Furry Companionship: How pets can keep you healthier and happier

As we age, the importance of companionship and emotional well-being becomes increasingly evident. For seniors, finding sources of joy, comfort, and connection is essential to leading fulfilling lives. In recent years, a heartwarming trend has emerged among seniors: the adoption of pets as furry companions. Beyond being lovable companions, it has been proven that pets play a significant role in the health and emotional wellbeing of their seniors. In this blog post, we will explore the many benefits of pet ownership for seniors, offer guidance on choosing the right pet, and share practical tips for caring for pets in later life.

The Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors

1. Emotional Wellbeing

It’s no secret that pets have an uncanny ability to provide comfort and lift spirits when they’re down. and This is particularly true for seniors who often have feelings of loneliness, isolation, or depression. The companionship of a pet can make a world of difference in their lives. Keeping a pet offers a constant source of company and affection and has been shown to release oxytocin and reduce stress hormones, ultimately improving mood.

  • Mary, a senior living alone, adopted a rescue cat named Whiskers. She shares, “Whiskers has brought so much joy into my life. I no longer feel alone, and his playful antics always make me smile.”

2. Physical Health

Pet ownership encourages physical activity and offers numerous health benefits. Taking daily walks or playtime with a pet helps seniors stay active and promotes better cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that spending time with pets offers owners relaxation that can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Seniors who care for pets report feeling more physically active and engaged in daily life.

3. Cognitive Function

Caring for a pet provides its owner with mental stimulation through activities like grooming, training, and problem-solving. This engagement can help seniors maintain cognitive function. Since pets often thrive on routine, consistency of care provides seniors with a sense of purpose and structure in their daily lives.

  • John, a retired veteran, adopted a rescue dog named Buddy. He says, “Buddy has given me a sense of purpose and keeps me active. We’re a team, and I can’t imagine life without him.”

4. Choosing the Right Pet

When considering pet adoption for seniors, it’s important to choose the right companion. Not all pets are suitable for all lifestyles, so take these factors into account:

  • – Size and Activity Level: Consider the size of the pet and its energy level. Seniors may prefer smaller, less active breeds or older animals that require less exercise.
  • – Allergies: Be mindful of allergies that either the senior or their household members may have.
  • – Temperament: Assess the pet’s temperament, looking for animals that are known for being gentle and well-suited to seniors.
  • – Rescue and Older Pets: Don’t overlook older or rescue animals. They can be incredibly loving and may fit well with senior lifestyles.

Caring for Pets in Later Life

Once the perfect pet has been chosen, it’s important to provide them with the care they need. Seniors can successfully care for their pets with some careful considerations:

1. Pet Care Tips

  • – Feeding: Ensure that your pet is fed a balanced diet appropriate for their age and size. Consult with a veterinarian for dietary recommendations.
  • – Grooming: Regular grooming, including brushing and bathing, is essential for a pet’s health and comfort.
  • – Exercise: Even if you can’t take long walks, engage in short play sessions to keep your pet active.
  • – Veterinary Care: Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian to monitor your pet’s health and address any issues promptly.

2. Support Systems

  • – Family and Friends: Enlist the help of family members, friends, or neighbors who can assist with pet care when needed.
  • – Professional Services: Consider hiring professional pet services like dog walkers or pet sitters for times when you may need extra help.


If you’re a senior considering pet adoption or a caregiver helping a senior make this decision, know that the joy and companionship of a furry friend can brighten the journey of aging and provide comfort and happiness every day. From reducing loneliness and depression to improving physical and cognitive health, furry companions offer a multitude of benefits. The bond between seniors and their pets is truly special and can lead to a happier and healthier life in the golden years.

Navigating Care: Choosing the Right Home Care Agency for Your Loved One

Facing the difficult decision of how to continue caring for your loved one? Whether it’s your parent, relative or elderly friend, seeing them lose their independence can be painful. Many seniors will be worried about having to leave their familiar surroundings and move into a nursing home, and may also be wary of letting a stranger into their home.

So your job of finding the right professional care is not an easy one. Whether it’s due to aging, illness, or other circumstances, entrusting the care of a family member to an agency requires careful consideration. With numerous options available, it’s essential to choose a home care provider that aligns with your loved one’s needs, preferences, and values. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of choosing the perfect home care agency for your loved one’s unique situation.

