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10 Signs a Senior Needs Assistance

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Hey, this comes from Dr. Johnson’s blog post today, and I think it’s very important to show to you guys!

http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/04/01/senior-assistance-signs/

That article lays out the 10 major signs that an elderly loved one needs assistance, and reading it may help to save someone’s life or improve their well-being.

Here’s the list in short form:

1. Poor hygiene

2. Poor nutrition

3. Lack of housework

4. General ailing health

5. Problems managing medication

6. Extensive bruising

7. Disorientation (time or direction)

8. Observations by members of the community

9. Unkempt finances

10. Susceptibility to scams

Some of those may sound confusing at the surface, so I encourage you to go check out the article to learn more! And as always, if you have any questions, just go ahead and shoot me an email. 🙂

Brenna

Keeping your cool this summer!

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm

So, the official Home Care Assistance blog has had a few posts lately about staying healthy in the summer heat! And I know that’s a concern of mine, too… sometimes it’s just way too hot outside to bear!

Dr. Johnson had a great post – how to be safe, not sorry this summer – about a few risks, primarily dehydration.

It is very important for everyone, especially seniors, to take care of themselves during these months of sunshine and heat waves. According to doctor Alicia Arbaje of John Hopkins University, elderly people living at home need special attention from family members or caregivers. She says that the elderly often don’t realize when they are too hot, and the medications they take can often make them very dehydrated. She suggests staying in the home and out of the sun during times of extreme heat, avoiding a lot of activity, and staying hydrated with not only water, but also “sweat-replacement” drinks… If an individual notices problems while in the heat, do not hesitate to call a doctor. The summer is an exceptionally important time for seniors to have elder care, or to be watched closely by family and friends.

I wanted to look into the idea of “sweat-replacement” drinks like Gatorade, and just why they’re so important, so I found another good article here.

  1. Although the amounts lost in sweat are generally small in proportion to total body stores, prolonged heavy sweating can lead to significant mineral losses (particularly of sodium). An extreme example of such an impairment is ‘hyponatraemia’, when low plasma sodium levels can be literally life threatening.
  2. Drinks containing electrolyte minerals – particularly sodium – are known to promote thirst, thereby stimulating a greater voluntary intake of fluid.
  3. When the electrolyte minerals – again particularly sodium – are present in appropriate concentrations, the rate of fluid absorption from the small intestine into the rest of the body appears to be enhanced, especially in conjunction with small amounts of glucose. This is particularly important when rapid uptake of fluid is required, such as during strenuous exercise in the heat.

There you have it! Make sure that you stay well-hydrated in this heat if you are going to spend any time outside, and also make sure to wear sunscreen and skin-protective clothing! The risk of many cancers increases with age, so it is of the utmost importance to protect your body.

Enjoy the heat – but be healthy about it!

Brenna

Technology for seniors!

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Over the past few weeks, Home Care’s Dr. Kathy Johnson has had several great posts regarding new advancements in modern communication technology that are geared specifically towards seniors, so I thought I would share a few of those with you today!

The first is the Snapfon, which she writes about in this post.

The Snapfon is designed to be a simple, frills-free phone for seniors, and has a lot of features that are beneficial. It has a large, 28-pt font on both the buttons and the screen that make it easy to read, and it also has speaker-capabilities so the keypad can tell you which number you’ve dialed if you are hard of sight.

Perhaps the most high-tech and life-saving element on this phone is the SOS button, a red button on the back of the phone designed to communicate rapidly during an emergency. When pressed, the phone will send a text message to your top 4 emergency contacts, and then call each of them in order until someone picks up. The Snapfon also comes with a case and lanyard to be worn around the neck if so desired, so the SOS button can always be within reach.

From celloneet.com.

Dr. Johnson also recommends the highly-hyped iPad as a great new tool for seniors. It has modes that enable large font and icons on the screen, and large touch-keys. Weighing in at about 1.5 pounds, it is very light and easy to carry around, and can help seniors read books, access internet, and store information without having to go through the hassle of purchasing a computer, setting up a desk, buying internet service, and having to go to a special room to sit at the computer. More information on the iPad can be found at Apple’s website, and it would make a perfect gift for elders.

