Advice from a Tree

December 11th, 2018

Advice from a Tree

What nature teaches us about life

As fall turns toward winter, it can be difficult to embrace change or capture glimpses of beauty in the midst of loss.  The same leaves that were glorious in colors just weeks ago, have now withered and the branches are bare.  Likewise the changing seasons might remind us of the changes in our aging loved ones as they face having to stop driving, experience a fall with injuries, or have to move in with a daughter for extra care and support.  The beauty of family relationships can become strained when dementia causes changes in behavior or mood or physical function.  When we have difficulty coping with change and adjusting to new kinds of normal, let's look to the trees for some words of wisdom.  May this poem bring insight and fresh perspective for you in this season.  

Advice From A Tree

--by Ilan Shamir (Sep 25, 2017)

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

It Takes a Village

August 31st, 2018

Have you ever heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child"?  We often think of how much support we need from our parents, grandparents, mentors, friends, and faith communities when we consider all the complex layers of caring for our children from the moment they come home from the hospital to the moment they leave for college.  But when it comes to caring for an aging loved one with multiple medical problems, there is not always a village available to help.  In some circumstances, everyone around you is in the same boat trying to juggle work, family, and life stressors all while caring for an older adult.  Other times, you may hear often. "Just call me if you need anything," but don't want to be a "burden" or don't even know what to ask for or what might help.  

There are times in life when the weight of stress and responsibilities are far more than one person could handle alone, and trying to shoulder that boulder alone can be absolutely crushing.  It's moments like this when it would be amazing for that weight to be lifted by a village of folks who come alongside you to lighten the load and help you carry on.  This is what PACE does best.  

Our team is here to help.  We often meet people when they are at the end of their rope and ready to throw in the towel to total burnout.  

It's amazing for caregivers to see they are not alone any more because... 

There is a homecare aide who will come help bathe and dress your loved one to get ready for the day.

There is a driver who will provide door to door service and bring your loved one to the center.

There are three adult day centers (one of which is a memory care unit) fully staffed with activity and CNA professionals to provide personal care and socialization so that caregivers can get a break during the day.

There is a nutritionist who ensures your loved one receives optimal nutrition for their unique dietary needs.

There is a social worker to call and help navigate the road ahead.

There is a nurse who can answer questions and provide medication instruction.

There is a doctor who specializes in geriatric medicine and will care for your loved one with dignity and respect.

There is a rehab team to promote safety in efforts to prevent falls and maximize function and quality of life.

There is an onsite pharmacy where all prescription and over the counter medication your loved one needs will be filled and delivered to your home with no copays or out-of-pocket expenses. 

There are scheduling coordinators who manage all the appointments for your loved one to see the specialists for all their head-to-toe unique conditions with transportation and appointment reminder calls.

There is a Chaplain who offers church services and Bible study at the center along with spiritual support for you and your loved one

PACE model is most successful in partnership with families who want to continue to care for their loved ones at home but need a village of support to surround and sustain them.  

We would love to be your village!

Posted by Site Admin  | Category: Caregiving

By Sherry M. Hankins, Pharm D, BCGP   

Did you know that almost one-third of people over the age of 65 fall each year, leading to 7million injuries and over 27,000 deaths? The risk of falling is one of the most important factors to consider when doctors prescribe medications for elderly patients. Many medications can increase fall risk due to an increased incidence for side effects, drug interactions, and reduced metabolism and clearance of drugs from the body as we get older.

The good news is that a patient’s medications are usually among the easiest risk factors to change when it comes to preventing falls.

There are 3 categories of medication that should be reviewed to prevent falls:

  1. Medications that affect the brain.

    This is a very broad category that includes medications to treat insomnia, anxiety, and pain which are unfortunately common issues that need treatment in the elderly. This category also includes medications used to control difficult behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Also included are over the counter medications for motion sickness, vertigo, seasonal allergies and itching.  

  2. Medications that affect blood pressure.

    Older adults often experience a drop in blood pressure when they stand up. This is called postural hypotension. Most medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause or worsen this condition. Also included in this category are medications to treat an enlarged prostate gland and related medications to improve urination.  

  3. Medications that affect blood sugar.

    Many diabetes medications can cause or worsen hypoglycemia. Studies have shown that hypoglycemia is associated with falls in older adults.

A medication review by a doctor or pharmacist can help pinpoint these meds that increase fall risk. Recommendations can be made to lower the doses, discontinue these meds or replace them with safer options if appropriate.

Sherry M.Hankins, Pharm D, BCGP, has attained her board certification in geriatric pharmacy, and is one of a small number of board-certified geriatric pharmacists in the state of Tennessee.  Sherry is one of two doctors of pharmacy responsible for participant care in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in Chattanooga, TN.  PACE is an alternative to nursing home care that uses adult day services and home care to help people live in their own homes.

Posted by Site Admin  | Category: Pharmacy, Geriatrics