Tips for Better Sleep for Seniors

Everyone struggles with sleep from time to time. However, as we age, insomnia seems to rear its ugly head more frequently. Seniors may find it difficult to sleep for long stretches at night and find themselves waking up much earlier in the morning than they would like.better sleep

However, just because sleep is more difficult to come by for the elderly, it doesn’t mean that a full night’s sleep is any less important. Here are a few tips for achieving better sleep for seniors.

  • Sleep when you are sleepy. Your sleep pattern may shift as you age and that’s ok. If you are feeling tired at 8pm, don’t fight it, go ahead and sleep, and don’t worry if that means you are awake by 4am. Napping is healthy too, and counts toward your sleep total.
  • Try something new. If you spend more then ten minutes laying in bed unable to sleep, try reading in bed or listening to music or a podcast. Sometimes it is easier to dose off when you aren’t so focused on trying to sleep.
  • Talk to your doctor. Insomnia can be a symptom of a larger problem, so if problems sleeping persist you should talk to your doctor about your concerns. You may be able to try a natural sleep aid like melatonin, or adjust some of your current medications that impact your sleep.

Quality sleep is important at every stage of life. A long-term lack of sleep can lead to an increase in anxiety or physical illnesses. If you want help caring for an older person in your life, please contact us, we would love to help you give them the best quality of life possible.

Five Ways to Take Care of Yourself When Taking Care of Your Parent

As you take care of your aging parent, don’t underestimate the toll it takes on you. Caregiver stress is a real and serious thing, but it’s often brushed aside to keep the focus on the patient. self-care

To be a great caregiver, you have to take care of yourself. Here are five ways to alleviate caregiver stress and maintain physical and emotional health.

Take advantage of your support group 

This isn’t the time to appear calm and collected. Be vulnerable, it’s okay. Just because your friends aren’t checking in, it doesn’t mean they don’t have your back. People get busy with their own lives, and if you look like you’re okay, they aren’t going to go digging under the surface. Let your friends and family know what’s going on regularly.

Find support online

There are plenty of websites and forums dedicated to caregivers. Whether it’s a group on Facebook or a website like Caring.com, you’ll quickly be reminded that plenty of people are going through the same thing.

Exercise 

Don’t let your own health decline when you’re caring for someone else. Not only is exercise crucial to maintaining physical health, but it’s also a natural stress reliever.

Steal some me time

No excuses, just do it. Whether it’s a day at the spa or half an hour of gardening, do it regularly and you’ll start to realize that you do, in fact, have time.

Here at Hannah’s Home  Care, we can help you care for your aging parent and make sure you get the time you need for yourself. Contact us for more information.

A Healthy Social Life Equals a Healthy Heart

Heart health can be a major concern for adult children as their parents get older, especially if cardiovascular problems run in the family. If you’re concerned about your parent maintaining cardiovascular health, new research suggests a simple way to fight the aging heart: maintain an active social life.

In 2013, the journal Psychological Science published a study that shows how social connections positively impact physical health. Those who actively work on creating and maintaining authentic relationships with others are more likely to report positive emotions. Those people are more likely to have healthier vagus nerves, which help control the heart. heart health

More recently, the American Heart Association did a presentation on how aging Americans can fight heart disease through a variety of connective technologies ranging from Facebook to senior-specific outlets such as online patient portals.

Is your parent on Facebook? Some seniors have embraced our high tech world, while others have ignored it. If your parent falls into the latter category, consider making a Facebook page for him or her and demonstrating how to connect with grandkids and friends.

Of course, the idea is to take these online tools and turn it into real life connections. What is your parent passionate about? Help her find a meetup group to cultivate her gardening skills. What has your parent always wanted to do? Help him find a drawing class to take.

Maintaining a social life is as important for physical health as it is for emotional health. Here at Hannah’s Home Care, we help you care for all aspects of your mother or father’s life. Contact us to learn more.

Keep Up With Low Vision Care

A thorough eye exam performed by an optometrist is an overall assessment of your ocular health. Some eye conditions, if left untreated, can lead to extended vision loss or even blindness. This is a notable reason to discuss the importance of regular eye check-ups and care with your elderly family members. As we age, it becomes even more crucial to keep up with low vision care.vision loss

Low vision is a visual impairment that is not correctable through surgery, pharmaceuticals, glasses or contact lenses. It includes partial sight, such as blurred vision, blind spots or tunnel vision. Low vision can impact people of all ages, but is primarily associated with older adults.

Causes of low visions include trauma, disease, genetics, or it can simply develop over time due to aging. Here are 5 of the most common visual impairments that lead to low vision:

  1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD/ARMD) is a painless disease affecting the macula which is the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It blurs the sharp, central vision you need for focusing on activities straight-ahead, as opposed to your peripheral vision.
  2. Glaucoma is a strongly hereditary degenerative eye disease found mostly in those at age 60 and older.
  3. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens that is mostly a result of aging.
  4. Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease affecting 30% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes. Directly related to high blood sugar, the damage it does to blood vessels can lead to retinal detachment.
  5. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. They are generally due to a lack of protein production or the creation of abnormal or toxic protein.

