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Home Health Blog

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

Health News Round-Up: Cracking Down on Added Sugars

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Aug 5, 2015 1:47:09 PM

The Skinny on Limiting Sugar

Recent health news from across the Web: added sugars and sugar substitutes, improvements in senior outcomes, when to start home health care, and more.We’ve been warned about the dangers of consuming too much sugar, but now the FDA is making a proposal that could make excess sugar harder to overlook. The organization has suggested two changes to nutrition labels: first, to add a separate subcategory to bring ‘added sugars’ to light, and second, to assign a percent daily value for these added sugars. The agency hopes that consumers will be able to better comprehend how much sugar they are getting and make healthier trade-offs.

(No More Hidden Sugar: FDA Proposes New Label Rule; NPR)

In this related piece, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll discusses the scientific evidence about sugar consumption. His conclusions: added sugars have been proven to be detrimental to human health, whereas the case against artificial sweeteners can come apart with scrutiny. For people who drink sweetened beverages like colas, he suggests moderation and sugar-free options.

(The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar; NYT The Upshot blog)

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Topics: Home Health Care, Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, Palliative Care, Caregiving, Diabetes, Aging In Place, Nutrition, Home Improvements

To Have and to Hold On: Caregiver’s Memoir of Keeping Husband at Home

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on May 30, 2015 10:15:00 AM

Book of the Month: June 2015

Our June book is a diary-style account of a man with Parkinson’s disease, and the spouse determined to care for him at home for as long as possible.The majority of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but honoring this request can be difficult. Some progressive diseases require extraordinary amounts of hands-on care, which may grow to be more than a patient’s caregivers can provide. This doesn’t stop people from doing all they can to keep their loved one safe at home, and close at hand, for as long as possible. In fact, this conviction is the basis of our book selection for June.

Author Susan Allen Toth was doing less writing and more caregiving for her husband, James, as his Parkinson’s disease progressed and related dementia began to develop. She tried to turn to books for guidance — books on his disease, books on caregiving — but the ones she found seemed to be written after the fact, in wistful hindsight. None of them spoke to her in-the-moment exhaustion and feelings of frustration, guilt, and loathing of tasks as inane as teeth brushing. So she decided to write that book herself, warts and all.

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Topics: Private Duty Care, Hospice, Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, Caregiving, Recommended Reading

Celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month with Clarity and Confidence

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on May 14, 2015 3:39:00 PM

Better Hearing & Speech Month

GEN-BLOG-Speech_Month-600x460-51415For Better Hearing & Speech Month this May, we honor the Residential Home Health clinicians who help our patients express themselves, louder and clearer. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), sometimes called ‘speech therapists,’ are trained to assist with a number of communication disorders and related issues.

For patients having difficulties understanding or being understood, an SLP can assist with a range of functions, from improving cognitive processes to refining the mechanics of speech. These specialized clinicians draw on tools and skills that can help boost all facets of communication, spoken and otherwise. Read on to learn how the ‘speech’ in speech therapy is only the beginning.

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Topics: Home Health Care, Dementia, Parkinson's Disease

Patient’s Wise Emergency Preparedness Enables Safer Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 7, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue

To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.‘Aging in place’ refers to living safely and independently at home, without being relocated due to health complications. But in order to avoid a bigger change, seniors who wish to age in place need to remain open to smaller changes around the home for their own safety and peace of mind. This could mean adjusting a home lighting setup for better visibility, or making improvements to the bath or shower for continued ease of use.

A major component of aging in place is preventing and preparing for a fall. This is particularly important for patients with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that hinders a patient’s balance and mobility. About one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s, and there is currently no cure. To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, Real World Stories, Aging In Place, Residential Nurse Alert