Stuck In the Elevator with Gail

 

Our More Interesting Version of ‘Meet the Staff.’

Grace Homes Housing manager

Grace Homes Housing Manager, Gail Hoch

Gail Hoch

Each month we are going to introduce to a member of our office staff.  Instead of the same ole ‘meet the staff’ with a picture and bio we wanted to make it more fun and personal.  Ours is called Stuck in the Elevator with ________.  This month you get to meet the employee who has been here the longest.  She knows this company like the back of her hand and thank goodness because I don’t know where I’d be if I weren’t able to call Gail. We are all a little sad that she isn’t in the office every day as she used to be. She has been made the House Manager of our Residential Care Homes for seniors, Grace Homes. Because of this, she has a new office in our Oakridge Home in Hopkins, MN.  Don’t let this make you think we don’t see her.  We still manage to come up with enough stuff for her to have to come back over to the offices and get us all in line.

She’s the “it girl” of Matrix.  She’s been with Matrix for 22 years.  Her seniority in the company is not what makes her unique, she has earned every bit of her status by being really good at and actually caring about her job and the clients we care for. If you have a question, you go to Gail. I followed Gail for several weeks when I first began, and my head was spinning at all of the things she was taking care of and keeping in order.  She remembers everything and still even to this day, thank goodness,  will remind me of something I am supposed to remember, and for this I am thankful. She doesn’t do it undesirably, it’s more of an older sister has your back kind of way.  Gail has a warmth to her that makes everyone feel comfortable, respected, and appreciated.

Gail earned an Associates in Applied Science degree in Office Administration and Medical Office Assistant degree from the Minnesota School of Business.  She has over 22 years experience working in the office setting.  Prior to accepting the position as Housing Manager at *Grace Homes in July 2018 Gail was the Operations Manager at the Matrix Home Health Care Specialists corporate office managing day to day operations including client intake and management, maintaining and auditing clinical records, maintaining and auditing policies and procedures, part-time staffing, creating and maintaining forms, billing, accounts receivable, and marketing.  In her new position, she is still doing much of the same with managing resident intake and admissions, house tours, resident records, staffing, and billing.

 

 

HOW DID YOU FIND MATRIX?

GH: Job placement program through college.

 

WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?

GH: Coffee!!

 

WHAT IS THE MOST RECENT APP YOU DOWNLOADED AND WHY?

GH: Messenger – the facebook app.  I did not have it downloaded yet on my new phone and someone sent me something so I had to download the app to open it.  Nothing exciting, however, the video that was shared was of two elderly women dancing to ‘Watch Me’ (whip/nae nae)… worth the download!

 

WHAT IS SOMETHING FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?

GH: I’m going to be a grandma!

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

GH: Depends on the day – honestly, lots of people.  My children definitely – they inspire me to be a better parent and a better person.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?

GH: Being alone.  Okay… and spiders, centipedes, and generally all creepy – crawly things.

 

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED LAST WEEK?

GH: I was reminded that things are not always what they seem and never judge a book by it’s cover.

 

WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE MATRIX?

GH: Compassionate, Experienced, Professional

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE  YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?

GH: Slow down – you don’t have to grow up so fast!

 

WHAT IS SUCCESS TO YOU?

GH: Being able to find the perfect balance in life – still working on it and I will let you know when I find it.

 

AT WHAT AGE DID YOU BECOME AN ADULT?

GH: Hmmm, interesting question… 20 maybe?

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT MATRIX?

GH: After 22 years with Matrix, there have been many things through the years that have kept me here- it is a company that has evolved and grown with the times, adapted and overcame.  One thing has not changed is the passion to provide the best care we possibly can and be a company that people want to work for.

 

IF YOU HAD TO EAT ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE EVERYDAY WHAT WOULD IT BE?

GH: Oh my … just one… I can’t do it!  Does salad, steak, crab legs, spaghetti, lasagna, and cheesecake count as one meal?

 

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO OR PERSONAL MANTRA?

GH: Finding Balance 🙂

 

WHAT IS AN ABILITY YOU WISH YOU HAD?

