Always Best Care provides warm, compassionate and professional care for seniors and others when they need it most. We’re local experts in senior care, providing a resource for aging and senior living delivered through an international network of locally owned and operated offices. We’re dedicated to exceeding your expectations … always.

In-Home Care for Seniors

Nine Tips to Make Your Senior’s Home “Fall-Proof”

Share Button

Nine Tips to Make Your Senior's Home “Fall-Proof”Nearly two-million older individuals in the United States visit emergency rooms each year to receive treatment for fall-related injuries. Debilitating hip fractures happen frequently, but that’s not the whole story – terrible back injuries and fractures to hands, feet ankles and other parts of the body happen with shocking regularity among the senior community. One out of every three seniors experiences a fall each year, and the risk of falling rises with age.

Thankfully, simple steps can be taken to ensure that seniors seriously minimize the risk of falling at home.

Read on for nine tips that will improve the safety of your senior’s home and reduce the risk of falls considerably!

Remove Obstacles
This one might seem obvious, but scan the home with fresh eyes – you might be surprised by what you find cluttering walking areas.

Arrange Furniture Properly
Does the arrangement of furniture and other items create a challenge for walking within the senior’s home? Rearrange items so that the space flows and fewer moves need to be made to get from one place to another.

Secure Carpets and Rugs
Loose carpeting and slippery rugs are real dangers for anyone, but especially dangerous for seniors. If these items cannot be secured properly, it’s time to reconsider whether they’re actually needed in the home.

Ensure Good Lighting
Many falls happen because people cannot see where they’re going. With good light, the risk of falling is reduced significantly.

Clean Spills Immediately
Some surfaces become slippery and dangerous when spills occur. Sometimes slip-and-fall incidents can occur even if a spill has been wiped up, which is why areas need to be cleaned thoroughly before normal traffic can resume.

Nine Tips to Make Your Senior's Home “Fall-Proof”Install Grab Bars in Bathrooms
Bathrooms are full of slippery surfaces and tight corners. What’s more, some tubs and showers require seniors to strain themselves physically just to use them. Installing grab bars provides seniors with additional points of contact for their bodies, making falls much less likely to happen.

Install Hand Rails Along Stairs and Walkways
Having an extra point of contact is not just useful in the bathroom; it can also come in handy anywhere where seniors move around the home. Stairs are particularly tricky, so the installation of high-quality handrails can provide confidence and stability.

Use Night Lights
Night lights can transform frightening nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen into easy, well-lit strolls through the home. With energy-efficient LED lights now available everywhere, there’s really no excuse to avoid using these helpful items.

Combating Old Man Winter
Slips and falls increase among seniors during the winter months because of the presence of ice and numerous slick surfaces. Thankfully, the application of salt and the diligent removal of snow can leave surfaces just as safe as they would be in the summer. Make sure shovels and containers of ice-melting salt are always on hand, not for your senior to use, but for you or caregivers to use in case of bad winter weather!

For more information …
For more information on “fall-proofing” your home, contact your Always Best Care representative toll-free at 1-855-470-CARE (2273). Also be sure to visit our website at www.alwaysbestcare.com.

Helping Seniors Handle Grief and Loss

Share Button

Helping Seniors Handle Grief and LossLosing people in one’s life is never easy, but we tend to think that when people of a certain age pass away, it’s okay because that person experienced a rich, full life. But what about the people who are left behind – the spouses, the best friends and the morning coffee-club conversation partners? When seniors lose friends, acquaintances and loved ones, they experience just as much grief and loss as anyone else. Understanding this fact is important for family members and caregivers, but what’s critical is learning how to help seniors handle their grief and loss in a healthy manner.

You Don’t Have to Do it Alone

When a senior loved one in your life has experienced a loss and you’re the primary caregiver, you may feel a sense of duty that compels you to be the sole provider of emotional support. It doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t hesitate to enlist family members or friends so that they can offer their love and support, as well.

Pay Attention

Although grief affects different people in different ways, it is a state that should eventually pass. Unfortunately, for many seniors, grief lingers longer than is necessary to process the pain of loss. This is why you should pay attention to how seniors “bounce back.” Do they seem to have rebounded from the loss more quickly than expected? Are they showing a lack of interest in things that would have captured their attention before? Are they experiencing forgetfulness? These could be signs that grief is continuing and that further support is necessary.

Keeping up With Responsibilities

One of the most helpful things you can do to assist a grieving senior is to help with basic tasks or chores around the home. Make sure bills are being paid on time, plants are being watered, pets are being taken care of and the living space is being kept in good condition. Doing these things can ease the pain of loss considerably.

Life Goes on, No Matter What

Helping Seniors Handle Grief and LossDesperation and sadness are common feelings to have when a loss is experienced. But that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t move on, respectfully, with their own lives. As a family member and/or caregiver, don’t be afraid to lighten the mood and make conversation about the present (and future!). Doing so can show that living with grief is a process that eventually reaches a healthy end point.

Are you looking for more ways to help seniors cope with grief and loss? Do you require help or assistance with meeting the needs of an elderly individual in your life? Contact Always Best Care today for a free consultation, and be sure to visit our website for more helpful information and advice.

Seniors and Modern Technology – Bridging the Gap

Share Button

Seniors and Modern Technology – Bridging the GapWith each passing year, more and more people can say that they’ve lived most of their lives in a world where the presence of amazing digital technology is the norm. Most millennials have never had to dial a rotary phone – in fact, the term “dialing” is something of a throwback that many people will never truly understand – and many members of our society seem to be so connected to their smartphones that they’ve become extensions of their bodies.

