Reduce Caregiver Stress This Holiday Season

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Finding support is a great way to reduce caregiver stress at the holidays.

The holiday season is an ideal time to visit with friends and family members, but it’s not quite what you would call a relaxing time of year. The busyness of the holiday season, from shopping to parties to family gatherings, can be incredibly stressful, and when you’ve got someone you love to care for, your own tasks can fall by the wayside. How can you reduce caregiver stress and still enjoy the holidays?

If you’re wondering how you will get everything on your to-do list completed in time for the holidays, try the following recommendations to reduce caregiver stress and to help you stay on task.

  • Forget about the mall & shop virtual. Going out to a crowded mall can be a challenge this time of year, specifically when you have an older family member in your care. Online shopping can be taken care of from almost anywhere: in the doctor’s office, before going to bed, while watching television, etc., and is far less stressful than struggling through the large holiday crowds.
  • Make it a team effort. Too many presents to wrap? Unsure how you’ll write out all of your holiday cards? Find a family member or friend who can help wrap gifts. Set aside an afternoon to visit, sip hot chocolate, and write out all of your holiday cards together with your older family member assisting in whatever way possible.
  • Be discriminating about “made from scratch.” Many people feel obligated to go overboard on food during the holiday season, but not everything on your table needs to be homemade. Select one or two selections for your holiday menu that you enjoy making from scratch, and incorporate some microwavable or ready-made dishes to round out the table and save you time.

Did you know a caregiver can provide support with these holiday to-dos and much more for the older adults you love? Not only can we run errands like grocery shopping, prepare nutritious  meals, and help with gift wrapping and decorating the home, but we also love taking seniors out holiday shopping! Our caregivers are always available to make each day during the holiday season – and beyond – happier and brighter for the seniors we serve, while allowing family members to take necessary time away from their care responsibilities.

Being a caregiver during the holidays can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to stress you out. With San Diego Home Caregivers, you are never alone in your caregiving role. Contact our home care specialists to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about how our memory care in San Diego, CA and the surrounding areas can help you and an older adult you love. From all of us at San Diego Home Caregivers, we wish you and your family the happiest of holidays and all the best in the coming year!

Tips for Helping a Loved One Living With COPD

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COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is the term for two lung diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Essentially, for people living with COPD, breathing is severely affected by an airflow obstruction. Common symptoms include an excessively wet cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.

By 2030, the World Bank and World Health Organization estimates that COPD will be the third leading cause of death globally. COPD as an economic problem is a top cause of disability-induced unemployment.  

You, as a family caregiver, are on the front line of relieving this burden. Even though there is no cure, COPD can be treated, and your caregiving is crucial to an effective treatment program. San Diego Home Caregivers, a provider of home care services in La Mesa and the surrounding areas, recommends diet, exercise, and environmental maintenance as ways in which you can substantially assist someone who is living with COPD. 

Diet

A healthy diet provides people with COPD with the energy and extra calories necessary to combat chest infections and to deal with their more labored breathing. Planning and preparing meals and otherwise advising your loved one concerning which foods to include are important ways you can help.  

Lethargy often prevents those with COPD from consuming enough calories. Starting the day with a more substantial, more nutrient-dense meal when the individual you love has the most energy to eat can be helpful. Following that with smaller meals during the day will not only help maintain calories, but also prevent the person from feeling too full, which can make it more difficult to breathe. 

Although a morning cup of coffee may once have been the normal routine, unfortunately caffeine can react negatively to COPD medications and cause restlessness or nervousness, leading to exacerbated symptoms. Additionally, help the senior stay away from foods high in salt, as water retention caused by salt also makes for tougher breathing.

Exercise 

Regular physical activity is fundamental for effective COPD symptom management. Generally, it enhances endurance and increases blood circulation, making for better use of oxygen. Upper body exercises help with breathing and the ability to perform daily activities. Lower body exercises such as stair climbing and treadmill or track walking have also proven to benefit those with COPD. 

