Friday, June 28, 2013

Why Care for Your Elderly Parents at Home?

As your parents age, your family is going to have to make difficult decisions about their care. For many seniors, aging in place is the best possible scenario, as it allows them to continue to live in their homes while enjoying the highest degree of independence possible. For seniors who are in good health this is a fantastic option, but those elderly individuals who are facing limited mobility, cognitive decline, and other health concerns may need a bit of assistance if they are to age in place without compromising their safety. For the seniors who wish to stay in their homes, the homecare professionals in Chapel Hill are of service.

What are the benefits of aging in place?
Ultimately, aging in place is the most comfortable option for elderly individuals both emotionally and physically. The seniors who age in their own homes are able to retain a higher sense of autonomy—even if they must call upon the assistance of eldercare services from an in home care agency. You see, adapting to the help of others is a difficult task, and it is one that is made more manageable when seniors are able to stay in their homes. Financially, aging in place is frequently a much better option than moving your parents into an assisted living community or nursing home. Finally, the mental effects of moving during old age can prove negative for seniors who want to stay in their homes but are forced to leave.

By making arrangements for your elderly loved one to age in place, you can help them to maintain a higher level of comfort and quality of life. And with the assistance of at home care professionals, you and your family will not have to worry that your loved one is not receiving the proper support.

Who can you trust to care for your senior?
When your family decides it is time to enlist the assistance of a homecare agency, it is a good idea to call a local organization that is properly licensed and insured. You want to make certain that the individuals who will be taking care of your loved one are trained, experienced, and capable of meeting all of your senior's needs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Depression in the Elderly

Depression is an issue that eldercare professionals in Chapel Hill address regularly, as it is a condition that many seniors develop. Whether you are personally providing homecare to your loved one or you have called upon the services of an eldercare professional, it is crucial that you understand the warning signs associated with depression so that you can help your senior seek treatment if necessary. This is important, as it is essential that you take care of your elderly loved one's wellbeing—particularly if they have need for dementia care and other forms of specialized support. Below are some of the warning signs of depression, according to
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest in previously loved hobbies and activities
  • Social isolation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep troubles, including insomnia, oversleeping, and difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Surge in alcohol or drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts
In addition to these symptoms, depression is also characterized by a few less common warning signs. These, explains, may include inexplicable aches, pain, hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, memory loss, lack of motivation, slowed movement, slowed speech, irritability, and the tendency to skip meals, neglect personal hygiene, and overlook other self care activities.

The eldercare professionals in Chapel Hill know that it can be difficult to determine which changes in your senior are attributed to the natural aging process and which indicate a more serious concern, such as depression. To help you ensure that your loved one gets the care they need, the homecare professionals in the area encourage you to keep a close eye on their health and schedule an appointment with their doctor whenever you believe that they may need assistance.

If you are providing care for your senior, it is crucial that you are aware of the warning signs associated with depression so that you can best provide the support that your elderly loved one needs. If you believe that your senior may be suffering from depression, you are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Keeping Your Senior Safe from the Summer Heat

Summer is a favorite season for many individuals, as it often provides a much-needed reprieve from the colder temperatures of winter. But the truth is that warmer weather can cause a wide range of problems, from dehydration to heat stroke. Eldercare in Chapel Hill is an activity that focuses on keeping seniors safe no matter what the weather, and the homecare professionals in this city encourage you to understand what, exactly, you can do to keep your loved one in the best of health this summer. Below are some tips from these eldercare professionals.
  1. Make sure that your loved one drinks plenty of water. During the summer, individuals can find that they become easily dehydrated—particularly if they are spending any time outside in hot temperatures.  Buy a portable water bottle for your senior so that they have access to drinking water no matter where they are. Additionally, invest in a pitcher filter that they can put in the refrigerator so that they can have cold, delicious drinking water on hand.
  2. When temperatures soar too high, encourage your loved one to stay indoors. If staying home isn't an option, or if they do not want to stay at their house for an extended period of time, take them to the mall or another indoor setting where they can enjoy being out and about without suffering from overexposure to the heat.
  3. Talk to your senior's doctor about their health and learn whether or not they are particularly vulnerable to higher temperatures. Some medical conditions can make it dangerous for elderly individuals to stay in the heat for too long, so make sure you know what to look out for when your loved one is outside this summer.
  4. If your senior insists on going outside, try to get them to do so during the early morning hours to avoid the heat of the day. For instance, they could get up and do their gardening prior to 10:00 am to stay out of the direct heat and benefit from cooler temperatures. 
The eldercare professionals of Chapel Hill encourage you to keep these tips in mind as you care for your senior this summer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

