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Top Vaccine Recommendations for Older Adults

An older woman receives a shot after following the vaccine recommendations from her physician.

As summer comes to a close and students head back to school, it means that cold and flu season is right around the corner. While illnesses like a cold or the flu tend to be harmless to most people, older adults are often at a greater risk for complications from them. Knowing vaccine recommendations and encouraging loved ones to get vaccinated can help greatly reduce those risks.

Vaccines play an important role in protecting people from severe illness, particularly older adults. Many people have weakened immune systems due to age or to chronic illnesses, which can make contracting the flu more dangerous. While an otherwise healthy young person might be able to stay home and nurse a flu for a few days, a person in their 70s or 80s is more likely to experience severe symptoms or even end up hospitalized from the same illness.

What Are the Vaccine Recommendations for Seniors?

To follow are the top vaccines that doctors recommend people age 65 and over receive:

  • Influenza vaccine: While the flu shot is not 100 percent effective at preventing the virus, it does greatly decrease a person’s chance of getting it. The flu vaccine is recommended for both children and adults, and there is a special emphasis for those over the age of 65. People with certain medical conditions are also encouraged to get the flu shot due to heightened risk of complications.
  • Pneumonia vaccine: Pneumonia causes an inflammation in the lungs which can be serious even for young, healthy individuals. For older adults, and those with chronic health issues, the infection poses significant risk, which is why getting vaccinated is highly recommended.
  • COVID-19 vaccine: There isn’t yet a vaccine that will prevent contracting COVID-19. However, the current COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to greatly reduce a person’s chances of severe illness from the virus.
  • Tetanus and pertussis vaccine: Tetanus is caused by a bacteria found in dust, manure, and soil that enters the body through a break in the skin. The disease can be deadly. While most people are vaccinated against tetanus as children, boosters are recommended every 10 years. Today, tetanus shots are usually combined with pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccines. Whooping cough is also a serious and sometimes deadly infection for children and older adults. Even if a person received a pertussis vaccine as a child, immunity can wane over time. Talk to the senior’s doctor to see if a booster is needed.
  • Shingles vaccine: Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If a person has had chickenpox before, the virus remains in the nervous system and may reemerge as shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that can be disabling until it clears. The shingles vaccine can help prevent the reemergence of the painful virus for seniors.
  • RSV vaccine: Respiratory Syncytial virus or RSV is a seasonal illness that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. If RSV makes its way into the lungs, causing lower respiratory tract disease, it can lead to life-threatening complications in babies and older adults. Two newly-approved vaccines aim to protect vulnerable people from severe RSV and are recommended for people ages 60 years and older. Speak with a senior’s physician to discuss which RSV vaccine is recommended this fall.

Are Vaccines Safe?

The simple answer is, yes. Vaccines pose minimal risks to the general population, and serious complications from vaccines are rare. If you have any concerns about a particular vaccination, talk to the doctor about them. He or she can help determine if you are at risk for any serious side effects.

How Can In-Home Care Services Help?

The services of a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help older loved ones stay safe, happy, and healthy all through the year. Referred care providers can provide transportation to vaccine appointments, monitor for side effects, ensure the older adult’s home is clean and sanitary to help prevent transmission of illnesses, and much more.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help older loved ones stay healthy during cold and flu season and throughout the year. Click the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Is It Alzheimer’s or Forgetfulness?

Learn how to tell whether it’s Alzheimer’s or forgetfulness.

Dad has seemed more confused than usual lately. He misplaced his car keys, only to discover they were in the linen closet. He often starts a sentence and forgets what he was going to say. Sometimes, he doesn’t even remember your name. Could it be Alzheimer’s, or simply normal age-related forgetfulness?

How Can You Tell if It’s Alzheimer’s or Forgetfulness – or Something Else?

If you’re at all concerned about a loved one’s cognitive functioning, an evaluation by the doctor is always a good idea. In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, there are other health conditions and even medication side effects that closely resemble dementia.

Following are some of the key warning signs of Alzheimer’s, along with normal age-related changes, to help you better understand the differences.

