All posts by AIHC Home Health Blog

Prevent Senior Financial Fraud and Scams

Senior financial fraud and scams are a real threat, and knowing what to watch for is key to prevention.

Even though we’re all susceptible to becoming victims of scams and fraud, older adults are much more likely to be targeted, for several reasons. For one thing, scammers believe seniors are more financially sound than those who are younger. They may be lonely and isolated, making them more vulnerable to carrying on a conversation with a scammer on the phone. And, they’re assumed to be more polite and trusting. As a result, older adults lose an astounding $3 billion each year to senior financial fraud.

The key to prevention is knowing the red flags of a scam artist, and staying up to date on the latest fraud trends. To assist, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some of the most prevalent scams targeting seniors below:

  • The Trusted Government Official Scam.These phone calls appear to come from the IRS, Medicare, Social Security Administration, or simply a Washington, DC area code, making it easy to believe the calls are legitimate. The scammer will ask to confirm the older adult’s personal information, stating that they are investigating back taxes that need to be paid or some other legal resolution.
  • The Grandchild Scam: In this frightening scenario, the scammer claims to be the senior’s grandchild who is having an emergency and is in need of funds to help. The caller will plead with the older adult to keep the call confidential, requesting a gift card or money wire transfer to obtain money.
  • The Love Scam: Online dating is a common way for single or widowed older adults to find companionship, but unfortunately, it also opens them up to scammers. Online dating fraud involves scammers creating elaborate fake profiles, utilizing stolen photos and details, to trick seniors into falling for them. They will eventually ask for funds to travel to meet the senior, but then disappear with the money.
  • The Winner Scam: Vulnerable seniors receive notice that they are winners of a lottery or other type of contest. In this scam, the seniors are required to pay a fee to collect their “prize.” The scammer will ask the senior for bank account details in order to deposit the winnings. Sadly, however, this can lead to the theft of large sums of money, sometimes wiping out an older adult’s hard-earned savings altogether.
  • The Internet Scam: Internet scammers use pop-ups that alert their victims to a “virus” the computer has been infected with. In order to have the virus removed, the user needs to pay a fee or download software that will allow the scammer to steal personal information.

Though scams such as these are incredibly disturbing, there are steps you can take to protect the older adults you love, including:

  • Make sure senior loved ones have caller ID and utilize voice mail for any unknown callers.
  • Talk with older adults about the importance of NEVER giving out personal or sensitive information over the phone.
  • Be wary of any mail that contains contests, sweepstakes, or prizes; if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
    Scammers are very good at what they do, so never belittle or criticize an older adult who may have fallen victim to them.

Additionally, allow the referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care to help an older loved one remain vigilant against senior scams by providing an extra pair of eyes to ensure safety. Partnering with a referred care provider ensures that an older loved one has regular companionship, which helps to eliminate loneliness, one of the top factors that can lead to older adults being vulnerable to fraud or scams. Referred care providers also offer a wide range of in-home care services, such as light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, personal hygiene care, and so much more.

The Florida senior care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to ensure the independence and safety of the older adult you love. Contact the office nearest you to learn more.

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

10 Tips to Promote Healthy Aging for Older Adults

10 tips to promote healthy aging in older adults

September is Healthy Aging Month, an awareness campaign designed to bring attention to the many positive aspects of growing older. While growing older does have many benefits, it’s important for older adults to take charge of their overall mental and physical health and wellness. Making healthy aging a priority, rather than an afterthought, helps older adults remain active and independent.
To help ensure that older adults prioritize healthy aging, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share these 10 tips:

  • 1. Prioritize fall prevention. Incorporating exercises that focus on balance and strength are critical for reducing the chances of a fall. Each year, older adult falls result in a variety of medical emergencies, but with a focus on exercises that build leg strength and balance, the risk of falls can be significantly reduced.
  • 2. Walk more. Regular walking helps older adults stay active and mobile. Whether walking to the store, at a local mall, around the block or at a nearby park, walking is something that can be done almost anywhere. Walking is a great form of exercise that is easy on the joints, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and provides a number of mental and physical health benefits. Figure out the average number of steps taken per day by using a smartphone or activity bracelet and then make a commitment to increase this number a little bit each day.
  • 3. Socialize. Maintaining friendships and connections throughout aging helps maintain mental and physical health. Scheduling a regular lunch with friends, volunteering at a local non-profit, participating in a book club at the library, or inviting family over for dinner are just a few examples of the ways in which older adults can maintain connections to people and their community, and to bring purpose to life.
  • 4. Vaccinate. There are a number of vaccines physicians recommend for adults 65 years and older. They include: an annual flu shot; pneumonia; shingles; COVID-19; and Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Speak with a physician to discuss individual medical history and for recommendations on vaccinations.
  • 5. Request a medication review. Schedule an appointment with a physician for a medication review to go over the prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken. Ask the physician to identify any medications that may decrease cognitive function, make one groggy, or increase fall risk. Work with the physician to determine if medication doses can be decreased, if there are other medications available that may have fewer side effects, or if any can be safely stopped.
  • 6. Create (or update) a personal health record. A personal health record (PHR) is a centralized location where all important medical information is kept. A PHR provides an accurate picture of an older adult’s health and can help ensure better and safer medical care. A PRH can help older adults quickly get the care needed in an emergency situation, a second opinion, or provide a new member of the older adult’s medical team with needed health information.
  • 7. Review (or create) an advance healthcare directive. An advance directive is a legal document that details how medical decisions should be made on one’s behalf if they are incapacitated. This provides a guide for loved ones and the healthcare team to honor one’s wishes. Since people’s preferences regarding their medical care may change over time, it’s important to revisit an advance healthcare directive frequently and update if needed.
  • 8. Review (or create) advance financial planning. It is often assumed that if an older adult were to become incapacitated and unable to manage their finances that his or her spouse would take over responsibility. In fact, this is not possible without a durable power of attorney that covers finances. Ensuring that this legal document is in place provides peace of mind for both the older adult and their family members.
  • 9. Make and keep medical appointments. As people age, it becomes more important than ever to make and keep regular wellness exams and schedule routine screenings. Whether an annual physical, a quarterly medication check, an annual eye exam, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, or other preventative measures, making and keeping these appointments helps older adults remain proactive in their healthcare.
  • 10. Plan for long-term care. When asked, most older adults would choose to age in place – remaining in the home, neighborhood and community they love. With the help of referred care providers from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, this is easier than ever before. Offering a variety of medical and non-medical in-home care services that help older adults remain active, independent and engaged throughout the aging process, the referred care providers bring peace of mind to seniors and their families.

To learn more healthy aging tips and for additional information on the wide variety of in-home care services offered by referred caregivers throughout Florida, reach out to your local office at American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care.

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

Head to Toe Checklist to Help Older Adults Remain Active and Injury Free

Help older adults remain active and injury free with these head to toe tips.

On a recent walk with Mom, she misjudged the curb and rolled her ankle. While you are thankful that she only ended up with some bruises and a sprained foot, you’re cognizant of the fact that she could have sustained a much more severe injury.
A fall or other injury can seriously sideline older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, each year more than three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. And 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
To help older adults remain active and injury free, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following head to toe tips.

Feet and Ankles

The foot is made up of 26 bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and over the course of a person’s lifetime, will travel more than 200 million steps. It’s no wonder then that feet and ankles bear the brunt of the aches and pains that surface during aging. To prevent foot and ankle injuries, implement these strategies:
Wear proper footwear. Select and wear shoes that fit well and that match the activity being performed. If you walk regularly for exercise, get fitted for walking shoes that provide proper support, and buy new shoes every 6 to 9 months. When shoes fit properly, there is a decreased chance of developing hammer toes or bunions. Properly fitted shoes also provide support for ankles and knees.
Keep feet clean. Wash feet regularly with mild soap and water, drying well between the toes to reduce the chance of infection. Moisturize the heels only and keep toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails.
Check the feet. Examine your feet daily to check for calluses, blisters or anything that seems unusual. Routine inspection reduces the chance for infection or fungus. If you are unable to easily check your feet, ask a loved one to help you.

Knees

Carrying four times your weight with every step, knees are also prone to a number of ailments as people age, such as:

  • Cartilage tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprained or strained ligaments
  • Arthritis as a result of aging, injury, or a combination of both

To protect knees from injury, it’s important to incorporate exercises that improve balance, agility, and strength. When exercising or participating in an activity that may put added stress on knees, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and a cool-down to get muscles ready.

