All posts by AIHC Home Health Blog

Senior Depression During the Holiday Season

Learn how to recognize and help with senior depression during the holidays.

With many people eagerly anticipating the joy of the holiday season, it’s important to recognize that for older adults especially, the holidays can be a time of deep sadness. Feelings of nostalgia from holidays past, grief from the loss of loved ones, and health problems related to growing older can all intensify during the holidays. As a result, the experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know it’s critical to keep your finger on the emotional pulse of the older adults in your life by watching for signs of senior depression and knowing what to do if you suspect it in someone you love.

How Can You Tell if It’s Senior Depression?

There are three key questions to ask yourself to determine if a senior is depressed:

  • Could it just be a wistful trip down memory lane? Fondly remembering holiday celebrations from times past and wishing to experience them again is normal for everyone. However, a senior whose mood remains pensive long after the conversation shifts to different topics may be experiencing depression.
  • How’s their health? Depression impacts physical health, too. Watch for a senior who has lost interest in following a healthy diet, who struggles with maintaining good sleep habits, is unintentionally gaining or losing weight, or who seems overly fatigued, as these can all point to depression.
  • Are they enjoying life in general? Depression can be displayed through a lack of interest in activities that had previously been enjoyable for the older adult, difficulty with concentrating and focusing, and a general sense of anxiety and fidgeting rather than being able to be still and calm.

Clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, who authored “Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life,” illustrates the difference between feeling sad and being depressed with an analogy to colors. “A person is blue if they have deep, colorful emotions in response to loss in life. Depression is more like the color black – there [are] no subtle colors to the emotion but stark pain.”

If you suspect senior depression – or even if you’re unsure – contact the older adult’s doctor immediately for help. Treatment is available, necessary, and effective, and the earlier depression is detected, the better.

How Can You Help a Senior Who Is Depressed?

Additionally, these tips can be helpful in supporting someone you love who is depressed:

  • Encourage the person to stay physically active, especially outdoors whenever possible. It’s a beautiful time of year to get out and take a walk in nature.
  • Remain upbeat yourself, reminding the older adult of how much you love them and pointing out the many positives each day brings, no matter how small.
  • Create a list together with the senior of hobbies and interests they have enjoyed in the past, as well as new ones they may want to try. Agree on one or more of these activities to start doing together.
  • Put on some music the older adult especially enjoys. Hum, sing, and dance along, encouraging the senior to join you.
  • Most of all, it’s important to just be there, no matter what the person’s mood may be. Sometimes, just knowing you are there to provide love and support unconditionally can be incredibly helpful.

Since socialization is such an important aspect of mental wellness, partner with a referred care provider from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care for a friendly caregiving companion to engage the senior in conversations and enjoyable pastimes.
For more than 30 years, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care have been referring experienced home care providers with special skills and knowledge to make life the best it can be for older Floridians and the families who love them. Find out the difference we can make for someone you love! Contact the office closest to you to learn about our in-home care services:

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

The Many Benefits of In-Home Care Services

Find out how in-home care services offer a wealth of benefits for both older adults and family caregivers alike.

Are you currently caring for an older loved one? Perhaps you’ve had a recent visit with Dad and it seems like he needs some extra support at home. Whatever the case, home care services can make a difference for both you and your loved one. November is National Home Care and Hospice Month, and it’s the perfect time to explore the many benefits of in-home care services.

How Does Home Care Help Seniors?

Home is where the heart is. So, it’s no wonder why aging in place is ideal for most older adults. In-home care services help seniors in numerous ways, including:

  • Preventing dangerous falls in the home
    As a person ages, changes in muscle mass and balance can increase the risk for falls. An in-home care provider can assist with mobility, remove clutter and tripping hazards from around the home to create a safer environment, assist with muscle and balance-building exercises, and more to ensure the older adult’s safety.
  • Allowing for continued independence A primary concern for people as they age is the loss of independence. Few people have a desire to give up the car keys or leave their homes for a care facility. However, as health concerns progress, the need for support arises. Home care services allow older adults to maintain independence and live on their own for as long as possible. The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer safe and reliable transportation services for those who can no longer drive themselves to appointments and social outings. Errand and shopping services are also offered to help older adults stay on top of their needs.
  • Providing personal care as needed
    Everyone is unique. Some older adults may not be able to drive, but can otherwise take care of themselves. Others may have multiple chronic conditions and need assistance with day-to-day activities. Referred care providers can assist with a wide range of personal care needs including:
    • Bathing and personal hygiene
    • Getting dressed
    • Going to the bathroom
    • Walking, transferring, and positioning
    • Diabetic care
    • Medication assistance
    • And more

