Posts

Messiah Village and AT&T team up to keep older adults connected

Reports released in 2017 from the Pew Internet and American Life project show that while older adults are using devices such as tablet computers and cell phones in increasing numbers, they continue to lag behind the overall adult population. That’s why Messiah Village and AT&T employees from Central Pennsylvania on August 31, 2017, teamed up for a program to help older adults learn how they can use wireless phones and tablets to improve their lives.

AT&T employees from Central Pennsylvania helped Messiah Village residents learn more about how to use smartphones and tablet computers to enable them to get better connected to family and friends. During the free program, residents learned how to navigate the Internet, recognize scams, keep private information secure, back-up data and more. State Representative Sheryl Delozier also stopped by the event to talk about the importance of keeping Pennsylvanians of all ages – especially older adults – connected and engaged.

“Now more than ever, services of all kinds are offered online – from continuing education courses and consultations with physicians to accessing benefits, grocery shopping, watching your favorite TV program, and much more,” Delozier said. “That’s why events like these are so important – companies like AT&T making important connections with and for older adults like those who live in Messiah Village. I’m glad the two organizations could team up on such an important project.”

According to Matthew Gallardo, Director of Community Engagement and Coaching for Messiah Lifeways, the event was another example of Messiah Lifeways enhancing the lives of older adults based on their needs and interests.

“Several months ago we were approached by a resident’s family asking about technology training, specifically for cell phone usage and safety,” Gallardo said “Messiah Lifeways Coaching, which provides consumer guidance and education, coordinated this event with AT&T to help give our residents a better understanding of smartphones and tablets so they could have a better user experience as technology becomes more and more mainstream with seniors.”

AT&T employees from Central Pennsylvania were joined by State Rep. Sheryl Delozier at a Digital You training program for residents of Messiah Village.  The event was coordinated by Nicole Dixon, an AT&T regional manager in Central Pennsylvania. Seven other AT&T employees were on site to help answer residents’ questions about their wireless devices.

“Our employees are involved in our communities in many ways. Events like this one give us a chance to help Central Pennsylvanians get the most from their wireless devices and to better connect to each other and their world,” Dixon said. “We’re grateful to the team at Messiah Village for welcoming us to campus. It was a great day.”

Adult Day Programs Bolster a Strong Caregiving Circle

Being a caregiver is a selfless and rewarding act, yet it can be very daunting as well. You want the best for your loved one, but you can’t always do it alone. Many times the best care comes from a recharged and supported caregiver who has formed an expanded care network. Therefore, it’s important to create a strong caregiver circle that supports you and your loved one’s needs.

Caregiving Resources

There are a number of strategies and resources to lighten the load for caregivers facing burnout but have also made a promise and commitment to helping their aging loved one live in their home for as long as possible. Most importantly, caregivers must take care of themselves. You cannot provide care for someone else if you’re not well yourself. Additionally, build a caregiver circle to counterbalance the care you already provide. Accept and seek help from others including other family members, friends, and or hire professional help/relief.

Engaging or hiring professional assistance comes in many forms, including but not limited to:

Non-medical home care is a great way to supplement the “heavy lifting” that primary caregivers often provide. They can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring and even one-on-one companionship. Respite care provides short term breaks for caregivers ranging from a few hours to a month or more. Home modification, durable medical equipment and technology are also becoming more common by creating a safer home environment through emergency call systems, visual monitoring and simply making the home more handicapped accessible and safe.

However, there is a particular resource from this list that is often overlooked and undervalued. I’m talking about Adult Day Services (ADS). In general terms, adult day services provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. These programs offer relief to family members and caregivers which allows them to go to work, run errands or simply time to relax knowing their loved one is being cared for and safe. This is especially important for loved ones who have dementia and other organic brain syndromes. A safe, secure, stimulating environment is vital to their well-being, in addition to the break it provides caregivers for those with memory and cognition impairment.

Affordable, Flexible and Enriching

One of the greatest advantages adult day programs offer is its affordability. When compared to other forms of assistance, the median cost is very reasonable. According to the Genworth financials 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual median cost of adult day programs nationally is $17,680, compared to the annual cost of assisted living/personal care which sits at $43,539 a year. Adult day programs can also be much more cost effective than non-medical home care for the same number of hours per day coming to the home. The national median daily cost of adult day is $68, which typically provides 8 hours of care, medication administration, a meal, snacks, activities and socialization. Furthermore, most states offer financial assistance through waiver programs and Medicaid.

