Items filtered by date: August 2021

In a recent blog, we explored several signs that alert you to the need for help from a home health agency. When faced with the reality that assistance has become necessary when it comes to caring for a loved one, there are several important items to consider. The following questions are a good start.

  1. What services does the agency offer?

This can vary widely from light assistance, for a few hours a week, to full-time specialized nursing care. Clients’ needs vary widely, it’s important to ensure that the needs fit with the services offered by the agency in question. AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis offers customized plans to meet the needs of each individual client, because every client is a unique individual.

  1. What qualifications/licensures does the agency hold?

For a loved one’s safety, and for peace of mind, only work with a qualified home health agency. State licensure is a bare minimum. Also inquire about training and certifications, and that the company is insured and bonded. AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis is a member of the Missouri Association of Home Care, the Better Business Bureau, and is an Emergency Medical Response Agency.

  1. Whom does the agency hire?

It is a well-known fact that caregivers face a great deal of stress at work and that pay is low compared with other professions. This leads to a high turnover rate in the industry. The people who provide one-on-one care must be chosen with great care. Thorough background checks are essential, as are basic certifications such as CPR. Don’t be afraid to ask about hiring practices and staff turnover. AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis is proud to say that we hold our carefully-screened caregivers to a high standard, they’ve been a part of our team for a long time and we greatly value each and every one of them.

  1. How are caregivers supervised and supported?

No matter how careful the screening process, caregivers need the support of management to provide the highest level of care. Our clients enjoy the support of a 24-hour Registered Nurse, as well as visits from a Nursing Supervisor to assure quality care. As a small, independent organization, our staff is empowered to make decisions as needed to best serve those in our care.

  1. How does the agency communicate with clients and families?

Questions or concerns should be regular and open, with easy access to those caring for a loved one. It is unacceptable to get the run around. We are always at the ready to speak with and share information with families and our caregivers to ensure that we are providing the best care possible.

6.  Does the model of service meet our needs?

Many private pay home health care companies in the St Louis area call themselves “non-medical” and do not have an RN or Nursing Supervisor on staff. This can result in problems as the client’s health declines with no one overseeing the client’s healthcare needs. Not only can AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis meet daily needs, but we also can address health issues. We offer customized plans to meet the needs of each individual client, because every client is a unique individual.

7.  Can services change as our needs change?

It is vital to assess not only what your needs are now, but also whether the agency in question can offer continuity of care as needs change. AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis provides a wide range of services, and is committed to serving you as needs change, always keeping in mind what is best for your loved one.

8.  What are the costs and how are they billed?

The world of healthcare can be confusing, with many different levels of care and payment options. Private, in-home care is a long-term commitment for those in need of consistent, daily care. The majority of private in-home health care is private pay or covered by a long-term care policy. AccuCare Home Health Care can help determine if your insurer covers the services you need. We can help you file claims or provide any necessary documentation required by your insurance company.

9.  What happens if/when there is a problem?

It’s important to consider the “what ifs” and how those in charge of your loved one’s care will handle them, from health crises to staffing issues. AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis has a Registered Nurse on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Inquiries regarding care are answered quickly by our owner or Director of Nursing. We guarantee our 24-hour care, and you can rest assured that our caregivers will be there when promised.

10.  What do others say about this agency?

Fortunately, there are many resources that point to a company’s dependability, integrity and quality of care. AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and received the 2017 BBB Torch Award for Exceptional Ethics and Service. We are a member of the Missouri Alliance for Home Care, and we are an Emergency Medical Response Agency. We are honored to have received a Future 50 Award. Our staff have received the 2016 Caregiver of the Year by MAHC; Lifetime Achievement and Caregiver of the Year sponsored by the VOYCE (an ombudsman program for seniors).  Our clients are also happy to share their experiences.


These 10 questions are just the beginning. Hiring a home health care agency to provide the best care for your loved one is an incredibly important decision. We hope that you have many more questions, and that you will contact us so that we can answer each and every question for you. Call us for a free consultation and let us show you how AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis can meet your family’s needs.

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:43

Love Your Heart

Yes, Valentine’s Day has passed, but we’re still thinking about hearts. February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. It is a time to raise awareness of the prevalence of Heart Disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women, causing one out of every four deaths. Take note caregivers, the focus of the 2018 campaign is encouraging younger adults to take control of their cardiovascular health and be aware of their own risks, but this does not lessen the need for awareness in the aging population.

