ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Posts Tagged home health aide

Understanding the Three Ds: Dementia, Delirium, and Depression

Monday , March 22 , 2021

Understanding the Three Ds: Dementia, Delirium, and Depression

Older adults are at high risk for depression and cognitive disorders such as dementia and delirium. Clarifying the diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment – but it’s not always easy. 

Delirium and depression can cause cognitive changes that may be mistaken for dementia, such as poor memory. And people who have dementia often develop signs of depression, like poor appetite and low self-esteem. 

There is also the genuine possibility that an older adult may have a combination of all three issues concurrently. 

So, how can you tell the difference between dementia, delirium, and depression in older people, to ensure they receive the proper care? Keep reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of each condition. And make sure to sign up for our “Understanding the 3 Ds” webinar at the bottom! 

Delirium

Delirium is a neuropsychiatric syndrome that causes sudden changes to a person’s thinking and attention, causing them to become confused. Episodes of delirium are common among older adults, especially those who are ill, in the hospital, or recovering from surgery. The condition develops acutely and is temporary and reversible. 

The most common symptom is inattention, though a person experiencing delirium may also suffer from difficulty with orientation, memory, or language and thought. Hallucinations or illusions may also be present. 

Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, over more than 264 million people suffer from the illness, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide. 

The diagnosis of depression depends on the presence of two main symptoms: persistent and pervasive low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities. Other signs include: 

  • Increased fatigue and sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability (primarily in men)
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Uncontrolled emotions

Symptoms are of clinical significance when they interfere with everyday activities and last for at least two weeks. 

Along with apathy, depression is one of the most common symptoms in Alzheimer’s Disease – especially those with Lewy bodies. 

Dementia

Dementia is not a single disease but an umbrella term covering a wide range of medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.”

Signs of dementia can vary greatly, but some common examples include: 

  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Increased confusion
  • Reduced concentration
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Depression or apathy

Complications in Diagnosis

Symptoms of delirium, depression, and dementia can be pretty similar. For instance, delirium and depression may present with apathy and withdrawal, while delirium and dementia are characterized by confusion and disorientation. 

To further complicate matters, delirium and depression often occur in a person with dementia, so it is common to have all three issues at once. 

Differentiating delirium from depression and dementia requires knowing the characteristic features of each condition and knowing the patient’s history (either personally or from a family member or friend). 

The Victoria State Government has a helpful chart with a side-by-side analysis of all three conditions and their key features. 

Attend a FREE ComForCare Workshop

ComForCare is offering a free virtual workshop on Wednesday, March 31st, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. 

The workshop entitled “Understanding the 3 Ds: Dementia, Delirium, and Depression” will count as one continuing education credit for social workers and case managers and 1.5 contact hours for RNs/LPNs.

By the end of the program, participants will be able to: 

  • Distinguish between dementia, delirium, and depression and the causes and prevalence of each
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms that overlap across all three conditions, as well as the differences that set them apart
  • Identify common scenarios in which combinations of conditions may occur
  • Explain why people need a thorough evaluation of any changes in mental status, including those already diagnosed with dementia
  • Take the appropriate actions to connect families and individuals to evaluations and resources if dementia, delirium, or depression are suspected

Go to bit.ly/delirium2021 to sign up today! 

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Aging in Place Safely After COVID-19

Monday , February 22 , 2021

Aging in Place Safely After COVID-19

Now that we’ve made it through almost a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are pondering the best way to care for their aging parents. Like many adult children, you may find that your own older parents are suffering from diminished reflexes and other health problems that leave them prone to accidents.

In the past, that may have meant taking up residence in a nursing home – but news of the rapid spread of illness in such facilities has left many people wary. In fact, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, overall nursing home occupancy dropped from 83.4 to 74.8 percent in 2020.

The alternative? Aging in place.

Most seniors report that, given the choice, they’d like to grow old in their own home, surrounded by their treasured possessions and cherished memories. But now, more than ever, it’s important that these older adults have a support network in place.

Keep reading for our best tips on safety and support modifications that can help give you and your loved one peace of mind, during COVID-19 and beyond.

Physical changes to the home
About one in four adults aged 65+ falls each year: Many seniors have sensory impairments, like poor hearing and vision, or a physical limitation that contributes to this risk. To help create a safe environment, consider:

  • A stairlift or electronic chair lift
  • Handheld shower hoses
  • Shower benches
  • Raised toilet seats
  • Wider doors for wheelchair access
  • Ramps to replace (or in addition to) stairs leading into the home
  • Better lighting (a typical 85-year old needs three times more lightthan a teen)
  • Placing commonly used items where they can be reached without stopping or reaching
  • Grab bars wherever necessary (they’re not just for the bathroom!)

Nutritional support
Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is important in older adults, yet many of them have a hard time preparing their own meals or even eating on their own. Here’s how to help them get the nutrition they need:

  • Arrange for more meals to be provided by family members or friends
  • Stock the fridge with protein-rich foods and meal-replacement shakes
  • Sign up for a meal delivery service
  • Contact Meals on Wheels or a similar programif you are unable to help on your own
  • Show your loved one how to use an online grocery shopping app
  • Ask their doctor about switching medications which may suppress appetite

Medication monitoring
According to a recent national survey, one in four Americans over the age of 65 take between 10 and 19 pills a day. That’s a lot to keep track of! How can you help?

