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Access valuable information for care that's more informed and compassionate.

calendar icon 27 October, 2022

Physical therapists (PTs) are experts

Physical therapists (PTs) are experts in how the body moves. They identify and treat movement problems in people of all ages and abilities. They do this by providing hands-on care, education, and by prescribing specific exercises or activities. Using the latest research, physical therapists design a treatment plan for each person's specific needs, challenges, and goals. PTs help patients to better manage pain, and support recovery from injury. They also have the skills to educate and empower patients to prevent injury and manage or prevent chronic disease. These health professionals help you stay independent and do the things you want to do. Nearly 80% of PTs practice in settings that typically treat older adults. They are trained to: Understand the normal changes in aging Recognize how recovering from an injury or managing a chronic disease might be a different process for older adults compared to younger adults Integrate their knowledge of aging into an effective program designed for an older adult to successfully achieve their goals The PT will take each person’s unique history into account to create a program that meets their personal needs. That way they can safely, and successfully, work to improve their strength and endurance. What does a physical therapist do? Physical therapists perform comprehensive evaluations to understand a person's mobility abilities. This may include assessing your ability to do activities important to you such as: Strength and endurance Balance Mobility Coordination Flexibility Environment Anything else specific to your goals A PT may also perform a screen of your cognition, vision, medications, mood, and any other health issues or concerns to identify if other health professionals should be involved in your plan of care. PTs will often work with physical therapist assistants (PTA). These individuals are critical members of the team. They are educated and licensed clinicians who provide care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. After an evaluation is complete, the PT will design treatment plans specific to each person’s needs, challenges, and goals. Treatment plans will include steps that you and the PT will take to meet your goals. They also include how often you will work with the PT, in what setting (your home or clinic; face-to-face or telehealth), and for how long. After your initial evaluation, the PT will check your progress during each treatment session and update your plan based on your progress. For example, an older adult with knee pain may start to have difficulty going up and down the stairs in their home. They may go to an outpatient clinic to be evaluated by a physical therapist. The physical therapist will determine the reason for the knee pain. They will then provide treatment in the clinic to improve the mobility of the knee and decrease the pain, and then prescribe a series of exercises for the older adult to do to get stronger. These exercises may also include activities to improve balance and endurance as well as strength. How does physical therapy help with falls? Many falls are preventable. Physical therapists are trained to identify the many reasons someone may experience a fall. These are called fall risk factors. A PT can work with you to identify your risk factors and create a plan to help manage them. They may also check your feet, including how your shoes fit. Fall risk assessment also includes a review of medications, vision, and blood pressure. They will provide you with the education you need to understand your risk and what you can do to address your risk factors. When appropriate, a physical therapist may recommend that you see other health care professionals. Can physical therapy help with balance? Yes! Physical therapists are experts in identifying why someone is experiencing challenges with their balance. They can help determine if the balance problem is due to muscle weakness, issues with the inner ear, problems with your sensory system (knowing where your body is in space), poor reaction times, or other contributing factors. Physical therapists will then create a treatment plan to help you improve your balance. This can include creating a program for you to improve your strength, balance, and reaction time. If the problem is related to your inner ear, there are exercises for that, too. How do I choose a physical therapist? When you are looking for a PT, you can ask: If they are certified specialists, or if they have advanced training in an area like fall risk management or pain science? If they see patients that look like you and have similar challenges? What their goals with their patients are? You want to work with a PT who is vested in you achieving your own goals. It is also a good idea to ask what additional services they offer. For example, do they offer a wellness program after therapy? What should I do to prepare for a physical therapy visit? Your first visit with a physical therapist will be very similar to your first visit with any other health care provider. Be ready to be asked a lot of questions and to ask questions of your physical therapist! Consider writing this information down so you have it handy: Any symptoms you have been experiencing like pain, what makes it better or worse Any activities you had to stop doing or modify that are associated with this problem Key information about your history, even if it seems unrelated Bring with you: Comfortable clothes that you can easily move in Hearing aid or glasses if you wear them Any assistive devices you use regularly (walker or cane) List of medications you are taking including over the counter medications and herbal supplements Any medical test results like x-rays or MRI that you had related to this problem Your goals and hopes—and never think you are too old or too weak to do what you want to do. Be honest with your PT, make sure you are getting the therapy session you want, and be prepared to be amazed by you what you can achieve!
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calendar icon 21 September, 2022

Healthy Eating Habits For Seniors

Incorporating a balance of nutritious food choices in daily meal planning is essential at every stage of the life cycle. Yet for older adults who are at a greater risk of chronic health issues and changes in muscle mass and bone density, eating well is all the more so a critical component of being able to stay active and healthy. Many associate healthy eating with restricting calories and weight gain, however, a well-balanced diet does much more than just that. While providing the body with vital nutrients to regulate its systems, it also positively affects brain function and emotional health.

So, what should go into a well- planned meal? How can caregivers ensure they provide the adults in their care with the nutrients they need to stay active, feel energetic, and maintain healthy functioning? Which foods are best enjoyed or restricted?

In an effort to promote public health, the USDA has published a comprehensive guide to healthy eating for all ages, entitled Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Using this thorough guide, along with exploring the USDA website entitled MyPlate, older adults can find helpful meal-planning tips, important nutrition information, and key recommendations that support a healthy lifestyle. Read on to explore some practical tips and pointers on how seniors can make healthy food choices part of daily life.

Plan meals with food group variety.

Healthy eating starts with a balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy or soy alternatives. Each food group offers a combination of nutrients that supply the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to regulate its functions. The Food Group Gallery helps adults categorize foods they are familiar with and incorporate a proper balance of numerous food group items into their daily diet. MyPlatePlan is another helpful tool seniors can use to tailor meal planning and help them efficiently shop for ingredients. Even while making an effort to vary food choices, it is important that caregivers consult with a qualified dietary advisor who can offer guidance on necessary intake and special considerations.