Hips

The CDC estimates that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. For older adults, a broken hip is not only debilitating, but it can also be fatal. In addition to fractures, older adults can experience hip pain from arthritis or weakened bones from osteoporosis. The hips are a primary source of strength and stability in the legs and help people to perform many everyday activities such as standing, walking, bending and going up and down stairs. When the hip muscles become weak, symptoms can include pain and decreased mobility.

Healthy and strong hips reduce the risk of falling, making it important to engage in regular physician-approved exercise that targets and strengthens the muscles in and around the hips.

Shoulders

Shoulders are the most flexible joint in the human body and are involved in myriad daily tasks – from brushing teeth and preparing food to driving and opening doors. As the body ages, injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder or dislocation can occur during an exercise routine or when simply engaged in regular household chores. To guard against shoulder injuries, be sure to:

  • Warm up and condition muscles before exercise or a household chore that may be repetitive and involve shoulder movement.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in an activity that requires a great deal of shoulder use, such as gardening, sweeping, washing windows, etc.
  • To reduce the amount of stretching needed to grab items off of a high shelf, consider moving them to a shelf at eye level.

Wrists

The wrists are involved in nearly every daily activity and older adults are susceptible to stress injuries, fractures and arthritis in this joint. Like other joints in the body, it’s important to keep the wrists strong and agile. This reduces pain and helps to maintain full range of motion so that older adults are able to continue to perform a variety of everyday tasks independently.
To help keep wrists and hands strong and flexible, squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball. This exercise is easy to do and can be completed almost anywhere.

In-Home Care Can Help

To help older adults remain independent and injury free, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help. Our Florida in-home care services can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual and may include:

  • Encouragement to complete physician-approved exercise
  • Home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls
  • Help with planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Transportation to physical therapy or doctors’ appointments
  • Friendly companionship
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Specialized nursing care
  • And much more!

Contact us any time to learn more about referred in-home care for older adults by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

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

Head to Toe Checklist to Help Older Adults Remain Active and Injury Free

Help older adults remain active and injury free with these head to toe tips.

On a recent walk with Mom, she misjudged the curb and rolled her ankle. While you are thankful that she only ended up with some bruises and a sprained foot, you’re cognizant of the fact that she could have sustained a much more severe injury.
A fall or other injury can seriously sideline older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, each year more than three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. And 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
To help older adults remain active and injury free, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following head to toe tips.

Feet and Ankles

The foot is made up of 26 bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and over the course of a person’s lifetime, will travel more than 200 million steps. It’s no wonder then that feet and ankles bear the brunt of the aches and pains that surface during aging. To prevent foot and ankle injuries, implement these strategies:
Wear proper footwear. Select and wear shoes that fit well and that match the activity being performed. If you walk regularly for exercise, get fitted for walking shoes that provide proper support, and buy new shoes every 6 to 9 months. When shoes fit properly, there is a decreased chance of developing hammer toes or bunions. Properly fitted shoes also provide support for ankles and knees.
Keep feet clean. Wash feet regularly with mild soap and water, drying well between the toes to reduce the chance of infection. Moisturize the heels only and keep toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails.
Check the feet. Examine your feet daily to check for calluses, blisters or anything that seems unusual. Routine inspection reduces the chance for infection or fungus. If you are unable to easily check your feet, ask a loved one to help you.

Knees

Carrying four times your weight with every step, knees are also prone to a number of ailments as people age, such as:

  • Cartilage tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprained or strained ligaments
  • Arthritis as a result of aging, injury, or a combination of both

To protect knees from injury, it’s important to incorporate exercises that improve balance, agility, and strength. When exercising or participating in an activity that may put added stress on knees, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and a cool-down to get muscles ready.

Hips

The CDC estimates that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. For older adults, a broken hip is not only debilitating, but it can also be fatal. In addition to fractures, older adults can experience hip pain from arthritis or weakened bones from osteoporosis. The hips are a primary source of strength and stability in the legs and help people to perform many everyday activities such as standing, walking, bending and going up and down stairs. When the hip muscles become weak, symptoms can include pain and decreased mobility.

Healthy and strong hips reduce the risk of falling, making it important to engage in regular physician-approved exercise that targets and strengthens the muscles in and around the hips.

