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!
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!
Whew! It's Getting Hot!
Summer is coming and with that comes the intense heat. While young adults dream of summer vacations and laying out by the pool, many seniors and older people must take certain precautions when dealing with the hot months.
The elderly are more prone to high heat health risks because for one their bodies are changing and may not adapt to sudden temperature changes. Also, prescription medications and other chronic medical conditions may put them at higher risks. Check out these tips to help seniors deal or adjust to the heat wave.
Staying inside as much as possible is the best way to avoid the heat. The ideal temperature is 78 degrees but this can vary from person to person. Essentially, you don’t want it to be too cold for health reasons and watch out for seniors who may turn on the heat. Wearing layers is an option for cold-natured seniors.
No, not light as in watching your diet. This means eating lighter meals that don’t need the oven or to be microwaved. Snacks such as yogurt, fruit and popsicles are sweet treats. Opt for meals such as chicken or tuna salad, pasta salad or even simple sandwiches. Even eating leftovers from dinner or ordering take out is an option for those interested. If you know of a senior who is less apt to cook, consider bringing them some homemade meals or store bought yummies. Don’t forget some water or iced tea!
Keeping a fan in the house is great for bringing in cooler air that is less frigid than the AC. A simple, quiet fan is a beloved necessity by many seniors--especially those who get colder easier.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is fading and businesses are starting to open, always take precautions to protecting your health. With that said, if you are healthy enough to get out visiting a local rec center, senior center or coffee shop may be a perfect outlet for those needing social interaction while still practicing healthy social distancing. Other ideas include: libraries, shopping centers and even golf centers. For golf centers or driving ranges, bring a cooler with plenty of cooling essentials.
Staying cool during the summer months need not be boring or isolating. If you know of someone who is unable to get out, consider visiting them or even visiting outside their homes and bringing some water and perhaps a frozen yogurt treat!
Hands and Hearts Home Care is here to meet your needs all summer and all year long! Call us to speak with an In Home Care Specialist today!
One of the hardest conversations adult children may have to endure with their aging parents is deciding on home care. Independence is such a luxury gained at a young age and many elders feel this slipping away. No matter how you decide to approach this topic or if you decide to go an alternate route such as assisted living or nursing home, there are considerations to take in for your those you love.
Let’s first take a glance at what exactly home care is. Home care covers an extensive range of services that allow seniors to stay in the comfort of their home as long as they’re able. These services may consist of running errands, house care, cooking and even dressing and bathing. Depending on the provider, medical assistance may be an option. Providers should have professional and trained employees who work varying shifts to meet your parent’s needs.
Independence is an issue – and fully understood one – seniors may feel loosening from their grasp. However, home care providers understand this and do not want the elder to feel looked down upon or less dependent. Your provider of choice simply wants to help out in areas of need and some may even provide companion support which can ease any burden on children. In fact, your parent may feel more independent going out and running errands with someone beside them supporting them and providing suggestions and even laughs.
Other considerations to contemplate include: cost, availability, medical conditions/needs and social interaction. There may be more options to check out depending on your personal situation and you should always, always talk these over with a trusted provider. It’s a daunting task but your provider you choose should be there for you and answer any and all questions. If they can’t answer a question, they should be honest and find a solution.
Home Care may be just and affordable for an elder who needs help with physical therapy, monitoring a chronic health condition, staying active or help around the home. Unfortunately, in some situations a long term stay-at-home solution is not practical or cost effective. Weighing available options and factoring in future healthcare needs are crucial to making the decision whether to stay at home. You can always talk with someone at Hands and Heart Home Care to discuss all needs and concerns!
Isolation is never and should never be a result of home care. Your trusted provider of choice wants to ensure your loved one has a variety of social interaction they feel comfortable with.
Choosing an home care provider is not a light decision but the friendly and skilled professionals and Hands and Heart Home Care want to make sure your loved one is taken care of!
Protecting Your Health through Difficult Situations
The saying ‘Health is Wealth’ has never been truer. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, the health and well-being of the elderly is a precious commodity. As with other viruses and health concerns, it’s important to always take precautions to protect the most vulnerable which include the older population and those with weakened immune systems
Finding Helpful Information
For a complete list of the latest information and precautions, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. All governmental guidelines will be addressed along with cases and data. The COVID-19, commonly known as Corona Virus, is a new disease and scientists are busy working on solutions for a cure
Staying Connected at a Distance
If the stress is too overpowering, please do not hesitate to tell a caregiver, friend or family member and seek immediate assistance. It’s also important to note if an older adult is experiencing any health concerns, to seek help.
Maintain Social Interactions
While many businesses have cut down hours or temporarily closed, the need for human connection is still a powerful necessity. Pick up the phone or find a way to electronically connect with someone. If you know of a friend or family member, take the initiative and connect over the phone or via social media. Keeping in touch with others can be a great benefit to one’s immunity.
