Caregiving Made Easier with Technology


”caregiving”

Photo by ronstikyayimages.com

Technology has radically advanced in the 21st century and subsequently, we all have benefited from it in one way or another.  From using smartphones to sitting in self-parking cars to admiring an F-35 stealth fighter fly in the sky, we cannot help but be fascinated by these technological advancements.

And there is one area of advancement that has surprised the expectations of even the best experts. Indeed, the medical field has progressed to the point that people are expected to live to 100. For sure, there are apps and devices available today that can help even the oldest in society and that’s where you come in. By helping your senior citizens learn how to use these devices, they can live a more convenient and comfortable life.  

Advanced devices can make your life as a caregiver much easier. They can also offer greater independence and safety to the people you love.

Most of the technology available in healthcare is user-friendly and setting it up is quite simple. Discuss with the physician of your loved ones or ask other caregivers for help and suggestions. Some doctors have occupational social workers or therapists who can assist in finding the right resources. 

This article entails several ways you can use today’s technology to make caregiving easier. 

Independent Life

Begin with the basic things. For instance, if the person to whom you’re providing care has any physical disability, search for low-tech devices that can provide assistance, like a simple reacher to grab things easily. Even plain tools like a tin opener with easy-to-hold, thick handles can provide a lot of help to a disabled person. These low-tech tools can allow someone to carry out routine tasks which they are not able to do normally without assistance.

Purchase a location tracking system for finding things that can get misplaced. Place a small tag on whatever mostly disappears, like the wallet, glass case, keys or phone of your loved one. They can then use an application or press a button and the tag that you placed on the item will start to beep or ring.

For people who suffer from conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, apps on tablets and smartphones can make communication easier. There exists special hardware and software that can also be controlled simply with eye movements.

Setting Reminders

Caregivers mostly use digital watches or egg timers to remind their loved ones about taking their medicine or getting ready for their appointment with a doctor.

An app can provide you greater flexibility in scheduling routine tasks. There are many services that allow you to set automatic text messages, phone calls or emails to alert your loved ones when it’s time to take medicine, exercise or check their glucose levels. You can also add personal messages with the reminder to show them how much you care about them.

There are electronic pillboxes available now that’ll get the medicine out automatically through a timer. If your loved one has taken the medicine the advanced electronic pillbox will alert you and you can remotely monitor adherence behavior so that you have added peace of mind.

With prescription management services, custom medications can be delivered in special shipments. Pills are enclosed together according to specific doses that the person may be required to take, like all the pills that are to be taken after a meal will be packaged together while those that are to be taken at night will be enclosed in another separate package. Your loved one will only have to open the package and take the medicine without worrying about specific dose.  

Emergencies

Medical emergency systems have a pendant or a bracelet with an alarm push button. If your loved one falls or is in trouble, on pushing the button, a call will be made to an emergency service operator. The company will then notify you or send an emergency care provider to help your loved one. Some gadgets can also detect the fall and automatically alert the emergency services.

You can also place buttons in your home in case they ever forget to wear the device. You’ll be charged for the services, but compared to your loved one’s health, the expense is of no value.

Looking After the Person You Care About

You can install motion detectors on doors for added safety. When they are opened, an alarm will sound and you’ll be alerted when someone enters or leave. If you don’t live with your loved one, you can just check these sensors through an online monitoring system.

You can also use pressure sensors to track your loved ones. For example, placing a pressure sensor under the mattress will alert you when the person gets up so that you can check on them.  

Some medical systems are equipped with GPS tracking and you can use this service to find your loved ones in case they ever leave the house without you knowing it.  

The Final Word

If you really care about your loved ones and want to give them the best, you should really consider adopting the latest gadgets. These technological devices will not only make your life as a caregiver easier but will also provide more comfort to your loved ones and make their life easier and safer.

How AI Can Help in Improving Senior Health Care


Artificial Intelligence Technology
Photo by photosearcher – yayimages.com

In the course of Mr. Fensterman’s continued endeavors to assist our seniors and the nursing homes he is affiliated with, it is important that we keep our audience up to date on the latest technology in senior health care. And in this 21st century, medical technology is advancing at a completely unexpected rate.

