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Three Ways for Seniors to Stay Mentally Fit at Home

There are numerous benefits of staying physically active and in shape, and we hear about the importance of fitting in daily activity all the time. But did you know that keeping your mind mentally fit is every bit as crucial? This is especially true for seniors in home care!

Good senior health is attributed to a functional and healthy mind. So, if you want your senior to give their brain a great workout, we have plenty of ideas for you! Below, you’ll find some of our favorite ways to strengthen your loved one’s mind.

Word and Number Puzzles and Games

It’s all fun and games! You know, the really popular games, like sudoku, word searches, and crossword puzzles! These games help your senior give their brain workout that’s all about critical thinking. Word games are an effective way to improve your senior’s vocabulary and increase their concentration. Mathematic games exercise the mental muscles and aid senior health by testing out numeric abilities and memory.

Drawing and Music

After some critical thinking, your senior can move on to exercising the creative parts of their brain. Seniors should be encouraged to explore the arts, like painting, drawing, and crafting! Perhaps they can sketch a tropical beach or build a home out of popsicle sticks to help them act on their creative impulses. Similarly, music makes a positive impact on senior health. Turning up the volume to some songs is proven to enhance a senior’s mood, produce more positive emotions, and increase both interest levels and communication.

Meditations

Your senior loved one should also consider taking some time every once in a while a to open their mind and let it relax. Meditating is an excellent way to improve senior health and can help prevent feelings of nervousness and depression while warding off stress. Recentering the mind and inner self can help your senior work through any strong thoughts and feelings they may have. If your senior would like to learn how to meditate, a guided meditation is a great place to start! Visit this link for plenty of soothing guided meditations.

Do you need additional information to improve your loved one’s senior health while they remain in their own home? Reach out to our experts at Home Care Assistance and schedule a consultation!

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At-Home Tours for Your Senior Loved One

We’re all doing our best to stay occupied while quarantining and practicing social distancing during this new age of COVID-19. As a result, businesses and organizations everywhere have been inventive to offer their services and experiences in a virtual way.

 

Tours are one of the experiences that are leading the way in popularity! You can now take a tour of a national park, an art museum, or a brewery – the perfect stay-at-home activity! Especially for senior citizens in elderly care.

 

Read below for our list of 5 virtual tours that your senior loved one will enjoy!

 

MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art

If you love art and you love the modern era, then you NEED to take a virtual tour of The Modern Museum of Art! Located in Manhattan, this museum was the first of its kind to showcase contemporary and modern art. MoMA offers paintings, film, sculpture, design, and more! You can virtually view the collections here: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art?hl=en

 

National Parks

For nature lovers, there is no better tour than that of a national park! The National Park Service has made it so anyone can visit ANY of the national parks right on their phone or computer. You can even browse around tour historical sites in the parks. https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/take-virtual-visit-national-park

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium isn’t offering your average virtual tour… Instead, they’re giving us all TEN live streams! Watch in real-time and enjoy the aquatic wonders! Hang out with otters, jellyfish, stingrays, and so many other sea creatures. Access the live streams now here: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

 

San Diego Zoo

As if sea creatures aren’t enough, you can also check in with other animals too at the San Diego Zoo! With tons of different live stream cameras, you can watch pandas, polar bears, penguins, and so much more in their habitats at the zoo. Watch the animals live here: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams

 

Stonehenge

Have you always wanted to see the world’s many wonders? This is a great way to do it! Especially for Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. Check out these tall-standing stones – each is around 13 feet high and weighs 25 tons! https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/stonehenge/m06wfg?categoryid=place

 

Would you like more information about quarantine activities? Call our experts here at Home Care Assistance today! We’re here for you and ready to help.

Five Tips to Improve Sleep for Older Adults

The benefits of a good night’s rest become increasingly important as we age. Sleep is an important factor so that we do not struggle with insomnia, waking up tired all the time, or disturbed sleep. Restful sleep determines seniors’ emotional and physical health as well, and it works to repair the body and improve concentration and memory. Take our 5 helpful tips below to improve your quality of sleep!

Stay Active During the Day

When you exercise during the day, you get better sleep at night. Getting in daily exercise helps our body release chemicals that allow us to sleep better. Even if you can get in just 30 minutes of exercise each day, that can help you get a more restful sleep.

Set a Bedtime Routine

Get better sleep by setting a bedtime routine! Try practicing relaxing routines like taking a bath before bed, meditating, or listening to music. It’s also helpful if you try and go to sleep around the same time every day, even on the weekends.

Go to Bed Earlier

Getting enough sleep could all come down to one simple solution… You should be going to bed earlier. If you set your bedtime just an hour or two earlier, it can make a huge difference and you could be getting a better night’s sleep.

