UV Safety Month: Sun Safety for Seniors

Sun safety is crucial for seniors and UV Safety Month is here to remind us of the importance of protecting ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays. At Community Home Healthcare, our goal is to prioritize the health and wellness of your loved ones, whether it’s ensuring they can safely enjoy a sunny summer day or providing them with quality at-home care.

Join us as we explore the dangers of sun exposure for seniors, why it’s essential to be cautious, and some practical ways to practice sun safety.

The Dangers Of Sun Exposure

Increased Risk of Skin Cancer

Did you know that seniors are more susceptible to skin cancer? This is due to cumulative sun exposure over their lifetime. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and less resilient, making it more vulnerable to UV damage as well.

Dehydration and Heat Stroke

Older adults have a decreased ability to regulate body temperature, making them more prone to heat-related illnesses like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Exacerbation of Existing Health Conditions

Many seniors have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory issues. Excessive heat and sun exposure can exacerbate these conditions, leading to complications.

Vision Problems

UV rays are harmful to our eyes, leading to conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Seniors are already at a higher risk for these eye issues, and prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate protection can accelerate their progression.

Tips on Sun Safety for Seniors

Protective Clothing

Encourage seniors to wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants made of breathable fabric. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection are also essential to shield the face and eyes from harmful rays.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of skin cancer. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or swimming.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is essential in senior care. Ensure seniors drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body, is also beneficial.

Seek Shade & Plan Activities Wisely

Encourage seniors to stay in the shade, especially during peak sun hours from 10 AM to 4 PM. Creating shaded areas in the yard or planning fun indoor activities during these times can significantly reduce sun exposure.

Monitor Medications

Did you know that some medications can increase sensitivity to the sun? Review medications with a healthcare provider to understand any potential side effects and take necessary precautions.

Community Home Healthcare: Your Partner in Senior Sun Safety

At Community Home Healthcare, we understand the unique challenges seniors face on a day-to-day basis, and our dedicated caregivers are trained to be aware of such challenges. By providing personalized care plans, we ensure that seniors stay safe, healthy, and comfortable through any season.

Our caregivers can assist with:

  • Applying sunscreen
  • Encouraging hydration
  • Supervising safe outdoor activities
  • Monitoring for signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion
  • Ensuring seniors are dressed appropriately for the weather

With Community Home Healthcare, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are in good hands. We are committed to providing comprehensive, compassionate care that prioritizes their safety and well-being.

For more information on how we can support your family, contact Community Home Healthcare today. Let’s work together to keep our seniors safe and healthy this UV Safety Month and beyond.

Hydration Matters: The Importance of Hydrating in Senior Care

Hydration is always important, but as we age, it becomes increasingly crucial for our health and well-being. Dehydration is a common but often overlooked issue among seniors, and its consequences can be severe. At Community Home Healthcare, we understand the critical role hydration plays in senior care and strive to ensure that your loved ones remain healthy and comfortable. Let’s explore why hydration matters and how professional at-home care can help:

Why Hydration is Essential for Seniors

1. Preventing Health Issues

Dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure. Additionally, it can exacerbate conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, making it harder for seniors to manage their health effectively.

2. Supporting Cognitive Function

Dehydration can significantly impact cognitive function, leading to confusion, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. For seniors, these symptoms can be mistaken for more serious conditions like dementia. Ensuring proper hydration helps maintain mental clarity and overall cognitive health.

3. Maintaining Physical Health

Proper hydration helps keep muscles and joints lubricated, supporting overall mobility and reducing the risk of injury. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, weakness, and dizziness, increasing the risk of falls, which is a major concern for seniors.

4. Aiding Digestion

Water is essential for healthy digestion. It helps prevent constipation, a common issue among seniors, by keeping the digestive system functioning smoothly. Adequate hydration also aids in the absorption of essential nutrients, ensuring that seniors get the most out of their meals.

Challenges in Maintaining Hydration for Seniors

Despite its importance, maintaining hydration can be challenging for seniors due to several factors:

Decreased Sensation of Thirst: As people age, their sensation of thirst diminishes, making it harder for them to recognize when they need to drink water.

