NCSAM? That’s a Mouthful!

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This is a month of bringing awareness to the importance of staying safe in the world of technology. Cybersecurity is intimidating and confusing to a lot of people. If you’re as confused as most, hopefully some of the NCSAM information being shared this October will help give you a better level of comfort in how to #BeCyberSmart.

Cyber tip #1: If you don’t know IT, hire IT.

If you owned a business, and you weren’t sure how to keep it safe and secure, you’d probably hire someone to help with security. Why should things be any different when your personal assets are at stake? You don’t have to pay a lot to get a lot.

Check out your local community college, or get involved in adult education courses through your local school district. You can also check out some of the self-study resources at the end of this post. They are reputable sources and will get you moving in the right direction. Or, if you are a HealthStar Client, ask your HealthStar contact and we will work with you to find some resources!

Before you pay anyone to help you, check out these free and low-cost options, or ask for some guidance at a local library or college.

Cybersecurity-schmybersecurity

In the land of words that are long and difficult to type, “Cybersecurity” is at least a contender. What do you picture when you see the word Cybersecurity? If you’re like most people, it’s something wiggly, not quite in focus, and hard to put your finger on. Maybe a shape-shifting robot, or something like that.

If you want to know what I picture, I’ll tell you. I picture this little logo:

TopDog PC

This is the logo of a company called TopDog PC Services. TopDog is my best friend in the whole, wide, computer-technology world. HealthStar’s IT department would be a sad place without TopDog. Beth and Susan would be afraid to come to work, and all of the other HealthStar staff would be wondering “what happened to our previously helpful, responsive, and effective IT ladies?”

Computers wouldn’t know when to update, or what to download. Our HIPAA security team would be nervously clearing throats and biting fingernails. Antivirus software would be disconnected, and we’d be stuck using TeamViewer or LogMeIn for remote support. Mobile devices would be out in the wild with no management.

Basically, it would be chaos, doom, and despair for all.

So, naturally, to kick off NCSAM, I wanted to say a big HealthStar thank-you to Joe, Jordon, and all of the staff at TopDog PC. You guys give our itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny, HealthStar IT team the courage of a fully staffed IT DEPARTMENT. You’ve given us the background knowledge that we don’t always have, and the technical expertise that we’ve always wanted. You keep us operating, you keep us updated, and you help us find the right tools to keep ourselves safe and secure in a world of ever-evolving technology. And you do all of this with SO. MUCH. PATIENCE.

THANK YOU!

We really do love you guys.

Sincerely,
Beth Taylor and Susan Mocchi
(Two of your biggest fans)

(And also from a bunch of people who might not even realize how much you help us out – all of the office staff in Bemidji, Cass Lake, Cloquet, Duluth, Inver Grove Heights, Nett Lake, North St. Paul, Ogema, St. Paul, Waite Park, and don’t forget Gallup, NM and Casa Grande, AZ!)

Stay tuned for more NCSAM fun and information, all throughout the month of October! And check out our Facebook page for even more information about how you can #BeCyberSmart.

Resource list:

https://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/themes/ (Loads of free tech safety resources for businesses, parents, teens, kids, older adults, and everyone in-between)

https://s2me.io/ (Free self-assessment to determine your personal level of security. Includes tons of great tips to improve security.)

And, of course, https://www.topdogpc.com/ (My best buddies in the technology world. Please look them up if you need help with IT coverage for your business. They are the bee’s knees of techies. They’ll help you figure out all of your tech and compliance stuff, and they will do it at a reasonable price. They also know all about wasabi soy almonds, yum. )

Managing Alzheimer’s Behaviors

Whether you have cared for someone with Alzheimer’s in their Minnesota home for many years or have just learned that a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease, managing their behavior and personality changes can be very challenging. You may have already figured out that, as a caregiver, you cannot change the person with Alzheimer’s, or any type of dementia, but you can develop strategies to help you better manage any problem behaviors. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

It’s important to know that the patient is not trying to be difficult. Instead their behavior is often a reaction to stress or frustration in an attempt to communicate. Creating a calming routine and environment for the patient at home along with the way you communicate with them will make a huge difference. The Alzheimer’s Association offers their top five tips that can help you manage your loved one’s behaviors.

  1. Try not to take behaviors personally.
  2. Remain patient and calm.
  3. Explore pain as a trigger.
  4. Don’t argue or try to convince.
  5. Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.

Keeping these tips in mind when caring for a loved one or patient with Alzheimer’s is important. At HealthStar Home Health, we offer many services and programs to assist with the care of those struggling with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. One service we offer is psychiatric home care. This specialty is holistic in its approach, assessing for and addressing the total needs of the patient – physical and emotional. Not only does the patient benefit, the family also benefits by learning new skills to help their loved one remain stable. The health care system benefits from psychiatric home care by maintaining the patient who struggles with persistent psychiatric issues in the least restrictive (and least expensive) setting, which is the home.

HealthStar also offers support for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia through our Alzheimer’s Whisperer program. We understand how overwhelming and difficult it can be to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Confusion, exhaustion and frustration are all common when trying to manage challenging behaviors associated with these illnesses. HealthStar Home Health developed a comprehensive and effective Alzheimer’s and dementia home care program, and is proud to offer this program to assist the caregivers and patients alike. Becoming an Alzheimer’s Whisperer is a unique approach to help support those affected by dementia that live in a home or assisted living setting. The Alzheimer’s Whisperer program is based on the understanding of how the disease affects the brain allowing caregivers to modify interventions so they are appropriate for the person’s cognitive ability. Services are provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting of registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, speech pathologists and home health aides, who work together to improve the quality of life for the caregiver and their loved one.

Other care services we at HealthStar Home Health offer are:

  • Individualized assessment, evaluating cognitive and functional levels
  • Treatment planning
  • Care for patients in a compassionate, empathetic and gentle manner
  • Teach families and caregivers strategies for managing the care needs of their loved one
  • Effectively respond to challenging behaviors such as aggression, agitation, and repetition
  • Address physical health needs
  • Medication management and education
  • Reduce utilization of psychotropic medication
  • Strength development and fall risk reduction
  • Promote independence in dressing, bathing and toileting
  • Assistance with memory, communication and swallowing difficulties

Although your loved one’s sense of what is real may be different than yours, it is still very real to them. By learning to manage the behavior changes you will find yourself reaching some pretty significant goals in the care of your patient. You may notice decreased hospitalizations or use of emergency services, improved functional ability and patient knowledge about their medications, treatment compliance and staying well. All of which can increase your loved one’s quality of life and overall health management.

As a caregiver, even being able to maintain your sense of humor will go a long way in managing the changing behavior of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s. When that isn’t doing the trick, we at HealthStar Home Health are here for you with expert services and programs available to help you through the stages of progressing Alzheimer’s.

For more information contact HealthStar Home Health directly by calling 651-633-7300.