National Aphasia Awareness Month: Treating Speech Problems after a Stroke

As National Aphasia Awareness Month, June is a wonderful time to learn a bit about this disorder and how it is treated. Eldercare professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, understand that aphasia can be frustrating for both seniors and their loved ones. By learning more about this condition—and the treatment options that are available—you can better help your elderly loved one through it.

What Is Aphasia?
Care for elderly individuals entails helping seniors through numerous health conditions. Strokes are devastating but unfortunately relatively common occurrences among the elderly population. In some cases, damage to the brain can cause aphasia. This disorder makes it difficult for seniors to communicate and, depending upon the damage that the brain suffers, may impact verbal, written, or both forms of communication.

Treatment Options
The two forms of treatment that are available to seniors who have aphasia include rehabilitation and medications. Rehabilitation via speech and language therapy can assist individuals in regaining their communication capabilities. However, it is important to keep in mind the fact that, though progress is often achieved with this treatment approach, it can prove exceptionally difficult to get seniors back to the communication levels they had prior to their stroke. This is due to the damage that the event caused in the brain.

The other form of treatment, medication, is a bit less prevalent in the medical world since more research needs to take place in order to better understand how medication can help seniors who have aphasia. Eldercare professionals note, though, that the studies conducted to date indicate that pharmaceuticals that increase blood flow to the brain may help the organ in healing and in creating neurotransmitters, which play a key role in cognitive function.

Supporting Your Senior
No matter what your loved one's treatment course, it is important that they have your love and support during the recovery process. Healing after a stroke is something that takes time and can, in many cases, become very frustrating for both elderly individuals and their loved ones; however, it is essential that you remain patient and show your support throughout the process to best help your senior heal. With this information in mind you may find it easier to help your loved one cope throughout their recovery.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Your Elderly Father Healthy

With Father's Day right around the corner, it is a great idea to reflect on the eldercare that you provide for your dad and how you can improve his quality of life. Personal eldercare allows you to help your father to retain the highest degree of independence possible without compromising his safety; however, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to his health. Care for elderly individuals is an activity that forces you to pay attention to details and dedicate your time to making the life of your senior as positive as possible. How better to say thank you to your dad for all he has done than to boost the level of care that you provide?
  1. Collaborate with your father's doctors to ensure that all of his medical needs are met. Given his medical history and other factors, he may need certain health screenings at precise intervals. Scheduling appointments in advance can help you take a proactive approach to health.

  2. Make sure your father has fresh fruits and vegetables on hand at all times for healthy snacks. Additionally, help him to make certain that he addresses the nutrition needs that he might have due to his medical history.

  3. Join your dad in exercise activities, such as going for a walk. Keeping your father active is important to maintaining his health and you both will enjoy these activities more if you do them together.

  4. Make sure that your dad's home is safe and free of any clutter, uneven flooring, ripped carpeting, etc. Falling is one of the most risky accidents in terms of a senior's health, so minimizing the odds that your father will fall by keeping his home clean and neat is a great idea.

  5. Pay close attention to your dad's mental wellbeing. People often forget that mental health is an important consideration with regard to eldercare. Visit often, encourage your dad to engage in social activities, and do what you can to keep him in high spirits. 
These are great ways in which you can keep your father healthy both now and for years to come.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What Is the Connection Between Berries and Cognitive Decline?

Cognitive decline is an issue that many seniors face, as the ability of the brain to function efficiency wanes as the aging process takes place. This is natural, but it can be slowed with the right approach. A study published in 2012 in the Annals of Neurology shows that the consumption of berries may actually help to reduce the rate of cognitive decline that seniors experience. For dementia care and Alzheimer's care, Chapel Hill, professionals, this is a wonderful breakthrough, as it supplies eldercare providers with information that can help them to assist their seniors in maintaining the highest degree of cognitive function possible.

