St. Petersburg Home Care Tip: Rethink How We Look at Aging

Senior couple having fun riding motor scooter.
Older adults are able to enjoy and pursue new interests and activities, which can lead to a revived happiness for life.

A Google search for the term “aging” produces topics such as “coping with aging,” “what you can do about aging,” and even “the cure to aging.” The unfavorable connotations to getting old are, unfortunately, so embedded within our society that it is expected that by 2021, we’ll be purchasing over $300 billion in anti-aging products.

Even though it’s not hard to get caught up within the difficulties that could be realized in getting older – health problems, the passing of family and friends, and cognitive issues – what’s getting lost in the shuffle are the incredible benefits of aging. Consider, for example:

  • A recent study by Stony Brook University found that the elderly are happier generally, with reportedly diminishing feelings of anger and anxiety in later years.
  • Socialization and conflict resolution skills are superior in old age, in accordance with research carried out by the University of Michigan.
  • In a game targeted to induce and analyze regret, seniors out performed their younger counterparts with their capability to handle emotions.
  • And according to Cornell sociologist Karl Pillemer who questioned 1,200 elderly people, the opinion was that the last 5 or 10 years were in fact the happiest of their lives. “Many people said something along these lines: ‘I wish I’d learned to enjoy life on a daily basis and enjoy the moment when I was in my 30s instead of my 60s,’” Pillemer shares.

Not only that, but retired adults are able to enjoy and pursue interests and skills minus the time limitations of younger, employed adults, which can lead to a revived happiness for life, new social ties, and improved bonds with existing family and friends.

Generations at Home helps emphasize the benefits of aging in lots of ways. Rather than simply coming in and executing tasks that a loved one can no longer manage, we identify the person’s individual skills, empowering him or her to follow new pursuits with the support of a helpful caregiver.

Whether it’s studying a brand new skill or language, taking a visit to a long-desired destination, deciding to get physically healthier, or whatever a senior’s goal, we’re available to offer inspiration, transportation and accompaniment, and a number of other services to help seniors thrive and live life to the fullest. Help your senior loved one imagine and achieve brand new dreams! Get in touch with the St. Petersburg home care professionals at Generations at Home by contacting us online or calling us at 727-940-3414 and asking about an in-home consultation to find out more.

Get Out and Play at Any Age! And Then Reap the Health Benefits

Happy and funny senior couple playing hulahop in park

Learn the senior health benefits of good old fashioned play, in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

Do you recall that feeling as a young child once the school bell rang, signifying the conclusion of science and the start of the best part of the day: recess? There was clearly an immense sensation of freedom bounding out onto the playground, leaving behind the stress of school work for a quick period of unstructured play.

Unfortunately, for the majority of adults, this is nothing but a fond but distant memory. Yet is it feasible, as well as beneficial, to recapture the happiness of playing? Experts like Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, answer with a resounding YES. As he explains, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

The primary advantages of play, no matter a person’s age, include:

  • To be connected: Particularly in our smartphone-driven society today, taking time to engage with others in person is key to our social wellness – whether through sports activities, card clubs, weekly board game competitions, or other shared pastimes and interests.
  • To sharpen your mind: While the jury is still out on the success of memory games in decreasing the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is certainly benefit to be gained in enhancing thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • To improve relationships: The everyday challenges inherent in most of our relationships are eased when a sense of playfulness is included, making it possible for more powerful bonds as well as the capacity to better conquer difficulties should they arise.

Carving time out from a busy schedule to just play can seem impossible. However, with a little assistance from Generations at Home, an even more fulfilling lifestyle can easily become a real possibility. We are available for as much or as little assistance as needed, offering an array of services for older adults, such as:

  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Food shopping, picking up prescription medications, and any other errands
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care assistance such as aiding with bathing and dressing
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and fun outings
  • Companionship to take part in discussions, reminiscing, exercising, games, and enjoyable interests
  • And much more

Maintain a healthy life balance by permitting us to help, while you have some fun. Call us now at 727-940-3414 to learn more!

