Senior Home Care Services Can Help Your Loved One Develop an Active Lifestyle

If it were up to Leslie’s 85-year-old dad, he would be happy to sit at the computer and play games or watch TV most days.

She saw that first-hand after her dad took a tumble last spring and broke a bone in his hip. The spill sent him first to the hospital and then to a rehabilitation center before he could go back to his summer home in Florida, with a care plan to continue his exercises.

“The problem is, he didn’t do them,” says Tennyson. So, she hired a physical therapist to come to his home twice a week to work on exercises to keep him active. “It was helpful,’’ said Tennyson, who is now using this experience to guide her in selecting future home care services in Wellesley, where her dad lives the rest of year.

“Once he got the push, he could drive himself to the grocery store and get back to cooking — a hobby he enjoys,” she said. “He needed some motivation.”

Staying Sedentary is Unhealthy

Staying active is key to maintaining physical, emotional, and psychological health. While older adults may worry that becoming more active could result in injury, the National Institute of Health (NIH) says staying sedentary is what is harmful.

“Studies show that ‘taking it easy is risky,’’ the NIH says. “For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn’t happen just because they’ve aged. It’s usually because they have lived a sedentary lifestyle.”

According to a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health,inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. Moreover, a lack of physical movement can lead to a higher number of visits to the doctor, hospitalizations, and added use of medications for a variety of illnesses.

Leslie said her dad’s surgery and subsequent therapy was the “wake up call I needed” to start looking for senior home care services. The experience helped her recognize that a home health care provider will motivate her dad to continue an active lifestyle as well as incorporate his hobbies.

The benefits of physical activity, according to that U.S. Surgeon General report, are numerous. Physical activity has been shown to:

  • Maintain the ability to live independently while reducing the risk of falling
  • Lower the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes
  • Improve stamina and muscle strength in people with chronic, disabling conditions
  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, while fostering well-being
  • Maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and controls joint swelling and pain linked to arthritis

Moreover, if that isn’t enough, consider the benefits of maintaining social activities. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) points to research and studies that show aging adults who continue hobbies and social interactions are:

  • Less likely to develop certain diseases and may be at a lower risk for developing health problems, including dementia
  • More likely to live longer
  • Happier and less depressed
  • Better prepared to cope with loss

senior woman biking with a young child

Professional Caregiver Improves Senior’s Health and Outlook

Like many family caregivers who struggle with bouts of caregiver guilt, Leslie is aware that she likely doesn’t push her dad enough or recognize how to get him to pursue his hobbies. However, it is now at the top of her list of questions to ask a professional caregiver because she saw first-hand how her dad’s health and his outlook improved.

She said she wants to hear a potential provider ask her dad what his hobbies are, what he enjoys doing around the house, and she will then ask for a care plan to continue those activities.

Leslie is looking for professionals to empower her dad, not enable him.

“I want him to be as independent as possible,” says Leslie. “I don’t want him to give up physically or emotionally. The home health care company that appeals to me will not just do the function of following the care plan, but will produce a positive attitude and atmosphere.”

How to Stay Active

There are four areas to concentrate on for your parent to remain or to become active. You can help Mom or Dad work on these a little each day. None of the exercises below require a gym membership, and many activities can be done at home with the help of a home health care professional. Remember to have your parent talk with a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Endurance

Endurance exercises get the heart pumping and increase breathing. Focusing on endurance helps with everyday activities like walking up stairs and shopping. Encourage your parent to:

  • Rake leaves or sweep the floor
  • Dance
  • Take a brisk walk or bike ride

Strength

Muscle conditioning exercises help your parent build strength and can help him or her with activities like keeping up with grandchildren and carrying groceries. Encourage your parent to:

  • Grab a tennis ball and grip and release for several times in each hand.
  • Use a can of vegetables as a small weight and lift, do arm curls and push it toward the ceiling.
  • Stand behind a chair, with his or her hands on the back for balance and come up on the toes and come back down, then repeat several times.