Medication Side Effects: Many medications commonly prescribed to seniors can have diuretic effects, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Mobility Issues: Physical limitations can make it difficult for seniors to access water regularly.

Cognitive Decline: Memory issues may cause seniors to forget to drink water throughout the day.

Peace of Mind with Community Home Healthcare

At Community Home Healthcare, we recognize these challenges and offer tailored solutions to ensure your loved ones stay hydrated. Our trained caregivers are there to regularly provide gentle reminders to hydrate, make water easily accessible, and are aware of the conditions and medications that may make their clients more prone to dehydration.

Hydration is a simple yet critical aspect of senior care that can significantly impact overall health and quality of life. With Community Home Healthcare, you can rest assured that your loved ones are receiving the attention they need to stay healthy and hydrated. By entrusting their care to our compassionate professionals, you can take the worry of hydration off your list of tasks and focus on spending quality time with your senior loved ones.

For more information about our services and how we can support your family, contact Community Home Healthcare today. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those you cherish most.

Motherhood and Caregiving: Balancing the Roles

As Mother’s Day approaches, we celebrate the remarkable mothers who are balancing the roles of both motherhood and caregiving. Being a part of the Sandwich Generation presents a set of challenges that require careful consideration and proactive solutions.

The Challenges of the Sandwich Generation

Juggling Responsibilities: Sandwich Caregivers often find themselves juggling the demands of their own families, careers, and caregiving duties simultaneously, leading to feelings of overwhelm and stress.

Emotional Strain: Balancing the needs of both children and aging parents can take a toll on mental and emotional well-being, leading to increased anxiety and guilt.

Time Constraints: With limited time and resources, Sandwich Caregivers may struggle to find time for self-care and personal pursuits. This can lead to feelings of burnout and exhaustion.

Strategies for Balancing Motherhood and Caregiving

Prioritize Self-Care: Recognize the importance of self-care for caregivers and make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Establish Boundaries: Set clear boundaries with both your family and your caregiving responsibilities to prevent feelings of overwhelm and burnout.

Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family members, or support groups who understand the unique challenges of being a Sandwich Caregiver.

How Community Home Healthcare Can Help

Affordable Pricing: We believe that nothing should stand in the way of getting quality home care. That’s why we offer a variety of payment options, including Medicaid, Managed Long Term Care (MLTC), Private Pay, and Long Term Home Health Care Programs. Whatever your financial situation, we have a solution that works for you.

Personalized Care Plans: Our team works closely with our clients to develop individualized care plans that meet their unique needs. Does your loved one need help with household chores? Getting around the home safely? Medication reminders? Companionship? Our caregivers have you covered.

Compassionate Caregivers: Our team of compassionate caregivers is trained to provide exceptional care with empathy and compassion, allowing Sandwich Caregivers to focus on their families and themselves with peace of mind.

Balancing motherhood and caregiving as a Sandwich Caregiver is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s not impossible. With the support of Community Home Health Care, you can find peace of mind knowing that your aging loved ones are in good hands. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible mothers out there! Whether you’re receiving care or giving care, we appreciate and admire you for all that you do.

Spring Cleaning For Seniors: Creating a Safe and Comfortable Home Environment

As the days grow warmer and spring approaches full bloom, it’s time to embark on the age-old tradition of spring cleaning. But for seniors, this yearly ritual goes beyond just tidying up; it’s about creating a safe and comfortable home environment where your loved one can thrive.

The Benefits

Promoting Safety: Clutter and disorganization can pose safety hazards for seniors, increasing the risk of trips, falls, and accidents. By decluttering and organizing the home, seniors can move around more freely and safely.

Improving Air Quality: Dust, allergens, and pollutants can accumulate indoors during the winter months, exacerbating respiratory issues for seniors. The dusting, vacuuming, and airing out the home helps improve indoor air quality and promote better respiratory health.

Reducing Stress: A clean and organized living space can have a positive impact on mental well-being. For seniors, a clutter-free environment can reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm, contributing to overall happiness and peace of mind.

Spring Cleaning Guide

Decluttering: Start by going through each room and getting rid of items that are no longer needed or used. Donate, sell, or discard items responsibly.

Deep Cleaning: Once the clutter is removed, focus on deep cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and washing windows.

