Family Staffing Blog

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Halloween Safety Tips for the Elderly

 

For most of us Halloween holds childhood memories of dressing up,  carving pumpkins and going door to door for candy and treats. And for many of our Elderly population this memory expands to giving out candy and treats to the costumed children at their door. However for some  with Dementia and/or Physical limitations; Halloween may hold negative feelings and fear that can contribute to negative behaviors leading up to and on Halloween itself.  In addition the security and safety factor of having strangers coming to the door in the twilight and evening hours is not conducive to a safe environment for elderly living alone. Keeping our elderly population as safe as possible on Halloween while still enjoying the holiday in their own way can be possible with a few considerations and interventions. To continue enjoying life safely is the goal!

My mother was one of those treat givers that the children loved to visit. She enjoyed watching the little faces and would open her door to anyone, even long into the late hours. Without going further you can imagine what real risks there are for an elderly woman alone opening her door up at night to total strangers. For my mother,  the joy of giving out candy continued when she live in a secure community where children were invited, safety measures were followed and the doors were locked and staff protected her into the night. She continued to enjoy Halloween without previous risks.

On Halloween there can be an increase of safety and security concerns for elderly who live alone, and especially those with Dementia and/or Physical limitations. Contributing factors may include; decorations, falling leaves, wet pavements, decreased daylight hours, change in weather conditions,  and more. Some of these risks can be avoided or minimized by carefully considering what adjustments can be made. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete approach to safety or recommendations, but instead just a few considerations as you prepare for Halloween with an Elderly person.

Halloween Safety Tips for the Elderly

  • Keep all floors, entry ways and porches free of decorations.
  • Add night lights to hallways, walkways and rooms, and keep well lit.
  • Avoid window decorations that block light or view of front entry.
  • Use only safe pumpkin carving tools,  light pumpkin with flame-less votive.
  • Place carved pumpkins outside to keep decaying smell and bugs outside.
  • Spend the evening with them, be available to help answer door, keep them safe.
  • When done with candy, or at dusk: Put sign on door, “Sorry No More Candy”.
  • There is debate on turning off porch light, which can increase security risk.

Don’t leave an elderly person with Dementia or physical limitations home alone on Halloween…

  • Take them to a community event or family home, and return home after dusk.
  • Send a companion or professional to be with them from 4:00-10:00 or overnight.
  • Help them answer door and hand out candy if they wish.
  • Put out sign when done “Sorry No More Candy”.
  • Watch movie or listen to music in another room away from front door if possible.
  • Be prepared; books, albums, crafts, favorite foods, etc. to enjoy and distract.
  • Follow dietary instructions; avoid over indulgence of chocolate or sugar.

Remember Halloween may not be a happy time for elderly with Dementia and may be scary, or create added stimulation from doorbell, knocks, noise outside. Be sensitive to what they can tolerate and do your best to keep them safe and enjoy the evening with you.

By; Pati Rader, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor®
Life Enrichment Specialist

 

Do you worry that your parent or a loved one living alone is okay?

 

Do you have a senior parent or loved one that lives alone, is independent, but you still worry and want to know that they are doing okay throughout the day?

Can technology give you the peace of mind to know that your loved one is okay while you are away?

While there are daily check-in call service programs  available, most are automated and provide no personal communication.  They simply assume that if the phone is answered then everything is fine. But, what if it’s not?

It’s only when the phone is not answered that a notification call is sent to you.

There are also many different monitoring devices that are available through today’s technology but they all lack the personal touch of one-on-one contact and communication

With Family Staffing Solutions’ “At Your Service” Phone Visits, we offer personal, not automated, calls to your loved one throughout the day and actually speak with them to find out how they are doing.

We will work with you to develop  a schedule for placing the calls and well as establishing an Emergency plan—just in case.

We are dedicated to your active lifestyle and are here to help you care for those you love.

If you are interested in learning more about our Phone Visits, contact your local office today!

 

Coming Home from the Hospital

When  your loved one is ready to come home from the hospital,  proper discharge planning can reduce your stress and lower the possibility of hospital readmission. 