Red Flags of Alzheimer’s:

  • Confusion with daily tasks that were once easy to accomplish, such as getting lost enroute to a familiar destination, taking a shower and getting dressed, or playing a familiar game.
  • Problem-solving difficulties and struggles with tasks that require multiple steps, such as paying bills or preparing a meal.
  • Losing track of time and space, such as not remembering what month or season it is, where they are, or how they arrived at their current location.
  • Poor judgment and decision-making, such as making extravagant purchases, giving away large sums of money, and refusing to change clothes or tend to personal hygiene needs.
  • Personality changes, such as increased fearfulness, depression, anxiety, and suspiciousness, or any other behaviors or moods that are out of character for the person.

Typical Effects of Aging:

  • Occasionally needing reminders or feeling the need to write down important dates and appointments so they aren’t forgotten.
  • Making a mistake now and then when paying bills or preparing a meal.
  • Momentarily forgetting what day of the week it is, but then remembering.
  • Making a poor decision once in a while, such as splurging on an unnecessary item.
  • Feeling upset or anxious about an unexpected change, within the realm of normal behaviors and mood.

Whatever the Cause – Home Care Can Help!

Whether an older adult has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another chronic health condition, or simply would like a little extra help at home to make life safer, more comfortable, or more enjoyable, a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help! Referred, experienced care professionals can work with you to customize in-home care services to the unique needs of each individual.

From specialized care for someone with dementia to companionship for enjoyable conversations and everything in between, referred caregivers improve quality of life in a variety of ways for the people they serve, and bring peace of mind to the families who love them.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can make a difference in the life of someone you love. Click the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

The Power of Self-Recognition: How Celebrating Caregiving Accomplishments Reduces Stress

Keeping track of your caregiving accomplishments can help reduce stress and build resilience during challenging times.

For family caregivers, it's easy to get bogged down in the details and to feel frustrated and stressed when providing care for an older loved one. There are days when the negative aspects of caregiving are all you can see. You got frustrated with Mom and snapped at her. Dad just didn’t want to eat today and nothing you did helped. These events can make it feel like every day is an uphill battle.

However, in the midst of challenges, there are often little accomplishments to celebrate too. Instead of focusing on what went wrong or what to improve, celebrate your caregiving accomplishments by acknowledging what worked and what went right.

What Are the Benefits of Celebrating Caregiving Accomplishments?

If you’re waiting for others to thank you or recognize you for your caregiving accomplishments, you may be waiting a while. That’s why it’s important to recognize them yourself! And, there are benefits to giving yourself some much-needed positive recognition too. In fact, celebrating your successes can:

  • Increase positive emotions like happiness, self-respect, and confidence
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Boost your mood
  • Help you have the confidence to overcome challenges in the future

How to Keep Track of Your Success

Often, it seems that negative moments overshadow positive ones. That’s why it can be hard to recognize when something has gone right or when you’ve accomplished something. Writing down accomplishments can help you reflect on your day or week and celebrate your wins. It also gives you a positive space to come back to when times are hard.

A simple notebook or journal is a great place to track your caregiving accomplishments. Remember to write down all wins, even the smallest ones. Your accomplishments could be:

  • Shared a laugh with Mom while having breakfast
  • Got Dad to eat a healthy dinner despite some fuss on his part
  • Stayed calm when Mom got agitated and helped her get changed for bed
  • Made it to Dad’s doctor’s appointment on time
  • Stayed hydrated and ate well yourself

Each day as a caregiver can look different, and some days will be better than others. Looking back over your accomplishments can help keep you going during the tough days and encourage you to do even more on your good ones.

How Can Home Care Help?

The good news for family caregivers? You don’t have to do it alone! A referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can provide respite care to help you take some time to rest, recharge, and remember just how great you are at caring for a loved one.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how a referred care provider can help you find the respite care you need. To get started, click the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

The Rise of AI Scams: Protecting Older Adults from Cloned Voice Scammers

Learn about the latest AI scams and safeguard the older adults you love from these deceptive tactics.

The infamous “grandparent scam” has been around for years. In this scenario, the scammer calls a senior, posing as their grandchild and requesting funds for some sort of catastrophe.

While this is extremely concerning in and of itself, the voice of the scam artist could give away the ruse. Not so with the latest AI scams targeting seniors, which is causing even the most seasoned scam detectors to worry.

“There are a lot of scams out there that are pretty worrisome, and I always try to kind of temper that a little bit, but this one really does scare me,” explains cyber analyst Alex Hamerstone.

How Do AI Scams Work?

