All posts by AIHC Home Health Blog

The Unique Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Men and Women

An older man and woman who know the unique warning signs of a heart attack and the importance of a healthy lifestyle practice tai chi in the park.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chest pain or discomfort are the primary symptoms of a heart attack. This sensation can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest. While chest pain is the most well-known symptom of a heart attack, it's important to recognize that men and women often experience other distinct warning signs.

The referred care providers at CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share information about the unique warning signs of a heart attack and how in-home care services can help aid recovery and establish long-term healthy habits.

Unique Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Men

Along with chest pain, men commonly experience symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat

It is also important for men to pay attention to any unusual fatigue or weakness, as these could also indicate a potential heart attack.

Unique Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Women

Women, on the other hand, may not always present with classic chest pain. The American Heart Association notes that women might experience symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaw pain
  • Back pain

Unexplained fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath can also signal a heart attack in women. Recognizing these atypical symptoms is vital for prompt medical intervention.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Attacks?

Several factors increase the risk of heart attacks in both men and women. Some of these risks are beyond your control, such as your age and family history of heart disease. However, there are many risk factors, like smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle, that can be better managed to reduce your risk.

Recovering From a Heart Attack

If you or a loved one has had a heart attack, the recovery period is critical. If the heart has been damaged, this may affect its ability to pump blood or maintain a normal rhythm. To avoid having another heart attack or other conditions such as stroke or peripheral arterial disease, the CDC recommends adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. This should include the following:

  • Regular exercise: Following a heart attack, you may have to limit physical activity for a time. However, regular activity will be important to strengthen the heart and keep the body fit. As a heart attack survivor, you should work closely with your healthcare team to develop an exercise plan that is right for your condition.
  • A balanced diet: A heart-healthy diet is crucial for ongoing health. Talk to your doctor about what foods to avoid and what should be added to your diet.
  • Stress management: Some amount of stress is unavoidable in daily life, but reducing stress is key for a healthy heart. Meditation and exercise can help lower stress levels. Work with your healthcare team to develop a stress-reduction strategy moving forward.
  • Taking prescribed medications: Following a heart attack it is important to follow your doctor’s exact orders. This includes taking all prescribed medications to ensure a successful recovery and prevent further issues.

Get Help to Recover and Stay Healthy

Recovering from a heart attack or staying healthy to prevent an attack can feel like an overwhelming task. But you’re not alone. Referred care providers from CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer professional in-home care assistance that can help in several ways, including:

  • Post-operative care for pain management, surgical site care, medication management, etc.
  • Recording health data and regularly reporting to the physician
  • Personal hygiene care
  • Respite care for family caregivers
  • And much more

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help. 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, 30211751

7 Strategies for a Healthy Heart

Two women bring their hands together to form a heart shape, signifying the importance of maintaining a healthy heart.

As you’re shopping for heart-shaped boxes of candy and cards this month, it’s also a great reminder to consider heart health! February is American Heart Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about maintaining a healthy heart and emphasize the importance of adopting heart-friendly habits. Heart disease remains a significant health concern globally, but the good news is that simple lifestyle changes can substantially reduce the risk.

The Florida referred care providers at CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share seven critical strategies to promote heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.

Seven Steps to a Healthier Heart

  1. Embrace a Heart-Healthy Diet:
    A nutritious diet plays a pivotal role in maintaining heart health. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Minimize the intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Opt for heart-boosting foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
  2. Stay Physically Active:
    Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. Activities such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing contribute to cardiovascular fitness, strengthening the heart and improving overall well-being.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
    Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for heart health. Excess weight puts strain on the heart and is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Combine a balanced diet with regular exercise to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, reducing the burden on your cardiovascular system.
  4. Manage Blood Pressure:
    High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease. Monitor blood pressure regularly and take steps to keep it within a healthy range. This includes adopting a low-sodium diet, staying physically active, managing stress, and, if necessary, taking prescribed medications as directed by a healthcare professional.
  5. Control Cholesterol Levels:
    Elevated cholesterol levels contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. Consume a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, and, if needed, take prescribed medications to control cholesterol levels. Regular check-ups with healthcare providers can help monitor and manage cholesterol effectively.
  6. Quit Smoking:
    Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke damage blood vessels and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Quitting smoking is one of the most impactful steps individuals can take to improve heart health. Seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, or smoking cessation programs to quit successfully.
  7. Limit Alcohol Consumption:
    Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and an increased risk of heart disease. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This typically means up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

As always, consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance and support on your journey to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

A Referred Care Provider Can Make a World of Difference!

