Archive for January, 2013

Heart Health

Posted on: January 31st, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

“We have a loving heart, an aspiring heart, an inspiring heart, an illumining heart and a fulfilling heart.”

Sri Chinmoy

The heart is the center of our cardiovascular system and it also represents our emotional and spiritual essence.

Caring for our hearts is a two-fold task then. We should properly nourish, exercise, and rest our hearts, and we should care for our emotional well-being through positive thoughts and actions including cultivating and nurturing loving relationships.

With Valentine’s Day and the Million Hearts initiative going on, February is an ideal month to focus on Heart Health. Think about ways you can improve your Heart Health every day. Prepare a salad filled with colorful vegetables (try peppers, artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and leafy greens topped with a balsamic vinegar dressing) then a hour later take a 30 minute walk with a loved one. Get together with friends and play games. Lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. End your day with deep breathing and mediation or prayer before sleeping for at least 8 hours.

Heart Health doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It is simply a matter of making conscious, loving choices every day.

Kim

Eight Steps to Avoid the Flu

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Influenza (commonly referred to as the Flu) season is in high gear! Now is the time to take preventative action. The good news is that there are commonsense steps you can take to help avoid getting ill.

  1. Get a flu vaccination. It’s not too late.Vaccinations are available at doctor offices, pharmacies, and
    grocery stores.
  2. Wash your hands
    frequently, especially if you are out in public interacting with other people.Use soap and water or an alcohol-based rub.
  3. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  4. Get adequate rest and manage stress levels. Our bodies are susceptible to illness when we are run down.
  5. Exercise. Regular exercise helps to keep our immune system strong.
  6. Drink fluids and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.
  7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
  8. Avoid close contact with sick people.

For more information on the Flu visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm

Kim

Aging Safely in Place

Posted on: January 17th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Senior Resource reports that about 70% of people over 65 spend their remaining years in the house or apartment where they celebrated their 65th birthday. Why? When surveyed, 89% of people 50 and older expressed a strong desire to remain in their own homes indefinitely (AARP). However, this preference may pose a challenge as physical difficulties often accumulate with advancing age.

As a loved one ages, he or she may encounter balance issues, hearing impairment, limited reach, trouble bending and more. None of these conditions are life-threatening, however, they can present challenges to a safe and happy home life.

A concept called “aging in place”allows seniors to live in their own homes, using products, services, and conveniences which offer a safer living environment. Aging in place is more than simply “staying at home”. For the senior, it translates into independence, confidence and emotional familiarity. For the family caregiver, it means modifications and safety education may be needed.

Some of the most important features of an aging in place ready home include:

  • A master bedroom and bath on the first floor
  • A low or no-threshold entrance to the home with an overhang
  • Lever-style door handles
  • No change in levels on the main floor
  • Bright lighting in all areas, especially places like stairways
  • A low-maintenance exterior
  • Non-slip flooring at the main entryway
  • An open floor plan, especially in the kitchen/dining area
  • Handrails at all steps

If a home does not accommodate these recommendations, hiring a contractor trained in aging modifications is a great alternative. The National Home Builders Association (NAHB) reports that 75% of remodelers have seen an increase in requests for aging in place work, and 60% of remodelers already perform aging in place work.

Contractors are able to modify the home to accommodate impairments such as balance and coordination, hearing impairment, limited reach, limited vision, poor strength, poor flexibility, trouble walking and climbing stairs. Some common modifications that a contractor or family member are:

Flooring

Smooth, non-glare, slip-resistant surfaces, interior and exterior

Low (less than ½ inch high pile) density carpet, with a firm pad

Color/texture contrast to indicate change in surface levels

Stairways, Lifts, Elevators and Ramps

Hand rails on both sides of stairway

Increased visibility of stairs through contrast strip on top and bottom stairs, color contrast between treads, risers on stairs, and use of lighting

Counters and Cabinets

Accented stripes on edge of counter-tops to provide visual orientation to the workspace

Base cabinets with roll out trays and Lazy Susan’s

Pull-down shelving

Loop handles for easy grip and pull

Fixtures

Grab bars in the shower and/or tub with fold down seat

Curbless shower (a minimum of 36 inches wide)

Lighted shower stall with hand-held head

Higher toilet or height-adjustable toilet

An in-home care provider understand the needs of those aging in place and can provide a free safety

check along with recommendations for making the home environment as safe and comfortable as possible. Contact At Home Solutions at 1-888-496-3983 to schedule a free safety check in Southeastern Maricopa, Pinal, or Gila counties.

