February 12, 2015

Wallingford CT Senior Safety At Home

By Carol Carbutti

Technology Solutions Help Enhance Independence and Security For Seniors


New in-home technologies are helping a growing number of aging adults live independently longer. SafetyChoice™ by Comfort Keepers® is a line of in-home safety technology solutions that assists seniors in aging independently at home; whether used with or without in-home care provided by a caregiver.  The initial release of products under the Safety Choice™ banner which includes personal emergency response systems (PERS) and other monitoring devices has been developed through a partnership between Guardian Medical Monitoring and CK Franchising, Inc., the franchisor for the Comfort Keepers franchise system.


Carol Carbutti, owner of the Comfort Keepers franchise in Wallingford CT, said that technology is helping to complement and extend the personal, human touch provided to senior citizens by professional caregivers and family members. The senior population is growing at a much faster pace than that of working-age Americans, it’s becoming more challenging to provide around-the-clock care for seniors at home.


The demographic studies show that the ratio of seniors to working-age Americans is expected to continue growing—30 percent from 2010 to 2020,  and another 29 percent in the following decade.


In the meantime, seniors and their loved ones are discovering that technology solutions—such as those offered through SafetyChoice by Comfort Keepers —can effectively bridge the times when a caregiver can’t be present or when a senior may not yet need a caregiver in the home. Such technologies are monitored by professionals at central stations and provide phone notifications to first responders whether a professional caregiver, family member, neighbor or emergency personnel.


“These systems provide family members the peace of mind that their loved one can get help, even when a caregiver can’t be physically present with them.


Responding to the increasing needs for care among seniors, Comfort Keepers recently introduced the new SafetyChoice™ line of technology products, which extends personal caregiving. These products include PERS Units as well as other monitoring devices that can detect certain activities by persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses, and a portable PERS device with GPS technology.


Technologies like these, in combination with personal caregiving, lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life for seniors. These technologies make it possible for them to continue living at home—where they most want to be—safely, confidently, and independently.


PERS units help seniors summon help quickly with the push of a button—reducing wait times for emergency assistance in the event of a fall, illness or other emergency at home.  By greatly decreasing the time for emergency help to arrive, emergency response systems help reduce the complications that can result from a fall or other emergency. The shortened wait time usually results in quicker and fuller recovery and an improved chance of returning to independent living.


Falls are one of the greatest concerns of the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control has reported that more than a third of American adults 65 and older fall each year—and falls are the leading cause of death by injury for seniors.


Technology can be a good prescription for caregivers’ health, too. According to testimony delivered by the Alzheimer’s Association to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, one in eight caregivers providing care to those with Alzheimer’s becomes ill or injured as a result of caregiving. Technology can relieve some of the stress by giving family members the opportunity to take breaks from their caregiving responsibilities.


To learn more about the SafetyChoice™ by Comfort Keepers® in-home technology solutions in the Wallingford area, call Carol Carbutti at 203-697-1030.


Comfort Keepers®

With over 650 independently owned and operated locations, Comfort Keepers is a leader in in-home senior care to promote independent living.  Services include companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, incidental transportation, laundry, recreational activities, personal care and technology products. For more information visit www.comfortkeepers.com.


Guardian Medical Monitoring

Guardian Medical Monitoring, initiated in 1998, offers products and services nationwide and is a division of Guardian Burglar Alarm, North America‘s largest independent security and life-safety company.  Guardian offers commercial/residential fire and burglar alarms throughout Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Canada. For more information visit www.guardianmedicalmonitoring.com.




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August 26, 2014

Tales of Grey

By Carol Carbutti

In my career as a care giver and a provider of caregivers to help seniors

remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible, I have come

across many stories of both aging issues and aging with grace. I want to

share some of those stories with you in a series of blog writings.  My intent

is to give you insights into the aging experience and allow you to decide

why and when it is right for you to ask for help.


