Focus on: Senior Care in Dover, Somersworth, NH and surrounding areas

Providing care for seniors is sometimes a joint effort between a VNA or Hospice agency and a Homecare agency.

Each of these types of agencies specialize in a certain aspect of care. We often partner with other agencies in our area to provide care for seniors, one such agency is Wentworth Homecare and Hospice.

The professionals at Wentworth Homecare and Hospice provide compassionate Hospice care for seniors as well as home health care for those in Dover, NH and the surrounding area. We partner with them by providing homecare or hospice assistance services for families to have complete senior care for their loved one. 

If you are seeking Hospice care or hospice care assistance in the Dover, NH area consider a partnership between Abundant Blessings Homecare and Wentworth Homecare and Hospice to fullfill your senior care needs. 

 Recently Wentworth Homecare and Hospice held a discussion on dementia with specifics on Alzheimer's. This discussion was conducted by Holly Cande, a transitional care social worker and was held at Mast Landing where Abundant Blessings Homecare has an office and provides homecare services. 

Recently Wentworth Homecare and Hospice held a discussion on dementia with specifics on Alzheimer's. This discussion was conducted by Holly Cande, a transitional care social worker and was held at Mast Landing where Abundant Blessings Homecare has an office and provides homecare services. 

Reading - An Awesome Tool for Caregivers

It’s rare for me to find someone who does not like to read. To be considered an avid reader, one does not necessarily read just novels. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what written words will attract one’s attention. Who hasn’t read the cereal box while noshing that important meal of the day? Ingredients, nutritional value, even where the manufacturer is located seems pretty interesting as we spoon those tiny oat circles into our mouth. Perhaps it’s the daily newspaper that partners with breakfast. Maybe it’s your favorite monthly DIY magazine that you can’t wait to read. As a Caregiver, I’ve seen seniors who read the paper with their morning coffee, browse a magazine with lunch and peruse a novel during the afternoon. I’ve also been a caregiver for seniors who don’t read at all due to lack of interest, poor eyesight or their mind no longer can focus to keep on task.

Reading to Seniors

I would be a lost soul if I could not read. 

To me, reading soothes my troubled spirit when my world is crazy.  I thank God I was never a smoker but I confess I am a bookworm; I am addicted to reading.  I often said to Rich, my late husband, “reading is my cigarette”.  Sometimes I am reading three books at once.  There’s a paperback I keep in the car (waiting in my car for a family member who has run into a store is not boring when I can read – it’s like a stolen moment in time!).  Umm…maybe my pocketbook is on the heavy side because of the novel I carry.  My bedside table always holds at least two to three books – I tend to read according to my mood of the night.  The written word takes my hand and leads me into a land where my stress, troubles and fatigue magically disappear. 

I learned to read in first grade when I sounded out the words in DICK, JANE AND SALLY.  Mrs. Reed, my teacher, let us read if we didn’t ­want to play in the sandbox or with the make-believe kitchen.  She always read to us at naptime – what an awesome way to fall asleep!  Ms. Farrell captured the minds of my peers in fifth grade as she read CHARLOTTE’S WEB on snowy school days.  Christie, my best friend since second grade, shares my love of the written word.  We were both so intrigued with MERRY LIPS by Jean Dixon that we read it many times. That novel was about a little girl who dressed as a boy to get into the colonial Army to find her brother.  I always wanted to own a copy.  About ten years ago, I finally tracked it down online and bought it. Out of print and no longer available in libraries, I felt like I had found a lost treasure.  I wanted my grandchildren to be as intrigued with little Miss Merry Lips as I was. 

In seventh grade, I read GONE WITH WIND, probably twice, and then once a year until I graduated high school (and a few times since).  I smile as I remember the Librarian at Stillwater Central School telling me that book would be too challenging for a 12-year-old because it had so many pages and was for adults. Not daunted, I read every chance I had and would lose myself among the hanging moss trees in the Old South, sashay down the winding staircase of Tara and yearn for a chance to be Scarlet O’Hara – if only for a day.  My love of history was born with the reading of that novel – thank you, Margaret Mitchell.

I also journeyed with Auguste Rodin in NAKED CAME I by David Weiss.  This fascinating novel opened my eyes about a rebellious sculptor from the late 1800’s whose passion was to create true-to-nature sculptures.  Now that was a hefty book that took me more than a few days to read.  I must say that the subject matter was not my “usual read” but it touched the rebel part of my heart and allowed me to identify feelings I hadn’t ever put a name to. That book is on my “must read again” list. 