AI (artificial intelligence) scammers utilize the storyline of the grandparent scam, yet are able to play a cloned version of the grandchild’s actual voice. Cloning software requires as little of a few seconds of audio to create an alarmingly accurate replica of the person’s voice.
With so many young people on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, this makes an AI scammer’s job easy.

The ease of using this technology magnifies the danger even further. Anyone can simply download the cloning app, add in the recorded audio, and then type in whatever they want the person to say. The app will clone the voice so closely that it’s nearly impossible to detect any difference.

Not only that, but scammers can even make calls appear to come from any phone number they choose, from businesses like a bank to any individual’s phone number.

Take These Steps to Protect Seniors From AI Scams

The Florida home care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer these tips to protect older loved ones from AI scams:

  • Educate. Talk with everyone in your family about AI scams and how they work.
    Choose a code word. Have everyone agree on a “safe word” that no one outside of the family will know. If a suspicious call comes in, ask the person to tell you the secret code.
  • Confirm. In the absence of a code word, tell the caller you’re going to hang up and call right back to confirm that they actually are who they say they are.
  • Click cautiously. Be careful about clicking links sent in emails or ads to download software, even if they look like they’re from a trusted source. Scammers are very good at what they do!
  • Report it. If you suspect a senior loved one has been the victim of any kind of scam, call the police to file a report. You can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at

Home Care Can Help Keep Seniors Safe From Scammers!

A referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can serve as an extra set of eyes and ears to protect older adults from scam artists. They also serve as wonderful companions to alleviate loneliness – something that can increase a senior’s vulnerability to scams.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help enhance safety and security for the older adults you love. Click the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Top 5 Skills for Being an Effective Advocate for Older Parents

These five essential skills will help family caregivers effectively advocate for their older parents.

Being an advocate for older parents is one of the most important parts of being a family caregiver. Through advocacy, family caregivers ensure their loved ones' wishes are being honored and respected.

But effectively advocating for older parents isn’t one innate skill. In fact, it is multiple skills combined that allow you to observe, communicate, and persevere on behalf of your loved ones. American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care shares the information below for tips on how to become an effective advocate for your older parents.

What Skills Can I Develop to Be a Better Advocate for my Older Parents?

  1. Observation. You’ve worked all day, and now you’re caring for Mom. You’re exhausted. It can be hard to notice the little things when you’re feeling overwhelmed. However, small changes in a loved one’s behavior or health are important and can indicate a looming medical issue that you’ll need to discuss with a loved one’s healthcare team. So how can you improve your skills of observation? Keep a notebook handy so you can jot down your observations about a loved one and track the changes over time. If you live at a distance from a loved one and don’t see them daily, ask neighbors or friends who are interacting with them to share any insight or concerns.
  2. Communication. In any relationship, good communication is key. Prior to a meeting with a doctor, attorney, or other professionals on behalf of a loved one, have notes ready so that you can communicate clearly and concisely. Because these topics are often stressful, be respectful and set emotions aside when advocating for a loved one. Finally, find out how the office likes to communicate (i.e., via phone, email, text, etc.). Then be sure to contact them that way when you have questions or concerns.
  3. Questioning. An older loved one’s medical, financial, and legal needs can be complex. It can feel easiest to just go with the flow and take each professional at their word. However, it is vital to raise questions to ensure everyone is on the same page. Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s health conditions and financial and legal affairs. This way, you’ll know what to ask and when. Before meetings or appointments, prepare a list of questions. Overall, it is important to never assume anything and clarify everything.
  4. Organization. Staying on top of a loved one’s care plan can be challenging. There are often many moving parts, medications, appointments, and more to keep track of, so being organized is vital. If you struggle with organization in general, consider taking an organization course. There are also plenty of apps that are designed to help organize appointments, medication reminders, important documents, etc.
  5. Tenacity. As an advocate for an aging loved one, tenacity is by far one of the biggest skills you can develop. To ensure that your loved one gets the care and services they need, be clear about your goals and surround yourself with professionals who are dedicated to helping you achieve them. Lean on close friends for support when needed, and consider joining a caregiver support group to learn from others who have been where you are.

Enlisting the help of a professional care provider can be a great help as well. A referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help family caregivers better advocate for older loved ones, particularly when distance is an issue. Here are just a few of the ways we can help:

Reach out to us to find out more about how a skilled and experienced referred care provider can assist your loved one and aid in advocacy by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Exploring the Link Between Vision Changes and Dementia

Learn why vision changes and dementia are commonly experienced together and how you can help.

