Home Safety Checklist for Seniors

For most families, there comes a time when they must decide whether their aging parents are capable of living alone or if they should be moved into an assisted living facility. First and foremost, the health and functional capabilities of your elder play a large role in this decision. If they are healthy enough to live unassisted, then making sure their house is in top safety conditions is the next step. Here are some things you should check out when it comes to the safety of seniors in their home:

  • Is there enough lighting?
    Each room should be well lit so your elder can easily navigate through the house in the dark. We all know that our night vision gets weaker as we age, so adequate lighting throughout the entire household is a must. Adding nightlights to hallways or frequently visited rooms at night, like the bathroom, is also a good idea.
  • Are there smoke detectors?
    Make sure there are working smoke detectors in the house and follow the recommendation of changing the batteries yearly. You should also make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector as well.
  • Are there handrails along the staircases?
    Wherever there are steps, there should be sturdy railings. Senior citizens often struggle with maintaining their balance, and handrails help to make getting around easier. Make sure they are properly mounted and if it is applicable to have one on both sides of the stairwell, install them both. If necessary, having a stair lift installed is a great safety feature for senior citizens.
  • Is there a bathmat/handrail in the shower?
    Staircases aren’t the only place that require handrails. The shower should have one too. This will help your parent keep their balance while bathing and give them something to hold onto while they enter and exit the bathtub. There should also be a bathmat in the tub to help prevent slips and falls.
  • How are the floors/carpets holding up?
    If there are hardwood floors, are there loose boards? If there are carpets, are there rips and  tears? The floors should be an even, clean surface. You don’t want anyone to trip or stumble over any loose boards or lifted parts of the carpet. This also means that there should not be clutter, cords and other random objects on the floor that can get in someone’s path. Even throw rugs are a potential hazard due to their likelihood to move around. If there are throw rugs, secure them to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Where are items that need to be reached daily located?
    If you are in the kitchen, how high are the cabinets? Where is the medicine kept? If anything is too high up for them to reach without assistance, this could cause problems. Is a stepstool needed? If so, make sure it does not wobble at all because you do not want someone to fall off of it. Try and put items that are frequently used in places that are easy to get to and do not require additional equipment to access.
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in the house?
    Hopefully they will never need to use a fire extinguisher, but accidents happen and there should be one somewhere in the house. Forgetting to blow out a candle or a mishap in the kitchen could cause a small fire and your parent should be prepared to put one out if this is the case. Also, make sure they are aware of how to use the fire extinguisher just in case one of these scenarios arises.
  • Is there a phone or emergency alert system accessible?
    Phones are absolutely necessary when someone is living alone because if there is an accident, they will need to call for help. Getting your parent a cell phone would also be beneficial, if they keep it on them, in case something happens when they are out of reach of the landline. If they are completely phoneless, they need an emergency alert system, no questions asked. An emergency alert system can be the only life saver in a situation where there is no phone available or they cannot get up to even get to the phone.

If your senior citizen has the physical strength and ability to maintain their memory and care for themselves on a daily basis, living alone is a possibility. Take the right steps to avoid even the most minor accident, as it can become more damaging if they are not properly prepared. Use this home safety checklist to make sure your loved one’s home is safe from top to bottom.

About the Author

Ruth Folger Weiss loves writing for Willow Spring Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a sub-acute rehabilitation center in Center Brick, NJ.

15 Tips on Providing In-Home Health Care

Providing in-home health care to someone, especially a loved one can be a stressful and challenging experience.  Preparing ahead and considering these fifteen tips can help to make the transition into in home care less stressful and easier on you and the individual requiring care.

