Is It Just a Case of the Blues? Mental Illness in Seniors Is More Common Than You May Think!

In one’s older years, it is common to be dealing with sleeping problems, fatigue or loss of appetite. And often, they’re written off as just that. Yet for around 8 million older adults over age 65, these symptoms are suggestive of something a lot more than normal aging – they’re signs of mental illness in seniors. And only a small number are getting the available treatment which could substantially enhance their overall quality of life. Read more

Is It Okay to Lie to Someone with Dementia?

At an early age, we learn the tale of George Washington’s mishap with the cherry tree and his bold admittance to his parents, “I cannot tell a lie; I chopped down the cherry tree!” Truthfulness is integrated within our character, and even telling a little white lie can wrack us with guilt. But could it sometimes be advantageous to fib when chatting with a family member with dementia? Read more

Caring for Older Parents? Ask These Questions First Before They Move in

Probably the most noble and admirable decision adult children will make is to open up their house to an aging parent. Our parents raised and took care of us when we needed help and support, so it seems like a no-brainer to return the favor when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are a number of considerations to take into account before taking this step. Comprehensive Home Care outlines a number of the key questions to think about when caring for older parents and considering having them move into your home: Read more

Charlotte Home Health Experts Share Tips to Avoid Common Parkinson’s Complications

Many seniors with Parkinson’s disease receive the largest part of their care at home from loved ones, especially during the early stages of the disease. As a professional Charlotte home health care agency, we at Comprehensive Home Care understand the unique concerns experienced by family members who provide care for a senior with Parkinson’s, and want you to know you’re not alone! We’re always available to provide recommendations and to partner with you in ensuring your loved one receives the highest quality care at all times. 

To begin with, it’s helpful to keep these Parkinson’s-specific tips in mind: 

Nutrition: A healthy diet helps reduce cell loss in a person with Parkinson’s. Consuming antioxidants, such as those found in green tea, blueberries, broccoli, spinach, beans, and certain types of nuts, can help fight against oxidative stress. 

Chewing and Swallowing: Those with Parkinson’s commonly have some level of difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Each person caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s needs to learn the Heimlich maneuver to be prepared in case the person begins to choke. 

Preventing Falls: Seniors with Parkinson’s often have trouble with walking and balance, so it’s crucial to assess the home surroundings and make modifications to reduce the risk of falls. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstacles in and around the home is a great place to begin. 

Anxiety/Depression: Reducing the risk for depression and anxiety is a main factor in the battle against Parkinson’s. Keep a close eye on your loved one for signs of depression, and if noticed, make sure he or she sees the doctor for help as soon as possible. 

Medications: Parkinson’s treatments may have a number of side effects, and can affect the person in a variety of different ways. Some types of medication can cause hallucinations or nightmares, for example. Be sure your loved one’s doctor advises you about any anticipated side effects of medications so you can be prepared.  

We invite you to explore Comprehensive Home Care’s Charlotte home health care services to discover how respite care can lead to a better quality of life for both your loved one and the family members who are providing care. By partnering with our professional Charlotte home health care team to assist with some of the more routine aspects of caregiving, family members have the opportunity to spend more quality time together. Contact us at 704-333-5214 to learn more. 

The 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease and How Home Care Can Help Through Each

More likely to strike men, and more prevalent than MS, muscular dystrophy, and ALS combined, Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed in as many as 7 – 10 million people worldwide, with an additional 600,000 Americans diagnosed each year. And although each individual’s experience with Parkinson’s differs in level of severity, there are five main stages of progression that are routinely experienced by all.  

In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Comprehensive Home Care shares the facts below to help you better understand the stages of Parkinson’s disease: 

1st Stage: Referred to as early-stage Parkinson’s, this stage impacts the individual with mild signs or symptoms that may display as follows: 

  • Symptoms on only one side of the body 
  • Symptoms are bothersome, but not disabling 
  • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking in one limb may be apparent 
  • Loved ones can often pick up on differences in the individual’s posture, balance, and facial expressions 

2nd Stage: In the second stage of Parkinson’s, the person begins to display an inability to complete standard physical tasks: 

  • Symptoms now impact both sides of the body 
  • The person is experiencing minimal disability, but in most cases ambulatory or balance problems are noticed 
  • Posture begins to be affected 

3rd Stage: This stage is considered to be moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a higher degree of disability will begin to become apparent: 

