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Piedmont HomeHealth News

Combatting Loneliness: Seniors that Stay Connected have Better Health

piedmont home healthGetting older has many benefits. With more years on this planet we gain wisdom, and of course the ability to retire opens up much more time to do the things we enjoy. But sometimes the senior years can also be a time of great loneliness. A survey conducted by the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project found that as many as 19 percent of older adults, ages 62-91, report feeling frequent loneliness. With the loss of a life partner, the house can seem empty and too quiet. Not having someone to do things with might even keep some from going out and socializing. For others, poor health might be what’s keeping them at home, as physical limitations make it more painful to walk more than a short distance or fear of falling takes over. No matter what the cause, isolation in older adults is a significant health risk, as loneliness can lead to feelings of depression and poor physical health. Feelings of loneliness have been found to be a major risk factor for depression as well as showing a correlation to high blood pressure and dementia. And of course, when someone is depressed or not feeling well they are less likely to get out and socialize, which creates a vicious cycle feeding into more feelings of loneliness.

Fighting the Battle: Ways to Combat Loneliness
While it is easy to feel isolated and alone, there are plenty of ways to help senior adults fight those feelings of loneliness and live more active, social lives.

Employee a caregiver. For the truly homebound seniors, those who have decreased mobility and just can’t get out of the house for long periods of time, a caregiver can provide company and personal interaction to combat feelings of loneliness. Our care givers at Piedmont HomeHealth are well trained to provide excellent care when it comes to medication management and personal care, but our time with our clients is much more than that. Conversations over a meal, help with transportation to activities or even companionship during the day can bring joy to the lives of someone who was feeling lost and alone.

Pet therapy. Owning a dog or a cat might be too much of a responsibility for an elderly person who might not have the ability to properly care for the pet. That’s where therapy dogs can help. Using a therapy dog service will allow the opportunity to enjoy the love of a dog without having to provide full-time care. Pet therapy has been shown to improve mood, decrease feelings of loneliness and even lower blood pressure. For help finding a therapy dog in the Winston-Salem area, contact Elite Canine.

Volunteer. Getting out of the house is the first step in fighting loneliness, but it helps to have a purpose. Volunteering is a great way to bring a sense of purpose to your life. There are many different organizations in the Winston-Salem and Greensboro area that are looking for volunteers. Consider looking into programs at the local library, the hospital, or your neighborhood school. Volunteering can be as easy as reading with an elementary school kid for half an hour a week or eating lunch through the Lunch Buddy program.

Take a Class. Just like volunteering, signing up for a class gives you a reason to get out of the house. It’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends, which leads to more opportunities for socialization. Whether you’re interested in finding a new hobby or want to improve on a skill, classes are a good way to learn new things, bringing added benefits of keeping your mind sharp while combatting loneliness. For help finding a class that interests you in your area, call the people at the Senior Resources of Guilford or Senior Services in Winston-Salem.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep your loved one safe and happy.

Stay Sharp by Managing Your Blood Pressure

blood pressureThere are many reasons to follow doctor’s orders in managing your blood pressure, the most common of which being to help prevent heart attack and  stroke. But researchers have found a new reason for avoiding high blood pressure. Using MRI scans of the brain, doctors have been able to detect  early signs of brain damage caused by high blood pressure. This damage is the type that has been linked to strokes that contribute to Alzheimer’s  disease and other forms of dementia.

This is just one more way “the silent killer,” as high blood pressure is often labeled, can affect a person before outward signs of disease are detected. A person may have high blood pressure for years before showing signs of dementia. Therefore, it’s important to control your blood pressure to lessen the impact on your body, helping stave off dementia before it fully develops.

Tips for Controlling Blood Pressure

The suggestions for controlling blood pressure sound simple and are guidelines most people are familiar with. But when it comes to the day to day  practice, it can sometimes be hard. Below we’ve listed the common tips for controlling your blood pressure, along with some ideas to help make these a regular part of your lifestyle.

  • Follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to taking your blood pressure medicine. If you don’t take it regularly your blood pressure can get out of control. Keep medicine in a place where you will see it to remember to take it at the same time every day. Also, set up a prescription refill service with your pharmacy so you never run out.
  • Exercise regularly. Keeping your weight under control is one of the best ways to control blood pressure. Find some people to walk with or go to exercise classes with you to help make exercise more fun.
  • Eat a diet low in sodium. For people with high blood pressure, the recommended daily sodium intake should be 1,500 mg a day or less. Stay  away from processed food as much as possible. And be aware of foods that contain high amounts of sodium but don’t even taste salty, like bread, condiments, deli meat and pizza.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol can not only raise blood pressure, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medicine.

If you or someone you love is suffering from signs of dementia, call Piedmont HomeHealth. Our professionals are able to provide respite care and help  with the daily responsibilities to help maintain good health.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep your loved one safe and happy.

Book In-Home Care Services for Alzheimer’s & Dementia Patients

Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder, and the most common form of dementia. According to experts, over 60% of dementia patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And because the symptoms of this condition worsen over time, patients with the disease need around-the-clock care.

If your aging parent or family member is diagnosed with this condition, you must make sure they receive the kind of care they deserve.

However, before we discuss how to offer that much-needed care to Alzheimer’s patients, let’s explore the condition a bit further. It’s a degenerative disease that’s common at age 65 and older. However, this doesn’t mean that Alzheimer’s doesn’t occur in younger age groups. In the early stages of the disease, it can be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms without a professional. If you’ve noticed a drastic change in the behavior of your aging family member in the last couple of months, you should take them to a reliable doctor to determine the cause.

Here Are Some Common Signs And Symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

  • Short-term memory loss that affects routine life
  • Relying on family members to remember dates and events
  • Difficulty completing daily activities like doing dishes, bathing, toileting, meal preparation
  • Trouble in planning and problem solving
  • Difficulty finding correct words to communicate thoughts
  • Challenges in understanding visual images
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Social withdrawal
  • Misplacing things frequently at home, or other places

Since short-term memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of this condition, it’s important that you have someone at your home who can look after your aging parent. And since they can’t perform their daily activities independently, hiring in-home care services from a reliable agency is the best option to give them the care they need.

Benefits of In-Home Care For Alzheimer’s Patients

Consistent Care From Senior Care Experts

When you book in-home care services from an established and licensed agency, your aging parent or relative will receive constant, quality care in their own home. A well-trained caregiver with experience in working with Alzheimer’s Patients will set both you and your loved one at ease.

In-home caregivers understand how important consistent care is for improving the lives of those with this condition, and in-home caregivers keep that in mind each time they arrive to assist your family.

The Caregiver Builds A Strong Relationship With Your Loved One

There is little doubt that in-home caregivers are very compassionate. They understand the challenges your loved one faces, and tailor the support they give to their specific needs. In fact, caregivers often form beautiful relationships with the family members they assist, making sure to provide for their emotional needs as well. Your family member will have someone who they can confide in and rely on, even when you can’t be there.

Your Loved One Lives a Dignified Life

In-home care gives an opportunity to your loved one to live a dignified and independent life. With the help of a caregiver, they can easily perform their routine activities, giving them the satisfaction of living the kind of life they used to enjoy.

In-home Care Promotes Happiness

Adults they tend to become more attached to their homes as they grow older. That attachment makes the idea of having to move out to seek care highly undesirable. But with in-home care, they get the support they need and the independence and happiness they built for themselves, all right in their living room.

Individualized Care

Every patient that suffers from Alzheimer’s has unique needs, Relying on an in-home care agency that tailors their services to the individual needs of your family member

Each patient suffering from Alzheimer’s has unique needs, and improving their quality of life means meeting every aspect of their care. So, consider relying on an in-home care agency that tailors their services to meet the individual requirements of your loved one.

Nothing is more precious than parents and family in this world, so you must give them the finest care when they need it the most. Just as your parents used to do for you.

Get a Workout without Leaving Your Seat

yogaYou know how they say you’re never too old to learn new things? The same holds true for exercise. You’re never too old to get benefits from regular  physical activity. In fact, being active has many positives for older adults, including:

– Maintaining a healthy weight
– Improving stability and flexibility
– Reduce the impact of illness or chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
– Improves sleep
– Improves mood

With all those benefits, it seems only natural that older adults would want to exercise. But there are actually a few roadblocks in the way keeping the  elderly from enjoying regular exercise. One of those is the fact that as we age, our bodies tend to slow down. We just don’t have as much energy as we did in our 40s, or even our 60s. In addition, the very health problems that could benefit from regular activity might actually be keeping you from  exercising. The aches and pains of arthritis makes it hard to get moving, congestive heart failure might make it hard to breathe, and swollen feet and legs from diabetes are a challenge. Also, many older adults who have never been part of a regular exercise routine might not know where to start.

In order to encourage you or your loved one to get more active, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help get you started.

Look into classes designed specifically for seniors. The Healthwise program for Forsyth County offers free exercise classes throughout the county. The Greensboro Parks and Recreation department has classes designed for seniors, including a balance class and chair yoga. There are also many options available and private gyms throughout the Triad. Signing up for a class helps provide a little motivation to get you up and going.

Check out exercise videos on YouTube. Make good use of that tablet your grandchildren gave you for Christmas and do some workouts from the  Internet. There are plenty of places to find chair exercises and chair yoga, such as Do You Yoga, which offers six poses to get you started, and the 15-Minute Senior Workout by HASfit. Exercising from a chair can help reduce risks of falling and help you feel more stable. Surprisingly, you still receive good health benefits, including improved strength, balance and flexibility.

Start an accountability partnership with a friend. Whether you know a group of people who would like to be more active, or you just have one friend you can count on to help you stay on task, reporting in to someone can help you maintain your exercise program. You’re less likely to skip your workout to watch the Price is Right if someone is there to make sure you keep going.

