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6 Essential Medication Safety Tips For Seniors

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Assisting Seniors With Their Daily Medication Procedures

Over 700,000 visits to emergency rooms can be attributed to medication and drug errors every year. These errors commonly include accidental overdose or consumption but may be related to other reasons. The goal of Assisting Hands Houston is to reduce this error rate related hospital visits.

Follow these health and safety tips to prevent medication and drug errors:

1. List It

Make a list of all the medication that is currently being taken by yourself or a loved one. Present this list to a healthcare provider at every visit or appointment. It will help them determine your current medical conditions, eliminate the need to prescribe more medication of the same type and prevent drug interactions.

2. Storage Instructions

Read the storage instructions on the medication or ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Most medications should be stored in a cool dry place but some may need to refrigerated or have additional storage instructions. Keep in mind that moisture and heat could change the chemistry of a drug affecting its efficacy or make it hazardous to your health. It is essential to keep all medication out of reach of children and pets and preferable to lock them away safely.

3. A Weekly Medicine Box

A medicine box provides separate compartments that medications can be placed in for each day of the week. Using a medication box greatly reduces the risk of drug errors occurring. It also simplifies the delivery process for caregivers as well as allows them to determine the safety of each medication taken within the whole.

Should there be any concern whether a dosage has been missed or taken twice, it is a simple matter of checking which compartment is still full? If an error has occurred, the dosage will need to be adjusted according to the instructions or advice from a healthcare provider.

4. Dosage Instructions

Assisting Hands Houston | In Home Care Services in Houston TexasNever stop taking a medication just because you feel you or your loved one no longer needs it. Also never adjust the dosage because you think the drug may be ineffective or the side effects are too severe. Always consult with a healthcare professional to voice your concerns and ask them to adjust your dosage if necessary.

Keep in mind that dosages are carefully calculated to meet the specific treatment requirements of different health conditions as well as the individual patient. Adjusting your medication could have severe consequences such as ending up in the hospital.

5. Knowledge Is Power

Ask your health care professional pertinent questions regarding the medication that they prescribe like what is for, how it works and how long you can expect to take it. If you are unsure about anything, get a second opinion.

Create a dialogue with your primary healthcare provider so that they can better understand your needs and concerns and to provide you with a better understanding of your health conditions and treatment plan.

6. More Hints And Tips

If you have any additional drug and medication health and safety tips, please feel free to call or contact Assisting Hands Houston and help us reduce the rate of errors and related hospital visits. Should you simply require more information regarding our services, our staff will be happy to assist.

Planning For Your Future In The Present

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Planning For The Retirement Years

In terms of putting enough money away for retirement, there are parallels to be drawn with watching your diet and exercise regimen. Everyone knows it is important, but not everyone follows through with what is required to succeed. Everyone offers up the seemingly valid reasons for procrastinating, but no matter your age, there really is no time to waste in terms of getting on a sound financial path. Even if you are late to the game, now is the moment to begin.

Tips for Saving Money

Even if you lack a clear path to building substantial savings, taking an affirmative first step mentally is key. The truth is that you may have to start on a smaller scale and work your way up to put away more and more on a monthly basis.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the true amount of money required for retirement will depend on a number of things, such as present age and proximity to retirement itself. A smart way to think about it is to remember that you will want roughly 70 percent or more of your pre-retirement take-home pay to have a comfortable retirement if you make at least $100k annually, or 90 percent of that if you make less than that amount.

Smart Investments for Your Retirement

If you work for a firm that provides access to a 401(k) plan, make sure to sign up for it and make maximum allowable contributions. If you do not work for such a company or happen to be self-employed, there are two other great methods for saving, namely the traditional IRA and the Roth version.

Each permits a contribution maxing out at $5,000 annually, and even more if you are already 50 or older. Both offer tax-advantaged status as well. But, only contributions to a traditional IRA account can be deducted for tax purposes.

