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Tips for Managing the Most Common Chronic Health Conditions in Older Adults

More effectively manage the leading chronic health conditions in older adults with these tips.

Receiving a diagnosis for a serious health condition changes life in an instant – both for the person diagnosed and for those who love them. And with 80% of people over the age of 65 currently living with at least one chronic disease (and 68% with two or more), it’s important for all of us to educate ourselves on how to effectively manage chronic health conditions in older adults.

As your top resource for Florida aging care needs, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care has compiled some helpful information about the most common chronic diseases in seniors along with tips to help:

Hypertension

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious health condition. To keep blood pressure levels in check:

  • Follow a healthy diet, including limiting salt and alcohol
  • Lose weight, if needed and with the help of a registered dietitian
  • Exercise each day, incorporating aerobic, strengthening, flexibility and stretching activities
  • Take daily blood pressure readings
  • Minimize stress

Arthritis

Arthritis affects one in three seniors, most commonly women. Symptoms can be eased through:

  • Ensuring the legs, back, and arms are always supported
  • Maintaining a healthy weight; even losing just one pound will take four pounds of pressure off your knees
  • Quitting (or never starting) smoking

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries leading to the heart, which can cause a heart attack, blood clots, and other complications. Try:

  • Maintaining a diet free from trans and saturated fats, while limiting salt and sugar
  • Getting sufficient sleep each night – at least seven hours
  • Cardio exercises
  • Quitting (or never starting) smoking
  • Minimizing stress
  • Dementia

    Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and the ensuing memory loss and cognitive decline are not a normal part of aging and can be extremely difficult to manage. To ease the effect of symptoms:

    • Ensure plenty of physical activity as well as mental stimulation
    • Stick to a routine that includes healthy meals at regular intervals and sufficient hydration, and at least seven hours of deep sleep each night
    • Engage in meaningful, enjoyable pastimes daily

    Depression

    Depression in seniors is both common and treatable. If red flags of depression such as pessimism and ongoing feelings of sadness, fatigue, loss of interest in socializing or engaging in previously enjoyed activities, appetite changes, or problems with decision-making are noted, contact the doctor for help. Additionally, ensure:

    • Plenty of exercise to release endorphins and boost self-confidence
    • Socialization opportunities such as taking a class, volunteering, meeting a neighbor for coffee each morning, etc.
    • A healthy diet that limits highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
    • Stress-relieving activities, such as journaling, prayer, or meditation

    At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers are here to help seniors achieve a positive outcome in managing chronic health conditions. We can plan and prepare healthy meals, provide friendly companionship to boost socialization, engage in enjoyable activities and exercise programs, and much more. We also offer respite care services to help family caregivers alleviate stress for themselves and take necessary breaks from care to tend to their own needs.

    Contact us at the location closest to you and let us connect you with just the right caregiver to meet your needs.

      

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

  • Four Types of Exercises that Improve Older Adult Health and Physical Abilities

    Older Adult health and Wellness can be improved by exercise

    Did you know that a well-rounded fitness routine is just as important as a well-rounded diet to maximize an older adult’s health and physical abilities? While older adults who remain active throughout aging reap several health and wellness rewards, research has shown that it’s important to include endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises for the maximum health benefits.
    To help older adults incorporate physician-approved exercise as part of their weekly routine, the senior care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, share more information about each of these four fitness categories.

    Endurance Exercises

    Endurance or aerobic exercise is designed to increase breathing and heart rates, improve health and overall fitness, and provide stamina for everyday activities. Endurance activities improve heart and lung health and can prevent various diseases and health conditions that are common in older adults, such as colon and breast cancers, diabetes, heart disease and others. Aim for at least 150 minutes of endurance activity per week and try to spread activities throughout the day to avoid long stretches of sitting or inactivity. Examples of exercises that build endurance include:

    • Yard work (raking, mowing, pulling weeds, etc.)
    • Brisk walking or jogging
    • Dancing
    • Swimming
    • Biking