As with any new activity, it is important to check with your doctor before starting a new program. Make sure you are healthy enough to do the exercises you would like to do. Once you have clearance, find a class or set up a schedule, and get going. You’ll feel better and improve
your quality of life, all with just a little extra activity.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep your loved one safe and happy.

Working on an End of Life Plan for Loved Ones with Dementia

dementiaEnd of life plans are an important for everyone to discuss, and documents including a healthcare proxy and living will are as important as your financial will. Talking about your wishes with a loved one has many benefits, including ensuring that your wishes are respected as well as
helping relieve the guilt and anxieties a loved one might feel when they have to make those decisions.

It’s a tough conversation for everyone, but for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their family members, the issues are even more complicated. Dementia is unique from the standpoint of advance directives in that it progresses slowing, leaving people in different states over different periods of time.

After experiencing end of life situations with many of his own patients and witnessing how ill-prepared family members often were, Barak Gaster, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, wrote a form to help people suffering from dementia with end of life planning. It takes into account the three different stages of dementia — mild, moderate and severe, helping guide the person in making decisions for each stage based on their own personal values and desires. The Dementia Directive Form has four options for each stage of dementia care:

1. Exclude the use of breathing machines and resuscitation.
2. Prolong life as long as possible.
3. Receive care only at home.
4. Receive palliative care only.

It is important to have this discussion as soon as a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As hard as it is to talk about, the sooner the better, while they are capable of discussing the issues. The personal desire for type of care might vary from one stage to another. For example, someone with mild dementia might ask to receive care that prolongs life as long as possible, whereas once a person has progressed to the severe stage of dementia where quality of life is not what it used to be, they may wish to exclude the use of breathing machines and resuscitation.

There are many resources available to help facilitate the conversation needed to fill out the dementia directive form. The Conversation Starter Project is dedicated to encouraging people to start having end of life conversations at the kitchen table, rather than in the ICU. The organization’s website is full of useful tools, including a starter kit designed for loved ones of someone recently diagnosed with dementia.

Locally, you can get help from GotPlans123.org. This organization is a partnership between Hospice & Palliative Care Center, Novant Health, Rowan Hospice & Palliative care ad Wake Forest Baptist Health. The purpose is to educate and provide support for families throughout the Triad region as they deal with end of life planning. In addition to a thorough website, the group holds workshops throughout the region where you can go to learn more about end of life planning and how to get started and go about it.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s never too soon to start having the end of life discussion. And as care options come up for discussion, remember that our exceptional staff of caregivers at Piedmont HomeHealth can help you navigate through the stages of dementia. We can help you stay at home if that’s what you wish, without overburdening your family and loved ones.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep your loved one safe and happy.

Occupational Therapy’s Benefits for Seniors

therapyApril is Occupational Therapy Month, and here at Piedmont HomeHealth we wanted to take time to celebrate this very beneficial service. Many of our clients have benefited from sessions with trained occupational therapists, whether it be just one or two sessions or ongoing treatment.
By sharing some of the benefits, we hope more people will become aware of the advantages of occupational therapy, and how it can help enhance the quality of life as we age.

Occupational therapy is a profession that focuses on helping people of all ages do things they want and need through daily activities. Occupational therapists work to promote health and prevent, or help people live better with, injury, illness or disability. For older adults, occupational therapists can bring benefits such as:

Recommending Home Modifications. Something as simple as replacing a toilet with one that’s taller or adding grab bars to the shower can help reduce pain and help avoid falls. An occupational therapist is able to assess your living situation and make recommendations that will help you live easier and safer.

Assistance for Everyday Tasks. For people suffering from arthritis or mobility issues, something as simple as taking a bath or getting dressed can be painful and time consuming. Occupational therapists can provide tips to make these tasks more manageable, as well as exercises to improve range of motion and lessen pain.

Support for Memory Loss. There is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, but with therapy many patients show improvement in symptoms. Occupational therapists can help patients and their caregivers adapt to memory loss and provide tools such as simple crossword puzzles to
engage the brain, signs around the house for people who are disoriented, and techniques for caregivers working with clients who might suffer personality changes.

Occupational therapists take a holistic approach to health and lifestyle. That’s why you’ll see recommendations for things on the practical side, like figuring out the proper height for grab bars in the shower or increasing the lighting in your home to prevent falls. But they also provide exercises to help strengthen the body for you to continue performing daily tasks, and look at safety issues concerning low vision or driving habits. The goal is to help you live your life to the fullest, and often occupational therapists are instrumental in helping elderly people remain at home rather than having to move to an assisted living facility.

Our nurses and caregivers at Piedmont Home Health are always excited to work with occupational therapists to help our clients improve their quality of life. To learn more about the profession, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association site, where you’ll find resources and tip sheets.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep your loved one safe and happy.

Take Up a New Hobby, It’s Good for You

gardeningWe’ve all heard the old cliché “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The saying is popular because many times the older we get, the more set in our ways we become. But the truth is, learning something new has many benefits.

Help ward off dementia. Learning something new is good for the brain. Of course it helps add to the amount of things that you know, but exercising your brain is also a way to help ward off dementia. Whether you’re learning a new language or picking up Sudoku, you’re keeping your brain active.

Increase social opportunities. Many times, having a hobby can lead you to groups of people who share your interests, which gets you out of the house and gives you the chance to make new friends. Things like Master Gardener groups, quilting or knitting groups and book clubs are fun and good for the brain.

Keep you Occupied. Often, people who are working into their 60s will say they’re worried about retirement. The idea of days filled with empty hours can be daunting. But just think about how many times in your younger life you longed for time to pursue your interests. Now is the time to take those up, and having something to do that you look forward to is a great way to improve your mental health.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to choosing a new hobby as a senior. For people interested in the arts, look into creative hobbies such as quilting, knitting, performing in the community theater, playing an instrument, or taking up painting. There are academic pursuits that can expand your horizons, from book clubs to learning a new language. You might even be able to audit a college course at a local campus. There are many colleges and universities in Greensboro and Winston-Salem that offer this type of opportunity.

There are even hobbies you can pursue at your own home, such as cooking or gardening. Maybe you’ve cooked for years in a practical way to feed your family and that doesn’t seem interesting. Find new ways to make it exciting, like learning more about making pastries or studying up on a
different culture’s cuisine. For help in finding local resources and groups of people with similar interests, check out some of these organizations.

Piedmont Quilters Guild
Master Gardeners: Guilford County, Forsyth County
Community Theatre of Greensboro

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep everyone safe and happy

Heart Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

heart healthyFebruary is American Heart Month, a time set aside to focus on heart health and encourage healthy lifestyles, a designation that is important as heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. In the United States alone, there are more than 610,000 deaths a year, and that number is only expected to grow.

In the effort of doing our part to bring awareness to heart disease, here at Piedmont HomeHealth we wanted to talk about one of the things everyone has control over that can help reduce the risks of heart disease — diet. Having a poor diet and being overweight are two factors that contribute to heart disease complications and death.

For seniors, paying attention to the foods we eat is important, in part because as we age, our bodies have a need for fewer calories. That means it’s even more important that what we do eat be good for our health. Here are a few things to incorporate into your overall diet in order to eat in a more heart-healthy way.

Reduce sodium intake. We all know this is easier said than done. Almost everything we eat that is processed or packaged contains sodium. It’s important to read nutrition labels to know just how much sodium you’re taking in each day. The recommended amount is 2,400 mg per day, but
reducing it down to 1,500 mg is even better for controlling high blood pressure. Reducing the amount of processed foods you eat is one way to lower sodium intake. You can also try cooking with less salt by substituting herbs and spices to season your favorite foods.

Cut back on added sugars. Sodas are one of the most popular culprits of added sugar into our diet, but did you know even things with a reputation for being “good for you” can be loaded with added sugars? Take a look at the nutrition label on a container of your favorite yogurt one day, and you might be surprised. Simple steps such as cutting back the amount of sugar you put in your coffee or looking for canned fruits in natural juices rather than syrup can help improve your diet.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. This is important for so many reasons, in addition to being good for your heart. Fruits and vegetables contain the vitamins and nutrients important for seniors, who need more calcium and Vitamin D than younger adults. They’re also a good source of fiber. Check out our list of local farmer’s markets to find some good places to stock up on local fruits and vegetables. Buying in season makes them even better!

For more ideas to incorporate healthy eating habits into your diet, check out EatRight.org, which has great resources for seniors.

At Piedmont HomeHealth, we are committed to helping everyone in the Winston-Salem area and Piedmont Triad region live a healthy, independent lifestyle. If you or a loved one is in need of help with meeting these goals, whether it’s making healthy meals or getting to the doctor, give us a call today. We’ll be glad to talk with you about our options to help east your worries.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep everyone safe and happy

Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults

in home care ncThe first days of 2018 brought record-breaking cold temperatures for North Carolina, with a few consecutive days when temperatures didn’t go above freezing. While that was somewhat unusual, it’s not unusual to have some cold days in the winter. Here in the Piedmont Triad, we’re used to roller-coaster- like changes in the weather, especially during the winter months. One day you might have bright blue skies and frigid cold temperatures thanks to an arctic blast from the north, while the next day will bring highs in the 50s and lots of drizzle as moisture creeps up from the Gulf. But through it all, winter is pretty chilly, whether the temperatures are below freezing or not.

For the elderly cold temperatures aren’t just something to talk about, they can actually be harmful to your health. The reason is that as we age, our bodies become less adept at maintaining body heat. Decreasing muscle mass, a thinning layer of body fat, and slower metabolism all factor into a decreased ability to stay warm. In addition, some diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease, can also make it harder for a body to stay warm.

Most of us know to protect ourselves when venturing outside in cold weather. All those times when we were kids and our mothers reminded us to put on our hat and gloves make an imprint on us. But for the elderly, it’s important to stay warm inside the house as well as outside. The dangers of hypothermia are real, and you can get too cold even when indoors.