Help Seniors Overcome the Holiday Blues with These Tips

Senior woman wearing santa hat

Older adults can reduce their risk of experiencing the holiday blues with these tips.

Ah, the holidays: they can either be the most wonderful time of the year, or the most challenging. For some seniors who have lost relatives, are battling chronic health issues, or are going through isolation and loneliness, the holidays can lead to depression. And, the family caregivers who care for a loved one are also susceptible to holiday blues, due to an overabundance of stress.

It’s possible, however, to bring back the holiday season to an occasion full of joy. Generations at Home provides the following suggestions:

Seek medical assistance. First of all, it’s crucial to communicate any suspected indications of depression (changes in sleeping and eating habits, absence of desire for previously enjoyed hobbies and socializing, sluggishness and persistent despair) to your elderly loved one’s (or your) primary care doctor. There are successful treatment options readily available, and also it’s essential to eliminate various other health issues.

Make wholesome choices. With many high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt food products to choose from through the holiday season, it is relatively easy to let a healthy diet slip and overindulge. However eating unhealthy, as well as drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, can contribute to feelings of depression. It is also essential to have lots of sleep; eight hours is best for most adults.

Create new traditions. In many cases for seniors, holiday traditions have had to change over the years. Starting a new normal is not usually easy, but can lead to renewed interest in holiday celebrations. Try participating in an evening of caroling, a shopping and lunch outing at a brand new venue, going to the neighborhood high school’s holiday play or performance, etc.

Reminisce. Rather than steering clear of emotionally charged discussions about lost relatives or past holidays, invite the senior to discuss memories, and take sufficient time to pay attention and engage in the conversation. Looking through pictures or watching home movies will help the senior process the loss and begin to move ahead toward acceptance and comfort.

Help others. Almost nothing enhances our spirits quite like knowing we’ve helped somebody else. Search for opportunities for your senior loved one to volunteer in some capacity to assist people in need: baking cookies for a local homeless shelter, buying small toys and gifts to give to the children’s hospital, putting together care packages for the people in the military services, etc.

For even more tips to motivate your elderly loved one to remain active and engaged during the holidays and all year long, reach out to Generations at Home’s home care experts. Our fully trained caregivers are skilled in assisting older adults to live life to the fullest, and we’re here for you with as much or as little assistance as required. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more.

A Hospital Visit for Thanksgiving? It’s More Common Than You Think for Seniors!

senior man eating in hospital bed

Avoid a hospital visit for seniors this Thanksgiving with these tips.

Even though we might imagine a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving gathering, with the entire family relishing quality time together and Grandma’s classic food, the truth for a lot of families consists of something unanticipated: a visit to the hospital. The fact is, studies illustrate that emergency room visits for older adults jump an astounding 10% – 20% during the holidays.

While pinpointing the actual reasoning behind this increase is challenging, it isn’t surprising that one component could be members of the family who have not spent time with an elderly relative within the months prior to the holiday season, going home and identifying that their loved one’s condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital explains, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in 6 months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

There are lots of proactive steps that family members may take in order to prevent a holiday emergency situation:

  • Record key contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other specialists. Include all prescribed medications by each doctor and any drug allergies or other issues. Calling the correct physician for guidance about your worries is a great first step over an emergency room visit, unless of course the senior is having a genuine emergency.
  • Talk with your loved one about assigning a health care proxy, who’s able to serve as a voice in making health decisions in the event that your senior loved one is not able to do this. Ensure a living will is in place.
  • Check in with the older adult regularly all year. For families who live at a distance, it can be important to enlist the assistance of your loved one’s neighbors or friends to visit the senior regularly and to keep you updated with any irregularities they see.

