How Grandchildren Can Help with Home Care Services

Over the last thirty years, the number of people in the United States living ninety years or more has tripled; reaching nearly two-million individuals in 2010. This number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years as the Baby Boomer generation ages well past retirement. This growing population of elderly individuals means an increased demand for senior home care services. Many families are choosing to face this demand head on by caring for their loved ones themselves in lieu of formal at-home care services from a personal care assistant or home care agency.

 

“Family caregiver” is the most common job title in the home care industry. According to Caregiver.org, 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last twelve months. Whether a child caring for an aging parent or a parent caring for a disabled child, the number of family caregivers is expected to grow in step with the demand for home care services.

 

While the majority of home care duties will naturally fall on the adult children, many grandchildren are beginning to care for their aging grandparents in different ways. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is very different than that of their adult children and it’s important for grandchildren to fulfill their role when a grandparent is receiving senior home care services.

 

Below are some ways that grandchildren can care for their grandparents without actually providing PCA services:

 

Give them Something to Look Forward to: Grandparents love getting visits from their grandchildren and look forward to spending time with them. For those that have difficulty visiting their grandparents, schedule a future date when you will visit.

A Simple Call: A simple conversation with a grandchild can make a grandparent’s day. If you can’t visit in person, make it a priority to call them at least once a week. Try asking them questions about their past to spur stories.

 

Best Home Care is ready to help grandchildren find ways to get paid for caring for a family member. Contact us today to learn more!

 

Lift the Spirits of Senior Home Care Patients this Valentine’s Day

family home caregiver, home care professionalOne of the greatest threats to a senior’s emotional health is loneliness. Whether due to the loss of a spouse or being separated from other family members and friends, many seniors spend their days alone. This loneliness can lead to depression and negatively impact a senior’s overall health. In fact, seniors are one of the most susceptible age groups to depression and emotional health problems.

 

There are many steps that a personal care assistants can take to help combat depression in senior home care patients. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this is a great time to take a moment to show a senior that they are cared for.

 

Join Best Home Care as we work to share a little love with everybody receiving in-home supportive services this Valentine’s Day. Here are some great activities and ideas for home care professionals and personal care assistants to work into their home care plans this Valentine’s Day:

  • Decorate Their Living Space: Spend time creating love themed decorations for the senior’s home or apartment. This makes a great activity for an afternoon craft hour or decorations can be purchased from a local store.
  • Celebrate with Family: For many seniors, seeing their family members in person on Valentine’s Day can be tough. Coordinate a time when family members can share their love via Skype or phone with their loved one.
  • Bake Some Treats: There is nothing better than sweet treats on Valentine’s Day. Help your senior home care patient bake cookies or a cake then top with holiday themed icing!

 

The simplest gesture can make a huge impact for a senior home care patient. If you don’t have time for any of the above activities, a sincere card or flowers are another great option for sharing your love this Valentine’s Day.

To learn more ways to combat depression and loneliness in seniors, contact Best Home Care today! 

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: 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.

Laughing Your Way to Better Health – It Can Really Happen!

can-i-get-paid-to-care-for-my-disabled-friend-or-family-member-home-care-elderly
There may be more truth to the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” than once thought. For years, scientists have marveled at the health benefits of a good chuckle. According to WebMD, humans change physiologically when we laugh. Our blood pressure and pulse elevate and we breathe faster, pushing more oxygen to our tissues. Some researchers even compare a hearty laugh’s ability to raise our heart rate to vigorous exercise.

For home care patients living with chronic illnesses, laughter may be especially beneficial. Numerous studies have shown that the most convincing benefit of laughter is its ability to dull pain. Those with painful chronic illnesses have consistently reported some relief from pain while laughing. No matter their specific needs, children to senior home care patients can all benefit from a good laugh.

Regular laughing throughout the day has consistently been connected to:

  • Sleeping Better: 10 minutes of laughing before sleep can help people relax and sleep better throughout the night.
  • Strengthened Immune System: Laughing can act like a pump to cycle fluids through the lymphatic system, filtering them and leaving them better prepared to fight sickness.
  • Improved Circulation: Blood vessels throughout the body expand and contract more fluidly when laughing which improves blood flow to the heart.
  • Decreased Blood Sugar Levels: Studies have shown that in-home care patients with diabetes can lower their blood sugar level simply by laughing.
  • Perhaps the most obvious (and most beneficial) benefit of laughter is its ability to improve our mood. Laughing also has many social benefits as it allows us to better bond with and create relationships with those around us.

    The home care professionals at the Best Home Care office are always laughing and we encourage our personal care assistants to laugh as often as possible as well! Incorporating humor into a PCA’s home care plan is an easy way to improve the health of home care patients with a smile. Posted in BlogTagged , Leave a comment

    Hiring a Non-Medical Home Caregiver Following Surgery

    Ways to Become a More Effective Caregiver - services for independent livingThe recovery time for a major surgery, such as a hip replacement or open heart surgery, can last anywhere from weeks to months. As we age, our body requires more and more time to repair itself from these procedures and it’s not uncommon for seniors to remain in the hospital for longer periods of time following a surgery to allow for proper healing. However once released, the risk of injury is still high as seniors adjust to the various restrictions on their home life. A non-medical home caregiver, such as a personal care assistant, can guide a senior through the recovery process, preventing any setbacks or injuries along the way.