Today’s seniors, though they may be more technologically adept than any senior generation in the history of the world, often struggle with things like laptops, tablets, smartphones and the like. For many of them, this type of technology simply didn’t exist for most of their lives, making the learning curve incredibly steep. However, as technology becomes increasingly important, it’s critical to make sure that seniors can experience the same benefits as everyone else when it comes to connecting with friends and family, enjoying digital media and staying connected to a world that becomes increasingly fascinating by the day.

Dealing with Dismissiveness

Have you tried to show your mom, dad or grandparent the wonders of connecting through Facebook? Have you attempted to convince the senior in your life that digital photography is full of advantages over the old ways of taking and viewing pictures? Chances are, you’ve had to deal with a fair bit of dismissiveness and skepticism.

Think about it from the senior’s perspective – they’ve lived a rich and full life, and now they’re being expected to adapt to new ways of doing things that don’t seem to make sense. Some seniors may be more willing than others to try new technology, but skepticism is a natural reaction.

Understand that you may never get Mom and Dad to sign up for Facebook or become involved in social media. That’s okay! Even though you can see how it might benefit their lives, there’s no point in forcing the issue. Instead, try to come up with compromises. Set up an email address that can be checked easily, and fill the inbox with highlights from the week on social media. Send them the latest cat memes. Keep them in the loop regarding the latest happenings within your extended family.

Your senior may or may not change their mind about going online, but they won’t feel left out, either, as long as you continue to gently encourage them to take advantage of the benefits that technology can offer.

Take Advantage of Natural Curiosity

One of the most wonderful things about life is that one’s sense of curiosity can remain strong, even into the “golden years.”

Maybe the senior in your life has seen people reading on tablet devices or eReaders. Perhaps they’ve seen news stories about how iPads, with their ubiquity and ease of use, can help people stay connected and engaged.

If your senior is curious about technology, take advantage of the curiosity and show them just how easy it can be to become involved. Enlist your siblings and other family members to establish an iPad fund. Work together to set up the device so that it’s ready to serve up the world in a wonderful way to your senior.

Technology has its dark side, but it’s also able to fascinate and keep the mind full of youthful energy. So if your senior has expressed a desire to learn more about the wonders of this digital age, take it as a sign for you to guide them!

Be Prepared for Interesting Questions

Amazingly, more technological advancement has occurred over the last forty years than occurred over the previous four thousand years! When you think about things that way, it’s easy to see how our senior generation often feels left behind in our digital world.

Seniors and Modern Technology – Bridging the GapIf you’re working with a senior to help them take advantage of technology, it’s important to remember that you’re basically a visitor from the future! Emailing, texting, tweeting, posting, swiping and sharing may all be second nature to you, but to your senior, they’re just words – words that often mean something completely different from what you’re trying to convey.

Patience is incredibly important when introducing technology to seniors. Make sure that you take time to consider their questions and what they’re really asking. Pay attention to when frustration sets in. Take these moments as opportunities not only to teach and connect, but to marvel at just how far our world has come during the lives of the members of our eldest generations!

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Technology is wonderful, and it has provided numerous benefits to all of our lives. But bringing our seniors onboard with modern technology can be challenging, to say the least.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do it all by yourself!

Enlist the help of family members, and remember that help is always available – with technology and much more – from Always Best Care and our superb staff.

Learn more by contacting us today! Call 1-855-470-2273, or visit AlwaysBestCare.com.

Have You Heard These Five Common Aging Myths?

Share Button

Have You Heard These Five Common Aging Myths?Much has been said about the senior generation and the lives that they live. Unfortunately, not all of it is based in fact. Join us as we debunk five of the most common myths about aging!

#1 – Dementia Is Inevitable

This one has been scaring people for some time now, and with seniors living longer and longer lives, it’s become increasingly persistent.

Thankfully, it’s just not true!

Dementia is common enough to warrant concern from the medical community and from family members of seniors; however, it is far from inevitable.

Recently, doctors examined the brain of a 115-year-old woman who, when she died, was the world’s oldest person. No evidence of dementia or other disorders was found, and testing throughout her senior years revealed no loss in brain function.

If you’re concerned about dementia, you can be proactive by taking some simple steps that will help you avoid the disease and its symptoms. Staying mentally and physically well during middle age can help people avoid dementia. Additionally, continuing to challenge the brain in one’s later years has been shown to help people stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other debilitating conditions.

#2 – Loneliness Is an Inescapable Part of Senior Life

This may have been more true in the past than it is today, and loneliness has never been completely unavoidable for seniors.

The key is to recognize that isolation, which is common in one’s senior years, can lead directly to loneliness. Thankfully, our world is filled with options for seniors – and others – to stay connected with the rest of the population, whether it involves using digital technology for face-to-face chats or joining a local community center. There’s always a way to escape isolation!

#3 – There’s no Point in Exercising After a Certain Age

Have You Heard These Five Common Aging Myths?This powerful myth has prevented a large number of people from staying active and extending their lives. The truth is that it’s never too late to start exercising, even if exercise has never been an important part of one’s life.

Exercise is a great way for seniors to stay in shape, connect with others and feel youthful, regardless of age.

Remember, though, that any physical-fitness routine should be planned and implemented with common sense and safety in mind. Seniors should start small by taking short walks and performing simple body-weight exercises. Doctors and trainers can help seniors devise workout plans that maximize benefits while minimizing the risk of injury.

#4 – Poverty Is Inevitable

As seniors live longer than ever before, some are finding that they simply didn’t save enough during their working years to sustain their lives during old age. The cost of living keeps getting more and more expensive, as well. However, that doesn’t mean that poverty is a fact of life for seniors.

The fact is that less than 10% of those aged 65 or older fall below the poverty line in the United States. That number, while higher than it ought to be, only represents a fraction of the total senior population.

Seniors are typically better at saving money than those in younger generations, and people in general are becoming more fiscally aware, which will lead to an aging populace that is more financially secure than any other such generation in history.