Balance

Falling is a significant concern among aging adults, and for a good reason, one in four Americans, aged 65-plus falls each year. Focusing on balance exercises can help your parent become more stable and reduce falls. Encourage your parent to:

  • Stand behind a chair and using it for stability, raise a leg and hold it up for a few seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Walk heel-to-toe in a straight line across the room.
  • Check out a YouTube video on fundamental Tai Chi and follow along with the exercises.

Flexibility

Flexibility exercises are stretches that will help your parent remain limber. Staying agile will help your parent get dressed, put on shoes, and take down or put away items on shelves. Encourage your loved one to:

  • Sit on a bench or the floor and extend one leg and bend their upper body slowly forward toward the leg. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Throw a towel over the left shoulder, holding with the left hand and grabbing the towel’s other end with the right (behind the back). Use the left hand to pull the right hand up toward the spine. The right arm should be relaxed as the towel is pulled with the left. Pull only to the point of resistance and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Starting slowly and with small steps towards being physically active is always better than doing nothing.

You or your professional caregiver can also help Mom or Dad map their progress by keeping a daily log. The National Institute of Health’s Go4life has a downloadable one here.

For more information on home care assistance services and how a professional caregiver can keep your parent active, contact us by calling 617-795-2727.


Sources:

About Visiting Angels Newton/Canton:

Visiting Angels Newton/Canton MA is an award-winning local home care agency providing high caliber in-home care services to the elderly and people with disabilities. Countless families have benefited from our Alzheimer’s care, dementia care, companion care, senior care, respite support, transitional aid, and elder home care services in Needham, Dedham, Brookline, Watertown, Canton, Stoughton, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Roslindale, Westwood, Norwood and nearby towns . While non-medical in nature, the care provided by Visiting Angels Newton/Canton can make a significant impact on your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. Call us at 617-795-2727 for information!

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Understanding the Stages of Memory Loss

When making care decisions for a family member who is showing signs of memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s vital to understand the stages that they may go through. By having a better understanding of the changes in behavior and abilities, you can choose the most effective course of action for your loved one’s treatment and care with the help of doctors and caregivers.

Alzheimer’s and dementia place a heavy burden on family and friends. The Alzheimer’s Association states that, in 2017, 16.1 million family members and friends provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, at a value of over $232 billion. Plus, the slow progression through the stages by the patient leads to long-term care duties for the unpaid Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association says that 86 percent have provided care for at least the past year, and half have been providing care for four or more years. Depending on the severity of the memory loss of the senior, families often seek help from home care services, ranging from a little respite care to 24-hour home care assistance.

The following stages are based on the Reisberg Scale, developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University. Ultimately, the stage of dementia will be determined by a doctor through the use of tests and examinations. To help make the phases more relatable, we’ll outline some real-world scenarios to go with the more clinical definitions.

Stage 1: Normal/No Impairment

There are no outward signs of memory loss or dementia, and your loved one’s behavior and mood have not changed.

“Laura is still keeping a full calendar, from volunteering at the local hospital to meeting her friends for lunch a few times a week. She’s sharp as a tack, too. She’s started working on digital photography courses and picked it right up.”

Stage 2: Very Mild/Normal Aged Forgetfulness

The second stage of dementia is mostly one that the person subjectively notices happening to themselves. Typical examples would be someone thinking they don’t remember names as well as they used to, or temporarily forgetting where their keys are more often. If someone seems to be in stage 2, some studies have shown that they may progress more rapidly through the following stages.

“Paul feels that he’s more forgetful when it comes to places and names, but that it’s not affecting him at work. He’s getting older, so it’s probably just typical stuff for someone his age.”

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment

In this stage, changes begin to be noticeable by friends and family. The person can probably get through their daily routine, but a range of symptoms can be observed. There can be higher levels of forgetfulness and memory loss, including more repetitive questions from the person. More complex activities that involve planning and organizations can become challenging, which can be particularly worrisome when it comes to staying on top of medications. There can also be a loss of concentration, higher levels of anxiety, and overall confusion.

Stage 3 is where initial Alzheimer’s testing typically occurs, so be sure to encourage family members to be tested.

“Jackie is starting to worry me because she’s still trying to do everything she’s used to doing, but she has trouble with her memory. I can also tell that she gets frustrated when she notices it happening.”

