Care for Seniors

I have been asked many times what it takes to provide care for a senior with multiple medical needs. The answer is one that must fit the unique needs, as no two persons are alike. Not one size fits all.

Some persons do very well living in their home with assistance, while others may need a higher level of care. The difference in care depends on many factors, as well as family support, the monies to fund this care, and or medi-cal in California, which will pay for long-term care but only in skilled nursing if the senior meets the medical guidelines. Requiring assistance with dressing, bathing, incontinent care, walking, dementia care.  Many other factors come into play with options for a more active senior that is private pay, assisted living, or a smaller Care Home which, is centered around a more hands on approach.

Whatever the situation you need more than just a referral to a facility, you need to know all options as well as location, ratings of facilities, do they provide an on-site nurse, is their awake at night caregivers, how is medication handled. Is transportation provided to and from doctor appointments, what activities are provided.

When choosing an agency, are they local or a nation wide referral service that just provides a data base. Most persons are not aware that facilities need to be monitored and known well by the referring agency. Care Pathways is located in Orange County and has provided families and seniors with concrete services and information for over 20 years. We are the only service that provides Social Workers as well as RN’s to assess and determine what will meet your loved ones needs. We also provide ongoing case-management services for seniors as needed. For real time help contact us at (714) 743-6309 24/7

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

 

Macular Degeneration is Leading Cause of Blindness

Finding emotional support for macular degeneration is not that easy. “No one can see-what you are not seeing. And because you still can see, people do not understand the impact of this disease. The loss of your central vision is serious. The macula is only one small part of the retina, however it is the most sensitive and gives us sharp central vision. When it degenerates, macular degeneration leaves a blind spot right in the center of vision making it difficult or impossible to recognize faces, read a book, or pass the driver’s vision test.

Finding the emotional support is imperative listed here is a site that has provided information and support to others who understand what you are going through. http://www.mdsupport.org/

I urge you to reach out in your community and find the support you need. Please make sure you pay close attention to your visual health as well as you emotional well-being. Losing one’s sight is never easy, however their are many services to support and guide you. Guide Dogs for The Blind is also free to those with sight impairment. If you have questions we can answer please contact us. We are here to help and here to listen. 

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

Assessment of Seniors

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

As the year is off and running we wish to let our readers know we will be offering In Home Assessments with a Social Worker or Case Manger to help you understand all that is available in the Orange County community for care and support. A full assessment is done with your loved one and family is encouraged to meet with us at time of assessment if possible. 

If you live out of area and can not attend we provide a full written report to you as well as to your loved ones primary care physician based upon our assessment with impressions and recommendations.

For more information please call us and we will be happy to assist you either by phone or with an In Home Assessment. (714) 743-6309.

Aging

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

 

My Thoughts on Aging
There are some things that get better as we age. On our best days, we have a kind of grace. We are works-in-progress and even in later life new qualities surface. Some aspects are coming along faster than others. Other features come and go. In general, we can see certain emerging attitudes seem to unlock the rewards of getting older.

We take time to reflect. We are able to ponder the inner life more than in the past. Allowing quiet to enter us seems to change the flow of time and make it larger. We find ways to open to the mysteries within. For some it is meditating, for others it is knitting, still others find it during a daily walk. It is simply being receptive to something beyond our ordinary thoughts. Partly, it is using the gifts of experience and long memory. Reflecting on fine moments in the journey reminds us of the riches of our lives. MK

Activities Bring Meaning

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Guest Blogger: by: Kerry Whelan BA, AD

Park Vista Care Center Fullerton CA

A Meaningful Life full of Activities

 To create a meaningful life I decided to look at a few areas that I think are important for activities for our elderly population. I have been an activity professional for over twenty  four years in many different levels of care. I now work in a CCRC where I get to work with seniors in all three levels of care: Residential Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing, and every day is a new challenge as we explore possibilities in this dynamic field.

 To begin, I have found that mentoring is essential to promote dynamic activity professionals in this field. We need strong Activity professionals in order to work with this diverse population of seniors. Nowadays your title might be Life Enrichment Director, Wellness Coordinator  or Activity Director. I was so lucky to be mentored by exceptional people throughout my career. One of my first Administrators said ” Activities sets the tone for the building.” It is true, as an activity professional you have to be empathetic, organized and creative.

“You also have to be very flexible and learn to go with the flow of life.”

