Freudenthal Home Health salutes family caregivers in the St. Joseph, MO area who are giving wonderful care and help to their senior loved ones each and every day. Our goal with this blog is to give information and resources to help and support St. Joseph, MO area family caregivers.
Thank you for your service and sacrifice!
Influenza (the flu) is a serious illness, especially for older adults.
FACT: The elderly are at high risk of serious flu-related complications.
People’s immune systems become weaker with age placing people 65 years and older at high risk of serious, flu-related complications. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. It’s estimated that between about 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths in the United States have occurred among people 65 years and older. For seasonal flu-related hospitalizations, people 65 and older account for between about 50 percent and 70 percent of the estimated total.
An annual flu shot is the best protection against the flu.
FACT: While flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months and older. Vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because of their high risk status.
Studies have shown that flu vaccination can prevent flu illness and flu hospitalization. Also, vaccination can make your illness milder if you do get sick.
People 65 years and older can get any flu shot that is approved for use in that age group. There also are two vaccine options available for the elderly that are designed specifically for them, to promote a stronger immune response. That includes some traditional, regular-dose flu shots, recombinant flu shots and two other flu shots designed specifically for people 65 and older.
Denise Curran, RN BSN, Vice President of Home Health Operations at Freudenthal Home Health, stresses the importance of the flu vaccine for the elderly. “For the elderly it is very important that they vaccinate for influenza due to their limited immune system, especially those seniors that are living in communal care settings such as Assisted Living and Longterm Care Facilities.” She goes on to say, “For those that choose not to vaccinate, they increase the risk of exposure to other individuals within the community that have chosen to not vaccinate as well, or for those that cannot, due to medical issues, or infants that are not yet able to be vaccinated. Influenza can be deadly and results in approximately 30k deaths each year, and yet it is preventable with a simple vaccination.”
Long-term medical conditions also can put you at high risk for serious flu complications.
FACT: The flu can make long-term health problems worse, even if they are well managed.
Diabetes, asthma, and chronic heart disease (even if well managed) are among the most common long-term medical conditions that place people at high risk of serious flu complications. It is particularly important that all adults with these or other chronic medical conditions receive a flu vaccine every year.
FACT: There are prescription drugs that can treat influenza virus infections. People 65 and older should be treated with influenza antiviral drugs if they get the flu.
If you have flu symptoms–even if you have already had a flu shot–call your doctor, nurse, or clinic. Doctors can prescribe medicine, called antiviral drugs, to treat the flu and lessen the chance of serious illness. These medicines work better the sooner they are started. If you have any or all of the following symptoms, you might have the flu and should call your health care provider and tell them about your symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore Throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people who are very sick with flu (for example, people who are in the hospital), and people who are sick with flu and are at high risk of serious flu complications, like people 65 and older.
Dr. Read Wall & Dr. Robert Knowles explain and demonstrate the diaphragmatic breathing technique.
Fall is here, is your home ready? Here are 9 tips to get you started. Need help? Call us today!Read More
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. The disease is increasingly common, affecting millions of Americans, and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The good news is COPD is often preventable and treatable.
Freudenthal Home Health's very own, Dr. Robert Knowles and Dr. Read Wall, discuss pursed-lip breathing and breathless postures designed to help persons with COPD, and other breathing issues, breath a little easier.
At Freudenthal Home Health, we believe it's important to also have fun as a team.
1. Know Pain, Know Gain. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that understanding how our pain systems work is an excellent strategy in managing it. The great news is that you don’t need to know a lot! Simply knowing the basics of how our brain and nerves work, and their role in pain, can help reduce your chance for developing chronic symptoms. Learn more.
2. Keep moving. Gradually and steadily. Living an active, healthy lifestyle not only improves our general well-being and health, but can also reduce our chances of developing chronic pain. Our body was built to move, and we need to understand that not all aches or soreness is cause for concern. Learn more.
3. Spend time with a good PT. If you experience an injury, or develop the onset of pain, seeing a physical therapist (PT) early on can help address and manage your symptoms. PTs are movement experts who can diagnose and treat injuries and help you identify strategies to better manage your pain. The earlier you seek care, the better the chances you have for not developing chronic symptoms. And there’s no reason to wait: you can see a physical therapist without a physician’s referral in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more.
4. Don't focus on an image. While most of us want a diagnostic image (ie, x-ray, MRI) to tell us “why we hurt,” images actually give us little information about what’s causing pain. A study performed on individuals 60 years or older, who had no symptoms of low back pain, found that more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc, 36% had a herniated disc, and 21% had spinal stenosis. What shows up on an image may or may not be related to your symptoms. Once imaging has cleared you of a serious condition, your physical therapist will help guide you back to the life you want to live!