Using Your Resources

Assisting Hands Houston | Houston Elder Care ServicesIt may seem daunting enough to decide the right way to build retirement savings and the proper amount to have, but it an often be just as difficult to know the proper way to spend those funds. Making a sound budget for your retirement years can make things a little easier. Understanding your fixed monthly expenses ahead of time will help ascertain the right amount to have on hand. After you are confident that you’ll have enough to cover basic, recurring expenses, you will have the freedom to spend money on fun things such as vacations and hobbies.

Ultimately, by promptly beginning the process of financial analysis and saving necessary for a comfortable retirement, you can start planning the life you wish to live once the burdens of the daily grind are far behind you.

Call or contact Assisting Hands Houston today!

Helping Your Loved One Move To An Assisted Living Facility

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Making The Move To An Assisted Living Facility: How To Help Your Loved One

Assisting Hands Houston | Assisted Living in Houston TXIt is not always easy to transition your loved one into senior living in Houston TX. The individual may not want to go to the care facility because they are worried about change or the inevitability of getting older. For some, simply the process of moving can be very disruptive, as is packing up a lifetime of memories. It is not easy to leave behind friends and neighbors and head into an unknown situation. As a loved one, your role is to help with the transition, in addition to physically assisting with the move itself. With that being said, there are also many benefits to an assisted living tour.


Often, your loved one will be moving from a larger space into a smaller space. This means that they have to give up some of their possessions. First, speak to the care facility to determine what they are going to provide and what you need to bring. Next, talk to your loved one about what is important to them. Select personal items that have meaning and that will help them view the new space as “theirs.” Decorating the room is an important part of the transition process and can help your loved one to adjust more quickly. Something as simple as a picture or a treasured blanket can give them the sense of security that they need.

Your loved one needs to take charge of the de-cluttering process. You do not know what is sentimental to them and what is not. Something may look like junk to you, but it could be an item that they want to keep more than anything else. Allow them to have some say in how things are sorted. For example, jewelry is a valuable item. Some may need to go with your loved one. Some may need to go into storage. And, your loved one may want to go ahead and give a few pieces to special people in their life. If there are items that your loved one cannot keep, but they are still in good shape, think about donating them. This might help your loved one feel better about separating from their possessions.

Making Things Easier

Plan well in order to ensure the best transition possible. Let your loved one know in advance what will be happening. They deserve the chance to mourn the loss of their old life and begin to look forward to the future. Also, set up some fun events going forward, so that your loved one has something to look forward to.

In Conclusion

Providing Houston with the best in home care services is what we pride ourselves on. Assisting Hands Houston has continued to help you and your loved ones with this difficult yet benefiting solution. Call or contact us today with any questions you might have regarding you and your loved ones and which options are available to you both.

What You Can Expect Financially For Texas Assisting Living

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Paying For Assisted Living In Texas

The month-by-month cost of assisted living in the United States averaged $3,628 in 2016. Individuals receiving additional care to address needs stemming from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounted for an additional monthly cost of $1,150, bringing their total to $5,100. These figures are a national average; actual costs vary widely in different regions. For the Mid-West and South, monthly averages range between $3,000 and $3,600.

Assisting Hands Houston | Houston Assisted Living FacilitiesFor Texas, average monthly assisted living costs hit $3,515 per month in 2016. This is just slightly below the national average reported above. In certain parts of the state (for example, San Antonio, Austin, Odessa, Victoria, and Amarillo), expenses are higher, with monthly averages ranging from $4,000 to $4,600. These averages serve to give some insight into the average assisted living Houston cost for an aging parent.

Addressing the growing care needs of their aging parents places stress on baby boomers who are juggling their own careers and the needs of their children in addition to their parents. Most boomers consider providing for their parents’ care to be a top priority, and thus they have a vested interest in understanding the true cost of assisted living.

Assisted Living: The Costs

Most Americans find themselves dealing with at least some – or even all – of the costs of assisted living for their relatives out of their own pockets. For most families, the financial burden is met with a combination of savings, pensions, and Social Security and/or Veterans benefits. Many individuals tap the value of home equity (through selling, renting, or taking a reverse mortgage) to help pay for assisted living. Note that in a reverse mortgage situation, a spouse will need to continue living in the mortgaged home.

