What makes seniors fall down so often? The answer is there is isn't just one cause. Several factors can lead to falls. Your family should sit down and discuss these factors with your parents and take preventative action to keep falls from happening.
The Side Effects of Medications
Any medications that have a side effect like dizziness or drowsiness poses an issue. The medications are a necessity when it comes to health, but the side effects add new risks.
If your parent is taking a new medication, make sure someone is there to monitor them for a few hours after taking the pill. Eventually, you'll know if the pills make them dizzy or not. If they do get dizzy, someone is there to tend to them while they sit and let the dizzy waves pass.
Muscle Weakness and Joint Pain
Weakened muscle tone is an issue some seniors face. It's more common for seniors who do not exercise regularly, but it can happen to anyone. The joint pain from arthritis is another issue that seniors face. If it's hard to maintain balance because of pain and weakened muscles, a fall is likely.
Exercise to tone and strengthen muscles will help. Talk to a doctor about the best exercises for your mom or dad. If arthritis is present, it's also important to ask about the best pain management methods.
Avoid a fall risk by having your parent's home examined for hazards. Some of the most common issues are decorative rugs that slip on wood or tile flooring. They also have a tendency to curl on the edges. Remove these rugs entirely or add rubberized backing to keep them positioned.
Loose railings on stairs is another hazard. Your parents need sturdy support while walking up and down stairs. If a railing is wobbly or pulls away from a wall or post, it's increasing the risk of a fall. Tighten all railings if needed.
Many falls occur in the bathroom and kitchen. In the bathroom, wet flooring both inside and outside of the shower/tub pose hazards. Non-stick decals on the shower or tub floor will help, but grab bars are essential. As your mom or dad get in and out of the shower or tub, they have a supportive bar to hold for balance.
Fix any issues and keep your mom or dad safe by having a senior care provider on hand as needed. It's ideal to have a senior care professional around after taking medications, getting out of the shower, or carrying laundry. Caregiver services make sure your parent has help and is able to avoid a move from the family home. Call our senior care agency to learn more about services in your parent's hometown.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Wilmette IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
If you are looking for ways to prepare and serve more nutritious meals to your elderly relative but simply don’t know where to start, consider adding more leafy greens. Not only do greens like spinach, kale, chard, collared greens, mustard greens, arugula and many more varieties provide the body with vitamins and minerals, they also help with digestion and weight loss.
Nutritionists recommend that people, especially aging adults, eat several different kinds of leafy green vegetables every day. However, this is often easier said than done. After all, people of all ages have a hard time eating enough leafy greens, even seniors. Thus, it’s your duty to do what you can to incorporate delicious and nutritious leafy greens into common meals for your aging relative.
Here are several dishes that make it easy to put leafy greens on the menu for your aging loved one:
Stir fry: A stir fry is the ultimate healthy meal, because it requires all kinds of vegetables and lean meat. All the ingredients, including the leafy greens, are sautéed and drizzled with sauce. Everything is served over rice, making a filling delicious dish.
Soups and stews: From mustard greens to kale and everything in between, few ingredients add as much nutritional punch to soups and stews as leafy greens. Because they wilt when heated, leafy greens provide additional fiber, flavor and texture to these kinds of meals.
Fruit smoothies or green smoothies: Adding spinach or kale to a fruit smoothie or chocolate banana smoothie is a sure-fire way to sneak in some leafy greens. With strong flavors blended with ice, yogurt and more, many elderly adults don’t even realize they are eating leafy greens.
Egg dishes: It’s common to add leafy greens like spinach to egg-based dishes like quiche or frittata. Not only does it add a pleasant flavor, but the green looks so appetizing against the bright yellow egg mixture.
Wraps and sandwiches: While iceberg lettuce is an acceptable leafy green, usually the darker the leaf the more nutrients there are. Add in romaine lettuce or spinach on your elderly loved one’s favorite sandwich and know they are getting a real boost in nutrition.