Consider the many complex tasks the brain accomplishes to help you see and comprehend what you’re seeing. The eyes transmit data that must to be intricately combined with memories, input from other senses, and details on the environment around you.
In an instant, you know there’s an orange tabby cat that looks just like the one you had as a child resting in the shade of a palm tree. And as long as your eyes are open and focused on what’s around you, your brain is continually providing you with the information you need to understand the world you live in.

Now consider how the brain is affected for someone with dementia. It’s easy to see why vision changes and dementia are linked. This is especially true in the areas of:

  • Depth perception
  • Color and contrast perception
  • Peripheral vision
  • Motion recognition

Vision changes in a person with dementia may result in the individual reaching for a table that’s all the way across the room, for instance. They may mistake a pattern on the floor for 3D objects and walk more cautiously to avoid tripping. These behaviors may be mistaken for hallucinations or may occur in conjunction with hallucinations. Whatever the cause, visual misperceptions can cause someone with dementia to:

  • Think that their reflection in the windows or in a mirror is another person.
  • Have trouble determining where the seat of the chair is to safely sit down.
  • Experience heightened stress and anxiety as a result of the confusion from an overstimulating environment.
  • Struggle to eat or tend to other activities of daily living independently.
  • Think that the events taking place on TV are actually happening in the room.

How Can You Help Someone Experiencing Vision Changes and Dementia?

These recommendations can help a person with dementia live more safely and independently in spite of the vision changes they are experiencing.

  • Make sure that there is plenty of light in each room of the home.
  • If any specific items cause the person to feel especially stressed or confused, remove them if at all possible.
  • Keep the curtains drawn at nighttime or whenever the sun is causing a glare to eliminate reflections.
  • Use contrasting colors whenever possible. For instance, avoid serving white mashed potatoes on a white plate. Light-colored foods on dark-colored dishes, and vice versa, are much easier to see.
  • Explore different adaptive and tech devices to promote independence, such as phones, watches, and remote controls with larger-sized buttons and numbers.

How Can In-Home Care Services Help?

A referred care provider from American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help older adults with a wide variety of challenges, including vision changes and dementia. In-home care allows family members to step away from their care responsibilities with peace of mind in knowing a loved one is receiving professional care from a skilled care provider.
Just a few of the many services offered include:

  • Companionship to enhance socialization through engaging conversations, activities, hobbies, exercise, etc.
  • Specialized care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
  • Assistance and support with personal hygiene needs, such as showers or baths, getting dressed, etc.
  • Around-the-clock care and live-in care.
  • Transitional care following a surgical procedure or hospitalization.
  • Skilled nursing and home health care.
  • And more.

Reach out to us to find out more about in-home care for older adults, provided by a skilled and experienced referred care provider, by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

10 Tips to Keep Seniors Cool in a Hot Weather Climate

Beat the heat with these great tips to keep seniors cool all summer long.

Summers in Florida are notoriously hot and humid – sometimes unbearably so. For older adults, the excessive heat and humidity can be dangerous. It’s important to know the signs of heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them in order to keep older loved ones safe. American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following information on signs to watch for and tips to keep seniors cool.

What Are the Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses?

There are several heat-related conditions to be aware of and to prevent, each with their own distinct symptoms:

  • Heat Rash: Heat rash produces pimple-like blisters in clusters, typically on the chest, neck, groin, or in the bend of the elbow.
  • Sunburn: Most of us are familiar with the redness, warmth, and pain associated with sunburn, but it can also produce blisters.
  • Heat cramps: Heat cramps occur during intense exercise that produces heavy sweating and muscle spasms or pain.
  • Heat exhaustion: Like heat cramps, heat exhaustion also produces heavy sweating and muscle cramps, but can also include cold, clammy skin, weakness or dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related condition. Skin will be red and hot, and may be either dry or damp. Body temperature is elevated to 103 degrees or more. The person may also experience a strong, fast pulse, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, and may lose consciousness as well.

How Can You Prevent Heat-Related Health Problems?

Have a plan in place to avoid heat-related health problems. Keep these ten tips in mind to keep seniors cool and safe.

