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Everything You Need to Know – [COVID-19]

24 Hour Home Care is actively monitoring the progression of the coronavirus, COVID-19, to ensure that we have the most accurate and latest information on the impact of the virus.

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Seniors & Influenza: Do Vaccines Work?

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an illness that can be contracted and spread by coming in contact with an infected individual.

Flu symptoms will present themselves differently in everyone, but common signs and symptoms of the flu are: aches, chills, fever, cough, headache, body aches, tiredness and a sore throat or runny nose. It is important to note that not all of these symptoms have to be present in order to be diagnosed with the flu.

If an individual contracts the flu, it is encouraged that he or she goes to the doctor within 24-hours of the first onset symptoms. Pending a doctor evaluation, there may be a medication given to the patient called Tamiflu, that will help the symptoms subside in a quicker manner. Treatment for the flu normally includes rest, plenty of fluids and simply taking it easy until the virus is out of the individuals’ system.

However, as medicine has improved over time, doctors have created a flu shot that can help individuals protect themselves against influenza. It is especially important for seniors, especially those 65 years or older, to protect themselves against the flu by getting the flu shot.

Why Should Seniors Vaccinate?


Although the flu is a serious illness for all people that contract the virus, it is especially dangerous for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that seniors are more likely to experience severe complications from the flu, sometimes leading to death. According to the CDC, about 70-90% of flu related deaths are from individuals that are in the ‘senior’ category. As we age, our bodies eventually develop a much weaker immune system, which in turn results in a weaker defense against viruses and illness. It is recommended that seniors obtain a flu shot each year by the end of October, as influenza season rapidly approaches after that time. Flu vaccines are updated each season in order to fight against the latest strain and type of flu that is affecting the masses. Vaccines are not guaranteed to keep the influenza illness away from each individual that receives one, but it will increase their chances of going through flu season healthy and happy.

There are two different types of flu shots for seniors: the high-dose flu vaccine and the adjuvanted flu vaccine. These two are designed especially for individuals 65 years of age or older, giving them the best protection against influenza. Doctors recommend elderly individuals obtain the flu vaccine and avoid the nasal spray, as the vaccines will protect them better.

The high-dose vaccine is designed to give elderly individuals the defense their body needs in order to fight off influenza. It can be administered by a medical professional and should be administered each year. It is important to note that medical professionals may prefer one vaccine over another for individuals, depending on specific cases and past experiences.

Alternatively, the adjuvant vaccine is a vaccine that is made with the elderly in mind. It is designed specifically to provide defense in an individual’s body that needs it the most and hopes to create a much stronger reaction to a vaccine than a generic flu shot. It is made with MF59, which is an oil-in-water- emulsion of squalene oil. It is imperative to check with medical professionals which vaccine is proper for seniors, as it may vary prom person to person.

What if a Senior Gets the Flu?

If an elderly individual does get the flu, plenty of rest and fluids are recommended. After seeing their primary doctor for medication and/or a care plan, considering an in-home caregiver is the next step. Caregivers can help the individual with medication reminders, light housekeeping, meal preparation and personal care when they are on temporary bed rest. A caregiver can be the support system an elderly individual needs in order to get through a flu this season!

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Caregivers Guide to a Happy Heart

Caregivers are described as caring, selfless and nurturing individuals. We are so grateful that our caregivers dedicate their time and energy to taking care of our wonderful clients. However, we know that caregiving can take a lot of a person, both emotionally and mentally. Having a happy soul and heart can make a caregiver feel fulfilled in all aspects of their life. Read below to see 24 Hour Home Care’s guide to a happy heart.

  • Find time to wind down at the end of the day. This is an important part of finding inner happiness. If you like to meditate at the end of the day, try taking 10 minutes out of your evening to do so. Find the right thing to help you get into a healthy and happy mindset to get a good night’s rest and have a productive next day.
  • Spend time with the people that you love and that love you. You will feed off the energy of those you surround yourself with, so make sure you choose wisely. Choose to surround yourself with positive, upbeat and happy people that will put you in a positive headspace.
  • Learn that it is okay to take a break and say no, for your mental clarity. Do you have friends or family asking to come over after you get off a long shift? Would you rather just stay in bed and catch up on television? It is okay to say no! Pick and choose what things you want to do, and don’t feel bad when you do say no. Remember to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose for you!
  • Know that you are valued and appreciated. As a caregiver, you are selflessly giving your time, energy and resources to someone that needs your assistance. You are kind, patient and loving even on the hardest days. Here at 24 Hour Home Care, we appreciate you so much! You are respected and cherished today and every day!

