By AmeriCare, June 5, 2013
There’s a story that summarizes the magic of companion animals. It goes like this:
A family learns that their favorite pet – perhaps it’s a lovable Golden Retriever, or a mischievous barn cat that loves to come in and curl by the fire, or a large bloodhound that still thinks she’s a lapdog – is dying from Cancer. They have to break the news to their precocious six-year-old son. It’s a moment, as you may imagine, that they dread.
“Pet’s just don’t live as long as people do,” the parents say, trying to break the news as gently as possible.
The little boy nods his head. “It’s okay,” he says. He is taking the sad news with surprising grace. “I understand why pets don’t live as long as us.”
“You do?” the parents say. “Why do you think that is?”
The boy furrows his brow, wanting to get his thoughts just right. ”Because people are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The parents both nod their heads, listening with wide, attentive eyes that are already beginning to blur.
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Pets often make the perfect companions for elderly people who live alone. They can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity, stimulate learning, and offset loneliness and depression.
Pets benefit, too, particularly when older folks adopt older pets. These lucky pets go from the pound to paradise. Since most of the adopters are retired, they have lots of time to devote to a previously unwanted pet.
But, adopting a pet may not suit everyone. And it’s important to match the right pet with the right owner. Be sure to thoroughly explore various pet and breed options before selection a pet for an elderly loved one. Petfinder is a good place to start.
At AmeriCare, we know that humans aren’t the only capable caregivers. But, we do our best to help elderly or infirmed loved one’s live fulfilling lives from the comfort of 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.
Posted in: Uncategorized
By AmeriCare, May 30, 2013
Ever wonder how these national health campaigns get started? Well, here’s a little history lesson. President George Bush created National Stroke Awareness Month on May 11, 1989 at the urging of National Stroke Association. Since then, National Stroke Association has been honoring this special time of the year to increase public awareness of stroke in an effort to help conquer it.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of adult disability. It strikes between 400,000 and 600,000 Americans each year.
Stroke can often be avoided by controlling its risk factors. Paying attention to stroke’s warning signals, particularly the symptoms of a transient ischemic attack, or “little stroke,” can prevent serious damage to a victim’s health and may even save his life. During this temporary attack, a person may experience numbness, weakness, or tingling in an extremity or side of the face, momentarily lose sight in one or both eyes, or have difficulty speaking. Such a “little stroke” requires immediate medical attention to prevent its probable recurrence as a major attack.
Here’s a simple acronym to help to identify the signs of stroke: F.A.S.T.
Letter F: Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
Letter A: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Letter S: Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Letter T: Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
At AmeriCare, many of our home care clients are survivors of stroke. Our caregivers are experts in helping stroke victims live fulfilling lives from the comfort of home. Please call us it you have a loved one who has suffered a stroke and may need home care assistance to live independently at home.
And visit National Stroke Association’s website to learn how to raise stroke awareness in May and throughout the year.
Posted in: Uncategorized
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 29, 2013
Many elderly smokers started at an early age, before many of the health risks were fully realized. By now, it has become a habitual part of their daily lives. The idea of quitting is much like saying goodbye to a long time friend. This fond familiarity, along with a “damage is already done” mentality, keeps many elderly people from ever attempting to quit.
The reality is that the detrimental effects of smoking increase with age, and elderly smokers who quit are certain to experience plenty of positive, life-extending benefits that make the effort more than worthwhile. These include:
A involving 9,209 people over the age of 65 published in the American Academy of Neurology’s scientific journal concluded that elderly individuals who smoked experienced more rapid decline in cognitive function than their nonsmoking peers.
Secondhand smoke also poses a risk to the cognitive function of elderly individuals. According to a study presented at an American Academy of Neurology conference, elderly people exposed for 30 or more years to secondhand smoke were 30 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who had not experienced a lifetime of secondhand smoke exposure.
The longer someone smokes, and the more he or she smokes, the greater the damage. An individual may never fully recover from such conditions as chronic bronchitis, emphysema or lung cancer, even after quitting. Someone who quits will recover a significant amount of lung function, though. A study published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association” drew the promising conclusion that those who quit smoking after the age of 60 have better pulmonary function than elderly individuals who continue to smoke.
Bone density naturally declines with age, leading to the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Smoking inhibits the body’s production of bone and so further contributes to the decline in bone density. A study investigating the risk of bone loss in elderly individuals, published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology,” found that cigarette smoking contributes substantially to significantly higher rates of bone loss.
Smoking interferes with circulation. Wounds require blood flow in order to heal. The blood carries nutrients to the wound site to promote healing. As circulation decreases, so does wound recovery. This can have particularly devastating effects on elderly individuals, who are more likely develop stomach ulcers, bone fractures, arthritis, diabetes-related wounds, tooth decay and other conditions that require healing. The body’s inability to heal itself extends recovery time, making smoking a significant risk factor in surgery-related complications for elderly smokers.
We hope these tips can help you convince your elderly loved one to kick the habit. If you need additional advice on how to care for a senior who lives independently at home, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss our home care and senior care services.
Posted in: Uncategorized
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.