10 Creative Ways to Pay for in-Home Care

In-home care: while it’s one of the most helpful types of care available, it can also be a financial stressor. More than a few people have had the experience of waking suddenly in the middle of the night, panicked about how they’ll pay for their in-home care and what will happen if they can’t manage it.

For people who are injured, ill, or aging, and can’t manage all of the tasks of daily living on their own anymore, in-home care can be a lifesaver. In addition to taking the burden of caring for an aging loved one off friends and family members, in-home care also serves to enhance the quality of life and provide critical medical assistance in the place where a person is most comfortable – his or her home. 

If you’re starting to think about how you’ll pay for in-home care, or you’re already struggling to make ends meet, here are ten creative ideas to cover the cost. Read on.

First Things First – Is In-Home Care Expensive?

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating the cost of in-home care. Prices vary widely depending on where you live, what type of care you need, and the skill level of the person you’d like to hire. According to Caring.com, home health aides made an average of $16-$29 hourly in 2011, and home healthcare costs are only rising by an average of 1.15% annually.

Depending on your level of need and your financial circumstances, in-home care may be a simple thing to afford. On the other hand, though, it may be a financial stressor, and you may be looking for ways to make it work more easily for your family.  

10 Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of In-Home Care

Regardless of what your needs may be, these ten simple tips can help you cover the cost of in-home care and get the attention you deserve.

1. Get long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is insurance that is designed to cover the cost of things like long-term nursing, admittance to an assisted living facility, ongoing medication, and more. While not all long-term care policies cover in-home care, some do, and it’s an avenue that’s well worth exploring. 

The only negative factor about long-term care is that most policies have a disqualifying age, after which you cannot purchase the insurance. Because of this, you must plan to purchase long-term care insurance while you’re still healthy. This will allow you to take advantage of the policy when you eventually need it to cover in-home care. 

2. Use annuities to your advantage

Annuities are one thing that few people think of to pay for in-home care, but they can be instrumental in helping make the cost more manageable. A hybrid between a personal investment account and an ongoing insurance plan, annuities represent money that a senior has invested and earns interest for. After the money has matured for a given period, the senior can begin making withdrawals.

In addition to helping seniors grow their money, annuities are designed to help cover the costs of living as a senior ages, since they pay a consistent income stream for a set number of years, or until the senior dies. 

Annuities sums aren’t viewed as assets when a senior applies for Medicaid, and the income earned from them is often enough to cover the cost of in-home care and more.

3. Apply for Medicaid and use its benefits to pay for in-home care

Medicaid is a program designed to help low-income seniors cover their health needs. While Medicaid coverage laws vary depending on the state you live in, all Medicaid plans are designed to cover in-home care for at least a short period. 

In some cases, Medicaid may even cover long-term in-home care, if the person utilizing it would otherwise be in a nursing home. 

4. Consider applying for a reverse mortgage

While few people know this, reverse mortgages were developed to help seniors stay at home for as long as possible. Here’s how a reverse mortgage works: once a senior has paid a significant amount of equity into his or her home, he or she can start taking some of that equity out, in the form of lump-sum or ongoing payments. 

While reverse mortgages can be ideal for some seniors, they do have parameters that can rule some people out. Here’s what they require:

  • The senior must be 62 or older
  • The senior must own his or her home, either free-and-clear or with little money left on the loan
  • The bank that issues the reverse mortgage appraises the home and determines payment values based on a loved one’s age and payout requirements

5. Look into using veteran’s benefits

If you were an armed forces members, you might be able to use military benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. The only downside of this approach is that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is notoriously difficult to navigate, and you may find yourself working very hard to get the benefits you’re owed. While you’ll have to contact a representative to understand your individual eligibility, here are the policyholder parameters for veteran’s benefits:

  • You must have served at least 90 days of active duty
  • One of those days must have been during wartime
  • You must have been honorably discharged

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible to receive disability payments that can help you cover the cost of your in-home care.

6. Look over your life insurance policy

If you have life insurance, you may find that it can be used to cover your in-home care. If you don’t have dependents that will rely on the life insurance, consider dipping into your policy and using “accelerated” benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. 

Accelerated benefits are features of certain life insurance policies that allow the policy holder to take advantage of the insurance benefits within their policy before death. Ideal for paying for in-home care, these benefits are typically reserved only for those who need ongoing in-home care or have been disabled by chronic conditions. 

If you have a life insurance policy and no dependents relying on it, consider this option. As a rule, insurance policies will allow holders to pull out between 25%-100% of their death benefit as an accelerated benefit.

7. See if Medicare is right for you

While it’s tough to get Medicare coverage to provide for your in-home care, it is possible, and it’s worth evaluating. Medicare is issued when a person leaves a hospital or long-term-care facility. In some cases, those benefits can extend to covering the cost of in-home care as a form of rehabilitative therapy. 

Keep in mind, though, that these benefits can be limited and may not be right for everyone.

8. Pool resources within the family to cover the cost of in-home care

If none of the above options appeal to you, you can consider pooling resources within your family. Things like collective sibling agreements and personal savings can go a long way toward covering the cost of in-home care and are some of the most common options people take when considering how to offset the expense.  

9. Develop an in-home care savings fund

Many people have savings funds for medical emergencies, vacations, and more, so why not establish one to cover the cost of in-home care. While this takes some planning and dedication, it can be a straightforward and stress-free way to cover the cost of in-home care down the line.

10. Sell off assets

For some seniors who don’t have dependents or people relying on inheriting assets, selling assets can be a functional way to get the extra funds required to cover the cost of in-home care. Of course, this approach depends entirely on the senior’s unique circumstances, and won’t be right for everyone. 

The Case for In-Home Care

For seniors who can no longer care for themselves alone, in-home care can be a wonderful way to enhance quality of life and ensure safety and happiness for years to come. It can be expensive, though, and these ten tips can help offset the cost and make it easier for you and your family members to cover the expenses associated with in-home care. 

6 Proven Methods to Improve Your Memory as You Age

Memory loss: it’s one of the things people fear the most about aging. While memory loss comes in a variety of shapes and forms, many people imagine themselves unable to remember a loved one’s phone number or forgetting special days. 

While these things are a reality for some seniors, memory loss doesn’t have to be an essential component of aging. In fact, people who take proactive steps to improve their memories with age can enjoy a lifetime of mental sharpness and clarity. Read on.

What is Memory Loss?

Memory loss is forgetfulness that exceeds normal levels. For example, a young person may forget the name of a performer for a moment, and then recall it in conversation several minutes later. This is not memory loss. Instead, it’s a standard spell of forgetfulness.

If a senior begins to forget things like whether the stove is turned on, where he or she lives, or whether a visitor is a daughter or a neighbor, this is considered memory loss.

According to Medline Plus, memory loss is caused by normal aging or by injuries to the brain, including brain tumors, concussions or head trauma, brain infections, or stroke. 