#5 – Seniors Stop Learning After a Certain Age

The stereotype of the aging individual who is set in his or her ways is a strong one, but it’s just not reflective of reality.

Today’s seniors are more active and curious than ever before, and our world provides them with countless opportunities to explore their intellect and become introduced to new ideas. Research that shows the importance of keeping the brain active and engaged has led to a renewed commitment to learning, regardless of one’s age, and many seniors are proving that it’s never too late to learn a new skill or become an expert in a previously foreign subject.

Senior Living Is What You Make of It

While these myths are not the truth, they contain enough truth to remain persistent. The real truth, though, is that anyone’s life experience – whether they are elderly or a teenager – depends on the approach they take and the support that they have around them. Thankfully, today’s seniors live in a world of limitless possibilities. And with the help of Always Best Care and our amazing team of caregivers, it’s possible to finally put these myths to bed for good!

To learn more about what Always Best Care can do to help you and your family, contact Always Best Care today! Call 1-855-470-2273, or visit AlwaysBestCare.com.

Get to Know Quandra Conner – Always Best Care’s 2015 Caregiver of the Year!

Share Button

“I am honored to be a part of Always Best Care because I know they want the best for their clients and their employees.” -Quandra Conner

Get to Know Quandra Conner – Always Best Care's 2015 Caregiver of the Year!The theme of this year’s Always Best Care Senior Services’ International Conference in San Antonio, Texas, was We Are the Brand, which was an acknowledgement that the people who work for and with Always Best Care and its franchisees are the not-so-secret ingredient that makes the company so special.

Perhaps no one in the Always Best Care family exemplifies the idea of We Are the Brand better than Quandra Conner, the Always Best Care 2015 Caregiver of the Year. Quandra, who works for the Richmond South Franchise in Midlothian, Virginia, is the ideal caregiver for a number of reasons. However, it is her dedication to helping others as a way of life – not a job – that makes her so special.

I had a chance to chat with Quandra shortly after the conference about a variety of important topics. It became quite clear during our conversation that Quandra was born to do what she does, and she serves as a fantastic inspiration for anybody who feels the calling to help others. Always Best Care is extremely proud to have Quandra on the team. Read on to find out why!

Matthew Kollock: Congratulations on the Caregiver of the Year award! Did you know going into the conference that you were selected?

Quandra Conner: Well, the office had already told me before we went to Texas that I had won. But before that, I did not know anything about them nominating me until we had a meeting at work one day – an all-staff meeting – where they announced it. That’s when I found out that I was a candidate for it. Then, once they found out from corporate (that I won the award), they called my family in without me knowing! They had everybody at the office, and they told me that I had to come in and do some paperwork. So I got to the office, and everybody was there. That’s when they told me I had won.

MK: That must have been a pretty good feeling!

QC: Oh, yes! I just couldn’t believe that I had done such a great job to win. To me, I just do my job. That’s what I do. So, yes, it was a great feeling.

Get to Know Quandra Conner –  Always Best Care's 2015 Caregiver of the Year!MK: Can you give a little bit of background on your story and how you came to Always Best Care?

QC: I was unemployed at the time. I had been working at a nursing home, and they were just the meanest people to me. They didn’t care about their patients; they didn’t care about their employees. To me, if we’re working for you, and we’re doing a good job, you should care about us, too. There was a lot of “bad attitude” in the office. And I know that we all have bad days, but the way I look at it is like this: Don’t bring your situation across the door into your job. You can leave that at home, and instead bring this: Your smile – what people see. That’s what makes people happy. Your clients, when they see that smile, they know that they can make it to the next day.

One of my friends told me about Always Best Care. I called for an interview and when I got there, I could feel the love. People were friendly and warm, greeting me with a big, “How are you doing?” and every time I go into the office, it’s the same thing, just like it’s been from day one. Nothing’s changed.

It makes the employees feel good about themselves, and it lets them know, “I’m working for the best company there is.”

That’s how I ended up working with Always Best Care, and I’m not planning on leaving! I love Always Best Care.

MK: You had mentioned working in a nursing home prior to becoming a caregiver with Always Best Care. How long have you been in your profession?

QC: I used to do daycare. I had a daycare in my home for about two or three years. As far as being a caregiver, it’s been eight years? Nine years? Ten Years? (Laughs) If it’s something you love doing, you just block the time out (Laughs).

MK: In terms of hiring a caregiver, what are some of the important qualities to assess in the evaluation process?

QC: Well, they have to be caring. To me, they have to listen because some of these elderly people, they just want people to listen to them. In many cases, their families are not listening, and not letting them in on the decision-making process. What I love to do is just sit down with my patients and just talk to them – talk about anything. And they love that! Even if it’s just sitting down to watch TV with them, talking about the stories. They love that. Some of their family members are so busy with their lives that they don’t take the time out to listen to them.

What’s important is just being there with them to let them know that they’re safe, and you’re there to help, and not take advantage of them. That’s my thing. You’ve got to have caring, loving people with smiles on their faces. It’s really just being there with them, letting them know that they’re safe in their homes.

MK: The theme of the recent ABC conference was “We Are the Brand.” What does it mean to you, personally, to be a part of the Always Best Care brand?

QC: I am honored to be a part of Always Best Care because I know they want the best for their clients and their employees. So I am honored to be a part of the organization. When I went to the conference, it was everyone – not just my company. You know, I consider my company to be a family, and when we were all there at the conference, everyone came together and it was just one big family from the head to the bottom. There was no, “Your company is better than mine!” or “My company is better than yours!” It was not that. It was all about one thing: to take care of our clients the best way we can.

MK: In watching the video of your acceptance speech online, I could really sense that idea of family and everyone being in it together.

QC: Yes. It was a great time. I’ve never been around so many people who care so much about their clients and their employees. For me, it just melted my heart. I was just excited!

