Welcome to Spring! 6 ways to celebrate spring with seniors

6 ways to celebrate spring with seniors

Spring is here, and we can now look forward to warmer weather finally! After a long and brutal winter, welcome the spring season with these fun activities that seniors that you both will enjoy.

1. Visit a farmers market
Ah, fresh produce and flowers! Leisurely strolling (or being wheeled) around a farmers market is a perfect activity for seniors. There’s so much to see and sample. Plus, they can take home some fresh veggies for a healthy meal.

2. Take a nature walk
Once the weather warms up, take a walk through the neighborhood, go to the park, or visit a garden center. For those who are less mobile, sitting in the backyard, on the porch, or near an open window is just as nice.

3. Bring nature indoors
Spring means plants, flowers, and growth. Bring the beauty of nature inside by getting an easy-to-care-for plant, a fragrant potted herb like lavender, or some freshly cut flowers. Everyone can enjoy the scent and colors.

4. Enjoy a picnic meal
Whether you eat indoors at home or outdoors in the park, having a special picnic meal is a lovely activity. Active older adults can help with the prep too. Part of the fun can be planning the menu together! Think about traditional picnic foods like sandwiches or wraps, coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad, cookies, and lemonade. You could even invite family and friends and turn it into a festive potluck.

5. Take a walk – Birdwatching
A sure sign of spring is the birds chirping outside. Attract even more wildlife to your window by making and putting up a simple DIY bird feeder!

6. Do some spring cleaning
Chances are, your older adult could stand to get rid of a few things around the house. Spring is a perfect time to clear out some of that clutter. It’s also a perfect opportunity to revisit keepsakes and share special memories.

Bottom line

Everyone enjoys the coming of spring and promise of beautiful weather. Celebrate with your loved ones. It’s a simple way to appreciate the season together.

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Hopkinton Home Care service areas include Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Northborough, Marlborough, Hudson, Southborough, Upton, Westborough, Whitinsville and surrounding towns in the MetroWest. Contact us today or call 508-544-4650.

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Prepare Your Loved Ones Now for the Winter Season

Winter is just around the corner and your loved ones may need care.

What would you do in the case of an emergency? If there are people that you assist on a daily basis, make a plan today for how you will handle an emergency situation.

Likewise, if there are people who you rely on, list who they are and how you will contact them in an emergency. Create your own personal support network by identifying others who will help you in an emergency. Think about what modes of transportation you use and what alternative modes could serve as back-ups. If you require handicap accessible transportation be sure your alternatives are also accessible.

For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Make a plan and write it down. Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kits and a list of important information and contacts in your wallet. Share your plan with your family, friends, care providers and others in your personal support network.

Hopkinton Home Care Can Help. Nothing is more important than your family.
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Create a Personal Support Network: If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, make a list of family, friends, and others who will be part of your plan. Talk to these people and ask them to be part of your support network. Share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your group, including a friend or relative in another area who would not be impacted by the same emergency who can help if necessary. Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster. Make sure that someone in your personal support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies. Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.

Develop a Family Communications Plan: Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls, or e-mails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact, not in the impacted area, may be in a better position to communicate among

separated family members. You may have trouble getting through, or the phone system may be down altogether, but be patient.

Deciding to Stay or Go: Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay or go. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information to determine if there is immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. If you’re specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately. If you require additional travel time or need transportation assistance, make these arrangements in advance.

Hopkinton Home Care Can Help. Nothing is more important than your family.
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Consider Your Pets: Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets and service animals. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that only service animals may be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area, pet-friendly shelters and veterinarians who would be willing to take in you and your pets in an emergency.

Staying Put: Whether you are at home or elsewhere, there may be situations when it’s simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. Consider what you can do to safely shelter-in-place alone or with friends, family or neighbors. Also, consider how a shelter designated for the public would meet your needs. There could be times when you will need to stay put and create a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside. This process is known as “sealing the room.” Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.