Minimize Distraction in the Bedroom

A few key factors in getting a better night’s rest is to make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Avoid using items like your TV, tablet, e-readers, cell phone, or computer in your bedroom. This way your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and relaxation.

Limit Items Before Going to Sleep

It’s important not to consume any of the following before you head off to bed. No caffeine when it’s later in the day or close to your bedtime…it will keep you awake at night. Try limiting the amount of liquids in general so you’re not waking up several times for bathroom breaks. Avoid eating big meals and lots of sugar before you go to sleep They can cause indigestion and wakefulness.

For more advice on how to get a better night’s rest, Home Care Assistance is ready to help! Call our experts here today for further guidance and to learn about our senior care programs.

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Social Distancing for Seniors: Teaching Your Senior How to Use Skype

With the coronavirus taking its place in society right now, we’re drastically changing the way we communicate every day with our family, friends, and co-workers. We’re depending even more heavily on technology like texting, phone calls, and video chats so that we can speak with or see our loved ones at any time. This is particularly important to stay in touch with our senior citizens, who are most at risk of catching coronavirus. To best keep in touch with your senior during these historic times, consider teaching them how to use a video chat platform, like Skype. You can teach them easily by following our tips below.

Make it Simple

To make this process easier, one of the best things you can do for your senior is to keep the steps simple. There is no need to overcomplicate what has to be done. Start by making sure they get to know the basics of Skype video calling. This includes locating the Skype icon on their phone or computer, showing them how to find the person they wish to call, and finishing through the process of making the video call.

Write it Down

Once you’ve gone through these basic Skype steps with your senior loved one, you should then write these exact steps down in simple language. While its most beneficial if they can remember these steps from memory, it’s a good idea to have a list they can consult should they forget a step.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

After going through this process multiple times with your seniors, you should have them physically repeat these steps for you while you observe them. Have them run through it a couple of times on their own so the process can begin to feel habitual and they can remember it when you’re gone.

Extra Advice

While giving explanations of Skype, try to make relatable comparisons. For instance, finding someone in their address book is just like what they need to do to locate someone on Skype to call. If your senior appears to be frustrated, take a break and slow down. Finally, you’ll want to make sure your senior can work their volume keys to hear better and end a video call once they’re ready to finish.

For further advice for teaching your senior loved one how to video chat during these historic times, please free to call and chat with our experts here at Home Care Assistance today!

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5 Exercises for Wheelchair-Bound Seniors

What comes to mind when you think about exercising? For many, it’s running, walking, standing, moving around more. While that’s simple enough for you, seniors who are wheelchair-bound face a bigger challenge. Wheelchair-bound seniors, unfortunately, have movement restrictions and limited mobility. But it’s still important that they lead active and independent lives. Below we’ve outlined 5 different exercises to help improve the daily lives of wheelchair-bound seniors. While sitting up straight with the ab muscles contracted, hold up your arms at shoulder level and keep your hand facing down. Now curve your fingers as if you’re gripping handles and push your arms out in front of you. Next, extend them as far as you can while being careful not to lock your joints. Bend your elbows, pull your arms back until they are slightly behind the torso. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together. Repeat!

Chest Squeezes 

Sit up straight and keep your abs engaged. Hold a medicine ball or a balloon at chest level, then squeeze it between your hands to contract the chest muscles. Now slowly push the ball out before you until your elbows are straight – but not locked. Keep squeezing the ball throughout the whole movement. Pull the ball back to your chest and repeat it!

Toe Taps

Engage your abs while sitting up straight and have your feet flat on the ground. Now tilt your toes upwards towards the ceiling, then point them back down towards the floor. Repeat this motion several times for an easy exercise!

Knee Lifts

Sit up straight, engage your abs, and place your feet flat on the ground. Then slowly raise one leg and bend the knee, lifting your leg as high as possible while remaining comfortable. Next, lower your foot back to the floor and repeat the motions with your other leg. Alternate each leg back and forth with these motions.

Aqua Training

Getting out of the wheelchair and into the water for some aqua training exercises can do wonders for the body! Exercising in water can be specifically beneficial for seniors. The water helps to better support the body and works to minimize joint discomfort.

If you need more information on exercises for a senior with limited mobility, please feel free to call our experts here at Home Care Assistance and schedule your consultation.

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Coronavirus Anxiety: 4 Ways Can do to Keep Your Senior Loved One Healthy

The public is spiraling into a panic amidst the news of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak! But panicking is the LAST thing you should do! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are urging everyone (especially seniors and those working in home care) to take careful precautions to remain healthy. Seniors are unfortunately more susceptible to the virus due to weaker immune systems, so taking these organizations’ advice below can help both you and your senior remain healthy during this time.

