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Overcome Daily Challenges: 5 Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Overcome Daily Challenges: 5 Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Occupational therapy (also commonly known as OT) is the only profession that helps people, from young children to frail elderly do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities. While seniors might not be “working” anymore, making a pot of coffee or reaching the ground to play with a grandchild are meaningful tasks. Kathy Kirby, an occupational therapist with more than 20 years of experience, shares 5 ways occupational therapy can benefit seniors.

 

Provide Support
Occupational therapists provide support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. As OTs incorporate helpful modifications patients may resume completing essential daily jobs like taking medications correctly and on time, getting dressed safely and in a reasonable amount of time, or making a trip to the grocery store successfully.

Help Regain Independence
With the help of occupational therapy, many individuals can achieve or regain a higher level of independence than before therapy. Teaching a grandparent to utilize an iPad to communicate with a grandchild or order groceries online opens new doors!

Recommend Home Modifications
When skills and strength cannot be developed or improved, occupational therapists offer creative solutions and alternatives for carrying out daily activities necessary for living day to day. A home safety assessment is a helpful way to see what someone’s needs are in his/her own living area. Occupational therapists are trained to provide input on the placement of helpful adaptations around the home to improve safety, like grab bars and shower chairs.

Create Individual Plans
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, where the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit each individual’s particular goals. OTs look at all aspects of an individual’s routine when designing a plan, and the interventions put in place are made personally meaningful. No plan is the same, from one person to another.

Make the Impossible “Possible Again”
Occupational therapists are creative and can develop new, successful ways to complete a previously impossible task. When a patient begins to use a walker or cane, creativity is key in making sure he/she can get in and out of the car to get to the doctor’s office or move groceries from the car to the kitchen. Occupational therapists make the impossible “possible again.”

At Nye Health Services our outpatient therapy program is a top choice among patients throughout Nebraska and surrounding areas that want to maintain the independence of living at home while recovering from a mild to moderate injury. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient therapy services or to schedule an appointment!

Common Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them

Common Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them

With the vast amount of information that is becoming available it isn’t always easy to know what to believe. A growing number of scammers are specifically targeting seniors based on their assumption that you will be more vulnerable to falling for them than tech-savvy younger adults. Here are five of the most common senior scams to watch for, as well as tips for avoiding them and fixing the situation if you do experience them!  

 

Medicare Scams

Navigating your health insurance policy can be challenging for anyone, and scammers tend to target seniors and other groups who they believe are less likely to understand the benefits and requirements of Medicare. However, it’s important to know that every US citizen or permanent resident qualifies for Medicare. Be cautious when communicating with individuals that may be pretending to be Medicare representatives or trying to provide bogus services in order to benefit from your policy.

 

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

Taking expensive prescription drugs may lead you to search online for more affordable alternatives, but it’s important to make sure that you are buying your medications from a reputable source. The FDA investigates approximately twenty major counterfeit prescription drug scams each year. At best, taking these fake medications will cause you to lose money while doing nothing to help you, and many contain unsafe ingredients that can have an even more harmful impact on your health.   

 

Funeral and Cemetery Scams

You want your family to be in the best possible situation when organizing your funeral, and being aware of potential scams that may come up when they are the most vulnerable to not thinking clearly about them can help them avoid the added stress of losing money. Scammers may identify families to target with calls claiming you owed false debts that need to be paid by reading obituaries, and dishonest funeral directors may try to sell services that are not needed.

 

Homeowner Reverse Mortgage Scams

If you’re not sure how much longer you want to own your home and are considering a reverse mortgage, be sure any communication you receive comes from the correct company. Scammers can send fraudulent letters that appear to be legitimate that give you a fabricated assessed value for your home and pressure you to take out equity to have repairs made to increase this value. Be vigilant when considering such repairs, as these may benefit companies much more than they will benefit you.

