All posts by AIHC Home Health Blog

Understanding the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Learn the signs of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and tips to help manage the conditions from American In-Home Care, Florida’s home care experts.

“Arthritis” is a catchall term frequently used as an informal way to refer to joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion that can become prevalent as people age. While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the more common forms of the disease, there are in fact more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.

In the United States, approximately 1 in 4 adults have arthritis. Arthritis can be caused by age, overuse and wear and tear on a particular joint, injuries, obesity, genes, autoimmune disorders, muscle weakness, and more. To better understand how to live with and manage two of the more common forms of arthritis, the aging care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share details about rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of arthritis typically develop over a period of time, but they can also appear suddenly. Osteoarthritis usually develops after the age of 50 and rheumatoid arthritis usually develops between the ages of 30 – 50 years old. Symptoms are frequently most acute after a person has been resting, sleeping, or sitting idly for an extended period of time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune or inflammatory disease where a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake, resulting in painful inflammation in affected parts of the body. RA usually impacts joints, causing the lining of the joint to become inflamed and in some cases damaged. When joint tissue is damaged, it can result in chronic pain, unsteadiness, and joint misshapenness. RA can also impact other tissues in a person’s body, causing problems in the heart, lungs, or eyes.
Symptoms of RA include:

  • Pain or stiffness in more than one joint
  • The same symptoms on both sides of the body (for example, both knees)
  • Onset in smaller joints such as the hands or feet
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Inflammation of blood vessels and/or the heart muscle

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage in a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. OA usually develops slowly and gradually becomes worse over time.

Symptoms of OA include:

  • Pain or aching
  • Limited range of motion or flexibility that may go away after movement
  • Stiffness or swelling
  • Muscle weakness around a joint
  • Clicking or popping noises when bending a joint
  • Joint instability

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
The goal of any treatment plan for RA or OA is to reduce pain and inflammation and to prevent additional joint damage. To accomplish this, an older adult’s physician will determine the best course of action which may include both medical intervention strategies as well as lifestyle changes such as:

  • Exercise. While it may seem counterintuitive to move joints that hurt, incorporating joint-friendly physical activity into a person’s weekly routine can help decrease arthritis-related pain while increasing function, mood, and quality of life. Aim for approximately 30 minutes of low-impact activity each day, such as walking, riding a bike, or swimming.
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy. The goal of physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) is to make daily activities easier and less painful. Both PT and OT can help increase range of motion and fine motor skills, build strength, and increase balance so that older adults can continue to live active and independent lives.
  • Healthy Diet. Eating a well-rounded, low-fat diet that is high in lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables provides a variety of benefits, including reducing inflammation. Foods like tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, olive oil, leafy greens, and salmon have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit individuals with arthritis.
  • Weight Loss. Added weight can make joints more painful. Incorporating regular exercise and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, as well as making other healthy lifestyle choices can help keep weight in a range that reduces the stress on painful joints.
  • Medications. A number of over-the-counter and prescription medications are available that can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with RA and OA. Options include NSAIDs, acetaminophen, menthol, or capsaicin creams that block the transmission of pain signals from joints, steroids and immunosuppressants.
  • Assistive and Mobility Devices. Assistive devices include a broad range of tools such as extended-handle tools that can help people pick items up off the floor, lever handles instead of traditional round doorknobs, zipper pulls, long-handled shoehorns, a bath stool, and more. Additionally, mobility devices such as a cane, walker, knee brace or shoe inserts can also help reduce pain, while allowing people to remain active.

If an older adult you love is impacted by arthritis, let the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care help. With customized care plans developed to meet the unique needs of each individual we care for, the professional care providers we refer can help encourage regular exercise, plan and prepare healthy and nourishing meals, provide medication reminders and transportation to physical therapy or doctor’s appointments, and much more.

Reach out to us any time to learn more about our wide variety of in-home care services that help older adults throughout Florida remain independent and active by clicking on the link to 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

What a Prediabetes Diagnosis Means for Older Adults

A prediabetes diagnosis can be the result of lifestyle choices, family history, and other factors. Learn more from American In-Home Care’s Florida home care experts.