Mentoring or giving back to the community is also an essential part of a meaningful life for seniors. All levels of care from independent to dementia care, seniors can give back to the community. Many new programs have been established for seniors and children or young adults, whereby the senior is able to mentor young adults. In our weekly crafts program we often make cards for sick children at local hospitals. In our retirement area, our seniors knit lap robes and blankets for our residents who are in the health center and memory care. We are also involved in a program that the whole campus is invited to provide holiday gifts for the Crittendon center in Fullerton, and the seniors wrap the presents.  We are also blessed to work with outside pet therapy programs and church groups who volunteer with our seniors.

“It’s a full circle and many of our residents volunteered throughout their lives and continue to do so.” 

Secondly we need to examine what is an activity and what gives it meaning. The standard of practice now is that anything can be an activity. Activities can be sitting in a group and listening to an entertainer and socializing at happy hour. While many people enjoy and prefer to be with people, it’s not the only action in town any longer. If a resident is a “loner”, that’s okay, we work with them to find a meaningful activity that is important to them. We don’t ask our seniors conform to our expectations, we try to empower them to pursue activities of interest. A resident and a housekeeping staff person spend a bit of time daily discussing recipes. The housekeeper goes home and makes the residents’ special family recipe for banana bread. In my book that is a successful activity. A group of men sit everyday together in the dining room and shoot the breeze about sports, current events, politics and what’s happening in the facility…that’s an activity.

 Last we have to recognize that Activities are multi level nowadays. Many of our new residents are computer savvy and want to learn more. They Facebook, instragram, Face time, email and some even Twitter.

“They want to be active participants in life, they don’t want to sit back and watch.”

 The population is changing and the Activity programming must change with it. Technology is advancing at a faster rate that we can even imagine. People are living longer and longer and they want to be healthy as they do it. Wellness is a critical component, mind, body and soul is so important.

 . It is essential to empower our elderly population to encourage them to make daily decisions regarding care and lifestyle and planning for the future.

Care Pathways wish’s to thank this week’s guest Blog Poster Kerry Whelan BA, AD

Depression in The Elderly

 

 

 

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Older people are at risk for depression, are underserved by the mental health profession, and have the highest rates of suicide in the country. But many seniors are resistant to treatment because they don’t want to burden their families, or equate depression with weakness or even death.

“One of the hardest questions I get from families is, ‘How can I get my elderly loved one mental health help when they don’t want it?’ “

“The elderly are less likely to cope with loss as well as young people because of the added years of meaning behind it,” many loss’s have occurred in a lifetime and some may have not been processed. So many persons suffer one loss after the other and after multiple loss’s as we age it gets harder to process or is not talked about at all.  Ask your elderly parent what they feel about the loss. It’s really important to hear them out and honor their emotions. Avoid judgements or telling them how you think they should feel. No two people are alike and we all have different coping skills.

Identifying and effectively treating older patients who suffer from depression continues to be a challenge. Primary Care Physicians  tend to screen for and treat depression, and although well-intentioned, treatment in a primary care setting does not always yield the best outcome for older patients. For example, a patient may start an anti-depressant, develop side effects and just stop taking it, or not know that when they feel better they are supposed to stay on their medication.

Unfortunately, all too many depressed seniors fail to recognize the symptoms of depression, or don’t take the steps to get the help they need. There are many reasons depression in older adults and the elderly is so often overlooked:

  • You may assume you have good reason to be down or that depression is just part of aging.
  • You may be isolated—which in itself can lead to depression—with few around to notice your distress.
  • You may not realize that your physical complaints are signs of depression.
  • You may be reluctant to talk about your feelings or ask for help.

Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter your background or your previous accomplishments in life. Know the signs and symptoms and reach out to your local mental health professionals for help for your loved one.

For more information and how to help contact Care Pathways

Orange County Seniors

Orange County Resource

Office On Aging

Orange County seniors are faced with the high cost of living that has steadily been climbing. Many seniors are faced with impossible situations on maintaining or finding housing that is not only affordable but obtainable. The counties HUD ran program Section 8 has a very long waiting list and usually about five years from the time you get on the list till housing vouchers are available for a senior. The process is not being addressed in this election year on any level from either side. How will Orange County continue to deal with low income seniors and finding housing?

