young or old, independent, receiving home health care or in a nursing facility.

Colostomy bags are usually placed in an obvious place, potentially visible when clothed and unclothed. They announce to the world a previous medical issue, and someone might feel they remind others of a bodily process we’d rather not have on our mind.

But maybe there’s a way to turn that bag into an asset, or at least make sure it’s not a liability. Here are some tips and ideas for making sure you remain a vibrant part of your community and can wear your colostomy bag discreetly and stylishly.

The Bag Itself

The location of the bag will influence what you can wear and how you wear it. Some stomas are at or above the beltline, while others are below it. If you have not yet had your colostomy, you do have some influence in where it will go. Speak with your surgeon before they operate.

Belts and tight clothing can interfere with the smooth functioning of your colostomy bag. Whatever style of clothing you wear, make sure you have a good flow into the bag.

Using the Bag

One way to avoid backsplash while emptying your bag is to sit “backward” on the toilet, facing the tank. You then can float some toilet paper on the surface of the water and on the seat. Empty down onto the paper itself. Backsplash can also be avoided by flushing just as you empty the bag.

Use an electric razor to trim any hair around the stomach. Most of us have a little hair on our abdomens and the hairs can either make sticking more difficult or cause discomfort when removing the appliance. An electric razor avoids cuts.

It’s more pleasant to change the bag without active output. Changing just after waking is the best time—you will have gone an extended period without eating, and the output will probably be slow enough to allow a change.

Changing your appliance while showering has several benefits. You may be able to shower bagless because if you shower after waking, output will be minimal (and washed away). You’ll also have a few more minutes without the bag, which can boost your mood.

There is a lot of ostomy appliances and equipment on the market. Don’t hesitate to accept free samples. Your ET nurse may be able to get you free samples as well.

Keep yourself and your bag clean. A washcloth and plain water or a sterile saline wipe will keep your abdomen clean. Avoid baby wipes—they may leave a film on the skin which interferes with your wafer adhering to your skin. Rinsing your appliance after emptying is probably a good idea. Squeezable bottles or even turkey basters are perfect.

Take advantage of opportunities to empty your bag—it will help with comfort. Also, remember the pouch itself is not the first thing people are looking for—many times people won’t notice it until you call attention to it.

You will find the right rhythm of living to take care of yourself with little to no extra fuss. Remember that everyone goes to the bathroom; you just manage that ordinary task a bit differently. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and no one needs to know what’s going on.

Stoma Guards

If your stoma is at or above the beltline, you might want to consider a stoma guard. Made of hard plastic, they provide protection from seat belts, tight pants and belts, and other impacts. Frequently, they will allow you to tuck the pouch inside your pants or skirt.

They’re probably not needed when you’re at home relaxing. They certainly will protect your stoma from sudden affectionate bumps from pets or grandchildren.

Pants

Both men and women may want to consider high-waisted pants. The stoma will be below the belt/waist, and thus not subject to pressure or flow constriction. You’ll have to decide if a high waist works for you—most folks probably don’t want to look like Pee Wee Herman or Urkel.

Women might want to consider maternity pants as an option. Because they have an elastic band across the front, they may be more comfortable than ordinary pants.

If you’re going to wear your pouch under your clothes, you might want to consider going one size larger with your pants (and shirts).

Suspenders might also be a stylish option with pants. Some suspenders clip onto the pant waist, while others button to the pants, especially for more formal ones. Most tailors can add suspender buttons to pants.

Underwear

The location of the stoma may influence your choice of underwear. A higher stoma will allow you to wear the underwear normally. Some underwear, for both men and women, is designed with an inner pocket to keep your bag away from your skin and in place.

Swimwear

There’s no reason to avoid going to the beach or pool with a colostomy bag. You’ll want to take steps to secure the bag and to make sure it can handle the water, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the water.

