Selecting a Geriatrician: Why Going to a Specialized Expert Matters

doctor talking with seniorIf your child suddenly developed an illness, who would you call? It’s a no-brainer; many parents have the number on speed dial for the pediatrician they have carefully selected to oversee the medical care needs of their children. Due to their specialized training, working with a trusted pediatrician ensures the best possible care.

Likewise, choosing a physician for senior loved ones who focuses on senior health care concerns is equally as essential. Yet unfortunately, the health care system as a whole has not placed a great focus on the distinct health care needs of older adults. Dr. Carla Perissinotto, geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, explains her concern over this age-related health care gap, and how little professors in med school are focused on caring for senior patients.

In fact, reflecting on her own residency, she shares, “We literally did the same thing for forty-year-olds as we did for eighty-year-olds, and we’d treat all eighty-year-olds the same whether they’re dependent or independent, have limited life expectancy or complete life expectancy, and that just didn’t sit well with me.”

Fortunately, there has been a new push to provide med students with additional training in geriatrics, including an emphasis on a holistic approach to senior care – viewing the body as a whole. It is very important for seniors to have a reliable geriatrician who can manage and piece together the results of the often multiple specialists an older adult patient sees. In fact, providing additional education for anyone who comes in contact with seniors in a medical setting – from hospital receptionists to EMTs and triage workers to doctors and nurses – is essential to overcome ageism and ensure seniors receive the level of care they need and deserve.

Additionally, older adults and their family caregivers might want to look into the services of a geriatrician as their primary care physician. Not to be confused with gerontologists, who specialize in aging-related issues but are not medical doctors, geriatricians are board-certified physicians who have finished a fellowship in geriatric medicine and have also passed the Geriatric Medicine Certification Exam.

According to the American Society of Geriatrics, there are approximately 7,000 certified geriatricians in the United States. They recommend asking the following questions when selecting a geriatrician:

  • What training and certification have you received?
  • Do you accept my insurance coverage?
  • Will you work with all members of my healthcare team?
  • How is communication handled – texts about prescription refills, email appointment reminders, etc.?
  • What is your guiding philosophy?

Visit the geriatrician for an initial consultation, and evaluate additional details such as:

  • Is the office easy to access?
  • Is there lots of parking?
  • Is the staff respectful and courteous?
  • Does the geriatrician speak directly to the older adult?
  • Are questions answered thoroughly?

Don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If any warning signs are noted, you may want to consider searching further to ensure the geriatrician selected is an individual both you and your loved one are fully comfortable with.

At Responsive Home Care, our staff are thoroughly trained in providing respectful, specialized care for older adults within the comfort of home. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440 for help and support or to acquire more information about our customized Pembroke Pines senior care services and care throughout Broward County.

Try These Creative – and Effective – Dementia Communication Techniques

Senior woman spending quality time with her daughter

Nonverbal dementia communication techniques are often the most effective.

Communicating with a senior loved one struggling with the difficulties of Alzheimer’s, especially in the middle and later stages, is often discouraging – both for you personally as well as for the senior loved one. Brain changes impact the capacity to hear, process, and respond appropriately to conversations, and it is up to us to implement innovative dementia communication techniques to better connect with a senior loved one with dementia.

The good news is, it is quite a bit easier than it may seem. We already communicate nonverbally in lots of ways:

  • Touch
  • Posture and body movement
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Personal space

Try out these dementia communication techniques to integrate increased nonverbal communication in your interactions with a loved one:

  • Offer support through caring touch. If a senior loved one is comfortable with touch, hold and pat the senior’s hand, massage the senior’s back, place an arm around his or her shoulders, and give warm hugs.
  • Look the senior in the eye. Eye contact shows interest in the individual, even when no words are said aloud.
  • Honor personal boundaries. Refrain from overwhelming your loved one by permitting sufficient personal space, and making sure you’re at the same level as the individual, never towering over her or him. Your face should be at eye level with the older adult.
  • Maintain a calm, patient, and positive demeanor. Suppress any anger, annoyance or impatience, and focus on sustaining a relaxed and pleasant expression on your face when with a loved one with dementia. If this is impossible because of challenging behaviors, step away momentarily and practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques. For example:
    • Square breathing: Use a finger to trace the shape of a square in front of you. When drawing the first side, breathe in deeply for a count of three; for the following side, hold your breath for one second; for the third side, breathe out for a count of three; and for the fourth side, hold your breath for one second. Repeat as necessary.
    • Calming phrase repetition: A couple examples to help you get started: This will pass, and things are ok. I’m able to manage this. I am secure and well.
    • Distracted thinking: Practice concentrated refocusing. Try saying the alphabet backwards, stating as many state capitals as possible, or singing the words to a well-liked song.

Find more creative dementia communication strategies by contacting Responsive Home Care, the top rated providers of home health services in Pembroke, FL and the surrounding area. Our care providers are specially trained in the most up-to-date Alzheimer’s care techniques, and we are always available to help a loved one with dementia to remain safe and calm, and to enjoy life to his/her fullest possible potential. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 any time for assistance.

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.

In Caring for an Aging Parent, Are You Overstepping Boundaries as a Helicopter Child?


Learn how to avoid overstepping boundaries when it comes to caring for an aging parent.

