Winter Safety Checklist for Seniors: Prepare and Protect

Winter Safety Checklist for Seniors - AmeriBest Home Care

Every winter, we cross our fingers and wish for a magical winter wonderland.
We hope for a dreamy world of white covered treetops and fluffy snow blankets.

After all, what better suits the holidays?

But, with this beauty, comes a bit of danger.
This winter season, prepare and protect your elderly. Let your loved seniors enjoy the crisp, white holiday magic while also staying safe and warm.

How to keep seniors safe in the winter?

The key ingredient to keeping elderly parents safe in the winter is preparation.

It’s extremely important to be ready before the chilly weather hits. Once the snow arrives, it’ll be too late to get what you need. Especially, if you need to order some of the safety equipment online.

So, think smart and plan ahead.
It’s never too early to start prepping for winter safety.

How to prepare your senior for winter weather?

Don’t let the stress of prepping get to your head.
Here’s a winter safety checklist to help protect your senior during the rough winter weather!

  • Shovel – This one’s a no-brainer. You can’t expect your senior to trudge through the thick snow.
  • Car Ice Scraper – If you or your senior have a car, you’re definitely going to want one of these. Particularly, a scraper with an attached snow brush. Otherwise, you might find yourself having quite a hard time driving. After all, we wouldn’t want you to miss any doctor appointments because you couldn’t clean your car of snow and ice.
  • Salts – If you want your loved senior to be able to walk on the paths that you just shoveled, it’s crucial you put down melting salts. Slipping on ice is a huge danger to elderly parents.
  • Candles – Hopefully you won’t need this. But in the case of a snowstorm and/or blackout, you’re going to be glad you had extra candles around. A flashlight works too.
  • Throw Blankets – It’s so important that your senior stays warm. Seniors often get chilly faster than middle-aged adults might. And, with chills can come all sorts of illness. Make sure your senior is feeling warm and toasty inside, no matter how cold it gets outside.
  • Medication Refills – It’s extremely scary when you’re snowed in for a day or two and your senior runs out of his or her medication. Don’t let that happen. If you know a storm is on the horizon, make sure your senior has plenty of pills and vitamins to last through a snowstorm. Put in the orders for refills right away if any are running low.
  • Things That Make Your Senior Happy – Unfortunately, winter is often the time that seasonal depression hits the hardest. Yes, the world is beautiful when covered in snow, but it’s also darker. And, if your senior is stuck at home, it can be a lonely time. Make sure your senior is happy and of high spirits by keeping some favorite things on hand. This could be favorite movies, favorite games, favorite foods. Anything that brings a smile to your senior no matter the circumstance.

5 Holiday Ideas Your Elderly Parents Will Love

5 Holiday Ideas Your Elderly Parents Will Love - AmeriBest Home Care

Holiday planning can be tricky.

Of course, you want your holiday plans to include fun and meaningful activities with your family. But, finding activities that everyone wants to do? Well, it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

Especially with aging parents. Because you have to find activities that go beyond the generation gap. Activities that are easy and easily accessible. Activities that will really bring you and your parents closer together for the holiday season.

It’s a tall order.

Lucky for you, we’ve created a list of 5 wonderful holiday ideas aging parents will love. If you were having trouble making plans, check out this list for some easy, meaningful tips and activities.

Bake some treats.

Everyone loves food.
Particularly holiday treats.

Choose one of your or your parents’ favorite holiday goodies, and bake away!

This is a great activity because it allows you to chat and catch up while doing the activity. And, it’s extremely accommodating. You can bake standing up, sitting down. You can bake more challenging treats like gingerbread houses or easy treats like cake mix brownies.

Baking is so versatile, you can’t go wrong.

Bring out the old photos.

Some of the best memories are created while sharing old memories.
Dust off the old photo albums and pull up some chairs for the whole family to see.

Reminiscing about the good ol’ days is always a fun and meaningful activity. The pictures you find or the memories you recall will make you smile and cry. By the end of the night, you might even find yourself rolling with laughter.