Prediabetes is a serious but beneficial diagnosis to receive. Think of it as an early warning sign that gives you the opportunity to take important steps to make changes that can help improve your health, while avoiding some of the more serious health complications.

Currently, as many as one in three adults in America are living with a prediabetes diagnosis. And many people live with the condition for years without any noticeable symptoms, remaining undetected until it becomes a serious health concern.

At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know the first and most important step in assessing the danger for prediabetes is to understand the risk factors, which include:

  • Age (over 45)
  • Race (a higher risk for African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans)
  • Being overweight
  • A family history of type 2 diabetes
    A sedentary lifestyle
  • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds

If you or someone you love falls into any of these categories, a routine blood sugar test can help preempt the condition or detect and get it under control. The good news is, simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and BMI. Losing as little as 5 to 7% of body weight for someone who is overweight (about 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) can have a tremendous impact on reducing the risk for diabetes.
  • Staying physically active. Check with the doctor for specific recommendations, but in general, the guideline is to strive for 30 minutes of brisk walking or a similar activity, five days per week.
  • Following a healthier diet. Replace foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar with fruits and veggies, fish and lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Most importantly, follow the doctor’s guidance and ensure you’re staying up to date with recommended check-ups.

As you’re working to reverse prediabetes, be sure to keep an eye out for the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and contact the doctor as soon as possible if you notice them. These include:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Increased urine patterns
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue

Diabetes can lead to a number of serious health issues such as kidney failure, adult-onset blindness, and lower limb amputations. Not only that, but nearly three in four patients with type 2 diabetes need treatment for hypertension, and nearly half are impacted by severe cardiovascular disease.

At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers can help those with prediabetes, diabetes, and other serious health conditions in a variety of ways. We can plan and prepare healthy meals, provide motivation to stay physically active, run errands like grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions, and more. We also care for family caregivers by providing the professional respite care services that allow crucial time for self-care.

Contact us at the location closest to you and let us connect you with just the right caregiver to meet your needs.

 

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

High Cholesterol In Older Adults: Signs and Symptoms

High Cholesterol in Seniors -- Help

When February rolls around, we all find ourselves thinking about matters of the heart. While love is always top of mind this time of year, there’s another heart issue that is important to think about – keeping the heart healthy. During Heart Awareness Month the senior care services experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, share the signs and symptoms of high cholesterol and how it can impact older adult heart health.

The word cholesterol is often feared because it is associated with heart disease and high blood pressure. But what many people don’t realize is that our bodies actually need cholesterol in order to build healthy cells. It’s when an individual’s cholesterol levels get too high that a person needs to be concerned. High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to form in blood vessels. As these deposits grow, it becomes harder for blood to flow through the arteries, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

What Causes High Cholesterol?

There are two types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol because it is the kind that builds up on the walls of the arteries. HDL, on the other hand, is called “good” cholesterol. It works to pick up extra cholesterol and bring it back to the liver.

The body already makes all the LDL cholesterol it needs. An unhealthy diet and lifestyle can lead to the production of more LDL than the body needs. Behaviors that can negatively affect your cholesterol levels include:

  • A diet high in fat, salt, red meat, and processed foods.
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Being overweight or obese

Heredity can also play a role in a person’s cholesterol levels. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).

Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol. A blood test is the only way find out if a person has it. Even young children can have high cholesterol, so the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends that a person’s first cholesterol test be done between the ages of 9 and 11 and repeated every 5 years after that. Cholesterol screenings should be done every 1 to 2 years for men ages 45 to 65 and for women ages 55 to 65. For people age 65 and over, cholesterol tests should be done annually.

High cholesterol can lead to a number of dangerous complications including:

  • Chest pain
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Changing to a healthier diet that includes healthy fats, fiber, lean meats like fish, and lots of fruits and vegetables, can help reduce cholesterol levels. Getting daily exercise and limiting salt and alcohol intake can too.

When it comes to making healthier choices, sometimes older adults need a little assistance, and that’s where the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help. Our Florida senior care services can be customized to meet the specific needs of each individual and help older adults live healthier lifestyles by assisting with things like daily exercises, healthy meal planning and preparation, and much more.

