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Keeping an eye on elderly family members during hurricane season

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The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1st and won’t finish until November 30. Already we’ve seen multiple hurricanes and tropical storms hit the eastern cost of the United States including Hurricane Alex (category 1), Tropical Storm Bonnie, Topical Storm Colin, and Hurricane Hermine (category 1).

As residents of Florida whether it’s all year or just part-time, we understand the risks of living here. Florida is one of the lowest-lying states! Just Like Family and many of our nurses and patients are located in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties, with many people located just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.

We see many retirees living here that don’t have a well-planned out strategy for what to do when the next storm hits. If you have a loved one in “Hurricane Alley” as many like to call this southeastern part of the US, be sure to write down some of these tips in order to help prepare them for any upcoming storms.

Supplies you need

The last thing you want to have to do is run out to Publix or Home Depot to pick up supplies right when a storm is announced. Everyone else in the town is doing the same and it is likely that popular items like bottled water, batteries, and ply wood could get sold out.

Stock up on these non-perishable items and have them on hand for emergencies.

These include items like:

  • Batteries
  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • First aid kit
  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Canned food (ready to eat)
  • Energy bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rain gear

The US Coast Guard has an in-depth list of items you can have on-hand in case of a storm.

Other ways to Prepare

Rather than worry about having to buy plywood and drill it onto the outside of your windows, invest in some storm shutters. These are especially helpful for the elderly as they are much easier to deploy when needed.

Have an emergency contact that lives nearby. If your loved one lives in Florida and you live in another state, you’ll want to have a contact you can trust that is willing to help your loved one during a storm. You’ll want to make sure that they have your phone number and all other contact information, and vice versa.

Create a plan in the case of a true emergency. If the time comes to evacuate, you will want to know exactly where they should be going. Do they need to go to a nearby shelter? Can someone pick them up and drive with them to a safe city outside of the path of the storm? These are all things you should discuss before the time comes. The last thing you need is to have to make last-minute decisions during an emergency.

Get your loved one a cell phone. If they don’t have one already, and prefer to use a landline, you should purchase a cheap elderly-friendly phone like the Jitterbug. They should have one just in case of anything.


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In-Home Care vs. Nursing Home: When do you need these services?

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The elder care industry is growing rapidly, especially as the Baby Boomer generation starts to get into their older years. With the care of older parents and relatives falling to young people and those in their middle ages, it can be tough to decide how best to care for them.

Some parents have been able to stock away money to provide for their own care. Others have beneficial care policies which may cover their elderly care needs. But it seems that the majority are relying on their relatives and children to provide care as they age.

The US has seen a surge in elderly care and memory care facilities. Memory care refers to helping those with dementia or Alzheimers who live within the facility.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2012, there were 1.4 million people in nursing homes nationally.

If you’re considering all of your options in terms of the care of your aging relative or parent, you’re likely thinking about the pros and cons of nursing homes. We’re going to go over some of the benefits and disadvantages of utilizing one of these services.

When You Need A Nursing Home

Round the Clock Assistance
If your loved one is finding it hard to do basic tasks, and seems to constantly need some assistance, 24 hour help may be necessary. Nursing homes can aid with bathing, eating, dressing, administering medicine, and more.

Specialized Care
If your loved one suffers from a specialized disease such as dementia, Alzheimers or something else that needs extra care, then a nursing home may help in this case. Your loved on may need additional care to help with the symptoms and issues that occur with these diseases.

Socialization
Nursing homes involve your loved one living among those their age. A nursing home can allow for socialization, outings, and other events to keep them involved in their community.

When You Can Utilize Home Care

Round the Clock Assistance
That’s right! Many home care agencies (including Just Like Family) provide round the clock assistance to your loved one. Care provided by an agency is more specialized and tailored, and the nurse or caregiver will be focusing only on your loved one.

Relieving your Family
If you plan to take over the care for your loved one, you may need some assistance from time to time. Let’s say you plan a vacation or need to take a business trip. A home care agency can provide a caregiver to visit your loved one each day or stay with them 24/7. This allows you to continue with your life and know that your loved one is well taken care for.

