How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Appointments

Many people find doctor visits to be a stressful experience. Their blood pressure may skyrocket and they may have a tendency to forget all of the questions that they had before their appointment. This often leads to frustration and the sense that an expensive appointment was a waste of time and money. No one wants this to happen to them. 

This leaves the question: What steps can you take to ensure that you make the most of your doctor appointment? 

Therefore, we’ve come up with numerous recommendations and which you’ll find laid out below. 

#1 Have Moral Support with You

Often people go to doctor’s appointments alone, for a variety of reasons. For example, it may be difficult to coordinate appointment times with other family members and friends. Also, some people may be uncomfortable discussing very personal issues in front of other people. But, despite these reservations, it can be very helpful to have someone you trust with you. A trusted friend, a family member, and even a caregiver can help reassure you and ensure that you are as calm as possible during the appointment. Also, this person can take notes for you and prompt you to ask some of the important questions that you may have. 

#2 Be Prepared

You are the expert on your own body and how you feel at any point in time, therefore, you know the issues that concern you. Before your appointment, write down any questions that you might have and it may also be helpful to do research your symptoms. This does not mean that you are self-diagnosing. Instead, you are equipping yourself with information to ask informed questions and have a better understanding of what your doctor is talking about. 

Part of being prepared also means writing down all of your symptoms, so that you don’t forget any critical pieces of information during the appointment. For example, if you are visiting a GI specialist, it may be helpful to record in a notebook or tablet when you have experienced vomiting or diarrhea. You should also indicate if these episodes were linked to the food that you ate. 

#3 Be Honest and Transparent

The best way for your doctor to be able to help you is if he or she knows all of the details about your health and lifestyle. Part of being transparent is sharing all of your symptoms, even if you find some of these symptoms embarrassing or personal. Some people struggle to discuss different bodily functions. Remind yourself that your doctor is a well-trained professional and that your doctor is not judging you. He or she wants to help you to the best of his or her ability. Honesty also extends to providing truthful information about various lifestyle choices, particularly when they ask questions about your smoking or drinking history.  

#4 Full Information Also Involves Your Medication

Again, transparency and honesty are important so that your provider can give you the best possible care. Most doctors keep your medication list as part of your electronic medical record. But, if you are seeing a new doctor or if there have been changes in your medication list, make sure to bring an updated list with you to your appointment. This is important for various reasons. First, in some cases, the medication itself can cause troubling symptoms. If the doctor knows your medication list, he or she may be able to determine if your symptoms are linked to medication. Also, some drugs can badly interact with other drugs, causing a cavalcade of problems. 

To safely prescribe medication, a doctor needs to know what other medications you regularly take. In addition, it is important that you share more than just your prescription medication list. You also need to tell them about any over-the-counter medications and supplements that you may be taking.

#5 Leave With Information

It is important that you leave your appointment with information, preferably printed out information. This endnote or recap should provide you with an overview of the issues that you and your provider discussed. When possible, it should specifically outline the next steps in the treatment of your condition, such as suggested diagnostic labs or a follow-up appointment with a specialist. The summary should also offer information about any new medications that have been prescribed or changes in your existing medication list. This information can be very helpful when you get home. 

#6 And Finally, Be On Time 

Try to get to your appointment approximately 15 minutes before it is scheduled to start. This is important for several reasons. First, if you are rushing to get there, this will increase your stress level. A stressed patient is less likely to remember all of their questions and concerns. Second, doctors’ schedules for the day are often jam-packed with patients. Getting there on time shows that you respect your provider and his or her time. Also, if you are late, then the amount of time that you have for your appointment may be cut short, which may mean that you do not have time to raise all of your concerns. 

In Conclusion

Doctors’ appointments are undoubtedly stressful and this stress may be even higher if you are dealing with a serious health condition. Unfortunately, stress can get in the way of you getting the most out of your appointment and we know that’s not what you want. Therefore, by taking the steps that were highlighted above, you can maximize your appointments. And, ideally, this will help you be as healthy as you can possibly be. 

In addition, Community Home Health Care is here to help. We have Personal Care Aides and Home Care Aides that can drive you to and from your appointment. They can also accompany you throughout the appointment to write down information and ensure you ask your doctor questions about any concerns you have. If it’s an Aide that you’ve worked with for a while, they may even be able to chime in about changes they’ve noticed. If you’re looking for more information about home care, visit our website or call us at (845) 425-6555. 



Hearing Loss Guide

Many older Americans experience hearing losses of varying degrees of severity. In fact, more than half of all Americans over the age of 75 have some hearing loss. These hearing challenges can negatively impact their quality of life and disrupt relationships. Fortunately, a newfound hearing loss does not have to permanently change or limit your life if you follow some of the steps found in this article. Although there is no one size fits all answer to how to navigate hearing loss, you should take the recommendations that fit your needs and modify other recommendations, as necessary. 