There you are! My next post will be about great things that seniors can find on the internet, but I’m going away for a few days! Enjoy the weekend and all life has to offer. 🙂

Brenna

Caregiver of the year, and a great cause!

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hey guys! This is taken from Dr. Kathy Johnson’s blog post on July 6th, here.

Congratulations to the Winner of the 2010 International Caregiver of the Year Award, Ms. June “Zoe” Kelly!

Every year at our Home Care Assistance Franchise Convention we select one of our 2,500 caregivers for the International Caregiver of the Year Award. This year, Ms. June Zoe Kelly received the award as a result of her hard work, warmth and sincerity as well as for her success in implementing the Balanced Care Method, a carefully crafted program of lifestyle behaviors centered on moderation and variety, into the everyday lives of her clients. Zoe was hired by the San Diego office in April 2009 and after excellent reviews from her first assignments, she was placed a very difficult situation last July. She was assigned to take care of live-in clients, Dominic and Mary, an elderly couple living in Encinitas. Dominic had rapidly failing health and Mary was suffering from early dementia.  A month after Zoe was assigned to the case, Dominic passed away and Zoe was confronted with assisting a grieving 85 year old widow.

According to Zoe, “Everybody needs a purpose in life,” and she truly lives by her motto. Under Zoe’s care, Mary was able to regain her appetite and maintain health in both her body and mind. She was able to do a lot of activities that she really enjoyed, which kept her happy, active, and feeling accomplished. One of the unique and inspiring projects that Zoe  did with Mary was a charity project called “Knit-a-Square,” which encourages volunteers to knit or crochet 8’’ squares that are shipped to South Africa and made into blankets for AIDS orphans.  Last year Zoe and Mary shipped 20 squares to South Africa and have a new goal for 2010 – to make 105,000 squares!

Zoe’s passion of establishing health, happiness and purpose in the lives of all her clients has shown through her amazing care for Mary. We are so excited to have her as our 2010 International Caregiver of the Year!

I wanted to share that story with everyone – I think it’s amazing that Zoe found a way not only to help Mary get through such a difficult time, but that the two of them also took the time to help out strangers halfway around the world.

I thought that the Knit-A-Square project seemed great, so I looked it up:

http://www.knit-a-square.com/

Everyone should pitch in! I’m awful at knitting, but I’ll try. If everyone took the time to knit just one square, they could easily meet their goal!

It seems like a great cause, and a great pastime. Help others while having fun yourself!

Until next time,

Brenna

Keep your brain happy!

In Uncategorized on July 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Alright, so now that we’ve figured out some things to help our brain’s health and memory functions, it’s important that our brain stays happy as well!

While reading and playing games can make some people happy on their own, most people enjoy socializing. In fact, some of the articles that I quoted yesterday actually has medical proof that socialization helps brain function.

Bardutz emphasizes the social aspect of life, saying that “In order to keep the brain functioning and fit and healthy, there has to be a socialization part. And it has to be fun.” Sounds like a great excuse to go out to lunch or do crafts with friends and family, doesn’t it?

Bardutz is actually the instructor for a Brain Fitness and Enrichment class at the University of Regina, and her students are all between 50 and 90 years old. She teaches them all to engage in a large variety of brain stimulating activities, but also makes it a point to have her students interact socially with one another.

Dr. Kathy Johnson of Home Care Assistance had a blog post a little over a month ago here that discussed the risk factors for depression in seniors, and it seems to me that socialization is certainly relevant! Living alone / being in social isolation is one of the major causes of senior depression, so to keep your brain happy, make sure you keep company. It can be family, friends, neighbors, or even a caregiver.

Don’t have the time or ability to spend too much time with others? Nothing beats one-on-one contact, but apparently seniors are beginning to use online dating and social networking sites in large numbers! I’ll be sure to have a post on that later, with some great links for everyone.

Stay happy and healthy, talk to you next week!

Brenna

Keep your brain healthy!