House Keeping, Food Prep, Errands
If your loved one is under your care, but lives on their own, they may need some assistance with daily chores. Caregivers from home care agencies can help with housekeeping, food preparation, running errands, or taking your loved one to appointments.

If you’d like to hear about the benefits of in-home care for your loved one, give Just Like Family Home Care a call at 239.431.6661,


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8 Tips for Healthier Skin

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Pat dry! Rubbing skin with a towel can cause irritation.

Unless you’re addicted to skincare, you probably don’t pay too much attention to how you treat and care for your body’s largest organ. That’s right, the skin on the average adult is 22 square feet and ways around 8 pounds. It’s a huge part of our body’s that many of us don’t pay much attention to.

In this article, we want to give you some simple tips that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine that will help you keep your skin fresh, healthy, and glowing.

Now, but easy, I mean that these tips really are easy. There’s no huge changes needed to your lifestyle or diet. You may need to pay more attention to what you’re putting into your body, but that’s the most effort you’ll have to put in.

Let’s get started!

  1. Wear sunscreen!
    As a Florida-based company, we know the benefits or wearing sunscreen, and the dangers of being outside for too long without it. It’s super important to apply at least SPF 15 sunscreen and reapply it every 2 hours. Don’t miss those easy to forget spots like the neck, scalp, and tops of the feet.
  2. Clean your phone
    You may think this has nothing to do with skin but it really does. Your phone carries lots of bacteria around on the surface, and when you decide to make a call, now those items are now on your face. Take an anti-bacterial wipe and clean it at least once a day.
  3. Don’t pick at your skin
    As tempting as it is to pull off a zit or pop a pimple, it’s important that you refrain. Doing these things can result in long lasting scars that are difficult to remove.
  4. Turn the water temperature down
    If you love long hot showers, this may be tough for you. A hot shower will actually dry out your skin and remove oils. It’s best to take warm showers and baths instead.
  5. Don’t rub your skin
    When you dry off with a towel, how do you do it? The best way, to ensure your skin does not get irritated, is to pat yourself dry.
  6. Moisturize!
    If your skin gets any bit dry, it’s time to hydrate it with some moisturizer.
  7. Remove strong detergents and soaps
    These can irritate many peoples’ skin. It’s best to use fragrance-free soaps and laundry products that are softer on the skin.
  8. Clean makeup brushes
    When was the last time you did this? If you can’t remember, it’s time to do so. Best practice is to clean these brushes and sponges every 2-3 weeks.

If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to check out our other article on sun safety tips which include many ways you can keep yourself and your skin safe in the sun.


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How can you help seniors in the community?

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Maybe you don’t have a grandparent nearby you can help out. Or maybe you understand the hardships that many seniors in our country and even our local community go through. Many are unable to drive, which prevents them from going to the store easily, or visiting the doctor, or just going out to eat or visit the library. Some do not have family members in the area and are alone for the holidays.

There are plenty of ways you can help seniors in your area though. You can volunteer to drive them to one place each week. You can spend time with them, watch tv, knit, play board games. You can donate gifts to senior charities during the holidays.

Since our Just Like Family headquarters is in southwest Florida, we are going to focus on how to help seniors in this area.

Alzheimer’s Support Network

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Support Network is to make the lives of caregivers easier and enrich the lives of patients. The Alzheimer’s Support Network exists to assist families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders. Providing a compassionate and loving support system for families is our prime purpose. As a network, we connect families with each other, local resources, and wider coalitions aimed at caring for caregivers and establishing the best possible treatment for patients. As navigators we guide families through all aspect of the disease process, including providing educational programs to families and the community at large. As advocates, we strive to ease the burden of caregivers, enrich the lives of patients, and foster broader social awareness, respect and understanding of those with Alzheimer’s and their families.

JFCS of Southwest Florida

They run programs and services including mental health services, community services like financial assistance and a food pantry, and senior services like their Senior Center, outreach and support, and dementia respite support services.

As a volunteer you can be a driver, help in the Senior Center, visit adults who are isolated due to illness, age or disability, and more.

