September is Healthy Aging Month

The goal of healthy aging is to emphasize the habits for individuals to build into their lifestyle. The goal is for these behaviors to take hold before the later stages of aging and entry into the geriatric phase of life. Ideally, these are habits that start in the mid-40s and are continued into each of the following decades. Modifications of course are part of the process, but an holistic view of body, mind, soul, and spirit really direct a comprehensive approach that your healthcare team can build treatment plans around to support your engagement in your best life.

Here are some tips:

  1. Get Moving – There are many ways to stay active, and the target time commitment is around 10-15 minutes daily.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Diet – There are lots of diet fads and plans available, but the fundamentals are the same. Eating a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining your health.
  3. Stay Social – The power of community is real and isolation can have an impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing.
  4. Balance your Body and Mind – Engaging in thought provoking exercises is crucial to maintaining your mental abilities and supporting mental flexibility. Exercises for the mind are just as important as for the body.
  5. Commit to annual check-ups – Building a relationship with a primary care provider for your annual physical is key to identifying changes early. Don’t forget your dentist, optometrist, and audiologist. These services are crucial to accessing and participating in meaningful activities as part of your overall health strategy.

If you would like ideas of activities and strategies, check out https://www.unicityhealthcare.com/celebrating-healthy-aging-month-during-september/#:~:text=September%20is%20Healthy%20Aging%20Month,positive%20aspects%20of%20growing%20older.

Hospice Volunteers

Volunteers are integral to the service of hospice. Our volunteers are critical in making the quality of life focus of hospice a reality. Most of our volunteers do this work, because they can make a real difference in the lives of our patients and their families.

For more information about volunteering with Elite, send us an email at info@EliteHHH.com

According to https://hospicefoundation.org/Volunteer

Support for patients
This can include visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, interpreting for those who do not speak English, bringing in music, and supervising therapeutic visits with pets. Volunteers with necessary certification can also provide massage therapy. Some hospices also utilize volunteers who offer complementary therapies such as aroma therapy or therapeutic touch.

Respite and support for family members
Volunteers can assist with shopping or light household maintenance, or allow family caregivers the opportunity to take care of necessary errands, exercise, or simply have some time alone. Volunteers can also help care for a family pet.

Child care assistance
This can include help with babysitting, picking up children from school or providing necessary transportation to club meetings or sporting events and practices. 

Bereavement support programs
Hospice volunteers can work closely with the hospice’s bereavement staff. Duties may include assisting a support group facilitator, serving refreshments, or helping with mailings to families.

Fundraising and administrative work
A volunteer with clerical skills can serve a hospice by helping in the office with administrative duties. Fundraising responsibilities can range from preparing mailings or thank-you letters to organizing fundraising events and contacting potential donors.

Special skills and interests
Many hospices utilize volunteers to maintain their grounds and landscaping. Notaries, barbers and beauticians often volunteer their services to patients. Musicians often volunteer to play at hospice inpatient facilities.

Special requirements

Most hospices require volunteers to be over the age of 18 or 21, but some have volunteer programs for high school students. It is not uncommon for people whose loved one died in hospice care to want to volunteer for the hospice provider soon after the death, but most hospices require newly bereaved volunteer candidates to wait for a period of time before volunteering at the bedside. Hospices typically require prospective volunteers to submit to a background check, usually at the hospice’s expense. To ensure that volunteers are equipped for the challenge of working with the dying, they are required to complete extensive orientation and training sessions. A hospice may require volunteers to have a valid driver’s license, particularly if the volunteer will be traveling to patient homes. 

Like other members of the hospice team working directly with patients and families, hospice volunteers may be required to receive vaccinations or show evidence of vaccine history or immunity to certain contagious diseases.

The act of volunteering has life changing impacts. Here are some TEDtalks that discusses the benefit of being a volunteer.

3 reasons why you should volunteer
Health benefits of volunteering

Butterfly Memorial Ceremony

Your body is away from me

but there is a window open

from my heart to yours.

From this window, like the moon

I keep sending news secretly.

by Rumi

Please join us in our butterfly release ceremony. This is a time to remember those that have left us. Share in their memory together as a community. We plan to offer live entertainment, crafts for kids, and refreshments.