Kim

 

 

Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit–Many Vets Don’t Know About It

Posted on: January 9th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

The Aid and Attendance Benefit is for veterans and their surviving spouses who require the aid of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, walking, medication dosing, taking care of the needs of nature, and to insure a safe environment. Individuals who are blind, who’ve been diagnosed with a form of Dementia such as Alzheimer’s, and those who are a patient in a nursing home or assisted living facility because of mental or physical incapacity may qualify. Those receiving care in their own home may be eligible as well.

This benefit is greatly underutilized because many veterans are unaware it exists. “Roughly 1 out of 4 seniors in the U.S. could qualify for the Aid and Attendance Benefit under the right conditions. That’s how many war veterans or their surviving spouses there are. Only about 5% of U.S. seniors are actually receiving this benefit.” Source: www.veteransaidbenefit.org

For some veterans, the benefit application process may seem overwhelming and confusing, but there are specialists in the community who can help. According to Bob Nonnemaker, a VA Accredited Claims Agent with
Veteran’s Advisor Group in Gilbert, “Benefits can come fairly quickly when the application is completed correctly, all required documents are included, and the applicant’s finances are in order. In these cases, we are seeing most veteran applications get approved in
30-40 days.”

It is also important to note that a veteran’s spouse may be eligible for this benefit. According to Debbie Burak, founder of veteransaid.org, “Many families overlook the A&A Pension as it pertains to veterans who are still independent, but have an ill spouse. Keep in mind that in this situation, if the spouse’s medical expenses completely deplete their combined monthly income, the veteran can file as a veteran with a sick spouse.”

To qualify for the Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit a veteran must:

  • have received an honorable or general discharge
  • have served 1 day during the following active wars WWII, Korea, Vietnam (certain criteria apply) AND have a minimum of 90 days of active duty service
  • have doctor’s orders stating he or she needs the aid and assistance of others
  • meet specific financial requirements regarding income and assets

Monthly Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit Amounts – 2013

 

 

Veteran $1,732

Surviving Spouse $1,113

Veteran & Spouse $1,360

(Spouse needs care)

Veteran & Spouse $2,054

(Veteran needs care)

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

If you or your loved one is a veteran and you think you might meet the criteria, contact us at 1-888-496-3983 for a referral to an accredited VA claims agent who can assist you.

Kim

 

A New Year Resolution for Caregivers

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

If you are a caregiver, you are working hard, often times around the clock, to take care of
your loved one. Are you taking care of yourself too? You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.” This is absolutely true. There are countless stories about caregivers who neglect themselves and consequentially become ill, fall into depression, or just burnout. Don’t let this happen to you, make a resolution that you will take care of yourself in 2013. It’s the best gift you can give your loved one.

Here are a 3 ideas to get started.

1. Take regular breaks. Not just a 20 minute break, plan for 2 hours away from the house at least once a week. No one person can do it alone. Nor should she. Enlist the aide of family, friends, or hire a professional agency that provides well-screened professional caregivers for respite (relief) care. If you hire an agency, make sure they are insured and bonded.

2. Ask for specific help. Grocery shopping, meal preparation, housecleaning, washing clothes…if a family member is willing to help, assign them a specific chore and a deadline. Better yet, create a calendar and schedule tasks and breaks. Impress upon your helpers that reliability is needed, meaning, don’t volunteer unless you can commit and follow through.

3. Care for your health. Focus on sleep, nutrition, exercise. If you can’t get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep during the night, take a short nap during the day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink water throughout the day. Limit refined sugar found in energy drinks, soft drinks, and baked goods. Go for a 30 minute walk every day. Or try yoga or dancing to music if you can’t get outside.

Best wishes for a healthy New Year!

Kim