    Post-surgery complications often occur because a patient attempts to perform an activity that their physical state simply won’t allow. Stiches tearing and internal bleeding are just two issues that can result from trying to do too much too soon after a surgery. Senior home care professionals may not be medically certified, but they can assist with the daily challenges that follow a surgery. These Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include:

    • Cooking and Cleaning
    • Toileting and Bathing
    • Medication Preparation
    • Wound Cleaning/Redressing
    • Appointment Scheduling

    Non-medical home caregiving promotes a speedy recovery following an operation in the place where a patient is most comfortable: their home. This is only one of the many benefits of hiring a PCA to provide home care services after a surgery, others include:

    • Caregivers offer companionship for those living alone. This companionship has proven to slow the aging process and dementia.
    • Convenient scheduling means caregivers can be hired for as long as they are needed to aid in post-op recovery.
    • A reputable home care agency will help a senior hire their own at-home caregiver and assist with the burdensome administrative tasks that come with the process.
    • Compared with other solutions for care after surgery, senior home caregiving is the most cost effective and comfortable for the patient.

    If you or a loved one is having surgery in the near future, consider hiring an in-home caregiver to aid in the recovery. Best Home Care will work with you to find a qualified personal care assistant or to hire a family member to provide your home care services. Learn more by contacting our Twin Cities home care agency today!

    Tips to Help Senior Home Care Patients Battle Winter’s Cold

    Transitional Home Care for SeniorsWith the holidays in the rear view mirror, Minnesotans are left to face winter’s cold gritting teeth. For some, this weather means snowmobiling, skiing, and other fun outdoor activities but for others, January’s frigid temperatures can be downright dangerous or even deadly. This time of year, our immune systems tend to struggle and the risk of sickness greatly increases. Combine this with hazardous and icy environments and it’s amazing that anyone has the guts to face a Minnesota winter!

    Because of their age, senior home care patients are especially susceptible to sickness or injury due to the cold. Slips, falls, the flu, and hypothermia, are just some of the risks that seniors face when cold weather sets in. While it’s wise for senior home health care patients to stay indoors as much as possible during these months, there will be times when they need to go outdoors and face the elements.

    Personal care assistants and family caregivers that provide in home care for seniors should always ensure that their patient remains comfortable and safe in any season. Below are tips to help seniors stay warm indoors and avoid falls outdoors this winter:

    Indoors:

    • Set thermostat to 65 degrees or higher and monitor it to make sure their home is staying warm.
    • To reduce cold drafts, weatherproof all windows with plastic, close doors to unused rooms, and close curtains at night.
    • Add blankets to the patient’s bed but don’t use a heating blanket as it may be difficult to adjust at night.

    Outdoors:

    • Choose shoes with non-skid soles that are designed to provide traction on ice
    • Replace worn rubber tips on canes and walkers
    • Always wear extra layers and a hat to cover the patient’s head

    Even though this cold weather can be hazardous for the elderly, taking the proper precautions both indoors and out will help seniors stay healthy and enjoy these winter months. Contact Best Home Care for more tips on keeping senior home care patients warm this winter or to find resources for PCAs providing home care for seniors.

    Travel Safely With Home Care Patients This Holiday Season

    Senior Home Care, Personal Care AssistantsWelcome to one of the most hectic times of the year! The many parties, gatherings, and get-togethers taking place over the next few weeks will likely leave you struggling to catch your breath by New Years Day. In 2014, AAA estimated that nearly 100 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more during the holiday season and that number is expected to grow this year.

    Chances are you will be leaving home at some point this season; and for personal care assistants, traveling with in-home care patients can present many challenges. Busy schedules, long road trips, and navigating lines at the airport can be especially difficult for those that require in home supportive services. Despite these obstacles, the rewards of being with loved ones for the holidays far outweigh the hassles of traveling.

    Personal care attendants and family caregivers should take steps to help their home care patients travel comfortably this holiday season. Whether your holiday plans involve heading cross-country or just down the street, take a moment to review these travel tips for senior home care patients before setting out:

    • Get a Doctor’s “Okay”: Make sure to talk about travel plans with a physician to learn of any potential health risks traveling could pose.
    • If Flying: Request a seat reserved for disabled travelers. Consider using a wheelchair to make traveling through an airport easier. Wear supportive stockings to prevent blood clots that can occur from sitting for extended times.
    • If Driving: Make plans to stop once every hour to stretch out and get fresh air. Pack healthy snacks and beverages for the trip.
    • Always Have the Essentials: Pack and organize a patient’s necessary medications, medical equipment, medical information as well as extra clothing and jackets.

    See more travel tips from Best Home Care!

    Traveling for the holidays should be an exciting experience, however, personal care assistants should complete some preparation to ensure their home care patients stay safe and comfortable. Contact Best Home Care to learn more ways you can prepare for this year’s holiday travel plans.