We have placed our most vulnerable population at risk and many already are living on the streets, in homes that rent just a room with substandard living conditions. These homes are not regulated like Long Term Care Board and Care Homes by the department of social services. There is no watch dog to make sure of the conditions, treatment, or licenses required  to rent a room in a private home, no over-site is provided. It can be a scary and dangerous situation for an elderly person to face. More affordable housing must be built to keep up with demand that is needed. Over-site of homes just renting out a room must require a licensees  to do so with checks and balances.  Our state ran Medi-cal program needs to cover the cost of Board and Care and Assisted Living facilities as they do skilled nursing. Changes must be made. If you do not think this could happen to you or close family member, I can assure yo it can. People from all walks of life, people who have worked their entire lives increasingly are requiring more help in just paying for food and medications. This is not a senior problem, this is a problem that effects us at the very core of our humanity. Changes must be made and to do so we need more people who will rally round this and use your voice to bring about change.

For more information and how you can help, contact

Area on Aging    http://officeonaging.ocgov.com/

When you need someone to speak for you

 

Senior Referral Agency

Geriatric Assessment

When you need someone to speak for you

When families do not live close to their loved one, or there is no family, we can step in and be there for the older person to make certain their care needs are met wherever they are; at home, in a retirement home or in a nursing home. We can also make regular visits, monitoring the person’s wants and needs. We keep the family updated on the condition of their loved one through telephone and written communication.

As a senior, where can you go for advice?

The seniors’ care system is riddled with contradictions, confusion and misinformation. Add to that, other people may be telling you they have a say in what you decide because we work directly with you and your family to help you determine what is the best solution to your unique situation. We look at all aspects of your care needs, as well as your wish’s in helping you decide what is best for you or a loved one alongside your physician. You’ve always prepared and planned your path. Retirement and the future of your loved ones deserve the same attention to planning. Our consultants will work with you to determine your future goals and help you with just what you and your loved ones desire and what is available in the Orange County area. For more information contact us at (714) 743-6309 we are available 24/7 to answer your care questions.

 

 

 

 

 

A Patients Story

Believe me when I say that if having a positive attitude meant good health, I would not be sick. I relied solely on being positive so much at the beginning of my journey when my husband became ill. I paid no attention to my own needs. “Its just a little pain it will go away.” I told myself. When I first started to get symptoms of being unwell. I ignored them and tried to carry on with my hectic days, hoping that the pain and sickness would go away as a result of my determined attitude to get better and push myself. 

And what happened?

I ended up pushing myself way too far, getting a lot sicker and doing myself no favors as a result of not admitting that the mind cannot control everything. As well as that, I continued on as my husbands caregiver, never once reaching out for help. Until I was rushed to the hospital with severe pain in my stomach and had to undergo emergency surgery. 

I think we  need to understand that even the most positive person in the world does not sustain this attitude 100% of the time. Realism must also come into play. Positivity doesn’t mean only thinking of rainbows and unicorns. It doesn’t mean having to always be smiling when your world appears to be crumbling. Instead it means accepting the difficulties that come your way and deciding the best way to get through them. Part of the acceptance process is to cry about it, to be angry about it and to have occasional pity parties. Ignoring this and just focusing on the positives in your life will not only prevent you from moving on but it will result in you blocking out feelings that at some stage need to be felt. It can even kill you as in Helen’s case.

Positivity is about maintaining hope and truly believing that you’ll come out of this stronger. You do not need to pretend everything is great all of the time.  If someone tells you their feelings, respect that and show concern not negating their feelings. Ask for help, find the support you may need. Do not neglect your own health when caring for a loved one. Get enough rest. Make sure you follow up with your own doctor and not ignore any medical issues you may have yourself. You cannot be the sole person to care for another no matter how much you wish to do so. For more information on local services contact Care Pathways, we are here to help and here to listen.

Macular Degeneration Support

Information and Support

This web site offers free information and personal assistance for people dealing with macular degeneration and similar retinal diseases. If you are new to macular degeneration, you may want to start by reading What Is Macular Degeneration? and following the links to further information.

Visual loss can occur at any age, however while you may have the support of your doctor many questions go unanswered. This site offers valuable information and tools to help support you both in finding resources and to connect with others who are also going through loss of vision. It has been a lifeline for many. I encourage you to visit and you can also ask questions that you or a loved one may have.  http://www.mdsupport.org/

Get in touch with us!