Anyone can make small choices that improve heart health:

  • Know the risk. There are a few things that are beyond control, such as age, gender and heredity. It’s important to have a talk with a medical professional about an individual’s risk for heart disease.
  • Know the signs. Heart attacks, cardiac arrest and stroke are serious events, the effects of which can be lessened with early intervention and treatment. Be prepared by knowing the signs before they occur.
  • Reduce the risk. According to the AHA, these seven steps are simple and proven ways to reduce the risk of heart disease:
  1. Increase physical activity
  2. Control cholesterol levels
  3. Choose a healthy diet. This includes increasing fruits and veggies and limiting salt and sweets.
  4. Manage blood pressure. Consult a doctor about the best way to manage blood pressure, also check out these the new guidelines.
  5. Lose weight
  6. Manage blood sugar
  7. Don’t smoke
  • Take more steps to improve health. In addition to the “simple seven,” these steps are also recommended for improving health.
  1. Be grateful. Practice gratitude, which is helpful for not only maintaining health, but also in recovery from heart problems.
  2. Be mindful. Evidence suggests that meditation and other similar activities may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Maintain medication regimen. This seems like common sense, but many people stop medication without consulting their doctor. Continue to take all medication prescribed, including daily aspirin.
  4. Manage stress. Everyone experiences stress, but prolonged or extreme stress can have a deadly effect on the body. Make a plan to improve health by keeping stress under control.
  5. Get adequate sleep. Sometimes behavior interferes with sleep – consuming too much caffeine or allowing phones to interfere with sleep. Take steps to get better sleep.

A healthier heart means a healthier life. We wish you a happy heart month, and great health for many years to come!

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:42

Beating the Flu

It has been a very difficult flu season across the nation. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, the 2017-18 influenza season has brought a total of 66,373 cases to the state of Missouri. Of these positive cases, 11,269 have been in individuals aged 65 and older. The aging population is also more likely to suffer serious complications, making flu awareness even more vital.

The CDC warns that influenza awareness and prevention are still very important and there are still weeks of flu season ahead. So, how can we beat the flu?

Know the flu. The flu comes on suddenly and typically involves a fever (not always) or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Occasionally, there is also vomiting and diarrhea.

Practice prevention. The flu shot is recommended for most individuals, particularly those over age 65. Talk to your doctor about taking this step; and if you haven’t already this year, it is not too late. However, remember that it is not always effective, so you must practice wise habits; eating healthy, exercising, reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep and taking doctor-recommended supplements all contribute to a stronger immune system. Stay away from people with symptoms and avoiding close contact in crowds. Washing hands frequently and properly is perhaps the most important preventative step.

Know your risk. Everyone 65 years and older is considered at high risk for developing serious complications. Conditions such as asthma, heart disease and many other disorders heighten the risk even further. If your risk is higher, talk to your health provider about a course of action should flu symptoms develop.

Treat the flu. As soon as symptoms develop, high-risk individuals should visit their healthcare provider. In some instances, medication will be prescribed to limit the severity and duration of the illness. In others, there will be close monitoring and treatment of symptoms. Staying hydrated and keeping fever at bay are especially important in aging individuals.

Know the signs of trouble. Influenza can make chronic medical conditions worse, so watch for worsening symptoms of those conditions. Also seek medical help immediately for difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

We wish you great health in the months ahead!

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:38

Seven Signs That It’s Time to Get Help

There’s a conversation you’ve been dreading. It’s a moment you wished would never come, even though you knew it likely would. Your aging loved one has begun to need more care than you can give, and it is time to admit that you all need help.

Ideally, there have been discussions along the way, in which all individuals have expressed their wishes and planned ahead to have those wishes carried out. This isn’t always the case, but if there is still time to discuss the future, don’t delay. If that future is now a reality, know that there is help to make the transition as painless as possible.