If you’ve ever been to visit your elderly parent and felt like you were going to break a sweat because the heat was up so high, that’s probably a good thing. It’s important to keep the house or apartment warm, not only because older people’s bodies don’t retain heat as well but also because they’re not very active, and sitting around is when you feel colder. Inside temperatures should be at least 68 degrees or higher. If you’re worried about high utility costs, you can close off the rooms you’re not in during the day, and put a rolled up blanket at the door sill to keep the cold air out.

Other things to consider are dressing in loose layers. The space in between the layers of clothing will help insulate you and keep you warm. Also be sure to wear socks and shoes to keep your feet warm, and use those decorative throws to keep your legs warm when watching TV or reading in your favorite chair.

Eating good meals three times a day is another way to help your body keep warm. Body fat is important, and warm foods like soups and stews can increase your warmth and provide comfort at the same time.

Most importantly, be aware of the signs of hypothermia, so if you or your loved one is starting to become too cold you can seek medical attention. These include:
– Slowed speech
– Shivering
– Cold feet and hands
– Drowsiness
– Pale Skin

Here at Piedmont HomeHealth, we are concerned about the safety of our clients and all older citizens at all times, but especially during the extreme cold and extreme heat of the winter and summer months, when the weather can adversely affect health. If you have an elderly loved one, be sure to check on them this time of year to make sure they are keeping warm and safe.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep everyone safe and happy

Finding the Right Wheelchair for Your Aging Parents

piedmont homehealthMost of us take for granted the ability to walk from the couch to the kitchen and back again, many times during the day. But what if you have balance issues with aging, and walking a few steps makes you dizzy or at risk of falling? Or what if walking even short distances has you winded and tired?

For the elderly, mobility issues are common. In a study done by the National Institute of Health, finding showed that more than a quarter of adults over the age of 65 had difficulty walking a quarter of a mile, and 17 percent couldn’t do it at all. That’s just 600 steps.

If you or a loved one is having trouble getting around, it might be time to think about a wheelchair. Whether self-propelled or power, wheelchairs can help with sustaining an active, independent life.

Manual or Power Chair
Wheelchairs have come a long way in the past 10 years or so. Manual wheelchairs are light and easy to fold up, making them not only easier to maneuver but convenient for taking in the car when going out on errands. Power chairs have also seen advances from the models of years past.
Today’s chairs are more lightweight and powerful, and come in various style. You can choose a rugged style if you’re planning to use it outdoors, to ensure the chair can easily travel on bumpy sidewalks or grass fields to watch a grandchild’s soccer game. Or you can go the opposite route
and get a light-weight, foldable chair for ease of use in traveling.

Overall, the biggest consideration when deciding between manual or power is deciding what it will be mostly used for. Manual chairs are good for everyday use indoors, for people who have difficulty walking or are at risk of falling. A lightweight chair is great for someone who has the
ability to propel themselves forward. Power chairs are more useful for outdoor trips or travel.

Getting the Right Chair
When choosing a wheelchair, it is important to take measurements to ensure a proper fit. You will want to have your parent or loved one sit in a kitchen chair, and then measure their hip width, the length of their thigh, and the length from their knee to the ground. When shopping for a wheelchair make sure to look for:
– Good cushions and support
– Removable arm and leg rests
– Anti-tipping devices

If you’re in the market for a power wheelchair, you will want an occupational therapist to help make sure you get a chair with the perfect fit.

Making the decision to get a wheelchair can be a big one. Some people might look at it as admitting to weakness, when in fact it is a great tool to help improve quality of life. Use these tips to help find the right chair, and help your loved one enjoy a newfound independence.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep everyone safe and happy.

Helping Those with Alzheimer’s and Helping Find a Cure

home careNovember is National Alzheimer’s Disease awareness month, a designation made official by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Since that time, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has grown from under 2 million to over 5 million, and the number is growing every day. By talking about the disease, educating people on the symptoms and supporting caregivers, in this month and every month, we can help improve the quality to live for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.

More than three decades after Reagan acknowledged the importance of raising awareness of the disease, we have come a long way in understanding it better. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, much progress has been made in researching the disease and finding new treatments to help lessen the symptoms, thanks in part to a growing awareness.

 In the 1990s new drugs became available, such as Aricept, to help treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to research begun as early as 1983, these drugs help prevent the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that is important for memory and thinking. New treatments are constantly being trialed to find even better drugs for treating Alzheimer’s.

 New diagnostic tools are being used for earlier diagnosis, including genetic risk profiling and brain imaging techniques.

 New types of therapy, such as the storytelling program at Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, help patients and families learn better ways to cope with the disease.

 Just this summer, researchers discovered “tau tangles” in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient, which could ultimately lead to a new era of drug design for the disease.

All of this news and the continued research into Alzheimer’s brings a lot of hope to everyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s in their family. But we realize that the possibility of a cure that is probably still years down the road is of little comfort for those facing the challenge now. That’s why it’s important to reach out. In addition to celebrating how far we’ve come, it’s just as important this month to show your support for the caregivers. Reach out, offer your time, and be there for the caregivers to talk to and share their struggles.

If you are currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, know that you are not alone. Here at Piedmont HomeHealth, Inc. we see the effects of Alzheimer’s face to face every day. We have many clients who are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s, and we’re here to help. Everyone at Piedmont HomeHealth is fully trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and we do our best to continually stay educated on the latest treatments and caregiving strategies.

Contact us, or call Piedmont HomeHealth today at (336) 724-1197 to see how we can help ease your burden, and provide the support needed to keep everyone safe and happy.

Caregiving Made Easier Through Apps

piedmont homehealthIf you’re a caregiver for an aging parent, you know there is a lot to keep track of. From healthcare directives to doctor’s office visits, medication lists and vital signs, making sure your parent is following the doctor’s orders is important, but remembering everything and keeping track of all the papers and files can turn into a full time job. It gets even more complicated when you’re sharing the responsibilities with other family members or care providers. Everyone needs to be on the same page as far as the type of care given, but how do you keep the lines of communication open?

Of course, traditional means of communication are still important. For the case workers here at Piedmont HomeHealth, it is an important part of our daily care that we talk with a client’s family and communicate any issues or concerns we may have. There are also those tried-and- true avenues of communication such as phone calls or leaving notes. But with today’s advances in technology, there are new ways to communicate and track health care instructions and physical changes and symptoms, many of which can be shared with caregivers and family members so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what is being done and what needs to be done.

Here are a few of our favorite apps to help everyone keep track of important papers and instructions, as well as tracking vital signs and providing reminders for appointments and medications.

Stay Organized
My Medical (iOS)
Use this app to keep track of your personal medical information, track and chart test results and vital signs, and set reminders for appointments. A couple of good features with this app are the ability to sync with your mobile calendar for tracking doctor’s appointments, and the ability to have certain information accessible without a password for emergency medical professionals.

CareZone (iOS and Android)
Another comprehensive record-keeping app, this allows you to organize medications lists, contacts, and other important information. With a built-in journal, you can track symptoms, notes from doctor visits, and changes in medicines. Share updates easily and privately with family members and caregivers.

My Directives (iOS)
Keep your DNR and other health care directives available on your smartphone or tablet. This way they’re easy to access wherever you might be.

Track Your Vitals

Keep track of blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and glucose measurements with these apps. Data entry is relatively easy, you can share the information with family and caregivers, and seeing your vitals over time provides a good look at how your medications and other preventative measures are working. Blood Pressure Monitor – Family Lite and Glucose Buddy Diabetes Tracker are just two of the many apps available for this type of tracking.

Manage Prescriptions

Medisafe Meds and Pill Reminder (iOS and Android)
Enter all your medications into one app that will keep track of when you need to take them and provide alerts. The app has the ability to add a friend, so caregivers and family members can help with staying on track.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide.

A Focus on Healthy Aging

piedmont home healthSeptember is Healthy Aging Month, and we here at Piedmont HomeHealth wanted to take a moment to support this observance. The official observance was started about 20 years ago by Carol Worthington, directory of Healthy Aging, as a way to promote the positive aspects
of aging and encourage older adults to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being.

Maintaining good health as we age is important for many reasons. Healthy people have stronger immune systems, making it easier to fend off viruses and other illnesses. And we all want to be strong and healthy enough to play with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to enjoy hobbies and even travel in our retirements.

We talk a lot in our blog about ways to maintain physical health as you get older, from staying up to date on vaccines to eating a diet full of the important vitamins and minerals to maintain health and immune systems. But something else Healthy Aging Month strongly promotes is positive thinking as you age. Everyone gets older, it’s a fact of life. But the way you approach the aging process has a lot to do with your own mental health and attitude.

Here are a few ways to help maintain a positive attitude and good mental health:

Try Yoga. Any exercise is good for the mind and body, whether it’s walking or playing tennis with your friends. But to really focus on the mental part of exercise, think about giving yoga a try. The meditative aspects help center you, and can help with grief, depression and anxiety. Find some short videos to try at Yoga for Seniors.

Stay Connected. We all love the bonds we make with family, but we also have to remember that our children and grandchildren have busy lives of their own. Friendships, important at any age, are just as important for seniors. If you find yourself alone more often than not, it might be time
to reach out. Join a bridge group, start going to activities at a senior center or look for a book club at your local library to join. Our area has great resources for social activities for seniors, through Senior Resources of Guilford and Senior Services in Winston-Salem.

Talk with your Pastor or Counselor. Grief, loneliness and depression are all things we deal with some time or another in our lives, and as we age it may seem these feelings come up more often. Don’t ignore your feelings. Find someone you trust to talk things out, to help get through the tough times.

Be Positive in Your Conversations. It’s been over 50 years since Norman Vincent Peale wrote The Power of Positive Thinking, but his message rings true still today. The more we complain, the worse we feel. If you catch yourself having negative thoughts or complaining about how things are, pause, take a break, and find a way to look at things in a new light.

In addition to these suggestions, working with Piedmont HomeHealth can go a long way in helping maintain healthy aging practices. By having someone stay with you a few hours a day, you not only have someone there to keep you company, but their assistance can help you continue living the lifestyle you prefer, at home and independent.

