10 Tips on Medication Management for Elderly Parents with Heart Disease

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Worried wife supporting sick husband taking drugs for hypertension

Call our care team for more help with medication management for elderly parents.

If a senior you love has been diagnosed with heart disease, you’re aware that medication management for elderly loved ones is critical. But what specifically does that mean? Here are ten helpful tips from San Diego Home Caregivers that can help your loved ones get the most from their medications:

  • Know what medicines they are taking. Find out the brand and generic names and be sure you understand what each one does. Thoroughly read the patient informational sheet so you’re informed about possible side effects.
  • Take the meds at the same time each day. When you partner with San Diego Home Caregivers, your loved one’s home care companion can give reminders when it’s time to take a dose. Don’t stop or modify any medication without talking it over with the doctor first.
  • List out all of the medications. Include the daily dosage for each one. Keep a copy at home as well as one in a wallet or purse.
  • If your loved one is having a hard time paying for the medications, ask the doctor for advice. Don’t skimp on dosages to try to save money. Doing so could be harmful to your loved one’s health.
  • Speak with the doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies. Some may aggravate heart failure symptoms. These include antihistamines (like Benadryl), antacids and NSAIDS (like Motrin or Advil).
  • Refill prescriptions before running out of medicine. If it is difficult to get to the pharmacy, a caregiver can help you pick up the medication.
  • Take medicines along when travelling and continue to take them on a normal routine. If your loved one will be away from home for a long time, take an extra week’s supply. Be sure to bring a copy of the prescriptions in case a refill is needed.
  • At times, ACE inhibitors may can cause coughing. If your loved one is coughing too much and can’t sleep or perform daily activities, call the physician.
  • If taking diuretics (also referred to as water pills), your loved one probably has to visit the restroom more often. If the doctor has advised one dose of a diuretic each day, take it in the morning. If two daily doses are advised, be sure to take the second one by late afternoon to avoid additional trips to the bathroom during the night.
  • Be alert for signs of dehydration whenever taking diuretics. These might include intense thirst, dry mouth, dark-colored urine or reduced urine output, constipation and feeling lightheaded. If any of these red flags occur, consult the doctor prior to making any modifications in medication or fluid intake.

Professional home care companions from San Diego Home Caregivers can make life with heart disease easier to manage. They can provide support with everyday activities, prepare nutritious meals, offer medication reminders and take your loved one to doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy. Call (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in La Jolla and other surrounding areas. For more information on the different areas we serve in California, please see our Communities Served page.

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 senior care in Oceanside and surrounding areas over the holidays and year-round. See our full service area.

How to Overcome Senior Fitness Hurdles and Improve Wellbeing

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senior fitness hurdles - at home nursing in san diego

San Diego Home Caregivers offers suggestions on how to overcome normal senior fitness hurdles to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise.

Establishing a routine exercise habit is challenging at any age. Working out is tedious. We would prefer not to expend the time. We’re feeling the pain from yesterday’s workout. We’ve all made excuses such as these for not staying physically fit; but frailty and advanced age make it even more difficult to stick with an exercise routine and overcome senior fitness hurdles 

San Diego Home Caregivers, providers of home health care in La Jolla and the surrounding area, is here to help the elderly continue to remain more physically active with suggestions to overcome the following normal senior fitness hurdles: 

  • Self-confidence: It’s natural for aging adults to feel some level of stress with the concept of achieving exercise objectives. It can be beneficial to begin slowly with exercises that are easily accomplished and advance slowly; and, encourage the senior consistently. 
  • Attitude: Attitude is so crucial when it comes to exercise. If approached negatively, it will be much more difficult to stay with an effective exercise regimen. Opt for activities that will be enjoyable and that the older person will look forward to. 
  • Pain: The expression, “No pain, no gain” actually isn’t true. Older individuals should prevent overdoing it, and scale back the level of intensity if sensing pain or discomfort. 
  • Disabilities: Older adults with physical or cognitive limitations can and should remain active according to their ability level. Consult the doctor for a referral to a personal trainer or physical therapist who can come up with a program of specialized exercises. 
  • Fear of Injury/Balance Problems: There are a range of assistive devices to permit safe, effective exercising without worry of falls while still enhancing senior fitness. 
  • Financial Concerns: It does not have to cost a lot of money to stay fit! Walking and other simplistic exercises in and around the senior’s home, making use of ordinary household objects can be incorporated into an exercise plan at little to no cost. 
  • Illness or Fatigue: Exercises can be personalized to match the older individual’s energy level, and he or she may gradually increase the endurance level over time. 