The services of a referred care provider from CareTime, American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can further boost heart health for yourself or someone you love, by:

  • Planning and preparing heart-healthy meals
  • Serving as an exercise or walking buddy to offer motivation to stay physically active
  • Monitoring for any changes in condition and reporting them immediately
  • Offering friendly companionship to alleviate loneliness and boredom
  • And more

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help. 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, 30211751

Dementia Care: 10 Tips for Family Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a journey that requires patience, understanding, and resilience. Family caregivers play a crucial role in providing support, compassion, and maintaining the well-being of a loved one with dementia.

Sometimes, the challenges of caring for someone with dementia may seem overwhelming. The experts at CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following strategies and tips for family caregivers.

Top 10 Dementia Care Tips for Family Caregivers

  1. Learn to Communicate Effectively. Communicating with someone with dementia requires patience and adaptability. Use simple language, speak slowly, and maintain eye contact. Non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language can also enhance understanding. Additionally, effective communication with the person’s healthcare team and other family members is vital in meeting care needs.
  2. Practice Patience. Patience is a resource that can often feel scarce when caring for a loved one with dementia. However, practicing patience will help you slow down, be more forgiving, and stay calm in otherwise stressful situations.
  3. Establish Routine and Consistency. People with dementia often feel more secure with a predictable routine. Establishing daily rituals can help reduce confusion and anxiety. Consistency provides a sense of structure that is comforting for individuals with dementia.
  4. Build a Support System. You don't have to navigate the caregiving journey alone. Seek support from friends, family, and local community resources. Joining a support group can provide a valuable outlet for sharing experiences, tips, and emotional support.
  5. Journal About Your Experiences. Writing down your experiences as a caregiver can offer a number of benefits. Not only does it allow you to channel challenging feelings in a positive way, but it can also be a great way to record the person’s symptoms, behavior changes, and anything else you’d like to share with their healthcare team.
  6. Stay Active. Exercise is a healthy way to relieve stress and feel more peaceful. Develop a regular exercise routine to keep your body and mind fit.
  7. Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small. Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the person you care for, whether remembering a name or completing a simple task. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and provide a sense of achievement.
  8. Don’t Take Things Personally. People with dementia often exhibit challenging behaviors and may say hurtful things to those around them. The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault, and you have not brought on these issues. Remind yourself that it’s the dementia talking, not the person you love.
  9. Practice Flexible Problem-Solving. Be prepared for unexpected challenges. Dementia is unpredictable, and problem-solving may require flexibility. Approach issues with a calm and adaptable mindset, seeking solutions that prioritize the well-being of both of you.
  10. Ask for Help. Caregiving is not meant to be undertaken alone. Asking for help is an act of self-care that allows family caregivers to get the rest they need in order to continue caring for themselves and their loved ones. Seek out help from other trusted family members or engage the services of a referred care provider, such as those offered by CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care.

Referred care providers offer professional in-home care assistance and respite care for family caregivers. This allows family caregivers to find balance with their caregiving duties, work, family obligations, and other commitments.

A referred care provider can provide a wide range of dementia care services, including:

  • Monitoring for changes in health or behavior
  • Regularly reporting to the physician
  • Performing specialized activities/therapies for stimulating cognitive function
  • Medication reminders/management
  • Friendly companionship
  • Personal hygiene care
  • Respite care
  • And much more

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help. 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, 30211751

Top Strategies for Productive Discussions About Caring for Older Parents

Two women discuss red flags they’ve detected while caring for older parents.

The holiday season often brings families together, providing an opportunity to reconnect and share in each other's lives. During these gatherings, you might have observed that Mom or Dad could benefit from some additional support at home. Taking the initiative to address these concerns through a well-structured family meeting is crucial in determining the best course of action in caring for older parents.

The referred care providers at CareTime, American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share helpful tips for organizing an effective family meeting, ensuring everyone's input is valued and your loved one's needs are met.

Setting the Stage

Start by acknowledging the need for a family meeting. Consider the holiday observations and any signs that an older parent may require additional assistance. Before the meeting, gather information about their current health condition, daily activities, and potential challenges.

Determining Attendees

Identify key family members who should participate in the meeting. This may include siblings, spouses, or other close relatives. Ensure that everyone who has a vested interest in caring for aging parents is present, fostering a collaborative approach to decision-making.

