Tap Into the Many Benefits of Gardening for the Elderly

Benefits of Gardening for the Elderly

Discover the benefits of gardening for the elderly.

The cool dampness of rich soil. The warmth of the sunshine. The joyful trills of songbirds. Gardening has the ability to engage all of our senses, and provides a wealth of benefits to seniors. Regardless of ability level or any space restrictions, there’s always a way to help seniors experience the joys of planting indoors or outdoors, watching new growth emerge, and harvesting.

Spark interest (or renew interest) in the wonderful world of gardening for a senior you love, and discover these incredible benefits of gardening for the elderly:

  • A brighter outlook on life. Research has shown that compared to other hobbies, gardening is the winner in fighting stress levels and improving mood. Participants in the study worked on a stress-inducing task, and were then instructed to either spend 30 minutes gardening outside, or 30 minutes reading inside. Blood tests clearly revealed a reduced level of cortisol – a stress hormone – in the gardening group.
  • Enhanced strength, flexibility, and stamina. Gardening can actually provide a cardio workout in some cases, but even sitting in place while performing gardening tasks can help build and strengthen muscles. The simple acts of bending, twisting, reaching, and pulling also increase flexibility and stamina.
  • Less dementia risk. A fascinating and extensive study of nearly 3,000 participants has revealed that dementia risk is reduced by as much as 36% in adults over age 60 who participated in gardening and similar physical activities.
  • The chance to make friends. Community gardens bring neighbors together for a common purpose, offering opportunities to build friendships. The American Community Gardening Association offers its members the ability to search for a community garden in their area – or, to start a new one.

An indoor garden is great for those who can’t get outside or when the weather isn’t cooperating. Decorate small clay pots with markers or paint, and fill with potting soil and a variety of herb seeds. Or create a terrarium with a glass bowl, small stones/shells/etc., potting soil and a few small succulents.

Need some additional indoor gardening activity ideas? Find 10 simple ideas here, and call on Responsive Home Care, the top-rated provider of senior care services in Pembroke Pines and nearby areas, for a care companion to help! Our caregivers are always available to help seniors live life to the fullest through engaging activities such as gardening, as well as:

  • Conversations and reminiscing
  • Mind-stimulating games and puzzles
  • Enjoyable outings
  • Favorite (or new) hobbies: knitting, crocheting, learning a language or musical instrument – the sky is the limit!

Call us at 954-486-6440 any time for a free in-home consultation to get started on a more enriching life for a senior you love through our full range of customized in-home care services.

These “Sweethearts” Are Now Scamming the Elderly Online

Scamming the Elderly Online

Stay on top of the latest trends in scamming the elderly online.

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began; a year of fear, loneliness, and isolation for many older adults. Physical distancing has eliminated the ability to offer the warmth and comfort of a hug or even an in-person smile in many cases. Yet humans are social creatures, and this lack of socialization has many seniors turning to online sources for connection – such as dating websites. And unfortunately, this has led to an influx of people scamming the elderly online.

While dating websites may seem harmless and even beneficial, there are hidden dangers for older adults in particular, known as sweetheart scammers. Here’s what to watch for to help keep the seniors you love safe:

  • Flattery that turns financial. Financial gain is the sweetheart scammer’s only objective. The scammer will use a variety of tactics to achieve that end goal, including targeting weak spots like loneliness. Flattering, praising, and proclaiming undying love and affection for a senior the scammer has never met often moves into a request for funds.
  • Overwhelming attention. The scammer will hone in on a senior’s vulnerability and loneliness, lavishing relentless attention. Listen to your loved one to gauge how much time is being spent on conversations and texts with the person. You’ll also want to notice if the person has been expressing his or her love for the senior, especially early in the relationship. Scammers move fast to get to their end goal as quickly as possible.
  • No online presence. A simple Google search for the senior’s new love interest can help you determine if the person is real. If your search yields no information at all on the person, it should immediately raise a red flag. You can also run a background check to discover any criminal convictions, marriage/divorce certificates, or other public records.
  • A fake photo. Google offers a reverse image search feature (images.Google.com) that allows you to determine if the person’s profile picture is actually a stock photo or stolen from someone else.

