Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What To Look For When Considering An Assisted Living Facility

Last year we were faced with the responsibility of taking care of my 83 year old aunt. Now that a full year has passed, we have come to the decision that she can no longer live on her own.

What is Assisted Living Care for Seniors?

Assisted living is housing that is directed towards seniors who can no longer live on their own, but don't require acute care or skilled nursing. These facilities provide the following types of services: secure housing, nutritious meals, assistance with medications, occupational activities and transportation to medical appointments. They usually have on-site 24 hour staff to assist with the needs of their residents.

When considering an Assisted Living Facility, here are a few things to consider.

1. Housing - Will the resident need a small efficiency or full-size apartment? Consider the floor plan when making a decision to make sure it meets all the needs of the resident/patient.

2. Cost - The majority of facilities will only accept private-pay, meaning that they rarely accept government or state money. Can you or your family member afford this type of facility?

3. References - Ask for references from current residents and their families.

4. State Certification - Inquire with the state licensing agencies to see if the facility has any complaints or code violations.

5. Availability - Is there a waiting list? If so, how long until a unit becomes available?

6. Transportation - Does the facility provide transportation to the resident for medical and dental appointments?

7. Cleanliness - Is the facility and grounds surrounding the facility clean? Who does the cleaning for the residents? Who takes care of the grounds surrounding the facility?

8. Occupational Programs - Do they provide extra curricular activities and programs that the residents can participate in? If so, are they included in the cost or are they additional?

9. Staffing - What kind of medical staffing do they have? Is this staff available 24 hours a day?

We have been interviewing and touring facilities for the past few months. I hope these tips will help you when considering if an Assisted Living Facility is right for you or your family member.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

4 Trusted Home Treatments For Pain Relief From Minor Burns

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I think at one time or another, we have all experienced a minor burn or two in our lives. You know how bad the pain is...even with a little first degree burn, it can be quite awful.

When it comes to treating your burn, you first have to identify the severity of it. A first or second degree burn can usually be treated safely at home. However, a third degree burn will need to be treated by emergency personnel.

Burns are classified by depth and severity. Here is a quick rule of thumb...if in doubt, contact a medical professional.

First Degree Burns - This type of minor burn only involves the first layer of skin. You will usually see redness, swelling and have minor pain.

Second Degree Burns - This type of burn is a little more serious but can still be treated at home. You will usually see redness, swelling, blistering, peeling and will have moderate pain.

Third Degree Burns - This type of burn is a lot more serious and you should seek medical attention immediately. You will see redness, swelling, blistering, peeling, charring and a times...underlying blood vessels. These types of burns can cause severe pain and/or numbing due to the nerves being damaged.

For immediate pain relief of first and second degree burns, you can try some of the following home remedies.

1. Cold Milk - You can soak a burn in a bowl of cold milk for 15 minutes to help relieve the pain. After soaking, rinse the area with cool water. If the stinging continues, try a cold milk compress...changing the compress every 20 to 30 minutes as needed.

2. Aloe Vera - You can break open a piece from a natural aloe plant and apply the 'gel-like' substance directly onto your burn to help promote healing.

3. Diluted Vinegar Compresses - I must admit...I have never tried this tip but my grandmother used to swear by it. Take an old cotton wash cloth and soak it in a solution of 80% cool water to 20% white vinegar. Apply this compress to your burn for 20 minutes. After the pain has subsided, rinse the affected area and bandage it to keep it clean.

4. Preparation H Hemorrhoid Cream - This cream has a yeast derivative that helps to promote healing. Just dab a little bit onto the affected area and apply a clean bandage.

After the initial treatment of your burn, you will still need to follow up with some additional care to help prevent infection and/or scarring.

Here are a few things to try (After 24 hours):

1. Wash the area with a mild soap and cool water at least once a day. Follow up with a dry dressing to keep the area clean.

2. Apply Vitamin E cream directly to the affected area to help reduce scarring.

3. If you haven't applied Aloe Vera yet, now is a good time to do so. Aloe is a natural pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply aloe several times a day and then cover with a clean and dry dressing.

Post Burn Care: If you are worried about scarring and/or infection you can try over the counter (OTC) ointments such as Neosporin or Bacitracin. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for correct dosages.

If you are ever in doubt at which type of burn you have or how to treat it, it is always best to contact a medical professional or visit your nearest emergency clinic/hospital.