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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.Read More
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.
11 January, 2022
Helping Seniors Stay Active at Home
This time of year presents a significant challenge to seniors because of the lull following the holiday season, the cooler temperatures, and the increased risk of contracting viruses and COVID-19. Minimizing exposure and limiting outings in winter weather are valuable safety precautions for everyone to take, especially older adults, who are at higher risk of contracting an illness. At the same time, it is equally important to consider mind and body wellness by continuing daily activities that keep your loved one active. We’ve compiled some of our favorite ways that caregivers can help seniors feel active, stay safe, and enjoy the warmth of home in good company. Here are some ideas:Read More
Get Busy With Games and PuzzlesEngaging and stimulating indoor games and puzzles can help seniors stay active and motivated. There are a variety of puzzles and games on the market available to suit a wide range of interests and abilities, as well as an array of price points. Even with the gifting season behind us, friends and family can surprise their loved one with a gift delivered to their home. Caregivers can also spend time with seniors, choosing one together online or at a local store. Explore the full range of activities and virtual products that sites like Relish or Being Saavy.com offer for keeping older adults active. Caregivers can engage seniors at various functionality levels in interactive games, such as Boggle, Rummikub, or Chess. Bananagrams is also a practical option, specifically because the game is available in a senior-friendly version that features larger letters. Board games or puzzles require handling pieces, and are wonderful opportunities for seniors to stimulate their minds, while keeping their hands nimble. Caregivers will need to adapt their entertainment selections to the older adult’s ability, and choose puzzles that contain an appropriate amount of pieces. Some may be able and motivated to work on a long-term project, while others may need fewer, larger pieces that accommodate their limited vision or dexterity. When enjoyed in the company of a companion, friends, or family, games and puzzles can prove to be a truly memorable shared experience.
Design A CraftKeeping active becomes easy with knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Older adults will find it rewarding to design and create their own masterpieces that can later be displayed, shared, or put to practical use. Caregivers can accompany seniors to their local craft supplier, such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels, where they can draw inspiration and shop for materials to create a work of art. Knitting or crocheting for charity is a meaningful way for seniors to share their skills and make a difference. There are numerous organizations that accept donations of knitted hats, shawls, scarves, blankets, and more. For more information about using these unique skills to help benefit others, click here.
Take on an Exercise RoutineStaying active through movement improves emotional well-being and promotes good health. Caregivers can explore online exercise classes available on YouTube or other sites, and easily help seniors gain access to exercise routines that are geared specifically for older adults. There are many options for low-impact exercises that are free of charge and possible to do at home. Incorporating exercise into the daily routine will help seniors experience increased energy levels and maintain their health. While being inside is encouraged, older adults can still remain active outdoors as well. On days that allow being outside, caregivers can accompany seniors on walks around the neighborhood, in a local park, or on a guided trail that is smooth and dry. Regardless of how you choose to spend the days indoors, you can always 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.
9 December, 2021
Sharing the Holidays With Seniors
The holiday season is upon us, bringing along its familiar sounds, smells, spirit —and stresses. Our families are planning get-togethers, feasts, gifting, and more, all to maximize this exciting time of year. Regardless of age, children and adults alike anticipate the holiday cheer, sharing, and memorable moments created during this time. Yet, what happens when the older generation is dependent on the younger generation to make the season a joyous and memorable one? How can caregivers juggle the multi-generational dynamic and celebrate with everyone’s interests and well-being in mind? We’ve gathered some helpful pointers that address this sensitive issue and are sure to maximize and enhance everyone's holiday experience.Read More
Be ProactiveIt's no secret that holidays can be demanding and overwhelming, as much as they can be joyous. For family caregivers, juggling multiple ages and needs can prove to be daunting. Therefore, proactive planning is crucial to avoid having the holiday experience feel anything but wonderful for anyone involved in senior care. To begin with, you should determine what's meaningful to you, your family, and your elder, and find out what is or isn't a priority. This may mean having a candid conversation with children or seniors about their expectations or hopes for what celebrating looks like and planning logistics in a way that encourages everyone to be flexible. When everyone in the family’s preferences can be considered in holiday planning, you’re more likely to feel confident in your decisions and eliminate unnecessary disappointments. For example, you may need to hire a part-time in-home caregiver to help ease the responsibilities, so that you can spend time shopping with the kids. It may be beneficial to rely on home health care staff to spread holiday cheer while you attend your children’s holiday performances or corporate dinner. Alternatively, try thinking about allowing someone else to host the big family dinner or purchasing a ready-made dish for the office potluck instead of making it yourself so that you can take the time to visit Mom or Dad. It’s all about striking a balance between the top few things that are most important. This will ensure that you don’t find yourself exhausted, or even worse, sick in bed, unable to join any of the excitement.
