National Long-Term Care Awareness Month: A Brief Guide

National Long-Term Care Awareness Month

Put your hands together for National Long-Term Care Awareness Month!

For seniors and caregivers alike, this is an incredibly important month. National Long-Term Care Awareness Month brings attention to the emotional hardships, the medical benefits, and the financial advantages of lasting homecare and caregiving.

In honor of the month, we’ve put together a quick guide on everything you need to know about long-term care.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care for seniors is centered around individual health and personal care. The goal of long-term care is to help with everyday tasks, enabling seniors to live their best lives stress-free and comfortably.

Long-term care is generally intended for seniors with disabilities, serious injuries, or ongoing medical conditions.

What Does a Long-Term Caregiver Do?

A home health aide providing long-term care usually helps with:

  • Dressing
  • Meal prep
  • Hair, skin, foot, nail, and oral care
  • Laundry
  • Transportation
  • Light housekeeping
  • And more

Trained health care providers can also offer long-term medical care, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and skilled nursing.

A caregiver providing long-term services doesn’t just go through the rote motions of routine but also creates a safe and warm environment for seniors.

How to Get Paid for Caregiving?

The majority of long-term care is done at-home. And, it is mostly done un-paid by family or friends. While providing care for a loved one is an extremely rewarding endeavor, it can also be time-consuming and emotionally draining.

If you or someone you know is providing long-term care, lighten the burden, and get paid to be a caregiver! You can get paid to do the work you’re already doing by simply signing up as a home health aide.

When you sign on to work with a premium home care agency like AmeriBest Home Care, you’ll receive more than just a job,  you’ll receive a lifelong career. AmeriBest provides its caregivers with paid training, competitive pay, flexible hours, medical benefits, career encouragement, and more.

National Long-Term Care Awareness Month

Who Can Get Paid for Caregiving in PA?

Pennsylvania has multiple programs that offer un-paid caregivers a chance to get reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses pertaining to their caregiving. Expenses such as food, medical supplies, health services, and more.

With these programs, many adults acting as primary caregivers can receive compensation for their work, even if they are caregiving for family members or friends.

However, if you’re looking for more than just reimbursement, working as a professional caregiver can provide you with financial security and life satisfaction.

At AmeriBest Home Care, we are committed to providing exceptional home health and personal care services to seniors and members of our community. And, when you join the AmeriBest family, you’re joining a cause. A cause to make sure no senior gets left behind. That every senior, no matter physical ability or financial status, is given a real opportunity to live their very best lives.

What could be more rewarding?

Join the AmeriBest family, and get paid to be a caregiver!

Сall today at (215) 925-3313 or 1800-HOMECARE (for PA residents).

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Tips and Advice for New Cancer Caregivers

Ameri Best- home care agency in philadelphia

As we begin Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to take a moment and help all those new to the caregiving world.

Caregiving is a wonderful and fulfilling role, but it comes with its hardships. That being said, we’ve put together a list of easy tips and helpful advice for new caregivers who will be working closely with patients diagnosed with cancer.

In solidarity with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are 5 tips for new caregivers:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It

Breast cancer is not taboo.

In fact, one of the best ways to help cancer patients, past and future, is to talk about breast cancer and raise awareness. By openly discussing breast cancer, you remove the stigmas that dance around it. You allow men and women to feel comfortable asking questions and getting tested. You give victims and survivors an opportunity to share their stories and emotions. And, you offer knowledge and insight to those who would otherwise go unaware.

In a sense, talking about breast cancer is almost just as important as any treatment could be.

2. Brush up on Your Facts

The medical industry is constantly publishing new research and documentation. Reading these findings and staying up-to-date on the latest breast cancer news can help you better serve your seniors. Knowing the facts will enable you to make informed decisions in regard to your seniors’ health care, as well as allow you to have constructive conversations with your seniors about breast cancer.

It’s also wise to brush up on the basic facts regarding breast cancer (what it is, preventative care, treatment, etc.), so that you can feel comfortable answering your seniors’ questions on the topic.

3. Ask for Guidance When Needed

Sometimes you just need an outside opinion or new perspective. There’s no shame in that. Even the most experienced medical professionals ask advice from one another. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

If you’re feeling uncertain or unsure, never be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to other medical professionals in the field, caregivers, or experienced friends for a little advice and guidance.

4. Separate Your Emotions

Make sure you’re taking your own emotional health into account.

