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Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One

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Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Home Health, as well as Arizona health care workers throughout the state, urge you to take the time to find the right caregiver for your elderly loved one. Even those seniors who are not physically disabled, are still much more vulnerable than younger persons, so it becomes extremely important to be sure that they are getting the right kind of AZ home health care.

Here is a handy checklist you can use to make sure that your loved one receives proper treatment from a Phoenix health care aide.

Phoenix Home Health Checklist

  • The home health care agency does background checks on all its employees, especially those directly employed as caregivers.
  • Caregivers can be available during the night if needed, and on an emergency basis, should that be necessary.
  • The agency can provide the type of care needed by your loved one, and at the hours recommended by your family doctor for that kind of care.
  • Either the home health agency itself can provide extra needed services, or can help arrange for them – some examples might be for having meals delivered, physical therapy, mental health counseling, etc.
  • If your loved one lives alone, you may need some level of housekeeping services, in addition to bathing, dressing, shopping, transportation, meal preparation, possibly laundry service, navigational assistance, and medication reminders.
  • When skilled nursing care is needed by your senior loved one, any agency which you work with will need to have that kind of professional experience available, and must be properly certified for that work.
  • References or online reviews are available about the agency and individuals employed by the agency, and these references are predominantly positive in nature.
  • Any special needs which your senior might have, such as language, physical disability, hearing/vision loss, can be accommodated by the firm that you consider for AZ health care.
  • The cost of home health care with a candidate agency is within your budget, without having to sacrifice important services needed by your loved one.
  • It may be difficult to learn about a specific caregiver’s personality and his/her on-the-job manner, but this could be critical to having your favorite senior be compatible with the caregiver. If you can talk with other people who your candidate has worked with, you may be able to anticipate what to expect from them. If it is possible, both you and your elderly loved one should have a preliminary interview with a candidate to get a feel for what they’re like, and whether he/she is likely to get along with your senior.



Your Final Decision

In the end, there is bound to be a certain amount of guesswork and intuition involved with making a choice for the role of your senior’s caregiver. While you might get a strong feeling about a candidate caregiver merely from talking with them, when you get around to making a final decision, it should be based on factors more practical than how you feel about someone. By consulting the above checklist, and adding in any other important factors for your situation, you stand the best chance of making a good decision about home health care for your loved one.

If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


February is National Senior Independence Month

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February is a month that is dedicated to celebrating senior independence, and putting a bit of extra time into promoting and assisting a senior in your life in any way that helps with their independence in staying at home, while receiving the care that they need. As caregivers and Phoenix home health care professionals, we are extra excited about February, and have a variety of suggestions for ways that you can join in and promote senior independence this month as well.

If you have a special senior in your life that you would like to see stay in their home, and out of hospice care, it would be a good idea to take an assessment of their needs. A needs assessment can help you to better understand the daily struggles your loved one faces, and also where they might have needs for greater health and safety in their normal routines. If you’re unsure of how to conduct a thorough needs assessment, contact your local Phoenix home care professionals, and they can send someone to the home of your special senior to conduct a needs assessment and consultation for free.

There are likely to be a variety of medical and non-medical services required in the home of your loved one, and deciding whether to help with some of these tasks, or to hire a caregiver is going to be your next decision. You may even want to split up some of the tasks between yourself and family members, while adding the help of a professional caregiver. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning the home, and administering meds may sound like reasonable tasks that you can handle, while the more medical needs will require the help of a medical caregiver. There are also a variety of non-medical needs your loved one may have, such as having someone there to help them dress each day and to bathe, that you may want to hire a caregiver to help with.

Another great way to help promote independence in seniors this month is to help promote a decent amount of exercise into their daily routines. This is something you will want to discuss with your loved one’s doctor first, to ensure they aren’t over exerting themselves, or bringing extra risk to a health condition. Any amount of consistent exercise has been found to be the single most important factor for those over 65 in promoting independence, longevity and reducing the risk of falls. Falling is one of the most prevalent risk factors for seniors, and is the biggest cause of injury death for this age group.

National Senior Independence Month will be more effective the more it is acknowledged and observed, so spreading the word is another great way to help promote awareness. A great way to spread awareness is by asking your municipal government to declare February as Senior Independence Month in your city or town. Here is a great example of a proclamation that you may use to spread the word to your local community.

Every bit of help in spreading awareness about Senior Independence Month is certainly appreciated. And for those of you who do not have a special senior in your life, but would like to help in promoting senior independence in your community, look no further than your local YMCA. They offer a SilverSneakers Fitness Program for those 65 and older, and you can get involved by volunteering, and helping facilitate senior fitness in any way that you can. If you would like more information on National Senior Independence Month, or our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.

