Category Archives: Faith Community

When Disaster Strikes – Are you Prepared to Care for Your Loved One?

The devastation we are witnessing in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is a reminder that we must all be prepared to care for a loved one, elderly or  disabled neighbor or friend when disaster strikes. Here is a list of 6 basic yet vital precautions that everyone should have in place, especially in the event of a natural or manmade disaster:

Communications Plan

How will you communicate with immediate and extended family members in the event of an emergency?  These discussions should include how to get in touch with neighbors, friends, a loved one’s church or other support systems that are in place.

If your loved one lives in a community setting,  discuss what response and evacuation plans they have in place, including their designated emergency shelters.

Prepare a comprehensive Healthcare and Medication Record that includes but is not limited to:

A healthcare record lists chronic illness, allergies, immunizations, disabilities, doctors and hospitals and emergency contact information (names, relationship and cell phone numbers of family members and/or primary caregivers).

Families can maintain this list on a spreadsheet and share electronically with family members, but also know that a hard copy should be accessible to first responders in  the elderly person’s home.  Placing a decal on the refrigerator door is advisable with all information kept in a baggie or vial inside the refrigerator.  Vialoflife.com is an excellent project and their website has valuable forms, tips and resources.

Have an emergency/escape plan in place

Talk with your loved one about what to do in case of emergency.  Write out simple, clear instructions where it is can easily be read.  If your loved one has any level of cognitive impairment and lives independently, a disaster can cause immediate confusion and anxiety.  In this case,  plans should immediately include receiving aid from someone else.

Emergency supply kits

Three days of food and non perishable food items are advisable to include in case of disaster.  Other items recommended include but are not limited to portable, battery powered radio, flashlight, sanitation and hygiene items, clothing, blankets, cell phone and charger, whistle and photocopies of identification, emergency contacts and healthcare/medication records.   If your loved one has any level of cognitive impairment, make sure food items are easy to open, kits are well marked and simple instructions included.

Plan for pets

Find out what veterinarians and pet services are available to shelter animals in emergencies.  Include in personal information phone and contact information of pet services in the area.

Learn CPR and train on using an automated external defibrillator (AED).  These classes are free and can save someone’s life.  Go to www.redcross.org for training information.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those that serve them.  

www.AGEucate.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is our Score on Practicing Family-Centered Care?

269483We’re all in this together… the tsunami is here and every one of us serving older adults in some capacity should be getting on the band wagon and FAST.   Person and patient centered care must be focused on supporting and educating families.  When family-centered care is embraced it becomes an approach to health care decision making that involves health care professionals and family members.

Dignity and respect are the core value of family-centered care.  Listening to and honoring a patient’s and families values, perspectives and choices bridges communications between healthcare professionals and understanding the wishes of families.  The delivery of quality care under a family-centered model means understanding and honoring the family’s beliefs, knowledge and cultural backgrounds.

The challenge of providing family-centered, patient-centered care in today’s health care system is complex,  especially for older adults  who are living with dementia or chronic illness.   The time constraints to practice family-centered care when health professionals are stretched for time is a very real problem.

Understanding a family’s knowledge of a loved one’s physical and emotional needs are complex, especially if they do not live with them.  At the same time, far too many older adults are entering hospital systems with no family members to advocate for their care.  If their is cognitive impairment it becomes an even greater challenge to treat that patient.

Family-centered care must start with reaching out to families with education and awareness.  Collaboration with private and public sectors, forming community partnerships, community organizations and faith communities – must be a priority as we face the aging tsunami.

The far majority of caregivers are family members, and that is going to increase drastically as more families cannot afford to pay for private care and staff shortages increase.  New and innovative ways to reach families, educate them early and provide support avenues is absolutely essential to improving care for older adults.

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for educating families and those that provide care for older adults.

For more information visit the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care www.ipfcc.org

www.AGEucate.com

 

The “Helper’s High”… Why Volunteering is Good for Your Health

512073Research has shown that volunteering leads to better health and that older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health benefits from their volunteer activities.  Volunteering often leads to what is referred to as a “helper’s high”.

This high leads to increased trust in others as well as increased social participation. Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Aging changes social networks, so older volunteers especially benefit from the physical and social activity and gaining a sense of purpose.  Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health and that older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health bene ts from their volunteer activities.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill

Having just returned from the N4A conference (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging),  I learned that AAA’s rely on more than 90,000 volunteers to meet community needs.  Their “Doing Good is Good for You: Volunteer!” program helps recruit new volunteers and educate older adults about the health benefits of volunteering.

The AAA Stepping Up program offers webinars and assignments for volunteers to serve in their mission of helping older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

The boomers have many opportunities to volunteer, and this is one of many organizations that will benefit, especially as the needs for serving this population and their caregivers rises drastically in the future.  Numerous studies show that volunteering just two hours per week improves cognitive, emotional and physical health.

The future of aging services in this country will rely heavily on the knowledge, talent and care hearts that Boomers and future generations have to offer.  Beyond the health and wellness benefits, volunteering will benefit our communities at all levels from social services, faith based communities and non-profit providers across the spectrum who are partnering together to meet the challenges of our aging world.

For more information on volunteering with an Area Agency on Aging, visit www.areagencyonaging.org/…/volunteer-opportunities

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute, whose mission is to provide transformative change through innovative aging and dementia education  and training.

www.AGEucate.com

The World needs more AGE-u-caters! Are you one of them?

The rapid pace of our aging world is changing the face of every facet of our society from health and long term care, to faith communities and business establishments.  Across the spectrum, issues such as these are at the forefront of leadership discussions:

  • Dementia friendly hospitals – how do we transition as the average patient age increases and cognitive impairment becomes more prevalent
  • Person and Resident-centered long term care – how do we properly train the current workforce and prepare for the shortage that is already upon us and certain to become even more severe in the near future?
  • Families caring for older adults make up the largest percentage of caregivers in the US and the world.  How do we educate, support and provide resources to help them cope with the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual challenges of the caregiving journey?
  • Faith Communities are faced with ministering and caring for their skyrocketing numbers of aging adults, yet often lack the training, staff and volunteers to meet the complex needs of their members and families.  How do they receive guidance and training to help them further their ministry and mission in helping those in need?
  • Age friendly communities, businesses and organizations must have a plan and guidance to successfully meet changing demographics.  Who can help with better understanding the needs of older adults?

Aging educators and trainers work with long term care providers, hospitals, the business community, families, faith communities, and public agencies.  They are trained in a variety of aging and caregiver topics,  whether one is a professional or family care partner, business person who serves an older adult population, or serves either of these groups with public resources.  We call them AGE-u-caters and they are part of our team at the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute!

AGE-u-caters are  seasoned professionals in the aging field, coming from the senior care industry, clinicians, social work or education.  All have a passion to help others by using their skills to train, educators and coach others.  Often they are looking for a career change, recently retired from long term regular employment, or supplementing retirement income or other part time work.

AGE-u-caters are networkers, involved in their communities and continually learning about the aging field.  They are part of a fast growing worldwide network aging advocates in their local and regional communities.

The world needs more AGE-u-caters!  Could you be one of them?

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for aging adults and those that care for them and is leading a fast growing network of worldwide AGE-u-caters who offer innovative and powerful training and education programs – creating transformative change for an aging world!