Understanding the Role of a Home Care Agency

Home care agencies play a pivotal role in providing a wide range of services that enable seniors or individuals with health challenges to remain in the comfort of their own homes while receiving the necessary assistance. These services can include personal care, companionship, medication management, meal preparation, transportation, and more. The goal is to enhance the quality of life for the care recipient by offering support tailored to their specific needs.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Care Agency

  1. Assess Your Loved One’s Needs: Start by evaluating your loved one’s care needs. Do they require assistance with daily activities like bathing, dressing, and meal preparation? Are there specific medical conditions that need attention? Understanding their needs will help you narrow down agencies that can provide the appropriate level of care.
  2. Licensing and Accreditation: Ensure that the home care agency is properly licensed, bonded, and insured. Look for accreditations or certifications that demonstrate their commitment to quality care standards. Reputable agencies are often affiliated with industry organizations that uphold ethical practices.
  3. Experience and Reputation: Research the agency’s history and reputation. How long have they been in business? Do they have positive reviews from clients and their families? Online reviews and recommendations from healthcare professionals can offer valuable insights into the agency’s reliability and reputation.
  4.  Range of Services: Different agencies offer varying levels of care and services. Determine whether the agency provides the specific services your loved one requires, such as personal care, medical care, dementia care, or specialized therapies.
  5. Caregiver Qualifications: Inquire about the agency’s hiring and training processes for caregivers. Ask about their qualifications, background checks, and ongoing training programs. A competent and compassionate caregiver is essential for your loved one’s well-being.
  6. Personalization: Seek an agency that values individualized care plans. Your loved one’s needs are unique, and a reputable agency should be willing to tailor their services to match those needs.
  7.  Coordination and Communication: Clear communication between caregivers, clients, and family members is crucial. A reliable agency should have established methods for sharing information, addressing concerns, and keeping everyone informed about the care plan’s progress.
  8. Emergency Response Plan: Inquire about the agency’s emergency protocols. Ensure there’s a contingency plan in place to handle unexpected situations, such as caregiver absences or medical emergencies.
  9. Cultural Sensitivity: If your loved one has specific cultural or religious preferences, it’s important to choose an agency that respects and accommodates those beliefs.
  10. Cost and Payment Options: Discuss the agency’s pricing structure and payment options. Understand what services are covered by insurance or Medicare, and inquire about any additional fees.
  11. Availability and Flexibility: Ensure that the agency can accommodate your preferred schedule and provide care when needed. Some agencies offer 24/7 care, while others may have limitations on hours or days of service.
  12. Client References: Request references from current or past clients. Speaking to other families who have utilized the agency’s services can provide valuable insights into the quality of care and overall experience.

Making the Decision

After gathering information and conducting thorough research, it’s time to make an informed decision. Consider scheduling interviews or consultations with the agencies you’re interested in. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions, meet potential caregivers, and gauge the agency’s responsiveness and willingness to address your concerns.

During these consultations, pay attention to your instincts. Trust your gut feeling about the agency’s compatibility with your loved one’s needs and your family’s values. A strong sense of trust and transparency is essential in forging a successful partnership with a home care agency.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right home care agency for your loved one is a decision that requires careful consideration and research. By assessing your loved one’s needs, understanding the agency’s qualifications, services, and reputation, and communicating openly with potential providers, you can make an informed choice that ensures the well-being and comfort of your family member. Remember that each person’s situation is unique, so take the time to find an agency that aligns with your loved one’s preferences and values. With the right agency by your side, you can provide your loved one with the quality care they deserve while preserving their independence and dignity.

Start your inquiries here with Community Home Health Care. We’re an agency of caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides and nurses, ready to assist your family. Check out our full range of services on our website or just give us a call on (845) 425-6555 and we’ll gladly answer your questions, explain our services and point you in the right direction.

Beating the Heat: Senior Safety Tips for a Hot Summer

As summer temperatures continue to rise due to the effects of global warming, it becomes increasingly crucial for everyone, especially seniors, to stay safe in the heat. The elderly population is particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and dehydration, making it essential to take proactive steps to ensure their well-being during the sweltering months.
Let’s explore the challenges seniors face during the hot summer months, discover insights into the impact of global warming on temperature extremes, and offer practical tips to help seniors stay safe, cool, and comfortable.

Rising Heat: A Consequence of Global Warming

Before delving into senior safety tips, it’s essential to understand the connection between rising temperatures and global warming. With the planet’s average temperature on the rise, heatwaves have become more frequent and intense. This escalating trend poses serious risks, particularly to vulnerable populations such as the elderly. The summer months are now characterized by extreme heat events, making it imperative for older adults to adopt precautionary measures to protect themselves from heat-related health issues.

Challenges Seniors Face During Summer

Seniors face unique challenges during the summer heat due to physiological changes that come with aging. Their bodies are less efficient at regulating temperature, and they might not perceive or respond to heat as well as younger individuals. Moreover, certain medications that seniors commonly take can affect their ability to sweat or tolerate high temperatures, further increasing their vulnerability.