Hearing Loss: Sudden or Gradual?

Before we look at these important steps, it is important to remember that hearing loss is not always easy to diagnose, particularly in older people. In older Americans, hearing loss is often not sudden and dramatic. Instead, it happens gradually over time. And often people will not recognize their own hearing loss because of this slow onset. Relatives may also struggle to recognize this hearing loss. Often, hearing challenges can be mistaken for cognitive decline. This is because, at times, when people do not hear what others are saying, they will simply disengage from the conversation. 

Take a look at our 3 recommendations for navigating hearing loss below. 

#1 Be Aware

Being aware of the first signs and symptoms of hearing loss can help you get the help that you need more quickly.  This means recognizing some of the most common symptoms of hearing loss. If you start to notice that you are regularly turning up the volume on your TV set or radio then this could be an early sign of a hearing loss. Another sign of trouble could be if you start having trouble hearing what people are saying on the phone. In addition, many people with hearing losses report that they struggle to hear in restaurants or other locations that have lots of background noise. 

If you’re a family member, you should also be on the lookout for some of these warning signs. Note if your loved one starts asking you to repeat yourself more frequently, says “what” a lot, or seems to be disengaged from conversations. If you see this happening, then it may be the time to urge them to visit their family doctor or audiologist to raise these questions. 

#2 Hearing Loss Is Physical, But It Is Also Psychological 

The immediate effects of a hearing loss are clearly physical. But, the impact does not stop there. It also has profound psychological impacts on affected individuals. Hearing loss can make people feel incredibly isolated, and struggles with hearing can also mean that a person may be less likely to engage in their usual hobbies and activities. 

Also, as noted above, sometimes hearing loss can be misdiagnosed as cognitive decline or dementia, leading to other problems. It is important for family members and friends to recognize these challenges and also take steps to help make it easier for their loved ones. This could mean switching telephone communication from phone calls to texts or speaking more loudly and more distinctly. It may also be helpful to organize social outings in settings that do not have a lot of background noise. 

#3 Hearing Aids: A Financial Challenge 

Hearing aids are an important tool that allows people with hearing loss the opportunity to regain their normal functioning. However, it’s also important to note that hearing aids are expensive. Hearing aid prices can vary dramatically, but in general range from a minimum of $1,000 per device to more than $6,000 per device. In addition, not all insurance companies cover the cost of hearing aids and this leads some people struggling with the question of how they will pay for these medically necessary devices. However, there are options for financial assistance. For more information on these options, you can visit the Hearing Loss Association of America. No one should ever be unable to get the devices that they need for financial reasons. 

Why Do Some People Struggle With Hearing?

The ear, as with any human body part, is extremely complex, which means that there may be many reasons why a person struggles with their hearing. For example, hearing may be damaged from a lifetime of being exposed to loud decibels. This sound exposure is often linked to a person’s profession. Some jobs, such as many in a factory, are simply loud, and unfortunately, many workers do not have adequate ear protection. 

Some people may experience hearing loss due to a viral infection or fever. In some cases, if there is a rapid loss of hearing, this could be linked to something such as a tumor or head injury. For some of these causes of hearing loss, there may not be a treatment option to reverse the loss of hearing. But, in other cases, hearing loss can be halted or reversed. For example, some people may have a sudden hearing loss because of ear wax build-up. This can easily be treated at home or in your doctor’s office.  

These varied reasons for hearing loss means that it is important to consult with a highly qualified medical professional who can first diagnose your issue and then recommend what to do next. 

In Conclusion 

Hearing loss is a significant problem among older Americans that dramatically impacts a person’s physical and mental health. There are many reasons for hearing loss. Sometimes, people gradually lose their hearing because of a lifetime of unprotected exposure to loud noises. Other people lose their hearing because of illnesses, diseases, and injuries. It is vitally important when people first notice symptoms of hearing loss that they seek input from their medical professionals. 

If hearing loss is impacting you or a loved one, we have home health aides that are trained on assisting those with hearing challenges. To learn more about how Community Home Health Care can help, take a look at our website! No one should let hearing loss get in the way of a long and healthy life in retirement. 

10 Lifestyle Factors That Improve Brain Health

Nowadays, Americans are living longer than they were just a few generations ago. Thanks to advances in medicine and technology, people are staying healthy, active, and vibrant members of their community for much longer. However, aging also comes with certain pitfalls and hurdles. One of these challenges is a process that is described as cognitive decline or cognitive impairment. 

According to the CDC, the most significant risk factor for the 16 million Americans with cognitive impairment is age. The CDC states that more than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 are affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, and these numbers are expected to skyrocket in the coming decades. Fortunately, there are numerous steps that people can take to minimize their risk of developing cognitive impairment and remain healthy and vibrant for longer.  

