Announcing a New Director of Business Development

 Home Care Services Coral Springs FL

Melissa YostResponsive Home Care is pleased to announce that Melissa Yost, BS, HSA, Registered Nutrition & Dietetics Professional, has recently joined our team as the Director of Business Development. Melissa is responsible for building and expanding relationships with new and existing referral sources throughout Broward County.

Originally from the Chicago area, Melissa attended Barry University in Miami, and comes to Responsive with over 20 years experience in the health care service industry- most recently in a national sales manager position for a global healthcare nutrition company, and prior to that worked in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics in acute care and long term care settings.

We look forward to her sharing her healthcare industry knowledge and nutrition expertise to support our business with the added bonus of fueling her passion to help our clients and staff make healthful food choices to support their wellness and quality of life.

In her free time, Melissa’s passion is spending time with her husband, two active sons and their black lab puppy. She is a healthy “foodie”, loves spinning, and outdoor activities of all types- especially near the ocean.

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

Making Caring for Your Parent’s Pet a Valuable Part of Your Senior Care

Senior Care Hollywood FL

Senior Care Hollywood FL

If you have been on a senior care journey with your elderly loved one for any length of time you likely already know how valuable a pet can be in their later years. Spending time with a companion animal can make your parent feel more involved and important in their lives, ward off feelings of depression and anxiety, and even lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. While just having a pet around can provide exceptional benefits, actually focusing elements of your care around the animal can increase these benefits.

Use these tips to make caring for your parent’s pet a valuable part of your senior care efforts:

• Taking walks together. Giving a dog a walk is one of the basic aspects of caring for them, and it can be an extremely beneficial part of your senior care journey. A senior who is reluctant to participate in exercise may be willing to put their dog on a leash and head out for a few laps around the neighborhood. While they may not see the benefit of exercising for themselves, they might be much more willing to do what they know that they need to do for their pet. Taking walks burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens and conditions the joints and muscles, and improves balance.

• Playing. A dog that receives regular physical and mental stimulation through play is going to be a much more cooperative and enjoyable dog to have as part of your parent’s life. Playing with their dog also helps to boost your parent’s emotional health, offers extra physical activity, and can create an environment that promotes sharing, conversation, and social interaction. All of these are vital to high mental and emotional health.

• Feeding and watering. Structure and predictability can be exceptionally beneficial in a senior care journey. Especially if your elderly parent suffers from cognitive limitations such as from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, making sure that their schedule stays consistent can help to reduce anxiety and other negative emotions. Doing something at the same time every day, such as feeding and watering a pet, also encourages stronger cognitive processing and memory skills.

• Grooming. Grooming a pet is a show of love, nurturing, and compassion that can be extremely beneficial for your loved one’s emotional health. Much like caring for a doll can give a senior with Alzheimer’s a greater sense of security and provide recognizable activities, so can grooming a pet. Even just sitting with a well-tempered, patient pet and gently brushing or combing through its fur can give your parent the sense that they are taking care of that animal. This speaks to the nurturing instincts that remain strong with many seniors. As with doll therapy, this can help your parent to open up emotionally, provide a calming, soothing effect, and reduce the chances of issues such as depression.

If your parent does not already have a pet, consider making a trip together to the local animal shelter. Here you can find a variety of animals looking for a forever home. This will give your parent a strong connection to the animal from the very beginning and help to create a meaningful and beneficial relationship.

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

Elderly Care Tips: Helping Friends and Family Understand Alzheimer’s Disease

Elderly Care Plantation FL

Elderly Care Plantation

Friends and family can be a tremendous source of support, encouragement, and help when you are on an elderly care journey with a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. In order to get the most benefit from these people’s involvement, however, it is essential that they have as much understanding of the condition and its role in your parent’s life as possible. Giving them as much information as they can and helping them to understand as well as possible will empower them to be the most valuable addition to your care efforts they can.

Use these tips to help you help friends and family understand Alzheimer’s disease in your aging parent:

     • Host a meeting. Getting everyone who you think should know about the diagnosis and its impact   together to talk about it at the same time. This will make it so that you only have to share the same information once and will prevent any one person from feeling isolated or singled out. Talking about the situation together also enables everyone to share, learn, and ask questions that will benefit everyone. The exception to this one meeting concept is if you need to talk to children. You will need to take a different approach with children than you do adults, and will likely want to plan a different time to talk with them.

