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Dealing with Dementia: Do's and Don'ts


Dementia is a condition which affects a person's ability to remember things, to communicate effectively, and even to think normally, and as you might expect, that can have an enormous impact on daily life. One of the most common Read more

10 Tips to Help Seniors Beat the Summer Heat


With the intense heat of the Phoenix, Arizona summer right around the corner, many area seniors will be more at risk for heat stroke and heat exposure, as rising temperatures begin to pose a potential health risk. When temperatures Read more

Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One


Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Read more

The Best Spring-time Activities in the Phoenix Area


As much as you've been looking forward to springtime, there might be an elderly loved one in the family who is even more anxious for the arrival of the season. Of course, Phoenix-area residents aren't usually obliged to hibernate Read more

Dealing with Dementia: Do’s and Don’ts

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Dementia is a condition which affects a person’s ability to remember things, to communicate effectively, and even to think normally, and as you might expect, that can have an enormous impact on daily life. One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, which afflicts seniors in greater numbers than any other demographic. As of 2018, there are approximately 5.7 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s Disease, and of these, 5.5 million are ages 65 and over. MD Home Assist caregivers and Phoenix home health caregivers offer the following tips on how to manage the behaviors of your elderly loved one afflicted with dementia.

Positive Body Language

Almost more important than what you say to a senior, is the body language you express when around them. The most effective communication with your loved one should include gentle touches, a quiet and respectful tone when talking, and pleasant facial expressions.

Maintain Humor

A humorous approach to your home health care can be very helpful and will usually be well-received by your senior, as long as the humor is not at their expense. A smile and a laugh are therapeutic for practically anyone, and seniors with dementia are no exception. 

Use Conversation That is Simple and Direct

Since comprehension may be impaired in your senior loved one, it’s best to communicate with statements and questions that are simple and direct, so they can better understand them. Whenever possible, ask questions which only require a yes/no, or one-word answer, and when speaking, be slow and clear with statements.

Limit Distractions

When you’re trying to discuss anything with your senior or you need to convey something important, you should limit or eliminate other background distractions such as television or radio. To be sure you get his/her attention, sit or stand at the same level as your senior, and be sure to make eye contact, so as to establish the most direct possible connection.

Be Patient

Don’t get irritated or annoyed when dealing with your senior, even if it becomes difficult to get a point across, or to understand what they’re trying to tell you. If he/she is having difficulty verbalizing something, it’s perfectly alright to suggest or guess at what they’re trying to say. Sometimes it’s better to listen with your heart than with your ears.

Redirect When Things Get Difficult

For those times when things become difficult with your senior loved one, and he/she gets upset about something, try redirecting the situation into something more pleasant and completely off-topic. Take a walk, listen to soothing music, or do anything that your senior really enjoys to defuse the situation and replace it with something more pleasant.

Don’t Point Out Mistakes or Misunderstandings

Don’t press the point when you feel that your senior is wrong about something, and don’t insist on impressing your views upon them. Most likely you will only cause them to be more upset by pressing your point anyway, so it’s far better to just let it pass and be as calm and reassuring as you can.

Remember the Good Times

Ironically, many seniors afflicted by dementia have difficulty recalling something that happened an hour ago, but can easily remember events of 30 or 40 years ago. Take advantage of this fact in your Phoenix health care by frequently bringing up those happier times from youth, and taking your senior back to a happy place.

Break Down Difficult Tasks

Any activity which might present a problem for your loved one should be managed in a series of do-able steps, rather than trying to accomplish the complete task at once. One example might be getting dressed in the morning. Create minor tasks for each article of clothing, and address those one at a time with your senior, so that each one can be a small success in its own way.

Positive Reinforcement

Keep in mind that your loved one is going through something which is extremely disorienting and possibly debilitating, and that it won’t take much to get him/her confused, frustrated, and maybe even frightened. As a main caregiver providing Arizona health care for a senior, you can best support them by being positive all the time, and by being loving and supportive, rather than critical or argumentative.

Taking care of an aging parent or loved one can be a stressful experience. But you do not have to endure it alone. We take senior health care very seriously, and as one of the top home health care companies Phoenix, you can rely on our expertise and professionalism for your health care needs. Contact us today to learn more.


Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One

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Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Home Health, as well as Arizona health care workers throughout the state, urge you to take the time to find the right caregiver for your elderly loved one. Even those seniors who are not physically disabled, are still much more vulnerable than younger persons, so it becomes extremely important to be sure that they are getting the right kind of AZ home health care.