It’s a wonderful experience for all.

Decorate galore.

Where you spend your holidays is almost as important as how you spend your holidays.
If the room is drab and sad, no amount of lively activity will brighten the mood.

So, bring some extra cheer into the house with a bit of decorating!

Like baking, this is another activity that allows you to talk and spend quality time with your elderly parents. Even if they can’t reach all the tall places, they’ll still enjoy chatting while you climb up a ladder.

There’s nothing more magical than creating something together.

See the show.

If you’re looking to get out of the house, some of the most wonderful shows play this time of year. Operas, Broadway shows, plays, or even just movies. Your choices are unlimited.

Find a genre or theme both you and your elderly parents love.
Then buy the tickets, and head on out!

Pro Tip: Plan this activity in advance. Tickets during this season sell out fast!

Book a spa.

Whether it’s foot massages for the dads or manicures for the moms, spas are a great holiday activity.

Not only do spa days get you out of the house, they do so while being easily accessible to aging parents. And, if you can book a room together, you’ll have plenty of time to chat about life and other fun things.

Happy holidays!

Headaches and Back Pains: What’s Really Going on Inside Your Body?

Headaches and Back Pains - AmeriBest Home Care

Headaches and back pains are amongst the most common complaints of seniors.

As we get older, it’s not uncommon to develop sore muscles or chronic pains in our bodies. But, that doesn’t mean we have to live in misery.

Now a day, there are all sorts of remedies and solutions to alleviate headache and back pain.

The first step in alleviating body pain is identifying what and where it is. Next, is understanding the cause. And lastly, is finding the solution with which to approach the problem.

Here are some questions and answers to steer you on your way to a painless life.

Is it a chronic pain or acute pain?

When identifying head or back pain, you need to recognize whether it is “chronic” or “acute.” Because that’s one of the first questions a doctor will ask you.

Chronic pain can be described as more of a dull sense of pain over an extended period of time. You might be able to function normally with the pain, but it is still there. And it is still irritating.

Acute pain, on the other hand, is a sudden burst of pain. It can be described as sharp or intense. It is a pain that might really make you stop what you’re doing and pay attention to it. But it’s likely not to last long, and certainly not as long as chronic pain.

Being able to categorize your pain as chronic or acute, is a huge step in finding a remedy.

What causes persistent headaches and back pains?

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of items that could cause head pain or back pain. Causes can range anywhere from lack of sleep, poor posture, arthritis, disease, ulcers, and cancer.

We’re not trying to scare you with those last few examples. But we do want you to understand the wide range of causes that can be the triggers of chronic pain.

Are headaches and back pains connected?

When seniors complain of back pain or head pain, they often complain of the other as well.

This observation has led to new scientific research on the subject. Researchers are now suggesting that there is, in fact, a connection between the two pains. Doctors are hoping that the research found may lead to a new and improved remedy- a remedy that targets both pains at once.

The wish is that as one pain lessens, the other will as well.

What can I do to alleviate my headaches and back pain?

It all depends on what the cause of your pain might be.

For chronic headaches, doctors will often prescribe medicinal treatments to alleviate the pain.
For chronic back pain, on the other hand, the solution is often exercise or physical therapy. Back pain is usually associated with weaker muscles, and so strengthening stomach and back muscles is thought to help lessen the pain.

In light of the new studies done, researchers now suspect that exercise and physical therapy intended to target back pain may also help with head pain.

FAQ: Post-Stroke Rehabilitation

FAQ: Post-Stroke Rehabilitation - AmeriBest Home Care

What is a stroke?

Strokes can be divided into two main categories: Ischemic and Hemorrhagic.

Ischemic is the more common of the two types. An ischemic stroke occurs when clots or plague block the blood’s path to the brain. This can happen directly in the brain’s blood vessels or it can happen in other blood vessels that run toward the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, occurs when a blood vessel actually breaks. In some ways, this can be worse because the blood contained within the vessel escapes and damages the brain’s tissue.

Can you recover from a stroke?

The good news is- yes!
The bad news is- recovery can take some time.

