Home Healthcare

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What do about your medication during a disaster

 In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I’ve seen a several Facebook post about the different issues that people have to deal with. One of these issues sparked some curiosity for me. What do you do if you are dependent on medication and disaster strikes? For example I saw online that many diabetic people who depend on insulin which needs to be refrigerated are having trouble since they are without power.
I did a little investigating and since hurricane Katrina when thousands of people were faced with this very situation steps have been taken to try to circumvent a medical catastrophe. Check out the following link which has excellent information on what you can do to prepare and also what you can do in the midst of an emergency.


We often think about food and water and other provisions when preparing our emergency kits but you may not be thinking about your medication…and you need to.

Fireworks and PTSD

It’s Independence Day, and it’s time for BBQ’s, outdoor fun and fireworks!!! Well…fireworks really? Maybe think twice… It’s been a very dry summer for most of us and much of the west is burning up. This week’s Cleanwaste Outdoor blog focused on wild fires since several of the fires around here were caused by a stray firework. If you want to read more on that topic please check our OR blog at http://www.cleanwaste.com/blog/outdoor-blog. For this week’s Healthcare blog however, I would like to shed some light on a totally different topic. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. “Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001923/)

You may not realize it but even though fireworks are a fun time for most of us, they can spark a very bad time for those who suffer from PTSD. The loud and sudden noises can trigger a flashback reaction for many causing them weeks of trauma. Even those who may not suffer from PTSD can have negative reactions to the fireworks ” A couple of weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, police in Albany, N.Y., were inundated with calls -- many from the elderly -- because they thought a village outside the state capital was under attack.”
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2010/07/01/Caregiving-Fireworks-and-PTSD/UPI-28161277972280/

I’m not advocating the ban of fireworks but I think it is important that we are conscious of the fact that both people and animals can react differently to loud noises and fireworks. If you are going to light of fireworks this 4th of July or any other time for that matter, just be conscientious of others. If you would like more information on PTSD check out this link and the others listed above. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/anniversary-reactions.asp

Be safe, have fun and remember what our country stands for and celebrate it!!

Cheers! Marci

Seniors and Fraud

 Fraud schemes targeting seniors are become more and more prevalent. Last year one million cases of elderly fraud were reported, for a total of $2.6 billion in losses. According to the FBI seniors are singled out as targets because they are more financial stable, trusting and less likely to report fraud for fear of being deemed incompetent to care for themselves. Additionally, if seniors do choose to report a crime they often make poor witnesses due to memory issues. Fraud waged against seniors can be very embarrassing and emotionally taxing, as well as, financially devastating.

Fraud schemes targeted at seniors range from telemarketing fraud to health care fraud, cemetery and funeral fraud to identity theft. StopSeniorScams.org offers 5 tips to remember to protect yourself or your senior loved-ones from fraud: 1) If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. 2) When it comes to a “now or never” opportunity, choose “never.” 3) Keep account numbers codes and passwords private. 4) Shred bills, junk mail and receipts when discarding them. 5) Don’t be afraid to report your experiences. If you feel uncomfortable, tell someone.

For more information about current fraud schemes and fraud warning signs please visit the FBI website: www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/fraud#rsbf

Could you be overheating?

It’s finally getting nice out, but along with the warmer, nicer days comes higher temperatures and the possibility of a Heat Emergency. Did you know that children and the elderly are more apt to suffer a heat emergency? Let’s say a 65 year old male is mowing his yard in 80 degree heat. He starts to sweat profusely, and is very thirsty, these are some of the early symptoms of a heat illness. He continues to mow and develops a headache, becomes weak and dizzy, his skin is cool and moist, these are later symptoms of heat exhaustion. He then collapses in the yard, his breathing rapid and shallow, his skin is hot, dry and red, these are some of the symptoms of a heat stroke. Educate yourself on the facts of heat emergencies, learn the signs and symptoms, check out www.healthline.com/adamcontent/heat-emergencies and be in the know! Stay hydrated and go somewhere cool when you feel overheated, simple solutions that could save your life. Have a safe and fun summer!