Here is a handy checklist you can use to make sure that your loved one receives proper treatment from a Phoenix health care aide.

Phoenix Home Health Checklist

  • The home health care agency does background checks on all its employees, especially those directly employed as caregivers.
  • Caregivers can be available during the night if needed, and on an emergency basis, should that be necessary.
  • The agency can provide the type of care needed by your loved one, and at the hours recommended by your family doctor for that kind of care.
  • Either the home health agency itself can provide extra needed services, or can help arrange for them – some examples might be for having meals delivered, physical therapy, mental health counseling, etc.
  • If your loved one lives alone, you may need some level of housekeeping services, in addition to bathing, dressing, shopping, transportation, meal preparation, possibly laundry service, navigational assistance, and medication reminders.
  • When skilled nursing care is needed by your senior loved one, any agency which you work with will need to have that kind of professional experience available, and must be properly certified for that work.
  • References or online reviews are available about the agency and individuals employed by the agency, and these references are predominantly positive in nature.
  • Any special needs which your senior might have, such as language, physical disability, hearing/vision loss, can be accommodated by the firm that you consider for AZ health care.
  • The cost of home health care with a candidate agency is within your budget, without having to sacrifice important services needed by your loved one.
  • It may be difficult to learn about a specific caregiver’s personality and his/her on-the-job manner, but this could be critical to having your favorite senior be compatible with the caregiver. If you can talk with other people who your candidate has worked with, you may be able to anticipate what to expect from them. If it is possible, both you and your elderly loved one should have a preliminary interview with a candidate to get a feel for what they’re like, and whether he/she is likely to get along with your senior.



Your Final Decision

In the end, there is bound to be a certain amount of guesswork and intuition involved with making a choice for the role of your senior’s caregiver. While you might get a strong feeling about a candidate caregiver merely from talking with them, when you get around to making a final decision, it should be based on factors more practical than how you feel about someone. By consulting the above checklist, and adding in any other important factors for your situation, you stand the best chance of making a good decision about home health care for your loved one.

If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


Tips for Keeping Seniors Connected

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It’s very understandable that seniors of today would feel even more disconnected from the world around them than senior citizens of past generations, especially given the fact that technology is now progressing at such a breakneck pace. AZ home health caregivers have some recommendations on how you can improve Arizona health care for seniors, by helping to reduce that feeling of isolation or withdrawal among elderly loved ones. By acquainting seniors you know with modern devices and making some senior friendly adjustments to others, you can help remove much of the mystery and confusion about today’s technological devices.

Smartphone Adjustments

You can make a smartphone more accessible and usable to your senior loved one simply by making a few adjustments in the settings. Some of the possibilities you might want to try are:

  • increase the font size for text and the icon size for graphics
  • enable audio feedback for better understanding
  • enable voice commands
  • increase the level of zoom magnification.

 


Install a Personal Assistant in the Household

The amount of information that can be provided by Amazon Echo or Google Assistant is absolutely amazing, and much of it can be very useful to your senior loved one. With just a simple voice command, your elderly friend or relative will be able to:

  • hear local and national news
  • set a timer or alarm
  • setup reminders for medications
  • play music and games
  • control the thermostat in the household
  • access the Internet
  • control household lighting
  • manage television viewing
  • learn about the weather
  • replay exercise routines on demand
  • make phone calls
  • reply to text messages.


Surfing the Internet Safely

There’s a whole other world out there for seniors to explore on the Internet, but many seniors don’t understand how to navigate, and many lack an understanding of security issues online. You can introduce your elderly loved one to the online world in a few simple sessions where important information is repeated, and safety precautions are emphasized. If you’re not up to the task yourself, many communities offer classes which provide seniors with Internet instruction, as well as all the warnings and cautions about safety which attend regular usage.

General Education

While the Internet is a big part of the changing world around us, it’s not the only thing that’s having a major impact on how we live. Technology is proceeding at a faster pace now than ever before, making it difficult for even younger people to stay abreast of it, not to mention less connected seniors. Many local community colleges specifically provide training classes on technological advances as well as Internet usage, and most of these are offered free of charge.