We’ve all encountered helicopter parents, especially when a son or daughter leaves for college. In fact, we could possibly be guilty of hovering a touch too closely ourselves. Learning that appropriate harmony between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not easy. Read more

What Might Be Causing Insomnia for Your Elder Loved One?

Elder Care Deerfield Beach FL

Elder Care Deerfield Beach FLHaving a difficult time sleeping isn’t fun for anyone, but if it’s happening to your elder loved one, it can affect you, too. As her family caregiver, it’s important to get to the bottom of your loved one’s insomnia issues so you can help her resolve them.

Short-term Insomnia Causes

Shorter-term insomnia might include a temporary patch of sleepless nights for your elder loved one. It also might be used to describe intermittent problems with sleep that your loved one is having. Some of the causes of short-term insomnia can include changes to your elder loved one’s medication, environmental issues such as noise, or even stress. Sometimes the smallest changes can make it difficult for your loved one to sleep properly. Short-term insomnia might cause your loved one to have an unpredictable sleep schedule, which can ultimately make the situation more difficult.

Long-term Insomnia Causes

Long-term insomnia is a much more invasive type of insomnia. This is a form of insomnia in which your loved one consistently has a difficult time sleeping. Some of the reasons for this can include depression, anxiety, and even chronic issues with pain. Health issues can even cause your loved one to have difficulty sleeping well. Breathing problems, acid reflux, and dementia can all contribute to insomnia. If your loved one has been having sleeping issues for a longer period of time, she might be reluctant to try to solve the problem because it feels like it’s always been there.

What You Can Do for Your Elder Loved One

The first step in managing your elder loved one’s insomnia is to talk with her doctor. Medication is not always the best step to take in the beginning, but your loved one’s doctor has other solutions in his bag that he can try first. If you’re not already using a sleep schedule including regular bedtimes and wakeup times with your loved one, now might be the time to start. A sleep diary can also help you and your loved one’s doctor to figure out the more subtle contributing factors to your loved one’s sleep issues.

Work with your loved one’s entire care team, including other family members and her elder care providers, to stick to whatever plan works to help her get the sleep that she needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Deerfield Beach FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

What Types of Weight-Bearing Exercises Are Good for Your Senior?

Homecare Fort Lauderdale FL

Homecare Fort Lauderdale FLWeight-bearing exercise is one of the most important elements of physical activity. Regularly participating in this type of exercise helps to support a healthier body and mind in several ways, including strengthening the bones, improving muscle and joint strength, and increasing cognitive function.

As a family caregiver it is important not just to encourage your loved one to participate in this type of exercise, but to find the forms of this exercise that are right for them. Start by talking to their doctor to discuss any challenges or limitations that they might have that could prevent them from doing certain exercises. This can help them to identify activities that might not be safe for them, as well as those that would be safe and beneficial for them.

Some of the weight-bearing exercises that might be good for your senior include:

• Ankle and wrist weights. Normal daily activities can be turned into weight-bearing exercise simply by the addition of ankle or wrist weights. Available in a variety of sizes and very light weights, these are comfortable padded cuffs that you can add to your parent’s wrists and ankles to add resistance to activities such as walking or climbing stairs.

• Use their own bodyweight. Your parent does not necessarily need any equipment to get the benefits of resistance training. They can use their own bodyweight to add resistance and get the benefits of weight-training. Squats, leg lifts, and lunges are all simple and approachable exercises that use your parent’s bodyweight to work their muscles, joints, and bones.

• Lift throughout the home. Encourage your parent to lift weight by using basic objects around the house. For example, lift bags of groceries a few times when carrying them inside, or do a few reps with a basket full of clothes while doing the laundry.

Starting senior homecare for your elderly loved one can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them during the course of your caregiver journey. The highly personalized services of a senior homecare services provider are specifically designed not just with your parent’s challenges and limitations in mind, but also their personality, thoughts, beliefs, and goals. This means that they can live the lifestyle that they desire and deserve while also staying safe, comfortable, healthy, and happy. As a family caregiver this can give you greater confidence knowing that they are getting everything that they need both when you are able to be with them and when you are not.

When it comes to helping your parent stay more active, this care provider can encourage them to find activities that they enjoy, support them in staying consistent with those activities, and providing assistance to handle the activities safely and comfortably. When it comes to finding exercises that are good for your parent, including weight-bearing exercise, this care provider can evaluate your loved one’s individual preferences and challenges, and help them to understand the guidelines and suggestions given to them by their doctor so that your loved one can make the most out of their exercise.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Fort Lauderdale FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.


Responsive is a home health agency committed to our clients’ wellness and supporting our incredible staff of caregivers. Through our education and training programs we offer our caregivers and office staff important new techniques to keep safety a priority. This past month, Responsive Home Care, providers of home health services of Broward County hosted four Body Mechanic In-services to train our caregivers and office staff on proper transferring and lifting techniques. These techniques are a pivotal aspect to maintain health and safety for both clients and caregivers.

There was a range of topics discussed in the Body Mechanics In-service. The topics spanned from assisting clients in and out of their wheelchair to maintaining posture and flexibility while on the job.  Nerly, Responsive’s RN Case Manager, facilitated the In-service and utilized hands on training to strengthen the learning process.  Each caregiver earns two hours of Continued Education upon the completion of the In-service.  If you need information about proper Body Mechanics feel free to give us a call at 954-486-6440 or email us

This month we look forward to hosting our First Aid and Safety In-services for our caregivers.

Stay tuned!