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06/Jul/2022

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are plenty of methods that can help those suffering enjoy their quality of life. Read on to learn more from Big Hearts Home Care.

At Big Hearts Home Care, our team of experienced and compassionate in-home care professionals helps individuals who are suffering from the impacts of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. These illnesses can steal away the memory and mental function of individuals – leaving them lost, confused, and feeling isolated from those they love and trust.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, studies and experience continue to offer new and exciting possibilities that can help those who are diagnosed with these diseases to live a thriving, purposeful life.

Every care professional at Big Hearts Home Care is trained to offer some of the best treatment options for Alzheimer’s and dementia in BC. One method that has continued to surprise our team is the power of exercise on the minds and bodies of those needing Alzheimer’s support.

Read one to learn more about the benefits of exercise in the lives of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as how you can help someone in need access the life-changing services that the team at Big Hearts Home Care offers each and every day.

How Physical Exercise Can Help Those Suffering From Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia attack the mental abilities of those diagnosed, often leaving them in a deteriorating state of mind that is unable to engage with activities and other individuals. The impacts of Alzheimer’s on one’s life can eventually lead to other health issues as the victim withdraws from activity.

One of the best ways to increase the quality of life for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia is to find creative and unique ways to engage their bodies and minds. A great way to do both is through exercise and recreation!

While many of us know the benefits of consistent exercise, these same benefits can increase the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s in an unbelievable way. Consider just a few of the ways that exercise can help anyone – regardless of their current health or wellness.

Consistent exercise will help to reduce:

• The risk of developing diabetes
• High blood pressure
• Chances of having a mild or severe stroke
• The emergence of cardiovascular disease

Exercise and recreation can also help increase:

• Blood circulation
• Flexibility and fitness
• Mental acuity and sharpness
• A positive state of mind
• The energy throughout the day
• Quality of sleep and times of deep, restful sleep

For those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, extended periods of being isolated and without help to access physical exercise can quickly lead to an increase in negative health issues – both mentally and physically.

This is why one of the best ways to access this life-changing treatment is to partner with an Alzheimer’s support team in Canada that offers in-home care for seniors with dementia and other mental struggles.

The Power of Mental Exercise Over Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Those who are struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia can also benefit from mental exercise. While physical exercise on a consistent basis can offer plenty of health benefits, strategic mental exercise can help increase one’s ability to think clearly, remember long-term memories, and engage with other people in their lives in positive ways.

Studies continue to show that those who engage in mentally stimulating activities every day have a lower chance of developing a mental illness or deterioration due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even those who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s can still benefit from a variety of fun and engaging mental activities.

Here are just a few of the types of mental exercises that can help those with Alzheimer’s:

• Reading challenging and thought-provoking books.
• Playing or learning a musical instrument that involves multiple senses.
• Painting or creating artwork with your hands.
• Playing a board game such as chess or checkers.
• Completing crossword puzzles or word games.
• Using electronic devices to engage your mind with strategy games.

One reason that many suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia are unable to engage in these types o activities is a lack of access or resources. At Big Hearts Homecare, our team of experienced and compassionate in-home care for Alzheimer’s and dementia will work one-on-one with clients to help them engage in fun and stimulating activities that keep them sharp, focused and enjoying their days.

Hope For Those With Dementia & Alzheimer’s Near You

As we’ve seen, there is still no guaranteed medication or cure that can take away the suffering for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, by taking steps to get individuals engaged in exercise, the benefits can help offset many of the debilitating difficulties that can prevent these men and women from enjoying a happy and thriving life.

One way to help those with Alzheimer’s find support in BC is to partner with an in-home care team that is trained in servicing those with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Find Hope With Local Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care

If you are looking for Alzheimer’s support in BC or the surrounding region, nothing can beat the love and kindness of a trained and compassionate in-home care service professional.

At Big Hearts Home Care, we are committed to offering the highest quality in-home Alzheimer’s support in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec provinces. Every service our team offers is aimed at promoting the independence and integrity of our clients, and we take every opportunity to help our beloved patients engage with their world in new and exciting ways.

With years of experience helping individuals with Alzheimer’s support care, Big Hearts Homecare is a leading dementia and Alzheimer’s care service across Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Mississauga, and Montreal.

Whether you are considering the possibility of elderly care services, senior home care, or are in need of palliative care near you, contact our team today to learn more about the unique benefits of working with the BC, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario region’s most trusted Alzheimer’s support service. We are proud to offer our services for those in need across Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Mississauga, and Montreal.


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06/Jul/2022

Are you trying to navigate the world of elderly care services? Learn more and understand your palliative care options near you with the article below.

As senior home care and palliative services providers in BC and Alberta, we often receive questions about the differences in care services for those in need. Particularly, we often speak to those who are confused as to the differences between palliative care and hospice.

Both palliative care and hospice can be difficult, complex decisions for families and loved ones to make, and as a leading palliative care services provider across Ontario and Quebec, the team at Big Hearts Home Care is committed to offering expert information and knowledge to help you make the best decision.

To understand the difference between palliative care services and hospice care, it can be helpful to create working definitions of both. This article will break down both the definitions of palliative care and hospice, as well as the eligibility criteria and service options for local palliative care near you or those you love.

