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Home Health Blog

Health News Round-Up: Dementia Considerations and Holiday Expectations

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Dec 22, 2015 4:52:00 PM

Balancing Holiday Traditions with Dementia Changes

Recent health news from across the Web: dementia and holiday traditions, brain fitness, medication management tips, and more.This compassionate piece centers on one family adapting to a mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s disease, and how it has changed their holiday customs. They make fewer social appearances and do extra preparation to preserve her routines, while still missing her old presence. The article includes some helpful tips for including loved ones with dementia in the holiday hubbub while minimizing potential agitation.

(When Mom Has Alzheimer’s, A Stranger Comes For Christmas; NPR)

On the same topic, author Marguerite Manteau-Rao raises some tough points about the difficulties of factoring a loved one with dementia into a busy holiday schedule. Pointing out that individuals with dementia may not remember a visit the day before or after, but can feel hurt when external cues remind them of the holiday, she pulls no punches.

(How to Be With a Loved One With Dementia During the Holidays; Huffington Post)

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Topics: Dementia, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management, Stroke, Heart Disease, Fitness, Emotional Health, Lung Disease

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

Compassionate Storytelling Uncovers the Value of Caregiver Self-Care

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Aug 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Book of the Month: August 2015

Caregiving can raise challenging needs, and it can also cause complex feelings. Our book for August unveils the significance of emotional self-care.As seniors age or their health declines, caregivers juggle many emerging needs for their loved ones. Doctors might impart instructions for medications or post-operative care; therapists might demonstrate and teach safe practices to assist with activities of daily living. Not only can a caregiver’s role include medical, physical, and financial tasks, but he or she may also be counted on for emotional support.

Because balancing a loved one’s needs and their own can be a high-wire act all by itself, caregivers can sometimes respond by pushing their own feelings to the back burner. However, the emotional impact of caregiving can affect a person’s relationships with family, loved ones, and fellow caregivers. This month’s book allows caregivers to explore their own feelings by way of a familiar story.

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Topics: Caregiving, Recommended Reading, Emotional Health

Extra Time and Training for an Above-and-Beyond Confidence Boost

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jul 24, 2015 3:29:00 PM

When her patient was frustrated, Residential nurse Mandy got to the root of the distress and took the time to restore assurance and confidence.Clinicians draw on many different skills. First, nurses and therapists must have a background of solid medical knowledge and training. The demands of real-time care may include keen observation, quick thinking, and calm in a crisis. Teaching expertise helps patients learn about their conditions and how to manage them. Another critical skill is empathy, the ability to recognize why the other person feels the way she does, in an effort to address her particular needs.

The Residential Home Health patient in this story did need skilled medical care, but she was also troubled by something else. Read on to discover how Mandy, a Residential nurse and case manager, used empathy to get to the root of her patient’s distress — and took the time to restore her assurance and confidence.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Emotional Health

Coping with the Emotional Impact of a Chronic Illness

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Jul 15, 2015 12:47:00 PM

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition can feel stressful and overwhelming. Learn to recognize and cope with potentially harmful negative emotions.Being diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as heart failure or neurological disease, can be stressful and overwhelming. Your body may not be as capable as it was previously, and you may be expected to give up favorite foods or alter your daily routines as part of your disease management. In the face of such changes, feelings of grief, sadness, or uncertainty are normal. But if these negative emotions don’t fade as you progress in your treatment and learn to self-manage your condition, they can turn into more troubling issues.

As many as one-third of patients with a serious illness show symptoms of depression. However, just because a condition is common doesn’t mean that nothing should be done. Your emotional state is tied to your physical well-being, so taking care of your emotional health can be just as important for chronic disease management as medication and lifestyle changes. Read on to learn about the dangers of persistent negative feelings, and discover some steps you can take to help counter these troublesome emotions.

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Topics: Emotional Health