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Home Health Blog

Durable Medical Equipment: The Fundamentals of a Home Care Essential

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jun 24, 2016 2:05:04 PM

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For people living with chronic illness or injury, staying safe and independent at home relies on getting the help they need. And help comes in all forms: caregiving from family and loved ones; expert medical assistance from home health clinicians; and services like food deliveries and yard work. For many seniors aging in place, one critical source of help comes in the form of devices that are designed to promote safety and disease management at home.

Known as Durable Medical Equipment (DME), this broad spectrum of devices ranges from walking aids to blood sugar monitoring equipment, and much more. This guide offers an overview of how DME is defined, how it’s handled by insurance, and who to turn to in order to get the right DME for your home and needs.

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Topics: Home Health Care, Aging In Place

6 Signs You’re Well Prepared for Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Mar 18, 2016 3:23:26 PM

GEN-BLOG-AgingInPlace-600x460-150115There’s a growing ‘aging in place’ movement, whose members want to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. But that doesn’t mean keeping everything the same, until a fall or injury (or the threat of one) forces a change in residence. Rather, wise aging in place involves making your home into a space where you can live safely and independently for years to come.

If the home you love gives you joy, and you’re determined to stay there, welcome to the movement! Use the 6 signs below to test how well you have prepared, and see what more you can do to age in place with wisdom and foresight.

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Topics: Aging In Place

Adaptive Solutions Protect and Promote Longer Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 24, 2015 3:36:30 PM

Residential in the Real World

Residential occupational therapist Julie set up her patient and his caregiver for better transportation and transfers without strain, now and later.Savvy aging in place takes more than merely continuing to live at home. To live at home with independence and safety (the cornerstones of successful aging in place) means acknowledging that challenges may arise as circumstances and capabilities change. And for long-lasting aging in place, seniors may need to adapt equipment or alter routines. Being open to adaptive solutions can not only solve immediate problems, but also ensure greater ability and peace of mind for years to come.

For Julie, a Residential Home Health occupational therapist, helping while she is actually in the home is only part of the equation. She aims to find solutions that will protect patients and caregivers from potential strain or injury in the long term, well after their plan of care with Residential ends. Recently, one of her patients had serious concerns about his ability to remain at home; read on to discover how Julie set him and his caregiver wife up with safer, easier alternatives, for both now and later.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Aging In Place

Health News Round-Up: Plan Ahead Before Driving Becomes Unwise

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 11, 2015 2:04:00 PM

Making a ‘Retirement Plan’ for Driving

Recent health news from across the web: ‘retirement planning’ for driving, Medicare open enrollment, new mammogram guidelines, and more.A key component to aging in place is mobility — being able to get around independently. And in much of America, ‘mobility’ equals ‘driving.’ However, there may come a point when driving themselves is no longer a safe option for seniors; diminished vision, cognitive changes, and medication side effects are just some of the hazards that can jeopardize elderly drivers. But often, the issue isn’t raised until it must be dealt with, and it can be a point of contention between patients who want to feel independent and the caregivers or family members who must ask for the keys.

Giving up driving — or having driving privileges taken away — can be a difficult transition, one that may be harder to accept if it happens abruptly. Medical care can suffer, and feelings of isolation can contribute to depression. This NPR story takes the example of a few savvy seniors who made an advanced plan for ‘driving retirement.’ Researching transportation options and discussing possible solutions well before they are necessary may be preferable to scrambling once a need is already apparent (much like advanced care planning, in fact). Acknowledging that driving might not always be a feasible transportation choice can put wheels in motion toward safer driving practices now…and an easier transition to potential ‘retirement’ later.

(It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your ‘Driving Retirement’; NPR)

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Topics: Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, Caregiving, Diabetes, Aging In Place, Health News, Nutrition, Cancer, Bereavement, Emotional Health

Preventing and Treating a Common Eye Disorder: A Cataract Primer

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Aug 25, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Cataracts are a common occurrence in seniors as they age. Learn what they are, how they alter your vision, and how to counteract their effects.The lens of the eye is made up of clear tissue that we see through, but this tissue can become damaged by injury or advanced age. These areas of damage get denser and change how light enters our eyes, forming what is known as a cataract. The condition can give a person’s vision a fuzzy or foggy effect; some compare it to looking through a dirty window.

By the time they reach 80 years of age, more than half of Americans have developed this common effect of the aging process. Although cataracts do not generally cause pain or eye irritation, they can have a profound effect on a person’s vision over time, potentially limiting his or her capabilities. Serious vision impairment caused by cataracts can even threaten a person’s well-being, making it unsafe for him or her to drive or raising the risk of a fall in the home. Read on to discover how you can lower your risk for cataracts and protect your vision.

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Topics: Aging In Place, Home Improvements, Visual Impairment