Defining Palliative Care Services & Hospice Care

Often used interchangeably, palliative care and hospice care services have similarities to one another but are often utilized for different circumstances. Let’s break down a basic definition of both palliative care and hospice:

Hospice Care

Often referred to as “compassionate care” or “comfort care”, hospice is an option for senior home care or those who are nearing the end of a terminal illness. Hospice care is often recommended if a physician or healthcare provider believes that all options for care have been utilized, and the prognosis leaves the patient with six months or less to live.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is also often referred to as “comfort care” – which can often explain why the terms palliative care and hospice care are used interchangeably. However, there are important differences between the two.

Palliative care services are offered to those who are facing debilitating illnesses or injuries that prevent them from caring for themselves. As opposed to hospice care, palliative care services can often be recommended and hired at the diagnosis of illness or injury, while hospice care is only brought in during the final months to weeks of a patient’s life.

According to the American Society of Oncologists, this helpful breakdown of palliative care services can help you know whether you or someone you love may be eligible for this type of care:

  • The inability to care for oneself in day-to-day activities.
  • Treatment and care have been administered, but an illness or injury is worsening.
  • A clinical trial does not offer help for the illness.
  • No current treatment or potential treatment is working to offer help or hope.

Who Helps Those In Palliative Care?

Those who are in both palliative care services, as well as hospice care, receive the highest-quality compassionate care available. Known as interdisciplinary teams, those who attend to the needs of individuals in care services are trained and educated on how to provide care across a variety of spectrum:

Physical Care: Those who need aid for accessing daily activities, as well as those needing medication and physical supervision, will be attended to by a trained individual or team.

Mental Care: Whether suffering from mental difficulties due to illness, injury, or age, interdisciplinary teams are trained and experienced to help with a variety of mental needs for patients in both palliative care and elderly care.

Spiritual Care: Both hospice and palliative care services can involve a great deal of spiritual struggle and anguish. Caring and compassionate palliative care professionals are ready to step in and help those who need spiritual guidance and care.

How Does Eligibility Differ Between Hospice & Palliative Care?

One major difference between palliative care and hospice is eligibility. In most cases, eligibility for hospice care requires that two physicians who have treated the patient certify that hospice care is recommended for end-of-life care.

Comparatively, palliative care can be recommended by both the physician and the patient at any point in the diagnosis of an issue that can require palliative care. This allows for much great access for those in need of extra care with palliative care services.

Are There Cost Differences?

Whether one is looking at palliative care services or elderly care services, one of the first questions that are asked regard cost. Both palliative care and hospice will include a variety of aspects that come at a cost, including:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical Equipment
  • 24/7 Care Access
  • Social Services
  • Grief Support For Families

For those who have been approved for hospice care, 100% of the costs involved are covered by public health coverage or the patient’s private insurance. This can be a lifesaver for those who are trying to navigate the difficulties of end-of-life care of family members and loved ones.

For palliative care services, the costs can vary depending on the services needed during the care term. Each palliative care service will feature different offerings and costs based on the unique circumstances of the patient.

To learn more about what the average palliative care services in your area may cost, a simple web search for “palliative care near me” can give plenty of information and results that will help you create an average expected cost.

How To Find Palliative Care Near Me

If you are looking for palliative care services in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, or Quebec, access to the best options can make all the difference. At Big Hearts Home Care, we are committed to offering palliative care at home and elderly care services that promote the independence and integrity of our clients. With years of experience helping individuals with palliative care services, we are a leading palliative care provider. Whether you are considering the possibility of elderly care services, senior home care, or are in need of palliative care near you, contact our team today to learn more about the unique benefits of working with the local region’s most trusted palliative care service. We are proud to offer our services for those in need across Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Mississauga, and Montreal.


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06/Jul/2022

With so many seniors and friends with special needs unable to leave their homes during COVID-19, we have decided to offer complimentary grocery delivery. Simply send us the details of your order and our volunteer caregivers will pick it up, sanitize it, and drop it off at your door. Priority is given to those who are unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19. You may email us at [email protected] or phone/text us at (778) 788-5578 with the details. We look forward to supporting everyone during this time of need.


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06/Jul/2022

While the coronavirus outbreak poses health risks for everyone, officials have made clear that the elderly are particularly vulnerable. At Big Hearts Homecare we prioritize the health and safety of both clients and workers. COVID-19 is a serious health threat and while the risk of transmission varies between communities, the risk to Canadians is still considered high. Big Hearts Homecare is following health and safety guidelines set by our provincial health authorities, the Centre for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization. These extra precautions include:

 

 

 

  • We are not providing services to those in care homes, hospitals, or facilities.
  • We are not providing services to anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Our staff are dedicated to only working with clients in their own home.
  • Our staff wear surgical masks, gloves, and are social distancing (unless support with mobility is required).
  • At the beginning of each shift, staff immediately screen and report to the office any symptoms of COVID-19 they notice on clients.

 

The health and safety of your loved ones is of paramount importance. We have seen many families express an interest in receiving care at home to limit the potential of infection. We hope that with these precautions we can dedicate a caregiver to serving your family, while following all health and safety guidelines set by our health authorities.

For more information about caring for the elderly without putting them at risk of COVID-19, please read the following interview with Charlotte Yeh, the chief medical officer at AARP:

How do you recommend elderly populations protect themselves against Covid-19?