If you or a loved one is ready for qualified help during the day, feel free to give us a call at 336-724- 1197.

Vaccines: Make Sure You’re Covered

vccinesWhen you talk about vaccine schedules, it’s easy to think those are something you only worry about for infants and young children preparing to go to school. As adults we’re long past the age of regular shots at our check ups. But keeping up with vaccines is important for people of all ages, and there are some specifically targeted toward older adults that can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and improving your quality of life.

In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month celebrated each August, we at Piedmont HomeHealth wanted to highlight some of the important vaccines for older adults. Vaccines are an important tool in not only helping people contract a disease, but also in helping prevent the spread of disease. Take, for example, the flu vaccine. If you choose not to get vaccinated and happen to get the flu this winter, you could also then share your germs with others who might also get the virus. That’s why vaccines are not only good for the individual, but for society as a whole.

Here are the vaccines older adults should be up to date with:

Flu: Every fall you hear the encouragement to get your flu vaccine. This one needs to be updated every year, and the CDC recommends getting your shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available, usually by the end of October. Of course, you always hear of people who get the vaccine but get the flu anyway. This occurs because the vaccine is designed to protect against the viruses that research shows will be the most common in the upcoming flu season, but unfortunately they can’t protect against every strand. The important thing is to be as protected as possible.ly they can’t protect against every strand. The important thing is to be as protected as possible.

Pneumonia. Unlike the flu shot, the vaccine for pneumonia is a one-time deal recommended for people over the age of 65. However, your doctor might recommend a booster after 10 years. This vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from getting pneumonia, but it does lower your chances, and older adults are at the greatest risk of serious infections or even death after contracting pneumonia.

Shingles: Anyone who’s ever suffered the pain and discomfort of shingles is thrilled to learn about the option of a vaccine. Shingles is a sometimes painful rash caused by the same virus as chicken pox. Anyone who has had chicken pox could have the virus lying dormant, and therefore run the risk of having it break out as an adult through shingles. This vaccine is approved for anyone over the age of 50, but the CDC recommends getting the vaccine after the age of 60 as it protects a person for about five years. And even if you’ve had shingles, you can still get the vaccine to help prevent future outbreaks.

Tetanus. While you’re at the doctor getting up on your vaccines, you should look into a tetanus booster as well. It’s recommended to update this vaccine every 10 years. The vaccine protects you from contracting the tetanus, a bacterial infection that is common in dirt and manure, and
can infect a person through cuts or deep wounds.

Honor National Immunization Awareness Month and call your doctor to make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Enjoy Farmer’s Market Season for Good Eating!

home health care winston-salemIf it seems like as you get older you’re just not as hungry as you used to be, it’s probably true. As our bodies age there’s a decrease in metabolic rate, combined with less physical activities. Yet at the same time, it’s important to get the necessary nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Older adults need more calcium and Vitamin D than in their younger years, as well as at least 21 grams of fiber per day for women and 30 grams for men.

A great way to keep getting those important vitamins and minerals in your diet is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. But maintaining this healthy diet can be challenging for a number of reasons. First, it is sometimes inconvenient to cook homemade meals for just one person, or even two. Especially if you just don’t eat as much food as you used to. And second, it can be frustrating to buy fresh fruits and vegetables only to have them spoil before you get to use them all up. Grocery stores often package food in family-size amounts, such as a head of lettuce, a pound of carrots, or a pint of strawberries.

That’s where farmer’s markets come into play! Thanks to the personalized service at many markets, you can ask to purchase half a head of lettuce, or find someone willing to cut a cantaloupe in half or a watermelon into quarters.

Leafy, green vegetables are a great source of calcium, but who wants to buy a whole pound of kale? Farmers bringing their goods to market will often have kale, spinach, and other greens available to purchase as much or as little as you need.

Plus, you get the added benefit of a little exercise while walking around. And the conversations to be had at the farmer’s market are well worth the time!

Here in the Triad we’re lucky to live in an area where fresh produce is grown practically year round, and farmer’s markets abound. Here are a few to try out, check for one that’s in a neighborhood near you.

Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Located right off Interstate 40 in Colfax, plan to do some walking when you go to this farmers market. A large covered area hosts farmers from across the region, many offering samples. Open year-round, Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. Located off Yanceyville Road, this market is known for its local food offerings, as well as home-baked goodies, crafts and more. Open year-round on Saturdays from 7 a.m.-12 p.m., And from April 19-Dec. 20 on Wednesdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Fairgrounds Farmers Market. Locate on the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds complex, this is Forsyth County’s longest running source for locally raised fruits and vegetables. There are also vendors selling things such as flowers, handmade baskets and other crafts, jams, jellies, honey, and more. Open year-round, Saturdays, 6 a.m.-1 p.m.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Planning for Financial Stability – Financial Planning isn’t only for the Young

home health care winston-salemThroughout your 30s and 40s, financial planning is a big topic. From human resources meetings at work to information at the bank, everywhere you’re bombarded with information about savings accounts, 401Ks, Roth retirement accounts, etc. That’s the stage in life where you want to make sure you’re putting enough money away in your retirement account so that when you finally get to the age you can retire from work, you’re able to live the lifestyle you’d been dreaming of. For some people that means travel. For others it means starting a new hobby. For still others, it might mean having security and long-term health insurance to remain independent.

Whatever your retirement goals, you want to be sure you have the money set aside to afford them, and to live comfortably in the style you prefer. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to financial planning after retirement:

  • Remember to adjust for inflation. You may think you have enough saved up, but the cost of living is always on the rise. Don’t neglect that when deciding how much money to use each year.
  • Go over your will and estate plan every year. Things change, especially in families. You’ll want to make sure your will reflects any changes such as divorce or death.
  • Think about long-term care insurance. It’s not a topic most of us want to plan for, but it’s important to be prepared. Did you know that long-term care insurance will cover at-home care as well as nursing homes and assisted living facilities?
  • Protect yourself and your money by being aware of scams. Phishing and telemarketing scams, as well as Medicaid/health insurance scams target seniors. Being aware of what these are can help protect your assets.

Financial advisors are a great resource to help with financial planning in your pre-retirement years. But the need for their help doesn’t go away just because you’ve saved the money and retired. Sure, the money’s now there to do what you’ve dreamed of. But you want to make sure it will last. And you want to make sure you have what you need to live comfortably and independently for many years to come. That’s why it’s important to continue to work with a financial planner.

At Piedmont Home Health, we often see clients who rely on family members or friends for financial advice. This can be great in some instances, but with many issues you might want professional advice to make sure your financial future is secure.

If you’re looking for a financial advisor for yourself or your loved ones, here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Look for someone who is experienced with advising retirees and planning for long-term care needs.
– Talk with them or conduct a short interview to make sure you can communicate well and have good rapport. Financial decisions can be emotional, so it’s important to trust your advisor.
– Ask potential advisors what services they provide and what their approach generally is, to make sure their values line up with yours.
– Ask about fees and whether they have a minimum net worth or income requirements.

For help finding a financial planner, check out these sites:

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. This site has a locater tool, plus tips for financial planning. Veterans Beneficiary Financial Planning.

Choosing the Right Walker: Making the Choice for Increased Mobility

piedmont homehealth

For many seniors, the key to staying home is continued mobility. Being able to get up to go to the bathroom is important, but so is getting out to the grocery store or just making it from one room of the house to another without worrying about a fall. When mobility starts to become an issue, many people will look toward investing in a walker for a little extra support. But how do you know which type of walker to buy, and what should you look for?

Types of Walkers

Standard: These walkers have four legs, each with a non-stick, rubber tip on the end. Standard walkers provide the most support, but can be tiring if used for long distances because they have to be picked up.

Wheeled: You will see standard walkers with wheels on the front two legs, but you can also find two- or four-wheel walkers in a more modern style, with a padded seat built in. Walkers with wheels are less stable than a standard walker, but they are better for uneven surfaces and will help the user get around at a quicker pace.

It is helpful to talk with your doctor or physical therapist about which walker is best for you.

Purchasing a Walker

Once you have decided what type of walker you need, there are some things to look for when making that purchase.

– Grip: You can choose a traditional plastic grip, or foam or soft-grip covers. The softer grips are helpful if your hands get sweaty to keep from slipping. Choosing the right type and size of grip is important because it can put more stress on joints if you’ve got one that is uncomfortable.

– Height: Each walker’s height is adjustable. A walker should come to your wrist when you’re standing up straight, and your elbows should bend at a 15-degree angle when you lean into it.

– Weight: This is an important factor if you’re expecting to use your walker a lot outside of the house. Look for one that you can easily lift into the trunk of a car. There are even foldable walkers that make it easier to transport from place to place.

Choosing the right walker for you is just the first step. Learning how to use it properly is the next important priority. If you are already working with some of our talented staff at Piedmont Home Health, they can help you get adjusted to life with a walker. You’ll be surprised how liberating it can be.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Healthy Habits are Important at Every Age

home health care winston-salemWe spend most of our lives making an effort to take care of ourselves so that we’ll live longer, healthier lives. So by the time we’re 80, if we want to have a bowl of ice cream for supper, why not go for it? At Piedmont Home Health, we understand the need for some rewards in life. But we also understand the importance of maintaining healthy habits throughout your entire life. Keeping up with things like regular doctor visits, good nutrition, and daily exercise can help you feel better, mentally and physically, so that you enjoy your time with your friends and family.

Here are a few things to keep on your schedule and in your daily routine. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Vaccines. These shots aren’t just for babies. The CDC recommends everyone get the flu vaccine every year. In addition, if you’re over 60, you should also get the shingles and pneumonia vaccine. Check out the CDC’s recommended schedule for more details.

Regular Screenings and Doctor Visits. Preventative medicine is there for a reason. If you catch something early, it’s much easier to treat. Make sure to keep your regular doctor visits, where they can keep an eye on your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. And don’t forget those trips to the dentist! Poor oral care can lead to life-threatening illness including heart disease and stroke.

