Thursday, December 1, 2016

5 Tips to Make the Most of the Holiday Season

Some people look at this holiday season as a joyous time; others look at it with dread. Buying gifts, putting up decorations, cooking, baking, entertaining – there is a lot to do. Do these things sound fun or frustrating?

If you are a family caregiver for a senior loved one, you might dread having to do all of these extra things because you are already overwhelmed. Caring for your loved one takes time – cooking meals, feeding, grooming, medicating…the list could go on and on. That is on top of everything else you have to do – spouse, kids, activities, friends, career. The list of activities never ends! Then add all the hustle and bustle of the holidays on top of it and you might find it hard to keep afloat.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially at this time of the year, we all should have gratitude for the things we have. Finding peace, even in the small things, is not impossible. Although there may be some added work, the holidays can still be joyous.

Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of the holiday season:

·         Make a list and check it twice.  If it works for Santa, it can work for you too! Do you need to shop for gifts? Identify who you are shopping for, what they want and where you will find it. Do your homework online before you go. If you are so inclined, get your shopping done online and save yourself the trip to the mall. Is there extra baking and cooking to get ready for company? Pull out your recipes, check your ingredients and make sure you have what you need. This will save you from having to make multiple trips to the grocery store. The time you save from making fewer trips to the store can be used for doing something fun with your family instead.
·         Get the family involved in baking or cooking.  Did your mom used to make special Christmas cookies? Or was there a special dish that she made for dinner? Get your loved one involved with a holiday activity. Let your mom measure flour, use the cookie cutter to stamp out cookie shapes, or put icing/sprinkles on the special holiday cookies. This gets mom involved in the activity while being engaged with you or even the grandkids. Why not let them help as well and create new memories and traditions! It’s a win-win.
·         Go to a holiday event.  Almost every town has some sort of holiday event happening in the next few weeks. Is there a parade, light festival, concert, bazaar or other event happening nearby? Do your kids have school concerts or parties where family members are invited? Find something the whole family can go to and enjoy the time together. Make sure to mark the occasion with a couple of pictures that you can print for your loved one as a memento of the time together.
·         Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!  No one said that every cookie has to be perfectly iced, every ornament in exactly the right place or every package wrapped with the perfect ribbon and bows. Sometimes the most memorable events are the ones when things aren’t perfect. “Remember when Uncle Joe spelled mom’s name wrong on the package?” “Remember when mom let us put the ornaments on the tree and we each divided up our sections?” Those were the good ‘ol days!
·         Remember the reason for the season. In the whole scheme of things, it’s okay if there is one less cookie or perfectly-wrapped package. If you can spend more time with your family sitting by a fire, singing a carol, or watching a classic movie, your holiday season will be a success!

At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our goal is to provide our clients with the help they need to keep them safely in their own home for longer. We also provide a respite for a family caregiver who needs a break from their caregiving duties or who can’t manage all those duties by themselves any longer.

Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.

Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100. To learn more about our in home senior care, click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Smoking Cigarettes

Saturday, November 19th is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout event. Smoke from across the nation can use this day as a way to finally decide that they should quit smoking, or have it be the day when they actually quit. Either way, the goal is to create more non-smokers.

According to the CDC, as of 2014, approximately 17% of American adults smoked cigarettes. That equates to about 40 million adults. There have been many studies done showing the harmful effects of cigarettes, yet many adults continue to smoke.

With the Great American Smokeout just around the corner, we want to share 10 reasons why you should quit smoking cigarettes today:

  1. The smoking rate has declined in the last 10 years; 21% in 2005 to 17% in 2014. More people realize the harm smoking does to their bodies.
  2. Even with the drop in number of people smoking, almost 500,000 deaths each year can be attributed to smoking. This is 1 in every 5 deaths.
  3. Smoking can hard almost every organ in your body and can cause many diseases.
  4. Smoking is the cause of over a dozen cancers, including esophagus, lung, stomach, liver, kidney, cervix, bladder, colorectal and more.
  5. Smoking causes 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths.
  6. Smoking causes almost 2 dozen chronic diseases, such as stroke, cataracts, heart disease, pneumonia, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, reduced fertility, arthritis and more.
  7. Smoking may increase your risk of stroke and heart disease by 2 to 4 times.
  8. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
  9. Within 2 to 5 years after you quit smoking your risk of having a stroke could fall to the same level as a nonsmoker.
  10. Within ten years after you quit smoking your risk of lung disease drops by half.

If you haven’t seriously thought about quitting smoking in the past, now is as good a time as any. There are deadly consequences to people who continue to smoke. As each year goes by once you quit, you start to reverse the negative effects smoking had on your body. We have seen first-hand what a lifetime of smoking does to the health of a person. Use the Great American Smokeout event on November 19th as your reason to quit.