Stage 4: Moderate Dementia

For people in this stage, tasks like cooking, shopping and cleaning are very hard to accomplish without assistance. Issues with memory loss and forgetfulness intensify and should be very apparent to casual acquaintances. Proper speech and “finding the right words” can be a challenge as well.

There can also be noticeable psychological changes, most often seen in withdrawal from social situations. Usually, this is a state of denial where the subject knows their mental facilities are in decline but don’t want to admit it, even to themselves. Rather than engage in a conversation and forget a name, or try to order from a menu and misspeak, they will avoid the situation.

This stage is also named mild Alzheimer’s disease, and diagnoses in this stage are often very accurate.

“I’m glad Les has his family close by because he’s been in decline the last few months. It has to be hard on them to assist in more and more activities, especially as he seems to be more and more withdrawn.”

senior suffering from memory loss

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Dementia

When a person enters this stage of dementia, they typically need frequent assistance to make it through their daily activities. There is often an inability to recall necessary, deeply ingrained information, such as phone numbers, home address, or schools attended.

Someone in stage 5 would have great difficulty living an independent life. They may need living assistance in a variety of areas, from picking the proper clothes for the weather to eating regular, healthy meals to handling basic tasks like paying a bill.

“When I saw Mari the other day, she was wearing short sleeves even though it was 40 degrees outside. I’ve also noticed her not being able to recall her home address, which makes me glad she has someone coming to provide in-home care every day.”

Stage 6: Severe Dementia

In stage 6, having full-time care is a must for most patients. They often need help to dress, bathe or use the bathroom. Things that seem as simple as flushing the toilet will be forgotten, leading to cleanliness and sanitary issues within the house.

The memory loss can also manifest itself in the person wandering or getting lost and forgetting the names of family members. A breakdown of speaking ability can often occur later in this stage, making it harder for family members and home caregivers to meet the needs of the person. Emotional and behavioral changes can be quite troubling in this stage as well, as those who have severe dementia can be increasingly paranoid and hostile.

“John’s family seemed very distraught when discussing his current condition with me. They’re so worried about his behavior that they’re cutting back on visits from friends to see him. Plus, he’s at a stage where things that would be very embarrassing are routinely happening, and they want to protect people’s good memories of him.”

Stage 7: Very Severe Dementia

Stage 7 is the final stage of dementia and patients require full-time care. Moving, eating, talking can be nearly impossible for some people, so even trained professional caregivers can find themselves taxed by the needs of the patient.

Symptoms of this stage often include a loss of the ability to speak and communicate, a loss of awareness for people and surroundings, and the failure of motor control, which can lead to an inability to control facial expressions.

“It’s troubling to visit Doris these days as there isn’t much of her personality or even physical state left that you would recognize. Thankfully, she has very patient and caring people looking after her who are trying to make her final days as good as they can be.”

Conclusion

If you can identify symptoms from any of the stages outlined above in your loved ones, please reach out to their primary caregiver to begin the process of testing. Early detection can be instrumental in managing the progression of the disease and also give you time to plan the approach to caregiving that is right for your family, whether it’s assisted living, friends and family, or in-home care by HHAs and CNAs.

 

About Visiting Angels Newton/Canton

Home caregivers, Wellesley MA Visiting Angels Newton/Canton MA is an award-winning local home care agency providing high caliber in-home care services to elderly and people with disabilities. Countless families have benefited from our dementia home care, Alzheimer’s care, companion care, respite support, transitional aid, and senior home care services in Needham, Dedham, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Wellesley, Newton, Canton, Westwood, Watertown, Natick, Stoughton, Roslindale, Norwood, and nearby towns. While non-medical in nature, the care provided by Visiting Angels Newton/Canton can make a significant impact on your loved one’s happiness and quality of life.

How to Care for an Older Loved One With No Immediate Family Nearby

Worrying about aging family members is the reality for many adult children, whether their loved ones live alone or with a spouse whose health or memory is failing; however, it’s especially hard when you live far away. You know Dad’s getting to an age where he cannot be entirely independent. What happens when you or your siblings are not around to drop in on him?