Enjoy the Peaceful Solitude
As mentioned before, turning off the news does wonderful benefits for one’s mind and soul. It’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening around the world but the 24/7 news stream is too much for anyone. Pick up a book, go for a walk or work the mind with a challenging puzzle. Whatever hobby or interest makes you happy, go do it.
Body, Mind, & Soul
Finally, taking care of the mind, body and soul means nourishing yourself with nutritional meals, plenty of sleep and at least a half hour of activity. For anyone who knows of an elder who may need assistance, schedule a grocery delivery or call them with encouragement. If someone needs a medication refill, offer to go pick it up as long as you are in good health standing.
As news develops on the COVID-19, remember to check the CDC website for updates. Check out our other Hands and Hearts Blog Posts for other helpful tips for Seniors!
February isn't the only month for showing you care!
Love often takes center stage during the month of February but it is an emotion in need all year long. This strong emotion comes in many forms and it is one that doesn’t go away as one gets older. Grandparents and other seniors need the positive reaffirming embrace of love as anyone else deserves.
Often times as children grow up and build families of their own, grandparents and other seniors may take a seat on the backburner. It’s not deliberate but sometimes it happens because of the busyness of life. Or, perhaps older adults don’t live close to family. Whatever the case, it’s important to spend some extra minutes or hours showing love languages to the older generation.
What are some ways to express appreciation to the folks who have always been there? Let’s examine some simple gestures and activities to keep the mindset of seniors alive and nourished. By the way, these don’t involve being a full-time caregiver but it only takes a small – albeit worthy – chunk of time and effort to let someone know you care.
Go on a Lunch Date
Call up a grandparent or an elder you care about and let them know you want to take them out to lunch. It can be a meal for anytime of the day or even just a coffee date. It’s important to schedule the date in advance because for the most part, seniors like to be prepared even if they aren’t working and have a leisure day. Oftentimes, there’s other appointments to work around.
Make sure you let them know the lunch is on you. They may insist they pay but take charge and sneak up the register before the server has a chance to provide the bill at the table. Connect, laugh and eat and schedule the next date for the future. Don’t let this be a one-time event.
Get together with friends or family and make a batch of homemade treats (cookies, cake, or even healthier options) for your favorite elder. Make sure you take into consideration any nutritional needs such as diabetes. If baking is just not your thing, head to the store and pick up some sweet snacks
isit a senior center or assisted living facility and get to know someone new. Call ahead and ask what is needed. Often there are certain needs at every center and an activity director can point you in the right direction or have you sign up for a future event.
If you are in a club, invite fellow members to join you. Oftentimes, the Christmas holidays may get overrun with volunteers but then the rest of the year is forgotten. Don’t let this happen. Let the director know of any special skills you may have so they can let you or your club shine.
This may be vague but it is left up to your imagination. Loneliness is an ugly culprit that traps many older adults. Reach out to someone you love or check with a local retirement village or similar place. Just sitting and listening to their wisdom may benefit you more than you think.
Make time for the seniors in your life and make a priority to show love no matter how small. There’s only one life so we all need to make it well spent! Our qualified In Home Caregivers are available to help show your loved one you care! Give us a call today at Hands and Hearts Home Care for more information.
Staying In Touch
A positive and nurturing social life is an important foundation of life for people of all ages. Once someone embraces the golden years, it’s vital to keep friendships going. Whether a senior stays in touch with a lifelong friend or connects with someone new, the benefits are well worth it. Staying in community, no matter the size, keeps seniors young at heart and mentally sharp.
There have been studies shown which prove a positive correlation between socialization and the overall health among the older population. It’s also important to note the contrary effects which erupt from social isolation among the aging. When seniors have healthy social connections, the levels of interleukin-6 has been found to be lower. Interleukin-6 is an inflammatory factor which may have implications in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even some forms of cancer.
Use the Buddy System
The health benefits of having a good buddy or even hanging out with grandchildren are not only mentally rewarding but physically beneficial. Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis are a couple of ways to keep physical activity and hangouts going. Loneliness is also reduced when people are more engaged thus cutting down on depression.
Being surrounded by loved ones on a regular basis helps elders keep a positive outlook on life. It can be as simple as inviting the grandkids over and having cookies and ice cream or sipping coffee and playing chess with a neighbor or volunteer at the retirement center. The point is to make the outings more regular and not an once-in-a-lifetime activity.
Be that Friend to a Senior
It may be difficult for seniors to reach out and feel connected. If you have a loved one who needs positive social support, look to the local aging and recreational commission or senior center found in many counties. Also senior villages, retirement centers or nursing homes often have activities planned each month such as movie dates, shopping outings and fitness related events.
There are an array of interactions to choose from and even more seniors in need of these interactions. So, lace up the bowling shoes or meet up for a cup of coffee and make someone’s day!