    Providing a friendly companion
    Older adults who live alone often experience feelings of loneliness due to social isolation. This can lead to depression and a decline in overall health. The providers we refer offer a friendly face each day, providing conversation, engagement in hobbies and games, and connection that can make a positive difference in an older adult’s life.

How Does Home Care Help Family Caregivers?

Balancing care for an older loved one with work, family life, personal obligations, and more can be daunting. Home care services aren’t just a great benefit for older adults; they provide a much-needed break for family caregivers as well. The services offered by our referred care providers allow family caregivers to get the rest they need to avoid caregiver burnout. For family members who live at a distance from older loved ones, in-home care services provide peace of mind, ensuring that seniors are well cared for.

Discover the Full Benefits of Home Care Today!

With the assistance of knowledgeable and compassionate referred care providers, older adults throughout Florida can remain in the homes and communities they love while living vibrant and independent lives.

To learn more about the in-home care services available through referred care providers and the benefits of partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care, 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

Family Caregiving: Practical Steps Following a Loved One's Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Implement these ideas following a loved one’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is likely to raise a variety of questions and bring about numerous emotions for both the individual diagnosed and his or her family. While life will change, there are a number of steps to take that can help ensure a practical plan is in place that helps a loved one live with dignity and independence and family caregivers receive needed support.

To help families navigate a new Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following tips.

Get Organized

Following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is extremely important to tackle and organize the administrative tasks that will guide an older adult’s care. Gathering information and having it readily available will provide an important measure of control and stability.

  • Finances. Discuss with a newly diagnosed loved one the importance of designating a financial power of attorney who can help manage investments, savings accounts, and insurance policies. Now is also an ideal time to have a frank discussion about the older adult’s financial situation, the options available to fund future care needs, and any loans or debts they have.
  • Record-Keeping. Use binders to gather and store financial records, medical records, names and contact information for the attorney, investment advisor, CPA, or other professionals. Additionally, ask the older adult to provide the names and contact information for anyone who is important to them.
  • Calendar. To help the older adult continue to maintain independence for as long as possible, set up a physical calendar and use it to record the dates and times of medical appointments, social visits with family and friends, support group meetings, etc. Encouraging the older adult to keep a pocket-sized notebook to write down notes, details from conversations, and other information they want to remember is also helpful.

Educate Yourself

For family caregivers, it is easy to feel overwhelmed not just by a loved one’s diagnosis, but by the many changes that can be anticipated as the disease progresses. Maintain a one-day-at-a-time approach and look for reliable resources that can help you plan and prepare, such as:

  • Ask the physician for resources that explain what to expect following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis
  • Seek out support groups – either local groups that meet in person, or groups that meet virtually
  • Access the resources available online at The Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institute on Aging, and other well-regarded organizations
  • Ask for referrals to local organizations that help families and their loved one following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Build a Support Team

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a great deal of responsibility, and it is not a role to take on without support. Building a trusted care team is critical and can help provide support, strategies for care, resources, and insight into what to expect during each stage of the disease.

Primary Care Physician. A trusted physician who has experience managing memory care issues and who is willing to patiently answer questions is critical. In addition to helping to manage the dementia, the physician will also continue to monitor the older adult for other pre-existing health conditions as well as any new health concerns that may arise.

Memory Care Specialist. Following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is important to make an appointment with a physician who specializes in caring for older adults with dementia. This may be a geriatrician, a neurologist and /or a psychiatrist. The knowledge and expertise offered by a specialist can help guide care and provide information about clinical trials.

Geriatric Care Specialists. Social workers, care coordinators and case managers have experience and special training in working with older adults who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They can help develop a customized care plan and provide practical advice in navigating the stages of the disease, while helping the older adult maintain a high quality of life.

Home Health Care. Partnering with a referred care provider from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care is beneficial for both the older adult and the family caregiver. With specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia training, the providers we refer offer friendly companionship, medication management, assistance with personal care needs, and respite care to ensure family caregivers can take needed time away to rest and recharge.

