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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

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Turning Your Family Caregiving Journey from Negative to Positive

family caregiving - negative to positive

I’m bad at this. I just get too frustrated. I’m not doing enough! For a family caregiver, thoughts like these can be constant. Family caregiving can be challenging. Too often, those caring for sick or aging loved ones focus on the ways in which they aren't doing the job perfectly rather than all the ways they are helping the person continue to live independently. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression in the caregiver.

The fact is, family caregivers provide a truly valuable service to their loved ones, allowing them to age or recover in a place where they feel most comfortable: home. The key to removing doubt is to find strategies that allow you to change perspective and focus on the positives. The Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer these tips to help you put your caregiving journey in a positive light.

  • Be aware of negative self-talk. The first step to changing a negative outlook with your caregiving is to recognize when you are beating yourself up about it. Notice when you say or think things to and about yourself that are negative. For example, I missed Mom’s hair appointment. I’m so stupid. Or, Ugh. I snapped at Dad today. I’m a terrible daughter. It’s normal to have thoughts like these. Recognize that you are having them so that you can actively combat them.
  • Resist giving in to negative thoughts. Once you’re aware of self-criticism, you can more easily recognize when you’re being too hard on yourself. When you begin to feel negative thoughts crop up, take a break and redirect your thoughts toward something more positive. Think of something that went right that day or an accomplishment you are proud of to help you remember that you’re actually doing better than you might think.
  • Focus on what matters. Today, the house may be a mess. Dad may not have gotten to his doctor’s appointment right on time. Maybe you’ve had takeout three times this week. But do any of these things really matter? When we sweat the small things, it is hard to see the positive contributions we make. A messy house might mean you were more focused on spending quality time with your loved one. You may have been a little late to an appointment, but Dad still got seen by the doctor. Getting takeout means everyone got fed and you took one stressful item off your list.
  • Try not to compare yourself with others. It can be easy to look at someone else and compare yourself to them. Perhaps a sibling spends a day with your mother and has a lovely time, while you’ve struggled all week with managing her care and your family’s needs. You may think, “Why is it so easy for her and so hard for me?” But these types of comparisons only make us feel bad about ourselves. Instead, focus on the things you’re doing right. This week may have been tough for you, but think about a time when you had a great day with Mom. Or maybe you’ve found a wonderful referred care provider, like those at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, that both you and your mother like to help with your caregiving duties. Just remember that everyone is different and no one’s way of caring is better or worse than another’s.
  • Find a support system. Caregiving, while rewarding, is stressful from time to time. Having a support system in place, whether it is a local caregiving support group, family and friends, or members of a faith community, can give you a space to vent frustrations, find solutions, and see things from a new perspective.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Feeling overwhelmed when caring for a loved one is common, and it is okay to ask for help or take a break when you need it. The referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are a great support for family caregivers in need of respite or more in-depth care services for their loved ones. In-home care services may include transportation to and from medical appointments or fun outings, preparing nutritious meals, running errands, friendly companionship to offer motivation to stay active and engaged, and much more.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you better manage your family caregiving duties and provide a senior you love with a better quality of 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

Alzheimer's Home Safety Tips

mplement these Alzheimer’s home safety tips when a loved one has dementia.

For family caregivers, one of the top priorities when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is to maintain a safe home environment. With changes in cognition, activities or routines that were once second nature may pose a safety risk for a loved one with dementia. To help family caregivers assess home safety for an older adult with dementia, the leaders in Florida home care at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care outline a room-by-room Alzheimer’s home safety check. While not all of these adjustments need to be made immediately following a dementia diagnosis, it’s important to re-evaluate and adjust following behavioral or ability changes.

