Thursday, August 4, 2016

Protect Your Loved Ones During The Dog Days of Summer

Most of us love being outside in the summer when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. The kids will be back to school soon, so you need to make the most of it while you can. But these are the dog days of summer, a time when the heat and humidity can be deadly, especially for seniors (as well as infants and pets).

Below are 3 tips to help you keep your senior loved one safe during these dog days of summer:

  1. Make sure their air conditioning is working properly. If they don’t have air conditioning, make sure they have plenty of fans where they live. Many seniors tend to be cold anyway, but you don’t want their residence to be too hot. Spend some time with them so you get a sense of the climate in their home.
  2. If they go outside regularly, suggest that they go in the morning or evening hours when the temperature is lower and the sun isn’t so hot. If they have to be out mid-day, make sure they dress appropriately so they don’t get too much sun exposure. We all love the vitamin D from the sun, but only with the proper protection for our skin! Make sure they have on a hat and loose, light clothing. If you can, be outside with them in the morning or evening. Take a walk, go for ice cream, sit on the porch and watch the sun set.
  3. Have them drink plenty of water. Did you know that the average person sweats about a quart of fluid every day? We would suggest that everyone drink plenty of water all year long, but it is especially important in the hot summer months when we sweat even more. You don’t want your loved one to become dehydrated. Make it easy for them; have a cup out on the counter so they can easily reach for it and get some water.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers will make sure the seniors in our care are in the proper climate, whether inside or outside. 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, July 28, 2016

Is Your Loved One Social?

You hear over and over how important it is to be physically active. But do you hear that it is also important to be socially active? People who are socially active have better mental health as well as cognitive function. They feel like they belong and are more connected to the world around them. Those who do not spend time others have a higher risk of developing depression and possibly dementia.

Since July is Social Wellness Month, we want to share 4 tips to help your senior loved one stay more socially active:

  • Volunteer. Give your loved one the opportunity to give back to the community through volunteer work. Maybe they can help stuff envelopes for a mailing for a non-profit, help in a soup kitchen or even socialize with cats or dogs at a local animal shelter. Studies show that volunteering can lead to better health and mental cognition. It also gives people a sense of purpose as they do good for their community.
  • Find or Continue a Hobby. Does your loved one like to paint, draw, play bridge, take pictures, fish or golf? If so, help them expand that hobby. There may be classes or events at a local park district or YMCA where they can get involved. There they can make friends and interact with other people who have the same passion.
  • Catch Up with Old Friends. Does your loved one only talk to the same family members or a couple close friends? Why not reach out to other family members or friends they haven’t seen in a while and let them reconnect. If they can build a bigger social network, they won’t feel isolated.
  • Interact with a Pet. Did your loved one have a cat or dog growing up or as a younger adult? If they can care for it, why not get them a pet that would be easy to take care of. (Cats are pretty self-sufficient.) If they don’t get a pet of their own, see ‘Volunteer’ above. If they are able, maybe they could volunteer at a local animal shelter a couple times a month. Psychology Today reviewed a number of published studies and found that pets do make excellent therapists. In fact, when looking at studies involving Alzheimer’s, development disabilities and even schizophrenia, the patients who interacted with therapy animals saw beneficial results.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, our caregivers can provide your loved one with safe transportation to activities so they can continue to have outside social interaction, as well as to and from doctor and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at home care can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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, July 21, 2016

5 Things to do with Your Parents on Parents’ Day

Since a Congressional Resolution was passed in 1994, the fourth Sunday of July has been designated as Parents’ Day. As we come upon a holiday that revolves around family, why not take the time to get together with your parents to see what they are doing and how they are doing.
While you are with them, here are 5 things you can do to help them stay mentally sharp and safe:
Look at Old Photos: If you are of a certain age, you probably still have boxes of old prints in the basement or in albums somewhere. Don’t worry if they are not in order; share them with your parents anyway. See if they remember who is in the pictures, where they were taken and the occasion. Let them go down memory lane and tell stories from these occasions. This may enlighten you more than them! Take notes or record them so you can pass this information down to your family too.
Play a Game: What is your parents’ favorite game(s)? Checkers? Rummy? Find the game and play it with them. This will help to keep their memory sharp. Even a simple game of Go Fish will help fuel the brain.
Make Them a Meal: Do they like scrambled eggs and bacon? Maybe chicken is more to their liking. Whatever they enjoy having, why not make them a homemade meal instead of going out? Restaurants meals (and packaged meals in the grocery stores) tend to have too much sodium and added sugar anyway. Bring enough so you can package leftovers for them to have the next day. This way you know they are eating well a couple days that week.
Assess Their Surroundings: Is there any furniture in the way of their normal path throughout the house? Are there throw rugs on the floor? Make sure your parents have a clear path through their house and there are no trip hazards. Does it look like their clothes and other linens have been washed recently? If not, do a load or two of laundry for them while you are there. They did your laundry as you were growing up; now it’s your turn!
Assess Them: How do your parents look? Have they lost or gained unexplained weight since you saw them last? Do they look groomed (showered, hair combed, teeth brushed)? If not, they could be having issues with their memories. Ask them questions to fully understand what is going on.
At Assisting Hands Home Care we will make sure that your parents are happy and well cared for. We provide them with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands and make sure they are getting the appropriate nutrition and exercise that is appropriate for them. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

