All posts by AIHC Home Health Blog

Taking Care of Yourself: The Impact of Caregiving on Your Physical Health

The impact of caregiving on one’s physical health is one of many reasons it is beneficial to partner with a trusted in-home care provider.

Providing care for someone you love is perhaps one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. It enables you to spend quality time with your family member, helping them meet their everyday needs without asking anything in return. The downside, however, is the impact of caregiving on your physical health. While you’re so busy taking care of someone else, you may neglect your own health in the process, which can lead to a number of consequences.

The Stress Factor

The experienced professionals at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know it’s easy to become stressed and overloaded when you’re investing a significant amount of time and energy into caring for someone else. It’s important to know the signs of caregiver stress to watch for, which include:

  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Unhealthy sleeping habits (too much or too little sleep, trouble falling or staying asleep, etc.)
  • A lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Feeling angry, irritated, sad, worried, or overwhelmed
  • Unintentionally losing or gaining weight
  • Feeling tired or lethargic the majority of the time
  • Self-medicating through excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, etc
  • .

What Is the Impact of Caregiving on Your Physical Health?

Left unchecked, caregiver stress can quickly accelerate to caregiver depression, which increases the risk of a host of physical problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • A weakened immune system
  • And more

These problems not only affect you personally, of course, but they impact the level of care you’re able to provide your loved one. In many instances, a family caregiver’s own health takes a back seat to the health of the person they’re caring for. If that’s the case for you, Dana Cyra, executive director of quality improvement for Inclusa in Stevens Point, Wisconsin offers the following advice:

“Someone who is completely exhausted simply cannot provide the same quality of care as someone who is mentally and physically healthy. For example, a person who had a great night of rest has a much higher level of patience than someone who barely slept at all. Who would you choose if you were the one who needed care?”

How Can You Care for Yourself as Well as Your Loved One?

The best way to achieve a healthy life balance that enables you to take care of yourself is by partnering with a referred care provider for respite care. Respite care allows you to take the time away you need to care for yourself, while knowing that a skilled, experienced professional will step in to care for your loved one. Regular, routine respite care is best. For instance, designate two days each week that you will dedicate to yourself, and use that time for self-care through activities that you enjoy and that are rejuvenating for you. You’ll return to your caregiving duties refreshed and renewed, and the person in your care will reap those benefits as well.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to provide in-home care services throughout Florida according to each person’s unique situation. A referred care provider can fill in with as much or as little care as needed, with services such as running errands, providing transportation to medical appointments and fun outings, taking care of light housekeeping, laundry, meals, personal care, and so much more.

To learn more about the Florida home care services offered by trusted referred care providers at American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, contact the office closest to you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

The Best Strategies for Managing Sundowning Symptoms

Managing sundowning symptoms can be a big challenge, but these tips can help make it easier.

For people with dementia, it's not unusual to experience sundowning syndrome. Sundowning is marked with increased confusion and agitation late in the day. While sundowning is common for many people with Alzheimer’s, managing sundowning symptoms can often be challenging for family caregivers.

To help family caregivers, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share information about understanding sundowning syndrome, its causes, and ways to help better prepare for and reduce challenging behaviors.

What Is Sundown Syndrome?

Sundown syndrome, or “sundowning,” is a state of confusion that a person with dementia experiences during the late afternoon or nighttime hours. A person might display an array of feelings during a sundowning episode, including agitation or anxiety, irritability, confusion, disorientation, restlessness, suspicion, or paranoia. These feelings often show up as challenging behaviors, such as:

  • Yelling or shouting
  • Pacing back and forth
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Extreme mood swings

The exact cause of sundown syndrome isn’t known, but there are several factors that can contribute to triggering these behaviors, for example:

  • Low lighting
  • Increased shadows caused by the setting sun or a darkened room
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Boredom
  • Pain
  • Disruption of the body’s internal clock
  • Being in an unfamiliar place
  • Infection such as a UTI
  • Depression

What Are the Best Tips for Managing Sundowning Symptoms?

