In the US, 88% of people with osteoarthritis are 45 or older.
Many of us experience an increase in aches and pains as we age. Arthritis is a primary cause of discomfort. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “arthritis affects nearly 60 million adults and 300,000 children. Over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions damage the joints and often other organs.”
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation in the joints most commonly affecting hands, feet, knees, spine, and hips, it’s the #1 cause of disability in the US.
Of the many types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is most common, particularly in older adults. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that happens when the tissues that cushion the ends of the bones within the joints break down over time. It affects surrounding tissues like tendons, cartilage, and muscle,
The effects of arthritis may cause debility, but there are many people with OA who are asymptomatic. We might hear the term “bone on bone” when visiting the doctor for pain management. Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain and stiffness, especially upon waking or after sitting for long periods of time; feeling or hearing a crunching or grinding sensation; joint swelling; tenderness, and loss of function.
There are many types of arthritis: gout, psoriatic, rheumatoid, and osteoarthritis are only a few. Risk factors include genetic influences, being female, being overweight, repetitive use, previous injuries, and lack of exercise. Underlying medical issues contribute to pain and worsening arthritic changes. “Arthritis can lead to a loss of mobility, which in turn can lead to a loss of a feeling of independence. Many seniors who suffer from arthritis also suffer from depression. It is a disease that takes a physical and mental toll on a person.” There is an increased risk of injurious falls for those living with arthritis.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
The first thing to do when experiencing joint pain, swelling, and difficulty with everyday activities is schedule a visit with your PCP. You’ll be evaluated by your doctor or nurse practitioner who will review symptoms, check joint function and reflexes, medical history, family history, and your current medications. Your PCP may order blood work to rule out autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Joint x-rays help to visualize any loss of joint space, bone damage, bone remodeling, and bone spurs. Early joint damage does not usually appear on x-rays. You might receive a further workup depending on the initial test results. Your PCP may make a referral to a specialist.
Can arthritic changes and joint pain be managed?
The good news is there are a variety of ways to help older adults carry on with less discomfort. “Primary care providers can help diagnose OA and distinguish between other musculoskeletal conditions, help you establish pain management strategies, and refer you to other specialists as needed. If left unmanaged or if you wait too long, osteoarthritis can get worse and can interfere with your ability to do daily activities, work, or hobbies.”
There are a variety of measures for seniors that provide relief from OA pain and other issues that arise from it:
Assist your loved one to manage medications and ensure that they are used appropriately. Taking medications as ordered ensures safety and efficacy.
Drug-free approaches to pain management
There are many non-pharmacologic approaches to relieve arthritis pain. Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and physical therapy are all effective pain relief measures for seniors. Many older adults find that yoga and meditation help them achieve greater comfort and improve daily function. Ice and heat are effective, however heating pads can be dangerous and should be used under close supervision. Try alternating hot and cold every 20 minutes. Experts agree that vigorous and prolonged activity is less desirable than gentle activities like swimming or even stretching.
Try chair yoga: it’s less strenuous for those who have trouble with balance. Encourage your loved one to get up and walk around frequently to avoid painful stiffness. Continue using assistive devices like canes and walkers for safety: falls can result in life-threatening injuries. Physical therapists can make suggestions for exercises to increase muscle mass around the joint and enhance stability. They may provide braces or splints to support painful joints.
Diet is another factor, and not only for weight loss. Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties. Nutritionists can offer expert guidance.
Use it or lose it
The bottom line is this: keep moving! Lack of movement will absolutely increase pain and decrease function. Older adults will experience greater quality of life, less anxiety and depression, improved appetite, and better sleep if their arthritis is well-managed.
A new study highlights a possible link between sleep medications and dementia.
Sleep aids should be the last resort for sleepless seniors, according to the latest data. Why are so many people with dementia restless at night? How can we help a loved one get the a good night’s sleep? Is there a good sleep medication for dementia patients?
What does the newest data say about sleep medications?