Evacuation: There may be conditions in which you will decide to get away, or there may be situations when you may be ordered to leave. Plan how you will get away and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. Ask about evacuation plans at the places where you spend time including work, community organizations and other places you frequent. If you typically rely on elevators, have a backup plan in case they are not working.

Fire Safety: Plan two ways out of every room in case of fire. Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall and block an escape path. Check hallways, stairwells, doorways, windows and other areas for hazards that may keep you from safely leaving a building during an emergency. Secure or remove furniture and objects that may block your path. If there are aspects of preparing your home or workplace that you are not able to do yourself, enlist the help of your personal support network.

It is important to review these items with those living on their own often. If you are unable, Hopkinton Home Care Can Help. Nothing is more important than your family.
http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/ 

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Planning for the Flu Season

Last year’s flu season was one of the worst influenza seasons in recent decades. With numerous illnesses and deaths on record in 2017, more Americans are taking defense this year and planning to get their vaccines. Be educated for this year and be prepared…

When did the 2017-2018 flu season peak?

During the 2017-2018 season, influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity began to increase in November, reaching an extended period of high activity during January and February nationally, and remained elevated through the end of March. ILI peaked at 7.5%, the highest percentage since the 2009 flu pandemic, which peaked at 7.7%. Influenza-like illness (ILI) was at or above the national baseline for 19 weeks, making the 2017-2018 season one of the longest in recent years. (CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm)

Was this season’s flu vaccine a good match for circulating viruses?

Yes. The majority of the influenza viruses collected from the United States during the 2017-2018 flu season were characterized antigenically and genetically as being similar to the cell-grown reference viruses representing the 2017–18 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine viruses.

Be Prepared

For hospitals and healthcare organizations to be better prepared, Hopkinton Home Care advises you receive your flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.

“If it hits someone you love, the care plan needs to be dynamic as opposed to static,” added Bill Marr, owner of Hopkinton Home Care. “The care plan should be reviewed consistently every week for your loved ones and CNAs from Hopkinton Home Care can help.”

If it seems too early to plan, consider a study on hospital responses to mild and severe flu pandemics.

Even a Mild Flu Season Can Be Demanding

As healthcare organizations start planning for flu season, they should keep an eye on what the CDC is reporting; the CDC will provide updates on what to expect for flu season, what flu strains may be prevalent, and how severe situations may be.

Flu season also means hospitals must hire additional nurses to care for patients, such as in the ICU or other areas requiring acute care. Outpatient services, on the other hand, have a need for nurses from Hopkinton Home Care who have a need for proper attention and healing.

One reason to plan now for in-home health care is so you are comfortable with who may be taking care of your loved one!

Keep in touch for when you need it!

Hopkinton Home Care provides quality home care services in your home with an assisted living focus on the entire needs of each and every individual that we serve.

http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com

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Recognizing the signs: When is it Time to Think About In-Home Care?

Did you know that in-home care and companionship is one of the fastest growing services provided to aging adults, especially in Metrowest MA (and nationally)? And while many of you have explored or heard the term “in-home care”, Hopkinton Home Care realizes there is still some confusion and what services can be provided.

Here’s a quick summary of our services so you are fully aware of our programs for when you are ready.

In-home care services from Hopkinton Home Care programs may include:

  • Personal care
  • Companionship and supervision
  • Help around the house
  • Meal preparation
  • Medication management
  • Errands
  • Transportation
  • Support
  • And a bit of “time off” for the caregiving family

Customized Programs for your Loved Ones

If we were older, we, like most people, would want to age independently at home. In-home care makes that possible. Each home is different and it’s not until we understand the needs can we provide a proper program. We customize each program to make sure your loved ones know they are our priority and are the “only ones” while we support you.

When is it Time to Think About In-Home Care?

Recognizing some of the signs that is time to consider a caregiver can help determine the best time to contact Hopkinton Home Care and prepare for the caregiver.

