It’s spring time finally! Birds are chirping, flowers are starting to bloom and the longer days call for much needed fun even if we are still in a year-long pandemic. Vaccinations are also available to those interested which means older Americans can feel a little safer about venturing out.
While there are still precautions from the CDC, there are still many activities safe for seniors to participate in whether at home or in a safer and socially distance space. Perhaps one of the first things on one’s agenda is hugging a friend or the grandkids or maybe it’s picking up a new hobby or it could simply be catching up with a friend over coffee, in person. Whatever the case, check out some ideas and remember to still be safe and cautious during this time.
Fishing is a wonderful outdoor activity for older people as it doesn’t require a lot of mobility and can be done with anyone. It doesn’t require too much gear and can be done anywhere from small ponds to huge lakes. It may require some extra care if someone is in a wheelchair but being in the outdoor air is good for the soul. Just remember to bring a sunhat and plenty of water and bask in this perfect socially distant activity.
Another sport that is perfect for beginners and experts alike is golf. Visit a driving range or the golf course depending on your mobility preference. Many golf places also have instructors on hand who know a thing or two about being patient. This is another outdoor activity and social distancing is easy because you’ll definitely want to be at least six feet away from the person with the club. This is also a perfect place for seniors and grandkids to hang out bridging their bond.
Make a Bird Feeder
Bird watching provides some sort of calm and this activity is great for nature. Grab a friend or family member and go shopping for supplies and then bring it all home to assemble. A bird book will also be a great read as you learn about the sweet tweets hanging out on the feeder. Even if you end up buying a bird feeder, the time together with a loved one is good for the soul.
Nothing says welcome like a spring wreath on the front door. This activity could take a while but is a great shopping activity plus bonding time as well. The creativity needed to make the wreath is also a brain booster. Look up some inspiration online or at a craft store and get fancy.
Invite the grandkids over and let them play in the yard while you enjoy safe and distant time apart. Or get together at a local park or rec center. Splurge an ice cream treat for the kiddos and catch up on the past year. As always, practice safe guidelines per the CDC.
There’s a different type of stranger danger these days. While young kids are taught about the pitfalls of talking to people they don’t know, there’s another danger of elders being lured by online scammers. It can often be more difficult for seniors to know when they are being scammed over the phone or online since there’s no face-to-face contact. It’s estimated that about $30 billion is lost by seniors each year due to online scams.
Scammers are also taking advantage of Coronavirus vaccines by focusing on health and financial concerns and all the virus-related concerns. However, there are ways to not fall victim to these predators. If you or someone you know is a senior citizen, make sure you know the risks of scams, what to look for and how to report them.
Know Who's Calling
Do not answer phone calls or text messages from unknown callers. If you do answer a phone call or check an email, never ever share personal and financial information. If you feel pressure from someone, always play it safe and never give your personal information. Hang up if you have to. In this instance, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remember government agencies will never call you to ask for money or for personal information. If you receive a text message or email, never click on links or call the number associated with the message.
Look Out for Scammers
Scammers will use charity organizations to manipulate people into donating money. You can always check out the legitimacy of charities by heading to the FCC website. There are many nonprofits – big and small – so make sure you’re familiar with them before you give out money.
With the ongoing pandemic, people are using and abusing the capitalization of virus vaccines, contact tracing and stealing insurance information. Be aware and don’t let your guard down. Make sure you talk with any elders in your life to make sure they are aware.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Another thing to do is install and keep up to date anti-virus software on computers and cell phones. If you need help with this, ask a family member or someone you trust about installing this software. You can also ask for help about blocking anonymous calls on cell phones.
The FCC has a wide array of information warning about online scammers, robocalls and Coronavirus abusers. Make sure you talk with your loved ones who may fall prey to these predators. Having these conversations will help them stay safer online and aid in protecting their identity.
Hands and Hearts is Here to Help!
At Hands and Hearts Home Care Our goal is to keep your loved one safe, happy, and healthy as we provide excellent In Home and Respite Care in Columbia, Lexington, and the Surrounding Areas. Give us a call today to talk to one of our Home Care Specialists to develop a customized care plan to meet your family's needs!
Show Someone You Care
Valentine’s day cards are a super simple but grand reminder to tell someone you appreciate them. You can either buy them or make cards. This is especially great if you live far away from family or friends as you can send the card through the mail. Grandkids will be so delighted to get something in the mail just for them and they can learn to send cards back. Sending Valentine’s cards will also boost moods especially during a time when we could all use some love-filled cheer.
Give the Gift of Flowers
Having flowers or plants delivered is great for those who may not be able to come out or has family in a different town. Pick out flowers or even a houseplant that you feel works best for your senior and they will definitely perk up when the delivery comes. Roses are red, violets are blue and someone loves you.