We know it can be challenging to keep your head up on some of the most hectic days of your life. You may find yourself in a negative headspace or with a heavy heart, as you feel you are doing the best you can. Take a deep breath, dedicate your time to doing something you love and know that we appreciate all our caregivers so much. Thank you for all that you do!

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Activities to Help Caregivers Decompress

Caregivers can have hectic schedules that demands a lot of energy and emotions from them. Between taking care of their family and tending to their client’s needs, caregivers are likely in need of a way to relax and decompress. It is important to remember that taking time for yourself is not selfish, it is the best way to take care of your mental, physical and emotional well-being. Here are some ways that caregivers can decompress after a long day.

  • Go for a walk to clear your mind! Not only will a walk allow you to get fresh air and a moment to yourself, it will allow your body to get exercise and a chance to increase your endorphins.
  • Find a book that you love and dive into it! A great story can take your mind off your reality for a few hours. Find a book that you love, a comfortable place to sit and read it and enjoy!
  • Give yourself a massage. Whether you prefer hand or foot massages, give yourself a little pampering by finding pressure points that will help you relieve stress. You do not need to go to a professional to find relief! We recommend doing research on pressure points that will help you relieve stress or techniques to relax you.
  • Disconnect from the chaotic and hectic world. Your days are likely jam packed with activities, travel and interacting with others. While that can be rewarding, it can also cause you to feel burnt out and overwhelmed. Try turning your phone off or putting it into a different room for the rest of your day. Disconnecting from the outside world for a reasonable amount of time can help you feel refreshed, recharged and reinvigorated.
  • Surround yourself with people you love that will lift you up higher. When you are feeling overwhelmed and in need of decompression, you likely are feeling anxious as well. You feed off of the vibe from your surroundings, which makes the people you surround yourself with incredibly important. Surround yourself with people that will put you at ease and make your anxiety disappear.
  • Just breathe. Take some time to find your breath and put your mind at ease. While it may seem easy, focusing on only your breath can be extremely challenging and will require you to clear your mind. Try finding a comfortable place you can sit in and breathe in and breathe out.

Anxiety, stress and tension should not be a part of your routine. Instead of allowing yourself to experience burn out and stress, we hope that you will use these activities to help you decompress. You work hard serving others each and every day, but remember putting yourself first should always be a priority!

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The Benefits of Solitude and Being Alone

Do you worry about your older loved one being alone or in solitude often? Do they remove themselves from the conversation, chaos or the livelihood of life on a regular basis? We know that this can be alarming, as it can come across that they do not want to participate in socialization. Although it is natural to worry about your loved one, we think it is important to understand some of the reasons why your elderly loved one could be distancing themselves and opting for a quiet place to sit, rather than socializing with loved ones.

Did you know the researchers have found that older brains often get overwhelmed easier, as they are unable to process information? They also found that older brains are unable to separate irrelevant noise and environmental factors from relevant ones. This means that they are not just hearing the conversation that is happening between their loved ones, they are also focusing on the wind blowing, the dishes clinking in the background and the sound of the doors opening. Although it may seem easy for you to focus and to be engaged, it can actually be quite difficult for an elderly individual to focus.

When your elderly loved one experiences this information overload, they are more than likely feeling extremely overwhelmed and feel as though they cannot stand to be in that environment for another second. This is not uncommon, as they are experiencing a lot of noise in the background and it is easy to feel overcome by all of the information. Elderly individuals often seek out a place of quiet and solitude, where they can calm their mind and focus on their thoughts. Their decision to move physically and emotionally is not to hurt the feelings of their loved ones, but rather to take care of themselves and to make sure that they have what they need to be healthy and happy.