    Strength Exercises

    Strong muscles help older adults remain independent by making day-to-day activities such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and getting up and down from a chair easier. Strong leg and hip muscles help with balance and can reduce the chance of falls. Older adults can build strength through weights and resistance training and should aim to target all major muscle groups at least two days per week. Examples of strength exercises include:

    • Lifting handheld weights or bottles of water
    • Carrying groceries
    • Using resistance bands
    • Wall pushups
    • Gripping a tennis ball or small rubber ball

    Balance Exercises

    Falls are a leading cause of injury to older adults. Increasing lower body strength in combination with balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls and help older adults remain confident and independent. When working on balance, it’s important to start slowly and to have a sturdy chair or person nearby to hold onto to ensure safety. Balance exercise examples include:

    • Standing from a seated position
    • Tai Chi – a form of exercise that involves gentle, flowing movements
    • Standing on one foot
    • Walking heel to toe
    • Side leg raises
    • Marching in place

    Flexibility Exercises

    Increased flexibility also helps older adults continue to complete a variety of day-to-day activities safely and independently, such as reaching down to pick something up and looking over the shoulder when backing out of a parking space. The best time to do flexibility exercises is after completing endurance or strength exercises because muscles are warmed up. Stretching exercises also help ease stiff joints and provide greater range of motion, making it easier to move. These flexibility exercises can be completed standing or seated:

    • Overhead stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise hands overhead and interlace fingers. Gently pull arms to the left, holding for 10 – 30 seconds, and then repeat on the right.
      Shoulder stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, reach your left arm across your body. Place your right hand on your upper left arm, gently drawing your right arm closer. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds, and then repeat on the right.
    • Triceps stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise your arms overhead and bend your left arm so that it is behind your head. Place your right hand on your right elbow and gently pull your right arm in, holding for 10 -30 seconds. Repeat with your right arm.
    • Hamstring stretch – Place your left heel on a bench or other slightly elevated surface. Extend your leg straight with toes pointed up. Without rounding your lower back, gently hinge forward from the hips until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds and repeat on the right leg.

    Helping older adults remain independent, active, and engaged in their local community is a top priority for the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care. Our Florida companion care services can be customized to meet the specific needs of each individual – offering help and encouragement with everything from daily exercises and meal preparation to friendly companionship and accompanied transportation for social outings, and much more.

    Contact us at the location nearest you to learn about all our in-home care services designed to help older adults thrive in the familiarity and comfort of home.

     

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

    Reduce Caregiver Stress and Increase Gratitude with These Tips

    Caregiving is both a rewarding and selfless act, but it also comes with challenges. Discover some simple tips to reduce stress and increase gratitude this holiday season! #holidaytips #caregiverhelp

    We may have turned the calendar page on Thanksgiving, but there’s good reason to hold onto that attitude of gratitude, especially if you’re a family caregiver. A thankful heart is actually a great remedy for something you’re likely facing on any given day, and even more so during the hectic holiday season: caregiver stress.

    What Gratitude Is NOT

    Let’s be honest. While providing care for someone you love is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and selfless acts of service that you can offer, it’s not without its unique challenges. And we in no way want to minimize the difficulties caregiving involves. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that these tips for focusing on gratitude are not intended to gloss over any hardships.

    How to Realistically Maintain a Thankful Heart

    That being said, there are ways to incorporate a positive perspective into your role as a family caregiver. As the saying goes, there is always something to be thankful for. It may take a little digging to uncover, but finding and focusing on the positives will:

    • Train your brain to gradually think more optimistically, improving your overall outlook on life and what it has to offer.
    • Help you appreciate the people and circumstances in your life that are making life better for you as well as the senior in your care.

    One simple but very effective way to accomplish this is through gratitude journaling. While typical journaling’s purpose is to get out any and all feelings you may be experiencing, a gratitude journal should be used simply to record your thankful thoughts.