 

Telephone Scams

Robocalls have become much more common than they used to be in recent years, especially if you have a cell phone. These “callers,” which are often not even real people, attempt to gain access to your personal information using made-up:

  • low interest rates
  • free vacations
  • card services
  • other phony business concerns

Know that legitimate callers will leave a message with their contact information and will not ask you outright for credit card, banking, or other sensitive information, and never give these details to suspicious callers. 

 

What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles a variety of types of scam complaints. You can contact the FTC online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 to report a scam as soon as you realize it happened to minimize the potential damage to yourself and other targets of the scammer. Be sure to have your banking information available, as well as a description of what the scammer wanted from you and any of his or her contact information you have.

5 Things to Consider When Helping a Parent With Dementia Move to Assisted Living

5 Things to Consider When Helping a Parent With Dementia Move to Assisted Living

Deciding when it’s time to consider moving your parent(s) into an assisted living community can be challenging, especially if you notice if they are beginning to develop signs of dementia that may make his or her daily life harder or even unsafe.

Here are 5 ways based on our experience, that you can help your parent(s) choose a safe and welcoming community that meets his or her needs and make the transition to assisted living a little easier!

Early Signs of Dementia to Look For

Knowing the early signs of dementia, a general term that addresses the loss of memory, language, and similar concepts, can help you identify when continuing to live without assistance may no longer be the best option.

Although these signs can vary significantly and do not necessarily indicate that your parent cannot safely live at home, when you see signs of dementia that significantly impact your parent’s life, it may mean it’s time to step in. Some of the most common things to look for include short-term memory problems, limited social skills and problems keeping track of belongings, bills, meals, and appointments. 

Start the Conversation Early

Discussing assisted living options sooner, rather than later, can help you and your family get an idea of your parent’s preferences before his or her memory loss makes having a clear conversation challenging. Having this conversation as soon as you start to notice signs of dementia gives everyone that will be involved in the process time to make decisions that meet your parent’s needs.

Consider Communities That Offer Memory Care Services

Choosing a memory care community that specializes in creating a structured environment for residents with dementia instead of a traditional assisted living community can improve your parent’s quality of life. These communities provide set routines to make life easier and less stressful for residents with significant memory loss, in addition to assisting with day-to-day tasks.   

Visit the Community With Your Parent

While the current landscape has made health concerns even more so top of mind, visiting communities safely is still an option. When discussing joining a new community, keeping your parent(s) involved throughout the process and taking their preferences to heart can reassure them that you have their best interests in mind.

Taking a live virtual tour of the community you are interested in with your parent(s) allows for exploring the layout, discovering amenities, meeting staff members, and discussing any financial concerns you may have. 

Make the Move as Simple as Possible

Moving isn’t always easy, but careful planning can help make the process less stressful for you, your parent(s), and any other family members or friends involved. Choosing the time of day when your parent is the most alert and mentally present, often around noon, can help to reduce confusion and give your parent the best chance to adjust to their new environment. Deciding which belongings to bring to make your parent’s new community feel like home in advance and making a plan for what to do with the rest, including your parent’s home, can help you feel less rushed on moving day. 

At Nye Health Services, we know that deciding when it’s time to start considering assisted living options for your parents isn’t always easy, and we are here to help guide you through the decision making process.

If you’ve noticed signs that your parent may be developing dementia or another type of memory loss that is interfering with his or her daily life, now is the time to start considering your options. Contact us today to learn more about our memory care services or to schedule a tour of any of our communities!

Home Health Care Services Delivered to You

Home Health Care Services Delivered to You

As the challenges surrounding COVID-19 continue to impact the ways that health care services are delivered across the country, many members of high-risk populations are searching for new ways to increase social distancing and avoid leaving home. At Nye Health Services, we offer a variety of Home Health Services that allow you to replace many in-office appointments with personalized services in the comfort and safety of your own home. 

 

What Is Home Health Care? 

During a year when you may be reluctant to attend medical appointments at a physical location, especially if you are still living in your own home or in an independent or assisted living community, we are offering more options for handling various types of medical services at home than ever.