Family and Friends. Having the support and family and friends is critical when navigating an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. From sharing care responsibilities to providing a shoulder to lean on for support, maintaining connections to family and friends is critical for both the older adult and the family caregiver.

American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care have been trusted by Florida families for over three decades. To learn more about how experienced, friendly, and high-trained referred care providers can help following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, reach out to the office nearest you to learn about our wide-variety of in-home care services:

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

Understanding and Treating Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults

Anxiety disorders in older adults are common and should be addressed by a physician.

While there is much to celebrate in aging, it also brings with it several challenges. For some older adults, the changes that come with aging can bring about anxiety. While anxiety is a regular part of life and a common feeling in a variety of situations, if the anxiety gets to a point where it feels overwhelming and interferes with day-to-day life, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders in older adults are a mental health issue that frequently goes undiagnosed.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Because mental health is as important as physical health for older adults, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care know the importance of whole person care. To follow are some of the common symptoms of anxiety disorders:

  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble with memory and focus
  • Refusal to participate in routine activities
  • Overwhelming feelings of panic, fear, and/or apprehension
  • Repetitive/ritualistic behaviors (i.e.: repeated handwashing)
  • Reactions that are disproportional to the triggering fear

In addition to these symptoms, a variety of physical signs may accompany anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Sweaty or cold hands
  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Tense muscles
  • Trembling
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea

Because these symptoms can interfere with enjoying and participating in daily life, it is important for older adults to see a doctor. Anxiety disorders are chronic health conditions that cannot be willed away. What’s more, anxiety can have a serious impact on an older adult’s physical health.

Common Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder in older adults. Seniors with GAD worry about a variety of things and constantly feel on edge and in a high state of alert. They fear the worst in most every situation, even if the fear is unlikely. Older adults with GAD often recognize that their nervousness is excessive, but they are unable to gain control over their emotions. GAD affects both women and men but is more common in women.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Older adults with social anxiety disorder feel extremely self-conscious and nervous in day-to-day situations with people. It is common for older adults with this form of anxiety to fear judgment from others and to be overly concerned that they will do something to embarrass themselves. Social anxiety disorder may cause seniors to avoid social situations and it is often hard for them to make and maintain friendships.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Older adults with OCD have recurring thoughts or compulsions. They may feel that performing a specific action in the same way each time provides a sense of control.

Treatment Options for Older Adults with Anxiety

Anxiety is considered a chronic health condition that requires medical treatment, just like high blood pressure. Anxiety is not something that should make an older adult should feel ashamed. The two most common approaches to treat anxiety, which are frequently done in conjunction with one another, are:

  • Talk therapy. Talk therapy or counseling is a series of one-on-one meetings with a counselor or therapist. Therapy sessions often take place weekly and help the older adult discuss his or her feelings with a trained individual who can offer strategies to manage anxiety.
  • Prescription medications. Medications prescribed by a doctor can help alleviate feelings of nervousness or panic in older adults so that they can patriciate and engage in life to the fullest.

Expert Help in the Comfort of Home

The compassionate referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help older adults with anxiety disorders in a variety of ways, from providing transportation to medical and therapy appointments to offering consistent, friendly companionship and socialization opportunities, and everything in between.

To help ensure the physical and mental health of an older adult you love, contact the office nearest you to discover all the ways in-home care services help older Floridians thrive.

  • American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
  • Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
  • Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
  • State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661

    Prevent Senior Financial Fraud and Scams

    Senior financial fraud and scams are a real threat, and knowing what to watch for is key to prevention.

    Even though we’re all susceptible to becoming victims of scams and fraud, older adults are much more likely to be targeted, for several reasons. For one thing, scammers believe seniors are more financially sound than those who are younger. They may be lonely and isolated, making them more vulnerable to carrying on a conversation with a scammer on the phone. And, they’re assumed to be more polite and trusting. As a result, older adults lose an astounding $3 billion each year to senior financial fraud.