Choose healthy snacks.

Many seniors benefit from eating two healthy snacks per day, which stabilizes blood sugar between meals, prevents overeating, and keeps their energy levels consistently high. Snacking on fruits and vegetables, as opposed to store-bought, processed foods that have plenty of added sugar, fats, and sodium, is a great way to integrate healthy food into daily living. Caregivers can help with chopping seasonal produce, or look out for pre-chopped varieties in local supermarkets. Some nutritious snacking options include:

  • Veggies with hummus, Try carrots, celery, or cucumber sticks paired with a variety of hummus flavors that are available on the market.
  • Citrus fruits, Sliced oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, helping to boost immunity and fight off infection.
  • Unsalted nuts, Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are great heart-healthy options that keep fresh for a while and need no prep.
  • Cottage cheese , Enjoy a great source of protein and calcium that can be paired with whole grain crackers to be more filling, or with an added spoonful of jam or berries for flavor.
  • Smoothies, Get the combined benefits of fresh fruits and yogurt, while sneaking in some nutritious add-ins that are easily disguised. Try spinach, avocado, protein powder, and wheat germ for added nutritional value.
Eat with others.

When planning and cooking meals becomes a tiring chore, it’s time to be sure you’re eating in good company. Occasional potluck meals, where everyone brings one part of the meal, are a great way to make mealtime enjoyable and cooking a lot easier for seniors. There may also be dining options at a nearby senior center, community center, or religious facility, where attendees can enjoy a free or low-cost meal, while socializing as they eat.

Keep hydrated.

Older adults don’t always notice when they get thirsty, putting them at risk of dehydration, even when it isn’t necessarily warm outside. Caregivers should supervise and make sure the adults they care for are drinking fluids on a regular basis, which ideally should be at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water over the day. While sugary drinks are not recommended, seniors can also keep hydrated by drinking natural juices, tea, soup, or even water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as fresh watermelon or cucumbers.

Avoid food that aren’t good for you.

This statement sounds obvious and unnecessary, yet it’s always important to emphasize those foods that negatively affect one’s well being. While sometimes convenient, pleasurable, or even more budget-friendly, these items are best avoided always, especially for older adults:

  • Alcohol overconsumption can decrease brain volume, disrupt neurotransmitters, and lead to behavioral changes, memory loss and sleep difficulties.
  • Mercury, found mostly in wild seafood, where the heavy metal can contaminate fish and have adverse effects on those who ingest it. Mercury toxicity concentrates the brain, kidneys and liver, and disrupts the central nervous system.
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white flour or sugar, can spike blood sugar and insulin levels. A study published in the medical journal entitled Nutrients has shown high glycemic overload can impair memory and has been linked with risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Trans fats, While natural unsaturated fats in dairy and meat aren't harmful, artificial trans fats in frosting, margarine, pre-packaged foods, shortening, and snack foods can harm the brain. Studies have found that artificial trans fat consumption increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline, reduction in brain volume, and poor memory.
Tackle a lack of appetite.

Age-related changes to the body can cause some adults to feel full sooner than they did when they were younger and be less motivated to eat proper, filling meals. It is also possible for medication side effects to include lack of appetite, which makes it worthwhile for seniors to discuss alternative medication options with their doctors, when available.

If food becomes unappealing, caregivers can look out for ways to vary flavors, textures, and colors in each meal. Taking a trip to a local supermarket is a great way to look out for seasonal vegetables, fruits, or seafood options that haven’t been eaten or available in a while. Alternative cooking methods for familiar foods, such as quickly steaming vegetables instead of broiling, allows them to maintain their crunch and offers texture variety.

It is also essential that older adults keep physically active. Engaging in routine exercise burns calories and can help bring on hunger, ultimately motivating adults to take advantage at scheduled mealtimes.

Learn about senior food programs.

Through the Older Americans Act and other programs, such as Meals on Wheels, seniors can access local resources that ensure healthy eating and ease daily meal preparation. These programs often include group and home-delivered meal options to ensure that healthy meal choices are easily accessible. Visit the Eldercare Locator to search for resources in your area.

Here we've addressed some practical pointers and helpful resources that can encourage seniors and their caregivers to incorporate healthy food choices into daily living. With increased focus and a bit of effort, nutritious eating can become less overwhelming, more accessible, and perhaps an enjoyable lifestyle upgrade.

Feel free to further explore our website, where you can find additional caregiver resources and a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

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

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calendar icon 31 August, 2022

Why Yoga Is Great For Seniors

In today’s multicultural world, Yoga is most commonly associated with a list of frequently used exercise modalities, comparable to resistance training, pilates, or stretching. The truth is, however, that Yoga is an ancient, complex practice with roots in Indian philosophy and dates back thousands of years. People used Yoga practices as a way of training the body and mind to become aware of their own nature. Yet, what was recognized as a spiritual practice centuries ago, by now has evolved into a popular method of promoting physical and mental well-being in today’s modern era, as well.

The term “Yoga” is an umbrella term that includes various styles and practices. A general reference to “yoga” would refer to the Hatha variety. Hatha is considered a gentle yoga that emphasizes static poses and is great starting point for those who are unfamiliar. It typically includes 3 components:

1. Pranayama or breathing exercises, are generally the first part of hatha yoga classes. As you move through the poses, the instructor will continue to remind you to focus on your breath and may offer different breathing exercises to try.

2. Poses: Yoga poses, also called postures or asanas, are a series of movements that help improve balance, flexibility, and strength. Poses range in difficulty from laying flat on the floor to physically challenging positions. If at any time during a class, a pose is too challenging, the instructor can provide a modified posture.