While most people experience bouts of forgetfulness throughout their lives, memory loss is a problem that is most prevalent in seniors. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of every eight seniors experiences memory loss as they age. Surprisingly, this memory loss affects young seniors the most prominently, with 44.7% of older persons between ages 60-64 reporting memory loss. 

While some level of memory loss is normal throughout our lives, excessive or ongoing memory loss can be signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. As such, it is important for people who want to keep their minds healthy as they age to take proactive steps to preventing memory loss.  

6 Smart Ways to Improve Your Memory as You Get Older

If you’d like to stave off the effects of memory loss, follow these six tips:

1. Keep learning new things

Learning new things is by far one of the best actions you can take to protect your memory and keep your mind sharp. Harvard Health Publications reports that higher levels of education are associated with improved mental functionality in old age. This may be because of several reasons. 

On the one hand, learning new things keeps people in the habit of using their minds, and may translate into higher levels of mental challenge and development with age. On the other hand, learning new things has been shown to help promote neuro-generative activity in the brain, and improve the brain’s ability to make new connections and keep existing connections healthy.

Fortunately, learning new things is simple, and you have many options if you’re interested. Pick up a new hobby or audit a class on a platform like edX. Take a dance class at your local community center or learn a new language. 

You don’t have to do something as drastic as going back to school to learn something new. You simply have to dedicate yourself to using your brain and making lifelong learning the top of your to-do list.


2. Don’t buy into the myths about aging and memory loss

The mind-body connection is one that’s often underestimated in our society. When it comes to memory loss, people who believe that aging and memory loss go hand-in-hand may actually experience increased memory loss. In fact, Harvard Health Publications reports that seniors exposed to repeated, negative stereotypes about memory loss and aging do worse on memory tests than their counterparts who avoid the stereotypes. 

With this in mind, don’t buy into the myth that aging means an automatic loss of memory. Take proactive steps to keep yourself healthy, and don’t believe the hype.


3. Engage all your various senses

The mind is a “use it or lose it” thing, and engaging all your senses helps keep each of them stronger. Memory works best when all our senses are engaged, and, because of this, it’s typically recommended that seniors pick up new hobbies that engage the senses.

For example, consider cooking. When you make a pizza from scratch, you have the scent of the ingredients, the feel of the dough as you knead it out on the counter, and the sight of bubbling cheese to look forward to.

If pizza isn’t your top priority, you’re not limited to cooking. In fact, any tactile hobby, like pottery, will work beautifully.


4. Focus your memory to where it’s needed most

The mind takes in thousands of tiny bits of information each day and, with age, this can quickly become overwhelming. Because of this, professionals recommend that seniors learn to economize their brainpower. For example, instead of clogging your head up with the 15 things you need to do next Tuesday, write it down in a planner. 

By getting it out of your head and onto a sheet of paper, where it’s easy to remember, you free your brainpower up for more important things, like learning new skills, building new relationships, and more. 


5. Reinforce your memories with repetition

Repetition is a powerful tool for solidifying memories and making short-term information long-term. With this in mind, use repetition in your daily life to boost your memory as you age. When you meet someone new at a gathering, repeat their name to yourself verbally. When you’re learning a new skill, repeat it several times until you feel like you have it down pat. We can’t expect our brains to perform well without the benefit of repetition, and the simple act of repeating something to ourselves can go a long way toward helping us remember it.


6. Take care of yourself physically

Good nutrition and adequate hydration make all the difference when it comes to protecting your memory. Simple things like inadequate hydration can have a devastating impact on memory, and studies have found that people who eat brain-boosting foods, such as fish, once each week have a massive 60% lower risk of developing dementia as they age. 

That said, fortify your diet with plenty of clean, fresh water, foods rich in omega-3s, and healthy fats.  Your brain will thank you for it!

Healthy Memories Start With Preventative Care

While conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia do affect some seniors, getting older doesn’t mean your memory must go out the window. With these six tips, it’s easy to take good care of your memory as you age, and enjoy a clear mind and sharp memory throughout your golden years. 


Why Caregivers Must Care for Themselves, Too

Every caregiver knows the feeling of coming home at the end of the day entirely burned out. Maybe you sit down on the kitchen floor and eat cold cereal directly from the box for dinner or maybe you simply get into the shower and cry from exhaustion and stress. While these reactions aren’t uncommon, they also aren’t entirely healthy. While there’s no doubt that caregiving is a stressful and emotionally demanding job and that some strife is unavoidable, there’s also no doubt that one of the most important things caregivers can do is care for themselves.

When a caregiver burns out as a result of improper or inadequate self-care, he or she has nothing left to give to clients. This results in poor client care and a risk of missing important warning signs. Additionally, burnt-out caregivers are at a high risk of becoming resentful of their jobs and leaving this all-important field altogether.

Fortunately, caregivers who focus on providing themselves with positive self-care can continue to serve clients well for many years to come.

Self-Care 101: Four Reasons Caregivers Need to Tend to Themselves

While it’s critically important for caregivers to be aware of the importance of self-care, the concept is a foreign one to most people in the helping professions. Typically, caregivers are incredibly dedicated to their clients and it’s very easy to push through the days without giving much thought to the state of one’s own body or mind. Unfortunately, this inevitably ends in disaster for the caregiver. Here are the four main reasons self-care is so critically important for caregivers:

1. Caregiving is a health risk.

Study after study has proven that caregiving puts a person’s personal health at risk. More than 60% of caregivers suffer from some level of clinical depression, a large majority take prescription medications for anxiety disorders, and most caregivers are incredibly reluctant to slow down or get help.

2. Most caregivers are caregivers at home and at work.

75% of all caregivers in the U.S. are women who also have families and spouses of their own to support. Some caregivers are adults taking care of aging parents and some are adults who also tend to adult children in need of extra assistance.

3. Caregiving is a source of intense stress.

Hard days, late nights, and early mornings all add up to create a stressful environment for the caregiver. Unfortunately, stress is a factor in the majority of serious diseases and, left unchecked, stress has the potential to have a grave negative impact on a caregiver’s life.

4. It’s impossible to be a good caregiver without self-care.

You’ve likely heard the saying “You can’t give anyone water if the well is dry” and there is no profession in which this is truer than caregiving. In order to be a quality caregiver day in and day out, it’s important to ensure that the well of emotional and mental health is full on a daily basis

Filling the Well: Six Things Caregivers can do to Ensure Self-Care

1. Seek Support.

Most of us have grown up in a culture that tells us we’re weak if we ask for help. Unfortunately, this is untrue and damaging. Being a caregiver means learning to seek support in whatever way that resonates with you – be it the emotional support of prayer or a church group, the physical support of weekly massages, or the mental support of talking to close friends and family members. There are also dozens of web-based and in-person caregiver support groups around the country that can help caregivers cope with the stress and demands of their jobs in a healthy and productive way. No matter how you choose to seek support, doing so is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your personal health.