Shoulders

Shoulders are the most flexible joint in the human body and are involved in myriad daily tasks – from brushing teeth and preparing food to driving and opening doors. As the body ages, injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder or dislocation can occur during an exercise routine or when simply engaged in regular household chores. To guard against shoulder injuries, be sure to:

  • Warm up and condition muscles before exercise or a household chore that may be repetitive and involve shoulder movement.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in an activity that requires a great deal of shoulder use, such as gardening, sweeping, washing windows, etc.
  • To reduce the amount of stretching needed to grab items off of a high shelf, consider moving them to a shelf at eye level.

Wrists

The wrists are involved in nearly every daily activity and older adults are susceptible to stress injuries, fractures and arthritis in this joint. Like other joints in the body, it’s important to keep the wrists strong and agile. This reduces pain and helps to maintain full range of motion so that older adults are able to continue to perform a variety of everyday tasks independently.
To help keep wrists and hands strong and flexible, squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball. This exercise is easy to do and can be completed almost anywhere.

In-Home Care Can Help

To help older adults remain independent and injury free, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help. Our Florida in-home care services can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual and may include:

  • Encouragement to complete physician-approved exercise
  • Home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls
  • Help with planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Transportation to physical therapy or doctors’ appointments
  • Friendly companionship
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Specialized nursing care
  • And much more!

Contact us any time to learn more about referred in-home care for older adults by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

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

Checklist to Help Older Adults

Help older adults remain active and injury free with these head to toe tips.

On a recent walk with Mom, she misjudged the curb and rolled her ankle. While you are thankful that she only ended up with some bruises and a sprained foot, you’re cognizant of the fact that she could have sustained a much more severe injury.

A fall or other injury can seriously sideline older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, each year more than three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. And 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.

To help older adults remain active and injury free, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following head to toe tips.

Feet and Ankles

The foot is made up of 26 bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and over the course of a person’s lifetime, will travel more than 200 million steps. It’s no wonder then that feet and ankles bear the brunt of the aches and pains that surface during aging. To prevent foot and ankle injuries, implement these strategies:

Wear proper footwear. Select and wear shoes that fit well and that match the activity being performed. If you walk regularly for exercise, get fitted for walking shoes that provide proper support, and buy new shoes every 6 to 9 months. When shoes fit properly, there is a decreased chance of developing hammer toes or bunions. Properly fitted shoes also provide support for ankles and knees.

Keep feet clean. Wash feet regularly with mild soap and water, drying well between the toes to reduce the chance of infection. Moisturize the heels only and keep toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails.

Check the feet. Examine your feet daily to check for calluses, blisters or anything that seems unusual. Routine inspection reduces the chance for infection or fungus. If you are unable to easily check your feet, ask a loved one to help you.

Knees

Carrying four times your weight with every step, knees are also prone to a number of ailments as people age, such as:

  • Cartilage tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprained or strained ligaments
  • Arthritis as a result of aging, injury, or a combination of both

To protect knees from injury, it’s important to incorporate exercises that improve balance, agility, and strength. When exercising or participating in an activity that may put added stress on knees, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and a cool-down to get muscles ready.

Hips

The CDC estimates that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. For older adults, a broken hip is not only debilitating, but it can also be fatal. In addition to fractures, older adults can experience hip pain from arthritis or weakened bones from osteoporosis. The hips are a primary source of strength and stability in the legs and help people to perform many everyday activities such as standing, walking, bending and going up and down stairs. When the hip muscles become weak, symptoms can include pain and decreased mobility.

Healthy and strong hips reduce the risk of falling, making it important to engage in regular physician-approved exercise that targets and strengthens the muscles in and around the hips.

Shoulders

Shoulders are the most flexible joint in the human body and are involved in myriad daily tasks – from brushing teeth and preparing food to driving and opening doors. As the body ages, injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder or dislocation can occur during an exercise routine or when simply engaged in regular household chores. To guard against shoulder injuries, be sure to:

  • Warm up and condition muscles before exercise or a household chore that may be repetitive and involve shoulder movement.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in an activity that requires a great deal of shoulder use, such as gardening, sweeping, washing windows, etc.
  • To reduce the amount of stretching needed to grab items off of a high shelf, consider moving them to a shelf at eye level.