You may also want to consider logging in to your loved one’s email account to monitor activity and help the senior discern between actual relationships and scammers.

Most importantly, talk with the senior about the prevalence of those who are scamming the elderly online. Listen to your loved one’s description of his or her new love interest and how the relationship is developing. Point out any warning signs and help the senior understand the danger he or she could be facing.

Responsive Home Care, the leaders in elderly home care in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas, is here to help with safe, trusted caregivers to provide seniors with the friendly companionship that alleviates loneliness, isolation, and desperation. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to learn more.

Assessing the Mental Health of Seniors When You Live Far Away

Assessing the Mental Health of Seniors

Find helpful tips on assessing the mental health of seniors.

The fear and isolation as a result of have wreaked havoc on the wellbeing of older adults, with nearly one-half of seniors surveyed in a Kaiser Family Foundation stating that their level of stress and worry was negatively affecting their health. Even though it still may be risky to visit in person with senior loved ones, it is important to stay in regular and frequent contact and also to watch out for any changes or signs which might signify a mental health concern, such as depression. Assessing the mental health of seniors is possible, even from a distance.

As stated by psychiatrist Judith Feld, MD, MPH, “If a senior usually really enjoys a call with a grandchild, for example, but that seems to have changed, maybe you need to ask more questions, such as, ‘How can we be of help?’”

Other warning signs of depression to watch for include sleeping problems, reduced appetite, listlessness, and complaints about pain, which interestingly, is often one of the main symptoms of depression in older adults. Take note of anything that may seem abnormal for a senior’s personality and character.

It’s important to understand that depression is not simply an unavoidable aspect of growing older, and that it is a serious –  but treatable – condition.

Here are a few additional ideas to help you with assessing the mental health of seniors:

  • Keep the conversations organic and natural, without coming across as interrogating. Statements such as, “Tell me what’s been happening in your life this week,” will motivate a senior to open up significantly more than, “Tell me what the doctor said at your last scheduled appointment.” The goal is to be caring yet not condescending, being mindful never to attempt to parent your parents.
  • While seeing and talking with the grandkids on Zoom is a good way to boost an older adult’s spirits, make sure to allow for some one-on-one time for you to talk without children present.
  • Take notice of what’s going on in the background of your video chats for any additional clues, such as whether or not the home looks neat and well maintained, in addition to personal hygiene – unkempt, disheveled hair, as an example.
  • Take into consideration whether substance abuse could be a factor. A rise in alcohol consumption during the pandemic is happening in people of all ages, and may be very harmful if there are potential interactions with medications the senior is taking.

If you suspect depression or any other mental health issues in an elderly parent, make sure to connect with the physician immediately. Since you are most familiar with the senior, you may well be able to pick up on signs that the medical team misses during routine appointments, and it’s imperative to make your concerns known.

If you have any concerns, contact Responsive Home Care for additional assistance. We can act as your eyes and ears when you’re unable to be there in person, and provide a wide selection of customized services to enhance socialization and quality of life at home. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for more information and to learn more about home care in Weston and surrounding areas.

Could New Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests Be Developed Based on Our Sense of Smell?

Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests - home health careft lauderdale

Parkinson’s diagnostic tests may be impacted in a surprising way.

You may very well not recognize her by name, but you’ve possibly come across her story. Joy Milne has an especially specialized talent: detecting Parkinson’s disease through her nose. Her gift came to light when she sensed what she describes as an “overpowering sort of nasty yeast smell” in her husband of 10 years. Soon noticing other differences in her husband, such as personality and mood differences, he ultimately sought medical assistance, and after undergoing Parkinson’s diagnostic tests, the disease was confirmed. 

Subsequently, upon walking into a Parkinson’s support group meeting, that exact same scent permeated the room – despite the fact that reportedly only Joy was able to sense it. In fact, she was also able to recognize varied degrees of the scent – some whose scent was weak, while for others, it was more powerful. With both her own and her husband’s medical backgrounds (she a nurse and he a physician), this knowledge was definitely meaningful and called for further action.  

