Celebrating the Holidays with Elderly Family Members 10 Creative Activities to Get your Loved Ones Involved this Season

elderly_christmas_pictureThe holidays are usually a time to be with our families.  It is the time of year when we celebrate traditions, cultures, and religious events.  Many families have holiday customs that have been handed down from generation to generation, and the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without them.

As our grandparents, parents, and aging loved ones get older, it is important to honor their traditions and engage them in the festive celebrations happening this holiday season. It is also valuable to recognize that the holidays might be difficult for a senior family member, especially if their friends or loved ones have passed away.  Including your elderly family member in fun holiday events will bring joy to everyone involved.

Here are some ways to include older adults in your family’s festivities:

  • Cook a favorite meal together. Prepare a dish the senior loved as a child or once prepared as a holiday tradition. Involving the senior in the process, instead of making it for them, allows the senior to feel helpful and needed.
  • Make special holiday treats together.  Have your loved one help roll out dough, cut out and decorate cookies, tell stories about their favorite sweets from the past.  Children will also love to be involved in making these holiday goodies.
  • Make a family cookbook. Either organize recipes the senior has stashed away or hunt down some of their favorites from family members. This can also help you prepare dishes they will enjoy and be comforted by.
  • Set up a Christmas tree or Menorah. Decorations add so much to the holiday season. Help your loved one feel at home during the holidays by setting up their Christmas tree or Menorah with them. Again, having them help you put ornaments on the tree or plugging in the lights can make the senior feel helpful and involved.
  • Watch old family movies together
  • Take a walk down memory lane. Holidays bring back memories, and seniors often find great joy in having someone show interest in them and their past. Whether it’s looking through photo albums or just sharing stories, you can help the senior in your life feel loved and involved with this stroll down memory lane.

Click here for more fun activities to do with elderly family members.

Keeping Elders Safe During the Winter Months 5 Safety Tips to Survive the Cold Weather

During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life challenging for everyone. Safety becomes an issue for anyone who might be outside in the element, but it becomes especially serious for seniors, who might not be as steady on their feet or as able to handle the cold.

If your elderly loved one needs to go outdoors, it’s best they have a caregiver to assist them every step of the way.  And these precautions will ensure everyone stays safe in the elements:

  1. Every set of steps should have a sturdy railing. Sloping sidewalks and driveways, ramps, and uneven surfaces should also have railings for safety.
  2. Add strips to the steps for added traction, and make sure there is a good supply of ice melt on hand. Put it in a bucket that is easy to open, and provide a small scoop that can be easily lifted even when completely full.
  3. Hire someone to shovel walkways and driveways. Keep in mind that many heart attacks happen when older adults try to do this job themselves! This is a job for professionals or the neighborhood kids who want to earn a little spending money.
  4. Invest in boots with non-skid soles, or give them a set of traction helpers — these thin gadgets fit onto the bottom of a shoe and help dig into the ice and snow when walking. Take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because often snow and ice attach to the soles and, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside. If they walk with a cane, make sure the tip is sturdy and sure.
  5. Dress warm! Dress in layers, wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.  As we grow older, we become more sensitive to cold and our sense of touch decreases. Monitor elders for signs of hypothermia: exhaustion, slowed heart rate or breathing, memory loss, drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, skin that is ashy or pale, decreased coordination.

As far as INDOOR preparations…please click below for helpful safety tips for seniors as the cold weather approaches.

Do not wait until winter weather happens to decide how to help your aging loved one.  Make a plan for winter emergencies that include providing your loved one with a way to get in touch with you even in a power outage, visit often to check up on your loved one’s well-being, and ask for help if you are unable to provide the care your loved one needs. Home care services let families rest assured that their loved one is safe with a caring companion—no matter what weather surprises winter brings.

Happy Thanksgiving from Luba Services Being Thankful for In-Home Care

thanksgiving_pictureWhat are you thankful for? The answer to this question changes as you move through the seasons of your life. You might be thankful for celebrating a milestone anniversary with the one you love…or maybe surviving an illness this past year…or the beautiful innocent faces of your grandchildren or great-grandchildren…or maybe you’re just grateful to see another sunrise and promise of a new day ahead.

Many seniors are thankful to be able to live in their own home. There may come a time when independent living is not possible, when family cannot provide enough assistance needed, or when it is no longer safe for you to be by yourself.

