Medical Alert Devices Save Lives

I’m a strong believer in medical alert devices, especially for people living alone. In last month’s blog, I provided basic information and questions to ask if you or a loved one is in need of these life-saving devices. This month, I’m going to make it more personal. I’m also going to urge children to pay for these medical alert devices if their aging parents or elderly loved ones don’t see a need for the expense. Working in the senior care industry as the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colo., I often hear stories of elderly individuals who have fallen, including some who have died because they could not summon help. One woman fell outside after taking out her garbage on a winter day in Colorado. She died alone in the cold. Another story involves my own mother. (I said I was going to make this more personal.) My mom lived alone in Michigan. Despite repeated pleas from my brother and me, she refused to invest in a medical alert device. What happened next is sad. And it’s a situation that could have been prevented. She fell in her garage. Since she lived alone and didn’t have a medical alert device, no one could come to her rescue. It was hours before police arrived. She died trying to reach the door to her home. If she’d made it inside, she might have been able to reach a phone and call for help. But she never got that far. Please don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. Take it from me. It’s hard enough to lose a...

Tips for Finding the Best Medical Alert Device When 24/7 Care Isn’t Available

Many people are familiar with medical alert devices because of the advertisements featuring an elderly person on the floor, saying: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” While some people think these ads are funny, a fall for an elderly person is serious business. Being rescued can be a life-saving experience for many elderly folks, especially those who live alone or have health conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, Alzheimer’s or epilepsy. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, we offer this assistance with the constant quality care we provide our residents 24/7. But for those elderly individuals who still live in their homes, here is some information about these devices. They’ve come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1970s. For example, they now offer GPS to locate the individual outside the home, automate fall detection and provide two-way communication with call centers. And there are a lot of options on the market, so I highly recommend you do thorough research before deciding which device would work best for your situation or loved one. To help, here are a few questions to ask: Does your alert device work outside of the home? Do you provide a choice of wristband and neck pendant? Do you have help buttons that can be wall-mounted near the floor in multiple rooms in case a customer falls and isn’t wearing the pendant? Are you willing to contact multiple people in case the user needs help? This can include emergency services, a friend that lives nearby or a family member. Does your device work for our specific needs? For example, a stroke survivor may need a device...

Looking Back at 2016 as We Begin 2017 at Country Home Assisted Living

As we settle into a new year at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, we feel blessed for the wonderful residents with whom we’ve spent so many good times. Those good times include a variety of Christmas celebrations in December, such as a visit from Steven St. James, who sang at our Christmas party on Dec. 4, and a visit from Santa Claus on Dec. 19. But these types of activities aren’t limited to the holiday season. At Country Home Assisted Living, we provide year-round activities, some of which are specifically designed to match the interests of our residents. Regularly scheduled events include weekly music therapy with Amy Wilson, a board-certified music therapist; our weekly library program; and a weekly piano program with Seth Drake and Andrew Schindler. We also have some surprises, such as watching the wild turkeys that hang around our assisted living facility located in the peaceful countryside and the training of owner Linda Melbardis’ new horse. But we do much more, including group outings and other scheduled activities. We regularly attend productions and other events at Parker’s PACE Center, as well as scheduled lunches out on the town. At Halloween, for example, we went to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. We also celebrate milestones together at our country home in rural Elbert County. Individual’s birthdays are always a highlight for all of our residents, who enjoy the festivities and yummy birthday cakes. Let’s not forget the art projects. In 2016, our residents decorated rocks to brighten the walkway into Country Home. For 2017, we have plans to do more crafty projects, such as bringing new life...

Some Tips to Enjoy the Busy Holiday Season

As we enter the final stretch of the 2016 holiday season, I’d like to take a moment to encourage families to cherish the moments they have together. Instead of stressing over the elaborate food, decorations and gifts, try to keep it simple. Typically, people try to do too many things during the holidays. Because of that, they become tired and stressed out. In the end, they don’t enjoy the season or being with loved ones as much as they could. Instead of trying to do it all, select a few of your family’s favorite ways of celebrating and focus on those. For example, if your family members and friends enjoy singing Christmas carols, make sure you allot time to do that. If you like to reminisce about holidays in the past, be sure to provide a setting where everyone has a chance to share their favorite memories. Maybe you have some family members and friends who enjoy baking holiday treats. Think how much they’ll enjoy doing that together. Not only will there be goodies that they can share, but they’ll also have fond memories that will last into the future. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, I like to come up with ways to create memories for all of our residents and our families. I know everyone appreciates it. Another great tip that I heard recently is to extend your holiday season. There are many advantages to making a week or two in January part of your holiday celebration. I know families that actually look forward to getting together after the traditional holiday season. That gives them time...

Dehydration can Take a Toll on the Elderly

Dehydration can create health issues for people of all ages, but it can be especially serious for the elderly. And it can often be hard to detect, despite the fact that dehydration can have such a big impact on someone’s health. Proper hydration allows people to regulate their temperature through sweating, eliminate bodily waste and maintain blood pressure. When people are dehydrated – or losing more water than they take in – they can become confused, weak and even develop tract infections or pneumonia. In fact, dehydration and the delayed diagnosis of it has made it one of the 10 most frequent diagnoses for admitting people for Medicare hospitalizations, according to the Health Care Financing Administration. The Causes of Dehydration So let’s look at several of the causes for elderly dehydration: Medications – Some medications taken by seniors are diuretics, while other cause patients to sweat. Both of these can be dehydrating. Decreased kidney function – As people age, their bodies lose kidney function, which means they are less likely to conserve fluid. Decreased thirst – The sense of thirst decreases as people age. Elderly individuals don’t think about drinking water or other fluids. Also, it’s harder for them to get up and get a drink when they are thirsty. Or, they don’t want to have to get up to go to the bathroom. Key Indicators of Dehydration Now that we’ve discussed some of the top causes, let’s look at some of the key indicators of dehydration. These are signs that we monitor daily at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker. They include confusion, dizziness or headaches, difficulty walking, dry...

5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents

If you find yourself caring for aging parents, it’s important to take care of yourself and implement ways to reduce your stress. It’s hard to avoid stress – even if your parent is in an assisted living facility like Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, CO. The emotions you feel as your parent ages and struggles with declining health can easily take a toll on you. In a continuation of my series on caring for aging parents, let’s look at some key actions you can take to reduce your burden and handle your stress. 1. Practice self-care. As they say when going through safety procedures on airplanes, take care of yourself first and then look after your children or others with you. The same is true here. When you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t last long in your efforts to properly take care of others. Self-care can come in many forms, but it almost always includes getting exercise, proper nutrition and sleep. It’s also important to mention that it’s okay to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. Do at least one thing for yourself on a daily basis, whether it’s going to a fitness class, watching your favorite TV show or reading a novel. When you put yourself first, even for just an hour, you’ll feel much better when you are back at your caregiver duties. 2. Delegate. People are always offering to help, but caregivers often fail to accept these offers. Instead of turning help down, start saying “YES!” Yes, you can pick my sister up at the airport. Yes, you can stop in weekly...