3. Meditation: Most classes end with a short period of meditation. During this period of quiet reflection, the instructor may take the class through a guided meditation.

Yoga offers various benefits at a low-risk capacity, and has therefore become increasingly favored among seniors. Caregivers can explore various methods of yoga and help by integrating basic poses into their routines with the adults they care for. Some Yoga positions, such as those included in gentle Yoga, are quite simple, and can be done with just the support of a chair. However, it is always crucial to exercise caution when starting a fitness program and consult directly with a doctor or physical therapist to ensure that their patient is at the appropriate fitness level for the new exercise plan.

With approval from a medical authority and/or therapist, go ahead and see why assorted Yoga practices are a great way for older adults to maintain their physical health and improve overall wellness. Here we highlighted some:

Better Balance

Older adults are at a higher risk of broken or fractured bones caused by them losing their balance and falling. Iyengar Yoga is methodical and precise, with a strong emphasis on maintaining good posture and finding proper form. Using props like bolsters, straps, blocks, and incline boards, participants are able to get into correct alignment and practice improved balance. For seniors with arthritis or other chronic conditions, Yoga helps fortify tiny stabilizer muscles that are typically unnoticed, yet once strengthened, can drastically lower the risk of injury caused by a dangerous fall.

Stronger Core

As a rule, muscle mass generally declines with age, starting when some hit their 40s, and picking up speed after age 50. This gradual change can leave older adults feeling increasingly weaker with time and, if nothing is done, cause them to feel that they are slowly losing control and independence in their lives. Yet, while declining muscle mass is an inevitable part of getting older, there are things adults can do to prevent or reverse muscle loss, as the old saying goes, ‘you have to use it or lose it’. With Yoga, transitioning into different positions challenges muscles to support the weight of the body and strengthens the muscle fibers in the process. Yoga builds strength in the muscles you don't use in everyday living, while toning the ones that you do.

Super Stretching

Chronic back pain is extremely common, inconvenient, and can be debilitating for many seniors. A regular Yoga practice stretches and moves the body to include spine movement in all directions, such as laterally, forward and twisting from side to side. Therefore, as little as a 10-minute daily Yoga exercise may boost a senior’s flexibility, resulting in increased mobility and comfort. For those with a history of aggravating back ailments, Yoga helps to keep their spines healthy and avoid further damage.

Less Stress

By merging meditation and mindful breathing, Yoga exercises encourage one to focus on the present moment and arrive at a sense of inner peace. Research has demonstrated that Yoga can also lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also decrease inflammation throughout the body, which can significantly improve heart health. Yoga can help alleviate several of the conditions that are associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure and obesity.

While noting the relaxation effect that Yoga can have on its participants, it is also worth exploring Restorative Yoga, a meditative form of Yoga that is designed to release tension without stretching. In this style of Yoga, props are used to support the body, and poses are held for several minutes to maximize relaxation. It's not uncommon for people to fall asleep while in a restorative Yoga class. Similarly, many seniors find that incorporating a nightly Yoga routine into their schedules helps relax their minds after the events of the day and prepare their bodies to fall and stay asleep.

Considering the various health benefits Yoga offers, there are several ways caregivers can help get started:

Yoga classes: Ask around in the community for Yoga classes in the area. Some local options may also offer free or discounted classes for seniors. It is worth noting that joining a group Yoga session also offers older adults the benefits of a productive social outlet. Consistently doing exercise in a group setting can help foster positive relationships and decrease the loneliness that many seniors experience as they age.

Yoga at home: In an area or circumstance where in-person classes are not available or attractive, search online for yoga videos available for individual use. Here are a few yoga videos for seniors to begin with:

Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners and Seniors: ideal for those with limited mobility or those recovering from an injury.

30-Minute Restorative Yoga and Meditation: a slow-paced class suitable for seniors, focusing on the mental and meditative benefits of yoga

Full Length Gentle Yoga Class for Beginners and Seniors: a slow-paced, 30-minute yoga flow, featuring a number of seated and standing poses. Includes modifications for beginners.

We've addressed some helpful points that can encourage seniors and their caregivers to explore incorporating Yoga as a new health practice. With numerous physical and emotional benefits, many have found it to be a great outlet and healthy lifestyle choice, however, be sure to consult with a physician before adopting any new exercise regimen.

Feel free to further explore our website, where you can find additional caregiver resources and a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

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

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calendar icon 1 August, 2022

Helping Seniors Move With Ease

In the best of cases, major life transitions are most often experienced with a mix of apprehension, excitement, and curiosity. Adults are typically eager to embrace new opportunities, yet, by the same token, frequently experience varying levels of anxiety towards the changes that come along with transitioning into an unfamiliar environment or life circumstance.

Moving can evoke a plethora of emotions, as the individual is triggered to process that which is being left behind and embrace a new reality in a place that is unknown. For seniors who require assistance in their daily routines, moving is very often not their personal choice and is most commonly accompanied by heightened levels of stress, frustration, and bewilderment.

In medical terms, moving from one location to another puts seniors at risk of Relocation Stress Syndrome, or transfer trauma. RSS refers to a combination of physiological and psychological disturbances that an individual exhibits upon being transferred from one environment to another. In elderly adults, transfer trauma can trigger depression, distress, and social withdrawal. There are multiple factors that exacerbate RSS symptoms as well, including dementia, mild cognitive impairment, frailty, lack of social support, and sensory impairment. As a result, older adults become confused, depressed, and agitated, leading to increased falls, weight loss, and self-care deficits. RSS also presents a risk of premature death because of the decline in physical and emotional well-being.

With awareness and appreciation for the grave impact moving can have on seniors, it is worthwhile to focus on how to best prepare older adults for their transition to a new environment and make an effort to minimize the stresses of moving, wherever possible. We’ve compiled some practical tips and resources that can help caregivers prepare older adults for a smooth transfer to a new place of living.

