By AmeriCare, May 22, 2013
How much do you really know about arthritis? For most people, it’s not much. While arthritis is the most common form of disability in the U.S., it’s a condition that doesn’t get much mainstream attention. So, in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, we’d like to provide some simple facts that are important to know about this debilitating disease.
Spearheaded by the Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Awareness Month aims to make people more aware of arthritis and the issues involved. Visit their website to learn more, and to find ways in which you can help support the cause.
The debilitating effects of arthritis can inhibit mobility, and limit one’s ability to live independently. At AmeriCare, we know; many of our clients suffer from this disease. If you have a loved one who may need help around the house, please don’t hesitate to ask about our home care services. Our compassionate caregivers are committed to helping people live confident, fulfilling lives from the comfort of home.
By AmeriCare, May 8, 2013
Mothers are naturally nurturing. They spend their whole lives caring for us the best they can. We’ll always be their babies, even after our own skin forms its first wrinkle, and our hair begins to grey. It’s like they’ll never forget how we were when holding us for that very first time.
So, it can be difficult to determine what to do for your mom on Mother’s Day, especially an elderly one, as we’re so used to being the recipient of her care and attention. What can you do to make the occasion as special as she is?
Here are some ideas from The Legacy Project on how to replace the standard Mother’s Day gifts with something more memorable:
Replace Cards with Books: You can easily spend several dollars on a greeting card that gets tossed into the garbage. Books, on the other hand, are lasting. They carry a greater degree of importance and can be passed down generations.
Replace Candy with a Memory Jar: Write out some of your best memories (a dozen or more) of mom or grandma on small pieces of pretty paper. Include things you’ve done together, favorite family traditions, things she’s said that made a difference to you, the best advice she’s given you. Fold them and put them into a jar so that she can “munch on them” over time.
Replace Perfume with a Personal Scent: Research shows the sense of smell is one of the most powerful for evoking memories. For example, if you’ve shared special times outdoors, give an outdoorsy potpourri or woodsy scented sachet. Include a note that begins, “I remember when…”
Replace Flowers with a Photo Bouquet: Collect special photos of mom or grandma, particularly those of the two of you from your childhood. Use duplicates or color copies to create a collage. Or, glue two copies of each photo back-to-back (so the photo is visible from both sides). If you like, make flower shapes using colored construction paper and glue the photos onto the centers. Slip the photos onto the plastic sticks used to hold the card in floral arrangements. Put the sticks into a flower arranging base at different heights and angles. Finish with some ribbon and a few fresh or dried flowers.
Replace the Fancy Dinner Out with Some Quality Kitchen Time: The room in most homes that’s full of the most memories is the kitchen. We relax, smell, taste, talk, and learn things there. Maybe your mother or grandmother is older and not able to cook as much as she used to. Do a little role reversal and cook for her a special meal she used to cook for you. Get advice and tips from her as you cook. The meal will bring back memories for you both.
Replace Buying New Stuff with Sharing “Old Stuff”: Dig deep into drawers, closets, and the basement or attic to find forgotten mementos – your mother’s old “glam” earrings, an old train ticket or playbill. Share the memories and feelings these keepsakes evoke for both of you.
At AmeriCare, we’re proud to help so many amazing mothers live happy, independent lives from the comfort of home. We wish you all a blessed Mother’s Day.
By AmeriCare, May 6, 2013
Maintaining good posture throughout life can save you many aches and pains as you grow older. It may be one of the most overlooked aspects of our overall physical health. That’s why the whole month of May has been dedicated in its honor.
Correct posture is crucial. A properly aligned spine protects our joints by placing less stress on them, thereby helping to prevent future problems such as arthritis and back and joint pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, correct posture can also help to reduce the risk of injury and prevent muscle fatigue.
You may suffer from poor posture if you:
So, what can be done to improve your posture? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind while, sitting, standing, and lying down.
Proper sitting position:
Proper standing position:
Proper lying position:
Now, stand up, move around, and stretch your back. Your back and joints will thank you for it.
By AmeriCare, April 18, 2013
Lowering one’s cholesterol levels isn’t just healthy for the heart. Recent research shows that it could help mitigate dementia as well.
Researchers have found that high cholesterol levels are correlated with brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. And now, American scientists say they have found the reason why high cholesterol can damage the brain and blood vessels.
Cholesterol has the propensity to wreak havoc on the orderly process of cell division. High cholesterol results in defective cells with the wrong number of chromosomes – and this in turn may encourage the development of damaging plaques in the brain that are related to dementia, researchers say.
So, what can you do to lower your cholesterol? The first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get your cholesterol checked. If it’s high, he or she will help develop a plan to lower it back to regular levels. This may include a combination of diet, exercise, and supplements or medication.
Don’t just do it for your heart. Do it for your mind.
If you have a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and may require assistance to live independently from home, please contact us to discuss our home care and senior care services. We’re here to bring our unique brand of happiness into your loved one’s home.