As a caregiver, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the emotions of those you care for. And, sometimes those emotions are extremely intense.

For that reason, it’s important to listen to your seniors and understand what they are going through, but do not let their pain become yours. Know where your emotions end and where your seniors’ emotions begin.

Sympathizing without taking on another’s emotions is a skill that often comes with years of practice. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do in the beginning is give yourself a little break – a morning, an afternoon, or a day off. And, be sure to remind yourself of the wonderful work you are doing as a caregiver.

Join our caregivers’ team, contact us today! 215-925-3828

Sit Back and Relax with Passive Stretching for Seniors

What is passive stretching?

When it comes to stretching, there are two important categories to know: active and passive.

Active stretching is when you target a specific joint or muscle and work to stretch it using only that same joint or muscle.

Passive stretching, on the other hand, is when you target a specific joint or muscle using external pressure to stretch it out.

For instance, if seniors were interested in stretching their fingers, here is what the two types of stretching might look like:

  • For active stretching, seniors would try to wiggle and move their fingers about, with no external help.
  • For passive stretching, seniors would use their other hand (or something else) to physically push the fingers back and forth.

What are the benefits of passive stretching?

If you try out the finger stretching example, you’ll see that passive stretching (moving your fingers with external pressure), allows you to stretch your finger much further and much faster than active stretching. Because, you can push your fingers further than they can bend on their own.

This means, that with passive stretching, seniors can get to their stretching end goal much faster than with active stretching.  Not only that, but passive stretching can give seniors an opportunity to sit back and relax while someone else does the hard work for them. Since the stretching is coming from an external pressure, seniors can get help from friends, family members, or caregivers. This makes passive stretching more enjoyable for many seniors, and makes it easier to psychologically maintain a steady schedule.

Note: If you’re still not sold on the benefits of passive stretching, here’s a fun fact that might just change your mind. According to research published in the Journal of Physiology, regular passive stretching done for a consecutive 12 weeks can help reduce stiffness in arteries, allowing for improved blood flow. This, in turn, can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.

How to successfully engage in passive stretching?

As with all types of stretching, passive stretching requires consistent work if you want to reap the benefits. Stretching a little bit every day is better than stretching a lot every few days.

Each day that you stretch, your body builds on what it could do the day before. Like steps on a ladder. The more rungs you move up, the higher the rungs you can reach.

However, when you skip a day (or days) of stretching, your body doesn’t just stay where it was before. It actually moves down a rung.

So, essentially, on days that you miss stretching, you’re not just not moving forward, you’re actually moving backward. Which is why, consistency is key when it comes to passive stretching. 

Passive stretching tips for caregivers.

As a caregiver, your job is two-fold for helping your senior successfully stretch.

First, you need to give your senior motivation and inspiration to keep stretching regularly. It can be difficult making a habit out of something new. And it’s all too easy to skip days or become lax with a new routine. However, for the best results, seniors need to passively stretch on the regular.

Second, you need to equip your senior with the tools to stretch whether you’re there or not. This might mean buying stretchy exercise bands so your senior can stretch on his or her own. Or, it might mean putting up signs around the house reminding your senior to stay on track.

And, just remember, stretching doesn’t have to be a chore. 

It can be a fun and relaxing activity too!

How to Care for Senior Parents Who Don’t Want Help

How to Care for Senior Parents Who Don’t Want Help

Refusing help is a classic defense mechanism.

In the case of home care – older adults often reject extra help and assistance out of fear and a sense of self-perseverance. 

Seniors fear the change in lifestyle that comes with admitting they need help. They also fear the loss of identity that comes with no longer being able to take care of oneself.

It’s completely understandable, but as the child of a parent who refuses help – it can be exasperating to deal with.

Here are 4 tips for taking care of senior parents who just don’t want help:

  1. Don’t walk away.

When your senior parents are refusing help, it can be frustrating to sit and watch them struggle. Frustrating because they won’t take your advice, but also because it pains you to have to see them suffer. And, because of this frustration, it’s easy to decide to leave it all behind and walk away.

But stay strong, and don’t just leave. Because that’s not truly helping anyone in the long run.

Instead, take a breather. Take a moment away and remind yourself that you can’t control everything your parent does. Sometimes you just have to let things go. 

When you’re feeling ready, come back to your parent with a fresh mindset.

