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Living with Multiple Sclerosis in the Summertime

Summertime can be a difficult time for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. This is due to the fact that an increase in body temperatures causes MS symptoms to worsen. Such symptoms include weak legs, fatigue, impaired vision, and cognitive issues. However, certain preventative measures can be taken to keep cool and enjoy the summertime.

Tips for living with Multiple Sclerosis in the summertime include:

Stay hydrated. While this tip may seem essential for everyone during the summertime, it’s especially essential for those living with MS to drink plenty of water.

Dress cool. Wear light-colored, lightweight, and loose fitting clothes that will keep the body temperature from rising.

Avoid overexposure to sunlight. While avoiding the outdoors completely may be difficult, staying in the air conditioning or in the shade when the temperatures are too high is best.

Take a cool bath. If you feel overheated take a cool bath to help lower your body temperature and prevent your symptoms from worsening.

Take advantage of cooling products. Cooling vests, neck wraps, headbands, and wristbands are extremely useful. The MSAA Cooling Program offers these types of products.

Exercises. Replace outdoor exercises with indoor ones such as pool exercises. Or exercise outside in the morning and evening when the temperature is the lowest.

Comprehensive Home Care is here to help! For more information regarding Multiple Sclerosis, and to learn about the services we provide contact us here or by calling 704-333-5214.

After a Stroke

Whether you have personally experienced a stroke or are helping a loved one recover, life after a stroke can be a very trying time. Depending on the severity, strokes can cause physical, mental, and even emotional damage. It’s important to learn how to recover properly as well as how to prevent another from happening.

Check out the following tips on what to do after a stroke:

Prevent another stroke. Prevent another stroke from happening by encouraging lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising, and lowering blood pressure.

Set up an emergency plan. The chances of having another stroke are high, so setting up an emergency plan is highly necessary. Post the emergency plan on the refrigerator with the emergency numbers so each visitor is equipped to help.

Utilize technology. Technology such as a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) that allows a person to call for help by pressing a button is a great tool to use. Check out more ways technology can be beneficial here.

Learn new exercises/therapies. Depending on the severity, recovery techniques such as mobility training and speech therapy may be necessary.

Modify home. Certain modifications may need to be made in the home to improve safety, accessibility, and comfort.

Ask questions. Speak to a physician about what changes you can expect in your loved one and the best options for their recovery.

Stay patient. Recovery takes time; it’s important to stay patient and uplifting during this process.

If you or your loved one recently suffered from a stroke or are looking for preventative methods, Comprehensive Home Care is here to help. Call us at 704.333.5214 or contact us here.

Traveling with the Elderly

The warm weather is here, which means family vacations are approaching. Just remember when you’re planning out the details of your next vacation don’t forget to factor in your senior loved ones. Traveling with the elderly requires careful planning and preparation. No matter the destination or method of transportation, their safety and comfort should be at the forefront of your mind.

If you’ll be traveling with the elderly keep the following in mind:

Consult with their physician. Before plans are solidified make sure they are allowed to travel. The doctor may also provide advice on the best practices for traveling with someone in their condition.

Follow their routines. Ensure they are eating, drinking, sleeping, and most importantly taking medication at the same time as usual. Set a reminder if necessary.

Travel light and use luggage with wheels. Lugging your own luggage through an airport or in a vehicle while also worrying about other people’s luggage can be very stressful.

Keep medication accessible. Make sure any medication that needs to be taken during the trip is where it can be reached.

Flight specific tips include:

Allow plenty of time to get through the airport. Arrive at least 2 hours prior to the flight.

Understand regulations for medications. Follow regulations when packing to avoid any holdups at security.

Take advantage of the assistance airports provide. Many airports offer special assistance such as the ability to expedite security and to receive assistance with luggage.

Think about where on the plane would be best to sit. Sitting closest to the exit for a quick entrance and exit or near the closest restroom may be the best options.

Nonstop flights decrease stress. Instead of worrying about making it to the next flight on time choose a nonstop flight.

Post-Retirement Work

Many senior adults are deciding to reenter the workforce post-retirement, and as such opportunities targeted toward these un-retirees are on the rise. The decision may be financially based or due to the desire to stay productive and active. Companies are learning the importance of utilizing these workers due to their experience and work ethic. Many companies even offer flexible benefits, such as the opportunity to work part-time, seasonal, or remotely.

See below for a list of positions for post-retirement:

Work for a former employer.  Some companies offer part-time work to formerly retired employees, as these former employees already have the experience necessary to succeed in the company.

Consultant. Retirees often choose to offer their expertise via consulting.

Tutor. A quick search online will bring up multiple opportunities to tutor and offer the training necessary.

Administrative assistant/virtual assistant. Companies are looking to delegate tasks and even offer the ability to work from home.

Pet sitter. Animal lovers can use this passion to make a little extra money by pet sitting for friends and family or even for an agency.

Hobby turned into a business. Fun hobbies such as photography and writing can be turned into an enjoyable, profit-making job.

Nonprofit work. Charities and non-profits can be a very rewarding avenue after retirement.

Cruise ship worker. Employment on a cruise ship offers the chance to travel, meet new people, and make money.

