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

Stay Heart Healthy for National Heart Health Month

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February is National Heart Month, and as such, Always Best Care has pulled together some of the best foods and activities to help your heart stay healthy, so that you can live life and be happy at any age.

Here are a few ways you can maintain a healthy heart:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Go for Daily Walks
  • Stay on Prescribed Medication to Lower Blood Pressure
  • Eat a Healthy Diet

You can rely on your in-home care professional to help set reminders for you so that you stay on track and avoid behaviors that increase your risk for heart disease.

Eat the following foods, recommended by the American Heart Association:

  • Blueberries – Blueberries may be small, but you’re getting big health benefits when you eat them. Blueberries have vitamin C, ellagic acid, anthocyanin, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and a whole list of other heart-healthy, smile-inducing benefits.
  • Salmon – This beautiful pink fish is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to help reduce heart disease with a healthy diet and exercise. Omega-3’s help reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, decrease triglycerides, help slow the growth of plaque in the heart and blood vessels, and can even help lower your blood pressure.
  • Almonds – Much like salmon, almonds contain Omega-3 fatty acids. They also are chalked full of magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and heart-friendly fats.

By eating healthy and exercising, you have a much greater chance of avoiding heart disease. Your non-medical caregiver from Always Best Care can help you live healthier, too, by driving you to the grocery store to pick up the items mentioned above, or by walking with you around your neighborhood to get exercise. It’s never too late to start heart-healthy habits, and Always Best Care is here to help any way that we can!

 

Congress Approves New Strides in the Fight against Alzheimer’s

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Before Congress left for an extended break for the holidays, it approved a huge spending bill to the tune of $1.1 trillion, which included provisions directly aimed at aiding research for Alzheimer’s disease.

The bill, which President Obama signed into law on December 16, fully integrated the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, a bipartisan proposal. The Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, in short, requires that the director of the National Institutes of Health submit a budget on an annual basis to Congress until the year 2025. This budget explicitly spells out how much money will be needed to meet each and every milestone detailed in the National plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

The goal of the Alzheimer’s Accountability act is to help Congress understand what types of science are necessary to help cure the disease, all through scientific judgment, which will help determine where money should be allocated. This helps avoid decisions based on unforeseen events or varying political interests.
The spending bill mentioned above also includes an additional $25 million in funds for further research of Alzheimer’s.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are both difficult realities to face, for those who suffer from the disease and also for family members of a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient. With this new funding, we may be closer to a cure than ever before.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there are viable options available to continue living life to the fullest extent. One of these options is non-medical home care from Always Best Care.

Our caregivers, who are trained using tools created by the Alzheimer’s Association (which was responsible for introducing the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act), the Department of Health and “In-The-Know”, understand that compassion and extra care is needed to help Alzheimer’s patients.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s care, contact the Always Best Care home care franchise in your community today.

Enriching the Lives of Seniors Through Technology and In-Home Care

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In October, Always Best Care wrote a post on our blog that explained how wearable technology monitors heart rate, biometrics, and how they can be a valuable asset to non-medical caregivers, allowing them to gather more accurate information about their senior client.

As the senior population continues to grow each year, dynamic technologies like GPS and sensors centered on senior involvement can help elderly family members stay at home longer. As a continuation of our previous blog post, we have listed 3 technologies that have the potential to change and improve home care services in the coming years:

  1. Sensors – Sensors are being used by more caregivers than ever before, and can be placed on windows, doors, and in many other places around a senior’s home. These sensors can alert caretakers when their elderly patient has difficulty in the bathroom, falls down, or even vital signs.
  2. GPS – In the event that a senior is away from their home, GPS allows family members or caregivers the ability to pinpoint their whereabouts in the event of an emergency. GPS is often used with Alzheimer’s patients.
  3. Robotics – Companies like iRobot have developed products that assist with vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing and even outdoor chores. For seniors, this can reduce the need for housekeeping and the high risk of injuries during household chores.

Many more impressive devices and technologies will be unveiled in the future. These technological devices, coupled with compassionate in-home care, have the potential to enrich the lives of seniors across the Country, and help home care agencies provide the best care possible.

Many Employers Now Allowing Pre-Tax Dollars for Senior In-Home Care

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If you’re an adult child that is responsible for providing your aging parents with home care, then you know how time consuming this act of love can be. With a family of your own, and a full-time job, finding the time to take care your senior loved one can almost seem like an impossible task. The senior population in the US is set for incredible growth in the coming years, and as such, more employers are beginning to offer ways for their employees to give their parents the elder care they need.

From 2008 to 2014, the share of companies offering information about senior care services has gone from 31% to 43%, says the 2014 Families and Work Institute’s National Study of Employers. What’s better, three-fourths of these same companies are allowing their employees time off to fulfill their elder care duties.

The number of companies that allow their workers to pay for senior in-home care with pre-tax dollars has almost doubled since 2008, meaning that more families around the country can more readily afford to purchase professional in-home care for their senior loved ones.