How Do Berries Slow Cognitive Decline?
Professionals who provide care for the elderly are encouraged to understand just how berries work with the brain to improve function. According to a blog post that recaps the findings of the study, berries are able to achieve this goal because of their high concentration of flavonoids.1 The flavonoids that berries contain are called anthocyanidins, which are unique in that they are able to cross the blood brain barrier. As such, they can directly infiltrate the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that plays a major role regarding memory and learning. The blog post explains that the ability to cross the blood brain barrier is key, as the inability to do so is what prevents many new drugs from being effective.

In addition to entering the hippocampus directly, these flavonoids are useful because they are antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. When the brain becomes inflamed or undergoes stress, the blog post explains, it shows a decline in function.

Adding Berries to Your Senior's Diet
While eating berries every day cannot completely prevent cognitive decline, research indicates that it can slow the process. As such, it is a good idea to encourage your elderly loved one to eat berries by keeping a fresh supply on hand. Go ahead and wash the berries and store them in containers in your senior's refrigerator so that they can snack on them whenever they would like. Additionally, you might add them to your loved one's breakfast or dessert.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Working with Your Siblings to Care for Your Senior

When it comes to homecare in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, there are many options open to your elderly loved one. But in order to determine which eldercare decisions are best for your family it is important that you work with your siblings to create a care plan for your elderly parents. While it may seem difficult to get all of your brothers and sisters on the same page regarding your loved one's needs, it is important that you have the support of your siblings during this process—particularly if you are opting to provide care for your senior instead of hiring a professional.

Below are some great tips from the professionals who are trained to care for elderly individuals that should help you to create a care plan that will meet your loved one's needs.

  • First and foremost, determine whether or not you will need assistance from trained eldercare providers. This may be necessary if you and your siblings cannot share this responsibility due to geographic location, work obligations, family responsibilities, etc.
  • If you and your siblings do decide to work together to provide the care your loved one needs, create a schedule to ensure that everyone is clear on when they are needed. Having a weekly schedule will also make it simpler for you and your siblings to balance the other aspects of your lives, as it is important that you are able to maintain your other responsibilities while offering care to your parent.
  • If you have siblings who live out of state or who are not able to physically help, involve them by asking them to spearhead other activities, such as calling in prescription refills, making doctor's appointments, handling financial issues, etc. This will keep them involved and will ensure that all aspects of your loved one's care are managed.
  • Make your senior a part of the decision making process if possible. It is important for you and your siblings to remember that caring for your loved one is a priority, but it does not mean that you need to make every decision for them. Keep your senior as active in decision making tasks as you can. 

Working with your siblings is a wonderful way to bond with family members while ensuring that your loved one gets the care they deserve.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

5 Ways to Prevent Falls for Elderly Individuals

Since June is National Safety Month, now is a wonderful time to discuss one of the most important aspects of care for elderly individuals: fall prevention. Homecare professionals understand that falling is one of the most dangerous risks that seniors face, as it can result in a long list of injuries that range from mild to fatal. Below are some of the ways in which today's eldercare professionals encourage you to help protect your loved one against this risk.
  1. Maintain a clean living space. Whether your senior lives with you or in their own home, it is essential that you make certain that they have a clean living environment that is free of clutter. When items are left on the floor and are not put away properly, seniors are more likely to trip over them and suffer from the injuries of their fall. Try dedicating one day per week to helping your loved one clean their living space and put away any items that are left out and about.

  2. Fix any uneven flooring, including chipped tiles, warped hardwoods, and snagged carpets. In many cases, seniors who fall do so because they trip. If the flooring in your loved one's home is not even and well-maintained it can pose a high degree of threat to your senior's wellbeing.

  3. Move any electrical cords that may obstruct the walkway. In many cases, individuals have to get creative when it comes to running electrical cords from televisions, DVD players, and other items. Having wires that cross walkways, though, is a major problem for seniors. If necessary, rearrange the furniture to ensure that your loved one can walk through their home with ease.

  4. Improve safety by replacing worn rugs, installing non-slip backing, and fixing upturned edges of carpeting. Rugs are wonderful for keeping a space warm and comfortable, but when they become worn, start to slide, or their edges begin to turn up they can prove dangerous to your loved one.

  5. Install slip-resistant materials in the bathroom. Adding slip-resistant mats and other products to the area in front of the toilet and the area in front of the bathtub—as well as the bottom of the tub—can help keep your loved one safe. 

With these five tips, you can better safeguard your senior against a fall.