It’s happening as we speak – the seasons are beginning to change, the weather cooling down, the days getting shorter. Though we cannot stop the changing of the seasons and what comes about because of it, we can prepare those who might be affected most.
With the weather beginning to cool down and the evening hours, waning away, some patterns, habits, and general activities of the elderly may take a sharp turn. Whether it be from the cold, the disruption of loss of daylight or even general discomfort due to the exiting summer months, many elderly find themselves at a loss for what to do during this transitional phase.
Beyond their personal routine, certain dangers can arise that effect the elderly more severely than younger people during the fall and winter months. Hypothermia, falling, Vitamin D deficiency, and seasonal affective disorder are all reasons for extra concern during the colder months – but for the most part can be properly prevented.
If your elderly family members have an outdoor routine that they would wish to continue through the fall and winter – walking, jogging, etc – make sure that they have warm, comfortable clothing to wear without issue and that their paths are routes not impeded by ice or debris. Now, if the cold proves to be too much for staying outside but the desire to move around still exists, help them find an appropriate indoor location where they may continue with staying active in warmth and comfort.
Keeping the elderly active during these months is paramount to staving off seasonal depression and many other mental fatigue-like symptoms, so whatever their passion may be, do your best to see that it continues.
With all of this in mind, it’s a smart and safe idea to begin checking in on your elderly family members more frequently. Checking to see if their HVAC system is used appropriately, if they are comfortable and not suffering any depression or fatigue, and seeing them for a visit.
With a little planning, this transitional time can be much easier for your loved ones to enjoy their lives during the fall and winter months.
“The funny thing is, I always respected those who worked with elderly people because I never felt that it was something that I would be able to do myself. I originally went to college for accounting, but thankfully after visiting with a friend who worked in an elderly facility, I realized that I loved people more than I loved numbers and now I couldn’t be happier to have made the switch.” Eventually, everyone comes to a crossroads in their life, a time when they realize that they were meant for something bigger than themselves. However, it takes a special quality of person to go and act on it. That person is part of the AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis family and her name is Theresa Bowie, another one of our outstanding caregivers.
“I’m a very compassionate person, and I think that working with Jacque (Phillips) – who are the heads of AccuCare – it’s very easy to be compassionate. They’re more open, available and thankful for someone who is compassionate and does their job well because of the wealth of compassion they have themselves.” Theresa explained that AccuCare has such a different feel to it than anything else that she has been a part of because of that connection to her clients and her coworkers. Whenever something good happens or a situation is handled especially well, she’ll always hear about it from Jacque and Jane. They care so much, that whether it be in a card or in a text, her own impact is made clear and their appreciation is genuine.
Theresa goes on to explain how this family-first mentality carries over into the physical aspect of work through a strong sense of personal values imparted onto every staff member. “In this field I always try to be as understanding as possible, because it’s hard to decide to put your family in a nursing home, but it’s also hard to keep them at home because you don’t always have all of the help that they need. When I come in, I treat my clients in the way the I would want to be treated, and it becomes so easy to provide the right level of care and comfort.” Theresa went on to explain that whether it is as simple as doing laundry, holding a hand or rubbing a shoulder, every day that she is able to impact a client’s quality of life in a beneficial way is a gift to her.
As it usually goes with the approaching holiday seasons, many of our family members may find themselves traveling to different cities and regions to meet and celebrate together. This undoubtedly will include a percentage of our elderly family members, and special precautions and measure should be taken to ensure that their travels are as safe and straightforward as possible.
If and when an elderly member of your family finds themselves in a situation where travel is necessary it is wholly appropriate to help them prepare for the clutter and confusion of holiday-time travel. This can be as simple as assisting them with packing and preparing them for an extended stay, or as far as outlining the details of airport travel and potentially involving a travel aid inside the airports.
To begin, create an outline of their travel procedure with them, involving them as much a possible – repetition of key facts and details is key for ensuring that there will be as little deviation from the plan a possible. Type up or write out instructions if you cannot be present for their flights or rides – allowing them something to refer back to can increase both comfort and clarity in these sometimes overwhelming situations.