If your loved one seeks out a place of refuge and solitude, it is a good idea to make sure that there is a place readily available to them, should they need it. In their own home, that might be a comfortable chair on the patio or their bedroom. It is important to make sure that their place of solitude is accessible, so they can seek out that place easily when needed. It is also important that their place of quiet and solitude is “off limits” to others, especially when in use. They likely retreat to that place because they want to feel comfortable and safe, so having other people in their personal space may disrupt that.

We encourage you to talk to your elderly loved one about their safe space and encourage them to designate a place where they will go when they are feeling overwhelmed. We know that this may feel like a foreign concept, encouraging them to distance themselves from the family or social interaction. However, it is imperative that you know this is in their best interest and this will allow them to rest, recharge and clear their mind in a healthy way.

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How Caregivers Can Have a Healthy Start to Their Day

Caregivers are busy, hardworking and passionate people. They give all of their energy to making sure that their clients are happy, healthy and in the right headspace. Their days may be long, and they leave them exhausted and drained at the end of their shifts. We think it is important for caregivers to take some time to start their day off properly, ensuring they have time to get in the right mindset and to take care of themselves. Each person may personalize their morning routines to fit their needs and schedule, but we have come up with a few healthy tips to start your day off right!

  • Get enough sleep the night before. It is important that caregivers get enough sleep every night. Aim for 8 full hours of sleep, which allows you to wake up feeling recharged, energized and ready to take on the day.
  • Take some time to just breathe. When you wake up in the morning, it can be overwhelming when you have to get up and get out of the door relatively fast. Try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier, giving you enough time to wake up and take a few deep breaths to start your day off right. During this time, you can prepare yourself mentally for what you have ahead of yourself for the day. Give yourself time to wake up, reflect upon the day and get in the right mindset to give your clients your best.
  • Take time to eat breakfast. This is one of the most important parts of your morning routine. A balanced and healthy breakfast will give you energy and will fill you up until you are able to have a mid-morning snack or lunch. It is important that you find a breakfast that is equally as healthy as it is delicious. We want you to enjoy your healthy meals!
  • If your schedule allows for it, try exercising in the morning. Exercising in the morning can give you energy and motivation to make healthy choices through out the rest of the day. If you are unable to give more than 5 or 10 minutes to exercising, try to stretch or do yoga for a few minutes to clear your mind!
  • Meal prep your food the night before or in the morning (if time permits). You can make healthy choices through out your day, starting in the morning! Take some time to make your own lunch or to bring your own healthy snacks. We suggest washing fresh fruits and veggies or making a delicious salad to bring as your meal! Starting the day off making healthy choices will translate into more healthy choices during the day.

We know that mornings can be hectic and chaotic, leaving you little to no time to get prepared for the day. We hope that these five tips will help you start your day in a healthy, happy and content way. Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out!

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Why Living a Sedentary Lifestyle Can Harm Your Senior Loved One

Have you noticed your loved one slowing down and becoming increasingly sedentary? It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience a lack of motivation to get up and get moving. However, it can become dangerous to your loved one’s health when he or she fails to move on a regular basis. Here are just a few ways sedentary lifestyles can harm your senior loved one:

  • Staying still for too long may cause bone loss to be increased. Seniors already are extremely vulnerable to bone loss as they age, but a sedentary lifestyle can cause this process to speed up. By moving a little bit each day, their bones will be strong and will remain as strong as possible for their age.
  • Lean muscle tissue can be lost, which can allow them to lose their ability to perform daily tasks. Things such as getting dressed, bathing or combing their hair may soon become challenging to them if they are not able to get up and perform these tasks daily.
  • Depression and moodiness may increase. Exercise and moving daily has been proven to lift people’s spirits and increase their happiness. If your loved one sits too long and does not move daily, he or she may experience depression.

Incorporating even a few minutes of moving every day can help your senior loved one stay healthy and happy. If you believe that he or she should be cleared by a doctor before they engage in any sort of physical activity, it is important to do so.  Please consult the necessary medical doctors to get a better idea of an exercise or wellness program for your loved one. Although exercise and an active lifestyle can improve your loved one’s mental health, it is important to recognize that their depression or moodiness may be due to another underlying condition. We advise that you see your loved one’s doctor if you are concerned about their depression or moodiness. We hope these facts can help you and your loved one live a happy, healthy and active life.