Below is a description of 10 lifestyle steps that’ll help you and your loved ones improve your brain health.

#1 Get Good Sleep

A significant number of studies have shown that poor sleep is associated with cognitive challenges. It is important to get enough sleep. In fact, many adults require 8 hours or more of sleep to be fully recharged. But, it is not only the length of sleep that is important. The quality of sleep is also essential. If you believe that you are struggling with your sleep, it may be beneficial to discuss this with your primary care physician and arrange for a sleep study. 

#2 Walk It Out

Staying active and fit is an integral part of boosting your cognitive powers and stopping or slowing down cognitive impairment. Exercise can boost your self-esteem and sense of well-being, which in turn can boost brain performance. But walking does more than that. Walking helps send additional blood to the brain, and this fuels brain health. 

Before you start any new exercise program, make sure to discuss any health concerns that you may have with your physician. Also, remember to take it easy in the beginning and slowly work up to more vigorous exercise. 

#3 Eat Foods with Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Many of us have a diet that is not healthy. These days, there are many processed foods, and refined sugar is included in practically everything. We know that these diets are bad for our waistline, but they can also be harmful to our brains. It is essential to replace these unhealthy choices with better options, such as foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to accelerate brain functioning and are found in various delicious food choices, such as olive oil, almonds, and avocados. 

The next time you head to the grocery store, consider making some of these healthy substitutions. 

#4 Yoga 

Embracing yoga is another excellent choice to help you build better long-term brain health. Many of us are stressed from our day-to-day life, and this stress may play into cognitive decline. The next time you are feeling stressed, set aside 20 to 30 minutes for a yoga session. Or, if you are not up for yoga, you can work on embracing a meditation practice. Many people who meditate regularly report that it has a significant impact on their ability to concentrate on challenging tasks. 

#5 Journal 

Sometimes in the modern world, the idea of journaling can seem old-fashioned. But it is not. It can be incredibly useful (and cathartic) to write down all of your concerns and then potentially brainstorm solutions. This process of jotting down your concerns may dramatically reduce your stress level, and, in turn, this can boost brain functioning. 

#6 Vitamin C 

We all know that Vitamin C can help us fight off nagging winter colds. However, that’s not all that Vitamin C does for us. Foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruits, and peppers, help the body fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to a decline in cognitive functioning. Even though fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C, you can also supplement your Vitamin C levels with vitamin supplements. 

#7 Hydration 

For decades, we have heard the reminder that drinking 8 cups of water per day is important to our overall health, including cognitive functioning. However, most of us do not drink eight glasses a day, and many of us are chronically dehydrated. By boosting our water consumption, we can help flush various toxins out of our bodies. This lifestyle change will boost both our physical health and brain health. 

#8 Replace Coffee with Tea

Raise your hand if you’re a coffee lover! It’s no surprise that many of us are addicted to our morning cup of coffee. Some of us could not imagine starting the day without a jolt of caffeine in our system. However, many doctors believe that this is not the healthiest start to the day. Instead, they think that switching out coffee for tea can lead to much better cognitive functioning. As an added benefit, the variety of teas available on the market has expanded dramatically in recent years. This means that you will have numerous delicious options available to suit your taste buds. 

#9 Turn off the TV 

We are all eager to unwind at the end of a stressful day. Often, the first choice for a relaxing evening is to turn on the television. But, usually, television programs do not challenge your brain or make you think. Instead of choosing this mindless activity, it can be beneficial to pick up a book instead. If you are not a big reader, another option is to do a crossword puzzle. Your brain is strengthened when it thinks and does things. 

#10 Talk to Other People 

A challenging part of the aging process is loneliness. As people age, their family may move away from them, and with time, their friends and spouse may die. This often leads to a sense of loneliness and isolation. Unfortunately, being isolated can exacerbate cognitive decline. Therefore, it is crucial to seek out activities and engagement with other people. Look for clubs in your community that are focused on activities that you enjoy. Volunteering is another wonderful way to boost social interactions while also helping your community. 


Aging is challenging, and one of the most significant challenges of aging is the cognitive decline that many older Americans face. Fortunately, cognitive decline is not inevitable. The lifestyle choices that you make may increase or decrease your likelihood of experiencing these upsetting symptoms. So, think carefully about your diet and exercise choices and make time to have mindfulness activities as a part of your day. These simple steps can improve and boost your brain health. In addition, if you need a helping hand to assist you in implementing these lifestyle suggestions, call Community Home Health Care to get matched with a compassionate caregiver today. 

5+ Factors to Consider: Private Caregiver vs Home Care Agency

As our loved ones age, it can be challenging to balance our lives and their well-being at all times. This is especially true when you’re raising kids, working full-time, and going to school. Before long, you realize you have to make a choice. If you continue doing it all, inevitably something will go wrong. You don’t want to feel like you’re giving more importance to one thing over the other. When people get to this point, they realize that the best option is to hire someone else to help care for their parents. Often, this is the only way for us to go about our normal day to day necessities or routines. 