Men may want to consider high-waisted swim trunks, especially if your stoma is low. If the stoma is higher on your abdomen, high waisted trunks will not be as flattering—you don’t want the waist at your chest! You’ll want to consider an ostomy bag wrap to keep it in place, as well as ostomy bag covers to add a bit of flair to your beach attire.

Loud and Proud

One way of handling any issue is to look it squarely in the face, accept it and then have fun with it. Colorful bag covers are the way to go, regardless of where on your abdomen the stoma is.

Many businesses now sell a variety of pouch covers in all colors and patterns. Some, like C & S Pouchcovers, even include a set of patriotically themed covers, allowing you to celebrate all our national holidays in style.

Conclusion

People of all ages wear colostomy bags, and many have lived fruitful and adventurous lives. Even in retirement, you should not let your bag get in the way of enjoying life. Whether you’re living independently or have home health care make sure you discuss with those around you how you want to handle life.

And then enjoy it. Don’t let this be an obstacle to seeking out good times for yourself, or being with others.

 

 

 

5 Work From Home Jobs for Family Caregivers A Guest Post by Ruthie Serna

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Being a family caregiver is a full time job by itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring in much cash. If you’re a family caregiver, you can still earn some money without sacrificing your current responsibilities. There are plenty of work from home jobs that can be quite lucrative, and many of them allow you to make your own schedule. Work out of your house on your own schedule and your own terms.

  1. Freelancer

Being a freelancer comes with a lot of options. You can do almost anything you do well, and charge rates you feel are fair for doing it. If you can edit or write, it’s easy to find a freelance position online. If you have specialty skills, such as graphic design or web design, you might fare even better. The best thing about freelancing is that it isn’t as set in stone as regular jobs – you can work whenever you have time. If your family keeps you busy, you can wait until all is well until you sit down to freelance for the day.

  1. eCommerce

Start a webstore! You can sell crafts you’ve made yourself, resell vintage clothing, or design products that can be sold through a company that will create and sell them for you. You don’t need to be an innovator or an entrepreneur to break into eCommerce – you only need to see a need and fill it with a web shop. There are plenty of platforms that allow people to list and sell without ever needing to build a webpage. It’s as simple as can be.

  1. Blogger

Most bloggers won’t make money at the beginning of their blog. If you update regularly and provide valuable content, you’d be surprised at the amount of moneymaking opportunities that will come along with blogging. Advertising revenue, sponsored posts, or even eBook opportunities could pop up over time. Pick something you’re passionate about (family caregiving, for example), and write to your heart’s content. You can even partner up with the writers of blogs you already love to read. Networking will get you everywhere.

  1. Remote Support or Service

Remote support and service jobs are relatively easy to find. They’re so common that they’re often listed on Gumtree alongside traditional positions. These jobs require a computer and phone access. A company directs their calls to you, where you will be able to troubleshoot, take feedback, and resolve issues from the comfort of your own desk. It’s almost like a call center job, but you won’t need to go anywhere to work. International companies deal with people from all over the world, so it’s easy for you to work whatever hours will fit into your schedule.

5.Tutoring or Teaching

If you have credentials as an educator, you might be able to secure a position in the eLearning industry. If you have any higher education at all, it’s easy to become an online tutor. Pick a subject you’re comfortable in and offer your services to students who may benefit from your wisdom. You can tutor privately or list yourself on a service that matches tutors to the students who need them most. Tutor as many or as few students as you have time for.

At the end of the day, it’s possible to have a career without sacrificing your caregiver relationships. It might be a little tricky to juggle, but it will only be a matter of time before you develop a system that works for you.

Ruthie is a contributing writer, always willing to share her knowledge and experiences. She loves to write articles that make lives of other mothers and entrepreneurs easier. She’s interested in health, well-being and self-improvement.