Key Heat-Related Concerns for Seniors

  1. Dehydration: Seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration because their bodies have a decreased ability to retain water. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, confusion, and even more severe health complications.
  2. Heat Exhaustion: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause heat exhaustion, characterized by symptoms like heavy sweating, rapid pulse, nausea, and weakness. If not treated promptly, it can progress to heatstroke.
  3. Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s core temperature reaches dangerously high levels. Symptoms include confusion, rapid heart rate, and loss of consciousness. Immediate medical attention is essential.
  4. Sunburn: Seniors’ skin becomes more sensitive to the sun as they age, making them prone to sunburn and increasing the risk of skin cancer.
  5. Respiratory Issues: High temperatures can exacerbate respiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

Senior Safety Tips for a Cool Summer

  1. Stay Hydrated: Encourage seniors to drink water regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Keep a water bottle within reach to remind them to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors helps keep seniors cool by allowing their skin to breathe. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses provide extra protection from the sun.
  3. Stay Indoors: Encourage seniors to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advise them to go for their daily stroll early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are lower.
  4. Use Air Conditioning: Ensure that seniors have access to air-conditioned spaces. If they don’t have air conditioning at home, suggest visiting air-conditioned public places like shopping malls, libraries, or community centers.
  5. Eat Cooling Foods: Encourage a diet full of water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and citrus fruits. These foods can help hydrate and cool the body.
  6. Monitor Medications: Speak to healthcare providers about the effects of medications on seniors’ heat tolerance. Adjusting medication schedules or dosages might be necessary to minimize the risk of heat-related complications.
  7. Create a Cool Environment: Use fans and keep blinds or curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to reduce indoor temperatures. Consider placing a damp cloth on the forehead or back of the neck to provide instant relief.
  8. Check on Each Other: Encourage seniors to check in with friends, family, or neighbors during hot spells. Regular communication ensures that they’re safe and well.
  9. Know the Warning Signs: Teach seniors and their caregivers the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, such as confusion, nausea, rapid heart rate, and excessive sweating. Acting quickly can prevent serious health issues.


As the effects of global warming continue to reshape our climate, it’s imperative that we adapt and prioritize the safety of vulnerable populations, including seniors. By understanding the challenges they face during the summer heat and implementing practical safety measures, we can ensure that seniors enjoy the season without compromising their health and well-being. By staying hydrated, dressing appropriately, staying indoors during peak heat hours, and taking other precautionary steps, seniors can make the most of the summer months while staying cool and comfortable.
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.

How Chat GPT Can Help Seniors: Enhancing Well-being and Independence

Older adults have lived through the introduction of many life-changing innovations and inventions. As they age, technological advancements continue to revolutionize the way we live, work, and interact. One such innovation is Chat GPT, an advanced language model that can provide assistance, information, and companionship. While Chat GPT was initially developed to assist with various tasks, it also holds great potential for helping seniors enhance their well-being and maintain their independence. How? Below, we explore how Chat GPT can be a valuable tool for seniors, offering support, engagement, and access to information at their fingertips.

  1. Personalized Assistance:
    Chat GPT can serve as a virtual assistant, providing personalized assistance to seniors. From answering questions about health and wellness to providing reminders for medication schedules or appointments, Chat GPT can offer reliable and timely information. Seniors can rely on Chat GPT to help manage their daily routines and address concerns, promoting independence and peace of mind.
  2. Access to Information:
    As seniors navigate the complexities of the digital world, Chat GPT can be a valuable resource for accessing information. Whether they have questions about a specific topic, want to learn new skills, or need guidance on using technology, Chat GPT can provide instant access to a wide range of knowledge. Seniors can explore their interests, expand their horizons, and stay intellectually engaged with the help of this virtual assistant.
  3. Companionship and Social Engagement:
    One of the challenges that seniors often face is loneliness and social isolation. Chat GPT can provide companionship and engage in meaningful conversations, helping to combat feelings of loneliness. Seniors can engage with Chat GPT to share stories, discuss hobbies and interests, or simply engage in friendly conversation. While it may not replace human interaction, Chat GPT can serve as a virtual friend and provide an element of emotional support.
  4. Cognitive Stimulation:
    Keeping the mind active and engaged is crucial for seniors’ cognitive well-being. Chat GPT can offer a variety of activities that stimulate cognitive function. Seniors can engage in word games, puzzles, quizzes, or storytelling sessions with Chat GPT, helping to exercise memory, attention, and critical thinking skills. These interactions can promote mental agility and help seniors maintain their cognitive abilities.
  5. Reminders and Medication Management:
    For seniors who may require assistance with medication management or daily reminders, Chat GPT can provide timely prompts and reminders. By setting up personalized reminders and alerts, seniors can stay on track with their medication schedules, appointments, and daily routines. This feature of Chat GPT can contribute to better health outcomes and improved adherence to medication regimens.
  6. Emotional Support and Well-being:
    Chat GPT can also play a role in supporting seniors’ emotional well-being. It can provide a listening ear, offering empathy and understanding to seniors who may feel isolated or anxious. Chat GPT can provide positive affirmations, offer relaxation techniques, or suggest activities for managing stress. These features can help seniors improve their emotional well-being and promote a positive outlook on life. 
  7. Accessibility and Ease of Use:
    Chat GPT is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to individuals of all ages. Its intuitive interface and natural language processing capabilities make it easy for seniors to engage in conversation and receive the assistance they need. Whether using a computer, tablet, or smartphone, seniors can access Chat GPT with ease, making it a convenient tool for daily support and interaction.