5. Addressing depression and anxiety helps. Your chances of developing chronic pain may be higher if you also are experiencing depression and anxiety. A recent study in the Journal of Pain showed that depression, as well as some of our thoughts about pain prior to total knee replacement, was related to long-term pain following the procedure. Make sure that you talk to your medical provider about your mental health throughout your treatment; it can help make your journey go much more smoothly following an injury or surgery.
The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more at our #ChoosePT page.
Authored by Joseph Brence, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, DAC
When first diagnosed, all Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients should have a consultation with a physical therapist to define the appropriate exercise program tailored to them. This will also establish a baseline of your current physical status.
Ideally, all patients with PD should have a good fitness program as well as specific exercises to maintain good posture and balance as well as improve symmetry in flexibility and strength. Then, one may benefit from a consultation with a physical therapist when signs and symptoms increase the risk for falling or limit comfortable community mobility and confidence. The therapist will also work on improving gait with practice using visual and auditory cues, as well as without those cues.
As the disease progresses, periodic re-evaluations are helpful to assure your exercise program is having the maximum benefit. A program of individualized exercises addressing posture, balance and gait has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing the risk of falling. In some cases, where balance or musculoskeletal problems develop, supervised outpatient treatments a few times per week may be helpful for a few weeks.
In addition to physical exercise, it is important for everyone to maintain a high level of learning-based exercise activities to improve the ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously and safely without falling. The combination of learning-based memory training, aerobic exercise, over ground gait practice and integrative, engaging activities in the community are essential to positive health and well being despite aging or neurodegenerative disease.
Physical therapy can help people with Parkinson's disease improve their quality of life and even delay the negative effects of the disease, but a recent study shows that physical therapist services aren't being maximized by people with Parkinson's.
According to a study presented at the 20th International Congress of Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society ("Underutilization of physiotherapy for Parkinson's disease in the United States" – accessed June 22, 2016), fewer than 12% of Medicare beneficiaries with Parkinson's disease utilized physical therapy over a 2 year period. Occupational therapy and speech therapy services also were underutilized.
"Occupational and physical therapy can help patients with being able to exercise, and we know that's one of the most effective ways to reverse the course of Parkinson's," said Peter Schmidt, PhD, of the National Parkinson Foundation, in an interview with MedPage Today about the study. "We've also shown that the earlier you get it, particularly with physical therapy, the more effective it is later in the disease."
Here's a quick video on the treatment of Parkinson's by a Physical Therapist
October is National Physical Therapy Month, and Freudenthal Home Health will be highlighting the skills and techniques that physical therapists bring to the table. Take some time and watch or listen to this video on pain from our very own Doctor of Physical Therapy, Read Wall, DPT. This conversation on sources of pain and how to manage them might change your world.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol or just want to learn more about cholesterol, we can help you. Cholesterol is a waxy substance. It’s not “bad”: your body needs it to build cells. But too much can be a problem.
Coronary artery disease (CAD)occurs when the inside (the lumen) of one or more coronary arteries narrows, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to surrounding heart muscle tissue. Atherosclerosis is the process that causes the artery wall to get thick and stiff. It can lead to complete blockage of the artery, which can cause a heart attack.
The disease process begins when LDL (“bad” cholesterol) deposits cholesterol in the artery wall. The body has an immune response to protect itself and sends white blood cells called macrophages to engulf the invading cholesterol in the artery wall. When the macrophages are full of cholesterol, they are called foam cells because of their appearance. As more foam cells collect in the artery wall, a fatty streak develops between the intima and the media. If the process is not stopped, the fatty streak becomes a plaque, which pushes the intima into the lumen, narrowing the blood flow.
The plaque develops a fibrous coating on its outer edges. But if cholesterol continues to collect in foam cells inside the plaque, the fibrous outer coating can weaken and eventually rupture. Smaller arteries downstream from the rupture can quickly become blocked. Over time, a clot may develop at the rupture site and completely block the artery.
A myocardial infarction (heart attack) occurs when the heart muscle tissue does not receive vital oxygen and nutrients.
All Illustrations and explanations © 2017, American Heart Association, Inc.
Today Freudenthal Home Health is celebrating World Physical Therapy Day, by saying thank you to the men and women who tirelessly work to improve the health of our aging community.Read More
The Emergency Response System protects you and eases your loved one's mind.
Ease your loved one's mind with our Emergency Response System that allows you to communicate hands-free with our safety professionals 24 hours a day.
Rates & Pricing
Emergency Response System:
Includes base station and push button pendant which allows you to call and communicate hands-free with our safety professionals.
Additional options that connect
wirelessly to the base station:
- Automatic Fall Detector
- Door Exit Alarm
- Smoke Detector
- Severe Weather Alarm
- Extreme Temperature Sensor
- Motion Detector
- Pull Cords
One Call Sets It Up
One call to our Care Concierge sets up your personalized plan, and one name – Freudenthal – ensures all the care is first-class.