Strokes can cause serious damage to the brain. Often times, it damages motor neurons, resulting in physical mobility loss. This can show in the form of speech impairment, facial expression impairment, or limb control impairment.

Recovering from a stroke may not always be as neat as one would like. If survivors are lucky, they are able to recover fully with minimal residual effects. But other times, survivors may be left with some kind of disability to work through.

How long does it take to recover from a stroke?

Depending on the severity of the damage, stroke survivors could take anywhere from days to years to recover.

What is post-stroke rehabilitation?

Post-stroke rehabilitation is a type of therapy treatment.

As aforementioned, strokes often result in some after-effects as an outcome of brain damage. Post-stroke rehabilitation cannot undo brain damage. It is not a cure. But, it can help alleviate and manage symptoms.

Post-stroke rehabilitation works to provide a long-term solution to the aftermath of a stroke. And, to get stroke survivors functioning as independently as possible.

When should you start post-stroke rehabilitation?

Post-stroke rehabilitation begins as soon as a stroke survivor has been stabilized.

There are two ways to begin rehabilitation. If the stroke patient is paralyzed or unable to move on his or her own, a therapist will begin the rehabilitation by physically moving the patient around to increase mobility. If the stroke patient has some mobility control already, the therapist will have the patient independently exercise his or her own limbs.

After that, the main key to successful rehabilitation is continuous and consistent exercising and therapy.

Where to go for post-stroke rehabilitation?

When it comes to rehabilitation, it’s extremely important to do the therapy sessions consistently. And on a regular basis.

Keeping to a regular schedule can be hard for many, especially when it involves coordinating transportation. If this is the case for you or a loved one, we highly recommend hiring a professional home care aid.

When you hire through a home care agency like AmeriBest, we send our therapists and nurses straight to your own home. So that you never have to worry about traveling to your therapy sessions and getting there on time.

At-home rehabilitation is a great time saver and an even greater way to make sure you’re getting the care you need.

4 Quick Tips for Stress Relief in Caregivers

4 Quick Tips for Stress Relief in Caregivers - AmeriBest Home Care

If you follow our blog you definitely know by now: caregiving is hard work.

But, you’ll also know that there are ways to make that work easier. And ways to relieve the stress that comes with the job of caregiving.

So, here are 4 quick tips for caregivers when it comes to stress relief.

Get paid for your caregiving.

Let’s be honest. One of the biggest stresses for caregivers is financial insecurity.
Caregiving is basically a full-time job. And when you’re a family caregiver, you’re usually not getting paid for the time spent caring.

Which means, that you’re working a regular job on top of working regular caregiving hours. And, that equals a huge amount of stress.

But, there is a solution: get paid to caregive.
If you’re caregiving anyway, why not make money doing it? Sign up with home care agencies, like AmeriBest, where you actually get paid to be a caregiver.

At AmeriBest, we also help our caregivers with career growth, experience, and competitive pay.

Take time for yourself.

You may be tired of hearing this one, but it’s so so important that you take time for yourself to refresh and reenergize.

And, you have to actively set aside time to do so. If you just keep saying you’ll relax when you get a break, that break is never going to happen. You have to choose a specific time, let all your friends and family know, and then take that time for yourself.

Caregiving is demanding work. It requires constant focus and decision making, things that often wear a person down. And, worn down people don’t do good work. Which means, that not only are you harming yourself by not taking time to breathe, you’re also harming those you care for.

It’s okay to take a break. We give you permission.

Find meaning in the work you do.

More often than not, we get caught up in the routine of the work we do. On the one hand, this is great, because the less decisions we have to make in a day, the better. On the other hand, when we’re just going through wrote motions, we don’t challenge ourselves, and we don’t find meaning in the work we do.

As conscious beings, we need meaning. And when we don’t have it, we start to feel stressed out and down about ourselves.

Solution? Once a week, take a bit of time to process what you’re doing and why. Caregiving is important work. It’s work that matters. It’s work that makes a huge positive difference in someone else’s life.