    Chat GPT holds great potential for enhancing the well-being and independence of seniors. By providing personalized assistance, access to information, companionship, cognitive stimulation, and emotional support, Chat GPT can serve as a valuable tool for seniors in their daily lives. As technology continues to advance, Chat GPT represents an innovative and accessible resource that can empower seniors, enabling them to lead fulfilling and independent lives. By embracing the possibilities offered by Chat GPT, seniors can tap into its benefits and experience the many ways it can enhance their well-being and overall quality of life.

    Community Home Health Care are an agency providing aides to help you and your loved one live their best life. 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.

Aging in Place: Strategies for Seniors to Maintain Independence at Home

As seniors enter their golden years, many prefer to age in the comfort of their own homes rather than transitioning to assisted living or nursing facilities. Aging in place allows seniors to maintain their independence, familiarity, and cherished memories. However, it’s essential to ensure that the home environment supports their changing needs. Here, we’ll explore strategies and practical tips for seniors to age in place successfully, creating a safe, comfortable, and accessible living space that promotes independence and well-being.

  1. Conduct a Home Safety Assessment:
    Start by conducting a thorough assessment of the home to identify potential safety hazards. This includes checking for loose rugs, installing handrails on staircases, ensuring proper lighting, and securing cords or cables that may cause tripping. Consider consulting with a professional or occupational therapist who specializes in home modifications for seniors.

  2. Living Spaces:
    Modify living spaces to meet the specific needs of seniors. Install grab bars in bathrooms, lower countertops and shelves, and widen doorways to accommodate mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers. Additionally, consider installing non-slip flooring in high-risk areas such as the bathroom and kitchen to prevent falls.

  3. Improve Accessibility:
    Enhance accessibility throughout the home to promote independence. Install lever-style door handles, which are easier to operate than traditional doorknobs. Replace standard light switches with rocker switches that are simpler to use. Consider installing a stairlift or ramp to enable safe and easy movement between floors.

  4. Enhance Bathroom Safety:
    The bathroom can be a high-risk area for seniors. Install a raised toilet seat and grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub. Consider installing a walk-in shower or a tub with a low entry threshold to eliminate the need for stepping over. Non-slip mats and handheld showerheads can also improve safety and convenience.

  5. Create a Bedroom Haven:
    Ensure the bedroom is a safe and comfortable space for seniors. Choose a comfortable and supportive mattress and consider adjustable beds to accommodate individual preferences. Adequate lighting, including bedside lamps and nightlights, can help prevent accidents during nighttime movements. Keep frequently used items within easy reach to avoid the need for excessive bending or stretching.

  6. Smart Home Technology:
    Explore the benefits of smart home technology to assist seniors in aging in place. Smart devices such as voice-controlled assistants, automated lighting systems, and home security cameras can enhance safety, convenience, and communication. These technologies can be easily controlled using simple voice commands or mobile applications.

  7. Seek Community Support:
    Encourage seniors to stay engaged in their community to combat feelings of isolation. Research local senior centers, community centers, or clubs that offer social activities, exercise classes, and support groups tailored to their interests. Engaging with others fosters a sense of belonging and overall well-being.

  8. Maintain Regular Healthcare:
    Regular healthcare is crucial for seniors aging in place. Encourage routine check-ups with healthcare providers to monitor overall health and manage any chronic conditions. Explore telemedicine options for virtual consultations and medication management, especially for seniors with limited mobility. 

  9. Home Care Services:
    Home care services play a vital role in supporting seniors who wish to age in place. These services provide personalized care and assistance tailored to individual needs, ensuring that seniors receive the help they require while maintaining their independence and dignity. Community Home Health Care is a reputable agency that offers a range of services designed to enhance the well-being of seniors.

 Personal Care Assistance: Trained caregivers from Community Home Health Care can assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and medication reminders. These caregivers offer compassionate support while respecting the privacy and preferences of seniors.

Companionship and Social Support: Loneliness and social isolation can have detrimental effects on seniors’ overall well-being. Community Home Health Care caregivers provide companionship, engaging in conversations, participating in hobbies, and accompanying seniors to social events or appointments. They foster meaningful connections and help seniors stay connected to their communities.

Household Support: Community Home Health Care caregivers can assist with light housekeeping tasks, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. These services ensure that seniors have a clean and organized living environment and access to nutritious meals, even if they face mobility or health challenges.