1. Keep the planning process collaborative.

While some older adults are limited by a medical condition or cognitive impairment, it is helpful to allow those who are capable of making sound decisions to feel they have an active part in planning their move, as much as possible. Discussing the possible changes and outlining the details offers clarity and a sense of control in the transition process.

However, there are many cases seniors in which seniors are not given the choice of moving, and circumstance requires that they relocate to a new place that is far from ideal in their opinion. Relocation for older adults frequently occurs as a result of a fall, accident, or medical incident. Family and caregivers may need to arrange for moving because of a crisis that suddenly made them aware that a higher level of care is now necessary. They also may gradually come to feel unequipped to provide the appropriate support and opt for better care services in another environment. In such circumstances, seeking out ways to honor the older adult’s preferences regarding where they will be moving to, as well as taking a tour of relevant options may somewhat ease the transition and allow for better outcomes in their new place.

2. Offer support throughout the moving process.

Involving family and friends in the moving process can alleviate the feelings of abandonment or loneliness that many seniors experience when exchanging their familiar surroundings for an environment that is foreign to them. Family and friends can be asked to casually engage the senior in conversation about their upcoming move while taking care to offer validation for their concerns and disappointments. If the older adult is moving into a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another supportive housing setting, consult with staff about how to minimize the likelihood that they will experience Relocation Stress Syndrome. They may be able to assign a staff member to the new resident who will help them get acclimated, encourage them to take part in activities, and introduce them to the residents and staff.

3. Safeguard the senior’s personal possessions.

It is likely that downsizing and relocating will be an emotionally challenging experience for the older adult. Many seniors have lived in their homes for decades, experiencing a variety of lifecycle events and marking numerous significant milestones over their time there. They may have invested a significant amount of resources and effort into their home structure and property, built their families, or amassed an accumulation of personal possessions that they are now forced to move away from. It can be difficult to come to terms with leaving their experiences behind and go through the process of selecting which items to keep and which to part with. Therefore, family members and caregivers should exercise extra sensitivity in the packing process and offer their support throughout. Be available to patiently help them sort their possessions into items they want to take along, donate, or give to friends or loved ones.

There is also a strong possibility that this process will trigger many memories and spark conversation that is meaningful to the older adult. Ensuring that there is sufficient time for reminiscing while handling the logistics of the move is a gift that will allow the adult closure on the past, and ease their transition into their new environment.

4. Involve the senior in setting up their new place.

Making the new place resemble the old home as much as possible is another way to help seniors settle comfortably into their new home. Choosing sentimental items to put on display will allow the older adult to maintain a connection to their past experiences and present opportunities for them to share with others when they attract the attention of visitors. It may also be helpful to take a trip shopping for home decor that will spread warmth and allow for personal expression. Stores such as Homegoods, Target, or Walmart offer a wide selection of knickknacks and decorative items that will increase the adult’s positive association with their new home.

5. Get help from senior move managers.

Move managers help plan and oversee any move, including moving from a longtime home to a communal home. In addition to hiring movers and supervising them, they help sort and pack belongings, as well as unpack at the new home.

Move managers are experts in navigating the tricky emotional terrain involved in moving someone who has accumulated a lifetime's worth of possessions, in addition to handling the time-consuming and often backbreaking logistics. They’re especially useful for those who have decades’ worth of accumulated belongings, whose health is frail, or who don’t have adult children nearby. A senior move manager can also help you downsize possessions if someone is moving in with you (or vice versa) so you can accommodate multiple generations.

Pricing for move management services varies greatly. Some senior move managers charge by the hour (usually $25 to $75, depending on the region) or by the job. Visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers to find a move manager near you.

Here we've addressed 5 helpful tips that can help family and caregivers smooth the moving process for a senior they are caring for. Regardless of the circumstances that prompt the move, be sure to stay focused on the factors that can ease the transition and reduce the risk of transfer trauma.

On our website, you can find additional caregiver resources and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Community Home Health Care wishes you and your loved one a smooth transition into the new environment they will soon call home!

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calendar icon 20 June, 2022

Safe Senior-Friendly Activities for Summer

The days are longer and brighter, as luscious lawns and trees in full bloom color beckon us to fill our extended afternoons with outdoor activities and relaxation. With unique ways to make memories and spend time with family and friends present in every season, take advantage of summer’s bounty of recreational activities, warmth, and sunlight.

With more opportunities for spending time outdoors, it is important to note that exposure to sunlight offers numerous advantages. While anyone will tell you that sunshine brightens the mood and lifts their spirits, Vitamin D, a nutrient the body produces when the sun’s UV rays come in contact with the skin, also yields significant health benefits. For seniors specifically, the CDC highlights, Vitamin D has been proven to reduce depression and anxiety, enhance cognition, and improve sleep quality. It also enables the body to absorb calcium, a nutrient that helps maintain strong bones.

Yet, spending time in the sun poses significant risks as well. Overheating or dehydration can significantly affect organ function and cause irreversible damage, yet can easily be avoided by consistently drinking. Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system. Therefore, while it is highly recommended that seniors get direct exposure to the sun at least once a day to reap its benefits, applying quality sunscreen and limiting time outdoors to increments of 20-30 minutes will help reduce the health risks associated with excessive exposure to direct sunlight.

Here we’ve compiled some great entertainment options for those eager to venture out in the summer sun or other ideas to enjoy while staying cool indoors:

1. Experience the Lovely Outdoors

While heat may limit time enjoyed outdoors, early morning or late afternoon hours in some locations are significantly milder and offer the perfect temperatures for comfortably enjoying time spent outside. Start the day by taking in the fresh dew and early sunshine on a scenic morning walk. Caregivers can accompany older adults on a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood as the day awakens, or in slightly more rigorous physical activity offered by following a guided walking trail in a local park or nature reserve. Be sure to consider your loved one's mobility when planning an outing. You’ll want to make sure the choice is appropriately suited to their physical capabilities, including scouting out paths that are smoothly paved to avoid falls or accommodate wheelchair accessibility, if necessary.