Here are some tips we think are important to help prepare for your loved one’s successful recovery at home.

 

  • Assess your loved one’s condition and needs.
  • Become part of the health care team (doctor, nurse, therapists) so you can learn how to provide care.
  • Get complete written instructions from the doctor.  If there is anything you don’t understand, ASK QUESTIONS.
  • Develop a plan of care with the healthcare provider.
  • Meet with the hospital’s social worker or discharge planner to determine home care benefits.
  • Understand in-home assistance and options and arrange for in-home help.
  • Arrange physical, occupational, and speech therapy as needed.
  • Find out if medicine is provided by the hospital to take home.  If not, have prescriptions filled before you take your loved one home.
  • Buy needed supplies; rent, borrow or buy equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers.

For more information on Discharge Planning visit Caregiver.org

 

What to Look For in a Home Care Company – Why Choose Us?

We’ve taken a recent post/article from the Senior Directory Newsletter regarding 5 questions to consider when choosing a Home Care Company and answered them for you based on the guidelines, policies, procedures, and practices of Family Staffing Solutions, Inc.  We think you will find that when it comes to choosing in-home care, Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. is the company you can trust to provide personal care for your loved ones.

 What to Look For in a Home Care Company

Today’s seniors have more care options available to them than ever before. When their physical capabilities start to diminish, more and more seniors are choosing to receive assistance in the comfort of their own homes. Home care is considered by many to be one of the most desirable options because it allows seniors to maintain their independence while remaining where they feel most comfortable.

One of the most difficult challenges you face when caring for an aging parent is finding a good, quality home care company. Whether you need full time assistance or a little extra help when you can’t be there, hiring a home care provider is a serious decision. Just like any other major life decision, there are many pitfalls to watch out for when enlisting home care assistance. On the surface, many home care companies seem to be the same. With so many available options, how do you find the best fit for your loved one?

To help with this task, we have provided the following list of questions to ask each home care agency you consider for your loved one.  If they can’t answer these questions to your satisfaction, then you should consider working with a different company.

Are your caregivers bonded and insured?

Believe it or not, many home care companies have minimal insurance coverage while others have none at all. Most home care companies carry liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage. However, it is important that the company is bonded. Bonded means the company offers protection to the client if the caregiver steals from them.

Providing service since 1999, Family Staffing Solutions’ Caregivers are Bonded, Insured, and Supervised. They are also evaluated as part of our Quality Assurance Standard of Care for your family.

How extensive are your background checks?

Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people in this world. The last thing you want to do is to allow them into your home. It is imperative that you ask about the background checks the agency performs on their caregivers. Because unsavory characters move from place to place, it’s important that you know about the caregiver on a national scale. Also, be sure to ask the agency if they conduct reference checks.

At Family Staffing Solutions, Inc., we take pride in hiring Exceptional Caregivers.  To become a part of our team, each candidate must go thru a thorough screening process starting with completing our application process in person.

Once a candidate has completed their application at the local office and an initial assessment has been completed, signed authorization by the candidate allows Family Staffing Solutions to conduct the following Background Checks:

National and Local Criminal Background, Abuse Registry, Sex Offender Registry, Department of Public Safety

We also require:

Verification of Car Insurance

Professional and Personal references.

Pre-Employment and Random Drug Testing

 

Are your caregivers employees or contractors?

There are different types of home care companies (employers, referral services, registries, and individuals). The benefit with working with companies that hire employees is that they hire and pay their employees directly. All employees are covered by work comp and liability laws of your state. Employers are subject to Social Security, Federal Tax, and Medicare withholding, and applicable state and local income taxes. It’s important to understand your obligations when hiring a home care agency.

The Caregivers of Family Staffing Solutions are our employees and therefore we are directly responsible for Payroll, all taxes and withholdings, Social Security, and Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

 

What is the company’s replacement policy?

Despite everyone’s best efforts the client and caregiver’s personalities may clash. In most cases, a good home care agency will provide you with as many replacements as needed. Have a discussion about “what if” scenarios and see how the company reacts. Ideally they will take your concerns very seriously and act as a liaison to resolve the conflict quickly and effectively.

