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Advantages of In-Home Care During the Warmer Seasons

Spring and summertime are some of the best seasons to enjoy time outside. After spending most of your time indoors during winter it feels good to get out and take in some sunlight. For some seniors it can be hard to get outside, thus in-home care can be helpful. Here are a few of the benefits of in-home care during the warmer months.

 

Senior Health

Getting outdoors is a great thing for anyone’s health and having a professional home caregiver helps seniors to do so. Sunlight offers a great source of vitamin D that can improve brain function, help lower blood pressure, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. Walking and moving around outside can help blood circulation and give older ones a nice cardio exercise.

While it is great to get out and enjoy the sun, it can be harmful if you are not careful. Caregivers make sure that their patients apply sunscreen when going outdoors to protect them from harmful UV rays. They also do well to make sure their patients are not out when the temperatures are too high and always have a good amount of water with them for proper hydration.

 

Support for Family Caregivers

During the warmer months, many people tend to travel or go out more. This can be difficult if you have a loved one to look after. You may feel like you are not able to have some downtime or vacation. With professional home care services, you will not need to worry. You can hire a caregiver to help care for your loved one. This will make it so that you can a little more flexibility and take the time off that you need.

 

Maintaining a Comfortable Indoor Temperature

With the temperatures rising outside, your indoor temperatures will increase as well. Some older ones can become forgetful, especially while living alone, and may not notice the lack of proper air conditioning. This can be dangerous and even fatal. Having home care services will help with making sure that the house remains at a comfortable and safe temperature.

Consider whether in-home services are a good option for your loved one.

 

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Be Prepared for Unexpected Emergencies

Many people around the world are fascinated with television drama series depicting severe medical emergencies, tragedies, suffering, and rescues. But experiencing sudden health complications or fighting off natural disasters approaching your own home is not a fictional problem. Unforeseeable crises can happen at any time. Sudden or severe physical symptoms can be endangering to your life, particularly for a senior who lives alone and cannot call for immediate help. Living in an at-risk area susceptible to tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, or other weather-related events requires readiness even before an emergency happens. How can you be prepared?

Here we will discuss a few things you can do to be more prepared for unexpected emergencies.

 

Set Up a plan.

Choose a group of people who can offer hands-on assistance in emergencies, family members, friends, professional caregivers, relatives, neighbors, or business associates.

Work with them to arrange an emergency plan. The plan should include emergency medical treatment options, relevant emergency documents/health information, home escape routes, transportation needs, community response and evacuation plans, and family/friend communication contacts.

List safe places to shelter in the home and note where to secure safe lodging within the community and outside the area.

Select the main contact person who will check on you during an emergency. Consider means of communication (knock on the door, etc.) if telephone service is down.

Determine an action plan for those with health limitations who may need physical assistance during an emergency.

 

Prepare emergency supplies.

Be aware that in an emergency, you may not have time to collect essential supplies. Basic services such as water, gas, electricity, and communications may be disrupted. Grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies may be closed or overwhelmed with lengthy lines.

Organize your emergency supply kit now before any medical alert or disaster situation arises. Here is a list of some things to include:

  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight, radio, and spare batteries.
  • Sufficient supplies of water, nonperishable food, medications, toiletries, etc. for at least three days.
  • Blankets, a change of clothing, and sturdy shoes or warm boots.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • Copies of important documents such as financial records, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and passports in a fire-proof container.
  • Cellphone with a portable charger.

Keep the emergency supply kit in a safe accessible place and be sure to include contact information for family and friends.

Stock a vehicle supply kit that includes jumper cables and a tire repair kit. In summer, your vehicle supply kit should include sunscreen, a shade-providing hat, and extra water. A wintertime kit should include an ice scraper/snow brush, and warm clothes, gloves, and boots. Review and update supplies every six months or as the seasons change.

 

Identify community resources.

It is important to know how your community will alert you of an approaching disaster and stay in contact with you during and after an emergency. Find out which local television and radio stations will broadcast emergency messages via the Emergency Alert System. Know in advance which community first responders will go door to door with emergency warnings and evacuation orders.

As communities expand and offer more medical facilities, you may not realize which hospital or emergency room is nearest to you. To find a nearby hospital, you can visit ushospitalfinder.com.

Preplanning will reduce stress when a medical emergency or disaster alert arises. No one wants to be caught off guard in times of crisis. Every action you take now can determine the outcome of emergencies in the future.

 

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Falls in Older Individuals

Falls are common among older individuals. Once someone has had a fall, there is a higher chance they will fall once more. However, the fear of falling can take over their life. They might start to worry about doing their usual activities and therefore lose their sureness and even their independence. Knowing what causes falls will enable older individuals to fight their fears and decrease their risk of falling.

 

Causes

Falls can be caused by a number of different factors. Such as, physical conditions that impair quality or balance, hazards within the setting, or dangerous scenarios.

 

Physical impairments that increase the chance of a fall:

  • Trouble with balance or walking
  • Poor vision
  • Numbness in the feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blood pressure or irregular heartbeat

 

Dangers within the environment are a large cause of falls. Falls might occur when individuals do not notice the hazard or do not act quickly enough after the problem is detected.

Environmental hazards that increase the chance of falling:

  • Insufficient lighting
  • Loose rugs
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Electrical cords or objects within the path of walking

 

Prevention

Here is a list of some things older individuals can do to help reduce the chance of falling:

  • Balancing exercises (supervision may be necessary) like standing on one leg will improve stability. Several senior centers provide free or inexpensive group exercise classes tailored specifically for senior’s needs.

 

  • Wearing appropriate footwear. Shoes that have a firm grip, support your ankles, and flat heels are safest.

