Butterfly Effect Expands to South Florida - Senior and Adult Care Progressive Agency Provides New Approach to Assist Family Caregivers

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Butterfly Effects has announced that it is stepping up services for disabled adults and seniors in South Florida with a dramatically unique approach. While it provides companion, respite, and rehabilitative services to meet the immediate needs of family caregivers, the progressive agency promises to provide research-supported services that respond to the often ignored fact that behavioral rather than medical problems are the biggest challenge to family caregivers and the leading reason for institutionalization. Getting at the core reasons behind troubling behaviors, the agency will help families alleviate such problems as aggression and elopement and help their loved ones maintain lives enriched by family and community involvement while enjoying as much independence as possible.

Butterfly Effects is determined to change the way that support services are provided to disabled adults and seniors here in South Florida. As one of the nation's fastest growing and most successful providers of behavioral services, agency staff have made it part of their mission to replace the outmoded medical model of senior care with a behavioral approach that pays attention to the real needs of disabled and aging adults and the real causes behind the challenges they can present. Citing a wealth of research, agency representatives explain that behavioral rather than medical problems are the most common reason that seniors are placed in institutions and once there, the most common reason for their being medicated.

Founded eight years ago here in South Florida, Butterfly Effects has built a national reputation with its family and client-centric approach. The agency is already well known across the country for helping children with chronic challenges. It has kept its senior services more local, providing licensed companion, respite, and rehabilitative services for disabled adults and seniors in South Florida. Now having hand-recruited and trained a dedicated staff, the agency stands ready to share its approach to adult care that is as progressive as their work with children. (Read about the Butterfly Effects Commitment to progressive Adult and Senior Care at http://butterflyeffects.com/articles/nation-of-caregivers.)

"We all understand that the way in which a society cares for its disabled and elderly defines the humanity of that society," says Butterfly Effects CEO Charlotte Fudge. "But on a more personal level, Americans are beginning to understand that how they care for their aging parents will serve as a definitive lesson to their own children on how they themselves want to be treated in their autumn years.

“As a nation, we are currently at a crossroads with regard to how we care for adult family members," says Mrs. Fudge who is also a behavioral specialist. “ Already, at least 50 and as many as 65 million of us are providing long-term care for family members. While politicians argue about the role of Social Security and Medicare, the reality is that families now provide more than twice the support provided by all federal and state programs combined.”

And this certainly, isn’t going to change. Every day, another two thousand baby-boomers turn 65. In the very near future, two out of every three adults will be involved in the long-term care of a relative. Yet, despite the demographics and all that is now known about the processes of aging and dementia, both professional and family caregivers are just beginning to understand how to provide seniors with the most effective care possible.

In addition to changing the delivery of adult services from a reactive medical model to one that is more focused on behavior, Butterfly is also looking to be more proactive in the use of rehabilitative services. (http://butterflyeffects.com/services/adult-rehabilitation)

All Butterfly Effects homecare companions, respite workers, and rehabilitative therapists are thoroughly trained in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis). ABA has gained tremendous prominence as the therapy of choice for children with chronic challenges, dramatically changing the way we treat those challenges. In the near future, it may have just as significant an impact on how adults with challenges are treated. The research for ABA’s effectiveness with children is overwhelming. However, when it comes to seniors, the research is much more limited and usually involves individuals living in care facilities rather than those living independently or with families. However, what research is available, does present some very potent evidence. (http://butterflyeffects.com/company/research-on-elder-care)

While society no longer accepts institutionalization and drugs as treatments of choice for children with challenges, the nation as a whole has not yet come to that same position with adults.

Eventually, caregivers will come to understand that behavioral interventions should always be the first line of treatment with all populations. With children, current federal regulations reflect an understanding that behavioral interventions, especially early proactive interventions are the most effective, humane, and economically efficient way to turn individuals who might otherwise be considered burdens into active, contributing, and valued members of their societies and families. Society now needs to apply that concept of proactive early intervention to adults.

ABA principles teach caregivers to look at all behaviors, both normal and problematic, as not random or typically spiteful or merely attention getting efforts, but functional in that they are all about getting unsatisfied needs met. The once self-sufficient woman with Alzheimer’s who has a tendency to elope is probably not getting her desperate need for independence satisfied. The elderly man who seemingly vocalizes loudly and randomly may be starved for the connection that conversation used to afford him or he may simply be trying to cope with the onset of untreated tinnitus. Furthermore, a widowed spouse might irresponsibly ignore nutrition or money responsibilities because those were tasks associated with and even taken care of by a beloved departed.

“Skilled companion and respite workers are in perfect position to apply behavioral interventions,” notes Mrs. Fudge. She explains that these interventions are best when employed intensively one-on-one using constant encouragement and positive reinforcement. “Aberrant behaviors in the elderly are not as resistant to change or as random as many of us believe. With the application of a consistent behavior plan, dramatic changes for the better are very possible and much more typical than not with all populations.” (http://butterflyeffects.com/services/aba-for-seniors)

To help promote behavioral approaches, Butterfly Effects also looks to train family caregivers in fundamental ABA principles as well as specific interventions. "This not only promotes the replacement of problem behaviors with more effective ones," adds Mrs. Fudge, "but also helps to foster communication between caregivers and those receiving care."

Another element of adult care that Butterfly Effects advocates for is the early use of rehabilitative services. (http://butterflyeffects.com/services/adult-rehabilitation) "We tend to think that speech therapy is only for stroke victims, physical therapy is only for someone recovering from an injury, and occupational therapy is only for those who are working," says Mrs. Fudge. "But experts in ABA know different."

According to pioneering experts and recent research, cognitive, memory, and speech deterioration can be greatly abated through the use of speech and occupational therapy especially when initiated early. Physical therapy can be preventive as well in helping promote circulation and joint stability. Occupational therapists can also remove barriers to socialization by teaching people how to get beyond embarrassment and use assistive devices such as walkers and canes out in public.

Not long ago, American society looked to warehouse anyone who might be considered a burden. Gradually, people came to understand that this is an approach that deprived everyone. As a nation, thinking around disabilities has changed and now in can be argued that those same changes should be applied to services for adults in need of care. According to Butterfly Effects, by providing that care in the right way in natural environments, Americans will discover that not only are their resources less taxed, but that everyone will benefit from the continued involvement of beloved seniors in the lives of their families and their communities.

Those wishing to speak with a care coordination specialist about the particular needs and problems involving family members, can give Butterfly Effects a call at 888-880-9270. Staff at the agency stress that "it's not necessary to wait for little difficulties to grow into bigger problems, and that one should never wait until he or she is exhausted to secure needed companion and respite services."

Read about the various and progressive supports, Butterfly Effects offers family caregivers at http://butterflyeffects.com/services/family-caregiver-support
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