Caring for an ALS Patient

What is ALS?  It is commonly referred to as the Lou Gehrig’s disease, amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is the neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also the debilitating disorder of the motor nerves which rapidly causes progressive muscle weakness and spasms.

According to the ALS Association, most people with ALS are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70, with some rare cases of people in their twenties and thirties. Most ALS patients live for 3 to 5 years after after diagnosis. However about 10% also get the chance to live for 10 years or more.

Approximately 6,000 people are diagnosed every year and this diagnosis occur around the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries where anyone can be affected. Few signs and symptoms of ALS include :

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing,speaking and breathing.
  • Keeping a good posture and difficulty holding one’s head up.
  • Tripping and falling.
  • Trouble with activities of daily living.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Uncontrollable periods of laughing and crying.
  • Muscle cramps and twitches.

River Oaks Homecare is committed to stepping in with round the clock hands on non-medical care. We are here to relieve families who are the caregivers, making sure our ALS clients are well taken care of.

We are dedicated to helping seniors continue to experience the richness of life. Call us today – 267-755-7500.

Elder Abuse And Neglect.

Elder abuse and neglect is very common in our society and around us, unfortunately due to the fact that little or no awareness is made about it to the public and our society in general, it makes it tough for us to see even when it’s happening close to home and around us. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that most of this abuse and neglect occur within the family on a larger scale.

An abuse is the intentional cause of any physical injury inflicted on the consumer. Also, it is the unnecessary isolation or confinement of anyone as a punishment. Abuse can also be in the form of intimidation and also neglect.

Neglect is the failure to provide individuals with the most basic needs such as : Food , Water and Cleanliness. Neglect can also be when a caregiver fails to provide care and also to  keep the consumer from  physical and emotional harm.

Financial Abuse is another form of abuse that occurs with our seniors and this happens with the misappropriation of their properties, stealing their saved up money or cajoling them to sign documents and papers to favor them. Other kinds of abuse perpetrated to Seniors include: Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse and sexual abuse.

If you happen to live close by any senior, be on the alert to see if you suspect that there’s any form of abuse, depression or fear.You can also report any suspicious incident to the nearest county’s Aging and Adult services representative.

Physical Changes of Aging: Loss Of Hearing.

Hearing loss is another physical change that seniors experience. Approximately one in three seniors between the ages of 55 – 74 have hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Also, research shows that men are more likely to have hearing loss than women. Having hearing loss issues can disrupt a lot of activities of daily living for seniors, it can take away independence and the ability to socialize with friends and family. It can greatly impact communication and functional ability as well.

Hearing disorders can also disrupt the balance in the inner ear, which will likely lead to a fall, causing serious injuries.

Causes of Hearing Loss:

  • Hearing loss occurs due to old age. Age related hearing loss, most often occurs in both ears gradually.
  • Lifetime exposure to loud noise. A very good example are people whose career paths have been Factory workers, Construction workers, Airport workers, Musicians etc. Working in professions like these can over the years build up issues with loss of hearing.
  • Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections.
  • A severe head injury or brain injury can also affect hearing.
  • Genes can also play a role.

Treatment Options are :

  • The use of a hearing aid.
  • Assistive listening devices.
  • Surgical Implants.
  • Lip or speech reading and sign language.

Hearing Loss if left untreated could lead to deafness and seniors who do not address their hearing loss put their lives at risk for example if a senior is unable to hear emergency warnings such as car horns or smoke alarms.
It is advisable for seniors to have their hearing tested at least once a year to prevent avoidable injuries.

Physical Changes Of Aging: Loss of Vision.

According to a write up from the American Foundation for the blind (, 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 have a severe visual impairment. Vision loss can greatly affect the well-being of older adults in many ways.

A lot of visually impaired seniors experience difficulty performing the activities of daily living (ADL) such as : Finance management,cooking, shopping,reading, showering, recreational activities, participating social activities and all other personal needs. And once these difficulties are noticed, it sometimes lets in depression. Some common vision reducing eye problems include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Dry eye
  • Age related macular degeneration.

One of the ways to avoid loss of vision is early preventive care. The earlier it’s detected the better the chances of avoiding loss of vision.

  • Going for regular vision appointments at least every two years.
  • Keeping a healthy diet.
  • Exercising more frequently
  • Physical exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure
  • No smoking

And if seniors are already experiencing some loss of vision, here are some tips that can make a difference around their homes:

  • Installing proper lighting around the home is helpful
  • Using braille, audio tapes and reading large font books.
  • Labeling important thing around the home.
  • Removing clutters around the home.

Finally, getting in touch with nonprofit organizations involved with seniors affected by loss of vision can greatly help. Examples of such organizations are : Pennsylvania association for the blind ( ,American solution for the blind (

Physical Changes Of Aging: Aging In Place The Right Way.