Apart from following the general guidelines on regularly washing hands, avoiding crowds, and practicing social distancing, it is very important that the elderly think twice about having friends and family members visit them, especially if anyone in the family might be sick. Caregivers should practice extra precautions themselves and the family should have a backup plan to care for their loved one in case the caregiver gets sick. … Planning also helps reduce panic and anxiety, so communicate a care plan among family members. There should also be enough supplies [food and medication] in the house that can last for at least two weeks, or maybe more. In many cases, you can mail order the medication and use grocery delivery services, as ways to further protect the older adults in the family.

If the elderly have an annual checkup coming up, should they be concerned about going to the hospital?

It can vary by location and community based on how widespread cases of coronavirus are. In case one is concerned, they should call their physician and say, “I’m scheduled for an annual checkup. I’m otherwise feeling well and do not have any particular concerns. Is this something we can reschedule or postpone for later?” It is also helpful because, again, if there’s an outbreak in your particular community, health care workers are also very busy taking care of those who are ill. If you can handle anything on your own through conversation or through telehealth, it will be good for you and also for the health care worker.

How would you advise the elderly regarding travel?

Well, everyone is going to have their own risk tolerance, but if you’re of old age and have serious underlying health conditions, you should think twice about travel, particularly by airplane. I do not recommend cruise ships at this point, or traveling to go to events where there will be large crowds. This would be a time where people should take an abundance of precaution about travel.

Should people consider taking their elderly out of long-term care facilities?

The guidance is continuing to change day by day, as we learn more about how the virus is behaving in the community. In this case, I would urge the individuals to contact the care facility and find out about the precautions they have in place. There are infection control procedures that every nursing home has to follow, and [you can tell the care facility] that you want to be notified what they are. In certain states, where there is higher concentration of outbreaks, there is guidance from the state department of public health, which may vary by locality. Most importantly, if [the elderly] are already in the long-term care facility, you just want to verify that these facilities are following proper precautions. You have to balance the care that your elderly can get in a facility versus if you took them home, you might be able to provide that care. Keep a close eye on what is happening in your particular community and follow health guidance.

How can people stay connected with their elderly family members during a time of restrictions on visits?

Social connections are so important and this is a time where long-term facilities may be restricting visitors due to the risk of infection. But there are other ways of staying in touch. This is a time where we may go back to the old-fashioned ways of communication. This means making telephone calls more frequently. Don’t forget, there’s video conferencing available to use and sharing of photographs through social media, so you can stay in touch and not feel isolated or disconnected. There are captioned telephones for those who have documented hearing impairment. This is a free service. [Older adults] can ask people to talk more slowly, especially if you have a captioned telephone, so you can capture the entire conversation and read it at the same time as hearing it. Just because you can’t visit your loved ones doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. There are delivery services for things like flowers and groceries, just to say I’m thinking of you. Don’t forget about mail. These days we forget that a handwritten card, a letter sent to your loved one, might give us a result. The nice part about it is that you can read it over and over again to remind yourself that people care about you.

How can the elderly stay active inside their home and keep themselves entertained?

Even if you are at home, you can walk in the hallways, and walk around your room. It is really important to not just sit or lie down all day. We need to move and get the blood flowing and it is good for overall health. Even small housework is a form of exercise. Secondly, maybe this is a good time to catch up on old movies. In fact, you could have your family watch the same movie on the same day and afterwards catch up and talk about the movie. This might also be a good time to do things that you always wanted to do but never had the time. How about learning a new language [online], and sending notes to your family? Maybe write a note to your grandchild.

What are some steps to take if someone is worried that they have been potentially exposed to Covid-19?

The important thing to know is that, if you are not sick but fear that you have been exposed to someone with the infection, you don’t have to go to a hospital to seek help. You can contact your physician. Ask them what [symptoms] to watch out for, and when should you consider being tested. Clearly, if you have a fever, a cough, shortness of breath, there is a risk that you do have coronavirus and that might be a circumstance where it is recommended that you get tested.

Source: https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/12/qa-how-to-care-for-the-elderly-without-putting-them-at-risk-of-coronavirus/


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06/Jul/2022

Seniors in BC who need help with the activities of daily living (such as bathing and dressing), as well as those who need assistance with the instrumental activities of daily living (such as preparing meals), have a number of options. Some seniors living in Vancouver choose to move into an assisted living facility where aides are available to help them with those tasks. Seniors who prefer to remain in their homes or to live with relatives can choose to get help from a service that provides homemakers and home health aides.

Homemaker and home health aide services send workers to the senior’s home. The assistance they provide allows seniors to maintain independence and a sense of dignity. Interaction with homemakers and aides often brightens a senior’s day and reduces feelings of loneliness. The services provided increase the senior’s comfort while reducing stress caused by their inability to take care of their own needs.

What services are provided?
Who are homemakers and home health aides?
How should seniors choose a homemaker and home health aide service?
How can seniors who receive services maximize their safety?

What services are provided?

Home health aides are sometimes called “personal care workers” or “home care attendants.” They provide “hands on” help with the activities of daily living. They may assist seniors with:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Using the toilet
  • Moving from one place to another

A home health aide might also help seniors manage their medications. An aide may be limited to reminding seniors to take their medications, or may be allowed to count or measure the correct dosage and hand that dosage to the senior.