How do you know it’s time? How do you know it is really the right time, and that you aren’t making a mistake? Here are a few signs that help is needed:

  • A life-changing event has occurred. Sometimes a stroke, an injury or the passing of another caregiver leads to the decision that more help is needed.
  • An accident or near-miss moment has occurred. Often, aging individuals try to hide their impairment from loved ones, and the issues are brought to light by a fall or other accident in the home.
  • A healthcare professional has recommended additional help. Your loved one’s physician may spot signs that they are becoming less able to be independent.
  • Your loved one struggles to complete activities of daily living. ADLs are the things we do each day, from getting dressed to fixing lunch. If your loved one cannot complete these without help, it may be a sign that further decline in abilities will come.
  • Your loved one engages in dangerous behaviors. Wandering away from home, leaving the stove on, or being unable to recognize common dangers requires near constant assistance.
  • Your loved one cannot handle their medication regimen. An aging individual who cannot take their medication properly could face serious danger from overdose or lack of medicine. The need for assistance varies with the individual, but it is a very important detail to consider.
  • Current caregivers are burned out or overly stressed. It is common for people to want to take the job of caregiving on alone, or even with help of other family members. However, when needs are excessive or the caregivers have other obligations (jobs, children, health concerns, etc.), there is no shame in seeking assistance.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed and helpless in these situations. Your loved one can maintain the maximum amount of independence possible and be served with dignity and respect. Accucare Home Health Care of St. Louis offers a wide variety of services, ranging from respite care and light assistance to full 24-hour care. The sooner you consider the possibility of enlisting help, the easier the transition will be. Call us today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:37

Stay Warm and Cozy

By now, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear us say that as you age, many things change. From loss of hearing ability to pain levels, from new illnesses to new dietary needs, the only constant seems to be change. Recent frigid temperatures are a stark reminder that individuals’ ability to regulate body temperature changes as well.

Why is it more difficult to stay warm and cozy as we age? There are several reasons.

  • Increasing sensitivity to cold could be a sign of a medical problem, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or thyroid conditions.
  • Some medications decrease circulation and increase heat loss, including beta blockers and calcium channel blockers.
  • A normal decrease in circulation occurs as blood vessels lose their elasticity.
  • Fat layers beneath the skin, which help conserve body heat, thin naturally with age.
  • Metabolic responses to cold temperatures slow with age.
  • In short, even in the absence of health problems, our bodies become less effective at controlling skin blood flow and generating internal heat.

Fortunately, cold weather isn’t quite as dangerous as hot weather, at least when it comes to weather-related deaths. That said, it is important to know the signs of hypothermia, especially if an aging person is prone to wandering or spending too much time outside. Inside, there are several things you can control in order to stay warm and cozy.

  • Set thermostats to a temperature no lower than 68 degrees.
  • Wear warm clothes when sleeping.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting clothing during waking hours.
  • Drink warm beverages. Avoid alcohol, which increases heat loss, as well as excessive amounts of caffeine.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. Wear several layers if you must go outdoors, including a hat and gloves.
  • Use appropriate caution when using space heaters.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home (you’d be surprised to learn how many from older generations have done this).
  • Ensure that carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are working properly.
  • Prevent burns by maintaining proper distance from heaters and never falling asleep with heating pads.
  • Check on those who live alone to ensure they are following safe guidelines to stay warm and that their heat is working properly.


We wish you a warm and cozy winter!

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:36

And a Happy New Year

In just a few short days, we will be ringing in the year 2018! It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies, especially as one gets a bit older. By the way, have you ever wondered why that is? Here are a few theories.

It’s likely that the thought of New Year Resolutions has come to your mind by now. There are two types of people who choose to make resolutions: those who make a list of resolutions (often the same ones each year) and forget them by February, and those who choose a goal or two and make it a reality. If you would like to be part of the latter group, we have a few tips for you.

  • Make your goals clear, specific and measurable. Instead of saying “I’m going to be better with money,” decide on the details that need to be addressed. For example, decide to pay off new credit card purchases every month, which will force you to limit those purchases. Set an amount you plan to save, designating how you will save and where the savings will be kept.
  • Be realistic. Set a goal that can not only be reached, but also maintained throughout the years.
  • Break down large goals. Take bigger goals and break them into small steps that are more easily reached. Remember that every journey begins with one small step.
  • Set a deadline for reevaluation. If your resolutions are typically just a memory by the time January is over, set a reminder on your phone to look at your progress around the middle of the month. Reevaluate whether resolutions were in line with the above tips and adjust as needed.
  • Enlist support. Find a friend or two who will support your goals and hold you accountable. Resist the urge to announce your resolution in a large public forum or online, as some experts believe that the announcement and positive reinforcement becomes the reward and thwarts actual progress.
  • Don’t give up. A worthwhile goal is not easily reached. Even if it seems like progress is too slow or even nonexistent at times, keep inching forward. Reevaluate often, but don’t give up.

