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Is That Cough Asthma or COPD? Our Home Care Experts Explain the Difference.

November 21, 2016 Sandra Sergeant

Coughing that just won’t go away. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. Sounds like an asthma attack, right? Instead of reaching for the inhaler or an over-the-counter cough drop, however, perhaps it’s time to see if another culprit – COPD – might be coming into play. With a full 12 million people in the U.S. currently living with COPD (and just as many who probably have the disease but haven’t been diagnosed), it’s crucial for seniors with COPD-like symptoms to determine the cause behind the cough.

Some of the major differences between these two conditions include:

Asthma:

  • Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, dust, and pet hair can trigger asthmatic symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.

  • Usually displays in patients in childhood, often by age 5.

  • Thought to be caused by genetics.

COPD:
  • Environmental triggers can exacerbate symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing, but these symptoms are often present in a milder form regardless of air quality.

  • Typically diagnosed after age 40.

  • Caused mainly by cigarette smoking (in up to 90% of all patients), or by

    secondhand exposure to air pollutants.

    While medications available for both COPD and asthma are often similar – bronchodilators or inhaled steroids – their treatment plans usually differ. Those with asthma are urged to stay away from known triggers, such as limiting outside time when the pollen count is high and avoiding secondhand smoke. Those with COPD require a more intense approach, which may include prescribed oxygen, pulmonary

rehabilitation to maximize breathing capacity, and, most importantly, making sure they’re not smoking.

Of course, it’s crucial to see the doctor if you’re concerned that your senior loved one is struggling with any lung condition.

Although there’s currently no cure for either asthma or COPD, both conditions are better controlled when properly diagnosed and treated. Although COPD does cause permanent, irreversible damage to the lungs, with correct treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed down, its symptoms made more manageable, and quality of life maximized.

Caring Solutions’ home care team is also here to offer the assistance at home that can help make a chronic condition much easier to manage. Some of the many ways we can help include:

  • Light housework, to ensure as much dust as possible is removed from the home

  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and to pick up

    prescriptions

  • Encouragement and participation in physician-approved exercise programs

  • Planning and preparation of nutritious, delicious meals

  • Friendly, compassionate companionship

  • And much more

    To help your senior loved one remain safe and healthy at home, contact Caring Solutions’ home care experts at 877-369-5602. Or fill out our online contact form and someone from our staff will be happy to help you find the home care solutions that are right for you.

    tagged with Asthma, COPD

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COPD Diagnosis and Treatment | Enfield Home Health Care

November 7, 2016 Sandra Sergeant

Sometimes, hearing a diagnosis for the overwhelming symptoms you’ve been experiencing can be a relief. Now, there’s actually a name for the condition, and a definitive plan to treat it! This is very true for those struggling with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If a senior in your life has been overwhelmed with chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, being diagnosed with COPD just might be the first step in improving her quality of life.

Here’s what the doctor will likely want to do in order to diagnose COPD:

  • Assessment of the senior’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history

  • Testing such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to check lung functioning), x-rays and blood work

  • Creation of a treatment plan

    Since the way COPD presents often varies from one person to the next, treatment plans can vary widely as well. Here are some of the potential ways your senior loved one’s doctor may try to help her best manage the disease:

  • Medications, to include any of the following:

o Bronchodilators taken through an inhaler to help open airways, available in both short-term and long-term formulations, to work immediately as needed or to be taken ongoing for maintenance

o Steroids and corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation, swelling and mucous production

o Antibiotics to address any bacterial infections in the lungs
o Immunizations to protect against flu and pneumonia, as those with COPD are at

a greater risk for complications from these illnesses

  • Pulmonary therapy works to strengthen the lungs through guided exercise and nutrition.

  • Oxygen therapy, available through liquid or gas oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators

    that utilize the oxygen already in the environment.

  • Lung surgery may be an option if symptoms are extremely severe.

  • Palliative care focuses treatment on improving quality of life, and is available to anyone

    diagnosed with COPD, regardless of the prognosis or stage of the disease.