Breathing exercises, such as pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, result in stronger breathing muscles, increased oxygen, and all-around easier breathing. An ideal plan consists of sessions of five to ten minutes, three to four times each day.

Environmental Maintenance

Finally, it’s also wise to think about environmental concerns in the senior’s home, especially as they relate to air quality. A good place to start is to keep the individual’s home properly ventilated through exhaust fans, open windows, and filtration systems. However, windows should remain shut during poor air quality days and dusty conditions, such as construction projects. Also, sustaining a balanced humidity level counters dry air from home heating systems and discourages irritating pests that are attracted to more humid conditions.

Avoiding or managing very cold air, fireplace and cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants are ways you can best serve a loved one with COPD, as does reducing the use of personal care products like perfumes, hair sprays, and lotions.

Housekeeping can go a long way towards minimizing irritants in the home. Eliminate and properly store dust-collecting clutter. Weekly bed linen laundering minimizes dust mites, as does keeping rugs and carpets vacuumed and floors clean. At the same time, reducing exposure to harsh household cleaning products and other chemicals, including air fresheners, is essential. 

Find more tips on helping a person living with COPD to enjoy the healthiest possible life and how our in-home caregivers can work together with you to ensure quality, seamless care. Contact us any time at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care services in La Mesa and the surrounding areas.

Strengthen the Diaphragm With Breathing Exercises for COPD

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These breathing exercises for COPD can help ease symptoms of the disease.

COPD can make the daily tasks of life feel like a struggle. The positive news is that there are breathing exercises for COPD that may help ease the symptoms and enhance quality of life. San Diego Home Caregivers, a leading provider of in-home care in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas, recommends these exercises to help strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, so those with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.  Read more

How to Recognize and Overcome Compassion Fatigue

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Learn to overcome compassion fatigue, which may come on suddenly and negatively impact your health and ability to thrive in a caregiving role.

Family caregivers dedicate so much of themselves to those they care for – both emotionally and physically. It’s easy to become worn down and begin to experience unexpected feelings such as indifference, weariness, and a detachment from the person in your care. Identified as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, it may be detrimental to your own wellness but could also impact your ability to be as caring, warm, and nurturing as you should be for the person you’re caring for. Read more

Four Fun Holiday Activities for Seniors and their Families

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Senior woman smiling at the holiday dinner table with family

For ideas on holiday activities for seniors, reach out to San Diego Home Caregivers, provider of elderly care La Jolla and nearby areas choose first.

Even though the holiday season is typically thought about as a time that is joyful, abundant with visiting loved ones who are near and dear to us and finding the perfect gifts, for older people, it can be anything but merry and bright. A blend of loved ones lost, memories of holidays past, health problems and more can impact seniors with loneliness and sorrow.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, we care deeply about making certain that seniors feel included in the celebrations and enjoy the holidays to the fullest. These fun holiday activities for seniors can help everyone enjoy the wonder of the holidays together:

  • Develop a cookbook with recipes from family members. Compile all the recipes together, and then make copies of your new family cookbook.
  • Take a drive to view holiday lights in an old neighborhood that your older family member remembers fondly.
  • If a senior has trouble with putting out holiday decorations, offer your assistance! This is a wonderful way to share memories of past holidays and the significance behind different decorations. San Diego Home Caregivers can also provide help with holiday decorating.
  • For a holiday that is truly relaxing, schedule time together at a local salon or spa. You can even request a local beautician or masseuse to come to the home if it’s possible.

Safety measures may also come up for the older adult, for a variety of reasons: elevated fall risks with all of the extra holiday decorations, problems with following a prescribed dietary plan, and for those with dementia, disruption to routine, additional visitors in the home, and higher noise levels can all lead to stress.

Bear the following in mind to be sure older adults remain safe and content:

  • Keep decoration safety in mind. Ensure that there are clear walking paths, and try to utilize simple, uncluttered decorations.
  • Subdued lighting can conceal things that the elderly could possibly trip over, such as extension cords.
  • Set aside a quiet area for the older person if the enthusiasm of young children, loud music and activities become stressful.
  • Assign someone to be the older adult’s “buddy” for the event, making certain his or her needs are fully met and establishing a bond that is wonderful for both.

