Senior Citizen Safety: Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

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While abusing an older adult is something that would never enter into the minds of most people, it is a tragically widespread occurrence in the U.S. Elder abuse appears in many ways, from emotional to physical, and it strikes the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Considering that elder abuse is in many instances a voiceless problem, it’s essential for families and friends of seniors to be aware of the red flags of elder abuse to be able to protect the senior citizens in their lives. Our home care specialists have pulled together several of the warning signs that may indicate elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Indications of injury such as welts, bruises, or scars, especially if they display symmetrically on both sides of the body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Regularly missed medications or drug overdoses
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, including red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers who refuse to let anyone visit with the senior alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behaviors from the caregiver, including:
    • Yelling at or threatening the senior
    • Humiliating or teasing the senior
    • Neglecting the older person
    • Distancing the senior from friends and relatives
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, including rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself or herself

Neglect:

  • Detrimental reduction in weight or malnourishment
  • Physical concerns, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Dangerous living conditions (no running water or heat; defective electrical wiring, other fire threats)
  • Desertion of the older person at a public place

The first signs of elder abuse may be difficult to recognize and may appear to be signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Alternatively, a caregiver who is abusing the older person might try to explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make sure to visit and call senior loved ones frequently, and look for any changes in the older adult’s personality or behavior. If any indications of elder abuse are witnessed or suspected, they must be reported immediately.

San Diego Home Caregivers can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As the number one home care agency in San Diego, we can provide in-home care services, including specialized Alzheimer’s care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for. Contact us at (619) 487-9000 for a free assessment and to learn more about our top-rated senior and Alzheimer’s care in San Diego and the surrounding communities.

San Diego Senior Home Care: Know the Elder Abuse Risk Factors for Older Adults

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Helping older adults continue being independent, healthy, and happy is the aim of not only our professional senior care team, but of each and every family caregiver who has ever helped care for a loved one. Since the wellbeing of older adults is so important to us, it’s vital that we review something that can be tough for many of us to even look into – elder abuse.

The CDC estimates that nearly 500,000 older adults are neglected or abused annually in the U.S. alone. However, many more elder abuse cases are believed to go unreported each year, which is why it’s important for family caregivers to be alert to potential abuse risks.

Following are a few of the risk factors associated with elder abuse:

  • Reliance on others: Seniors who depend on others for care are typically not willing to mention any abuse because they may feel unsafe or that their care needs will not be able to be met by somebody else if the abuser is reported.
  • Reduced physical health and mobility: Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other health conditions may raise an elder’s risk of being abused since the individual may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
  • History of abuse: If the older person was abusive as a parent, there is an increased possibility of elder abuse, specifically if an adult child who was abused by the senior is the primary caregiver.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation sometimes results when a senior loses a spouse or lives at a distance from friends and family, and it can result in the perfect atmosphere for elder abuse. Abusers quite often try to keep older individuals isolated by:
    • Refusing to request economic aid or services
    • Resisting outside help
    • Switching social and healthcare professionals over and over again to make it challenging to evaluate the senior’s health status
    • Controlling contact with the older adult
  • Family caregiver burnout or stress: Stressed caregivers can become frustrated, leading them to lash out at the older adults in their care.

If a loved one is currently being cared for by a family member or other caregiver, be mindful of these risk factors, visit and call as often as possible to appraise the senior’s health, and play an active role in the person’s care.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, we understand how important a senior loved one’s health and safety are, and we always take the necessary steps to ensure we provide the best care. Every member of our senior care team has undergone a comprehensive background check, reference checks, and a personal interview to guarantee they meet our high care standards. Contact us today at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our San Diego senior home care services.

5 Important Tips for a Parkinson’s Caregiver

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A great deal of older individuals with Parkinson’s disease are provided with the majority of their care at home from loved ones, especially during the early levels of the disease. As Parkinson’s caregivers ourselves, we at San Diego Home Caregivers understand the unique concerns experienced by family members who play the role of a Parkinson’s caregiver, and want you to know you are not alone! Our San Diego home health experts are always here to offer tips and to work with you in making certain your loved one is receiving the best care at all times.