  1. Ask at the right time.

As with many things in life, timing is often at the root of the situation. 

When you’re suggesting extra help or home care to your senior parents, it’s important to choose the right time to do so. Don’t throw the idea out there in the middle of a crisis or emotional circumstance. Rather, wait for a calm moment to talk. Bring it up slowly, and in a way, that’s easy for them to digest.

  1. Show, don’t tell.

This is a common tip for writers – show us what you mean, don’t tell us what you mean.

And, it holds true for all sorts of communication in life.

Which is why, it’s important not just to choose the right time to talk, but the right way to talk as well.

Instead of only mentioning facts and reasons, try giving examples and as much details as possible. With your words (and maybe some images online), paint a descriptive picture of what life could be like for your senior parents if they had the extra help around the house.

  1. Suggest a trial run.

Sometimes the thought of permanent change is what scares people off the most.

If this might be the case with your senior parents – remind them that this does not have to be permanent. Your seniors can try the extra help just for a time. And, if they like it – great! And, if they don’t – that’s okay, too.

A trial run allows your parents to feel more in control of the situation, as you are placing the final decision in their hands.

And, remember – take a breath, stay calm, and always be respectful. 

These are still your parents, after all.

Summer Activities and Alternatives for Seniors Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

While the world is on a temporary pause, the seasons wait for no one.
Don’t let the summer slip by without enjoying your favorite summer activities.

We’ve gathered some of the most common activities for seniors and listed the health risks, safety precautions, and alternatives for each.

In deciding which activities to do and how, the key is to analyze how each might affect you or your senior, personally. There is no one size fits all when it comes to safety and health, and so it’s important to use cautionary judgment.

Backyard BBQ

Health risk: Eating in your own backyard holds very little risk. However, inviting other families to join, raises the threat level to medium.

Safety precautions: Limit the number of families you invite to just one. And, choose wisely. A family whose members are essential workers will be more likely to carry the virus than a family whose members haven’t left their home in a month.

Alternative: Video calls are always a safer option than in-person activities. Every family can party from their own backyard, together. Or, make it a neighborly event and party from across the fence.

Summer Soirée

Health risk: Whether it’s a party for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or retirement- parties are a high-risk activity right now.

Safety precautions: If you absolutely must attend a party (although it is highly recommended not to), be sure to wear a face mask, gloves, and keep your distance from the other party-goers. Try not to touch anything unnecessarily, and bring some hand sanitizer just in case.

Alternative: A car parade! If you’re planning to attend a party, the better option is to drive by the party and stay in your car. You can wave or hold up a sign, and the hosts will be just as happy with your attendance as if you had actually come inside. If you’re the one hosting, stand six feet back from the street, and wave to your friends and family as they slowly drive by. You’ll be surprised how creative people can get from within their cars.

Dining Out

Health risk: Eating out at a restaurant is a medium to high risk. Dining at an indoor restaurant is a huge risk as it puts you in close proximity to other guests, with little air circulation. Dining at an outdoor restaurant is slightly less risky. However, the activity still puts you in contact with a server and possibly other staff.

Safety precautions: Bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down the menu before perusing. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating.

Alternatives: Set the table nicely, dim the lights, add a bit of background music, and order takeout. The food will be just as delicious, but with less of a risk.

Stroll in the park

Health risk: Walking in a park or nature reserve is a low to medium risk. There will always be others walking around nearby, which puts you in danger. However, being in a large open space lowers the risk.

Safety precautions: Wear a mask, and avoid going on busy days like national holidays. If someone is nearing you, step off to the side with your head turned away, and wait. When the individual has passed and is six feet away, continue on your stroll.

Alternative: If you’re going to the park for exercise, an alternative activity is walking around your yard. Set a timer, and walk the perimeter of your front and back yard for as long as you want. It’s not as exciting, but it will get the job done. Plus, you might even find some small flowers or quiet birds in your yard that you never even noticed before.

Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event

Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event - AmeriBest Home Care

Disasters can be challenging to cope with emotionally. You must take care of your emotional and mental health after a disaster and pay attention to how you are feeling. You should also consider how your family members act and feel after an accident, especially if you are in any immediate physical danger.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a set of genuinely exceptional circumstances for many of us. As such, it is natural to feel stressed and uneasy during this time. Make sure you take care of your emotional well-being, as well as that of your loved ones. By doing so, you can ensure that you are ready and able to respond to unexpected situations. Some of the following tips may be useful to you:

Everybody reacts to disasters and calamities in different ways. However, this does not mean that we should neglect or pay less attention to our mental and emotional health. If you have recently experienced a disaster or traumatic event, make sure you take care of your mental health in the aftermath and the well-being of your loved ones.