  • Clinical trials help researchers determine the success of new, experimental treatments,

    regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk with your senior loved one’s physician to see if clinical trials are an option, and check the American Lung Association’s clinical trial search page for opportunities near you.

    Whatever the doctor’s recommended plan of action to help a senior manage COPD, Caring Solutions’ Enfield home health care professionals are here to help with dedicated in-home care to improve quality of life. Whether the senior’s requirement is for assistance with personal
    care such as bathing and dressing, help with cleaning up around the house, preparing meals, providing transportation and running errands, or simply a kind, caring person to visit, talk with and engage in enjoyable activities together, our trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Contact us at 877-369-5602 to learn more.

    tagged with COPD, Respiratory Care

  • Aging Issues

  • Senior Health Recent Posts

  • Is That Cough Asthma or COPD? Our Home Care Experts Explain the Difference.

  • COPD Diagnosis and Treatment | Enfield Home Health Care

  • SOS for Senior Caregivers Experiencing Guilt: Let Caring Solutions Help!

  • Which Option Is Best: Senior Care at Home, or Assisted Living?

Tips to Help When Dementia Causes Personal Care Distress

By Sandra Sergeant on September 26, 2016

Helping a loved one with personal careneeds, such as bathing, dressing and using the bathroom, can be uncomfortable for the person needing care as well as the one providing the care. It’s difficult to set aside modesty and allow someone to help with basic tasks when you’re at your most vulnerable. And at times, older adults, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, can become overly distressed while receiving help with these necessary tasks, to the point that it may result in a battle of wills.

These outbursts can be triggered by a variety of causes, which vary based on each individual, but in general, they may be a result of:

  • Loss of control. Independence and autonomy may feel like they’re slipping away for seniors, and keeping control over the most basic functions becomes critical to them.
    • What can help: Let the senior maintain as much control as possible, and come up with compromises instead of pushing the senior too far. If she insists on wearing an unmatching outfit, for example, allow her that freedom.
  • Adherence to tradition. Standards of hygiene were far different when today’s seniors were younger, and a weekly bath, rather than a daily one, was normal. A senior whose memory is unclear may revert back to those days and balk at the idea of a daily bath or shower.
    • What can help: Using positive, motivating language can sometimes encourage the senior to see things from a different perspective. For example, use bath time as a springboard to a fun activity, such as a lunch date for which she certainly will want to look and feel her best.
  • Fear of the experience. Bathing and dressing for older adults can result in feelings of fear, and often rightfully so, as they think of the risk of falling while in the tub or while getting onto or off of the toilet. Some seniors with dementia also become fearful of the sound of running water, or may become distressed by the feel of water that’s too warm or too cool.
    • What can help: In-home safety modifications, such as grab bars beside the tub and toilet and elevated toilet seats, will reduce the risk of falling. Using a soft, soothing voice and explaining each step of the process in advance can also help.

Keeping the following in mind before you begin daily personal care tasks can also help keep outbursts at bay:

  • Always allow the senior as much independence as possible to enhance self-esteem.
  • Ensure optimum comfort for the older adult by making sure the room is warm, using comfortable, calming lighting, and maintaining as much privacy as possible.
  • Lay clothing out for the older adult in the order that each piece should be put on, gently giving guidance for each step if needed.

At Caring Solutions of Connecticut, we know how hard it can be for a family member to provide personal care tasks for a senior loved one, and are here to help with fully trained and experienced caregivers who make sure that each senior feels comfortable, safe and respected. Contact us at 877-369-5602 for more tips or to partner with us for trusted senior personal care services to give both your senior loved one and yourself peace of mind.

Self-Care for Diabetes Doesn’t Mean Doing It All by Yourself

By Sandra Sergeant on April 5, 2016

Our culture so values independence and taking care of everything ourselves that it can be difficult when we find ourselves in the position of

asking for help with something that is commonly referred to as “self-care.” Its very name implies that it’s something we should be able to take care of ourselves. But don’t let the name fool you. Diabetes “self-care” is complex, incredibly important, and Caring Solutions is here to help.