With families more spread out than ever, long-distance caregiving has become the norm for many. The upside? Technology and other community-based services, tools, and resources make it possible to create a network of care for an elderly loved one in a different city or state. Here are some ways to care for your aging loved one when you don’t live locally.

Use Video Chat to Communicate

If you’re not doing it already, encourage your loved one to use video chat technology like Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to keep in touch. When you can’t drop by in person, plan a video call with your father — an excellent way to find out how he’s doing. Maybe Dad looks content and healthy but sounds sad on the phone because he misses you. On the other hand, he may sound cheery on the phone — trying to put your mind at ease — but when you see his face in real time, you see how your mother’s passing is wearing on him. As you check in more regularly this way, take notes and keep track of subtle hints he may need more help or signs that he is lonely and may need some friendly visitors.

elder care for lonely senior woman

Make a Family & Friend Visit Schedule

Social isolation is one of the biggest pitfalls of growing older at home. For many aging couples, even caregiving can result in isolation, despite not being alone. As your Mom cares for your father through a dementia diagnosis, both can suffer socially. She may start to feel internally isolated as the man she’s loved for decades starts changing. The relationship becomes less of a partnership and more of stewardship.

It is also harder to stay connected to friends; seniors may receive fewer visitors while getting out into the community less frequently.

Friendly visitors — relatives, good friends, neighbors or even volunteers from a local community organization – can provide the companionship a lonely loved one needs. Try to keep a calendar of who is coming and when so that visitors honor their commitments and do not randomly show up unannounced. Don’t have any cousins or relatives to call? Contact your parent’s local Area Agency on Aging to learn about organizations that provide these types of visits.

Automate Bills & Pills

The advent of secure online banking, and prescription delivery services, means you don’t always have to sit at Mom’s desk to help renew her prescriptions or pay her bills. It may be helpful to get everything set up in person first when you are in town (maybe even visiting Mom’s local bank branch and pharmacy to touch base) but then automate as much as possible so you can manage it when you return home.

It’s important not to gloss over this vital part of senior care. Our elderly loved ones – especially those facing declining mental faculties – can and will forget about things like medication and bills. Save your parent time and lots of money in charges by ensuring their obligations are automated. For prescriptions, consider professional help as prescription management will aid your loved one and possibly avoid costly hospital admission.

Shop & Ship Online

If Dad needs an abundant supply of incontinence products and he has trouble getting to the grocery store, Amazon Prime and grocery delivery services through significant stores like Target, Instacart or Peapod can step in when you are not around. Some of these online shopping options offer discounts on repeat items, so if you know Dad needs adult diapers every two months, you may be able to save some money by setting up recurring orders.

Foster Community Engagement Opportunities

Set up Uber transportation or a city transit ride so Mom can go to the library or her favorite hairdresser once a month. Reach out to your parents’ community center, if possible, to find out what support services they might offer for older adults who don’t have family in the area. If your Dad still drives, research local volunteer opportunities that may help him get out of the house for a bit and stay socially connected.

You may not imagine it a necessity, but know that your parent may not know how to become socially involved with others, despite feeling lonely. Aging can take a toll on our loved ones, and they may feel increasingly less motivated to leave the house. That’s when your encouragement is helpful.

Add a Professional Caregiver to the Team

Distance does make things a little more complicated when your parents are aging as it is not always realistic for you to move closer to them or to uproot them and bring them to your home territory. There are ways to foster their independence and success at home. Once you’ve built a care network through the avenues described above, you may also want to consider a professional caregiver from a trusted home care provider.

What can a professional caregiver do to help? There is a wide range of non-medical home care services available, from meal prep and laundry, to help with light housework, to medical appointment transportation and more — some partner with a professional caregiver solely for the companionship benefits. Moreover, you can still organize and coordinate this care, even if you don’t live locally.

A professional home caregiver can be your eyes and ears on Dad, or the extra hands Mom needs around the house. To learn more, visit visitingangels.com/newton.