  1. Dress in breathable, lightweight materials, such as cotton.
  2. Stay hydrated throughout the day, regardless of whether the person feels thirsty or not. Plain, cool water is best. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  3. Keep the home air conditioned, and stay indoors during the hottest time of day.
  4. If the home does not have air conditioning, visit cool facilities such as the library, mall, or senior center.
  5. Rest the feet in a pan of cool water.
  6. Take a cool shower or bath, or use cool, damp washcloths to wipe down the skin.
  7. Place a cool, damp washcloth on the back of the neck, regularly dipping into fresh water when it becomes warm.
  8. Eat lighter, chilled meals such as chicken, tuna, or pasta salad.
  9. Enjoy cool treats like popsicles or chilled fruit.
  10. Limit outdoor time to early morning and evening when the heat is less overbearing.

Home Care Services Can Help!

A referred care provider from American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help protect older adults from heat-related conditions, while providing safe, engaging activities to make each day the best it can be. Some of the many ways a referred caregiver can help include:

  • Preparing healthy meals that are light, nutritious, and delicious
  • Running errands like grocery shopping, so the older adult can stay safe in the cool comfort of home
  • Taking care of laundry and light housekeeping chores
  • Offering friendly companionship for engaging conversations, games, cards, arts and crafts, hobbies and interests, puzzles, etc.
  • And much more

To learn more about all the ways in-home care services can help the older adults you love enjoy a safe, comfortable summer, contact us today at the location nearest you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Relieve Caregiver Stress With These Practical Tips

These tips will help relieve caregiver stress and provide opportunities for self-care.

As a caregiver for an older parent, you likely feel a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders. Whether your parent lives with you, down the street, or across the country, managing their care needs and overseeing their wellbeing as they navigate the complexities of aging can be stressful for family caregivers. This means it’s essential to understand how to relieve caregiver stress.

What is Caregiver Stress?

Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain that results from providing ongoing care for another person. Prolonged caregiver stress can lead to physical and mental health problems, including a weakened immune system, an increased risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, depression, and more. Not only do these potential outcomes impact your own wellbeing, but they also impact your ability to provide ongoing care for a loved one.

What Are the Symptoms of Caregiver Stress?

Emotional signs and symptoms of caregiver stress include:

    Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
    Feelings of loneliness or isolation from others
    Ongoing hopelessness or sadness
    Moodiness—feeling easily irate or angered

Physical signs and symptoms of caregiver stress include:

    Sleeping too little or too much
    Rapid weight loss or weight gain
    Frequent body aches or headaches
    Always feeling exhausted or tired
    Abusing alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications

What Are the Top Tips for Relieving Caregiver Stress?

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that it’s essential to identify strategies to relieve caregiver stress. To help family caregivers, we’ve compiled the following practical tips that can be easily implemented.

  1. Just Say No. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities or places you have to be, it’s OK to say “No” rather than adding another to-do to your list. Ask for a rain check and instead of viewing it as turning down an opportunity to help, view it as an opportunity to prioritize your own self-care.
  2. Exercise. Make a commitment to schedule regular exercise into your weekly routine. Whether it’s a walk at the park, an exercise class at the gym, working in the yard, or a game of tennis or golf, physical activity is a natural mood booster and stress reliever. Exercise provides a variety of physical benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, and it can even help regulate sleep cycles.
  3. Eat Right. Stress can bring out our worst eating habits. Unfortunately, chips, desserts, and fast food options are high in fat, sodium and sugar, and frequently offer little nutritional value. Instead, prioritize eating well-rounded meals at set times and focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.
  4. Get Plenty of Sleep. Family caregivers can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and either struggle to have a consistent bedtime routine or are impacted by insomnia. Ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of health concerns. It’s important to practice good sleep hygiene: go to bed and wake up at the same time every night and aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
  5. Journal. Documenting your worries and frustrations in either a private notebook or an electronic document on your computer is a good way to process feelings. Since no one will ever see this but you, be completely honest and use your writing to process the many complex feelings and emotions associated with caring for a loved one.
  6. Incorporate Laughter Daily. Laughter causes physical changes in the body that help relieve mental stress and physical tension. Rather than reading or watching the news each evening, consider turning on a favorite sitcom or calling a friend who always has a funny story to tell.
  7. Socialize. Prioritize friendships and relationships with relatives by keeping in touch. For friends and relatives who live nearby, schedule regular outings to see them in person. For those who live at a distance, phone and video calls can help keep you connected. Prioritizing time with your social circle is a stress reliever and provides an automatic mood boost.
  8. Prioritize Hobbies and Enjoyable Activities. The responsibilities of family caregiving can make it feel like that role is your whole identity. It can feel very challenging to prioritize activities and hobbies that are enjoyable, but it’s extremely important. Whether it’s going to a local coffee shop to read, attending a yoga class twice a week, or a monthly book club meeting, make time for these activities and don’t feel guilty for prioritizing “me time.”
  9. Prioritize Your Health. With the many responsibilities on a family caregiver’s plate, it’s easy to prioritize everyone and everything else before yourself. Maintaining your own health is vital to having the ability to care for a loved one. Be sure to make and keep annual health exams. And don't overlook mental health. Working with a therapist can help family caregivers navigate stress and the many responsibilities that come with caring for a loved one.
  10. Ask for Help. Caregiving isn’t something that needs to be done alone. Partnering with a referred care provider from American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care provides family caregivers with much needed respite so that they can prioritize their own self-care.