 So, what is your goal? If you need help thinking of something worthwhile, may we suggest you revisit one of our earlier blogs?

We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:35

Preventing Winter Falls

December has brought along a chill in the air, and it is likely that wintry precipitation will soon follow. Winter weather increases the chance of injury from a fall on the ice or snow. For a younger individual, a fall can be painful and inconvenient; for an aging person, it can be devastating and limit their ability to remain independent. We want you and your loved ones to experience a safe winter season, where only those playing on sleds experience slipping and sliding.

Keep these safety tips in mind.

  • When bundling up for the cold weather, be mindful of winter accessories that could interfere with vision. Make certain that everyone can fully see where they are stepping; ensure hats, hoods or scarves do not block lines of sight. Also, be aware that rapid changes in temperature and humidity can cause glasses to fog up.
  • Wear proper footwear, ensure that there is traction on the bottom and that there is a secure fit.
  • Go slowly. Take small steps and get proper footing with each step.
  • Keep walkways clear. Park as close to the building as possible, make sure walkways are clear, dry and/or properly treated.
  • Provide support. Don’t leave an aging person to go it alone. Walk with him or her to provide support. Likewise, check railings to ensure they are sturdy and free of precipitation.
  • Stay inside if necessary. Sometimes, such as after ice has accumulated, it is better to cancel appointments or outings than to take the risk of falling.
  • Stay physically fit. Maintaining balance and muscle tone throughout the year goes a long way in preventing falls.
  • Have a plan. In the event of a fall, make sure your loved one knows who to call for assistance. Check in before and during inclement weather to discourage unnecessary risks. Put adequate help in place, whether that means hiring a neighbor to shovel snow so your loved one won’t attempt the task or welcoming a caregiver into the home.

If your aging loved one is in need of professional, friendly assistance, don’t hesitate to contact AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis for a free consultation. We will create a customized plan to meet your loved one’s needs, while maintaining as much independence as possible.

Happy winter!

Friday, 20 August 2021 11:34

Best Gifts for Seniors

The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, and the holiday shopping season has begun! Giving gifts is an important part of most of the winter holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwaanza. As you look for the perfect present for each friend and family member, it often becomes apparent that the aging loved ones are the most difficult for which to buy. Often, they seem to have everything and there is nothing on their wish list. What is a gift giver to do?

We have a few ideas that your aging loved one may love:

  • Presto Printing Mailbox: Nothing brings your aging loved one joy like getting correspondence from the younger generations or those who are far away. Yet, the younger generation is more likely to email or text pictures. This printer prints off emails or photos from approved senders, even to users without a computer. While this does require a subscription service, once set up, it’s super easy to “get mail.”
  • Chop Wizard: For the kitchen professional who now struggles with dexterity, this kitchen tool can be a safe and simple way to chop vegetables. Of course, your loved one must have sufficient arm strength to push down on the handle. Similarly, there are many other kitchen items available for people with arthritis or other conditions.
  • Voice activated helpers: One of the more popular gifts this year is the voice activated device, check out the Alexa, Echo or Google Home. While this may seem like a great gift for the teen that spends hours listening to music or wants to quickly look up the answer to a homework question, these devices can be of great help to seniors. Without having to type into a smartphone, seniors can hear the weather forecast, news headlines and access a great deal of information.
  • Photo albums tailored to their needs: Pictures are always a wonderful gift for grandparents, but when memory problems surface, they may not seem as practical. Fortunately, customized photo options are endless. Labeling photos in decorative collages is simple, inexpensive and helpful, as aging persons typically maintain their reading abilities long after memory fades. Talking photo albums also make wonderful gifts.
  • Exercise equipment. For those with limited mobility, there are many options available to continue physical activity. Talk to a health care provider about the best alternative. Keep it simple and appealing to your loved one’s abilities and interests; and of course, make sure that equipment is easily stored out of the way.

We wish you happy holiday shopping, friends!