Homemakers help seniors with the instrumental activities of daily living. Those are the daily tasks that require dexterity, mobility, or cognitive abilities that may be impaired by the process of aging. Examples of the services that homemakers might perform include:

  • Meal preparation
  • Cleaning and housekeeping
  • Personal laundry
  • Shopping
  • Performing essential errands
  • Providing companionship

In some cases, a single trained employee might be assigned to cover both the homemaker and the home health aide functions. Other services allocate tasks to different employees who receive different training.

Some homemaker and home health aide agencies take a “team” approach. They may assign a geriatric social worker to define and oversee the senior’s needs. For example, despite being homebound, some seniors maintain a social life by receiving regular visits from friends or family. Those seniors may not need additional companionship. Other seniors may be at risk of depression due to loneliness. When that is the case, a geriatric social worker might instruct a homemaker to spend additional time interacting with the senior.

Who are homemakers and home health aides?

Home health aides provide personal care services. Unlike visiting nurses who provide care for a specific health condition, home health aides are not licensed. Personal care services are classified as “nonmedical” services that do not require professional licensing. Many services have nurses on staff who supervise home health aides, but the supervision is not regularly provided in the senior’s home.

The training required for the position of home health aide varies by province. While all provinces offer certification of home health aides, they do not all require home health aides to be certified. Some only require the employing agency to be certified and leave it to the agency to decide upon the training and certification requirements of their employees. An agency employee who provides only homemaker services is typically not subject to any certification requirement.

Not all homemakers or home health aides work for services. Some work independently. They may charge lower rates than homemakers and aides provided by agencies, but they may not be bonded or insured. Since they work without supervision and may not be as well trained as an agency employee, seniors need to give careful thought to whether the cost savings of hiring a private homemaker or aide outweighs the advantages of hiring a service.

After you are satisfied that the employees of a service are properly trained, ask these questions:

  • What services do your homemakers and home health aides provide?
  • Does the agency have a geriatric social worker who can evaluate your needs?
  • What times of the day and days of the week can services be made available?
  • If you require meal preparation, does the agency make homemakers available on weekends and holidays?
  • Will you have the flexibility to cancel services without charge?
  • Is there a waiting list? When can services begin?
  • How long has the agency been in business?
  • How are employees supervised?
  • Are employees bonded? Is the agency insured?
  • What fees are charged for the services provided? Can the agency provide you with a written schedule of fees so you can decide which services you can afford?
  • Is there a minimum charge per visit regardless of the length of the visit?
  • How often does the agency bill and when does it expect payment?

You should also ask for a list of references. Contact those references to make sure that the service has satisfied its clients in the past. You might also obtain recommendations from social workers employed by the medical clinic you visit and from local government agencies or nonprofit organizations in your community that work with the elderly or that specialize in healthcare issues.

How can seniors who receive services maximize their safety?

Before you hire any homemaker or home health aide service, confirm that it screens employees before they are hired to assure that they do not have a criminal record. You also want to be sure that the service conducts periodic criminal record checks of employees during the course of their employment.

While crimes committed by homemakers and home health aides against their clients are not common, the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Theft and physical abuse are always a potential risk. Seniors should be encouraged to tell children, other relatives, or friends about any suspicion they have concerning a homemaker’s or health aide’s misconduct. Children and others who regularly visit a senior should also be alert for evidence of physical or psychological abuse. The police should be alerted if abuse is suspected or if property is missing after a visit by a homemaker or home health aide.

Other risks to seniors include:

  • Poorly trained health aides cause injuries by using improper lifting techniques or by dropping the senior.
  • Health aides may make errors if they dispense medication without appropriate training and supervision.
  • Homemakers and health aides may spread viruses and infections if they visit a senior while they are ill or after they have visited another client who is suffering from an illness.
  • The improper preparation of meals or inattention to a senior’s dietary needs or allergies may place a senior at risk of illness.
  • The risk of disease may also be enhanced by a homemaker’s failure to maintain a clean environment, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, and to wash laundry properly.
  • A homebound senior may not be in a position to notice deficiencies in the job performance of homemakers or home health aides. Children, relatives, and friends of the senior who visit the home and who see problems with hygiene should complain to the homemaker and home health aide service. They might also encourage the senior to hire a different service.

Big Hearts Homecare can help you care for the needs of your loved ones. Give us a call at (778) 788-5578 or email us at [email protected] to help you get started!

Source: https://seniorcareadvice.com/housing-care/in-home-care


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06/Jul/2022

When it comes time to take care of your elderly loved ones, you want to be sure that they are handled with care, love, and patience. While it may be stressful at times, you must also keep in mind that it is not easy for them to become dependent on you or others for their care. It is important that you become familiar with ways to provide them with the best care possible.

1. Visit Often

It is important to visit them often. They need the social interaction with you and you get the reassurance that they are safe, healthy and in general, doing well. During your visit, it’s always best to check around the house for any issues that may need to be addressed such as the overall cleanliness of the house or if anything is broken that may need to be fixed. Also, do a routine check of their food supply, laundry, mail, and plants. If you get busy, Big Hearts Homecare can do routine checks on your loved one.

2. Check Their Medications

Be sure that they are appropriately supplied with their medications. It is important that all their prescriptions are filled and refilled as needed. If they are on a number of medications, it is best to buy a pill box organizer with compartments labeled with the days of the week as well as AM and PM doses. This can help simplify their medication taking process. Also, if a new medication is prescribed, be sure to ask the doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects or possible interactions with current medications.