 


Hiring a Caregiver Can Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

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Now that 2017 is here, many of us are trying to make fresh, new starts. It’s never been a better time to ask for a bit of extra help with the things you simply do not have time for, or maybe need some extra assistance with from time to time. That is why 2017 is the year to give yourself the gift of a caregiver. There is no shame in having an extra hand around the home, and it could do wonders for your psyche and physical health.

If you or a loved one have a physical or mental disability, and you’d like some assistance around your home with medical, or non-medical services, Phoenix home care professionals are available to come to your home whenever you need someone, and even offer an emergency, on-call nurse 24/7. You never have to be alone, or do things on your own again. There are several medical and non-medical services that an in-home caregiver may provide, depending upon your own personal needs.

Hiring a caregiver can make your life better, and this year better than ever in a variety of ways, for a variety of people.

If you’ve been taking care of a family member or loved one who is ill, you may simply need a break from the caretaking so that you can focus on you, and better be there for your loved one as a companion who is refreshed, and accomplishing all they wish to get done and become this year.

If you’re having medical difficulties, a caregiver can give you the relief of getting the things done that you need done in order to live a fully functioning and enriched life. You may even want to give your loved one a break if you’ve been under the care of a family member or spouse, and give each other space so that when you are together again, your relationship will be back to a state of normalcy, and you may even be able to find a new, enriching way of spending time together that isn’t based upon need.

If you simply feel like you could use an extra hand around the house because you’d rather focus your attention elsewhere, a caregiver could come and help in a variety of non-medical ways also. You could even have one caregiver helping with medical needs, and another with the non-medical needs. Non-medical needs include driving, shopping, errands, meal-planning, cooking, cleaning, companionship, tucking one in at night, helping someone with childcare, or special needs children, and even help with grooming and personal care. These are often the things that relatives become burnt out with when they are doing everything on their own every day. You don’t have to do it on your own anymore. There are Phoenix home health care professionals available to help you.

For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


5 Non-Medical Homecare Services for the Holiday Season

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The holidays are officially in full swing and that means that we often have far more work to do than we can realistically accomplish on our own. From holiday party planning, visits with friends and family, and all of the household chores and maintenance that come with this time of year, it’s often helpful to have an extra hand for you or a loved one you take care of this time of year. This is something a good Phoenix home health care provider could accomplish for you in accordance with your own schedule.

A trained professional caregiver could not only help provide medical care for a loved one this holiday, but there are also several non-medical services available to you as well. In terms of Phoenix home care, you could hire out, or outsource a variety of tasks this year. Such non-medical services provided by such a caregiver include:

  • Personal care assistance: This involves the basic tasks of personal grooming and care such as:
    • Bathing
    • Hair care
    • Helping one to dress
    • Shaving
    • Skin care
    • Helping one to the toilet
    • Reminding or administering medications
    • Feeding
    • Nail care

 

  • Homemaker tasks: These include household chores and duties such as:
    • Light cleaning and housekeeping
    • Meal planning and prep
    • Dusting
    • Vacuuming and mopping floors
    • Doing the laundry
    • Dishwashing
    • Running errands
    • Grocery shopping
    • Making the bed
    • Changing bed linens

 

  • Miscellaneous services: These are various tasks you may not have time to complete this time of year such as:
    • Care after a surgery for yourself or a loved one
    • Child care for when you little one becomes ill
    • Newborn care
    • Companionship
    • Wake up calls
    • Tucking you, or a loved one, in at night
    • Driving you or a loved one to appointments and such
    • Live-in caregiver services

 

Regardless of your level of need this holiday season, you are welcome to give MD Home Health/Home Assist a call for a free consultation. We will come to your home and sit down with you to develop a package and schedule of services that is perfect for your needs. You don’t have to do everything alone this year. Help is available and you owe it to yourself to take advantage of it.

For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Five Reasons to Take a Daily Walk This Fall

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In recent years, a great deal of scientific research has focused on the benefits of walking and how it can be highly advantageous to your health and well-being. There are lots of reasons why you should get up off your chair, and get outside to enjoy the crisp autumn air, while you take a stroll around the neighborhood. Some of those reasons are listed below.

Sitting is bad for you

The very first reason to consider about why you should take a walk this fall is because of what might happen if you don’t. Scientific research has uncovered a whole slew of health issues that result from sitting all day and being largely sedentary, including all sorts of problems with your legs, feet and ankles. So the very first reason for you to get up and take a good walk this fall is to simply eliminate that whole catalog of health problems that might befall you, if you simply take up residence on the couch.