“Adult day care and adult day health care are, without question, the most economical way to provide supervision and personal care for an elderly loved one on a daily basis.” PayingforSeniorCare.com

Adult day programs are also very flexible. Primary caregivers can have their loved one attend a program like this as many as five days a week or as little as one day per week. Many providers across the country offer full-day and half-day programs. They also have extended hours to allow for early drop-off and late pick up, especially for those caregivers who have long work days.

Adult day programs fill a niche for many older adults who continue to live and focus on aging in place in their own home. For many there’s a part of staying in one’s own home that can actually be detrimental, which is the lack of socialization and stimulation, particularly with their own age bracket and peers. For caregivers and families who have a loved one living at home with them, quite often they can still feel isolated and, in certain cases, trapped in the home. Adult day programs are a great way for these loved ones to still get out, interact with others in similar situations and participate in activities such as exercise, cooking, arts and crafts, special interests and speakers, religious ceremonies, plus intergenerational activities and pet therapy.

Intergenerational activity is a unique and special bonding experience for clients attending Messiah Lifeways Adult Day

Intergenerational activity is a unique and special bonding experience for clients attending Messiah Lifeways Adult Day

This gem of a program provides a great balance for the caregiver and loved one. Again it fortifies the ability to stay at home, but gets them out of the house on a daily basis to a caring and stimulating environment, but happily at the end of the day, they come home and sleep in their bed, in their own home.

If you’d like to learn about the Adult Day Services provided by Messiah Lifeways, please contact the Mechanicsburg location at 717.790.8224 or the Carlisle location at 717.243.0447 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AdultDay.  To search for Adult Day programs throughout the state, visit the PA Dept. of Aging website.

Personal Care Home Staff

Adult Day Services- A Hidden Gem for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a selfless and rewarding act, yet it can be very daunting as well. You want the best for your loved one, but you can’t always do it alone. Many times the “best” care comes from a recharged and supported caregiver who has formed an expanded care network. Therefore, it’s important to create a strong caregiver circle that supports you and your loved one’s needs.

Caregiving resources

There are a number of strategies and resources to lighten the load for caregivers facing burnout but have also made a promise and commitment to helping their aging loved one live in their home for as long as possible. Most importantly, caregivers must take care of themselves. You cannot provide care for someone else if you’re not well yourself. Additionally, build a caregiver circle to counterbalance the care you already provide. Accept and seek help from others including other family members, friends, and professionals.

Engaging or hiring professional assistance comes in many forms, including but not limited to:

Nonmedical home care is a great way to supplement the “heavy lifting” that primary caregivers often provide. They can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring and even one-on-one companionship. Respite care provides short term breaks for caregivers ranging from a few hours to a month or more. Home modification, durable medical equipment and technology are also becoming more common by creating a safer home environment through emergency call systems, visual monitoring and simply making the home more handicapped accessible and safe.

However, there is a particular resource from this list that is often overlooked and undervalued. This hidden gem is Adult Day Services (ADS). In general terms, adult day services provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. These programs offer relief to family members and caregivers which allows them to go to work, run errands or simply time to relax knowing their loved one is being cared for and safe.

Affordable, flexible and stimulating

One of the greatest advantages adult day programs offer is its affordability. When compared to other forms of assistance, the median cost is very reasonable. According to the Genworth financials 2015 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual median cost of adult day programs nationally is $17,904, compared to the annual cost of assisted living/personal care which sits at $43,200 a year. Adult day (AD) programs can also be much more cost effective than if you were to hire nonmedical caregivers for the same number of hours per day coming to the home. The national median daily cost of adult day is $69, which typically provides 8 hours of care, medication administration, a meal, snacks, activities and socialization. Furthermore, most states offer financial assistance through waiver programs and Medicaid.

“Adult day care and adult day health care are, without question, the most economical way to provide supervision and personal care for an elderly loved one on a daily basis.” PayingforSeniorCare.com

Adult day programs are also very flexible. Primary caregivers can have their loved one attend a program like this is many as five days a week or as little as one day per week. Many providers across the country offer full-day and half-day programs. They also have extended hours to allow for early drop-off and late pick up, especially for those caregivers that have long work days.