The good news is that sundowning can be managed, and with some simple steps, symptoms can be greatly reduced. Try the following:

  1. Look for patterns in behavior. Determining your loved one’s triggers in the evening is the key to reducing sundowning behavior. Keep a notebook handy to track the person’s activities and behavior. Make note of any activities, environments, sounds, etc. that tend to trigger sundowning behaviors.
  2. Take care of the basics. Often, challenging behaviors occur because a need hasn’t been met, and many people with dementia aren’t capable of advocating for their needs. Ensure the person has eaten, is well hydrated, uses the bathroom regularly, isn’t feeling pain or discomfort, and isn’t too hot or cold. Ensuring basic needs are met can greatly reduce sundowning behaviors.
  3. Establish a routine. For people with Alzheimer’s, a daily routine can be a great source of security and helps to reduce stress for both the individual and the caregiver. Ensure there are set times for waking up, eating meals, and going to bed. Any appointments or outings should be scheduled earlier in the day when the person is feeling their best.
  4. Reduce distractions. Overstimulation from loud noises, crowds, or even shadows cast from the windows in the evening can trigger sundowning. Reducing these distractions can help create a sense of calm and safety. Draw the curtains before the sun begins to set to reduce reflections or shadows. Lower the volume on the TV, and avoid having visitors over in the evening, as this can create confusion for already tired older adults.
  5. Create a relaxing evening environment. A calm and soothing environment in the evening can give you a good head start on reducing anxiety. For example, try playing soft music and lightly scent the room with a pleasing fragrance like lavender to help your loved one feel more relaxed.

For family caregivers, reducing your own stress level is important in helping older loved ones stay calm in the evenings as well. It’s natural to feel frustrated and exhausted at the end of a long day, but your loved one can pick up on these feelings, whether they come across in the tone of your voice or in body language. This can lead to “sympathetic stress” in the individual, causing them to become agitated too.

Partnering with referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help family caregivers get the breaks they need, while ensuring their loved ones continue to receive exceptional care. A referred care provider can offer a wide range of services to help your loved one, including specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care , respite care services, and 24-hour care.

For more information about the home care services offered by the referred care providers at American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, contact the office closest to you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Now Hear This: Hearing Aids Are Available Over the Counter!

The ability to buy hearing aids over the counter, and at a lower price, is great news for those with hearing difficulties!

What if you could stop into your favorite major retailer while running errands and pick up hearing aids for someone you love, at a reasonable cost? Wouldn’t you love the ease and convenience of opening up a world of better hearing in a matter of minutes? This is now a reality, bringing relief to many who have put off getting help for their hearing loss because of cost and other constraints involved with prescription hearing aids.
Of course, you’ll want to find answers to some common questions about the new OTC hearing aids before making your purchase, such as:

What kind of hearing loss will OTC hearing aids help with?

OTC hearing aids are best suited for those with moderate or mild hearing loss. This includes tens of millions of people in America. To best determine if they’re right for someone you love, answer these questions: Is it easy for you to hear when one person is speaking to you in a quiet location? Can you hear the TV or someone on the phone better if you turn the volume up just slightly? Would hearing aids be necessary just in particular circumstances, rather than all the time? An answer of “yes” to these questions means OTC hearing aids may be appropriate.

How much do they cost?

Here’s the best part: the price tag for OTC hearing aids starts as low as $199. Prescription aids, which are NOT covered by most insurance plans or Medicare, can run as high as $8,000 or more.

What is an audiologist – and is it necessary to see one first?

Audiologists are specialists in hearing and balance disorders who can diagnose and treat these conditions. This includes a full review of an individual’s medical history, an examination of the outer ear, and a series of audiological tests. They will then make recommendations based on the results of an overall review of these factors.

Technically, an audiology visit isn’t needed to simply purchase hearing aids over the counter. However, there are some important benefits to making an appointment with an audiologist, even if you plan to use OTC hearing aids.

An audiologist performs an in-depth assessment, including a thorough hearing test to determine where the hearing loss originates (i.e., in the inner or middle ear), if you’re experiencing hearing loss more in one ear over the other, and real-ear measurement (REM) to determine the appropriate volume for your particular type of hearing loss. This information can be incredibly valuable in getting to the root cause of your problem and effectively correcting it.

With these details in hand, the audiologist can then help you review the pros and cons of treatment recommendations, which could be OTC hearing aids, but may also include prescription aids or cochlear implants. They can also provide help with both fitting and adjusting hearing aids – a process that takes time, as the brain adjusts to hearing and processing sounds differently.

Although prescription hearing aids are typically not covered by Medicare and most insurance providers, hearing assessments and visits with the audiologist typically are – so it’s well worth the investment of a little time to gain the professional expertise that will help ensure you’re obtaining the best solution for your particular type of hearing loss – and, determining if there are any underlying conditions contributing to your hearing loss that need to be addressed in a different way.