For a few families, the financial burdens of assisted living are eased by long-term care insurance. Only about five percent of American seniors have this type of insurance coverage, but it is a considerable help in paying for quality assisted living care.

The Relationship Between Medicare And Assisted Living

Medicare cannot pay the expenses involved with basic assisted living services like room and board and personal care. Individuals who incur medical expenses while residing in an assisted living facility will be covered by Medicare in the same way that they would if they were receiving care at home, in a hospital, or in a clinic.

Assisted Living And Medicaid

In every state, Medicaid is a viable option for paying for assisted living expenses in the long term. Medicaid waivers can be used to reduce the cost of both assisted living and in-home care in some states. The regulations, eligibility requirements, and rules which govern the relationship between Medicaid and assisted living vary from state to state.

An assisted living facility is generally one which provides housing, food, personal care, and medication management to its residents. Historically these services fell outside the purview of Medicaid in Texas, but that is starting to change.

Today there are two programs in Texas that can help pay for assisted living expenses through Medicaid. Specific criteria must be met to enter the programs. Besides basic Medicaid eligibility, you must also demonstrate a medical necessity for nursing home care. In the regulations, this is referred to as “meeting the nursing home level of care.” The two programs that can help are called STAR PLUS Medicaid Waiver and Community Based Alternative (CBA) Medicaid. Both of these programs are intended to help individuals find home, community, and assisted living services which can fulfill the same role as a permanent nursing home residence. STAR PLUS and CBA both have a limited number of slots, and neither program covers the entire state of Texas. You can learn more by inquiring at your nearest office of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability.

In Texas, Continuing Care Facilities, or CCFs, play a significant role in the assisted living landscape. CCFs deliver full-time supervision but omit the round-the-clock nursing care found in other facilities. Medicaid does not cover CCFs in Texas.

Financial Assistance Options

Beyond Medicaid, there are three principal forms of financial assistance for assisted living to consider.

  • Programs of the federal and state governments that offer financial assistance besides Medicaid.
  • Cost of living reductions designed to minimize the amount spent on family members and seniors, freeing up funds to pay for an assisted living facility.
  • Asset liquidation in order to create additional funds for paying for assisted living care.

As noted above, many families meet their financial obligations for assisted living using savings. This is a limited and diminishing financial resource. This complicates matters because many assistance programs set their eligibility requirements based on what financial resources an individual has available. The bottom line is that more assistance options open up the longer an individual stays in an assisted living situation.

This is why it’s important to include long-term financial planning as an integral part of any assisted living plan. Besides ensuring that your aging loved one receives quality care, smart planning will also minimize the adverse effect that care has on your family’s financial position.

Financial planning for assisted living can be very complex, especially when it needs to be flexible enough to accommodate multiple possible health issues. Families looking for help with this planning process.

There are free benefits counselors working for Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging throughout Texas. Although these counselors are available without charge and have a solid understanding of local benefits, they may be understaffed and unfamiliar with less-common financial alternatives.

Some Geriatric Care Managers, or GCMs, include financial planning in the menu of services that they offer. GCMs involve out-of-pocket fees, but this also means that they generally deliver higher standards of service.

Because most families only start working with GCMs once the need for assisted living has become pressing, the options available to them are limited. Also, many GCMs focus more heavily on the healthcare side of geriatric care and thus lack financial expertise.

Financial Planners who specialize in elder care are able to provide the highest levels of expertise, but this also makes them the most expensive option for securing guidance. Their long-term planning acumen may also be balanced by a limited awareness of short-term options and local resources.

Assisting Hands Houston continues to be Houstons’ #1 choice when it comes to assisted living and elder in-home care. Please contact us or call us today with any questions you may have regarding your loved ones!

Here’s Why You Should Bring Your Parent To The Assisted Living Tour

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A Challenge For Adult Children: Do You Bring A Parent With You On An Assisted Living Tour?

