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

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!

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.

Signs that Your Loved One May Need Senior Home Care

“I do NOT want to move to a nursing home!” This is an often-heard sentiment expressed by many seniors, even when they’re beginning to experience some difficulty managing at home on their own. And who can blame them? Home is where older adults most often feel comfortable and safe. They know where everything is and they can enjoy their own individual routines. They may have friends and family who live close by, who enhance their quality of life. But if you have concerns about your senior loved one’s ability to remain living safely at home, it may be time to assess the best possible solution.

The questions below, courtesy of the Charlotte senior home care experts at Comprehensive Home Care, can help you determine if your loved one is as safe as possible or if he or she could benefit from some extra help:

Weight Loss

  • Has your senior loved one lost weight unintentionally over the past several months?
  • Is she able to manage picking up groceries and preparing meals?
  • Does she prepare meals safely, remembering to turn off the oven or stove?
  • Does she complain about how food tastes?
  • Is she drinking sufficient amounts of water and other fluids during the day to prevent dehydration, especially during the hot summer months?

Personal Hygiene

  • Is your senior loved one adequately maintaining her hygiene?
  • Can she take care of her laundry, bathing, grooming, and toileting needs sufficiently?

Medications

  • Does your senior loved one take medications?
  • Does she remember to take them exactly when and as prescribed?
  • Can she read the labels and does she understand what each medicine is for?
  • Is she physically able to swallow pills, or otherwise use them as they are intended (i.e. creams, drops, etc.)?

Safety

  • Is the home free of clutter, which can be a tripping or falling hazard?
  • Could your senior loved one call for help if she were to fall?
  • Are there grab bars in the shower/bath, and are banisters and handrails on stairways fastened securely?
  • Is there sufficient lighting to allow her to safely get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or kitchen?
  • Do you notice any cuts, bruises, scrapes, or burns that could have been caused by a fall or other unexplained circumstance?
  • Is the kitchen clean enough to safely prepare food?
  • Is your loved one taking multiple medications from multiple doctors and/or does she use multiple pharmacies?

Emotional, Psychological and Cognitive

  • Does your senior loved one appear to be depressed or anxious?
  • Is she staying social as much as possible, whether in person or through the Internet or by phone?
  • If she’s religious, is she continuing to attend services or programs available to her?
  • Is she still enjoying hobbies that interested her before?
  • Is she forgetful? Unusually loud or agitated?
  • Are her finances in order?

This list of questions may seem overwhelming at first, but senior home care services like those provided by Comprehensive Home Care can help. Our professional Charlotte home care team can evaluate your senior loved one’s situation and provide suggestions and solutions, giving you and your loved one peace of mind. Our trained in-home care staff can provide companionship, perform light housekeeping tasks, prepare nutritious meals, and more. We can even coordinate services between various health care providers.

Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a free in-home assessment and see how we can help your loved one age with grace in the comfort of home.

Most Common Challenges The Elderly Face in Transition to Assisted Living

When your parents or grandparents transition into an assisted living facility, they may experience challenges that arise within their first couple of days throughout their first year. It is normal for any aging adult to experience a challenge here or there especially since they are moving into a new environment and they are no longer in their home. If you have a parent or grandparent who is ready to move into an independent care facility, consider the following common challenges so that you can be prepared.

A Loss of Independence

One of the biggest challenges for seniors is they may feel like they are losing their independence. While this is not true, it is common for seniors who are new to the assisted living environment to feel as though they are giving up their life or that they have surrendered themselves.

To overcome this challenge, it is important for you to speak with your loved one and let them know that their life has not changed much other than where they live. Your parent or grandparent will still be able to do the things they love, make their own food, and live their own life. The biggest difference between an assisted living facility and home life is that your loved one will be receiving care when they need it.

Adjusting to Their New Life

Another common challenge that the elderly face is adjusting to their new life. Your family member must understand that they live in a community now and they are not alone. It is common for your loved one to feel as though they are lonely even though they are not. Some elderly residents need time to get used to the changes that are going on from having meals cooked for them to living in a smaller area. It does take time, but they will be able to overcome it and adjust well.

Understanding Change in Their Bodies

Lastly, the elderly are often faced with challenges when it comes to changes that happen in their body. If your family member is going blind or they are losing their mobility, they may begin to feel as though they no longer have independence. Some residents experience outbursts and they do not want to accept the fact that things are changing. This is normal and it is important for you to listen to them and reassure them that they are in the best place for this.

Research and Tour Facilities Today

It is important for you to go along with your loved one to tour and take a look at the facilities. You do not want your loved one to choose a home that is not right for them and you need to make sure that your parent’s or grandparent’s needs can be met with ease.

The above three challenges are common and many aging seniors go through these phases. It is important for you to be there and provide the support needed to help your family member get through this time.

Signs of Dementia and How To Deal With It

According to some statistics there are over 35 million people in the world suffering from dementia and their number is increasing because the world population is aging more than ever.

Dementia is a syndrome (group of signs and symptoms) which is characterized by cognitive decline and significant behavioral changes that disrupt the daily activities of people and this condition is caused primarily by brain diseases. The risk of appearance of dementia significantly grows when a person reaches 60 years.

