Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Tips for Avoiding Elderly Heat Stroke & Exhaustion

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Jamie

I think it’s safe to say that summer has finally arrived here in Vermont and New Hampshire. Hot weather is dangerous, and seniors are particularly prone to its threat. Elderly heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real problem. Please check on your older family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they do not have access to air conditioning. summer fan

There are several reasons for elderly heat vulnerability. People’s ability to notice changes in their body temperature decreases with age. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat. Furthermore, many medicines that seniors take can contribute to dehydration. Simple precautions are all that’s needed to keep safe. Here are some guidelines for keeping safe in hot weather:

  1. Drink Plenty of Liquids: Dehydration is the root of many heat related health problems. Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you’re not thirsty. But remember to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as they can actually contribute to dehydration.
  2. Wear Appropriate Clothes: When it’s hot out, wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and a wide-brimmed hat.
  3. Stay Indoors During Midday Hours: During periods of extreme heat, the best time to run errands or be outdoors is before 10 am or after 6 pm, when the temperature tends to be cooler.
  4. Take it Easy: Avoid exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors, when it’s very hot out.
  5. Watch the Heat Index: When there’s a lot of moisture in their air (high humidity), the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating is impaired. The heat index factors humidity and temperature to approximate how the how the weather really feels. The current heat index can be found on all popular weather websites, and is also usually announced on local TV and radio weather reports during periods of warm weather.
  6. Seek Air-conditioned Environments: Seniors whose houses aren’t air-conditioned should consider finding an air-conditioned place to spend time during extreme heat. The mall, library or movie theater are all popular options. During heat waves, many cities also set up “cooling centers,” air-conditioned public places, for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Seniors without convenient access to any air-conditioned place might consider a cool bath or shower.
  7. Know the Warning Signs of Heat-related Illness: Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately.
  8. In addition to heat stroke, heat can kill by worsening existing chronic health conditions. For example, for the many Vermonters over the age of 65 who have a chronic condition—such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes—temperatures over 87°F can put them at a higher risk of life-threatening illness. People who feel unwell or faint in hot weather are also vulnerable to serious or deadly falls. People with chronic conditions may not show typical signs of heat illness, but rather worsened symptoms of their condition. If you or someone you know has a potentially dangerous chronic condition and begins to feel sick during a hot day, pay very close attention. If you have concerns about a person’s condition, dial 9-1-1 or get immediate medical attention.

8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Jamie

8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents
Unintended barbs cut to the quick and can’t be taken back. Here are some better options.

 
By Linda Bernstein  Published March 6, 2016 at Next Avenue

 
I’m going to say something politically incorrect here: Sometimes our elderly parents make us a little nuts. (And sometimes they out-and-out drive us crazy.) We love you, Mom and Dad, but we’ve heard the story about Aunt Cissy pouring wine into the dog’s bowl so many times we can tell it ourselves – in our sleep.

 
The repetitions, the forgetfulness, the incessant asking whether we’d like a sandwich: Eventually it just happens, and out of our well-meaning mouths tumble snarky comments and insults that we really don’t mean but they…just… slip … out.

 

“Seniors often know that their memory and cognitive and physical abilities are declining, and reminders are only hurtful,” says Francine Lederer, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles who works with “sandwich generation” patients and their parents. But even when we manage to hold our tongue, frustration lingers. That’s when we have to be doubly mindful, because by repressing those emotions, we’re more likely to have an emotional outburst.

 
“You might be justifiably annoyed,” Lederer says, “but take a step back and consider how your parent must feel as she faces her diminished capacities.” When people first start “slipping,” they are aware of the loss, and they are often terrified, scared and saddened.

 
Since forewarned is forearmed, read through these eight common things we often catch ourselves saying plus suggestions for less hurtful ways to say them.

 

 

1. “How can you not remember that!?”
That lengthy discussion you had last week with your dad about getting the car inspected might as well never have happened. Older people often lose short-term memory before long-term and forget all kinds of things we think are monumentally important, like where they put their glasses or the keys – or when to take the car into the shop.

Say instead: “See this sticker? If the car isn’t inspected before the end of the month, a cop will give you a very expensive reminder.” Place a few Post-it notes around – on the dashboard, fridge, and bathroom mirror. Add a smiley face to keep the tone light. And if you still think your parent might forget, make the appointment then call your mom that morning to remind her.

