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How to Help Your Senior Manage Their Allergies This Season

Summer is officially here, and you know what that means… Pollen is outside in full force! This is the time of the year when those who have allergies are often suffering and trying to find relief. If your senior is one of those people, we know the struggle. That’s why we’re discussing several options to help minimize your senior’s allergies this season! Let’s take a look at some of our favorite tips and tricks below.

Go to the Drugstore

Allergy symptoms can typically be relieved or cleared with a simple OTC medication you can find in a drugstore. If your senior has a stuffy nose, they could try a decongestant. Or, if they’re sneezing, sniffling, or have a scratchy throat, they can try an antihistamine instead. Be sure to check with their doctor or caregiver first to make sure these OTC medications are okay for them to take.

Bonus Tip: Saltwater can be helpful if your senior prefers not to take an OTC medication! Allergens can be cleared out from the nasal membranes with a saline rinse. If your senior’s throat is bothering them, they can even try to gargle a bit of saltwater for relief!

Stay In and Keep Windows Closed

Seniors who typically head outdoors for a daily stroll or exercise should instead be encouraged to try an indoor workout. The same is try for seniors who like to keep the windows open for fresh air. During this season, it’s better to keep the windows closed to minimize allergies. Have your senior check the pollen counts each morning so they know when they should completely avoid the outdoors.

Wear a Mask Outside

If your senior has to go outside for chores or to run errands or to take a walk, encourage them to wear an N95 ask if the pollen count is high. An N95 mask will help to reduce their exposure to pollen particles by up to 95%!

Determine if It’s Really Allergies

Finally, you’ll want to be sure that your senior is in fact suffering from allergies and not something else. During the COVID-19 pandemic, no symptom should be discredited. Call your senior’s doctor if they’re experiencing an of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, fever or chills, a cough, fatigue, body ache, headache, loss of smell or taste, sore throat or congestion, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

For further guidance to help manage your senior loved one’s allergies, please feel free to reach out and contact our experts here at Home Care Assistance! We are here and ready to help.

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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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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!

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Top Ways To Communicate with a Senior Loved One Who Has Hearing Loss

Does your senior in home care struggle with hearing loss? If that’s the case, then we know this may be a frustrating time for the both of you, and it may be difficult to communicate effectively. However, we have some advice listed for you below so you can begin easily facilitating conversations with your senior as best as possible.

Get Their Attention First

Start by trying to get your senior’s attention (politely!) before you begin having a conversation. A few simple moves you can try are stepping in front of them, so they take notice of you, waving your hands calmly in their line of sight or gently tapping them on their shoulder.

Keep Noise Levels to a Minimum

Eliminate as much background noise as you can. This will make it easier to talk with your senior! Common background noise you can block out include television, music and other people’s conversations. When heading out in public with your senior, it is best to choose a calm, quiet location with a low amount of distractions.

Take Turns Speaking

When you have a group together to spend time with your senior, tell them ahead of time to take turns while speaking. If they don’t, group conversations where multiple people are speaking at the same time can be confusing and frustrating for your senior. The group can also avoid any side conversations that might confuse your senior.

Talk Loudly, Slowly and Clearly

In conversations with your senior, we recommend practicing your enunciation. Try and enunciate your words as best as you can and talk slowly so your senior can keep up with what you’re saying. Talking at a louder volume is also ideal for your senior suffering from hearing loss.

Repeat and Rephrase

If at first your senior doesn’t comprehend what you said, don’t get frustrated. Just repeat yourself. When you do, try using the same words and phrasing as you did the first time. If they still are not understanding what you’re trying to convey, then rephrase of simplify your question or statement.

Keep in mind that while this may be difficult for you, it is difficult for your senior, too. Be as patient with them as possible and listen to them to have easier conversations. If you would like further advice on communicating with your senior, or you would like more information on home care services, call Home Care Assistance to set up your consultation.

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Here are 3 Reasons Why 2020 is the Best Year to Start Working in Home Care

Thinking about making a career as a caregiver in senior home care? 

A senior caregiver is an individual who will work directly with the elderly in need of assistance with the daily activities of living. Some of these items may include help with bathing and grooming, meal preparation, transportation, light housekeeping and providing companionship. 

With this being said, a career as a senior caregiver is not for everyone! If you have a passion and want to make a difference in the life of a senior and their family, well then it might just be the right fit for you. Here at Home Care Assistance, we’re giving you three compelling reasons below for you to get on the path to working in home care in 2020. 

So, let’s get started!

You’re an individual.

Okay, it’s true: To become a caregiver, you will need to go through the same training and requirements as everyone else becoming a caregiver. But, once you actually are a caregiver, your individuality will shine! 

Your own personality and traits are what will help to make a senior home care experience one that is positive and memorable. Each caregiver has something unique to bring to the table. What will yours be?

You make a difference.

When you’re a caregiver, you don’t just simply enter a client’s home. You enter their whole life. As someone who must be kind and caring, this is a setting where you will thrive! Possessing a compassionate spirit is necessary, since this can be a difficult time for the senior and their family. A caregiver will break down barriers in the senior’s home, learn their hobbies and interests and provide an all-around support system for everyone. You will begin to relate positively with the family, and that just means you’re going to make a great impact on their lives.

You’re a hero.

We’ll say it again — being a caregiver is not for everyone. Life in home care is often demanding and requires much labor and tons of love. But let us tell you, it is so worth it. That’s because as a caregiver, you come to a family’s rescue. You are a true hero in the eyes of the senior. You work to provide them all the love and compassion they need — even when they are unable to give it to themselves. 

If you would like to learn more about becoming a caregiver, we would love to talk with you! Call Home Care Assistance today and begin your journey to home care in 2020.

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Ways To Help Your Senior Loved One Feel Included During the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and families are feeling joyful and looking forward to all the get togethers and time spent with each other! However, for some seniors who are in senior care, the holiday season can cause feelings of isolation and depression while the rest of the family is getting ready to celebrate.

But you can help!

Get your senior feeling loved and included for many seasons to come by reading our tips below, and Happy Holidays!

Remember the Past Traditions

Many times, it can be wonderful to just remember the old days and reminisce. If you do this with your senior this holiday season, you can help improve their spirits!

Gather up old items like family photos and home videos from past celebrations and go through them with your senior and the family. Sharing memories and reminiscing can be a powerful tool that will help alleviate any feelings of loneliness your seniors may have.

Create New Holiday Traditions

It could be time to create some new holiday traditions for your senior in senior care that work better for their lifestyle! Read on below for a couple of examples…

Go to them. Does your senior live in an assisted living facility or have trouble leaving their home? If so, plan a family event that brings the holidays – and the family – to them! These little get-togethers will work wonders for you loved one’s mood this season.

Plan easy activities. For your senior who can no longer participate in any meticulous or physical holiday activities, try out some new traditions, like crafting holiday décor or baking cookies!

Virtual Holiday Inclusivity

If your senior is in senior care and lives further away from the family, there are still many ways you can make them feel included during the family celebrations. You can get creative and set up a livestream or video booth at the family parties, where your senior will get to virtually sit in on the festivities and chat with family members all night long.

If your senior isn’t up to virtual idea, you can also plan a post-event party at your senior’s home or facility. Recreate the atmosphere of the family event with photos and videos of the celebration and by inviting other family members, too!

Need some more information on our senior care services? Home Care Assistance is here for you this holiday season. Please give us a call today to schedule your consultation.