As an experienced provider of senior care services, we know that navigating your way through the various options you have for senior living in Houston Texas isn’t easy. As an adult, finding a capable facility to care for your parents is a real challenge. Many people who find themselves shopping for senior communities and facilities ask us about bringing up the idea of senior living care or even bringing their parents along when they visit such places for the first time. There’s no hard and fast rule regarding whether this is a good idea or a bad idea. We can help you make the right choice for your own situation by looking at some of the pros and cons. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages presented by key assisted living considerations:

Handling Physical Limitations

The Pros

Assisting Hands Houston | Assisted Living Facilities HoustonIt may be useful to bring along an aging parent if he or she is dealing with mobility issues or vision loss. You’ll get a first-hand glimpse of how easily your parent would be able to cope with the design of the facility. Some communities are better designed to accommodate physical disabilities than others. If your parent doesn’t have any problems navigating through the community, that counts as a plus in that facility’s favor. If they have trouble getting around, that’s a strong negative.

The Cons

Shepherding a parent through a tour may slow it down considerably. If you have limited time, it may be more productive to keep your visits fast and cover multiple communities in a single day. You could narrow your search down to a handful of the most likely possibilities before bringing your parent in.

Clearing Out Senior Living Stereotypes

The Pros

There are a lot of seniors whose mental images of senior living communities are seriously out of date. We find that exposing parents to more up-to-date pictures of senior living in Houston Texas helps to allay some of their concerns about their options.

The Cons

You may find community tours to be more productive if you’re not hampered by a parent who is being contrary and stubborn about the idea of moving into an assisted living community. It may be better to get a good grasp of the best potential communities and then introduce your parent to the ones which best fit his or her interests and lifestyle.

Senior Decision Making

The Pros

If your aging parent is still capable of making well-reasoned decisions on his or her own, getting them involved in the hunt for an assisted living community early will help to make them feel empowered and independent.

The Cons

On the other hand, if your loved one is already struggling with memory loss or is in any way anxious about the shift to assisted living, it’s probably better to screen their options in advance before you bring them to any facility. Parents who fear change can find an assisted living tour stressful.

Holding Onto Independence

The Pros

Seniors will obviously find it challenging to downsize and say goodbye to a home they’ve known for years or decades. It often gives rise to the feeling that they’re losing their independence. Selecting an assisted living facility without giving them plenty of input can worsen that feeling significantly. By including them in your research process and taking them along on tours, you’ll help your parents maintain a much-needed sense of control and independence.

The Cons

If a recent health issue is a trigger that’s set you looking for a senior community, your parent may not be physically capable of handling the stress of multiple tours. Sometimes the need to make a change in a senior’s living arrangements becomes time-sensitive due to rapid changes in his or her health. You may need to tour assisted living facilities on your own and pick out the one which looks to you like the best fit for your loved one. Note that you can at least keep your parent updated by bringing them photos, notes, and documentation to help them learn more about your choices. While this isn’t really ideal, it will help your loved one ease through the transition and maintain some feeling of independence.

Guidance For Houston Families

If you’re grappling with the changing care needs of an aging parent, Assisting Hands Houston can help you weigh your senior community options. We recommend that you contact us for any other questions you may have regarding the list of services we provide. We understand it may be difficult to decide whether or not senior living is the right choice for your loved ones. However, you do not have to be alone to make this decision. Call us today!

A Healthy Mind and Body, Is A Healthy Loved One

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The Best Exercise Tips for Seniors Suffering from Limited Mobility and Other Chronic Ailments

A healthy lifestyle begins with a healthy diet and regular exercise. These foundations are important to those who are young as well as those who are older. If you are a senior and use a wheelchair or have chronic medical conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis, you may not realize the importance of a fitness routine or feel like exercising.

Immobility can occur because you have become weaker, deconditioned or less flexible. According to Kyle Larsen, clinic manager and physical therapist of Dallas, Texas’s 3D Physical Therapy, exercise is the antidote to these issues. Their outpatient clinic evaluates, treats and helps patients of all ages who suffer from movement disorders or musculoskeletal problems rehabilitate.

Exercise offers many physical and mental benefits. Doctors and trainers around the world are always using advertisements to explain the numerous benefits that exercise offers. Assisting Hands Houston challenges their residents by offering exercise classes that focus on wellness, balance and walking on a regular basis.