Well-balanced diets. Sure, ice cream for supper once in a while is okay. But it’s just as important in your senior years as it was earlier to have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You might not need as many calories as you did when you were younger, but make sure the calories you are eating are full of good nutrients that will help you fight off illnesses, manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, and keep you feeling energetic for your daily activities.

Stay active. Regular exercise can help prevent or delay many diseases, and is often used as treatment for things such as arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes. Exercise can also help improve balance and help people who have difficulty walking. An added benefit is that if you sign up for a class, like water aerobics or Tai Chi, you also get a chance to socialize with other people, another boost for your mental health. Check with the Senior Resources of Guilford or Senior Services of Forsyth County for classes available in your area. Or just get outside and take a walk!

There’s no better time to take advantage of our area’s walking trails than in the spring. Here are a few of our favorites:

Tanger Family Bicentennial Gardens
Greensboro Arboretum
Latham Park Greenway
Bethabara Greenway Trail
Silas Creek Greenway

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

End of Life Planning: Get the Conversation Started

home health care winston-salemDo you know what you want the doctors to do if you were in a coma? Or how your treatment should proceed if you have a terminal illness and can no longer make decisions for yourself? And if you know, do your loved ones? The truth of the matter is, most of us avoid making plans for those end of life situations. After all, no one wants to think of getting sick and dying. But in our experience here at Piedmont Home Health, everyone benefits when a person’s wishes are made known. It not only helps bring peace of mind to the person making the plans, but can also help ease the stress and burden placed on loved ones when those situations occur.

It’s never too early to have the conversation and draw up a health care power of attorney, a health care agency document and a living will. If you’re ever in a serious accident, have surgery or get a serious illness, you will need these documents. And if you’re helping care for an aging parent or loved one, be sure they have these documents on file with their primary care physician.

Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started:

1. Talk about your favorite hymns. Hymns and prayers are often a part of memorial services. Start out with asking your loved one their favorite hymn, and why they like it. Then offer your favorites, and mention you would like them at your funeral. It is relatively easy to work the conversation from making wishes known about a funeral service to talking about other things like life support and power of attorney.

2. Let Hollywood help. Watching a move together might help introduce the topic. The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, is a good one to try. Labeled both a drama and a comedy, the plot follows two men who escape from a cancer ward for a last hurrah-type road trip.

3. Use real-life examples. You might say, “Remember how hard it was for Aunt Susie’s kids to decide whether to agree to a feeding tube or not?” Remind your parents about the stress of that situation, and use it to show how planning ahead and having the conversation early can help keep a bad situation from becoming worse.

Once you’ve had the conversation and have some clear plans laid out, it’s time to create the documents and get them on file. We’re lucky to have a great resource in our area, Got Plans. This organization not only has a wealth of information on their website, but they also conduct workshops around the Triad to help people get started with making end of life plans. You can also talk with your caregiver from Piedmont Home Health, who will be glad to get you the information you need to get all your affairs in order.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Is Dementia the New Heart Disease?

home health care winston-salemAfter years of building awareness and educational outreach on the effects of heart disease, the nation has seen a great reduction in heart disease since the 1960s.

That is great news. But it led to another interesting finding. As people live longer, and maybe healthier lives without the risk of dying from a heart attack, there are other things that will begin to become a greater problem. One of these is dementia.

Memory loss can be hastened by failing hearing or degenerating neurons, things that naturally occur as people get older. It can also be caused by clogged or hardened arteries.

There are different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy Body dementia. The symptoms vary, but over-arching symptoms of dementia include:

– Memory loss
– Trouble recalling events or recognizing people and places
– Trouble finding the right words
– Problems planning and carrying out every-day tasks
– Trouble controlling moods or behaviors.
– Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. There are many medications that can help with reducing symptoms associated with dementia. It can also be challenging as a caregiver for a person with dementia.

Here at Piedmont HomeHealth, we understand what you’re going through. You might need help or support to continue to give your loved ones the best possible care. Our staff is fully trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and we take great pride in our compassion and patience with each and every client.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Top Apps for Seniors

home health care winston-salemWe often think that technology and seniors don’t mix. Even Apple has poked fun at itself in a German commercial highlighting the idea that older generations often don’t know what to do with technology. In the commercial, a woman gives her father an iPad, and he proceeds to use it as a cutting board before putting it into the dishwasher. But a lot of times seniors are ready and willing to learn about new technology, especially if it enhances their lives. And it’s not as foreign as you might think, many seniors retired from careers where they were using computers and other forms of technology in their daily life.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of apps that are helpful or fun for seniors And with these loaded on their tablet, maybe Papa won’t be putting the iPad in the dishwasher!

FunBridge (Apple and Android). Bridge is a card game that’s as much social as it is about the cards, but with this app you don’t have to have a foursome present in order to play.

Solitaire. There are plenty of solitaire games out there, this is just one. Kids might like playing Subway Surfer and Angry Birds, but card games are more appealing to the older set, and a great way to help them get comfortable to using a tablet.

Pandora or iHeart Radio. Load one of these on your tablet, and you can listen to music from the 40s or 50s without having to worry about switching out CDs or hoping an “oldies” radio station will play the songs you love.

Magnifying Glass Flashlight. Forget having to keep up with reading glasses. This app allows your device to enlarge print on anything.

Pillboxie. This app not only helps you remember when to take your medicine, it also has images so you know you’re taking the right pill.

These apps are not only useful and fun, they can be a great way to encourage interaction with your loved ones. After all, you have to spend time teaching them how to use the device and showing them the features on each app. It’s a great way for grandchildren and even great-grandchildren to connect with their family.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Maintaining Independence

home care winston-salemAccording to the CDC, incontinence affects about 50% of Americans age 65 and older. Due to its prevalence, many people assume that incontinence is just a normal part of the aging process. But incontinence isn’t an isolated issue. Older adults suffering from incontinence may also find themselves isolated and depressed. In fact, there is a direct correlation between incontinence and depression. For many people, having an accident in public is highly embarrassing, and in order to avoid a chance for that type of incident to occur, people suffering from incontinence end up staying home, becoming less social, and therefore becoming depressed.

Understanding the Options

The key to avoiding the pitfalls of incontinence comes in understanding the nature of the issue and seeking treatment, rather than allowing acceptance.

There are four types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence: Leakage occurs when exercising, sneezing, coughing or laughing.
  • Urge incontinence: A person has a sudden need to urinate and can’t hold it.
  • Overflow incontinence: urine leaks for a bladder which is always full. This can be from an enlarged prostrate, or an effect of diabetes or a spinal cord injury.
  • Functional incontinence: Arthritis or another medical issue makes it hard to get to the bathroom in time.

For all four types of incontinence, there are treatments available. Some people find great help in behavioral therapies, which includes a schedule for going to the bathroom. There are also exercises that can help strengthen bladder control, medicines to control symptoms, and even surgery as an option.

Also, improved incontinence products are helping older Americans avoid the social isolation and depression linked with incontinence. Products that look and feel like underwear make people feel more comfortable going out in public even if there’s a chance of an accident. There are even services that can deliver these products to your door, to avoid the embarrassment of making purchases at the store.

Don’t Let Incontinence Keep You Home

At Piedmont Home Health, our priority is helping our clients lead healthy lives and continue to participate in activities they enjoy as long as they are able. Sometimes that includes helping clients understand their incontinence symptoms and learn ways to manage or treat them.

We also understand that many children with elderly parents might feel uncomfortable dealing with the effects of incontinence as their parents age, and that’s where our services can be of help.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.


Sleep Changes and the Elderly

home health care winston-salemGetting a good night’s sleep is important at any age. Sleep affects our mood, our immune system and our physical abilities, and interrupted sleep or not enough sleep can hurt all three of those. Many people assume that as you get older you need less sleep, but in fact the amount of sleep a person needs as an adult doesn’t change with age. The problem is that as we age it becomes harder to fall asleep, and we experience an increase in sleep fragmentation, waking up more often to use the bathroom or side effects of medications.

It is also true that circadian rhythms change as we age. Just like teenagers tend to want to stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning, for elderly people the rhythm changes to falling asleep in the early evening and waking up very early in the morning.

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

The good news is, the key to getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t change as you get older — the recommendations are the same. For most people, paying attention to good sleep hygiene helps improve the quality of sleep. This includes:

  • Sticking to a regular bed time and wake time
  • Creating a bedtime routine or ritual, such as brushing teeth, dimming the lights and reading
  • Staying away from caffeine for at least 6 hours before bed
  • Avoiding napping in the afternoon
  • Reducing use of alcohol and nicotine

Another way to help improve sleep is practicing relaxation techniques. Activities such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation [https://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf] can help a person reduce anxiety and clear the brain to fall asleep.

Be Aware of Medical Issues

If you or a loved one is experiencing insomnia or trouble sleeping, trying the above techniques can be a first step. But it is important to realize there might be physical conditions that get in the way of sleep, such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea or GERD. These issues are often treated with medication.

It is important to discuss your sleep habits with your physician, and find the treatment or plan that is best for you.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Ease Arthritis Pain with Walking in Winston-Salem

Arthritis affects over 50 million people in the United States and Winston-salem, and it is a common complaint among many of the clients of Piedmont Home Health, for good reason. According to the CDC, an estimated 49.7 percent of adults 65 years old or older reported doctor diagnosed arthritis from 2010-2012.  Luckily there are some things you can do to help ease the symptoms, and walking is one of them. Getting regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and strengthens the muscles around the joints, both of which help lessen arthritis pain. Experts recommend walking 30-60 minutes every day, but if you can’t get out every day, try for at least three to five days a week. Before you start a walking routine, check with your doctor to make sure it is okay for you.