To start, it’s helpful to keep these Parkinson’s-specific tips in mind:

  • Nutrition: A healthy diet helps lessen cell loss in a person with Parkinson’s. Consuming antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries, green tea, spinach, beans, broccoli, and some types of nuts, can help fend off oxidative stress.
  • Chewing and Swallowing: Individuals with Parkinson’s commonly have some level of difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Each person providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s needs to learn the Heimlich maneuver to be prepared in case the person begins to choke.
  • Fall Prevention: Seniors with Parkinson’s commonly have difficulty with balance and walking, so it’s very important to assess the home surroundings and make alterations to lower the risk of falls. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstacles in and around the home is a good place to start.
  • Anxiety/Depression: Minimizing the risk for depression and anxiety is a key component in the battle against Parkinson’s. Keep a close eye on your loved one for indications of depression, and if detected, be sure he or she sees the doctor for assistance as soon as possible.
  • Medications: Parkinson’s treatments may have a wide range of side effects, and can impact the individual in a number of different ways. Some kinds of medicine can cause hallucinations or nightmares, for example. Make sure your loved one’s doctor advises you about any anticipated side effects of medications so you can be prepared.

We invite you to explore our San Diego Home Caregivers’ care services to understand how home care can lead to a better quality of life for both your loved one and the family members who are providing care. By working with our professional La Jolla home care assistance team to help with some of the more routine aspects of caregiving, family members have the chance to spend more quality time together. Contact us online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how our care team can help improve quality of life for you and your family. To find out more about the different areas we serve throughout San Diego County, please visit our Communities Served page.

Key Facts About the Five Parkinson’s Disease Stages

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More widespread in men, and more frequently diagnosed than muscular dystrophy, ALS and MS combined, Parkinson’s disease is clinically diagnosed in up to 7 – 10 million individuals throughout the world, with an additional 600,000 U.S. citizens diagnosed every year. And even while each person’s encounter with Parkinson’s may differ in level of severity, there are five main stages of development that are normally experienced by all.

In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, San Diego Home Caregivers provides the details below to help you better understand the stages of Parkinson’s disease:

  • 1st Stage: Described as early-stage Parkinson’s, this phase impacts the individual with mild signs or symptoms that could present as follows:
    • Evident on just one side of the body
    • Effects are problematic, but not disabling
    • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking in one limb may be apparent
    • Family members can often pick up on deviations in the individual’s balance, facial expressions, and posture
  • 2nd Stage: In the second stage of Parkinson’s, the individual begins to present an inability to complete common physical tasks:
    • Symptoms now have an impact on both sides of the body
    • The person is experiencing minimal disability, but in most cases ambulatory or balance problems are observed
    • Posture begins to be affected
  • 3rd Stage: This phase is regarded as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a more significant level of disability will begin to become obvious:
    • There is a recognizable slowing down of the body’s movements
    • Equilibrium deterioration may lead to the inability to stand or walk straight
    • There is a moderately significant overall dysfunction
  • 4th Stage: This stage is indicative of advanced Parkinson’s and involves significant effects:
    • Stiffness and bradykinesia, or slow movements, are now at play
    • The individual can no longer complete daily tasks and commonly is unable to live independently
    • Trembling may begin to lessen or go away altogether for unknown reasons during this stage
  • 5th Stage: This final stage of the disease generally takes over the person’s physical movements:
    • The person usually encounters a general decline in vitality and strength in both body and mind
    • The individual may potentially now be no longer able to walk or stand
    • One-on-one care is needed

The team at San Diego Home Caregivers are not only experts in providing the highest quality in home care in La Jolla and surrounding areas but are also fully trained and skilled in all facets of home care, and can assist those with Parkinson’s disease and other conditions of aging to experience a higher quality of life, right in the security of home. Whether the need is for help with daily personal care, accompanied transportation to doctors’ appointments, running errands, light housework and meal preparation, or merely a friendly companion to brighten up each day, each of our care plans is individualized to each person’s unique needs and choices. Contact us online or call us any time at (619) 487-9000 to discover how our care services can help your family. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in San Diego County, please visit our Communities Served page.

