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Caring for a Loved One with Cancer

You probably know someone who has been affected by cancer. You may even have a close friend or relative who is struggling with the disease. Moreover, you may be caring for a loved one with cancer. If you’re in the latter situation, you aren’t alone.

Cancer Rates

This year, medical experts expect to diagnose 1.7 million new cases based on the cancer incidence rate of 439.2 per 100,000 people . According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are over 15 million cancer survivors in the United States. The NIH studies indicate that the most common types of cancer in descending order are breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, colon and rectum, melanoma, bladder, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis, endometrial, leukemia, pancreatic, thyroid, and liver.

Hope is Here

While the number of new cases is expected to increase, the fusion of medicine, technology, and passionate investigators are working together to combat the disease through earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment options. There is hope for a cure to cancer in our lifetime.
Caring For A Loved One With Cancer

Caring for a Loved One with Cancer

Caring for someone with cancer may feel overwhelming at first. Determining your role and the roles of others is an important first step to provide care. Your loved one will need physicians and surgeons to manage treatment, a nurse to take care of physical needs, a therapist/counselor for emotional support, a medical advocate to help navigate medical treatments, options, and insurance. If your loved one is going through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery, he or she may need help managing meals, household cleaning, or caring for children.

Your Role

A powerful role that you may choose to play is to coordinate care efforts. You can create schedules so that friends and family provide meals, run errands, do household chores, and spend time with your loved one. If your loved one has children, then helping set up a system for childcare will be very important.

Assisting your loved one by researching and understanding his or her condition and treatment options will take a huge burden off their shoulders. If this isn’t your strength, then perhaps a friend or relative is willing to help. Your loved one will also need someone to drive and accompany them to chemotherapy, radiation, and other medical treatment appointments.

Caring for the Caregiver

Whichever of these roles you can take on, it’s important that you take time for yourself without feeling guilty. You’ll need to fulfill your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to be able to take care of your loved one successfully.

Often caregivers don’t feel they can accept help from others, but sharing responsibilities is one of the best ways to help yourself continue to be an effective caregiver. Other family members may be able to offer some help with shopping or playing cards with your loved one. Welcome them with open arms!

A home care agency such as Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc. that specializes in helping people with cancer and other major health concerns can be invaluable in providing your loved one with nursing care, transportation to medical appointments, personal care, errands, and performing household duties such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.

For more info on caregiving, visit The National Alliance for Caregiving, Family Caregiver Alliance, and the Caregiver Action Network.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Aging Seniors: Loneliness and Social Isolation

Loneliness is a key concern among aging seniors.

According to a national survey commissioned by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), thirty-five percent of the 3,000 respondents age 45 + were categorized as “lonely.” Individuals categorized as “lonely” were more likely to withdraw from social activities including volunteering, becoming active in community organizations, and attending religious services. Avoiding these types of activities can contribute to social isolation and loneliness. Furthermore, the survey highlights loneliness as a key predictor of poor health.
Isolated Elderly Woman

Are you wondering how an aging loved one may be affected by loneliness?

Here are a few questions and answers to help you better understand.

Question: My loved one lives alone. Should I assume he is socially isolated or lonely?
Answer: Living alone does not mean an individual is socially isolated or lonely. In fact, many aging seniors live alone and are very happy. Many seniors live in complexes where they can easily engage in social activities. The bottom line is that some people may require limited social interaction while others may need to socialize multiple times daily. Talk to your loved one to find out how they feel.

Question: My aging uncle seems to be socially isolated. I understand it may affect his psyche, but I’m not overly concerned since he is in good health overall. Should I intervene?
Answer: Feeling lonely and socially isolated is a delicate subject. But if a family member or close friend is able to communicate that he feels lonely or isolated, he or she could probably use help. The effects of social isolation are not constrained to mental health, but can actually affect physical health and overall wellbeing. It’s time to help your uncle make the changes he needs to bring relevant social connections to his life. Talk to his medical care team to find out which steps to take.

Question: What can I do to help a loved one who is homebound?
Answer: Phone calls, video calls, and visits to a loved one’s home can be a great way to help someone socialize at home. Assisted living facilities allow aging seniors to be in close proximity to others, and have daily opportunities to socialize. A home health care nurse can provide companionship while providing personalized care and managing home duties and tasks.