Edith was a vibrant young 70 year old woman who experienced a major stroke

while playing tennis with her husband at their beachside condominium

complex. The stroke left her with no use of her left arm and in a

wheelchair.  Her rehabilitation was long and arduous but her healthy husband

stood by her side and became her main care giver when they returned to their

lovely condo home. He did a great job along with some help from her

daughters who lived nearby. Her husband helped her transfer from and to bed

and provided for her every need throughout her day. They managed well for

about a year. One fateful night Edith awoke from a sound sleep and asked her

husband if he was awake. He did not respond which worried her so she

maneuvered herself in order to shake him awake with her good arm but again

he did not respond. Suddenly, fear took ahold of her when she realized he

was cold. The reality of the situation hit her hard so she followed her

natural instinct to get out of bed and run for help. She fell hard while

trying to get out of bed and found herself stuck on the floor next to the

bed that held her dead husband. Edith remained there for 12 hours until her

daughter stopped by for her usual nightly visit. She was terribly

traumatized by this experience and had to be hospitalized for a considerable

amount of time. We were called in to assist with her return to her condo.

Now the suggestion that I would make to help avoid this traumatic event is

to have rented a PERS Unit (Emergency Monitoring System).  Although Edith’s

husband and family were her care givers, they did not take into

consideration a time when they would not be available if she needed to

contact help.  A bracelet or necklace would be worn by her at all times, even

in the shower. If she had a problem, she would simply press the button and

ask the 24/7 person on line for assistance. That monitoring person who

immediately answers the call would assess the situation and have contact

information on the contract. That person would stay on the line with her

until help had arrived.  My office would also be alerted that an incident had

occurred.  My goal is to educate you on services that are available in order

to be proactive in your care giving decision making.  Call us or come into to

see us.  We have over seven years of experience in dealing with senior issues

of aging in place and have made many successful referral connections and

relationships that would allow us to be a valuable resource for you and your

family members. 

Carol Carbutti




Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

July 1, 2014

The Roller Coaster of Caregiving

By Carol Carbutti


The decisions to become a caregiver are usually made in crisis situations. We rarely have time to consider the ramifications of these decisions nor do we really fully understand that there are any ramifications. What could be so difficult about caring for someone we love?

In the ideal situation a family meeting should be called to get an understanding from all involved as to what the primary caregiver’s role will be. What are each family member’s expectations and understanding of caregiving? What is the family’s plan for support to the caregiver? Scheduled assistance and relief to the caregiver should be routinely incorporated into the weekly schedule from the onset.

The caregiving role is a pivotal one: You become the center person, the “expert” in the care of someone. Everyone else in the family is required to go through you to find out what is now needed for this person. Your new position forever changes your role with each family member.

It’s a little like working with the same group of people on your job for 20 years and suddenly being promoted to the boss. People who were your equals and usually trusted support system are now being very critical and judge all of your actions.  They don’t want your job but they’re jealous that you have it. They may also feel that through your new caregiving role you now hold control over their actions to some extent.

Family who is not available or does not want the responsibility to caregive may misunderstand your motives. Often this is rooted in their guilt over not taking on this role themselves. They begin to question………”what is your hidden agenda for caregiving?” Be upfront.  Get everyone to understand why you are the point person.

You must want the estate or checking account, etc. If this is allowed to brew you may find yourself in the midst of serious family conflict.

You think everyone should be so grateful to you for the incredibly generous gift you are providing the family and suddenly you become very hurt by these knives of jealousy and misperceptions.

Usually caregivers are by nature giving people. This additional responsibility seems natural to them. These persons occasionally suffer from co-dependency. This means that they have had a history of setting poor boundaries and healthy limits to protect themselves from being victimized or exhausted.

Others, not attuned to this, often misunderstand. They may have healthier boundaries and would never allow themselves to do more than they feel they can do. Therefore, they assume that the caregiver is not going to work harder than they can tolerate. If an exhausted caregiver continues to try to provide everything needed without asking for help, those around them assume that they are fine. If they weren’t fine they would stop and ask for help. The caregiver may become angry and feel abused and victimized. They feel that others should know that they need help but if you don’t ask, no one will know. The people around you may not be unwilling or uncaring; they just aren’t mind readers. No one enjoys being related to a martyr.

