How Do You Keep An Aging Loved One Engaged?

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 No Comments

Has your loved one recently moved in with you or into a nursing home? These are huge changes for everyone involved that will take time to adjust too. Learning to respect each other’s space and finding new roles to fill (especially for the one moving) will require flexibility and patience. Unfortunately, with age often comes a loss of independence in various ways, and it can be hard to find meaning and purpose. Volunteering or part-time work can bring a much needed sense of self worth. If your loved one’s health is preventing them from those types of social engagements, finding engaging activities will require more creativity.

The Agingcare.com article “Tips for Keeping Seniors Busy and Active” has great advice for how and when to intervene but also how to accept when your loved one chooses a behavior you don’t necessarily agree with or think is in their best interest. Although it can be hard to watch your mom, dad or spouse choose isolation over socialization and negativity over happiness, letting go of your desire to control their lives will help your relationship.

Is It Still Safe for Your Elderly Loved One to Drive?

Posted on: January 24th, 2018

Driving gives people a sense of independence and freedom. Having the ability to run out to the store, drive to appointments or meet friends or family on a whim is something many of us with a driver’s license takes for granted. Sadly, there may come a time when it is no longer safe for an aging person to drive. Poor eyesight, mental decline or confusion, side effects from medications, slower reflexes–any of these conditions can make driving hazardous to both the driver and other people on the road. It is never easy to talk to a loved one about their declining health or their ability to drive, but it is important to have a conversation if you have reason to believe they might not be in a position to drive safely anymore. If they talk about getting lost, start getting parking or driving tickets or if their car shows signs of damage, it may be time for your loved one to hand over the keys. Involving their doctor in the conversation can help take the pressure off of you being “the bad guy.”

Fortunately there are organizations that can help your loved one retain some independence. The Independent Transportation Network offers rides to those in need for a small fee. These can be scheduled on the fly or prearranged. Volunteer drivers donate their time to help your loved one stay safe and get to where they need to be. Click here to learn more about Charleston’s ITN network.

What Do You Know About Cervical Health?

Posted on: January 22nd, 2018

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. HPV is very common and is spread through sexual activity, which is why it is recommended that pre-teens received the HPV vaccine.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, roughly 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. each year. A pap test can detect potentially dangerous changes in cervical cells that might indicate cancer. Since certain genotypes of HPV are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers, testing for these particular variations can help your physician better assess your risk and determine the right screening schedule for you.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding between regular menstrual periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
  • Pelvic pain not related to your menstrual cycle
  • Heavy or unusual discharge that may be watery, thick, and possibly have a foul odor
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Pain during urination

The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, so make sure you talk to your doctor about getting the screening you need to identify or prevent this disease.

For more information on cervical health, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s website.

 

Our Caregiver of the YEAR is Angela A!

Posted on: January 16th, 2018

Congratulations to our Caregiver of the YEAR, Angela A.!

Angela has been a valued employee with Home Care Plus since 2012. Her kindness, patience and dependability has fostered strong bonds with her clients. Angela is a natural caregiver, and she consistently upholds the values and principles Home Care Plus is built on. We at Home Care Plus want to tell Angela that we appreciate her flexibility and how she always goes above and beyond to make sure all that all her clients’ needs are met.

We are so grateful  you are on our team. Thank you Angela and congratulations!

Driving After a Stroke: Is It Safe?

Posted on: January 11th, 2018

Suffering from a stroke doesn’t automatically mean you have to give up your driver’s license. There are many things to consider before getting back on the road including the severity of the stroke, visual, mobility or mental impairments suffered, and your level of coordination post-stroke just to name a few. Make sure to discuss your driving plans with your doctor and make sure you feel confident and ready before taking the wheel. The AARP’s article “Driving After a Stroke is Possible” has great tips for anyone struggling with whether or not to get back on the road.

January Newsletter: Happy New Year from Home Care Plus!

Posted on: January 10th, 2018

Our January newsletter is full of great information on sticking with your resolutions, upcoming local events this month, tips for preventing cervical cancer and more! Click here to read our January newsletter!

How to Make Resolutions That Really Stick

Posted on: December 28th, 2017

At the start of every new year, people feel inspired to make changes in their lives. For some, it may be a smoking habit they want to kick; for others, weight loss may be at the top of their list. Maybe you want to use the new year to motivate yourself to start that business you’ve been dreaming of or perhaps your goal is to spend more time with family. Regardless of what personal or professional change you are aiming for, how you go about setting your goals and measuring your milestones can have everything to do with how likely you are to succeed. Read on for tips on how to stick with your resolutions this year.

