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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Helping Aging Seniors Avoid the Winter Blues

If you are a caretaker of an aging loved one, the winter season can be a tough time for everyone. You may see changes in their mood and behavior, as this time of year can bring on many challenges for seniors, including increased isolation and falls due to icy conditions. As the weather gets colder, days shorter, and road conditions more dangerous, many people, including seniors, find themselves indoors and confined for long periods of time, thus leading to feelings of seclusion and prolonged unhappiness.

Seasonal depression, especially in older people, can be associated with cognitive decline and can be harder to diagnose because the elderly are less willing to speak up about their symptoms than younger adults. Also, with senior citizens, the symptoms of depression and dementia can be similar. With depression, the memory of dates and awareness of the environment remain intact, while dementia symptoms display mental decline, disorientation, and confusion, and can also express writing and speaking impairment. Luckily, emotions of seasonal depression, if identified properly, can be treated with the right care.

Recognizing symptoms of seasonal depression is the first step to treatment. Below are six signs of depression:

  1. Loss of energy and a greater need for sleep
  2. Increased appetite/weight gain
  3. Enhanced feelings of fatigue
  4. The desire to be alone
  5. Irritability
  6. Body aches

If a loved one, or even you, is suffering from mild seasonal depression, below are steps you can take to improve and help alleviate these symptoms.

Exercise – Weather permitting, a slow stroll through the neighborhood can do wonders for one’s mood. Getting fresh air, especially on sunny days, can be a great attitude boost and helps with vitamin D absorption. Exercise increases circulation and, with companions, can be a great treatment for senior citizens. Please bear in mind physical limitations.

Decorating – Decorating an elderly loved one’s home can be a small way to enhance the spirit and livelihood of a space. Small changes can make an interior feel festive and happy for those living in it, especially if they have few chances to leave due to weather conditions.

Baking – Baking sweet treats with a loved one and distributing them to neighbors, friends, and family is a great way to get seniors involved in a low-impact activity, boost morale and do something nice for those in their life.

Companionship – For those who rely on a caregiver, sometimes it becomes more difficult to meet with friends or support. Companionship for loved ones is extremely important and can provide many benefits including preventing loneliness, avoiding social isolation, and maintaining social skills, increasing a sense of purpose and encouraging a healthy mental stimulation. Hopkinton Home Care provides an extensive companionship program if you are looking for support.

Monitoring nutrition – While a change in diet alone cannot cure depression, a healthy diet can ease these feelings and can be beneficial in the overall treatment of seasonal depression. A diet high in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals is a good way to provide the body with necessary tools to support repair. Be aware if an elderly relative is taking any specific medication and the influence that certain foods may have on its effectiveness.

Exposure to light – While natural sunlight is best for our bodies to function at the optimal level, fluorescent lights can help with seasonal affective disorder. Regular exposure to light can lift moods and significantly improve mild depression. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, is safe and well-tolerated among those suffering from depression.

These simple tools, alone or combined, are a great way for seniors to better their disposition during these cold months. For elderly loved ones who are suffering from severe seasonal affective disorder, greater measures may need to be taken. Treatments such as counseling and antidepressant therapy are resources available when simple lifestyle changes are not enough to alleviate feelings of seasonal depression. If unsure, contact your loved one’s doctor to discuss options, as these change from individual to individual.

Stay connected for when you need us:

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8 New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

2019 is here! By working together with your aging loved ones to put those resolutions into action, you can both maintain the momentum to keep those commitments throughout the year. Providing accountability for each other provides valuable reinforcement, offers the opportunity to stay in touch regularly, and gives you a greater sense of purpose, which is particularly important for seniors and their well-being.