How In-Home Care Helps Family Caregivers

American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care referred caregivers offer a variety of services to meet a number of care needs and can assist with:

With customized care solutions from referred care providers designed to help individuals live independently and safely at home, family caregivers can feel confident knowing their loved one is receiving excellent care.
Contact us any time to learn more about in-home and respite care for older adults by clicking the link to the location nearest you below:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Helping a Non-Social Parent Who Lives Alone Remain Engaged in Life

Try these tips for helping a non-social parent stay active and engaged in life, even when they live alone.

The pandemic taught us all how damaging isolation can be, especially for older adults. Yet there are some seniors who choose to live a solitary lifestyle, for a variety of reasons.

Some may struggle with health challenges that make it difficult to get out and about, such as mobility, hearing, vision, or cognitive decline. Others, however, are simply more introverted. Helping a non-social parent avoid the dangers of isolation isn’t always easy. It begins with understanding their point of view.

Start With a Conversation

Set aside some time to talk with your senior parent. Express your concerns about their lack of social engagement. Then listen. See if you can pinpoint the roadblocks to socialization and find a workaround. For instance:

  • If the person feels as though they have no friends or family to spend time with, look into opportunities for volunteering, taking a class, or attending activities at the local senior center.
  • If transportation is a problem, create a calendar of activities and events the person would like to attend, and arrange for family and friends to take turns chauffeuring. Or let us know! Our referred care providers offer transportation services.
  • Talk with the senior’s doctor if a health condition is restricting social engagement to see what recommendations they can provide. It may be something as simple as adjusting the timing of a medication, for instance, if it’s causing fatigue.

What if It’s Depression?

Depression can also cause someone to self-isolate. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of depression and to contact the doctor if depression is suspected. There are treatment options that can make a world of difference.
Signs of depression include:

    Persistent feelings of:

    • Sadness
    • Emptiness
    • Hopelessness
    • Anxiety
    • Guilt
    • Helplessness
    • Worthlessness
    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue and a lack of energy
    • Disinterest in previously-enjoyed activities
    • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
    • Trouble with focusing or concentrating
    • Thoughts of death and/or suicide

    What About Introversion?

    For someone who is introverted, spending time alone is truly comfortable and enjoyable. However, introversion also includes finding pleasure in smaller group or one-on-one settings. If your parent is introverted, here are some activities you can try to help them become more engaged with others:

    • Check with the library about book clubs or other small discussion groups.
    • Look into programs and classes for older adults at the local community college.
      Find a cooking class that accommodates a small number of participants.
    • Take a daily walk together around the neighborhood. Take advantage of mild weather when more neighbors are likely to be outside, providing the opportunity for conversations.
    • Tap into any interests they have and think of ways to build them into social opportunities. For instance, a cat lover can volunteer at the local animal shelter.

Home Care Can Help, Too!
A referred care provider from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care makes a great companion for older adults, right in the comfort of home. Our in-home care services provide the opportunity for seniors to form a bond with someone to engage in conversations, reminiscing, arts and crafts, puzzles, games, exercise, fun outings, and more.
To learn more about how our Florida in-home care services can help an older parent enhance socialization and enjoyment in life, contact the office nearest you:

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

Strategies To Overcome Resistance to Bathing for a Loved One With Dementia

Implement these tips to help overcome resistance to bathing for a loved one with dementia.