2. Allow for comfort.

You take care of other people all day so it’s important to take care of yourself sometimes, too. One of the best ways to do this is to allow ample room each week for something you find comforting. This could be reading a favorite book, watching inspirational videos, cooking and enjoying a favorite meal, or spending time with a loved one. These moments of comfort are incredibly important for replenishing emotional reserves and keeping stress at bay.

3. Address the guilt.

Most caregivers feel a huge amount of guilt at not being able to “fix” everything. This is exacerbated by the fact that most caregivers provide care to people with significant physical or mental difficulties for whom no cure is available. While the care the caregiver provides is important in helping these individuals live quality, dignified lives, it’s often difficult for the caregiver to rectify the fact that they can’t ultimately heal their clients or take the sickness away. Additionally, caregivers may also feel huge amounts of guilt for not being able to be the perfect child, parent, spouse, or employee. Caregivers also feel guilty when they get angry, resentful, or frustrated with clients.

Part of self-care is learning to cope with this guilt in a healthy way. While all caregivers experience some level of guilt, the way it is dealt with has a large impact on mental and emotional health. Many caregivers see a counselor for support while others turn to prayer or religious communities for assistance coping. Reaching out to friends and family members may also be helpful.

4. Set boundaries.

A lack of boundaries is one of the most common reasons caregivers feel strung-out and overworked. While most caregivers give everything they have while on the job, it’s important to be able to set boundaries once the working day is over. While this practice looks different for everyone, common methods include not checking your cell phone or email while at home with the family, keeping work topics at work, designating one day to fully leave your cell phone at home and unplug, or refusing to take on more than you know you can handle. Setting boundaries takes practice but, over time, setting boundaries and knowing your own limits can become two of the most powerful defenses against resentment and burnout.

5. Take care of your body.

It’s impossible to be good at anything or healthy in any way if you’re not taking care of your body. From getting enough sleep and drinking enough water to making space on a daily basis for exercise, physical care is the foundation from which everything else springs. With that in mind, carry a water bottle with you to work and be sure to drink at least two liters each day (a great mental guideline is one liter before breakfast and one before dinner).

Additionally, you should be sure to make space for some form of physical activity on a daily basis, be it a yoga class or a walk with your dog. Make time for regular health checkups and be sure to take a break if you feel yourself getting sick, run down, or excessively exhausted. While this may be difficult to do in the moment, it will pay off in the long run in the form of more resilient health and an increased capacity to cope with the difficulties of the job.

6. Take breaks.

Even if you absolutely love your job as a caregiver, taking breaks is a huge piece of self-care. Allow yourself to take a vacation every year and make time on a regular basis for mini-vacations – either in the form of a day off here and there or a lunch break during which you go outside, sit in the sun, read a book, and don’t take work calls or emails. These things, while they may seem simple, are hugely important for preventing you from becoming overwhelmed and unhappy.


While caregiving is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Most caregivers love their jobs and these self-care tips can help ensure that you stay healthy, happy, functional, and helpful for many years to come.

Debunking 20 Myths About Aging Everyone Believes

“Seniors are unable to try new things.” “As you age, your memory goes out the door.” “All seniors are lonely and depressed.”

We’ve all heard them: aging myths. While they’re rampant in our culture, researchers have been waging a quiet war to take them down and provide people with the truth about aging. In light of that, here is the truth about 20 aging myths you might believe:

Myth #1: Older People Feel Old

According to a 2009 study conducted by the Pew Research Survey, the more people age “the younger they feel, relatively.” In fact, a full 60% of seniors (Ages 65 and older) state that they feel younger than their biological age. While society would tell us that seniors feel their age acutely, many seniors use their retirement as a time to explore new exercises – like Tai Chi or yoga – to pick up new hobbies, and to spend their time volunteering for causes they love. There you have it – age really is nothing but a number.

Myth #2: Seniors’ Brains Stop Working

We’ve all heard about “senior moments” and while it’s true that memory does decline with age and some seniors do experience extreme forms of cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, it’s unfair and untrue to say that all seniors become forgetful.

According to a 2011 article published in Monitor on Psychology, the effects of aging on the brain have “likely been overstated by anecdotal evidence.” In fact, some seniors actually experience an increase in math abilities as they age.

Myth #3: Seniors Can’t Drive Any Longer

According to the aforementioned Pew study, 76% of people believe that most seniors are unable to drive a car. The truth is, however, that many seniors continue to drive well into their golden years and that only one in seven seniors report not being able to drive.

Myth #4: Seniors are Unable to Break Bad Habits

While many people view seniors as being stuck in their ways and immovable, the fact is that many seniors break bad habits, such as smoking or poor dietary habits, in their older years. These changes can help contribute to a more positive lifestyle on a daily basis.

Myth #5: Seniors are Unhappy

There’s a common perception that seniors are always unhappy. In fact, multiple studies have shown that happiness generally begins to increase after age 50. A study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior recently stated that people are generally the happiest they’ve ever been when they reach retirement age.

While senior depression and isolation are certainly problems that some older people contend with, it’s untrue that all seniors are unhappy. Many of them are simply enjoying their families and their newfound free time!

Myth #6: Seniors are Frail and Weak

Truth: getting older puts you at risk of osteoporosis. Myth: All seniors are weak and breakable. While some seniors do struggle with bone density issues or chronic diseases, it’s easy to stay healthy and fit through a regimen of good eating habits, regular weight-bearing exercise, plenty of supplements, and a generally healthy lifestyle. With the help of these things, many seniors never develop osteoporosis.

Myth #7: Seniors Have no Family Interaction

After the kids are all grown up and gone, many seniors actually feel higher levels of happiness than many people expect. Between decreased financial burdens and increased amounts of free time, many seniors have found that the so-called “empty nest years” actually free up a great deal of space for enjoyment. Additionally, seniors often have adult children, grandchildren, and extended families to enjoy in their golden years.

Myth #8: Seniors Stop Learning

What a sad world it would be if all seniors stopped learning new things the moment they hit 65. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many seniors are incredibly invested in learning new hobbies, meeting new people, and taking up new pastimes. What’s more, a senior’s brain is well-equipped for every single one of these pursuits.

According to the tenants of neuroplasticity, the human brain is always growing and changing and seniors are just as capable as anyone else of building new neural pathways and absorbing new information.

Myth #9: Seniors Isolate Themselves

While many housebound seniors do experience dangerous levels of depression and senior isolation, this is commonly regarded as the exception rather than the rule. The truth is that, through in-home care programs and assisted living facilities, seniors have access to a great deal of social programs, adult-learning classes, and fun recreational pastimes. Many seniors take great enjoyment from these things and spend their golden years leading healthy, active social lives.

