Call a TV Time-Out: Five Television Alternatives for Seniors

bigstock-home-caregiver-7540770With hundreds of cable channels available, it is understandable for seniors receiving PCA services to get sucked into a fifth episode of The Golden Girls on TV Land, a second feature film starring Clint Eastwood, or third hour of up-to-the-minute sports news coverage on ESPN. In fact, retirees spend more than half of their leisure time watching TV according to a study from U.S. News & World Report. That adds up to about four hours per day on average.


While television time at a quality home care center can be relaxing, Best Home Care is confident that seniors are searching for more meaningful ways to spend the rest of their retirement. Call a TV time-out and share these five fun screen time alternatives from Best Home Care with your favorite retiree or personal care assistant.

  1. Volunteer Work
    • It can be difficult for professionals to immediately stop working after spending years committed to a career. Volunteering at a local hospital, library, food pantry, or art center is a positive way to contribute to the community and share your skill set.
  2. Adventurous Cooking
    • So many aspects of our daily lives, including meals, seem rushed (like daily life at a personal care agency). Additional leisure time allows seniors the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy the process of preparing and eating food. Try substituting some of your favorite frozen dinners or take-out dishes with healthier, home-made versions. Get started by skimming our Eating Right for Seniors blog series.
  3. Home Improvements
    • Stop watching a carpenter craft a solid oak side table or an interior decorator sew pillow covers for some outdated accessories on HGTV and tackle these projects in real life!
  4. Physical Activity
    • Balance every hour of TV time with a bike ride around the block, journey up and down the stairs, or stroll through the garden with a friend or your home attendant. Incorporate some stretching before and after exercising to help prevent sore muscles. Best Home Care recently revealed their top five stretches for seniors in elderly care homes here.
  5. Reading Literature
    • Cracking open a book is more mentally stimulating than staring at a screen. If you lack motivation to start a book or have trouble selecting titles, join a book club. These meetings also provide an excellent opportunity to socialize and meet people who share common interests, perhaps even another suggestion on this list!

Contact Best Home Care to learn more about incorporating TV alternatives into your premier home care plan!

Stretching for Seniors: Top 5 Benefits and Moves

family home caregiver, home care professionalIt is natural for your muscles and joints to weaken as you age. However, the extent to which your strength, flexibility, and circulation deteriorates is dependent on the care you give your bodies. Stretching is vitally important for seniors and their home care aides to keep in mind.

Below are Best Home Care’s top 5 benefits that stretching has for seniors:

  1. Increased Strength
    • Stretching boosts strength and can help raise energy levels.
  2. Maintained Flexibility
    • Stretching can help prevent simple tasks like bending down to tie your shoe from becoming tiring chores that require help from a home care attendant.
  3. Improved Circulation
    • Stretching promotes stronger blood flow circulation and stops discomfort from muscle cramps after sitting for a long time in an elderly care home.
  4. Improved Posture
    • Stretching strengthens your core and can help seniors sit up straight.
  5. Reduced Risk for Injury
    • Seniors can recover faster from the inevitable stumble with regular stretching. This also helps them avoid increases in the cost of home care.

It is easy to forget to plan a little extra time to stretch, but it is an essential part of keeping seniors receiving elderly home care services healthy. Try incorporating these 5 moves from Best Home Care into your routine by setting aside a designated time each day. Start with 5 to 10 reps for each stretch and increase that number once you feel ready and your home care specialists agree.

  1. Shoulder Roll
    • Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Roll your shoulders up, back, down, and forward in a circular motion.
  2. Ankle Circle
    • Sit with your feet flat on the ground. Lift one leg off the floor and roll your ankle in a circular motion. Try a clockwise and a counterclockwise motion. Repeat with the other ankle.
  3. Straight Arm Raise
    • Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your sides. Lift one arm off the floor to an upright position. Repeat with the other arm.
  4. Knee to Chest
    • Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your sides. Lift one knee toward your chest and return to the floor. Repeat with the other knee.
  5. Hip Flex
    • Begin on your hands and knees with your back straight like a table top. Slowly move your hips back before returning to the starting position.

Remember to keep breathing while stretching and to stop if any stretch causes pain. To learn more about stretching for seniors contact Best Home Care!

Pets Can Greatly Benefit Home Care Patients

home care services, PCA services, at home care

Many of us have cherished memories of playing with a childhood pet, but did you know that animals have great benefits for home care patients? Studies have consistently shown that having pets in the home has a positive impact on an individual’s emotional health. This boost in spirits is especially noticeable for those receiving in-home care and can have a real influence on their overall health.