    The key to prevention is knowing the red flags of a scam artist, and staying up to date on the latest fraud trends. To assist, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some of the most prevalent scams targeting seniors below:

    • The Trusted Government Official Scam.These phone calls appear to come from the IRS, Medicare, Social Security Administration, or simply a Washington, DC area code, making it easy to believe the calls are legitimate. The scammer will ask to confirm the older adult’s personal information, stating that they are investigating back taxes that need to be paid or some other legal resolution.
    • The Grandchild Scam: In this frightening scenario, the scammer claims to be the senior’s grandchild who is having an emergency and is in need of funds to help. The caller will plead with the older adult to keep the call confidential, requesting a gift card or money wire transfer to obtain money.
    • The Love Scam: Online dating is a common way for single or widowed older adults to find companionship, but unfortunately, it also opens them up to scammers. Online dating fraud involves scammers creating elaborate fake profiles, utilizing stolen photos and details, to trick seniors into falling for them. They will eventually ask for funds to travel to meet the senior, but then disappear with the money.
    • The Winner Scam: Vulnerable seniors receive notice that they are winners of a lottery or other type of contest. In this scam, the seniors are required to pay a fee to collect their “prize.” The scammer will ask the senior for bank account details in order to deposit the winnings. Sadly, however, this can lead to the theft of large sums of money, sometimes wiping out an older adult’s hard-earned savings altogether.
    • The Internet Scam: Internet scammers use pop-ups that alert their victims to a “virus” the computer has been infected with. In order to have the virus removed, the user needs to pay a fee or download software that will allow the scammer to steal personal information.

    Though scams such as these are incredibly disturbing, there are steps you can take to protect the older adults you love, including:

    • Make sure senior loved ones have caller ID and utilize voice mail for any unknown callers.
    • Talk with older adults about the importance of NEVER giving out personal or sensitive information over the phone.
    • Be wary of any mail that contains contests, sweepstakes, or prizes; if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
      Scammers are very good at what they do, so never belittle or criticize an older adult who may have fallen victim to them.

    Additionally, allow the referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care to help an older loved one remain vigilant against senior scams by providing an extra pair of eyes to ensure safety. Partnering with a referred care provider ensures that an older loved one has regular companionship, which helps to eliminate loneliness, one of the top factors that can lead to older adults being vulnerable to fraud or scams. Referred care providers also offer a wide range of in-home care services, such as light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, personal hygiene care, and so much more.

    The Florida senior care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to ensure the independence and safety of the older adult you love. Contact the office nearest you to learn more.

    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 Promote Healthy Aging for Older Adults

    10 tips to promote healthy aging in older adults

    September is Healthy Aging Month, an awareness campaign designed to bring attention to the many positive aspects of growing older. While growing older does have many benefits, it’s important for older adults to take charge of their overall mental and physical health and wellness. Making healthy aging a priority, rather than an afterthought, helps older adults remain active and independent.
    To help ensure that older adults prioritize healthy aging, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share these 10 tips:

