Saturday, December 14, 2019

Practical and Easy-to-Use Technology for Seniors

Written by Guest Blogger: Andrea Needham

Populations are aging all around the world, requiring innovative approaches to keep up with their care. The great news is that advances in technology make keeping up with the demand for senior-friendly tools easier than ever. You can improve your daily quality of life by simply investing in some easy-to-use and practical devices. Get inspired by the below overview of products.

Invest in streaming TV and movies
Older individuals tend to spend a fair amount of time at home due to decreased mobility. Skip the traditional cable television and opt for a streaming device instead so you can view your favorite movies and shows at any time. Streaming sticks offer access to more than 500,000 options. It's also easy to set up and there's no need to deal with the cable company—meaning lower costs as well.
Another way to simplify entertainment is to get a tablet. This allows you to view programs from the comfort of your bed or favorite chair. For something multipurpose that also allows you to connect with your loved ones easily, check out the Grandpad. It's specifically designed for seniors: It eliminates the clutter of other devices, allowing them to easily connect with others via voice or video call. It can also be used to play games or listen to music.

Get a modern medication manager
Today's cutting-edge medication management systems are a far cry from the plain pillboxes of the past. Many elderly individuals require multiple medications to manage various ailments. Known as polypharmacy, this can be dangerous, for instance, if individuals forget to take a pill, take one or more pills at the wrong time, or mix pills they shouldn't. The results can lead to serious health problems and even be fatal.
Today's state-of-the-art pill organizers use technology to avoid such issues. For instance, the pillbox might light up or make a noise if it detects that the day's pill compartment hasn't been opened yet. Verywell Family has a roundup of the most practical and easy-to-use models for seniors. The Sagely Smart is deemed best for those who need especially large pills, for instance, while the Ezy Dose Push-Button from Amazon is ideal for those who have arthritis and poor strength in their hands.

Provide them with a medical alert system
Seniors who live alone will be especially appreciative of this practical piece of technology. A quarter of all hospital admissions are due to falls, and more than half of falls among older persons occur within the home. A medical alert system allows a person who has fallen down to call for help even if they cannot get up. 
The designs and technologies vary. For instance, the device could be worn like a wristwatch or around the neck. Modern models even have fall detection technology. The AARP has useful guidelines on how to find a fitting style. For example, various add-on options include medical monitoring, GPS tracking, fitness tracking, and daily check-in services. There are also practical considerations such as whether the device is waterproof.

Set up a senior-friendly phone plan
Many major mobile phone providers offer special plans for individuals who are 55 or older. Shop around and look for an easy-to-understand plan that includes unlimited calls and texts. This also means you won't get nasty surprises when your phone bill arrives. While you're at it, consider upgrading to a senior-friendly phone with a larger screen and big buttons.
These technologies are both practical and easy-to-use, so it shouldn’t take long for you to get the hang of how to use them. Once you have integrated such tools into your everyday life, you will discover many advantages and enjoy greater wellbeing. With this little bit of effort, you can make the most of your golden years.

Photo Credit: Rawpixel  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Why Self-Care is Vital for Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers

Written by Guest Blogger:
Lydia Chan
Alzheimer's Caregiver 

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and National Family Caregivers Month. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be very challenging, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, because of the demands and stress, many caregivers often end up neglecting their own needs. According to research by US Pharmacist, 77 percent of Alzheimer's Disease caregivers experience sleep deprivation, 56 percent deal with high stress or anxiety, and 40 percent suffer from depression. These caregivers often put off their own medical care and become vulnerable to illness themselves. If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's, practice these self-care strategies and make your own health a priority.
Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin
You can’t be a valuable caregiver to others if you neglect your own health. It’s important to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. Most people in America do not get enough nutrients from food alone. Therefore, you should consider taking a daily multivitamin. Multivitamins can fill nutrient gaps in your diet, improve your gut health, boost your energy levels, and enrich your overall well-being. Also, talk to your health care provider and have regular blood work to determine if you are deficient in any particular nutrients.
Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
Because people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have sleep issues, caregivers are often up at night as well. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of physical and mental health problems, ranging from high blood pressure and diabetes to anxiety and depression. Research indicates that 20 percent of caregivers turn to alcohol to get to sleep. However, there are much healthier ways to make sure you get seven to nine hours of sleep.
If you are a full-time caregiver, you may need a little assistance from another caregiver so that you can find time for uninterrupted sleep. Look to other family members or a professional agency for help. Also, if you have trouble falling asleep, set your bedroom up for sleep-time success. Remove TVs, computers, and other distractions, and make sure the space is dark and comfortable. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and electronics in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Incorporate Stress Management Techniques
Over time, stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of a host of health conditions. Improving your sleep quality and quantity can help reduce stress, but other stress management techniques should also be implemented to avoid getting burned out and rundown.
      Write down your feelings – Keeping a journal can be a great way to identify your stressors, solve problems, and release frustrations.   
      Exercise daily – At least 30 minutes of physical activity every day is good for your overall health and well-being.            
      Practice yoga or meditation – Set up a spot in your home where you can relax and be free of distractions.          
      Make time for your interests – Set an appointment with yourself on your weekly calendar so you can enjoy your hobbies or just relax. 
      Seek out support – The Alzheimer’s Association offers resources for in-person and online support groups for caregivers.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be incredibly difficult. Educate yourself as much as possible about the disease so you can know what to expect. Take an active role in your loved one's medical care and advocate for their needs. Get support from friends, family members, and professionals whenever things get tough. Finally, always make yourself a priority by practicing good self-care. By taking care of yourself, you’ll improve your ability to be a better caregiver and boost your overall quality of life.