Get to Know Quandra Conner –  Always Best Care's 2015 Caregiver of the Year!MK: Can you talk a little bit more about the culture of Always Best Care and how it might compare with other brands in the industry?

QC: Well, one thing I can say about Miss Joan (Joan Shifflett, Owner and Operator of Always Best Care in southern Richmond), is that when we go in for our evaluations, we set goals. And they set goals for each employee. Then they help you to reach your goals. Whatever they can help you do, they help you to do it, and I love that! I’ve never been with a company that wants you to do better for yourself. Always Best Care wants you to do well for you and your family. And I love that!

MK: It sounds like they really believe in you, and you can feel that in your heart.

QC: Yes. I can. From the first day I stepped in.

MK: Always Best Care has won a ton of awards for training and support. Additionally, the company has recently introduced the ABC Universe intranet, which will have a tremendous impact on the process of developing caregivers. How would you describe the ways in which the Always Best Care training and technology have helped you develop as a caregiver?

QC: Well, we have staff meetings every two months, where we’re given a reading. There, we have to answer questions, and this helps me to better myself. Some of the stuff I already know, but it helps me to remember, like a refresher course. And that’s a good thing because you can’t go wrong by doing better at what you’re doing.

We talk about issues like not hurting ourselves, the proper ways to live and the proper way to take care of ourselves as well as the clients. It’s excellent. Some of them (caregivers), are at home; they have families and all of that. There’s just so much involved in trying to do both. But when they do these refresher courses and training, it keeps you up to date with the new stuff. Every year, there is something new coming out, and it keeps you up to date.

Also, it’s about helping you with your clients, so both of you are safe at the same time. I think that the technologies that they’re using in the training are excellent!

MK: That’s amazing because so many people out in the working world just dread meetings, training sessions and refresher courses. It really sounds like Always Best Care is different; they make it worth your time, and you’re really getting something out of it.

QC: Yes! I like the hands-on approach. Some people like to sit in a class, and others like the hands-on approach. I like the hands-on training because I’m actually doing it. They can see if I’m doing it wrong, which is excellent. Everybody learns differently, though, and they allow you to give your opinion on what you think. It’s not like, “I’m doing all the talking!” We’re a group, and we’re discussing it. So that’s what helps me.

Sometimes you go to these meetings, and you’re just sitting there, listening. You don’t have the opportunity to give your opinion on what you think. One thing I can say about Always Best Care, though, is that they listen. Whatever you have to ask, no question is dumb, so it works out good for everyone.

MK: Yes, that’s very important, and it brings to mind something that you mentioned earlier about making sure that the people you’re caring for have a voice and know that they’re important. It seems like that’s exactly how Always Best Care feels about its caregivers.

QC: Yes. And I love this company! I can’t say it enough. I just love it. It’s the best one I have ever been with. I’ve been with a couple of them, but it just seems like it’s the best. They care about people, and that’s where I am. I want to work with someone who really cares.

You know, it’s not all for the money. If it were all for the money, we wouldn’t be here because we aren’t getting paid that much. It’s the care. That’s what’s keeping me here – the care and the love.

Get to Know Quandra Conner –  Always Best Care's 2015 Caregiver of the Year!MK: Looking ahead to the future, what are some your personal and professional goals?

QC: I do want to work into the office to learn more information about the company. I still want to work with my patients, but I really want to work in the company, and try to teach people how to be better. You know, they may be struggling somewhere, and I can say, “Hey – this is what you’re doing wrong.” I like to help teach people about the best way to care for their clients.

MK: That’s great! It sounds like you’re thinking about it on a bigger scale – what you’re doing now is working, but you want to make sure that everyone can have the success that you’re having. Is that fair to say?

QC: Yes! Those people are who we’re supposed to care for. They have lived. They’re at the age where they need help. You know, some of them give up. When they know they don’t have their love, some of them give up. But we’re there to keep coaching them, teaching them and loving them. Some of them pull through and live longer.

When I get with a client and they’re feeling so lonely and depressed, they can end up giving up their life. But if I come every day and say things like, “We’re going to do this! You look so pretty!” they can see their spirit and realize that, “I can do it. I can do it!” And eventually their life turns around. Their health gets better.

So that’s my thing. I want to be able to teach them that, “This is what we have to do.” We have to keep encouraging them (the clients) to pull through this thing.

MK: That’s powerful stuff, and I think most people have seen that in their own families – the power of the human connection is remarkable.

QC: Yes. Take the patient I just had: when I first got there, she had multiple sclerosis, and she was a bedridden patient. You could go in there every day, and she was just so sad. But I would tell her, “If you want this, you have to fight for it. I’m here; I can help you do everything you want, but I can’t fight for it for you.” And I would tell her, “You’re pretty. I love you!” I would just do everything I could to make her happy.

MK: Do you feel like there are some challenges of the job that are too much to handle? Or do you see it as all part of the job; all part of what you do?

QC: I see it as all part of the job, but one of the biggest challenges I see is that there aren’t enough caregivers like me. I want everybody to be like me, in that they would care for the people like I care for them. You know, they’re on their last days, and I think they should enjoy them.

Everything else just goes with the job. If you’re not fit for the job, then you need to get out of it, and let somebody else who’s fit for the job come in and take your place.

MK: To me, it seems like you’ve really found your calling in this job.

QC: Yes, I have.

MK: That being the case, what do you have to say to others out there who might not know what to do with their lives and how they can help others?

QC: Well, my thing is that you have to follow your heart. If you follow your heart, and if there’s something that’s in your heart that you want to do, you will do the best at it. But if it’s not in your heart, you’re not going to do a great job. So my thing is follow your heart: pray about it, ask the Lord to give you direction, and just follow your heart.