Elder Empowerment

It’s essential to learn the best ways to promote elder empowerment and redefine stereotypes toward aging. Encouraging the older generation to live their lives to the fullest and affirming their strength can be difficult when also looking out for their well-being.

It’s important to remember most older adults have lived independently for years and have lived through difficult times. For this reason, taking away certain privileges and changing their routines can cause tension. Finding a balance between doing what’s right for him/her and also empowering them to live their lives the way they wish is important.

Check out the list below for ways to promote elder empowerment:

Decisions. The elderly should be involved in decision-making processes, specifically those that will directly impact his/her life.

Assistance. Remove the negative feelings toward asking for assistance. Receiving assistance reduces stress and opens up free time to focus on passions and hobbies.

Learn. Constant learning keeps the mind sharp and promotes overall brain health. Encourage your senior loved one to take online classes, learn a new skill, and play games that improve memory function.

Volunteer. Helping those in need reduces stress and improves the quality of life of both the volunteer and the people in need. Many cities have multiple types of elderly volunteer opportunities, so do research for the best fit.

Verbal affirmation. Words of affirmation can make all the difference. It’s essential to affirm the strength and worth the elderly.

Comprehensive Home Care gladly empowers the elderly in our care. Contact us here or call us at 704.333.5214 to see how we can provide assistance.

Caregiving During the Holidays

The holiday season is coming upon us. Now is the time to start prepping! The holiday season can be stressful and overwhelming; this is especially true for those who need extra care. Caregiving during the holidays can be tricky because you want to ensure your loved one is having an enjoyable time, but also want to make sure their safety is a priority. It is important to start planning early to make sure the holiday season goes smoothly.

Keep the following in mind when caregiving during the holidays:

Travel.

If at all possible keep travel to a minimum. Traveling can be exhausting and add unneeded stress to your loved one. Have family members come to you instead.

Meals.

Your loved one’s food options may be limited; however, this doesn’t mean their meals need to be bland. A great part of celebrating the holidays is the delicious assortment of food, so do research on special healthy meals they’ll enjoy.

Keep a routine.

Routines are essential for an aging loved one or those with disabilities, so make sure to keep mealtime and bedtime the same as usual. Prepare any visiting family members and explain the importance of the routine.

Accept help.

With family coming in for visits there will be more people who can help out. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance, holidays tend to cause stress and your stress levels will affect those around you.

Avoid being overly loud or hectic.

This type of environment can be too stressful for your loved one; specifically those with dementia can become overwhelmed or overstimulated by too much noise.

Dealing with depression/loneliness.

The holiday season may be difficult for your loved one emotionally. They may compare the current time to previous holidays or may feel limited on how they can help out. Make sure to keep things upbeat and light-hearted and give them projects they can work on such as stringing garlands of popcorn, creating photo albums, reading holiday stories to the young ones, etc.

Comprehensive Home Care is here to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to see how we can help take the stress out of the holiday season. Call us at 704.333.5214 or contact us here.

Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance relationships are very difficult as they require extra attention and effort. Long-distance caregiving is no exception. Planning and coordinating everything from finding the right doctors and caregivers to staying up-to-date about your loved one’s condition can be overwhelming. While this is true, its essential to ensure they’re properly taken care of.

Tips for long-distance caregiving include:

Accepting the Limitations

Being away from loved ones is very difficult, especially when their health isn’t ideal. It’s important to not focus on the limitations to your distance, do the absolute best at what you can and ask for outside help on the tasks you can’t.

Researching

Find the best caregiver and doctor that truly care about their well-being. While this will require adequate research and talking to each care provider it’s essential to their safety and happiness.

Organizing

Make sure you have the important paperwork, contact information for their doctors and caregivers, and an up-to-date calendar of their appointments.

Planning Ahead

Any family emergency is scary, but being far away when informed of the emergency is a very stressful situation. Instead of panicking be prepared for these instances and have a step by step plan laid out.

Staying in Touch

Calls, video chats, emails, and scheduling visits are important in any long-distance relationship. While it’s good to keep up-to-date with their well-being, constantly discussing their health can start to feel negative and discouraging so make sure to have light-hearted conversations as well.

If you live far from a loved one who requires extra care you may need help from a professional caregiver. Comprehensive Home Care is here to help give you a peace of mind. Contact us here or call us at 704.333.5214 to see how we can help.

Check out How Often Should I Check On My Aging Loved One? to learn the best practices.

Insomnia in the Elderly

We all want that feeling of getting out of bed well rested after a great night’s sleep. However, for older adults getting adequate sleep is a struggle. As adequate sleep is required to rejuvenate the body, it’s important to know the best options to treat insomnia.

Let’s take a look at insomnia and the options to help your loved one.

The Misconception

Insomnia is a disorder that plagues many people, the numbers increasing with age. Many believe inadequate sleep is just something to be accepted. This misconception is one that Preeti Malani, M.D., Chief Health Officer and Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan wants to dispel. According to Dr. Malani, “If older adults believe that these changes are a normal, inevitable part of aging, they may not think of it as something to discuss with their doctor. And not discussing it can potentially lead to health issues not being identified and managed.”