Research shows that only one in four people in America experiencing hearing loss are actually using a hearing aid. Having OTC hearing aids readily available at a reduced cost is a life-changer.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help older adults with hearing loss as well, with customized Florida home care services. A referred care provider can run errands (including picking up hearing aids), provide transportation to the audiologist, other medical appointments, and fun outings, and so much more.

To learn more about the Florida home care services offered by trusted referred care providers at American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, contact the office closest to you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Fall in Love With These Top Tips for Older Adult Heart Health

Make healthy lifestyle choices to maintain older adult heart health.

February is American Heart Month and it’s the ideal time to check in to make sure you are giving your heart the love and care it needs all year long. Heart disease afflicts both men and women and it is estimated that as many as 20 million adults have coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease. Heart disease remains a leading cause of death in the United States. To help encourage healthy lifestyle choices that improve older adult heart health, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following tips:

Make Healthy Dietary Choices. If an older adult lives alone, it can be hard to have an inclination to cook, and frequently, older adults opt for fast foods and other foods that are quick to prepare. Unfortunately, many of these foods are high in sodium and fat, and aren’t well rounded nutritionally. Aim to include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber with each meal. Read labels and work to reduce the amount of sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar in your diet. Include lean sources of protein in your diet such as white-fleshed fish, plain Greek yogurt, lentils, poultry, and low-fat cottage cheese. Protein helps build muscle. Strong muscles help improve mobility and balance for older adults.

Exercise (Almost) Daily. Aim to get a minimum of 30 minutes of light exercise at least five or six days each week. Take a walk around the block, walk at the mall, swim some laps at the gym, participate in an online yoga session, or do housework or gardening. Be creative -- there are lots of ways to achieve 30 minutes of exercise as part of a normal daily routine. It is also recommended that older adults include muscle-strengthening and balance exercises twice a week. These exercises will help decrease fall risk. Be sure to speak with the physician before beginning any exercise routine.

Schedule (and Keep) Regular Healthcare Appointments. Regular medical appointments are an important part of an older adult’s overall, long-term health. During an appointment, the physician will monitor blood pressure and other symptoms that may be an indication of heart disease. Staying on top of your health will help decrease the potential for preventable diseases and health conditions. If the doctor prescribes medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or any other chronic health condition, be sure to take each medication as prescribed.

Prioritize Good Sleep. Experts recommend that older adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. A full night’s sleep is beneficial for brain functionality, metabolism, immune health, emotional well-being, and for damaged cell and tissue repair. Practice good sleep hygiene: have a set time for going to bed and getting up; create a relaxing bedtime routine such as a warm bath or shower; turn off electronic devices; and limit caffeine intake. If an older adult is having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, his or her physician can offer tips to help.

Reduce Stress. Stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease and a variety of other health conditions. While it’s impossible to remove all incidents of stress from an older adult’s life, there are a number of healthy outlets that can help relieve stress. Activities that can help reduce stress include regular visits with family and friends, engaging in religious activities, volunteering, meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, hobbies and more. Help an older loved one identify activities that they find enjoyable and help reduce stress, and then encourage regular participation.

Stop Smoking and/or Drinking Alcohol. If an older adult regularly smokes or drinks alcohol, provide encouragement for the person to quit. Alcohol and tobacco products have been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, including heart disease. If an older loved one needs assistance with reducing or eliminating alcohol or tobacco products, his or her physician can help.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Making lifestyle changes, like those outlined above, is the first step in prioritizing older adult heart health. It is also important to know the risk factors for heart disease, which include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

In addition to lifestyle, a person’s age and family history can increase the risk for a heart attack. It is also estimated that as many as half of all Americans have at least one of the top three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. It’s critical to know the warning signs of a heart attack and to seek prompt medical attention if any of these are noted. Warning signs include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

The most common symptom for a heart attack in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. Women may experience other symptoms such as nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, and jaw or back pain, which are not typically associated with a heart attack. If an older loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to call 911 immediately.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help encourage healthy lifestyle habits in older adults that contribute to heart health in a variety of ways with expert in-home care services, including:

  • Planning, shopping for, and preparing healthy, well balanced meals
  • Providing transportation to medical appointments and social outings
  • Encouragement for physician-approved exercise
  • Friendly companionship and engaging conversation
  • And much more!