Organizing: Use baskets, bins, and shelves to keep belongings organized and easily accessible. Labeling items can also help seniors locate things more efficiently.

Safety Checks: Perform safety checks throughout the home, ensuring that smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in working order. Replace batteries as needed.

Spring cleaning is an essential task for seniors to maintain a safe and comfortable living environment. It can be challenging for seniors to maintain cleanliness throughout the year, a Home Health Aide from Community Home Healthcare can help! Along with providing quality at-home care, our caregivers extend their assistance to household chores such as laundry, meal prepping, and tidying up.

If you or a loved one could benefit from help with daily tasks while aging in place, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Community Home Healthcare to find the right care plan for you.

Crafting Care: Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits for Seniors

Join Us in the Celebration of National Craft Month with Springtime Creativity

March is not only a month that welcomes new beginnings and the vibrancy of spring, but it also marks National Craft Month! This is the perfect time to celebrate creativity and self-expression. Did you know that crafting is beneficial to seniors?

Benefits of Crafting for Seniors

Mental Stimulation: Engaging in crafts stimulates the brain, promoting cognitive function and memory retention. It’s an enjoyable way for older adults to keep their minds sharp and active.

Emotional Well-Being: Crafting provides an outlet for self-expression and creativity, fostering a sense of accomplishment and boosting overall mood. It can be a wonderful stress-reliever!

Fine Motor Skills: Many crafts involve intricate movements, contributing to the maintenance and improvement of fine motor skills. This is particularly beneficial for seniors facing challenges with dexterity.

Sense of Purpose: Crafting projects offer seniors a sense of purpose and achievement. Completing a project provides a tangible representation of their efforts, enhancing feelings of self-worth.

Social Engagement: Participating in arts and crafts is a great activity for seniors and their caregivers to do together! This encourages social interaction and is a great way for older adults to connect with others.

Spring Craft Ideas for Seniors

spring craft paint flower planter
Photo: messylittlemonster.com

Painted Flower Planters: Get creative with flowerpots and acrylic paints. Seniors can design and paint their own personalized planters, bringing a touch of spring indoors. Add your favorite seeds and watch new life bloom!

spring craft greeting card
Photo: scrapbookingstore.com

Spring Greeting Cards: Crafting personalized spring-themed greeting cards allows seniors to express their creativity while creating something heartfelt for loved ones.

spring craft bookmark flowers
Photo: onelittleproject.com

Pressed Flower Bookmarks: Create beautiful bookmarks using pressed flowers from the garden. It’s a delightful way to bring a touch of nature into daily reading.

Spring Craft Collage
Photo: pinterest.com

Springtime Collages: Gather magazines, colored paper, and scissors to create vibrant springtime collages. Explore themes like flowers, gardens, and outdoor scenes.

Community Home Healthcare Celebrates Crafting with Between Ages Adult Social Center

This past Friday, we had the pleasure of sponsoring a crafting event at Between Ages Adult Social Centers. The attendees crafted Easter bonnets and baskets, answered trivia questions for prizes, enjoyed snacks and refreshments, then finished the event with a wonderful parade! We were thrilled to witness the joy and enthusiasm that crafting brought to their lives.

As part of our commitment to enhancing the lives of seniors in the communities we serve, Community Homecare is excited to host similar crafting events at other centers. Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming events by following us on Instagram and Facebook. Happy National Craft Month!

Caring For Caregivers: Self-Care Tips For National Caregivers Day

Dedicated, compassionate, and resilient family caregivers are the backbone of a loving and supportive environment for our patients. In honor of National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Education Week, we aim to acknowledge and celebrate these incredible efforts. Caregivers, let’s prioritize your self-care as a small gesture for the extraordinary work you do!

Behind The Scenes: The Unseen Struggles of Caregivers

According to the National Institute on Aging (nih.gov), caregivers frequently become so involved in the well-being of their loved ones, that they inadvertently end up overlooking their own health. They are less likely to prioritize preventive health services, yearly checkups, and regular self-care practices. This neglect places them at a higher risk of physical and mental health issues, sleep problems, and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure.

A Guide To Preventing Caregiver Burnout

1. Prioritize Your Health: Make time for regular health checkups and screenings. By taking proactive steps, you’re better equipped to provide care for your loved one. This also includes eating well, staying active, and getting the proper amount of sleep!