If you plan on keeping your parents in the home, it only comes down to two options. You could hire a private caregiver or seek the help of a home care agency. If you’ve never done either, it can be challenging to know which option you should go with. Here, we’ll address what you should know about hiring a private caregiver. In addition, we’ll cover the benefits of choosing a home care agency. 

Hiring a Private Caregiver 

If you’re thinking about entrusting your loved ones in the care of a private caregiver, consider the following:

Background Checks 

It may seem enticing to forgo background checks when hiring a private caregiver, but don’t do it. While conducting a background check is time-consuming and costly, the cost of not doing so is even greater. Background checks reveal essential details, such as if the person is qualified to be caring for your loved one. An interview alone should not be the sole judge of character. 

Liability and Insurance

Because this caregiver is working independently for you, rarely do they have their own insurance. If a caregiver gets injured while working for you, you might get stuck paying medical bills and lost wages. This can take a toll on your expenses. Therefore, it’s important to consider the what-ifs of the possible costs that may arise with hiring a private caregiver. 


One thing that a lot of people forget about when hiring a private caregiver is a contract. In circumstances like this, a contract is needed to demonstrate that there’s a full understanding of the business relationship. For instance, do you mind if they have guests over at the home? What about if they can receive gifts from your loved one without your permission? These are all things you’d need to consider before hiring a private caregiver. 

Effective Management and Communication

Another thing people don’t consider is that a private caregiver will require effective management and communication. Every family has its own set of terms and demands they’d like a caregiver to follow. However, how do you ensure that you effectively got your message across? This is especially true if you’ve never really had to manage anyone before. Having a third party, like a home care agency, can make this a lot easier. 

When working with an agency, you are laying your demands outright so that the agency can match you with the best caregiver. When you communicate your requirements and terms to them, they’ll relay that message to the best-fit caregiver assigned to your case. Plus, if one caregiver isn’t a great match, a home care agency can find another one for you. 

Working with a Home Care Agency 

Now that you know what goes into hiring a private caregiver, we’ll explore the other option. Here are some of the benefits of working with a home care agency to meet your caregiving needs: 

Verifying Information

When you work with a reputable home care agency, you can expect that each employee has had a background check. They also take the time to verify each reference and review their past employment history. The latter is important as it helps agencies determine who would be the best caregiver for you. Lastly, home care agencies will stay up-to-date on their employees’ certifications. 

Replacing Caregivers if Needed

Imagine that you’re about to walk into work. You look at your phone and see a text from your caregiver, letting you know they will be unable to make it to their shift with about five minutes to spare. If you hired a private caregiver, you are suddenly faced with the need to skip work. If this isn’t feasible, you might have to find a caregiver in a short timespan that may be less qualified. 

Now here’s another scenario. What if the private caregiver you hired is turning out not to be a good fit for the job? Maybe they forget certain instructions or use methods you don’t agree with. If you let them go, you’ll then have the task of finding another qualified caregiver, which is time-consuming. 

One of the most significant benefits of working with a home care agency is that they will usually send in a substitute caregiver. This saves you in situations where you’d otherwise have to call off work or look for another caregiver. In addition, the substitute your home care agency recommends will likely be just as qualified. 


When working with a home care agency, you do not have to worry about maintaining payment duties, taxes, and so on. The agency takes care of monetary compensation for its caregivers, along with all the necessary tax preparations and withholdings. All you have to do is ensure that your loved one is getting the proper care while you’re away!

Select a Quality Home Care Agency

We all want the best care for our loved ones while carrying on with life’s obligations and necessities. However, deciding on what exactly is the best home care option is challenging. Though it may seem appealing to hire a private caregiver, the benefits of a home care agency are far greater. A home care agency gives you more reassurance of the caregivers’ certifications and background. You will feel better knowing that a home care agency will always have a trusting caregiver available to give you peace of mind while away! If you’re looking for a home care agency with all of the qualities we’ve mentioned above, look no further than Community Home Health Care. 

Contact Community Home Health Care to request a compassionate caregiver today.

Mental Health for Seniors: How to Identify Problems and Get Proper Care

Have you noticed that an older adult in your life is sleeping more than usual, seems angry and irritable, or is having suicidal thoughts? Did you know that these could be signs of a mental health problem?

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four older adults—about 7 million—are living with a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety. By 2030, NCOA expects the number to double to 15 million.

The sad fact is that two-thirds of older adults with mental disorders do not receive treatment for their conditions. Untreated mental disorders can lead to poor overall health, higher health care costs, disability or impairment, compromised quality of life, increased caregiver stress, a higher risk of suicide, and death.