Photo via Pixabay

Saturday, May 18, 2019

America's Mental Health and Medicare

Mental Health and Medicare: Know Your Options to Get the Care You Need

Authored by Teresa Greenhill

Medicare is an invaluable benefit for seniors or those with disabilities, but navigating the process of enrolling and understanding benefits isn’t always easy. Even if you start to get the hang of Medicare basics, coverage can still be confusing. This is especially true when it comes to mental health coverage. While individual screenings are covered and other care is not, it's essential for anyone accessing Medicare to know what's available to them so they can get the mental health care treatment — or any other treatment — they need to live life to the fullest.

Understanding Your Options

Anyone who has Medicare is eligible for some mental health screenings and treatment, but the type of care and the cost varies depending on your plan. If you have Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B), you can get a free depression screening each year through your primary care physician. In addition to the screening, you can access counseling services through approved providers. You are responsible for paying 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for these services, and you may also have a copayment or coinsurance for some services.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan like those offered by Aetna, your mental health coverage will vary depending on your specific plan, but many covers as much as Original Medicare, if not more than. Most programs provide coverage for counseling and therapy from a variety of providers, including psychiatrists, social workers, and clinical psychologists. The most important thing is to review your plan to make sure you find the right coverage for the services you need when it’s time to enroll annually.

Recognizing the Care You Need

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to recognize the warning signs of depression. If you don’t feel like yourself anymore, or maybe you feel lethargic or just less interested in life, these are only a few of many common signs of depression. Even if you aren’t sure if this sounds like you, talking to your doctor and getting access to free depression screening is an essential first step. It’s also crucial to speak with your primary care doctor so they can help distinguish depression from other medical concerns.

Depression is more common in seniors than you may think. Some older adults have a hard time coping with health changes and a decreased ability to do daily activities. Or you may be grieving the loss of friends who have passed on or the loss of a spouse. Disability is another common risk factor for depression in seniors. A lack of mobility and increased dependence on others can be severe for seniors who are used to doing things for themselves or without mobility aids.

The first thing you should know about depression is that, while these risk factors are common for seniors, depression isn’t just a normal part of aging that you have to deal with. The second important thing to realize is that depression can be treated, so there’s no reason not to look into mental health services. Good Therapy explains how mental health treatment can give you the tools to help you manage your emotions and find enjoyment and meaning in life.

Finding a Provider

Whichever type of Medicare coverage you have, the first thing you want to do is find a provider who accepts your insurance and who is also the right fit for you. One way to search for a provider in your area who accepts original Medicare is through Psychology Today.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the main thing you want to look for is whether a provider partner's with the insurance company your policy is provided through. One benefit to having Medicare Advantage is that it may give you more providers to choose from who accept your insurance.

Just as you want to have a good relationship with your other medical providers, when you work with a mental health professional, you want to have a connection that makes you feel comfortable and understood. This is why it is so important to find the right provider, not just the first one who comes along. Depression is a severe illness, but it is also treatable. You owe it to yourself to seize that opportunity.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Prevention and Management of Medical Errors

Is it truly the 3rd leading cause of death in America?

According to the CDC, in 2015, 633,842 people died of heart disease, 595,930 died of cancer, and 155,041 died of chronic respiratory disease—the top three causes of death in the U.S.  However, according to Dr. Martin Makary, MD, M.P.H a professor at John Hopkins and a recent study he conducted may prove the CDC wrong putting medical errors as the cause of death behind cancer but ahead of respiratory disease.
Dr. Martin goes on to state that;   “Incidence rates for deaths directly attributable to medical care gone awry haven’t been recognized in any standardized method for collecting national statistics,” says Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an authority on health reform. “The medical coding system was designed to maximize billing for physician services, not to collect national health statistics, as it is currently being used.”