2. Create a Support System: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups. Sharing experiences and seeking guidance not only alleviates the emotional burden but also fosters a sense of community and understanding.

3. Manage Stress: While it may appear impossible, taking steps to reduce stress is crucial for a caregiver’s well-being. Try stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or soothing music. Discover what works for you and incorporate it into your routine for a healthier, more balanced caregiving experience.

4. Embrace Moments of Respite: Plan breaks for yourself – whether it’s a quick walk or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. These moments are not just for recharging but also for preserving your identity amidst the demands of caregiving.

5. Professional Assistance: Consider the invaluable support of professional at-home health care providers. At Community Homecare, we extend a supportive hand, delivering quality and affordable care that is often 100% covered by Medicaid insurance. Serving families across New York State, our commitment is to provide personalized care tailored to meet the unique needs of both you and your loved one.

On National Caregivers Day, let us honor and acknowledge the incredible caregivers. To those who have been selflessly giving, remember that your well-being matters too. Take the steps today to prevent caregiver burnout and maintain a healthy, fulfilling life!

Tech & Seniors: They are more Closely Correlated than you Thought

Tech & Seniors: They are more closely correlated than you thought

When you think of technology, you may think of things like 4d movies, AI chatbots and teenagers.
You most likely would not associate technology with seniors. But technology is advancing every aspect of society- from waste disposal to wealth management- and senior care is not left out. Technology is transforming the landscape of senior care, providing innovative solutions that enhance the quality of life of seniors and improve their overall health outcomes.

Learn about some of the ways technology is impacting seniors and how you can utilize it to better care for yourself or the seniors in your care.

Telehealth:

With the advent of telehealth, seniors can receive medical consultations and treatment from the comfort of their homes. This is particularly important for seniors who have mobility issues or live in remote areas. Telehealth also provides easier access to specialists and reduces the need for hospitalization.

Wearables:

Wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, can help seniors monitor their health and wellness. An invaluable device for seniors, to wear on a lanyard or belt clip, is an emergency call button that they can press to send an emergency alert to designated contacts or emergency services. This can be especially useful in case of a medical emergency or if the senior feels unsafe. Devices may also track vital signs, activity levels, and sleep patterns, alerting seniors and caregivers to potential health issues.
If you or the senior in your care doesn’t have one already, consider purchasing and setting one up for 24/7 safety.

Medication management:

Technology has made medication management much easier for seniors. There are now medication reminder apps and automated pill dispensers that can help seniors take their medication on time and avoid missed doses- something very valuable at this stage of life when prescriptions are piling up but memory is slowing down.

Home automation:

Smart home technology can help seniors age in place safely and comfortably. For example, smart thermostats can regulate temperature and smart locks can secure homes.
Voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri, can be valuable tools for seniors to help them with daily tasks. For example, they can set reminders and alarms to help seniors remember important appointments, take their medication on time, or perform daily tasks.
Voice-activated assistants can be particularly beneficial for seniors with limited mobility, vision, or hearing. They can use them to help with simple tasks such as checking the weather or putting on some music. They can also provide a sense of companionship for seniors who live alone.
To ensure that seniors get the most out of voice-activated assistants, it’s important to set them up properly and provide training and support as needed.

Social connectivity:

Social isolation can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of seniors. However, due to their limited mobility, seniors may not be able to get out to see friends or family. With the advance of technology, seniors can easily stay connected with family and friends through social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter, video conferencing such as Zoom, Google Meet or Skype, and numerous other online platforms. With these technologies, seniors can enjoy speaking to their family and friends across the globe, ‘seeing’ their grandchildren grow up and staying updated with all the family news.

Overall, technology is providing innovative solutions that improve the quality of life for seniors and allow them to age in place with dignity and independence. As a senior citizen or a carer for one, make it your business to explore new aspects of technology and see what benefits you can gain from it.