 

Quality in-home care services by Visiting Angels Newton/CantonAbout Visiting Angels Newton/Canton

Visiting Angels Newton/Canton senior home care agency provides quality in-home care services to seniors and people with disabilities. Countless families have benefited from our dementia home care, Alzheimer’s care, companion care, respite support, transitional aid, and elder home care services in Wellesley, Natick, Newton, Needham, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Canton, Westwood, Dedham, Watertown, Stoughton, Roslindale, Norwood, and nearby towns. The services provided by Visiting Angels Newton/Canton will be sure to make a positive impact on your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. Call us today at 617-795-2727 for more information.

What to Look for in Senior Care

If you have never cared for an elderly loved one, you might think that anyone can provide home care services. However, if you have cared for a parent or grandparent, you know that high-quality care takes a unique mix of skill, patience, and experience. It’s an essential point for anyone hiring home care services: high-quality senior home care means experienced senior home care.

To most people, that means hiring a caregiver with a proven background in senior services. While important, this is not all you should look for in senior home care. It’s just as crucial that you’re choosing a qualified, well-respected agency. If the agency is a part of a more extensive network, you’ll also want to consider their experience as an organization.

Trusted & Proven Company-Level Reputation

America’s most trusted caregiving companies are well-established names with proven track records. Usually, the easiest way to find qualified senior home care is to look for companies with a history of high-quality care.

The best home care companies earn their reputations by sharing resources, knowledge, and experience at every level of their organization. They also set and enforce rigorous caregiving standards, giving clients and their families peace of mind.

Families choose Visiting Angels for skilled elder home care. As a company, Visiting Angels has more than 20 years of caregiving experience. Over the years, it has created a rigorous support network for its local offices, allowing them to share knowledge and expertise. Every office is provided with the systems, tools, and educational resources needed to deliver truly exceptional care.

Visiting Angels Newton/Canton has been a member of this franchise since 2004. Our excellent customer feedback has enabled us to win Best of Home Care from the national client satisfaction survey firm, Home Care Pulse five years in a row.

senior care provided by home care aide

Local Knowledge and Experience

If you’re hiring a caregiver through a local home care agency, you should evaluate the agency carefully. How long have they been in business? How are their relationships with their clients? Which systems and standards do they use to ensure high-quality care?

An experienced senior care agency will have rigorous staffing and screening standards, reducing the risk that you’ll be assigned an unqualified or untrustworthy caregiver. They will also have systems in place to measure and monitor caregiver performance.

At the same time, a great agency can help you make sure that your loved one receives the right kind of care. Every senior who receives home care has unique, individual needs. If elder care services aren’t adequately tailored to these needs, their quality of life can suffer. An experienced senior home care agency will work with you to customize a plan to best support your loved one. They will also help you plan care around your loved one’s schedule and your family’s financial situation.

Knowledgeable, Compassionate Home Care Providers

Knowledgeable senior home care depends on skilled home care providers. Prior caregiving experience makes it easier for caregivers to juggle various tasks, attend to seniors’ physical and emotional needs, recognize early signs of age-related decline, and build a rapport with their clients. HHA and CNA certification also helps to ensure a standard level of competence.

At Visiting Angels Newton/Canton, we place tremendous value on caregiver knowledge. We’ve developed rigorous recruitment guidelines to find the most qualified, most knowledgeable, and most trustworthy caregivers possible.

To ensure you find the right fit, we also allow you to Select Your Caregiver®. This way, you can be sure that your loved one is matched with a home care provider who can meet their needs and who will have a complementary personality.

Are you looking for senior home care in Newton, Wellesley, Natick, Needham, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Canton, Westwood, Dedham, Watertown, Stoughton, Roslindale, Norwood, or nearby towns for your loved one? Contact Visiting Angels Newton/Canton today to request a free consultation.

 

 

Physical vs. Mental Aging

As we grow older, our minds and bodies tend to age at different rates. Some of us slow down physically years before we lose any of our mental quickness. Others stay active well into old age but start to lose their memory earlier. The distinction between physical and cognitive aging can be an issue for friends and family of older adults. Because of this, recognizing and assessing physical and cognitive abilities is crucial in professional home health care.