While researchers stress that further investigation is needed, the study’s general conclusion is that the risks are greater the longer people used sleep medications; the higher the dose, the greater the risk. Researchers reported that 15% of their study sample, or 4.6 million older adults in the US, reported routine use of sleep medication. An interesting correlation emerged over the 15-year study, which followed older adults: comparatively, there is a 79% increase in cognitive decline among White patients who use sleep aids 4-5 times per month. People of color seem to have some degree of immunity to those risks. However, it’s important to keep in mind that non-White seniors have increased overall risk factors such as diabetes and high-blood pressure, as well as different socioeconomic factors. This study is specific to people with long-term use of sleep aids only.
What medications are used to promote sleep?
There are a number of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that sleepless folks use to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Common prescription sleep medications:
There are a number of widely used medications to encourage sleep. However, sleep experts warn that sedation and sleepiness are not the same. Furhermore, there’s no evidence that sleep quality or number of hours slept are improved with the use of these medications.
-[DRUG BRAND NAME (drug generic name)] is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Over the counter preparations
Why are sleep medications problematic?
As discussed above, there is a significant risk for developing dementia when sleeping pills are used in the long-term. In the short-term, there are well-documented risks for injurious falls, increased confusion, personality and behavioral changes, lethargy, and poor judgment. The use of sleep medications could potentially cause changes in cognition and daily functioning, although the research is unclear.
Anyone who’s a caregiver knows
If you’re a career, you’ve seen it: late afternoons bring increased agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and general distress to people with cognitive decline. This behavioral phenomenon is called “sundowning.”
People with cognitive problems have difficulties communicating and cannot tell us what is causing their distress; it is left to us as caregivers to pick up on non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions to offer safer solutions to allow adequate rest and alleviate discomfort. Observe your loved one for expressions of distress: grimacing, holding or rubbing an area of the body, and verbal indicators like saying “no” or “ow.”
Structure and routine go a long way in promoting a restful night’s sleep. Keeping a consistent and predictable daily pattern of mealtimes, bathing, exercise, and other activities helps, along with remaining wakeful through the day and exposure to natural light. Daytime napping can lead to nighttime wakefulness.
What to do
Consult a healthcare provider who specializes in sleep medicine. There may be something else going on that can be treated without the potential problems that come with sleeping pills, which should be the last resort. Quality of life will be much improved for the patient, and for their careers.
Relationships based on compassionate care promote quality of life
Holistic care for the elderly, or person-centered care, acknowledges each person’s diverse needs and wishes within the individualized treatment plan, improving health outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction.
Person-centered care enriches the lives of seniors
Person-Centered Care (PCC) focuses on the whole person: who they are and what they want from treatment, as well as their life in general. PCC respects strengths and weaknesses, preferences, beliefs, and feelings. Holistic practitioners believe that you are the expert on your life, values, and priorities.
Compassionate care views the patient in the context of their family, lifestyle, and community. Studies have revealed a connection to better healthcare decisions, sticking with treatment plans, and lower healthcare costs through caring, trusting, and collaborative attitudes toward patients and families. Satisfaction with quality of care and services appears to be directly related to the level of cooperation with family members. It should also be noted that healthcare professionals who work within the holistic model report more job satisfaction. Clearly, everyone involved in the caring relationship wins.
PCM: A long history of compassionate care
From Florence Nightingale to modern hospice practice, holistic senior care advocates for all the patient’s needs. Nightingale believed simple things were important for comfort and health: fresh air, sunlight, environmental cleanliness, and hygiene. Hospice’s care model incorporates mental, physical, and spiritual health, supported through the use of traditional medical practice: physician-prescribed medications, as well as education, restorative therapies, communication, and alternative treatments. Hospice promotes comfort through pain relief, adequate rest, nutrition and hydration, companionship, and the use of complementary treatments such as aromatherapy and massage.
Home-based holistic care for the elderly
Perfect Care Match’s experienced home care team includes a board-certified Holistic Health Practitioner on staff to ensure each client, and their family, is respected. They have a different sort of toolbox and include complementary treatments to reduce pain and improve appetite, mood, and sleep. The patient remains in their own familiar space. Holistic care treats the person as a whole while traditional medicine generally seeks to treat or cure disease.