At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our goal is to provide our clients with the help they need to keep them safely in their own home for longer. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.


Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100. To learn more about our in home senior care, click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Health Risks that Increase for Veterans

Did your dad, uncle, grandfather or a female relative serve in one of the armed forces? Chances are that someone in your family was in the military. My dad was in the Army, stationed in Key West during the Bay of Pigs invasion. You may think that Key West would be a prime place to be stationed, but being that close to Cuba during those trying times was not the ‘fun-in-the-sun’ that you might think!

On behalf of everyone here at Assisting Hands® Home Care, we want to thank all veterans for their service. It is because of their service that we have the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. We pray that the men and women currently serving in the Armed Forces stay out of harm’s way.

In addition to the dangers that these soldiers face, there are a variety of health risks that are greater for men and women who serve in the military than those who do not. Below we identify the added health risks they may face.

Most of these factors are prevalent whether veterans are young or old:
  • Higher Risk of Heart Disease. Veterans who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) may have blood vessels that don’t expand as much as non-veterans, leading to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to a researcher from the University of California, San Francisco, there needs to be more research into the relationship between mental health and cardiovascular disease.
  • Suicides. Beginning in 2008, the rate of suicides in the Army outnumbered those of civilians. Almost one-third of suicides of military personnel involved alcohol or drug use. Depression and PTSD are suicide risk factors that should not go unchecked.
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). U. S. veterans are almost twice as likely to contract ALS as the rest of the population, according to the ALS Association. It doesn’t seem to matter if the veteran served in a time of war or peace. Researchers are still looking for the link between military service and this incurable disease.
  • Cancers and Other Health Problems Associated with Agent Orange Exposure. Veterans who served in Korea or Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange are at an increased risk for several diseases, including cancers, type 2 diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, heart disease and more. It is even more important that these veterans and their loved ones take care of them in the hopes of preventing one of these diseases.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care we take pride in serving our veterans, as well as civilians. With all the sacrifices they have made for our country, we are honored that we can be with them when you can’t be there. Our caregivers are aware of these health risks and are trained to look for these symptoms.

Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight we can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that your loved one isn’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.
Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Will you need long-term care in the future?

Everyone thinks about the future to some extent. Where will you go for vacation? Should you change jobs? How much money do you need to retire?
But have you thought about long-term care? Regardless of how old you are, you should think ahead about this type of care. The services we provide at Assisting Hands® Home Care fall under long term care. They include things like personal care, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping and companionship.
 

‘I’m fine. I eat right and exercise. I won’t need those services.’

You may be thinking, ‘I’m fine. I eat right and exercise. I won’t need those services. That’s for someone else.’ We hope so! But you would be surprised. We have clients from all walks of life and health conditions. They might not have thought in their 40’s that they would need assisted living services, but circumstances change. One fall or other type of accident and you may find yourself needing an extra set of hands to help you, even for a short period of time. Regardless of your age today, think about this type of care for your future self.
Did you know that Medicare does not provide coverage for this type of long-term care services? Medicare will cover medically necessary care, such as physical therapy to help a person regain function on a short-term basis. Many private insurance plans have similar types of coverage. There are other types of coverage, such as long-term care insurance to protect you or your loved one. But those policies are easier to get when you are younger and healthier (and not necessarily thinking about these types of needs).

 If you haven’t thought about long-term care before, here are a few facts:

 

·         Almost 3 of every 4 people turning 65 today will need some type of long-term care service and support.
·         Women will need care for longer than men (3.7 years versus 2.2 years respectively)
·         Twenty percent of seniors will need long-term care services for more than 5 years
·         Two-thirds of seniors have some sort of in-home care versus about one-third having care in an outside nursing or assisted living facility.


At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our goal is to provide our clients with the help they need to keep them safely in their own home for longer. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.


Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100. To learn more about our in home senior care, click here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

3 Tips for Stronger Bones and Healthier Joints

Our bones and joints keep us upright and mobile. If they begin to degrade, we become less able to do the things we love to do and our quality of life begins to suffer. According to the Bone and Joint Initiative, more than one in two Americans over the age of 18 – and almost three of every four adults over age 65 - are restricted in some way by a musculoskeletal disorder, such as arthritis, back pain, fractures, osteoporosis, sports trauma or other issues.
The cost of treatment for these diseases continues to increase even more than other common health problems, partly because these musculoskeletal disorders generally involve long-term pain and physical disability. Did you know that treatment and lost wage costs just in the United States was almost $900 BILLION from 2009 to 2011? These healthcare costs will only continue to increase as the U.S. population continues to age.

