Benefits of Pets for Seniors

June 26th is Take Your Dog to Work Day!  Per the CDC, there are many health benefits of owning a dog or pet, including helping seniors live more independent lives in their homes and communities. They can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. Most households in the United States have at least one pet.

Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

WelbeHealth recognizes these benefits, which is why it was important to us to rescue our participant’s dog last year.  Click here for the story and link to video.

To learn more about PACE and the services that we provide, click here.

Heat stress in older adults

Safety is key for seniors to live more independent lives in their homes and communities.  To help seniors stay safe during periods of high heat, here’s an article by the CDC regarding heat and older adults.

People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems. If you’re an older adult or a caretaker, review this page for information on how you or the person you’re caring for can stay safe during the heat.

Why are older adults more prone to heat stress?

  • Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Stay cool, stay hydrated

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
    • If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

Stay informed

  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

As always, participants of WelbeHealth PACE programs can contact their center to find resources to stay cool during periods of extreme heat.  For more on the services our PACE program provides, click here.

 

HVAC Maintenance for Seniors

With the summer season in full swing, its important your air conditioner is in top form.  This is doubly important for the seniors that we serve, as summer typically bring with it increased cases of heatstroke.  Have your HVAC inspected and tuned by a certified technician.

What your tune-up should include

A technician should do the following during an A/C tune-up:

  • Inspect the entire system
  • Clean all coils
  • Clean and drain the condensate line
  • Lubricate moving mechanical parts
  • Replace the air filter
  • Check thermostat controls and system wiring
  • Inspect ductwork
  • Check fluid and pressure levels

The CDC also lists other reasons why maintaining your HVAC systems are important.  WelbeHealth wants to stress that an important part of living independently at home and in your communities includes doing so safely during the warmer months.  If you are having trouble keeping cool, contact us and we can help you find the resources available to you.

To learn more about the services PACE offers, click here.

Reflecting on our values

An open letter to our WelbeHealth team members

Dear team,

Thank you for persevering through this difficult week. I continue to reflect with heartache on the tragic injustice of George Floyd’s death, and on the systemic racism faced by people of color day after day, generation after generation.

As an organization, we condemn these senseless and racist acts of police brutality. These violations of basic human rights are antithetical to our personal values and our values as a company. More broadly, we must also condemn racial injustice and prejudice wherever we encounter it: in our society, in our healthcare industry, and in ourselves.

We don’t have to look far to see examples of racial injustice in our own sphere of healthcare. People of color have been hit disproportionately hard by Covid-19, with black Americans dying at rates nearly double their proportion of the population. More news emerges every day about the stark disparities in testing and care for disenfranchised communities.

I believe the work we do can be part of the solution. WelbeHealth was founded on the conviction that every person has immeasurable worth and beauty. Our sole purpose since day one has been to serve the most vulnerable seniors with love and compassion in un-served and under-served communities. We directly combat many social injustices through our PACE services and our culture of cherishing each person, which we call Courage to Love.

But we also understand that status quo is not good enough. We must always strive to do better. As our company grows, I am committed to building a foundation of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. I am committed to better understanding the experiences of our team and our participants — including the experience of being a person of color in our society and our organization. I am committed to self-reflection, learning, and improvement.

To those in our WelbeHealth family who themselves are victims of racism, I know that I will never fully understand the pain you must be experiencing. But I do stand with you. And I recommit personally and as an organization to working every day toward meaningful positive change in our society.

Si

PACE Brings the Senior Daycare Center Home

The Pasadena Now published an article on the changes that WelbeHealth and Pacific PACE have made to continue to deliver health and wellness services to nursing home eligible seniors in the safety of their own home:

If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that just about everything, except going somewhere, can be done at home. This has naturally had a huge effect on businesses, retail, and now, senior care.

At the outset of the COVID 19 crisis, and in response to the state’s “shelter at home” order, WelbeHealth in Pasadena transitioned from a central Pasadena location to a remote at-home care model to serve seniors, while keeping them physically shielded from the spread of the virus.

As explained on their website, PACE (The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) individually coordinates the care of each participant enrolled in the program, based on his or her needs with the goal of enabling them to remain living in their community. PACE is both a primary care provider and a health insurer. Currently, there are more than 240 PACE centers operating in more than 30 states.

“We had a day center where we wanted to prevent nursing home placement,” Regional VP & Pacific PACE Executive Director Sophia Guel-Valenzuela, explained Thursday. “We wanted to prevent trips to urgent care, or to the emergency room. We wanted to prevent people from isolation and loneliness.”