  1. Impact on Person Needing Care – the individual needing care will need some time to adjust to the new arrangement.  They may have recently lost a loved one or they may have had an injury or major medical event that has prompted the change.  Any of these changes can cause stress, anxiety or even depression so it’s best to give that person some time to adjust.
  2. Impact on You – As you will be the one giving care, a significant amount of your time will be required.  You will need to consider if this is something you are willing to do and how it will affect your job and family life.
  3. Impact on Your Family – It will be important for you to discuss your decision to provide in home care with your family.  The decision will directly impact them and your way of life.  Carefully consider everyone’s opinions and concerns prior to making a full commitment.
  4. Staying on Top of Appointments – Once you start providing in home care, you will need to stay on top of appointments that will need to be kept such as going to the doctor, physical therapy, etc.
  5. Questions to Ask the Doctor – The more care you provide, the more involved you will be with monitoring the daily activities of the individual.  You will want to ask specific questions of the doctor if you notice any concerning behavior or changes to the health or mental state of the patient.
  6. Medicines – Along with providing in home care, you will need to keep track of any medications, when they need to be administered and any dangerous side effects or interactions with other drugs or specific foods.
  7. Meals – Providing regular and nutritious meals will be a major part of your responsibilities and it will have a major impact on the health of the person requiring care.
  8. Exercise/Physical Therapy – Depending on the mobility of the patient, you may need to ensure that they participate in some type of physical activity to keep them mobile.  This may also involve bringing them to the gym or to physical therapy appointments.
  9. Keeping Minds Active – If the patient is limited in activity or confined in any way, it may be helpful to make sure they keep their mind active in addition to their body.  This can be done by providing them with reading materials, thought-provoking games or puzzles.
  10. Eliminating Dangers in the Home – Keeping pathways clear and removing clutter in the home can help to prevent any accidents or injuries to the patient.
  11. Making Adjustments to the Home – Consider if your home may require adjustments such as ramps, railings, stair lifts or larger access points into and out of the home.  You may also need to make changes to furniture and fixtures such as chairs, beds, or bathtubs.
  12. Additional Cost for Caring – The cost of providing in home care can be significant.  You will want to consider if you need to reduce hours at work or stop working altogether in addition to the cost of additional food, transportation and potential renovations to your home.
  13. Liability Insurance – While most people provide in home care to a loved one, you may want to consider adjusting any liability insurance on your home.  Any additions you make to your home may require additional coverage.
  14. Taking Care of Yourself – One thing that most caregivers neglect while they are providing care is themselves.  Make sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and getting a break from time to time as care giving can be a demanding task even if you are helping a family member or loved one.
  15. Know When to Admit You Need Help – At some point, providing in home care may become so overwhelming or even impossible that you may need to consider getting additional help or stopping in home care altogether.  Having an idea of what your options are under these circumstances will help to ease the transition especially if something changes with the patient unexpectedly.

By taking these tips into account, you can avoid any potential problems or conflicts as you transition into providing in home care.

 About The Author

Catherine Reeson is certified medical assistant, and has worked in various caregiver roles for several years. She aims to write about topics that will help beginner caregivers avoid some of the hurdles she’s faced in her tenure.

Help Your Aging Parents Regain Their Health And Self-Esteem With Home Care Services

These days most people are required to live overseas, far away from their aging mom and dad, or are too packed with their job owing to which they do not have time for looking after their parents at home. This leaves them worried about the senior citizens who stay all alone at home or require an extra hand. In all such cases home care is what they are looking for.

Keep away from this one big mistake

Self esteem is one of the biggest factors for one’s aging parents. Often one gets frustrated and loses their temper due to their parents’ stubbornness and tenacity, not realizing the fact that they are behaving so because of a purpose. At one point of time they were the family head or key decision maker and all of a sudden with the coming of age they have become immobile and incapable to handle their own duties as a result of which they vent out this deeply frustrating feeling. And especially when they are told to leave their own home and get admitted to a nursing home for their treatment their morale is automatically doomed. For them their home is always the biggest source of strength. Although it is age that has made them dependent but it is solely family members’ companionship that can work wonders in helping them fight with their bodily incapability. Often people admit their parents in hospitals thinking that it is here where they will be taken utmost care of but the truth is in 90% cases the after effects are fatal. They give up their urge for living and as a result one tends to lose their loved one for this one big mistake. In this regard in-home care acts as the greatest reprieve.

Knowing what exactly aging parents need is essential

It is very easy in getting irritated with aging parents and grandparents but one should be calm and read their minds and understand what exactly they need and offer them help accordingly.

