Archive for the ‘Sunnyvale’ Category

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.

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.

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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Do You Know the Warning Signs that Indicate Extra Care Is Needed?

May 30th, 2016

Warning Signs Home Care Is NeededSometimes in life we get hit hard and all at once. A fall, a sudden surgery, or an illness can strike, and there is no denying that extra help is necessary. Sometimes, however, the signs are small – a missed bill or a lack of food in the refrigerator, for instance – but extra care is still needed. When the signs are small, it is easy to overlook the problem. And if you don’t live near your senior loved ones, it’s even harder to determine when there is a problem if you cannot see for yourself how things are going.

The first step in the process is to take notice of warning signs. Here are some of the most common signs which could indicate a need for extra help at home:

  • Messy house, clutter, pots and pans piling up
  • Confusing or missing doses of medications
  • Difficulty with balance and mobility
  • Confusion over once-familiar tasks
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Loss of weight
  • Signs of depression, loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities

When the signs of senior care needs start to appear, it is important to keep an open mind and not make assumptions as to why your parent or loved one might be experiencing difficulties. The discussion is often the most difficult part of the process, but if one approach does not work, give it some time and then try another approach.

What services can a senior obtain from home care? Home care agencies such as Visiting Angels in California help with any activities and assistance that a person needs throughout the day. Services can include:

  • Hygiene Assistance
  • Transportation
  • Live-in, Overnight, or Hourly Services
  • Assistance with Mobility
  • Bathing Assistance
  • Incontinence
  • Medication Reminders
  • Attend Religious Services
  • Respite for Family Caregivers
  • Beds & Linen Care
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Meal Preparation
  • Exercise Routines
  • Joyful Companionship

Transitioning to in home care can be hard, but we are here to make it easier. Contact our Sunnyvale or Fremont office today to learn more about how our in home caregivers can make living at home easier and safer.

How to Discuss the Possibility of Home Care in Sunnyvale with Loved Ones

May 23rd, 2016

home care in sunnyvaleAs we begin to age, there comes a time when we simply cannot do certain things for ourselves anymore. Small initial concerns can become genuine worries for our loved ones’ safety. If you determine there’s a safety issue that cannot be ignored, approach the senior with a sense of planning to find a solution rather than trying to enforce any predetermined decisions.

Here are some further tips to pave the way for a more successful conversation about home care needs:

  • Discuss what you have observed using concrete examples and ask her what she thinks is going on. Then ask what she thinks would be a good solution.
  • Make suggestions rather than demands. If driving is a concern, suggest the avoidance of driving at night or when the roads are slick. If there is a medical concern, suggest an appointment with a physician “just to check it out to relieve my concerns, although it may be nothing.”
  • If you have siblings, it may be helpful to involve them in the conversation. Be careful, however, not to give the feeling of “ganging up” on a parent or being overbearing. Talk when you and your loved one are at your best and try a new approach if the first one doesn’t work. If things start to break down or tempers flare, then try the discussion another time.
  • If you have an open and direct relationship, just come out and tell him that you’d like to talk about these issues and ask if he would mind talking about them.
  • Use conversation starters specific to your concerns to get the discussion started.

Remember to listen to your senior loved ones’ thoughts and concerns as well. It is their life, and feeling like they are losing control of it can be difficult. Once you are able to discuss your concerns, don’t pressure for an immediate decision. You may have been thinking about this for some time, but it is most likely a new idea to them. Let them absorb your ideas and return to the subject another time.

If you are unsure whether home care is appropriate for your situation, read more here, or contact Visiting Angels for a free in-home assessment. Our team is made up of exceptionally trained caregivers who are committed to making each senior’s transition easier. Contact us today at 510-284-0000 or 408-735-0977. We provide senior care services in Sunnyvale as well as throughout Santa Clara County and portions of Alameda County.

5 Conversation Starters to Make Home Care Discussions Easier

May 16th, 2016

home care assistance in CaliforniaLife is full of tough conversations, and exploring the idea with a senior in your life about the need for some extra help at home can be one of them. The idea of losing independence is hard to accept, and occasionally seniors flat out refuse to talk about it. In order to help prepare for this conversation, we have broken down some of the most common reasons for care needs and have come up with language to help you more easily approach those conversations. If you try one approach and it is unsuccessful, give it some time and try another; this process can take time.

Trouble with Getting Around the House

“Mom, I have some extra money. What do you say we find someone to help you with some of the bigger cleaning jobs at home like vacuuming and changing the sheets? It would make me feel good to treat you.”

Trouble with Medications

“I don’t know how you manage to keep all of those medications straight. I’ve heard about these medication dispensers that tell you when to take which medicines and even dispense the correct dosage. Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those? I know someone who can help us with that.”

Clutter

“Lately I’ve noticed that it seems hard for you to keep up with the housework the way I know you like it. Can we talk about why this is happening?”

Losing Weight

“Since Dad passed away, I noticed you are losing weight. For a little while at least, I think it might help to keep your nutrition up if we have someone help you with meal planning and preparation.”

For even more conversation starters, click here. To learn more about whether personalized home care assistance in California is right for you, contact Visiting Angels at our Fremont office: 510-284-0000 or at our Sunnyvale office: 408-735-0977. We provide senior care services throughout Santa Clara County as well as Fremont, Union City, Hayward, Newark, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Alameda.