What You Need to Know to Best Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

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If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, most likely your doctor has encouraged you to monitor your blood pressure at home on a daily or weekly basis with a home blood pressure monitor. Yet how do you know that the readings you take are accurate? And what’s more, what do those numbers even mean?

For a brief definition, Harvard Health explains that the top number (systolic pressure) measures artery pressure at the moment the heart beats (as the heart contracts), while the bottom number (diastolic pressure) monitors the pressure between heartbeats (when your heart is resting). The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s guidelines for normal and high blood pressure are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg

Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
To confirm your blood pressure readings are as precise as possible, San Diego Home Caregivers, which provides senior care in Carlsbad, La Jolla and surrounding areas, offers the following tips below:

  1. Make a point to take readings at the same time each day.
  2. Take a couple of readings one minute apart and record all results for the highest level precision.
  3. Prior to the reading, make sure the person is sitting with her back straight and supported and feet flat on the floor; crossed legs can negatively influence the reading. Place the person’s arm on a flat surface, with the upper arm at the level of her heart.
  4. Make certain the middle of the cuff is positioned directly over the person’s brachial artery and fits correctly. To find the brachial artery, with the person’s arm stretched out, palm facing up, trace a line from the outside of her thumb, up the outer arm to the elbow’s bend. At that bend is the brachial artery.
  5. The person whose blood pressure you are reading should not exercise, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes preceding measuring blood pressure.
  6. The person should also remain silent and still during the reading.
  7. Have the person use the restroom prior to the reading, as a full bladder can elevate the systolic pressure.

Consumer Reports provides a beneficial blood pressure monitor buying guide that outlines what you should look for in a good home monitor.

If you or a loved one has a problem with maintaining healthy blood pressure, San Diego Home Caregivers can help – from planning and preparing nutritious meals, to picking up prescriptions and ensuring medications are taken exactly as prescribed, to helping a person stay as active as possible, and much more. We provide professional home care services in Carlsbad and the surrounding area, and are always on hand to help your loved one maintain a healthy life. To learn more, or to set up an in-depth consultation, call us today at (619) 487-9000

“If She Were a Swan”: Memorize the Signs of Heart Attack in Women

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We’ve all heard the tale pertaining to the ugly duckling who turned out to be a gorgeous swan. The apparent moral of that particular story is that some things, upon first appearance, are not what they seem to be. It is with the ugly duckling’s story in mind that San Diego Home Caregivers invites you to observe Women’s Heart Health Month with the “IF She Were a SWAN…” Challenge.

Just as with men, a woman’s most typical heart attack sign is chest pain. But while some heart attacks are sudden and powerful, the majority of them actually launch slowly with mild discomfort. The National Institutes of Health reports that the signs of heart attack in women often are displayed in physical effects for up to a month or more before undergoing the actual heart attack. Furthermore, women are somewhat more likely than men to encounter and report some of the other less expected symptoms. Use the letters in IF and SWAN to keep in mind the additional indicators to be on the lookout for which include:

  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weakness in the arms
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea/vomiting

Regardless of whether you are female or male, if you experience any of the above symptoms and think it may possibly be a heart attack, even if you’re uncertain, it is critical to find medical help right away. A difference of five minutes could save your life. Calling 911 is generally the quickest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services workers can get started on treatment up to an hour sooner than arriving at the hospital by car. They are also trained in reviving someone whose heart has stopped. People with chest pain who arrive by ambulance often receive faster treatment at the hospital.

Although it is important for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, it is particularly essential for caregivers to know what to look for when caring for their loved ones.
If you or someone you love has already suffered a heart attack and needs additional support, either at home or in a care facility, the professionals at San Diego Home Caregivers, the top providers of senior in home care San Diego families trust, can help. Contact us to schedule your care assessment at (619) 487-9000.