 
2. “You could do that if you really tried.”
How hard is it to change the lightbulb in the table lamp? Well, if your hands shake a lot or you can’t reach the shelf where you keep the spare bulbs – or you’ve grown wary of electrical outlets – very hard. Simple tasks, like tying shoes, can become next to impossible if you have arthritis in your fingers or your back doesn’t bend easily. And being shamed into trying something doesn’t help.

Always Be Kinder Than You Feel
Say instead: “Let me watch and see where you’re having trouble so we can figure out how this can get done.” Or if you live out of town: “Ask (so-and-so) for help.” Older Americans, like everyone else, want to maintain their independence. But if a project is truly beyond their capabilities and they either don’t know anyone who could help (Or won’t ask), you might want to try find someone who can lend a hand.

 
3. “I just showed you how to use the DVR yesterday.”
Learning new technology is tough for any adult, but gadgets with lots of buttons and options pose a special challenge for someone whose cognition or eyesight is failing. Even those of us with nimble fingers and well-functioning frontal lobes can be stymied by a new device that labels the controls differently from the one we are used to.

 
Say instead: “The blue button on top turns the TV on, and there’s one set of arrows for changing the channel and another for the volume. I’ll show you again.” Better yet – ask your parents’ cable or satellite provider to recommend an older American-friendly remote control with a simple design. Some companies give these to older people for a nominal charge. If not, purchase one at a local electronics store. Or if they’re okay following instructions, you could write or print out step-by-step directions in large, legible type and leave it near the remote or listings guide.

 
4. “What does that have to do with what we’re talking about?”
One minute you and your dad are discussing summer vegetables and the next he’s talking about a problem with the sprinkler system. What happened? Conversations with elderly parents often “go rogue” – either because they can’t keep their mind on the thread or they are simply bored and want to change the subject.

 
Say instead: “I was telling you about my garden. You love my fresh lettuce!” If the subject is important to you, try to bring the conversation back on track without pointing a finger at their slipping powers of conversation. And try to avoid suppressing genuine anger or sadness, gently explain why the conversation was important to you. Another option: Say nothing and just listen.

 
5. “You already told me that.”
And don’t you ever repeat yourself? We all say things more than once – but because elderly parents seem to do it all the time, we lose our patience with them.

 
Say instead: “No kidding?! And don’t tell me that the next thing you did was …” Yes, you can make a joke of it -but only if your parent won’t feel hurt. Best-case scenario: Your mom or dad will feel amused and relaxed enough to join in.

 
6. “I want your silver tea service when you die.”
This is wrong on so many levels. Even worse than casually referencing their death is the fact that you come off like a circling vulture.

 
Say instead: “I have been reading how it’s helpful for everyone if parents leave a list specifying what will be left to whom.” Stress that unless they make their wishes known, there may be conflict among siblings and other relatives. I know one woman who gave her children and grandchildren stickers which they could use to mark items they desired (by placing them in the back or on the bottom).

 
7. “Wake up! (Or shhhh!) I thought you wanted to see this.”
The darkened halls of concerts, movies, plays and religious services (or even the TV room at home) cue our parents that it’s time for a quick snooze – which might be OK if there aren’t people around you trying to hear the show. There’s no need to remind older people that they’re committing a faux pas. And if their hearing is diminished, they may not realize that everyone can hear them “whisper.”

 
Say instead: “Mom, I know you don’t want to miss this.” Most likely she’ll fall asleep again. Then it’s up to you how many times you want to bother with the nudges – and not take it personally that your parent fell asleep on you.

 
8. “Hel-lo?! Your grandson’s name is Ryan.”
How many times have you called your husband by the dog’s name? Mixing up appellations can be a sign of cognitive impairment – or just a normal problem with word recall. The more it happens, though, the more likely it is that your parent is moving into a stage where he needs medical intervention.

 
Say instead: “It’s Ryan, Dad. Your first grandson’s name is Ryan.” There aren’t a lot of different ways to say this: The difference here is how you say it. Don’t sound critical or angry; say it gently and with a friendly smile. If your father is truly confused, he’ll probably be relieved that you’re not offended. If it’s just a slip of the tongue, he’ll be glad you’re not annoyed. If he really truly can’t remember your children’s names, you have larger issues to deal with.