To find out more about how an experienced and compassionate referred care provider can help an older adult you love prioritize heart health while maintaining independence in the comfort of home, contact the office nearest you:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

5 Steps to Take When You’ve Noticed an Older Parent Needs Help at Home

5 Steps to Take When You’ve Noticed an Older Parent Needs Help at Home

While visiting your aging parents over the holidays, you might have noticed some warning signs that their physical or cognitive health may be declining to the point that it’s time to consider help at home. The home may not be kept as clean or organized as usual. They may be neglecting their personal hygiene. Perhaps there is more clutter, or piles of mail that have gone unopened. What should you do next? These 5 Steps from the experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are a good place to begin.

  1. Assess and document. If you’ve picked up on a red flag or two, there may be more that you’ll want to uncover to ensure you are seeing the full picture. Make note of any fall risks in the home, such as blocked walking paths, throw rugs, extension cords, poor lighting, lack of handrails on the stairs, etc. Look for signs of cognitive decline, such as problems with remembering the names of common objects or familiar people or misplacing items in unusual locations (such as putting the car keys in the refrigerator). Are medications being taken as prescribed? Is there plenty of fresh (not expired) food in the fridge and pantry?
  2. Talk with your parents. Share your concerns with your parents in a loving and nonjudgmental way. Be prepared for defensiveness on the part of your aging parents. It’s common for older adults to balk at the idea of help at home, and it may require more than one discussion before an agreement can be reached.
  3. Talk with the doctor. If a consensus can’t be reached and you’re concerned about the safety and wellbeing of your parents, call their doctor. Hearing recommendations from a trusted professional often carries more weight, and it may be that there is a medical reason for the changes you’re noticing. For instance, a review of medications being taken may reveal side effects that are causing problems. The doctor can rule out or address any health complications.
  4. Think through your role. Assess your own personal, family, and career obligations. Do you have the time and ability to assist your parents with continuing to live at home independently based on the concerns you’ve noticed? For instance, if driving has become hazardous, can you commit to providing transportation, running errands, shopping for them, etc.? Can you help with organizing mail and making sure the bills are paid? Are you able to arrange for modifications to the home to prevent falls?
  5. Fill in the gaps. Once you’ve determined how much assistance you can realistically provide, think through other resources to explore. See if other family members, friends, or neighbors are able to step in to help. A tag team of volunteers that your parents know well and feel comfortable with is a great way to prevent one person from shouldering the bulk of responsibility and facing potential burnout.

When your parents are ready to explore professional help at home, we have the perfect solution for you to consider: a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care. A referred care provider can be brought in on a trial basis at first, helping with just a task or two around the home that your parents would be willing to delegate, such as light housekeeping or preparing meals. Once they feel comfortable, additional services can be added.

Older adults and their families have been trusting American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care for more than three decades to provide the referred Florida home care professionals that make life safer and more comfortable through a broad range of in-home care services. To learn more, contact the office nearest you:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

RSV in Older Adults

RSV in older adults can cause serious health implications in older adults and should be treated by a physician.

The news has been flooded this season with the devastating effects of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, on babies and toddlers. Hospitals have been stretched beyond capacity and scrambling to find the resources to care for these young patients, who typically recover quickly from this common virus. And though it’s not as widely discussed, the risk of severe illness from RSV is quite high in older adults as well. In fact, the CDC estimates that RSV in older adults leads to as many as 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.

As a result, the experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know it’s important for all of us to be vigilant in protecting each other – from the youngest to the oldest – from RSV. It begins with understanding more about the virus and how it differs from other illnesses that are rampant this time of year.

What Are the Symptoms of RSV?

RSV in older adults can manifest with symptoms similar to those of the common cold, the flu, or even COVID-19. RSV often begins with symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Reduced appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever

If the virus worsens, however, it can display through:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Increased coughing
  • A higher fever
  • Blue-tinted skin from lack of oxygen
  • Call 911 immediately if the skin looks blue or if the person struggles to breathe.

What Do I Do if I Suspect RSV in an Older Adult?

Contact the older adult’s primary care physician for direction. There are two types of tests available that they may want to order to confirm an RSV diagnosis: a rapid antigen test, which produces results within about an hour, or a molecular test, which can detect smaller levels of the virus and other infections as well.