  • Sign up for prescription delivery
  • Schedule reminder phone calls
  • Purchase an automatic dispenser with an alarm
  • Routinely clean out the medicine cabinet and get rid of expired or discontinued medications
  • Use separate medicine cabinets if more than one person is living in the home
  • Make sure a step stool isn’t needed to reach those cabinets
  • Save all of the written information that comes with the medications in one place

Transportation assistance
Without a reliable way to get to doctor appointments or go grocery shopping, seniors can’t realistically stay in their homes as they age. It’s essential that affordable transportation be available to help them maintain their independence. Options include:

  • Local senior centers
  • County public transportation
  • State Department of Health and Senior Services
  • Family and friends
  • Volunteers from a church or synagogue
  • Ride-sharing services (there are several options just for seniors)
  • And for those in our local area, there are these two fantastic choices:

– Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT)

– Somerset County para-transit services and community transportation

Help with household chores
Due to pain, illness, injury, or other health issues, many older adults can no longer complete certain chores on their own. These tend to be the most difficult:

  • Carrying hampers or laundry baskets
  • Making the bed
  • Taking the trash or recycling to the curb
  • Cleaning the floors
  • Scouring the bathroom
  • Organizing/dusting high shelves

Services that come to the home
Today, many healthcare and personal care services can be provided in-home to help extend a senior’s independence, including:

  • Doctors who make house calls (even simple x-rays can be completed in the home!)
  • Traveling podiatrists and dentists
  • Hairdressers and nail technicians
  • Mobile pet grooming and veterinary services

COVID-19 safety
These days, more than ever, safety is of the utmost importance. While helping your older loved ones set up systems to keep them safely at home, it’s vital to keep their health and wellbeing top of mind.

If outside vendors or care providers will be entering the home, make sure everyone wears a mask the entire time and uses hand sanitizer as necessary. Whenever possible, set up no-contact delivery for goods such as groceries or takeout – most businesses are happy to leave deliveries on the porch and ring the bell. And always set up tele visits or video calls for appointments when it’s offered as an option!

Final thoughts
Planning ahead is the key to helping older adults live their lives to the fullest. A strong support system and adequate safety measures can keep your loved one independent for a longer time.

For many seniors, in-home care is the right answer. If you or a loved one are considering in-home care services, we can provide non-medical support and assistance to adults with disabilities or those recovering from an illness or surgical procedure. In addition, home care services often complement other types of care someone may already be receiving in their home, such as hospice or skilled home health care.

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Happy Home Care Aide Week!

Monday , November 9 , 2020

Happy Home Care Aide Week!

Every November, the home care community honors the millions of home care aides, nurses, therapists, and social workers who make a difference for the patients and families they serve.

This week, November 9 – 13, we recognize home care aides in particular. At ComForCare, our aides play an invaluable role to our clients as caregivers, companions, and friends. They choose to use their lives to serve our community’s aged, disabled, and dying. In these unprecedented times, more than ever before, they are heroes.

Here’s a little more about what they do every day:

What is Home Care? 

Home care includes a wide range of professional services, such as medical or social support, that allow a person to live safely in their home. These services are provided by nurses, home health aides, therapists, and more.

No work is nobler, and no group is more deserving of our respect and admiration. Their goal is helping society’s weakest members live the fullest lives they can. By marrying high tech with high touch, home care professionals and volunteers allow patients to get care at home where they can be with the ones they love.” – The National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The focus of home care is often helping someone who is aging and needs assistance to live independently, is recuperating from an illness or injury, or is managing chronic health issues.

The services are almost always a more budget-friendly option than high-cost institutional care that would be provided in a nursing facility.

Why Use Home Health Care?

When it comes time to choose how to help a loved one care for themselves, the decision can be a difficult one. How will you know what’s right for them (and everyone else involved)?

We’ve found that often, people both young and old prefer to receive care at home.

  • Most individuals are more comfortable at home, surrounded by family and friends who can offer emotional support
  • Home care allows for a more personal relationship with the caregiver
  • Clients can remain independent, rather than hand over all control to nursing home professionals
  • In home care is typically less expensive than nursing facilities or hospitals 

What is the Role of a Home Aide? 

A home aide provides basic services such as medication reminders, transportation to and from appointments, meal planning and preparation, and family respite. They travel to the client’s own home. Often, their assistance is a big part of what allows the person to continue living in their own home.

Duties provided by a home aide vary depending on the needs of the client. Examples include:

  • Light housekeeping tasks such as washing dishes, vacuuming, and folding laundry
  • Transportation for errands, appointments, and social outings
  • Healthy and delicious meals cooked right in the client’s own kitchen
  • Safety supervision and fall risk assessment
  • Ensure all medication is taken at the correct time every day

Celebrating Our Home Health Aides 

All of us at ComForCare Home Care join in applauding and thanking home care aides everywhere for the amazing work they do. These workers are some of the most dedicated and compassionate health care providers in the field. No less than doctors, nurses or first responders, HHAs save lives.

Thank you, home care aides! Your work is vital.

Posted in: Home Care

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 4 1234