With our unique Home Health Care program, our fully-licensed and Medicare-certified nursing and therapy staff members are equipped to meet a variety of needs within the comfort and safety of your own home. Our home health care staff can assist with recuperation, rehabilitation, and education to help you regain your health and independence in a safe way. 

Some of the most common types of services that can be provided at home include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Administration of prescription medications
  • Medical testing
  • Health monitoring
  • Caring for wounds 

Home Health Care is especially common after an injury or hospitalization, but it can also be a long term solution for those who are facing the progression of a chronic condition. Another important aspect to Home Health Care is providing education on how to manage new illnesses and how to take steps towards the prevention of further health complications.

 

How Can Home Health Care Improve My Quality of Life? 

Choosing Home Health Care has a variety of benefits for both your physical and mental health. First and foremost, it is one of the most customizable types of health care available. With the flexibility to receive as much or as little care as you need, you can meet both short-term and ongoing care needs at your convenience.

Home Health Care is also a helpful option that can help lower the amount of times that you need to leave home during a time when it is less safe to do so than normal. Elderly and other high-risk populations are especially vulnerable to concerns related to COVID-19, and moving as many appointments to your home as it helps to increase social distancing and minimize the number of people you come in contact with.

This can also relieve stress for your family members, who may worry about the increased risk of attending in-person appointments outside your home.

 

Home Health Care Coverage

Like any unfamiliar type of health care service, it is important to understand how your specific health insurance company handles Home Health Care before scheduling an appointment. Fortunately, many Home Health Care appointments can be subsidized by most insurance companies and other public or private options to make your health care more affordable.

Some of the additional options that may be available to you if you have limited funds include Medicaid, veterans benefits, or a reverse mortgage. There are many possible sources of funding for Home Health Care, and speaking with one of our community representatives is the best way to get more details about the public and private companies that we most often work with.

At Nye Health Services, we prioritize helping you get the care you need without sacrificing safety during a time when you may prefer to avoid leaving home. Our Home Health Care services make a variety of at-home treatment options available for residents throughout Nebraska. Contact us today to learn more about how the convenience of choosing Home Health Care can benefit you! 

7 Tips for Discussing Assisted Living with your Parents

7 Tips for Discussing Assisted Living with your Parents

Bringing up the idea that it may be time to consider assisted living to your parents may not be easy for you and your family. However, we’ve provided a list of ways to approach these conversations that can help make them more meaningful and productive.


Research Senior Care Options

In order to focus your research on locations that will best meet your parents’ needs, think about their current health and level of independence in order to determine whether assisted or independent living is most appropriate. Assisted living communities provide more consistent care and access to staff, while independent living simply eliminates the responsibilities of homeownership and will more closely resemble your parents’ current lifestyle. In addition, many communities offer specialized healthcare services, such as: 

  • physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • memory care
  • medication administration
  • personal care assistance
  • other specialized services that are tailored to meet individual needs


Involve Your Parent(s)

Involving your parents in your decision-making process shows them that their happiness during retirement is important to you. Be sure to ask them for their perspective and take their input to heart regarding:

  • how they feel about their health
  • what type of care they need
  • which community they prefer
  • what they would like to do with their home
  • what to do if they or their spouse experience sudden, serious health issues

 

Use Positive Phrasing and Tone

Using the right terminology can go a long way toward helping your parents develop a positive outlook on leaving their current home. “Assisted living facility” and similar phrasing can be off-putting, and Nye’s retirement communities prioritize creating a happy place for your parents to spend their senior years that is filled with amenities, fun things to do, and meaningful relationships with others in the community.

Although this discussion can be challenging for many families, using a respectable tone and setting up your conversation for two-way dialogue that respects your parents’ thoughts can help you peacefully and productively talk through the delicate decisions you need to make.

 

Consider Finances

Finances are a common concern among families considering assisted living options, but there are many ways to make assisted living more affordable. Begin by talking with your parents about their financial situation and what they have saved for retirement, as well as with one of our Senior Living Advisors to learn more about the costs of each retirement option you are considering. 