    How to Get Started with Gratitude Journaling

    Dedicate a few minutes each and every day and commit to writing or drawing what you’re thankful for. Struggling for positive thoughts? These ideas can help:

    • Avoid negative TV shows, podcasts, movies, etc. Intentionally seek out media that builds you up rather than adds extra negativity to your day.
    • Step outside for a breath of fresh air before opening your journal. Take in the beauty of nature through all of your senses.
    • Do a quick online search for uplifting, positive quotes. When you find one that speaks to you, write it in your journal and refer back to it often.
    • Include any accomplishments - no matter how small. Even something as seemingly minor as saying something kind that brought a smile to the senior’s face should be included.
    • Try offering third-person advice - the advice you’d give to a friend - to yourself. This can help you see the situation more clearly and without the emotion that can cloud your perspective, allowing you to create and implement a plan.
    • Make a list of activities that lift your spirits, so when you’re feeling down, you can refer to it and choose one to try.
    • Routinely read back over what you’ve written, especially when stress begins to creep in and you need a pick-me-up.

    At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers are here to share in your caregiving role, allowing you time to step away for self-care and down-time – crucial components to reducing caregiver stress. Our respite care services are ideal for the senior in your care, too, offering opportunities for socialization to enjoy engaging activities and conversations.

    Contact us at the location closest to you and let us connect you with the perfect caregiver to meet your needs.

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

    Top Tips to Assess the Fall Risk of Older Adults

    Top Tips to Assess the Fall Risk of Older Adults

    The holidays are officially upon us. This year, after so much time apart during the pandemic, many of us are excited to celebrate the season by visiting with friends and family once again. For families with elderly loved ones, this time of year is important, not only as a time to reconnect, but as an opportunity to check in on health, mobility, and how older relatives are getting along at home.

    If you're visiting in person this holiday season, it's an ideal time to evaluate the fall risk of older adults both inside and outside of the house. Particularly if you haven't seen aging parents or older relatives in person due to the pandemic, there may be changes in the condition of the home or in the overall health and cognitive state of a loved one, that may make a fall more likely.

    These tips, from the care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, can give you an idea of what to look for and how to make a senior loved one’s environment safe:

    • Monitor overall physical health and mobility. In addition to playing a part in a person’s overall health, chronic illnesses can also impact physical health, including balance and mobility. Pay attention to how elderly loved ones walk. Do you notice shuffling? Can they get up from a seated position without assistance? Do they have any illnesses that might increase the risk of falls? The following are some conditions that may impact an older adult’s balance and mobility:
      • Vision impairment or loss
      • Arthritis or other bone and joint conditions
      • Chronic pain
      • Diabetes
      • Hypertension
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Anemia or other blood disorders
      • Thyroid issues
      • Foot problems
      • Muscle weakness, particularly in the legs
      • Vertigo or dizziness
      • Cognitive or mood disorders, like dementia, depression, etc.
      • Urinary incontinence
    • Discuss current medications being taken. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications increase a person’s risk of falling. These include pain medications, sedatives, insulin, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills. Diuretics and blood pressure drugs may also lower blood pressure which can create a fall risk as well. Some drugs have side effects such as dizziness or confusion which can create fall hazards in older loved ones, too. Drinking alcohol or using marijuana while taking medications can increase this risk as well. Help your loved one make a list of which medications he or she is taking and discuss with his or her physician any concerns about fall risk associated with these drugs.
    • Ask about exercise. For many older adults with chronic conditions, exercise can be challenging. Regular exercise, however, is essential to ensure muscles stay strong, which improves balance and decreases the chance of falling. Talk to your family member and ask how much exercise he or she gets daily. With the help of a doctor, develop an exercise plan that is safe, fun, and easy to keep up with.
    • Survey the home environment. There are many factors in the home that create fall hazards, including:
      • Slippery footwear, like socks or shoes without treads or any footwear that is too big or small or uncomfortable
      • Loose carpets, electrical cords, clutter, dark stairways, etc.
      • Outdoor risks like uneven ground, stairs or porches without secure railings
      • Lack of walking aids such as canes or walkers

    When it comes to fall prevention, creating a safe home environment is key. For more helpful tips on how to reduce the risk of falls for older adults, contact the Florida senior care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care. We can refer a care professional to help older adults in a wide variety of ways, including:

    • Range of motion assistance
    • Assistance with light housekeeping, laundry and linen changes
    • Transferring and positioning
    • Walking with accompaniment
    • Going to the restroom
    • Diabetes care
    • Medication assistance
    • Companionship and encouragement for physician-approved exercise programs
    • And so much more!