Walking Tips

  • Wear good shoes. Make sure your shoes have good support and traction, so you won’t slip.
  • Find a buddy. Your Piedmont Home Health caregiver is a good walking buddy, or a friend who also needs to exercise. It’s not only safer to walk with someone else, it helps you stay motivated to get out there.
  • Stretch before and after. The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease program has a lot of videos with stretching exercises. It also provides a mobile app to track your progress.

Where to Walk

There are a lot of great places to walk right here in our own area, rain or shine, any day of the year!

Hanes Mall – Malls aren’t just for shopping! This is a great place to walk when it’s cold or rainy. Check out the mall walkers profiled in Forsyth Family.

Greenways – Winston-Salem is blessed with beautiful greenways just waiting to be explored.

City trails  – Whether you want a short track that’s quick and easy or something a little longer for more of a challenge, you’ll find just the right place to walk among Winston-Salem’s many walking trails.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers

home health care winston-salemIt is hard to watch our loved ones age. As our parents get older and are able to do less on their own, needing assistance to drive to the doctor or the grocery store, and help remembering when to take what medications, often the responsibilities of helping them get through the tasks of daily life fall on the children. But what if you are a child who doesn’t live close to your parents? It is a situation that is not uncommon. Whether for marriage or career, many of us end up living our adult lives miles away from where we were raised as children. Or maybe your parents decided to move somewhere new in retirement, leaving them more than a few miles’ drive from your home and family.

It is important to remember that just because you don’t live nearby doesn’t mean you don’t care. There are many ways to be a part of the caregiving process for elderly parents, even when you can’t be there on a daily basis. Here are a few ways to help stay involved:

  • Offer to take over the paperwork. Keeping up with the bills, taxes, and other administrative type duties of a household is something that can easily be done from a remote situation. Talk with the caregiver who is with your parents on a regular basis to see what you can take over to help ease their burden.
  • Make sure you have contact information. It is important for you to have the pertinent phone numbers and contact information for the pharmacy, doctors, caregivers and friends who visit your parents regularly, and stay in communication with them on a regular basis to remain well-informed about your parents’ health.
  • Plan your visits in advance. Sometimes it might feel that when you do get a chance to visit, your time is filled up but you don’t get anything meaningful accomplished. Planning can help. Talk with the primary caregiver before your visit to ask what tasks you could do to give them a break. Also talk with your parent to find out what they would like to do with you, and make that a priority, rather than trying to do everything in one visit.
  • Communicate regularly. You might not be able to show up in person each day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate daily. Consider getting your parents a smart phone, if they don’t already have one, and teach them how to use Skype or Facetime. This is a good way to say hi, but also for you to see their faces and have a better understanding of how they are doing.
  • Find support. It is normal for a long distance caregiver to feel frustrated or guilty. Knowing you are not alone is a great way to find encouragement. Look for a local support group of other long distance caregivers to help with the stress and anxiety of being away from elderly parents.

For many long distance caregivers who don’t have another family member able to step in a care for their parents, finding a trusted home health professional is a big piece of the puzzle of caring for loved ones. If you are looking for help caring for a parent in the Winston-Salem area, contact us at Piedmont Home Health. We are here to give your loved ones the compassionate care you would yourself, and we know the importance of regular communication and working with family members to ensure continuity of care.

If you would like to learn more about the nutrition needs of older adults, or the services provided Piedmont Home Health, call us today at 336-724-1197.

Nutrition Tips for the Elderly

home care winston-salemHave you ever wondered why many restaurants have a kid’s nutrition menu as well as a senior citizens’ menu? That’s because as you age, your body needs fewer calories. The average calories needed per day for a moderately active adult drops by 200 after age 50. But often times, people age 65 and older won’t feel as hungry, which is their body’s way of naturally regulating their calorie intake.

Even if you or your loved one doesn’t feel like eating, it’s important to encourage them to eat healthy meals to maintain good nutrition. Eating a good variety of healthy foods helps provide the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain healthy bones, muscles and organs. And good eating habits can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your meals:

– Constipation may affect up to 20 percent of those aged 65 or older. Therefore, it’s important to eat plenty of foods rich in fiber, including apples, raisins, whole-wheat bread, broccoli and lima beans.
– Older adults need at least the recommended daily allowance of calcium and more than the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D to maintain bone health. Drinking Vitamin D fortified milk is a great way to ensure this.
– Many people over 50 have reduced ability to absorb B12, so look for foods that are rich in B12 to supplement your diet. These include lean meat, fortified cereals and some fish.
– Adults over 50 without kidney disease or diabetes need about 70-100 ounces of protein per day. This can be found in a variety of sources including dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, and red meat.

It is also very important to drink a lot of water. As we age, our bodies are prone to dehydration because we lose some of our ability to regulate fluid levels and our sense of thirst may not be as sharp. It is recommended people over 65 drink water with meals and sip water every hour to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation and confusion.

Helping your loved ones continue to eat a healthy diet is one of the services we provide through Piedmont Home Health. Our Meal Preparation Services include supervised cooking, help with meal preparation, help cutting food or assisting with eating, and help getting to the dining room in a retirement establishment. Any help with meal preparation is customized to fit each client’s needs.

If you would like to learn more about the nutrition needs of older adults, or the services provided Piedmont Home Health, call us today at 336-724-1197.

Health.gov [http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit/olderadults/OAnutrition.htm]
Helpguide.org [http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/eating-well-as-you-age.htm]

Support for People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and their Caregivers

home care winston-salemOn March 6, this country mourned the loss of Dementia & Azheimer’s sufferer and former First Lady Nancy Reagan. In her 94 years, Nancy Reagan made quite an impact on the world, living a life many of us only dream of. She started off her career as an actress in Hollywood, where she met the charismatic Ron. But that was only the beginning of a life in the limelight, serving by her husband’s side as he became governor of California and later president of the United States. And she wasn’t a wallflower during those times either, participating in many important campaigns, including the popular “Just Say No” to drugs campaign she helped make famous.

But it was in her later years Nancy Reagan faced what might have been her greatest challenge, which was caring for her husband as he faced the effects of Alzheimer’s. When he was diagnosed with the disease in 1994, he said, “I only wish I could spare Nancy from this painful experience.”  As anyone who has cared for someone with Alzheimer’s knows, it can be painful to watch a loved one suffer from this debilitating disease. But as with everything in her life, Nancy faced it with courage and a stoic demeanor that served to inspire others. She not only cared for her husband, but also worked to raise money for research on Alzheimer’s and helped support legislation to allow stem cell research.

The Reagans’ willingness to talk about Alzheimer’s disease and the effects did a lot to bring awareness to this disease, not only for the people diagnosed but for those who care for them. Here at Piedmont Home Health, we understand that caregivers need support as well as the patient.

If you or someone you love is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, make an appointment with your doctor right away, as early diagnosis is important. Then call us at Piedmont Home Health, for help with caring for your loved ones in a manner that will help them remain independent, safe, and secure as long as possible.

Early Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the normal aging process and the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Here are 10 early signs and symptomsto help you make the decisions necessary for your loved one.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgement
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood or personality

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.


The Importance of Making End of Life Planning

home health care winston-salemAll our lives, it seems like we are constantly planning for the future. When we’re young, we work hard in school and make plans to attend college or start a career. We get a little older and make plans to save up for a home and start a family. Then there are savings plans for retirement and dreams of what we will do when we are no longer tied down to having to go to work every day. All of those things are somewhat easy to plan for. It’s the naturally progression of life, we know the future is coming whether we like it or not and it’s always good to be prepared. But there is something else that’s extremely important to plan for, and it’s something many people put off — end of life plans. These documents, such as a living will and power of attorney, clearly state how you want your healthcare to progress if you can’t speak for yourself, and who you want to make those decisions. End of life planning gets put off because people don’t like to think about dying. But we all want to make sure our final days are met with dignity and in the atmosphere that we envision.

In our work with clients who are dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or meeting the challenges of terminal illnesses, we see every day the stress that these progressive illnesses can bring, and the toll it can take on our client and their family. Having all of your end of life plans in place, having had the discussions with your family members and loved ones and being clear that everyone is on the same page with how things should go in the event that a person can no longer make decisions for themselves, can take some of that stress away. We are lucky to have some wonderful resources in our area to help you with the process of having these discussions and getting your living will and power of attorney in order. Here at Piedmont Home Health, we often refer people to the services provided by Hospice & Palliative CareCenter. They have a well-educated staff who can help you with what you need even if you are not a patient of hospice at the time.

There are also some wonderful resources available at the website, GotPlans123.org. Created through a partnership between Hospice & Palliative CareCenter, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, this project includes a website with information about how to start the discussion of end of life planning and create the necessary documents, as well as workshops that are conducted around the Triad to help people in the community with the task of making end of life plans.

This is an important process for everyone, and something that should not be put off until it is too late.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Team Member Spotlight: Wendy Bowman, Client Service Manager

home health care winston-salemWendy started working for Piedmont HomeHealth, Inc. as a CNA in 2013. After a just a few months with the company, her skills in understanding other people’s personalities and their likes and dislikes led to her moving from a position as a caregiver to working in the office. Today, Wendy takes care of matching up caregivers with clients and handling all of the scheduling & services, well as answering phones and doing all the work necessary to keep the office running.

“I’m really good at getting to know people,” Wendy says. “I’m always interested in learning more about a person and listening to their stories. It’s part of what led me to this job in the first place, my love for working with the elderly and listening to all they have to tell about life and their experiences. But now I get to put that to use, learning about our own caregivers and their strengths, and using that to match them up with a client where we hope they will build a great relationship.”

While Wendy spends her week in the office, she hasn’t let the patient care aspect of her job go totally. She can often be found filling in when needed on nights and weekends for our team of CNAs, helping out when someone needs some time off or has to take care of an emergency. “I love the opportunities I get to go out and work with clients,” Wendy says. “Not only is it fulfilling to me, to be able to help other people, but it gives me a chance to get to know them better, more than I can get from reading their care plan.”

