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 Different Types of Dementia: Is It Alzheimer’s or Something Else?

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Different types of dementia share similar symptoms, but need different treatment.

A senior who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with performing daily activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what appears to be a clear case of Alzheimer’s may really be one of several different types of dementia – in particular, one that has just recently been identified. 

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis has nearly identical symptoms, but the underlying cause is another story. Instead of the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent in Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. 

And TDP-43 protein troubles happen to be quite common in elderly people, with as many as one in four people over age 85 affected enough to cause noticeable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which could result in misdiagnoses, and therefore, inappropriate treatment. 

The newest guidelines call for people who have been determined to have LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better recognize LATE, to find therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a wider variety of diverse populations, in order to improve both prevention and treatment. 

Becoming familiar with the different types of dementia is vital to proper treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”  

Key aspects of LATE include: 

  • Mainly affecting seniors over age 80 
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a far more rapid decline 

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other type of dementia, Responsive Home Careproviding the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers families trust, offers the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps seniors live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting individuals diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers to more fully manage the varying difficulties experienced in each stage.  

Contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to inquire about more dementia care resources, discover answers to your questions, or to schedule an in-home consultation to find how we can assist someone you love with dementia. Visit our Service Area page to see if we’re available to help in your neighborhood. 

The COVID-19 Crisis Resources Seniors and Family Caregivers Need

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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. 

Laughter and Health: The Connection Is Sure to Make You Want to Start Smiling!

Happy Senior Woman

Discover the connection between laughter and health.

Have you ever caught yourself getting ready to bubble over with uncontrollable laughter at the most ill-timed moment – in a crowded elevator, a hushed waiting room, or a religious service? While there are, certainly, times when we will need to stamp down the silliness, writer Jane Heller explains that, “Humor can keep us balanced, even in the grimmest of times. It reminds us that despite illness and disability, there are moments of real joy in life and we need to embrace them.”

The connections between laughter and health are phenomenal, including:

  • Releasing endorphins that ease tension
  • Fortifying brain connectivity
  • Supplying a social boost
  • Relieving pain
  • Improving the immune system
  • Boosting mood
  • Defending the heart from coronary disease
  • Revitalizing circulation and muscle relaxation, both of which minimize stress
  • And so many more

Even though there is absolutely nothing funny when it comes to receiving a difficult medical diagnosis for someone you care about, there are methods to keep up an underlying feeling of positivity that may result in more possibilities for laughter:

  • Be deliberate about placing snippets of humor throughout your home/office; for example, a popular comic strip, meme, funny photographs, etc.
  • Look into a laughter yoga class – yes, there honestly is such a thing!
  • Adjust your reading material and TV viewing to incorporate additional lightheartedness. Include joke books – or browse the internet for new jokes to add to your collection.
  • Spend time with loved ones and close friends who raise your spirits. Reminisce over prior memories together that make you laugh, and create new ones!
  • Discover how to laugh at yourself, switching your internal dialogue from reprimands for errors to comfort in recognizing we are all human.

Interestingly, even if you don’t feel like laughing, rewards can still be achieved through faking or forcing laughter, according to certified health coach Nancy Kalish.

At Responsive Home Care, the top providers of senior care services in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area, we understand the link between laughter and health, and our caretakers make it a point to bring happiness to seniors every day. Our friendly senior companions spend quality time with older adults, participating in conversations, games, puzzles, exercise, fun outings, and of course, laughter. And with our full selection of in-home care services, which include meal preparation, light housekeeping, and looking after personal care needs, family care providers together with the seniors they love are able to spend more quality time simply enjoying each other’s company. Allow us to help brighten your world! Contact us at 954-486-6440 any time to learn more and to schedule an in-home consultation.

Top Tips to Use Your Time Wisely at the Doctor

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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!

Finding Meaning and Purpose Later in Life

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As we age, life changes, but the need for purpose does not. Learn how to help seniors find new meaning for everyday life.

Think of an ordinary day in the life of a senior loved one. Ideally it provides a number of positive and enriching experiences: savoring breakfast, participating in a satisfying activity or interest, visiting with a good friend or member of the family, watching a favorite TV show. Nonetheless, there’s a distinction between positivity and purpose; and the value of a life rich with significance is now more widely known, particularly in the life of aging parents.

Viktor Frankl, world-renowned psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, explains poignantly, “What matters is not the meaning in life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

For individuals whose identity has been devoted to a profession and raising a family, and who now are in a season of retirement and fulfilled family responsibilities, it can be hard finding meaning and purpose later in life. At Responsive Home Care, we make it a priority to help seniors determine their interests and channel them into meaningful activities, such as:

  • Volunteering. For a senior who loves kids, tutoring, reading to, or mentoring students at an area school is a great option. Other individuals may care greatly about assisting veterans, and assemble care packages of personal care products and snack food items to send overseas. Or for animal lovers, bringing treats, blankets, and an affectionate heart to a pet shelter could be very fulfilling.
  • Learning. It is true: you are never too old to master something new. Go to a nearby community college, library, or senior center to find classes or online programs that might appeal to your senior loved one.
  • Helping at home. Well-meaning family caregivers often take over household chores to free their senior loved ones from the tasks they’ve taken care of during their lifetime. Unfortunately, this can have the negative effect of leaving older adults feeling as though they are no longer useful. Engage the senior in work and responsibilities throughout the home which are typically within his / her expertise and interest, such as assisting with organizing meals, folding laundry, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox, etc.
  • Documenting family history. Supplying the next generation with the rich genealogy and family history and stories experienced firsthand is a treasure that only older adults can offer. Help your senior loved one document his / her lifetime legacy in a scrapbook, writing, or video recording, and then share with friends and family.

And, call on Responsive Home Care when it comes to tailored in-home assistance that helps older adults discover satisfaction and purpose, while continuing to be safe and comfortable in the familiarity of home. We’re able to offer transportation to engaging and meaningful activities, help plan and implement ideas to accomplish right in the home, or simply just look after some of the everyday tasks in the residence, including cleaning and cooking, allowing family members to savor high quality time with one another. You can contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our elder care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas.

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

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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

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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.

The Importance of Partnering with Professionals for Dementia Care

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Learn how partnering with Fort Lauderdale elderly care experts, Responsive Home Care can help you with dementia care for a loved one.

While an incredible number of older adults are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are trying to cope with caring for them. Incredibly, nearly 75% of family caretakers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs on their own, with only 26% seeking professional care assistance. 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