    Contact us today at the location nearest you and let us help find the perfect care provider to meet your in-home care needs.

     
     

     

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

    The Importance of Good Nutrition for Older Adults

    One of the top concerns for family members is ensuring proper nutrition for the older adults they love. If you’re unsure whether an older adult you know is getting the nutrients he or she needs to stay strong, healthy and well, this quick checklist from Florida’s top-rated referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help uncover potential red flags:

    1. Is the older adult you know experiencing a loss of appetite, difficulties with digesting food, or problems with chewing/swallowing? Has there been a decrease in the amount of food being eaten over the past several months as a result?
    2. Has the older adult experienced significant weight loss over the last few months? Losing weight, especially for someone with a less active lifestyle, can indicate that the person is not eating properly on a regular basis.
    3. Does the older adult have difficulty with mobility? Being confined to the home can lead to nutritional problems, as it’s more challenging for those with mobility issues to grocery shop or fix meals.
    4. Has an older loved one been under stress lately, or been diagnosed with a chronic illness in the past few months?
    5. What is the older adult’s Body Mass Index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or less may indicate that a loved one is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or above can point toward obesity.

    If you find through answering these questions that an older adult may be experiencing problems with getting sufficient nutrition, it’s a good idea to check in with the older adult’s doctor.

    MyPlate for Older Adults is a helpful guide to appropriate nutrition for seniors, with details on foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, salt, and fat. It also includes recommendations for exercise and fluid consumption, issues that are of particular concern for many older adults. Nutritional tips according to this model include:

    • Bright-colored vegetables, such as peppers and carrots
    • Deep-colored fruits, such as berries and melons
    • Whole grains and cereals, such as brown rice
    • Nonfat or low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
    • Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads, as they are lower in saturated and trans fats
    • Replacing salt with spices
    • Physical exercise including walking and resistance training

    Additional guidelines include selecting foods that are easier to prepare and decrease waste, such as bags of frozen vegetables and single-portion containers of fruit.

    The trusted Florida referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are on hand to help older adults maintain proper nutrition through grocery shopping, planning and preparing healthy meals, serving as a companion to make mealtimes more enjoyable, cleaning up the kitchen, and more.

    Contact us any time to learn more about 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

    Tips to Help Manage Behavioral Challenges in Older Adults with Alzheimer's

    Learn how to navigate the challenging behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s.

    Your usually calm loved one suddenly starts shouting and swearing at you. You wake up in the middle of the night to find your father wandering down the street. Your mother suddenly feels confused and has trouble sleeping at night.

    It is common to see changes in behavior in a loved one with Alzheimer's. Still, scenarios like these can be deeply upsetting for family members. It is important to remember that these changes, while challenging, are typical as the Alzheimer’s progresses. And while it’s easier said than done, caregivers should try not to take these episodes personally.

    Another vital thing to remember is that all behavior is triggered by something. If a loved one with Alzheimer’s has recently become aggressive, this change is occurring for a reason. Perhaps it is loud noises or something else in his or her environment that causes the aggression. Maybe someone said or did something that triggered the behavior. At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that getting to the root of the behavior can help family caregivers manage and potentially avoid many behavioral challenges associated with dementia.