At Family Staffing Solutions, our services are personalized to match the unique needs of each client and family. Our caregivers have the skills, the understanding, and the heart to care for your family. We encourage you to partner in the selection of a caregiver to find the right fit for your family as well as work together with us to maximize their time with your loved one.

We call our employees “Friends.” That is exactly the relationship we want you and your loved one to nourish and enjoy with our caregivers.

 

What happens if I have an issue of concern after business hours?

Home care is a 24/7 business. The rule of thumb is that worst case situations occur during the nights, weekends, or holidays. You want your agency to have a very clear process for managing problems outside of their regular business hours. Some agencies use answering services while a few agencies will have a dedicated staff member to field calls after hours. With today’s technology there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to reach the agency in case of an emergency. Ask how to contact them and see how they respond.

At Family Staffing Solutions:

Your phone call will be answered by a member of our staff, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays.

Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Emergency staffing is available in crisis situations.

 

 Article and Question Source:   Senior Directory.com

 

 

The Opioid Addiction Concern for our Seniors

Finding Help for Seniors Addicted to Opioids

I’m worried about my 72-year-old mom who has been taking Vicodin—an opioid medication—for her hip and back pain for more than a year. I fear she’s becoming addicted to the drug but I don’t know what to do.

 

Opioid addiction is a national problem that is hitting people of all ages, including millions of older Americans. Here is what you should know and do to help your mom.

The Cause

The main reason opioid addiction has become such a problem for people over age 50 is because opioids have become a commonly prescribed (and often overprescribed) medication by doctors over the past two decades. It is being used to treat many different types of pain and diseases, including arthritis, cancer, neurological diseases and other illnesses that become more common in later life.

Nearly one-third of all Medicare patients—almost 12 million people—were prescribed opioid painkillers by their physicians in 2015. That same year, 2.7 million Americans over the age of 50 abused painkillers.

Taken as directed, opioids can manage pain effectively when used for a short amount of time. However, because nearly 5% of those treated will develop an addiction or abuse the opioid medication, people should be screened and monitored when using an opioid for a long period of time.

Signs of Addiction

Your mom may be addicted to opioids if she cannot stop herself from taking the drug and her tolerance continues to increase. She may also be addicted if she keeps using opioids without her doctor’s consent, even if it is causing her problems related to her health, money, family or friends.

If you think your mom has an addiction, ask her to see a doctor for an evaluation. Go to a family doctor, her prescribing physician or find a specialist through the American Society of Addiction Medicine (see ASAM.org) or the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP.org). It is also important to be positive and encouraging. Addiction is a medical matter, not a character flaw. Repeated use of opioids actually can change the way the brain functions.

Treatments

Treatment for opioid addiction is different for each person, but the main goal is to enable your mom to stop taking the drug and avoid using it again in the future.

To help her stop using the drug, her doctor can prescribe certain medicines to help relieve her withdrawal symptoms and control her cravings. These medicines include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

After her body detoxifies, behavioral treatments such as individual counseling, group or family counseling and cognitive therapy can help her learn how to manage depression, avoid the drug, deal with cravings and heal damaged relationships.

For assistance, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) confidential help line at 800-662-4357 or visit SAMHSA.gov. The SAMHSA has individuals who can connect you with treatment services in your mom’s state.

Also, if you believe that your mom has a doctor who prescribes opioids in excess or without legitimate reason, you should report him or her to the appropriate state medical board. For contact information visit FSMB.org.

-Jim Miller – Savvy Living
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of “The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Caring For Our Veterans

 

At Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. we proudly care for our Veterans, their spouses and surviving spouses every day. Our commitment to their care is just one of the ways we demonstrate appreciation for their service to our country.

These heroes – our fathers, mothers, spouses, and friends – may be eligible for a unique benefit through the VA called “Pension with Aid and Attendance.” This benefit may provide reimbursement funding of up to $25,525 a year to help cover medical expenses, including in-home care services. In-home care helps keep loved ones safe and comfortable at home.

Millions of qualifying veterans and families go without Aid and Attendance simply because of not knowing about the benefit and inability to pay for in-home care. Through our partnership with Veterans Care Coordination, we are able to assist qualifying veterans and their spouses to apply for and obtain the Aid and Attendance Benefit through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What makes this partnership unique is the fact that Veterans Care Coordination can offer financial assistance to clients that cannot afford to pay for the up-front, out of pocket expense of in-home care through their Veterans Appreciation Program.

For information on eligibility visit www.veteranscarecoordination.com or call toll free 855-380-4400

RUTHERFORD Cable July Monthly Spotlight Member

Family Staffing Solutions’ Kathy Bennett was chosen as the Rutherford Cable’s Spotlight Member for July.  Here’s what they had to say:

“Kathy Bennett has served the Rutherford County community and its citizens for over 16 years in customer relations with respected locally-owned businesses such as Reeves-Sain and Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. Kathy has served in Client Relations & Services over the past 5 years with Family Staffing Solutions Inc., which offers award winning in-home, non-medical care, needs and assistance to the elderly. As the company liaison for all clients, Kathy maintains excellent client relations while keeping company/state required information updated and current for offices based in Murfreesboro, Nashville and Shelbyville and surrounding communities.

Kathy currently serves on the RUTHERFORD Cable Special Events Committee. Her passion is and always will be people. Kathy will celebrate 30 years of marriage this year with husband Rick and is the mother of daughter Denise, stepson Les, two wonderful grandchildren and another grand baby on the way!”

 

Helpful Items for You or Your Loved One

We found some great items at AtsMotion.com we wanted to share with you

 

 

I’m OK – Passive Activity Monitoring System

You can KNOW they are OK without having to call them. No pendant to wear and no monthly expense. Detect variances in your loved ones daily routines before it turns into horrible crisis. Simply attach the sensors to things that move. The sensors connect to the network and alert you to the usage. You will be notified as the sensors indicate usage or non-usage providing reassurance throughout the day.

 

 

Screw In Motion Sensing Light Socket

Don’t Enter A Dark Room Again! Hands Full? Let This Unit Automatically Turn the Light On for You! Don’t want to go to the wall switch to turn on a light? This is the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automatic Soap & Sanitizer Dispenser- with lights and sound

 

This automatic soap dispenser not only will dispense soap when it senses your hand, it lights up so you can see it at night and plays a chime when the soap is dispensed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300 Foot Wireless Mail Receiver Announcer

The mail announcer lets you know when the mail has been delivered or picked up. No more wasted trips to the mailbox to fnd the mailman has not run yet or to find the mailbox empty. Wireless up to 450 feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wireless Motion Sensor System

Be Notified When There Is Movement. Battery Operated, Easy To Use Motion Alert System.

 

 

 

 

 

Long Range Driveway Motion Alert

Be notified when movement is detected up to 1/2 mile away. Always know way ahead of time when someone is approaching. Don’t be caught off guard by a delivery or visitor.

 

 

 

CLICK TO LEARN MORE or TO ORDER

 

Surviving a Heat Wave

Worsening summer heat waves can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. It is important that seniors particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses, know how to safeguard against problems.

Air conditioning is one of the best protections against heat-related illness and death. Visit senior centers, movie theaters, libraries or malls to cool off—even for just a few hours.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness

When the body is unable to control its temperature, it rises rapidly and sweating mechanisms fail. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10–15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Heat exhaustion is less severe, more common, and occurs when the body becomes severely dehydrated. If left untreated, it leads to heat stroke. If you suspect a person is having a problem with the heat, err on the side of caution and insist they get into shade and cool down.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating, cold, clammy skin
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or both

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, nausea, confusion
  • Unconsciousness

These are signs of a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the person

  • Get him to a shady area.
  • Cool him rapidly, however you can: Immerse him in a cool tub of water or shower; spray him with cool water from a garden hose; sponge him with cool water; wrap him in a cool, wet sheet and fan him vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature; continue cooling efforts until body temperature drops to 101–102°F.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the ER for further instructions.
  • If he is conscious and able to swallow, give cool water or nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverages.

Source: American Heart Association; Department of Health and Human Services, Caregiving in the Comfort of Home

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