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How to Recognize Mental Health Problems in the Elderly

Recognizing the signs of mental illnesses in those who are struggling with them is an essential part of watching out for your loved one in senior care. Sadly, mental illnesses all too often go unnoticed and are very easy to overlook. This is especially true when it comes to anxiety and depression, which seniors are much more prone to experiencing. While some signs of struggle are very apparent, many others are quite subtle and can be hard to recognize. Regardless, it is always a good idea to become familiar with the red flags to watch for so that you can identify if your senior is suffering from a mental health issue. Read through the items to look for so that you can get your senior treated quickly and help them get back to feeling better and normal.

Subtle Signs

Trouble with Sleeping. Catching the signs of poor sleep habits can be difficult because you are probably not watching your senior all night long. During the day, watch for how tired they are, which can be indicative of too much or too little sleep.

Loss of Appetite. Is your senior losing weight? Are they picking at their food or skipping meals altogether? These diet changes are often a sign of a mental health struggle.

More Withdrawn. If you notice your senior is becoming more withdrawn from previously enjoyed social activities, or if they aren’t communicating as often with family and friends, this could be a sign.

Overt Signs

Lack of Personal Hygiene. A telltale sign of a mental health struggle is if your senior is neglecting their personal hygiene. Watch out for major signs, like if your senior is not taking showers or brushing their teeth anymore.

Heavy Mood Swings. If your senior has a mental health issue, they likely won’t be sad all the time. Mood swings are more common and can result in high and low moods that change quickly and often.

Do you still need help determining if your senior needs help with their mental health? Don’t worry. Home Care Assistance of Carmel is here to help. Our caregivers are ready to help your senior loved one feel better and normal again. Reach out to and schedule your consultation.

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How to Keep Seniors Safe During Severe Weather

During severe weather, which has been harsher and more frequent across the US over the last several years, seniors are a group that is particularly at risk. Hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes have been more rampant, and your senior should have a plan in place to get them to safety during an emergency. Below, you can read our tips for various natural disasters so you can move your senior to safety during the most severe weather.

Preparing for Hurricanes

Hurricanes can be especially intense along the southeast coast of the US, and seniors who live there should begin planning as soon as a hurricane is detected. They will first need to decide if they will evacuate or remain at home. If they evacuate, they will need safe transportation. If they stay, they will need supplies, like bottled water, non-perishable foods, medications and vitamins, and flashlights and batteries

Preparing for Wildfires

Seniors who reside in areas where wildfires occur often should be prepared at a moment’s notice. Wildfires do not give the luxury to come up with a plan. It is best to already have a plan that can be implemented immediately. You should know your senior’s community plans for evacuations and outline multiple evacuation routes from their home. If they have a pet, include them in these plans! Have a to-go bag filled with supplies like N95 respirator masks, essential documents, vitamins and medications, and food and water at all times.

Preparing for Tornadoes

Similarly, tornadoes do not allow any time for making decisions. A plan needs to be made and known ahead of time. First, help your senior decide if they should stay in their home or seek nearby shelter. If they are staying in their home, establish their safety room, like a basement or windowless interior room. Make sure they know how to identify a tornado by sight and sound in case they miss any warnings.

For more details about our senior care services or keeping your senior safe in bad weather, please reach out to our caregivers here at Home Care Assistance of Carmel. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation!

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How To Help Seniors Lower Their Fall Risks

There is nothing too good for your senior loved one. We understand…and we agree! From excellent senior care services to professional and qualified caregivers – your senior should have it all. We also believe in making safety a top priority, especially when your senior is aging in the comfort of their own home. There are several effective steps you can take to prevent falls and injuries from happening. Take a look at our top 10 tips below and learn how you can help lower your senior’s fall risks.