    Wandering

    A common behavior for people with dementia, wandering poses a number of potential safety hazards. Boredom, medication side effects, or the urge to look for something or someone are often triggers for wandering. If a loved one is wandering, try these tips:

    • Help the older adult get regular exercise and participate in enjoyable activities to reduce boredom and restlessness.
    • Camouflage doors with removable curtains or use safety covers on door knobs.
    • Install an in-home monitoring system that can alert you if a loved one is moving around or attempting to leave the home.
    • Have the older adult wear an ID bracelet and/or a GPS tracking device that will help with identification and location tracking if wandering occurs.
    • Alert neighbors about a loved one’s propensity for wandering and make sure they know how to contact you if needed.

    Sundowning

    Sundowning consists of restlessness, disorientation, sleeplessness, and agitation around nighttime. This behavior can be caused by a number of factors, including exhaustion and changes to a person’s biological clock. These steps can help ease sundowning behaviors:

    • Discourage inactivity and napping during the day.
    • Cut back on sugar, caffeine, and other foods that may contribute to sleeplessness.
    • Plan for calm, quiet activities in the afternoon and evening hours.
    • Turn on lights before sunset and close curtains. This can eliminate shadows and help reduce confusion.
    • Consider talking to the older adult’s doctor about medication side effects if you feel that may be an issue.

    Agitation

    Agitation can be a particularly troubling behavior to witness in a loved one with Alzheimer’s. This can include irritability and verbal and physical aggression. Agitation may be triggered by environmental factors such as loud noises or clutter, fear, and fatigue. It can also be the result of the person feeling as though they are losing control of their own lives. These tips can help:

    • Reduce noise and clutter in the home.
    • Follow routines as much as possible and keep commonly used household objects and furniture in the same place.
    • Allow the person to do as much as he can for himself to support a sense of independence.
    • Play soothing music, read, or take a walk to soothe agitation.
    • Do not confront or argue with a person experiencing agitation. Instead, distract him or her with a calming activity.

    Alzheimer’s disease gradually changes loved ones in a number of different ways, and everyone experiences the disease differently. If you have a loved one with dementia who is exhibiting challenging behavioral changes, remember, you are not alone.

    The referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are always on hand to help reduce restlessness or boredom, and they are highly skilled at creating calming environments that allow older adults with Alzheimer’s to feel relaxed and peaceful. For family caregivers overwhelmed by new behaviors and caregiving duties, our referred caregivers also provide respite care services to ensure you get a chance to rest and recharge yourself.

    Contact us today at the location nearest you and let us help find the perfect care provider to meet your needs.

     

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

    Beware of These Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults

    Be vigilant about these latest financial scams targeting older adults.

    Older adults are a prime target for financial scammers, for several reasons. Scammers make the assumptions that older adults have built up significant savings, that they are lonely and will welcome a conversation with someone who wants to talk with them, and that they may not be savvy enough to detect the scam. As a result, older adults lose more than $3 billion annually to financial scams. And sadly, many of these crimes are committed by a trusted family member of the victim.

    It’s important for all of us to be aware of the latest scams targeting older adults in order to protect the ones we love – as well as ourselves. American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some of the current top scams to watch for:

    • Email/internet scams. Seemingly generated by the senior’s financial institution or online store and looking very legitimate, these scams are easy to fall for. An email link will be provided to update an account, which leads to a location for the senior to enter sensitive personal or financial information, which is then stolen.
    • Romantic scams. For someone who is lonely, receiving texts or emails from a romantic admirer can be hard to resist, and difficult to identify as scams. The recurring theme to watch for is when someone asks for money, especially for travel expenses to come to the U.S. to start a new life with the senior.
    • Sweepstakes winner scams. Receiving a “free” check in the mail as a lottery or sweepstakes prize can be exciting at first, but this scam involves a payment to be made to “unlock” the prize. Once the check (which is fake) is deposited to the senior’s account, it will be rejected – and the scammer is long gone with the payment.
    • Grandparent scams. These scams are intended to pull a senior’s heartstrings. The scammer simply calls and says, “Hi, Grandma, do you know who this is?” Once the senior guesses the name of a particular grandchild, the scammer can describe a financial emergency, asking for a credit card number to get out of the jam.
    • Government agency scams. Receiving a call from the supposed IRS, Medicare, or Social Security Administration with the threat of penalties for unpaid taxes or benefits being stopped can be intimidating. Seniors need to know that government agencies will never call and request personal information over the phone.