Enter AI – Artificial Intelligence and in health care, visions of robots diagnosing and treating patients on site and from afar is not science fiction anymore. While advancements are consistently being made in the field of robotics, specifically, in the development of intelligent robots for elderly care, this technology is currently not affordable or practical, but prepare for that to change in the near future.

Far from a glamorous vision of a robot taking care of a patient, AI today involves a lot of computer coding that can help analyze data and recommend treatment options. According to Joseph Ferro – CTO of a health care tech company Mavens, AI has the potential to help senior individuals that live alone to better take care of themselves and live longer lives.

AI Technologies Promoting Better Senior Health Care

The number of senior individuals is projected to double from nearly 50 million today to about 100 million in the next five decades. While the population of elderly individuals is increasing, the amount of senior health care centers remains stagnant. This is where AI can help as it can ensure that seniors who live home alone are able to look after themselves without the need for a third (human) party.  

Artificial intelligence algorithms can be used to help people make the necessary changes required to reduce the risk and treat obesity, diabetes and hypertension, to mention a few. It can ‘coach’ the individual to adopt healthy habits that reduce the risk of developing diseases, or lower the severity of the symptoms of existing diseases.

What’s more, smart sensors controlled by AI algorithms can monitor vital health statistics. In case any aberration is detected in the person’s vital signs, the system can be programmed to automatically call the nearest health care professional.

Experts say that AI can perform manual tasks that are carried on by health care nurses. It can analyze the patient data and take appropriate actions. The companies that develop AI algorithms capture inputs of various health care experts. This results in a holistic health care treatment at an affordable cost of the individual.  

The traditional health care costs amount to thousands of dollars for the individuals. Also, many senior individuals have to travel to clinics or the doctor’s office for getting treatment which can be a great inconvenience to them, but new technologies are making it easier to communicate with their medical professional and with an AI program, seniors will be provided the required health care in their own home and also at a fraction of a cost. The cost savings of the AI will greatly help in reducing the overall costs of senior health care services.  

Bottom Line

When it comes to radical health care, AI is certainly an important technology. It has the potential to greatly reduce senior health care costs and make elderly care more convenient.  

In the near future, great advancements are expected in the real of artificial intelligence and a lot of it is related to elder care. Whether it’s keeping senior individuals healthy through preventive care, mobile communication or informing medical personnel about emergencies, the impact of AI technology will be far reaching.    

Best Exercises For Seniors

As we get older, our energy decreases. This is mostly due to the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse, of our cells. With age, our cells don’t regenerate as easily and become weaker due to the dwindling number of mitochondria. A new study has found that certain workouts can undo the severe damage caused to the mitochondria in both the young and the elderly.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, conducted a study on the cells of sedentary men and women. One group was 30 years old or younger and the other group was older than 64. The study volunteers were randomly given different exercise programs: vigorous weight training, interval training on a stationary bike, moderate exercise on a bike and light weight lifting, and a control group that did no exercise.

The study made some surprising discoveries. All the exercise groups had improvements in fitness and blood sugar regulation. The group that did interval training had the best endurance while those that only lifted weights had more muscle mass and strength. The biggest surprise was the effect on the cells in the elderly group that did interval training. While the younger subjects of the study had activity levels change in 274 genes, the elderly group had almost 400 genes working differently. Compared to only 33 genes in the older weight lifters and 19 genes for those that moderately exercised.

All subjects that did the interval training showed an increase in health and number of their mitochondria. This study showed that it is never too late to benefit from exercise. Interval training on a bike is quite simple, it requires pedaling very hard for four minutes, resting for three, and then repeating the sequence three more times. As endurance grows, the sequence can be repeated more times. Interval training exercises help strengthen muscles which in turn can decrease the risk of falling. Exercise is also a great mood lifter.

Other activities seniors should try is walking as much as possible. Walking 15,000 steps a day was found to decrease the risk for heart disease and help increase memory. Studies show that mixing short walks with two 30 minute walks can help you reach the 15,000 step goal. Strength training with weights can also be helpful with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Five Different Types of Care Facilities for Seniors

If you have a family member that needs a higher level of care that can’t be provided at home anymore, there are many different types of options available.