This idea is perfect for those in retirement communities or senior care centers as it involves a chance to meet and chat with your neighbors. While there are certainly Covid-19 precautions, there are ways to make the scavenger hunt safe for all. Additionally, the scavenger hunt will encourage physical activity which is always a brain booster. Scavenger hunts can still fully be participated by those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility, too. The key is to keep it simple like hiding candy hearts or even little goody bags.
This is a classic game all seniors love so why not make it a Valentine’s Bingo with some super sweet surprises. This is another great idea for retirement villages or senior centers and can easily be played with proper socially distant guidelines.
If you are ready to find out more about about In Home Caregiver information, give Hands and Hearts Home Care a call today! Our experienced elder caregivers are available for respite and long term in-home care for seniors in the Columbia and Lexington area!
Perhaps you don’t want your loved one in a nursing home or senior care place or maybe his or her need doesn’t require around the clock service. There are many options to consider including respite care which you can read here. The following information will give you a quick guide to help keep services lower.
The government programs varies by state but Medicaid can help when taking care of aging parents. It’s important to ensure your loved one is receiving all the assistance to help their everyday lives well. You may check out the National Council on Aging’s Benefits Check Up to see which ones your parent(s) qualify for. This is a free service from the council.
Money is typically an issue especially if the income is limited. Veterans Affairs, nonprofits and even churches may have just the support you’re looking for. Some organizations and churches have day care options if that’s what you’re searching for. If you are choosing to look after your parent yourself, click here to learn how you may be reimbursed for caregiving.
However, if you are unable to provide the care your senior needs or wants, there are organizations such as Hands and Hearts Home Care with professional caregivers to offer expert support with a smile. These home care establishments will provide minimum or maximum support and always ask about what financial aid they may be able to provide or find for you. There’s a slew of possibilities you may find by just looking and asking.
If your loved one insists on living at home, consider a home monitoring system particularly if he or she lives by him/herself. There are also devices to allow help to come quickly if falls are an issue. These 24/7 systems contact the appropriate help to arrive as soon as possible.
Meals & Support
Senior centers and other nonprofits are just a couple of ways to provide delivered meals and support groups. When limited income comes into play, sometimes groceries are lessened. Many states have local senior centers per county providing Meals on Wheels and sometimes churches and nonprofits also help out. You may also check with family and friends who can provide meals or groceries or even quality time.
Loneliness may be an issue for some seniors but providing interaction even if it’s over the phone or through Zoom can perk up any mood. If your senior is comfortable and well enough to venture out, coffee dates or lunch dates are another option. The weekly meetings – or however frequent you choose – may just be the positive interaction your loved one needs.
Caregiving may be exhausting but you should never have to go at it alone. Always remember there are programs, services and friends to help you through this journey! Give us a call today and see how Hands and Hearts Home Care can make a difference for your family!
Cancer is one of the scariest words to hear especially when it is diagnosed to you or a loved one. Thank goodness the advancement of modern medicine has come a long way but it is still a lingering and dangerous word. What do you do when an elderly loved one is facing the long road ahead filled with endless cancer tests and hard days? Emotional support is important as well as being a caregiver or finding the right caregiver if needed depending on the health and prognosis of the cancer survivor.
For some good news, the survival rates of cancer survivors is moving up. In 1976, the survival rate for all cancers was only about 50 percent. However, today the rate is approximately 74 percent for bladder cancer, 75 percent for breast cancer, 69 percent for prostate and 51 percent for colon. The treatments given today have also progressed and vaccines are being tested and developed.
Understanding Your Loved Ones Needs
When it comes to the various types of cancer, the following are typically the most commonly diagnosed: lung, bladder, breast, pancreatic, kidney, leukemia and colon. As an advocate for your older relative or friend, make sure he or she has access to proper healthcare. Certain populations may have insufficient access which is very important that they have the support and advocacy they deserve.
While it’s important to provide adequate support and are during the cancer stages, being there for older patients before the diagnosis is especially important. You can help them spot warning signs or symptoms that are abnormal so they can quickly see a doctor for quicker care.
For example, with colon cancer, older patients may find not warning signs during early stages. This is one reason colon screenings are recommended for older people. Later stages of colon cancer may include blood in stool, a change in bowel habits, vomiting and stomach pain.
With bone cancer, elderly patients may have swelling near a bone and for lung cancer, chest pain caused by coughing, breathing difficulty, chronic pneumonia and coughing up blood are possible warning signs. Knowing and understanding one’s body is crucial to spotting abnormal signs. Always check with your loved ones and make sure their body is running efficiently for their age and health condition. Don’t ever blow off something as a condition that comes with aging.