     • Emphasize fact, not assumption. Each person who comes into this conversation will have assumptions about what Alzheimer’s is, how it impacts a person, and what can be done about it. Make sure that you emphasize the actual situation and the facts regarding your parent’s condition. Dispelling rumors and making sure that each person is clear on the real situation can help to eliminate the possibility of awkward or even dangerous care mistakes.

     • Give details. Respecting your loved one as much as possible, give details about her condition. This should be how you came to bring her to the doctor, what the doctor said about her current condition, and any prognosis information that you may have. These details can help your friends and family wrap their minds around what is really going on so that they can better determine their future role in her care.

     • Encourage their involvement. Your friends’ and family’s involvement in your elderly care efforts for your parent is not just about making things easy for you. While relieving your stress and enabling you to continue taking care of yourself and your other obligations in life is a positive aspect of this, it is not the only one. Encourage their involvement from the perspective that they are doing something meaningful to help your parent. Let them know that the social interaction and support from each person will nurture your parent’s mind and help her to maintain her cognitive functioning and memory skills for as long as possible. This also helps to ease their burden if they do not think that they are qualified or capable of handling many tasks. Knowing that something as simple as stopping by for a visit can make a difference will help them to be more active and involved.

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

5 Signs Your Loved One May Still Be Grieving

How to Help a Senior Who Is Grieving

April is Worldwide Bereaved Spouses Awareness Month – a time when the silent, oftentimes mishandled issue of grief over a spouse’s death is recognized as a real problem that needs to be approached and treated gently and differently, most especially in elder care. While grief and bereavement is a harsh reality to deal with for anyone at almost any age, the reality of the death of a long-term partner can be particularly overwhelming to senior adults.

Senior Care Services Pembroke PinesAccording to the 2012 US Census, husbands were more than three times as likely to pass away before their wives do, as observed in the 36.9% of women aged 65 years and older who had become widows, compared to the 11.5% of same-aged men who had become widowers. Losing a spouse can lead to feelings of guilt, loneliness, and isolation – all of which and more can last from months to years.

This period of grief, especially if the elderly adult does not have a good support system, can take a heavy toll on health and wellness. Interestingly, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that widows or widowers older than 50 years old have a 66% higher mortality risk for up to 3 months after their spouse’s passing.

Grief over the death of a spouse can be very different in each individual. It can be very obvious or silent, and it could last as short as a few months to years. According to the American Hospice Foundation, to help know if an elderly adult is still grieving, look out for these subtle signs: 

  • Increased forgetfulness. This can get in the way of daily routines, self-care tasks, medication schedules and more. Suggest writing down reminders and setting alarms.
  • Disorganization. Attempting to accomplish even the most ordinary tasks during grief can be difficult among older adults. Help curb feelings of frustration and helplessness by writing a kind of “step-by-step” schedule for the day or week.
  • Inability to Concentrate. If the bereaved spouse’s mind tends to wander during trivial tasks, such as reading and watching TV, he/she may still be grieving. Let them know there are other activities available as options, and be more vigilant of poor concentration when the spouse is driving or operating dangerous machinery.
  • Lack of Interest or Motivation. This is a sign of a depressed mood. The surviving spouse, especially at an old age, could begin questioning the purpose of his/her life. You will also notice a loss of interest in activities that would usually be enjoyable to the bereaved. Your parent may question the purpose of life or why any effort is worth doing. Listen to them, express love and support, and keep trying to get them involved in something beyond their immediate environment.
  • Fascination With Death or the Hereafter. Even though it is normal for older adults to contemplate death and dying, a fixation coupled with a depressed mood warrants a consultation with a therapist.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care in Deerfield Beach or the surrounding areas to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call us today at 954-486-6440.


A disturbing parallel has developed in our society between parenting young children and parenting our aging parents. Although it goes without saying that adult children worry about the many risks associated with aging—falls and other injuries, dementia, chronic diseases and physical limitations—there’s a fine line between loving concern and taking control.

As much as we may wish to do everything within our power to protect our elderly loved ones from harm, it’s equally important to remember that with age comes a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that should be rewarded with dignity and respect. While it’s true that certain conditions—such as dementia or depression—require intervention, aging in and of itself does not.

Beautifully stated by Carol Bradley Bursack, author of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories, “Aging should increase dignity, not take it away.”