Keep in mind that the way to ongoing positive results with an exercise plan is to ensure the senior feels comfortable and safe with the plan and the exercises. If discomfort is observed in muscles or joints the next day after exercising, a reduced intensity can be put in place; and check with the doctor if the pain or discomfort continues.  

San Diego Home Caregivers will work with your loved one’s doctor to develop a safe exercise plan in accordance with his or her abilities to boost strength, independence, and overall quality of life. Contact us at 619.487.9000 to learn more about the advantages of daily exercise in improving senior fitness and to learn more about how our services in home health care in La Jolla and the surrounding area can help! 

From Frail to Fit: Best Exercises for Seniors

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exercises for seniors - elderly home care in san diego

Seniors should participate in exercises that help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.

Exercise for seniors is not only beneficial, it’s extremely crucial to uphold as active a way of life as possible. Even seniors who are confined to a bed or wheelchair-bound have a variety of possibilities available to strengthen, increase resistance and flexibility.  

The first step is always to consult the physician to get a recommendation on the best exercises for older persons that match your loved one’s activity level and medical history. At first, exercising even for as little as a few minutes every day, repeated several times during the day, can dramatically improve the older adult’s health and wellbeing. 

Following are examples of the best exercises for seniors: 

  • Aerobics: If whole body movements are not feasible, exercises from a sitting position can be found to improve cardio strength. When possible, good possibilities include: 
    • Swimming or water aerobics 
    • Dancing 
    • Walking 
    • Tai Chi 
    • Bowling 
  • Resistance Exercises: To strengthen and build muscles, resistance exercises can be performed with elastic bands, which can be found in a variety of tensile strengths. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences shares that even just one day per week of resistance training helps older adults retain independence and decrease the chance of injuries. 
  • Flexibility Exercises: Stretching exercises help enhance flexibility and range of motion. Search for yoga classes at local senior or recreation centers. 
  • Dementia Exercises: In the initial stages of Alzheimer’s especially, a range of exercise possibilities are possible, and with enhanced supervision and some adjustments, can be continued as the disease progresses. Because repetition is typically comforting to those with dementia, activities including walking, riding a stationary bicycle, and folding laundry are beneficial to both the older adult’s physical and mental state. 

Motivating your older loved one to start and then stay with an exercise program is integral to success. Try these tips to make it something interesting that he or she will look forward to: 

  • Join in an exercise program with the older adult. It’s always more fun to exercise with a partner. 
  • Include favorite, upbeat music. 
  • Set aside dedicated time each and every day expressly for physical fitness, and make it a priority. 
  • Designate incentives or rewards for obtaining goals. 

For more resources on helping seniors increase activity levels, contact San Diego Home Caregiversproviders of home care in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas. Our skilled San Diego in-home caregivers are knowledgeable in helping seniors thrive and improve their overall wellbeing, and we love nothing more than knowing the seniors in our care are healthy and living life to the fullest! Contact us at 619.487.9000 to learn more! 

Proper Nutrition for Older Adults Helps Maintain Health

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It’s no secret that proper nutrition for older adults is crucial for a healthy body. What many people don’t recognize, however, is that nutritional requirements for adults change as we age. Nutritional specialists at Tufts University have developed the MyPlate system for older adults, which is a more advanced variation of the earlier food pyramid, supplying updated dietary advice for older individuals in particular.  