Maximize InclusionHaving physical or cognitive limitations does not have to prevent older adults from enjoying the holidays. You don't have to plan exciting activities or even leave the comfort of home in order to make the holiday season special and meaningful. It's about spending time together, feeling included, and enjoying good company - even if it's done virtually. Invite your loved ones to watch you decorate or wrap gifts via Skype, FaceTime, and other digital platforms. Playing and singing Carols, or looking through photos of past holidays can also create a positive atmosphere and help your older adult enjoy the season. No matter how you choose to spend shared time, be mindful of the pace and noise level to keep older adults from getting too tired or overstimulated. Additionally, engaging the younger generation in elder care exposes them to the cycle of life and trains them to approach the responsibility with positivity and respect. You may include your children in decorating Grandma’s tree and create a personal and memorable holiday experience for everyone. Your family probably doesn't fully appreciate how much effort you put into keeping everyone healthy and happy. Involving them might inspire a deeper sense of appreciation for all that you do for your loved ones.
Senior Gift GivingEveryone loves receiving something special. Somehow, the challenge for most is determining just what to gift each person with. Considering varying interests, abilities, and budget constraints, you can still be sure to gift your elder with something they’ll appreciate.
1. Gifts for seniors to look forward to:Holidays are a time to spend with others. Even when it isn't always possible to attend an in-person celebration, there are many virtual ways to continue gifting from afar. For example, book tickets to an online comedy show that your loved one can enjoy from the comfort of home. Treat them to membership in a virtual fitness program designed specifically for older adults if they're looking for fun ways to stay active. Pay attention to options for online access to media, educational courses, or exclusive entertainment venues for a variety of suitable gift options that don’t come wrapped in paper.
2. Gifts for seniors to use:A meaningful gift does not have to be large and expensive a hat, slippers, or gift cards are among the most popular gift items that seniors appreciate. A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or meal delivery service can be the perfect gift for those who enjoy a good meal.
3. Gifts for senior entertainment:Books, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, and magazines can serve as a great source of entertainment, keep the mind active and prevent boredom, especially if a senior is isolated or homebound. Consider gifting your loved one with a monthly subscription box to deliver a surprise to their doorstep every month. Choose from countless options and themes available, allowing your loved one to enjoy a gift that keeps giving through the year. As you prepare for your holiday celebrations, it’s important to believe that the season can be memorable for everyone, even with some compromise. Allow yourself time and space to embrace this reality — and then remind yourself and your loved ones of the true reasons you celebrate. At Community Home Health Care, we’re here to help you. No matter the caregiving challenge, you can navigate this holiday season with hope, peace and joy. Find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and are happy to assist your family at this wonderful time of year. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions. Happy holidays from your friends at Community Home Health Care!
9 November, 2021
A Proactive Approach to Loneliness and Social Isolation In Seniors
Although the prevalence of loneliness and isolation in seniors has been an enduring concern, the outbreak of the current COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased awareness and sensitivity to the issue. As a result of pandemic impacts, other populations are suddenly faced with a new social reality, prompting friends, family, and service providers to understand the elderly human experience more deeply and strive to minimize its negative outcomes. Prevalence rates suggest that nearly 30% of older adults experience loneliness and/or social isolation and 5% report often or always feeling lonely. As reported by the National Institute on Aging, loneliness and social isolation can have long-term negative effects on older adults' physical and mental health, including: ● Poorer cognitive function ● High blood pressure ● Heart disease ● Obesity ● Weakened immune system ● Anxiety ● Depression ● Cognitive decline ● Alzheimer’s disease ● Death Individuals can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons. These reasons include growing older or weaker, the deaths of their spouses and friends, limited mobility, illness, or leaving the workplace. Older people also often have limited access to transportation, and fear that they will become burdensome to their family and friends. This may motivate them to stay at home, or refuse to accept offers for participating in family and social activities. Regardless of the circumstance, it is crucial for social workers, family, and caregivers to compensate wherever necessary and provide seniors with opportunities for social engagement, in order to mitigate the effects of loneliness and isolation.Read More
Recognizing Isolation and LonelinessResearch shows that social isolation and loneliness overlap significantly, and are often used interchangeably. In social isolation, individuals lack contact with their social network. On the other hand, loneliness refers to a state of feeling alone, separated, or separate from others. This can be defined as an imbalance between desired and actual interpersonal contact. Even though gerontological researchers and social workers distinguish between loneliness and social isolation, they acknowledge that both of these issues negatively impact older people's health and well-being, and thus emphasize the benefits of interventions that address both.