Memorial Day

The first things to come to mind when I think about Memorial Day are outdoor barbecues with family, fresh summer air, blooming flowers, parades, etc. These are all benefits that we can freely enjoy because of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It is a day to remember and honor those who sacrificed everything so you and I can live freely. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated after the Civil War when the graves of confederate soldiers were decorated by wives and children. In the 20th century, the meaning of the day was extended to honor all fallen soldiers. After World War II, the name Memorial Day started to gain traction. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which moved Memorial Day from the traditional date of May 30th to the last Monday in May. This was done to create a long 3 day weekend. Since then, there have been some complaints that the day is losing its meaning because of the move. The Veterans of Foreign Wars said in a 2002 Memorial Day address, “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.” They make a very valid point, and there are petitions out to move Memorial Day back to the original date of May 30th. Regardless of what date it is, we should always remember that the freedoms we enjoy are not free. A high price was paid by the most courageous. Remember those who have fallen and thank those who have served or are serving.

For more historical facts on Memorial Day visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_day

Let us know your thoughts. Should Memorial Day be moved to the original date of May 30th?

Downsizing Ideas from your Family Home to an Apartment

I recently read this article about downsizing from a large home to a smaller one and thought it might be a good topic to share. As many of us downsize our parents, grandparents, or even ourselves into smaller places it seems an overwhelming task to cull our possessions. In this article from HGTV’s Emily Henderson who is working with seniors at Sunrise Senior Living she gives some very savvy tips to make this task less daunting. Some highlights are:
  • Buy multifunctional pieces - such as cocktail tables that can be stools, and ottomans that can hold storage.
  • Don't have too many contrasting colors, because it makes the room busier and smaller.
  • Keep the clutter down - nothing makes a space look smaller than a bunch of random knickknacks on surfaces.
  • Use your wall space. If you don't have a ton of other areas for accessories, don't forget that you can hang objects that you love in shadow boxes as art on the walls.
  • Consider round or oval furniture to keep the flow more open and airy.
I think I’ll be keeping these in mind as I spring clean even my current home and will definitely be using them when I help my grandmother clean out her house this year.

Happy Mothers Day!

For the full article check out www.kansascity.com/2012/05/10/3604142/hgtv-hosts-decorating-advice-helps.html

Dying with Dignity

 Dying with dignity. Who wouldn’t envision that for themselves? At the risk of broaching an awkward topic – how much are you willing to pay for that? What are you willing to do and not do? Depending on the source, the median net worth of the American at death ranges from $50K-$75K. That’s no one’s definition of great wealth. Related – and more concerning - is in 2009, the average end-of-life expenses incurred during a person’s last 90-days were between $30K-$40K – eating up more than half of a lifetime’s savings that might otherwise go to loved ones.

Prior to World War II, the most common place to die was quietly at home, often by the “physician’s friend” – pneumonia. The costs? Not much. We all know that today intensive care in a hospital can exceed $10K per day. While hospice offers some improvement in environment and cost, passing away at home remains the place of choice for most people. With a little advanced planning – wills, end-of-life care options and final arrangements can help that happen.

End of life planning tools: www.fullcirclecare.org/endoflife/checklist.html

Blogger Profile

“When we are young and again when we are old, we depend heavily on the affection of others. Between these stages we usually feel that we can do everything without help from others and that other people´s affection is simply not important. But at this stage I think it is very important to keep deep human affection.”- The Dalai Lama

My name is Maggi Blessum and I am a graduate of English from Montana State University. I was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. When I turned 18 I left Europe behind to experience Montana and study at the university.

After graduating I began an ongoing search for a job that would be, as they say, rewarding. I wasted no time gaining experience in a colorful variety of jobs such as working as a wrangler for a guest ranch, a donation specialist at a nonprofit organization, and lastly and most unexpected as an activities assistant/caregiver for a local senior community specializing in memory care.

Although the position was temporary and short lived it remains with me to this day as one of the most eye opening and challenging experiences of my life. Having never been exposed to Alzheimer’s before I had no idea what caring for someone with the disease would entail. To be honest I had no idea what caring for the elderly in general would involve. I found myself growing passionate about the spread of awareness of not only this disease but of the trials that caregivers go through on a daily basis.
I am privileged to say that I now work for a company that supplies a valuable product to those who care for the elderly, but I don’t want to stop there. It is my personal mission to create a relevant blog to those working in home healthcare, as caregivers, or who are simply interested in more information about caring for the elderly.

Formerly Phillips Environmental. Same products. Same company. New name.