How to Help Seniors Move Past the Cost of Senior Care

cost of senior care

The cost of senior care at home becomes more palatable when considering its value.

Many of today’s seniors were raised during the Great Depression. They lived through a time when the country was pinching pennies and cutting corners. Frugality was embedded in many very early on and frequently remains firmly in place for life, affecting how they view the cost of senior care.

So what exactly happens when a senior is in need of care at home, has the financial capacity to pay for the care, but will not spend the money required for the cost of senior care?

First, empathize. Understand that the person’s point of view is valid and based on past life experiences. If the senior seems to be resistant to the idea of spending money for the care they need, remind yourself of the emotions behind the behaviors. An additional layer of difficulty might be in simply accepting the need for care altogether, something that is above and beyond mere frugality.

Spend time shopping with the senior. Costs were considerably different years ago than they are today, for everything from a gallon of milk to a new house. If the older adult hasn’t had the opportunity to go shopping lately, go online to show them current pricing for items in general. Or check out this inflation calculator that shows you the value of $100 between one year and another. (For instance, $100 in 1950 is the equivalent of $1,166.59 today!) This will help if a senior is experiencing “sticker shock” at the cost for care services.

Plan ample time for conversations. The commitment to accept home care services is a life-altering one that frequently requires several conversations. Engage in discussions with an older adult concerning the cost-cutting measures they’ve proudly followed over the years. Utilize these strengths to compromise if needed on covering the cost for care needs. For example, it could be that instead of full-time care, the senior would accept a few hours of care each week for help with necessary tasks around the house. After the person is more comfortable with their caregiver and sees what a difference home care makes, they may be more responsive to increasing services.

Additionally, it could be helpful to engage assistance from a third party – a person the senior trusts and respects, for example, their attorney, religious leader, physician, or a close friend. Engaging in a conversation with this particular person about the advantages to be gained through a home care helper might help reduce any doubts about cost.

When a senior is ready to explore home care, get in touch with our home care experts at 954.486.6440. We’ll be pleased to discuss how our Fort Lauderdale senior home care and care throughout the surrounding areas can help and further explain the options/cost of senior care.

How to Build New Senior Friendships

Senior friendships can make the days a little brighter.

If you’ve ever observed young children at the park, you know how quickly friendships are formed. A small group might be playing hide-and-seek, and a newcomer dashes over with a breathless, “Can I play?” In most cases, the response is a resounding, “Sure!” and thus – instant friends. Read more

Safely Living at Home with Dementia: Is it Possible?

Senior woman holding a tea cup looking into the distance

Safely living at home with dementia is possible with assistance.

There has been a belief that once someone received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive dementia, the only option was nursing home care. After all, it’s not possible for someone with cognitive decline to continue safely living at home with dementia, particularly when they live alone – or is it?

Statistics demand the need for all of us to think this through for the people we love, and possibly even for ourselves one day. Nearly 14 million seniors are currently residing at home alone – 33% with dementia, and 15% specifically with Alzheimer’s disease. Even more alarming, half of this population not only lives alone, but has no identified caregiver.

There are a number of key aspects of concern for an older adult who lives alone with dementia:

  • The ability to take care of activities of daily living independently, such as meals, personal hygiene, household management, and problem-solving
  • An elevated risk to senior scams and exploitation
  • The isolation that stems from an anxiety about unfamiliar places and situations as confusion increases

Yet we also recognize that remaining in the home throughout aging for someone with dementia offers many great benefits, such as:

  • The comfort of familiar surroundings and belongings, which provides stability
  • The ability to help keep regular routines, making life navigation easier
  • Self-identity that comes through protecting a feeling of belonging

One solution that is beneficial for a great many is bringing in an expertly trained dementia caregiver to provide just the right level of support to nurture as much freedom and independence as possible, while making sure of safety and wellbeing.

It’s essential to note that the earlier you can bring in support for someone with Alzheimer’s, the better. Even during the very earliest stages of the disease, the progression can happen rapidly, at which time the transition to care would have to occur immediately. By starting slowly with just a little assistance, perhaps with housework, laundry, and meals, you can then work up to an increased amount of care seamlessly as needed.

At Responsive Home Care, we create a customized plan of care that is reviewed and adjusted as needed ongoing – so if the need is for just a couple hours each week of assistance, or full-time, around-the-clock care, we are available to help older adults continue to live at home for a lifetime.