Caregiving gives me the opportunity to engage seniors in conversations about favorite novels – the ones I enjoy and the books they have read or are currently reading.  It is interesting to hear their comments when I ask questions, such as “what’s the book about?”  I smile at their answers -- “Oh, so and so wants to solve a mystery but I can’t figure out why” or “Not sure, there are too many people running all over the pages who confuse me”.  The important part about seniors reading is that their minds are teased into remembering what’s going on in the book.  They are able to lose themselves, as I do, in the world of others’ imaginations.  They are stepping out of the humdrum of their now less active life and journey with the main character who perhaps has the adventures and lifestyle they once had, or wished they had lived.  I smile when I think about Paul, a senior I cared for a few years ago.  He had the most remarkable collection of literature about Abraham Lincoln, his favorite inspirational man.  Paul often confused what day it was, or what we had done yesterday.  However, his recollection of what the books that lined his den’s bookshelves were about – what era, what deeds were part of Lincoln’s life and what was his favorite part of the book -- was absolutely phenomenal.  Paul would often spend his afternoons lost in the life of Lincoln.  His eyes would shine and his body language reflected his joy when talking about that historical figure.  I believe his collection outshone any local village library’s books about that revered man.

If you are a caregiver for a parent, you have an awesome opportunity to give them a special gift.  Take some time from your caregiving and read to them – as they did to you at bedtime, so many years ago.  Wasn’t it awesome to hear about Peter Pan and his home in Never-Never Land, or laugh at Huck Finn’s trick when he was told to whitewash a fence?  Newspaper print may be too small for your Dad to read about his favorite sports team.  Why not read him the article about the game and then engage in some banter about the sport?  Not only are you engaging in conversation, but you are spending some time with your beloved parent – time that is so precious as their sun begins to set in the land of their life.

I’m about to begin reading THE SHACK to a senior I am presently caring for.  I had been told that novel has been made into a movie that will soon be in theaters.  That book was very, very special to my husband and me.  I had first read it in 2008, and then my husband, at my urging, read it.  It touched our hearts with awesome emotions.  When my husband and I took a road trip from our retirement home in Florida in June 2009, he asked me to read him the book during our drive.  He drove, I read.  He became teary many times as though the words in THE SHACK were touching his very soul – they were.  Unknown to us, this was our last road trip together.  We reached our family in upstate New York and the next day my husband met with his former doctor of many years – Rich was not feeling well.  He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer stage IV and given perhaps a year to live.  I lost the man who was the love of my life, for 43 years, six short weeks later.  When we had driven back to Florida after the diagnosis, my husband shared that he felt God had put THE SHACK in his life to prepare him for his journey to Heaven. 

When I told the senior I care for that THE SHACK was a great book and explained the subject matter, she became very interested.  I asked if she would like me to read it to her (as it is in small print and she can only read large print), she said she would look forward to that.  Voila!  And so, we’ll soon be walking the path in the woods, smelling the flowers and enjoying the warm weather, as we look for the mysterious shack and discover what role that rustic abode plays in the lives of a grieving family.  I will read and she will listen.  Our minds won’t be focusing on the cold, snowy wind as it blows across the lake.  We’ll be listening to the birds singing as we join a man searching for that old shack hidden in the woods.  Perhaps Spring just might come early this year!

 

Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Protect yourself or your loved one

The elderly often rely on others to meet their most basic needs. Statistics tell us that about 9.5% of the elderly population is abused every year. Elder abuse includes neglect, physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. One out of every 14 cases occurs domestically, usually within the victims homes. Abuse also occurs in nursing homes and other facilities. Physical Abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. This can happen even if the motives are good. For example we have seen family members who force there elderly mother into the tub, because she has dementia and would not cooperate. This forcing caused minor injuries. When confronted the family stated they were just doing what the nursing home did.  This is a shocking story, and often how physical abuse occurs. Psychological Abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. What is often just family conflict and strife can easily get out of control and lead to psychological abuse. Financial Abuse or exploitation is defined as the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. A family member, neighbor, friend, even a hired caregiver, anyone who is close to the person can manipulate and abuse them for personal selfish gain. Neglect is defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder, or the failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide necessary care. This can easily happen just by family members conveniently forgetting about their elderly parent. Caregiving is a hard stressful job, rather than properly finding the help that is needed. Ignoring the problem is abuse.

We all have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. If you suspect any form of abuse to an elderly person, it is important for you to report it. The types of abuse discussed above could happen to any of our community’s elders. Without intervention, abuse almost always escalates. Because victims are often reluctant to report abuse, a person’s safety may depend on you to recognize and report suspected abuse. It would be far safer for you to report a suspicion and be wrong, then remaining quiet while abuse occurs. It is important to know that more than two-thirds of elder abuse perpetrators are family members of the victims or close family friends, typically serving in a caregiving role. When elder abuse occurs, it can be addressed – if it comes to the attention of authorities.