By AmeriCare, April 16, 2013
Our nutritional needs change throughout the various stages of our lives. For instance, a teenager’s diet will vary quite a bit from that of a middle-aged man. It should, at least.
While a healthy diet is vital at all ages, it is especially important for seniors to consume sufficient nutrients to help ward off potential health problems, like constipation, heart complications, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods will also help seniors maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders for energy levels.
But, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Here are some simple tips to help boost your nutritional health while maintaining a satisfying diet.
Stick to healthy fats. Choose healthy fats found in seeds, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils rather than saturated fats and trans fats.
Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and non-caffeinated beverages and eat foods with high water content (like soups, cucumbers, grapes, and melons) unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
Opt for whole grains. These fiber-and nutrient-rich foods will help your digestion and protect your heart. Choose brown rice, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread instead of white bread and refined grains.
“Rough up” your diet. Include a variety of high-fiber foods every day, such as raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These foods help cut down on constipation; provide the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients that you need for healthy aging; help maintain your weight; and reduce your risk of heart problems. If you’re not sure you’re getting enough fiber, talk to your doctor about supplements.
Pack in protein. Power your body with lean proteins like beans, eggs, chicken and fish, lean meats, and nuts.
Remember that calcium is critical. Everyone needs calcium to protect bone health, but seniors should really bone up on calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy products. A calcium supplement, usually paired with vitamin D — its partner in bone building — can also help you get what you need.
Shop for B12. As an older adult, you should also look for foods, like cereals, that are fortified with vitamin B12. Because of the body’s decreased ability to absorb B12, getting more through diet and supplements will ensure that you meet your requirements.
Diet and nutrition play an essential role in helping us stay healthy and energetic. At AmeriCare, our caregivers know this, and can help prepare meal plans or shopping lists to ensure that your senior loved one is getting their proper nutrients. Feel free to contact us at anytime if you’re interested in learning more about our home care, and other senior care services.
By AmeriCare, April 4, 2013
Many of us have received a call from a suspicious telemarketer or an email from an unscrupulous source asking for our bank account information. Yes, con artists are out there. It’s a sad fact of life. Even sadder is the fact that senior citizens are often the one’s most likely to fall victim to these fraudulent scams. According to the FBI, here are some reasons why:
Here are some tips to help caregivers protect their senior loved one’s from potential scams:
Fraud against senior citizens is a serious problem impacting thousands every year. We hope these tips help prevent your elderly loved one from falling victim to such scams.
By AmeriCare, March 28, 2013
What’s more beautiful than the blooming flowers of spring? You may want to be careful asking this question to a serious allergy sufferer. While spring’s pleasant weather and blooming trees can be a welcome respite from the doldrums of winter, it comes with a price: pollen, and other airborne allergens that can cause unpleasant cold-like symptoms.
Allergies can strike at any age. In fact, a growing number of seniors are developing allergies for the first time in their older age. For seniors, allergies pose a higher risk than any other age group. Allergies can complicate other chronic medical conditions, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
What’s more: the most common medication for allergy relief contains antihistamines, which are potentially dangerous if taken with blood pressure medication.
Look for the signs – As spring blooms, allergies are more likely to appear. Watch for traditional symptoms of allergic reaction in your senior including: sniffling, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Get tested – If you suspect your senior is suffering from allergies, see an allergy specialist for a scratch test. This panel of diagnostics will test for a standard set of allergens, but make sure to come prepared with a list of other potential causes from the
home (laundry detergents, pets, perfumes). This will ensure all possible allergy sources are checked and ruled out. Also bring all medications the person is currently taking to the visit.
Document allergies – The primary care physician should be aware of everything the senior is allergic to including pollen, food, pets, and medications. In the home, create a list of the senior’s allergies and post it up on the fridge, next to the phone, or in another highly visible spot. That way, all caregivers, friends, and family who come in and out of the home will be aware of what the senior is allergic to.
Monitor local pollen counts – Use sites like Pollen.com to check allergy alerts in your area. Avoid outdoor activity on days when it is high or opt for an indoor activity such as walking through the mall. Pollen is usually highest in mornings, so if possible, keep the senior active inside the home until the afternoon.
Wash away allergens – Caregivers can help and encourage a senior to shower after being outdoors. This will remove any lingering pollen from the hair and skin. Changing into fresh clothes will keep allergens from following a senior into bed. Be sure to clean sheets often to get rid of pollen.
Close windows at bedtime – Keep windows shut while the senior sleeps to prevent molds and pollens from drifting into the home. Instead, opt for air conditioning to keep the space cool and dry overnight. A dehumidifier can also help purify the air, keeping dust and dirt out of the senior’s system.
Use a dryer – Line-drying clothes can expose garments to allergens, which then build up in the clothing fibers. Instead, use a standard clothes dryer to dry clothes.
We hope these tips help you and your senior loved ones enjoy all the beauty that spring has to offer this year.
By AmeriCare, March 14, 2013
Spring forward! It sounds like such an energizing activity. But, for many of our home care clients, the hour of sleep lost during the transition to daylight saving time can be a real drain.