Medication Management: Taking medications correctly and on time is crucial for seniors’ health. Aides from Community Home Health Care can help seniors manage their medications, ensuring they take the right dosages at the appropriate times. This service helps prevent medication errors and promotes medication adherence.

Respite Care: Family caregivers often face physical and emotional stress while caring for their loved ones. Community Home Health Care offers respite care services, providing temporary relief to family caregivers so they can take a well-deserved break, recharge, and attend to their own needs.

Aging in place is a desirable option for many seniors, and with the right strategies and support, it can be a fulfilling and safe experience. By conducting home safety assessments, making necessary modifications, and availing themselves of home care services, seniors can maintain their independence and comfort while receiving the care and assistance they need. Community Home Health Care is a trusted agency that offers comprehensive and compassionate services, allowing seniors to age in place with confidence. With our support, seniors and their families can navigate the journey of aging in place and embrace the joys of staying at home for as long as possible.

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.

Programs and Services Available to Older Americans

While most Americans are familiar with social service benefits for older Americans, there are many programs and services that fall outside this umbrella. Designed to make life easier and more enjoyable for seniors, while also protecting fundamental rights and access, these programs work wonders to uplift and support seniors throughout the country.

12 Programs All Seniors Should be Aware of

Throughout the country, the following services and programs are available to seniors who seek them:

1. Adult Day Care

Adult Day Care programs exist in virtually every part of the nation. Designed to act as a form of “in-between” care for seniors who are bored, lonely, or suffering from cognitive decline, Adult Day Care provides day care for at-risk or disabled adults.

Ideal for families who work and cannot be with a senior throughout the day, and do not have live-in help, Adult Day Care facilities often offer pick-up services and fun activities like craft classes, community time, and meal prep. Your local senior center or nursing home should be able to provide you with information about prominent Adult Day Care facilities in your area.

2. The National Senior Citizens Law Center

While nobody wants to deal with legal complications, especially as they age, the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) has a long history of advocating on the behalf of low-income, disabled, and elderly Americans. Dedicated to promoting independence and ensuring well-being, this resource can help seniors get the benefits they deserve, or resolve legal disputes during their golden years.


While most people have heard of AARP, few understand what it does. A nonprofit organization, AARP addresses the needs, concerns, and interests of people who are 50 years old or older. The company’s website offers helpful information and a resource guide for concerns ranging from economic security, work, retirement, long-term care, independence, and wellness.

4. American Society on Aging

The American Society on Aging is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults and their loved ones. The website offers a resource list of local programs, and a wide selection of resources for aging-related topics and concerns.

5. Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a reputable health organization dedicated to supporting seniors and their families who are coping with Alzheimer’s. Committed to eliminating Alzheimer’s disease through high-quality research and support, The AA is a valuable resource for anyone who is struggling to understand, cope with, or find resources surrounding Alzheimer’s.

6. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, or INPEA, is on a mission to do away with elder abuse in homes, nursing facilities, and hospice care. Dedicated to helping society understand and address elder abuse, INEPA also provides a series of resources and programs for people who are experiencing or have experienced elder abuse.

7. Family Caregiver Alliance

The Family Caregiver Alliance, or FCA, Is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and loved ones who provide caregiving services to their loved ones. Offering programs at the local, national, and state level, FCA is dedicated to supporting and uplifting caregivers and their clients.

8. Local Benefits Counseling

If you’re confused about the benefits available to you as a senior, look for local benefits counseling in your area. Dedicated to helping seniors understand what type of help is available to them, benefits counseling is offered through local Offices for the Aging, and area designed to answer questions about everything from medical and life insurance to food stamps.

9. Free Denture Installations

Dentures can be prohibitively expensive, which prevents many people from getting them. Fortunately, many state dental associations offer free or low-cost denture programs designed to facilitate denture installation for low-income seniors.

Dental colleges may also offer similar services, so don’t hesitate to ask around in your local area.

10. Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program

The Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, or EPIC, is available in New York and 22 other states, including Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington State, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Wisconsin.

Designed to help seniors access the prescription medications they need to stay healthy and comfortable, this program helps eligible seniors access free or low-cost prescriptions.

11. Free Cell Phones

If a senior falls or has an accident at home, a cell phone can suddenly be a life-saving device. Luckily, LifeLine knows this. A government program designed to outfit low-income Americans with cell phones that will keep them safe, help them get jobs, or make it easier to access needed services, LifeLine outfits seniors with a free or discounted phone – either in the form of a cell phone or landline.

12. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Once known as Food Stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and seniors access healthy, nutritious food. While each state has different income and eligibility requirements, you can generally apply for the program through a local Office for the Aging. Benefits vary depending on the size of your family, but can be substantial.

Bonus: Discounted Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can be some of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a senior’s life. Luckily, organizations like the local Lion’s Club offer programs that provide free or low-cost hearing aids to seniors in need. This can be a critical service for seniors who are feeling isolated or lonely because of advanced hearing loss.