RSV may present with mild cold-like symptoms, but some older adults may develop a lung infection or pneumonia. Additionally, RSV can lead to a worsening of chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD, or congestive heart failure. Because of this, if an older loved one displays any RSV-like symptoms, it’s important to seek the prompt advice of a physician.

How is RSV Treated in Older Adults?

Currently, there is no vaccine for RSV, but researchers are working to develop one. If an older loved one is diagnosed with RSV and is not seriously ill, the virus can be treated at home with these steps:

  • Drink plenty of clear liquids
  • Use saline nose drops to combat congestion
  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Get adequate rest
  • Avoid cigarette smoke

If symptoms worsen, it’s important to contact the older loved one’s physician for advice and further assessment.

How Can I Protect My Loved Ones From RSV?

RSV is both highly contagious and long-lasting. Someone carrying the virus can transmit it to others for anywhere from three days to four weeks, even when no longer symptomatic. It can spread through:

  • Airborne droplets from sneezes or coughs
  • Surface contact (the virus can live on hard surfaces for several hours)
  • Close personal contact
  • Preventative measures include:

  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching the nose, eyes, or mouth.
  • Staying away from those who are displaying cold-like symptoms.
  • Wearing a face covering and gloves while in close contact with others.
  • Disinfecting surfaces in the home such as doorknobs, countertops, phones, the TV remote, etc.
  • Covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

A referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can also help in a number of ways: light housekeeping to ensure a clean and sanitary home environment, running errands to reduce an older adult’s exposure to crowded stores, providing medication reminders, and much more.

American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care have been referring home care providers in Florida for over 30 years, and we’re always here to help your family with trusted in-home care services. To find out more about how an experienced and compassionate referred care provider can improve safety and comfort for the older adults you love, contact the office nearest you:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

End of Year Medication Review for Older Adults

Discover what questions to ask during a medication review for older adults.

Did you know…the CDC reports that as many as 450,000 trips to the emergency room are made each year by older adults experiencing adverse medication issues? This startling statistic is due, in part, to “inappropriate prescribing.” Inappropriate prescriptions can include medications that duplicate the effect of another medicine that is already being taken, ineffective medications, and those prescribed without a clinical need or basis.

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that one of the best ways to ensure the seniors you love avoid a prescription-related hospitalization is by scheduling a medication review for older adults with the doctor on at least an annual basis.

What’s Involved With a Medication Review?

First, you’ll want to contact the person’s primary care physician to find out if medication review services are offered. You may need to reach out to a geriatrician for assistance if the primary care doctor is unable to help.

Once you’ve secured an appointment with a trusted professional to perform the review, following this 5-step process can help you make the most of your visit.

  • Prepare a list of all medications being taken. Be sure to include over-the-counter meds, vitamins, and supplements as well as prescriptions. Note the purpose of each medication, the dosage amount, how long the person has been taking the medication, and any unpleasant side effects they are experiencing.
  • Document how well each medication is working. In particular, if a medication was recommended for troublesome symptoms, such as pain, incontinence, or depression, it’s important to know if the current treatment plan is effective or not. If it’s working well, is the current dose still ideal, or could it perhaps be tapered off? If it isn’t working, of course you’ll want to explore other options.
  • Check the Beer’s list. The Beer’s list is updated every few years by the American Geriatrics Society and includes any medications that seniors should either avoid or use only with extreme caution. If the person is taking something known to be detrimental in some way to older adults, it’s important to discuss with the prescribing doctor whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • Look for signs of over-treatment. It’s quite common for older individuals to be prescribed higher doses of medications than may be necessary. There are risks involved with over-treatment for many medications, including those for hypertension and diabetes. Taking too much medication to lower a senior’s blood pressure can lead to hypotension, causing lightheadedness or dizziness and an increased risk of falls. And too much insulin is linked to emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
  • Explore drug interactions. Contraindications between medications can be easily checked online. Search for a free online drug interaction checker, enter the medications the person is taking, and then make note of any concerns to share with the doctor.

Taking these steps and then meeting with the doctor for a medication review for older adults is a great way to be proactive and advocate for the best health outcomes for those you love.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help as well, by providing accompanied transportation services to medical appointments and procedures or to the pharmacy. They can also run errands, pick up prescriptions, and monitor for any adverse effects and report them immediately to help prevent hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

To learn more about the Florida home care services available through referred care providers and how partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can improve safety and wellbeing for someone you love, contact the office nearest you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Top Time Management Tips for Family Caregivers

These time management tips for family caregivers will help restore a healthy life balance and alleviate stress.