Addressing Loneliness and COVID-19In light of the recent pandemic, loneliness and social isolation heightened amongst seniors who were forced to be separated from loved ones for extended periods of time. In residential facilities, patient isolation remained a priority, as well as a significant concern. Since families were unable to enter the facility, senior programming directors were challenged to come up with creative ways to alleviate their residents’ loneliness and isolation. Visiting from outside windows or from a distance in outdoor premises, became the new norm. Utilizing technology, such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and Hangouts has also been incredibly effective in keeping at-risk adults isolated, yet socially active. Re-thinking how to offer group activities with appropriate social distancing, or organizing compassionate visits for persons at the end-of-life posed an additional challenge for those who most appreciate the significance of social interaction for their patients. Older adults living independently at home can face these challenges as well. Thus it is crucial to ensure the adult has a variety of occasions to engage in meaningful social activities. For loved ones living apart it is also important to keep consistent, open communication with on-site caregivers, or the elderly individual, to be assured that there are a variety of opportunities for social engagement, despite living independently.
How We Can HelpThere are a variety of techniques on how caregivers can help reduce social isolation. With increased focus on the issue and a bit of proactive planning, caregivers, or even family and friends can easily help their loved one be set up for success. Here are some ideas:
Make a scheduleCreating a structure in day-to-day life, even if it may be difficult, offers the individual a sense of stability and purpose. Try setting an alarm to start the day at a reasonable time. Begin the week with a basic plan that outlines goals or activities for each day. Incorporate a combination of leisurely activities and chores, such as attending senior events, shopping, cooking a meal, a doctor’s visit, or taking a walk in a local park. Be sure to include something enjoyable and involve someone else's company when planning the schedule.
Keep a PetSeveral studies have shown that pet attachment can alleviate loneliness by providing social support and companionship for the pet owner. Studies that evaluated the role of pet attachment or animal-assisted therapy demonstrated favorable effects on emotional well-being. A caregiver can help with pet care and maintenance so that the adult can enjoy full benefit, stress-free.
Discover New FriendsFacilitating opportunities to connect with new people is another way to alleviate isolation. Seniors can pursue their hobbies with like-minded peers, such as by joining a library society, sports venue, or knitting club. Caregivers can offer escort and companionship to adults pursuing their hobbies. There may also be local opportunities to connect with volunteers who are eager to join and facilitate new friendships.
Learn to love computersIn a fast-paced digital age, older adults often feel incompetent and isolated amidst a younger, tech-savvy generation. Explore opportunities for seniors to learn technology-related skills, such as corresponding by email, or following social media. Researchers have found that seniors who completed a 3-week computer training course and internet tutorial reported a significant decrease in loneliness. Caregivers can also offer ongoing assistance in this new experience. Regardless of how you choose to fill the week, we encourage taking a proactive approach to combat loneliness and mitigate its effects. 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.
References:Gardiner C, Geldenhuys G, Gott M. Interventions to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older people: an integrative review. Health Soc Care Community. 2018 Mar;26(2):147-157. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12367. Epub 2016 Jul 13. PMID: 27413007. Cacioppo JT, Cacioppo S. Older adults reporting social isolation or loneliness show poorer cognitive function 4 years later. Evid Based Nurs. 2014 Apr;17(2):59-60. doi: 10.1136/eb-2013-101379. Epub 2013 Jun 8. PMID: 23749730.