Myth #10: Old Age Destroys Seniors’ Sex Lives

While some seniors suffer from decreasing libido and impotence, these are often related to preventable conditions such as diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure. Because of this, many seniors who take good care of their bodies via exercise and a healthy diet enjoy healthy sex lives well into their 70s. In fact, the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging reports that 60% of all seniors still enjoy regular intimate and sexual contact.

Myth #11: Genetics are Wholly Responsible for the Aging Process

While genetic factors may influence things like your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s or diabetes, the majority of aging comes down to how an individual lives his or her life. People with unhealthy lifestyles are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases than their healthy counterparts and things like exposure to toxins, diet, and exercise all play a role in the aging process.

Myth #12: Seniors Can’t Be Creative

According to a study conducted by George Washington University, seniors who engaged in creative pursuits such as singing took less prescription medication, suffered fewer falls, and were in better physical and mental health than their non-creative peers. Creative pursuits like painting, acting, or crafting can also help seniors feel less lonely and more positive. This just goes to show that not only can seniors be creative, but it’s also very good for them to do so.

Myth #13: Seniors are Cranky

This is commonly known as the “Grumpy Old People Stereotype” and it’s just as damaging as it is untrue. Studies have shown that seniors actually become more trusting and good-natured as they age rather than it being the other way around. Seniors who are cranky are often suffering from cognitive decline, dementia, depression, or isolation – all of which can be alleviated or lessened through regular contact with friends and loved ones and proper care.

Myth #14: Seniors are Filled with Regrets

Depending upon how you look at it, old age is a time to look back and lament what you haven’t done or it’s a time to be thankful for what you have done. Studies show that the majority of seniors choose the latter option. 45% of seniors ages 75 and older believe in the power of “counting their blessings”, which is a powerful factor in happiness, satisfaction, and gratitude that can help boost a senior’s overall outlook.

Myth #15: Seniors Are Impoverished

While it’s true that many seniors are struggling with their finances, the aforementioned Pew survey states that a full two-thirds of seniors are actually more financially secure than they were at younger ages.

Myth #16: Nobody Respects Seniors

When surveyed, 60% of seniors state that they feel more respected and less stressed than they did when they were younger. Much of this is likely due to changing societal norms and an increased focus on high-quality senior care and activity programs throughout the country.

Myth #17: The Average Lifespan is Decreasing

Currently, more than 39 million U.S. citizens are age 65 or older. This is 13% of the U.S. population – a 4% increase from the year 1900. What’s more, seniors today are actually living longer than they ever have before. This is due in large part to advances in medicine and public health programs as well as nutrition and sanitation.

Myth #18: Seniors Can’t Hold a Job

Even after retirement age has come and gone, many seniors choose to continue working for the social and emotional benefits it offers. These seniors tend to be just as productive as their younger counterparts and are often more reliable and dedicated than younger generations.

Myth #19: All Seniors Fear Death

While most seniors are aware of the inevitability of death – some more than others – very few seniors are obsessed with the idea of death. Instead, seniors often view their golden years as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends and do the things they enjoy! More often than not, the perception that seniors are obsessed with death is actually a projection by younger people onto their grandparents and senior counterparts.

Myth #20: Older Adults Are Lazy

Most seniors’ days are anything but lazy and dull. According to the aforementioned Pew survey, about one in four older adults reports engaging in vigorous exercise on a daily basis, 90% talk to family, 80% read a book, two-thirds drive a car somewhere, 40% go shopping, and just shy of half of seniors spend time in a hobby every day. Contrary to popular belief, most seniors actually enjoy busy days full of things they love.


While it’s natural to have questions about the aging process, it’s clear that these 20 common aging myths can now be considered debunked. While many people believe seniors are lonely, sedentary, cranky, and depressed, most people would be shocked to know that exactly the opposite is often true: seniors are often outgoing, vivacious, engaged, and happier than ever before!

Debunking 15 Crazy Home Care Myths and Misconceptions

How much do you know about in-home care?

While the popularity of in-home care continues to grow, many people aren’t sure exactly what home care entails or how to secure in-home services. Fortunately, these problems are easy to fix! By debunking the most common home care myths and misconceptions, you and your loved ones can ensure that you’re getting the most that home care has to offer.

15 Home Care Myths Most People Believe

Home care: it’s important, life-changing, and very, very misunderstood. These 15 myths are the most common that surround the home care industry. Here’s what you need to know about them:

1) Home care is only for very sick people

Home care myth #1While home care can certainly be helpful for terminally ill people, not all home care recipients are very ill. In fact, there are two very distinct types of home care services: medical and non-medical care. Medical care is often utilized by people who are recovering from an illness or injury or for people who need help coping with chronic conditions.

Non-medical care, on the other hand, offers help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, personal care, and transportation. Non-medical home care aides may help their clients shop, prepare meals, clean, or complete housework. In some cases, non-medical home care simply provides companionship, which can be helpful in avoiding depressive symptoms and elevating an individual’s mood.

2) Home care is very expensive

myth-02For families that have never utilized home care, the thought can be intimidating. Many people believe that hiring an in-home care aide will be far too expensive, but fortunately they’re wrong! According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care Network, the average family overestimates the cost of hiring a non-medical home care aide by about $6 an hour.

This means that hiring in-home care is actually far more affordable than most people believe. In stark contrast, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey from 2011 states that the price of a private room in a nursing facility has jumped about 3.4% – to a total of more than $77,745 annually! With those numbers in mind, it’s clear that hiring in-home care may actually be more affordable than a nursing home.

3) Caregivers aren’t trustworthy

Home Care Myth #03Any reputable in-home care service provider will do its absolute best to match seniors to caregivers who display similar interests and personalities. Additionally, most caregivers are required to pass measures like background and competency tests before interacting with clients. This helps ensure that the senior is matched with a quality caregiver that can meet the senior’s needs while also being trustworthy and reliable.

4) Home care is for people who lack independence

Home Care Myth #04Hiring an in-home care aide doesn’t mean sacrificing your independence! In fact, in many cases, the introduction of an in-home care aide can actually help an individual maintain independence. By handling things that may be difficult, like cooking and cleaning, an in-home care aide can help make daily life easier and support the senior’s efforts to live independently for as long as possible.

Additionally, in-home caregivers can help clients maintain independence by preventing common nonfatal injuries like falls and fractures, which the CDC reports are the leading cause of injury death among those 65 and older.

5) In-home care is basically adult babysitting

Home Care Myth #05Think again! While many seniors worry that hiring an in-home caregiver means having a watchful and disproving attendant around at all times, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In many cases, seniors form strong bonds with their in-home caregivers, which creates an environment of fun and closeness every time the caregiver visits.

6) Home care isn’t helpful for people with low or moderate needs

Home Care Myth #06If you only need help conducting your shopping, but you can manage your housework and personal care just fine, don’t write off home care just yet. Home care is a widely varied market and there are professionals available to help you, regardless of what your needs may be. Whether you need an hour or 40 hours of help each week, you can find a caregiver that will provide this for you.