An established in-home care agency in St. Petersburg FL, like Generations at Home, is the perfect year-round solution to make certain seniors continue to be healthy and well, and that any variations in condition are addressed immediately – making sure the holiday season stays as festive and pleasant as it should be. Just some of the countless ways we are able to help are:

  • Planning and preparing nutritious, delicious meals, in compliance with any dietary limitations
  • Providing accompanied transport to medical appointments and procedures, exercise programs, and fun outings
  • Examining the house for fall hazards and suggesting adjustments to ensure safety
  • Helping with safe ambulation and transfers
  • Personal care such as bathing, showering, and using the restroom
  • And so much more, according to each person’s individual needs

Call us at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home consultation for more information on ways that we can help increase safety and overall well-being for your senior loved one.

What a Herd of Elephants Can Teach Us About Alzheimer’s

Pinellas County dementia care

Can we learn something about Alzheimer’s from an elephant? Learn more in this article.

The old saying is true: elephants truly do have incredible memories, even in their old age. To illustrate, they can remember and return to very particular locations many years after visiting them, irrespective of age. Just what exactly can we discover from elephants that might lead to increasing our own brain functioning as we age?

Surprisingly, older elephants’ brains reveal no accumulation of the amyloid plaques a number of scientists are linking to Alzheimer’s. And even though other specialists tout the need for adequate sleep to permit the brain the opportunity to clear away plaques, elephants are stamping over that theory, sleeping as few as 2 hours daily.

But one factor rises above the rest that just may be the answer: socialization. Scientific studies increasingly point to the link between isolation and cognitive decline, as well as the advantage of retaining reliable social contacts. Elephants remain socially engaged in close family herds for a lifetime, while our human busyness frequently prevents the type of meaningful, sustained relationships we so desperately need.

Investing quality time together with your senior family members is easier with a little assistance from the professional caregivers at Generations at Home.We’re readily available to help with housework, shopping, cooking, personal care needs, and much more, freeing up valuable time for seniors and their loved ones.

We’re also skilled in encouraging aging parents to stay active and engaged in the community around them, and can provide transportation and accompaniment to senior centers, exercise programs, and enjoyable outings, as well as increasing socialization right at home with discussions, games, and pleasant activities.

As we await a cure or at the least, an effective treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease, realize that the care team at Generations at Homeis fully trained and skilled in specialized dementia care. As a result, those impacted by the condition are equipped to live life to their greatest possible potential, and family caregivers are given the support they want in managing a number of the more difficult aspects of the disease, for instance sundowning, aggression, wandering, and more.

Contact us at 727-940-3414to take the initial step in boosting wellbeing for your senior loved one! We’re available for as much or as little assistance as required, from just a couple hours enabling family members to take a much needed break from care, up to full-time, around-the-clock care, and everything in between.

Things You Should Never Say to Someone in a Medical Crisis

adult child embracing her ill senior mother

Learn what commonly used sentiments are better left unsaid when a loved one is facing a health crisis.

Have you ever walked in to the office or a get-together with friends or family and had someone say to you with great concern, “You really look tired today!” Even though you were feeling relatively perky prior to that moment, suddenly you really DO feel exhausted and rundown. The words we use with others in addition to the ways in which we interpret them are powerful. When addressing individuals who have a chronic health condition, it’s important to thoughtfully consider what to say, and perhaps most importantly, what NOT to say, to help the individual feel his or her best.

While we are most certainly well meaning, there are comments which are better left unsaid. Blurting out a less-than-sensitive comment, according to Mindy Beth Lipson, a Phoenix psychologist, occurs because, “I think people are just scared and nervous and don’t know how to respond. There might be several reasons, the first being it brings up their own mortality. Some people also just lack empathy.”