Proper Care and Support
Cancer is something that no one should battle alone and aging patients especially need proper care, support and our love more than anything. Our experienced and compassionate caregivers are available to help! Call Hands and Hearts Home Care today to speak with someone about your unique care needs and let us develop an in home care plan for your loved one!
Flu Season is upon us...
Older adults tend to be at risk for life-threatening complications resulting from the flu. Seniors’ immune systems may be weaker compared to younger adults. It’s advisable that your loved one is protected against the flu to help cut down on flu-related complications and hospitalizations.
When is the Best Time to get a Flu Shot?
You may wonder when the best time to get a flu shot is. The CDC recommends getting the shot early in fall so by the end of October is the prime time to get it. The vaccination takes about two weeks to develop in one’s body. The flu shot is not 100 percent effective against the flu but it is the best way to prevent it. There is the standard vaccine as well as a couple of high dose senior vaccines. It is advised to talk with your doctor about which one is right for you and your loved ones.
What to Expect
While the flu shot is safe, there are mild side effects that may arise during the week it is administered. Seniors may experience any of the following effects: soreness, redness or swelling in the spot the shot was given, headache, muscle aches, fever, nausea and fatigue. The flu vaccine is recommended for all seniors but if you have an egg allergy, mercury allergy, fever or have Guillain-Barre syndrome, you must discuss with your doctor before getting the shot. In addition to these, it’s always important to pay extra attention during the week the flu shot is received.
Healthy Precautions for Avoiding the Flu
In addition to getting the flu shot, maintaining a healthy lifestyle also helps the prevention of the flu particularly during the time of COVID. Staying away from anyone who is sick is advised and if you have any symptoms of sickness, make sure you get plenty of rest and stay home.
Wash Your Hands
Washing hands with soap and water and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth will help keep germs at bay. Clean and disinfect areas especially high touch surfaces and pay attention to how your body feels. Treating any early signs of sickness may shorten illnesses from creeping along.
Rest, Diet, & Exercise
Supporting a healthy immune system by eating a balanced diet and keeping stress to a minimum is one of the best preventative measures along with getting plenty of rest and keeping as active as possible. If you have trouble with any of these actions, talk with someone who love or a doctor about how to incorporate healthy steps in your lifestyle. Talking with someone who cares about your physical and mental health is a huge step towards staying healthy.
Have questions about caring for your senior through Flu Season in 2020? Give us a call today and our experienced In-Home Care Providers can talk you through our unique caregiver solutions and develop a plan to meet your family's needs!
Perhaps you’ve always looked up to your parent or family member and now you suspect their mind is slowly dwindling. The person you love is changing and he or she doesn’t even know it. Learning to spot the signs of dementia in aging parents or other beloved seniors can provide helpful insight to doctors providing for better care.
Keep track of any and all signs in your phone or a journal. If your loved one is especially sensitive or even in denial, submit your recordings in writing to the doctor. It’s important to remember that HIPAA authorization is not needed in order for you to share concerns with the health professional. Include details such as: when you first noticed symptoms, specific symptoms, changes in their routine or behavior and how often he or she struggles.
Understand the Symptoms
Knowing what to look for is key when taking notes. Early signs of forgetfulness is a common symptom. While having lapses every now and then is normal, daily forgetfulness is an early warning sign. Another symptom is having trouble learning something new. If you notice your parent avoiding new activities or even struggling to grasp a concept, take note.
Watch out for bills piling up or your parent struggling to manage their finances. In addition to having trouble keeping track of their finances, losing track of time and poor judgement are two other symptoms to watch out for. Remember occasional forgetfulness is normal but forgetting the day, month or year along with other important dates are red flags.
As for poor judgement, look for behaviors out of the norm for your loved one. You know what’s normal for them so keep track by jotting down in your journal or phone. Additionally, not remembering other important commitments frequently is another warning sign.
Finally, losing interest in formerly favorite activities is a warning sign along with a constant repeating are key to look for. Watch out for verbal repetition such as repeating the same comment over and over or repeating stories on the daily.
It is not easy watching your loved one’s mind slowly drift away but catching the signs as early as possible is key to getting them the help they need. Remember, you have the opportunity to be your parent’s biggest advocate so now it’s time to fight for them during this trying time.
Compassionate Care when you need it the most!
At Hands and Hearts Home Care, we understand the challenges you and your loved ones face concerning dementia. If you're ready to speak with someone about hiring a caregiver, give us a call today to find out how we can help!
If caregiver burnout is draining your emotional battery, consider giving yourself the gift of respite care. Since August is Respite Care Month, read on on why respite care is such a great solution for your loved one.