In just one week, family and friends will gather round the table to give thanks for the many blessings we share. Your celebration likely includes a gathering of loved ones, delicious food and fall decorations. While this can be a wonderful time, your aging loved one could experience stress and a few challenges.

These tips will help you meet challenges with confidence and create a more festive celebration.

  • Embrace tradition. Great, great grandma’s recipe for pumpkin pie or displaying a family heirloom tablecloth will be appreciated by your elderly relatives and it is also a great way to pass on memories to the younger generations. Try to keep at least a few traditions alive.
  • Be flexible. Remember that many in your own family also have extended family, which can make scheduling difficult. Sometimes you will need to abandon tradition and reschedule to accommodate others. Perhaps offer a smaller dinner or have all come over to your house for dessert and coffee later in the day. This could help your aging loved one stay connected to those who they don’t often see.
  • Watch the time. Allow your elderly loved one breaks and quiet time, especially if they struggle with memory loss or agitation. If they have more difficulty later in the evening, schedule family time for early in the day. Plan for a quick, simple exit plan for every event, if need be.
  • Be aware of dietary and medication issues. Yes, Thanksgiving is a time to splurge – a lot! Be aware of medical conditions for which splurging can be dangerous, such as diabetes, and perhaps share this information with other family members. Be sure that needed medication is taken on time and to monitor blood sugars and/or pressure. Assist loved ones in “splurging” wisely. Know the steps to take in the case that their symptoms require attention. Also, consider talking to your healthcare provider ahead of time.
  • Acknowledge loved ones who have passed away. The holidays, including Thanksgiving, can be a difficult time for those who have lost their closest friends and family. Allow them to talk about those they miss, allow them space to be emotional, and talk about happy holidays from times past.
  • Have reasonable expectations. Especially if your loved one struggles with memory, be sure that everyone attending is aware. Meet their struggles with compassion and understanding.
  • Have reasonable expectations of yourself. Remember that you don’t have to do it all. Ask for help, and feel free to purchase a few dishes rather than make everything homemade, consider a smaller gathering if needed. Take breaks and engage in some physical activity to help keep stress levels down.

We wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving Day!

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared this month for awareness at a time when fewer than 2 million Americans were affected by Alzheimer’s. Now the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s has soared to nearly 5.4 million and is projected to rise to 16 million by 2050, unless advances in the disease occur.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 1 out of every 10 Americans over age 65. The disease has a devastating effect on patients, caregivers, and the community. Symptoms of memory loss, confusion, behavior and mood changes worsen over time, often to the point that the disease interferes with daily tasks, relationships, and even safety. An estimated 18.2 billion hours of care are provided by family members. These unpaid caregivers experience stress, burnout, and accompanying physical and mental health problems at a high rate.

During Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, you can do the following things to raise awareness and join in the fight against the disease.

  • Learn the signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better prognosis. Knowing the signs is essential. Also, be aware of the differences between cognitive impairment that is normal with aging and dementia.
  • Know and reduce risk factors for both you and your loved ones.
  • Participate in research that could lead to developments in understanding the process and progression of the disease.
  • Raise funds to support research and programs that help patients and families coping with Alzheimer’s. AccuCare Home Health proudly supports the St. Louis area chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association with an annual donation and the volunteer efforts of President and Founder Jacqueline Phillips. We have witnessed firsthand the valuable support that they give to local families. They are a great resource for those impacted by this disease. Their Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place on November 18, and it is not too late to participate or donate.
  • Talk about it. There should be no shame or stigma in this disease, in being a caregiver, or in needing assistance. Talking about it, online, in support groups, or in person, helps you and others know that you are not alone.
  • Take a break. If you are a caregiver, self care is of utmost importance. It not only reduces your risk of disease, but also improves the care that you can give to your loved one. Ask for help, get respite care, get that needed break.
  • Get help. AccuCare Home Health of St. Louis offers a variety of in-home health services to care for your loved one’s needs. We evaluate each situation on an individual basis to develop a care plan that meets each client’s specific needs. Engaging professional, compassionate caregivers can improve your loved one’s quality of life and help them remain at home for as long as possible. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Louis is a great resource for families and other caregivers.

This month and always, let’s do our part to advocate for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers, as well as to support research to end this horrible disease.

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