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How are You Sleeping?

March has been designated National Sleep Awareness Month. One part of sleep awareness is knowing how our sleep may be affected by changes in the environment.

Most of the United States returns to Daylight Saving Time beginning at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 8. As we spring forward and advance our clocks one hour, it is important to consider how this small change can affect our sleep.

Moving our clocks, watches, and cell phones in either direction changes the principal time cue—light—for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. This makes our internal clock out of sync with our current day-night cycle.

In general, “losing” an hour in the spring is more difficult to adjust to than “gaining” an hour in the fall.  An “earlier” bedtime may cause difficulty falling asleep and increased wakefulness during the early part of the night.

If you have insomnia or are sleep-deprived already, you could experience more difficulties. In this situation, you could see decreased performance, concentration and memory during the workday, which is common to sleep-deprived individuals.  You also may experience fatigue and daytime sleepiness. All of these are more likely if you consume alcohol or caffeine late in the evening.

In general, people adjust to the change in time within a few days. You can help this by decreasing exposure to light in your home during the evenings, exercising, trying to have a consistent sleep schedule, and reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine

Visit https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/04/national-sleep-awareness-month/ for more about sleep, insomnia and work-life balance resources.

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The importance of Patient Safety

Prevention of Falls in the Elderly

How many of you are caring for the elderly, or looking for someone who can? It’s not easy. There are so many things to look out for, and so many challenges to face.

One of the biggest challenges is prevention of falls in the elderly. There are many other things to talk about when it comes to caring for them but accidental falling can be a nightmare. So how do we prevent falls in the elderly?

We know that falls, and the resulting complications, can be very dangerous but they are also one of the most common risk factors-it’s just too easy to let them happen. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, “One out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it.” So this problem is not only widespread, it is also hidden. Caregivers end up in a difficult position of having to prevent things before they can happen.

So what can we do?

Many risk factors and prevention have been identified in medical and healthcare literature. This might go a long way in saving the lives of our loved ones. Some of these risk factors are intrinsic and you may need professional help before you can notice them, for example, examination for back problems. Other factors are environmental and to some extent cannot be controlled easily. But there are other factors that are within the power of caregivers-both formal and informal-to deal with.


Forewarned is forearmed. Some medicines can make a person dizzy or drowsy, of affect balance and co-ordination. This applies to everyone, not just the elderly. Caregivers might not always be in a good position to know this-medical confidentiality and lacking pharmaceutical knowledge might hinder this. But the elderly or their legal representatives should be able to ask their doctors/pharmacists to identify those medicines that increase the risk of falling. The doctors especially, should be able to tell you whether any particular medicine is a risk to any particular patient.


Remember that awful, horrible feeling when you wrench an ankle wearing thick soles on uneven ground? Think of this, only much worse, if an elderly person’s feet wobble too much wearing high heels with no ankle support. Backless shoes, even slippers with smooth soles, all pose a variety of footwear-related risks. In Asia, another type of footwear to worry about are the communal slippers used for bathrooms. There are many ways footwear can be unsafe-they can interfere with a safe and proper gait, they can be too slippery, or they can be too large and be a tripping hazard. We should ensure our elderly not only have proper and safe footwear for going out, but also for using within the home-this is especially important for bathroom slippers since the elderly may need to access a potentially wet floor late at night, possibly without wearing glasses, while urgently rushing to answer the call of nature.

Tripping/Slipping Hazards

We already mentioned smooth-soled shoes as a slipping hazard. But there’s more. The bathroom is a particularly dangerous place for elderly when it comes to a fall risk. The floor can be smooth and wet, and placing loose rugs may do nothing to solve this problem-they might even increase the risk of slipping. Bathrooms often also have little curbs, especially at the shower areas. Try to use rugs with a rubberized underside, to prevent elderly users from slipping to them, and of course try to keep the floors dry. Rough surfaces or rubber mats are another potential safety measure.

But that’s just the bathroom. Falls can happen anywhere in the house or outside it, so watch out also for objects cluttering the floor, uneven ground, slopes, and smooth surfaces.


Now, this might be a bit difficult. So far, we’ve talked about removing problems. That’s not expensive. But sometimes we may need to make some investments for long term. We don’t need to wrap our loved ones in tons of cotton wool everywhere they go, but it would help if grab rails or other supports and installed in the important areas of the home (bathroom for example). Walking aides should also be chosen carefully. It should not be too heavy, and should be adjusted to the correct height so that a cane-assisted walking posture does not itself turn out to be a falling risk.


Protein, calcium, essential vitamins and water. All these sound very commonsensical. However, what an elderly person needs for a suitable diet may not be the same as what healthy middle-aged adults need. Some changes are common to all elderly-for example, switching to softer foods. Moreover, a healthy diet can go a long way to prevent numerous other problems that increase the risk of falling. Diet also needs to cater to a person’s specific medical issues.

If you or a loved one are looking into home care options please visit http://www.CaregiverUSA.com or call 614-408-9939.

Going Above and Beyond for Those in Need

Did you know National Caregiver Day is the third Friday in February? February 17th, 2017. This National Day began just last year. Caregiver USA would like to recognize this day by introducing one of their many compassionate caregivers.

LaTanya is a registered nurse that is constantly going above and beyond her line of duty.  Over the weekend, LaTanya helped her client move out of his home into a residence better suited to his needs. She is passionate about quality of life for all of her clients. Below is a little message from LaTanya on her Caregiving journey.

