Home Instead Senior Care

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5 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

There’s nothing better than coming home to a dubiously excited dog or cat vying for attention. While it may feel great to be a source of endless happiness for your pet, your own health and well-being can be greatly improved. Studies show there are physical, emotional, and mental benefits of owning a pet for people of all ages. From encouraging daily exercise to unconditional companionship, the perks of having a furry best friend are numerous and undeniable. The following are 5 health benefits of owning a pet.

Pets are Heart Healthy

Did you know the simple act of petting a dog or cat can be hugely beneficial to your cardiovascular health? Individuals with pets tend to have a lower blood pressure than non-pet owners, which is imperative in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Loneliness and Depression Antidotes

The companionship of a pet can help combat depression and loneliness for pet owners who may find themselves spending a lot of time alone. Before choosing a new friend, however, consider the pet’s age and natural demeanor. The relaxed temperament of many older pets may align well with senior energy levels and lifestyle, whereas a puppy or any energetic pet may be more suitable for younger, more active owners.

Simply petting an animal can reduce stress and increase feelings of companionship because it releases the pleasure chemical dopamine in the brain. Also, walking a dog is a great ice-breaker when it comes to talking to people on the street or at the dog park.

Animals Live in the Moment

Have you ever noticed the Zen-like mentality of animals to live for right now and at the moment? That “here and now” mentality can be particularly helpful for seniors. Seizing the day with your furry friend at your side can help you appreciate every precious moment of your life.

Increased Independence

Pets can also help improve mobility and independence for seniors by helping with daily tasks. For example, pets can alert seniors with hearing loss when there’s a knock at the door or the phone rings. Also, a daily outdoor walk with a pet is a healthy low-stress form of exercise.

Furry Pain Relievers

Anxiety intensifies pain and vice versa. By reducing anxiety levels, pets can help alleviate pain for seniors who may experience chronic conditions such as arthritis or sciatica. Recent studies have shown that there’s a decreased need for pain medication following surgery when a pet is present in the home.

Conclusion  

There are few things more rewarding than owning a pet. Not only do they provide unconditional love and companionship, but having a furry best friend can be attributed to a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For more information, contact the professionals at Home Instead Senior Care.

Benefits of Respite Care

There will come a time where a caregiver will need the help of respite care. Respite care is temporary institutional or in-home care of a senior loved one who is ill, handicapped, or needs care around the clock. A caregivers, health and well-being need to be priorities, and giving yourself a break from those responsibilities as needed is key. Respite care will allow you to take a break from your daily care routine and manage the other responsibilities in your life. Read on and find some of the many benefits that respite care has to offer.

Find Relaxation Again

When it comes to your body, it needs adequate rest to function properly. If you fail to give it the rest it needs, you will begin to experience exhaustion and even depression. With optimal rest for your body, your mood will be enhanced. This will allow you to take on any caregiving responsibilities flawlessly, with a whole new outlook. 

Increase Your Social Life

People are creatures who need social engagement to avoid depression, as well as many other factors that can be debilitating at times. For a caregiver, it is important to avoid being isolated for extended periods of times. When you are constantly working with elderly loved ones, you can experience a mental and emotional breakdown. With respite care, it will allow you to take the time to have dinner with friends, attend a fun event, or even take a vacation, you know you deserve it.

Prevent Any Bad Habits

When a caregiver becomes overworked, they may turn to bad habits such as smoking, drinking, overeating, and other bad habits in an attempt to manage their stress. By choosing respite care you will have the ability to take some\ much deserved time off to relax and enrich your life with healthier habits such as fitness, journaling, meditation, or yoga. Preventing these bad habits is essential to be an efficient caregiver. Don’t allow yourself to become overworked.

Regardless of the reason your need for respite care, you want to make sure to choose the right senior care facility. That’s where we can help, here at Home Instead Senior Care we have years of experience working with the senior community and are here to help. Contact us anytime for additional information on our respite care service.

Coping with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness that shakes families to their core, leaving people wondering how to help their loved ones. This overwhelming diagnosis might make you feel hopeless at first, but the truth is, there are ways to make day-to-day life less of a struggle with senior care. To learn more about how people cope with the disease, read this blog post.