At Community Home Health Care, we offer home health aides who can help you do just that. Find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and are happy to assist your family at any time. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Prescription Drug Misuse: Ways to Avoid Misuse among the Elderly

Prescription Drug Misuse: Ways to Avoid Misuse among the Elderly

When people talk about addiction, the elderly age group is the last thing to come to mind.
However, you won’t be surprised to find that in the United States alone, over 40 % of prescription drugs are used by the elderly. And according to NCADI, over 17% of adults aged 55 and above misuse prescription medicines such as painkillers, sleeping pills, and sedatives.

Why seniors?

Many adults begin to experience significant body changes as they advance in age. Their bodies tend to have increased sensitivity or reactions to medications they were previously comfortably using. These reactions may include increased body pain, slowed metabolism, memory loss, and sleeping disorders.

Older adults are likely to misuse medical prescriptions accidentally. Due to various body complications resulting from aging, the elderly take more medications than other age groups to help them live a comfortable life. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease may result in combined prescriptions leading to higher exposure to addictive drugs.Over 50% of people aged 55-85 use prescription drugs over five times daily, increasing the risk of misuse.

Since our bodies’ ability to absorb medications slows down with age, seniors may become prone to addiction or experience adverse side effects from prescription drugs, even at a lower dosage.

Misuse of Prescription Medicines: how this plays out with older people

The elderly are among those most exposed to prescription abuse. They take more over-the-counter (OTC) tablets and prescribed medicines, and the potential to misuse them is higher by:

• Taking alcohol with medications

• Taking the medications for a prolonged period against the prescription

• Taking higher doses to reduce the pain or anxiety faster than the prescription

• Taking non-prescribed medications

• Using multiple medications at the same time, resulting in drug interactions

Common prescriptions drugs that are most likely to be misused by the elderly

Medications mostly used by seniors to relieve symptoms associated with anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia have the highest potential of abuse resulting in addiction.
They include:

• Opioids

Opioids such as oxycodone and acetaminophen are commonly used to relieve or control pain. An older adult will likely become addicted by taking these medications for a prolonged period or in higher doses.

A person can develop feelings of euphoria after taking opioids in higher doses which may eventually lead to dependence and addiction, and even death.

• Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, diazepam, and lorazepam relieve sleeping disorders, anxiety, and depression. An older adult may become addicted by self-medicating or taking higher doses than the prescription.

Signs to look out for if you suspect an elderly is misusing or abusing prescription drugs

Recognizing the signs of prescription drug misuse among the elderly can be complex. This is because the signs are sometimes similar to those associated with aging, such as feelings of confusion and loss of memory. Becoming familiar with your loved one’s medication routines and behaviors will help you to identify warning signs of medication abuse:

• Taking more pills than the prescription instructs. This is a definite red flag. You can confirm this by looking at the dosage instructions on the medication container to clarify whether or not they strictly follow the prescribed dose.

• Change in behavior or moods by becoming argumentative, secretive, or nervous.

• Giving a lot of excuses for taking excessive medications.

• Becoming remorseful or concerned about using the prescriptions.

• If the older person has been previously treated for substance abuse.

• Changing their physicians or drug stores should be a cause for alarm.

• Receiving similar prescriptions from more than two drug stores at the same time.

• Becoming agitated when you ask or talk about their prescription usage.

• Losing interest in fun activities that they once enjoyed.

• Hiding or sneaking medications is a common sign of drug misuse.

• Showing signs of confusion and forgetfulness.

• Showing signs of slowed reflexes and slurred speech.

• Becoming afraid of going out without taking the medication.

• Storing “extra” tablets in their pockets.

• Showing signs of decreased attention.

• Exhibiting repetitive behaviors.

Physical signs like dilated pupils, dry mouth, watery eyes, or itchy skin are also common signs of prescription misuse.

How you can help an older person to effectively manage their prescriptions:

As a caregiver or responsible family member, there are many ways you can help the senior in your care to manage their medications safely:

• Keep a close eye to ensure you know the type and reasons for taking the prescribed medications.

• Ensure the senior in your care follows the prescribed dosage consistently.

• Draw up a medication table or purchase a pill organizer to so it’s clear which medications, and how much, should be taken each day.

• Ask the relevant drug stores if they can provide all medications in compliance packaging. (That means they custom pack blister packs with the specific meds for each day & time of day that they need to be taken.)

• Offer painkillers or sedatives only when really needed and reduce/remove them as soon as possible.