A native of the Triad, Wendy is proud to be part of a hometown team. Born and raised in Germanton, she and her family now live in Tobaccoville, making Winston-Salem and its surrounding areas as much home to her as it is to our clients. Together with her husband and their two daughters, ages 15 and 10, the family enjoys being outdoors, whether it’s hiking Pilot Mountain or taking trips to the mountains and the beach, enjoying all of what North Carolina has to offer.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Our CNAs Make the Difference

home care winston-salemWhen you invite someone to come into your home, whether it’s to help you rehabilitate from a surgery or to provide extended care to an elderly loved one, you want to be sure that the person is qualified and trustworthy. At Piedmont Home Health, we understand exactly what you’re looking for. As a family owned company, we make sure that everyone who works for our company is someone we would feel comfortable with in our own family.

Therefore, while an up-to-date CNA license is an important criteria in our hiring process, it’s not the only one. Through the interview process we talk with each CNA and get to know them, learning before we even hire them if their personality is the right fit for our team. We make sure our CNAs are honest, caring and dependable, the three pillars our company has been dedicated to for over 45 years.


When you invite someone into your home,  you want that person to be someone you can trust. Honesty is a top priority for us when hiring CNAs, because we know our caregivers will be inside our clients’ homes on a daily basis. Honesty is important in communicating with family members as well as how caregivers present themselves in all interactions throughout the day. We do background checks on all our employees, but our commitment to honesty goes beyond that. We do our best to assess character during the interview process, knowing that we wouldn’t hire someone we don’t fully trust in our own home, with our own family members.


Above all, when it comes to finding someone to care for your loved ones, you want them to provide care with the same compassion and tenderness that you would yourself. When hiring CNAs to serve as caregivers for Piedmont Home Health, compassion is high on the list of character traits to look for. After all, our tagline says it all, “We keep your heart, at home.” Our top priority is making sure our clients feel loved and cared for, and the best way to do that is through compassionate caregivers. It’s one thing to possess the skill set to get a CNA license, it’s another thing to truly care about the people you are with on a daily basis. Our caregivers always  put the client first, and their compassion comes through from day one, helping create a bond between caregiver and client that’s almost like family. Patience is another trait we look for when hiring caring CNAs. When you are caring for someone who is elderly or not functioning at full capacity, sometimes things can be challenging. We know it’s important to have a wealth of patience to get through the challenges and stress that comes naturally with a long day on the job one-on-one with a client.


Being on time for an appointment, showing up when you say you will, and concentrating on the task at hand are all important traits for any person, but especially so for the caregivers at Piedmont Home Health. For many of our clients, the time with a caregiver is the highlight of their day. Being there when you say you will not only shows you respect that client, but also provides a sense of stability and security that many of our clients crave. We make sure our team understands just how important it is to be a trustworthy, reliable person the client can count on, no matter what.

We are proud of our team of 134 CNAs, and appreciate the work they do every day caring for people in our community and making sure their clients are safe, healthy and happy. “Everyone at Piedmont Home Health is very patient-focused, with their main goal being to do what’s best for the patient,” says Wendy Bowman, client service manager. Honest, caring and dependable — we don’t just state it, we live it.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Taking Depression in the Elderly Seriously

home health care winston-salemGetting old can be tough. Many elderly people have outlived their families, their spouse, and sometimes even their children, leading some people to feel lonely and sad. People over age 65 are also more likely to suffer from side effects of multiple illnesses and the medications used to treat them.  Because of these factors of aging and others, many people just assume depression is a normal state of mind for the elderly. In fact, a survey by Mental Health America found that 58 percent of people aged 65 and older think it is normal for people to get depressed as they get older. And while it might be normal to feel sad, anxious or alone sometimes, clinical depression is not a normal state of being for the elderly. It is a mental illness that should be addressed, with therapy and/or medications.

Warning Signs

Many of the symptoms of depression for the elderly are similar to that of the general population, but there are a few that are different. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression so you can help your loved one seek help if needed.

  • Memory problems
  • Vague complaint of pain
  • Delusion
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Not being able to concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling sad or “empty”
  • Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all

Getting Help

If you are worried that a loved one is suffering from depression, there are ways you can help.  Invite him out for walks and other activities. When you visit, take time to talk with them, offer support and listen to their concerns carefully. It is also important to seek help from a doctor or counselor. There are many good medications that can be helpful in treating depression, and counseling sessions are a good way to help provide an outlet as well as give coping techniques. If you’re already working with one of our caregivers from Piedmont Home Health, you should share your concerns with them as well, and together you can find the right type of treatment for your loved one.

It’s especially important to be aware of the signs of depression during the holiday season. That time of year is hyped up to be one of joy and happiness through the media and retail industry, but for many people it is a lonely time full of grief and sorrow. With your help, and the help of qualified caregivers from Piedmont Home Health, we can help our elderly friends find relief from the grip of depression.

Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Fall Prevention for Older Adults

home care winston-salemAccording to the CDC, fall prevention is important and one out of three people over the age of 65 falls each year, but less than half report their fall to their doctor. Of those people who do go to the doctor, about 700,000 a year are hospitalized, and 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling.

Many people think that fall prevention concerns is just a part of aging, but falling in and of itself is not a normal part of the aging process. Often, falls are a symptom of one or more underlying risk factors. As the number of risk factors rises, so does a person’s chance of falling. Risk factors include: muscle weakness; blood pressure that drops when you stand up due to dehydration, certain medications, or diabetes; vision impairment; confusion and feeling disoriented; and loss of balance due to arthritis, lack of exercise or neurological problems.

How To Prevent Falls

To help prevent falls, you can take steps to address some of these underlying causes, as well as make sure your loved one’s home is free of barriers or hazards. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Exercise more often. There are good classes and videos geared toward older adults, such as Tai Chi for Seniors.
  • Get regular eye exams and keep glasses prescriptions up to date.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements with calcium to strengthen bones.
  • Keep clutter off the floor and stairs.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom shower and beside the toilet.
  • Install railings on both sides of stairwells.
  • Be aware of side effects of medications.
  • Tack down all area rugs and make sure carpet is secure.
    Concerns? Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.


Caregiver Spotlight: Patricia Buie

home health care winston-salemPatricia Buie has a real passion for helping people and being a caregiver. It was obvious to others when she worked in customer service for the telephone company, where she always was willing to take time on the phone to talk people through their problems and make sure they were being taken care of. Her skills were under-utilized at that job, so when her friends talked her into going back to school for her CNA license, she decided it was worth a try.

“When I got into school and started taking classes, I realized this was something I really wanted to do,” Patricia says. “I know some people work for the money, but in this job, it’s more than just a pay check to me. I see a need and feel like maybe I’m making a difference in someone’s life. Patricia has worked with Piedmont Home Health for six years, and in that time she’s had three clients. Each time she begins working with someone new she enjoys the opportunity to get to know that person and become a part of their life.

“You really form a personal bond with that person, and the time you share with them is so special,” Patricia says. “I work really hard to take care of the people I stay with, and they learn to depend on you and count on you. I’m with them as much, if not more, than their own family, and it’s like they become family to me.”

We’re glad to have Patricia as part of our own family at Piedmont Home Health as well.To find out more about what we offer and how we can help, call 336-724-1197 or send us a message. We’ll be glad to find someone as passionate about helping others as Patricia to help your own family.

Is it just Forgetfulness? Early Warning Signs of Dementia

piedmont homehealthWe’ve all heard someone jokingly say, after forgetting an appointment or losing their keys, “Oh no, I must be getting Alzheimer’s.” For those of usein the medical community, we know this is no laughing matter. But we also know that everyone forgets things once in a while. It’s just a fact of life. Your brain is focused on one thing while you’re doing another, and all of a sudden time goes by and you can’t remember what it was you were doing, or where you left something. Being forgetful can often be attributed to fatigue, or just trying to do too many things at one time. But if you or a loved one is suffering from memory loss that disrupts your daily life, it could be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. How do you know the difference? Here are a few of the early warning signs of dementia to look out for from the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Forgetting recently learned information.
  • Forgetting important dates or events.
  • Trouble with solving problems, including things like reconciling a checkbook or following a recipe.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks, such as remembering the rules to a favorite game.
  • Confusion with time or place.
  • Not just losing items, but losing the ability to retrace your steps to find them.
  • Changes in mood or personality.

Being at a loss for a word while having a conversation, forgetting what day it is, or missing someone’s birthday are all typical occurrences for many of us. It’s when things progress, to the point where the memory loss affects daily life that it is important to get something done. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your family doctor. There are many benefits to getting an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Research shows that the medication used to treat Alzheimer’s and/or dementia symptoms has better results when used early in the disease process. An early diagnosis also allows you more time to plan and participate in activities.  Treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol and poorly controlled diabetes is also important, as is stopping smoking and keeping to a healthy weight. These factors all contribute strongly to vascular dementia, and may make Alzheimer’s disease worse. Medications for other conditions can be reviewed, in case they are having a negative effect on how well your mind is working.

At Piedmont Home Health, our staff is specially trained in care for Alzheimer’s and/or dementia patients, and we know how important it is for the caregiver to have some help while caring for a loved one.

Contact us, or call (336) 724-1197 to learn more about the services we provide. It might be just what you’re looking for in terms of caring for your loved ones.

Caregiver Spotlight: Sandra Barton

You could say that Sandra Barton, a caregiver for Piedmont HomeHealth, Inc., is in her second career, but in reality it’s as if she finally found her passion in life. For 25 years she worked for BE Aerospace. It was a good job while she was raising her children, and after the company went through pretty massive layoffs, she stayed in the airplane seat manufacturing industry for a few years. But Sandra was looking for something a little more meaningful, and when she heard Piedmont Home Health was hiring, she decided to apply. That was nine years ago, and Sandra has been happy ever since.

“This job gives you a real sense of purpose,” Sandra says. “I feel like what I’m doing every day is helping somebody else, and that’s such a great feeling.”