Symptoms

Those who have Alzheimer’s disease exhibit a number of symptoms including: a shorter attention span, trouble recognizing objects they once knew, making choices, and communicating with others. Alzheimer’s sufferers also tend to lose their coordination and physical strength. All these symptoms make it challenging for the sufferer to navigate their own homes, which is why preventative measures must be taken. The disease cripples people’s confidence in themselves, but there are many ways to ease the burden on a daily basis.

Safety First

If your loved one has a caregiver, they can perform safety checks around the home to ensure patients’ safety among their surroundings. There are several general safety precautions that you can take to keep the home ready for anything. First, you should always have emergency contact information handy in each room, so you can be prepared for anything. Because many Alzheimer’s patients wander, another important safety suggestion is to install enough lighting throughout the house to ensure they can navigate safely. Rugs, extension cords, and clutter may pose a dangerous tripping risk, so the clearer the hallways, the better. Another important thing to consider is using childproof locking systems on cabinets that hold medicines and other toxic substances. Handrails throughout the home will allow your loved one the freedom they need to move with ease.

Recreational Activities

Physical activity can improve the overall health of every Alzheimer’s patient, as it helps prevent high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes. Exercise can also boost patients’ moods, which will help them live with less worry and pent up stress. Depending on the stage of their condition, people with Alzheimer’s can participate in a number of activities like running, swimming and gardening, with some minor accommodations. Walking and other low impact routines are good for patients who have a more developed disease.

Reading and making art are more ways to help Alzheimer’s patients challenge themselves and stimulate their minds. Artistic activities can lower anxiety levels in individuals experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s, and may also stimulate their memory. Self-expression can help boost people’s moods and confidence.

Conclusion

At first, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating, but with some research and extra help, you can help make your loved ones’ life much easier and safer. Those in need of professional Alzheimer’s care can count on us at Home Instead Senior Care, where we work hard to provide our patients with quality of life.

The 3 Secrets of Seniors Who Stay Active

Bingo is so overrated. After all, it’s completely sedentary, and keeps mental stimulation quite lax. Thankfully, there is an abundance of better activities for the seniors we know and love. Below are some of the superior alternatives that can offer lots of room for creativity or rigorous thinking.

Pottery classes

Although this one requires sitting often, the upper body can get quite a workout from it. If the seniors in your life love getting their creative juices flowing, pottery classes can be excellent opportunities for them to build masterpieces. Getting one’s hands dirty with slimy and sticky substances can also stimulate sensory skills, since tactile and olfactory skills are crucial here. Having others besides oneself doing the same activity can be great for socialization, as well as intellectual stimulation. Transforming a lump of clay into an ordered form takes planning, calculation, and aesthetic evaluation. What a wonderful thing pottery is!

A potter shapes an earthen vessel.

Water aerobics

Osteoporosis is seriously excruciating, which is why water aerobics (also called waterobics) is a fantastic alternative to exercising on land. Regular aerobics is designed to strengthen the heart, and water aerobics accomplishes the same without putting unnecessary strain on ligaments and joints. Water aerobics is not only suitable for the elderly, but also for those who wish to exercise without blowing out one’s knees. Warm water, in particular, is great for those with arthritis. Overweight individuals too should be able to participate in the activity without being concerned about messing up their spine or hips. And the best part? All the laughter one gets to share with others doing the workout! Doing cardio doesn’t have to mean smashing one’s soles against the hard pavement; simply encourage your elders to oxygenate aquatically! (Better yet, do it together!)

Elderly people participate in water aerobics.

Gardening/Landscaping

This third activity incorporates both creativity and movement. An art form that combines physical coordination and artistic coordination, gardening can be a marvelous outlet for the homemaker, the artisan, and the homebody. The wonderful thing about gardening is that the complex cultivation of various flora and management of the fauna is available for all skill levels. The superb flower arranger can find room to experiment, while the novice can help hose the beautiful mini forest and make it sparkle in sunlight. Watching the colors harmonize and the birds sing can make for great places at which grandparents can play with their grandchildren. (All the more reason to pick up that shovel and start planting!)

An elderly couple play with a water hose in a yard.

Conclusion

Climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator can be a great method for exercise, except for the monotonous aspect; and participating in a book club can be a valuable way to socialize and make friends, except for the sedentary aspect. Putting a slight variation to any number of activities can make them fantastic and creative. For more senior care ideas, simply reach out to Home Instead Senior Care!

Home Modifications for Your Senior

Home modifications can make it possible for seniors to live a comfortable life at home. Some modifications, such as ramps and walk-in showers, are just a few ways to improve safety inside the home, while also adding convenience for daily activities. Follow along in our blog for ways to make your senior’s living space more accessible!

