Sneaky Home Allergens (are Nothing for Seniors to Sneeze At)

Sinus trouble, constant throat clearing, nasal congestion — these are symptoms seniors commonly present as the weather changes. The air gets drier and adequate hydration is always a challenge. Common allergens may affect the elderly more acutely and certain antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can cause anxiety and confusion in the elderly, and actually make the symptoms worse. What's even more frustrating is that alergens can be found in the home year-round.

Scrubs Magazine, the leading lifestyle nursing magazine, has identified 14 surprising places in the home where one can find irritants lurking. If you or your senior client or family member is sneezing, wheezing or otherwise showing signs of allergic reactions, check these culprits:

Sheets On Bed
Permanent press sheets can have formaldehyde. Choose untreated clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers when possible.

Flaking Paint
Homes and apartments built before 1978 have paint with high levels of lead. Clean paint chips immediately, repaint the surface, keep children from scratching, chewing, or touching painted surfaces, and have your home tested for lead.

Dog/Cat
Make the bedroom a ‘no pet’ zone. Run a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom. Be sure to groom your pet regularly.

Dry Cleaning
When bringing home fresh dry cleaning, be sure to remove it from its protective plastic bag and air it out outdoors for several hours, or until the chemical odor has completely dissipated.

Carpet
Vacuum frequently and thoroughly – passing the vacuum four times over each area. Dust mite powder and flea control powder are also helpful in reducing allergens.

Mattress
By law, most mattresses have flame retardant chemicals. Your best bet to avoid both chemicals and dust mites? Switch to a fire-retardant free solid memory foam mattress or latex mattress. Note: You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy one.

Cosmetics
Opt for fragrance-free, organic and hypo-allergenic cosmetic brands. Be sure to replace makeup on a regular basis (application sponges each week, liquid makeup every three months, lipstick every six months, etc.), as old makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.

Deodorant
Avoid brands that contain fragrances, baking soda (if you have a nickel allergy), essential oils and biological additives, parabens, vitamin E, and lanolin. Opt for hypoallergenic brands and alternative deodorants such as crystal products.

and in the kitchen...

Mold
Fix leaky plumbing immediately. Thoroughly clean all surface molds. Dry water-damaged areas immediately.

Dirty Dishes
If you have a cockroach allergy, note that the highest concentration of cockroach allergens are in kitchens. Do not leave dirty dishes nor water in cups, glasses and bowls overnight.

Inadequate Ventilation
Install an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking. Improve air quality by installing an air conditioner or humidifier. Be sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly.

Insecticides
Certain ingredients in insecticides may trigger allergic reactions including acute asthma attacks. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Use organic, chemical-free produce spray, and watch for any insecticide in your pet shampoos.

Cleaning Solutions
Opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions with more natural ingredients and avoid those with harsh chemicals and odors. Note: If you are removing mold, you should use cleaner without ammonia and with at least 5% chlorine (which is irritating to skin and eyes).

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving health and safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features a palm tree somewhere warm and sunny . Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo Palm Tree

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us."

Flora Edwards

Senior Home Care Can Take a Village

At Caregiverlist, we believe in “Caring for the Caregiver.” But just who is that senior caregiver?

As seniors choose more to age-in-place, their team of caregivers may grow. It might “take a village” to provide comprehensive care, so here are the possible villagers:

Family Caregivers
These are the unsung (and unpaid) senior caregivers. They provide the bulk of care for elderly family members. According to AARP and the Family Caregiver Alliance, the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S., and the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000. Most family caregivers are women. About one-in-seven adults in their 40s and 50s provide financial support to both an aging parent and a child, not to mention emotional and physical support. That may be why the “Sandwich Generation” is helping to make senior home care such a thriving industry.

Professional Caregivers or Home Attendants
Senior home care agencies provide reliable, vetted, professional caregivers to assist seniors with the activities of daily living (ADLs). This can include assisting with light exercise. providing much-needed companionship, and assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming. Many home care agencies prefer certification and many states have minimum training requirements. You can obtain the skills for senior caregiving by taking the 10-hour line Caregiverlist Caregiver Certification training course.

Home Health Aides
Primarily, HHAs assist with bathing, dressing and other hygiene needs, in addition to preparing meals and helping patients eat. In some instances, they might provide some simple medical assistance, such as tracking medication and changing dressings. HHAs do not hold licenses but many employers prefer them to be certified. The certification process requires passing an exam after 75 hours of training and skills testing.

Certified Nursing Aide or Assistant (C.N.A.)
C.N.A.s provide more extensive health and personal support to seniors in the home. Many times they are responsible for “total client care”, which includes physical and emotional care as well as home safety, comfort, and security. A C.N.A.’s duties might include checking vital signs, assist with performing range of motion exercises, with lifting or transferring the patient to a chair or wheelchair. A C.N.A. has to be certified and licensed through the state Department of Health in which they work (sometimes states have reciprocity, or you can sometimes transfer your license to a new state.) Training involves both theory, or classroom work, and clinicals, the hands-on practice. Every state has established guidelines for training requirements and exams in order to become certified.

Occupational and Physical Therapists
Therapists may come to the home, on a doctor’s order, usually after a hospital or nursing home stay. They will work with patients to help them increase strength, balance and coordination. Therapy may help a senior regain the fine motor skills they need to function in day-to-day activities, such as dressing and bathing.

There are, of course, a variety of other home care support services, such as meal delivery and transportation services. Skilled home nursing (RNs and LPNs) who, when prescribed by a physician, can provide more intensive medical services to help a senior stay in their home and independent longer. Comprehensive senior care allowing the elderly to age-in-place is a team effort. If you are interested in becoming part of a family’s senior care village, consider applying for a job as a senior caregiver.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features fall bouquet perfect for the autumn days of October . Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Fall Flowers

"You are richer today if you have laughed, given, comforted, healed or forgiven."