Get to Know Your Local Resources

Beyond the resources listed here, most local communities offer a wide assortment of assistance and outreach programs for seniors. To learn more about them, visit your local senior center or inquire with a home health or aged care agency, as they are typically familiar with what’s available in a given community or area. These organizations may also be able to match needy seniors with local or grassroots organizations that provide needed services and programs.

10 Volunteer Opportunities Guaranteed to Increase Your Happiness This Holiday Season

Bring joy and hapiness to yourself and those less fortunate by volunteering this holiday season

The holidays are a time of giving, and most people find that they feel better about themselves and the world around them when they volunteer to help at local, national, or global organizations.

The reason for this is simple: the world is a hard place, and, while we can’t reach out and fix the entire thing at once, the most proactive step each of us can take is to do everything in our power to make our corner of it better.  

In recent years, the number of people who volunteer housebound has risen, climbing to more than 62.6 million adults in 2014. 

These figures spike during the holidays when people from all walks of life are looking for ways to give back, spread some good cheer, and lend a helping hand to their neighbors and communities.

If you’re searching for a volunteer opportunity to participate in this holiday season, here’s our list of the top ten volunteering opportunities:

1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen Help out at a soup kitchen

 Right now, 1 out of every 6 Americans faces hunger, and more than 17 million U.S. households experience “food insecurity” (meaning the household has occasional periods where it is difficult to access enough food for all its family members) each year.  These are staggering numbers, and they just go to show how critical the work that soup kitchens and similar community organizations offer is. 

This holiday season, one of the easiest and most helpful things you can do is to take an active role in feeding the hungry. Volunteer positions at soup kitchens (which provide free, hot meals for needy families and individuals) are common and straightforward. Plus, since they don’t require heavy lifting or intense physical activity, they’re ideal for older seniors or people with injuries and disabilities. 

To find a soup kitchen, community kitchen, or food bank (organizations that work to feed their communities around the holidays and throughout the year)  in your area, visit FeedingAmerica.com and enter your location. 

2.  Donate to a local domestic violence shelter

 Every single minute, an average of 20 people (in the U.S. alone) are abused by their intimate partner. This abuse leads to more than 10 million individuals being displaced from their homes annually. In many cases, the victims of abuse turn to domestic violence shelters for legal advocacy, orders of protection, housing, and healing.

This holiday season, find one of these organizations in your area and donate time, supplies, or money. In the name of safety, many domestic violence shelters are only open to women and children, and they always need simple supplies. Here are some items you can donate:

  • Baby formula
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Clothing
  • Household goods (shelters often furnish women with household supplies when they leave the shelter and move into their own apartments or homes)
  • Children’s toys
  • Holiday food (turkeys, cookies, etc.)
  •  Gifts

Some shelters also have facilities for pets, and separate housing units for men. To find out what your local shelter needs, contact them and ask for a requested donation list. Keep in mind that many shelters are in confidential locations and may not accept strangers as volunteers, so you may have to go through a screening process to volunteer at the shelter. 

If you don’t want to do that, you can always donate supplies. To locate your local organization, visit the local coalitions page from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  

3. Read to children at a local library

Read to children at the library

 Reading stories to children is a fun and enjoyable volunteer activity that leaves everyone involved feeling happy and festive – especially when the books are old holiday classics, like The Night Before Christmas

To find out when your library hosts children’s Storytime, and how you can get involved, contact your local organization for more information.

4. Read to seniors at a senior centerSeniors reading books for the holiday

Senior centers are commonly overlooked volunteering destinations, but they need just as much attention as places like soup kitchens and shelters. To give back to your community and help local seniors this holiday, offer to read stories, sing carols, make Christmas ornaments, or more at your local senior center.  

Many of the seniors in these places have no remaining family, and a visit from a caring volunteer may be something they look forward to for days.  

5. Do food drop-offs for your local food bank

Most local food banks run programs where they deliver critical groceries to people who are house-bound, ill, or needy. This holiday season, volunteer to take over some of these deliveries. In addition to being a critical service, these deliveries also provide essential supplies to vulnerable populations that truly need the help. 

When you volunteer your time to drop off these donations, and you’ll be rewarded by meeting new people and making new friends. 

6. Volunteer at a halfway house

Halfway houses are commonly in need of volunteers for the holidays. Simple things, like volunteering to cook meals or work with residents, or just offering to donate supplies are highly appreciated. These small things are wonderful ways to make a difference during the holiday season.

7. Donate your time to meals on wheels

Meals on Wheels is an important organization that makes it a mission to deliver warm, healthy meals to seniors who can’t cook for themselves, or leave home very easily. Without an organization like this, these seniors often go hungry or fail to get the nutrition they need from their daily meals.  