Click here to find more volunteer opportunities.

Collier Senior Resources

The Golden Gate Senior Center has plenty of volunteer opportunities:

  • Do Spanish-to-English Translations
  • Tutor / Teach Computer Skills
  • Lead Crafts and / or Art Projects
  • Play Music or Provide Entertainment
  • Be Handy, Garden, Paint, etc.
  • Lead Exercise Classes —Tai Chi or Other?
  • Help us with administrative work
  • Let Us Know Your Special Skills … We Need Help in Many Areas!

Reach out to Terry, the Volunteer Coordinator

Meals on Wheels of Lee County

They’re in need of drivers to deliver meals a few hours each week. They need more help in the spring and summer due to seasonal help moving back up north.

Harry Chapin Food Bank

Their mission is to fight hunger. Volunteers help with “product recovery, work in our fast-paced warehouse, provide administrative support, conduct their own food and fund drives, and assist with special events. The Food Bank depends upon volunteers who help us to distribute millions of pounds of food throughout Southwest Florida.”

They also cater to special interests like photography, computers, carpentry, and more.

Hope HealthCare

Our mission is to provide exceptional care and support to every individual and their loved ones as they fulfill life’s journey. Our vision is to create an environment in which life’s journey is cherished.

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities including:

  • Visitor &Transportation
  • Sewers & Artisans
  • Office Help & Special Events
  • Hope Chest Resale Store
  • Pet Program
  • Honor Gaurd for Veterans

Garden of Hope and Courage

The Naples Community Hospital Garden of Hope and Courage is looking for Concierge Volunteers. You will be providing patients going through clinical treatments with a respite in the garden.

Requirements

  • Outgoing personality
  • Ability to push a wheel chair
  • Coordinate patient garden tours with NCH Staff
  • Complete NCH Garden of Hope and Courage training program
  • Must also be willing to work on patient floors when not needed in the Garden of Hope and Courage

 

Do you know of an opportunity that we missed? Leave it in the comments and we will be sure to add it!

 


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How to travel while caring for an elderly family member

It’s a tough question to ask, and for many of us, we feel selfish for wanting to take a trip or go on vacation while we’re caring for an elderly family member.

You need to allow yourself a break every once in a while and a trip is one of the best ways to reset yourself and put yourself in a new mindset. You come home refreshed, excited, full of new ideas.

But then you remember that your grandmother will have nobody to watch over her. How can you leave and let her stay at home by herself?

Luckily, there are plenty of options to help give you peace of mind, and give your loved one the best care possible.

In-Home Care Service
This type of service involves 24 hour care, where a nurse, home health aid, or other healthcare professional will live in the home with your loved one. This is generally best for those family members that require constant care and attention. Finding an in-home care service in your area is simple, finding one you trust can be more difficult. We recommend asking around first. A testimonial from someone you know can put you at ease. Also take a look at online reviews to see what people are saying about that company. Then call and make an appointment to meet and talk to whoever will be taking care of your loved one. If you don’t feel comfortable, say no. It’s up to you to decide the home care service you want to use.

Daily Visits
The homecare service you find will also likely provide daily visits from a healthcare professional. They can perform routine tasks like cleaning, laundry, cooking, running errands. You can have a specialist like an RN stop by if your loved one requires certain medical treatments daily.

Stay in touch
Once you decide on the homecare service you’d like to use, and found a provider who you feel comfortable leaving to care for your loved one, figure out how you’ll stay in touch. Maybe you’d like a phone call or email each day from the provider. You could set up a Skype account and use an iPad or laptop in your loved one’s home, and have the provider set everything up so you can video chat at different times during your trip.

Emergency Plan
In the unfortunate case of an emergency, know what you’d like your provider to do. Leave the number of your loved one’s doctor with the provider. Also leave contact information for another relative or someone you trust nearby in case you cannot be reached or are out of the country.

With the availability of trustworthy, professional home care services you are bound to find someone capable of caring for your loved one while you’re away. If you’re in the Southwest Florida area and ever need some extra assistance caring for someone, or are planning a trip and would like some peace of mind, call Just Like Family Home Care at 239-431-6661.