If any medication is to be traveled with, make sure the full prescriptions are checked safely into luggage, while providing an easily accessible means of keeping daily medications in their carry-on. This can mean individually labeled or segmented containers approved by the TSA.
Now, your personal influence over their travel may end at the airport terminal, but that does not mean that services are not in place to assist them further than you are able. Contact the airline or airport services beforehand to request navigational or mobility services to assist your loved ones throughout the airport and to ensure they reach the proper gate or comfortably make it through security checkpoints. These situations can often be the most confusing and frustrating for the elderly – affording them services like these can truly lessen or even eliminate this altogether.
All in all, the prospect of our elderly family members traveling, alone or not, during the holiday season can seem daunting. However, with proper procedure, patience and planning, it can be made as safe and effortless as possible.
AccuCare, founded in 1994 by Jacqueline Phillips, RN, BSN, has a single mission to provide every client with the highest possible standard of private, home health care with a human touch. As a RN-owned and managed company, our family-inspired approach to care comes with expertise that enables us to perform medically skilled services for our clients. Members of her nursing team make weekly visits to clients, as needed to assess their ongoing, general health. AccuCare’s priority is to ensure that our clients receive quality care with a human touch.
“Truly listening to patients makes me be a better professional. My love for animals makes me a better person.”
It seems that we all know that special someone who puts her energy, heart and soul into everything she does. She is ready for the next challenge. She has a kind word for each person she meets. She helps other people and many animals in need. The person described above with these traits is part of the AccuCare Home Health Care St. Louis family, and her name is Deanna Rice, one of our outstanding caregivers.
Deanna brings an incredible amount of experience, energy and empathy to the caregiver profession. She explained that nearly a decade ago, she became a caregiver out of a personal family need to help care for her grandfather after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She didn’t think of it has a career at that point.<
“Family members and friends saw how I interacted with my grandfather and how patient I was with him. I was frequently told I had a way of caring for people, and I think the seed was planted in my mind that it would be a good career choice,” said Deanna.
Deanna’s mother (an AccuCare caregiver) influenced her daughter’s decision to become a caregiver and to accept a position with AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis. The company was founded in 1994 by Jacqueline Phillips, R.N., B.S.N., AccuCare Founder and President, who has been a member of the team for more than 20 years. Together, they have built a company whose mission is to provide in-home, quality care with a human touch.
Locally RN-owned and RN-managed, AccuCare has more than 100 caregivers providing a wide range of services from skilled nursing and light housekeeping to running errands and companion support for patients throughout the St. Louis area.
“AccuCare is a family. Jacque (Phillips) has built an incredible company where each person matters. As a caregiver, I want to do my best for my patients, my colleagues, and for Jacque and Jane. To work for a home health care company that is RN-owned and RN-managed makes all the difference. They understand what we go through and are always available to help and guide us through any situation,” said Deanna.
The best advice Deanna would offer someone who is in need of finding home health care for a loved one is to find care now before a loved one accidentally does something to hurt herself. “Don’t wait until your loved one is injured. As a caregiver, I am there to help and serve the needs of your loved one. We’re preventive care. As a caregiver, I can step in and make the day-to-day quality of life for a loved one more fulfilling,” said Deanna.
Deanna said that she doesn’t allow for much down time in her schedule because she has too much energy! She spends as much time as possible with her family, which she described as “a big, close-knit family that is constantly laughing!” She enjoys traveling the country with her husband, and she loves and spoils her dogs. Another big area of Deanna’s life is her love of dogs, which has led her to become actively involved with several canine rescue groups.
“I have always loved dogs. There is something so innocent and special about them. They want to be loved, and they don’t judge,” said Deanna.
“My husband often tells me the only reason why I want to travel with him is because I know he’ll drive and I will be on the phone trying to figure out how to transport a dog across country to get her to a new, forever home,” said Deanna.
Deanna Rice has a big heart, loves her family, is highly regarded in the home health care industry, and helps save dogs in her spare time. Deanna exemplifies the quality of care, the joy of caring for others, and the focus on family AccuCare caregivers possess.