Salad side dishes: Salads don’t have to be boring when you incorporate flavorful leafy greens beyond pale green lettuce. Add in romaine, kale or chard and top with lean protein like beans, eggs or chicken for a healthy and complete side dish or main meal.
It isn’t all that hard to incorporate leafy greens into your elderly parent’s daily meals. As long as you and the homecare assistant make it a priority, you’ll be able to discover dozens of ways to make your aging parent’s diet heathier with the addition of leafy greens.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Arlington Heights IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
If your aging mom or dad is suddenly sneezing and complaining of a fever and sore throat, you may just write it off as a late season cold. However, it’s more likely that your elderly parent is suffering from seasonal allergies. In the spring and summer, plants and trees blossom and send lots of pollen into the air. In some people, that pollen triggers the body to release antibodies that flood the system that produce allergy symptoms.
Before you run off to the store for some over-the-counter allergy medicine, learn all you can about what elderly people really need when they are hit with seasonal allergies.
Seniors Struggle with Seasonal Allergies
While many people suffer from seasonal allergies, elderly adults may have a harder time dealing with the symptoms as well as finding successful treatment. With age comes a weakened immune system, making it easier to succumb to health complications from seasonal allergies. Often, seniors are also dealing with other chronic conditions.
It’s easy to misdiagnose seasonal allergies in elderly parents when they have many other chronic conditions they are dealing with. Seniors need to see a doctor when they have seasonal allergies so that their health isn’t negatively affected. It’s up to you to get them to the appointment as soon as possible so they can get some relief. If you can’t for some reason, a home care assistant can transport them as needed. You should never ignore seasonal allergies in your aging mom or dad, thinking that it will go away eventually.
Why Antihistamines are Bad for Seniors
Only a doctor should say whether your elderly parent should take an antihistamine for their seasonal allergies. That’s because antihistamines, the drugs that are usually given to treat allergy symptoms, can sometimes do more harm than good for the elderly.
Seniors can have very bad reactions to antihistamines such as dizziness, high blood pressure, dry membranes, and more. Antihistamines may also react badly with other medicines that your elderly mom or dad are already taking. Always listen to the doctor when it comes to treating their seasonal allergies.
How to Minimize Pollen Exposure
You can reduce the amount of pollen your aging parent is exposed to, and you can also inform others who work with them when you aren’t there, such as other family members or home care aides. Always look at the pollen count each day and keep your mom or dad indoors when it is high. If you or the home care aide must take your aging parent outside, they should wear a hat and sunglasses.
Don’t track pollen into the home either, and keep the doors and window shut. Use the dryer instead of hanging laundry outside to dry and stop wearing outside shoes in the house. Home care aides can wash bedding frequently and vacuum and dust often to stay ahead of pollen. These efforts will pay off immensely by cutting your mom or dad’s exposure to pollen.
Spring and summer will always be a battle against seasonal allergies for you and your aging parent, but with a good plan to avoid pollen and lots of input from the doctor, you can make your elderly mom or dad as comfortable as possible.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Lake Forest IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Skin cancer affects more people in the United States each year than all of the other kinds of cancer combined. One fifth of people develop skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old. Although skin cancer is more common than other kinds of cancer, it is also treatable when it is detected early. Knowing the signs of skin cancer can help you to recognize it in your elderly relative so that they can receive treatment and increase their chances of survival.
Common Places for Skin Cancer to Develop
Skin cancer most often occurs on areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun. Common places for skin cancer to develop are:
Although those are the most common places, skin cancer can affect any part of the body. It can even develop on palms and beneath fingernails.
Light-skinned people are diagnosed with skin cancer more often than darker skinned people. However, people of any race can get it. In darker skinned people, melanomas more commonly appear on parts of the body that aren’t exposed to the sun, like the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.