Wrists

The wrists are involved in nearly every daily activity and older adults are susceptible to stress injuries, fractures and arthritis in this joint. Like other joints in the body, it’s important to keep the wrists strong and agile. This reduces pain and helps to maintain full range of motion so that older adults are able to continue to perform a variety of everyday tasks independently.
To help keep wrists and hands strong and flexible, squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball. This exercise is easy to do and can be completed almost anywhere.

In-Home Care Can Help

To help older adults remain independent and injury free, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help. Our Florida in-home care services can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual and may include:

  • Encouragement to complete physician-approved exercise
  • Home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls
  • Help with planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Transportation to physical therapy or doctors’ appointments
  • Friendly companionship
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Specialized nursing care
  • And much more!

Contact us any time to learn more about referred in-home care for older adults by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

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

Stroke Recovery at Home: How In-Home Care Services Can Help

stroke recovery - know what to expect

If someone you love has been hospitalized for a stroke, there are frequently many questions about the stroke recovery process and the transition back to the home environment. Knowing what to expect in the days, weeks and months following a stroke is important.
At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we understand that while the prospect of bringing a loved one home following a stroke may be a huge relief, there are many logistical issues that need to be addressed to ensure safety and adherence to a stroke recovery plan.

Day 1

Two of the first steps toward recovery are determining the type of stroke and the severity of the stroke. With this information, the medical team can work together to determine the best course of action to aid in recovery. The team typically consists of physicians, neurologists, and occupational, speech, and physical therapists who work to develop a rehabilitation plan. Therapy often begins while the individual is still in the hospital.

Initial Weeks Following a Stroke

Long-term effects of a stroke will vary from person to person based upon the severity and the part of the brain affected. It’s common for those recovering from a stroke to experience:

  • Physical symptoms – weakness, paralysis, difficulty swallowing
  • Cognitive symptoms – memory problems and trouble speaking
  • Emotional symptoms – depression, anxiety and impulsivity
  • Extreme fatigue and trouble sleeping

To aid individuals in their recovery process, the healthcare team will recommend therapy to help patients make strides toward rehabilitation. This may include:

  • Physical therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn motor activities such as walking, standing, sitting, lying down.
  • Occupational therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn activities such as drinking and swallowing, dressing, bathing, cooking, eating, writing, using the bathroom.
  • Speech therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn language and speaking skills.

Therapy sessions are customized to each individual’s goals and needs, and can often be conducted in the home.

Post Stroke: 1 – 3 Months

The initial weeks and months following a stroke are important. The goal of rehabilitation is to restore as much function as possible to pre-stroke levels. While the healthcare team monitors the patient and therapy continues, it’s important to anticipate setbacks during this time. The setbacks can be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging for both the patient and his/her family. Work with the healthcare team to make adjustments as needed to the rehabilitation plan and prioritize mental health.

Post Stroke: 6 Months and Beyond

After six months, continued recovery is possible, but improvements will be slower. Some patients may experience complete recovery and others may have ongoing impairments. During this time, it’s important to remain in contact with your healthcare team:

  • Primary care physician. The primary care physician can manage any health concerns beyond the stroke and can recommend lifestyle changes that can help prevent future strokes.
  • Neurologist. With a deep understanding of the mechanisms behind stroke-related brain injury, a neurologist can recommend customized treatments to target the affected area of the brain.
  • Rehabilitation psychologist. A psychologist will provide support with emotional, cognitive and behavioral functioning.
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapists. OT, PT, and ST will aid in the ongoing recovery of functioning in order to complete day-to-day activities.

A coordinated effort between the members of your healthcare team can help bring about further progress and recovery in the months and years following a stroke.

Post Stroke: How Home Care Can Help

To help aid in the recovery process, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help with a variety of care needs. During the initial hospitalization following a stroke, a knowledgeable referred care provider can help assess the home for fall risks and recommend other safety enhancements that will make for an easier transition home.
Once home, a referred care provider can also assist with:

  • Bathing, dressing and personal hygiene
  • Planning and preparing nourishing meals and snacks, with adherence to any dietary restrictions
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Friendly companionship and conversation
  • Encouragement to complete physical, occupational or speech therapy exercises / activities
  • Transportation to follow-up medical or therapy appointments
  • Medication reminders
  • Respite for family caregivers to prioritize self-care
  • And much more!

For additional information about how a referred Florida senior care expert can help you or someone you love transition home safely following a stroke, contact us today. We have offices throughout Florida and we look forward to helping you.