Dr. Martin is not suggesting that these medical errors are due to "bad doctors" or nurses but maybe systematic errors or errors in the method of data collection. 

 "Medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome,3 the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning),4 or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.5 Patient harm from medical error can occur at the individual or system level"

Pamela Clark as Certified Registered Nurse Infusionist (CRNI) with over 28 years experience has created an online CE course to help nurses understand the risks of giving medications and what steps to take to prevent medication errors from a nursing standpoint.

Upon completion of her online course the nurse will learn:

  • Define medical error, adverse event, “never event” and sentinel event.
  • Discuss the scope of medical errors in the United States in terms of monetary cost and lives affected.
  • Explain at least two system analysis models.
  • Discuss national/state mandatory error reporting requirements.
  • List at least 5 types of medical errors and their causes.
  • Describe SBAR.
  • Recognize appropriate and inappropriate documentation.

Pamela Clarks experience spans multiple infusion settings including: acute care, long-term care, home infusion, and ambulatory infusion care. She also has experience in oncology and oncology research.

To learn more about "Prevention and Management of Medical Errors" click on any of the links and it will take you directly to her course.  Pamela's course will not only provide you with excellent nursing information but continuing education hours as well.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Social Media Rules for Nurses

Well it is safe to say that society and nurses have come along way since the 1800's where smoke signals were a form of communication.   Then in 1844 the telegram was invented; and soon after came the telephone in 1876.

In 1978 the first email spam was sent to 393 users by Gary Thuerk. However, with the launch of Facebook in 2004 not to mention Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, etc.  Nurses and other healthcare professionals have been in trouble for social media use at work and away from work.

The Risk

According to the Nurses Service Organization (NSO); social media is a "Real Risk" for nurses and healthcare professionals.  NSO presents real stories in which healthcare professionals are getting fired, or worse losing their licenses to work due to social media use/abuse.  

One story they present is about a physical therapy (PT) licensing board receiving complaints about a PT using his/her cell phone to send emails, texts, and used social media applications during the patients treatment sessions.

The actual complaint caused the board to issue a subpoena of the PT's telecommunication provider for the PT's cell phone use and activity.  This gave the PT board the information needed to confirm that the PT had in fact been using his/her cell phone during the entire Physical therapy session.   Due to this subpoena they also discovered fraudulent billing, and due to this investigation the PT was place on probation for 3 years and is now required to work supervised and have all treatments completed signed off.  

How to help Your Staff

It is probably safe to say that most of us are used to having our cells phone on us at all times and use it throughout the day without even realizing it.   If you as a company or leader want to help your staff; provided them with real life situations and cases on a regular basis.  Teach them how to avoid getting reprimanded or even fired; and in the worst case scenario losing their professional licenses.  Healthcare Professionals are governed not only by HIPPA and HITECH, but by local and state laws as well.  

Establish a Social Media Policy

A social media policy can go a long way to not only protect patients and the facility; but it will provide a guideline and set a tone in the workplace for when, where, and how to use social media. Diane Evans is Publisher of has developed an awesome continuing education course that will help healthcare professionals learn how to navigate the social media scene while working at the hospital, home care, or wherever you profession takes you.

Diane Evans is Publisher of, a news and information service that helps HIPAA-covered organizations understand their responsibilities. offers resources for self-conducted Security Risk Assessment, templates for security policies and "Meaningful Consent" Patient Privacy Notices, and much more in an online catalog of 40+ carefully-picked federally produced resources.

Provide Education

As a leader you may feel that your healthcare professionals should already know the rules and regulations; but that is not a fair assumption.  There are so many laws and regulations to follow and they change often.  Providing education serves two purposes.  It educated the staff on what is new and relevant and it protects you as an employer.  Content of education should include:

  • Rules and Etiquette of using Social Media
  • Potential Legal Issues
  • HIPPA and Patient Confidentially
  • Disciplinary Actions for misuse of social media
  • Setting Boundaries for Social Media use

Discipline Consistently

If a leader and organization does not use consistency across the board it will lead to a culture failure and higher turnover rates.  Of course, it is human nature to like some and not others.  However, in business and the professional setting consistent discipline across the board will help alleviate any legal issues and help retain the highest functioning professionals in your area of expertise.

Social Media Expectations

Social media can benefit us all; including the workplace.  However, as a leader and company we must set the expectations before the employee begins working so there are no miscommunication errors or lost expectations.  Learn now how to navigate the social media rules for healthcare professionals and save yourself time and hassle of getting fired or worse going in front the board.