Structuring the Meeting

Use the family meeting as a platform to discuss your observations, share concerns, and gather input from others. Refer to valuable resources, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance's guide on holding family meetings, to learn effective meeting structures and communication strategies.

Ensuring Inclusivity

It's crucial to create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued. Encourage open communication and actively listen to each family member's perspective. Ensure that no one's input is overlooked, and seek consensus on the best course of action for the older adult’s care.

Addressing Needs and Concerns

Use the family meeting to identify the person’s needs collectively. Discuss potential caregiving responsibilities, explore available resources, and outline a plan to address immediate and future challenges.

Implementing Solutions

Once the family meeting has generated insights and fruitful discussions, work together to implement practical solutions. Assign responsibilities, set realistic goals, and establish a timeline for providing the assistance needed.

Follow-Up and Adaptation:

Family dynamics and caregiving needs may evolve over time. Schedule regular follow-up meetings to reassess a loved one’s needs, address any new concerns, and adapt as needed.

Caring for older parents requires a collaborative and organized approach. A space for open communication and shared decision-making is established by initiating and structuring family meetings. Through respectful discussions and proactive planning, it is easier to navigate the complexities of caregiving.

How Home Care Can Help

A referred care provider from CareTime, American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care is invaluable in caring for older parents. Partnering with a professional allows each member of the family to maintain a healthy life balance and helps lessen the possibility of anyone overextending themselves. It also ensures that older loved ones receive the high-quality care they deserve.

Some of the many ways a referred care provider can help include:

  • Planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Taking care of light housekeeping and laundry
  • Running errands
  • Offering friendly companionship to alleviate loneliness and boredom
  • Providing support with personal hygiene needs, such as taking showers, getting dressed, etc. • And much more

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help. Simply 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, 30211751

Ring in the New Year With a Plan to Encourage an Older Adult to Exercise Regularly

A woman tries to encourage an older adult to exercise regularly by going on regular walks outside together.

The new year is right around the corner! Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? If not, why not resolve to encourage an older adult to exercise regularly? Even better, commit to joining them in a new exercise program so you can both reap the benefits!

Like any resolution, however, it’s easy to start off gung-ho, lose interest, and let the idea fall by the wayside. The key is sticking with it so it becomes a routine that you both enjoy.

The referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care help older adults stay physically active and offer tips to help you start and maintain an exercise program for someone you love. First, let’s go over some basic facts about senior exercise that you’ll need to know.

How Much Should an Older Adult Exercise?

It’s important not to begin or change an exercise plan without first consulting with the doctor. Be sure to follow the doctor’s guidelines, but as a general rule of thumb, strive for 2 ½ hours per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise (such as walking briskly or dancing) along with strength training exercises that build muscle two days per week.

What if the Person Isn’t Currently Physically Active at All?

If the person is more sedentary, you’ll need to start slowly. Again, the doctor’s recommendations are crucial to prevent injury. These tips can also help:

  • Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.
  • Start with low-intensity exercises.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep a journal to note dates and times exercises were performed and how the person felt afterward.

How to Set and Reach Goals

Determining appropriate goals and celebrating the success of reaching them will provide the incentive needed to stick with the exercise program. Help the person set both short-term and long-term goals and make sure they’re attainable. For instance:

Short-term goals:

  • I will call the doctor today to discuss exercise recommendations.
  • I will buy new walking shoes tomorrow.
  • I will begin to implement the doctor’s recommendations next week.

Long-term goals:

  • By next summer, I will walk one mile three times a week.
  • In six months, I will be at a healthier weight.
  • In one year, I will be physically fit enough to go to Disney World with the grandkids.

Both you and the older adult should determine individual goals and help motivate each other to continue striving to reach them. Adjust your goals as needed so they are appropriately challenging without being discouraging.

How Can Home Care Help?

The services of a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help ensure exercising is safe and enjoyable for older adults. They can exercise alongside the older adults they serve, provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes or the gym, and offer friendly companionship to cheer them along every step of the way.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help someone you love become more physically active in 2024 and beyond! 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

Tips to Help the Sandwich Generation Manage Caregiver Stress

A woman who is part of the sandwich generation helps her mother and son in the kitchen.

If you find yourself squeezed between caring for your aging parents and growing children, you're not alone. More than half of all Americans aged 40 and over are in the same boat. The journey of being part of the sandwich generation can be rewarding but undeniably challenging.
Managing caregiver stress is crucial for your well-being. The referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some tips to help you find that delicate balance.

How Can the Sandwich Generation Relieve Caregiver Stress?