ABCDEs of Skin Cancer Warning Signs
Melanomas are the most dangerous form of skin cancer, so it’s important to be able to recognize them. The American Cancer Society recommends using the ABCDE rule to determine if a spot on the skin could be cancer. ABCDE is an acronym that stands for:
The Mayo Clinic recommends regular skin checks to detect skin cancer early. The senior should examine their skin for new moles or moles that have changed. An elderly care provider can help them to look for abnormalities on parts of the body that are hard to see, like the back. If the senior does find an unusual spot, an elderly care provider can drive them to the doctor appointment to have the mole examined. An elderly care provider can also drive them to follow-up appointments for treatment.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Skokie IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Spring cleaning is an ideal opportunity for you to get your parents out of the winter season and into the freshness of spring by deep cleaning their home. As a family caregiver this can take on an even more valuable role as you remove germs, prepare for allergens, and help to create an environment that is healthier, more comfortable, and safer for your aging parent.
When you are preparing for your spring cleaning efforts, it is important to make sure that you choose the right cleaning products. Chemical cleaners may seem as though they are doing a more effective job, but they can be irritating for your parent's skin, eyes, and respiratory system, and dangerous if kept in the home of a senior with cognitive functioning decline.
Try these ways to avoid chemicals when spring cleaning your parent's home:
* A combination of baking soda, lemon juice, and water is a highly effective cleaner for surfaces and can even be used to naturally break up difficult stains such as grease on the stove.
* For even more power, use baking soda and vinegar.
* Citric acid and baking soda are fantastic at cleaning the toilet. The combination removes stains and freshens without using harsh chemicals.
* To create an antibacterial cake that can be used to clean and freshen drains, clean and freshen the toilet, and even clean the dishwasher, combine baking soda, Epsom salts, citric acid, and lemon and tea tree essential oils. These naturally freshen but also kill bacteria, while the salt, soda, and citric acid combine with water to fizz and break down stains and build up.
* Baking soda is also very effective at deep cleaning carpets. Sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet and leave for 15 minutes before vacuuming up. The baking soda will attract moisture, hair, dust, and dirt so that it comes out of the fibers more easily. You can also add essential oils to put a clean scent into the carpet.
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult can be extremely meaningful and fulfilling, but it can also be stressful. Trying to manage all of your parent's needs as well as those of your children, your marriage, your home, your career, and any other obligations can make you feel overwhelmed and as though you are always trying to finish more than you have the time to do.
Fortunately, homecare can be there for you. A homecare provider can step in to fill care gaps, manage potentially sensitive tasks that your parent or you are not comfortable with you handling, provide additional support and companionship, and give your parent the personalized services that they need to have the highest quality of life as they age in place. As their caregiver this will ease your stress, give you more time, and allow you to focus on all of the responsibilities of your life in the ways that are right for you and for your parent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Glenview IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes. Though the treatment of the condition has improved over the years, research is ongoing and new discoveries lead to new ways of managing the disease. Recently, the American College of Physicians (ACP) released their latest set of recommendations concerning the treatment of diabetes.
What Has Changed?
Based on current treatments and information, the ACP has changed A1C goals. In the past, doctors recommended a target A1C lower than 7 percent. Under the new guidelines, the majority of diabetic adults should try to achieve an A1C level of between 7 and 8 percent. In addition, for those who have an A1C lower than 6.5 percent, diabetes treatment should be reduced to prevent levels from going lower.
Although diabetes treatment guidelines have been relaxed, the ACP is quick to point out that it doesn’t mean people should take diabetes lightly. It is a serious condition and should be treated as such. However, these new guidelines allow for more individualized treatment.
What is A1C?
A1C is a kind of test used to measure a person’s average blood sugar over a 2 to 3 month span. The test measures glucose attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a kind of protein found in red blood cells that helps blood to transport oxygen. Because red blood cells usually live for about 3 months, using hemoglobin for testing provides an accurate 3-month average.
The test is performed in a doctor’s office. The frequency of testing depends on the situation:
* People with type 2 diabetes who don’t use insulin and have good control of their blood sugar levels should have the test twice per year.
* People with type 2 diabetes who use insulin or who have trouble maintaining blood sugar levels should be tested four times per year.
*Those with type 1 diabetes should have the test three or four times per year.
Can Home Health Care Help Manage Diabetes?