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Foods to Help Improve the Mental Health of Caregivers

We are so appreciative of our caregivers, who work extremely hard taking care of their clients. They may not get the chance to take care of themselves with the same precision and attentiveness as they do for their clients. Overtime this can cause stress, high blood pressure, anxiety or an overall a mood decline. In addition to making time for daily exercise or ‘me time,’ caregivers should be cognizant of the food they are fueling their bodies with. Food can have a direct impact on the health and well-being of our bodies, including our gut health and mental health, which is why we recommend all of our hardworking caregivers try to implement these five foods into their daily routine to improve their mental health.

1. Lean Protein. Fueling your body with the proper lean protein can help keep your serotonin levels even keeled and balanced. If you are looking for a lean protein to implement into your routine, try fish, turkey, beans, eggs or chicken.

2. Fatty Fish. Fatty fish is high in omega- fatty acids, which will help product the proper neurotransmitters that our brains rely on to improve our moods. We recommend finding wild fish that live in cold water, such as salmon, herring or mackerel.

3. Leafy Greens. We have grown up with our parents telling us to “eat our greens” and make sure that we eat our vegetables daily. As you get older, you realize that they were right; vegetables are important. Spinach, lettuce and broccoli are all sources of folic acid. A lack of folic acid has been proven to cause depression, sleep issues or extreme tiredness.

4. Yogurt with Active Cultures. Kefir, tempeh, kimchi and yogurts with probiotics have all been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and improve overall mood and mental health.

5. Whole Grains. To fuel your body, you must fuel your brain with a good source of energy! Carbohydrates can help the brain use glucose for energy, giving you a steady foundation of energy to stand on all day. Try incorporating wild rice, beans, soy or oats into your diet to improve your energy levels and overall mood.

We hope that these foods will help improve the mental and physical health of the hardworking caregivers in the home care industry. We appreciate all your hard work each and every day!

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Physical Therapy Exercises for Seniors: Relieving Joint Pain

 

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Why Patient Foot Care is an Important Part of Home Care

As a part of providing quality home care, one must remember that foot care is a significant part of maintaining proper health. While it appears to be a minor detail within the grand scheme of one’s well-being, it is actually an important issue to address since foot, ankle, or nail problems can suggest additional health concerns. However, regular examinations and treatments can help prevent or control other medical issues.

Caregivers can easily check the feet during the home care visits to determine if there is abnormal length of the nails, discoloration of the nail bed or toe, nail thickening, skin conditions, or foot, ankle or toe swelling. If any symptoms are discovered, it is important for a physician to examine and treat the feet.

Nails

Normal nails on a patient’s feet can easily be cared for by family or the home care employee with regular trims. However, individuals with low immunity or systemic problems, such as diabetes, can develop diseased and thickened nails that need to be properly monitored by a healthcare practitioner.

  1. Thickened nails can provide discomfort to the person when walking or even at rest. Sometimes, simply placing a sheet or blanket on top of the foot causes pain.
  2. Debris can easily collect under the nail bed and cause discomfort and irritation.
  3. Impacted nail margins, i.e., ingrown nails, may develop due to thickness and length.
  4. Nails that are mycotic, i.e., have a fungal infection, will also become painful and produce additional complications such as separation from the nail bed. With proper and regular treatments by a Podiatrist or M.D. the nails can remain comfortable, while any additional necessary medical therapy can be administered, such as antibiotics.
  5. If a patient is diabetic, they are often more prone to yellowed nails and infections and may require special diabetic shoes to combat these conditions.

Other Health Concerns

In addition, further symptoms can predict serious illness.

  1. Edema (swelling) of the foot or ankle can signify diabetes, injury, Venous Insufficiency or Lymphedema.
  2. Discoloration of ankles, feet or toes may suggest Peripheral Vascular Disease, Venous Insufficiency, Phlebitis, hematoma and more.

As a home care provider, paying close attention and noticing changes early can prevent further complications. Regular checks are a simple way to stay ahead of the game, and a quick glance is all it takes to determine if a doctor’s expertise is necessary. By doing so you will greatly assist the individual in your care and possibly avoid an urgent medical situation in the future.

 

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