Kyle Larsen helped compile a list of tips and exercises that can help you lead a healthier, happier life.

Put On Your Exercise Clothing

Although this seems silly, take a moment to think. When you stop to decide whether you want to work out or not, you are probably wearing street clothes. If you put on a running shirt and lace up your tennis shoes, your mindset will typically change. Putting on exercise clothing can help inspire you to get up and get moving. Additionally, it has been shown that wearing exercise clothing helps improve the effectiveness of your workout because you will work harder when prepared for exercise.

Warm Ups

No matter your age, it is essential that you stretch before your workout. Warm ups help to improve flexibility and increase blood flow to the muscles which warm them up and prepare them for movement. Additionally, warming up makes it easier to perform routine movements like bending down and retrieving a dropped item off the floor.

Larsen states that as a physical therapist he focuses on flexibility exercises, especially for seniors who use a wheelchair. Stretching throughout the day helps your hips become stronger which can help you to stand upright. When you are stretching, do it slowly and gently. For best results breath throughout the stretch and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.

Listen to Your Body

Assisting Hands Houston | ExerciseWhen it comes to exercising, it is important to listen to your body. This is especially important for seniors with limited mobility as they can experience a number of mental barriers. One of the biggest concerns elderly patients have is falling. However, as the patients become stronger, more flexible and their balance improves, the risk of a fall decreases.

When a senior begins a fitness routine, they should do so gradually and limit themselves to exercising for 5 to 10 minutes. Stiffness and achiness can occur in the beginning; however, if you experience any pain in the body, stop exercising immediately.

Working Around Problematic Areas

This is similar to the previous fitness tip; however, you can still exercise and avoid the troublesome area. Any exercise that causes a patient to experience pain can be modified. the pain often occurs when tissues are not ready for a particular movement or because the patient’s body mechanics are not right.

Seniors suffering from upper body arthritis can focus on leg exercises if they are experiencing upper body pain or vice versa. If you experience discomfort while exercising your arms, cool down and take some deep breaths.

Exercises for Seniors

Air Punches

This exercise is great for both those who are in a wheelchair and those who are not in a wheelchair. To perform this exercise, clinch your fists and move your arms back and forth like you are punching something. Do 15 punches with one arm and then rest for 30 seconds before doing the air punches using the other arm. You can also maximize the effectiveness of the exercise by using light weights.

Chair Squats

Seniors whose legs have a full range of motion can do chair squats. Squats improve your total body strength in one motion. To help keep you stable, stand behind a dining chair and hold on to it. Make sure your chin is up and your back is straight. Then bend your knees as you squat down as far as possible. Then return to the starting position. Do two sets of 12 repetitions. Inhales as you bend down and exhale as you rise.

Pillow Squeezes

This exercise can be done by anyone. Grab a thick pillow and sit down in a chair. Place the pillow against your chest and wrap your arms around the pillow like you are hugging it. Relax your arms and then repeat. For those who have full leg mobility, place the pillow between the thighs and squeeze your legs together. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.

Front and Lateral Raises

This exercise works the arm and shoulder area. Lightweight hand weights, soup cans or resistance bands can be used. Sit down in an armless and allow your arms to hang at your sides. Lift your arms to your side and form a T. Then, bring your arms to the front of your body before lowering them to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Chair Yoga

Yoga is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, flexibility and muscle strength. Because yoga uses breathing exercises and meditation, it also offers many mental benefits. A ten-minute session of chair yoga can improve your physical health and your mental well-being.

Before you start any exercise routine, consult your physician to determine if you are healthy enough for exercise.

Assisting Hands Houston provides you and your loved one with the best senior in home care in Houston. It is important for us and for your loved one to maintain a healthy mind and body, and to do so it is imperative they are doing the necessary exercises mentioned above, if advised by their doctor/s. Let us help you determine if your loved one is ready for in home elder care, or any of the listed services that we provide. Currently we are located throughout the city of Houston and have served our city proud for nearly a decade!