When a dependent family member first moves into your home for care giving there is often a “honeymoon” period.

Everyone is polite, friendly and appreciative. This new change in the family dynamics can temporarily make even old persistent family problems seem like they have been resolved or forgotten. Everyone puts his or her best foot forward.

However, as many of you are aware, this is often short lived. The “new” family member may offer “suggestions” about how your family should do things; especially concerning how you should raise your children. There is no longer just you and your husband watching TV in the evening. His mother is sitting in between. Your children compete for attention by fighting with each other while you’re changing grandpa’s diapers. They may let you know how they feel about the new member in their home by acting out at school; grades may drop. All these wonderful things add to your exhaustion and frustration. Your mother-in-law may re-arrange your furniture or your kitchen closets. And just to make life more interesting, you are up every 3-4 hours to take your new family member to the bathroom only to get there and have them say, “I guess it was just a false call.”

There are many positive gifts to be had by participating in caregiving. You have the unique opportunity to get to know the dependent person in a very intimate and wonderful way. You can experience tremendous satisfaction from caregiving. You become the model for family members and others who take on the caregiving experience.

You provide the gift of allowing the dependent person to live in a home environment and to be taken care of by someone who loves them and who will honestly work to maintain their privacy, security, and personhood.
Family caregivers have history with the dependent person. They knew them before their many losses. They knew and respected the personhood of their past. Therefore they don’t only see them as who they appear in the present. This provides a connection and intimacy that is very comforting.

Family caregivers also provide a sense of comfort and relief to the other family members of the dependent person by the fact that they now have the peace of mind that their dependent loved one is being cared for by someone who really cares for them.

We have mentioned: Anger, Ambivalence, Exhaustion, Frustration, Guilt.

Scorekeeping—Who did what, when? Who did more? Whose turn is it? Who never takes a turn? Who is the most exhausted? There is no equality in caregiving as in parenting. Be careful not to fall into this pit. It will only add to further family discord.

Advise Givers—Sometimes those family members who, for various reasons, are not the primary caregivers attempt to make themselves feel less guilty or more involved than they actually are by stopping by weekly or monthly to loudly advise the caregiver regarding all the things you aren’t doing adequately for “Mom” or all the ways in which you need to improve your caregiving.

Don’t allow yourself to be hurt by these people. Just let them vent. They are only trying to take care of themselves. It’s not really about you or the quality of your caregiving. You may choose to respond by saying, “I know it must be very hard for you to not be able to be here as often as you would like to be and not to be able to do the things for Mom that you wish you could.”

Overcoming Losses

One thing that is often overlooked by the caregiver and other family members is the impact of the losses for both the caregiver and the dependent family member. A wife may miss the husband she has known and loved for many years. She experiences the loss of the friend with whom she has shared interests and confidences. Who was her companion for parties, grocery shopping, going to church or just taking a walk or watching TV together. Not only have you lost your friend but now you may have to take on the roles that this person used to hold within the relationship like financial responsibilities and household jobs.

You may feel guilty, angry, and sad for feeling like “this isn’t the person I married.”

The dependent loved one experiences many losses as well. Their lifestyle, their independence, their jobs (at home and/ or at work), their health, friendships with co-workers or others are now cut off. Others now see them as invalids but they may feel like screaming “I’m in here and I’m a person!” It’s very hard to tolerate a constant state of dependence.

On whom do we find it easiest to take out our frustrations? The person we love, of course. When we are totally dependent on that person, we often take out our anger and frustrations. This can make for very difficult times.

Ambivalence—We may find ourselves saying “I want to do this…I don’t want to do this…..I wish this was over…” Does that mean I don’t love this person? “Sometimes I daydream about their funeral. Sometimes I wish they had died while they were independent and not survived to be in this state. What’s wrong with me….sometimes I wish they were dead.” Does that mean I’m terrible?
You are not terrible for thinking these thoughts. You are not wishing the person you love is gone; you are wishing this state of constant caregiving and decreased quality of life for your loved one are gone. You are wishing your exhaustion and frustration are gone. That is why you need to improve your self caregiving. Your dependent loved one is counting on you to be there for them but you can’t do this if you don’t take care of yourself.