Diabetes care requires a high level of mental function, given the need to follow a treatment plan that includes diet, exercise, and medication components as well as blood sugar testing and other self-care measures. While it may not be intentional, seniors who skip care steps may experience a quick decline in health with additional complications linked to diabetes.

If you are concerned that a loved one may need help keeping up with his or her diabetes care, hire a Caring Solution in-home caregiver to assist. Here are a few ways a caregiver can help:

A senior with reduced vision may not see a small foot sore that could quickly develop into a major problem. A Caring Solutions in-home caregiver can

inspect the person’s feet daily, can provide proper wound care and can

coordinate care with the physician.

  • Our in-home caregiver can provide proper nutrition through the planning and

    preparation of tasty, diabetic-appropriate meals.

  • We can assist with a physician-approved exercise program.

  • A Caring Solutions in-home caregiver can provide reminders for glucose

    testing and can schedule regular physician checkups.

  • A little extra assistance from a compassionate in-home caregiver can provide

    mental and physical stress relief for seniors with diabetes.

    Caring Solutions’ experienced staff and caregivers are happy to help you determine the right care plan and assist with your care needs. We offer four levels of customizable home health care ranging from just a little help with daily living to total live-in care, and a range of specialty services including wake-up, tuck-in, bath, birthday, post-op and respite/emergency care. Caring Solutions provides more than senior care; we provide peace of mind. For more information, call (877) 369-5602.

Cancer Care Tips from Caring Solutions In-Home Care

By Sandra Sergeant on June 6, 2016

When someone you love has cancer, it’s natural to want to drop everything and help that person, but taking on the role of a

caregiver is not without challenges. Treatment for cancer and the side effects that result can be particularly difficult for both the patients themselves and their loved ones, and feeling overwhelmed at times is normal.

For caregivers, knowing and accepting personal limits, and realizing that reaching those limits does not equal failure, is important. Having a support system in place is part of taking care of your loved one and yourself. Decide which tasks you will do on your own, and which you will need help with.

These caregiving tips can help ensure success for both yourself and your loved one:

  • Build your support system. Enlist the help of family, friends, members of your faith community, neighbors, coworkers, etc. and find out who you can go to when you need assistance with your loved one’s care. Often people are happy to help; they just need to be asked.

  • Research respite care services near your loved one’s home. In-home care respite services, such as Caring Solutions provides, offer experienced caregivers who can spend quality time with your loved one while you run errands or take some personal time away. He or she can provide assistance with mealtimes, bathing, transportation to and from treatments, and other daily tasks as necessary.

  • If you feel overwhelmed, contact a mental health professional or join a support group for help. It’s normal for caregivers to feel isolated or lonely at times. Talking things over with a professional counselor or social worker can help ease worries. Also, joining a caregiver support group can help you connect with others who are experiencing similar situations and provide a safe place to express your feelings and receive support.

  • Know your rights. If the company you work for has 50 or more employees and you’ve worked there for at least a year, you are probably offered unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide care for your loved one. Ask your company’s human resources department for help.

Providing care for a loved one who has cancer is a wonderful and selfless act, but it is important to remember to take care of yourself in the process. Caring Solutions’ professionally trained and experienced caregiving staff understand the specific challenges that cancer caregivers face. We can work with you to develop strategies for better managing whatever emotional or practical challenges you may go

through. Contact us at 877-369-5602 to learn more about our in-home care services. Comments Off on Cancer Care Tips from Caring Solutions In-Home Care | Filed

under: Cancer Care, Senior Health | Tags: Cancer, Family Caregiver
Caregiving for Your Parent in Your Own Home: What to

Consider

By Sandra Sergeant on May 24, 2016

You’ve had plenty of experience living with your parents as a child, so it may seem only natural to invite them to move in with you

as an adult when care needs arise. It’s crucial, however, to think through the specifics of your new living arrangements, and to be mindful of the level of time, patience, and energy that will be required to provide the necessary care.

Specifically, think about the community you live in—if your parent can no longer drive himself, can he walk to the store, a salon, or a friend’s house? Will he be out of touch with a social network because of the move?