Top Tips to Manage Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

Managing Lewy body dementia symptoms can be much easier with these tips from our experts in senior care in Florida.

Lewy body dementia is the second most common form of degenerative dementia, affecting approximately 1.4 million people across the U.S. While the disease affects millions, few people have a good understanding of the disease, its symptoms, or how to manage them. American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share information about Lewy body dementia symptoms to help family caregivers develop strategies to better manage and even reduce symptoms and improve the care experience.

What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a disease in which abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein, also known as Lewy bodies, attach to the brain. The cause of Lewy body dementia is as yet unknown; however, research shows that a buildup of Lewy bodies is associated with the loss of specific neurons in the brain. One of these neurons is vital for memory and learning, and the other plays an essential role in movement, cognition, behavior, mood, and sleep.

The loss of these neurons produces a range of behavioral symptoms that can be challenging to manage, including:

    Cognitive changes

  • Visual hallucinations, which occur in up to 80% of people with Lewy body dementia
  • Changes in concentration, attention, and wakefulness that are often unpredictable
  • Disorganized or illogical thoughts
  • Poor judgment, confusion about time and place, and difficulty with language and numbers
  • Movement issues

  • Weak voice
  • Rigid or stiff muscles
  • Tremor or shaking when resting
  • Shuffling gait and slowed movement
  • Balance issues and higher tendency to fall
  • Stooped posture
  • Decline in coordination
  • Smaller handwriting than was usual for the person
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Problems sleeping

  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Feeling very tired during the day
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Behavioral issues

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest in daily activities or social interaction
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Paranoia and delusions

How to Manage Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

Medications, such as antipsychotic drugs, can be dangerous for people with Lewy body dementia and may make symptoms worse. Finding non-drug related methods to help manage symptoms is an ideal first step before trying medication.

  1. Accept behaviors that do not cause harm. Some Lewy body dementia symptoms, like paranoia and agitation, can lead to aggression or physical acting out. However, for those behaviors that are milder and do not cause the person or others pain or potential for physical harm, it can be best to tolerate the symptoms and focus more on distraction and reassurance.
  2. Determine if there is a physical cause for the behavior. Physical pain or discomfort can exacerbate symptoms, so check to see if something else, such as arthritis pain, injury, urinary tract infection, or other ailment may be causing the symptoms. Treating physical pain can often reduce negative behavioral issues.
  3. Modify the environment. Loud noises and clutter can trigger hallucinations and delusions common with Lewy body dementia, so ensure that the person’s environment is clean and as calm and quiet as possible to reduce symptoms.
  4. Create daily routines. A daily routine can help people with dementia feel safe and secure and minimize agitation. Keep to a regular schedule and break down daily tasks to make them easier to accomplish and reduce frustration.
  5. Seek therapy for movement and swallowing issues. Exercise and physical therapy can greatly help with many movement issues related to Lewy body dementia. For swallowing problems, speech therapy can teach seniors techniques that can make swallowing easier and safer.

Get Help from Florida Home Care Professionals

Caring for a loved one with Lewy body dementia can be challenging. Partnering with a referred home care provider can help. At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we offer professional Alzheimer’s and dementia care services through referred care providers that help older adults live safer, happier lives at home. Additionally, in-home respite care services allow busy family caregivers the time they need to take care of work, family, and themselves.

Contact our team today to find out more about how an experienced referred care provider can help the older adults in your life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:

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

Myths and Facts: Hydration for Older Adults

Senior - elder blog

As Florida broils under the most intense heat of the year, it’s important for all of us to stay hydrated, but hydration for older adults can be especially challenging for a number of reasons. Senior dehydration can happen quickly and lead to a number of serious health complications. This is because older adults have less water in their bodies, have a lowered ability to keep their bodies’ fluid levels in balance, and have decreased efficiency in the kidneys, among other factors.

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that understanding the facts about hydration is the best way to ensure that the older adults you love stay healthy this summer. We’ve debunked some of the common misconceptions about hydration for older adults below.

Myth: You can tell you’re at risk for dehydration when you start to become thirsty.
Fact: Older adults often have a diminished sense of thirst, so this is never an appropriate gauge of hydration level. By the time you feel thirsty, your body’s fluid levels have already dropped by as much as 2-3% of your body weight. Better indicators are the color of urine, which should be pale and clear, and the frequency of urination, which should be every few hours.

