Aging Parents

Providing the best for your loved ones

    It goes without saying that as individuals and family members begin to advance in years, their needs evolve. Perhaps the large house is a little too much to keep up with these days and it’s time to consider something more manageable, or even an assisted living environment. Perhaps a medical condition requires regular monitoring. For some, perhaps a terminal illness has set in motion the inevitable decline. The decisions can be difficult ones to make when the happiness and quality of life of a loved one hangs in the balance, but if nothing else, New Orleanians are a fortunate people for the sheer number of options that are available to them. From in-home medical care to full-service nursing homes, from top quality medical treatment and facilities, to conscientious spiritual and emotional support, the New Orleans area offers a tremendous number of resources and services for its aging citizens. Here are a few of the area’s standouts.

HEALTH CARE SERVICES: Helping to Live Better, Happier and Longer
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s mission is to improve the lives of Louisianians by providing health guidance and affordable access to quality care. For the past 75 years, the company has been a leader in promoting better health for Louisianians of all ages.
    Blue Cross offers a full line of health insurance products for both individuals and groups, which are listed on their Web site, www.bcbsla.com.
    In January, the company launched a new campaign called “Your Health. Our Commitment.” to demonstrate its dedication to understanding and meeting the needs of its customers. The new campaign describes more than 40 wellness tools and services the company offers, many through its Web site at www.bcbsla.com. One example is the personal health record, or PHR, which lets customers keep track of their doctor visits, lab test results and prescription medicines, plus add personal information about allergies, emergency contacts and more. The PHR is accessible through the Internet, so customers can reach their health information in an emergency from any location.
    The company’s commitment to health extends to the whole state in the form of the Louisiana 2 Step campaign, designed to combat obesity by promoting healthier lifestyle choices. The Louisiana 2 Step encourages all residents to take two small daily steps to better health: eat right and move more.

    The fun, free Web site at www.Louisiana2Step.com offers a wealth of information and interactive tools to educate visitors and help them make good choices in diet and exercise. Individuals can register on their own or form teams with family, friends, coworkers and other groups. A companion 2 Step 4 Kids Web site, www.2Step4Kids.com, teaches healthy behavior to children ages 5 through 12.
    For more information about Blue Cross, visit www.bcbsla.com.
    As EGAN Healthcare Services points out– there’s no place like home. Especially when recovering from an injury, illness or surgery, or dealing with a chronic disease. Surrounded by loved ones, in the most familiar and comfortable environment, patients recover faster. It’s a fact and perhaps makes even more sense as it relates to our growing aging population.
    EGAN Healthcare Services helps Southeast Louisiana patients improve and maintain their health, independence and quality of life at home by providing skilled nursing, therapy, medical equipment, IV therapy and private duty. Caring for patients is their business. Throughout the last 20 years they have developed a team of clinicians and refined protocols to provide the best possible quality of care. In turn, EGAN Healthcare Services ranked in the TOP 25 percent in quality of care when compared to nearly 8,000 agencies nationwide in the 2007 and ’08 HomeCare Elite list of Outcome Concept Systems. Their Diabetes Center has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting the national standards in diabetes self-management for all their locations.
    The group is particularly proud of its Falls Risk Prevention Program, for which it has received national recognition. The chances for a fall are critically increased among the elderly and the consequences of falls can be devastating. Falls are one of the main causes for hospitalization and sadly often result in a partial loss of independence or even admission to a retirement or nursing home. EGAN Healthcare Services systematically screens all patients admitted under their care for falls risk, and their Rehab Team performs a complete in-home, falls-risk assessment for high-risk patients. Without remodeling their entire surroundings or revolutionizing the way they go about life, EGAN Healthcare has developed a simple yet effective program that positively impacts patients’ chances of preventing a fall as they go about their daily life in the home.
    For more information, contact EGAN Healthcare Services at (504) 835-4474. Or ask your doctor to refer you to EGAN Healthcare Services for your home health needs.
    Operating since 1925, Nurses Registry exists to meet the human health needs of the community by assisting patients in their move toward self-care, new levels of wellness, optimum quality of life and a return to the community. The care is patient-centered and they are committed to meeting the individual needs of the patient, the family and other care givers; to treating the whole patient–body, mind and spirit; to collaborating with the physician and others who share in the care of the patient; and to educating the community concerning health and wellness.