For those less motivated to venture out early in the day, late summer afternoon and early evening hours offer unique scenic views, as the sun sets and summer fireflies speckle the night sky. No matter if you choose to admire the scenery from the porch, while strolling in a local park, or walking along a guided hiking trail, you’re guaranteed to return indoors refreshed.

2. Take A Fishing Excursion

A fishing outing is a relaxing venue that appeals to many older adults. Spending time with old friends or a grandchild is an experience that seniors often enjoy and treasure as memorable moments spent together, for years to come. Be sure to inquire about senior fishing license discounts offered in many states, as well as discounts at local fishing clubs.

3. Groom the Garden

A home garden is a wonderful way to spend leisurely time outdoors while getting some exercise and enhancing the landscape. Nurseries and major home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot carry an array of affordable shrubs, herbs, vegetables, and flowers that can be planted without requiring extensive gardening experience or upkeep. For seniors who have limited mobility, choosing options that require little maintenance or are kept in pots that are easy to access will allow them to be involved in the project, even if they require some caregiver help. Older adults will take pride in using homegrown herbs while cooking, or seeing their plants take root and add lively color to their home environment.

4. Visit a Farmers Market

Summer farmer's markets are more than a convenient place to purchase locally-grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, dairy products, or honey. Visiting a farmer's market is also an informal way for seniors to be social by offering them the opportunity to interact with neighbors and support local farmers. Caregivers can accompany adults strolling through the market and stop for free product samples and treats while enjoying the plethora of colors and produce. Many farmers' markets keep their summer calendars filled with features such as live music festivals, jewelry stands, or fresh juice bars. Your loved one can select from a variety of fresh products to enjoy at home, or bring to the next family BBQ, and is sure to look forward to another delightful trip. Click here to locate the farmer's market closest to you.

5. Snack on Seasonal Treats

On a hot afternoon, when spending time outside is less appealing, who doesn't savor the sweet flavor of iced lemonade or fresh summer fruit? Cooler indoor accommodations with sunlight streaming in through the window are the perfect opportunity for spending time experimenting in the kitchen and sharing a refreshing snack. With easy-to-find ingredients, caregivers can help whip up something delicious to snack on or share with friends and family at the next opportunity. Take advantage of summer’s bounty of blueberries, peaches, and squash by incorporating them into one of these simple-to-prepare seasonal treats.

6. Visit A Museum

While summer is synonymous with sunshine, many locales get their fair share of rainy days interspersed throughout the season as well. For a day that you seek an indoor alternative to being out in the hot sun or downpour, a museum or aquarium is the perfect venue for relaxing entertainment. Your loved one will be comfortable and enjoy the spacious, air-conditioned rooms while exploring exhibits and learning new things. Many museums and aquariums offer senior discounts, as well as easily accommodate seniors who are wheelchair-bound. Be sure to inquire about special events hosted throughout the summer.

We've rounded up 6 convenient and budget-friendly summer activities that seniors can easily take part in to maximize the season’s pleasures as well. Regardless of where you and your loved one choose to spend your time, be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day as you celebrate the new season spirit.

You can find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Regardless of how you choose to share the summer days, we hope you enjoy the time spent together. Community Home Health Care wishes you and your family a safe and relaxing summer!

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calendar icon 24 May, 2022

5 Practical Ways to Relieve Caregiver Stress

Life is full of responsibilities. As we age, our responsibilities increase in significance and broaden to include a wider circle of individuals who depend on us to meet their emotional and physical needs. With a myriad of tasks that demand our attention and sap our energies, juggling families, jobs, social networks, and personal needs all at once proves to be as equally challenging as it is rewarding.

Family carers charged with overseeing their elders’ well-being have an additional weighty responsibility that affects their day-to-day living. With decision-making, emotional care, financial considerations and physical needs constantly requiring their attentiveness, an additional measure of resilience and support is critical for care success. Family caregivers play an invaluable role in enhancing their loved one’s quality of life and ensuring their overall well-being. Therefore, it is crucial for carers to confront the complexity of their role by taking time out to care for themselves, as well.

When asked what gets in their way of caring for themselves, family carers’ responses echo various sentiments:

“I just don’t have time.” “I feel guilty taking time for myself when my Mom needs me.” “It feels selfish to block out everything else I need to tackle.” “I can’t delegate. No one can take care of Dad the way I do.”

These statements only highlight how heavily the responsibility of caring for their loved one rests on their shoulders, and how crucial it is for caregivers to prioritize scheduling slots for occasionally invigorating themselves.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 practical ways for family carers to relieve stress and avoid burnout, ensuring that they can continuously provide for their aging loved one with dedication.

1. Create a self-care routine.

Building self-care slots into your daily schedule creates a default for healthy emotional regulation. Daily self-care can be as basic as sitting down for a coffee break at midday, taking just 10 minutes of reading in quiet, enjoying a brisk walk around the block, or gaining some time to think along a 5-minute drive taken without company while running an errand. With self-care, consistency is key, and keeping the time sacrosanct is what will make the difference between being exhausted or energetic in the role of caregiver.

2. Get support from peers.

There are various formal support venues available to those providing in-home care for elders. Whether through a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meeting, in person or virtually, connecting with others who share your struggles and stresses can be a helpful tool in alleviating stress, gaining validation, or sharing your experiences. Search forums online, or find out if your community offers caregiver support groups at the local senior activities center. With an appropriate forum for sharing your caregiving dilemmas and challenges, you’ll eliminate resentment and find it easier to stay focused, positive, and helpful to your loved one.