General Safety Inside the Home

  • Post your home address and emergency numbers in several places throughout the home and near landline telephones.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms in or near the kitchen and all sleeping areas. Check their functioning and install new batteries every six months.
  • Install locks on all outside doors and windows. Consider installing an extra lock on outside doors that are located out of direct view, either higher up on the door, or down low.
  • Install alarms or set a whole-house security system to chime when doors or windows are opened.
  • Hide a spare house key outside in case your loved one with Alzheimer's disease locks you out of the house.
  • Be sure that stairways have at least one secure handrail. Interior stairways should be carpeted or have safety grip strips.
  • Keep all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) locked. Ensure that all prescription medications are in original containers with safety lids and clearly labeled with the person's name, name of the drug, drug strength, dosage frequency, and expiration date. Regularly dispose of expired medications.
  • Reduce or eliminate clutter, which can create confusion and danger.
  • Remove firearms and other weapons from the home or lock them up. Install safety locks on guns or remove ammunition and firing pins.
  • Install night lights throughout the home – in hallways, the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen and other areas where the senior might need to navigate at night.
  • Remove throw rugs from the home as these may lead to an increased risk of falls.

General Safety Outside of the House

  • Keep walkways clear of debris, hoses, and other objects that may cause the person to trip. Make certain walkways are even, fix any loose bricks, and install pathway lighting.
  • Keep steps free from debris and install handrails.
  • Mark the edges of steps with non-slip reflective tape.
  • Consider installing a ramp when navigating the stairs becomes difficult.
  • If your home has a swimming pool, restrict access with a sturdy fence and locked gate. Consider installing an alarm that sounds when motion is detected in the water.
  • Install adequate outside lighting. Motion sensors that turn lights turn on and off automatically are especially helpful.
  • Post a "NO SOLICITING" sign on the front gate or door.

Kitchen

  • Install safety latches on storage cabinets and drawers designated for breakable or dangerous items.
  • Lock away all household cleaning products, scissors, knives, matches, blades, small appliances, and anything valuable.
  • Install safety knobs on the stove.
  • Consider disconnecting the garbage disposal. People with Alzheimer's may place objects or their own hands in the disposal.

Bathroom

  • Place nonskid adhesive strips or mats in the tub and shower.
  • Use a shower stool and a hand-held shower head to make bathing easier.
  • Install grab bars in the tub/shower.
  • Set the water heater at 120°F to avoid scalding.
  • Remove small electrical appliances from the bathroom and cover electrical outlets.
  • Remove or disable the lock from the bathroom door to prevent the person with dementia from getting locked inside.
  • Install a raised toilet seat with handrails or grab bars beside the toilet.
  • Remove cleaning products or lock them away.

Bedroom

  • Anticipate the reasons a person with dementia may need to get out of bed, such as thirst, hunger, going to the bathroom, pain, and/or restlessness. Try to meet these needs ahead of time to reduce the number of times the person may feel the need to get out of bed.
  • Use transfer or mobility aids to ensure safety for both you and your loved one.
  • Use monitoring devices to alert for any sounds that may indicate a fall or other need for help. These devices can also be effective in bathrooms.
  • If using a hospital-type bed with rails and/or wheels, read the Food and Drug Administration's safety information.

Living Room

  • Replace torn carpet.
  • Place the remote controls for the DVD player, television, and stereo system out of sight.
  • Keep cigarette lighters and matches out of reach.
  • Be certain that walkways are clear of electrical cords as well as clutter.
  • Place decals at eye level on picture windows, sliding glass doors, or furniture with large glass panels to identify the glass pane.

A great way to help ensure safety and promote dignity and an appropriate amount of independence for a loved one with dementia is to partner with a referred care provider from American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care. Each care provider we refer has specialized training and is able to provide customized care to meet a variety of needs, as well as encourage engagement in memory care activities. Additionally, referred care providers offer family caregivers support and respite so that they can step away for self-care.

Contact us any time to learn more about specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia 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

Osteoporosis Prevention Tips

These osteoporosis prevention tips can help older adults maintain bone health.

The human body is amazingly complex. With nearly a dozen systems working in symphony with one another, each is vitally important to a person’s overall health. The skeletal system is comprised of 206 bones and performs six major functions in the body: support, movement, protection, production of blood cells, storage of minerals, and endocrine regulation.

Osteoporosis is a disease that can impact the skeletal system, causing bones to become weak or brittle, putting people at risk for fractures. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. When a person is young, bone is made faster than it is broken down. As people age, this process slows and bone mass is lost faster than it’s created. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone is unable to keep up with the loss of old bone.