To start an initial assessment, here are some simple questions to ask about your parent’s abilities:

Shopping:

  • Can the senior take care of all shopping independently?

  • Can the senior only make small purchases independently?

  • Does the senior need to be accompanied on shopping trips?

  • Is the senior completely unable to shop?

Cooking:

  • Can the senior plan, prepare and serve meals?

  • Can the senior prepare meals if given the ingredients?

  • Can the senior heat and serve prepared meals?

  • Does the senior need to have meals prepared and served?

Housekeeping & Laundry:
  • Does the senior maintain the house independently?

  • Can the senior only perform light chores, like bed making and dishwashing?

  • Does the senior need help with all home maintenance tasks?

  • Does the senior do personal laundry completely?

  • Does the senior only launder small items?

  • Does the senior need all laundry done for him or her?

    If reviewing this list of concerns leaves you feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that you can always call on Caring Solutions to assist with home health care needs in Connecticut and Longmeadow and East Longmeadow, MA. We can provide as much or as little help as needed, based on your family’s particular situation.

    For example, we can cover some of the more mundane aspects of in-home care, such as housework, laundry, grocery shopping and meal preparation, or provide transportation and accompaniment to appointments and fun outings. We can also provide hands-on personal care to help with bathing, dressing, and toileting. We create a care plan to cover your needs today, and monitor that plan ongoing to ensure that future needs are met as well. Call us at 877-369-5602 to learn more!

    Comments Off on Caregiving for Your Parent in Your Own Home: What to Consider | Filed under: Elder Care Connecticut, Family Caregiver | Tags: Family Caregiver, Home Care East Longmeadow CT, Home Care Longmeadow CT

    How to Juggle Caring for Parents in Connecticut While Caring for Children

By Sandra Sergeant on May 18, 2016

As part of the “sandwich generation,” adult children find themselves torn between the needs of two worlds: their daily life with

their own children and spouse, and the needs of their aging parents. And when pressing needs arise on both sides of the equation, those sandwiched in between can quickly become overwhelmed and overstressed.

At Caring Solutions of Connecticut and Massachusetts, we understand these challenges, and are here to help! Try these tips to make life more manageable for all involved:

Hold a family meeting

Discuss the many different caregiving tasks that need to be accomplished each day or week. Set mutual expectations of how the many tasks of caregiving will be accomplished.

Get the facts and avoid surprises

Caregivers should talk to their parents about how they’re doing financially and what plans they’ve made if they become ill or incapacitated.

Ask for assistance

Call resources such as the local Area Agency on Aging, a hospital social worker, a physician, or a church. Call for in-home care help from a local agency such as Caring Solutions.

Keep in mind that it’s impossible for one person to shoulder so much responsibility alone, and there are caring in-home care professionals at Caring Solutions who can

partner with you to make sure your senior loved ones are safe and enjoying life to the fullest. We invite you to see what some of our other senior clients and their families are saying about our care, and then contact us to see how we can help improve the quality of life for your own senior loved ones. We provide services in Suffield, Avon, Farmington, Glastonbury, Simsbury, and West Hartford Connecticut as well as Longmeadow and East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Call us anytime at 877-369- 5602.

Comments Off on How to Juggle Caring for Parents in Connecticut While Caring for Children | Filed under: Caregiver Simsbury CT, Caregiver West Hartford CT, Caregivers Glastonbury CT, Family Caregiver | Tags: Caregiver Conneticut, Caring for Parents

Information From Caring Solutions to Keep Your Senior Loved Ones Safe

By Sandra Sergeant on May 12, 2016

We recently shared some tips on preparing for an emergency care need for senior loved ones, and to take that a step further, it’s

important to prepare for a reaction that’s all too common when our elderly parents begin to exhibit signs that care at home may be needed to keep them safe: denial. Both seniors and the family members who care for them are often tempted to turn a blind eye to the red flags of care needs, finding it easier to justify troubling signs than to face them head on.