Meals on Wheels of America

Fortunately, your support can help make a difference. This holiday season, donate directly to Meals on Wheels or visit their website to locate volunteer opportunities in your area. 

While this is a simple program, it’s one that can make a significant difference in a senior’s life.  

8. Make care packages for overseas soldiers

Holiday packages for soldiers

Soldiers currently deployed overseas don’t get to spend the holidays with their families, and many of them are missing husbands, wives, parents, and children. This holiday season, one compassionate way to get involved and volunteer your time is to put together care packages for overseas military personnel. 

Military.com has a helpful list of things to send people who are deployed, and SupportOurTroops.org has simple directions for assembling and mailing care packages to overseas military. 

9. Volunteer at your local animal shelter

Volunteer at local animal shelter

We know it’s important for humans to have happy and safe holidays, but what about the animals in our lives? Each year, more than 7.6 million dogs and cats enter shelters in the U.S., and only 2.7 million are adopted. In no-kill shelters, caring for those animals left behind can be expensive and exhausting, and volunteer assistance is always appreciated. 

This holiday season, dedicate your time to caring for the animals who can’t come home for the holidays. Cleaning pens, cuddling with animals, walking dogs, or attending community events to raise awareness are all fantastic steps. If you can’t volunteer for physical work, consider donating pet food, beds, supplies, or even money to your local shelter.  

10. Help your neighbors

If you’d like to keep your volunteer efforts as close to home as possible, look for small ways to help your neighbors. Simple things like shoveling your elderly neighbor’s walk, brining a batch of homemade cookies, or singing carols with some people from your area will brighten spirits and help everyone get into the holiday frame of mind. 



Volunteering for the holiday season is a great way to get into the giving mindset and make a difference in your community. While it can be difficult to locate volunteer opportunities that fit your priorities, these ten opportunities are ideal for most people and can help you do good this holiday season. 

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.

How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, everyone is busy coming up with a menu for the big feast. Thanksgiving is famous for being all about overindulgence and eating, but it can be a stressful experience for those who need to be careful about what they eat, such as seniors and diabetics, or even just for individuals who are highly health conscious, since Thanksgiving meals tend to be rather high in unhealthy substances such as sodium, sugar and fat.

Of course, it is not a good solution to completely skip the festivities just because you are afraid of weight gain or if you are worried about there not being anything that you are able to eat. Believe it or not, it is actually possible for you to enjoy the holiday and stay healthy at the same time. Here are some simple but effective tips for you to enjoy a healthy thanksgiving.

Making Healthier Food Choices

Watch your portions

If you can, try to limit yourself to just one plate. This helps to prevent over-stuffing yourself. Sample small portions of each dish, and avoid going back for seconds if you can. In the case that you are tempted to return for seconds, wait for about 20 minutes to half an hour first. This is because it takes a while to feel full, and after waiting for about 20 minutes you may find that you no longer want to go for seconds.

Don’t gobble down your food

Since it takes a while for you to feel full, try to eat slowly. If you gobble all your food down, you probably won’t feel satiated even after you have cleared your plate. This increases your likelihood of going back for seconds even though you have in fact already eaten a lot.

Have breakfast in the morning

Some may think that it is a good idea to skip breakfast in the morning in order to save up calories for the big feast. This is a common misconception. By skipping your morning meal, you will be ravenous by the time the Thanksgiving feast comes around, and you are likely to end up overeating. To avoid this, you should have a small breakfast so that you will have more control over your appetite. Including some protein and fiber in your breakfast will also help to take the edge of your appetite.

Stay properly hydrated

Ensure that you drink adequate water throughout the day. Not being properly hydrated will result in thirst, which is often mistaken as hunger pangs. This will cause you to overeat as well.

Make healthy substitutions

Thanksgiving dishes tend to be richer and more filling than your everyday fare, but here are some healthy substitutions and choices you can make in order to have a healthier Thanksgiving meal. These are especially ideal for seniors and diabetic, and for any individuals who need to watch their diet.

  • Instead of eating the dark meat with skin, opt for the white meat without the skin. When you make this substitution, the same 6oz portion of turkey can have a difference of 190 calories and 17g of fat.
  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey, and in your gravy.
  • Don’t add the marshmallows on your sweet potatoes. You can choose to add other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to keep things flavorful. This helps to reduce your caloric intake by about 100 calories.
  • Skip the pecan pie for dessert. Instead, you can go for healthier dessert options such as a pumpkin pie. This cuts more than 100 calories from your Thanksgiving meal.
  • Use fruit purees instead of oil in your baked goods.
  • Try using plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream when making your creamy dips, mashed potatoes, or casseroles.
  • Make your own cranberries, instead of going for the jellied cranberry sauce. This saves you more than 100 calories.

Healthy Thanksgiving activities

Aside from making healthier food choices, you can also choose to engage in some healthy Thanksgiving activities in order to neutralize the effects of the rich and calorie-dense meal.