In the US medical system, a patient may be seen as a disease needing a cure. However, in countries with socialized medicine, primary care providers (PCPs) are expected to assess for social and spiritual well-being, and access to all-around care. Europe’s national health services look at the “risk of ignoring other dimensions of care which are essential, especially for elderly patients: their spiritual needs and personal resources, loneliness and social integration, and self-care (i.e., the ability of patients to do something on their own except taking medications to increase their well-being).”
Live-in caregivers & care teams dedicated to holistic care for seniors
Perfect Care Match knows everyone has a different vision of their best life. For some that means sleeping next to their lifelong partner or having their faithful four-legged friend nearby. For others it may mean they want all the curative treatments they can get; or maybe as few interventions as possible. Many people who are naturally declining stay home, opting to receive only symptom management.
Hospice is a perfect example of holistic care. In home hospice and palliative care incorporate the entire spectrum of care: spiritual and psychological support, medical and nursing care, and skilled therapies that recognize and honor the cultural and social differences of clients. Good medical practice starts with meeting the patient wherever they are, regardless of illness, care setting, education, or socioeconomic status.
At PCM we provide your family with safety, peace of mind, consistency, and realistic expectations. In-home care helps us help you. PCM makes it possible for our clients to receive dedicated person-centered care. Contact us now if you need assistance in taking care of a senior loved one at home.
Families who elect hospice for end-of-life care receive extra support at home.
Hospice is a frequently misunderstood model of care and is sometimes regarded with suspicion. Despite the misconceptions, hospice remains a valuable part of healthcare for millions. End-of life care is provided by hospice professionals: physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, and volunteers.
What is the definition of hospice?
Hospice is specialized care for people diagnosed with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of less than 6 months. The most common diagnoses for people on hospice are dementia, cancer, stroke, and heart or lung disease. Approximately 1.6 million Americans are receiving hospice services at any given time. Some people are discharged from hospice after their conditions improve. Services are covered by Medicare and Medicaid and more people are electing to receive in-home end-of-life (EOL) care than ever.
Hospice vs palliative care
Palliative care is a model that can help patients understand their choices for medical treatment. Patients continue treatments like chemotherapy and radiation or choose to receive other medical procedures that may increase their chances of survival. Hospice care focuses on comfort once the person decides they no longer wish to continue curative treatment.
A good end of life experience
Hospice’s priority is alleviating distressing symptoms as the patient approaches the end of the life cycle. Contrary to the beliefs of some, hospice doesn’t hasten the process of death; in truth, hospice care includes palliative care to relieve symptoms and give social, emotional, and spiritual support.
Comfort measures typically include medicines like morphine to ease pain and promote unlabored breathing, lorazepam for anxiety, sometimes haloperidol for patients experiencing distressing hallucinations and fearfulness, supplemental oxygen, and bowel management medications. All of these symptoms are typical at EOL. Occasionally IV fluids are administered; however, fluids typically put more strain, and therefore more discomfort, on the body as systems start to fail, as do invasive feeding tubes.
Comfort care includes personal assistance with hygiene, wound care, help with feeding, skilled therapies as indicated, and respite care for families. Visits from social workers and clergy help families and patients work through their fears and concerns as death approaches. Volunteers come for friendly visits. Nursing assistants or home health aides help with personal care needs.
Hospice care process
When the topic of hospice and EOL care comes up, it is a moment of trepidation. Many thoughts and feelings go through the minds of the client and their loved ones; oftentimes the first realization is that the client’s final moments are approaching. Although different cultures and spiritual philosophies view death in various ways, facing the unknown can be downright frightening.
While the person’s PCP may initiate a frank discussion, patients and families make the final decision to commence hospice care; they decide that medical treatments create more suffering by prolonging death. The PCP makes a referral to hospice, whose medical director will certify that the patient’s condition is terminal, with six months or less to live. The medical director makes further certifications every six months as needed. A registered nurse will assess the patient’s individual needs, develop a care plan and coordinate services. The patient and family can choose the services they feel are most important, or decline those that they aren’t interested in; for example, forgoing a chaplain in favor of their personal spiritual advisor. If the family or patient elects to discontinue hospice for any reason, the patient is discharged.