Most of us feel the effect for just a few days afterward. But for others, lack of sleep is a chronic problem worsened by the time transition.
Here are some sleep tips sourced from WebMD to help you spring forward, and sleep better all year long.
1. Give Yourself a Sleep Break After the Time Change
If you feel sleepy after the change to daylight saving time, take a short nap in the afternoon – not too close to bedtime. Avoid sleeping in an hour longer in the mornings. Your internal clock will soon adjust on its own in several days.
2. Know How Much Sleep You Need
Not everyone requires the same amount of sleep to be well-rested, and sleep requirements can change with age. To find your ideal number of hours, sleep without an alarm on weekends and see when you wake up naturally.
3. Keep Regular Sleep Hours
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. If possible, try to wake up at the same time on the weekends, too, which makes Monday mornings easier to bear. You can also see how a nap affects your sleep quality. For some, napping can make it harder to sleep, but for others, a short nap (20 minutes) can be revitalizing, without ruining their night’s sleep.
4. Get Some Exercise During the Day
Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. But avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime.
5. Avoid Stimulating Substances
Alcohol and caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers) can interfere with sleep habits. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol and caffeine for four to six hours before bedtime. Smokers should also avoid tobacco, another stimulant, too close to bedtime.
6. Eat Light at Night
Indigestion from spicy and fatty food or having too much food on your stomach can cause insomnia. For a better night’s sleep, eat light, simple foods several hours before bed. If you get hungry, have a snack of easy-to-digest food such as carbohydrates or dairy. Also, avoid too much liquid before bed so that you don’t have to wake up to go to the toilet.
7. Relax Before Bed
Stress and overstimulation can make it hard to fall asleep. Try to avoid intense television programs or movies before bed. Relax with a soothing, warm bath and curl up with a book instead.
8. Get Up If You Can’t Sleep
We’ve all had those nights when we can’t fall asleep or we wake up and can’t get our minds to shut to down. Avoid watching the clock, which can create more anxiety. If you’ve been awake more than 20 minutes, get up, go to another room, and do something relaxing to help you get drowsy. Keep the lights low, have some warm milk, read a book, or write about whatever may be on your mind until your eyelids get heavy.
Sleep is essential to leading a happy and productive life at any age. We hope these tips lead to better sleep and sweeter dreams.
By AmeriCare, March 8, 2013
The American Optometric Association is launching a Healthy Vision awareness campaign in March, encouraging people and organizations to help those impacted by poor vision. As a home care company catering to senior clients, we know just how debilitating eye disease can be.
Low vision can have profound and adverse effects on the health and well-being of older adults, such as a greater risk of depression, drug-related errors caused by an inability to identify medications, and an increased risk of falls and fractures. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death among people 65 and older.
The CDC study found that 1.8 million elderly people not living in nursing homes reported difficulty with bathing, dressing and walking around the house in part because of a visual impairment. However, fewer than 2 percent reported using assistive equipment such as telescopic lenses and canes, which could improve their safety.
Safety Tips for People with Low Vision
To help people with low vision perform everyday tasks more easily while reducing their risk of falls and other injuries, the American Foundation for the Blind offers several useful tips:
Please visit the Vision Aware website for more advice to help seniors live independently with low vision. And if you have a loved one who may require a bit of assistance to maintain their independence, please contact us to discuss our home care and senior care services. We’re here to bring our unique brand of happiness into your loved one’s home.
By , February 28, 2013
One of the most difficult aspects of being a family caregiver is having to make decisions that deprive a loved one of their independence. For many elderly people, their independence is what keeps them going. It’s what keeps them vital.
But, at some point, an elderly person may wish to engage in an activity that is no longer safe for themselves or others. Such as driving.
Statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact an average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes.
Here are some warning signs from the NHTSA that indicate a senior might not be safe to drive:
When you notice several of these warning signs, it is time to assess the situation. Don’t wait for an accident. But be sympathetic to your loved one’s feelings. Losing the right to drive can be a traumatic event.
Rather than forcibly taking away the keys, suggest a driving test to evaluate an elder’s ability to operate a car. A driving assessment is available at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, senior organizations like the AARP offer driver safety programs.
If you determine that mom or dad is still capable of driving, suggest they enroll in a Mature Driving course. Some drivers age 60+ have never looked back since they got their first driver’s licenses, but even the most experienced drivers can benefit from brushing up on their driving skills.
As an added incentive, let your elderly loved one know that they may be eligible to receive an insurance discount upon completing the course – as well as discounts on roadside assistance plans.
If you determine that a loved one is no longer safe to drive, he or she will require additional support to go shopping, run errands, and stay social. At AmeriCare, our mission is to provide seniors with the support required to live independently from the comfort of home. If you have a loved one who may require a bit of assistance to maintain their independence, please contact us to discuss our home care and senior care services. We’re here to bring our unique brand of happiness into your loved one’s home.