The MyPlate for Older Adults model contains important information on foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, salt, and fat; however, it also offers guidance on topics such as advised physical activities and fluid consumption, issues that are of special concern for seniors. 

Because activity levels are oftentimes decreased, seniors tend to require fewer calories as they age, but they also still require equal or higher levels of nutrients and regular activity for ideal health. MyPlate for Older Adults recommends: 

  • Bright-colored vegetables, such as peppers and carrots 
  • Deeply-colored fruits, such as berries and melons 
  • Whole, fortified, enriched grains and cereals, like brown rice 
  • Low- and non-fat dairy products, including yogurt and low lactose milk 
  • Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads, which contain less saturated and trans fats 
  • Spices instead of salt 
  • Liquids such as water and fat-free milk 
  • Physical activity, such as walking, resistance training, and light household chores 

In addition, further recommendations include taking advantage of options that are simpler to prepare and decrease waste, such as bags of frozen pre-cut vegetables and individual-portion cups of fruit. 

At San Diego Home Caregivers, we realize it can be a challenge to help aging loved ones follow a nutritious diet. A trained and experienced San Diego home nurse can help plan and prepare nourishing, appetizing meals according to your loved one’s specific nutritional needs, as well as help in a variety of other waysContact us online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our top-rated home care services and to request a free in-home evaluation. 

Senior Nutrition: Warning Signs That May Point to a Lack of a Nutrient-Rich Diet

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A mother’s love for her child knows no age limits. And parents of all ages want more than anything to shield their children from difficulty, which in some cases could mean covering up their own challenges. Furthermore, when their loved ones live at a distance, it can be hard to really know without a doubt just how healthy older parents are. 

One of the leading challenges of aging is the decline in satisfying nutritional needs. If you believe your elderly loved ones might possibly not be getting adequate senior nutrition to continue to be healthy and well, this short analysis can help identify possible red flags: 

  1. Has the senior revealed a loss of appetite, trouble with digesting food, or chewing or swallowing challenges? Has there been a decline in food consumption over the past several months as a result? 
  2. Has the older adult experienced a loss of weight over the past several months? Losing weight, particularly for those with a more sedentary way of life, can indicate that the person is not eating properly. 
  3. Does the senior have a problem with mobility? Being confined to the home can create nutritional challenges, as it is more problematic to get groceries or fix meals. 
  4. Has the older person been under psychological stress or experienced an acute disease in the past couple of months? 
  5. What is the older person’s body mass index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or lower can suggest that the person is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or higher can signify obesity.  

If you determine through answering these questions that an older loved one might be experiencing problems with  senior nutrition, it’s a good idea to consult with his or her doctor. San Diego Home Caregivers can also help improve health and wellbeing for older adults through services like: 

  • Food preparation 
  • Transportation to doctor appointments 
  • Light housekeeping 
  • Running errands 
  • Medication reminders 
  • And more  

Our San Diego Home Caregivers team is compassionate, background screened and available for as much or as little care as desired. You can get in touch with us online or call our care team at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our professional elderly home care in San Diego and the surrounding areas.

Talking With Your Kids When You Have Mesothelioma

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Cute young daughter embracing her mother with love

Mesothelioma takes between 20 and 50 years to develop. Due to this long latency period, the asbestos-caused cancer affects middle-aged and elderly people most often. Read more

Be Proactive in Addressing Post-Holiday Loneliness in Seniors

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The holiday season can be overflowing with a whirlwind of activity for the seniors we love, with family gatherings, holiday parties, faith-based services, and shopping for the best gifts for those they love. Yet after the holiday ornaments are packed away and families have gotten back to the daily busyness of life, many struggle with a common but little-discussed condition: post-holiday loneliness in seniors. 