Perfect Care Match provides in-home hospice support
PCMatch works alongside hospice agencies to ensure the client and family are totally supported all the way through the EOL process. We continue our important work in the client’s home to ensure quality of life and comfort by anticipating and meeting the needs of those for whom we are caring. PCMatch is here for you.
Medication management is critical for staying healthy and independent
Medication use by older adults is at an all-time high. While people might need different medications for a wide range of diseases and conditions, it’s important to be a mindful advocate for your loved ones. Here’s what you need to know about how to manage medication for elderly people and caregiver medication administration.
So many pill bottles…
According to Current Clinical Pharmacology, “Prescription drug use by older adults can often result in adverse drug events that contribute to hospitalization, increased duration of illness, nursing home placement, falls, and fractures. Older adults are more likely to use medications long term, increasing their risk of physical and mental harm.”
How does Perfect Care Match help seniors manage medications?
Our experienced nursing staff monitors not only the client’s overall health and safety, but also manages and oversees medications; they teach clients and families how to manage medication for elderly loved ones. Clients receive medication reminders and oversight from our in-home caregiver staff. With a wealth of knowledge and resources, Perfect Care Match’s dedicated careers assist seniors in maintaining their health with an appropriate, informed medication regimen.
Two areas of high concern regarding polypharmacy, or long-term use of 5 or more medicines, are potentially harmful drug-disease interactions and the use of high-risk medications in older adults. Sometimes the side-effects outweigh the benefit of the drug. Elders experience diminished quality of life as well as loss of independence if medicines aren’t taken properly or if they cause debilitating side effects. The American Geriatric Society uses a tool called the Beers criteria to evaluate polypharmacy risk factors. Furthermore, it should be noted that older adults who consume alcohol experience more serious problems when they take medications, even as prescribed. It is crucial that the prescriber be advised of any and all alcohol consumption.
There are 5 classes of drugs, and at least 34 specific drugs, best avoided by the elderly population:
Successful self-administration requires both cognition and physical ability
Seniors and their family caregivers are often able to manage medications independently after being educated about the subject. Knowing what each medicine is called and what it treats is difficult; writing everything down is perfectly acceptable. Perfect Care Match's nurses teach medicine management, such as how to set-up meds for the week or using alarms as a reminder. Sometimes clients become too confused and forget to take them; or alternatively, take more than prescribed, forgetting that they already took them. Poor judgment and apathy related to a mental health issue or dementia reduce the likelihood of medication adherence. Many are unable to access the meds due to packaging. Decreased dexterity and poor eyesight make tasks like drawing up and administering insulin a very challenging task. When someone’s physical or cognitive abilities are impaired, there is serious potential for harm when self-managing medications.
Look to the Pharmacist
Pharmacies have really been stepping up their games for patients, The pandemic brought much-needed and improved home delivery. Pharmacists can recommend tips and tools for effective med management, then send it along with the delivery driver. Speaking of pharmacies, stick to only one; the reason for this is to have one single medication profile, all in one place. Sometimes that’s not an option: for example, if the person needs compounding services or specialized therapeutics received directly from the manufacturer. If this is the case, all pharmacies and prescribers should receive regularly updated med profiles.
Managing medications in the home can be easily managed or can be a complex an difficult task.
If you or your loved one needs help to organize, understand, and streamline the medication process, Perfect Care Match is here to provide in-home medical and personal care, and we’re just a phone call away at: (774) 309-3021.
Professional Care Match helps families with home-based care services for seniors
Search no more! Professional Care Match is your source for dedicated in-home caregivers. PCM specializes in all levels of in-home care for seniors who wish to remain at home. For personal care support, a PCA might be just what you need.