Enjoy reflective time

Regular walking has been shown to be a powerful anti-anxiety activity which has a calming effect on the walker. Most people don’t realize this, but the simple sounds of nature do indeed have a soothing effect on humans. For instance the singing of birds, the buzzing of bees, and a softly falling rain or a babbling brook, all have subtle but powerful influences on the human psyche.

In addition, taking a walk can encourage creative and reflective thinking, and this notion is supported by a Stanford News study indicating that the creativity demonstrated by participants increased by 60% when people were walking, as opposed to those sitting.

Achieve balance in your life

Long walks throughout the neighborhood or the countryside yield even more results than calmness and creativity. It has been found that when anxious, stressed-out individuals settle into a program of regular walking, it can also provide a great opportunity to gain perspective, and to achieve a better balance in your life.

When the mind becomes more settled and more relaxed through a regular program of walking, it allows much greater opportunity for self-discovery and self-examination. This kind of reflection gives people more of a ‘big picture’ look at the important aspects of their lives.

Reduced risk of glaucoma

Walking can help to reduce pressure within your eyes, and it has been shown to reduce the risk factors associated with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. In addition to helping prevent the onset of any of these health problems, walking can be at least somewhat effective in treating the condition once you are ready have it.

Improved balance

Because you’re not always walking on smooth surfaces, the activity of walking can help to improve your balance, and this is something everyone can benefit by. When you have to walk on uneven surfaces like trails, paths, and sandy or gravelly walkways, those steps activate muscles throughout the body which work to stabilize you as you proceed. Over time, this acts to build up your balance so that you become more accommodated to uneven terrain and household obstacles.

In-home assistance experts

MD Home Health is a Phoenix home care company offering in-home assistance for persons temporarily or permanently disabled, and which provides care for loved ones as though they were family. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call 602-396-5742, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you through our Phoenix home health care services. If someone in your household needs a companion, personal care, home-making, or supportive services, call us at MD Home Health.

 

 


5 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

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Depressed or sad woman walking down a barren path in winter

The holiday season is popularly depicted as a time full of light and joy…but beneath that attractive surface, many people are plagued with stress and sadness. Whether they come from family troubles, unpleasant memories, or the anxiety of always having something to do and somewhere to be, these seasonal doldrums are something almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Use these five ways to beat the holiday blues and make it to January with your head held high.

1. Take time to breathe.

If your life during the holidays seems like a whirlwind of activity, those conditions are basically a pressure cooker of stress. Try to keep everything in perspective: the world won’t stop turning if you take fifteen minutes every morning or afternoon to stop and relax. Learn some gentle yoga moves or practice mindful breathing to help yourself feel centered and calm.

2. Don’t neglect physical activity.

Too many people wait until their New Year’s resolutions kick in before they hit the gym. But why miss out on all those positive exercise endorphins during the month when you probably need them the most? You don’t need to bench press 200 pounds or run a marathon, but raising your heartbeat for 30 minutes a day will help you feel better in both body and mind.

3. If things go wrong, do your best to let them go.

A gift doesn’t ship in time for Christmas? Family drama gets out of hand? First batch of decorated cookies burn? It’s just life. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into resentment or frustration over any of it. Being intentional about maintaining a good attitude is one of the most important things you can do to beat the holiday blues.

4. Take nutritional supplements.

The same hormonal imbalances that cause Seasonal Affective Disorder can rear their heads during the holidays. Fortunately, there are plenty of vitamins and herbs that can help perk up your mood. Take vitamin D supplements to make up for the wintertime reduction in sun exposure, B vitamins, and fish oil. Many people report that St. John’s Wort has a positive impact on depressive moods when taken regularly, and valerian root can mitigate anxiety.

5. Don’t isolate yourself

Even if you feel like crawling into bed and hibernating all winter, isolation can end up making you feel even worse. Whether that means meeting up with friends, having a trained home companion, participating in a candlelight service or holiday event, or unburdening yourself to a therapist, spending time with people you trust can have a major effect on well being.

No matter which holiday ailments may plague you this season, remember that it’s well within your power to beat the holiday blues. Just remember, it’ll all be over soon, so do your best to enjoy it while you can. Should you need some extra help or companionship around your home this season, we’re just a phone call away.

 


Life After Surgery: Helping a Loved One Recover

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Post Surgical Care

Having to undergo a major surgical procedure is one of the most stressful and frightening experiences in a person’s life, but helping a loved one recover from surgery can be equally taxing. The hard work may be technically over once the surgery is deemed a success, but it can take a long time for one’s body to heal even after the most routine surgeries. This can be especially troublesome when helping senior citizens recover from a procedure; even the highest quality Phoenix home health care doesn’t eliminate the risk of serious complications in an elderly family member.