GH: Go back in time.

 

YOU ARE THE HAPPIEST WHEN

GH: Spending time with the people I love.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE SENIOR CARE INDUSTRY?

GH: I hope more people find passion in caring for the elderly – it is such an important job!

 

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

GH: I can’t think of any one person… I can think of lots of people that would be interesting to meet but no one person in particular.  I know my daughter would really like to meet Tyler and Josh with Twenty One Pilots – so I would want to meet them so she could meet them….(you’re welcome Maddie!)

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST EXPERIENCE THAT HAS MADE YOU A STRONGER PERSON?

GH: Losing a beloved family member has taken tremendous strength and resiliency.

 

That is our second edition of “Stuck in the elevator.”  Next month we will have the Q&A with our RN Keeley Nanry.  Thanks for reading and if you are thinking you might want to be a part of this team check out the details below?

 

To learn more about joining our team and providing compassionate care services:

 

 

  • Apply by submitting an application via fax:  952-525-0506 Attn: HR Manager

 

 

 

Please direct any specific inquiries to Elizabeth, our HR Manager,  by calling 952-525-0505

 

 

“We’re there for you”

Matrix Home Health Care Specialists & Grace Homes

Grace Homes Hires Its Own Culinary Director To Make Mealtimes Great For Seniors

It can be a struggle to find ways to appeal to senior taste buds. Both age and medical conditions can impact their appetites. Many older adults also have special nutritional needs. Grace Homes has solved this challenge by hiring former Houlihan’s restaurant executive kitchen manager Lori Hossli to oversee the planning and preparation of meals at its Hopkins residential care homes.

Hossli is a native Minnesotan who holds a certificate in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu. She is well known in the Minneapolis area food world for her 15-year association with popular local eateries such as Kincaids and Houlihan’s.

Hossli’s new position is not the first time she’s worked closely with senior citizens. “After attending college at Winona State University, I joined AmeriCorps Southern Minnesota,” she said. “I had my first true experience working with the elderly affected by Alzheimer’s. I also joined the activity staff at St. Anne’s Hospice and had the opportunity to interact, sing, bake, do crafts, play games, and dance with residents.”

Stepping into the position as culinary director for the residents at Grace Homes makes excellent use of Hossli’s culinary skills and her desire to make a difference in the lives of the elderly. Her extensive experience in meal planning and training will help Grace Homes residents work through the challenges associated with age and eating healthy.

“Food often tastes different for seniors than it does for you and me,” Hossli explains. “Our sense of taste and smell can change with age, and the side effects from medications can alter our senses. There are plenty of ways to make food both healthy and delicious for seniors. That’s what’s on the menu for the residents at Grace Homes.”

Hossli will work out of the Oak Ridge location and will oversee meal planning and preparation for the Hopkins senior residential care locations. The Oak Ridge location is an eight-bedroom home located in a private residential neighborhood in Hopkins. Grace Homes also has a five-bedroom residential home located just next door. Grace Homes recently added a third location, which is the five-bedroom Walnut Lodge located in Burnsville.

About Grace Homes: Grace Homes currently owns and operates three senior residential care homes. Each is located in private neighborhood settings. Grace Homes’ elevated level of staffing allows for the accommodation of residents with Parkinson’s, COPD, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cognitive challenges or dementia, chronic healthcare challenges, and persons with disabilities including those who require a two-person transfer or mechanical lift. Grace Homes focuses on providing a safe, familiar, and stimulating family home environment for residents living with memory loss and cognitive decline.

Embarrassing, Uncontrollable, But Common: A Side Effect From Stroke That Leaves You Laughing Or Crying

Mention stroke and you might think of physical side effects like paralysis or muscle weakness. Or there are cognitive issues that make it difficult to speak. There are other side effects—cognitive in particular—that are possible, too.

A common cognitive post-stroke side effect is called pseudobulbar affect, or PBA for short. It’s a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable crying or laughing. These unintended emotional outbursts can be extremely embarrassing for everyone involved. Here’s what you should know.