Caring for aging family members takes a lot of mental strength so it’s not surprise that caregiver burnout is such a widespread issue. After all, you want to help your elderly parent or relative but often times it can just be too much. Caring for an aging adult plus your responsibilities at your job, with your family and the can lend itself to a major toll on your own health.
No Guilty Feelings
You want your aging loved one to be taken care of and while certainly no one knows your loved one like you do, sometimes you need the relief in order to take care of yourself. You have many other responsibilities but remember not to feel guilty for finding outside sources to provide proper care. Remember respite care providers hire professional caregivers who have been properly trained and background checked.
Finding the right respite care provider for your relative may take some work, but it’s worth your effort. Having respite care for your loved one allows you to recharge your batteries and keep on loving him or her for the journey ahead. If you continue providing around the clock care, it’s only a matter of time before your physical and/or mental health spiral downhill.
Now that you’re thinking of respite care for your loved one, the financial burden may be another hurdle to overcome. There is the possibility of organizations offering grants or other resources to help with the cost. If the wait is too long, consider free or low-cost networks of support including but not limited to religious groups, volunteer organizations or family and friends. Instead of receiving gifts, try asking for respite care funds instead.
Remember you may also start with one or two days to ease into respite care or even just a few hours depending on your loved one’s need. Don’t forget to ask your own family for support as well. If they cannot personally help with caregiving, then they will most likely offer the funds.
Types of Care
There are a variety of different respite care to suit your loved one’s needs and wants along with your finances.
In-home services include: companion, home health aide, homemaker and skilled care service. Companion services help with companionship and supervised activities only while a home health aide provides assistance with activities like bathing, dressing and exercising. A homemaker helps with planning meals and daily chores like laundry and shopping and a skilled care service person helps with medical needs. There are also adult day services and residential facilities if your loved one requires more supervision.
Hands and Hearts Home Care is Here for You!
You know your loved one best so it’s important you remember what they can tolerate and need. If you need to talk with someone with any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!
Columbia has earned the nickname "Famously Hot" for a reason! July and August feel like the hottest months of summer. It’s especially important for senior citizens to be proactive and keep cool to avoid heat related illnesses particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are vital steps to take to minimize the risk of health issues that may be caused by high temperatures.
The simplest and most basic steps including drinking plenty of water, having access to air conditioning and wearing clothing and accessories offering sun protection. The main health problems exacerbated by summer heat are dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Know the Warning Signs
Knowing the warning signs for these heat related health issues can help seniors or their caregivers to seek and receive help early on. Dehydration is having a loss of water in the body and signs include weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion and passing out. Heat exhaustion is caused by too much heat to the body and can lead to a heat stroke. Signs for exhaustion include heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, paleness, headache, nausea or vomiting and a fast or weak pulse.
If symptoms progress, a heat stroke may occur. This is when the body temperature has a dangerous rise to 103 or more. Other symptoms include red, hot and dry skin, a fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and passing out. Check out these tips below to help keep symptoms at bay and stay safe and cool during the dog days of summer.
Water, Water, & More Water!
It’s especially recommended for elderly to stay hydrated. This may be difficult and seniors may not think about drinking water during the day. In addition to drinking enough water, they should avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol and this may increase dehydration. If you must be outside, drinking sweat replacement drinks can replace extra fluid lost.
Also, cotton fabrics and other breathable fabrics can help your body regulate its temperature. When it comes to protecting your head, a hat with a broad or wide brim and sunglasses are a must. Let’s not forget the sunscreen either because skin cancer is still a real threat. An umbrella can also help protect you from the sun. Picnic table umbrellas or beach umbrellas are a perfect accessory.
Exploring the World from your Couch!
Summertime is a perfect time to catch up on some reading or start something new. After all, the extreme heat and humidity call for plenty of inside lounging and ice cold lemonade. There are an array of options to check out books whether you go to the library, buy online or from the bookstore or perhaps you enjoy EBooks.
Stay Entertained & Keep your mind sharp!
Whether you need (or desire) large print books is a personal decision and one that is readily available at your local library or even through Amazon. If you do read EBooks, there’s the option to magnify the font. If you don’t read EBooks and want to try, ask a family member or friend for assistance on getting started. The first step is to purchase a tablet of your choice and have a store or several stores to purchase EBooks.
There are many genres to choose from but let’s focus on some fun fiction reads. Reading is not only a relaxing activity but it’s also stimulating for your mind and can keep the cognitive processes going strong while potentially keeping memory delays at bay. Another fun way to incorporate reading is by joining a book club which can help keep the loneliness away.
Stories Keep Us Connected
Our In Home Caregivers at Hands and Hearts would be glad to share a story with you! Let us know what questions you have about our services today!