Luba Services, Inc. is there to help you in your time of need. We can answer any of your questions relating to in-home care. It is overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start. Let our trained, professional staff help you identify your needs and provide the appropriate support that will keep you as independent as possible in your own home. That is something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving from Luba Services!

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 6 Tips on How to be a Better Caregiver

You have probably been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease at some point in your life. Maybe you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s… or supporting a friend or neighbor struggling with the effects of Alzheimer’s…or working on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease within your community. Regardless of how Alzheimer’s has impacted your life, it’s more important than ever to learn about the early symptoms, prevention, treatment, and research of Alzheimer’s in order to fight against this disease.

Did you know there are over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease? And for each individual afflicted by Alzheimer’s, there is a family member, healthcare professional, or friend to provide care on a daily basis. Not all caregivers are prepared to deal with many of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. It can be frustrating and exhausting caring for your loved one.

Here are some tips that can help you be a better caregiver:

  • Communication
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Education
  • Support

Geriatric Nutrition:Foods That Promote Senior Wellness

As aging loved ones grow older, their nutritional needs change, metabolism slows down, bodies need different amounts of calories, vitamins, and minerals.  When older adults have health issues, then it makes it even more difficult to meet their changing nutritional needs.

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Eat for Your Health

When caring for an aging adult, it is important to recognize that eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet is vital to staying healthy. It may be the first line of defense in preventing illnesses or reducing the risk of diseases such as bone loss, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Bones, muscles, cells and organs all need water, carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Healthy food contains a good supply of these components that feed our bodies and keep them healthy and strong.

According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults should supplement with Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folate. Most of these essential vitamins can be taken through eating the correct foods. But for those adults who have a difficult time eating all the correct amounts and varieties of food, supplements would be needed.

 

“You are what you eat”  

Our bodies really are made up of what we put into them. It doesn’t matter our age, eating well makes a huge difference in our health, how we look and feel and our overall well-being.

Elders do not need as many calories as when they were younger.  They tend to have less muscle mass, requiring less calories needed to maintain their weight.  And seniors also have slower metabolisms, so it takes them longer to burn the calories that they consume through their daily activities.

Therefore, when eating smaller portions, it is important to pack those meals full of nutrients. While processed foods may be more convenient, seniors should rely more on unprocessed foods as they usually contain more nutrients and less fat, added sugar and sodium.

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The Menu

To keep meals interesting and nourishing, encourage seniors to eat more fruits and vegetables by filling plates with colorful foods such as dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, lentils and beans. While variety is good, there are specific foods that are excellent staples for a senior diet.

  • Oatmeal and eggs. Oatmeal is full of fiber and can fight against heart disease. Eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals. Both foods are soft and easy to eat.
  •  Yogurt is loaded with vitamins and calcium which is needed to prevent osteoporosis.
  •  Blueberries and apples – antioxidants and vitamins.
  •  Fish and chicken, which are low in fat and high in protein.
  •  Broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash are loaded with vitamins.
  •  Soy and rice – helps with bone health and a complex carbohydrate.
  •  Dark chocolate in moderation can boost your good cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

It’s always a good idea to check with your elderly parent’s doctor before making any changes to their diet.

All this talk about food is making me hungry!  Let’s put on our aprons and whip up something good!

If you are looking for help with taking care of an aging loved one, contact Luba Services, Inc.  Our qualified and compassionate caregivers can help with grocery shopping, fixing nutritious meals, and assisting with any other activities of daily living.

Improving Social Interactions in Aging Loved Ones 7 Proven Ways to Get Seniors Involved

Socialization plays a large role in maintaining quality of life as one ages. Studies have shown that there is an important link between social interaction and the health of senior individuals.  Research has shown that those who have strong social networks, seem to have a higher quality of life, live longer and are healthier compared to those with little social support.

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Seniors have spent a majority of their lives in the company of others, from raising families to working. Once retirement sets in, and children have left the house, opportunities for socializing decrease.

Some factors that can impact the social networks of older adults are:

  • Chronic disease can affect an older person’s ability to leave their home
  • Spouses, friends and/or family members have passed away leave an elder feeling lonely
  • Limited transportation for those who can no longer drive will cause isolation
  • Adult children are busy in their own lives and visit less

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Social isolation can put older adults at a higher risks for several health problems, such as:

  • Impaired Mental Health

Memory issues and depression are two common issues that seniors experience. Research has shown that social stimulation may reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

  • Diminished Nutrition

Often seniors who live alone tend to become malnourished because they cannot cook for themselves, don’t want to eat alone, or simply forget about meals.