  • There is a noticeable slowing down of the body’s movements 
  • Equilibrium impairment may lead to the inability to stand or walk straight 
  • There is a moderately significant overall dysfunction 

4th Stage: The fourth stage is indicative of advanced Parkinson’s and includes severe symptoms: 

  • Rigidity and bradykinesia, or sluggish movements are now at play 
  • The individual can no longer complete daily tasks and typically is unable to live independently 
  • Tremors may begin to lessen or disappear altogether for unknown reasons during this stage 

5th Stage: The fifth and final stage of the disease usually takes over the person’s physical movements: 

  • The person typically experiences a general decline in vitality and strength in both body and mind 
  • The person may possibly now be unable to walk or stand 
  • One-on-one care is required 

Comprehensive Home Care’s skilled caregivers are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of home care, and can help those with Parkinson’s disease and other conditions of aging to experience a better quality of life, right in the comfort of home. Whether the need is for help with daily personal care, transportation and accompaniment to doctors’ appointments, errand-running, light housework and meal preparation, or simply a kind companion to brighten up each day, our home care in Charlotte, NC is customized to each person’s individual needs and preferences. Call us any time to learn more at 704-333-5214. 

Charlotte, NC Home Care Experts Share Top Exercise Tips for Seniors

Participating in an ongoing exercise plan is challenging at any age. Exercising is exhausting. We don’t seem to have the time it takes. We’re still sore from yesterday’s workout. All of us have made excuses like these for not exercising; but frailty and aging make it even more difficult to commit to an exercise plan.

The Charlotte, NC home care experts at Comprehensive Home Care want to help seniors stay active by sharing the following exercise tips for seniors:

  • Self-confidence: It’s natural for older adults to become overwhelmed with the idea of achieving exercise goals. It might be helpful to start slowly with exercises that are easily accomplished and then progress gradually; and, motivate the senior with ongoing support.
  • Attitude: Attitude is so important when it comes to staying physically fit. If approached negatively, it will be that much harder to stick to an effective exercise routine. Select activities that will be enjoyable and that the senior will look forward to.
  • Pain: The common saying, “No pain, no gain” is just false. Seniors should avoid overdoing it, and cut back on the level of intensity if any pain or discomfort is experienced.
  • Disabilities: Older adults with physical or cognitive impairments can and should stay active within their individual ability level. Check with the senior’s doctor for a referral to a personal trainer or physical therapist who can help plan out a program of specialized exercises.
  • Fear of Injury/Balance Problems: There are a variety of different assistive products to allow for safe, effective exercising.
  • Financial Issues: Exercising doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Walking and other simple exercises both in and outside of the senior’s home, using everyday household items, can be an effective part of exercising with little to no cost.
  • Illness or Fatigue: Workouts may be tailored to match the senior’s energy level, and he or she may slowly increase endurance level over time.

Remember, the key to ongoing success with any exercise program will be to make sure the older adult is comfortable and feels safe with the recommended plan and the exercises. If any pain is felt in muscles or bones the day after exercising, a lower intensity plan can be implemented; and check with the senior’s physician if the pain or discomfort continues.

The Charlotte, NC home care experts at Comprehensive Home Care can work with your senior loved one’s physician to develop a safe exercise plan matching his or her abilities to increase strength, independence, and overall quality of life. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for more exercise tips for seniors, and to find out more about how our professional in-home care services can help your senior loved one thrive!

Try These Elderly Exercise Ideas to Help Seniors Thrive!

Throughout the aging process, the benefits of exercise continue to outweigh any barriers faced, and it’s vital for older adults’ overall health and wellbeing to maintain as active a lifestyle as possible. And while it’s particularly challenging for seniors who are confined to a bed or wheelchair to exercise, there are still plenty of elderly exercise options available to help boost strength, resistance and flexibility.

Always check first with the senior’s primary physician to get a recommendation and his/her approval for an elderly exercise program that will be safe and provide the most benefit the senior. When the senior first tries the exercises, bear in mind that even as little as a few minutes each day, repeated several times throughout the day, can have a great impact on the senior’s health.