Dementia is not a disease, but a large group of diverse diseases. Of course, the most common and best known is Alzheimer’s disease or AD and nearly 60% of patients suffering from dementia have AD. The most evident sign of this disease is forgetfulness. This disease can affect every brain function and different people have different symptoms or a combination of them – difficulties in speech, thinking, lack of attention, moodiness and other functions. For the diagnosis of dementia to be complete and final it is important to identify outages in at least two independent areas (like attention and memory or mood and speech). It is good to point out that in some diseases related to dementia, forgetfulness doesn’t have to be present (frontotemporal dementia).

Forgetfulness is not something that is “exclusive” for older people. But, most of us asks the same question when we notice forgetfulness – is this a regular forgetfulness that can happen in anyone or are we developing a disease? Memory is here to provide the knowledge of the past to any person. Memory can be described as a tool of continuity not only for individuals, but for the human race too. The most common cause of pathological forgetfulness is dementia or the diseases that occur due to deterioration of brain cells.

Supervision of a demented person practically lasts 24 hours a day and over time people who take care of these persons have less time for their personal life. The disease is slowly progressing and many demented patients need to be placed in nursing homes or similar institutions because of the inability to provide proper care and medical care at home. However, in the past few years home care services are getting quite popular because the patients don’t have to leave their home in order to get professional help. The caregivers can visit the patients whenever it is necessary. In this way the quality of life of the patient and the quality of life of their family will be improved. Although some people may think that these services are expensive, the money they spend on various medications and other products that ease the patient’s pains will be significantly reduced.

Patients and family members must receive thorough and understandable information about the symptoms of the disease according to its stages, what kind of preventive measures they can take and what they can expect in the future. The existence of patients suffering from dementia can disturb the relations between family members and that’s why it is the best idea to look for a professional help through a home care service.

The expert Alzheimer’s care Charlotte providers, at Comprehensive Home Care, are here to help you and your senior loved one. Call us to learn how we can assist.

Steps to Avoid Accidental Falls

The elderly are prone to falling and hurting themselves. This is especially true in the case of seniors living on their own or with children who are away most of the day. To ensure that you do not fall and hurt yourself when alone, consider the following tips.

Be Careful at All Times

Older people fall due to different reasons, including poor eye sight or even improper balance. If you suffer from these issues, the first thing you should learn is to take your time to get up from your chair or your bed. Moreover, you can use a walker to make sure that you remain steady while moving around.

Consider Changing Your Medications

It is possible that some of the medicines prescribed to you may cause drowsiness. This can be avoided by speaking with your doctor so that he or she can prescribe a replacement that does not come with such side effects.

Keep Your Room Clutter-Free  

Ensuring that your room is well organized is an excellent way to reduce your chances of falling. In addition, make sure that the stairs are obstacle free and get rid of all loose rugs around your home. 

Keep Your Home Well Lit

Dark areas tend to hide obstacles and make it difficult to navigate. Therefore, you should ensure that your home has proper lighting. Also place a torch or lamp within reach so that you do not have to walk around in the dark. 

Keep Things within Your Reach

If you are having trouble reaching stuff within your home, it is about time that you start making some drastic changes. If things are not within your reach, make them so. Put things in lower shelves and install hand rails and grab bars. These will ensure that you do not end up hurting yourself or worrying those who love and care for you.

Now that you know the most important measures to prevent a fall, you should not wait for a catastrophe to knock at your door. Follow these tips right away and enjoy your independence while putting your loved ones at ease. 

Comprehensive Home Care is a leading home care provider. We provide home care and respite care Charlotte services for seniors and their loved ones.

How to Know If Your Loved One Is Suffering From Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a concerning disease. It can cause many problems if not diagnosed in time. Fortunately, there are certain symptoms of this disease. If you keep an eye out for these symptoms, you may be able to catch it in the early stage and prevent it from progressing.

Frequent Muscle Spasms

One of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease is frequent muscle spasms. However, muscle spasms are not the only symptom. Patients are also known to suffer involuntary movement of muscles. The most common muscle movement as a result of Parkinson’s is of the thumb and forefinger. Most patients rub their first finger and thumb. This is an unconscious movement. However, the muscle movement is not limited to this. There are many other unconscious muscle movements that patients suffer from.

Slow Responding Muscles

The muscle movement of Parkinson’s patients also suffers greatly. In most cases, the muscles get quite stiff. The patient may experience pain when moving their muscles. At times they may have a hard time gripping objects as well. Most patients even begin walking slowly due to this. Muscle reflexes also slow down substantially. If you notice such symptoms in a loved one, you should consult a doctor immediately. If ignored, it could cause further problems.

Deterioration of Sense of Smell

This is a rare symptom, but it is an indication of the Parkinson’s disease.  There are many patients who have reported loss of the sense of smell. Even strong and irritating smells do not have any effect on them. Initially they may not be able to smell mellow smells and only pungent smells may register. But later on, no smell is registered by the senses.

Maintaining Balance

Parkinson’s patients suffer from muscle spasms, but the most concerning problem is muscle coordination. Each muscle in the body works in coordination with the others so that the person can move. However, for Parkinson’s patients’, maintaining body balance becomes a challenge. They have a hard time standing up straight and in some cases, walking.

These are the most common symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease you should keep an eye out for.

Comprehensive Home Care is here to help you and your loved one. We provide home care and respite care Charlotte services.