Live your best life, in your own home
In the US, the number of seniors who suffer from dementia continues to climb. Unfortunately, despite having relatively stable physical health, those with dementia have difficulty performing everyday activities due to cognitive impairments.
The CDC estimates that there are 5.8 million people in the United States with dementia. Women live longer than men and are at increased risk for dementia, as are people of color.
Many seniors who are cognitively intact still need help with daily activities and personal care tasks, making in-home help a blessing for seniors with physical limitations. Personal care attendants and homemakers make independence possible for so many seniors who look forward to aging in place.
When elders don’t receive non-medical help early on, they often end up in the hospital for problems that could have been avoided. Inpatient medical care is very difficult to bounce back from when the elderly patient has dementia or is recovering from illness or injury.
According to a 2018 study, “Older people with a dementia diagnosis were at higher risk from death in hospital, nursing home admission, long lengths of stay, as well as intermediate outcomes such as delirium, falls, dehydration, reduction in nutritional status, decline in physical and cognitive function, and new infections in hospital.”
The key to preventing avoidable hospitalizations is ensuring that older adults receive the help they need to perform daily personal care. Strict attention to hygiene prevents numerous conditions that, left unaddressed, usually result in hospitalization, such as infections and bedsores.
Non-medical help in your home
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are incurable. People suffering with cognitive decline become dependent on others to ensure their needs are met. Without someone to regularly help them with activities of daily living, there is a high potential for illness or injury.
While they do not perform typical Home Health Aide duties, homemakers and home care attendants are still an invaluable resource for families and for their loved ones who wish to remain in their homes. Family caregivers become exhausted as they try to meet the demands of caring for their own families while also trying to keep their loved one safe and tended to.
Home care keeps older adults in their comfort zone. When your loved one needs assistance with activities of daily living and other everyday tasks, Professional Care Match is here to help! Extra help in the home is a big relief for adult children who have been ministering for their parents; some families have more than one elderly parent in need of attention.
Daily assistance allows personal care attendants to inspect and report skin injuries and other potentially life-threatening problems. Although PCAs aren’t trained clinicians, PCM’s nursing team is always available to investigate reports of possible problems.
What does the PCA do?
PCAs assist with bathing, dressing, incontinence care, and mobility support. Furthermore, their presence in the home promotes safety. In 2019 the US saw 34,000 falls resulting in death. Hospitalizations due to injurious falls cost $50 billion per year, 75% of which is paid by taxpayer-funded Medicare/Medicaid. In 2018 more than 32,000 seniors died from falling.
The second most common cause of hospitalizations in the elderly is urinary tract infections; these are often serious enough to cause complications including death if left untreated. Incontinence and urinary retention are the most common causes of UTIs. PCAs play an important role in ensuring adequate hydration and good hygiene, lessening the likelihood of UTIs and associated complications.
Seniors often experience weight loss, particularly for those who are unable to shop, prepare food, or feed themselves. Nutrition plays a critical role in the health and well-being of our elders. PCAs and homemakers assume responsibility for providing meals and fluids. They do grocery shopping and prepare meals. They do light housekeeping, laundry, and other household tasks that keep older adults safely in their homes.
Having a companion to talk to and socialize with is a crucial factor for stability in older adults. Nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. Loneliness has been linked to numerous risks including depression and suicide, dementia, anxiety, heart failure, and stroke. Regular companionship promotes wellness and cognitive engagement. The familiarity and comfort of home lessens distress for elders with cognitive and mobility problems.
Professional Care Match welcomes the opportunity to serve you and your family. Whether your loved one requires round-the-clock care and supervision, or just a few visits per week, we are here to help!
Sometimes the diagnosis is less important than managing symptoms
Cognitive decline isn’t a normal part of aging but it is a normal symptom of dementia. 60-80% of cases are caused by Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), making it the most common form of dementia. These changes affect the person’s ability to think and remember. Home care eases the burden for the client and their family.
Alzheimer’s Disease vs. Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.” It’s irreversible and the patient loses the ability to carry out familiar tasks like self-care. Attentive assistance is the key to remaining at home.
One type of dementia is AD, a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. These people undergo a progressive loss of function.