 

Healthy Perspectives: Fearful? Have a little FAITH! A Guest Post by Carol Patterson, MSN, RN

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Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural address said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This seems to be something that we probably take too lightly.  Over the years reflecting upon this quotation, it becomes increasingly meaningful.  Fear prevents us from fulfilling our potential (fear of failure is completely paralytic) and moves us away from a state of tranquility and peacefulness of mind and spirit. Consider what happens when a child sees a puddle of water on a cool autumn day. They run to it to stomp and play with carefree abandon.  As adults, we think about our feet getting wet and cold, damaging our shoes, diminishing the immune system and getting ill. So, we avoid the puddle in any way possible. Ah, now we are safe, but did we miss the joy of allowing the child within us to enjoy the moment? So, I wonder, “How healthy is that decision?” Fear robs us in many ways, which diminish are ability to live life to the fullest.

One can become a master of building fears into our everyday existence.  Years ago, someone shared the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  How often do we allow fear to become an unnecessary negative emotional drain? About a year ago, my computer system “lost” all my professional e-mail files. This sent me into a weekend long panic until I could see our campus technician. Well, that was an unfounded fear, for he quickly resolved the problem on Monday morning. But, the amount of negative emotional investment I made over this situation was enormous.  Reflecting on that weekend, I can remember all the dread I had about files that “I could not live without” causing my body and mind undue stress. By Sunday night I had considered all the ways that this permanent file loss would adversely change the course of my professional and personal life, False Evidence Appearing Real.

When we are fearful, it causes other changes not just intrapersonally but interpersonally as well. Intrapersonally fear helps us build a barrier to confine our hopes and dreams, limiting our possibilities. Our sense of self diminishes, and we lose confidence in the value of who we are and what we could become. Fear acts as a natural antagonist to hope. As we look at the origins of illnesses or recovery from illness or accidents a sense of hopefulness enables more favorable outcomes. Fears negate this positive effect of hope.  Fear also causes problems for us interpersonally. Fear can influence our behaviors, which diminishes our ability to interact effectively with others. Reflecting on the weekend described above, I know that my fears caused anger which was displaced to those around me. Fear will result in an emotional state which can negatively influences our relationships. Our first step, is to recognize the origin of the fear and then to develop a plan to neutralize unwarranted fears. As we do this we “short circuit” those negative behaviors that were caused by fear.

So, what if we develop a new acronym?  Consider, Freedom, Affirmation, Inviting change, Trust & Healing.  First, freeing myself from unnecessary fears, I must first become of aware of these unfounded fears. Identify how many times fear creeps insidiously into our minds and how it influences our decisions. We are not meant to be slaves to fear.  Acknowledging fear is the first step toward freedom. Positive affirmations need to replace our negative ones. The more we think or talk about the fear, the more powerful it becomes. These negative reflections are like throwing gasoline onto a small fire, we feed the fear and it grows. Positive affirmations extinguish the destructive fires of fear. Life gives us the opportunity to make choices about ourselves and our situations. We need to invite change. Being open to a new way of looking at a situation as an opportunity for growth, or as Phyllis Quinlan so aptly calls it, “going through boot camp”.  These challenges provide us with emotional amour to grow through difficult times and becomes stronger. Trust that we are created for something wonderful and important. There is something better coming. Watching a small rabbit during a severe storm recently, this animal took refuge under a large tree. There he quietly watched the storm and patiently waiting for it to end. This small creature showed no fear, trusting that the storm would end. We need to trust that our current circumstances will bring us to a better place where we can grow and thrive, as we have an important purpose in the universe.  Lastly, consider the healing process. Fear is future oriented, creating a scenario which invites us to fabricate all that can possible go wrong in the future. The only thing that is truly real is the here and now. Yesterday is a “done deal” and tomorrow, well that could bring anything, we have no control. But, today, right now that is where we can make things happen. To heal, focus energy on that which we can do right now. Take a small step forward.  Consider the power of a small ray of sun, concentrated over a piece of paper. Despite the narrow ray of light, when focused it can burn through that paper. Use your energy of today to keep your light shining, eradicate those fearful dark places. Eliminate FEAR with FAITH.