  • Medical attention- Taking into consideration what illness they are suffering from one should decide the type of medical help. For instance, if they are suffering from a chronic ailment a better option will be to take the help of nursing homes. On the other hand, if they are suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, home care is what they need
  • Daily chores- It is every child’s responsibility to find out the root cause of the problem that their parents are facing. Is it that they need support for their day to day chores such as toileting, bathing, grooming, grocery shopping, washing clothes, making beds or meal preparation? If so, then hiring the services of a home caregiver will be the best choice
  • Security- If one has to work late nights or are leaving the station for a vacation and need a support for looking after their aging family members for a specific period of time, then also opting for in-home care services will be a wise choice

Track every progression of an aging adult with infallible awareness

The trained home caregivers give one-on-one attention and care to the senior citizens that they deserve. Under these professional and safe hands one can be stress-free about the health and care of their aging parents. This indicates that irrespective of the specific impairment or disability in question, their dear ones’ can remain independent within the confines of their own home as far as possible. Being professionals they are adept at observing every small change with respect to the behaviour of the patient and keep a track of their progress with infallible awareness. By viewing these current changes they can help the patient in regaining their health and self-esteem. They are well aware of the job they are doing and are swift at implementing changes. The list of home healthcare facilities that they offer include yet are not restricted to,

  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • Companionship
  • Personal care
  • Shopping and errands
  • Ambulation and transfers
  • Housecleaning
  • Pet care

These in-home services vary from long-term to temporary and can be for 24 hours, twice a week or just a few hours as per one’s needs.

About the Author

Scott Fagan having profound knowledge in the medical industry has highlighted the different vital prospects associated with home care services offered by CommonWealth Caregivers through the medium of this article.

Tips for Assisting an Elder with Dental Care

If you are looking after a loved one, helping to maintain their dental health can be a difficult subject to broach. Tooth loss and dental disease, along with decreased finger dexterity and general mobility which makes it difficult to properly clean teeth, can all take a toll on an elderly person’s dignity.

Whether you are a family caregiver or a professional carer, you may encounter a bit of resistance initially. However, ensuring oral health is an essential part of caring for an elder’s overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to higher incidence of lung infections and can aggravate existing conditions like diabetes and heart conditions.

Here are a few practical guidelines to help ensure the oral care and support you provide is both effective and kind.

1. Look out for any existing oral conditions

Mouth or tooth pain can leave anyone feeling poorly. In addition, a host of medications can dry out the mouth, adding to the overall discomfort. On the other hand, a healthy mouth means tastier food, better appetite and usually also improved communication.

As you provide support with tooth brushing and dental hygiene, keep an eye on any changes in gum and tooth health. Any bumps, swellings or lesions that do not heal in two weeks, or bleeding and loose teeth are cause for a trip to the dentist or at least a call to your dentists’ practice to seek advice. Regularly ask your loved one if their teeth are sensitive and note any difficulty they may experience when chewing or swallowing.

2. How to help with teeth brushing

Though the level of support you may need to provide when brushing teeth will vary, it is important to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

Your loved one might be able to brush their teeth at the sink. In that case, ensure you have a chair positioned in front of the sink and a towel and cup handy. Brushing teeth can easily be done simply sitting up in bed too and rinsing into a cup.

Brush: Using a soft bristled brush, use small round motions to clean each tooth. Also gently clean the tongue. Consider an electric toothbrush as they can be a good option for providing thorough care.

Floss: Floss each tooth, implant and dental bridge. Normal dental floss should work fine but you could also try spongy floss or floss picks to see which works best.

Rinse: Use an antibacterial mouthwash to finish. If the elder you are caring for is unable to rinse with mouthwash, just ask them to spit out any toothpaste into a cup. Don’t worry about remaining residue. If it’s fluoride toothpaste this will actually benefit the teeth.

Dentures: Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly daily.

3. Cleanliness after meals and throughout the day

Having frequent sips of water during the day is a great way of keeping the mouth feeling fresh and moist. After meals ensure all food is wiped away and ask your loved one to rinse into a cup to remove any remaining food from their mouth. You could also offer xylitol gum for chewing in between meals.