    • 1. Prioritize fall prevention. Incorporating exercises that focus on balance and strength are critical for reducing the chances of a fall. Each year, older adult falls result in a variety of medical emergencies, but with a focus on exercises that build leg strength and balance, the risk of falls can be significantly reduced.
    • 2. Walk more. Regular walking helps older adults stay active and mobile. Whether walking to the store, at a local mall, around the block or at a nearby park, walking is something that can be done almost anywhere. Walking is a great form of exercise that is easy on the joints, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and provides a number of mental and physical health benefits. Figure out the average number of steps taken per day by using a smartphone or activity bracelet and then make a commitment to increase this number a little bit each day.
    • 3. Socialize. Maintaining friendships and connections throughout aging helps maintain mental and physical health. Scheduling a regular lunch with friends, volunteering at a local non-profit, participating in a book club at the library, or inviting family over for dinner are just a few examples of the ways in which older adults can maintain connections to people and their community, and to bring purpose to life.
    • 4. Vaccinate. There are a number of vaccines physicians recommend for adults 65 years and older. They include: an annual flu shot; pneumonia; shingles; COVID-19; and Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Speak with a physician to discuss individual medical history and for recommendations on vaccinations.
    • 5. Request a medication review. Schedule an appointment with a physician for a medication review to go over the prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken. Ask the physician to identify any medications that may decrease cognitive function, make one groggy, or increase fall risk. Work with the physician to determine if medication doses can be decreased, if there are other medications available that may have fewer side effects, or if any can be safely stopped.
    • 6. Create (or update) a personal health record. A personal health record (PHR) is a centralized location where all important medical information is kept. A PHR provides an accurate picture of an older adult’s health and can help ensure better and safer medical care. A PRH can help older adults quickly get the care needed in an emergency situation, a second opinion, or provide a new member of the older adult’s medical team with needed health information.
    • 7. Review (or create) an advance healthcare directive. An advance directive is a legal document that details how medical decisions should be made on one’s behalf if they are incapacitated. This provides a guide for loved ones and the healthcare team to honor one’s wishes. Since people’s preferences regarding their medical care may change over time, it’s important to revisit an advance healthcare directive frequently and update if needed.
    • 8. Review (or create) advance financial planning. It is often assumed that if an older adult were to become incapacitated and unable to manage their finances that his or her spouse would take over responsibility. In fact, this is not possible without a durable power of attorney that covers finances. Ensuring that this legal document is in place provides peace of mind for both the older adult and their family members.
    • 9. Make and keep medical appointments. As people age, it becomes more important than ever to make and keep regular wellness exams and schedule routine screenings. Whether an annual physical, a quarterly medication check, an annual eye exam, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, or other preventative measures, making and keeping these appointments helps older adults remain proactive in their healthcare.
    • 10. Plan for long-term care. When asked, most older adults would choose to age in place – remaining in the home, neighborhood and community they love. With the help of referred care providers from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, this is easier than ever before. Offering a variety of medical and non-medical in-home care services that help older adults remain active, independent and engaged throughout the aging process, the referred care providers bring peace of mind to seniors and their families.

    To learn more healthy aging tips and for additional information on the wide variety of in-home care services offered by referred caregivers throughout Florida, reach out to your local office at American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care.

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

    Head to Toe Checklist to Help Older Adults Remain Active and Injury Free

    Help older adults remain active and injury free with these head to toe tips.

    On a recent walk with Mom, she misjudged the curb and rolled her ankle. While you are thankful that she only ended up with some bruises and a sprained foot, you’re cognizant of the fact that she could have sustained a much more severe injury.
    A fall or other injury can seriously sideline older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, each year more than three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. And 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
    To help older adults remain active and injury free, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following head to toe tips.

    Feet and Ankles

    The foot is made up of 26 bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and over the course of a person’s lifetime, will travel more than 200 million steps. It’s no wonder then that feet and ankles bear the brunt of the aches and pains that surface during aging. To prevent foot and ankle injuries, implement these strategies:
    Wear proper footwear. Select and wear shoes that fit well and that match the activity being performed. If you walk regularly for exercise, get fitted for walking shoes that provide proper support, and buy new shoes every 6 to 9 months. When shoes fit properly, there is a decreased chance of developing hammer toes or bunions. Properly fitted shoes also provide support for ankles and knees.
    Keep feet clean. Wash feet regularly with mild soap and water, drying well between the toes to reduce the chance of infection. Moisturize the heels only and keep toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails.
    Check the feet. Examine your feet daily to check for calluses, blisters or anything that seems unusual. Routine inspection reduces the chance for infection or fungus. If you are unable to easily check your feet, ask a loved one to help you.

    Knees

    Carrying four times your weight with every step, knees are also prone to a number of ailments as people age, such as:

    • Cartilage tears
    • Tendonitis
    • Sprained or strained ligaments
    • Arthritis as a result of aging, injury, or a combination of both

    To protect knees from injury, it’s important to incorporate exercises that improve balance, agility, and strength. When exercising or participating in an activity that may put added stress on knees, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and a cool-down to get muscles ready.

    Hips

    The CDC estimates that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. For older adults, a broken hip is not only debilitating, but it can also be fatal. In addition to fractures, older adults can experience hip pain from arthritis or weakened bones from osteoporosis. The hips are a primary source of strength and stability in the legs and help people to perform many everyday activities such as standing, walking, bending and going up and down stairs. When the hip muscles become weak, symptoms can include pain and decreased mobility.

    Healthy and strong hips reduce the risk of falling, making it important to engage in regular physician-approved exercise that targets and strengthens the muscles in and around the hips.