Some companies are even beginning to offer benefits for employees, such as geriatric assessments and emergency adult care. Always Best Care offers compassionate non-medical home care services for families that need help. Every senior loved one’s situation is completely different, and a personalized care plan can address the most difficult obstacles.  Professional caregivers can help with difficult tasks such as going up and down stairs, carrying groceries, driving, getting in and out of the bath and many more.  Contact your local Always Best Care office to schedule your free care consultation today.

The Holiday Gift of Independence and Happiness

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Being at home for the holidays is one of the best feelings one can have, no matter what age. Memories are built during this time of the year through warm nights huddled around the fire, large family gatherings, and warm embraces. It is memories like these that make a home what it truly is: a place of comfortable familiarity that evokes feelings of happiness. This holiday season, give the senior in your life the greatest gift that you can give them – the gift of independence!

Not all seniors need extensive in-home care. In fact, many men and women only need help with simple chores like carrying in a sack of groceries to and from the car.  With Always Best Care’s Custom Care Plan, we can determine the level of care that your loved one needs. Whether it is a couple of hours a week or several hours a day, our compassionate caregivers have your senior in mind 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need a break from caregiving, we also offer respite care plans that will give you peace of mind this holiday season, knowing your senior is cared for if you’re not able to do so yourself.  It’s just one more way that Always Best Care offers you the opportunity to come together and focus on what’s important -  the health and happiness of your family.

Caring for the Senior Demographic

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The elderly population is growing, and this demographic change has important implications for in-home caregiving. According to a report published by the Family Caregiver Alliance, “the aging population will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000.” While the number of older people is rising sharply, the corresponding number of informal family caregivers will likely be unable to keep pace. The AARP suggests that the number of available family caregivers will shrink by more than half by 2050. The calculations published by the AARP demonstrate a widening care gap, and the organization recommends urgent policy action that “call[s] for new solutions to the financing and delivery of long-term support services.”

What Types of Services Are Needed?

The AARP also finds that 80 to 90 percent of elderly people prefer staying in their own homes over moving to a care facility. The decreasing number of family members available to provide senior care to this growing segment of the population means that there will be an ever-greater need for professional in-home care providers. Many seniors require little in the way of direct health care in their homes in order to preserve their independence. Often, they simply need minimal assistance with the tasks of daily living. There are several activities where a helping hand can enable them to continue living independently. These include:

  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Hair and beauty
  • Laundry
  • Shopping
  • Transportation to daily activities and medical appointments
  • Medication reminders

In-Home Care Is Efficient

According to Social Work Today, in-home care is expected to become an increasingly popular option as the baby boomer generation ages. The journal article recommends policy and public funding changes that make it easier for older adults to remain in their homes. Too often, seniors and their family members are unaware of this alternative and opt for an expensive and unnecessary move to an institutional setting. Forest Hong, PhD, chair of the Aging Practice Section of the National Association of Social Workers, states: “Several factors may cause seniors to be inappropriately placed or driven into nursing home care. Lack of accurate information and assistance in decision making can result in inappropriate nursing home placement.” For many of today’s seniors, in-home care does the best job of meeting day-to-day and long-term needs.

Psychological Benefits

Kathy Black, PhD, MSW, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of South Florida says:

“You simply cannot put a price on being able to remain in the home … especially those who have lived in their homes for many, many years … The ‘sentiment of home’ is significant and defining for most people, and it signifies independence to many.”

She points out that physical health is improved by the greater sense of personal well-being that results from being able to stay in one’s own home. Further research cited in the article points out that elderly people heal faster, sleep better, and maintain independence longer in the familiar setting of their own home. Freed from the stress and learning curve associated with moving somewhere entirely new, older people are able to navigate all aspects of their lives with more confidence when they remain at home.

The Immeasurable Benefits of Companionship

Friendship is one of the most important human needs. In-home care providers have the time to develop warm relationships with the people they assist, providing company and conversation as well as help with running the household. In-home elderly care has evolved in recent years, so what was once a simple meals-and-housecleaning job has transformed into one of a much wider scope, involving nurturing and independent living support. In some cases, companions accompany elders to theater performances, concerts, or religious events.

Economic Advantages of in-Home Care

The cost of nursing homes varies widely, but standard costs average well over $60,000 per year. The cost of in-home care involving assistance with a few daily tasks is far lower. Light task assistance or meal preparation can often be accomplished in a relatively brief daily encounter, providing the sense of a helpful friend stopping in for a visit.

According to a New York Times article, “Many elders living independently need outside help long before they require round-the-clock care.” A single illness may cause a temporary period during which assistance is required. In-home care can easily be arranged to cover such needs without the disruption of relocation. In light of today’s lengthened life spans and the expectation of continued activity in the senior years, seeking in-home care is the most effective way of sustaining an elderly person’s independent lifestyle for as long as possible.