  1. Know Their Risk Factors. Have your senior’s overall health assessed. A doctor can uncover any conditions such as vision impairment, arthritis, or memory loss may increase fall risk.
  2. Help Them Exercise. Get up and get moving! Encourage your senior to get regular exercise so they can build muscle strength and endurance.
  3. Check for Issues with Balance. Falls can happen to balance issues. A doctor can perform a balance test and check for any disorders with the vestibular system, which can cause imbalance.
  4. Get a Home Inspection. Who knew…? You can get a home inspection that specifically checks for fall hazards in the home! Have a professional come out and check your senior’s home.
  5. Review Their Medications. Certain medications when combined can have severe side effects. Have a doctor review your senior’s medication list to ensure they aren’t experiencing side effects that can lead to a fall.
  6. Get Their Vision Checked Regularly. Having your senior’s vision tested regularly helps to ensure both their eye health and that they can clearly see their surroundings.
  7. Give Them Proper Nutrition. The proper nutrients starts with a solid diet. Nutrients are key to increasing muscle and bone strength!
  8. Use Walking Aids. Walking aids, like canes and walkers, are very helpful when used properly and fitted correctly to your senior.
  9. Avoid Distracted Walking. Help your senior follow basic guidelines, like not walking while using a smartphone, so they can avoid distractions while on the move.
  10. Home Care Services. Take extra measures to make sure your senior is safe in their home by adding home care services to their routine.

Need further guidance on how to best keep your senior loved one safe? Home Care Assistance of Carmel and the surrounding cities is here for you 24/7! Call our expert caregivers today and schedule your consultation.

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Ways To Calm Someone Down with Dementia

Would you know which steps to take to help calm down a senior with dementia? If you are caring for or visiting with someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, we recommend knowing a few effective strategies that can help you de-escalate the situation and move onto problem-solving. There are several techniques that we find particularly useful, and we’re sharing them with you below. Read on to learn how you can best help someone with dementia calm down.

Mirror Their Emotions.

Do your best to begin mirroring the senior’s emotions. This involves playing on their body’s natural responses so you can match their distress levels. This can help you learn how they are feeling, show them that you sympathize and care about their frustrations, and gather clues about what exactly is wrong.

Take Deep Breaths.

As you continue to mirror the senior’s emotions, you can also start to take deep and exaggerated breaths if you notice them begin to mirror you back. As the senior begins to take deep breaths of their own, help them focus on big exhales, which can relax their ribcage and allow them to take in more oxygen.

Take Their Hand.

Another method you can try is to simply offer to take the senior’s hands in your own. This is a kind and encouraging gesture known as the hand-over-hand technique that helps to calm as well. Often times, the senior may already be reaching out to you, as this is common in many seniors with dementia.

Use Heartbeat Rhythm.

Next, as you have the senior’s hands in yours, you can try out a method that mimics the rhythms of a heartbeat. Begin doing so by gently pumping the senior’s hands. This is another comforting and reassuring gesture. Just be sure they are not experiencing any discomfort as you do so.

Home Care Assistance of Carmel knows about the challenges associated with caring for a senior loved one with dementia and helping them cope with the disease. We understand this is not an easy time for anyone involved. But we are here for you every step of the way to offer you our full support. If you would like to learn more about our world-class Alzheimer’s and Dementia care services, reach out to our caregivers at any time.

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The Ultimate List of Senior Discounts in Carmel, Indiana

Becoming a senior is rewarding in many ways, but one of the sweetest things about aging is the counts that come with it! If you’re looking to save some money for yourself or someone you know in senior care this year, then you’ll want to check out these discounts below in food, grocery, retail, prescriptions, and travel! Let’s take a look.

Food

Applebee’s: Based on location, seniors can have a meal at Applebee’s for 10-15% off if they are at least 60 years old.

Ben & Jerry’s: If you love ice cream, this is for you! Seniors ages 60+ (based on location) can have an ice cream cone or scoops in a cup for 10% off.

Krispy Kreme: Mmm, donuts, a sweet discount! Seniors ages 50+ can get a free donut with their purchase of coffee, and/or enjoy 10% off depending on the location.

Grocery

American Discount Stores: On Mondays, seniors ages 62+ save 10% on groceries at American Discount Stores!

Fry’s Food Stores: Wednesdays are for shopping 10% off at Fry’s Food Stores if you’re age is 55+.

Piggly Wiggly: Piggly Wiggly stores allow seniors to take 5% off their bills every Wednesday!

Retail

Goodwill: Head to Goodwill one day a week for 10-20% off just for seniors! Varying by location.