For these reasons, it’s important to recognize the warning signs and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety—and know how to get treatment for your aging loved one.

Depression in Seniors

The most prevalent mental disorder among seniors is depression, according to a brief released by the Healthy Aging Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). Depression in seniors can lead to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the condition can make it difficult for the sufferer to seek treatment.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Depression in Seniors

As a caregiver, it’s important to know the signs and risk factors of depression to ensure that the senior in your life receives treatment as quickly as possible. As with most mental health disorders, depression has numerous symptoms. Some seniors may only experience a few symptoms, while others may show signs of several.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the most common warning signs of depression in seniors as:

  • Persistent Sad, Anxious, or “Empty” Mood
  • Feelings of Hopelessness or Pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of Guilt, Worthlessness, or Helplessness
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Hobbies and Activities
  • Decreased Energy or Fatigue
  • Moving or Talking More Slowly
  • Feeling Restless or Having Trouble Sitting Still
  • Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering, or Making Decisions
  • Difficulty Sleeping, Waking Early in the Morning, or Oversleeping
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Changes in Weight
  • Thoughts of Death or Suicide
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Aches or Pains, Headaches, Cramps, or Digestive problems—Without a Distinct Physical Cause

Do you think an older adult in your life for is suffering from depression? If they have experienced any of these symptoms for a majority of the days over a two-week period, their health care provider should screen them for depression.

In addition to the warning signs, there are a few risk factors associated with depression in seniors. These include:

  • A Personal or Family History of Depression
  • Major Life Changes, Stress, or Trauma
  • Certain Physical Illnesses and Medications

Anxiety in Seniors

Anxiety is another prevalent mental health condition for seniors, and it often is associated with depression. In fact, nearly half of older adults who are diagnosed with depression also experience anxiety, according to the CDC and NACDD brief.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Anxiety in Seniors

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety. Seniors with GAD are typically over-anxious and worrisome for a majority of days for at least six months. From personal health and everyday routines to work and socialization, GAD can affect nearly every aspect of a senior’s life.

Like depression, there are numerous warning signs when it comes to anxiety. According to the NIMH, caregivers should be aware of the following signs and symptoms of GAD in seniors:

  • Feeling Restless, Overly Excited, or On-Edge
  • Being Easily Fatigued
  • Having Difficulty Concentrating
  • Mind Going Blank
  • Irritability
  • Experiencing Muscle Tension
  • Difficulty Controlling Feelings of Worry
  • Having Sleep Problems (Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep, Restlessness, or Unsatisfying Sleep)

Besides these signs and symptoms, chronic health problems such as thyroid conditions or heart arrhythmias can lead to or increase anxiety symptoms. Drinking caffeinated beverages, substance abuse, and certain medications can also cause anxiety.

According to the NIMH, research has shown that genetics and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing anxiety. A few of the common risk factors associated with anxiety disorders are:

  • Shyness During Childhood
  • Exposure to Stressful or Negative Life or Environmental Events
  • A Family History of Anxiety or Other Mental Illnesses

Treating Depression and Anxiety in Seniors

The typical treatments for both depression and anxiety in seniors include medication and psychotherapy—or a combination of both. Caregivers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of each condition since treatments are generally more effective when they begin during the early stage of either condition.

Whether you’re a caregiver in a long-term care facility, assisted living facility, or a home health care provider, several activities can help promote the mental health and wellbeing of seniors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends enhancing your caregiving routine with the following types of activities:

  • Healthy Activities: Walking, exercise classes, interactive games, gardening, relaxation classes, yoga, Quigong, or Tai Chi.
  • Intellectual Activities: Reading books, discussing current events, crossword puzzles, card games, chess, or strategy games.
  • Artistic Activities: Arts and crafts, creative writing, music, drama, and dance.
  • Skill-Building Activities: Classes to learn about computers, cooking, sewing, carpentry, gardening, finances, or grandparenting.
  • Spiritual Activities: Attending religious services or prayer groups, celebrating religious holidays, or meditation classes.
  • Volunteer and Mentoring Activities: Intergenerational activities with children, teens, and young adults.
  • Coping Activities: Classes on loss and bereavement, caring for a spouse, problem-solving, or socialization.

If you’re an older adult living with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, there are a number of things you can do to while you’re being treated for your condition to help improve your quality of life:

  • Be Active and Exercise Regularly
  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Spend Time with Friends or Family
  • Don’t Isolate Yourself—Reach Out for Help
  • Know That Your Mood Will Improve Over Time—Not Right Away
  • Postpone Major Life Changes (Getting Married or Divorced, Changings Jobs, Etc.)
  • Discuss Major Decisions with a Trusted Relative, Friend, or Your Caregiver
  • Educate Yourself About Your Condition

Do you have a loved one that is living with a mental health disorder? Community Home Health Care has a dedicated staff of experienced and trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. To learn more about our services, visit our website and fill out our simple online form. You can also visit us in person or call (845) 425-6555 to speak with a caring representative today. Whether you need medical assistance, personal care, or friendship, we’re here to help!