Know the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s

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alzheimer's careAlzheimer’s disease and dementia affect millions of American seniors. For some seniors, these conditions slowly develop over time, while in others they appear to have a rapid onset. Knowing the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia can help seniors alert senior care givers about symptoms that can be diagnosed and treated early, improving the senior’s long term quality of life.

Age is the most common risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. The vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65. In fact, the older one gets, the greater the chance of developing the condition. Medical experts says the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after a person reaches age 65. By the time a man or woman is 85, he or she has a 50 percent chance of developing the illness.

Family history is another strong predictor of Alzheimer’s disease. People who have had parents or siblings with the illness are at elevated risk to develop it themselves. Certain genes have been identified as potential risk factors for the disease. For example apolipoprotein (APOE-e4) has been identified as a risk gene and may be a factor in nearly a quarter of Alzheimer’s cases.

Head trauma may also be a risk factor with regard to Alzheimer’s. Seniors can ward off this risk by fall-proofing their homes and wearing a helmet while bicycling.

Seniors who are at elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s should be focused on healthy living and mental exercise to help stave off the development of the illness. Senior care professionals in home care and other settings can help seniors with memory games and activities to keep their minds sharp.

Always Best Care helps connect seniors and their families with highly qualified, affordable in-home care and assisted living communities. To learn more, call 1-855-470-CARE.

Healthy Aging Strategies

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home care helps with healthy agingWhile we can’t stop growing old, we can work to minimize age-related declines in health. Eating right, exercising, and staying intellectually active can help us enjoy good health and mental condition well into old age. Senior care professionals can work with seniors develop plans for healthy living as part of their in-home care treatment.

One of the best things seniors can do to improve their health is to stop smoking. Smokers are at elevated risk for heart disease and stroke, and the toll smoking takes robs seniors of energy, vitality, and resistance to illness. Giving up cigarettes can go a long way to improving quality of life into old age.

Regular exercise is also important to senior health. A stronger body will be more resistant to injury and disease. Working with a physician and senior care professionals, older people can find an exercise regimen appropriate for them. Exercise can also provide an important social outlet for seniors. In general, seniors should get at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise per week.

Eating right is also key to maintaining senior health. Elder care professionals should help ensure that seniors in their care eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and reduce consumption of red meat and unhealthy foods.

Seniors who practice these three basic health strategies should have a better chance of avoiding illness and injury. They’ll also feel much better and have more energy.

Always Best Care helps connect seniors and their families with highly qualified, affordable in-home care and assisted living communities. To learn more, call 1-855-470-CARE.

Seniors & Volunteering

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senior volunteers Many seniors struggle with moving away from homes where they have spent decades. However, getting involved in their community can help seniors feel more connected. Senior care professionals can help by providing outlets for their seniors to get active.

There are a variety of volunteer activities seniors can do, including:

  • Political campaigning – Seniors are often ideal to staff phone banks and make calls for candidates and causes. For seniors who want to make a difference, this is an ideal opportunity.
  • Mentoring – Seniors can connect to the younger generation by participating in programs where they read to children or help them with school work. Being around children can help seniors feel younger themselves.
  • Collection drives – Seniors can socialize with others while working at charities to sort donated items and other goods.
  • Craft-based volunteer work – Cooking, sewing, or gardening for the community will put seniors’ bodies and minds to work. This will help improve mental and physical health, as activity is key to staying physically and mentally sound. These activities provide social interaction as seniors work together.
  • Charity walks – Seniors can get a little exercise and do some good by participating in charity walk pledge drives. These events collect money based on pledges by sponsors to donate a certain amount per mile walked.

Always Best Care helps connect seniors and their families with highly qualified, affordable in-home care and assisted living communities. To learn more, call 1-855-470-CARE.

Wearable Technology Makes Staying Home an Option for More Seniors

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wearable technology for seniorsStaying at home or entering a residential care facility is a big decision for seniors. For many, residential care is a must, as they are unable to meet their own self-care needs. Technology is making staying at home an option for more seniors, as wearable technology is making it easier for home care workers to monitor and intervene to provide senior care services.

Public policy and economic necessity is driving a move to have more seniors receive home care services rather than go to a nursing home. The growing ranks of Americans age 65 and older is putting increased pressure on programs for seniors, as well as individual family budgets. Staying at home is a popular option among seniors, as they enjoy staying in familiar surroundings and keeping their independence. It’s also far less expensive than a nursing home or other residential care facility.

Wearable technology that monitors biometrics, such as heart rate, calories burned, etc., is a valuable tool for home care workers. Using these devices, in-home care workers and physicians can gather more accurate information concerning their clients’ health.

With wearable technology, caregivers get a better window into how their clients are doing. They also can use this information to craft better, more individualized meal and exercise plans. The better that home health providers are able to give quality service at home, the less likely it will be that seniors need to go to a nursing home.

Always Best Care helps connect seniors and their families with highly qualified, affordable in-home care and assisted living communities. To learn more, call 1-855-470-CARE.