3. Consult with a therapist.

With so many complexities and responsibilities to juggle at once, keeping your mind focused and clear can be quite a challenge. Meeting consistently with a skilled therapist can be a practical and comfortable space for processing your feelings, learning how to set boundaries, and improving communication with your loved one who is aging in place and other family members. Building rapport with an objective professional can go a long way in limiting tensions, misunderstandings, and emotional overload.

4. Embrace your limitations.

Caring for a loved one should be and could be a labor of love, even if it seems out of reach. By recognizing the areas in which you are limited and learning to accept them, you can deliver higher quality care that is stress-free. Keeping a constant reminder of how much you are doing for your loved one, will make it easier to accept the areas in which you can’t deliver, even if you wanted to.

Overwhelmed by nutritious meal preparation that consumes too much time? Consider stocking the freezer every two weeks to offer your loved one healthy choices that can be easily reheated. Want to make housekeeping more efficient? Invest in color-coded bins to keep things neat, categorized, and within reach, so you can maintain order with less effort and save time spent on putting things away. With practical tricks and a healthy outlook on how much you’re doing, you can feel calm and positively redirect energy that would otherwise be drained when focused on where your caregiving lacks.

5. Delegate as much as you can.

No one said you have to be doing everything. Caring for a loved one takes its toll emotionally, physically, and financially, and therefore, it is crucial to pursue options that can alleviate at least some responsibility, some of the time. Taking a much-needed respite from caregiving duties can also go a long way in invigorating your role. With constant demands from your loved one, it can be hard to carve out time to totally disconnect for a short while in order to return refreshed and recharged. Also, making temporary caregiver arrangements can feel far from ideal at the moment, yet, prioritizing pockets of self-care, as addressed earlier, will only strengthen your commitment to your loved one and enable you to continue giving without burnout.

In addition, there has been much public reform on the issue and value of aging in place, and therefore are countless resources available to adults in any financial bracket. Putting in some time to research your loved one’s Medicaid eligibility can open new doors for your family that can prove to be revolutionary. You may discover stimulating senior day programs, subsidized aide services at varying levels of care, transportation assistance, and emotional support that can all contribute to significantly lowering stress levels, saving time, and cutting costs.

Family members caring for the elderly should keep in mind that home caregiving services significantly relieve many of the stresses associated with eldercare responsibilities. Hired caregivers can offer valued assistance with meal preparation, grocery shopping, and various other daily household or personal care tasks. Aides can also afford the patient a sense of safety, companionship, and the comfort of remaining autonomous in a familiar environment. This doesn’t mean you’ll be giving up the privilege of caring for an elder, it will only enhance your quality of life and allow you to focus solely on what you enjoy doing most for your loved one.

Feel free to peruse our variety of additional caregiver resources throughout our website, and explore relevant topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

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

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calendar icon 21 April, 2022

The Benefits of In-Home Care Services

Dorothy, the protagonist in the timeless Wizard of Oz, is not the only one to believe that “there’s no place like home.” A recent national poll conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons revealed that over 76% of participants 50 years and older prefer to stay in their current homes or communities for the long term. 34% of poll participating seniors also reported that they believe home renovations would be necessary in order to suit their changing physical and health needs as they age. However, many are still motivated to make these adjustments, despite the costs involved. This is due to their deep value for the comfort of remaining in their familiar environment, including vendors, neighbors, and their personal property. It's not difficult to understand why most people feel comfortable aging in their current homes. Moving to an assisted living facility can be difficult. New friends and routines can be challenging, as can the prospect of giving up belongings accumulated over several decades.

Caregiving family members of seniors, as well, believe that aging in place is the ideal choice, both for the well-being of the patient and for the peace of mind it can afford their family members. Yet, caring for an aging loved one demands significant amounts of energy, and often brings on heightened stresses. With this in mind, family caregivers are most often eager to learn about Medicare or Medicaid benefits their loved one qualifies for and rely on professional assistance for easing the myriad of responsibilities caring for an elderly loved one entails.

Research on the topic of aging in place has shown that older adults who live at home enjoy various benefits that would otherwise be inaccessible to them if they would transfer to a facility. Here we offer a comprehensive outline of how hired caregivers can be of assistance, as well as the benefits patients enjoy while living at home:

1. Increased Independence

Older adults who remain in their homes enjoy much more freedom and independence than those who live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Moving from an apartment or private home to a senior living facility or skilled nursing facility may address immediate safety and health concerns, but the trade-offs can be steep for older individuals who are still capable of living mostly independently. Having to live in someone else's space involves living by another's rules, including conforming to set meal times, structured activity schedules, and numerous regulations that can be less than appreciated.

Seniors who age in place are able to live life on their own terms, with more privacy, even when under the professional care of a hired aide. When aging in place, older adults are able to exert a greater level of control over their personal lives, choosing their routines, making decisions, and maintaining a sense of stability in the house they invested in and transformed into a home. This can lead to higher levels of happiness, fulfillment, and personal satisfaction– all critical factors that contribute to better physical function, improved mental health, and a higher quality of life.

2. Connection to Family and Friends

Keeping the same social network as they age allows seniors to continue to stay connected to their friends and family. Not only do older adults have the opportunity to remain near their friends, but they can also host social events in their homes if they wish. On the other hand, in an effort to maintain professional standards, facilities need to enforce regulations and restrictions that limit a resident’s family members and may cause them to find visiting their loved one less than convenient, formal, or even unpleasant. Children are more likely to visit their elderly parents in an environment that is familiar and comfortable for them, allowing seniors to host and connect with the younger generation consistently. With the assistance of an in-home caregiver who can moderate conversation or make introductions, visits can become a lot less stressful or draining on the adult and visiting family members, alike. Caregivers can also be helpful in allowing the senior to prepare for hosting in advance by having a conversation about the upcoming visit, or preparing snacks, drinks, or gifts to have on hand.