Don’t Panic

First and foremost, DON’T. PANIC. It can be a challenge not to buy into media-induced fear of the Coronavirus, but panicking can actually be counterproductive to staying healthy. So instead, treat the Coronavirus just like you would a regular flu epidemic. Make sure you’re taking all of the necessary safety measures and keep your cool.

Containment

We’re starting to see nursing homes and assisted living facilities cut off visitations. Your senior in home care needs to be careful, too! For the time being, have your senior practice keeping their social distance. This means when they’re out in public, they should keep a distance of at least 3 feet from anyone who may be coughing or sneezing. For visitors, ensure that anyone who comes into contact with your senior is feeling healthy.

Wash Your Hands and Don’t Touch Your Face

Your hands should be kept as clean as possible! Wash them thoroughly by rubbing them together vigorously for at least 20 seconds with an alcohol-based soap. This will help kill viruses that might be on the hands. Try not to touch your face, either. Specifically, your eyes, nose, or mouth. Coronavirus is not airborne, but the virus can be transferred from the hands to any of these orifices. 

Seek Healthcare Immediately If…

You’re coughing, sneezing, have a runny nose, have a fever, or are experiencing difficulty breathing. Each of these are symptoms of the Coronavirus and should not be brushed off just because they’re similar to the common cold. If your senior experiences any of these symptoms, have them seek healthcare as soon as possible to keep them healthy and to prevent them from spreading the virus.

For more information about the Coronavirus and prevention for your senior loved one, please contact Home Care Assistance to talk with our senior care experts.

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Keeping Seniors Healthy During Flu Season 2020

While we are all getting ready for and anticipating the spring season, this is also the time of year for something not so fun. Yes, it’s flu season 2020! During flu season, it is especially important for your senior loved one to be careful and take some extra measures to avoid getting sick. Seniors are much more likely to contract the flu already, thanks to their weaker immune systems. But by following our advice below, your senior can reduce the chances of getting the flu, and at the very least reduce the length and severity of the illness. 

Get Plenty of Exercise

What you really want to do is boost your senior’s immune system as much as possible! Exercise can help them get the job done. Regular exercise reduces the likelihood of your senior catching the cold or flu by a third. Exercise does not have to be strenuous; going for a walk once a day will work.

Wash Your Hands

Keep germs away from your senior by reminding them to wash their hands often with any regular soap! They should be rubbing their hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds and scrubbing ALL over the hands – in between fingers, backs of the hands, the wrists, and under the fingernails. If they don’t have access to soap and water as much as they’d like, have them carry hand sanitizer with them, too.

Get the Flu Vaccine

To reduce your senior’s likelihood of catching the flu, encourage them to get the flu vaccine. If they do happen to contract the flu, the vaccine will help to reduce the duration and severity of the illness. It is recommended to get the flu vaccine in October or November, but experts say that any time of the year is better than not getting it at all.

Keep Your Environment Clean

As important as keeping seniors’ hands clean is keeping their home clean! Particularly the kitchen and bathroom where you’ll find the most germs. Be sure they’re using a good disinfectant and are paying special attention to cleaning doorknobs, light switches, and countertops! 

Drink Your Fluids

Be sure your senior is drinking their fluids! When they’re taking in water or hot tea, they’re actually keeping their nasal passages moist. This traps germs and prevents them from spreading!

To learn more about how to keep your senior healthy during flu season, or to hear more about our senior care services, call us here at Home Care Assistance and schedule your consultation!

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Top 3 Benefits of Reducing Caffeine In Seniors

If you had to give up caffeine right now, could you do it? If you think you’d struggle, we understand. Your senior loved one who’s been drinking coffee for years probably feels the same way! But reducing your senior’s caffeine intake will provide them with numerous worthwhile benefits! Below, we’ve listed a few of those benefits along with some tips that can help them kick the habit…or at least cut down.

Decrease Side Effects

Did you know? Seniors are much more sensitive to caffeine, all thanks to the aging process! Typical symptoms of too much caffeine include the jitters, feelings of anxiety, a racing heart, headaches, or feeling out of breath. For your senior, those symptoms are amplified and can be harmful to their bodies if they consume too much caffeine. It’s better to play it on the safe side and reduce their amount of caffeine to lessen or prevent these symptoms.

Less Stress

If your senior seems to stress out a lot, the solution could be very simple: less caffeine! The more caffeine we drink, the more our bodies produce and release cortisol, AKA the stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for increasing a number of things, including heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, muscle tension, and respiration.