Responsive Home Care’s primary focus is on the safety and wellbeing of the seniors in our care, always provided with the utmost dignity and respect.


The holiday season is full of wonderful surprises: unexpected visits from faraway family and friends, secret gifts tucked into sparkling packages, lights twinkling around every bend. But we may also be greeted by another type of surprise—one of concern when we discover the deteriorated condition of an elderly loved one.

Staying in touch only by phone or email with senior loved ones throughout the year can mask issues that are brought to light when physically together over the holidays. As Dr. Richard Schulz, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center professor of psychiatry explains, “That’s where the discrepancy comes, in between how well we thought they were doing compared to actually seeing them live.”

What’s the best way to address these concerns? If it appears to be a crisis situation, a physician should be contacted immediately. Otherwise, waiting until after the holidays have passed can make the idea of getting help more palatable. Be sure to accompany your loved one to the doctor if at all possible, or, arrange for a professional home care agency, like Responsive Home Care, to provide the accompaniment, so that all concerns are properly relayed and the doctor’s directions are clearly understood.

Often, the holidays are a time when it’s determined that a little extra senior care at home would be beneficial. Contact us for assistance or to learn more, and avoid those unexpected surprises next holiday season!


If we could choose one perfect gift to bestow upon family caregivers, it would be a blanket of peace to relieve the stress and replace it with a sense of calm purpose. So, in honor of National Family Caregivers Month, settle in with a warm cup of tea and enjoy these peace-inducing tips!

  • Identify stress triggers. What thoughts cause your blood pressure to skyrocket? Sometimes stress is less related to external circumstances than it is to internal ones. Our thoughts affect our mood, which then affects our interactions with others and with life itself. Changing those thoughts to more positive ones can greatly impact your stress level.
  • Slow down. A family caregiver’s hectic pace of life does little to foster a sense of peace. Carve out a block of time each day to unwind, decompress, and relax with a soothing activity that you enjoy.
  • Seek out joy. The incredible beauty of the natural world around us is easy to overlook when we’re overstressed. Open your eyes with a renewed sense of wonder to the world around you and allow yourself to become fully immersed in experiencing it.
  • Be kind to yourself. You may feel as though your level of patience and compassion is running low when doling out so much of it to the person for whom you’re providing care. Remember, however, to set a little aside for yourself.
  • Minimize the drama. The mental and emotional energy expended by negativity, such as drama and gossip, can quickly drain your reserve of peace. Make a conscious effort to seek out the company of those with whom conversations take a more positive slant.

Responsive Home Care can also increase your peace by partnering with you in providing the care your loved one needs and deserves.


Nothing feels better than waking up refreshed and invigorated after a sound night’s sleep. And now there’s one more benefit to chalk up to good sleeping—in particular, your sleep position—helping your brain eliminate buildup of harmful chemicals and the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mice were placed in various sleep positions and scanned with MRIs to review the performance of their glymphatic pathways (which remove harmful waste). It was clear that those sleeping in a lateral position, on their sides, had the most efficient removal of metabolic waste buildup.

Maiken Nedergaard, researcher for the University of Rochester, notes, “The study therefore adds further support to the concept that sleep subserves a distinct biological function of sleep and that is to ‘clean up’ the mess that accumulates while we are awake.” This is especially of interest for those with dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological issues, which are often linked to sleep disturbances.

Learn more about how sleep clears the brain, and contact Responsive Home Care for help and respite care if sleeping issues are affecting you or the seniors in your life.


If you’re one of the 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. caring for an elderly loved one, it’s likely your time is so crunched that you can’t even read this article in full. And if you’re working outside of the home and caring for your own children and spouse on top of that, the level of stress is often overwhelming. Something has to give; should it be your career?

Before taking such a drastic and life-changing measure, take a moment to consider the following:

  • Determine the financial value of your wages, benefits and retirement income. Could you and your family manage without it?
  • Would you be able to jump back into your career once your caregiving duties have ended?
  • Are there alternatives to leaving your place of employment, such as temporary flex-time or part-time hours, extended family leave, etc.?
  • Have you shared your situation with your employer? Before assuming that quitting is the only solution, allow your manager or HR department to hear and respond to what you’re facing.
  • Read through your employer’s policies and procedures manual to refamiliarize yourself with the attendance and absences policies.
  • Look into unemployment benefits in your state before making a decision, and confirm your eligibility.