Pets help fight back against one of the most common struggles that those receiving home care services face: depression. According to Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression research Clinic Program at UCLA, “Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression.” In addition, this unconditional love can help reduce stress and improve a person’s mood.

The home care professionals here at Best Home Care are all animal lovers and many have pets of their own. We understand the joy that a pet can bring and encourage our personal care assistants to incorporate animals into their home care plans when able. Here are some ways that pets can enhance a home care plan:


Alzheimer’s Home Care and Pets

Studies have shown that pets can reduce the number of anxious outbursts of Alzheimer’s patients if there is an animal in the home. The companionship of having a pet can also trigger pleasant memories and improve the mood of the home care patient.

Increased Exercise

Taking a dog on a walk is a fantastic activity for home care patients that are able. Along with exercise, simply getting outside can improve a senior home care patient’s demeanor and can encourage them to take part in social activities.

Heart Disease Protection

Several studies have shown a link between pet ownership and a reduced risk of heart disease. In addition, having a dog or a cat has been shown to increase the likelihood of surviving a heart attack.

While pets can have health benefits, they may not be a smart choice for your home care patient. To learn more about the benefits of pet ownership and if an animal is a good fit for a specific home care plan contact Best Home Care!

If you or a loved one is interested in getting a pet we encourage you to contact your local humane society.

Eating Right for Seniors: Curbing the Sweet Tooth

elderly senior being brought meal by carer or nurseIt’s no secret that seniors like to eat sweets. Spend any time with a senior citizen and you’re likely to be offered candy, desert, or a cookie. While tasty forms of hospitality, this growing love of sugar among the elderly is the result of a natural human progression that we will all experience.


The sense of taste is directly correlated to the number and sensitivity of taste buds. Humans have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds at our best. However, as we age we lose taste buds and the ones we have left become increasingly less sensitive. As a result, sweets and salts take over our cravings as we try to get the same enjoyment out of eating. Unfortunately, these foods often come with increased calorie counts and greater amounts of fat. The lack of nutritional value in these foods can be particularly dangerous for a senior’s diet, putting them at risk for severe health concerns.


Our senior home care professionals experience this everyday while working to keep their patients eating healthy. It can be hard to curve the senior sweet tooth, but there are good tactics to keep them eating healthy while still enjoying the foods they eat. Below are some healthy snacks that make for great substitutes to sugary treats:

  • Cut fruit mixed with flavored yogurt
  • Applesauce with cinnamon
  • Seedless grapes with honey
  • Vegetables with nut butter dip


If a senior has trouble swallowing or digesting solids, a great solution is blended drinks. Preparing fruit smoothies can be a healthy treat that also has great nutritional benefits.


When it comes to preparing foods for seniors, it’s important to not deny them their cravings. It’s important to maintain a good balance of sugary treats with nutritional food options in a senior meal plan. With home care resources and professional caregiver support, Best Home Care helps personal care assistants and the family caregiver build healthy senior home care plans. Contact our Twin Cities home care professionals to learn more!

Eating Right for Seniors: The Warning Signs of Poor Nutrition

Five Things Every New Family Caregiver Needs to Know  - personal care providersWhether we realize it or not, the food we consume everyday impacts our overall health in major ways. While we typically associate poor eating habits with weight gain and obesity, poor nutrition can present itself in many different ways and intensify the severity of existing health conditions. This is especially true in the case of those receiving senior home care services over the age of 65.


According to, 1.2 million households with seniors living alone experienced food insecurity in 2014. Many times these seniors have the money to purchase food but were unable to access the resources or ability to prepare meals for themselves. As a result, food insecure seniors are at an increased risk for chronic health conditions:

  • 60% more likely to experience depression
  • 53% more likely to report a heart attack
  • 52% more likely to develop asthma


In-home supportive services from a trained personal care assistant or family caregiver can support the nutritional health of senior. A home caregiver must also be aware of the warning signs of malnutrition in seniors and know how to respond appropriately. Below are several common signs to look out for if you believe your home care patient or loved one is suffering from malnutrition:


  • Observe Eating Patterns and Habits: Keep a log of what and when the senior home care patient eats. Be sure to only list foods that were consumed. This will help you get a better understanding of what (if any) problem exists. Be sure to look for any significant gaps in meal times or lack of nutritional foods.
  • Watch for Weight Loss: Along with a meal log, track the patient’s weight on a daily basis. Depending on age, any significant weight loss may be an indicator of malnutrition.
  • Other Warning Signs: Wounds healing poorly and easy bruising are two other symptoms of malnutrition.