Helping someone you love recover from a major surgery can indeed be difficult, but with the proper education and a lot of patience, you can still help administer home care during a loved one’s recovery period. Here are a few tips that will help you with that.

Educate Yourself

The most important thing you can do to help a loved one recover from a surgery or illness is to educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about what they have gone through and what they can expect as they heal. It’s entirely possible that they will recover on their own after a few days or weeks of rest, but major procedures may require you or a caregiver to change wound dressing, administer medications or assist the patient in their daily routine. A good Phoenix home health care service will be able to give you the advice you need, but the best source of information is always the patient’s doctor. Ask about anything you think you might need to know; there is no such thing as being too informed.

Have a Caregiver Present at All Times

This piece of advice mostly applies to those recovering from a serious medical procedure, but it’s always a good idea to have a caregiver on hand as often as possible. This caregiver could be you, but it could also be a home health aide or nurse hired for the patient. This is particularly important for elderly patients since they will require a higher level of care than a younger patient.

Encourage Independence

Even though it is important to have a caregiver present at all times, you should still encourage your loved one to regain their independence as much as possible. This may not be possible during the first few days after the surgery, but over time they should be able to do most or all of the things that they used to do before undergoing surgery. 

Caring for a loved one as they recover from surgery is emotionally taxing for many people, but there are always resources available to you. If you would like to learn more about home health care in Phoenix and gain and extra hand so you can best serve your loved ones, feel free to give us a call.


When Should I Retire from Driving?

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Driving is considered a sign of independence and freedom in our society. Getting a driver’s license is seen as a rite of passage, and a person’s schedule is often dictated on whether or not they can drive. Most people want to be able to drive for as long as they live, but this may not always be an option as we age.

Elderly drivers don’t always have the greatest reputations on the road, even though they may not technically be as dangerous as teenage drivers or drunk drivers. Nevertheless, approximately 14 million people report being involved in auto accidents caused by elderly drivers in the past year. These accidents can be attributed to vision and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, dementia and other health conditions commonly associated with aging. Clearly not all senior drivers will experience these conditions; many people age gracefully and do not lose any of their driving abilities, yet it’s still important to look for these signs that it’s time to retire a driver’s license.

Frequent Close Calls

If you’ve noticed an increase in near crashes recently, it may be time for you or your loved one to give up driving. This is especially true if these close calls are due to an inattentive driver. It’s best to quit before a near miss becomes a potentially deadly crash.

Dings or Dents on a Car

Small dents or scratches in a car could be the result of a rude drivers in a parking lot, but they can also be caused by minor accidents. If you have an elderly driver in your family, check to see if their vehicle has any new scratches or dents.

Getting Lost

Everyone gets lost while they’re driving once in a while, but a senior driver who doesn’t know where they are frequently may be showing early signs of dementia, and should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Limited Mobility

People lose mobility as they age, and that can affect their ability to drive. An senior who has trouble turning their head or moving from the gas pedal to the brake is definitely a liability on the road.

Limited Visibility

Being able to see is essential when it comes to driving. Drivers must be able to read road signs, judge distances between vehicles and stop quickly if they notice something on the road in front of them. Aging can affect a person’s vision, so all elderly drivers should have their eyes checked every year if they want to keep driving safely.

Care for the Elderly who Cannot Drive

Losing the ability to drive can come as a devastating blow, but a senior can still live a full life, even if they need to retire from the road. Many home health care services provide transportation for their clients so they can make it to their appointments and meet their other obligations. Companies providing home care may also provide counseling services for those who feel like they’re losing their independence by not driving.

As our population ages, we will have more senior drivers on the road, and more people finding that their age prevents them from driving. For more information on this and other aspects of home care in Phoenix, visit the MD Home Health/Home Assist website.


Managing the Struggles of Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients

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Male care assistant reading senior woman book

 

Caring for someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s can be exceedingly difficult.  With Alzheimer’s disease, something as simple as daily communication can be made into a frustrating and stressful task. Alzheimer’s patients often struggle to find the right words, are prone to losing their train of thought, and may even forget what simple words mean. This can create frustrating situations for both the Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver.

Even More Problems

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, patients will have less functional brains over time. The end result is that every Alzheimer’s patient will have good days and bad days as their behavior changes with the passage of time. This means they may misunderstand the things they see and hear, be prone to anger, wander or get lost while leaving their home, and lose interest in things that once captivated them. They may also come to feel anxiety about traveling, become confused with even the slightest change in their daily routine, and be overwhelmed by day-to-day activities.