Following are just a few different kinds of exercises to consider for your senior loved ones, courtesy of the Charlotte, NC home care team at Comprehensive Home Care:

Aerobics: If full body movements aren’t an option for the senior, there are exercises that can be done while seated to help build cardio strength. If possible, the following types of exercises are great to try:

  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Walking
  • Tai Chi
  • Bowling

Resistance Exercises: To build strength in muscle tissue, exercising with resistance weights, like elastic bands, can help. These bands can be obtained in a variety of tensile strengths for different strength levels. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences states that even as little as one day per week of strength training helps enhance independence for older adults while reducing the risk of injury.

Flexibility Exercises: Stretching is great for improving flexibility and freedom of movement. Search for yoga classes at a local senior or recreation center.

Dementia Exercises: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, a variety of exercise options can be tested to see how well they work well for the senior, and with additional supervision and some modifications, can be continued even later in the progression of the disease. Because repetition is often comforting to seniors with dementia, activities like folding laundry, walking, and riding a stationary bike are helpful for both the person’s physical and mental state.

Motivating your senior loved one to begin and then stick with an elderly exercise program is the key to success. These suggestions can help ensure it’s fun and something he or she will look forward to:

  • Engage in the exercise program with your senior loved one. It’s always more fun to exercise with a buddy.
  • Hire a trusted caregiver from the Charlotte, NC home care team at Comprehensive Home Care to engage in a senior exercise program with your loved one
  • Turn on his or her favorite, upbeat music while exercising.
  • Set aside dedicated time each day for exercise, and make sure to keep it a priority.
  • Consider offering incentives or rewards for attaining milestones for motivation.

For more recommendations on helping seniors increase activity levels, contact the Charlotte, NC home care experts at Comprehensive Home Care. Our professional in-home caregivers are experienced in helping older adults thrive and enhance their overall health and wellbeing, and we love nothing more than knowing the seniors within our care are healthy and enjoying life to the fullest! Contact us at 704-333-5214 for more information on setting up an elderly exercise program to improve life for your senior loved one!

Is Elderly Hoarding Impacting Your Senior Loved One? Here’s How to Help.

Do you have a loved one who struggles with elderly hoarding? Is this situation becoming increasingly difficult to manage? Are you concerned?

Pathological or compulsive hoarding, officially known as disposophobia, is much more than just collecting or living with clutter. It’s the excessive gathering of objects, regardless of whether these objects have any value or use. The idea of giving away or throwing away any of the items, even trash, results in great stress.

Elderly hoarding causes several problems. Too many objects in a senior’s living space can cause problems with hygiene – both in the home itself and with personal hygiene if cleaning facilities are blocked. Extreme clutter can lead to social isolation, due to the person’s embarrassment about the state of the home and his or her inability to clean up sufficiently to go out. And the clutter can also be a serious safety hazard. Clutter can result in falls, destroy home foundations, and block exits in the event of an emergency.

Helping someone who struggles with elderly hoarding can be difficult. Those who hoard place an extreme amount of value on their possessions, no matter how worthless they may appear to be to others. Clearing anything away can be overwhelmingly painful.

If you have a loved one whom you feel is struggling with elderly hoarding, the tips below may help to get things under control:

Try not to judge the person. It may be difficult, but if your senior loved one doesn’t feel judged, he or she may be more likely to work with you. Avoid statements such as “What a mess!” or “How can you possibly live like this?”

Use upbeat language. If you see any improvements at all, no matter how slight, such as a path from one room to another that is wider than it was before, congratulate the senior on trying to make things safer. If you notice a trash bag with trash to go out, let your loved one know that this is wonderful progress. Whenever there is something to praise, do so: “I can imagine how hard it was to fill that trash bag. I’m so happy you were able to do that.” You can also point out the nice things in the home, such as a beautiful painting, or an unusual decoration.

Never argue. Seniors who hoard have their reasons, and arguing usually results in them shutting down the conversation. You don’t have to agree with what the person says, but by arguing, he or she may feel the need to become defensive, pushing further away from a solution. If an argument is ensuing, it may be time to take a walk around the block or call it a day.

Understand that some things are just too important for your loved one to part with. When cleaning out a home, it’s important to remember that not everything has to go. We all have certain items that are dear to us. Recognize and acknowledge this.

Comprehensive Home Care’s North Carolina home care experts have seen what hoarding can do and our experienced caregivers know how to help. As the top-rated home care agency in the Charlotte area, we can provide in-home care services, including friendly companionship to help seniors feel accepted and socially involved. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a professional assessment to learn how we can help your senior loved one.