    Shoulders

    Shoulders are the most flexible joint in the human body and are involved in myriad daily tasks – from brushing teeth and preparing food to driving and opening doors. As the body ages, injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder or dislocation can occur during an exercise routine or when simply engaged in regular household chores. To guard against shoulder injuries, be sure to:

    • Warm up and condition muscles before exercise or a household chore that may be repetitive and involve shoulder movement.
    • Take regular breaks when engaged in an activity that requires a great deal of shoulder use, such as gardening, sweeping, washing windows, etc.
    • To reduce the amount of stretching needed to grab items off of a high shelf, consider moving them to a shelf at eye level.

    Wrists

    The wrists are involved in nearly every daily activity and older adults are susceptible to stress injuries, fractures and arthritis in this joint. Like other joints in the body, it’s important to keep the wrists strong and agile. This reduces pain and helps to maintain full range of motion so that older adults are able to continue to perform a variety of everyday tasks independently.
    To help keep wrists and hands strong and flexible, squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball. This exercise is easy to do and can be completed almost anywhere.

    In-Home Care Can Help

    To help older adults remain independent and injury free, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help. Our Florida in-home care services can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual and may include:

    • Encouragement to complete physician-approved exercise
    • Home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls
    • Help with planning and preparing nutritious meals
    • Transportation to physical therapy or doctors’ appointments
    • Friendly companionship
    • Assistance with personal care and hygiene needs
    • Specialized nursing care
    • And much more!

    Contact us any time to learn more about referred in-home 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

    Checklist to Help Older Adults

    Help older adults remain active and injury free with these head to toe tips.

    On a recent walk with Mom, she misjudged the curb and rolled her ankle. While you are thankful that she only ended up with some bruises and a sprained foot, you’re cognizant of the fact that she could have sustained a much more severe injury.

    A fall or other injury can seriously sideline older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, each year more than three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. And 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.

    To help older adults remain active and injury free, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share the following head to toe tips.

    Feet and Ankles

    The foot is made up of 26 bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and over the course of a person’s lifetime, will travel more than 200 million steps. It’s no wonder then that feet and ankles bear the brunt of the aches and pains that surface during aging. To prevent foot and ankle injuries, implement these strategies:

    Wear proper footwear. Select and wear shoes that fit well and that match the activity being performed. If you walk regularly for exercise, get fitted for walking shoes that provide proper support, and buy new shoes every 6 to 9 months. When shoes fit properly, there is a decreased chance of developing hammer toes or bunions. Properly fitted shoes also provide support for ankles and knees.

    Keep feet clean. Wash feet regularly with mild soap and water, drying well between the toes to reduce the chance of infection. Moisturize the heels only and keep toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails.

    Check the feet. Examine your feet daily to check for calluses, blisters or anything that seems unusual. Routine inspection reduces the chance for infection or fungus. If you are unable to easily check your feet, ask a loved one to help you.

    Knees

    Carrying four times your weight with every step, knees are also prone to a number of ailments as people age, such as:

    • Cartilage tears
    • Tendonitis
    • Sprained or strained ligaments
    • Arthritis as a result of aging, injury, or a combination of both

    To protect knees from injury, it’s important to incorporate exercises that improve balance, agility, and strength. When exercising or participating in an activity that may put added stress on knees, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and a cool-down to get muscles ready.

    Hips

    The CDC estimates that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. For older adults, a broken hip is not only debilitating, but it can also be fatal. In addition to fractures, older adults can experience hip pain from arthritis or weakened bones from osteoporosis. The hips are a primary source of strength and stability in the legs and help people to perform many everyday activities such as standing, walking, bending and going up and down stairs. When the hip muscles become weak, symptoms can include pain and decreased mobility.

    Healthy and strong hips reduce the risk of falling, making it important to engage in regular physician-approved exercise that targets and strengthens the muscles in and around the hips.

    Shoulders

    Shoulders are the most flexible joint in the human body and are involved in myriad daily tasks – from brushing teeth and preparing food to driving and opening doors. As the body ages, injuries such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder or dislocation can occur during an exercise routine or when simply engaged in regular household chores. To guard against shoulder injuries, be sure to:

    • Warm up and condition muscles before exercise or a household chore that may be repetitive and involve shoulder movement.
    • Take regular breaks when engaged in an activity that requires a great deal of shoulder use, such as gardening, sweeping, washing windows, etc.
    • To reduce the amount of stretching needed to grab items off of a high shelf, consider moving them to a shelf at eye level.