3 Ways to Protect your Loved One from Skin Damage

It’s summertime and you know what that means? Time outside enjoying the warm weather; shorts and flip-flops; bar-b-ques and cook outs! You know what it also means? Skin Damage!

We are in the time of the year when UV exposure is the strongest in the United States, which means you are more easily at risk for skin damage. Skin damage may lead to premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, age spots and possibly skin cancer.

You can damage your skin if you are out in the sun at any time of the year, so keep these 3 tips in mind in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from skin damage all year long:

  •  Stay in the Shade. If you can find a shady spot for yourself of your loved ones, do it! This is most important during the middle of the day when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. Keep in mind that UV rays reach the ground even on cloudy days, so just because the sun isn’t shining brightly doesn’t mean you let your guard down.
  • Wear Protective Clothing. No one wants to be bundled up in the middle of summer when it is hot out, but if you or your loved ones will be outside, think about a light-weight garment to protect your skin from the sun, a hat and/or a pair of sunglasses. These items will all help to block the UV rays from your skin. Again, keep in mind that if you can see through the piece of clothing, so can the sun, so this will only provide partial protection.
  • Use Sun Screen. Whether you are outside for an hour or all day, you should use sun screen. Since all sun screens are not created equal, make sure you buy one that blocks UVA and UVB rays, or broad spectrum sun screen. Even when sun screen is used, if you are in the sun you are still exposed to the sun’s rays, so you are not completely protected. Apply sun screen often and make sure to reapply after being in the water or sweating.


Don’t let the appeal of a summer tan cause irreparable damage to your skin that you will regret later. Take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful UV rays.

At Assisting Hands Home Care we will make sure that your loved one is properly protected if he or she is outside. We provide them with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands and make sure they are getting the appropriate nutrition and exercise that is appropriate for them. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What is Your Risk of Developing Cataracts?

As Cataract Awareness Month comes to a close, we want to talk a little bit about this serious eye disease. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye that may affect your vision. A person with cataracts may experience fuzzy or cloudy vision, double vision, or extreme glare from headlights or the sun.
In many cases, cataracts are small and do not affect a person’s vision. A doctor can perform a physical exam to see if you may have cataracts. As a cataract grows, it may cause the issues noted above. If the cataract becomes big enough that a person’s eyesight, or lack of it, causes a reduction in their quality of life, surgery can be performed.
But let’s start with the risk factors associated with cataracts. There are a few that stand out, such as:
  • Age. As we get older, we develop a higher risk for cataracts.
  • Genetics. If your family history includes cataracts, you are more likely to be predisposed to it.
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the lens of the eye.
  • Glaucoma. If you have surgery to treat glaucoma, unfortunately you are more at risk for cataracts.
  • Smoking. Smoking may also damage the lens of the eye by forming chemicals called free radicals. High levels of these chemicals can damage cells, including the cells in the lens of the eye.
  • Ultraviolet Radiation. UVB rays, specifically, can increase the development of cataracts.
  • Steroid Medication. If you are taking steroid medication for conditions such as asthma or emphysema on a long-term basis, you have a higher risk of developing cataracts.
Currently there is no way to PREVENT cataracts altogether, but there are things you can do to slow it down, such as:
  • Eat Healthy and Exercise. We cannot overstate the positive benefits that come from having a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy and getting regular exercise. Diabetes can cause a host of other health issues, so avoiding it should be at the top of your list.
  • Stop Smoking. This is also a habit that may cause a lot of other negative health issues, including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Wear Sunglasses and a Hat in the Sun. If you are out in the sun, take the necessary precautions to protect your skin and eyes like wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen.
  • Don’t Use Tanning Beds. You are getting an extra dose of ultraviolet radiation, which may cause skin cancer in addition to cataracts.
  • Reduce Usage of Steroid Medication. If you are on long-term steroid medication, consult your doctor to see if there is another non-steroid medication that will be as effective.
At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your loved one with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. We can also make sure they are getting the appropriate nutrition and exercise that is appropriate for them. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Is your senior loved one safe at home?