• Seek alternative pain management methods in the case of long-term pain A pain management professional or therapist can be a great help, managing and reducing the pain so that your loved one needn’t depend on drugs.

• Frequently remind older people in your care to avoid taking alcohol when on medications such as opioids or sedatives.

• Ensure that your loved one has all their prescriptions with them when they attend their periodic health check-ups. This will help the doctor to have an up-to-date prescription record, avoiding further unnecessary prescriptions that could result in misuse.

• Keep a close watch on the older person in your care and help them with keeping track of their medications to help avoid prescription misuse. If you are not available for assistance due to a busy schedule, seek the services of a caregiver or professional.

• Finally, another option is to store medications in a place where a senior can’t access them, allowing them only when necessary.

How to help an elderly person suffering from prescription abuse

If you are suspicious that the senior in your care is misusing their prescriptions or have noted some warning signs as a result of medication abuse, you should contact their healthcare practitioner for immediate intervention. The doctor may book an appointment and ask you to take them for an evaluation.
If the practitioner diagnoses prescription abuse, they can devise a treatment procedure to help the patient overcome addiction. The practitioner may propose lower doses or change the medications to less addictive options to alleviate the symptoms of drug misuse.

Reach Out

Are you looking for more helpful resources? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides and nurses, to help care for the elderly.
Get more insights about our caregiving services and networks and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical, personal care, and companionship services we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions, and we’ll be happy to assist.

7 Strategies to Cope With Anxiety for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)

7 Strategies to Cope With Anxiety for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)

Recent reports indicate that approximately 20 million people in the United States are struggling with anxiety and depression due to various reasons.

And as a caregiver, you stand a higher risk of struggling with anxiety than the ordinary person. This is because of the emotional and physical strength they utilize to give proper care to their loved ones. Hence, there is a great need to help caregivers cope with anxiety as they take care of seniors.

Providing round-the-clock care to an older person who depends on you for almost everything can be strenuous, even for the strongest person. As a caregiver, you may gradually develop anxiety resulting in anger outbursts, sadness, isolation, and exhaustion.

Caregivers’ anxiety and depression has become a silent health crisis, with reports stating that over twenty percent of caregivers are struggling with anxiety.

What are the Leading Causes of Anxiety for Caregivers?

The caregivers are tasked with many responsibilities to ensure that their loved ones, including the seniors, are comfortable with life. Besides, caregivers spend most of their time and energy offering care which may deprive them of enough sleep and time to do the things they love most in their personal lives.

At times, the caregivers may feel out of control, feelings of fear concerning their loved one’s physical well-being, and other financial strains. These emotions may eventually result in anxiety, which, if not care for in good time, may gradually develop into depression.

A caregiver’s shift in roles and emotions is bound to happen, leading to anger, frustration, exhaustion, sadness, and loneliness. Fortunately, our team has developed strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers to help them lead mentally and physically stable lives.

Common Causes of the Seniors’ Increased Anxiety

America Association for Geriatric Psychiatry shows that 10-20% of older adults suffer from anxiety, which can adversely affect their lifestyle. However, there are various ways to help cope with the condition.

The most common causes are:

• Frequent worries about being reliant on others
• High cost of medical costs
• Grief
• Severe side effects from medications
• Separation and loneliness
• Limited mobility
• Chronic health conditions such as arthritis pain and diabetes

What Are The Signs of Anxiety in Caregivers and Seniors?

Anxiety signs may vary from one person to another. Typically, the following are the behavioral and mental signs of anxiety:

• Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
• Compulsive thoughts or beliefs
• Responses that are disproportional to the triggering fear
• Nervousness
• Frequent feelings of agitation
• Loss of focus due to troubled memory
• Sleeping disorders (too much sleep or deprived sleep)
• Hallucinations
• Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Frequent bouts of fatigue
• Changes in weight (gain or loss)
• Alcohol or drug abuse, including prescriptions misuse

Most caregivers and the elderly suffering from anxiety may exhibit the following physical signs:

• Shortness of breath
• Fast heartbeats
• Hot flashes
• Shivers
• Constant headaches
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Nausea
• Extreme sweating
• Cold or sweaty hands

What are the Strategies to Cope with Anxiety for Caregivers and their Seniors?

