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.

Fremont Elder Care Tips on Making Family Memories This Holiday Season

December 21st, 2016

Palo Alto Elder CareGetting together with family during the holiday season can be wonderfully fun! It can also be quite eye opening. Sometimes, family members notice an ever-widening gap between generations, with the children hunched over their phones and iPads while Grandma sits by the sidelines just watching. If you’d like to get the whole family together and enjoy each other’s company, and make some memories, Visiting Angels of California recommends creating a memory book of a cherished senior’s lifetime legacy.

The first step is to decide whether you’d like to record the memories in writing, as an audio recording or on video (or some combination of each). Then put together the questions you’d like to ask. These can be compiled by all family members, from the youngest to the oldest. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What’s your favorite holiday memory?
  • What was your first job?
  • What was school like when you were growing up?
  • How did Grandpa ask you to marry him?
  • What are some important values you possess that you would like to see continued in the family?
  • What is one thing that you would have liked to have done, that you did not have a chance to do?
  • Tell us about your favorite trip.

Kids can get involved by interviewing Grandma or Grandpa, asking questions about old pictures, or video the interview using their phone or tablet.

Getting the family together during the holidays can be both fun and challenging, especially when blending multiple generations. Visiting Angels’ Fremont elder care providers can help your entire family celebrate this season. For more tips on involving seniors in holiday activities, contact us at 510-284-0000 or (408) 735-0977.

California Home Care Services Help Caregivers Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions

December 7th, 2016

California Home Care ServicesNew Year’s resolutions: we love to make them, and can’t help but break them. Perhaps you’ve been motivated to eat better, lose those stubborn few pounds, quit a bad habit, or exercise more regularly; but life has a way of disrupting our intentions, especially for Californians providing home care services for a senior loved one.

To improve quality of life for both yourself and the senior for whom you offer care, and to discover a New Year’s resolution you’ll actually want to adhere to in the months and years to come, try one of these recommendations, courtesy of Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale:

  1. Be kind – to yourself. Recognize the tremendous selflessness required in caring for another, and make a point to treat yourself to regular, small rewards as a thank-you: a favorite treat from the ice cream shop, lunch ordered in, the latest book from your favorite writer, a vase of flowers, etc.
  2. Take time for self-care. Pre-flight emergency instructions stress the need to ensure your oxygen mask is on before assisting somebody else, and this is just as true on land as in the air. Caring for yourself allows you to supply the highest quality care for your loved one. So maintain regular medical checkups, get lots of rest, and ensure you’re eating a balanced diet.
  3. Seek out support. Finding a support group for family caregivers, especially one for a condition that your particular loved one is battling, such as Alzheimer’s disease, lets you understand you’re not alone. The Internet provides a wealth of resources for online support groups if attending meetings that are in-person is a challenge.
  4. Release feelings. Taking care of another person is wrought with feelings, from fear to anger to frustration to helplessness. It’s important to find a safe release that is productive for these emotions, through journaling or talking with a friend or counselor, for instance.
  5. Request help. No man – or caregiver – is an island, and you probably have plenty of willing friends and neighbors, as well as other family members who would want to provide support, if only they were asked. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to accept help.

Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale, CA can be counted on to partner with you with trusted in-home care. Our respite care services provide family caregivers with aging care specialists that are fully trained and experienced in many different aspects of care:

  • Personal care, such as washing and dressing
  • House care, such as light housework and laundry
  • Companion care, including engaging in conversation, playing cards and games, and participating in hobbies and interests
  • And more, according to each senior’s needs

Caring for senior loved ones is a rewarding, yet challenging job, and one that you don’t have to undertake alone. Contact Visiting Angels in our Fremont or Sunnyvale home care offices at 800-969-0499 to learn more about our California home care services or to schedule a free in-home assessment to explore how we can share the care journey with you – and to assist you in keeping your resolution to provide the best care for your senior loved one.

