Making Allergy Season Easier for Seniors

As springtime begins, we all enjoy getting back outside to enjoy the warmer weather. But one unfortunate downside of springtime is the many allergens in the air. Here at Best Home Care, we know that these allergens make it an especially challenging time of the year for seniors.

 

Most antihistamines are not recommended for seniors as they can interfere with other prescription medicines and increase blood pressure, but there are other ways to weaken the effects of seasonal allergies. Here are some tips from Best Home Care on how to make allergy season easier for seniors receiving home healthcare:

 

  • Know The Pollen Levels: If there are specific days you plan on being outside, like Memorial Day for instance, check the pollen levels along with the weather report. You can also plan outings when the levels are going to be low, making for a much more enjoyable day.
  • Wash Away the Allergens: To prevent pollen from spreading inside your house, wash your hands once getting inside and toss your clothes and linens in the dryer rather than hanging them outside. Pollen and other allergens can collect on our clothes and get in the home.
  • Run The Air Conditioning: Having the windows shut and preventing the wind from blowing in irritants can make a big difference in managing allergy symptoms. This can be tricky for seniors though, who do not get as hot in the summertime. But if allergies are a concern, having the windows closed and the air conditioning on makes for much more comfortable senior homecare experience in the spring and summer months.

 

Best Home Care knows the importance of providing quality homecare for seniors and can answer all of your questions regarding home healthcare services.

 

For more information on how to make allergy season easier on the seniors in your life or if you have any questions regarding elderly homecare, contact our home health professionals at (651) 330-2550. We can help answer any questions you may have regarding in-home care services, home nursing services, or in-home care costs.

What are the Best Clothes for Senior Home Care Patients?

With the snow melting and the weather warming up, most Minnesotans are putting away their winter clothes and bringing out the short sleeves. For PCAs providing in-home supportive services for seniors, now is the perfect time of year to evaluate your patient’s wardrobe and help them make the best decisions on what to wear this summer. Instead of basing their wardrobe on fashion, personal care assistants and family caregivers should focus on comfort, cleanliness, and accessibility.

 

There are several factors to consider when purchasing new clothes for seniors this spring:

 

Comfort: This is especially important for home care patients with sensory issues. Choose soft and loose fabrics that won’t irritate the skin. Rip off the tags to help avoid the annoyance of rubbing. Ensure that clothing is not too tight around the wrists and ankles as this can reduce circulation to extremities

Cleanliness: Many times an Alzheimer’s home care patient will only wear a few select clothing options leading them to get dirty very quickly. Consider buying duplicate options of those clothes so that they will always have clean options to wear.

Accessibility: Seniors suffering from arthritis and other joint problems or disabilities can have a difficult time putting on clothes each day. Easily accessible clothes can help make it easier for them to dress themselves. Button-up or zip-up shirts and pants with elastic waist bands are great options for seniors with these issues.

 

If a senior has trouble dressing themselves, personal care assistants and family caregivers should provide assistance to ensure the senior’s safety and comfort.

 

For more information on best practices for senior summer clothing, contact the home care professionals at BestHomeCare. As a leading Minnesota home care agency, we are proud to help PCAs and family caregivers prepare for summer and provide the best home care possible.

Travel Dos and Don’ts for a Safe and Successful Holiday Season

Senior Home Care, Personal Care AssistantsThe holidays are here again and for many people that means traveling by plane, train, or automobile to head ho-ho-home to visit family. With a senior travel companion now receiving elderly home care services, dodging hundreds of probing but only slightly differentiating questions from every relative might not be your largest obstacle this year. Traveling with someone who is accustomed to around-the-clock home care requires a good deal of research and planning. Get started by skimming Best Home Care’s list of dos and don’ts for a safe and successful holiday season!

 

 

This Holiday Season, Do:

  • Remember to be realistic: Your travel capabilities will likely differ from those of seniors. Small tasks, like carrying a suitcase, may seem impossible to them. Act generously and volunteer to lift or move heavier objects for your senior home care patient.
  • Call airlines ahead of time: Thankfully, airlines provide plenty of amenities to assist PCA healthcare, but PCAs should contact airlines about wheelchair accessibility before traveling. If special needs are mentioned last minute, the staff has no obligation to accommodate them.
  • Keep a consistent schedule: Most home care providers, especially specialists from the Best Home Care, agree that creating and maintaining a consistent schedule is important. This includes medication, therapy, and meal times.

 

This Holiday Season, Don’t:

  • Forget about medical records: Bring extra medication and a first-aid kit. Keep phone numbers for and prescriptions from doctors handy in case of emergency. If your senior home care patient has a pacemaker or other internal devices, ask an security official and medical professional if they can go through a metal detector.
  • Take a flight with connections: Do your best to avoid booking tightly scheduled connecting flights since seniors will have trouble rushing through a busy airport. Similarly, try to break up a long car trip into smaller chunks.
  • Underestimate travel time: Seniors often opt for the elevator or escalator when you might be used to the stairs. You should also expect the number of bathroom breaks to increase.

 

Traveling with seniors is a wonderful way to create lasting memories. Complete your research and planning sooner rather than later for an incredible trip. Contact a helpful home care specialist from Best Home Care for additional advice concerning spending the holidays with seniors.

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!

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 FeedingAmerica.org, 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

Source: WebMD.com

 

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.

Can Smartphones and Watches Replace Traditional Medical Alert Systems?

Senior Home Care, Medical Alert SystemsMedical alert systems are an incredibly important tool for senior home care patients and those living with paralysis. Not only do these easy-to-use systems allow individuals to maintain their independence, they provide family members with peace of mind knowing their loved one is able to contact help in the event of an emergency.

We here at Best Home Care have noticed an interesting trend occurring over the past few years as new technology slowly replaces the traditional medical alert system. Smartphones and smartwatches are increasingly being used in place of expensive medical alert systems and their pricey subscriptions. Recently, there have been a number of stories about the intelligent assistance system in these devices saving the lives of their owners. This innovative technology is being incorporated into home care plans; allowing those receiving at-home care to live much more independent lives.

“Hey Siri” and “Okay Google”

Voice command software in the iPhone, Nexus, and other Android phones allow an individual to contact help without ever touching their phone. In the event of an emergency, simply stating, “Hey Siri, call 9-1-1” or “Okay Google, dial emergency services” will connect the home care patient with a local dispatcher. Voice commands benefit the home health care for seniors in the event of a fall or for those living with paralysis if they are unable to reach their phone.

Over the past few years, smartwatches have exploded in popularity and so has their use in the home health care industry. As a smartphone extension for your wrist, seniors are increasingly using smartwatches as a medical alert system wherever they go. Doing so eliminates the need to carry their smartphone with them and allows them to move confidently within and outside of their home.

Note: Those interested in using a smartphone as a medical alert system should schedule a test-call with their local 911 dispatcher to ensure it works properly.

Apple iPhone’s Medical ID

A lesser-known feature of Apple’s iPhone is the Medical ID as part of the Health app. This tool makes basic medical information accessible from the smartphone’s lock screen. If the owner were to become unresponsive, an EMT can use this app to quickly find critical information and provide better care. Click here to learn how to set up your Medical ID and be better prepared for an emergency.

Technology touches every industry and home health care is no exception. As a leading Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care works to stay on the cutting edge of new trends in our field in order to provide the best service for all of our home care professionals. Contact us to learn more ways technology is impacting home care services and how you can start including it into your PCA services!