Winter Safety Tips for Seniors & Caregivers

Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold, ice, and electrical issues.
Luckily, with just a little bit of planning and caution, you can make sure that the seniors in your life are prepared to handle anything the winter throws at them—and your elderly loved ones can know the right steps to take to stay safe and healthy all season.

6 Quick Tips for Keeping Seniors Winter-Safe

Prevent falls and slips.
Yikes, those icy patches can be tricky for everyone. But for seniors, any slip or stumble can lead to serious injury, from hip and wrist fractures to head trauma, lacerations, or even bad bruising that limits mobility.

Luckily, you don’t need to stay inside to prevent a slip (but if the weather is very bad, an evening at home can be a good idea!). To handle ice and sleet safely, make sure your loved one has winter shoes with good traction and non-slip soles and, if they use a cane, replace the cane tip for best use.
Once you’ve come inside, make sure both you and your loved ones leave any wet or icy shoes at the door to prevent slippery surfaces on hardwood or linoleum floors.

Prepare for outages and storms.
Snowstorm blackouts may be exciting for the kids, but lack of electricity or downed power lines can lead to harmful situations for seniors.
Prepare for limited travel ability or black-outs by creating a disaster kit of needed supplies and food to keep on hand. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water for several days, as well as a manual or battery-operated can opener, and battery-powered flashlight, radio, and extra batteries.
And don’t forget the medicine! Make sure you have extras of your loved ones’ necessary medications and first aid essentials.

Watch your heating appliances.
Space heaters, electric blankets, and other heat sources may be cozy and warm in cold climates, but they must be handled safely.
Before using any device, check that there are no signs of damage, age, or fraying to the material or power cords. When in use, make sure that avoid covering the device and keep any heat source away from flammable materials.
If you’re snuggling by a fireplace or warming up with gas heaters, prevent dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping an updated, working carbon monoxide detector nearby.

Stay covered and warm.
Cold temperatures can be a risk of easily preventable frostbite and hypothermia—-especially for those over age 65. And since we can’t stay indoors all winter long, make facing the cold a little easier by taking note of a few important cold weather steps:
Don’t skimp on the heating bills — keep your senior’s indoor space at a comfortable temperature,
Don’t forget to check on heating appliances, boilers, and utility bill payments to avoid being left in the cold!
Don’t skip bundling up with layers: socks, heavy coats, gloves, scarf, and a hat can keep everyone cozy and warm all winter long.
Don’t forget to stay warm indoors too—remind your loved ones to dress warmly if the house has drafts, chilly bathrooms, or cold floors.

Fight the winter blues.
Feeling gloomy under the grey skies? That’s pretty common!
Cold winters, with the lack of sun and limited social outings, can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression for everyone.

To help your elderly loved one or patient beat the winter blues, make sure to maintain a regular schedule of visitors or phone calls—or consider setting up a home companion or adult daycare schedule. A daily check-in not only keeps loneliness at bay, but also ensures there’s always someone to notice any health or environment changes that may be worrisome.

Keep a healthy diet.
In the colder months, dehydration and poor nutrition are common causes of poor health for seniors.
Limited time outdoors, lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin D. And since it’s chilly outside, it’s easy to forget a daily water intake—which can lead to dehydration. Focus on maintaining sufficient fluid intake and a fortified, balanced diet to keep healthy and fight off the sniffles, all year long.

Staying safe and healthy all winter can be a challenge. But the right home care can help. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.

Seniors at the Wheel: Aging Health Issues that Impact Safe Driving

How to know when it’s time to reconsider driving for your elderly parent or patient. 

Telling an elderly loved one that it may be time to stop driving can be a difficult conversation. For many seniors, driving may feel like a key aspect of independent living. Asking family or friends for rides can be embarrassing or frustrating—and relying on expensive taxis or car services can add up.

But if your loved one is facing physical limitations, driving can be a serious risk to their safety. While aging alone doesn’t change driving ability (there are many happy 90-year olds with licenses while their younger peers have long given them up!), elderly drivers are more likely to have health concerns or other limitations that pose a challenge behind the wheel. 

Below are important tips to help you know when it’s time to ask your elderly loved one to hand over the keys—-and how to be sure you’re both making the safest choice. 

If your loved one…is confused, nervous, distracted, or forgetful. 

Whether your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or is simply experiencing general memory loss, cognitive health is the most important factor for safe driving. If he/she is not able to recall places or names, make choices quickly, or focus properly behind the wheel, they’re likely to be unable to navigate their vehicle or drive safely for any distance or time. 