Myth: Sports drinks are the best way to hydrate after exercising.
Fact: Sports drinks may be recommended for an older adult who has engaged in a strenuous, lengthy workout, or who has experienced vomiting or diarrhea. Sports drinks can be dangerous, however, for seniors with certain types of medical conditions, such as diabetes. Check with the doctor for guidance. In most cases, plain water is the best source of hydration.

Myth: Everyone needs eight cups of water each day.
Fact: There are a number of factors that determine how much fluid each individual needs: age, climate, medications being taken, diet, activity level, etc. Because older adults have fewer water reserves in the body, it’s important to not just drink enough water each day, but to drink at optimal times during the day: first thing in the morning, before meals, and after exercising, for instance. To determine how much water a senior should drink, take 1/3 of the person’s body weight and aim for that many ounces of water daily (i.e., 60 ounces of water for someone who weighs 180 pounds). However, it’s always best to check with the older adult’s doctor for guidance on fluid consumption.

Myth: You can only stay hydrated by drinking fluids.
Fact: If an older adult balks at drinking lots of fluids, there are foods that contain fluids that can help as well, such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers, and soup. Again, checking with the doctor for recommendations is always a good idea.

Myth: Stay away from coffee; it’s dehydrating.
Fact: Until recently, it was believed that caffeine was a diuretic and increased the risk for dehydration. However, researchers have found that drinking up to four cups per day of coffee or other caffeinated beverages showed no dehydrating effects.

Myth: If a senior appears to be dehydrated, have them drink more water.
Fact: Dehydration can be extremely serious, and depending on the symptoms being displayed, treatment may require more than simply taking a drink. Mild dehydration can present as a headache, fatigue, dry mouth, and muscle cramps. If drinking water or a drink containing electrolytes doesn’t resolve the symptoms within 5-10 minutes, get medical help right away. IV fluids and additional interventions may be needed for moderate to severe dehydration, which can include symptoms such as confusion, trouble walking, a fast, weak pulse, dry, sunken eyes, cramping, increased breathing rate, and more.

At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we offer referred care providers who can help seniors stay hydrated and healthy. Our services include help with preparing meals, picking up groceries and running other errands, encouraging seniors to drink plenty of fluids and take medications as prescribed, and much more. Each referred care provider will monitor a senior’s condition and report any changes immediately to ensure optimal health and wellbeing.

Contact us to find out more about how our Florida home care experts can help the older adults in your life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:

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

Reduce Fall Risk for Seniors by Addressing a Senior’s Shuffling Gait

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we work hard to reduce fall risk for seniors. One of the most important ways to accomplish this is by paying attention to how an older adult walks. Many older adults adopt a shuffling gait, which can provide a clue into a potential mobility issue.




There are a number of conditions that can cause older adults to shuffle their feet as they walk, including:

  • Joint pain caused by arthritis
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Vision impairment or loss
  • Loss of flexibility in the feet and legs
  • Weakened hip and leg muscles
  • Fear caused by a recent fall
  • General increased fear of falling due to previous falls
  • Ill-fitting shoes or slippers
  • Overall loss of balance
  • An illness such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease

Reducing Fall Risk for Seniors

The slow pace of a shuffling gait may feel like a safer way to get around for some older adults, but it can actually have the opposite effect. If the person has rugs in the home, shuffling could cause them to trip over the edge of a rug or slide on an unsecured mat. Shoes can also catch on the ground while shuffling, causing the senior to trip. People who shuffle their feet often tend to have a narrower stance that offers less balance and support.

Uncovering the reason behind a senior’s change in gait can be challenging, but it is a vital part of fall prevention. If an older loved one has started shuffling their feet when they walk, it is important to schedule a doctor’s appointment to get to the root of the problem.

Review the list above to determine whether one of more of these issues could be affecting your loved one’s gait. Then, request a thorough physical checkup. Once your doctor has determined a cause, recommendations can be made for how to improve the issue, which might include:

  • A change in medication
  • Exercises to improve balance and increase flexibility
  • Use of a walker or cane
  • An updated eyeglass prescription
  • Or other recommendations

According to the National Institute on Aging, 6 out of 10 falls happen at home. Certain home modifications can be made to help prevent falls for those with gait issues. Decreasing fall risks throughout the home is essential for safety. Consider the following tips to create a safer home environment for seniors with gait and mobility issues:

Stairs and Hallways

  • Install secure handrails on both sides of the stairs.
  • Ensure there is proper lighting in stairwells and hallways, with light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and both ends of the hallways.
  • Remove any items from the stairs to reduce tripping hazards.
  • Don’t use throw rugs in hallways.