Often, communities offer vibrant and active senior centers, volunteer opportunities, and other senior groups that provide opportunities for adults to expand their social circle by participating in various events and activities.

3. Companionship

Living at home with a hired caregiver affords seniors the opportunity for individualized care and constant companionship. Community Home Healthcare vets its staff and provides intensive quality training to ensure the caregivers working with your loved one are qualified to tend to their physical needs and are sensitive to their emotional well-being, as well. In-home caregivers are eager to provide stimulating activities and conversation, as well as accompany seniors to appointments or on errands. Having a specially trained companion who is committed to caring for your loved one while respecting your family’s values and dynamics affords both the patient and their family safety, comfort, and peace of mind.

4. Holistic Care

An older adult living independently often requires assistance and supervision for personal and health-related matters. With a highly qualified caregiver, grooming, toileting, and other personal care needs are attended to with utmost sensitivity to your loved one’s dignity. Caregivers can also be helpful in overseeing dietary considerations at mealtime, encouraging daily exercises, or giving reminders to take medications.

5. Affordability

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are enormously expensive. In addition, it’s important to consider the fact that by the time it comes to making a decision about long-term living arrangements, many seniors have almost paid off their home mortgages or already paid them off completely. Therefore, in addition to the comfort and familiarity that staying at home offers, it also becomes even more attractive from a financial planning standpoint. With Medicare coverage, seniors can receive part-time home care assistance by staying at home. Medicare pays for part-time, in-home skilled nursing care and home health aide services, provided they are ordered by a physician and the patient meets Medicare criteria for being homebound. Even without Medicare help, in-home care is usually more affordable than assisted living or nursing homes. At Community Home Health, our staff is eager to guide you in understanding your benefits eligibility and planning a caregiver arrangement that best fits your lifestyle.

Family members caring for the elderly should keep in mind that home caregiving services relieve many of the stresses associated with eldercare responsibilities. Caregivers offer valued assistance with meal preparation, grocery shopping, and various other daily household tasks, while affording the patient a sense of safety, companionship, and the comfort of remaining autonomous in a familiar environment. Feel free to peruse our variety of additional caregiver resources throughout our website, and explore relevant topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

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

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

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calendar icon 31 March, 2022

Creating a Senior-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s the place where families gather to chat, cook, and share memorable moments. Having enjoyable experiences in the kitchen is vital for a senior's overall health and functioning. Easy accessibility to gadgets, storage, and appliances is essential to keeping meal preparation safe and efficient, while allowing older adults to maintain their independence and self-esteem, as they feel productive in accomplishing household tasks with ease. Remodeling a kitchen to accommodate an older adult’s evolving needs can be costly and beyond the means of many. Replacing appliances, cabinetry, or utility access involves large expenses that may be unnecessary once minimal effort is put into smart planning. While considering some of the common challenges seniors face in the kitchen, we’ve compiled a helpful list of various budget-minded adjustments you can make to ensure safety, independence, and convenience at home for your loved one.

1. Senior-Smart Storage

Putting a bit of thought into how kitchenware is being stored can go a long way. Do a full check to make sure that items most commonly used are positioned at a height that is easily reached without bending or using a stool. Avoid keeping cookware in higher cabinets, and opt for cutlery organization at waist level. There are countless storage solutions available for purchase, as well. Consider installing pull-out shelves to lower cabinets, keeping bottled ingredients on a lazy susan, or organizing spices on a 2 tier spice rack for easy access.

2. Better Lighting

Vision clarity is essential for seniors working in the kitchen. With sharp tools, heat, and a variety of items to choose from when cooking, proper lighting can spell the difference between danger and protection. By increasing lighting above and inside cabinets, over work areas, and in storage areas, seniors will find it easier to locate what they’re looking for and more enjoyable to work in well-lit areas. In addition to adjusting the brightness in the kitchen, consider replacing standard light switches with rocker switches to accommodate adults with weakened muscles or decreased hand-eye coordination.

3. Comfortable Seating

Being able to sit comfortably for long periods of time can increase efficiency in meal preparation and allow seniors to get off their weary feet while accomplishing tasks. While seniors’ living spaces are often far from spacious, it is important to consider seating options that accommodate company and convenience in the kitchen area. A medical kitchen stool offers padded seating, adjustable heights and arm supports to maximize comfort and productivity. Now your loved one can be active in the kitchen, pain-free!

4. Lower Workstations

Adding spaces that accommodate a wheelchair or lost height is another practical way to encourage your senior to take an active role in the kitchen. Installing a lower island or corner table makes meal prep simpler and more enjoyable for someone who finds standard counter height to pose a daily challenge. Being able to stay seated while accomplishing important tasks will offer your loved one a chance to relax and feel productive simultaneously.

5. Upgraded Sink

Upgrade the faucets at the sink to lever-style fixtures instead of twist knobs to make them easier to operate. For people with limited mobility, motion-activated faucets can be installed to reduce the need for reaching. In addition to eliminating the need to grip, these innovative faucets also eliminate the possibility of forgetting to turn off the water. Save effort, save money, and let your elder enjoy simple conveniences that make a difference. Alternatively, adding a motion sensor faucet adapter is a simpler and less expensive option to consider, as well. Washing at the sink can also become a breeze with a faucet sprayer attachment that includes a lever for controlling water flow. Use the powerful water spray function to rinse hardened food remnants on dishes, or opt for the gentle water flow function that is more suitable for rinsing fruits or vegetables, and clearing the sink.