Sandra spends about eight hours a day with her client, but it doesn’t feel like work. “I have been with my client for seven years, and from the very beginning it was like we were kindred spirits,” Sandra says. Both women love to garden and to sew, and Sandra loves to hear stores of what life was like for this 103-year old when she was a young girl. They spend their days talking and sharing stories. They used to work in the garden together as well, but now Sandra does most of the work while her client sits outside with her and gives her advice. “I remember her telling me about how when she was a young girl, her parents and grandparents loaded everyone up in the horse and buggy to go to town to vote for women to have the right to vote,” Sandra says. “Being able to cast her vote is still so important for her, and we are at the polls every election day. It makes me realize just how far we’ve come, even though we still have a long way to go with some things, there are many things we do today that we just take for granted.”

Sandra’s professional care is one of the ways this remarkable 103-year-old woman is able to still live in her own home independently. But it’s the caring, compassionate friendship Sandra brings on a daily basis that makes this more than a job, it’s a relationship.

Send us a message, or call us today at 336-724-1197 to find out more about what we offer and how we can help you.

Helping Veterans Share their Story

piedmont homehealthThe face of Veteran’s Day is changing. Something we’ve noticed over the past few years, when attending various Veteran’s Day events and parades, is that the men and women participating as veterans are younger than we remember from our youth. After our country being involved in a conflict of some sort in the Middle East for over 10 years, there are many young veterans in our midst. But the men and women who fought for our country during WWII, Korea and Vietnam are part of an aging population, and the veterans’ statistics show that. Of the 19.6 million veterans in the United States, almost half (9.3 million) are 65 or older.

That means that for those of us at Piedmont Home Health, we have the opportunity to work with veterans as clients, and we’re proud to serve this strong, proud group of people.

One thing we have learned from our daily contact with veterans in the Winston-Salem area is that they have so many great stories to share about their service, but many of them haven’t had the opportunity to tell their stories. Sometimes they might not want to remember the stressful times and they repress the memories. But we’ve also found that some veterans are reluctant to talk about their time in the military because they feel like it won’t be of interest for people who haven’t shared the same experiences. Of course, we know they couldn’t be more wrong about that!

If you have a loved one who is a veteran, take the time to ask them about their service. Giving them a chance to talk can be a very healing exercise in many ways. It’s also a great way to document part of our nation’s history.

Here are some sample questions from the Veterans History Project to help you start a conversation:

Were you drafted or enlisted?
Do you remember arriving, and what it was like?
How did you stay in touch with your family?
What did you think of your fellow soldiers?
What did you eat?
What did you do when you weren’t actively working or fighting?

You can also ask to see any scrapbooks, photographs or other memorabilia. Sometimes looking at these will inspire even more stories. Remember to take notes so you can remember the stories later. You might want to save them for the rest of your family as part of your family history. You can also help veterans share their stories in a more public forum. The Veterans History Project, part of the American Folklife Center, collects stories from veterans for their database. You can learn more about how to participate on their website. The American Veterans Center  is another place to publish your story.

We all pay special attention to veterans on Veteran’s Day each year, but it is important to remember to honor our veterans and let them know we care every day of the year.

Send us a message, or call us today at 336-724-1197 to find out more about what we offer and how we can help you.



Caring for the Caregivers

piedmont homhealthFor many people who find themselves in the role of caregiver, they are performing those tasks out of love. Whether caring for an aging parent, a partner with cancer, or a sibling with dementia, it is only natural to want to do whatever possible to keep that person as comfortable as possible. But caring for someone who is no longer able to perform daily activities on their own can be stressful, both physically and emotionally.

Burnout for caregivers is a very real thing, and can be physically and emotionally harmful for you, the caregiver, as well as potentially harmful for your loved one. Recently, researchers have applied the Roy Adaptation model, a nursing theory developed by Sister Callista Roy in 1976, to caregiver stress. Roy’s model sees the individual as a set of interrelated systems, and the individual is constantly using those systems to maintain balance with the outside world.

With the Caregiver Stress Theory, the model shows that a caregiver is having to balance many burdens, including stressful life events, social expectations and their relationship with the patient, among others, and the way they balance those burdens will affect their self-esteem, happiness, and physical well-being.

To be at your best, be aware of the signs of caregiver burnout:

  • Changes in weight or appetites, or both
  • Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Trouble getting sleep
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Withdrawal from friends or family
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person you are caring for
  • Feeling irritable or depressed
  • Excessive use of alcohol or medications will affect their self-esteem, happiness, and physical well-being.

If you are experiencing any of these, reach out for help. There are a lot of great support groups in our area, including groups at Senior Services.  You can also find help at many of the churches and counseling centers throughout our area. It is amazing how much it helps realizing you are not alone, and having someone to talk to.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these signs of caregiver burnout, you might also be in need of respite care, or a more intense schedule of care with outside help. If you feel you are overwhelmed taking care of your loved one, we can help. We provide respite care services with qualified, compassionate caregivers. Our services include light housekeeping, grocery shopping, bathing, toiletry needs and medication management.

Send us a message, or call us today at 336-724-1197 to find out more about what we offer and how we can help you.

10 Steps to Senior-Proof Your Home

hero-placehoder-4Have you ever heard someone tell their children, “I changed your diapers when you were a baby so you’d be there for me when I’m old?” It might not always work out that way, but many times we find ourselves in a situation where the roles of the family are reversed when it comes to caring for aging parents.

Remember how you studied up on toddler proofing your home before your first child was born? Your parents did that for you too. Now it’s time to senior-proof your parent’s home, to help keep them safe. But this time, instead of worrying about little fingers going into light sockets, we’re more worried about falls.

According to the CDC, one out of three people over the age of 65 fall each year, and one out of every five falls causes serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries.

Here are a few things to do around the house to help keep your loved ones safe.

  1. Make sure your home is well lit, especially places like halls, stairways, porches and outdoor walkways. If necessary add lighting to these places, with nightlights indoors or solar outdoor lighting.
  2. Create clear fire escape routes, and make sure everyone knows the emergency plans for fire, tornado or earthquake.
  3. Move furniture and electrical cords out of walkways.
  4. Repair any loose carpet or raised areas of flooring.
  5. Install railings on both sides of stairways.
  6. Install grab bars in the shower and on the wall by the toilet.
  7. Put in a raised toilet to make sitting down and getting up easier.
  8. Get a reaching tool to access things on high shelves, to avoid step stools.
  9. If you do need a step stool, make sure it is one with rails.
  10. Make sure all fire and smoke alarms are working, and change the batteries twice a year.

Interested in information on other senior care services? Please call 336-724-1197 or contact us with any questions. We are available 24/7 and would love to help.



Caregiver Resources Help You and Your Loved One

piedmont homehealthFor caregivers dealing with the burden of caring for a loved one, sometimes the hardest thing to cope with is the isolation. You feel like you are all alone, having to deal with the daily tasks of preparing meals, organizing medicines and scheduling doctor’s appointments to the point where your own needs get pushed aside. It is important that caregivers take time to care for themselves as much as they care for their loved one.

Luckily Piedmont HomeHealth can help with providing respite care or home care for your loved ones, giving you time to manage your own life and be with your family.

There are also many great resources in our community to help caregivers in a variety of different ways. From support groups to senior activities, there are some great organizations right here in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area that provide all of this and more.

Senior Services, Inc.

This organization provides help for the elderly or disabled living at home, including Meals on Wheels and the Senior Lunch Program, a help line that provides one-on-one counseling to connect you with the appropriate resources, and a library full of resources for caregivers. This program also runs the Williams Adult Day Center, where elderly can come enjoy a safe, enriching environment with nutritious meals and plenty of activities and opportunities for socialization.

Shepherd’s Center

This faith-based organization provides caregiver training and support group. They also offer activities including Bridge, Tai chi classes, computer workshops and Lunch ‘n Learn events, where participants get the chance to learn a variety of different topics.

DAYBreak Respite Care

Centenary United Methodist Church operates a wonderful day care program on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The church also hosts a caregiver support group that meets monthly and conducts regular workshops and seminars covering issues related to aging.

Mount Zion Senior Life Enrichment Center 

Mount Zion’s center offers a place for flexible adult day care, where you can take your loved one for a couple of hours or for the entire day.

All of these organizations provide wonderful places for you to take your loved one for care, social engagement and other activities, all under the supervision of capable, compassionate people.

Please call 336-724-1197 or contact us with any questions. We are available 24/7 and would love to help.

Welcome to the New PiedmontHomeHealth.com!

hero-placeholder1Here at Piedmont Home Health, we know that appearances are important. A clean uniform on a caregiver bring reassurance and builds trust with our clients. A clean home not only looks nice, but provides a healthy environment for the entire family. And a meal set out on nice dinner plates and a place mat looHere at Piedmont Home Health, we know that appearances are important. A clean uniform on a caregiver bring reassurance and builds trust with our clients.ks more appetizing than fast food left in a paper container. That’s why we decided it was time to reinvent our website. Things change at lightening speed on the Internet, and even though our old site was useful and informative, it had become dated.

We are excited to promote the launch of our new site, and all the great information and resources it has to offer. One of the pages we are particularly proud of is our Senior Care Services page, that highlights the services we offer to help you take better care of your loved ones, and offer respite for the relatives who have been serving the role of caregiver. We are proud to offer a wide range of services, including in-home care, medication supervision, simple meal preparation and transportation to doctor’s appointments and social activities.

You can also learn more about our company in the About Us section. For over forty years, Piedmont Home Health has been providing qualified caregivers to come into your home or an assisted living facility to help with caring for loved ones or even to assist while you recuperate from surgery. We are a family owned business, and proud to live right here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Reading through the staff bios will show just how connected we are to the local community, something we feel brings an added benefit to the services we provide.

Be sure to like us on Facebook to stay up to date with everything that is happening at Piedmont Home Health, and follow this blog for information on healthcare news and the services we provide.