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How to spot the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

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It’s something not many of us want to think about or start considering for our parents, grandparents, or other elderly relatives and friends. As we age, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease only become more and more probable. That’s not to say that older people will develop memory loss, it’s that it tends to affect us as we enter old age.

What do you need to look for when it comes to the onset of Alzheimer’s? Are there certain symptoms, characteristics, traits, or behaviors that are common amongst those that are developing the disease?

We will go over many of the most common symptoms that can help you spot Alzheimer’s and alert you to taking your loved one to a doctor as soon as you can.

Confusion of time or place

This is a common one amongst people with Alzheimer’s disease. It involves losing track of dates, days of the week, or even the year. If this happens once, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. But if it continues to happen often, you might want to see a specialist.

Changes in vision

This isn’t as well known as the memory loss symptom of Alzheimer’s. Those that develop the disease can notice changes in their vision either near or far, and even when telling colors apart.

Daily tasks become challenging

As the disease progresses, it may become hard to do things that were once very routine and familiar. Take note if your loved one is finding it difficult to complete daily tasks.

Difficulty problem solving or planning

They may find it hard to keep track of things like bills, keeping appointments. It may even become difficult to follow a recipe they once used many times before.

Losing track of where you are

This is a scary one. Your loved one may find that they are in a place and discover they aren’t sure how they got there. Sometimes we hear of elderly people that have gone missing, only later to say they have no idea how they ended up where they did.

Forgetting important information

This is one you may notice early on, especially for something important like a birthday, holiday, or anniversary.

Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

Common Alzheimer’s Disease

This is what most people are familiar with. It’s the typical Alzheimer’s disease that progresses at old age.

Genetic Alzheimer’s Disease

This rarer form of the disease is attributed through genes. Sometimes the symptoms can show up in someone’s 30s, 40s or 50s.

Resources

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
WebMD

Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
National Institute on Aging

 


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4 Tips for Helping Seniors Maintain Their Independence—And Helping You Keep Your Peace of Mind

Some people are more stubborn than others, but most seniors don’t want to admit when they need a little extra help. For that reason, it’s often up to family members to identify when to step in and offer additional help. Encouraging loved ones to maintain their senior independence while keeping your own peace of mind might sound like a challenge, but there are steps you can take to make it easier on all parties involved.

Deliver the Essentials

There are tons of delivery services available that cover everything from food and toiletries to laundry and medication. Your loved one may not want to go grocery shopping but he or she might still enjoy cooking, and eating healthy meals contributes greatly to wellbeing. Determine what your elderly relative ought to have delivered, whether it’s groceries, prepared hot meals or prescription medication, and devise a schedule that works for everyone.

Modify the Living Space

Your loved one may still be fairly mobile and active, but a nasty fall can have serious repercussions for the elderly. Give yourself peace of mind by modifying the house as needed. Install rails in the bathroom, remove tripping hazards like area rugs, and lower the shelves in the pantry for easier access without a stepstool.

Get a Personal Emergency Response System

You can’t be with your aging relative 24/7, but a personal emergency response system can. PERS allow users to call for help in an emergency by pressing a button that they wear at all times. Some PERS even have two-way phone communication, automatic fall detection and GPS tracking on them, which can help locate an elderly parent who is lost.

Hire an In-Home Caregiver

If you can’t help out your loved one a regular basis, consider hiring an in-home caregiver from Just Like Family Home Care. We offer a variety of services that range from occasional visits to 24/7 care in Naples, FL, and the surrounding areas. This is a great strategy for helping someone who is adamantly against asking for it. Many people are too proud to approach their family members, but they have no problem talking to a caregiver.

Maintaining senior independence is hard, especially as people age, but it’s understandable why anyone would want to do so. It can be frustrating when loved ones are stubborn, but empathizing with them is often the best way to devise a compromise. By following the tips above and hiring an in-home caregiver to cover any additional needs, you can have the peace of mind that your loved one is safe and healthy.