To me, what I do is in my heart, so I do a great job. I love caring for people. And it’s not just the elderly – it’s everyone that I care for.

MK: Is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers?

QC: The only thing I have to say is that I couldn’t be where I am without my company; without my Always Best Care company. The whole staff is just wonderful. They’re excellent. I couldn’t be where I am today without them. I want them to know that it’s not just me; it’s all of us. We’re in this together, and we want it to work together.

MK: Finally, Quandra, do you have any big plans for the $1,000 you received as part of your Caregiver of the Year award?

QC: One of my plans is, my daughter is going to Howard (University) for the summer, so I want to make sure she has everything she needs, so she can be straight for the summer program. Then, I want to take my company out to lunch!

Interested in learning more about Always Best Care and fantastic caregivers like Quandra Conner? Give us a call at: (855) 470-CARE. Contact us today!

Social Seniors – Nurturing Connections in the Golden Years

Share Button

Social Seniors – Nurturing Connections in the Golden YearsLife is full of milestones and transitions. Birthdays, graduations, marriages, retirements and other life events provide people with memorable signposts that they use to recall and reflect upon what they’ve experienced. Milestones and transitions are particularly important when individuals become older and reach retirement age and beyond. Leaving a job after many years of service and watching as family members grow, change and move can cause anxiety, and these challenges are often exacerbated by the erosion of social contact during aging.

Seniors and Social Connections

Transitioning throughout life is made much easier by connecting with other people and sharing experiences. Sadly, seniors have a much more difficult time than others when it comes to maintaining a strong social circle on which to rely. Younger individuals make and maintain connections through school, work or participating in group activities outside the home. But seniors don’t always have those outlets available to them, which is why it’s so critical for family members and caregivers to encourage social interaction and help to create conditions where seniors can engage socially with their peers and others.

Following are some activities (and advice) to help the elderly remain socially engaged during their twilight years.

  • Volunteering
  • One of the more common complaints that seniors express is that they don’t feel like they’re able to offer anything of value to the community without a job to do. Of course, we all know that the elderly population has a wealth of experience, wisdom and love to offer. However, providing the means for seniors to feel vital and connect with others can be challenging.

    Fortunately, the world is full of amazing volunteer opportunities for which seniors are ideal candidates. Whether it’s serving at the local soup kitchen or helping youngsters learn how to read, volunteering fulfills and enriches the lives of those who participate. For seniors, it also means being able to serve and interact with others in a meaningful way.

  • Hobbies
  • It’s so easy these days to spend hours sitting in front of the TV that people often forget that there are more productive and active ways to pass the time. New hobbies have the power to energize seniors, and they can provide entry into social situations, as well. Old hobbies that are rediscovered can also enrich the lives of the elderly.

    Social interaction is increased through hobbies in a number of ways. Perhaps most important is the fact that communities tend to form around certain activities. For instance, scrapbooking is a popular hobby for seniors because it allows them to tap into their creativity while connecting with others in their community (and elsewhere) who share the same interest. Other popular hobbies for seniors include painting, crafting, photography, writing and playing music. Just remember that a hobbies can be solitary, too, so it’s important to find ways to connect with a larger community of hobby enthusiasts to maximize the benefits of social interaction.

  • Sports and Games
  • Not all social activities have to involve loads of conversation and verbal interaction. Some activities, such as sports and games, allow people to interact and relate with one another without the pressure of generating new conversation topics and interests.

    Seniors who are able to engage in physical activities such as jogging, golf or tennis are more likely to do so with others, strengthening their social connections in the process. Those seniors who are unable to participate in more physically demanding activities can enjoy board games, card games and even video games with their peers, friends and family members.

  • Learning
  • One of the best ways to ensure that seniors feel vital and fulfilled is to engage them in learning. Learning ensures that seniors remain curious about the world and how things work, plus it gives them opportunities to share their knowledge with others.

    Senior centers typically offer numerous classes for the elderly population, and many community colleges offer programs that cater to non traditional students such as those in the elderly population. By getting out and continuing to learn, seniors connect with others and continue to grow in a way that makes them want to seek out more social interaction.

  • Social Media
  • More and more, seniors are becoming familiar with the benefits of modern technology. Additionally, technology just keeps getting increasingly user friendly, eliminating the barriers that may have once discouraged the elderly from participating.

    Social media platforms like Facebook are easy to set up and use, and they can help seniors remain connected to friends and family members regardless of where they’re located. Social media is more than a distraction – it’s a way for seniors to feel connected and “in the loop” when it comes to events and activities that they may not be able to witness or experience in person.

    Do you have questions about what you can do to ensure that the senior in your life remains socially active and engaged? Contact Always Best Care today! We’re here to help. Call 1-855-470-2273, or visit AlwaysBestCare.com.

    Some Summer Safety and Comfort Tips for Seniors

    Share Button

    in-home-care

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Summer is just around the corner, which means that people are looking forward to warm, relaxing days of leisure and sunshine. For most people, summer is a time to take a break from the rigors of the rest of the calendar year by traveling, catching up on reading and enjoying quality time with family members and friends. Although this is just as true for the elderly population as it is for everyone else, it’s important to remember that seniors require a bit more care when it comes to getting the most out of the season.

    Hot Weather Safety – Staying Cool

    Generally speaking, when temperatures begin to rise, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to avoid overheating by regulating activity and spending adequate time out of the direct sunlight.

    When temperatures rise over the 90-degree mark, however, senior safety becomes increasingly crucial.