What you can do to assist in caregiving and to care for yourself.

  • Allow others to help you.
  • Be assertive of your needs.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Use respite services.
  • Participate in support groups and church activities.
  • Exercise.
  • Take time out for yourself and your family; take vacations.
  • Make sure you have planned caregiver relief routinely into your weekly schedule. (i.e. Every Tues. from 2-5 my sister Mary comes in to care for Joe. Or my friend from the church comes in every Wed. 1-3.) Don’t wait until you are exhausted to ask for relief!
  • Maintain your own health. Keep routinely scheduled doctor appointments, counseling appointments; get adequate sleep and nutrition.
  • Use a “baby” monitor so that you have peace of mind while working in the yard or doing anything out of ears’ length of your loved one.
  • Use a monitor if applicable so that you can safely leave your loved one for short periods.
  • Invite friends in.
  • Create a private space for you and your family within your home for socialization away from the dependent person.
  • Allow yourself to vent your frustrations.
  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt.
  • Compliment yourself for the tremendous caregiving job you are doing.

And always remember Comfort Keepers can help when you need respite care.


Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Communication, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy, Uncategorized | No Comments »

May 1, 2014

Mom, Please Give Me the Keys!

By Carol Carbutti



When is it time to take the keys away?

I read this the other day and thought it was worth sharing.  I am so sure as adult children we have all experienced this fear and have not known what to do about it.

Standing at the bay window in our front room, I watched a small silver Toyota drive up on our front lawn and just miss hitting one of the large maple trees. The car then peeled backward, leaving about six feet of tread marks across the grass. The frightening entrance hadn’t unnerved the driver; he simply hopped out of the car, grabbed a bag from his back seat and started walking toward our house.

Half way to the porch he stopped and looked around him and I watched a look of confusion wash over his face. It was Mr. Murphy, my neighbor’s dad, and I knew instantly he had forgotten where he was. Unfortunately, I’d seen that look on my mother’s face before. I waved to him and he waved back regrouping from the shock. Sadly, I knew it was time to print his daughter a membership card to the, “adult children of aging parents,” club.

“I knew the time had come.”

The last time Gwen and I talked she admitted she was worried about her dad’s driving because he was getting so forgetful. I knew what lay ahead for her, but I also knew she had three young kids, her husband had died unexpectedly two years before and it was time to just listen, not dwell on the subject. However watching Mr. Murphy return to his car and cautiously roll it two houses down the street and disappear, I knew the time had come.

Picking up the phone, I felt like a tattler. I didn’t want to be the one adding more stress to my friend’s life, or begin the process of taking a man’s link to freedom away. In so many ways Mr. Murphy was still sharp, but it looked as if his days behind the wheel might be coming to an end. Of course that was my opinion. For all I know, it could have been the first time it happened, but then again, it could have been the twentieth.

What I do know, from the past experience with my mother, is once you get that funny feeling watching your parent as they drive away, its time to have the “conversation,” probably one of the worst you will ever have with them. However ignoring a parent’s waning mental or cognitive capacity isn’t an option because eventually someone will end up getting hurt, or worse, and the fault will lay with those who had the opportunity to remedy the situation and didn’t.

“…once you get that funny feeling watching your parent as they drive away, its time to have the ‘conversation’ …”

My family’s opener with our mom included every sibling in the area armed with well-rehearsed arguments. And no matter how non-accusatory, empathetic, or honest the conversation will (and should) be; get ready for any reaction. Flying keys, yelling, denial, tears, understanding or maybe even relief; they’re all possibilities. We’re talking about the last bastion of a person’s independence here, not moving to a smaller place.

I was glad my mom gave us a fight, I was proud of her. Since the day she handed her, “I Love Florida”, keychain over, there have been endless conversations referencing, “the day we took her car away,” but it’s okay. She’s safe and that’s all that matters.

Comfort Keepers Wallingford has some wonderful caregivers that can help with transportation to Doctor appointments, grocery shopping, hairdressing appointments, etc.