Socialize during the meal

Instead of focusing on the food, engage in conversation with your friends and family. After all, you can’t talk and eat at the same time!

Volunteer to help clean up

Instead of spending your time finishing up the leftovers or going back for seconds or thirds, why not volunteer to help your host clean up? This not only helps to take your attention away from the food, but the physical act of cleaning up itself will also help you to burn some calories. Not to mention, your host will definitely appreciate the gesture.

Plan a post-meal walk

After enjoying your scrumptious meal, go for a post-meal walk together. A brisk walk will help you to burn some calories. It is also a great opportunity to get some fresh air and to bond with your friends and family.

Plan to work out the next morning

Most people will feel bloated the lethargic the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of lazing around the house, plan a work out. The knowledge that you have committed to burn off the extra calories the day after allows you to feel less guilty when indulging during your Thanksgiving meal. What’s more, knowing that you have an early-morning workout the next morning might keep you from reaching for that additional glass of wine!

If you are worried that you will not have the discipline to keep to your morning workout, schedule a fitness date with a friend for that morning. You can then keep each other accountable, and you won’t be able to bail!








September is Healthy Aging Month: 7 Steps to Aging Healthy

Healthy Aging month is an initiative dedicated to making known and embracing the positive aspects of aging. A national observance for the past fifteen years, it’s a time for Americans over the age of 45 to step back, look at their overall well-being, and adopt better health practices to preserve good health.

To age “well” is more than just a state of being. Healthy aging includes being well-rounded psychologically, socially, and physically, and includes taking active measures to ensure such. While some may associate being diagnosed with certain physical ailments as inevitable due to genetic predispositions, many physical maladies are actually not determined by genetics alone and can be combated with appropriate preventative measures.

Here are some general tips for aging successfully and living a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Take the time to get your eyes checked

Slight changes in vision can be normal as time goes on, but a marked or sudden decrease may not be. Because vision is such a vital part of daily life, it is important to maintain regular check-ups with your physician and discuss any concerns with them as well. The aging population is at a higher risk of developing eye issues, including: floaters, dry eyes, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eyes, and other retinal disorders.

  1. Hearing

Age-related hearing loss is most commonly caused by changes to the inner ear, although certain medications and prolonged exposure to noises that are too loud can also play a role. Hearing loss can cause someone to have difficulty hearing the doorbell or phone ring, or have trouble maintaining a conversation with a friend. However, treatments for those with hearing loss can be promising. Even for those with severe hearing loss, hearing aids (or cochlear implants), speech-reading treatments, and auditory training can produce a significant increase in the quality of one’s life.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), about 17% of American adults are affected by some form of hearing loss (1).

  1. Blood Pressure Screening

Check with your physician every year for abnormal blood pressure. A normal reading of blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 29% of Americans suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure, and that this condition costs the nation $46 billion per year (2)! Hypertension is a blood pressure reading above 140/90 mmHg (3) and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Based on one’s situation, a physician may suggest medication, changes in diet, and physical exercise (3) to alleviate the situation. While age, race, and genetics all play a role in developing this condition, there also steps that the average person can take to reduce the risk of developing it, including: reducing sodium intake, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming less alcohol, and not smoking (3).

Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can be dangerous as well. One of the symptoms of hypotension is dizziness, which is caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain.

  1. Meeting with family

There are plenty of new things to appreciate as you get older and spending time with a growing family is one of them. Allocate a bit of time each week for social activities with family, as this makes for priceless memories and carefree laughter.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is worthwhile way to spend time because it gives the person a feeling of accomplishment and is also a perfect way to give back to the community. To find out if an organization is in need of volunteers, give them a call or look on their website online.

  1. Practice something challenging

Learning a new language or playing a challenging puzzle game, like Sudoku, is a great way to keep the brain sharp. In addition, a study called the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) discovered that a series of specific “brain exercises” were found to improve cognitive function in its 2,832 elderly participants. A CBS News article reports that participants in this study “reported that they had an easier time with daily activities such as managing their medications, cooking meals or handling their finances than did participants who did not get the training” (4).

The article acknowledges that the study’s “training course was designed to bolster specific cognitive abilities that begin to slip as people age. It does not aim to prevent dementia caused by underlying disease such as Alzheimer’s” (4).

  1. Keep your body moving

Whether this is taking a long walk at the end of the day or spurts of short activity spread throughout the day, physical activity is important in preventing certain health conditions and strengthening the body.

The Centers for Disease Control outlines a time goal for physical activity per week, by the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, for adults here and older adults (ages 65+) here. If you have any concerns about physical activity due to a condition you may have, be sure to consult a physician first.

September may be Healthy Aging month, but taking active measures for healthy aging should be a priority no matter what time of year. As a famous person once said, “The greatest wealth is Health”.