And you need to remind yourself that, every once in a while.

Spend time with friends.

Friends make us happy.
They know what we need, and they know how to make us feel better.

But most importantly, spending time with friends means getting out of the house and focusing on something other than caregiving. So, meeting up with friends every now and then is a great way to relieve stress. Because, whether you use the time to vent or catch up, you’re giving your mind time to relax and enjoy life.

Something we all need to do.
Stay happy!

Welcoming Men into the World of Caregivers

Welcoming Men into the World of Caregivers - AmeriBest Home Care

Or, saying hello to the many that are already here.

For years, caregiving has been dominated by women. Accompanied by the picture-perfect image of a kindhearted young girl sitting beside a senior citizen, reading books and drinking tea.

Okay, so maybe that’s more of the image presented in historical fictional pieces on television.

But the fact still stands: men are not often associated with the idea of caregiving for the elderly.
And the truth is: there are already many male caregivers, and there are many more on their way.

Some men are embarrassed to admit it because of the stereotype that has surrounded caregivers for so many years. And, some men don’t even realize that what they are already doing -caring for a parent or spouse- is, in fact, considered caregiving.

So, for all the men out there who already identify as caregivers, and for all the men out there who want to be caregivers, here are some tips and tricks of the trade specifically for you.

Be proud of what you do.

We sometimes get caught up in the appearance of what we do, and what others might think of the work we do. But, we’ll tell it to you straight: being a caregiver is a wonderful thing.

As a caregiver, you are dedicating your time to helping another life the best life that they can. You are giving up night outs or days in, to make a huge positive difference in someone else’s life.

Caregiving is one of the most self-less jobs you could have. And for that, you deserve all the respect and recognition that one can give.

You should be proud of being a caregiver and yell it to the streets.

Be even more proud of what you do.

Now, there’s another extremely important reason you should be proud of being a caregiver.
When you’re embarrassed about the work you do, it shows in how you work. It shows in the little grimaces you might make here and there, and the sluggishness you might have when doing a job.

Seniors sense this unease and that makes them feel uneasy as well. And, when everyone is feeling uneasy, it makes for a weird atmosphere. Not just weird, but lonely and a little bit sad.

If you really want to be a great caregiver, you need to be proud of the work you do and show it!

Get paid for the work you do.

Since men are relatively new to the field of caregiving, they’re not always part of caregiving communities.

This means, they miss the memo: you can get paid to be a caregiver.

Homecare agencies, like AmeriBest Home Care, will actually pay you to caregive. Not only that, but they’ll also give you the training and advice you might need to be an outstanding caregiver.

Caregiving alone is hard. But when you’re getting paid and you have people to rely on, it makes the whole thing so much more enjoyable.

Fighting Depression in Caregivers

Fighting Depression in Caregivers - AmeriBest Home Care

Caregiving can be tough.
Especially when it’s for your own family member. Because it means seeing someone you love at their weakest and most vulnerable. And that kind of experience can take an emotional toll on even the strongest caregivers amongst us.

Which is why it’s not uncommon for caregivers to become depressed.

So, here are some words of encouragement:

  • To all the caregivers out there: Stay strong. Take care of yourself. You are doing a wonderful thing. And, you are not alone.
  • To all the seniors out there: Aging is hard, but you have so much more to live for. Stay happy for the ones you love.
  • To all the young ones who may one day become a caregiver: There’s no real preparation, except knowing that when the time comes, you can do it. Like many have done before you.

Warning Signs of Depression in Caregivers

Whether you’re a caregiver yourself, a friend of a caregiver, or the one being cared for, it’s good to know the signs of depression. This way, you can recognize the symptoms and get help if need be.