  1. Prioritize Self-Care. It may sound cliché, but the oxygen mask analogy holds true. To care for others, you must care for yourself first. Set aside time for activities that bring you joy, whether it's reading a book, going for a walk, or simply enjoying a cup of tea. Remember, you're not being selfish – you're recharging to be a better caregiver.
  2. Build a Support System. Don't hesitate to lean on friends, family, or support groups. Share your thoughts and feelings with those who understand your situation. Whether it's emotional support or practical assistance, having a network to rely on can make a world of difference.
  3. Plan Family Meetings. Communication is key. Regular family meetings can help everyone stay on the same page regarding caregiving responsibilities. Share your concerns, listen to others, and collaborate on solutions. By fostering open communication, you create a supportive environment for everyone involved.
  4. Embrace Technology. In today's digital age, technology can be a powerful ally. Use apps and tools that help you stay organized, manage appointments, and connect with other caregivers. This can free up mental space and streamline your caregiving responsibilities.
  5. Seek Professional Guidance. Don't hesitate to consult with professionals such as therapists or counselors. They can provide valuable insights, coping strategies, and emotional support as you navigate the challenges of being in the sandwich generation.
  6. Consider Home Care Services. One invaluable resource for the sandwich generation is home care. The referred care providers at American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can provide assistance with daily tasks, ensuring loved ones receive the support they need while alleviating some of the strain from your shoulders. Home care services range from companionship to personal care, offering a tailored approach to meet your family's unique needs.

Help Is Here When You Need It!

The services of a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care are available for as little as a few hours each week, up through and including around-the-clock care. You decide which tasks you’d like to continue taking care of yourself and which you’d like to delegate to someone else. Then reach out to us to get started! Simply 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

Healing Harmonies: Music's Role in Soothing Dementia Agitation

Try these tips to incorporate music therapy to decrease dementia agitation for someone you love.

The power of music on our moods is monumental. Just think about how it makes you feel to hear a marching band play patriotic songs during a parade. Now compare that to how you feel listening to the song you danced to with your spouse on your wedding day. It stands to reason that incorporating music into caring for a loved one can also have profound effects. In fact, it can even decrease dementia agitation.

How Can Music Help Someone With Dementia?

Rather than simply telling you, we suggest watching this powerful video to see for yourself the incredible transformation achieved through music for someone with dementia. Music is awakening and restorative, with the ability to instantly spark joy and memories.

Have you ever heard a song on the radio that transports you to a particular time or event? Our brains are essentially hard-wired to link music to long-term memories. This is even true for those in the most advanced stages of dementia.

Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that provides personalized music for individuals through digital technology, explains that listening to familiar and loved music can decrease agitation in dementia, lower anxiety levels, and enhance focus on the present, allowing for a better connection with others. The staff at Music & Memory educates family caregivers on how to create and implement these individualized playlists with the people they love to help them reconnect with the world through musical memories.

How to Develop Your Own Music Therapy Strategy

You can easily implement music therapy yourself with someone you love. If the person can tell you their favorite genre of music, artists, and songs, compile them into a playlist and share them with the individual, either with or without headphones. If you’re unsure, consider what music was popular during a certain period of time, such as Big Band music, or if they might enjoy music affiliated with their spiritual beliefs. Music connected to the person’s ethnic history is also a great starting point, such as reggae, salsa, country, jazz, blues, etc.

Gauge the person’s reaction as you experiment with different types of music. If the person seems to be anxious or agitated at any time, turn the music off and try a different genre later. Make note of which songs or types of music spark joy, and play them on a regular basis. You can also play these songs whenever a loved one displays feelings of anxiety, agitation, or fear to help calm them. Music can serve as a wonderful distraction from negative feelings and can even bring about thoughts of happier times.

How Can Home Care Help?

The services of a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care are readily available to help create playlists and incorporate music into a loved one’s dementia care toolbox, along with other effective tactics to alleviate the many challenging aspects of the disease.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help someone you love enjoy a better quality of life with personalized in-home care services. 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

Weathering the Winter Blues: Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder in Older Adults

Learn how to manage the effects of seasonal affective disorder in older adults.

As the days grow shorter and the seasons change ever so slightly in Florida, many people, especially older adults, experience a noticeable change in their mood and energy levels. This phenomenon is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that typically strikes during the late fall and winter months. It can be particularly challenging for older adults who may already face reduced mobility or illness, forcing them to spend more time indoors. Understanding the common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder in older adults can help loved ones provide practical strategies to effectively manage and prevent this condition.