Contact us any time to learn more about 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

Tips for Managing the Most Common Chronic Health Conditions in Older Adults

More effectively manage the leading chronic health conditions in older adults with these tips.

Receiving a diagnosis for a serious health condition changes life in an instant – both for the person diagnosed and for those who love them. And with 80% of people over the age of 65 currently living with at least one chronic disease (and 68% with two or more), it’s important for all of us to educate ourselves on how to effectively manage chronic health conditions in older adults.

As your top resource for Florida aging care needs, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care has compiled some helpful information about the most common chronic diseases in seniors along with tips to help:

Hypertension

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious health condition. To keep blood pressure levels in check:

  • Follow a healthy diet, including limiting salt and alcohol
  • Lose weight, if needed and with the help of a registered dietitian
  • Exercise each day, incorporating aerobic, strengthening, flexibility and stretching activities
  • Take daily blood pressure readings
  • Minimize stress

Arthritis

Arthritis affects one in three seniors, most commonly women. Symptoms can be eased through:

  • Ensuring the legs, back, and arms are always supported
  • Maintaining a healthy weight; even losing just one pound will take four pounds of pressure off your knees
  • Quitting (or never starting) smoking

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries leading to the heart, which can cause a heart attack, blood clots, and other complications. Try:

  • Maintaining a diet free from trans and saturated fats, while limiting salt and sugar
  • Getting sufficient sleep each night – at least seven hours
  • Cardio exercises
  • Quitting (or never starting) smoking
  • Minimizing stress
  • Dementia

    Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and the ensuing memory loss and cognitive decline are not a normal part of aging and can be extremely difficult to manage. To ease the effect of symptoms:

    • Ensure plenty of physical activity as well as mental stimulation
    • Stick to a routine that includes healthy meals at regular intervals and sufficient hydration, and at least seven hours of deep sleep each night
    • Engage in meaningful, enjoyable pastimes daily

    Depression

    Depression in seniors is both common and treatable. If red flags of depression such as pessimism and ongoing feelings of sadness, fatigue, loss of interest in socializing or engaging in previously enjoyed activities, appetite changes, or problems with decision-making are noted, contact the doctor for help. Additionally, ensure:

    • Plenty of exercise to release endorphins and boost self-confidence
    • Socialization opportunities such as taking a class, volunteering, meeting a neighbor for coffee each morning, etc.
    • A healthy diet that limits highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
    • Stress-relieving activities, such as journaling, prayer, or meditation

    At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers are here to help seniors achieve a positive outcome in managing chronic health conditions. We can plan and prepare healthy meals, provide friendly companionship to boost socialization, engage in enjoyable activities and exercise programs, and much more. We also offer respite care services to help family caregivers alleviate stress for themselves and take necessary breaks from care to tend to their own needs.

    Contact us at the location closest to you and let us connect you with just the right caregiver to meet your needs.

     

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

  • Four Types of Exercises that Improve Older Adult Health and Physical Abilities

    Older Adult health and Wellness can be improved by exercise

    Did you know that a well-rounded fitness routine is just as important as a well-rounded diet to maximize an older adult’s health and physical abilities? While older adults who remain active throughout aging reap several health and wellness rewards, research has shown that it’s important to include endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises for the maximum health benefits.
    To help older adults incorporate physician-approved exercise as part of their weekly routine, the senior care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, share more information about each of these four fitness categories.

    Endurance Exercises

    Endurance or aerobic exercise is designed to increase breathing and heart rates, improve health and overall fitness, and provide stamina for everyday activities. Endurance activities improve heart and lung health and can prevent various diseases and health conditions that are common in older adults, such as colon and breast cancers, diabetes, heart disease and others. Aim for at least 150 minutes of endurance activity per week and try to spread activities throughout the day to avoid long stretches of sitting or inactivity. Examples of exercises that build endurance include:

    • Yard work (raking, mowing, pulling weeds, etc.)
    • Brisk walking or jogging
    • Dancing
    • Swimming
    • Biking