Low vision is irreversible, but it is treatable. There are several treatment options.

  • Prescription glasses and/or contacts
  • Specialized optical systems
  • Therapeutic filters
  • Video magnification
  • Medical rehabilitative therapy

The Vision Council released their report Vision Loss in America: Aging and Low Vision in order to further educate the elderly and their caregivers about low vision and aging eye disease. For more information on how to speak with your elderly family members about their ocular health, feel free to contact us.

The amazing effects of music and art on memory loss.

Providing home care for a senior affected by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia calls for more than assistance with activities of daily living or even keeping the person safe. It also requires some imagination to come up with ideas for interacting with the person in ways that are meaningful both for the caregiver and the senior.music

One such way is through the use of personalized music and art projects. These are effective tools because the love of music and of art is something that, according to research, people with memory loss never truly forget. When a person learns a song or how to play a musical instrument, his or her brain stores that knowledge as muscle memory, largely unaffected by dementia. Diseases that cause dementia tend to attack only episodic memory—events, names, and faces.

In fact, using studies involving an MRI, scientists report that when people hear music that has a personal connection to them, their entire brain registers stimulation. This is great news for professionals in memory care, especially those providing such care in the home, because using music as a therapeutic activity is relatively simple. All you need is a personalized playlist—songs that mean something to the person, like a church hymn, love song, classical number, or favorite melody—and a device on which to play the music along with headphones.

The idea has recently received national attention through the film “Alive Inside”, in which a crew toured memory care treatment programs to see how personalized music can have an amazing effect on dementia patients. The results: people were opening their eyes, nodding their heads, and tapping their toes. Most significantly, many of the effects proved lasting.

According to Music and Memory, a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of elderly through digital music technology, Musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present.”

Music also can help soothe and relax an otherwise agitated person, and it can become something that both the caregiver and the person dealing with memory loss anticipate each day.

Art therapy is an effective tool in home care of a person with memory loss as well. According to Alzheimer’s Association, an art project such as painting or drawing gives the senior an opportunity for self-expression. Materials are simple: a workspace; paper or an easel; and colored pencils, paints, or pastels. It might be necessary to help get the person started by moving the pencil or paintbrush. But once he or she does begin, the results are often specific and creative. Memories that cannot be put into words anymore still spring forth when artistic freedom is given.

Music and art are just a few of the tools of compassionate home care. Please contact us to learn how much Hannah’s Home Care can do for you.

Aging Prompts Conversation in Tacoma Washington

As you step into the prime years of your life, you begin to witness your parents starting to need a little more help. Their decline in abilities can definitely be difficult to witness, and it can prompt some difficult conversations about how to let them retain their independence for as long as possible, without putting them at risk of injury or accidents that can be prevented.caregiver-fatigue

The good news is that you don’t have to make these kinds of decisions alone, you can consult experts who have helped families make these kinds of decisions with open communication and valuable information. Hannah’s Home Care has spent years helping support people in their aging in Tacoma, Washington.

If your parents want to stay in their home, but you are concerned that they are no longer able to manage some of their care, you might want to consider in home health care services. If you plan on taking one or both of your parents into your home and becoming their primary caregiver, you may still want someone to assist you with some of your new responsibilities or to provide you with valuable training that will make the whole process less stressful.

Hannah’s Home Care is proud to be the recipient of many top awards on an annual basis, because our focus is on compassion, integrity and professionalism. If you want to begin the conversation about what is best for your loved one at this stage of life and moving forward from here, please contact us.

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Home care and Your Loved One: What’s the Difference Between Private and Agency Caregivers?

Once you’ve decided that your aging loved one needs home care, it’s time to consider who will provide the top-notch care you desire. When families reach this crossroad, they often wonder where to turn: should they contact an agency to secure a caregiver? Or is hiring a private caregiver a better option? Ultimately, the choice is a personal one, but there are many factors you should take into consideration before deciding which route is best for your family. What are the differences between private and Hannah's Home Careagency homecare caregivers? Let’s discuss the distinctions below:

Private Caregivers

When hiring a private caregiver, you can likely expect the following:

  • You’re in charge of the hiring process. Whether you place an ad online or hire a private caregiver based on a friend’s recommendation, you’re ultimately in control of the entire hiring process. This typically gives family members some measure of comfort, as they often feel like they have the best understanding of what type of caregiver is a good match for their loved one.
  • You’re responsible for all background checks. You’ve interviewed the ideal private caregiver candidate– now what? You’ll be in charge of checking references and conducting a background check on your own.
  • You’re an employer. Once you’ve hired a private caregiver, you’re an employer. Being an employer involves more than creating a schedule and approving time off. You will also be responsible for managing employee payroll and tax records. Additionally, you will need to withhold social security, unemployment, and Medicare taxes. Some family members might find these types of responsibilities overwhelming.
  • You’ll need a back-up plan. Inevitably, there will come a time when your caregiver is sick or has a planned vacation. When you hire a private caregiver, you’ll need to have your own back-up plan in mind for days that she is not available to work.