Following are several statements to remove from your vernacular when communicating with persons going through a health crisis:

  • “My friend had a similar medical diagnosis and was sick for many months.” Sharing adverse stories about an individual with an identical medical diagnosis is a guaranteed way to bring the person’s spirits down. As an alternative, remember that each individual goes through medical conditions in different ways, and focus on the positives the person you’re speaking with has achieved.
  • “If you’d only stopped smoking (or exercised; or followed a healthy eating plan; etc.) this wouldn’t have happened.” It is impossible to know if the result may have been different if healthier choices were made, and there’s no benefit to playing “what if.” Focus your attention on offering the support and compassion the individual needs right now, and leave any thoughts of judgment at the door.
  • “Do you remember…?” Specific to those with dementia or other cognitive impairment, memory prompts of this nature can add to the frustration and agitation already experienced. Discussing news from the past as if it’s new is a wonderful solution to engage the individual instead.

Your very best bet is to permit the person the opportunity to talk about (or not to talk about) his or her experience and thoughts, hold the person’s hand if it’s welcome, give a pretty bouquet of flowers or other small present or treat, and just offer your affectionate, loving presence and encouragement.

To get more detailed care tips, and for hands-on advice about specialized care in the familiarity of home, call on Generations at Home. We provide expert, caring services for everyone confronted with a health crisis that delivers comfort and peace through companionship, assistance with meal preparation and housework, transportation to medical appointments and procedures, running errands, and so much more. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn how we can help.

Why Seniors Should Avoid Using Sleep Medications

Senior man in bed looking at clock

Learn why seniors should avoid sleep medications in this article from the home care provider St. Petersburg, FL families trust.

What could possibly be better than waking up well rested after a great night’s sleep, completely energized and ready to face a new day? For a lot of older adults – as many as one third of them – getting adequate sleep only occurs in their dreams. And sadly, it is a common assumption that inadequate sleep is actually something to be accepted in our later years – a misconception that Preeti Malani, M.D., chief health officer and professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, hopes to dispel.

According to Dr. Malani, “If older adults believe that these changes are a normal, inevitable part of aging, they may not think of it as something to discuss with their doctor. And not discussing it can potentially lead to health issues not being identified and managed.”

Rather than merely tossing and turning, nearly 40% of seniors with insomnia issues are depending on sleeping medications – something which is frequently risky once we get older. Sleeping meds double the likelihood of falls and bone injuries in the elderly, due to the increased dizziness and disorientation they are able to cause. Seniors may also be susceptible to becoming dependent on these kinds of medications. And, the chance for motor vehicle collisions can also be increased, according to Consumer Reports’ Choosing Wisely campaign.

Additionally the concern about sleeping medications extends to herbal solutions and supplements as well, which place seniors at risk for many different additional unwanted effects. Even something as seemingly innocuous as melatonin can interact with other common prescriptions, such as those for diabetes and raised blood pressure, and also cause dizziness and nausea.

Step one in addressing sleep concerns for seniors is to speak with a physician to rule out any underlying conditions (such as for instance depression, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, or even heart problems, to mention a few) and to receive his / her recommendations on how exactly to safely improve sleep. Several safer alternatives include:

  • Restrict alcohol and caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening
  • Keep all electronic devices away from the bedroom, and keep the sleeping environment dark and cool
  • Set a sleeping pattern and stay with it, sleeping and waking up at the same time every day
  • Engage the services of a sleep therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy

Generations at Home can help in many ways as well. Our fully trained and experienced in-home caregivers can certainly help seniors stay active during the day with exercise programs, fun outings, and much more, setting the stage for a significantly better night’s sleep. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more.

The Illness We’re Overlooking that Many Seniors May Have

Doctor comforting senior adult

St. Petersburg, FL home care provider, Generations at Home provides senior mental health tips.

In one’s older years, it is common to be dealing with sleeping problems, fatigue, or loss of appetite. And frequently, they’re written off as exactly that. Yet, for as many as 8 million seniors over age 65, these symptoms are indicative of something significantly more than normal aging – they’re signs of mental illness. And just a small percentage of seniors are finding the available treatment that could considerably improve their overall wellbeing.

Mental illness is frequently unnoticed in seniors, for a variety of reasons. For a few, there’s a stigma attached to admitting to and trying to find help for mental and emotional concerns. For other individuals, the assumption is usually that the common signs and symptoms of mental illness and aging go hand in hand and ought to simply be accepted. And sometimes, mental illness symptoms mimic medication side effects.