Kohl’s: Retail therapy at Kohl’s is best done on Wednesdays for seniors, when they can take 10% off.

Salvation Army: Days and discounts depend on location, but seniors ages 55 and up can save a whopping 50% off!

Walgreens: With a Balanced Care card with Walgreen’s, seniors can save 20% on their purchases once a month.

Prescriptions

AARP: Members of AARP, plus their family members, can save an average of 61% on prescription drugs with the discount card.

CVS: Members of the CVS Extra Care savings program can earn ExtraBuck rewards simply by filling prescriptions.

Walgreens: Thousands of generic and brand name prescription drugs are available for special discounts for seniors enrolled in the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club.

Travel

American Airlines: All kinds of discounts are available for seniors ages 65+ through American Airlines. The discounts may vary at any time, so seniors are encouraged to call for the latest deals.

Comfort Inn: Seniors who are AARP members are ages 60 and up can save 10% on all advance reservations.

National Parks: A lifetime pass with access to 2,000+ recreational sites across the US is available to seniors for just $80.00.

You can view a complete list of seniors discounts here at The Senior List.

Ready to check out other senior discounts near Carmel? We are your greatest resource and are ready to assist you! Please call Home Care Assistance to discuss all things senior care today.

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Our Top 5 Favorite Senior Charities

We love and value being involved in our communities here at Home Care Assistance. One of the best ways for us to do that is to show support for charities that benefit senior citizens and encourage others to do the same. If you are looking for an organization to support, we suggest choosing one with a solid reputation and well-trained professionals. Here are our top 5 favorite senior charities.

Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels America is serving the rapidly growing senior population on the frontlines! They deliver meals to one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, where no one is immune to many of the aging processes challenges that take away from our independence. Recognizing that seniors are at risk of both hunger and isolation, Meals on Wheels America has met the challenge of making sure seniors are getting the proper social and nutritional needs.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is on a very specific mission: They want to help seniors and families nationwide who are affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. By providing support, services, and education to individuals, families, and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, the AFA makes a difference. They work hard to fundraise for research, treatments, and a cure!

Second Wind Dreams

No matter how young or old we are, we all have a dream we want to come true. Second Wind Dreams has a very heartwarming goal they are out to achieve… To fulfill these dreams and change the perception of aging! By making dreams a reality, Second Wind Dreams is shedding a more positive light on the aging process.

Honor Flight Network

This non-profit works to honor seniors who have served and sacrificed in a heartwarming way. By using their extensive network, the Honor Flight Network transports senior Veterans to Washington D.C. where they can pay homage to and honor service members who served and sacrificed.

Pets for the Elderly

Our furry friends are easily another member of the family. That’s why Pets for the Elderly provides seniors with companionship through pets! And they save the lives of companion animals in shelters while doing so. With a pet, seniors escape loneliness and get the affection and love they deserve.

To request more information about our senior home care services, or to learn more about supporting organizations that benefit seniors, call Home Care Assistance today and schedule your consultation!

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Where to Get Home Medical Equipment Seniors Need

Home care for seniors provides the benefit of being surrounded by familiarity and solace while aging with dignity in the comfort of their own – or a loved one’s – home. Still, this can present its own set of challenges to seniors throughout the aging process if the home is not well-suited to the senior’s current lifestyle.

It is not uncommon to need various types of medical equipment throughout the home or always within reach of the seniors, whether the equipment is to help with mobility, daily tasks, or for general safety. We’re here to help you determine what kind of equipment your senior needs and where you can find it.

Medical Equipment Examples

To improve the home’s accessibility and to simplify daily tasks and basic functions for your senior, you can set up several pieces of medical equipment around the house. In the bathroom, we suggest installing grab bars in both the shower and above the toilet to help your seniors, lower, raise, or stabilize themselves. You may also consider utilizing a portable toilet which can be placed in a location more convenient for your senior to access. Some examples of other types of medical equipment that your senior will likely have on-hand or always nearby are walkers and canes. Both of these items are used to help make mobility easier for your senior.