    Strength Exercises

    Strong muscles help older adults remain independent by making day-to-day activities such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and getting up and down from a chair easier. Strong leg and hip muscles help with balance and can reduce the chance of falls. Older adults can build strength through weights and resistance training and should aim to target all major muscle groups at least two days per week. Examples of strength exercises include:

    • Lifting handheld weights or bottles of water
    • Carrying groceries
    • Using resistance bands
    • Wall pushups
    • Gripping a tennis ball or small rubber ball

    Balance Exercises

    Falls are a leading cause of injury to older adults. Increasing lower body strength in combination with balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls and help older adults remain confident and independent. When working on balance, it’s important to start slowly and to have a sturdy chair or person nearby to hold onto to ensure safety. Balance exercise examples include:

    • Standing from a seated position
    • Tai Chi – a form of exercise that involves gentle, flowing movements
    • Standing on one foot
    • Walking heel to toe
    • Side leg raises
    • Marching in place

    Flexibility Exercises

    Increased flexibility also helps older adults continue to complete a variety of day-to-day activities safely and independently, such as reaching down to pick something up and looking over the shoulder when backing out of a parking space. The best time to do flexibility exercises is after completing endurance or strength exercises because muscles are warmed up. Stretching exercises also help ease stiff joints and provide greater range of motion, making it easier to move. These flexibility exercises can be completed standing or seated:

    • Overhead stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise hands overhead and interlace fingers. Gently pull arms to the left, holding for 10 – 30 seconds, and then repeat on the right.
      Shoulder stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, reach your left arm across your body. Place your right hand on your upper left arm, gently drawing your right arm closer. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds, and then repeat on the right.
    • Triceps stretch – Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise your arms overhead and bend your left arm so that it is behind your head. Place your right hand on your right elbow and gently pull your right arm in, holding for 10 -30 seconds. Repeat with your right arm.
    • Hamstring stretch – Place your left heel on a bench or other slightly elevated surface. Extend your leg straight with toes pointed up. Without rounding your lower back, gently hinge forward from the hips until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds and repeat on the right leg.

    Helping older adults remain independent, active, and engaged in their local community is a top priority for the referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care. Our Florida companion care services can be customized to meet the specific needs of each individual – offering help and encouragement with everything from daily exercises and meal preparation to friendly companionship and accompanied transportation for social outings, and much more.

    Contact us at the location nearest you to learn about all our in-home care services designed to help older adults thrive in the familiarity and comfort of home.

     

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

    Reduce Caregiver Stress and Increase Gratitude with These Tips

    Caregiving is both a rewarding and selfless act, but it also comes with challenges. Discover some simple tips to reduce stress and increase gratitude this holiday season! #holidaytips #caregiverhelp

    We may have turned the calendar page on Thanksgiving, but there’s good reason to hold onto that attitude of gratitude, especially if you’re a family caregiver. A thankful heart is actually a great remedy for something you’re likely facing on any given day, and even more so during the hectic holiday season: caregiver stress.

    What Gratitude Is NOT

    Let’s be honest. While providing care for someone you love is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and selfless acts of service that you can offer, it’s not without its unique challenges. And we in no way want to minimize the difficulties caregiving involves. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that these tips for focusing on gratitude are not intended to gloss over any hardships.

    How to Realistically Maintain a Thankful Heart

    That being said, there are ways to incorporate a positive perspective into your role as a family caregiver. As the saying goes, there is always something to be thankful for. It may take a little digging to uncover, but finding and focusing on the positives will:

    • Train your brain to gradually think more optimistically, improving your overall outlook on life and what it has to offer.
    • Help you appreciate the people and circumstances in your life that are making life better for you as well as the senior in your care.

    One simple but very effective way to accomplish this is through gratitude journaling. While typical journaling’s purpose is to get out any and all feelings you may be experiencing, a gratitude journal should be used simply to record your thankful thoughts.