Totally Unintentional

Often people who observe stroke victims with PBA think that there’s some exaggeration going on. The responses seem inappropriate. One thing’s for sure: the response does not represent this person’s true feelings.

Unfortunately, someone with PBA might cry when hearing good news. Or they may suddenly burst into a sobbing fit while they are laughing. Something only mildly sad can cause them to become hysterical.

Even more alarming, someone with PBA can have these spontaneous emotional outbursts without any trigger at all. And perhaps most troubling of all is that these episodes can happen up to 100 or so times daily.

Not Well Known

The unpredictable nature of PBA can be embarrassing for those who have the condition, as well as those who care for them. Many older adults experiencing PBA simply become unwilling to be around other people.

Although more than half of all stroke survivors report having PBA symptoms, less than 20% of them know the cause. In most cases, they’ve never even heard of the condition. Life for them becomes frustrating and sometimes devastating because they have no idea why this behavior is happening to them.

What Causes BPA?

The condition occurs when a stroke damages areas of the brain controlling how emotion is expressed. The damage short circuits brain signals, causing involuntary episodes of laughing or crying. And, since it’s a short signal, the laughing or crying is usually highly exaggerated.

Although stroke is the likely cause of PBA, it’s also a side effect caused by other neurological disorders—including dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

PBA causes uncontrollable crying, so it’s often mistaken for depression—and this is a condition that many seniors experience. As a result, PBA might be misdiagnosed. Both PBA and depression are conditions that can last for extended periods of time, so it’s important to make sure a correct diagnosis is determined.

There are specific medications to treat PBA, but a medical professional also may prescribe an anti-depressant. Both can help to suppress the involuntary emotional outbursts, but it may not be possible to stop them completely.

FAST: The Acronym Every Senior and Everyone Who Is Around Seniors Should Know

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a stroke happens every 40 seconds. They take the lives of over 140,000 Americans every year—at the pace of 1 person every 4 minutes.

Seniors are more prone to strokes, and quick medical treatment is absolutely necessary to increase survival. What does FAST have to do with strokes? Here’s what you need to know.

Early Action

The chances that you will survive a stroke increase when you receive emergency treatment as soon as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that people who get treatment within 3 hours of the first symptoms of a stroke experience less disability than those who receive delayed care.

The CDC also reports that nearly 75% of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, making it the 5th leading cause of death in our country. The American Heart Association reports that while the percentage of strokes has increased as a result of heart disease, the actual number of stroke deaths has declined. This is largely due to FAST.

What is a Stroke?

Strokes occur when the blood flow to a certain area of the brain gets cut off. The cells in this area of the brain begin to die because they are starved of oxygen. The resulting damage causes loss of muscle control or memory. Serious strokes are fatal.

Here’s the thing about a stroke: they may not be obvious. Television and movies may be entertaining, but they aren’t always realistic. Transient ischemic attacks—also known as mini strokes—have symptoms that are short-lived or may even spontaneously resolve.

FAST

There are 4 common signs of a stroke, and that’s where FAST comes in. These symptoms often appear suddenly, so if you see them in a senior—or someone of any age—it’s important to get immediate medical help.

  • Face: Ask them to smile. Does it appear uneven?
  • Arms: Ask them to raise both arms and hold them level to the floor. Does one arm drift downwards?
  • Speech: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase, like “Let’s have tacos for lunch today.” Do they slur their words, or maybe even miss a few?
  • Time: This isn’t a symptom—it’s a reminder of what to do. Fast medical treatment is crucial. It’s time to call for emergency medical help.

Make a note of the time if you should happen to notice any of the FAST symptoms. This piece of information is important to medical professionals. Clot-busting drugs called tissue plasminogen activators reduce long-term disability for certain kinds of strokes. This type of medication, however, is approved for stroke treatment only if given within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Take As Prescribed: Why Seniors Fail To Follow Medication Schedules

It’s not just seniors. The New York Times reports that at least half of the medications for chronic diseases simply aren’t taken as prescribed. That’s a serious issue for a person of any age, but it can have even worse consequences for seniors. It’s estimated that 10% of hospitalizations for seniors happen annually because of missing medication doses.