If you need to hire homecare assistance, we recommend using a licensed agency rather than hiring privately. Homecare agencies must conduct criminal background checks, and BEAS registry checks. The BEAS registry (bureau of elderly and adult services) is a database containing information on founded reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of incapacitated adults by a paid or volunteer caregiver, guardian or agent. There are individuals with a clear criminal background check who in in the BEAS registry. The NH BEAS registry can be reached at (603) 271-3269. Also, keep in mind; only criminals who get reported and charged have criminal records. Some homecare agencies and nursing facilities conduct pre-hire personality tests. These tests help determine if an applicant has a tendency toward certain types of crime or questionable behavior. 

4 Ways to Prevent Elderly Dehydration + Must-Try Summer Mocktail Recipes

by Dana Larsen

Our elderly loved ones need a little extra TLC during the hot summer months. Find out why dehydration increases with age and get valuable tips on keeping your favorite senior hydrated.

4 Ways to Prevent Elderly Dehydration

Senior dehydration is a common health issue that can lead to bigger problems if proper hydration is not made a priority, such as urinary tract infections and low blood pressure. Proper hydration helps to keep the body and vitals regulated. The University of Chicago Medical Center found that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65.

What Can Cause Dehydration?

There are a number of reasons the elderly are so prone to dehydration:

  1. The ability to notice changes in body temperature typically decreases with age.
  2. As people get older, body water content decreases.
  3. Many medications the elderly take make them more susceptible to dehydration.
  4. The elderly often experience diminished thirst; which leads to a reduced fluid consumption.
  5. With aging, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine and retain water during water deprivation.
  6. Specific conditions, such as reduced swallowing capacity, decreased mobility, comprehension and communication disorders, as well as, decreased mobility and/orincontinence can contribute to dehydration.
  7. Many seniors have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat.

What Health Issues Can Dehydration Create?

combatting elderly dehydration - old woman on her porch

There are some staggering statistics, compiled from The Department of Health, The Hydration for Health Initiative, The Adult & Geriatric Institute, European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, and the  Department on Aging, about dehydration in seniors.

Things you should know about dehydration:

  • Dehydration has been associated with increased mortality rates among older adults
  • Dehydration can accelerate or bring about emergency hospitalization and/or increase the risk of hospital stays
  • Dehydration is a frequent cause of hospitalization of older adults and one of the ten most frequent diagnoses responsible for hospitalization in the U.S.
  • Dehydration has been associated with many elderly health issues, including elderly confusion, impaired cognition, falling and constipation
  • It is estimated that avoidable costs of hospitalizations resulting from dehydration is $1.14 billion, annually

What Steps Can Be Taken To Prevent Dehydration?

Fluid intake is key. Families and caregivers need to be cognizant about risks and plan ahead to make sure aging loved ones are properly hydrated. Here are some tips to help encourage fluid consumption and reduce the risk of elderly dehydration:

  1. Offer fluids on a regular basis throughout the day.
  2. Encourage 8 oz. of fluid intake every time the senior takes medication.
  3. Keep water bottles and/or a water cooler available throughout the day wherever the senior is (for example, in bed, on the patio, throughout the house or at the senior living community).
  4. Provide favorite “mocktail” concoctions (see below for some great recipes) or your senior’s favorite beverages (make sure they’re not caffeinated or alcoholic).

Tasty Recipes To Keep Your Elderly Loved Ones Hydrated

Strawberries and Coconut Water

Elderly Hydration: Strawberries and Coconut Water

Ingredients

To make 2 Strawberry Mocktails combine:

  • 1 cup (250ml) of fresh coconut water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 3 T of sugar syrup or agave nectar

Directions

  1. To make the sugar syrup, boil sugar and water together in a ratio of 1:3 sugar to water until it thickens to a runny syrup consistency. Store in a jar for all future cocktail making.
  2. Measure 1 cup of coconut water, either directly from a cut-open coconut or from a store-bought container (if you are lucky enough to live in an area that sells fresh coconut water in a bottle).
  3. Combine the strawberries and sugar syrup  and blend with a blender to desired consistency.
  4. Serve with ice.

Get more information on making this delicious 

strawberries and coconut drink

.

Cucumber Lemonade with Basil

Combating Elderly Dehydration: Cucumber Lemonade With Basil

Ingredients

To make 3 to 4 Cucumber Lemonade treats combine:

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 3 C water
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 C soda water

Directions

  1. Start by cutting your cucumber in half. Peel one half and cut it lengthwise (you can cut it in half again first if need be).
  2. Scoop the seeds out and chop it into pieces.
  3. Put the cucumber pieces in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Put puree in a fine mesh sieve over a container and push with a wooden spoon or spatula, extracting as much liquid as you can from the cucumber puree.
  5. Fill a separate bowl or container with 3 cups water. Squeeze 2 lemons into the water and mix in the sugar.
  6. Pour lemonade and cucumber juice into a pitcher or serving container.  Slice remaining cucumber half (unpeeled) and remaining lemon and add to pitcher. Add basil, too. Refrigerate until chilled.
  7. Serve with ice.