    How to Get Started with Gratitude Journaling

    Dedicate a few minutes each and every day and commit to writing or drawing what you’re thankful for. Struggling for positive thoughts? These ideas can help:

    • Avoid negative TV shows, podcasts, movies, etc. Intentionally seek out media that builds you up rather than adds extra negativity to your day.
    • Step outside for a breath of fresh air before opening your journal. Take in the beauty of nature through all of your senses.
    • Do a quick online search for uplifting, positive quotes. When you find one that speaks to you, write it in your journal and refer back to it often.
    • Include any accomplishments - no matter how small. Even something as seemingly minor as saying something kind that brought a smile to the senior’s face should be included.
    • Try offering third-person advice - the advice you’d give to a friend - to yourself. This can help you see the situation more clearly and without the emotion that can cloud your perspective, allowing you to create and implement a plan.
    • Make a list of activities that lift your spirits, so when you’re feeling down, you can refer to it and choose one to try.
    • Routinely read back over what you’ve written, especially when stress begins to creep in and you need a pick-me-up.

    At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers are here to share in your caregiving role, allowing you time to step away for self-care and down-time – crucial components to reducing caregiver stress. Our respite care services are ideal for the senior in your care, too, offering opportunities for socialization to enjoy engaging activities and conversations.

    Contact us at the location closest to you and let us connect you with the perfect caregiver to meet your needs.

    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 Assess the Fall Risk of Older Adults

    Top Tips to Assess the Fall Risk of Older Adults

    The holidays are officially upon us. This year, after so much time apart during the pandemic, many of us are excited to celebrate the season by visiting with friends and family once again. For families with elderly loved ones, this time of year is important, not only as a time to reconnect, but as an opportunity to check in on health, mobility, and how older relatives are getting along at home.

    If you're visiting in person this holiday season, it's an ideal time to evaluate the fall risk of older adults both inside and outside of the house. Particularly if you haven't seen aging parents or older relatives in person due to the pandemic, there may be changes in the condition of the home or in the overall health and cognitive state of a loved one, that may make a fall more likely.

    These tips, from the care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, can give you an idea of what to look for and how to make a senior loved one’s environment safe:

    • Monitor overall physical health and mobility. In addition to playing a part in a person’s overall health, chronic illnesses can also impact physical health, including balance and mobility. Pay attention to how elderly loved ones walk. Do you notice shuffling? Can they get up from a seated position without assistance? Do they have any illnesses that might increase the risk of falls? The following are some conditions that may impact an older adult’s balance and mobility:
      • Vision impairment or loss
      • Arthritis or other bone and joint conditions
      • Chronic pain
      • Diabetes
      • Hypertension
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Anemia or other blood disorders
      • Thyroid issues
      • Foot problems
      • Muscle weakness, particularly in the legs
      • Vertigo or dizziness
      • Cognitive or mood disorders, like dementia, depression, etc.
      • Urinary incontinence
    • Discuss current medications being taken. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications increase a person’s risk of falling. These include pain medications, sedatives, insulin, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills. Diuretics and blood pressure drugs may also lower blood pressure which can create a fall risk as well. Some drugs have side effects such as dizziness or confusion which can create fall hazards in older loved ones, too. Drinking alcohol or using marijuana while taking medications can increase this risk as well. Help your loved one make a list of which medications he or she is taking and discuss with his or her physician any concerns about fall risk associated with these drugs.
    • Ask about exercise. For many older adults with chronic conditions, exercise can be challenging. Regular exercise, however, is essential to ensure muscles stay strong, which improves balance and decreases the chance of falling. Talk to your family member and ask how much exercise he or she gets daily. With the help of a doctor, develop an exercise plan that is safe, fun, and easy to keep up with.
    • Survey the home environment. There are many factors in the home that create fall hazards, including:
      • Slippery footwear, like socks or shoes without treads or any footwear that is too big or small or uncomfortable
      • Loose carpets, electrical cords, clutter, dark stairways, etc.
      • Outdoor risks like uneven ground, stairs or porches without secure railings
      • Lack of walking aids such as canes or walkers

    When it comes to fall prevention, creating a safe home environment is key. For more helpful tips on how to reduce the risk of falls for older adults, contact the Florida senior care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care. We can refer a care professional to help older adults in a wide variety of ways, including:

    • Range of motion assistance
    • Assistance with light housekeeping, laundry and linen changes
    • Transferring and positioning
    • Walking with accompaniment
    • Going to the restroom
    • Diabetes care
    • Medication assistance
    • Companionship and encouragement for physician-approved exercise programs
    • And so much more!