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9 Springtime Activities for Every Type of Senior

9 Springtime Activities for Every Type of Senior - AmeriBest Home Care

Welcome in the cheery spring weather with some new activities for your senior.

As spring is all about beginnings and renewals, what better way to enjoy the season than to explore some new hobbies.

Here’s a list of 9 springtime activities to help your loved seniors make the most of their time.

There is always something for everyone!

For active seniors:

Grow a vegetable garden.

Or flower, or fruit, or herb. It doesn’t matter what kind of garden your senior plants, as long as your senior is out in the fresh air and sunshine. This can be a great alone time activity. And, it can also be a great social activity if done with a gardening club.

Visit a nature reserve.

Nature walks are relaxing, alternative to hikes. Hiking can be strenuous for seniors, but walking around a nature reserve gives them the same amount of outdoor pleasure and exercise. Make it a trip and spend the day at a nearby nature reserve. Or, make it a quick activity and go for just an hour or two.

Start spring cleaning.

Like we mentioned before, spring is all about starting anew. And nothing says starting anew than a nice clean house. Kick off the springtime by throwing away old baggage and clearing a space for the new. Not to mention, a dust-free house makes for easier breathing.

For the meditative seniors:

Have a picnic.

If your senior is fond of simple relaxation, going for a picnic is a perfect way to get your senior soaking up the sun’s vitamin D and enjoying some crisp air. You can go to a nearby park. Or, you can stay in the comfort of your lawn.

Try outdoor yoga classes.

Outdoor yoga is another great way to get your senior outdoors. Yoga is perfect for seniors who love to meditate and unwind. And, it’s got plenty of health benefits to boot.

Go fishing.

If you’re looking for a quiet activity, away from others, fishing is a great escape. Your senior can enjoy buying a rod, trying new baits, and, best of all, catching some delicious dinner.

For the artsy seniors:

Take a walk along the beach.

Most people don’t go to the beach until the summer. Which makes going to the beach during springtime that much better, because you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. It may be too cold to actually swim, but walking along the shore, napping in the sun, and collecting seashells is always fun. And, the ocean air is great for healthy breathing.

Host a paint night.

Or even paint and sip. This could be a great night to bring the family together. Or, a time to bring over your senior’s friends. Whomever the company, it’s just important that your seniors socialize and have a good time.

For seniors at home:

Explore virtual reality.

Virtual reality headsets let you explore the world without going far. Your senior can fish, hike, walk, you name it. All from the comfort of their own home. Although slightly expensive, VR headsets are truly worthwhile experience for seniors stuck at home.

Senior Caregiver Health at Risk: Facts, Signs, and Solutions

Senior Caregiver Health at Risk - AmeriBest Home Care

When it comes to seniors and caregiving, attention is always placed on the seniors’ well-being.

Which makes sense.

However, there’s another important player in the caregiving cycle that deserves attention too. And, that another player is the one giving the care- the dutiful family member who spends the day in and day out helping to care for the loved senior, and who often gets overlooked or overworked.

In this article, we’ll go through the facts of caregiver health, the signs of an overworked caregiver, and some practical solutions.

The facts behind caregiver health.

As more and more baby boomers enter their senior age, more family members are being called upon to care for their parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts.

While caregiving is amazing to work and truly exemplifies the meaning of family, it can also be quite a strenuous job. Especially, for those family members who also have their own spouses and children to take care of. Needless to say, the time commitment and workload of caregiving can be difficult to manage.

Unfortunately, this often leads to overworked or overwhelmed caregivers, which can result in poor health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that of the 18 million Americans who are informal caregivers (meaning, they are not paid for their caregiving services), about 1 in 5 are in roughly moderate or bad health.

Essentially, while caregivers are working to keep their loved seniors in good health, they are letting their own health slip away. A sad consequence that we, at AmeriBest, aim to prevent.

The signs of an overworked caregiver.

When it comes to determining someone’s health, direct questions don’t always work.