Being proactive is the best practice when providing senior home care services in order to prevent malnutrition from growing into a larger issue. The home care professionals at Best Home Care assist hundreds of PCAs as they provide at-home care for seniors in the Twin Cities. Contact our team to learn more about incorporating malnutrition prevention into your home care plan and find caregiving resources to help you provide the best home care possible.

Eating Right for Seniors: Nutritional Drinks

Home Care Plans, Home Care NutritionIt’s not uncommon for seniors to lose their appetite and begin eating less as they age. In fact, under-nutrition due to a lack of eating is one of the most common health concerns faced by seniors today. Not getting enough nutrients can lead to serious health issues and can make existing health problems even more severe.


To make it easier for seniors to get the appropriate nutritional intake, many nutritional drinks have popped up on the market. These nutritional supplements are meant to provide seniors with the nutrients they need in a convenient and tasty drink however, are these products right for everyone and what should home caregivers look for in a nutritional supplemental?


Below are several points that should be kept in mind when incorporating nutritional drinks into a senior’s home care plan:


Different People Have Different Nutritional Needs

Always consult with a doctor before incorporating regular nutritional drinks into a senior’s home care diet. It’s important to address what is causing the lack of appetite and understand what specific nutrients are needed most before selecting a drink.

Not to be Used as a Meal Replacement

While many nutritional drinks will market themselves as “meal replacements”, the nutrients found in regular food are vitally important for a senior’s diet. Instead of being the sole source of nutrients, a senior’s home care plan should treat nutritional drinks as a snack or dietary aid used in addition to regular meals.

Know Your Medications

Nutritional drinks have been shown to interact negatively with different medications. For example, vitamin supplements may have adverse effects when combined with blood thinners. Be sure to speak with a doctor before regularly consuming nutritional drinks to know if any medications you’re taking will interact negatively with the drink.


Nutritional drinks should be seen as a convenient way for seniors to get additional calories and nutrients, not as a meal replacement plan. Caregivers should take care to ensure that their at-home care clients are getting the majority of their nutrients through regular food.


The home care professionals at Best Home Care can help organize a meal plan for senior home care clients. Contact us to see how nutritional drinks can benefit your senior home care plan.

Eating Right for Seniors: Special Dietary Needs

Options for Senior Care“Eat your vegetables and drink your milk if you want to grow up healthy and strong.” We all remember hearing these words in younger days. However, for the older generations, this saying may be even more important. It should come as no surprise that as we age, a healthy diet becomes vitally important for our physical and mental health. Simply put, a nutritional diet for seniors promotes a better and longer life.


At Best Home Care, our personal care assistants understand the importance of a nutritional diet in a senior home care plan. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some good tips and resources to help PCAs and family caregivers ensure their at-home care patients eat nutritiously and stay healthy. The first topic in this blog series is how to meet the special dietary needs of seniors.


As we age, our bodies require fewer calories and therefore, each calorie consumed must be packed with nutritious benefit. Listed below are five nutrients that are especially important for seniors as well as foods where they can be found:


  1. Vitamin B12

Important For: Maintaining healthy nerve functions and creating red blood cells

What to Eat: Meat, poultry, eggs, and milk

  1. Folic Acid

Important For: Lack of folic acid can contribute to anemia

What to Eat: Breakfast cereals, fruits, vegetables

  1. Calcium

Important For: Building and maintaining strong bones

What to Eat: Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products

  1. Vitamin D

Important For: Preventing osteoporosis and protecting against chronic conditions like arthritis, M.S. and type 1 diabetes

What to Eat: Meat, poultry, eggs, and milk

  1. Potassium

Important For: Maintaining cell function and reducing high blood pressure

What to Eat: Bananas, prunes, and plums



For more information on preparing nutritious foods for seniors, contact Best Home Care. Our teams of senior home care professionals enjoy assisting at-home caregivers and can provide you with valuable home care resources to help you provide the best home care services possible.


Check back soon for the next entry in our Eating Right for Seniors blog series.

At-Home Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

elderly senior being brought meal by carer or nurse

Maintaining our independence becomes more and more important as we grow older. Seniors often have a hard time adjusting to life in a nursing home which is why many choose to stay living in their home as long as possible. Home care professionals and personal care assistants can play a vital role in helping seniors stay in their home as long as possible.

According to the Administration on Aging, 28% of seniors age 65+ that do not live in nursing homes, live alone. In addition, nearly half (46%) of all women age 75+ live alone. While living alone can be a positive factor in maintaining independence as we age, it can also present some serious obstacles and increase the likelihood of suffering a serious or fatal injury. While many older adults have no problem living alone, precautions should be taken to ensure that safety remains a priority.

