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
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.
Picture for a second how it could feel to struggle with the cognitive obstacles of Alzheimer’s disease. The people who are closest to you are no longer familiar. The words that would roll off your tongue without a second thought are now just beyond your grasp. In fact, the whole world as you once knew it has turned completely upside down, leaving you yearning for a recognizable foothold.
One of the kindnesses imparted by dementia is the long-term memories that oftentimes remain intact long after short-term memories have disappeared. It is why connecting a senior with Alzheimer’s to the past is usually an incredibly effective way to engage them – through music, movies, photos, and reminiscing. We can also now add a high-tech tool to the mix that is demonstrating impressive results with seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; virtual reality.
Skip Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, has been using the technology to help veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s now expanding his reach to seniors – beginning with his own 89-year-old mother, whose delightful reaction to a virtual trip to Rome confirmed exactly how effective the technology can be for older adults.
Rizzo shares an encounter in which he visited a nursing home where a group of residents were simply sitting around a table in silence, until he began showing them flashcard-like pictures of objects they might recognize from their past. The change in the atmosphere was electric, as the seniors began sharing memories with each other. With the potential of low-tech tools such as simple photos to create delight for seniors, just imagine the opportunities available to us now with high-tech options like virtual reality!
The advantage of virtual reality for older adults goes further than merely boosting memory and bringing enjoyment, such as:
Improved Health Care
The distraction of virtual reality is showing to be an effective tool for easing physical pain for seniors. It can also be used to enhance balance and other motor skills as well as improve spatial reasoning. It can even help doctors detect health conditions by monitoring how older adults respond in various activities and games.
We know that older adult isolation is a contributing aspect in a number of physical and mental health problems. A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine presented that up to one in four older adults feel socially isolated. To tackle this concern, AARP Innovation Labs developed an app called Alcove, in which older adults and their friends and family can enjoy virtual reality experiences together.
Would you like to learn more creative options to improve quality of life for an older adult you love? Connect with our team at Responsive Home Care, for home care in Hollywood, FL and throughout the greater area at 954-486-6440!
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
Memories are what bind together our past experiences with who we are today; and for a person with dementia, confusion around these memories may have a powerful impact. One of our goals in providing dementia care for seniors is to help them keep and share memories in order to make sense of daily life.
A wonderful way to help with this is through the creation of a memory book, which includes photographs and short descriptions to refer back to when an older adult has questions relating to his or her identity, friends and family, etc. Memory books are great for answering repeated questions as well as for helping to clear any muddied waters. For example, if an older adult asks who his sister is, whether he’s married (and to whom), where he used to live, etc., a simple response of, “Let’s look at the memory book,” can be very effective – and, can help with redirection as well for a senior experiencing difficult emotions or behaviors.
The book can (and should) be basic and straightforward. Simply select a sturdy binder, photo album, or scrapbook and place 1 or 2 photos on each page, with a brief description underneath. Include details such as:
- Close family and friends, including those from the senior’s childhood, if at all possible
- The older adult’s workplace
- Special events and milestones
- Previous homes
- And more
You could set up separate sections for each category, so it will be quicker to locate a particular photo when desired. For a more extensive or elaborate book, you can use the template found here , identifying which pages you want to include that’ll be most helpful for your senior loved one.
For more creative Alzheimer’s resources and care tips, call Responsive Home Care, the leading provider of elderly home care in Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas, at (954) 486-6440. We are also pleased to offer a no-cost in-home assessment to share more about how we can help with the particular challenges your senior loved one is facing. Our highly trained, compassionate dementia care team can:
- Improve socialization
- Offer creative approaches to manage difficult behaviors
- Ensure safety in bathing/showering, dressing, etc. in addition to reducing fall risk
- Provide trusted relief care for family caregivers to take time for self-care
- Engage older adults in meaningful, enjoyable activities
- Assistance with preparing meals and clean-up
- Run errands, such as picking up prescriptions and groceries
- And so much more
Reach out to Responsive Home Care, the experts in home care in Hollywood, FL and surrounding areas, to discover an increased quality of life for a senior you love with trusted, personalized home care services.
In this striking new development towards an Alzheimer’s cure, a “cold-shock” protein, which is found in swimmers’ blood, is showing promising results in slowing and even reversing the progression of dementia in mice – leading researchers to further explore this link between cold water and dementia.
Related to the hibernation capacity in all mammals when exposed to cold weather, the research ties in to knowledge we already possess about how cooling body temperature can sometimes protect the brain. For example, those who experience a head injury are often cooled during surgical procedures.
And while it’s not yet fully understood, researchers know that even though some brain connections are lost during hibernation, they’re fully restored upon the mammals’ awakening in the spring. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the lost connections lead to confusion, loss of memory, behavioral challenges and mood swings, and more – and to date, once lost, cannot be restored.
In the study, both healthy mice and those with Alzheimer’s were cooled to a level of hypothermia. Rewarming the healthy mice showed a restoration of synapses that the Alzheimer’s mice did not experience – thought to be due to the “cold-shock” protein RBM3 that was evident in only the healthy mice. As a result, researchers surmise that RBM3 may be the key to regaining functionality of brain connections.