Question: Why is loneliness so serious?
Answer: Not only can loneliness lead to depression and mental health problems, but it is also linked to high blood pressure, inflammation, heart disease, vascular disease, impaired immune system, dementia, and early death. In fact, many researchers believe that social isolation and loneliness should be included as a major risk factor, similar to substance abuse or obesity.

Loneliness and social isolation are serious issues.

Get help today.

Visit eldercare.gov or non-profits forgetmenotservices.org and littlebrothers.org for more information on how to help aging seniors with loneliness or social isolation.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Caring for a Loved One Diagnosed with a Serious Illness

What happens when an individual walks out of the doctor’s office with an unthinkable diagnosis? What happens when a patient hears those words?

Patient Diagnosed With A Serious Illness

The shock and disbelief will undoubtedly lead to a cascade of emotions and behaviors that may range from anger to sadness to isolation. Close friends and family members may feel many of these same emotions.

But when the person diagnosed is your spouse or a loved one that you care for, the diagnosis can seem like more than you can bear.

Accept and Learn

As a caregiver for someone suffering from a serious illness, you can help your loved one by accepting the situation rather than rebelling. Learn about the disease so that you can understand expected disease progression, the latest research, and current and experimental treatments. You can be the advocate who helps your loved one cope with the information and seeks ways to improve the situation. In fact, you can help both of you develop resilience.

Be Patient and Kind

You can also help yourself and your loved one develop the patience and kindness that will be necessary to deal with the disease. Teach your mate how to be kind to himself even though he may not be happy with the way part of his body is functioning. And don’t allow yourself or him to compare what he was like before versus after the serious illness.

Divide Your Time

Dedicate time to your loved one, but make sure you have to time to complete your work, pay bills, exercise, and have personal time. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of someone else.

Include Others

Allow family members and friends to help! Encourage social interaction and involvement, even if these interactions are different than before. They are still meaningful on so many levels.

Find Help

Additionally, find a home care agency such as Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc. that specializes in helping people with limiting capabilities by helping your loved one if he has mobility issues, cooking, completing household chores, or doing errands.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

What You Need to Know: Medications and Interactions

As people age, their bodies change. These changes can affect the way medications are absorbed. If a person loses weight, they may require less medication than they did previously. When organ systems slow down, they affect how fast or slowly medications work.
When older adults take multiple medications, there is a risk that the medicines can react and cause side effects. Interactions may cause some medications to be even more effective while other medications may be less effective. Certain foods, such as grapefruit, may have interactions with medications that cause undesirable effects as well. While the side effects that occur from drug and food or drink interactions are usually minor, they can also be serious and even life threatening.

Organizing Weekly Medication

It’s critical that you and your loved ones know each of the medications you are taking and if any have interactions with other medications, foods, or drinks, especially alcoholic drinks. The best way to find out if there are any interactions is to ensure that every member of your health care team – physicians, pharmacists, nurses, assistants, and family members, have the complete picture of your conditions and medications.

When you consult with your health care professionals, follow these tips:

  1. Medications + more. List all medications and doses including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, dietary supplements, and even eye drops or creams.
  2. Keep a list. Keep an up-to-date list of all medications (per tip #1) along with your current medical conditions and medical history.
  3. Consult with physician. Don’t stop taking a medicine unless you’ve consulted with the physician who prescribed it.
  4. Foods can interact, too. Tell your doctor if you are on a diet or have special eating habits.
  5. Get changes in writing. When a physician makes changes to your medications, be sure to obtain the information in writing and communicate with your other health care providers so they are aware.
  6. Pharmacists can help. Double check for any potential medication interactions with your pharmacist. In addition, if needed, request easy-open containers and large-print labels.
  7. Understand new prescriptions. Before you leave the physician or pharmacist with a new prescription, don’t forget to ask:
    • Can you confirm the name and correct dose for this medication?
    • Is this a generic? What is the brand name for the generic?
    • Can you describe the appearance (i.e. large blue and white pill)?
    • What does the medication do and when can I expect to see results?
    • What is the dose? What if I miss a dose or take too much?
    • What are potential side effects? Are there any contraindications with my other medications?
    • Are there any foods or activities I should avoid while taking this medication?
    • Should I take the medication with food or on empty stomach? When should I take this medicine in conjunction with these other medicines I am taking?
    • Will this medicine work safely with the other medications, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements I take per the list?
    • How should this medicine be stored? How do I obtain refills?
  8. Keep them to yourself. In addition, don’t forget that you should only take medicines prescribed for you.
  9. Keep them cool. Store your medications in cool, dry places away from sunlight.
  10. Don’t mix! Do not mix different types of pills in one container. It’s best to keep them in the original container.