 

  • Standing up slowly when transitioning from sitting or lying down and taking a while before beginning to move.

 

  • Having vision checked regularly and wearing glasses with the proper prescription. Treatment of eye conditions that limit vision, may also help.

 

Hazards within the home should typically be removed or corrected.

  • Lighting is improved by increasing the number of lights or changing the type of lights used. Adequate lighting for stairways and outside areas used in the dark is important. Steps must have durable and secure handrails.

 

  • Grab bars are installed beside toilets, tubs, and different places for those who would like something to hold onto to get on their feet.

 

  • Loose throw rugs should either be removed, taped down, or should have nonslip backings.

 

  • Frequently used home items should be kept in reachable areas between waist and eye level, so they can be reached without stretching or bending.

 

Learning the way to safely handle possibly dangerous situations is beneficial. Pay attention to potential hazards and consider ways to accomplish daily tasks a lot safer.

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Bringing Awareness: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a diagnosable mental illness that is a form of major depression related to changes in seasons. In most cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms appear around late fall or early winter and fade away during the warmer days of spring and summer. Symptoms may start mild and become more severe as the season progresses. About 5% of Americans experience SAD each year.

Here are some signs you could have Seasonal Affective Disorder:

1.     You struggle with an irregular sleep pattern. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by changes in our circadian rhythms, melatonin, and serotonin. With daylight savings, it gets darker earlier. The faster it gets dark outside, the more it can disrupt our internal clock, which will cause our body to produce too much melatonin and lower our serotonin, making us feel drowsy too early in the day. This can mess with our sleep pattern. Both melatonin and serotonin governor sleep and wake cycles so when the levels alternate it can make a good night’s sleep virtually impossible. We recommend taking a warm bath before you get into bed or light up some lavender candles to help your mind and body calm down after a long day. The more relaxed you feel the sooner you will fall asleep.

2.     You are experiencing a change in appetite and weight.

With the cold weather, it is tempting to cuddle up in front of the TV and binge on junk food. It is important to eat foods high in nutritional value. If you have a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, we suggest you eat whole grains and add some bananas to your oatmeal. This will boost your serotonin levels. Foods such as fish, walnuts, and soybeans, can also help to improve your mood.

3.     You no longer enjoy your usual hobbies.

Some days you just don’t want to do anything after you get home from school or work but if this starts to become consistent it might be SAD kicking in. Losing energy or motivation to do your favorite activities is a clear sign of this condition. Go outside for some sunlight! Getting your vitamin D is essential. If you are not getting enough vitamin D you can experience fatigue and body aches. If possible, we suggest going out in the morning, This way you can start your day off right with some fresh air. 

4.     You have regular mood swings. This is something I struggle with a lot. the waterworks are no joke and when they happen sometimes, they come out of nowhere. It’s okay to cry but we hope if you’re in the same boat please don’t hesitate to reach out to loved ones. 

5.     You withdraw from others. It’s natural to cancel plans when a snowstorm is coming, but if you are uninterested in socializing 24/7 this is a concern. Come out from your covers and give your friends and family a call. They want to be there for you. They will understand when you bring up SAD.

6.     You get suicidal thoughts. It might feel like a dead-end is approaching when winter is lingering, but please remember that spring is right around the corner. If you need to talk to a professional, we have provided some suicide hotlines. We care about your well-being and want to remind you that you have people to lean onto. 

Suicide Hotline:

Call: 1-800-784-2433 OR Text: 1-800-799-4889

Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 2)

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What is Diabetes?

November was proclaimed “Diabetes Awareness Month” in order to spread awareness and knowledge about the different types of Diabetes and their risks. Let us now learn to understand the signs and symptoms of Diabetes and become aware of treatments available for those who have the condition.

 

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose/blood sugar, is excessively elevated. Blood glucose is your core source of energy and derives from the food you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that converts glucose from food into energy. In some cases, your body does not make sufficient amounts of insulin or does not use insulin well. Glucose then remains in your blood and is unable to reach your cells.

 

Types of Diabetes

 

The three main types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 – Over one million Americans suffer from Type 1 Diabetes, and several thousand more are predicted to be diagnosed within the next year. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when an individual’s blood sugar is extremely high. Often their immune system fails, attacks, and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce the body’s insulin. This form of diabetes can be developed in people of any age, or size.

 

  • Type 2– The most common form of Diabetes is Type 2. Over 30 million In the USA alone are estimated to have it. With this type of diabetes, the person’s body does not use insulin properly. This type of Diabetes is more common after the age of 45, though it is still possible for younger ones to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

 

  • Gestational Diabetes (GDM)– This type of diabetes develops in pregnant women who did not previously have Diabetes and can often be controlled by diet and exercise. If not controlled, this can lead to a high chance of complications for both mother and child. GDM usually goes away in time after birth but women affected are at heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

 

Signs and Symptoms

 

The signs of diabetes are not always obviously recognized as signs and can also be confused with other conditions. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and bruises are slow to heal
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Tingling, or numbness in hands and feet

 

If you or a loved one have concerns that you may be experiencing some of these symptoms, it may be time to look into getting tested for Diabetes.

 

Treatment Options

 

Treatment:

  • If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a doctor may advise you to monitor your blood sugar regularly, take insulin, eat healthily, and exercise consistently.

 

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a doctor will assess whether you need medications to treat it, in addition to adjusting your diet, increasing your exercise, and making other needed lifestyle changes.

 

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, your doctor will discuss the best foods for you to eat, an exercise routine that is safe for you and your unborn child, and an insulin regimen, if needed.

 

 

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