4. Don’t forget about the dentist

Most dentist recommend that seniors pay their dentist a visit every six months for a checkup and thorough clean. This is a good time to raise any general dental health questions you may have, but don’t wait for the bi-annual visit to address any serious dental health issues.

5. A few notes on diet

Often foods that are easy to prepare, eat and chew are also high in sugars and refined carbohydrates. These can not only increase the chance of cavities but will also aggravate other conditions like having a dry mouth. Thankfully there are quite a lot of teeth-friendly and generally more healthy foods options out there.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with elder nutrition guidelines and where relevant to work with the care facility.

About the Author

Emma Harris lives in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, where she writes for her local dentist, Cuffley Village Dental Practice who have extensive experience providing dental care to elderly patients.

Using Home Health Care to Facilitate Independent Living

When faced with the choice between living in an elderly care facility or aging as independently as possible at home, home health care is almost always the more desirable choice. Still, it’s not always easy to build a feasible support system for aging seniors who wish to retain as much independence and dignity as possible by continuing to live in their own homes.

Understanding the unique needs of an individual patient and the level of care required to help them stay in their own homes doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right assistance in place and a plan of action, it’s very possible to help your loved ones retain some semblance of an independent, healthy lifestyle well into their golden years.

Realistic Evaluation of Need

To create a plan for an extended aging-in-place arrangement, it’s imperative to objectively take stock of your loved one’s needs and requirements. Some seniors will require little more than a few hours a day of supervision, which includes assistance with housekeeping and management of medication or physical therapy. Others may require more intensive services and direct medical care, transportation to and from appointments with physicians or daily living task assistance like bathing and dressing, which will typically require several hours or even round-the-clock care. Whether your loved one falls at one end of the spectrum or the other, or somewhere in between, enabling them to maintain as normal a routine as possible will require you to have a clear understanding of their needs and the necessary level of care.

Benefits of Home Health Care

Data from current research indicates that seniors who are encouraged to maintain a high level of independence through home health care also show higher levels of mobility, bladder control and emotional well-being. These patients are also less likely to require urgent, unplanned care as a result of injuries, falls or accidental medication mismanagement. Transitioning to a residential care facility may often leave your loved one with less independence and less freedom, which has been linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety. In the vast majority of situations, aging in place with home assistance is the most effective and comfortable solution for all involved parties.

Facilitating a successful home health care plan will allow your aging loved one to retain more control over their daily activities, while helping to prevent injuries, medication mishaps and even problems like malnutrition. Living at home, even with a chronic illness, a disability or an age-related reduction in mobility, is often the best possible option for both the physical and emotional health of a senior citizen. Home health care also helps to stave off feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which are relatively common among seniors.

Creating a Feasible Alternative to Facility Living

Families committed to helping their aging loved ones to live out their remaining years in dignity and the best possible health may know how important aging in place is to their family member’s emotional and physical health, but not how to execute a feasible plan for facilitating such an arrangement.

After assessing your loved one’s level of need, it’s time to determine the best way of building a support system to meet those needs. Family care can be a far less expensive alternative in some situations, but isn’t always feasible. Unless someone is able to dedicate some time each day to the management of medication and nutrition, along with basic daily needs, it may become necessary to work with a professional care provider. For some families, an ideal arrangement may consist of primarily family-driven care, with supplemental assistance from a professional caregiver or home health care provider. Because every situation is unique, your plan for enabling your loved one to age in place must also be customized to fit the existing level of need. Maintaining an open line of communication with your loved one’s primary care physicians and other medical care providers is one of the best ways to determine the most effective course of action, especially when aging in place is the preferred option.

About the Author

Selwyn St. Louis is the Director and CEO of Better Living Senior Services, located in Tampa Bay, Florida. Since 2009, Selwyn has been on a mission to help those in need with home health care options for the elderly.

Making the Transition: Hospital to Home Health Care

For aging adults and their families, a lengthy hospital stay can be a frightening and confusing time. At the end of this particular long road lies another; the transition from extended hospital care to home health care. Making this transition can be a challenging experience, but it’s also one which can be handled deftly with the proper preparation and reasonable expectations.