Exploring the Difference Between Asthma and COPD | Sunnyvale Elder Care

November 22nd, 2016

Palo Alto Elder Care Unstoppable coughing. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. Sounds like an asthma attack, right? Before reaching for that inhaler or those OTC cough drops, though, it might be better to find out if another culprit – COPD – could be a factor. With a full 12 million people in the U.S. currently living with COPD (and just as many who probably have the disease but haven’t been diagnosed), it’s crucial for seniors with COPD-like symptoms to determine the cause behind the cough.

Take a look at some of the major differences between these two conditions:

Asthma:

  • Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, dust, and pet hair can trigger asthmatic symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Usually displays in patients in childhood, often by age 5.
  • Thought to be caused by genetics.

COPD:

  • Environmental triggers can exacerbate symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing, but these symptoms are often present in a milder form regardless of air quality.
  • Typically diagnosed after age 40.
  • Caused mainly by cigarette smoking (in up to 90% of all patients), or by secondhand exposure to air pollutants.

While medications available for both COPD and asthma are often similar – bronchodilators or inhaled steroids – their treatment plans usually differ. Those with asthma are urged to stay away from known triggers, such as limiting outside time when the pollen count is high and avoiding secondhand smoke. Those with COPD require a more intense approach, which may include prescribed oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation to maximize breathing capacity, and, most importantly, making sure they’re not smoking.

Of course, it’s important to visit the physician if you’re concerned that your senior loved one is suffering with any type of lung condition.

There’s currently no cure for either asthma or COPD; however, both conditions can be better managed when properly diagnosed and treated. Although COPD does cause permanent, irreversible damage to the lungs, with correct treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed down, its symptoms made more manageable, and quality of life maximized.

Visiting Angels’ Sunnyvale elder care team is also available to provide assistance at home to help make a chronic condition easier to manage. Some of the many ways we can help include:

  • Light housework, to ensure as much dust as possible is removed from the home
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and to pick up prescriptions
  • Encouragement and participation in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Planning and preparation of nutritious, delicious meals
  • Friendly, compassionate companionship
  • And much more

To help your senior loved one remain safe and healthy at home, contact Visiting Angels in Sunnyvale at (408) 735-0977 or in Fremont at 510-284-0000 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about elder care in the surrounding area.

California Home Care Services Team Explains COPD Diagnosis & Treatment

November 8th, 2016

California Home Care Services There are times when receiving a definitive diagnosis for debilitating symptoms is actually a relief. Suddenly, the condition has a name, and there’s a way to treat it! This is definitely true when it comes to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If your senior loved one has been struggling with such symptoms as chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a diagnosis of COPD just might be the first step needed to improve her quality of life.

Here’s what you can expect from the senior’s physician when diagnosing COPD:

  • Assessment of the senior’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history
  • Testing such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to check lung functioning), x-rays and blood work
  • Creation of a treatment plan

Since the symptoms of COPD can differ widely from person to person, treatment plans are also not always the same. Here are some of the methods your senior loved one’s doctor may try to implement to help her best manage the disease:

  • Medications, to include any of the following:
    • Bronchodilators taken through an inhaler to help open airways, available in both short-term and long-term formulations, to work immediately as needed or to be taken ongoing for maintenance
    • Steroids and corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation, swelling and mucous production
    • Antibiotics to address any bacterial infections in the lungs
    • Immunizations to protect against flu and pneumonia, as those with COPD are at a greater risk for complications from these illnesses
  • Pulmonary therapy works to strengthen the lungs through guided exercise and nutrition.
  • Oxygen therapy, available through liquid or gas oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators that utilize the oxygen already in the environment.
  • Lung surgery may be an option if symptoms are extremely severe.
  • Palliative care focuses treatment on improving quality of life, and is available to anyone diagnosed with COPD, regardless of the prognosis or stage of the disease.
  • Clinical trials help researchers determine the success of new, experimental treatments, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk with your senior loved one’s physician to see if clinical trials are an option, and check the American Lung Association’s clinical trial search page for opportunities near you.