Whatever the case, it is necessary for family members to locate medical care when they notice some of the following types of behaviors in their senior family members:

  • Anxiety
  • Personality or mood changes
  • Changes in desire for formerly enjoyed activities
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Depression

Unfortunately, merely 7 percent of seniors age 65 and over who most likely have some type of mental illness are receiving treatment, as indicated by a report by the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Dr. Susan W. Lehmann, clinical director of the division of geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Day Hospital at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine clarifies, “Indeed, compared with younger adults and middle-aged adults, adults over age 65 were much less likely to be asked by their primary care physician if they felt tense or anxious and were much less likely to be referred by their primary care physician for mental health specialty care.”

Fortunately, you can find effective treatment options for mental illness in older seniors. The first step would be to consult with the senior’s primary care physician, who can recommend the best medications and/or therapeutic options to consider. Generations at Home is also able to help by escorting the older adult to medical appointments and counseling visits, picking up prescription medications and providing reminders, and serving as a caring companion to share in conversations and to pick up on any changes that could indicate the necessity for further assistance. Give us a call at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to learn more.

Tips for Aging for Seniors Without Children

Senior woman with laptop

This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging.

Are you a “solo ager“? This is the new term being passed around to describe baby boomers who do not have children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging, chiefly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker in case they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:

  1. Dig through your support system. Typically, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural option for guardianship and also to make critical decisions associated with health care, but it’s important to have a minimum of one and preferably two younger alternative options. Consider siblings and their children, close friends, and neighbors, taking into consideration whether or not each person holds matching values and is also someone you can fully trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes.
  2. Hire a qualified professional guardian. Professional guardians, also referred to as private guardians or professional fiduciaries, have become more popular than ever for solo agers. If thinking about this option, it is vital that you interview several candidates to ensure they will have the required knowledge and experience, and don’t forget to inquire about references. Consult your attorney for recommendations, or perhaps the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
  3. Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager has not yet selected a guardian and is suddenly not able to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to handle his or her affairs.

When you are checking out potential guardians, gather answers to questions such as:

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
  • Have you been bonded and insured?
  • What will be the succession plan if you predecease me?
  • Are background checks performed on all of your employees?
  • What is your understanding of the particular medical conditions I’m facing?
  • Exactly what are your fees, and how often will I be billed?

After your guardian option has been determined, ensure that your attorney updates your existing (or creates a brand new) durable power of attorney or advance medical care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.

If you require any more help and support in planning for long-term care needs, contact the St. Petersburg, FL home care professionals at Generations at Home. We’re able to partner with seniors to generate a plan of care to make sure that needs are fully met now and will keep on being met effectively as needs change in the years in the future, always with respect to each individual’s wishes. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to learn more.

The Alzheimer’s Supplements to Avoid

Senior couple looking at medications

Always obtain your health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

A number of the latest trends in treating the disease, which are outside the FDA’s research and approval and are also centered on individual reviews as opposed to fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining amounts as we grow older. In particular, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have shown no statistical distinction between those taking this plant extract and people taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been shown to supply no substantial health benefits, and those promoting and distributing it as a cure for Alzheimer’s are currently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Promises are that coconut oil may provide an alternative source of energy to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there may be benefit, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a conventional Chinese healing product, huperzine A is a moss extract available as an unregulated dietary supplement. A clinical trial was conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that showed no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that significant side effects might result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant within the body, it has not been researched for its usefulness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and also could result in harm to the older adult if taken in large quantities.

The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s doctor about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and follow his / her instructions carefully. For additional details on safe and effective Alzheimer’s care, delivered in the convenience of home, get in touch with Generations at Home’s specialized dementia care team. Our care staff is fully trained and experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to maintain the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call today at 727-940-3414 or contact us online for a free in-home assessment to find out more.