For the last six years, Oxford HealthCare has led the way in caring for seniors affected by the heat and humidity of an Ozarks summer.
The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are the most vulnerable to falling sick from heat-related complications. “Many seniors can’t afford to run their air conditioning , or they just plain don’t have it. They skip the AC to buy medication or groceries.. We see it every day,” says Holly Isom, West Plains Regional Director. “ We’re here to give them some comfort, to help them stay well and hopefully to get other services to them if that’s what they need.”
This year, Oxford kicked off the West Plains distribution with a live radio broadcast with KKDY “New Country” at the Ace Hardware in West Plains. The goal in the West Plains region is to collect and deliver at least 100 new box fans to the community between June 7th and June 22nd, and raise awareness of heat related illnesses. Those receiving fans are homebound and either elderly or disabled.
Since 2009, Oxford has given more than 1,000 fans to needy seniors. The Springfield Fan drive distribution is set for June 24th.
First, take a deep breath. While being a caregiver for a loved one or a friend is a tremendous undertaking, it’s also a huge blessing for that person. You are daily pouring love and kindness into their life. For that, you deserve to be praised. Not very many people are willing to commit this type of dedication and selflessness to benefit someone else.
As you begin this process of caring for someone in their home you might be feeling anxious or a little fearful. That’s okay. Here are five things you can do, to make this process a little easier.
- Learn about their condition. The more you know, the more confident you will be in caring for them. There are many resources that will help you determine what is considered normal for their condition.
- Don’t do it all. It’s okay to accept help from other family members and friends. Ask one person to bring dinner every Monday night, and another person to come help with laundry once a week. Without a good support system, you will burn out quickly.
- Contact a home care service for expert help. If you are struggling to know what to do, or if the person’s health condition changes, it’s important to contact a home health agency. Having qualified nurses come to your home can reassure you that your loved one’s condition is being monitored by a professional. You can even have one of the agency’s qualified employees help with daily chores or run errands for the person you are caring for. Plus, because these employees are professionally trained, you can feel confident in leaving the person you are caring for with them, while you go do what you need to do. Whether that’s running errands for yourself or maybe even taking a nap, having a professional help you can give you a little break. There are many payment sources available for home care including Medicare, Medicaid, Missouri Children’s Waiver, Insurance, Veteran’s Administration, Worker’s Compensation and private pay.
- Take advantage of new technology. There are many home care technologies out there today that provide your loved one with 24/7 access to help if they need it, along with daily access to their physician who can monitor their health.
- Take care of yourself. This is sometimes the hardest thing for caregivers to do. Because you are pouring so much into someone else, it’s essential you take time for yourself. Continue to exercise and eat healthy and do something fun. Remember, you can still live your life knowing that you can have other family members, friends or a home health agency come help you during times you need a break.
As a full service home care and hospice provider we have talked with countless caregivers through the years, hearing their daily struggles. Many told us it would have been difficult to sustain the long hours required to provide care for their loved one, without assistance from our employees.
If you are a caregiver, we offer numerous home care programs that can provide you the help, support and relief you need, so you can enjoy time with your loved one. Call one of our Care Coordinators today and we would be happy to assist you.