 

 

 

Giving Your Caregiver a Game Plan A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Nothing makes me happier than hearing about the way our caregivers bring a smile to their clients’ lives. In fact, that is what makes us so dedicated to our work- the men and women that are genuinely excited to spread joy and love wherever they go. After celebrating our 6th Annual Caregiver Party with our most dedicated staff members and caregivers, we felt that it was necessary to bring some inspiration to their daily routine. Here are some tips for each and every caregiver to feel empowered, valued and dedicate themselves to working in “me time” to each and every day.

Better Diet, Better You!

No matter if you are a live-in caregiver or an hourly caregiver, be sure that you are dedicating some time to prepare a hearty, balanced breakfast for yourself each morning. Enjoy your mornings- don’t dread them. You are what you eat, so look up some healthy recipes that you’ve never tried before. Regardless of what others may say, there are so many easy ways to prepare healthy dishes for yourself (especially salads ) that will lift your mood while filling you up with plenty of nutrients. Try preparing rice and different vegetables to have nearby to fill up your lunchbox quickly and to avoid eating junk food on the go.

Get moving!

The best way to stay motivated after getting through your week is to get moving (trust me!) If you love to dance, go to Zumba classes, swim, job, bike – anything, make sure you aren’t putting it off! Not only will you feel better after fitting in a short workout into your day, but you’ll be able to take on the week with much more confidence! If you hate the idea of going to the gym, try this: buy yourself a pair of light weights (preferably 2-5 lbs), soft workout mat and sleek new workout outfit. You can find a great variety of workout gear in fun colors and designs at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. This, plus any workout video on YouTube (from kickboxing to Pilates) = your best workout routine yet. And did we mention that you can do these while you’re on break from your caregiving assignment in the comfort of your own room?

Reach out to your Support Team

Always set some time aside to let the people who care about you know how you’re doing. Make a list of friends and family that you can count on for anything. It can include former clients and even some of your client’s family members that you bonded with over the years. Last but not least, don’t forget the staff at your agency. We, as well as any agency should live for caring for their caregivers.

Embrace your inner and outer beauty

Nothing boosts confidence more than the simple act of taking care of yourself. Of course, putting yourself first takes a bit of time and effort. Whether you have a job or are looking for a caregiver job at the moment, here are some simple ways to rediscover what you love about yourself- inside and out.There’s nothing better than a free makeover at your favorite beauty counter, or a refreshing swim or workout at your local gym. These special moments are known as, “me time”, and you should know that you deserve every minute of it. Besides getting a massage or spa treatment, there are countless ways to pamper yourself at home if you’re on a budget. Since you are on your feet most of the day like many caregivers, treat yourself to a soothing bubble bath try looking up do-it-yourself face masks on YouTube and video guides to meditation and yoga.

What are some ways you as a caregiver or agency motivate yourselves to care for yourself? Comment below, we’d love to hear some of your ideas!

BIO:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

 

Caregiving For Dementia Patients A Guest Post by Olivia Wolfe

Dementia

Caring for dementia patients can be frustrating and difficult. Because dementia patients are suffering from a brain disorder, basic communication can be a challenge. With that said, we have partnered with Private Home Care in St. Louis to showcase some things that will help you to communicate with people that have dementia effectively. Communication is the key to excellent care.

Get The Patient’s Attention When You Enter The Room

It’s easy for patients with dementia to become disoriented. Even minor surprises can set them on edge. Because of this, it’s important to get the attention of a patient before you interact with them.

Even if the door to the room they are in is open, you should know before entering. You should also call out their name and make sure they see you. If you let them know you are going to be entering the room, they will be prepared to interact with you.

Set A Positive Mood

You should always be pleasant and friendly when you interact with a patient that has dementia. People with dementia often experience significant amounts of anxiety. If you can create a positive environment, you will be able to alleviate that anxiety.

When you greet a patient with dementia, you should greet them with a big smile. Be pleasant and cheerful whenever they ask you questions. If you’re friendly and happy, they will know that they can relax around you.