How we distinguish between physical and mental aging has a significant effect on the way we treat our older loved ones. If we confuse symptoms of physical decline as signs of cognitive aging (or vice versa), we can inflict much unintentional damage. On the one hand, we might underestimate our loved ones’ abilities, treating them as less-than-capable adults. On the other, we might miss symptoms of a serious problem, like early-stage Alzheimer’s.

An understanding of this distinction is equally vital for senior home care providers. Caregivers who don’t fully understand the difference between physical and mental decline are liable to provide their clients with substandard care. Meanwhile, caregivers who recognize the difference between aging bodies and aging minds can personalize care according to their clients’ needs.

Knowledgeable caregivers can also serve as a resource for families, providing advice and guidance about age-related concerns and challenges. This way, families are less likely to confuse signs of physical and cognitive decline, making it easier to care for their loved one.

home care services for elderly and disabled

​​Different Types of Aging Requires Different Types of Senior Care

There’s a significant distinction between physical aging and mental aging. While interrelated, these two types of aging often take place at different speeds. If someone is going through a severe physical decline, it doesn’t mean that they’re also experiencing cognitive decline. Likewise, if someone is declining mentally, they might remain physically healthy.

To illustrate, let’s look at a couple of hypothetical examples.

Example 1:
Judy is a 72-year-old woman. Two years ago, her husband passed away, and Judy has been living alone. Recently, joint and back problems have made it impossible for Judy to get around without a walker. What’s more, she’s no longer able to perform simple chores and errands.

Given Judy’s physical state, some may assume that she’s also experiencing cognitive decline. However, thankfully, Judy’s family hired an experienced senior home care agency to provide her with care.

Judy’s caregiver not only offers physical assistance but also recognizes that Judy has complete cognitive function. During visits, Judy’s caregiver provides her with stimulation by playing cards with her, helping her browse the internet, and engaging in thoughtful conversation.

Example 2:
Mark is a 62-year-old man. Recently, Mark has shown signs of early/mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease. He has become progressively forgetful, and he’s starting to mix up words and is having a hard time remembering people’s names. Occasionally, he gets confused by time and place.

An avid outdoorsman, Mark has enjoyed long walks outdoors and activities like birdwatching for much of his life. Mark’s family worries that physical activity is increasingly unsafe for him.

Luckily, Mark’s senior home care provider is knowledgeable and skilled in providing Alzheimer’s home care. Mark’s caregiver sees that he’s still physically fit and gets joy from these activities. After discussions with Mark’s family, his caregiver starts accompanying him for outside activities, giving Mark a positive outlet that he would not have if he were utterly homebound.
​​
In both cases, a senior home care provider can spot the difference between physical and mental aging. Having done so, they adapt their care services to the recipient’s needs, significantly improving the quality of care.

Common Mistaken Assumptions

While you might think that cases like these are rare, inaccurate assumptions about aging are more common than you’d expect.

Compare the way people approach a 30-year-old in a wheelchair to an 80-year-old in the same situation. While most people will engage with the 30-year-old as an equal, a surprising number will talk to the 80-year-old as if they’re speaking to a child, which can be a profoundly humiliating and alienating experience for seniors, especially those who are cognitively functional.

For another example, look at the way that many people treat individuals who have dementia. Many people assume that individuals with mid-stage or late-stage dementia are incapable of simple activities. Many of these individuals remain skilled in activities like painting, gardening, or baking, even as they lose some cognitive function. What’s more, these activities can prove sources of great happiness for those with dementia. A well-trained HHA or CNA-certified caregiver can provide appropriate dementia home care services for these seniors.

​Do you have an elderly loved one in need of senior home care in Wellesley, Natick or other cities and towns in the Greater Boston area? Contact Visiting Angels Newton/Canton today to schedule a free senior home care consultation!

Home Caregivers Can Be Your Eyes and Ears for Your Loved Ones

Your Mom and Dad may be enjoying their golden years, but as time goes on, issues may naturally arise. Maybe Mom has a slow-progressing eye condition and is gradually losing her independence. Alternatively, Dad has begun to forget the names of you and your siblings randomly. Which may be a sign he is experiencing the early stages of dementia.