    Wrists

    The wrists are involved in nearly every daily activity and older adults are susceptible to stress injuries, fractures and arthritis in this joint. Like other joints in the body, it’s important to keep the wrists strong and agile. This reduces pain and helps to maintain full range of motion so that older adults are able to continue to perform a variety of everyday tasks independently.
    To help keep wrists and hands strong and flexible, squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball. This exercise is easy to do and can be completed almost anywhere.

    In-Home Care Can Help

    To help older adults remain independent and injury free, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help. Our Florida in-home care services can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual and may include:

    • Encouragement to complete physician-approved exercise
    • Home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls
    • Help with planning and preparing nutritious meals
    • Transportation to physical therapy or doctors’ appointments
    • Friendly companionship
    • Assistance with personal care and hygiene needs
    • Specialized nursing care
    • And much more!

    Contact us any time to learn more about referred in-home 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

    Stroke Recovery at Home: How In-Home Care Services Can Help

    Stroke recovery at home is made possible with the support of professional in-home care services.

    If someone you love has been hospitalized for a stroke, there are frequently many questions about the stroke recovery process and the transition back to the home environment. Knowing what to expect in the days, weeks and months following a stroke is important.
    At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we understand that while the prospect of bringing a loved one home following a stroke may be a huge relief, there are many logistical issues that need to be addressed to ensure safety and adherence to a stroke recovery plan.

    Day 1

    Two of the first steps toward recovery are determining the type of stroke and the severity of the stroke. With this information, the medical team can work together to determine the best course of action to aid in recovery. The team typically consists of physicians, neurologists, and occupational, speech, and physical therapists who work to develop a rehabilitation plan. Therapy often begins while the individual is still in the hospital.

    Initial Weeks Following a Stroke

    Long-term effects of a stroke will vary from person to person based upon the severity and the part of the brain affected. It’s common for those recovering from a stroke to experience:

    • Physical symptoms – weakness, paralysis, difficulty swallowing
    • Cognitive symptoms – memory problems and trouble speaking
    • Emotional symptoms – depression, anxiety and impulsivity
    • Extreme fatigue and trouble sleeping

    To aid individuals in their recovery process, the healthcare team will recommend therapy to help patients make strides toward rehabilitation. This may include:

    • Physical therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn motor activities such as walking, standing, sitting, lying down.
    • Occupational therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn activities such as drinking and swallowing, dressing, bathing, cooking, eating, writing, using the bathroom.
    • Speech therapy – helps the stroke patient relearn language and speaking skills.

    Therapy sessions are customized to each individual’s goals and needs, and can often be conducted in the home.

    Post Stroke: 1 – 3 Months

    The initial weeks and months following a stroke are important. The goal of rehabilitation is to restore as much function as possible to pre-stroke levels. While the healthcare team monitors the patient and therapy continues, it’s important to anticipate setbacks during this time. The setbacks can be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging for both the patient and his/her family. Work with the healthcare team to make adjustments as needed to the rehabilitation plan and prioritize mental health.

    Post Stroke: 6 Months and Beyond

    After six months, continued recovery is possible, but improvements will be slower. Some patients may experience complete recovery and others may have ongoing impairments. During this time, it’s important to remain in contact with your healthcare team:

    • Primary care physician. The primary care physician can manage any health concerns beyond the stroke and can recommend lifestyle changes that can help prevent future strokes.
    • Neurologist. With a deep understanding of the mechanisms behind stroke-related brain injury, a neurologist can recommend customized treatments to target the affected area of the brain.
    • Rehabilitation psychologist. A psychologist will provide support with emotional, cognitive and behavioral functioning.
    • Occupational, physical and speech therapists. OT, PT, and ST will aid in the ongoing recovery of functioning in order to complete day-to-day activities.

    A coordinated effort between the members of your healthcare team can help bring about further progress and recovery in the months and years following a stroke.