Our fully trained Alzheimer’s care team can ensure safety and comfort throughout each stage of the disease, easing challenges such as:

  • Wandering
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Frustration
  • Cognitive challenges
  • And more

Our caregivers offer the social interaction, mental stimulation, and encouragement to remain physically active which all lead to a significantly better quality of life. Our home care company serves Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area. Email or call us at (954) 486-6440 for a complimentary consultation for more information on how we can help someone you love continue to live where it is most comfortable – at home – for a lifetime.

The Key to a Joyful Life for Older Adults May Surprise You

Joyful Life for Older Adults

Close relationships and contentment are the keys to creating a joyful life for older adults.

It has taken nearly 80 years and a slew of scientific studies to come up with the result: a good genetic makeup and wealth really have little to do with our amount of joy. The Harvard Study of Adult Development launched in 1938, delving into the lives of high-profile participants such as Ben Bradlee and John F. Kennedy. Over the years, it is been expanded to add inner-city residents as well as offspring from the original Harvard elite, and the results were unexpected, to say the least. So, what are the keys to a joyful life for older adults?

It was established that the very best predictors of a happy and long life were not IQ, genetics, fame, finances, or social class but simply close relationships. Robert Waldinger, director of the research, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, shares, “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who led the research study between 1972 – 2004, shared in his book Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, the contributing factors that forecast healthy aging:

  • The absence of smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Physical activity
  • Mature strategies to manage challenges in life
  • Sustaining a healthy weight
  • Having a stable marriage

The bottom line is, self-care is crucial to our level of joy – from the perspective of both physical and mental health. Devoting time and effort to making your relationships the very best they can be most certainly falls under that umbrella as well. In fact, subsequent scientific studies have revealed that the level of contentment men and women experience in their relationships is a much more accurate determinant of what their physical health is likely to be later in life than physical factors like cholesterol levels.

The research study also upended earlier thinking that our personalities are carved in stone by age 30. Many who encountered difficulties in their early adult years enjoyed happier later years, while others excelled early in life but ran into challenges in later years due to mental health issues and alcoholism.

The study is ongoing, looking into its third and fourth generations, as researchers believe there is still more to understand, such as just how to more effectively manage stress and whether a hard childhood can impact middle age and later years.

Let Responsive Home Care’s knowledgeable caregivers help instill joy in a senior’s life; contact us today! Our caregivers serve as warm and friendly companions to take part in exercise, conversations, and enjoyable activities together, fostering socialization and additional relational connections. You can reach us any time at 954-486-6440 to schedule a free in-home assessment to find out more information about our home care assistance in Plantation, FL and neighboring areas.

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.

Solutions for Aggression in Alzheimer’s: How to Safely Respond Using the 6 R’s

adult-son-talking-to-senior-father-with-dementia

Try these solutions for aggression in Alzheimer’s to restore peace and calm.

Of the many difficult behaviors common in Alzheimer’s, probably the most challenging to manage is aggression. A senior who may have always been mild-mannered can abruptly lash out in outbursts that can be truly alarming: hitting, cursing, kicking, yelling, biting, or throwing objects. How can you, as a family care provider, find solutions for aggression in Alzheimer’s and safely help reestablish a feeling of calm?

First of all, remind yourself that the aggression is a result of the disease. It’s not something the senior can control, and it is not intentional. That said, it needs to be diffused in order to keep both you and the older adult protected from harm.

The 6 R’s of Managing Difficult Behavior,” developed by Dr. Peter Rabins and Nancy Mace in their book The 36-Hour Day, could be an effective solution for aggression in Alzheimer’s. Read through and refer back to them so you’re prepared for the next burst of aggression.

The 6 R’s

  • Restrict. Maintain a calm demeanor and tone of voice while you work to help the individual withdraw from the behavior.
  • Reassess. Think through what could have provoked the incident. Causes may include physical pain, too much noise or other distractions in the room, hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. Keeping a journal of what was occurring before and during each incident can help provide clues.
  • Reconsider. Empathize with the older adult by picturing yourself fighting a disease that impedes your ability to clearly communicate your needs and wishes, to accomplish tasks independently which were once so easy, to feel disoriented and confused, etc.
  • Rechannel. Redirect the person to a pursuit the individual enjoys, or relocate to an alternative environment, such as moving out onto the front porch or going to the dining area together for a snack.
  • Reassure. Let the older adult know that everything is ok and that you are there. In the event that the individual responds favorably to touch, place your hand on their shoulder, offer a pat on the back or hug, or take their hand in yours.
  • Review. Note in your journal what went well – or what did not – to help in using the most effective response if the aggression arises again.

