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"When is it time for assisted living?"by Jacob Edward

When is it Time for Assisted Living?  

Sometimes, caring for someone becomes too much and although we may want to overlook the common signs, assisted living could be a necessity. For older people, activities of daily living (ADLs) can become more difficult, time-consuming, or impossible without the help of someone else. When someone is unable to perform even the simplest ADLs such as bathing, dressing, or using the restroom unaided; you may not have the time to give the proper care. Other activities include doing the laundry, driving, keeping track of medications, picking up medications, cooking, and grocery shopping. It is often difficult to move an older person out of their home, but the main priority is to make sure your loved one is safe and healthy in the long run.

Recent falls or accidents are red flags indicating that it is time for assisted living. If someone has fallen, it usually means they need more supervision or assistance than they are being given. Naturally, as we age, the risk of falling increases, but this is no excuse to keep someone living alone if they have fallen. Also, if living alone, is the elderly person able to seek medical attention when they become sick, or do illnesses go untreated?  Oftentimes, seniors become unable to drive and rather than ask for help, become increasingly isolated. If unable to seek medical attention, ailments develop into chronic conditions and worsen dramatically. When a person has a condition that worsens over time, they need the assistance of a skilled nursing staff to receive the necessary care. 

Beyond the clear example of falling, sometimes someone begins exhibiting less noticeable signs that it is time for assisted living. If you see a loss in weight, someone forgetting to eat, or even less groceries in the house than usual, it could mean the person is losing the ability to feed him or her self. As it becomes harder to make it to the supermarket, some elderly people begin skipping meals altogether, resulting in an unhealthy diet. The more meals skipped, the more malnourished a person can become. This makes people more fragile, less likely to exercise, and more susceptible to illness. Things like this can be stopped with the proper monitoring and aid, but watch for these signs.

Inevitably, with age comes reduced mobility, balance, and strength. However, an inability to use the stairs, clean the house, get up from a chair without risking falling, or to get in/out of a car are signs that should not be ignored. When you go to your loved one’s home, is there clutter that wasn’t there before? Clutter and an unkempt house are among the leading risks for falls. In some instances, people become unable to clean up after themselves due to neurological issues. Spills left unattended, dirty dishes, or old food left out can all be signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

You may need help to truly determine if your loved one needs assisted living, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are plenty of resources available. You can continue to research online, talk to a primary care physician, or even find a social worker. When talking to someone about moving, it is important to place an emphasis on your concern for their safety. Assisted living can grant you much needed peace of mind, knowing your loved one is being cared for by professionals.

 

Jacob Edward is the manager of Arizona based companies Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning. Jacob founded both companies in 2007 and has helped many Arizona seniors and their families navigate the process of long term care planning. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State's Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe, Arizona    

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.