 
The most important thing, Lederer stresses, is that as our parents age, we go out of our way to maintain good relationships. “When dealing with elderly people, let your motto be, “Reframe, don’t blame,” she says. A slip of the tongue can unleash a world of hurt and ill will. As exasperating as elderly parents can be, spouting off without thinking will only make them – and you – feel bad.

We shared this on our Facebook page earlier in the week and felt it was a great addition to our blog as well! You can view the original slideshow here.

Armistead NH Relocating to Alice Peck Day

Posted on: November 28th, 2016 by Armistead Admin

Armistead NH Relocating to Alice Peck DayArmistead Senior Care Relocating to the Alice Peck Day (APD) Memorial Hospital Homestead Building

Armistead Senior Care will relocate its Lebanon, NH office to the campus of Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital on December 1, 2016.

Armistead will occupy the first floor of the Homestead Building at 127 Mascoma Street, joining APD’s gastroenterology, general surgery, occupational health, pain clinic, podiatry, plastic surgery, and urology clinics on the second and third floors.

The Homestead Building was the home of Mrs. Alice Peck Day, who bequeathed it to found the original Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in 1927. Since 1932, the Homestead Building (shown here) has continued to serve patients and the community in various capacities.

“At Armistead Senior Care, we are pleased and excited to be part of the continuum of care that APD provides,” said Annmarie Plant, RN, BA, CCM, CDP and President of Armistead Senior Care. “We look forward to continue assisting seniors in the Upper Valley by offering care and services in their homes from this new office in Lebanon,” she added.

“We are pleased to welcome Armistead to our campus,” said Todd Miller, VP and COO at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. “Their presence on our campus, along with the current construction of the Multi-Specialty Clinic, is positioning us to better serve the needs of our community, our patients, and residents of APD Lifecare,” he added.

About Armistead Senior Care

Armistead Senior Care is a locally owned full service company providing care to those aging in Vermont and New Hampshire since 1999. Armistead provides personal care, meal preparation, errands, transportation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, dementia care and more to allow seniors to remain at home. Armistead is committed to respecting the integrity, wisdom, and uniqueness of each and every client, offering peace of mind for them and their families.

About Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital

Since 1932, Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (APD) has been the community hospital of the Upper Valley, delivering high-quality health care in a friendly environment where patients come first. Today, APD has more than 95,000 patient encounters from communities throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Long-known for providing highly personalized care, APD also offers a wide range of specialized services which include orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, pain management, primary and family care, senior care, and women’s care. Through APD’s affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2016, we affirm our commitment to creating a sustainable health system to improve the lives of the people and communities we serve for generations to come.

 

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 by Jamie

November is National Family Caregivers Month

 
Family CaregiversBeing a Family Caregiver is hard work. I know this from experience. Family Caregiving is both deeply satisfying and stressful. It can be physically demanding and emotionally draining. You are with a loved one but often feel alone. Then there is the financial piece: this is not a paid position and there are no sick days or health insurance. When providing this unpaid care, your own financial future is at risk since zero contributions are going into social security or a retirement fund. Family Caregiving is a full-time invisible job, and for many, it may be in addition to working another full-time job.

 
I want you to know that you are not alone. There are resources for you, ways to connect with others, and advocacy happening on your behalf. I am hopeful that things will get better, and as a nation we will come to embrace the hard work of Caregiving. I hope that you can take care of you. One simple thing that was helpful to me was to take a walk, every day if possible and sometimes with a friend. Here are three resources, in their own words, you need to know about. Please carve out the time to explore them.
Caregiver Action Network is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age.

 

Caregiver Action Network is the organization that chooses the theme for National Family Caregivers Month annually and spearheads celebration of NFC Month nationally.

Celebrating Family Caregivers during NFC month enables all of us to:

• Raise awareness of family caregiver issues

• Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers

• Educate family caregivers about self-identification

• Increase support for family caregivers

The theme for National Family Caregivers Month November 2016 is “Take Care to Give Care”.

 

Next is The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Their mission: Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance is dedicated to improving quality of life for families and their care recipients through research, innovation, and advocacy.

 
And last but not least is the Family Caregiver Alliance. Founded in the late 1970s, Family Caregiver Alliance was the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. It began as a small task force of families and community leaders in San Francisco who came together to create support services for those struggling to provide long term care for a loved one who did not “fit” into traditional health systems: adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury and other debilitating disorders. The diagnoses were different, but the families shared common challenges: isolation, lack of information, few community resources, and drastic changes in family roles.