Regardless of the doctor’s recommended treatment plan to help improve life for your senior loved one with COPD, Visiting Angels’ California home care services team can help improve quality of life and ease COPD symptoms with supplemental in-home care. Whether the senior needs respectful assistance in performing personal care tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, help with light housework and meals, transportation, or just the kindness of a caring companion to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities together, our fully trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Contact us in Sunnyvale at (408) 735-0977 or in Fremont at 510-284-0000 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

Caregiver Guilt? Visiting Angels’ California Home Care Services Can Help

October 25th, 2016

California Home Care Services Most of us are juggling a number of things at any given time, and for caregivers, it often feels like they’re juggling knives and flaming swords on top of it. It’s normal to experience feelings of being overwhelmed and guilty with all the responsibilities involved with caring for a loved one, whether that person is your spouse, your parent, or someone else.

Guilt can come in many forms. Maybe you feel like you’re spending too little time with your loved one. You may experience guilt if you’re thinking about an assisted living facility for your loved one. You feel guilty because your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions made you snap. Or you could feel guilty about neglecting your own children’s needs in order to care for your senior loved one.

It’s important to remember that you’re doing the best you can, and it’s perfectly fine to seek help.

Let’s take a closer look at that statement. First: You’re doing the best you can. You probably agree, but do you believe it? When the guilt starts to creep in, remind yourself:

  • I am doing the best I can.
  • My loved one appreciates me, even if he or she can’t or won’t say so.
  • Mistakes will happen.
  • I can’t control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
  • I am doing enough.

Think about putting these affirmations on Post-Its around the house, maybe on the refrigerator or inside the medicine cabinet. If there’s a particular statement you really like, use the calendar app on your cell phone to schedule it as a daily reminder.

Second: It’s perfectly acceptable to seek help, whether through California home care services such as Visiting Angels, or from relatives, friends, or your loved one’s friends.

Let’s begin with your loved one’s network of friends. So often, people will say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But how often do we take them up on that offer? Your mother’s friends from her card club probably do want to help, but they might be holding back because they don’t want to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific assistance. “Could you come visit with Mom every Wednesday for an hour?” You’ll likely be surprised at how willing people are to pitch in — they just need to know what you need.

Nearby siblings and other relatives might also just need to be given a specific task. Remember, if you can receive help for even a few small weekly tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Susie is able to take Dad to his weekly exercise class, or Cousin Mike can bring Grandma with him to church.

If siblings and other relatives live far away, ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Need someone to look into adult day care facility options?  Looking for the most affordable pharmacy option for your parent’s prescriptions? Delegate those tasks.

Or even better, request the help of a professional home care agency such as Visiting Angels. Our California home care services include help with the following, and much more:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Regular respite care
  • Transportation to appointments, shopping and events
  • Light housekeeping
  • Companionship
  • Specialized care for persons with dementia
  • Connections to community resources and caregiver support groups

Visiting Angels can be a partner with you as you walk this caregiving journey with your loved one. Our fully trained and experienced home care staff can provide your loved one with companionship while assisting with daily tasks like hygiene, medication management, and laundry. Our kind, caring professionals will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. Just give us a call at (408) 735-0977 or (510)-284-0000 to share your concerns with us and learn more about how we can help.

How to Choose the Best Senior Care in California: Home Care or Assisted Living

October 11th, 2016

Senior Care in CaliforniaHome is where the heart is, and most seniors’ hearts are set on remaining at home throughout the aging process, rather than moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home – nearly 90% of them, according to AARP. And who can blame them? Feeling comfortable in familiar surroundings, having the independence to come and go as you desire, experiencing the freedom to choose whatever meals you want, and eat them whenever and wherever you want – these abilities are simply priceless.

But although it sounds ideal in theory, there are a number of concerns to be addressed as well:

  • Will the senior be safe?
  • How will he or she get around when driving, or even walking, becomes difficult?
  • What happens if the senior becomes ill or injured and no one’s nearby to help?