12 October, 2021
Senior-Friendly Activities for Fall
The days are gradually getting shorter, and the luscious lawns of summer give way to autumn’s fallen leaves. There's always something special about each time of year, so we've rounded up 7 of our favorite fall activities that seniors can easily enjoy as well. With some great entertainment options while staying indoors, or venturing out into the crisp autumn air, you and your loved one can now go ahead and celebrate the new season!Read More
1. Experience the Lovely OutdoorsAs summer's warmth fades out into the cold of winter, autumn offers the ideal climate to comfortably enjoy time spent outside. Take in the beautiful foliage and fresh autumn scents together, while engaging in a physical activity that relaxes and invigorates. When planning an outing with your loved one, it's important to keep his or her mobility in mind. You’ll want to make sure your choice is suited to your loved one’s physical capabilities. Whether you choose to admire the scenery from the porch, in the car, strolling in a local park, or walking along a guided hiking trail, you’re guaranteed to return inside refreshed.
2. Prepare Seasonal SnacksOn a chilly afternoon, who doesn't savor the tantalizing smell of freshly baked pastries? Or better yet, sharing the day and making memories together over a recipe? Cool days with longer evenings are the perfect time to get cozy in the kitchen and prepare a homemade snack. With easy-to-find ingredients, you and your loved one can whip up something delicious to enjoy together or share with friends and family on your next special occasion. Take advantage of autumn’s bounty of apples, cranberries, pumpkins in one of these simple seasonal treats.
3. Plant AheadFall may not be the most enjoyable time to sit out in the yard, but if you've got a small patch for planting, this is the best time to invest in a home garden. Make the most of your loved one’s green thumb and get planting! Generally, trees, shrubs, and a wide variety of perennial plants grow best when planted at a time when the ground is moist. In this way, the roots can establish themselves before the ground freezes and winter sets in. Veggies that thrive in this season include bok choy, Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, cauliflower, celery, endive, kale, leeks, and head and leaf lettuces. They also include onions, peas, garlic, radishes, snow peas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. Flowers, such as tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils can be planted early in the fall and will reappear to decorate the landscape each year. For these, you’ll need one trip to your local nursery and then lots of patience until spring blooms again…
4. Decorate IndoorsYour loved one will enjoy crafting in good company while sprucing up the house with seasonal decor. Create an autumn wreath to display on the front door, paint pumpkins in varied sizes to dress up the table, or get started on crocheting a personalized holiday gift for someone special. Spend an afternoon visiting your local craft stores, like Hobby Lobby or Michael's, and take advantage of the wide selection of seasonal art supplies they offer. You can also find some more ideas here for great crafts that guarantee memorable activities and warm autumn vibes. Crafting together will help you create the perfect atmosphere for this time of year.
5. Coordinate a VisitWhile everyone is spending less time outdoors, seize the opportunity to reconnect with long-time acquaintances, extended family, and close friends. Ask your loved one who they’d like for company and schedule a date, or offer to accompany them on a visit to someone they’d be glad to get together with. You can invite guests to your loved one’s home, or make up for them to meet at a local coffee shop, restaurant, or entertainment venue. When guests visit at home, you can bring out old photo albums for them to reminisce with, as they enjoy the chance to reflect on a bygone era with someone from their past. Restoring old friendships is a powerful way for seniors to feel younger and more vibrant.
6. Work on a Fall-Themed PuzzleBring the scenic views inside and relax together with a cup of tea while you assemble a masterpiece. Larger-piece puzzles allow seniors to create their own works of art- ones that can both be displayed proudly and are easily accessible. They also offer older adults an opportunity to keep their fingers and minds nimble, while having fun and experiencing a sense of gratification. Many find that working on a puzzle has a meditative effect, subtly decreasing feelings of anxiety, and increasing mental well-being. Click here to choose from a selection of autumn puzzles that can be delivered to your door and enjoyed in the company of grandchildren, neighbors, or friends. When the project is completed and displayed, your loved one will be happy to show it off to visitors and tell them about the process of creating their masterpiece.
7. Visit a Farmers MarketA farmers market is more than a convenient place to purchase fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables, dairy products, or honey. Visiting a farmers market is also an informal way for seniors to be social by providing them with the opportunity to interact with neighbors and support local farmers. Adults can stroll through the market and stop for free samples and tastes while enjoying the plethora of colors and produce. Your loved one can select from a variety of fresh products to enjoy at home and is sure to look forward to another delightful trip. Click here to locate the farmers’ market closest to you. Regardless of how you choose to share the day, we hope you enjoy the time spent together. 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. Community Home Health Care wishes you and your family a most memorable autumn!