7) I don’t need home care – my family is already helping

Home Care Myth #07As you age and your needs become more pronounced, the burden on friends and family can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring an in-home caregiver can allow your family and friends to participate in your care without stretching themselves too thin. The introduction of an in-home care aide ensures quality care, relief for family and friends, and a balanced care plan for everyone involved.

8) Home care is only for seniors

Home Care Myth #08Just like home care isn’t only for people with limiting illnesses or disabilities, it’s not only for seniors. Home care is often utilized by parents with newborns or people recovering from surgical procedures. Home health care can be individualized to fit your unique needs, so you’ll always have access to a provider that can give you exactly what you need for your unique situation.

9) Home care is dangerous

Home Care Myth #09While we certainly don’t recommend undergoing surgery at home, home care aides are trained professionals. If you require in-home medical care, you’ll be matched with a medical caregiver who can help administer a plan of care that is safe and medically sound.

For individuals who need high levels of in-home care, it’s often possible to secure the assistance of an in-home RN or other highly trained medical personnel. This ensures that your in-home care is just as safe as it would be in a hospital.

10) Seniors who need 24/7 care aren’t qualified for home care

Home Care Myth #10Again, home care is highly individualized. This means that clients who need high levels of home care can find providers to offer it while those who need lower levels of home care will be matched accordingly. Home care agencies often put together 24/7 care teams and can work with you to ensure that you get exactly the services you need.

11) Home care doesn’t accommodate long-term needs

Home Care Myth #11For seniors or other individuals with long-term care needs, home care can be a fantastic option. By matching the individual in need with a qualified individual or team of in-home caregivers, it’s easy for in-home care to accommodate long-term care needs.

12) The client has no say over who the in-home caregiver is

Home Care Myth #12Just like all things, it’s possible that finding an ideal in-home caregiver may take some experimentation, but you as the client always have the final say. If you find that a caregiver and you don’t get along well, that you don’t trust or feel comfortable with the caregiver, or that the caregiver isn’t meeting your needs, you always have the option to replace the caregiver with one who works better. This ensures that you always find a great in-home care match and that you’re satisfied with your in-home services.

13) An in-home caregiver will replace the role of my friends and family

Home Care Myth #13While an in-home caregiver can certainly provide a much-needed break for friends and family, it’s untrue that the presence of in-home care will replace the importance of friends and family. An in-home caregiver can supplement the care your friends and family provide, while at the same time deferring to the care preferences that you and your family agree upon.

14) An in-home caregiver will take over my loved one’s care plan

Home Care Myth #14In-home caregivers are ideal for providing an extra set of hands and some medical expertise. Aside from that, however, they don’t dominate the in-home care situation. Depending upon the need of the client, an in-home caregiver will work with the client and his or her family to develop a care plan that meets the client’s needs while also working closely with the family and the client to ensure that the family feels involved to their desired level. This helps ensure an active role in the care of a loved one and prevents an in-home caregiver from providing more services than are needed or wanted.

15) In-home caregivers don’t care about their clients

Home Care Myth #15While it’s important to hire a reputable in-home caregiver from a reputable home care agency, most caregivers enter the business specifically because they care about clients and want to do everything in their power to serve them.

When the match between a caregiver and a client is good, caregivers and clients often become friends. Most caregivers care deeply about their clients and will do everything in their power to help their clients feel happy, healthy, and independent.

The Case for in-Home Care

As long as people need personalized, individualized services, the popularity of in-home care will continue to grow. In order for this to happen, however, it’s important that we dispel the most common myths that surround home care. From its target population to its use for younger individuals, it’s important to know exactly what home care is and isn’t in order to use in-home care services as effectively as possible.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a PCA

PCAs, or Personal Care Assistants, play a valuable role in the lives and well-being of aging or ill individuals. By accompanying these people through daily tasks in their home, the PCA is able to help the aging or ill individual maintain dignity and independence for longer than would have otherwise been possible. Being a PCA is a challenging career and there are many unique situations that place special demands on the personality, character, and work abilities of the PCA.

Although being a PCA is rewarding, it is also demanding and there are several things PCAs need to know in order to succeed in the field. Here are the top dos and don’ts for PCAs all across the country.

Things You Should Do as a PCA

In addition to being competent in certain aspects of the health care field, being a PCA also requires a certain type of personality and demeanor. Here are the top “dos” for people who want to be or already are PCAs:

  • Treat Patients with Respect

As a PCA, you will likely work with patients from all walks of life and backgrounds. These patients will be struggling with a variety of mental, emotional, and physical issues, from Alzheimer’s to severe disability. In order to be the best PCA possible, it is important to remember that every person who enters and exits your care deserves respect. This is especially important when you find yourself in the midst of a challenging situation, which will certainly happen if you work in the field long enough. While some days are harder than others, it is important to always remain positive and respectful with your clients.

  • Encourage the Patient’s Independence

Personal care assistants are meant to assist people with tasks that may have become difficult or impossible for them. In many cases, however, a PCA’s clients are far from being incapacitated and can still do many things for themselves. In these cases, it is important for the PCA to allow the client as much independence as the client can safely manage.

For example, if the client has trouble dressing him or herself but can still cook safely and efficiently, it is appropriate for the PCA to provide a helping hand with getting ready in the morning but to step back while the client makes breakfast. Doing this allows the client to maintain dignity and independence while also laying the foundation for a good relationship between the PCA and the client.

  • Be a Support System

Many families hire PCAs because a loved one’s needs have exceeded what the family can reasonably offer. This often means that the PCA will spend more time with the individual than virtually anybody else. If the PCA is doing his or her job correctly (by being compassionate, empathetic, reliable, and professional) it is only natural that, over time, the client will come to view the PCA as a trusted confidant.

This is one of the PCA’s most important job descriptions. In order to further your relationships with your clients, it is hugely important to be a trustworthy, sensitive sounding board when the client needs someone to talk to. This does not mean that you have to play the role of a therapist or counselor by offering advice or feedback, only that should strive to be a support system for the client. To do this better, practice active listening and exercise plenty of empathy. People who hire PCAs will appreciate it if their caregiver can also be a friend.

  • Remain Honest

While there are things that should certainly stay between you and your client (very personal stories, for example, or intimate struggles that are inappropriate for the outside world) it is important that you don’t hide things that need to be discussed.

For example, if you notice that one of your clients has been displaying odd behavior that could easily place the client or someone else at risk, it would be wise to reach out to the person’s family or a superior in the health care field. These situations can quickly become dangerous and it is your duty as a PCA to sound the alarm if you see behavior that is out of character, dangerous, or abnormal for an individual client.

  • Be Patient

Being a PCA will be trying at times and it is your duty to be patient: both with your clients and yourself. Patience will help you navigate difficult days, see through frustrating situations, and provide the best possible care for your clients, despite the challenges you both face.