Keep Things Simple

People with dementia can’t always think quickly. You should use simple words when you are interacting with them. While you shouldn’t necessarily treat a dementia patient like a child, you should try to keep things simple. Work to avoid confusing them.

You don’t need to use medical terminology when talking to them. You should always make your explanations clear and easy to understand. If a dementia patient does not know what is going on, they are going to become anxious. This could cause behavioral issues. Try to keep things simple when you provide care. If the patient can follow what you are doing, they won’t have to worry.

Have Fun With The Patient

While dementia patients may lose some mental abilities, they still have a sense of humor. It’s okay to joke around with a dementia patient from time to time. If you can get them laughing, it will be that much easier for you to get them to relax.

Obviously, you shouldn’t make fun of a dementia patient; you don’t want them to be the butt of your jokes. However, a few simple, lighthearted comments should be enough to set them at ease. You may even be able to get them to make a joke of their own.

Don’t Just Listen With Your Ears

When you’re interacting with a dementia patient, you need to listen to them carefully. It isn’t always easy for people with dementia to express themselves. You need to pay close attention to what they tell you.

However, you shouldn’t just listen with your ears. You should also pay close attention to the way the patient is behaving. If you can see that the patient is anxious or upset, you need to try to address that.

Try to remain focused on the patient you’re caring for at all times. If you pay attention to them, you’ll be able to see what they need. Being receptive to a patient’s needs is an essential part of being a caregiver.

Break Things Down Into Steps

It can be hard for dementia patients to process a lot of information at once. That’s why it’s smart for you to break things down. Instead of overloading them with information, you should present them with one thing at a time.

If you are planning on getting a patient ready for a doctor’s appointment, try breaking down each step of the process. Tell them you are going to brush their teeth, brush their hair, get them dressed, and take them outside. If you handle things one step at a time, the patient will understand what is happening in the moment.

Reassure Your Patient

Whenever you see your patient looking nervous or confused, you should reassure them. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way. Make sure your patient knows that everything is going well.

If you regularly praise or reassure a dementia patient, they will know that they are doing what they are supposed to do. If they are getting praised, they won’t want to panic. It will be easy for them to remain calm as you provide care.

There are a lot of challenges associated with caring for dementia patients. With that said, proper communication will make it easier for you to provide essential care. As long as you’re ready for the challenges associated with caregiving for dementia patients, you should be able to provide high standards of care.

Navigating Medicare – Understanding Medical Supplies vs. Durable Medical Equipment A Guest Post by Rodger Sims

Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance program that covers people who are over 65 and can cover younger people with disabilities and people suffering from kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). With over 71.3 million people enrolled, Medicare is one of the largest insurance providers for seniors in the United States. If your loved ones are enrolled in Medicare, it is important to know how to navigate your options.

There are four different parts to Medicare:

Medicare Part A

Part A covers your hospital insurance. This coverage includes inpatient hospital stays, care in a nursing facility, hospital care and even some home health care. If you’ve worked over ten years and have paid into social security taxes, this coverage is free to you. In 2015, Medicare Part A had served 7.7 million patients.

Medicare Part B

Part B covers medical insurance and includes certain doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services. In 2015, Medicare Part B had served over 33.8 million seniors.

Medicare Part C

Part C is a health care plan offered by a private company that can help you with both Part A and B benefits. Known as a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, services offered include health maintenance organizations (HMO), preferred provider organizations (PPO), private fee-for-service plans, special needs plans and Medicare Health Savings Account (HSA) plans. Most of the Medicare Advantage Plans offer coverage for prescription drugs.

Medicare Part D

Part D of Medicare adds prescription coverage to the original Medicare, as well as to some Medicare cost plans, Medicare HSA and some private fee-for-service plans. In 2015, 38.9 million Americans utilized Part D of Medicare. Original Medicare is the tradition fee-for-service Medicare. The government pays directly for the health care services the patient receives.

Durable Medical Equipment vs. Medical Supplies

With all that in mind, it is also important to know that there are two main types of products: medical supplies and durable medical equipment (DME). Both DME and medical supplies are used to make meeting the basic needs of the elderly, ill or disabled patients at home.