Some of these signs and symptoms may include:

  • Having difficulty walking, dressing, eating or bathing
  • An increase in falls or injuries
  • A change in eating habits that are affecting nutrition and causing weakness
  • Mixing up or forgetting to take medications and missing doctors’ appointments
  • Wanting help with cleaning and maintaining a household
  • More of your time for companionship

These are all indicators that a caregiver from Hopkinton Home Care may be welcome on a part-time to full-time basis.

In-home care from Hopkinton Home Care is designed to be used on an “as needed” basis. Many clients take advantage of in-home services after an illness or injury so that they can recover and become stronger. Once strength has returned, the need for a caregiver is greatly reduced.

In other situations, as an illness progresses, sometimes it is necessary for a caregiver to be with the client more frequently. Making sure the specific needs of each client are met is the goal of our team at Hopkinton Home Care.

The need for a caregiver often arises after an illness or injury and can make an already stressful time even more hectic. It also happens when the caregivers know they can’t “do it all” and need help before or at the time a life crisis happens.

Prepare yourself for when that time comes and meet with us. Hopkinton Home Care can help to alleviate some of that stress at the time if you’re prepared.

Bill Marr is the owner of Hopkinton Home Care, an in-home care agency located in Hopkinton, MA.

Keep in touch for when you need it!

Hopkinton Home Care provides quality home care services in your home with an assisted living focus on the entire needs of each and every individual that we serve. http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com

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Introducing In-Home Care When Your Loved One Says ‘No’

There are times when in-home care is going to be needed and many recipients are resistant to strangers coming into their home to help. The help may be perceived as an invasion of privacy, a loss of independence, or a waste of money. Yet in-home assistance is often critical in offering caregivers a break and time to relax and rejuvenate.

There are ways to make this transition easier. Here are some tips for making your loved one feel more comfortable with in-home help:

  1. Start gradually. Begin by having the in-home support come only a couple of hours each week, then add hours as your loved one builds a relationship with the helper. If you feel comfortable with the attendant running errands or preparing meals that can be brought to the house, you can start with those services, which can be done outside the home.
  2. Listen. Listen to your loved one’s fears and reasons for not wanting in-home care. Express your understanding of those feelings. If possible, get your loved one involved in choosing the aide. He or she will feel more invested and comfortable with the decision.
  3. “This is for me. I know you don’t need help.” Expressing the need as yours, rather than your loved ones, helps maintain her sense of dignity and independence. You can also add that having someone stay at home allows you not to worry while you are gone. Make it clear that you will be coming back.
  4. “This is prescribed by the doctor.” Doctors are often seen as authority figures and your loved one may be more willing to accept help if she feels that she is required to do so.
  5. “I need someone to help clean.” Even if this is not the real reason, often people will allow someone in to clean when they “don’t need” care for themselves.
  6. “This is a free service.” This strategy may work if other family members are paying for the home care or if it is, in fact, provided without charge. Your loved one may be more open to using the service since she does not feel that she is spending money on it.
  7. “This is my friend.” By pretending that the staff is a friend of yours you are relating the home care worker to the family. This can help with establishing trust and rapport. You can also say that your “friend” is the one who needs company and that by having him or her over your loved one is helping him out.
  8. “This is only temporary.” This strategy depends on the condition of your loved one’s memory. If she often forgets what you say, then she may also forget that you said this. By presenting the situation as short-term, you will give some time for your loved one to form a relationship or become comfortable with home care as part of her daily routine, and give you a chance for a well-deserved break.

Hopkinton Home Care is here to help and offers professional home health care provided to you – with compassion – throughout Metrowest MA. If you or a loved one need extra help, our personalized and custom health home care is a great option. Let’s find out together how to share the responsibility of in-home health care with your loved ones. Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

Service Areas: Hopkinton Home Care service areas include Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Northborough, Marlborough, Hudson, Southborough, Upton, Westborough, Whitinsville and surrounding towns in the MetroWest. Contact us today or call 508-544-4650.

www.hopkintonhomecare.com

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Top Tech Tools for Older Adults

Holiday Gifts Ideas and Life-Saving Alzheimer Tracking Devices

What are the best tech tools to help older adults in their senior years? These 8 ideas not only extend your loved one’s independence but offer some great holiday gift ideas and could potentially be a life-saving tracking device for Alzheimer patients.