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that keeping bones healthy is an important part of helping older adults live independently. To better understand the risk factors, as well as osteoporosis prevention strategies, we share the following helpful information.

Who Is at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis can affect both women and men, and while it can develop at any age, the risk factors increase as a person ages. In women, the disease may begin to develop a year or two prior to menopause. Although most common in non-Hispanic white and Asian women, osteoporosis can develop in men and in African American and Hispanic individuals of both sexes. Additional risk factors include:

  • Body frame size. Women and men who have small body frames are typically at higher risk as they have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
    Family history. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts an individual at greater risk.
  • Thyroid issues. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. This can occur if a person’s thyroid is overactive or if too much thyroid hormone medication is taken to treat an underactive thyroid.
  • Sex hormones. Lowered sex hormone levels can be a strong contributing factor for osteoporosis. Decreased estrogen levels following menopause, treatments for prostate cancer that reduce testosterone levels in men, and treatments for breast cancer that reduce estrogen levels in women are likely to accelerate bone loss.
  • Low calcium intake. Long-term lack of calcium in a person’s diet plays a role in the development of osteoporosis and can contribute to diminished bone density, early bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Steroids and other medications. Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone and cortisone, interferes with the bone-rebuilding process. Additionally, medications for gastric reflux, transplant rejection, and seizures can increase bone loss and the risk for osteoporosis.
  • Sedentary lifestyle. People who spend large amounts of time sitting have a higher risk of osteoporosis than individuals who are more active.
  • Tobacco use. While the exact role tobacco plays in osteoporosis is not clear, it has been shown to contribute to weak bones.
  • Chronic heavy drinking. Long-term consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Prevention

While a number of osteoporosis risk factors are out of a person’s control, lifestyle changes can help maintain bone health.

Calcium.

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. This daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70. To increase calcium intake, consider including these foods as part of a well-rounded diet:

  • Calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Canned salmon or sardines with bones
  • Soy products, such as tofu

If it is difficult to reach the recommended daily intake of calcium through diet alone, speak with your physician about including an over-the-counter calcium supplement.

Vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps improve the body's ability to absorb calcium. People can get vitamin D from sunlight; however, the use of sunscreen reduces the amount of vitamin D absorbed this way. It is recommended that people get at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. After a person turns 70 years old, that recommendation increases to 800 IU per day. Vitamin D can be found in:

  • Trout, salmon, tuna and swordfish
  • Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
  • Dairy and plant milks fortified with vitamin D
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified cereals

If you have trouble getting enough vitamin D in your diet, speak with your health care provider to determine the type and amount of vitamin D supplements you should take.

Exercise.

Exercise helps build strong bones and slow bone loss, and provides benefits no matter when you start. For maximum benefits, combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises.

  • Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in the arms and upper spine.
  • Weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging strengthen the bones in the legs, hips and lower spine.
  • Balance exercises such as tai chi help to reduce the risk of falling.

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers help older adults make healthy lifestyle choices by encouraging regular, physician-approved exercise, healthy eating habits and much more. These care providers can work with each client to offer a variety of in-home care services that enhance independence and safety, while helping to monitor conditions such as osteoporosis and other chronic health conditions.
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

Chronic Fatigue in Older Adults: Uncovering the Symptoms and Improving Daily Energy

Chronic Fatigue in Older Adults: Symptoms and How to Help

We’ve all experienced the exhaustion that hits us at the end of an especially hectic day. Typically, this can be remedied by a good night’s sleep, allowing us to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the new day. Yet chronic fatigue in older adults takes exhaustion to a whole new level, causing lethargic feelings that are more difficult to alleviate.

What causes chronic fatigue?

A variety of health conditions and even the treatments for those conditions can cause or exacerbate chronic fatigue, including:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Grief
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • COPD
  • Thyroid disease
  • Chemotherapy and radiation
  • Medications for pain or nausea as well as antihistamines and antidepressants
  • And more

What can be done to help?