  • Physical Health Ailments

A lack of socialization has an adverse reaction on blood pressure and cardiovascular health, increased frequency of colds/illnesses, decreased amount of physical activity which affects strength, balance, and endurance.

So what’s the bottom line?  Socialization is clearly linked to happiness and lower stress levels. Feeling loved and wanted, or just having someone to talk to each day, is a key element in living a healthy life. Help your elderly loved ones stay young at heart by encouraging them to remain socially active.

Read about the many ways you can help older loved ones connect in their communities.

5 Clues That Your Loved One Needs Additional Help at Home Looking into Home Care Options

pict_2Every day, more and more families desire senior care services that are provided in the comfort and safety of home.

Why should I choose home care?

  • Home is where the heart is.  When you are sick, you want the comfort of your own home.  When well, you want to enjoy the coziness and sanctuary of your own space.
  • Home care serves to keep elders as independent as possible, allowing more freedom and flexibility and a better quality of life.
  • Home care prevents or postpones moving to a nursing home or other institution, which can be stressful both emotionally and financially.
  • Home care promotes healing.  Research shows that healing takes place faster at home.
  • Home care is personalized care, tailored to each individual’s specific needs.

When should I choose home care?

A good time for family members to reach out for support is when you notice a loved one has specific care needs related to their activities of daily living.

Ask your parent or loved one the following questions:

  • Do you want to stay in your current home as long as possible?
  • Is it challenging keeping up your housework, cooking, hygiene on your own?
  • Is it difficult getting to and from your doctor visits, grocery store or errands?
  • Are you afraid of falling?
  • Are you lonely, depressed, or want more opportunities to socialize and interact with others?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, check out more indicators that it might be time to check into home care for your aging loved one.

Don’t wait until a major event occurs, such as a fall, a health crisis, or an emergency that could’ve been avoided if help was nearby… Rather, identify your loved one’s need for care, and be proactive!

Let’s Get Moving! Top 7 Exercises to Keep Seniors Active

Do you or a loved one want to stay active and independent well into your golden years? 

How about reverse the signs of aging?

And feel happier, sharper, and more energized?

Well….FITNESS is a key factor to staying independent as you age. Regular exercise can increase your energy levels, manage symptoms of illness or pain, boost your memory and mind, and improve your mood and confidence.

Exercise has proven benefits for all ages, but especially for those of 50. Regular physical activity can help prevent, manage, or even reverse certain diseases. Aerobic exercise will help increase metabolism, maintain a healthy weight, decrease blood pressure, improve heart health, increase immune function, improve sleep function, and promote better digestive health, to name a few health benefits.

An exercise plan should include four key components:

  • Strengthening

Provide resistance with weights, resistance bands, machines, or your own body weight to encourage better bone density, muscle mass, and independence.

  • Stretching

Achieve full range of motion of joints in order to decrease pain, protect from injury, improve posture, and allow free movement during all of your daily activities.

  • Balance and Coordination

Improve your stability and reaction times in order to prevent falls and improve mobility.

  • Aerobic/Cardio Endurance

Get your heart pumping!  Cardiac benefits will improve heart health and make activities of daily living easier.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services, please contact Luba Services, Inc. today!

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Luba Services is Represented at MNCHA’s 2014 Annual Meeting: Our Top 5 Take-Aways for Private Duty Home Care

Maryland National Capital Homecare Association

MNCHA members believe that in a time of rapidly escalating healthcare costs, patients deserve to be treated with dignity and be given a chance to receive care in their homes surrounded by their friends and loved ones. Home care reduces costs, provides quality services to patients at home, and assists family members in caring for the aged, disabled, or injured at home. This is what we advocate to our state officials, the Maryland General Assembly, and our congressional representatives.

The MNCHA Conference was especially informative this year.  Our 5 Top Take-Aways are:

  1. Maryland has the opportunity to be a national leader in healthcare:  Reducing Hospital Readmissions & More
  2. Compliance is key!
  3. COMAR (Code of Maryland Regulations)
  4. Developing Acute/Post-Acute Collaborative Partnerships:  Home care’s role in care transitions
  5. Legislative Updates