The holidays can certainly be fun and relaxing for everyone. With just a little pre-planning and additional thought, seniors will enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else, producing new memories that the whole family will take pleasure in for a lifetime.

And, if in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle you might like the help of a professional caregiver, San Diego Home Caregivers, provider of elderly care La Jolla and other surrounding areas trust most, is here to help! Call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how our services can brighten the holiday season for you and your family and for more ideas for fun holiday activities for seniors to enjoy this season. For a full list of the cities we serve in California, please click here.

Find Answers to Our Most Frequently Asked Home Care Questions

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compass solutions home care questions

Discover the answers to your home care questions.

You’re beginning to become concerned that Mom might be in need of some professional help at home, and so naturally, you know just where to go for assistance, right? No? Rest assured – you are not alone. Millions of people in the U.S. are faced with the same predicament, and most people have a lot of home care questions they need answered right away.

If you’re in the beginning stages of investigating home care options, it’s helpful to have some understanding of what exactly home care is and how it works. To assist you through this journey, the professional team at San Diego Home Caregivers, the top-rated private caregiver in La Mesa and surrounding areas, has pulled together some commonly asked questions about home care, along with the appropriate answers to help you make better, more knowledgeable care decisions for your loved one.

Q: Can Medicare cover the cost for long-term in-home care?

A: No. Even though it’s true that Medicare might pay for some home health care costs within very specific parameters, it was never meant to cover long-term in-home care.

Q: Is it less expensive to hire a caregiver independently than working together with a professional home care company?

A: No. While at first it might seem that hiring a caregiver independently is more affordable than hiring a caregiver through a professional home care agency, there are numerous unrevealed costs when hiring an independent caregiver. For instance, with an independently hired caregiver, you are the caregiver’s employer, meaning it is your duty to cover the cost for taxes, worker’s compensation, and more. When working through a home care agency, you do not have to worry about or cover the cost for any of these things.

Q: Is home care the right choice for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease?

A: Yes. San Diego Home Caregivers provides highly skilled, compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our caregivers receive ongoing training on how to provide the highest quality support to older adults, offering families much-needed breaks from care and peace of mind.

Q: What do ADL and IADL stand for?

A: ADL refers to Activities of Daily Living, or activities that take place every day, such as taking a shower, dressing, transferring from the bed to a chair, walking, etc. IADL stands for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, and covers such activities as managing household expenses, shopping, using the telephone, etc. ADLs and IADLs are evaluated when determining which level of care is best suited for a senior.

San Diego Home Caregivers can help older adults with both ADLs and IADLs, which results in safer, more comfortable, and more independent lives at home.

We know you probably have some additional home care questions, and we’re always here to provide the answers you need. You can reach us any time at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care services and dementia care in La Mesa, CA and the surrounding areas.

Top Six Benefits of Home Care for Seniors

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beefits of home care reading to senior disabled man

Learn some of the top reasons home care is best for seniors.

As we grow older, it is common to start to be affected by challenges with daily activities, including showering, dressing, fixing meals, and even driving a vehicle. This can result in the fear of having to give up not just our freedom, but our home as well. Yet there is encouraging news for older individuals: home care services, like those provided by San Diego Home Caregivers, can help actually increase independence for seniors and help them continue residing at home where they are most comfortable.

