The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for Seniors

May 14th, 2017

The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for SeniorsIt seems intuitive to some people that interacting socially with others elevates wellbeing by maintaining connections to other people’s experiences, beliefs, problems, humor, opinions, and a host of other human happenings. Now, scientific studies are displaying the benefits of social activities for seniors that could boost the wellness of the brain and the body.

The results point clearly to the benefits of friendship and social interaction for the elderly. A study executed by Rush University Medical Center demonstrated that a person who was documented to have a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of an impairment with activities of daily living than somebody with a reduced level of social engagement, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility. Extremely social older persons had a 70% decrease in their level of cognitive decline when compared to their less social peers.

And yet, being social is not second nature to everybody, and for a number of people, it turns out to be harder with age because one’s ability to get around may become greatly diminished. Here are a few ways a home care agency such as Visiting Angels can help the elderly continue to be social and protect their wellbeing:

  • Promote attendance at and provide accompaniment to social outings like club meetings, community events such as fairs, holiday activities and parades, plays, concerts, and sports events, religious services and church activities.
  • Share in playing interactive games with seniors such as board games, cards and Nintendo Wii.
  • Arrange for visits with friends and neighbors.
  • Offer transportation to an adult day facility or a low impact exercise class.
  • Provide companionship during family celebrations or vacations for optimum comfort and safety.
  • Help older adults navigate social media sites like Skype and Facebook to enable them to connect with family and friends even when they are unable to leave the home.

In the Social Activity and Wellbeing of Older Australians Study, testing more than 6,000 older adults across about 5 1/2 years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a reduced decrease in intellectual and memory performance. Better mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially engaged.

Having a professional home care agency provide assistance to encourage and help with keeping a senior socially connected might be one of the most essential means to help him/her continue to thrive and feel alive. Visiting Angels’ in home care San Jose staff are all committed to supporting the independence, dignity, and social connectedness of every person we serve. To view our full service area in California, click here.

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s: Using Your Smartphone to Help a Senior Thrive

May 11th, 2017

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’sToday, music is more available than ever before. For those who carry smartphones or tablets along with them everywhere they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are simply a couple of touches or finger swipes away. If you are a caregiver for an elderly person, your smartphone could become one of the most useful tools in your possession for helping a senior thrive by awakening his or her emotional wellbeing with music. This extensively shared video from the Alive Inside documentary demonstrates just how tremendously effective music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and older adults with restricted capabilities can be.

With extensive musical libraries obtainable from resources like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and numerous others, we can now discover music, in some cases for free, in an array of genres in mere seconds. Caregivers can ask clients or family members what types of music the seniors enjoyed during their lifetime. The type of music a senior might have taken pleasure in might be specific to a period of time, such as Big Band music, or it may be unique to his or her religious affiliations, such as gospel or hymns, for instance. The form of music enjoyed throughout someone’s life can also vary depending on the individual’s ethnicity – such as those who enjoy salsa or reggae. An older adult might also have enjoyed timeless favorites like jazz, classical, blues, country, folk, and the list goes on. Whatever the musical inclination, availability to music could have powerful advantages.

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and felt transported back to a previous time in your life? Research has shown that music is intensely related to personal recollections. The human brain is actually programmed to connect music with long-term memory. This is true even for persons with moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly through digital music technology, dramatically bettering quality of life. The team at Music & Memory train caretakers for the elderly and family members in how to create and work with personal playlists with digital devices in order to help those who have dementia and other difficulties to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

Studies have also revealed that enjoying music that is recognizable and well-loved can help in reducing anxiety levels and enhance focus on the current moment, which then helps older adults with dementia connect to others around them. At Visiting Angels home care, Sunnyvale, CA, our objective is always to improve the quality of life for seniors with the in-home care services and support they need and the kind, caring, and qualified senior care staff they want. And, we go the extra mile when it comes to the little things that can brighten the days of those we serve. Contact us today to learn more.

Home Care Assistance Tips for Parkinson’s Disease in Older Adults

April 19th, 2017

Parkinson’s Disease in Older AdultsWhen it comes to Parkinson’s disease in older adults, many receive the bulk of their care at home from family members and friends, particularly in the early stages of the disease. As a professional home care company, we grasp firsthand the unique concerns experienced by family members caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease, and want you to realize you’re not alone! We’re on hand to offer guidelines and to work with you in making sure your loved one receives the highest quality care at all times.

First off, keep these Parkinson’s-specific tips in mind:

Nutrition: A well-balanced diet helps decrease cell loss in someone with Parkinson’s. Taking in antioxidants, like those found in blueberries, broccoli, spinach, green tea, beans, and certain kinds of nuts, can also help fight against oxidative stress.

Chewing/Swallowing: Individuals with Parkinson’s often experience difficulties with chewing and swallowing. Everyone caring for a person with Parkinson’s should learn the Heimlich maneuver in the event the person starts to choke.