    Contact us today at the location nearest you and let us help find the perfect care provider to meet your in-home care needs. 
     

     

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

    The Importance of Good Nutrition for Older Adults

    Learn to overcome the obstacles to good nutrition for older adults.

    One of the top concerns for family members is ensuring proper nutrition for the older adults they love. If you’re unsure whether an older adult you know is getting the nutrients he or she needs to stay strong, healthy and well, this quick checklist from Florida’s top-rated referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care can help uncover potential red flags:

    1. Is the older adult you know experiencing a loss of appetite, difficulties with digesting food, or problems with chewing/swallowing? Has there been a decrease in the amount of food being eaten over the past several months as a result?
    2. Has the older adult experienced significant weight loss over the last few months? Losing weight, especially for someone with a less active lifestyle, can indicate that the person is not eating properly on a regular basis.
    3. Does the older adult have difficulty with mobility? Being confined to the home can lead to nutritional problems, as it’s more challenging for those with mobility issues to grocery shop or fix meals.
    4. Has an older loved one been under stress lately, or been diagnosed with a chronic illness in the past few months?
    5. What is the older adult’s Body Mass Index (BMI)? A BMI of 18.5 or less may indicate that a loved one is not eating enough, while a BMI of 30 or above can point toward obesity.

    If you find through answering these questions that an older adult may be experiencing problems with getting sufficient nutrition, it’s a good idea to check in with the older adult’s doctor.

    MyPlate for Older Adults is a helpful guide to appropriate nutrition for seniors, with details on foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, salt, and fat. It also includes recommendations for exercise and fluid consumption, issues that are of particular concern for many older adults. Nutritional tips according to this model include:

    • Bright-colored vegetables, such as peppers and carrots
    • Deep-colored fruits, such as berries and melons
    • Whole grains and cereals, such as brown rice
    • Nonfat or low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
    • Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads, as they are lower in saturated and trans fats
    • Replacing salt with spices
    • Physical exercise including walking and resistance training

    Additional guidelines include selecting foods that are easier to prepare and decrease waste, such as bags of frozen vegetables and single-portion containers of fruit.

    The trusted Florida referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are on hand to help older adults maintain proper nutrition through grocery shopping, planning and preparing healthy meals, serving as a companion to make mealtimes more enjoyable, cleaning up the kitchen, and more.

    Contact us any time to learn more about 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

    Tips to Help Manage Behavioral Challenges in Older Adults with Alzheimer's

    Learn how to navigate the challenging behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s.

    Your usually calm loved one suddenly starts shouting and swearing at you. You wake up in the middle of the night to find your father wandering down the street. Your mother suddenly feels confused and has trouble sleeping at night.

    It is common to see changes in behavior in a loved one with Alzheimer's. Still, scenarios like these can be deeply upsetting for family members. It is important to remember that these changes, while challenging, are typical as the Alzheimer’s progresses. And while it’s easier said than done, caregivers should try not to take these episodes personally.

    Another vital thing to remember is that all behavior is triggered by something. If a loved one with Alzheimer’s has recently become aggressive, this change is occurring for a reason. Perhaps it is loud noises or something else in his or her environment that causes the aggression. Maybe someone said or did something that triggered the behavior. At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we know that getting to the root of the behavior can help family caregivers manage and potentially avoid many behavioral challenges associated with dementia.

    Wandering

    A common behavior for people with dementia, wandering poses a number of potential safety hazards. Boredom, medication side effects, or the urge to look for something or someone are often triggers for wandering. If a loved one is wandering, try these tips:

    • Help the older adult get regular exercise and participate in enjoyable activities to reduce boredom and restlessness.
    • Camouflage doors with removable curtains or use safety covers on door knobs.
    • Install an in-home monitoring system that can alert you if a loved one is moving around or attempting to leave the home.
    • Have the older adult wear an ID bracelet and/or a GPS tracking device that will help with identification and location tracking if wandering occurs.
    • Alert neighbors about a loved one’s propensity for wandering and make sure they know how to contact you if needed.