3. Hire Help

There may be a need to hire a helper, aide or caretaker. This could be someone who helps your loved one with their daily activities such as showering, errands or housekeeping. If it isn’t someone you know personally, then you should always check references or go through a licensed agency. This may need to be a budgeted expense or it may be a resource that is available for a nominal fee or for free depending on if your loved one qualifies.

4. Make Modifications in Their Home

It is best to take a good look around their home and assess what may be a safety hazard. Some may be simple fixes while other modifications may be more involved. These include:

  • Installing a ramp for wheelchairs or walkers.
  • Installing handrails and grab bars at the toilet and shower.
  • Installing a raised toilet.
  • Testing (or installing) smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Checking the overall lighting in the house to make sure it is bright enough.
  • Plugging in auto-sensor nightlights throughout the home so they are able to see if they wake up at night.
  • Have non-skid mats or strips in the shower or bathtub or any other potential slippery areas of the house.
  • Removing extra clutter that is lying around or furniture that is in the way.
  • Removing small rugs.
  • Making sure cables, cords and wires are safely tucked away to prevent potential falls.

5. Talk Openly About Their Finances

Most times your elderly loved ones are not comfortable or willing to talk about their finances. But you must try to have open discussions about their finances, especially if they live on a fixed income or there is a budget to be adhered to.

6. Take Care of the Important Paperwork

Make sure everything is up-to-date and completed when it comes to their important paperwork such as their will or power of attorney. It is not an easy conversation but it is essential. Once the task is done, it will give you both peace of mind.

7. Watch for Driving Issues

There may come a time when your loved one may no longer be able to drive due to their declining cognitive abilities and reaction time while on the road. It is important to assess their driving abilities and when it does become an issue, offer other options that may help such as hiring a driver or using a delivery service for groceries.

8. Keep Them Active

It is important to keep your elderly loved one active and involved. Exercise is important to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for the elderly to become isolated and lonely or even suffer from depression especially if they have lost their spouse. It is important that they remain involved with their family and friends or they may even want to venture out and make new friends. There are many resources in your community that offer things to do and places to go that will help your loved one stay social and active.

9. Supply Healthy Meals

Your loved one may not have the ability or desire to cook for themselves. It is important that they are well fed in order to stay healthy. You can prepare meals in advance for them. You can check into Meals on Wheels to see if they qualify. There are also many other deliverable meal plan options that your loved one may enjoy. Some of these meal plans can even accommodate special requests such as diabetic meals.

10. Keep an Eye on Them

If you are somewhat tech savvy, you can install a camera or type of motion sensor to keep watch over them or that will alert you if something is wrong. A Life Alert system is another option but you must convince them to wear the alert button at all times.

11. Arrange a Schedule

It is best to try to arrange a schedule between you and other family members to help your elderly loved one when it comes to bathing, doctor appointments, errands, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. If necessary, you may need to hire someone to help with some of those tasks and they will also need to be incorporated into the schedule. A schedule will not only help keep your life structured and organized, but it will help your loved one know what’s on their agenda as well.

12. Utilize Your Available Resources

There are many resources available for the elderly. These resources may be through the government or community-based. Do your research and see what your loved one qualifies for and how it could benefit them. You may be surprised at what’s available.

Take Care of Yourself

You must remain healthy in order to take care of anyone else. Those who take care of their elders have been found to suffer from stress, anxiety, depression and musculoskeletal disorders. If possible, divide the responsibilities between you, your spouse and other family members. It is important that you don’t forget to take breaks, get away a bit and enjoy your life as well.

If you need support doing any of the aforementioned tasks, contact Big Hearts Homecare at 778.788.5578 or email us at [email protected]

(Edited from Seniors Love to Know)


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06/Jul/2022

What is palliative care?

If you have a life-threatening condition or a serious illness, palliative care can:
  • help improve your quality of life
  • reduce or relieve your physical and psychological symptoms
  • help you have a more peaceful and dignified death
  • support your family and those you care for while you are dying and afterward
This type of treatment can involve:
  • pain management
  • symptom management, such as:
    • nausea
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • difficulty breathing
  • social, psychological, spiritual and emotional support
  • caregiver support
These services can be appropriate for people of all ages. They aim to make you and your loved ones feel as comfortable as possible. This can be done through personalized treatment plans that meet your needs and those of your family. Information and support on palliative and end-of-life care, loss and grief can also be found at the Canadian Virtual Hospice.

Who can provide palliative care?

Palliative care can address suffering experienced in all areas of your life. Because of this, a diverse team can be involved in providing palliative care. The team may include:
  • physicians
  • nurses
  • pharmacists
  • social workers
  • trained volunteers
  • home care workers
  • bereavement support workers
  • informal caregivers, such as family members
The type of care team and level of training they receive can vary across the country.

Where are palliative care services provided?

