2022 | Edition 1
As I write this, snow is melting outside my window. By the time you read it, the snow will likely be gone. Nevertheless, we would like to express our great gratitude to all of the caregivers who worked through the recent snow storm to ensure that clients received continued care. Some caregivers stayed long past their scheduled shifts, when their relief was unable to make it in. We are so proud of, and grateful for, your dedication.
The inclement weather was just another example of meeting challenges that are out of our control. In recent years, we’ve faced many challenges, but rose to them with efficient, thought-out, and sometimes creative, solutions.
As we enter another year of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are optimistic for continued strides toward normalcy. We remain hopeful that we might return to an in-person caregiver appreciation picnic later this year, and perhaps join a big crowd at the St. Louis Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
We pray that you are staying safe and healthy, and look forward to another year working together.
Yours in Service,
Kit and Ryan Whittington
5 Tips to Protect Your Eyesight as You Age
Maybe your eyesight is cloudy, or the center of your view is blurred. Maybe you just can’t see as well as you used to.
Some changes in vision are normal as we age. However, there are also eye diseases mainly found in older people that cause vision loss, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
There’s no magic pill to ward off eye problems — but you can lower your risk.
1. Know your odds
Starting at 40, you should have a comprehensive eye exam every 1 to 4 years, depending on your age and risk for various conditions.
If you have diabetes, for example, you’re also at risk for diabetic retinopathy — a complication of diabetes, and a major cause of blindness.
Your family history, too, ups your risk for eye diseases, as does your race. Latinos and African-Americans are much more likely to end up with glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Caucasians are a greater risk for AMD.
When it comes to cataracts, we’re all at risk: more than half of adults develop the condition by the time they hit 80.
2. Get regular exams
Some health insurers will cover an annual eye exam — especially if you’re at risk of developing problems. If, say, glaucoma runs in your family, let your care provider know.
In general, Medicare Part B does not cover annual eye exams for glasses or contacts. It does cover tests for glaucoma and AMD, as well as diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes.
3. Develop good eye health habits
Just about any measure that improves your overall health will aid your vision, too. So, pile on the leafy greens and citrus fruits, and especially salmon and tuna.
And get moving. In 2017, UCLA scientists found that “moderate to vigorous physical activity” was linked to significantly reduced chances of glaucoma.
4. Wear shades year-round
Pick sunglasses that guard your eyes from both UV-A (long wave) and UV-B (short wave) rays, and wear them year-round, since glare is just as hazardous in the winter as it is during the summer.
5. Stop staring and staring at the screen
While heavy computer use isn’t linked to permanent eye damage, hours of screen time can result in short-term eyestrain and loss of focus.
To keep your vision crisp, experts recommend the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus on something besides your device for 20 seconds, 20 feet into the distance.
9 Commonly Overlooked Fall Risks
At any age, falling can lead to injury. We know environmental risks for falls — ice in the winter, slippery rain surfaces and strong winds. But there are risks in your own home that you may be overlooking.
These tips can help you stay upright and avoid costly and painful trips to the hospital:
1. Be careful around pets that can get underfoot.
Exercise caution when serving food, as pets can become excited and knock you over. Keep toys in a basket when your pet is not playing with them so you don’t trip on them. If your dog tends to bolt on walks, evaluate whether or not you can handle their sudden strength.
2. Avoid highly waxed/shiny flooring.
Waxed floors can be slippery, and shiny floors can play tricks on the eyes.
3. Know how a new medication or medication change might affect balance or cause dizziness.
Ask your physician if dizziness is a side effect of any new medications or combinations of medications. If so, ask your doctor to recommend fall prevention strategies or ways to counteract your side effects.
4. Avoid placing frequently used items in low drawer storage.
Bending over (or getting on a stepladder) can be dangerous. Put things you use frequently in a drawer or cabinet at a level that doesn’t require you to move up or down regularly.
5. Sit on a firm chair to get dressed or put on shoes.
It’s tempting to sit on the edge of your bed, but beds on wheels can slip and most mattresses do not provide a stiff enough surface for optimal balance.
6. Change positions slowly.
Rising too quickly can lead to feeling faint due to blood pressure change, so get up gradually to stay clearheaded and balanced.
7. Reach back to make sure your chair is close to you before sitting.
Make sure that any edge you’re about to sit on is close behind you. Don’t rely on your memory or spatial judgment.
8. Arrange furniture so you do not have to navigate around tables and cords.
When you have to turn sideways to get around at home, it is easy to fall. It’s also easy to forget to step over cords unless they’re secured against a wall. Situate furniture to give you enough space to easily navigate at any time during the day.
9. Discuss fear of falling with your physician and/or therapist.
Fear of falling is a fall risk itself because fear may cause you to withdraw due to anxiety or not participate in important physical activities. A clinician can help manage concerns so that you can reduce your worry and participate in activities that improve balance.
Get to Know... Julie Julie Daubendiek, RN
Julie is a member of SHC’s Nursing Department, where she performs client assessments, skilled nursing visits, monitors changes in client condition and medications, and answers general medical questions from families and caregivers.
Fun facts about Julie:
It’s on her bucket list to travel to Germany.
Collects refrigerator magnets from every place her family visits when they travel. Over the past 20+ years, it’s gotten quite large!
Enjoys fishing, shooting sports, hiking and nature walks on her family property in southern Missouri.
Hidden talent – she’s advanced open water scuba certified. Julie and her husband did a lot of diving in the Caribbean as well as lakes and quarries in the Midwest.
Reacher Grasper Cane
This walking aid looks and functions like an ordinary cane, but has a built-in grabber to pick up hard-to-reach objects. The trigger is easy to operate, and the grabber has a strong grip for securely grabbing objects as light as a paperclip or as heavy as a bottle. When not in use, the grabber completely tucks away for a stylish cane that provides support on the go.
Thank you for your attention, concern and continued communication with us as we navigated the unchartered waters of senior home care for my mother. Your prompt response along with your professional team made it so much easier to take this necessary step. Being an RN myself, I hold high standards for care, and your company provided us very professional caregivers, and much needed peace of mind.
- Marilyn S.