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I know most of what people hear about health has to do with the body – you have to eat right, exercise, and be careful to avoid illness. But what good is a healthy body if the mind isn’t healthy too? I’m not saying that bodily health is unimportant, because it is VERY crucial, and I’ll be sure to talk more about that in the future.

But for now, let’s focus on the brain!

My inspiration from this post came from one article by Paula Camposano Robinson at Maturity Matters which you can find here, in combination with a Home Care Assistance blog post last week by Dr. Kathy Johnson, where she cites a study by Holly Bardutz here.

Basically, Robinson and Bardutz have discovered, through studies and experimentation, that keeping your brain active is very important in aging well. Makes sense, right? The FUN part, that I love, is that they actually recommend brain games as a method to keep memory and logic functioning! Bardutz recommends Sudoku puzzles, which may be one of my favorite things ever (all of my friends make fun of me). Robinson adds to the list, including things like crossword puzzles, reading (or listening to books on tape), and journaling.

Doing some or all of these things on a regular basis has been shown to improve memory, and to speed up thinking processes. According to Robinson, “Active minds stay healthy, and mental activity may reduce your risk for Dementia.” Many of these hobbies can also give you something new to talk about with friends and family! My grandma Rosemary is always reading – she loves science fiction, mostly, something that she passed down to my daddy and my little sister, and it’s a great pastime for her.

My simple tips?

  • Use the library! It’s the best way to get books for free, or books on tape if your eyesight is compromised. You can have one of your caregivers or children visit the library every few weeks if you need to, and you can even hold and renew books online.
  • Read the newspaper! Not only can you read and stay informed, but they’re also usually packed with little Sudoku games and crossword puzzles. USA Today also has a pretty readable font, as well as a page of different brainteasers that always distracted me during class…
  • Go to the dollar store! You can buy books of crosswords and Sudoku for really cheap that can keep you entertained for hours.
  • Keep a journal! It’s free and easy, and something that you and your family will love to look back on to remember all of the important times. 🙂

Online resources:

http://www.websudoku.com/ – you can do puzzles for free, or print them out!

http://www.kenken.com/ – for the math lovers!

http://northlandlibrary.org/ – for people that live locally around our office!

Have fun!

Brenna

Some natural remedies!

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

AARP had an article in their July/August 2010 issue about the benefits of growing herbs for your health! Take a look at it here.

They name peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, valerian, and sage as 5 easy-to-grow herbs that help your body in a ton of ways! They can settle your stomach, ease muscle cramps, dispel anxiety, improve your mood, increase memory, reduce joint pain, aid in sleep, ease sore throats, and freshen your breath.

Making a tea out of any one of these herbs seems very easy to do: AARP directs readers to “pour one cup boiling water over six leaves (for valerian, use 2 T. chopped root). Steep for five minutes, strain and sip.”

AARP recommends growing these herbs at home, because the fresh leaves are more potent than dried and packaged herbs that come from stores. I, however, would recommend growing them at home for a few other reasons, too!

My mom is turning 50 in October, and last summer she had thought about maybe starting a garden for a hobby. This spring, we began potting plants, and now in our backyard we have a garden of leaf lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, chives, radishes, cucumbers, and peas. Not to mention the thirty-some potted plants hiding around my house. Yesterday, she told me that she finds fulfillment in planting, because ‘you’re nurturing something, and watching it grow. The sense of progress is really enjoyable.’

Her next plan is to start an herb garden, which is easy to do in a sandbox! Think the small plastic kind that neighborhood kids are always playing around in. We found one for really cheap that looks kind of like this one:

If you can’t find one of these, the article gives you directions on how to grow herbs in small pots, as an alternative.

Growing your own herbs will make them more potent, and it will also give you a fulfilling hobby and rejuvenating project that gives you some light exercise, fresh air, and time outside!

Until next time,

Brenna

Hey everyone!

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

My name is Brenna, and I’m an intern for Home Care Assistance this summer in Pittsburgh. 🙂 I’ll be keeping everyone updated with the latest in health, senior home care, you name it! For the time being – if you’re looking for high quality senior care, and have any questions, call our office at 724-933-7100. We’d love to speak with you!