    Their “Patients First” mentality is what drives their operations. Founder Rose Mary Breaux, RN, BSN, firmly believed that it is a privilege and honor to serve the sick and elderly in our community and instilled those values in the staff. Today, the Nurses Registry staff continues in that tradition. Combining skilled nursing, quality home health assistance and state-of-the-art technology, the Nurses Registry provides services in four main areas: home health; aide, sitter and companion services; private duty and per-diem nursing; and a Care Center Foundation. The Registry aim is to provide customized care, including meeting spiritual needs of the patient and families, as their foundation was built on prayer.
    To find out more about services and career opportunities, visit their Web site at www.MyNursesRegistry.com, or call (504) 736-0803 or toll-free at (800) 736-6744. Job seekers can fill out an online application, or call to schedule an interview. Interested parties are also encouraged to visit the office, as well, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
    For the every-day needs of senior citizens who require prescription drugs to manage their health, Patio Drugs is there to help.
     Patio Drugs specializes in products and services that make life easier and healthier for aging parents. Patio Drugs provides medications and supplies as required for patients in nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living environments, in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. Although not a home health agency, Patio Drugs is able to work with the prescribing physician and home care nurse. The store also provides a complete line of enteral supplies and diabetic supplies, including glucose monitors, test strips, lancets, syringes, insulin and much more.
     Patio Drugs also specializes in medical equipment. Home medical equipment may include items such as crutches, canes and walkers, to hospital beds, oxygen and CPAPs. Home medical equipment is delivered and set up in the patient’s home by trained service technicians.
     Since 1958, Patio Drugs provides free prescription delivery throughout East Jefferson Parish and free delivery for home medical equipment, home care pharmacy, long-term care and hospice pharmacy throughout southern Louisiana Monday through Friday. Their experienced billing staff can help patients secure their coverage through their health care providers. Patio bills Medicaid and Medicare and most private insurers.
     For more information, please visit www.patiodrugs.com or call (504) 889-7070.
    Peoples Health is Louisiana’s senior health care specialist. As the largest locally owned administrator of Medicare Advantage health plans in Louisiana, People’s Health provides five Medicare health plans to southeast Louisiana residents living in 14 parishes.
    Peoples Health specializes in Medicare Advantage health plans, which provide more benefits than original Medicare. Members of its health care plans enjoy an array of benefits, from prescription drug coverage to complimentary fitness club membership and free health and wellness events.         Peoples Health also offers its plan members health management programs, which can help them manage critical health conditions they may have, and access to a team of social workers who can help them address social, behavioral or financial concerns.
    Peoples Health is managed by the same physicians who provide health care services to the people of our community. In addition to taking care of the health of community members, Peoples Health also recognizes their achievements. Through the Peoples Health Champions program, in partnership with the New Orleans Saints, community members are recognized for an exceptional achievement that they accomplished after the age of 65.
    This spring, Peoples Health is proud to sponsor the Greater New Orleans Senior Olympics and the Greater Baton Rouge Senior Olympics. In April, Peoples Health is hosting a special “game day” at a New Orleans Zephyrs home game for the members of its health plans. Peoples Health also is hosting “Senior Day” at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for the fourth consecutive year.
    For more information visit www.peopleshealth.com.
    There are numerous ways to maximize the independence and mobility of your elderly parents, making day-to-day life safer and increasing the quality of life. “Helping aging parents maintain a productive life in their own home is very achievable with a wide range of home health care products,” says Jeff Friedman, owner of Total Health Solutions. “Mobility issues, caused by medical conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, cardiopulmonary diseases, cancer and weakened bones, is a common problem for the elderly.”
     Total Health Solutions’ Metairie store has more than 4,000 square feet of showroom space, filled with mobility aids such as canes, walkers, rollators, lightweight wheelchairs and power wheelchairs/scooters that help the elderly get safely around. Falls in the bathroom, which are all too common, can be easily avoided with grab bars, shower chairs/bathtub benches and elevated toilet seats. Those who have difficulty getting up from a regular chair can benefit from an electric lift-chair/recliner, and adjustable home care beds that raise both the head and feet can also help with a variety of aging ailments. “Helping families learn about the health care products that will best meet their need is what we specialize in,” Friedman says, “and many of these solutions are covered by their health insurance, which we are a provider for, including Medicare, Humana 65 and Peoples Health.”
    Visit Total Health Solutions at 3211 N. Causeway Blvd. in Metairie, across from Lakeside Shopping Center, or online at www.TotalHealthSolutionsHME.com. Or call (504) 834-8114.