Reference:  Family Bridge



Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

October 23, 2012

Avoid Caregiver Burnout

By Carol Carbutti

Caring for an aging parent or loved one is a very challenging task. It requires a lot of time, patience and understanding.

Most of the time, caregivers become very busy taking care of others that they tend to forget to take care of themselves. This can result in to stress, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion, which may eventually lead to “Caregiver Burnout.”

Caregiver Burnout can occur when a caregiver becomes overwhelmed and tired emotionally, physically and mentally. This makes it more difficult for caregivers to continue care and constantly meet the demands of their elderly loved one.

Prevent Caregiver Burnout

If you start to feel very stressed and tired, it will be best to sit down and analyze your feelings and situation. You need to understand your feelings and the reasons behind them. This will help you recognize whether you show early signs and symptoms of Caregiving Burnout so you can address it right away and prevent it from happening.

The most important thing to remember to avoid Caregiver Burnout is to set aside time and give yourself a break. Whether it is taking a day off to go shopping, watching a movie, spending time with friends, going on vacation or simply relaxing or sleeping the whole day. When you do this, do not feel guilty at all because you deserve a break for your dedication in taking care of your aging parent or your loved one.

Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout:

1. Sleep deprivation- having sleepless nights

2. Significant weight change- losing too much weight or gaining too much

3. Hopelessness- when you feel very helpless and end up being too emotional

4. Frustration- when you feel that everything is out of control and can’t do anything about the situation

5. Overreacting to minor things- being unable to control patience

6. Isolation- avoiding any social events with friends and family

7. Increased Anxiety- not being able to relax

8. Physical and Mental Exhaustion- getting very tired to the point that you are not able to concentrate and think

9. Thoughts of hurting oneself or the person you are caring for

10. Feeling of Failure for constantly not being able to meet caring demands

If you are experiencing Caregiver Burnout or feel like you are about to develop this, don’t be scared, you are NOT alone. In fact, lots of caregivers experience this too. The important thing to do right now is find ways on how to prevent or deal with your situation.

Here are some ways to help prevent Caregiver Burnout:

1. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically- Be sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise

2. Make time for yourself- Take a day off and do something you really enjoy. Have lunch or watch a movie with a friend.

3. Join a support group for caregivers- This will allow you to share your feelings and experiences with other people who are in the same situation

4. Know your Limits- Ask for help, if necessary. You have to accept the fact that you cannot do everything.

5. Research more about your loved ones medical condition- the more you know about the illness, the more effective you will be in providing care.

6. Share your feelings with someone you trust as bottling them up inside can lead to unreasonable outbursts. Also, it’s always good to hear things from another perspective, especially from someone not in the situation.

In conclusion, be sure to take care of yourself so you can be a loving and effective Caregiver. As the saying goes: “You cannot love others until you know how to love yourself.” The same principle applies to taking care of others as well.  You can also seek advice and help from local home care agencies that can take away some of the stress by providing a caregiver to help you with the things you do for your loved ones on a daily basis.  Comfort Keepers provides caring, dependable, professional caregivers that can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and companionship.

Let us help.

Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy, Uncategorized | No Comments »

October 4, 2012

Talking with your Elderly Parents

By Carol Carbutti

Caring for your elderly parents can be a challenging task. As the body gets older, it falls victim to a number of health problems, which can be difficult for us to cope with. Seniors often become depressed and upset over small things because their bodies are unable to keep up with their minds. Other seniors will have mental health problems, which takes its toll on them and everyone around them. You will need to make some simple modifications to their home and shop for things that you may not have imagined like incontinence pads and enemas.