5 August, 2021
Going On an Outing With a Senior With Dementia? These 8 Tips Are For You
You’re Not The Only OneIf you dread taking your loved one on outings, you’re not alone. One of the hardest parts of caring for your loved one who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s is going on outings with them. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can display embarrassing or unusual behaviors in public, making it difficult for you to take them out without creating a commotion.
Why Outings are BeneficialGoing out into the sunshine and being social helps ● Enhance their moods ● Lower their stress levels ● Improve their sleep patterns ● Use their energy in a positive way ● Create new memories ● Lessen their sense of isolation ● Develop a stronger sense of self (affecting self-esteem, confidence, and happiness) ● Orient them in reality Outings are important — for both caregivers and seniors. So use these 8 tips to make your outings as smooth and enjoyable as can be!
1. Pack your go-bag.Be prepared, they say. It’s true! Pack a tote bag with essentials, and things your loved one would appreciate. Here are some ideas of what to bring on an outing to make it more pleasant: ● Snacks and water ● Emergency contact information ● Up-to-date medical information ● Photocopies of important legal documents ● Relevant medications ● Incontinence briefs ● Wipes and tissues ● Magazines and books ● Weather-related accessories (umbrella, sunscreen, sunglasses, gloves, etc) ● Extra clothing ● A soothing item for them to hold
2. Choose Alzheimer-friendly places.When your loved one displays behavior that is not socially accepted, many businesses are not sympathetic, and instead of offering you assistance, they ask you to leave. While not always possible, choose to visit establishments whose employees have completed special training to help them understand and assist people with dementia and their caregivers. Think about how your senior loved one will behave in the place you plan to visit. Busy places (like restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks) can be overwhelming with all the sights and sounds and people. Choose your destination carefully.
3. Have explanations prepared.Bystanders will naturally become uncomfortable and maybe stare when an adult displays strange behaviors like removing clothing or shouting inappropriately. Plan how you’re going to deal with these situations. Here’s an idea: print small cards to hand out to bystanders, explaining that your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and to please forgive the outburst. This discreet way of informing people also helps preserve your loved one’s dignity.
4. Stay calm.Think this is an obvious one? It’s easy to get agitated along with your loved one. You are already working really hard caring for them, and taking them on an outing adds to your stress. Yet, it’s important to remain calm. If you find your stress levels are rising in response to the outing, take three deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you could, and carry on calmly. Your calm state will help your loved one, too.
5. Inform your loved one in advance.Some elderly people with dementia do not like sudden changes to their schedules. Take time to prepare them. Tell your loved ones when and where you’re going, what they can expect there, and any other information that will help them feel calmer and in control. It also helps to keep your routine as close as possible to normal, by including tasks from their normal daily routine.
6. Inform the people at your destination.Forewarned is forearmed! Going to visit people you know? Prepare them in advance. Explain that your loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s and that they may display surprising behavior. Give them pointers for what they should and shouldn't do. For example, many people tend to do “memory tests” when speaking with people with dementia. Tell them in advance that testing your loved one agitates them.
7. Dress them comfortably.You know the physical comfort of your loved one makes a big difference to their behavior. So dress your loved one in appropriate and comfortable clothing and shoes to lower the chances of outbursts. (Wearing proper shoes can also help your elderly loved one avoid potential falls.)
8. Time it right.As their caregiver, you know your loved one fares better at different times of day and different times of the week. Plan your outing for a time when your loved one’s spirits are high and they’re feeling good. Make sure the duration of the trip will not overwhelm them, either.
You’re all set!You’ll be well prepared with these tips the next time you need to go on an outing with your aging loved one who’s suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Looking for more helpful resources? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you have, and we’ll be happy to help. Kudos to you, caregiver!
2 July, 2021
The Fourth of July: Celebrating and Promoting Senior Independence
What’s the big deal?
Independence Day — For AllJuly 4th. The birth of American indepence. Picnics, patriotic t-shirts, and brilliant firework displays. It’s the quintessential mark of our very human desire to be free. The desire to ‘do it myself,’ like every two-year-old asserts. Yet, what does Independence Day mean for those who are slowly becoming more dependent on those around them? What does the word ‘independence’ mean to aging seniors and their caregivers? This July 4th, we’re talking about senior independence — what it means, why it’s so important and how to promote it. Plus, some inspiration for seniors and caregivers navigating the delicate balance of dependence and independence.