Thankfully, it is possible for California seniors to remain safe and well cared for at home, with a little thought and planning. These suggestions can assist you in taking the necessary precautions to ensure your senior loved one is prepared for these needs and any others, now and in the years to come:

  • Assess the home, both inside and out, from the perspective of the senior’s safety. Check to make sure:
    • Grab bars are in place near the bathtub and toilet.
    • Throw rugs and other tripping hazards are removed.
    • There’s plenty of lighting, including in hallways and stairways.
    • Commonly used items are within easy reach.
    • Emergency numbers are posted in a prominent location.
  • Put together a transportation plan, so it will be ready to implement when driving is no longer an option:
    • Look into public transportation options that are available and easily accessible.
    • Create a list of those the senior can rely on for help with transportation: friends, family members, neighbors, religious organizations, local senior centers, Visiting Angels, etc.
  • Provide the senior with technology to use in an emergency to call for help when alone, such as a PERS (personal emergency response system).

Keep in mind that the best way to ensure seniors remain safe and well cared for at home is by partnering with a professional in-home care agency, such as Visiting Angels. Our caregivers are trained and have experience in providing the very best senior care in California, including personal care services, transportation, meal preparation, and companionship, and are available for as much or as little care as needed.

Our first step is to create an individualized care plan to address the senior’s specific needs and wishes, and then we continuously monitor that plan and modify as needs change – ensuring that the senior remains safe and is able to live life to the fullest, where it’s most comfortable: right at home. Contact us any time at 800-969-0499 for more senior care tips or to get started with in-home care for your senior loved one.

Alzheimer’s Personal Care Battles? Our Home Care Agency in California Offers Help.

September 16th, 2016

home care agency in California

Helping another person with personal care needs, such as bathing, dressing and assistance with using the bathroom, can be uncomfortable for all involved. It’s difficult to put modesty aside and allow someone to assist you when you’re at your most vulnerable. And there are times when seniors, most notably those with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, become terribly anxious while receiving this needed help, to the point that a battle can erupt.

The exact cause for these outbursts varies from person to person, but some of the potential reasons can include:

  • Loss of control. Independence and autonomy can feel as though they’re slipping away in a variety of areas for older adults, and maintaining control over the most basic functions becomes even more important.
    • What can help: Let the senior maintain as much control as possible, and come up with compromises instead of pushing the senior too far. If she insists on wearing an unmatching outfit, for instance, allow her that freedom.
  • Adherence to tradition. When today’s seniors were children, standards of hygiene were far different than now, oftentimes with weekly rather than daily baths. A senior whose memory is unclear may revert back to those days and balk at the idea of a daily bath or shower.
    • What can help: Using positive, motivating language can sometimes encourage the senior to see things from a different perspective. For example, use bath time as a springboard to a fun activity, such as a lunch date for which she certainly will want to look and feel her best.
  • Fear of the experience. As we age, once simple tasks such as bathing and dressing can become fraught with fears, and often rightfully so, as the fear of falling in the tub or while getting onto or off of the toilet are risks to consider. Some seniors with dementia also become fearful of the sound of running water, or may become distressed by the feel of water that’s too warm or too cool.
    • What can help: In-home safety modifications, such as grab bars beside the tub and toilet and elevated toilet seats, will reduce the risk of falling. Using a soft, soothing voice and explaining each step of the process in advance can also help.

The tips below can also help minimize fear and anxiety:

  • Always allow the senior as much independence as possible to enhance self-esteem.
  • A little planning can go a long way in optimizing comfort, such as keeping the room warm, using comfortable lighting, and maintaining as much privacy as possible.
  • Lay clothing out for the older adult in the order that each piece should be put on, gently giving guidance for each step if needed.

At Visiting Angels, we understand the difficulties that can surround personal care tasks, and we’re here to help with trained, experienced caregivers whose ultimate goal is to make sure that each senior feels at ease, safe and respected. Contact us at 408-735-0977 or 510-284-0000 for more tips or to partner with our home care agency in California for trusted senior care services to give both your senior loved one and yourself peace of mind.