And with that, you can make a positive difference in someone else’s or your own life.
Some depression symptoms to look out for are:

  • Loss of interest
    This could be a loss of interest in people, activities, or things. When caregivers are depressed they tend to lose hope in the world and their life, which in turn causes them to lose interest in doing anything.
  • Insomnia
    Caregivers with depression often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Once or twice is okay, but when it happens for consecutive nights over an extended period of time, something might be wrong.
  • Fatigue
    This symptom is more than just not having the energy to do something. It’s a constant state of fatigue and can often be tied with the symptom of loss of interest.
  • Sadness
    This one might be obvious, but it’s still important to take note of. Sadness is one of the main symptoms of depression. This feeling of sadness can also appear as anxious or restless thoughts. And intense loneliness often accompanies them.

What you can do to help with depression?

If you recognize any of these symptoms in a caregiver near you, it may be a good idea to talk to them delicately about what you’re seeing. Before it’s too late.

And, if you’re a caregiver or someone looking to become a caregiver, consider doing your work with a homecare agency.

Caregiving on your own can be difficult.
As social creatures, we need support and encouragement.

Which is why it’s best to get paid for caregiving with an established and reputable homecare agency like AmeriBest. At AmeriBest, we have a close-knit team of nurses, doctors, and medical staff so that you never have to feel alone. We support all our nurses and caregivers. We give you the skills to succeed, and then we give you the emotional support to do it.

Get paid to caregive this month at AmeriBest HomeCare!

Don’t worry. Be happy.

6 Big Benefits of Home Health Care for Seniors

6 Big Benefits of Home Health Care for Seniors - AmeriBest Home Care

The loving comforts of home

Changing environments isn’t just scary, it’s also stressful.
And this stress can actually place negative effects on the body, making it harder to stay healthy and strong. Because, when the body has to exert energy to fight off stress, it doesn’t have the energy to fight off other more serious health hazards.

Environmental strain is a real thing. And, for this reason, many seniors opt to live in the comfort of their own homes with at-home health care. So, they can rest and recuperate to the best of their body’s abilities.

More time with family

At-home care allows seniors to spend more time with their families and friends. When you’re stuck in a hospital all day with strict visiting hours, it can be difficult to spend time with the ones you love. But when you choose home health care, you get to choose who you see and when.

This gives seniors a chance to spend real quality time interacting with others. Which can have a very beneficial effect on their physical health, as well as emotional and psychological.

Versatility

Not only does at-home care let you choose when you see your family and friends, it also lets you choose your doctors.

At home care agencies offer a wide range of services and specialists. Seniors can choose from physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, medical social workers, and home health aides. And, seniors can create their own schedules, so they’re never stuck living according to someone else’s plan.

Seniors who choose home health care can also get help with daily tasks, transportation, meal prep, and more.

Affordability

If you’ve ever had to stay at a hospital overnight, you know just how expensive nightly visits can be. That’s why so many choose at-home care instead when it comes to the happiness of their wallets. Because, with home health care, you’re not paying for a room and board. You’re simply paying for the services needed. Which can save you a ton.

For seniors looking to hold on to their money, and get the most bang for their buck, at-home care is a great resource.

Better medical attention

At-home care allows seniors to get the individual attention they need to stay at the top of their health game.

Hospitals can be so packed with patients, that they often have trouble giving them all the care they need. But with at-home care, seniors are guaranteed to get all their medical, emotional, and physical requirements met. It’s like the difference between commercial and privately own companies. Often times, the small, family own places give you the better service.

The one-on-one ratio that comes with at-home care can really make a big impact on your senior’s overall health and happiness.

Companionship

Not only do seniors get more social interaction because they are getting extensive one-on-one care, they can also get companionship by hiring a home care volunteer.

Home care agencies offer companions as a way to keep seniors stay mentally aware and emotionally healthy. This way seniors never get lonely and keep their minds sharp.

Caregiving Rules: How to Stay on Top of Your Game

How to Stay on Top of Your Game - AmeriBest Home Care

Whether you’ve recently started caregiving for a loved one or you’ve been doing it for a while, here are 4 rules that can really make or break your time as a caregiver.

Rule #1: Accept Help

This is the first rule because it’s the most important. When you’re caregiving, you often want to do everything by yourself. Not because you don’t trust others, but because you think it’s your duty. And you think it’s your responsibility to do it all on your own.

