Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

December 13, 2013

MMH manager offers caregiving tips

(Continued)

According to Tuttle, “In the United States, we spend more on medicine and health care, but we have very poor outcomes … What we need to do is the hard work of self care. Get enough rest, drink enough fluids, eat the right things … Many of us are going to live a lot longer than prior generations, … but how will we be living? We want to live well.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

• Tuttle advised tailoring Medicare Part D for current medications. The insurer can be switched annually as medications change. • She suggested that persons 60 and up get shingles vaccines, which cost about $180 and are covered by Medicare and perhaps other insurance companies. "It's really worth it" to prevent the painful infection that can last for a long time. • "Another thing we recommend sometimes is a Lifeline unit" costing $35 a month so a senior citizen who is alone can push a button to phone for help. If he or she can't get to a phone, a Lifeline employee will ask questions using a microphone, then call a neighbor or friend listed to help. First Alert technology senses a fall and calls for help automatically for a $45 monthly fee. • A Phillips Medication Dispensing System sounds an alarm to let the person know it's time to take a medication. The system indicates if a pill is not taken and will not let a person take it late. The system, costing $75 monthly, can be filled with up to 40 days of medication, taken up to six times daily. • Nancy Reagan called Alzheimer's disease "the long goodbye." The manager noted when a person loses his or her memory, it can become "very distracting and upsetting to the mate." Caregivers may attend monthly support groups in Milan and Lawrenceburg. "You need that support." • "One of the things that is a little-known fact: Once you're in a hospital and go home, you're six times more likely to have a fall" due to being in bed, not exercising and taking medications. "The longer you can keep yourself functioning, you're giving yourself a gift" of quality of life. If a person does fall, the best way to get up, especially if alone, is to roll over on one side, rise up on all fours, crawl to a chair and push up.

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