It is natural to become anxious and concerned when you start to notice these changes. Your instinct may be to step in and care for your parent. However, you can’t neglect balancing other needs: a full-time job, children, and family. Self-care can quickly become an occasional priority as you are trying to juggle your personal life simultaneously while helping your aging loved one. Too many pressures can cause you to burn out both emotionally and financially.

It is essential to understand Mom or Dad’s conditions as their needs evolve. It is nearly impossible to gauge the level of care your loved one will need, even if you have become their primary caregiver. The natural aging process can expose your parent to a range of health issues, and certain conditions may remain undiagnosed until there is an injury or illness.

Maybe you’ve thought about asking your parent to move in with you. However, most elderly would like to age in place and maintain their independence. Per a joint report by the Home Care Association of America and Global Coalition on Aging: “Nine out of ten Americans 65 and older want to stay at home for as long as possible, and 80 percent think their current home is where they will always live.”

Man hugging his elderly loved one

Technology is not Enough

You may think using smart telehealth devices or installing a home-monitoring system is the answer. However, stand-alone technology can hardly replace the expertise of a trained professional such as an HHA or CNA who has cared for older adults just like your parents.

Even if you’re seeing Mom and Dad on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean you can manage the care alone. For instance, severe mood swings may not manifest in an elderly until sundown, a time when you’re likely to feel drained from a long day. During moments of irritability and high-agitation, your parent can’t depend on a digital health device to restore a sense of calm; however, a trained, professional caregiver can be a calming presence, and be your eyes and ears for Mom and Dad when you can’t be there.

Emotional Safety and Physical Security

A quality home care provider can address safety before it’s too late. For example, if your parent is losing balance, your mom’s professional caregiver has been trained to “fall-proof” the home.

Further, this person can serve as a human firewall. Lonely seniors become easy prey for fraudsters. An unsuspecting elderly adult is a target for scam artists. Make sure your elderly loved one doesn’t end up a victim. Every day, scammers are trying to gather personal information and are banking on confused seniors to give it to them. Fraudsters may try to engage a lonely senior who is hungry for more interaction. It’s just another scenario where a caregiver can mitigate potential harm for your loved one.

Professional Care after a Hospital Visit

If your mom or dad was recently discharged from the hospital, it is imperative to provide specific care to help prevent costly readmission. Quality in-home care services can dramatically reduce the chances of your loved one relapsing or getting re-injured. Around-the-clock care for the first month after hospital discharge is always recommended. Elderly adults have a much lower chance of recovery if they are re-hospitalized in this 30-day window, which is why reducing hospital readmissions is crucial.

Will you be around to ensure your parent strictly adheres to a doctor’s discharge care plan? If not, you can rely on a professional caregiver to follow the medical directive and care plan, keeping your loved one safe and out of the hospital.

What about if the doctor assigns Mom or Dad a meal plan? Will you be there to prepare the recommended foods for your parent?  Professional caregivers will prepare nutritious meals for your loved one as part of their routine.

It is no secret that early detection is the key to better health outcomes. While caregivers are not medical professionals, they do possess the education and experience necessary to recognize initial signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s or symptoms of depression. They can be your eyes and ears while working extra hard to foster a positive attitude in your loved one.

A home care provider is an objective third-party who takes a measured approach. Should there be a problem, you won’t lose precious time before addressing the issue.

Hire a Caregiver from a Reputable Homecare Agency

No doubt you wish to hire a caregiver that you can trust to care for your loved one. That means professional skills, experience, and an attitude of respect and compassion towards the elderly. Visiting Angels Newton/Canton has an outstanding team of caregivers who are CNA or HHA certified. Each has at least three years’ professional experience in the field of home care services. Caregivers must pass an extensive home care exam and are interviewed at length by two Case Managers. Our new Caregivers complete a full orientation training which includes a specialized dementia care program. We provide continuous support with events, training, and awards. We even take care to assign caregivers that fits the personality traits of our clients to ensure the best outcome.