    Post Stroke: How Home Care Can Help

    To help aid in the recovery process, the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help with a variety of care needs. During the initial hospitalization following a stroke, a knowledgeable referred care provider can help assess the home for fall risks and recommend other safety enhancements that will make for an easier transition home.
    Once home, a referred care provider can also assist with:

    • Bathing, dressing and personal hygiene
    • Planning and preparing nourishing meals and snacks, with adherence to any dietary restrictions
    • Light housekeeping and laundry
    • Friendly companionship and conversation
    • Encouragement to complete physical, occupational or speech therapy exercises / activities
    • Transportation to follow-up medical or therapy appointments
    • Medication reminders
    • Respite for family caregivers to prioritize self-care
    • And much more!

    For additional information about how a referred Florida senior care expert can help you or someone you love transition home safely following a stroke, contact us today. We have offices throughout Florida and we look forward to helping you.

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

    Top Tips to Manage Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

    Managing Lewy body dementia symptoms can be much easier with these tips from our experts in senior care in Florida.

    Lewy body dementia is the second most common form of degenerative dementia, affecting approximately 1.4 million people across the U.S. While the disease affects millions, few people have a good understanding of the disease, its symptoms, or how to manage them. American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share information about Lewy body dementia symptoms to help family caregivers develop strategies to better manage and even reduce symptoms and improve the care experience.

    What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

    Lewy body dementia is a disease in which abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein, also known as Lewy bodies, attach to the brain. The cause of Lewy body dementia is as yet unknown; however, research shows that a buildup of Lewy bodies is associated with the loss of specific neurons in the brain. One of these neurons is vital for memory and learning, and the other plays an essential role in movement, cognition, behavior, mood, and sleep.

    The loss of these neurons produces a range of behavioral symptoms that can be challenging to manage, including:

      Cognitive changes

    • Visual hallucinations, which occur in up to 80% of people with Lewy body dementia
    • Changes in concentration, attention, and wakefulness that are often unpredictable
    • Disorganized or illogical thoughts
    • Poor judgment, confusion about time and place, and difficulty with language and numbers
    • Movement issues

    • Weak voice
    • Rigid or stiff muscles
    • Tremor or shaking when resting
    • Shuffling gait and slowed movement
    • Balance issues and higher tendency to fall
    • Stooped posture
    • Decline in coordination
    • Smaller handwriting than was usual for the person
    • Lack of facial expressions
    • Trouble swallowing
    • Problems sleeping

    • REM sleep behavior disorder
    • Feeling very tired during the day
    • Insomnia
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Behavioral issues

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Lack of interest in daily activities or social interaction
    • Agitation and irritability
    • Paranoia and delusions

    How to Manage Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms

    Medications, such as antipsychotic drugs, can be dangerous for people with Lewy body dementia and may make symptoms worse. Finding non-drug related methods to help manage symptoms is an ideal first step before trying medication.

    1. Accept behaviors that do not cause harm. Some Lewy body dementia symptoms, like paranoia and agitation, can lead to aggression or physical acting out. However, for those behaviors that are milder and do not cause the person or others pain or potential for physical harm, it can be best to tolerate the symptoms and focus more on distraction and reassurance.
    2. Determine if there is a physical cause for the behavior. Physical pain or discomfort can exacerbate symptoms, so check to see if something else, such as arthritis pain, injury, urinary tract infection, or other ailment may be causing the symptoms. Treating physical pain can often reduce negative behavioral issues.
    3. Modify the environment. Loud noises and clutter can trigger hallucinations and delusions common with Lewy body dementia, so ensure that the person’s environment is clean and as calm and quiet as possible to reduce symptoms.
    4. Create daily routines. A daily routine can help people with dementia feel safe and secure and minimize agitation. Keep to a regular schedule and break down daily tasks to make them easier to accomplish and reduce frustration.
    5. Seek therapy for movement and swallowing issues. Exercise and physical therapy can greatly help with many movement issues related to Lewy body dementia. For swallowing problems, speech therapy can teach seniors techniques that can make swallowing easier and safer.

    Get Help from Florida Home Care Professionals

    Caring for a loved one with Lewy body dementia can be challenging. Partnering with a referred home care provider can help. At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we offer professional Alzheimer’s and dementia care services through referred care providers that help older adults live safer, happier lives at home. Additionally, in-home respite care services allow busy family caregivers the time they need to take care of work, family, and themselves.

    Contact our team today to find out more about how an experienced referred care provider can help the older adults in your life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:

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