Common Symptoms of SAD in Older Adults

  • Persistent Sadness: One of the hallmark symptoms of seasonal affective disorder in older adults is a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness that lasts for days or even weeks.
  • Fatigue and Low Energy: Older adults with SAD often experience increased fatigue and low energy levels, making it harder for them to engage in their daily activities.
  • Social Withdrawal: SAD can lead to social isolation as individuals may lose interest in socializing and prefer to stay indoors.
  • Changes in Appetite and Weight: Some older adults with SAD may overeat, especially foods high in carbohydrates, leading to weight gain.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Depression can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia and/or excessive sleepiness during the day.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Older adults with SAD may struggle to concentrate or make decisions.

What Are Some Strategies to Manage and Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder in Older Adults?

  • Light Therapy: Light therapy, or phototherapy, involves exposing individuals to bright, artificial light that mimics natural sunlight. This can help regulate mood and improve sleep patterns. Encourage older adults to sit in front of a light therapy box for 20-30 minutes each morning. Alternatively, encourage a loved one to spend time outside each day, even during the winter months, soaking up some Florida sunshine.
  • Increase Physical Activity: It is well documented that exercise can boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Support loved ones in engaging in regular physical activity, even if it's just a short walk outside or simple stretching exercises indoors to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Group activities or classes can also provide a social component, combating isolation.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: A well-balanced diet can significantly impact mood and energy levels. Older loved ones should consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, limiting the intake of processed foods and sugary snacks, which can cause blood sugar levels and mood swings to fluctuate.
  • Create a Supportive Environment: For older adults who may spend more time indoors, it's crucial to create an environment that promotes well-being. Ensure their living space is well-lit and comfortable. Consider decorating their home with cheerful colors and adding plants to bring a touch of nature indoors.
  • Stay Connected: Social interaction is vital for mental health, which makes staying connected with family and friends crucial. Arrange regular phone calls, video chats, or visits to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Seek Professional Help: If SAD symptoms persist or worsen, it's essential to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as counseling, medication, or other therapies tailored to the individual's needs.

Home Care Can Help

Seasonal affective disorder can be particularly challenging for older adults, who may already face mobility issues or illness. In-home care services from the referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help older loved ones stay healthy and maintain social connections through the winter season and beyond.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help older adults alleviate feelings of SAD while getting the care they need in the comfort of their homes. 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

Medication Safety for Older Adults

An older woman reviews the instructions on a prescription bottle to ensure medication safety for older adults.

As a person’s age increases, it may seem as though the number of medications that need to be taken also increases. Research backs this up, showing that an astounding 87% of older adults take at least one prescription medication, while 36% take five or even more. On top of that, 38% of older adults are taking OTC medications regularly as well. Mismanaging medications can have dire effects, whether from taking too little or too much or a combination of meds that interact negatively. As a result, taking steps to ensure medication safety for older adults is crucial.

What Are Some of the Top Causes of Medication Mismanagement?

There are several common reasons why people may not take their medications correctly, including:

  • No follow-up from the prescribing doctor. Often, a new medication will be prescribed in a low starter dose, after which the doctor needs to follow up and modify the dosage as needed. If the doctor fails to follow up, the person may continue taking what could very well be an inappropriate dose of the medication.
    * How family caregivers can help: Proactively follow up with the doctor and report on how a new medication works. Make note of any side effects to see if the dosage needs to be adjusted.
  • Negative side effects. If the negatives outweigh the positives, a person may simply discontinue taking the medication. However, medication should never be stopped or changed without the doctor’s approval.
    * How family caregivers help: Tell the doctor immediately about any side effects a person is experiencing so they can evaluate whether (and how) the medication should be changed or discontinued.
  • Medication adherence challenges. Each medication has its own guidelines, such as taking it at a specific time each day, taking it with food or water or on an empty stomach, etc. It’s easy to get these directions confused when taking a variety of different meds.
    * How family caregivers can help: Placing the meds in a pill organizer can help to ensure they are taken at the correct time. You can also create a simple chart to keep with the organizer that indicates how each medicine should be taken.
  • Cost. A person may struggle with paying the sometimes exorbitant cost for medications and, as a result, decide not to take them or cut the dosage in half to save money. Both of these actions are extremely dangerous and should never be undertaken without the doctor’s guidance.
    * How family caregivers can help: Talk to the doctor to see if a generic version of the medication is available or if there are any other ways to reduce the cost.

