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In-Home Care for Seniors

Easing into Your Ideal Senior Fitness Routine

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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

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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!

Proposed Senate Bill to Increase Senior Home Care Funding

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A pair of United States Senators introduced a bill to increase access to senior home care for more Americans than ever before. The bill aims to keep elderly Americans out of more expensive settings like nursing homes by giving them better access to in-home care.

The bill, introduced by both a Democrat and a Republican, is largely concerned with the federal government’s role in paying for long-term, institutionalized care. The proponents of the bill note that care in nursing homes often costs senior citizens a great deal of money, placing an undue financial burden on both the state and the senior citizens.

Furthermore, the proponents cite the desire of most seniors to stay in their own homes as long as possible – and the fact that there is not currently legislation in place to help them do so. The need for non-medical home care is great among seniors who do not want to sell their homes or move into a managed facility.

This legislation is meant to be a bridge to coverage for those who need care, but who cannot remain in their homes. It establishes a new program to help increase the prevalence of home-based services, especially for lower-income citizens who need a bit of help with certain activities of daily living – in short, those individuals who would usually meet the criteria for being taken into a nursing home.

The initiative, if passed, will roll out in around five states – notably, places where there is already infrastructure for dealing with the elderly. Services will take the needs of the individual into account, providing various sorts of assistance for activities of daily living including dressing, housekeeping, and transportation. There will even be services dedicated to providing caregivers with respite care.

The projects attached to the bill are meant not to serve as a final step, but rather to generate the necessary evidence to bring the changes into wider use. Indeed, it is a goal of the program to find ways to save money for both state governments and the federal government.

If you or a loved one is in need of quality senior care services from a fully screened non-medical home caregiver, contact your local Always Best Care franchise today for a free care consultation.

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.