Why Independence is Hard to DefineDid you build your own house? Did you sew your clothes, grow and harvest your food — all with tools you built yourself? Of course not! Yet you still consider yourself an independent person, correct? That’s because independence is not about self-reliance, but about how you perceive your own ability to care for yourself independently. Ask yourself; what does independence mean to me? Is it the ability to make your own schedule? Get out of the house? Take on new responsibilities without much pressure? Maybe it's the ability to make your choices without being told what to do. “When I was younger, I thought independence meant working hard and saving up for a house. As I got older, I realized part of being an adult was deciding what role I wanted to play in my life.” Everyone has their own criteria for independence.
What’s the big deal?
Your golden senior years are a joyous time. A time to explore your past accomplishments, your goals for the future, and what independence means to you. Your body and mind are changing. Your capacity to work is changing. You may even need help with basic functioning like meal preparation, bathing and dressing. That’s why independence is a buzzword for seniors. It means everything to hold on to the freedom and independence you still have as you age.
No matter your age, freedom and independence are crucial to our self-esteem.
The Good News Your golden years are a prime time to do things you never would have dreamt of before. Asking for help with bathing can be difficult, but it doesn't mean you’ve lost your independence. When you retire, for the first time in your life you have the freedom to decide what you’ll do with your time. It’s a great time to try new things! Senior independence can mean doing things for yourself that you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when you were younger—working on a book, for example, or starting your own small business, or buying a pet. It means planning your days so that you get the most out of each hour, and not wasting time on things that don't contribute to your happiness. “When I turned 71, I took an art class for the first time in my life. And to my surprise, I discovered a real talent! Now I use my time to paint portraits and beautiful scenery for my kids' homes. Seeing my handiwork hanging on their walls brings me such joy. What would have been if I never took that art class?”
4 Ways to Promote Senior Independence Whether you’re a caregiver or a senior, you can promote senior independence the following ways:
1. Improve your advocacy skills. When making decisions on behalf of another, or making decisions a team instead of on your own, it's important to
● Stay positive
● Use a pleasant tone of voice
● Communicate as clearly as possible
● Be okay with comprising for the sake of another Keep these things in mind when advocating for yourself or your loved one. Not sure if you’re being an effective advocate? Ask for
feedback from those around you!
2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy is crucial to maintaining your independence, especially as we age. It means staying functional and active for longer and needing less help with physical tasks. Take a look at your diet and see where you can add more whole grains, vegetables, and cut down on processed foods and foods high in fat and sodium. Commit to an exercise routine that suits your level and stick to it! You’re sure to see both physical and emotional improvement from living a healthier lifestyle.
3. Talk openly about aging. Aging. We’re all headed towards it, every second of our lives. Today’s media likes to convince us that staying young forever is a commendable (and attainable!) goal. Instead of falling for the promise of a fountain of youth, embrace aging with grace and be proud of all your years of experience, friendships you’ve made, and accomplishments you’ve achieved.
4. Make things easy to access. Speaking up and asking for help can be really uncomfortable. Especially when you have to ask for so many things, so often. An easy way to decrease the number of times a senior needs to ask their caregiver for help — make commonly used items easily accessible. That limits the need for constant requests for help reaching or lifting for things. Clothing, food, appliances, toiletries, etc, should all be made available to the senior. “My mom asked me to move the outfits she wears most often to a lower shelf. Now she can dress herself every morning without calling for her caregiver. It’s the simple changes like these that allow her to feel independent.”
Growing Every Day When you’re forming or maintaining a caregiver-senior relationship, every day is a new opportunity for personal growth. Here are some inspirational quotes to help you on your journey.
“To find yourself, think for yourself.”
― Socrates No matter how dependent we become on others, whether due to life circumstances, illness, or age, we can still think for ourselves. And that is true independence.
“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”
― Rosalyn Carter Caregiving is universal. At some point in your life, you have given care or received care. Embrace it.
“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”
― Albert Camus So...you’re independent. The pivotal question is: what are you going to do with your independence?
Happy Fourth of July! Whether you’re celebrating as a caregiver or senior, Independence Day is a time for reflection on our relationships and goals. Make sure to see some fireworks while you’re pondering! If you’re looking for a caregiver or professional to help your elderly loved one age with grace and independence, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 or contact us through our site.