It’s even easier to ignore the early warning signs that care may be needed if you live at a distance from your parents in Connecticut, but it’s so crucial and can help avoid a crisis situation later to keep your eyes and ears open now to potential problems.

Below are some helpful tips to assist in this endeavor.

Discuss possible elder care scenarios with family members before elder care is needed:

  • What if Mom broke a hip? Where would she prefer rehab care? At home or elsewhere?

  • How will you know when it is time to make a change and involve care partners?

  • How will the care be paid for?
    Collect useful information along the way such as:

  • A HIPAA release of information form at each of your loved ones’ doctors’ offices so you can freely discuss care.

  • A list of local people for care support in an emergency, such as neighbors or friends.

  • Take your senior loved ones out while visiting to see how they function in the community and with others.

    Emergency travel:

  • Ask yourself if the trip is really necessary. Are there neighbors or friends that could help just as well?

  • Set extra money aside in case of emergency travel needs.

  • Be sure to have an extra set of house keys with you as well as at a reliable

    neighbor’s house.

When the time comes that your senior loved ones could benefit from the caring assistance of a professional in home caregiver, we invite you to call on Caring Solutions in Enfield, Connecticut. We offer a variety of specialty service packages to meet the needs of the seniors in our care, including wake-up and tuck-in services, bath services, post-operative care, respite/emergency care, and much more. Contact us at 877-369- 5602 and let us know how we can help you!

Comments Off on Information From Caring Solutions to Keep Your Senior Loved Ones Safe | Filed under: Home Care Enfield CT, Senior Health | Tags: Home Care Enfield CT, senior safety

Make These Preparations NOW Before a Need for Connecticut Elder Care Arises

By Sandra Sergeant on May 4, 2016

It’s something we try not to think about: an emergency situation arising with our elderly parents in Connecticut. After all, life is

so busy already with immediate needs – those of our children, our jobs, our homes – the list goes on and on. But although it may be easier to hope for the best, the reality is that the time often comes sooner or later when a senior needs care, and needs it right away.

When a crisis causes life to suddenly spiral out of control, it helps to have a plan already in place and at the ready. There are plenty of things you can do now, before an emergency situation arises with your parents, to prepare for both long-term home care and emergency situations.

If you are going to be responsible for your parents’ care, here are a few documents you will want to keep handy, in a safe spot:

  • Retirement and pension policies, including the names of beneficiaries

  • Birth certificate/adoption records

  • Marriage certificates

  • Divorce decrees

  • Insurance policies

  • Bank accounts and pass books

  • Death certificates

  • Military discharge

  • Advance directives (primary care physician, hospital, and individual should

    have copies)
    Also, it’s important to gather and review pertinent information such as:

  • Doctors’ names, addresses and phone numbers

  • Prescription and non-prescription medications taken

  • Informal support resource names, addresses and phone numbers

  • Social Security numbers, medical record numbers and military ID numbers

    Advance preparation now can make all the difference in the level of stress experienced when a future care need arises. Caring Solutions can help put a plan in place to allow you to rest assured that your senior loved ones will be safe and well cared for in the event of an emergency. Our in-home senior care services can include anything from homemaking and companionship to 24-hour, around-the-clock care, and everything in between. Call us today at 877-369-5602 to arrange for
    our professional Connecticut home care services, (also serving Longmeadow and East Longmeadow, MA) and alleviate the stress of a future concern.

    Comments Off on Make These Preparations NOW Before a Need for Connecticut Elder Care Arises | Filed under: Elder Care Connecticut, Senior
    Health | Tags: Connecticut Elder Care, Senior Health

    How to Overcome the Barriers of Senior Diabetic Care

    By Sandra Sergeant on April 20, 2016

    A day in the life of someone with diabetes is consumed with the many nuances of managing the disease: dietary choices, monitoring sugar

    levels, insulin injections, medications, exercise – not to mention doctors’

appointments, blood work, and other medical tests. And for senior diabetics, there’s an increased risk for specific complications, according to the American Diabetes Association. The risks faced by ignoring diabetes and getting proper care are serious: heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetic coma, just to name a few.