How is Alzheimer’s different from other types of dementia?
Generally, dementia has many causes, Symptoms depend on the area of the brain that’s been affected. For example, Frontotemporal Dementia affects the part of brain responsible for personality, judgment, and behavior; FTD patients have an earlier change in these areas than those with AD. AD’s early symptoms include memory loss, and problems with communication and language.
AD affects the whole brain due to widespread build-up of protein fragments. This debris creates plaques causing nerve structures in the brain to become tangles. Simply put, brain cells start to die. AD is fatal and many patients receive end-of-life care.
Researchers believe that AD begins years, possibly decades, before there are any obvious signs. Insidious is the best word to describe the progress of AD: one day it’s a mild cognitive impairment, and the following day seemingly brings a person whom the family barely recognizes. People who see the patient infrequently may notice changes before a constant companion does. While uncommon, some people experience early-onset dementia, including AD.
Home care for Alzheimer's Disease
Remaining at home ensures loved ones can live comfortably and with the least amount of confusion and distress. Familiarity brings comfort for people whose memory is failing. Despite the devastating losses associated with AD, there is still a piece of the person that understands home and the way it looks, feels, and smells.
Transferring to a care facility is extremely disruptive to the AD patient and usually results in escalation of behaviors like exit-seeking, agitation, sleep disturbances, anxiety, weight-loss, and aggression. Patients often need (more) medication to manage mood and behavior after admitting to a facility. Facilities aren’t usually staffed well enough to provide consistent one-to-one care for each and every resident.
Home care is the optimal setting in which to manage the many challenges of dementia; Professional Care Match is dedicated to helping our clients age in place, in the comfort of home.
Managing dementia in the home
Perfect Care Match brings professional care to the home, where the client thrives in familiarity and comfort. We employ a holistic approach to caring for patients suffering from AD or other dementias.
Our highly-trained and vetted caregivers ensure clients remain comfortable, well-nourished and hydrated, clean, and safe. Receiving care at home minimizes the stress of unfamiliar and unpredictable environments that cause distress for people who are already enduring confusion, fear, or agitation due to this brain disease. A consistent, familiar, experienced career in the home lessens the burden of the disease for both the patient and their loved ones.
Loved ones separated by distance need not worry about the older adult who vaguely states “everything’s fine…” when they call. In-home care for Dementia or Alzheimer's gives families peace of mind: they know that their parent is eating adequately, maintaining hygiene, taking medications, and has companionship and supervision.
Perfect Care Match delivers dedicated care teams
Perfect Care Match pairs professionals with families who need them. Our dependable care providers work as a team, minimizing traffic in the client’s home. Personalized caregiving is one of our many offerings and we strive to preserve lifestyle preferences and dignity.
With a variety of home care options available, how does the consumer know which carer is the best fit for themselves or their loved ones? Personal Care Match aligns your needs with the best-qualified staff.
Perfect Care Match helps people stay at home
With decades’ worth of experience in elder care, we take our role as providers very seriously. We carefully assist you with ascertaining the level of care your loved one needs; clients have the opportunity to choose who they would like to welcome into their homes. Aging in place is the preferred arrangement for the majority of older adults. We strive to keep you or your family member safe and healthy as they remain in their own environment, surrounded by the familiar things in their life.
The Role of the Caregiver
A caregiver is often a spouse or child who may or may not receive payment for their work; some states administer programs that provide financial compensation for family caregivers. There are no certification or licensing requirements for someone who takes care of their parent or child; it’s strictly on-the-job training.
Most will agree they have had on-the-spot training, as well. As family caregivers learn to assist the person with everyday tasks, they often pick up simple medical skills along the way. They learn to administer medicine, manage oxygen, take vital signs, and change simple dressings. In addition, they are responsible for the day to day housekeeping.
On top of that, they are helping another person do the things they are unable to do for themselves: bathing, dressing, using the toilet or providing incontinence care, and moving about their environment. They shop for food and prepare meals; sometimes they must feed their loved one. They are also responsible for legal and financial matters, home maintenance, and errands.
