Preventing Diabetes Complications in Older Adults

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

With nearly 30 million Americans diagnosed with the disease already, and more than a million new cases discovered each year, it’s likely that we all either know someone with diabetes or have it ourselves. And for older adults, the likelihood of developing diabetes is even greater, affecting more than one out of every four adults over age 65.

Managing diabetes itself can be tricky, with ongoing monitoring, testing, dietary restrictions, and more. Additionally, there are a variety of complications and conditions that can arise in conjunction with diabetes, making proper diabetes care instrumental in preventing issues like hypoglycemia, hypertension, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, and more.

THE MEDICAL TEAM suggests the following to help those with diabetes reduce the risk for complications:

Quit smoking. It goes without saying that it’s healthier to avoid smoking tobacco products, but for diabetics, it can also reduce the risk for nerve damage, eye disease and blindness, heart and kidney issues, just to name a few.

Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol. The best way to keep blood pressure and cholesterol at appropriate levels is through maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet, exercising regularly, and taking any medications recommended by the doctor exactly as prescribed.

Watch for infections. Those with diabetes are at a greater risk for infection, literally from head to toe. Practice a healthy mouth care routine, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and bi-annual checkups, to prevent gum infections; and keep a close eye on the feet, which can develop serious infections and nerve damage.

Stay balanced. Ongoing stress can take a toll on diabetics, resulting in hormonal and insulin imbalances. Allow plenty of time to relax with enjoyable activities, talk through any worries you have with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor, and strive for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. Talk with the physician if help with reducing stress is needed.

Take control. Ultimately, the person with diabetes is responsible for his or her management of the disease. Arm yourself with education about the disease, proper care management techniques, and a reliable system of support to help keep diabetes effects under control.

THE MEDICAL TEAM can help diabetics in a variety of ways to remain as healthy as possible at all times. Our care team encompasses registered nurses, therapists, home health caregivers, even behavioral health specialists and social workers when needed. Each individual receives exactly the level of help needed, by professional, compassionate staff members whose goal is to ensure older adults are not just surviving with diabetes, but thriving. For other senior health tips from THE MEDICAL TEAM, click here or contact us to learn more!

Create a Safe Haven for Seniors with These Home Safety Tips

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

Home is where we should feel the safest and most comfortable, but for many older adults, the home may not be as safe as it should be. THE MEDICAL TEAM wants to help seniors remain safe at home, and recommends a room-by-room safety assessment to determine what modifications need to be made. These home safety tips are a great place to start:

Entryways:

  • Place a firmly secured mat or non-slip material just inside the door to prevent slips from wet shoes.
  • Create areas inside and outside of the door for placing items, to avoid juggling packages while trying to unlock the door and maintain balance.
  • Consider an intercom system and/or remote keyless entry for additional safety.

Kitchen:

  • Make sure there’s plenty of lighting around all work areas – stove, countertops, and sink.
  • Store commonly used items in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Consider installing a lowered countertop where the senior can work from a seated position or a wheelchair.

Living Room:

  • Ensure that there are wide, uncluttered pathways that can accommodate a wheelchair or walker.
  • Remove all area rugs, or ensure that they’re firmly secured to the floor.
  • Keep all electrical cords against the wall and away from walking areas.

Bathroom:

  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use grab bars in and around the tub, and beside the toilet and sink.
  • Install non-slip strips and mats and keep floors dry at all times.

Laundry Room:

  • The safest location for a laundry room is on the main floor of the home. If the washer and dryer are located upstairs or downstairs, consider relocating them to a more accessible area of the home.
  • Ensure there’s sufficient space to maneuver baskets of clothes, a walker and/or wheelchair around the washer and dryer.
  • Install a fold-down ironing board, with plenty of shelving space nearby to provide easy access to the iron and other laundry supplies.

Throughout each room of the home, ensure there’s adequate and easy-to-operate lighting – particularly at the top and bottom of stairways, in and between the bedroom and bathroom when nighttime trips may occur, and in hallways. It’s also crucial to make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are located on each floor of the home, and are audible in each room.

For additional help, THE MEDICALTEAM’S professional in-home care services can help keep seniors safe and thriving. Whether a senior requires just a little companionship a few hours a week, help with housework and personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, or a more skilled level of medical care, our caregivers are on hand to improve quality of life for older adults. Serving areas of New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and metro DC, we invite you to contact us with any questions or to learn more about our expert home health and homemaker services.

What to Expect from a Stroke Recovery Program

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

The sooner, the better – that’s the recommendation for when to begin rehab following a stroke to optimize one’s recovery. Rehab work can begin as soon as 24 hours post-stroke, once the doctor deems it to be safe, and may include any or all of the following:

Physical Therapy: To regain physical strength, motor skills functioning, mobility and/or range of motion, physical therapy can include a variety of exercises, weight training, assistance learning to use a cane or walker, or even restraint of an unaffected limb to help build back use of one impacted by the stroke.

Occupational and Speech Therapy: Often used in conjunction, these types of therapies assist with restoring cognitive issues, social skills, communication and more. Medications such as an antidepressant may also be recommended if depression, agitation, lethargy or other emotional symptoms are noted.