If your loved one…has recent vision changes or an eye disease.

Moderate to severe vision loss or eye diseases (such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy) can make it harder for a driver to see road signs, merging cars, or pedestrians clearly enough to respond quickly. 

If your loved one…has a hearing loss.

Safe driving relies just as much on our sense of hearing as on our sight. Sirens, honking horns, or mechanical issues need to be heard right away to avoid potential crashes or unexpected break-downs. 

If your loved one…moves slower or feels weaker. 

As any driver can tell you, quick reflexes can often be the difference between a crash and a quick swerve away from danger. As a driver ages, they may find their response times slowing down or their muscles weakening, both of which can undermine their control over the steering wheel, brakes, and vehicle. 

Medications and Driving…one more thing to consider.

Regardless of age or health, mixing strong medications and driving is a cause for concern—-and seniors may be more susceptible to negative side effects than their younger counterparts. Even if your loved one is in the best of health, check carefully with his/her health provider to make sure none of the prescribed medications’ side effects may impact their ability to drive safely. Note also that some over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines or cold medicines, may cause drowsiness or dizziness and should be double-checked with a health provider, too. 

Making safe, smart choices with your aging parents can be a challenge. But choosing the best home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 

Preventing Memory Loss: Exercises & Steps to Keep Your Mind Active

We’ve all walked into a room and paused, forgetting why we got up from the couch. Or let an appointment, phone call, or errand slip from our mind. But when an elderly loved one starts forgetting names, places, or regular activities, harmless memory slip-ups can become a reason for concern. 

Fortunately, moderate memory loss is a typical sign of aging—-and not necessarily a reason to worry about Alzheimer’s or dementia. And while memory loss is to be expected, studies show there’s plenty of steps you or your loved ones can take to improve memory, boost cognitive skills, and possibly even slow the effects of dementia. 

These steps, which include mental exercises and brain games, help our minds improved neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is how well our mind can adapt, change, and react to new situations or information. The more we work on mental gymnastics, the healthier we can keep neuroplasticity —and the more we can continue to remember, learn, and recall. 

These mental exercises fall into one of two categories: skill developing and skill retaining. Studies point to learning new things as a key way to keep our mind sharp and developing at any age. At the same time, your elderly loved ones may be struggling to recall skills or abilities they once had, and retaining those skills is crucial for a quality of life. 

Here are a few mind (and body) steps you can take for yourself or with an elderly loved one to prevent memory loss and increase mental activity.

  •  Pick up an instrument, or a paintbrush.  

Learning a new skill, especially a more complex one, is a sure way to give your brain a workout. Encourage your elderly loved one to join a class or take a few lessons on a topic that interests them. In addition to building brain power, learning new skills can keep your loved one feeling motivated and occupied. Motivation and a positive attitude also go a long way to keeping our minds healthy, so consider a local pottery class a 2-for-1! 

  • Test recall, or leave the list at home.  

“Recall” is an important mental factor that, with our phones and shopping lists at hand, we don’t exercise often enough. Try testing recall in small, stress-free ways to encourage focus and sharpen mental skills. Leave your shopping list in your pocket as you wander the aisles, or ask your loved one to describe a childhood home or pet to engage memory and visualization skills. 

  • Use your senses, or smell the roses. 

Our senses tie closely to our minds’ ability to learn and remember, so utilizing our sense can keep us engaged and ready to learn. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to experience the senses around the home. Encourage your loved ones to help you in the garden or try something new in the kitchen to enjoy new smells, touches, and tastes together. 

  • Get moving, or even dancing. 

Even while you exercise your brain, don’t neglect the benefits of giving your body a light work-out. Not only does moving reduce stress and improve your mood (both of which are great for mental health), it also increases oxygen to your brain for healthier neuroplasticity and reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Non-strenuous workouts, neighborhood walks, or even putting on your loved one’s favorite dancing music are great ways to boost mental and physical health. 

Facing memory loss can be difficult for an aging loved one, but there are key steps you can take to improve their mental health and increase their quality of life.  Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 

Caring Tips: How To Talk to a Loved One or Patient with Dementia

When a loved one or patient is suffering from dementia, maintaining communication can be one of the toughest challenges for a caregiver or family member. The patient’s limited understanding,  environmental confusion, and verbal skills can lead to non-response—or increasing frustration for both carer and patient. 

How can you have successful conversations with a loved one or patient suffering from dementia? Take the right steps to keep the conversation comfortable, easy to follow, and  


First things first: prepare yourself to make the best of the conversation.

Prepare yourself for the conversation by getting into a patient, calm, and respectful mindset. Remember, while your patient may have limited cognitive functioning now—they are still the person you, or their family, has loved and admired. Conversation can be easier or harder depending on patient’s circumstances, but your attitude can ensure that every interaction is as meaningful and pleasant as possible. 