Agency Caregivers

If you decide to use an agency to secure a caregiver for your loved one, you can expect the following:

  • You’ll have several caregivers to choose from. Home care agencies often allow you to choose from several potential caregivers for your loved one. Additionally, caregivers are bonded and insured through agencies.
  • Background checks are conducted on all candidates. Agencies check references and conduct background checks on all caregiving candidates. Additionally, agencies supervise their caregivers and conduct performance evaluations.
  • Substitutes are available. If your regular caregiver calls out sick, agencies often offer back-up caregivers to care for your loved one.
  • A more expensive alterative. Hiring a private caregiver is often the most economical choice for families. This is because agencies have to cover expenses related to recruiting, hiring, training, and screening employees.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing how your family will secure a caregiver, but it’s important to educate yourself on both options before making your decision. Contact us today to learn more.

Fall Prevention: Five Easy Tips

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, annually, one in three older adults experiences a fall. In 2013, 25,000 adults over the age of 65 died as a result of fall injuries, and half of those fatalities were due to traumatic brain injuries. That same year, direct medical costs related to falls (adjusted for inflation) exceeded $30 billion.Hannah's Home Care

We recommend taking some simple precautions in the interest of fall prevention. Start by doing a thorough walk-through of your loved one’s living space. Try to see each room through his or her eyes.

  • Are all areas free of clutter and obstacles? Remove common tripping hazards such as long cords and throw rugs; place frequently used items within easy reach.
  • Does each room have sufficient lighting? Use night lights liberally, and consider motion-sensing lightsfor even more peace of mind.
  • Check for loose handrails and consider use of color-contrasted tape to mark the edges of steps or areas where there are changes in elevation. Remove casters and wheels from furniture.
  • Avoid using wax or polish on hard floors and encourage wearing rubber-soled shoes or slippers that fit properly.
  • Install handrails and grip bars in the bathroom. Use non-slip mats in the shower/tub and on the floor.

In the event that a fall does occur, keep a phone, emergency contact list, and flashlight in each room. Begin investigating push button emergency call systems sooner than later. Even if it isn’t needed immediately, knowing what’s available will serve you well in the future.

If you’d like to talk more about fall prevention or another topic, please contact us!

What is Low Vision Care?

 

 

Many senior citizens experience problems with their eyesight. It is important to know that low vision requires different approaches to care because there are various causes of the condition. Some individuals develop it over time as their eyes age or they may have a genetic predisposition to a certain eye disease. Other people may experience a sudden trauma to their eyes and the results are a loss of vision or vision impairments. The low vision care involves a thorough examination by an eye doctor who does tests to determine your current vision status and recommends an appropriate treatment plan.low vision

Your regular eye doctor can perform an exam, and if there is an indication that you may have low vision he/she can refer you to a low vision specialist. During the specialist exam, they will gather information about your medical history and your optical history. After an assessment of your  eye doctor may then measure the following:

  • Visual acuity
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Depth perception
  • Ocular response to glare

The 2 main types of treatments available are surgical and pharmaceutical.  For example, if you have macular degeneration, there are several injectable medicines that can help prevent further vision loss and even improve your vision. Other treatment plans are:

  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Optical systems
  • Therapeutic filters
  • Medical rehabilitative therapy.

Each plan is designed to give you the ability to perform activities of daily living. You can also maintain a diet rich in vitamins and minerals that can help improve vision.

For more information please contact us.

Five Major Benefits of Aging in Place

 

 

Choosing the right long-term care arrangement for an elderly loved one is often a stressful and emotional time for family members. There are many factors to consider when making the decision, including the level of support required, costs associated with various options, and your elderly loved one’s preferences. For many older adults, there is a highly desirable alternative to traditional retirement homes or nursing facilities: aging in place. Let’s discuss the benefits below:

Maintain independence. Often, the thought of moving to a retirement home or nursing facility fills elderly adults with dread. They fear the loss of independence associated with such moves. Older adults who age in place are able to maintain their sense of independence while still receiving the assistance they need from an in-home caregiver. They have the comfort of familiar surroundings and can continue their daily routines as much as possible.

Have a furry friend. The positive impact of pet ownership on mental health is well-documented. Unfortunately, older adults who move into retirement facilities are often forced to re-home their pets. Those who choose to age in place can maintain the companionship provided by their furry friends– or even adopt a new pet to love.

Reduce exposure to illnesses. Elderly adults in nursing homes and retirement facilities are more regularly exposed to colds, influenza, and other highly contagious illnesses than their counterparts who age in place. Thus, living at home can reduce the risk of illness for your elderly loved one.

Maintain social networks. Many seniors have lived in the same neighborhoods, attended the same churches, and shopped at the same stores for decades. Aging in place allows seniors to maintain these social networks which are invaluable to their mental well-being.

More budget-friendly. While there are certainly costs associated with aging in place, they are often less significant than the cost of living in a nursing home. Therefore, aging in place isn’t just the morecomfortable option for your loved one; it’s typically a more affordable alternative as well.

Are you currently planning long-term care for a loved one? Contact us today for more information about aging in place.