And the reality is, these days, the majority of older adults are deciding to receive the care they need at home. To help you better comprehend exactly what home care is, we’ve provided the following benefits of home care for seniors:

  • Home care services are delivered on an individual basis, leading to more personal attention than in a nursing home or assisted living facility. There is never the need to have to wait your turn when care is needed.
  • A caregiver in the home can help encourage a healthier way of living. Professional caregivers are skilled in planning and preparing nourishing and delicious meals that are appealing to the individual and can also help keep track of the amount of food consumed.
  • A customized, ongoing exercise regimen can be implemented and carried out with the help of a caregiver, providing the extra safety measure of a qualified professional being present during exercising.
  • Home care strengthens self-esteem and independence, essential factors for a fulfilling lifestyle. Home care (in particular, private pay home care) ensures personalized care specific to the needs of the family and senior on any given day, whether the need is as simple as companionship, or more complex, such as help with personal care needs.
  • The additional benefit of accompanied transportation to and from medical appointments, social events or running errands means that families have the opportunity for more quality time together.
  • The recent pandemic brought to the forefront how dangerous senior isolation can be to both physical and emotional health. An in-home caregiver offers necessary socialization opportunities and the chance for seniors to have a companion at the ready to avoid loneliness and depression, through interesting conversations and reminiscing, fun activities, participation in enjoyable hobbies and interests, and more.

We would love the chance to chat with you and your family more about the benefits of our home care services. Call San Diego Home Caregivers, the leading provider of home care assistance in La Jolla and surrounding areas, at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our trusted home care services for seniors.

Reducing Readmission Risk Starts with a Safe Discharge Home from the Hospital

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safe discharge home from the hospital

Patient follow-through, including continuing home health care services at home, is an important part of reducing the risk for hospital readmissions.

There’s currently a high priority for hospitals: reducing readmissions for high-risk patients. Healthcare Financial Management Association’s article “Two Ways Hospitals Can Reduce Avoidable Readmissions” outlines that efficient initiatives from hospitals with lower 30-day rehospitalizations are, to a certain extent, the result of participating with inpatient and outpatient care providers, such as San Diego Home Caregivers, who can provide a continuum of care.

The hospitals discussed in the article provided the guidelines below to reduce hospital readmissions:

  • Begin getting ready for a patient’s discharge from a hospital stay on the day of admission. When a senior is admitted to the hospital, call a home care agency, such as San Diego Home Caregivers, to implement a plan for in-home care upon being discharged. Patient outcomes are more positive when home care services are initiated as early as possible following discharge.
  • Identify patients who might be at an elevated risk for difficulties after discharge for additional care coordination and/or case management services. (Ensure social workers see all patients age 80 and over to provide support with care needs.)
  • Use technology to assess, track, or refer patients.
  • Conduct an in-depth analysis of the patient’s care needs, risk factors, available resources, understanding and management of the disease or health condition, and level of family support.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, leading providers of home care in La Jolla and surrounding areas, we recognize how important it is to create a transitional care plan in order to ensure a safe discharge home from the hospital and reduce the risk of readmission. Our team of experts can begin planning a customized plan of care starting on day one of their hospital stay, monitoring their health and making sure that care plans are implemented as soon as they return home. Call us at (619) 487-9000 or complete our online contact form to discover more about how we can help someone you love transition from hospital to home, reducing the risk of readmission by utilizing professional home care services including:

  • Providing training and assistance with chronic condition management
  • Medication reminders to improve adherence to the prescribed plan
  • Assisting with coordination and balance
  • Skilled nursing services
  • And many more

Avoid an unnecessary follow-up hospital visit by partnering with San Diego Home Caregivers to improve patient outcomes for a safe discharge home from the hospital. Our team of experts is available to provide support according to a customized plan of care. See our full service area.

How to Help a Loved One Avoid the Emergency Room this Holiday Season

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avoid the emergency room this holiday season

Hospitals see an increased number of older adults around the holidays.

While we’d like to imagine enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday celebration, with all of our loved ones spending quality time together, and Grandma’s traditional holiday feast, the reality is that numerous families will instead experience something unforeseen: an E/R visit. In fact, research shows that emergency room visits for older adults increase around 10 – 20% during the holidays.

Although pinpointing the reason behind this statistical increase is tricky, one issue could be that family members who have not been spending significant time with an elderly relative, discover during a visit for the holiday, that his/her health condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

Not only that, there are some common changes related to aging that may be misconstrued, causing family members to feel that an E/R visit is required.