Anxiety is considered challenging when it hampers your daily activities and eventually affects your health.

At Community Home Health Care, we advocate for mentally and physically stable caregivers and seniors as we strive to help them lead quality and enjoyable life.

We understand that the emotional and physical burdens that come with caregiving can consume a considerable energy even on the strongest person.

Our team has, therefore, prepared 7 strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers as follows:

#1. Admit that you need help and ask for it

Caregiving can result in burnout, especially if you carry out your responsibilities alone. It would be best never to think you are imposing yourself on others when you ask for help.

It would help if you came up with a list of the needs that others can step in and lend a hand. You can start with relatives, close friends, or neighbors. Someone can choose to help you walk the senior or loved one around, help take care of your young children or family if you have one, and to run up your errands when you have limited time to do them yourself.

Besides, consider hiring in-house help to lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed. You can also arrange a day-care facility for the seniors and enjoy some free time away from caregiving responsibilities.

If you have anxiety, feel free to talk with your local physician. They can determine whether you need medication or refer you to a counselor for some therapy sessions.

#2. Give attention to what you are able to deliver

As a caregiver, you must understand that “no one is a perfect.” While its normal o suffer from guilt, you need to believe that you are offering the best services or decisions to the senior or loved one.

#3. Attend a Local Support Group

Most support groups provide a serene environment for caregivers to share their emotions and fears. The support groups offer emotional and moral support, and you get to meet other people who are also experiencing similar caregiving challenges.
Additionally, by joining a support group, you can acquire new coping strategies or skills to overcome your anxiety trigger as a caregiver as you create new friendships with people who understand what you are going through.

#4. Have personal realistic goals and pace yourself

Prioritize your tasks and do one thing at a time. Come up with a daily routine list, and don’t focus so much on activities that can drain your energy early in the day. You can give more attention to the tasks that must be done daily and plan other tasks when you have the time and energy to do them.
Setting realistic goals allows you to accomplish more tasks within a specified time frame and free yourself from burnout and emotional outbursts.

#5. Seek Respite Care

Respite care plays a significant role in providing short-term relief for caregivers. This helps them to have time off from their demanding duties and focus on their personal lives. The care can take place around your home, a day-care facility, or facilities that offer overnight stays.

#6. Have Personal Health Objectives

Due to the demanding nature of a caregiver’s job, you can set some health goals to boost your mental and physical health. You can create a sleep routine, time for exercises or walks, and a healthy diet.

#7. Stay connected

Working round-the-clock as a caregiver can lead to an isolated kind of life. You need to lookout for caregiver resources within your locality to enlighten yourself more about caregiving services.

Further, it would help if you remained connected with your family members, friends, and close people who can provide frequent emotional support when you feel overwhelmed.

Key Take away:

Anxiety can impact your life as a caregiver, which may aggravate and require medical attention. Many caregivers experience anxiety disorders caused by exhaustion and emotional outbursts.

While you cannot watch your loved ones or the elderly suffer, you can use the above strategies to cope with anxiety and live a balanced life. This will, in return, give you the strength to offer better care to your loved ones.

Remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, you will not effectively provide care to someone else.

For more information about caregivers’ anxiety and depression, you can find numerous resources on our website.

You can also get in touch with us today and learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families like yours. Call us at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.

Winter Safety for Seniors

5 Tips for Helping Older Adults Stay Warm and Healthy.

While there is nothing as serene as sitting at the window watching the snow fall, the winter season brings along its host of challenges for all ages, as well. Icy walkways, compromised driving conditions and cold temperatures can cause a wide range of injuries for anyone, especially the senior population that is at higher risk for pneumonia, flu, and low immunity.

How can older adults take better care of themselves to avoid being affected by winter-related conditions? What can caregivers do to proactively protect seniors when the temperature drops? Here we’ve gathered 5 practical tips for keeping older adults safe, warm, and healthy throughout the coldest days of the year.

1. Winterize the home.

For seniors living independently at home, as opposed to being cared for in a nursing or assisted living facility, it is important to make sure that the rooms of their private home are properly insulated against drafts and leaks. Older windows or roofing can easily let unwanted cool air inside, as well as significantly compromise energy efficiency. Investing in weather stripping, caulking, gutter cleaning, and structural inspections can help ensure that your loved one’s home is protected and safe to withstand harsh winter conditions.