Her story led her to help Tilo Kunath, a Parkinson’s disease specialist at the University of Edinburgh, with the aim of creating a tool to provide earlier diagnosis – and in the long run, treatment – of Parkinson’s.  

While initially doubtful of the probability of Parkinson’s being identified through scent, he was open to further exploration after learning about the results dogs were having in identifying the odor of cancer in individuals. He then developed an approach to assess her talents, by supplying her with a random selection of t-shirts – half of which had been worn by a person clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and half by individuals without the disease – and, her accuracy rate was astonishing. In fact, she missed the mark on only one of the shirts, worn by someone without Parkinson’s, but who was later diagnosed with the disease as well.  

Kunath says, “Imagine a society where you could detect such a devastating condition before it’s causing problems and then prevent the problems from even occurring.” Dr. Thomas Hummel of the Technical University of Dresden’s Smell & Taste Clinic, adds that while the idea is fascinating, there are still a number of questions to first sort out. 

Parkinson’s disease, in conjunction with a variety of other chronic health issues, can be more successfully managed through the help of the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers at Responsive Home CareGive us a call at 954-486-6440 to find out if our services are available in your area and to learn more about how we can help you. 

The COVID-19 Crisis Resources Seniors and Family Caregivers Need

crisis resources - home health services fort lauderdale fl

These trusted crisis resources can help keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding where to turn with regard to the latest, most dependable info on COVID-19, particularly as it relates to the elderly and family members who take care of them, is extremely important – and complicated. With many resources and differing opinions on this serious topic, we want to help make it more straightforward to locate what you need by sharing the following list of trusted crisis resources.  

  • AARP Answers Common Questions About COVID-19: AARP provides a running bulleted list of all of the most current updates connected with COVID-19, as well as what seniors should do to minimize their chance of contracting it and answers to several common questions. 
  • COVID-19 Guidance for Seniors: The CDC’s COVID-19 Guidance for Older Adults web page consists of a great deal of information, such as assistance with calculating who is at greater risk, symptoms, methods to protect yourself, a checklist for the home, stress and anxiety coping advice, plus much more. 
  • Coronavirus: What Seniors and People With Disabilities Should Know: ACL offers details on what older adults and those with disabilities need to know to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the disease, in addition to signs and symptoms, state-by-state guidelines, and an extensive directory of federal and non-federal resources. 
  • CaregiverSpecific Resources/Articles on COVID-19 Safety: The Family Caregiver Alliance offers caregiver-specific resources and articles to help family caregivers increase the protection of the older adults within their care. 
  • Extensive Commonly Asked Questions List on Caregiver COVID-19 Issues: DailyCaring, an award-winning website dedicated to caregivers, created a common questions page to provide answers to dozens of questions, including precautions to take when visiting an older adult’s house, information on how to sanitize packages, proper handwashing techniques, and so much more. 
  • NAHC COVID-19 Resources: The National Association for Home Care & Hospice advocates for the scores of older adults who receive in-home care, as well as for people who provide that care. Their COVID-19 information page offers articles, webinars, interactive tools, and much more.

For further resources to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and for safe, trustworthy, in-home care to enhance wellness and comfort for the older adults you love, get in touch with Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area, any time. Following a stringent protocol to ensure the safety of the older adults we serve, we can assist with an array of home care services, which include:  

  • Buying groceries and running other errands, to enable seniors to stay safe in the home 
  • Planning and preparing delicious meals 
  • Companionship to ease loneliness and stress through conversations, films, hobbies/interests, games, puzzles, and much more 
  • Keeping the house thoroughly clean and sanitized 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Specialized care for people with dementia 
  • And many others 

Connect with Responsive Home Care at 954-486-6440 for an assessment within the safety and comfort of home, to learn the way we can assist your loved ones. 

New Study Shows You Already Have the Best Medicine for Dementia

two happy elderly women spending time with each other at home

When living with dementia, don’t overlook your daily dose of laughter.