CALL (816) 676-8050
Cholesterol seems to be one of those words that’s in everyone’s vocabulary, but many people are still confused about what cholesterol is, and how it affects their health. It also keeps popping up in the media from time to time, partly due to a report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of top nutrition researchers who advise the government about what and how Americans should be eating.
1. Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods
There are two types: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in foods, and only foods of animal origin contain it, because animals’ bodies naturally produce this waxy, fat-like substance. So when you eat an animal-based food (think eggs, dairy, meat, seafood) you’re ingesting cholesterol that an animal’s body produced. Plant-based foods do not contain any cholesterol, so if you see a jar of nut butter marked "cholesterol free" know that they didn’t remove the cholesterol—it just wasn’t there to begin with.
2. Cholesterol is essential for your health
Even if you ate zero animal foods, you’d still have cholesterol in your body. That’s because your liver produces cholesterol and it’s needed for several key functions, including the making of hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. While cholesterol is vital, it isn’t considered to be an essential nutrient, meaning something you must obtain from foods, like vitamin C or potassium. That’s because your body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.
3. There are “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol in your blood
The two types of blood cholesterol you hear about most often are HDL (the “good” kind; think happy cholesterol) and LDL (the “bad” kind; think lousy cholesterol). HDL and LDL are actually carriers of cholesterol called lipoproteins. HDL is good because it carries cholesterol away from arteries and back to the liver, where it can be removed from your body. LDL—the bad type—has the opposite effect. Too much LDL can lead to a build-up, which clogs and narrows arteries, and creates inflammation. This chain of events can lead to a sudden rupture, which sends a clot into the bloodstream, causing a heart attack and/or stroke.
4. Dietary cholesterol may not impact blood cholesterol as much as previously thought
The old thinking was that consuming dietary cholesterol added to the cholesterol that your body naturally produces, thus raising the amount in your blood. This was perceived to be risky, because too much blood cholesterol has been shown to up the risk of heart disease, the top killer of both men and women. One often-cited statistic is that every 1% increase in total blood cholesterol is tied to a 2% increase in the risk of heart disease.
For many years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that dietary cholesterol should be limited to no more than 300 mg per day. To put that in perspective, one egg yolk contains about 185 mg, three ounces of shrimp contains about 130 mg, two ounces of 85% lean ground beef about 60 mg, and one tablespoon of butter about 30 mg. The brand new report eliminated this cap, however, because the committee believes that the research shows no substantial relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterollevels. As such, they concluded, “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
5. The new guidelines aren't carte blanche to other animal fats
Nearly every media outlet covered the release of the report from the Dietary Guidelines committee, zeroing in on the omission of cholesterol limits—but that doesn’t mean it’s now healthy to go out and down cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas. The committee is still concerned about the relationship between blood cholesterol and saturated fat from foods like cheese.
You may have heard about another recent report, which concluded that a lower intake of saturated fat wasn’t linked to a lower risk of heart disease. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story, because the risk really lies in what you replace the saturated fat-laden foods with. When people curb saturated fat, but eat more carbohydrates, they lower protective levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and drive up triglycerides (a type of blood fat), a combo that may actually up the risk of heart disease. But numerous studies have shown that replacing foods like butter and cheese with plant-based fats like almond butter, avocado, and olive oil can help lower heart disease risk.
The Bottom Line:
The number one message from the new Dietary Guidelines report is that we all need to be eating less sugar and processed foods, and more plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils. So if you have cholesterol from something like eggs, pair them with other whole, nutrient-rich plant foods, like veggies and avocado, combined with some fruit, black beans, sweet potato, or quinoa. That’s good nutrition.
Professor David Le Couteur talks to ABC's Catalyst about adverse drug reactions in the elderly.
Ask the Expert with Dr. Scott Avery, DO:
What you Need to Know About Over-Medication
Question 1: What should a family caregiver know about their loved one's prescriptions/medications?
They should know what medications they are taking and for what condition. IN addition they should know who is prescribing the medications. They should also know that over the counter medications can interfere with prescription medications. They should always let their phsycian know about any over the counter medicines, supplements or herbs.
Question 2: What is over-medication and are there any definite signs of it?
[Over-medication] is taking more of a medication than is prescribed. It can also be two or more medications interacting with each other. Signs would be a patient acting different than normal i.e., someone is acting groggy after starting a medication.
Question 3: Who is the first person/professional to contact if you are worried about over-medication?
You should call your physician or your loved one’s physician with any concerns.
Question 4: When should a patient or family caregiver seek a second opinion on medications?
Anytime there is a concern about a medication you should bring it up with your physician first. If there are still questions after this, then a second opinion would be something to consider seeking.
Question 5: What is your number one prescription medication safety tip?
This one comes from my nurses.
Right medication, right patient, right dose, right route, right time.
In other words, take only medications that are prescribed for you, take the amount that is prescribed at the correct time. Take it by the right route, i.e. if it says to take orally, swallow the pill or if it says injection, give it by an injection.