This is the biggest trap that caregivers fall into. And they’ll even run themselves ragged thinking they just need to push themselves a little more. But this is not a sustainable way of life. And, it certainly is not a sustainable way of caregiving. Eventually, both you and your loved one will feel the consequences of your pushing yourself too hard.

So, you need to understand, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
And, it’s okay to accept help.

If someone is willing to offer you an extra hand- take it. The same way you want to help your loved senior, others want to help you. You wouldn’t want your senior to reject your help, so don’t reject others’ help to you.

Rule #2: Stay Organized

When you’ve finally decided to accept help from others, it can get a little hectic remembering who is doing what for your senior.

And when things are hectic, it makes others less likely to continue to give their support. When someone offers help, they want to actually be able to help or they’ll come away feeling frustrated. They don’t want to show up, only to find your senior being helped by two other friends as well, because of your overbooked.

So, you’ve got to keep a good schedule. Don’t just make lists in your head, because you’re likely to forget those. Instead, have a physical (or digital) calendar, and write everything down. Who, what, where, and when.

Rule #3: Take Care of Yourself

While you’re scheduling your senior’s healthcare appointments, make sure to schedule your own as well. Whether it be mental or physical.

As the popular saying goes, you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.
Because you simply can’t give someone good care if you don’t have the energy to do so.

Take care of yourself.
Keep yourself healthy and strong, even if that means taking some time off for yourself.

Rule #4: Consider Your Options

In addition to getting help from friends and family, you can also get help from professionals.

It doesn’t have to be all the time, but having a professional caregiver come to your home and take care of things every now and then is a huge stress reliever. Even just knowing that you have a professional to rely on, is comforting.

This way, when you need to take time for yourself, or simply can’t take off from work for another doctor appointment, you can pay a professional caregiver to do the work for you.

At-Risk Retirement Funds: Caregiving Gone Wrong

At-Risk Retirement Funds - AmeriBest Home Care

We all want to help our loved ones.
To give them care and support when they need it. To help them live their best and happiest lives.

We don’t do it for the money, or for the reward. We do it because we want to give them the same kindness they gave us for all our lives.

And yet, the question begs to be asked: to what extent?
To what extent do we sacrifice our own lives to help those around us? When and how much should we give to others when it means taking away from ourselves?

Present and Future Consequences

When people think of the stress of caregiving, they often think about the present time. That caregiving only affects them in the moment, and they have the rest of their lives to live as they want.

Unfortunately, that’s not so.

Recent studies have shown that those who caregive for free (i.e. family members who act as caregivers for loved ones) are more likely to have smaller retirement savings.

And, even more so for single women who are unpaid caregivers.
Black woman headache and sleeping

Now, you may not think this is such a big deal. That’s it’s only a minor setback. But the truth is, that having a good savings for retirement is so important, and really effects the entirety of your life- present and future. Because, the pace at which you are able to save money now, affects when you can stop working and begin your retired years later.

If you save slower, you’ll have to work for longer.
If you save faster, you’ll get to work for less.

And this matters, because when you go into retirement, you’re not just doing it so you can laze away the rest of your days. Retirement years are so that you can live life to its fullest. So that you have time to be with your loved ones. So that you can see the world, do the things you’ve always wanted, and bond with those around you.

So, giving up your time now for caregiving means giving up your years now and in the future.

A Better Alternative – At-home care

Obviously, you don’t want to just leave your loved ones to fend for themselves.
But, you also can’t keep living a life you resent.

Luckily, there’s an alternative. A happy medium that comes in the form of at-home care.

When you hire a professional caregiver, you’re paying a professional aid to come to your home and give your loved ones what they need- emotionally, physically, and medically. You’re not leaving your loved ones or giving up on them. You’re finding another way to help them. A way that also gives you a chance to live your own life.

And though you may not want to admit it, a professional caregiver may be the better help for your loved one. Because, a professional will not only know what your senior needs, but will also be able to do something about those needs.

Consider a better life for you and your loved senior with a professional caregiver.