As a busy family caregiver, you may have made your list and checked it twice, only to find the list has grown to more to-dos than you can manage. The holiday season is a joyful one, but also a time when many family caregivers feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of the extra tasks involved.
Your days are already filled as it is with meeting the care needs of someone you love, managing your own household, taking care of children, a career, and more. How can you possibly fit in holiday decorating, planning special meals, arranging for family get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, sending, cards, etc.?

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we suggest hitting the pause button for just a moment, taking a deep breath, and considering the following time management tips for family caregivers. They’re designed to help you alleviate stress and allow you to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season – and beyond.

What Are the Best Time Management Tips for Family Caregivers?

Here are some steps you can take today to make the best use of the precious 24 hours you have each day:

  • Don’t just make a list – prioritize it. Daily. Start with a brain dump of everything you have to accomplish over the next week, both for the older adult in your care and yourself individually. It may appear overwhelming, but that’s just the first step! Once you have your full list, divide it up into seven days and note the tasks you’d like to tackle each day. Within each day, prioritize the top three tasks. You now have a much more manageable list for each day. And if something happens to make it impossible to complete the tasks on any given day, simply move them to the next day, or split up over the remaining days of the week.
  • Touch each to-do once. It’s easy to become distracted, starting one task and then get pulled in another direction. For instance, you might start folding laundry, but then remember you need to start making dinner, but on the way to the kitchen you realize you neglected to pay the electric bill, so you stop at the computer to take care of that. At some point, though, you’ll need to circle back to finish the laundry. Unless it’s an emergency, the most efficient use of your time is to stay on task and complete what you are doing before moving onto something else.
  • Set realistic expectations. If you’re the type of person who likes everything to be done perfectly, you may not like this suggestion! Scaling back on your idea of what constitutes completion of a task can help you free up time for things that are more important or that you’d rather do. For instance, maybe you can set the expectation to vacuum the floors less often, or to prepare simpler meals. Instead of purchasing holiday gifts for each person in your family, consider having everyone draw names and purchase for just one. Perhaps you can decorate just one room in the home where everyone spends the majority of time.
  • Delegate whenever possible. As an older adult’s primary caregiver, the majority of daily tasks may rest on your shoulders. Hold a family meeting and brainstorm ways that others can chip in to help. If you’ve been taking Mom to a weekly hair appointment, for instance, maybe someone else can begin taking over that role. Others can commit to tending to the older adult’s lawn, or helping with housework or meals on a rotating basis. Providing care for another person is never a solo endeavor, and sharing tasks allows the older adult the additional benefit of socialization with other family members and friends.

The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help as well! A referred care provider can prepare meals, run errands, take care of light housekeeping, provide transportation, and more. And perhaps most importantly, a referred care provider can serve as a friendly companion for conversations and fun activities, making each day the best it can be for an older loved one and allowing you the extra time you need for a healthy life balance.

To learn more about the Florida home care services available through referred care providers and how partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help you alleviate stress and truly enjoy the holiday season and beyond, contact the office nearest you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Senior Depression During the Holiday Season

Learn how to recognize and help with senior depression during the holidays.

With many people eagerly anticipating the joy of the holiday season, it’s important to recognize that for older adults especially, the holidays can be a time of deep sadness. Feelings of nostalgia from holidays past, grief from the loss of loved ones, and health problems related to growing older can all intensify during the holidays. As a result, the experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know it’s critical to keep your finger on the emotional pulse of the older adults in your life by watching for signs of senior depression and knowing what to do if you suspect it in someone you love.

How Can You Tell if It’s Senior Depression?

There are three key questions to ask yourself to determine if a senior is depressed:

  • Could it just be a wistful trip down memory lane? Fondly remembering holiday celebrations from times past and wishing to experience them again is normal for everyone. However, a senior whose mood remains pensive long after the conversation shifts to different topics may be experiencing depression.
  • How’s their health? Depression impacts physical health, too. Watch for a senior who has lost interest in following a healthy diet, who struggles with maintaining good sleep habits, is unintentionally gaining or losing weight, or who seems overly fatigued, as these can all point to depression.
  • Are they enjoying life in general? Depression can be displayed through a lack of interest in activities that had previously been enjoyable for the older adult, difficulty with concentrating and focusing, and a general sense of anxiety and fidgeting rather than being able to be still and calm.

Clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, who authored “Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life,” illustrates the difference between feeling sad and being depressed with an analogy to colors. “A person is blue if they have deep, colorful emotions in response to loss in life. Depression is more like the color black – there [are] no subtle colors to the emotion but stark pain.”

If you suspect senior depression – or even if you’re unsure – contact the older adult’s doctor immediately for help. Treatment is available, necessary, and effective, and the earlier depression is detected, the better.

How Can You Help a Senior Who Is Depressed?

Additionally, these tips can be helpful in supporting someone you love who is depressed:

  • Encourage the person to stay physically active, especially outdoors whenever possible. It’s a beautiful time of year to get out and take a walk in nature.
  • Remain upbeat yourself, reminding the older adult of how much you love them and pointing out the many positives each day brings, no matter how small.
  • Create a list together with the senior of hobbies and interests they have enjoyed in the past, as well as new ones they may want to try. Agree on one or more of these activities to start doing together.
  • Put on some music the older adult especially enjoys. Hum, sing, and dance along, encouraging the senior to join you.
  • Most of all, it’s important to just be there, no matter what the person’s mood may be. Sometimes, just knowing you are there to provide love and support unconditionally can be incredibly helpful.

Since socialization is such an important aspect of mental wellness, partner with a referred care provider from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care for a friendly caregiving companion to engage the senior in conversations and enjoyable pastimes.
For more than 30 years, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care have been referring experienced home care providers with special skills and knowledge to make life the best it can be for older Floridians and the families who love them. Find out the difference we can make for someone you love! Contact the office closest to you to learn about our in-home care services:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

The Many Benefits of In-Home Care Services

Find out how in-home care services offer a wealth of benefits for both older adults and family caregivers alike.

Are you currently caring for an older loved one? Perhaps you’ve had a recent visit with Dad and it seems like he needs some extra support at home. Whatever the case, home care services can make a difference for both you and your loved one. November is National Home Care and Hospice Month, and it’s the perfect time to explore the many benefits of in-home care services.

How Does Home Care Help Seniors?

Home is where the heart is. So, it’s no wonder why aging in place is ideal for most older adults. In-home care services help seniors in numerous ways, including:

    • Preventing dangerous falls in the home
      As a person ages, changes in muscle mass and balance can increase the risk for falls. An in-home care provider can assist with mobility, remove clutter and tripping hazards from around the home to create a safer environment, assist with muscle and balance-building exercises, and more to ensure the older adult’s safety.


    • Allowing for continued independence A primary concern for people as they age is the loss of independence. Few people have a desire to give up the car keys or leave their homes for a care facility. However, as health concerns progress, the need for support arises. Home care services allow older adults to maintain independence and live on their own for as long as possible. The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer safe and reliable transportation services for those who can no longer drive themselves to appointments and social outings. Errand and shopping services are also offered to help older adults stay on top of their needs.
    • Providing personal care as needed
      Everyone is unique. Some older adults may not be able to drive, but can otherwise take care of themselves. Others may have multiple chronic conditions and need assistance with day-to-day activities. Referred care providers can assist with a wide range of personal care needs including:


      • Bathing and personal hygiene
      • Getting dressed
      • Going to the bathroom
      • Walking, transferring, and positioning
      • Diabetic care
      • Medication assistance
      • And more

Providing a friendly companion
Older adults who live alone often experience feelings of loneliness due to social isolation. This can lead to depression and a decline in overall health. The providers we refer offer a friendly face each day, providing conversation, engagement in hobbies and pokies that use pay id games, and connection that can make a positive difference in an older adult’s life.

How Does Home Care Help Family Caregivers?

Balancing care for an older loved one with work, family life, personal obligations, and more can be daunting. Home care services aren’t just a great benefit for older adults; they provide a much-needed break for family caregivers as well. The services offered by our referred care providers allow family caregivers to get the rest they need to avoid caregiver burnout. For family members who live at a distance from older loved ones, in-home care services provide peace of mind, ensuring that seniors are well cared for.

Discover the Full Benefits of Home Care Today!

With the assistance of knowledgeable and compassionate referred care providers, older adults throughout Florida can remain in the homes and communities they love while living vibrant and independent lives.

To learn more about the in-home care services available through referred care providers and the benefits of partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, contact the office nearest you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661