For a complete guide on medicines, visit “Medicines and You: A Guide for Older Adults”, published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by clicking here.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Caring For A Loved One Living With Chronic Pain

When a family member is living with chronic pain, it affects family and friends. The person with chronic pain may be unable to participate in common daily activities and may begin to withdraw socially. Avoiding relationships can lead to isolation and depression.
Learning how to help someone living with chronic pain means accepting some of these changes and navigating how to help your loved one cope, manage pain, and maintain communication. Finding a balance is important.

Daughter Consoling Mother in Chronic Pain

Here are a few tips to help your loved one stay connected with family and friends:

  • If he or she can manage some level of activity with pain, encourage him or her to make plans to spend time with friends and family. This can be a meal together or a short visit.
  • Find easy activities that you and your loved can do together. Perhaps a slow walk in the park or a simple art project can bring joy.
  • Encourage your loved one to take on tasks that he or she can physically perform. This will help keep him or her active and feel like a contributing member of the home.
  • Be patient with your loved one. His or her pain and abilities may vary from one day to another.
  • Take on the role of advocate and support your loved one by attending doctor appointments and helping him or her to accurately describe symptoms, ask questions, and take notes for future reference.
  • Sometimes, your loved one may not want to talk about the pain. Sharing your life activities, thoughts, and dreams may be refreshing conversation.
  • Check out online support websites for the condition that your loved one has. For example, if your loved one has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, visit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation at https://www.themmrf.org/ to find a great source of information about the disease, physicians, treatments, etc.
  • Most importantly, make sure you take care of yourself Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your loved one. Get plenty of rest, exercise, eat healthy foods, and take time each day to do something special for you.

    Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

    Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

How to Protect Seniors from Work-at-Home Schemes

Did you know that con artists who prey on innocent seniors, sparking their interest with work-at-home or get rich quick schemes, exploit people to the tune of $400 billion annually?

Older Woman Working On The Computer At HomeAppealing Scams. These tempting scams lure hundreds of innocent adults each week. Work-at-home scams vary from the promise of earning thousands per month through internet businesses to stuffing envelopes. Other common scams involve rebate processing where the victim is convinced to pay hundreds of dollars in fees for training and certifications and assembly work that requires upfront payment for the proper machinery. Mystery shopping, phony sweepstakes, multi-level marketing schemes, and medical billing “opportunities” round out the common at-home scams.

What do nearly all of these scams have in common? They either require upfront fees or personal credit card information. Don’t part with your money or your personal information!

If you are recruited for an opportunity or see an appealing ad for an at-home job, find out exactly what the job entails, who pays for the work, when the first paycheck will be received, and what the total cost of the program is including equipment, training or supplies.

Check out the company. Research the company online and check with the Attorney General by visiting naag.org and the Better Business Bureau bbb.org in the state where the company is based.

Prevent your loved ones from falling for a scam. While you can’t prevent every situation, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends a few things you can do to reduce exposure to con artists.

  • Put your loved ones’ addresses on the opt-out lists with the direct marketing association so that they won’t receive junk mail. Click here to opt-out.
  • Place your loved ones’ phone number as “unlisted.” Add their phone numbers to the “do not call” lists as well. Click here to opt-out.
  • Check their credit reports to find out if any new accounts were opened in their names.
  • If you need help explaining the scams or getting your loved ones to recognize they are victims, contact the AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center at 800-646-2283 toll-free.

Report a scam. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a scam, contact the company and request a refund. Then, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Also, contact the National Fraud Information Center at. https://www.fraud.org/ , the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at https://www.bbb.org/ and the US Postal Inspection Service at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/. Reporting the scam to these various organizations will help stop another person from being victimized.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Functional Flexibility for Seniors

We know that exercise is important for health and longevity. But do you know that flexibility is critical to your health also, especially as people age?

When you have a larger range of motion, you’re less likely to be injured while exercising or doing daily activities. Stretching will help your body to walk, lift, and bend with ease and it will even help you reduce pain and stress. So why not get started today?

Start warming up by walking outside or in place for 5 minutes. This will warm up your joints as you prepare to stretch. Next, begin with a simple stretching routine that you can do for 10-15 minutes daily, at least 3-4 days per week.