Looking after a person you love with dementia is certainly nothing to laugh about. Yet scientific studies are frequently pointing to the benefits associated with humor, and incorporating it into dementia care may be precisely what the doctor ordered to boost total well-being for your aging parent.

For instance, an Australian study just recently announced that humor therapy can aid in eliminating agitation in people who have dementia as successfully as antipsychotic medications, without the unintended side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists those with cognitive difficulties to feel understood, safe, and at ease. According to Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, “When anyone is sick or having a hard time, they still like to laugh. I spend a lot of time teaching people that feelings don’t go away, and it’s okay to get back to that zone.”

Laughter also produces endorphins, which inhibit stress hormones, and may also improve blood pressure levels and reduce pain for older adults – all of which make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, either by registering for a laughter yoga class along with your loved one (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas including these at home:

  • Incorporate lightheartedness and silliness randomly throughout the day. Sing goofy songs, dance around the house, tell simple jokes, and develop an environment of happiness for the older adult.
  • Realize that what is successful today will possibly not work tomorrow – and sometimes even an hour or so from now. Assess your loved one’s reactions, and if anything seems to increase anxiety, shelve the idea and attempt again later.
  • Remove quarreling and correcting from conversations with the senior. A simple “yes” and redirection to a different topic or activity goes a long way in preempting negativity.
  • Emphasize to yourself that it’s completely acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Allow Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL and the surrounding area, to help enhance life for a senior loved one with dementia. Each of our specialized dementia caregivers is fully trained and knowledgeable in a wide variety of creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the added benefit of improved socialization, combined with crucial respite from care duties for family members, making a partnership with a Responsive Home Care caregiver a win-win!

Call us at (954) 486-6440 to arrange an in-home assessment to find out more, and to ask about some additional helpful resources to further equip you to provide the most effective care for your family member.

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 and to help us overcome caregiver stress.

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, the leader in home health care in Pembroke Pines, and let us help you overcome caregiver stress so that you can concentrate on self-care and good quality time with those you love.

Top Tips to Use Your Time Wisely at the Doctor

doctor visits for seniors - senior care company ft lauderdale

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 doctor visits for seniors.

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, a top senior care company Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding areas trust, 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 about how to make the most of doctor visits for seniors!

Paranoia in the Elderly: What to Do When Dad Seems Irrational

home health care Pembroke Pines

It surprises some to learn that paranoia in the elderly is a common issue. Learn more about how to respond to an aging parent that may be acting irrational.

“Listen to me, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We need to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one voice worries that you know to be false is unsettling – but not abnormal. The initial impulse may be to try to rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s absolutely no way a dog could have gotten into your closet!” Yet for various reasons, this is often the least successful solution to take care of paranoia in the elderly.

Instead, at Responsive Home Care, we encourage the following approaches in order to help restore a sense of calm and well-being:

  1. First and foremost, arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician. It is vital that you discover any cognitive problems in order to be certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if needed. There also could be prescription side effects at play.
  2. Find out the thinking associated with the irrationality, and then determine how to remedy the situation. For example, perhaps the heating and cooling vent near the closet is starting to become loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and leading to an unusual sound.
  3. In lieu of trying to correct the senior loved one, respond lovingly with assurance and empathy. Concentrate on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on having the person know that you will be there to help. Accompanying the senior into another area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help restore calm.
  4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any obstacle is as simple as finding out what has assisted others in the same situation. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of helpful knowledge and information. A number of choices are available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver discussion forum.
  5. Seek the support of a professional home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care providing home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting the elderly to remain active and involved, and in helping to ease challenging and difficult behaviors. Partnering with an established and reliable caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more advice on helping your senior loved one through obstacles with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the specialists in home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care. We are always readily available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve wellbeing for a senior loved one. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

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.

Read more

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 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 how we can make a difference by providing a home health aide in Fort Lauderdale, FL or the surrounding areas! See our full service area here.

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

Shot of a thoughtful businesswoman looking out of an office window

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