“I began my nursing career as a Candy Stripper at 15-years-old at a local hospital in my hometown, Youngstown, OH. It was there that I discovered I was a natural caretaker. I loved helping people in need. I also discovered that nursing was for me. I attended Choffin School of Practical Nursing in my hometown in 1996. My nursing education was not traditional because I was a single mother of 4. In 2007, I continued my nursing education at Fortis College of Nursing for my RN with the support of my children. I have worked in acute care, long-term care, home care, mental health and school nurse”

For more information about CaregiverUSA services please visit http://www.CaregiverUSA.com or call 614-408-9939.

What kind of Jobs can I get in College?

Hi, I’m Mark a second-year Health Sciences major in Columbus, OH. This is my first job through the CaregiverUSA website. Right now, I’m a companion to an older guy, 82.  I am hired to kind of just hang out with him and keep him company to make him less depressed and make sure he doesn’t get in a tough spot, you know.   He just needs some basic looking after since he lives alone and has some back and hip problems.  Yeah, maybe a little problem with remembering things from time to time.  Like where he put his glasses or some important papers, but not too bad at this point.

A lot of the people looking for work on CaregiverUSA are female, as you would guess, and a lot of them have different kinds of nursing and healthcare credentials.  I found out about this site from a girl in my Psych class who is doing some companion work through them.  She said she basically could set her own hours, pay, location. Plus, they’ve got an arrangement going so I can get college credit toward my major.   I’m thinkin’ why not? Beats bussing tables or working the drive-thru, if you can even find those jobs now.

This girl said males are encouraged to apply on this caregiver website, because there are some families looking for caregivers where they feel in their situation, a male is preferred.  That’s the case with me.  They (Don and his wife Liz) thought that Don’s father, Al (that’s the name of the guy I work for) would be happier and more cooperative if there was more of a young buddy/grandson aged type guy helping out who is able to talk about the stuff Al likes.

Al is an unusual, but kind of cool dude.  A little slow getting around, has a lot of opinions about everything. He wasn’t sure exactly why I was there at first.  I just kept showing up three times a week around 8:30 a.m. and saying Don and Liz were busy with whatever, so can I get him anything or do anything for him? After a while, he got used to seeing me at the usual time and started making plans for the day for us to do something.

He’s really into cars, which is one of the reasons his family hired me.  I am a total gearhead.  I own a ’68 Mustang Fastback, but I’m also seriously into ’57 Chevys and ’66 Jaguar XKE’s when I get the money to buy them.  My mom complains that cars is all I care about.  I’ve even lost a couple of girlfriends over it – no time for them. Blah blah.

Yeah well, cars are how I got this gig with Al.  We scout out car shows wherever they may be, sometimes a couple hours away.  I also take him to pre-owned (Al says “used”) car lots and we put the sales guys through their paces. 

Al loves asking them about some obscure, random thing to watch the guys squirm, like do rear axles have torsen differential or limited-slip differential?  We both figure the sales guys should know about what they’re selling, so we’re good with it.  Occasionally, if something has a cherry body that actually interests Al to own, he makes some kind of half-baked offer.  Lo and behold, somebody actually sold Al a totally tricked out ’64 Coupe DeVille Caddy for an unbelievable $18,500. It’s parked in Al’s custom built-out four car garage, along with his ’55 Caddy, ’62 Lincoln Continental, and ’67 Corvair Monza.  Al loves showing me all the moves he’s got to outsmart the sales guys – the silent treatment, the walk out, etc.  Sure, I already knew a lot of it, but occasionally he turns me on to a new tactic. I may use one or two of them myself someday.

I’ve been working for Al for about seven weeks.  No problems really, except one day when we dropped by the hardware store to get some 3/8 inch bolts and Al got into it with the clerk over not knowing his stuff.  I think Al was hungry, just had half a donut for breakfast. Pretty sure his back was hurting him, too.  He went off on the guy some and so I kind of intercepted, figured out what the issue was, and got Al out of there pretty quickly so we didn’t make too much of a bad scene.  Al didn’t think anything of it, no surprise there. 

Don and Liz made me promise to tell them about Al’s mood and any problems. I told them, and they said it was par for the course. He’s always kind of been that way.

Oh yeah, back to cars.  Al and I have tinkered around with my Mustang a couple times. Al knows his stuff, and he goes a little overboard, but I listen. Not much to do on Al’s cars, because he looks at them more than drives them, and keeps them in great shape.  We go out on errands in one or the other just to keep them running good.

Once in a great while Al mentions his wife, Helen, who died about two years ago. I don’t have much to say about this, so I just listen.  He showed me some pictures when I first started coming over there.  He and Helen liked to bowl a lot, were on teams doing competitions. They liked camping, too, but Al sold their trailer a few months after she died, I think is what he said. Don and Liz told me he gets depressed sometimes.  I guess I see it, so I just try to distract him, keep him occupied.  It seems to work most of the time.

That’s about all there is to tell at this point.  I keep going over there, and Al keeps on keepin’ on. I think I’m helping him.  That’s what Don and Liz say anyway.  They want me to continue doing what I’m doing. I’m liking the flexibility and the pay. And as I said, I like Al.  I’m cool with it. 

Are you looking for a Caregiver job? Call us today at 614-408-9939.


Was this an interesting article for you? We have more! Subscribe to our newsletter to read useful care stories, receive special offers and updates. We would love for you to be a part of our community, click the link to join us: http://eepurl.com/dgz6LP