Some retirement communities and centers for elderly persons also offer the same kinds of classes, and they can be even better received than from the more formal educational institutions. Many seniors are more apt to be comfortable learning from informed persons of their own age, rather than much younger instructors. There are even more benefits to be gleaned from learning about modern technology than just staying connected – keeping your senior loved one mentally active is a great idea for maintaining MD home health, and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Phoenix health care professionals have the same goals for seniors as do caregivers for private home health care – to keep them engaged, active, and physically and mentally fit. If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


How to Overcome the Winter Blues for Seniors and Caregivers

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Much of the U.S. has experienced severe weather this winter, and that has caused many seniors who are only partially ambulatory to be shut-in for long stretches of time. However, there are some steps which can be taken for both the elderly and their caregivers, to help beat the winter blues, and forget about what might be happening outside. Here are some home health care recommendations based on scientific findings, that will help to lift your spirits, and chase those blues away.

Brighten up the House

Even if you can’t conveniently get outside to soak up sunshine, you can certainly simulate the sunlight by finding ways to add lighting to your home. Keeping curtains open, having rooms brightly lit, and even sitting next to an artificial light source can all help to lift your spirits. People who live in Alaska routinely undergo six months of near darkness, and many of them overcome the shortage of lighting by taking some of these same steps to make up the difference. This tip can be applied in the home health care world.

Do More Exercise

Because at least 30 minutes a day of good exercise will cause anyone’s spirits to be lifted, it’s a good practice to try and include a half hour every day, if it’s at all possible. Some light aerobics will do the trick, or if you happen to have a treadmill, you can ‘walk’ for 30 minutes every day that you feel up to it. Vigorous exercise causes more endorphins to be released into the body, and these are responsible for the euphoric feeling we all get after a good workout.

Talk Therapy

Scientific research shows clearly that people who have the opportunity to talk to a partner regularly, receive much the same benefit that artificial lighting provides, i.e. it contributes to a sense of well-being and self-satisfaction. This can be especially effective if you have talk sessions where you limit your topics of conversation (and your partner’s) to only positive thoughts and ideas. This has the double effect of forcing you to think about what you’re going to say (keeping you mentally agile), and it creates an attitude of positivism that spills over into your daily routine.

Stay Socially Involved

When you are withdrawn and out of contact with people, that can quickly lead to anti-social attitudes and feelings of depression. On the other hand, if you force yourself to stay socially active, even when you don’t particularly want to, it can automatically kindle feelings of happiness and warmth with your friends or relatives.

Bring the Outdoors Inside

This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. As an example, if you’re a person who enjoys summertime gardening, why not buy a plant or two for the inside, and spend some time each day nurturing your wintertime garden? If you’re a person who enjoys walks around the neighborhood or around the local mall, you might want to try going to a nearby fitness center where you can walk or jog laps around the facility. You might even have a local aquatic center where you can enjoy some fun time in the water to lift your spirits, and enjoy socializing with others who are doing the same.

The above tips can help AZ Home Health professionals make the winter months better for the seniors in their care. If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.

 


Celebrate National Hobby Month

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Hobbies can be a lot more than just time-filling activities that pass the day for you and your senior loved one. AZ Health Care professionals point out that having a hobby can be something that relieves a great deal of stress for the elderly person in your household, and can provide him/her with an outlet for self-expression that is both fulfilling and enjoyable.

Stress relief may not sound like a huge medical accomplishment, but as both medical experts and home health care professionals know, stress can be a killer and is something to be avoided if at all possible. Here are some ways that hobbies can be an important component of your senior loved one’s Phoenix home health care.

Participate in Sports

Of course, not all seniors are in condition to actively participate in sports activities like golf, swimming, jogging, or power walking. However, there are also lightweight versions of such activities that will provide nearly the same health benefits, such as dancing, gardening, and water aerobics. Free swim time in a pool can be an excellent activity for older people, because it relieves any stress on joints and still promotes good activity levels. Besides the exercise benefit, being active in sports can improve coordination and flexibility, and can even be socially fulfilling.

Become Involved as a Volunteer

The first thing that happens when you or your elderly loved one volunteers for any kind of community service is that you begin thinking about the welfare of others, and focus less on any problems you yourself might have. As an example, if your elderly loved one recently lost a spouse or a close friend, that could trigger an extended period of grief and withdrawal. One of the best ways to curtail this potentially damaging situation is to encourage your relative to become active in volunteering, and draw them out of self-pity and sadness. This is a great way to establish a real sense of purpose for your senior loved one, to give him/her a chance to show off their talents, and to feel good about themselves.