    Here are a few tips for making sure seniors remain safe when the heat becomes dangerous:

    • Stay Indoors and use the Air Conditioning
      No one likes to be cooped up during the summer months, but sometimes the outside heat is simply too much to bear, especially for the aging population. For those providing senior care services, remember that suggesting and participating in engaging indoor activities can help the elderly maximize their enjoyment of the season when the weather refuses to cooperate.
    • Avoid the Sun by Dressing Properly
      If trips outside cannot be avoided, it’s important for seniors to dress appropriately for the elements. Light-colored and lightweight clothing items reduce the amount of skin surface that gets exposed to the sun’s rays. Light, wide-brimmed hats protect the head by providing needed shade.
    • Schedule Activities to Take Advantage of Cooler Times of Day
      During the summer months, temperatures are the hottest during the middle of the day. For this reason, seniors are encouraged to get out for walks and other outdoor activities in the early morning hours or after the sun has set. Thankfully, the days are a little longer during the summer, meaning that seniors have more opportunities to take advantage of outdoor activities – even when the heart of the day is characterized by harsh heat and a blinding sun.
    • Enjoy a Cool Bath or Shower
      One of the best ways to feel refreshed on an unbearably hot day is to take a cool bath or shower. Doing so cleans the body and helps it cool down. It can also feel great after spending time outside in the sun. Similar methods of staying cool include applying wet cloths to your head and extremities, as well as soaking the feet in cool water.

    Proper Hydration Throughout the Day

    One of the most important tips for seniors to stay cool and comfortable is to drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks. Other beverages such as soft drinks, coffee and tea do little to hydrate the body. A good way to ensure proper hydration is to keep a glass of ice water nearby for sipping throughout the day. Proper hydration helps seniors (and others) avoid exhaustion and heat stroke, and it improves the body’s ability to regulate temperature. What’s more, drinking the proper amount of water can improve sleep and the enjoyment of other daily activities.

    What Can Caregivers Do?

    When it comes to the role of senior caregivers during the hot summer months, the key is to ensure comfort and safety simply by being available. Caregivers can help seniors make sure their homes are cool and comfortable, and they can assist with the proper clothing to wear on brutally hot days. Perhaps most important is the ability of a caregiver to help seniors feel vital and fulfilled when going outside isn’t an option.

    Are you interested in learning more about how to keep seniors cool, comfortable and safe this summer? Contact Always Best Care today!

     

     

    How to Help Seniors Identify and Avoid Scams

    Share Button

    in-home-care

     

     

     

    For people who make a dishonest living by scamming and swindling others, this is something of a golden age. Technology connects us all and makes our lives easier, but it also makes it easier for con artists to conceal their identities and find vulnerable “marks” for their schemes. Avoiding scams takes work and vigilance these days, and it’s not always easy to discern legitimate communications from those that are sent with fraudulent intent.

    One group, in particular, suffers disproportionately from scamming attacks, and each of us knows and loves someone from this important demographic – the senior population.

    Why Do Scammers Target Seniors?  

    There are a few key reasons why crooks direct their dishonest dealings toward the elderly community. Let’s explore some of them here.

    • Money, Money, Money
      Whether it’s actually true or not on a case-by-case basis, conventional wisdom says that seniors always have large sums of money sitting in their accounts – the so-called “nest egg.” To scammers and con artists, that money is tantalizing, and they’ll work hard to develop plans to access it.
    • The Effects of Aging
      Aging brings wisdom and experience, but unfortunately, it also comes with some declining abilities. Scammers understand that the elderly often suffer from cognitive impairment and/or memory loss, making them more attractive targets than members of the general population. In fact, seniors sometimes don’t realize they’ve been scammed until weeks or months have passed.
    • Generational Differences
      People who grew up in the first half of the 20th century had a different set of values instilled in them; they were taught to be trusting, polite and to generally give people the benefit of the doubt. Scam artists understand this well, and they take full advantage of seniors’ tendency to trust others by default.
    • Pride and Independence
      Most seniors will do anything they can to retain their independence as they get older and begin to lose some of their abilities. Therefore, they are less likely to speak up when they realize they’ve been victimized by a fraudulent party because they don’t want to admit that they’ve been outsmarted. To many seniors, reporting such a crime would indicate to the rest of the world that they’re unfit to live independently, and that could lead to changes in care or the living situation. Scammers know that elderly targets are less likely to speak up, and they take advantage of this fact.
    • Hope for a Longer, Healthier Life
      We live in a wondrous time when miracle cures and treatments exist. People are living longer, healthier lives, but there is so much information out there that it’s difficult to discern between fact and fraudulent fiction. When seniors receive offers for products that promise increased vitality, cancer-fighting properties, boosted memory and other such improvements, they’re often all too eager to sign themselves up without performing the necessary research or due diligence.

    What Can You Do to Help?

    As with most things in life, knowledge is power. If you’re responsible for the care of a senior, you can help to educate them so they understand when someone is acting fraudulently. You can also provide support in other important ways so that the seniors you care for avoid becoming victimized.

    Following are five of the most common types of scams perpetrated against the elderly along with some tips on how you can help seniors avoid them.