Ramp Modifications

Indoor ramps are a useful home modification for older adults who use wheelchairs. These indoor ramps provide smooth transitions from one surface to another, making it safer to move throughout the home. We recommend threshold ramps, which are made from rubber components. They can easily be adjusted to the height of the door jamb or steps.

Kitchen Modifications

Washing dishes can be a challenging task if the sink is too deep or hard to reach over. Countertops and cabinetry may also be too high, especially for those using a wheelchair. To fix this problem, hiring a contractor to come in and adjust the counter height or lower the sink may be necessary. Moving tableware to lower shelfs, like bowls and plates, can also make everyday items more accessible!

Bathroom Modifications

Getting in and out of the shower may prove difficult for seniors as they age. One way to solve this problem is to replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, which provides a much easier (and safer) entry and exit compared to a bathtub. In addition, installing a shower bar can give seniors something to hold onto while maneuvering to and from the tub. If an elderly person is having difficulty standing for long periods of time, consider a bathtub bench for more convenience!

Conclusion

Caring for an elderly loved one means making changes around the house as they grow older. If you have a senior that needs home assistance, contact Home Instead Senior Care. We provide the best quality care from the comfort of your elder’s home, with services tailored to you and your family’s needs. Visit our website for more information!

Picking a Pet for Your Elderly Loved One

Loneliness is common for those who are growing old. During this time, friends and other loved ones are passing away and daily activities are getting harder to partake in. While these situations can’t always be controlled, there is one sure way to provide your elderly loved one with some enjoyment – a pet! Animals are a great source of companionship and stress relief, making them the perfect investment. Follow along with our blog to learn how to pick the perfect pet!

Consider Disability
As you age, certain physical limitations can start to arise. It is important to keep in mind these disabilities when it comes time to select the pet. A dog is a friendly and lively companion, however, most dogs are very active. If your loved one has mobility struggles, a dog may not be the right fit. An animal like a cat or a bird may be a better and safer option!
Consider Pet Age
Young pets, much like children, require near-constant care. On top of that, a puppy or kitten is going to need intense training in order to learn how to function properly within a home. While care and training may not be an issue for some, another thing to keep in mind is lifespan. The last thing anyone wants is for a pet to become abandoned should their owner pass on before them. When picking a pet for a senior it is smart to keep in mind the age and lifespan of each animal.
Consider Temperament
Just like humans, animals all have different personalities and characteristics. The temperament of each pet is something to keep in mind before purchasing for a senior. Many character traits run in specific breeds, especially in the case of dogs. It is important for you to do some research before impulsively making a decision. Talk with your loved one and see what characteristics they may prefer and which ones they will want to avoid.
Pet Health
If age is an issue, adopting a pet that is a bit older is common. If this is the case, it is important to get the animal you adopted checked out by a vet before introducing them to your home. There are a variety of illnesses and diseases an unhealthy pet can have that will compromise the health of a senior. Ensuring that your new furry friend is healthy is a great way to keep your loved one safe.
Finances
If you’ve ever owned a pet before, you know how expensive they can be. Between food, toys, and vet visits having the funds to own an animal is important. Before jumping out and making the big purchase of a pet for your loved one, check into their financial situation. It would be a terrible situation to find yourself in should a pet prove to be too expensive. Checking out the financial situation will help you decide what pet is a good option.


Back-Up Plans
While it may not be something you want to think about, backup plans are necessary when owning an animal. If something should ever happen to your loved one, it is important to think about what will happen to their pet. Sorting who will step in to help care for them while your loved one is in the hospital is a good start. Other plans include who will take on full care of the animal if your loved one passes on or ends up unable to care for them any longer.
Conclusion
Helping your elderly loved one find companionship during lonely times is one of the best things you can do for them! While it may seem stressful to try and figure out which animal will be best, we are here to help. For more information regarding the care of your elderly loved ones, head on over to our website!

My Parents Won’t Eat Healthy. Help!

Finding the perfect nutritious menu for oneself can be quite a challenge, but getting one for another—especially someone who has a particularly strong penchant for greasy foods—can be a whole other conundrum. If you’re trying to help your beloved parents practice healthy eating habits, this blogpost is for you!