Palliative care can be provided in a variety of settings, such as:
  • hospitals
  • at home
  • long-term care facilities
  • hospices (a home for people living with a terminal illness)
While hospitals are designed to address severe and urgent needs, they may not be the best location for comfortable end-of-life care. Also, delivery of and access to palliative and hospice care varies across Canada. This is due to differences in:
  • needs of society
  • level of funding
  • regional demographics
  • organization of health care services
  • availability of trained health care providers and volunteers
There is no single national palliative care program. This is why governments and health care institutions are developing better models of palliative care in Canada where:
  • service is provided through a range of settings and providers
  • the needs of family and friend caregivers are recognized
  • more health care providers are trained in palliative care
  • advance care planning is encouraged as part of treatment plans routine care
To find out more about Palliative Care in Vancouver, speak to Big Hearts Homecare by calling us at (778) 788-5578 or emailing us at [email protected] You can also contact the national palliative care association or the palliative care association in your province or territory:

Developing a framework for palliative care in Canada

On December 12, 2017, the federal government passed a bill calling for the Minister of Health to create a framework for palliative care in Canada. The Act (formerly, Bill C-277) says that the Minister must develop a framework that will support improved access to palliative care across Canada.  The Minister must also consult with provinces, territories and palliative care providers. The Act says the framework should focus on important issues facing palliative care, including:
  • Training and education for health professionals and other caregivers
  • Ways to support palliative care providers
  • Promoting research and data gathering
  • Ways to support access to palliative care no matter where you live
On December 4, 2018, the Minister of Health tabled the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada in Parliament. The Framework reflects the voices of the many Canadians heard throughout the consultations. It presents a common Vision and Guiding Principles, as well as short, medium and long term goals related to each of the important issues mentioned above. The Framework also includes priorities identified through the consultations; these are actions that any individual or organization can use in their palliative care policy and program planning. The Framework represents a guideline for all palliative care stakeholders to use to improve access across Canada. Learn more about the Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada.

Action Plan on Palliative Care

The Action Plan on Palliative Care (Action Plan) lays out Health Canada’s five-year plan to tackle issues uncovered through the development of the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada. It includes specific activities to enhance access, quality of care, and health care system performance, within the federal government’s mandate and levers for action. It also complements current support to provinces and territories under the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities. Health Canada is overseeing and coordinating implementation of the Action Plan, connecting governments and stakeholders and serving as a knowledge centre to share best practices. (Source: Government of Canada Webpage)

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06/Jul/2022

Your loved one is getting discharged from the hospital, so what is next?

This Fact Sheet will look at the keys to a successful transition from hospital to home, explain some important elements, offer suggestions for improving the process, and provide caregivers with checklists to help ensure the best care for a loved one. If you are a caregiver, you play an essential role in this discharge process: you are the advocate for the patient and for yourself.

What Is Discharge Planning?

Discharge planning is “a process used to decide what a patient needs for a smooth move from one level of care to another.” In general, the basics of a discharge plan are:

  • Evaluation of the patient by qualified personnel
  • Discussion with the patient or his representative
  • Planning for homecoming or transfer to another care facility
  • Determining whether caregiver training or other support is needed
  • Referrals to a home care agency and/or appropriate support organizations in the community
  • Arranging for follow-up appointments or tests

The discussion needs to include the physical condition of your family member both before and after hospitalization; details of the types of care that will be needed; and whether discharge will be to a facility or home. It also should include information on whether the patientʼs condition is likely to improve; what activities he or she might need help with; information on medications and diet; what extra equipment might be needed, such as a wheelchair, commode, or oxygen; who will handle meal preparation, transportation and chores; and possibly referral to home care services.

Why Is Good Discharge Planning So Important?

Effective discharge planning can decrease the chances that your relative is readmitted to the hospital, and can also help in recovery, ensure medications are prescribed and given correctly, decrease healthcare costs, and adequately prepare you to take over your loved oneʼs care.

Not all hospitals are successful in this. Additionally, patients are released from hospitals “quicker and sicker” than in the past, making it even more critical to arrange for good care after release.

Even simple measures help immensely. For example, you should have a telephone number(s) accessible 24 hours a day, including weekends, for care information. A follow-up appointment to see the doctor should be arranged before your loved one leaves the hospital. Since errors with medications are frequent and potentially dangerous, a thorough review of all medications should be an essential part of discharge planning.

The Caregiver’s Role in the Discharge Process

The discharge staff will not be familiar with all aspects of your relativeʼs situation. As caregiver, you are the “expert” in your loved oneʼs history. While you may not be a medical expert, if youʼve been a caregiver for a long time, you certainly know a lot about the patient and about your own abilities to provide care and a safe home setting.

The discharge planners should discuss with you your willingness and ability to provide care. You may have physical, financial, or other limitations that affect your caregiving capabilities. You may have other obligations such as a job or childcare that impact the time you have available. It is extremely important to tell hospital discharge staff about those limitations.

Some of the care your loved one needs might be quite complicated. It is essential that you get any training you need in special care techniques, such as wound, feeding tube or catheter care, procedures for a ventilator, or transferring someone from bed to chair.

If your loved one has memory problems caused by Alzheimerʼs disease, stroke, or another disorder, discharge planning becomes more complicated, and you will need to be a part of all discharge discussions. You may need to remind the staff about special care and communication techniques needed by your loved one. Even without impaired memory, older people often have hearing or vision problems or are disoriented when they are in the hospital, so that these conversations are difficult to comprehend. They need your help.

We suggest you keep the questions summarized below (on pages 5–6 of the printout) with you, and request that the discharge planner take the time to review them with you.

Getting Help at Home

Listed below are common care responsibilities you may be handling for your family member after he or she returns home:

  • Personal care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
  • Household care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
  • Healthcare: medication management, physicianʼs appointments, physical therapy, wound treatment, injections, medical equipment and techniques
  • Emotional care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation.