  1. Exercise for 10 minutes every day
    Staying physically active is key to healthy aging. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your free time exercising, but you should certainly dedicate a portion of your day to fitness.
  2. Explore new volunteer opportunities
    Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, but it also benefits your own health. It also connects you with like-minded individuals, which is great for your mental well-being. Volunteering can provide a great sense of fulfillment in your life.
  3. Revive an old friendship
    It’s not always easy remaining close to friends who don’t live right down the street. But there are dozens of resources you can use to rekindle old friendships. Make it your goal to keep in touch and possibly schedule a get-together in the near future.
  4. Spend more time with the grandkids
    Most older adults can agree that there is nothing quite as special as spending time with the grandchildren. But you shouldn’t only meet up for special occasions. Staying connected with your grandkids on a regular basis will strengthen the bond between you and keep the entire family closer together.
  5. Make healthier dessert decisions
    It’s easy to reach for that sugary treat after dinner. Make 2019 your year to fall off the path that leads to unhealthy desserts and jump on one that drives you to make smarter choices. Fruits and dark chocolate make excellent natural alternatives if you need to satisfy a sweet craving.
  6. Revisit an old pastime
    When was the last time you spent time enjoying that favorite hobby of yours? At some point in the new year, consider breaking out the old needle and yarn, fishing rod, or bottle cap collection you used to be so passionate about. You may even consider introducing it to your grandchild so you have something new to bond over!
  7. Challenge your brain regularly
    You know that physical activity is important, but giving your brain a “workout” is just as crucial. Challenging your brain regularly keeps your cognitive skills sharp and reduces your chance of experiencing memory loss. This year, make time to play games that’ll force your mind to work in overdrive.
  8. Be conscious of your overall health
    Your body is always changing, so make it a priority to keep up with your health. Visit the doctor annually, if not more, to be proactive about your overall well-being. And take the advice and guidance he or she gives during your visit. Those tips will help you have a happy and healthy year.

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Tips for Enjoying Stress-Free Holidays with Loved Ones

If you are a caregiver, the holidays can be a tough time for some. It can be a time of increased stress and frustration instead of peace and goodwill. Here are a few tips to help you communicate better and ask for help – and Hopkinton Home Care is here to help as well.

To make the holidays more enjoyable for you and your loved ones, keep in mind there are many opportunities to communicate and connect with each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from family and friends.

  1. The holidays can provide an opportunity for communication. It’s hard to know how much to communicate about a loved one’s decline in cognitive functioning and personal care needs. Although it is understandable to have reservations about discussing a loved one’s impairments, honest communication about the realities of the caregiving situation offers others the opportunity to respond with assistance. Sharing the truths of your situation may help reduce some of the feelings of isolation and lack of appreciation common in caregivers.
  2. Some caregivers have had success in writing a brief note or leaving notes describing the person’s condition on a holiday card. This is a non-threatening way to inform distant or uninvolved relatives about the realities of the caregiving situation.
  3. If you’re truly upset or disappointed in other family members who may not have done their part, you must decide how much and when to communicate this disappointment. Consider clearing the air before the holidays or perhaps resolve within yourself to put those feelings on hold, with the intention to discuss the matter after the holiday season passes. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday!
  4. Accept all the help you can get – and go with the flow. Caregivers often have to adapt their traditional role or experience of the holidays. This may mean allowing another family member to host more time-intensive festivities. You may need to modify the amount of time away from home to match the comfort level of your impaired loved one. You may also have to choose which events to attend based on which would be the simplest, least exhausting and most enjoyable for the person for whom you provide care—and for you.
  5. Schedule one on one time with family members other than yourself so you, too, can enjoy some alone time. While caregiving, it is easy to get caught up in all the tasks of personal care and homemaking chores. Make a point of setting some time aside this holiday season to enjoy the person you care for in a relaxed, one-on-one context. The best activities are those which take advantage of long-term memory—usually less impaired in people with dementia. Try looking through family photo albums or unpacking holiday decorations, which may stimulate memories.

And always remember, a little thank you goes a long way. After the holidays, write a thank you note to family members or friends who spent time with your loved one. Emphasize the positive impact their visit or brief time spent with your loved one had on them. This may reinforce positive feelings from their visit and diminish any discomfort they experienced. They may then be more encouraged to visit again or be more supportive of your efforts.

Happy Holidays and enjoy the magic of the season from Hopkinton Home Care!

“Hopkinton Home Care provides peace of mind for your loved one when care is needed with trained professionals! There is no better feeling than knowing a loved one is in good hands when you can’t always be there.” – Amy B.

Contact Us Today or call 508-544-4650.

About us: http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/about-us.html.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday.

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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.
http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/

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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