Feeling overwhelmed at times is only natural, but there is help! Caring Solutions offers these tips to help alleviate the stress of diabetic care:

First, identify care barriers. Barriers to diabetic care management include:

  • Requiring more information/education on proper diabetic care

  • Avoiding situations that could disrupt a care schedule

  • Excuses to overcome regarding getting more exercise

  • Eating patterns that may be driven by emotions rather than hunger

  • Depression or other emotional concerns

    Accept assistance. Family, friends and coworkers typically provide a great shoulder to lean on. Just let them know what is helpful and what to watch for. A home caregiver trained in diabetic care is also an excellent resource for care support and encouragement.

    Reframe care into easily recognizable benefits. It’s true that proper care helps prevent diabetic complications. But, if the complications are not enough to keep on track, consider other benefits that would better influence quality care. For example, proper care could result in improved agility and the ability to more easily enjoy hobbies and interests.

    Stick to a care plan. Creating a daily routine will help manage care. Don’t forget to consider how that plan will be affected if there are disruptions to the regular schedule.

    Think positively. Negative self-talk leads to depression and a feeling of helplessness, whereas positive self-talk is motivational and creates solutions. Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be able to manage my diabetes—I might as well plan on having health problems,” try thinking, “I didn’t pay enough attention to my portion sizes at dinner; that is why my blood sugar is high. I need to think ahead and keep portion sizes in line with my meal plan, or cover with extra insulin if I eat more than I intend.”

    Call Caring Solutions today at (877) 369-5602 to find out how our experienced, compassionate caregivers can help your senior loved one better manage his or her diabetic care. We offer four levels of customizable home health care ranging from just a little help with daily living to total live-in care and a range of specialty

services including wake-up, tuck-in, bath, birthday, post-op and respite/emergency care. Caring Solutions provides more than senior care; we provide peace of mind.

1 Comment » | Filed under: Avon, Senior Health | Tags: diabetes care Self-Care for Diabetes Doesn’t Mean Doing It All by Yourself

By Sandra Sergeant on April 5, 2016

Our culture so values independence and taking care of everything ourselves that it can be difficult when we find ourselves in the position of

asking for help with something that is commonly referred to as “self-care.” Its very name implies that it’s something we should be able to take care of ourselves. But don’t let the name fool you. Diabetes “self-care” is complex, incredibly important, and Caring Solutions is here to help.

Diabetes care requires a high level of mental function, given the need to follow a treatment plan that includes diet, exercise, and medication components as well as blood sugar testing and other self-care measures. While it may not be intentional, seniors who skip care steps may experience a quick decline in health with additional complications linked to diabetes.

If you are concerned that a loved one may need help keeping up with his or her diabetes care, hire a Caring Solution in-home caregiver to assist. Here are a few ways a caregiver can help:

  • A senior with reduced vision may not see a small foot sore that could quickly develop into a major problem. A Caring Solutions in-home caregiver can inspect the person’s feet daily, can provide proper wound care and can coordinate care with the physician.

  • Our in-home caregiver can provide proper nutrition through the planning and preparation of tasty, diabetic-appropriate meals.

  • We can assist with a physician-approved exercise program.

  • A Caring Solutions in-home caregiver can provide reminders for glucose

    testing and can schedule regular physician checkups.

  • A little extra assistance from a compassionate in-home caregiver can provide

    mental and physical stress relief for seniors with diabetes.

    Caring Solutions’ experienced staff and caregivers are happy to help you determine the right care plan and assist with your care needs. We offer four levels of customizable home health care ranging from just a little help with daily living to total live-in care, and a range of specialty services including wake-up, tuck-in, bath, birthday, post-op and respite/emergency care. Caring Solutions provides more than senior care; we provide peace of mind. For more information, call (877) 369-5602.

    Comments Off on Self-Care for Diabetes Doesn’t Mean Doing It All by Yourself | Filed under: Avon, Senior Health | Tags: diabetes, self-care

    Read Our Expert Articles

    By Sandra Sergeant on March 30, 2016