  • Strive to Continue Training

While there is no required degree or certification program for being a PCA, it is important to continue your training in order to provide the best possible care. Attend conferences and classes that are relevant to your industry and seek to train under more experienced nurses or PCAs. In addition to exposing you to a variety of different health care procedures and protocols, these continued training sessions will help you hone skills and be better equipped to care for your clients.

The Don’ts of Being a PCA

Just like there are many things you should do as a PCA, there are also many things you should not do. These include the following:

  • Act Unprofessionally

While being a PCA is a very intimate career, it is also one that requires a high level of professionalism. You’ll be working in people’s homes, helping them with sensitive daily activities like bathing and using the bathroom, and interacting intimately in their daily lives. Being a PCA requires considerable amounts of warmth, empathy, and patience, but it also requires professionalism. This means arriving on time, being reliable about schedules, dressing appropriately, keeping conversation appropriate (don’t overshare about your own life or struggles), and setting boundaries. Without professionalism, it is impossible to have a good client/PCA relationship.

  • Get Angry

As a PCA, there will be situations that are trying, especially if you work with clients who have advanced dementia. While caring for these clients can be difficult at times, it is hugely important that PCAs are able to maintain their patience and never lose their tempers.

In addition to being unfair to the client, outbursts like these damage your relationship with the client and may well put your job at risk. Instead, practice relaxation techniques when you can’t take a break on the job and give yourself plenty of off-the-job activities like exercising or hobbies to help you de-stress and maintain your center.

  • Break Client Confidentiality

One of the most important things a PCA does is maintain client confidentiality at all times. This means that you should safeguard all information pertaining to clients, their families, and their employees. This includes specific health conditions, names, ages, and occupations of clients, as well as any specific information about their families.

Being a PCA is an intimate career and clients and families trust you with very sensitive information. Breaking client confidentiality is grounds not only for being fired but also for betraying the trust of your clients and placing them at risk for embarrassment or stress within their communities.

  • Avoid Self-Care

We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t give water when the well is dry.” To put this another way, you can’t care for other people when you’re not caring for yourself. In order to be a great PCA, it’s important to take fantastic care of yourself outside of your daily working environment. This means ensuring that you’re eating healthy, well-balanced meals, that you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re exercising, that you’re spending time with your friends and family, and that you’re allowing yourself to take occasional days off.

Being a PCA comes with many stressors: low pay, difficult work environments, lack of personal time, close contact with illness and death, etc., and it is important for PCAs to understand that, in order to care adequately for their clients, they must first care adequately for themselves.


PCAs are arguably some of the most important individuals in the entire health care industry, and without them it would be difficult for ill or aging individuals to maintain dignity and independence. Fortunately, PCAs are willing to provide selfless service to their clients and their families. By following these simple dos and don’ts, PCAs can be better at their careers and enjoy each day on the job more.







Why Getting Outside is So Good For You

Spending some time outdoors is great for mental and physical health, especially for seniors. It is a good idea to make going outdoors a part of your daily routine. Simply spending just half an hour outdoors each day can greatly improve your overall well-being and state of mind.

Being outdoors brings a whole host of mental and physical health benefits to seniors. The following are just some of these benefits:

Being Outdoors Increases Your Vitamin D Levels

According to health surveys, a large proportion of Americans have low Vitamin D levels. This is especially so for the senior population. It is a problem that needs to be corrected because Vitamin D is important for fighting inflammation and improving the immune system, both of which are extremely important for seniors. Having an adequate amount of Vitamin D is also essential for bone health, and may also be helpful for a wide range of health problems such as heart attacks and certain kinds of cancer. In addition, higher levels of Vitamin D and natural light have been said to be effective for offsetting depression and boosting overall happiness.

So how can this Vitamin D deficit be remedied? The solution is extremely simple. Just getting outdoors and spending about 15 minutes in the sun daily can help your body to get its recommended daily amount of Vitamin D.

Spending Time In Green Spaces Has Been Linked to an Improved Immunity System

Somewhat similar to improved health due to increased levels of Vitamin D, spending time in the outdoors has also been directly linked to an improved immunity system. According to a study at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School, women who spent six hours in the woods over a time span of two days showed an increase in virus- and tumor- fighting white blood cells subsequently. This boost even lasted for a minimum of seven days. Hence, seniors should try to spend more time outdoors in order to reap these fantastic health benefits.

Being Outdoors is Great for Improving Your Mood

Research has shown that spending some time outdoors can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Specifically, a study by the University of Michigan has found that group nature walks are linked to enhanced mental health and positivity, and significantly lower levels of depression and stress. A study by Glasgow University also showed that people who walked, biked, or ran in nature had a lower risk of poor mental health than people who choose to work out indoors.

This is especially helpful for seniors, who commonly suffer from anxiety and depression problems. As such, they should try to regularly spend time in green spaces such as parks, where they will feel more relaxed and hence improve their overall happiness.

Spending Time Outdoors Can Energize You

According to a 2010 study by the University of Rochester, spending time outdoors makes people ‘feel more alive’. It seems to bring seniors an increased sense of vitality and energy, which in turn is helpful or boosting resiliency to physical illnesses. Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, has suggested that connecting with nature is an even better way to combat feeling depleted than reaching for a cup of coffee.

Being Outdoors Helps You Achieve a More Restful Sleep

When you spend more time outdoors, you tend to spend less time in artificial light. Numerous studies have shown that people who spend all day in artificial light tend to have trouble falling and staying asleep at night. On the other hand, if you spend a little time in natural sunlight each day, you will have a well-regulated internal body clock. This allows you to have a more restful sleep each night.

The outdoors can improve your attention levels

According to a study published in the Psychological Science academic journal, interactions with nature allows the brain to have a break from everyday over-stimulation. This in turn results in a restorative effect on one’s attention levels, bringing improved focus and mental health. So why not consider a trip to the countryside for a short getaway?

The outdoors helps you to recover from injury and illness more quickly

Some studies have suggested that nature helps a person to recover from injury and illness more quickly. For instance, a 2005 study by the University of Pittsburgh found that spinal surgery patients who had greater exposure to natural light tended to take fewer pain medications and experienced less stress than patients who did not. Another study found that patients in rooms with nature views went home sooner than patients in rooms that had more urban views. This benefit is especially helpful for seniors, who tend to take a longer time than most to recover from illnesses. Also, the longer a senior stays ill or injured, the more dangerous complications tend to develop. As such, it is ideal for seniors to make full use of this health benefit to ensure that they recover from any injury or illness in the fastest time possible.








Telling The Difference Between Normal Forgetfulness and Dementia in Seniors

As we age, it’s not uncommon for us to experience so-called “senior moments” – moments of temporary forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. In some cases, this is a normal side effect of aging and, in others, it’s a symptom of the beginnings of dementia. Many people, however, aren’t exactly sure how to tell the difference.