In order to properly care for your elderly parents, you need to learn how to communicate with them. Here are 5 simple ways you can open the lines of communication and build a strong and healthy relationship with your parents:

  1. Show them respect. Just because you need to come over every morning and get them ready for the day does not mean they are a child. Your parents want you to still look upon them as the parents, not as an infant that needs care. Show them respect by treating them as your equal. You still need to sit down with them and ask them for advice and their opinions. Give them the opportunity to share their opinions instead of making it for them. They need to make their voice heard; even if you think what they have to say is a little odd.
  2. Learn how to listen to your elderly parents. Parents like to be heard by their children, no matter what age they are. You need to respect them by listening to what they have to say. Truly listen to them instead of pretending to listen. When they are talking, give them your complete attention. Sit down with them and let them tell stories for hours and engage in fun conversations. Sometimes listening can be difficult and you may not hear exactly what they said, so you need to follow up with clarification questions. This is a great way to make their life a little easier and to make your care giving time more enjoyable.
  3. Remain calm. Elderly parents may be slipping into the early stages of dementia and sometimes they say things that they don’t mean. Many researchers have found that some elderly people tend to think they can say whatever is on their mind and people cannot combat it because they are “old”. Be mindful of things that your elderly parents may say that are hurtful. Instead of lashing out at them when they say something hurtful, take a deep breath and walk away. If they continue to exhibit this behavior, kindly confront them about it and express your feelings. You may need to talk to their doctor about it because they may have dementia or it could indicate that they have suffered a small stroke.
  4. Have rules and boundaries. As a caregiver you are giving up a large part of your life for your elderly parents. They will recognize this sacrifice and devotion to them so you don’t need to constantly tell them. It is important for you to set some boundaries and rules with your elderly parents to keep your relationship strong and healthy. Let them know that some of their requests are unreasonable and learn how to tell them no. If your elderly parents cause too much stress on other loved ones, try to limit your visit at that person’s home. Keeping it short and sweet may be easier for some of your siblings that do not understand dementia.
  5. Love them. The best way to open up the lines of communication with your parents is to simply love them. Acknowledge when they do things that try to help you out. They may not be able to do things the way you want, but they are trying. Always tell them how much you appreciate them and love having them in their life so they know they are needed.

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September 7, 2012

Baby Boomers Get New Recommendation from CDC

By Carol Carbutti

According to a press release by the CDC this August, they are changing their stance on testing for Hepatitis C.  Previously, the recommendation was that only people who were categorized as at risk be tested for the disease, but now they say all baby boomers (someone born between 1945-1965) should receive a one-time test for it.  The rationale behind the change is that 75% of all American adults living with the Hep C infection are of that age group, and many don’t know it!

How could they not know?  Because largely, Hepatitis C is asymptomatic, meaning without symptoms.  So, people can live with the disease for long periods of time without knowing it.  Meanwhile, the disease can lead to very serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.  In fact, liver cancer is on the rise for this very reason.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Hepatitis C is treatable and the CDC believes that 75% of the cases can be cured if only people would get this simple blood test at their next check-up.

What if there are symptoms?  Some people experience temporary jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.  Others may experience abdominal pain in the upper right of their abdomen, gray or pale colored stool, abdominal swelling, dark urine, fatigue, fever, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.  However, in many cases, no symptoms appear until the damage to the liver is done and many of these symptoms are common with other diseases and illnesses.

What can you do?  Get tested!  Make it part of your healthcare checklist.  Your doctor may not automatically run this test, so it’s important that you are your own advocate and request it.

To see the CDC’s press release, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/HCV-Testing-Recs-PressRelease.html

Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

June 28, 2012

Rising Temperatures Spell Trouble for Seniors

By Carol Carbutti

While many of us welcome the sunshine and warmer weather, these two factors can increase health risks for Seniors.  Those over the age of 50 are more susceptible to heat related illness than their younger counterparts and are often the ones reluctant to recognize a need for a cooler environment due to the physical changes our bodies go through with temperature tolerance.  This is also sometimes complicated by budget constraints, causing them to not want to use the air conditioning.  Unfortunately, for the elderly, heat can be deadly.

Heat Exhaustion

The less severe heat related complication is Heat Exhaustion, caused by exposure to high temperatures and depletion of either salt or water in the body.  A Heat Index of 60% or greater increases your risk.  Signs and symptoms include:

  • confusion
  • dark-colored urine
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • pale skin
  • profuse sweating
  • rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these signs or symtoms in yourself or a loved one, you should take the following measures:

  • Drink fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Remove excessive or tight clothing
  • Take a cool shower
  • Utilize a/c, fans, and ice packs

If  symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes, seek emergency medical care, as heat exhaustion can easily progress into heat stroke, a life threatening emergency.