When home health care is the preferred solution for an aging patient, having a transitional plan in place before hospital discharge is essential. Medicare data indicates up to one in five patients will be readmitted to a hospital within thirty days of discharge, and almost half of those cases can be directly attributed to lack of access to community services or social interaction. Keeping your loved one healthy and comfortable at home will require that they’re able to remember and attend all follow-up appointments with a primary care physician, maintain the appropriate medication schedule and have access to a reasonable level of in-home assistance.

Planning Ahead

For the greatest chances of a successful transition to home health care after a hospital stay, it’s wise to begin making plans for this transition as soon as possible. Depending upon existing medical conditions and the advice of an attending physician, you may need to make arrangements for the procurement of specific equipment and supplies. Hospital beds, oxygen supplies, assistive showering and toileting devices and even disposable items like adult diapers and gloves are commonly suggested. Adjustments to make room for these tools should be handled as early as possible, to ensure a smooth transition from hospital care to home. Having all the necessary supplies in place on the day of discharge can alleviate much of the stress of the transition, making it more manageable for everyone involved.

More often than not, an aging patient will be prescribed new medication in order to more readily address the condition being treated during a hospital stay. Medication management becomes another important aspect of the transition to home health care from hospital care. It can be confusing for a senior recovering from an illness or procedure to integrate new treatment into their medication schedule. It’s crucial for a home health care professional or knowledgeable family caregiver to understand the intricacies of medication management, especially if new medications are contraindicated with older ones or there are overlapping prescriptions.

Understanding Care Requirements

After being discharged from a hospital stay, regardless of the length, most seniors will require at least some assistance at home. Working with attending physicians and primary care physicians to determine the required level of home assistance is advised. Some patients may require as little as a few hours of maintenance and medication  management each day, while others require 24-hour assistance with necessary activities like toileting and routine hygiene. Recent studies suggest more than half of patients over the age of eight-five will require some level of assistance with basic daily activities after leaving the hospital, though the duration of this assistance will vary from one individual to another.

In order to create an environment which will facilitate successful transition, it is crucial for family members to have a realistic understanding of home health care requirements. Because there may also be as much as a full day’s gap between discharge from the hospital and the beginning of covered home health services, it’s also important to have a plan in place for the day of release.

With the right level of preparation and a clear line of communication between patients, family members and medical care providers, it’s entirely possible to facilitate a smooth and successful transition from a hospital stay to home health care. Properly executed home health plans can also reduce the likelihood of repeat hospitalizations, improve quality of life and help your loved one enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

About the Author

Selwyn St. Louis is the Director and CEO of Better Living Senior Services, located in Tampa Bay, Florida. Since 2009, Selwyn has been on a mission to help those in need with home health care options for the elderly.

Stairlifts for Better Senior Care: Review Your Options

If using the stairs is becoming hazardous for you or a relative then installing a stairlift can make your life easier and safer. If you wish to age in place and are having trouble with the stairs then the first and most important thing to do is get an occupational therapist to give you an assessment. If you decide that a stairlift is a good option, then the points below will provide a helpful guide.

Is a Stairlift the best Option for You?
Stairlifts aren’t the best option for everyone. If you have trouble sitting or issues with your balance, then the transition between the stairlift and landing could be dangerous. If you have these issues then it might be worth looking at either moving to a bungalow or adapting your home so that you can live on the ground floor. You can also get through floor lifts for wheelchair users, though these take up a lot of space and will take time to install.

Straight and Curved
The first task with any stairlift is determining if your stairs are straight or curved. This is fairly self-explanatory. A straight stair is a single flight going up and down. A curved stair is anything from a spiral to a staircase with fanned steps turning a corner or with one or more landings. Most companies produce different models for straight and curved stairs as the rails need to be adapted for curved stairs. Because of these adaptations, curved stairlifts tend be more expensive, which means that for stairs with landings it may be more affordable to get two straight stairlifts, one for each flight.

The amount of space you have is vital to consider. For example if your stairs are less than 30 inches wide then it may be difficult to use most lifts. It’s fairly rare to find that situation but it’s worth looking out for. Similarly if the rail extends in front of a door then you should ensure you get a model that either retracts the end of the rail or folds it away when it’s not in use.

New and Reconditioned
Stairlifts tend to be expensive, but the cost can be offset by looking at reconditioned models. A reconditioned model should not only be more affordable but just as safe. Ironically they are often more reliable as any initial mechanical problems will often have been fixed either before or during reconditioning. Any reconditioned model should have undergone a check-up and tuning by trained engineers before it is resold. In contrast second hand stairlifts often won’t have the same check-ups and may not fit your stairs as every flight is different. This means you are less likely to have buyer’s remorse with a reconditioned model.

Having said that, there are some disadvantages to reconditioned lifts. The first is that their lifespan is significantly less than a new lift. A good rule of thumb is that a new stairlift should last for around ten years, a reconditioned lift six years. The second concern is that the older the model is, the harder it will be to source spare parts. Because of these worries, if you do get a reconditioned lift it is vital to get at least one year’s warranty from the dealer.

The Rental Option
If you are only going to need a stairlift for a short period of time, for example if you’re recovering from an operation or moving to a new home then there are a range of rental stairlifts available. This is only really suitable for a few months as after about six months it will be cheaper just to buy a stairlift outright. As with bought lifts, rental lifts can be fitted onto straight and curved stairs and are available as new or reconditioned. For a curved stair you may need to go to one of the bigger brands as they have greater range of stock.

I would love to go into more detail, but beyond a certain point the specifics of your home situation become vital. If you have any further advice or have experience with chairlifts, we’d love to hear your comments below.

About the Author: Daniel Frank is a blogger and online writer who is writing on behalf of Stannah Stairlifts, who provide a number of services including renting stairlifts.

A Guide to Different Levels of Elder Care

Before you can even begin the process of evaluating assisted living, it’s im- portant to familiarize yourself with all the terms. There are many types of care ranging from skilled nursing to senior living. They all vary based on the level of assistance required by the resident. What is the difference? Let’s find out.

Senior Communities

Senior housing is designed for high-functioning elders, defined as those not requiring assistance with ADLs. Senior communities are usually neighborhoods or towns (consider Sun City, the nation’s “first and finest” senior community) that are limited to people of a minimum age. They are designed for active seniors and have a variety of social clubs such as golf, arts and crafts and cards.

While some senior communities offer additional levels of care, many are not equipped for individuals who require assistance with ADLs. Some senior communities require the resident move on, should they require this level of care.

Continuing Care

Continuing care communities are sometimes called “step care” or “progressive” care facilities. They offer a wide range of options, all the way from independent living to special care. Residents are usually admitted when they live independently. As their needs increase, they are guaranteed vacancies in the lower level of care. An entry fee is often required, making this option quite expensive.

Assisted Living

Assisted living offers the elderly a place to live outside of their own home, where they can receive basic assistance in one or more of the following areas: housekeeping, meal preparation, 24-7 monitoring, shower assistance, toileting, medication assistance or reminders, transportation, eating, dressing, activities or socialization.

In assisted living, your loved one will likely have their own apartment, unless you or your loved one consents to sharing a room with someone. A private bathroom is most often in the apartment to allow for privacy and dignity. Most facilities will have a kitchenette in the apartment with a sink, microwave, refrigerator, and cupboard space. Each apartment will likely be climate controlled individually. There will be access to common areas such as a TV room, an activity room, dining room, library, and communal sitting areas.

Assisted living facilities are designed for people who need help with complex ADLs on a daily basis. If you remember from the previous chapters, basic ADLs include eating, bathing, dressing and hygiene. More complex ADLs include cooking, shopping and money management. Assisted living aims to be the mid- point between independent living and long-term care.

Most assisted living facilities have a dining room decorated like a restaurant as well as a variety of activities. Most assisted living facilities are not licensed to administer IVs, requiring patients who need IVs to temporarily relocate to a skilled nursing facility.

Board and Care

Board and care is similar to assisted living in terms of care, although some group homes work with lower functionality seniors than those found in assisted living. A woman I spoke with recently had placed her mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, in a board and care facility, sometimes known as a ‘group home.’ This is usually a single-family dwelling which has been converted into a residence for elderly and disabled residents. The monthly rent paid commonly includes room, three meals a day, laundry services, and some transportation – in addition to a 24-hour staff person. While basic medical care can be attended to, residents who have serious medical conditions will be expected to move into a more suitable facility.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing (also called SNF or “sniff”) is the first level of care that is licensed to administer medical treatment with nurses. In fact, there are strict regulations that require nurses to be on duty and to regulation the nurse-patient ration.

As the name denotes, such a facility offers extensive nursing services for the residents. Admission must be initiated by a person’s physician, who recommends that a patient enter either ‘rehab care’ or a ‘special care’ facility.

  • Rehab care. Located in hospitals or nursing homes, rehab care programs are sometimes called “Level 1” or transitional care. They provide intensive medical care for patients who are expected to regain functional capacity and return home in a relatively short time.
  • Special care. There are two types of special care facilities: those involved with unique medical issues (sometimes called “Level 2” care), and those which manage behavioral problems that may arise from dementia.

Many patients are admitted to skilled nursing to address an acute condition such as rehabilitating a broken hip, or treating an infection with IV antibiotics.

Many skilled nursing facilities have a portion of their residents who are long- term care patients. These are patients who require the treatment capabilities of a SNF, yet their condition requires that level of care permanently. Long-term care includes nursing supervision, but it is custodial in nature – focused on maintenance as opposed to curative care. Here the condition is not expected to improve, and the nursing activities are focused on keeping the person healthy and safe. The table below summarizes the differences between the levels of care and residential options.

This table is an updated, compiled version of those found in both offline and online sources, many of them listed in the resources section, the Book Club listings or 2008 Long-Term Care Cost Study, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102-3777.

Photo Credit: gilbert928.

Ellen Dunnigan Provides Dementia Care and “Relief” With Sollievo (Podcast)

Ellen Dunnigan combines dementia care with a 360-degree home care philosophy to provide a unique option for families struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The Sollievo model is one of many unique care models that are emerging as we grapple with how to care for our elders. What I found interesting about Ellen’s approach is her keen attention on serving the seniors AND providing stress relief to the family.
How Ellen Describes Sollievo

Sollievo is a care management network for families caring for an aging parent. We provide expert answers and relief to the daughters and sons who have taken on the exhausting caregiving of a parent who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

Typically we guide daughters who are trying to be both SuperMom and SuperDaughter, doing one job all day and then coming home in the evening to start the even tougher job.

They are stressed out, tired of being tired, and feeling guilty; consumed with trying to be the “answer” to everyone including their siblings in other states. They wish someone else could help them without getting in the way. And they need just-in-time resources to safely keep their mother or father at home longer.

Our process begins with a three-pronged assessment of the living environment, the well-being of the person diagnosed with dementia, and the burdens placed on family caregivers. We supply education and clarify expectations. We tailor strategies to make the days and nights better. Our 24/7 helpline is always answered live to address their immediate concerns. And most importantly we deliver the “just right” answers and network of services the first time, and every time.
About Ellen Dunnigan

As a strategist healthcare product development, and a Speech-Language Pathologist, Ellen Dunnigan has produced several healthcare product lines including Alzheimer’s care, Geri-psych programs, diabetes care, traumatic brain injury programs, and others. She has developed a balanced model of Alzheimer’s care for the long-term care segment which guides caregivers to exceptional results in patient care and meaningful resident days. Additionally, she has initiated a first-of-its-kind community model for the coordinated care of families caring for an aging parent diagnosed with dementia.

Ellen has a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology, certification in gerontology and case management. She is the author of several best practice clinical and operational methods in Alzheimer’s care and speaks internationally. She founded Alzheimer’s Care Group in 2002 and has grown it to a nationwide consulting firm specializing in healthcare strategy. Alzheimer’s Care Group has five associates and operates in care settings in 30 states. Their community resource network is called “Sollievo” and operates throughout Indiana, with plans to expand to neighboring states.
Contact Information

Sollievo office: 317-218-5111
24-hour Helpline: 317-753-7447