The Good NewsYour golden years are a prime time to do things you never would have dreamt of before. Asking for help with bathing can be difficult, but it doesn't mean you’ve lost your independence. When you retire, for the first time in your life you have the freedom to decide what you’ll do with your time. It’s a great time to try new things! Senior independence can mean doing things for yourself that you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when you were younger—working on a book, for example, or starting your own small business, or buying a pet. It means planning your days so that you get the most out of each hour, and not wasting time on things that don't contribute to your happiness. “When I turned 71, I took an art class for the first time in my life. And to my surprise, I discovered a real talent! Now I use my time to paint portraits and beautiful scenery for my kids' homes. Seeing my handiwork hanging on their walls brings me such joy. What would have been if I never took that art class?”
4 Ways to Promote Senior IndependenceWhether you’re a caregiver or a senior, you can promote senior independence the following ways:
1. Improve your advocacy skills.When making decisions on behalf of another, or making decisions a team instead of on your own, it's important to ● Stay positive ● Use a pleasant tone of voice ● Communicate as clearly as possible ● Be okay with comprising for the sake of another Keep these things in mind when advocating for yourself or your loved one. Not sure if you’re being an effective advocate? Ask for feedback from those around you!
2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle.Staying healthy is crucial to maintaining your independence, especially as we age. It means staying functional and active for longer and needing less help with physical tasks. Take a look at your diet and see where you can add more whole grains, vegetables, and cut down on processed foods and foods high in fat and sodium. Commit to an exercise routine that suits your level and stick to it! You’re sure to see both physical and emotional improvement from living a healthier lifestyle.
3. Talk openly about aging.Aging. We’re all headed towards it, every second of our lives. Today’s media likes to convince us that staying young forever is a commendable (and attainable!) goal. Instead of falling for the promise of a fountain of youth, embrace aging with grace and be proud of all your years of experience, friendships you’ve made, and accomplishments you’ve achieved.
4. Make things easy to access.Speaking up and asking for help can be really uncomfortable. Especially when you have to ask for so many things, so often. An easy way to decrease the number of times a senior needs to ask their caregiver for help — make commonly used items easily accessible. That limits the need for constant requests for help reaching or lifting for things. Clothing, food, appliances, toiletries, etc, should all be made available to the senior. “My mom asked me to move the outfits she wears most often to a lower shelf. Now she can dress herself every morning without calling for her caregiver. It’s the simple changes like these that allow her to feel independent.”
Growing Every DayWhen you’re forming or maintaining a caregiver-senior relationship, every day is a new opportunity for personal growth. Here are some inspirational quotes to help you on your journey.
“To find yourself, think for yourself.”
― SocratesNo matter how dependent we become on others, whether due to life circumstances, illness, or age, we can still think for ourselves. And that is true independence.
“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”
― Rosalyn CarterCaregiving is universal. At some point in your life, you have given care or received care. Embrace it.
“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”
― Albert CamusSo...you’re independent. The pivotal question is: what are you going to do with your independence?
Happy Fourth of July!Whether you’re celebrating as a caregiver or senior, Independence Day is a time for reflection on our relationships and goals. Make sure to see some fireworks while you’re pondering! If you’re looking for a caregiver or professional to help your elderly loved one age with grace and independence, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 or contact us through our site.
10 June, 2021
Make Home Safer: Easy Ways to Prevent Common Senior Accidents
Should you be concerned about at-home senior injuries?According to the CDC, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Less than half of seniors report their falls to their doctors. The effects of a bad fall or home accident can be devastating. Twenty-five percent of senior falls cause injury to more than one part of the body (compared to an average sixteen percent among other age groups). Accidents can cause broken bones or head injuries. One in five falls among women aged 55 and over requires hospital treatment. Although most falls do not result in a serious injury, being unable to get back up can cause pressure sores and hypothermia while they’re stuck in one place waiting for help. Besides, the senior can become afraid of falling again. This fear may cause your loved one to cut down on their everyday activities, causing themselves to become weaker and increasing their chances of getting injured. The good news is that you can easily prevent the most common senior home accidents by making small changes to your elderly loved one’s home environment. “After my mom fell and broke her wrist, I took the time to declutter her home. Now she feels much safer, and I’m calmer knowing there is less of a chance she’ll fall again.”