Here are the three main reasons why seniors decide not to take medication prescribed to them, and suggestions on what to do about it.

1. They have difficulty understanding the cost

Not all prescription medications are expensive, but much of it is. Many seniors know that they are on a fixed and limited income, and sometimes they decide it’s a better idea to take less than what has been prescribed.

While it may make the prescription last longer, it can make the benefits of the medicine far less effective—or even totally ineffective. If it’s possible, find out whether this is why a senior is skipping taking their medications. It may be necessary to have a frank discussion with them, reminding them that they’re really not saving money. It will cost far more in hospital or medical bills if their condition is not kept in check.

2. They don’t believe there’s any benefit

Serious health conditions like a heart attack or kidney failure often have a long recovery period. During that time, it may not seem as if the daily medications prescribed are doing anything at all. Seniors may start to lose faith that they indeed will get better. Even worse, taking regular medications is a daily reminder that they are not well.

Keep an ongoing dialog with seniors about the medications they’re taking. Remind them that the medicine works best with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Point out improvements you see, which they may not. This can help to associate taking the medication with gradual health improvements.

3. They think there’s no longer any reason to take it

Sometimes it seems like a waste of time—and money—to take a medication if you’re feeling better. That’s always a decision best left to a health professional. Often, medications must continue to be taken even after a senior recovers from a health crisis.

No one is likely to appreciate hearing that they’ll have to take a daily medication for the rest of their lives. Seniors may exercise curiosity and decide to stop taking a medication to see if it changes the way they’re feeling. And, they probably will continue to feel fine for the short term.

The problem with this false sense of wellbeing is that they won’t really be able to determine whether drugs that treat conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure are working or not. Many health conditions in the elderly have few or no noticeable symptoms.

The most important thing to remember as a caregiver is that most seniors do not purposely skip medications with the intention of harming themselves. Many times, they simply need a reminder or reassurance that it the medication really is good for them, regardless of what they can or can’t feel.

A Better Night’s Sleep? Tips For Seniors.

You’ve probably heard it said that the older you get, the less sleep you need. It’s why seniors are such early birds. There’s another reason why seniors get up early, and often wake up repeatedly all night. 

Often, seniors in nursing care homes are living with chronic pain. Sleeping in a position that doesn’t support their body creates pressure that amplifies the pain. A better night’s sleep can be as close as applying a few of these simple tips to align and support the body.

Start with Comfort and Alignment

When we’re younger, an aligned and neutral sleeping position keeps our spines straight and our lower backs in a natural slightly curved position. This comfortable alignment may not work for seniors.

Kyphosis, or rounded back will prevent seniors from being able to lie flat on their back. For them, an aligned and neutral sleeping position is going to be on their side with their spine supported for a curve—rather than straightened.

Some of the tips offered here call for pillows. Try a folded blanket or a rolled towel before you invest in additional pillows.

Are They a Side Sleeper?

  • Reduce pressure on the upper shoulder by adding a pillow under that arm
  • Use enough pillows to raise the head and maintain a neutral position that aligns the spine with the neck
  • Add a pillow between the knees to align the pelvis, hips, and spine

Are They a Back Sleeper?

  • Use a thin pillow under the head to prevent forward bending of the neck
  • Add a pillow under the knees, which will help to keep the lower back in a neutral position

Are They a Stomach Sleeper?

Sleeping on your stomach isn’t a good idea because it’s hard on the back—but many people prefer this position.

  • Seniors with degenerative disk disease may prefer this position because it offers ease from the pain
  • Consider not using a pillow at all for their head
  • Instead, put a thin pillow under the stomach or pelvis areas

Do They Prefer a Reclining Chair Instead of a Bed?

Sleeping in this position helps relieve the pain of isthmic spondylolisthesis, which seniors can suffer from. The reclined position helps to remove pressure on the spine.

  • You can mimic a reclining chair by using a bed wedge. It’s less expensive than an adjustable bed

Helping seniors to get a good night’s sleep has an important additional benefit. You’ll finally get some rest, too.