Make sure to include stretches that target the following body parts:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders and upper arms
  • Arms, chest, and shoulders
  • Back
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Ankles

Neck Side Stretch

A simple stretch to start with is the side stretch. It’s a great stretch to do in the morning. For the neck side stretch, sit tall in a chair and gently lean your head to one side and then to the other side. Then, rest your palm on the left side of your head and gently pull your head to the right. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Now, repeat the stretch on the other side.

You might have done stretches before, but make sure to look online, obtain a book or video from the library, or attend a local class to learn how to do the proper stretches correctly. Some television networks offer stretching and other exercise videos through local programming or through “on demand” programming.

Tips

Here are a few additional tips to help you as you begin to stretch:

  • Don’t lock your joints while stretching.
  • Avoid jerky movements when stretching and don’t force a stretch that feels painful.
  • Don’t hold your breath. Breathe as you stretch.
  • Move fluidly and gently, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds if possible.
  • Try a stretch a second time, reaching even further if you can do so without pain.
  • If you have had surgery, ask your physician before stretching.

The National Institute on Aging is just one of several organizations that provides internet-based information on exercising for seniors. Check out NIH’s Go4Life flexibility movements by clicking here.

If you have questions about an aging family member, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Seniors: Avoiding Phone Scams

Unfortunately, con artists frequently target our aging loved ones through phone scams and other fraudulent telemarketing activities. Con artists target seniors because they are gracious and trusting and likely to have excellent credit and a nice savings account. Moreover, when elders are victims of fraud, they may be ashamed and reluctant to report the crime. When seniors report these crimes, it may be days or weeks after the crime was committed, making it more difficult for them to give accurate accounts of the occurrences and allowing the crook more time to pull off the crime successfully.

Avoid Phone Scams Targeting Seniors

Of all the crimes and fraudulent activity committed against seniors, phone scams are likely the most common. Telemarketing fraud or phone scams typically involve individuals acting as “sales people” or “company representatives”, soliciting personal or financial information in exchange for bogus products, free vacations, fake prizes or low-cost healthcare products.

Listening for the Warning Signs

Fraudulent calls often include these types of offers:

  • “Risk-free offers.”
  • “Free vacations or free prizes! You just have to pay taxes or shipping costs.”
  • “Free or discounted product. You simply need to give your bank account or credit card information.”
  • “You must act now, or the offer won’t be valid.”

These “offers” should be considered warning signs. It’s important to let your loved one know what to look out for so he or she can be more aware of these potential scams. In fact, the FBI warns people to say, “no thank you” and hang up if they hear any of these bogus statements.

Tips to Avoid Phone Scams

Here is a summary of the FBI’s tips for avoiding phone scams:

  • Know the company. Only purchase from legitimate companies that you are familiar with. Before making any transactions over the phone, verify the name, business identity, business license number, and contact information. If you are not familiar with the organization, check with the Better Business Bureau at https://www.bbb.org/ or the National Fraud Information Center https://www.fraud.org/ before having any additional contact with the company.
  • Keep your personal information private. Never give out your date of birth, bank account information, credit card numbers, or social security number to any representatives calling by phone.
  • Get written documentation. Ask for brochures and hard copy information before you purchase, invest, or give to charities. If they won’t send you detailed information, they may not be valid.
  • Do not pay in advance for any services. And don’t agree to anything you don’t fully comprehend.
  • Don’t fall for the limited time offer. If the company or representative is pushing you to make a quick decision, recognize this as a “red flag.” Discuss any decision with knowledgeable family members or friends before making it – and if it seems “to good to be true” or if the deal “expires” within hours, it’s probably a scam. Stay away!
  • Do not give cash to a messenger. A “representative” that comes to your house is the way a con artist acquires your money without leaving a paper trail.
  • Don’t be a victim twice. If you have already been a victim of a scam, be cautious about calls from sales people claiming to help you recover your losses. These could also be scams!
  • Always report a fraud or scam to local, state or federal law enforcement.
  • Trending Scams

    Recent phone scams have involved con artists pretending to be from the IRS, from Microsoft or Windows tech support, from credit card companies, popular restaurants, and from phone application services. Con artists have even been known to use faith-based dating sites to gather information on victims, initiate relationships, and then create ploys to steal money.

    The con artists are creative, but with a calm mind and some clear discipline, seniors can protect themselves from these phone scams. Review the tips above with your loved one to be sure they don’t become a telemarketing fraud victim.