Required Care

Consequently, Alzheimer’s patients will need assistance with essential personal care like dressing, bathing, feeding, and taking regular medication. They may also require help with regular housekeeping like doing laundry, preparing meals, carrying out general errands, and keeping things tidy. Unless these issues are handled correctly, Alzheimer’s patients may turn to abuse drugs like alcohol and caffeine, they may start losing sleep which can lead to serious health problems, and they may fall prey to a variety of different illnesses.

Providing Care

Whenever communicating with someone who suffers  from Alzheimer’s, it’s important to try to state your intentions as simply as possible. Try asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, while providing step-by-step instructions whenever possible. One might also consider simplifying communication. For instance, rather than asking “how are you?” try asking “would you like to eat?” This simplification can make communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient far more effective.

Adjusting to behavioral changes can be accommodated with a similar approach. If your loved one starts to lose sleep, consider implementing a bedtime routine or planning energetic activities during the day. If they start pacing around their home, be sure that they’re wearing comfortable shoes and have a safe area to walk. Your care should be reactionary and supportive to the types of behaviors that they develop.

Phoenix Home Health Care

Providing this kind of care can be difficult, particularly for anyone who lacks experience working with Alzheimer’s patients. That’s why MD Home Health supplies the most trustworthy and qualified caregivers available, screened for their expertise and reliability alike. By choosing from only the more reliable and proven homecare providers in Phoenix, you can rest assured that your loved one will have the best possible care available to them. MD Home Assist care can help provide all the necessary care required to look after an Alzheimer’s patient, ensuring their well-being on good days and bad days alike. If you’d need a hand providing homecare in the Phoenix area, get in touch with MD Home Health today, and get the peace of mind you deserve. For more tips on managing the struggles of caregiving, and maintaining good self-care visit the Caregiver Wellness Solution Center.


6 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity as a Caregiver

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Happy male nurse and senior man enjoying while using tablet computer in nursing home porch

Providing home health care for a loved one or patient can be a very demanding job, especially in situations where that person is a fully incapable of self care. This scenario is occurring more and more throughout the country, including Phoenix, as the elderly population increases, and fairly often the caregiver is a spouse or other relative who provides round-the-clock assistance.

This can be a very trying situation to maintain, especially when lifting, bathing, feeding, and other requirements are involved – not to mention disruptions to rest and sleep for the loved one/patient’s unplanned needs. It’s not surprising that many caregivers in circumstances such as these find themselves exhausted both physically and mentally from the constant demand for care. To help cope with the effects of such intense home assistance, these suggestions for caregivers are offered.

Regular attitude checks

When the ‘nasties’ start creeping into your attitude, i.e. all the negatives and the many irritations of the daily care-giving routine, have a time-out, take a few deep breaths, and acknowledge them. Build in regular sanity checks throughout the day, and try to focus on the more positive aspects of life.

Don’t forget down time

Even in the midst of care-giving, down-time should be included. Whenever possible, try listening to soothing music, take little cat naps or at least close your eyes and relax when your loved one is also resting. Reading a book can be very calming, or watching a movie on television to take your mind off the duties of a caregiver.

Know your limits

Understand that you will simply never be able to do everything that could be done, and trying to do so will inevitably result in frustration. In addition, acknowledge the fact that you will occasionally forget something or fail in the attempt to accomplish something, and that those are normal limitations. Doing your best as a caregiver is all you can do – accept that, and spare yourself any self recriminations.

Maintain order

Staying organized in your daily routine can be an enormous boost to your sanity. By keeping your mind ordered, as well as most aspects of daily care, much of the annoyance of unanticipated incidents can be averted. Make use of technology wherever possible to help with organization, for instance keeping notes and reminders on your cellphone.

Remember the ‘why’

One final way to conduct a mini sanity check is to stop for a moment and recall the ‘why’ of what you’re doing. If you are a caregiver for a spouse or other relative, the care you provide is literally sustaining that person, and to some extent, adding to his/her quality of life. You are giving this care out of a deep sense of love and responsibility, and have chosen to do so.

Outside help

Soliciting the help of an outside service can be another huge boost to your sanity, even if their involvement is no more than one or two days each week. MD Home Assist provides just such personalized home care  in the Phoenix area from personal care to homemaking assistance.  Are you seeking an extra hand around the home? Give us a call and we’ll send someone over for a free consultation. We’ll even help plan a caregiving schedule that fits your unique individual needs. In the meantime, take a look at the Caring.com Caregiver Wellness Solution Center online for some amazing resources for caregivers.