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.

Friday, September 16, 2016

4 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s; over 99% are 65 years or older. That means over 10 percent of senior citizens have Alzheimer’s disease. Currently Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents and stroke. It is also the only cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented or cured.

There are many people around the world working hard to determine what causes Alzheimer’s so it can be prevented in the future. As recently as August 2016 scientists from the University of Cambridge discovered a gene signature in healthy brains that pinpoints the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. We will have to wait and see if this breakthrough will lead to preventative treatments for individuals who are considered high-risk for contracting this disease.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or magic pill to prevent it, there are things you can do to put yourself at a lower risk of getting it as you get older. Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and staying social may help lower your risk.

Since September is World Alzheimer’s Month, we want to share 4 tips you can do today that may reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s:

  • Eat Healthy: A lifestyle of less sodium, sugar, and processed foods, and more fruits, vegetables and lean meats may also help protect the brain. This healthy nutrition lifestyle also helps to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Be Physically Active: Regular physical activity can increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain benefiting the brain’s cells. Although you should talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen, a brisk walk is a great start. Exercise will also help to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Be Socially Active: Social interactions may help stimulate and strengthen the connections between nerve cells in the brain. As we age, it is important that we do not isolate ourselves from others. Having ongoing social contact is important for our mental and emotional well-being.

  • Be Mentally Active: You may still be working, so your brain is ‘in gear’ throughout the day. But once you retire you need to find something to keep you mentally active. Whether you like to play games, do Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or learn something new, find the activity that will keep your mentally stimulated.


 At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers provide companionship for their seniors and make sure they are eating right and getting the appropriate physical activity. 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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

4 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, 100 million Americans live with chronic pain every day. In fact, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined! Older adults tend to be affected by chronic pain more than younger adults. These conditions may include migraines, low back pain, arthritis pain, and cancer pain and more. That is why it is important to talk pain awareness since September is Pain Awareness Month.

While some chronic pain may go away over time, other pain may not. Here are 4 things you can do to manage and relieve your chronic pain as much as possible:

  • Learn.  Learn everything you can about your physical condition and why you have chronic pain. Through your research you may discover other traditional or non-traditional treatments that might help relieve your pain that you were not aware of before. Are there exercises you can do, even minimally, to help relieve some pain? Even if you do not discover something new, by knowing everything you can about your condition, you are putting yourself in a position where you know that you, and your healthcare providers, are doing everything possible.

  • Be Realistic. Understand what you can and cannot do within your physical limitations. Don’t set a goal to run a marathon when you should only be walking. Don’t expect to play 18 holes if your back or shoulders aren’t ready for it. Also be realistic with your treatment. Based on the knowledge you gained when you learned all you could about your condition, you probably already know if your pain will subside over time or if you have to live with it forever. Don’t ‘hope’ it will go away. Hope is not a strategy. Make a realistic plan and do what you can to reach your goal.

  • Relax. Pain can get worse when you are stressed out. Through visualization, yoga, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques, you can release some stress and hopefully some pain as well.

  • See the Big Picture. Don’t just focus on the pain. Focus on all of the things you are able to do. As you put your plan in place to try to relieve some of your pain, you will regain control of your body, emotions and mental state. With more clarity, you will be able to determine how you can live a normal live even with your chronic pain.


The American Chronic Pain Association has much more information about pain and pain awareness.

At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers help our seniors manage and/or reduce their pain based on the advice of the appropriate healthcare team. They will make sure their seniors are taking appropriate medication and doing exercises as instructed. 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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Is Your Loved One Ready for Autumn?.

This is the time of year when parents load up their kids with the supplies they need to be successful in school. I may mean multiple trips to several stores. If you are a parent, you probably know what I mean! Classes, projects, after-school activities…binders, pens, paper, tablets, instruments, sports gear. The list goes on and on. But you make a list and check it off as you get your kids set for the year.

But what about your senior loved one? Even though they are not in school, you should take this time to make a list and be sure their needs are being met as well.

Here are 5 areas to check:

  •  Food. It may be time to think about preparing some casseroles and soup that can be frozen for your loved one and ready for them when the weather turns colder. Even on a warm day a nice bowl of soup may be soothing. It is also time to go through the pantry and refrigerator/freezer to see what foods are old and/or expired. You don’t want your loved one to eat something that will make them sick. 
  • Weight Loss or Gain. Has your loved one gained or lost weight recently? We think of weight loss as a good thing, but for an older adult sudden weight loss could point to other issues such as muscle loss, depression, medication side effects, medical conditions (like cancer or thyroid disorder), Alzheimer’s disease or even a dental problem. Some of these conditions could lead to a fall, and then there are a host of other issues to deal with! If their clothes are suddenly too tight or falling off, it may be time to schedule a doctor’s appointment to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. A little preventive care can go a long way. By the way, if they have lost or gained weight, make sure they have clothes that fit them properly. They may not ask about getting new clothes, but it is little things like that go a long way to keeping their dignity.
  •  Safety. When was the last time you changed the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Why not take the time to switch them now. If the detector starts to ‘chirp’ in the middle of the night, you do not want your loved one on a step stool trying to remove a battery.
  • Rugs. Have you checked the kitchen, bathrooms or hallways lately? Remove any throw rugs as they can be trip/fall hazards. Instead, make sure your loved one has house shoes with traction on the soles to keep from slipping but will still keep their feet warm.
  • Bath. Make sure the non-slip surface on the shower or tub has not worn off. Also check to see if the shower or tub is clean. A dirty base can become slippery and again create a slip/fall hazard. Determine if it is time to add a grab bar to the shower for added safety.

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, 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.