1. Research avidly.

If we’re willing to look up the restaurants with the best prices and best quality, why not do the same for our loved ones, especially the ones who nurtured you? Go the extra mile by being familiar with the stores with organic foods, and restaurants that use top-notch ingredients. Does your old man enjoy that salad along with too much dressing? Does that fast food meat even qualify as real meat? Does that “healthy” snack contain a vile amount of high-fructose corn syrup? Get your parents to be students of Nutrition Facts and food labels. It’s pretty fun, too!

2. Sit them down and have the talk.

Swaying someone from their favorite heart-attack-inducing foods is often difficult, and may get very messy; however, recognizing that it is a necessary confrontation will help you stand your ground. Remembering you are trying to save a life or lives—the very ones of your precious folks—is crucial. Don’t mince words about obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Help your parents grasp the gravity of the situation; at the same time, help them count the cost, and fully mourn with them what they will lose: their high-sodium morsels and processed foods. Spend enough downtime with them; give them the love and encouragement they need from you.

3. Have a blast with the alternatives!

Here comes the fun part. Whether it’s grocery-shopping with your parents to help them grab those fiber-rich snacks or making a list of fruits and veggies that they enjoy, you can collaborate with your parents to come up with a meal plan that suits them. Show them a world devoid of preservatives and additives! Let them pick out their favorites from the shelves. Recommend those lesser known items that have done wonders for your own health and share those health hacks that you’ve picked up.

4. Hold them accountable.

Now that your folks themselves realize that what they put into their bodies really matters, their relationship to their food should inevitably be affected, right? Well, it’s easier said than done. In order to truly reap the benefits for the long haul, discipline must be established. Check in with your parents regularly, and ask them how they are keeping up with their goals. “Are you skipping the sugar when eating cereal, Dad? Is the juice in the fridge freshly squeezed or artificial, Mom?” The best and most effective way to change your own eating habits is to become fully convinced about your need to change; the same goes for your parents. Remind them if they seem to forget. Patience is key.

 

Conclusion

Strategize, strategize, and strategize. Meal preparation and nutrition takes work and sacrifice. Your parents were there to feed you only the best, and now you can return the favor. Have their back by giving them those words of praise when they stick by their new meal plan. And if they slip up, don’t be harsh; bear with them just like they bear with you. For more advice, call on Home Instead Senior Care today!

Health Benefits of Swimming for Your Elderly Loved Ones

When you find yourself looking for some great summer activities for your elderly loved ones to participate in, consider swimming as your go-to activity. Whether you want to get them out of the house for a small period of time or simply want to give them a great way to stay active year round, swimming is one of the best ways to achieve both of these goals. Keep reading our blog to learn just a few of the positive health benefits that swimming can bring to your loved ones.

Elderly man swimming.

Elderly man swimming.

 

Good for Their Heart

If you have a loved one entering their golden years, swimming and other water activities are a great way to promote heart health. Swimming is one of the best exercises for lowering blood pressure and improving circulation because it’s a low impact activity that gently uses a majority of the body’s systems and muscles.

 

Good for Their Joints

For those struggling with joint pain, swimming is one of the greatest ways to exercise without putting extra strain on their joints. Swimming is a low impact, full-body workout that allows everyone to experience a fun method of staying in shape. Due to the non-weight bearing nature of this activity, even those that struggle with hip, spine, or knee pain can find enjoyment.

 

Improves Their Flexibility

Did you know that swimming is a great way to improve flexibility? The gentle and effective resistance that water provides improves strength and flexibility. Because of the simple movements involved, they will be able to notice an improvement in the range of motion in parts of the body including hips, legs, arms, and neck.

Swim class.

Swim class.

Helps Their Mental Health

This is more of a double benefit for your elderly loved ones. Because swimming is generally a relaxing activity, it’s great for reducing stress and improving mental health. Another aspect of swimming is that it’s a social activity, which means that your senior is able to interact with other people around them and start new friendships. Through their interactions, many of their feelings of loneliness are also greatly reduced.

 

Conclusion

No matter the activity, you always want to be sure that it can have a positive impact on your loved one’s physical and mental well-being. Swimming is one such activity that checks both of these boxes in a way that’ll allow your loved one the freedom and ability to safely enjoy themselves. Let our team at Home Instead Senior Care help the elders in your life find an activity that’s right for them.

What Happens When Our Elders Watch TV All Day?