In-home safety is the number one concern of adult children for their aging parents. “Will they be safe staying in their home?” It’s a question we hear all the time. The answer is usually ‘yes’ (with exceptions, of course), but there are things that the children need to do for their parents to make sure they can stay at home safely.
Since June is National Safety Month, we want to provide 7 tips for making your loved one’s home safe as they get older:
  • Consider a medical alert system. You remember the commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” That could happen to your loved one. Make sure they can easily reach out for help if they need it.
  • Get up slowly. When they get up from a sitting or sleeping position, make sure they do it slowly so they don’t get light-headed and lose their balance.
  • Remove throw rugs. They may protect the carpet, but they can easily create a tripping/falling hazard. Your loved ones need an unobstructed path throughout their home.
  • Remove items that can block their path. Following up to the point above, your loved ones need a clear path not just from removing throw rugs, but also from furniture, paper piles, cords, or other hazards. Their route should be free from all obstructions.
  • Remove step stools. The risk of injury from a fall increases exponentially for every foot you are above the ground. If something is out of reach from your loved one, move it so it is within reach when they are on the ground.
  • Install railings. If your loved ones are unsteady on their feet, install railings throughout the house, inside and out, including places like the shower. This will give them one more place to steady themselves if they need it.
  • Consider a stair lift or have stairs with non-slip surface. If your loved ones live in a two story house and they need to access the upstairs often, you may want to consider a stair lift if they are not steady going up and down. At the very least, make sure the stairs have a non-slip surface.
  • Use assisted devices in the home. Does your loved one use a cane or walker when they go out, but they don’t think they need to use it in their home? Most falls occur going from bedroom to bathroom. Make sure those devices are near their bed so when they get up they can easily reach them.
  • Have lights on throughout the house. It may be well-placed nightlights, but make sure your loved ones have a little illumination at night so they don’t have to fumble for a light switch in the dark and they can see where they are going.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, it is important to us that your loved ones are in a safe environment. We can provide you with a free in-home fall prevention assessment so you know the best way to protect them while they are in their home. Our skilled in-home care associates can also provide your loved one with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands.
Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

3 Things to Look for When You See Your Dad

According to the latest CDC report on leading causes of death among males in the United States, the top two causes are heart disease and cancer. These two diseases make up almost a half of the deaths among males and are, by far, the biggest causes of death compared to any other diseases or accidents.
The CDC noted that heart disease kills 1 in every 4 men. Think about that statistic for a minute…1 in every 4 men will die of heart disease. How many men are in your family – your father, grandfather, uncles, or brothers? Based on this statistic, one of them will likely die from heart disease. In addition, half of the men who die suddenly from heart disease never had a symptom, even though they may have still been at risk. The biggest risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and smoking. In addition, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use are risk factors.

The National Cancer Institute identified several risk factors that, if avoided, may lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Like heart disease, potential cancer risk factors include smoking, obesity and excessive alcohol use, as well as diet, sunlight, radiation, and others.

What can you do to help prevent your loved one – and yourself – from developing these diseases? Try to reduce the risk factors. When you see your dad this Father’s Day, here are 3 things you can look for to see if he has these risk factors and help reduce them:

  •             Check out your dad’s kitchen. Are there any fruits, vegetables, healthy grains or lean meat? Is the food fresh or is it expired? Take inventory and go shopping with or for him. If he doesn’t cook for himself and there is no one in the house to cook for him, prepare some meals ahead of time that you can bring with and put in the freezer. Make sure there are specific heating instructions on the containers so he knows how to heat the meal without zapping foil in the microwave or melting a plastic container in the oven. If your dad eats healthier foods, he should be able to reduce his weight, if that is a concern, lower cholesterol and possibly get diabetes under control.
  •          Watch your dad.  Does he look like he has gained weight since the last time you saw him? Does he have a hard time going from a seated position to standing or is he off-balance when walking? Pay attention to the little things. He may need to get more physical activity to work on balance or reduce some weight. The combination of eating better and getting more exercise than what we’re used to can help us all feel better.
  •           Check for bad habits. Is your dad a smoker or drinker? Smoking is a bad habit that needs to be given up, no matter what your age! That may not be so easy if your dad has been smoking for a long time or is very set in his ways. However, there are a variety of products and services available to help people reduce their nicotine intake and eventually quit smoking. Those may be options you can explore for your dad. If your dad is a drinker, do you know how much? Does drinking affect any medications he may be on? Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for both heart disease and cancer, and can cause weight gain, mood swings, irritability, balance issues, forgetfulness and more!


In general, look and listen at your dad’s appearance and his surroundings. He was there for you to clean up wounds when you fell and kill spiders that you sure were going to ‘attack.’ Father’s Day is the perfect time to watch and learn from him, this time to help him!

At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your dad (or mom) with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better 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.