Treatment

The initial step in addressing sleep concerns for seniors is to talk to a physician. The physician can give advice on how to improve sleep and rule out any underlying conditions such as depression, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, and heart disease. He/she may prescribe medication, however, medication may not be the best option. Safer alternatives may include:

  • Restrict alcohol and caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom and keep the sleeping environment dark and cool.
  • Set a sleeping pattern and adhere to it, sleeping and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Engage the services of a sleep therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Risks

About 40% of elderly adults are relying on insomnia medication. For this reason, it’s extremely important to also know the risks associated with such medication. Dizziness and disorientation is a common side effect, so the risk of falls and fractures, as well as car accidents increases. Seniors may also be at risk of becoming dependent on these types of medications.

Herbal remedies and supplements can also cause unwanted effects. Melatonin, for example, can cause dizziness and nausea and may interact with prescriptions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure medications.

Hope

New research and studies are coming out and as a result, new treatment options are coming to light. There’s no need to accept the misconception that adequate sleep is impossible to achieve. Ask for help to find the solution for you or your loved one.

Comprehensive Home Care, the number one choice for the expert companion care Charlotte seniors rely on, can help in a variety of ways. Our fully trained and experienced in-home caregivers can certainly help seniors stay active during the day with exercise programs, fun outings, and much more, setting the stage for an improved night’s sleep. Give us a call at 704.333.5214 or contact us online for more information.

As many insomnia medications cause dizziness it’s essential to learn ways to prevent accidental falls. Check out Steps to Avoid Accidental Falls.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring a Home Care Specialist

Hiring a home care specialist is useful when your loved one prefers to stay in a more active lifestyle while needing assistance with things around the home. There are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure that your loved one is cared for in the best way possible. These questions are a great way to find out which specialist is best for your family member.

Consider these questions before choosing a home care specialist:

  •  What specific experience and certification do you have in caring for the elderly?

This question is so important because it gives an overview of the person’s background and qualifications. The way they present their experience will show how they feel about the elderly care they provide. The qualifications should already be in place if you are considering any home care specialist. To ensure proper care and a nurturing environment, it is important to ensure that the home care specialist is more than just qualified. The specialist should also enjoy giving care to those who cannot care for themselves.

  • What references do you have in regards to specifically caring for elderly patients with illnesses such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease?

The references will provide a frame of time for the experience presented and also a backup for honest feedback.

  • How would you handle emergency situations during after-hours?

This gauges the specialist’s ability to handle situations that may occur during times you may not be readily available. It is important to have emergency protocols and to know that the home care specialist is comfortable with addressing issues and prepared with the necessary procedures and practices.

Comprehensive Home Care provides the necessary processes and background checks to find the right fit for your loved one. We specialize in caring for those who need assistance taking care of themselves. This includes the elderly, those who have an illness, disorder, or injury, pregnant women, and new mothers.

Read Tips to Start the Care Provider Search for more advice.

Planning a Family Meeting to Discuss Home Care

Home care is used to provide the care of a loved one who is unable to fully provide for themselves, yet still stable and mentally sound enough to be at home and out of the nursing home. For many people, this type of care provides far greater happiness and prolongs their lifetime and that is just the start of the exciting benefits. Even still there are drawbacks that must be considered if this is a method of care that you are considering. Before deciding if home care is the right option for your loved one it is important to plan a family meeting with the immediate members of your family. This is a big decision and everyone should be able to voice their thoughts, concerns, and hopes freely.

Preparing for a family meeting


When preparing for your family meeting make sure that you inform family members as far in advance as possible. Everyone’s schedules differ, and sometimes it can be difficult to find a time when everyone is able to come together. When informing family members of the meeting you should plan for a two-hour time slot, although it might take slightly less time. Once a time has been arranged, choose a location for the meeting. If your home is large enough this is perfectly fine. It should be comfortable so everyone is able to talk openly. Make sure that the loved one being considered for home care is present during the meeting. After all, it is him or her that will be receiving the care so their say really matters the most. Also, the home care agency caregiver or staff member should be present to help you learn more about the service and the different options available.

Things to discuss at the family meeting


 

  • Cost. Insurance will usually not cover the costs of this type of care so it is the responsibility of loved ones to cover the fees. Consider how you will pay, how much each person can put forth, etc. Also, take into consideration during your meeting:
  • Duration. How long/often will you require home care for your loved one? You can arrange services for part-time or full-time, or on as –needed basis.
  • Capability of the senior. Is your loved one still able to partially caring for themselves? Patients who are best-suited for home services are those who still have such capabilities.
  • Needs of the senior. Discuss with the caregiver the needs of your loved ones. Caregivers can provide a little or they can provide a lot, depending upon the need. Ensure the chosen agency is capable of handling those needs. Not all agencies provide the same levels of care.
  • Questions/concerns. Give each family member time to ask their own questions as they arise.

Comprehensive Home Care can provide help during these meetings. Contact us here or call at 704.333.5214 with any questions or care needs.

Check out Diffusing Family Tensions for more support.