Community organizations can help with services such as transportation, meals, support groups, counseling, and possibly a break from your care responsibilities to allow you to rest and take care of yourself.

If you need to hire paid in-home help, you have some decisions to make. Unfortunately, these hiring decisions are often made in a hurry during hospital discharge. You might be handed a list of agencies, with instructions to decide which to use—but often without further information. This is another good reason discharge planning should start early—as caregiver, youʼll have time to research your options while your loved one is cared for in the hospital.

Think about both your needs as a caregiver and the needs of the person you are caring for, including language and cultural background.

You have a choice between hiring an individual directly or going through a home care or home health care agency. Part of that decision may be affected by whether the help will be “medically necessary” i.e., prescribed by the doctor, and therefore paid for by insurance. In that case, they will most likely determine the agency you use. In making your decisions, consider the following: home care agencies take care of all the paperwork for taxes and salary, substitutes will be available if the worker is sick, and you may have access to a broader range of skills. On the other hand, there may be a more personal relationship if you hire an individual directly, and the cost is likely to be lower. In either case, try to get recommendations for hiring from acquaintances, nurses, social workers, and others familiar with your situation. Big Hearts Homecare can help your loved one once they are discharged from the hospital and need post-surgery care.

 

Paying for Care After Discharge

You might not be aware that insurance does not pay for all services after a patient has been discharged from the hospital. However, if something is determined by the doctor to be “medically necessary,” you may be able to get coverage for certain skilled care or equipment. You will need to check directly with the hospital or your insurer to find out what might be covered and what you will have to pay for. Keep careful records of your conversations.

What if You Feel It’s Too Early for Discharge?

If you donʼt agree that your loved one is ready for discharge, you have the right to appeal the decision. Your first step is to talk with the physician and discharge planner and express your reservations. If that isnʼt enough, you will need to contact your insurance company.

Conclusion

Multiple studies have explored the importance of effective discharge planning and transitional care, and have highlighted the very real benefits in improved patient outcomes and lower rehospitalization rates. Several pilot programs have illustrated those benefits, but until healthcare financing systems are changed to support such innovations in care, they will remain unavailable to many people. Caregivers, patients, and advocates are continuing their efforts to alter our healthcare system to make discharge planning a priority. With our graying population, these changes are ever more necessary.

Some Basic Questions for Caregivers to Ask

Questions about the illness:

  • What is it and what can I expect?
  • What should I watch out for?
  • Will we get home care and will a nurse or therapist come to our home to work with my relative? Who pays for this service?
  • How do I get advice about care, danger signs, a phone number for someone to talk to, and follow-up medical appointments?
  • Have I been given information either verbally or in writing that I understand and can refer to?
  • Do we need special instructions because my relative has Alzheimerʼs or memory loss?

What kind of care is needed?

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating (are there diet restrictions, e.g., soft foods only? Certain foods not allowed?)
  • Personal hygiene
  • Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Transfer (moving from bed to chair)
  • Mobility (includes walking)
  • Medications
  • Managing symptoms (e.g., pain or nausea)
  • Special equipment
  • Coordinating the patientʼs medical care
  • Transportation
  • Household chores
  • Taking care of finances

Questions when my relative is being discharged to the home:

  • Is the home clean, comfortable, and safe, adequately heated/cooled, with space for any extra equipment?
  • Are there stairs?
  • Will we need a ramp, handrails, grab bars?
  • Are hazards such as area rugs and electric cords out of the way?
  • Will we need equipment such as hospital bed, shower chair, commode, oxygen tank? Where do I get this equipment?
  • Who pays for these items?
  • Will we need supplies such as adult diapers, disposable gloves, skin care items? Where do I get these items?
  • Will insurance pay for these?
  • Do I need to hire additional help?

Questions about training:

  • Are there special care techniques I need to learn for such things as changing dressings, helping someone swallow a pill, giving injections, using special equipment?
  • Have I been trained in transfer skills and preventing falls?
  • Do I know how to turn someone in bed so he or she doesnʼt get bedsores?
  • Who will train me?
  • When will they train me?
  • Can I begin the training in the hospital?

Questions when discharge is to a rehab facility or nursing home:

  • How long is my relative expected to remain in the facility?
  • Who will select the facility?
  • Is the facility clean, well kept, quiet, a comfortable temperature?
  • Does the facility have experience working with families of my culture/language?
  • Does the staff speak our language?
  • Is the food culturally appropriate?
  • Is the building safe (smoke detectors, sprinkler system, marked exits)?
  • Is the location convenient? Do I have transportation to get there?

For longer stays:

  • How many staff are on duty at any given time?
  • What is the staff turnover rate?
  • Is there a social worker?
  • Do residents have safe access to the outdoors?
  • Are there special facilities/programs for dementia patients?
  • Are there means for families to interact with staff?
  • Is the staff welcoming to families?

Questions about medications:

  • Why is this medicine prescribed? How does it work? How long the will the medicine have to be taken?
  • How will we know that the medicine is effective?
  • Will this medicine interact with other medications? prescription and nonprescription? or herbal preparations that my relative is taking now?
  • Should this medicine be taken with food? Are there any foods or beverages to avoid?
  • Can this medicine be chewed, crushed, dissolved, or mixed with other medicines?
  • What possible problems might I experience with the medicine? At what point should I report these problems?
  • Will the insurance program pay for this medicine? Is there a less expensive alternative?
  • Does the pharmacy provide special services such as home delivery, online refills, or medication review and counseling?