A care provider is a professional caregiver, and is typically employed by a third party such as an agency. States determine certification and licensing requirements for these positions, as qualifications for these roles vary by state and they use a variety of job titles for these paraprofessionals, with each having its own specific set of associated skills.
What’s the difference between home care providers?
The educational requirements for types of home care providers vary by state; however federal guidelines apply to home care agencies who accept Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement. States require background checks, but there is no nationwide standard for training or clinical experience, outside of the mandatory CPR training received by all home care workers.
Home Health Aide
Home Health Aides, or HHAs help their clients with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and hygiene tasks. HHAs also serve as companions and they assist clients with IADLs (Instrumental ADLs) such as paying bills, and assisting the client with attending appointments, housekeeping, and shopping. They may provide reminders to take medications.
CNAs, or Certified Nursing Assistants have received clinical training from a nurse educator. They are qualified to perform basic medical tasks, like vitals or dry dressing changes, and ensure medications are taken. They assist with ADLs and meals.
A homemaker manages everyday household tasks without formal training, and involves laundry, tidying up, shopping, meal preparation, and running errands for people who are homebound.
Why choose Perfect Care Match?
Professional Care Match’s fully trained and rigorously vetted care providers are dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of you or your loved one. We bring together Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides with clients who need help staying in their homes.
Holistic senior care is much more than what most people think it is
While holistic senior care incorporates alternative or complementary treatments, it is administered by qualified medical practitioners like MDs, integrative physicians, nurse practitioners, and DOs.
What comes to mind when you think about wellness? Most often wellness is associated with the absence of disease. However, humans have needs beyond the physical that require care and attention: emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual wellness are integral to wellbeing. Incorporating care for every facet of human needs is vital for overall health and fulfillment in life.
As a model of care, according to the National Institutes of Health, holistic care “...refers to the provision of care to patients …based on a mutual understanding of their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.”
Holistic senior care is much more than management of disease and illness; as an approach to health care that supports the whole person, it seeks to achieve wellness through balance.
Misconceptions about holistic care
A commonly held belief is that “complementary” or “alternative” therapies replace sound medical knowledge and science, but nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s look at pain control as an example:
How do you typically manage pain? Do you use traditional medical methods like medications? Do rest or ice or heat normally help relieve pain? Physicians routinely order these treatments. Think of holistic care as a non-drug add-on to common pain management methods. In addition to medications or rest, pain control can be addressed with methods such as massage, acupressure, spiritual practice, exercise, nutrition, and others. Treating the whole of the person in pain can relieve the severity of symptoms in a way that traditional methods alone don’t.
Perfect Care Match believes in the power of holistic care
Rest assured that when you choose PCM as your home care provider, your care plan will be developed with your specific needs in mind. Our focus is assisting our clients in living their best lives, however they may envision it.
Our team understands that our home care clients experience numerous challenges to wellness, and not necessarily medical conditions. Being homebound for any reason, for any length of time, contributes to a decline in cognition for older adults. Mental health suffers, as does nutrition and the ability to exercise, even if the client has limited mobility. Isolation and loneliness are very common for folks who are homebound with few opportunities for recreation or interaction with others. Without intervention, a lack of holistic support will ultimately lead to a decline in physical health.
Alternative treatments, that is, treatments that do not involve the use of medications, can be a powerful adjunct to any traditional medical practitioner’s treatment plan. However, many advocates of the holistic care model are physicians or other qualified, licensed medical practitioners. Do you believe in the power of prayer, or visualization, or aromatherapy, or yoga? These are all recognized forms of alternative treatment.
Professional Care Match recognizes that there are no “one size fits all” approaches to home care, just like commonly used medical treatments for cancer or dementia are tailored to each patient. Our clinicians work to develop treatment approaches based on the client’s activity tolerance, cognitive status, food preferences and customs, spiritual traditions, and personal interests. We recognize and respect the cultural differences that inform how care is provided.
How does the holistic model help home care clients?
