Caregivers Dealing with Mold: A Growing Challenge in South Florida
Florida is home to more senior citizens than any state in America. Many of these senior citizens live alone in their own homes and receive regular visits from a paid caregiver. Many other elderly residents receive unpaid care from a family member or loved one. According to AARP Research, 48% of Florida residents over the age of 45 have provided care for an adult loved one who is disabled, elderly, or ill. Many of these caregivers have encountered health hazards such as mold in the homes of their clients and loved ones. Below is a look at some of the unique health challenges associated with mold and some specific steps you can take as a caregiver to ensure that mold is safely removed from your client's home.
The Link Between Mold and Alzheimer's Disease
"We already know how dangerous mold can be, but the fact that we now know biotoxins can cause Alzheimer's is reason for grave concern... Interestingly, subtype 3 is also called Inhalational Alzheimer's Disease (IAD) and is caused by inhaled toxins which bioaccumulate overtime." - Dr. Jill Carnahan
Many Floridians are aware of some of the health problems commonly associated with mold. These problems include sinus irritation, dry hacking cough, watery eyes, wheezing, and shortness of breath. However, fewer people are aware of the link between mold and Alzheimer's Disease. Research conducted by Dr. R. Shoemaker and his colleagues supports the link between mycotoxins and cognitive decline. Specifically, exposure to molds in water-damaged buildings was found to cause Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
Also known as "Mold Illness", CIRS is triggered by mold and can produce a constellation of symptoms in a person. As the caregiver of a senior citizen who may have pre-existing conditions, it is especially important to be on the lookout for the development of new symptoms in your client. CIRS specialist Elena Klimenko, MD highlights some of the most common symptoms of CIRS:
Chronic fatigue and illness
Brain fog and other cognitive difficulties
Unexplained weight gain
A sore throat and postnasal drip
Frequent urination and dehydration
If you notice any of these symptoms in your client, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Then, make sure your client's home is properly screened for mold and that any mold is professionally removed.
What should caretakers do if they detect mold in a client's home?
The key to successful restoration of a mold-infested home is swift action by a highly skilled mold-removal specialist. Failure to act quickly can lead to long-term structural damage that can compromise the security of your client's home. Here are four steps to take if you notice mold in the home of your elderly clients.
1) Contact a mold removal specialist right away
"Mold growths, or colonies, can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours. They reproduce by spores - tiny, lightweight "seeds" - that travel through the air. Molds digest organic material, eventually destroying the material they grow on, and then spread to destroy adjacent organic material." - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Mold growth can occur within 48 hours and can quickly spread to adjacent areas of a home. Failure to enlist the services of a mold removal specialist right away can enable mold growth to spiral out of control, potentially causing long-term damage.
2) Do your homework before suggesting a mold removal company
Mold removal scams are on the rise in Florida. As a caregiver, you can help your client avoid a scam by carefully researching mold removal providers in your area. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) outlines some specific steps you can take to ensure that you are dealing with a provider that is licensed and experienced. In addition to going online to www.myfloridalicense.com to check whether a contractor is registered, you can verify the provider's license by visiting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
3) Take preventive measures to prevent mold growth
As the caregiver for a disabled or elderly individual, one of the best ways to protect their health is to take preventive measures to help prevent the growth of mold. Here are some steps you can take to prevent mold from growing in your client's home:
Consider using a dehumidifier to lessen the humidity in your client's home
Be on the lookout for leaking roofs and windows, as these can ultimately cause mold to develop
Make sure your client's air conditioner is working properly - especially the air ducts
Always be on the lookout for new mold growth
4) Resist the urge to try to remove mold on your own
"It's important to protect yourself and others from getting sick or causing cross-contamination when removing mold. Most homeowners will not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. Mold removal professionals are trained to handle contaminants, and they know that there are certain ways to get in and out of protective wear to prevent the spread or inhalation of the contaminant." - Comprehensive Mold Management (CMM)
When you notice mold in your client's home, your instinct to help will likely kick in. You may even be tempted to try to remove the mold on your own. Unless you have received formal training in mold remediation, the mold removal process is best left to a trained professional who will prevent the spread of contaminants.
The single best path to mold detection and removal in South Florida
Whether you are a paid employee who is caring for a client or a concerned family member who shares in caregiving activities, you should never ignore signs of mold in the home of a senior citizen. Fortunately, ATP Mold is just a phone call away. As Florida's leading mold removal company, ATP Mold is certified by the EPA and accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Here are just a few reasons why we are Florida's most trusted mold removal company:
30 years of success removing mold from the homes of senior citizens across South Florida
A Five-Phase Mold Remediation approach that is guaranteed to test, treat, remove, and prevent mold
Safe, non-toxic mold removal techniques that protect the health of senior citizens and their pets
Professional employees who have been highly trained and carefully screened for your protection
Affordable prices and a reputation for being sensitive to the unique health needs of senior citizens
We invite you to contact us to learn more about our award-winning mold removal services. Our accomplished team of mold removal specialists is ready to respond to your call or electronic inquiry. We offer complimentary consultations during which we will analyze your client's home and screen for the presence of mold. Whether you notice a small, suspicious spot or blatant and extensive mold growth, we will ensure that mold is safely removed from your client's home. We look forward to serving as your total solution for mold removal.