 

Involve Your Siblings and Loved Ones

Although you may feel tempted to make a decision yourself, it is usually best to involve your siblings and loved ones in the decision-making process. This approach helps to assure your parents that the people they care about want what’s best for them and are working together to find the best assisted living option available. Presenting unity and moral support throughout the process can make a significant difference in easing the transition to senior living for your parents. 

 

Explore and Tour Communities

Visiting the communities you are interested in is a must before making a final decision. If possible, tour communities with your parents and siblings in order to be sure that everyone is on the same page. Remember to focus on communities that offer a variety of options for specialized care that your parents may need, as well as the necessary amenities. You should also consider the travel distance from where the community is relative to family and friends in the area for future get-togethers and special events. 

 

Involve Your Parent’s Doctor

Although you won’t automatically have access to your parents’ health information because of HIPAA laws, which protect patients’ confidentiality, a parent can recommend that you and your siblings have access to this information in order to help them make decisions. Discussing your parents’ health and any concerns you may have with their doctor and asking for his or her recommendations is an important step in making an informed decision regarding assisted living.  

At Nye Health Services, our retirement communities provide amenities and services that will give your parents a safe and enjoyable place to spend their senior years. While we know that conversations about assisted living are rarely easy, we hope that taking advantage of these suggestions will make your family’s discussions less difficult.

Feel free to contact us to learn more about how choosing one of our retirement communities can be the perfect match for your family or to schedule a tour of any of our locations!

Caring for Your Aging Parents While Supporting Your Children – 5 Tips for the “Sandwich Generation”

Caring for Your Aging Parents While Supporting Your Children – 5 Tips for the “Sandwich Generation”

Are you taking care of your aging parents and your growing children at the same time? You are the ham, turkey, or even the cheese that’s in the middle of what’s known as sandwich generation. It’s not always an easy place to be. Everyone needs your attention — sometimes at the same time — and you can easily burn out if you’re not careful.

Here are five tips to help you make this time in your life a little easier:

Plan ahead

Your parents didn’t just age overnight and if they aren’t at the point where they will need you as their caretaker, they might soon. Start thinking about what you need to know to make the transition easier for all of you. Do you know what your parents’ wishes are for when they need help? Do you have a good understanding of their medical conditions? Do you know where all of their financial records are and where they want to live?

If you have siblings, who will help and what will they do? Planning as much as you can ahead of time will help prevent undue conflicts and stress when the time comes.

Talk it out

You might have had the important conversation with your parents and siblings, but what about talking to your boss? Something might come up with your parents or children while you’re at work, so let your boss in on what’s going on. Perhaps you can work from home occasionally to catch up on work when things get hectic or take some of the commute pressure off of you.

Depending on your child’s age, have a heart-to-heart with him or her too. If you’re raising a teenager, they can pitch in and help around the house while you are with your parents. The last thing you need is to come home to a messy home after working all day and then checking in on mom or dad. Talk to them about carrying some of the weight. In turn, make sure you spend some quality time with them when you can, even if it’s something as simple as ordering take out and watching a Netflix movie at home.

Reduce stress

Speaking of stress, caregiver burnout is real. It is defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able, physically or financially. Make sure you that you take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. “It’s okay to take a break,” said Kathy Kirby, Executive Director of Nye Home Health Care. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask your siblings to take over or see if a babysitter can watch your children for a few hours while you nap. You’re not going to be any good to your parents or your children if you burn out.”

If you need more than occasional relief, enlist professional services for your parents before there is a crisis. It can make any transitions easier.

Get some help

In addition to siblings and babysitters there are caregiver resources that you can tap into when you need some additional help. For example, AARP has a family caregiving checklist at www.aarp.org/caregiving where you can get legal checklists, care options and tap into an online community.

Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing, memory care, and now home care services. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit Nye Health Services for more information.

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