Tablets and e-readers. Many seniors are replacing their computers with tablets, which is the easiest way to keep in touch. Most Americans also have cell phones, and would rather use a cell phone in addition to a tablet instead of a smartphone. Tablets give them bigger screens for video conferencing with family, using email, sharing photos and doing Internet research. Smith says. Reading books with either a tablet or an e-reader provides an option to make the type larger.

GPS. Whether it’s a standalone unit or part of a smartphone, the Global Positioning System technology makes it easier for seniors, like young people, to find their way around. This is particularly helpful for people who retire to a new city or even move into a new neighborhood and need help getting around.

Skype or Facetime. Video call apps are particularly popular with seniors who have grandchildren and other family who live far away.

Fitness trackersWearable fitness monitors make it easy for older adults to monitor activity and sleep, ensuring that they get enough exercise. The more informed people are about their own health and well-being, the better decisions they make for themselves.

Medication monitors. New medication systems alert users when it’s time to take medications, repeat the alert if the medication isn’t taken within a certain time and call a caregiver if more time passes. Some are combined with medical alert systems that use cellphone technology and contact first the older person, then a friend or family member who has been programmed in ahead of time and then emergency response. Hopkinton Home Care can confirm that medication errors are the No. 1 cause of hospitalizations in people over 75.

Smartwatches. Stylish watches are replacing the old “I’ve fallen” pendants, which many seniors refuse to wear. A watch by Live!y, for example, not only is an alarm button but also includes a medication reminder, fitness tracker, optional activity sensors for the home and will pair with a cell phone for use away from home. What a wonderful holiday gift idea! Plus, a fall detector is coming soon. UnaliWear expects to debut a smartwatch next year that will include a voice-activated system to guide you home or find you if you become unresponsive.

Online estate repository. The online service Everplans is one option for creating a digital archive that includes wills, trust, passwords, advance directives, information about your home and more, with options to share information with family members.

GPS insoles. A new product called the GPS SmartSole is an insole that can go into the shoes of someone with Alzheimer’s so he can be easily found if he wanders off. You can set a perimeter and get a notification if the person leaves that area, plus track him via the GPS in the insoles. Similar technology exists in watches, but people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia often are resistant to new devices they have to wear.

What technology trends have you found and would like to share?

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Questions?

Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

Stay connected for when you need us:

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Top 5 Benefits of Private Home Health Care

When you work with Hopkinton Home Care, you reap the traditional benefits of having someone looking after your loved ones, but you will also experience a few hidden benefits from companionship for your loved one to ensuring there is someone around to ignite that inner love for life when you can’t be there.

Here are the TOP 5 Benefits: 

  1. Keeping the comforts of home: The chair you love; the backyard with a garden; friends and family that stop by for the holidays; and a kitchen for the morning coffee are all comforts we call home…. The #1 advantage of in-home care from Hopkinton Home Care is keeping the things that you love close by.
  2. Personalized and Private with One-on-One Care: When we arrive at your loved one’s door, we ensure your loved one gets 100% of his or her attention and quality care. With a Hopkinton Home Care caregiver, providing care is a personal affair. Your loved one gets one-on-one care at the necessary level to achieve ultimate comfort — whether it is Overnight or Live-In Care or a few hours a day of compassionate Companion Care.
  3. Independence, Confidence, and Comfort: Where do you or your loved one feel most comfortable? Where does he or she feel most confident and open to participating in activities? The answer, most likely, is home. Not only is any recovery or companionship process easier in the home environment, but with a range of home care services, your loved one also has the control and ability to lead a meaningful, independent life. Hopkinton Home Care services range from medication reminders and assistance with range-of-motion activities to daily chores, meal preparation, and grocery shopping.
  4. Family Support & Participation: The Hopkinton Home Care network makes more than just a commitment to only providing a professional caregiver for your loved one but is committed to involving your family in the care process and keeping everyone comfortable with regular communication.
  5. Peace of Mind: When you bring a Hopkinton Home Care caregiver into your loved one’s life, you’re doing more than ensuring premium care for your loved one, you’re also ensuring peace of mind for you. In most cases, it’s simply not possible to provide the range and level of care your loved one needs and deserves. With kids, a job and a life of your own, it’s unreasonable to layer the additional demands and responsibility of being a full-time caregiver to your loved one. Taking advantage of a professional caregiver is not giving up on your loved one or being selfish. On the contrary, you’re being selfless by bolstering your own love and support with professional, quality care while enabling you to spend time enjoying their company.