Artistic Pursuits

Many older people had some kind of hobby in their younger days that they were really good at, for instance sewing, painting, baking, or maybe even writing. Senior years are a great time for re-discovering those talents, because they can revive pleasant memories of those former talented times, and they can rekindle a sense of self-worth and personal ability. Even if your loved one had no such hobby as a youngster, it would be a great idea to start one and become really immersed in learning a new skill. This can literally provide endless hours of rewarding activity, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it can become a pretty exciting part of a senior’s life.

Caring for a Pet

All kinds of studies have been conducted and have confirmed the fact that caring for a pet produces increased levels of beneficial hormones in the caregiver, and elevates the sense of well-being as well. Being involved with the care of a cat, dog, or other domestic animal can lower stress and blood pressure levels, and can banish feelings of depression very effectively. Phoenix Health Care professionals encourage home caregivers everywhere to consider the possibility of providing your elderly loved one with a lovable pet that can literally change the life of a senior.


Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

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There’s no doubt about it – we’re right in the middle of the cold and flu season, and we still have weeks to go before the season fades away into springtime. Arizona health care professionals tell us that seniors and their caregivers are the most likely groups to be affected by the flu which is sweeping the country this winter – seniors because their immune systems are less robust, and caregivers because they are in close proximity to seniors every day. This being the case, here are some Phoenix home health care tips which should be observed to reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu, and perhaps lessening the severity of it when it does strike.

Keep the Home Germ-Free

Yes, this is impossible to do with 100% efficiency, but if you do your very best, that will eliminate much of the potential for disease. Here are a few important ways you can keep germs out of the living environment:

  • Wash frequently – you’d be surprised at how effective a simple act like washing your hands can be at killing germs. All it takes is some warm water and soap, and rubbing your hands together for 20 or 30 seconds. When you aren’t near soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer to accomplish the same thing.
  • Household cleaning – when you’re cleaning around the home, use disinfectant agents in the bathroom, kitchen, and other common areas, and give special attention to all those items, e.g. light switches, TV remotes, cellphones, door knobs, that are routinely touched or handled by seniors in the home.
  • Personal hygiene – make sure everyone in the household observes good hygienic practices when sneezing or coughing, so germs aren’t projected out into the environment. Also, it’s a good idea to minimize touching of the facial area with hands, because that has a huge potential for introducing germs into the eyes, mouth, nose, etc.

Keep Exercising

Don’t give up on exercise during the winter, because exercise is one of the best ways of maintaining a healthy immune system. If you have a senior loved one, try and get him/her to take at least a short walk as often as possible, or to get involved with an exercise program at some community center. Studies have shown that regular exercise can lower the risks of contracting colds and flu by as much as 33%, so this should be one of your most important ways of keeping healthy.

Avoid Crowds

Some of the places where germs are most rampant, and where you have far less control of any germs being spread, are in public places where large crowds of people can gather. Every time you go to a department store or grocery store, there’s a chance of being infected by some person you come in contact with, and that’s just simple math – at home, you only have family members that you’re in contact with, but in a store or other public place, you could literally be exposed to hundreds of people in a very short time.

This isn’t to suggest that you make your elderly loved one a shut-in during the winter season, but AZ Home Health professionals recommend limiting those outings to germ-ridden public settings until after flu season passes. You won’t be able to manage absolutely every possibility for removing exposure to colds and flu, but if you are vigilant about handling the precautions listed above, you’ll go a long way toward staying safe for the remainder of the season.


How exercise may help with slow Parkinson’s

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A new study published in JAMA Neurology this week has the potential to dramatically impact one aspect of senior health care: Parkinson’s disease. Clinical trials showed that those who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may be able to dramatically reduce its progression through strenuous treadmill exercise. Alternatively, less strenuous exercise for those who have Parkinson’s does not stop its progression.

Parkinson’s Disease and Its Challenges

Parkinson’s disease, a progressively degenerative neurological disease involving motor control problems, so exercise can be potentially dangerous. Though the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be controlled by medication, it is currently incurable, and the drugs used to manage the disease eventually lose their efficacy over time.

How exercise may help with slow Parkinson's

Because medications will ultimately fail patients, researchers have been looking for new solutions in symptom management, with exercise being one of the treatment options. What’s promising about these findings is that if Parkinson’s is caught early enough, and exercise is used as an intervention in Parkinson’s beginning stages, the disease may not only be slowed down significantly and delay the use of medication, but exercise may change the trajectory of the disease altogether, postponing the worst symptoms.