    Sundowning

    Sundowning consists of restlessness, disorientation, sleeplessness, and agitation around nighttime. This behavior can be caused by a number of factors, including exhaustion and changes to a person’s biological clock. These steps can help ease sundowning behaviors:

    • Discourage inactivity and napping during the day.
    • Cut back on sugar, caffeine, and other foods that may contribute to sleeplessness.
    • Plan for calm, quiet activities in the afternoon and evening hours.
    • Turn on lights before sunset and close curtains. This can eliminate shadows and help reduce confusion.
    • Consider talking to the older adult’s doctor about medication side effects if you feel that may be an issue.

    Agitation

    Agitation can be a particularly troubling behavior to witness in a loved one with Alzheimer’s. This can include irritability and verbal and physical aggression. Agitation may be triggered by environmental factors such as loud noises or clutter, fear, and fatigue. It can also be the result of the person feeling as though they are losing control of their own lives. These tips can help:

    • Reduce noise and clutter in the home.
    • Follow routines as much as possible and keep commonly used household objects and furniture in the same place.
    • Allow the person to do as much as he can for himself to support a sense of independence.
    • Play soothing music, read, or take a walk to soothe agitation.
    • Do not confront or argue with a person experiencing agitation. Instead, distract him or her with a calming activity.

    Alzheimer’s disease gradually changes loved ones in a number of different ways, and everyone experiences the disease differently. If you have a loved one with dementia who is exhibiting challenging behavioral changes, remember, you are not alone.

    The referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are always on hand to help reduce restlessness or boredom, and they are highly skilled at creating calming environments that allow older adults with Alzheimer’s to feel relaxed and peaceful. For family caregivers overwhelmed by new behaviors and caregiving duties, our referred caregivers also provide respite care services to ensure you get a chance to rest and recharge yourself.

    Contact us today at the location nearest you and let us help find the perfect care provider to meet your needs.

     

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

    Beware of These Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults

    Be vigilant about these latest financial scams targeting older adults.

    Older adults are a prime target for financial scammers, for several reasons. Scammers make the assumptions that older adults have built up significant savings, that they are lonely and will welcome a conversation with someone who wants to talk with them, and that they may not be savvy enough to detect the scam. As a result, older adults lose more than $3 billion annually to financial scams. And sadly, many of these crimes are committed by a trusted family member of the victim.

    It’s important for all of us to be aware of the latest scams targeting older adults in order to protect the ones we love – as well as ourselves. American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some of the current top scams to watch for:

    • Email/internet scams. Seemingly generated by the senior’s financial institution or online store and looking very legitimate, these scams are easy to fall for. An email link will be provided to update an account, which leads to a location for the senior to enter sensitive personal or financial information, which is then stolen.
    • Romantic scams. For someone who is lonely, receiving texts or emails from a romantic admirer can be hard to resist, and difficult to identify as scams. The recurring theme to watch for is when someone asks for money, especially for travel expenses to come to the U.S. to start a new life with the senior.
    • Sweepstakes winner scams. Receiving a “free” check in the mail as a lottery or sweepstakes prize can be exciting at first, but this scam involves a payment to be made to “unlock” the prize. Once the check (which is fake) is deposited to the senior’s account, it will be rejected – and the scammer is long gone with the payment.
    • Grandparent scams. These scams are intended to pull a senior’s heartstrings. The scammer simply calls and says, “Hi, Grandma, do you know who this is?” Once the senior guesses the name of a particular grandchild, the scammer can describe a financial emergency, asking for a credit card number to get out of the jam.
    • Government agency scams. Receiving a call from the supposed IRS, Medicare, or Social Security Administration with the threat of penalties for unpaid taxes or benefits being stopped can be intimidating. Seniors need to know that government agencies will never call and request personal information over the phone.

    The Florida aging care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are always here to help with the resources, education, and in-home care services older adults need to stay safe. And, our referred care providers are the ideal solution to the loneliness and boredom that can make seniors more vulnerable to con artists. Through conversations and fun, engaging activities, older adults can enjoy each day to the fullest.

    Contact us any time and let us know how we can help 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