Knowing that aggression may develop at any time in a person with Alzheimer’s, it is helpful to evaluate the home environment and take measures to ensure it is as comfortable and calming as possible, for example:

  • Playing relaxing music the senior enjoys in the background.
  • Placing comforting and familiar objects within quick access.
  • Staying clear of television shows that may show violence or other unsettling images.
  • Opening the window blinds during the day to allow lots of sunlight to stream in.

Responsive Home Care, the leading provider of home health care in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding areas, understands the intricacies of Alzheimer’s and how to best manage the related challenges. Reach out to us for more information on our in-home dementia care. See our website for a comprehensive list of the communities we serve.

Senior Home Care Tip from the Pros: Create and Follow a Daily Schedule

senior home careLife, especially but not just during the pandemic, can be filled with uncertainty. For seniors who are feeling less in command of particular facets of life, such as losing physical or cognitive functioning, concentrating on what can be controlled is empowering.

A great place to start is by establishing a regular routine, personalized to a senior’s particular interests and needs. Keep in mind that the senior’s routine is certainly not meant to be a strict regimen to be adhered to, but merely the basis for structure and predictability. With the older adult’s direction and input, decide on a preferred framework for every day. A sample daily routine may look like this:

  • Wake up at 7:30 a.m.
  • Take care of personal hygiene needs and get dressed
  • Enjoy breakfast on the back patio while listening to favorite music
  • Engage in light exercise and stretching
  • Work on a puzzle or art project
  • Pack a picnic lunch to take to the nearby park
  • Run an errand
  • Spend some quiet time reading or taking a short nap
  • Make dinner together and tidy up afterwards
  • Take a bath
  • Watch a movie
  • Go to sleep at 10 p.m.

Daily routines are helpful for older adults and their caregivers alike, in many different ways:

  • Routines lower stress and anxiety. Routines are calming and comforting, eliminating the need to wonder and worry about what’s going to occur next, who will be there to assist, and how to ensure that everything is going to be taken care of.
  • Routines create better sleep. Research has shown that sticking with a daily routine aids in sleep quality in addition to the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep.
  • Routines allow for high quality time with friends and family. Older adults and those who care for them can establish routines that incorporate enjoyable time together. Include favorite pastimes, weekly lunch dates at a favorite restaurant, even an end-of-the-day hug.

Our care team is skilled at creating customized care plans and schedules in order to make each day the very best it can be for older adults and those who love them through a full range of in-home support services, including:

  • Morning wake-up assistance, including personal hygiene and cooking a nourishing breakfast
  • Engaging companionship throughout the day and evening – whenever needed
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Shopping and other errands
  • Medication reminders
  • Accompaniment to outings, visits with friends and family, medical appointments, etc.
  • And many others, in accordance with each senior’s specific needs

Call us any time at (954) 486-6440 for more information and to request a free in-home consultation.

Learn Why the Progression of Dementia May Vary for Latinos

progression of dementia in senior hugging caregiverA new study sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some striking findings in how dementia may present differently in Hispanic people. While additional exploration is required to fully understand whether these differences are the result of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it’s worthwhile information for Latino families to know.

Daily Activities

One feature of the study was the considerably faster decline in the capability to execute everyday activities, like walking, getting dressed, and taking a shower, when compared with other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who conducted the research, clarified that the cultural dedication to looking after older loved ones may be a contributing factor.

“Some families want to start doing everything for their older members to try and remove some of the burdens and make their lives easier,” she mentioned. “But there is research showing that when cognition is declining, older people actually do better when they stay active. And there is also still stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”

Depression and Anxiety

While we realize anxiety and depression are risk factors for dementia, a separate research study of 5,000 people showed a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic individuals reporting these issues: more than 25%, as compared to approximately 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Centering on the mental health of people with dementia is vital. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro points out, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”

Although more thorough scientific studies are necessary to better comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to be involved in research is still challenging. Latinos currently comprise fewer than 8% of present dementia scientific studies – regardless of the fact the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% more than it is in non-Hispanic whites.

Families interested in current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch website to learn more.

At Responsive Home Care, our professional caregivers are fully trained and experienced in helping seniors with whatever their particular challenges are, making life the very best it can be. We accomplish this by consulting with each senior in his or her home before the start of services, enabling us to create a customized care plan. We then carefully monitor the care plan over time to make certain that needs are always completely met, both now and as needs change as time passes.

If the need is for only a little assistance with housework and meals, transportation and companionship, or if some more specialized dementia care is needed, Responsive Home Care, the expert provider of in-home caregiver services in Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas, provides the ideal solution. Contact us to set up your free in-home consultation to learn more.

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 home care 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 elder care in Hollywood, FL 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 respite care in Weston, FL 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.