Studying Exercise as a Treatment Option in Clinical Trials

Researchers from institutions such as Northwestern University and the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus investigated whether exercise would be a viable treatment option for Parkinson’s. Although there were animal studies which have shown the results of exercise on Parkinson’s in rodents—a reduction in symptoms and a delay in physical deterioration—those results were not yet shown in humans.

Other forms of exercise and physical activity, including cycling, dancing, and boxing, may have shown promise to help those who are suffering from Parkinson’s, but the studies had inconsistent results as well as used multiple kinds of exercise instead of measuring and comparing specific exercises.

And that’s what this study did in a Phase II clinical trial, using exercise as a treatment in comparison to medication, measuring the efficacy and safety of exercise in different doses. In this study, the researchers recruited 128 women and men with Parkinson’s diagnoses within the last five years. No one had been exercising regularly nor had they been taking medication for Parkinson’s symptoms.

It’s worth noting that the study was not designed to show the effectiveness of intense exercise in comparison to moderate exercise. But what has been surmised from this study is that strenuous exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn slows brain deterioration and boosts overall brain health.

What’s needed now is Phase III clinical trials to test this hypothesis out. But while that study is being organized, a high-intensity exercise routine may be something for those who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed, consult with your physician first before embarking on any exercise routine.

If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


How to age gracefully

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Aging doesn’t have to be something to dread or fear.  Although our bodies and minds do change over time, you can age with grace and have some fun while you’re at it. Here are a few tips to stay forever young and to improve your health care.

Live Well

This may go without saying, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one surefire way to age well.

This involves avoiding unhealthy habits such as excessive salt, sun exposure, and watching television, any smoking, and drinking too much.

This also involves embracing healthy habits such as regular exercise, keeping your blood pressure on target, getting enough rest every night, and maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol levels.

Stress can age you prematurely, so try to keep stressors at bay through self-care practices such as exercise meditation and seeking support from a mental health counselor or psychologist.

How to age gracefully

Give Your Brain a Workout

Keep your mind agile with brain games such as crossword puzzles. Even if you or a loved is in their 70s or 80s, taking up mentally-stimulating activities can slow and reverse the mental declines that typically come with aging.

It’s not just puzzles that can keep a brain fit. Believe it or not, blogging can be helpful. Sharing your life experience and the wisdom you’ve gained in a blog can help you with both active and passive thinking.

Soak Up the Sun

Although increased skin exposure to the sun will increase your chances for skin cancer, you don’t have to be out for long to get the vitamin D that your body naturally creates through the sun.

Vitamin D is good for strong and healthy bones, but it also helps your immune system, increases calcium absorption, regulates the growth of cells, and protects from certain cancers, bone diseases, and diabetes.

It can be easy to get your daily dose of vitamin D (400 IUs) from a supplement, or from fatty fish, fortified milk, and eggs. But it you can typically get a day’s worth of vitamin D from spending just 20 minutes day outside.

Note: the more melanin you have, the longer you will need to be outside–but even getting outside every day for some needed fresh air can do wonders for your health and mood.

Fill Up on Folate

Folic acid isn’t just for pregnant women. Studies have shown that low levels of folate can increase your risk of diseases such as depression and dementia.

You can get folate quite easy from your diet by adding beans, dried peas, citrus juices and fruits, and green, leafy vegetables.

If you’re not sure if you have low folic acid levels, some symptoms include forgetfulness, headaches, digestive issues, and irritability.

Stay Positive

You know how the saying goes, “You’re only as young as you feel.” If you’re dreading aging, then that’s what you can easily focus on. Studies have shown that what can better predict how healthily you age is your resiliency, your attitude, and your stress response—more than disability or physical disease. Even in the dark clouds of your challenges, you can find a silver lining.

Taking care of an aging parent or loved one can be a stressful experience. But you do not have to endure it alone. We take senior health care very seriously, and as one of the top home health care companies Phoenix, you can rely on our expertise and professionalism for your health care needs. Contact us today to learn more.


Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There

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How Much Help Do Seniors Need to Live Independently?

Determining the Right Amount of Support

When it comes to the issue of elder care and taking care of our senior parents, we are unfortunately torn between two somewhat extreme decisions—1) they are fine living independently or 2) they require 24/7 support and care.

Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There Send Bonus

What more likely is that there’s a spectrum of elder care needs that should be more flexible and accommodating to individuals. Respecting the need for independence while providing appropriate support is a tense balance that should be centered on safety. Knowing what the options are for senior care can help adult children and caregivers of seniors to make more informed decisions.

If you have an in-home assessment done by an AZ Home Health company, you may be surprised that your parents do not require in-home care or live-in caregiver—or, if they do, they require a lot less support than you may have initially thought.

What now fills in the gaps of having someone there full-time are technological advances such as home monitoring systems that can assist in medical emergencies such as falls, help with keeping people medication compliant through reminders, and with monitoring vital signs.

In-Home Monitoring Systems

If you’re concerned about leaving your parents all alone but want to support them in their independent living, then it may help to try an in-home monitoring system along with some in-home care. This could be especially helpful if your mom or dad is recovering from an injury or an illness. The main reason for this is that the risk for falls increases during recovery. In-home monitoring can also be helpful for elders who aren’t necessarily needing round-the-clock in-home care.

When you’re researching which in-home monitoring system will work for your parents, you should thoroughly research what each system is and is not capable of. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. The higher quality systems typically are more than just a call button and can adjust to whatever your parents specifically need.

Smart Monitoring Devices

There are other technology advances that can help older adult to be safe without the need of someone being in the home. Now there are smart stove alarms that will alert people if there’s a possibly dangerous situation in the kitchen. These devices go a step further than just a smoke detector, which detects when noxious gases are being emitted. They detect a potentially hazardous situation before smoke occurs.

Smart detection devices can also alert seniors of other air quality issues as well as water leaks. For example, there are smart bath monitors that monitor water levels in a tub, detecting when a bath tub could possibly overflow and then shutting off the water before it happens.

Remember the Clapper from the 80s that turned on and off lights? Well now, you don’t need to clap—you can just install motion-activated lights so seniors can still live independently without having to stumble in the dark. There are also smart doorbells that can provide video pictures of visitors so elders can determine if they should open their doors.

Contact MD Home Health Care Today!

Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health Care, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.


Seniors, Caregivers and the End of Daylight Savings Time

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Handling the End of Daylight Saving Time

When Daylight Saving Time ends, and we return to standard time, it’s a struggle for everyone as we try to adjust to earlier sunsets and earlier sunrises and less sunlight overall. It can be quite disorienting.

Seniors, Caregivers and the End of Daylight Savings Time Send Bonus

The Benefit of Routines

Anyone who thrives on routine will see their daily schedules be disrupted. With in-home caregiving, it is no different. Planning not only helps caregivers, but it helps elders to maintain their independence in a stable manner. As we grow older, we rely on the stability of our routines more and more. So switching to standard time can be disruptive.

Sundowning

Although there is the perceived benefit of getting that hour back that we gave up, for those who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, this switch back can increase the symptoms of sundowning. Also known as late-day confusion, people with this condition will become more confused and agitated in the late afternoon and evening. Usually this occurs with people have mid-stage to advanced dementia.

Making Some Adjustments

To help older people who experience sundowning, planning can help reduce this condition. Seniors can be eased into standard time before Daylight Saving Time ends by incrementally adjusting one’s routine along with the daylight hours.

Another way to help an older loved one’s circadian rhythms ease into standard time is to add small naps or some quiet time for several days after the switch is made.

Yet another method can be the use of medication or dietary supplements. Since seniors are usually taking some sort of medication already, it’s imperative that you consult with his or her doctor before adding any new medications or supplements to their regimen.

Studies have shown that light therapy can help with sundowning symptoms and adjusting one’s circadian rhythms. This involves using a full-spectrum fluorescent light about three feet away from your loved one for a couple of hours every morning. The Alzheimer’s Association also suggests to brighten the lights in the home whenever an elder is feeling agitated or confused. Light therapy can also help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Keeping active during the day is another way to help reduce the symptoms of sundowning. One trigger for late-day confusion is fatigue. Then if there’s too much sleeping or dozing during the day, then that can result in having trouble falling asleep when it’s bedtime. A walk in the park or cleaning some space in the home to dance are two examples of activities that can improve sleep quality as well as boost their physical health.

Other methods for adjusting to standard time include adjusting eating patterns (e.g., no heavy meals in the evening), reducing stress, making sure he or she feels comfortable and safe (e.g., a favorite shawl or blanket, family pictures), monitoring behavior, and finally–making sure that you as a caregiver are taking care of yourself.

Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.