In some cases, dementia can begin to crop up as early as the 40s or 50s and in some cases it appears much later in life. Often, people wonder if forgetting where they placed their car keys or if they already returned that important call is a symptom they should be concerned about. While some symptoms may be dangerous, some instances of forgetfulness are simply the result of busy lives and too little “me time.”

So, how do you tell the difference between early signs of dementia and normal age-induced forgetfulness?

Read on to learn more.

Signs it’s just Forgetfulness

If the following things apply to you or a loved one, it’s likely that the scatterbrained behavior is the result of normal aging:

  1. You remember what you forgot later. If you forgot where you put your keys or were trying to remember the name of the street your daughter lives on but couldn’t, don’t worry. As long as you remember the information later (be it 5 minutes or two hours later) you’re probably fine. The ability to eventually recall information differentiates age-induced forgetfulness from dementia, which renders people unable to remember misplaced information at all.
  2. You can be reminded of forgotten information. Have you ever lost your train of thought during a conversation only to be reminded of what you were saying by a friend? This is an example of “normal” or age-induced forgetfulness. All people get forgetful at some point, but when simple reminders from friends or family can help you pick up where you left off, it’s likely that you’re simply experiencing normal forgetfulness.
  3. Tools help you remember. If you forget to take your medication unless you set a cell phone reminder or write yourself a note, the forgetfulness is likely nothing to worry about. People who use post-it notes or electronic reminders to trigger certain behaviors are likely experiencing “normal” forgetfulness. On the other hand, people who don’t remember what their reminders are there for may be displaying symptoms of dementia.
  4. Forgetting things occasionally. Did you just meet someone new and you’re having a tough time remembering their name? After you’ve been reminded once or twice, the information should be easier for you to retrieve. If it’s not, the forgetfulness may be a symptom of dementia. When people repeatedly forget the same thing despite being reminded of it time and time again, it’s likely that they are suffering from the early stages of dementia.
  5. Forgetfulness is associated with being busy. If you forgot to return a phone call or make your way to a meeting because you were having a busy day, it’s probably normal forgetfulness. When we’re excessively busy, we only have room for so much information in our minds and, naturally, some things get pushed out. If you’re usually on top of things but tend to get forgetful when you’ve got too many balls in the air, fear not. This is probably normal forgetfulness. This is especially true if you remember what you were supposed to be doing later.
  6. Being able to execute self-care. If you had a crazy day and forgot five things but can still settle into a nice bath or feed yourself well at the end of the day, you’re probably experiencing normal forgetfulness. Very poor hygiene or missing meals, on the other hand, is a sign of dementia and a warning sign for Alzheimer’s.

Signs of Dementia

Forgetfulness that is related to dementia is very different from “normal” forgetfulness and can be characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. Difficulty with simple tasks. If you or a loved one has a hard time remembering to pay bills, pick up spouses or children or carry out normal hygiene procedures like brushing teeth and bathing, it’s likely that this forgetfulness is a sign of dementia. This is also true for people who lose weight due to forgetting to eat or for people who gain weight because they eat many meals and forget about previous ones.
  2. Inability to remember previous memory loss episodes. Forgetting the name of the street you live on and then remembering that you’ve forgotten is one thing. Forgetting previous incidents where memory loss has been a problem, however, is an entirely different situation. If you notice that a friend or loved one is having difficulty remembering times when memory loss has been a problem, it’s likely that this is a sign of dementia.
  3. Difficulty in familiar settings. While it’s normal to get lost in new places, it’s not normal to get lost on your way home. If you notice that a friend or loved one is forgetting how to get home or to the store or cannot remember which room is the bedroom or which car belongs to him or her, these are signs of dementia.
  4. Frequently forgetting words. While it’s normal to grapple for the right word, it’s not normal to forget words altogether. If you notice that a friend or loved one cannot remember simple words, slurs words or forgets important information like a loved one’s name or birthday, it’s time to seek help. This is also true if a loved one garbles information, repeats the same words or phrases multiple times in a conversation or tells the same story over and over.
  5. Poor judgment. If forgetfulness has reached the level where the individual is making forgetful judgments that place health or safety at risk, like going out in the winter without a jacket or leaving the stove or gas on at home, there’s a high possibility that you’re dealing with dementia-like symptoms.
  6. Difficulty making decisions. If a person you love is having a hard time making simple decisions like what to eat or where to go or if they become frustrated over simple issues, it’s likely that this is dementia-related forgetfulness. Additionally, if a person you love seems to have “Forgotten” how to act in social situations or acts out in dangerous or inappropriate ways, it’s likely that these are signs of dementia.

What to do When Signs of Dementia Appear

If you’ve noticed that a loved one seems to be displaying signs of dementia, it’s important to enlist the help of a doctor. When memory loss becomes frequent or severe, it can place a person at serious risk of injury or death.

A doctor will assess the patient’s memory history and any present risk factors, such as family history of dementia and medications. Once a diagnosis has been made, the doctor will treat the person for memory loss symptoms and may be able to recommend some care measures that will help alleviate the symptoms of memory loss and make life safer and more enjoyable. Additionally, early diagnosis is important to get ahead of memory loss symptoms and ensure that proper care is received.

Although memory loss is a frightening prospect, there are many ways to determine the difference between normal forgetfulness and dangerous Alzheimer’s symptoms. If you notice any of the dementia symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek medical care immediately in order to produce a positive outcome.

7 Smartphone Apps That Will Help Monitor Your Health

There’s no doubt about it – we live in technological times. Fortunately, much of our modern technology is dedicated to making our lives better. From meal planning apps to activity trackers, today’s technology is great for staying healthy and active. If you’re interested in turning your smartphone into a pocked-sized health center, download the following apps:

1. Amwell App

Have a question you’d love to ask a doctor but can’t get in for an appointment? No problem – Amwell allows users to consult a medical provider any time he or she needs a medical consultation. Simply open the app, tap through a few choices, pick a specialty and a provider within that specialty and get an immediate video conference with a doctor.

Although this service doesn’t replace the care of an in-person doctor, it can be a great way to address minor medical concerns from anywhere you may be right now. This app is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users.

2. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App

You know how it feels – you wake up after 8 hours of sleep and you’re still drowsy. Waking up drowsy makes the entire day difficult and can impair everything from memory to overall cognitive function. If you’re waking up drowsy and you’re not sure why, it’s possible that you’re waking up during the wrong stage of your sleep cycle – most likely while you’re in a deep sleep.

This makes you feel drowsy upon awakening and contributes to low-functioning days. To ensure that you wake up rested and refreshed, try the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, which monitors movements during sleep and wakes you up during a period of light sleep when you’re likely to bound out of bed feeling refreshed.

The app eliminates the risk of oversleeping by featuring a customizable window of 90 minutes. This means that users can input an “earliest possible” and “latest possible” wake time and the app will wake you up during the lightest sleep phase during the time window, so you’ll never have to worry about being late. Additionally, the app offers sleep graphs and charts, so users can track weekly and nightly sleep patterns and cycles. Available to download on iPhone for $4.99 and Android for $1.99.