Durable Medical Equipment

As suggested by the name, durable medical equipment is meant for long-term use. Medicare defines DME by the following criteria: durability, ability to be used in the home, not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick and must have a life span of three years of use. Examples of DME include hospital beds, mobility aids, prostheses (artificial limbs), orthotics (therapeutic footwear) and other supplies. Medicare pays for DME partially under Part A if the patient qualifies for home health benefit.

To qualify for home health benefit, the patient must be unable to leave his/her home, require care from a skilled nurse and does not require custodial care, such as bathing and toilet-usage. If the patient is eligible for home health benefit, Medicare will cover 80% of the allowable amount for DME.

An example of the allowable amount is the following: a patient needs a walker that costs $200. The allowable amount for the walker in that state is $100. Since Medicare will cover 80% of the allowable amount, the patient will then have to pay $120 for the walker. Under Medicare’s Part B coverage, the co-pay is the same at 20% of the allowable amount and any other additional expense after that.

For Medicare Part B, the patient does not need to qualify for home health benefit to be eligible for coverage. If a doctor or medical professional considers the product medically necessary, Medicare will partially reimburse the patient for it. One benefit of this is the ability to rent the product being needed and still be eligible for reimbursement.

Some DME products that are not covered by Medicare include hearing aids and home adaptation items like bathroom safety and ramps. Additionally, to be reimbursed, your product supplier must be enrolled in Medicare and adhere to their guidelines. If they are not, Medicare can refuse their claims.

Make sure your providers are eligible before purchasing any products.

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies are made for short-term use. They are typically used once then thrown away. Examples of medical supplies include diabetic sugar testing strips, incontinence products (diapers, catheters, etc.) and items like bandages and protective gloves. Generally, medical supplies are not covered by Medicare, though there are a few exceptions for patients with diabetes, ostomy patients and those currently using feeding tubes. These items, however, are limited.

Ostomy products can be limited to a certain number a month. If necessary, a patient can appeal to increase the number of products received a month but must go through a process to do so. This process includes re-approval through Medicare and by a doctor.

Your Options

If you can provide insurance for your loved ones and cost isn’t a large factor, it is useful to know that Medicare can be paired up with other private insurance companies. Doing so can help get over some of the limitations that are imposed by Medicare and ensure your senior has an overall health coverage. If this is not an option, then medical supplemental health insurance, known as Medigap, can help provide funds for expenses Medicare doesn’t cover.

To qualify for the Medigap program, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medigap can cover excess costs, like co-insurance costs such as stays in the hospital or nursing home, and deductibles in Part A and Part B plans. Costs will vary according to coverage.

Medigap is available through private insurances or organizations that cater to the elderly.

Final Thoughts

Medicare covers durable medical equipment primarily under Part B, but also for DME for people under Part A with the home health benefit plan. Most medical supplies are not commonly covered by Medicare, and those that are covered tend to have limitations. Other options to ensure your senior has all their needs covered including pairing Medicare with a private insurance company or enrolling them in medical supplemental health insurance to help cover excess costs.

With the introduction and popularity of the internet, finding the supplies you need at the right cost is easier than ever before. Different websites offer low-cost medical supplies to help ensure the basic needs of your seniors are met. It is also easier to find the right insurance company for them with all the information available online.

For more information about Medicare and what it covers, got the Medicare website at Medicare.gov.

Images

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/medicare-enrollment-form-glasses-398418109?src=YZoPqz-O9WK3A8VVD8TyZg-1-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/empty-bed-on-hospital-ward-247358674?src=Q9ck6CAXE6czGlRyWlBoZA-1-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/diabetes-test-blood-medical-equipment-506370463?src=jqL9R3jY1Q44pQysfDM6NQ-1-4

Sources:

https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/decide-how-to-get-medicare/whats-medicare/what-is-medicare.html

https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/cms-fast-facts/index.html