While sacrificing your career for your loved one may seem like the only solution, quitting should always be your last resort. Take time to carefully plan the best course of action for yourself and your family, and look at all possible options—such as hiring a professional home care agency like Responsive Home Health before making a rash decision under duress that you may regret.


With nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffering from arthritis (and more than 21 million with osteoarthritis), joint pain and restricted mobility are prominent concerns.

Joint replacement is one option for relief, but it’s not without risks. Pros and cons of this invasive surgery need to be weighed carefully. According to Vijay Rasquinha, MD, a North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute orthopedic surgeon, “You should try everything else first, including medication, physical therapy, swimming, ice, heat—the whole gamut. But if nothing is working, you have to ask yourself if pain and disability are ruining your qualify of life. If the answer is yes, it’s time to talk about surgery.”

Review the risks and benefits and discuss with your doctor whether joint replacement is the best option for you:


  • Heart attack (the risk is 31 times higher after joint replacement)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury
  • Loosening of the new joint over time


Reduced long-term risk in those with osteoarthritis who received a full hip replacement for:

  • Death
  • Heart failure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes

If you and your doctor determine that joint replacement is an appropriate option, risks can be reduced by losing weight (if overweight), stopping smoking, curbing alcohol use and adding in muscle-strengthening exercises.

Learn more about joint replacement risks and benefits from Everyday Health, and contact Responsive Home Care, the home of top-rated caregivers in Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding areas, for additional helpful resources and customized in-home care services for seniors.


With a veritable aging avalanche occurring in America—an estimated 10,000 baby boomers reaching age 65 each day—families are pressed into caregiving roles that, at best, are challenging, and at worst could even prove to be deadly. Damaging health effects for those between the ages of 66 and 96 who provide care for a loved one include a 63% higher risk of dying than those who are not providing care. There’s also an increased risk of developing a chronic health condition or depression, or an impairment to the immune system.

Whether a family member evolves into a caregiver role as a result of a sudden crisis—such as the heart attack of a parent—or more gradually over time through the natural deterioration of independence in aging, a common thread of decreased self-care becomes apparent. Caregivers often experience feelings of helplessness, believing there’s no one else capable of providing the care their loved one needs, as well as feelings of guilt just in thinking of taking a break when their loved one is struggling.

The following tips can help ease these feelings and allow caregivers to take better care of themselves in order to provide the best care for their loved one:

  1. First and foremost, stay healthy: eat a balanced diet, keep up with immunizations and regular check-ups.
  2. Take time to relax and recharge with a favorite calming activity – reading, gardening, soaking in a bath, knitting, prayer or meditation.
  3. Laughter really can be the best medicine! Share a humorous story with a friend, watch a comedy, or seek out a group offering laughter yoga.
  4. Exercise each day, whether simply taking a walk with a neighbor or participating in an exercise video, or by joining a group exercise class such as Zumba or dancing.
  5. Never be afraid to ask for help, which includes contacting a professional home care agency. Providing care for a loved one can be a 24/7/365 requirement, and it’s impossible to manage the responsibility alone.

For more ideas on managing the ups and downs of caregiving, check out this article from PBS. And for professional respite care services, contact Responsive Home Health. Our fully trained, compassionate Ft Lauderdale caregivers are experienced in sharing in the journey of aging care, and can allow family caregivers some much needed time away to rejuvenate.


AARP has issued a warning to think twice before taking certain over-the-counter medications, which are now linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study of 3,500 seniors showed that taking these medications regularly for a period of three years increases the risk, and that the danger increases even further when taken for longer periods of time and in higher doses.

Medications to be cautious in taking long-term and in high doses include:

-Antihistamines found in Benadryl
-Sleep aids found in Tylenol PM
-Certain antidepressants
-Treatments for bladder control

“We know that these medications may have an effect on memory, and we always assumed that these effects were reversible. We didn’t think these medications were changing the brain permanently. Our study does suggest a link between the highest use and increased dementia risk,” noted Shelly Gray, professor of pharmacy at the University of Washington and the study’s author.

Since insomnia is so common in seniors, it’s recommended that non-drug therapies be investigated over OTC sleeping medications. There are also alternative antihistamines, such as Claritin, and antidepressants, such as Prozac and Celexa. It’s stressed, however, that a physician be consulted before making any changes to medications or treatment plans.

Read more about the study’s findings between over-the-counter medications and dementia.