Second: make the environment as comfortable as possible. 

  • Remove Distractions—choose a quiet, well-lit area to help your patient focus comfortably on the conversation. 
  • Get their Full Attention—begin your conversation by saying their name, or even touching them lightly on the shoulder or arm. 
  • Relax Your Body Language—non-verbal patients may rely heavily on body language, so make sure you give a relaxed, positive impression 
  • Maintain Eye Contact—keep their focus on you by sitting next to or across from them and maintaining calm, steady eye contact. 


Thirdly: keep the conversation clear and easy to understand. 

Dementia patients may struggle with focus or comprehension, so make sure your conversations are as simple and clear as possible. That may mean you need to slow your normal speed or limit conversation topics, but it’ll be worthwhile when you can get meaningful responses. 

Speak Calmly, Clearly, and Slowly—give time for the patient to process each sentence before moving to the next. 

Use Names instead of Pronouns—refer to people mentioned by their names instead of “he” or “she” to help the patient keep track of the conversation.

Stick to One Topic at a Time—avoid switching topics suddenly or bringing up new ones without clear introductions. 

Rephrase, Don’t Repeat—if the patient doesn’t understand a question or statement, rephrase it as simply as possible rather than repeating it. 


And of course, focus on non-verbal communication, too. A friendly smile and reassuring eye-contact, as well as appropriate physical touch, goes a long way to help your patient feel comfortable enough to respond. If the patient does forget or make a mistake, correct them gently or let their mistake slide to keep them feeling positive, included, and respected.


Helping your loved one navigate dementia can be a challenge. But with the right care, it can be an opportunity to treat your loved one with compassion and respect.  Learn more about finding the right caregivers by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 


Cost of home healthcare vs cost of hospital stay

As one continues to age, the last thing they want to worry about is sustainability. For the elderly, this worry can be a significant liability to their personal sense of capability. The majority of seniors want to stay in their home for as long as possible but this can be difficult when dealing with disease or illness. Home care, however, allows one to do this. It is different from institutional care, like assisted living or nursing homes, while still providing medical and, sometimes, non-medical care. For these types of elderly people, home health-care provides the satisfaction of quality service in patients’ home under the physician.

Home Healthcare vs. Hospital Stay

Johns Hopkins developed its hospital-at-home program as a means of treating elderly patients who either refused to go to the hospital or were at risk of hospital-acquired infections. The early trials of its model found the total cost of at-home care was 32% less than traditional hospital care, the length of stay for patients was shorter by one-third (3.2 days vs. 4.9 days), and the incidence of delirium – disturbance in mental abilities that result in confused thinking and reduced awareness – associated with prolonged hospital stay, was dramatically reduced (9% vs. 24%).


In a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, healthcare costs were 52% lower than when acutely ill patients received hospital care at home, rather than being placed in a hospital bed.  The cause of this is lower labor costs for at-home patients compared to patients in a hospital, where staff must be on hand 24/7. Home-care patients also had fewer lab visits from specialists. For instance, the average daily cost of a hospital stay is $6,200 while the average cost of home health care is just $135 per visit.


Care quality may have also been slightly better for at-home patients, compared to patients who stay at the hospital, because acutely ill patients treated at home experienced more physical activity since they were able to sit upright and freely move around.

The Difficulty of Payment

Unfortunately, in the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and most private payers, do not pay for hospital care delivered at home and restrict payments for telemedicine – an essential aspect of the model that allows physicians and healthcare staff to communicate with the patient – and ultimately, restricting the possibility of implementation for a lot of patients.

Who Also Benefits From Home Health Care?

In a research study, led by Levine, a clinician-investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, they conducted a small, randomized, but controlled trial that compared the health-care use, experience, and cost of Brigham patients who either received hospital-level care at home or in the hospital of 2016. The 20 patients analyzed in the trial had one of several conditions, including infection, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. Caregivers – those providing aid – reported far less stress because they didn’t have to travel to an unfamiliar hospital, find parking, and coordinate bedside time with the clinical stuff while worrying about their clients.

In Conclusion

Home health care is suitable for patients with chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart and circulatory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders that affect movement, or COPD and other breathing problems. Without assistance, these patients would usually have to seek long-term help from a nursing home or other residential setting but with home health care, they’re able to stay in the comfort of their home after hospitalization. Furthermore, home health-care increases participation in treatment because patients are able to receive therapy at home rather than travel to a remote location while dealing with their illness.


If you introduce the idea to a loved one, make sure that it’s covered by your insurance plan. Some health insurance carriers don’t offer an easy way to cover hospital care at home, as NPR has noted. Others may only cover certain services or specific providers – so determine what options are best for you. Remember, your financial circumstance is important but the biggest priority is your loved one’s safety and recovery. For more information on how to approach delicate subjects regarding the elderly, visit our website, at