Retirement Communities

Retirement communities are also known as senior housing or independent living communities. In these types of facilities, senior residents have full control of their daily living. To live in this type of housing, a senior must be able to bathe and dress themselves, be mentally alert, able to walk, and use the bathroom independently. The housing styles of these facilities can range from single family homes, townhouses, and duplexes to condominiums and high rises. Many of these facilities offer police and fire protection as well as social and recreational activities. These facilities also provide meals, laundry service, and transportation.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are similar to independent living communities. These facilities are usually two to three story apartments that also provide 24 hour daily living assistance such as help with eating, bathing, and using the bathroom. These type of facilities do not offer medical services. Services included in assisted living facilities include laundry service, meals, housekeeping, social activities, medication assistance, and also include security and emergency calls.

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered housing is also known as residential care facilities or board and care homes. These types of facilities are best for seniors that need help with personal and medical issues. Most of these residences have 24 hour staff and are state licenses. Seniors at these homes must be able to dress and feed themselves and use the bathroom independently. At residential care facilities, seniors eat in a communal dining room and only need moderate supervision. Seniors can live in shared apartments, studio or one bedroom apartments with private bathrooms. Services offered can include meals, laundry service, housekeeping, and social activities.

Continuing Care Facilities

Continuing care communities are also known as multi-level care facilities, lifetime communities, CCRC’s, and active adult community homes. These type of residences are the most expensive option but provide independent living as long as possible while also providing skilled nursing care and medical treatment whenever needed. These types of communities are best for couples with different levels of independence, allowing them to remain together longer. A variety of services are offered at continuing care facilities such as banks, libraries, hair salons, common dining rooms, activity centers, gyms, and swimming pools. These communities operate like campuses, with living spaces that can include cottages, townhouses, and apartments.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes typically cater to seniors that are in need of some medical assistance, seriously ill or incapacitated and may need 24 hour supervision and care. Certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) assist residents with daily activities of living such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. Many nursing homes also provide rehab services. Nursing homes are also called skilled nursing facilities. Much of the reimbursement of nursing homes comes from private pay, Medicare/Medicaid, VA, and private insurance.  

At skilled nursing facilities, the staff is made up of CAN’s, registered nurses (RN’s), licenses practical nurses (LPN’s), Doctors (MD’s & DO’s), Activities coordinators, Dietary staff, Cooks, and the Administrator. Many nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities offer medical care, pain management, feeding tubes, dialysis, memory care (Alzheimer’s), physical and respiratory therapy as well as help with daily living.

How Nurses Play an Important Role at Nursing Homes

Nurses in nursing homes have tough jobs. They need to be appreciated more. There tends to be a bias against nurses when a patient complains. If an incident occurs, people (usually outsiders) will point to the staff stating that the nurses or other professionals are not doing their jobs properly, but case histories have shown that this is not always the case.  

Let’s examine the nurses’ functions at senior homes, which will help us get a better feel for what their daily responsibilities are and some of the difficult tasks they encounter when on the job.

Usually, as many of us are aware, good news and standard procedures that are not newsworthy never get top billing; subsequently, very little appreciation is shown for the staff when providing routine administrative and/or medical tasks at these homes.

Why Should Nurses be Appreciated?

It may look easy but caring for people in their old age can be quite of a challenge. They have their moods and preferences, their emotions are often heightened and meltdowns over the smallest of things can be an everyday routine; some also completely shut themselves up. They have health conditions that require constant attention and understanding in order to be handled well. Being in such an intense environment can often take a toll but a significant majority of nurses try to give their best to make the lives of the elderly and their stay at senior homes worthwhile.

Mental Illnesses

The most challenging part about senior living is dealing with mental illnesses. The life events and harshness of experiences often leaves them with a lot to deal with in old age. Additionally, the age and physical condition also take their toll. Many people fall victim to degenerative diseases in their old age. More often than not, they also face comorbid disorders and diseases which further worsen their condition. Disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s leave them completely dependent on others and unable to manage their most basic needs as well. Depression, too, is very common in old age. Nurses play a very important role as a communicator, supporter, friend and even more in giving the elderly the kind of attention they need. Their presence is often the source of happiness for many. A lot of nurses go out of their way to make sure that they are happy and comfortable.