“So we bring them to our daycare center in Pasadena,” she continued. “We have activities, we have music therapy, we have recreation, we give them lunch. We have so many things to do, so many interactive, stimulating activities.”

But when the executive order came out for “shelter in place,” Pacific PACE suddenly had to support its participants in the home.

“So we basically implemented HomePACE,” said Guel-Valenzuela. “We transitioned to a HomePACE model where we are communicating with our participants with a Welbe Link. It’s a 4G LTE tablet.”

The simple-to-use tablet has become the key to instant communication between caregivers and patients, Guel-Valenzuela explained.

“We’re having video calls with our patients. And so we do recreation therapy. We have virtual bingo with them,” said Guel-Valenzuela. “They talk to their doctor, their social worker. Our personal care attendants have social calls with the patients. And so we’re supporting them as if they were in the center, but they’re out there at their home.”

The system organizes meal delivery as well, so patients don’t have to go out and be exposed unnecessarily to the grocery store or the pharmacy.

Pacific PACE Home also delivers all their medications to their home, and helps them with essentials like toothpaste and toilet paper.

‘We’re coordinating everything that they need to be safe,” Guel- Valenzuela pointed out. PACE also offers home care services, such as light housekeeping, and help with bathing and dressing.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the rate of confirmed COVID positive cases in PACE programs nationally is just 2.2%.

As Guel-Valenzuela noted, “Our care team is conducting daily phone calls for COVID-19 signs and symptoms among nearly 95 participants. We have not had any positive cases of COVID19, nor any hospitalizations related to COVID-19. We are equipped with appropriate PPE to serve our participants, and are literally saving lives through our HomePACE model of care.”

Following the success of the Pasadena program, WelbeHealth PACE plans a new operation in Long Beach on June 1.

For more about the services that PACE provides seniors so they can live more independently in their homes and communities, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Cheryl Coleman

Cheryl Coleman works for WelbeHealth corporate as the nurse educator for all our centers, training our nurses with the skills needed to help our seniors live more independent lives in their homes and communities.  Her current role aligns with what she wanted to be when she grew up – a teacher.  She also wanted to explore life in other countries and her path to becoming a nurse was influenced by this desire.  “I sold medical supplies and wanted to live outside of the USA, “she stated.  “My nurse customers all told me to become a nurse so that I would be marketable in other countries.” After becoming a nurse, she rose through the ranks to manage a team.  “I managed a team of 15 nurses in the West Region who taught patients how to give themselves injections at home.”

Cheryl’s desire to serve and teach is what drives her. “Helping people inside and outside of the medical center is my biggest motivator. I also love to learn new things and share what I learn with others.”

Determination is the key attribute to the advice she would to her younger self.  “You can be whatever you want to be, so never let anyone tell you differently.  Always strive to do what you love and be your best.  Therefore you will always go home feeling fulfilled.”

To learn more about the PACE services that Cheryl and other care team members compassionately provide our participants, click here.

Exercise Benefits for Seniors from the CDC

May 27th is National Senior Health & Fitness Day.  We’re posting the guidelines from the CDC to help seniors understand the benefits of exercise.

Making Physical Activity a Part of an Older Adult’s Life

When it comes to getting the physical activity you need each week, it’s important to pick activities you enjoy and that match your abilities. This will help ensure that you stick with them.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Physical activity has immediate health benefits including better sleep and less anxiety. It also helps reduce your risk of getting serious illnesses such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and depression.
  • Try to do a variety of activities. This can make physical activity more enjoyable and reduce your risk of injury.
  • Regular physical activity is still safe and good for you even if you have problems doing normal daily activities, such as climbing stairs or walking.
  • Lots of things count. And it all adds up. Find what works for you.
  • If you have to take a break from your regular activity routine due to an illness, be sure to start again at a lower level and slowly work back up to your usual level of activity.
  • To get to and stay at a healthy weight, work your way up to doing the equivalent of 150 minutes (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Keep in mind that you may need to do more activity or reduce the number of calories you eat to get to your desired weight.

Learn more about everyday activities you can do to stay active.