Adult day programs fill a niche for many older adults who continue to live and focus on aging in place in their own home. For many there’s a part of staying in one’s own home that can actually be detrimental, which is the lack of socialization and stimulation, particularly with their own age bracket and peers. For caregivers and families who have a loved one living at home with them, quite often they can still feel isolated and, in certain cases, trapped in the home. Adult day programs are a great way for these loved ones to still get out, interact with others in similar situations and participate in activities such as exercise, cooking, arts and crafts, special interests and speakers, and even religious ceremonies.

This gem of a program provides a great balance for the caregiver and loved one. Again it fortifies the ability to stay at home, but gets them out of the house on a daily basis to a caring and stimulating environment, but happily at the end of the day, they come home and sleep in their bed, in their own home.

If you’d like to learn about the Adult Day Services provided by Messiah Lifeways, please contact the Mechanicsburg location at 717.790.8224 or the Carlisle location at 717.243.0447 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AdultDay.  Also check out these great testimonials on adult day services.


 

The World of Sci-fi Comes to Your Medicine Cabinet

At quick glance a PMD could be mistaken for the love child of your coffee pot and r2-D2. For those of you not up on your Star-Wars characters, r2-D2 (pictured below) was a squat little robot that could do all kinds of neat things. Now that you have that thought in your head you’re probably wondering what a PMD is? I’m glad you asked. PMD stands for the Phillips Medication Dispenser. Don’t ask me what r2-D2 stands for, I’m not really sure. I digress. The Phillips Medication Dispensing (PMD) service utilizes a neat piece of technology designed by Phillips Lifeline to help people manage their medications at home safely and efficiently.

Various studies and sources state the average number of prescription medications taken by people over age 65 is  five to eight depending  whether you include over the counter medications. Having to remember the different times, dosages and the identification of each can become a challenge, especially as one’s memory starts to decline. For seniors, approximately 1 out of 10 hospital admissions are the result of the incorrect use of medications.¹ Not taking medications correctly can have serious consequences, including increased discomfort, inadequate disease prevention and possibly even death.² Unfortunately, I’ve heard of many instances where seniors who were self-medicating struggled with it and it resulted in some of these unfortunate outcomes.

Typically at this stage an individual may need to rely on a loved one or neighbor for help with remembering their medication schedule. As kind and helpful as that friend or adult child can be, this can become a difficult task for them due to their own busy schedules and other responsibilities. The old fashion pill box is another solution, but aside from segmenting the dosages and sometimes the frequency, it lacks the fundamental benefit of the reminder. This is how technology like the PMD can revolutionize the ole’ medicine cabinet.

The dispenser (pictured left) reminds the user to take medications at pre-programmed times into pre-filled dosage cups. It’s broken down into three basic steps. 1). LOAD- the prescribed medications are loaded by a caregiver or a pharmacist in certain cases into individual cups then loaded into the dispenser. 2). DISPENSE- you press the button after the unit blinks and projects a vocal reminder. It will dispense the medication as programmed once you acknowledge the reminder. And lastly 3). ALERT- the dispenser is connected to the users telephone line, so if a dose is missed, the dispenser can contact the caregiver or another designee. They can then check on their loved one to make sure they are getting their medication. Check out the demonstration video below, it’s pretty nifty. And much like r2-D2 the PMD has many fail safes built in and also provides us humans the assistance we need but in a kinder and gentler manner, instead of a nagging yet caring voice, “now mother- did you take your pills today”?

 

 

The potential of over or under dosing can lead to serious and unnecessary medical complications and unplanned hospitalizations. This technology is pretty amazing and the Phillips Medication Dispensing Service warrants a look-see. It’s also a great way for seniors to maintain independence and gain peace of mind. For more information or to rent the Phillips Medication Dispenser call Messiah Lifeways at Home at 717.790.8209 or go to www.messiahlifeways.org/community-support/at-home/.

References

¹ C. Nananda, J.P. Fanale, P. Kronholm, ”The Role of Medication Non-Compliance and Adverse Drug Reactions in the Elderly,” Archives of Internal Medicine, 150 (1990): 841 – 845

² Durso, S.C., M.D., “Technological Advances for Improving Adherence in the Ederly,” Annals of Long Term Care, 9 (4), (2001): 43 – 48