Physical Illnesses

Physical healthcare is very important in the old age. The healthcare system itself is burdened with the problem of under-staffing due to the increasing number of people in old age; which is expected to increase further in the coming years. Attending to their medical needs, keeping everything up to date and organized, and providing instant care in case of an emergency constitutes the regular job of nurses. However, there are times where things take a turn for the worse and their condition deteriorates even further. We need to consider how emotionally and physically stressful the job of a nurse is. It is not easy to see people fighting diseases, loneliness, disorders and heartbreak.

Nurses work beyond their capacity in many places. A little appreciation can lift up their spirits and encourage them to give their best in the future too. A few black-sheep should not malign the hard, laborious and selfless efforts of the many hardworking individuals that perform their daily duties every day.

Social Interactions Helps Maintain a Healthy Mind for the Elderly

Strong Mind = Strong Body!

Seniors taking classes
Seniors taking classes is a great way to keep the mind healthy

 Our work and our jobs are just obligations which we need to do in order to survive. On the other hand, it is our hobbies that shape us, define our personalities and the people surrounding us. At times, the prospect of these engagements is the only thing that gets us through the day. But what happens once we retire? What happens when we reach our 70’s and 80’s and stop meeting people that we used to meet every other day?

With no work and no social hobbies, seniors begin to have too much free time on their hands, which subsequently leads to loneliness, negative thoughts and an identity of loss. It’s time we understand that more social engagements mean better senior living.

There are several ways to achieve a Strong Mind:

Make New Friends

We are not asking these seniors to forget about their old friends. As a matter of fact, it couldn’t be better if they remain in constant touch with those friends. However, in most cases, older friends are not as frequently available as they used to be. Some might be having their own health issues, some might have moved out of state or some might have just disappeared. Regardless, new and positive people in our lives are like a breeze of much needed fresh air.

Get Out of the House

The world always feels like a much better place once we are out in the open. It helps to maintain a routine to keep yourself busy. For instance, just going for a walk every morning could open the doors of adventures and an excellent source of making  new friends. Just be sure to be generous with your smile.

Taking Classes

A great way to expand the mind and keep those neurons going, as well as finding new friends. Social meeting classes also gives the senior a new hobby to enjoy. Many nursing facilities offer classes in many subjects and if your elderly one is not in a home, they can take any number of interesting classes geared for their age at continuing education courses offered by many colleges and universities, as well as their local YMCA or YMHA.

Find Dining Partners

Invite people for tea or dining as frequently as possible. In fact, keeping an open invitation for tea will surely lead to pleasant surprises every now and then. Dining together provides an excellent time to talk and share your feelings with others.  Research proves that being social helps lower risks of diseases.

Take Part in Social Events

No matter where you live, there is always some sort of senior group activity going around. Becoming part of knitting circles and book groups help seniors not only socializing, but also provides them some sense of purpose in their life and prevents them from succumbing to off-putting thoughts.  

Tech Savvy

This advice is more for the people surrounding and taking care of the seniors rather than the seniors themselves. With technological advancement at the forefront, every single piece of equipment comes attached with it. So, why not let the seniors make use of it too? If an elder person is having trouble listening, then provide them with the latest hearing aid. Are they having trouble walking? Are they dependent on someone to push their wheelchairs? Then find one with automatic controls for them. Let technology make their life easier and positive.

Just being a senior and retiring doesn’t mean all the best things in their life have to end. If anything, this is the time to give them the most attention, care and company to spend their time with. Add in a hobby in the mix and you’ll be looking at a happy and a healthy senior.

 

Caring for the Hearts of Older Patients

Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death around the world. This disease is more common in people who have diabetes or if the disease runs in the family.  Another high risk of heart diseases comes with the age. As people age, their heart becomes more susceptible to diseases or many might have already become a patient. Either way, old patients need care and prevention not just through medication, but with the help of a proper diet and a maintained lifestyle.

