June has arrived; and though summer officially begins in about three weeks, the time for outdoor activities and vacations is here. Here in the Midwest, extreme heat could arrive any day, bringing with it danger for aging individuals. According to the CDC, persons older than 65 years of age are more prone to heat stress. This is because they do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. Additionally, they are more likely to have medical conditions or take medications that change the body’s ability to respond to heat.
When the temperature rises, it is wise to check in on older relatives and neighbors. Be aware of any conditions or medications that place them at greater risks. Also be aware of factors that may be a barrier to them taking care of themselves during warmer weather. For example, some may be concerned about their energy bills when they use the air conditioner. Other factors may be fluid restrictions due to medication or impaired reasoning skills.
Individuals and caregivers should take the following steps to protect from heat-related health issues.
Even when precautions are taken, elderly persons should be monitored for signs of heat-related illness. Signs of heat exhaustion require immediate action: faintness or dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting, rapid and weak pulse, and muscle cramps. If these symptoms occur, get to a cooler place, drink water and take a cool shower or use cool compresses.
Heat stroke is even more serious and requires emergency medical care. It can have lasting effects. The following symptoms require an immediate call to 911: throbbing headache, inability to sweat, body temperature above 103, nausea or vomiting, rapid and strong pulse, and loss of consciousness.
Our Accucare caregivers are available to help with a variety of in-home health care services. We can assist your loved one with the daily activities that will keep them well throughout the hot summer months. We provide on-site first aid services to large venues in the St. Louis area, where we are sometimes called upon to identify the symptoms of heat related illnesses. Our professional medical staff is on call to assist our caregivers with meeting the needs of our clients. If you need help with keeping your loved one safe throughout the summer, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
In recent blogs, we have been exploring nutrition in aging individuals. So far, we’ve discussed several challenges to eating well and how to overcome those challenges. We have also explored several very unique situations that may present additional challenges, as well as how to cope with those situations. Even though challenges are present, eating well is worth it. Aging individuals who eat a nutritional diet are more able to resist illness and disease, and they tend to feel better.
Since older adults require fewer calories, it is important to make every bite count as much as possible. Here are 6 of the top nutritional needs to ensure that your aging loved one’s diet covers.
It can be difficult to ensure that your loved one is getting adequate nutrition, especially when disease or medications complicate needs and absorption. Supplements can often help, but could interfere with medications or health issues. Maintaining an open dialogue with healthcare professionals is vital, so be certain to discuss how to meet your loved ones needs with a physician and seek help with daily caregiving when needed.
We have exciting news! Recently, one of our very own team members received a prestigious and well-deserved award. Last week, our team traveled to Tan-Tar-A Resort in the Ozarks for the Missouri Alliance for Home Care (MAHC) Annual Conference. There, Deanna Rice received the MAHC Paraprofessional Caregiver of the Year Award. We simply couldn’t be happier for her.
The Missouri Alliance for Home Care is Missouri’s largest trade association representing the interests and concerns of home health agencies, home care companies, hospices and private duty companies. Each year, they honor a paraprofessional caregiver who has gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing care to patients and clients.
Deanna Rice came to AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis three years ago, during which time we have seen her mature and develop into a first-rate professional caregiver who sets the standards for how all caregivers should be. Deanna brings experience, energy and empathy to her role. Though she came to AccuCare having worked in other occupational fields, her caregiving experience began ten years prior when she became a caregiver out of a personal family need to help care for her grandfather after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. To her, she was simply caring for a family member whom she loved greatly, but her family and friends saw how she interacted with him and how patient she was. Deanna’s mother, an AccuCare caregiver at the time and still a team member, influenced her decision to accept a caregiver position with AccuCare.
Deanna shares that her greatest fulfillment has been working with the elderly and giving back each day. She leaves a lasting impression on clients’ lives, and often makes a difference through the “little things,” such as giving an impromptu pedicure, noticing and cleaning a smudge on a client’s glasses, or even giving water to a client’s pet. What’s obvious to her is often missed by other caregivers. She is a special person who puts her energy, heart and soul into everything she does. She is always ready for the next challenge and has kind words for every person she meets.
When Deanna isn’t working, she enjoys traveling with her husband and soul mate Willie. They enjoy spending a great deal of time with their large family, which includes Deanna’s three younger siblings and 21 nieces and nephews. They also love spoiling their “fur babies,” Diva and Lilly, whom she describes as being “treated better than most two-legged children.” Deanna enjoys time outdoors, decorating cakes, and working with dog rescues.
Deanna has a big heart and is highly regarded by all of us at AccuCare. She is an incredible role model for our team of caregivers. Thank you, Deanna, for all that you do for our team and for those in our care. Congratulations!
In recent blogs, we have discussed the special challenges to meeting the nutritional needs of aging individuals, as well as suggestions for overcoming those challenges. Unfortunately, in some situations, the elderly and those caring for the elderly will face even more challenges than previously discussed.
Being aware of these possibilities is the first step to ensuring adequate nutritional intake. As always, look at the whole picture rather than a day or two, and consult a doctor as needed
Recently, we explored several challenges to eating well that are specific to the aging population. These include, but are not limited to, isolation, loss of ability, loss of memory, lack of knowledge, and apathy. There are also challenges unique to different physical conditions and illnesses, many of which we will address more thoroughly in future blogs. While the challenges to eating well are significant, we know that it is not a hopeless situation. These tips can help with overcoming the difficulties we discussed.
Overcoming the challenges and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, but it is possible with effort and assistance. Often, family members are unable to be as involved in the situation as they would like to be. In that event, it is wise to consider obtaining in-home assistance for seniors. Having the right help can make the difference that keeps seniors living the fullest life possible in the place they wish to live.
The eating habits of Americans have changed drastically over the past 50 years. Increasingly busy lifestyles coupled with widespread availability of fast and processed food presents challenges for people of all ages. However, as individuals age, there are several new challenges to a nutritional diet.
While aging individuals face unique challenges to maintaining a healthy diet, it is possible to overcome these challenges. We look forward to providing solutions in future blogs.