Each family will be given a live butterfly to release as part of the ceremony in memory of a lost loved one.

Please plan to join us.

Saturday, September 17th 1 – 3 PM

Pioneer Park, Lewiston

If you have questions or need additional information, please email us at info@elitehhh.com

2022 LC Valley Senior Health Fair

Elite Home Health & Hospice in collaboration with Elk’s Lodge Lewiston is hosting a Senior Health Fair.

When: Wednesday, September 14th 3 – 6 PM

Where: Elk’s Lodge, 3444 Country Club Drive, Lewiston, ID 83501

Information: info@elitehhh.com

We will be having guest speakers from:

-Skilled Nursing

-Assisted Living

-Home Health

-Hospice

-Palliative Care

-Home care

-Estate Planning

-Funeral Arrangement

-Health Screens: Blood pressure checks, cholesterol screens, fall risk assessments and more

Our goal is to provide you with resources for your health. We are a resource to patients and their families in the aging process supporting rehabilitation and a return to independent living through home health services, managing chronic illness through palliative care, and assistance with the complexities of end-of-life through hospice.

For more information, check out our event on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/1ZXIukFL1

Senior Health Fair at the Elk’s

Join Elite Home Health & Hospice in partnership with the Lewiston Elks Lodge No. 896

Together, we proudly present the 2022 LC Valley Senior Health Fair.

This event takes place on Wednesday, September 14, 3:00 – 6:00pm at the Lewiston Elks Lodge, 3444 Country Club Drive, Lewiston.

During the event there will be senior health screenings, senior health related vendors and presentations, plus refreshments and a giveaway.

The event is open to the community and FREE of charge. For more information or to RSVP 509-758-2568.

Making the Move: How to Transition Loved Ones to Assisted Care

Making a decision on when to help senior relatives move into assisted living can be an emotionally fraught time. It can be exacerbated if only one-half of the couple needs an advanced degree of care, while the other is still able to live independently and be self-sufficient. In addition to the stress and anxiety of this type of situation, there can also be a degree of financial strain. According to Eldercare Locator, two out of three seniors will need assistance; some advanced planning can help smooth the journey.

To help, the Elite Home Health & Hospice offers the following guidance.

How to Know When It’s Time

Most seniors resist the urge to move into assisted living, primarily because it’s a sign of a major life change, as well as a loss of independence. It’s best to have a discussion about the subject with parents before the time comes so that you’re able to be respectful of their wishes, while still planning ahead as needed. Most healthcare providers will say it’s time to look at assisted living once an individual is no longer able to perform activities of daily living, like bathing and dressing, preparing healthy meals, taking necessary medications, and being safely mobile.

Tiered Assisted-Living Options

It is becoming more commonplace for senior couples to gravitate toward structured living environments that have a tiered approach. For example, many communities offer a combination of independent living options all the way through long-term and even hospice care, all in the same physical location. In this environment, both halves of the couple can live in the same community and see each other on a regular basis. The one who needs a greater degree of care receives it, while the one who remains more independent is able to maintain some of their autonomy. The level of care each receives can evolve over time as necessary to meet their individual needs.

How to Find the Right Community

Assisted living communities vary greatly in terms of staff-to-patient ratios, amenities, services, and costs. You can take tours and meet with social workers and admission directors to learn more about various locations before making a decision. Read online reviews from the Better Business Bureau to help ensure you’re not choosing a place that has complaints and health violations or raises red flags. You can also ask for referrals from family members and friends. Some communities even allow prospective residents to stay for a few days to test the environment.

Paying for Senior Care

The cost of assisted living can be high, especially for two individuals. Long-term care insurance and Medicaid and Medicare may cover some costs, but much depends on geographic location, the type of community, and the level of care needs in question. Many people sell the family home as a way to subsidize the expenses. You can learn about the value of a house by consulting a real estate professional, or by calculating the home’s value by subtracting the amount still owed on the mortgage from the current market value of a home. You can find a general ballpark figure using online real estate search tools, or have the home appraised by an independent party.