  1. Be Realistic: Maybe your doctor has told you to lose weight or perhaps you’d rather give healthy eating and exercise a shot before committing to a lifetime of prescription drugs to manage high blood pressure or cholesterol. The key to any big lifestyle change is to make it doable. If you never work out, pledging to hit the gym 6 days a week is an unrealistic goal. Instead, commit to going to the gym 3 times a week, and then add in a long bike ride or walk on your “off” days. Try out a class you’ve never taken before, you just might find you enjoy it. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it is mainly activities that you enjoy, or you won’t be excited to do them. This same logic applies to eating healthier—don’t go cold turkey on all of your favorite foods at once. You will feel deprived and will be more likely to binge. Start by having oatmeal for breakfast 3 times a week, a salad for lunch 3 times a week and meatless meals a few times a week. Cut back on your portion sizes and you can still enjoy the foods you love. As your new lifestyle becomes a habit, add in more healthy meals or longer or harder workouts.
  2. Hold Yourself Accountable: Find a friend who has the same resolution as you. When your alarm goes off early on a cold winter morning, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed to workout. If you know someone is going to be counting on you to meet them at the gym or in the neighborhood for a walk, you’ll be less likely to skip it. Online support groups are everywhere and can offer encouragement and a place to ask questions and raise concerns as you work through whatever personal journey you are on towards a better you.
  3. Reward Yourself: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small! If you made it to the gym a few times this week, reward yourself with positive thoughts and encouragement. Non-food rewards make sense when you are trying to be healthier or lose weight. When you lose 20 lbs you might treat yourself to a new workout outfit or pair of running shoes. If you’ve made healthy food swaps for a few weeks and are shedding a some pounds, have friends over to showcase your healthy cooking or reward yourself with a new cookbook or magazine subscription to Cooking Light. Equally important to rewarding yourself is forgiving yourself when you slip up. It is unrealistic (there’s that word again!) to think that you will exercise or eat healthy or give up smoking without any lapses in behavior. The key is to acknowledge that you’ve experienced a setback (notice I didn’t say failed!) and that it isn’t helping you get to where you want to be as a person. Try to figure out what triggered the lapse and plan for how you can deal with it differently in the future. Stressful day at work? Take a walk as soon as you get home or hit the gym on the way home to relieve stress instead of having a cigarette or binging on junk food. Planning ahead for bad days is key, and sometimes just accepting that you really want that chocolate ice cream but will only have a small scoop is ok too!

Our December Caregiver of the Month is Mary Theresa C!

Posted on: December 20th, 2017

Home Care Plus would like to recognize Mary Theresa C. as the Caregiver of the Month for December.  Theresa is an exceptional caregiver who has been with us for almost a year. Theresa provides care to her clients with a high level of confidence and compassion. She offers reassurance to both the clients she cares for and their families. She is a wonderful team player, and we appreciate her flexibility and willingness to help out when needed.

Congratulations Mary Theresa, and THANK YOU for all that you do!

Loneliness and The Holidays

Posted on: December 20th, 2017

Tis the season for holiday cheer, but sadly not everyone’s spirit is merry and bright this time of year. Many older adults live alone and far from relatives, and the holidays can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is a emerging as a significant risk factor for cognitive decline. According to a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry feelings of loneliness and depression over the course of the 12 year study were linked to mental decline.

So what can you do if your loved one lives far away? If you can’t visit in person or bring them home for the holidays, call them regularly to check in during the week. Teach them how to use a video conferencing tool like Skype or Google hangouts and schedule weekly video chats so that they can see you and the rest of the family (especially the grandchildren!). Talk with a trusted friend or neighbor to make sure your loved one is still actively engaging in their community—whether it be at the local senior center or their church. Care packages with their favorite snacks or books or just a handwritten note every month can let them know you are thinking about them. If your aging loved one seems lonely or you are worried that they might not be taking care of themselves or the house the way they used to, it’s time for an in-person visit. Arranging for a trusted in-home caregiver from a reputable company like Home Care Plus to help out a couple times a week can ensure they are in good hands when you can’t be there.

The Hidden Risks from the Flu

Posted on: December 13th, 2017

Did you know that having a bout of the flu can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke for months after? Older people are especially susceptible to experiencing serious complications from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone age 65 and older get an annual flu vaccine. Visit the CDC’s website for more information on flu prevention.