What About Contraindications Among Medications?

There may be multiple doctors prescribing medications for different health conditions. It’s crucial that every member of a person’s healthcare team knows about all of the medications they are taking. This enables them to check for contraindications.

The pharmacist can also advise on whether all of a person’s meds can be taken safely together. This drug interaction checker can provide a quick online assessment. Just enter the meds the person is taking and share any concerns that are displayed with the prescribing doctor(s).

How Can Home Care Help?

The services of a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help improve medication safety for older adults. With services such as medication reminders, monitoring for any side effects and reporting them immediately, offering transportation to medical appointments, and much more, families can find peace of mind knowing a loved one is taking medications as prescribed.

Contact us to learn more about how a referred care provider can help older loved ones benefit from their medications and avoid complications. 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

Tips for Overcoming Common Sleep Disturbances in Older Adults

A woman lies awake in bed with insomnia, which is one of many common sleep disturbances in older adults.

After a busy day, there’s nothing like climbing into bed for a restful night’s sleep. But for millions of older adults, sleep is elusive. They may find it difficult to fall asleep or to stay asleep. A variety of factors can impact a person’s quality of sleep, especially as a person ages.
At American, Advocate, and Whitsmys In-Home Care, we know how important a good night’s sleep is for people of all ages. Poor sleep can impact a person’s quality of life. For older adults, it’s common to experience changes in the duration and quality of sleep.

What Are Some Common Sleep Disturbances in Older Adults?

Researchers have found that older adults’ sleep can be impacted by a variety of factors, including:

  • Health conditions. Physical and mental health can impact a person’s ability to have restful sleep. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, and heart disease commonly impact sleep quality and quantity.
  • Lifestyle changes. Stress, retirement, or other lifestyle changes may impact a person’s regular sleep-wake schedule. This can lead to insomnia or difficulties falling asleep.
  • Waking up at night. Research has shown that as people age, they often experience a change in how they cycle through the different stages of sleep. These shifts can contribute to more frequent waking and fragmented, less restful sleep.
  • Daytime napping. Extended napping, especially later in the day, can make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
  • Shifting sleep schedules. As people age, their circadian rhythms shift forward. This may mean that a person is tired earlier in the afternoon and wakes earlier in the morning.
  • Pain. Discomfort and pain may interfere with sleep, making deep, restful sleep impossible because pain keeps the person awake.
  • Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It causes fragmented sleep and can make a person feel exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep. If a person snores, it’s important to see a doctor in order to rule out sleep apnea.
  • Insomnia. Difficulty falling and staying asleep is a common issue for many people. Insomnia can be caused by various reasons and can improve with treatment.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Impacting up to 20% of older adults, RLS is defined by an urge to move the legs while resting or sleeping.
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD). Primarily affecting older adults, RBD can cause people to physically act out their dreams, sometimes violently.
  • Nighttime urination. As people age, their urinary system often changes, causing an increased urge to urinate frequently at night.
  • Tips to Improve Sleep for Older Adults While some common sleep disturbances in older adults require intervention from a physician, several steps can be implemented at home to improve the quality of sleep. By making lifestyle and environmental changes and establishing good sleep hygiene habits, it’s possible to achieve restful, quality sleep.
  • Avoid food and beverages that discourage sleep. Tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and large meals late in the day can interfere with sleep. Reduce caffeine intake, eat at least four hours before bedtime, and work on a smoking cessation program with the doctor.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise helps people fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and achieve better quality sleep. Exercise also provides a number of other benefits and improved overall health.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Engage in activities that are relaxing before bed. Consider taking a warm bath or shower, reading, listening to soothing music, meditation, or prayer.
  • Reduce bedtime distractions. Smartphones, bright lights, and televisions are all distractions that make it more challenging to fall asleep. Move electronics out of the bedroom and designate that space for sleeping only.
  • Implement a consistent sleep schedule. Designate a specific time to go to bed and to wake up each day and maintain that schedule every day, even on weekends.

In-Home Care Services Can Help!

Frequently, older adults, especially if they live alone, may lack a routine and regular engagement opportunities, making sleep difficult during normal nighttime hours. The trusted referred care providers from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help by providing friendly companionship, transportation to social activities, nutritious meals, encouragement for physician-approved exercise, and more. Referred care providers can also take the night shift if a person has difficulty sleeping, providing family caregivers with respite and the needed sleep.

Contact us any time to learn more about the in-home care services Florida families have trusted since 1992 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