How to Downsize

Making a move into assisted living means that in most cases, a significant percentage of household and personal items will need to be donated, given away, or sold. To make the transition easier, Daily Caring advises encouraging loved ones to keep personal items that have sentimental value. You can utilize the services of an estate sale company or auction house to help liquidate assets. This helps with the downsizing process, as well as provides funds to cover the cost of assisted living. Always get several quotes and written estimates before choosing a service provider.

Having discussions with your loved one and other family members about planning senior care and financial matters can make for difficult conversations. It’s best to keep some negotiating tips in mind. Always come to the conversation prepared with details and options. Remember that this is a collaborative process; always stay focussed on what’s best for your loved one.

Even though moving a loved one into assisted living can be very difficult for adult children, it’s important to maintain a degree of compassion. This is a difficult transition, and acknowledging fears and worries can help smooth the process. Making the effort to find a place where both halves of the couple can reside together can help diminish some of the worry, and instead, provide a degree of comfort and security. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can provide resources to help.

Elite Home Health & Hospice has sought to provide life-changing care and service since 1984. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today!

This article was guest written by Annabelle Harris from Elders Center. There is no affiliation with Elite Home Health & Hospice.

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

According to Psoriasis.org, psoriasis does not have a clear origin. However, what results is an inflammatory response that demonstrates dysfunction of the immune system. The physical signs of the inflammation such as raised plaques and scales may result from an overactive immune system. This changes the speed of cell growth and impacts the life cycle of skin cells from weeks down to days. Doctors have to manage additional complexities in seniors when considering treatment (Balato et al., 2014). Managing comorbidities, the challenges with taking multiple medications, and progressive functional impairment of body systems impact what treatment options are available. The first strategy is to use a topical treatment (Balato et al., 2014).

Inflammation caused by psoriasis can impact other organs and tissues in the body (psoriasis.org). Other conditions may co-exist, such as arthritis which can result in permanent joint damage. A significant concern for seniors is in the overall management and strategy as these conditions can go undiagnosed and therefore untreated (Butler and Koo, 2015). Increasing awareness and understanding of this disease is critical for effective management.

Resources:

https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40266-014-0156-6

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-18380-0_5#citeas

August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month

Gastroparesis is a condition which affects the muscles of your stomach. Essentially, the muscles stop moving and thus restrict the passage of food. This condition results in symptoms of nausea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pain. The muscles in your stomach will change with age. However, paresis is rare and suggests other complications (McCallum et al., 2021). The most common causes are diabetes, may result after surgery, taking certain medications – such as opioid pain relievers, antidepressants, hypertension medications and allergy medications (mayoclinic.org). Management will involve changes to diet to minimize complication risk (McCallum et al., 2021). Complications may include severe dehydration, malnutrition, undigested food which hardens and remains in the stomach, known as bezoars, unpredictable blood sugar changes, and decreased quality of life (mayoclinic.org).

Resources:

mayoclinic.org/disease-conditions/gastroparesis/symptoms-causes/

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30192-7_41

August is National Health Center Month

National Health Center Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the work of local health clinics. These local clinics support over 27 million patients in the United States and build systems to provide care to individuals who may not typically access comprehensive care. These clinics allow patients with limited resources to collaborate with supports internal to the clinic and external to the community. These clinics are critical to supporting comprehensive care and are partners in the care of our highest risk patients. These clinics are also supportive in providing primary care for patients who may not have an established relationship. Establishing care is critical for accessing home health services to support recovery from acute illness and support comprehensive chronic care management.

For more information, check out https://healthcenterweek.org/

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

The National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an opportunity to learn and better understand the role of vaccines in your healthcare plan. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. The COVID 19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life. There have been known challenges with patients’ ability to attend important appointments and receive routine vaccinations. There has been significant questions raised about vaccines and how they work which has created delays in how people are accessing and scheduling immunizations.

During NIAM, we encourage you to talk to your doctor, nurse or healthcare provider to ensure you and your family are protected against serious diseases by getting caught up on routine vaccination. If you have questions, ask your provider. If you are on our home health, palliative, or hospice services, ask one of your clinicians for information and resources.