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke’s most defining sign is a core body temperature above 105 degrees F and is deadly.  Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you see these signs in a loved on, call 911 and provide first aid until help arrives.  First aid includes moving the individual to an air conditioned environment or shady spot, removing clothing, wetting the body and fanning, as well as placing ice packs in places such as the armpits and groin.

Additional Risk Factors

Falls.  When a senior falls and is unable to call for help, this leaves them vulnerable to their environment.  A fall on a cool night can quickly become deadly as the sun rises the next day and the heat index increases.  We recommend reducing this risk by checking the home for tripping hazards, ensuring they wear proper footwear, using assistive devices such as a cane or walker, and installing a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) to call for help, should a fall occur.

How We Can Help

Comfort Keepers offers many services to help keep your loved ones safe.  We provide a free in-home assessment where we can identify their needs and make suggestions on how to make the home environment more senior friendly and to reduce fall risks.  On that visit, we can bring a PERS to the home and demonstrate how it works.  We can offer competent, caring Comfort Keepers to visit with your loved one and assist them in the tasks they can no longer perform on their own.  And lastly, we offer daily TLC Phone Calls as a service, placing a call to your loved one each day to check-in and see how things are going.  Want to find out more?  Just give us a call at 203-697-1030; we’d be happy to answer any questions you have!

For more information on heat related emergencies, please visit WebMD at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heat-stroke-symptoms-and-treatment


Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

May 22, 2012

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus- The Truth About Heart Attacks and the Sexes

By Carol Carbutti

If you were to do an informal poll asking what the symptoms of a heart attack are, chances are that cumulatively, you would get the “common” symptoms of radiating pain in the chest, neck, jaw, and left arm, a heaviness or crushing feeling in the chest, and shortness of breath. But did you know that women can experience heart attacks differently? In fact, many female victims of heart attack report having symptoms up to a month before seeking medical care! Knowing how a heart attack manifests for women could help save your life, or the life of someone you love.

While women can and often will experience the same symptoms as listed above that men do, many women complain of a persistent nausea. Others feel the source of their discomfort is in their back, between the shoulder blades. Women are more likely to ignore their symptoms, especially because they may not get the hallmark pain in their chest, neck, jaw, and left arm.

If you experience ANY of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical help (list courtesy of The American Heart Association):
-Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
-Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
-Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
-Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
-As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

For more information, visit: http://www.goredforwomen.org/about_heart_disease_and_stroke.aspx

Topics: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

March 9, 2012

Senior Citizens and Medications

By Carol Carbutti

It seems that the older we get, the more medications we’re on.  You may start with one medication, and then require a second medication to mange the side effects of that one, and then a third to manage the side effects of that one and the list grows longer and longer.  Combine that with the fact that many people take medications prescribed by different doctors, known as polypharmacy, and the potential for a mishap increases.  In fact, it is estimated that 10% of all hospital admissions are due to medication mis-use!  These admissions are both unfortunate and preventable!  Another staggering number is that approximately 40% of all patients entering nursing homes is due to the inability to self-manage their medications.  That statistic can be very disheartening to someone who intends to stay in their own home as long as possible.  So what can be done?

  • Family members can do a med-pour; that is to pre-portion out the meds needed each day and throughout the day into a pill organizer
  • Start a medication diary to keep a log of what medications are taken when
  • Caregivers can provide medication reminders or prompts at the proper time to take a dose
  • Use an automated pill reminder/dispenser such as Comfort Keepers’s Safety Choice TabSafe device

With proper medication management, we can help our Seniors stay in their home longer!  To speak with one of our in-home care specialists, please feel free to call our office at 203-697-1030.  We’re here to help!

For more information, see this article from Comfort Keepers: http://www.comfortkeepers.com/information-center/news-and-highlights/manage_medications

Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »