Why Diabetic Seniors Need to Take Another Look at How They Are Managing Blood Sugar Levels

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Doctors are rethinking the treatment and management of diabetes in seniors and the dangers low blood sugar levels can cause.

The most up-to-date guidelines from the Endocrine Society regarding the elderly and diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar isn’t always best. And for individuals who have been maintaining a regimen of finger pricks, insulin injections, and careful monitoring of food consumed, this alteration may be rather hard to swallow.

Known as de-intensification, geriatricians are now commonly using the approach with older adults that the advantages to be achieved by striving for meticulous blood sugar control are not outweighing the health risks inherent with aging and illness. When A1c and glucose levels are kept at very low levels within the elderly, for instance, it could possibly result in an increased occurrence of hypoglycemia and even kidney failure.

With up to one out of three older adults currently diagnosed with diabetes, these new recommendations are poised to have a staggering influence on the treatment and management of the disease for seniors, requiring a shift in mindset for many.

And not unexpectedly, many older diabetics are unwilling to welcome this change. In one patient’s words to Dr. Pei Chen, a geriatrician in the geriatric clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I can handle it.”

The latest guidelines recommend an increase in A1c from 7 to 7.5% for seniors who are in good health; and up to 8 – 8.5% for all those with dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, or poor health. It is critical to note, however, that suggestions are extremely individualized centered on a variety of factors, and that at no time should high blood sugar be ignored in the elderly.

Responsive Home Care can help seniors stick to doctors’ guidelines to control diabetes and a number of other conditions with professional, customized, in-home care services for seniors. Just a few of the countless ways we are able to help include:

  • Grocery shopping to guarantee the senior has a good amount of healthy food choices easily accessible
  • Meal planning and preparation in adherence to your prescribed dietary plans
  • Accompaniment to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Encouragement to engage in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Medication reminders to ensure prescriptions are taken in the correct time as well as in the appropriate dose
  • And more!

Contact us online or call us at 954-486-6440 to inquire about an in-home assessment and access a healthier lifestyle for a loved one you adore.

Best Ways to Avoid Crossing the Line From Motivation to Bullying with Aging Parents

Ft. Lauderdale senior home care

Sometimes the words we use when speaking to our elders can do more harm than good. Learn how to uplift seniors with these helpful tips!

As a family caregiver, you no doubt encounter a variety of emotions during the day: shared laughter over a joke with your loved one; worry due to a health concern; and of course, occasionally, irritations. We want only the best for people we love, and if an older adult is resistant to doing something we know is beneficial, it may be hard to choose the most appropriate reply.

The important thing is to try to supply motivation and encouragement, while also being cautious not to cross the line into bullying the senior. These tips are important to remember:

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all. An approach that has worked in one situation is possibly altogether ineffective in another. In the event a loved one refuses to take a bath, for example, you could simply prefer to let the matter slide and attempt again another day. Or, maybe reframing bath time into a relaxing spa activity will carry some more appeal. Including humor may work nicely one day, whereas using a kinder, softer tone of voice may be the answer on another. Having a number of strategies at the ready can help cut down on irritation for both of you.
  • Encourage the senior to remain in control. Have a heart-to-heart chat with the older adult during the course of a relaxed, peaceful moment to obtain suggestions as to how the caregiving relationship is going, and what she or he wishes to see modified. It is essential to then take to heart the older adult’s feedback and incorporate it into your caregiving approach.
  • Be careful to avoid progressive bullying. Although we certainly would not set out to bully a loved one into submission, it is possible to slowly move from encouragement and inspiration into pushiness and forcefulness without noticing it. Take an honest look at your inclinations in speaking with your loved one, and then take steps to improve upon them as needed.
  • Remember the overarching priority. Apart from the many tasks required in delivering care for a loved one, preserving a healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship with one another is vital. If you realize that the worries of providing care are outweighing the rewards for either of you at any time, there is always the possibility of exploring alternate care options such as in-home respite care, letting you place your focus on spending quality time together with the older adult you love.

Responsive Home Care is the ideal partner for family caregivers. Our caregiving staff are highly trained and skilled in the many areas of senior home care, and will provide the assistance family members need to preserve healthy relationships with those who they love. Contact us online or call us at 954-486-6440 and request an in-home consultation to discover the difference respite care can make in both a senior’s total well-being and yours.

The Power of Positive Thinking: How to Overcome Caregiver Stress

Responsive Home Care is the ideal solution to achieve a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Our facial expressions reveal so much to people around us, and when you are experiencing an abnormal degree of stress, well-meaning friends will certainly notice it, perhaps encouraging you to essentially, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it requires a lot more than a few words to turn our mood around.

Recent research supports the idea of positive thinking as a method to decrease levels of depression and anxiety which occur when we are flooded with stress – something essential for busy family caregivers to take to heart to reduce the possibility for burnout.

Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the research project who subsequently created a course to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so frequent in individuals providing care for a senior loved one, says, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”

The primary techniques in her program include the following:

• Keep a journal of things for which you’re grateful – including the small things.

• Identify at least one uplifting event every single day.

• Talk about this occurrence with your family on social networks.

• Establish one new goal every day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.

• Identify one of your talents and contemplate how you’re making use of that skill.

• Undertake one daily simple act of kindness for another.

• Think about a negative event, and then discover a way to view it in a positive light.

• Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to bring back a sense of calm.

For those of you providing care for a loved one with dementia, the need to concentrate on positives can be much more vital to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent five-week study where the effectiveness of these coping skills was evaluated documented a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.

In addition to the strategies above, it is necessary for family caregivers to stop isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can very quickly bring on caregiver burnout along with other significant health problems. Partnering with an established Sunrise elderly care, like Responsive Home Care, is the ideal solution to help in achieving a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Life is indeed stressful, but we are ready to help! Contact Responsive Home Care for the reliable Sunrise elderly care that enable you time to concentrate on self-care and good quality time with those you love.

Top Tips to Use Your Time Wisely at the Doctor

At Responsive Home Care, we’re always available to help seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways.

On any particular day, a physician usually has close to 20 patients to see – in addition to calls, paperwork, and other administrative duties. It leaves precious little time spent with each person, which is why it is essential to take advantage of that time and ensure you clearly understand the outcome of each visit.

At Responsive Home Care, our caregivers provide accompaniment for seniors to medical appointments, and suggest the following strategy:

Don’t be reluctant to ask questions. With such a time crunch, your physician may tend to communicate information to you quickly, that’s why it’s up to you to hit the pause button to make sure you fully comprehend everything that is being said and to speak up with any questions you may have, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem they are.

And, strategize in advance for those questions. It can be tricky to absorb everything being shared with you in the couple of minutes spent together with the doctor. Preparing a list of problems ahead of time will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Several questions to consider include:

  •  Exactly what are the long and short term effects of my condition?
  •  What could be the reason for this disorder?
  •  Is there a remedy?
  •  Where may I obtain additional resources?
  •  Will I need any medical tests?
  •  Are there any kind of possible negative effects from those tests?
  •  When can I receive the test results?
  •  What medications exist to help with my health problem?
  •  What are the potential adverse side effects of these drug treatments?
  •  Are there any kind of lifestyle changes I ought to think about making?

Take excellent notes. Bring along paper and a pen, or utilize the notes section of your smartphone or tablet, and jot down responses to your questions along with additional information the doctor provides. It may be helpful to have a dependable family member or professional caregiver from Responsive Home Care with you during the appointment to make sure all things are understood.

Include other medical experts. Bear in mind that although the information provided by the physician is important, other individuals within the senior’s medical team could possibly offer valuable insight as well: nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, dieticians, physical therapists, etc. Check in with these professionals for additional assistance with carrying out the doctor’s guidelines if warranted.

At Responsive Home Care, we’re always available to assist seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways, as well as to help carry out doctors’ recommendations after returning home. We’re able to provide accompaniment to appointments, medication reminders, preparation of meals that are in adherence with any prescribed dietary plan, and many other tasks to ensure optimum health for seniors. Contact us online or call our care team at 954-486-6440 for more information!

Broward County Family Caregiver Common Stress Point: Making a Mistake

Partnering with an agency like Responsive Home Care can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully.

“Of course Grandma can move in with me!”

Increasingly more family caretakers are making this commendable choice every day, signifying the beginning of lifestyle changes they can only truly have an understanding of once immersed in them. And even though the positive aspects of providing care for an older parent are immeasurable, they’re not without a variety of dilemmas as well.

It might seem second-nature to take care of daily activities for a senior loved one; yet it’s not quite as intuitive as it seems initially. As an example, helping a senior in the shower or bath the wrong way may lead to a fall. Poor incontinence care could cause skin damage and infection. Noncompliance with a prescribed dietary plan can lead to a variety of health problems.

It is not a surprise that in a newly released report shared by AARP, “Home Alone Revisited,” a lot of family caregivers mentioned anxiety over the possibility of making a mistake in the care they provide. The study features responses from a survey sent to over 2,000 family caregivers, who revealed that although they believed their care was making it possible for their family members to stay at home instead of moving to an assisted living or nursing home setting, they expressed anxiety over their experience to do the tasks needed.

Respondents in the study divulged that the most emotionally frustrating element of caregiving is incontinence care. And, nearly ¾ of family caregivers surveyed are regularly performing medical duties in relation to pain management – tasks for which they wished they had obtained better training and recommendations from the senior’s medical care team.

Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis (and co-author of this report) explains that, “Too often (family caregivers) are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles.”

Asking for help and training in unfamiliar tasks is critical for family caregivers. Those who partner with an established in-home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care, can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully. Our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL are professionally trained in the countless intricacies of aging care, and can provide family members with valuable guidance and education. We also offer trusted, reliable respite care services that make it possible for family caregivers to step away from their care responsibilities while knowing their senior loved one will be safe and well cared for.

Call our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL at 954-486-6440 or contact us online for a free in-home consultation to find out more.

Important Updates from the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report

Closeup of various reminders attached with magnetic thumbtacks on metal

The report is in: Learn new Alzheimer’s facts and figures here.

2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a staggering 5.8 million Americans presently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every ten older adults – it is essential for all of us to be familiar with the latest innovations in research and treatment plans.

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Secrets to Happiness Despite Pain or Chronic Illness

Seniors experiencing pain or chronic illness can still experience joy. Learn how to help here.

Have you ever gotten out of bed and said, “It’s likely to be one of those days!” Maybe your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to stop working, and the dog chewed up one of your most loved shoes overnight. Then consider if every day were “one of those days!” For someone coping with a chronic disease (and that’s the majority of the older adult population), day-to-day struggles and challenges can be a given.

Responsive Home Care, providing home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL and throughout Broward County presents a few steps that seniors can take to discover and maintain a life of joy, even throughout the face of chronic illness. For example:

  • Follow passions. Seeking purpose and meaning in each day is vital – and attainable. Many seniors find gratification in aiding and supporting other people. Others thrive on being lifelong learners. For some it can mean documenting earlier times for the next generation. Brainstorm ideas until you arrive at one that sparks passion, and then make it a real possibility.
  • Practice positivity. One smart way to accomplish an even more positive take on life is by journaling. Encourage your elder loved ones to start every day by developing a summary of everything they’re thankful for that morning, including the relatively ordinary: the smell of fresh coffee brewing, a cat curled up in a sunbeam, an upcoming lunch date with a relative. At the conclusion of every week, sit together and read back through the prior entries for a quick and effective pick-me-up.
  • Try to avoid negativity. Including a measure of positivity as mentioned above can naturally result in minimized negativity, but there are additional steps which can be followed as well. For instance, provide for breaks from activities that induce frustration, allowing for needed time to de-stress. Place the emphasis on undertaking tasks which can be executed successfully, and find an alternate solution for those that are much too challenging, such as assigning those tasks to another relative or friend, or employing the services of a specialist.
  • Get out of the house. Preserving as active a lifestyle as possible outside the home is usually so energizing for older adults. Help your elder loved ones go out for hair appointments, shopping adventures, visits with relatives, along with other fun outings, as much as they are able. Even simply stepping outdoors and relaxing on the front porch when weather allows can substantially enhance someone’s spirits and outlook.

At Responsive Home Care, it is our aim to help older adults attain the highest possible quality of life without exception. Our professionally trained and experienced caregivers provide pleasant companionship, interesting activities, transportation, and more. Contact us at 954-486-6440 and discover the difference our home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL can make for your loved one! See our full Broward County service area.

Workers Are Leaving Jobs Due to Imbalance in Employment and Family Caregiving Responsibilities

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Holding down a job and being responsible for family caregiving can create stress on employees. Find out more here.

Not long ago, actor Rob Lowe brought family caregiving into the foreground by discussing his journey of caring for his mother and the impact it had on his own life. He said, “When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career.” Read more

How to Help Dad Overcome His Fear of Doctor Visits

Why don’t we face it: lots of us have a fear of doctor visits. It could be uncomfortable and downright distressing when something is wrong and we are facing the prospect of an undesirable diagnosis. Nonetheless we recognize it makes sense to complete what’s best for our health and to be conscientious about obtaining essential healthcare.

A senior man of African descent is indoors in a hospital room. He is watching his female doctor using a tablet computer. She is explaining a medication schedule to him.

Our senior care services in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area include helping older adults overcome a fear of doctor visits.

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Top Tips for Supporting Someone With Dementia

Senior women at home.

If you’re supporting someone with dementia and feel like you’re in uncharted territory, use these guidelines from our Sunrise elderly care experts.

At times, the greatest lessons in life come from going through them firsthand; yet the information we can discover from those who’ve traveled a similar course before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a loved one with dementia and beginning to feel a bit bogged down in this uncharted territory, the guidelines below might help: Read more

How to Confront Aging Parents About Care Assistance

An adult daughter and her mother spending time together

Learn tips to address aging parent’s safety at home.

The initial signs may be so subtle that most people wouldn’t even notice. Mom is outgoing, friendly, and conversational while visiting friends and family and while running errands. But those closest to her are beginning to pick up on concerns; like forgetting about the soup cooking on the stove, leading to a scorched pan; putting her keys in the cookie jar; or neglecting to pay bills.

As an adult child of a senior in the beginning stages of compromised safety or the ability to make sound decisions, it can be extremely challenging to transition to a higher degree of involvement and care – yet it’s also extremely important to take steps sooner rather than later.

As with broaching any confrontational topic of conversation, talking with your senior loved one about the concerns you’re seeing is likely to be met with resistance and defensiveness at first. However, it’s important to outline the precise reasons for your concern, and the negative consequences if these behaviors continue or worsen.

Responsive Home Care recommends the following approach:

  1. Ensure that a durable power of attorney has been assigned.
  2. Confirm with your siblings that the issue needs to be addressed, and discuss together what options are available for the senior’s care as needs continue to progress.
  3. Remain compassionate but firm in your approach. Present the choices you’ve thought through. If your parent balks at the idea of moving to an assisted living facility, which many seniors do, offer an in-home caregiver as an alternative, allowing your loved one to remain independent and safe in the comfort of home.
  4. Understand that it will likely take several conversations before your loved one accepts the need for assistance – which is why it’s essential to begin the process as soon as possible.

At Responsive Home Care, we’re experienced in helping seniors feel comfortable and positive about how our services can help improve safety and overall quality of life and wellbeing. When your family decides the time is right for assistance, we can help with highly customized care that can meet a wide range of needs, including:

  • Companionship
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Housework and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Running errands
  • Highly specialized care for dementia
  • And so much more

Whether the need is for just a few hours each week to enhance safety and socialization, full-time care, or anything in between, partnering with Responsive Home Care improves quality of life for seniors and provides peace of mind for those who love them. Contact us online or call us today at 954-486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to learn how we provide the kind of senior care Fort Lauderdale, FL families recommend most!

The Two Best Currently Available Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Options

Senior woman checking label on medication

Learn more about the two most common medications for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

The most recent Alzheimer’s statistics are sobering. The disease is now the 6th leading cause of death, rising above both breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. And while deaths from other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, are declining, those from Alzheimer’s have increased by more than 100%. The toll the disease takes on family caregivers is equally staggering, with over 16 million Americans providing over 18 billion hours of care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Although we’ve yet to discover a cure, there are two distinct types of Alzheimer’s disease treatment options that can help ease some of the more prevalent symptoms. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, here are two options the doctor may suggest:

  1. Cholinesterase inhibitors: By blocking the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical crucial for memory, attention, learning and muscle activity, these medications can provide some benefit in the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s for some patients. Dr. Zaldy Tan, medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, cautions, however, to keep in mind that results will be moderate at best. “The best case scenario is that the patient’s memory and cognitive function may improve slightly to what it was six months to a year ago – it’s not going to turn back time,” he explains. Included in this class of medications are galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
  2. Memantine: In the moderate to severe stages of the disease, the doctor may prescribe memantine (Namenda) which takes a different approach than the cholinesterase inhibitors, preventing the overstimulation of glutamate NMDA receptors which in turn can help restore limited memory functionality. Doctors will often add memantine to a patient’s treatment plan in addition to a cholinesterase inhibitor as the disease progresses.

Determining the effectiveness of these medications requires patience, as both take 4 – 6 weeks before results will be realized. And, it’s important to weigh the benefits against any negative side effects, which can include confusion and constipation in memantine, and nausea, vomiting and a decreased heart rate with cholinesterase inhibitors.

One of the best ways to help those with Alzheimer’s disease live life to the fullest is by engaging the services of a specially trained caregiver who understands and can help manage the varied challenges of dementia. Contact Responsive Home Care online or call our care team at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our professional, compassionate services for seniors and how we provide the kind of dementia care Florida families recommend most.