Although naturally seniors who live alone are most apt to develop feelings of isolation and sadness when the holiday activities are complete, all older adults are in danger of a case of the blues, as they look to the year ahead while reminiscing over years past. It’s vital for family members to create a plan to help their older loved ones experience a positive transition. Give some thought to the following tips: 

  • Make plans for the next get-together. Decide on a date in the coming weeks for another family celebration, offering the older loved one and the rest of the family something enjoyable to anticipate. For example, schedule an informal New Year’s resolution check-in party for the last week of January, where each person can report on his or her progress towards resolutions that were made, and each bringing along a dish to share a potluck meal.   
  • Create a chain letter. Split the family up into groups of five, and designate a number to each person who would like to participate, i.e., #1 – 5. The person with #1 begins by writing a short letter in the first week of January, mailing it to the #2 person, who reads and then contributes to that letter and then sends to the #3 person – and so on. The last person in the chain adds to the letter and sends back to the first person to read, and then a new chain can be initiated. Receiving ongoing mail with news about family members is a great pick-me-up for seniors. 
  • Partner with San Diego Home CaregiversSan Diego Home Caregivers skilled care companions are the ideal solution to post-holiday loneliness in seniorsOur caregivers are adept in helping seniors to remain socially and physically active through a wide range of engaging activities, according to each person’s interests:  
  • Reminiscing and conversations 
  • Puzzles, games, and crafts 
  • Exercise programs 
  • Transportation and accompaniment to fun outings 
  • And much more! 

Let us help alleviate post-holiday loneliness for the older adults you love, and maintain a sense of community, purpose, and connection all throughout the year. We’re available for once-a-week visits up through and including full-time care and companionship. Call the experts in senior companion care in San Diego and the surrounding communities at (619) 487-9000 and request an in-home consultation to establish what will work best in your particular situation, and help make your loved ones’ coming year the best one yet! 

Holiday Eating with Diabetes: Tips for Having a Delicious Holiday

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This season of holiday celebrations is a perfect occasion to reconnect with friends and family, but let’s face it: holiday eating with diabetes can be difficult as the holidays are often a time for overindulgence in unhealthy food choices. With so many rich, fatty, and sugary delicacies to choose from at every turn, it’s difficult to follow a healthy diet, which can result in significant health problems for those with diabetes. 

These guidelines, however, can help diabetics remain safe throughout the holidays while avoiding feeling deprived of special goodies. Be sure to first contact the doctor for his or her approval on any meal decisions that stray from an approved nutrition plan. 

  • Pick your favorites. Review options during a holiday meal, and determine your top two carbs to enjoy. For example, decide if you’d like to have stuffing or bread, or choose between mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, as opposed to indulging in all of the options. 
  • Bring your own. When attending a holiday get-together at someone’s home, talk with the host concerning your dietary constraints, and offer to bring a healthy dish to share, like a tray of fruits and vegetables or a sugarless dessert. 
  • Snack first. Enjoying a healthy snack before the holiday meal will help keep blood sugar levels consistent and assist in averting the temptation to go overboard. Healthy snack choices for those with diabetes include nuts, vegetables with hummus, celery with peanut butter, string or cottage cheese, or an egg. 
  • Stay hydrated. Having a bottle of water before sitting down to the meal will help create a sense of fullness, making it unlikely that you’ll be inclined to overindulge.  
  • Remain active. After a heavy meal, defy the urge to settle into the recliner and watch TV or fall asleep; instead, provide help with kitchen clean-up chores, play an active game with the children, or take a walk outside 

If in spite of these techniques you end up bingeing or making unhealthy meal selections, be kind and forgiving to yourself. Remember that tomorrow is a new day to resume healthy habits again. Keep a close eye on your blood sugar to guarantee levels stay in the proper range and to avoid the potential for a serious problem, such as diabetic ketoacidosis, which could result in a hospitalization and definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit. 

Reach out to the top-rated providers of elderly care in La Mesa, CA and the surrounding areas to learn more diabetic-friendly tips, for assistance with preparing healthy meals, providing medication reminders and support to engage in exercise programs, and much more! We’re available to help throughout the holiday season and beyond to empower seniors to live their best possible lives. Call us at (619) 487-9000 to request a free in-home consultation today!