There are, nonetheless, some proactive measures that can be taken to help seniors avoid the emergency room this holiday season:

  • Maintain a listing of contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other medical specialists. Make sure the list contains all medications prescribed by each physician and any medication allergies or other issues. Contacting the appropriate doctor for his/her suggestions about your concerns is a wise first step prior to an E/R visit, unless of course the older person is experiencing a true emergency.
  • Talk with the older adult about appointing a health care proxy, who will be able to make health decisions if your loved one is unable to do so. Make certain a living will is in place as well.
  • Check in with your senior loved one regularly during the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s beneficial to enlist the aid of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to stop in to see the senior routinely and to update you with any changes they notice.

Of course, if it is an actual emergency, never hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care required immediately.

A professional home care agency, like San Diego Home Caregivers, is the ideal solution to make sure your loved ones continue to remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are addressed immediately – so the holidays will remain as festive and enjoyable as they should be. Just a few of the many ways we can help include:

  • Medication reminders
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Household chores and laundry
  • Personal care assistance
  • And many more

Call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our professional home care services, arrange for a free in-home assessment, and to find out if our services are available in your area.  Our team of high-qualified professionals are available to provide customized La Jolla area elder care over the holidays and year-round. See our full service area to see if we serve your community.

Your Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance Begins Here

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Long-Term Care Insurance

Maximizing the benefits of long-term care insurance begins with understanding your policy.

Long-term care insurance can provide extraordinary peace of mind, but utilizing those benefits can wind up to be a perplexing experience for seniors and their family members. To help lead families through the process, San Diego Home Caregivers provides this helpful overview.

Which services are covered?

Prior to filing a claim, it is important to carefully review the long-term care insurance policy in order to gain an understanding of the types of services the policy covers. If you do not have a copy of the policy, get in touch with the provider to ask for one.

Although all policies differ in what they cover, long-term care insurance usually covers non-medical services in the home with the condition that support is necessary for two or more activities of daily living, or the policyholder has been diagnosed with some type of cognitive condition, such as dementia. Examples of the type of care that long-term care policies might cover include:

  • Personal care, such as bathing and dressing
  • Transfers and ambulation
  • Using the bathroom and incontinence care
  • Meal preparation and feeding if needed
  • Housekeeping
  • And more

If you or a senior loved one would like assistance understanding the details of the policy, an insurance agent, elder care attorney or financial planner can help.

Are all of the costs of care covered?

While individual plans vary, every plan details the permitted monthly coverage, which is identified as the “present daily allowance,” and frequently has a specified lifetime maximum. Policies also usually identify a particular duration of time for which the benefits are accessible, such as five years, or the coverage may be effective for the policyholder’s lifetime.

It’s also important to check the long-term care plan’s elimination period. The elimination period is the time during which the cost of care is paid out-of-pocket until a predetermined amount of time has gone by. Although some plans identify a zero-day elimination, which means cost for care and coverage begin immediately, other policies might require up to 120 days of care first.

Choose your care provider carefully.

If you plan on filing a claim for long-term care insurance, it is important to work with a home care company with experience in billing long-term care insurance providers; otherwise, there is the possibility that the claim may not be reimbursed. San Diego Home Caregivers has experience with helping families obtain their long-term care insurance benefits and can provide the documentation needed to help clients file claims properly.

How can claims be filed?

In order to file a long-term care insurance claim, the following documents are usually required:

  • A claimant’s statement (or policyholder statement) describing the reasons for the claim
  • A statement from a doctor, verifying that care is warranted
  • A prescribed care plan and nursing evaluation
  • A provider statement, completed by the home care agency
  • An authorization form

Once completed and submitted, a phone interview is scheduled with the insurance company’s claims department.  In the next step, the claim is either approved or denied.

If you are looking to receive home care services through a long-term care policy, call San Diego Home Caregivers today at (619) 487-9000. You can feel confident in knowing that we have years of experience in not only providing exceptional care in the comfort of home, but also in assisting families with long-term care insurance claims and getting the most out of their plan. To learn more about our premier options for senior care in San Diego and surrounding areas, please contact us today.