Technological Therapy: Technological advances in the area of stroke recovery are impressive. Assistive devices can include robotics, wireless monitoring, virtual reality, and electrical stimulation to help strengthen weakened muscles.

There are also a growing number of experimental treatment options for stroke survivors, including biologics, magnetic brain stimulation, and alternative measures such as acupuncture, massage, and more.

Rehab services vary from person to person, with some requiring just a few therapy sessions, while others require ongoing services. Recovery levels vary, based on a number of variables:

Level of Support: Having a strong network of emotional and social support from family and friends can have an incredible impact on the success of a stroke survivor’s recovery.

Stroke Severity: The degree of physical and cognitive deficiencies resulting from the stroke can indicate the anticipated degree of recovery.

Motivation and Outlook: A stroke survivor with a positive mental outlook, who is dedicated to fully adhering to the stroke recovery plan, has a greater likelihood of further recovery.

For help with stroke recovery, or with any other conditions of aging, call on THE MEDICAL TEAM. Our unique service offerings are provided by a team of specialists, individualized for each person, and can include registered nurses, therapists, social workers, home health aides, homemakers, behavioral health specialists, Alzheimer’s caregivers, and more. We provide the necessary motivation as well as hands-on support to ensure that the fullest level of recovery possible is achieved.

We’re available to assist those needing care in New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and metro Washington DC. Contact us any time to schedule a free in-home assessment or to allow us to answer any questions about the care we provide.

How to Help Seniors Celebrate Independence in Aging

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

“Let me help you with that.” It’s a statement that older adults hear repeatedly, and although we’re trying to be kind by assisting seniors with tasks that seem difficult or that take a bit longer to perform, helping older adults maintain a sense of independence is so crucial.

Nearly 90% of seniors prefer to age in place at home, rather than facing a move to an assisted living or nursing home, according to a recent study by AARP. And although growing older at home affords seniors maximum independence, the majority of older adults require some level of assistance in order to remain safe, particularly those age 85 and older.

At THE MEDICAL TEAM, we strive to provide a healthy balance between helping the older adults in our care and fostering an environment of independent living. There are two key ways to accomplish this:

Promoting Independence:

  • Be patient; allow the senior as much time as needed to accomplish tasks on his/her own.
  • Provide encouragement, even if the senior is reluctant to perform a task independently.
  • Engage in social interaction together, mind-stimulating games, healthy eating, and exercise.

Maintaining Independence:

  • Assist older adults with the selection and implementation of home safety equipment such as grab bars in the bathroom, hand rails, and sufficient lighting throughout the home.
  • Recommend adaptive devices such as specialized utensils, medication reminder equipment and emergency response systems.
  • Help the senior access resources within the community such as senior center programs, libraries, and transportation services.

In-home care experts, such as those at THE MEDICAL TEAM, are adept at working WITH seniors, rather than FOR seniors, allowing for maximum independence and validating their sense of self-worth. By providing assistance with tasks such as personal care, housework, picking up groceries, preparing meals, all while providing opportunities for seniors to complete tasks on their own, older adults can continue to thrive in their home environment. The seniors in our care receive the respect they deserve, enjoy a sense of achievement and purpose, and realize they’re still capable of managing a number of aspects of daily life – all while remaining safe through the oversight of a professional caregiving team.

Contact us to learn more about how we’re helping older adults in the areas of New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and metro DC improve overall wellbeing by remaining active and independent in the comfort of home.

Top Medical Screenings All Men Should Have

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

June is the perfect time to honor the men in our lives who selflessly sacrifice so much for others. Of course we celebrate these special men on Father’s Day, but June is also Men's Health Month, and a good time to make sure the men in your life are getting the medical screenings and attention they need. Here are the top medical screenings all men, particularly senior men, should have:

  • Bone Density (DXA): Beginning at age 65, all men should receive this scan every five years, and it’s especially crucial for men who are at a higher risk for bone loss: those taking corticosteroids, who are thin, or who have experienced fractures.
  • Colonoscopy: The best way to catch and cure colorectal cancer is through early detection. Men should receive a colonoscopy every five years, from age 50 for those without risk factors, but earlier if there’s a family history of colon cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer Screening: This quick and simple test saves lives, and should be performed annually starting at age 50 (or younger if symptoms such as urinary difficulties are noted).
  • Glucose Absorption Test: Used to screen for diabetes, this test should be repeated every three years for all men over age 45, and even younger for those who have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, or are overweight.
  • Blood Pressure: It couldn’t be easier or more convenient for men to have their blood pressure checked, at least annually. Most pharmacies and even grocery stores have machines available to perform the test for free.

THE MEDICAL TEAM can also help keep senior men healthy and well in a variety of ways with home health services such as skilled nursing care, home infusions, physical/occupational/speech therapy, coordination of home medical equipment, home health aides, and much, much more, customized to each person’s unique needs.

Our services are available throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro Washington, DC areas, and we provide complimentary in-home consultations to create an individualized plan of care to address needs and help seniors thrive.

Сontact us to learn more, to schedule an assessment, or to allow us to answer any questions you may have.