Who is most at risk for home accidents?Most at-home senior accidents are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a senior has, the greater their chances of getting injured at home. The main risk factors for getting injured at home include: ● Lower body weakness ● Difficulties with walking and balance ● Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants (some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet) ● Vision problems ● Foot pain ● Poor footwear ● Home hazards or dangers ● Vitamin D deficiency ● Calcium deficiency ● A history of previous falls
The 9 Most Common (and Avoidable) Senior Home AccidentsThe following nine injury types are most common for seniors living at home: 1. Falls 2. Burns 3. Choking 4. Medication overdose or improper medication 5. Bedsores 6. Infections 7. Lacerations 8. Sprains 9. Joint dislocation
Make Your Senior’s Home Environment Safer in 5 MinutesYou can make a home safer for older adults in as little as five minutes. Here are some ways you can make your elderly loved one’s home safer and help them navigate their homes with confidence:
Kitchen:● Install induction stoves (rather than gas or electric) ● Purchase a one-cup boiler ● Install a stove with an automatic shut off ● Purchase a cooktop fire-suppressor and quickly install it using magnets ● Purchase a jar opener and safety can opener ● Place the things they use most often on the lower shelves (about waist high) ● Label containers and storage areas clearly
Sitting Room/Lounge:● Remove tripping hazards such as rugs, clutter, or electric cables ● Check if the senior and their walker/wheelchair can easily navigate the room (if not, rearrange the furniture to allow easy navigation) ● Purchase a chair raiser ● Replace carpet with cushioned non-slip flooring
Bedroom:● Use risers to increase the height of the bed ● Ensure drawer handles offer easy access ● Place an easy-to-reach lamp close to the bed ● Light the path from their bed to the bathroom (ideally with two-way switches that glow in the dark) “We placed lightbulbs along the path from my dad’s bed to the bathroom. He says it’s the best gift we’ve ever given him!”
Bathroom:● Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet (if there are grab bars already, make sure they are tight and in good condition) ● Install a higher toilet seat ● Put down non-slip mats with anti-skid backing (or replace the bathroom tiles with a non-slip surface) ● Install walk-in showers and baths
Stairs:● Remove items lying on the stairs ● Ensure there are no upturned carpet edges ● Put railings on both sides of stairs (or tighten existing railings) ● Repair or remove damaged or worn carpet ● Repair uneven steps or broken steps ● Look at stairlift options
Floors:● Get rid of things they could trip over (upturned carpet edges, clutter, electric cables, etc) ● Avoid repetitive carpet patterns (they may produce optical illusions)
In General:● Make thresholds between rooms easy to walk over by installing anti-slip ramps ● Light their home with more or brighter light bulbs (ideally with lighting that simulates daylight because it’s most effective and can improve moods) ● Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home “I'm amazed at the difference a few small changes could make! We put my grandmother’s microwave on the counter, and bought her a walker with a tray so she can bring her food to the table. It’s much safer and it gives her more independence.”
Simple Changes A Senior Can Make to Avoid AccidentsIn order to prevent injuries, your elderly loved one should: ● Wear well-fitting footwear ● Get out of bed and chairs slowly so as not to become dizzy ● Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines to see if any might make them dizzy or sleepy ● Ask their doctor about taking vitamin D supplements ● Exercise to make their lower body stronger and improve balance ● Avoid leaving items lying around on the floor or stairs ● Have a 'grabber' that helps pick things up off the floor without having to bend down ● Clean up spills immediately to prevent slipping on them ● Keep two walking sticks, one at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom ● Use the microwave to cook or heat food more rather than the oven or stove (if the microwave is easily accessible) ● Learn what to do if they have a fall or other accident ● Do not dry clothes on heaters ● Clean lint from the clothes dryer once a month (or ask a friend or family member to do it for them) ● Turn the cold water on first when filling the bathtub ● Use the rear burners when cooking on the stove top, and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker “Last year my dad fell while trying to pick up a sweater from the floor. We bought him a new ‘grabber’ and he uses it all the time now! He can pick things up easily without fear of falling.” “My great aunt insisted on frying her own food. It used to be okay, but her arthritis was getting worse and making it harder for her to do things with her hands. When she got a small burn we spoke to her gently about the risks. Now she uses an air-fryer and loves the health benefits, too!”
Make Your Senior’s Home Safer TodayYou can implement the above tips today to make your senior loved one's home as safe as possible. If you’re looking for a caregiver or professional to help your elderly loved one navigate their home as safely as possible, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 or contact us through our site.
7 May, 2021
7 Practical Stress Relief Techniques for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)