Service Areas: Hopkinton Home Care service areas include Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Northborough, Marlborough, Hudson, Southborough, Upton, Westborough, Whitinsville and surrounding towns in the MetroWest. Contact us today or call 508-544-4650.

www.hopkintonhomecare.com

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Learning Patience for Alzheimers Patients

We know caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as you cope with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Learning patience for loved ones with Alzheimers is critical to both the caregiver’s health as well as your patient. Here are some of our suggestions to help for caring for a patient with Alzheimers… and we’d love to hear your suggestions, too.

Have a Plan

Having a plan for getting through the day can help caregivers cope. Many caregivers have found it helpful to use strategies for dealing with difficult behaviors and stressful situations. Through trial and error, you will find that some of the following tips work, while others do not. Each person with Alzheimer’s is unique and will respond differently, and each person changes over the course of the disease. Do the best you can, and remind yourself to take breaks.

Trying to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenge. Both understanding and being understood may be difficult. Here are 5 tips for better communication:

  1. Choose simple words and short sentences and use a gentle, calm tone of voice.
  2. Avoid talking to the person with Alzheimer’s like a baby or talking about the person as if he or she weren’t there.
  3. Minimize distractions and noise—such as the television or radio—to help the person focus on what you are saying.
  4. Make eye contact and call the person by name, making sure you have his or her attention before speaking.
  5. Try to frame questions and instructions in a positive way.

Exercise

Incorporating exercise into the daily routine has benefits for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and you! Not only can it improve health, but it also can provide a meaningful activity for both of you to share.

  1. Think about what kind of physical activities you both enjoy, perhaps walking, swimming, tennis, dancing, or gardening. Determine the time of day and place where this type of activity would work best.
  2. Be realistic in your expectations. Build slowly, perhaps just starting with a short walk around the yard, for example, before progressing to a walk around the block.
  3. Be aware of any discomfort or signs of overexertion. Talk to the person’s doctor if this happens.
  4. Allow as much independence as possible, even if it means a less-than-perfect garden or a scoreless tennis match.
  5. See what kinds of exercise programs are available in your area. Senior centers may have group programs for people who enjoy exercising with others. Local malls often have walking clubs and provide a place to exercise when the weather is bad.

Visitors

Visitors are important to people with Alzheimer’s. They may not always remember who the visitors are, but the human connection has value. Here are some ideas to share with someone who is planning to visit a person with the disease.

  1. Plan the visit for the time of day when the person with Alzheimer’s is at his or her best.
  2. Consider bringing along an activity, such as something familiar to read or photo albums to look at, but be prepared to skip it if necessary.
  3. Be calm and quiet. Avoid using a loud tone of voice or talking to the person as if he or she were a child.
  4. Try to establish eye contact and call the person by name to get his or her attention.
  5. Remind the person who you are if he or she doesn’t seem to recognize you.

If you or a loved one need extra help, our personalized and custom health home care is a great option.

Questions?

Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/


Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease teaches us many great unexpected lessons — both as caregivers and family members — that leave a lasting impression on our lives.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from loved ones?


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