Fall Prevention: Parkinson’s patients often have a hard time walking and balancing, so it’s critical to modify the home surroundings in order to lessen the risk of falling. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstructions throughout the home such as doorsills and throw rugs, is a good great place to begin.

Anxiety and Depression: Preventing depression and anxiety is a major component of the Parkinson’s battle. Watch your loved one closely for signs of depression, and have him or her diagnosed as soon as possible.

Medications: Parkinson’s treatments can have multiple side effects and can affect the person in different ways. Some medications may cause hallucinations or nightmares, for instance. Make sure your care recipient’s physician advises you about all the anticipated side effects of medications so you know what to expect.

We invite you to explore Visiting Angels’ in-home care services to discover how respite care can lead to a better quality of life for both your loved one and the family who cares for him or her. By allowing our professional Fremont in home caregivers to assist with some of the more mundane aspects of caregiving, it enables loved ones to spend more quality time together. Contact us at 408-610-9996 for expert in-home senior care in Fremont and the surrounding area and let us develop a plan of care that encompasses all of your loved one’s specific needs.

Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly: Understanding the 5 Stages

April 5th, 2017

Parkinson's disease in the elderlyMore common in men, and more widespread than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease combined, Parkinson’s disease strikes upwards of 7 – 10 million people globally, with another 600,000 Americans diagnosed every year. And while every person’s experience with the disease differs in severity, there are five stages of progression that are typical for all. In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Visiting Angels in Sunnyvale, CA shares the following facts for you to know about Parkinson’s disease in the elderly:

Stage 1: Known as early-stage Parkinson’s, during the course of this stage the individual usually has only mild signs or symptoms that may present as follows:

  • Symptoms are only on one side of the body
  • Symptoms are troublesome, but not disabling
  • Uncontrolled tremors or shaking in one limb may be noticed
  • Family and friends can often detect differences in the person’s posture, balance, and facial expressions

Stage 2: During the second stage of Parkinson’s, an inability to complete standard physical tasks may become more apparent:

  • Symptoms will impact both sides of the body
  • The individual has minimal disability, and in most cases experiences ambulatory or balance problems
  • Posture is affected

Stage 3: This phase is regarded as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and more significant disability will begin to be apparent:

  • There is a considerable slowing down of the body movements
  • Early impairment of equilibrium may result in the inability to walk straight or stand
  • There is generalized dysfunction that is moderately significant

Stage 4: Stage four signifies advanced Parkinson’s disease and is accompanied by severe symptoms:

  • Rigidity and bradykinesia, or sluggish movements are often apparent
  • The person is unable to complete daily tasks and generally cannot live independently
  • Tremors may lessen or disappear completely for unknown reasons during this time

Stage 5: The final stage of the disease usually takes over the patient’s physical movements:

  • The individual generally experiences a general decline in vitality and strength of the body and mind
  • The individual may not be able to walk or stand
  • One-on-one care is needed

Visiting Angels’ in home caregivers are fully trained in all aspects of senior home care, and can help those with Parkinson’s and other conditions of aging to live fuller, more comfortable and independent lives, right at home. Whether it’s help with daily personal care, transportation and accompaniment to doctors’ appointments or to run errands, light housekeeping and meal preparation, or simply a cheerful companion to brighten up the day, our elder care services in Sunnyvale, CA and the surrounding areas are tailored to each person’s needs and preferences. Contact us any time to learn more at 408-735-0977.

Living with MS: Staying Comfortable and Safe at Home with Multiple Sclerosis

March 24th, 2017

Living with MSAs the famous author Jane Austen said, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” And for those living with MS, comfort is essential, as is remaining safe. If a family member has been diagnosed with MS, the first step in caregiving should be to make the necessary modifications so the home is a safe, comfortable sanctuary, and not a dangerous place.

Multiple sclerosis can cause getting around to be difficult, and because daily activities — including recreational activities — can result in fatigue more quickly in people with MS, creating specific changes to the home environment may help conserve energy and increase independence.

Some examples include:

  • Change out thick carpeting with smooth, nonslip flooring for easier mobility
  • Put grab bars in the bathroom
  • Reposition furniture to widen pathways throughout the home
  • Include items in the shower or bathtub such as a handheld showerhead, a slip resistant bath mat and a bathtub seat
  • Consider a bed rail to assist with changing sleeping positions
  • Replace knobs throughout the home with handles, which are easier to manage

If you have a loved one who is living with MS, Visiting Angels of Sunnyvale, San Jose and Fremont, CA can provide in-home modification guidelines and help in scheduling customizations to ensure your loved one’s residence is a more convenient place for independence. To discover more about our in-home care services in Santa Clara County and the surrounding area, contact us at 408-735-0977 or 510-284-0000 or 408-610-9996. Our in-home care from expert caregivers can help individuals stay in the comfort of their home, with the care needed to improve quality of life.