REAL ESTATE: Providing a Peaceful Retreat
    Nestled on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, the Louisiana Polo Farms residential developments offer a safe and peaceful haven for retirees and families to build new homes. Whether looking for a cottage-styled getaway or for a house that’s a little more manageable for homeowners in their later years, the new Heart of the Forest development offers 38 lots for sale amid one of the last virgin forests in southeast Louisiana. Just minutes from Covington, and with easy access to shopping, medical centers, schools and the interstate, the Heart of the Forest development offers residents both the tranquility of living in a wooded setting and the amenities offered by nearby towns and cities. Lots vary in size from two to three acres and come with varied shapes and features, but each sells for $69,500. Louisiana Polo Farms provides exemplary services, such as underground utilities and paved roads.
    Visitors can take the Goodbee/Madisonville exit north off Interstate 12, and in just minutes arrive at the Heart of the Forest. Guided tours are available by appointment.
    Additionally, the Heart of the Forest development lies one mile into Tangipahoa Parish, which offers significantly lower property and sales taxes than many of its neighboring parishes, and requires fewer building fees. Safe from hurricanes and flooding, the Heart of the Forest development also boasts no deadline for building. The managers at Louisiana Polo Farms subscribe to the philosophy that people will build when the time is right, which makes the properties ideal investments for short- or long-term building endeavors.
    For more information contact Louisiana Polo Farms at (985) 796-9130, or visit www.lapolofarms.com.