Tips to Cut the Caffeine

  • For seniors who suffer from sleep disorders, or who just don’t get enough rest, try cutting off their caffeine intake at least 4 hours prior to their bedtime. They can still consume caffeine, it will just be during they day so it doesn’t interrupt their sleep.
  • Help your senior learn to not rely on coffee or tea to stay hydrated! Instead, introduce them to healthier, non-caffeinated alternatives like fruit-infused water. It tastes great and is just as satisfying, without the caffeine!
    • Bonus! If your senior really doesn’t want anything besides their coffee, you can dilute the caffeine and increase hydration by watering it down a little bit. 

For further guidance on keeping your senior’s diet healthy and balanced, call Home Care Assistance and talk to our experts! We are here to help you with all of your senior care needs.

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Top Financial Advice for Family Caregivers

As a caregiver, you are responsible for taking care of older adults in senior care and even assisting their families. It’s a demanding job with great personal rewards. But are you taking time to stop and care for yourself? Caregivers face many challenges, and one of those is often financial hardship. Take a look at our advice below and keep on track for financial success as a caregiver.

Create a Budget

The most important piece of financial advice we can give to you as a caregiver is a create a budget for you and your loved one and stick to it. Go through all of your current expenses thoroughly and learn where you can cut costs and boost your savings. Try setting aside a manageable percentage each month. Even if it’s only a little bit, a little can go a long way over time. 

Don’t Take on Debt

We understand the temptation you may feel to want to put expenses for yourself or your senior on a credit card but try to refrain from doing this! You don’t want to take on unmanageable debt when you are trying to stick to a budget and save. If you do take on new credit offers or charge purchases to a credit card, we suggest doing your best to keep your balances low and use a low-interest card.

Keep Emergency Funds

Having a little extra security to fall back on when times become unexpectedly tight is a great security measure to help keep you comfortable when you need it most. Each time you have to draw from your emergency fund, try and replenish it as soon as you are back up and stable. 

Prioritize Your Retirement Savings

Throughout your time as a caregiver, keep contributing to any 401k or IRA accounts that you may have, even if it’s a small amount. While you’re busy taking care of others, you want to make sure that YOU will be taken care of when it’s time for you to retire. 

Prepare Now for Your Senior Care

A worthy investment now is purchasing your own long-term care insurance. When it’s your time to enroll in senior care services, you’ll be thankful you have this in place. Preparation also includes getting your legal documents in order, such as a living will, advanced directive, Power of Attorney, and organized financial account statements. 

Are you a caregiver? Do you need further financial advice? We would love to help you here at Home Care Assistance. Give us a call today to talk to our experts and schedule your consultation.

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Ways Music Can Help Seniors in Home Care

Sometimes, we take music for granted — especially when we have heard thousands of different songs and artists from over the years! We don’t give it a second thought. However, for seniors in home care, music is considered a medicine of the mind. This is especially true if a senior is struggling with memory loss or cognitive abilities. Below, we’re discussing at length several proven health benefits that music provides for our seniors. 

Decreased Pain from Chronic Illness

First, let’s talk about the physical benefits of music therapy in home care. Music provides as many benefits for the body as it does for the mind! More so, research has found a positive correlation between physical exercise and listening to music; while seniors listen to music during their workouts, they are more likely to exercise for a longer period of time and push themselves a little harder! The more physically fit a senior is, the better their physical health and longevity. 

Experts can also conclude that listening to music can even improve immune function and help decrease pain associated with chronic illnesses. Music and physical activity combined help to lower stress hormones a senior’s body produces, so the more physical activity a senior gets, the less likely the are to become stressed out! This will help to increase their immune function. 

Stimulates the Brain and Improves Mood

The most important benefit of music therapy for seniors in home care is that it works to stimulate their brains. A senior’s brain quite literally responds to specific, therapeutic music! 

But how? You can think of music as being a total workout for their brain. Both listening to and playing music helps improve a senior’s mental alertness, memory, mood, and quality of sleep.

Furthermore, music physically stimulates hits of dopamine, which develops a positive emotion in the reward center of the brain, evoking a sense of elation. The joy experienced while listening to music can even reduce stress and anxiety! Seniors who listen to music can prevent a rise in their heart rate and blood pressure and can decrease their levels of cortisol. Just like that – No more stress!

It’s also worth mentioning how much happier seniors can feel listening to music. Music therapy is the perfect solution to keep feelings of loneliness, isolation, or depression away. It’s great for encouraging social interaction, relieving boredom, and calming the nerves.

If you would like to learn more about the health benefits of music for seniors in home care, or more about our senior care services, please call Home Care Assistance today to schedule your consultation!