Here’s how we can take care of the old people around us and save them from heart problems:

Healthy Diet:

After reaching a certain age, the elders must not be given food that has a lot of sugar, has butter, ghee, shortening or any other ingredient which might affect their cholesterol level. Vegetables, fruits and fish must remain a major part of their diet with no grains in them.  All their food must be low fat.

Physical Activities:

Physical exercises must become a part of older people’s schedule. Even walking is very good for the health and heart. Elders must partake in aerobics, muscle strengthening exercises and balance improvement. All these physical activities will not only avoid the risks of heart diseases, but will also help them create better physical endurance and the ability to stay active. Many older people fall frequently because their muscles have started to weaken and they find it hard to balance their body.

Smoke and Alcohol:

Smoking is bad for health as it is but when old people do it, it becomes outright deadly. Smoking poses a danger to the lungs and might even cause a stroke.  Similarly, alcohol can make conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, liver problems and mood disorders worse. Thus, it is essential that elders stay away from both.

Medications:

Alternative medications have allowed people to choose their own medicines and more often than not, they make the wrong decision. Alternative medicines might be natural but that doesn’t mean they are effective when it comes to saving lives. Also, there is no official release or research data about these alternative medicines by the FDA. Many elders, on their drive to use natural means, end up losing their health, or worse, as alternative medicines are not always trustworthy.

Avoid Stress:

Stress, shock or any extreme trauma in older people can cause high blood pressure, heart attack or even death. If elders are sleeping properly, exercising daily, taking the proper diet and maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle, then the above-discussed conditions can be avoided. However, people who make the elders anxious, worried or stressed out might trigger a negative effect on the health.

Stay Ready:

If the elder person is a heart patient and somehow ends up suffering from a heart attack, then the caregiver must know how to give emergency treatment. If the elder person is staying with their family, then the family members must learn how to conduct emergency treatment in case of heart failure. Immediate action could help save lives.

The hearts of elderly people is very vulnerable to diseases. Thus, it is important that we take care of them.

The Importance for Seniors to Stay Fit

We all have this common misconception that too much movement and activities are just too dangerous for seniors. In all honestly, it is the opposite that puts them at jeopardy. Staying inactive for such a long period of time not only makes them a victim of many diseases, but also lowers their life expectancy.

As we begin to age, our bones become brittle and the muscles lean towards shortening; as a result, elderly people begin having trouble staying active, flexible, and simply, coordinating their movements. That is where all the exercises and physical fitness techniques come in handy.

In addition, keeping the blood flowing during exercise helps the mind stay active also. One senior that we knew well remained active his entire life, by making sure he exercised to what would equate to walking 10 or more city blocks a day, every day. Our patient lived till he was 99 years old, four months before he reached 100. In this case of course, he was totally independent and did not need the convalescence of a nursing home, but for those that are already residing in nursing homes, it cannot be more emphasised that the individual exercise everyday (of course, under a doctor’s guidance*).

Let’s discover the importance of exercising and how exercise can help people in their later years:

Flexibility

As we grow older, we begin to grow weak. Exercise is one of the most effective means of maintaining our strength. Sitting in the same spot for hours and avoiding any kind of physical exertion will not only make the seniors inactive, but will also bring several physical problems with it; one of them being atrophied muscles. Regular movements and even basic exercises, such as walking, could lead to better mobility and an active lifestyle.

Healing

David C. Niemen, a Ph.D. doctor and author, believes that the effect of physical activity on healing is so high that no medicine can even come close to replicating its effects. It was found that people who begin exercising early built up a better immune system which subsequently helped them deal with their injury faster.

Reduces Stress

It is not just physical fitness that can be achieved through exercises. In fact, it is our mental health that benefits from it too, just like most people run to get rid of their stress or play their favorite sports to release all that strain. Similarly, an elderly person too can have a positive effect on their mental health by doing exercises. Just taking a light stroll down the street on a bright sunny day can do wonders to lift their spirits.