Home health care is an excellent way to help your aging relative to manage diabetes. Home health care providers can assist with planning and preparing meals that conform to the diet plan recommended by the doctor or dietician. A home health care provider can also remind your aging relative to check their blood sugar, help them record it, and remind them to take medications. Physical activity is also a recommended method of managing diabetes. Home health care providers can help seniors to remain more physically active by taking walks with them, encouraging them to engage in active hobbies like gardening, or driving them to group exercise classes.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Chicago IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Sarcoidosis is a condition in which granulomas develop in parts of the body. Granulomas are clusters of inflammatory cells. Granulomas can develop in any organ, but they most often occur in the lungs, eyes, skin, and lymph nodes. The condition can be mild, requiring little or no treatment. However, in some cases and depending on the organs affected, it can be very serious. The condition has no cure, but it can be treated. If you’re a family caregiver for a senior with sarcoidosis, the first step in being an effective caregiver is knowing more about the condition.
Causes of Sarcoidosis
Unfortunately, the cause of sarcoidosis is unclear. One possibility is that the disease is triggered by a substance from the environment that is probably inhaled, causing the immune system to respond. There may be a genetic factor as well, which causes the person to develop the disease when it is triggered.
Although the exact cause is unknown, doctors have determined some factors that increase the risk of getting sarcoidosis.
Some of the risk factors are:
* Age: Sarcoidosis is usually diagnosed when a person is between the ages of 20 and 40.
* Gender: Women get sarcoidosis more often than men.
* Race: Sarcoidosis affects African-Americans more often than Caucasians.
* History: People who have a family member with sarcoidosis are more likely to get it.
Symptoms of Sarcoidosis
The symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on the area of the body that is affected. In general, people who have sarcoidosis most often experience the following symptoms when the disease first begins:
* Weight loss.
* Swollen lymph nodes.
When sarcoidosis affects the lungs, it causes these symptoms:
* Difficulty breathing.
* Chest pain.
People whose skin is affected by sarcoidosis may have the following symptoms:
A rash that looks like reddish or purplish bumps. The rash usually happens on the ankles or shins and may be tender or warm when touched.
* Discolored areas of skin that look either lighter or darker.
* Sores on the ears, cheeks, or nose.
* Bumps under the skin, especially around scars and tattoos.
Sarcoidosis affecting the eyes can cause:
* Blurry vision.
* Light sensitivity.
* Red eyes.
* Pain in the eyes.
Home Care Services care can help older adults who have sarcoidosis to live more comfortably and stay healthier. Home care services can ensure that the older adult eats a healthy diet, which can improve overall health. A home care services provider can also remind the person to take medications and of upcoming medical appointments. If your aging relative needs a ride to the doctor’s office, a home care services provider can drive them to the appointment and back home again.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Highland Park IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
In the future your elder family member may no longer be able to live where she's living right now. Having a plan now ensures you're not caught flatfooted later.
What Lets You Know it's Time to Put the Plan in Motion
It's vital for you and your elder family member to talk about what the cues are going to be that it's time to put this plan in motion. It might be that her doctor advises that she doesn't live alone any longer. Or it might be that her health changes to the extent that she needs a different level of care. Talk about as many of the possibilities as you can so that you can cover all possible bases.
Who Is Moving and Where
When it's time for the plan to be put in motion, who is moving? If you're going to relocate, you need to have a plan in place for that. If it's your elder family member who is going to move in with you, you also need a plan. Is it time to clear space for her now, or is it better to wait? Another possibility is that you might move to her home in order to keep her from having to deal with upheaval. Take a look at all the options and choose the ones that work the best for your situation.
What the Process Will Be
Once you know who is moving and where, you can start to put the pieces of the process together. There are quite a few logistical considerations to plan for and you'll need as much time as you can get to tackle those. Remember that even if you and your elderly family member believe that this won't happen for quite some time, situations can change very rapidly. It's better to have a plan that you simply need to revamp a bit than it is to start from scratch.