    The Florida aging care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are always here to help with the resources, education, and in-home care services older adults need to stay safe. And, our referred care providers are the ideal solution to the loneliness and boredom that can make seniors more vulnerable to con artists. Through conversations and fun, engaging activities, older adults can enjoy each day to the fullest.

    Contact us any time and let us know how we can help 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

    How Home Care Can Help Following a Cancer Diagnosis

    Cancer Treatment and Home Care

    According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021, more than 1.9 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Cancer treatment options vary, but most people have a combination of treatments, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation with surgery. For many cancer patients, treatment involves both hospital stays and regular outpatient visits to a clinic for chemotherapy. As options continue to advance, some cancer treatments can even be done at home. This is usually the case for oral treatments, such as pills, capsules, tablets, and liquids, or topical treatments that are rubbed on the skin. Sometimes, even IV or injectable treatments can be given at home, too.

    Regardless of the course of treatment following a cancer diagnosis, there are frequently side effects that can make day-to-day life challenging. The good news is that in-home care help from a professional care provider, like the services offered through referrals from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, can offer the assistance needed to make day-to-day life more comfortable -- even when cancer treatments become overwhelming.

    What Is Home Care?

    It’s important to note that “home care” is often used as a blanket term to refer to different types of care provided in the home. Following is a breakdown of the types of home care services that can be beneficial to a person undergoing cancer treatment:

    • Personal care: These services focus on helping people with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, running errands, or housekeeping. Personal care can provide much-needed assistance at home for those feeling weak or ill from chemotherapy or following surgery. Care providers can also run errands, such as picking up medications or groceries.
    • Home health care: This type of care focuses on what’s known as “skilled care services” that are provided by licensed health care professionals, such as registered nurses. For a cancer patient, these services might include nursing visits for injections or physical therapy following surgery.
    • Palliative care: When cancer is life-limiting, palliative care services can help keep the person comfortable and provide respite for family caregivers.

    At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that home care helps many people live fuller, more comfortable lives as they receive treatment for cancer. Our referred care providers are dedicated to helping those recovering from or being treated for cancer in the following ways:

    • Bathing
    • Dressing
    • Using the restroom
    • Transferring
    • Walking assistance
    • Continence care and feeding (as needed by the patient and recommended by their physician)
    • Medication reminders
    • Running errands
    • Light housekeeping
    • Accompanying to doctors’ appointments
    • Monitoring for behavioral changes
    • Helping to maintain safety
    • Assistance with exercises
    • Skilled nursing care

    Contact us any time to learn more about how our referred care providers can help you or someone you love following a cancer diagnosis or treatment. Or, simply click on the links below to find the location nearest you:

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

    Overcoming Caregiver Guilt When Providing Dementia Care

    It’s important to learn to be kind to yourself when caregiver guilt creeps in.

    In any given day in the life of a caregiver, a full gamut of emotions can come into play. Joy in hearing a senior loved one’s laughter. Pride in knowing you’re making a difference in the senior’s life. Frustration and stress when things don’t go according to plan. And perhaps one of the most common: guilt.

    Caregiver guilt is particularly common when caring for someone with dementia. Dementia care is both challenging and ever-changing. What works today may not work tomorrow, as the disease progresses and the older adult experiences more intense effects. Knowing exactly how to meet the needs of someone with dementia isn’t easy, and there will be times you wish you’d done something differently. As the premier source for care provider referral services throughout Florida, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care understands that managing feelings of guilt starts with understanding the different scenarios in which they arise, such as:

    • Comparing yourself to others. It may seem as though others caring for a senior with dementia have it all together and know just how to handle the difficult effects of the disease. Why is it so easy for them and so hard for you? It’s helpful to remind yourself that no one is perfect, and regardless of outward appearances, it’s likely that anyone providing dementia care is struggling in one way or another. Set realistic goals and expectations based on your particular circumstance and steer clear of comparisons.
    • Getting stuck in the “should haves.” It’s easy to look back and zero in on any regrets you may have. Looking back at your relationship with the senior prior to a dementia diagnosis can bring to mind situations you wish you’d handled differently. Allow yourself time to look back, but from the perspective of learning what you’d like to do differently now and in the future, instead of getting stuck in the past.
    • Thinking negative or unkind thoughts. It’s common for seniors with dementia to behave in ways that are off-putting. A senior may become aggressive and combative, exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviors, repeat a statement or question over and over again throughout the day – just to name a few. Accept that there are dementia-driven behaviors you dislike, and work through them by talking with a trusted friend or professional counselor, or expressing your feelings through journaling.
    • Losing your temper. Feeling frustrated and angry are natural responses to the level of stress that is often inherent with dementia care. Find healthy releases for these emotions, such as deep breathing, counting, meditation, and especially by taking regular breaks from care to engage in exercise and relaxing, enjoyable activities. A professional caregiver should be an integral part of the senior’s care team to provide you with the respite you need.

    The aging care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help family caregivers enjoy quality time with the seniors they love as well as time away to themselves to rest and recharge.

    Contact us any time to share the challenges you’re facing and to allow us to be part of the solution. 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

    Kick Off Healthy Aging Month With These Six Important Tips

    Healthy Aging Month is a great reminder to help senior loved ones prioritize their health as they age.

    Staying healthy at any age is essential, but as we get older, health and wellness take on a whole new importance. People are living longer and the senior population is growing larger each year. As older loved ones age, their minds and bodies go through some changes, and having a healthy lifestyle makes them better prepared for the changes ahead.

    September is Healthy Aging Month, and it's the perfect time to focus on lifestyle habits that can benefit the older adults in your life. American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following simple tips for older adults that can help them stay healthy and well as they age.

    • Eat, drink and be healthy! A balanced diet is essential for good health at any age. Making healthy food choices, like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, can have numerous health benefits. It is also important for seniors to drink plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
    • Get moving. Getting regular exercise helps prevent, delay, and manage chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise can also improve brain health as well as balance and flexibility, which are essential for preventing falls in older adults. Seniors should aim for moderate physical activity, such as walking, 22-30 minutes each day and strength building exercises at least twice a week.
    • Quit Smoking. If your senior loved one is a smoker, one of the best things they can do for their long-term health is to quit. Giving up tobacco can lower a person’s risk of several types of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke.
    • Keep up with check-ups. Doctor’s visits aren’t just for when a senior is feeling sick. Visiting the doctor for regular check-ups can help prevent illness or identify it early so it can be treated. Doctor visits are also a great time to review medications and any side effects that a senior might be experiencing.
    • Know the senior’s family health history. Many illnesses can be hereditary, so it is important to know and share family health history with your senior’s doctor. This helps them take steps to prevent diseases or catch them early.
    • Be aware of changes in cognitive health. As a person ages, changes in the brain, such as mild forgetfulness or slower reaction times, are normal. However, bigger changes in brain health, like struggling to do common tasks, confusion in or trouble navigating well-known areas, or rapidly forgetting people or events can be signs of serious cognitive decline related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If you are concerned about a senior loved one’s memory or cognitive health, talk to their health care provider.

    It’s never too late to start improving your health. Following these tips can help senior loved ones stay healthy as they age. Partnering with in-home senior care experts, like those at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, can also help seniors better manage their health. The professional care providers we refer can assist with things like meal preparation and diet monitoring, medication assistance, diabetic care, transportation to doctor’s appointments, monitoring for health changes, and more.

    Celebrate Healthy Aging Month all year long with better senior care! Contact our team any time to learn how we can help match you with a care provider who can meet your loved ones needs. You can contact the office nearest you by clicking the links below:

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