Multicomponent Physical Activity

A senior woman walking with her dog

As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity to improve physical function and decrease the risk of falls or injury from a fall. This includes balance training, aerobic activity, and muscle-strengthening activities. An example of a multicomponent physical activity program could include walking (aerobic activity), lifting weights (muscle strengthening), and incorporating balance by walking backwards or sideways or by standing on one foot. These activities can be done at home or in a structured group setting.

Improving Your Balance

Older adults should do activities that help them with balance. Balance activities can improve the ability to resist forces within or outside of the body that cause falls. Fall prevention programs that include balance training and other exercises to improve activities of daily living can also significantly reduce the risk of injury, such as bone fractures, if a fall does occur. These activities might include backward walking, sideways walking, heel walking, toe walking, heel to toe walking, practicing standing from a sitting position, and alternating balancing on one leg and then the other with a counter or wall nearby. Strengthening muscles of the back, abdomen, and legs also improves balance.

What if you have a chronic condition?

If you have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, it doesn’t mean you can’t be active. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Regular physical activity can improve your quality of life and even reduce your risk of developing other conditions.

Talk with your doctor to find out if your health condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. If your condition stops you from meeting the minimum recommended activity levels, try to do as much as you can. What’s important is that you avoid being inactive.

What if you have a disability?

If you are an older adult with a disability, regular physical activity can provide you with important health benefits, like a stronger heart, lungs, and muscles; improved brain health; and a better ability to do everyday tasks. It’s best to talk with your doctor before you begin a physical activity routine. Try to get advice from a professional with experience in physical activity and disability. They can tell you more about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for you and your abilities.

If you are looking for additional information, visit The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability.

When to Check with Your Doctor

Doing physical activity that requires moderate effort is safe for most people, but if you have a health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes, be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Also, if you have been inactive, are not too fit, or are overweight, and want to do vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as jogging, it is safest to discuss this with your doctor.

To learn more about services such as exercise programs that are part of the PACE program, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Ashley Boyden

Ashley Boyden was featured recently in our dog rescue video displaying the WelbeHealth values, specifically showcasing her pioneering spirit.  Ashley comes to the WelbeHealth family after working in skilled nursing as well as performing case management for workman’s comp.  She now works as an LVN – Care Coordinator, in our Stockton PACE center, helping provide comprehensive care to seniors so they can continue to live more independently in their homes and communities.

Ashley always wanted to be a nurse, crediting her inspiration from her grandmother.  “My grandmother was a nurse in the same hospital for 45 years,“ she stated. “As a child I used to go with her when she was on call and wait in the nurse’s lounge.”  Given her determination to go above and beyond to help serve her senior participants, it’s no surprise that making a difference in her patient’s lives was her motivation for joining the WelbeHealth. “I love being a part of the difference. Knowing that what we at WelbeHealth do each day changes lives is inspiring,” she added.  Her determination and desire to make a difference is reinforced in her advice to her younger self: “Stay the course. Don’t get discouraged. You WILL make a difference!”

To learn more about the PACE services that Ashley helps provide to help seniors live more independently in their homes and communities, click here.

Memorial Day 2020 Park Safety Tips

Memorial Day 2020 will be very unique this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which should be no surprise to anyone.  Various local governments are opening up parks and recreational facilities to varying degrees and many seniors will be out and about enjoying the holiday.  The CDC has provided guidelines for attending parks and recreational facilities.  To help our seniors continue to safely live more independent lives in their homes and communities and as a resource to combat senior isolation, we are providing those guidelines here.

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Know before you go: While these facilities and areas can offer health benefits, it is important that you follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

DO

  •  Visit parks that are close to your home
  •  Prepare before you visit
  •  Stay at least 6 feet away from others (“social distancing”) and take other steps to prevent COVID-19
  •  Play it safe around and in swimming pools. Keep space between yourself and others
DON’T
  •  Visit parks if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19
  •  Visit crowded parks
  •  Use playgrounds
  •  Participate in organized activities or sports

To learn about the services our PACE program provides, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – D’juana Hale

D’juana Hale always wanted to be a doctor growing up, saying that her pediatrician was her inspiration.  Today, she is in the medical field working as an LVN/Nightly Navigator for our Stockton PACE location, helping support our senior participants as they strive to live more independent lives in their homes and communities.  She says the secret for delivering compassionate, comprehensive care to the elderly is easy, “I just love what I do, so it makes it easy!”.  D’juana has a simple, but inspiring message she would tell her younger self, “Continue striving for greatness!”.  That’s a message that we can all get behind.

For more information about the PACE services D’juana helps support, click here.