At the time of the study, RBM3 had not yet been detected in humans, leading researchers to seek out volunteer winter swimmers, who were already becoming hypothermic on a regular basis and could help researchers determine whether the cold prompted the production of RBM3. The result: a significant portion of the volunteers were found to have high levels of RBM3 in their blood.
There are inherent dangers in exposure to the cold, however. It raises heart rate and blood pressure, slows responses, and increases breathing rate, and is too risky for researchers to recommend for seniors with dementia. The goal is to develop a drug to stimulate RBM3 production in humans and to determine its impact on dementia, in particular, to delay or prevent the disease.
“If you slowed the progress of dementia by even a couple of years on a whole population, that would have an enormous impact economically and health-wise,” explains Professor Giovanna Mallucci, head of the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Centre at the University of Cambridge.
We look forward to learning more about this link between cold water and dementia, and other promising research to help diminish the effects of dementia or possibly lead to an Alzheimer’s cure. Always here to match you with a caregiver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida or the surrounding areas, we at Responsive Home Care are premier providers of highly skilled and creative dementia care. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to learn more.
Imagine the most perfect holiday season ever. What would it look like? While that image will vary a bit for each of us, it might include gifts, lights, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. However, what absolutely rings true for all of us is the joy in spending time with the ones we love – and in particular for all of us at Responsive Home Care, safely celebrating the holidays with the seniors we love.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to reconsider how to safely experience the holidays with our older loved ones. With a bit of creativity and ingenuity, however, it’s feasible to bridge the gap while making new memories with the older adults you love, even if you are not able to be with them in person this season.
Our aging care professionals have gathered several ideas to help you get started:
- Adjust traditions. Consider the traditions that mean the most to you and your family, and how you can modify them to help keep everyone safe. For example, if the family usually gets together each year to bake cookies, you can utilize Zoom or a similar platform to stay connected while baking from home. Select a favorite recipe, have everybody log on at a specific time, and bake away while talking and listening to some holiday music.
- Don’t do away with decorations. Seniors who live alone usually look forward to having loved ones, especially grandchildren, visit to assist with holiday decorations. Without in-person visits, older adults might not be motivated to bother with decorations. Again, using a software program like Zoom, schedule for a time for everybody to get together online and share the stories behind the most loved decorations.
- Enjoy the great outdoors. Safely celebrating the holidays with loved ones doesn’t always have to happen virtually. If weather allows, plan brief visits with older adults outside, safely socially distant and with face coverings. String lights on bushes in the yard and decorate the front porch together.
- Send smiles. Cards, letters, pictures, telephone calls, small gifts, etc. will all mean a great deal to older adults who will be missing time with loved ones. Coordinate with members of the family to take turns reaching out as much as possible in ways like this so that your older family members are flooded with expressions of love.
- Share your feelings. There is nothing quite as heartwarming as hearing from someone you love about the impact you’ve made on his or her life. Take this time to convey your gratitude to the older adults you love for the difference they have made in your life, and be specific: “Grandma, your patience with me when I was an adolescent taught me what unconditional love looks like, and thanks to you, I’m a more patient person with my own kids.”
Responsive Home Care, experts providers of senior care services in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas, employs caregivers who are fully trained and experienced in enhancing total wellbeing for older adults at home, and we follow rigorous safety protocols for each person’s protection. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to find out how we can help make this holiday season the best it can be for a senior you love with customized, professional home care services.
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 Care, providing home and dementia care in Hollywood, FL and surrounding areas, 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 care in Hollywood, FL or the surrounding areas. Visit our Service Area page to view the locations that we serve.
We know that socialization is vitally important for our overall emotional (and even physical) wellbeing – but we also know that senior loneliness is an epidemic in America. With the hectic pace of life, it’s difficult for families and friends to provide the full measure of social interaction needed to keep isolation at bay for older adults, who are often homebound or unable to get out as much as they’d like.
But the mother of invention truly is necessity, and the need for creative socialization solutions has sparked some interesting innovations to combat senior loneliness:
The Chat Bench
Thanks to the police department in the southwest England town of Burnham-On-Sea, several benches now boast signage that boldly proclaims, “The Happy to Chat Bench: Sit Here if You Don’t Mind Someone Stopping to Say Hello.” And, stop they do! It’s a lovely way for those who are feeling lonely to meet others and make new friends.
Grandkids on Demand
Carefully screened college students are available through the Papa Pals app to spend time with an older person who is lonely or in need of a little assistance. Spending anywhere from 3 to as much as 10 hours visiting together, it’s a win-win: a little spending money for the students, and the friendly companionship seniors so desperately need.
Advances in robotics allow for an amazingly lifelike companion. One such example is ElliQ, described as “a proactive social robot for older adults…essentially a tablet and voice-equipped speaker that can gesture like it’s engaging in a real conversation, bobbing its head like it understands, or leaning in closer to ‘hear’ you.”
As incredible as these ideas are to help combat senior loneliness, we have one that we believe to be even better: engaging the services of Responsive Home Care for a professional, friendly companion, available for as much or as little time as desired to engage in conversations, reminiscing, exercise programs, enjoyable pastimes and outings, and so much more to overcome senior loneliness. And companionship is merely one component in our wide array of in-home care services. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our Sunrise in home care services!
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.