Friday, May 23, 2014

Senior Care in Chapel HIll and Durham: Adapting Homes to Seniors' Changing Needs

By Helen Antipov

Options in senior care in Chapel Hill and Durham often turns to choosing to "age in place." That is, they opt to stay in their homes rather than move to alternative retirement settings.
But that often means they must modify their home, so it's not a danger to their safety and health when their physical abilities change.
A new career field has risen to address this need: the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a program of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS. Certified individuals assess homes to identify and recommend modifications to prevent injuries from falls and other risks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one-third of Americans age 65 and over fall each year. The CDC adds that environmental factors lead to about half of all falls that occur at home. In addition to tripping hazards and poor lighting, these factors include a lack of needed modifications, such as bathroom grab bars, handicapped showers, stair railings and ramps. The organization offers a CHECKLIST to make sure an older adult's home is as safe as possible.
Home modifications help seniors maintain quality of life. They often prevent injuries that lead to a loss of independence and early admission to an assisted living or long-term care facility.
The following are examples of commonly recommended modifications:
  • Install grab bars for toilets and tubs and install a walk-in tub and/or tub seat
  • Remove unnecessary throw rugs and fasten down rugs or floor runners to prevent slipping
  • Move furniture to create clear walking paths
  • Keep objects off the floor and coil or secure cords to the wall to prevent tripping
  • Replace doorknobs with lever door handles
  • Apply non-slip tape on uncarpeted indoor and outdoor steps
  • Replace standard light switches with rocker-style switches
  • Increase the width of doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs and, where possible, lower sinks and countertops
  • Move often-used items to lower cabinets to avoid the need for step stools
  • Repair or replace loose handrails and install adequate lighting in stairways
  • Install an elevator or chair lift
  • Install an elevated dishwasher or one with drawers for easy access
  • Replace old stoves with induction cook tops to help prevent burns
  • Replace ceramic tile floors with hardwood or vinyl for safe standing

Shedding Light on Home Modification
When modifying a home for a senior, don't forget the importance of good lighting. Seniors need two to three times as much light in order to see as well as younger people.
Good lighting -- in the form of natural light -- provides seniors safety and other advantages:
  • Sunlight provides a good dose of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb more calcium to strengthen teeth and bones. Choose window treatments that let in sunlight, without glare, to enhance the health of seniors, many of who get outside less than they used to.
  • Daylight also improves psychological health. It lessens the energy-zapping effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other forms of depression.

At Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill, we understand the stress that caregivers go through. We are here to help you and give you the support you need when dealing with a loved one and Alzheimer's. Call us at 919-338-2044 or visit us at online.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Senior Care in Chapel Hill and Durham: Adult Day Care Helps Seniors and Their Families

By Helen Antipov

When looking at Senior Care in Chapel Hill and Durham, adult day care centers offer a dual solution. They help family caregivers who need a respite from caregiving responsibilities as they provide seniors health-promoting opportunities to socialize with other seniors.

Open during daytime hours, adult day care centers provide a safe, supportive environment for older adults who need assistance with independent living as they receive essential mental and social stimulation through the center's organized activities. At the same time, the centers offer family members peace of mind that their loved one is in good hands when they are involved with work or other responsibilities.
Adult day care centers promote well-being and quality of life by providing social and health-related services. They also offer nutritious meals and snacks to accommodate special diets.
Activities provided at adult day care centers may include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Musical entertainment and singing
  • Games that provide mental stimulation
  • Exercise appropriate to ability
  • Local outings
  • Discussion and reminiscing
  • Are alone during the day while family members are at work or taking care of other responsibilities
  • Need companionship, social stimulation and functional assistance
  • Are physically or cognitively challenged but do not require 24-hour supervision
  • Are in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Can not be safely left alone at home

Some adult day care centers also coordinate programming with children to provide intergenerational opportunities for the seniors and children, and some have special programming for persons in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related conditions.
Additional services provided by some centers include transportation to and from the center, counseling and support groups for caregivers, and health screening and monitoring services for the seniors.
According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)there are about 4,000 adult day care centers in the U.S. The growth in adult day care in the past 20 years has been driven by the tremendous growth in the nation's senior citizen population and seniors' increasing preference for in-home and community-based services over institutionally-based care.
Adult day care is appropriate for seniors who:
Adult day care services are not covered by Medicare. However, Medicaid will assist with the costs of licensed adult day care for persons who have limited income and assets. Some centers offer services on a sliding fee scale, based on income.
Some private medical insurance policies cover a portion of adult day care costs when licensed medical professionals are involved in the care. In addition, some long-term care insurance may pay for adult day care services, and dependent-care tax credits may be available to caregivers in some cases.
At Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill, we understand the stress that caregivers go through. We are here to help you and give you the support you need when dealing with a loved one and Alzheimer's. Call us at 919-338-2044 or visit us at online.