3. Drugs.com App

The Drugs.com app is a great place for people who need dependable information about medications. All users need to do is click into the app and locate the medication they’re curious about. The app searches the extensive Drugs.com database and gives users the generic and brand name forms of the medication, the drug’s information, potential interaction dangers and much more.

Users can also create a personalized drug list to check for possible interactions and to identify potential generic forms that may be less expensive. Additionally, this app allows users to look up unknown pills by inputting the pill’s shape, color or imprint. As the leading online drug database, the Drugs.com app is a great way for people to take charge of their medication. The app is available for free to iPhone and Android users.

4. Whole Foods Market App

If you’re like most people, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself eating junk food for dinner simply because you couldn’t figure out what to cook. With the Whole Foods Market app, this problem is a thing of the past. This app allows users to access more than 3,500 online recipes and search recipes according to special dietary needs, course, ingredients and type of cuisine.

The app also allows users to compile a healthy shopping list directly from the recipes. Finally, users can use the app to find recipes that use the ingredients they already have lying around the kitchen. Ideal for users who want to eat healthy without breaking the budget, the Whole Foods Market app is a free download for both iPhone and Android users.

5. My Diet Coach App

Trying to lose weight? Don’t go it alone. The My Diet Coach app is exactly what it sounds like – a diet coach that fits into your pocket and offers motivation, reminders and goals right in your pocket. Use the app to track your meals, keep notes about which foods to eat and which to avoid, keep exercise and food logs, take photos of your progress and set fitness goals.

To make this app even better, it gives users virtual prizes when pre-set goals are met. Losing weight is hard enough on its own and My Diet Coach offers just the right level of motivation and encouragement to keep you going strong. This app is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

6. Moves App

Currently, the average American sits for at least eight hours a day. This sedentary lifestyle is rife with health problems, including poor mental health, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression and an increased risk of suffering from physical disabilities. With all of that in mind, it’s obvious that moving more is an important part of maintaining optimal health at all life stages.

Moves is an app that helps encourage users to move more on a daily basis. The app tracks all types of movement – including walking, running, biking or yoga – and displays the activity as a virtual storyline that allows users to track their progress. The app also tracks caloric intake and displays walking and jogging routes as paths on a map.

Users can use the app to compare daily progress and to track how much they move each week. Ideal for people who want to set activity goals and be more active each day, Moves is a great app for getting healthy and staying that way. Moves is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

7. Lumosity Mobile App

Lumosity is a popular web-based service that offers brain games that function on the idea of neuroplasticity – the concept that our brains can be improved throughout life by building new neural pathways that affect emotions, behavior, and memory. The Lumosity app is a pocket-sized training program that is designed to help users stay sharp and increase their cognitive abilities at all life stages.

The app works by creating a series of fun, personalized games that exercise different aspects of the brain – such as memory, attention span, and multi-tasking. The app also allows users to track performance and set goals in order to gauge progress and improvement. The Lumosity App is available for free to both iPhone and Android users.

While you could play Angry Birds or Candy Crush on your smartphone all day, that these apps are a better use of your screen time. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, sleep better, move more or give your brain a workout, these great health apps can help you meet your goals and be healthier every day.



Help Protect Seniors From Falling at Home

Picture this. Your loved one, an elderly person, has had a fall at home, at the mall, or anyplace else. Let’s not consider the severity of the fall for now, but what is the first thing you would think? What is the first thing you would do? Most people would simply assume that the senior is having some problems with mental health or eyesight, hence impairing their ability to coordinate balance and movement. Some may also assume that the senior simply had a moment of clumsiness and just offer tips to prevent falls at home. These are not impossible conclusions. They do make perfect sense, but it is important to know that there can be other underlying reasons for the fall. Simply jumping to conclusions and attributing the fall to mental health problems could result in the underlying health issue not being picked up on, and left to worsen over time.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Study

Dr. Farrin Manian is a clinician educator in the Massachusetts General Hospital’s division of general medicine in Boston. He is also the principal investigator of a Massachusetts General Hospital study regarding infections and falls in the elderly.

The study involved 161 patients who were treated in the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency room for a fall. All 161 of these patients were later also diagnosed with an underlying infection. Of these, 44.1 percent had a urinary tract infection, 39.8 percent had a bloodstream infection, 23 percent had a respiratory infection and 5.6 percent had an infection of the heart valve.

Initially, experts did not suspect an underlying infection in more than 40 percent of the patients. This may be due to the fact that many of these patients only had one or no common signs of an infection (common signs of an infection include a rapid heart rate, an abnormal white blood cell count, and fever). As such, it is apparent that it is highly likely for the underlying infection to be missed if family members or caregivers do not know what exactly to look out for when dealing with an elderly person who has had a fall.

Other research has also suggested that between 20 percent and 45 percent of falls are caused by infection, although this is often not picked up on. This is because most relatives, health care workers and caregivers don’t associate falls with possible illness. Instead, most people would attribute it to clumsiness or other mental health issues.

How exactly does an infection cause falls?

Now you may be wondering how exactly an infection could lead to a fall. There may not seem like there is an obvious link between the two, but the explanation is simple really. According to researchers involved in the Massachusetts General Hospital study, infections can lower blood pressure. This will result in feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness, which then increase the person’s risk of falling. This effect is worsened in elderly persons because illnesses can also increase confusion in older people, especially in the cases of those who are also suffering from dementia.

According to Dr. Farrin Manian, he was inspired to conduct the study because he had realized, over the years, that some of the more serious infections he had treated were in people who had come to the hospital because they had had a fall.

Prevalence of falls amongst elderly persons

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.5 million elderly persons end up in American emergency rooms each year as a result of falls. Of these 2.5 million, less than a third require hospitalization consequentially. The death rate of these falls has also increased between the years 2004 and 2013, from 41 deaths per year for every 100, 000 people to 57 deaths every year for the same number of people.

With such a large number of cases of elderly falls every year, it is important to be informed that there could be a huge range of causes behind the falling – it might not just be a bout of clumsiness or failing eyesight.

Is there anything I can do to help my loved ones?

Of course, it is important to maintain regular health checkups to ensure that no infections or other health problems go unnoticed. This can also prevent any falling due to undetected bouts of infection, which is important because serious injuries such as fractures may result when elderly persons take a fall.

However, if your loved one has already had a fall, it is essential that you don’t jump straight to conclusions and assume that the fall was due to clumsiness, eyesight problems, mental health problems, or other reasons. It is important that you consider all possibilities, and get a full health checkup conducted if possible, so as to detect any underlying health problems. It would also be useful to ask the senior how he or she felt before the accident. If he or she reports feeling lightheaded or dizzy before the fall, it is possible that there is an infection, which should be checked out right away before things get worse.