Where to Find Medical Equipment

Go Through Insurance

Check with insurance, first. Seniors who have an insurance like Medicare may often find that the insurance company will cover a majority of the cost or all of the cost for new medical equipment, as long as a doctor’s prescription can be provided. Insurance will not always cover home care equipment, so it’s important to know alternative options if you must pay out-of-pocket instead.

Buy Used Equipment

If it is up to you to cover the cost of medical equipment, we recommend buying used items instead of brand new. You can find used equipment listed with independent living centers and other retailers. But it is also helpful to check in with community resources, like local second-hand stores and even Facebook Marketplace or other thrift apps.

If you’re in need of more advice on where to get medical equipment for your senior loved one in home care, please call our experts at Home Care Assistance. We are ready to help!

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Ways to Make Your Home More Accessible for an Elderly Loved One

Not much matters more than comfort when it comes to providing senior care for an elderly loved one. It can be a challenge to make your house as comfortable as possible if you care for your senior in your own home. While your house might be perfect for you and your family, it can potentially present obstacles for your seniors. But don’t worry! There are several home improvements you can implement around your home that can make it safer and more accessible, all for your senior’s comfort.

The Exterior

Starting outside the home, you can install a no-step entryway! This means there is no step(s) to enter the house from the sidewalk to the driveway to the front door. Entering and leaving becomes much easier for seniors who are in a wheelchair or who have difficulty with mobility.

The Bathroom

The bathroom is a space that should be comfy for your seniors, especially since a significant amount of time is spent there. Start by adding handles and grab bars in both the shower and the toilet. These can help keep your senior safe when they lower or raise themselves. Likewise, installing an elevated toilet is a great option making it easier for your senior to get up, and a roll-in shower is more effective to get in and out of safely. For showers with plenty of room, a chair can be added for seniors who have trouble standing.

The Bedroom

Another room in the house that should be kept comfortable is the bedroom, where plenty of time is spent. Be sure to leave extra room in the bedroom for easy maneuverability. In the closet, add shelving units that can be easily reached. Switch out the traditional flip switches for roller light switches instead – they are much easier to use for your senior!

The Kitchen

Your kitchen can be made more senior care-friendly with a few adjustments, including installing lower cooking surfaces and countertops of varying heights. Both of these improvements help ease back pain, especially for seniors who love to cook. You can also consider mounting microwaves at a reachable height.

If you would like further advice on how to make your home senior-safe, Home Care Assistance is standing by ready to help! Please give our experts a call today and schedule your consultation.

Elder Justice: What Congress is Doing to Protect Seniors Right Now

The sad truth is that senior citizens are increasingly taken advantage of through scams and varying methods of abuse. They are among the most vulnerable in our society. Throughout the past decade, elder abuse, neglect, and scams have triggered national attention and the need for greater legal action and protection from Congress.

But what exactly is the concept of elder justice, and what is Congress doing about it? We’re discussing all of this below.

What is Elder Justice?

Elder justice is a holistic approach to the prevention and handling of elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and maltreatment of older adults. Each of these are issues that continue to grow; more and more seniors are targeted every year, and therefore, the demand for justice for elders is also growing. One response for elder justice included the establishment of the Elder Justice Coalition to create public awareness, influence legislation for elder justice, and build support for the Elder Justice Act.

What’s Happening in Congress?

Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act – This act, alongside the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act would take critical steps towards decreasing scams against seniors through educational material, training programs, and data collection. Both of these acts have been recently introduced to the Senate.

Stop Senior Scams Act – Similarly, this bipartisan bill that was recently passed in the Senate is aimed to prevent senior scams through the establishment of an advisory board. The board would be tasked with providing education about elder financial exploitation to retail and financial employees. The bill is now up for consideration by the House.

Senior Abuse Training and Offense Protection (STOP) Act – The STOP Act would increase efforts and activities to identify, prevent, and eliminate elder abuse through a grant program awarded by the Department of Justice. The bill is currently pending in the House.

Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act – This act is now being considered by the House and would authorize $500 million to allow states to create “strike teams.” These teams would assist nursing homes and provide incentives for the facilities to develop specialized COVID-19 units.

Please feel free to reach out to our Home Care Assistance experts for more information on elder abuse and how you can best protect your senior.

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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.