Social Activity

Exercises are a solution to many of the senior problems and one of them includes loneliness and solitude. Joining group exercises and group activities will not only help seniors deal with all the rigidness in their bones, but will also give them an excellent opportunity to meet new people and have a positive impact on their life.

Prevents Injuries and Accidents

Most fatal injuries in seniors are caused by falling, which incidentally happens because of their bad coordination. Due to aging, muscles begin to grow weak and the only way to stay up to date with their body is through exercising. It will reduce the chances of falling and ultimately, lead to fewer risks of deadly injuries.

Better Sleep

Sleepless nights are just a side effect of growing old and the best way to deal with it is to have enough physical exertion in the daytime that will enable them to sleep peacefully at night.

Do not wait until later to get your elders in the habit of exercising. At the first sign of weakness, visit a doctor for an exercise plan and then reap the benefits.

* Disclaimer. This article is for information purposes only and as such, we highly recommend that the patient or the patient’s guardians refer to a physician for the appropriate type and amount of exercise that should be recommended for the person in question.

 

When is Nursing Home Care Recommended for the Seniors

A common question among family members with senior individuals is when is the best time to move the elderly from the home to a nursing home. While most senior persons prefer to live the remaining years after the retirement in their own home, sometimes their health conditions necessitate moving to a nursing home.

A number of factors should be considered when deciding on the best option for the senior person. In this article, we will discuss some of the situations where a nursing home is preferable for the seniors instead of a home care.

1. Problems in Performing Daily Activity

A nursing home is a right choice when the senior individual cannot perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, driving, and shopping grocery items. Nursing home care providers can help the senior individual in performing the daily chores.  

The friendly and welcoming professionals at the nursing home will ensure that the senior person has no problem while performing the daily tasks. This is especially helpful for senior individuals that suffer from physical or mental problems that prevent them from performing the daily chores.

2. Suffering from Health Disorders  

Senior persons that are in advanced stages of Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can greatly benefit from a nursing home care services. The nursing home ensures that the elderly individual is offered round the clock assistance and surveillance that is not possible when residing at the home. So, if the elderly individual suffers from a serious medical condition, moving him or her to a nursing home is a good idea.

3. Reside in Remote Place

If the senior person resides in an area where immediate medical assistance is not possible, then the best option is to move the individual to a nursing home. The nursing homes offer facilities that ensure that the senior person gets the immediate medical service whenever needed.

In the unfortunate event that the senior individual suffers a heart attack, the nursing home care personnel will make sure that the person receives immediate medical care to minimize the damage.

4. Alone at Home

A nursing home is a right option when the senior individual who is leading a post-retirement life is mostly alone at home. Nursing homes offer plenty of opportunities for the residents to lead a socially active life. Residents of the nursing home lead a satisfying life while taking part in a number of activities that are organized by the nursing home administration.

Most people want to live the remainder of their post-retirement life full of fun, joy, and laughter. Nursing homes can offer the environment for the elderly individual to live an active and enjoyable life. The facilities offered at the nursing homes can ensure that the senior person has quality time without facing any hardships that manifest due to advanced age.

A Day to Celebrate Older Americans

Today, we honor our elderly and celebrate Senior Citizens Day in the United States. As our population increasingly ages, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of supporting senior citizens in our communities.

More than 40 million senior citizens live in the US, and that number will only grow as people live longer than ever before. Every Aug. 21 is a day to acknowledge the contributions and dedications of older people, and take the time to ensure we give something back. Ronald Reagan created Senior Citizens Day in 1988. Every year senior and community centers celebrate with special events. In addition, businesses, such as Arby’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Subway, often offer discounts for senior citizens.

The best way to celebrate today is likely the easiest: call up an elderly person you know and lend an ear. However, many people also choose to volunteer at nursing homes or the VFW.

If you missed this year’s Senior Citizens Day, don’t worry: you have another chance to honor the elderly on Oct. 1, the International Day of Older Persons. This global observance not only raises awareness of the achievements of older people, but also of such topics as:

• Aging populations and the provisions of adequate healthcare for the elderly
• Volunteer work
• Social care
• Ways to be more inclusive of older persons in the workforce