 
The services, education programs, and resources FCA provides are designed with caregivers’ needs in mind and offer support, tailored information, and tools to manage the complex demands of caregiving. FCA, as a public voice for caregivers, shines light on the challenges caregivers face daily and champions their cause through education, services, and advocacy.

The Politics of Family Caregiving

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by Jamie

‘Tis the season of heavy politicking. Why not include the politics of family caregiving? I have read a bunch of articles recently about the subject. Unfortunately, like with most of the current political acrimony in our country, these articles have also left me feeling depressed. To be clear, it’s not the content of these articles, it’s the practically non-existent outcomes.

 

 
us-capitolNo matter where you see yourself on the political spectrum, I bet we can all agree that not much is getting done in our country. According to Gallup, the last time even 25{12470e0fe01d1e6fcc7df4df95300bd13a27d9338be1c3cc41e39732a8d70917} of Americans approved of the way Congress was handling its job was back on December 13, 2009. I believe Congress has lost sight of our humanity.

 
The heart of the matter is this: our party affiliation does not preclude our humanity. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease do not care if you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian. Nor does diabetes, COPD, old age, a stroke or a heart attack. We are all human and we get sick. Chances are, we may need to provide care or we may need care-probably both- during our lifetime. This is our humanity.

 

Lets begin here: An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months. This unpaid care is valued at about $470 billion.

 

New Report Cites Need for a National Family Caregiving StrategyMore action is needed to prepare health care and social service systems

by AARP, September 14, 2016

The demand for family caregivers of older adults is increasing significantly, and people who perform this essential service need more support, says a report released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

 
The report calls for a transformation of public policies and practices affecting people who are caring for older relatives or friends. It recommends that the next presidential administration “take immediate steps to address the health, economic and social issues” facing family caregivers. And it calls for the prompt development of a national caregiving strategy.

 
“Supporting family caregivers should be an integral part of the nation’s collective responsibility in caring for its older adult population,” said Richard Schulz, director of the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh and chair of the 19-member expert committee that issued the report.

 
The recommendation for a national strategy is consistent with AARP’s push for pending legislation in Congress: The bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719/H.R. 3099) requires the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. This bill unanimously passed the Senate last December and awaits action in the House of Representatives. Over 50 national organizations have urged the House to pass the RAISE Act in September.

 
According to the report, entitled Families Caring for an Aging America, at least 17.7 million individuals in the U.S. are caring for someone age 65 or older. The number of people needing care is expected to grow in the years ahead, even as the number of potential family caregivers is shrinking. Lower fertility, higher rates of childlessness and widespread divorce point to a diminishing pool of potential caregivers, the report says. Older adults will have fewer family members to rely on, and they are more likely to be unmarried, living alone and more distant from their children.

 
The committee points out that so far little action has been taken to prepare the health care and social service systems for this demographic shift.

 

Family caregivers are often marginalized or ignored despite their important role, the committee said. They may be excluded from treatment decisions and care planning. Financial incentives encourage shorter hospital stays with the implicit expectation that family members can manage the transition from hospital to home. Providers also expect family caregivers with little or no training to handle technical procedures and equipment, such as feeding and drainage tubes, the report says.

 
Efforts in this arena are already underway: Over the past several years, 33 states have enacted the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act, which requires hospitals to communicate with family caregivers and to instruct them on how to safely provide home care after discharge.

 
Advocates say more needs to be done. “Ignoring family caregivers leaves them unprepared for the tasks they are expected to perform, carrying significant economic and personal burdens,” said Schulz. “Caregivers are potentially at increased risk for adverse effects in virtually every aspect of their lives — from their health and quality of life to their relationships and economic security. If the needs of caregivers are not addressed, we as a society are compromising the well-being of elders.”

 

 

As the article mentions, the RAISE Act unanimously passed the Senate (CR S 8499-8500). It was introduced in the House in July of 2015 and four months later it was referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. According to Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer of AARP, we can still make a difference – contact your U.S. representative and ask them to cosponsor the RAISE Act today to support America’s greatest support system: family caregivers. Call 844-259-9351 today.

 

 

 

 
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