There is immense power in the simple act of touching someone: a hand or scalp massage or a light back rub can be very soothing. Sharing a conversation and a cup of tea can be restorative to the spirit. Guided imagery can improve mood and relieve discomfort. Chair yoga or light exercise keeps muscles active. Time spent outdoors is therapeutic. Religious practices and spirituality help to focus and center the client, particularly in times of stress. A favorite food can bring tremendous comfort for someone who is having trouble eating. Working on a jigsaw puzzle, reading, playing cards, and doing crosswords help to maintain mental acuity. PCM uses countless approaches to enrich the lives of you or your loved one.
Whatever your needs are, Personal Care Match is here for you.
The best option - aging in place
Being responsible for a loved one who has dementia is challenging and emotionally devastating. In-home services for seniors eases the burden and gives the family peace of mind.
Aging in place is often the best option when caring for an older adult with dementia. Familial caregivers are often unfamiliar with the stages of dementia and the best methods for dealing with dementia patients. With Professional Care Match, families are assured that their loved one is receiving care without the demands and distractions of facility-based care.
In-home care vs long term care
In-home care for seniors is preferable to long-term care since the pandemic has had such a tremendous effect on this vulnerable population. Families have discovered that in-home care is a better value than facility-based care. Staff shortages at facilities have had a negative effect on the well-being of patients, leaving their loved ones concerned that the patient isn’t receiving adequate care.
Professional Care Match is here for you and your loved one
Professional Care Match provides experienced in-home care staff for seniors. Our team employs best practices for the challenges of care and behavior management.
What is dementia?
Dementia is the term clinicians use to describe a group of symptoms that cause cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is most common. Other types are Lewy Body (LBD), Frontotemporal (FTD), Vascular, and Korsakoff Syndrome. Dementia is a feature of other diseases, as well, like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease.
Stages of dementia
Early stages of dementia are difficult to pinpoint; the person may be a bit forgetful or have problems with word-finding. As the disease progresses the signs become more obvious. Families find comfort in knowing the patient has 24-hour supervision at home.
Loss of judgment, distorted perceptions, inability to plan, learn new things, or remember familiar people are signs of cognitive decline. More alarming are personality changes such as new or increased depression, paranoia, agitation, combativeness, wandering, and sleep disturbances. In later stages the person can no longer perform self-care tasks or communicate needs; the end stages of this disease are harder for the family than the patient.
Cognitive decline isn’t part of the normal aging process. Being forgetful or pleasantly confused is not an indicator of dementia without the other hallmark symptoms.
Neuropsychiatric clinicians use a method called differential diagnosis to determine the type of dementia. Patients are diagnosed based on age of onset and the presence or absence of symptoms. Dementia is a terminal illness regardless of the type; the constellation of symptoms that patients exhibit generally follow the same course.
How can we care for our loved ones at home?
While family members may be able to provide support to remain at home, it’s a heavy burden. Being the caregiver for a declining parent or spouse is often a full-time job.
The stage of the disease. When the person has become incapable of managing their daily lives and self-care, intervention is required to maintain health and safety. Home care professionals ensure the person receives nutrition, hygiene, medical management, safety, and companionship. They are experienced and trained to manage the behaviors that inevitably arise with the progression of the disease. In-home companions provide a social and personal connection; the carer can also monitor for changes and report concerns back to the care team.
Self-care and safety concerns
As the disease progresses, the person begins having problems with self-care and managing their daily lives:
The person with dementia exhibits behaviors like wandering, disrobing, sleep disturbances, mood changes, or agitation. Unfortunately, this is the disease. Remember that the person isn’t making a conscious choice to ”misbehave” or lash out at loved ones. The person may become fearful and paranoid, experiencing hallucinations or delusions. They may have repetitive behaviors like lip-smacking or hand-wringing. Sundowning is the term used for late afternoon escalations in confusion and challenging behaviors.
While the person can’t change their behavior, the caregiver can assist in deescalating the situation. The person is often triggered by factors that can be mitigated.
In-home dementia care might be the best choice you make for your loved one. Professional Care Match will help you help your loved one.