How Much Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

March 10th, 2017

How Much Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), hundreds of thousands of people in America are living with it – approximately 400,000 people to be exact, and of that, 86 percent list fatigue as the leading symptom of the disease. The cause of MS is not known; it is not contagious or known to be directly passed down from one family member to another, but factors that may play a role include the following:

  • Gender – Women are affected more than two times as often as men
  • Age – The majority of people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50
  • Geography – Most people with multiple sclerosis live in temperate environments
  • Ethnic background – Those with Caucasian origin are at a greater risk

It is thought that multiple sclerosis symptoms occur when an immune system attack affects myelin, the protective insulation encompassing nerve fibers of the central nervous system. For individuals with MS, myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of toughened sclerotic tissue. Some underlying nerve fibers are permanently severed, and the damage manifests in multiple places within the central nervous system — providing the disease with its name.

While no cure for multiple sclerosis has been discovered yet, a few FDA-approved drugs are available for the long-term treatment of MS. These drugs have been shown to lower the number and severity of MS flare-ups, and possibly postpone disease progression. Additionally, numerous therapeutic and technological advances are assisting those with MS to control symptoms.

If you live in the Fremont, Sunnyvale or San Jose, CA area, contact Visiting Angels to find out how our senior caregivers can help a person with multiple sclerosis feel empowered, motivated and connected to others and live his or her best life. Feel free to call us anytime at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont, or 408-610-9996 in San Jose or review our in-home and respite-care services online.

How to Overcome Roadblocks to Exercise for Elderly People

February 14th, 2017

exercise for elderly peopleEngaging in a routine exercise program is challenging at any age. Exercising is tiring. We don’t want to spend the time. We’re feeling sore from yesterday’s workout. We have all made excuses like these for not working out; but frailty and advanced age make it even harder to stick with many types of exercise for elderly people.

Visiting Angels Senior Homecare wants to help seniors stay active with tips to overcome the following typical fitness barriers:

  • Self-confidence: It’s normal for seniors to feel overwhelmed with the idea of meeting exercise goals. It might help to begin slowly with exercises that can be accomplished and advance gradually; and, motivate the senior with regular support.
  • Attitude: Attitude is everything when it comes to physical fitness. If approached adversely, it will likely be much harder to keep an effective exercise regime. Choose activities that’ll be enjoyable and that the senior can look forward to.
  • Pain: The saying, “No pain, no gain” simply is not true. Older adults should avoid overdoing it, and reduce the amount of intensity if experiencing pain or discomfort.
  • Disabilities: Older adults with physical or cognitive limitations can and should remain active within their ability level. Check with the physician for a referral to a personal trainer or physical therapist who can put together a program of specialized exercises.
  • Fear of Injury/Balance Issues: You can find a number of assistive products to allow for safe, effective exercising.
  • Financial Concerns: It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to stay fit! Walking and other simple exercises in and around the house, using common household items, can be incorporated into an exercise program at little to no expense.
  • Illness or Fatigue: Exercises may be tailored to match the senior’s energy level, and he or she may slowly increase endurance level with time.

Keep in mind that the key to ongoing success with an exercise program is to ensure the older adult feels comfortable and safe with the program and the exercises. If soreness is noted in muscles or joints the following day after exercising, a reduced intensity can be implemented; and check with the doctor if the pain or discomfort persists.

Visiting Angels Senior Homecare caregivers will work with your loved one’s doctor to develop a safe fitness plan based on his or her abilities to increase strength, independence, and general quality of life. Contact us online for more information about the advantages of daily exercise for elderly people and to find out more about how our in-home care services in California can help!

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Staying Fit and Having Fun – Workouts for Seniors at Any Activity Level

February 8th, 2017

workouts for seniorsThe advantages of exercise don’t diminish as we age, and it’s extremely crucial for older adults to maintain as active a lifestyle as possible. Even if bedridden or wheelchair-bound, a full range of options of workouts for seniors is available to strengthen, enhance resistance and flexibility.

The initial step is always to consult with the physician to get a recommendation and approval for an exercise program that’s attainable for the individual. Initially, working out even as little as a few minutes a day, repeated several times throughout the day, can significantly enhance the senior’s health.

Following are several types of exercise to consider for seniors:

  • Aerobic Exercises: If full body movements aren’t possible, exercises from a seated position are available to build cardiovascular strength. When possible, good options include:
    • Swimming or water aerobics
    • Dancing
    • Walking
    • Tai Chi
    • Bowling
  • Resistance Exercises: To enhance and strengthen muscles, resistance workouts can be performed with elastic bands, obtainable in a number of tensile strengths. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences states that even only one day per week of resistance training helps older adults maintain independence and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Flexibility Exercises: Stretching exercises help improve flexibility and freedom of movement. Check for yoga classes at local senior or activity centers.
  • Alzheimer’s Exercises: In the first phases of Alzheimer’s especially, a number of exercise options can be found, and with increasing supervision and some modifications, can be continued while the disease progresses. Since repetition can be a comfort to those with Alzheimer’s disease, activities such as walking, riding a stationary bike, and folding laundry are beneficial to both the person’s physical and mental state.