As Bone and Joint Health Action Week comes to a close, we want to share tips to keep your bones and joints in top shape:

  • Be Active – that could mean taking a walk, doing chores around the house or even dancing. Whatever you can do to keep from being sedentary, do it. If you can’t walk outside, walk in your house or go to a local mall and walk around it. Just have fun! The more you enjoy what you are doing, the more you’ll do it.
  • Strengthening Exercise – Don’t think of a body builder when you hear strength training! You could even use cans of food from your pantry to lift if they are heavy enough for you. But strength training helps to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Aerobic Exercise – Whether you run, walk, climb or dance, aerobic exercise can get your heart revved up and will help build bone and keep joints healthy.
Make sure you consult with your physician before beginning any kind of exercise regimen.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care, many of our skilled caregivers are physical therapists and can help the seniors in our care keep active. We don’t want them to just sit in front of the television; we would rather have them enjoying themselves and staying as active as they can be. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.
Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100. To learn more about our in home senior care, click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing over 600,000 people each year. That equates to approximately one in four deaths! Only American Indians and Alaskan Natives have a lower percentage at one in five deaths.

Although some heart disease is genetic, over 80 percent of deaths caused by heart disease are preventable. Just think what those almost 500,000 people who die each year might be doing today. Although prevention can start at any age, it is best if it is practiced when we are young. By having good habits throughout our lives, we may reduce our risk not only of heart disease other deadly diseases like strokes and cancer.

With World Heart Day falling on September 29th, we thought we would call attention to heart disease and some prevention tips:

  1. Have a healthy diet. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods is a good rule of thumb. By avoiding processed foods, you are also limiting added sodium and sugar in your diet, which will help to lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  2. Get regular exercise. Whether you walk, run, bike, swim, or cross-train, it is important to get 2 to 3 hours of physical activity every week. Talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.
  3. Don’t smoke. If you don’t smoke now, don’t start. If you do smoke, stop. There are a variety of products and programs that can help a person quit smoking. If you tried to quit and it didn’t work, try again until it does. You can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease (and other diseases) by not smoking.

When you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, you should be able to maintain a healthy weight. This will help you reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels, all of which are contributing factors to heart disease. It is not too late to make some simple changes to your diet and exercise routine so your senior years are happy and healthy ones!

At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers will make sure the seniors in our care are eating and exercising appropriately. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.


Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100. To learn more about our in home senior care, click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

3 Tips to Prevent In-Home Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury death among individuals over 65 years of age, according to the CDC. Illnesses, medications and environmental factors can all affect strength and balance contributing to a fall. If someone you love has fallen once, there is data to suggest that 75% of those who fall, do so again within 6 months. Beginning at the age of 63, the number of deaths from falls starts to increase with dramatic increases at the age of 70. But shouldn’t we expect seniors to fall as they age due to balance and strength conditions? In fact, falls are not a normal part of the aging process. They can be prevented.
Assisting Hands has some timely advice to help prevent in-home falls:
First: talk with your doctor about falls and about improving management of any medical conditions including reviewing medication types and amounts with your physician. Take your medications and follow medication dosages closely. Using medication incorrectly may lead to dizziness, so be especially aware of medication changes and talk with your doctor about symptoms. Most importantly, don’t stop medications without consulting your doctor!
Ask your doctor about exercise, vestibular and balance training and increasing physical activity, a good place to start is an evaluation by a Physical Therapist and Audiologist.
Second: Be sure your home is as safe as possible by changing adverse environmental factors.
Take some practical steps such as:
  • Wear shoes with nonskid soles (not house slippers or sandals).
  • Be sure your home is well lit in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and stairways so that you can see things you might trip over and use night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways.
  • Remove throw rugs and tack down loose carpet edges.
  • Keep your floor clear, and remove electrical cords across pathways.
  • Install grab bars in your bathtub, shower and toilet area.
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways.
  • Don’t climb on stools and stepladders. Get someone else to help with jobs that call for climbing, such as a caregiver.
  • Keep your floor clean of liquids and don’t wax your floors.
Third: Think about home care, especially if you have fallen before and have trouble getting out of bed or up from a chair. You may want to consider an in-home caregiver to help with transfers, climbing and walking (the cost of a caregiver is typically 1/3 the cost of a nursing home.) Or you may want to talk with a Physical Therapist about starting a strengthening program and home safety screen. All of Assisting Hands’ home aides are specially trained in fall prevention through the Fall Prevention Centers of America.
Illnesses, medications and environmental factors can all affect strength and balance contributing to a fall. The best predictor of a future fall is a history of falls. Talk with your doctor, begin exercising with professional guidance and consider hiring a caregiver from Assisting Hands to help with risky tasks.