Questions about follow-up care:

  • What health professionals will my family member need to see?
  • Have these appointments been made? If not, whom should I call to make these appointments?
  • Where will the appointment be? In an office, at home, somewhere else?
  • What transportation arrangements need to be made?
  • How will our regular doctor learn what happened in the hospital or rehab facility?
  • Whom can I call with treatment questions? Is someone available 24 hours a day and on weekends?

Questions about finding help in the community:

  • What agencies are available to help me with transportation or meals?
  • What is adult day care and how do I find out about it?
  • What public benefits is my relative eligible for, such as In-Home Supportive Services or VA services?
  • Where do I start to look for such care?

Questions about my needs as a caregiver:

  • Will someone come to my home to do an assessment to see if we need home modifications?
  • What services will help me care for myself?
  • Does my family member require help at night and if so, how will I get enough sleep?
  • Are there things that are scary or uncomfortable for me to do, e.g., changing a diaper?
  • What medical conditions and limitations do I have that make providing this care difficult?
  • Where can I find counseling and support groups?
  • How can I get a leave from my job to provide care?
  • How can I get a respite (break) from care responsibilities to take care of my own healthcare and other needs?

* Adapted from the Family Caregiver Alliance website


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06/Jul/2022

It’s normal for people to experience some foot problems as they age. But experts say that problems with feet can be the first sign of more serious medical conditions, particularly among older adults. Health problems, such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve issues, and circulatory disorders, may first be manifested in the feet. That is why it is important to pay attention to your feet and seek medical attention as soon as you notice a problem. Big Hearts Homecare provides foot care for seniors in Vancouver.

Healthy feet play an important role in overall good health and wellness. We help our clients achieve optimal foot health with preventative care, ongoing assessment and treatment from our professional staff.  Our Foot Care services are provided by nurses with specialized education. There many benefits of Foot Care include:

  • Control of fungal infections
  • Improved skin integrity and fewer cracks
  • Improved comfort, mobility and balance
  • Early detection of serious health problems

Here are some foot care tips for older adults:

  • Practice good foot care. Check your feet regularly or have a member of your family check them for you.
  • Keep blood circulating to your feet as much as possible. Do this by putting your feet up when you are sitting or lying down, stretching if you’ve had to sit for a long while, walking, having a gentle foot massage, or taking a warm foot bath.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well to prevent pressures that can lead to friction and infection and keep your foot structure properly aligned.
  • Avoid exposing your feet to cold temperatures.
  • Don’t sit for long periods of time (especially with your legs crossed).
  • Don’t smoke because it decreases blood supply and increases the chance of swelling and other circulatory problems.

Contact Big Hearts Homecare today by calling us at 778-788-5578 or emailing us at [email protected]


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06/Jul/2022

As we age, certain everyday activities become difficult. We may not be able to perform easy tasks such as cooking, cleaning and even bathing.

Safety also becomes a concern as we get older. Besides forgetting to take our daily cocktail of medications, we may have trouble getting out of bed, or we could slip and fall and become severely injured.

If you or your loved one needs everyday assistance, you have many care options available. Do you hire a home care worker or do you opt for a residency in a long term care centre? Are home care service companies in Vancouver going to deliver you the quality of care you need?

Pros of using home care:

  • Caretakers and nurses come to you on a daily basis to assist with everything from bathing to cooking, cleaning, buying groceries and taking you to doctor’s appointments.
  • You don’t have to leave the home you’ve been living in for many years.
  • If you’re someone who prefers to keep to themselves, a long term care facility may be very overwhelming, while home care allows you to only interact with your assigned caretakers.
  • Your family can come over at any time.
  • You can maintain your independence. Elder home care services have become popular for this reason.

Cons of using home care:

  • You may have to retrofit your home with ramps, railings and chairlifts, which can become costly. If you don’t revamp your home you may have portions of it that remain unused like a basement or second and third floors.
  • In-home care is often more expensive than long term care, however government assistance can help relieve that financial burden.
  • If you’re a social person, you will not have the company of other people your age that you would find in a senior long term care centre.
  • Your home caregiver may have to move into your home as you get older and become less mobile, in which case you’ll be paying the same prices as you would to live in a residence.

Pros of long term residential care:

  • You are provided with room and board and do not have to worry about making your own meals.
  • Medical and non-medical care is available 24/7.
  • If you are married, your spouse/partner can come with you.
  • Most senior care facilities offer activities and field trips so you are not confined to your room.
  • Staff can take care of making your bed, ensuring you take your medication and cleaning your room.

Cons of long term residential care:

  • You are essentially paying rent to live in a long term care facility, which some seniors cannot afford.
  • Although most residences have all-day visiting hours, the location of the care centre may be far away from where your family lives and they will not come visit often.
  • Some people find it hard to adapt to their new surroundings and have trouble dealing with the hustle and bustle of a care centre.
  • Due to dietary restrictions of many of the residents, meals may be bland. Plus, you are not cooking your own meals leaving you with no control over the menu. For this reason, home care assistance companies and senior care agencies in Vancouver can offer higher quality and personalized services.

If you’re looking to make a choice for yourself or your elderly family members, contact us today. We’ll help you choose the best option for your loved one.

(Source article here)


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