What Happens Until Then
In the meantime, what happens with your elder family member's care? It's possible that you're able to continue as her long-distance caregiver for quite some time. But having elder care providers and other family members on hand to be able to share information with you makes your job much easier. Be sure to let them know what your cues are to put the relocation plan in place so that they can help you spot the signs early.
The thing about making these plans with your elderly family member is that circumstances may change in other ways, too. You may not be able to follow through on these plans the way you want to. That's why you need to revisit this plan periodically to account for anything that has changed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Northbrook IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Family caregivers are responsible for helping their elderly relatives keep their homes in top shape. From regular maintenance to yearly repairs, ensuring an aging loved one has a safe place to live is part of elderly care. But how many family caregivers think about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning?
What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is produced by combustible things like cars and charcoal grills. When inhaled, it causes numerous health issues. This deadly gas is responsible for thousands of hospital visits and hundreds of deaths each year. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning. The number of carbon monoxide poisoning cases also rise in the winter. That’s because people are more likely to run appliances that create carbon monoxide and less likely to have windows and doors open for ventilation.
Family caregivers should also learn to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in the elderly. In small amounts, victims may experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, disorientation and shortness of breath. Higher amounts can lead to permanent brain damage, unconsciousness and death. If an elderly family member seems like they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, they should be taken to a well ventilated area while they wait for an ambulance to come.
How Can Caregivers Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Before family caregivers learn how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, they must learn where these gas leaks can come from. Basically, anything that combusts can generate carbon monoxide. The most common items in and near an elderly person’s home include water heaters, furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, propane heaters and grills, gasoline backup generators, automobiles and gasoline lawnmowers. Some of these can develop leaks, while others are accidentally left running in the home or garage.
Preventing carbon monoxide leaks from certain appliances, like furnaces and fireplaces, requires annual inspections and cleaning from professionals. The other aspect is never running machines or appliances indoors or in the garage, like grills, generators and more. Family caregivers can ensure their elderly relative will have plenty of warning in case of a leak by installing carbon monoxide detectors. These should be placed on the ceiling or high on the walls of every level of the house, plus one just outside the senior’s bedroom. It will emit a loud sound if unsafe levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
The first step in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in an elderly loved one is to learn about what it is and where it comes from. Then, family caregivers can take the necessary steps within their elderly care plan to arrange for inspections, detectors and more. The winter season always sees a sharp increase in carbon monoxide poisoning cases, so there’s never a better time for family caregivers to do what it takes to keep their loved one safe.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Evanston IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Few things are as frustrating as making a genuine offer of help to someone you love and having them turn you down time and again. When your senior consistently turns down your help, you may feel as if you're failing somehow as a caregiver. That's not the case and looking at the situation from a different angle can help.
Assess the Situation
Look at what is happening right now in the situation you're trying to offer assistance to your aging family member. Sometimes stepping back and being objective can help quite a bit. Part of the problem may be that your elderly family member fears that you're trying to take over her entire life. You may need to rethink your approach to offering help.
Look for Other Factors
There may be other factors that contribute to this problem, too. Your senior could honestly believe that she doesn't require any assistance at all. It's also possible that she doesn't want to feel as if she's burdening you or tying you to her on a more permanent level.
Ask Your Senior Why She's So Resistant
After you've tried assessing the situation, you have another option. You can continue guessing, or you can sit down with your aging adult and ask her why she's resisting your help. When you do talk, make sure that you listen carefully to what she's saying and what she's not saying. It's entirely possible that your senior doesn't realize how it affects you to have your offers of help continuously rebuffed.
Ultimately, you need to keep trying. If your senior genuinely needs your assistance, she can try to turn you down, but facts are facts. It's also possible that your elderly family member needs some time to focus on what you've said and to really take in your words. Given some time, she may start to understand that you're not there to restrict her life or her movements. You're there to help her live a fuller and happier life.
It's a delicate balance to be a caregiver to an elderly family member. You'll find the right balance and help your senior understand that you don't have any ulterior motives.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Deerfield IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.