6. Useful Handheld Gadgets

Older adults often struggle with chronic conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, poor vision, and fatigue. Many are also challenged by post-stroke effects that significantly limit their mobility and coordination. To aid seniors with their daily activities, geriatricians and experts recommend installing adaptive kitchen aids for your loved one’s meal preparation. Explore useful senior-friendly gadgets like automatic openers for jars, cans, and bottles, as well as oversized grip utensils, and more.

7. Effortless Reaching

Help your elder reach with ease. This lightweight reacher grabber stick allows older adults to navigate hard-to-reach places and enjoy their independence more. No more asking others to pick up, reach, or return items to their places! This product offers a strong gripping device that can handle both small items that require strong fine motor skills, like coins, as well as larger items that demand strength and flexibility, like pieces of fallen trash. Easy to handle, easy to store, this is a worthwhile investment for your senior’s kitchen.

8. Improved Time Tracking

For seniors challenged by maintaining focus or memory loss, cooking times can easily be forgotten and result in food that is all too well done, or no longer edible. Prevent your loved one from feeling frustrated when dishes prepared with effort are lost due to time oversight and add this magnetic timer to their kitchen routines. With minimal effort, the large knob can be set to pace cooking times and remind those present to monitor readiness. It can also be a useful tool in setting goals, motivating seniors to focus on specific tasks around the house for limited time frames. Regardless of which kitchen upgrades you choose to undertake, your loved one will surely appreciate increased accessibility and independence in their kitchen experience. Paying attention to details that can improve task performance and kitchen safety can go a long way in making aging at home a pleasant experience. In addition to planning home improvements to accommodate senior needs, family members caring for the elderly should keep in mind that home caregiving services relieve many of the stresses associated with eldercare responsibilities. Caregivers offer valued assistance with meal preparation, grocery shopping, and various other daily household tasks. Feel free to peruse our variety of additional caregiver resources throughout our website, and explore relevant topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.
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calendar icon 24 February, 2022

Communication With Dementia Patients

Dementia is one of the most challenging conditions associated with aging, both for the patient, and for those around him. Although there are multiple forms of dementia, all affect damage to the patient’s brain cells and impede the individual’s ability to process information, make decisions and communicate verbally. Therefore, the patient and his caregivers, family, and friends are often confused and frustrated by the challenges of daily functioning and interacting with one another. Initially, your loved one may have trouble finding the right words to describe things or complete thoughts, confuse sequences when telling a story, or forget what they just said or intended to say. In a more progressive stage, the older adult may have a hard time following your words, take more time to respond to others or to join a conversation, and ask repetitive questions. As the disease progresses, the dementia patient only uses very few words each day, speaks strangely, or constantly repeats what was already said. In light of the challenge of this diagnosis, how can family members and caregivers create an environment that still enables sharing experiences, laughing, and talking together? We’ve gathered some pointers that are sure to enhance your relationship with someone whose communication abilities are compromised because of their declining condition.

1. Recognize communication as a new challenge.

No one chooses to relinquish their faculties. A debilitating condition is hard both for the patient and for their loved ones around them who struggle to give support. By allowing ourselves permission to mourn the difficulties, we can more effectively deal with discomforts and replace negative attitudes with proactive strategies.

2. Remind the older adult who you are.

When meeting someone who suffers from dementia, be aware that they might not recognize you immediately. Introduce yourself and others by giving the older adult some background information, and gently explain how you are related to them. This can bring back memories that help the adult feel comfortable. It can also create a feeling of security once they have clarity on who is talking to them. A caregiver in the home who is more familiar with the adult may be able to make them feel more comfortable if they seem especially disoriented or frustrated.

3. Pay attention to nonverbal communication.

When communicating with a dementia patient, it’s important to keep in mind that this is someone who means a lot to you. You want to demonstrate that you care about them and the time you spend together and therefore do your best to communicate in a way they can grasp. While words can become a source of frustration, focusing on body language is a helpful tool for getting a message across without having to explain your intent. A caregiver can communicate more effectively by being careful to match their body language and facial expressions to the message being conveyed in their words. It is also important to remember that adults with dementia can still sense emotions, especially if the speaker’s tone doesn't match their words. By focusing on non verbals, we can eliminate confusion, agitation, and anger and also increase the older adult’s cooperation and ability to follow the conversation.

4. Focus on the pace and style of your words.

Long sentences and impressive vocabulary can be confusing or frustrating for someone who struggles with communication. Caregivers should focus on keeping sentences short and pausing frequently so that the older adult can digest the information. Paying attention to the older adult’s facial expressions can often give the speaker valuable feedback on how much they’re following the verbal exchange.

5. Remove distractions to maximize focus.

Staying focused on something when there are distractions around is hard for all of us. For patients with dementia, it’s even harder. We recommend observing the environment or checking in with in-home caregivers to see what distractions can be removed. You can create a calm, quiet environment by simply turning off the TV, setting electronics to silent mode, or asking other people to lower their voices or move to an adjoining room. By taking an objective look around and minimizing overstimulation, you can make it easier for your aging loved one to stay focused on the conversation or the task at hand.

6. Remember that being present is most important.

When visiting someone with dementia, simply spending time with them goes a long way. At a phase when actively connecting with others is a challenge for the patient, having social interactions becomes even more valuable. Therefore, family and friends should consider visits and conversations meaningful to the older person, even when they are not getting such feedback. Practice actively listening to whatever verbal exchange you have with an older adult and let them know you’re listening to their ideas. Nodding and responding in validation gives people the feeling that you are engaged and want to hear more. For a dementia patient who struggles with expressing themselves, these cues are even more beneficial. Family members should also keep in mind that in-home caregiving services can also make the time spent with an elderly loved one more enjoyable, especially if it is becoming challenging to manage essential tasks. You can find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.
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