Because it is not uncommon for caregivers to brush off questions with “I’m fine” or “I have it under control.” And the problem is that these caregivers really might really be fine at the moment. But burn out can happen in an instant. Informal caregivers are fine until they’re not fine. At which point their physical and mental health may be at serious risk.

So, while open and honest communication is usually the best option, sometimes a little something else is required. Something called tactful observation. 

If you’re worried about a caregiver you love, look out for these tell-tale signs of burnout:

  1. Persistent tiredness
  2. Anxiety or sadness
  3. Forgetfulness
  4. Weak immune system (I.e. getting sick easily and often)
  5. Loss of weight

Obviously, everyone exhibits signs of burnout differently. But, if you notice any of these signs within yourself or a caregiver you love, consider that it might be time to intervene and help.

The option for help.

Whether it’s for you, a friend, or a loved one- don’t be afraid to call a home care agency for a bit of extra help.

Caregivers often avoid calling for help because they see it as a lack of responsibility on their part. They worry that by calling in someone else to do the job, they are casting off their beloved seniors.

But if you know what home care really is, you know that’s not the case.

With at-home care, family caregivers can come in and out as they please. There are no visiting times and no need to call in advance. Family caregivers can help monitor their seniors’ schedules and care, while also having a professional home care aide to lean on for support and advice.

With at-home care, seniors never feel alone and caregivers never feel overwhelmed.

Stay Up-To-Date on The Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Philadelphia, PA

Stay Up-To-Date on The Coronavirus - AmeriBest Home Care

Dear AmeriBest clients, caregivers and staff, here are the resources for you to stay updated on coronavirus (COVID-19).

What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – CDC Brochure.

COVID-19 in Pennsylvania updates – Pennsylvania DOH Brochure.

For more updates by the CDC, please visit their website:
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WHAT IS Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Coronavirus, a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections. 3D illustration.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS of Coronavirus COVID-19?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

WHAT CAN YOU DO To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against Coronavirus?

  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, do not use your hands!
  • Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
    Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Contain – if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
Healthy lifestyle, hygiene, and prevention of viral and bacterial diseases.

Learn More American Heart Month This February

Learn More American Heart Month This February - AmeriBest Home Care

Humans are constantly worrying about dangers across the world, deep at sea, or high in the sky. We indulge our fantasies with far off worries, forgetting to look at what is actually nearby.

And in doing so, we miss the dangers lurking right outside our own doorsteps. Dangers that could otherwise be avoided. Dangers that need our full attention.

Which leads us to the topic of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death.

So this February, focus on the here and now, and help us honor American Heart Month.

What is American Heart Month?

Thousands of Americans suffer from heart diseases, heart attacks, and heart failures. Unfortunately, seniors and those around them often don’t recognize the symptoms of heart disease. This lets the problem sit unattended to and grow until it’s almost too late.

That’s why February’s American Hearth Month is so important. This is the time of year that Americans all over the country dedicate time and energy to bringing valuable, life-saving information to the attention of all.

Learn more about heart disease and help raise awareness.

Your knowledge just might save your loved one’s life.

What are some signs of heart disease?

There are many known types of heart disease. But what most of them have in common is that they are essentially a buildup of plaque around the arteries. The problem with this is that the plaque then takes up room in the arteries, narrowing the amount of space that the blood can move through. This means, that the heart has to work that much harder to pump blood through the body.

Because the heart is over worked and for less blood circulation, heart disease can often lead to heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure.

Of course, different heart diseases exhibit different symptoms.

However, here are some to be aware of:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Irregular heartbeat

What are ways to prevent heart disease?

Eat healthy.

Foods like fish, oatmeal, olive oil, and flaxseed are considered to be great foods for the heart.

Exercise regularly.

Getting in regular exercise is essential to having a healthy heart. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, but walks and cardio workouts are great for getting the blood pumping and the oxygen in your body moving.

Avoid stress.

Too much stress, and for too long, can actually have physical ramifications for one’s heart. So take things step by step, avoiding too much stress.

What to do if you see someone having a heart attack?

If you notice your senior experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, don’t panic. Call 911 immediately, even if you’re unsure. For the sake of your loved one, it’s better to make a mistake calling than not to call at all. And, trust us, the police will be forgiving.

If your senior is unconscious and help has not arrived yet, start CPR. A dispatcher from the police station should talk you through the motions. Or at least how to do basic chest compressions.

Stay alert and educated for American Heart Month.