Unknown

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features amber sunset. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Amber Sunset

"Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see." 

Mark Twain

Vision Test App Detects Potential Eyesight Issues: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers know that aging often brings about changes in physical abilities. Identifying issues with vision can help prevent falls and other incidents attributed to seniors not being able to see properly. The Vision Test app allows caregivers to give their senior clients basic at-home tests to assess their vision and determine if a certain issue should be raised at their client's next appointment with their eye doctor.

There are several tests within the app itself- the first being the basic letter chart that comes to mind as soon we think of the eye doctor. Other tests include astigmatism, duochrome, colour test and distance test (for iPad users). The tests ask the user to hold their phone at an arms length from their body and then to cover the left eye and answer the question presented, then repeat the test with their right eye covered. 

If an area of concern is raised when the user receives their instant test results, they can easily go into the Optician Finder section of the app and search for a nearby eye doctor to make an appointment with. The app is not meant to stand in for attending an eye doctor, only to help caregivers and their senior clients recognize problem areas and come prepared to their appointments. 

Poor vision can lead to a greater risk of falling for seniors due to a blurred or unfocused view of their surroundings. Some issues can be fixed by prescribing glasses or contacts, while others may require eyedrops or laser surgery. 

 

The app name is Vision Test and it is available for free for Apple and Android products. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Caregiver Support a Future Concern

I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation that provides family caregiving to an aging parent. As such, I and my siblings provide much of my mother’s long term services and support (LTSS) which allows her, at 80, to comfortably age in place, at home. I have three siblings to share in that care. In my old age, family care will be split between two children. As Americans age and their families shrink, there is concern for the future supply of relatively inexpensive family support for elderly individuals.

A recent report released by the AARP Public Policy Institute indicates a rapid decline of family caregivers within the next 20 years. The drop in the caregiver support ratio, or the number of family caregivers (adult children) available to care for their elderly parents, prompts a call for policy action to find new solutions to finance LTSS.

 According to the report, "The departure of the boomers from the peak caregiving years will mean that the population aged 45 to 64 is projected to increase by only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, During the same period, the 80-plus population is projected to increase by a whopping 79 percent."

The shortage trend continues until 2050, when the population of parents to children is expected to balance again.

The call to action has been to federal and state Departments of Aging to provide more caregiver training and more affordable and quality nursing homes in order to fill the gap left by the decreasing number of family caregivers.

Right now, AARP projects these states to have the best and worst caregiver ratios in 2030:

Best:
District of Columbia: 6.4
Utah: 5.8
Alaska: 5.3
Illinois: 4.9
Georgia, New York and Texas: 4.8

Worst:
Arizona: 2.6
Florida and Hawaii: 2.9
New Mexico: 3.2
Iowa: 3.3
Maine, Nevada, Vermont and West Virginia: 3.4

How about you? Do you provide family caregiving to a senior loved one? With how many people do you share in that care? How many people will you have to care for you in your old age?

New York Times Crossword Puzzle App Provides Mental Challenge: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Many caregivers and their senior clients may have grown up doing crossword puzzles from the newspaper with their loved ones. Crossword puzzles are great for killing extra time by yourself or for bringing out in a group to collaboratively come up with answers to the clues. The New York Times Crossword Puzzle app takes the crossword puzzle featured in the newspaper each day and presents it in a digital format. 

Crossword puzzles offer cognitive exercises for seniors to support healthy aging. The act of reading a clue, thinking about it and devising an answer helps keep the brain active and sharp. To prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, seniors should make a conscious effort to partake in an activity each day that stimulates their mind, even in a basic way. Seniors can do the crossword puzzles on their own or work with their caregivers to come up with the answers. Working together on the crossword puzzle may help come up with more answers based on each of your individual knowledge and also gives you an opportunity to bond with your senior client.

New crossword puzzles are featured every day. Try making a game to see how many clues you can get correct each day, and try to top that number the next day. 

App Name: NYTimes Crosswords

Available for free for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features field full of wild and colorful flowers for caregivers to mentally walk through. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Stress Relief Photo of the Week Wild Flowers Field

"Feelings are everywhere, be gentle."

J. Masai

Diana Nyad - 64 - Completes Historic Swim

Yesterday, American long-distance swimmer 64-year-old Diana Nyad became first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, 110 miles, without a shark cage.

With a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water to begin her fifth attempt at the swim from the shore a near Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. She was 28 years old the first time she tried to swim the Florida Straits, when winds knocked her far off course.

During this, her epic 53-hour swim, the full bodysuit, mask and gloves she wore at night to protect against jellyfish stings slowed her pace from an average of 50 to 47 strokes per minute. Ms. Nyad stopped only to feed and never left the water. Her flotilla surrounded and monitored her, but never had to intervene. Massive cruise ships moved out of her way.

We first wrote about Diana Nyad in August 2012, during her fourth attempt at the swim. As we wrote then, Ms. Nyad spoke to AARP about her motivation. "When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'"  That attempt was cut short after 40 hours because of life-threatening jellyfish stings.

However, the fifth time appeared to be the charm as her arrival in Florida was announced on her blog, Nyad Extreme Dream on 9/2 at 3:14PM EDT with a simple “She freaking made it.”

Watch as she makes her way onto the Florida shores.

Thanks, Diana, for inspiring us and proving that getting older is not viable excuse to give up, and that tenacity and and wisdom are the gifts of advancing age. As she herself put it, "You're never too old to live your dreams."

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