Here at Best Home Care, our personal care assistants help many seniors continue to live in their home and maintain their independence. Regular visits to provide in-home supportive services can help a senior stay safe and healthy while allowing them to maintain living where they are most comfortable.


Below are some safety and health tips for seniors living alone:

Eating, Health, & Exercise: The best way to stay safe at home is to stay healthy! A healthy diet and regular exercise will help keep the mind sharp and resist sickness. Personal care assistants can help organize a home care plan that focuses on preparing healthy meals and getting daily exercise.

Avoiding Falls: Each year, falling sends 1.6 million older Americans to the emergency room. Install non-slip mats and handrails in all areas of the home that might be slippery (bathroom, entryways, etc.). Also, ensure that all rooms are properly lit and important items in cupboards are on the lower shelves and easy to reach.

Socializing: Seniors living alone are at an elevated risk for depression. Scheduling times to meet with friends or taking part in social activities are great ways for seniors to stay engaged with those in their community.


As a leading Twin Cities home care agency, Best Home Care is proud to help seniors maintain their independence with expert at-home care and PCA services. Our employees strive to provide the best senior home care services in Minneapolis. Contact us to see how we can help you or your loved one continue living in the home where they are most comfortable.

It’s Never too Early to Start Planning for Medical Assistance

twin-cities-homecare-training-bA study from the University of Minnesota found that 60% of middle-aged Americans believe it is unlikely that they will require home care service. In reality, 70% of adults will need in-home supportive services at some point in their life. This disparity in expectations can be blamed for the tens-of-thousands of Americans who delay saving for their future at-home care needs.


“Our study found that middle-aged Americans have unrealistically low expectations about their need for future health care, putting added pressure and strain on family members and friends,” said Carrie Henning-Smith, M.P.H., M.S.W., and lead author of the article. “The public needs to be aware that most will need care and there’s a need to plan ahead.”


This pressure and strain on the family is often the result of the rising costs associated with medical and PCA services. Insurance will likely cover some of these bills however; it’s wise to have a plan in the event that your coverage runs out. In these instances, the financial burden often falls on family members and it can quickly become too much to overcome. It doesn’t take long for home care costs to deplete assets that took decades to accrue.


At Best Home Care, our home care professionals answer questions about paying for home care services every day. With so many things to save for, preparing for future medical assistance needs often falls to the bottom of the list. Here are some easy guidelines for ensuring that you will have enough to cover your costs when the time comes:


  • Start saving now! Open a separate savings account specifically for your home care costs and contribute regularly
  • Consult your doctor and the home care professionals at Best Home Care to better understand how much you will need for future costs
  • Visit a financial adviser to organize your account and make sure you are on track towards your savings goals


Your health is your most valuable asset, shouldn’t you invest in it? Contact Best Home Care to learn about medical assistance planning and how you can start preparing for your future today!

Providing Home Care for Those Living with HIV/AIDS

Providing Home Care From A DistanceAccording to the CDC at the end of 2012, 1.2 million individuals over the age of 13 were living with HIV or AIDS in the United States. Even more interesting is that 1 in 8 of those individuals don’t know they have the disease. While most prevalent during the 1980s, HIV/AIDS is still a very real issue in America today. Great progress has been made to improve the standard of living for those affected by the disease. In addition, at-home care and PCA services can have great benefits for those living with HIV/AIDS.


Here at Best Home Care, we have helped a number of personal care assistants and family caregivers provide home care services for a loved one living with HIV/AIDS. While there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, the symptoms can be treated to allow individuals to comfortably continue their day-to-day life. In home supportive services compliment these treatments by fostering a health focused and supportive environment for the individual.

When it comes to providing HIV/AIDS home care, there are three areas that caregivers should focus on:

Proper Nutrition

Consuming healthy foods is essential to help maintain a strong immunes system and can even help treatments be more effective. As a caregiver, you should develop a meal plan that emphasizes healthy foods and always take care to prepare food properly and safely.

Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

HIV/AIDS patients are statistically more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; which can interfere with treatment and lead to even more dangerous health problems. As a home caregiver, you should actively monitor your client for signs of excessive alcohol or drug use and guide them towards help if necessary.


Treatments often include many different medications that can be confusing for a patient to keep track of and understand. As a personal care assistant, you should build a treatment plan that clearly shows what and when medications should be taken as well as tracking when they will need to be refilled.


HIV/AIDS home caregivers provide an invaluable service for their clients. Best Home Care is proud to support the work of these personal care assistants as they provide a better quality of life for the individuals they care for. Contact us today to learn more about home care giving services for HIV/AIDS or how our home care professionals can support you!