    1. Email and Internet Scams
      Younger people see scams online quite frequently; for some people, it’s just a fact of life on the Internet. However, older individuals who did not grow up with email and the web are not as well versed in the online language of fraud, making them susceptible to scams.These scams often take the form of emails from wealthy members of royal families or long-lost relatives who have large sums of money to give away. The basic idea is that there is a fortune to be made, but the reality is that a fortune will be spent on adhering to the terms of these scams, with no payoff whatsoever for the victim. Other online scams involve a technique known as “phishing,” where con artists will send fraudulent communications that appear as if they’ve been sent by legitimate institutions.You can help by…
      Instilling an attitude of skepticism and distrust in seniors with regards to emails and other electronic communications. Remind seniors that if they receive online communications and something seems “off,” they should assume that they’re being targeted. If something seemingly fraudulent has been sent from what looks like a legitimate organization, a quick call to that organization will clear up any misunderstandings and thwart the scammer in the act.
    2. Fake Grandchildren
      Many seniors have been fortunate enough to experience the joys of having grandchildren enter their lives. For some families, that means having to keep track of dozens of (or more!) people. Unfortunately, having numerous grandchildren often equals greater susceptibility to the so-called “grandparents scam.”In this attack, an individual will call a senior and claim to be a grandchild. Typically, the trickster will ask the senior to guess who is calling them. When “grandma” or “grandpa” offers a name as a guess, the con artist has everything they need to garner sympathy and request money to help them out of a troubled situation. More often than not, the request for money will involve using a wire service such as Western Union.
      You can help by…
      Reminding seniors that if they receive suspicious phone calls, they should tell callers that they’ll phone them back. In the meantime, they can call relatives to determine if the stories check out. Keep in mind that modern scammers can find family details on sites like Facebook and other social media outlets, so it’s important to ensure that seniors are extra careful when they receive unusual calls.
    3. Charity Scams
      This type of fraud is especially repellent because it takes advantage of peoples’ natural inclination to offer help after a tragic event has occurred. Although this scam is perpetrated on all segments of the population, seniors are especially vulnerable.Basically, a major disaster such as a tsunami, earthquake or tornado occurs somewhere in the world, and people claiming to represent charities call seniors and others to request donations for relief efforts. Of course, these scammers aren’t after money to help anyone other than themselves, making this type of scam particularly disgusting.
      You can help by…
      Letting seniors know that they should never donate money to someone who made first contact with them, regardless of how professional or legitimate they may sound. Instead, seniors can donate to causes by contacting known and trusted charities directly and giving through established channels.
    4. Prescription Medicine Scams
      As people get older, they become increasingly dependent upon prescription medications. Some seniors pay incredibly large sums of money for their medicines, often through online services that promise to reduce the cost of the drugs significantly. Unfortunately, many of these services exist outside of U.S. regulation, and some of them are responsible for supplying counterfeit meds.It is well known that significant savings can be had by purchasing prescription meds from foreign pharmacies. Although many of these businesses operate legitimately, some of them take advantage of the lack of regulation and supply fake meds to their customers, allowing them to pocket most of the money paid for them. What’s more, the U.S. imports about 40% of its medications from India, and the New York Times has reported that up to 12% of the medicine imported from India is, in fact, counterfeit (Source: NY Times Article)
      You can help by…
      Informing seniors that some cost savings are too good to be true. The FDA is currently in the process of applying regulations to pharmacy operations outside of the U.S. that sell medications domestically, but the process is not perfect, and it will take some time. In the meantime, seniors should avoid prescription services that seem suspicious. The best bet is to use trusted, U.S. pharmacies exclusively, in spite of the increased cost.
    5. Medicare and Medicaid Card Scams
      These types of scams have been around for some time, but they’re still going strong in the Internet age. Since so many members of the elderly population rely on Medicare and Medicaid, they are often targeted as victims of scammers hoping to perpetrate identity theft.Generally, a scam artist will call seniors, claiming to be contacting them on behalf of a legitimate government agency. They’ll simply state that Medicare or Medicaid cards need to be replaced, and that they require personal information in order to process the new cards. Of course, they are simply taking this information so they can steal the identities of seniors for fraudulent purposes.
      You can help by…
      Reminding seniors that they should be suspicious of anyone who calls claiming to be from a government agency. In these cases, seniors should offer to call the party back so they can ensure that they’re contacting an actual agency and not someone merely representing one. Also, it’s a good rule of thumb to never – under any circumstances – provide personal or banking information over the phone.

    A Final Word on Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism 

    Scammers have it easier than ever these days, but they are not interested in wasting their time with targets who question them or seem skeptical about their efforts. More and more, these con artists are targeting only the most gullible marks so that they can ensure an easy payday. That’s why common sense and a healthy amount of skepticism can come in so handy in the fight against fraud.

     If you have a senior in your care, and you’re worried about them being victimized by scammers, you can help protect them by reminding them that if an offer seems too good to be true, or if someone claims to represent a legitimate institution without proof or credentials, they’re probably being targeted.

    Ultimately, seniors want to remain in control of their lives as they age, and by giving them tools to fight against fraud, you give them the gift of greater independence.

    Do you have questions about helping seniors identify and avoid scams? Give Always Best Care a call today. We’d love to hear from you!

    Easing into Your Ideal Senior Fitness Routine

    Share Button

    Let’s face it: getting into a regular exercise routine is incredibly difficult. Even though exercising is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health and well being, finding the time and energy for it can seem impossible. Unfortunately, integrating an exercise routine into your life does not get any easier as you get older. Seniors are one of the demographic groups that can benefit most from regular fitness activities, however, which is why finding an exercise routine that works well with a more mature mind and body is so crucial.

    Finding the Ideal Senior Fitness Program 

    Activities like running, rock climbing, weight lifting and CrossFit are wonderful for more youthful bodies, and they can be beneficial to more athletic seniors. However, activities like these place stress and strain on the body that can be unappealing – or even unsafe – for many individuals in the elderly population. That’s why it is so important to be able to find lower-impact fitness activities that are more appropriate for the aging human body.

    Following are some examples of low-impact exercises that help keep seniors fit and well:

    Cardio

    “Cardio” – short for cardiovascular – refers to fitness activities that help maintain and strengthen the heart and lungs. These exercises can be performed at low or high intensity levels, or at any level in between.