Encouraging your senior family member to begin and then stick with an exercise program is key to success. Try these tips to ensure it is something fun that he or she will look forward to:

  • Participate in an exercise regime with the older adult. It is always more fun to exercise with a buddy.
  • Add favorite, upbeat music.
  • Set aside committed time each day for exercise, and make it a priority.
  • Designate incentives or rewards for attaining milestones.

For more ideas on workouts for seniors and other tips on helping older adults increase activity levels, contact Visiting Angels Senior Homecare in Fremont, CA. Our professional in-home caregivers are experienced in helping older adults thrive and enhance their overall wellbeing, and we love nothing more than knowing the older adults within our care are healthy and enjoying life to the fullest! Call us at 408-735.-0977 or 510-284-0000 to find out more!

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Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors in Honor of National Bath Safety Month

January 24th, 2017

Bathroom Safety Tips for SeniorsHow could something that’s so comforting and relaxing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the greatest dangers to seniors? The truth is, combining slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water create a number of potential hazards to seniors, especially the danger of falling – one of the most severe risks to older people.

January is set aside as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great opportunity for both training and assessment in bathroom safety for seniors.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related injuries every single day in the USA. Because most falls in the home occur in the bathroom, AARP recommends taking the following preventative bathroom safety measures:

  • Put in grab bars for the toilet, shower, and tub
  • Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
  • Adjust temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or less to prevent scalds
  • Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if susceptible to falling when stepping over the tub wall
  • Provide a bath chair to allow bathers to sit while bathing
  • Apply no-slip strips to the bathtub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
  • Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately

It’s also a wise idea to assess whether it might be worthwhile for a senior to utilize a mobile commode, which may be put at a bedside to ease nighttime bathroom needs. Bedside commodes can reduce the chance of evening falls, and can additionally be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to look for when buying a commode:

  • Non-removable armrests
  • Rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels
  • A frame that is sturdy
  • Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)

Simple, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as much as $3,000.

AARP also provides a handy bathroom safety checklist with design instructions which will help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions so that they can avoid the potential hazards of the bathroom.

Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale can also help with bathroom safety for seniors. We can provide an in-home safety evaluation and suggestions, and by providing expert, hands-on support at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs. Our care is always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.

To Have a Bath or Not to Have a Bath? – Bathing Solutions for the Elderly

January 16th, 2017

Bathing Solutions for the ElderlyWhat feels finer than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the conclusion of a long, stressful day? While many of us relish the wonderful comfort that bathtime brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, to have a bath is anything but blissful.

For a variety of reasons, such as memory problems, feelings of vulnerability, or physical distress from the pressure or temperature of the water, assisting a senior with washing can feel a lot more like entering a battleground.

Visiting Angels wants to help restore the pleasure of bathtime for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these bathing solutions for the elderly:

  • Ensure safety. Keeping the shower area clear of hazards is essential. Make certain that:
    • Grab bars and mats that are slip-resistant are strategically placed in and around the tub
    • The water temperature is comfortable (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
    • Never leave a senior with dementia unattended in the bathroom
  • Be innovative. Who says one person’s bathtime experience has to be like everyone else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to discover what works best for your senior loved one:
    • If the senior appreciates music, try singing or playing some songs as a distraction
    • Try a “dry” bed bath using no-rinse soap, dry shampoo, and a warm, damp towel
    • Incorporate a seven-day bath, involving cleaning just a portion of the body each day over the period of a week
    • Assisting the older adult with both using the toilet and cleaning his or her body simultaneously can be effective for those experiencing a high degree of anxiety or agitation
  • Allow control. One of the most challenging aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Help the senior regain a sense of control through:
    • Offering choices
    • Enlisting his/her help (i.e., holding the washcloth or bottle of shampoo)

It may take some trial and error to discover what the best bathing solution is for your elderly loved one. They will pick up on any frustrations you’re feeling, which could increase the amount of agitation for everyone. A healthy dosage of patience and a sense of humor can go a long way towards helping senior loved ones relax.

For more tips on bathing solutions for the elderly, contact Visiting Angels. Our professional in-home senior care specialists can assist with a complete range of personal care services, including bathing, assistance with the restroom, dressing, hair care and skin care, and much more. Partnering with Visiting Angels of California enables family to spend more quality time with their senior loved one, and also to take a much-needed break to rest and recharge. Call us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.