Bathrooms

  • Install grab bars next to toilets and in showers and bathtubs.
  • Use non-skid bath mats in the bathroom.
  • Place grip tape or mats in the bathtub when showering or bathing.
  • Use nightlights to avoid tripping during night time bathroom visits.

Bedroom

  • Use nightlights or have a lamp near the bed to ensure there is light when needed.
  • If rugs are used in a bedroom, use a slip-proof rug mat or double-sided tape to secure them.
  • Keep a flashlight near the bed in case of power outages.
  • Ensure the bedroom floor is clear of clutter.
  • Keep a phone near the bed or wear an emergency call device in case of a fall.

At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we offer referred care providers who are skilled at helping seniors with a variety of mobility issues and improving safety in the home. Our services include help with walking, transferring and positioning, range of motion exercises, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and much more.

Contact us to find out more about how our Florida senior care experts can help the older adults in your life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:

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

Celebrate Men’s Health Month with These Proactive Tips for Men Over 60

Men’s Health Month is the perfect time to help the senior men you love make some healthy lifestyle changes.

While deciding on that perfect Father’s Day gift for Dad, why not put some additional thought into how to improve his health and wellbeing? June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s the perfect time to encourage the senior men we love to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. It starts with understanding some of the unique health issues older men may face, and how to avoid them.

Encouraging a medical checkup for the senior men in your life, who tend to be less likely to go to the doctor, is a great starting point. It’s the best way to ensure early detection and treatment for the following types of health conditions that can impact men in particular.

Top Health Conditions Impacting Men

  • Heart disease is the leading health threat to men. Steps to minimize the risk include:
    • Quitting smoking
    • Keeping blood pressure at a healthy level
    • Exercising at least 30 minutes each day
    • Reducing trans and saturated fat and replacing with fruits and vegetables
    • Getting cholesterol checked regularly
  • Prostate cancer affects one in six men each year, but the survival rate is quite high, especially when detected early. All men should talk with the doctor about when and how often to be screened.
  • Depression is prevalent in men, but effective treatment options are readily available once diagnosed.
  • Diabetes can sneak up slowly and silently and is becoming increasingly common in men. In fact, one in three boys born in 2000 will develop diabetes. Exercise and a healthy diet are key to reducing the risk for diabetes.

Steps to Better Health for Men

In addition to the tips provided above, these simple lifestyle changes can help the senior men you love live longer, healthier lives:

  • See the doctor regularly for routine checkups, and contact the doctor when ill. As many as 40% of men avoid seeing the doctor if they become sick, or put off going until the illness worsens. Getting medical care right away can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Ask the doctor about screenings for the following, which are recommended by Johns Hopkins for all men age 65 and older:
    • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
    • Colorectal cancer
    • Lipid disorders
    • High blood pressure
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • STDs
  • Make sure all vaccinations are up to date, including those for the flu, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus/diphtheria, and COVID-19.
  • Assess the home for fall risks and make modifications as needed. In addition, ensure sufficient levels of calcium and vitamin D are consumed daily (according to the doctor’s recommendations) to keep bones healthy and protect against fractures if a fall does occur.
  • Keep cognitive function from declining by staying mentally sharp. Sign up for continuing education classes (in person or online), play memory games, do puzzles, etc.
  • Take care of mental health, too. It’s important to stay social, engage in enjoyable and meaningful activities, and talk with a professional counselor or therapist to work through any emotional concerns.

It’s also a great time to plan some fun, health-promoting activities to enjoy together with the older men in your life, such as:

  • Taking walks
  • Bowling
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Tennis
  • Bicycling
  • Gardening
  • Going to the gym
  • Cooking healthy meals together
  • And so much more - the sky’s the limit!

At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we offer referred care providers who can help in a variety of ways to improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of the seniors you love. Our services range from meal planning and preparation and help with household chores to transportation and companionship, and much more.

Contact us to find out more about how the addition of Florida home care services can benefit the older adults in your life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:

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