ASSISTED LIVING and HOSPICE CARE: Where to Turn When It’s More Than You Can Do Alone
    Anyone looking for compassionate and dignified care for their terminally ill loved ones should take a look at the services offered by Canon Hospice. Serving Baton Rouge, the Northshore, Greater New Orleans and the Mississippi coast, the caring team at Canon is dedicated to a hospice ministry that helps patients and families accept terminal illness positively and resourcefully. Their stated goal is to “allow our patients to live each day to the fullest and enjoy their time with family and friends.”
     With special expertise in pain management and symptom control, Canon Hospice designs individualized plans of care for each patient based on their unique needs. Home-based services provide doctors, nurses, specialists, pastoral care and volunteers who tailor their services according to patients’ diagnoses and home situations.
     For patients with more intensive symptom management needs, Canon has an inpatient hospice unit. This unit provides 24-hour care in a home-like environment where patients are permitted to receive visits at any hour.
     All donations and fundraising activities at Canon Hospice go to support the nonprofit Akula Foundation. The Akula Foundation’s many projects include: indigent patient care; the Canon Hospice Health Hour on radio station WIST-690 AM; and Camp Swan, a bereavement camp for children ages 7 to 12. Akula Foundation’s newest venture is the Grief Resource Center, offering free counseling and services to anyone who has experienced any kind of loss or grief.
     For more information visit www.canonhospice.com, or call toll free at (866) 504-5740. The Grief Resource Center can be reached at (866) GRC-2585.
    The Archdiocese of New Orleans provides a remarkable pair of faith-based retirement and health care centers with the sister facilities Chateau de Notre Dame and Wynhoven. Steeped in the rich tradition of Catholic faith, service and values, the two facilities provide a community in which seniors of all faiths are cared for by an attentive, compassionate staff.
     Chateau de Notre Dame, located Uptown behind the Notre Dame Seminary on Carrollton Avenue, is pleased to announce it has received licensing for assisted living services, allowing it to offer the complete continuum of care that includes independent living apartments, skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services. Retirees can live independently in apartments, resting assured that if their lifestyle, medical and care needs ever change, Chateau de Notre Dame’s facilities and services will adapt and grow to meet them.
 Meanwhile, Wynhoven Healthcare Center, conveniently located across from West Jefferson Medical Center, provides services ranging from skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation to hospice and end-of-life care. Wynhoven offers 24-hour care while at the same time providing residents a home-like environment in private or semi-private rooms. Day rooms and activity centers provide a congenial atmosphere for residents to converse, watch television, participate in group activities or entertain family and friends.
     Both facilities offer daily mass, high quality of life, and a vibrant community. For more information visit www.cdnd.org and www.wynhoven.org.
    St. Anna’s Residence, located in the historic Garden District, is a nonprofit, nonsectarian nursing home where gracious living complements excellent nursing care. St. Anna’s offers a unique home environment. Period furnishings and décor lend welcome charm as St. Anna’s prides itself on maintaining a decidedly non-institutional look and feel. The first phase of an extensive renovation under the guidance of Blitch Knevel Architects is complete, resulting in upgraded finishes and private bathrooms for its Prytania wing. All residents enjoy private rooms, a full-time activities program led by a licensed music therapist, a nondenominational chaplaincy program as well as Catholic and Episcopal services in the chapel, a sumptuous and varied menu served restaurant-style and secure off-street parking. St. Anna’s rich history can be traced back more than 155 years to its charitable beginnings in 1850 as a haven for widowed women and children of the yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans. A licensed intermediate care facility, St. Anna’s provides 24-hour nursing care supervised by qualified nurses under the direction of individual physicians and a medical director. The ratio of caregivers to residents far exceeds nationally recognized standards. Visit the Web site at www.stannas.com or call (504) 523-3466 for more information and to schedule a private tour.
    Since 1931, St. Margaret’s has provided quality nursing home care to the poor, frail elders of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. Dedicated to Catholic ideals of service, this remarkable faith-based nonprofit sets itself apart by striving to be more like a community than an institution. St. Margaret’s provides compassionate and personal attention to each person it serves. It is a warm, loving environment where residents enjoy cookouts in the backyard and outings to the movies, aquarium and zoo.
    St. Margaret’s strives to be an asset to the community. Tulane University School of Medicine, Delgado Community College and Nunez Community College train physicians, nurses and nursing assistants at St. Margaret’s, which allows each resident to have more one-on-one time. Service learning partnerships with Tulane University, Xavier University and area high schools foster intergenerational relationships that enhance the residents’ quality of life.
    Now, the excellent service that St. Margaret’s nursing home is known for is available in the home setting. In 2008, St. Margaret’s expanded its services to include home health and hospice. The home health staff not only provides skilled nursing and therapy, but they also offer health education to patients and their families. The hospice provides comfort care to persons who wish to spend their last days at home surrounded by the people they love most.
    For more information or to schedule a visit, call the nursing home at (504) 279-6414 or the home health and hospice at (504) 373-5923.

SPECIALIZED SERVICES: Creating Unique Memorials Through Art and New Orleans Tradition
    Combining antiquity, art and afterlife, John Greco Urns offers remarkable handcrafted copper cremation urns. Using traditional metalsmithing techniques and customized artistic design, New Orleans artist John Greco creates one-of-a-kind tributes and resting places for family and loved ones. He offers many different styles and sizes to suit a broad range of tastes and needs, and all of the urns can be personalized with hand-etched names, dates, inscriptions or other information. The custom urns are hand riveted and fabricated from solid sheet copper with complimenting brass accents. Each urn is aged to provide old world elegance and is stamped with the artist’s maker’s mark to ensure authenticity.
    The artist has extensive background in custom designing products and works closely with customers to come up with a unique design that captures elements of character. Special designs, unique materials and hand-etched decoration are just a few of the options available. In addition, John Greco Urns also offers several urns designed specifically to commemorate family pets.
     Prior to founding John Greco Urns, the artist worked in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter as an award-winning craftsman for the city’s oldest and most recognized gas light company for more than eight years. There he designed and built custom copper gaslights that can be seen throughout New Orleans and the rest of the country.
    Most recently, two gallery exhibitions included John Greco’s urns–a one-man show in New Orleans and an international exhibition of artist-made cremation urns in California.
    For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit www.copperurns.com or call (504) 909-2353.            n

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