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About Visiting Angels Newton/Canton

Visiting Angels Newton/Canton MA is an award-winning local home care agency providing high caliber in-home care services to elderly and people with disabilities. Countless families have benefited from our dementia home care, Alzheimer’s care, companion care, respite support, transitional aid, and elder home care services in Needham, Dedham, Canton, Stoughton, Newton, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Wellesley, Westwood, Watertown, Natick, Roslindale, Norwood, and nearby towns. While non-medical in nature, the care provided by Visiting Angels Newton/Canton can make a positive impact on your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. Call us at 617-795-2727 for information or visit our website at https://visitingangels.com/newton.

What is the Caregiving Crunch and Why It Matters to Your Senior Loved One

As baby boomers age, America has more seniors than ever before. By 2060 it is estimated that the number of Americans over 65 years old will rise to 98.6 million, with 19.7 million people aged 85 or older.

With so many seniors in the population, it begs the question: Who will care for those who can no longer care for themselves?

This potential problem has become known as the “caregiving crunch,” and it could be argued that it has already begun. Twelve million Americans require care today, and by 2050, it’s estimated that number will be more like 27 million, with over half of those needing care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

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How Did It Come About?

Between 2000 and 2016, the average age of an American according to the census bureau rose from 35.3 to 37.9 years old, with statisticians placing the blame for this rise on the baby boom, the post-World War II period from 1946 to 1964 when birth rates were high. Baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011 and more of them will be entering their senior years until 2029.

Added to the increased population, advances in medical science and data technology are helping people live longer. People are now more health conscious, illustrated by things like declining cigarette sales since the 1980s and wellness food trends growing. As medical treatments improve and people live healthier lives, the average age of mortality has reached 78.6 years, up from 74.7 only 30 years ago.

As well as people living longer, people are also more likely to be living alone. Although 90 percent of people marry, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.  In 2010, the US Census Bureau estimated that 28 percent of seniors were living alone.

How Does the Caregiving Crunch Affect You and Your Senior Loved One?

Americans are very reliant on family members for caregiving in their senior years. Around 34.2 million Americans provide unpaid care to a senior. Ninety-five percent of those are providing care to family members. In total, these unpaid caregivers are offering $500 million of free services to family members, more than three-times what Medicaid pays for professional care each year; however, if you live alone, with no spouse and no family members, this isn’t a viable option. As a result, more and more people are turning to professional home care or nursing home care. The number of seniors receiving professional in-home care is continually rising, and since 2015, more seniors have received in-home care than those who receive care in nursing homes.

Effectively, there are not enough caregivers to look after the number of people who require help. In the next decade, it is estimated that demand for caregivers will outstrip supply by over three million. Moreover, it doesn’t just affect those seniors who have no family. The shortage will affect seniors who have family caregivers needing respite. It will affect seniors living with a condition that requires support. It will affect seniors whose family members can’t care full-time due to work or other commitments. Families are more likely than ever to be spread geographically, so those who live far from loved ones are also more likely to be affected.

The quality of care is also a worry. As experienced professional caregivers’ schedules become fully committed, it’s more likely that families in need may mistakenly turn to unqualified and inexperienced caregivers.

Getting Professional Home Care Service

It is important to prepare yourself by researching options and speaking with professionals who can answer your questions and help you plan services. If your loved one has an existing relationship with a caregiver and receives care through an agency, he or she is more likely to be able to adjust services as needed.

Look into professional senior home care through a larger agency. While local caregivers may be available, a national brand may be able to offer more options. Going with a larger brand also tends to provide peace of mind to the family of the senior. Hiring through a large home care agency means you know that the caregiver has been through a vetting process and should be bonded, licensed and insured, offering a level of reassurance that you won’t find hiring through the personal ads.

About Visiting Angels Newton/Canton

Visiting Angels Newton/Canton senior home care agency provides high-quality in-home care services to seniors and people with disabilities. Countless families have benefited from our dementia home care, companion care, respite support, transitional aid, and senior home care services in Westwood, Norwood, Newton, Needham, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Canton, Natick, Dedham, Watertown, Stoughton, Roslindale, Wellesley, and nearby towns. The services provided by Visiting Angels Newton/Canton will be sure to make a big impact on your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. Call us today at 617-795-2727 for more information.

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