Lifestyle choices can either help or worsen chronic fatigue in older adults. For instance, avoid:

  • Not getting enough sleep: Strive for at least 8 hours per night, regularly going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Consuming too much caffeine: Limit caffeine intake, and skip caffeine altogether later in the day. Consider cutting current caffeine intake in half to improve energy levels.
  • Unhealthy eating habits: Choose more nutritious foods, such as whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits and veggies over highly processed foods and junk foods.
  • A sedentary lifestyle: The right amount of physical activity is key; talk with the doctor for recommendations, but typically, the goal is 30 minutes of exercise most days.
  • Smoking: Smoking can cause a variety of serious health concerns which further drain energy. Talk to a physician about getting help with quitting smoking.

Staying productive and engaged is also crucial to preventing or lessening chronic fatigue in older adults. Explore activities that spark interest and joy, such as:

  • Volunteering in a field of interest: at the local elementary school, homeless shelter, pet rescue facility, religious organization, etc.
  • Taking a class to learn something new at the community college or even online
  • Joining a club or group that participates in shared interests: bowling, knitting, fishing, walking, swimming, etc.

It’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment for a check-up if chronic fatigue is suspected. The doctor can rule out any new underlying conditions, review medications being taken and modify if needed, and provide additional tips to help.

The referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help as well. Their in-home care services may include transportation to and from medical appointments or fun outings, preparing nutritious meals, running errands, friendly companionship to offer motivation to stay active and engaged, and much more.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help a senior you love live a better quality of 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

Stroke Prevention Tips for Older Adults

Use these stroke prevention tips to reduce your risk for stroke.

A stroke is a serious, life-threatening event. While there are varying degrees of stroke severity and many people survive, the after effects are often extremely challenging as well. According to the National Institute on Aging, stroke is the number one serious cause of disability among adults in the United States.

Knowing the signs of a stroke and acting quickly to get help can save your life or the life of someone you love. Call 911 immediately if you have any of these symptoms or notice them in someone else:

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, usually in the face, arm or leg, that comes on suddenly
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness, loss of balance/coordination, or trouble walking that comes on suddenly
  • A severe headache with no known cause
  • Double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting

Recovery and Rehabilitation

For most survivors of stroke, physical therapy is a key part of rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of the stroke, patients may need to relearn some basic activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and transitioning from one action to another.

Occupational therapy, sometimes referred to as OT, can also be a big help for stroke patients. The goal of OT is to help people learn how to do things such as eat, drink, swallow, dress, bathe, cook, use the toilet, and other daily activities again. The focus of OT is to help stroke patients become as independent as possible once again.

Speech therapy may also be required if a stroke causes issues with a person’s ability to speak or to understand the speech of others. Rehabilitation and therapy can seem daunting at first. However, with time and patience, many stroke patients are able to regain some, if not all, functionality.

Understanding and Preventing Stroke

While the effects of a stroke can be devastating, it’s important to remember that strokes are preventable. There are some risk factors for stroke that are out of your control, such as genetics, race, and age. Still, your risk for stroke can be reduced by making some simple lifestyle changes.

  • Stop or refrain from smoking. Smoking greatly increases a person’s risk for stroke, but stopping (or never starting) can lower that risk.
  • Eat right. A healthy diet improves overall health, including the reduction of stroke risk. Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol and incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine. Talk to your doctor about how to best incorporate exercise into your life in order to prevent a stroke.
  • Keep blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can lead to both heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s instructions for treating it in order to lower your stroke risk.
  • Keep cholesterol under control. Cholesterol is a type of fat that builds up in the arteries, and too much cholesterol can block the flow of blood, causing a stroke. Have your doctor check your cholesterol levels regularly to ensure you maintain healthy levels.
  • Manage diabetes. When untreated, diabetes can damage blood vessels and narrow arteries, which can lead to stroke. Properly managing diabetes can reduce these risks.

Making these changes to your lifestyle can help reduce your risk of stroke. If you’ve had a stroke in the past, these steps are also very important in order to prevent a second stroke.

If you or a loved one needs assistance at home during stroke recovery or would like help maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent a stroke, the referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help! We can provide a wide range of services, including transportation to and from therapy appointments, planning and preparing healthy meals, providing motivation for physical activity, running errands such as grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions, and much more.

Contact us any time to learn how we can help you or a loved one recover from or take steps to prevent a stroke. 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