Aging in place for seniors means being able to live wherever they choose to and still get the best quality of life in every aspect of their lives for as long as they can. Studies from so many surveys have shown that a lot of seniors desire to stay and live in their own homes for the rest of their lives.

Aging in place requires a lot of planning and as every senior prepares for these changes, it is highly important for them to consider the changes that will happen to them and the impacts this changes will have on their lives.

Seniors experience both Physical and mental changes which include :

  • Loss of Vision
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Loss of Calcium (also known as Osteoporosis )   
  • Increased risk of illnesses such as Diabetes, Heart disease, Hypertension and arthritis
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Depression

We will be discussing more on how these changes occur and  affect seniors. Also, looking at the various tips and approach every caregiver needs to know about to make life easier and more  meaningful for every senior that comes their way.


Bathroom Safety: Use of Grab Rails.

Considering all accidents that occur during bathroom use in elderly homes, it’s very important to take action with the installation of bathroom safety measures for our loved ones since it is an high risk area.

Grab rail also known as grab bar is one of the safety measures that prevents fall from slippery floors and bathtubs.They are strategically attached to walls in the tub and shower area to offer a steady brace while getting in and out of the shower or getting up and down from the toilet seat.

There are different types of grab bars needed in specific areas in the bathroom. At least two grab bars are needed in the tub.
Grab bars properly and permanently secured to the walls are much safer than the suction cup bars.
Most come with weight capacity, so please be sure to keep this in mind before installation.
#seniorcare #grabbars #bathroomsafety #weloveseniors #fallprevention

Bathroom Safety: Non-Slip Mats.

An important bathroom safety installation that prevents and reduces the risk of fall are Non-slip bath mats. Non-slip bath mats are placed inside and outside of bathroom stalls to help prevent slips and falls by providing traction to the feet when wet.

Fall related injuries can result to head injuries, broken bones,hip fracture injuries and even spinal cord injuries. Non-slip mats not only provide extra security and stability, they also help when :

  • Getting in and out of the shower.
  • Reaching out for the towel bar and also trying to use the sink.
  • Sitting and getting up when using the toilet.

When buying a non-slip mat, it is important to:

  • Choose a mat with suction grips at the bottom. The suctions grips will stick to the bathtub and shower stalls preventing it from sliding.
  • Measure the tub and choose the mat that mostly covers the length of the tub as well.

Above all, let’s make sure that the bathrooms are well lit.

#bathroomsafety #seniorcare #homecare #fallprevention

The Power of Music.

Music is a very powerful tool that can be used as a mental stimulation for our aging adults. With the rise in the life expectancy, we have a lot of seniors facing the problem of living in isolation and depression. Implementing Music Therapy for most seniors would tremendously engage and help prolong their lives more.

According to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, “listening to music when used appropriately can shift moods, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive functions and coordinate motor movements”.

River Oaks Homecare has a music therapy program that has proven to improve mental stimulation – promoting active and positive mental attitude, physical activity and interaction with others.

Here’s a 2012 YouTube about a man named Henry whose video went viral. Henry had suffered from Dementia for over a decade, he was always withdrawn and spent most of time in his wheelchair. Watch and enjoy how he responds to listening to his favorite songs on an ipod.

Navigating And Finding The Right Care.

Trying to get the right care and help needed for your Senior family member requires looking through various options. Often times seniors and decision makers struggle with the different kinds of options made available to them.
River Oaks Homecare provides a Patient Advocacy Service, which means apart from working with our seasoned personal care attendants and caregivers, we can also work you through many senior care choices and community programs such as

  • Assisted living facility placements : we can walk you through finding the best facilities within your budget.
  • Assistance with finding the right retirement community.
  • Assisting Veterans over 65 years and their spouses apply for the Aids and Attendance Benefit program.

Our unique on-going evaluation of all local facilities ensures the we only direct our clients to the best in the business, providing you the best quality of life that fits your budget.

Give us a call today for a free in home assessment.

[email protected] | 267-755-7500

Three Essential Questions to ask your Senior Home Care Provider.

Three Essential questions to ask to ensure the company you choose has a strong set of core values:

  • CommunicationWill I be able to easily communicate with the personal care attendant and have continued access to my care manager? This is the core of River Oaks Home Care’s approach.  We believe that you should never feel there is a lack of control or communication with your personal care attendant. For this reason, you are assigned a care manager who is always available.
  • IntegrityHas a sense of trust been established? At River Oaks Home Care, we believe this is the key to a comfortable relationship and the well-being of the client. That is why we carefully screen all our personal care attendants and provide a written contract.
  • PerformanceAm I confident I will get the professional care promised and that there will be accountability and follow up? Home care is dynamic; a family’s needs can change daily. You chose home care to allow your loved one to remain independent and retain their quality of life, not to endure more paperwork and problem solving. We make a simple promise: We will be there for your family.

Contact us today for a free initial assessment to help determine the best care option for your loved one.