2. Dress Warmly to Avoid Hypothermia

Being properly outfitted both while inside and when outdoors is the first proactive step to take against temperature-related health conditions. Hypothermia can occur when the body temperature dips too much, which is below 95 degrees F, and can cause severe health problems like heart attack, liver damage, and worse. Being out in the cold for an extended period of time or even living in a home that is not properly heated can lead to hypothermia. It’s important for caregivers to be aware of the symptoms that indicate early onset or later stages of hypothermia and be vigilant in monitoring the conditions in which older adults are spending their time.

Early signs of hypothermia include:

  • Cold feet and hands
  • Puffy or swollen face
  • Pale skin
  • Shivering
  • Slower than normal speech or slurring words
  • Sleepiness
  • Being angry or confused

Later signs of hypothermia include:

  • Moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
  • Stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Blacking out or losing consciousness

In an effort to avoid danger when heading outdoors, older adults are advised to layer themselves with warm socks, insulated boots, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In locales with a very frigid climate, seniors should cover all exposed skin, especially the head, and use a scarf to cover their mouth, as well.

While in the house, caregivers should monitor the temperature in the rooms to make sure it is consistently between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure seniors are well outfitted with several layers, using warm bed sheets, and have additional blankets on hand to use, as needed.

If you confirm via thermometer that your older loved one’s temperature has dipped below 95 degrees, seek medical assistance immediately.

3. Prevent snow-related injuries.

With muscle weakness and compromised strength, older adults are alway at a high risk of losing their balance and incurring a fall-related injury. Especially in icy and snowy conditions, it’s easy for anyone to slip and fall when outdoors in the winter, so extra caution is critical for older adults when walking on wet or icy sidewalks, and especially on stairs. Encourage your loved one to use handrails whenever possible or ask a friend, family member, or neighbor for extra support while walking outside. It is extremely dangerous for seniors with balance issues or osteoporosis to be out on wet or icy surfaces that compromise their steadiness. Strenuous activities like snow shoveling put too much strain on the heart, especially for seniors with chronic heart conditions. Establishing an outdoor maintenance plan that ensures prompt snow removal, salted ice, and cleared walkways is another proactive way to maintain senior safety in the winter.

4. Plan for senior safety on the roads.

If your loved one is independent enough to drive on their own, keep in mind that winter driving can be hazardous for anyone, and especially poses higher risks for older drivers who may not drive as much as they used to or whose reflexes are not as quick as they once were. Be sure you get your loved one’s car professionally inspected and serviced before winter arrives. Changing tail lights, tires, brakes and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads and prevent dangerous accidents in inclement weather. Also make sure your loved one’s roadside assistance plan is up-to-date in case of emergencies and keep the car stocked with emergency essentials, such as batteries, snacks, flashlights, and blankets, just in case. Unless driving is absolutely necessary during severe winter conditions, it may be worthwhile to explore local options for reliable senior transportation services as a safer alternative.

5. Have an emergency plan in place.

A winter emergency plan is the best way to keep your loved one safe at home. If you are a caregiver and are unable to check on your loved one due to personal illness or emergency, have a trustworthy family member or friend on-call to step in when needed. Be sure to keep the house stocked with essentials such as non-perishable goods, flashlights, and warm blankets, in case a severe weather event occurs and leaves your loved one without electricity. Plan for someone to keep track of the supply of groceries and medications, as well as snow removal services in case a blizzard hits. By frequently checking in on an older adult, even if you can’t be there in person, and making a list of all emergency phone numbers, your loved one will be able to remain calm and know who to call for help if needed.

As you gear up for the season, it’s important to explore the ways in which wintertime can be memorable for everyone, even with being cautious and limiting time spent out of the house. Allow your older loved one to explore new hobbies and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available — and don’t leave out the camera as you create memories in the process.

At Community Home Health Care, we’re here to help you all around the year. No matter the caregiving challenge, you can navigate this winter season with safety, warmth and calm. Find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours.

We’re here for you and are happy to assist your family at this wonderful time of year. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Happy winter from your friends at Community Home Health Care!