    • Swimming and Water Exercise
      For those seniors who have access to a well-maintained pool, swimming is one of the easiest and least stressful ways to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Other types of water exercise (link to http://blog.alwaysbestcare.com/the-benefits-of-water-exercise/) can also provide amazing benefits.
    • Walking
      When running or jogging becomes too hard on the knees and other joints, walking is a terrific alternative. In addition to improving cardiovascular fitness, walking can strengthen bones and muscles. Moreover, going out for a nice walk increases exposure to fresh air and gorgeous sunshine!
    • Cycling
      Cycling is another great exercise for maintaining excellent cardiovascular health, and it’s generally pretty easy on the bones and joints, making it a wonderful fitness activity for seniors. Please note that finding a good comfortable fit on your bike can mean the difference between a fitness boost and a sore, achey body.

    Strength

    Strength training refers to fitness activities that make the muscles and bones stronger. For seniors, strength training should involve activities that build muscle power without putting undue strain on the body.

    • Body Weight Exercises
      Strength training doesn’t have to involve lifting heavy – and possibly dangerous – weights. Instead, seniors can benefit tremendously from performing low-impact exercises that strengthen the body via resistance to its own weight. Examples include squats, pushups, steps, lunges and leg lifts. The best part about these types of exercises? They don’t require any equipment, and they can be performed virtually anywhere.
    • Strength-Training Machines
      Whether in a gym or at home, fitness machines are perfect for seniors who want to stay in shape because they allow for highly focused, low-impact training of specific muscle groups. Just remember that injuries happen when these machines are not used properly, so instruction for use prior to beginning a workout routine is crucial.
    • Resistance Training
      Resistance training is becoming increasingly popular among the elderly population because it provides the benefits of weight training with the safety and low impact of body-weight exercises. Using items such as resistance bands, ankle and wrist weights, seniors can improve their strength, balance and flexibility by performing resistance exercises.

    Easing Into a Fitness Routine 

    As you can see, there are a number of exercise options for seniors who want to remain strong and healthy in their golden years. It’s important to remember, though, that lasting fitness is enjoyed when a regular exercise routine is integrated fully into a person’s life. That’s why it’s so critical to ease into a fitness program slowly, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t so that it can become a valued part of daily living.

    For seniors who want to become more physically fit and active, starting with a regular, daily walk is a great way to ease into a new routine. Others may find it easier to begin by experimenting with resistance training or other types of exercise that improve strength.

    As a general rule, seniors should try to work up to a routine that involves about 150 minutes of exercise each week. This might mean fifteen ten-minute sessions throughout the week, or a half-hour workout each day Monday through Friday. It all depends on the needs and ability of the individual in question. However, the importance of starting slowly cannot be stressed enough. This way, seniors remain more engaged in their fitness, and they’re better able to avoid injuries and other setbacks.

    Whether you’re looking ahead to your twilight years, or you’re caring for an aging family member, the best thing you can do is start your own fitness routine today. Learn about low-impact cardio and strength exercises, and integrate those that work for you into your daily life. By doing this, you not only set yourself up for greater fitness as you age, but you inspire those around you to do the same. By sharing these fitness ideas, you can help to create a richer, more fulfilling life for yourself as well as the seniors in your care.

    Do you have questions about fitness and exercise routines that work well with the elderly population? Contact Always Best Care today to discuss in-home care options for integrating fitness routines into the lives of today’s seniors.

    Groundbreaking New Drug Trial Offers Hope to Alzheimer’s Sufferers

    Share Button

    Alzheimer’s disease affects a significant portion of the senior population, and it impacts the lives of loved ones and caregivers, as well. This makes it one of the primary issues facing seniors today. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease, though it is treatable, making hope a valuable commodity. Thankfully, there has been some recent good news in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

    According to a recent report from CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-trial-to-treat-alzheimers-seen-as-game-changing/), a new drug trial has given doctors, patients and caregivers reason to feel good about progress in the battle with this terrible disease. Known as the “A4 Study” (http://a4study.org), this encouraging trial has been testing whether a drug called Solanezumab is able to slow the progress – or even prevent – Alzheimer’s disease. The study, which is taking place internationally in 60 different hospitals, is seeking patients who have not yet developed memory loss, but who have shown evidence of future Alzheimer’s in brain scans.

    A New Drug Offers Hope

    The key to this study is the investigation into the role of a buildup of what’s known as amyloid plaque, which doctors believe is responsible for the destruction of brain cells. Solanezumab is thought to be able to destroy this plaque before it has a chance to harm the brain. Although doctors, researchers and patients are wary of passing judgment on the study just yet, the general mood surrounding the trial is one of hope. In fact, Dr. Reisa Sperling, a Harvard University physician and the director of the study, says that the trial is, “game changing.” What’s more, Dr. Sperling has been quoted as saying, “For the first time I think we have a chance to really change the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” which is remarkable news for anyone who is affected by Alzheimer’s.

    What Is Alzheimer’s?

    Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic disease that begins slowly, but worsens with time. Typically, sufferers of the disease exhibit symptoms beginning with short-term memory loss with numerous other symptoms following. Although the cause of the disease is poorly understood at this time, doctors and biologists around the world are working tirelessly to find ways to slow or even stop the disease, but very few treatments have shown the type of promise that the A4 Study may be capable of supplying.

    Eligibility for the Study

    Unfortunately, individuals who are already showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are considered ineligible for the A4 Study. However, the study is still searching for potential subjects between the ages of 65 and 85 with normal thinking and memory abilities. Those who are interested in learning more can visit the study’s website at http://a4study.org.

    Caring for Seniors With Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 30 million people worldwide, but many people are unaware of how to care for seniors going through the progressions of this terrible disease. Thankfully, help is available! Studies like the A4 Study are helping to bring us closer to a cure, and caregivers are becoming increasingly aware of the best methods of serving the needs of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Home health care services and their personnel can also be a tremendous help, which is why families should not hesitate to enlist such services.

    Do you have any questions about Alzheimer’s care and handling the needs of a loved one who suffers from the disease? Please don’t hesitate to contact Always Best Care Senior Services today! We’re here to help!