Watching TV is easy. Onscreen virtual reality effectively keeps both the young and old occupied and visually stimulated, so much that it has long become a nationwide pastime, if not the most popular one. But does this casual, fun activity come with strings attached? After all, how bad can streaming Teletubbies or those flashy infomercials be?

 

1. It strongly encourages sedentary behavior

It turns out that sitting and binging TV shows for five hours or more (which roughly translates to five episodes) per day can lead to fatal blood clots. For the elderly, the destructiveness tends to be even worse. This correlation is similar to that observable between in-flight entertainment and pulmonary embolism; not standing up, not drinking water, and not moving seem to add up to spell blood flow trouble. The perils remained the same even in Japan—well-reputed for the longevity of its senior population; the Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study found that fifty-nine deaths resulted from pulmonary embolism. Participating in sports, increasing heart rate, and—perhaps most importantly—limiting TV viewing time are some strategies to counter such dangers.

 

2. Thwarts intellectual stimulation

Although documentaries and educational content abound today, one of the main reasons people flock to the TV screen is relaxation. Reality TV, celebrity gossip, and vapid entertainment only require that we fix our gaze at the glowing colors and laugh along. Unsurprisingly, persisting in this passive, unthinking, and unchallenging mode slows down our ability to recall memories. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing reported that watching more than 3.5 hours per day was linked to a decline in verbal memory, most acutely in those who displayed higher cognition beforehand. So don’t flip to that channel with those petty catfights or ugly brawls; instead, consider reading thought-provoking and high-concept material with your elders, as it pushes our minds to crank the gears of our imagination.

 

3. Stifles Relationships

The absence of intellectual workouts reinforced by mindless TV not only rots our critical thinking and memory, but also inevitably our social skills too. Private binge-watching can rob opportunities for communal watching, and can isolate us away from tight-knit friendships and affirmation. Instead of turning to TV, we can turn to our peers; playing golf is an excellent way for elders to stay physically active and exercise friendly competition. In the case of the viewer who has obesity from binge-watching and has trouble moving, television addiction is not only a distracting hindrance to social interaction, but a physical one; however, regularly oxygenating the brain by going on a simple stroll can go a long way in crushing that couch potato inside all of us.

 

Conclusion

Being bombarded with promotions of all those unhealthy food products is unnecessary, and diverting our attention from vapid entertainment is avoidable. At the same time, trying to incorporate every healthful strategy simultaneously is not only exhausting, but also often ineffective. Thinking through each one carefully and applying it creatively and in a fun way, though, can spruce up your daily activities. Let Home Instead Senior Care help you decide those strategies!

Unpaid Millennial Caregivers are Growing in Number

Millennials in Changing Roles

When you hear the word “millennial,” the image that comes to mind might not be entirely positive. The media often portrays millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, as being spoiled, lazy, and overly dependent on their parents. However, a new growing statistic might change that image; more and more millennials are taking on the role of an unpaid caregiver for sick and elderly family members. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, the rate of millennial caregivers is about 1 in 4.

Understanding the Demographic Shift

In the past, most people did not find themselves in caregiving roles until they were in their 40’s or 50’s; however, that’s because prior to the baby boomer generation, people had children at younger ages and lived shorter lives. Many baby boomers, who make up 25% of the population, had children much later in life than their parents, and many of those children are millennials. Baby boomers are now reaching retirement and experiencing higher rates of chronic illnesses. Because many boomers are divorced, they’re relying on their children or grandchildren for care.

The Challenges

Many millennials who are now in their late 20’s and early 30’s are struggling to pay off student debt and are spending their limited funds on caregiving costs. At work, they may often be late or absent, leading to disciplinary action and missing out on opportunities for advancement.

Also, the stress faced by millennial caregivers can cause problems with their own health. While they want to make sure their elderly loved one is comfortable and feel positively about being able to help, they lose the opportunities to socialize and have fun. This adds to emotional and mental strain.

Most do not have any kind of formal caregiving training or skills, such as how to recognize a stroke, which is problematic for the people in their care. Without skilled care, sick and elderly people can suffer from worsening health. There is also frequent guilt about burdening their millennial caregiver.

Conclusion

The number of millennial caregivers will continue to increase as more and more baby boomers become elderly and experience fragile health. One solution available that can make life easier and more enjoyable for both the senior and the family member is in-home care. For example, Home Instead Senior Care provides clients with companionship, personal care, transportation, and help with household duties. If you’re currently struggling with your responsibilities as a caregiver, let Home Instead Senior Care help today.

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