    If you have questions about an aging family member who prefers to continue living independently, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

    Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.
    Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Power of Attorney 101

If your loved one were to become incapacitated and unable to make important decisions independently, what would you do?

Perhaps not the most uplifting of conversations, but considering these situations and how to handle them should be a priority, especially if you have aging parents, close friends, or elderly family members.

Putting a simple legal framework in place can help ease the concerns and give family members and friends peace of mind. Since aging loved ones must be competent to legally sign documents, it’s important to broach this subject with aging loved ones before they have serious health conditions that may affect their cognitive or communication abilities.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an individual (the “principal”) to appoint an individual (the “agent”) who will manage financial, legal and/or health decisions on his or her behalf. Typically, the “agent” is a close relative or trusted friend. A Power of Attorney (POA) becomes effective once the appropriate signatures and a notarization is complete (varies by state.)

What is a Durable Power of Attorney (POA)?

A Durable Power of Attorney is just like the POA but becomes effective only if the “principle” becomes incapacitated (as certified by a physician.)

What is a General POA?

A general power of attorney gives the “agent” broad guidelines to make legal, financial and health decisions for the “principal”.

What is a Financial POA?

A special power of attorney provides only specific powers to the “agent” when the principle is not able to make important decisions. In the case of finances, a “principle” can designate an “agent” to make financial and legal decisions on their behalf.

What is a Healthcare POA?

A POA for healthcare is an “agent” who can make health and medical decisions on behalf of the “principle.”

How do you set up a POA?

Once the “principle” selects the agent, the two individuals should discuss the responsibilities of the “agent” and the wishes of the “principle.” At this point, the principle should consult an attorney who can prepare the customized POA documents.

If you have a tight budget, you may consider using a POA template from a reputable company that provides legal documents online. Once you’ve filled out and printed the documents, the “principle” and the “agent” will need to sign. Additional signatures and notary requirements vary by state. In Florida, the document will need to be notarized and signed by two witnesses.

With so many other priorities in your life, creating a POA may be low on the list. But don’t let your loved ones miss this important step to ensure that their best interests will always be at heart.

If you have questions about an aging family member who wants to continue living independently, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Caring For A Loved One With Vision Impairment

According to the National Federation of the Blind Fact Sheet, over 5.5 million seniors are blind or visually impaired in the U.S. With the large group of aging baby boomers, the number of blind or visually impaired seniors will likely double. Nearly 99% of people who are blind have lost their vision due to glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetes. Low vision and blindness are large, growing segments of the aging population.

Caring for an aging senior with vision impairment requires common sense, forethought, and patience. The following recommendations will help caregivers know what to focus on when it comes to caring for seniors with low vision.

  1. Select a recommended ophthalmologist who specializes in vision impairment/ low vision. Make regular appointments for a dilated medical eye exam so he or she can properly diagnose and treat eye conditions or diseases. Keep the ophthalmologist informed of any vision or eye changes.
  2. Create a healthy lifestyle that includes ample sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimal sweets and alcohol. Dark, leafy greens and healthy fats have nutrients that nourish the body and eyes.
  3. Determine what home modifications will be most helpful and make them. Removing worn or wrinkled carpet to avoid tripping is an important first step. If possible, replace with no-skid flooring. Keep furniture out of walkways and keep chairs pushed in under the table. Install grab bars in bathrooms, hallways, and for stairs. In addition, check suggestions at the American Foundation for the Blind here.
  4. Remove any potential hazards and eliminate clutter. Small rugs and cords can be tripping hazards. Use baskets or bins to store items that may be difficult to locate if misplaced, such as keys and remotes.
  5. Rooms with contrasting colors and good lighting are very important for individuals with low vision. Color contrasts between walls and furniture, and between walls and stairs can help low vision seniors to discern the difference. Using contrasting colors in the bathroom also makes it easier to distinguish towels and bath mats.
  6. Make sure your loved one can easily identify different medications. Select at least one or more of these ideas to implement:
    • Extra large print labels
    • Containers with tactile labels
    • Special medication dispensers offered at pharmacies
    • Prescription bottles with recorded message labels

Finally, take advantage of state and private rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired. These services provide training on techniques to manage independent living. The American Foundation for the Blind can help you find local services here.

If you have questions about an aging family member with impaired vision who wants to continue living independently, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

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