When a loved one has dementia, there can be a number of challenging behaviors that must be managed creatively. A resistance to bathing is one such behavior. Once a welcomed way to start the day or a relaxing way to end the day, bathing may become an activity that is met with discomfort, embarrassment, and fear.
An unwillingness to bathe is stressful for both the family caregiver and the individual with dementia. Attempts to encourage bathing may dissolve into arguments, hostility, and crying.

Is Resistance to Bathing Common For People With Dementia?

It's important to know that a resistance to bathing is not uncommon in a person with dementia. In addition to feeling uncomfortable with the need for assistance with such an intimate activity, the person may not recognize a need for bathing, may find bathing a cold, uncomfortable experience, or their depth perception may have diminished, making it frighting to step into the bathtub.
The good news is that there are a variety of strategies that can help make a loved one feel comfortable and secure before, during, and after the bathing process. To help family caregivers overcome a loved one’s refusal to bathe, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following tips to restore calm.

Top Tips For Overcoming Resistance to Bathing When a Loved One Has Dementia

Prep the space.

  • Gather all of the supplies needed before attempting to get a loved one with dementia to bathe. This includes shampoo, soap and any other necessary items like sponges or washcloths and towels. Consider using soap that is lavender-scented to help encourage relaxation and shampoo that won’t sting if it gets in the eyes.
  • Ensure that the bathroom is a comfortable temperature and use a space heater if necessary to make sure the room is adequately warm.
  • Have plenty of large, fluffy towels or a terry cloth robe on hand that can wrap completely around the person. This not only helps keep the individual warm, but it also helps provide privacy and a feeling of security.
  • Play relaxing music and use an essential oil diffuser or scented candles to create a calming, spa-like atmosphere.

Use positive reinforcement and don’t argue.

  • Logic and reason don’t work when it comes to encouraging a loved one with dementia to bathe. Instead, use short, simple sentences explaining each step of the process.
  • Help the person associate bathing with a positive activity that occurs once the shower or bath is complete. For example, offer a favorite snack or suggest a favorite activity only after bathing. This reinforcement can help a loved one with dementia link bathing with something they look forward to and enjoy.
  • Use a calm, soothing tone when speaking with the person and say “we” instead of “you.” This helps establish the feeling that this is a relaxing activity that is being done together rather than something they are going through alone.

Ensure that the bathtub or shower is safe and accessible.

  • Use a non-slip mat or install non-skid strips inside the tub or shower, as well as outside, to reduce the risk of falls.
  • Have grab bars securely installed to help increase safety.
  • Use a shower chair or tub bench that can adjust to different heights, allowing the individual to sit while bathing.

Use a hand-held showerhead to minimize fear.

  • The overhead spray from a traditional showerhead can induce fear in a person with dementia.
  • A hand-held showerhead helps to control when and where water touches the person and also allows them to see where the water is coming from.
  • Always test the water temperature before it comes into contact with the person.
  • Once the water is at a comfortable temperature, explain that you’re going to put water on their feet, hands, etc.
  • If the spray of the water or sound of the water running is especially bothersome, use the shut-off valve on the hand-held showerhead to stop the water while the individual is soaping up.

Engage the individual in the process.

  • Because there are so many steps involved in bathing, the process may feel overwhelming for a person with dementia. Minimize these feelings by involving the person in the process. For example, ask the individual to hold the soap or shampoo.
  • Allow for as much independence and control as possible during the bathing process. Encourage the individual to do something on their own, but offer cues to help, for example, “take this soap in your hand and rub it on your arm.”
  • Use encouraging words and actions and never make the person rush.
  • Be respectful of modesty and feelings of vulnerability and offer towels so that the individual can cover up while bathing.

How Can In-Home Care Help With Resistance to Bathing?

Another option to help minimize the stress associated with bathing is to partner with a referred care provider from American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care. With specialized training and a compassionate approach to dementia care, the referred care providers use a variety of techniques to ensure each person in their care is always treated with dignity and respect.

In addition to assisting with bathing and other personal care needs, referred care providers also offer friendly companionship, memory care activities, respite care for family caregivers, and much more. With a focus on maintaining independence safely, each plan of care is specially customized to help individuals live life to the fullest.

To learn more about all the ways in-home care services can help, contact us today at the location nearest you.

State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661